Friday, July 18, 2014

Review: Crash by J.G. Ballard

CrashCrash by J.G. Ballard
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I'm pretty sure I've never disliked a book more than I've disliked this one. It's not that I was bothered by the idea of getting your rocks off to car crashes or infidelity or homoerotic thoughts associated with the melding of steel and flesh. Don't be ridiculous. Nothing bothers me. I just found it all so boring and repetitive. How many times do I have to read about erect penises and exposed nipples and vulvas? I mean, good Lord. It gets tiresome enough in a porno flick after awhile. Reading it is just insufferable.

And what annoys me the most about this book is that I was really looking forward to it. I was intrigued by the very real sickness that this book's premise is based upon, and the fact that I hated this book really pisses me off. Cool concept, interesting metaphors, and decent pacing. But my God, it just goes on and on and on with the same sexual imagery and ideas. I get it. Or at least, I think I get it. Back in 1973 when this book was released, the future was bleak (It's still bleak), we were fetishizing over technology and uncomfortably melding with it (Still doing that, too. Even more so actually), and sex was becoming pedestrian after coming off the hippy-dippy free love of the 1960s. We were entering a new age. This one, less about sex and more about the absence of its importance. At least, that's what I get from the book. But I got that in about the first 50 pages. I didn't need another 170 of those same themes again and again and again.

But then again, maybe you'll like it. It's a polarizing novel to be sure. I'm just on the "hated it" side, unfortunately.

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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Ten Worst Movies I've Ever Seen In My Entire Life

Plan 9 From Outer Space. Manos: The Hands of Fate. Troll 2. These aren't bad movies, mainly because people derive great enjoyment from them year after year. And isn't that the ultimate point of movies in the first place, for people to enjoy them? I think so, and that's why I can't include them on this list of the ten worst movies I've ever seen in my entire life. So, without further ado, on with the list.

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10. X-Men Origins: Wolverine

It takes a pretty terrible movie to ruin not one, but two fan favorite Marvel characters, but X-Men Origins: Wolverine managed to do it. Deadpool, played by Ryan Reynolds (Groan), was an absolute disaster, and Gambit, played by Taylor Kitsch, couldn't be any less like the ragin' Cajun. To add insult to injury, it probably has the very worst CG in any of the X-Men movies. The scene where Wolvierine is in the bathroom is particularly awful, as his claws look TERRIBLE! How did they mess that up so badly? His claws looked fine in all the other X-Men movies. Gawd! I mean, jeez Louise. A movie so bad that its sequel, The Wolverine, pretended like it never even existed, as it shouldn't have. What a mess.

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9. Godzilla (2014)

It's my hatred for movies like Godzilla that makes people think I have terrible taste in movies. Either that, or they think I'm too hard on movies that are only meant to be fun. But no, Godzilla is a f**king train wreck. Everything about it is terrible. The tone is off (Dark film equals evil Godzilla, lighter film equals hero Godzilla), the main character is that kid from Kick-Ass, and when Godzilla is finally in the movie, he's only there for about ten minutes. And he sucks. As a massive Godzilla fan who has seen every last one of his movies, I find all of this inexcusable and an insult to Godzilla's name. I didn't think it could be possible to find a Godzilla movie even worse than the one that came out in the 90s, but this is it. This is that turd.

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8. Madea's Family Reunion

All of the Madea movies suck. Every last one of them. But while each one may have at least one funny thing that happens in them (Madea takes out her gun, Mr. Brown does a little dance), this movie is devoid of any humor whatsoever. I mean, there are absolutely NO laughs in it. Not a one. I don't think I've ever sat through a "comedy" where I didn't chuckle at least once, but I didn't with this movie. I couldn't even crack a smile. Out of all of the Madea movies I've seen, this is by far the worst. When it was over, I shouted "Hallelujar!"

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7. 2012

Roland Emmerich makes garbage. Some of it is tolerable garbage (Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow) And some of it is even good garbage (White House Down). But the fact is, Emmerich makes the kind of loud, obnoxious movies that you can turn your brain off to and veg out to for a good couple of hours. I think of him as a slightly more talented Michael Bay. He's not so bad. But, reaching Michael Bay levels of awfulness was 2012, which is such a massive waste of time that I probably spent half of its run-time looking at the ceiling from rolling my eyes so much. This movie is so bad, that when the audience started clapping during certain scenes, I booed as loudly as I could to drown them out. I'm usually not that much of a jerk, but I felt compelled to be one watching this movie. 2012 really did bring out the worst in me.

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6. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 3

This one still stings. TMNT3 is such an insult to my beloved turtles, that I've tried to repress the memory of it for countless years. But the fact is, it still exists. I could say more, but James Rolfe, better known as The Angry Video Game Nerd, complains about it better than I ever could. Watch.

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5. Sucker Punch

I'm pretty sure Sucker Punch is the only movie I've actually gotten a headache watching. Directed by Zack Snyder, this loud, colorful (Too colorful) mess of a movie has a stupid plot, terrible pacing, and characters you don't give a flying f**k about. If only this were the only Zack Snyder movie I would consider one of the worst movies I've ever seen...

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4. 10,000 B.C.

Another bomb from Roland Emmerich, this movie is so bad that I decided within only five minutes of watching it that I was going to take a $10 nap. This alone should put this movie even higher on the list, but one scene in particular keeps it from hitting rock bottom, and it's so bad, it's actually good. I've derived countless laughs from it. My friend even woke me from my nap just to see it. He knew I would laugh my ass off. He was right.

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3. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

Oh, God. Michael Bay. It's actually pretty surprising that I don't have any of his other movies on this list. The man is just awful. He started out well with movies like Bad Boys and The Rockbut he has sunken so low in quality that I don't even bother to expect his movies to be any good anymore. They won't be. All of his recent ones suck. And out of these recent films, I find Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen to be his very worst. That said, I haven't seen the recent one and I don't plan on it. And I would probably say the third one is his worst if I hadn't fallen asleep during it, so I really can't make the call. But two is just terrible. Not only that, but it's also offensive with Mudflap and Skid, or, as I refer to them as, the "Nig bots." Every time they came on the screen I became infuriated. Here were these two autobots that were obviously supposed to be black, and Michael Bay played them to be complete idiots. I couldn't take it. I just couldn't. And then you had the rest of that bombastic trash vomitted on the screen, and what you ended up with was a marathon of nonsense that was very difficult to sit through. Definitely one of the worst experiences I've ever had in a movie theater.

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2. Man of Steel

I mean, talk about a load of garbage. Man of Steel is unbelievably bad. The whole time, I couldn't understand why it had to be so dark or why Superman had to KILL General Zod. None of it made any sense, and it was even super corny. When Amy Adams says, "Welcome to the Planet" at the end of the movie, signifying both the planet Earth and the Daily Planet newspaper, I pretty much lost it, I was so angry. It was so stupid and boring that I was pretty close to calling it the very worst film I have ever seen in my entire life, but there is still one worse...

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1. Rollerball

Oh, man. You have no idea how lucky you are that you've never seen this movie. I mean, the original with James Caan is great, and it still holds up today. But the remake...well, words cannot describe how much I detested it. I usually give films I hate a second chance, like Man of Steel. The second time through, it's still terrible. But Rollerball is on a whole other level of awful. It's all a blur, really, and all I remember about it was Paul Hayman, Jean Reno, and the very last line of the movie, which involved Rebecca Rominjn suggesting that all problems could be solved, "IN BED." This, my friends, is the very WORST movie I have ever seen in my entire life, and I will never watch it again. You couldn't pay me to sit through it a second time. Oh, God!

Honorable mentions: Van Helsing, The Happening, Elektra, Jeepers Creepers, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance

Cool Video Game Related Video

Hey, check this out. It's pretty cool. I can count all 27 Easter Eggs. They're actually pretty easy.

Interview With Women's Lit Author, Pamela Jones

Your story, “Tomorrow Never Comes” is quite short. Why the decision to keep it so compact?

I wanted readers to get acquainted with my writing ASAP. This story was the perfect solution. The story I’m currently working on will be longer; thus, taking months to complete.

Your story tackles a lot of family issues. If you don't mind disclosing, is there anything biographical in this book?

My grandmother, who gave me this idea, was in an abusive marriage. She also was from Alabama. However, Marlena’s story isn’t a biographical account of her life.

Otis is a really interesting character. What was your inspiration for him?

I had a close relative who was abusive. However, this isn’t a biographical account of his abusive actions.

What do you want readers to take from your story?

Although you’re entitled to live your life as you wish, the decisions you make – if they’re wrong - can have a negative impact on your family … forever. Therefore, before you jump into a situation, think it through thoroughly.

What genre would you categorize your book under?

Women’s fiction.

What else do you have coming out the pipeline? Are you going to continue with some of these characters, or are you moving on to new ones?

I’m moving on to another story. In fact, I’m already working on it. It’s entitled “Her Married Lover.” This one will be about a single, lonely mother dating a married man. The twist is when the adulterer’s depressed wife finds out about their affair, the wrath of hell breaks loose.

Links: Blog




Amazon Author Central

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Review: Rabbit, Run

Rabbit, Run (Rabbit Angstrom, #1)Rabbit, Run by John Updike
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Was it John Updike's intention all along to make Harry "Rabbit" Angstrom the most repugnant character in literary history, or was that an accident? Being the master writer that Updike was, I'm sure it was no accident, but good Lord, I have never seen a more unlikeable protagonist in all my years of reading fiction. I mean, even Raskolnicov in Dostoevsky's, Crime and Punishment, is a more likeable protagonist, and he killed a poor, defenseless old woman with an ax.

Let me repeat that. A man who killed an old woman with an axe is more likeable than Rabbit Angstrom. I've never detested a character more than I have with this one, and I'm just so glad to finally be done with the book so I don't have to deal with him any longer. I don't think I could stomach another page of hearing him justify his rottenness.

And that's mainly because Rabbit never grows up. At 26, Rabbit thinks only of himself and doesn't understand the misery he puts everybody else through. And in the few moments where he actually does think, "Well, maybe I better shape up and do the right thing," he finds some little, nagging issue that, like the title says, makes him run away. Chalk it up to youth (Though, 26 is rather old to be acting like such a child), chalk it up to his upbringing, which seemed fine enough to me, or chalk it up to living in crummy Pennsylvania, I don't know. I can't see any reason why Rabbit is being such a selfish jerk or why we, as an audience, should feel anything for him but hatred.

I genuinely have no idea.

So why the four stars, then? Well, because Updike is a master storyteller. The fact that I hate Rabbit so severely just shows that Updike did a brilliant job of getting me invested in this world and these characters. Could he have added at least one redeeming quality to get me to understand why Rabbit is the way he is? Sure, I definitely think so. But the fact that I want to read the next book in the series just to see if Rabbit has matured any means Updike did a damn good job of hooking me in. It's little wonder that he received such praise while he was still alive. The man could write!

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Monday, July 7, 2014

Author Shout Interview

I did an interview with Author Shout. You can find it here. It's long. And informative!

To Be Engaged

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What does it take to get audiences engaged these days? A few years ago, Hollywood had an easy answer to that question…or so they thought. “3D! 3D!” the studio execs proclaimed after the seismic success of James Cameron’s Avatar. But the truth is, people kind of hate 3D now. And by “kind of hate”, I mean really hate. 3D ticket sales are at record lows (Declining Popularity of 3D Movies), and they don’t look to ever regain the kind of prominence they had just three years ago. So, no, 3D is not the answer.

So what is then? Well, that’s an easier question to pose than it is to answer, but here’s what I think. In an age where you have multiple ways to get your entertainment, it seems the best way for a company to engage you is by throwing as much content as possible at you on every platform imaginable. Now, while this may be extremely risky for Hollywood studios, it’s really the only way to go with so many options these days. Why see the latest Tom Cruise movie in the theater when you could just binge-watch Orange is the New Black on Netflix instead? They’re both entertaining, and who’s to say one is more entertaining than the other? That’s why Edge of Tomorrow should also have released on my cell phone the same day it was released in the theater. Sure, it may have looked like crap on my phone, but who cares? At least I’d be watching it. In this day and age, you’re not stuck with the entertainment that Hollywood shoves down your throat. You, the consumer, have the power. And Hollywood knows this. That’s why it’s so important for them to understand that to engage us, they need to give us options. Not only with the kind of programs and movies we get, but also in the way we get them. Because the truth is, I can watch most of my favorite programs and movies on Netflix, Hulu, or HBO Go. If I want to be engaged with a new show or movie, I need to be able to watch it on my couch, in my car, or while I’m on the treadmill, and the connection has to be immaculate. I don’t want to sit through a movie that’s buffering on my phone for several minutes. That’s a way to get me unengaged.

So, there you have it. That’s how you engage viewers in the 21st Century. Give us options, and make them fun. Hopefully, Christopher Nolan’s new picture, Interstellar, will do just that, but I doubt it. Christopher Nolan is too much a purist for that. That’s more of a Steven Soderbergh kind of thing. Oh, well. Thankfully, Nolan is the kind of director who most of us will make the trip out of the house to see. He’s deserved the props.

You can find the article here. I only posted the full piece on my blog because my name wasn't on the article.