Category Archives: Random Ramblings

Random posts not falling under any particular category

50 Good Books: The Shadow Rising (Wheel of Time, Book 4)

One thing that seems to be becoming more and more unpopular is reading. I was at a get together a while back. My wife and I were sitting at one table with my brother and his wife. The four of us are pretty avid readers (although I am not as much as I would like to be), and we overheard another table talking about how they hate reading. They laughed about how they would much rather just wait for the movie to come out, and if they don’t make a movie about a book, then the book probably wasn’t that great. The four of us just looked at each other with wide eyes. We all felt pretty strongly that the other table simply had it wrong.

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Jake’s List of 10 Movies for 2016

2016 is here, and that means we have a whole new year’s worth of movies to look forward to. 2015 was all about The Force Awakens. What will be the big hit for 2016? So far it looks like Captain America: Civil War may be the king of the year, but it has plenty of competition. This is my list of 10 movies I am looking forward to in the upcoming year. It’s not a comprehensive list, because there are a ton of really cool movies coming out this year. My list may not be the same as yours, but these are the 10 movies I am looking forward to. They are listed in order of when they are coming out.

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So, Who are the Heroes, Anyway?

Hello. It’s me…I was wondering if after all these years, you’d like to meet…Sorry, it feels like it has been a lot of years since I was here on my blog writing regularly. I have been focused on NaNoWriMo for this past month, so most of my writing energy has been spent there. That’s over, at least for now. I will have to go back to what I’ve written and make it a lot less, well, not good. The nice thing, though, is that I won’t be under some crazy time crunch, like I was this whole month. In any case, I am back, and hopefully better than ever. Some of you may be thinking that won’t be too hard. To that, I say thank you. I like low expectations because they are easier to meet.

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What the Heck is NaNoWriMo?

So a couple of weeks ago, I saw someone post a question on their Facebook page. They asked, “Who is doing NaNoWriMo this year?” I had no idea what that meant, so I was pretty sure I wasn’t doing it. The curiosity, though, was getting to me. What the heck was NaNoWriMo? I had no idea, so I went to the all-knowing internet and googled it. I found out it was National Novel Writing Month, and it was happening in November. So, I did something impulsive and crazy. I signed up for it and committed to writing a 50,000 word novel during the month of November. That works out to be between 175 and 250 page novel.

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My Thoughts on Supergirl

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This past Monday saw the premier of the latest DC television series, Supergirl. The series is brought to us by the same folks who brought us Arrow and The Flash, so expectations were pretty high. I was curious to see if the quality would be just as high as those two shows, or if this would be just a “girl version” of a superhero show. More on that later. It seems like the reception for the pilot has been pretty positive, which is a big deal. Make no mistake, she may wear the “S” ( I know, it’s not really an S) on her chest, but this was still a really big risk for DC. Historically speaking, female driven superhero titles have not been huge sellers. Partially, that’s because female superhero title haven’t been very good, historically speaking. Well, I have watched the pilot for Supergirl now, twice, and I have to say, I have a lot of hope that this series could rewrite history for the genre.

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Fun Halloween Films: Ghostbusters

I love Halloween time. It is one of my favorite times of year. Maybe it’s because it is in the Fall, or maybe it’s because of all the candy. The point is, I really enjoy it. Having kids, I have enjoyed it even more. It is a lot of fun planning costumes with them and seeing how excited they get to dress up and go trick or treating. Another thing I like about Halloween is watching the occasional “Halloween Film.” Like Christmas, there seems to be films that I watch only at this time of year. The only problem is, I can’t stand horror films. There are probably lots of reasons why I don’t like them, but maybe the most simple is that I just never got into them. They’re just not my jam (that’s right, I’m hip, so I can say things like “my jam”). So what movies do I like to curl up on the couch with that special someone and that special bowl of popcorn and watch during this time of year? This week, we will be giving you a list that you can turn into your very own Fun Halloween Movie Marathon.

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The 90s Kid brings us Gamtasia

Remember that Disney masterpiece, Fantasia? Our good friend, J. Leonard Dietz, aka The 90s Kid, has decided to try his hand at creating his own version. Instead of combining classical music with hand drawn animation (because, really who has the time?), he has combined classical music with gameplay from classic video games. He calls it Gamtasia, and his first video is perfect for Halloween as he combines the classical work “Danse Macabre” with the classic game Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask. Check it out below:

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10 Favorite Cartoons

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I think our kids live in an amazing time as far as how they watch and what they have available to watch. Streaming has changed the world of content consumption, mostly for the better. I was thinking about this as my daughters were sitting down to watch yet another episode, in a row, of Doc McStuffins (Ugh…I guess I’m just not the intended audience). They can watch this show any time they want, thanks to services like Hulu and Netflix and Amazon Prime. It’s amazing. But, you know what they are missing out on? Saturday morning cartoons. Was there anything better than waking up on Saturday, knowing there was no school and then sitting down and watching something totally epic? I submit that here was nothing better than that. That got me thinking about some of my favorite cartoons from growing up, so I put together a list. This list. This is not a ranking, so they will not be numbered (trust me, there’s 10), and it is by no means a comprehensive list. In other words, your favorite may not be on here. Share with us what your favorite was, if that’s the case. Mostly, this list was just for fun. I am not saying these were the best. These were simply 10 cartoons I have fond memories of, hopefully you do too.

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Bad Super Hero Movies that are Better than The Fantastic Four

In honor of the release of The Fantastic Four last weekend, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at some really bad superhero movies. Actually, what made me think of this was seeing that Batman & Robin was available on Netflix. I saw that and thought it would be fun to go over a list of bad superhero movies, maybe a list of the 5 worst superhero movies. Then FF came out and the whole mindset of this list changed. I have put together a list of really bad superhero movies that are better than FF. Better according to whom? Rotten Tomatoes, of course. If you haven’t heard, Fantastic Four is sporting a not so fantastic (yes, I went there) Rotten Tomatoes score of 9%. That is so horrendous that I felt like we needed to give some context. I went through a quick list of really bad comic book flicks and found that quite a few of the ones that are generally considered just awful actually scored better than FF. The only one that I thought of that didn’t was Catwoman, which tied  at 9%, so it wasn’t worse. Let’s begin the list and you’ll get the idea as we go along.

Amazing Spider-Man 2

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My first thought was to include Spider-Man 3, the original killer of the franchise, but it turns out this sequel was lower on the tomato scale, coming in at 53%, less that Spider-Man 3’s 63% (really?! 63%?  Wow.). Both films suffer from way too many bad guys and not enough good story or character development. Amazing 2, however, was the one that finally forced Sony to consider working with Marvel, instead of against them. This film was bewildering for me. Was Electro the bad guy, or was it the Goblin, and why was Rhino even in it at all? I give them credit for “going there” with Gwen Stacey’s death, but it wasn’t enough to cover up everything else that was wrong with the film. It was too bad, because I thought the franchise had so much potential. As bad as it was, though, it almost 6 times better than Fantastic Four. Honorable Mention: Spider-Man 3 63%

Elektra

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I really wanted Daredevil to be on this list, but as I went through these movies, I remembered that there was this quasi-sequel that probably belonged more. Daredevil was a bad movie, scoring only 44% on Rotten Tomatoes. You know what makes an even worse movie? When you make a kind of sequel to a horrible movie starring one of the side characters. This was a bad idea from the start, and when I look at the reviews and the images from the film, I am just thankful that Daredevil and all the characters that go along with him are back in the Marvel fold. The score for this movie is 10% on Rotten Tomatoes. That’s still 1% better than Fantastic Four. Honorable Mention: Daredevil 44%

X-Men Origins: Wolverine

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There was a time in the late 00’s when Fox was just done with the X-Men. First they made X-Men: The Last Stand, which was almost laughably bad, then they decided to take it even further by trying to ruin all the coolest X-Men characters and one of the better origin stories, all with the same movie. That Masterpiece of disaster was X-Men Origins: Wolverine. I don’t know how this movie gets made. The pitch had to be “We want to take Wolverine’s awesome origin story and just ruin it completely. Then we want to take Gambit, who everyone has been waiting to see on film, and just make him totally lame. Then we are going to throw in Deadpool, you know, the Merc with a Mouth? Get this, we are going to take aways his mouth. In the end , we are going to have a big pile of garbage, but it will make lots of money.” I figure they must have had something pretty good on Hugh Jackman to blackmail him into coming on board for this film. Despite all that, it was 4 times better than Fantastic Four with a score of 38%. Honorable Mention: X-Men: The Last Stand 58%

Superman IV- The Quest for Peace

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It’s a bad sign when a sequel is given a subtitle and none of the other films in the series has one, that is typically a bad sign. Run away from that movie. That was the case for the needlessly named Superman IV: The Quest for Peace. It is the worst of the four Superman films and the reason why we didn’t see another Superman movie until he returned in 2006. Now, I have gone on record as saying that I have a soft spot for this movie because I remember seeing it in the theaters. I was 5 at the time, and all I cared about was being my favorite superhero, Superman, and I saw him so the movie was great. I can fully recognize, now, that this is a wretched film that should be avoided. Just trust me on that. Despite all of that, the film scored 12%, which is still higher than Fantastic Four. Honorable Mention: Superman III 26%

Batman & Robin

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Batman fanboys seem to believe that Batman can do anything. Well, apparently the one thing Batman couldn’t do was save this film. It is so painful to watch, yet you can’t seem to turn away. It is probably one the most universally disliked films ever, unless you are Arnold Schwarzenegger. Pretty much everyone agrees that the performances in this film were just awful, unless, again, you are Arnold Schwarzenegger. This took everything that was wrong with Batman Forever and magnified it and made it worse. And then there’s the issue of bat-nipples. Why? This nightmare, however, beats Fantastic Four by 2%, coming in at 11%. Honorable Mention: Batman Forever 41%

Finally, a film that most people probably didn’t know existed. A film that at first glance looks like the worst one on this list. A film that proves that this latest Fantastic Four movie may be the worst Fantastic Four film of all time. I am talking, of course, about 1994’s unbelievably bad Fantastic Four, which scored 33% on Rotten Tomatoes. In other words, this is better than the high budget, “blockbuster” that was just released last weekend:

Even Doctor Doom looked better in that one. What do you think? Are all of these movies really better than the new Fantastic Four? Has the new FF  set the new low for superhero movies? Let me know in the comments, or contact me directly at thegeekymormon@yahoo.com.

My Crazy Superman Theory

In today’s world, it is hard to just look forward to a movie without finding anything out about the story. In fact, you don’t have to scour the internet to find out a lot about most of the big blockbusters. Leaked footage and photos come out on a daily basis, and random Hollywood reporters are siting anonymous sources with this story detail or that. Sometimes they prove pretty accurate, like when everyone knew that Benedict Cumberbatch was Khan. Other times they are way off. The point is, the only thing that seems to stir up more excitement and speculation on the internet than the latest superhero films is the next iPhone.

So, I have two choices. I could sit here and rant about how perturbed I get when every detail ever is already leaked about a movie, or I could join in the speculation fun. I am joining in the speculation fun. If people can postulate that Jared Leto’s Joker is actually Jason Todd, then why can’t I sit here and ponder on a Superman theory for the upcoming Batman v. Superman film? Now, all of this is speculation, but it could potentially be right on, so read with caution. If you are trying to avoid spoilers at all costs, maybe think real hard about reading any further. After the picture, I am going into my theory…

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For those of you that are still here, let’s have some fun. Well, maybe fun isn’t the right word for it, considering the nature of my theory. Calling it my theory is probably not totally fair either. To be fair and honest, I have adopted this theory and raised it into my own, after hearing it on the Superman Forever Radio podcast, episode 92. In the episode, the host, Bob Fisher, mentions the rumors that Doomsday may be in this new film. We know, according to the plot synopsis that some kind of threat rise relatively quickly and we see that they are doing something with Zod’s body, and that could mean Doomsday. As Mr. Fisher points out, Doomsday was created in the comics for one reason, and one reason only: To kill Superman. His fear, then, is that Warner Brothers is planning on killing Superman at the end of Dawn of Justice. Which he is audibly upset about. So was I…until I thought about it some more.

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The more I thought about, the more it started to make sense, and it started to grow on me. For those of you who don’t know, Superman is my favorite, always has been. For me to say that any movie that ends up with Supes dead is going on me is a big deal. I don’t want this to be the case. I want to continue to see him on the big screen, or I did, but now I am all sorts of confused. What if this really progresses the story better? What if the Justice League will be better because he died, than they would be if was part of their ranks? These are all the questions in my head right now. I’m not even thinking of the business side of things. The practical side, like the fact that there is no stand alone Superman sequel scheduled yet, and it’s not even rumored until 2020, after everything else comes out. That date isn’t even close to official, either. It’s all rumor and speculation at this point. If Batman and Superman were going to continue to be the two pillars of this new cinematic universe, wouldn’t we see a Superman film sooner? Unless there are no plans for a sequel because Superman dies. I’m not even thinking about that in my theory. I am just thinking of it from a story standpoint.

At the end of Dawn of Justice, we should be seeing the beginning of the Justice League. We should be seeing them come together and starting on the path that will m,make them a team greater than any other. At the beginning of the movie, we see Batman and Superman at war. Somehow, we need to get from there to the beginning of the Justice League. I don’t think just introducing a major threat like Doomsday is going to do it. At best, they may work together to beat the monster, but the team dynamic would be stressed at best after that. Somehow, somewhere in the battle, they are going to need some kind of defining moment, something that stands out that brings them together and makes them so unified, that they become the Justice League, that they see they have to stick together. They need an Agent Coulson moment. If you remember back to The Avengers, they were a mess right after the hellicarrier scene. Loki had ripped them apart, and they were better at fighting each other than the bad guys. It did not look good. When Coulson died though, it was a turning point for them. They started coming together and working with each other, because Coulson died. They saw his sacrifice and knew they had to get past their differences and become a close-knit unit. For the Avengers to become the Avengers, Coulson had to die. That’s why Fury doesn’t tell the Avengers when Coulson doesn’t stay dead.

DC may be thinking that the Justice League needs a Coulson moment, but they have to be different from Marvel. One thing that has made it hard in the Marvel movies is that it has never felt like any of the main characters have ever really been in danger. Maybe it’s because we already know that they have all signed on for so many movies, or maybe in the back of our minds we remember that we are really just watching a Disney film, where the good guys never die or lose. That’s ok, I am all for happy endings, as I have mentioned before. DC and Warner Brothers may see this as an opportunity, though, to be different. They may decide they want to get our attention and let us know as an audience that in this Superhero world, the heroes can die and they will be in danger. That could make for more interesting stories coming up.

None of this, as I thought about it, really convinced me that I liked this idea. I still would have rather had Superman live, than die, but then I thought how the story could progress, if WB doesn’t mess it up. Superman battles Doomsday. Batman and Wonder Woman clearly recognize that he is the most powerful, so they leave him to battle Doomsday, plus Batman probably figures out that there is some tie between Doomsday and Superman, so he blames Superman on some level. This battle between Doomsday and Superman goes very differently than the end battle of Man of Steel. Superman has learned from that battle, from his mistakes, and now he is much more controlled and he is controlling the fight so as to protect as many innocents as possible. As Batman witnesses the fight, and realizes that Superman is the real deal, he decides to try to engage. Wonder Woman too. As they get to the scene of the battle, Doomsday delivers the deathblow, and Superman goes down. He is weakened now, so Wonder Woman and Batman (and possibly Aqua-Man and the Flash) are able to engage the monster, and together they take him out. The result is that the world sees the heroes come together and unite, and they see the greatest her fall. Batman realizes that not all the metahumans or aliens are dangerous. He helps Wonder Woman form the Justice League in Superman’s memory. It could be a very powerful moment. It could be a death that means something. If done right, Superman could become the most important member of the Justice league. It’s one thing to say you are willing to give it all you have, and Batman might think it is especially easy for someone like Superman, but it is another thing to go out and give everything, all you have. When Batman sees Superman do that, he gains a whole new respect for him.

Or, Warner Brothers and DC could just blow the whole thing. That is also a possibility. What do you think? Could we see the end of Superman in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice? Or am I just taking crazy pills? Let me know in the comments below or on Facebook, or email me directly at thegeekymormon@yahoo.com.