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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.

Instant Family movie review

Few movies have ever brought me to the brink of tears. Instant family did multiple times throughout. I’m not saying that makes it a great movie or anything, but it’s great at something.

Instant Family is based on a true story and follows Pete (Mark Wahlberg) and Ellie (Rose Byrne) as they foster and attempt to adopt three kids, one of them being a teenager. Though this movie has its faults just like any movie, sometimes going slightly over the top with its few gags, for the most part I would say it sets out to do exactly what it wants to. Which is to tell a real and heartfelt story while feeding you a few slight laughs occasionally to pick up your spirits when it is necessary. I have seem some critics say that these laughs ruin the moment, but I say they add to them by making things feel more real when the tension of an emotional moment is broke afterwords and people start giggling. But that isn’t the only reason this movie is likable.

It is also original. Their are probably other movies like this one out there, sure, but I haven’t seen them and they are definitely not “in the norm”. The difficulty with making something like this good is you need solid young actors, which are very hard to come by. The three they snagged up for this one nail it though,  especially Isabela Moner as the teenage older sister of the three foster kids. She and Mark Wahlberg play off of each other so nicely that they alone almost brought on the tears I was talking about.

I would honestly watch this again, it’s simple, sweet, and funny. My kinda movie.

 

7 Days in Hell movie review

I haven’t fully processed this mockumentary film since watching it last night, but I’m fairly certain that I will never fully understand what I watched anyway. 7 Days in Hell is a mockumentary following an epic tennis match that took place over seven days between two all-star players. Off the bat I gotta say that I love that HBO lists this under “Sports” as if it is real. That alone made me laugh.

7 Days in Hell stars Andy Samberg as a past legend in tennis that comes back to take down the rising young star played by Kit Harington. Now, everyone knows and expects this type of thing from Samberg, but seeing it coming from a man I have only ever known as Jon Snow is great. Kit has a subtle deadpan comedy style that I couldn’t really expect. As for the comedy, be prepared, because it doesn’t exactly pull any punches. Early on you realize there isn’t a single aspect of this movie(?) that is going for realism, and goes to strange and far away measures to get a laugh.

In the end I’d say that if stupid, dirty, over the top comedy isn’t for you than you wouldn’t enjoy the first two minutes of 7 Days in Hell. If it is than it will be one of the many things keeping you in a laughing fit the whole time.

 

Band of Brothers TV show review

Band of Brothers doesn’t need me to accolade it or approve of it. Band of Brothers is already widely known as not only the best military depiction for entertainment, but also one of the best (if not the best) mini-series ever made.

Band of Brothers is made by Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks in 2001, after they collaborated on the movie Saving Private Ryan in 1998. It follows the history of Easy Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, of the 101st Airborne Division from their training early on, through D-Day, all the way until the end of the war.

I myself love military movies, shows, and books. I have come back to this show a couple different times and can guarantee I will many times again in the future. I love it for many, many reasons. The fact that the action sequences are gripping and awesome is just the tip of the iceberg, but they really are. Some episodes are more gruesome and focus on the battles than others, but every time they do I find myself holding my breath and staring intently at the screen. The sequences stay realistic and in reality, nothing is over the top but they certainly don’t pull punches. The war was hell and people were lost around every corner and it depicts that throughout the whole run of the show. At any moment a person that you found yourself invested in could die. Knowing that all of it is real makes it that much more emotional.

The characters (though that isn’t an entirely accurate description) are what really hold this together. You follow Easy Company from the very beginning before they have even seen the war. You get to witness a long arc of character development that shows how men are truly effected by everything that happens to them, and the strong bonds they create and what happens when those are severed. Some episodes focus on a specific character, such as the 7th episode, and my favorite, “The Breaking Point”. This episode follows First Sergeant Lipton, a man you get to see from his early days as a SGT before the D-Day drop. We follow him as he holds his company together during the battle of the bulge and we get a closer glimpse of him as he narrates the episode. Many episodes follow this formula and it never feels like cheap exposition dropping, but essential to the story. Almost as if we are reading a soldiers letters home. It would be impossible for me to write why I love every single character in this, even the ones I hate, while keeping this short. But, the fact that I could should tell you something.

I don’t want you to think I am overstating when I say that I have never seen anything in the theater or on television that has impressed me and made me feel more than this has. I could go back and watch Band of Brothers a hundred times over because everything about it is both wonderful and terrible in the best ways. It is truly a benchmark for both war depictions and storytelling itself.

 

Silent Hill movie review

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Kevin Smith movies: Best to worst

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Hobbs and Shaw trailer review

So I’d like to start this off by saying that I WILL go see this. I’m not ignorant to the fact that this will be mindless and over the top, but that is what I have come to love about the Fast and the Furious franchise. What I do find a bit weird though is that THIS is the spinoff they went for. I had no idea this was coming and I have no idea why it is coming. No one asked for this….

Anyway, Hobbs and Shaw follows two characters recently introduced to the FatF franchise in their own spinoff movie. Why? Who Knows. It is a ‘save the world’ plot mixed with a ‘begrudging body-cop’ plot. It stars Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, and Idris Elba as the bad guy. Now, FatF is super over the top now but this one seems to take the cake and run away with it. Idris Elba is a genetically engineered super human poised to annihilate the world and the government has chosen a cop and an ex military dude to defeat him. Like, what the fuck?! My favorite part of the whole trailer is one of the introductory lines of Idris Elba when someone asks who he is and he literally responds, “Bad guy”.

I don’t think this will have any real connection to its parent series. There might be a cameo of some kind and a few references, but outside that I think it is entirely its own thing. They probably had an idea like this and morphed it into a spinoff so that it would have name recognition and sell more tickets. Who cares though. It looks fun and sometimes it’s nice to turn off your brain and enjoy something.

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing book review

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing, By Hank Green, is the first book I read in 2019 and the first book I finished in its entirety in quite a long time! (you can watch my TBR here).

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing follows April May, an aspiring young artist in New York City. One day April stumbles upon a giant metal samurai statue and makes a video with her friend Andy. Overnight the video goes viral as the world discovers these statues have popped up all over the world and are presumed to be alien.

I love this book. I never review books I don’t like because I don’t finish them. Well, I finished this one in five days flat. It may help that I laughed my ass off a lot, and that rarely happens with books!.. I am a long time fan of the Green brothers and the work they do. My first book, Blackout, had “DFTBA” a nerdighter reference in the first pages. Picking up this book I was preparing for a read similar to John’s style and was pleasantly surprised that Hank has a much different style of writing; almost quicker, adult oriented, and more personal. The standout for this book to me is just how modern it is as well. The characters make YouTube videos, converse through Facebook, and worry about their Twitter followers. It merges the written word with modern life and technology like I haven’t seen before.

AART is about the contact with these alien objects, the reaction of humanity, and the conflicting hate/comradery that comes with all this. But, all of this is more of a vessel for what I see as the real point of the book… Fame. April comes in to fame almost over night. Despite what she wants, she is consumed by the fame and loves every moment of it. She wants more of it, and she needs more of it. Hank Green himself speaks about this from a first person perspective and seeing an honest portrayal of the hunger for fame people have is awesome.

I legitimately see myself picking this book up again to read a second time. You should check it out.

2019 TBR

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(You can pre-order my new novel, Death Do Us Part, here)

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald movie review

 

It may not surprise anyone when I say I didn’t enjoy this movie, given that is a popular opinion at this point, but it breaks my heart none the less. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is a sequel to “Where to Find Them” and follows the uprising of the universes most famous dark wizard. Now, I feel it must be stated that my wife and I are huge Harry Potter fans, both of us sporting tattoos and collectibles. I am however a much bigger fan than her. I enjoyed the first installment of the series, liking the twists it put on the things I already loved without ruining itself or relying on the Harry Potter series too much. It marketed itself as completely separate except for the world itself. I respected and liked that. I went it to this movie with high hopes and they were dashed away rather quickly into it.

The movie opens with one of the most bad ass magic fights we have had since the finale of Order of the Phoenix. The stunning visuals coupled with score of John Williams are breathtaking. That is, unfortunately, the peak of the movie. Shortly after this it spirals into a cluster of confusing plots, characters that go nowhere, and references that are shoved down your throat every few minutes to distract you from how boring this movie actually is. This truly saddens me to write because I am someone that will quite regularly throw in a Harry Potter movie to relax during a rough time.

There are so many main plots, sub plots, character arcs, and everything else that it is honestly just hard to follow. At the end of it I wasn’t sure what was important, what was going on, or if it was even over. Because of this it made the big twist at the end more confusing rather than anything else and I left the theater completely unsatisfied.

The actors in this are good. Eddie Redmayne as Newt is still amazing and the best part of this movie. The movie is less focused on him than the first one however and it suffers from it. I don’t believe it needed to be focused on him completely but if they didn’t want to they needed to make the other characters just as interesting. Jude Law as Dumbeldore was great but he had barely any screen time. Johhny Depp was a nice cast for Grindelwald, but they gave him nothing to do, wasting the character and actor at the same time. Any time spent with Credence, played by Ezra Miller, brought the movie to a screeching halt and we were with him a lot.

The icing on the cake for me was the references. References were everywhere, handed to you on a silver platter, trying to distract you from what you were watching by reminding you of the good times. But it didn’t work. I was only reminded that I wasn’t watching those movies instead. I wanted this movie to succeed on its own. I didn’t want it to rely on my love for its predecessor. A few call backs would have been fine, welcome even, but it was clear it KNEW it wasn’t good. It was clear it WANTED  me distracted and reminiscing.

Writing this review doesn’t make me happy. In fact it disappoints, and saddens me that I am writing it. But it is honest. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is boring, and expects to get by purely on your love of Harry Potter to make money with it’s next three movies. It is nothing more than a shameful cash-grab filler.