Monthly Archives: November 2018

Movie Review – Widows (2018)

It’s a heist film that stole nearly 2 and a half hours of my time!

BQB here with a review of “Widows.”

When I saw ads for a film about the wives of dead criminals who get together to pull of a heist of their own, I thought that idea seemed like a cool idea for a movie.

Problem is, I went in expecting a tight action movie and got something different altogether.  Frankly, it’s less about the heist and more of a study and meditation on life in inner city Chicago, how a corrupt system keeps people down and out, forced into a life of unhappiness and people can only break out of it if they lie, cheat, steal or you know, commit a massive and unlikely to succeed heist.

At the outset, the movie has a great pedigree.  Gillian Flynn of “Gone Girl” fame co-wrote the script with the flick’s director, Steve McQueen of “12 Years a Slave” fame.

The cast includes Viola Davis, Liam Neeson, Robert Duvall, Michele Rodriguez, Colin Farrell, and well, more stars than I can mention and the surprise is somehow all these big names were talked into sharing the limelight.  It’s an ensemble cast where no one really gets a lot of time in the sun but rather, each is a cog in the machine, doing their part as you wait to see what the final output will be.

Viola Davis leads the squad of women who need to pull off a robbery in order to appease the gangster their late husbands stole from.  Along the way, they’ll have to face their own demons.

Veronica (Viola) is a teacher who always kept her nose clean and had lied to herself, telling herself her husband wasn’t a thief but some kind of businessman though she always knew the truth and she clearly despises the world of hoodlums and losers she will have to wade into.

Linda (Michelle Rodriguez) seeks the independence of owning her own clothing store, though her husband had racked up so much gambling debt that she loses it.  She wants it back.

Alice (Elizabeth Debicki) has grown use to a life of being beaten by her ex-husband, having convinced herself that attaching herself to a rich man like a barnacle is the only way to survive, but hopes the robbery can break her out of this life.

Besides those three, there are multiple sub-plots and characters, all who intersect, Colin Farrell as a third generation Chicago politician forced into a life he doesn’t want by his father, Duvall, and being challenged for his seat on the city council by Brian Henry, the gangster the babes owe money to who is looking to move out of the world of underworld crime to the world of political white collar crime, strangely a step up.

It’s pretentious.  Full of itself.  It has a lot of twists for the sake of twists.  There are twists where you are like “Holy shit I didn’t see that one coming!” followed by “Hey wait a minute, this twist doesn’t make sense.”

Gillian Flynn built her name on the super-twisty “Gone Girl” but I hope she doesn’t fall into the Shamalan trap of trying to build a twisty career.  Hitchcock might have been able to keep the twists going forever, but few can and sometimes it is necessary to move on and seek a non-twisty career.

It’s good.  It’s worth your time though I think a half-hour to 45 minutes could have been chopped off without missing much.  The heist is cool but they do make you wait and wait and wait for it.

If you came for a tight, solid action flick, you will be disappointed.  If you wanted to learn how the system sucks and how it sucks people in and leaves them with no choice but to do bad shit to get by, you came to the right place.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy.  Skip the theater and rent it.  You’ll need your couch to be comfy on this long time commitment.

 

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Movie Review – Creed 2 (2018)

Hold onto your zhopas, 3.5 readers.

BQB here with a review of “Creed 2.”

It’s funny. After “Creed 1” I was like, “Ha! Now Creed Jr. should go to Russia and kick Ivan Drago’s ass to avenge his father!”

Well, turns out Hollywood thinks just like I do.

Hard to believe, but I remember being a little kid in the movie theater watching Rocky and Ivan go at it and now so many years later I am watching their sons go at it and then returning to my blog to tell my 3.5 readers about it.

In case you forgot, in Rocky IV, during the 1980s Cold War era, Apollo dies in a fight against Ivan.  Rocky, Ivan’s couch, failed to throw in the towel and blames himself for Apollo’s death.  He then returns to Russia to train and fight Drago and bring back victory to America.  USA, USA, USA!

In this go around, we learn that the 1980s loss to Rocky caused Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren) to lose his standing, respect, and wife.  He had to flee to the Ukraine and live in poverty.  Among the ashes, he trains his son, Viktor, to rise and become a great boxer.

Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordan), Rocky’s protégé, is challenged.  Blah, blah, blah, Rocky says no, Creed says yes, shit happens, will he live or die etc.

By now, the Rocky formula, after 8 films, is ingrained in our heads.  Someone ones to fight.  The fight looks insurmountable.  Death and destruction is likely in store for the hero.  The hero stands his ground.  He gets knocked down but he gets back up to take more punishment, thus a metaphor for life.  In the end, he wins the unlikely victory.

Hard to believe Rocky flicks are still being made after all these years but they are still going as strong as ever.  And after each one I’m like, “I can’t see how they could think of another one after this” but now I realize they will.

To the film’s credit, the Dragos are humanized.  In the original, Drago is shown to be a cold, uncaring monster, a product of Communism, the result of a government that was willing to divert all of its resources away from the poor and into a fighting machine that would wage war for the USSR’s honor.

In this installment, we see that Russia doesn’t like a failure.  While Rocky was able to walk away from boxing and open a restaurant, Drago has become a joke and wants his reputation back.  Viktor has trained his whole life for this and it hurts him that his mother (Brigette Nielson) left him.  Both are fighting for respect and it is weird…though you root for Creed, you also want an ending where the Dragos will be accepted by their country again.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy.  In theory, the idea of a sequel to Rocky IV in which the sons of Creed and Drago fight to avenge their fathers sounds idiotic and childish but in reality, they managed to pull it off, give it heart, and make it worthwhile.

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My Rant on the Sentinel Island Murder Story

Hey 3.5 readers.

BQB here.

Up front, I want to say I’m not making fun or light of or disparaging the 27 year old missionary who died recently on Sentinel Island.  What happened to him is terrible and I can’t say that enough.

I am, however, going to use this as a springboard to bitch about millennials, one of my favorite pastimes on this blog.

I’ve noticed that millennials tend to put life experiences over material possessions.  Ergo, they (and not all but a good amount) prefer to spend money on vacations to exotic lands instead of say, putting a down payment on a house.

Not going to lie.  There are times when I think about spending my meager savings on a trek around the world but alas, the thought of having to eventually come back and live with my pain in the ass family when I go broke makes me want to gorge myself to death on avocado toast.

But perhaps there are millennials with fams that are more tolerable than mine.  At any rate, fun is for the young and I can’t blame a youngster for wanting to see the world.  Hell, if you’re older and in relatively good shape, you should see the world too if you can.

I think social media has something to do with this.  When I was young, the most you could do was try to impress a date with your story of a far flung expedition.  Now you can take photos of yourself in an exotic locale and post them and make your friends hella green with envy.  Not saying that’s why millennials do this but I mean, come on, surely a few do.

Unfortunately, sometimes the millennials go a little too far.  Otto Warmbier, for example.  Now, I’m not saying in any way that North Korea is excused for what they did but whenever I hear about an American who was caught and imprisoned and tortured in a hellhole that is constantly on the news and known well to be a hellhole my first reaction is, “Damn it.  Did these people not see that Carnival Cruise commercial?  Did Kathie Lee Gifford sing her heart out for nothing?”

Look, my vacation time and funds are limited.  If I get to go away, it is going to be to a tropical paradise and my preferred form of torture will be to ogle hot babes in skimpy outfits that I will never be able to obtain (unless 1 million of you buy my book tomorrow).

Where was I?  So this young missionary went to India.  Off the Indian coast, there’s a series of islands.  One of them is Sentinel Island (I could have my facts wrong so see  the news for better info) and there is a long isolated tribe.  This tribe knows nothing of modern ways.  They live off the land.  There are documented cases where they open fire with bow and arrow attacks on all trespassers.

At any rate, this guy hired some fishermen to take him to the island even though doing so is against Indian law and though he hoped to preach the gospel, it sounds like he was arrow attacked and killed pretty much instantly.

Part of me says the tribe were dicks for doing this.  Part of me thinks this is like putting your hand in the tiger cage at the zoo and then thinking the tiger is a dick when it rips your arm off.

I don’t want to make fun of this kid.  His death is tragic.  I don’t blame him for wanting to experience great things while he was young.  Personally, I look back on my youth, wishing I had great stories to remember and am saddened that it is largely a cloud of me on the couch playing video games and eating doritos, so I hand it to this kid that he did more with his life than I did but still…I just hope millennials will chill out a bit.

Go on fun exotic vacations?  Yes.  Go to places where you are most likely going to be killed, tortured or imprisoned? No.  Please don’t.

End of rant.

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Movie Review – Robin Hood (2018)

He stole from the middle-class (i.e. me and my ticket price) and robbed me of 2 hours.

Or did he?

BQB here with a review of “Robin Hood.”

Yeah, I know.  That line above was catty and it is more or less what other critics are saying.  Truth is, I had a hard time with this one because there are parts of it that are quite awesome and overall, it is an enjoyable popcorn flick that had the potential to be truly great had it just been tweaked in some areas.

Taron Egerton, Hollywood’s favorite Brit these days, plays Lord Robin of Loxley, forced to leave an idyllic life of schtupping Maid Marion in his fabulously swanky castle to go off to war and fight the crusades in Arabia.

An early scene shows Robin and co. dressed in garb that straddles the line between ancient and modern and an inner city battle is a bit reminiscent of what American soldiers might have seen when they fought enemies in the Middle East in recent years.  I assume this is intentional as a commentary on modern war but then again, there are a number of touches, dialogue, and unfortunate clothing choices that make the viewer wonder if the film’s historical expert was out to lunch for most of the production.

In other words, this is not just Robin Hood.  It’s Woke Robin Hood.  When John (his real name is unpronounceable by the average English speaker for comedic effect), played by Jamie Foxx, an Arab who explains to Robin that this war and all wars since the beginning of time are scams designed to make the rich richer off the backs of the poor (I suppose we could debate this back and forth forever), Robin returns to England and dawns the hood.

From thereon, he becomes a superhero style fighter.  By day, he remains Robin, using his wealth and influence to gain the Sheriff of Nottingham’s trust and by night, using that trust against the evil, war tax collecting politician by stealing his ill gotten gains and distributing them to the impoverished masses.  He’s like a Batman of long ago.

To its credit, it does have a powerful anti-war message and viewers might be struck with the irony that politicians have been pulling on the citizenry’s emotional strings to support wars since the beginning of time and it is a cycle we may never be free of.  Unfortunately, the way it is done is a tad heavy handed, a bit too modern for a historical piece, and at one point where there is a casino night where the wealthy wear elaborate, Hunger Games rich people style garbs as they play roulette, those sticklers for historical accuracy will cringe.  If you can keep saying, “It’s just a fantasy” then you’ll be ok.

STATUS: Truly, there are many cool scenes, awesome fights, stylish goings on and so forth.  Egerton, Foxx and cast do their jobs well.  It’s worth the price of admission but like I said, it’s a good film that you’ll watch and then never care to see again and that’s too bad because a few plot changes and some more attention to historical details would have made it a great film with long lasting appeal.  Alas, in time (like my books) it is destined to hang out in the Sherwood Forest of the 99 cent bin forever.

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Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving, 3.5 readers.  What are you thankful for? I am thankful for all 3.5 readers.

Great Musings of the Twenty-First Century -#426-450

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#426 – I’d bang my head against the wall but I don’t like pain.

#427 – I once defeated a Bandersnatch with nothing but my pinky finger, a jar of cake batter and my brute strength.

#428 – I don’t watch television.  Television watches me.

#429 – Is it possible to hustle and bustle at the same time?

#430 – Why doesn’t anyone ever build a snow woman?  Is it because people are sexist or because tacking on a pair of snow boobs seems inappropriate? OK, but then you could decide your snow woman is flat chested, but do you want to resign your snow woman to that cruel fate?  Always being the last one invited to the snow person dance?  Right, but who are you to say that being a flat chested snow woman is a cruel fate?  Maybe the flat chested snow woman has a keen wit and a charming personality that more than makes up for…and, screw it.  Let’s just make a snow man.

#431 – Everyone likes eggs over easy.  No one likes eggs under hard.

#432 – I may or may not be a shaman.

#433 – Kale is not delicious but it is nutritious.

#434 – It is my life’s goal to date a bimbo.  I don’t know that I want to marry one, but I’d like to take one to a movie and to get a pint of rocky road ice cream with.  Basically, I would like to study bimbos in their natural habitat and report my findings to the masses.  Who am I kidding?  I am a man so I would probably marry one if given the opportunity and then she would take half the profits from my book publishing enterprise.  Joke’s on her because she’ll spend a lot on lawyer’s fees just to get fifty cents.

#435 – When there’s a knock on your door, it could be anyone from the police, to a murderer, to a neighbor looking to borrow a cup of sugar, to a friend bringing you a box of cookies to the love of your life who you are about to meet for the very first time.  Some visitors will make you regret opening the door.  Others will make you elated you opened the door.  Sadly, you’ll never know if opening the door was a good or bad idea until you open it.  Then again, you could always ask who is at the door, though keep in mind the person could always lie.

#436 – There is a skeleton in my closet.  His name is Fred.

#437 – It has been a long time since I went to a party that had a punch bowl.  Then again, it has been a long time since I’ve attended a party.  Come to think of it, have I ever been invited to a party? FML.

#438 –  I find these musings amusing.

#439 – If you always walk backwards, you’ll never move forwards…unless you move backward in the direction you wanted to go in the first place.

#440 – I wonder if there is an exact double of me out there somewhere.  Then again, there’s no way there could be two such sexy motherfuckers in this world.

#441 – I want to get out of town…or do I want the town to get out of me?

#442 – Watermelon is neither water nor a melon.  Discuss.

#443 – Ignorance is bliss.  If I could be 35% dumber, I’d be so much happier.

#444 – Waffles are better than pancakes.

#445 – I’ve never seen that Nutcracker play they are always putting on at Christmastime.  Ten years with my ex-wife was enough.

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Is Hell Other People?

Hey 3.5 readers.  Your old pal, BQB here.

John Paul Sartre’s play, “No Exit” is often summed up as “Hell is other people.”

Forgive me if I get this wrong, but my understanding is the play consists of three deceased people in a waiting room who are waiting to get into the afterlife.  They each try to get the other to do something but the other won’t give in to what is wanted.

Thus, if someone would just do what you want, your life would be so much better, but they won’t, so it sucks.

Have you ever felt that way?  If only that special someone would love you.  If only your spouse would help out more or make more money or do that thing you like in bed or whatever.  If only your boss would give you a raise.  If only that company would hire you.  If only your dumb neighbor would turn his music down while you’re trying to sleep.

The good news is we all have free will.  The bad news is we are unable to bend people to our will, at least not without becoming strong-arming dictators that we don’t want to become and that others don’t want to be around.

A lucky few get the breaks in that they find the perfect combo of family, friends, and business colleagues who open the right doors and offer what is desired.

Alas, the rest of us have to put up with squirrel brained circus folk who will make us feel lucky if they close their mouths and look down when it rains so they don’t drown.

Discuss.

 

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Buy My Book!

Sorry, 3.5 readers.  Gotta keep the lights on.

Are you, like me, a conspiracy theorist who is constantly worried the government is going to descend into a dictatorship that will control ever aspect of your life?

First, get help.  Second, get a copy of the first episode of The Last Driver, now available on Amazon for 99 cents.

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Buy My Book!

Hey 3.5 readers.  BQB here.

I try not to overload you with this but occasionally I have to pitch my stuff, so please, if you are so inclined, stop on over Amazon and get a copy of my big book of badass writing prompts for 99 cents.

Here’s a spoiler.  You can use them as inspiration for your writing if you want, but it’s really just a vehicle for all my jokes that have kept you 3.5 readers captivated for so long now.

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Words the Media Should Stop Using

#1 and #2 – Terrifying, Horrifying or Variants

EXAMPLE: “Senator Bumble’s Support for Bill #535 is Terrifying!”

No it isn’t.  You know what’s terrifying? Leatherface coming at you with a revving chainsaw and the car you’re in is out of gas.

If you don’t support that bill, then Senator Bumble’s support for it is disappointing, ill-advised or contrary to your beliefs, but one usually only feels terror when one is in a dangerous situation, one where there is a great likelihood of danger to your physical well-being.

Things that are terrifying: Mike Myers chasing you with a machete.  A dump truck barreling down on you and your foot is stuck in a pothole.  A Bengal tiger spotting you and licking his chops.

Times I Have Been Terrified in My Life: 1) I was getting out of a car on a rainy night when I noticed another car had veered off the road and was about to crash into the car I was getting out of. I had to make a split second decision to keep getting out of the car and try to make a run for it or get back in the car.  I got back in the car and as it turns out, that was the better move as the impact pushed the car quite a bit, right over the spot I would have been in…as you know, a person not inside a car to protect me.  That was terrifying but I am now here to entertain you 3.5 readers so it worked out.

Other Time I Was Terrified:  I was walking alone in a neighborhood at night and an enormous dog started following me.  He kept sniffing at me, nipping at me, put his paws on me (on my shoulders because that’s how big it was) and it was just huge.  I’m not sure the feeling amounted to terror but there was a large concern in my mind at the time that this mutt could have ripped out my larynx if it wanted then defiled my corpse and it was such a quiet country road that it would have been days before the road cleanup crew would have scooped me up with a spatula.  Luckily, the dog didn’t want to.

At any rate, I have felt terror and close to terror but bloviating politicians have yet to strike terror into me.

Things that are not terrifying: Senator Bumble’s support for a bill.

Here’s a handy tip.  When you read about Senator Bumble, did your butthole pucker? Did you break out into a cold sweat?  Did your heart beat rapidly? No?  OK, so then let’s stop using the word terrifying to describe things that don’t cause these things to happen.

#3 – Destroyed

EXAMPLE: Talk Show Host Talky McTalksalot Just Gave a Monologue That Destroyed Trump!

No.  To destroy is to eradicate.  Make it no longer there. Maybe Talky’s monologue gave a strong argument against Trump’s policies.  Maybe you agree with Talky and are happy to see someone is vocalizing a point you agree with.  Maybe Talky has shown where Trump has made a mistake or has engaged in some action you find disagreeable, but Trump was not destroyed.  Trump is still here.  He is still getting up every day, eating his morning Big Mac, then tweeting up a storm.

There are some other words the media uses that drive me crazy but that’s all I can think of for now.

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