Where New Pulp Lives! And from Time to Time...Dies!

Friday, June 16, 2017

Drive-By Updates

Been a while.  Been busy.  Got this thing called a baby boy now to go with the three girls.  Oldest girl is now eight.  Twin girls are five going on six.  Boy is three months and shitting and puking with the best of them.

Work is always busy.  And it's hot and humid.  And it's times like this I miss that Mediterranean climate of San Dog.  But the price of living here makes it worth suffering.

Oh, my cat died, too.  I'll spare you the details other than I officially became a man that day.  So there's that.

Ok, on to the writing updates:

1.  My novel THE LONG FALL INTO SCARLET should be coming out soon from ROTHCO PRESS.  It's a reprint of my novel PROGENY, only with a better cover and ending that tilts more toward supernatural noir than horror.  Will let you know when it's up for pre-order and/or sale.

2.  My short story THE UNDEAD DEAD, OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT is once again available on Kindle and Nook and should be available on Kobo and other e-book sites soon.  If you're not familiar, it's a funny short story about the zombie apocalypse told from the POV of two idiots.  Think WAITING FOR GODOT meets ROSENCRANTZ AND GUILDENSTERN ARE DEAD, only short and with zombies.  Plus it has a spiffy new covers.  Click the links above to find it.

3.  My novella FATHER & DAUGHTER is now available on Kindle and should be available soon on other e-book sites.  This was originally written a few years ago under the title STAMPED WITH BLOOD and under the pseudonym Lou McBride.  It was my attempt to go pure noir crime fiction and separate my work from horror.  It didn't work.  But I think the story still holds up and it's dark as hell.  At over 10,000 words, I think it's perfect for e-book readers.  Check it out here.

4.  As many of you know, HarperCollins passed on the third Mike Caldwell Demon series book.  Why?  Book sales suck and if you're not a name and can't get established through two books, good luck, fuck-o.  Also, they didn't lift a broken finger to promote either of the first two other than rely on me to do a bunch of guest blogs.  Yes, newbies, if you're going to publish through a big house and you're a nobody name wise, be ready to do all the work, not just the writing.  And yes, that also means driving people to buy paperback versions electronically because, again, you won't get shelf space in toy stores that once use to be book stores.  But hey, you might get a decent review from a well-know blog here or there.  Because people still read those like they used to.

Anyway, long story short, I decided to publish the third book myself.  WATCHER is now available in e-book and should be available soon in trade paperback.  I don't want it to be the last book in the series but if it is, I can at least say it does in a big BANG!

Enticed?  Thought so.

That's about it for now.  Stay tuned for more.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Did You Like...

Did you like my novel DEMON?  Did you like my novel (and awesome sequel to DEMON) titled GUARDIAN?  Well, if you did, I've got something for you...






I give YOU!

In e-book FORMAT!






Monday, April 17, 2017

Random Post: Something You May Not Known About Me

In a meager attempt to get back into blogging, I give you a random post.

First off, I have a ton of excuses not to blog.  Let's see, in the last year I've changed jobs, changed coasts, moved a family of four (not including me), added another child to that family, saw sales for fiction fall into a pit of despair (at least mine), and got ditched by HarperCollins.  Oh, and I hate Google's ever fucking growing need to make you jump through more and more hoops just to log in to your own damn website.

While I'm at it, Fuck You! Yahoo!  Only a business as shitty as yours can make e-mail access more and more terrible.

And what's up with every website having more and more pop-ups that don't pop-up until you're, say, half way through an article.  Double middle fingers to you ass bags.

Anyway, I promised a random fact you may not know about me.  Ready?  Here it goes.

I have a degree in psychology.

I don't use it professionally.

I use it to fuck with people.

Like really get in their head and needle away.

All for my entertainment, and often those around who get to witness it.

If you've never seen me in action, I recommend attending a convention I'm also at (none in the hopper for the future, as of now).

So, that's that for now.

Go buy some of my books.  And feed a homeless guy or something.

Sunday, March 19, 2017


A lot of people out there who love sports talk radio hate The Dan LeBatard Show with Stugotz (from now on referred to as the DLS).  I hate most sports talk radio.  Not that I hate sports.  Just the opposite.  Because I love sports.  Capital letter S Sports is fun.  Sports talk radio is high-brow nonsense that does way too much navel gazing, takes itself way too seriously, and can’t admit most of the shit they talk about doesn’t mean a damn thing.  Most of all, the vast majority isn’t any fun.

The DLS, on the other hand, is just pure nonsensical fun that isn’t afraid to wallow in its own muck.  It embraces the oddities of not just the sports world but culture in general.  In a way, it’s a variety show that tilts toward sports.  It’s bizarre, absurd, but most of all, fucking fun.  It isn’t afraid to hug and kiss the random.  And usually when it does, there’s nothing greater in the world.  I like to think of them as the happy accidents that make the best stories one tells others.

Perfect example: on one episode the boys somehow descended into talking about how Sean Connery said he’d slap a woman if hysterical, mouthing off after being warned to stop, or just plain being a bitch (they didn’t agree with any of his reasoning, BTW).  From there, Connery impressions started up.  Then the perfect idea; invite callers to call in with their own Connery impressions.  From there, Dan started interviewing celebrity ‘90s singer Sebastian Bach.  Bach conducted the interview mostly doing a Connery impression unsolicited.  Meanwhile, Dan would cut Bach off every few minutes to have another caller do a Connery impression.  And the vast majority of all the impressions were terrible.  But all of it was damn funny.

None of the above is made up.  I’m pretty sure all of it took up an hour of a four hour show.


A little of my backstory: I discovered the DLS a few years ago when driving home from work.  This was back when it was on in the afternoon drive-time on the West Coast.  I had a few options to listen to that included music, politics, or local Chargers talk.  I liked music but not on the drive home unless I wanted to just unplug from the world.  I didn’t mind politics but couldn’t stand the options.  Lastly, I fucking hated Chargers talk.  Usually, I’d just plug in the old iPhone and listen to a podcast.  But one day I stumbled upon the DLS.  After a few minutes, I was thinking, “What the fuck is this?”

It was equal parts THE GONG SHOW, MONTY PYTHON, SPORTSCENTER, ESPN 30 for 30, and NPR.

I was sold.

So, why am I talking about this?  Well, a few reasons.

One: damn it, I want a show T-shirt, Billy (XL if you decide yes).

Two: Pure joy.  Look, life is serious.  The world seems to be going nuts in the most random of areas.  I’m a father with three girls and a newborn son.  Responsibilities and fears way heavily on me.  The four hours I get from the DLS five days a week provide a kind of opiate/stimulant that allows me to divorce myself from the worries of the world.  In a way, it’s a meditation, a drug, a comforter, and most of all, a joy.  Within those four hours, I experience joy.

Let me give you some examples.

In late 2015, I was laid off from my job of six years.  Not a long time but I was an expert and coveted.  I knew my shit.  However, I battled personalities that didn’t mesh with mine and was downsized.  At the time, being the husband of a great woman and father of three young daughters, I felt not only like a failure, I felt despair.  Living in California at the time, it wasn’t like I could just sit on my ass and wait for a job to come to me.  Besides a mortgage, there was health insurance, car payments, and the ever shrinking royalties from my fictional writing career.  I was also the sole bread winner.  I worked hard so my wife could be a full time mom.  In an instant, that was gone.  We were smart enough to save money to cover such an episode.  However, the fear was still there.  And if you rely on a salary to cover your needs, you know how bad you feel when that salary suddenly dries up.

Failure led to despair.  Despair led to mild depression.  I was able to get several offers for new work within a few weeks and eventually landed a firm job.  However, over those few weeks, I can’t even describe how much I worried.  I’ve always had a job.  Even if I left one, it was for another.  And if I didn’t, it wasn’t when I had kids.  At that time, I often wanted to just sit in the corner, hug my knees, and sip scotch.

But I had the comfort and joy of the DLS.  As I updated resumes and applied for jobs and paced back and forth waiting for phone calls or e-mails to come in, I had the DLS always there to remind me life is fun.  The world is fun.  Spontaneity is fun.

The DLS taught me to embrace disgrace.  And smile while you do it.

I remember one morning, sitting there, wringing my hands, when it hit me, it can be bad but that can be good.

Then I sat down and downloaded the latest podcast of the DLS and listened to Dan and Stu ask Big Boi for football picks.  While I did, I put together a set of Lego’s.  And everything felt great again.

A few weeks later, I got a job and moved cross country.  Along the way, as I drove, I listened over and over again to the DLS.  I’ve driven cross country more than a dozen times.  It’s terrible.  Especially through West Texas.  But this last time, not so painful.  It was like traveling with friends.  Oh, and Adam Carolla, although I wouldn’t dare call him a friend.  He’s more of a common spirit.

It was during this drive cross country when Dan opened up on how he felt about the President and the MLB going to Cuba.  A lot of people didn’t like Dan’s stance.  I did.  I found it touching and profound.  I find it interesting that Dan was not born in Cuba but is profoundly Cuban.  I’m a white boy born in Cuba that only was there a few months yet longs to one day visit the place of his birth.  Listening to Dan and the story of his family convinced me of one thing: not until there is change, however, don’t be afraid to admit it is a special place and people that deserves so much better.

Three: the DLS is a fun drug that finds a way to make you think.  I don’t usually delve into the world of race and police and political injustice.  However, my world view has sharply changed since 2014 (personal, don’t ask) and some of the topics Dan broaches have hit certain strings on my heart that relate to what I’ve experienced.  And that’s speaking as a privileged white man.  If something can make you think while making you laugh, buddy, that’s special.

Four:  my kids love watching me laugh while listening to the DLS.  My youngest has an odd love for Stugotz (she’s five, so, that says something).  My wife knows my two man-crushes are for Dan and the Gos (she just smirks).  It’s almost become a family tradition.  They observe while daddy laughs but hey, daddy’s happy.

Five: it heals what ails you.   I dare you, when you’re at your deepest darkest sadness, to listen to the episode after the 2015 Steelers-Bengals wild card game, and not crack a smile.  I can listen to that on an endless loop and never tire of it.

Anyway, no one asked me to write this or even questioned why I love the DLS so much.  But as I said earlier, I have a newborn son and am looking forward to introducing him, one day, to the DLS.  Maybe not when Dan’s making subtle dick jokes or referring to nether regions, but eventually.  Yet also I wanted to express my gratitude to Dan, Stu, Mike, Billy, Roy, Fat Chris, Greg, and all the people behind the scenes, along with guest hosts Bomani, Dominique, Sarah, and Pablo (even though Pablo is a guy I’d certainly punch in the forehead if I was still in high school).

All of you have put together a show that means a helluva lot to me.  Being the selfish bastard I am, that’s all that matters.

Thank you.

Stu, sorry I didn't talk about you more.

And Billy, seriously, XL for the shirt.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Tonight's Title Game

I live in Alabama now.  My days of SoCal are behind me (except for work related trips).  My cost of living and quality of life have vastly improved (not that it was terrible before, the latter that is).  So has the seafood.  I'm closer to family, which is a huge help now that I have a fourth kid on the way (it's a boy).  Outside of that, I'm a pilgrim in an unholy land.

That may a bit harsh.  Let me explain.

I'm a Pac-12 guy.  If you don't believe me, see my last post about how the Rose Bowl almost caused me to completely lose all grips on reality.  Now my best friend will quickly jump in here and remind me that my allegiances to various sports teams has alternated over time.  That's true.

Look, I grew up bouncing from place to place.  I never lived in a sports town until I got to San Diego.  When I live in Virginia, you had the Redskins with Joe Gibbs (both of which I hate with a passion).  In Maine, you had the Patriots (who I've never hated.  They just sucked back then and now I'm just exhausted with them).  So for football, I embraced the Vikings, because they're vikings.  Oh, and I looked like one.

But they never won.  At the same time Bill Cowher (who I liked when he was an DC in KC) went to Pittsburgh.  So...I started gravitating to them.  For a year or so, I also flirted with the Cowboys.

Finally, sometime in early High School, I went with my family's home team, the Bucs.  It also helped to make a final decision because I was, and still am, sick of my said friend reminding me I wasn't a "true fan".  He, of course, loves the fucking Cowboys and Michigan.  He neither lives in Texas or anywhere close to Michigan.

Anyway, I've been with the Bucs a solid 20+ years.  Back off, bro.

As far as hockey goes, I started watching it in Maine and quickly embraced the Rangers and this cat named Messier and a philosophy of 60 minutes of hell.

Basketball: fuck who knows.  I love watching playoff basketball but outside of that, and the NCAA tournament, they tend to be pick-em seasons.  I loved the Jazz Stockton and Malone teams.  Outside of that, I've come to appreciate greatness.  So, I'm hoping for another Cavs-Warrior final.

Baseball bores me except for Game 7 of the World Series.  I've always tended to be a Yankees fan, although I hold a soft place in my heart for the loveable cheapskate Rays.  I came to baseball through the Braves because they were always on TBS.  However, never cared about them except for Fred McGriff (anyone nicknamed the Crime Dog is cool) and their starting rotation.

Wait, this was supposed to be an explanation.  Let's get back on track.

I hate the SEC.  I hate how insane SEC fans are.  I hate when I say thank you to some one around here, they either reply "Roll Tide" or "War Eagle".  I love football junkies.  I hate football arogance.

Tonight, I'm pulling for Clemson, even though I hate Dabo and his jerkoff face, a face that belongs more in Mayberry than on the sidelines.  However, Saban and Alabama are the Patriots of college football.  It was nice to see them matter again a few years ago.  Now, they're exhausting.

And I would love to see them play USC again.  Yeah, they destroyed us at the beginning of the year but I guarantee you, they have no desire to play us now with our offense and savant QB.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Last night, I sorta lost my mind...

...watching the Rose Bowl.  USC cause me to love them, hate them, detest them, and come full circle into the loving them again phase.  When I watch football, I am one of patience (if it's not my team).  I understand the game isn't over until it's over and there's always a chance.  But when I watch USC or the Buccaneers, a sumarily bench, fire, and poop on anyone who isn't doing what I expect from them.

Sorry for that.  I'm passionate.

However, regardless of that glorious outcome last night, I learned something truly wonderful.  Sam Darnold, the USC freshman quarterback, has the most poise, the most pocket awareness, the quickest release, and the best mastery of the game at his position since Dan Marino, John Elway, or Peyton Manning.  If he keeps his head straight, he will be an NFL hall of famer.  There's only been a few times I've watched college players and said, "will be great at every level."

Peyton Manning

Patrick Willis

Warren Sapp (on the field)

Calvin Johnson

Junior Seau

Adrian Peterson

Troy Palamalu

Now, yes, I've been wrong in the past.  I'm looking at you Chris Claiborne and Andy Katzenmoyer.  But, for the most part, once you watch enough football, you get a feel for who's going to be great.  I never thought Matt Leinart, Reggie Bush, Lendale White, Vince Young, or most from that same draft class were going to be great.  They were great college players.  Big difference.

However, those listed above had it.  So does USC's freshman QB.  Hopefully, he stays on the straight narrow and doesn't become the next Todd Marinovich.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Writer Quick Tip - Rights

In the previous post, I mentioned I'd gotten my rights back to Progeny and was republishing it as The Long Fall into Scarlet through Rothco Press.  So why bring it up again?

Because, if you're a writer, I highly recommend you always get your rights back, especially if the work was originally published through a small press.

So, how do you do it?

Simple. Ask.

Trust me, it's that easy.  Look, must small presses don't have much stake in your work other than inventory.  So, you could offer to buy out their supply so you basically put your work out of print (yet you have stock for conventions).  Or, you could simply offer to pay back an advance.  Or something else.  Either way, they're always open to negotiation because, frankly, unless you're the next Stephen King, you're just another headache they want to dull the pain of worrying about.

Plus, once you have those rights back, you're free to do whatever you want.  Like find another publisher.  Self-publish.  Throw it in the trash and pretend it never happened.  Point is, if you have your rights you're in control.

Unlike me with Demon and Guardian.  But that's a story for another occasion.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Coming Soon from Rothco Press - The Long Fall into Scarlet

So, I have a new novel coming out soon from Rothco Press titled The Long Fall into Scarlet.  And by new I mean not-so-much new.  How's that work out?  Because this is a retitled reprint of my novel Progeny.

But hey, I've already published Progeny.  What's the deal?

Well, when it first came out, it was published by a small press horror imprint that was looking to do pulpy paperbacks and e-books.  I know the owner/editor (having done some cool projects with him before) and thought a pulpy supernatural noir novel would be perfect for his new line.  Unfortunately, it went to press against a lot of similar competition while, at the same time, the e-book market got flooded with a lot of self-published shit.  Not to mention the cover kind of spoiled the book and didn't really sell the actual mystery of the novel.  Needless to say, sales sucked.

Yet, I got a lot of great reviews, especially from fellow authors.  To this day, I believe it's my strongest work both in construction and voice.  At the very least, it's my most confident.

All that said, I thought it should get a second shot with a better, more noirish title and some revisions, including a different ending that will lend it to be the first in a series vice a standalone novel.  I got my rights back and shopped it around.  Rothco Press dug it and agreed, it deserved a second chance.

So here we are.  Soon, you'll get a chance to reread and new and better version of Progeny, now titled The Long Fall into Scarlet.

For man-for-hire, Frank Baldwin, it seems like the perfect job. Enter Mexico, locate missing pop princess, Melony Van Kyle, and return her to her father to collect $100,000. Easy. With his intricate knowledge of Tijuana’s seedy and dangerous underworld, Frank should have no problem locating his high-profile target. Still, he can’t shake the feeling that something isn’t right about his latest gig. When it becomes apparent that the missing girl may be connected to the death-worshiping Santa Muerte cult, Frank knows he should quit the job. His dreams haunted by visions of a burning Tijuana and a hideous death god, he pushes deeper into the mystery. When Frank is visited by the dead, he realizes that he is in too deep. There are forces at work in TJ … supernatural forces that proffer only death and damnation. And these forces have big plans for Frank … From the author of DEMON  and BLOOD SPRING.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Sharknado? Wait until you see...


What you are about to read is my proposal for the next series (yes, series!) of awesome shark B-movies for SyFy.  If you wish to make one or all, please contact me and we can discuss options.


Most things start as good intentions.  That's all NOAA was doing.  Tagging and tracking endangered sharks with their ultra-advanced Super Trackers.  The problem is, the technology was too advanced...

On a NOAA vessel off the coast California, sarcastic-but-super smart NOAA scientist Russ Brackens is teaching attractive but way out of his league newbie Lindsey Cuddles the ropes, especially the Super Tracking system.  As he points out the different locations around the world where they're tracking sharks, he uncovers something disturbing.  Many of the sharks off the coast of California aren't hunting independently. They're working together.

An 8.0 earthquake occurs in the area where the sharks were working.  A tsunami is unleashed.  But's that's not the only thing racing for the coast line.  Riding the giant killer wave are a bunch of giant hungry killer sharks!  What the wave doesn't destroy, the sharks do.  And when the water recedes, so do the sharks.

In the aftermath, several other (as of now, unnamed) characters start to put the pieces together.  A Tough Admiral who just wants to retire gets ordered to take over the investigation.  Why?  Because he's spent his career working with Navy marine mammals, training them to find mines, etc.  He knows the water and the beasts within!

Tough Admiral flies out to the NOAA vessel and starts working with Russ and Lindsey.  After examining the data, he figures out the sharks not only rode the tsunami, they caused it.  How?  No idea.  But the shit soon hits the fan because another school of sharks are circling off South America...

The second wave is worse than the first.  Somehow, sharks have figured out how to work together and unleash tsunamis any damn place they want!  Tough Admiral goes back to the tape.  Russ joins him.  Lindsey sees the shark totals and realizes that that is the total number of sharks they're tracking.  All of the tracked sharks are working together.

Russ slaps his forehead.  It's the Super Trackers.  Somehow, the technology has made the sharks smarter and able to communicate.

But how are they causing tsunamis?

We don't know yet, damn it?  What's important is severing the link.  But how to sever the link...

Meanwhile, a giant merchant ship is crossing the Pacific.  A giant merchant ship full of more Super Trackers!

The sharks realize they're being tracked so change strategies.  Rather than sink the merchant ship themselves, they kill one of their own, take the Super Tracker, and plant it on a super giant squid.  The giant squid attacks, pulling the merchant vessel to pieces and freeing the Super Trackers.  The sharks collect them in their mouths and proceed around the world, planting Super Trackers on every predatory marine animal they can find.

Meanwhile, Tough Admiral, Russ, and Lindsey get word about the merchant ship.  Tough Admiral doesn't care because the sharks behavior has changed.  They're no longer working as a group. Instead, they're spreading out across the world.  He thinks the link has broken itself somehow.

Until they notice thousands and thousands of new Super Trackers going active.  Tough Admiral demands to know what was the cargo of the merchant ship.  Russ goes pale - Super Trackers!

A montage follows-sharks attacks!  Crocodile attacks!  Squid attacks!  All around the world, marine predators consume human flesh.  Tsunamis flood every inch of shoreline.  Submarines are destroyed underwater.  It's biblical.

Tough Admiral, Russ, and Lindsey don't have time to worry.  The NOAA vessel comes under attack by the giant squid.  Tentacles punch through bulkheads.  One impales Russ.  He tells Lindsey he loves her before dying.  Tough Admiral pulls her away, telling her time mourn later.  They make it to the helo pad and manage to jump on an escaping helicopter as the vessel is pulled below the surface.

Lindsey wonders aloud what do they do now?  Tough Admiral says they move inland, regroup with other survivors, and figure out how to take the world back from those bastard sharks!

We see the helicopter flying over land into the distance.  Then we pan down on what seems to be a partially eaten dead young man.

Then he opens his eyes.

Sharknami 2: Rise of the Zombies

In the aftermath of the world wide attack by the marine predators, the dead begin to rise.  You see, the Super Trackers have changed the DNA of the predators.  And when they bite, they transmit a toxin that infects the human.  That's right, the bite of these predators cause anyone they don't completely eat and digest to become zombies.

And as we all know, zombies are mortal enemies of sharks because sharks like to eat living things not dead things.  And zombies hate sharks because the sharks made them zombies and all.

Meanwhile, in the MidWest, survivors have rallied and started to plan their counterattack, led by Tough Admiral and a tough-talking martial arts expert named Alexa Ivanovich, a Russian spy who has shed her cover in the US to help.  The initial plans include air bombardments in the shallow waters along coastlines, filling Chesapeake Bay with millions of cattle as bait and then nuking the sharks once they're all in Chesapeake Bay, and setting off Electromagnetic Pulses underwater to disable the Super Trackers.  As they do, zombies attack their headquarters.

Lots of blood and carnage at this point: zombies, sharks, humans.  Lots of running and screaming and escaping narrowly.

By the end, what's left of the humans are hold-up at the top of the Sears Tower.  Below, sharks and zombies battle.  Tough Admiral kisses Alexa, swearing they're going to find a way to reclaim the earth.  That they can't give up hope.

Cut to the San Andreas fault.  A giant earthquake hits, opening a huge deep rift.  When the dust settles, several super big bird eggs are exposed.  When the sunlight hits them, they warm and crack-

Only they're not cracking.  Something's hatching.  And out break baby pterodactyls.

Sharknami 3: Revenge of the Pterodactyls!

Tough Admiral was right.  They couldn't give up hope.  Because hope has just arrived.

As we all know, pterodactyls and sharks are ancient enemies.  Back in way back dinosaur days, pterodactyls ate megalodon sharks like pelicans eat fish today.  And now they're back, breeding like crazy, and frigging hungry.

Problem is, they don't understand the scope of the situation.  They just want to eat sharks.  Tough Admiral knows that to save the day, he needs to point the pterodactyls in the right direction.  With help from Lindsey, they reverse engineer a Super Tracker and start to make new ones.  Only modified.  They capture a couple zombies, plant the trackers on them, and figure out how to control the zombies like drones.

Why?  Well, we all know pterodactyls are very prideful and would never allow a living creature ride them.  But nothing says they won't let a dead thing ride them.

Tough Admiral, Alexa, and Lindsey manage to get their drone zombies onto the back of a couple pterodactyls and pilot them, sending the ancient flying beasts first to San Diego where they clear out the harbor of all predators.

With this new success, it's game on.  More zombies are captured and converted into drones.  More pterodactyls are ridden.  By the climax, the sky is full of them, diving bombing oceans everywhere.

At the end, Tough Admiral, new love Alexa, and loyal friend Lindsey stand on the beach, looking at the calm waves, smoking cigars.

Then Lindsey goes pale.  She asks what are the pterodactyls going to eat once all the sharks are gone.  At that moment, a pterodactyl swoops in low over the water toward them, a smiling zombie on its back.  And both are hungry for humans!

Again, if you wish to make one or all, please contact me and we can discuss options.  These exist purely in synopsis mode above.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Revised Repost: The Wolfman Still Sucks

So I wrote a review of this movie about a year and a half ago.  Figured I'd revise it and expand a bit in areas to get it in line with my new review policy.  Without further delay:


Here’s the new news: this movie still sucks.

That about sums it up. The movie looks great. Good cast. Pretty good score. But the plot points are…dumb.

And this is where the movie utterly fails.  Remember I’ve said a map is all possible stories.  A story is the route chosen from point A to B.  And plot is what happens along the way.

So what the story?  A man discovers his family has a dark secret.  One that’ll soon change him both mentally and physically.  He needs to deal with that shit before a ton of people die (i.e., eaten).  

The plot – fuck if I know.  I mean there is one.  We get from Point A (the beginning) to Point B (the end) but the route taken is like some mish-mash of freeways and dirt roads and collapsed bridges.

In other words, the plotter sucked at his job.

 "Has someone seen a plot around here?"

Remember the original The Wolf Man with Lon Chaney? The main character, Larry Talbot, gets bit by a werewolf and then becomes the Wolf Man. Mayhem follows. In the end, Larry gets killed by good old dad.  Kind of sad.  A sad story about a father and son and how one needs to kill the other to protect the rest of the human race. That’s conflict, man. The plot is all the stuff that happens along the way.

This one? Well, now he’s Lawrence Talbot. His brother gets killed by a werewolf. He goes home and we learn his past: mother killed herself; Lawrence spent time in an asylum before becoming a great actor; Dad is a big hunter with a man-servant named Singh. Lawrence is determined to find who or what killed his brother. He determines the gypsies passing through town might know something. But then the werewolf attacks the caravan and Lawrence gets bit. There’s a lot of talk about the family being cursed. Singh seems to know “something” cuz he’s got silver bullets. Dad seems to know “something” cuz he’s got a secret chamber with a special chair with straps and clamps.


From this, I deduced that Papa was a werewolf and his lovely wife used to help him every full moon by strapping him in the chair. But after years of the stress of knowing she’s married to a literal monster, she finally broke down and killed herself. Papa carried on her task, cuz he loved her so much, by locking himself in the chamber. That would make sense cuz love has a way of making people restrain their darker selves. Get it?

"You see, Son, your mother and brother questioned my story logic...
so I fucking ate them. Best keep your mouth shut."

Of course, the movie went in a completely fucking different direction. Papa was a werewolf but instead of his wife helping him he actually ate her and it was Singh strapping him down every full moon. Which begs the questions:

1. Why the fuck didn’t Singh kill Papa, I don’t know, right after the first full moon when he saw the bastard turn into a werewolf? Or hey, how about after Papa decided he wanted to start munching on people again? That would have been a good time to kill him, right Singh, you dumb bastard.

2. Why the fuck didn’t Singh tell Lawrence, “Hey, you’re hosed. Dad’s a werewolf and so are you. I’m checking out.” And shoot both of their asses then and there. Then he could have fled back to India and hunted Bengal tigers.

3. If Papa loved his wife so much, why did he eat her? And where was Singh. Would you keep a man-servant around whose sole job was to restrain you once a month, failed, and let you eat your own wife? Neither would I.  When Lawrence is in the asylum, Papa comes and visits and tells him he picked up the curse in India after a kid bit him.  Singh restrained him every full moon.  But fucked up one night and mom got herself ate.  He managed to restrain himself up until he got into a fight with other son (who died at the beginning).  He ate him.  Liked it.  Decided to stop restraining himself.  To which I ask: so you felt bad about killing your wife but not your son?  Shit, father of the year material.

4. What exactly was the point of the gypsies? They played no significant part other than to say, “He is cursed” and “It’s his fate”. Way to go, useless gypsies.  (For further information on the gypsies and why they’re important and how they’re actually appropriately used for both plot and story, see the original flick).

5. Oh, the love interest was the reason Papa decided to kill his own son. Cuz she reminded him of his wife and he didn’t want to lose her to his son. Uh, he ate his wife. And he really didn’t show much remorse so did he really mean he didn’t want her to go cuz he wanted to eat her too? In which case, why the hell didn’t he eat her instead of his son?

6. The love interest, who sells antiques, decides to take it on her shoulders and figure out how to cure werewolfism. Uh, the girl who SELLS ANTIQUES is going to figure out a way to cure fucking werewolfism?  Really? Sure, why not.

7. What the fuck does the silver cane have to do with anything?  It’s never used yet it seems important.  And why is it given to him by a strange old dude who seems to know something’s up?  And why wasn’t it part of the antique store?  Shouldn’t it have been given to Lawrence there?  Makes more sense that he gets a cool cane at an antique store than some strange dude on a train that never plays a part (dude or cane) in the rest of the movie.  (For further information on the cane and why it’s important and how it’s actually appropriately used for both plot and story, see the original flick).

8. The love interest decides to save Lawrence by going to Papa’s house, both of them being werewolves and her knowing it, on the night of a full moon. ON THE NIGHT OF A FULL FUCKING MOON! Couldn’t have waited until the next morning, huh?

9. And why is everyone meeting on a full moon?  Lawrence just wrecked havoc in London on a full moon.  Then gets to his house at the next full moon?  It took him a month to get home?  Yet it took the antiques girl a few days?  And she just happened to figure out that Lawrence wouldn’t be there until the full moon?  Why wasn’t she already there?  Why wasn’t she waiting for him, saying, Hey, let me tie you up until tomorrow and we can settle this shit when Papa is an old man again and you’re your logical actor self?

I’ve got a headache. 

Anyway, if you’re going to go to such extremes to talk about curses and have gypsies, why not make it a blood curse on the family? That could have been cool. Father passes it on to the eldest son. Eldest son refuses to bear the burden and decides he’s got to end it because of some gypsy rule like “the bearer must be killed by a loved one and only while in wolf mode.” Son tries to kill him in the chamber of doom but Papa breaks free and kills his own son. When he comes around, he’s guilt ridden. But he can’t kill himself because he would then pass it on to Lawrence. Singh, though, realizes what’s happened and kills Papa while he’s sleeping and flees to India. Lawrence now has the curse passed on to him and turns during the next full moon while he’s performing on stage in London. Singh hears about what happens while traveling and reading a paper. He realizes he must return and finish what he effectively caused. During the following full moon, Singh hunts the Wolfman down and kills him. See, that would have been a hell of a lot better.

In fact, I like my version so much more I might write it myself, set it in modern times, and change the man-servant to…well I can’t tell you all my ideas. But I’m calling dibs on this.

Anyway, it was a dumb movie. Too bad. Go watch the original. Don’t waste your time on this piece of shit.

Oh, and I hated the CGI change. Rick Baker did the make-up and his work on American Werewolf in London still looks better than CGI. Should have let him do the changes.

 "Give me the fucking keys you fucking cocksucker."

Friday, December 16, 2011

TV Movie Review??? Stephen King's Bag of Shit

Whooops!  I meant SK's Bag of Bones mini-series.  Based on the novel of the same name.

Christ this sucked.  I mean I can do a detailed review and point out all the ways but what's the point really?  It sucks, plain and simple.  But here's a few reasons why in which I also throw in comparison's to Big Trouble in Little China.  Let's begin.

1. The acting is terrible.  Pierce Brosnan phones it in.  Apparently, he thinks he's Sean Connery in that he can take any role and never shed his accent.  Which doesn't work here because he's supposed to be an American, even has a brother who sounds American, yet there's Pierce being Pierce.  The rest of the cast is forgettably awful.  And I mean all of them.  Maybe it's the script but everyone sounds off.  You know when you walk into a public bathroom to take a leak and hear someone dropping a nasty deuce? That's the way the cast sounds.  What they needed was Kurt Russell.  And not Jack Burton Kurt Russell although that would have helped.  No, they just needed plain old Kurt to play the writer.  A guy who can be tough but also pull off depressed and drunk.  A guy who looks like a working-class type who decided to take up writing.  Not a pretty boy.  A reasonable guy who experiences pretty unreasonable things.  A guy who knows what to do when the earth quakes, and the poison arrows fall from the sky, and the pillars of Heaven shake. Yeah, Kurt would just look that big ol' storm right square in the eye and he says, "Give me your best shot, pal. I can take it." In this case, he'd say it to a ghost.

2. The bad guy.  Ties into reason one but gets his own number because he's that much more shittier.  Cartoonish.  Mustache twirling.  TIMES A BILLION!  Where's Lo-Pan when you need him?  Little old basket case on wheels would have fit better in the storyline than this clown.  I know, I know.  Chinese girls don't have green eyes and supernatural Chinese villains don't belong in Maine.  Indeed!

3. The directing.  Mick Garris sucks.  Can we just get that out of the way?  All of his King adaptation are terrible.  This one is no different.  Actually, it might be his worst yet.  Because it tries to be a real movie.  There's the sloppy opening title sequence: fade in, fade out, fade in, fade out.  I want to sleep already.  Then there's the silly scares.  The convenient set-ups like Pierce driving by the villain's house and the villain just happens to be at the window looking at him like he's been waiting eons just for Pierce to drive by (aren't we all?!?).  Then like a day later, Pierce drives by again and sure enough, there's the villain only this time with a devilish grin.  Ooooh!  I sense conflict!  And convenient.  But not as conveniently fun as driving into a Chinese stand-off in an alley in San Francisco's China Town where the Hang-Sengs and the Wing-Kong just happen to be getting ready to throw down to the death and Lo-Pan in ten-foot tall roadblock guise just happens to be there, the same Lo-Pan who recently kidnapped Wang Chi's girlfriend, a Chinese girl with green eyes.  I mean, that would just be crazy.  BUT FUN!  Unlike Bag of Bones, which sucked.

4. The script.  Bad dialogue.  Bad timing.  Nothing memorable.  Nothing sharp.  But lots of yelling about curses and needing to break the curse and you don't know what you're dealing with and there are forces at work here and curses and custody and power and white people are bad and women have it coming and the sins of the father and...what, I trailed off I guess.  Pretty much if it's a cliche related to curses and bloodlines, it's here.  Lots of self-important talk about having to break said curse by, go figure, sacrificing children to appease the angry woman that was raped and killed along with her daughter.  Maybe I missed something but it all felt really trite and familiar.  Or maybe I didn't get it.  Then again, I was not brought upon this world to get it!  I tell you, it's nothing like sacrificing a girl to Ching Dai, having the curse lifted, and going on to rule the world from beyond the grave.  Nothing like it at all.

5. The ending.  Hmmm.  Bad.  The silly "I got to put you to rest even though you're dead by dissolving your earthly remains with lye."  What?  What the fuck?  How about fire?  That burns up remains, too.  And how did we get to lye.  And what's this say about our victim?  Excuse me, I know you were raped and murdered as was your daughter and then buried in an unmarked grave but we disagree with the scope of your vengeance so we're going to dig up your bodies and dissolve them into goo so you can finally be at rest.  Uhh...what if that's not what she wants.  What if...and this is crazy...but what if she just wants to keep killing girls in the bloodline for, I don't know, ever?  Then you're not really putting her at rest, are you?  You're fucking re-killing her.  I think.  Whatever it is you do to dead people.  Or ghosts.  Point is, when you decide to dissolve a ghost's remains to stop said ghost from inflicting death, you do so with extreme prejudice.  You do so because you want to stop her, not because you care about her rest.  It's combat.  And that angry ghost should be doing whatever it needs to to stop you, not just let you dig them up and dump lye on them.  Wow, that's exciting!  No you need a ghost that comes out of thin air in the middle of a goddamn alley while her buddies are flying around on wires cutting everybody to shreds.  And you don't fight a ghost with a shovel and lye.  You fight it with a six demon bag until it becomes flesh.  Then you throw a fucking knife into it's head!

How did I end up slipping Big Trouble in Little China in here, you ask?  Why, the wheelchair of course.  Crabby old guy in wheel chair caused instant memory recall of Lo-Pan.  Both are up to no good.  Both need to sacrifice a female to end their curse.  Both have weird henchmen.  Both are evil.  And both scare everyone around them except our hero.

So, that about sums it up.  It was terrible.  Rather than watch it, watch Big Trouble in Little China.  It's good and fun and everything this movie isn't. I give Bag of Bones this:

Friday, October 1, 2010

Movie Review - Clash of the Titans

I understand the desire to want to remake a movie. Especially a movie that had great potential but just didn't live up to it's promise or a move that lived up to it's potential but do to the passage of time and the advances in technology, the film just feels dated and "silly". I get it.

The original Clash of the Titans was a fun movie with a cool concept. Plus, it had a great cast and it was playing with Greek Mythology. I'm no pagan but Greek Mythology is cool. But it had that Ray Harryhausen stop-motion animation that, sadly, dated the film as soon as it was released. And it had that annoying owl. Yes, I hated the owl. Why? Cuz it was the filmmaker's way of inserting the C-3PO/R2-D2 of Greek "maybe" mythology into the film. F--- that bird.

Anyway, I liked it but felt like if there was any movie that could do with an update, it was CotT. You know, stick to the general story and characters but update the special effects and action. I mean, the story was pretty solid. You had romance, you had the call to adventure, you had the giving of gifts, you had honor and sacrifice, you had heroism and redemption and humbleness. All those things that make a great heroic epic...great.

Oh, but no. These assholes had to make their own "version" of CotT. Instead of it being about a heroism, it turns to that old saw of revenge. And anger. And rebellion. Damn the gods! What have they ever done for us Greeks?

Except give us life. A place to live. Animals and plants to eat. Free will to do what we choose. Even who we worship (there's a whole pantheon after all). And a whole lot more.

The General Plot

You see, in this version, Zeus has created humans to glorify the gods. That's it. He loves mankind and their prayers keep the gods alive.

Wait a minute. If that's true, how in Zeus's name did they live before Zeus created man? I mean, if they need mankind to live, how did they live before mankind? How did the gods, already living, know they needed to make man to keep them alive even though they were already alive?

Ah, the first stupid point of the movie. And it's at about the fifteen second point.

You see, they clearly explain in the opening introduction that Zeus and his siblings defeated his father Cronus and the Titans for control of the heavens and earth. They took ownership of Mount Olympus and earth and the oceans and the underworld. Zeus became lord overall. Poseidon owned the seas. And Hades got shafted in the underworld.

Somewhere in there they say Hades created the Kraken and it defeated the Titans. Not Zeus and his mighty thunderbolts or the cyclopes or the other children of Cronus. Nope, just the Kraken. Which Hades made. Ah, revisionist mythology.


Somewhere after defeating the Titans, humans were made and quickly became little bitches who hated the gods. We're told that it's because they felt like they were slaves to the gods. So man wants to throw the yoke of the gods off. Want to do things THEIR WAY!

Granted, the gods did some crazy shit to mankind in the myths. But in this film they don't show any of that. They don't show the gods actually treating the people as slaves. They don't show any mistreatment of mankind at all, ever, throughout the entire film, by the gods. Even Hades kind of has a reason to lay some ass whup on the humans.

Actually, what they show kind of makes man look like, well, a bunch of self-righteous assholes.

Example: King Acrisius, Perseus's true father, has declared war on the gods. Why, I have no idea. But he's done it. So, Zeus, being a little pissed off at the rebellion, swoops down and impersonates Acrisius and does his wife and impregnates her with the soon to be Perseus. Acrisius, even more angry that the god he's declared war on for reasons WE DON'T KNOW has done this than the original reason for the war apparently, decides to murder his wife and throw the newborn baby with her in a casket into the sea. Did Zeus act like a dick? Sure. But no where in there are we told why Acrisius is a flaming asshole fighting the gods and then murdering his wife for thinking Zeus was him. Later on, when Acrisius becomes Calibos (a significant change from the original) he's a mad idiot with power given from Hades to hunt down Perseus, his own son, and kill him. Again, we don't know why he's doing this other than he hates the gods. When in reality, this idiot has created his own living hell through his own stupid actions (based on the information we've been given). Later, he fights Perseus (who doesn't know who the hell he is; lost father/son drama moment there) and loses. Before he dies, he tells Perseus not to become one of them (the gods). Huh? How about don't do what I did and be a short-tempered, rash asshole who kills his own wife and tried to kill you several times, my son, cuz I hate your god-infused blood. Yeah, don't be like me. Instead, he says, don't be like them. Ah, whatever.

Anyway, Perseus learns he's a demi-god at the same time Hades threatens to destroy Argos with the Kraken. They've got until the next eclipse to sacrifice the princess or else DOOM! This, of course, is the suggested strategy to get people praying to the gods again. Nothing motivates like some good old fashion terror and fear. Yee-haw!

Perseus has a choice. Do nothing or do something. Well, once he learns his bloodline, he's offended because he hates the gods, too. Everyone we see hates the gods, even the demi-gods. Cuz the gods are assholes or something. He blames them for the death of his adopted father (more on that idiot later). So what's he decide to do? Yeah, he decides he's going to kill the Kraken and kill Hades and spit in Zeus's eyes. Cuz he's angry. Angry I tell you! Great.

Hades's Plot for Revenge

This is another line of logic that fails to make sense. Hades tells Zeus that the prayers they need to live can only be encouraged through fear. So that means releasing the Kraken and scaring the holy shit out of the people. But then Hades demands a sacrifice from Argos. Naturally, those who want to LIVE form a cult of Hades and demand the sacrifice of the princess to save their own skins. These new found prayers to Hades give him enough strength to overthrow Zeus apparently.

Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. And he's just doing this now? And Zeus never thought that some other gods could be strengthened by individual devotions? After all, he allowed pantheistic worship. Stupid pagans.

Look, Hades created the Kraken. Created it. Why does he need Zeus to release it? Why doesn't he just MAKE ANOTHER ONE? Why doesn't he unleash his harpies on mankind and scare them to prayers? Why doesn't he release the dead? Also, are there no Cults of Hades anywhere before this threat? Bullshit. There are death worshipers everywhere. Hello! Kali! I saw Temple of Doom.

This was a silly way to make the gods more central to the story. What they should have done was portray Hades as the hater of mankind. He could have conspired to convince Zeus the humans weren't worth keeping. Then there would have been a test. Perseus would redeem mankind and prove their worth. Kind of like Job. There would have been internal conflict and external conflict. Gods who love and hate humans and humans who love and hate the gods. See, there are two sides to every coin. Not just one. Do it this way and there would be an arc for all of the characters.

Oh, wait. They need prayers to live. Right.

Perseus' Stupid Adopted Dad

Spyros finds the coffin baby Perseus and momma were tossed into the sea in. Saves the kid. Mom is already tits-up. Too bad.

Fast forward a dozen years. Spyros is a struggling fisherman. Perseus is a brooding kid.

Fast forward another so many years. Spyros is a shitty fisherman. Perseus tells him he pretty much sucks and is old and laughs. Spyros laughs back.

Then Spyros does something completely stupid and makes no sense to the advancement of his character or plot other than to serve as fuel to Perseus’s later hatred for the gods. Spyros hauls in an empty net and wonders when Zeus or Poseidon are going to give him bounty. He says he prays and gets nothing. Then he whines. And bitches. And moans. His wife tells him to shut up. But no, this old pussy keeps complaining. Says the gods have denied man too long. Says someday, someone is going to take a stand against them.

Stand against what? Is there a god embargo on fish? Is Poseidon secretly cutting your nets opens?

All of this originates from an empty fishing net. Huh?

Hey asshole, how about you realize YOU SUCK AS A FISHERMAN! Hey asshole, how about you LEARN A DIFFERENT TRADE SINCE YOU SUCK AS A FISHERMAN! Hey asshole, how about you fish WHERE THE FISH ARE!

Nope. Just whines. In front of his kids. Die already.

Basically Spyros is bitching because he wants a welfare state and the gods aren't complying. Why even fish then? Why not just stand on the beach and shake your fists at the sky and say, "Yo, where my fishes at, bitch!"

Lame. Lazy. Horrible writing. It would have been more convincing if Spyros was a pious man who loses his wife to a god and then questions his faith. That makes sense. It's called internal conflict. Like the white guy who hates racism and then his wife gets raped by some gang-bangers and he turns, you know, a bit racist. Internal conflict. The heart goes through dark phases. Light, dark, light. Instead, we get a whiny asshole who just keeps whining and then dies. Bad farts are better.

Perseus continues his adopted father's tradition. Angry. Angry. Rageful. Spiteful. Whiny. Will this asshole please die. Damn. Angry. Spiteful.


The Greeks in this film are portrayed as pretty much secular assholes who want nothing more than to be selfish narcissists and turn themselves into gods. There, I said it. Oh, wait, so did the Queen of Argos right before Hades turns her into an old woman. She says, Yo why do we need the gods. Screw them. We are the gods.

Oh, Lucifer?

Anyway, you'd think this would serve as a wake up call to her fellow citizens. Damn, maybe we went the wrong way. Yeah, the gods do messed up shit but just maybe we're kind of, you know, pissing them off. If they love us so much, like the narrator KEEPS TELLING US, maybe we should be HUMBLE and they'll realize they've treated us a bit harshly. Or something like that.


The moment the King realizes there's a demi-god in his court, he saddles up and begs Perseus to go find a way to kill the Kraken. No repentence. No, hey Zeus, sorry. Could you call your brother off? Nope, just go kill and serve mankind.


Perseus's Revenge Doesn't Make Any Sense

Perseus wants revenge on the gods for killing Spyros and his adopted brood. But here's the dirty little secret: something provoked Hades's little tirade. You see, Argos, once again, declared war on the gods. This is illustrated by a bunch of Argos soldiers toppling a statue of Zeus on a cliff. It falls into the sea and nearly capsizes Spyros's fishing boat. Then Hades unleashes his harpies and they fuck up them Argos bitches. Then Hades appears, surveys his destruction, notices the boat, and destroys it, too.

Yes, Perseus can be pissed at Hades. But really, he should be pissed at the Argos bitches for provoking, you know, the God of Death. Don't poke the bear, right?

Doesn't even enter his mind. Even when he's in the Argos Court, surrounded by the survivors who knocked that statue down. Shit, if it was me and I just found out I was a demi-god, I'd be raining a little hate and discontent on Argos's arrogant little king whose actions, uh, led to my family's death. Just a suggestion.

Draco Doesn’t Make Any Sense

There’s this guy Draco who is the King of Argos’s security head or something. He turns into the main escort for Perseus as they head out to find the way to kill the Kraken. He’s a stoic brooding character. But you get the sense there’s a lot of wisdom in him. This comes into play when Draco tells Perseus, who he knows is a demi-god, to pray to his father Zeus and end this. Perseus refuses because he doesn’t need the gods to end this. Draco reacts the way most of us would and considers Perseus’s actions selfish but presses on because time is a factor.

So, we finally have the character who understands that this isn’t just about man. This is about man and the gods living peacefully together. This is further reinforced when he tells Perseus to use the magic sword. He’s the only one who can. It is a gift from the gods. Again, Perseus spits and says, “Hell to the no”. Draco huffs and keeps the sword for when Perseus comes to his senses.

Thus far, we have Draco still acting rationally. He wants Perseus to kind of bridge the gap between man and the gods. He doesn’t say this outright but you get the impression he see Perseus as a way of healing the wounds on both sides since he is part god and part man.

Then we get to a scene where Perseus asks Draco why he never smiles. What does Draco say? He’ll smile when he spits in a god’s eye.

What? Wait, the whole movie, Draco has been the voice of reason. He wants Perseus to acknowledge he isn’t a man, he’s both. He wants him to pray and to use the sword and now, all of the sudden, he wants to spit in a god’s eye.

You see, this is nothing more than a throw away line to set up Draco’s later death. He helps kill Medusa. As he is turned to stone, he smiles. See, that’s lazy foreshadowing because it doesn’t fit the character that has been developed at all. The one character that had demonstrated a bit of internal conflict is reduced to another angry Greek who wants to give the gods the finger.


Where are the Rest of the Gods?

Mankind declares war on the gods. And Hades is the one who is out kicking human butt? Why? Shouldn’t someone else be doing this? You know, ARIES, the f-ing GOD OF WAR?

The Kraken is imprisoned in the sea. Shouldn’t Poseidon play a role somewhere in here?

The cult of Hades is sacrificing the princess to what is a sea monster. So, wouldn’t this be a sacrifice to Poseidon?

Where the hell is Poseidon?

Anyway, the movie had some cool special effects and a couple of good actors but overall, it sucked. Oh, and one other thing: there are no titans in this movie. As is the case for the original film, there are no clashes of any titans. None. Remember, the titans are gone. Clash of the Gods is a more appropriate title. But considering how screwed up everything else in this movie was, who really cares about getting the title right?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Movie Evisceration - The Lovely Bones

It’s very rare that a movie pisses me off. Yes, I find movies I hate. Movies that annoy. But for a movie to piss me off, it has to do one thing: betray me.

The Lovely Bones betrayed me therefore it pissed me off.

I actually enjoyed part of the movie. As it neared the halfway point, I started to transition to annoyance. As it rolled toward the climax, I found myself hating it. But then it reached the ending and boy howdy, was I pissed.

Before I explain, SPOILER ALERT. I’m going to ruin this movie. I mean ruin it. Stomp on it. Take it out in my front yard and drop a deuce on it. If you haven’t seen it and don’t want it ruined, please stop reading. Because here we go.

The Plot

The Lovely Bones is about a teenage girl named Susie Salmon. Yes, Salmon. In the movie, she introduces herself as such, “My name is Salmon. Like the fish. First name: Susie.” Now that should sound vaguely familiar. Like maybe they ripped it off.

There was a movie called The Green Mile in which there was a character named Jon Coffey. This movie was, of course, based on a book of the same name by Stephen King. King is well known for creating character with memorable names. He has a way of tying memory devices to names. So, in this case, the character in the movie says, “My name is John Coffey. Like the drink only not spelled the same.” Now we have a memorable name. Not one easily forgotten.

I contest the writers (both book and screenplay) did the same thing here. Only with a dumb name. We remember it, no problem. And it’s kind of cute. Susie Salmon. All rolls together. In and of itself, no big deal. But as soon as I heard her introduce herself I thought, Green Mile. So, I call rip-off.

Anyway, I digress. Susie is dead. No big alert there. She says it right off the bat. She’s dead. Murdered. Looking down on it from somewhere above. Okay, got it. We get the back story, how she was murdered, the impact on the family, the determination of the father to catch the killer, the family falling apart, Susie playing with other victims in heaven, CGI effects, a cliché serial killer, yadda yadda yadda.

In reality, there is no plot. There’s no murder mystery. There’s no intense chase. There’s no resolution. There’s no redemption. There’s no revenge. There’s no sacrifice. This is a story about a family hit by tragedy, ripped apart and sewn back together. That is it. Wow.

The First 1/3 of the Movie

After Susie tells us she’s dead, we get the backstory. She likes a boy. She likes taking photos. We also meet George Harvey, the creepy guy who lives alone and makes doll houses. He designs a bunker. Builds it himself in a cornfield. Then lures Susie into it and kills her, cuts her up, and puts her body in a safe.

We also learn there’s this chick who can like sense dead people or something so that when Susie’s spirit passes her, she senses it. This character has no real purpose in the movie other than to be a convenient device. More on this later.

So the family eventually looks for Susie and the cops look for Susie and George is questioned but there’s no evidence and people are sad and the dad is obsessed and Susie is in this in-between place that isn’t Heaven or Hell but no one calls it Limbo. And she watches all this crap unfold from above while hanging out with the other dead victims of George.

Not the best beginning but not terrible. There’s potential for suspense as dad digs up evidence and starts to suspect George. Meanwhile, we watch the family start to suffer under strain and loss. Then we enter the shitty parts of the movie.

The Second 1/3 of the Movie

At this point, the cops have demonstrated a complete lack of intelligence in deducing who the killer is. The dad suspects but is still digging. Let’s examine the facts:

George is creepy. He has shifty eyes. A comb over. A pornstar moustache. He’s creepy. He makes doll houses. He lives alone. He’s creepy. He mumbles. He has nervous ticks. He’s creepy. He lives in a family neighborhood all by himself. He’s ritualistic. He’s creepy.

The cops talk to him but deduce there’s nothing to go on.

Really? People have been arrested and interrogated on less circumstantial evidence. What’s more they didn’t have to arrest him. A simple search warrant would suffice. Call him a suspect, and get a fucking warrant. I do believe that a search warrant allows the police to search the entire house and contents within. Which includes the blueprints to the bunker and, uh, a safe in the basement containing the human remains of our girl Susie. Even if George plays dumb and can’t remember the combo, the police can call in a safe cracker. Done.

But that wouldn’t be convenient, would it?

Hey asshole, why not keep the safe in your super secret bunker no one can seem to find? Maybe the blueprints, too. Then we could have had smart cops execute a warrant, not find anything and then dismiss you as a creepy suspect. Why, if that happened, then, we wouldn’t have the intense seen of Susie’s sister breaking into your house and finding evidence. Nope, can’t have that. So in the basement it goes. More on that later.

Meanwhile, back at Wayne Manor, dad’s obsessive drive has ruined his marriage. Mom, being the chickenshit she is, leaves the ENTIRE family for California. Dad confronts George but accidentally interrupts some teens making nookie in the cornfield and promptly gets the shit kicked out of him. Another convenient event that keeps the heat off George while dad recovers.

In the afterlife, Susie does some shit and there’s CGI.

The Last 1/3 of the Movie

Okay, we’ve moved from not too bad a movie to bad movie over the first 2/3 of the film. Now we descend into true pain. The end. And we learn what pissed me off.

Again, up to this point the only mystery in the film is whether the family will pin the murder on George or will he get away with it. Enter Lindsey, Susie’s sister. She takes it upon herself to find the proof no one else has managed to find. So, she breaks into George’s house. Finds a loose floor board, lifts it up, and discovers the blueprint to the bunker, a lock of Susie’s hair, and several news articles about the murder. All right, the proof. This fucker is going down.

George comes home while Lindsey is still in the house. He hears her. A short but intense chase scene occurs and Lindsey narrowly escapes. George freaks, packs, and hauls ass out of town. First, though, he dumps the safe in a sinkhole on the way out.

While the safe is being dumped, Susie watches and at this moment decides to descend to earth and enter the body of the chick who could sense dead people. And here we have the convenience of all conveniences. This character has served no other purpose in the film other than to act as a vehicle for Susie to make contact with a boy she had a crush on. Not to stop or kill George. Not to tell anyone, “Hey my body is in that safe.” Nope, to say hi to the boy and get a kiss. Her last wish. Gosh.

The boy realizes it’s her and is cool with it. Not freaked out. Not jumping up and down screaming, “What the fuck?! What the fuck?!” He’s all like, “Susie, it’s been too long.” And she’s like, “Yeah, kiss me you brooding fucker.”

You have to remember, these two literally shared a minute of time together at the beginning of the film before Susie was killed and dismembered. They flirted. They had an interest in each other. There’s was no bond of love established. No eternal tie. This scene made no sense other than to give Susie’s earthly life a bit of closure. Even then, though, it would have made more sense for her to go back and say bye to her dad. You know, the guy who’s been hunting down proof of your murder. Yeah, Susie, you selfish bitch, how about saying bye to your loved ones instead of getting your groove on?

Now I haven’t read the book but understand it took this scene one step further. They didn’t just kiss. Susie and boy-toy go off and shag. What the fuck? Now you have to remember that Susie is in another chick’s body. So, was the chick cool with letting Susie bang her current boyfriend with her body? If not, does this count as rape? Does this count at necrophilia? Is Susie still fourteen mentally? Is this pedophilia? Why would she wait until that moment to descend and screw? Why hasn’t she been doing it all along? Why, why, why?

Lindsey returns home, ready to show the proof. But wait, mom’s back. The selfish bitch Susie so clearly takes after. She’s back because dad has had a heart attack. Guess she wants to make up. Or maybe she realized she’s a selfish bitch and that she should be raising her kids, not her alcoholic mother. So, no big reveal of evidence. Instead, we get a reunion. Super.

As a result of the reunion, Lindsey gives the evidence to grandma while everyone else stands and looks at mom. What does grandma do? Nothing. Nothing at all that we know of. The movie never shows. No cops in a room asking about the status of an APB or a manhunt or anything. Instead, the movie shifts to George sometime later, somewhere cold, trying to coax a young girl into his car. She tells him no and walks off. As he watches her go, an icicle drops off a tree branch and knocks him into a ravine where he dies.

Yes, he is killed by a convenient icicle and no one knows he dies.

Fuck you Peter Jackson and whoever wrote the book.

Back at Wayne Manor, the family has moved on and is rebuilding relationships. Swell. Susie is in the afterlife watching everyone move on with their lives and healing and overcoming the loss of Susie. She refers to these as lovely bones growing around her absence. Yeah, whatever.

The movie thus ends.

Why I Feel Betrayed

The movie pissed me off because it ends with no real resolution. All the story arcs close separately from each other and one does not depend on the other. It doesn’t come full circle. George dies but no one knows it, thus the family is robbed of justice and closure on that front. The family moves on knowing George did it and he may still be out there doing it to other kids. Susie moves on happy knowing the family has healed but with her final resting spot still a mystery to everyone but her and George. The ending is like a shoulder shrug. Ah, well. It doesn’t always end with a nice-neat bow.

Well, screw that. You’ve gone through the trouble of creating this world where a girl is brutally raped and murdered only to have her killer offed by a Deus Ex Machina? You’ve given none of your characters, not one, any sense of sacrifice or vindication or redemption or justice. You’ve fucking betrayed your audience.

Bad Afterlife Logic

When Susie dies, she goes to an afterlife place called “the in-between”, aka Limbo. She is there alone at first. Then meets another little girl. Then more. Come to find out, they are all victims of George.

What’s wrong with this picture?

You see, in the book, it’s referred to as Susie’s personal heaven.

Okay, if it’s personal how do other people get in there? People she’s never ever met. Ever. It isn’t like the end of LOST where all the characters meet up in Purgatory before moving on. After all, those characters had deep-rooted connections. They knew each other. It made sense (even if you hated it).

But here, not so much. Susie is dead and if she’s in a personal heaven, people she knows and loves should be there. Which means she’d be alone cuz everyone else is still alive.

That’s a small point. A larger one is the incredible selfish nature a personal heaven is. Oh, I get it. It’s godless. Only the individual matters so it can be whatever that person wants. Awesome. More selfishness from selfish Susie.

The biggest point, though, is that if all of George’s victims are in this personal heaven doesn’t that mean it’s not really their personal heaven. I mean, let’s look at this. If George has killed these girls and they end up in the same place and no one else is there, does that not mean they are in George’s personal heaven.? Which would be more like hell to them. Which would mean Susie and the girls would be more actively trying to get George caught and killed to free them from this hell.

Yeah, that’d be cool. We’d have the family trying to find the evidence and the victims trying to contact the family to tell them what’s what. There’d be tension while George starts to feel haunted by his victims (cuz they’re trying to off him. Maybe drive him crazy so he kills himself). He’d be questioning his sanity and constantly moving and hiding evidence. Maybe almost get caught a few times. It’d be like a real ghost story/suspense thriller. Then we’d actually have a reason for a character who senses ghosts. And for the ghost to figure out how to enter her. Then we’d have a resolution where George gets his and the family gets justice and Susie and others are vindicated and the audience doesn’t feel cheated or betrayed…

Oh, wait…that didn’t happen.