Movie Review: Pinocchio (2022)

Disney bragged about how it was releasing its live action Pinocchio as part of Disney Plus Day. When I heard that, I immediately wondered what the real reason for that was. If the movie were actually good, it would be very unlike a movie studio to purposefully cut it out of theaters, but maybe it would somehow help Disney more to have it promote its streaming service?

I watched it with the fam over the weekend, and I discovered the answer was much simpler. It’s just a terrible movie.

From start to finish, almost nothing of the movie works well. For one thing, it’s generally a carbon copy of the animated original, except it’s a mix of live action and CGI. This removes pretty much any sort of interest the movie might be able to generate on its own. Almost the whole time, I was wondering why in the world I’d want to watch this version when I could just watch the original. True, there are a few additions to the plot (a marionette Pinocchio interacts with being the biggest), but nothing there that makes it appreciably different.

Ironically, the film decided to diverge from the songs of the original, only leaving a few brief shout outs to the old songs here and there. Instead, having Alan Silvestri and Glen Ballard pen some new songs. Now, I’m a big Alan Silvestri fan. Forrest Gump? Back to the Future? Iconic soundtracks. But imagine if you really like grilled cheese sandwiches, and someone shows up and says they’ll give you a grilled cheese sandwich, and instead give you a BLT. I’m not saying the songs were BLT quality, but it was really hard for me to assess them, because they definitely weren’t the originals, and the difference was very lacking. It also didn’t help that a few of them were “sung” by Tom Hanks, proving really only that Tom Hanks is great at many many different things, but singing ain’t one of ’em.

This is a movie that never should have been green lit. A blatant money grab, and a blight on some otherwise great filmmakers’ careers. Was there anything good in it? Well, clearly the CGI had a lot of work put into it. I really liked the portrayal of Honest John, and the Pleasure Island sequence was very good. But they were all too far and few between to salvage much of anything.

3/10. Avoid this movie.

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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 this DON’T GO TO SLEEP Amazon link. It 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.

Obi Wan Season 1: Review

I’m finally catching up with some of the different shows I’ve been missing out on for the last ever, so I assume most people who wanted to watch Obi Wan have already watched it. But for those of you who might have been on the fence and still haven’t pulled the trigger, allow me to save you some time. Overall, I found it better than Boba Fett, but still leaving much to be desired.

The sad thing is that there are some genuinely cool moments sprinkled throughout the series. Some really great lightsaber duels and force battles, but in between is just a bunch of padding that goes nowhere.

With that said, I’m going to head into some spoilers now to discuss just what went wrong for me. If you want to avoid them, stop reading here.

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Okay, so here’s a quick rundown of the bad of the series:

  • Leia’s whole plot line is way too contrived. She doesn’t come across as a character, she comes across as a device. A reason to get Obi Wan into trouble. She’s being chased by the bad guys, and she randomly does things like run away from Obi Wan for no real reason. Some of this is probably from the fact that getting a solid acting performance from someone so young is very difficult. No one expects much out of Baby Yoda. Little Leia has a higher bar to get over.
  • The Force is wildly inconsistent across Star Wars canon at this point. Darth Vader basically yoinks a spaceship from the sky without breaking a sweat, but then moments later he lets another one go. The first one posed no problem. Why did the second one trip him up? Often the Force comes across as “let’s have some cool special effects now,” without any real rhyme or reason. That’s wearing thin.
  • Weak Obi Wan is just . . . not that fun to watch, it turns out. Some of that might be because when he tried to get his powers back, he always was able to do just enough to do whatever he wanted to do. That’s not really failing, so it never felt like it was a true struggle for him. Yes, he had a showdown with Vader early on that he soundly lost, but he didn’t lose it to any disastrous length. The stakes never felt that big.
  • The inquisitors all felt pretty toothless, with no real character development. So instead it was “weird guy who speaks low and wears a funny hat” and “strange woman with a pointy face.” So what? They made some effort with Reva, but even then, her story was just too little substance to carry what the show seemed to be trying to pull off. Maybe a little less Obi Wan cutting up meat and a little more developing her backstory would have helped?
  • While I’m at it, I’m wondering why in the world stabbing people through the stomach with a lightsaber is even a thing in Star Wars. It doesn’t do a blessed thing to the person, apparently, except slow them down for a while. So if you’re an evil Sith or whatever, wouldn’t you take a moment to lightsaber their face in half, just to be thorough? Seriously. They ought to have a class on that in Sith school and everything.
  • They missed the set up of all time. Obi Wan’s in a pit, and Darth comes to stand over him and stare down. This is where Darth should have said, “It’s over Obi Wan. I have the high ground.” Instead, he just dumps rocks on top of him and walks away, because Darth apparently skipped “how to effectively kill your nemesis” class as well. Sigh.

It was a frustrating show, and after each episode, we generally talked about all the things that irritated us about it. That’s a bad sign. I have higher hopes for Andor, but we’ll see how that goes. Overall, this one was a 4/10. The cool scenes just aren’t enough to make it worth while. Maybe there’s an hour long highlight edit out there that would be awesome . . .

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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 this DON’T GO TO SLEEP Amazon link. It 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.

Weight Check In

I did this glancingly last week, saying COVID had made me gain some weight back, but this week I wanted a real check in: 192.6, which means I’ve lost 1.2 pounds since last week. Honestly, I could have done much better. I keep coming up with reasons for why I shouldn’t have to diet (like, today is my birthday, so why should I diet?), and that shows me my heart really isn’t in it. Which my brain is not happy with at all.

Right now I feel perched on this sort of strange point where I’ve been taking time off from multiple different obligations, and I really feel like I need to dive back into them, but I keep getting scared of the height of the diving platform.

Case in point: writing. I haven’t written anything consistently in the past 3 months, give or take. While there have been some very, very good reasons for that, I also love writing, and I miss it. I am generally happier when I am writing each day. I feel more accomplished, and I like the feeling of building toward something. But writing is something that can be very momentum-based. There’s a lot of effort that goes into getting started up again, or at least it feels that way at the moment. I was happy that yesterday I managed to get my 1,000 words in, and it felt good. But I need a few weeks of that to feel like I’m back in the zone.

My sister (who’s a life coach) talks a lot about “buffering”: things you do when you know you should be doing something else, but you don’t want to do that something else. I’ve been doing a lot of buffering the past while, mainly to escape having to think about some things I’d rather just ignore. (Death of my father. Tomas actually leaving the house. Not insignificant things by any stretch.) And while I believe some allowance can and should be made for me, I also feel like I’ve about used my allowance up. There are always going to be excuses for not doing the things that need to be done, and I’ve always viewed myself as a person who doesn’t like excuses.

Anyway. This is just a long way of talking about some of why I’m futzing around instead of getting serious about getting my weight down some. Sure, I’m not overweight at the moment, but I’m one holiday season away from being there, and (would you look at that?) I’ve got one holiday season looming ever closer in the future . . .

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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 this DON’T GO TO SLEEP Amazon link. It 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.

Starší Cundick

It’s official. Last night Tomas came up with me to Bangor to be set apart as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Denisa and the girls couldn’t make it up, since MC has been sick for the past while, and we’re trying to get her feeling better as soon as possible.

So now we have a missionary living in our house for the next two weeks. I’m still not entirely sure how that will work. I know he’s got classes each day but Sunday, but I’m not sure when they run. There’s only one other missionary learning Slovak in his group, so that should be . . . interesting? I’m not sure how they’ll handle someone who has no Slovak experience at all and someone who’s really just lacking the vocabulary. But his companion is in Arizona, so I think they’re trying to split the difference in terms of timing the classes.

When he’s at home, he doesn’t need a companion, but when he leaves our home, he has to be with Denisa or me the whole time. He gets a P-Day, which I believe is Wednesday. I’m not sure what exactly he’ll do on P-Day, since I’m at work all day, and Denisa has class as well. Then again, this really only goes until October 4th, when I’ll drive him to the airport and he’ll head off to the MTC in Provo.

I know many missionaries write weekly letters and send them out to people who gave email addresses for that. Tomas and I talked it over, and the way we’ll handle it is I’ll have him write a guest post each week that will keep people informed about what he’s up to. I believe his P-days are on Wednesdays, but we’ll see when he actually is able to send those letters.

Either which way, I’ll be interested to come home today and find out how the online training is going. Thanks to all of you for your kind words of support and encouragement for him. I know he appreciates them.

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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 this DON’T GO TO SLEEP Amazon link. It 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.

COVID: Round Two

I missed last week’s weigh-in post, because COVID threw everything out the window. I was feeling sick enough that trying to diet on top of feeling that way just wasn’t something I was willing to subject myself to. Then, we went on a quick trip to NYC, which meant eating different food again. The good news is that this morning I was still 193.8, so I didn’t put on much weight over the two weeks.

Now that I’ve been through COVID twice, I have a bit more personal experience with how it affects me. The first time lasted two weeks, but in hindsight, I think that’s because I took Paxlovid. It helped me feel better while I was taking it, but once I was off it, COVID came right back. This time, I didn’t bother with it at all, since I’m low risk, double vaxxed, etc. I feel like I’ve gotten better much more quickly, though it’s admittedly a small sample size. If I were in a high risk group, I’d be much more inclined to take Paxlovid, since it’s real focus is helping you avoid serious symptoms.

This round of COVID all started with Denisa feeling a bit under the weather. She tested consistently, and each time it came back negative, so we all chalked it up to a late summer cold. MC had been sniffling as well, and so it was an easy assumption to make that Denisa had whatever MC had. (MC had also been testing negative.) Then Denisa took one last test, since she wasn’t better yet. Positive.

At that point, I think the damage had been done. Daniela was feeling sick, but she said she wasn’t that bad, and she was testing negative. She went to school masked, and even ran three miles for cross country practice. That evening, she tested positive. I had stayed home just in case, and I tested positive the same night.

For me, the sickness has gone pretty much the same path both times. It started with a scratchy throat, as if I had to clear it but couldn’t. From there, I had trouble sleeping, my muscles ached, and I had a bad headache. Then the fatigue kicked in. Overall, I felt really bad just one day this time, and not great for about two or three more days.

In case you’re wondering, these days if you get COVID, you’re required to quarantine 5 days from the day you first have symptoms. (It doesn’t matter when you test positive. Just when the symptoms started: that’s considered “day 0.”) After those 5 days, if you’ve been fever free for 24 hours and your symptoms are improving, you can be in public, masked. That stage lasts for another 5 days, at which point you’re good to go. So I have to wear a mask until Friday, but it seems like a sensible precaution to take.

(Surprisingly, we’ve gotten grief from some people about wearing masks in public. Apparently they assume we’re doing it because we’re scared? I don’t quite understand it. What possesses people to make them feel the need to criticize people they don’t know well, for doing something that doesn’t affect them in any real way?)

In any case, MC never tested positive, and Tomas didn’t ever feel sick or test positive at all. Quarantining slowly morphed over the stretch of time. First Denisa was in her room, completely alone. Then Daniela and I got it, so we took over the movie room, where Denisa could be unmasked, leaving Tomas and MC to roam the rest of the house. In many ways, I think they felt more like the ones quarantined by the end, just because they were outnumbered.

The good news is that we all seem to be past it now. Here’s hoping it stays that way.

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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 this DON’T GO TO SLEEP Amazon link. It will take you to Amazon, where you can buy my books or anything

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