Monday, 27 June 2016

Manic Monday: Sunglasses Day


© Picture: Warner Home Video | Meme created by BSP on imgflip

If you ask me, it's no coincident that Manic Monday and Sunglasses Day collide today. I mean, we all know the feeling of needing to hide our tired eyes behind some shades come Monday morning, don't we?

So in order to celebrate this shady holiday, here's a neat little list of movie characters who know how to sport those helpful glasses with style, grace and, of course, utter coolness.


 Sarah Connor in Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991)
© Lions Gate Films Home Entertainment  | Source: pyxurz


The Reservoir Dogs (1992) 
© Artisan Entertainment | Source: The Fashionisto


Dracula in Dracula (1992)
© Sony Pictures Home Entertainment | Source: Annie Akkam Wordpress



Eilis in Brooklyn (2015)
© 20th Century Fox | Source: Mongrel Media


Trinity, Neo and Morpheus in The Matrix Trilogy (1999-2003)
© Warner Bros. | Source: Wallpaper Up



Jake and Elwood in Blues Brothers (1980)
© Universal Pictures | Source: filmtipps.tv


Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961)
© Paramount Home Video | Source: Observer


Patrick Bateman in American Psycho (2000)
© Lions Gate Films Home Entertainment | Source


Eve, Adam and Ava in Only Lovers Left Alive (2013)
© Sony Pictures Classics | Source: o.canada


Kay and Jay in the Men in Black franchise (1997 -   )
© Sony Pictures Home Entertainment | Source: Variety



That's it. Who are your favourite sunglasses wearing movie characters?

Monday, 20 June 2016

Manic Monday: Unexpected Singing Moments in Movies



© Touchstone Pictures | Source: Ohmy.Disney

It’s yet another of these awful Mondays, but do not despair BSPeeps, we have just the right remedy for you to fight the Monday blues: Music.

If there is one things that is sure to fight a bad mood, then it’s listening to music or bursting out in song yourself. And if that music moment comes unexpected, it’s all the better for the surprise effect.

So now, check out Mojo’s Top 10 of Unexpected Singing Moments in Non-Musical Movies.

Happy singing along!




Saturday, 18 June 2016

A Scene to Remember: Quicksilver Rescue Scene



© Marvel | Source: cosmicbooknews 

I’m probably not alone with the opinion that the last X-Men movies were a little dullish and didn’t manage to tap into the full potential of the franchise. That is probably why both in X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014) and X-Men: Apocalypse (2016) the Quicksilver scenes (despite their rather limited screen time) stood out so much and were really the best parts in both movies. And by far the most memorable ones. It’s been a while, but the only things I clearly remember from Days of Future Past are the flying baseball stadium and Quicksilver (Evan Peters), making mischief, while freeing his father (Michael Fassbender) out of a high security cell in Pentagon. 

And because that last scene turned out so brilliantly, here it is again:



Although he has only something like ten minutes of screen time, the newbie Quicksilver outshone the young versions of the well-known X-Men and turned into a fan’s favourite. So naturally Marvel felt the need or saw the benefit of giving Magneto’s son a bigger role in the new movie. 

And that is what happened.

"Yeah, Quicksilver does his thing again, in the new film. It's bigger, longer and more detailed. I think it's an amazing sequence that they've put together. Just filming it, I was like, 'Oh, my god!' I think we shot for 22 days of second unit, working on the sequence, which is amazing. It's so cool to take that much time to make something like that really pop and really work. Knock on wood, I think it's going to be a fun and enjoyable sequence for people to watch, with Quicksilver running around and doing his thing in slow-mo time. I hope people like it." – Evan Peters

Here’s the setting: the super evil, god-like mutant Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac) breaks into Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters with his entourage of mutant guardians. They meet our goody-good mutants and don’t get along all that well. As a result, the school catches fire, Xavier (James McAvoy) is kidnapped, Alex (Lucas Till) is presumed dead and the rest of the students are about to follow suit in the unfolding explosion. What do you do in the face of such a crisis? 

How about throwing in some comic relief? 



Set to “Sweet Dreams” by Eurythmics, Evan Peters delivers the visually most interesting (and funniest) moment in the entire movie. Quicksilver just happens by when he notices that something is not quite right about Xavier’s school. He rushes in, sees the flames and then uses his super speed to evacuate the students. 

This action scene is filmed in super slow motion to mimic Quicksilver’s perspective, which defuses the urgency of the situation before his arrival. After all, the school was just about to blow up and obliterate all our favourite mutants, before they had a chance to grow up and form the famous X-Men. For a moment it seems as though they are doomed, but then Quicksilver comes along and saves everyone without breaking a sweat and while having enough time even to pull a few pranks on the oblivious students and eat some pizza.

© Marvel | Source: 9gag

The super slow motion scenes of the fastest mutant in the X-Men ensemble are simply hilarious. For a second time now, Quicksilver steals the show at high speed and I think it’s high time for a Quicksilver movie. In an interview, Evan Peters said he would love to team up with Deadpool for a standalone film and I think we fans would very much love that, too.


© Marvel | Source: tumblr

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Trailer Check: Mirror's Edge


© EA | Source: mirrorsedge

After having declared 2016 to be a year for gamers, I’m determined to keep you informed about new, interesting releases on the gaming front and here is another biggish one.

According to the US-American magazine Deadline EA’s video game Mirror’s Edge is about to be adapted as a TV show by Endemol Shine Studios. There isn’t much known about the plot so far, but the show is rumoured to be based on the newest part in the franchise Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst, which was released last Tuesday on June 7.

As you can see, this isn’t really a trailer check, since there is no official trailer out yet. However, the trailer for the new game should give you an idea of what to look forward to when Mirror’s Edge hits your TV screens in the near future. Have a look:



If the TV show is anything like the video game, which is highly likely, Mirror’s Edge promises to be an action-packed, adrenaline-oozing, female-centred show. The futuristic, urban setting with a slightly dystopian edge is the perfect background to the fast-paced, free-running action scenes in dizzying heights. 

© EA | Source: mirrorsedge

Here’s the plot of Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst in a nutshell:

“Mirror’s Edge is set in a quasi-futuristic dystopian society in which a network of “runners” act as couriers to transmit messages while evading government surveillance. The game’s main character and heroine is Faith, a runner and skilled warrior whose sister is framed for murder. The narrative follows Faith as she is drawn into the fight against the ruling Conglomerate and becomes enveloped in a conspiracy that could bring down society itself.” --- Deadline

Since the video game’s focus lies on running and more running and a few stunts here and there, it’ll be exciting to see what Endemol Shine Studios will add to the plot in order to give the show more depth. The protagonist Faith Connor can be turned into a kick-ass female heroine, or perhaps a complex anti-heroine, who isn’t afraid to do what is necessary to get shit done. In any case, she has the potential to become a fan’s favourite and lead to an attendance boom in parkour courses all over the world. Who knows? Let’s just hope for the best.


Monday, 13 June 2016

Manic Monday: Tony Awards Flashback


© Getty Images | Source: NewYork.com

The weekend is over, the 2016 Tony Awards are over - and it's Monday again. Boo. Don't fret, though. The first day of the week might try its best to make us feel blue and longing for Friday, but we've found something to cheer you up.

In order to revel in some Tony Awards nostalgia, we give you a clip from the 2011 Tonys when Neil Patrick Harris was hosting and previous host Hugh Jackman wasn't too happy about that. Watch the two guys duke it out in a charming, little musical number, and forget all about the Monday blues.

Congrats to all of yesterday's winners, and have a good start into the week, BSPeeps.


Thursday, 9 June 2016

Characters We ♥ : Donald Duck



© Disney | Source: holidayimageparty

Today is very special for probably THE most popular duck on this planet. It’s National Donald Duck Day, and what better way is there to celebrate one of our all-time favourite Disney characters than by freshening up our memory of the feathered drake?

To be honest, Donald Duck and the whole Disney Crew were an integral part of my childhood, but with that lying a few years in the past now, I had to do some research in order to remember all the adventures and heroics Donald pulled off. So in case your long-term memory is just as sucky as mine, here’s a list of Donald’s achievements, some surprising facts and reasons why we cannot help but love him that will teach you not to dismiss Donald as a random pant-less duck with a speech impediment and anger management issues.


Did you know that…

… today on June 9th we celebrate the 82nd anniversary of Donald’s first on-screen appearance? 

After hearing Clarence Nash recite “Mary had a little lamb” in a duck voice, Walt Disney had the inspiration to create Donald Fauntleroy Duck, as a somewhat more bad-tempered counterpart to the always cheerful Micky Mouse. Donald had his movie debut on June 9, 1934 in the animated short film The Wise Little Hen. His date of birth is estimated to be March 13, (Friday the 13th, of course) 1914, making him now 102 years old.

© Disney | Source:  fanpop

… that Donald has a twin sister?

We all know about his uncle Scrooge McDuck and his three cheeky nephews Huey, Dewey and Louie Duck or even about his girlfriend Daisy, but his twin sister Dumbella (Della) Duck? No Sir, never heard of her. But there are rumours that the mother of Huey, Dewey and Louie became an astronaut and is cruising through outer space, which is why her son’s ended up with their uncle.


© Disney | Source: comicvine

… that Donald worked for the Nazis and won an Oscar for it? 

In the animated short film Der Fuehrer’s Face (original title: Donald Duck in NutziLand) of 1943 Donald puts his acting skills into the service of the United States to aid them with their propaganda during WWII. He plays a Nazi who goes crazy, working his 48-hour daily(!) shift in a German factory under inhumane conditions. The following nightmarish hallucinations depict the atrocities of the war and German propaganda and end with Donald waking up, safe and happy in the United States. And Hitler gets hit in the face by a tomato. All’s well that ends well.


© Disney | Source: tumblr


… that Donald’s comics used to be banned in Finland? 

Apparently the Finns aren’t fans of animals who don’t abide by a certain dress code. Pant-less ducks with exhibitionistic tendencies are a no-go for them. Sorry Donald, Daisy… And although he never wears pants, whenever he is shown to lose his shirt he covers his crotch, not his torso. Just so that you know...

© Disney | Source: confessionsofadisnerd

… that Donald Duck beat a Danish inventor to a patent for a method of raising sunken ships?

Karl Kroyer invented a method to raise sunken ships, after a freighter capsized on the coast of Kuwait in 1964. As he wanted to patent his idea, his request was denied. Why you ask? Well, because he stole the idea from Donald Duck. This comic strip of 1949 is the proof:

© Disney | Source: cracked


… that there is a philosophical movement called “Donaldism”?

This one’s my favourite because I actually had an art teacher who was a professing Donaldist. But what is Donaldism? Well, here’s what the SAD (the South-Nordic Academy of Donaldism) says to the matter:

“In Academic Donaldism, we [..] see the stories as written evidence of a real world inhabited by Ducks, Kynoids and other intelligent species unknown in our humanly dominated world.”
“Or to put our basic philosophy in shorter terms: The Ducks are for real!

Well if this isn’t fan love, then I don’t know what is.

Source: mediennerd

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Holiday Treats: Best Friends Day


© Walt Disney | Source: fanpop

“How lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” – Winnie the Pooh

What would life be without friends?

Dull? Lonely? Meaningless? No man is an island and on June 8, we celebrate the people around us that make our lives worth living. It’s Best Friends Day, everyone! So pick up the receiver and meet up with the people you can’t imagine your life without to show them how much you cherish them.

To honour the occasion, the three of us each created a Top 3 of our favourite BFFs from the cinematic universe or TV shows. Enjoy!



Rina:

3. Aladdin and Abu (Aladdin, 1992)

© Walt Disney Pictures | Source: Japanese Anime Wiki
While the cute factor is very high with both of them, there are many other reasons why Aladdin and Abu make the perfect pair of friends. They're both street-smart and athletic, they know what it's like to be alone in the world with nobody to hold on to but their best mate, they have each other's back and, above all, they know how to sport the same outfit with class and grace. The two of them have been through fun adventures, food shortage and life-threatening situations, and have always come out on top. That's a winning team, if ever I saw one.


2. Steve Rogers and James Buchanan 'Bucky' Barnes (Captain America trilogy, 2011-2016)

© Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures | Source: ScreenRant
The Cap (Chris Evans) and Bucky (Sebastian Stan) have been through a lot together - puberty, war, loss, mutual enmity, single combat, brainwashes and the like. But somehow they've always managed to save not only their respective skins but also their friendship. Outside influences have done their utmost to keep the two apart, but when Bucky had his memory erased and, consequently, was programmed to be a mindless killing machine, Steve would not rest until he'd managed to bring back the old Bucky. Bucky, despite his memory loss, could never forget his friend completely. Something always told him that  Steve was special to him. The two have been best pals since childhood - facing bullies, WWII and double dates. Even when the entire world is against them, they always stand up for each other. True bromance doesn't get much better than this.


1. Alan Shore and Denny Crane (Boston Legal, 2004-2008) 

© 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment | Source: Status Update
Alan Shore (James Spader) and Denny Crane (William Shatner) couldn't be more different: the first is a convinced liberal, the latter a gun-wielding conservative. But despite their political disagreements, the two are the very best of friends. They enjoy their daily afterwork drinks, they travel, dance, laugh, fight and make up. They even spend some quality time at the spa together. There's really nothing they wouldn't do in order to take care of each other - even the topic of marriage has come up once or twice. Alan and Denny show that life isn't about societal norms, it's about striking human chords and making the best out of the time we've got. The two embrace their friendship to the fullest and aren't scared of subverting conventional ideas of masculinity and male bonding in particular. Cheers to them and their inspiring friendship.


Squuls:



3. Troy and Abed (Community)

© Sony | Source: nocookie.net
¿Dónde está la biblioteca? - Need I say more? Troy and Abed met at Community college and became fast best friends. Their best-friendship is as official as it gets, I mean, they have their own friendship mug and even published a magazine about how good a friend they are to each other. Troy and Abed in the Morning, their morning show, was the highlight of many a persons day and provided you with insights you didn't know you needed. During the course of the show, Troy and Abed even moved in together to become the ultimate roomies. With these two weird, but lovable dudes it's hard to imagine ripping that team apart.

2. Joey and Chandler (FRIENDS)

© WB | Source: moviepilot.com
Let's face it: before there was Chandler and Monica and even Rachel and Ross, there was Joey and Chandler. These two were the ultimate married couple on the show, even though they were never romantically involved. They became roommates shortly after moving to the city and even if they hit a bit of a rough start these two quickly hit it off over Baywatch. Although they have very different personalities (Joey being the Italian Stallion ladies man and Chandler the sarcastic nerd), they are equally excitable about women, silly jokes, and Foosball. Through years of living together Joey and Chandler are completely in sync and were even mistaken for a gay couple, when babysitting Ross' son Ben. Later on they become parents to a chick and a duck and take care of them together (more or less responsibly). Joey tries to help Chandler out with the ladies and Chandler helps out Joey with basically everything else (someone on moviepilot.com roughly calculated how much Joey would owe Chandler and came to a staggering $ 123,900!!!). Even after Chandler moves out the door is always open for Joey. When Chandler and Monica decide to move to the suburbs with their kids, they reserve one room especially for Joey.

1. J.D. and Turk (Scrubs)

© Disney | Source: tvdaily.com
J.D. and Turk constantly stretch the boundaries between friendship and romance. They have been best friends and roommates since college, helped each other through med school, and found jobs at the same hospital. J.D.'s vivid imagination and Turk's athleticism help these two come up with the most elaborate games and practical jokes. Their minds are so in sync that they don't even have to voice their thoughts most of the time. Years of friendship have resulted in many awesome rituals (like Steak Night, that has it's own song) and handshakes. Even starting their own families can't keep Turk and J.D. apart and they even got their future in the afterlife all planned out. These two truly are the ultimate bromance!


Nata Lie:

3. Cher and Dionne (Clueless, 1995)

© Paramount Pictures| Source: harpersbazaar
Cher (Alicia Silverstone) and Dionne (Stacey Dash) from Clueless are the kind of friends that always have each other’s back. The foundation of their friendship is that they understand each other’s everyday struggles. “She’s my friend because we both know what it’s like to have people be jealous of us.” They know everything about each other, always manage to make each other smile, they wear matching outfits, but NEVER the same thing, they have a secret handshake, they love to gossip and scheme together and, perhaps most important of all, they stick to the rule: your enemy is my enemy. 
What more could you want from a friend?
  

2. Bill and Ted (Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, 1989)

© Orion Pictures | Source: symparanekronemoi
In Germany there is a proverb about a good friend being someone you can steal horses with. And while having such a friend would be pretty great already, how about a friend who will travel with you through time and kidnap important historical persons in order to improve your grade in the final history oral report? Wouldn’t that be…like... EXCELLENT?
Bill Preston (Alex Winter) and Ted Logan (an extremely young Keanu Reeves) are two dim-witted teenage boys, who care about nothing but their dream of having their own rock band, the “Wyld Stallyns.” However, if they were to fail their upcoming history presentation, which seems all too likely, the two would end up separated, for Ted’s father threatens to send his son to a military academy in case of failure. With help from the future, the two BFFs do whatever it takes to stay together and stumble from one adventure into the next. This friendship that bridges centuries gets a deserved second place on my list.
  

1. Sam and Frodo (Lord of The Rings trilogy, 2001-2003)

© New Line Cinema | Source: starwarsanon
There are friends who will go to hell and back for each other, with each other, and then there’s Sam (Sean Astin) and Frodo (Elijah Wood) who go to hell without believing they’ll ever make it back. The two hobbits were already something like friends before their journey but became practically inseparable in the course of it.
An integral part of friendship is recognising and accepting the other’s burden, but helping them carry it. Frodo’s burden is the ring. Sam’s burden is Frodo. Frodo may be the ring-bearer, but there is no doubt that he wouldn’t have made it to Mordor without Sam guarding his back, caring for him and keeping his spirits up – at least as much as is possible in regards to their suicide mission.
So now, to conclude this ranking, here are Sam’s inspiring words that show the depth of their friendship:

Frodo : I can't do this, Sam.

Sam : I know.
It's all wrong
By rights we shouldn't even be here.
But we are.
It's like in the great stories Mr. Frodo.
The ones that really mattered.
Full of darkness and danger they were,
and sometimes you didn't want to know the end.
Because how could the end be happy?
How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad happened?
But in the end, it's only a passing thing, this shadow.
Even darkness must pass.
A new day will come.
And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer.
Those were the stories that stayed with you.
That meant something.
Even if you were too small to understand why.
But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand.
I know now.
Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn’t.
Because they were holding on to something.

Frodo : What are we holding on to, Sam?

Sam : That there’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo. And it’s worth fighting for.



Saturday, 4 June 2016

Film Review: Money Monster (2016)


© Sony Pictures | Source: What's After The Credits?

USA; 98 min.; thriller, drama
Director: Jodie Foster
Writing: Jamie Linden, Alan DiFiore, Jim Kouf
Cinematography: Matthew Libatique
Cast: George Clooney, Julia Roberts, Jack O'Connell, Dominic West, Caitriona Balfe, Giancarlo Esposito, Christopher Denham, Lenny Venito, Emily Meade

"So what the hell kind of show are we gonna do next week?"  -- Patty Fenn

How corrupt is our financial system? How closely is it connected to the news industry? Can we ever feel truly secure in a world that is run by the rich and powerful? Are we lied to everyday? Who can we trust? Jodie Foster’s latest feature film asks many big questions and, to be honest, does so in a rather superficial, non-innovative way. But underneath all the genre clichés, distracting side plots and bumpy character developments, Money Monster offers crude, yet rich commentary on the media and how society has become numb in the face of genuine tragedy.

Charismatic Lee Gates (George Clooney) is a successful TV host. Together with his director Patty Fenn (Julia Roberts), he’s created a popular financial show in which he daily informs millions of viewers about the stock market – and, thus, influences them in their share buying behaviour. Kyle Budwell (Jack O’Connell), one of his viewers, has lost all his money because Gates gave a bad tip, and now the young man is out to scold the ones responsible. He storms the TV studio with a gun and explosive vest, takes Gates hostage and demands answers. While Fenn tries to find them, Gates has to keep Kyle in line.

Most of the time, Money Monster feels like a half-baked product. Some elements make it seem like an exaggerated satire, others come with utter seriousness and a clumsily swinging moral club. There isn’t much subtlety when Kyle shouts frantically that the rich guys who run things don’t give an eff about the small people, when the corruption of big concerns and their CEOs is exposed, or when Gates suddenly discovers his sympathy for Kyle’s toils and troubles. As a viewer, I feel stuck somewhere between crazy reality TV and Wall Street, and the shifts in tone hinder the film from creating a coherent, engaging atmosphere.

The cast comes with lots of star power, and while Clooney and Roberts certainly know how to fill the screen with charismatic smugness and likeability, respectively, they don’t manage to breathe life into characters that already lack development and chemistry on paper. O’Connell tries hard to bring some human emotions into a film that stands between satirical overstatement and fast-paced thriller, and succeeds – but only until the script rushes him to the next plot point. His chemistry with Clooney, sadly, is given no proper room to build. Dominic West and Giancarlo Esposito are pretty much wasted on insignificant supporting roles.

In all other aspects, Foster has crafted a solid, although rather formulaic thriller. There are moments of tension and relief, there are snipers and a bomb threat and gunfire. Foster’s strongest suit, however, is how relentlessly she depicts our media culture. Kyle’s personal tragedy becomes a sort of entertainment for everybody around. While lives are at stake, people gather in bars to have a beer and follow the drama on telly, the internet explodes with memes and superficial commentary. The first thing that comes to Fenn’s mind after Kyle has taken over the TV studio is to position the camera in a way that viewers can get a good look at him. ‘If Gates survives, we need him on our show’, says a news anchor from a different channel. In a society that only seems to chase after entertainment and the next big sensation, Kyle’s tragedy is nothing but another hashtag.

Foster’s film might be conventional, a bit crammed and underdeveloped, but, in the end, it leaves an impression. It questions our the-show-must-go-on mentality, and it makes us think about our own viewing habits. How do we consume media? Which stories make us laugh? Which stories make us stay and not switch the channel? There’s a moment towards the end of the film when Fenn sees a funny meme about the hostage drama. She cracks a smile – then she chokes on it. We choke with her. Is it okay to laugh under these circumstances? What about compassion? What about decency? It doesn’t matter, the show must go on.


Rating:

Tuesday, 31 May 2016

TV Show Review: Castle Season 8 (2015-2016)


© ABC | Source: kissthemgoodbye.net
Well, now that the show’s been over for more than two weeks and everybody has had some time to tend to their wounds, we still gotta talk a bit about that train wreck of a last season… and then put Castle to rest for good:

The premise: 

David Amann gave up the position of showrunner after only one year, so there had to be yet another change in that position for season eight. Terence Paul Winter and Alexi Hawley took over the lead position. Season eight was to consist of 22 episodes and had to face the difficult task of continuing to tell engaging stories after all loose ends had been tied in season seven’s finale and all characters been left in a good place. Yet there was promise for the future with Beckett having been promoted to Captain, Castle being more successful and content than ever as a writer, and the rest of the gang happy and ready for new adventures.

What happened then:

Aaaand, it all went pretty much downhill from there. But where to start…? It seems like the people in charge over the summer completely forgot what the show is about: “a writer and his muse”. Seeing
© ABC | Source: kissthemgoodbye.net
that the new showrunners were involved in the making of Castle before, I find it really hard to understand how they could have gotten it so wrong. Well, many people are now saying it was a test run foreshadowing the events that took place after season eight (the whole Stana Katic and Tamala Jones fiasco), but, though plausible, that’s just speculation and simply cannot be enough to justify all choices in storytelling. Anyways, Castle and Beckett were separated in the two-part season premiere “XX” and “XY”, because of yet another conspiracy plot. Even though the partners had learned from mistakes of the past and now operated as a team no matter what, all this was thrown overboard in these two episodes, leading to half a season of minimal interaction between the show’s two leads. The romantic Caskett relationship, as well as their fruitful working relationship that were once the core of the show, now no longer seemed integral and were purposely sabotaged.

While, of course, a show on the air for eight years has to undergo some changes over time to keep things interesting, these new developments actually need to make sense. In the case of Castle, they very much didn’t. The story was taken away from the precinct and into Castle’s P.I. office. It seemed like goofy and untrained, yet creative out-of-the-box thinker Rick Castle was no longer a murder mystery writer looking for inspiration. Instead he now was a full time private investigator. Urrghhh, that horrible P.I. storyline!!! Seriously! Granted Castle got his private investigator’s license last season already. But the only reason he ever did that was when he was banned from the precinct for one reason or another and only to investigate cases of stolen purses and the like. Just a fun little past time playing make-believe detective with super cool gadgets. But no more: Now this guy with no skills, no experience, and no authority in the field is suddenly handling guns and working big time conspiracy cases like it’s nothing. Riiiight…. 

© ABC | Source: kissthemgoodbye.net
If Rick Castle’s transformation wasn’t bad enough, his daughter’s development just takes the cake! Okay, I have not been a fan of Alexis since about halfway through season two, but at least she was such a marginal character that you could ignore her. Again, no more: Alexis Castle, the book-smart owner of a Bachelor’s degree in journalism (or medicine? Don’t know, don’t care), is now the front and center of everything. Little Miss Wannabe Veronica Mars now is an expert in just about everything from computer hacking to surveillance to espionage. If that came out of nowhere, her already annoying character traits from seasons before certainly didn’t. Her daddy’s little know-it-all girl routine taints just about every episode and is often more present than any Caskett scenes.

Season eight also introduced some new characters. Haley Shipton (Toks Olagundoye) is a British former MI6 agent, who now works as a P.I. and helps out Castle in the season premiere. She quickly becomes his inofficial partner and mentor at the office. Haley is a nice enough character, who has a lot going for her, but whose addition seems very forced at many times – especially seeing how she takes over most of the dynamics and scenes that Castle and his usual partner Beckett had before. The other new addition to the mix is Vikram Singh (Sunkrish Bala). He was a technical analyst at the state department, where Beckett used to work and then seeks her out to solve the season’s conspiracy plot. Vikram, except for the season premiere, is merely a token, experiencing no character development whatsoever and only showing up once or twice to be scared or give Beckett some surveillance updates.

With the addition of two new characters and that horrid P.I. storyline taking up large parts of screen time came the neglect of the lovingly created regular supporting characters and their development. Ryan and Esposito advanced to Castle’s on-call fixers, who, it seemed, only existed to look stuff up for Castle, come to his rescue, or provide some slapstick comic relief. Only towards the end of the season they were suddenly remembered. The birth of Ryan’s second child, Nicholas Javier Ryan, and Sarah Grace’s dance recital provided some nice family moments and the episode “Heartbreaker” (8x16) introduced us to Espo’s convict ex-fiance, further estranging him of Lanie Parish and possibly giving him a nuance of room to grow. Speaking of Lanie, the characters that really didn’t get enough screen time this year were medical examiner Lanie Parish and Rick Castle’s mother Martha Rodgers, who each got one important side-plot in one episode and sporadically popped up here and there a few times throughout the season.

But the character that was really done a number on was Kate Beckett. What happened to her character was the most aggravating part of the season. She went from co-lead, inspiration, and moral backbone of the show to what, at times, felt like a mere supporting character. The season premiere,
© ABC | Source: kissthemgoodbye.net
which introduced the LokSat conspiracy and had her running off again in secret, basically erased all the progress Kate made personally in the past seven years. She had beaten the demons of her past, was no longer manic and restless, and had found fulfillment and strength in her partnership with Castle. But, oh well, let’s just make that all go away for some cheap little drama due to lack of other, more plausible plot ideas. As if that wasn’t enough Beckett was ridiculed and subtly undermined left and right, even though she had been promoted to precinct captain at the end of last season. Taking over from the fear and respect inducing “Iron” Gates, Beckett instead became “Captain Hoochie Mama” and the like. After Castle and Beckett reconciled, it sometimes even felt as if the writers used her as mere ‘bed-bunny’ to the writer. Add that to the way Stana Katic’s exit from the show was handled in April and you get a pretty good picture of the importance of her character as part of the show and maybe even the reason for the complete running to the ground of beloved kick-ass Kate Beckett.

The episodes:

What made Castle such a special and successful show for seven years was the well-working mix of mythological story arcs and quirky, stand-alone episodes in between. I hate to repeat myself, but: no more. The big LokSat cased that spanned all season and was hastily introduced in the premiere was sloppily executed at best. That Senator Bracken, the big bad wolf of 6 (!) past seasons, who was methodically investigated and then convicted, should have an even more evil operator in the background that nobody had heard of before, was utterly ridiculous from the start. But the case was only picked up sporadically during the year, with little progress, and the resolution of it in the series finale was far-fetched and came out of nowhere.

The bad episodes by far outweighed the exciting and logical episodes this season, but there were a few highlights none-the-less: “Dead Red” (8x11) caters to the Caskett mythology and had some nice meta layers to it. The murder of a Russian diplomat’s son has Castle and Beckett dive into the murky
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waters of international politics. They have to work with a security officer, who turns out to be a huge Nikki Heat fan and is super excited to be working with the real-life Rook and Heat – good times. “Death Wish” (8x17) not only has a crazy Castle case involving Aladdin’s lamp, but also has a heartfelt family moment after the complicated birth of Ryan’s second child. Episode 8x16, “Heartbreaker”, gives us a bit more of Espo’s backstory involving and ex-fiance, as well as the nice bromantic Rysposito moments we’ve been waiting for all season, and even an Esposito family dinner. “PhDead” (8x03), “The Last Seduction” (8x07), and “Mr. and Mrs. Castle” (8x08) involve some on-duty sparks and banter that I missed dearly in many other episodes this year, and some secret off-duty romance.

The highlight episode for me this year was “Fidelis Ad Mortem” (8x15). The gang goes back to their old hunting grounds at the NYPD academy, when a recruit is murdered there. This episode is action packed with some cool close combat fighting scenes and a The Departed twist. We also get some
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more background information on the team’s education at the academy and Beckett’s exemplary status even back then. For once this year we get to see Beckett treated with the respect she deserves and her skills and character are integral for solving the case. While Castle and Beckett are not actually working together here, their interactions still reflect some believable depth to the Caskett relationship.

Sadly, a lot of other episodes could not live up to the expectations or were downright horrible. I talked about the two- part season premiere before (“XX”, “XY”), which was supposed to be an innovative way of storytelling by showing things from Castle’s perspective in the one and Beckett’s perspective in the other episode. Needless to say that didn’t really work and storywise any character developments of past seasons were radically undermined. “The Blame Game” (8x12) took Castle and Beckett hostage in a Saw-like game. A Saw reference in 2016? Come on! Things only got worse from here: In episode 8x13 (“And Justice For All”) Castle went undercover as an English as a Second Language student at community college. Could have been fun, but was just too ridiculous. For one Castle faked being a French Canadian – as if he could and would not have studied English in this bilingual country right next to the U.S.. I mean WTF?! That the accent he spoke in was horrible and insulting only underlines the ridiculousness that was 8x13.  

Then we had another L.A. episode this season (“G.D.S.”, 8x14) that strongly reminded you of the similar season three episode, only this time Castle had Haley and Alexis as partners instead of Beckett (that already tells you all you need to know). Castle goes there to find out more about the time he was missing two years ago, a mystery that was just warmed up out of nowhere and of
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convenience, since it kinda was solved last year already… The whole thing is staged in a way that strongly suggests Flash Forward knock-off and had me rolling my eyes even more, when in the end not only Haley is involved in Castle’s disappearance, but it turns out Castle was investigating LokSat at that time. Sure…. 

In the past episodes suggesting supernatural happenings and playing on Castle’s child-like eagerness to believe in anything from Bigfoot to vampires were always told with a winking eye. But this year things got way out of hand. In “Dead Again” (8x19) the team investigates three attempts to murder a guy, who just can’t seem to die. To Castle he therefore must be immortal and is worth studying. What Castle himself would have just seen as a fun and charming turn of events that he himself would only have liked to believe in the past, now turns into reality for him. He more than harasses the poor guy in the hospital with superhero theories and advice. Castle throws things at the man to force him to reveal his other powers among other things. It is annoying as hell and way too much – a far cry from the charming, tongue-in-cheek man-child that just loved to let his imagination guide him for a bit. Now he is no longer charming and more of a spoiled, rich brat that doesn’t know any boundaries. Incidents like this one happen more than once throughout the year, although this one is the most extreme.

Finally, I won’t say anything else about the disappointment that was 8x22 “Crossfire” as I have done so in length in an Episode Close-Up.

The Verdict:

I would have loved to give Castle a lovely final send-off and I will definitely always remember and re-watch the show’s first seven seasons fondly. But as for season eight all I can say is: What the hell
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were you thinking?! There were a few heartfelt moments and funny scenes in between the mess, but overall the focus of the show was off, the dynamics between the characters were off, and, after all we know now, I can’t help thinking that some of the apparent behind-the-scenes drama must have found its way onscreen. While I would have loved for the show to go on in its established and beloved form for many more years, I am glad it’s over now. And for the life of me I can’t understand why you’d make a season eight just for money’s sake if you didn’t have any ideas what to do with the show or how to further story and characters. 

So farewell Castle! Thanks for the laughter and the tears, and the romance and drama over this almost-decade! And say “Hi” to my other beloved shows residing up there in TV heaven ;)

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