Monday, March 27, 2017

15 Movies Where the Guy DOESN'T Get the Girl

My family makes lists. We've done it for a very long time. After watching one of the following movies, we started assembling THIS list.

Easily 95% of Hollywood stories end with boy get girl, and vice versa. Personally, I'm a fan of this ending. I'm a romantic, somewhere under all this cynicism. So shoot me.

But how often have you seen a film where the man and woman meet, fall in love, and DON'T go home in the end?

There be spoilers ahead, so you've been warned.

These are listed in no particular order, by the way. I will not discuss Romeo and Juliet / West Side Story, because 1) it's the same bloody story, and 2) it's been talked to death.

Shall we begin?

Casablanca

If you don't know this one by now ... where the Hell have you been? It's a classic.

Chronologically, the events are -- Boy meets girl, girl leaves boy because she discovers that she's NOT a widow, girl wanders into boy's gin joint with not-dead husband. Husband happens to be hunted by Nazis because he is THE propaganda arm of the resistance, a true leader. Boy let's girl and husband go off into the sunset, despite that he still loves her, but it's for the greater good, because the husband is needed in World War II, and he needs her. Boy walks off into the fog with his best friend.

It was a great execution, and a classic film. And if you haven't seen it ... what the bleep are you waiting for?

Gone with the Wind
Another classic film, this one is more convoluted. Girl is a whiny little brat who becomes a manipulative woman. In order to keep the family farm within the family, she goes through several men, landing, finally, on a Han Solo prototype. After putting up with years of abuse from this woman, their daughter is killed in a horse riding accident. He has no reason to stay and put up with his wife's crap anymore, and leaves her -- at pretty much the moment where she realizes that she actually loves the guy she married for his money.

Yeah, this was one screwed up dynamic from minute one. Every time I turn into this film, I tune in for Rhett Butler's scenes, and the burning of Atlanta.

When they made a sequel, several decades later, the two finally ended up together, only after she leaves the family farm behind her, deciding that her home was with the family she had created.

But the original was truly an exemplary portrayal of Dorothy Parker's line: For every bitch there is a son of a bitch.

The Bodyguard

Do I even need to bring this one up? Won a few academy awards. Girl hires boy as bodyguard -- boy is a stiff, OCD security specialist. Boy and girl take a while to warm up to each other. SPend one night together. Boy is screwed up in that he didn't maintain perfect control. Yelling ensues. Boy saves girl. Boy moves onto his next job, letting girl fly off into the sunset.

This film was carried by style as much as anything else. A great many elements of this film still hold up, strangely enough. It's odd, but it mostly works.

Dr. Kildare

An entire series of films revolved around this character, but at the end of the day, in the penultimate film, the title doctor loses his wife to -- I believe -- a traffic accident. It was out of nowhere, and surprisingly heart wrenching for a series that is largely light and breezy.

If you trip over it on TCM, I do recommend the series, if only for Lionel Barrymore.

On Her Majesty's Secret Service

Louis Armstrong's piece, "We have all the time in the world has ominous overtones in our household because of this film. It is cruel irony for this film. A new James Bond had just taken over, and married the best Bond girl ever -- Diana "Emma Peel" Rigg.

Bond gets married. Leaves the Secret Service. Drives off on his honeymoon ....

And his wife is murdered in a drive by shooting by Enst Stavro Blofeld.

.... It is possibly the only Bond film that has a real emotional ending.

The Great Gatsby

Talk about a train wreck.

Boy meets girl. Boy is from the wrong side of the tracks. Boy grows up, gets his fortune, and dedicates his entire life to getting enough cash to make the Silver Spoon girl happy. Girl is married. Boy tries to woo girl away from husband. Girl drives boy's car, and runs over a local woman. Girl's husband talks the dead woman's husband into killing boy. Boy dies. Girl wanders off with husband as though nothing happened.

This feels like the prototype of every screwed up love story ever. Why is this guy chasing this girl? He could have any woman he wants, and he focuses all of his attention on married woman who is ultimately a vapid shell of a human being. I don't understand any "romance" where a guy is treated like a doormat by the object of his affections, and he takes it until she comes around -- only in this case, she doesn't come around.

Ugh.

The Manchurian Candidate (Original)

Boy meets girl. Boy and girl are broken up by schmuck parents. Boy goes off to Vietnam. Boy is brainwashed to be an assassin when the right commands are sent. Boy is sent to murder girl's father, girl gets in the way and is killed. Boy is deprogrammed, kills his handlers, and then himself, without ever knowing that he had killed the girl he loved.

... Just ouch.

And this was  Frank Sinatra film, sans Rat Pack. Oy.


Comic Book Films

Yes, they get their own category. Why? Because you generally don't expect comic books to have Romeo and Juliet syndrome, where everything goes bad. Unless the girlfriend is murdered because the writer has no idea what to do with her.

Captain America

Boy meets girl. Boy is frozen under the ice for decades --JUST AFTER finally making a date with her.

This doesn't help when you get to part two. Girl is still alive when he comes back.  Girl has Alzheimer's... damn that was heartbreaking.

Wolverine: Origin

Stop right there, and keep reading. I see you reaching for the comments section to complain. Yes. this is a film where the boy and girl don't end up together, even if you hated the film. And it's also sort of hard when you realize that not only does she die trying to protect him, he doesn't even remember her doing it.

The Dark Knight

Talk about your train wrecks. Boy meets girl, boy loses parents. Boy dresses up like giant bat. Girl finds a nice guy. Boy decides that the nice guy means he doesn't HAVE to dress up like a giant bat. Girl is blown up by killer clown. Boy thinks she would have waited for him, even though she was going to run off with the nice guy.

Ouch.

Amazing Spider Man 2

I haven't seen this one yet, mostly because I know what happens. I was never really a fan of Gwen Stacy in the comics, but Emma Stone made me like her. I was rooting for them. And then she gets dropped off of a clock tower. Really? Couldn't have waited until film #3?

Questionable Content

These are films and setups where you look at them and go ... "Was that a romance?"


The Dain Curse

Okay, this one is screwed up.

A Dashiell Hammett book made into a film, The Dain Curse centers around a rich girl who is hip deep in problems: there's a simple murder, to start with, and then a cult (and a murder), then another murder, and a bombing, AND she's got a major drug problem. Our main character is a PI hired by the family, who is dragged down the rabbit hole.

I"m not even sure if this one even counts, really. If there's really a romantic connection between the two, or what.

Big

10 year old becomes an adult Tom Hanks. Meets adult woman. At the end of the film, he becomes a 10 year old again.

..... This one just makes my head hurt.

Count of Monte Cristo

Boy meets girl. Boy is thrown in jail. Boy comes back for revenge and finds that one of his targets married the girl. Boy destroys all of them. Girl informs boy that burning all of his bridges on a quest for revenge isn't cute or endearing, and leaves.

This one is questionable because the original love story isn't the focus of the film, or the novel -- it's the revenge. So does it count? No idea.

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

Yikes. What do you do with this one? Boy meets girl. We discover girl is a Nazi. Girl also slept with boy's father. Girl goes crazy and dies when she screws with the wrong artifact.

.... I won't even touch this one.

Zorba the Greek

Again, the love story here is secondary, and perhaps even tertiary.  Boy is setting up a business. Boy meets other boy. Both boys get girls. Boy #1 loses girl because a DIFFERENT boy killed himself because she wouldn't love him, and his family murders her. Boy #2 loses girl to disease. Business falls apart in epic failure.

I'm .... not even sure where to start. So I won't.

So, what did I miss? Anything in particular? 

For books where the boy will -- most likely -- get the girl ... eventually

Try some of these

The Love at First Bite series. 

    

Sunday, March 26, 2017

TONIGHT, ON The Catholic Geek: Dragon Award Winner Nick Cole 03/26

The Catholic Geek: Dragon Award Winner Nick Cole 03/26 by We Built That Network | Books Podcasts:



Dragon Award Nick Cole joins host Declan Finn to discuss his works.

Nick Cole is a former soldier and working actor living in Southern California. When he is not auditioning for commercials, going out for sitcoms or being shot, kicked, stabbed or beaten by the students of various film schools for their projects, he can be found writing books. Nick's Book The Old Man and the Wasteland was an Amazon Bestseller and #1 in Science Fiction. In 2016 Nick's book CTRL ALT Revolt won the Dragon Award for Best Apocalyptic novel. 


Try the Love at First Bite series.
Which should also be up for a Dragon Award.

    


Thursday, March 23, 2017

#NationalPuppyDay? Really?



I hate cute cat pictures on the internet.

According to Twitter, it's national Puppy Day.

.... Okay. Fine. I'll take that.

I like puppies.















As I said, I'm good with dogs.

Anyway, this has been an odd little week.

Nick Cole will be on the show this Sunday. Enjoy.

Try the Love at First Bite series. We have were-Puppies.

Yes, really.

    

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Music blog: Street Fighter - Sonya Belousova

Ah, nostalgic video game music.

Enjoy.

Yes, I know it's a little lazy, but I've done six other blogs this week already. I may not even do something for the rest of the week. We'll see.

Have fun.


Some books to read this to. Try some of the below.

Love at First Bite

    

Deathstroke for Gun Control

If you know Slade Wilson, aka Deathstroke-- and after Arrow season 2, how can you avoid it -- Deathstroke is a mercenary who is an almost perfect badass. 

What do I mean by almost perfect? The first time he ran into Batman, he beat him unconscious. He's also quite honorable. After beating Batman out cold, Deathstroke left him alone -- the Dark Knight wasn't the target, he was just in the way. From what we could tell, he didn't even peek under the cowl, but probably figured out who Batman is, since he's deduced the real names of almost every Robin. He's also a brilliant tactician.

Deathstroke is "almost" perfect as a badass, mostly because he's insane. This is a guy who took on most of the Justice League in Identity Crisis, nearly beat them, and flipped out after Green Arrow jammed an arrow into his empty eye socket -- which became a vendetta that concluded with nuking a city.

Deathstroke also carries enough guns to go toe-to-toe to Deadpool -- who started as a parodied version of Deathstroke.

This is Deathstroke's load out.



And in Deathstroke #11, Christopher Priest wants to use Deathstroke to talk about gun violence.

Nope. Not a joke. I can't even make this up. Yes, this really happened. Author Christopher Priest wants to use a gun-wielding mercenary with more guns this side of The Punisher, to talk about the evils of guns.

Do I even have to highlight how stupid this is?

Not to mention that this is the DCU: alien invasions drop out of the sky every five minutes. To hell with guns, how do standard citizens not have a rocket launcher in their basement, just in case of the next invasion by Apokalypse -- or however else they spelled that planet -- or attack by Amazons, or ninjas, or whatever the hell else is going on out there this moment.

It's also amusing because right now, they've made him an anti-hero. So if he's not shooting someone, he's either: 1)beating someone over the head with a six-foot long iron staff, or 2) shanking them with a katana.

Now, I can kind of appreciate Chris Priest, who is a Baptist minister, trying to use a gun heavy protagonist to explore guns.

But let's look at his execution a moment, shall we?
Priest uses a reporter to investigate rumors that the families of shooting victims have hired Deathstroke to take out the armed killers of their children. Deathstroke is mostly silent through the issue, while Chicago citizens debate whether an eye for an eye can ever be the right way to answer back to violence.
To be honest, that's not hard. Deathstroke doesn't need side kicks. Exclude first person narration or thought bubbles, it wouldn't be all that hard to make an entire issue read like a silent movie, only with screams and sound effects of the targets being wiped out.
The silence from the assassin was intentional, according to Priest. “I wanted Deathstroke to be a force of nature more,” Priest said. “I wanted to have as objective an analysis of the crisis as I’d be able to do. So I used a reporter’s voice.”
That would be fine if we were being really honest about it. Part of the tale involves an armed citizen leading to a dead child passerby.

This


Because, as we "all know," private citizens are just too stupid to own guns.

But that's a lie.

I first saw the article in the LA Times in 2001 (and I should have kept it) that cited that armed citizens stop over 20,000 crimes each year in LA. Guns stop five times more crime than they cause. In 2007, a Florida State University study revealed that private guns stop 2.5 MILLION crimes each year. So already, part of the narrative is already a problem.

.... Except every time that Deathstroke has played hero, he's been an private citizen.

And let's back up a moment to frame #2 and #3, shall we.
"I'd take Mickey Mouse with a machine gun if it'd help."
"Will it?"
"No"
Then what, may one ask, was the point? "I'd take X if it would help, but it won't."

The point was the highlight the message.

Maybe Rev. Priest -- talk about names being prophetic -- should just let the story carry the day, be completely honest, and follow the main character instead of trying to "explore" a topic that he already claims to know the answer to.

I'm sorry, every time a comic book author says, "I want to explore the issue," I hear "I have all the answers, and I'm going to shove them down your throat."  I hear that because that always seems to be the end result.

Also, in case you missed it, the reporter is Jack Ryder, "The Creeper," who is so utterly bizarre, he had the Joker looking at him like he was crazy. Because THAT'S the objective look we want.

Don't get me wrong, Deathstroke versus gang bangers in Chicago would be awesome, just to watch the crime rate spike for one weekend, and then drop for the rest of time. Because Deathstroke takes on whole countries when he feels like it, he can wipe out the gang bangers of Chicago in a weekend, if he takes his time about it. I can't imagine the fees he would charge, but it'd be worth it.

And then there's this page


Are you kidding me? "Deathstroke hasn't used any guns to off these jokers. He must be sending a message!"

Yes, the message is "I'm Deathstroke, and I'm showing off, because you're not even worth the bullets. Because I'm a super-powered bad ass with sharp objects."

Also, we're going to garrote one person, and cut off the arm of the next person with a great splash of blood .... but guns are bad.

Maybe the message Priest is really trying to send is "People are violent bastards who will used whatever's handy to murder people."

Also, that artwork...gah! Who the hell?

And then there's this.



What could have been the most powerful, most moving parts in the whole comic book, panel #2, #4, #5, is undercut by speechifying. So a black mother and her black Reverend, are being lectured by a white guy about gun violence, trying to blame "the culture," and, worse, the parents of the dead kid, for "why guns are everywhere."

I don't think I've seen something more racist in a while. The PC police throw around lines like "Whitesplaining," or "White knighting" or whatever some such idiocy. And I don't think that I have ever seen it any clearer than in this comic. Written by a black minister. What the hell?

I think I'm going to slam my head against the wall. After a while, I may even come to enjoy it.

And there's this bit of BS.



The reference to "49 Dead kids in a Florida nightclub," in case you don't remember, happened the middle of last year. It was a gay nightclub shot up by -- wait for it -- deranged Islamofascist #57. Yes, you read that correct, ladies and gentlemen, they wanted to slap a "gun violence" label on a terrorist incident. Or is is no longer terrorism when there's a gun involved? Perhaps they would have preferred napalm, or a suicide bomber.

This is everything wrong with comics now -- "No, we're not interested in a story. Let's all lecture at each other." Marvel does it, now I guess DC wants to dip their toe in the water.

At the end of the day though, I'm grateful for Priest's work. Because you have to know this idea tanked. Why? Because the very next issue goes onto a completely different story.

Dear comic books: Tell me a story. Don't lecture me and call it art. If I wanted to choke down garbage, I can walk to the nearest McDonald's and buy better garbage for cheaper than the price of this comic book.

This is described as "an unflinching look at gun violence in America." That's a lie. Because I flinched. I flinched at every lie, every half-true, every stilted line, every forced morale.

And they flinched at the truth.

For series where no one whines over guns.

Try some of the below.

Love at First Bite

    

Latest Reviews of Live and Let Bite, et al

To start with JD Cowan has an awesome review for Bite over on his website, that I think is a great review for the entire series, to heck with just one nove. You can check out his review right here.
After a surprising first entry and a rousing second, author Declan Finn's Love At First Bite series performed the task I had been certain wasn't ever going to happen: He wrote a vampire series I actually enjoy.

How did he perform this feat? Well, he did a remarkable thing. It's as crazy as it is impossible. What he did was write a story where vampires were actually vampires, the characters aren't mopey millennials or pious boomers, and the plot progresses from point A to B. Basically he wrote a story that happens to have vampires in it.

I still can't believe it.

My April 2nd guest, Jim McCoy, recently reviewed Murphy's Law of Vampire, and he really likes Mister Day. You can check out his review here.
The book sizzles. The action sequences are impressive. Finn obviously spent hours mapping out the best way to do violence to vampires and other things before writing this. He has very carefully choreographed the fighting in this book. It's impressive. Marco and company are smart and dangerous. Catalano knows that he has to out-plan his enemies and he does so well. The action is so well described that I found myself moving in my seat along with the movements in the fighting. It was exciting. I had my adrenaline going. I wanted to kick ass along with him. It's probably better that I didn't though. I'm a three hundred pound man. I would have gotten in the way.

Something I've often commented on is the need for an epic villain. Finn delivers. Given the fact that the characters in the book can't figure out what Mr. Day is, I won't spoil the fun. But he is pure, unadulterated evil for a reason. He is deadly and vicious. He has a very interesting back story. He's the kind of guy that REALLY REALLY REALLY deserves every terrible thing that happens to him. He's tough as hell and smart. This is no Cobra Commander making stupid mistakes. Day is smart and savvy. He makes chaos because that is his nature. He is cocky but he's damn near indestructible so he should be. But Day does what he does in a logical manner. I wouldn't want to take this guy on.
These are both fun. I'm happy whenever I see a review like these.

If you'd like more news-based articles, I'm not really up to it. But if you follow my Twitter feed you've noticed Brian Niemeier and Jon Del Arroz have some interesting articles. 

Brian: Tor apparently put a hit out on a novel from Castalia House. Nice going, dudes.

Jon covers Marvel's Diversity problem, then he has a follow up dissecting how his first article was reported, and he has yet ANOTHER one about the blowback from the reporting.

Oh, and the publisher of the reprint for The Pius Trilogy has launched their short story streaming service, Lyonesse. One of mine is called "Zombie Jamboree."

Anyway, you can pick up any of the books mentioned above by clicking here. And please, while you're reading, remember the Dragon.

Be well all. And good night.