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Monday, November 27, 2017

Rankings: Superhero TV [Updated 11/27/17]

You love lists and Look to the Cookie doesn't do enough of them. So here are the rankings and reasons for the 16 modern comic-based super-powered television series, as determined by the entire LTC staff, which is currently just Germar. The list is updated as seasons conclude and series premiere.

16. Inhumans 5/10 Years of optimism, anxiety, and backtracking resulted in this, universally agreed upon, worst part of the MCU. Scott Buck may be MCU's kryptonite. Please, Marvel, don't let him ruin another series (e.g., Iron Fist). 

15. Iron Fist 5/10 No one likes this show. And no one fears the surfer dude voiced, Ramen noodle haired, prince of privilege no matter how many times he says he beat a dragon or calls himself "immortal." Colleen Wing and Bakuto almost saved this atrocity. And I almost worked at Fox Sports. Cue that Brandy song.

14. Agent Carter 6/10 Yes, I hosted the show about the show, but it always felt like a lukewarm Marvel offering. The pieces fit snugly, and Hayley Atwell shined, but did anyone even watch the second season?

13. Gotham 6.1/10 Gotham will probably be really good once it's all on Netflix, and we all finally decide to watch it. The first season got everything wrong--especially allowing Jada Pinkett to perform like an amateur starring in a Spelman College production of Wicked

12. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 6.3/10 Its debut was a meandering mess. But for the fans that stuck around, Agents of Hydra/Agents of Nothing got good fast. And more recently, we've been gifted the best live action Ghostrider, top notch action, intelligent political commentary, and the best possible "what if"-styled virtual world story. 

11. Arrow 6.3/10 Arrow has quickly become the can miss DCTV CW show of the week. But we keep watching. I look forward to its ending, followed by frequent character cameos on the other shows. It started too fast and left little room to grow. Team Arrow was Justice League lite before we got the Legends, Team Flash, or Supergirl. Pacing.

10. Daredevil 6.5/10 Hallway scenes started here. It's a shame they didn't end here. Foggy is as whack as Charlie Cox's accent. If you're anti-shadowy fight scenes, then Kingpin kept your interest. This series was redeemed by the Punisher's arrival. Ssssooo many ninjas.

9. Legion 6.5/10 Is this a period piece? Style over substance? Maybe, but beautiful still, plus ambitious. It's not a great show yet, but it's better than almost all of the X-men movies.

8. The Gifted 6.6/10 This is the best way to realistically represent, on television, the best team of heroes in the history of comics. No, they're not the X-men. But if the X-men X-isted they'd be a lot more like The Gifted than that awesome Saturday morning cartoon

7. The Punisher 7/10 It's nothing like other shows on this list. They chose to ignore the superhero world setting. It works, but may have worked better as a standalone. Ultimately, it was more predictable than most comic book-based shows because it was a lot like every gritty revenge, PTSD flick we've ever seen.

6. Legends of Tomorrow 7/10 If you don't like this show, you don't like smiles, fun, or good times. Remember when The Avengers was the best thing to happen to the '10s? DC decided to do that with 200th of the budget, but weekly. 

5. Supergirl 7/10 Every week entertains. Each episode plays out like an updated, less whiny, less soap opera-y version of Smallville. The weird episode where she was "kid" Supergirl was weird. Pro tip: Superman is your problem, not your solution.

4. Luke Cage 7/10 Cage, one of the strongest characters on the list, started weakly and ended weakly. But that midsection does work. Ummmm. Cottonmouth is the King. And if you're black, this should feel like a moment . . . for us . . . because it is.

3. The Defenders 7.1/10 The first four episodes were the highlight of my year. The Defenders are to the Avengers what the X-men are to the Justice League. They are the heroes we might be, not the gods that save us. They blended four distinct tales better than I imagined possible--style and mythos. To enjoy: 1) ignore the villains' plot; 2) remember that we witnessed an even more annoying Iron Fist earlier this year

2. The Flash 7.1/10 So maybe skip the second season. And maybe they do the same arc each season. But this is the most pleasant series on the list. It's like a '90s Saturday morning cartoon for grown-ups. This is the team that every Millennial would join if given the opportunity. 

1. Jessica Jones 8/10 "She's a boss a$$ bih bih bih bih bih bih bih." Two Js is da realest! She single-handedly saved The Defenders (literally and also from us critics). In her debut, she overcame the #1 true villain in the MCU (twice). She also laid out Luke Cage. And maybe she can fly. Now run that track back (bih bih bih bih bih bih bih).

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Justice League; The Punisher 5-10

In Episode 394, Happy Thanksgiving!!! And Germar gives you the best takes on Justice League and The Punisher, episodes 5-10. It's a D.S.E.! Follow Germar everywhere @GermarDerron. Today's show is sponsored by

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Rankings: the Star Wars Live Action Theatrical Releases [Updated 11/22/17]

We love lists and Look to the Cookie doesn't do enough of them. So here are the rankings and reasons for the 8 released Star Wars' live-action movies as determined by the entire LTC staff that wears glasses and has dark skin . . . named Germar. Also, you will disagree because you are often wrong about things. Enjoy.

8. Attack of the Clones 5.0/10 (the second film--a prequel) In my youth, I thought this was the best of the awful prequel trilogy. The action captured me. The amount of saber play satiated me. But now I’m a man and its many issues outweigh swift swordplay.

The story is weak and weakly reminiscent of the past trilogy to come. Anakin’s insolence irritated me, as did Obi Wan’s arrogance, as did Anakin’s arrogance, as did Padme’s contrived rebelliousness. And why did they fall in love? Is there a galaxy anywhere where a woman falls in love with someone she used to babysit, who’s basically a cocky arrogant easily defeated asshole? Additionally, Anakin’s a total creep. In an R-rated version he certainly rapes the recently royal, now political Padme. And it would certainly still end in her undying, inexplicable love.  

In 2015, the CGI REALLY sucks. Large portions of the film appear animated—cheaply. I kept falling asleep and when I woke, I thought that somehow the film slipped into that awful animated clone series. Ships, flights, and battles look like digital collages. 

Adult Ani can’t act—at all. Plus, it borrowed heavily from every sci-fi, action, and adventure movie of its time. SMGDH.

This movie sucks.

7. A New Hope 6/10 (the fourth film--the original) I get the importance of this film--probably more than you. I studied it as an undergrad, and then again as a grad student. My final exam in the History of the Motion Picture covered this franchise. That said, it’s not a good film. It’s a special film. It pushed filmmaking into hyper-space. But good, it is not. Clunky and slow it is. 

I must give mad props to people who saw this in 1977 and actually understood what the hell happened. This thing is all over the place. I get it because I have 40 years of history, books, movies, cartoons, nerds, YouTube videos, toys, and I’m kinda a genius. If I watched this for the first time, with no background, I would yell "WHAT THE [freak] IS THIS [stuff]?!?!?!"

I’m thankful for George Lucas and all of those soon-to-be legends that could barely convey any emotion. Without this film there is no MCU, no Lost, no Independence Day and no . . . The Force Awakens.

6. A Phantom Menace 6.7/10 (the first film--a prequel) Even in my youth, I thought “nothing happened.” But now I realize that they got one thing right.This movie moves. Darth Maul doesn’t talk because he’s too busy slicing up mofos.The pod-racing doesn’t really add much to the mythology, but it’s pretty darn cool. Then, Jar-Jar happened. 

I never liked this one, but now I appreciate its brief feel. As soon as I realize that it’s not a good movie, it’s over, and I can get on with my life.

5. Return of the Sith 7.0/10 (the third film--a prequel) I’ve never left a theater more disappointed. Anakin’s turn to the dark side is more abrupt, arbitrary, and completely unrealistic than any right or left I’ve ever witnessed in a fast or furious film. Partially, Hayden doesn’t have the chops to pull that off. I do spend much of my life wondering if he's a brilliant actor making well-thought out questionable choices, or just a really really ridiculously bad actor. Because I think about his performance so much it IS awful acting. 

It’s the most heavy-handed writing I’ve ever witnessed. How often does each Jedi master call Anakin some version of a young foolish nothing? How often does Anakin get snarky or mention that he’s the most powerful Jedi ever? How does Padme love him through all of this? Does the beautiful queen senator bad-ass have extremely low self-esteem?

Nothing makes sense. 

Yoda fought Dooku to a draw, but then Anakin beats him easily. Later, Yoda can’t beat Sidious, but Mace Windu tapped dat ass nice like. Then, even though Yoda battles Sidious to a draw, he lets him leave and chooses to go into hiding . . . . WHAT THE WHAT?!?!? At that point, he should grab the triumphant Obi Wan and beat Palpatine like he stole their prized pupil . . . .  But I guess that’s the problem with prequels. 

We know how this story ends, so who cares about motivation or logic, when there’s a predetermined finish line to cross. And here that finish line has Yoda in hiding, an emperor, and one Darth Vader.

4 . The Empire Strikes Back 7.5/10 (the fifth film--original trilogy) This movie starts on the sixth planet of the star system Hoth, the icy Hoth. I don’t know why. They do that a lot in the original trilogy. I bet Lucas thought it was good storytelling. "Show the bond that formed off-screen." "Show new skill-sets and powers." (I just fell asleep typing about it.) There’s far too much happening in this series for new monsters and threats to appear around every corner. Yes, it’s realistic, but but the Force, the rebels, the Death Star, the Millennium Falcon, the emperor, the incestuous love triangle . . . . Plus, I’m anxious to see some sabering and hands-free choking.

But this installment brought us the secret star of the entire franchise, Billy Dee Williams. Lando is a smoother sexier cooler confidenter Han. He dresses better, flies better, and sports a cool ass mustache. Plus, he lives in the freakin' clouds. AND he pulls off the first ever triple cross in the history of cinema. Oddly, they cast an actor that understood acting. Han does start to figure out who he is here—the actor and the character. Goofy giggling drunk Yoda was never my cup of tea, but it eventually works. And of course, he delivers the most iconic lines ever recorded—with some real life dope wisdom. Oh, and THIS “I am your father.” Done.

3. Return of the Jedi 7.7/10 (the sixth film--original trilogy) Jabba the Waste of my time. Is he ever really a threat? Nope. But at least through Jabba we get to meet all black everythang Force-cocky Luke. And lawd, I thought Padme was fine. Rey’s cute. But Leia in that unfortunate slave bikini is an absolute goddess. 

The third act of this film defines third act, and in the best way. The Yoda scene seems like a throwaway, but hey our hero made a promise.

I like the Ewoks.

2. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story 7.8/10 This feels out of place here, in every way. I don't feel that it's second, but I know it's a better film than those ranked lower. Initially, I disliked the film. The story lacks in import, because of it's placement in the timeline. Forest Whitaker's talent was wasted. But this was excellent filmmaking--performances, direction, editing, and cinematography. And it's the best live-action Vader. Here, he's fearsome and dominant, cold and cocky. I rebel.

1. The Force Awakens 8.0/10 Yes, it’s a beat for beat copy of the original. But the majority of the entire world has never seen those films. For them, this is an improved and necessary update. They get to experience what many of you experienced 40 years ago. The prequels didn’t come close to capturing that.

Yes, Kylo isn’t Vader. Rey is a woman. Finn is black; Po is pretty dark too. Get over it all because you’re missing out on one hell of an experience. It’s almost unfair to compare this with the previous films. J.J. Abrams is a better filmmaker. The cast is far superior, to a person—even the background. But they’ve all had up to almost 40 years to get this right. Each frame is gorgeous. And it’s real.

Kylo Ren is everything Anakin should have been. Initially, I thought what all of you incorrect people think—"why wasn’t he scarred, menacing, and mean?" On my second viewing, I realized that Adam Driver’s Kylo Ren may be the best portrayal of anyone in a franchise ever (other than the couple of times he slips into Girls’ Adamisms).

It all does make sense.

Finn and Rey keep up with Kylo because he’s severely weakened. He was hit by a weapon that regularly takes out 3-4 people; he survived and thrived. He was only hit by the weapon because of what just took place between he and his father. He’s a young force user. He’s highly emotional—volatile—as he should be. He’s the opposite of the Jedi we met in the prequels.

Rey has heard tales of Jedi. She would have known of their abilities. Her rise was no less likely than Luke’s. Luke was trained for maybe xx days total. He didn’t use the force often (trust me). Ultimately, he defeats the Chosen One—a man who’s trained in the force for decades. And yes, she should be a Skywalker. I’m sorry. "Star Wars" is very obviously a story about the Skywalker bloodline. I’d prefer she be Ben’s sister, but I’m okay with Luke’s daughter.

If you disagree with this film being number one, watch it again and again and again, until you get it. It’s place in pop culture, film, geek, sci-fi, fantasy, and "Star Wars'" history is that important.

Rankings: The 38 Most Beautiful Live-Action Super-Powered Women

You love lists and Look to the Cookie doesn't do enough of them. So here are the rankings and ratings for the top 38 most beautiful, live-action comic book-based female characters. And yes, it's objectification. And we're not proud of this list. But you clicked the link. 

These posts get far more views than anything we write or say about racism, politics, sexism, poverty, youth development, or even sports. Please click those links. 

Maybe there's a silver-lining. So many people don't know that these amazing and powerful characters and talented actors exist. Now you know--perv. 

38) White Canary, DC's Legends of Tomorrow -4.9/10
37) Black Canary/Siren, "Arrowverse" – 6.7/10 
36) Elektra, MCU-Netflix – 6.8/10
35) Wasp, Ant-Man – 6.9/10
34) Storm, X-men: Apocalypse – 6.9/10
33) Misty Knight, MCU-Netflix – 6.9/10
32) Scarlet Witch, MCU – 6.9/10
31) Jessica Jones, Jessica Jones – 6.9/10                                       
30) Alex Danvers, Supergirl – 7/10
29) Supergirl, Supergirl – 7/10
28) Jean Grey, X-men: Apocalypse – 7.3/10
27) Hawkgirl, Arrowverse – 7.3/10
26) Iris, The Flash – 7.3/10
25) Dinah Drake, Arrow – 7.3/10
24) Jemma Simmons, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. – 7.3/10
23) Speedy, Arrow – 7.4/10
22) Felicity, Arrow – 7.4/10
21) Jesse Quick, The Flash – 7.4/10
20) Killer Frost, The Flash – 7.4/10
19) Medusa, Inhumans – 7.5/10
18) Lady Sif, MCU – 7.5/10
17) Zari, DC's Legends of Tomorrow – 7.5/10
16) Mystique, X-men – 7.6/10
15) Valkyrie, Thor: Ragnarok – 7.6/10
14) Karen Page, MCU-Netflix – 7.7/10
13) Amaya, DC's Legends of Tomorrow – 7.9/10
12) Maria Hill, MCU –8/10
11) Crystal, Inhumans – 8/10
10) Auran, Inhumans – 8.1/10
9) Lauren Strucker, The Gifted – 8.2/10
8) Quake, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. – 8.5/10
7) Black Widow, MCU – 8.9/10
6) Psylocke, X-men: Apocalypse – 9/10
5) Harley Quinn (Suicide Squad) and Wonder Woman (DCEU) – 9/10
4) Colleen Wing, MCU-Netflix – 9.1/10
3) Peggy Carter, Agent Carter – 9.1/10
2) Emma Frost, X-men: First Class – 9.2/10`
1) Nyssa Al Ghul, Arrow – 9.5/10

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Rankings: the DC Extended Universe

You love lists and Look to the Cookie doesn't do nearly enough of them. So here are the rankings and reasons for the five released DC Extended Universe films as determined by every African-American staff member at LTC.
5. Suicide Squad 3.8/10 Suicide Squad and Fantastic Four (2015) share the dubious distinction as the only modern superhero films that I have not watched a second time. Suicide Squad wins the award for the Best Trailer-Worst Movie combo. I've rarely cared so little for characters or a story. In case you forgot: 1) civilians became putties from Power Rangers; 2) the mission/B villain was Waller; 3) the actual villains were a temporary team member and weird guy you forgot; 4) someone important died immediately; 5) only the marquee names mattered--Robbie, Smith, Leto, Davis--the other 18,000 cast members became background; 6) except for Diablo who could have been cool, if the filmmakers knew anything about storytelling or character development. This movie sucked.

4. Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice 5.5/10 The longer cut is better. Basically, they attempted to make an intelligent, dark, and gritty film and failed. You never attempt to do a thing. You're intelligent or you're not. You can't feign intelligence, you'll look like a fool, i.e. this film.

3. Wonder Woman 6.5/10 PERFECTION right through the complete obliteration of that long-held German line. Beyond that, the film fizzles. Steve Trevors' motley crew didn't humor, scare, endear, or anything. And Steve dulled much of Diana's shine. Aries did not impress, in appearance, performance, or overall villainy. Wonder Woman, and all of Themyscira, saved what was otherwise a mediocre film.
2. Justice League 7/10 I don't get the hate. I somewhat loved this film. Like Thor 2: The Dark World, my only complaint is that it's too short. There's too much to get done in such a small amount of time. But considering the limitations provided, they got EVERYTHING right. EVERYTHING. (maybe I didn't like blaxploitation Aquaman, but everything else)

1. Man of Steel 8/10 Here's the deal, you want your Superman to be a corny-ass Boy Scout. I guess I have to respect that. But I think I like the DCEU Superman because he relays that a person that isn't perfect, that makes mistakes, that gets angry, that looks a little rough, can still be a hero. This is me as Superman. It's every minority, most women, people with disabilities, people with criminal records, people who made a mistake--we still have value. We too can still save the world.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Best. Thing. Ever. - "Come Back, Barack" - SNL

Look to the Cookie is known for original content. But sometimes, some things are so good that we have to share.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

The Punisher 1-4 and Small Town Stories

In Episode 393, Germar reviews the first four episodes of Marvel's The Punisher on Netflix (14:40). But first, hear his small town stories of underage advances, and public transportation nazis. Follow Germar everywhere @GermarDerron. Today's episode is sponsored by

Indie Music: Jay Hunna "Better Days"

by Germar Derron

Better Days is definitely not a mixtape, EP, or hodgepodge collection of tracks--this is a legit LP.

"Fuck the System" sports a new school sound, paired with an old-school message. Contrary to common criticisms of Jay Hunna's contemporaries, he actually has something to say. As he relays on "Good Ol' Music," he's nothing like these "mumble rappers." Plus, he pulls off the best of both worlds as well as the best artists. No, that's not an R. Kelly/Jay Z reference. It's about keeping it "real."

"Keeping it real" means two things to every artist: 1) be yourself, and 2) use your talent to make a difference. It's far more difficult to do than any novice knows. Throughout Better Days, Hunna dranks, gets high, and has high hopes for the African-American community. He talks about "nothing," while talking about the G.O.A.T.s and how they spoke on everything. 

"Bad Guy" feels good, like a feel-good Kanye track (unironically, another "bad guy"). And if you ever smoked anything, at night in an SUV with tinted windows--"Another Level" is the song you played. 

For the production junkies, there are multiple tracks to dissect. "No Hook" features the best jazzy percussive noted sampled loop sound of the last few years (and some of the albums' best lyrics too). The cute key riffs keep hammering on "Everything" and "Night Shift." Then, there are woodwind melodies leading . . . "Amazing."

Not only does the album include something for everyone; most tracks are for everyone. You can slow dance in the club, drink casually with friends, get deep and thoughtful or even revolutionary all within half an hour. And he's storytelling like J. Cole too.

I could review every track, but I won't. If I have one complaint . . . I watched music videos for "Good Ol' Music" and "Fuck the System." So, the team must want to lead with those songs (the singles?). But they are not the strongest tracks here. Scroll up. Now read all of the other titles referenced. There are your singles. That's my two cents for free.

And where is he from? I just checked. Chicago. But you already knew. 

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Thoughts: Rogue One Re-watch

Last year, Germar watched Rogue One, and hated it. This year, he watched it again, and again. He was wrong. Apologies. Today's sponsor is And don't forget to SUBSCRIBE.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

The Entire Gifted Inhuman Arrowverse

In Episode 392, ummmmmmmmm #Supergirl, #TheFlash, #LegendsofTomorrow, #Arrow, #TheGifted, #Inhumans. But first, Germar has to address Hollywood's, and America's, disgusting men. Follow Germar everywhere @GermarDerron. Today's episode is sponsored by

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