Why Sierra Burgess Is a Loser Lost Me

First off, justice for Barb.

Second off, this movie was meh.

In fact, I’d say it was below meh.

You’ve probably already seen how badly this movie is reviewing, especially if you’ve already watched it on Netflix. But let’s dive into it anyway.

Sierra Burgess Is a Loser is about a girl (Sierra Burgess, obviously) who falls in love with a boy from another high school. She’s introduced to this Cute Guy when her school’s resident Mean Girl tries to prank Sierra by giving Cute Guy Sierra’s phone number when he was actually asking for her own. So, Sierra then has to deal with keeping up the appearance that she is the bitchy Mean Girl while simultaneously trying to flirt with this guy and give him a taste of her own personality.

Side note: This is basically supposed to be acceptable catfishing. It’s not though. Not by a long shot.

As she tries to maintain this facade (all in the name of love), Sierra ends up befriending the Mean Girl. Mean Girl actually turns out to be a decent human being who helps Sierra flirt with this boy by pretending to be…herself and Sierra at the same time?

I think you can see where the problems for this movie begin.

So I didn’t even know that this movie existed until the day I saw it. My sister and I were just drinking coffee one weekend morning, when she decided she was going to put some Friends’ episodes on in the background while we had breakfast. Once we got onto Netflix though, the trailer for Sierra Burgess Is a Loser was shoved in our faces.

But…the trailer was good. While the movie itself might not have been great, its trailer is freaking awesome. It made both my sister and me want to watch the movie immediately. If there is an award for trailers, this trailer should win it.

There’s this moment in the trailer where you see Sierra crying and she says something along the lines of “Do you know what it’s like to be a girl in high school and to look like me?” That one line just resonated with me so much, I felt like I had to watch the movie. I mean, most of us are not good-looking people. (I mean that in the best way possible.) And I’m sick and tired of seeing “nerds” and “geeks” and “losers” in movies played by impossibly attractive actors and actresses.

Side note: Anyone else irate at how good-looking Peter Parker is portrayed as being?

But the movie itself diverges from facing the actual problems of loneliness that can plague a below average person in high school, and instead focuses on the strange plot of pretending to be a popular girl at school while said popular girl kind of helps you in your endeavor, all in the name of trying to win over this guy you’ve never really met.

This plot might sound semi-endearing, but it’s not. It’s catfishing, pure and simple. Sierra goes out of her way to deceive this poor guy. Admittedly, she does this because she feels her looks would not entice him, but she is clearly doing him a disservice.

Mean Girl is an odd character, even though she’s probably my favorite person in the whole movie. Her name is Veronica, but I called her Mean Girl because she was exorbitantly mean to Sierra at the beginning of the movie. Like, unrealistically mean. I have never in my life seen someone go that out of their way to be cruel to a person. Except online, I suppose, where anonymity provides the perfect shield for it. Anyway, Veronica changes from Mean Girl to Okay Girl when she elects to help Sierra in exchange for receiving some tutoring from her. They end up becoming friends, at least until things appear to get too serious between Cute Guy and Veronica.

Cute Guy’s name is Jamey, by the way.

Honestly, what did Sierra think was going to happen if she pushed Veronica to keep up the appearance that she was into Jamey? She was practically forcing them to kiss each other.

However, when they do kiss and Sierra sees this, she blows a gasket and does an incredibly vicious social media attack on Veronica.

Don’t worry though. Sierra sings a song of apology to Veronica, and everything turns out okay.

I’m not even kidding.

Oh, and the character of Sierra’s father sounds like he’s desperately trying to be Stanley Tucci from Easy A and failing.

The movie is a mess. It feels like such a missed opportunity to confront body image issues that trouble nearly EVERYONE I KNOW. And it feels like it was written by adults trying to speak like teenagers. (I got a Life Is Strange vibe from the movie.) Plus, Sierra does not face any consequences for her irresponsible behavior. Veronica quickly forgives her for blasting her social image, and SPOILER ALERT, Jamey decides to date her even after he finds out that she was tricking him the whole time.

ALSO there are wildly inappropriate moments regarding consent and deafness. At one point, Sierra kisses Jamey without him knowing it was her. Not only was that unrealistic as fuck, it was also extremely wrong. And in order to keep up the pretense that she is not the person who has been talking to him on the phone, she pretends to be deaf when she sees him face-to-face so that she does not have to speak.

I would not recommend this movie to a person without some forewarning of its shortcomings. I rate this movie a don’t-watch-at-all-unless-you-have-the-patience-for-a-stilted-plot-or-if-you’re-curious-or-if-you-have-nothing-better-to-do-on-a-Sunday-morning.

A Review of My Blogging Experience So Far

I’ve been posting regularly for months now, and I haven’t really been looking at my page’s stats. (Lies, I check my stats every time I log on.) There’s a bar graph of my views per day that begs to be looked at thoroughly on my site’s home page.

Anywaysies, today, I thought I’d share what I noticed during a close examination of my posts’ stats. (Bear in mind that a lot of these observations are largely assumptions on my part based on noticeable patterns. I do not take into account other variables like the time of day I post or who shares a post and where.)

So let’s see what works and what flops…


  • Posts with engaging and relatable titles. “Dungeons & Dragons & Dorks (Oh My),” while bordering on marginally clever, did not garner as many views as “Bring It On, Beaches.” Bottom Line: More people know of beaches than of good ole D&D.
  • Anything clearly having to do with my bird. (Of course, I expect no less of Froley.)
  • Funnily enough, blogging about blogging really seems to appeal to you guys. I guess that is the most approachable topic for any and all readers-of-blogs.


  • “Reviews” of movies, especially if the title says it’s a review. I don’t think I do really well-thought-out reviews of anything, so mayhaps that’s a factor?
  • Video Game gush-a-thons. (Aw, dang it.)
  • My personal life.

Now, don’t go fretting, the few of you who actually like reading the stuff under the “WHAT SUCKS EGGS” category. I’m still going to write about those kinds of things.

I mean, can you imagine me not writing another post about Halo? I sure can’t. Or how about more embarrassing stories from my childhood? Who doesn’t want more of those, right?

“Why?” the Discerning Reader with High Standards might ask. “They’re clearly not garnering you any traffic.”

That may be true, but I don’t want to change what I write about for a few more followers. Heck, not even for a hundred more. It’s gonna sound uber selfish, but I want to write about what I want to write about. If I didn’t, well, what would be the point of writing anymore?

Granted, I’ll work on my titles so that they’re more enticing. And I’ll probably just start inserting random photos of Froley places too.

Froley on the couch
BAM! Bet you didn’t see that coming.

But don’t worry, I’ll still be bugging you guys with more below average content.

Here’s looking at you, kid.

The Incredible Incredibles

Pixar movies have never let me down. There may be Marvel movie flops, DC movie flops, or Star Wars movie flops, but it is rare indeed (i.e. never) when Pixar gives me a movie I don’t enjoy.

A couple of days ago (or actually more by the time this post gets published), I went to go see Incredibles 2. In case you were doubting whether Pixar could keep up their winning streak, rest assured, this sequel to The Incredibles lives up to the first.


I’m not a movie critic, so don’t think of this as a well thought-out review. It’s more of an ode to how incredibly awesome Incredibles 2 was.

Basic plot is that some hero enthusiast who is super rich approaches Mr. Incredible, Elastigirl, and Frozone about helping a movement to make supers legal again. This dude wants to focus on Elastigirl as the head of their movement, their poster vigilante, since she has a better track record of not leaving total destruction in the wake of her path. Bothered by his dismissal but still willing to support his wife, Mr. Incredible stays at home to look after their three kids, Violet, Dash, and Jack-Jack.

It was uber cool to see Elastigirl hero-ing on her own. She gets a motorcycle that can split into two halves, the front and the back, and she goes on a high-speed chase on roads and over rooftops, and she uses her elasticity to Slinky her way over any and all obstacles. Remember when Elastigirl sneaked into Syndrome’s complex in the first movie? Yeah, this bike chase was a more action-packed equivalent of that.

I just wish more of this kind of exposure could have happened with her daughter, Violet. I’ve always thought that Violet’s powers are some of the most powerful (aside from the smorgasbord of  powers that is Jack-Jack). Think of all you can do with force fields and invisibility combined. It would have been neat to see her use them to their fullest strength.

But don’t be alarmed. This sequel is brimming with action, with every one of our favorite heroes getting a chance to show off what they can do. Plus, new heroes arrive on the scene and demonstrate how expertly Pixar can make an awesome superhero movie. Of the new heroes, I thought Void was really cool. Her power was to make portals appear wherever she wanted them to, just like in the video game, Portal. 

And Jack-Jack! He was a riot! Even though he’s a baby, he gave us one of the best action sequences in the entire movie when he got into an epic scrap with a raccoon. If you haven’t seen the movie, you might think I’m joking about that being the most epic fight. But seriously, Jack-Jack brought down the hammer on that unlucky raccoon.

The big villain ends up being the sister of the rich dude who is trying to get heroes legal again. Her big end goal is to discredit supers in the eyes of the average citizens. She wants to accomplish this by hypnotizing the soon-to-be legalized heroes and then having them commit horrendous atrocities on television.

She comes scary close to accomplishing her goal. But thanks to the Incredible super kids, the day is saved.

Did I forget to mention that Violet, Dash, and Jack-Jack have to take on all these adult super heroes, including their parents? Yeah, awesome right?

Not only is Incredibles 2 a great kids movie, it’s a great super hero movie. In fact, there are several DC and Marvel movies that it beats by a long shot.

If you haven’t seen it, you definitely have a treat in store for you when you do.

Good Book, Bad Video Game: Inferno Squad Book Review

Inferno Squad book cover

Last summer, I went to San Diego Comic Con, and while I was roaming the huge convention center, I noticed there was a booth close to the Star Wars section that was offering books. Ever the avid book reader and always the largest Star Wars fan, I went to investigate what they were selling.

Displayed on the table were copies of Battlefront II: Inferno Squad. Since I follow gaming news, I had of course heard of the latest Battlefront game EA was dumping on our doorsteps. The first Battlefront game they had churned out was a total disaster. I did not have high hopes for Battlefront II, even though they were actually including a story campaign for the game this time around.

Still, it wouldn’t be fair to this book, a prequel to Battlefront II, to extend my doubts about the game onto it. After a small moment staring at the cover, I purchased Inferno Squad and took it home.

Since I have a humongous reading list (books awaiting my perusal), I have not gotten around to finishing up Inferno Squad until now. So here is my review for the book. I will not bring up the events that happened in the video game (even though it was a sucky game) in my critique of the book.

It should be noted that a lot of what goes on in my review and in the book itself involves Star Wars stuff. If you don’t know Star Wars, you may feel a tad out of the loop.


Inferno Squad was…interesting?

The book tells of the events that occur immediately after the destruction of the first Death Star. Whereas most Star Wars stories revolve around the heroes of the Jedi, Rebellion, or Resistance, Inferno Squad is centered on an elite team of Imperials who are tasked with undermining the Rebellion.

If that initial premise does not pique your interest, you, sir, are no Star Wars fan.

The main character is the leader of Inferno Squad, this team of bad-asses from the Empire. She’s called Iden Versio, and she’s the daughter of one of the head honchos of the Empire. Even though she totally believes in everything the Empire stands for, author Christie Golden makes her very likable. She’s driven by a desire to prove herself, to the world and to her father. She’s working for the bad guys, but she comes across as noble.

She and her squad are given an undercover assignment. They are sent to infiltrate a radical group of rebels known as the Dreamers. Once secure in their positions, they are to dismantle the Dreamers from the inside out. The real struggle occurs when Iden and her team start feeling sympathetic toward the people they are trying to destroy.

Iden’s squad all sound like diverse people, but they feel like cookie-cutter characters. Once you know their motivations, that’s kind of…it. There’s this one guy who’s the “nice guy” of the Squad. He has a knack for dealing with machinery. He’s the one who feels the most pity for the Dreamers, but nothing ever occurs that would put him on the spot in that regard. He never has to make a tough decision about his chosen morals. His character ends up feeling like a bit of a cop out.

Each chapter of Inferno Squad is engaging, even for a non-Star Wars fan. You know that feeling you can get when you’re reading, the feeling that a chapter is just dragging on? (Hey now, I’m a book lover too, but I can experience boredom and disinterest when reading a book just like anyone.) That never happened to me while I was reading Inferno Squad. Each page I turned actively led me on to the next one. I wanted to know what happened next, and Golden’s writing style helped me want to want to know what happened next.

Unfortunately, while each chapter separately holds up, the entire story ends up feeling a bit weak. Huge changes happen in Iden’s life when she agrees to infiltrate the Dreamers. The experience should change her. But since every chapter gears you to read on ahead, there’s never really a moment where you’re allowed to let events sink in. Neither Iden nor the reader are given the space to process the changes that have occurred.

However, despite the complaints I have made, Inferno Squad still makes for a good read.

I rate Battlefront II: Inferno Squad a Borrow-Once-From-A-Friend-And-Actually-Read-All-The-Way-Through-Before-Giving-It-Back. 

Avengers: Infinity War (aka Why My Heart Hurts So Much)

I had no idea what to expect when the theater lights dimmed and the large crowd of people (Marvel fans, no doubt) who had hustled into the first showing of Avengers: Infinity War that was available in my small town shushed each other. I had avoided spoilers like the plague. Aside from what was in the first couple of trailers, not a hint of what would happen had entered my brain.

I went into this thing pure.

I came out in a total state of shock.

I’m publishing this post way after Infinity War was released. Nevertheless, here is the obligatory SPOILER WARNING. (There you go, Danny. All caps. Now, when you’re lightly skimming over what I’m writing, you can actually figure out that I’m about to spoil a movie.)

Avengers: Infinity War picks up right after Thor: Ragnarok. Thor, Loki, and the rest of the refugees from Asgard are on a spaceship set for Earth, where they can hopefully build a new life for themselves.

Not gonna happen. As the end credits to Ragnarok showed us, a larger ship than theirs pops up right in front of them, and it turns out that it is Thanos’ ship.

Wonder of wonders.

It’s all downhill from there.

Thanos starts kicking ass and taking names, starting with Loki and Heimdall. Thor has to watch as both a friend and a brother are brutally murdered in front of him. Thanos takes the Space Stone from Loki (who had snuck it out of Asgard) and so his quest begins.

The heroes from Earth (plus the Guardians of the Galaxy) have to contend with this pink-faced monster man and his underlings for the rest of the movie. Infinity War is practically nothing but battles. I’m not complaining. The movie is a culmination of everything that has come before it in the MCU. It’s the ultimate pay-off. As such, the tension almost never lets up.

Thanks to the wonderful senses of humor that some of our heroes sport, we’re able to get a few laughs in what would otherwise be a harrowing and stressful experience. But the ending still wrecks me.

I already issued a spoiler warning, right?

Everyone dies.


Half of everyone dies.

Not kidding.

Thanos’ grand plan is to bring balance to a universe that is beset with the problem of overpopulation. His own planet of Titan was brought to ruin because there were just too many beings on it. Now, it’s a dusty wasteland. Since Thanos is trying to save the universe by killing off half of its inhabitants, he comes across like he’s a burdened hero, a reluctant savior. That coupled with the fact that he’s so powerful makes him one of the best villains Marvel has come up with.

(Not that that’s saying much. I mean, Loki’s their only really good villain. And they killed him off in Infinity War. Yowch.)

In the end, Thanos succeeds. Despite three separate plans to stop him from the three sets of heroes we see grouped together in various locations, Thanos manages to get all of the Infinity Stones and snap his fingers. With that single snap, half of the people in the universe crumble away into nothingness, including a lot of our heroes.

As it currently stands, here’s every hero who is dead:

  • Black Panther
  • Falcon
  • Groot
  • Winter Soldier
  • Vision
  • Scarlet Witch
  • Star-Lord
  • Drax
  • Mantis
  • Doctor Strange
  • Spider-Man

(Loki and Gamora died before the snap, but yeah, they’re dead too.)

When the movie ended, everyone was horrified and thrilled at the same time. It was the weirdest sense of contradiction I’ve ever felt battling inside of me.

There were a few things in the movie I took issue with. And by took issue with, I don’t in any way mean that they ruined the movie for me. Fuck that. I loved the movie.

  1. The sense of unreality: With a lot of our heroes dying, it didn’t feel like their deaths would last. I mean, no way is Black Panther just gone. No way is Star-Lord gone. The deaths were kind of cheapened in that regard. It’s no longer a discussion of “I can’t believe they died.” My friends and I are all saying, “Okay, how is Marvel going to bring them back?”
  2. Thanos’ love for Gamora: In order to acquire the Soul Stone, a sacrifice is required. Whoever is seeking it must sacrifice something they love more than life. Gamora, who had led Thanos to the Stone under duress, begins to laugh because she thinks that there is nothing that Thanos loves. When Thanos turns to look at her with a tear in his eye, we’re supposed to believe that he truly loves her as a daughter. Ugh. No way can the sick bastard who murdered Gamora’s family claim that he loves her.
  3. Star-Lord ruins his own plan: Star-Lord, Drax, Mantis, Spider-Man, Iron Man, and Doctor Strange end up on Titan together, and Star-Lord comes up with a plan to remove the Infinity Gauntlet from Thanos’ hand. It almost works, but right when Peter Quill (Star-Lord) is about to help remove the Gauntlet as the other heroes hold Thanos down, he finds out that Thanos killed Gamora. Peter gets angry enough that he lets his emotions get the better of him and he accidentally gives Thanos enough time to shrug everyone off of him. For some reason, this moment didn’t fly with me. I understand his emotions. But his outburst felt like a convenient reason for Thanos to get himself free.
  4. Peter Parker’s slow death: Of all the deaths in the movie, Peter Parker’s death hurt me the worst. His death also lasted the longest. Everyone else crumbled to dust suddenly, you couldn’t feel grief in time, just jaw-dropping shock. Yet Peter Parker, had time to mutter that he doesn’t feel good, stumble over to Iron Man, fall in his arms while whimpering that he doesn’t want to go, and then give one last, frightened look into Tony Stark’s eyes. Damn you, Marvel, for making me feel things.

I have to see this movie again. I need to see this movie again. I need to review every plot point, re-hear every quip, and rethink my chances of surviving until the next movie comes out.

Why I Love Prey

Prey video game
via: flickr.com

The video game Prey (developed by Arkane Studios and published by Bethesda Softworks) is the most underappreciated game I’ve ever played that’s been recently released.

I hadn’t played the original when I heard about this reboot, but the idea of this new one piqued my interest. Exploring a devastated and abandoned space station populated by these vicious aliens called the Typhon, some of which can turn themselves into furniture (and thus startle you into shitting your pants)?

Oh, yeah.

I pre-ordered the game as soon as I found out about it.

I called over a buddy of mine to play it with me. It’s a single-player experience, but we brought out a timer, sat on the floor in front of my TV, and every ten minutes, we’d pass off the controller. It’s more fun to play like this than it sounds. (We also played Alien: Isolation like this, to hilarious effect. There’s nothing more amusing than getting spotted by the Alien seconds before you have to pass off control of the game to your unlucky friend.)

Prey’s environment is so detailed; my friend and I spent hours wandering the Talos I space station exploring people’s cabins, reading their emails, and picking up their personal belongings (and then we’d throw their belongings at other objects just to make sure no Typhon were Mimicking them). It was super easy to get pleasantly sidetracked from the main story. Arkane Studios did an expert job of allowing us to really dive into the universe they created. It’s reminiscent of their work on Dishonored.

And like Dishonored, Prey encourages you to play your own way. Do you want to be a sneak master? Upgrade your stealth options and you can find yourself sprinting like a madman throughout the station with noiseless footsteps. Do you want to become a powerful shotgun-wielding maniac? Apply weapon kits to your shotgun in order to make it unstoppable. Do you want to copy the Typhon Mimics’ ability to turn into small items? Install that specific power and you can roll around the floors of Talos I as a very adventurous coffee mug.

Don’t get me started on the awesomeness of the GLOO Gun. The GLOO Gun was created, according to in-game history, as the ultimate caulking tool. You as the player get to use it in a more…eclectic manner. You can shoot GLOO at the Typhon in order to get them to temporarily freeze in place. Once immobilized by the GLOO, the Typhon can be smashed to bits with a handy dandy wrench. You can also use the GLOO Gun to create footholds to hard-to-reach places. These handmade bridges allow you to find delicious hidden secrets.

I’m not going to spoil the story here, because the cleverness of it shouldn’t be spoiled for anyone who is looking to play this game. Suffice it to say that it takes twists and turns that would make M. Night Shyamalan’s head spin.

I had an awesome time playing this game, made even more awesome by playing it with my friend. He was more of the wrench-swinging, shotgun-blasting type. I was more of the crouching, please-don’t-kill-me type. We got legitimately scared a couple of times, and we loved racing all over the station.

This game is great, it deserves more love, so go on and buy it and see exactly what I’m talking about!

Raiders of the Lost Tomb: Tomb Raider (2018)

Let me say this right off the bat:

I’m not a discriminating moviegoer. I will watch anything, good or bad, and most likely enjoy it.

I enjoy good movies because, obviously, they’re good and that’s quality entertainment. I enjoy bad movies because I dearly love to laugh, and nothing gets me laughing like a real corny line or a nonsensical bit of plot. It’s rare when a movie utterly pisses me off, and when it does, it’s for subjective reasons (such as, the book was better).

So I’m letting you (meaning whoever happens to read this) know that if you ever read a “review” of mine, it’s mostly going to be about things I liked about it.

Enter the new Tomb Raider movie.

If you’re a fan of the 2013 game, you should know that this latest movie is kind of based off of it. Gone is the busty Lara Croft with the gravity-defying boobs and twin guns, and instead, we have a younger, slimmer Lara who is struggling to hold her own against much tougher opponents, and yet, still manages to come out on top.

Here is a short (not-so-short) summary of the movie, so if you want to avoid spoilers, I suggest you stop reading now.

Lara Croft’s father has been missing for several years. His disappearance and supposed death have put Lara’s life on hold. She refuses to believe he is gone. His business partner approaches her about finally signing off on his death so that his company can move on with things and the Croft mansion won’t be sold off. Lara reluctantly agrees to this.

Upon signing, Lara is given a puzzle which leads her to a secret room her father kept on the mansion grounds. There, she discovers her father traveled to an island called Yamatai in search of the tomb of Queen Himiko. Himiko is rumored to have powers over death. More than anything, Lara’s father wishes to keep Himiko’s tomb and her mystical powers out of the hands of this secret, sinister group called Trinity. In a video recording/will, he begs Lara to burn all of his research so that Trinity can’t find the tomb.

She doesn’t burn the stuff.

Instead, Lara hires herself a boat and makes her way to Yamatai in search of her father. She doesn’t believe that this Himiko has supernatural powers that could threaten the world. She is driven by the slight chance that she can find out what happened to her father.

The boat crashes. Lara makes it ashore. She meets the villain, this dude named Vogel. He works for Trinity and has been stuck on the island for seven (I think) years because they won’t let him come home until he recovers Himiko’s body. As such, he’s volatile and pissy and willing to do anything to find the tomb.

Since Lara did not burn the research and instead brought it with her, Vogel is able to use it to find the tomb. He has problems opening it because of a complex locking mechanism on the door. Lara runs away from the group, gets into a lot of trouble, and eventually (surprisingly) runs into her father. He had faked his own death at Vogel’s hands and had been living in secret on the island, making sure Trinity did not get their hands on Himiko.

Despite a supremely touching reunion, he’s none too pleased that Lara did the exact opposite of what he wanted in regards to his research.

In order to get both her and her father off of Yamatai, Lara needs to go back to the bad guys’ camp in order to get Vogel’s satellite phone so she can call for help. Her father does not want to risk it, so Lara decides to do it alone.

Since her dad is not a complete asshole, he follows after her. However, since he’s not a veritable bad ass like Lara, he gets himself caught by Vogel. Vogel tries to get him to open the tomb for them, but Lara’s dad won’t. Lara has no compunctions about doing it (magic isn’t real, dad), so she opens the tomb and leads everyone inside.

We find out that Himiko does not have supernatural powers. Instead, she has this disease that turns you into a 28-Days-Later kind of creature if you touch someone who has it. Lara’s dad gets touched, it’s sad, boo hoo, so then Lara has to stop Vogel from taking any samples of Himiko that he collected to the surface because clearly, it could be used to dangerous effect. She beats Vogel in a kick-ass way, she escapes, she goes home, and she silently vows to chase after Trinity and stop them, therefore completing her father’s life’s work and beginning her own.

That was a tad too long…wasn’t it? Anyways…

I loved Alicia Vikander’s performance. She’s great. No matter how bad the lines she was given or how awkward the story beats were, she did the best she could and made it work. She perfectly embodied the Lara we met in the 2013 game.

Part of the game’s appeal came from the fact that we were meeting a new Lara. This was not the experienced raider of tombs we had met in previous games. This was an uncertain explorer who was just beginning to find her place in the world, and we got to go on that journey with her.

The movie tries to do the same thing, and in terms of physical exertion, yeah, I think Lara achieved whole new states of being an athletic tomb raider. You really get the sense that Lara is going on this adventure alone. She has a couple of she-should-not-have-survived-that moments, but I appreciated that it didn’t look entirely effortless.

However, I don’t really feel that Lara gained that desire to explore after all was said and done. She was motivated to find her father, but I never truly felt she was driven by the actual draw of exploration.

But the father-daughter moments were real. I mean, it was ludicrous that her father was alive in the first place, but I still felt touched by their reunion. When he sees Lara on the island, he doesn’t believe she’s real because he’s imagined her being there so many times. Lara, on the other hand, has been hoping he’s been alive this whole time, so she looks at him with such joy, it’s heart-breaking when she has to convince him that’s it’s actually her.

Their reunion only lasts about a day, since he’s killed off by that disease that Himiko has. What kind of disease is only communicable by touch, unfolds instantaneously, and is ultimately fatal? I’ll tell you what kind. The magic kind.

His death hits you in the feels, but it’s followed by some fan service, so it smooths over any remaining sadness you might have had lingering. If you played the game, expect the following fan service:

  • The slow-mo jump from a wrecked boat, just like we saw at the beginning of the game.
  • Climbing monkey-bar style over an old, rusted airplane.
  • A potentially deadly ride along a raging river’s currents. (I seriously half expected Lara to get impaled by river debris a million times).
  • Bow and arrow moments.
  • The climbing axe thingamabob that is stronger than adamantium.
  • And, of course, a very small scene with twin handguns.

Despite ragging on this movie, I really enjoyed it. It was fun. I would classify it as a see-it-once-in-a-movie-theater-and-then-only-catch-it-on-cable-forever-after movie or as a rent-it-at-a-Redbox-for-a laid-back-night movie.

If you’ve seen it, feel free to let me know what you thought of it. If you haven’t, I’m sorry if I spoiled it for you. I’m posting this waaaaaaay after Tomb Raider comes out in theaters, so hopefully if you were going to see it, you already did.

Black Panther: “Wakanda Forever” For Real

I recently saw Black Panther in theaters, so I thought to myself, ‘Why not make a blog-post-thing about it, Amanda?’ There’s no reason for me not to, right? (Right?)

I saw the movie waaaaaay later than I normally would. When a super hero movie comes out, I usually try to see the premiere. A premiere in my small town is basically just a seven o’clock showing in the evening with a longer line. However, when Black Panther came out, I was pet-sitting for my sister, so I could not abandon her gorgeous menagerie to see the first showing. And then further postponements occurred, and I saw it about two weeks after it originally came out.

Oh, well.

Anyways, I’m a huge comic book fan. I loved comic books before the movies made them successful. Even so, I have to admit that I’m suffering from slight Superhero Fatigue. There is no shortage of superhero content to dunk yourself into; a year can’t go by without a superhero getting their own movie. I love superheroes more than the average person, but there’s no denying that our summer movie selection is being dominated by them.

All I’m saying is that if you’re going to give me two superhero films a year, you should at least make them stand out from each other. I mean, Doctor Strange was basically Iron Man with magic. Come on, movie dudes. You’re not even trying.

Black Panther has answered my prayers. It was good. I’m officially jumping on the band wagon.

It felt so different from other Marvel superhero movies. Instead of watching a hapless man-child stumble his way to hero-dom by haltingly learning to use his powers for good, we got to see a man (a man man) settle the mantle of responsibility onto his shoulders in an ethical and reasonable manner. (Shout-out to all Halo fans who may be reading this.)

Prince T’Challa may have been following the same story path as Thor did in Thor, but T’Challa handled his rise to power with much more aplomb and grace than Thor. (For one thing, he wasn’t a whiny Norse god with an inflated ego.)

Every actor in that movie played their roles to perfection. My favorite characters were Shuri, T’Challa’s younger sister, and Erik Killmonger, the villain of the story. Shuri was a delight every time she was on the screen. I nearly split the seams of my stomach trying to hold in my laughter when she called Black Panther’s shoes his “sneakers.” (I have an obnoxiously loud laugh; I wanted to be kind to other moviegoers.)

And Killmonger was great! For having not that much screen time, he made his presence felt for even the shortest of moments. Michael B. Jordan played the abandoned prodigal son so well, I felt like I’d received a kick to my emotional lady balls. Hit me right in the feels, I’m telling you.

Let’s not forget the music! It’s been far too long since a movie’s soundtrack has caught my ear and it wasn’t made by John Williams, Hans Zimmer, or Michael Giacchino. Killmonger’s theme was really identifiable, but in my opinion, the best piece comes out during T’Challa’s visit to the ancestral plane, when he sees his father again. Whatever that track is called (I actually think it might be called “Ancestral Plane”), it’s a superb bit of music. Strings play a melody that is fit for the king T’Challa is.


The movie ends happily, with T’Challa deciding to reverse Wakanda’s foriegn policy decisions of the past. Instead of remaining isolated in all of their glorious self-suffiiciency, Wakanda will now walk the path of gracious aid and attempt to help those who cannot help themselves.

It’s an extremely positive message of hope to the world. I left the theater felling buoyant as hell. A friend of mine was quick to point out, however, that if you really think about it, the ending to the movie is incredibly tragic.

“Why? I just saw an incredibly happy ending.”

“But it’s not real,” he told me. “There is no hidden technologically-advanced country in Africa that will rise up and help people.”

And he’s right. There is no Wakanda that is going to assist the beleaguered, downtrodden, and mistreated African-Americans of this, or any other, nation to rise above whatever horrible situations they find themselves in. Black Panther paints a beautiful picture of a hopeful future, but it’s based on the past creation of an imaginary place.

I think it’s important to remember that effort needs to go into making that future a reality. We shouldn’t just congratulate ourselves that a movie like this got made; we should focus on actually following the Golden Rule of treating other people how we would like to be treated ourselves, not just in words, but in thoughts and actions as well.

If you haven’t seen Black Panther yet, I highly recommend it.