Monday, December 11, 2017

The Last Jedi predictions

It will make a lot of money and tons of fanboys/girls will declare it the bestest Star Wars movie ever.

But seriously, I haven’t seen some advanced copy and I haven’t read any earlier reviews.  This is just based on my reaction to The Force Awakens and what I understand of the movie business.

My feelings on The Force Awakens was that it was an okay movie undeserving of all the hype.  Probably the biggest issue I had with it was Starkiller Base.  I can cynically picture this conversation taking place: “What do people remember about Star Wars?” “The Death Star.” “Then we have to have a Death Star.” “If we just have another Death Star, people will say we’re just ripping off the older movies.” “Then we’ll make it bigger!”

I mean, if there needed to be a Death Star, what if the New Republic built it and was using it to destroy the last bits of the Empire?  That opens up a complex issue of how good people/groups/ideas can fall into evil.  In theory, that was supposed to be the point of the Prequels, but this could have been a chance to do it better.  Instead we get the Standard Story Number Seven of a group of good characters rushing to defeat the evil characters on the eve of total victory.

For years people would reference The Empire Strikes Back as an example of a good sequel because it wasn’t just the first movie done again.  If I talked about a simple character, living on a desert world, after an encounter with a droid, flying off in the Millennium Falcon and getting caught up in the fight against the galactic evil and their doomsday weapon, am I giving the blurb for A New Hope or The Force Awakens?  When I first heard that they were making a new trilogy, my one hope was that they would – competently – take it in a new and interesting direction.  But in my opinion, they just played it safe, which is why I say it’s an okay movie undeserving of all the hype. 

So what are my predictions for The Last Jedi?  Since they were successful playing it safe with The Force Awakens, I expect them to continue doing so.  This will probably lead to another okay movie.  I don’t expect any big twists.  For example, there is a fan theory that Rey is Anakin reborn which – from a storytelling point – is really interesting.  But it’s too weird for a major blockbuster movie.  As such I predict that Rey’s origin will be rather mundane.  It will only be … shocking because it was kept secret. 

I could be wrong.  The Last Jedi may be the bestest Star Wars movie ever, but I think it has a major uphill battle just to be in the same league as the original trilogy.  We’ll see.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Short story – “Buyer’s Market”

I first wrote this story back in 2014 and posted it on a site that is no longer around.  Some months back, I went through all the stories I had posted on that site and picked out a few I felt I needed to revise and repost.  They’ve sat on my desktop since then, but – for some reason – I figured today would be a good day to post this one.

“Buyer’s Market”

Closing the door, Mike walked into his bedroom lit dimly by a streetlight.  He sat on his bed, took a deep breath, and slowly spoke, “I will sell my soul to win this election.”

A silent puff of red smoke erupted before him.  When it cleared, a four foot tall, green lobster looking thing standing on its tail appeared before him.  “Hello,” it said, sounding as if it had a mouthful of marbles.  “What soul transfer transaction can I help you with today?”

It took a moment before Mike could bring himself to ask, “What?  Who are you?”

“Forgive, please,” the lobster said.  “You may call me ... Ralph.  I am qualified to handle all your soul transaction needs.”

Mike looked at it for several seconds before saying, “I was trying to sell my soul … to the Devil.”

“I can help you with that.” A small puff of white smoke appeared in Ralph’s right claw and when it cleared there was a clipboard.  Ralph began scratching on it with his other claw.

“Who are you?” Mike asked.  “Where’s the Devil?”

“Ah, I see the confusion,” Ralph replied.  “So many people began selling their souls, the Devil had to outsource their acquisition to beings from another dimension.” Here Ralph touched his thorax.  “I am fully capable of handling your soul transaction.  If you prefer to wait to speak with the Devil himself, that can be arranged, but I must warn you the current wait time is seven months.”

With the election two months away, Mike didn’t have a choice.  “Okay.  You’ll … do.”

“Very well.” Ralph finished scratching something on the clipboard.  There was another puff of smoke and Ralph now held a large, black crystal.  “I need to examine the soul in question.” There was a flash of blood red light, and then the crystal disappeared in a puff of smoke.  Ralph spent most of a minute scratching the clipboard.

“I’m sorry,” he eventually said, “you’re soul is too damaged.  There is not enough value in it to let you win an election.  The best I can do with it is,” Ralph looked at his clipboard, “have your opponent’s website experience technical issues for twelve hours, have you win a five figure dollar amount in a lottery, or arrange for a threesome.”

When Mike had finally decided to sell his soul to win the election, it felt as if a great weight had lifted from his shoulders.  Now that weight returned, and it felt as if it had brought friends.  Mike took a deep breath, then asked, “Can I have time to think about this?”

“Of course.” Ralph took something from his clipboard and handed it to Mike.  It was a grey plastic card with a strange, golden symbol on it.  “When you have decided,” Ralph explained, “kiss the symbol and I will return.  Good day.” He then disappeared in a large puff of blue smoke.

Mike laid back on the bed.  “Damn it,” he said.  “If I want to win this election I’ll have to work for it.”

For a moment, he felt like crying, but he pushed that away and sat up.  He needed to figure out a new strategy.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Trump’s mugshot

I had a thought the other day.  If during all these investigations information is found to not only have Congress impeach and remove Trump from office, but also to have criminal charges filed against him, his mugshot will break the internet, among other things.  Every news show – from major cable news channels to Joe Bob’s News Wrap-Up on YouTube – will air it.  It will be the subject of countless vlogs and reaction videos.  It will be the header photo on a million Twitter accounts and every other person of Facebook will change their profile photo to it.  And then the majority of newspapers – not just in the US but around the world – will print it along with countless magazines.  And then there will be the bumper stickers, and the posters, and the T-shirts, and the coffee mugs, and the shot glasses, and people getting it on cakes, and on and on and on.  I mean, all the movies and TV shows that show a college dorm room with a Che Guevara poster will just swap in a Trump mugshot poster.

This raised two questions for me.  One, who owns the rights to mugshots?  I’m just curious because I’m sure Leroy who makes flags with the mugshot replacing the stars will follow the law on the matter.  But more importantly, two, will having the most famous mugshot in history just stroke Trump’s ego?  Or would it be better if – if he’s found guilty – when he goes to jail to just say, “Good riddance,” and let him fade into obscurity?