Monthly Archives: December 2017

Disney/Fox Deal

Hey 3.5 readers.

Disney is buying a large chunk of the Fox entertainment empire, their studio parts mostly.  For movie buffs, that means Marvel characters owned by Fox can now work with characters owned by Disney and that’s already led to talk on the Internet about Wolverine becoming an Avenger, which would be cool.

I’m not sure how well they will fit together though.  Disney is wholesome whereas Fox has been naughty.  Disney is Mickey.  Fox is Bart Simpson.  Disney is Frozen.  Fox is Deadpool banging his prostitute girlfriend.  So, will these two parts be able to work together without ruining each other?  The world needs wholesomeness AND edginess so I worry about these commingling.

What say you, 3.5?

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Real Movie Review – Star Wars: Episode 8: The Last Jedi

To quote Jon Lovitz’ “The Critic” – “it stinks.”

BQB here with a real review of the new Star Wars flick.  Be forewarned of SPOILERS.

At the outset, I must say that I don’t think the magic of the original films, now dubbed “Episodes 4-6,” will ever recreated.  You see, from the early days of cinema in the 1930s up until like, 1970, films were basically recorded plays.  Then the young baby boomers took over and directors like George Lucas and Steven Spielberg upped the special effects game.

“Star Wars” was unlike anything ever seen before on film but since then, we have been spoiled and the biggest, most intense scenes fail to wow us.

If, “The Force Awakens” was a modern rehash of “A New Hope,” then “The Last Jedi” is a lesser version of the film many say is the best of the “Star Wars” series, “The Empire Strikes Back.”

However, while “Empire” say Luke grow and train under the wise tutelage of Yoda, “Last Jedi” gives us a rather lackluster dynamic between Luke and Rey.

The ending scene of the last film, where Rey meets Luke in a sweeping view on a remote island, gave us hope of some really intense training and wisdom passing-on, such that would turn Rey from a naive young girl to a badass, as Yoda did to Luke years before.

Alas, instead we get a very whiny old Luke, lamenting how his life has been wasted, that the Jedi Council was a lame hoarding of Force power and really the force should belong to us all and if that’s the case then they’re rewriting history because the whole premise of the series has been that only special people can control the Force and just as in life, some people when given power will use it for good and others will be corrupted by it and turn evil.

For me, it was just too much whining.  I’d hoped that we’d see Luke in some late life Obi-Wan Kenobi badassery.  Sir Alec Guinness never whined so much but Old Luke is whinier than Young Luke who just wanted to go to Tashi to pick up some power converters.

We were promised epic training and instead Luke just whines to Rey…and whines…and whines. I mean, give this script to your most basic writer and he/she would have put in some Mr. Miyagi style training montages but there was none of that.  Luke just bitches and moans about how he wasted his life being a Jedi and then eventually Rey like, just leaves.

Seriously, maybe I fell asleep but one minute Rey was on the island listening to Luke’s sobfest and then the next she’s on a ship entering the space battle.  It’s like, she just got tired of the bullshit and was like, “I guess no one’s teaching me any badass light saber moves here even though the audience would have enjoyed seeing that so I’ll just leave this depressed old fucker and go into a space battle now.”

Overall, I feel like Hamill could have been put to better use.

SPOILER – the ending, Luke does get some awesomeness in, I’ll admit that.  But I didn’t quite get the point of it.  Ren has his army blast the ever loving shit out of Luke and Luke just dusts himself off.  It’s cool and funny and then we learn that Luke’s only there in a ghostly form.  At first, I thought Luke had died in the blast and become a ghost like so many Jedi before him, but then we learn that Luke was projecting a spirit form of himself from his home on the island the entire time…which doesn’t really make sense.  And then he dies anyway so…I thought the point of him projecting himself was to keep him alive for future movies so if he’s going to die while projecting himself then why not have him die in battle?

Then again, maybe he didn’t die.  Maybe he disappeared.  Preserve a possibility he might return?  Who knows?

I have to say I think there’s a lot of back story the writers have us assume.  I think a three movie arc where the Galaxy is at piece and then Ben Solo, Luke’s nephew, trains under Luke and turns to the dark side and fucks up the galaxy by the end of the third movie would have been more interesting than just jumping into where we are now.  We are told through flashbacks that Luke became forlorn after his nephew turned evil but that story would have been better in a film than what we are seeing now.

Meanwhile, the subplot with Finn and Rose going on an adventure to a casino planet to find a hacker was silly, an attempt to give sort of a space Bond vibe, except Finn and Rose just show up in their regular clothes and look rather silly.  We learn late in the film Rose has a crush on Finn, but perhaps the two gussying up in fancy duds to infiltrate the party and Finn getting confused, maybe realizing he has options, maybe he could be with Rey, maybe he could be with Rose or what have you, might have been interesting.  Maybe not.  It all seemed out of place.

Like many of the characters, Benicio Del Toro’s DJ (the hacker) is sort of cookie cutter stock.  He’s got an odd lisp but we don’t know why he’s so weird and eccentric.  Admittedly, he has the most interesting lines of the film, pointing out that evil arms dealers make their money by selling not only to the First Order but also to the Resistance.  Whereas past films showed the Empire as bad and the Rebels as unwaveringly good, this part leads us to wonder whether or not both sides are not just two faces of the same coin, that because neither will back down, the death and carnage continues and the galaxy remains in ruins while arms dealers profit.

Further, we were promised a big reveal about Rey’s parentage and what we got was a let down.  There were some clues that led us to believe that Rey was Luke’s daughter, i.e. why else would Luke’s lightsaber call to her, and if Ren’s claim that Rey’s parents were just trash who sold her for beer money is true, then there’s a lot of clues just left on the table, a lot of build up just to let us down.  I’m hoping in the third film we’ll find out Ren lied.

I don’t know if the initial “Star Wars” genie can ever be let out of the bottle again.  Although, last year’s “Rogue One” was impressive to me, so perhaps it is possible.

I think the long term problem for the franchise is the creation of a post-Vader, post-original character world.  Vader is the baddest-ass villain ever created.  Admit it.  When you first saw him force choke a subordinate, you immediately thought about the worst, nastiest boss you ever had and it scared you.

Eventually, the franchise will have to enter a post original movie world – one without the original characters, without Vader, without the Skywalkers, without the Empire….will they be able to create villains and heroes who are just as riveting?

Time will tell…but they had one shot to provide us with some Luke on screen awesomeness and they blew it.  Rey and Luke never bond, never develop any kind of friendship or master/trainee relationship…he’s basically a guy she meets who whines to her.  You’re not really left with the impression that Rey got anything out of her meeting with Luke, that she’s better for it, that she has any connection to him, that she’ll ever think about him again and and honestly, that’s a failure.

STATUS:  Shelf-worthy but I mean, I’m not really in a rush to see it again.

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Movie Review – Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017)

Wow, 3.5 readers.  Just plain, wow!

BQB here with a review of “The Last Jedi.”

So, as you recall, our last film ended with Rey meeting Luke in a sweeping scene on a remote island.  I have to be honest, I liked the last film initially but after awhile, it did seem lame, a pile of fluff, a rehash of the old film.

They really outdid themselves this time, from the immediate space battle that ensues as Luke and Rey escape to the remote planet of Baatha Fisk, to the riveting fight scene in which Poe Dameron’s fate is left unclear.  That cliffhanger is left unaddressed and it seemed odd to have such a big question so early in the film go unanswered but I suppose there were clues throughout the film.  The helmet that was found on Cheeops is perhaps a sign that Poe might live to fight another day.

Snope’s origins are revealed and it does make sense that he was trained by Yoda.  The ghost scenes featuring Yoda, Old Anakin and Obi-Wan Kenobi seemed cheesy at first, a patronizing throwback to something that seemed lame in the original films, but then after awhile I thought about it and I’ll give some slack to the writers there.  But for ghostly involvement, I’m not sure how certain plot points could have been given.

I don’t really want to give it away but I have to admit, I found it lame that the lightsaber “called” to Rey in the last film.  I mean, it’s an inanimate object but the explanation makes sense.  I’m not sure Rey’s added power will hold up in future films but within this film it worked.

I don’t really buy that Finn could have bested Kylo Ren in a fight but then again I talked to other fans and they indicate that the love Finn feels for Rey is what drives him, giving him extra adrenaline and that’s what allowed him to defeat Ren, just has he managed to escape Captain Phasma earlier.

Chewie remains the heart of the story and the beloved wookie finally gets some character development.  Who knew the wookie was gay all along, despised by his own family and thrown off his home planet just for being who he is?  Admittedly, it does seem like social justice pandering and I think the point could have been made without the five minute male wookie on male wookie sex scene.  Yikes!  So much violence.

Further, I think the movie’s downfall is that it tries too hard to go with the “ripped from the headlines” trope.  Personally, I think it is bad writing to take current events and news items and work them into science fiction, especially when sci-fi allows for so much imagination to be explored.  For example, Wax Fassa, the businessman that double crosses Luke and Rey, offering them free passage to Sverador is an obvious Trump clone.  Although it was humorous to see an alien with fake hair and it gave the audience a good laugh, it cheapened the whole series.  Come on Disney.  There are plenty of opportunities to make fun of the President, it doesn’t need to be done during our much loved franchise.

Finally, it seemed lame that Luke was thrown off the last remaining vestige of the Jedi Council.  Sure, he made a pass on Mara Jade but it seemed unclear whether or not they were in love or just mere colleagues on a mission.  Did Luke go too far in his affections?  Was he misunderstood?  Was he falsely accused or did our hero fall and make an unwanted sexual advance toward a fellow Jedi?  Look, I get it, just because Luke is our favorite Jedi doesn’t mean he gets free reign to abuse women so if he did it then he has no place on the council but I just think the council didn’t give Luke due process or a right to have a say.

I mean, Jek Fanna had a point.  “Keep your robot hand off the ladies’ asses, buddy.”  That’s wise advice that hopefully Luke will remember in the future.  Will he redeem himself?  I suppose we’ll find out in the next film.

Or maybe we won’t because literally everyone died at the end of this one, murdered by Jar Jar Binks, who was narrating the story based on items pinned to a bulletin board in an intergalactic police station the entire time.  #mindblown.

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Movie Trailer – Downsizing (2017)

Hey 3.5 readers.

I like this trailer.  It looks like a very original concept.  The idea is that miniaturization is invented and it allows people to live like billionaires…i.e. your small investment is all you need to live like a King.  One bottle of vodka is a lifetime supply of booze.  You can’t afford a mansion but you can afford a model of a mansion and that will look big to you when you’re small.

Basically, you can live large because you’re tiny.  What say you, 3.5?

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Episode 1 of the Last Driver – Submitted for Editing

THE LAST DRIVER_finalebook

Hey 3.5 readers.

Your old pal, BQB here.

Good news.  I’ve gotten the first draft of the first episode of “The Last Driver” done to the point where I felt comfortable submitting it to my editor.  It’s a good feeling and that’s my overall dream, to continue building up my Amazon offerings.

“The Last Driver” takes place in a future where self-driving cars reign and human driven cars are a thing of the past.  Humans are no longer allowed to drive themselves anymore.

Of course, we need a cruel, dystopian, dictatorial government, the One World Order, who controls everything on a global scale.  When rebels kidnap 63 year old Frank Wylder’s granddaughter, the old man is left with no choice to put his pedal to the metal again, having been long retired from his past career of being a bank heist getaway driver.

I love the cover and give major kudos to 99 Designs.  You know, it’s funny, as early as the 1990s, when I was a youngster, I thought it would be possible to build a writing career and bypass the gatekeepers, but for the lack of ability to find good, quality artwork.  99 has really helped me with that and I’m sure there are other options out there as well.

So, look for it next year, 3.5.  My first piece of self-published fiction is on the way.

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Who Was Mommy Kissing in the “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” Song?

BQB tries to figure out who was Mommy kissing in “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus”

Bookshelf Battle

3.5 readers, drop everything you are doing.  Seriously, I don’t care if you’re in the middle of brain surgery, either performing it or having it performed on you.

Today, we are, once and for all, going to figure out who Mommy was kissing in the song, “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus.”

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The year was 1952.  The baby boomers were booming and everyone liked Ike.  Sock hops and malt shoppes were frequented by youngsters and every woman’s middle name was “Sue.”  Becky Sue.  Peggy Sue.  Annie Sue.  You get the picture.

A young lad by the name of Jimmy Boyd records a song written by Tommie Connor.  The song is a hit and an instant Christmas classic.  It is unlikely you’ll get through the holiday season without hearing it at least one time.

But forget all that.  Is Mommy having an affair with Kris Kringle?

I’ve got to know.

The…

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An Interview with Krampus, the World’s Most Notorious Ancient Germanic Yuletide Demon

An Interview with Krampus

Bookshelf Battle

Hey 3.5 readers.

BQB here.

So, as you know, I’m a hostage of the yeti, but he is allowing me to interview my next guest because he is such a fan of his work.

I’m not a fan per se but, you know, the blog must come first and I need the clicks.

Without further ado…Krampus.

horror-1312110_1280 Krampus: Vile Ancient Yuletide Demon/Denier of the Power of Facial Scrubs

BQB: Your Evil Hornyness, welcome.

KRAMPUS: Thank you, BQB. I’d say it’s good to be here but I’ve been thrown out of places much classier than your pitiful blog.  Hell, I had way more than 3.5 followers in the olden days when computers hadn’t even been invented.

BQB:  Right.  So, can you tell my 3.5 followers who you are?  I don’t mean to be rude.  I’m just not sure that they have heard of you.

KRAMPUS: That’s cool, bitch.  First of all, I…

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‘Twas the Night Before Christmas – Expert Analysis and Commentary

I wrote this a few years ago and it still gets web search hits today. BQB’s Analysis of “Twas the Night Before Christmas.”

Bookshelf Battle

Hello Noble Readers,

As the end of the year draws nigh and old man winter spews forth his icy breath, its time to think of all the special people around us – like the 305 followers of my blog, or the 1,810 followers of my twitter handle, @bookshelfbattle  (which honestly, if you haven’t followed yet, what’s stopping you?)

To thank you all, I got you all a gift – iPads.  Yes, I purchased over 2,115 iPads to give to my blog and twitter followers, my way of saying thank you for being with me at the beginning, putting up with my eccentricities, and keeping the faith that one day, I might actually review a book.

Unfortunately, the iPad truck was hijacked by the Yakuza.  Also, that was a joke.  I never bought you any iPads.  Also, the thing about the Yakuza was a joke.  Yakuza are known to read book blogs…

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Top Ten Gifts You Shouldn’t Buy Your Girlfriend for Christmas

Hey 3.5 readers, reblogging my Christmas stuff. First up, a handy list of what to NOT buy your girlfriend for Christmas.

Bookshelf Battle

Oh joyous Yuletide.  This is the time of year for couples to take a moment to let each other know how they truly feel about one another.

But men, no matter how loudly your girlfriend may shout her lack of interest in material possessions, if you leave a junky gift under her tree on Christmas Eve, then your tree will be incredibly lonely in the new year.

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From BQB HQ in fabulous East Randomtown, it’s the Top Ten Gifts You Shouldn’t Buy Your Girlfriend for Christmas:

#10 – Blender, Mixer, Iron, Washing Machine, Other Household Appliances

Hmm.  A dilly of a pickle here.  If she’s actually expressed an interest in a particular appliance, then go for it but only, ONLY if you also get her something else awesome in addition to said appliance.

EXAMPLE:

YES:

WOMAN:  I love to bake!  Baking is my life!  I wish I had an electric…

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TV Review – Curb Your Enthusiasm – Season 9

Larry David is my spirit animal.

Bomp bomp bomp….bah bah bah…bah bah bah bah…

BQB here with a review of the latest season of “Curb Your Enthusiasm.”

When we last saw Larry in his HBO sitcom, it was season 8, in 2011, and wow, has time flown.  Since then, Larry has found even bigger stardom playing Bernie Sanders on SNL, but he’s returned for another round of Curb.

If you’ve never seen the show, picture Seinfeld, plus jokes and/or words and/or things that can happen on cable that can’t happen on NBC.  Like the show he created with pal Jerry Seinfeld in the 1990s, “Curb Your Enthusiasm” is also much ado about nothing.  No one ever grows or achieves or accomplishes, it’s just Larry, playing a parody version of himself, wasting his time on nonsensical worries.

I have to assume that bald and unattractive Larry was the inspiration of Seinfeld’s George Costanza.  You might remember George, a pudgy bald man who ironically, would get hooked up on dates with the most attractive women only to reject them over trivial matters.  Similarly, Larry is 70, fully aware of his ugliness and yet also aware of his various mental dilemmas.  He’d rather be alone than be with a woman who annoys him in the slightest way.

Larry must be a lot of himself into this role.  Recently, when he guest host SNL, he did a bit where he said he could related to Quasimodo from, “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.”  Surely, Quasi could have found “a” woman but no, the woman had to be the most beautiful woman in all of Paris.  Below average women who were “OK with the hump” would never do.

I might opine Larry’s women troubles probably come in part to his money and success.  If you look like Larry and say, in the real world, are a bus driver, then no, there will not be a bevy of beauties lined up for you to pick through and reject.

At any rate, this long overdue season centers around “Fatwa: The Musical!”  a broadway show Larry has written about Salman Rushdie, a writer who was marked for death by the leader of Iran for his writings.  As the season progresses, Larry teams up with none other than Lin Manuel Miranda to direct the show.  The two butt heads, and how and that’s not when Larry is arguing with star of the show, F. Murray Abraham.

Fan favorites return.  Larry’s best friend/manager Jeff Garlin as Jeff Greene, Susie Essman as Susie Greene, Jeff’s wife whose witchy tirades might send chills up the spine of any many thinking about getting married if they weren’t so funny.  1980s comic Richard Lewis is still himself.  Bob Einstein of “Super Dave” fame remains Marty Funkhauser and Larry just can’t get rid of longtime house guest Leon Black aka JB Smoov.

I give props to Larry.  His main comedic power is self-deprecation.  The whole show just dumps on him.  Everyone thinks he’s terrible.  He thinks he’s terrible.  There’s no drama or crying or tender moments its jut dump on Larry and dump on Larry some more.  Celebrity guests stop by in cameos as themselves to dump on Larry.  There are few celebrities, I think, who would allow themselves to be lampooned so vigorously, but Larry, on the other hand, is the ultimate good sport.

Have you ever had a moment where you felt you were wronged someway, so you took some action to change things, only to wince when you realize that you’ve made things so much worse, and things were so much better before you changed anything?  That’s Larry’s life in a nutshell, and when that tuba plays, he knows he’s effed up.

If you hear that tuba playing in your head, you know you’re becoming like Larry David.

STATUS:  Shelf-worthy.

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