Thursday, August 22, 2019

Movie Roundup: MCU Update Edition

Almost two years ago, I fulfilled a mission to list the existing Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) movies in order from my least to most favorite. With the recent release of Avengers: Endgame on home video and the official close of the MCU's Phase 3, it now seems an appropriate time to update said list.
(Besides, the only movies I've had time to see in the theaters recently have been the aforementioned Endgame and Spider-Man: Far From Home, so, yeah.)

Several points to keep in mind as you read: (1) opinions are subjective, (2) to be honest, I actually like all of the movies on this list to some degree, even the lowest-ranked ones, and (3) there may be spoilers. Also, some of the rankings from the previous post may have moved around as time has changed my perceptions of those particular films.

Here we go!

#23 - The Incredible Hulk

No change here. Kinda wish they'd give Mark Ruffalo his own thing, but it doesn't look like that's gonna happen.

#22 - Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2

Down from #13. I didn't enjoy it as much upon repeated viewings.

#21 - Avengers: Age of Ultron

Started out low, went up as high as #10, and now is back down here.

#20 - Thor

I love that Joe Straczynski, the creator of Babylon 5, Sense8, and tons of other stuff (including a run as the writer on the Thor comic), has a cameo in this movie. I did not know this until I read his recent autobiography Becoming Superman (highly recommended reading, by the way).

#19 - Iron Man 2

R.I.P., Tony Stark (MCU version).

#18 - Thor: The Dark World

Can't wait for the Jane Foster Thor!

#17 - Doctor Strange

Love the scene with Doctor Strange and Thor where Doctor Strange offers Thor some tea and...wait, no, that was a post-credits scene from Thor: Ragnarok. Sometimes it's hard to keep track.

#16 - Iron Man

Funny how the comics version of Tony started looking so much more like Robert Downey, Jr. after this.

#15 - Guardians of the Galaxy

Down from #9, but that's 'cause it's getting crowded at the top.

#14 - Ant-Man and The Wasp

While I didn't enjoy this one as much as the first Ant-Man, it was still fun, especially coming after what happened in Infinity War.

#13 - Captain America: The First Avenger

The first Avenger, the third-best Cap movie. Still good, though.

#12 - Captain America: Civil War

I could watch the airport scene all day.

#11 - Iron Man 3

I still watch this when it comes on TV.

#10 - Captain America: The Winter Soldier

I still watch this when it comes on TV.

#9 - Thor: Ragnarok

Can't wait for the Jane Foster Thor! Wait, did I say that already?

#8 - Captain Marvel

I don't care what anyone says, I actually kind of like overpowered superheroes. It's fun to watch them kick everyone's butt.

#7 - Spider-Man: Far From Home

While I didn't enjoy this as much as Homecoming, it was still still fun, especially coming after what happened in Endgame. It took me a little while to figure out all the post-Blip timey-wimey shenanigans.

Oh, and hey, Sony and Disney - please kiss and make up. Thank you.

#6 - Black Panther

As I've said before, I really want to go to Wakanda.

#5 - Spider-Man: Homecoming

I can't believe that this one is already on regular cable TV.

#4 - Ant-Man

Yes, still one of my top favorites. Seriously.

#3 - Avengers: Endgame

Time travel, yay!

#2 - Avengers

Still so, so, good.

#1 - Avengers: Infinity War

Call me a sucker for unhappy endings, I guess.

Okay, Disney/Marvel, bring on Phase 4!

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Albums Four And Five Status Update

Yep, you heard right. My band, Second Player Score, is currently in the process of writing our fourth and fifth albums at the same time. I'll tell you how that came to be.
For a while now, even as our third album Glorified was being recorded, we'd been working on songs for the follow-up, which was to be titled 200BPM, named after the tempo that a lot of Second Player Score songs seem to be played at.

But somewhere along the way, especially after hearing how "More Than I Can Give" - an uptempo punk rock track off of Glorified - turned out, we decided that we needed a whole album full of short, speedy, simple tunes that evoked images of spiky hairdos and sweaty mosh pits. And, being the nerdy fans of numerology that we are, we decided that said album would have to be our fourth album, since it would contain nothing but four-chord songs a la Face to Face's "Disconnected."

On top of that, since - as you know - all we write are concept albums, we came up with a related storyline that would be sort of a mashup of Pokemon and Battle Royale that would involve elemental guardians, parallel threads of reality, and the ability to see into - naturally - the fourth dimension.

And thus, Four-D was born. It might well be our most ambitious project to date, because not only is there the album, but, like Glorified, there are plans for a related comic book and another product that I'll go into more detail on in a future Album Four Status Update post.

But what about 200BPM? Well, we certainly didn't want to abandon that project, especially since we had already written the music for a lot of it and even recorded one of its songs in the studio. So, it was decided that it would not only become our fifth album, but that we would have to work on it simultaneously with Four-D in order to keep the songs fresh in our minds and not waste all the time we had put into practicing them up until that point.

And so, that's the story of how we got ourselves into this particular predicament. But, hey, challenge accepted, right? At the moment, we have the music written for all 16 (four times four, of course) songs on Four-D, and 9 of the 13 planned songs on 200BPM. Next up are the lyrics, then vocal harmonies, then boot camp.

Oh, and what is the concept behind 200BPM, you ask? Well, the original idea was sort of a psychological horror anthology in the vein of Black Mirror, but then after I realized that no one can really out-Black Mirror Black Mirror, it morphed into the story of a female serial killer who considers her murders to be, essentially, performance art. It's kind of a cross between Killing Eve and Dexter, two of our favorite shows.

Anyway, stay tuned!

Thursday, August 8, 2019

On This Day In History

Today we'll take a look back at what I was doing on this date in history (well, not this exact date, but close to it) over the last seven years via the blog posts that I'd written at the time:

Can you believe I've been writing Anime Roundup posts for well over a year now? When I wrote this particular post, I'd just finished watching Sword Art Online, Soul Eater, and One Punch Man, three of my all-time favorites.


Ah, it was not so long ago that I actually had time to go the movies. This was, of course, before the Muse of Screenwriting visited me in June of 2018, chained me to my desk, and commanded me to write, write, and write some more until my fingers bled and my eyes popped out of their sockets.

Thursday, August 11, 2016 - Pokemon Go - Um, I Mean, Wilsonville Fun In The Park & Ash Street Saloon Recap

Man, this was a busy day! Or a recap of a busy day, anyway. Apparently I spent all morning and afternoon in the sun catching Pokemon - I mean, selling books - and then all night playing a show with my band (and catching more Pokemon). I'm amused by the fact that at this time, our second album hadn't even been released yet.

Thursday, August 13, 2015 - Quickie Status Updates

Wow. When I wrote this particular post, Book Two and Album Two were both still in the development phase, and Gravity Falls was still putting out new episodes. Ah, nostalgia...

Thursday, August 28, 2014 - Random Thoughts: Doctor Who & Video Game Update

Peter Capaldi had just started his run as the Doctor, and Hyrule Warriors hadn't even come out yet.

Thursday, August 8, 2013 - Greetings From Spectraland: Day Four

At this time, I was on summer vacation in Spectraland. Or, actually, deep in writing mode, which is kind of the same thing. Following several days of nonstop writing, the first draft of Book Two stood at 26,000 words.

Monday, August 6, 2012 - My Weekend

I had spent the weekend prior to this at the always-awesome Willamette Writers Conference, which - we've come full circle here - I attended this past weekend as well!

And thus ends our look back in time. Funny how so much has changed while so much has remained the same. Wonder what next August will have in store? Anyone have a time machine I can borrow?*

* yes, I will keep asking that question until I finally get an affirmative response

Thursday, August 1, 2019