TNB Commentaries 011: Blade Runner

bladerunnerPlease turn off your cellphones and join Doom & Fitz as the hop in a spinner and soar back to……..1 year in the future!

For our 11th commentary, we head back to 1982 for Blade Runner starring Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, & Sean Young.

The fellers talk about Star Wars again cause why not?, ponder legacy, tease a bunch of future commentaries, and try to figure out what the differences and influences of this movie and it’s various versions are.

So strap in and prepare to be “retired”.

 

URL: TNB Commentaries 011: Blade Runner
Direct Download:tnbc-011-blade-runner.mp3

This has been a feature of TS-D/JA Productions and JJ2E Media 2017

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The Last Jedi: Harsh Critic Rebuttals – Pt. 3

luke-skywalker-the-last-jedi-919965Welcome back gang. This will be the 3rd and thankfully final part of my rebuttal to Mr. Flick Flack Film’s especially harsh criticism of The Last Jedi.

As always we pick up where we left off last time, and here is a link to the original video https://youtu.be/C6fDPKNPqGM

 

 

 

 

Does Luke turn evil? No.

Of course not. If Luke turned evil it would completely negate the original trilogy. It would’ve rendered his hero’s journey meaningless. The entire point of his story arc in the OT was to learn from his father’s mistakes. He faced the greatest test he could EVER face when he stood toe to toe with the Emperor. And he passed that test. He refused not only to turn to the dark side but to fight at all, effectively forfeiting his life until Anakin’s turn back to the light saved him.

To make up some scenario in which Luke could ever be truly tempted to go dark after that is not only a betrayal of his character’s history but way more insulting to fans of the saga than anything that actually made it to the screen this film.]

Does Luke show how awesome and powerful of a Jedi legend he is? No.

Ok, now you’re just fucking with me.

I’m sorry, tell me again which Jedi before Luke was able to not only astral project himself via the Force all the way across the galaxy but do so for the sole purpose of punking his enemy while literally holding off an entire army?

His final act was the greatest feat of Force ability ever displayed in any Star Wars ANYTHING.

Do we get an awesome epic battle between Luke and Kylo at the end? No. It was just a hallucination of Luke.

Not a hallucination. Force. Projection. Varsity level Jedi power on display.

That ending duel was absolutely brilliant. The tension between the two, Mark Hamill’s  delivery, Adam Driver’s unhinged boiling rage. The whole time I expected Luke to pull the Obi-Wan Kenobi move. When Kylo seemingly delivers the fatal Vader-esque blow and we see Luke still standing, I was confused but relieved. When we get the reveal that Luke never left the island, and the realization dawning on Kylo that he was utterly played, I almost sobbed.

THAT is how to defeat an enemy. Luke stoked Kylo’s rage and managed to secure a victory (albeit hollow) for the Resistance all without ever lifting an actual finger.

Luke has the stupidest death….ever. Why wouldn’t he have actually been there and been killed like Ben Kenobi in  A New Hope

How was he supposed to get there? Carrie Poppins himself all the way from Ach-To to Crait?  He intentionally crashed his X-wing. Not only ditching it but stripping it for components over the years (like for the metal door to his hut). Rey and the Falcon left him behind.

He literally had no way to get there EVEN IF HE WANTED TO. Which he early didn’t.

He says it early and often. I came here to die. I will never go back. Nothing will change my mind.

And nothing does. In a stroke of brilliance, Rian Johnson makes it so Luke can stay true to his pledge of self imposed exile and yet still somehow be the hero of legend that the Resistance needs.

Again the complaints about The Force Awakens all centered on its supposed rehashing of A New Hope. How well would that Ben Kenobi style gone over had the Last Jedi literally recreated it exactly on those salt flats?

Instead Rian Johnson gives a something faintly familiar but delivers it with a completely unexpected twist.

We don’t find out about the crystal around Luke’s neck.

Oh you mean the tiny costume detail that nobody on earth but the hardest core hardcore fans who live on leaked internet spoilers before the movie comes out would notice?

No we didn’t. Big deal.

Sorry it didn’t turn out to be the crystal from Vader’s lightsaber like the internet chatter thought. Which by the way would have been pretty retarded given his lightsaber blew up with the Death Star II.

I still don’t care about Rose or anything about her. Her sister was WAY cooler. Thanks for the useless token Asian character Disney.

Useless token Asian character. I mean she only figured out how to outsmart the First Order’s tracking system, sowed a seed of hope in the hearts of the next generation of rebels, and  destroyed an entire casino city on horseback before going unflinchingly into a losing battle against a foe that had them out-manned and out equipped. But yeah, you’re right, completely useless character. Not sure what purpose she served in the movie at all.

What was with that stupid kiss Rose gave Finn? It was awkward and I didn’t see any romance, it came out of nowhere for me. It was a worse love story than Anakin and Padme.

………….pass……..

The scene where Leia used the force after being blasted out of the ship was the stupidest thing I’ve seen in a Star Wars film or any other film for that matter

Hyperbole much?

That scene to me was so powerful. Such a satisfying reveal of Leia’s Force abilities. We’ve spent literally decades wondering if Luke ever got to pass on any of his knowledge to his sister and if she would become as strong in the Force as all the other Skywalkers. This film gives us the answer in a big way without belaboring it.

When that bridge window is blown and she’s sucked out into the vacuum of space, my heart sank and for a minute I thought they had pulled off a huge swerve after having said all along that they weren’t changing anything after Carrie’s death. I thought wow, they’re actually going to shock us all by writing her out of the trilogy right here at the top.

Instead they shocked me is a much better way.

Now, I concede that the way she was filmed, something about the position of her body or the weightless movement or even maybe the lighting itself made the sequence look a little “off” to me, but at no point did I think it was dumb or pointless.

Rose saying, we don’t will by fighting the things we hate but by saving the things we love is total crap and hypocritical of her

By stopping Finn’s sacrifice, she risks killing everyone Finn loved in that fort. 

Sigh. I actually have no real explanation for this one. I truly thought this was the end of Finn’s story. While I would’ve been disappointed at not seeing more of him, it would’ve been a good death.

But at the same time, I was fine with the way it played out. The kiss was a little much though.

Rose is a dick.

That’s a bit harsh. Rose did not want to lose a friend like she just lost her sister. Maybe she realized that winning a single battle any cost is sometimes not worth it, or won’t actually accomplish much in the long run. That maybe there’s a better way. Maybe she decided to trust the Force and let fate decide?

The whole plot of Finn and Rose is useless and could’ve saved a lot of time in the film by cutting it out and not putting in an out of place message about war profiteering and animal abuse 

While at first blush it did feel a little extraneous, after i thought it over and saw the movie a couple more times I realized this little side quest was a lot more important than it seems.

First off, obviously, it’s important because they need the master code breaker in order to get onto Snoke’s ship to defeat their tracking system.

But, more importantly, it’s a necessary part of Finn’s character arc.

Finn starts of this film in a very selfish place. He’s not a coward exactly, but he’s very much into his own survival. He feels an obligation to protect Rey, the one person who he considers a real friend, but aside from that he takes care of one person, himself.

He makes the choice early on when faced with long odds to just run. To save his own ass and make sure Rey doesn’t return to the soon to be massacred fleet.  At this point he’s perfectly fine running from the First Order and pretending they don’t exist. A lot like he was in The Force Awakens until Rey needed rescuing.

Rose stops him from abandoning the fleet and together they come up with a plan to save the day. But it’s not until Finn sees the denizens of Canto Bight, fat and rich off the spoils of this destructive war he’s experienced first hand, and the squalid conditions of everyone else’s lives on a such an applicant world that he begins to see how the war and the First Order especially, is ruining people’s lives.

The animal abuse is tossed in not as a heavy handed PSA like a lot of people are complaining about but as part of a metaphor for the current state of the galaxy. These war profiteers are able to live a life of extravagance built on the backs of a suffering galactic populace. They treat the galaxy no different than they treat the fathiers. They beat and abuse it for their own entertainment.

Then they meet DJ, whose entire purpose in this film is to offer Finn a Ghost of Christmas Future mirror to look in. DJ tells him there’s no difference between the good guys and the bad guys it’s all just machine for making money. Don’t pick a side, just live for yourself and don’t get involved, it’s not worth it.

But Finn is unconvinced, and when DJ betrays them in the end it’s the final straw and right then he knows this guy is full of shit and this is no way to live your life. He goes from self preservationist to a hero who knows there is a right side and a wrong side to the war. And he can’t live the rest of his life not choosing a side or else he’ll be no better than the shitbag that just turned on them.

That is the true point of the Canto Bight subplot. It solidifies Finn’s status as a hero.

Whenever Finn and Rose appear on screen it’s pretty much a free pass to go to the bathroom.

I wouldn’t call it a free pass, but, when ya gotta go ya gotta go.

That scene with Yoda was a little weird and out of place to be completely honest.

Only weird in your mind.

At first it did feel strange, but mostly it was seeing the ESB era Yoda puppet again, and how they made him more solid looking and able to physically interact with the real world environment.

But I got over that pretty quickly and it became one of my favorite scenes in the film.

It was surprising and interesting to realize this was the first time they’d spoken in decades perhaps. It makes sense once you see that Luke has cut himself off from the Force all this time.

And the final lesson that Yoda imparts his a heavy, deep lesson for Luke. It’s necessary guidance for him, in a way Yoda is telling him the same thing that Kylo tells Rey, let the past die. You messed up, but that is part of the game. Students grow beyond their masters and you can teach them only so much before they choose what they will ultimately become. That part you have no control over.

It’s then that Luke realizes he must face this guilt and put it to rest so that he can become what the galaxy needs him to be, what he was always meant to be. The legendary figure he was at the end of Return Of the Jedi.

I was looking forward to seeing what Rey would find out in the hole on the island. But what she found was just weird and didn’t add anything. Or show us anything interesting or dark like it did in the Empire strikes back

It was weird. The first time I saw the movie I didn’t get it first either. But after a little thinking, it was obvious what it meant. She wants more than anything to be shown her parents. It’s why she foolishly allows herself to be baited into the Dark Side’s trap and falls into the hole on the island.  The Dark Side energy under the island calls to her just like it called to Luke from the cave on Dagobah.

And just like in the cave on Dagobah, the Dark Side gives our hero the information they least want to hear. For Luke it was that he would become like Vader (later it also foreshadowed their biological connection)

For Rey it confirmed her worst fear.  She’s alone. The only one she has is herself. There’s no family, there are no parents. She’s on her own.

How can that not be considered dark?  Alone in the galaxy? The hope you’ve held onto your whole life that somewhere out there was a family searching for you, trying to find you, that hope is snuffed out just like that and you’re left with nothing.  That is dark.

Now, whether what the vision showed her or what Kylo convinced her to admit is actually true or just a cruel trick being played by the Dark Side remains to be seen.

The movie makes you feel like a jerk for thinking Holdo, the pink haired lady is evil even though that’s what the film was telling us

You’ve never been misled by a movie before? Where you’re sure someone is up to no good but turns out they were doing the right thing all along?

As an audience we were being shown Holdo’s actions from Poe’s perspective. We didn’t get any more information than he got. So of course, just as Poe was suspicious of her we as the audience were too. And that’s ok, that’s part of the storytelling journey. We’re supposed to feel what the heroes feel. And in this case we did.

The lesson was for Poe, not the audience. We were just along for the ride. This was all part of Poe’s arc in the movie. He began as the brash pilot who thinks the only solution is to blow something up all costs, that running from a fight and living to fight another day is the coward’s way out. But Holdo finally teaches him a lesson that Leia could not. Brains and guile are sometimes more valuable than blaster or an X-wing. Sometimes ensuring survival is the goal of the mission, not victory.

We see that he has learned this lesson at the end of the movie when instead of rushing out to make a last stand next to Luke (who as it turns out didn’t need any help) he can see the bigger picture that there’s more at play than what he sees on the battlefield. He realizes this is a diversion and they’re not supposed to fight to the last man, but escape instead.

He had become a leader.

The film took place over 48 hours when the empire strikes back took place over years.

Empire Strikes Back took place over weeks maybe a month at the absolute max. Not years. Not even close.

It felt like I was stuck in one moment for hours when the ships were chasing each other.

I felt the same the first time I watched the movie. The next time it flew by. I encourage you to give it another look.

The trailers and everything told us this would be dark and a great big new change for the franchise but it wasn’t.

Again with the trailer promises. The trailers promised nothing. They promised Rey and Lule on the island. They promised Snoke in the flesh. That was about. Everything else was a fabrication of fans’ eyes and unrealistic expectations.

This movie’s themes of guilt and loss and failure were all hella dark. Again, just no dark the way you thought it would be.

It ruined everything that made Star wars great.

Like what? That’s a pretty sweeping statement.

It had all the elements that make Star Wars great and added a few more!

I don’t understand this claim at all so I don’t even know how to counter it other than to say nuh-uuuhhh!

Oh and where’s the Knights of Ren? Who cares, they’re not acknowledged.

So what? I’m so sick of hearing people bitch about the Knights of Ren. A totally throwaway line in one movie. Who cares? They’ll get to it. Or not. It doesn’t matter at all to this story and really doesn’t matter to Kylo’s story ultimately either.

Personally I feel like they morphed into Snoke’s guards but if not, meh.

Why did Holdo have to sacrifice herself when it literally could have been anyone else and’ve been more meaningful.

Now THIS is a real conundrum for the filmmakers.

Holdo was clearly created to fill Leia’s place because they knew she would be incapacitated for much of the movie, and also because their plan all along was to make Episode 9 very Leia-centric. (7 was Han’s sendoff, 8 was Luke’s, presumably 9 would be Leia’s). It’s entirely possible that before that was the real plan that they were going to have Leia split Snoke’s ship but then it became oh shit we need Leia for 9, and had to create someone else to do it.

Of course we all know now that Leia will NOT be in 9 so Holdo feels like a complete waste, since they could’ve shifted her into Leia’s position as Resistance Leader full-time following Carrie’s untimely death. Instead they’re kind of left in a lurch.

That is my theory anyway as to why it was Holdo instead of someone else.

As to why she had to do it, again, it goes back to Poe’s journey. He sees what she sacrifices so that they can live. It’s why at the end he calls off the suicide mission against the battering canon. It’s why he looks again for a back way out. These people’s lives now have incredible value to him (not that they didn’t before but…) he’s not willing to throw them away so easily.

Again it helped him mature into a leader. Which the Resistance will need now more than ever going into Episode 9.

Let’s talk about the things I did like.

Wait, there were things you liked?

To be honest, I really struggled to find things I liked at all about this movie.

That’s what I thought.

Mark Hamill was great. In one of his best performance ever. And I liked the relationship between Luke and Ray it was cool to see. Even though Luke is now completely wasted as a character.

Agreed. Mark Hamill gives a fantastic performance, and I found many of his lines utterly heartbreaking. The way he is able to convey Luke’s grief and psychological damage is subtle yet powerful.

Of course I disagree completely that he was wasted as a character, not sure how anyone could make that argument. He basically save the Resistance single handed, but whatevs.

Also, he’ll be back in episode 9 (spoilers)

I liked the flashbacks with Luke almost killing Kylo.

Me too. But I thought this movie wasn’t dark? How does this not qualify? Luke, noble Jedi, literally going to murder a child because he’s afraid he will become a monster. He doesn’t do it, but then by not doing it ends up creating the monster he feared? That’s fucking BIBLICAL DUDE! Come on. Dark AF.

I liked how Rey and Kylo fought the guards. 

I even liked the Porgs even though they’re only there to sell merch.

The gag with Chewie roasting one was worth the blatant cash grab.

The part where Holdo sends the ship into hyperdrive and splits Snoke’s ship, is the coolest and best visual thing I’ve ever seen in a film. The visuals were all just amazing.

In conclusion, I don’t ever want to see this movie again.

That’s a shame. I really seriously do want to encourage people who didn’t like this movie the first time to go back and watch it again, knowing the secrets and twists and more importantly what is NOT in the movie and I think many of you will enjoy it much more the second time.

I don’t think I even want to see Star Wars 9 when it comes out.

Why? Don’t you want to see where it goes now?

This movie….broke me.

Ha ha ha ha ha ha. Oh. Sorry. You were serious.

Well then I’ll be serious. It really bums me out to hear longtime fans toss their fandom in the garbage because they disliked one movie. And not even and entire movie but parts of movie.

I implore people not to be so reactionary. Give The Last Jedi another look. Open your mind, unlearn what you have learned. You might be surprised to find you do actually like it.

And if you don’t, oh well. But don’t give up on the movies that came before, that’s just childish.

And that’s why I hate it.

Now, there’s a lot more that I disliked about this movie

Like what the credits were too long?

And a few more things I did like.

That it was eventually over?

But I want to hear from you guys. Did you hate this movie and if you did why. If you liked this movie please tell me why and please try to counteract some of my points I made in this video. I would love to hear what you think in the comments. 

Thanks for watching, and may the force be with you.

And May the Force continue to be with you. Hopefully someday you’ll come to terms with The Last Jedi and start to appreciate it for the film that it is and not hate it for what it didn’t give you.

 

Well, thanks for indulging me guys, that’s going to wrap up the first (and probably last, this was exhausting) series of rebuttals to overly harsh critics of The Last Jedi.  Hope you enjoyed, and I’d like to think maybe this will make a few people reconsider their initial reactions to this movie.

Dan Shamble, Zombie P.I.: Working Stiff Review

I hope Kevin J. Anderson won’t be upset about this since he regularly tweets it to 12K+ people (but if he has an issue, I will gladly pull this part out).
But just to start off, you can get a free E copy of this book by signing up for his reading group right here.
It’s a great 1st taste of this series.
On to the review!

Dan Chambeaux is back from the dead and back on the case…all 7 of them.
But how do all of these short stories stack up against the full length novels?
Surprisingly, pretty damn well actually.

We’re about to go balls deep on this, so consider this your official ***SPOILER WARNING***, Gang.
And consider this your ***long winded warning*** as well.

The stories included are Stakeout At The Vampire Circus, Road Kill, Naughty & Nice, Locked Room, The Writing On The Wall, Role Model, Beware Of Dog, in that order.
Since I’ve already reviewed Naughty & Nice (read that right here), so I won’t be talking about that story in this piece.

Stakeout At The Vampire Circus is a pretty fun story that involves a band of klepto goblins ripping off everybody from a cross-dressing fortune teller to a neurotic vampire trapeze artist.
This one feels a lot like an ep of Scooby-Doo, and that alone makes it fun for me.

As I have said before, Road Kill didn’t do much for me because it wasn’t doing what I thought Shamble stories do best, which is balancing storylines.
After reading all of these, I’m not so sure that’s the case as a few of these have single threads and are great slices of Shamble.
In fact, one of my 2 favorite stories in here is, upon reflection, a razor thin story that mostly takes place in 1 room.

Locked Room reminds me a lot of Family Guy’s 150th Episode Brian & Stewie where 2 characters are locked in a vault.
In this story, Dan & Spooky are hired by a Harpy named Esther to test a cemetery vault she is having built to entomb her near death, pain in the ass sister…and make sure she can never escape!
Much like the Family Guy Ep, this story feels ballsy as hell.
Unlike that Ep, KJA does throw to scenes outside of the vault, but mostly just to fully explain why and how they got into this mess.
After a little bit of time locked in, Spooky really starts to panic which gives a tiny peek into her death and afterlife.
Once dead, you’d think fear would be a thing of the past, but obviously not for Sheyenne.
In a longer form this could be a real deep look at these characters…which maybe wouldn’t be great for a comedy book, but would help you better understand them.
The way they break out is rather ingenious too, playing on the vanity of some artists.

I did end up liking Road Kill a bit better the 2nd time around, but it’s still probably the weakest story in this book and of the Shamble series overall.
I’m not sure what it is about that story, but it just doesn’t click with me.
It’s a lot like Guardians Of The Galaxy, I’m really struggling to understand why I don’t love it and it’s bugging me.

The Writing On The Wall is where things get very deliberately popculture heavy, and it’s at this point that the collection really kicks into high gear.
Imagine Elvira gets tired of the public eye and wants folks to just remember her show from back in the day so she goes into seclusion.
Now imagine she died and came back as a ghost with poltergeist powers that were so weak that she had to try to control/possess some dullard Zombies to get a message to the outside world, that’s this story.
By the 3rd page of this story, I had a good idea what was going on.
Zombies all around the Unnatural Quarter have been writing letters in graffiti: “HE”, “LP”, “I’VE”, & “FA”.
Anybody that has watched late night TV knows that’s easy to put together.
Watching Dan’s business partner Robin Deyer fan girl over “Angina, Mistress Of Fright” and again having Spooky confront the meaning of afterlife, but in a different way than in Locked Room, are both highlights here.
More like she did in a bigger way in book 4, as I recall.
If something bigger comes from these books, Sheyenne is gonna be the character to watch.
She’ll definitely be the grounding dramatic force.

Role Model is hands down the best story here, so don’t be surprised if you hear an ep or 2 of The Nerd Blitz Book Club with this as the focus.
I was having flashbacks to Episode 39 the entire time as Dan and McGoo head to a Cosplay Convention to work security.
When a vampiric member of the 501st is staked, they have to chase down the killer and the journey is off and running.
If The Writing On The Wall started the pop culture lovefest, this is the moneyshot.
I know Google is the easy route to go, but I’m damn skippy KJA has a near encyclopedic knowledge of old TV Shows, Movies, and media.
There was an Episode of MONK called “Mr. Monk And The Actor” that was flashing through my mind when reading this that made me love this more than all of the nonstop references.
I’m almost convinced KJA has seen it, but if not…damn!
In the course of the investigation, Dan meets a dude cosplaying as him who is just as great a detective as Dan is…or is he?
KJA’s insight into nerddom and our squabbles about petty shit (canon, superior franchse debates, dumbass minor details) again leads me believe he is one of us, not just been dealing with us for 30+ years.
The ending is exactly how I felt at the end of Archon 41 too.
Going in I was thinking “what a bunch of weirdos” but at the end of the night I was ready for next year, same as Dan.

And finally Beware Of Dog.
This story centers on legendary UQPD Werewolf cop Hairy Harry, a damaged former officer, whose hellhound has been seemingly kidnapped.
At the same time, a giant, ferocious, furry Beast has been damaging property around the Quarter.
Are they connected?
Of course!
Yet another special interest group is introduced in this story, GETA (Gremlins for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), adding another layer of depth and comparison to the real world.
They’ve been breaking in and letting dogs loose from the animal shelter, staging protests outside of the pet clinic, and causing other incidents of havok/annoyance in town.
The obvious comparisons to Clint Eastwood and his assortment of grizzled characters are made, sometimes in subtle ways.
And Hairy Harry hunting down the GETA (not so) Secret Headquarters is kind of thrilling.
The idea that a Shamble series may be in the works makes me desperately want to see this story and that chase on screen!

So, in conclusion, this book/collection is the perfect way to introduce yourself to this universe.
I know now that KJA isn’t obsessive about chronology or continuity with these short stories, they are designed solely to catch your interest and pull you into the books.
And they do just that.
The variety of different types of stories in here flex all of the muscles of this series, and show you just what it can do.
The hints at what could be, the potential for other deeper stories makes it all the more intriguing for me.

Use the link above or (even better) show even greater support by buying it wherever you can, get in on this now, gang.
5 books in less than a year, and I’m still loving it.

Episode 043: Hickory Dickory Hydrocephally

courageouscopjpgIn this episode, the fellas are fu¢ked up on alien head and get ta talkin’ about grandpa beatings and comics!

After some dark jokes to open the show, Doom describes the floor plan of his grandparent’s house…before he lays back on the therapy couch with Dr. Fitz, who listens and chokes.

Then they get into the body of the show and FINALLY talk about the 3 comics they promised to talk about like 2 eps ago.

That’s right, Metro, Knights Of The 5th Dimension, and the Kolchak/Dan Shamble crossover all get their day in the sun! Sit back, drink some booze, and listen as these 2 fools get hardcore dirty and nerdy.

 

URL: Episode 043: Hickory Dickory Hydrocephally
Direct Download: tnb043.mp3

Scooby-Doo & Batman The Brave And The Bold Now Available!

The day has finally arrived!

Out on DVD (*grumbles* and digital) today from Warner Brothers, the DTV movie we have been waiting years for, Scooby-Doo & Batman The Brave And The Bold.

Gang, keep your eyes peeled, because in the next month or 2 we will be doing a very special episode of The Nerd Blitz Commentaries centered on this movie.
I can promise this is going to be a fun ep you won’t want to miss!

Run out and get your copy today so you can watch along when we do.

Dan Shamble, Zombie P.I.: Slimy Underbelly Review

Including this one, I have read 4 of the 5 novels in this series and 3 of the numerous short stories.
So I feel that I can say without a shadow of a doubt that this is the most batshit crazy story of the franchise thus far, and I mean that in the best possible way.

Just to be safe, consider this your official ***SPOILER WARNING***

As I said in my Naughty & Nice review (read it here), I think Shamble stories work best when multiple storylines are being juggled and, holy hell, does this have a bunch of stories being kept in the air.
This go round, Chambeaux’s cases involve an Ogre whose voice is stolen, a gang of Garden Gnomes getting greedy, an aspiring Supervillain/Junior Mad Scientist (with many patents pending) who gets booted from his sewer based lab space, a Weather Wizard in the middle of a campaign for President of his order, and an Aussie Accented half Elder God making a big splash under the Unnatural Quarter.
Another of my favorite threads is Sheyenne trying to culture Dan up a bit.
McGoo has a story that I have a feeling may pay off in the recently released 5th novel, Tastes Like Chicken, about his Ex-wife and a potential kid.
Lots of plates spinning and I loved every minute of it.

My 1 and only complaint about this book is less of a gripe specific to this story and more a bit of whining about the chronology of the entire series.
Maybe this would be better kept to my upcoming review of Working Stiff, but I really wish Kevin J. Anderson would have a list somewhere that shows specifically where these stories take place.
Because, at one point, Dan references 3 of the 7 Short Stories from Working Stiff, one of which is actually published in the back of my copy…but I didn’t read it before because I wasn’t sure where it fell.
It’s not super important and doesn’t hurt this reading experience a single bit, but it would be nice to know what to read and in which order.
So, if you read this book, and you care about continuity, be sure to read Stakeout At The Vampire Circus, Road Kill, and Naughty & Nice before this.

As I said above, this story is crazy!
The stakes have never been higher in this series, the ending specifically is a weird H.P. Lovecraft plot, mixed with an over the top Doctor Doom world domination story, sprinkled with Shrek, and a dash of Monk.
It’s ballsy as hell!
The way that EVERY SINGLE STORY converges in the sewer for a cultish blood sacrifice is masterful.
I feel I repeat myself a lot when I talk about this series, but KJA’s style is so easy to read.
Most authors, even ones I love, would have made this so fucking convoluted and hard to keep up with that you would almost feel it wasn’t worth it and give up.
But it’s written with just the right about of detail and humor to make it all work perfectly.
Every major character seems to have their moment to shine as well.

More so than the other books in the series, I feel like this one leaves the world in a different place than it started.
Not in a major way, but there are certain side characters that have been around since book 1 that have their worlds ended…but thanks to The Big Uneasy, death isn’t the end anymore.
Again, continuity is important, and I dig that.
Dan also seems to have figured out for sure just what his purpose in the afterlife is.

The more I read of this series the more I desperately want it to be turned into an animated series, man.
I say animated because the make-up budget alone would probably kill the series.
Just the 4 books and 3 Short Stories I’ve read would make for a great 4 Seasons of 10-15 Episodes.
It’s just so damn good, I need to see more from this universe.

That’s that, gang.
I’m struggling to come up with a ranking for all of the stories in this series.
It’s a lot like the MCU in that I really only know which is my least favorite and the rest are battling it out for 1st.
I truly love this series for it’s fun quirkiness.
Please check out this story or any of the others, it’s so worth it.

The Last Jedi: Harsh Critic Rebuttals – Pt. 2

the-last-jedi-theatrical-blogHey guys, I’m back again for round 2 with Mr. Flick Flack Film.  As you remember, last time we just barely scratched the surface of his “criticisms” of The Last Jedi.  Let the Rebuttal Begin!

(Here’s the link to the original video again, I’ll be picking up about the 1:20 second mark  https://youtu.be/C6fDPKNPqGM )

 

 

 

Do we find out who Rey’s parents are? No. It turns out, it doesn’t…matter.

We don’t?

I can understand that they want to show you that people who come from nothing can make their own choices to become something more and greater. But Star Wars is about special people, that’s why we watch it.  If the people on screen are just as unimportant as us, why do we watch them?

First of all, this was the second act of a 3 act story. Just because we weren’t explicitly shown Rey’s past in this chapter doesn’t mean we won’t get more revelations in the next. The story is NOT fully told yet.

Secondly, just by answering the call to adventure the “normal” person becomes “special”. Luke was not “special” until he followed Obi-Wan on a damn fool idealistic crusade. In fact, if you look at the cut scenes from Episode 4 he was LESS than normal. He was a loser. The goofy, whiny, kid that is grudgingly allowed to hang out with his much cooler friends.

If the droids had never crashed on Tatooine and been purchased by Owen Lars, Luke would’ve likely spent his entire life fixing moisture vaporators until he died a desiccated corpse of an old man at 60.

Thirdly, how can you say Rey is not “special”? Who CARES who her parents were? What does that have to do with anything? Is Han Solo not special? We don’t know his lineage but I’m pretty sure he wasn’t a divine birth, created by the Force itself.

If in Empire, the fake line used on the set ended up being in the final cut and we found out Obi-Wan killed Luke’s father instead of Vader BEING his father, is Luke suddenly not special any more?

How about Rogue One? That movie blew me away. I loved it. But what about Jyn is special?

Her dad is a super smart scientist and she is…what exactly? An orphan raised by a Rebel extremist? Nothing more than a common soldier. Jyn is not special at all, but her story is still special and important.

Lastly, Rey IS special. Not because of who her parents are or aren’t but because of what she’s done. She was chosen by the Force, through Luke/Anakin’s lightsaber, to find Luke and what? We think in TFA she’s supposed to bring Luke back to help restore peace and balance to the galaxy by defeating Snoke and the First Order. But what we find out is that’s only partly her mission. Her real call the adventure is to find herself through her interactions with Luke on the island. When Luke later sacrifices himself to save the remnants of the Resistance, we see that the real reason the Force called to Rey was so that SHE could carry the Jedi forward. SHE would learn what she needed to know from Luke and the island, and yes even from Snoke and Kylo. So that in the end when she has to make her choice she doesn’t hesitate, she knows her path. Not because it was written in her DNA but because she found her own way.

She answers the call in TFA and from that point on she ceases to be as unimportant as us and becomes something special. Her parents are ultimately irrelevant.

Plus The Force Awakens sets up us finding out who Rey’s parents are. They show us flashbacks and make us ask that question.

Again, the story is not OVER yet. We’re learning the truths about Rey in real time as she learns it. Are her parents really just junk traders? Or is Kylo Ren preying on her insecurity and fear when he prods her into saying that? Is that reality or just what she fears the most?  I happen to still believe her parentage will turn out to be something bigger than what she believes. But if it doesn’t? I’m fine with that too.

The crushing emotional weight of her facing and accepting her worst fear in that scene and Daisy Ridley and Adam Driver’s amazing delivery were enough for me.

The way he preys on her weakness and fear, trying to convince her that she means nothing to anyone but him is a master class in Sith/Dark Side seduction.  That is the Vader/Luke moment of this trilogy.  Better written, and more subtly acted. It’s heartbreaking and yet instead of being broken by it, Rey finds strength in it. She now sees her place in the story, she knows who she is. Who her parents were doesn’t matter. She casts aside her greatest weakness, as Kylo calls it, and can follow the light.

Yes, the flashbacks in TFA make you question her parentage and her history. The Last Jedi tells us that the answers don’t matter and that’s OK.

Do we find out who Snoke is and where he comes from? No. It doesn’t matter. He dies. We’re never going to find out.

AGAIN, the story isn’t over. For all we know Snoke is a Force ghost who allowed Kylo to “kill” him and will show back up later. Who knows.

For now the fact is Snoke was a red herring of sorts. The final trial for Kylo Ren. He even tells Rey to kill the past, let old things die, it’s the only way to become what you were meant to be. In that moment he realized killing Snoke was his only way forward. If he was ever reach his full power Snoke had to die.

Would you rather he waited until Episode 9? Maybe Snoke could be torturing Rey to death and at the last minute Kylo turns on his master and saves Rey? Maybe tosses him down a reactor shaft?

Sorry. Been there, done that.

Instead we’re given a rare treat. A totally expected betrayal yet COMPLETELY unexpected. Not only that, it’s given an added twist when it is revealed, again through a brilliantly written and acted exchange, that he didn’t do it to save Rey because he’s good again, but instead that he’s and even BIGGER PIECE OF SHIT than we thought. What you just saw was the equivalent of Anakin chopping off Mace Windu’s arm, killing a room full of baby Jedi, and choking  (arguably to death) his baby momma ALL IN ONE SCENE! And let’s face it, A WAY BETTER SCENE than all of those combined (and I love the prequels!)

Who is Snoke? Where did he come from? Who CARES??? Snoke was a rung on a ladder for the true villain of the piece. His backstory will make for an interesting comic or novel, otherwise who cares.

People who are legit upset or disappointed in what happened to Snoke after truly thinking about it, are more than likely more upset at being “tricked” than about him being a “wasted” character.

Rian Johnson fooled us all. In a glorious, masterful way. Enjoy it. Revel in it. How many times does a movie actually succeed in surprising you anymore? For me? Almost NEVER.]

Is Rey turned to the dark side? No. Not at all.

Does Kylo turn to the light side? No.

[So what? This was just another dumb fan theory. There was almost 0% chance that it would be true.

But the fun is in the tease. The whole time Johnson has the audience guessing, trying to gauge which one will turn, who is really good, who is really bad. You’re not sure even until the last moment after Kylo and Rey briefly team up and dispatch Snoke’s guards.

These complaints are rubbish.

Do Kylo and Rey abandon their masters and become their own thing? No, not really.

Uhhhhh I’d say cutting one’s master in half qualifies as abandoning them to become your own thing.

We were promised the Jedi would end.

No we weren’t. We were teased with a single quote by Luke Skywalker. Nothing more.

And a good way to do that would be to have Rey and Kylo become the balance.

Ahhh the “gray Jedi”. So much buzz about this, I honestly did think this would happen.

But in the end, they went a different direction. So what. You want a neutral Force user? Watch the Mortis Trilogy episodes of The Clone Wars. They’re excellent.

You see Yoda somehow use lightening to strike down the temple and burn it.

No he didn’t. He burnt down the Whispering Tree that housed the last of the ancient Jedi texts. Not the Ach-To Temple which is a cave. Or Luke’s temple which actually IS shown burning down. It was a tree.

Pretty much acknowledging that the books have no importance.

Wrong again.

But later we see that Rey actually took the books.

Yay! You got one right.

So there are still going to be Jedi?

Ummmm duh? Star Wars?

So pretty much it was all pointless.

Not at all pointless. Very much with point.

See, I had trouble with this at first too until I saw the movie a couple times. Then it made complete sense what Yoda was doing.

Yoda hasn’t see Luke in decades, presumably since he went into exile and shut himself off from the Force. Once he opens himself up by contacting comatose Leia, Yoda is able to see him again and comes to him to give him the council he most certainly would have years earlier if he could.

He burned down the tree knowing full well that Rey had taken the books. Hell for all we know he may have TOLD her to take them. There’s nothing to say he hasn’t been communing with her all along (or at least since he spoke to her in Maz’s castle).

He burned the tree when he saw Luke hesitate to do it himself in order to force Luke to, as he said, “look beyond a pile a dusty books”. And also to troll him. His pure joy at watching Luke freak out over the presumed loss of those books was the most Yoda moment I’ve seen since 1983.

Yoda’s lesson for Luke is simple. Masters fail. Masters make mistakes. The fall of Ben Solo was not entirely a failure on his part, it just happened. His final line to Luke is “We are, what they grow beyond. That is the burden of all Masters”.

Yoda is telling Luke, you gave that boy all your knowledge and taught him to be like you. But ultimately he grew beyond you as all students do, and the path he took after that was his choice. You may feel the burden of responsibility but you are no more or less responsible for that choice than any other Master. Whether the student is good or bad, all Masters feel the burden of having no control over the end product of their teaching.

In other words stop being such an emo bitch about it.

Do we get aaaany crazy epic lightsaber battle at the end or in the throne room? No not at all.

Um, what? Did we watch the same movie?

 The only lightsaber contact we get is in flashbacks.

Ahhh. I get it. You’re confusing battle with duel.

Ok, true. There were no lightsaber on lightsaber fights, but to act like there wasn’t an intense battle in that throne room scene is crazy talk. I’m not sure how the action in that scene could be a disappointment.

It was like an 8 on 2 free for all. Go back and watch that sequence again and I dare anyone to say it failed to deliver something different and amazing. It ends with 2 of the DOPEST moves I’ve ever seen in ANY fight involving lightsabers.

Do we get a new lightsaber color?

Seriously? You’re taking off points for no new lightsaber color? Blue, green, red. What other color does the SW Universe need? They’re weapons not fashion accessories. Sure they drop the occasional special color for a space pimp here or there, but they’ve been pretty consistent over the years with the look of lightsabers.

Maybe a black one from Snoke? No.

You mean like the Dark Saber in Clone Wars/Rebels? They’ve already done a black blade in universe. There’s no way they would take away the specialness of that relic and say oh now Snoke gets a black one too.

Snoke, much like Palpatine had moved far beyond the need for such rudimentary tools as a lightsaber by the time of TFA. He doesn’t need one. He can literally control and manipulate the minds of other trained Force users. What use would a lightsaber even be to him?

Again. If people would take a minute to look past their fanboy wishlists, they would be able to appreciate this film a lot more.

But when people are complaining because Snoke didn’t use a lightsaber? Give me a break.

Ok, gang, that’s the end of part 2!  Are we having fun yet?  Everyone ready to go see The Last Jedi again?  I am.

Stay tuned though, this poor soul is not finished yet, and neither am I.