Hello readers, it’s been a while. I promised I would return if given the opportunity and I’m back … at least for this week. What brings you back to the world of blogging you may ask. Oh wait, you’ve completed you’re latest novel, fantastic! I wish, but unfortunately I still have a few chapters to go on that one. Then why the rare appearance? Why none other than The Avengers: Captain America, Iron Man, Thor … need I say more? I better, or this will be the shortest blog ever. In a word – awesome! Yes, dear friends, I was one of the many who helped this movie reach the all time grossing record of $200.3 million for a movie debut. Being a Disney shareholder, I thought I’d bring along seven other superhero fanatics for the ride. Clearly Disney didn’t need my help – what a movie!
Although the film was released Friday, May 4th, I had the bright idea of waiting until the first showing early Sunday morning to see these heroes in action. I knew this movie would be a hit, and as you movie-goers know, opening night is usually a mob scene, so I thought I’d try to avoid some of the crowd. Yes, get up early on Sunday morning and have the theater to yourself … brilliant! That idea was quickly squashed as I pulled up to the theater. I’ve never, and I repeat never have seen the parking lot so packed on a Sunday morning. You would have sworn it was a Friday night. Wait, it gets worse.
My wife lets me off to purchase the tickets and the lines are at least twenty people deep, three rows strong. This, I have never seen, ever, not for Harry Potter, not for Batman, not for Pirates, never. I foolishly looked at the movie posters aligning the walls hoping that these people might be here to see something different. Who was I kidding? There was no other movie out there that would draw this kind of a crowd. I looked down at my watch and knew I wasn’t going to make the ten forty-five. What to do? I could leave, but no, I had five other children and two adults with me who also desperately wanted to see this film. Okay, bite the bullet … wait in line.
By the time I arrived at the counter to purchase my tickets, I asked the man which Avenger’s movie was the earliest one I could view. To my surprise he said the 11:30 was available. Okay, not so bad, only a forty-five minute wait, but hold on … he then proceeded to tell me that this time slot was allotted for the 3D version. Ugh, I personally love 3D, but did I mention I had seven other people with me.? No problem, that’s what credit cards are for, right? Oh well, I paid the eighty dollars for admission, got my tickets, and my 3D glasses, sweet. Let’s rock this thing! We get inside and rush to get some seats. I turn the corner and crap, you’ve got to be kidding me? It’s packed … duh, what else did I expect? We got lucky enough to find eight seats on the end of the back row. No problem, at least we’re all sitting together. We’re going to see the movie of the year, nice.
Dad, I’m hungry was the first thing I heard. I looked down at the watch, all right, twenty minutes to go, I got this. The wife and I take everyone’s order, get the food, and settle down with five minutes to spare. By now you’re probably wondering, when is this guy going to get the movie? Anticipation, he’s making me wait. Hey, I have to build it up just to give you a taste of what you’ve missed. Blah, blah blah, fifteen minutes of commercials and another fifteen minutes of previews later, it begins. Halleluiah, I thought I heard the angels sing.
Loki’s back and he’s mad as ever. How dare Thor destroy the bifrost bridge and abandon him to the nether world. Well, don’t worry about poor old Loki. He knows exactly how to payback Thor for his kindness. He decides he’ll destroy the world Thor loves, good old planet earth. He comes to town and interrupts Nick Fury’s plan to harness the power of some magical cube and bam, look out, Hawkeye’s now the enemy. Loki, out, Avengers in-troduced.
The first one you meet was Hawkeye, but I just mentioned him, so let’s move on, shall we? Next you meet the lovely Black Widow and watch as she kicks some serious Russian ass. She’s asked to recruit the big guy and whammo, let’s go meet the new Hulk, or at least Dr. Banner. I liked him, but computer graphics Hulk stole the show. Then you’re introduced to America’s favorite boy-scout as he beats-up some old punching bags. Finally, they save the best for last, they introduce you to the witty Iron man. I tell you, Robert Downey Jr. was made for this role.
It took a while for Thor to enter the picture, but when he did, the dialog was amusing and clever. The fight scene between Iron man, Thor, and Captain America was classic. Now, I won’t give away any spoilers, because this movie is a must see, and I predict, the best film you’ll see all summer. I know, it’s a bit early to say that and frankly I am surprise that they started out so strong, but hey, after John Cater, I guess Disney needed a boost in the earnings department.
I’ll never forget the excitement that came across my daughter’s face as she finally watched Dr. Banner transform into the Hulk. She was out of her seat. The movie, as expected, was action packed, the graphics were incredible, and believe it or not, it was funny. Not just slapstick funny (which they had), but very witty. Clearly they had the adult in mind, as well as the children, when they wrote this script. Again, computer graphics Hulk stole the show; watch the movie and you’ll know what I mean. Will there be spin-offs? No doubt. Is this a franchise that could go five movies deep? I hope so.
Bottom line, The Avengers kicked some serious butt. This was by far one of the best movies I’ve seen in a theater in some time. Granted I’m eagerly awaiting the return of Batman, but I find it hard to believe that even he can surpass the dominance created by this six-pack of supers. If you’re on the fence, don’t be. Go see this film, you’ll thank me later. Hats off to Disney with the hiring of Joss Whedon to direct and for bringing together this wonderful cast of actors. I had to admit, I was a little nervous when Disney first acquired Marvel. I feared they would take the adult out of the Marvel equation and make the heroes too kid friendly. To my delight, they’ve gone above and beyond my greatest expectations. It’s all I could ask for when dealing with these iconic characters. This franchise is a huge success and hopefully here to stay. I look forward to viewing many more Avenger films in the future.
Dear readers, I want to give a special thank you for all of you who’ve read this blog and shared your thoughts with me over the past year. Yes, I find it hard to believe now, but this is actually my fifty-second and last blog for some time. I can hardly believe that I’ve now been doing this for a little over a year. It’s been a wonderful experience. I will be taking some time off to complete my third and final book in my Atlantean trilogy entitled, ‘Mayhem’s Triangle’. I will, from time to time, do my best to write some blogs every now and again, but I don’t plan on continuing my weekly campaign until my third book is completed.
What a year it’s been. Over the course of the year I released my book, ‘Mayhem’s Fountain’. I’ve started a twitter campaign, (thanks Greg), I’ve created a face book account (something I never thought I’d do), and of course I’ve created this blog (again, something that I never envisioned myself doing). My favorite thing to do, of course was this blog. I was pushed into doing this kicking and screaming by my publicist, but I admit, I’ve truly enjoyed it. What better way to share my writing with others, without them having an opportunity to read my stories? Finally, I did my first book signing in Los Angeles, which was an exciting, albeit scary experience, but it was well worth it.
The key question remains … what did I try to accomplish in this blog over the past year? To be honest, I had no idea what I was supposed to write about week in and week out, so I decided to write about what I found most compelling – entertainment. Yes, I’m a writer, and yes, I enjoy reading, but like most, I enjoy so much more. Being a musician, I love my music. I introduced you to my group Koncrete Kite. We’ve worked hard this past year creating our fourth CD entitled, ‘Full of Bull’. We hope to have the CD ready for release in May of this year. For more information, please visit our new sight attached in this link. I’ve also given some reviews of concerts I’ve been to, my personal favorite was Paul McCartney in Yankee Stadium – awesome show.
I love my movies. I did my best to review all the blockbusters of 2011 from the great superhero films, to Harry Potter, Pirates, and so much more. I may not have been a fan of everything released, but let’s face it, who is. I did though, try to do my best to give you an honest assessment of the films. I personally loved doing my top five lists. What better way to share some humor on something that wasn’t all that great by giving it an entertaining twist? Let’s not forget the program reviews of shows on cable and free television. I probably watch more than I should, but what can I say, I love to be entertained.
Let’s talk travel. I gave some traveling tips with places to visit and sights to see. Whether it was a historical review visiting such place as London, Scotland, Germany, or wonderful places to visit right here in the great U.S., like Sundance, Universal in Orlando, Beaver Creek, Colorado, etc. I wanted to give you an on the ground perspective of what to do, what to see, and what to watch out for. Hopefully some of you found this useful. You even received a little paranormal information on the places we visited and experienced during some of these trips. This was not only for you, but also for your kids. They don’t like to stay at haunted locations, so visitors beware.
Finally, I discussed my thoughts on book reviews and my writing experience. I reviewed such books from the latest James Bond novel, to War and Peace, to everyone’s current favorite – George R. R. Martin’s and his latest release in the Song of Ice and Fire series. I gave you my thoughts on my writing experience, whether it was writer’s block, or procrastination. I wanted you to hear it from a fellow writer who’s experienced everything all of you must have felt as well at some time in your writing career.
So alas I bid you all a fair adieu. I will return, but not completely until my final book is completed. I anticipate completing the book in June, but then with the developmental edit, content edit, proof read, etc., it probably won’t be published until next year. Don’t worry, I fully intend to keep everyone informed of my progress and of course, everyone will be aware of the release. Until then I hope to fit in some blogs from time to time on my favorite movies, shows, books, and travels visited over the course of this year. I thank you all again for your wonderful support and kind words and hope to see you again soon.
Have you ever had a book that you meant to read but always put off? For me, that book was War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy. Now, not too long ago I wrote about George R.R. Martin’s 5th book in the Song of Ice and Fire series entitled A Dance with Dragons and I noted that as an epic read. Well, if that book was epic, then this book was grand by Homeric proportion. Being a glutton for punishment, I decided to read this book shortly after completing Dance and I’ll admit, it’s taken me some time to peruse.
Now I know many of you are probably thinking, why in the world are you reading War and Peace? Wasn’t that book written ages ago? Didn’t they make a movie about it back in the fifties? Weren’t you forced to read it in high school? The answers to all of those questions are yes, yes, and does cliff notes count? As far as why I read this book I have a few reasons. One, Tolstoy was one of my father’s favorite authors, so I had to do him the honor of completing at least one of his novels. Two, this was a book on my bucket list to complete. Let me explain.
I was not always an avid reader. As a matter of fact, when I was younger, many moons ago, I hated reading with a passion. I couldn’t find a bigger waste of time than sitting down indoors and reading a book. I was an outside kind of kid. And if I had to be indoors, why read, there was always television. I’ll never forget when HBO first came out (yes, I remember), I thought I heard the angels sing. Who needed books? When I first learned about War and Peace I had to go no further than the last page. Oh, over 1,000 pages – book closed, case closed, this was not for me.
Funny thing happened over the years … I grew up. I no longer found sitcoms as entertaining as they used to be and let’s face it, movies are best left to watch in the theaters, so in my early twenties I was introduced to the enjoyment of reading. Now that I’m long past my twenties, I consider myself an avid reader. I can’t explain why, but I suddenly had this desire to finally tackle this book and I’m glad I did. Thanks dad for the recommendation.
I’ll be honest with you; this was not an easy book to read (I’ll be frank, I’m still not finished, but I’m almost done). The first one hundred pages or so I found extremely confusing. There were several characters introduced and I had a hard time following who was who, and why they were important. I couldn’t figure out who exactly was the main protagonist, or the antagonist for that matter. There were gatherings and gossip a plenty about Napoleon and the war that I soon discovered, this wasn’t a story so much about a specific protagonist/antagonist as it was a collection of lives and how they were impacted by the war.
As mentioned, there were so many different stories intertwined into one monumental novel that at first it was daunting to follow. Eventually Tolstoy does narrow down his focus and makes it easier to follow the lives of some specific individuals ranging from Prince Andrew Bolkonsky, a true soldier at heart, to Pierre Bezukhov the illegitimate son of a wealthy count who inherits a fortune, or Natasha Rostov a young romantic full of life. Each one suffers their own trials and tribulations, so it’s easy to associate with their tale. That aside, most of the narrative surrounding these characters focuses on their daily life and the impact Napoleon had on them, and Russia throughout the years.
Bottom line, for anyone who has this book on his, or her bucket list of books to read, you better get to it. If you survive the descriptive first one hundred pages, you will find yourself completely drawn into Tolstoy’s world. The stories grow more complex as you continue through the various stages, but you’ll find so does your enjoyment in getting to know these colorful characters. If you’re not a marathon reader then this book is not for you. Hey, not everyone is ready to tackle a book of this nature. On the other hand, if you find you have the ambition, and the time, I think you will be happy you opened the book.
Hats off to AMC’s Breaking Bad. Why has it taken me so long to watch this program? For months my brother would ask – Have you seen it yet? Unfortunately for months my reply was always the same – I’m going to get to it … soon. Well, I finally got to it, all of it. Frankly, I’m not so sure what took me so long to view this program. Maybe it was the fact that it was aired on AMC (don’t know the channel on my cable box), who knows, but I pulled off one of those viewing marathons in where I watched all four seasons over the course of a month (thanks Netflix) and now I can officially say that I’m all caught up with this program.
Wow, who knew Malcolm’s father could be such a badass? I mean come on, Hal? One of the reasons I didn’t tune into this program at first was because I wasn’t sure I could take Bryan Cranston as a serious actor. I was so used to watching him play the buffoon and standing around in his tidy whiteys that I couldn’t take him too seriously. Well, I apologize, Mr. Cranston. You are a very fine actor indeed. Granted you still have some fetish about going on camera in your tidy whiteys … I would work on that one, but hey, if Homer can pull it off, why not you.
For those of you, like myself, who have not seen this program, Breaking Bad, created and produced by Vince Gillian, of the X-Files fame, is about a high school chemistry teacher (Walter White – Cranston) who discovers he has advanced lung cancer. The bills are piling up and he fears he’ll have nothing to leave behind to take care of his pregnant wife (Skyler – Anna Gunn) and teenage son. He decides to turn to a life of crime. He reconnects with an old student (Jesse – Aaron Paul) and they become partners in crime in a life of cooking and dealing methamphetamines.
Over the course of four seasons, you watch the transformation of a mild manner chemistry teacher morph into a mega bad guy. He becomes the toast of the town known as Heisenberg – the best meth cook this side of the Mississippi. The kicker here is that his brother-in-law (Hank Schrader – Dean Norris) is a DEA agent who’s hot on the trail of this Heisenberg. It was completely entertaining to watch Walter (Heisenberg) escape the clutches of his brother on many different occasions – some good, most bad, while picking his brain at the same time.
What I liked most about this program is that it lived on the cliffhangers. I love cliffhangers. I love them in books, and I love them even more in television. One of the reasons I was able to plow through the entire program was that I simply couldn’t stop watching. I can’t tell you how many nights I stayed up until two in the morning because I had to see how the next program would wrap-up what I just previously watched. Ah the beauty of not having to wait until the next week.
Bottom line, I would like to personally thank my brother for recommending this program to me. In a word – awesome. The acting is phenomenal, the writing is spectacular, and the story keeps you entertained for hours on end. I saw that the show was renewed for a fifth and final season. I don’t know how they’re going to top season four, but I eagerly await the program. This time I will make sure to note what night and channel it’s on (I guess I’ll have to find AMC on my cable box). Malcolm’s dad kicks ass and I look forward to watching the conclusion of this wonderfully written program.
I don’t what it is about George Clooney, but I can’t seem to pin this actor down. For starters, I am not a very big fan of his films. That stated, I really like the actor. Maybe it’s all the charitable work he does, who knows? He does have a certain appeal that comes across on the camera that makes you think, this guy’s all right, let’s give his movie a chance. Clooney’s staring in it after all, so how bad could it be?
Year, after year, after year, I am constantly disappointed with the results. Whether you refer to the Ocean’s series, Men Who Stare at Goats, Leatherheads, or the worst of the batch, The American (man what a disappointment) he’s constantly letting me down. So why then do I always come back for more? To this day I can’t figure it out. Well, after all those years of giving him a chance he finally pulled through for me, not only with The Ides of March, but also with his Oscar nominated The Descendants.
For the purpose of this blog, let’s stick with The Descendants. I was told that this was a must watch film, so of course I had to view it. The film is listed as a comedy/drama, but in reality I didn’t find it all that funny. To be frank … I’m still not sure what I think. Personally, it may not be my typical style of movie. I’m a man who likes action, adventure, and some good laughs. This movie was more slow paced, melancholy, life lessons, et cetera. For some reason though, it kept me watching. I was quite surprised when I learned that Jim Rash, you know, good old Dean Pelts from the NBC program ‘Community‘ actually was one of the screen writers on this movie. Dean Pelts … are you kidding me? Nice job, multi-talented.
Anyhow, the story is about (stop reading if you don’t want any spoilers) a workaholic father (Matt King, played by Clooney) whose wife has just gone into a coma. His kids are spiraling out of control and he is apparently wealthy beyond reason. He’s finally coming to grips with having to raise his children and dealing with his wife’s misfortune when he discovers that she’s had an affair. Now he becomes a man on a mission. He’s obsessed to know more. Who was it? Did she love him? Was she going to leave him? He goes on a quest with his children and his daughter’s drug-influenced boyfriend to discover the answers to these questions.
Ok, if you read on by accident, I won’t spoil what happens, but let’s just say that at some point in the movie Mr. King has and epiphany and he comes to peace with all that’s occurred. His family is now closer than they were when mom was still around and all seems right in his world. It’s one of those movies that’s meant to make you think, but I have to admit, all I kept thinking about was when are we going to see some action. It took me to the credits to realize that we weren’t … Ah classic Clooney (The American comes to mind once again).
Would I recommend the movie? Sure, the acting was solid all around from Clooney (Oscar nomination) to his elder daughter Alex King (Shailene Woodley). You certainly couldn’t go wrong with the scenery, the story took place in Hawaii, and the dialogue was witty. If you’re in the mood to have a good laugh you may be disappointed. Again, I know the movie is listed as a comedy/drama, but apart from a few scenes there weren’t many chuckles. If you’re in the mood to reflect and simply enjoy the drama, then this is the movie for you. For me, I suppose I’ll continue to give Mr. Clooney another chance, if anything, the man can act.
All right, I know I said I would never discuss sports in this blog, but I have to make an exception due to an unexpected championship. Yes, I am a Giants fan, and yes, I am ecstatic because they won Super Bowl XLVI (46). So please indulge me, just this once.
Woo-hoo! Are you kidding me? The Giants won Super Bowl XLVI? What in good God just happened? Wasn’t this the same team that lost four in a row? Wasn’t this the same team that was embarrassed on national television by the New Orleans Saints? Yes it was. By the way, I personally couldn’t have been happier that the Saints were defeated by the 49ers, or I probably wouldn’t even be writing this blog. I digress. The 2011 Giants are indeed Super Bowl champions. This is not something that I, nor any other Giant fan would have predicted just a few months earlier. Let’s face it, coming into the playoffs they were just 9-7. Wow only 9 victories and they managed to defeat teams with wins of 15, 13, and 12 … not too shabby.
Now, considering what a surprise it was that the Giants even made the Super bowl, I did not properly plan a trip to Indianapolis; otherwise I would’ve gone. I know the average ticket price was hovering around $4000.00, but hey, this was history. I’ve never been to a Super bowl and it definitely would have been worth the money to experience this game first hand. Alas, I couldn’t find a flight and all the hotels were booked, so it was not meant to be. The good news was that I actually went to Boston earlier in the year and witnessed the Giants defeat the Patriots in Foxboro; so technically, I already did watch the Super bowl – same players, same uniforms, same result.
The other benefit of not going to the actual game was that I got to host one heck of a Super bowl party. What better opportunity to enjoy the game with family and friends: especially when they’re all rooting for your team to win. Watching my children jump from excitement as Brady’s Hail Mary pass dropped to the floor was definitely worth it. Plus, there was no waiting in line to go the bathroom, the beers didn’t cost me $10 a pop (I’m being generous here), and there were no heckling idiots sitting behind me. Gee, I sound kind of like a grump, but hey, it’s the truth. Instead, I smoked ribs and wings, cooked dogs and burgers, and enjoyed cocktails a plenty at no additional cost. Yes, I did make it to work the next day.
The only thing that could’ve spoiled this wonderful time would have been a Giant loss, but frankly, I didn’t think that was possible. Sorry, Patriot fans, I don’t mean to gloat, but come on, even you had to admit you were afraid. The Giants did just beat the top scoring team in the Packers and the number one defensive team in the league in the 49ers. Was there really ever any doubt that they couldn’t beat the feared combination of Brady-Belichick? Frankly why the Patriots were even favored in Vegas by three points still comes as some surprise to me. For goodness sake, the Giants had already beaten the Pats earlier in the year in their stadium (great venue by the way).
So finally, congrats Eli, Super Bowl MVP. Are you a better quarterback than your brother? Well, you do have one more ring than him, so give it some time, and you’ll probably surpass his stats. Are you a better quarterback than Tom Brady? Many would disagree, but coming from this bias Giants fan, why not? The guy can’t beat you and you only have one less ring in many less attempts. Could you do it again next year? The odds are certainly against you, but I don’t see any reason why you can’t.
So thanks again Giants, this season has been one interesting story to view. It’s certainly been a wild ride, but I can’t be disappointed with the conclusion. As for you readers, thanks for indulging me this one time. This blog is, after all, about entertainment, and you won’t find much more entertainment than watching the super bowl. Whether you tune in for the commercials, the halftime entertainment, or the game itself, it really is a spectacle to behold. Congratulations Giants on your well earned victory.