Working the first day of the year is always a bittersweet pill to swallow. On the one hand, everybody is on their best behaviour, while on the other, I have to wish a “Happy New Year” to all those I had secretly hoped wouldn’t make it.

So, what’s been happening?

Star Wars: The Last Jedi was finally released worldwide to decidedly mixed reviews. I haven’t seen nerds this divided since a ruckus broke out at my favourite comic book store when someone foolishly suggested that Joel Edgerton would have made a better Wolverine. I can picture the scene now. Batman comics were waved furiously overhead and contact lens solution was spilled in the fracas. One man chewed red-faced on his sausage roll as he waited for the three alternative covers of the latest Harley Quinn issue to hit the shelves. He did his best to avoid the debate, but it was no good. One by one, we were each drawn into the discussion at hand, offering our own unique points of view. I actually realised that while our ideas differed wildly, the character meant something different to each and every one of us, and as such, none of us could be wrong. I think the same can be said for The Last Jedi. I think everyone has been compelled to express their opinion of Rian Johnson’s ambitious take on the galaxy far, far away, that for either good or ill, I couldn’t disagree with anyone. I’m usually drawn to opinions that shadow my own, yet in this case, I found it to be both wonderful and diabolical at the same time. My experience in the comic book store that day really opened my eyes in regards to other’s opinions, and they were almost closed again, just as two bearded men began to square up and “draw claws”.

One opinion poll in the US (which has been conducted annually since 1946), declared Barack Obama to be the most admired man in the world by Americans, ahead of Donald Trump. Receiving a smaller percentage of the vote than he did last year, it’s rare for the serving President not to claim the honours. I can imagine the defeat to his predecessor dealt quite the blow to his ego.

With notoriously low approval ratings, Donald Trump remains propped up in government by the same demographic that voted him into power a year ago, yet it’s all the support he needed to give a tax break to the rich, or his latest ill advised decision to recognise the contested city of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, a move that even Theresa May took time out from selling weapons of genocide to the Saudi’s in order to condemn. To understand Trump’s trickle-down economics though, let’s just imagine a long line of people arranged from richest to poorest. Trump gives the rich a bag of Skittles M&M’s and encourages them to help themselves before passing it down the line at their own leisure, but by the time it gets to the people that need them most, there are no more M&M’s, and the bag has been replaced by a Jizz filled hockey sock. “Fucking Immigrants!” Cry the masses.

In alternative news, Donald Trump considers recognising Kiev as the new capital of Russia, while reports of a no-show from the Ghost Of Christmas Yet To Come casts an ominous shadow over 2018.

So, what have we been watching?

In 2014, Jake Gyllenhaal gave us the finest performance of his career as Louis bloom in Nightcrawler, a visually sleek and twisted thriller about a man’s desperate search for footage in his ceaseless endeavour to rise to the top in the cut-throat business of freelance crime journalism. It’s a visually stunning and thought provoking masterpiece, and now, Netflix has brought us the real faces behind the fiction in their very own documentary, Shot In The dark. It documents the rivalry between the top three groups of stringers in Los Angeles, through an abundance of incredible thrills, spills, and a fair amount of dickery. It’s not the footage that steals the show, but rather the character study of the people that shoot it. I don’t think they even know it. Check it out.

Also, extending the long list of brilliant animated comedies from the past few years, I finally caught up with Big Mouth. It’s a gloriously funny and awkward story about a group of friends going through puberty, the changes in their body’s, and the dying questions that weigh on their young teenage mind’s. I cant help but wonder where this show was ten years ago. Throw in the hormone monster and you’ve opened up the most ingenious doorway to sex education. Please, please, enjoy.

This has been Randall’s Review, laughing through one day at a time…

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