BQB Does Kennedy Space Center

Alien Jones said it was primitive in comparison to his spaceship, but I was still impressed:

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Movie Review – Ready Player One (2018)

Gamers vs the Man!

BQB here with a review of “Ready Player One.”

3.5 readers, I went into this movie thinking it would suck…but it didn’t.  I love it when that happens, when I got into a movie thinking it will blow goats but instead it blows hot winds of fun into my face.

Hmm…phrasing.

Anyway…in the future, the world sucks.  Poor people live in trailers stacked on top of each other and life sucks so much that people spend all of their time in a virtual world, the OASIS, where they can be anyone and do anything rather than live in the sucky world.

There is a catch – to die means to lose all progress, money, enhancements etc. you’ve made to your avatar, and to start over from scratch.  Some have spent so much time building their online personas they’d rather die in real life than begin anew again in the virtual world.

Halliday (Mark Rylance), a socially awkward to the tenth degree nerd who developed the OASIS has died but he’s left an “Easter Egg” in his game, i.e. if a gamer can solve three mysteries, he/she will get three keys to use to unlock…dun dun dun…a prize, that being controlling stock interest in the OASIS (a lot of money plus ability to run the world’s most powerful video game which accounts for a substantial amount of the global economy.

I don’t want to get bogged into the details but suffice to say, I went in thinking this would be a glorified cartoon but instead, found an interesting look at a possible technological future.  The better virtual worlds get, will they be able to solve societal problems?  After all, few can be all they want to be in reality as they are so many people competing for so few opportunities, but if everyone can be beautiful, awesome, do whatever they want in a realistic virtual game….well, is that a way to make everyone happy or is that a way to keep people from experience reality, as drab as that may be sometimes?

Pop cultural references abound as Halliday was a fan of everything 1980s.    The hero of the film Wade/Parzival Tye Sheridan, drives a copy of Marty MacFly’s DeLorean, for example.  Somehow, he and his love interest, Art3mis/Samantha (Olivia Cooke) and a band of plucky young players must save the day and defeat Sorrento, owner of IOI, a corporation set up to dump thousands of players into the game for the sole purpose of finding the keys and gaining control of the OASIS for evil purposes.

From a writing standpoint, it’s pretty slick.  It makes me want to read Ernest Cline’s novel version to see how he did it.  You’ve got human players in the human world and they’re playing in the virtual world.  They go back and forth between worlds, almost simultaneously, as sometimes human heroes are trying to save their indisposed friends who are busy playing the game from an attack from real life baddies.  It gets very complicated so I’m always curious as to how authors navigate such difficult waters.

One complaint.  I hate to sound like an old man, but even though it’s PG-13, the word “fuck” is used.  Seriously, what the fuck?  It’s used in a joke and the joke lands, ergo it’s not gratuitous but still, are there standards or what?  Either “fuck” gets you an R rating or it doesn’t.  Further complaint, “shit” seems to be really creeping into PG-13 movies and it’s like, what the hell, either these are movies that families can take their older kids to or they aren’t.

All that said, the movie was fucking good.

STATUS:  Shelf-worthy.

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Daily Discussion with BQB – Is it Wrong to Look at Your Cell Phone in a Movie Theater?

Hey 3.5 readers.

BQB here.

As you know, I’ve posted extensively on movie theater etiquette, believing the theater is a place where certain rules of decorum must be followed and no one should be doing things that bring down the enjoyment of others.

Thus, you can imagine my surprise when I, your humble blog host, was accused of engaging in such an activity.

While watching a movie, I felt my phone buzz.  It was a text message.  I looked at the screen for literally all of a second when a piece of candy whizzed by my head, landing on the floor next to me.

The text was from a BQB associate who wanted a ride from me after the movie, letting me know not to leave without said person.  I figured I’d wait till after the movie to respond, but a couple more texts came, the person was jittery I guess, wanting to make sure I didn’t leave, so I thought I’d just text back a quick, “OK.”

Literally, one more second after I looked at the screen again, the guy yells, “Hey dickhead!  Put it away!”

Now, I usually don’t confront people when they act like dicks.  In my youth, I often threw rude drivers the middle finger, only to get older and realize I should stop or else risk flipping off a possible serial killer.

So honestly, I tend to let a lot of things go out of a) fear the person will go nuts and the situation will become a big problem and b) maybe the person already punished himself by looking like a dick in public anyway.

But this one irked me.  I shouted back some choice words for the fellow and he piped down.  I admit, I had already determined it was a person I had a fairly decent chance of defending myself against if things went awry, though in retrospect, I shouldn’t acknowledged it….I don’t advise that you 3.5 readers engage such folk because you never know what someone is capable of, whether they appear threatening or not.

Anyway, the texter texted again and this time I got up, walked out of the theater and into the hallway just to type “OK” and it pissed me off because had Jerkface McGee not intervened, I could have typed ok earlier and gotten it all done with.

So, let me ask you this, 3.5 readers?   Does it bother you when someone’s cell phone screen is on during a movie?  Does the light of the screen distract you?  Does it bother you?  Does it hinder your movie enjoyment?

I don’t make it a point of pulling out my cellphone but this was a rare situation and….I mean maybe if I left the screen on for five minutes, but the exact second when it comes on the candy gets whipped?  Are you kidding me?

I don’t know.  Maybe I should have embellished.  “Hey assface, can you stop throwing the candy at me?!  I just found out my wife is in labor!!!!”

Eh…but then why would I be in a movie?  I guess because I’m a lousy husband.  Actually, I really am a lousy husband.  I’m such a bad husband I haven’t even gotten married yet.

Discuss, 3.5 readers.

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BQB’s Netflix Pick of the Week – Lost in Space

Danger 3.5 Will Robinsons.

I haven’t had the chance to check it out yet but previews look good.  Why don’t you 3.5 readers watch it and get back to me on whether or not it is worth my time.  I can’t do everything around here, you know.

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Movie Review – Chappaquiddick (2018)

Err…uh…I can’t err…uh believe that liberal Hollywood allowed this movie to be made, 3.5 readers.

BQB here with an…err…uh review.

It was the summer of 1969 and as America kept their eyes glued to the moon landing, i.e. the crowning achievement of former President John F. Kennedy’s support of the space program, another Kennedy was partying on an island off the coast of Massachusetts.

Ted was, for lack of a better term, the runt of the Kennedy litter.  Joseph Kennedy died a WWII veteran, John died when he was assassinated during his presidency, Robert died while running for president.  As Ted (Jason Clarke) states in the film, Joe was the favorite, John had the charm, Robert was brilliant and if you believe in odds, then that didn’t leave much for him.

Long story short, on the fateful night in question, Ted, with young campaign worker Mary Jo Kopechne in his car, drives off a bridge.  He manages to escape but Mary Jo is left inside.  Rather than call the police for immediate help, he waits until the next morning to report the incident and well, as often happens, the cover up is worse than the crime.

Ted’s father, also named Joseph, a fabulously wealthy man who built a fortune as a bootlegger in the 1930s, is, at the time of the incident, a withered old stroke victim, little more than a disappointed expression glued on the face of a husk of a body.  He can barely get out a few words and when he does, it’s to let Ted know what a total letdown he is to the old man in comparison to his older, deceased brothers.

I hope I’m not spoiling this for anyone.  This is all old news for a politics junkie like me, but may be new to the general public.  I’ll admit I didn’t know a lot of the sordid details that went on behind the scenes in the ensuing “clean up.”

Joe Sr. maybe be physically useless, but his money, name and reputation still hold sway, and thus at the Kennedy compound in Hyannis, a cavalcade of the best political fixers of the 1960s convenes, each man copiously reviewing every last conceivable angle, leaving no stone unturned in an effort to remove Ted from any ability to be prosecuted.  Favors are called in, the media is manipulated, the judicial system is turned on its ear.

The most damning fact that the team had to contend with?  That Mary Jo had a large pocket of air left in the car, meaning that if Ted had simply called for help right away, the police could have rescued her.  Thus, the ongoing theme that sometimes politicians worry so much about how their political careers will be affected that they don’t do the right thing and this is unfortunate, as it is doing the right thing that often saves a political career.  Had Ted called the cops, the whole night could have been chalked up to a funny story where Ted made a wrong turn into the pond but luckily everyone escaped ok but instead…well, he did the wrong thing, a woman died, and in doing the wrong thing, he didn’t become president.

Another ongoing theme is that sometimes, not every member of a powerful or famous family is up to snuff.  Ted admits he lacks his brothers’ talents and yet feels overwhelming pressure to pursue politics – a life he wasn’t cut out for, a life that killed two of his brothers and causes him stress that he can’t endure, perhaps why he turned to alcohol and womanizing in life, though allegations of alcoholism and womanizing are merely danced around in this film.  The movie focuses on what it can prove and only tangentially mentions longtime rumors, speculation, etc i.e. that Ted and Mary Jo were having an affair, that Mary Jo was pregnant, that Ted was drunk the night of the accident.

Jason Clarke is a dead ringer for Ted, while comic actor Ed Helms plays Ted’s cousin/longtime confidant Joe Gargan (a Kennedy family extended member who according to this film, longs to be considered an actual Kennedy but feels like all he is ever asked to do his be Ted’s fixer).  Meanwhile, comedian Jim Gaffigan plays Ted’s other confidant, former U.S. Attorney Paul Markham.

It’s ironic that in this very powerful, dramatic film, an Australian is called on to play an American politician, while two comedians are tapped to play the senator’s associates.  Frankly, to me, this is a sign that Hollywood probably wasn’t thrilled about this movie being made.  While Ed Helms has long been working on his chance to cross over into drama, I doubt Jim Gaffigan, a comic who jokes about how he eats too much and who to date, his most famous movie role is being the “Meow” guy from “Super Troopers” would have had a chance to play a US Attorney/Kennedy colleague unless there wasn’t a line of actors at the studio’s door looking to snatch up the role.

At any rate, I don’t want to get political, but I think we can all agree Tinsel Town is a liberal place.  That puts the film industry in a tough position – make this movie and tell a very interesting story about how there’s a double standard in the law for the rich and powerful…hide the story to protect the reputation of an iconic left-leaning political family dynasty….don’t tell the story and in so doing, ignore the #metoo movement that’s been sweeping over Hollywood, i.e. people demanding that stories of women being hurt by the powerful be told….tell the story and admit that one of the Democratic party’s top senators for many decades was a womanizing lout who got off scot free on a rap that would have left anyone else in prison for life…this was a movie with a lot of ramifications and it’s being made probably didn’t make a lot of powerful people happy.

I’m not giving the right a pass…I’m just saying, this is a story that has been waiting to be told for fifty years.  I remember as a kid whenever Ted Kennedy would come on TV, I would make a joke about his voice, crack a joke about Chappaquiddick, “I err uh left a blond in the err uh pond” and inevitably some adult would tell me to shush because didn’t I think the Kennedy family had suffered enough already?

Yeah, but no one seemed to care about Mary Jo’s suffering…until today, when the media is finally willing to listen to stories about women suffering at the hands of powerful men.  A film that was made 50 years too late to get Mary Jo some justice, but at least it was finally made.

STATUS:  Shelf-worthy.

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BQB Does Universal Studios

Hey 3.5 readers. If you were in Orlando today and saw a nerd with a yeti and an alien then…that was some other nerd with an alien and a yeti.

Anyway enjoy this expertly taken photograph of Optimus Prime:

Top Ten Quotes from Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

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#10 – “I loved her against reason, against promise, against peace, against hope, against happiness, against all discouragement that could be.”

#9 – “Heaven knows we need never be ashamed of our tears, for they are rain upon the blinding dust of earth, overlying our hard hearts. I was better after I had cried, than before-more sorry, more aware of my own ingratitude, more gentle.”

#8 – “We need never be ashamed of our tears.”

#7 – “Love her, love her, love her! If she favours you, love her. If she wounds you, love her. If she tears your heart to pieces – and as it gets older and stronger, it will tear deeper – love her, love her, love her!”

#6 – “Out of my thoughts! You are part of my existence, part of myself. You have been in every line I have ever read, since I first came here, the rough common boy whose poor heart you wounded even then. You have been in every prospect I have ever seen since – on the river, on the sails of the ships, on the marshes, in the clouds, in the light, in the darkness, in the wind, in the woods, in the sea, in the streets. You have been the embodiment of every graceful fancy that my mind has ever become acquainted with. The stones of which the strongest London buildings are made, are not more real, or more impossible to displace with your hands, than your presence and influence have been to me, there and everywhere, and will be. Estella, to the last hour of my life, you cannot choose but remain part of my character, part of the little good in me, part of the evil. But, in this separation I associate you only with the good, and I will faithfully hold you to that always, for you must have done me far more good than harm, let me feel now what sharp distress I may. O God bless you, God forgive you!”

#5 – “The unqualified truth is, that when I loved Estella with the love of a man, I loved her simply because I found her irresistible. Once for all; I knew to my sorrow, often and often, if not always, that I loved her against reason, against promise, against peace, against hope, against happiness, against all discouragement that could be. Once for all; I love her none the less because I knew it, and it had no more influence in restraining me, than if I had devoutly believed her to be human perfection.”

#4 – “I must be taken as I have been made. The success is not mine, the failure is not mine, but the two together make me.”

#3 – “That was a memorable day to me, for it made great changes in me. But it is the same with any life. Imagine one selected day struck out of it, and think how different its course would have been. Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation of the first link on one memorable day.”

#2 – “I looked at the stars, and considered how awful it would be for a man to turn his face up to them as he froze to death, and see no help or pity in all the glittering multitude.”

#1 – “You are part of my existence, part of myself. You have been in every line I have ever read, since I first came here, the rough common boy whose poor heart you wounded even then. You have been in every prospect I have ever seen since-on the river, on the sails of the ships, on the marshes, in the clouds, in the light, in the darkness, in the wind, in the woods, in the sea, in the streets. You have been the embodiment of every graceful fancy that my mind has ever become acquainted with.”

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Top Ten Quotes From The Illiad by Homer

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#10 – “We men are wretched things.”

#9 – “Sing, O muse, of the rage of Achilles, son of Peleus, that brought countless ills upon the Achaeans.”

#8 – “Why so much grief for me? No man will hurl me down to Death, against my fate. And fate? No one alive has ever escaped it, neither brave man nor coward, I tell you – it’s born with us the day that we are born.”

#7 – “No one can hurry me down to Hades before my time, but if a man’s hour is come, be he brave or be he coward, there is no escape for him when he has once been born.”

#6 – “Come, Friend, you too must die. Why moan about it so?
Even Patroclus died, a far, far better man than you.
And look, you see how handsome and powerful I am?
The son of a great man, the mother who gave me life–
A deathless goddess. But even for me, I tell you,
Death and the strong force of fate are waiting.
There will come a dawn or sunset or high noon
When a man will take my life in battle too–
flinging a spear perhaps
Or whipping a deadly arrow off his bow.”

#5 – “Ruin, eldest daughter of Zeus, she blinds us all, that fatal madness—she with those delicate feet of hers, never touching the earth, gliding over the heads of men to trap us all. She entangles one man, now another.”

#4 – “I say no wealth is worth my life! Not all they claim
was stored in the depths of Troy, that city built on riches,
in the old days of peace before the sons of Achaea came-
not all the gold held fast in the Archer’s rocky vaults,
in Phoebus Apollo’s house on Pytho’s sheer cliffs!
Cattle and fat sheep can all be had for the raiding,
tripods all for the trading, and tawny-headed stallions.
But a man’s life breath cannot come back again-
no raiders in force, no trading brings it back,
once it slips through a man’s clenched teeth.
Mother tells me,
the immortal goddess Thetis with her glistening feet,
that two fates bear me on to the day of death.
If I hold out here and I lay siege to Troy,
my journey home is gone, but my glory never dies.
If I voyage back to the fatherland I love,
my pride, my glory dies…
true, but the life that’s left me will be long,
the stroke of death will not come on me quickly.”

#3 – “And so their spirits soared
as they took positions own the passageways of battle
all night long, and the watchfires blazed among them.
Hundreds strong, as stars in the night sky glittering
round the moon’s brilliance blaze in all their glory
when the air falls to a sudden, windless calm…
all the lookout peaks stand out and the jutting cliffs
and the steep ravines and down from the high heavens bursts
the boundless bright air and all the stars shine clear
and the shepherd’s heart exults – so many fires burned
between the ships and the Xanthus’ whirling rapids
set by the men of Troy, bright against their walls.
A thousand fires were burning there on the plain
and beside each fire sat fifty fighting men
poised in the leaping blaze, and champing oats
and glistening barley, stationed by their chariots,
stallions waited for Dawn to mount her glowing throne.”

#2 – “Skepticism is as much the result of knowledge, as knowledge is of skepticism. To be content with what we at present know, is, for the most part, to shut our ears against conviction; since, from the very gradual character of our education, we must continually forget, and emancipate ourselves from, knowledge previously acquired; we must set aside old notions and embrace fresh ones; and, as we learn, we must be daily unlearning something which it has cost us no small labor and anxiety to acquire.”

#1 – “Let him submit to me! Only the god of death is so relentless, Death submits to no one—so mortals hate him most of all the gods. Let him bow down to me! I am the greater king, I am the elder-born, I claim—the greater man.”

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Top Ten Quotes from the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

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#10 – “That is just the way with some people. They get down on a thing when they don’t know nothing about it.”

#9 – “Right is right, and wrong is wrong, and a body ain’t got no business doing wrong when he ain’t ignorant and knows better.”

#8 – “What’s the use you learning to do right when it’s troublesome to do right and ain’t no trouble to do wrong, and the wages is just the same?”

#7 – “It’s lovely to live on a raft. We had the sky, up there, all speckled with stars, and we used to lay on our backs and look up at them, and discuss about whether they was made, or only just happened- Jim he allowed they was made, but I allowed they happened; I judged it would have took too long to make so many.”

#6 – “The pitifulest thing out is a mob; that’s what an army is–a mob; they don’t fight with courage that’s born in them, but with courage that’s borrowed from their mass, and from their officers. But a mob without any MAN at the head of it is BENEATH pitifulness.”

#5 – “It didn’t take me long to make up my mind that these liars warn’t no kings nor dukes at all, but just low-down humbugs and frauds. But I never said nothing, never let on; kept it to myself; it’s the best way; then you don’t have no quarrels, and don’t get into no trouble. If they wanted us to call them kings and dukes, I hadn’t no objections, ‘long as it would keep peace in the family; and it warn’t no use to tell Jim, so I didn’t tell him. If I never learnt nothing else out of pap, I learnt that the best way to get along with his kind of people is to let them have their own way.”

#4 – “You don’t know about me without you have read a book by the name of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer; but that ain’t no matter. That book was made by Mr. Mark Twain, and he told the truth, mainly. There was things which he stretched, but mainly he told the truth.”

#3 –  “It warn’t no time to be sentimentering.”

#2 – “And went on thinking. And got to thinking over our trip down the river; and I see Jim before me all the time: in the day and in the night-time, sometimes moonlight, sometimes storms, and we a-floating along, talking and singing and laughing. But somehow I couldn’t seem to strike no places to harden me against him, but only the other kind. I’d see him standing my watch on top of his’n, ’stead of calling me, so I could go on sleeping; and see him how glad he was when I come back out of the fog; and when I come to him again in the swamp, up there where the feud was; and such-like times; and would always call me honey, and pet me and do everything he could think of for me, and how good he always was; and at last I struck the time I saved him by telling the men we had small-pox aboard, and he was so grateful, and said I was the best friend old Jim ever had in the world, and the ONLY one he’s got now; and then I happened to look around and see that paper.”

#1 – “The duke he quit tending door and went around the back way and come on to the stage and stood up before the curtain and made a little speech, and praised up this tragedy, and said it was the most thrillingest one that ever was; and so he went on a-bragging about the tragedy, and about Edmund Kean the Elder, which was to play the main principal part in it; and at last when he’d got everybody’s expectations up high enough, he rolled up the curtain, and the next minute the king come a-prancing out on all fours, naked; and he was painted all over, ring-streaked-and-striped, all sorts of colors, as splendid as a rainbow. And – but never mind the rest of his outfit; it was just wild, but it was awful funny. The people most killed themselves laughing; and when the king got done capering and capered off behind the scenes, they roared and clapped and stormed and haw-hawed till he come back and done it over again, and after that they made him do it another time. Well, it would make a cow laugh to see the shines that old idiot cut.”

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Movie Review – Rampage (2018)

So, a trio of monsters walk into a bar and…

BQB here with a review of “Rampage.”

Ugh.  How did this movie get made, 3.5 readers?  Honestly.

It’s like Hollywood refuses to take a risk anymore.  Anything that comes with a brand, a name, a nostalgic audience…it’s going to get made.

Do you remember the “Rampage” video game?  As arcade games go, it was pretty awesome.  As a kid, it was one of my favorites.  It was pretty easy.  You take control of a monster.  You climb the beast up and down buildings, punch them until they fall down.  Gain extra points by destroying helicopters, tanks etc and if you need more health, just eat some people.

Hmmm.  Maybe that’s why I’m so messed up.  Anyway, what usually makes for a good video game does not make for a good movie so….I’ll be very kind here….it’s a fun popcorn movie and it was better than I thought it would be, but that being said, it’s not something I’d bother to watch again either.

The plot?  Ummm….let’s just say it’s the Rock doing his thing – saving garbage movies by being a big, loveable lug, that rare bodybuilding tough guy who seems like he could save your ass and yet he’s probably read a book or two so he might also hold up his end of a conversation.

The Rock = saver of shitty movies, from “Fast and Furious” to “GI Joe” and now, this drek.  Without him, I doubt it would have been watchable.

The evil Wyden Corporation, headed by a duo of duplicitous cartoon villains/brother-sister siblings (Malin Akerman and Jake Lacey as Claire and Brett Wyden) have corrupted the genetic research of ex-employee, Dr. Kate Caldwell (Naomie Harris).  Their super evil corporation has turned what was supposed to be a cure for all diseases and used it to, instead, make animals become super big and strong and crazy and able to destroy entire cities.

Um…because apparently giant, city destroying animals are way more profitable than a cure-all for all of mankind’s diseases but, yeah, stop thinking too much.  Seriously.  If you saw the trailer with the Rock running around with a giant gorilla and thought this was a thinking man’s film then I don’t know what to tell you.

Rounding out the cast is Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Harvey Russell, a mysterious government agent dubbed “The Cowboy.”  He more or less plays a watered down version of his Negan character from “The Walking Dead.”  While he doesn’t carry a bat and isn’t a murderous psychopath, he does have that similar, “Look at me, I’m saying inappropriate things but because I’m saying them with an attitude, you’re supposed to think they’re really clever!”

The Rock, of course, plays an ex-special forces soldier turned primatologist because, apparently that’s a thing.  When his buddy, a normally well-mannered gorilla (George) is turned into an insane killing machine because of the Wyden’s dubious concoction, it’s up to the saver of all franchises to save the day (and this movie because seriously, the man’s macho charisma is the only reason to bother watching…although Naomie Harris is hot, intelligent…arguably too good for this picture.)

One complaint – it’s PG-13 so…I guess it’s ok for the teenagers but still, there are a few jokes where it’s like…eh….really…do we need so much use of the word “shit” and other naughty activities (George likes to give the middle finger to the Rock).  I don’t know.  Maybe I’ve become an old man but PG 13 meant something different in my day.  Get off my lawn and I’m keeping your football.  It’s mine now.

STATUS:  Shelf worthy.  It’s not a flick for the ages, but it’s a fun ride.  As utterly ridiculous as it was to make a movie based on a very simple video game, this version was the best possible version that could have been made, I think.  It doesn’t suck as much as I thought it would, let me put it that way.

I had the chance to watch it at Disney’s super deluxe AMC with all the thrills, my seat shook when the monsters punched each other and shit.  Good stuff.  Go see it in the theater once, have a good time, then try to forgive yourself for wasting two hours of your life on this tomfoolery.

 

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