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Showing posts from May, 2017


I have nothing to report from my novels in progress, so for my writing post today, I figured I'd just ramble about a tangentially-related topic: sequels.

I spent the last week wrangling my kids for the most part and whenever Steph and I went to Netflix for a break, I was always amazed by the number of kids's movies that have sequels.  This isn't a new phenomenon by any means.  When I was a teenager working at Hollywood Video, I'm sure I had plenty of rants about the shamelessness of these cash-grabs - Bambi II, The Land Before Time IX, etc.

But then I think about it more and I'm not sure how disgusted I really want to be.  I mean, yeah, they're definitely cash-grabs - but that doesn't inherently mean there can't be some quality thought put into them.

Part of it is that, now that I have kids, I'm happy to have the sequels since it means we have more options.  You like Kung Fu Panda?  Great, because there's three movies and a TV show.  That means …

Hipster Holy Grail: Deadly Justice aka "The Rape of Richard Beck" (1985)

The Hipster Holy Grail is my ongoing quest to review an obscure movie before it becomes cool to talk about it. Good, bad, doesn't matter.  It just has to be at least 10 years old and have less than 1,000 ratings on IMDb. This week, I watched....

The Short Bit for People Who Don't Like to Read Reviews The most depressing thing about The Rape of Richard Beck (later renamed Deadly Justice for its DVD release) is not its titular rape, but rather the fact that it was released when I was only one year old yet very little about its message or politics has actually aged.  The day we all look at this as a quaint, obsolete fable will be the dawn of a glorious era.

My Rating: 4 / 5

Week in Review: 5/28/17

Movies I Watched in the Last Week 1) The BFG - I was shocked to learn, after watching this movie, that it was directed by Spielberg.  Normally he brings a bit more "magic" to the table, but I felt like any charm that's in this movie is a testament to Roald Dahl, whose spirit somehow survived what was otherwise an assembly line adaptation.  Not to say that's a bad thing, just that it's nothing special.

My Rating: 3.5 / 5

"Born Loser" Chapter Five

Turns out I'm still pressed for time and can't quite do a proper update for this blog, same as earlier this week.  So, have another sample chapter from my book, Born Loser.  Check out chapters one, two, and three if you haven't already.  If you like what you read, please consider dropping a couple of bucks on the Kindle version, or at least go to and leave me a review.

The next "Star Wars"

Richard Nixon became president in 1969 and kickstarted one of the darker eras of modern American history. Between his corruption, the escalation of the Vietnam War, the ever-growing threat of nuclear war with the Soviets, the proliferation of violence and horror on the news, and a rocketing crime rate, the country was well and truly exhausted by 1977, which would have been the end of Nixon's term had he not resigned.

Then Star Wars came out and made all the money.

Lots of nerds and film historians - but mostly nerds - have written extensively about Star Wars in the 40 years (as of tomorrow) since.  I don't need to remind anybody about its impact on pop culture.  But I do have a tendency to get a little combative about the endless fanaticism that surrounds it.

Part of it is petty jealousy - I'm a struggling writer who thinks he has halfway decent ideas, and George Lucas is a dummy who thought Gungans were a good idea, yet he's the one who made ten billion dollars.  Part…

Apologies for no HHG movie this week / Born Loser: Chapter Four

So... regular readers might have noticed that the regularly scheduled Hipster Holy Grail review that should have come out at 9:00 this morning did not, in fact, get posted.  It's a shame, too, because I actually watched a legitimately good movie for once that's worth writing about.  Despite having some rape in it.  Okay, despite being almost entirely about rape.  But, still.

I don't have any good excuses.  I simply ran out of time.

Chalk it up to my busy day job, chalk it up to having two small kids, chalk it up to planning for one of those kids' birthday parties, whatever.  Anything I might say is little more than a crappy excuse and it doesn't change the fact that I missed an update.  That's on me.  I'm sorry for anybody who might be checking in week by week to see what I'm up to, especially since I'm sure there's not many of you and I don't want y'all to go away.

Next week I'll definitely have a new movie review for you.  Until th…

I'm drunk and need somebody to tell me if "Cranium Intel" is real

Not slobbering drunk, but I've been drinking.  And it's like 2:30 AM as I write this while coming down from the caffeine pills I took to stay up and do the dishes / clean the house.  So, I'm willing to accept that everything I've just seen is a fever dream coming from the combined efforts of sleep-deprived / substance-induced hysteria and my own wishful thinking.

Can... can you just do me a quick favor and google the phrase "Cranium Intel?"  And can you confirm for me that you're able to get to the IMDb page for it?  And can you confirm that there are nine videos linked therein that loosely resemble FPS video game animation spliced in with stock footage taken from miscellaneous cities (Baltimore and St. Louis among them) with video filters placed over top?

I was lurking on the Something Awful forums and saw a post about this movie, and then somebody went and posted like a shitload of posters for other movies/videos made by the director, Aeneas Middleton. …

Yet another direction for Teresa Creegan

Not long ago I posted about how I was hoping to finally get my ass in gear and write a story about Teresa Creegan, the recurring bad-luck character I've been messing around with for the last twenty years.  One of the big obstacles for me with getting a TC story out on paper is that I keep changing my mind about the finer details of her character, even though the core concept is always the same.

Last week was no different.

The TC stories in my head have always been a mixture of monomyth parody and modern fantasy.  An apathetic anti-hero, Teresa, is called into action by supernatural forces to become an archetypal Chosen One and save the planet.  Teresa refuses because she doesn't give much of a shit about being a hero, and is only talked into the journey by the promise of power and wealth.  When she eventually conquers all the nonsense fantasy challenges the supernatural forces set out for her - e.g., "Pluck the finest leaf from the tree at the top of that mountain" -…

Hipster Holy Grail: Dark Justice aka "Yup Yup Man" (2000)

The Hipster Holy Grail is my ongoing quest to review an obscure movie before it becomes cool to talk about it. Good, bad, doesn't matter.  It just has to be at least 10 years old and have less than 1,000 ratings on IMDb. This week, I watched....

The Short Bit for People Who Don't Like to Read ReviewsDark Justice (Or Yup Yup Man, if you choose the alternate IMDb link) starts with a morbidly interesting premise: what would happen if an asshole bartender egged on a homeless, emotionally unstable, schizophrenic man with a troubled past and convinced him to don a mask and act like a superhero?  In a better movie, the aftermath would undoubtedly be tense, dramatic, and maybe darkly funny.  Instead, this movie lets it work out unbelievably well for everyone involved, and that somehow feels even more gross than the exploitation of the mentally ill.

My Rating: 2 / 5

A brief review of "Handsome: A Netflix Mystery Movie" (2017)

Although a lot of what I may have to say about Handsome: A Netflix Mystery Movie may seem like back-handed praise, I genuinely do like it.  It is one of the better Netflix original movies I've seen, which may or may not be saying something depending on which of their never-ending lineup you've watched.  (Disclaimer: I haven't seen Beasts of No Nation yet, but I did watch The Do-Over.  I do not have good priorities.)

Handsome is sitting at mediocre 5.5 on IMDb right now.  I'd love to come to bat and make the argument that the rating should be higher.  The thing is, I kinda can't.  Somewhere in the upper 5s / lower 6s is pretty much exactly where a movie like this belongs for the vast majority of people.

The technical components, while crisp and serviceable, are not game-changing.  The premise is not particularly innovative.  And I can't even say that the jokes are a constant source of belly laughs, even though there are plenty of great gags.  About the best thing…

Second thoughts

So... today might be a pivotal moment in history.

Today marks possibly the first time in history that a fat asshole with a blog thought about something negative he was going to post, decided it would be too judgmental and knee-jerk, and changed his mind.

Unfortunately, I have no Plan B.  So, um... enjoy the void of nothing.  Guess it'll stand as a sort of humblebrag token of shutting up once in awhile.

Y'know, if I decided to do a Silence Day post once a month, it would cut my work for this blog by almost 10%.  This might work out.

Hipster Holy Grail: Beyond Justice (1992)

The Hipster Holy Grail is my ongoing quest to review an obscure movie before it becomes cool to talk about it. Good, bad, doesn't matter.  It just has to be at least 10 years old and have less than 1,000 ratings on IMDb. This week, I watched....

The Short Bit for People Who Don't Like to Read Reviews Gorgeous scenery and a serviceable premise don't distract from the bad editing and shitty characters in Beyond Justice.  It's a tough movie to sit through.

My Rating: 2 / 5

Week in Review: 5/7/17

Movies I Watched in the Last Week 1) Handsome: A Netflix Mystery Movie - My rating for this movie might be a little bit inflated.  If I'm being honest, it's probably more like a 3/5.  I can't help it.  I've got a soft spot for features like this - small, low-budget efforts where the talent is turning out good belly laughs even if the pacing and polish aren't there.  Jeff Garlin delivered a fine comedy that I can't honestly call a "laugh riot," but which I was happy to have seen.  It's like listening to a punk band play in a garage and going, "Holy shit, these guys are going places!"  Even if those guys happen to be in their fifties and they've already been to places way cooler than you'll ever know.  Still.  The point is, I dug it.

My Rating: 4 / 5

A Review of "The Discovery" (2017)

A couple of days ago, I wrote a bit about some similarities between one of my books and the recently-posted-to-Netflix movie The Discovery.  But nowhere in that post did I actually describe my thoughts on the movie itself, outside of how it related to my own book.  In the interest of fairness and not being totally egocentric, I figured a follow-up post with a review would be a good idea.
A Quick Plot SummaryThe Discovery is a science-fiction romantic drama that takes place in a world where Dr. Thomas Harber (Robert Redford) has found conclusive evidence that an afterlife exists.  After he publishes his findings, the suicide rate around the world surges.  This unexpected consequence leaves Harber's son, Will (Jason Segel), with a bad taste in his mouth.  Will can't fully argue with his father's results, but at the same time, he believes further and more conclusive experimentation is a must.

The story opens on a ferry as Will travels to the small town where his father lives …

Similarities between "The Discovery" and Bitter People Without Souls

Not long ago I watched The Discovery, a low-budget science-fiction movie released on Netflix earlier this year whose premise bears some striking resemblances to my second novel, Bitter People Without Souls.  I'm left with a funny mix of feelings.

Before I get into that, I should be absolutely clear about one thing: I am not in any way accusing the filmmakers of stealing my ideas.  Their story and mine are vastly different and go in completely separate directions.  They stand along as unique tales and there's plenty of room in the world for both to exist.  So, don't read anything else you see here as malice or litigiousness.

Hell, if anything, they would probably think I stole something; per the film's entry on Wikipedia, pre-production began in October 2015, which is the same time Bitter People was published.  That means their script would have been completed around the same time I was revising my book, if not months or even years earlier.

Still.  It is an interesting …

Hipster Holy Grail: Simple Justice (1989)

The Hipster Holy Grail is my ongoing quest to review an obscure movie before it becomes cool to talk about it. Good, bad, doesn't matter.  It just has to be at least 10 years old and have less than 1,000 ratings on IMDb. This week, I watched....

The Short Bit for People Who Don't Like to Read Reviews It's derivative, repetitive, slow to start, and alternately sappy and preposterous.  It's no surprise that Simple Justice is an obscure and forgotten '80s film.  Even so, I kinda dug some parts of it.  I probably won't be back for seconds, but I don't regret the first pass.

My Rating: 3 / 5