Mike Tyson Mysteries could be the name of the book of Mike Tyson’s career path. He’s a former, undisputed heavyweight boxing champion that broke the rules inside and outside of the ring, ended up spending some time in jail and then went on to become a fully self-aware cameo joke — first in The Hangover and then in any other TV show or movie that would have him.
Now, he’s starring in his own Adult Swim show where he goes around solving mysteries, Scooby-Doo-style. Now strikeout “he’s starring in his own Adult Swim show where…,” and re-read that last sentence. That would seem just as plausible, wouldn’t it? The heart of Mike Tyson Mysteries seems to bathe in the possibility of that ridiculously fun idea of that parallel universe and just takes off with the premise.
At this point, I’m supposed to tell you all about the characters, the premise of the show, and the plot to the first episode, but if this review went over three paragraphs then it would literally take you longer to read this than it would to actually watch the show. What you really need to know is that Mike Tyson voices Mike Tyson beautifully, his character is extremely self-referential in a nerdy-meta way, and the jokes of him being an only slightly weirder Mike Tyson than Mike Tyson actually is are right on the money.
Norm MacDonald plays Pigeon, a man who was turned into a pigeon by his ex-wife because he acted like Norm MacDonald sounds (like an asshole, if you couldn’t connect those dots on your own). Pigeon is somehow successful at being the comic relief in a world full of silliness, and Norm is the perfect person to deliver the best written one liners of the show. Academy Award winner Jim Rash (Dean Pelton on Community and co-writer of The Descendants and The Way Way Back) voices Marquess of Queensbury, the in-the-closet ghost that hangs out with the gang as Tyson’s resident Jiminy Cricket. Marquess (pronounced Marcus) has stripped away all of Tyson’s vices to the point where all that Mike lives for is to raise his adopted Asian daughter, Yung Lee (voiced by Rachel Ramras) and to solve mysteries.
The dynamic of Marquess and Pigeon personifies where the funny in this show falls: stupid jokes with intelligent references. The outright homage to Scooby-Doo perfectly dates the age demographic that would appreciate Mike Tyson Mysteries — old enough to have fond memories of enjoying the classic Hanna Barbera cartoons, but young enough to not take them seriously in any way shape or form; basically the demo that Adult Swim has taken over since Space Ghost: Coast to Coast.
Writer Hugh Davidson has the most appropriate resume to hit the sweet spot for this particular audience, having penned episodes of Robot Chicken, the cult-y Saul of the Molemen, and even the most recent incarnation of The Looney Tunes Show. The bits can be funny in the most superficial and absurd way, or it can be enjoyed by the type of person that would appreciate zings at the writing style of Cormac McCarthy.
Seriously, though. If you are still curious, and are still reading this, you’ve just wasted your time; you could have seen it already. If you knew every reference that I just threw at you, and are a fan of at least three of those things, then there’s no reason to at least give this show a try. Just spend ten less minutes on Reddit. Write one-less scathing diatribe on Facebook. Crack open your favorite IPA and you’ll have something that will guarantee you at least a few chuckles while you take a few hits out of your vape.
Adult Swim’s Mike Tyson Mysteries airs Mondays at midnight, or you can watch right here.
Stiles White has been kicking around the movie business as a writer, production assistant and crew for quite some time, but made his directorial debut on Ouija — just in time for Halloween! — with the help of the producers of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Insidious. Unfortunately though, Ouija doesn’t deliver on nearly the same level as either of those films.
The plot revolves around Laine (Olivia Cooke of The Signal, Bates Hotel) attempting to deal with her best friend Debbie’s (Shelley Hennig of The Secret Circle, Teen Wolf ) alleged suicide. Laine and her friends then decide to use a — you guessed it — Ouija board to try and speak to Debbie in the afterlife with supernatural results. They soon realize that Debbie was killed by a crazy ghost lady (official description) and this of course leads to a fair amount of screaming and death.
Horror movies are enjoyable for one of two reasons: 1. They are somehow original and manage to scare you in a new way (Saw or The Conjuring, for example), or 2. They aren’t overly original but manage to have some fun within the sub-genre they are dealing with (Paranormal Activity or You’re Next, for instance). Ouija is neither of these. In fact, the film doesn’t come close.
As far as relatively low budget horror movies go, the acting isn’t that bad. The score is enjoyable, and some of the effects are fairly cool. The film’s problem stems from a weak story and, what one can assume, was a poorly written or, perhaps, re-written, script. The movie takes way too long to get to the point after the inciting incident. Once it does get moving, the White can’t seem to figure out what he wants the film to be.
Initially, it feels like it’s going to be a Halloween:Resurrection –style-we’re-trapped-in-a-house-and-something-scary-is-going-to-get-us sort of thing. Except, you Michael Myers is replaced with a couple of ghost ladies (official description). Just as that mood starts to settle, it quickly shifts to more of a Final Destination-vibe in which something evil is picking off high school kids one by one. This pattern persists throughout the duration of the film.
There are a couple of things that save Ouija from being a complete waste of time. The Ouija board, in and of itself, ends up having a fairly fun gag attached to it, which offers up the only few worthwhile scares in the entire movie. For those who intend to see it, I won’t spoil the joke, but it’s not exactly a complex gag. Also, in spite of a dreadfully procedural first two acts, the climax of the movie is actually somewhat enjoyable.
Horror movies are rarely critically acclaimed, but the ones that are have one thing in common: they have a good story to tell. Movies like Sinister may take a little bit of time to get going, but the story told meanwhile is one worth watching and manages to pique the viewers interest. Ouija fails to make you invest in the characters and is a bit too slow to start. Even once it gets moving, the payoff (or lack thereof) is not worth the wait.
If you find yourself needing to see a horror movie this Halloween season, there are better options available like Annabelle or the 10th anniversary re-release of Saw. Ouija just isn’t worth the money. Better luck next time Mr. White.