Tag Archives: stephen king

The 11/22/63 Miniseries

Okay, I loved the book 11/22/63 from Stephen King, and I had heard about the upcoming miniseries starring James Franco, but man, seeing this trailer just now?  I am sooo pumped to see this.  The last shot from the trailer with Oswald’s perspective from the book depository (which I totally recognize having visited there myself earlier this year!)?  AWESOME.  Can’t wait for this in February!

The Bleak as F*ck “Revival”

I had briefly mentioned my thoughts on Stephen King’s Mr. Mercedes and found it inoffensive and enjoyable enough, but it didn’t really feel very StephenKing-y.  Since I had taken my time to actually get to reading Mr. Mercedes, it was great timing that his second novel of 2014, Revival, ended up landing on my doorstep right when I finished Mr. M.  Revival stayed unopened on my nightstand for a week or so though but once I cracked it open, I was immediately enchanted.  Oh how silly I was in those early days.

81KbwsMpmKLStephen King is amazingly talented at writing characters.  Even Mr. Mercedes had compelling characters but the plot was just where I felt let down as it was a simple (yet disturbing) crime story.  In Revival, Stephen King yet again creates a set of characters you immediately bond with.  There’s Jamie, who we meet as a young boy and learn all about over the course of his life;  there’s also “Pastor Danny”/Charles Jacobs, who bounces into Jamie’s entire life at both opportune and inopportune moments.  While Jamie is our eyes & ears into the story and certainly our protagonist, Pastor Danny isn’t exactly the antagonist.  At the beginning, when he’s the town’s charming preacher with the boyish good looks and the beautiful family, you’re utterly within his sway.  Then tragedy strikes and Pastor Danny mocks God and heads out of town.

King has created these characters and you LIKE them.  Even Pastor Danny!  He’s a guy who got completely screwed by cruel fate and you can relate.  What you don’t really know is that Pastor Danny has plans.  He is quite a student of lightning and its “healing effects,” but as we learn over the course of the next five decades, there’s a price to pay for playing with these kinds of forces.

If you’ve read any reviews of Revival, you’ll likely have read the sentiment that there’s really no payoff until the very end.  That assessment is mostly true, but it seems to be missing the forest for the trees.  The tale told of these two men and the way they intersect over their lifetimes is fascinating.  Stephen King never lets you get bored with these two men and you want to know what they’re doing while it’s happening in the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s and 00s, while knowing that this is a tale being told from “The End’s” vantage point.  King builds a fantastic sense of dread and every strange moment he reveals lets you know that something indeed is happening and it is a bad thing for all involved.

And JESUS – the end….what the book leads to…when I finally realized that was it and what all had happened, I turned to Larry and just muttered “that was fucking bleak.”  Obviously King loves to have his carnage and his horror and all associated mindfucks that go with it, but in Revival, it is beyond that.  Even he has mentioned in interviews that “Revival is a dark, nasty piece of work” and that is no lie.  Someone on GoodReads.com mentioned in their review that the reason they found this book so bleak was that King puts out a sense of a hope and at the end, utterly smashes that hope and fucking leaves you stranded and alone.

It’s a rough end to a story but I can’t really go into it without spoiling it to say why.  But the journey to the end was still worth taking.  A lot of good lines in the book, but one that stuck with me and one I see quoted a lot by others is this:

Home is where they want you to stay longer.

There’s some great stuff in this book, including the ending, and it’s a great Stephen King novel through and through.  Just, damn, man, damn.

An Interstellar / Big Hero 6 Moviefest

So it’s been an exhausting three days as I’ve been laid up with a fever-cold combo that was quite annoying.  Started coming down with it on Thursday and while hoping it was just sniffles or maybe allergies, on Friday I woke up and it was clear I was sick with fever.  So at least I had managed to see Interstellar the night before!  I felt good better on Saturday morning and said let’s go out to the movies, so we then saw Big Hero 6.  As I pointed out a few posts ago, that may have been a bad idea for me physically as when I got home, I was well on way to being sick again with fever.

Mr-Mercedes_612x380Anyway, rested yesterday all day and managed to finish Stephen King’s latest, Mr Mercedes, and the quick review (which is really all it deserves): it’s a very serviceable crime thriller, but nothing special.  Nothing that made it feel like a  Stephen King book. Hopeful for the next coming out this week, Revival.    BTW, I absolutely adored Doctor Sleep, the followup to the character of Danny Torrance from The Shining.  Maybe I mentioned my high regard for it before?  Mr Mercedes had been sitting there on my table for a great long while as nothing about it was compelling to me – but being sick and having actually begun the book a week or so ago helps get you going on projects that require very little physical effort, and FB and Twitter get old after a while!

Movie Talk Time!

My intent for this post was to talk about the two movies I did see while in a state of delirium/sickness, so let’s get to it!!!  First up….

-98caac85-f5ed-419a-8a2e-672a10473ea3Interstellar (2014)

Saw it at AMC Universal City in glorious 70mm IMAX on Thursday, November 6

I’ve been looking forward to seeing this movie for quite a while, especially once the trailers started giving us a little bit more of what the movie was actually going to be about.  A friend at work set up an outing for that Thursday before the official Friday release as it was a chance to watch this while being shown in film in 70mm IMAX format.  It was a no-brainer for Larry & I to join in.

interstellar_movie_still_2To jump right to if I liked the movie?  OH YES.  It’s fantastic.  Not only are the visuals stunning especially in glorious IMAX, the story and science behind them are intriguing and entertaining to watch. The plot centers on a last-ditch effort to save humankind from extinction as apparently climate change has impacted the ecosystem to a point where it seems to now be hostile towards our growing of food as there’s something called “The Blight” destroying crops.  Through some mysterious circumstances, Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) ends up piloting the secret mission to fly through a wormhole to a galaxy light years away.  He has to leave his family and knows that he won’t see them for years, due to the effects of the Theory of Relativity and light-speed travel.  This hits especially hard with his clever daughter, Murphy.

Interstellar_trailer2The interstellar voyage is wondrous to behold.   Imagine seeing that on an IMAX screen.  You feel like that little tiny orb in the screnshot above, and that’s a PLANET.   The scientific theories and repercussions the team experiences as they explore and try to find earlier voyagers does challenge you to keep up, but I think the movie does a good job of letting you watch and see what happens to fully understand what the side effects are of relativity and black holes.  Well, at least as well as we understand them.  Side note: there are some entertaining and spoiler-filled articles on various entertainment sites that list all the seeming plotholes and confusing points this movie introduces….BUT, let’s just say they really don’t matter and I think those sites might be a touch nit-picky.  This movie is an experience, a ride, and you may actually get a better understanding of the theory of relativity while you’re at it.

Interstellar24All the actors do great jobs, as you have Jessica Chastain (as grown-up Murphy), Anne Hathaway (as a fellow scientist on the voyage), Michael Caine (one of the lead scientists encouraging the mission) around, but one of the surprising things is the awesome set of robots that accompany the team on their mission, TARS and CASE.  They provide a great sense of levity as they’re programmed with humor and sarcasm thresholds which they take full advantage of.  They’re also lifesavers in many ways throughout the movie.  Interstellar wouldn’t be the movie it is without their addition.

Interstellar_67383Anyway, it’s a long movie, but thankfully it’s one of those you don’t notice that it’s long as you’re just getting blown away by the visuals and the story.  I wager it’ll be one that loses something in the transition to watching at home, kinda like Gravity, but it’s still gonna stick with you.  Another thing?  It ends nicely….not entirely all wrapped up in a pretty package, BUT it stuck the landing in my book and left my satisfied.  Maybe there’s a sequel, but I see no need for one.  It’s a nice complete tale.  Okay, the ending is a bit crazy, but I still like it.  Seriously.

Big Hero 6 (2014)

Saw this at the Pacific Theaters at Americana on November 8, 2014
And now it’s time to talk about a movie that was also sci-fi in nature but far more light-hearted and dare I say it, fun?  Interstellar was certainly a ride, but in Big Hero 6, you’re getting a movie that has tons of charm, tons of heart, and another adorable robot in the form of BayMax.  It’s a thrilling feeling to have TWO good movies in a row and not be the slightest bit disappointed in either!
BIG HERO 6Big Hero 6 takes place in an alternate reality where there is a place called San Fransokyo, an imagining of San Francisco that also has a mashup of Tokyo in it.  It’s quite beautiful honestly.  Hiro, the central protagonist, is a robotics prodigy/whiz, while his older brother, Tadashi-big-hero-6-37325655-245-250Tadashi (who is kind of a hottie for an animated character, just sayin’), is also a genius robotics major at the local robotics university lab.  Hiro isn’t motivated to go that route until his brother drags him to his lab and shows him the amazing things that he and his colleagues have developed.  If you’re in the slightest interested by robotics or cool tech, this movie will work wonders for you.  Tadashi’s robot though is the star of the movie though, as it’s BayMax!
BayMax is a healthcare robot that Tadashi built that activates upon hearing an “Ouch!” and scans for injuries and does what he can to fix them.  Hiro ends up suffering quite a huge loss and ends up counting on BayMax for emotional and physical support.  Hiro ends up on a quest to right some wrongs after the tech that Hiro develops gets used against him and his friends – and in the course of doing so, turns his group in to a formidable force of their own, eventually called….Big Hero 6!

big-hero-6-baymaxHonestly, the main story is entertaining and spectacular and quite enjoyable, but this movie’s heart is all about the amazing BayMax (wonderfully voiced by 30 Rock’s Scott Adsit).   He only wants to help people and gets singularly focused on making sure that’s what he does.  It’s utterly charming and he steals the movie (as if it was about anything else…but still).  Whether it’s his attempts at getting around cramped surfaces, his plaintive statements such as “I’m not fast” while running from danger, or his pseudo-drunken state when experiencing low battery and the hilarious “hairrry baby!”, BayMax is a keeper.  There’s lots of emotions in this movie too and a few times I found myself full of tears.  It’s a good movie, dammit, and the tears were well-earned.  I’m glad Larry obsessed about this movie before it came out as I’m not sure I would have been all that enthused, but he was, I got more enthused, and here we are.  A definite must-see!!!

Watch SMASH or NBC will fire me

Alright, they probably aren’t going to fire me just over that, but seriously, watch SMASH.  It’s a fun, slightly soapy (okay, very soapy) show about making a Marilyn Monroe musical on Broadway.  It’s not too insider-y (which makes some critics sad and I admit, it would be cool to get a true look at the behind the scenes world of Broadway) and is very easy to watch and follow along with.  Some of the characters are absolutely awful, for different reasons.  The actor who plays the son of Debra Messing is positively the worst actor in television.  His dad or mom must be a producer, or else he slept his way into the show.  There’s no other excuse for him being on such a high-profile network show. The character of Ellis is a terrible character as well, as he’s just a villainous guy who always hears things he shouldn’t and is always in the wrong place at the right time.  Yet as opposed to a villain you kind of love to hate, he’s someone you just don’t understand why he does anything.  So it’s annoying.  With those particular quibbles out of the way, the talent on display is really the reason to watch SMASH.  The musical numbers are fantastic, and most of the cast is truly talented, especially Megan Hilty (who plays Ivy, one of the characters competing for the role of Marilyn) and Katherine McPhee (who plays Karen, the newbie making her big break in Broadway and who was also up for the role of Marilyn).

Anyway, watch the show, especially if you are a Nielsen family.  It’s been renewed for another season, yay!, so there’s hope it can improve its ratings.  A new showrunner is also coming on board for next season, so maybe he can ditch the terrible actor and figure out some better plot threads for these talented actors.  As a hint of the awesome numbers, here’s a clip below.  If a musical were actually made with these numbers, I’d go see it in a hearbeat!  Doesn’t hurt that the chorus boys are pretty hot.


In book stuff, since I last wrote about the Game of Thrones series, I’ve made serious progress forward.  Serious progress.  I’m now on Book 5, A Dance With Dragons, and I think the last time I wrote about it on this site, I was on Book 2.  They’re huge books and so much goes on!  Highly recommended series, and if you can, watch the HBO show too.  Freakin’ epic.  I also just received the latest Stephen King book, another entry in the Dark Tower series, set squarely between books 4 and 5.  Stephen King even says the new book, The Wind in the Keyhole, could be referenced as Dark Tower 4.5.  Haven’t started reading it and probably won’t till I finish ADWD, but I love having a queue of awesome books to look forward to.  Eventually I’ll have to read the last of Gregory Maguire’s Wicked series too. Anyway, I brought this up as the website Vulture.com ranked all 62 of Stephen King’s books.  I don’t agree with some of the explicit rankings (Rose Madder is not his worst book by a long shot) but overall, it’s a fun read.  Each book gets a paragraph or two about why it sucks or why it rocks, and those descriptions immediately transported my mind to my own experiences reading these books.  I think I’ve missed about 3 or 4 of his books, but everything else, I’ve been there.  I just re-read IT, which they ranked as #3, and it’s hard to dispute it.  I forgot how good that book was till I re-read it.

Here’s the link to Vulture’s slideshow list:


Monday Mind-dump

I’ve been lax on posting for no real reason.  It’s almost too easy for me to do, but then I don’t.  Here’s why:

Tropico 4:

In some respects, it’s a good thing Larry is back in NYC, as I wouldn’t have been very communicative as if I play video games on my PC, 9 times out of 10, I’m going to play Tropico 4.  It’s a game that lets you play as a dictator of a tropical island, and it’s up to you to satisfy your Tropicans’ religious, entertainment, housing, etc needs.  You can also stripmine your island for its resources and start up lucrative industries, like jewelry, chemicals, weapons, canned goods…  I can’t imagine watching someone play is at all interesting, but when you guide your island to success and watch what just was a dock and a palace into some megalopolis, it’s hypnotic.  I’m on the last mission of the campaign, and shit just got real.  All of a sudden, it’s a much more challenging mission.  I guess that’s good.


Game of Thrones:

Both the HBO series and the books have made me their bitch.  This weekend, I was feeling blah and stayed in for the most part.  On Sunday, I ended up watching the remainder of the season – that comprised of the last six episodes.  That’s six hours – six REAL hours – of television.  I couldn’t stop myself.  I even forgot that I had been doing laundry.  I even knew what was going to happen, as my plan was to read the book first and then watch the series (I was successful).  Yet under the liberating non-constraints of HBO as well as working with the author as an executive producer, you get pure medieval fantasy bliss.  Tons of political intrigue, LOTS of gore, lots of nudity (female AND male) and sex, and quite a bit of wit and cynicism from everyone’s favorite dwarf, Tyrion, a viewer become spellbound.  It definitely is hard to get into during that first episode, because just like the book, a ton of characters are thrown at you.  Yet you slowly figure out who is who and most of their motivations (Littlefinger and Varys notwithstanding) and now you simply HAVE to know what’s going to happen next.

Similarly, the second book, A Clash of Kings, has got me in its grasp.  Book 1, Game of Thrones, ended with quite a bit up in the air, which Book 2 picks right up on.  BOOKLOG notes (spoilers abound now, so feel free to jump ahead to the next paragraph if you don’t want to know what’s happening about 1/4 of the way through the book):  First, the Theon Greyjoy stuff.  It took me forever to remember who he was and why I was supposed to care.  Thankfully I just watched the HBO series of book one, so I got a good reminder.  He goes back to his homeland, the Iron Islands, where his father awaits, but instead of at most a “welcome back”, it’s derision and accusations of being a Stark.  Plus, Balon implies that he won’t be helping Robb defeat the Lannisters…he has his eye on something else.  I’m not sure what that something else, although Theon knows.  Is it Winterfell, since only Bran is there now?  Speaking of Bran, he just finished greeting some of the many lords who are coming to Winterfell to be heard and one of them mentions the decree from Stannis concerning his allegations about Cersei’s incest with Jamie.  That knowledge, combined with his dreams of crows, finally illuminates for him what happened that fateful day on the tower when Jamie pushed him out the window after seeing Jamie and Cersei screwing.  There has been no proof, up till possibly now, that Jamie and Cersei are incestuous, and the current plan by Cersei and Tyrion (who knows full well that it’s true) is to let a similar story float up about Stannis and his wife, although implying the wife and the Fool had an affair that resulted in his grotesque daughter.  Arya’s fate is also unclear as she and Yorick’s boys (all headed to the Wall for the Night’s Watch) settled in an abandoned courtyard and were promptly attacked, getting burned to the ground by a Lannister army.  Arya and Gendry (who was quite attractive, as I had imagined, in the HBO series when Ned found him) escaped through a secret tunnel but what the hell is going to happen now?  And I still can’t imagine if Arya and Gendry are “meant to be”, as there is such a big age difference there.  I like my Arya fierce and independent.  I’m sure other stuff is happening, as in these books, the many threads are all in motion.


11/22/63, by Stephen King:

You don’t think the intricacies of Game of Thrones is enough to keep me occupied, do you?  P’shaw.  I did want to finish Book 1 first before starting this book, as it is huge.  I then started this one, but then I was stuck at the airport waiting for Larry’s flight to arrive so I started reading Book 2 of GoT, so now I am reading these both simultaneously.  Luckily they have nothing to do with each other or are even in the same vein and it’s easy to keep them sorted.  This book is a whole lot of wow too.  The main conceit of this story is that the protagonist, Jake Epping, is made aware of a rip in the time-space continuum that will take you from present-day 2011 to the same day in 1958 every time you go through it.  It’s a real 1958, and any major things you do back then WILL impact your real present, which you’ll be able to see when you come back through the rip.  And oh yeah, no matter how much time you spend in the past, when you go back through the timerip, it’ll only be 2 minutes later in 2011.  The other hitch?  If you come back to 2011 and then decide to return to 1958, it’s as if you pressed RESET.  Everything you did in your previous time trip is undone, so anything good you did that last trip would have to be redone.  BOOKLOG time (Spoilers ahead, so jump ahead to the next paragraph to avoid them):  Alright, so as you can see from the title 11/22/63, this book also deals with Kennedy’s assassination in Dallas.  Jake is tasked with this duty from the guy who first found the time rip in his restaurant pantry, but he was unsuccessful in stopping Lee Harvey Oswald.  Jake is pretty much unattached and decides to go for it.  He tests out the whole mechanics of it all by first trying to prevent a dramatic murder in one of his friend’s childhood which happened in DERRY!!!  Derry, the city from Stephen King’s IT, a huge novel I actually just re-read during the Med cruise.  So yay for fortunate timing!  1958 is also the year that IT’s first cycle of terry ends, so Jake gets to see a Derry as it was right after IT was silenced the first time.  It’s a fascinating look back at things in the 1950s, but what was most amusing was that after all the work he does to stop the murder, he is only able to half-stop things from going shitty.  So he leaves 1958, goes back to 2011, sees what happened with his interference, and gets ready to go back in for the long haul, all the way to 1963.  He decides to do Derry in a much more efficient manner this time, and quickly takes out the killer long before the time of the original murder, and then heads off to Texas.  Oswald apparently was in Russia for most of the time leading up to 1963, so Jake ends up biding his time in  a small Texas town.  He takes up teaching English at the high school (just like he did in 2011) and has also met a nice fellow teacher named Sadie.  It’s still only 1960 though, so a couple years left to go.  There are some threads in the story about Jake’s gambling (using Back to the Future methods of knowing how the games end up) that feel unresolved, so I’m expecting that to impact his life.  Plus, you just know that the conceit of the timeline RESET will come back somehow after he’s taken care of the Kennedy thing.  I know it!!!!


I’ve been doing other things too, but those are big timesucks right there.  Happy news:  my sciatica pains are almost all gone.  Did I already write this?  Well, it looks like my doctor was correct about waiting this out.  I was beginning to give up as the pain, over the past 4 months, continued to get worse, move around, change, get better, get worse again, and move around yet again.  At the very beginning of this month, right before Larry left for NYC, the pain really started moving again and seemingly back to where it originated from.  It was weird, and I was oddly hopeful that it was a sign things were getting better.  Yet the pain was just as agonizing.  But then the days came where sitting didn’t bother me that much.  I could get into bed without wincing.  I realized that the pain indeed was going away.  It is still 95% gone and for that I’m grateful.  Now I just have to do my best to try and protect my spine from such injuries.  And for God’s sake, when I have a ton of luggage – take a fucking taxi.  Trains are for when you have one bag.  Not 3 heavy bags each.

Okay, enough for now. I’m going to continue with the BookLOGs and other posts on a more frequent basis, hopefully.  That is, if Tropico 4 doesn’t get me first.