Thursday, October 27, 2016

Mini Movie Roundup: Spectrum Edition

This is not a roundup of mini movies. This is a mini roundup, meaning that I'll be talking about less movies than I usually do in similar posts. And why am I doing that, you ask? Because I felt like it. Also, I really want to talk about The Accountant. And as always, there will be spoilers! (By the way, in case you haven't read my past movie roundups, be aware that these are not really reviews. I leave stuff like that up to the professionals.)

The Accountant
First off: I enjoyed this movie. It was a competent action thriller. I love that the titular protagonist is on the autism spectrum, and that the movie made that fact explicitly clear. It would have been nice if they cast someone who was actually on the spectrum for real, but I understand that a big marquee name is needed to sell a movie like this (and Dan Aykroyd wouldn't really have been right for the part).

The one thing I kept thinking, though, was this: it's cool that we now have an autistic action hero in a big-time mainstream movie, but it's too bad he has to be a morally ambiguous mass-murdering vigilante. I mean, seriously, he was more antihero than hero, like if you gave Batman some assault weapons (yes, Ben Affleck seemed to be channeling one of his other roles a good portion of the time) and injected him with Deadpool DNA, minus the wisecracks. A review that I read afterwards even said "Is the viewing public ready for an action franchise featuring an autistic hero? I hope so. But moviegoers and people with autism alike deserve one better than The Accountant." Hmm, now where could you possibly find something like that, I wonder...?

Now, I'm not saying that Joel Suzuki is necessarily better than Christian Wolff. I just think that they can and should coexist in a world that, in general, needs more characters like them. Morally ambiguous can be interesting in the right context, but Chris Wolff shouldn't be the lone standard-bearer of fictional autistic role models (and, to paraphrase Charles Barkley, he's definitely not a role model in the traditional sense). He can exist in the area of the pop culture landscape that is geared more towards adults (The Accountant is rated R, after all), while Joel can take up residence in the space that is focused on younger audiences as well as other people who appreciate that kind of positive, kid-friendly vibe. Kind of like Neo and Harry Potter - there's room for more than one Chosen One. And so we should thank Mr. Wolff for opening the door, at least.

While we're at it, shouldn't actors that are actually on the spectrum have more opportunities to become big marquee names themselves? One candidate already comes to mind. Just saying.

Life, Animated
This is a nonfiction biopic of a young man on the spectrum whose interest in Disney movies helps him to connect. There are some slow stretches as well as spots that seemed to unintentionally veer toward condescension, but overall, I found it to be a moving and inspiring film that shows how we are all alike in many ways.

Alice Through the Looking Glass
I finally got around to seeing this one, and it goes with today's theme because Lewis Carroll, the author of the Alice in Wonderland books, is rumored to have been on the spectrum.

Okay, so this movie wasn't as good as the first one. Still, I didn't think it was as bad as a lot of critics were saying (it did get a 6.3 on IMDb, after all). The visuals were spectacular, I like how they handled the time travel aspect, and they managed to fit in some semi-touching moments of character development. I do have to admit that Borat as Time was kind of distracting, though.

And so that wraps up this edition of Movie Roundup. As previously promised, the next one should include Doctor Strange, Rogue One, Fantastic Beasts, and whatever else happens to make its way into my viewing rotation. Now go see The Accountant!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

I Can Hack You Back In Time, Just Like A Time Machine

One of the neat things about having a blog like this, or a journal, or a diary, or whatever, is that it can help you travel though time. I mean, not literally, of course, but if you've been doing it long enough (writing a blog, not time travel), you can go back and see what it is you were thinking and/or doing at this same time a year or more ago. So strap on your Power Gloves, my friends, and take a journey with me. It's hacking time!
October 22, 2015
"Book Two Cover Unveiled!"
Man, has it been a year already? In this post, I officially revealed the cover art for Mystery of the Moonfire along with the back cover copy. It was the culmination of a long and awesome journey that, at times, seemed like it would never end. And now I'm almost ready to do a similar announcement for Book Three!

October 23, 2014
"Believe Me, I Am Still Working On Book Two"
Speaking of a long journey, if you go back another year, you will see that I was still wandering in the proverbial darkness with regards to writing Book Two. Pretty hilarious, right? And by the way, that Kikada reboot movie was disappointingly terrible.

October 24, 2013
"Quick Hits"
I was still talking about Book Two here, saying that it was "making progress." Ha! I also just bought my awesome Hylian Shield and Master Sword, which I have yet to proudly hang up on my wall since I've been too bulazy (busy + lazy) to drill the requisite holes and such. Yes, that's three years and counting now. I also mentioned that Second Player Score's first album was coming out soon, and now we're about to release our second one!* So maybe by album four or so I'll finally get around to mounting my Zelda gear in a place of honor where it belongs. We shall see.

October 22, 2012
"Monday Awesomeness Alert and Book Two Status Update"
Wow, I was posting on a Monday back then! And I was still talking about Book Two, bahaha, saying that it was "coming along." At the time, I was at 4000 words. How cute. Heck, I'm over 4000 words on Book Four already! Which I guess makes this post a Book Four Status Update? Hmmm...sure, why not.

* Speaking of which, be sure to tune into Neue Regel Radio next Tuesday at 10am Pacific, when I'll be doing a live interview to talk about said album!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Liveblogging With Felicity: The Freemaker Adventures

It dawned on me the other day that Felicity and I haven't done a liveblog of a TV show episode in a long time - in fact, the last one was in January of 2015. There's been some good TV going on since then, including the Miraculous Ladybug show I talked about a couple of weeks ago and something called LEGO Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures. Both shows wrapped up their first seasons already (I think the latter is a one-season only deal), so I figured that it was safe to do a liveblog post without worrying about spoilers. So, here we go!
B: Freemaker or Ladybug?
F: Let's do Freemaker
B: Ok. Which episode
F: I already made one decision. Your turn
B: All right, let's do "Return of the Kyber Saber"
F: Isn't that the last one
B: Yeah
F: That's dumb
B: Well you said for me to decide
F: Yeah but make a smart decision
B: Why is watching the last one dumb
F: Because that spoils it for everyone who hasn't watched the show yet
B: But the season ended in August. Everyone should be caught up by now
F: You didn't start watching Ladybug until it was over for a while
B: Touche. How about the first one then
F: There ya go. Fire it up
B: The Emperor saying "meh" is the highlight of this whole deal
F: "Nobody could have anticipated that"
B: Too funny. You know that they were originally gonna use Luke's lightsaber for this, right? But then the movie people were like, um, no you can't do that. So they had to change it to the Kyber Saber
F: Ur such a nerd
B: I know
F: Why does Zander have to say "ah, the Wheel." I mean, they all live there. THEY KNOW WHAT IT'S CALLED
B: These characters are endearing because they have real life problems, like not having enough money to pay the rent. Speaking of which, you still owe me for last month
F: And you still haven't fixed the bathroom sink
B: Making a repurposed battle droid their droid assistant and calling him "Roger" is a stroke of pure genius
F: I had that idea years ago
B: No you didn't
F: I'll bet you last month's rent I did
B: I wonder what bantha milk tastes like
F: Is it blue?
B: Hmm good question
F: Not even 10 minutes in and someone has already said the line
B: "I have a bad feeling about this"
F: Where were dianogas from again?
B: The trash compactor on the first Death Star
F: Oh yeah. NERRRD
B: Hey, you asked
F: "Imperial inspector OU812"
B: I know, too funny. And her picture
F: Ya
B: The Kyber Saber is sort of Songshell-ish
F: Sort of what?
B: Never mind
F: I have paid my rent in full
B: I see what you're doing there
F: Was worth a shot
B: All right, well that's it. Good stuff. Ladybug next time?
F: Sure why not. Just don't wait another two years or whatever

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Big Announcement Teaser

Ever had an idea pop into your head but then you were like, "eh, I'll think about it some more" and then you just put it aside and forget about it for a while? And then every so often, something happens that reminds you of that idea, so you explore it a little further, maybe even going so far as to write it down?
Then, as time goes by, more and more stuff happens that start to make you think "hey, you know, maybe this is a pretty good idea after all." So you write a list of all the pros and cons of what would happen if you actually acted on this idea. At first, there seem to be more cons, so you say "okay, never mind," and you stop. But then even more stuff happens and the pros start to pile up. It's almost as if the Aura or the universe or whatever is trying to push you in the direction of this idea.

Eventually, it gets to the point where you're like, "okay, yeah, this is a good idea, and I would totally do it, if only I could get past this one last issue that's bugging the heck out of me." That one last issue sticks around for a while until finally, on a day that seems to have been uncannily predestined, you wake up and think about the idea because the Mariners have been eliminated from postseason contention and you have nothing particularly better to occupy your brain with while you take a shower and then -

It just hits you. Like a puzzle piece falling into place in your head.

So then you're like "OMG" and you can't wait to get out of the shower and after another minute you can't stand it anymore so you cut the shower short and race down to your computer wearing only a towel and your cats are like "what are you doing, man??" and you write down the idea and you think "now why didn't I come up with this before?"

Well, that whole scenario happened to me. And the result will be a huge change to something that you all read about in this blog from time to time and I hope that you will love it, because I do. I have a few ducks to line up before I can announce it, so keep watching this space...

P.S. I'll be at the Portland Home and Garden Show tomorrow (Friday 10/7) from 6-8pm, signing books and hanging out with my buddies from the Northwest Independent Writers Association. If you come down and catch me in the right mood, I might tell you more about the big change!