Yesterday we had the entire family over for Thanksgiving and it was a nice, though hectic, time.

Afterwards, the wife, the kids, and I cleaned up the mess left behind and put away everything that needed putting away.

By around 8 P.M. with all that done (some had other places to go, others had longish rides back home, while many were simply early risers and don’t hang out too long), we decided, what the hell, let’s head out to our nearby Target and check out the Black Friday sales.

According to their promo ads and as you can see below, the store opened at a very early 5 P.M.

I recall how in years past we would rush through Thanksgiving and then run out to a store like Target and others hurrying to pick up on that deal you just had to have.

This year, though, we didn’t rush at all. Indeed, when we left at 8 P.M. to go out there, we had two items in mind we were curious to get -pretty good deals, certainly- but we kinda/sorta figured these items wouldn’t be the “hot” items everyone might be going after. As it turned out, we were wrong about one of them and took a subsequent journey to a farther away (but not too far) Target to get said second item -they were able to verify the other store had the particular item in stock- and, after going there, our night of not-so-frenzied Black Friday shopping was done.

Interestingly, we didn’t find terribly big crowds in either Target store. In years past, there were police cars outside the entry and police within, watching to make sure the crowds behaved. And in the past, this was very necessary.

But this time around, and I’ll grant you it was a few hours into the Black Friday opening blitz, things were supremely calm.

Which got me thinking about the way things change over time.

If you look closely at that picture I posted above, you’ll notice that after stating when the Target stores would open and on the bottom of that black circle you have this: Shop deals now at

The internet, like so many things, has disrupted/changed the Black Friday experience.

I suspect the crowds simply weren’t all that great because the items one might be crazy about getting -even those we wound up getting- we probably could have just ordered online earlier in the day and not bothered with our trek to Target.

In years past I’d look in amazement at footage of crowds tsunami-like entering a store at its opening, of people quite literally fighting for items, and I suspect that while this may still happen, its probably muted somewhat nowadays because one can order these things online.

Which made me think of how many things have been changed of late.

I suppose its a function of aging: As one gets older -and assuming one pays attention- you see changes.

For example, when I was younger, I hung out in malls to check out two types of stores: The bookstores and the music/CD stores.

I’d hang in the bookstore for a while checking out the latest books, then saunter over to the music/CD store and check out what CDs they had (there was a time –damn I’m old- when these stores had records and cassettes!).

With the arrival of the MP3 file, the CD, which took over for both the vinyl record (though that has made a comeback) and cassette was effectively neutralized. While I frown heavily upon pirate copying of artistic works, the reality was that suddenly people had access, both legally and illegally, to pretty much all music via the internet and, seemingly overnight, the music stores disappeared.

Today, Best Buy, Target, Walmart and their likes still have small sections featuring CDs and, ironically enough, bigger sections within those music sections featuring vinyl records.

But the days of the music stores -other than those catering to the vinyl record industry- are effectively over.

The other store I would spend hours in was the bookstore.

As someone who fancies himself a writer, it remains incredible to me that I simply don’t miss bookstores. Once, I had at least two very large ones within less than 20 minutes of me. Borders was the largest, a mega-book/music/video store. When Borders went out of business, I mourned the loss, but not all that much.

By then, I was almost fully into digital copies of books, having a Kindle reader and an iPad for both purposes. When our local Comic Book store also shut down, I realized just how much interesting stuff was likewise available online (again, legally purchased!). I’ve read more interesting comic books in the past year or so than I have in the previous five or more years and the range of interesting titles which are available, and which I can download in a matter of seconds, is astonishing.

This post is not intended to be a lamentation of the “good old days”. While I truly did enjoy the hell out of myself back then driving to brick and mortal stores for music, videos, and books/comic books, and I really don’t like the fact that so many small, independent businesses are no longer able to survive selling these items, as a consumer I’ve never had so much available to me.

Perhaps too much!

I’m into nostalgia as much if not more than most people, but one must also face the reality of the present.

Black Friday, it seems to me, is something that is in the next few years going to change. No longer will we marvel/be horrified by the crowds rushing into stores like we were before and, I suppose, that’s a good thing considering some of the fights/injuries that happened.

It’s also a sign of how things inevitably change.

Corrosive Knights, a 11/25/19 Update…!

Been a while since I’ve offered any updates on Book #8 in the Corrosive Knights series and figured it was time to do so.

This past weekend was something of a breakthrough weekend in the writing of the book and I believe I have a much stronger grasp on the ending I’ll be using within.

The process of writing is an interesting one and, for me anyway, it seems that no two books are written in quite the same way. Often, I have a strong idea for a start and ending and its the pesky middle sections that unite the two that wind up causing me the most mental work.

Usually, though, I do have a relatively strong idea of what I want to write about and often my imagination takes over as I’m physically sitting behind the computer typing.

New ideas flow, sometimes damn good ones, sometimes so-so ones, and sometimes ideas that eventually get discarded.

Over the weekend a damn good idea popped up in my head involving the story’s ending and… we’ll see. I like it a lot, but it may wind up causing me to change quite a bit of the novel written to date.

I’m fast approaching my novel’s usual word count, often just north of 100,000 words, and I do feel like I have the bones of a good novel set up. I’m hoping that perhaps in the next few weeks and certainly before Christmas/New Year’s I’ll have my first full draft done.

Unlike other novels, I feel much of what I’ve written is quite good and doesn’t require considerable revision, at least the stuff that doesn’t relate to this story ending I came up with over the weekend.

In previous books, I’ve had to work really hard on the revisions, making the descriptions sharper and cutting down on repetition. Thankfully, it seems like some of these old bad habits of early drafts are becoming less and less an issue.

Or, to put it another way, perhaps I’m becoming a better first draft writer and am not stumbling in the dark quite as much as before.

What that means, in the long run and hopefully, is that when I do finally finish this first solid draft of the novel, the amount of work needed to polish it up for release should be a little easier.

In pervious novels, I’ve noted its taken me up to 12 drafts before I feel a book is ready to be released. Perhaps this time around it won’t be quite that many.

Regardless, the book is proceeding along and, again hopefully, I’m farther ahead than I usually am in/around this time in writing a book.

I’m excited about it, always a good thing, and I can’t wait to present it sometime in the new year!

Yesterday’s Tesla Cybertruck Unveil…

If you’re at all interested in this sort of stuff like I am (even though I have no interest now nor likely in the future of getting myself a pickup truck), then you likely caught either live or early this morning clips from the Tesla Cybertruck unveil.

I suppose the one big thing people will talk about is this…

Image result for tesla cybertruck"

Whether you like, hate, or are indifferent to the truck, you notice the two broken windows?

Yeah, Elon Musk made a point of how the truck’s windows were these super strong reinforced windows and showed, using dropped metal balls on a “typical” pickup truck window versus his truck’s window how they didn’t shatter.

Then, after showing the window strength on these sample windows, he had the metal ball thrown against the Cybertruck’s window and… well… they cracked. Both of ’em.

Why? More importantly, how?

I mean, Musk and his engineers must have tried this trick many times before coming out here for this demonstration right? And the windows, in those occasions, must have held together, right?

I think I know what went wrong, though obviously this is pure speculation on my part: Before throwing the metal balls at the truck’s window, Musk showed the strength of the truck’s body. Using a sledgehammer, the truck’s front and back doors -the same doors which have those ultimately shattered windows- were slammed with that sledgehammer and, lo and behold, no marks were left.

Truly astonishing stuff!

However, I suspect slamming the sledgehammer into those doors weakened the truck’s windows and perhaps caused them to develop small cracks. Thus, when it came time to throw the metal ball, hilarity (and embarrassment) occurred.


All right, but that’s the way it goes. You come up to the plate, there are times you’re going to strike out. In that portion of last night’s event, it was a definite strikeout.

What of the Cybertruck itself? How does it look? How much does it cost and what do you get for your money?

I found this video posted on YouTube and presented by The Verge which offers a good encapsulation of the night’s event, including the narrator’s impressions of the truck following taking a ride in it…

The video is, IMHO, quite neutral in its presentation, offering the pluses and minuses of this brief glimpse of the Tesla Cybertruck.

On the plus side, the price and features this truck will have, especially in its premium model, are insane. 500 mile range? Whoa…!

But here’s the thing: How does one react to how the truck looks?

Image result for tesla cybertruck"

I’m ok with it, to be honest. I don’t love it, but I certainly don’t hate it. I suspect, however, this is going to be the biggest issue with potential consumers. There are going to be those -and they’re many!- who aren’t going to like the look of this car and will refuse to purchase it on that basis.

There are already plenty of snarky comments online about the truck’s looks, some joking it looks like a PS1 rendering of a truck.

They’re not wrong!

Musk’s vehicles, if nothing else, sure do go toward the clean, minimalistic look, and the Cybertruck is certainly on course.

However, and as I said, while I don’t love it I also don’t hate it.

In fact, the more I look at it, the more its kinda growing on me.

Mind you, I’m still not interested in getting it. In my life and ever since starting to drive in 1981/2, I’ve never had a pickup truck nor the desire to own one.

That hasn’t changed, even if I sure was curious to see what Musk and Tesla had up their sleeve here.


Ok, perhaps my Tesla fanboy nature is showing, but I’ll be damned if the more I see pictures of this Cybertruck the more I… like it.

It’s so damn different from everything out there that perhaps its natural one would initially have a negative impression, but the more I see photos like this one…

…the more I like it.

Understand, though, I have no need/interest in getting a pickup truck but if I did, suddenly the idea of getting something that looks like this isn’t quite so hard to swallow.

As they say, your mileage, of course, man/will vary!

Blade Runner (1982) Day’s Here…!

Back in 1982 Blade Runner, a film directed by Ridley Scott (Alien) and featuring Harrison Ford and Rutger Hauer, was released… and pretty much flopped.

The years, however, were kind to this film, and it became viewed as something of a cinematic classic. The film famously opened with this…

Image result for blade runner november 20 2019

Yeah, the far flung (at that time, anyway!) future of November 2019. A little later in the film, we found the exact date in November of 2019 when the film was taking place…

Image result for blade runner november 20 2019"

Yup, November 20th, 2019.

The date is here and we are there.

Tomorrow, November the 21st, Elon Musk -such a cheeky boy!- will unveil his “Cybertruck”, a pickup truck he has stated looks like something from Blade Runner. Clearly a big fan of movies, Mr. Musk’s unveiling is obviously timed with Blade Runner’s then -and now our- present date.

I don’t need nor want a pickup truck and there is no doubt I won’t be buying this one when it comes to market. Indeed, in all my years of driving, I have never had a pickup truck nor needed one.

Yet I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t curious to see this “Cybertruck”.

Until tomorrow, happy -if such a term applies to that grim future!- Blade Runner day!

Image result for blade runner"

Box Office Problems, Redux

A few days back (you can read it here) I wrote about how difficult it was to predict the success and failure of released films. In that case, my focus was on the Box Office disappointments Terminator: Dark Fate and Doctor Sleep, two films which I personally figured -and I’m quite certain the studios also figured- would do far better than they did.

I noted that screenwriter William Goldman’s famous quote of Nobody Knows Nothing with regard to how well a film will do applied in these cases.

But there are occasions where things work out almost exactly as one suspects they will.

Over the last week, three movies were released, Ford v Ferrari, Charlie’s Angels, and The Good Liar.

Based on their trailers alone, I suspected Ford v Ferrari would do well. The film looked strong and confident in its story. The two leads, Matt Damon and Christian Bale, looked like they were having a ball playing testosterone fueled gear heads.

And so it was, Ford v Ferrari took the pole position (ouch) at the box office, earning a strong $31 million or so in its first week of release.

On the other hand, Charlie’s Angels and The Good Liar didn’t fare quite as well.

Charlie’s Angels, the second movie reboot of the venerable 1970’s TV series, had what I thought were very weak commercials/trailers that, frankly, didn’t sell me all that well on the product. The inverse of what I saw in Ford v Ferrari appeared to be the case here, a trailer that seemed hesitant, lacked confidence in their product, and, worst of all, was a mish-mash of action cliches without giving us any strong sense of a plot.

The studios -not total fools- were already thinking the film wouldn’t do all that well and predicted a box office take at less than $15 million, already a rather low prediction, and the film’s paltry under $9 million take was even worse than expected.

And I’m not terribly surprised.

Moving to The Good Liar, a film that features Helen Mirren and Ian McKellen in a tale that is pretty hidden in the film’s trailer -though one understands it involves scammers taking advantage of each other- I was also not terribly surprised the film didn’t do all that well. However, given its low budget, I suspect the studios aren’t sweating the end results. The film will likely make up its investment.

Ah well!

Mustang Mach E Redux

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Oscar Wilde

Yesterday I posted a longish analysis of the new Mustang Mach E, Ford’s first big foray into the electric automobile market, and how that vehicle, to my eyes, appears to be a very direct imitation of Tesla’s upcoming Model Y, from the stats to the visuals. (If you care to, you can read the full thing here)

Also yesterday, the Mach E was formally presented and, one of the larger/well-known websites that focus on the EV revolution, had a representative there. Seth Weintraub offers the following fascinating article regarding what he saw…

Great Artists Steal: Why Ford’s Mustang Mach E was inspired by Tesla in all the right ways

The upshot of what Mr. Weintraub writes is encapsulated by Oscar Wilde’s famous quote as well as the title to his article: Yeah, Ford pretty much copied Tesla’s vehicles -particularly the upcoming Model Y- but, you know what? They created a pretty damn nice EV!

What does Elon Musk, the man behind Tesla, have to say about this? From the same website, Fred Lambert notes…

Tesla CEO Elon Musk is “excited” for Ford Mustang Mach E, says should encourage other automakers

Within that same article and if you scroll down to the comments section, “Merv99” gives a very sanguine analysis of the whole thing:

Validation of EVs by other automakers is important. Tesla doesn’t want 70% of 2% of the market. It’s much better to have 40% of 90% of the market.

This is a very important thing to note: As much as I personally love EVs and feel they are very much the future of cars, as much as I personally feel ICE vehicles are a thing of the past, even if they don’t know it yet, they still take up an overwhelmingly LARGE percent of the market and will likely do so for a while longer.

But, with the release of the Mustang Mach E, I’m hoping people who hesitate trying a Tesla will give the Mach E a try and realize like I have these EVs are indeed the future. Perhaps then the wave of negativity coming from so many people -including those who financially benefit from the ICE status quo- will break.

EVs are very much the next generation of cars.

Hopefully and in time, they will take up a larger and larger share of the market.

Mustang Mach E

For those interested in such things, later today Ford will officially unveil their first big entry into the electric car market, the Mustang Mach E.

While today is the day the car will be officially unveiled, a few days back someone at Ford accidentally uploaded the full car specs/prices to their website. The information was quickly taken off, but not before several car websites saved the information. Over at, Bradley Brownwell offered pretty much all the screenshots to the since deleted (though I suspect by tonight will be up again) site:

2021 Ford Mustang Mach E: Here’s the Car, Price, and 0-60 Times Before You’re Supposed To See It

What does the car look like? Here you go…

And here we have the interior…

As you may know, if you’re been reading my ramblings for a while, I’m not only a BIG proponent of electric vehicles, I have a Tesla Model 3 and absolutely love the damn thing to death. I’ve been driving since roughly 1981-2 or so and in that time I’ve driven good, bad, and terrible cars, all gas powered, but the Tesla has really captured my imagination.

I quite certain I will never buy another gas powered car and, further, I’m also quite certain the era of the ICE (internal combustion engine) vehicles is at its end… even if it may take a few years before the EVs supplant them.

That’s how much I love my Tesla. That’s how much I feel the car is several steps above any ICE vehicle.

Having said that, I’m a strong proponent of other car manufacturers getting into the EV game. It’s ultimately better for the environment and these cars have so many advantages over ICE cars its not even funny (I’ll leave you to look into that, if you care to!). The only disadvantages I would site with EV cars vs. ICE is a) range on a “full” charge vs ICE vehicles and b) the charging is slower.

However, both disadvantages are rapidly being eliminated. Tesla’s Superchargers manage to recharge my Model 3 in roughly 30 minutes. After driving 2 1/2 hours or so, though, that’s hardly terrible. One can use the time for a bathroom break and/or to get some snacks/food. Further, this is using the 2nd Generation Supercharger. The 3rd Generation supposedly will charge up even quicker. The range, too, is becoming less a factor. My Model 3 on a 100% charge can do 310 miles or so. The new Model S can do 377. The New Model X can go 325.

But returning to the Mustang and as I said above, I’m a BIG proponent of the other car makers making their EVs. Competition is a good thing for consumers and I absolutely want to see Tesla pushed to make even better EVs, just as I want to see the other car makers do the same.

The big question, now that the specs for the Mustang Mach E have been leaked, is how does it compare to the Teslas? Specifically, how does it compare to the upcoming Model Y, which Ford clearly is targeting with this vehicle (I’ll get to that in a second).

Glad you asked!

Over at, Fred Lambert offers the following…

Tesla Model Y vs. Ford Mach E Specs Comparison

For those who don’t care to read all the nitty-gritty, the bottom line is this: The Ford Mach E specs are quite comparable to the upcoming Tesla Y, though one should be just a little weary about the ultimate Model Y specs. Until that vehicle is actually released, there may be some changes, perhaps in price and/or range.

Still, if we compare one to the other, then they are remarkably similar vehicles.

In fact, I would go so far as to say… Ford is essentially copying the Model Y, aren’t they? I mean, the specs are so damn similar. And as for the look of each vehicle… I mean, come on! The Mustang Mach E looks like a Tesla Model Y twin, only with certain Mustang “looks” added on.

I’m not the only one to see that. Over at, Andrei Nedelea notes the same…

Photo Comparison: Ford Mustang Mach E Looks Eerily Similar To Tesla Model Y

At the risk of giving away everything from the article, I’ll post the three photo comparisons they offer there, just to give you an idea of how similar these vehicles look…

You have the Mustang on top and the Tesla Model Y, in blue, on the bottom. Very similar lines, no?

Next up, a rear-view of both vehicles…

Once again, very similar lines, no? Look especially at the shapes of the windows and the lines on the side. I mean… it’s almost identical, isn’t it?

Here’s a third one, the interior of each car:

Again, incredibly similar interiors, no? Use of pad-like screens to show everything but note too the Tesla offers controls on the steering wheel as does the Mustang.

One thing not listed, which I also think is interesting, is that the Mustang has a glass roof…

For those who don’t know, the Teslas all have similar glass roofs…

So, yeah, to be quite clear, the Ford Mach E looks like a carbon copy of the Tesla Model Y, both in terms of stats and looks.

I don’t mind, honestly, that they so boldly have decided to match/rip-off the Tesla Y. In the case of the emerging market for EVs, perhaps this is a ultimately a wise move and from there Ford can figure things out for themselves, hopefully improving their vehicle and making progress in creating new features unique to their cars versus those in the Tesla.

Having said that, at this point what makes the Mustang more desirable than a Model Y are the tax rebates you can get from the car. This is not an insignificant amount, some $7000 plus you get off the car. Tesla has reached their limits for this rebate while Ford is just starting.

Having said that, there are also some big things you should also consider if you are debating getting a Model Y vs. a Ford Mustang Mach E.

First and foremost: The Supercharger network Tesla offers is a tremendous advantage, especially if you intend to make long distance trips. When I bought my Model 3, I frankly didn’t even consider this but now that I have the car and I have made long term trips, I realize how incredibly lucky I was to stumble into this.

The fact of the matter is that Tesla has thought through the EV market quite well -it is their only product- and they realized they not only needed to provide EVs with long range but also that they needed to provide Superchargers along the way for their vehicles to get charged up quickly and trips resumed as fast as possible.

Not that I have an intention of doing so, but at this point in time I can travel to almost all parts of the country using the Supercharger networks along the way. The Tesla navigation system in your car will also help you tremendously in this respect. You put in your long range destination and it will tell you where to go charge your car along the way and how long you need to charge it for! It will tell you the range/charge left and makes the whole trip that much easier.

For the Mustang Mach E and all other electric vehicles, you have apps available to tell you where chargers you can use are (NOTE: No vehicle other than a Tesla can use the Tesla Supercharger) but, at this point in time, their reliability isn’t 100% and the rate of charge varies. In other words, you can find a charger near you, get there, and find it isn’t working. Or perhaps there is a line of people waiting to get charged (with the Tesla Supercharges, your on-board navigator will tell you how many chargers are taken/available and will direct you to another if the primary one is offline!).

So there’s that. The other big thing Tesla has that others don’t: The Autopilot function. I know its a controversial thing and many view it very suspiciously and, yes, it isn’t full self-driving (FSD), but for my money it is a tremendous help in long range/highway driving and seems to get better with each software update…

Which brings us to advantage #3 Tesla has: The over the air updates of software. I don’t know if the Mustang Mach E will offer software updates like Tesla does but at this point the Tesla updates are regular things and, with each update, your Tesla will become a better and better car.

The latest update, for example, just came over and with it and while using the regenerative braking with full stop, I’ve found I barely ever use my brakes anymore. The car will slow then come to a complete stop on its own, using the regenerative braking to add a little charge to the battery, and you barely use the brake pads anymore, which obviously increases their life tremendously.

Other than the price (and $7000 rebate) what other advantage(s) does the Mustang Mach E have over Tesla?

Well, that’s easy: Ford is a very big, established brand and they have dealerships and repairs countrywide. If your Mustang Mach E needs some service/parts, I suspect it will be far easier and quicker to get them versus the Tesla. Also, it may be easier to go to a Ford dealership and get a test drive versus a Tesla, assuming you live in a smaller city which has no Tesla dealership. Where I live, I have both a nearby “dealership” where they show off the vehicles and allow you a test drive. Further, I live some half hour away from a big distribution/service center so I can drop off my car if/when I need to.

In the end, I truly hope the Mustang does well. I hope the Teslas continue to do well. And I hope more and more people realize that those ICE vehicles have quite literally become vestiges of the past.


Found this picture online of the Mustang Mach E’s “Frunk”. For those who don’t know what the heck a frunk is, its a front trunk. Since EVs don’t have engines like the ICE vehicles, they have room to have trunks in both the front and back.

Anyway, here’s the Mustang’s frunk…

And here you have the Tesla’s frunk…

More similarities, no?

My lucky day…

So I’ve got this friend who plays scratch-off lottery pretty constantly.

For shits and grins, I’ve given him some $10 every week/two weeks and played a single scratch-off ticket as well.

Today, this happened…

Incredibly, I hit with every one of the winning numbers, though each individual prize was pretty small -alternating between $5 and $10- for a total of $100. I gave my friend $20 for getting me the ticket so my grand total winnings wound up being $80.

I suspect that amount just about covered all the previous losses for the past two months!

Still, never have seen anything like this before and thought I’d share my good luck!

Maybe by seeing this ticket, some of my luck might rub off…!

Box office Problems…

I’ve mentioned it before -many times!- but it bears repeating. It’s the lovely quote by prestigious screenwriter/writer William Goldman concerning making films, and their chances of becoming box office successes:

Nobody knows anything… Not one person in the entire motion picture field knows for a certainty what’s going to work. Every time out it’s a guess and, if you’re lucky, an educated one.

I point this quote out because we’ve had, IMHO, two prime examples which demonstrate the wisdom of this quote.

I refer to the box office performances of Terminator: Dark Fate and the just released Doctor Sleep.

Terminator: Dark Fate (let’s refer to it as TDF from here on) looked to me like it would be a success well before its release.

I mean, come on! You had James Cameron back to the Terminator universe, not as a director but providing the story and producing the film, his first involvement in this universe since Terminator 2. You had hot director Tim Miller (Deadpool) behind the camera. You had the Arnold Schwarzenneger and Linda Hamilton. The film gets released and, over on, winds up with a very strong 71% positive among critics and another very strong 84% positive among audiences.

Things were certainly looking good.

What could possibly go wrong?


Rebecca Rubin at notes the following:

Terminator: Dark Fate stalls overseas with $29 million

According to the article, the movie has made approximately $200 million so far, counting both the U.S. and worldwide residuals. However, to “break even” the film needed to make around $450 million, which means -again according to the above article- Paramount stands to lose around $100 million from this film.


Scroll back up, my friends, and re-read that wonderful quote from William Goldman. Can you at least begin to understand why I feel it is so on the mark?

TDF had so much going for it, yet when it was finally released, audiences essentially didn’t care to go see it.


I suppose in part it could be because of fatigue with the Terminator brand. Even in my review of the film (you can read it here) I noted the weak box office and stated:

If I could go back in time, maybe I’d convince the makers of those (Terminator) sequels to lay off and, by the time TDF shows up, people might be more willing/eager to give it a shot.

It is also possible that, plain and simply, Arnold Schwarzenneger simply no longer holds the box office appeal he used to have. Maybe seeing an older Linda Hamilton was also a turn off. Let’s face it: The big box office hits often involve the young and pretty. Or maybe the story presented simply wasn’t “good enough” to justify seeing the film again. In other words, maybe the movie had few/no repeat customers, another ingredient necessary for box office success.

Who knows.

Nobody knows anything.

Regardless, the studios gambled on what I personally would have thought was a sure thing and, ultimately, it looks like that gamble won’t pay off. In time I suspect the film will make its money, especially through home video, but for now the film is a loser.

Which brings us to example “B”: Doctor Sleep.

Released just this past Friday, here was another film I would have thought would do quite well.

The movie is based on a Stephen King novel, the sequel to one of his most famous works and movie adaptations, The Shining. The director, Mike Flanagan, was a director on the rise known for his work in horror. He won plenty of accolades for his The Haunting of Hill House mini-series. He earned both Stephen King and the Stanley Kubrick (director of The Shining) estate’s thumbs up for his attempts to merge both movie and books.

The movie’s trailers, I thought, were intriguing. The idea of seeing what happened to the main character of Danny Torrence some forty years after the events of The Shining was to me very appealing. Hell, I don’t read Stephen King novels but I admit I was tempted to get that one!

Then, like TDF, the movie is released and gets wonderful ratings on As of today, the film has a 74% positive rating from critics and an incredibly strong 90% positive among audiences.

Only, it too underperformed.

Anthony D’Alessandro at writes:

Doctor Sleep to lose $20+ million for Warner Brothers

The movie opened much softer than expected, earning some $14.2 million and coming in second to the wartime drama Midway. According to the above article, if Doctor Sleep manages to make some $100 million at the box office in its run, it will still nonetheless lose that $20 million. If it makes even lower than that…

Unlike TDF, I wound up not liking Doctor Sleep (you can read my review here). Having said that, I nonetheless really expected audiences to flock to the film the first week, yet that clearly didn’t happen.

Perhaps it was because the film was inexplicably released just after Halloween. Seriously, what’s up with that? You have a horror film you’re going to release and you don’t take advantage of the one holiday associated with all things that go bump in the night?!

Perhaps it was the fact that, despite many viewing The Shining -movie and book- as a classic, it is an older work and they simply weren’t that interested in revisiting something that old. Perhaps the cast simply wasn’t strong enough to elicit interest.

Who knows.

Nobody knows anything.

And so it goes.

Doctor Sleep (2019) A (Right On Time!) Review

Way, waaaaaaaaay back 1980, my father took thirteen or fourteen year old me to the just released horror film The Shining.

Yeah, I know. Excellent parenting, no?

Back then, I had little awareness of director Stanley Kubrick and his films. For that matter, I knew very little about author Stephen King, though I likely knew by that point the film was based on one of his novels.

We sat through the film and I was really embarrassed to be sitting next to my father when the completely nude woman in the bathtub appeared and what famously followed.

But other than that, I found the film a chore.

I really didn’t like it much at all and, when we left the theater, I suspect my father didn’t either (Now that I think about it, I should ask him…!).

Then, something really curious happened. The Shining showed up on TV here and there and I’d catch some minutes of it, then a few more, then still more.

And I’ll be damn if that film didn’t grow on me. I’m dense, I guess, but after a while I got it. I became a big fan of the movie and, in time, of director Stanley Kubrick, and today consider the movie one of my all time favorite horror features.


Those who know even a little about the movie and Stephen King likely know that Mr. King was not too fond of the film. In fact, he famously stated he was unhappy with the changes made to his novel. Some have speculated it was because Mr. King viewed the novel more personally than any other (the main character is a writer struggling with alcoholism while Mr. King famously also struggled with alcoholism and drug addiction).

Fans of Mr. King’s novels have been vocal in defending the novel and many consider it a far better work than the movie. I haven’t read the novel and can’t comment on that.

Mr. King was clearly bothered enough about the movie version that years later and in 1997 he personally produced a TV mini-series which was more faithful to the novel.

The mini-series, IMHO, sucked. I thought it was dull and in the end was completely lost in the shadow of its more famous movie version.

A few years later and in 2013, Mr. King would release a sequel to The Shining, Doctor Sleep. As with most King novels, it did well and, given the success of recent Stephen King movie adaptations (in particular It), it isn’t terribly surprising a film version was made. It was released last Friday and I got to see it a few hours ago…

…and I must say, I’m befuddled.

The film, directed by Mike Flanagan (The House on Haunted Hill) is well made. The acting is generally quite good.

But the film… it feels bloated and unfocused. Even worse, there are almost no big scares. In fact, I would describe the film as not all that frightening at all. Finally, when all is said and done, the movie’s main villains are… well… without getting too SPOILERY… they wind up being not all that hard to take down in the end.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Doctor Sleep concerns Danny (now Dan) Torrance (Ewan McGregor), first immediately after the events of The Shining (both book and movie. Reportedly Mr. Flanagan tried to bridge the gap between the novel and Kubrick film). After he’s grown, we find that, like his father before him, Dan has become an alcoholic. During these opening scenes we also meet up with a group of oddball cultists known as The True Knot. They are led by Rose The Hat (Rebecca Ferguson, quite good) and roam the highways in their vans and motor homes hunting people who have “The Shining”, ie psychic abilities. Their victims are small children, and the group kills these children and feed off their souls.

I couldn’t help but think this group had more than a little similarity to the vampires presented in the 1987 cult classic vampire film Near Dark

The True Knot are in trouble: They are having a harder and harder time finding new victims, that is, until Abra Stone (Kyliegh Curran) has visions of their latest victim which in turn alerts The True Knot of her existence.

They hunger for her. Meanwhile Abra has psychically contacted Dan Torrance and, when it appears she is in danger, the two eventually team up to deal with The True Knot.

I won’t get into too many more spoilers about the film. I will say this: The movie takes a while to get going, presenting perhaps more information than was needed in the first act (Did we need to waste so much time with the backstory of Snakebit Andi?). Eventually, when things are sorted out and the players are revealed, the movie moves a little better but, again IMHO, things never really clicked as well for me and while I wouldn’t say I was hating what I saw, neither did I feel it was as interesting as I hoped it would be and the characters in The True Knot felt like -with the exception of Rose the Hat- they belonged in a cheap comic book. And, lest you think otherwise, I love comic books!

Worse, things became rather predictable and it was pretty obvious where the movie was going and where specifically the climax would occur.

In the end, I can’t recommend Doctor Sleep, despite the fact that the film was professionally done, both behind and in front of the camera. The story itself simply wasn’t that interesting and there were few -almost no!- scares, a very surprising fact given the film is supposed to be a horror movie.

Yet I wonder… given how I originally didn’t like The Shining when I originally saw it, is it possible that in time I may wind up liking Doctor Sleep?

Sadly, I don’t think so. Too bad.