Friday, November 17, 2017

Justice League Movie Review (Now With 99% Less Spoilers!)

Apparently you can't save a movie alone either.
I wasn't sure if I was even a choice. For as long as I could remember I was watching Superman movies and playing with Super Friends action figures. Play time consisted of Superman, Batman, Aquaman and Wonder Woman. Under my godlike supervision, I directed the Justice League into victory until it was bath time.

For better or worse (leaning on worse from the general audiences), Zack Snyder has been able to direct the Justice League onto the silver screen for the very first time.  I'm one of the few that enjoyed Batman v Superman. Looking beyond the plot holes and confusingly odd character decisions, it is an attempt to create a Greek-esque tragedy out of DC characters. Mostly a swing and miss.

That leads us to Justice League or what I like to call Man of Steel III: The Search for Superman and More Money. It's hard to review the movie without mentioning the studio drama behind the scenes. Zack Synder was relieved of duties while the movie was in post prodcution with Joss Whedon coming on board to write and direct all-new scenes. As if that wasn't hard enough, he was also instructed to make a 2 hour cut. The result? An chopped-up, oddly paced movie that feels like a 2017 Eminem freestyle. 

As expected, most of the trouble resides in introducing the new characters.  Oddly written dialogue written as Cliffs Notes is used to explain where these new characters come from. Some of it works and some of it feels like nails to a chalkboard.  As a fan I didn't need these characters explained to me, but the average movie goers will be scratching their heads. Even the villain isn't given much of a set up. Its clear his backstory was cut to reach the 2 hour limit.

Have you ever watched an action movie for the umpteenth time and skipped chapters to get the good parts? Thats how Justice League feels, and its not necessarily a bad thing. The movie is quite enjoyable. The action (despite some shoddy CGI at times) feels necessary and the humor -- YES HUMOR -- is really well done.  The chemistry between these heroes are entertaining enough to make me want to see more of them with each returning character now true to their comic-book counterparts.  

I do wish WB had more patience as Justice League feels like a sequel to movies that weren't even made. With that said, I do believe the ship has been righted and feel good about the new DC films moving forward. Oh yeah, and stay until the very end.

Anyway, its bath time.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Thirties: Age of Aging

1.  certain to happen; unavoidable.
2.  a situation that is unavoidable.

Aging is inevitable.  We’re all doing it.  Right now, at this very moment, as you read this, you just got older.
Sure, it’s fun when you’re young.  Reaching those milestones was something of an accomplishment.  Ten; you’ve reached double digits, thirteen; you’re now a teenager, sixteen; time to drive a car and your parents insane, eighteen; legally an adult and finally there’s twenty-one; the champion of age milestones.  Hello trouble, hello fun.
After that it’s pretty much over.  Milestones aren’t necessarily welcomed.  Turning a quarter-century-old doesn’t sound sexy and becoming a thirty-year-old is the first step into a larger world of adulthood.
Remember those instructional videos and text books at school that helped us understand puberty and the changes we were about to have inflicted upon us?  I feel I need one again, because I’m starting to get hairs in strange places.  There’s a lonely hair that sprouts within my left ear.  I named him Ernie.  Ernie grows at a rapid pace and honestly serves zero purpose other than to annoy me.   While dealing with that, my nostrils have decided to become hippies and grow out their hair.  I’m living out the prequel of old age; a purgatory between youth and death.

A dramatization of turning 33 years of age.
Alcohol and tasty foods, once good friends of mine, have now turned on me.  Being naturally thin had allowed me to consume food and booze at an alarming rate that kept me on par with the Coneheads.  Those days are long gone.  A night of drinking leads to a day of sleeping.  Calories now linger around and hangout, like a persistent Jehovah’s Witness that doesn’t understand the words, “Get off my midsection.”
Working out is more necessary than ever before, and that’s just to maintain.  I enjoy working out so it’s not a big deal.  What is a big deal is my Stockholm Syndrome-esque relationship with my knee brace.  Well, it’s more of just a sleeve.  I refuse to do a leg work out without it.  It makes me feel safe and secure.  I also hate it because it makes me feel old and fragile.  I remember growing up watching NBA players strap ice bags to their knees at the end of games.  I always wondered what that was about.  I no longer wonder.  I’m not even an athlete and I feel the need to protect my knees.
That’s just all on a physical level.  How about the mental level?  Priorities have completely changed.  Things that used to be fun are just bland and uninteresting, while things that were once boring as shit, now seem interesting and likeable.  My taste for music is all over the place, and I can no longer make sense of what I like anymore.  
I suppose this is somewhat “normal.”  Aging is a part of life and blah-blah-blah.  Regardless, it sucks.  It’s not fun, but it was always certain to happen.  Aging is unavoidable.  I do not like it, but I’m fortunate enough that I get to do it.

Saturday, July 06, 2013

In a '94 Hatchback, Everyone Can Hear You Scream

What a beautiful morning.  After a week of blistering heat, Southern California has finally cooled down to a tolerable climate.  I slept well, which is a rarity for me these days.  The only thing missing from making it the perfect morning was the lack of breakfast.  Foodless in Ontario needed to go to the grocery store.  And that's exactly what I decided to do.

I grabbed my keys and went out to my car.  I opened the door and sat in the driver's seat.  I went to turn on my car but was distracted by something on the dash board directly across from the passenger seat.  There was a thick web that connected from my passenger seat to my glove compartment (A.D.D. Note: why do we still call it that?).

I stared at the web as if I've never seen a spider web before.  In my defense, this is the first time I've ever seen one in my car.  I swiped at the webbing and that's when I saw it.  It was resting at the corner of my dash and darted into my glove compartment.  It moved so fast that I wasn't able to get a look at this "spider."  All I know is that it was big and fast.  I held back screaming like a child, but my arms flailed back like a person who just found out the stove was on, the hard way.

It was too thick to be a daddy long legs, but it did possess that color and size.  My mind right away pictured the facehugger from the Alien franchise.

I froze for a few seconds while the phrase, "Do I really want to do this?," replayed in my head like a broken record.  By the time I gained the misplaced courage to open the the glove compartment, Facehugger Spider was no where to be found.  Possibly hiding underneath my car insurance forms.  I wasn't going to fight this spider when it clearly had the surprise element advantage.

I proceeded with my early morning plan and drove to the grocery store.  Along with my hidden passenger.  The creature never emerged.  I'll wait for tonight, when it begins to rebuild its web.  Homo Sapien vs. Arachnid (or alien).

Monday, October 22, 2012

ZomBIE or Not ZomBIE: That is the Question: Part II

I..we, (I was still stuck in a huge group of people) came up to another batch of zombies.  This time I figured I'd run to the side and pass everyone as the zombie picked off the slow-pokes.  This worked, until the slow-pokes veered off to the side and nearly ran me off into a 15 foot ditch.  I was able to avoid getting a flag taken but I realized that I wasn't going to keep my flags for very long with this group.

There weren't any zombies up ahead so I sprinted to a smaller group that consisted of a guy dressed as Rick Grimes.  This group knew what was up.  We sprinted through the zombies.  Unfortunately there was a group ahead of us who didn't share our strategy.  I couldn't slow down in time and ran into some small Asian guy, knocking us both over.  I imagine it occurred like the final blow in Rocky II:

I somehow managed to sprain my ankle from this collision (C.). The pain was quick and severe. I still had at least two miles to go and there was no way I was going to give up. (I paid over $70 this!) I tightened my shoe to keep the swelling down and trekked on.

The obstacles were tough for me. The worst was wading through the muddy water. Each time my foot slipped into mud and I had to pull my foot out was excruciating. The excitement had my adrenaline going so I was able to avoid the zombies, but I would pay for it soon after. Before I knew it, I had reached the final mile.

Zombies were now all over the place and there weren't many safe areas.  I was now down to a single flag as a clever zombie stole a flag from behind me.  I was now stressed out and nervous with one flag remaining. As I approached the end, a volunteer zombie that decided that I wasn't going to finish the race with my flag.

At this point I was covered in mud from chest to toe. My feet were heavy and my shoes lost all traction.  A zombie slowly approached me as I stood trying to figure out my next move. I tried sprinting quickly and slipped and fell.  This zombie decided to let others past right by him and he never took his eyes off me while he slowly approached me.  What a dick.

An audience was watching closely as many people were watching near the finish line. There's actually home video of this out there somewhere. Since this zombie was letting people pass him on the side I decided to walk toward that side. WWSD. What Would Shane Do? I decided to lure this zombie into the other people.  He briefly turned to another person and I took advantage and ran by him. He reached for my flag and missed.

With all this fun going on I had forgotten about my ankle and decided to remind myself how much it actually hurt. There were a few zombies still ahead and I was now hobbling as they were.  Only mine wasn't an act. There were three left and one noticed my lone flag and came my way.  Tired and hurt I had nowhere to go.  I didn't want to finish as a zombie.  I actually trained for this. (half-assedly I might add) I put my head down, and bent forward taking deep breaths as this zombie approached.

I played possum.  The oldest trick in the book.  I ditched that zombie like Nike did Lance Armstrong.  My ankle throbbed with victory. I made it. 

My ankle currently hurts as I type this but I think it was well worth it and I encourage everyone to give it a try when Run For Your Lives comes to your area.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

ZomBIE, or Not ZomBIE: That is the Question. Part I

 Yesterday, I attended the Run For Your Lives 5K Obstacle Course in Temecula, California.  I've been pretty excited about this since January, when I initially signed up.  If you're not aware with what it is I suggest browsing through the website. Now before I continue on with my "adventure", I will give you a few tidbits that will help you understand what transpired.

A.  I drive a slightly lowered 1994 Honda Civic Hatchback.

B.  We were given three flags.  If you ended the race with at least one flag, you were considered a survivor. 

C.  God gave me poor ankles.  Seriously.  I was born with one ankle inverted the wrong way.  That's right, I was born a monster

There had been a slight drizzle that occurred in the early morning hours that left the dirt loose and slippery.  At this point I was still in my car being directed to park in a parking lot that is really just a big dirt field. I don't know why on Earth I would be encouraged to park over mounds of loose dirt. (A.)

My car nearly got stuck in it and when I accelerated to get myself out of a potentially embarrassing situation, the bottom piece of plastic designated to protect my car's insides was ripped off.  There it rested in a mound of dirt, never to be seen by me again. Good-bye plastic-protective-piece thing, it was a good 12 years.  I was running a bit late and didn't have time to worry about it.

Fast forward to the "race" start.  No one warned us that the first half mile or so was a hike up a mountain.  We all walked.  The Walking Living.  After awhile I became curious as to why there weren't any zombies at this point.  That's when I heard the screams (and laughter) and suddenly people began checking up and stopping.

It was the beginning of a situation where everyone stopped and watched the zombies as if they were street performers.  This group I was with, decided that it was a good idea to count out loud and bum rush the zombies at the count of three.  This in fact was a terrible idea.

Much like a pride of lions picking off wildebeests at random, these zombies were taking flags at an incredible rate.  Unfortunately I was stuck behind slow people and couldn't get around.  I tried to get around a chubby girl, when suddenly I heard the sound of velcro ripping.  I had encountered the first group of zombies and was already down to two flags (B.)  This wasn't going to end well.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Family Crisis

In a family, the people are represented by two separate, yet equally important generations: the elders; who spent their lives teaching and raising the youth, and the youngsters; who end up reversing roles at some point and begin to teach the elders. These are their stories.

The names have been changed to protect the innocent.


Jesse Tarver was in line to order a cheeseburger special with a Cherry Coke. It's NFL Sunday and he's been eating healthy all week. He deserves this. Better yet he's earned this. As he stood there, patiently waiting to fork over valuable paper in exchange for sustenance and fat, he realized that his cell phone was ringing in his pocket. He looked at the caller ID and recognized the number. No, there wasn't a name. This is a number he knew very well, his whole life actually.

Jesse looked up in front of him, phone in hand, and realized there was an indecisive family trying to figure out their order. Jesse looked down at his phone. Now he was as indecisive as the family in front of him. Should he pick up? He figured he'd answer and use the fact that he was in line at a fast food restaurant as a quick exit plan. He presses the little green button.


"Hi Jason, it's your mom. Listen I have a question. Do you remember the password we made for our email? I can't get in. I don't know what happened."

"Um...I don't remember. I think it's the cat's name." Jesse had set up an email account for his parents months earlier. That is an entire story in itself.

"Okay I'll try that. If not, I'll just wait for your father to come home. How are you is everything okay?"

"Yeah, mom. I'm about to get some food."

"Oh okay, I'll let you go. Love you, bye."


That was quick and painless, Jesse thought. Now if only that family could hurry up and decide already.

1:09 PM

The cell phone rang again. Jesse sighed as he pulled out the phone from his pocket. He usually doesn't get phone calls so he assumed it was a call from his parents. He was right. One of the only times he wished he was wrong.


Instead of hear a response from his mother, it was Jesse's father who replied. "Jesse, I think the password was 'LisaManny' and not the cat's name. I tried using it though and then it says I have to type in this weird looking word. I can't make out what it says."

Jesse already knew what the issue is. His parents' vision have been deteriorating since the late 90s and now the 10s were going to sock it to them.

"It's the cache word or something." Jesse meant to say captcha but it didn't make a lick of difference. He could have said it was the with the same result. Regardless, Jesse continued. "It's to for security measures. Just refresh the word you can't read the one they show you. Sometimes they're all messed up."

There was a pause. "There isn't a refresh button," Jesse's father said.

After a few moments of back and forth banter, Jesse's father found it and the phone conversation ended with good-bye and that pressing of the little red button. Crisis averted.

1:24 PM

Football on the television; a fatty lunch in front of him. This is what a Sunday is all about. Along with that whole church thing. Although there was a voice in his head telling him that it wasn't over, Jesse began to eat his lunch. Suddenly the sound of that voice became the sound of his cell phone ringing.

The frustration of the predicament has led the Tarvers to start yelling. Jesse could hear his mother from a clear distance. He couldn't make out what she was saying but he was sure it was irrational.

Jesse's father could not for the life of him figure out the captcha no matter how many times he refreshed it. Since Jesse was now at home, he offered to take care of the situation. He went into their email account and changed their password. Jesse's father explained this to his wife.

"WHAT? NO! I HAVE IMPORTANT PICTURES IN THERE FROM MY COUSIN!!! HE CAN'T CHANGE THE PASSWORD. I HAVEN'T PRINTED THEM!!!" Jesse's mother was now yelling in hysterics, clearly not understanding the situation. This is the same woman that didn't want an email account to begin with, because she was afraid her identity would get stolen. This is also the same woman that raised Jesse.

Jesse's parents began to argue at each other. His mother blamed her husband for the tragedy that had just taken place. His father countered with telling her he never uses the email so it couldn't be his fault. Finally the bell rang and the fighters had returned to their corners.

Jesse's father typed in the new password and the captcha showed up again. It was back to square one. Jesse tested out the new password from his computer and he got into his parents' email account without an issue or a captcha showing up. Something was definitely wrong on their end.

Jesse concluded that his father was mistyping the password and that made his father angry. Suddenly the bell rang and the next round in this bout became a three-way match.

After endless tries and thirty minutes of chaos, plus a "Thank you, praise Jesus!" from his mother, Jesse's parents were once again able to open their email account. Suddenly the world was a better place. Gaddafi was no longer the dictator of Libya, the Tarvers had their email, and Jesse could finally eat his lunch.