The Long Con Chapters 1 and 2

Doing some writing lately, and I’m just not sure about my pacing.  I’m hopping that latter chapters would be longer and that these first two are just a by product of the relatively small number of developments actually taking place. I could also combine these first two into one chapter, but I don’t like shifting the scene or the focus of the story within a chapter. Also i might just be a shitty writer.  Let me know what you think.

Chapter 1.

More than one hundred and fifty thousand dollars was spread around the edges of the weathered oak poker table.  Most of that money was divided between two opposing sides of the felt covered oval. At one end, a pile of poker chips worth close to seventy thousand dollars was haphazardly piled in front of a skinny twenty three year old college drop out who everyone in the room knew as Nicky Boy.

The randomness with which his chips were stacked seemed fitting to anyone who looked at him. Leaning back in his chair, nosily blowing small bubbles of grape bubble gum, clothes a size too big and tad too loud; Nicky was the epitome of dirt bag style.  He loved his image, and would play it up when in a big game hoping it would entice a reckless call or mistimed bluff from the other players. He would needle his opponents with a barrage of inane questions that tip toed the line between friendliness and contempt.

At the other end of the table were four neatly stacked towers belonging to a sixty eight year old man who no one at the table had seen before that night.  When he first joined the game three hours ago, the stranger lied when he introduced himself as Victor.  When the college drop out said his name was Nicky, the man smiled politely while failing to mention that he already knew Nicky’s name, his job, his family, his vices, and how much money he was going to lose that night.

The stranger was far from an anomaly in the card room.  Every week Nick saw half a dozen old timers walk in the club, dressed up like they were an extra in a Martin Scorsese film. This club wasn’t in Vegas; it was nestled away in the warehouse district in north Philadelphia.  Absent were the chandeliers, enticing neon lights, and over oxygenated air you would find in a corporate owned casino.  Sal’s was a mob hangout with florescent lights and thick black drapes over the windows. The cracked wood floors were covered with an assortment of imitation oriental rugs, and a heavy mist of cigarette smoke hung near the ceiling.

“Are you sure you’re in the right place old man? This isn’t exactly the Borgata after all.” Nicky inquired as he leaned forward to dramatically analyze Victor’s suit.

There were only three things in that room that wouldn’t have looked out of place in a casino like the Borgata. The first was the roulette wheel that had paid off for Victor to the sum of fifteen grand thanks to some careful wheel tracking done by an associate earlier in the week. The second was a massive craps table which, with a little help from loaded dice, had allowed Victor to accumulate an additional seven grand earlier in the night. The third item was the elegant brunette who had signaled Victor when the black jack table she was sitting at had a favorable count.  Once Victor had collected eight thousand from the black jack table he started playing poker, and the brunette left to work on the step of Vic’s plan.

“Honestly, a pressed suit, cuff links, and a matching tie are a little formal for a place like this. You do know AC is about an hour to the east of here right? Maybe he’s here for a job interview. Well pops, just as an FYI, the dress code for the staff here is what one could call business casual.”

The barrage of questions didn’t seem to phase Victor as he called Nickys five hundred dollar preflop raise, and dealt the first three communal cards onto the center of the fading green felt: ace of hearts, four of spades, and four of hearts.

To most participants, Nicky appeared to be disinterested in the three cards that had been placed faced up in the center of the table.  As he normally did, Nicky pretended to focus on everything other than the poker game in which he was involved.

“You’ll notice both of our cocktail waitresses working tonight are wearing Jeans and sneakers. Bruce, our bouncer slash banker, has really stepped up his game this evening and is wearing jogging pants and a T shirt instead of his usual sweat pants and muscle shirt. And I, in my role of general manager of this fine establishment-“

“Is dressed like a dime store pimp.” The man sitting to Victor’s left interrupted as the other regulars at the table laughed in agreement.

“Frank, I heard you finally saved up enough money from cutting old ladies’ lawns to get those season tickets you always wanted.  I don’t know how you can work with all those grass clippings with your allergies, But you let me know how much you want for them tickets when my Cowboys come to town.”  Nicky Chirped at a balding man wearing an Eagles jersey sitting directly to his left.

“First of all, its commercial landscaping, and second, I own the company you skinny son of a bitch.”

There was no malice in the man’s response to Nicky as he, and almost everyone at that table, was use to Nicky spending equal time busting balls and dragging pots.

“Last time I handled a weed whacker was over four years ago, which was about the same time Nicky boy was getting shoved into lockers by guys who actually knew how to get laid in high school.”

Only the well dressed stranger seemed to notice the rapidly pulsating line of flesh running up the left side of Nicky’s neck.  Nicky could feel the force of each heart beat rock his body as his hands struggled to remain still on the table’s faded green felt.

“Speaking of getting laid in high school Frankie, how much did roofies use to cost you?  Oh and I’ll have you know during my entire academic career I was only shoved into a locker twice.”

Nicky had an excellent memory and near perfect vision, but he couldn’t stop himself from taking a 2nd glance at the two cards he was holding.

“With his mouth, I would have guessed at least five times.” joked Bricks, a small time street dealer who was part of the same organization as Nicky’s father.

Victor took note of the slight tremble Nicky’s hands made as he took a third peek at the pocket pair Victor had dealt him.

“Yo, didn’t Manny say he locked you in the janitor’s closet over night one time?” Bricks continued as he compulsively readjusted the platinum chain hanging down the front of his pristine white and blue Rocawear hoodie.

Victor pushed a stack of chips worth five thousand dollars across the felt as he calmly said “Raise.”

Victor had already won over fifty thousand dollars since joining the table, and was up over seventy five thousand since entering the club four hours ago.  Although Nicky had only contributed 12 grand to Victor’s winnings, the losses had tested his pride. The four of clubs and four of diamonds in Nicky’s hand, combined with the four of spades and four of hearts laying face up in the middle of the table, gave him hope that his brief losing streak was about to come to an end.

“Bricks, did you even go to high school?” Nicky asked as he casually splashed ten yellow five hundred dollar chips into the pot, as he continued to try and show disinterest in the game.

“Huh? Uh yeah, For a couple of years, yeah.” Bricks said as he tossed his cards face down into the center of the table, which now contained a little over twelve thousand in chips and was quickly drawing more attention from the rest of the guests at the neighboring tables.

Nicky had only been dealt a 4 of a kind once before. It was two years ago, and that hand had won him just over a thousand dollars from a player who thought his full house was unbeatable. Unlike that night, Nicky wasn’t sitting at a low limit table in Atlantic City playing for small stakes. Today he was sitting across from a whale who was trying to clean out his father’s club.

“I’m out too.” Frank whispered as he sheepishly folded his hand.

With the round of betting complete, and with only two people left in the hand, Victor placed the 4th of what would be five communal cards into the center of the table.  It was an eight of diamonds.

Nicky didn’t see any reaction from Victor when the card hit the felt. In fact, Nicky wasn’t sure if his opponent had even looked at the card. Nick didn’t worry about it because at that moment he had the best possible hand even if the ace had helped Victor.  The only thing concerning Nicky was how he could get the aging man and to put the rest of his money into play.

Nicky sighed and turned his head to gaze at one of the more shapely waitresses working his father’s club that evening.

“Barb!” Nicky yelled out as he knocked on the felt to indicate he wasn’t going to bet. “Can I get another Captain and Coke?”

After a brief pause, as Victor waited for the waitress to acknowledge Nicky’s order, the older gentleman said “Fifteen” as he counted out twenty yellow and ten brown chips to add to the growing pot.

“Call.” Nicky quickly said with a shrug as he sent a pile of clay chips cascading into the center of the table.

The quick call by Nick was on purpose as he had already diagnosed that his opponent was a good player, and would be aware that quick calls and double checking hole cards are a sign of a player on a draw.  There were two hearts on the board and he wanted his opponent to think he was chasing a flush. Nicky knew you could never be certain, but he was fairly sure his opponent had a pocket pair, probably Aces. It would give his opponent a full house and explain his betting so far in the hand.

Nicky wondered what the likelihood was of being dealt four of a kind when your opponent has a hand as powerful as a full house.  He didn’t know the exact odds but he was sure that it was a very unlikely event.  The cramped warehouse, whose top floor served as an illegal casino and sports book, held 68 people that night. Out of all those people there were only two who knew those odd. One was Victor. The other was a quiet man sitting seventy feet away at the casino’s dimly light bar. Aside from a rebellious bartender, neither Victor, nor anyone else at the casino that night had notice him stroll in twenty minutes earlier.

If Victor had seen the man sitting at the bar, he might have started to worry about the success of his plan. Or maybe he would have just smiled as he remembered when a year earlier he had beaten the quiet man’s four of a kind in a near identical game.

Chapter 2.

“Looks like there’s a big hand going on over there.” The bartender commented as she reached above her head for an often ignored bottle of whiskey.

Sarah was aware how patrons would take notice of her whenever she would reach for the top shelf. Her purposefully undersized shirts and low cut jeans would expose an enticing flat stomach highlighted by a small ring of tattooed text circling her navel. Her body was bronzed by the sun and toned by an overly adventurous lifestyle, and for many patrons seeing it’s hypnotic movements behind the bar was the highlight of their night.

Normally she performed her top shelf routine to coax a few extra tips from the lonely men who inhabited her bar on a slow week night, but tonight she was using the move out of impulse and desire.

“Must be quite intense.” The guest sitting in front of her said as he nodded slightly and casually let his focus shift to Sarah.  She felt her pulse quicken for a brief moment as he locked his gaze on her pale blue eyes.  Despite the attention, she was slightly disappointed by how he had failed to notice the movements of her lithe body and the flash of youthful flesh it had exposed. The man held his stare just long enough for his piercing green eyes to fluster Sarah and cause her to shift her focus to the bottle in her hand.

She thought he was handsome, but not so much so that he appeared out of place or intimidating.   She knew her attraction was not solely a byproduct of his looks, but instead was a result of what she perceived to be a sense of importance.  He wasn’t distracted or burdened, but seemed focused even when just sipping a drink at the quiet end of the bar.

“I think the other three tables stopped playing just to see what’s happening.” Sarah continued as she glanced at the crowd that had gathered around the table where Nicky Boy usually held court.

“Must be over a hundred grand sitting on that table.” She said as she poured herself a shot from the aged bottle resting in her right hand. At the same time she used her left hand to place a shot glass in front of the man whose affections she hopped to gain by the end of the night. Based on the dark grey Joseph Abboud suit he seemed to inhabit without any pretence, she assumed he was a man of class and sophistication. She hoped this sophistication extended to a knowledge of the Kentucky whiskey she was pouring him in an attempt to illicit a real conversation.

“You can’t find many places that stock Pappy’s Family Reserve.” The man commented through slight amazement as he shifted his attention to the bottle in Sarah’s hand.

“Of course most places don’t allow their staff to share a drink with their cliental.” She replied.

“So what should we drink to?” the man asked as he watched the action at Nicky’s table unfold on the security monitor bouncing off the reflective glass directly behind Sarah’s slim figure.

“Well I can’t drink with someone if I don’t know their name” Sarah purred as she held her glass an inch away from his.

The man paused as he tried to decide if he should give his real name to this momentary distraction standing in front of him wearing a snug black t-shirt which revealed a trite song lyric circling her belly button. He smiled at her knowing she was misinterpreting his pause as a moment of playful drama.  Sarah could feel her cheeks begin to flush as she struggled to hold still from the onslaught of nervous energy coursing through her body.

“My friends call me Bishop, and judging by your name tag, I’m guessing you’re either Sarah, or you have a roommate who is missing a shirt.”

Even though the joke was a little cheesy, she giggled a little too loud and remembered that she had heard much worse working at Big Sal’s club over the past 18 months.  She fooled herself into thinking the reason Bishop let his line of sight move away from her name tag, and to an unremarkable area of the bar behind her, was caused by either a fleeting moment of embarrassment following his joke, or the tension of their conversation had gotten the better of him.

“Well just so you know, I do have a roommate, but her name is Candice.” Sarah leaned in closer to give her words more of a desired impact. “And she’s not coming home tonight.”

Bishop smirked as he continued to stare at the reflection of the security monitors behind Sarah and said “You still haven’t told me what were drinking to.”

“Well since we are in a casino, how about” Sarah paused as she worked up the courage to finish her toast.

“To getting lucky.” She concluded as she felt her body grow warm with relief as her moment of insecurity was over.  The uncertainty of the situation was something Sarah was unaccustomed to, since most of the guys, and some ladies, she brought home from the bar were much more obvious with their attraction to her.

Bishop looked her over during a brief, but real, moment of contemplation before chuckling at her sophomoric attempt at flirtation and letting his attention return to the reflection of Nicky’s table. Sarah taped her glass against his and leaned back for a quick pull of the Kentucky bourbon. Bishop held up his shot just below eye level to give the impression he was studying the whiskey before taking a slow draw.  In truth, the only thing Bishop was pondering was Nicky, and   how inaccurate Sarah’s toast to “Luck” would be for the college drop out tonight.


Man of Steel review


I’m a big fan of the website primarily because of the excellent reviews of the TV show “Smallville” Chris Simms use to write along with one or more other C.A. contributors.  Even though I enjoy most of the stuff he writes for the site, which thankfully only died a comic book style death a month back, I occasionally find myself somewhat annoyed with some of his criticisms. His review of “Man of Steel” would be an example.

I saw MOS (Man of Steel) twice so far. In truth, the reason I saw it a 2nd time so soon after the movie came out because I literally wasn’t able to see the last 20 min of the movie during the first showing when the theatre we were in had all of the lights turned on for no aparent reason. I could still hear everything, but screen was for the most part unviewable. We did get 4 free movie passes as way of apology though.

Back to Simms’ review; I feel that while some of his points may be valid, the over welming majority are not, and in fact the general tone of the review is more than a little overly harsh.  I’m not saying this with any amount of surpise or shock since well… I’m a big comic book nerd.  Or at least I say that I am since compared to virtually all of my friends, I am the leader in actual comic books read, comic book tv shows watched, and comic book movies viewed.  When compared to someone like Simms I wouldn’t really be able to call myself a comic book nerd for a bunch of reasons, biggest of which would probably be the fact that the only time I read comic books on regular basis was during a three year time span when I was in gradeschool and maybe junior high.

My affinity for comic books are more .. modern?? I’m not sure what the proper term might be. Maybe main stream is a more accurate term. Let’s review my comic book themed nerd qualifications real quick:

  • When I was a kid, I watched all the standard cartoons: Superfriends, Spiderman (old school version), X-Men, Sipderman (newer school version), and Batman the Animated Series.
  • I don’t think there are any comic book movies I haven’t watched aside from Dolph Lungrend’s punisher, and David Hasselhoff’s Nick Furry. (btw, Thomas Jane’s punisher is so underrated, and shouldn’t be hated on as much as it is.)
  • I think I’ve seen every Marvel and DC animated movie.
  • Probably saw every episode of the incredible hulk with Bill Bixbie (and the movie with a non Hemsworthed Thor), Every episode of the Flash TV show featuring Luke Skywalker, Every episode of Lois and Clark, featuring Terri Hatchers 90’s hottness. The first two and last two seasons of Smallville, and every episode of Aarrow so far…. fucking terrible show btw.
  • Watched every episode of Justice League and Batman brave and the bold (only cause Kevin smith vouched for it when interviewing Deitrich Badder), and only a handfull of other current animated shows like young justice, green lantern corps, teen titans, etc…
  • Beat both Arkham games, as well as last two??? Spiderman games, and played DC online but just couldn’t get into it.
  • Have a box in my closet with the entire Infinity Gauntlet series, Infinity Crisis series, 30 random silver surfer comics around the infinit gauntlet dust up, a bunch of random X men from the 90’s when they did that relaunch with that awesome 7 page cover, the first 12 issues of Darkhawk, Sleepwalker, and Deathlock, some Thor stuff when Eric Masterson took over Thor’s body and grew a beard, some carnage issues of spiderman, and several very random “Imagine” comics that I got at paper back exchange for a quarter each.
  • I’ve also downloaded and read most of the Civil War, and whatever the most recent cross over with the Kree sleeper cells, and the Thanos imperative.  Oh I also donloaded the Xmen vs. Avengers comis but lost interest after 4 issues.

So Compared to most, I feel completely justified in saying I’m a comic book nerd.  This is where I think my issue with Simm’s review is rooted.  I like comics a lot, love to watch the movies and cartoons and stay current with the latest big news. I have my favorite characters (Surfer #1) and hate when an adaptation of characters I know are batardized. But, I’m not a diehard, and maybe I don’t truly LOVE the genre. If you read Simm’s review (which I’ve included below), you’ll see the voice of someone who truly loves comics even with all their many flaws.  It seems to me he is ok with the flaws in comic books because, they are his flaw. Kind of like how I’m ok with a lot of the bad aspects of some of my friends (selfish, lazy, mean, cheap, irresponsible, childish) because they are my friends.  But if I met someone new, I might dislike them for the same personality traits that my friends get away with because these new people aren’t my friends and I’m not biased towards them.

Another reason I think reviews from people like Simm’s are often times worthless is because they come from a perspective where that they want the movie to represent all the things they love about the comic so that everyone else who wouldn’t ever read the comics will love the characters and stories the same way they do.  I’m a huge niners fan. My brother doesn’t like sports at all. If I took him to a niners game and it was a poorly played 13 to 3 win over a bad team, I would be way more dissapointed than if I went there by myself since I know there would be a lost opportunity to get him to at least understand why I love the niners, if not appreciate and respect my devotion.

Ok, all of that was just a very long introduction for what I really wanted to do, which was to go through Simm’s review and like the mean, childish, lazy, selfish, irrepsonsible, cheap asshole that I am, document all the problems I had with his review.  Why am I doing this? Because I have no life and am super bored at the moment. Don’t believe me, re read all my nerd qualifications above and tell me that’s not the list of a sad lonely bitter man.

Here we go (my text will be in red, just like Superman’s cape):

 If you like Superman movies that we already have, then I imagine you have the best chance of being entertained by Man of Steel. That’s really the nicest thing I can say about it, and I say it because when you get right down to it, most of the considerable mistakes that made Man of Steel downright unbearable for me were made in those, too. In that respect, it’s really just the latest installment of The Adventures of Terrible Movie Superman.

The only real difference is that Zack Snyder somehow manages to do it in a far more drab, cynical and ultimately tone-deaf way. And considering that the last attempt was Superman Returns, that’s saying something.

All things aside, I’m really glad there wasn’t another Lex Luthor land scheme or kryptonite in this movie. 

[Spoilers after the jump ]

It’s not that there isn’t anything good about this movie, because there is. There are a couple of nice scenes, and there are even solid intentions behind some of the bits that almost work, but the rest of the movie manages to drown them out with ruthless efficiency every chance it gets. Every single problem with Man of Steel has its roots in a desire to be aggressively “adult” in the dumbest possible way. This is a Superman movie without any bright colors, where there are endless flashbacks to Clark Kent as a sad little boy, where Superman wins by snapping General Zod’s neck and killing him.


Nothing Chris says here is in of itself inaccurate  but it’s just a matter of perception.  I think the flashbacks to the rough treatment Clark received as a child were appropriate, and I’m sure struck home for any one who was an outcast or anyone who has a child that is/was viewed as being different. I’m not sure if the comment regarding no bright colors is a swipe at all the dull grey clothes and technology everyone on Krypton rocks.  That does look weird, but don’t forget these are people living on kind of a grey and bland world. We live on a bright and diversely colored planet so it makes sense we use lots of different colors. 

For a lot of people — including Superman: Birthright writer Mark Waid — that’s the point that broke the movie. To be entirely fair about it, though, that’s not without precedent. Superman II, the movie that’s been looming over the entire franchise for the past 33 years, ends with Christopher Reeve cheerfully dropping a de-powered General Zod off a cliff and then flying off to beat up a trucker and slip his girlfriend a Forget-Me-Now. It even happened in the comics back in 1988, when Superman went to a parallel Earth that Zod had completely destroyed at the climax of John Byrne’s post-Crisis reboot. 

Fantastic “Forget-Me-Now” reference!!!  As far as Superman Killing Zod at the end of the movie, yeah it shocked me, but I look at this movie, the same way I look at the Nolan Batman Trilogy. They are one offs.  Kind of like Superman Red Sun was the comic book where superman lands in communist Russia, or Batman Returns is about an old Bruce Wayne donning the Cape and Cowl one last time and fight a bunch of pig nosed punk rockers in a Ronald Reagan controlled dystopia (the comic doesn’t age well).  Hell in Batman Brave and the Bold (I forgot to mention I’ve watched every episode of that as well), Batman uses a gun to kill someone (I think he dies) in one of the very first scenes.  These are all stories that have their own unique mythos, motivations, twists, and lessons to be learned.  I don’t think Sups neck snap at the end of the movie was anything other than appropriate when viewed the the prism of MOS.  If you had a similar story taking place in the current Superman comic and he killed Zod, then yes it would betray every other issue that had come before it.  You can make the argument of does this movie’s version of Superman betray the source material, and how much you can change a character before he/she is ruined, but that is soooooo subjective its barely worth getting into.  For me, I’ve always looked at Superman, and batman, and other comic book characters reluctance to kill as both parts Admirable and Childish.  Yes this is a more adult version of Superman, and I’m fine with that.

Movie Zod’s intentions toward genocide are made abundantly clear through the course of Snyder’s drawn-out disaster porn (more on that later), so it’s on the same scale as his comic book counterpart’s murder of five billion people, but there’s a key difference. When this scene played out in the comic, for good or bad, it was played as a turning point. Byrne’s version of Superman was still a relatively new take, but the character had a fifty year history of refusing to kill, and when he did, even in a pocket universe, there were huge consequences. It was played as out-of-character for Superman
immediately — probably because Byrne left the book immediately after. It was haunting and jarring because everyone played it as something that was fundamentally wrong, and they allowed it to fester as a shameful mark on Superman’s history for over a year.

The stress and shame of having killed someone was so great that he ended up going insane and dressing up as a vigilante called Gangbuster for a while, before exiling himself from Earth because he didn’t want to be a danger to anyone else. There was long-form storytelling about Superman having to come to grips with the decision to kill, whether it was justified, and what it meant for someone with his power to use it to take life rather than protect it. He was pushed to his limit in that story and found the strength to not kill, and to never take a life again. Even if it was just the new creative teams trying to repair the damage of what they (perhaps rightly) saw as a bad story, there were consequences that explored the character.

So would Chris Simm’s redact this criticism if in the subsequent movies, Superman is affected by this death?  If superman points to that moment as something he can never do again, or something that was the by product of fear of failure or inexperience, would that then retroactively make it ok as he is suggesting Zod’s murder in the comic’s was ok because it ended up making for great drama later on?

In the movie, he just yells for a second and then flies off to the next scene, where he’s all smiles and setups for the last big laugh line of the film. Zod’s death at Superman’s hands is shown as necessary and inevitable, just like all the other Kryptonians who died when Superman crashed their ship, or Jor-El and Lois turned the rocket that brought him to Earth into a giant bomb. I think it’s meant to create a black hole that sucks the bad guys back into the Phantom Zone (the movie’s not all that clear on its pseudoscience), but regardless, I think that might be the best summary this movie could ask for: the rocket that saved his life as a baby is turned into a bomb. There’s your “It Stands For Hope,” kids. A weaponized cradle. Violence and death and murder are an integral part of how Superman solves Man of Steel‘s problems.

When I saw this in the theare there were several people who brought their children with them. Some of them were even as young as 3 or 4 and a few had on superman shirts. Adorable honestly, and reminds me of when I dressed up in my Sups costume as a kid.  When I saw these kids (this was at the 2nd viewing since the first viewing was at midnight with an almost empty theatre) the first thing I thought was, Oh no, this isn’t the kind of superman they should see.  I don’t see this as being something wrong with the movie however.  The hobbit was a children’s book, and the Lord of the Rings was not, and the movies especially so.  I am an adult and want a grown up movie I can enjoy.  If I was watching a superman cartoon aimed at children that plays at 9:00 am on Saturdays, then yeah the grown up take would anger me.

Look: I am the last dude in the world who wants to see a movie with Superman moping around and coming to terms with his great responsibility. That’s not really what the character’s about. But the best way to avoid that is to not write a movie where he kills someone in the first place. There’s no need for it. All it does is drag things down to the level of a standard-issue action movie, where the good guy kills the bad guy because that’s how action movies work. It’s pointless.

Simm’s is probably right about this, but once again, I don’t see it as being a big deal. Yeah he could have wrote the movie in a way that Sups doesn’t have to kill anyone, or maybe he could have wrote something that would have made Zod’s death in this movie actually mean something more than just an end to violence, but it didn’t make me through my hands up in the air. 

But to be honest, I expected it. Like I said, this mistake isn’t something new to Man of Steel; Movie Superman has always had a much easier time dishing out the death penalty than he does in the source material, and he’s not alone. There are a ton of superhero movies where the good guys kill the bad guys at the end, from Iron Man to Avengers to the dicier bits of Christopher Nolan’s Batman movies. At the very least, though, those movies have an arc to them that shows character development, from Iron Man rising above a desire for revenge to Bruce Wayne learning the value of not killing the Joker after leaving Ra’s al-Ghul to die in the previous movie. I guess there’s a possibility that Warner Brothers could release a Gangbuster movie and just not tell anyone it’s Henry Cavill as Clark Kent going through a nervous breakdown under the mask, but I somehow doubt that’s where they’re going with the franchise.

If they do, though, I can assure you that I will rescind this particular complaint. I have plenty of others.

So that kind of answers my questions from above. Also, if you would have showed me the article only up to the point where he says the part about a Gangbuster movie, I would have bet ($ X infinity) that he would have followed it up with a “I would totally watch that movie”. So I guess it’s pretty aparent how angry he was while writing his review cause that is a staple of his TV and Movie reviews.  Maybe that’s another valid point, if you look through his reviews, I honestly believe most of the times he mentions some crazy random “What if they made a version where…” that he would really enjoy them, where as I would probably hate them despite appreciating that someone had the guts to make something they knew 95% of people would hate. 

For me, the worst thing about Superman killing Zod at the end of Man of Steel isn’t the neck-snapping itself, but that a few minutes before it happens, during an interminable fight scene through the damn near post-apocalyptic landscape of a ruined Metropolis, Zod tells him something along the lines of “this doesn’t end until one of us dies.” And he’s right. That’s what kills me about it. The bad guy tells Superman that he’ll only stop if Superman kills him, and Superman proves him right. Superman proves that the bad guy is right. There’s no other way. It’s just violence and death as the only solution.

Superman proves that the bad guy is right.

There is nothing you can tell me that will make me think that’s not a completely insane, monumentally wrongheaded way to end a Superman movie. From a character standpoint, it is the worst possible thing they could do, undermining every bit of rancid dialogue about how Superman’s going to Show Us The Way and how It Stands For Hope. It doesn’t. It’s just dudes punching each other until one of them punches harder, the end.

I thoroughly enjoy the hell out of that last sentence. 


Here’s the thing, It’s going to be tough for some people to hear, but it’s true: Superman and almost all comic books are completely idiotic. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some comic book based work of fiction.  But if you really stood back and look at the story of superman, it makes no sense at all.  Scientifically, yeah just throw out virtually everything you see. He caught a flying plane? Yeah no matter how strong you are that would be possible unless one of your super powers involves force/weight distribution. Hey Jorel we might not believe you that our planet is dying, but it doesn’t  matter cause you just say that a yellow sun turns us into gods and we are already super awesome at space travel. Later Krypton, bye.  There is a bad guy who repeatedly murders hundreds, thousand, and sometimes millions of people, but when you are trying to stop him…. you try really really really hard to make sure he/she doesn’t die…. even though you know that person will just get out of jail and kill a bunch of people again?


We as fan of comic books, kind of accept all of that stuff cause we grew up with it.  And honestly most of the audience probably doesn’t care either way when viewing a big budget movie.  Here’s my question, why does it matter if something the bad guy says turns out to be right?  It’s not like Zod was making a sweeping statement about Morality or Theology when he said Sups is going to have to kill him (maybe a tiny statement, but not a huge sweeping statement).  Zod also said that he was going to turn the planet into a new Krypton, he said he was going to build I’s foundations on the pile skulls of the human race, let’s be honest, Zod said a lot of TERRIBLE stuff that sups proved wrong.  I’m not going to get hung up on the fact that that one minor thing Zod said turned out to be true.


And yes I know that Simm’s probably doesn’t thing that it’s a minor thing, but it is. There are giant space ships filled with gods trying to destroy every human being on earth. If Sups has to aquese to Zod’s command to kill him, so be it.  If I am that intern from the daily planet and I look at superman and he says the symbol on his chest represents Hope, I’m not Hoping he doesn’t have to kill Zod and the other alien’s, I’m thinking, Jesus christ half of the largest city on the east coast is litterally dust, I hope Superman can save me and the rest of the planet bedfore I’ts too late. 

What makes it even crazier is that Snyder spends the preceding two hours hammering the idea that Superman is Space Jesus. Seriously, if you liked the Christ imagery of Superman Returns but thought it was a little too subtle, I have some good news for you.

I said earlier that the neck-snapping was a sore point for a lot of viewers, but the part where I officially checked out came earlier. I managed to get through the part where Superman chatted with a priest while shot against a stained glass window of Jesus that was all but pointing to his head, and I only rolled my eyes a little when Superman made sure to tell us he was 33 years old, but when the hologram ghost of Jor-El showed up, pointed at Earth, and told Superman “you can save
everyone” and then Cavill stuck his arms out like Jesus on the cross and fell backwards out of a spaceship, I was done. I don’t think Superman as a Christ figure works even in the best of times, but when you’re making a movie where you build to your Christ figure snapping a bad guy’s neck? It’s been a while since I’ve gone through the New Testament, but I’m at least 70% sure that’s not how that works. It doesn’t work. The storytelling is flawed and disjointed, and the result is tonal whiplash, especially at the end.

The first viewing was in a theatre with just me and Rocco (which is probably why they turned on the lights before the movie was over thinking no one was in there) and I actually turned to him during the church scene and said “I love the heavy handedness  sarcastically, which was also a nod to one of my favorite Parks and Recs episodes. I’ve since read that movie makers are specifically trying to target the christian crowd, and that’s why they made it so apparent   I think from now on every time I leave a building, when going through the door I’m going to do the Man of Steel “Jesus Pose” exit.


Also; A movie version of the new testament where Jesus went around snapping necks? “I would totally watch that”. In fact SNL already did something like that when Christoph Waltz was on I think.

It’s riddled with problems beyond the story structure, too, although they’re sins of a more forgivable nature. Henry Cavill is actually really good as Superman, and when the script stops being ashamed of bright colors long enough for him to rescue someone or tell people he’s here to help, he really sells it. The only big flaw in his performance is the thirty seconds we see of Clark Kent, but since the movie seems dead set against Superman even bothering to have a secret identity, that’s easy to forgive. The problems are with the character, not the actor. The shirtless oil rig rescues at the beginning are nice — even if they’re tempered by Clark stealing clothes and using his powers for revenge — because they point to someone who has an overwhelming desire to help others. That’s great, but the movie gets to a point where Superman just doesn’t do anything without someone else telling him what to do

Does Simm’s have a problem with Clark stealing clothes?  Does he know that Jean Val Jean is supposed to be the protagonist and Javier is the bad guy in Les Mis? (BTW, thank you Russel Crowe for not singing in this movie).  I had absolutely NO problem with Clark “getting revenge” on that dick trucker. He didn’t hurt the trucker physically, and it was a completely human moment in my opinion.

Also, why would Superman need a secret identity in this movie? In the comic books, yes it makes sense. In future movies, yes it will probably make sense.  In this movie, Clark doesn’t know who he truly is for most of the movie. Even when he finds out he is Kal-El, he still isn’t Superman until he is forced to be.  Before that he is just an unknown good samaritan, WHICH BY THE WAY IS MORE CHRISTLIKE THAN ANY SUPERMAN FLYING AROUND IN BRIGHT COLORS FOR ALL THE WORLD TO ADORE.  Superman in the comics is a beacon of hope that inspires all of humanity blah blah blah, but he doesn’t have to be. He’s probably fast enough to go around the world saving people without anyone knowing who he is.  He could just be something abstract people refer to when they say they must have had a guardian angel when a sudden gush of wind pushed a falling piano out of his way.

In this movie there is virtually no time between him finding out who he was, and Zod showing up, so there really wasn’t any time for him to fly around and rescue people from natural disasters and freak accidents, and random crimes.  I don’t know if he even would have done that stuff if there was time and if Zod never showed up. And maybe there is a critisism there that’s worth hearing, but only when compared to preconceived notions of what superman stories have always entailed. Honestly I don’t want to see him put out a building fire and then cheerfully tell the landlord about the importance of check the batteries on your smoke detectors. 

He only becomes Superman because the hologram ghost of Jor-El tells him to (although he already saved a bunch of people on an oil rig, on a bus, lois with eye surgery) , he kills Zod because Zod tells him to (but mostly because zod was about to kill a family of four and was bent on destroying all of humanity), he even lets Pa Kent die because that’s what Pa Kent told him to do (well… yeah kind of). That last one is another big point of contention, and while the idea behind it is rooted in Clark trusting his father enough to do what he says even when it means he’s making a huge sacrifice, there’s also the fact that nothing about that scene needed to happen. Even if it’s based on worrying about his son, it’s Jonathan Kent giving into fear instead of allowing Clark to use his powers to help people. There are a lot of ways to play Jonathan Kent’s death (including avoiding it), but having Clark stand around watching it happen when he could easily prevent it because daddy said so, because Superman allows the people around him to give into fear, is nuts.

I never thought about this as giving into fear. My first reaction was that Pa Kent was sacrificing himself for his son. It should be noted that his Son is HIS SON, CLARK KENT, AND NOT SUPERMAN. For all Pa Kent knows, if people saw him fly over and save him, they would call the government, who would then dissect  torcher, and or kill his only son cause he’s a monster. Also his wife would probably spend the rest of her days in Guantonimo. He knows Clark has powers, but there’s no reason for him or his wife to  to think the government couldn’t and wouldn’t kill Clark if the truth was discovered. 

It’s a dick move, and it’s hardly the only one. Perry White kills Lois’s story about Superman because he, Perry White, a journalist, doesn’t think the public deserves to know the truth. (Nope, not what happened. He is a journalist. That pieces was unpublishable because you need someone or some thing to verify the story.  There is no reason Perry should believe that a reporter of his, who wandered away from base in -40 degree weather and then found a day later should be believed to have not hallucinated the story. Even later when she says her leads came up dead and he’s acting like he believes her, he doesn’t say the public doesn’t deserve to know, he was concerned with how people would react, which a real grown up reaction)  Lois enters the movie with lines about having a dick-measuring contest with the army, before meeting Superman and immediately falling in love without any real character development at all. Pete Ross refers to Little Sad Clark as “dick splash,” just in case you forgot this movie was written by the guy who brought us the mind-boggling profanity of Blade Trinity. Everyone’s a jerk. Maybe that’s why Superman doesn’t bother to save most of them when the action starts?

I can’t defend “Dick Splash”.

There are a few token scenes of Superman rescuing soldiers from the Kryptonian bad guys, catching Lois as she’s falling and saving his mom from General Zod, but on the whole, there’s way more death and destruction in this movie than I ever would’ve expected. Smallville’s main drag is torn to pieces in a fight between Superman and Zod’s running crew, and while I kept expecting Superman to take them out to the cornfields or whatever, they just crash through (occupied) buildings, smashing up the town and giving Snyder plenty of opportunity for product placement. It might be the first time a fight scene has made me thirsty for a Big Gulp™.

When watching these first battles with the Kryptonians I was also hoping he would get the bad guys away from innocents, but it was pretty apparent that these guys he was fighting were very close to equals and he didn’t have that much control over the fight. Him trying to change the venue of battle might have resulted in his death, which would have resulted in the death of the human race.  He is basically fighting two people as powerful as himself, except they are ruthless and trained to kill, why would he have time to go around saving people?  In fact he focuses almost all of his energy and attention on fighting the kryptons and he still lost the fight. Maybe it was a draw but he didn’t in anyway win that fight.  Yes the story could have been written so that he was fighting well enough to have a moment here or there to save a bunch of random soldiers, but by doing that you are taking the stakes down a level. Ok these bad guys are bad, but not so bad that Sups can’t save everyone while fighting them. 

That pales in comparison to what happens in Metropolis, though. There’s this goofy plot about a gravity machine that’s going to turn Earth into a planet more like Krypton, because “Why would these Kryptonian warriors want to live on a world where they all had superpowers?”, I guess. Rather than just putting the big evil McGuffin in Metropolis and giving Superman ample opportunity to save people, David Goyer instead writes a movie where Superman has to go fight some other piece of it halfway around the world so that Zack Snyder can destroy a city for 20 minutes.

And why not have them write the movie so only one doomsday device in the middle of the desert and no one gets hurt.  The World is ending, not just metropolis. This whole, superman has to save random people is beyond stupid. It really is. Every time I see something where entire buildings blow up from a superman’s villain punching him into it, I think, ok at least 500 people in that building or around it just died, Is it really that big of a deal that he saves some random person hanging from an iron beam at a construction site. It’s important to that guy or gal, but every time he saves that person, it’s time wasted on saving another 500 people in another building the bad guy is about to destroy.  This is something I really liked about this movie.  The stakes are actually large enough that you need superman.  It’s the same reason I’ve not liked a lot of other superman movies or hulk movies, etc.. usually when you have a good guy that powerful  how do you make a situation where the outcome isn’t predetermined, where within the context of the movie you think there’s a chance he might not win, might not save the day.


Remember how I said comic books are kind of stupid if you really think about it.  Why in the comic book world does batman not just call up superman everytime there’s a big problem that is starting to get out of control and that he is going to have to beat long odds to overcome? Because chances are in that comic book universe superman is out solving a much much bigger problem. This movie had that much much bigger problem. 

It’s clearly and tastelessly designed to echo video footage of 9/11, (reading that line infuriated me, but despite the link Simm’s used not having anything showing that it was “designed to echo video footage of 9/11”, maybe there is something else out there that he read that says it was actually designed that way. To me, anytime you have a movie where buildings fall down, it’s going to be hard for 9/11 survivors to stomach, but that in of itself isn’t a reason to not have it in the movie, just like victims of sexual abuse might not be able to watch a movie about a sexual assault, or someone who just lost a loved one to cancer can’t watch the bucket list, it doesn’t mean anything wrong was done on the part of the movie makers. Maybe there is some actual evidence that points towards those scenes being recreations of 9/11 footage, but that link doesn’t’ show that and I haven’t seen that anywhere else and it is honestly abhorrent for Simm’s to accuse the movie makers if that’s not the case.)and throughout, Superman’s not there. This is a Superman movie where a city gets destroyed and the script only has Superman himself shows up at the end to save Lois, who’s there because she’s on a bombing run to save the city with a bunch of soldiers, all of whom die. (Soldiers die in battle. Every time it happens it is a tragedy, but it’s a sad fact of the world we live in, and this fictional world is no different. They didn’t die needlessly in the movie either, they died defending the earth, they died doing what they trained to do and did it willingly and without complaint. This was a grown up take and in a grown up story not all the characters you care about are going to survive an alien invasion) Superman shows up after the destruction has wiped out most of the city, and then he and Zod punch each other through more buildings, until it’s finally time for Zod to try heat vision and Superman to snap his neck. And it’s also clearly stated that the only reason Zod and his cronies are on Earth at all is because of Superman, which raises the question “Wouldn’t everybody be a whole lot better off if Superman never landed on Earth?”


That’s not a question anyone should come out of a Superman movie asking.

I don’t know if I can agree with that last statement. First of all, I’m not sure it really is the primary question people leaving the theatre think to themselves.  Second, in future movies Sups might make up for all that unintended destruction. Plus I’m sure it’s been a question raised in the comic book universe for many years in regards to many heroes.  Are there supervillains only because of the super heroes or would those villains exists regardless of the hero’s existence and would the wrout the same amount of carnage in a hero-less environment.  Remember how I said Comic books have the element of stupidness to them, well in Superman Comics people actually live in Metropolis. That wouldn’t happen in the real world.  In fact I don’t think that anyone would live in any major city if there were constantly super powered battles going on. Spread out. I hear Montana has lots of space.  Also, if superman hadn’t landed on earth it’s possible Zod would have still have found Earth since one of the Kryptonian ships was located here. Maybe I’m getting away from the point, but it’s hard not to nit pick at this point. 


I get that this movie isn’t the movie die hard superman fans wanted, just like batman Rises was probably not what a lot of big time Bats fans wanted either. And instead of enjoying them with their flaws like they do with the comics, they instead focus on those perceived flaws and inflate their impact on the movie.  This annoys me. It also makes it hard for people like me to shake people’s misconceptions about comic book nerds when I get lumped in with people who argue that Superman didn’t save enough people.  He only saved Six Billion Nine hundred and seventy two Million, eight hundred and 44 thousand, and 88 people instead of Six Billion nine hundred and seventy 4 million, fifty seven thousand and nine hundred and five people.  

I also have one last point about the movie. Pa Kent was kind of right.  As soon as the aliens show up and ask for Sups, the US government is like, yep here you go, do whatever you want to him, we don’t care as long as you leave us alone.  It is nice to think that the US government would offer to protect superman, but in the real world I would want that one person sacrificed to save the rest of the world.  It’s harsh and cruel, but it’s pragmatic and much more practical.  Could the story have been written so this was never the option the world was faced with? Yeah, but chances are that story would be a Zod is a bad guy cause he’s a bad guy, and superman is a good guy cause he’s a good guy story. I’ve seen those too many times, they aren’t interesting, there’s no grey area in those stories. Granted a movie can have some black and white to it, but it also needs some grey…. maybe not as much grey as every set piece on Krypton, but i’m being figurative here.   

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More car updates

So it turns out that black isn’t the best color to use when doing this foam roller paint job since black will show every little defect in the paint.  In fact if you let the paint drip down the sides and don’t take care of it right away, you basically will get these streaks in the paint that won’t go away with additional layers. You basically have to sand down to the metal to get rid of them.

After I realized black wasn’t going to work, and after i sanded certain spots back down to the metal, and then went over a few rough spots with bondo and sand paper, i tried a new color. Grey.

In truth i originally wanted the car to be grey with black bumpers and molding, but when with black sine the primer i used was also black. So here is the progression over the last couple of days. The pictures are kind of misleading since yo have to see the paint up close with the naked eye to really see the places that are uneven or clumpy.

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The grey seems to be hiding the imperfections a little better than the black.  I also think i’m almost done repairing the grill using JB Weld and black spray paint. That reminds me, I think i’m going to paint the rims black as well instead of having them be that cheap grey metallic look, well lets be honest, the whole thing is going to look cheap either way, but that what happens when you decide not to spend over $1500 on re-chroming the car.

Oh… yeah the engine is still sitting on the outside of the car, and i’m still working on getting the title put under my name. The title is actually going to require a court order it seems, and that is going to be a pain in the ass.