Stormtrooper Terry

Stormtrooper Terry

Saturday, June 30, 2012

A Guest Post on Hollywood's Unoriginality

So earlier today, my friend Sean sent a message on Facebook to my friend Chris and myself because he had just watched Men in Black 3 and wondered why so many movies seem to be featuring time-shifts lately. I responded that we all know Hollywood loves to grab a trend and ride it like a pony that passes out and dies before it hits the finish line. Chris then responded with what can only be described as a fairly epic diatribe about the lack of creativity and originality in Hollywood for the most part; a diatribe so epic I decided to edit it and post it as the first guest post my blog has ever featured. Here, then, are the words of the man of legend known as Jabba the Black:

"I won't say Men in Black 3 was good. It was interesting and entertaining but nothing revolutionary. Hollywood can't do anything original; maybe there are no original stories left.. Maybe they are too gun shy because it takes so much for the studios to make a movie and everybody has their hands in the pot. If that's not it, explain to my why John Carter with its half-assed special effects cost $250 million to make. There were no "stars" worth a hefty paycheck. Most of the movie was in a fucking dessert. It's a gamble when a movie like that just breaks even. Studios pull all the money from smaller films and something that may be the next great thing ends up either on the cutting room floor OR in the archives of some studio who holds onto the rights and won't allow another studio to develop it just in case it would be a hit. They would rather stifle the art as opposed to getting shown up.

That is why I like the smaller films. You get an original story or at least a new take on a story and the special effects aren't that bad anymore (take
Chronicle, Attack the Block, Shaun of the Dead, and the like as examples). 

And before Jim calls me out for liking SyFy channel movies (Jim's note: I totally would have.), I'll do it my self. While I do love my SyFy films I like them for how horrible they are. Kind of like a John Waters film. And there ARE levels. Sharktopus and Frankenfish are hilariously horrible. They are a modern US take on Kaiju films."

He's right about pretty much everything, from the nonsense of Hollywood to how absolutely awful the SyFy channel is (except for the 4th of July Twilight Zone Marathon I have no use for that network, and even that they've now shortened to the point that it isn't even a full twenty-four hours this year, the bastards), so I just figured I'd share it with you all. Now, discuss! 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Ideal Newsroom

As a writer, one of my favorite thing about a written story in any medium, be it TV, movie, book, comic book, play, whatever, is dialogue. Well-written dialogue can make or break anything for me. Whether it's witty repartee, a deep, dramatic soliloquy, or even one perfectly-timed, well-placed word; for me, dialogue is where it's at. It's one of the reasons Joss Whedon is my favorite television writer. It's the reason Brian Michael Bendis has been my favorite comic book writer for years (even though he blocked me on Twitter for sassing him one night, but come on, he deserves a little sass sometimes... but that's another story). And dialogue then, was the number one reason why I've been looking forward to the debut of The Newsroom for so long.

The Newsroom marks the return to television of one of the masters of dialogue, Aaron Sorkin. He's the guy who co-pioneered the famous "walk-and-talk" style of shooting found in all his earlier shows and already on display a bit in Sunday night's Newsroom premiere. I should mention before I give this show any kind of review that I'm a total mark for Sorkin; between Sports Night, The West Wing, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, A Few Good Men, The American President, Moneyball, and The Social Network, how could I not be?

Let's get the bad out of the way. Sorkin does have certain tropes that appear without fail in all his shows, and the Newroom is no exception. Someone has a bit of a meltdown that is a public relations nightmare. There's at least one office romance. Everyone in the room at any given time is smarter than anyone else in the world. Anti-conservatism runs rampant. What's on display is the most ideally perfect example of the show's material. If you don't like those Sorkinisms, you should just pass now, because you'll hate The Newsroom.

But if you're like me and you love the idealism Sorkin's characters represent, you'll fall in love with this show within the first ten minutes. In fact, you probably already have from seeing this promo clip, which is part of the show's opening scene.

Two things right off the bat. One: who the fuck knows all those statistics right off their head? Nobody, right? Probably. But shouldn't a guy who has a nightly news show all his own know all that? That's where the second thing comes in: idealism. We see it in two forms here. He's the ideal newsman because he knows all that... and because he fondly remembers a time of a more ideal America than what we have now. Just like the politicians on The West Wing were the ideal examples of what politicians should be, smart, and, for the most part, idealists. That's the kind of character I love, and that's the kind of dialogue I love. Is it preachy? Yes. Is it unrealistic? In this case, yes. But is it worth watching? Absolutely.

After all, don't we all need a little more intelligence and idealism in our lives?

And if that doesn't float your boat... well, it also features Sam Waterston as a rampaging alcoholic, and who doesn't love that idea?

Friday, June 22, 2012

With a Little Help from My Friends

I'm popping in here today to ask any of you guys out there for a little help. Not for me, but for someone who I can safely call my oldest living friend. Awhile ago, he started his own advertising agency, Saluk Creative, and he is currently entered into a contest where he could win a very nice chunk of change to help him further his business goals. So, we're asking you for some help. All you have to do is go to, login, enter "Saluk Creative" in the search bar, and vote. It's as easy as that. Your help would be greatly appreciated.

And now, a little mood music!

Probably the only musical instance ever where I don't think the 
Beatles' version is the better version.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Goodreads Book Review - Outliers: The Story of Success

Outliers: The Story of SuccessOutliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

There were a few interesting ideas in here, quite a few fascinating patterns pointed out, but for the most part, I was just bored. Part of that, I'm sure, is due to my natural disinterest in anything that isn't fiction; I love fiction. I'm a fiction writer, and so, I'm a fiction reader. Part of that boredom, it must be said, also probably stemmed from what, to me, seems to be the point of the book. As I read and understood it, the point Gladwell wanted to get across was that in order to be successful, it isn't enough to just be smart and/or talented. You also need to come from the right background at the right time and be given the right opportunity. In short, luck has just as much, if not more, to do with success as intelligence, talent, and hard work.

Honestly, as someone who has never had any luck but bad luck, I could have told you that without having to read this book.

View all my reviews

This was the third book in my Recommended Reading Challenge. I'd tell you what the next one will be, but I'm waiting to have it delivered to me by the person who recommended it, and she hasn't even told me the name of it yet! So I guess you'll be in suspense until it's done!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Goodreads Book Review - Boy's Life

Boy's LifeBoy's Life by Robert R. McCammon

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

There's a mystery at the center of Boy's Life, and it's a damn good one... but it's not what's at the heart of the story. No, the heart of the story is all about nostalgia and magic. It's about remembering with longing the simpler times (although we didn't think they were simpler back then!) when we all believed in magic and the way that belief affected and colored our everyday lives. It's about what a boy's love for his family and for his friends can allow him to do. Most of all, though, it's about life and growing up. It's written with a sense of poetry and wistfulness perfectly mixed together with a sense of humor and wonder, and I loved every minute of it, every page of it. This was the second book in my year-long Recommended Reading Challenge, and it was a perfect fit for me that I highly recommend for everyone else to check out as well.

View all my reviews

The next book in the Recommended Reading Challenge is Outliers: The Story of Success. If you have anything you'd like to recommend, feel free!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Anybody Need a Wedding Minister?

Here's a blog getting posted party because I really needed something to post about this week and partly because I wouldn't mind getting the word out there in case it results in anything. I'm sure I've mentioned on here before that I've become a licensed minister, able to do preside over weddings and other things (baby-naming ceremonies, renewals of vows, etc...). I've just gotten some business cards made up, promoting myself in that endeavor.

Phone number blacked out to keep me off Crank Yankers or something.

So if you or anyone you know are looking for an affordable minister willing to cater the ceremony to your specific wishes, feel free to send me an e-mail, or even just leave me a comment here!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Mets Monday - Golly, I Wonder What This Will Be About?

No, this isn't about what you think it's going to be about. At least, not yet. There are a few things I want to point out first. Since the blog I wrote two weeks ago wherein I expressed my doubts about them, the Mets have won nine games out of thirteen, have improved to eight games over .500 with a record of 31-23, and, as I write this, are now tied for first place in the National League East. All this comes with the Mets having played their fifty-fourth game of the season last night, which means we are now officially a third of the way through the season. If they keep this up, they're on pace to win ninety-three games... which is a guaranteed playoff spot and most likely a division championship as well. Not too shabby, huh?

Now, let's be honest. No one expects them to keep this up forever and win ninety-three games (and even if I did, I'd keep on doubting them, because look how well they've done since the first time I doubted them, right?) but any way you look at it, it's shaping up to be a much, much more exciting season than anyone ever thought it would be for the good ol' Metropolitans.

Speaking of much more exciting...

Unless you live in Turtles' Lair in the sewer somewhere, you already know Johan Santana threw the first no-hitter in Mets history last night. There's not much more I can say about it that hasn't been said, except to say that watching those last six outs in a bar... okay, damn near standing ON the bar, I was so excited... was magical.  And that catch by the kid from Queens, lifelong Mets fan Mike Baxter:

In a season that's already felt improbable, or charmed, or whatever other word you want to use... well, it sure does start to feel like anything is possible this season, right, Mets fans?

After all, anything is always possible.

You just gotta believe.