Movie Review: Scoob!

I almost never watch bad movies. I don’t mean that as a brag or anything. I just mean that I monitor ahead of time the kind of movies I’m going to consume, and then I steer away from anything that looks like it’s just going to waste my time. I almost never make an exception to this.

Except . . .

Saturday night, I wanted to watch something with MC, and I was looking for something that might be a tinge Halloween-y, and there was Scoob! waiting in the HBOMax lineup. I liked Scooby Doo. A new version of it in movie form? What could be so bad about that?

I hit “play” without really thinking about it any more than that.

Let this be a lesson to you all. Friends don’t let friends watch bad movies. In fact, “Scoob” should be a verb that sums up this sentiment. If you let someone watch a movie you know is bad, you’re basically scoobing them, and they’re justified in being upset after the fact.

This movie was horrendous on so many different levels, I struggle to know where to begin. You’d think making a Scooby Doo movie would be pretty straightforward. You’ve got the characters, the plot is usually pretty much the same. All that’s missing is the zany hijinks, and maybe some cool musical numbers here and there to make kick it up a notch.

Scoob! decided to forego all of that. Instead, they tried to make this be the launching point of an entire Hanna Barbera Universe. So you’ve got Captain Caveman, Dynomutt, Blue Falcon, Dick Dastardly, and Muttley. On the one hand, that sounds like kind of a cool concept. I mean, I always liked the laff-a-lympics, seeing all those characters interact. But the execution of it is just . . . bad. Captain Caveman’s there and gone in a few minutes. They tried to make all these characters work at the same time, and they used a bizarre plot (Dick Dastardly’s trying to get into a secret vault of treasure guarded by Cerberus, who naturally is one of Scooby’s ancestors?) It all ends up being a big old mash of everything. I like pizza and ice cream and rootbeer and broccoli, but I’m not crazy enough to put them all in a blender and hit purée and then expect the result to taste good.

And they do strange things to the characters themselves. A small thing would be the fact that they made Velma Latinx. By itself, that wouldn’t be a big deal. Except they didn’t really go all the way with it. They tinged her skin color just enough to make you wonder, and then they had her use a single Spanish word at one point in the film. Fish or cut bait, people. The way they did it, it felt like she was channeling Dora the Explorer now and then, and not in a good way.

But much, much worse is what they did to Scooby. They turned him into a completely talking character with a slight speech impediment. Listen, people. Scooby-doo talks in short phrases at best. He’s not the sort of dog that’s going to have a conversation with you. He’s just not that bright, okay? Every time Scooby started pontificating about something, another piece of my childhood died.

But wait! There’s more! Because it wasn’t enough to do all of that, they also decided to throw in brief prequel sequence all about how Shaggy met Scooby and the rest of the gang. And none of that worked, either.

Which sums up the whole movie. None of it worked. None of it was funny. The plot was lame. The voice acting was bad. The animation was creepy. (They have a running Simon Cowell joke, and his transition into 3D animation is the stuff of nightmares.) The songs were non-existent. This movie was terrible on pretty much every level of the terrible spectrum.

The only saving feature I can think of is that MC liked the film. That was the only thing keeping me from stopping the movie. Don’t fall into the same trap I did. Don’t Scoob yourself, people. Stay as far away from this movie as you can. 1/10. Awful.

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Like what you’ve read? Please consider supporting me on Patreon. Thanks to all my Patrons who support me! It only takes a minute or two, and then it’s automatic from there on out. I’ve posted the entirety of my book ICHABOD in installments, and I’m now putting up chapters from PAWN OF THE DEAD, another of my unreleased books. Where else are you going to get the undead and muppets all in the same YA package? Check it out.

If you’d rather not sign up for Patreon, you can also support the site by clicking the MEMORY THIEF Amazon link on the right of the page. That will take you to Amazon, where you can buy my books or anything else. During that visit, a portion of your purchase will go to me. It won’t cost you anything extra.

New Author Photo and Bio

About a year ago, I dropped by a Barnes & Noble to see if they had any of my books to sign. I was in luck, but I hit a snag. Always before, they’d just let me sign the books, and I went on my merry way. This time, they looked at the author pic at the back of the book, looked at me, looked at the pic again . . . and then asked to see some identification. I’m usually not the best at picking up subtle hints, but I did manage to understand that perhaps my picture, taken about nine years ago now, no longer quite matches up with what I look like today. (Not that I’ve aged that much, but in the intervening years I’ve started wearing glasses again, I’ve lost around 30 pounds, and (fine) I’ve gotten a fair bit of grey in my beard.)

So when we were getting family pictures taken a couple of weeks ago and our photographer (the fantastic Jamie Lynn) asked if there were any other shots we wanted, I asked if she’d be willing to do a new head shot for me, and she was happy to. So here’s the new, updated picture of yours truly that will be in A PERFECT PLACE TO DIE when it comes out next year.

At the same time, my editor emailed last week to see if I had a bio for the book. The one I’ve been using has also been getting a bit long in the tooth, so I decided it was time for an update on that as well. Here’s the new one:

Bryce Moore is the author of The Memory Thief and Vodník. When he’s not authoring, he’s a librarian in Western Maine and a past president of the Maine Library Association. And when he’s not up to his nose in library work, he’s watching movies, playing board games, and paying ridiculous amounts of money feeding his Magic the Gathering addiction. Check out his daily blog for writing tips, movie reviews, and general rantings over at brycemoore.com

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Like what you’ve read? Please consider supporting me on Patreon. Thanks to all my Patrons who support me! It only takes a minute or two, and then it’s automatic from there on out. I’ve posted the entirety of my book ICHABOD in installments, and I’m now putting up chapters from PAWN OF THE DEAD, another of my unreleased books. Where else are you going to get the undead and muppets all in the same YA package? Check it out.

If you’d rather not sign up for Patreon, you can also support the site by clicking the MEMORY THIEF Amazon link on the right of the page. That will take you to Amazon, where you can buy my books or anything else. During that visit, a portion of your purchase will go to me. It won’t cost you anything extra.

Book Review: Wintersteel

Wintersteel by Will Wight

Generally speaking, I almost never buy books the day they’re released. I also have very rarely actually enjoyed a self-published book. I tend to think I have only a certain number of books I have time to read, and so I’m fine having the wheels of publishing sort through the manuscripts out there so that I don’t have to.

So the fact that I bought Will Wight’s Wintersteel the very night it released, cleared my schedule to read it, and finished it two days later, says all you really need to know about the book. Wight has done a fantastic job marketing himself, often giving away all his current books for free because he seems to be just that confident that people will turn around and buy his later books at full price. It’s an approach that works for illegal substances, and it definitely works for the Cradle series, one of my favorite fantasy series to come out in quite some time

I believe I’ve reviewed at least some of these before, but the conceit is very straightforward. Think of a video game RPG. Final Fantasy, say. It’s all about leveling up your character, getting it able to do even more powerful things so that it can then go and fight more powerful monsters. You keep doing that until you beat the game, which basically means there are no more powerful monsters to find anywhere.

That’s the Cradle series. Each individual book is like an installment of a larger RPG, and his characters level up, gaining new powers and abilities so they can always face the next step. At some point, there’s going to have to be a big bad guy with no more bad guys after, but that point is not Wintersteel.

So why is a book that’s so straightforward so much fun to read? I mean, going into it, you know it’s not the final book, and so you’re almost certain what’s going to happen. The characters will level up, face adversity, and emerge more powerful than they were going into it. If playing an RPG doesn’t sound like a fun time to you, reading one probably won’t be any better. But to a guy who grew up pouring hours into Final Fantasy, reading up on all the strategies and figuring out how best to win?

This book is pure catnip.

Wight writes great action sequences. He manages to make all his characters have unique ways of fighting, so the action doesn’t just blend together. There’s always some new weapon or spell they’re working on, and you get a good enough grasp of how they all work that you can appreciate it when a character does something innovative to pull off a come from behind win. Are the characters the deepest ever? Nope. Are there sweeping themes that will leave you breathless? Definitely not. This is a popcorn book, plain and simple. You read it for the pyrotechnics and the fun.

It very much makes me want to write something like this.

In any case, if you’re looking for a way to escape the blah of the everything right now, and you like yourself a good RPG and a fantasy novel, then boy howdy is this series perfect for you. The only thing that I can critique it on is that it’s not finished yet, and so now I have to wait until the next book comes out. (There are two more planned for the series. One to come out in March, and one next September.) But I wouldn’t let that stop you from enjoying the 8 that are already out now. 9/10

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Like what you’ve read? Please consider supporting me on Patreon. Thanks to all my Patrons who support me! It only takes a minute or two, and then it’s automatic from there on out. I’ve posted the entirety of my book ICHABOD in installments, and I’m now putting up chapters from PAWN OF THE DEAD, another of my unreleased books. Where else are you going to get the undead and muppets all in the same YA package? Check it out.

If you’d rather not sign up for Patreon, you can also support the site by clicking the MEMORY THIEF Amazon link on the right of the page. That will take you to Amazon, where you can buy my books or anything else. During that visit, a portion of your purchase will go to me. It won’t cost you anything extra.

When Can You Call a Stranger?

Part of my responsibilities in church at the moment is making unsolicited phone calls to set up appointments for church leaders. They’ll need to meet with someone, and so I’ll need to track that person down and set a time and date. Most of the time, I try to do this through email, because it’s the most efficient way in my opinion. (And I have an easy record of what was decided, in case there’s the need to keep track of that.)

But sometimes emails go unnoticed, and I have to reluctantly turn to ye olde telephone to get the job done. I dislike this for a number of reasons. First of all, I just don’t like talking to strangers on the phone. I can chatter away with friends for hours on end, but calling people I don’t know? Not a fan. It stresses me out, and yes I realize that’s a silly thing to stress out about, but there you have it.

Beyond the simple stress of making an actual phone call is the fact that most people have caller ID these days, and I don’t know if you’re aware, but there are a lot of these things called “spam calls” that happen. This means most people just don’t answer calls from numbers they don’t recognize. Which means my number. So calling someone means I have to leave a message, and then they have to call me back, which is from a number my phone won’t recognize. (And also means that these days I just always answer my phone, because it’s easier to just hang up on a spambot than it is to have to track down the actual person who was leaving me a message.)

Anyway. This long lead up is just to set the stage for my question. In the modern era, when do you think it’s fine to make a phone call? Meaning, what hours of the day? I ask because I know for a fact that different people have different opinions on this. (On my mission, I once got yelled at for knocking on someone’s door. “Don’t you know what time it is?” they yelled at me. I checked my watch. “Four thirty in the afternoon?” I answered. “Exactly!” they said. “It’s way too late to just drop by!” Maybe they just didn’t want a missionary knocking on their door. If that was the case, I couldn’t blame them. I wouldn’t want me knocking on my door either.)

My general approach is on a weekday, I’ll wait until 9am to call someone, and I’ll still call someone until 9pm. (On weekends, I wait until 10am.) Still, I have woken people up calling at 9 in the morning or 8:30 at night, so I wonder if my hours are too broad.

That’s where you all come in.

When do you think it’s okay to call someone? Weekend vs. weekday? (And remember, “not calling at all” isn’t an option in this case. Those appointments ain’t gonna make themselves, folks.)

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Like what you’ve read? Please consider supporting me on Patreon. Thanks to all my Patrons who support me! It only takes a minute or two, and then it’s automatic from there on out. I’ve posted the entirety of my book ICHABOD in installments, and I’m now putting up chapters from PAWN OF THE DEAD, another of my unreleased books. Where else are you going to get the undead and muppets all in the same YA package? Check it out.

If you’d rather not sign up for Patreon, you can also support the site by clicking the MEMORY THIEF Amazon link on the right of the page. That will take you to Amazon, where you can buy my books or anything else. During that visit, a portion of your purchase will go to me. It won’t cost you anything extra.

Buying a Better Mousetrap

We’re almost to late October, and you know what that means: peak mouse trapping season is upon us. Now that I’ve lived in an old farmhouse for over a decade, this is far from my first rodeo. If there’s a mouse-controlling device out there, I’ve bought it and tried it out. And seeing as how some of you might be newer to the mousing scene, I thought it might be helpful to some of you for me to give a quick run down of the various mouse traps out there, and which one gets the official Bryce Seal of Approval.

Ye Olde Classic–You know the one I’m talking about. Wooden trap. Metal coil. Something Bugs Bunny might try to trick Elmer Fudd with. These traps are fine and all. They’re certainly cheap, and when they work, they work. (Sometimes a little too well. I’ve had mice that pretty much got cut in half by one of these. Speaking from experience, that’s not a situation you want. Cleaning up two halves of a mouse is not a fun prospect.) Messiness aside, I don’t like this style for three other reasons. First is reusability. Once you’ve caught a mouse, you have to get fairly handsy with that corpse to get the mouse out and reset the trap. Second, actually setting the trap is a trick and a half. There’s a fair chance you’re going to snap it on yourself once or twice before you actually get it done right. Third, there tends to be a lot of false alarms with this style. Mice seem to be able to navigate the trap well enough without actually getting caught.

Glue Traps–This style fails on many different levels. First of all, it just seems cruel to me. I don’t like mice, but I don’t quite like them to the level of “glue them to the floor and let them starve to death or die of thirst.” Also, sometimes the critter doesn’t fully get on the trap, and instead it takes the glue trap on a trip around the house. This is less than ideal. Finally, the glue just picks up all sorts of nastiness over time. Yuck. Pass.

Poison–Again, it’s pretty cruel, but there are times when poison’s the only thing I’ve figured out that’ll work. (Less so now that I have a dog. Poison’s pretty much out for me at this point . . . ) But even if you don’t have a pooch to look out for, poison just generally means the mouse dies in the floor or the wall, and then you’ve got to smell if for a long time afterward. Not fun. Pass.

Noise Deterrents–These are plug in things that supposedly make it so mice don’t want to go anywhere near where they can hear the noise. They can work . . . fine. But they only work for where the noise can get, and I haven’t had a huge success rate. They’re fine as a first defense, but I wouldn’t rely on them for all my mouse warfare needs.

Dryer sheets–I swear. People seem to think dryer sheets work for everything. Like mice will smell them and then go running for the hills. I have had no success with dryer sheets for anything other than keeping clothes fluffy in the dryer.

Electronic Traps–The concept seems sound at first blush. Mice go in and get zapped by a battery powered zapper. And these do indeed kill mice. But they also get really gunky over time. The batteries need to be changed. Getting rid of the mice can be a pain, as well. They brag about how they’re enclosed, so you don’t have to see the dead mouse, but . . . that kind of goes with the territory of mouse trapping. Sooner or later, you have to see the beady eyes. These are expensive, and I don’t see the point. Pass.

Have-a-Heart Traps–These take the “trap” part too literally. I want to kill the mouse, not take it on a trip in my car. What is this? A mouse game show? The rodent has infested my house, and instead of making an example of it, I end up giving it a free meal and a trip to an exotic location, where it can proceed to do what mice do best: make more mice. No thanks. If mice didn’t want to die, they shouldn’t have come into my house.

Guillotine Style Traps–They don’t actually cut the critter’s head off, but they come close. They also don’t work for beans. I have yet to catch a mouse with one of these, probably because mice see them and are scared to death.

Board Games–Is that what this is to you? A joke? We’re here to kill mice, son. Not build complex Rube Golberg machines.

Amazon’s Recommended Style–These work okay, over all. I’ve successfully used them to kill multiple mice with the same trap over time, but they don’t have the staying power to last season after season. Once you’ve caught and killed five mice with one trap, the trap mechanism seems to wear out, and you have to get a new trap. They’re fine, and they do the job without being too messy. They’re also easy to reset. They’re easily my second favorite trap, but they’re not my pick for number one.

My Number One–Now we’re talking. These traps win on so many different levels. First off, they’re very reusable. I’ve got one trap that’s caught four mice over six days right now. (It’s a bad year for mice, it seems? At least in my house at the moment.) Better yet, you can just stick a raisin in the bait spot, and the mice almost never successfully get the raisin, so you never have to put new bait in. You can set it and unset it with just one hand, leaving your other clean hand free to open doors and maneuver in and out of the house. You can reset it with your foot, so if it goes off and misses the mouse, you don’t have to worry about getting your hands dirty again. They’re just very, very good traps. And they’re cheap.

So there you have it. My recommendation for the best mouse killing machine, speaking from years of practice. If you have more questions, I’m happy to answer them. Good luck in your mouse hunting endeavors, and may the odds be ever in your favor.

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Like what you’ve read? Please consider supporting me on Patreon. Thanks to all my Patrons who support me! It only takes a minute or two, and then it’s automatic from there on out. I’ve posted the entirety of my book ICHABOD in installments, and I’m now putting up chapters from PAWN OF THE DEAD, another of my unreleased books. Where else are you going to get the undead and muppets all in the same YA package? Check it out.

If you’d rather not sign up for Patreon, you can also support the site by clicking the MEMORY THIEF Amazon link on the right of the page. That will take you to Amazon, where you can buy my books or anything else. During that visit, a portion of your purchase will go to me. It won’t cost you anything extra.

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