Tag Archive: shelter at home 2020


Although it wasn’t renewed for a second season, streaming service DC Universe’s Swamp Thing was the 2019 adaptation of a comic book series that stood apart in a year where every other series seemed to be based on a comic book.  On the small screen, from The Umbrella Academy, The Boys, and Watchmen, to the last seasons of Netflix’s The Punisher and Jessica Jones, plus new seasons of Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl, Legends of Tomorrow, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, Gotham, and Legion, and new Batwoman and Doom Patrol series, 2019 meant a lot of comic book adaptations that either looked the same or they fought hard to try to be grittier and different.  And that’s great–that means there’s something for everyone.  But none compared to Swamp Thing.  For our money, if you’re looking for fun, creepy timed for Halloween and not cartoony, soap opera-ish, or comic booky, and a series that earned its way to be one of the top 10 comic book adaptations of all, give Swamp Thing a try.  Moving from DC Universe to the CW network where anyone can watch it, the first episode of Swamp Thing begins again tonight at 7 p.m. Central.

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We often critique a series for its inability to get off the ground running.  Perhaps no television series excelled at that (both literally and figuratively) than the one and only original 1969-1970 animated series, Scooby Doo, Where Are You?  The entire series is airing this month on Boomerang.  The cultural impact of “those meddling kids,” the Scooby Gang, Fred, Daphne, Velma, Shaggy, and their Great Dane Scooby Doo, cannot be overstated.  The pop song introduction, the 1960s van, the clothes, the cameraderie, mix with the first shake cam most of us ever noticed, cool colors, and a laugh track telling us we weren’t the only ones in on the fun.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

Our next recommendation for anyone looking for a great weekend project is the Orpheus Music Box Robot Kit from Robotime, a wooden 3D puzzle music box craft kit that results in a steampunk desk-shelf cheerleader to lead you on as you plunk away on your keyboard.  You can build it in anywhere from 4-8 hours, but it has precision parts and you probably want to take your time and spread the build out over a few days.  The kit includes everything you need to build it, including six sheets of 221 laser-cut pieces, sandpaper, screws, screwdriver, plastic dome, a bag of dowels of various sizes, light and light switch, classic music box mechanics, and white glue.

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We’ve seen some good variants on classic board games introduced over the years by Hasbro and USAopoly, especially in their Trivial Pursuit line.  We’ve still enjoying last year’s Stranger Things Back to the 80s Trivial Pursuit, full of great trivia and a unique board that fits the theme of the Netflix television series.  For the toymakers’ next tie-in, they are going dark.  Ready for your Halloween party-at-home, the Horror Ultimate Edition Trivial Pursuit Game expands on an earlier 600-question card deck add-on (the Trivial Pursuit: Horror Movies Edition) with a creepy playing board, even creepier playing pieces, and 1,800 gore-filled and disturbing trivia question cards.  And lots of blood spatter everywhere.

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Back in the 1990s when the dot-com revolution took off, it was difficult to find a telecom, Internet, or other tech start-up business that didn’t have a CEO at the helm who drove us all to accept Hawaiian shirt Fridays as the new norm.  I still have a closet full of Hawaiian shirts (historically, “Aloha” shirts, a fashion that dates back to the 1920s, popularized in the 1930s).  With this crazy 2020, why not resurrect the fad again?  We spotted three online outlets ready to answer the call.  One hails from the family of one of your all-time favorite comedians, another is a throwback to all things good and Hawaiian, and the third is where Magnum shops today.  This will have you pulling out your Israel Kamakawiwoʻole or Don Ho albums and re-start your next Magnum, p.i. or Hawaii Five-O binge.  Make no mistake, despite recent fringe elements trying to usurp this traditional Friday garb and 50th state trademark wear for their own political ends, Hawaiian shirts don’t go with guns or camouflage (see instead #HawaiianshirtsforPeace).

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Bueller?  Bueller?

If you think about it, who would have taken better advantage of staying home from school during a pandemic than Ferris Bueller?  (That’s some pretty good social distancing in the above museum image).  In advance of its 35th anniversary next year, the cast of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is one of many groups that have reunited for fans in such an unprecedented way this summer in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.  These great panel discussion events are a good start at sharing some positive vibes right when everyone needs it.  It’s like a year long comic-con.  This Ferris reunion definitely belongs on the top shelf of what not to miss.  This event was part of Josh Gad’s Reunited Apart videos.  The upbeat actor hosts Ferris himself, Matthew Broderick, along with co-stars Alan Ruck (Cameron) with great COVID hair, Mia Sara (Sloane), Jennifer Grey (Jeanie), Cindy Pickett (Mom), Lyman Ward (Dad), and some charming bits from Ben Stein (Ferris’s econ teacher).

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Review by C.J. Bunce

For me the challenge and threshold for success for HBO’s series His Dark Materials was huge.  The first adaptation of Philip Pullman’s wildly successful series of novels was the 2007 big-screen film The Golden Compass, which rated #1 on my all-time favorite fantasy movie list here at borg back in 2012.  Late last year HBO took on its own adaptation, and the first season arrived, but fell in the shadow of more popular, and more marketed series last year like The Mandalorian.  So on the one hand we have a big-budget movie with an all-star cast–so how does the TV series fare by comparison?  At last His Dark Materials just arrived on Blu-Ray and DVD and the studio sent us a copy for review (you can order it here at Amazon), so check out my review below, along with a preview of Season 2.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

If I updated my favorite characters list, I’m not sure yet whether two of the stars of the television series Longmire would make my top five, but I am sure they’d give my top 10 a run for their money.  Those two stars would be Robert Taylor′s cool, dry, and wise Sheriff Walt Longmire and his best friend, Lou Diamond Phillips′ loyal, clever, and heroic Cheyenne bar owner Henry Standing Bear.  I don’t know how I overlooked Longmire in its run between 2012 and 2017, but I’m grateful, because watching it an episode per day during sheltering at home helped get me through those 150 days.  This is great drama, exciting, often humorous, and as good a modern Western as you could hope for.  It’s airing right now on Netflix.

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I was thinking about re-publishing a list of war movie recommendations in November for Veteran’s Day, recommendations provided by my father, Milton L. Bunce, Jr., movies that I recommended here at borg years ago.  He passed away Saturday at the age of 79, and as a tribute to him I thought I’d go ahead and share again now two sets of recommendations of movies he enjoyed, which also influenced me and my movie preferences over the years.  These are 20 films, one list of classic war movies that he thought reflected his own experiences in the U.S. Navy, and another, showing the preferences of a kid growing up during World War II at the local movie house.  My father went to the movie theater every Saturday with his sister, and spent the day enjoying many of these great films on the big screen.  If you have more time at home as many do this summer, what better opportunity to catch a classic you may have overlooked?

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Review by C.J. Bunce

The price of knowledge is often great and grim.  If you like your historical biopics about scientific discoveries of the inspiring and motivational variety, Amazon Studios and Studiocanal’s latest film Radioactive, a barely recognizable adaptation of the Lauren Redniss graphic novel, RadioactiveMarie & Pierre CurieA Tale of Love and Fallout, may not be for you.  Yet exceptional performances by Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl, Jack Reacher, Die Another Day) as Maria Skłodowska aka Madame Marie Curie and Anya Taylor-Joy (Emma, Split, The New Mutants) as her daughter Iréne, and a dearth of new films this summer, will likely make this 2018 production worth your time.  It arrived in the U.S. for the first time this week streaming on Amazon Prime.

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