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Fighting Depression #26/Movie Time: Guardians of the Galaxy Double Shot

May 11, 2017
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A week ago today, I went to a double feature at the local theatre, the EPIC Theatres West Volusia with Epic XL.  It was a double feature of 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy and the debuting Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2.

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This isn’t going to be a break it down to basics review, you’ve probably already seen plenty of those.  This is going to talk about the experience and how it was good for my mental health.

For those new here; I’m blogging some life stuff/etc to help deal with my depression.  I’m self-diagnosed and not seeking professional help at this stage.  I’m also going through a particularly tough time, having been fired (without any explanation) from the not-for-profit no-kill animal shelter that I gave twelve-plus years of my life to.

So, couple weeks back, I saw that there was a double feature of GotG on Thursday, May 4th.  Now, I LOVE GotG.  It’s my favourite Marvel Studios movie.  It’s one of my favourite movies, period.  I own it on blu ray (and it’s one of a select bunch that I am NOT selling – if you want to help a guy pay some bills, please consider looking at the movies I am selling… or you can check here to see the tabletop/roleplaying/PS4 games I have for sale, too.)  I’ve seen it a good 4-5 times now.

The idea of seeing it on the big screen again really appealed to me.  I thought that would be much fun.

The ticket for the double feature was $20.  A bit pricey for my budget, but I had a gift certificate for $12, so it would only cost me $8.  I could justify that – I’ve been treating myself to a meal out about once a week – if I’m having to sell my personal items to pay bills, some of that money is going towards fun stuff.  So I decided this would be my treat for the week.

Now, a little history.  I really dig movie marathons.  I’ve only ever been to two others in actual theatres.  Back in 1987, my friend Todd and I went to Orlando (sadly, I don’t recall the name of the theatre – it wasn’t a big box one, it was a small community theatre with a balcony – we sat in the balcony, it was very cool) and saw A Nightmare On Elm Street and A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge (neither of which I’d seen in the theatre because they were rated R, I was only 15 for the first one, and I didn’t have a consenting adult to go with), as well as the debut of A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors.

It was a VERY cool experience; it was a Friday afternoon, so I played hooky from school (I was a junior in high school, Todd was a senior) and we went to Orlando.  The auditorium was filled to the max, maybe 300-350 people, all rabid Freddy fans.  Watching the first two on the big screen was a lot of fun, we were yelling out lines and such… one vivid memory I have, thirty years later, is EVERYONE yelling the line in sync when Nancy tells her boyfriend Glen (Johnny Depp), “Whatever you do… don’t fall asleep.”

Fast forward to 2014.  Now, I’m a big Planet of the Apes fan.  The original is probably my favourite scifi movie.  It’s certainly my favourite post-apocalypse movie (and I’m a rather big fan of that genre of story.)  I like the five movie series, even the bad one, Beneath The Planet of the Apes.  I own the set on blu ray (and again, NOT SELLING them.)

In 2011, when Rise of the Planet of the Apes came out, I was excited, but with very big reservations, as the 2001 movie sucked balls (though, to be honest, I find myself wanting to revisit that, just to see if it’s as bad as I think I remember it being.)  I put off seeing it at the theatres, so I had to wait until it came out on video (I believe I watched it via Amazon when it did.)  I loved it and was kicking myself for not going to see it… so when Dawn of the Planet of the Apes was coming out, I was excited to see that the UA Seminole Towne Center 10 was having a double-feature with both movies.  (And, yes, I currently own both on blu ray, and, no, I’m not selling them, either.)

I, of course, went.  Was so thrilled to watch RotPotA on the big screen.  Loved the movie even more for it.  (There are some movies that are just so much better on the big screen… and this one was one I already loved.)

Then, DotPotA came on.  It was a 3D movie.

I was horrified.

I’m legally blind in my left eye.  Traditional 3D (the glasses with one red lens, one blue lens) does NOT work for me.  At all.  My brain processes about 98% of my vision through my right eye.  (Even when I cover my right eye, my brain processes so that I ‘see’ through my hand – it processes the left eye image and the image of my hand together.  It’s really cool and weird.)

I thought… ok… well, I’ll try and watch it without.  (I used to try that with the old style of 3D, and get a headache within minutes.)  Then, before the movie actually started, I was like, “fuck it, we’ll try the 3D”.  So, I had to go out and get a pair of 3D glasses (I had no idea DofPotA was 3D, it hadn’t been stated obviously on the website I got the ticket from, though it was listed on the ticket, in small print… I’d have passed on the ticket, or looked for another venue where they were showing the regular version of the 2nd movie instead.)

Guess what?  The new 3D works for me… mostly.  I still don’t get the full experience, but I can see SOME depth and difference.  And, wearing the glasses, I don’t get a headache, so that was good.  (Bottom line, I was able to experience the movie and enjoy it.)

Now, this double feature experience wasn’t as cool as the ANoES triple feature was, because there were only about a dozen people and it was a more sedated experience… but the movies were more than fun enough to make it an experience that I hold dear.

So, walking into the GotG double feature, I wasn’t sure what to expect.  It was about 4pm when I walked into the lobby; the movie was scheduled to start at 4:30.  There was a line queued up already, about twenty-some people.  I got in line, found out there was a raffle, so I presented my ticket to get a number.  There were 5 soundtracks and 3 t-shirts being raffled away, either would be fine to win, I thought, though the soundtrack was the ideal (and everyone else seemed to agree.)

I didn’t win anything, sadly.  I also forgot to pick up the complimentary button/mini-poster set, so there’s that.

All told, I think there were about fifty people as we filed into the auditorium.  I got to sit the very top row, exact center, which is my preferred seat, so I was pleased with that.

This was more of a fun experience, because everyone was EXCITED to see GotG on the big screen again.  When it started, people clapped and cheered.  Throughout the movie, people clapped, cheered, awww’d and more.

The new movie… I loved it.  I know a lot of people out there have complaints, I think you’re all nuts.  It was just as good as the first, I think – and in some ways better (and in some ways, not quite as good.)

Loved the villain; he’s one of my favourite somewhat obscure villains from Marvel comics, so I really enjoyed that.  Loved the little Easter Eggs.  Did I think Stallone was the perfect casting for Stakar?  No, but he didn’t have that much screen time, and what he did, he did fine for the character as it was presented.

Loved the credit scenes.  All five of them.  Third one’s the best, but they were all good.

And the crowd was hip and into it (though about half left after the 2nd credits scene, dummies.)

So, for $8 I got a super fun experience that I’ll remember for years.  And it’s stuff like that that helps me fight the negativity and such swirling around in my brain.

As always, thanks for reading.


Thoughts on Marvel Studio’s Doctor Strange

March 3, 2017
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So, yesterday, I went and saw DOCTOR STRANGE at the local $2 Theatre.  It was the last day it was showing there, and I really wanted to see it on the big screen, so it was pretty much a must-see sorta deal.

(I’d originally planned on making it a double-header, as FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM was also ending yesterday, but after watching the first movie, and grabbing a $5 Whopper combo at Burger King, I was ready to go home.  Part physical pain issues (still not recovered from that hellacrazy volunteer weekend+ last week), part depression issues.  I’ll czech out FBAWTFT when it’s at Redbox, I’m certain.)

Now, my last blog post before a long hiatus was back in 2014, after hearing that they were doing a Doctor Strange movie.  You can read it here.  TL;DR version – they should’ve done it as a tv show first.

Now, the movie… I enjoyed it.  It wasn’t my favourite Marvel Studios movie (that would be GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, though THOR: THE DARK WORLD, CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER and IRON MAN 3 are close), but it wasn’t the worst either (IRON MAN 2 or AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON, I’d have to say.)

Have you read my previous blog post about it?  Cuz I’m about to make comparisons.  I still think Benedict wasn’t the best casting for the role.  He did good, don’t get me wrong.  I like BC.  He’s an awesome Sherlock Holmes, for one.  He’s done some really good work, in telly and movies alike.  But, he wasn’t super-great as Doctor Strange.

I still think they should have gone with a tv series, would’ve been perfect on Netflix.  Two seasons, maybe three, each about eight episodes long.  Just like I said in the 2014 blog post.  Build the character.  Take your time.

Like most superhero movies, there was just too much going on, crammed into two hours.  The f/x were awesome, but by the end of the movie, I didn’t care how awesome they were any more.  I was a bit overloaded.  (Also, it didn’t help that 99% of the awesome scenes were shown in the trailers. I fucking hate trailers and when I know I want to see a movie, I avoid them like the plague… but it’s still hard to avoid them completely.)

There are going to be spoilers (esp relating to the mid/post-credit scenes)…

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Okay, that should get the point across.

Chiwetel Ejiofor was excellent as Mordo.  I really liked how they handled him throughout the movie.  I liked WHY he started his heel turn (wrestling term for switching sides from good to bad.)  Again, it’s rushed.  It would work better during Season 2 of a series.  Introduce him during season one, have him be a rival at first, then friends, then have him start to lose faith… have him turn for all the reasons he did in the movie.

The post-credits scene (as opposed to the mid-credits scene) made it seem like the turn was fully complete.  Now, they didn’t establish how long it’d been, though Mordo says he’d been away “for a while”, but it still felt rushed to me.

Tilda as The Ancient One wasn’t bad.  She did well enough.  I’m not offended or especially bothered that they went with her over, y’know, an Asian actor.  I mean, why not cast, say, the excellent James Hong?  (Or, if it were me, I’d probably go with one of my all time favourite actors, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa.)  But, outside of those questions, no complaints on her role.  She did an excellent job.

Mads as the bad guy worked.  Mads is an excellent bad guy.  Apparently, the character is from the comics and he’s been around longer than I have.  (He first appeared in 1965’s STRANGE TALES (vol 1) #130.)  Who knew? (Not I.)

The mid-credits scene was fun, and promising.  I guess that’s the set up for… the next THOR movie?  I guess we’ll find out in November!

So, what did YOU think of the movie?


My two social life days

August 22, 2011
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So, the past two days, I’ve actually been social. My good friend, Glenn Walker, and his short wife, Jen, came down on vacation (well, they came down, they got on a boat, went in a big circle or something, then came back.)

Glenn, amongst many other things, is the proprietor of a blog called French Fry Diary, and has been espousing the fries (er, chips) at Cookes of Dublin at Downtown Disney as being his most favourite. He knows that I share his love of things potato-ey, so it seemed like the logical choice for our first in-person meeting.

(Note that, though I did not refer to Glenn as an ‘online friend’, we have never met in person. I do consider Glenn a friend, and a very good one at that – we’ve known each other for approximately eight years, by our best reckonings, and we’ve gotten to know each other pretty well. We have a lot in common – similar tastes in music, comic books, books, tv and movies, roleplaying and the list goes on. I consider him to be as good, if not better, a friend than most people I associate with in person.)

But, I digress. (Yes, I do that. I’ve been called a “very rambly dude” on more than one occasion, and with good reason.) So, we agreed on Sunday evening, allowing them time to relax/explore Disney/etc before meeting. I left way earlier than I should have, fully aware that this was likely the case, and got to Downtown Disney almost an hour before our 7pm scheduled meeting time.

I decided I’d walk around, not having been to Downtown Disney in approximately ten years. (I had a friend who used to work at the Virgin Megastore back then and met her a couple times there back in 2000-2001.) I did so, even caught the water taxi from West Side to Pleasure Island, and then walked back. I moved my car closer, and by this time it was almost 7pm, so I made sure I got over to Cookes of Dublin.

While there, I people-watched (another thing in common Glenn and I have – we’re both writers and we like to people watch and file things away.) They were running behind (a common enough happenstance in the occasions that we Skype – Glenn runs a superhero roleplaying game in his house and I Skype in, since the 900+ miles is a long commute) and while waiting, a very attractive young woman who worked at Cookes saw my shirt and got my attention and we started talking Doctor Who. (I was wearing my You Never Forget Your First Doctor shirt from ThinkGeek.) She was entirely charming and VERY attractive, but sadly she has a boyfriend, but it was good to chat Doctor Who with a new Whovian.

I kept looking for a redhead, as Jen is of that particular persuasion… do you know how many redheads are at Pleasure Island on a Sunday evening? I don’t know the exact number, but it’s a lot!!!

I finally caught sight of Glenn, who waved, I waved and we met. There were hugs and handshakes (hugs for the Walkers, handshakes for their friends) and the seven of us went to dine.

The food was phenomenal. Glenn is absolutely dead-on when he says Cookes has perfect fries – light, cripsy outside, fluffy inside – hot, fresh, tasty, not too oily. Their fish is most excellent, and everyone else seemed to enjoy their varied dishes. And the deep fried candy bar (the ‘doh’ bar) was decadent and gooey and sugary and wonderful.

Conversation was good, but children and adults were tired, and ways were parted, with plans to meet with Glenn for some laid back hanging out the next day.

That day was today, and after running some errands in Orlando in the morning, I met up with him for several hours of sitting in the ginormous lobby of the Wilderness Lodge. We talked comic books, books, movies, e-readers, downloads, piracy, football, baseball, fathers, spouses (ex and current), writing, reading, Stephen King, Brian Bendis, hurricanes, weather, vacations, tv shows, and more topics than you could shake a magic wand at.

Jen made an appearance, first ignoring us as she walked by with her tour group as they went to the restaurant there for lunch, then text messaging and waving at us, and then hug-bombing us before departing with her group for more touring.

It was great to spend time with Glenn and just shoot the shit. The time with Jen was great, she’s fun to talk to, even if she is much shorter than I expected.

I’m hoping that we don’t have to wait another 8 years or so before meeting in person again. 😉


Reflections on my father

June 19, 2011
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My father and I didn’t always have the best relationship; he didn’t “get” me, really. I was more of a dreamer and the things that interested me rarely coincided with what interested him. I had much more in common with my mother, and growing up, a lot of the time I felt jealous that my brother (who was into more sports than I) had more in common. (I even tried playing little league baseball, though with poor depth perception from being legally blind in one eye, it was not something I was remotely good at.)

Compounding things, my father was very old school and wasn’t comfortable speaking his emotions. But my brother and I learned that if we said, “I love you, Dad,” he would always reply, “I love you, too.”

I did learn a whole lot from my father. I learned that you didn’t show truth by speaking words, but by doing things. If you loved someone and wanted to show it, you SHOWED it. (That’s not to say I’m not good at expressing my emotions verbally, I am.) I’m going to illustrate the giving side of my father, but I’ll save that for the latter part of this blog post.

Other things he taught me: work hard. He always did, even after “retirement”. There were times he had multiple jobs so that my mother, brother and I could have a roof over our heads, good food to eat, clothes to wear, and stuff to keep us entertained. I have a ridiculously strong work ethic (one that gets taken advantage of at every job I’ve ever had, either by the employer or by lazy coworkers who realise that if someone needs to be done and they don’t do it, Terry’ll end up doing it.) I learned you stand up for what’s right. My father didn’t always have a lot to say, and he didn’t always get fired up about something, but if someone was being mistreated or someone was doing wrong, he’d let them know. (And you didn’t want my father mad at you – every kid in the neighborhood was terrified of my father, and he didn’t even have to get mad or yell – he had a stare that would turn your knees to jelly.)

July 1986, my father took the family (me, mom, my brother and himself) to Atlanta, GA for a long weekend. He squirreled away the money, made sure that there were plenty of things for the three of them to do in the weekend (they took in a live Atlanta Braves ball game, went to some museums, not sure what else), all because he wanted to make sure I could attend the Atlanta Fantasy Fair.

Now, my father got me into two of my biggest loves – comic books and pro wrestling. He didn’t keep up with either, but heard plenty of updates through me. (Tangent: in the 90s, when they “killed off” Superman? I got a phone call from a very irate man who read in that morning’s paper that they were killing off Superman. I had to explain to him that in all certainty, it was just a temporary story-line, that he would be back. He was PISSED. I’m glad he passed away before they did the Captain America died story-line – Cap was his fave of all time.) And, apparently, I’d mentioned, in passing, that the AFF was going on this year and had some guests I wanted to see, or something… because he made it happen.

If it wasn’t for my Dad, I wouldn’t have met Stan Lee in the bathroom (we had a conversation at the urinals), watched the First Doctor (William Hartnell) for the very first time in a screening room, watched the most amazing costume contest in a packed auditorium, shouted “DUCK DODGERS IN THE 24TH-AND-A-HALF CENTURY” along with hundreds of others in said packed auditorium, while watching said cartoon, and so much more. My first con, one of the biggest and best of my geek experiences in my life, all thanks to my father, who wanted me to have that.

My father passed away, suddenly, of a heart attack, March 20th, 2003. I was working at Regal Mattress in Longwood, and was called up to the front office, to find my brother (who was in Atlanta for training for work – he’s a US Marshal – and when Mom called him that morning, he flew down) standing there. I still remember this day, we stepped outside, and he said to me, “Dad had a heart attack and passed away.”

I laughed, because I was sure he meant Mom. Mom had a heart attack on Election Day in 2000 and died but was resuscitated. But it wasn’t Mom (she passed last year, four days before Xmas.)

I am fortunate that, as an adult, my father and I grew closer. We shared a love for television shows and movies about aliens, super-powered folk, fantasy, westerns, science fiction, whatever. After a big movie would come out, I could always expect a phone call asking how it was – I was his gauge for these things.

On this Father’s Day I do have that those of you who have fathers are able to spend some time (in person or on the phone) with them and let them know how much you appreciate them. You are so very lucky.


Best Entertainment in 2010

January 8, 2011
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Music: I’ll be honest, I’m very much out of touch with modern music. (I’m open to suggestions.) That being said, I’ll give Cee Lo Green’s, “Fuck You” as the best song of the year and DEVO’s “Something for Everyone” as the best album of the year. Cee Lo’s tune is just phenomenally fun, and DEVO’s album is DEVO, decades later, just as good as ever.

Books: I didn’t read a plethora of books but only a couple stand out. Book of the Year goes to China Mieville’s Kraken, a story of magic, cults, multiple apocalypses and, yes, a Kraken. In London. You know you want to read it. (A strong follow up was Joe Hill’s Horns. He’s definitely his father’s son, but by no means is he just another Stephen King. Joe is definitely forging his own territory and me likey.)

Movies: I watched 340 movies this year. (Yes, really.) I’ll just touch upon the 2010 releases here.

The better movies of 2010 (that I saw) were: The Losers, Inception, Centurion, Repo Men, Death at a Funeral, Runaways, How to Train Your Dragon, Despicable Me, Devil’s Playground, Unstoppable, The Town, Alice in Wonderland

Some good ones (but not great) were: The Crazies, Black Swan, The Social Network, Shrek Forever After, Knucklehead

Ones that should have been better included: Edge of Darkness, A-Team, Scott Pilgrim Vs The World, Salt, Catfish, The Killer Inside Me, Skyline

Cyrus was the worst 2010 movie that I saw.

Kick-Ass was going to be my pick for movie of the year until I saw, on the last day of 2010, Idris Elba and Eamonn Walker in Legacy. As much as I enjoyed the irreverence and ultra-violence of Kick-Ass, the commanding performances of Idris and Eamonn as a black ops soldier and his brother, a US Senator. Idris’ character has gone AWOL after a botched mission and is holed up in an apartment while he tries to figure out how to blow the whistle on his brother (and his Presidential aspirations). This movie is brutally powerful, tapping that inner darkness that Idris does so well. (See the BBC tv show Luther or HBO’s The Wire.)

Television: This was the year that I finally got around to watching Mad Men. What a great show, well done and so rich in history and atmosphere. One of the best shows, and this year’s season was strong. Many other shows peformed well, including Underbelly 3: The Golden Mile, Doctor Who, No Ordinary Family, BBC’s Luther, BBC’s Survivors series 2, Law & Order: Los Angeles and Ashes to Ashes series 3. Caprica is the best show that got canned this year (LOST was planned to end, so I’m not counting that. I really enjoyed the show but I’m glad they ended it when they did. I’m a big proponent of shows like that having a definite ending. I won’t say I liked everything about the ending, but it was the best ending it could have had.)

For best show, I’m going with a four way tie. BBC’s Being Human series 2 was just phenomenal. It upped the ante and took a great first series from 2009 to the next level. BBC’s Sherlock revamped the Victorian detective for the modern day and, wow. Just wow. (They’ll be filming series 2 soon, yay!) E4’s Misfits series 2 blew me away. The in-your-face story of young offenders on probation gifted/cursed with super-powers, much like Being Human, stepped it up big time this season. (And the Christmas special was just incredible.) And, finally, filling out the four winners, the sole US pick – The Walking Dead, AMC’s adaptation of the acclaimed comic book series.

Comic Books: Sadly, I can’t comment on the best comics of 2010. I hardly read any issues, not enough to call it, so for this year, I’m skipping choosing any.

Video Games: Hands down, Bejeweled 3 is my pick. It really improved upon the game play and came up with a lot of varieties. When they first announced it, I had thought, how are they going to make it worth a 4th game? Well, they did, and it’s the best one yet.


Green Hornet, done right?

April 15, 2010
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Apparently, Sony pictures, the studio producing the new Green Hornet movie, isn’t very pleased with the product.

Meanwhile, this short film is getting a lot of attention over on YouTube, and I can see why.

Several peeps have voice the opinion that Sony needs to can the first film and the director and stars, and go with this one. Normally, I’d chalk that up to hyperbole, but you know what, maybe they’re right?


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