Awesome blogs to read for #NationalBookLoversDay

Friday August 9th is #NationalBookLoversDay! On my blog I usually tear into books that I did not enjoy reading. However, I do love books and reading. Below are a bunch of blogs that I really like to read that have to do with books. After that, when you are ready once again to find out what books not to read, come back to https://slickdungeon.blog and read about the worst of the worst. Until then, enjoy these blogs.

A Book. A Thought: Very insightful reviews and book related happenings here: https://abookathoughtblog.wordpress.com

A Book Nation: Lots of book reviews and recommendations here. Also if you are a budding author, this blogger offers a manuscript service. Might be a good idea to splurge on that if you want to keep your book from being reviewed on my blog: https://abooknation.wordpress.com

A World of Books: A seriously impressive amount of reading and reviewing goes on in this blog. A book a day? That’s a tall order: https://bookgeeking.wordpress.com

Adventures of Bibliophile: Stephanie claims to be a bibliophile and boy does she prove it! Tons of reviews here: https://adventuresofabibliophile.com/book-reviews

Ailish Sinclair: This one is not a book review blog but rather an author who has a blog. The site is seriously worth checking out though because the photographs posted are stunningly gorgeous views of Scotland and other places around the world. She has a novel coming out soon and if The Mermaid and the Bear is even the least bit like this blog, it’s bound to be magical: https://ailishsinclair.com

Alys in Bookland: A book review blog that has won a fair share of awards. This blogger from the Phillipines is well worth checking out: https://alysinbookland.wordpress.com

Big Comic Page: Are comic books books? Heck yes they are! And you know what? If you want to see some great reviews of those books, check this blog out: https://bigcomicpage.com

Bookidote: Two reviewers for one on this site, Trang and Lashaan cover a wide variety of genres and topics. Both are worth reading: https://bookidote.com

Bookish Connoisseur: All things bookish are reviewed here with a particular interest in YA and Sci-Fi/Fantasy books: https://bookishconnoisseur.com

Books and Strips: Reviews of novels and graphic novels? Sign me up! https://booksandstrips.wordpress.com

By Gabbie: This blog doesn’t just cover books but there are many, many book related posts here: https://gabsi77.wordpress.com

Fantastic Book Dragon: Not only a cool name, this site features a voracious reader with lots of reviews to check out: https://fantasticbookdragon.wordpress.com

Food in Books: So great, you’ve just read a passage in a book that has described the most amazing meal and you are now starving. What do you do? You check out this blog where you can find the book and the recipe to make said delicious food here: https://foodinbooks.com

Keeper of Pages: This blog is for those obsessed with crime fiction books. Great reviews to check out: https://keeperofpages.com

Never Not Reading: Katie is a mom who doesn’t have time to read but does it anyway. She also probably doesn’t have time to run a book review blog but does a fantastic job of it considering the amount of awards she has won: https://nevernotreadingblog.wordpress.com

Read and Drink Tea: Reading and having a cuppa? Pretty good combo if I do say so myself: https://readanddrinktea.com

Sci-Fi & Scary: Here’s a blog that focuses on the important things in life, science fiction and horror. Oh yeah… give me more! https://www.scifiandscary.com

Slick Dungeon’s Dusty Tomes and Terrible Films: Okay, I know I said you should come back to my blog after you read all the other good ones I have listed. But sometimes you get tired of reading about great literature. When it’s time to find out what not to read and watch, this blog is the one to go to. https://slickdungeon.blog

The Bibliophagist: Great reviews of Young Adult, New Adult and Romance books: https://bibliophagistreviews.wordpress.com

The Book Review Directory: Looking for an easy way to find books and book reviews? This blog is perfect! https://bookreviewdirectory.com/?wref=bif

The Critiquing Chemist: When you get a chemist reading literature, you know an analytical and well thought out review will appear. Read them here: https://critiquingchemist.com

The Never Ending Unread: I don’t know about you but I definitely have more books lying around waiting to be read than I know what to do with. This site tries to help catch you up: https://neverendingunread.wordpress.com

Thrice Read: Three friends who love stories and want to share their reviews and reactions with the world. Lots of good stuff here: https://thriceread.com

Written Word Worlds: An Australian blogger who always has two books in her bag just in case she finishes the first one. I can so relate to that. https://writtenwordworlds.com

So look, I know I have missed a gajillion great blogs that I have forgotten or don’t know about. I hope this list could at least give you something cool to look at for a few minutes on #NationalBookLoversDay. I would spend more time trying to find more blogs for you to check out but I have to finish my review of the entirely disappointing second novel from Ernest Cline, Armada. Once you have read everyone else on this list, come back here and check that out.

Also, what are some of your favorite blogs? Always looking for recommendations so post away in the comments below if you know of any. Thanks for reading.

Book Lovingly Yours,

Slick Dungeon

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10 Completely Random Thoughts I Have had While Watching Bad Movies

I watch a lot of strange stuff and although I try to concentrate, sometimes my mind wanders. For no particular reason I thought I would share some thoughts with you.

  1. Was the discovery of popcorn a complete accident or what? Who thought to pop the kernels? Or was there just a fire too close or something?
  2. Why exactly do my shoes stick to the floor when I walk into a theater, no matter if the theater has just been cleaned? Do I actually even want to know the answer to this one? (probably not)
  3. If I was to calculate the number of explosions in a Michael Bay film, and then check the running time, what percentage of the movie is property damage?
  4. Does Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson still refer to himself as “The Rock” in his own head?
  5. Why would anyone buy the theater nachos?
  6. In two years, people born in the year 2000 will legally be allowed to drink. How convenient is it to know your age by just knowing the year anyway? Seems handy to me.
  7. Is it worse to have bad CGI or bad makeup? They both look terrible but one feels like it takes more effort and I am not sure which one it is.
  8. Not enough people in the world have seen a movie where someone’s head gets crushed in by a weight machine.
  9. If they replaced the dialogue with Mad Libs would this improve the movie? Answer: yes.
  10. What am I doing with my life?

Thanks for reading my weirdness. If you enjoyed this then feel free to sign up for emails below. If not, just continue to refer to yourself as “The Rock” in your head and we’re all good.

Slick Dungeon

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High School Musical – Movie Review

is this bad for a musical or bad for a movie? Maybe it’s just bad

Way back in the dark ages, long before Zac Efron was the star of the box office flop Baywatch, long before Vanessa Hudgens was mildly funny in failed television sitcoms, in the ancient dark days before Hamilton had made it big on Broadway, there was the completely, absolutely, utterly, unnecessary made for television Disney special, High School Musical.

This has a stunningly high 56% fresh score on Rotten Tomatoes. That means that more than half of the people who have viewed this, enjoyed it. I have no idea how. Unlike Emo: the Musical this film is so saccharine sweet that it will give you a stomach ache. Like Emo: the Musical, this depiction of high school seems to believe that you can only be one type of person. Until the end of course.

Now look, for a little television special aimed at pre-teens wanting some good old wholesome entertainment on a Saturday night, this is perfectly fine. The singing is decent for a sort of pop-ish sound, the acting isn’t bad for the Disney channel and the plot is the same as like ninety percent of eighties rom-coms.

But as a normal adult, suffering through this, the movie is painful. I’d rather be strapped to a chair while Mr. Blonde listens to Stuck in the Middle with You than watch this again. I’d rather be a young padawan facing a yellow eyed Anakin Skywalker than watch this again. I’d rather jump into a tornado full of sharks and chainsaws than watch this again. I would rather read an Agatha Raisin novel than watch this again. In case you don’t get it, I would rather be tortured than sit through this again.

The story centers around a star basketball player named Troy and his math whiz love interest Gabriela. Randomly they meet and sing karaoke while on vacation and feel a strong connection. The karaoke song has a lyric that goes something like, “I never knew this could happen until it happened to me.” So uh, yeah, the lyrics are that incredibly… good? Troy and Gabriela are clearly attracted to each other because, hormones. Lucky for Troy, Gabriela conveniently moves into his school in the next scene because, script.

The basketball players start singing a song about how basketball players don’t sing. Apparently they don’t play basketball either because they go through this huge choreographed dance routine, including several instances of traveling, illegal passing and all kinds of on court violations. Then as a unit they throw all of their basketballs in the air. There are like twelve guys in the scene and a total of none make a basket in the whole scene. This is their whole practice because they leave immediately after. Then, we establish that this team has a CHAMPIONSHIP game coming up. Are they playing the Washington Generals? Because if not, the dudes from East High are going to lose.

Meanwhile, Gabriela doesn’t want it known that she is good at math. Because, that’s a great message to send to girls (sarcasm font activate). She also doesn’t want to seem like she can sing even though she pines at the sign ups for the er… high school musical. PLOT POINT: that’s why it’s called High School Musical, I get it now, I finally get it! Gabriela is outed pretty quickly and has to join the math team because, we need conflict in the third act.

Not only is Troy the basketball star, his dad is the coach. And not only that, his dad has beef with the drama teacher who insists on pronouncing it musi-cal every time she says the word. She hates the jocks and the jocks hate the drama geeks and the nerds are nerds and skaters are skaters and everything is good at generically named East High.

In the drama club there is a brother and sister who will disturbingly remind you of the Lannister twins without ever doing anything more than singing and dancing with each other. They of course, are the villains and drive the plot so that we can have conflict between the leads.

Gabriela and Troy both sneak over to the auditions for the musical and of course, end up singing and upstaging the villainous drama siblings. The drama teacher calls for call backs which infuriate the drama twins and also lets the whole school know that Troy and Gabriela tried out. Makes me wonder what they thought would happen if they just got the parts but whatever. Then all hell breaks loose. The basketball players start admitting in song form that they like to bake, skater guys admit to playing musical instruments and brainiacs admit to liking hip hop. It’s a seriously stupid scene.

Also, and this is just a side note, when I was in high school and people got call backs for anything drama related that was always a good thing. Everyone hoped to be called back so I don’t get the reaction of the drama siblings at all.

Now that we have established who is who here, the next part of the movie is the math team trying to expose Troy as a jerk and the basketball players trying to get Troy to break up with Gabriela. It works because if it didn’t, there would be no conflict. Could that conflict have been resolved with a thirty second conversation amongst the main characters? Yes because later it is. After a song.

The big conflict/climax comes because of ridiculously stupid scheduling conflicts. The drama villains make it so that the math competition, the basketball game and the call backs are all schedule for the exact same freaking time. Now, any good principal or teacher or, you know, person with access to a calendar, would fix that right quick. But no, we need more songs instead.

But the tables turn so hold onto your top hats and canes because the math team and the jocks come together in the end to help both Gabriela and Troy. They realize that they have treated these sweetheart American teens poorly so they plan to cut the lights at just the right time in the gym so that Troy and Gabriela can swiftly make the call back and then back to their respective events before anyone is the wiser.

Guess what? They sing well at the call backs and are cast for the play, the match competition is won, and so is the basketball game. Yay! Not at all what I expected. Never saw that coming, Not even close. Hey, did you know that if you take one thing and then put another of that thing together, you have two of them? Me neither.

The movie ends with a big musical number and everyone is mostly happy except of course the drama villains. Troy is given the game ball for, I guess missing most of the practices, showing up for part of the game and making a single basket. He promptly turns around and gives that ball to the composer of the music for the play. She looks about as uninterested in that ball as I was in this movie. He was like, “your the play maker, you get the ball.” I suspect the actress was confused too.

Somehow, this thing sparked sequels and an actual musical on Broadway, despite the fact that in the movie, there is never a musical. Let me repeat that. There is never a musical. What there is happens to be tryouts for a musical. There’s no actual freaking musical in High School Musical. I feel extremely cheated by this. How dare they call this High School Musical when we don’t even get to see the musical. It’s like Jaws with no jaws. It’s like The Godfather with tryouts for being a godfather. It’s a complete and total rip off!

Ok, sorry, got off on a rant there. Anyway, what was I saying? Oh yeah, High School Musical sucks and it’s inaccurately named despite the fact that they try out for a high school musical. How did this company go on to produce Avengers: Endgame? Hopefully because they fired the people with the terrible idea for High School Musical.

With all of that off my shoulders, there is one instance in which I think people should watch this movie. First, if you have never seen it, go ahead and suffer through it once. It’s difficult but you can do it. Immediately after that, watch the Bad Lip Reading version of it. Chorky and Lumpkinella are waaaaaay more entertaining than Troy and Gabriela ever hoped to be.

After the sweet, sweet taste of High School Musical, I need something to wash it down with. I’m going to take a big old drink of Waterworld so come back for that next week.

Low-spiritedly yours,

Slick Dungeon

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Jane Carver of Waar – Book Review

Biker Chicks fighting Cen-tigers? I’ll pass

Have you ever started watching an original Star Trek episode and said to yourself, “You know what would make this better? If Captain Kirk was a bisexual biker chick on the run?” Yeah me too. But guess what? The reality of that is terrible and the proof is Jane Carver of Waar.

The plot here is pretty simple. Jane Carver is somewhere in California when a rude jerk in a bar hits on her. She gets pissed and throws a punch at him. Unfortunately for her, she’s kind of big and strong and her punch accidentally hits the dude in the throat and kills the guy. Not knowing what else to do, she runs away, ends up in a cave, touches a gem and ends up on an alien planet. Then she has adventures on her way to try to get back home. Other than it being the biker part and a woman, it really does remind me a lot of Star Trek. But you know how that show could be charming sometimes and even have deep political implications on occasion? Yeah, this does not. Like really does not.

Jane wakes up under a weird sky and realizes pretty quick she’s not in California any more. Also, she sees a bunch of dudes killing each other and they have purple skin so that’s probably a second clue. These guys are dressed up Conan the Barbarian style and are using swords so it’s a good bet they don’t have a transporter to get her back home. Jane watches the fight play out and then goes to talk to the loser of the fight, a dude named Sai. She then proceeds to follow him around for the entire book. I guess if you have no other friends stick with who you’ve got?

This book being extremely convenient, Jane is somehow able to talk with these aliens because, magic. This Sai dude has had his true love stolen and he has to get her back. Jane tries to help but they get captured by some Cen-tigers (centaurs but with a tiger bottom) and made to be slaves. Then they get free. Then they find another guy who is Sai’s friend and then they try to wear disguises to get to the place where the wife kidnapper is. Then they get captured. Then they get free. Then they wear disguises to get on a ship. Then they get captured and sold as slaves. Then they get free. Then they wear disguises to go to the place where the wife kidnapper is again. Then they get captured. Then they fight and Sai gets the girl, the book ends and Jane gets transported back home.

If you are thinking that description sounds a lot like lather, rinse, repeat, that’s because it is. Why in the blistering blue blazes they don’t think to do anything but wear a disguise and/or get captured in this whole book is completely beyond me. So that’s the plot for ya. Let me tell you a few things that annoyed me about this book.

  1. Jane has a bit of super strength because of the gravitational differences on the planet Waar. She’s able to lift really heavy stuff, take Hulk sized leaps, and is a bit bigger than most of the humanoids on this planet. Conveniently, it fails her when the plot calls for it, and works when the plot calls for it. I know a lot of stories do this kind of thing but it’s super noticeable here.
  2. Jane is attracted to every person and Cen-tiger who is nice to her for even a second. She’s always going on in her head about how she wants to get some from pretty much everyone. And this includes people that made her a literal slave. Umm… what? I know Kirk does that in Star Trek but Jane would easily give him a run for his money.
  3. There’s a political intrigue side plot that is about as exciting as watching the galactic senate negotiate trade relations in Star Wars: Episode 1 – The Phantom Menace
  4. Cen-tigers? Come on man, do better. How the hell is it likely that these things evolved? What are the odds that there were tiger creatures that were centaur like?
  5. As you can see from the cover of this book, Jane is supposed to look exactly like Red Sonja. Metal bikini and all. Jane spends half her time complaining that she doesn’t have good armor and then when she does get good armor, it’s in the form of a metal bikini. That’s terrible armor!!
  6. There’s evidence that people from earth have been here before. There’s a paved road, airships and other items that just seem like they came from our home planet. This is never even close to explained. I suspect you would have to suffer through the rest of the series to find out more. I’ll pass.
  7. Let’s try disguising ourselves! Dangit, we’re captured. Let’s try disguising ourselves! Dangit, we’re captured. Let’s try disguising ourselves! Dangit, we’re captured. I think Einstein would define these people as crazy.
  8. Jane goes back an forth in her head over and over about whether it is right or wrong to kill a guy, while killing a bunch of guys. She has moral issues about it even though it’s clear at times that the person really deserves it or it was a complete accident. I’m not saying you shouldn’t consider your life choices if you are likely to kill someone but I didn’t really care about Jane’s agonizing over it.
  9. Sai was about as boring and stupid of a sidekick you could find anywhere. This dude had zero personality.
  10. This whole story is framed around someone finding a recording of Jane telling this story. Yet the person believes this crap, rather than thinking, uh whoever this woman is, she needs to find a psychiatrist stat.

I’m keeping this one short because, this book was flat out too long and I’m tired of talking about it. Next week I will review Armada by Ernest Cline. He wrote Ready Player One which was great novel. I’m sure his second novel will be an amazing read and extremely entertaining. We all know how second books are so much better than the first right?

Lucklessly yours,

Slick Dungeon

Let me know what movie I should review next

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Emo the Musical – Movie Review

Smells like Teen Angst- but with Rhythm!

Welcome back to my little world of bad films and strange creatures. Here at Slick’s Dungeon, I try to find the worst of films and review them. It’s a long haul and sometimes there is not much joy in it. But occasionally a real oddball pops up and I can’t help but kinda thinking something is so awful it’s good. That’s Emo the Musical in a nutshell for you. It’s bad, but it’s also good. Be forewarned, spoilers abound below.

Ahh.. breathe it in, the bittersweet smell of teenage angst. No, I’m not talking about a song by Nirvana. This is the smell propelling itself off of Ethan, the main character in Emo the Musical. All he wants is to be a tortured soul who can join the coolest band in the school so he can win a recording contract in an upcoming battle of the bands style competition. To do that he has to be an “Emo”. For those of you who are three thousand years old and don’t know the term, it’s the type of kid who wears mascara, dresses in all black clothing, talks about death and speaks up when he sees injustice in the world. At least, that’s the way the movie defines it. The problem for Ethan? He’s sometimes actually happy.

Also, this is a musical. If you don’t like people randomly breaking out in song at the strangest of times, remove this from your Netflix queue immediately. The weirdest thing to me about this movie is that the music all kind of sounds the same, whether it’s the “Emo” clique or the hyper Christian music, or the sweet duets between Ethan and his love interest, Trinity. Yet, somehow all the music is both catchy and forgettable.

To sum up the movie, Ethan is kicked out of his high school for attempting to commit suicide six times (although he didn’t really mean it he says) and he gets transferred to a new school. This is Ethan’s big chance to re-brand himself a true Emo, join the band and become, I dunno… liked I guess? On the way to accomplishing this he falls for one of the majorly Christian girls at school. Trinity, quickly figures out that Ethan can be happy. Also they are very attracted to each other. This is a problem for Ethan because he can’t be seen around Trinity or his friends will lose respect for him. Trinity can’t be with Ethan because he’s a heathen. But that all works out cause, you know, hormones.

The film basically defines people as fitting into one of about four categories. You can be an Emo, or a Christian, you can play sports, or be an adult. That’s pretty much the sum total of choices. If you are Christian, it’s old school fundamentalist Christian. The type that still has the truly messed up idea that conversion therapy is a good idea for anyone. Being a student who plays sports seems to be, uncool kind of, but not that big of an issue unless you are an Emo cause you are not allowed to be both things at once.

It’s pretty apparent right from the beginning that the guy who leads the Emo band is really a jerk and sort of psychotic. And that the church group doesn’t actually accept anyone. Yet Ethan doesn’t see that Bradley (the band leader) is a complete jerkwad until he is glad a kid goes to conversion therapy because then the church group loses a guitarist. This is after Bradley makes Ethan break up with Trinity, destroy a bunch of musical equipment and light a crucifix on fire. For being a character that is supposed to be empathetic, Ethan, sure takes his sweet time about it. Trinity, on the other hand, accepts people even if they have committed terrible sins like pre-marital sex. She also makes a solid singing argument that “Jesus might have been an Emo”. That was my favorite line and lyric in this whole dang movie.

I’m just going to highlight some of the best parts of this thing. I have no idea how they decided to come together with this stuff but here it is.

  1. Ethan joins the band by singing a song about how he doesn’t want to join the band.
  2. Trinity hilariously tries to baptize Ethan on the sly.
  3. The school has basically one teacher because every other teacher has been fired due to scandals of one kind or another. (That is a solid strategy to keeping casting costs down and I super respect this decision)
  4. The school is more or less run by a drug company trying to prescribe serotonin enhancers.
  5. The side plot with Violet wanting to play basketball is the literal reverse of High School Musical.
  6. There is a battle of the bands competition at the end and Ethan somehow gets to play in two different bands.
  7. The guy awarding the recording contract is asked why people call him “Doug Skeleton” and he answers, “Because it’s my name.” Major dad jokes in a musical about emotionally troubled teenagers? Sign me up!
  8. Things end relatively happy for everyone (although I think they do lose the thread of the conversion therapy character and that’s a real shame)
  9. Ethan proves he is an Emo to Trinity by slightly parting his hair differently.
  10. Although there is a lot of singing there is very little dancing. Mad respect for that.

I don’t want to give away everything in this movie because I do recommend you watch it. It’s really odd and totally worth the view. I can’t entirely define it unless you have seen it. But, it’s like High School Musical because there is singing and it takes place in a high school. But unlike the Disney channel anti-masterpiece, this one is kind of fun and re-watchable. I would watch Emo the Musical a thousand more times before I watched High School Musical again even once.

Now let me see what I have on my shelf of awful projected images to watch next time. Of course, should have known… High School the Musical.

Grief Strickenly yours,

Slick Dungeon

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The Creatures are Stirring and I Apologize

Slick Dungeon here. Normally at this time on a Friday I am dropping a fiction review for you all to enjoy. Unfortunately for me, this week has been a bit hectic. I’ve had to fight off Cen-tigers (Centaurs but the bottom half is a tiger), been chased out of my usual dungeon area and dealt with watching a Tromaggot. I haven’t had the time to finish reading Jane Carver of Waar but as soon as I am back where there is adequate light, and a decent wifi connection, I will post my review. Until then folks, stay as weird as possible.

Inadequately yours,

Slick Dungeon

Attack of the Tromaggot! – Film Review

Ummm… What?

Slick Dungeon back again with a film review that nearly didn’t happen. Not only are the beasts in the walls making a horrible racket, this film (if it can even be called that) was almost too hard for even me to finish watching. My standards are pretty low considering I am locked in a dungeon and watching nothing but terrible films. But this one almost broke me.

A little background to this film. It was made in Germany for $1000 Euros. Apparently Lloyd Kaufman was there (he’s one of the geniuses behind the creation of the whole Troma operation) and they decided to make a… series of images that include sound and motion. I hesitate to actually call this a film. Most of the budget apparently went to renting a broadcast building they could film at.

There is a mix of American and German actors and most of the lines are clearly spoken in German but then dubbed in English. This is supposed to be Troma’s take on a body horror film. Things like The Human Centipede or Alien would also count as body horror. Attack of the Tromaggot is full of fake looking slime, a really cheap looking puppet that is supposed to be the Tromaggot, and a major amount of fart jokes and confusion.

The last Troma movie I reviewed, Space Zombie Bingo!!! didn’t exactly have a plot but I could at least explain the attempt. This one? Well, there’s a company that deals in, slime I guess? Some people kind of eat it sometimes. There’s a cadaver under the sewers that has some maggots in it. Slime goes in sewers and there’s a monster created. There’s some scientists trying to cover it up and there’s an illegal organization that deals in this slime. There’s, maybe police? I can’t really tell. Lots of people get murdered by the lamest looking puppet ever. They tend to break the fourth wall in this movie extremely frequently. It’s like this thing is daring you to actually finish watching this.

With a studio like Troma, you do sometimes get truly unique things that revel in their awfulness and can be entertaining to watch. This was a thing and you could watch it. If you want roughly ninety minutes of making your brain hurt. I hate to say this, but if Troma puts more like this out, they aren’t going to last. Or at least, they are going to lose their reputation for being cutting edge subversive. This one seems like just an accidental series of things put on video (definitely not actual film) that they packaged into a DVD to sell to suckers at conventions.

There are a few standout moments in the movie so I am going to tell you what they are so you don’t have to suffer through this.

Lloyd Kaufman has a cameo in this and he wants to trade the “stuff” for the “trash” so he can get his teddy bear back. The stuff is the slime mucus. But the trash was a stack of Troma DVD’s. That kinda made me chuckle.

There’s a guy who is sort of a street dealer, bad guy, I think? Anyway he needs to meet with this organization called Mucus and they say that they need to meet at a quiet warehouse, “Like the kind that’s perfect for cheap film makers. We’ll do it towards the end of the movie.” Again I got a little chuckle here.

The best stunt they pull in this movie is when a guy gets killed in a fight. He takes a punch to the face and goes down. His head is cracked open but what they use for the head in a quick cut is a watermelon. Seconds later a woman who was in the scene is eating watermelon.

That’s it. That’s all that was good in this. I usually like to give a longer review to something I’ve watched but this is all I can give. Even so, I think that I may have written the most extensive review of this ….thing? that has ever been written. I could be wrong about that but if you did a longer review than me, I have only one question. Why?

I’ll be back again next week with another review. I’m slowly and silently setting down the Troma and hoping it improves with age. Next I will be reviewing Emo the Musical. Do you think they are just missing an L in that first word?

Lucklessly yours,

Slick Dungeon

A Time to Love (Quilts of Lancaster County #1) -Book Review

What’s wrong with this picture?

But Who Will care about the Children?

If you are looking for a romance book that is extremely chaste and never wades into any kind of inappropriate territory, this one’s for you. No steamy scenes because, well, this book is about an Amish community so it fits that there’s no heavy petting. Ever wondered what an Amish romance book was like? Nope, me neither. At least, not until I heard they existed. Guess what? They’re pretty much like other romances except, much, much tamer. I have no problem with the romance part of this book, or the Amish part of this book. I wouldn’t want to live in a community without electricity or buttons, but if that’s what floats your boat, float away.

That’s not to say that there weren’t things about this book that bugged me. I’m gonna list ’em after a quick plot summary.

Jenny, the main character is recovering from a difficult surgery she had to have after suffering a bomb blast while doing her job as a journalist overseas. To recuperate she visits her grandmother Phoebe who happens to be Amish and live in Lancaster County. While there she reconnects with Mathew, a man she knew long ago and nearly married. Mathew married while Jenny was away and had three children. Mathew’s wife died and it’s been a couple years since that happened. Now would be a good time for Mathew to move on and as luck (or God as the book states) would have it, Jenny seems to come back at the perfect time. Everyone ends up happy because, well, what do you expect out of an Amish romance?

My annoyance with the book is as follows:

  1. Jenny is a a journalist working for [unnamed network] recovering from a bomb blast she suffered in [unnamed country]. I put the brackets there because the author chose not to actually name the network or the country. Jenny was always overseas. What was she doing overseas? She was making sure that [the people] knew that there were children there who were suffering. I think this was mentioned roughly twelve times per chapter.
  2. Is there an adorable little kid in this book meant to tug at Jenny’s and the reader’s heart strings and says things like “Read me a stowy.” Oh you betcha. It’s like the plucky kid in apocalypse novels but you just know they are going to make people get married in romances, not get themselves killed the way they do in the other books.
  3. This is an Amish community we are talking about and Jenny is there recovering which is fine, but they keep talking about how much hard work there is to do. Yet Jenny, who more or less recovers doesn’t seem to do any hard work. She does try and cook one meal but I kind of think the author sold it short cause I am sure that there really IS hard labor to do in these places.
  4. It’s mentioned like a zillion times how the Amish children are so good and clean their rooms and do their chores and help out and never, ever complain. I have two thoughts about this. First, I bet that some Amish children DO complain on occasion. Why? Cause they are kids and sometimes kids complain. Second, there are plenty of non-Amish children that are good. But the author bludgeons us about how lazy the “Englisch” (the Amish term for people living outside their community) children are because they watch television. I sort of felt, more than once, like the author had not really interacted with real children over the age of three.
  5. Jenny has suffered what would be a real, major trauma. I mean life changing. She is described as being scarred across the face. She is constantly fretting about this. Of course Mathew and everyone around Jenny who all love her think it’s no big deal. I agree. Having a scar on your face doesn’t disqualify you from love. It doesn’t mean you are not beautiful. It doesn’t mean that anyone should think less of you. But you know what bugs me to no end? Look at that cover image. You know what I don’t see? A Scar!!! Come on cover designers, own it! I doubt this was the choice of the author so I can’t fault her but jeeze, let’s judge this book by it’s cover. Jenny should have a scar. Have the guts to put it on the cover. Okay, I am getting off of my body image soap box now.
  6. Another thing Jenny agonizes over is that if she doesn’t go back to work for [unnamed network] then no one, and I mean no one, will ever care about the children in [unnamed country]. Jenny is quasi famous and people on the street recognize her now and then. She is occasionally told by nurses or other random people how no one has gone back there. No journalist has gone back overseas (interesting how everyone on the street calls it overseas too instead of naming a country) to talk about the children. So her choice seems to be Mathew or go to [unnamed network] to work again. But Jenny’s colleague has this idea to interview her so the audience of [unnamed network] can see that she is okay. She does the interview and when it airs, they put a few charity phone numbers on screen. In Jenny’s mind that seems to clear the problem up. Yup, want to help out orphans in war torn [unnamed countries]? Two options. First. Jenny. Second, phone numbers on a screen. Either one will most definitely fix it.
  7. While cooking the one meal that Jenny makes, she tells Phoebe about microwaves. She says that microwaved food doesn’t taste as good because they don’t put love into the food the way her grandmother does. Note to self: invent microwave that operates on love. Also, I don’t know about you but I’ve loved me some hot pockets and microwave pizza rolls on occasion and no one’s grandmother made those.
  8. Mathew works very hard and loves his children. This is perfectly obvious from the descriptions of what he does and it’s no surprise. We wouldn’t want our main character to fall for a jerk of course. But not only do we have to see that revealed through his actions. No, everyone around him has to say pretty much every time he leaves the room how he works hard and loves his children. I think we get it.
  9. Since this is a romance, there has to be a setup for a continuing series. I think that’s a contractual obligation for even thinking of a romance concept. I’ve got good news. Mathew has a sister, Hannah. She’s Amish and lives in Lancaster County. Hmmm…. You don’t think… I mean could it be… Wait guys, it is, it really is… The sequel is about Hannah! Groan. It couldn’t be more obvious if they had put Hannah’s phone number on the television screen during an interview. Wait, that doesn’t make sense, Hannah wouldn’t watch television and it’s a community phone. Ah, never mind. I will say though that it bothers me one hundred percent of the time when you know that the sibling of one of the love interests is going to star in the next book. I read that there is a brother or sister who is not in a relationship and I know right where it’s going.
  10. Okay so part of this is me and part of this is not. This book has a long subtitle involving quilts. There is a quilt mentioned at the very beginning and it shows up a lot. But see, I thought that we were going to see Jenny learn to quilt or do all sorts of quilting or something. She doesn’t even begin to quilt until the second to last chapter. I was like, where’s the quilting? I want to see transformative, life changing quilting and I want to see it now. I think that was my misconception. But the quilt also wasn’t all that essential to the plot either. So, maybe make less of a big deal in the subtitle if your not gonna make a bigger deal of it in the book. Like they say, if you see a quilt in the first act, you should see quilting all through the book. I may have that quote wrong. But anyway, more quilts please.

I’m going to stop there but to finish my summary, I am going to give it over to the wisest, smartest, most celebrated poet of mine or any other generation. “We been spendin’ most our lives livin’ in an Amish Paradise” – Weird Al Yankovich.

After all this non-quilting peaceful time spent in Amish country, I need to spice things up. Come back next week when I will review Jane Carver of Waar by Nathan Long. I’m sure there is a perfectly reasonable explanation for the extra a. I’ll let you know what it is.

This guy gets it –

Image result for scar lion king
Beautiful and Proud

Top 10 Signs a Movie is So Bad it’s Good

So bad yet so good

How do you know something is not just bad, not just awful, not just terrible, but so bad it’s good? I mean something where the film stands out in it’s awfulness so much that it is destined to become a cult classic? I’ve spent a lot of time around bad films so I came up with this list to help you identify that something has gone so bad that it will last forever. Here’s how we separate The Emoji Movie, destined to be forgotten and hated forever, from the stand outs of trash cinema like The Room and Pink Flamingos. Hope you enjoy!

  1. The plot is utterly outlandish. While this isn’t the most essential part, usually having a strangely concocted plot helps. The Rocky Horror Picture Show is about a couple that get stranded on a rainy night in a castle run by murderous transvestites (I know that word may not be PC anymore but it’s what is used in the film). Tremors is all about giant earth worms being mistaken for earthquakes. Santa Claus Conquers the Martians is about, well, the title sums it up doesn’t it? If you are watching Sharknado and it’s got a tornado full of sharks, it’s destined to be so bad it’s kind of awesome.
  2. Production value is low. Again, this is not the most essential ingredient but it sure helps. There are films that counter this point and have a great production value but are still cult classics. But you know something is awful when everything looks like it’s duct taped together and held in by rusty screws. One of the reasons Ed Wood films stand out in cinema is that you can see how little money was put into them. In Plan 9 From Outer Space you can actually see foam gravestones get kicked over as if they were made of… foam. Upon repetitious viewing, it’s still hilarious.
  3. The Budget has exploded. This is counter to point 3. Watterworld had a huge budget. So did Battlefield Earth. Yet they failed on essentially every level. People still watch them today because of how bad they were. It’s incredible to see big name actors like Kevin Costner and Dennis Hopper prance around these huge sets and just kill the whole thing with the absurdity of it all. It combines to make a truly unique, so bad it is good kind of experience.
  4. The Acting is Awful This one is vital. You can have a low budget, or an overblown budget and an absurd plot but if you have even one stellar stand out acting performance, there is no way this will become a cult classic. Tim Curry does nearly invalidates this point in The Rocky Horror Picture Show. But if you have seen The Room, you know without question how bad acting can take an otherwise so so plot, fairly decent production costs and a typical love triangle and make into a sort of car wreck you can’t take your eyes off of. It’s so bad it’s good. You can watch it over and over again, and it’s even more fun if you watch it with a live crowd.
  5. There’s a shocking amount of Something. For this one, it can be gore, it can be foul language, it can be a creature of some type but most essentially it has to be excessive. The Toxic Avenger has a stunning amount of gore, practically pouring through the screen in every other scene. The film doesn’t shy away from it. It revels in it. While this point does not always have to be in a film for it to be so bad it’s good. a majority have this. Another good example would be Showgirls. It has a seriously alarming amount of unnecessary nudity. There are other things about that film that make it so bad it’s good but this aspect contributes heavily.
  6. The dialogue isn’t just bad, it’s memorably bad. Good films need stand out lines like, “I’ll be back.” Cult classic films need lines like “You’re tearing me apart!” (The Room) and “Alright everybody, drop your tacos or I’ll blow your brains out.” (The Toxic Avenger). It might not be Casablanca but I guarantee you will find yourself quoting these lines to your friends.
  7. The special effects don’t work. Can you see that the body thrown off a cliff is just a mannequin with a wig on it? Do the ray guns used in the film just emit a slightly grainy light? Is the makeup so bad that you can’t even tell what the character is supposed to be? Then you just might have a cult classic on your hands. This is usually more reserved for the cult classics that are science fiction related than set in every day life. But, if you have seen Space Zombie Bingo!!! then you know how bad poorly designed effects can be. So bad that you have to watch again just to convince yourself you really saw what you think you saw.
  8. There are problematically unusual directing choices. It’s one thing to get experimental on purpose and try something out in film. It’s another to have jagged and pointless cuts, splice in stock footage, switch from day to night in the same scene or make someone look ten feet tall in one shot and like they are vertically challenged in the next. Normally, one or two of these in a film would just be considered a mistake. A cult classic takes this to the next level. There are so many errors in there, you get to thinking they must have been planned. Actors flub their lines, drop things and get tangled up in the scenery constantly in Attack of the Killer Tomatoes. It’s like the original Easter egg just watching that movie to see all the times something went horribly wrong.
  9. The film either takes itself too seriously or not seriously enough. Waterworld thinks it is staging Hamlet. It’s not. Showgirls wants to be a serious exploration of the working conditions dancers (not strippers!) have to deal with every day. It doesn’t. Plan 9 From Outer Space didn’t take itself seriously enough to take the time to develop into a decent story. When you get either side of this spectrum you can end up with an amazingly bad movie that is just fun to watch.
  10. People know the film is bad but they watch it repeatedly. This is the ultimate sign of a film being elevated from bad to so bad it’s good. I think The Meg was trying for this but it missed the mark. However, The Room, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, The Toxic Avenger, and Plan 9 From Outer Space have all taken on a life of their own outside of the regular box office. Showgirls has web pages and forums dedicated to it. People don’t view these things to appreciate them on the surface, They go because it’s a chance to laugh a little. They go to interact with other weirdos and oddballs that can also see the mangled attempt at art these movies represent. There’s nothing wrong with being bad. Heck, at least these film makers tried. That’s a whole lot more than 99% of people can say.

So the next time you are watching something and you are sure it is bad but not sure if it’s so bad it’s good, remember this list. It can separate out the cult classic from the classicly awful.

I hope you enjoyed my take on this. Did I miss anything? If so, leave a reply.

Badly yours,

Slick Dungeon