Superman IV: The Quest for Peas, errr, Peace

Superman_IV_(1987)

 

Superman IV: The Quest for Peace was released in 1987 and was co-written by Reeve’s. That should have been enough of a warning to anyone. Of course, Matt warned me that it was a stinker, so I knew going in that I was in for rough weather. And indeed, this movie was bad. It was bad enough that another Superman movie wasn’t made again until 2006. Almost 20 years of stinkitude!

The basic premise is that “everyone” is concerned that Nuclear weapons are going to destroy the world but Superman won’t do anything about it because of his instructions from Krypton not to change the fate of his adopted world. Then a school boy writes to him asking him to save everyone.  At the same time a greedy capitalist buys the Daily Planet and starts turning it into a tabloid while he gives it to his daughter to run.  The daughter falls in love with Clark Kent while Lois is still in love with Superman. Hijinks ensue as Big Blue has to switch from one to the other on a double date.

Supes gets permission from the UN to take all the nuclear weapons from everyone and throw them into the sun. There is where Lex Luthor gets involved. He steals a hair of Superman’s and creates a genetic package that needs the sun’s power to give it life. Luthor installs it on one of the nuclear weapons and when Supes throws it into the sun Nuclear Man is born, quite literally. Luthor reveals him and he and Supes fight, in the city, on the moon and in space. Supes gets scratched by nuclear nails and gets sick and everyone thinks he’s dead.  He comes back and throws Nuclear Man into a nuclear power plant and lights up a whole city while Nuclear Man is consumed.

The movie ends with Superman giving a speech about everyone getting along and realizing we all live on the same planet. Also, Perry White takes out a loan from the bank and buys back the Daily Planet.

 

I actually watched this 3 times to make sure it was as bad as I thought it was. There was no mistake, this was a B-A-A-A-A-D movie.

Hollywood politics dominated the storyline to the point where it wasn’t much of a storyline but a piece of propaganda. Superman taking nuclear weapons away from everyone, though glossed over, made him the worst of tyrants and excusing it by putting the responsibility on the UN’s shoulders was just as bad. That corrupt body of filth has NO power to make such decisions.  (As an aside, just so you know where I stand about the UN, if UN Peacekeepers EVER set foot on American soil on a mission, it is my duty and right as a Citizen of this country to destroy them. No Blue Hats in America!!!!) Ahem….

Helmets belonging to soldiers of the Nigerian army are seen as part of preparations for deployment to Mali, at the Nigerian Army peacekeeping centre in Jaji

Any American wearing one of these on U.S. soil is a TRAITOR and will be treated as such

 

The plot line about the capitalist’s daughter & Clark and Lois & Superman was just ridiculous in the worst way.  It was stupid and silly. Those two words describe most of the movie though.

mv5bngyzmzbmmjmtntg4os00mtezlwixmdqtzguzm2fhztrmmgezxkeyxkfqcgdeqxvyotc5mdi5nje40._v1_sx1777_cr001777740_al_

I felt bad for this woman, on so many levels

 

Superman and Nuclear Man, oh where do I even start? Nuclear Man goes around the world destroying things, like the Great Wall of China. Superman comes after him and makes video game bleeep noises and undoes all the damage. It was like Superman had Control Z (keyboard shortcut for undo) Vision. Then Superman figures out Nukes is powered by the sun and traps him in an elevator where Nukes immediately curls up in the fetal position. So Superman releases him on the Moon, in the sun. Come on!!!! Then the end where Nuclear Man gets all his energy sucked up by the power plant? I can’t even begin to count how many things are wrong with that, even from just the story point side of things, much less any other point of things.

nuclear_man

Nuclear Man could have been awesome. But he wasn’t

 

By the end of my 3rd watch, I was simply listening to the movie and even then I was rolling my eyes. I really don’t have anything good to say about this and I don’t know whose fault that even is. Was it the directors, the story writers? I don’t know.  Honestly, it was bad enough that I could see this getting the Rifftrax treatment.

Don’t waste your time, period.

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

Next month I’ve got a choice between Peter Jackson’s extended edition of King Kong or Alien vs Predator.  Feel free to give voice to your choice in the comments or feel free to mock Superman IV. It deserves it!

 

A Time for Grief (Tales of the Apt #2) ★★★☆½

atimeforgrief (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: A Time for Grief
Series: Tales of the Apt #2
Author: Adrian Tchaikovsky
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 350
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

A collection of short stories about the Apt world that ranged between the opening chapters of The Empire in Black in Gold all the way to after the Seal of the Worm.

Many minor characters from the series are given more prominent roles and several characters from the first book in this series of Tales of the Apt make a return.

 

My Thoughts:

I did not enjoy this as much as the previous book. It felt like Tchaikovsky was simply letting all the story telling out that he wasn’t able to fit into the Shadows series. Characters and situations that were important to him as the author were allowed out on the page, whereas I the reader couldn’t have cared less about them all.

That doesn’t mean the stories weren’t interesting or were poorly written, but they simply didn’t grab my attention the same the previous collection did. I think part of it was just how depressing it all was, even the authors little afterwards about the history of each story. More of these stories ended happy than not but even still Tchaikovsky just seemed to revel in writing, in the afterwards, about how depressing everything in the story is. He doesn’t seem like a depressed man, but just someone who likes to tell depressing stories.

I think this is typified in the story about a fly boy. He and his parents are workers in the city of Helleron and they can barely afford to even live in the poor section of town. Then the street they live on changes hands to another gang and said gang raises the rates, hence forcing everyone to move. The fly boy tries to hire someone to fight a battle with whoever the gang chooses but being so poor, no one will even give him the time of day. Until he runs across Tisaman, who wants to die. So Tisaman takes up his cause and kills the fighter the other gang hired and so the street goes back to the original gang. The kicker? The fighter the other gang hired was a man who lived in the same building as the fly boy and who the fly boy looked up to as a hero. Every story has some depressing angle like that.

It isn’t nihilism, but it is more subtle and insidious and it wore me down. There are 2 more books in the series and I’m really hoping they trend more towards the action of the first than the mentally depressing of the second.

★★★☆½

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

A History of… The Hobbit

 

Lashaan recently wrote up a review of his first time reading The Hobbit. Great review and I highly recommend you read it. But it got me to thinking. I literally grew up with the Hobbit and thought I’d try to remember my life as defined by the experiences I was going through when I read and re-read the Hobbit.

I believe that my experience with the Hobbit started before I could even read. My mom used to read to me in the afternoons before I started going to school and I know she read me Narnia and the Little House on the Prairie series. I can’t remember her explicitly reading me the Hobbit but my familiarity with it in later years leads me to believe she did. I don’t remember too much of that time overall except for a warm fuzzy sense of “rightness”. 

The next instance of the Hobbit is an explicit memory, one very well defined. I believe I was in middleschool and our family was going up to Canada to visit the Grands. I went to the library and got the Hobbit so I would have a book to read. Even then I knew to always have a book handy. It was one with the faux-leather green cover.

Not sure it was this exact edition, but if not, it looked almost like it

I remember this so well because on the way home we stopped in Maine at some relatives and I got a wicked bad sunburn on my whole back (didn’t use sunscreen) and we had to travel for 12hrs in the car the next day. You don’t forget experiences like that!

In highschool I wrote a paper on the Hobbit and Tolkien. I don’t have that paper handy nor do I remember anything about it, except, I got to read the Hobbit and use it to do some school work. Score!

Jump forward in time to Bibleschool in the late 90’s. One of our professors read through the entire series on Friday nights and Saturday afternoons to us students in one of the rooms that had couches and comfy chairs. When you are 19-22, having a chance to just hang out with everyone and not actually do anything is great. Add in that we all liked the story, the Professor had done this for years and so had a fantastic voice for reading, well, it was all a nerd could ask for.

Aye, aye Captain Professor Sir!


In 2001 the SFBC came out with the omnibus edition of the Lord of the Rings. I bought that and the Hobbit at the same time. Why should I pay for 4 books when I could pay for just 2? Small print didn’t mean a thing to my eyes then and being thrifty meant more than anything.

Teensy tiny print



In 2006 I met Miss Librarian at a friend’s wedding (Miss Library and I had been friends online) and we exchanged books. I gave her a copy of the Hobbit.

It was this edition

2 years later we were married and suddenly there were 2 copies of the same book on our book shelves. 2008 was a year for surprises, that is for sure!

Fast forward 3 years to 2011. I was on Goodreads and loving it. I had book friends and was writing reviews left and right. One of my online friends re-read the whole series every year. I wasn’t as much into re-reading then myself, but he inspired me to go through them all. I was simply blown away by how well written the Hobbit was and at how it could still appeal to my mature 30’something self. You’re Mature at 30 and after that you’re just Old and who cares what Old People think.

And now we come to 2019. Devilreads is a bad memory, 30 is just a stage that I grew out of (into a much more Mature stage I must say!) and yet here I am reading the Hobbit again and still loving it.

Bad Memories Indeed

What do you call a book that enthralls a 4 to 5 year old (no matter how precocious), a middleschooler, a highschooler, someone in college, a mid 20’s man, a 30 year old in his prime and then a 40 year old with the wisdom of the ages under his belt? If Classic doesn’t fit, then I don’t know what would. As sagacious as I currently am, I suspect in another 10-15 years that I’ll STILL love this book.

I’d like to take the time to thank Lashaan once again. He’s inspired several of these A History of… posts. The more years I collect, the more memories tag along, except for when I forget them. So it is good to write them down before they disappear 😀

[Manga Monday] Kare Kano: His & Her Circumstances #1

karekano1 (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Kare Kano: His & Her Circumstances #1
Series: Kare Kano: His & Her Circumstances #1
Author: Masami Tsuda
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Manga
Pages: 192
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Yukino Miyazawa is an average girl who works excessively hard to present a perfect social image. Her true identity is discovered by her rival, Soichiro Arima who blackmails her into helping him maintain his status as the perfect student. Their interactions cause Yukino to fall in love with Soichiro who likewise, discovers his true personality under his stoic facade. Soichiro begins to express angst in his new personality, believing he will become like his abusive parents. However, Yukino comforts him and Soichiro confesses his love to her in response.

There is a smaller second story about a young woman who hides because she is afraid and a young man who accidentally gets involved in her life. She begins to learn to not be afraid and he begins to learn to think about other people instead of just brushing them aside.

 

My Thoughts:

Given that this is my third time reading this you’d think I’d remember more beyond knowing it is a highschool drama. But nope, not a bleeding thing. So this was like reading it for the first time.

First off, I appear to have a soft spot for highschool drama, even while castigating it and rolling my eyes. Otherwise I can’t explain why I enjoyed this so much. Two 15 year olds filled with young pride and angst learning to navigate Life and thinking that nobody before them has ever encountered the same horrible problems that are currently destroying their lives. Hahahahahaa.

I am not expecting to be able to make it through the whole series even while I really enjoyed this volume. The second couple’s story I think sets the theme for the whole series. The two main characters and their issues and then side stories about ancillary characters.

Not a bad way to spend an hour or so.

★★★★☆

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

 

November ’19 Roundup & Ramblings

11November-f2e8cc

 

Raw Data:

Books – 7

Pages – 3070

Average Rating – 4.14

 

The Mediocre:

Last of the Plainsmen – 2 1/2 Stars

 

The Good:

Bleak House – 5 Stars

The Two Towers – 5 Stars

 

Movie:

Superman III was campy and yet still quite enjoyable. Reeve did an excellent acting job and made the movie work despite itself. I’ve been warned that Superman IV is pretty bad though, so we’ll see how that turns out for December.

 

Miscellaneous And Personal:

This month has held a lot for me. I’ve been a full month, full time, at my new job and I must say, I don’t enjoy it. However, they are giving me what I asked for in terms of people and office training. I just have to hold on until the training/learning curve evens out a bit and I’ve got to learn to deal with different personalities in the office. THAT is probably my biggest issue. Which is why I’ve always stayed out in the field until now. People suck.

I’ve “graduated” to Progressive lenses in my glasses, so the end of the month was me getting used to using those instead of the single vision lenses that I’ve had ever since 5th grade.  I didn’t have the motion sickness as bad as some people I know but it was still there and did affect me for a day or three.

Here is the list of some non-review posts for the month:

In regards to the book side of things, even though I only read 7 books,  my page numbers were up almost 900 pages (thank you Bleakhouse!) and my rating skyrocketed to over 4. To put that in perspective, last month I was under 3. I didn’t have a bad book this month and I had several 5 stars. That is how it is supposed to be, even while rarely turning out that way. It made me happy and it is yet another reason to do these Roundup posts. Looking at the month as a whole gives me a different perspective than just the day in and day out view that I normally live in.

December is looking busy with me diving into the Burning White. I’ve got a few other books already read to schedule reviews for, but I suspect I’ll be padding things out with some manga. I’m going to try another series I own and hope like crazy it turns out better than Oh My Goddess! did. I’ve chosen Kare Kano, known as His and Her Circumstances, in English. Highschool drama, so wish me luck.

 

Book Give-Away:

This month I am giving away Mercede Lackey’s Dragon Jousters tetralogy in hardcover. We have an interesting situation already. Ichabod made a very public claim in the comments section and Lashaan followed that up asking if he could bribe me to let Icky win. The thing is, several other people have entered as well and to complicate it even further, I know one of them in real life and he’s a very good friend.  I might end up letting Mrs B roll the die to determine the winner so I don’t have to 😀

Of course, no where in the rules does it say that if you win that I have to send it to you.  Just saying…

 

Cover Love:

With a McKillip book, do you even need to ask?

boneplainfull

 

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

The Two Towers (Lord of the Rings #2) ★★★★★

twotowers (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: The Two Towers
Series: Lord of the Rings #2
Author: John Tolkien
Rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 436
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

The Fellowship is broken. Gandalf and Boromir are dead, Frodo and Sam have slipped off on their own to find their way into Mordor to destroy the Ring, Merry and Pippin have been captured by Orcs and Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli must decide which set of hobbits to follow and support.

The first quarter of the book follows Merry and Pippin as they have their various adventures. Merry and Pippin are captured by the orcs and are on their way to Orthanc, Saruman’s stronghold. Saruman knows that a hobbit holds the One Ring, but he doesn’t know which one. The Orc band, however, is ambushed by the riders of Rohan and destroyed. One of the orcs from Sauron had taken the hobbits outside the orc camp to find for himself what Saruman wanted and this kept the hobbits alive during the attack. They proceed into the forest of Fangorn. There they meet the Ent Treebeard and help convince him and the other Ents that Saruman is a real threat and must be dealt with. Their part of the book ends with the Ents and their herds of trees marching off to Orthanc.

The second quarter of the book follows Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli as they try to rescue Merry and Pippin. After the breaking of the Fellowship, Aragorn is torn between following Frodo and Sam or rescuing Merry and Pippin. He chooses to rescue Merry and Pippin as he realizes that Frodo and Sam CHOSE to go off on their own. The three friends begin a tracking expedition and start running after the orcs. They find signs that the Hobbits are alive. They then run into the Riders of Rohan who destroyed the orc band. The Riders didn’t see any signs of the Hobbits but the three friends are convinced that the Hobbits are still alive. The three friends find signs that the Hobbits survived the ambush and begin tracking them into the forest of Fangorn. There they meet an old man who they take for Saruman but is revealed as Gandalf returned from the dead. Gandalf lets them know that the Hobbits are safe with the Ents and they (Gandalf and the 3 friends) must begin rousing allies against both Saruman AND Sauron. They all head over to Rohan to get Theoden ready. They find him under the influence of Wormtongue, an ally of Saruman. Gandalf drives Wormtongue out and Theoden rallies his riders. Scouts bring news that Saruman’s entire orc army has marched on Rohan and is destroying everything they find. Everyone heads to Helm’s Deep, a fortress where the Rohirrim make their last stand. Things are looking very bad for them until a whole forest of living trees and a band of riders led by Gandalf and Theoden’s nephew show up. The riders break the siege and the Forest deals with the orcs. Everyone goes to Orthanc. The Ents have destroyed Isengard (the city built around the tower of Orthanc) but Saruman has taken refuge in Orthanc. Gandalf confronts Saruman and casts him out of the Council of the Wise. Wormtongue throws a stone at them that turns out to be a Palantir, a device that allows the user to see around the world and to communicate with other Palantirs.

The final half of the book deals with Frodo and Sam and Gollum as they make their way towards Mordor. Frodo extracts a promise from Gollum to help them. Gollum leads them Mordor but they can’t get in. Gollum reveals that he knows a secret way in through a tunnel in one of the mountains. On the way there the Hobbits meet Faramir, Boromir’s younger brother. Faramir finds out the secret of the Ring but shows he’s a better man than Boromir by not even trying to take the Ring. The Hobbits continue their journey and Gollum leads them to the secret passage. There he disappears and the Hobbits must make their way through the tunnel on their own. They are ambushed by a giant spider named Shelob, who is an evil power on her own. Gollum is her vassal and plans on taking the Ring from the corpses of Frodo and Sam once she has eaten them. With the Phial of Galadriel and Sting, Sam destroys Shelob but not before she stings Frodo. Frodo enters a deathlike state and Sam is convinced he is dead. Sam takes the Ring and realizes the burden to destroy it is now his. Some orcs come along and Sam finds out that Frodo isn’t actually dead. The orcs take Frodo to their base and the book ends with Sam using the Ring to follow them so he can rescue Frodo.

 

My Thoughts:

For a 400+ page book, this felt incredibly short. Things just happen bam, bam, bam! It was great to be honest. Lean, sparse and yet fully fleshed out, the writing here wasn’t like some of the stuff we get today, ie, “world building”. Man, save me from “world building” for world building’s sake. Tolkien reveals a LOT about his world but it never becomes the point of the story and it always is secondary to the plot. It was masterfully done in my opinion.

Another thing I appreciated, that annoys me with more modern stuff, is that we stuck with one group POV for ¼, ¼ and then ½ of the book. We don’t follow a character for one chapter and then skip to another. My literary feet were firmly grounded in each POV instead of jumping and whirling and generally giving me motion sickness (I’m looking at you, John Gwynne and your horrible, terrible, no-good Valor). It was also written in such a way that I wasn’t thinking about the other characters not on page. I was fully invested in each group as I read about them.

I mentioned how short this felt. Not only that but the story itself sped by. If I hadn’t been reading carefully, so many things are mentioned by a character that aren’t fully written out, I would have missed a lot. Tolkien doesn’t pad out anything and he expects his readers to be paying attention and not need everything spoon fed to them. As a grumpy “get your YA off my lawn!” man, I appreciate that. It also lends itself towards re-reads, as you will miss some things on each read or not fully grasp the import of a sentence until you’ve read it again years later.

All of that being said, this does feel very much like the Grandfather of Fantasy. What I expect today and what I am used to (even if I am not fully behind it, like 1000 page tomes) is very different and that colors my perception of this.

Overall, this was a great read and a fantastic way to end the month.

 

★★★★★

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

Bards of Bone Plain ★★★★½

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Bards of Bone Plain
Series: ———-
Author: Patricia McKillip
Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 336
Format: Digital Edition



Synopsis:

From the Wiki

The book is set in a culture reminiscent of the medieval era, but technologically near-modern, and in which archaeology is also an established profession. Scholar Phelan Cle of the Bardic School at Caerau chooses as his graduate thesis the subject of the perhaps mythical Bone Plain, where all poetry is said to have originated, and the tale of the wandering bard Nairn.

Meanwhile, archaeologist Jonah Cle, Phelan’s alcoholic father, pursues his own investigations, urged on by his dedicated disciple Princess Beatrice, the king’s youngest daughter. At the standing stones near the school is unearthed a strange artifact, a disk marked with ancient runes that may prove key to the mysteries of Bone Plain. Beatrice soon discovers indications of the lost language it represents everywhere.

Alternating chapters recount the activities of the Cles and the princess and the legend of Nairn, and gradually the present and past are revealed to mirror each other and ultimately fuse.

My Own Little Bit

Turns out Jonah is Nairn and that Welkin/Keldin is simply trying to reverse the curse Nairn brought upon himself from the first competition back in history. Jonah faces Keldin thinking he is taking his son’s place but Keldin uses it to restore to Jonah his musical ability. Everybody lives happily ever after and Phelan’s best friend Zoe Wrenn becomes the next Royal Bard, only now she knows about the magic in the music.

My Thoughts:

McKillip doesn’t let me down. The mystery of language is explored in her typical lyrical way and the journey is beautiful with the way she crafts her story. As I noted in my 2011 review (linked below), she doesn’t hide quite so much in poetic form so the overall story is easier to understand. I liked that last time but this time I’m not really so sure. I think I would have liked MORE mystery, not less!

McKillip has moved her writing from a straight Medieval to a late 1800th Century, with automobiles and the like while still having bards and bardic schools. The magic is a given though, while most people in the story have forgotten that magic even exists.

With this move forward in time McKillip also brings forward some more modern ideas and those are what will keep this from being a 5star read for me. Several times she has unmarried couples sleeping together and that being completely normal. It was more striking to me because of its absence in her other works.

I’ve only got a couple more McKillip books to read through before this cycle of re-reads is over and honestly, I can tell I’m going to miss her stuff. I simply love her writing!

And finally, I’m including the full art spread for the cover by Kinuko Craft. They’re just so beautiful.


★★★★½


Bards of Bone Plain (2011 Review)