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Top 10 Disappointments of Entertainment in 2018

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Top 10 Disappointments of Entertainment in 2018

2018 was a fantastic year for movies and TV. This is the year that gave us Infinity War, Black Panther, and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, and that’s just looking at some of the good Marvel movies released this year. On the TV side, we got The Haunting of Hill House, Netflix’s weird sci-fi show Maniac, and many more instant classics.

But that pendulum swings the other way, too. For all the great entertainment in 2018, there were also plenty that didn’t live up to the standards we expected. These were movies and shows that we were excited for – however tentatively – and that turned out to be huge let-downs.

Here is the list of 15 shows and films that did not live up to the expectations of the viewers and were somewhat big – or small – disappointments.

1. Jessica Jones Season 2

Jessica Jones Season 2

Jessica Jones Season 2

The first season of Netflix and Marvel’s Jessica Jones was easily one of the best examples of the collaboration between the streaming and comics giants, possibly even the best of all these shows. We were excited about Season 2, right up until the point we actually watched it.

Well, trying to do a Marvel superhero story without an actual villain is a bold idea that could have paid off. Unfortunately, it simply didn’t in this case. The season’s main plotline and massive twist was ruined by bad casting as Janet McTeer and Krysten Ritter had absolutely zero chemistry as alleged family members. And every storyline was a total bore. Unlike the other Marvel/Netflix shows, Jessica Jones hasn’t been cancelled yet, but we hope that will likely change soon.

2. American Horror Story Apocalypse

American Horror Story Apocalypse

American Horror Story Apocalypse

The eighth season of American Horror Story had a great premise: Not only was it the end of the world, but it also promised to finally tie events from the show’s previous seasons together, from the original Murder House to Coven and beyond. It even got off to a promising start, as the first couple of episodes of Apocalypse set up plenty of mysteries we couldn’t wait to learn the answers to.

But after those opening episodes, Apocalypse took a wrong turn. Yes, it felt like a fun twist at the time, but the following episodes proved disappointing week after week. The show started providing answers, but they weren’t the ones we wanted. It spent a half dozen episodes in flashbacks and the all the actions we wanted came to long after. By the time Roseanne star Sandra Bernhard joined the cast for a terribly cheesy turn as a Satanic cult leader, I was done with this season of American Horror Story. Weren’t you?

3. Venom

Venom

Venom

Seeing a Marvel movie on the list is really surprising. Even I was while writing. But, it happened. Venom is a movie that feels like it was written in 1998 by a 7-year-old, then buried in a time capsule, unearthed 19 years later, and made into a movie without a single revision to the draft. It is truly a movie from another time, and all that’s missing is someone doing a kick flip over a set of steps while Korn plays in the background. From Tom Hardy’s accent choices, to the movie turning into an over-the-top action flick where the final battle is filled with muddied CG, those who were looking for a great Sony spin-off movie found themselves a bit disappointed, even though this movie made $800 million, worldwide.

As for the story, it went a number of directions, many of which could have been a good movie of their own. Eddie Brock working as a journalist and ruining his girlfriend’s career: it’s okay. Brock trying to rebuild his life and take down the Life Foundation: even it is okay. Brock losing his mind when the Venom symbiont is taking over, creating a horror aesthetic: it is okay too. Wacky buddy cop movie starring Eddie Brock as the fall guy covered in black oil that talks funny and wants to eat livers: this is not okay, Venom. The weird comedic choices this movie made killed it for so many viewers. Why does Venom need comedy?

However, with the announcement of the home release of the movie, fans of the Venom character were desperately hoping for the rated-R cut of the movie. However, upon its release, fans got three deleted scenes, some behind-the-scenes footage, and that’s about it. As much as we wanted an extended scene of Woody Harrelson in a red wig, this wasn’t what the people wanted to see. Venom is one of the few movies in 2018 that disappointed people twice.

4. The Predator

The Predator

The Predator

The original Predator is unquestionably an ‘80s classic as it combined sci-fi horror thrills and exciting action, and helped make Arnold Schwarzenegger one of the biggest stars in the world. But unlike the Alien or Terminator series, the quality drop from that first movie was fast, and none of the following films were anywhere near as good as the first. So expectations for a new Predator movie in 2018 should not have been high. But the fact that Shane Black was on board to write and direct suddenly raised hopes that he might actually deliver something to equal the first movie. What would the writer of Lethal Weapon and the director of Iron Man 3 do with this series?

Unfortunately, as it turns out, not very much. The Predator was just as mediocre as its predecessors, and was badly hurt by extensive reshoots and incoherent editing, as well as the controversy about certain casting choices that Black had made. The Predator has its moments—the cast is good, there are some funny scenes, and some of the early action is exciting. But the film gets worse as it continues, and emerges as what we should have guessed it would be all along—yet another not-very-good Predator movie. Time to skin this franchise and hang it upside-down for good.

5. Westworld Season 2

Westworld Season 2

Westworld Season 2

Westworld Season 1 was easily one of the best seasons of sci-fi TV ever, which made our hype levels for Season 2 off the charts—maybe even a little too high. Maybe there’s a parallel universe where Westworld Season 2 lived up to our expectations, but that proved impossible in this one.

Where Season 1 was a carefully plotted, well-paced exploration of well-trod science fiction themes, Season 2 was a total mess in comparison. The tone was uniformly grim, the characters we used to like were unrecognizable, the plot was muddled beyond comprehension, and important details were withheld for no reason other than to string viewers along. The show’s creators must have been mad at the Redditors who guessed all the twists in Season 1, because Season 2 seemed designed mostly to befuddle the show’s most dedicated fans. By the time it reached its conclusion, we didn’t want to know the answers anymore—we just wanted it to be over. Right?

6. Fantastic Beasts 2: The Crimes of Grindelwald

Fantastic Beasts 2: The Crimes of Grindelwald

Fantastic Beasts 2: The Crimes of Grindelwald

In The Crimes of Grindelwald’s third scene, a character who we never learn anything about despite her constant presence throughout the entire movie murders a toddler, for no reason, just off screen. Even Michael Myers, famed slasher movie villain of the Halloween series, didn’t sink that low, although you could tell in the most recent one that he considered it for a moment.

This moment perfectly sets the tone for the rest of this movie: a grim, overly dramatic, mean-spirited entry into the Harry Potter universe. Fantastic Beasts 2 can accurately be described as a loosely connected series of mostly sequential events, though it’s often unclear how it gets from one scene to the next or why the characters do any of the things they do. Maybe worst of all, The Crimes of Grindelwald has no sense of wonder at its own magical world. Millions fell in love with Harry Potter because the wizarding world felt like a place you’d want to live, despite its bad elements. Inhabiting this movie’s magical alternate history for a couple of hours will just make you want to get obliviated so you can forget the whole thing.

7. The Cloverfield Paradox

 The Cloverfield Paradox

The Cloverfield Paradox

The Cloverfield Paradox starts out riffing on the early structure of movies like Alien and The Thing, with some cursory efforts to establish personalities and relationships for its half dozen or so characters. They’re all basically interchangeable by the end, and you’ll be hard pressed to remember most of their names by the time the credits roll. But the movie really starts to fall apart once the crew activate the particle accelerator—a poorly explained attempt to solve an energy crisis back on Earth—and find themselves suddenly staring at a star-filled void where the Earth used to be.

There are some memorable moments early on, like when a mysterious stranger arrives on the station by apparently teleporting into the interior of a wall, wires and power conduits spliced through her hands and legs like vines that grew through her. The movie’s few moments of body horror—like another scene involving a character’s eyeball—are its high points. But The Cloverfield Paradox quickly devolves into total camp nonsense from there on out, and it never recovers any of its early poise. After 10 Cloverfield Lane, we were excited to see where the Cloverfield universe would expand next, but no longer.

8. Pacific Rim Uprising

Pacific Rim Uprising

Pacific Rim Uprising

There was something magical about the original Pacific Rim’s giant monster battles, glossy, rain-slicked colours, and seemingly effortless world-building. It’s possible the sequel never stood a chance at living up to that, especially since visionary director Guillermo del Toro chose to focus on The Shape of Water, which won the best picture Oscar for 2017, instead of returning to direct Pacific Rim Uprising. And sure enough, Uprising was a disappointment.

Most of all, Pacific Rim: Uprising is just confusing. If you haven’t seen the original, it’s unlikely much in this sequel will make sense. Concepts like Drift—the way Jaeger pilots mentally link with one another—are poorly explained, despite this movie spending plenty of time attempting to recap and revisit past events. And if you did like the first Pacific Rim, you’ll likely wonder what happened to all the distinctive side characters, the stylish action, and the flashy aesthetic. Pacific Rim: Uprising might have seemed like a pretty good giant monster movie if it didn’t have to live up to the gigantically cool original, but unfortunately, it simply can’t escape its predecessor’s massive shadow.

9. Solo: A Star Wars Story

Solo: A Star Wars Story

Solo: A Star Wars Story

Solo: A Star Wars Story made nearly $400 million at the box office. But in the franchise era, when film companies spend hundreds of millions of dollars to make hundreds of millions more, this was considered a box office flop, especially against the film’s $250 million budget.

Yes, Solo was poorly marketed; it came out five months after The Last Jedi, which prevented it from building steam. But Solo’s failure also confirmed a problem that was present in the prequel trilogy and present in Rogue One: We do not need answers and backstories to the most granular details of the original trilogy. They’re better left to the imagination.

We don’t need 30 minutes of CGI to explain why the Kessel Run is important. We don’t need to learn how Han got his dice, or how Han got his blaster. These things lose their mystery and their specialness when they’re over explained, and they cheapen rather than enrich the source material. Nostalgia is a poor substitute for narrative, as Solo unfortunately demonstrated.

10. WWE (All Rosters)

WWE (All Rosters)

WWE (All Rosters)

The year started off well for the WWE as there was a wonderful Royal Rumble, followed by a fantastic WrestleMania. But history will remember 2018 as the year that WWE got caught with their pants down. They put dollars over ethics with their ongoing Saudi Arabia partnership. And when their top star, Roman Reigns, relinquished the Universal Championship to fight a recurring battle with leukaemia, WWE hit the panic button and put the belt back on Brock Lesnar, a part-time, rarely-seen-on-TV champion. This is what happens when you’re too singularly focused on a single wrestler, to the rest of the roster’s detriment. No one is ready to step up.

SmackDown is consistent. Developmental league NXT remains consistently brilliant. And the women’s roster, with Becky Lynch and Ronda Rousey at the forefront, is firing on all cylinders; they’ll probably main event WrestleMania in 2019. At least they should.

But across the board, the men’s division needs better writers and more compelling reasons to fight one another. Monday Night Raw, in particular, is going through a rough patch, running an “evil Authority” playbook that the company has copied, ad nauseam, since 1998. The ring work is phenomenal – better than it’s ever been – but the narrative stakes feel low. And these performers, who risk their lives for our entertainment, deserve better.

These were the biggest disappointments in the entertainment of 2018. I know not all shows and films on the list are bad – at least according to many of you – but these lacked something and hence are on the list. Think yourself

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Canada’s diplomatic blunder in Turkey

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Erdogan addresses his ruling party members at the parliament, in Ankara, Turkey, on Feb. 12, 2020 (AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici)

Adnan R. Khan: Turkey’s standoff with 10 ambassadors, including Canada’s, was political grandstanding, and Erdogan came out the winner

If you spend enough time in Turkey, you inevitably figure out a basic rule in its politics: Never pass up an opportunity to feign insult and outrage.

Perhaps it’s built into the Turkish psyche. Turkish popular culture is replete with examples of wounded pride over the slightest of slights. Indeed, the worst insult you can deliver in Turkey is serefsiz!, meaning: “you have no honour!”, which in Canada might elicit a quizzical shrug, but in Turkey is a call to arms.

No one embodies this sense of wounded pride better than Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan. He has deployed it against the European Union for its alleged hostility to Turkey’s accession bid; he has used it in large dollops against the U.S. for, among other things, refusing to sell Turkey F-35 fighter jets after his government purchased a missile defense system from Russia, which could potentially undermine those same fighter jets; and he has verbally bludgeoned just about anyone not willing to give Turkey the respect he believes it deserves.

Fair enough. In the high-stakes politics in Turkey’s neighbourhood, the leaders who generally come out on top are the ones who can project steely resolve. If you’re going to do something you know Erdogan can use to burnish his tough guy image, prepare to be tough-guyed.

So it was a little surprising last week when ambassadors from 10 western nations, including Canada, the U.S., Germany and France, issued a joint declaration calling for the release of jailed Turkish billionaire philanthropist, Osman Kavala.

Predictably, Erdogan did as Erdogan does: he feigned outrage. Over the following days, he hinted that the ambassadors would be expelled from Turkey. If he followed through on the threat, it would be the worst diplomatic crisis in Turkey’s history, but whether the threat was genuine or not was up for debate.

I found it hard to imagine that Erdogan would create a diplomatic rift simultaneously with Turkey’s top trading partner (Germany), its top arms dealer (the U.S.) and its top foreign investor (the Netherlands) in response to a purely symbolic statement from their ambassadors.

But then on Saturday he announced publicly that he had ordered Turkey’s foreign ministry to declare the ambassadors personae non gratae. The Turkish lira briefly went into freefall and the most faint-hearted experts predicted an escalating diplomatic tit-for-tat that could permanently wreck the West’s relationship with one of its most important “eastern” allies.

That of course didn’t happen. What did happen was a lot of political theatre.

Erdogan may be somewhat hobbled by age and reported health issues, but he has by no means lost his political instincts. Bashing the West is a winning political strategy in Turkey these days. Cynicism of Western countries runs deep in society and cuts across all political lines.

The last few years have been particularly damaging for European nations, as well as the U.S., with questionable leaders like Donald Trump, Britain’s Boris Johnson and France’s Emmanuel Macron creating the impression here that the West writ large is on the decline. Even Turkey’s pro-Europe secularists are now questioning the wisdom of joining the European Union, with less than half in favour, according to a 2018 survey by the Center for American Progress, compared to nearly three-quarters a decade ago.

With Erdogan’s economic credentials collapsing as Turkey’s economy careens toward disaster, the nationalist card is increasingly becoming his one source of electoral strength. A gang of diplomats from Western countries pontificating about Turkey’s failings is just the kind of ammunition a politician like Erdogan, who thrives on political pugilism, craves.

Their intention, of course, was noble, and justifiable, in terms of international law, human rights and diplomatic norms. Kavala, who has spoken out against Turkey’s slide into authoritarianism, has languished in prison for four years without ever being convicted of a crime. Whenever Turkish courts have cleared him of criminal wrongdoing, the government has conjured up new allegations to keep him locked up.

Human rights activists point out that the only “crime” Kavala appears to have committed is posing a threat to Erdogan and the ruling AK Party because of his personal wealth and access to resources, which he has used to support civil society movements calling for the rule of law to be respected in Turkey.

In December 2019, the European Court of Human Rights agreed, concluding that Kavala’s detention violated his rights and ordered his release. Turkey, as a member of the Council of Europe, was required to abide by the Court’s decision. It hasn’t.

But the rightness of the diplomats’ move does not mean it was strategically advisable, especially at a time when Turkey is already being considered for suspension from the Council of Europe—in part because of the Kavala case—and has been grey-listed by the Financial Action Task Force for not doing enough to counter money laundering and terrorist financing.

Those moves will hurt the Turkish economy, which will inevitably make Erdogan’s re-election prospects dimmer than they already are. A symbolic statement from a group of diplomats was never going to have much of an impact.

“What’s unusual here,” Ilter Turan, a Professor emeritus in political science at Istanbul’s Bilgi University, told me soon after Erdogan made his call for the ambassadors to be expelled, “is that 10 ambassadors got together and signed a letter. The collective action doesn’t do much except create the impression that these Western countries are getting together and scheming against Turkey.”

How Canada got caught up in all this is not hard to imagine: as a diminishing voice on the international stage, the Canadian foreign policy establishment is looking for ways to join multilateral initiatives where Canada can have an impact on global affairs. Most Canadian foreign policy experts agree that this is the right strategy for Canada.

But at same time, it’s important to steer clear of purely symbolic moves that can easily backfire. In this case, all 10 embassies have now issued a statement saying they respect the rules of the Vienna Convention governing diplomatic behaviour, referring to Article 41 in the agreement which states no diplomat will interfere in the host county’s domestic affairs.

Erdogan has taken that as an apology and backed off from the expulsion threat. But he will no doubt use this moment to declare victory against Western imperialism. Outrage wins.

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Halle Berry, 55, Rocks Cropped Shirt With Leggings & More Activewear Looks For Sweaty Betty

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Halle Berry showed off her fabulous figure in a crop top & leggings for the new Sweaty Betty activewear campaign.

When it comes to Halle Berry, 55, one thing is for sure – she loves working out and getting fit. So, it only made sense that she teamed up with activewear brand, Sweaty Betty, for the second time. For the latest campaign, Halle looked fabulous in a slew of skintight, skin-baring outfits. The collection is a collaboration between Halle’s wellness brand, rē∙spin, and is called the rē∙spin Edit.

Halle Berry looked gorgeous in a crop top & leggings for the new Sweaty Betty Campaign which is a collab with Halle’s wellness brand, rē∙spin & is called the rē∙spin Edit. (Sweaty Betty/MEGA)

In one photo from the shoot, Halle looked amazing in a skintight long-sleeve black crop top with a pair of matching high-waisted leggings, which put her tiny waist and toned abs on display. In another photo, Halle is pictured on a hike while wearing a pair of high-waisted cream leggings with a matching sleeveless crop top, sneakers, and a sweater vest on top.

halle berry
In another gorgeous photo from the Sweaty Betty campaign, Halle rocked a pair of high-waisted cream leggings with a matching sleeveless crop top, a sweater vest on top & a pair of sneakers. (Sweaty Betty/MEGA)

The limited-edition collection includes 24-pieces that are all based on Halle’s personal style. The actress gushed about the campaign, saying, “I loved working with the Sweaty Betty team designing my first collection and I’m so excited to be launching a second drop. I’m so proud of this collection – it’s my ideal fall wardrobe. It’s effortless, adaptable, and complements my lifestyle perfectly.”

halle berry
Halle Berry looked gorgeous & fresh-faced as she let her hair down while wearing a loose black lace-up sweatshirt with a pair of matching joggers & sneakers. (Sweaty Betty/MEGA)

In another gorgeous photo from the shoot, Halle is pictured looking gorgeous and fresh-faced with no makeup on while wearing a black lace-up sweatshirt and matching joggers.

One of the hottest selling items from the collection is the Power Leggings which are named “Jinx” after Halle’s character in the movie, Die Another Day. Gushing about the leggings, Halle said, “I’ve been a longtime fan of Sweaty Betty’s Power Leggings and wore them to train for my new movie and directorial debut, Bruised.”

She continued, “I train five times a week and like to mix up my workout wardrobe, so I’m honored to launch Sweaty Betty’s new Super Soft range in my collection. We named it after Athena, the goddess of war, as that’s how they will make you feel – like a warrior. I can’t wait to send everyone I know the beautiful accessories – cashmere socks, soft beanies, and oversized scarves – this Holiday season.”

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Erika Jayne “Afraid” She May Have Said Too Much on RHOBH Amid Lawsuits, But Needs the Income

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Erika Jayne "Afraid" She May Have Said Too Much on RHOBH Amid Lawsuits, But Needs the Income

Credit: Michael Simon/startraksphoto

Erika Jayne, a cast member of the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, seems to be concerned in regard to some things the show may have aired during its latest season.

Erika is reportedly frazzled because the housewife turned pop star could actually be facing legal repercussions due to her candid discussions involving the allegations against her estranged husband, Thomas Girardi, and their current financial uproar.

According to a new report by Us Weekly, “Erika is nervous that her own words will be used against her in court, her talking about anything related to money and how much she knew about Tom’s [alleged] shady dealings.”

The source continued, “Erika’s lawyers instructed her to say as little as possible, but that wasn’t realistic for Erika because she’s filming a reality show about her life, she knew she had to open up.”

Erika is infamous for being an open book regarding how wild her spending habits can be. She travels with a world-class glam squad and even has a song entitled “It’s Expensive To Be Me.” But now, this may all finally be coming back to haunt her. The 50-year-old Barbie is not shy about her spending, and she is currently in the midst of a very serious case. Now, being so candid on-air is receiving backlash from even her old friends.

Stuck between a rock and a hard place, Erika is relatively forced to now open up to the show as much as possible considering it is her main source of income without her husband by her side. And it’s no small amount of money as Erika reportedly earns $600,000 a season.

“Erika is worried about her finances, she doesn’t have access to large sums of money anymore and her main income is RHOBH, which is far less than she’s used to having. Erika is worried about her words coming back to haunt her, but she has no choice, since she needs the income from the show,” added the source.

Legally speaking, Erika is trying to not be held liable and dragged into the alleged crimes of Tom, but all of that is speculation. It would be hard not to wonder where that money came from, but that would strictly be between her, Tom, their counsel, the courts… oh, and now the opinion of the over one million viewers that RHOBH has!

Rumor now has it Erika will be demanding more money from what she currently receives off of the show since her legal woes have certainly brought them some extra viewers and added drama. One can only hope that it’s enough to sort out whatever mess this couple has gotten themselves into. For now, she may be holding her tongue considering her concerns for legal backlash are on the rise, but we will have to wait, watch, and see. 

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