The Suicide Squad (2021) a (very mildly) belated review

I’m sure just about everyone knows about this film. Still, for those few who don’t, here’s the trailer:

Written and directed by James Gunn (Guardians of the Galaxy), The Suicide Squad can be viewed as a sequel to the 2016 David Ayer directed film in that several cast members return for this “new” mission.

Prominent among them is Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) and Colonel Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman) while Idris Elba plays Bloodsport, a character who in most ways (at least in this movie version) appears to be a substitute for Will Smith’s Deadshot. (Note: Both Deadshot and Bloodsport are indeed DC comic characters but, at least IMHO, there was little attempt to make Bloodsport all that different from the screen version of Deadshot).

Anyway, there’s another “suicide” mission for them to engage in, involving a coup in the fictional island of Corto Maltese (for extreme comic book fans, the island nation was first referenced in Frank Miller’s Dark Knight comics and the name was based on a popular -and IMHO quite excellent- European comic book of the same name written and illustrated by Hugo Pratt)…

Corto Maltese GN (1986-1988 NBM) comic books

The original Suicide Squad film was mostly derided. It was heavily tampered with by the studio (director David Ayer claims there is a “Ayer Cut” of the film in existence, but unlike Zack Snyder, he doesn’t appear to have the fanbase necessary to get this movie released, as opposed to the recent release of Snyder’s Justice League). Nonetheless, the film did introduce the world to Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn and I suppose did well enough for Warners to green light James Gunn’s version of the film.

The film is quite violent but for the most part humorous, not taking the multiple -and often quite graphic- deaths all that seriously and… I dunno. I had problems with Mr. Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy because he did something similar there, trying to inject humor when the body count is incredibly high and its something that has rubbed me the wrong way about his works.

That’s just me, though.

The film worked in spurts, introducing a mostly new group of “villains” on their mission.

Perhaps most prominent among the mostly new cast is John Cena’s Peacemaker, who as most out there know went on to appear in a HBO Max series featuring his character. Sadly, the character isn’t anything like the original Charlton Comics incarnation of the character…

The Peacemaker v3 #2 - Kindle edition by Charlton Comics. Reference Kindle  eBooks @
I bought this comic waaaaaaay back when it was originally released and still have it boxed up somewhere in my collection!

Having said that, the reality is that the original version of Peacemaker lasted only a few issues before being cancelled and since DC comics bought the Charlton characters they’ve had him appear as more of a lunatic, which I suppose is what Gunn sorta/kinda was going for. I’m a few episodes into the HBO Max Peacemaker series and I have to say -SPOILERS!- I like it more overall than The Suicide Squad film. Further, Cena’s Peacemaker is much different in the show versus what he was in the movie, where he was basically a one-note moron who said a few inappropriate things before revealing what he was about in the movie’s climax.

I’ve written a lot and I suppose the bottom line for me is the movie is a decent enough time killer. Funny in spots, excessively bloody at times, but entertaining enough even if it never totally “wowed” me.

However, there is one element of the movie that affected me in a very negative way and… it’s quite personal.

The movie’s climax involves a lot of buildings being destroyed and falling to the ground and, while The Suicide Squad is far from the first film to feature such destruction (see the Godzilla films, for instance), it was the first such film I saw after what happened at Champlain Towers and the loss of my parents.

I don’t want to keep delving into this particular tragedy but in watching those last minutes of The Suicide Squad, I started feeling uncomfortable. Anxious, in fact. And I realized right away watching this destruction was taking me back to that tragedy. In a way, it was like getting a minor case of PTSD and… I didn’t like it.

Again, I know this is unique to me and I doubt many others will feel this.

But it is a scar I bear and one that, clearly, is a long way from healing.

Oh those Russians…

If the above phrase is somewhat familiar to you, its the final line of Boney M’s pretty terrific song “Rasputin”.

There is nothing humorous, however, about the invasion of Ukraine, which began in full yesterday.

Waking up this morning, I felt as if I hadn’t gotten enough sleep and, yes, felt the worry about how this invasion -something it seems Russian President Vladimir Putin was considering for a while now- would eventually play out.

Europe takes up a relatively small area and even now there are U.S. troops stationed, as one network noted, some 90 kilometers from the Ukranian border.

President Biden had it right all along, noting his awareness that Putin was planning this invasion. To Biden’s credit, he’s managed to solidify most of the world’s sentiment against Russia/Putin’s aggression and considerable sanctions are being imposed against the regime.

Will they work?

I hope so.

Naturally, the right wing media seems to want to present this situation in some alternate light. Ex-President Trump stated what Putin was doing was “genius”. Other talk show hosts, from Tucker Carlson to Laura Ingram -people who deserve IMHO the utmost contempt- are trying to either justify Putin’s actions or mock the Ukraine leader’s attempts to bring peace.

It’s really… disgusting.


But… its also humanity. People are dying and, I would say, needlessly at this point. It seems Putin’s actions are little more than a whim on his part, a need to rattle his sword. I know there are economic advantages to having Ukraine under his belt but, truly, was it necessary to go this far?

Even more frightening is the fact that no one knows where this will all lead in the end.

The Dolphins and the NFL

I’ve been around now and again and less than I’d like, so forgive me if I go over some older stuff.

After the latest season in the National Football League, the Miami Dolphins, the team I root for (though, given their record for the past twenty some years I wonder why) fired head coach Brian Flores despite having a pretty good run during his three years run.

To be clear: It wasn’t a spectacular run, but given the fact that the first year the Dolphins essentially unloaded every player of any worth they had, he has managed to overachieve with regard to the teams he’s had to work with.

This last year began pretty badly. While they won their first game against New England, they then went on to lose 7 games in a row, including losses to such “lesser” teams as Jacksonville.

But then, starting on November 7th and against the Houston Texans, they had a stunning turn around and wound up winning 7 games in a row, a tough feat to begin with, and achieved a record no team had to date: To lose 7 games in a row and win 7 games in a row in a single season!

Alas, those early loses would figure into their playoff chances and truthfully they had no margin for error in their last two games. They had a chance, certainly, but they needed to beat the Buffalo Bills in week 17 and simply could not. The Bills, much as I don’t like to admit it, are a powerhouse and they look to have a very bright future, even if they didn’t make it to the Superbowl this year.

Anyway, by the time the next, and last game of the season rolled around, it didn’t matter if they won or lost. They beat The New England Patriots once again and finished the season with a decent 9 and 8 record, slightly above average but clearly not enough.

What was surprising was that Brian Flores, whose ultimate record after three years as Head Coach was 24-25, was subsequently fired.

Then, things got ugly.

Brian Flores, after a few interviews with other teams, came out and stated the owner of the Dolphins, Stephen M. Ross, offered him $100,000 each game lost. He also presented some damning tweets between he and New England Patriots head coach Brian Belichick.

In those tweets, Mr. Belichick mistook Mr. Brian Flores for Brian Daboll and congratulated him on getting the New York Giants head coaching job… when Mr. Flores was scheduled to -but had not yet had- an interview with them!

In other words, Mr. Flores claimed this proved that the Daboll hiring was a done deal and the interview to come with him was a sham, a way of getting around the Rooney Rule (which forces NFL teams to interview minority coaches) when they had absolutely no intention of hiring Flores for the job.

Anyway, Jomills H. Braddock II and Alex R. Piquero have a good article regarding this whole affair here:

What the case of fired Dolphins coach Brian Flores says about the NFL today

Now, some of the accused, including Stephen Ross, have denied any wrongdoing and deny Mr. Flores’ accusations.

Other than being a fan of the team, I have no knowledge of the ins and outs of the organization other than watching them play their games during the season.

Yet I will say this: The Dolphins have, unfortunately, been a team that has all too consistently in the past few years been a disappointment, a huge turnaround considering that during the 1970’s they were a powerhouse, winning two SuperBowls and having their “Perfect” season, and during the 1980’s they were a consistently upper tier team under Dan Marino and Don Shula.

It seems like things went downhill pretty quickly when Don Shula was replaced with Jimmy Johnson -who came off a terrific run with the Dallas Cowboys but who seemed overwhelmed and uninterested in running another team- and when Dan Marino retired.

Watching Marino during his golden years was like watching magic. I loved those years, even if in the end they only reached the SuperBowl once… and lost to the San Francisco 49ers.

That match up, way back in 1985, was the last time my beloved team went to the SuperBowl. Ladies and gentlemen, that’s 37 years ago.


Anyway, now we have Mike McDaniel being hired to coach the team. He previously worked with the San Francisco 49ers and there may be something, I don’t know, weirdly interesting in that particular hiring, given the 49ers were the team that defeated us the last time we were in the SuperBowl.

Will he do well? Will controversy continue to follow the team and/or will Brian Flores’ lawsuit gain traction?

I don’t know.

Regardless, its a tough situation for me, a fan of the team.

I do wonder if, within what’s left of my lifetime, I’ll ever see my beloved team once again in the SuperBowl.

Oh Canada…

I lived in Ottawa, the capital of Canada, for one year way, waaaaaay back in 1984 and into 1985. It was my first year of College and, coming from the sunny (and warm) state of Florida, it was a hell of a change and was the main reason my stay wound up being so short.

My very early years were spend in Canada, Nova Scotia in particular, and I loved the time and figured I’d love returning to Canada. While my stay wound up being short lived, I had fond memories of Ottawa and its a beautiful and -at that time anyway- a very mellow city to live in.

For the past 10 days or so, though, its been ground zero for anti-vaccine groups which are protesting the vaccine mandates for truckers and… well, its really a right wing anti-government thing in the end, isn’t it?

And its pretty ugly.

Car horns are blasted at all hours, streets are clogged, and at times ambulances have been slowed or stopped from doing their function.

Reading the various reports on this (you can read one of them, by Christian Paas-Lang and presented on here), its clear the regular citizens and the government has had enough. They’ve given them some space but it looks like after all these days, that patience has ended and more aggressive actions will now be taken to end what some feel is nothing more than a “siege”.

Interestingly, there is some evidence right-wing characters within the U.S. have had a stand in this protest and had approximately $10 million in donations for the protests which they are now giving back (you can read about that here), which is prompting some, usually right-wing figures, within the U.S. to protest.

One person who reacted negatively to this news is Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla (you can read about that here).

I… I wonder about Mr. Musk sometimes.

He’s a hell of a mind. He’s done something that no one else has done regarding changing the whole concept of what a car can -and I would argue should– be. He touts sustainable energy, he is clearly convinced that we need to reduce pollution and that global warming is a very real and dangerous threat to our world.

He moves ahead with scientific research, his SpaceX is doing things with rockets that are -whether you like him or not- amazing. He clearly has a great intellectual curiosity and has managed to do something about it.

He has his detractors and that’s understandable. He often goes on twitter and shoots himself in the foot with stupid statements.

Is this one of them?

I feel like it is.

I will try to give him the benefit of the doubt in the sense that he tweeted a few days back his feelings regarding the GoFundMe issue and his “support” of the truckers who are protesting. Since then, we’ve had reports some of them are incredibly… out there, with confederate flags (or worse) and racist elements. The disruption of the city of Ottawa seems to be devolving too from “protest” to (again, as described by some) a “siege”.

Sometimes it might be better to sit back, assess, then -and only then- make your public statements. For better or worse, whenever Musk tweets, the world does listen and sometimes the stuff he tweets is used to justify many peoples’ criticisms of him, whether justified or not.

Ah well.

The New 2021/22 Novel Update #12

Man, how time flies.

When I last made an update in early December of 2021, I was noting how I just read and wrote in the various revisions on paper for my latest novel and would be getting into putting them into the computer.

Well… that took much longer than I thought it would.

In part, I suppose, its because of the Christmas/New Year/Holiday dates… it becomes very difficult to find the time to carve out what with visiting relatives and having family over. Plus, I traveled with my daughter back to Austin and spent some time there with her which also sucked away a few days. Not to mention my other work and those myriad issues regarding taking care of my parents’ estate, the lawyers, etc. etc.

Truly it feels sometimes like I need a real break.

But today, I’m extremely happy to say, I got into a groove and essentially burned through the final parts of the revision, making it some ten pages from the very end of the novel and, upon realizing just how close I was, decided to do a ”clean sweep” and finish off this draft once and for all.

The big question is: Where am I now with regard to finishing this novel?

Pretty far, it feels.

Of course, until I give the book another read and pull out the dreaded red pen and make all those revisions, I won’t know exactly how close to finished I’ll be, but I feel like things are getting there. Perhaps the biggest single revision I did in this part of the draft was moving an entire section of the story to a little earlier in the novel -thank the heavens for Word Processors!- but otherwise it was a matter of cleaning stuff up and adding better descriptors and/or dialogue here and there.

So I move along, hopefully printing this novel out by tomorrow (I have neither the time nor desire to do so today… there’s still stuff to be done around the house!) and, if all goes well, by either this weekend or early next week its time to start reading!