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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.

gotg double

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?


Why Marvel Is Going About Doctor Strange All Wrong…

October 20, 2014
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(Yeah, I know, I’m just a wannabe writer who thinks he knows better than a highly successful multimedia conglomerate run by one of the biggest companies ever.  Still, that’s what the internet is all about, right?)

So, apparently, a Doctor Strange movie is in the works.  I saw a headline about actors being considered for the role of Stephen Strange – Benedict Cumberbatch, Joaquin Phoenix, Colin Farrell and Keanu Reeves.  (The first and last I think are not good choices for the role, the middle two would be decent if they were going for a grittier feel, which I really don’t expect.)

Anyhow…

They’re doing it wrong.

DOCTOR STRANGE should start as a tv show.  (I know, I know, everyone thinks movies.  Big money.  Star power – though, to be fair, we’re seeing a new golden age of star power in tv shows lately.)  It shouldn’t be a movie, not at first.

The story of Stephen Strange is one of redemption.  That’s what makes it an interesting story.  Redemption and growth and maturation.

See, I’m not a big fan of “Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme of Earth”.  He’s the most powerful sorcerer on Earth already.

Whoop de doo.

Now, what interests me is the story of him becoming that.

See, Stephen Strange is a dick.  He’s a pompous, self-centered, highly skilled surgeon.  And he knows it.  He knows he’s great looking and desirable and successful and wealthy.  He’s all about the $$$ and the high falutin’ lifestyle and fast cars and faster women and booze and drugs and whatnot.

Then, after being in a car accident, he loses his ability to operate, spends all his savings, ends up homeless and then goes searching for help, eventually going to Tibet to find The Ancient One, who takes him on as a pupil and teaches him sorcery, so he can become Earth’s defender against mystical dangers.

Now, I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a great first season to a tv show.  A show that could run 2-3 seasons, then end, leading into a series of movies.

Start small.  The first season would lead us to Tibet and end with Stephen becoming The Ancient One’s disciple.  It’d probably work best as an eight episode season, maybe ten or thirteen tops.  The first episode ends with the car crash.  The second one shows his becoming desperate, trying to find a fix for his hands, blowing money traveling the world finding specialists, consulting… then maybe trying illegal treatments.

The third, maybe fourth episode, he ends up in Tibet.  Then the rest of the series, proving himself to The Ancient One, facing his inner demons, and some outer ones, too.  And the first season ends with some hope.  Maybe we’d have introduced the idea that the car accident was set in motion by otherworldly forces, trying to kill him off, so he would never realise his true potential… or, with my usual plot twisty flair, I’d make him think that was the reason, but in reality, someone (The Ancient One?  One of his peers?) actually influenced events so it would happen so he would end up seeking out The Ancient One and becoming a disciple.

Baron Mordo would feature heavily in the tv show; his rivalry as a fellow disciple of The Ancient One would start in the first season, bleeding over into the second where he becomes the main adversary for Stephen.

The show would end (after a couple-three seasons), with Stephen ascending to the mantle of Sorcerer Supreme, and then that would lead to a series of movies with some major plots of interdimensional forces, the sort of thing you can do with the big budget of a major studio movie.

At least, that’s how I’d do it.


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