Coincidental Circumstances (Part 5)

I needed to brainstorm this. Bad prologues were often saddled with too much exposition and background. If Miranda was getting a prologue, it was going to be kick ass. In the world of espionage, there is one bar to surpass.

Sometimes a high bar.

Sometimes a low bar.

It has been the standard for 50 years.

I had to beat a James Bond pre-credit sequence.

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I rubbed my hands together. Even on paper, the story had no punch. Any good writer knows there has to be a kick ass hook at the beginning. Miranda needed a motive. I glanced at the barista, an overweight girl with short hair with a frosty top. A back tattoo expanded onto her neck. She had added extra pumps of flavor in my macchiato so she was good in my book.

I swear, the bullseye never fails. I pointed at the barista and clapped in glee.

Miranda obviously needed a partner.






Movie Reviews: Logan Lucky


If I was to assemble a dream team to rob a Nascar race, what would be my top 3 draft picks?

1)Thomas Crown

2)Danny Ocean

3)The Joker (Dark Knight version)

I understand what happened. Instead of one James Bond, they replaced him with a newer James Bond. Instead of one heart throb, they replaced him with Magic Mike. Instead of one over-the-top villain, they replaced him with Kylo Ren.

I’m sure the movie pitch was something like “Magic Mike plus James Bond plus Star Wars meets Nascar meets Oceans 11 meets Little Miss Sunshine. “Cinematic gold,” the group of producers would exclaim before high fiving each and heading off to their lunch meetings at Nobu.

I saw how the other half steals. To me, it seemed just like how regular criminals steal: with a bad plan. In movies, bad plans are often replaced with overtly ambitious plans executed by underachievers. This is because boring plans by overachievers is too serious. It’s Heat. It’s the opening of The Dark Knight. The protagonist is typically the authority chasing them.

The movie itself is worth a watch. The gimmick is watching Daniel Craig play an American down on his luck. Channing Tatum does a serviceable job in his performance but it was hard to believe Adam Driver was his brother. Part of me thinks the movie would have worked better if Adam Driver was the main POV. The obstacles would have been even more challenging, and maybe with the war backstory there would have been a more clever ending.

Movie Rating: 7/10 John Denver songs.


Travel Blog (Las Vegas Adventure Part 4)

For you writers and bibliophiles, one travel tip I do have is if you are ever in Las Vegas, one of the top rare book stores in the country happens to be in the Shops at the Venetian.

Yes. A casino doubles as a home to a rare book store.

I present to you, Bauman’s Rare Books. 

Retail markups are alive and kicking here. You can buy a first edition, second issue of The Sun Also Rises for a cool $13,500. 

Are you a Truman Capote fan? You can buy both of his classics if you don’t mind parting with a some cash.

The store is one of the rare places that you can actually pick up and touch a $30,000 book, under supervision of course. They have a ton of books going back a few hundred years, along with modern classics. The newer the book is, the more likely it needs an autograph or inscription to get a place on their shelf.

Are there any James Bond fans here? Despite being a pretty bombastic movie with a nonsensical plot, the first edition of Moonraker commands $12,000.

The Grapes of Wrath is a novel that is required reading in many high school curriculums. True story, as a final project I turned in a children story of the Grapes of Wrath, complete with the shocking “suckling” ending. Who knew people in the depression could have simply scooped up copies of this book and given their grandkids a nice inheritance. 
And finally, we have The Stand and Dune. The Stand is autographed by  Stephen King back in 1983 I think. Sometimes personal inscriptions are worth more due to the relationship. Dune is my favorite Sci-Fi novel of all time (Read it 3 times). In some fantasy dream land I will find this book for $1 at a Goodwill and do 3 victory laps, but until then I can only look and be envious since I don’t have $9,000 to spend. 

If you are ever in Vegas and like book collecting, Bauman’s Rare Books is a must.

Movie Reviews: Spectre


Spectre directed by Sam Mendes

James Bond will be back in … Spectre. Yeah buddy. Was I excited with a giant tub of popcorn to watch this. To me, Daniel Craig is the best James Bond ever. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know you die hard fans stuck in 1960 think Connery is the best, but come on, those films are barely worth watching anymore.

Casino Royale is the best bond film of all time. This edged out my former top bond film, Goldeneye, after years or repeat viewings and arguments with friends. Casino Royale harkened back to the first Ian Fleming novel I ever read. It was darker and edgy and told the story to why Bond couldn’t truly love again. Goldeneye with Pierce Brosnan as Bond about a decade after he should have been cast (Remington Steele contract disputes kept him off). Sean Bean did what he always does … die. It had Famke Janssen and Russian politics and the best Nintendo 64 tie in game of all time.

I had such high hopes for Spectre. Casino Royale was awesome. Quantum of Solace was poor. Skyfall was awesome. You see pattern, right? When I started watching Spectre, the first ten minutes was so over the top and awesome, I thought the curse was over. I mean, what an epic opening. One long shot. Watching the opening of it was a sight to be seen. I was filled with popcorn and soda and excited for what was to come.  Then we got Monica Bellucci for some reason in a bit part. Then a mystery of hunting for Blofeld. Then it all culminated in a final confrontation at Blofeld’s lair in the desert. Bond was captured. He triumphed and blew the whole thing up. I was fairly happy and was ready to leave the theater.


Then the movie kept going.


For no reason at all, other than to give Blofeld a scar, the movie falls off a cliff and falls into the abyss of stupidity. Why? He didn’t even kill Blofeld on the bridge, and we all know he won’t stay captured, so what was the point?

I digress.

The good thing is the first 90 minutes made for a decent Bond film. The downside is that we had to deal with the last 30 or so minutes of the film.

Movie Rating: 9.5/10 (Up until the explosion), 1/10 (everything after the explosion)