Movie review: Dawn of the DC Movieverse

Warning: a gently spoilery for Batman vs. Superman. Also, you should be warned if you’re one of those automatic haters: I liked it.
Okay, I didn’t love it, and as we all know I’m easily entertained. Still, I don’t get the extreme hatred being doled out with a scoop shovel. The dislike, that I do understand.
The plot was “huh?” inducing. Basically Lex Luthor, for some reason long-haired and apparently a scientific genius who got all his dough from a not-nice dad, decides he has to destroy Superman. Why? My best guess is that Luthor is up to something down the road, and knows Superman will try to stop him.
Meanwhile, Grandpa Batman is still Dark Knighting away, as brooding as ever but even more violent. Evidence suggests he’s darker than ever partially because Joker killed Robin. In addition, the knockdown-dragout in Metropolis during Man of Steel led to the deaths and injuries of Bruce Wayne’s friends and destruction of his property. Bruce blames Superman for this, because, after all, Batman never caused injury or property destruction while fighting off villains.
So Luthor tricks Superman and Batman into slugging it out, while also quite literally raising his own supervillain, who DC fans will be chilled to know is Doomsday.
There’s more to it than that, of course. Like, two and a half hours more to it.
So, the dislikes? Okay, what is Luthor’s actual endgame? I don’t think even he knows what he’s trying to do. Kill Superman, yes—or at least get rid of Batman in the attempt—but then? What does he think Doomsday’s going to do after the big battle? Go raise chickens? Also, Luthor discovers an even Bigger Bad is on the way, a dark presence that always sides with evil, and he has to know that only superheroes might be able to fight it off. So … why is he intent on killing off the superheroes? (For you non-DC fans, the oncoming storm is one of the biggest of the DC bads.)
If it sounds like I’m saying the foundation of the plot makes no sense, that’s what I’m saying. The rest is mostly about Superman and Batman being emo, and generally with good reason, although at least Sups is getting laid.
Other problems:
Seriously D.C.: just a little humor? It doesn’t have to be Tony Stark funny all the time, but could we lighten up just a bit? It’s a comic book movie, for crying out loud.
I’m still not entirely sure how everyone figured out who everyone else secretly is.
How did Alfred, the butler, get such mad technical skills? Who’s dusting the furniture?
Lex Luthor isn’t Lex Luthor. It’s as if Luthor is doing his best impression of Joker, or maybe Joker disguised himself as Luthor to hide from an increasingly homicidal Batman. It’s a fun performance, but it’s not Lex Luthor.
Was it really necessary to pad an already padded movie with another look at the murder of Bruce Wayne’s parents? Haven’t we pretty much got that down by now?
They should have waited to throw the rest of the Justice League in—it made the movie too long and added too much unnecessary stuff. I say this despite the fact that Gal Gadot stole the show as the unnamed Wonder Woman.
Which brings me to the things I did like:
See this movie on the biggest screen you can possibly find: It’s visually stunning. We watched it in 3D, and I jumped back more than once.
In your face, Ben Affleck haters! I held judgment, remembering how much everyone hated Michael Keaton as Batman—until the movie came out and he silenced the critics. As Grandpa Batman, Affleck does the same.
In fact, the cast as a whole was outstanding. That includes Jesse Eisenberg, playing some Bizaro version of Lex Luthor with Joker DNA in him. Holly Hunter was especially great, and it was nice to see a cameo by someone we thought dead.
For you Walking Dead fans, here’s a head-exploding cameo: Bruce Wayne’s parents are played by Maggie and Negan. *boom* That means Bruce’s dad is also the father of the Winchester brothers on Supernatural, where he also died while they were young. No wonder the guy got targeted, leading a double life like that.
There are nice shout-outs to the comic book fans, which don’t interfere with non-comic fans enjoying the flick.
Hans Zimmer’s music: Loved it. I have no idea how much Junkie XL contributed to the score, but he needs to slap his parents for giving him that name.
My wife swore she saw Chris Pine in a briefly glimpsed 1914 photo. She was right.
So, overall, yes—worth seeing. One of my major problems with Man of Steel was the huge amount of collateral damage, and I’m glad that was addressed in Batman vs. Superman. I just hope they put some script doctors to work on Justice League.

Happy Easter

Happy Easter, everyone!
Been feeling a little under the weather, so we’re taking the day off (well, after I got off work at 7 a.m.) Then: It’s right back to copy and photo editing for Hoosier Hysterical. After all, two full time jobs keeps me out of trouble.
It’s not only Easter, but Walking Dead night. Which, come to think of it … irony.

What Kind of Idiot Goes the Speed Limit?‏

First appearing here:!Winter-Driving/r48sv/56d8842c0cf20d226f1d75b7
There was a time when I was the same reckless driver I now complain about. My first two cars were fast, and I liked to believe I was the stuntman for “Starsky and Hutch”. (Look it up, kids.)
I actually jumped my first car. I mean, all four wheels off the ground. On purpose.
It was stupid. And that’s the difference between me and other people who drove like that: I’m not proud of it. I wasn’t skilled: I was lucky. (And stupid.) The only reason I never totaled my first car is because the engine blew first. The only reason I didn’t total my second car is because the officer who wrote the speeding ticket swore he only caught up with me because of the stop sign. That made me think.
I thought, “This is stupid”.
These days I’m that guy you’re tailgating, who drives like your grandma. “What’s the matter with that guy? He’s going the speed limit! What kind of idiot goes the speed limit?”
Me. It helps that I’ve seen a lot of dead bodies at accident scenes, which is really attention-grabbing.
Winter is the time when we tend to weed out the reckless, at least until they get their rides replaced. That white stuff on the road? It’s not sand from Jamaica, folks. Snow sent me into the ditch three times in my younger years, and what I learned is that the ditch is fine if you’re a drainage consultant or a ditch digger, but it’s not so good for travel.
(Granted, this past winter was fairly mild, but that's like saying you had a mild heart attack: it still counts.)
We’re nearing the end of the latest never-ending Indiana winter, so freezing precipitation is only possible for another few months or so. This late it tends to melt off within a day of the moment I finish shoveling. What have we learned from another season of slippery roads?
Well, the first thing we learn, every year, is that people don’t learn every year. The first snow “event” of the fall brings the same thing: People sliding off roads all over. In cars, I mean. Some are brand new drivers, or just unlucky, but a lot are idiots. Many of the unlucky are victims of the moronic.
“I’ve driven in Indiana for thirty years, and nobody ever told me snow could be slippery! I’ll sue! I should have sued when this happened last year!”
That just doesn’t sound like the voice of reason.
The problem with stressing snow is that some people assume when the snow is plowed, the danger is over. “You can’t say black ice! That’s racist!” Fine, call it Sudden Ice Syndrome, then. SIS kills.
Freezing rain? By definition, it’s freezing. Some people only seem to hear “wa-wa rain”.
On a related note, I wonder what would happen if the movie “Frozen” was real? Wouldn’t everyone who came close to Elsa end up with strains, sprains, and concussions? Hopefully Kristoff’s sled has four wheel drive.
Not that it would help, which brings us to one of the big dangers: people who put too much faith in all-wheel drive. “Yes, I know it’s snowing, but I have an SUV!” Does the first letter stand for Stupid? It does if you drive 70 in dry weather, and also 70 in wet weather.
Yeah, I see you driving behind me, and you know what? The closer you get to my taillights, the more I’m going to slow down. That’s why I’m going 53 now.
There’s no point in me being the 532nd person this month to point out that four wheel drive does absolutely no good on ice. The people who need to hear it aren’t listening. They’re listening to their car stereo, maybe, or more likely their cell phone. They’re also cussing a lot, because that’s me glued to their front bumper, and I’m now doing 49.
Not only do SUV drivers get up to speed in bad weather (when not behind me), they go out when they don’t have to. What’s the best rule of driving in ice or snow? Don’t. My wife can, and does, make fun of me for being a weather junkie, but I can tell her three days ahead if there might be bad weather. Maybe there won’t be, but if you’re almost out of bread anyway, why not stock up? And get some dog food too, so the mutt won’t be tempted to eat his owners in a worst case scenario. Then, if the bad forecast doesn’t pan out … so what?
But four wheel drivers think, “Let’s go out!” I suppose you people ski and ice fish too. Oh … you do? Never mind.
I’ve seen a lot of bad driving, and I’ve done some of it. In the end, I can only conclude that people who ignore bad weather should be lumped in with those who don’t use seat belts, or have no idea what a turn signal is for. There’s a special place in hell for them, right below women who don’t vote for Hillary. (Hey, I didn’t say it.)
But there is one good thing about dumb drivers. When the road conditions are good for maybe 45 mph, and you get passed by some moron who wants to go 60, there’s no better feeling in the world than going on another two miles … to find him spinning his wheels in a ditch.

No, I didn't get off the porch for this. You kiddin' me?

spring springs

Okay, not the best cell phone photo ever, but still: first bloom of spring down at Chain O' Lakes. Yay, spring!

Phase—What, Eight? —Done

Emily has finished her edits on Hoosier Hysterical: How the West Became the Midwest, Without Moving At All. (Dennis Miller once made a joke about the increasing length of book subtitles. Don’t worry, I won’t try to call it HS:HtWBtWWMAA.)
She left so many notes. So many notes.
But it gets us one step closer to publication. Now I’ll work my way through the notes and make changes, while Emily goes through our photos and designs a cover. We’re far behind where I intended to be at this point, but a May publication date is still doable—in fact, in the near future I’ll put Hoosier Hysterical up for preorders, assuming I can figure out how to do that.
In theory we can set whatever publication date we want, but this is the Indiana Bicentennial year, after all—the whole reason I came up with this book idea to begin with. We also want to be on track to release two books this year, although I haven’t decided on what to put out for the second one, yet.
It’ll be a work of fiction, though—for now I’m done with the heavy research. Maybe I’ll call Smoky Days and Sleepless Nights, Albion and Noble County, and Hoosier Hysterical my history trilogy … it sounds so much fancier, that way.