Son of Sonnet: The Ballad of Forgotten Dreams

Son of Sonnet—now going by his given name, Michael Gettinger—is back with a mildly post-apocalyptic poem.

The premise is intriguing; Son tells me the request was for “a poem about being a feminist in a world where you’re the only female human left. Every other human is a male.”  That sounds like the premise of a 1970s sci-fi flick!

Naturally, it’s not a great existence, but the feminist seems to realize the error of her ways.  These lines were particularly poignant:  “I learned a lesson through romance/That man may build for woman’s sake.”  How very true—I’ve accomplished a great deal in my life simply because I wanted to impress women.  I think that’s probably true for most men.

With that, here is Michael Gettinger/Son of Sonnet’s “The Ballad of Forgotten Dreams”:

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Monday Morning Movie Review: Portly’s Top Ten Best Films: #7: Krull (1983)

While we’re still outside of the Top Five—where the rubber really hits the road, and the picks have to correspond to actual, objective quality, and not just the passing whims of two amateur film reviewers—I’ve got to squeeze in another personal favorite.  To say this week’s pick is one of the “best” films is, perhaps, a stretch.

Really, no “perhaps” about it—it was a box office bomb and, while it has attained a certain cult status, it has not risen to the heights of many films with that dubious distinction.  Many “cult classics” are viewed overly fondly, as if to counteract the overly negative reviews at the time of the film’s release.  My #7 pick has enjoyed a bit of an improved reputation since its release, but its reviews are still mixed.

But for me, it’s a great film—a bit of swashbuckling, sci-fi/fantasy fun that bends and blends genres like a wet noodle in a food processor:  somehow, the finished product comes out tasting pretty good, even if it doesn’t make any sense.

Should 1983’s adventure Krull go on my honorable mentions post?  Probably.  Am I placing it higher on my list than the (objectively better) films behind it?  You bet.

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TBT^2: Phone it in Friday XI: Coronavirus Conundrum, Part IV: Liberty in the Age of The Virus

The Virus is like a bad movie series that just refuses to die.  There was a controversial but impactful first release that everyone was talking about, even if they didn’t see it.  Then there was the lackluster sequel, which still enjoyed some popular support, even though ticket sales were down.

Now it feels like we’re on the tired third film, which is a watered-down, ineffectual finale (one hopes) to a premise that is played out.  Sure, critics love it, but audiences are tired of its antics.

What still seems to make it into the script of every one of these films is the part where the government bureaucrats lock everything down and release a bunch of ghosts into Manhattan (uh, wait, what?).  Meanwhile, we all kind of sit by and twiddle our thumbs and put our masks on dutifully.

What happened to the band of merry wastrels who tossed tea into Boston Harbor, rather than comply with an odious monopolization of the tea trade?  Or the plucky scofflaws who made it impossible to enforce the Stamp Act?  I’d rather disguise myself as an Indian (feather, not dot) and caffeinate the water supply than put a mask on again (but that would be cultural appropriation, of course).

In short, why don’t we get a backbone, instead of cowering behind masks and locking ourselves indoors?  We’re literally cowering before an invisible enemy with a 99%+ survival rate.

Well, liberty is never easy.  Better to stay inside watching movies and disconnecting from reality, eh?

With that, here is 29 July 2021’s “TBT: Phone it in Friday XI: Coronavirus Conundrum, Part IV: Liberty in the Age of The Virus“:

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Monday Morning Movie Review: Portly’s Top Ten Worst Films: #5: Color Out of Space (2019)

We’re really getting into the dregs with these worst movies.  This point is where it starts getting hard for me, too—it’s easy to write about any movie, but having to think about the worst ones is surprisingly difficult.

As I had to travel out of town this weekend for a late family member’s memorial service, I decided to use the tactic to which all bloggers must, at times, resort:  reusing an older post.

The film is legitimately bad, and I really would place it on this list.  So, why not kill two birds with one bad film?

Last June, my blogger buddy photog over at Orion’s Cold Fire and I both published reviews of 2019’s The Color Out of Space simultaneously (you can read his screed against this cinematic butchering of the the Lovecraft story here: https://orionscoldfire.com/index.php/2021/06/14/color-out-of-space-2019-a-science-fiction-and-fantasy-movie-review/).

He’d written a brief blog post comparing Nicolas Cage to William Shatner.  In it, he announced that Nicolas Cage starred in an adaptation of an H.P. Lovecraft story, “The Colour Out of Space.”

Naturally, I immediately went to RedBox and (with a coupon code, of course) and rented The Color Out of Space on-demand.  As a fan of Lovecraft’s weird tales and Nicolas Cage’s weird acting, I had to see this film.

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Spring Break Short Story Recommendation 2022: “The Machine Stops”

As is my custom, I dedicate a few days each Spring Break to recommending and reviewing various short stories.  Typically, I read through an anthology of short stories over break and highlight three or four of the best stories from them.

However, I neglected to take an anthology with me when I left town for Easter weekend, and I didn’t have the time to pluck one from my parents’ substantial library.  So, I’m doing a one-off today (and possibly for other Spring Break Shorty Story Recommendation 2022 installments this week), although I am sure this story has appeared in many anthologies.

The story is E.M. Forster’s “The Machine Stops,” which I wrote about in brief in another post in April 2020, during the early days of The Age of The Virus.  The Z Man wrote about it in one of his posts from the time, which intrigued me enough to read the story.

It is, I believe, one of the great works of prophetic science fiction.  There’s a great deal of that from the mid-twentieth century; Forster was predicting things like FaceTime and social media in 1909.

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Monday Morning Movie Review: Bicentennial Man (1999)

After many requests—from Audre Myers, not lots of different people—I am finally reviewing Bicentennial Man (1999), the film in which Robert Williams plays a robot, Andrew Martin, who wishes to become a human.  I picked up this flick on-demand on RedBox for about $4—a small price to pay to make Audre happy (and/or to appease her, depending upon one’s perspective).

When I announced I’d be reviewing this film last Monday, it engendered some controversy in the comments.  Regular reader and contributor Pontiac Dreamer 39 (now going by “Always a Kid for Today”) wrote:

Bicentennial man?! Crikey, Tyler, you’re going to need a lot of booze. I like Robin Williams but that film is dross. If you can get through to the end sober, I’ll be impressed. Personally, I’d have made Audre rewatch that film! 🙂 🙂 🙂

Audre predictably came to the film’s defense, citing its relevance in an age in which robots and artificial intelligence are growing increasingly sophisticated.  Ponty/AaKfT argued better films on the topic exist, such as Paul Verhoeven’s 1987 masterpiece RoboCop.

You can read the comment thread for yourself, but after viewing the film (stone cold sober), I am ready to render my judgment on Bicentennial Man.

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Embracing the Dark Side… with LEGO

Regular readers will have surmised that, in spite being thirty-seven-years old, I am very much a kid at heart.  Often, I am also a kid in practice.

I was blessed to receive two incredible LEGO sets for Christmas:  the Imperial Shuttle (#75302) and the Darth Vader Helmet (#75304).  These sets are 660+ and 800+ pieces, respectively, and are probably the largest LEGO sets I’ve done.  I did have the legendary Black Seas Barracuda (#10040) as a kid, which is nearly 900 pieces, but I never built it—my older brother did.

Both of these builds were deeply satisfying.  I was sick with a low-grade fever and a sore throat (but tested negative for The Virus, no worries) the week after Christmas, and was generally enduring some low times besides the sickness, so I had plenty of time to dive into both of these kits—and was eager to do so.

Here, I’ll share some pictures of the builds, and discuss a bit of what it was like constructing them.

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Monday Mega Movie Previews

After a very long Monday, I’m taking a moment to write a post I promised earlier today.  Instead of my usual Monday Morning Movie Review, I’m offering up a preview of 100 films.

For Christmas, I received two massive collections of films:  Mad Scientist Theatre and Horror Classics, both put out by low-budget distributor Mill Creek Entertainment:

100 Horror and Mad Scientist Movies

Just look at those glorious covers.  What is going on with that hairy dude holding up a syringe full of a mysterious green substance?  Why is there a woman’s head covered surrounded by tubes in a tub of liquid?  Perhaps Dr. Fauci can weigh in.

Regardless, I’m super excited to watch these films—all 100 of them.

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Monday Morning Movie Review: Lifeforce (1985)

I’m a big sucker—pun most certainly intended—for vampire movies.  I’ve always enjoyed the vampire mythos, and find them to be terrifyingly fascinating villains (or anti-heroes).  The concept of immortality in a fallen, ever-changing world is itself a haunting prospect, one filled both with opportunity and, ultimately, hopelessness.

I also love science-fiction movies, notably those that take place in space.  The sense of boundless adventure and the thrill of exploration combine with high-tech gobbledygook to make for some fun stories.  Sci-fi, like horror, also has the ability to be among the best social commentary put to paper.

With 1985’s Lifeforce, those two genres are combined in a pleasing, memorable way.  Indeed, the film is based on a novel called The Space Vampires, which gives the game away on the front cover.  The vampires of the film and the novel are energy vampires, sucking the lifeforce from their victims, luring them in by shapeshifting into the guise of what the human victim most desires in a mate.  In doing so, they turn their victims in ravenous husks who must feed on the energy of others to survive.  If they don’t, they explode into a puff of dust and ash.

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