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Why did we include THAT?

“I wasn’t going to cut corners. I wasn’t going to miss something obvious. Somewhere along the way, I started to go overboard. I may, in fact, have started to go a little insane.” -Ready Player One, page 62

So I really should have written this a lot earlier…but you know. I’m still learning about how all this works and what the project should really be. Coming up on 9 months of working on the blog I’m finally getting into a rhythm with actually getting things done and reviewed (movies and music are pretty easy, tv isn’t so bad but literature is tough to get through even with the rate at which I read…)

And I’m only one person.  While my brother watches a lot of things with me and is trying to help me work up to playing video games live on twitch, which I am not good at keeping up with, he doesn’t write for the blog.  And I have a small circle of friends that will help me with things like finding books or letting me borrow them…or to let me come over and mooch off their streaming services for a tv show I need to watch, they are really just there for moral support.

So, consuming and writing about all of this is a LOT…it’s a full-time job. And I work and have a house on top of it.

Then why have you included all of the things you have (even if they weren’t exclusively mentioned in the book)?

I get asked this a lot.  And it was a hard decision to make as I developed this project over the years. Here is what I decided and why…

The book Ready Player One takes place in the year 2045.  Halliday grew up during the 1980s. 1990s, and was in his formidable adult years during the early 2000s into the 2020s…. but the book was published in 2011.

Which leaves a lot of time between the publication of the novel and when the actual story takes place.

I could have made the decision to just deal with any media that came before 2011. But it didn’t seem right.

Then there was the route of just going off the references that are directly named within the book.  And boy are there a LOT of those.  Yet again…this just didn’t feel like the right way to go.

So what was left?

In my opinion it was this:

If Wade was doing his research from around 2040-2045 which are the dates from Halliday’s death to when the first key was found by Wade himself then it would make sense that during that 5-year period he would have delved into all the references in Anorak’s Almanac.  

Since we don’t have direct access to the actual Almanac (I’m working on a version of it to post in the blog in case anyone wants to try this for themselves) I am left to guess about what all it contained.  Many of the references and things that would have been in the Almanac are quite apparent.  Throughout Ready Player One they are listed plainly: The Muppet Show, PAC-MAN, Firefly…

But the issue is with references that were vague…or that had more of the universe than what was mentioned directly.  Or even references that were expanded after the novel was published.

Using some general guess work and some logical reasoning the Almanac would have contained many additional items from pop culture that WOULD have existed in 2040 when Halliday died.

For example: Star Wars.  Directly in the text Wade talks of the “Holy Trinity’s” which included The Original Trilogy and The Prequel Trilogy.  There were several other films out in the series when Ready Player One came out that I do believe Halliday would have watched such at The Star Wars Holiday Special, The Ewok Adventure…etc., as well as a few tv shows, that came out before the book was released. Then after 2011 there was an expansion to the Star Wars Universe. Another trilogy, two more stories set in the Star Wars world…and don’t get me started on the insane number of comics, novels and other media that has existed throughout the years.

And I do believe that Halliday would have been interested in the extended universe of a world that he considered important enough, that he revered enough, to call “holy”.

So that is what I have done. I’ve included some things that wouldn’t have been considered part of the world in 2011 but would have existed in 2040, when Halliday died. Extended universes, more novels, new TV shows…and other things that maybe just weren’t directly messaged.

I’ve done this for a few reasons.

  1. I think that Halliday would have had these in his Almanac.
  2. Halliday shows Neurodivergent tendencies (I am also ND and show many of the same traits) that include hyper focus, obsession and an inability to connect with the people around him…which can often be seen in extensive research, over recording and obsession of a specific topic and other coping mechanisms seen throughout the book (and subsequently the film).
  3. Because it just felt right.

So here you go.  My reasons that you will see things like Solo: A Star Wars Story, Star Trek: Picard, newer novels from Stephen King, obscure pieces of media from long dead authors, new music from the bands he loved (and maybe some that aren’t in the book just because it was something I thought he would have listened to because he liked They Might Be Giants), AND references from Ready Player Two… because Kira and her likes were much closer to my heart than Halliday’s.

And remember…I’m only one person who doesn’t have “12 hours a day, 7 days a week” to devote to this as much as I would love to.  So I’ll get to reviews as quickly as I can.

And Anorak’s Almanac is forthcoming…

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SPOILERS ABOUND….you have been warned.

With the release and subsequent reading of Ready Player Two I believe a warning should be posted… this wasn’t really a spoiler free blog in the first place but as Ready Player One is a few years old I didn’t feel the need to make a big deal of the fact that every single post here could possibly be a spoiler for that book.

HOWEVER

As we continue to move forward with both books this is NOT A SPOILER FREE BLOG.

Spoilers can happen in all sorts of places in this blog from the tags, the pages, the titles of articles….and especially in the content of those articles.

You have been warned.

Posted in Flick Central

REPOST: IT: Chapter Two, based on IT by Stephen King: a Film Review

Synopsis:

27 years have passed since the Loser’s Club fought Pennywise.  They have since gone their separate ways, now adults, some married and some not…life went on after the dark events that summer in Derry, Maine.

But it has begun again.  And as Mike Hanlon calls up his old friends the Loser’s Club finds that they may have done so much more than simply move on from their childhood.  They seem to have forgotten everything from that summer…and honestly most of their lives in Derry. All but Mike, who stayed…who became Derry’s historian…and who kept watch incase Pennywise rose again in the strange 27-year cycle of the past.

As children and adults go missing, the Losers much rise again to fight that which haunts the tiny New England town.  They must regain their memories in order to fight off the killer clown.  Will they be able to dig up their pasts?  Will they be able to end the nightmare?  And if they do…what will the cost be?  In the end will it be worth it?

General Information:

-Genre: Supernatural Horror

-Creator: based on IT by Stephen King

-Length: 165 minutes

-Rating: R (for supernatural violence, severe violence and gore, severe language, alcohol use and smoking, LGBT+ violence and slurs, mild nudity and sexual innuendos)

-Where to Watch: Amazon Prime Video, iTunes, YouTube, DVD, Blue-Ray, or find it at your local library (like I did)

-Main Cast: Bill Skarsgard, Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy, Bill Hader, Isaiah Mustafa, Jay Ryan, James Ransone, Andy Bean, Jaeden Lieberher, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Sphia Lillis, Finn Wolfhard, Wyatt Oleff, Chosen Jacobs, Jack Dylan Grazer, Nicholas Hamilton, Jackson Robert Scott

-Page of Reference in RPO: 62

Review (contains spoilers):

A wonderful continuation of the story started in IT: Chapter One.

First I must commend the casting agent on a job well done.  It is rare in the film industry to find children and adults that look like they could be the same person but they did this FLAWLESSLY! One of the best casting jobs I’ve seen in a long time.  Even the IT miniseries (which did a decent job) didn’t get it done THIS well.

And while I did enjoy the fact that the first movie stood alone and if you didn’t know the story you could watch it independently and not need the continuation of the story, I absolutely love the way this story was written.  There are just enough “flashback” style moments in the film but they are new and fresh information.  Not tired flashbacks from the first film which is nice because then you can watch them back to back without a lot of déjà vu.

There are a few good jump scares in this one and the overall dark and intense quality of the themes are incredibly well done.  I chalk this up to utilizing as many practical effects as they could.  I enjoy that they didn’t rely on doing everything in post-production.  I really do believe (having worked in the film industry myself) that films that rely completely on CGI tend to fall flat.  Practical effects are the way to go…filling in what you cannot possibly do (like a giant clown or 300 rows of teeth in a distended mouth) is what CGI should be used for.

The changes in the story (like Audra not showing up and getting captured by Pennywise) are enjoyable and keep a more consistent story.  The moment Beverly realizes Ben is the one who wrote the poem is much more satisfying that in the miniseries.  And the overall pacing is more consistent than the other film. 

Timing is everything in a horror film.  Using just the right choreography, lighting and musical beat in with the blocking is what makes or breaks a film.  And this one really got it right.

Overall, wonderful.

Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

For the review on IT by Stephen King:

Review on It (miniseries)

Review on IT: Chapter One

Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central

REPOST: IT: Chapter One, based on IT by Stephen King: a Film Review

Synopsis:

In 1986, young Georgie Denburough is out in a storm playing with a paper boat that his older brother, Bill, had made for him.  As he follows the boat along it gets swept into a drain.  Georgie reaches into the drain to try and get the boat when he is confronted by a clown.  A clown deep down in the sewers.  When he reaches for the boat again, the strange creature rips his arm away and drags the poor boy down into the sewers.  Georgie becomes one of the first missing children that would haunt the town of Derry, Maine over the course of the next year.

Summer has finally come for Derry, Maine.  Kids are out of school.  Bullies have free reign of the streets and the “Losers” are trying to stay out of trouble.  As the mysterious disappearance of more kids continues a small group of kids come together, tormented by the local bully as well as a far less tangible but far more dangerous force lurking in the shadows.  This group, known as the Losers’ Club, discover that each have been visited in the last year by a strange clown.  This clown…a force that knows who they are and where they live…is far beyond everything that even their scariest nightmares could have imagined.

As Bill and the rest of the Losers follow the clues, they will be led down the path closer to Pennywise.  Will Bill find his little brother, Georgie, alive and well as he fervently believes?  Or will all of them have to face their darkest nightmares at the hands of a terrifying clown?

General Information:

-Genre: Supernatural Horror

-Creator: based on IT by Stephen King

-Length: 135 minutes

-Rating: R (for supernatural violence, severe violence and gore, severe language, mild sexual innuendo, mild mentions of abuse, some smoking)

-Where to Watch: Amazon Prime Video, iTunes, YouTube, DVD, Blue-Ray, or look for it at your local library (like I did!)

-Main Cast: Jaeden Lieberher, Bill Skarsgard, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Sphia Lillis, Finn Wolfhard, Wyatt Oleff, Chosen Jacobs, Jack Dylan Grazer, Nicholas Hamilton, Jackson Robert Scott

-Page of Reference in RPO: 62

Review (contains spoilers):

Yay.  A real horror film.  As a horror buff I can give credit where credit is due.  While the 1991 version with Tim Curry was perfectly fine (this hurts to say because Tim Curry is a FANTASTIC actor…one of my favorites in fact), it lacks the more modern horror moments.  “Child’s play” as a friend once said, compared to this film and its sequel film.

While I was hesitant at first with the more modernization of the timeline (the book has their childhood in the mid-1950s) I was quite impressed with how this little change really worked with the overall feel of the film.  It definitely allowed for some of the more classic horror tropes to be utilized but also paid a wonderful homage to the real rise and birth of modern horror films.

From practical effects to an honestly terrifying Pennywise the Dancing Clown, this was the film I was hoping for when I watched the 1991 miniseries.

And no offence to Mr. Curry….But Bill Skarsgard’s performance, from costume to makeup to mannerisms, was the clown we should all be absolutely terrified is under our beds.

The story seems to follow the book (and the miniseries) fairly closely with small nods to the miniseries.  The big exception is that Georgie is missing and Bill still thinks he is alive.  It is his desire to find his brother, alive and well, that sends the Loser’s Club down the rabbit hole and into the depths of the horrors that lurk in the Derry sewer system.

I do think this choice was much more believable especially for the 1980s.  the idea that the kids are building a dam in a small creek just doesn’t seem to fit in a world where there are arcade games, movies and a robust set of Television shows.  Going out on an adventure like in The Goonies or fighting demons like in Nightmare on Elm Street or Gremlins is MUCH more convincing than what happened in the book (which was believable and fine for the mid-1950s).

This change in time also allowed for larger conversations and allusions.  Beverly’s abusive father became worse (from physical and mental abuse to actual alluded sexual abuse).  Eddie’s mother is even more neurotic and a bigger hypochondriac (now we may diagnose her with Munchausen’s by Proxy).  Richie’s deep dark secret is covered by his humor and foul mouth (also something that was easier to do in both a theatrical release and in the 1980s).  Bill’s stutter isn’t as pronounced but still there, apparent and more natural.  The rest of the group is just as well.  They join together and make a great team.

Honestly, this is a real horror film.  And if you didn’t know or weren’t familiar with the book is a complete movie on its own.  Which cannot be said of the mini-series.  Very well done and will be one that I will be watching again.

Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Review on IT (novel) by Stephen King

Review on IT: Chapter Two

Review on IT (miniseries)

Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central

REPOST: IT, based off IT by Stephen King: a Mini Series Review

Synopsis:

Based on the novel by Stephen King, IT brings the horror to life on television.

The Lucky Seven have finally found friendship and comradery in each other only to find out that they have all been visited by the same entity: a bizarre and terrifying clown named Pennywise.  He can take on their deepest fears and as they begin to uncover the mystery behind these visits they discover that the clown is also responsible for the rash of murders in the area, including their leaders younger brother.  They follow Pennywise deep into the sewers to kill the creature and seem to be successful.

27 years later the murders begin again. The group returns with help from the only member to remain in their small hometown.  As their memories return they must face their deepest fears to fight IT again and this time hopefully rid the world and their lives from the haunting and dangerous presence.

General Information:

-Genre: Supernatural Horror

-Creator: based off IT by Stephen King

-Length: 192 minutes (original) or 187 minutes (DVD/Blue-Ray) split between two episodes

-Rating: TV-PG (episode 1), TV-14 (episode 2) (for mild nudity and sexual remarks, violence and gore, mild profanity, some alcohol and mild drug use, some intense scenes)

-Where to Watch: Amazon Prime Video (rent or buy), iTunes, DVD, Blue-Ray, or find it at your local library (like I did!)

-Main Cast: Harry Anderson, Dennis Christopher, Richard Masur, Annette O’Toole, Tim Reid, John Ritter, Richard Thomas, Tim Curry

-Page of Reference in RPO: 62

Review (contains spoilers):

So…

*blinks*

That was…not remotely scary.

Its supposed to be…I think.  Or at least I remember it being scary… but it was made for TV so maybe I am mistaken.

It could also be that I’m watching it 30 years out from its production.

And it was just…very tame.  Sure there was blood and gore.  The possessed fortune cookies were pretty cool.  IT’s actual form was pretty well done.  But as for scares.  It fell quite flat.

I wouldn’t approved it for young children, but older kids would find this ok…at least by todays standards.  Its campy and over the top (though Tim Curry’s performance was amazing as usual) with very few jump scares or creepy music.

Overall it was disappointing to watch as an adult.  Even one who is terrified of clowns.

Rating:

Rating: 3 out of 5.

(and only because Tim Curry does a great job as always)

For the review on IT by Stephen King:

For the review on IT: Chapter One: https://guntersgamesandgold.com/?p=512

For the review on IT: Chapter Two: https://guntersgamesandgold.com/?p=524

Posted in Blog Posts, Read Me

IT, by Stephen King: a Novel Review

Synopsis:

Jumping between the past and the present, the Losers Club has been tasked with defeating a strange force that has caused the local children of Derry, Maine to hallucinate, have incredibly terrifying nightmares and to even go missing.

When Bill Denbrough begins to have nightmares of a mysterious figure, often taking the shape of a clown with a red balloon, things begin to go sideways in his life. His younger brother Georgie is found dead…his arms ripped from his body… when he goes out to play in the rain. Bill begins to realize that the creature in his dreams is what has caused Georgie’s death.

As his small group of friends spend the summer doing what kids do they join together over these nightmares, which have been plaguing all of them. When they discover the cause they do everything in their power to end it.

Ans things seem to have gone well, the creature appearing to disappear.

That is until another sting of vicious child deaths occur in Derry. The Losers Club must face all of their fears, and look into the face of IT again… this time will they defeat the alien force and come out alive? Or will they have to sacrifice everything they hold sacred to save the children of Derry, Maine?

General Information:

-Genre: Psychological Thriller, Horror

-Author: Stephen King

-Number of Pages: 1,138 pages

-Main Characters: Bill Denbrough, Ben Hanscom, Bev (Beverly) Marsh, Richie Tozier, Eddie Kaspbrak, Mike Hanlon, Stan Uris, Pennywise/IT, Henry Bowers, Vic Criss, Belch Huggins, Patrick Hockstetter, Peter Gordon, Moose Sadler, Gard Jagermeister, Georgie Denbrough, Eddie Corcoran, Adrien Mellon, Will Hanlon

-Where to Read: support local booksellers (many can order items that may not be in stock), get or rent the audiobook (on something like Audible or Libby), or look for it at your local library!

-Page of Reference in RP1: 63

Review (contains spoilers):

I just honestly can not with this book. It is WAY too long. You could cut about 400 pages out of the middle and it would be the same story.

There are so many moments in this novel where I feel like King was just putting stuff in to be disgusting. It wasn’t scary… it wasn’t terrifying. It was just disgusting.

This is one of the books I absolutely cannot stand. It is full of homophobia, misogyny, excessive abuse particularly sexual and abuse towards children. And most of the descriptions of these items ARE NOT NECESSARY to build the characters or move the story forward. It is just signature King.

As I have read more of his works I am finding that there is a consistent and excessive need to add in sexual encounters and moments that do nothing to the plot, often come out of no where, and are often incredibly degrading to women.

This books is no different.

The movie (particularly the newer two part film duology) are BEYOND better than this 1100 page novel. I wish I could get the 45 hours of my life back that I listened to the audiobook. Thankfully I was able to do other productive things while listening.

Do not recommend.

Rating:

Rating: 1 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central

REPOST: Ghostbusters: Answer the Call, based on Ghostbusters: created by Ivan Rietman: a Film Review

Synopsis:

Former partners Abby and Erin have parted ways after writing a book on paranormal phenomena.  As Abby continues to study the paranormal, Erin has moved on and is up for tenure at Columbia University.

When Erin is approached by the owner of a historical building in New York, she discovers that Abby is selling their publication online.  As she goes to confront Abby about it she ends up dragged back into the game when the pair and Abby’s new partner, Holtzman, agree to go and check out the mansion.

The trio are confronted by a malevolent spirit, and in the aftermath Erin loses her position at Columbia.  When Abby and Holtzman go to get further funding to advanced their studies they also get fired.  So the three get together to continue to study the paranormal.  They create a [new] Ghostbusters.

When New York City is once again taken over by ghosts the ladies find themselves on the receiving end of the upsurge.  Which seems great to start…but when things begin to unravel they must find the source of the activity and try and save New York (and possibly the world) in the process.

General Information:

-Genre: Paranormal Comedy

-Creator: based on Ghostbusters created by Ivan Rietman

-Length: 116 minutes

-Rating: PG (mild sex and nudity, mild supernatural violence and gore, moderate profanity, some supernatural themes, mild smoking)

-Where to Watch: Amazon Prime Video (rent or buy), iTunes (rent or buy), YouTube (rent or buy), DVD, Blue-Ray, or find it at your local library (like I did!)

-Main Cast: Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wig, Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones, Charles Dance, Michael Kenneth Williams, Chris Hemsworth

-Page of Reference in RPO: 62

Review (contains spoilers):

I absolutely loved this rendition of the Ghostbusters.  The story and the humor are reminiscent of the original movies.  The scare level is more up to speed for modern audiences.  And all the little nods to the first two films (from the theme song to the ECTO-1, to the cameo of the original firehouse and Bill Murrey as the doctor who debunks paranormal activity) are just absolutely wonderful.

The team has a great chemistry.  The writing is fantastic and the timing is just spot on.  We are given more of the backstory of the characters in this one. They aren’t just a group of people studing the same thing who eventually became friends.  We get to hear why Erin and Abby believe.  And it adds a whole new level to the characters.

Modernization was the key here.  As the world changed, as film changed, as audiences changed…movies have had to change.  And this one hit all the nostalgic points as well as the more modern necessities from advanced CGI techniques, more scary items than campy items, better character bonds and a more intense villain.

An extremely enjoyable film. Especially if you want to watch something fun, lighthearted and just a little bit scary.

Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central

REPOST: Ghostbusters II, created by Ivan Rietman: a Film Review

Synopsis:

Five years after saving New York City from Gomer and his cronies (Zuul and the Keymaster, as well as the StayPuft Marshmallow Man) the Ghostbusters are basically defunct.  They have gone out of business when something goes wrong with Dana Barret again.

This time her child’s buggy ends up rolling away of its own accord and stopping in the middle of the street.  So she goes to two of the Ghostbusters, hoping to keep her ex-boyfriend out of the situation.  Which of course doesn’t work.  And as they begin to investigate the trio uncovers a huge river of slime beneath the city.

Their activities land them in court with a judge who is less than kind.  The resulting effects land them right back in their rolls as Ghostbusters.

Meanwhile, Dana’s employer gets visited by the ghost of a long dead count… who attempts to employ the man to bring him back to life.

What ensues is nothing short of traditional Ghostbusters hilarity, with a smattering of paranormal insanity thrown in.

General Information:

-Genre: Paranormal Comedy

-Creator: Ivan Rietman

-Length: 108 minutes

-Rating: PG (mild sex and nudity, mild supernatural violence and gore, moderate profanity, some supernatural themes, mild smoking)

-Where to Watch: Amazon Prime Video (rent or buy), iTunes (rent or buy), YouTube (rent or buy), DVD, Blue-Ray, or find it at your local library (like I did!)

-Main Cast: Billy Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Sigourney Weaver, Harold Ramis, Rick Moranis, Annie Potts, Ernie Hudson, Peter McNicol, Kurt Fuller

-Page of Reference in RPO: 62

Review (contains spoilers):

This was my brother’s first time watching through Ghostbusters 2 (he got scared by Slimer in Ghostbusters… or maybe the freaky painting in this one… as a kid and never watched them after that).  I’m an avid Ghostbusters fan and watch it every single Halloween season.

So I decided to ask his opinion of the movie both as we watched it and afterward.

He said: it was good.  Different than the first but still really good.

You can tell this movie was defiantly trying to go for more of a horror aspect vs the kind of campy comedy in the first movie.  Between some of the now classic effects true horror fans know and love like the push through wall, the talking echo, and the attempt at jump scares this Ghostbusters is trying to be a little more adult and a little more scary.

Though it does retain the comedy and charm of the first film.

I do enjoy the first film more but this was a solid sequel that didn’t feel like a cop out like many others do.  The continuation of the first story is very well done and feels like a full story unto itself.

This and the first make a great double feature with some Chinese food on one of those brisk and chilly October nights.

Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central

REPOST: Ghostbusters, created by Ivan Rietman: a Film Review

Synopsis:

Three paranormal scientists at Columbia university have their first true run in at the New York Public Library.  While they are run out of the facility by the corporeal specter at last they have their proof that supernatural and ghostly apparitions exist.  They return back to Columbia only to find that they are being thrown out of the college for lack of compunction and proof of their theories.

So what else would you do? Go into business for yourself obviously. 

It is in their new facility (a nearly condemned firehouse) that they meet Dana Barrett.  She has called on the Ghostbusters to help her with an anomaly that has somehow appeared in the fridge of her corner penthouse.  While the trio goes to work handling her case the rest of NYC seems to explode with paranormal activity.

What will happen as the Ghostbusters are pulled around by the new and extensive activity, the EPA and the mysterious Zuul?

General Information:

-Genre: Paranormal Comedy

-Creator: Ivan Rietman

-Length: 105 minutes

-Rating: PG (mild sex and nudity, mild supernatural violence and gore, moderate profanity, some supernatural themes, mild smoking)

-Where to Watch: Amazon Prime Video (rent or buy), iTunes (rent or buy), YouTube (buy), DVD, Blue-Ray, or find it at your local library (like I did!)

-Main Cast: Billy Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Sigourney Weaver, Harold Ramis, Rick Moranis, Annie Potts, William Athelton, Ernie Hudson

-Page of Reference in RPO: 62

Review (contains spoilers):

This was one of my brother’s first times watching through Ghostbusters (he got scared by Slimer… or maybe the freaky painting in Ghostbusters 2… as a kid and never watched them after that).  I’m an avid Ghostbusters fan and watch it every single Halloween season.

So I decided to ask his opinion of the movie both as we watched it and afterward.

He said: really fun movie.  Has a very 1980s feel in various parts particularly as they are on the street and headed into Dana’s apartment for the last fight with the StayPuft Marshmallow Man.  But yeah, really fun and silly.

I agree.  It is a really fun movie and is great for families with older kids.  It has some fairly intense and slightly scary scenes but anymore kids see worse on Tik-Tok and YouTube.  Just make sure to watch it first to determine if your kids are able to handle the supernatural and paranormal themes.

For us today the movie often comes off as cheesy and there are moments that feel very essentially vintage (the card catalogue in the library, the CGI ghosts and some of the soundtrack).  But for me it is all nostalgic.  I loved this movie as a kid.  It was a safe and fun movie to watch on Halloween paired with some candy from trick or treat.

Overall the whole movie still holds up.  The humor is still there. As an adult I get some more of the innuendos and the more adult moments of the film.  I appreciate the performances by Sigourney Weaver, Bill Murray and the rest of the very familiar cast.  If you watch a lot of 1980s and early 1990s film you will understand what I mean.

It’s a super fun and satisfying movie to watch even over 35 years after it was created.

Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, DC Comics, Flick Central

iZombie, based on the comic series iZombie, created by DC Comics: a Television Review

Synopsis:

Olivia “Liv” Moore is a promising Seattle medical resident.  She is excelling at work.  She has an incredible fiancé that she loves.  A great family.  Is planning her dream wedding.  Life is great.

Until she ends up one of the few survivors of a boat party gone wrong.  So wrong in fact that she ends up as a Zombie.

When her life is turned upside down, she decides to break up with her fiancé, change jobs, and cut herself off from society as much as possible in an effort to keep from killing innocent people in her pursuit for brains! 

Her new boss, Ravi, head of the morgue she is working at, guesses her secret he ends up as one of her best friends and confidant…and completely fascinated with her condition.  As Liv continues to eat brains, she realizes that she can see and learn the things of the person whose brain she consumes. 

Suddenly a Jane Doe ends up in the morgue and Liv is confronted with the fact that she may be able to help police solve the poor girl’s murder.  What is a Zombie to do?

General Information:

-Genre: Supernatural Procedural Crime Drama

-Creator: based on the comic series iZombie, created by DC Comics

-Length: 5 Seasons, 71 Episodes, 42 minutes per episode

-Rating: TV-14 (mild sexual jokes and implied sexual situations, moderate violence and gore particularly supernatural violence and gore, mild profanity, mild use of alcohol, drugs and smoking, mild frightening and intense scenes particularly with the consumption of brains)

-Where to Watch: Netflix (with subscription), DVD, Blu-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: Rose McIver, Malcolm Goodwin, Rahul Kohli, Robert Buckley, David Anders, Aly Michalka, Robert Knepper, Bryce Hodgson

-Page of Reference in RP1: DC Comics is mentioned throughout the book

Review (contains spoilers):

Season 1:

This is a very promising start to a show.  Funny, snarky, kind of gory.  And the actors are just fantastic.

I have a feeling that this show is going to follow the issues that I have with DC Comics… their shows are amazing…and their movies are just mediocre with a few exceptions.

The little bits of the comic book that they work into the show is really a great concept.  It adds to that fantastical feel of the whole show.   

Solid first season.  The show held its own the whole time with very few downs.  The humor and cases were consistent which doesn’t often happen across a whole season of a show. The character development was there, as were the character relationships.

This was an incredible first season.  Between the idea that Zombies exist, Major hunting them down. The mental health issues.  The gaslighting and the lying.  Finding a cure.

So many different things happening. The storyline and the writing are spectacular.  The characters are deep and meaningful.  The twists and turns are well written.

And the ending is just a bit shocking.  What I don’t understand is why Liv doesn’t just say that she was diagnosed with a disease (like and immunodeficiency) which is why she can’t give blood.  It could be why she changed paths…quit being a doctor.  All of it.  Then again…we wouldn’t really have a show if that was the case.

Season 2:

Season 3:

Season 4:

Season 5:

Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central

Misery, based on the novel by Stephen King: a Film Review

Synopsis:

Paul Sheldon is a famous writer, known for his Victorian-era romance novels about Misery.  These novels were so popular that, in order to focus on his “more serious” works he purposely kills off Misery in the final novel just to be rid of her.

After completing his latest novel, an untitled piece that he believes will launch his career in a more serious direction, he celebrates and then takes off for his home in New York City.  When an unexpected blizzard hits the area, Paul runs his car off the road and into a ravine, wrecking his legs…but miraculously not killing himself.

He is rescued by a strange woman named Annie Wilkes, who is a nurse that lives out in the country.  As she claims to want to nurse him back to health and will take him into the hospital when the roads clear things begin to change.  Paul realizes that Annie is not what she seems.  His biggest fan, sure, but what happens when your biggest fan isn’t happy with the ending of your latest book about Misery?  And how much worse can things get when that person…isn’t exactly stable…?

General Information:

-Genre: Psychological Horror, Psychological Thriller, Horror

-Creator: based on the novel by Stephen King

-Length: 107 minutes

-Rating: R (for severe violence and gore, moderate profanity, mild use of alcohol and smoking, mild use of drugs in a medical context, severe frightening and intense scenes)

-Where to Watch: Vudu (for purchase), DVD, Blu-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: James Caan, Kathy Bates, Frances Sternhagen, Richard Farnsworth, Lauren Bacall

-Page of Reference in RP1: 63

Review (contains spoilers):

I will say it probably as many times as there are Stephen King novels translated into film, but his work is so much better as movies in my opinion.

Now having watched the movie and read the book I can say this.  This film is nearly perfect.  Its one of those situations where you can watch the movie and you’ve basically read the book.  Which, one, doesn’t happen often, and two, when it does the movie is often bogged down in superfluous details and is boring.

Not the case here.

The material that this movie was pulled from was very detailed and the crew and director did an excellent job with everything.  The house, the setting, the characters…all how you would picture them when you read the book.

And Kathy Bates performance is just INCREDIBLE.

She absolutely nails the bi-polar back and forth that can happen in someone who isn’t medicated and can go from very high manic moments to the extreme lows of depression.  She was able to capture the flip on a dime nature of the character of Annie Wilkes.  There are moments where she is sweet as pie….then there is the scene where she hobbles him.  Cool and calm.  Absolutely perfect.

The things I wish the film had kept in which would have given it five stars in my mind:

  • The actual hobbling from the book where Annie cuts Paul’s entire foot off of his leg.
  • More of the hallucinations that Paul has throughout the book
  • The death of the young police officer and then the visits from several police officers to add to the suspense of finding Paul
  • And the final hallucination of Annie in Paul’s apartment with the ax….

Just a few extra minutes and a few extra details would have gotten this to a five-star film.  But as is Kathy Bates performance sealed the deal of this film being a must watch.

Rating:

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, Read Me

Misery, by Stephen King: a Novel Review

Synopsis:

Paul Sheldon is a prolific writer.  He is most famous for his Victorian-era romance novel series: Misery.  The problem is…he hates writing it.  He has passion projects that he would rather be spending time writing (though they often do not even net HALF of what a single Misery installment brings in).  As his final installment of the series, Misery’s Child, is released in which he FINALLY kills off his dreaded main character Paul takes a break to write a new crime novel: Fast Cars.

As he finishes the manuscript in the small town of Sidewinder, Colorado, Paul decides to celebrate with some champagne and a long drive…deciding that he should take his ’74 Camaro to Los Angeles instead of flying back to his empty apartment in New York, recently vacated by yet another ex-wife.

Fate has other plans as a snowstorm pops up outside of the small town and causes Paul to crash on the side of the road.  When he awakes its in a strange environment.  A small room with nothing other than a bed, a side table….and he doesn’t recognize any of it.  When Annie Wilkes comes into the room things go from odd to plain weird. 

It turns out Annie saved him from the wreck.  And being a nurse she has first hand experience, and the resources to take care of Paul as he recovers from his incredibly destroyed legs…but is she really there to take care of him?  Or is something about this “number one fan” even more sinister than what is first presented when Annie brings him back from the brink of death?

General Information:

-Genre: Psychological Thriller, Horror

-Author: Stephen King

-Number of Pages/Words: around 420 pages,

-Main Characters: Paul Sheldon, Annie Wilkes

-Where to Read: support local booksellers (many can order items that may not be in stock), get or rent the audiobook (on something like Audible or Libby), or look for it at your local library!

-Page of Reference in RP1:

Review (contains spoilers):

So I’ve seen the movie a lot and now I’ve read a few of Stephen King’s novels…and I can honestly say this: Stephen King is much better on film.

Maybe its because my imagination (while very clear and my inner eye can create basically anything) knows that it doesn’t have to with books) has decided it doesn’t need to animate what is going on in the novels.  Or maybe it’s the way the prose is written…the books just aren’t’ scarry.

Misery has a few ick moments in it but I didn’t find myself worried or scared.  Honesty the false ending where Paul imagines Annie as having escaped the police and showing up at his apartment to kill him with the same ax she uses to chop off his foot was way worse and would have been a better ending in my opinion that the “everything is fine” ending that was written for Paul.

Overall,

 the book was fine.  It wasn’t too long.  The action was fine.  The depiction of the mental illness that Annie displayed defiantly fit more of the knowledge and views that were known about in the 1980s when the novel was written and published.  There were some slightly misogynistic moments and Annie (while overweight, isolated and mentally ill) was described in a way that was disparaging when all the things she is aren’t necessarily negative traits.  Her being an Angel of Death however was discovered in a very interesting way.

It wasn’t the worst thing I’ve read.  And it wasn’t the best.  The movie is better in my opinion which for me isn’t a common view…usually the books are way better.

Review:

Rating: 4 out of 5.