Thoughts on the Avengers movie…

A quick warning…

Yeah, yeah… I’m feeling like a real old fuddy daddy here, but…

For much of my life I’ve understood and followed the philosophy that opinions regarding works of art are just that: Opinions.  What turns me on may well be crap to you and vice versa.  I won’t hold it against others just as I hope they don’t hold it against me.

So here’s the thing: Marvel’s latest “huge” movie, Avengers: Infinity War was just released to generally good reviews and will likely make a ton of money at the box office…

…and I really, really don’t care to see it.

What’s so peculiar is that I’ve enjoyed many previous Marvel movies.  I liked the first Iron Man film.  I felt Captain America: Winter Soldier was one of the very best superhero films ever made, right up there with the original Richard Donner directed/Christopher Reeve Superman.

But after the release of Winter Soldier, something happened.  Something I can’t quite explain.  The subsequent Marvel films, to me, simply haven’t been as exciting or engaging and I’m tiring of one film seeming to try to be another “chapter” in a never ending story.

Infinity War, for those who don’t know, will be followed next year by Infinity War Part 2 (actually, the title of the second film is a secret because it supposedly spoils things).  Speaking of spoilers, they’re already all over the internet and, because I happen to read a lot of things here and there, I’ve already learned more about the film than I probably should have and certainly enough to wonder just what the filmmakers expected with some of the… uh… stuff that happens at the tail end of this film.

I mean, is anyone in suspense about the things that happened?

Unfortunately, given the way the internet is filled with gossip and knowledge of which actor is going to appear or reappear as a certain character in which film, it is obvious some of the “big” stuff that happens at the end of this film is temporary at best.

Which brings up something that’s bothered me about long, continuous storytelling: There can never be an end.

Superman can be killed off in the comics but he will return.  Batman can be crippled but he will somehow come back.  Bucky Barnes, for so many years a victim in WWII, returned to Captain America’s side in both the comics and films.

Stories are fun for a while but there does come a point when they lose their luster and a sense of “been there, done that” starts to come over the whole thing and one loses interest.

I pointed out in a recent entry that this seems to be happening with me with Ash vs. Evil Dead, a series/show that I thought I’d never tire of.  Just a couple of hours ago my wife and I started to watch the first new episode of Archer, a cartoon series I absolutely love, but after watching about half the episode I found not a damn thing humorous about it.  We had to stop it at the halfway point to do some stuff, but I intend to watch the rest of the episode yet fear this too may be something that has overstayed its welcome.

To me.

Again, this is all my opinion and most certainly doesn’t have to be yours.

This newfound sense of… impatience?… within me is surprising.  Perhaps it is due to my age.  While I’m not ready for the retirement home, I’ve spent many years seeing/hearing/reading so many things and I find myself of late looking for something new and interesting, a fresher take on things, and simply don’t have the patience to see/hear/read the latest chapter of That-Story-That-Doesn’t-End.

I also wonder if maybe this is something unique to me because I happen to be on the tail end of my own book series, and am eager to get it finished.  Perhaps because I’m approaching closure on this individual work its somehow made me search for closure in other things in my life and made me less patient to circle back on past things and more eager to explore the unknown or new.

Either that or I’m becoming a grumpy old man.

Hey you… are you still on my f$#%&g lawn?!  😉

Ho boy… politics and news

Nowadays and in the political sphere, things come at you fast and furious.

Yesterday, for example, Donald Trump called in to Fox and Friends and ranted and raved to such an extent that over on Reddit, they posted this amusing graphic showing the Trump-lover hosts before and nearing the end of the interview:

The actual full phone call/interview, if you dare!

If you’re curious for even more stuff, there are plenty of comments and takes on this off the rails phone call/interview.  You can read it over here:

Before and after your call to the President

A comment by Ryepodz at that link noted the following regarding the video:

At 13:43 you can hear a producer or staff in the background saying “oh god…” At 13:55 he says “jesus christ…” 

Wading through all the crap Trump said, one of the things that really hurt him was stating that Attorney Michael Cohen barely did anything for him and, further, he admitted for the first time that Cohen handled the Stormy Daniels affair, comments which not two hours later was presented to the judge handling the Michael Cohen case as evidence that the documents seized from him were not subject to the attorney/client confidentiality provisions.

Man, talk about shooting yourself in the… foot.

If you want still more information about this, check out this article by Chris Cillizza over at CNN.com where he encapsulates…

The 53 most stunning lines from Donald Trump’s Fox and Friends interview

But that’s not all!

The second bit of big news is that actor/comedian Bill Cosby was found guilty of sexual assault against Andrea Constand.  Ms. Constand was quite literally the last person who could bring Mr. Cosby to justice as the many, many women who have subsequently come out and given testimony eerily similar regarding Mr. Cosby’s actions (ie, drugging then sexually assaulting them) had already passed the time limits for prosecution.

Mr. Cosby was supposedly unemotional when the guilty verdict was read but he had an outburst following the verdict and when talk turned to revoking his bail.  In arguing to revoke his bail, Prosecutors stated he had an airplane and might use it to flee.  At that point Mr. Cosby blurted out: “He doesn’t have a plane, asshole.”

Yes, Mr. Cosby referred to himself in the third person.

One can only guess that the gravity of his predicament finally came into focus at that point.

Anyway, if you want to read more about that, here’s an article about the trail by Eric Levenson and presented on CNN.com:

The long, winding path to Bill Cosby’s guilty verdict

But wait, there’s still more!

As if all that wasn’t enough, later in the afternoon came this stunning news, which you can read in the article by Joshua Berlinger, Nick Thompson, and Euan McKirdy and presented on the below link:

North and South Korea leaders hold historic summit and pledge to end Korean War

Wow… just… wow.

It wasn’t all that long ago that the very real fear a potential nuclear war might occur because of the actions of North Korean leader Kim.  His provocative missile “tests”, his nuclear ambitions…

So what exactly happened?

I suspect a few things, and one of them is this: Donald Trump.

There’s an old cliche that goes like this: Even a broken clock is right twice a day.

Mr. Trump’s instability and outrageous threats leveled at Kim, I suspect, unnerved him.  Previous U.S. Presidents, Kim knew, wouldn’t risk a nuclear war and, perhaps, that emboldened him to push his luck with them.

But because Trump is so out there, he might (and, I repeat, might) have finally gotten worried that he was facing someone as crazy as he was projecting himself out to be and, therefore, the risk of a war was suddenly far higher.

Note, there are certainly other factors.  Leader Kim went to China, which suggested the mighty country might have finally decided to reign him in.  There is also talk that his latest nuclear tests might have collapsed the entire research facilities he had in the mountains for them.

Regardless, these factors -and, yes, including Donald freaking Trump- I believe played into the stunning news presented yesterday.

Will Kim continue down this path?

For the sake of the world, one hopes so.

Game of Thrones… 2018 edition

I haven’t watched a single episode of the Game of Thrones TV series, though I have little doubt it is as good as the shows millions of fans claim.  Neither have I read a single one of George R. R. Martin’s books (formally called A Song of Ice and Fire) upon which the TV show was based but, again, I’m quite certain they are as good as the fans similarly claim (and many of them say the books are far better than the TV show).

Having said this, and being a cultural/book nerd, despite the fact that I’ve neither seen nor read any of the Game of Thrones stuff I’ve followed the ins and outs of the show and the delayed release of the final two books of the series.

If you’ve been living in a cave these past ten years or so:  George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire books -of which there are currently five released, are supposed to have two more before concluding.

The first book, A Game of Thrones, was released in 1996.  Book two, A Clash of Kings, was released in 1998.  Book three, A Storm of Swords, was released in 2000.  Book four, A Feast of Crows, was released in 2005.  The last released book (to date) is A Dance With Dragons, was released in 2011.

As you can see, the first three books were released two years apart each.  With book four, it took Mr. Martin 5 years.  With book five, 6 years.

If you’re keeping track of time here, 7 years have passed since the release of book 5 and, according to James Whitbrook over at i09.com, you shouldn’t expect book 6’s release this year:

Please try to be surprised: George R. R. Martin’s The Winds of Winter is definitely not coming in 2018

So here’s the thing: The TV show has already gone farther along in the story than Mr. Martin has with his books.  The show will, unless Mr. Martin is hiding the proverbial rabbit in his hat, conclude well before the final book (or perhaps the final two!) are released.

And there are those who wonder if the two last books will ever be released.

Here’s the thing (and I don’t mean to be grim here): Mr. Martin is currently 69 years old.  That’s not ancient, by any means, but if we are to assume that Book 6 gets released, say, next year, that means it will have taken him 8 years to release it and, by that time, Mr. Martin will be in/around 70 years of age.

Again, this is assuming the book, which has been delayed quite a bit, will indeed be released next year.  If it isn’t, well, add another year to the author’s age.

Now, if it takes him another 8 years to finish the last book (and that’s an optimistic estimate, considering each subsequent book has taken progressively longer to get done), Mr. Martin will be 78 years old when this book is released.

While it is certainly possible Mr. Martin will live to that age, one begins (again, getting grim here), to worry about his longevity and, subsequently, the possibility the series will get finished, at least in book form.

Though I haven’t read any of the books, as an author currently working on the conclusion to my own series, I’m intrigued -and I hope, if only for the series’ many fans!- to see if Mr. Martin gets the work done.

Ash vs. Evil Dead… R.I.P.

There were some rather dodgy statements coming from cable company Starz! and the people behind Ash vs. Evil Dead that season three of the beloved cult show may well be the last.

Turns out, it is.

Cheryl Eddy over at i09.com offers the news…

Aw, hell, Ash vs. Evil Dead will not get a fourth season

As I said above, there were hints this was going to be the case.  Bruce Campbell, Ash Williams himself, mused during an interview that if the show wasn’t renewed for a fourth season, that would effectively be the last time he’d play the character.

It was a curious statement to make and it made me think he knew more of what was going on than he was willing to say…

I’ve seen all but the last three episodes of this season and, though I’m a huge fan Bruce Campbell’s Ash and love me some Evil Dead, this latest season was… not particularly good.  In fact, I’m still where I was, stuck on episode 5, when I wrote about my ambivalent feelings about the latest season of the show.

I will repeat something I’ve said many times before: I’ve enjoyed the first two seasons of the show, the second more than the first, but felt each season had a weak ending.  Nonetheless, there was a beautiful balance between the absurd and the gory and I really, really liked the characters introduced around Campbell’s Ash.

This season, though, the original writing show runner left due to clashes with one of the series’ original producers (I wrote about that here), and strangely enough his plans to make Dana DeLorenzo’s Kelly Maxwell turn out to be Ash’s daughter (something which, if you watch the first two seasons of the show realize was in the works from the start) was replaced with… bringing in another actress to play Ash’s daughter.

I don’t want to slam the actress, but the role to where I’ve seen the show has been… thankless.  There would have been, IMHO, much more meat in the bone if Kelly’s character turned out to be Ash’s daughter and we wouldn’t have had to introduce a new character and try to incorporate her into the story in any significant way.

But that’s not the worst of it.

Again, I’m repeating stuff I wrote before (and, if you click the link above you’ll read what I originally wrote), but this season of Ash vs. Evil Dead has featured our main characters curiously split from each other, doing their own thing and that, too, is dull.  It was fun to see Ash reacting to the others and vice versa.  But now, they’re spread out and floundering.

Now, I haven’t seen any of the episodes after #5 and, therefore, have half a season -when its done- to go.  I hope things pick up.  I especially hope, given that this is likely the last we’ll ever see of Ash, that the show finally has a strong ending.

We’ll see.

Sketchin’ 62

I’ve never seen or indeed heard of Slightly Scarlet, the early talkie before finding an image from it which I’ve recreated.

Frankly, I felt the image was absolutely -and very humorously!- preposterous, with our leads (Clive Brook and Evelyn Brent) examining precious jewelry taken from a wall safe while a shadowy figure with a gun menaces them.  According to IMDB, this film is a comedy/drama, so perhaps the image makes sense.

Both Mr. Brook and Ms. Brent had very long careers which extended from silent films into talkies and appeared in many, many films and TV productions.  Interestingly, the two were also the stars of the 1928 film Interference, which was Paramount’s first “talkie”.

Corrosive Knights, a 4/18/18 update

Whew…

It’s been twenty days since my last Corrosive Knights update of 3/28/18, and I’m very, VERY pleased to announce I’ve just now finished the rewrites of draft #5 of the latest book in the series, Book #7…

In this new draft, I’ve cut quite a bit of stuff and taken the book from 288 pages (single spaced) down to 246.  A lot of the stuff that was cut out was either alternate “takes” of scenes or stuff I put in the back of certain chapters and wondered if this stuff would be needed and/or could be used in any new draft.  The answer, to many of those bits and pieces, was a “no”.

So the book is far more streamlined and that much closer to having everything in its proper place.

Note too, that it took me much less time to get through this than getting draft #4 done, which took something like 3-4 months.

That’s what happens as the book nears completion, things are more likely to fall in place and less “creative” writing is necessary while more grammatical/spelling type things rise to the forefront.

Regardless, as of today draft #5 is history and its off to draft #6.

I can’t wait for you all to see it!