Daily Archives: January 16, 2017

Movie Review – Patriots Day (2016)

Wacky Boston accents.  Explosions.  Mark Wahlberg wants you to say hello to your mother for him.

BQB here with a review of Patriots Day.

It’s not easy to make a movie about real, tragic events.  First, there’s the possibility that people might be offended by the idea of Hollywood making a buck off of other people’s misery.

Second, real life often does not provide cookie cutter storylines.  Thus, movies like these often come across as well-acted documentaries instead of an actual cinematic story.

Mark “I’m From Boston So I Have to Be in All of the Boston Movies that Ben Affleck Isn’t In, Kid” Wahlberg leads the cast as Sgt.Tommy Saunders, a chronic pain sufferer forced to work crowd control on the Boston Marathon as a punishment.  Saunders is in the dog house with the department for unspecified reasons, but he’s assured this assignment will return him to good standing.

What begins as a fun event quickly turns tragic when bombs go off.  Scenes of mayhem, carnage, responders assisting people who have lost limbs, blood, body parts etc.  Personally, I could have done without seeing that, though I understand the overall goal was to explain to the viewer the pain, both physical and mental, that people experienced due to this attack.

Throughout the film, we are introduced to various people from all walks of life, from a young studious couple who end up losing their legs, to the poor unfortunate MIT police officer who is in the wrong place at the wrong time, to the dude who’s just checking his text messages when he gets kidnapped by a pair of terrorists and forced to go on a scary ride as their hostage.

Things get more interesting as the hunt for bombers/terrorist brothers Tamerlan and Dzhokar Tsarnaev gets underway.  Kevin Bacon and John Goodman are among the actors who play the assorted suits in charge.

One part that caught my attention was how technology made a big impact on the investigation.  Officers collected cell phones from the scene and were flooded with emails from citizens who had been recording footage.  Based on all that data, the authorities were able to find images of the two suspects.

It all concludes in a frightening chase/stand-off in Watertown, where the Tsarnaevs shoot at and hurl homemade bombs at police officers.  The scenes rival any action packed summer blockbuster.  Intriguing to watch until you realize…this actually happened.  Dun dun dun.

Overall, I felt the film treated the event with respect, though there has been some controversy.  For example, there have been some reports that Dennis Simmonds, a black police officer who was injured during the Watertown shootout, then died a year later from his wounds, was not granted any screen time.  Way to go, Hollywood.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy.  It runs long.  You could wait to rent it, though the Watertown shoot out scene is pretty intense on the big screen.  Again, I do say that reluctantly, as this stuff actually happened.

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More Prompts

#53 – Lucky Rabbit’s Foot

One day while perusing the knick knacks in a gift shop, Gordon spies a lucky rabbit’s foot key chain.

“I sure could use some of that,” Gordon says.

Gordon buys the key chain, and takes it to his rundown, ramshackle house, where he lives alone with no wife and no kids even though he is pushing forty.  There, at a table piled with overdue bills, he attaches his keys to the key chain.  He then goes to bed.

In the morning, Gordon is offered a do-nothing job with a high six-figure salary, a free mansion due to his name being selected at random in a contest, and on his phone, there are ten messages from his ex-wife seeking to patch things up.

“Thank you, lucky rabbit’s foot!” Gordon shouts.

Suddenly, there is a knock on the door.  Gordon opens it to find an adorable, three-legged bunny.

“If I were you, I’d toss the leg in the river, buddy,” the bunny says.

“Oh,” Gordon says.  “I’m sorry.  Is this yours?”

“Yeah,” the bunny replies.  “But keep that foot away from me.  Why do you think I chopped it off in the first place?  It brought me nothing but misery.  Sure, it put me on easy street for a time.  I surrounded by fine ass bunny broads and all the carrots I could eat, but before I knew it, I was being chased by a psychopathic farmer who wanted to turn me into bunny stew.”

“Wow,” Gordon says.  “I’m sorry to hear that.”

“Yeah,” the bunny says.  “And you’ll be sorry if you keep that thing.  But why would you listen to me?  None of the previous owners of that leg did and they’re all six feet under now.  You’ll be no different.”

The bunny hops away.  Gordon shuts the door, sits down, and ponders his situation.

What is in store for Gordon?  Will he keep the rabbit’s foot?  Will it cause him misery if it does?  Take the story from here and follow it to a conclusion.

#54 – Surprise Cake

As Daphne the stripper is wheeled inside a giant cake on a cart to a location to be determined, she starts questioning her life choices.  She wishes she had stayed in school, stayed away from alcohol and made something of her life.

“This is my last job,” she whispers to herself.  “I’m going to be clean and legit from hereon out.”

The cake stops.  Daphne hears some voices coming from the outside.  She bursts out of the cake in her birthday suit, sending crumbs and bits of frosting flying everywhere as she shouts, “Surprise!”

Sadly, Daphne is the only one who is surprised.  Instead of a beer hall filled with obsequious perverts, she’s in a church filled with nicely dressed, God fearing folk.  This isn’t the bachelor party she was expecting at all.

“Umm,” Daphne says as she desperately tries to cover herself with her arms, “I think there’s been a mistake?”

How did this happen?  Will the church folk call the cops, or was this mixup a form of divine intervention?  Perhaps these bible thumpers will help Daphne get on the straight and narrow path to salvation?  Or, will some unforeseen events transpire?

#55 – Heaven

For me, Heaven is a place where you can eat as much of the worst possible food imaginable as you want and never gain a pound.  Also, hot babes are plentiful and they find me attractive and interesting.  Better yet, I find myself attractive and interesting.  Also, it is possible to canoodle with the hot babes with reckless abandon and not wake up itchy the next morning.

What is Heaven like for you?  Write a description.

#56 – Hell

For me, Hell is a place where you have unlimited cookies but no milk to dunk them in, unlimited chicken nuggets but no sauce to dip them in.  Also, hot babes are plentiful and they find me interesting and attractive.  However, I am wearing a pair of titanium pants that are so securely tight around my lower half that I can’t really do anything with those hot babes.  Yet they keep coming on to me anyway.

What is Hell like for you?  Write a description.

#57 – Moldy Food Monster

Greg is a total slob.  He’s vaguely heard of a device known as a trash can but he’s never used one before in his entire life.  He comes.  He parks his butt on the couch, watches TV and throws his fast food containers in a corner of the room.

Over a period of several months, the moldy food inside of the containers grow mold.  They seep out of the containers, stick together and form one great big giant moldy food monster.

Name the monster.  Give him a personality.  Will he be good or evil?  Will he help Greg fix his lousy life or will he suck his creator into a deeper, darker hole of sadness and despair?

#58 – The Drunk Reaper

The Grim Reaper, exhausted after ushering souls off to the great beyond, cracks open a beer, then another one, and then after one.  He moves up to shots and after awhile, he’s wasted.

While “Death” sleeps off a hangover, no one in the entire world dies for twenty-four hours.  When he wakes up, he sees the world is still running and decides that no one will miss him if he just up and quits.

Thus, no one ever dies.  Everyone lives forever.

Options:

a) Write a story from the perspective that this is bad.  No one accomplishes anything if they think they have unlimited time to do it in.  The world’s resources dry up if people are being continuously added without anyone being subtracted.

b)  Write a story from the perspective that this is good.  Everyone is happy because they no longer have to worry about dying.  Criminals lose their strength because they can’t threaten anyone with violence anymore if no one can die.  People can eat, drink and be merry without worrying about the health effects.  People are nice to each other because they feel like there’s less of a competition for life’s resources.  After all, as long as you get to live forever, then if you don’t get what you want today, you can always try again tomorrow.

#59 – Mail Order Bride

Depressed and lonely, Gus fills out an online form on a Russian mail order bride website.  After he clicks the submit button, he starts having second thoughts and realizes this might have been a mistake.

Days later, Gus comes home from work to find a large crate on his front doorstep.  He pries it open only to discover a hot Siberian babe named Svetlana inside, covered with styrofoam packing peanuts.

Will this be a love story?  A comedy?  A drama?  Some other genre?  You decide, then write it.

#60- Get Medieval 

The Red Knight is kind and wishes to bring peace to the realm.  The Purple Knight is kind of a jerk face and wants nothing more than to rule the realm with iron fist and kill all who disobey.

Strap on your suit of armor and tell the epic tale of Red Knight vs. Purple Knight.

 

 

 

 

Zom Fu – Chapter 31

tabletdemo

Poof! The Infallible Master’s ghost materialized in the middle of a well-worn road, startling Niu.

“Master,” Niu said. “Am I in exile?”

“Exile?” the master asked. “Why would you think such a thing?”

“My brain addiction,” Niu said. “I’ve been walking alone down this road for so long that I thought your goal was to get rid of me.”

“Never, my son,” the master said as he floated through a tree and headed into the forest. “Come, follow me.”

Niu abided. Soon he was in a clearing, surrounded by puffy white flowers.

“Perhaps I should be in exile,” Niu said. “I am useless in this fight. If I see a brain I’ll…”

“…eat,” the master said.

“Exactly,” Niu replied. “I’ll eat my weight in brains and keep coming back for more. No one will be safe.”

“No,” the master said as he pointed at one of the flowers. “Eat.”

Curious, Niu plucked a flower out of the ground and looked it over. “Chrysanthemums?”

“Long have they been considered an exquisite dish,” the master said. “Not too mention, perfect for making tea.”

Niu looked at the master with a skeptical eye. “I eat this…and I’m cured?”

“Not cured,” the master said. “But contained. Chrysanthemums possess properties that revitalize the body, mind and spirit. Gather as many as you carry. Consume them on a steady basis and they will give you the focus you need to fight your brain addiction.”

The big man sniffed the flower. It gave off a pleasant aroma. “I don’t know about this…”

“Well,” the master said. “It’s either this or stay out of the fight.”

Niu sighed. “The fates have never conspired to keep me out of a fight.”

The fatalist opened his mouth, shoved the flower inside, then munched on it. His jaws went up and down. His eyes began to water as the leaves tickled his throat and got stuck in his teeth.

“Seems like an acquired taste,” Niu said.

“Eat them non-stop and you’ll acquire it quickly,” the master said.

“Non-stop?” Niu asked.

“Whenever you aren’t doing anything, there should be a chrysanthemum in your mouth,” the master said.

“Exile is starting to sound like the better option,” Niu said as he pulled another flower out of the ground. He stuck it into his mouth and chewed.

“Nonsense,” the master said. “Your mission is vital to our cause.”

“This mission will ruin my stomach,” Niu said as he chomped on his third chrysanthemum.

“Flower eating is not your mission,” the master said. “My son, we are not alone. You must secure the assistance of the last kung fu clan.”

“The last kung fu clan?” Niu said. “I thought that was ours.”

“Technically, it was,” the master said. “However, there is a band of, how should I put it? ‘Eccentric kung fu enthusiasts’ who must be promoted to kung fu clan status if we are to defeat Dragonhand.”

“Where will I find them?” Niu asked as he stuffed his pockets with flowers.

Poof! The master disappeared, but his voice remained in the ear. “Keep following the road.”

“That’s a rather vague answer,” In said.

“And don’t stop eating those chrysanthemums,” the master said.

Niu bit into his fourth chrysanthemum of the day. “I wish I knew what I did to offend the fates so.”

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Zom Fu – Chapter 30

tabletdemo

Cling, clang! Cling, clang!

“Bring out your taxes!”

Tax collector Peng rang a bell as he drove a horse drawn wagon into the center of a remote village. From the looks of the dilapidated homes, the downtrodden villagers didn’t have much to give.

Three armor clad guards sat in the back of the wagon, keeping a watch on a bountiful haul. The tax man had been making collections throughout the countryside all day, and though few individuals had much to give, their contributions had added up significantly.

Barrels filled with gold, silver and sparkly gems. Bags of wheat, rice and grain. Candlesticks, trinkets, priceless family heirlooms.

Peng rang the bell again. “Time to pay your taxes!”

An old woman hobbled out of her house and waved her cane at the collector. “Robber! Thief! Villain! You already collected twice last week!”

“The Emperor may collect as early and often as he wishes,” Peng replied. “Shut your mouth and know your place, crone!”

The old gal tossed her last gold coin at the collector. He caught it.

“I hope you choke on it,” the old lady said as she walked back into her house.

The villagers poured out of their homes and formed an orderly line, waiting patiently for Peng to accept their goods.

“Ahh, very nice,” Peng said as a middle aged farmer turned over a bag of wheat.

The collector moved down the line, accepting all manner of riches until he stopped in front of three villagers who were covered head to toe in hooded robes.

“You dare hide your faces in front of your better?” Peng asked.

The hoods dropped. The men opened the robes to reveal they were holding giant wooden clubs.

Bonk…bonk…bonk…bonk! The attackers worked fast, clubbing the daylights out of Peng and his guards, knocking them out and sending them to the ground.

One of the attackers was a young man with long hair pulled back behind his head in a bun and a pencil thin mustache. “You’ve just reaped the Whirlwind,” he said to an unconscious Peng.

The Whirlwind looked to his men. “Return the goods. Don’t forget to take our fee.”

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Movie Review: Live By Night (2017)

Tommy guns!  Dizzy dames!  Ben Affleck in a white suit mumbling incoherently.

Youse guys better check out this movie if youse know what’s good for youse, see?

BQB here with the 1930s period piece/screen adaptation of Dennis Lehane’s historical crime novel, Live By Night.

Ben “Look At Me, I’m From Boston So I Have to Be in All the Boston Movies, Kid” Affleck stars as stick up man Joe Coughlin, a petty thug/World War I veteran who, despite being Irish, rises up through the ranks of the Italian mob on a mission of vengeance against the rival mobster who killed the maul he loved.

It’s a great premise.  It’s fun to see the past brought to life on the big screen.  Historic films rarely do well at the box office anymore, so it’s great to see Hollywood sticking up for them anyway.

Further, we’ve seen gangster era New York on screen, but its rare to see somewhere like Boston in the thirties.

My main complaint is the film tends to wander.  The whole point of the film is Joe seeking revenge, but he takes a roundabout zig zag approach to it instead of a straight line.  Halfway through the film you start to forget what Joe is up to.

STATUS:  Shelf-worthy.  Probably the best you’re going to see on screen in January.

 

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