Picture
Taking inspiration from the Deathly Hallows movie, I'll be splitting my review into 9 parts.

Wait! Make sure you go read part 1 of this review first. You need the context, man, I'm tellin you.

(And, spoilers, so you've been warned.)

And the Order of the Phoenix:

Hits the ground running with the dementor attack and subsequent threat of expulsion from Hogwarts. Then, unfortunately, lapses into long boring exposition scenes at the Order headquarters. Talking, talking, talking. Not the fun wizard world-building of the early books, just worthless junk about who's related to who and crap like that. Maybe this stuff is important later, but there's so much blah-bitty-blah, I tune out often.

There does seem to be less "catch-up" exposition like reminding readers who certain characters are in the early part of the book. Maybe Rowling assumes readers should just know by now?

When Harry finds out Ron's been made prefect, his inner monologue is great. Hints of jealousy because he wasn't chosen, like any regular teen would have. Shows that Rowling is still developing Harry's personality, and that for such a sympathetic kid, he does have a bit of an Anakin Skywalker dark side. Just don't kill all the little Jedis at the Jedi school, please Harry. That's too hard to watch.

 
 
Got some new tracks on my Original Music page. The album is titled States, and it's supposed to represent musical versions of different emotional states. Did it work? You be the judge.
 
 
Continuing my tradition of reviewing entire series like George R.R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire and Stephen King's The Dark Tower, I now the present to you: The Harry Potter series, books 1 - 4

(Dripping with spoilers, so don't get wet)

And the Sorcerer's Stone: The info dump. The first book in the series was famously rejected many times (although real writers know that a dozen rejection letters is nothing), and I can see why.  Plenty of amateurish writing: Rowling loves to use adverbs with dialogue tags, "which is a literary no-no," Jim Heskett admonished gravely. The opening chapters of this first book are stuffed with exposition, which prospective publishers likely also saw as a strike against. But what they didn't know was that all the exposition was to become the basis of a massive mythology, the main element that makes Harry Potter such a hit with both grownups and kids. And I've already established that Story Trumps All.

 
 
Picture
this right here is the mad face
Why we forgive certain types of bad movies: a review of The Man With The Iron Fists

There aren't kinds of good movies. There may be levels of greatness, but not varieties. Some movies are bad, and we can categorize them as awesome bad, or truly bad. For some reason that's not readily apparent, we can still find pleasure in the awesomely bad movies. 

I credit Mystery Science Theater 3000 with teaching us how to extract fun from terrible cinema.

No denying that Snakes on a Plane was a bad movie, but there's an awesome quality to it that's hard to describe. It goes beyond the simple joy of hearing Samuel Jackson scream motherfucker or watching a snake bite a dude in the balls. Like fine wine and aged cheese, there's an inexplicable je ne sais quoi that can only be appreciated, not dissected.

That being said, I think I've found the formula. Let's explore why we can forgive and even enjoy certain types of bad movies.


 
 
Picture
I liked the White Stripes. let me rephrase that: I really liked Jack White in the White Stripes. Meg White, with her off-tempo timing and severely limited repertoire of beats, made the Stripes often unbearable.

 
 


I have historically tried to keep away from political posts on this website, aside from one satirical rant about gay marriage. I will try not to quote too many statistics, because I learned in a college Experimental Psychology class how easy is to skew stats to show you whatever results you desire. 

So, without further ado:

Dear Open Carry Fans,

Mass shootings have been in the news an awful lot lately, accompanied by scenes of your followers in Texas invading public spaces with long guns slung over their shoulders like wild west cowboys. You Open Carry people sound the battle cry of "it's my right to do this," when even the Death Star of the NRA opposes you.


 
 
Editor's Note: I had a choice between seeing this and The Fault In Our Stars, based on the John Green book of the same name. I liked the book, and was tempted to see that movie so I could review it and toss in a rant about the recent Slate article which claims adults should be ashamed for reading Young Adult books.

All I'll say about the snooty reader-shaming Slate article is this: eff you, Slate. There are some great and thought-provoking YA books out there like The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky and More Than This by Patrick Ness. You wanna shame people for liking books? Go after Twihards and their ilk. Leave the generalizations about the entire category out of it.

Now, about Edge of Tomorrow...

 
 
A little story I wrote named "No Regrets" is now live at Short Fiction Break. Short Fiction Break is an author-owned site of experimental and in-progress short fiction. Give them some support by reading and sharing.


"No Regrets" was originally written as a Flash-fiction piece for Chuck Wendig's "Bad Dads" Father's Day writing challenge.

It's a soot-stained tale about a man trying to get drunk one last time before the world ends in a fiery explosion, and possibly the prologue or chapter 1 of a longer piece I may write someday, if I ever get around to it.
 
 
The Mrs and I just got back from our vacation across the North of California. Blog posts detailing part one here and part two here. I also added some new pictures to the photo album on my national parking page. Go get some!
 
 
Picture
Yes, J-Law is all kinds of nekkid here
Ever since the Ashton Kutcher epic The Butterfly Effect, time travel movies have been struggling to live up to a certain standard. X-Men colon the future days of the past shoots and scores. It ticks all the boxes of a superhero movie that will please the hardcore nerds plus have the general appeal of an explosion-based film.