Entertain Me

Not a scene from Prometheus… this is a parasite in some dude’s eyeball

Due to a combination of getting a new day job (been on it since May 2nd so it still feels new)… and this being gardening season (so I’m doing a some work outside on the garden — and, yes, it is a garden since we are growing food and flowers and not  grass and shrubs) plus some commissions, I’ve been pretty busy and the blogs have been languishing a bit.  I’ve closed the other ‘word press’ blog down for now just to reduce the number of things I am ignoring, intending a re-design. I don’t know when I’ll get to that… if I never do, no big loss.  Since I’ve been ignoring the blogs and haven’t been writing anything controversial or interesting anyway, my readership seems to have plunged, so I guess the world can afford to wait.

I never know how much to say about commissions I have been working on.  If it is for a published product, I think it is probably best to let the publisher make the first announcement, and, once they do, I’ll try to make a mention of it here. I think I can say that there are some crowdfunding projects I have been associated with that are bearing fruit and others that are not without stepping on any toes. There are also some new adventures and things coming out of Goodman Games that I have been working on (some for DCC game, others not specifically aligned with DCC but more ‘general game freak interest’ things).

I have a bunch of artwork I would love to put in the etsy shop, but have been having trouble even imagining first matching scans and prices and sizes and descriptions with artwork, then loading all that info up on Etsy, then packing it all and shipping it out… taken by themselves, each of those tasks seems tiny, but you add ‘em all up and start wondering where your break-even point is as far as hours and aggravation spent versus dollars obtained.

Finally got around to watching  “John Carter” (or trying to) but we gave up long before the end of the film.  I haven’t read those ‘Barsoom’ books in ~20 years, and, while I think the costumes, etc., looked a lot like what I imagined Mars looking like (maybe because they looked a lot like the ‘John Carter’ comics I read as a youngster), we just didn’t enjoy it and Annie looked at me about 30 minutes in and said, “Do you want to give up on this?”  Since she was the one who put it in the Netflix queue (the ‘Friday Night Lights’ guy who played John Carter is her guilty pleasure), we popped it back in the envelope and mailed it back to Netflix. The one thing I did like is the pained look on John Carter’s face every time the green Martians called him ‘Virginia’ (they didn’t quite understand that “Virginia” was where he was from and not his name), but maybe that’s because I think that small bit of gender confusion would drive Burroughs crazy.
We also went to see “Prometheus” in the theatre this weekend and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I’m trying to work out what the difference is between a movie that is puzzling and thought provoking (Prometheus) or just muddled and disorganized (the first 30 minutes of John Carter). Both films had some great acting talent in them; I just think the Prometheus writers nailed down an interesting and thought provoking story that used the talent of the actors and John Carter had a good-looking hero in a loincloth who could jump really high and a lot of other characters I could not keep straight. Both movies featured actors whose work I enjoyed from the TV show, ‘The Wire.’  “John Carter” had Dominic West (aka Detective McNulty) playing a villain and “Prometheus” had Idris Elba (aka Stringer Bell) playing the captain of the ship upon which the characters are travelling. “Friday Night Lights” never lit up my pleasure centers the way it lit up Annie’s (she loved it, but, since she is a writer, she loves character/dialogue driven narrative), but I think the actor who played ‘John Carter’ is a good physical actor, i.e.: when he is supposed to look pensive or angry or indifferent he can do that without having to resort to saying, “I am thinking… I am pissed off… I don’t care,” — there just wasn’t enough of a story there for him to show any of those things (at least not in the first 30 minutes)… but, if memory serves, the original E.R. Burroughs source material doesn’t have any ‘internal drama’ anyway, so maybe Disney was just trying to hew closely to the source material, ha ha.

This brings me to a problem.  I like a lot of ‘bubblegum’ movies for what they are… thrills and action and near-mindless entertainment… so it seems unfair to compare ‘John Carter’ with ‘Prometheus’ simply because Prometheus was much more ambitious in its storytelling.  And, honestly, the only reason I think to compare them are the fact that they are both ‘sci-fi’ and we happened to see them both on the same weekend.  In the end, ‘John Carter’ failed for me because after the first 30 minutes I was willing to turn it off, whereas halfway through Prometheus I had to go to the bathroom but didn’t want to leave the theatre because I didn’t want to miss any of it. And I guess that was the key difference between the two films for me.  One of them left me not caring whether or not I saw it and the other had me wanting to see the whole thing.  Maybe thats the thing I want from art/entertainment/whatever. I want it to be like an addictive drug.  I want it to make me keep wanting it.

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