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      BLOG — OPINION

      NOW READ THIS

      Part of your New Year's Eve resolution should be to read more books. Books are awesome. Some of the best movies came from books, and you know how annoying it is when people say "the book was so much better". You could be one of those people! Reading a book is sort of like getting to see a movie years before it's in the theater. Imagine that! You could see the Oscar-winning movie that comes out three years from now in the comfort of your own home. 

      Plus, you get to do all the casting decisions in your brain when you read a book. Hell, you can cast yourself as the lead and surround yourself with Ryan Gosling and Jennifer Lawrence. How many movies have been ruined by poor casting decisions? Hundreds? Millions? Trillions? That will never happen again if you read books.

      Now, the downside to reading books. The time. It takes way longer to read a book than it does to watch a movie. There is no getting around that. Sure you could try and read it really fast but that's never going to work.  And that's why movies were invented in the first place, by lazy non book-reading people. But not everyone has the time to invest in a book, where it is infinitely easier to find 90 minutes to watch a movie. We aren't going to lie to you, movies are great for that very reason, well that, and the popcorn.

      And the last part of this post on why you should read books. Some books never get made into movies. They never get to see their full potential up there on the screen, with subpar actors, huge subplots cut from the story, entire endings changed. Those books just have to remain happy just the way they are, and sometimes that's a good thing. 

      NOW READ THIS, is going to be a weekly...maybe, but probably every other week, spotlight on a book worth reading. This week's noteworthy book is:

      THE STORY OF "S"

      S., conceived by filmmaker J.J. Abrams and written by award-winning novelist Doug Dorst, is the chronicle of two readers finding each other in the margins of a book and enmeshing themselves in a deadly struggle between forces they don’t understand. Remember Abrams did the tv show Lost and is directing the new StarWars-VII, so you know he knows how to tell a story. Here is the outline of the book lifted from Amazon.com:

      One book. Two readers. A world of mystery, menace, and desire.

      A young woman picks up a book left behind by a stranger. Inside it are his margin notes, which reveal a reader entranced by the story and by its mysterious author. She responds with notes of her own, leaving the book for the stranger, and so begins an unlikely conversation that plunges them both into the unknown.

      The book: Ship of Theseus, the final novel by a prolific but enigmatic writer named V.M. Straka, in which a man with no past is shanghaied onto a strange ship with a monstrous crew and launched onto a disorienting and perilous journey.

       

      The writer: Straka, the incendiary and secretive subject of one of the world’s greatest mysteries, a revolutionary about whom the world knows nothing apart from the words he wrote and the rumors that swirl around him.

      The readers: Jennifer and Eric, a college senior and a disgraced grad student, both facing crucial decisions about who they are, who they might become, and how much they’re willing to trust another person with their passions, hurts, and fears.

       

      What they don't tell you is all the crazy stuff that comes with this book...postcards, clues, decoders. It's a mystery story, wrapped in a conundrum, crammed into a book jacket. It will blow your mind. They may make a movie about this book, or maybe about you reading this book and having it take over every minute of your life. You'll stop eating, quit sleeping, all you can do is read and then read some more until you solve the mystery. J.J. Abrams you have done it again, now don't mess up StarWars.

      THE BEST XMAS MOVIES OF ALL TIME

      Now this is always up for debate, so many factors, feelings, elves, candy canes... It is a tough call to make. But that is what we do, we make the tough calls so you don't have to. Now we all have our favorite Christmas movie, but is it really the best? 

      Some people will hit you right out of the gate with a Christmas Story, Charlie Brown Christmas, It's a Wonderful Life, and those are ok, maybe even pretty good, but the best? Not a chance.

      What makes a Christmas movie the best is that it covers the big three. Hope, Family, and Revenge. Revenge you say? That's hardly the Christmas spirit?! You couldn't be more wrong. Revenge is the basis of all great Christmas movies. Revenge is what gets the presents delivered, revenge gets the sleigh off the ground, revenge brings families together.

       

      Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer

      This is the touching story of sweet revenge. Those other reindeers wouldn't let Rudolph play in any reindeer games. They basically bully him into a spiraling chasm of self doubt, but Rudolph takes those insults and turns them into the burning white hot fuel he needs to pull the sleigh and save the day and make those other reindeers bow down to the greatness. 

       

      Die Hard

      Now if this isn't on everyone's list as one of the greatest Christmas movies ever then it's time they sat themselves in front of the tv and revisit one of the greatest Christmas stories ever told. The terrorists: Karl, Franco, Tony, Theo, Alexander, Marco, Kristoff, Eddie, Uli, Heinrich, Fritz, James, and of course, Hans Gruber, you could put antlers on them and it's basically Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer all over again. With John McClane as Rudolph, and the Nakatomi building as the North Pole.

       

      Home Alone

      This is just a thinly guised copy of Die Hard for kids. One child soldier's war against terror. Throw a white tank top on Macaulay Culkin and we dare you to not see the similarities.  

      Now you know the formula for how to judge if your favorite Christmas movie is indeed one of the greats. Many of you were surprised on what a huge role revenge plays in the holiday season, but it is true. Revenge is a great motivator for doing good, and for helping others. Now get out there and spread some revenge this Christmas.

       

      FOLLOW YOUR DREAMS

      Nothing makes us happier than seeing someone follow their dream. Whether that dream is to learn to walk again, or converting your car into a 1980's TV replica. It is the latter that we are talking about today. Now we aren't going to tell you that Knight Rider was the best show ever, it was alright, it had its moments, and it had David Hasselhoff. But the real star was K.I.T.T. the talking car, the acronym KITT stood for something but who has time to find out that sort of information? Not us. Moving on, this post is about doing what you love and seeing it through. 

      Chris Palmer is an inspiration to all of us that have a dream but might be a little scared of what others might say about it. Dreams by their very nature are silly and nonsensical, but making a dream a reality is the highest calling and greatest achievement one might do in their lifetime. We are being totally serious here people, you have to follow your dreams or what is the point? You get this one life, and you have to make the most of it, and you can't let your dreams get derailed by others who don't understand why you want what you want.  So get out there, write that movie script, build that rocket, start that band, life is so much better when you follow your dreams.

      REALITY VS FANTASY VS DEMONIC DOLL POSSESSION

      Did anyone see the movie "The Conjuring" this weekend? It was scary. Well, not knock your socks off scary, but a very solid frightening ghost story. But there was one thing about the movie that was really just over the top, total Hollywood cliché, and that was the demon doll, Annabelle. For those of you that haven't seen the movie, you can keep reading, no spoilers here, just a rant over a child's doll. 

      There is no way, no how, no one, that's going to own a doll that looks like that doesn't know that Satan himself didn't own the doll first. That's what the doll looked like from the start, pre-demon in the movie. It didn't evolve into that hellish object, we are led to believe that that's what it looked like out of the box, right off the toy store shelf. Are you going to tell us that some cute girl is going to pack up her belongings, as she heads off to nursing school, she takes one look around her room and thinks to herself, "Oh, probably a good idea to bring this abomination of all that is holy, conceived in the very depths of a million childrens' nightmares with me". Just look at that thing! 

      The fact that filmmakers thought this doll was believable is a real slap in the face of the fine people paying good money to see this movie. You could hear the groans from the audience when they showed it for the first time. No one for a second believed that someone would actually own that doll. Now, this was a movie based on fact, more or less. So, of course when the movie was over, the laptop came out to see what the real Annabelle doll looked like.

      Sometimes it's better to leave things alone. The Demonic Annabelle Doll in real life was a Raggedy Ann doll. What we are trying to get at is that sometimes the real thing can't be improved upon. To read all about the real Annabelle click here or watch the video.

      SUMMER TV WATCHING

      Some of our favorite TV shows are in between seasons.  Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, Mad Men. They're all gone for now, leaving a giant hole in our TV-viewing hearts.  So we went searching for summer programming, and here are our discoveries.

       

      RAY DONOVAN

      Naomi Watts's partner stars as the man in LA who can fix what you need fixed, provided you've got the fame, the money, or the connections.  Kind of a private eye to the stars.  You wake up in a hotel room next to a woman who's died of an overdose?  Ray Donovan is your man.  You're a rising star with a persistent stalker lurking outside your Malibu beach house?   Get me Ray Donovan.  But it's not all TMZ and spurning the advances of starlets.  Ray's family itself suffers a dark past.  Angelina Jolie's dad plays the patriarch of the Donovan family.  Just released from a long stint in prison, his return heralds a dark cloud descending on Ray and his brothers.  It's like if the Wolf from Pulp Fiction were a character on Entourage, transported into an episode of the Sopranos.  Showtime.

       

      ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK

      To begin with, this premise is wearing thin.  Fresh out of college, a young woman falls in love with a lesbian drug runner from a large cartel, transports a suitcase full of drug money through the Brussels airport, eventually separates from her lover, finds the man of her dreams, gets engaged, only to have her past catch up to her ten years later, leading to her arrest and incarceration, where she struggles to find her way in prison life, stay connected with her fiance, and keep up her business of creating artisinal hand soaps and lotions.  Typical.  Netflix.

       

      LUTHER, SEASON THREE

      Luther is a cop with a troubled past, whose heart is in the right place, but sometimes he pushes the edge of the law to get results.  Are there any TV shows where the cop DOESN'T have a troubled past or push the edge of the law to get results? Where's Human Resources at these precincts?! Shouldn't someone vet these investigators before they get their badges?  Season Three finds Luther back doing what he does best: stopping the worst that society has to offer.  With the spectre of Alice Morgan gone (maybe), there's a new woman in Luther's life, and things are looking up.  But there's something hiding in the shadows.  A fellow officer intent on bringing Luther down.  Many of the monsters Luther stopped over the years have ended up dead, and this officer is determined to expose Luther as a cop-gone-mad.  A killer.  He'll use those nearest and dearest to Luther to bring him down.  As always, Idris Elba is incredible.  BBC.

      THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS

       

      Today was a historic day here in the US where the Supreme Court up held the decision for Marriage Equality and ruled that Section 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional. Some people just don't get it, "what's the big issue about marriage?" exactly. The big issue isn't about marriage as some people make it out to be. It's really about one thing, should we as human beings be considered equal to each other? That's it. 

      People can say whatever they want, and that's their right, and sometimes they forget that they have that right to free speech, because they've had that right all their lives. No one has ever dared to try to take their rights. But those same people don't seem to have an issue intruding on the rights of others.  

      We will end this post with a line from the United States Declaration of Independence, which when you read it, seems like the Founding Fathers wrote this to ensure everyone's rights would be protected. "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that ALL men are created equal that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."