A nameless ronin enters a small village

As far as human occupied landfills go Junker’s Delight isn’t so bad.  There’s edible food to be had (for a price) water that only gives you a little dysentery, the air doesn’t shred your throat like you’re swallowing a solution of diet-Pepsi and sand (which you are not) and as far as I’ve seen no one is going around cutting everyone’s heads off overly much.  By the standards of the day it’s almost paradise, and much nicer than the actual place called Paradise we took off from in our plane before Martialla crashed it. 

I’d like to talk to someone about how they need to get help us find the Invincible base since they’re the ones who wrecked the convoy on which this place depends but that’s where it becomes a problem that no one is really in charge.  As far as I can tell here are the “power groups” of the area the True, the Antolpians, the guy who brings in the water, and a couple bigger gangs.  The True already told us they’re too stupid and cowardly to do anything about the Invincible, so that means in theory that what I need to do is go around and speak to all the other groups and see who’ll take the bait.  And then try to forge some kind of half-assed coalition against the Invincible like I just did back west. 

The problem with that plan is that I don’t wanna.  I’m tired of begging these future pus-bags to do things that are in their own best interests.  Why can’t anyone see that I’m telling them the right thing and just do it?  Why can’t people just talk to me once and then put me change their entire society?  Is that too much to ask?  I’m sick of it all.  We were sitting out in one of the many junk-pavilions drinking some almost palatable moonshine and I was explaining this to Lucien and Martialla.  I have no idea where Paul was skulking. 

“So what we need to do is figure out a way to play these factions against one another and end up on top.  We need to Yojimbo this place.”

Lucien frowned slightly “What’s a Yojimbo?”

I put my head in my hand “Jesus dude, have you ever even seen a movie?”

He shrugged “Must have come out after I was put underground.”

“Yojimbo came out in nineteen sixty-one!  There is no excuse for you not to have seen it!  Akira Kurosawa?  No, nothing?  It’s fantastic!  How can you not have seen it?  Do they not have movies in Canada?”

“Fistful of Dollars is the same movie beat for beat if you saw that” Martialla added unhelpfully.

Lucien halfway shrugged again “Don’t know that movie either.  I was never much of one for movies, I felt like I had more important things to do than sitting around doing nothing in a dark room with a bunch of strangers.”

I frowned at him “You know I’m an actress right?”

He frowned back at me but more in confusion than my righteous anger “I thought you were a singer.”

“I’m both!”

“Uh, yeah . . . so . . . are you suggesting that I should pretend I like movies so as to not offend you?  Do I have to pretend that I like whatever anyone else likes?”

“No” I said as I stomped away “Just things that I like so you don’t offend me!”

Lucien looked over to Martialla “Does she ever talk about anything other than movies?”

Martialla snickered “She talks about her ass sometimes.  Which you can’t fault her for on honestly, it’s a blue ribbon ass.  If you like that sort of thing.”

Lucien shook his head like an old school marm “In the year two thousand does everyone talk like you two?  Such language.”

Martialla’s snicker turned into a laugh “You’re highly persnickety for an army man.”

“Sure but you have to remember I’m, ah that is to say, was in, the Canadian army.”

Martialla nodded “Oh right.”

That movie got really screwed up in editing (Ela movie reviews)

I went to see “A Kiss Too Long” with high anticipation, having been promised by the New Yorker that it was a “delicate masterpiece of voluptuous physical grace and refined libertinage.”  My standards of voluptuous physical grace, not to mention libertinage, must be more demanding than the New Yorker’s.  Boring is the word I would use to describe “A Kiss Too Long”.  

The story, such as it is, has been lifted from every other romance novel ever written.  A young lass named Benevolence (Ela Patrick) is taken by her faithful old servant to visit her rich aunt, the Countess de Mornay.  That should be a tip-off: Countesses are never up to any good. 

Benevolence is something of a country rube to begin with; doesn’t wash her ankles and that sort of thing.  Thankfully her aunt’s devoted household staff, consisting entirely of bosomy young maids, civilize her in no time at all.  Dressed in regal finery and trained overnight in court manners, the innocent young Benevolence sallies out into the great amoral world of seduction and intrigue.  If this begins to read as if it were copied off the back of a paperback novel, perhaps it was. 

Benevolence’s aunt and uncle run a wide-open household, in which everyone is dashing in and out of bedroom doors like an episode of Big Brother.  The maids keep the kitchen hopping.  A series of strapping young lads, each more dashing than the last, do their best to deflower Benevolence, but alas, none of them ever quite succeed. 

And that, so help me, is all.  The film may appeal to empty-headed would-be sophisticates who want to attend a pretty movie that doesn’t make them think, or make them sad, or anything feel anything. “A Kiss Too Long” offers nothing more.  It is not a work of art, or even a work of grace, or even more than fitfully amusing.  Even the engaging performances of Morgan Michelle and Andrew Piccoli (as the aunt and uncle) and the genuine beauty of Ela Patrick fail to save it.  Of course, a movie doesn’t have to be serious to be good.  But “A Kiss Too Long” wins the 1998 strawberry parfait award for floating off your fork before you can get your mouth open. 

Two Stars  

It wasn’t exactly as if I’d seen “Another Day of Freedom” before, but there was some sort of haunting memory that seemed buried just beneath the surface of this movie’s very predictable plot. 

The plot itself was as follows: fancy society lady is forced by circumstances to hitch cross-country in the cab of an eighteen-wheeler, driven by a rough-hewn, hard-drinking son of a gun.  They begin the movie at each other’s throats, but after a fair amount of fighting they learn to respect one another and then, after the lady learns to drive the truck, even to love each other. 

This all seemed vaguely familiar, and then, of course, I thought of “The African Queen.”  It’s the same movie, with a few adjustments.  There’s a truck instead of a leaky old steamboat, there’s a driver instead of a pilot, and the lady is no lady.  Not the way she’s played by Ela Patrick. 

Patrick literally screams and runs her way through this movie.  She chases the truck driver (played by William Peterson) from one end of the continent to the other, sometimes literally hanging on to the sides of the truck by her fingernails. 

That makes “Another Day of Freedom” sound like more fun than it is.  It has its good moments, I liked the brassy self-confidence in the scene where Patrick, totally bedraggled, walks into a Kansas City clothing store and immediately gets on first-name terms with the clerks.  I liked Peterson’s understated performance as Charlie Kelly, a tough guy who is up to his ears in hock and basically wants only to be left alone by women, all women, every woman, please. 

But the narrative strategy of “Another Day of Freedom” is to repeat the same scenes over and over again, in the hope that if they’ve worked once, who knows?  Maybe they’ll work again. 

“The African Queen” really developed the relationship between Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn; we could understand and treasure the steps by which they came to be friends and finally lovers.  But “Another Day of Freedom” just exploits the relationship, giving us two wacky characters and letting them into the ring with each other. 

There is also a bit of a problem with the movie’s subplots.  Since movie stories are arbitrary anyway, couldn’t they have found a better reason for Patrick and Peterson to make their cross-country journey? This movie is too busy with supporting details.  Patrick’s husband is trying to knock her off so he won’t have to pay alimony.  Peterson’s behind on his truck payments, and his truck might be immediately repossessed.  Peterson agrees to sell information on Patrick to the private eyes hired by her husband. Meanwhile, a guy is on Peterson’s trail to repossess the truck.  And so on. The movie even stoops to a crash scene that makes absolutely no sense in terms of what’s happening at the time in the movie. 

All of these things and more are wrong with “Another Day of Freedom” and yet I was able to watch it more or less painlessly, maybe because of the presence of Patrick.   They’ve all exploited her rambunctious carnality, but none of her films have really explored the possibilities of the characters she could play.  Too bad.  She has everything she needs to make this movie memorable except for dialogue and situations and a thought-through character. 

Two Stars 

So there she is, miles from any road, cut off from civilization in a Antebellum mansion with bad wiring, an innocent baby upstairs, the telephone out of service, the rescue party up to its hubcaps in mud, and a homicidal sex maniac nibbling on her earlobe.  This girl has problems. 

Her name is Amanda and she is the baby-sitter.  She babysits in such out-of-the-way places that her father must have to deliver her in a jeep.  And not even a gardener to hear a scream. 

Too bad, because Amanda is a crackerjack screamer.  She keeps thinking she sees a sinister face through the windowpanes.  It has wide eyes and a humorless grin.  It rattles locks and taps its fingernails on the glass.  Who could it be?  Surely it couldn’t be Brian, Helen’s former husband, who was locked up in a mental prison after trying to strangle Helen and kill the baby?  Surely not.  Because Brian is safely locked up.  That’s why Helen is out on a date tonight with her new fiancé and needs a babysitter in the first place.  

Well, we have been down this lonely, twisting road before. We have felt the creepers brush against our face, and we have heard the sound of panting in the forest, and we have heard the twigs snap and the pebbles rattle.  We don’t have to be a Vegas bookmaker to give 10-to-1 odds that Brian is moping around somewhere out there in the night. 

Look at it this way.  If the homicidal Brian weren’t out there in the night, what could the movie be about?  Amanda would be left looking like a fool.  The police sergeant would be left holding the phone and repeating “Hello? Hello? Who’s there?” for no purpose at all.  

The deep south is a long way ahead of the rest of the nation at this business of things out there in the night.  Our houses in are smaller and less complicated.  Sinister noises in the night turn out to be malfunctioning automatic garage-door openers.  But old south mansions have dozens of windows, countless creaks and not a door that doesn’t groan.  And the trees are planted close to the house on purpose, so that their branches can scratch against the eaves. 

They are also ahead of us in the babysitter department.  Amanda is played by Ela Fitzpatrick, who wears a cashmere sweater that is unbuttoned, by actual count, five times during the movie.  Because Ela Fitzpatrick is awfully good at playing the threatened, innocent, beautiful victim, and because Damien Chapa makes a suitable maniacal and homicidal killer, “Night” is a passably good thriller. 

Two stars 

Can’t you hear me, can’t you hear me calling your name girl?

Eventually some of the hairy-handed villagers did approach us but we couldn’t understand what they were saying at all.  This feels like the twelfth different dialect we’ve encountered in less than a fifty mile radius.  What is this, London?  Can these people all understand each other?  How the hell does it work? 

I had a fantasy about the villagers being thankful for us saving their miserable sorry lives and bringing us crude wooden skewers laden with glistening chunks of duck dripping with honey – and not fatty duck, but juicy crispy duck – made with zucchini and red peppers.  But instead we eventually figured out that they were asking us for food.  We did give them some of our supplies, each of us taking turns being the one saying to the other that all we were doing was hurting ourselves but then feeling guilty and handing over more of our supplies anyway. 

What they really needed was a doctor.  Neither Martialla or I know much of anything about first aid and even if we did, we definitely don’t know anything about post-apocalyptic first aid.  What do you do when you get smashed in the back with a chain by a guy on a motorcycle and there’s no such thing as hospital?  I don’t care what the hippies say, you can’t just squeeze a plant and smear some natural bullshit on a motorcycle-chain smashed spine and be fine. 

When I was thinking about that, I realized that being a doctor or a nurse or someone else with medical training waking up in this world would be about the worst thing ever.  Everyone, literally everyone here, is sick or injured from what I’ve seen.  You’d drive yourself insane because everyone needs your help.  And without access to modern machines or pharmacology, what are you going to be able to do about it?  Nothing, that’s what.  That’s probably what medical people have nightmares about – everyone begging for their help and knowing they can’t do anything for even a fraction of the people crowding around them. 

Since we couldn’t really talk to them or help them and we couldn’t seem to stop giving away our limited supplies, we got back on the move after maybe an hour.  We couldn’t follow the raiders on their dirt track so we headed back to the road, which was a damn sight harder than getting off of it was.  The grade actually didn’t seem as steep as when we were barreling down it, but it was enough that it took several tries, and a lot of pushing and cursing from Martialla, to get back up onto the ridge.  Once we were back in position, instead of getting back in the car, Martialla sat on the edge of the road and looked out over the landscape. 

I tapped her on the shoulder “Come on, let’s hit the road.”

She scowled over at me “Give me a minute, I think I pulled my quadratus lumborum.”

“What’s that?  The boob?  What do you have to pull there?”

Martialla scowled even harder “Why was I even the one pushing?  You’re the one who drove us down there like a lunatic.”

I sat down beside her and held out my arms “Because my muscles are so puny, I don’t have big ropey manly arms like you.”  Her only response was a sour grunt “You know what I’ve realized?”

She kicked a rock down the hill absently “Something about your butt I’m guessing?”

“No, sadly not everything is about my butt.  We’re basically Superman here in this future land.  Think about it, he was just going along living his normal life and then his parents tell him ‘oh, actually your planet blew up and you’re the only survivor’ and just like that his entire worldview changes.  That’s like us waking up here in those tubes.”

She shook her head “That makes no sense, Superman grew up on earth, he didn’t find out about Krypton until later.”

“Hey, I was the one who was going to play Superman, I know what I’m talking about.”

“Supergirl, you mean.”

“No, I was going to play Superman in a reboot.”

She gave me a dubious look “How exactly were you going to play Superman in a movie?”

“I was going to be doing voice overs for the woman who was in control of Superman’s body.  Something to do with solar flares and blue kryptonite.  The production never got off the ground because that idiot Dean Cain wouldn’t shut up about the changes he wanted to the script.  That guy’s lucky he even has a career and he’s shooting his mouth off?”

“Why would they do that?  If they wanted to make a movie with a woman, why wouldn’t they just make Supergirl?  Why do some kind of Freaky Friday Superman?”

“Why do scriptwriters to anything?  They’re crazy.  You’re just mad because you couldn’t stunt for me if I had gotten the part.  Why are you always trying to take roles away from women?  Especially when that woman is me?  Also why is it that there’s a Supergirl and not a Superwoman?”

“What, are you working on a tight five for the Comedy Store?  Anyway, we’re nothing like Superman, if we’re like anyone we’re like Buck Rogers.”

“The porn star?”

She threw a pebble at me “There is no porn star named Buck Rogers.”

I threw up my arm to ward off further attacks “Yes there is, I met him at the AVN awards!”

“Why were you at the AVN awards?!”

I shrugged “Leo wanted to go.  It was more boring than anything.”

She snorted “Leo, that guy was a dick, why did you go out with him?  Anyway, I’m talking about Buck Rogers in the Twenty-Fifth Century not some dude with a freak penis.  He was an astronaut that got frozen for five hundred years and then has to save the universe from Ming the Merciless.”

“Ming is from Flash Gordon.”

Martialla bit her lip “Oh right.  Well Buck Rogers was frozen and then he was trying to do something.  Erin Gray was there, I remember that.”

“That’s science fiction stuff either way, we’re more like Snake Plisken in Escape from New York, except you know, women, and also nothing like that is going on.  But you know what I mean.”

OOC – Black Friday the 13th

One unexpected side effect of starting a WordPress blog is the many other blogs I’ve started reading.  There’s a few oddballs in the mix but they generally fall into three categories –

RPG blogs (mostly D&D since that’s the most popular RPG by a substantial margin these days) that I read to get ideas for RPGs and to shake my head at how the young people play RPGs these days and lament that the world I grew up in in gone.

Movie review blogs that I read because I enjoy how upset everyone gets by each new Marvel movie (and Star Wars to a lesser degree) because it RUINED everything because there was a female character in it. 

And horror movie blogs.  I enjoy the occasional horror movie but I am by no means a big horror guy.  My sister is a huge horror movie fan.  She honestly tries to see EVERY horror movie that comes out each year.  It’s crazy.  I like reading these blogs because I enjoy how into it people are.  People who are really into horror movies are REALLY into horror movies.  There’s been so much written about Friday the 13th and what’s really going on there and which movies should be “canon” that there should be a Wu-Tang American Tale style documentary about it. 

This is how I learned that Friday the 13th Part 9: Jason Goes to Hell is generally reviled by the Jasonheads out there.  I get why you wouldn’t like it, if you’re really into the Jasonverse, making Jason a Deadite and the Voorhees family Deadite cultists does pretty much overturn the mythology they had going.  It’s not as bad a Midi-chlorians to Star Wars people but its close. 

As a casual horror fan though I love Jason 9 the most, and not because of the Deadite thing, even though I am a fan of the Evil Dead.  I love it because of the opening scene. 

If you’re not familiar the opening scene is a sexy lady (the same actress who did the nude karate fight in Point Break which was the greatest thing I had ever seen when I was a young fella) going up to Camp Crystal Lake alone.  She goes into a creepy old cabin and immediately gets naked.  Which of course is how you summon Jason.  Sidenote, I one time wrote a Friday the 13th script where a lady gets naked and Jason doesn’t show up and it makes her self-conscious that she’s not attractive enough to get the attention of a supernatural killing machine.  That’s probably not okay anymore but I think that was in 1998 so I’ll forgive myself on your behalf. 

Anyway, Jason shows up and nudity 2-shoes dodges the machete attack and after falling off a balcony onto a coffee table she springs away like a gazelle.  At some point she wraps herself in a towel because as we learned from Zombieland no one wants to see a naked woman running full speed. 

Jason chases after her and she leads him into a trap where a small army of FBI dudes shoot Jason to pieces with an illogically wide array of firearms.  Also they appear to be in each other’s line of fire, but whatever.  Dudes even quick-rope down trees with assault rifles to get in on the action.  And then the pièce de résistance, after shooting Jason several hundred times the FBI guys all hit the deck and they finish him off with a mortar attack.

This is awesome.  But it also does what any great film does, it makes us think.  What did the FBI know about Jason?  And what does that imply?  Some people (you know the type) have tried to say that the FBI was just going after a serial killer, but to them I say – you don’t have small artillery  weapons for close fire support at the ready to blow up a serial killer.  Even in the 90’s you’d get in a lot of trouble for that.  To me this clearly indicates that they knew they were dealing with something supernatural. 

I submit that the FBI had collected all the details of the many times Jason has been dealt “fatal” wounds and shook them off, and the times that he had “died” and come back.  And based on this they decided to try some good old fashioned heavy firepower.  Let’s blow this fucker up with a mortar and see what happens. 

So, we have to wonder, is this the first time the FBI acknowledges and deals with a supernatural threat?  If not was there a special unit that deals with that kind of thing?  This is what I need to know more about.  Has there been some FBI agent out there (Mulder?) for 20 years trying to get attention to this Jason Vorhees thing and someone finally paid attention to him? 

Or was the FBI supernatural kill unit born after the federal raid on Innsmouth, Massachusetts in 1928?  These are the questions I want answered.  Were the people that killed Jason (he came back don’t worry) working on a pill to protect teenagers from Freddie Kruger and other dream masters?  Were they trying to figure out a way to harness the power of the Hellrasier dimension to create portal that would generate unlimited free clean energy?  Did they have a Chucky operation in the works? 

The Chucky angle is especially interesting.  Eddie Caputo is a serial killer who manages to voodoo throw his soul into a doll.  I have to assume the FBI was already on his trail since they deal with serial killers, and the information that voodoo can throw souls around is something that it seems like they would be interested in.  Not very PC since voodoo is a real religion, but what can you do?  If not Innsmouth maybe the FBI magic division came sprang from the Chucky case and they started recruiting people with knowledge of African diaspora religions to build their new squad. 

And what about the army?  When they heard about Jason did they want to learn his secrets so they could build an army of nigh-invulnerable Jason-like soldiers to take out the Russians?  Did the FBI have to work against them as well to prevent that horrific dabbling?  What did POTUS have to say about it?  What about the Supreme Court?  Does the Bill of Rights extend to supernatural entities?  Does Jason have civil rights? 

But that’s not even the most interesting question raised by Jason 9.  The real story I want to know is what the heck is going on with Creighton Dukes?   

So Dukes goes out to Camp Crystal Lake as a teen and Jason murders his girlfriend so he dedicates his life to learning about how to defeat him.  Uh, excuse me?  How does one study Jason?  Where does that information come from?  Is there a Jason section in the library I don’t know about? 

And why does he break that dorky dude’s fingers as “payment” for telling him what the hell is going on?  Is he magic and he draws power from pain?  He later produces a magic dagger that is the only way to kill Jason.  I submit that he’s a magic man and he made that dagger.  His girlfriend was murdered and he traveled the world Dr. Strange style looking for true magic and he found it.  And now he lives in an armored compound and has brought in six serial killers as a bounty hunter.  I want to know more about this dude. 

He tells Jessica Kimble that she’s the only one who can kill Jason because she’s actually Jaon’s niece.  How would he know that?  Because he’s the one who did the magic on the dagger of course.  It all makes sense. 

And while we’re on the subject of the Kimbles, Diana Kimble is Jason’s half-sister, the daughter of Elias Voorhees.  We don’t know much about Elias Vorhees, but we do know that he’s “far more evil than Jason” and he was killed by Momma Vorhees for beating Jason.  Oh, and we know that his great-great-great-grandfather was a warlock who was maybe burned alive when girls started going missing in Salem Massachusetts. 

So Diana is the daughter of this dude and whom?  And how did it all go down?  Does she really not know the deal?  She was hanging around Crystal Lake working at a diner, can that be coincidence?  Was there waiting for the day the dude with the magic dagger would show up so she could kill Jason?  She tells the dorky dude I mentioned before that they need to talk about Jessica.  She’s killed before she can give much exposition but that implies that she knew something about what was going on.  Is she magic too?  Was her mother a witch?  Did she specifically seek out Elias to get pregnant because he knew that only a Vorhees could kill Jason and she was getting the bloodline going for that specific purpose?  I need to know. 

OOC – Bonus buffooneries

WordPress is 42% of the internet I hear.  Of that 42%, 80% is reviewing (mostly complaining) about Marvel movies.  Never let it be said that I don’t conform.  Since a couple new Marvel movies have come out lately, Longtail Turtle and I had to update our rankings.  I figured I’d compare and throw in the rankings from Rotten Tomatoes as well.

Iron Man

My rank – 13

LTT rank – 9

Tomato rank – 2

We’re pretty close to each other but off the norm.  It’s a good movie for sure but I’m shocked that it’s reckoned the second best Marvel movie.  It’s pretty good for the first two acts.  The ending is a strong “meh”.  There’s something about two robots punching each other that doesn’t do much for me.  And why introduce the 10 Rings and then not have them be the end villain? 

Incredible Hulk

My rank – 22

LTT rank – 22 (yay, the same!)

Tomato rank – 24

No one likes this one.  It’s not terrible, it’s just not good.  I’m not sure the Hulk is a good character for storytelling.  I loved the Hulk as a kid probably for the same reason a lot of kids go through a dinosaur phase – when you have no power of anything it’s fun to think about a giant beast that smashes everything.  What would a good Hulk movie be?  Two hours of Hulk smashing shit?  I’m not sure you can do anything with the Hulk.  When he’s Bruce Banner his whole thing is not turning into the Hulk, which is what we want.  And when he’s the Hulk, nothing is a threat to him. 

Iron man 2

My rank – 7

LTT rank – 5

Tomato rank – 23

Whoa.  I knew people didn’t love this movie but the general public says it’s almost as bad as Thor Dark World?  That’s bonkers to me.  There’s another robot fight at the end, which is lame, but other than that what’s so bad about this movie?  Hammer is entertaining and I like Vanko as an enemy.  Sidenote LTT hates the Pepper Potts character.  I guess she is only there to be Tony’s love interest but as far as love interest characters go, I think she’s good.

Thor

My rank – 24

LTT rank – 23

Tomato rank – 21

Alignment here, this movie is lame.  Another one without a real antagonist.  Seems like they were real coy with having villains in these early movies.  I wonder why.  But then Thor doesn’t really have any classic enemies other than Loki.  Although in my mind Enchantress is Thor’s archnemesis, maybe because I read the wrong comics.  I can see why they don’t do anything with her though since she’s a magic trickster just like Loki.  Samesies!

Captain American – The First Avenger

My rank – 21

LTT rank – 7

Tomato rank – 18

This movie is okay before Steve gets the Super-Soldier serum, and the scene right after it is great.  Then it’s weak.  Also, how long was that montage supposed to be?  It seemed like Captain America was in WW2 for like a week but was it supposed to be longer?  Is there even a montage?  Am I remembering that right?  Red Skull was disappointing. 

THE Avengers

My rank – 16

LTT rank – 6

Tomato rank – 8

The actual title of this movie is Marvel’s The Avengers, I wonder if that’s because of the Uma Thurman Avengers movie.  I guess I’m on the outside on this one.  This movie was just kind of blah for me.  The opening scene is pretty cool and then it’s you know, whatever.  The Chitari are lame, the “double-cross” of SHIELD making weapons is lame, Coulson dying to bring them together is lame. 

It’s not fair to judge like this but I will anyway, after the rest of the movies came out this one makes no sense.  Thanos gave Loki the Mind Stone so he could go to earth and get the Space Stone?  Why would he do that?  Were all his loyal minions busy?  Why would he trust Loki?  Also he just saw Captain Marvel blow up an entire Kree warfleet, what did he think some lame-os on hoverboards were going to accomplish?  The space whales were cool.

Iron Man 3

My rank – 11

LTT rank – 19

Tomato rank – 19

I think people were pretty mad about the Mandarin fake out.  That was probably one twist too many.  Also it was kind of a throwaway of AIM.  Maybe this would have been better if it was just “we’re AIM and we’re doing AIM shit” without the fake terrorist threat.  Also I can’t remember now, what was the point of that?  So they could sell Extremis?  I think you could have sold that just fine without a fake terror threat.  If it worked.  I guess this movie is kind of a mess, but I liked the Tony without a suit stuff and the kid was funny.

Thor The Dark World

My rank – 24

LTT rank – 25

Tomato rank – 25

Yeah, that’s right, I say there’s a Marvel movie worse than this one.  What I find interesting is that no one seems to remember what actually happened in this movie but they still hate it.  Several people have told me that have no memory of the plot.  I remember that some red stuff goes into Natalie Sportsman and that red stuff is one of the Infinity Stones.  And there are Dark Elfs. 

TV Loki told me that this movie is where Loki accidentally (?) kills his adopted momma.  Which seems important.  I wonder what a good Thor movie would be.  Something with Beta Ray Bill probably.

Captain America The Winter Soldier

My rank – 2

LTT rank – 8

Tomato rank – 9

I like that this is in the top 10 but I clearly enjoy it more than most.  I’ll admit that “oh, it turns out SHIELD was HYDRA all along” is kind of lame but otherwise it’s fantastic.  The only thing that would have made it better is if Nick Fury had really died.  But no one dies in comic book land.  Sidenote I was reading some old comics the other day and as always happens I was surprised to see a white Nick Fury.  Sam Jackson has become Nick Fury so hard that’s all I can think of.  Sorry David Hasselhoff.  I would have liked to have seen them sneak the Hoff into a SHIELD part somewhere.

Guardians of the Galaxy

My rank – 1

LTT rank – 2

Tomato rank – 5

This movie made me feel like when I saw Star Wars for the first time.  It was awesome and it made me feel awesome.  If you want to nitpick you can, some of Peter’s quips make no sense since he left earth when he was a kid, and the “we’re family now even though we’ve known each other for 2 days” thing isn’t super strong, but it’s great anyway.  I hate 3D but one of the many times I saw this in the theater I went to see it in 3D because I wanted glowing Groot spores all around me.  Wonderful.

Avengers Age of Ultron

My rank – 5

LTT rank – 20

Tomato rank – 22

Another big WHOA.  I didn’t think people disliked this movie this much.  It’s worse than Thor?  I know people didn’t like the opening scene which is weird to be because it’s the only time the Avengers are really doing Avengers stuff.  It made me feel like they went on all kinds of adventures we didn’t see in the movies.  I really liked Ultron as a villain. 

What didn’t people like about it?  I’ve heard that people don’t like it when heroes fight big hordes of robots because they want real people to get slaughtered by the hundreds by the good guys.  I will say that Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch are kind of pointless.  Would people like it more without them?  Maybe Iron Man 3 should have been Iron Man against AIM and the twins who are totally not Magneto’s kids because they don’t have the rights.  Except now they do?  So maybe they are?

Ant-Man

My rank – 20

LTT rank – 17

Tomato rank – 16

It takes me a minute to remember what happened in this movie.  Yellowjacket.  What did Pym want his technology to be used for it not military murder?  What are the practical applications of shrinking?  Fantastic Voyage surgery?  Exterminators that go into the walls with lasers instead of having to use poison?  Because of when I was into comics the Wasp and Ant-Man are founding members of the Avengers and the newfangled version where they’re just people hanging around is weird.  Paul Rudd is likeable of course but it’s all pretty mediocre. 

Captain America Civil War

My rank – 17

LTT rank – 21

Tomato rank – 10

Huh, I guess people at large liked this a lot more than we did.  I’m not sure why it wasn’t Avengers Civil War.  I guess Spider-Man showing up was a cool.  It’s hard for me not to think that Cap isn’t being unreasonable in this movie, which is not how I like to think of Captain American being.  The Avengers should be above the law and do whatever they want?  That doesn’t sound right.  And the whole thing with Bucky killing Howard Stark doesn’t do much for me.  For that matter the whole Baron Zemo thing doesn’t work for me. 

Doctor Strange

My rank – 10

LTT rank – 15

Tomato rank – 12

Dormammu I’ve come to bargain.  Is Mordo ever going to show up again?  I hope so.  One time in the comics Blade and Dr. Strange teamed up to cast a spell to kill all vampires.  But then the spell was reversed.  There’s a Dr. Strange action figure that comes with a big battle axe, you know because of all the times Dr. Strange attacks people with an axe.  This movie was good.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 

My rank – 25

LTT rank – 24

Tomato rank – 14

This movie is garbage and I hate it.  Rocket is a super asshole for no reason.  Drax is FUCKING ANNOYING the entire movie.  All the Ravager stuff is stupid.  All the dad stuff is literally groan inducing.  Ego the Living Planet is dumb.  They set up Adam Warlock, aka the guy who beats Thanos for the Infinity Stones, and then did nothing with him.  Mantis is okay. 

Do I judge this movie too harshly because I loved the first one and I was so excited for this one and I never get excited and then they threw this turd in my face?  Probably.  Still I cannot fathom that many people this this is a middle of the pack Marvel movie. 

Spider-Man Homecoming

My rank – 6

LTT rank – 13

Tomato rank – 6

Donald Glover has a funny bit in his stand-up special about when there was some talk about him being Spider-Man.  I’m not a huge Spider-Man fan in general but this movie is perfect for Spider-Man.  The only thing I don’t like about it is when Peter is all “school is for losers, I’m a superhero!”  That doesn’t seem very Peter Parkery to me.  I love that they didn’t waste our time with an origin story.  I love that Vulture is actually cool for once. 

Thor Ragnarok

My rank – 4

LTT rank – 3

Tomato rank – 4

Alignment, this movie will Ragnarok your face off.  I asked how you could make a good Thor movie before, and a good Hulk movie, I guess the answer is make Plane Hulk into a movie and then replace the Silver Surfer with Thor.  Although I am bummed that they didn’t do the bit from the comic where Iron Man and Dr. Strange shot Hulk into space because they were sick of his bullshit.  I suppose that would have been too cold for the MCU.  It would have been cool if they spent less time on Asgard and instead had another gladiator fight or two with some other Marvel characters but you can’t have everything.

Black Panther

My rank – 14

LTT rank – 12

Tomato rank – 1

Major WHOA.  The world at large says this is the best Marvel movie?  It was fine.  Killmonger was cool.  Throwing in Klaw and then killing him seemed kind of pointless.  The guy from Fargo seemed totally pointless.  All in all not a lot happened in this movie.  The last scene was cool where Killmonger choses to die. 

Avengers Infinity War

My rank – 3

LTT rank – 10

Tomato rank – 15

This is shocking to me.  The general populace says there are 14 Marvel movies better than Infinity War?  This movie kicks ass.  Stuff happens!  People die (temporarily)!  Am I supposed to believe that the lame original recipe Avengers was better than this?   And Civil War?  And Ant-Man + WASP?  This is crazy.  Infinity War is great.  I still watch it sometimes. 

Ant-Man and the Wasp

My rank – 18

LTT rank – 14

Tomato rank – 13

It’s better than Ant-Man.  There are some funny parts.  The guy from Justified is there and he’s basically playing Hammer from Iron Man 2 so that’s fun.  Ghost is there for some reason.  Do they cure her at the end?  Maybe.  They rescue the original Wasp from Quantumtown I remember that.  The best part is the point credit scene where Paul Rudd is in the Quantum Realm and everyone else gets dusted and you’re like “oh man, how is he gonna get out of this one?!”

Captain Marvel

My rank – 9

LTT rank – 16

Tomato rank – 20

I throw out LTT’s score for this one because she thinks Alison Brie runs like a mutant and it’s all she can see.  I remember when this movie came out lots of people were real mad because a girl was a superhero and girls are gross.  I really liked it.  The Skrull being not the bad guys was a fun twist.  Not sure about it in the long run.  I would have liked a little something in the dialog to explain why there are pink and blue Kree.  For that matter I would have liked to see more super Kree.  I listened to a podcast where some non-woman haters really tore this movie apart so I guess lots of people didn’t like it.

Avengers Endgame

My rank – 15

LTT rank – 1

Tomato rank – 3

The fact that most people say this is one of the best Marvel movies freaks my funk.  I understand that there’s no stakes in any of the Marvel movies, but this is the one where I can’t even pretend anything is on the line.  Of course they’re going to defeat Thanos and of course they’re going to bring everyone back to life.  Not only that but they already have the ultimate plot cheating device in the infinity gauntlet and then they throw in TIME TRAVEL on top?  Why not just have Superman show up and make the world spin backwards while you’re at it? 

The one scene where Steve is all messed up and then everyone shows up to help him is cool, but then it’s followed by a 40 minute CGI barf-fest.  And then Thanos is all like “I’ll just destroy all life this time” because of reasons?  Two Nebulas is cool, but that’s about it.  And that Ronin stuff with Clint?  Utterly pointless.

Spider-Man Far From Home

My rank – 19

LTT rank – 18

Tomato rank – 11

It’s fine.  Since “everyone” knows that Mysterio is a bad guy it would have been cool if he actually was a hero from another dimension.  Also it would have been cool if they illusions he made to defeat and look like a hero weren’t lame elementals.  Meh.

Black Widow

My rank – 8

LTT rank – 4

Tomato rank – 17

People were mad about this one because not only was the main character a gross girl but there were other girls in it!  And Taskmaster was a girl!  They were real upset about that.  I guess the good news for them is that Scar-Jo has been excommunicated from the MCU so Black Widow may really be dead for real.  J/K, they’ll recast her.  Do you think they added in the first part just because of the Americans?  I kind of do. 

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

My rank – 12

LTT rank – 11

Tomato rank – 7

Pretty good.  For me it didn’t really do anything to resolve the fake Mandarin 10 Rings thing.  Also the rings themselves weren’t like I remember from the comic.  I remember really thinking the Mandarin was cool as a kid but apparently he’s a hugely racist caricature so I guess I’m a monster.  Tag-along Awkwafina character comedy relief didn’t do much for me, I would have ditched her and given more time to the sister and her criminal shenanigans.  Much like with Thor arena I would have liked to have seen a couple other Marvel character fights.  Maybe I just want to see Enter the Dragon with super people? 

October 23, 1973 – You scream and you holler, ’bout my Chevy Impala

I don’t remember the events leading up to whatever happened to me that resulted in me being here in Madripoor where they have shitty smokes, weird booze, and strange food.  According to the official non-official reports, I was blown up in a terrorist attack.  I don’t remember that.   

I remember that a few days before all this, I went to see a movie at the Grenada.  I don’t remember the name because I was just walking by and went in on a lark.  I missed the first few minutes, but the movie was about this businessman and some spies or someone had kidnapped his wife.  In order to save her, he had to do something at the office for them but everything kept going wrong.   He kept coming up with plans to salvage the situation and save his wife – and they were good plans.  He was a smart and competent protagonist.   

But the exact right/wrong thing kept happening to screw up those plans, things he had no control over.  There was a scene where he’s sitting at his desk trying to keep it together because he’s running out of time and eight people stop by in succession to tell him some piece of bad news that ruins everything.  He’s screwed sixteen ways from Sunday but he keeps fighting.   

In the end though, it turns out that his wife was actually the ringleader of the whole scam and she was getting down with one of the spies or whatever they were and all his suffering and hard work was for nothing.  So then he kills himself. 

Pretty harsh.  But what I want to know is — why did someone make it?  Making a movie isn’t easy.  You don’t just bang that out over lunch one day.  The amount of work and money and effort and resources and people’s time that went into making that is something.  I don’t know how to quantify it.  With that many human effort units, could you have made a hundred cars?  Feed a thousand people?  I don’t know.   

Someone wrote a script and someone hired actors and someone built sets and someone scouted locations and those actors learned their parts and performed them and guys recorded it and a ton of other stuff happened to take the idea of “guy gets screwed and then kills himself” from an idea in someone’s brain to a thing I saw before my eyes.   

And for what?  Why did any of those people think that was a worthwhile thing to do?  Why do we as a society allow resources to be used for that?  At no point did anyone ask “why are we doing this?”  At the time I saw the movie, I didn’t think about any of this.  I just walked out, went across the street for a beer and a late night snack, and I went home.  But now, standing in an illegal doctor’s clinic in Madripoor where everyone has vanished into thin air, I thought about that movie.  Why did they do it?  Why? What was the message?

I nosed around the clinic for a while.  Everyone was gone.  I wandered back outside to where the flying red Aussie was pinned under a car.  One of his robo-arms was hanging out the side in a pool of some kind of blue grease – looked like alien blood – and I nudged it with my foot.   

“Are you alive?” 

I heard his non-robot voice coming from under the Impala “Oi, I think you broke my short ribs.” 

“Short ribs?  What are those?  Also we get it, you’re Australian, you don’t have to keep saying oi all the time.”  His only response was a wracking cough-groan, it sounded like the noise I heard a guy make in a pick-up basketball game when he tore his groin.  “Does your stupid suit have radar or something?  What happened to my friends?  Where did they go?” 

“Rack off, you bloody drongo!” 

“Drongo?  Is that the dog from Buck Rogers?  Was there a dog in Buck Rogers or is that the Lone Ranger?” 

I reached under the car until I felt something that seemed like a robo-suit and I pulled with one fifth of my might until something came out.  It was the helmet, which luckily for both of us didn’t have a head still inside it.  A torrent of groaning and cursing came from under the car. 

“I’m blind, you’ve blinded me!” 

The helmet smelled like a jockstrap soaked in old wine so I didn’t put it on, I held it at an angle and tried to peer inside expecting there to be some manner of lights or buttons or something but it was too dark to see inside.   

“How the hell do you use this thing?” The only response was a stream of incomprehensible Australian gibberish, so I tried a new tactic. “Look, use your sensors or whatever to tell me where my friends went, and I’ll get this car off you.” 

I heard more grunting, groaning, wheezing, and the car shifted – the hairy avenger crawling out from under like a crab emerging from under a slimy rock.  Although crab shells usually aren’t leaking weird fluids and emitting sparks and smoke.  As far as I know anyway. I’m no expert on crabs.  You’d have to ask my friend Molly about that.  Burn!  He dragged himself to his feet, the armor seeming like dead weight, and started cursing at me.  I grabbed the front of his suit – that’s the breastplate I guess, and ripped it off like I was shucking corn.  A goodly portion of other bits and bobs went shooting off into the night as well, but at least the sparks and smoke stopped. 

“What have you done?!” 

I gave him a look “Shut up, you know if I punched you right now you’d die, you know that right?” 

His eyes bulged precariously “Murderer!”

I sighed “Not yet.  Look man, we’re on the same side here.  Don’t you realize what this is?  Every time two superheroes meet for the first time in comic books, there’s some kind of mix’em’up and they end up fighting each other while the bad guy gets away.  Then they have to overcome their initial distrust to team up and get the bad guy in the end.  We’re only a few pages away from the advertisement for sea monkees, buddy, so let’s kiss and make up already, what do you say?”

“Huh?”

I frowned “Do they have comic books in Australia?”

He scowled “Comic books are tools of the Devil.”

I rolled my eyes “Jesus.”

He pointed at me as best he could in his busted suit “Blasphemer!”

“God . . . . damn it.” 

Out of character interlude – pandering edition

My girlfriend admitted to me the other day that she now only reads the OOC posts I do on this blog. So I’m probably going to do more of them for reason rather than just out of laziness. I don’t blame her, it’s hard to imagine anyone reading all of this even if they did like it. The main purpose of a blog is to communicate with someone you see all the time in real life right?

I was thinking the other day that I’ve done the old “refusing the call to adventure” bit with Ela a few too many times. But then I realized, heck no, I should do it more because that’s a THEME. The normal hero cycle is that they ignore the call at first but then they do eventually hero it up – this is a SUBVERSION because Ela will never answer that call. I’m using cool writing terms and am cool.

I like that when they rebooted Spider-Man yet again they skipped over the origin story because enough with that. Everyone knows where Batman, Superman, and Spider-Man came from. We don’t need to keep doing that. BUT it is also kind of a bummer because the Uncle Ben “great responsibility” deal is one of the more effective call to adventure things. It’s a little cornball but that’s okay.

It’s like good old Captain America in the MCU, at first he’s kind of a snooze because he’s a cornball but by the time you get to Endgame that’s what you like about him. He’s all the good things about old timey heroes without all the racism and ass grabbing and racist ass grabbing.

I rewatched Endgame the other day because I wanted to see the scene where Cap does the thing he does in every move where he gets beat down but won’t give up and then all the other heroes show up to save the day. I didn’t really Endgame initially – endings are usually weak and an ending where you know what’s going to happen even moreso – but I enjoyed it more upon rewatching.

People seem to hate Hawkeye but that first scene is pretty strong. Once his family is gone Jeremy Renner does a good job of seeming completely lost and fucked up. The Ronin stuff later is lame but whatever. I had completely forgotten about the next bit with Tony and Nebula. I love the Nebula character in the MCU and that was a really great scene showing someone being nice to her for the first time ever. The warrior learning to live is also well worn territory but it was effective.

I’ve come to hate time travel except for in 12 Monkeys but with comic book movies you just have to be okay with whatever. I think Star Trek the New One is the straw that finally broke the time traveling camel’s back for me.

In the old days I used to say as a joke that 12 Monkeys is the greatest movie ever and I would kill anyone who said otherwise. But that isn’t funny anymore because that’s what people are actually like now. Back in my day if someone didn’t like something you did like you just shrugged and went to the mall to hang out and check out the ladies. Now people lose their damn minds over it. I blame Russian hackers.