Movie Review – News of the World (2020)

News…of the World!

BQB here with a review.

Of all the jobs in the Old West, Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd (Tom Hanks) has the coolest. He is the world’s first social media platform/news aggregating service. In other words, he wanders from town to town, reading articles from newspapers to townsfolk in exchange for their donations. In these pre-Netflix days, assembling to listen to a man read from a newspaper was apparently the height of entertainment.

During his travels, Kidd comes across a busted up wagon. An African American soldier has been attacked and hanged. His charge left to fend for herself? Johanna, a young white girl in Native American garb. She had been raised by the natives who attacked and killed her family. She speaks no English and her native family is the only family she has ever known.

Kidd takes it upon himself to go on a long trek to return the girl to finish the soldier’s mission and return her to her last known relatives, though it is a harrowing journey for sure. Kidd must fight his way through a vast assortment of Old West a-holes, from a pseudo-warlord trying to carve out a slice of Reconstruction era America for himself, where he serves as a type of cruel king, to a band of vile perverts who want to kidnap Johanna and sell her into a life of forced prostitution.

The captain, old, tired, and feeling as though he wasted his life and missed out on time with his wife to fight for the Confederacy during the Civil War, would prefer to live his remaining years in solitude, doing most of his talking during his rousing news readings, only to reflect quietly when he is alone on his failed goals and lost dreams, his wish for a family of his own that never came to fruition.

He’d rather remain stuck in his rut, but he is the only one in this harsh world who cares enough to see the child gets to safety, and the skills needed to do so. His greatest adversary in all of this? Johanna herself, who is trapped between two worlds, unable to trust anyone, often running away, leaving her old caretaker with no choice but to chase after her.

Overall, the movie is Oscar bait. A history piece with some insight into the Reconstruction Era South. The Union Army weren’t fans of the Southerners they were sent to keep watch on. The Southerners felt likewise. In short, everyone was quite angry, yet against this backdrop, Kidd yearns for a sense of personal peace.

The plot is more or less just Kidd has to get the kid to safety, but has to fight a collection of a-holes to do so. Tom Hanks, Hollywood’s Mr. Nice Guy, carries the film, as Kidd is a character guided by morality. He could have pawned the kid off on any number of lawmen, church folk, etc. but knows he will be unable to live with himself until he completes the mission.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy.

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BQB on Freebooksy

Hey 3.5 readers.

Your old pal, BQB here.

I bought a Freebooksy promotion, which ran yesterday, and wanted to tell you all about it, seeing as how it was a good experience.

It was for Freefall, my short story about a man who goes on a skydiving trip, only to jump out of the plane and find that his parachute has been sabotaged:

In the past, I have had moderate success with Facebook ads. Sometimes they would translate to 10 or 20 free copies. At times, I have given away approximately 100. That was the highest and I thought that was something.

Yesterday, thanks to Freebooksy, I gave away a mind boggling 1,337 copies in one day!!! Ergo, I am sold on their services. When you buy a promotion, you can plan it for a specific day. They will list your book as free on their website for the day and will send it in their email to their subscribers for that day.

Makes sense, right? If you use Facebook ads, you might reach a lot of people, but out of those, maybe a handful will actually click on the link, and an even smaller amount will actually bother to get a free copy.

Meanwhile, Freebooksy subscribers are serious readers with a passion for the written word. They have signed up for these emails so they can be notified when it is time to snatch up free books. Thus, unless something changes, I foresee myself focusing on Freebooksy in the future as my go to site for advertising when one of my books is free.

Of course, we want to transition to the point where we actually get paid. Rarely happens to me, but I am still relatively new to self-publishing. Part of the problem is you have to collect the so-called “social proof” i.e. you have to rack up positive reviews. I did receive one positive review yesterday thanks to Freebooksy. I thought maybe I’d receive more but one thing I have noticed is sometimes people will get a free copy and then they’ll come back a week, or two or a month later and buy a book or leave a review or a rating. It takes time for people to read your book. They grab your book when it is free but then it might sit on their virtual shelf for awhile before they find time to read it.

I did notice a number of people on Goodreads listed it as a book they have or have read or want to read, etc.

Overall, a positive experience so far. As of this morning, the free copies have tapered off to 48 for today as of the time of this post, but that’s still a lot more in one day that I am used to.

Oh! Freefall also ended up being ranked #2 in 90 minute Literature and Short Fiction reads, #2 in Single Author Short Stories and #2 in 90 Minute Mystery, Thriller and Suspense Short Reads. It is now #131 in the Free Kindle store.

That last one? I have to assume if you can make it into the Top 100 Free, you’d get a lot of free book grabs, so if you 3.5 readers want to grab your free copy and put me over the top, I would appreciate it.

Seriously, what else were you going to do today? Cut your toenails? Wash your hair? Mow your lawn? You can take less than one minute to grab a free copy and be able to go to bed tonight secure in the knowledge that you actually achieved something awesome, i.e. you helped Bookshelf Q Battler inch his way toward the Top 100 Free on Amazon.

Thanks for listening, 3.5 readers. Oh and if you are a self-publisher and were wondering about the cost, it cost me $90 and I consider it $90 well spent. You can go to Freebooksy.com and see the prices for various genres, some of which are lower. It’s a good deal. If you want to do it for one of your books, I’d recommend going to their site to make sure the day you want isn’t already sold out, and then pick a day and set your book to be free on that day and voila, free books.

Will you have similar results? Eh, I can’t say for sure. I mean, look at that cover. It is pretty awesome. And the story is pretty great too, if I do say so myself. You still need to bring your A game to your writing and book production but I would assume you’ll still see an uptick in free copies.

Thank you, Freebooksy.

One more note – Freebooksy also offers Bargainbooksy, where if your book is priced low enough (I forget how low it has to be) then you can also buy a promotion on that. I haven’t tried that yet. I generally find it is like pulling teeth to get people to actually buy books, though I heard a rumor it does happen if you keep putting the time and effort in. Maybe I’ll try that someday. If you have tried Bargainbooksy and want to share your experience, please do so in the comments.

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GET A FREE BOOK – FOR FREE!

I’m Crazy BQB and my prices are insane! My book “Freefall” is priced to move!

ZERO percent interest! ZERO percent APR! ZERO money down! Just click the link below and GRAB YOUR FREE COPY TODAY! BAH HA HA!

Yes, my price on this book is so low that if it were a limbo stick, a rattle snake wouldn’t be able to limbo under it, that’s how incredibly low my price is! My price is so insane I’d better confirm my reservation at the funny farm! BAH HA HA!

But seriously, 3.5 readers. This is a good, short story about a man who goes skydiving only to find out his parachute has been sabotaged. He’s only left with a few minutes to figure out how to save himself and whodunnit.

So, if you could grab a FREE copy, I’d appreciate it. If you want to read it too, that’s even better and if you want to read it AND leave a review, that’s even more better, better-er? Whatever. Get a FREE COPY FOR FREE BECAUSE IT IS FREE!

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The Second Death – Latest BQB’s Twisted Shorts Cover

Hey 3.5 readers.

The sixth installment of BQB’s Twisted Shorts is on the way. This short story will be about a man who is obsessed with “The Second Death” i.e. the concept first introduced in Thomas Hardy’s poem, “The To-be forgotten.” – namely, the idea then when your body goes, that’s your first death, and then when the last person who remembers you dies, that’s your second.

Sad, no?

Some subtle dark humor on the cover. Everyone at the funeral is glued to their cell phones, having forgotten the deceased already.

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Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and GET A FREE WEREWOLF BOOK!

Hey 3.5 readers.

Some thoughts:

#1 – Merry Belated Christmas. Sorry I did not stop to wish all 3.5 of you a Merry Christmas when it was Christmas. I have been busy. My bad. I hope it was a good one.

#2 – Happy New Year. I wished you a Happy New Year on time.

#3 – GET A FREE WEREWOLF BOOK!

Yes, one of BQB’s Twisted Shorts, “Quarantine” is totes free. That means you don’t have to spend any money. You probably just spent a lot, what with running up your credit cards to buy all those expensive gifts and gadgets that your loved ones didn’t need and honestly, aren’t going to make them appreciate you anymore anyway.

So, get yourself a FREE book. Remember, it’s free. Just go to the link below, get your free copy and if the mood strikes, feel free to leave me a review.

FREE! HA HA HA! TOTALLY FREE! MY PRICES ARE INSANE I’M GIVING THESE BOOKS AWAY!!!
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Movie Review – Wonder Woman 1984 (2020)

Pretend I’ve been whipped with the lasso of truth, 3.5 readers, for this will be an honest review.

Some preliminary thoughts, in no particular order:

  1. It’s been so long since I’ve seen a movie theater quality movie that it was nice.
  2. I get why some reviews are calling it bad.
  3. It’s not as good as the first one…
  4. …but that is, largely in part, due to the fact that the first one was so good.

If we back up a few years, DC had totally botched its rollout of a DC Universe of movies that we hoped would rival what Marvel had done over the past decade. Instead, we got the horror show that was Batman vs. Superman and the Suicide Squad movie (I was the only one who liked it though even I admit it could have been better.)

In those days, we realized that DC wasn’t going for perfection, or anything near it. Instead, they were going for the quick cash grab, trying to rake in a big haul before the comic book movie bubble burst. (I’m not sure why they thought it would. If anything, there’s a hole to fill in the wake of the end of Marvel’s Avengers saga that DC could be stepping in to fill nicely had it taken its time to work on some good stories.)

At any rate, there was a lot of pressure on the first Wonder Woman film. BVS and SS were considered total failures and if WW had tanked, that would have been the end of DC movies for the foreseeable future.

Ahh, but then our favorite lasso wielding lady came in and stole the show, as well as our hearts. Her origin story, as an Amazon warrior princess who leaves the safety of her homeland to save the world from the destruction of World War I was quite harrowing indeed, and frankly, her presence saved the mediocre Justice League movie.

In DC’s defense, they had a bigger challenge. Marvel’s cast of characters were largely unknown to the movie going public, and so they were able to roll out each character with an origin story of their own, followed by flicks that tied the heroes together.

Meanwhile, we’ve already seen Baby Superman’s space capsule crash in Mr. and Mrs. Kent’s backyard 100 times on screen. We’ve seen Young Batman watch his parents get shot after a night at the theatre too many times too. We didn’t need any more origin stories for them and yet, we would have benefitted from stand alone adventures that introduced us to these versions of the well known characters.

Don’t even get me started on the drek that was Birds of Prey. DC should just pay to have all the copies recalled.

Thus, it’s hard for me to knock Wonder Woman. Gal Gadot is beautiful and charming and overall, this character and Gadot’s portrayal pulled DC’s bacon out of the fire. WW is now carrying the whole DC universe on her back and its sad, because if they’d put more thought into creating a cohesive cinematic world, then it would never have had to be that way.

Back to this movie.

We want it all and we want it now. We’ve felt that way for quite some time and the 1980s is arguably the decade where that sentiment began. Get rich. Get famous. Get this. Get that. Gimmie, gimmie, gimmie and give it to me today, not tommorrow.

This is evident from the opening said, where WW saves numerous citizens from, well…their own self-obsession. Idiots impressed with their fast car don’t noticed a jogger. A groom holds up his bride too close to a railing over a steep drop to get the best photo while dopey teenagers run from a store with their shoplifted goods. A pack of imbecile crooks who’d rather cause mayhem in a shopping mall than get caught and do the time attached to their crime. There’s an ongoing theme – everyone is obsessed with their own personal gain and only Wonder Woman can save them from…themselves.

Enter villain Maxwell Lord (Pedro Pascal aka Mando), a typical 1980s self-help type guru who promises his fans big riches if they buy into his BS. We quickly learn is schtick is but a mere pawnsi scheme, but when he gets his hands on a wishing stone that has wreaked havoc on past civilizations, he gets it all, but to a disastrous effect.

You see, 3.5 readers, at the start of the film, a young WW learns the hard way, back on Amazon Island (whatever it’s called) that nothing good in life is free and if we want something, we must put in the time and the effort. We must slug our way through to the end and drag our weary butts across the finish line. We can’t do things half-assed. We can’t take shortcuts. We can’t cheat our way to success and expect to grab a long lasting success that actually matters.

Referring to “The Monkey’s Paw Effect” (which assumes viewers have read the Monkey’s Paw or seen one of its many TV parodies), WW and company learn that wishing upon the stone comes with a terrible cost. When something is given, something else is taken away. In the Monkey’s Paw tale, an elderly couple wishes on a simian hand. They get, but they also lose…big time.

In reality, magical comeuppances are rare, but to cheat usually brings shame upon yourself. It damages your reputation. Makes people less inclined to trust you. To want to work with you. Ultimately, any ill gotten gain isn’t worth it. You would have been better off slugging away in the trenches of your profession, building yourself up than say, sleeping with your boss to get ahead, or slandering a rival or engaging in corporate espionage or what have you.

Comeuppances in exchange for wishes are bigger and bolder in this film, and that’s where it starts to fall apart. You see, Lord wishes to become the wishing stone, the granter of wishes, and thus, when he grants a wish, he decides what he wants to take from the wisher, and does so in order to fill his needs. Wishes beget more wishes, comeuppances beget more comeuppances, somehow this all escalates into global turmoil as world leaders enter the fray, wishing for madness and getting madness in return.

Ultimately, the movie is more of a lecture on the dangers of consumerism and the need to walk the straight path. If you want to be X, you need to get in line, wait your turn, and check off all the boxes that come with becoming X. Great lesson but, you know, we’d all prefer to see less lecturing and more of WW beating dudes senseless with her whip.

It was cool to see comedienne Kristin Wiig get her day in the sun. She’s that underdog you root for. Talented. Funny. Got to shine in Bridesmaids and then was never given another major vehicle until now. My main complaint is that she is WW’s nemesis, Cheetah, yet we see very little of Cheetah.

STAUS: Shelf-worthy. Overall, it’s a good movie and if you miss the theater experience as much as I do, you’ll enjoy this. It doesn’t beat the first, though it’s rare for a sequel to do so. Wonder Woman continues to be the best that DC/Warner Bros have to offer and if recent forays like Birds of Prey are any indication, poor Ms. Prince will be carrying the DC universe on her back for years to come…so if she wasn’t all you hoped and dreamed for this time around that a) you missed the movie’s point and b) give her a break. She’s doing a lot of work.

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Still Free!

Hey 3.5 readers.

Your old pal BQB here.

My book, “The End is Nigh” a short story about conspiracy theories and alien conquest is free today, so if you’ve been too busy chowing down on Thanksgiving leftovers, take a break and get your free copy today.

Happiness Is Like a Butterfly

“Happiness is like a butterfly; the more you chase it, the more it will elude you, but if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder.”

– Henry David Thoreau

What say you, 3.5 readers? They say a watched clock doesn’t tick and a watched pot doesn’t boil. Actually, I don’t think they say that at all because neither premise is true but you get the point. Go look for happiness and it won’t come. Go about your daily life and you’ll trip over happiness.

I’m not so sure. I feel like there’s a certain amount of planning, though I’ll admit, plans I made in youth were utterly terrible and that’s how I ended up as the proprietor of a blog that is only read by 3.5 people today.

Is happiness found or stumbled upon? Discuss.

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A Thanksgiving Present For My 3.5 Readers

Happy Thanksgiving, 3.5 readers.

To show my appreciation for all the reading you have done on this fine blog, I set one of my twisted shorts, “The End is Nigh” to be FREE today and all throughout the Thanksgiving weekend.

That’s right. It’s totally FREE and you don’t have to pay anything because it’s FREE. Writers should never make a dime and should be totally punished for getting into such a fanciful, pie in the sky occupation and therefore, this book is FREE and you won’t have to pay a cent because again, it’s totes FREE!!!

What’s it about? It’s about Harry, a crazy old vagrant who stands in the middle of a subway station, ringing his bell and shouting out crazy conspiracy theories. Most people think he’s a wacko or a performance artist/impromptu stand-up comedian. However, when video of his antics goes viral, one government agency is not laughing. What has Harry stumbled into?

This is a short read, perfect for distracting you. You can totally sit on the couch and read this while pretending to listen to your Aunt Gertie’s boysenberry nut bread recipe or while your Uncle Fred is critiquing all of your life’s choices even though he hasn’t earned a paycheck since the Carter administration. (There was a president named Carter, millennial readers, look it up.)

Don’t have time to get your FREE book today? There’s always tomorrow, when all the family is gone and you know you should get back on your diet but damn it, you need one last piece of pie and some turkey and stuffing and you know, you could put that all into one sandwich and boy would that ever be a tall sandwich but damn it, it’s going to be delicious.

Don’t have time tomorrow? It’s still FREE this weekend and when you wake up well rested from your food coma, you might consider leaving me a nice review…or at this rate, even a terrible review. Just some sort of evidence that someone got to the end of it and had a reaction, be it good, bad or indifferent.

Get your FREE book for FREE today!!!

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The Grass is Greener Where You Water It

I heard the simplest yet seemingly true saying the other day – “The grass isn’t greener on the other side. The grass is greener where you water it.”

When I was young, I constantly thought the grass was greener on the other side. I knew that kind of thinking was wrong but I didn’t think that was what I was doing. I wanted to be a writer from an early age and had some minor success at it as a young man but then chased other things that I thought would make lots of money only to realize that if you put enough time into anything, you’ll eventually make it so you might as well put that “water” into where your talent lies.

I suppose that isn’t always 100 percent true. We all know someone who watered their careers a lot and didn’t get anywhere. But by and large, I think yes, if you put enough water into what you want, your path will become a lot greener.

Oh well. Here’s hoping your grass is green, 3.5 readers.

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