Monday, November 20, 2017
Sunday, November 12, 2017
Get Out- Wait, maybe "It" wasn't the worst movie I saw this year. It was definitely the worst one I saw theatrically, but Jordan Peele's mind-numbingly awful attempt at social criticism through blatantly ripping off "The Stepford Wives" gives it a run for its money. As uneven as the tone of "It" was, at least it had more than one. "Get Out" has one long, boring, unchanging tone that tries to mix things up during a ludicrous, asinine climax. For a brilliant comedian like Peele to create such sub-standard, pretentious rubbish, there is hope for all writers.
Thor: Ranganork- I'm not going to say this is probably the best Marvel film since "Winter Soldier" but I just did so I'm sticking with it. The self-deprecation works here because the hero us supposedly untouchable and perfect. The action is great, the acting is, too and all the elements of a solid superhero film are present.
Murder on the Orient Express- I'm always amazed when I meet someone who doesn't know the answer to the mystery of this classic story, but they exist and there are enough of them to warrant a remake. This time it's under the gifted guidance of Kenneth Branagh, whose eye for detail and insistence on strong performances pays off handsomely with this riveting period piece. All of t he actors are wonderful as is the direction and the cinematography. This time around, the filmmakers wisely focus on Agatha Cristie's genius detective's views on how life should work and the moral dilemma he faces when it doesn't fit his narrative.
Justice League- I'd been waiting all my life for this damn movie and I wasn't disappointed. The actors are well-cast, the action feels new in places, and the marriage of Zack Snyder's dark imagery and Joss Whedon's character-driven writing are an excellent one. This is easily my favorite team superhero movie to date.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi- Easily the most divisive Star Wars movie since the first two prequels, Rian Johnson's film is a wonderful addition to the canon that angers all the right people. The franchise had fallen into a comfortable malaise with Disney's acquisition and it's good to see buttons being pushed and fan-imposed boundaries being torn down. I enjoy having my expectations upended. I like my comfort zone being disturbed. This installment does that and more, adding a dimensionality to the tale that has been missing since "Revenge of the Sith" rolled end credits.
Tuesday, October 24, 2017
Frankly, the absolutely stupidest point anyone can make about a movie or book is that it made a lot of money and therefore that means it was good and people liked it. The implication here is that if you don't, you are the one who has a problem and should lower your lofty standards. The resounding idiocy of this reasoning lies in the fact that the person making the point is using a flawed capitalism=quality model. Remember when I mentioned the fact that quality is a subjective concept? So is the idea that the accumulation of vast sums of money automatically indicate quality. Many products or services of low quality have earned billions of dollars. One needs look no further than any fast food restaurant chain to see a real-life example. But there's another component to this silliness, and that is the human tendency to use the peer group as a weapon against differing opinions.
I've seen this line of reasoning used when someone has tried to prove a point about an entire race of people. They find one self-loathing member of that race and then use their words as justification for bigotry. It happens when people use former members of religious groups, too. Somewhere much farther down the scale, a similar rationale is employed when using the dual arguments of "It made a whole lot of money so it must be good" and "Since it made all that money, people liked it and it was popular." Wrong. Large grosses of money are not automatic indicators of popularity. In fact, there are so many factors involved in how audiences and readers are pre-programmed to consume a finished product whether they liked it or not, it's almost obscene. I've sat in movie theaters where people acted out this programming like good little clapping seals and marveled at the power of suggestion through advertising and fabricated buzz.
I won't bore anyone with a list of movies that made gobs of money that nobody liked. You'll either have to trust me or do your own research.
I'll let you in on a little secret: The reason I upset people with my opinions isn't because they necessarily disagree with them. There are actually three reasons they react with such knee-jerkiness:
1. I make them think about what they watched or read in ways they either never have or never wanted to.
2. I make them feel less intelligent because they don't watch or read things with a critical enough eye. (This is an entirely subjective point I'm making more from their perspectives than my own)
3. People that stray from the Group-think make them uncomfortable and threaten their perception of reality and security.
So, I rarely harbor any ill will towards people when they challenge my opinions. There's no point to it. Nor do I apologize for having a well-developed criteria for my entertainment. To expect anything less would be beneath my expectations for myself. And that's what it really boils down to, I guess.
I expect no less than the same level of effort I demand of myself. No matter what I'm writing, I push myself to make it as good as I can. I don't always succeed but I at least make the effort. When I can sense someone else isn't doing that or, even worse, doesn't even believe it's necessary, it disgusts me and results in a hostile reactions as I feel my time has been wasted and my intelligence insulted. Without getting into specifics (I swore I wouldn't do that in this post...challenge met) my visceral reaction to a movie I recently watched was because of these reasons. I wasn't expressing some version of fanboy angst about not adhering to the source material or my favorite scene from the bookbeing absent. My objection was to inconsistent tone, flat characterizations, poor directing, laughable dramatic moments and an overall laziness in the production. I've had similar reactions to the fiction I've read.
I may not have notoriety as an author, but I still expect more of myself than many of these individuals do. So you better fucking well believe I expect the same of people with so many resources at their disposal.
Like the man said, "Did I bug ya? Sorry. Didn't mean to bug ya."
Thursday, September 7, 2017
Despite what those idiotic "Sad Puppies" choose to believe, there is a larger, more vital world beyond White Male Christendom-themed tales of human superiority in the realm of speculative fiction .
So, I can't wait for this one and despite the fact that I work for two libraries and could easily read it for free, I think I'll buy it instead.
If it's anywhere near as good as the Chinese science fiction anthology "Invisible Planets" I read earlier this year, I'll be most pleased. Talk about a refreshing, unique approach and execution. Every story was lyrical and compelling.
Thursday, August 31, 2017
Sunday, August 27, 2017
Captain America: Civil War- The Law of Diminishing Returns is, as the hipsters say, a "thing" and nowhere is it more obvious than this third Captain America outing. Hats off to Marvel for making a dozen films before this became the case but damn! They really saved it all up for this disappointment. My criticisms are numerous, yet the real irony is that I can still find enough enjoyment in this movie to watch it from time to time. Still, it's an over-crowded mess filled with sub-plots galore, absurd contrivances and easily the most anti-climatic showdown in the franchise's history. The much touted battle royale between titans is reduced to little more than a stalling action for the main plot and a parking lot brawl with little actual consequence. Iron Man 2 is often maligned for being an obvious franchise bridge yet for whatever reason this one gets a pass? Fanboys, I disdainfully shake my head at you!
Doctor. Strange- A brief restoration of sanity and quality to the MCU, this long-awaited origin film featuring Benedict Cumberbatch as the Sorcerer Supreme almost feels like a DC movie, and that's not an insult coming from me. This is a wonderfully absurd piece of thoughtful filmmaking that provides a nice rest for all the obnoxious franchise building going on in the other films. Ironically, this nice break would continue with
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2- Something happened on the way to the GOTG sequel. I sat in the theater and loved every minute of it! How, after my unimpressed reaction to the first movie, this one was such a great experience is either a testament to my incredible open-mindedness (Doubtful!) or the fact that James Gunn et. al. improved upon every single criticism I had of the first film and delivered an incredible sequel. I am now a fan of this franchise.
Spider-Man: Homecoming- And here endeth the honeymoon! Marvel spent years trying to finagle the rights away from Sony (who was absolutely destroying Spider-Man with those awful Andrew Garfield movies) and they finally got him, recast him, made him a kid again and threw him awkwardly but enjoyably into the mix in Civil War. Expectations were high for a movie that finally got the character just right and delivered the MCU goods in new and exciting ways. And on paper, it was all there to happen. Tom Holland is a great Peter Parker and Michael Keaton's Vulture was the most refreshing villain since Loki. But then a hit and miss script seemingly more concerned with the trials and tribulations of teenage existence was chosen and what could have been the best MCU movie since the Avengers turned out to be enjoyable but shockingly mediocre.
Well, that's it for now. I'll add to the list once Thor: Ragnarok comes out.
Saturday, August 26, 2017
(You will see that this is where I start to diverge from the Fanboy Legion)
Iron Man 3- It's weird to put the words "Controversial" and "guy wearing a super-powered suit of armor" in the same sentence, but that's the best way to describe this one. From its darker tone to its portrayal of Tony Stark's PTSD after almost dying in "Avengers," fans had a lot of shit to say about what is actually one of the stronger post-Phase One films. Writer/Director Shane Black reinvents the format here by portraying an even more troubled Tony Stark than the one we saw in the second sequel as he deals with real-world problems. Frankly, if by the third film we aren't seeing more of the alter-ego than the masked hero, it's probably not a good sign, hence the invalidation of the "Tony Stark has a bigger part than Iron Man" criticisms. Even Black's clever sleight of hand with a fake Mandarin (Ben Kingsley) is entertaining and suits the film.
Thor: The Dark World- Another one that gets unfairly dissed, the Thor sequel is one of the stronger entries in the series. Yes, the plot is a tad typical but that's only because there have already been several movies at this point and world-ending threats have become the norm. But these movies are about our connection with the characters and desire to see them persevere.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier- Simply put, this is probably the best movie in the MCU's list of releases so far. Combining the feel of a late Seventies suspense thriller with incredible fight scenes and character moments, the Russo Bros. strike a perfect balance between Marvel's tendency to be too jokey and an edgier, more real-world feel. This is why I wrote previously that the first film is overshadowed. This one is literally as good as the MCU gets...at least so far.
Guardians of the Galaxy. Vol. One- And here it is. The movie that practically caused fanboys and girls alike to have screaming orgasms in the aisles because it was so hip, so cool, so freaking funny! To paraphrase Montgomery Burns, in case you can't tell, I'm being sarcastic. I had numerous issues with this movie, from its obnoxious characters to its low stakes plot and tendency to shit all over decent drama with bad jokes. When I saw this one theatrically, there was a woman in the theater who literally laughed the entire time the movie ran. That was when I realized this film was an example of pre-programming. That alone doesn't necessitate a bad movie, however, and while GOTG certainly doesn't match the classic definition of a bad movie, I found it to be a series of misfires and a blatant attempt to combine Marvel with a Disney sensibility.
Avengers: Age of Ultron- Another film in the series fans love to hate, there is an admittedly compromised feel to the film, but that's not Joss Whedon's fault. Disney/Marvel is to blame. Despite that, this installment is quite a feat. Despite the changes to Ultron's origins and some quirky character reveals (Hawkeye has a wife and kids? Black Widow has it for Bruce Banner?) or perhaps because of them, this film, along with Winter Soldier and Iron Man 3, genuinely feel like sincere efforts to move the franchise into a more adult direction. In many ways, it's a stronger film than its predecessor, especially because the actors know their characters so well at this point, but there's an unfortunate "Been there" feel to the proceedings.
Ant Man- The stories of behind-the-camera turmoil regarding this comparatively small film didn't diminish its success at the box office or as a film. It's a welcome break from all the world-threatening mayhem films, keeping its plot relatively small and the drama more personal. Unlike the more bloated GOTG, the humor works beautifully here and I actually cared about the characters and what was happening.
Next up...Phase Three Finds Amazing New Ways to Disappoint Me...
Friday, August 25, 2017
Tuesday, August 15, 2017
Here are a few:
The Good Fight (Superhero vs. Monster Anthology)- The Hero Disease by Christopher Nadeau – An insightful look at the superhero in all of us when the world’s last superhero, Vanishing Act, must battle an unbeatable foe.
The Best of the Horror Zine: The Early Years- And, finally, Christopher Nadeau gave us "Never Say Treat" about Halloween becoming something much darker and terrifying.
Picking four favorites was a difficult task. I enjoyed the entire book.
Not in the Brochure: Tales of a Disappointing Apocalypse- "On the Eighth Day", by Christopher Nadeau. Something about Nadeau's stories makes me cheer the blood baths and laugh in all the wrong places. I love that.
Sunday, August 6, 2017
Ten Things Genre Fiction Needs to Lose in Order to Not Succumb to Irrelevance: A Highly Subjective List
This list merely fleshes out what I find objectionable, tiresome and obnoxious in the genre. It is by no means a call to arms. So, ease that thumb off that keypad, take a swig of something awful and ignore everything below in favor of your favorite stuff!
8. Self-referencing pop culture (attempted) parodies.
7. Cinematic superheroes who can't stop spouting one-liners (unless they're Spiderman).
6. YA Dystopia.
5. Main protagonists with Daddy Issues who save the day anyway. (With the exceptions of "All our Wrong Todays" and "How to Live in a Science Fictional Universe."
4. Love of video games being used to tell dull, listless tales of uber-nerds saving the world.
3. Constant depictions of dark, depressing futures where all hope lies in escape.
2. Endless series books that stretch a premise well beyond its breaking point.
1. Heroes, male and fermale alike, who are merely extensions of a sociopolitical agenda (this goes for liberals and conservatives) at the expense of story or, even worse, extensions of the author's self-fulfilling fantasy life.
There. That's it. I'm well aware I probably commit some of the above "sins" at times, although I do try to reinvent the wheel whenever I have to start spinning.
Come at me if you must~
Tuesday, August 1, 2017
Interesting. When one is no longer blocked, one can also be seen by she who blocked him.
Wednesday, July 26, 2017
"There was once a false sense that fandom was the place where all of those things were celebrated: Diversity, the fight against bullies of all types, and the front line of those supporting progress and change. Apparently, that was a smokescreen that the Internet has effectively wiped away."
-David Wilson, Writer and Illustrator
Thursday, July 20, 2017
In a nutshell, Sherry Shriner believes in every conspiracy theory regarding aliens, monsters and secret societies out there. She uses the Bible as a way of combining them all. Soon after the reposted exchange, I decided to start investigating this individual to see if she was insane or a con artist. I wrote several articles, finally arriving at a disturbing conclusion: She was both. It is indeed possible to believe one's own delusions and still be a manipulative confidence artist. Charles Manson and Jim Jones come to mind.
Shriner does it in a post-modern online way but she still leads a cult of unstable wackjobs desperate to believe what she says ties up all the things that make them uncomfortable or uncertain and presents them in a neat, prepackaged bow. Most of my articles are, sadly, no longer available but as I published them, I went from outright amusement to deep concern. Cults have always fascinated me. I actually began a novel featuring feuding cults fighting over a captured alien. But Sherry Shriner always struck we as someone potentially dangerous and now I know why.
Somebody has died because of her insanity.
It's not funny anymore. This woman needs to be institutionalized right alongside her equally mentally ill followers.
Monday, July 10, 2017
"CHELSEA CLINTON has degrees from Stanford, Oxford, Columbia and NYU AND she lived in the White House for 8 years AND is the daughter of the former U.S. President, and U.S. Senator and Secretary of State... Ivanka is a really good shopper ..."
-From a comment on a Yahoo! article
Thursday, June 29, 2017
The book in question, "Beyond Science Fiction Complete Anthology," is the, "complete compilation of short stories, reviews, artwork and other content published in the Beyond Science Fiction magazine in 2014 and 2015." It is 1023 pages long and what does the one review say about it?
Thursday, June 22, 2017
Tuesday, June 20, 2017
a) Anti-gay and
b) Consorted with White Supremacists while
c) Voting in favor of allowing the mentally ill to own guns and
d) Reaping the benefits of free taxpayer-supplied healthcare
who was shot by a crazy man with a legal handgun, saved by an African American lesbian and able to go into the hospital without a worry about insurance coverage because the government is footing the bill, I would be accused of preaching or being a "social justice warrior."
Yet in real life something like this has actually taken place!
Fiction has to make more sense than reality for people to believe it's realistic!
Wednesday, June 7, 2017
Thursday, May 11, 2017
-Dean Goddard, Facebook Commenter"Why would a higher ed institution invite a commencement speaker who is an undereducated religious fanatic, and who's family's wealth was made in a pyramid marketing scheme?"
Tuesday, May 9, 2017
“So at the end of that monologue I had a few choice insults for the president in return. I don’t regret that. He, I believe, can take care of himself. I have jokes; he has the launch codes. So it’s a fair fight.”-Stephen Colbert
Monday, May 8, 2017
Wednesday, April 26, 2017
And What’s Left of the World’s a Better Place for it -Synopsis:
Glenda is a scientist who lives in a place simply known as "The Place." She suspects there was a larger world outside this building in which the remainder of humanity resides and that somehow the scientist is charge is the cause of all her strife. Soon the evidence mounts that he isn't the savior he claims to be and Glenda must decide if safety is worth the loss of freedom to choose.
I'm rather proud of the story conceptually so if you read it, feel free to let me know what you thought. Even if you hated it.
Tuesday, April 11, 2017
A general fantasy and science fiction search yielded a single result for a collection of short stories called "Dark Little Dreams." It sounded familiar so I clicked on the link and saw my name in the contents section:
Wednesday, April 5, 2017
For those who might be unaware, SciFan is the new incarnation of Beyond Science Fiction, whose entire published work is collected here and Beyond Imagination, both of which featured incredible covers by my homey Larry Lonsby, Jr.
Below is the first paragraph from the letter I received from publisher Dayne Edmonson:
Dear Christopher Nadeau,
Thank you for sending us "And What's Left of the World's a Better Place for it". We love it and would like to publish it in an upcoming issue of SciFan Magazine. You should receive a notification when "And What's Left of the World's a Better Place for it" is scheduled for publication and another email when the issue containing your story is released.
Obviously I'll update on this blog once the story has been published.
Monday, March 20, 2017
So, the witless attempt at political commentary by Snoop gets no free pass from me. However, the meme below is 100% correct in its assessment of the hypocrisy from the Right regarding celebrities (or whatever the hell Ted Nugent is these days) openly advocating for the killing of a President of these here United States:
Sunday, March 19, 2017
Saturday, March 18, 2017
It was a day set aside just for us as we escaped the difficulties we were facing for a few happy hours. And although times have continued to be difficult, the memories of that wonderful day and the love it made official drives us forward to hopefully better, more peaceful times.
To my wife: I love you beyond mere words and am forever fortunate you said "I do" five years ago.
Tuesday, March 14, 2017
Thursday, March 2, 2017
I decided to take a different approach this time. I decided to point out that perhaps he isn't good at sarcasm. Naturally he fell back on the everything is subjective argument. I tried to help him understand that there are established criteria for fiction writing amd comedy despite whether or not someone"likes it."
His response? "The only criteria for fiction is that it be fiction."
My reply: "I don't know which matchbox correspondence school you attended but they clearly only taught you that "it's fiction long as they's makin' stuff up."
I then told him before trying to understand the craft of fiction, he should start by learning the difference between comedy and sarcasm.
Okay. I looked at his Facebook page and added, "typical Trumper. Knows little about alot but passes himself off as an unaffected genius."
When I went back on Facebook a bit later I noticed all the likes etc. were gone. He ran. They usually do, especially when you point out they're showing their ignorance of a field the other person practices.
Sorry, man. Sarcasm is a high level art that only some of us can practice well. Good riddance.
Saturday, February 25, 2017
At the time, political satire was still viable, despite needing occasional trips to the doctor. However, the dominance of social media, something that should have been a force for increased knowledge and understanding of parody and satire, has actually aided in the swiftly encroaching loss of this most vital component of a supposedly free society. Instead, we're now moving towards an era where all attempts at irony become fodder for an increasingly easily offended population. And political affiliation is becoming meaningless, as the so-called "snowflake" mentality is just as prevalent among those on the Right as it is on the Left.
Recently, horror author Issac Marion who wrote the surprisingly engaging zombie romance satire "Warm Bodies" dared to post a humorous dialogue between himself and *urp* President Trump. I have also used the fake Trump Tweet app a few times. To my delight, nobody could tell if they were real or not in most cases. I never created a series of them like Marion because I knew some imbecile would screenshot it and, at some point, somebody would think they were real. It never occurred to me that a new breed of imbecile would find offense in the satire itself, but that's exactly what happened to him.
In a stunning display of contextual ignorance, angry people who thought the exchange was real and jumped to Marion's defense went on the offensive, reading him the riot act for daring to indulge a fiction writing exercise designed to make a point about a subject he finds repugnant. I'd mention the irony of the invective coming from members of the Left Wing, but since irony is a rapidly diminishing resource, I don't want to waste any of it by mentioning something so obvious.
Marion breaks down his perceived "offenses" in list form, each point more ludicrous and asinine than the last. The most telling is Point #2, wherein he addresses an accusation of spreading the now ubiquitous and soon-to-be-meaningless concept of fake news. In his analysis, Marion writes:
I am a fiction writer. I wrote a fictional dialogue and posted it on my personal Twitter account, without any surrounding context to suggest that this was a real occurrence rather than just another bit of nonsense theater squirting out of my brain. If anyone thought it really mattered, a quick click to my profile—or Trump’s—would have revealed the truth. But no one bothered to do that because IT DIDN'T MATTER.That's right, it didn't. People are so primed for and even seduced by the very notion of outrage now that fact-checking is regarded as quaint and wasteful. Not to toot my own horn, but my first instinct was to question the veracity of the reposting. It seemed too good to be true. Trump had finally crossed the line from journalism antagonist to displaying a woeful ignorance of the fiction writing process. And he'd chosen a lesser known writer to attack! Within moments, I'd discovered the truth and guess what? I was okay with it!
We are now entering a very dangerous era and it all started when the drawings of schoolchildren containing vaguely violent imagery became calls to the police and mandatory psychiatric sessions. Think of all the people of previous generations--people like me--whose writing and drawing could have ruined their lives in such a free thought hostile environment. Now the same preposterous censorship of the darker aspects of our minds are being scrutinized in authors by over-sensitive adults with too much time on their hands. These same people actually feel the need to write "sarcasm" after their barely sarcastic comments and insist that others do the same to avoid potential offense.
Isaac Marion created a satirical piece, mostly for his own amusement. Leave him the hell alone and get over yourselves.
Friday, February 17, 2017
"Tonight at 9:10pm, I watched you pass away. I grabbed your hand (Chris took the pic while crying) and immediately realized I felt the most devastating loss I could imagine. It caused a physical pain in my chest that went all the way through to my shoulders and back. I got in bed with you and held you for a while and then somehow felt a presence that never left me.
12 months have gone by and although your constant presence has been felt by even Chris and especially the dog, I miss hearing my phone ring 5 times a day. I miss you calling me at 9pm at work to go for "just a little bite to eat," because that was our thing. Many times you would just to drive through our old neighborhood where you, me and Cliff lived. You always wanted to see the home you had to leave in 2001.
You lived for being around people your whole life. You loved music. You loved art. You LOVED the lakes and ocean and especially the east coast. You loved lighthouses. You loved the sound of ships sounding their horns. You loved birds, penguins, elephants, and dogs and you were kind to all living creatures. You loved Winter but also the look of an English garden. You loved your faith. You loved academics. You marveled at science and even metaphysics. You had every book on longevity and the mind and you refused the idea of giving up the fight. You cried and laughed equally. We would make each other laugh and also scream our heads off at each other only to hold hands and say, "I love you forever."
Our song sing I was tiny was, " You and Me Against the World," and we danced to it at my wedding. I waited nearly 41 years to get married and mamma you walked me down the aisle and I would never have it any other way.
Life has grown cold and empty for me these past 12 months and time has stood still. I don't sleep and I've somehow grown very old in my eyes. I love you, my best friend and mamma. I didn't give up on you then and my heart will never forget. Love you more.
And mamma...it's still you and me."
A light of the world went dark and the ...spark of light in me went dark with her forever.
There is no mamma. I will love you with my dying breath
Tuesday, February 7, 2017
The following post contains a bit of name-calling and a judgmental, possibly even self-righteous tone.
The comparison won't work. We fiction writers make up stuff. Some of it clearly impossible, some of it realistic, but none of it real - all invented, imagined -- and we call it fiction because it isn't fact. We may call some of it "alternative history" or "an alternate universe," but make absolutely no pretense that our fictions are "alternative facts."Even if I didn't know any better, I'd side with a woman the Library of Congress named a Living Legend because of her outstanding contributions to the world of English Literature.
I understand the desire to describe the Trump administration's blatant attempts to gaslight as many Americans as possible in terms that clearly and intelligently do so. But when someone tries to do that using concepts and forms of expression of which they are ignorant or simply misinformed, it becomes the focus rather than the original intended subject.
Thursday, January 12, 2017
Monday, January 9, 2017
A second, likely shorter review, will follow this one once I've given it a second chance.