Shaun the Sheep: Farmageddon

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Shaun the Sheep is back on the big screen! I didn’t see the first Shaun the Sheep movie but I’ve heard it’s good so I’ll get around to watching it soon. Don’t worry if you haven’t seen the first movie because you don’t really need to have seen it in order to understand this movie. I wasn’t sure about this movie at first, I nearly put it on my October Things I Am Excited For list but I decided against and now I look like a silly sausage. It was brilliant or baarilliant if you like your sheep puns. It was a weird direction to take the sequel with the addition of aliens but I guess Wallace and Gromit had weird adventures about eating the Moon and turning into Were-Rabbits so aliens are pretty normal stuff for this universe, is Shaun the Sheep set in the Wallace and Gromit universe? I’m sure he appears in one. I’ve just Googled it and he appears in The Close Shave & in an episode of Wallace and Gromit’s Cracking Contraptions.

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I forgot that the humans don’t talk in Shaun the Sheep so I got quite the shock when there was no dialogue but this film does an amazing job of telling a story without it, a lesson in, show, don’t tell. I felt a connection with these characters in a way that I haven’t in other films with real actors. I’ll admit that I did nearly shed a tear at the end of the film. It’s a very heartwarming film about Shaun discovering an alien on the farm and trying to help the alien get home. There’s a lot of references to sci-fi media such as Doctor Who and Close Encounters of the Third Kind. The humour is great, with no dialogue, the jokes are mostly visual gags. I think this is a film that both adults and children will enjoy. I would definitely recommend it especially with it coming up to the school holidays and the weather is pretty bad so why not go to the cinema to see Shaun the Sheep: Farmaggedon instead going outside where it’s freezing. I know it’s freezing but don’t wear your woolly jackets to Shaun the Sheep because I don’t think Shaun would appreciate that.

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Scooby-Doo & Guess Who? Guests Ranked on How Much Kids Care About Them

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So there’s a new Scooby-Doo cartoon out and it is a throwback to The New Scooby-Doo Movies from the 70s where they would have famous guests who would help the gang solve a mystery. Some examples of the guests from the 70s include The Three Stooges, Batman & Robin, The Addams Family and Laurel & Hardy. Those seem like some pretty good guests, I’m not sure how much kids in the 70s cared about them but I do have an idea of how much kids from now care about celebrities and I’m going to rank the guests on Scooby-Doo and Guess Who? on how much I think kids care about them.

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13. Penn & Teller

I know of Penn & Teller because I think they did a show on ITV in 2011 which a bit of and that’s really all I know about them. I thought they were magicians but I saw something say that they were sceptics so they are the party poopers of magic. I’m not sure magic is popular with kids these days so I can’t imagine debunking magic is either popular.

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12. Jim Gaffigan

Did the creators even try to think about what kids like? I’ve liked Jim Gaffigan in what I’ve seen him in, those things being 17 Again and this. It says he does clean comedy and he’s appeared as a voice actor in a few kids films like Playmobil: The Movie and Hotel Transylvania 3 but I doubt when he shows up in Scooby-Doo and Guess Who?, all the kids went “OMG! It’s the voice of Del from Playmobil: The Movie!”.

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11. Wandy Sykes

I am sort of getting what they might be doing. Wandy Sykes has been done some voice acting in kids films but it’s the same situation as Jim Gaffigan, I can’t imagine a kid watching this episode and saying “I love Wandy Sykes, I love her performance as Wage in UglyDolls”. She had a live-action role in Evan Almighty so I guess kids might have seen her in that if parents want to show their kids a Steve Carrell film that was suitable for them.

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10. Ricky Gervais

Ricky Gervais? RICKY GERVAIS?! I guess he was in the two recent Muppets movies. It’s like a bunch of guys got in a room and just named a load of celebrities they knew. I’m sure there’s a lot of cross over when it comes to people who enjoyed Humanity and people who are children. I guess I can’t judge people too harshly, I went to see Ghost Town at the cinema when I was 11 which tells you how sad of a child I was.

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9. Kenan Thompson

By the time Kenan Thompson appeared on the show, I was so used to the weird choices for the guests that I was half expecting Joe Rogan or Bill Burr to come on next so when it was Kenan Thompson, I thought “I guess he’s on SNL and he’s been a few voices in kids film so that’s all you need to appear on this show”. If they were going to have him on, they should have at least brought Kel Mitchell on and had the gang go to Good Burger.

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8. Weird ‘Al’ Yankovic

If this show was aired in the 90s with some of this cast then I think it would have been very current but now it’s like your dad trying to relate with you with his most current pop culture knowledge, “Hey son, remember when Weird ‘Al’ did Amish Paradise!” No! That’s not even the most popular one Dad!

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7. Steve Urkel

I’m British so my knowledge of American popular culture is limited to whatever British channels deem worthy of making the crossover and I don’t think Family Matters was that popular over here. I know of Steve Urkel mainly through references to him from other shows and by watching Americans talk about him. Since I don’t really know much about what’s happening in America schools I’m going to assume that kids aren’t doing Steve Urkel impressions in the playground and that he doesn’t have the mass appeal he once had. I think he’s just lucky that there are weirder choices in this series.

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6. Abraham Lincoln

Yeah, I said it! I think kids care more about Abraham Lincoln than Weird ‘Al’ and Ricky Gervais. I imagine American children learned about Abraham Lincoln at a young age whether they like it or not so at least when he appears on the show, they’ll know who he is.

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5. Sherlock Holmes

Sherlock Holmes is very popular at the moment with Sherlock, Elementary and the Guy Ritchie films but I’m not sure how many of those adaptations are kid-friendly. There was a Gnomeo and Juliet sequel last year called Sherlock Gnomes so maybe they just wanted to get another kid-friendly version of Sherlock Holmes on the screen while the iron was hot.

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4. Chris Paul

Chris Paul is a currently still playing basketball player so in my book, that makes him automatically one of the most famous people on the show that could appeal to children. Children in America watch NBA right? they don’t watch it much in Britain but surely they love it in the states. They probably play NBA 2k19 more than FIFA 19 in America as well so that will help him become a household name to children.

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3. Sia

Sia is probably the only real-world guest that I think children will actually know. She’s a world-famous pop star with hit songs like Chandelier and Cheap Thrills. She has also had songs on the soundtracks of Wonder Woman and My Little Pony so I’m sure she is somewhat known by most children, certainly more than Jim Gaffigan and Wanda Sykes.

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2. Wonder Woman

Why were all the guests not like Wonder Woman?! Just make them all cartoon characters like any DC character or some of the Looney Tunes. Wonder Woman is at peak popularity and has never had as much merchandise as right now. The Wonder Woman episode is also one of the more interesting ones as it sort plays with the format of the monster a bit.

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1. Batman

There was a reason why Batman appeared in two episodes of The New Scooby-Doo Movies so it is no surprise that he makes an appearance in Scooby-Doo and Guess Who? I’m just not sure why there are not more appearances by characters like Batman. Where’s Robin? Is Robin not cool anymore? seems like the creators of Scooby-Doo and Guess Who? haven’t been watching Titans. On that note, why aren’t the Teen Titans in this?!

 

There Are Too Many Streaming Services!

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I’m really struggling to keep up with all the streaming services that are available. We’ve got Netflix, Now TV, Amazon Prime, Hulu, Crunchyroll, DC Universe, I guess YouTube is and we’re getting Disney+ and Apple TV+ later this year. There is just too much to watch and at the same time, not a lot to watch. When Netflix first came about, I was watching all the Marvel Netflix shows and Stranger Things religiously but now I haven’t watched a Marvel Netflix show since The Defenders and I haven’t started watching Stranger Things Season 3. It’s not even like I use those other services, I only started using Amazon Prime recently to watch Good Omens (which I haven’t finished) and The Boys.

I’m not even sure if Hulu is available in the UK. The main reason I started this post was because I was looking for Plus One, starring Jack Quaid from The Boys, and I couldn’t find it on any of the streaming services or iTunes then I found out it’s on Hulu which I don’t have and don’t want to get because I have too many already! I have this a lot where you have a film in mind that you want to watch and you assume that it has to be on one of the three streaming services you have, those being Netflix, Amazon Prime and Now TV, but nope! They don’t have that film you want to watch. I think this is especially the case with films before 2000, Now TV is pretty good for older films but that’s because it just puts whatever films are shown on Sky Movies on and they cater to a TV audience who are older so they are probably more likely to watch older films than my generation.

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Disney Plus is coming out soon, they will be producing new Marvel and Star Wars shows so of course, I have to get it. The problem is that I think my current three are already a lot and I’ll be worried that my use of the others might go down as a result of Disney Plus so will it be worth having them all. Now TV is good for films both old and new. Netflix produces some poor stuff but then it’ll produce new films by Martin Scorsese and Steven Soderbergh as well as quality TV shows like Bojack Horseman, Stranger Things and The Umbrella Academy. Amazon Prime is the new one I’ve started using more. I’ve started watching a few of their original shows like The Boys, The Tick and Good Omens as well as watching films like The King of Comedy on it.

All this is to say that all these streaming services are producing quality content as well as getting the rights to TV shows and films to host on their sites. I think the main downside is that it is so hard to watch it all. Whenever I find something I want to watch, if I don’t watch it straightaway then I probably won’t watch it because I’ll have found something else to watch. I’ll probably get Disney Plus and keep all the streaming services because they offer a variety of different things. Just don’t make anymore streaming services after Disney Plus!

 

The Boys and Celebrity Culture

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*Spoilers for The Boys*

*Content Warning – Discussions of Sexual Assault*

Comic book adaptations are all the rage at the moment. We get three Marvel movies a year, maybe two DC movies a year and tons of tv shows from various properties from Supergirl to Preacher. Most of these adaptations are based on superheroes. We went from a handful of people reading comics based on Guardians of the Galaxy to everyone’s grandparents knowing who Groot is. Superheroes are everywhere from our cereal boxes to our soft drinks almost like celebrities… like I mention in the title… look you know where I’m going with this.

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The Boys is set in a world where, as the synopsis says, superheroes as popular as celebrities as influential as politicians. They are able to say some interesting things about celebrity culture and even our relationships with superheroes and their movies. Starlight is probably the best character to discuss when it comes to celebrity culture as she acts as our entry point into the world of the Seven. Starlight is introduced into the Seven after auditioning to join them, she is presented on stage in front of a massive crowd of people. We see just what it means to be a part of the Seven, she is told what to say and do by a marketing team to make sure that she is as popular and as talked about as possible.

It is not the big public appearances that give us the most insight but the private moments with the team. She goes to the Seven meeting room with The Deep, the Aquaman of the team, and while they are alone, she is sexually assaulted by him. This moment feels all too real with the current MeToo movement. When she is at a Christian festival, Starlight does a speech where she goes script and reveals that she was sexually assaulted. Vought makes The Deep do a public apology as they are worried that some of the other girls that he has done this to might come forward. This whole plotline is just a perfect representation of what has been happening in Hollywood recently with women coming forward with their experiences of sexual assault and how they were swept under the rug to protect the abusers who had too much power in Hollywood.

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A-Train’s plot about having a race to decide who’s the fastest man on Earth also has elements of the celebrity athlete. A lot of these athletes who become world champions feel added pressure to win medals because they have brand deals with companies based on the fact that they are world champions. Like A-Train says “No one wants the second-fastest man on Earth”. A-Train takes a superhero steroid called compound V in order to stay the best in a similar manner to what an athlete would in the real world. When A-Train isn’t being the fastest man on Earth, he’s killing civilians which is a plot point that’s maybe a bit harder to relate to celebrity culture but my superpower is super stretching to make a point.

Hughie struggles to get justice for the death of his girlfriend, Robin at the hands of A-Train mainly because he is a superhero and they are too powerful to be held accountable. Celebrities aren’t really held to the same level of accountability as your average person but I’d probably say this example is probably aimed at politicians who definitely don’t get held to the same accountability as any other person. I also think the way it is described as a “civilian casualty” is meant to invoke the language of politicians who talk a lot about civilian casualties when it comes to attacks that they conduct.

This scene where The Boys puts a face to the words “civilian casualty” also makes us think about how we view heroes in our superhero films. A-Train is defended because he was apparently stopping a bank robbery so the civilian cost was worth it to stop the crime. When The Avengers stop a villain but it causes some civilian deaths, it is okay because the villain would’ve done worse and that’s the defence they use. Marvel and DC have both dealt with this in their own movies such as Civil War and Batman v Superman but The Boys shows the cost on freedom by giving these superheroes the power that they have to do anything and maybe it’s a cautionary tale about giving people that much power in the real world as well or maybe it’s just a TV show that you enjoyed or didn’t enjoy. All I know is Wannabe by The Spice Girls is a banger.

Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse: My Newest Comfort Film

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I think everyone has those comfort films where when they are feeling down, they can put on a film that they know will cheer them up. I have had a few films that have been like that for me like Guardians of the Galaxy and Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed but I have had one for a few years and then Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse came out.

A lot of people were unsure about an animated Spider-Man film made by Sony. I was pretty open-minded especially when it was announced as a Miles Morales film so it meant we were getting something different and it was being written by Phil Lord of Lord and Miller fame so that was pretty exciting.

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This film I think exceeded everyone’s expectations. It won an Oscar for Best Animated Feature becoming the first non-Disney/Pixar film since Happy Feet (2006) to win that award when a Disney or Pixar film was also in contention. I think it was the last film I saw in 2018 and it became my favourite film of 2018 straightaway and I’ve only fallen in love with it more every time I watch it.

I love the father and son dynamic between Peter and Miles. I love the relationship between Gwen and Miles. The supporting cast of Spider-People all bring their own unique spin to the film both in character and animation style. The score by Daniel Pembleton is great especially Prowler’s theme which is terrifying every time it plays. The soundtrack is great and adds a lot of emotion to key scenes like when Miles becomes Spider-Man to What’s Up Danger or when Peter Parker is announced as dead on the news and Scared of the Dark plays.

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The story of Miles trying to live up expectations not just as Spider-Man but as himself when he joins a new school. It’s about dealing with loss as every Spider-Person has dealt with loss and that’s what shapes them into the people they become. They all have regrets, especially Peter Parker, who is dealing with the loss of Aunt May from his universe and his broken relationship with Mary Jane which he manages to come to terms with throughout the film with his relationship with Miles where he begins to feel like he may be ready to start a family with Mary Jane.

This whole film just makes me happy every time I watch it, it is probably my favourite Spider-Man film and it will take some beating for a Spider-Man film to come out that could compete with this. Maybe a Venom-Verse movie where Tom Hardy and Topher Grace team up to fight Tobey Maguire and Tom Holland. The final battle of the film is a dance-off set to Hero by Chad Kroeger. That film would probably be my favourite.

8 Things I’m Excited For In October

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Hey! So I thought I’d do a list of a few films and TV shows that I am excited for October. I may not have any strong opinions on them after I see them but who knows maybe I’ll write more about these in the future after I’ve seen them. Anyway, here are 8 things I’m excited for in October.

Joker

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There has been a lot of buzz around this film for both positive and negative reasons. It won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival so no doubt it will be an Oscar contender. I am interested to see Joaquin Phoenix’s take on The Joker since we have had so many good performances from actors playing the Joker that it will be interesting to see what Joaquin Phoenix brings to the role.

Gemini Man

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A film about two Will Smiths?! Sign me up. Ang Lee is a very interesting director with such films as Brokeback Mountain and Hulk in his catalogue. This film was shot digitally at an extra-high frame rate of 120 fps so it should make for an interesting viewing experience.

Abominable

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This film just looks like it will be really sweet and sometimes in between all the super-serious films you need a film like that. The animation looks incredible and it could join the How To Train Your Dragon films in the unironically good Dreamworks films.

Zombieland: Double Tap

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Fresh from making Venom, Ruben Fleischer is back with the Zombieland franchise and I’m very excited to see what he does with these characters. I love the first film so I hope that this one is good. It feels like zombies have disappeared from the big screens recently or maybe I’ve just seen any but I think this might offer something fresh to the zombie film canon.

Maleficent: Mistress of Evil

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Maleficent might be one of the only live-action Disney films that I am interested in. I think a lot of the live-action remakes are so similar to the original that it is hard to justify their existence. Maleficent is a remake of Sleeping Beauty but from Maleficent’s point of view and that’s quite an interesting direction to go. They never made a straight to video sequel to Sleeping Beauty so this sequel isn’t based on anything which I guess makes it basically an original film. I think the fact that it isn’t really based on any direct film means it probably won’t make anywhere near as much as the other live-action Disney films this year but we’ll see.

My Hero Academia: Season 4

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I wasn’t really into My Hero Academia when I watched the first episode for the first time but flash forward to now after giving it another chance, I am now completely obsessed with this show and I can’t wait to watch Season 4. I think I might care more about this show more than any Marvel or DC show and I haven’t read the manga so I don’t have a preexisting relationship with these characters like I did with the Marvel and DC shows.

Dolemite Is My Name

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I wasn’t part of the generation that grew up with Eddie Murphy the stand-up comedian or Eddie Murphy the star of Beverly Hills Cop and Coming to America, I’ll always know him as the voice of Donkey in Shrek and unfortunately as Norbit. When I saw the trailer for this film, I got the feeling that this was Eddie Murphy from 80s rather 00s Norbit Eddie Murphy. The story of Rudy Ray Moore and the character of Dolemite is an interesting one so I look forward to seeing what Eddie Murphy does with it.

Bojack Horseman

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I was one of the few people who quite liked the first season of Bojack Horseman, it’s definitely not as good as any of the following seasons but I still enjoyed it. I’m looking forward to seeing how they are going to end the season especially since they are doing the final season in two parts. This is probably Will Arnett’s best role and I don’t think he’ll ever play a role like even if I think he could. It’s going to be sad to see this show end but it’s probably best it goes before it goes downhill and overstays it’s welcome like other animated shows.

Ad Astra and The Cult of Work

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Ad Astra is an amazing film that is already generating Oscar buzz and I fully expect it to win a least one Oscar. I’m not sure if it will be for Best Actor with Brad Pitt’s amazing performance or maybe Best Director for James Gray for making one of the most emotionally impactful space films I’ve ever seen. I’d love Max Richter to win Best Original Score because I think a lot of the emotional scene would be nothing without his score. I think the whole film captures this feeling that I have had before and it is something that I think works for a film set in space as it is one of the few places where you can feel truly alone.

I have been looking for work for over a year now and it is lead me to explore aspects of the job market that I wish I wasn’t really aware of, that being the Cult of Work. The Cult of Work is the obsession with work due to the idea that if you work hard then you will reap the rewards and if you don’t get those rewards then you must be doing something wrong. I was told at one job that it was possible to make a lot of money in this job but you have to fully commit your life to it and one of the things they said in particular as that I’d have to put my job before my partner.

My partner has helped me immensely in the last year with personal stuff and with my mood being affected by my job search so to be told by a colleague to do this completely broke my worldview of what getting job was going to be like. I still think about that interview a lot and how it made me feel. I don’t think a film has captured how I’ve felt about that interview until Ad Astra.

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Ad Astra is about astronaut Roy McBride, played by Brad Pitt, who undertakes a mission to uncover the truth about his missing father who went on a space mission to Neptune but hasn’t been heard from. The mission involves him going to Mars to try to contact his father on Neptune and trying to get him to help stop some power surges that threaten the stability of the Earth. At the start of the film, we see that Roy has a very distant relationship with his wife due to his commitment to his job and that eventually leads to her leaving him. Throughout the film, we get some voiceover from Roy to get a sense of what he is going through. I think this is a great use of voiceover as it allows us to get an idea of the inner struggle that Roy goes through behind the performance of stoicism that he does while he works.

Roy undergoes psychological evaluations throughout the film and he is always praised for how he is able to keep his emotions in check which is why they trust him to go on the mission even though he has personal stakes in it. He meets up with an old colleague of his dad, Colonel Pruitt played by Donald Sutherland. He talks about how the last time he spoke to his dad it didn’t go well and his dad called him a traitor for leaving the programme. I have heard from people that there is this culture in some workplaces where you are deemed a “traitor” for leaving the role as if you are indebted to them and can only leave on their terms. We do get the vibe from this scene that Roy’s dad was very committed to his job but maybe to the detriment to his relationships with other people.

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Flash forward to the end of the film where Roy has made his way to Neptune to confront his dad after discovering that he killed his fellow astronauts after they said they wanted to leave the mission. Back to this idea of being traitor to the job if you want to quit and I think when we meet Clifford McBride, played by Tommy Lee Jones, on the ship we do get this image of a broken man who has lost his humanity from his overcommitment to the job. He tells his son that he never thought of him or his mother the whole time he was stuck on the ship. He’s become so invested in the job that he has moved past caring for his loved ones. His mission was to find alien life and he didn’t find any. He’s alone in the universe because he doesn’t care about his loved ones and the only thing he cared about was the quest of alien life and it’s over. He can’t accept that and continue his life with his son so he has his son let him go drift into the void of space. Him telling his son to “let him go” is him saying for his son to let go of him and have a life that he couldn’t have due to his commitments. Roy learns that we are alone in this world and that we only have each other. He reconnects with his wife and the film ends.

We need to have people in our lives that we can connect with and if a job doesn’t allow you to do that then it is a dangerous job that only sees you as a tool and not a person. We need to be allowed to show emotion and have feelings not just be a bunch of Amazon employees’ Twitter accounts where they are only allowed to say good things about working at Amazon.