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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

More Fallen Skies



Okay, I held off watching the second installment of ‘Fallen Skies’ until last night for a possible fresh perspective. There’s no doubt in my mind this is an all time classic unintentional comedy. I’ll handle the leftover element from the first episode – a captured cold blooded sociopath, John Pope. The flake should have been executed on the spot. Instead, what did the commander of the resistance do? He made Pope into the camp cook because he had experience in culinary arts from prison. Huh?! My wife, Saint Joyce, asked me why I busted up laughing. I explained there is nothing more ridiculous than putting a proven psycho in charge of making food for people he’s attempted to murder in the prior episode, but it was funny.

Second in command, Tom Mason, then scouts out his ‘captured & harnessed’ son’s whereabouts. The comedy keeps coming here with the aliens using harnessed kids to pile scrap metal. Note here to ET’s Spielberg – before you have a ludicrous scene like this please make an attempt to establish why aliens would conquer earth to become a ‘Scrappers’ reality show. No, Steven, it’s not enough one of the characters voices this very question. Next, the young blonde girl gets up and knocks a brick down, alerting the aliens, who although they have Star Wars weaponry and airships, can’t quite take down a handful of helpless human klutzes. Saint Joyce administered an NCIS head slap to me for laughing so hard she couldn’t hear the show. Dutifully chastened, I moved over to the loveseat out of range.

They all get back safely. Not a single idiot alien thinks to follow the puny humans back to their completely exposed hive where they could have ended this comedy show with one strike. Tom then gets issued orders to only bring back one harnessed kid – his son. Tom leads his fellow comedians out for yet another hilarious alien encounter, where one of his guys runs out when he sees his own son and mucks up an already incredibly unbelievable mission. Tears are streaming down my cheeks and both my hands are clamped over my mouth to keep from getting another Gibbs type admonishment from Saint Joyce as a mech robot alien gets the high ground over the Tom and his Brady bunch. With blasters capable of vaporizing everything in sight, what does the alien robot do? It stomps around on the roof until Tom Terrific gets away in an old truck with his comedic ‘Expendables’.

Meanwhile, Tom’s other son and bricklaying blonde girlfriend get captured - a goofy subplot so stupid the humor fled the scene along with all traces of believability. Tom Terrific fights an alien ‘Skitter’ in hand to hand combat, wins dramatically, and drags it back to human hive central in as my friend Charles Gramlich pointed out is a direct rip-off of Independence Day. Although these things are supremely telepathic and tech savvy, this ET didn’t bring along a tracer or send out a beam to his other telepathic brothers. TT again journeys into alien ‘Scrapper’ central with two of his sons now in alien hands. The kid who had just been captured with the blonde bricklayer wakes up unharnessed even though the ET’s had been harnessing everyone immediately. The bricklayer gets dragged off. The aliens execute a bunch of kids as a lesson not to mess with them in front of the kid and send him back to tell his Dad and the ‘Wild Bunch’ resistance. No tracer on the kid. No sneaky ‘Skitters’ following him to the human hive. In other words, no comprehensible reason for this mess. I’ll skip the other subplot with the rescued harnessed kid getting his rider cut off with the captured alien of course due to mind control him in the next episode of let’s rip-off some more ‘Independence Day’.

I confess I’m hooked. I haven’t laughed that hard since ‘Married With Children’ was on TV. I do have a suggestion for Spielberg. He needs Charlie Sheen to join the cast as newly arrived Supreme Commander of the resistance. I think I’ll have to do a first viewing of ‘Skies’ away from Saint Joyce though for my own safety. :)

Monday, June 27, 2011

Fallen Skies


I watched the premier of ‘Falling Skies’. It takes a lot to bust me out of a viewing I’ve been looking forward to, but the writers for Skies did it. There were so many holes in the premise of alien invaders with incredibly advanced weaponry having to root out the little human ants it was pretty tough to watch without laughing. Although I did pick up on the hint questioning why the aliens were six-legged and their robots were two-legged as a revelation for future use, the producers sure left a lot of gaping holes to be filled in.

One drama subplot the show tried to cash in on was if faced with an alien invasion there will be criminal human gangs stupid enough to prey on their fellow humans rather than either live and let live or fight with them. I groaned out loud watching that bit of lunacy. No amount of justification by the gang leader made that annoying Hollywood theory believable. I recognize enough threads from the Sci Fi pathos movie ‘The Road’ and ‘Independence Day’ to see an ongoing amalgamation forming of human depravity contrasted with some touchy feely human nature opera.

Naturally, in Skies, every character although having lived through the obliteration of their world, still jumps into clich├ęd outrage at each encounter placing one of them in danger. One really laughable moment was when a squad went to recon an armory and played fetch with their dog to lure the gigantic alien robot out before giving away their positions in a sudden panic over the dog’s welfare… really? Here are a few behavioral rules of combat when being hunted to extinction. We don’t eat each other until absolutely necessary. We eat them because they probably taste like chicken. At the start of each small recon or mission we write each other off because if you screw up, you die or get ‘harnessed’ to be a zombie alien slave. There will be no rescue. We don’t move in huge dramatic groups down the main roads in broad daylight – it makes for great snapshots of humanity on the brink, but is so pathetically stupid the humans look like they deserve to be exterminated. The first logical weapons to forage with an enemy nothing short of a head shot kills are all the fifty caliber sniper rifles you can lay hands on – they have an easy range of a mile and will pulp the alien’s head without giving away your position. It may be great Hollywood fodder to spray useless bandoliers of ammo at the creatures with no effect, but for God’s sake, try clicking off the full auto and aiming the damn rifle… you morons.

Anyway, I’m sure the great Spielberg will plug all these plot holes up with ET cement, but until then I’m afraid this series is more comedy than drama. It was entertaining enough in a cringing sort of way. I’ll watch the follow-up tonight I have saved and see how it’s going. I like the blonde woman, former criminal gang member. She’s a killer. When she offed her former captors/partners in cold blood, she moved way up over all other posturing nitwits on the character list. For one thing, she hits what she aims at.  :)

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Charlie Brown Syndrome


Rejections make up the majority of all return correspondence with agents. We authors, and the agents we try to interest, play a game called ‘Will This Sell’. The agents hold the key to open up the door leading to an audience of readers we hope will plunk down money for our entertainment endeavor. Because they get so many queries from a growing number of writers, some agents have even resorted to warning us on their submissions page not to expect a reply unless they’re interested. Even the standard form letter rejection seems on its way out. Is it any wonder why when we receive a rejection with a couple of encouraging words we feel like we’ve succeeded in some weird way? An agent wrote me a short rejection reply for HARDCASE – ‘Thanks, but this is not for us. Great voice, though, so keep at it.’ How pathetic is it to feel encouraged? That’s how it is though. Authors are the perpetual Charlie Browns, with agents playing the part of Lucy holding the football, entreating us to take another shot. Our inner voice is howling ‘Don’t be an idiot! You’ll be kicking empty air again!’ But… then… you think… maybe this time… and off you go to another meeting with empty air. I know… pathetic… maybe if I get a dog and an orangutan.  :)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Odd Couple


This odd couple forced me to write a blog on their behalf. Suryia the orangutan and Roscoe the dog actually have book signings together Cute Pair. They’re the subject of a picture book highlighting their friendship so they hit the road together for marketing purposes. We all know the marketing drudgery associated with selling books, but Suryia and Roscoe make it look easy. I don’t think anyone could resist heading for the autograph line to meet those two. The pictures in the article are just as incredible as the one above.  :)