Porcelain Peak: Avengers April Phase 2

Suit up Porcelain Peak participants, it is time to assemble once again for Avengers April Phase 2. This week JB and Tone travel to new galaxies to discuss 7 more MCU movies as they mare their way through all of them in chronological order. They go over news regarding Disney+ announcements, and Tone wrecks it at trivia. Listen below as the guys discuss Iron Man 3, Thor The Dark World, Captain America Winter Soldier, Guardians of the Galaxy, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2, Avengers Age of Ultron, and Ant-Man, then make your way to Apple Podcasts to rate, review, share and subscribe, so you never miss a cinematic episode…lives may depend on it.

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Porcelain Peak: Avengers April Phase 1

Hello, Weirdos. All month long one of the podcasts that WFW produces is doing a retrospective look at all the MCU films. Here is the first episode. Stay tuned as they cover all the films leading up to Endgame at the end of the month. Keep on Creepin’.


Porcelain Peak fans assemble as JB and Tone fly into Avengers April Phase 1—a retrospective look at all the MCU films in anticipation of Endgame. On this episode they share some news about the voice of Chucky and discuss the Joker trailer. The heart of the episode is a grand discussion of Captain America: The First Avenger, a brief discussion of Captain Marvel (for a full discussion see the bonus episode), Ironman, Ironman 2, Thor, The Incredible Hulk, and The Avengers. Do them a super favor and have a listen below, then jet over to Apple Podcasts to rate, review, share and subscribe, so you never miss a heroic episode.

How did they do? Share your opinion in a comment below or at any of the following…

email at porcelainpeak@gmail.com

Follow us on: instagram, facebook, and twitter

Captain Marvel bonus episode


Produced by: Hyper Forge Alpha Network

The Voiceless Amp

Hello Weirdos,

I've always wanted to write a children’s story. Over the years I’ve rotes around with a few ideas. One of my most beloved stories, as a child and a adult, is The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. When tinkering with ideas for my own story, I wanted it to be in the same vein. Below is a first draft of a story I wrote. Eventually, once I get a final draft, I’d like have the story illustrated. Until then I would love some feedback—suggestions, constructive criticism, etc. Anyway, here’s the story, enjoy.

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    Once there was a lonely amp who couldn’t speak. After years of silence, the amp met a guitar. The guitar plugged into the amp and they began to make music together. No matter what the guitar tried to play, the amp only spoke the saddest songs.

     Finally the guitar asked him,“what’s wrong, amp?”

     The amp, now able to speak through the guitar, said, “I’m sad because I’m in love.”

    The guitar strummed with excitement, “In love? But that’s a great thing. Why are you sad about that?”

     “Because,” the amp belted, “without you I don’t have a voice. For the years I’ve been in love with lemons, but I’ve never been able to tell them how I truly feel. How I think about and miss them more each day. I wish I could tell them how I loved the shape of their bodies, the texture of their skin against mine, the way they smell, their color, how they felt resting upon me, and how I felt with them just next to me. How I’ve loved them since I was a pocket amp in an old classroom…and still do. How if amps and lemons had souls, ours would be intertwined. How if amps and lemons were pages, ours would be bound into a tragic love story.”

     With another stroke of the strings the guitar told the amp, “let’s tell the lemons! I can give you a voice. The lemons need to know, amp. Then we can play happy songs together.”

     “We can’t,” the amp told the guitar, “I haven’t seen the lemons in years. I’m too old and dusty now. My mesh is tattered, my speaker worn, my cord frayed. Plus, last I heard the lemons were with spending time with apples now. I have nothing to offer the lemons.”

     Now the guitar understood why the amp always sounded so sad. For the rest of their friendship they played sad songs together hoping that maybe one day the lemons would hear...

That is all I have for now. Please let me know what you think. I know it needs work, but I wanted to get initial thoughts. Stay posted for further iterations. Keep on Creepin’.

Porcelain Peak: Love, Death, and Robots

On episode 26 of Porcelain Peak, JB and Tone are joined by a fellow sci-fi and horror fan, graphic artist Anthony Silva. They hunker down and discuss every episode of the new Netflix anthology series Love, Death, and Robots. The guys share some news, crank out some trivia, and dive deep into this show. Have a listen below, then hop in your mech suit and stomp over to Apple Podcasts to rate, review, share, and subscribe so you never miss an animated episode.

Do you agree or disagree with their opinions of these episodes? Let them know below or check out any of their social media accounts.

email at porcelainpeak@gmail.com

Follow them on: instagram, facebook, and twitter

Produced by: Hyper Forge Alpha Network

Captain Marvel BONUS

Hello Weirdos. Thought everyone might be interested in this BONUS episode from one of our podcasts, Porcelain Peak. On this special bonus episode JB and Anthony are joined by 2 female guests to discuss the latest MCU film, Captain Marvel. Part review, part dissection, and a whole bunch of fun. Have a listen below then blast over to Apple Podcasts to rate, review, share and subscribe, so you never miss a marvelous episode.

What do you think think of the movie? Let us know your thoughts on how this female driven film played out. Shoot us a comment on here, or leave us a message on our Instagram.

email at wordsforweirdos@gmail.com

Check out the Porcelain Peak team on one of their social accounts.
instagram, facebook, and twitter

Produced by: Hyper Forge Alpha Network

As always, Keep On Creepin’.

Maxine, Reprise

She came to me while I dreamt

A hummingbird with radiant wings

We embraced and I felt warm

for the first time since she left

I hadn’t felt happiness since

I awoke completely in shambles

Salty streams streaking down

my saddened dreary face

I’d give up all my tired hands built

if I could just hear her voice

2019 Updates For Porcelain Peak

Hello, Weirdos. Quick announcement for you.

The Words For Weirdos podcast Porcelain Peak has a slew of new ways to reach out.

Instagram

Facebook

Twitter

Email: porcelainpeak@gmail.com

and its own URL porcelainpeak.com

In other news, the other WFW podcast Passion Project isn’t over…just taking a break as we gather more content for season 2. Looking to release 10 more episodes later this year.

Be on the lookout for all that good stuff. Keep on Creepin’.

Black Christmas Vs. Black X-mas

Hello, Weirdos. Episode 12 of Porcelain Peak is now available. On this holiday episode JB and I sit down to compare and contrast the holiday classic Black Christmas and the middle of the road slasher remake Black X-mas. Enjoy the episode below, then hitch a sleigh ride over to Apple Podcasts to rate, review, share and subscribe. Feel free to let us know what you think below. Enjoy!

Do you agree with our comments on these films? Either way, let us know in the comments below. And share some of your favorite holiday scares.

Noteworthy Collection Additions

Hello, Weirdos! I want to share with you a couple of my new pick ups this month…

On the left you’ll see the Universal Classic Monsters Complete 30 film collection on Blu-ray. As the cover indicates this features all the classic Dracula, Frankenstein, Mummy, Invisible Man, Wolfman, Creature from the Black Lagoon, and Phantom of the Opera movies. Essentially, this collection is a box containing all the individual collections in one housing unit. The benefit of buying them this way opposed to individually is the box keeping them all together, and it come with a 40+ page booklet discussing different aspects of the films. Some of the collections do have crossovers, so although it reads, “30 film collection,” there are actually 37 films in this pack because of the repeats.

On the right is a limited edition Steelbook of Halloween III: Season of the Witch. This steelbook is a full wrap, so spreading open the box (as pictured) reveals one massive scene. If you look close enough there is even a guest appearance from The Shape himself. H3 was a pick up for fellow horror enthusiast, but I dug it so much that I picked one up for myself as well. Let me know what you think below, and if you have some special pieces in your collection feel free to share. Keep on Creepin’.

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Porcelain Peak 2

Hello, Weirdos. Episode 2 of Porcelain Peak is out tomorrow. Episode 2 has a special guest cohost. We get into the first chunk of our October countdown, which includes discussion on  Splinter, Hell FestThe Nun, It FollowsVeronica Annihilation, and Hell House LLC. After, we share some real life accounts, and set listeners up with our next 7 movies.

Take a listen and follow along! Feel free to share your lists with us. We love hearing what other’s are into. And if you dig the podcast head over to Apple Podcasts and rate, review, and subscribe so we can move up the podcast ranks and reach the masses. 

At the end of the episode I challenge my cohost to write a 2 sentence horror story. We'll be sharing those next week. If you have a 2 sentence story of your own share it in the comments below and maybe we’ll read them on the episode.

 Keep on Creepin’.

New Podcast and October Happenings

Hello, Weirdos. I have some great news. My producer Randy and I had such a blast talking about The Endless we decided to start a new podcast in the same vein. The podcast is titled Porcelain Peak and will consist of all things horror and science-fiction. We’re shooting for weekly episodes with the first being released on October 1st.

Episode 1 consists of a creepy story from H.P Lovecraft. We also give the first 7 movies we'll be tackling for our 31 Days of Halloween list. For the month of October each episode will consist of a discussion of what we watched and various other segments. 

Other episodes will cover movies, shows literature, games, and anything else regarding horror or science-fiction. You can expect readings, original work, andlysis & review, and a bunch more. 

Look out for episode one coming October 1st. In the mean time Keep on Creepin’ .

Beyond Black Star—The Endless

Hello, Weirdos. This last week I had the pleasure of being featured on another Hyper Forge Alpha Network podcast—the Black Star Audiobook podcast in a segment titled: Beyond Black Star. The podcast itself is an audio drama with a full cast and production. The Beyond Backstar episodes feature Randy, the host and creator, sitting down with various quests discussing various topics. This week Randy invited me on to discuss The Endless—an eerie Lovecraftian science fiction film starring Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead. The Endless is about two brothers who are mysteriously called back to a cult they left as kids. Upon their return, they begin to understand why they left to begin with. Check out the episode through the link below, and shoot Black Star a rating and review.

While you're clicking links, don't forget to head over to Apple News to follow Words For Weirdos to get live updates on all new posts. Keep on Creepin'

Where Have I Been?

Looking at the post previous to this it seems that I’ve been absent for 2 months. I figured I’d share why. Avid readers may notice some changes in site layout. All the creative writing pages have been condensed into 1 page. Movie reviews will no longer be on a separate page, but instead included right here on the main feed. A new page has been added, simply titled Podcast.  This has been one of my new projects taking up a chunk of my time. The podcast is titled Passion Project and it is an exploration of what people love. There are 4 epiosodes out with the 5th arriving this week. Topics our guests have covered include sound design, photography, content creation, and Nintendo, with Jazz guitar soon to follow. Pop over to that page and check it out. 

Another project which has taken up a lot of my time is woodworking. I know this isn’t my typical area (the website isn’t called Wood For Weirdos) but I figured I’d share what projects I’ve been up to incase anyone is interested. 

In the past couple months I’ve done 3 wood working projects. The first was a custom picture frame I made from old shelves I had around the house. I needed the frame for a puzzle. 

Not sure the type of wood. Used a table saw and a mitre box for the cuts. To fasten the pieces together I drilled holes for dowels, hit it with some glue, and hammered it all together. I hit it with a coat of gray wash stain and rubbed some of it off to give it a slight rustic look.  No bevels because I didn’t want any of the puzzle images covered. The puzzle sits within the the frame, held in place with a backing.


Using that same old shelf, I made an address sign with a planter box for my house. One of the old numbers fell off so I figured I’d take the opportunity to create something new and different. 

This piece was a bit easier to make, and the process went smoother now that I had some practice. I used a kreg jig and screws to fasten the parallel back pieces together, and to secure the frame of the planter to the back. This was my first experience with a kreg jig, but I found it simple to use and helpful. Once those pieces were settled, I used some glue and finishing nail to secure the face of the planter to the frame. Once all the wood filler settled, I sanded everything and gave it all a coat of dark stain. After that, I spayed it down with spar urethane. For the numbers I followed the directions on the packaging. The hardware for the float mount was a tad longer than the wood was thick (should have checked that before), but I made it work. To hang, I used heavy duty, outdoor 3M strips, and haven't had any issues. Grabbed a few small plants and popped them in there. I got the basic design idea from Shanty 2 Chic, but modified it to work for me.


My last project was a mantel for my fireplace. The previous owners painted the wall and the centered fireplace all a chocolate brown. Which was fine, but it needed an update. Along with changing the wall color and using a separate color on the fireplace, I decided to create a new mantel because the old was…well, old. I headed to the internet for ideas and came across Addicted 2 Decorating. Again, I used a modified version of the design to fit my fireplace and style. Unfortunately, I didn't think to take a before picture (aside from the old mantel) until after the project was in progress. Here are some photos of the mantel in various stages.

Top left was the original mantel. I was going to refinish it, but the sanding process proved more arduous than anticipated. Top center was the wood I picked up from Home Depot. Nothing special—3 cheap pieces long enough to create the new mantel. Top center shows the completed frame of the mantel during the assembling process. The frame was made of two side pieces topped with the face and nailed in place. Again, I used a table saw for all the cuts. Those pieces, and all the others, were attached using finishing nails. Once the "u" shape was settled I measured and cut pieces to fill in the sides—essentially making a lidless box. After all the glue and wood filler was dry, I sanded the entire thing using an electric hand sander using 60, 120, then 400 grit sandpaper to make it as smooth as possible. To give a solid piece of wood look, I covered both ends with a sheet of wood veneer to hide the seems; I sanded that as well to look more concise. The bottom left picture was the mantel stained. I did two coats with the same stain I used for the address planter because it matched preexisting shelves around the fireplace. After the stain, I did two coats of polyurethane. That was it! I used the system already in place from the old mantel to mount this one. You can see the finished product in the last two pictures.


Overall these projects were a fun learning experience. Each one presented new challenges, and opportunities to practice techniques I learned along the way. Although it has always interested me, I've never done any woodworking before, so this was a completely new experience. I don't have any new projects lined up, but I definitely have more ideas.

That being said, expect more classic Words For Weirdos content coming soon and regularly. Passion Project is roughly a third of the way through the first season, so keep a look out for new episodes every two weeks. Let me know what you think of the projects below, and head over to Apple Podcasts to rate, review, and subscribe to Passion Project. Thanks for reading, and Keep on Creepin'.

Franchise Fever: DCEU Part 1

Hello, Weirdos. As promised, next up on Franchise Fever is the DC Extended Universe! Last week I dove into the first two films. This week I'll be watching Suicide Squad and Wonder Woman, followed by Justice League the week after for those following along. For the remainder of this installment each movie will feature Lasso of Truth (the good), Kryponite (the bad), and The Riddler (questions). Here are my thoughts on the first two movies...

Man of Steel:

Director: Zack Snyder.

Lasso of Truth: This one I have seen multiple times. I still enjoy it. It is realistic and grounded. MOS is shot in a way that makes you feel like you're there. It feels like it could be a part of Nolan’s Dark Knight universe. They picked the right name for the film, Man of Steel  , because this movie isn’t about the alien superhero, it’s about the man, about Clark, and what it takes for him to become the hero we all know. It’s a piece about what it means to be human. Cavill and Adams kill it. It’s a movie about adults for adults. They aren’t trying to appeal to kids in the way other superhero franchises might. 

Kryptonite: The pacing is a bit slow. And the product placement is terrible. They go to an IHOP at least 3 times and crash into a Sears and 7/11. 

The Riddler: Does Martha Kent work for Sears? In a scene she is wearing a Sears laniard and a Sears polo shirt. Why? How much time passes after Zod’s defeat and when Clark goes to work at the Daily Planet? Because Metropolis got destroyed, including the Planet, yet Clark is at work by the end.

Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice (Ultimate Edition):

Director: Zack Snyder.

Lasso of Truth: I heard different opinions about which cut of this film to watch, so I took it to folks over at the DC reddit. Unanimously I was told to watch the Ultimate Edition. I did just that. When I saw the theatrical cut in theaters I remember never caring to see this film again. After seeing the Ultimate Edition I enjoyed this film. Lex is great. He is the conductor of the Wayne/Kent orchestra. I grew up with Smallville so I’m used to a different portrayal of Lex. Eisenberg’s performance reminds me to the Ledger Joker in his brilliance as a mastermind. But take that Joker, give him a ton of money and make him high strung like he’s on cocaine and you have this Lex. I dug it. 

Kryptonite:  I think the title is misleading because the two heroes hardly fight, which is what people were expecting. When they do it’s great, but it happens twice briefly. They stop because their moms have the same name. What? After 2.5 hours the quick hero smash up ends because mom names, and now Batman suddenly doesn’t hate Superman? Weak. This movie feels like 3 hours. It focuses on political issues, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but does bog the film down. The last weak bit for me is the superfriends gifs Wonder Woman watches. I like when they show the hero symbols—a hint, a tease to keep it interesting. Then they overdue it showing the little clips of each new character as if audiences don’t know The Flash is fast or that Aquaman swims.

The Riddler:  I honestly don’t know the answer to this, was Wayne’s mom always named Martha? Is Superman’s true identity easy to discover or is he terrible at hiding it? Two movies, two people find out who he is, except Bruce Wayne (but then he’d have found out about Martha too early).

Look out for the new installment coming next week featuring the next two films on the path to Justice League  . Keep on Creepin’  .

Franchise Fever: DC Extended Universe Announcement

Hello, Weirdos. In the shadows of the pale moonlight a series of movies lurks. Films shrouded in darkness, luckily a bat is involved. Up next on Franchise Fever is the DC Extended Universe! Currently there are 5 films in this franchise, with the 6th slated later this year. For those who want to follow along the 5 films are: Man of Steel, Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, Suicide Squad, Wonder Woman, and Justice League, with Aquaman arriving December 21st.

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Share your feelings toward the DCEU and check back soon for my thoughts on the beginning of this franchise! Keep on Creepin’ .

Tully Review

In order to discuss the meat of this film, there will be spoilers

In 2007 Diablo Cody and Jason Reitman released Juno—an indie look at teen pregnancy with a killer soundtrack. Their next outing together was in 2011 and starred Charlize Theron in Young Adult—a forgettable film about an author attempting to home-wreck. Seven years later Cody, Reitman, and Theron are back with 2018's Tully—an exploration of the beautiful and ugly side of motherhood. With tight dialogue, strong performances, and boldness from all parties involved, Tully succeeds as a realistic dive into complacency, stagnancy, and parenthood in a modern society.

Charlize Theron's performance as Marlo makes Tully as good as it is. She is a mess as a mother, wife, and person in general. Theron takes a role, which is often idealized and angelic, and turns the role into something grounded and authentic. One scene in particular worth mentioning is when Marlo has an altercation with the principal (Gameela Wright) of her son's (Asher Miles Fallica) school. In this scene Theron showcases her full range as the character. She is disheveled and exhausted, but attempts to remain calm and civil. Finally, something snaps, and she unleashes a mother's ferocity on Principal Laurie, while begging for honesty. Theron does not overdo it by one massive explosion, but instead presents her anger in bursts throughout the scene. She knows when to give more and when to pull it back, making for a scene full of boiled-over authenticity. Scenes as that demonstrate the confidence Theron brings to the role.

Confidence is also present with the writer and director duo of Diablo Cody and Jason Reitman, respectively. For starters they have enough confidence to release a low-key drama/comedy film in the first week of May, following Avengers: Infinity War and preceding Deadpool 2 on the 18th. Why try to compete? Because Tully is something different, something fresh. Cody and Reitman are giving the nitty-gritty side of marriage and motherhood. They are not saying adult life is detestable; they are saying adult life is difficult in particular for a middle-class mother attempting to keep up with the Joneses. What Cody has done is provide juxtaposition between gender, economic class, and age by demonstrating the differences between Marlo and her husband, her brother, and Tully. Cody's dialogue elevates the actor's performances. When Marlo is visiting her rich brother Craig (Mark Duplass), Craig is excited to show off his new bar. Marlo immediately takes a dig at him to which he warmly responds telling her to shut-up. From there the dialogue builds naturally to the conversation regarding the night nanny. Much of the dialogue goes that way. Cody starts small and allows conversations to unfold. Reitman does the same with the scenes. As a scene appears to be ending, Reitman will let it linger longer, leaving the audience uncomfortable with awkwardness. Marlo and her husband Drew (Ron Livingston) feel inadequate to Craig and his wife Elyse (Elaine Tan). Reitman establishes the inadequacy during a dinner scene filled with revealing conversation and uncomfortable silences.

Duplass and Tan play a rich, eccentric couple who are at times over-the-top and oblivious, but never become arrogant or obnoxious. Duplass uses a large, creepy smile to show his enthusiasm for his position in life. Tan goes for a quiet, minimalistic approach to demonstrate her class and comfortableness, often skipping over what people say to avoid tension. Livingston portrays a typical, overworked husband who does not spend enough time taking care of his wife. His performance is detached, and he is more or less fodder. The standout supporting cast member is Mackenzie Davis who plays Tully—the wise, insightful, free-spirit night nanny. Davis also shows confidence with this role; her character calls for it, and she exudes it through subtle bits of comedy and authoritativeness. Once she arrives onscreen she takes control of the situation, often acting as the foil and inspiration for Marlo. That being said, the Tully twist is the biggest problem with this movie.

Throughout the film, there is an eerie sense of similarity between Tully and Marlo. As the picture progresses, the similarities begin to add up. At the end it is revealed that Tully does not exist in a corporeal sense. Tully is Marlo's younger self (Tully is Marlo's maiden name) who has come back as a part of Marlo's nervous breakdown. There are plenty of hints throughout the film, so the problem does not come from the twist itself. Instead the problem is how the twist is handled. After an accident, a doctor walks up to Drew and asks if she has had a history of mental illness. But why? As an audience member there is no indication that the doctor witnessed Marlo talking to herself or even mentions Tully to the physician, so why does she bring that point up? From the outside it looks as though Marlo got into a drunk driving accident. Drew replies to Dr. Smythe stating, no, but she did have a bit of depression after her last child. And that is it. No repercussions from the drunk driving nor the supposed mental illness, and no explanation to the husband why the doctor believes Marlo might be mentally ill. Marlo says goodbye to Tully, Drew apologizes for being an absentee husband, and the film ends. It felt as though it needed a resolution after the journey.

Tully is clever in its execution. Even the poster for the movie has more to it beneath the surface. Upon first glance the poster appears to be a close up of a zoned-out Charlize Theron. But after watching the movie, the poster details everything. The pizza is a reference to Marlo making frozen dinners; the stroller and blocks are a reference to the children; the mermaid is a reference to the surreal visions Marlo has throughout the movie, which are later revealed to be her drowning; cupcakes are a reference to Marlo wanting to keep up with the other moms who make Minion cupcakes; the microphone references Marlo and her daughter singing karaoke together; and the bike refers to the ending of the film when Marlo and Tully steal bikes and ride through the city. Even the tagline is clever, "see how the mother half lives," directly speaks to the idea that Tully is past Marlo. Tully gets to see how her life will turn out. And lastly the title of the film and how it is placed on the poster immediately tells audiences that Charlize Theron is Tully. The name is on her face, so it must be her character. Brilliant design.

Through strong performances from the supporting cast and the lead, Tully shines. Cody and Reitman together add a sense of realism to a story about real world struggles. Tully succeeds by being an intimate look at how you might love your kids and spouse, but you do not necessarily like them all the time. Theron gives an award-deserving performance, and Cody delivers a (mostly) well developed script. Even though the ending has flaws to it, Tully demonstrates the ups and downs for safe familiarity and the struggles it takes to retain normalcy through both the team in front of the camera, and the team behind it.

Franchise Fever: MCU Part 5

Hello, Weirdos! I’m excited to present this final installment of Franchise Fever: MCU ! Timed perfectly with the release of Avengers: Infinity War as planned. Honestly, I’m getting hyped. Reviews are out, but I'm not going anywhere near any information regarding the movie. I want to know as little as possible…although I did watch the first trailer—couldn't help myself. I'll be seeing Infinity War tomorrow evening. I'll share my thoughts, in some form or another, about the film overall and how it compares to the other MCU movies I recently watched. In the meantime, here are my final thoughts on the two most recent additions to the MCU.

Thor: Ragnarok:

Director: Taika Waititi.

What Holds: For starters, Odin's death was handled delicately and beautifully. The cinematography, the foreshadowing, and the difference in tone from the rest of the movie was brilliant. Hulk/Banner's development. He was back in the forefront, and I loved the idea that if Banner kept using his ability it might take over. Jekyll and Hyde reminiscent which added depth for me.

What's Weak: Parts where too slapstick for me. I understood they wanted to make this more of a comedy,but there were definitely jokes which fell flat or seemed unnecessary. The part where Thor attempted to convince Valkyrie to escape with him then his entire speech got ruined when he threw a ball at a window and it bounced back and hit him felt completely unnecessary. It undercut Thor as a god and made him seem like a doofus.

Final Thoughts: Although I wasn't a huge fan of some of the slapstick elements, there where bits of comedy that had me rollin'. All week I had the line pop into my head about his hammer "pulling' him off," and I still thought it was funny. Overall the movie worked. Much wanted development of the main characters, which was welcomed after the lull that was The Dark World. Also had an interesting, focused, developed villain. Marvel had been exploring the idea of self-reflection with their last three outings: what are you without your suit, what are you without your friends/family, and now what are you without your weapon. Gave the hero more depth through vulnerability. I dug it. 

In Comparison: In comparison to the last Thor movie, Ragnarok is a huge leap—never a dull moment. Third movie in a row Marvel had impressed me with. At this rate I'll have to expand my top 5 to a top 10.

Black Panther:

Director: Ryan Coogler.

What Holds: The message. Yes, this was a super hero movie, but what was it really about? For me it was about perspective. For T'Challa, Killmonger was a villain, but for Killmonger, T'Challa, his father, and their secrecy were the villains. That theme of perspective was prevalent throughout the movie.

What's Weak: Some of the tension was weak. It was cool seeing T'Challa lose to Killmonger, but the "oh no, T'Challa is dead" segment was weak. We all knew he was coming back. I knew the filmmakers had to create tension and conflict to drive the story, but that seemed obvious.

Final Thoughts: I knew this movie would mean a lot to a lot of people (I even listened to a podcast about it) and I could see why. For starters, the movie looked gorgeous, especially Wakanda. As with the first Thor, this film presented a new world steeped in tradition and community. Instead of character origin we got to be introduced to an established culture. Loved it and would love to know more. I'm not of African decent, nor am I a Black-American, so I doubt I fully grasp the importance and meaningfulness of this movie. But I don't think you have to be to enjoy a good movie when you see one, which I did. Black Panther was a serious film which addressed legacy, identity, race, and familial ties with precision and delicacy.

In Comparison: Like I said about Ragnarok, Marvel was on a streak for me. Black Panther continued that streak. I thought a case could be made that this was probably the most important movie the MCU had made. In previous films they touched on spiritualism, they touched on a big brother government, but with Black Panther they approached the themes head on. Top 10.

Wow. I can't believe that's it. Been a solid month of MCU movies (I even watched a little Jessica Jones). Some of the movies were formulaic throughout, but I hope Marvel continues with the current streak it is on for Avengers: Infinity War. Check back later this week for an update on that. Feel free to share your thoughts on these or any of the MCU movies. Keep on Creepin'.

Franchise Fever: MCU Part 4

Hello, Weirdos. We are coming to a close on Franchise Fever: MCU. It has been a fun journey. I already have my tickets for Avengers: Infinity War. Once that is released expect either an update to Franchise Fever or a review for the movie itself. In the meantime, please enjoy my thoughts on this stretch of my travels through the MCU. 

Captain America: Civil War:

Director: Anthony and Joe Russo.

What Holds: Mostly the character development. Throughout the years I have asked thought to myself about the repercussions of all the destruction in superhero films (especially aver seeing Man of Steel). Civil War addressed that question. This made the feel grounded. Yes, supers saved the world, but at what cost? Civil War did its best to show consequences of all the demolition by handling the matter in a political way.

What's Weak: Not much. I loved this one. I suppose it wasn't 100% a Captain America movie, more like 80%. It still revolved around the Winter Soldier, but was a diet Avengers. That was if I was nitpicking.

Final Thoughts: Civil War took tensions which were present since the first Avengers and brought them to a head surrounding serious issues. Some might have thought Captain was stubborn for protecting his friend to such I high extent, but after having recently watch The First Avenger and Winter Solder and the loss Cap went through in Civil War, it made sense. He is alone, Bucky was the last thing keeping him connected to his past life. Bucky was his best friend. Steve wouldn't be the same man if for Bucky who supported him, pushed him, and cared for him before he could have taken care of himself. Captain's development is great. Outside of the character development, the action sequences were handled well, especially with the amount of characters in some scenes. It was clear why they gave the Russo's the next Avengers movies. Often the MCU movies won't have a ton of emotion—this film is packed with it. The fight with Tony, Bucky, and Steve…wow, what a great sequence which summarizes the movie. Boiling tension, fantastic choreographed action, and emotional depth.

In Comparison: One of the best. Undoubtedly top five of the MCU. 

Doctor Strange:

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Director: Scott Derrickson.

What Holds: For me, the beginning of Doctor Strange was the best part. Up until Strange started to get a handle of his abilities while at Kamar-Taj the film was sad, gritty, and began to tell an interesting story. The visuals were great. I wanted more weird, MC Escher sequences.

What's Weak: Similar to Ant-Man, the plot was formulaic. 

Final Thoughts: Marvel gave us something drawing in the beginning. We had a man with Stark-like arrogance whom had his life completely destroyed. We got to see his struggle internally and externally. Then we got what we got the same stuff: typical hero’s journey with a vanilla villain who could have been interesting. I disliked the comedy in most of this. It felt often misplaced. Example: when Strange first encountered Kaecilius the battle built up, as did the intensity, then right at the peak they undercut all the tension with Strange’s cape yanking him away. Let us feel damnit.

In Comparison: Midling. A basic origin story as with  Captain America: The First Avenger , Thor , and Ant-Man . 

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2:

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Director: James Gunn.

What Holds: The direction they took the movie. It could have easily been, “this time on Guardians,” filled with another straightforward space adventure. Instead went light on plot and made it character driven.

What's Weak: They totally pulled a move from The Walking Dead . They gave us a bunch of screen time with a character (coincidentally played by an actor previously on The Walkig Dead ) only to make the character’s (Yondu’s) death more impactful.

Final Thoughts: I mentioned it before, MCU  movies sometimes like decent character development. In Vol. 2  EVERY character got an arc and it was amazing. Was it a super hero movie? Sure. Was it an action sci-if? Sure. But if you stripped all that away this movie was about family and what that means, dealing with loss, and the relationships that bind us. 

In Comparison:  I’ve heard complaints that some Marvel movies don’t hold up in their own; they only work as part of the MCU. While that may be acurate, Vol. 2 was an exception. It worked as part of a series, part of the MCU, and as a stand-alone film. 

Spider-Man: Homecoming:

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Director: Jon Watts.

What Holds: The feel. Marvel had been inching toward a lighter tone, and this was the lightest, but it worked in a more believes me way than any of the other film iterations.

What's Weak:  One of those movies which wouldn’t hold up as strongly outside of the MCU. Also, I didnt love Holland’s accent. It seemed as though he was always defending himself even in conversational dialogue.

Final Thoughts: Marvel ditched the origin story of Spider-Man in favor of an origin story for Peter as Spider-Man. We got to see him struggle with growing up as a teenager and as a hero. It was funny, it was quirky, it was action packed, the Vulture was scary, and there was an homage to Ferris Buler. What more could you want?

In Comparison:  More fun than anything that had come before it. Less serious, too. Unlike with Strange bad Ant-Man , Homecoming felt like a comprehensive film both tonally and in story.

Okay, that’s it for now. One more post coming soon for the last two movies. And then Infinity War  ! Keep on Creepin’  . 

Franchise Fever: MCU Part 3

Hello, Weirdos. My apologies for the delay on Part 3. I’ve been working on some other projects which I can’t wait to share with you soon. Also, in an attempt to shorten things up, I reduced the categories within each film to keep post concise. Check it out and share your thoughts below.  

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Director: Anthony & Joe Russo.

What Holds:  For me, the difference. Having watched all these in a row they started to become repetitive. But Winter Soldier was a breath of fresh air. More focused than the first Cap. and since the origin was established, it was able to tell an interesting story. At times it was different enough to the point it almost didn't feel like a Mavel movie, but instead resembled a spy/espionage film. 

What’s Weak:  Alas, at its core it was still a Super Hero movie. In the end there was a big plot to cleanse the world which ended in a massive city destroying battle. And nothing was at stake. They tricked us to thinking they’d actually kill a main character. Nope. He came back right on cue: right after Black Widow did her Mission: Impossible face reveal. Another weak point was when Cap. and Widow got blown up in that bunker. That entire place got demolished to the point they were now at ground level, but they’re good because they hid a couple extra feet lower. 

Final Thoughts: Strongly written, and fantastically directed by the Russo brothers made Winter Soldier shine. Pierce was an interesting, sadistic, behind the scenes villain, and Redford played the role with charm--almost enough for you to like him. The Winter Soldier himself was interesting as well. He was mysterious and, well...a badass. Even having watched it multiple time, the part where the Winter Soldier caught Cap.'s shield was still cool. Steve got more development which started in The Avengers as far as things not being as black and white as they used to be. He begins to have to question himself and why he was fighting. We also got to see him dealing with the past in a grounded way. He went to Vet. meetings and visited Peggy. Also, Hydra returned and made Rogers question everything he had done. Always interesting, and continued to to build the multiple film arc.

In Comparison: For me, this was in the top three of what I've watched thus far; up there with Iron Man and The Avengers. It had more interesting villains than half the franchise, and strayed slightly from the Marvel format.

Guardians of the Galaxy:

Director: James Gunn.

What Holds: The visuals were stunning. And as with The Winter Soldier, Guardians was different. Took us off Earth and presented us with another branch of this massive universe. And the make-up was amazing. At times I would forget it was make-up because the characters resembled what otherworld characters might resemble.

What's Weak: The plot itself was basic. Luckily the journey was what kept this picture entertaining.

Final Thoughts: Guardians of the Galaxy was fresh and fun. It took tropes from previous MCU films and toyed with them. Each member of the GOTG got bits of development throughout (even the talking tree) which gave the film depth and emotion.

In Comparison:  As Marvel shifts its focus from gritty and grounded to comedic, more family friendly, and fulfilling the giant story arc, Guardians benefits by being a comedy with action versus an action flick with misplaced comedy.

Avengers: Age of Ultron:

Director:  Joss Wheden.  

What Holds: I liked the idea in the beginning that the Avengers were going on missions we werent privy to. There was no set up, we were thrown into the middle of an outing. Along those lines, I thought them celebrating together worked to show them bonding and becoming a team.

What’s Weak: Nothing was at stake. No one got hurt or died that we cared about. Sure Quicksilver died, but he spent half the movie being a villain, and that was more or less a plot device for the Scarlet Witch's character arc. Also, Ultron could have been interesting, but instead he felt like an unfleshed out idea. It was as though the writers didn't know if they wanted The Office James Spader or The Blacklist James Spader. At times he was intimidating and scary. Other times he was doing deadpan comedy that didn't land with me.

Final Thoughts: Avengers: Age of Ultron felt like a filler episode of a TV show—there to let us know what the characters were up to, but with having done little for the overall plot. Ultron was self-contained. Tony created a problem, then Tony and the gang fixed the problem. We got Vison and Scarlet Witch out of it, which is cool, but outside of that it didn't do much.

In Comparison: Ultron was as though you were a kid at school walking to your table with your tray in hand and you tripped and spilled your milk. After you spilled your milk you cleaned it up and that was it. Where as the original Avengers was comparable to you walking to your table at lunch and a group of kids from another school came in and started a food fight.

Ant-Man:

Director: Peyton Reed.

What Holds: All the characters worked. Maybe one member of the heisting crew could have been cut, but outside of that no-one felt like fluff. Since this film had a lighter tone (no one is trying to destroy the world, or humanity, or the galaxy) the comedy worked better than in previous films. Marvel was able to poke fun of themselves with this one. The biggest example being the "epic" toy train battle.

What's Weak: Formulaic. Marvel knows how to do an origin story. A classic hero's journey. And in true Marvel fashion our hero battles a bigger version of himself in the end.

Final Thoughts: Ant-Man was a straight forward introduction to a new character. While nothing new was brought to the table, Ant-Man was able to make an entertaining story of redemption.

In Comparison: Middling. Not at the top of the Marvel chain since it didn't present anything fresh from a storytelling perspective, but not at the bottom either since there was character development and an interesting angle.

Thanks, as always, for checking out Franchise Fever. I have already watched the next set of movies which includes Captain America: Civil WarDoctor Strange, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, and Spider-Man: Homecoming. Part 4 will be coming shortly! Let me know your thoughts on any of the MCU films. Keep on Creepin'.