My Latest eBay Purchase @StarTrek @eBay #StarTrek #eBay

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Sundays are now lazy days for me. Going forward, I’m just going to re-post other people’s work or just do something silly. Today it’s my latest eBay purchase.

Not all of us are smart.

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I Refuse to Drop Either of These @StarTrek @StarWars #StarTrek #StarWars

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Sundays are now lazy days for me. Going forward, I’m just going to re-post other people’s work or just do something silly. Today it’s … well, let’s just say I refuse to let this go, both the meme and the underlying issue.

Star Trek >> Star Wars.

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Time to Move on from #Christmas #MCU #Thanos

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I hope you all enjoyed your Christmas, even if you don’t celebrate it, but it’s time to move on. We need to focus on getting rid of this horrible, COVID-19-infested year. That can be tough to do, so we’ll need some help. Fortunately, he’s already here, and he’s inevitable.

I know that moving past Christmas can be hard for some, but take down those Christmas lights, or you’ll be next. Now is no time for Christmas. In fact, now is no time at all.

Strange bedfellows, and all that.

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Jar Jar Abrams Should Leave Us Alone #StarWars #Mandalorian #ThisIsTheWay

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Sundays are now lazy days for me. Going forward, I’m just going to re-post other people’s work or just do something silly. Today it’s a meme shared on Facebook, and it isn’t silly. It’s a serious commentary as far as I’m concerned.

Image may contain: 3 people, text that says 'We can't satisfy the original trilogy fans while appealing to a new, younger audience. HOLD MY BLUE MILK.'

I’m not alone in my view.

Then there’s this:

Abrams Discussing Star Trek With Jon Stewart : startrek
How could you hand the reins of Star Trek to a guy who hates Star Trek?

I could go on forever.

Jar Jar Abrams should stay away from anything nerdy. He clearly doesn’t get it.

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Uncertain Watch: Replicas @replicas_movie @hbomax #GoodWatch #replica

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Replica is yet another movie addressing the nature of the human mind, and whether we could transplant human consciousness from one mind to another. There are a lot of problems with this movie. Disconnected writing, terrible special effects, and cheesy dialogue plague it. To make matters worse, the story needs to cover far more ground than it can in 1 hour and 45 minutes. As a result, characters accept without question revelations that should be mind-shattering. There’s no time for them to come to terms with this information.

All that said, I’ve learned to focus on the ideas that these movies raise rather than how they address them. Who cares if the movie doesn’t handle an issue thoroughly (or even correctly)? My brain does a pretty good job of considering those issues, at least to the extent of my own knowledge base. That works for me.

So, I guess that means I liked it. Replicas is streaming on HBO Max. As always, YMMV.

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Great Watch: Richard Jewell @hbomax #GoodWatch #RichardJewell

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I have a lot of streaming services. This week, I shifted back to HBO Max to watch a couple of movies. First up was Richard Jewell.

First off, this was a great movie about how the FBI railroaded a hero, Richard Jewell. Clint Eastwood knows how to tell a story, and the fact that this was true (more or less) makes it all the more impactful.

I don’t ever want to get political on this blog, but every so often it’s unavoidable. Being a cop is hard work, and being a good cop cuts against human nature. Only those people capable of living up to a heightened standard should become cops, and that occurs only with training. If you’re not capable of putting the public’s interest in catching the bad guys ahead of your own career goals, you aren’t living up to that standard. It’s frustrating knowing cops like that are out there, but it’s important to acknowledge and address it. It also makes for good storytelling.

But cops aren’t the only ones under the microscope in this movie. So are the rest of us.

Richard Jewell is streaming on HBO Max. As always, YMMV.

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Chris Pine to Star in the Next Dungeons & Dragons Movie @Wizards_DnD @Hasbro @Bartoneus

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Deadline is reporting that Chris Pine will star in the next Dungeons & Dragons movie. Unsurprisingly, I have an opinion on this.

Chris Pine is a good choice. The fact that he’s even in the mix means they’re willing to spend some money. Money talks, so that could be a good sign (though not necessarily). The prior D&D movies ranged from “sucks” to “low, B-level but tolerable if you’re already a fan.” I wouldn’t say any of them are good movies. This is, at least in part, the result of spending too little, but the source material certainly isn’t the problem. There have been too many movies (e.g., Lord of the Rings) and TV shows (e.g., Game of Thrones), some award-winning, that could easily have been considered “D&D movies” to think that the source material has a significant, inherent disadvantage.

In other words, it could be good, but . . .

Mechanics

I don’t know why everyone else doesn’t like them, but I can tell you one thing that annoys me, and it doesn’t bode well for any future movies. All three of the prior movies overtly made D&D mechanics part of the dialogue.

“I’ve prepared only two teleport spells today and have already used one of them.”

Yes, we know. You’re subject to Vancian magic. Don’t beat us over the head with it.

“Cool your barbarian’s Rage.”

But she gets only three a day! She needs to make the most of it!

“I need a frost sword.”
“Heroic or paragon?”

Can you imagine people having this conversation even in a world of magic?

Dialogue like this stood out to me and annoyed the hell out of me. However, if you don’t have dialogue like this, in what way is the movie a “D&D movie”?

Campaign Setting Material

First, it’s got to be about the storylines and characters. In other words, it’s got to be about the campaign settings. Despite having the second one on DVD, it’s been a while since I saw any of those movies, but I don’t remember mentions of Elminster, Anauroch, or anything that was proprietary to a D&D setting. Perhaps they were mentioned in passing and I forgot, but making them the center of story would be critical to making this a “Dungeons & Dragons movie.” Unfortunately, it wouldn’t be enough.

The Monsters

Second, it’s got to have the right monsters. At this point, dragons are trite, which is problematic because it absolutely has to have an intelligent dragon in it. Fortunately, D&D offers a hell of a lot more than dragons. How about mind flayers? No, wait. Those really belong to Lovecraft. Orcs? Tolkien. Goblins? <yawn> What about beholders?

Was the creature guarding the camp in the Dungeons and Dragons movie a  beholder? - Science Fiction & Fantasy Stack Exchange
We don’t like to talk about this scene.

Do you see the problem? If you choose an iconic monster from D&D, either other writers have beaten you to the punch, a prior D&D movie has ridiculed it, or it was “borrowed” from elsewhere, opening it to criticism (both fair and unfair). You can certainly find some untouched creatures that are proprietary to D&D — the third movie did that — but will slaadi play well in Peoria? I doubt it. Any D&D movie will have to rehabilitate whatever monsters they choose to incorporate. Xanathar, to name just one, could certainly work for me as the BBEG for a trilogy, but as the test audiences in Blade told us, most people prefer a human villain. Note well that, for this movie to be a success, it must appeal to more than its sycophantic base; non-D&D players must be interested, so “most people” have to be the focus. But I’ll leave those details to the professional filmmakers who’ll have the benefit of market research.

Plus, We Suck: We Really Aren’t Sycophantic

You always want to grab the largest audience but must start with your base. To win the hearts of as much of your base as possible, you have to throw each of the subcultures a bone. The problem with that is that far too many of us are edition warriors. If you throw 4th edition lovers a bone, it will downright offend others. It doesn’t matter how much you give them; giving any love to 4th edition will be seen as a deal-breaker to some. There’s just far too much nerd rage. Lord of the Rings doesn’t have “versions,” so if you make a good LotR movie, the material itself won’t alienate many potential viewers. I don’t know how to avoid that with D&D.

Between a fractured base and a horrible history, I’m afraid that any D&D movie will devolve into low, B-movie status, and not necessarily “so bad it’s good.” And before you say, “What do you know about it, Rob? Are you an expert?” No, but I’ve seen every effort they’ve made to date. They were all below average. I also remember having a Twitter conversation with someone (@Bartoneus, I think) while we were both watching the premiere of the third movie. He gave up on the movie about 10 minutes in, and he wasn’t alone. History suggests I’m right. By all means, prove me wrong. Clear these hurdles and make a good movie for once.

I’m still glad they’re going to try. My fingers are crossed.

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Dungeons & Dragons is a trademark of Wizards of the Coast, LLC, who neither contributed to nor endorsed the contents of this post. (Okay, jackasses?)

Schwarzenegger and Stallone’s First Movie @Schwarzenegger @TheSlyStallone #movie

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Sundays are now lazy days for me. Going forward, I’m just going to re-post other people’s work or just do something silly. Today it’s extremely rare footage of the first film Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone made.

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I Finally Watched the Movie, #Tombstone

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I said yesterday that I wasn’t going to go out of my way go post every day anymore, but I didn’t specifically promise to end my streak. I’ll post when I have something particular to say. So, with today’s post, it’s been 215 in as many days, and tomorrow’s ridiculousness will make me 216 for 216, but that’s probably where the streak will end.

So what inspired me? You already know, dipshit. You read the title of the post. While no movie could possibly live up to the hype this one has received, I’m finally watching Tombstone. So please, shut up.

First observation (a silly one): Sam Elliott always looked old. In this movie, he was 3 years younger than I am today, and while I wouldn’t say I have a youthful appearance, I think I look younger than he. I definitely act younger. What can I say? I’ve got issues.

Second observation: I love watching movies from an earlier decade to see a historical snapshot of where actors we at the time. Movies like this have actors on their way out, actors well-established, actors who recently got their big break, and actors that haven’t yet hit big, but our hindsight tells us they will. We also have a sprinkling of actors that were around only for that brief period before they dropped off the radar scope.

Third observation: Val Kilmer’s performance was flawless. Simply flawless. You can’t completely dislike this movie because of his performance. Nevertheless, the movie earned only two award nominations that hardly count, and as far as I’m concerned, that’s as good as any metric as to why we shouldn’t take them seriously.

Last observation: Clearly this isn’t historically accurate. We all know how this really went down.

Enough observations. Did I like it? Hells, yes. Plus, it’s been the source of so many damn memes. Back when I watched the Simpsons, I’d often miss the references to, for example, Dr. Strangelove until I saw that. Maybe now I’ll get some of your jokes.

Well...bye ANIMATED GIF - SpeakGif | Tombstone movie quotes, Tombstone,  Movie quotes

I’d recommend the movie, but it’s 27 years old, and you’ve probably already seen it. Only I take 27 years or more to watch movies.

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