Posted in Monday Mayhem

Dinosaurs Vs. Aliens

Summer movies mean only one thing—aliens. This year it also means dinosaurs rampaging through the theater. Given Jurassic World‘s incredible cash haul at the box office, it’s a wonder anything has survived its carnage. Wouldn’t it be interesting if aliens and dinosaurs battle it out in one movie? I wonder what that would be like? Would you go see it?

Barry Sonnenfeld’s Dinosaurs vs. Aliens
Barry Sonnenfeld’s Dinosaurs vs. Aliens

For today’s Monday Mayhem, I would like to fantasize for a moment about a movie that I’d love to see at the theater. How does that old writer’s adage go? Oh, yes. A writer writes stuff they’d like to read. In this case, although I’m not a director, a movie I’d like to see would be an all-out battle between aliens and dinosaurs. Wouldn’t that be something?

How would such a movie start?

First, I’d like to see the amped-up dinos from Jurassic World make an appearance. It would only be fitting. Give the aliens ray guns to blast, make the dinosaurs impossible to kill, and what you’d have would be a film filled with intense battles, outstanding special effects and a crazy amount of science fiction to boot. Even more so, would the dinosaurs win if the aliens were the aliens from the movie Aliens? Try saying that fast three times.

The aliens from Aliens have acid for blood. If a dino bites the head off one of the aliens, the beast would surely choke on its own blood. It would be like it had slugged back a carton full of glass. Raw and tender doesn’t even describe the pain the beasts would feel.

How about making the film more fantastic? How about if the aliens were the little green men from another planet like in the movie Mars Attacks!? I’m not sure if the dinos would survive, but at the same time the beasts would have their paws full chasing after the little buggers all over the entire planet.

Since I’m throwing ideas out there to see what sticks, how about a movie that features the creatures from Gremlins? Talk about little annoyances. Remember what the three basic rules are for not producing a gremlin from a mogwai? Here they are

  • Never get them wet
  • Never expose them to bright light
  • And never, ever feed them after midnight

Imagine if you had a pool full of these creatures run after the dinos? I don’t even think velociraptors would be able to survive such an onslaught.

I can’t help myself—one more. How about a movie where Aliens and Gremlins face off in an ultimate death match to see who would go after the dinos?

Why limit it to a handful of velociraptors? Let’s throw a few thousand of these killer animals on an island to go after anything that movies. Oh, wait. I think that was the point of Jurassic Park III.

No matter, it’s always a great way to pass the time imagining about worlds teeming with fantasy.

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, on sale now.
RANGER MARTIN AND THE ALIEN INVASION, on sale now.
RANGER MARTIN AND THE SEARCH FOR PARADISE, on sale October 20.

What movie would you like to see made that no one has ever made before?

Posted in Wednesday Warriors

Memento’s Leonard

I wake up in the mornings not knowing who I am. I keep photos in my pocket as reminders of who people are. I even have gone as far as tattoo important clues to my identity all over my body. Like I said, when I wake up tomorrow morning, I won’t remember any of it. I will however have the photos and tattoos.

Guy Pearce as Leonard in Memento
Guy Pearce as Leonard in Memento

If you think that’s hard, try to remember your timeline moving backwards. Instead of learning as you go, you’re learning in reverse as you fall more and more into the sore spots of your memory. That’s what I have to deal with every day. It’s not easy. My life could have greater meaning, but how far can I get if I don’t remember from one day to the next who I am or who did me wrong?

Which brings me to my dilemma. Not only do I have to keep track of those who I’ve contacted, but I also have to maintain a system to keep me grounded. It’s a tough system but it works. I leave clues for myself all over my hotel room so when I wake up I can jumpstart the learning process again. The system covers everything. The dilemma is me not knowing who to trust. I have to write it down. Even the hotel manager of the room I’m staying has tried a few times to scam me. I caught him. From what I can tell, he’s a good guy though. He once asked if I could blame him for trying. I don’t blame him.

Memento Poster
Memento Poster

My only friend Teddy calls me Lenny, but that’s not my real name. Everyone thinks that if someone knows his or her own name it makes life easier. Not for me. I know my real name. It’s not Lenny. I’m still stumbling trying to figure me out.

I’ve learned something about myself recently. I’ve learned I don’t like people who say things because of what others expect. I’m fine with that. I have tattoos to prove what people do is the opposite of what they say. What I find disturbing is finding someone who is sincere but not remembering the person the next day. Do you know how hard it is to find someone honest only to forget about them after falling asleep?

I can go on by telling you about my tattoos, but the tats don’t make me who I am. I’m looking for someone. If I could define who I am, then I could say I’m the guy looking for someone. It’s the one thing that motivates me to live another day with this condition I have. It’s the only thing that compels me to move forward beyond the tall, thick walls within my mind.

I’m Leonard (Guy Pearce) from the movie Memento, today’s Wednesday Warriors‘ highlight.

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, on sale now.
RANGER MARTIN AND THE ALIEN INVASION, on sale now.
RANGER MARTIN AND THE SEARCH FOR PARADISE, on sale October 20.

Have you seen Memento? What did you think of the mystery created by Christopher Nolan?

Posted in Wednesday Warriors

Ethan Hunt

No matter how many iterations Mission: Impossible will go through, versions, remakes, reboots—I will always be a fan. And no matter how many heroes/anti-heroes the series gives birth to, I will always be a fan.

Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt
Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt

What makes Mission: Impossible such a great TV/movie series to follow is not only the awesome music—does anyone not know the Mission: Impossible theme?—but also the premise to the franchise. The premise is simple, spies try to outwit each other in a game of cat and mouse until there’s a winner. There’s more to it than that, but as a general rule, that’s what Mission: Impossible is all about.

In the Sixties, the coolest part of the series is the self-destructive tape recorder Mr. Phelps (Peter Graves) has five seconds from which to escape. The other part is the pull-away masks. These two items is the meat and potatoes of the Mission: Impossible series that carries over remake after remake. No matter how many versions I’ve seen of the series, how many times have I seen an MI agent remove a face and trick us all into believing the agent was someone else?

As a leader and a very smart individual, Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) is one of those agents. He has the cool gadgets. He has the masks to boot. However, nothing in his box of magic does he pull off the greatest spy capers without the help of his loyal team.

The current incarnation makes Ethan into an action hero. He can do anything. He can hop out of planes, drive fast cars, blow away enemy agents with his dead-accurate aim, and he can wow a woman simply by his charm. If I didn’t know better, he was a superhero.

Tom Cruise
Tom Cruise

Ethan’s big thrill is to catch an enemy agent in the act. If that means he has to scale a castle wall, knock out four guards, dive through a corridor booby-trapped by lasers, then that’s what Ethan will do. He will do whatever it takes to get the job done.

The cool gadgets are a bonus. From pen lasers to invisible ink, Ethan has it all. The best gadget however, is the one he uses against another agent during a dinner meeting. Green light, red light is how Ethan puts it. He bends a piece of chewing gum in half and tosses the piece on the face of an aquarium. It is one of the most thrilling scenes in the series. I believe it’s the same scene where he says, “Upset? You haven’t seen me upset.”

Lastly, what would Ethan Hunt be without his team? He needs the help of other agents to accomplish his missions. His team consists of experts in the field of technology, physics and the human condition. They follow his lead in everything. The tougher the mission, the more his team provides their loyalty to him.

What else can one say about Wednesday Warriors‘ Ethan Hunt? He’s a secret agent. Knowing that, he might as well be a superhero.

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, on sale now.
RANGER MARTIN AND THE ALIEN INVASION, on sale now.
RANGER MARTIN AND THE SEARCH FOR PARADISE, on sale October 20.

Have you watched any of the Mission: Impossible shows or movies? What do you like about it?

Posted in Wednesday Warriors

Danny Ocean

Vegas hasn’t been the same with Danny Ocean (George Clooney) in town. He has broken the bank on more than one occasion. Casino owners hate him. His ex-wife Tess (Julia Roberts) hates him. But he’s looking for a change. He just got out of prison and he’s got a score to settle. And what would Wednesday Warriors be without a true risk taker such as Danny Ocean hitting the scene?

George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Andy Garcia and Julia Roberts
George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Andy Garcia and Julia Roberts

Danny has a plan. As extraordinary a plan as it seems, he wants to rob a casino. His friends Rusty Ryan (Brad Pitt) and Linus Caldwell (Matt Damon) think he’s crazy. And it might just be the craziest idea he has had in a long time. Why not? The casino’s there, why not rob it?

Maybe his friends are right. Maybe robbing one casino is a crazy idea. Maybe instead of robbing one casino, he’s shooting too low. How about robbing three casinos all at the same time? His friends couldn’t call him crazy anymore, that’s for sure. After all, a stunt like that would make him insane.

In the planning phases, and as his team grows, the fact comes out that his ex-wife married Terry Benedict (Andy Garcia) the owner of the casinos. What better way to taste vengeance than to take from the very man who is the supposed provider for the former love of his life?

Ocean's Eleven
Ocean’s Eleven

Danny also has a knack for remaining calm in a frantic situation. When he thinks his gang has reached the limit as to what they can do, he simply asks Rusty if they need another guy. When Rusty doesn’t respond, he takes the silence as a yes. To make sure, he asks again. Again, when Rusty doesn’t respond, Danny goes and hires one more guy.

All told, eleven make Danny’s gang. Each member has a gift. Each one has a specialty all his own that no one else can replace. This is what makes Danny Ocean’s gang unique.

As part of the heist, he commissions them to find a way to get to the money locked in an impenetrable vault, buried deep in the ground with laser triggers at every turn. If Danny is to get to that money, he will need more than an elite team a thieves. Danny will need his suave charm, his exceptional intelligence and plain ol’ good luck working on his side.

Okay, so he’s been in prison—but it has yet to stop him from committing one of the biggest heists Vegas has seen. He wants that guaranteed payout and revenge against his ex-wife for her decision to remarry, even if he won’t admit doing it because of that.

Aside from Danny Ocean’s charm and wit, he loves the thrill of the chase. Nothing can compare with watching a plan come together. He lives for this kind of stuff.

Mild mannered, level-headed Danny Ocean. He’s got an ace up his sleeve.

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, on sale now.
RANGER MARTIN AND THE ALIEN INVASION, on sale now.
RANGER MARTIN AND THE SEARCH FOR PARADISE, on sale October 20.

Have you seen any of the Ocean movies? What did you like the most about them?

Posted in Wednesday Warriors

Clark W. Griswold

Every now and then, everyone deserves a vacation. It all depends on what the definition of a vacation really is. If it’s laying on the beach soaking in the sun then this family man is not for you. But if you’re looking for the ultimate adventure, where you travel across the great American desert, dance the polka in ethnic attire, visit Vegas on a budget or simply have a quiet Christmas meal as your house teeters on the threshold of hell then this family man is for you.

Chevy Chase in National Lampoon's Vacation
Chevy Chase in National Lampoon’s Vacation

For today’s Wednesday Warriors, Clark W. Griswold shows how taking a vacation becomes a quest for survival, a battle against all odds a… [insert another outrageous metaphor for war here]

Clark W. Griswold (Chevy Chase) knows how to be a supportive husband and loving father. He loves his wife Ellen (Beverly D’Angelo) and his two kids Audrey and Rusty. To him, they’re the perfect family. As the perfect family, they also deserve the perfect vacation. Instead of heading to the airport to visit their favorite amusement park, Wally World, Clark chooses the unconventional route. He takes the family on a no-holds-barred cross-country adventure where the dog pees on their lunches and the cops stop them for animal cruelty.

National Lampoon Vacation movie poaster
National Lampoon Vacation movie poaster

It doesn’t stop there. No, no. For their next vacation, he decides to forego the American dream for a shot at touring Europe. Lucky for Clark, he has relatives living in Europe—the problem is—he just can’t find them. In fact, Clark can’t find a nickel if it fell from the sky staring at him in the face. The Griswolds shack up with the wrong family. Add to that the racy video Clark and Ellen inadvertently filmed, which quickly is a victim of a burglary and becomes the hottest item to hit the black market, their vacation suddenly turns into an international affair.

Could the Griswolds’ vacations get any worse?

Of course!

For Clark, nothing is a challenge. His attitude works much like that of a warrior who never surrenders. If the Vegas casinos take all his money, he simply finds a way. Even if it means burning through the kids’ college education for one more single payoff. Even if it means getting into a road rage incident to prove his manhood. Even if it means the Christmas turkey becomes a relic of charred cinder. Yes. Clark W. Griswold doesn’t know the meaning of uncle.

He will fight. He will survive. And he will live his life to the fullest—even if it kills him.

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, on sale now.
RANGER MARTIN AND THE ALIEN INVASION, on sale now.
RANGER MARTIN AND THE SEARCH FOR PARADISE, on sale October 20.

Have you seen any of the Vacation movies? What did you like about them? Will you see the next one in the series?

Posted in Wednesday Warriors

Jason Bourne

Found floating in the middle of the ocean with a bullet hole that should have ended his life, a man awakens with no memory of who he is and no idea why he’s still alive. All he knows is he needs to find his identity. Imbedded below his skin is a small laser device that when pointed to a wall reveals a number: 000-7-17-12-0-14-26.

Matt Damon is Jason Bourne
Matt Damon is Jason Bourne

So begins today’s Wednesday Warriors‘ feature with Jason Bourne taking center stage.

My wife, being a fan of Matt Damon, introduced me to the Bourne Trilogy. At the time, I wasn’t much for the spy genre, but if my wife liked it, then I thought I’d take a shot. Well, not only did I enjoy the series, I also read the first book The Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum.

Jason Bourne has lost his memory. However, due to some inexplicable reason, he can quickly memorize the layout of a restaurant, its patrons, objects, and formulate an exit strategy. His acute sense of awareness of his surroundings have proven on more than one occasion to have rescued him from harm’s way.

For instance, when Security traps him in an American Embassy, his instincts switch to automatic. He doesn’t know how it happens, but once an officer lays his hands on him, batons twirl and crash to the ground. Hands fly in a series of self-defense moves only a government agent or assassin could execute. His mark end up kissing the floor.

As part of the mystery, Bourne also discovers he has an ability for stealth. He can blend in and not bring attention to his movements. He drifts through crowds with little effort, deflecting tails from capturing him.

His talents also include driving at heart-pounding speeds without causing harm to him or his passenger.

Matt Damon as Jason Bourne
Matt Damon as Jason Bourne

Overall, Jason Bourne is a master of camouflage, deadly with weapons, and—as clichéd as it may sound—a one-man-army. The moniker suits him well.

But if anything were to stand out as the telltale attribute for this character, it would have to be his resourcefulness handling situations as they come. He doesn’t gripe or complain. He handles it. With a firm lower lip and a solid stare, everything he does has purpose. From the smallest matchbook to the largest plank, whatever he uses can become either a weapon or an object to save someone’s life. Add to it his resilience to beat the odds, and Bourne becomes an unstoppable machine.

Thank you Robert Ludlum for creating the amiable Jason Bourne. He truly is a character worth admiring.

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, on sale now.
RANGER MARTIN AND THE ALIEN INVASION, on sale now.
RANGER MARTIN AND THE SEARCH FOR PARADISE, on sale October 20.

Have you seen any of the Bourne movies? What do you like about the films?

Posted in Monday Mayhem

Plan B

The other day I was at the station waiting for the train into the city. As I was sitting on the bench, a thought ran through my mind and I haven’t been able to shake it. What if a zombie appeared and began attacking those waiting on the platform? What would I do? Where would I go? After all, I don’t think about these things every Monday Mayhem. Wait. Maybe I do.

What is your Plan B?
What is your Plan B?

Then I remembered a scene out of the movie The Bourne Identity where the main character Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) is sitting in a restaurant and while he’s talking with someone, he is scanning his surroundings. He is accessing the people, the objects at his disposal and formulating an exit strategy—all within a matter of seconds.

It got me thinking. If there ever were a zombie attack, would I be ready?

Subsequent to thinking about this, I began a little exercise to see if I could actually accomplish doing what Bourne did, which was to assess my environment, catalog people and objects, and plan a quick exit.

Believe me—the exercise is much harder than it sounds.

The first time I did it, I failed miserably. I couldn’t keep track of the comings and goings of people because too many things changed within a minute, and I didn’t realize the amount of things I had to take into account to remember. Then again, it didn’t help that I tried this walking through a department store.

My next attempt was in a much more controlled environment. I’d chosen our town’s library. This time around, I did a bit better. I was able to memorize the exits, track people’s movements and keep a running tally of objects I could use in case of a zombie attack. I actually saw a letter opener on someone’s desk behind checkout that would come in handy for such an occasion.

A donut shop became my next assignment. I was feeling like a secret agent already!

As soon as I walked in, I committed the exits to memory. As opposed to remembering those working behind the counter, I counted them. Uniforms are far easier to remember than plain clothes. I also took separate counts of people standing up, such as waiting in line, and those sitting at the booths. As one would get up from their table, I subtracted one from those sitting at the booths and added it to those standing up. Obviously, I couldn’t stare at the people my whole time, so I looked for reflections where I could, using those as prompts for maintaining the count.

The other thing I found I was doing was that unlike the library exercise, where I was looking for specific weapons (eg. scissors, rulers, pencils, etc.), I now simply took an inventory of items on the counter and around the shop. This allowed me the freedom to know what my inventory would be in case the zombies came at me from all directions.

I know. I’m weird. But I had fun doing it in spite of the fact I had to commit so much to memory. One thing’s for sure—Plan B has become more real to me should a zombie attack actually take place.

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, on sale now.
RANGER MARTIN AND THE ALIEN INVASION, on sale now.
RANGER MARTIN AND THE SEARCH FOR PARADISE, on sale October 20.

Have you thought about inventorying your surroundings? What is your Plan B?