My wife and I decided we were in the mood for a movie last night after we put the boy to bed. It’s entirely possible that you don’t even know Bloodshot exists in the first place; it’s based on a comic book character, but from the Valiant universe, and if you’re not already a comic book person you do not know the Valiant universe exists. I am a comic book person and literally the only things I knew about Bloodshot going into the movie was that he was created during the 90s, which is the era when “Bloodshot” was something you decided to name your characters (I’m pretty sure the word is never once uttered in the film) and that he used guns and could regenerate. That was it.

The movie also had the deep misfortune to come out on March 13, which was the exact weekend that all hell broke loose and everything started getting cancelled. My last day at work was March 16, the following Monday. I don’t think they were really expecting gangbusters numbers out of this or it wouldn’t have released in March in the first place, but it flopped, and flopped hard. And it was sitting on a rather pathetic 33% rating on the TomatoMeter. We were both in the mood for a dumb action movie, though, and I am a huge Vin Diesel fan regardless of what he’s in, so what the hell, I’ll burn $5.99 to rent this on a Saturday night. It doesn’t need to be art, it needs to entertain me for two hours.


Not only is Bloodshot at least a solid movie, it’s an interesting one on a lot of different levels. The direction, in particular, makes the film worth watching all by itself– this is not a thing that I often say about movies, but the color palette the movie uses is a fascinating choice for an action movie, and there is a fight at the end that takes place in an elevator shaft on the outside of a skyscraper that was just outstanding. The rest of it is shot more like a drama than an action movie, which sounds like a criticism but isn’t. Bloodshot himself tends to be a little lumbery and Frankenstein-ish; like, dude, I know you’ll regenerate and gunshots aren’t likely to kill you, but maybe don’t just walk straight toward the guys that are shooting at you? Like, save the regeneration for when you need it.

There is also a Big Twist, but the Big Twist happens at about the 1/3 mark of the film, which … is not how that usually works? And I’m going to suggest that you withhold judgment until you get to that Big Twist, because it’s going to recast everything you just saw and some things that maybe didn’t make a ton of sense at first are going to click. And pay attention before then, because you get some interesting hints at what’s going on scattered here and there.

Vin Diesel is Vin Diesel; you kind of know what to expect there, and Guy Pearce continues to be a chameleon. There are a couple of weak spots in the cast; the bad guy’s muscle is underwritten, including one guy who is angry all the time for no clear reason, and I don’t know who decided that the guy who played Winston on New Girl should do his entire character with what I think was supposed to be a Cockney accent, but Jesus, his accent is so terrible that after a while I decided that the character was from Chicago and the whole thing was an elaborate prank.

… which, if you’d ever watched New Girl, you know that would have been just about the best movie moment of all time. Prank Sinatra, baby!

So: Bloodshot is not going to change your life or anything like that, but it’s a solid B as a film, which I was not expecting from something at 33% on the critical reviews. It’s a great Saturday night rental if you’re in the mood for an action movie. Check it out.

11:01 AM, Sunday June 14: 2,075,840 confirmed cases and 115,458 Americans dead.

On Thanos’ ass

My wife just showed me this tweet:

And I horribly disappointed her by not having the slightest idea what the hell could possibly be going on. Apparently– and you’re just going to have to believe me on this, as I refuse to look for it– there has recently been a discussion on The Twitter about why Ant-Man didn’t simply defeat Thanos by crawling inside his asshole and then growing.

Look, damn it, I need something more ridiculous than British money to talk about around here. These are the posts. 🙂

It is unclear exactly how much force Ant-Man is able to exert while growing. In fact, two damn near successive images from this trailer make the problem pretty clear:

You only need about the first thirty seconds, but you see two things here associated with growth: first, whatever system they have built inside the van is strong enough to fling another van off of its wheels and into the air. However, the system in Ant-Man’s actual suit isn’t able to put out enough force to break either the drop ceiling above him or the drywall around him. One assumes that you could use Pym particles to generate quite a bit of force, then, but that capability doesn’t seem to exist in Ant-Man’s suit, no doubt because his actual flesh is weaker than the metal frame of the van.

For the sake of argument, I’m willing to accept that Ant-Man or the Wasp are both able to shrink down enough to get inside Thanos’ suit of armor, and from there, provided that he is not actively clenching, one assumes they could work their way into his asshole if it were absolutely necessary. However, any suit that can’t grow Ant-Man with enough force to break drywall is surely not going to be able to overcome the pressure that the rectal wall of a man able to box the Hulk into unconsciousness could exert.

The good news for Ant-Man is that his suit does appear to have some sort of failsafe in it so that he can’t accidentally grow beyond the point where he hurts himself, or he would surely be larger than the room in the scene above, which I’m pretty sure is from a part of the movie where the suit was actively malfunctioning. I therefore posit that Ant-Man is only able to grow large enough, once ensconced in Thanos’ rectum, for Thanos to notice him, at which point one assumes that Thanos would clench, and things end poorly for Ant-Man, who has no particular level of enhanced strength or invulnerability, especially at that size. If his suit does not have the failsafe built in, Thanos clenches anyway, and one way or another the big purple dude is gonna need an oversized bidet to clean up the mess, which isn’t gonna be pretty.

The correct way, by the way, for Ant-Man or the Wasp to defeat a being on the level of Thanos is not to fly into his ass, but to fly into his ear. I’m pretty certain that the Wasp dropped the Hulk himself at least once by flying into his ear and directing an energy blast directly into his eardrum. Or, in a worst-case scenario, shrink down a bit more and head for his brain, which I’m pretty sure she did to the Red Hulk at one point.

Or, y’know, there’s always distraction. Yeah, this happened. God, The Ultimates was terrible:

#REVIEW: Birds of Prey

…and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn. Because I’m not putting that entire damn title into the headline.

It’s possible that you remember my review of Suicide Squad, way back in 2016 before the world went mad, which was basically “this is exactly the movie you think it is, only maybe 20% better.” Birds of Prey isn’t exactly a sequel to Suicide Squad, but it isn’t not a sequel to Suicide Squad, and in a whole lot of ways it’s exactly the same movie, right down to me being able to basically review it the same way: even if you haven’t seen this movie, you already know what you think about it, because this movie is exactly what it appears to be, and you probably already know what you think of those types of movies. It’s big and kinda dumb and kinda pretty and the acting is a weird combination of interesting and entirely inexplicable and, like most things, it could have been much shorter if Batman had been in it.

Seriously, there’s a bit toward the end where “You’re Harley Quinn, I bet you can find a way to attract Batman’s attention” is easily the best way to solve the problem the characters have, but then they’d have to find a way to stuff his name into that title and it’s already too unwieldy. This was an interesting comic book movie for me to watch, honestly, because despite being a Batman fan in general I actually own very few Batman-related comic books and I really don’t know much about most of these characters beyond the very broadest strokes, and even then I had to look a few people up here and there. The big draw is the action sequences, of course, which are better than a bunch of other comic-book movies I’ve seen, and I found myself a big fan of Jurnee Smollett-Bell’s performance as Black Canary, especially a reveal she gets toward the end.

Ewan McGregor is in it. His performance is … memorable. Yes. I will remember his performance. That is true and accurate. His final scene is also Quite a Thing. Like, “my wife and I both yelled out loud at 11:30 at night when The Thing happened” level Quite a Thing.

If you want to see it, it’s available as a digital rental right now; I would recommend you follow your gut on it. If you think you’ll enjoy it, you probably will and I suggest you check it out. If Harley doesn’t interest you, I don’t think this will help much with that, though. I hear Snowpiercer is going to be a TV show soon; maybe check that out. 🙂

5:20 PM, Sunday, May 10: 1,326,328 confirmed cases and 79,384 deaths, thankfully not much of a change from yesterday’s numbers, although that’s typical for a Sunday.

A Comprehensive List of Things I am Currently Boycotting

So apparently a few months ago a butter company changed their logo, and somehow it took until recently for conservatives to notice and they’re pretending to be mad about it? I refuse to believe that anyone actually cares about a butter company’s logo so, much like the butter, I’m taking the whole thing with a fair amount of salt, but I’m sure there are videos online somewhere of people dramatically setting their tubs of Land O Lakes on fire or some shit like that. Conservatives like to show their tribal loyalty by destroying things they already paid for for some reason. There’s gotta be something out there somewhere.

But it got me thinking: I am, ultimately, a relatively petty person. There have to be some good examples of shit that I’ve gotten mad about and boycotted that really wasn’t worth the energy. Now, I can’t think of any, but maybe someone else can, and I’ve definitely got one in mind that is questionable. We’ll see what else I can come up with; I reserve the option to add to this list as things occur to me for the next little while.

Also, “boycott,” to me, means that I am deliberately not buying products from these places or people, and were it not for the boycott, I would be. I am not, for example, boycotting the NFL or Hobby Lobby, because I have never given a shit about pro football one way or another and I don’t even quite know what the hell Hobby Lobby sells. I might have been in there once for some sort of teacher-related thing at some point but they aren’t getting my money anyway just because I don’t have any reason to go in there.

Here we go:

Chik Fil-A. This is actually the big one; I love their food. A lot. But the organization is too goddamn homophobic for me to spend any money there any longer, although I do have to refrain from arguing with people still when they denigrate the food.

Subway. Somebody at Subway put a plastic glove into my drink once, and I haven’t been back since. That said, this one only sort of counts, because I’m really only avoiding the restaurants owned by that franchisee, which are only in town. If I was out of town and I wanted Subway I’d have it. And the truth is I haven’t missed them all that much. The problem: is this actually a boycott? Like, I literally found foreign objects in my food and stopped eating there because of it. I don’t know if it counts.

Books by Orson Scott Card and Dan Simmons. In both cases I had read several of their books and enjoyed them prior to finding out what jackasses the authors were in their real lives; there are probably a number of staunch conservative creative people whose work I avoid— the Dilbert shithead and the dudes behind the Rabid Puppies and Comicsgate come to mind, but these two are the only ones whose work I previously liked and who I have dropped. Similarly, it’s not really a boycott if I just read one of your books and decided you suck.

Movies involving Tom Cruise and Mel Gibson. Gibson, of the two, is more of a genuine boycott, as Cruise hasn’t been in a lot that I’ve liked, and if he were to release a new film that I genuinely wanted to see I might go ahead and go. Of the two, I find Cruise to be far less repellent of a human being as well. And, again, there are a lot of actors and/or directors whose work I avoid, but these two are the only ones I can really say I’m boycotting. I was never gonna see any Woody Allen movies anyway, y’know?

For a while I was refusing to buy Marvel’s Star Wars comics, because they fired Chuck Wendig in what I felt to be a deeply shitty fashion. I was buying several of the books at the time and I dropped all of them when it happened. Fast-forward a few months later, and Wendig appears to be over it and I got sucked back in after a while. Unfortunately, because of coronavirus-related supply-chain nonsense, I haven’t bought any comic books at all in a month or so, and I miss them less than I thought I was going to? It may be that I’m only still buying comic books regularly out of habit and because I like the people who own my local comic shop so much.

Ooh, speaking of comics, this probably counts: I stopped buying books at All-Star Comics and Cards, my childhood comic shop, because I found out about some comments one of the co-owners made about New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina and was forced to publicly tell the dude to go fuck himself. This one no longer counts either because the store is closed now, and has been for years, and the guy who originally owned the place and who I owed my actual loyalty to had retired a year or so prior to this happening. But that was what finally drove me to find a comic shop in Chicago, because Darin wasn’t getting another dime of my money.

I feel like none of these are as ridiculous as “they changed their packaging,” though. There has to be something. Frankly, I feel like there have to be more places than this, but hell if I can think of any right now. Like I said, I’ll edit later if I come up with something else.

6:51 PM, Sunday April 26: 963,379 confirmed cases and 54,614 American deaths. I had initially speculated it would take to Wednesday to get over a million cases; we may not make it through Monday the way this has been going.

#C2E2 Roundup

We had a good time! Other than having to park a full 27-minute walk away from the venue, that is. That’s a decent length for a walk in the cold, and my watch asked me on the way to and from my car if I was working out or not. No! I’m just trying not to die.

Also, when we got there, there was absolutely no signage that there was a security line or a bag check to go through? Just literally a few thousand people all milling around being confused, because no one knew why they were there but everyone stood in the huge mob because they felt like they ought to?

We had our badges already, and they were already activated, so I literally moved a barrier aside and the three of us went in. Somebody tried to follow us and got sent back, and tried to get security to go get us too, but they didn’t. For some reason I found that hilarious. I didn’t find out until after the show that we’d actually dodged the security line; as I said, no signs at all, just a lot of confused people in a herd. I wouldn’t have jumped out of line if I’d have known that, but … whatever, I guess. I thought it was will call, I swear. 😀

I feel like there were a ton more people at the show than the last time, but more on that in a few minutes. I had goals! Nerd goals! First one: meet Gail Simone and Al Ewing. Well, Al wasn’t at his booth at all on Saturday, which was a bummer. But I met Gail!

So, interesting detail: Gail follows me on Twitter. And the account belongs to Luther, which, remember, isn’t my real name. So the fact that I automatically went into “I’m at a con” mode and told her to sign my graphic novel to Luther took me by surprise. Then I found out she was selling scripts and snapped one of those up too– that issue of Tony Stark: Iron Man contains what might honestly be my favorite single-panel joke in all of comic book history:

Gail’s husband accidentally told me something VERY COOL that might be coming out and I was immediately sworn to silence, but I wasn’t told not to tell you that I know something cool now. Which I do.

Authors! We ended up leaving before Robert Jackson Bennett’s signing, but my wife got Sam Sykes to sign a book, and I got autographs from John Scalzi and S.L. Huang:

By this point, I’d set precedent that books were signed to Luther, so I decided to roll with it. John was nice enough to let me take a picture with him, too:

On the Charizard: the boy put it on the table, and John immediately volunteered to sign it if he wanted, which he declined, not knowing who the hell John was. We only talked for a minute or two but he was very nice– in general, everyone was, unsurprisingly.

Also, I bought stuff:

New leather dice bag! Forgive the vast amounts of cat hair on the piano bench, there; it’s one of Jonesy’s favorite spots and I’m not about to retake the pictures somewhere cleaner.

Leather dice tray! It was either this or a tower, and I went with this instead, because of…

…the super fuckin’ cool obsidian dice I bought, which the salesperson made sure to point out are made of glass, and thus, honestly, are probably not the best choice to make dice out of? The price of the set, plus the box and the tray was frankly ridiculous, but much more reasonable compared to the first set I looked at, which were made of Damascus steel and priced at four hundred dollars. But fuck it: twelfth/third anniversary and we both saved up to buy cool shit at this show and I was ferdamnsure going to buy cool shit.

Oh, and I ran into my friend Verna Vendetta, who I met at Starbase Indy a million years ago:

The only real fail of the show, at least for me, was the sparse number of cosplayer pictures I took. Turns out that 1) it’s way easier to get people to let them photograph you when you’re at a booth, and 2) it really was hugely crowded, so most of the time if I saw somebody I might have tried to get a picture of in other contexts, the ridiculous number of people in between us made stopping to do so practically impossible. So I missed out on, say, the guy in the 12-foot-tall Bumblebee costume, because despite being near him there was no way I was going to get him to stop. So I didn’t get nearly as many pictures as I thought I was going to, but I did get a handful of them:

So, yeah: didn’t get arrested, spent lots of money, met cool people, walked seven miles, Achilles tendons currently really painful. I’ll call that victory! If you’d told me at fifteen that I’d not only eventually attend a nerd convention with a hundred thousand people there but that I’d have my wife and son with me and we’d be doing it on our anniversary, I’d have called you a liar. It’s good to be a geek.