Brew & View: Up In Flames


Where there is smoke there is fire- I think that’s how the saying goes, unless of course you’re partaking in an alcoholic beverage. Smoked beers aren’t always my cup of tea, but every now and again I come across one that gives me hope for the next. There is also a first time for everything and a smoked IPA is indeed a first for me. Golden Road’s Burning Bush IPA indeed indicates that it is a smoked India Pale Ale, but for a smoked beer, I don’t quite get much of a smokey character out of it. With a name like Burning Bush though, how can I resist the urge to to a Brew & View with it.

Does anyone even remember FIRESTORM? Aside from the Seinfeld episode when the title is brought up several times- I don’t even recall if that is in reference to the actual film. Besides the fact that my memory isn’t what it used to be I actually remember getting a little bit of a kick out of FIRESTORM when it first came out. It sure isn’t going to redefine anyone’s faith in cinema, but what modern action films really do these days…or back in the late 90’s for that matter. (more…)


Episode 1: TV Happy Hour

Ever since I’ve started sharing my movie reviews/opinions here on Tall Glass of Film I’ve never really made time talk about my interest in TV. Granted, there’s a perfectly legitimate reason as to why I don’t get around to watching a lot of TV as loyally as most. As most get to know me they might start to notice just how spacey I can be- by that of course I mean that not only do I tend to forget certain things almost as quick as they were told to me, but I often have trouble keeping track of things I’m interested in unless I have a physical reminder of them. This provides issues for me because I hate keeping track of several different schedules and my memory itself is already stretched to its near maximum capacity at times. That being said, I do have items in place to remind myself of movies I missed in theaters DVD releases so I can check them out at some point, unless of course I’m super busy in which case some get brushed off the list depending on how bad I wanted to see it. I also have several other personal reminders I have to keep track of in order to keep myself on top of things on a day to day basis. Naturally, TV shows are on the back burner for me for the most part and unless I’m overly intrigued I tend to be very skeptical about adding a new TV show to my “watch list.” Episodes is now a new feature I will be trying out where I will share thoughts on TV shows I’ve loved in the past, TV shows I currently love and updates about shows I’m currently watching rather I like them or not.

This edition might be lengthier than any in the future as I will attempt to get people up to speed on current shows still running and having new seasons as well as going through naming some of my favorite shows I’ve seen to this point that are not on TV anymore. From here on out, unless I decide on how I want to format these posts for now I plan on at least picking a show from my past to speak about and reminisce- until the well runs dry- then talk updates, if any, of shows I currently watch on a regular basis and ending on a show I am watching for the first time.

As a tease I will hint toward some of the shows from my past I intend on touching upon in future editions that include shows such as Seinfeld, Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Heroes, Doug, Rocko’s Modern Life, Ren & Stimpy, Oz, Tales from the Crypt, Friends, Perversions of Science, Solute Your Shorts, Hey Dude, Pushing Daisies and many more. Some of the shows you will see on a regular basis that are currently on TV or may be in their last season that I have not seen include shows like, Community, Dexter, Desperate Housewives (don’t judge just yet), One Tree Hill (again don’t judge just yet), Breaking Bad, Family Guy, American Dad, Modern Family, How I Met Your Mother, Game of Thrones and many more. Lastly here are some shows that I haven’t been able to watch just yet that I plan on giving a chance at some point such as The Killing, American Horror Story, Wilfred, Mad Men and more will be added, but I’m starting small as I plan to only check out one new show at a time. So let’s go ahead and get started.


Seinfeld – Seinfeld is a show that was first aired before I was even 10 years old. I am not super conscious about the when exactly it was that I watched the first episode, I just remember that growing up it was on ALL the time in reruns and of course first runs until its last season. Since then as I grew older and even nowadays you can barely change the channel without seeing it on somewhere. Over that time it has seeped deep into my consciousness and become what I will go ahead and call my favorite series of all time. I tend to quote it on a daily basis without even thinking about it and referenced whenever anything in my day to day life happens to be even remotely similar to something that happened on the show. The sarcastic, sometimes mean spirited humor is something that also found its way into my own personality at times, but really the goofiness of the characters is also what makes the show as approachable and memorable as it is for me. I can’t tell you how often I’ve shouted, “No soup for you” at friends and family in situations where no one is anywhere near soup and gotten skeptical looks. My wife also tends to roll her eyes as how easy it is for me to flip in discs and watch them on loop, make reference to situations in the show in public and quote as often as I do- but even she has begun to soak up the content as she finds herself quoting the show to me at random moments. Only time will tell if a show can come along and shove George, Jerry, Elaine and Kramer out of the way for the top spot in my heart.


Family Guy – I remember catching the premiere of Family Guy back in the day after the Super Bowl and being instantly in love with it. The show from that time period to its current incarnation still has many of the same intentions, but the lengths at which the writing has gone to get the laugh or shock is much different. If you go back and watch the first seasons before it was dumped the humor almost feels restrained and light hearted where now everything seems to be much more mean spirited and harsh than it used to be. Family Guy now compared to before is still funny and I will continue to check it out, but at this point it’s a show that I think I’m ready to be over since each season is mostly good for one or two extremely memorable episodes and the rest seems to be treading water and milking every last dime it can from its popularity.

Dexter – I didn’t have a clue what Dexter even was until its third season was airing. I loved the premise so I bought seasons one and two sight unseen and I loved it so much I burned through those seasons in just a few days. I know a lot of people like to debate on the quality of each season and to be sure there are plenty of points to do so, but for me I enjoy every second in this world. Don’t get me wrong, every season since season 3 I crave something drastically new to happen and when the structure fails to switch things up that much there is an air of disappointment in me, but in the end I still don’t care because the twists always work for me and I am fully invested in Dexter as a character. This first edition of Crummy Television is just an introduction so until I get caught up on Season 6 as Season 7 gets set to air I will refrain from spoilers in favor of just introducing my love for the show in general. Some of the supporting characters are kind of weak, but John Lithgow stands out as one of my favorite actors to appear in a recurring role for a season as the drama of that season really hooked me in and left me devastated. As I’m writing this I am halfway through Season 6, which so far isn’t the best the show has had to offer but I’m still enjoying as much of it as I can.

Community – One TV show that has fans extremely devoted to its survival and one that is seemingly on the ropes going into its fourth season is Community. The first three seasons are currently on DVD (I am currently working through what I didn’t see of Season 3) and are over 20 episodes each- the fourth season was announced to be cut down to 12, but depending on its ratings after the movie to Friday’s at 7:30 p.m. more episodes are not out of the question. My sincere hope is that more people give this series a chance even if the brainchild behind it, Dan Harmon, is no longer the show runner as it is immensely creative and hilarious and a gold mine for people who love movie references. I again got hooked late on this one and often found myself busy on the nights it aired and I really hope the show lives on for seasons to come. I personally love the holiday episodes as they are often the pinnacle of humor and creativity, although Season 3 introduces a brilliant alternate timeline episode as well as an extraordinary 8-bit videogame episode that may be one of my favorites of the whole series. The show has experimented in so many ways with music, themed episodes, claymation as well as anime and if you have been holding out then I strongly suggest jumping on board as you may just discover your new favorite show and might even be able to save it from cancellation.

Breaking Bad – The running theme here is that some of my favorite currently running shows are often ones I discovered and caught up to after several seasons had already aired and had been released on DVD. I tried on more than one occasion to get into Breaking Bad on Netflix before I ever had access to Watch Instant and got through the first few episodes and then lost touch. I tried again on Netflix Watch Instant and it took me a few months to get all the way through the first two seasons. Once I powered through and got into Season 3 I was hooked and now I can’t wait to check it out on a week by week basis. This is the only show currently running that I am up to date with and not waiting for a DVD release date in order to catch up. I do believe that this is at least tied if not pulling passed Dexter as my favorite show on TV, not just because of my love of the characters, but also in terms of the quality from season to season. The only reason it took me so long to get into it was based purely on the volume of movies and TV I had been trying to touch base with. Rest assured I will remain hooked until the bitter end of the series year.

Mad Men – Here’s another show that I’m having difficulty getting into in spite of the great things I hear about it. I definitely enjoy a lot of things about it, Jon Hamm to be specific, but there’s a lot here that also tends to direct me away from the show. I actually bought the first three seasons without seeing them, mostly because I got them so cheap, but once I’ve got the time and all my other favorite shows on either finished or on hiatus I look forward to seeing whatever extra seasons are on Netflix Watch Instant or I may have to pawn a friend to loan out later seasons for me to watch.

Game of Thrones – I initially wanted to check this show out solely for how much praise it gets from a lot of sources I trust. I also do not get HBO, again because I watch far more movies than I do TV, however I have the means to check it out on demand and on DVD. As I write this I am 7 episodes into the first season and I actually like this show quite a bit, although I’m not yet blown away by anything in particular. I loved the opening scene of the series with the “white walkers” attacking the men in the woods, but I’ve yet to see anything that matches my dread and excitement of that moment- I think this comes from how that scene plays to a huge horror fan like me. I really love Peter Dinklage’s character and I look forward to any scene he’s in and everyone else puts in great performances as well. I usually have a hard time digesting medieval settings unless I’m completely enthralled or engaged by the tone in things such as BLACK DEATH and the fact that I’ve made it 7 episodes in should say something. It is a very overwhelming show to take in at times due to the vast amount of characters and mythology being sifted through- definitely something that would be easier consumed by those familiar with the books I’m guessing.

The Walking Dead – Not a whole lot to say except that I really enjoyed the first season of The Walking Dead- granted it was only 6 episodes. I have yet to catch up on Season 2, but it’s high up on my to do list and I have the season set in my possession so you can expect the next update to have a little more to say about the show. I will say that it seemed a lot of people were bummed about the lack of non-stop zombie action and heavy drama- I on the other hand enjoy the fact that the show doesn’t have the characters in danger at all times at least in terms of being bombarded by zombies 24/7. The danger is always there and ready to explode at any minute, but I love the realism of actual human drama and doing what it takes to survive. Don’t get me wrong I’m not looking to The Walking Dead for my doses of true life experiences I just like the approach to the situation as portrayed on the show. That being said, I heard similar complaints about Season 2 which doesn’t sway me from checking it out, but at some point I believe the show runner(s) will need to add a little something to the mix to keep hardcore horror nerds on board, but as long as they keep things interesting I won’t be jumping ship.


Wilfred – I was directed to Wilfred due to some friends and family that seemed to really enjoy the show and I have to admit that the idea of a show about a guy that interacts with a dog that appears to him as a grown man in a dog suit, but everyone else sees and interacts with as a normal dog to be pretty strange but funny. As I’m writing this I’m only a couple episodes in and there has been several moments that made me laugh out loud. I’m not the world’s biggest Elijah Wood fan, but stay tuned for my next update and we will see if this will be added to my regular viewing titles.