Category Archives: EVERYTHING

Turtles All The Way Down book review

Before I get in to the nitty gritty, I just want to say that I have been a huge fan of John Green for many many years. He is a large part of why I became a writer in the first place. I actually discovered him and his brother on YouTube before I even knew John was an author. If you haven’t checked out their channel, Vlogbrothers, you definitely should because it’s an amazing community… Now you know how much it pains me to say that I wasn’t exactly a fan of his fifth solo novel, Turtles All The Way Down.

To this day, Looking For Alaska, his first book, is my all time favorite book. It had great characters, a different way to tell a story, was very real, and took risks. That has always been something I respected about John, he walked the line of what was technically allowed in a Young Adult novel. Why is that so important? Because teenagers don’t live PG-13 lives or speak elegantly (usually). In LFA, there are heavy themes of tragedy, addiction, sex, and coming of age. There is a blowjob scene in it that has sparked controversy among readers and its integral to the story. An Abundance of Katherine’s is very similar in that sense, while also being quirky and different from most books in tone. John also always has a romance, usually as the focal point of his stories. If I really look at all of his novels, the realism of teen romance and relatability goes down with each passing release. Having pointed all of these things out, TATWD is the worst offender of them all, having little to none of the characteristics that I once sought John out for.

TATWD follows Aza, a teen girl that struggles with OCD and thought spirals, on her quest to solve a mystery of a fled billionaire so her and her close friend can collect a reward. Aza happens to have had a small fling with the son of said billionaire and ends up speaking with him to get info on his whereabouts. This is what the story is truly about. The relationships and troubles of these characters… Now, John is great at dialogue and making you feel very deeply about everything going on, and that’s no different here. I’m not arguing that he isn’t a brilliant writer. What i’m arguing is that this book is safe, and he might have lost touch with who teenagers actually are. I wouldn’t blame him, he’s in his fourties.

Although I didn’t really enjoy the book (again, that kills me) I will say that Aza’s struggle with mental illness, OCD specifically, is very real. John Green himself suffers from OCD, and has described the character as being quite self-based and it really shows. Reading about this in a way only someone who truly understands the problem can create is amazing. It spoke to me, and countless others.

In the end, this wasn’t a terrible book. Curiosity and author loyalty kept me going until the end. Parts, primarily the inner workings of the main character, were good, but everything else felt normal and unrealistic. If you disagree, I would honestly love to hear your side and what you got from this book. In the meantime, I eagerly await #6.

Huangs World TV show review

So I went down a crazy Eddie Huang rabbit hole to end up watching this. First I watched Always be my Maybe and really liked Randall Park, so then I watched Freah Off the Boat to see more of him, then that brought me to Huangs World because I wanted to know why the kid had a show about his childhood.

Huangs World follows Eddie Huang around the globe as he tries different food and cultures… Although the show is TECHNICALLY about the food its obvious that the food is just a common ground for Eddie to talk to these people about their way of life, history, and problems. I really like that. The food pays a part, but i’m watching TV, I don’t want to look at food the whole time that I can’t eat. Its like a small and fun documentary in every episode.

Let’s talk about Eddie, because without him this doesn’t work. Eddie is a second generation immigrant from China that made his fame and fortune through restaurants and business. He doesn’t seem like that kind of guy though. Eddie is a huge fan of rap, a subject he knows a lot about and adopted into his own signature style. He’s also really rowdy, not at all shy about his love of clubs, parties, booze, and weed. What comes as a surprise though is the times when he is truly smart and knowledgeable, speaking to people all over with respect and dignity.

Huangs world was cancelled after only a couple seasons, but those were amazing times. Eddie was never shy about asking the big questions and really inserting himself into the culture when he wanted to. Sure, it got really political every now and again, but that’s just who he is. And like I said, it’s not really about the food. It’s about him and the places he goes.

My Top 5 Podcasts

 

Long Shot movie review

Seth Rogen is undoubtedly my favorite actor. I see absolutely everything he is in, and though he has had a few stinkers, they never fail to make me laugh. Long Shot is no different.

Long Shot stars Seth Rogen and Charlize Theron in a romantic comedy, a guilty pleasure of mine, that follows a reporter (Rogen) and Secretary of State (Theron) on a presidential campaign. Charlotte (Theron) has always been career focused and has lost the fun in her life. Fred (Rogen) is a goofball that never quite grew up… That’s a description that you can apply to probably 90% of romantic comedies, and it usually works, but just enough. Long Shot is elevated above the rest with it’s hilarious writing and the chemistry between the two leads that you never thought you’d see together.

There’s honestly so much of this movie that I like. The way it builds Fred’s character as being a brilliant writer, and having convictions that he sticks to, while also being the goofy guy. Charlotte is a strong female role model that has a fun side to her that she doesn’t let on. The relationship is honestly the stand out though. There comes a point in every romantic comedy like this where the girl dumps the guy for being a bit immature, then eventually he grows up and they get together. That’s basically the plot of Knocked Up! Charlotte likes that side though and stands by him for who he is. I like that. Its refreshing.

The comedy gets a bit dark and sexy at times, especially the two sex scenes. They are light, but probably the two funniest parts in the whole damn thing. I’d be remiss too if I didn’t mention O’Shea Jackson Jr in this review. I’ve only ever seen him in Straight Out Of Compton, but that guy has some comedy chops. I’d pay to see him and Seth Rogen in some kind of buddy comedy.

In the end its obvious I liked this movie. I even bought it and watched it a few times. Seeing Rogen in a role like this is nice, he is still his old self but is getting older. I enjoy that. Theron is in a role I never pictured her in. Doing something like this, and also Mad Max really shows her range. I realize this was a huge flop but that’s no one’s fault that worked on this film, just whichever dumbass released it next to Endgame.

Jurassic World Evolution game review

Alright so this is going to be a pretty quick review… The concept of JWE is pretty straightforward and is what hooked me immediately. Who wouldn’t want to play Zoo Tycoon but with dinosaurs? And from the start it is actually really fun. You are given little tasks to do in your park that once completed unlock new things and new islands to build more parks. You go on expeditions to be able to make more dinosaurs and genetically modify them. For a while its actually really cool… But then the cracks start to form and you realize that you get to a point rather quickly where there is nothing new to be done and its essentially just park maintenance. So, then you go on the free play island and mess about, maybe even make a free for all T-Rex Hunger Games arena like I did… But, again, that plays itself out rather quickly. So by the end of it all you have a game that you have done just about everything on in ten hours that you paid $60 for. So, I would highly recommend this game if you borrow it or get it cheap because its a very fun ten hours, but I would highly recommend against it if you gotta pay, like, more than twenty bucks.

Zombieland: Double Tap trailer review

Normally i’m not a fan of trailers using rap music to make their trailer seem more epic, when it’s very clearly out of place for the movie itself, but this movie is well aware of what it is. Another hilarious point that touches on that, is the very beginning of the trailer when it flashes on screen all the Academy Awards and nominations the actors in Zombieland 2 of all things have. I legitimately laughed just at that.

Zombieland: Double Tap is the VERY long awaited sequel to the cult hit, Zombieland. A new thing these days is to release sequels to films many years after the original. When it’s a hit it is huge, when it’s a flop people get angry. From the moment this was announced everyone has been all over it. It has a new director with Ruben Fleischer, but from the brief 3 minute glimpse I got it looks like hes remaining true to the first. Doesn’t skip on the gore, jokes are great, it’s over the top. Everything I want.

Zombieland: Double Tap looks like it takes place in the white house at the beginning, but Wichita (Emma Stone) hints that them being on the move is what they prefer. So it could take place mostly in DC or on the road in a road trip zombie movie. I’d be okay with either. They also run into their doppelgangers, who is an almost equally great cast of actors, but it’s not clear how big of a part they play.

10 years later I’m optimistic enough (which these days is not my thing) to say that I think this movie will be just as awesome as the first, if not exceeding it with who these actors have become.

Silicon Valley TV show review

I watched Silicon Valley in its entirety over a two week period. Nothing to do with the show, I just think that’s impressive, or worrying, or both.

Silicon Valley follows five guys as they struggle to build a company in Silicon Valley on the back of a revolutionary program. It stars Thomas Middleditch as Richard, Zach Woods as Jared Dunn, Kumail Nanjiani as Danesh, T.J. Miller as Erlich Bachman, and Martin Starr as Gilfoyle.

The show is kicked off when Richard develops an algorithm that can compress files down much smaller than anything ever seen before. He puts it into a music app that he names Pied Piper which he accidentally leaks to huge tech company, Hooli. He and his buddies realize what they have and quit what they are working on to build Richards program and his company quicker than the big companies.

Silicon Valley is very built on the characters and their relationships. Each character is completely unique, and though a bit cartoonish, very real. They all play off eachother SUPER well and have some of the most hilarious dialogue in television. Being along for the ride with these characters as they hit speed bumps and hard times building this company is the best part. To me, at least, Jared and Gilfoyle are extreme standouts in this show, both being completely hilarious in pretty much exact opposite ways.

Now… On to the bad…

I found it EXTREMELY frustrating how after multiple seasons nothing ever seemed to move forward. The guys always seemed to make great progress but end up exactly where they started in the first place, back in the house. I realized that the seasons basically had a formula they lived by. App is going well>They start to get big>Richard is an ass>They almost sell out but don’t>they go back to the house and start over. The first couple times it made sense, but eventually it got tiresome. This last season looks like it will build off of the momentum the previous season finally gave us though and I’m really looking forward to that.

Always Be My Maybe movie review

Always Be My Maybe is a VERY stereotypical romantic comedy. But, I’m a sucker for those as they are a guilty pleasure of mine.

Always Be My Maybe stars Randall Park and Ali Wong being two childhood best friends that have a hook up at the end of high school and fall out of touch going their separate ways to live vastly separate lives. They reconnect fifteen years later and start to rekindle despite how different they are.

Now, there isn’t really much about this movie that is original I’m just going to be very straight forward with that. But, I will also argue that that’s not necessarily a bad thing. They take a standard plot and run away with it into something that is hilarious and super re-watchable (seriously, I put this on in the background when I’m doing stuff still, I think I have a problem). The chemistry of Ali Wong and Randall Park is great. They genuinely seem like old friends and play off each-other really well. And though this is a standard rom-com, the characters have depth and real human flaws. You pepper in the fun little things this movie has, like the band Hello Peril that has awesome original songs that’s fronted by Randall, and the hilarious satirical cameo by Keanu Reeves, and you have a fun time. And isn’t that what we all really want out of any movie?

Stranger Things 3 TV show review

Stranger Things, one of the few, if not only good show left on Netflix once again does not disappoint… Season three picks up on the following fourth of July after the events of last season. Everything has seemed to calm down in the small town of Hawkins. The kids are growing, dating, working, etc. Things end up going sideways quick though, as always.

Also as always, Stranger Things 3 is split up in to multiple different story lines carried by different characters. Steve, Dustin, and Rose (a new character and very fantastic) are off discovering a secret Russian facility that’s messing about with the upside-down. John and Nancy are investigating a case that ends up being about a monster, or flay. The rest of the kids are also figuring out whats going on with the flay, and how Max’s older brother Billy plays into all of this. Hopper and Joyce are trying to figure out whats going on with her CRAZY magnets!

Lots of aspects of Stranger Things 3 are awesome, and they are the same things great with the past seasons. Relationships, cinematography, crossing genres, nostalgia… But, this is unfortunately the weakest season. Not bad, just not as good. The kids are growing up and although that is inevitable, it does take away a bit of the magic we had at first and create awkward makeout scenes and them kinda being dicks. Hopper seems like hes being flanderized into a meat-head grump-ass. The plots in this season are much more generic horror tropes than in the past and barely involve the upside-down at all.

I don’t want to be a downer for this whole review so I’m going to leave you with a few things I loved this season…

  1. The friendship of Steve and Dustin as great, I love seeing the guy Steve has become and they are real goofy together.
  2. Dacre Montgomery did some of the best acting I have ever seen this season. He better get some kind of reward for that.
  3. The addition of the characters Rose and Alexi were great.

In the end I did sincerely enjoy myself watching this, though it went by too quickly. My wife and I will eagerly wait for the new season. Its basically the only reason we have Netflix now.

My Game of Thrones Finale Thoughts and Review

Eight years of television for a show that is long argued to be the best show ever made, only contended by Breaking Bad, and The Wire. Seventy-One episodes that have captivated millions upon millions of people… All of it was wrapped up last night in what many people are calling the worst finale they have ever seen, to wrap up a disappointing and lazy final season. I’m here to give my thoughts on the ending.

Although I’m not as bent out of shape as most people, I am still at least slightly disappointed with most things, and angry with others. Lets just start with the biggest thing I, along with everyone else, was waiting to see. Character endings. I wanted to see where all my favorite characters were being left the last time I ever got to be with them!

Jon: Rightful king of the seven kingdoms, and the prince who was promised. The bastard we followed from day one to oath into the nights watch only to become lord commander and eventually king in the north. What does the man who came from nothing do? Kills Daenerys and then just kinda fucks off to the north. I do get it. I really really do. Jon never wanted the throne, but he was thrust into power because he deserved it and earned it. He would have been best for the seven/six kingdoms… His ending was never quite explained in a way that made sense either. He was exiled to a wall that serves no purpose anymore, in a kingdom that is independent and now ran buy his sister, to appease a group of people that all left on boats anyway. Jon gets to hang out in the north with the people he loves, and grow old peacefully. He’s happy, but he is the only one better off for it and all the holes in the forcing of it is just lazy writing.

Daenerys: Dead. I’m fine with her being dead, and I’m one of the few people it seams that is completely fine with her story arc. I saw her going mad from the very beginning and Tyrion was right when he listed off all the horrible things she has done to horrible people. Her thirst for power and self righteous ways have been subtle and long winded building up. In episode five she threw a wrench into everything and threw off everything I thought I knew in a very predictable final season as a whole.

Arya: When Sandor told her to go away so she wouldn’t be like him, and you saw something click in Arya’s head, it was a great moment. A great ending for their relationship and I had high hopes for Arya’s ending. Now, personally I wanted her to go to Storms End to be with Gendry, but I know that’s not her. Her being a pirate/explorer is very her and makes total sense. It doesn’t take away from the fact however that its completely unsatisfying. She is our girl, she has been our girl since season one. She has the best story of everyone and I feel like its too basic of a way to finish it off. I can live with it though, I guess.

Sansa: Sansa’s ending is the only one I am truly content with. Sansa is a fantastic ruler that for a while now I thought had to be the lady of Winterfell. Queen of the north for an independent kingdom is even better. I went from absolutely despising her in season one to her being one of the best on the final season. She has been through so much suffering that has made her strong. She has learned from Little Finger, and Cersei, who though terrible people are brilliant, and yet she has the compassion and love for her people and home that her father did. If Jon is not the king in the north, no one deserves the crown next more than she does.

Bran: Bran’s story has been by for the most boring and worthless this entire time. His journey to become the three-eyed-raven feels dumb at this point as it has served very little purpose. His character is awkward as hell and just… Boring. The fact that he become the king makes me ridiculously angry as it makes absolutely no sense. I get it, he’s impartial because he is unfeeling. Who gives a shit?! What in the hell has this guy ever done for anyone else or done to deserve the throne. Nothing, complete and utter jack shit. “Who has a better story than Bran Stark.” So many people, almost everyone in this entire series. He got a unanimous vote to be king? Bullshit he did.

Tyrion: Tyrion’s job is the be the hand. Doesn’t really matter to who, since he has been one many times for many people, and been very bad at it every time. The fact that he is hand again is so stupid. Give it to Davos. Give it to Davos. A good man that was actually good at his job… I was expecting ore for Tyrion. Something out of left field. Something Different. But nope, same old thing… His council is also the biggest joke I’ve ever seen.

There is lots of other small things both good and bad. Like after so many years and build up the Night King feels like a subplot in the end. Or that Jamie’s arc was completely ruined. Theon got a great ending that did his arc justice at least.

In the end, unpredictable is good, but only if it  makes sense. Don’t do something completely out of character as a writer, just because your readers or watchers won’t see it coming. Every time you do that it ruins our experience just a little bit more. Don’t do something we want if it feels like fan service, that isn’t what we want. Don’t sacrifice realism and charm for something epic. This season and this finale did all the DON’T’S I can think of and I was let down for it. Game of Thrones as a whole has not been ruined for me, but It has been less than twenty four hours and I’m left unsatisfied and uncaring. I shouldn’t feel that way about something that’s been in my life almost a decade.