Cross Wars


Rated: R | Running Time: 98 Minutes
From: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Available on Blu-ray, DVD & Digital:  February 7, 2017
Get it via : Amazon | iTunes

Cross Wars ReviewFirst I have to assume the film people involved with “Cross Wars” were going for a B-Movie feel, which is fine. I generally like B-Movies and can usually enjoy the campiness of them. Sadly this movie didn’t make the grade of B.

In doing a little reading I found that “Cross Wars” is the sequel to “Cross,” a film trying to be in the “out of the comic book and on to your big screen” kind of movie. The basic rundown is that Callan Cross (Brian Austin Green) is handed down this Celtic cross amulet that has powers, and Callan is now kind of a superhero. He rounds up a team of folks to save the world from bad people.

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The Weird Power of Music


For most of the day, yesterday, I was in a pretty good mood. It was one of those days when there seemed to be a spring in my step, I was feeling good, and then for whatever reason, still unknown to me, as evening came I became grumpy. Little things annoyed me, I was in this weird mood of just feeling like I couldn’t get anything done, couldn’t get the gumption to start, and just plowed through the evening.

Kind of worried I might snap at my wife for no good reason, I just opted to go to bed, flustered at why my mood changed, and hoping to wake in a better mood.

Nope.

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Helping Settle a Court Case

Have you been summoned for jury duty?

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There it was, a jury summons. I get the mail, flip through the normal bills, flyers, stuff that instantly gets shredded, and then whisper, “Shit.” I looked just like the guy in the “Welcome to Jury Duty” video, or whatever they called it, who opens his mail and sees his jury notice, only I didn’t see him whisper, “Shit.”

And so began my odyssey to achieve, as the “Handbook for Illinois Jurors” says, a “higher opinion of the privilege enjoyed by the free citizens of our country to participate in the administration of justice.” My journey began almost like the stages of grief. There was the denial, the bargaining, the depression, the anger, and then finally the acceptance.

First came the denial.

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One Bag Gone

In a quest to be more healthy, at least I think it’s more healthy, for the past months I’ve eliminated most white sugar. Yup, no products with white flour, no pasta, limited fruit, no cookies, no ice cream, and for the hell of it, no beer, and a lot of looking at ingredients on products and putting it back on the shelf wondering why it needed sugar in the first place. However, on this quest, I allow myself one cheat day, a day to eat as much, or as little, of anything I want. Usually cheat day is Saturday, usually there are cookies, usually there is ice cream, and almost always there is beer.

Snyder of Berlin Cheese CurlsThe challenge, however, is defining “cheat day.” Normally I stick with the definition that cheat day begins after waking  and ends when going to bed, the basic cycle of breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but then, for our latest weekend, my wife suggested a 24 hour cheat day, starting at about 7PM. This definition came about mostly because she had a craving for some cheese, then a craving for chocolate, then my reminding her that we had special chocolate that was about to expire, and then some cheese curls, and not just any cheese curls, but the best cheese curls in the entire universe from Snyder of Berlin, delivered to me by my sister and brother in law on a recent visit.

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The Dead on Facebook

Have you wished a dead person "Happy Birthday" on Facebook?

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If you’re on Facebook long enough and have enough friends, eventually, if it hasn’t happened to you already, one of them will pass away. I remember the first time it happened to me – the odd post on someone’s wall that hints something is wrong. It could be a simple “I’m going to miss you and the times we shared” post, or the “I’m glad you are at peace now” post, or a post by a family member who is able to log into their account mentioning their dying. The first time I found it a bit unsettling, that here I am, on Facebook, finding out about someone I know dying, from their own timeline nonetheless. I also remember one time I was looking for a person I used to know, found their page, and found out they were dead. Damn. what a bummer. I wondered what happened to the good, old days, when you would find out with a phone call, but then part of me realizes that it’s probably easier to use Facebook so that you don’t have to deal with dozens of “explaining” what happened conversations, the “Let me know the funeral plans” and thereby being burdened with the responsibility of remembering to tell them said plans, or the uncomfortable, rehashing over and over, the person’s dying. Facebook: It’s how we notify, and avoid people.

Okay, back to dead people on Facebook…

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The Sheik


Rated: Not Rated | Running Time: 96 Minutes
From: Dark Sky Films
On DVD March 1, 2016 : Via Digital Download Now

The most hated, and at the same time beloved wrestler of all time has a story that can simply be summarized as “The good. The hated. The ugly. The survivor. The star.” He is Khasrow Ali Vaziria, he is The Iron Sheik, and the documentary “The Sheik” tells it all without pulling any punches, or camel clutches as it would be, in a fascinating look at The Sheik’s roller coaster of a life.

Starting at the beginning, “The Sheik” traces Khasrow all the way back to his story in Iran, born in 1942 and becoming a wrestler, a star athlete in the Olympics, and a bodyguard for The Shah. Seeing his star rising yet not as high as fellow wrestler Takhti, when Takhti supposedly “committed suicide” and rumors abounded that it was The Shah who didn’t like the gold medalist’s popularity thereby “taking care” of the national hero, Khasrow realizes he needs to leave his beloved Iran for his own safety, and he heads to the United States.

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The Family Stone


Rated: PG-13 | Running Time: 100 Minutes
From: 20th Century Fox
Get it via : Amazon | iTunes

I hate when a movie has potential to, well, not really be a classic, but at least one that I would probably sit down and watch when it comes on cable (lately I’m hooked on “The Santa Clause 2: The Mrs. Clause” and I’m embarrassed to admit that), and “The Family Stone” had that potential until it decided to put in an all-too-easy, sentimental, sub-plot, that the movie didn’t need, a sub-plot I don’t want to have to relive at Christmas-time. I’ll try not to reveal this sub-plot, nor the other obvious plot twist that is supposed to surprise you, but here we go…

Everett Stone (Dermot Mulroney) is in love with Meredith (Sarah Jessica Parker), and of course it’s the time of the year, Christmas-time, when boy must bring girlfriend to meet his parents and family, and what a more awkward time to do it than at said Christmas-time, especially when your family is slightly dysfunctional, even though you probably don’t realize it. And it’s even worse when your dysfunctional family doesn’t really like your girlfriend, based on an earlier dinner when your sister, Amy (Rachel McAdams), met up with the two of you, and now they fear that you want to ask her to marry you. Such is the problem facing Everett and Meredith. Now, Meredith, is your atypical, big city, career driven kind of woman, perfectly clothed, with tight hair and stuck to her cell phone. Everett seems just kind of lost, yet still supposedly in love. Anyway, Meredith arrives and it’s pretty much Amy’s job to make her feel as lousy as she can, and Meredith is so miserable that she ends up staying at the local inn instead of at the Stone household, and calls her sister, Julie (Claire Danes), to help her save her reputation with the family. Julie arrives, there is a highly uncomfortable Christmas Eve dinner, and all of our cast of characters, also including Mom Stone (Diane Keaton), Dad Stone (Craig T. Nelson), Ben Stone (Luke Wilson), and Thad Stone (Ty Giordano), all have revelations that would change their lives through the next year.

Alright, that’s a pretty crappy synopsis of a movie that at it’s core is a fun look at a wacky family and a girlfriend who really doesn’t fit, although she really does, just not knowing it yet. There’s some seriousness (Mom doesn’t want to give son her Mom’s wedding ring, even though she promised she would if said son found the woman of his dreams), some odd-ballness (Ben is pretty great), some funny-ness (Meredith’s breakdown on Christmas morning gave me one of the biggest laughs I’ve had at a movie in a while), and the typical family-ness (in the end, it’s Christmas, a time for family, and a time for all to get along). But what I didn’t need, want, or want to have to see again, is the sub-plot, that although is a sub-plot everyone will have to go through at a Christmas (not exactly like this sub-plot, but the same concept) or Holiday, I don’t want an entertaining Christmas comedy with a nice hint of drama to make me have to relive every time I see it. I know that might not make sense if you don’t see the movie, but as I just re-read this review so far, nothing really makes sense.

Look, the movie is entertaining, and as much as I’ve been reading bashing of Sarah Jessica Parker’s portrayal of Meredith, I thought she did a pretty good job going from the hoity-toity New York City girl, to the girl who really has a sentimental side, to the girl who just needed some rubbing from Ben to let her freak-flag fly. Luke Wilson was fantastic as the stoner-type brother who always seems to be filled with stoner wits of clarity, and Diane Keaton was just fine as the overly protective mother, who didn’t need to be burdened with the extra story she had. I’ve always been in love with Claire Danes, so she can do no wrong in my eyes, and Rachel McAdams was utterly perfect, especially when she uttered the words “Of course you do,” and then walked away. All that said, dropping the totally sentimental, unnecessary sub-plot, I’d have given this movie 4 ½ stars out of 5. With that part in it, I’m dropping this rating to 2 ½ stars out of 5. It did have one of the biggest laughs I’ve had in a while, but for goodness sake, don’t make the tear-jerking so easy.

That’s it for this one! L8R!!


Is It Okay for My Mother to Punch Your Mother Any Longer?

As I was working on my never-ending project of finishing the book I started like five years ago about when I posted a word a day on Facebook, a project I constantly wrestle with “Who would actually buy this thing? Dammit, I’m going to finish it anyway.”, I came across the word “decision.” As a spoiler I posted that word way back on November 10, 2011, and it was really about my wrestling with the decision if I should shut down my website, Entertainment Ave!

Obviously it’s still here, although, from time to time, I do still wonder if I should just pull the plug, but one of the comments for that day was from my sister, Janet, and it was “Eeny, meeny, miny, moe.” It made me think that as a kid there wasn’t really the randomness in picking things if you could quickly do the math, but it also made me think how we were kind of violent. I mean, you had “Eeny, meeny, miny, moe. Catch a tiger by the toe. If he hollers let him go. Eeny, meeny, miny moe.” Continue reading Is It Okay for My Mother to Punch Your Mother Any Longer?

The Promotional Calendar Isn’t Dead?

Do you have a calendar on your wall?

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Ah, the middle of February. By now most of us have given up on our New Year’s resolutions, lost the excitement of changing our future, and it’s back to our normal, mundane lives where come December we’ll be like, “Where did the year go, and why didn’t I learn guitar like I said I would?”

But why? Why do we stop? Why can’t we keep the focus throughout the year?

I’m blaming it on the death of the paper calendar.

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Then It’s a Habit

How long does it take to declare a habit a habit?

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In my never-ending quest to better myself one of the thoughts that enters my head is the development of habits, both good and bad, and how I can build the better ones while eliminating the things in my daily life that are a little more detrimental. Now, as a Catholic at that almost time of Lent, there is the challenge to come up with something I should “give up” for the Lenten season. Yup, 40 days of eliminating something and in doing so remembering the suffering of Jesus prior to holy week, even though it’s really more than 40 days, and you may or may not be able to use Sunday as a cheat day depending on if you want to justify in your head that “it’s okay to have this chocolate bar because it’s Sunday,” instead of just sticking it out for the entire Lenten season. Many people use the time to try to eliminate a bad habit, some people to just “calm down” some badness, and others twist it the other way of adding something good during the season. It’s a timeframe that seems workable, gives a nice start and end date, and a belief that if it’s possible to change during Lent it will be easy to continue that change for the rest of your life. And, oh yea, don’t forget the Jesus suffering stuff.

My greatest success in Lenten abstinence was the year I decided to eliminate adding artificial sweeteners to my beverages, namely to my iced tea and coffee, which I’m happy to say was a successful habit removal development as I didn’t resume the practice after Lent was over. I also stopped drinking diet pop during that time, though that habit did kick back in for a few years until recently when all of the stories about the badness of artificial sweeteners finally got to me, and unless desperate for a carbonated beverage to sooth my upset tummy, the desire for my daily Diet Pepsi is now gone.

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