Simple Joy

Growing up, one of my favorite activities was renting movies. I loved walking into the video store and being able to touch the boxes. I loved the excitement that built as I looked for that perfect movie and the exhilaration I experienced from the anticipation of watching my selection.

There was something real and organic about the whole experience. My selections weren’t overly researched, trailers weren’t watched in advance, and review scores weren’t considered. It was just me, alone, using my reason to pick the best choice for myself.

I made good choices the majority of the time. There were always those few bad movies with great box art or a fantastic cast that were just deceiving, but rarely did I ever turn a movie off. After all, I had paid for this experience, good or bad.

I also remember feeling excited when I’d go to pick up photos. The pictures had been taken days ago and I had no idea how they turned out. I had no control on changing the photos or taking additional pictures. What was done was done and I had to accept the results. Similar to renting a movie, I almost always found the good in whatever I ended up with.

I don’t feel this level of excitement or anticipation anymore. I’m not sure if the algorithms have ruined it for me or if I have way too many options just a click away, but I miss it.

Free Write Week 9 (Feb 26-Mar 3)

I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the pilot of Superman and Lois Superman has never been one of my favorite superheroes but I thought the way this show represented him was one of the most interesting approaches in quite some time. The idea of making a family dynamic show where the father just happens to be a superhero is innovative and breathes fresh air into a somewhat stale, infallible character. I hope the show keeps this level of quality as it continues on because I could use a little more of this in my life.

People walk around pushing back their debts,
Wearing paychecks like necklaces and bracelets,
Talking about nothing, not thinking about death,
Every little heartbeat, every little breath.

-Brett Dennen, Ain’t No Reason

I went walking on Sunday, it was my first intentional exercise in quite some time. Between sleep issues and stress, I know I need to make some changes. I don’t have any grandiose couch to 5k style plans, I just want to get out and walk a little. Get a little fresh air and exercise. Even if it’s just ten minutes, I need to get moving.

I’m also focusing on making some changes for my sleep. I’ve dramatically reduced the amount of caffeine I’m in taking and limiting it to the mornings. I also purchased some Sleeptime Tea, which I’m not sure it’s true effectiveness but I figured it couldn’t hurt.

I’m hoping with better quality sleep and less caffeine I’ll find myself less irritable and better equipped to take on the day’s challenges.

Last year, I was blown away when I finally tried a Popeye’s Chicken Sandwich. As more fast food places announced competitors, I became excited to see the ultimate chicken sandwich throwdown. So far, I’ve tried Wendys, Zaxbys, and KFCs and I gotta say, all three disappointed. In Wendy’s case, it was actually inferior to the Homestyle Chicken Sandwich. Zaxby’s was nothing but sauce, and as much as I love Zax’s sauce there is such a thing as too much sauce. And KFCs was a little dry and just needed something to enhance it.

McDonalds has a new chicken sandwich but from what I’ve read it’s very disappointing. This is a shame, because I’m not the biggest Popeye’s fan, but damn if they didn’t go out and master the chicken sandwich. Such a shame the rest of the fast food places decided to take the cheap corporate way out and put very little effort into making a true competitor.

I’ve read issue two of The Last Ronin and was blown away yet again. I’ve been a big fan of the current Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles run (although I’m years behind now), but man The Last Ronin may be the best Turtles story I’ve ever read/watched. I know it still just the second issue but the art, the characters, the storyline, all of it is just coming together so well. I’m super excited to see where the story goes from here.

Movies Watched in February

The Big Lebowski – The first time I watched The Big Lebowski I hated it. Then a few years later I gave it another shot and I found it okay. Then I watched it again and I liked it. Then again and I loved it. Now I watch it about once a year.

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan – See full review on A Year in Star Trek Movies.

The Last Blockbuster – Being a former Blockbuster employee, I loved this film. It was well made and did a great job balancing the story of what happened to Blockbuster and how this one Blockbuster survives. Seeing the old POS system that was being utilized when I worked there back in 2001 still in action brought a joy to my heart. Great documentary and a must see for those nostalgic for video stores.

Ripper Letter from Hell – I saw this movie back when it was released in 2001. I loved it. It’s been on my re-watch list for years and after I picked up a copy of the sequel that I didn’t know existed, I went ahead and ordered a copy off of eBay. It took me a few months to watch it and wow… what a disappointment. This movie does not hold up well at all. There is nothing inheritably charming or memorable about it. Such a bummer.

Amityville Dollhouse – This was one of those horror films I caught on Encore at 3 AM back in the 90’s and loved it. It’s been a good twenty years since I last saw it and around Halloween I bought a copy on VHS because the DVD was extremely out of print. A month later, Vinegar Syndrome released a remastered blu-ray and a few months after that those prints hit Amazon Prime. I watched the remastered version on Amazon and it looks great. The movie itself is not too bad. It’s nothing fantastic and has some really bad acting, but I enjoy the isolated location and the special effects are quite impressive at times. Nostalgia definitely factors into my enjoyment of this flick.

New Mutants – My wife wanted to see this film so we rented it. It was okay. Not as bad as I had heard, but it’s a bit of a mess and totally lacks personality.

Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone – This year we have made a goal to watch all of the Harry Potter films. I’ve only seen them once and I wasn’t sure if I needed to see them again. I enjoyed the first movie quite a bit and it holds up quite well.

Lars and the Real Girl – This film surprised me. Ryan Gosling is terrific and I think it’s a wonderful look at loneliness. It’s also a very positive film which I loved. I miss quirky little independent films like this and I need to seek out more of them. You will notice that a lot of the films that I watched after this fall into that quirky independent category.

Jeff, Who Lives at Home – Another fantastic, positive film that was much better than expected. Jason Segal, Susan Sarandon, and Judy Greer steal the show in this movie about finding your purpose in the oddest of places.

Stranger Than Fiction – I’m not the biggest Will Ferrell fan but I wanted to give his more dramatic roles a shot. I liked this film better than Everything Must Go (see below) but it still wasn’t anything I’d sit through again. The premises was interesting: a man realizes that an author is narrating his entire life and the movie gets surreal and then it sort of just ends. Maggie Gyllenhaal stole the show, but then again, when doesn’t she?

Everything Must Go – Another Will Ferrell dramedy with character who has a bit more substance. Will plays an alcoholic who loses everything all in one day. It’s one of those films that has some good depth when it comes to exploring addiction but doesn’t really tell that great of a story. It’s a very forgettable film.

Save Yourselves – Ugh… Save Yourself and don’t waste your time. Another hipster style indy film that has a decent set up but has no ending.

Captain America: Winter Solider – My favorite MCU movie, I was inspired to revisit Winter Solider after watching WandaVision. The movie holds up well and is still a great action packed political thriller.

Sonic The Hedgehog – I can’t say enough good things about Sonic the Hedgehog. I never in a million years would have thought it could be so good. The acting, graphics, music, and even script are all top notch. It’s got heart, it’s charming, and it feels connected to the source material. Kudos to all involved for making the best family/kid movie I’ve seen in many, many years.

It’s Kind of a Funny Story – Another indie film that has been on my radar for a while. It’s Kind of a Funny Story is about a sixteen year old kid’s time in a psych ward in a hospital. It’s cute and does have some good things to say about mental health but ultimately the film just doesn’t do anything to move it from the average category to good. A very average film that isn’t a waste of time but probably won’t be remembered the next day.

The Pool Boys – A late 2000’s teen comedy by the director of American Pie 2 and Say it Isn’t So starring Matthew Lillard. The plot is one we’ve seen a dozen times before and surprisingly they are quite disciplined with the nudity. It’s good for a few laughs, but not really worth the time to watch it. There are much better movies in this sub-genre.

Nomadland – This is a beautiful movie that takes an interesting look at loneliness and poverty. I enjoyed it, but wouldn’t watch it again.

Dredd – Its been a few years since I watched Dredd and I loved rewatching it. Its a simple movie that doesn’t shy away from the gore and is masterfully put together. Some of the CGI is a bit iffy but Karl Urban is at his best alongside Lena Headey.

Amityville 1992 – I’m a fan of the low budget horror I grew up on and after watching Amityville Dolllhouse I decided to take a look at another 90s Amityville film, this one was one I hadn’t seen before. I really loved the vibe of the movie. It screamed cheesy 90s and the plot wasn’t half bad. The dad from The Monster Squad was in it alongside Megan Ward, an actress I forgot about and one of my teenage crushes.

Skin: A History of Nudity in Hollywood – This was a very good documentary that documents the use of nudity in Hollywood since the late 1800s. It’s done tastefully from a historical perspective and goes decade by decade. You hear from a lot of Hollywood names and various social commentators and listen to a variety of different opinions and experiences in getting nude for the movies.

The Craft: Legacy – I’m a huge fan of the original film and hoped this would be a decent sequel/reboot. It’s not terrible, but definitely not made for man in his late thirties. I could see teenage girls loving this film and creating a whole new fanbase for this franchise for the future.

Becky – I rented this solely to see Kevin James as a bad guy. He didn’t disappoint. In fact, I was impressed by how easily he transitioned into the role and how convincing he was. The movie itself is a fun mix of Home Alone and First Blood with Nazis.

Free Write Week 8 (Feb 19-Feb 25)

My vacation ended a lot like it started with a whimper and I found myself back in the thick of things on Monday. I feel very indifferent about my time off. I was excited to have a week off, but then my plans changed and in some ways I was relieved. I’ve been tired the last couple of months and the time off with no pending plans seemed to be just what I needed. I had dreams of cleaning out my closet, watching a ton of movies, running errands, and just getting caught up on everything. Instead, I found myself sitting and struggling to decide on what to do. I didn’t actually get much done at all outside of my taxes.

Sonic the Hedgehog was added to Hulu and I decided to throw it on for a few minutes after hearing such good things. I must say, I agree with the assessment that it is the best video game movie ever and it’s probably the best family film I’ve watched since I was a kid. The graphics are great, Jim Carrey chews up the scenery, Sonic is charming, and the whole movie was just a joy to watch.

Wow, so was anyone not super impressed by that Mortal Kombat trailer? I mean, it’s everything fans have ever wanted on screen. Of course, there are a lot of unknowns, including the director, which could be a good or bad thing.

WandaVision continues to impress and I may dare say it’s my favorite Marvel project yet. I love Winter Solider but I love WandaVision a little more. Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany are simply stunning in their performances. Between this and The Mandalorian Disney has really impressed me. They’ve shown they can break their cookie cutter mold and tell interesting stories. I look forward to more Disney+ originals.

I don’t spend much time reading blogs or surfing the net when I’m off on the weekends or like last week while I was on vacation. My RSS feeder grew quite large since I didn’t check it for a week and I was able to see a few sites I could easily remove by skimming the content posted during my week off. It makes me wonder how we allow things to slip into our lives that we really don’t care for and yet continue to tolerate them out of laziness or our inability to recognize they no longer serve us.

Speaking of allowing things into our lives that we don’t really enjoy or serve us anymore, I found myself watching bits and piece of the various NASCAR races this past weekend yet again. I’m reminded of a time in my wrestling fandom where I “hate watched” the WWE because it was a habit. One of my goals this year is to eliminate wasted time and I really need to just forget about NASCAR. I’m interested in seeing what happens at the Bristol dirt race but other than that I know I’ll just grow irritated. The sport and I have just moved in different directions. I’d much rather spend that 2.5 – 3 hours watching a good movie than a race that will ultimately just irk me.

Life is too short to do things you don’t enjoy. I’ve always believed that, yet I still force myself to finish bad books, TV series, and things out of obligation or sunk cost fallacy. This is something I need to correct in my life and reclaim some of that wasted time.

I ran across one of my favorite pages from Preacher online. I thought I’d share it.

It was announced that Star Wars Republic Commandos is coming to PS4 and Switch in April. This excites me because this was one of thr Star Wars games that I really wanted to play but missed out on. I recall it didnt really ever drop in price and I just never had an opening to buy it. Fifteen years later that $15 price tag looks nice.

A new Beavis and Butthead movie is coming to Paramount+ and I’m totally cool with that. I thought they were great in the MTV reboot making fun of Teen Mom and Jersey Shore. I think their style of humor would be a welcomed addition to today’s comedy landscape.

Mix Tapes and Playlists

This post is inspired by The Perfect Album from The Pastor Abides blog. More on that further down the post.

A few weeks back, I discussed starting off 2021 with a clean slate. I attempted to wipe clean and reboot just about everything that I had digital. It was an impossible task that never quite accomplished that ground floor mentality, but it was better than allowing things to continue to pile up. It allowed me to rebuild some of my digital life by only including that which I find important to me in 2021 and hopefully created enough space to discover new things.

One of my unspeakable actions was deleting all my Spotify playlists. I don’t even think I mentioned that in my blog because I knew that was the one that most people would say was a bit too far. I mean, how can you completely wipe out your entire music library? All that hard work accumulating massive playlists and finding rare songs. Why would you just start all over? Well, for the same reason I stated above, I wanted the opportunity to find new music and I thought there had to be a better way at organizing all these songs.

My playlists were a combination of genres, decades, and a few niche categories (Halloween, music from movie franchises, etc.) My default list was my 90’s list followed by the 80’s list and the several hundred songs just played on a loop.

If I wanted to listen to a specific song, I had to search for it. It was just too buried in my massive playlists. I never liked that and I remember how much pride I had in creating my mix-tapes back in the day. How meticulously I put everything together and how even today, I’ll hear a certain song end and think of a completely unrelated song because that was what I put next on the CD. I knew where to find every song and back then, my CDs were labeled for moods. I had Happy Mixes, Sad Mixes, Angry Mixes, Depressed Mixes, etc. It was my own curated musical therapy and I think it actually worked.

One of my thoughts for 2021 was to create shorter playlists. Create sixty-seventy minute lists that mimicked the mix-tapes of old. I wanted to put some passion and effort into these the way I used to, not just randomly add them to a list of hundreds of songs. I wanted to be intentional with music and I wanted to appreciate it a bit more.

That brings me to Jimmy’s post, The Perfect Album. When I read Jimmy’s post this morning, I was inspired. I recommend you read it for yourself, but basically he did what I have been thinking about doing. He sat down and put together a mix-tape. He kept it short like an old school tape/CD and put a little of his heart and soul into it. I absolutely love it. I quickly assembled his mix tape on my Spotify to listen to on my way home.

My initial goal was to assemble my own Perfect Album, but I quickly realized that it was going to take several days to probably put that together. So, I decided to start several Mix-Tape style playlists: Happy Mix-Tape 1, Depressed Mix-Tape 1, The Perfect Album, and Chill Mix-Tape 1. Slowly I started working on each playlist and my Happy Mix-Tape was the first one that I finished. So, that is the one I’m sharing first.

I decided to take up Jimmy’s challenge of only allowing one song per artist and I’m limiting each playlist to twelve songs.

  1. Blinding Light by The Weekend
  2. Middle of Nowhere by Hot Hot Heat
  3. Did I Say That Out Loud? By The Barenaked Ladies
  4. Africa by Weezer
  5. Scotty Doesn’t Know by Lustra
  6. The Middle by Jimmy Eat World
  7. The Safety Dance by Men Without Hats
  8. Somebody Told Me by The Killers
  9. Flagpole Sitta by Harvey Danger
  10. Superman by Goldfinger
  11. The Impression That I Get by The Mighty Mighty Bosstones
  12. I Really Like You by Carly Rae Jepsen

I gotta say, I had a lot of time working on this playlist. I spent way more time than I thought I would trying to balance the songs and make sure it flowed like I wanted it to. I dug through my mind and some lists to try and assemble the best possible collection of songs to truly accomplish the mood and vibe I was going for. I put way more effort into this than I put into any playlist arguably ever.

It definitely brought out a feeling of nostalgia for me and I’m thrilled to continue working on my other playlists. You can check out this one on Spotify by clicking this link.

While on the topic of music, last May I finished a blog post that was over ten years in the making. It was titled The Soundtrack of My Life. I spent a long time assembling songs that provided the background music for my life over the years. It wasn’t my best written post, but a lot of effort was put into it and I figure if you are reading this, you might be interested in reading a little more about music. I’ve put up a copy you can read here: The Soundtrack of My Life.

My Lawn

I sometimes joke that I was raised by television, but in all honesty, it’s not that far from the truth. I feel as if my morals were developed by watching how certain characters reacted when confronted with a problem. Was this the wisest way to learn about the world? Definitely not, but my alternatives were worse.

I mentioned this because ever as an adult, I’m always on the lookout for a good message. I like a good quote or situation that I can remember to help keep me motivated to be better as mentioned in my Be A Goldfish post. Television today isn’t geared towards doing the right thing or sliding moral messages into the plot, but it doesn’t always need to be. Sometimes it’s just the way a couple of characters approach a situation that can have an effect on me.

One of the stranger places I found a message that resonated with me was in a recent episode of King of the Hill titled Movin’ On Up. In this episode, Luanne decides to move out of The Hill’s house and into another house within the neighborhood. She gets three roommates in order to cover the bills and quickly learns about the harsh reality of paying bills and living with miserable people.

Throughout the episode, Luanne is constantly at odds with her roommates and she is forced into being the adult of the house. She establishes rules and slowly turns into Hank, the man she was attempting to escape because she didn’t agree to follow his rules. The irony is not lost on her but her pride prevents her from admitting she made a mistake.

Luanne finds herself in a miserable position. She’s living in a house she’s unhappy in. She’s forced to be someone she isn’t ready to be and like a lot of adults she finds she’s rather powerless to deal with it. Hank decides to give her a little piece of advice.

“You know, Luanne, you and I both wanted a little place of our own. I thought my den would be my oasis but now the only place I can get away from the various annoyances in my life is my lawn. When I’m out there mowing, edging, watering, even fertilizing nothing else matters. Yep, that’s what you got to do, Luanne. Find yourself a project. Find your own lawn.”

Luanne didn’t rush out and find a project, but she did stumble up on a bit of serenity when cleaning the pool. She found peace in perfecting the pH and she took pride in one small thing she could control.

I thought it was a wise piece of life advice. I know when I get overwhelmed I find myself feeling hopeless and out of control. It’s so easy to blame other people or life circumstances, but ultimately my happiness is up to me. We all need a little place to escape to, a place where we can get away from the world’s problems and just be at peace.

This blog is my digital lawn. It’s a place that I love to work on, take pride in, and am happy to share with other people. It’s my own little digital oasis. I would love to have something in the physical world that brings me the same sense of peace and calm as this blog, but I haven’t quite found it yet. I’m still looking though. I’m sure my lawn’s out there.

Free Write – Week 7 (Feb 12 – Feb 18)

This week was scheduled to be my first vacation in quite some time. The original plan was to travel to Memphis, Tennessee for a few days to visit some family and friends. However, this winter storm hit Memphis pretty hard and just as we geared up to leave last weekend, we made the choice to cancel. Our vacation morphed into a staycation that was not too rough since our area of North Carolina largely avoided the terrible winter weather pounding the rest of the Southern United States.

I watched segments of the Daytona 500 on Sunday. It was a lackluster race that featured an underdog winner. I was quite happy to see Front Row Motorsports get the big win and Michael McDowell score his first Cup Victory.

I purchased Super Mario 3D World for the Switch over the weekend. I played the game back on the Wii U several years ago, but was excited to revisit it with Brandy playing alongside me. She’s doesn’t have a lot of experience with 2D style Mario games, so it’s been a lot of fun showing her the ropes. The level design on 3D World impresses me still after all these years. It’s a great game.

DC announced a Batman 89 comic series alongside a Superman 78. I remember a few years back when Marvel began X-Men 92 and DC created Batman 66, the Batman 89 was considered but never put into production. I’m excited to see it come into fruition since Michael Keaton is still my favorite Batman.

I’m all about finding peaceful, fun websites to read and Hedgehog Moss Farm is one of them. It’s a Tumblr page created by a young woman in France who runs a little farm. Every post is wholesome, simple, and a delight to read.

I’ve suffered from lower back for the past ten years now. I suffered for well over a year before some co-workers finally convinced me to seek out a chiropractor. After five visits, I was fixed, and I spent the next year relatively pain-free before the process repeated itself. Now, going on ten years, I still deal with nagging back pain thanks in part to sitting for ten hours in poor quality office chairs.

I found a decent routine to help me combat the back pain which consisted of several yoga stretches before bed and once I woke up. This seemed to cut back on the stiffness to a degree and allowed me to prolong the time between visiting the chiropractor by a few months.

I’ve noticed, however, that my lower back has become increasingly tight when I wake up. I stumbled upon some research that stated some lower back tightness upon waking up is usually a hip flexibility issue. So, I modified my stretches to focus on my hips and WOW what a difference it has made. I spend most days almost completely pain-free and have very little tightness throughout the day. I almost wonder if all this time I’ve spent so much time and money onto fixing my back when I should have been focusing more on my hips.

Causes of Death in America (Reality/Google/Media)

I ran across this infographic back in December and found it interesting. It’s a breakdown of what Americans die from, what Americans search on Google, and what the news reports on. You can quickly see how America’s biggest killer heart disease, is not exciting and thus gets little to no coverage in the media nor do Americans feel compelled to research it. The flashy, exciting, and scary stuff like homicide and terrorism get a lot more love, especially from the media.

This is just another example of how the media and internet skew data for profit. I feel like I’ve lived my world through various screens over the years and because of this, my outlook has been quite skewed from reality. There is actually a term for this: mean world syndrome.

Sometimes understanding these biases and seeing some hard data can make a real impact on how I interpret things. I just thought someone else might find it interesting as well.

Free Write – Week 6 (Feb 5 – Feb 11)

Last week, a friend of mine surprised me with a copy of The Last Blockbuster, a documentary about Blockbuster Video and the final remaining store in Bend, Oregon. This film had been on my wishlist and was just recently released on blu-ray. It was a great documentary that took an interesting look into Blockbuster and what went wrong. I highly recommend it for any former video store clerks and/or folks nostalgia for video stores.

I finished reading Nitro by Guy Evans over the weekend. This massive book takes a look at the creation and demise of WCW Nitro. Not too unlike the story of Blockbuster, WCW dealt with all sorts of questionable bookkeeping, corporate buyouts, and a few bad decisions. This has got to be the most definitive book on WCW I’ve ever read with interviews with just about anyone involved with the show. It’s so detailed I found myself skimming blocks of legal documents and/or press releases that are quoted in the book. Still, it was a great read and one I’m glad I took the time to finally get through.

I ended up down a rabbit hole and ran across this article about Infomania. I found this section particularly interesting:

The Problem of Recency

Then, there’s the issue with new articles. We tend towards neomania: overly focusing on the new and shiny, when new and shiny things tend to be the quickest to go and the least likely to be valuable.

A safer bet is to see what content has stood the test of time, following the Lindy Rule. Anything that has been around for 50 years will probably be around for another 50 years, but something that’s been around a few days has no proof of staying power.

Will people be reading Aristotle in another 2,000 years? Probably. Will they be reading this week’s pop-business book in another 10 years? Probably not.

Google suspended the account of the developer of Terraria for unknown reasons. After three weeks of getting nowhere, the developer has officially cancelled the port they were working on for Stadia. This is a good reminder of how much control Google/Apple has over your various accounts and how on any given day it can all be taken away with no way to get it back.

I experienced this problem back around ten years ago with Apple. My account became locked (not by me) and there was no way for me to unlock it or reset it. Granted, the various options and two-factor authorization were rather limited at the time, but I lost everything tied to my Apple account and I’ve never owned an Apple product since. This could have just as easily been a story about Android, as the above article details.

“When our minds are bathed in chatter, we display a strong bias toward satisfying our emotional needs over our cognitive ones. In other words, when we’re upset, we tend to overfocus on receiving empathy rather than finding practical solutions.”

-Ethan Kross, Chatter The Voice in Our Head, Why It Matters and How to Harnes It

This was an interesting article about the Star Trek megos that wer e announced but never made.

Mego’s Lost Star Trek Toys

I added my blog to this list of personal websites. These sorts of lists work almost like a modern web ring and can lead to some great finds.

The Big List of Personal Websites

A Year in Star Trek Movies: The Wrath of Khan

My History with the Film:
The Wrath of Khan is widely considered the best Star Trek movie. I remember renting it while I worked at Blockbuster and I was blown away by how much better it was compared to the first film. The first film is almost psychedelic and is a slow burn in comparison to Wrath of Khan which is arguably an action film with likeable characters and a heightened pace. I fondly remember it being called the Star Trek film even non-Star Trek fans can enjoy.

So, what led me to giving Star Trek another shot after my debacle with the first film? Well, I met a guy named Eric while working at Blockbuster. Eric became sort of my nerd mentor. He took me beyond my casual fandom and introduced me to the inner workings of all things nerdy. He took me to get my first box at a comic book store. He taught me about Terry Gilliam films and anime. But most importantly, he taught me about Star Trek.

He explained the movies, how they were set up with the casts, and what to expect. He explained the different series and really gave me that baseline knowledge that I needed to wade into the Star Trek universe. And so with his encouragement, I took home a copy of the Wrath of Khan and couldn’t wait till our next shift to discuss it.

What the Film is About:
Admiral Kirk along with the crew of the Enterprise rush to stop a madman who has stolen a weapon of mass destruction.

What I Liked About It:
-The tonal shift is impressive. Where The Motion Picture was a slow, slog of a movie that never seems to really go anywhere, The Wrath of Khan starts off with action in the first scene and rarely lets up. This is a huge improvement and made for a much better film.

-The characters are actually likeable in this film and everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves. Ricardo Montalban (Khan) and Kristie Alley (Saavik) were both great in their roles.

-The film has a great scene that reminds you a lot of a World War II submarine battle. It’s slow, calculating, and suspenseful.

-The film has almost horror aspects at times which I really enjoyed. Stuff like the creatures they put into the ears. It really created tension and heighten the stakes early on. It made Khan a villain you knew you couldn’t side with.

What I Didn’t Like About It:
-I struggled to buy the whole Kirk has a son storyline. I mean, character wise it doesn’t seem to be that much of a stretch but it really didn’t seem to serve any purpose in the script.

The differences between Star Trek: The Motion Picture and The Wrath of Khan are immense. It’s hard to even compare the two films because they seemingly have so little in common. Outside of the characters, actors, and the ship there isn’t much that links the two films.

The Wrath of Khan is fun. It’s a superior film in every way over its predecessor. It might lean a bit on the action side but it really works for this film. You get to see everyone at their best and Kirk has a true nemesis to battle.

I enjoyed Wrath of Khan a lot. While I don’t know if I’ll ever revisit the film again, I can say that this film firmly made me excited to continue this little project I’ve begun.