Spirk (with a small dose of Pinto)

Fan Fiction and Personal Ramblings



The Death Wishes

Recently, as in since this all began, the pandemic to end all pandemics (I am using humor here, please don’t think I don’t take it seriously), I decided to watch the Death Wishes. Bruce Willis had done a remake of the movie Charles Bronson did. I could watch both for free on Amazon so I did. Here are my comparisons, which I have been meaning to do for a while.

Now I can take Bruce or leave him. He’s done a couple of movies I just loved. The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable. I don’t mind Die Hard. I like Red (Karl Urban is in that and great too). But lets face it, he’s not always the greatest actor. He’s okay. And I think I’ve heard as a person he can be…challenging.

There will be massive spoilers going forward so be warned should you desire to see them.

I saw Bruce’s version first. His character is named the same as Charles’ is. Paul Kersey. But Bruce’s Kersey is a trauma surgeon in Chicago. He saves lives of gang members and the like all day long, plus good guys too. In the city. He has a very nice suburban life with a beautiful wife and almost graduating high school senior. His slightly less successful brother is played by one of my absolute favorites, Vincent D’onofrio . In the beginning Vincent’s character asks Kersey for money, which he loans him. They go out of their way at first to show that Kersey is not a touch guy with several scenes. Then he goes out to dinner with his wife, daughter, and brother. They have a nice dinner and the daughter talks about where she will go to college. The valet guy overhears where they live while they are talking as he’s getting their car and he hears them say that the next night they won’t be home as they are going out for Paul’s birthday dinner.

Believing they won’t be home, this dude, who is a scumbag criminal, arranges for him and his band of thieves to rob their house. But as it turns out, Paul being a trauma surgeon, is called in to work at the hospital that night and the birthday dinner is to be postponed. The thieves don’t know this, however, and so break in and terrorize Paul’s wife and daughter. When the wife sees they are getting rough with her daughter, she tries to intervene and one of them shoots her. They then beat the teenaged daughter until she is in a coma.

Paul and his brother end up running to where they are taken at the hospital and they are told the wife died but the daughter is in this coma. They never say she is raped, which I am grateful for, since she’s supposed to be a teenager. It’s just implied here that they beat her. (more about the rape when I get to Bronson’s).

Now for much of the rest of the movie, his daughter remains in a coma. Kersey is treating a gang member one day in the hospital and the dude’s gun falls onto the floor. He kicks it under the table to collect it later. He has gone to the police and they are having trouble solving the crime.

Anyhow, one day he sees this couple getting mugged and he ends up using the gun to save them, and thereafter, he makes it his business to find the ones who were responsible to what happened to his wife and daughter.

And he does. He gets every one of the guys responsible. And in pretty brutal ways, not gonna lie.

Now the daughter wakes up toward the end and goes home with Kersey and his brother (who paid Kersey back) and is probably the most likeable character in the movie, and as they are leaving the hospital, Kersey sees the final guy responsible. The daughter doesn’t remember much but this thug thinks she might some day so he decides to go back to Kersey’s house to kill her. But this time Kersey is ready and has her hide and he kills the thug and the cops look the other way because they feel bad they couldn’t solve the case. But they tell him stop killing people and he’s like I got them. I’m done.

Now in some ways I expected Bronson’s movie to be less brutal than Bruce’s. Because movies can do much more now than they did then. But on the other hand I realized this was still Bronson and it was still going to be brutal. It was and a few scenes actually were worse for me.

First, the 70s porn music that played throughout was just horrible. That’s a side note.

In the 1970s one, Kersey is an architect rather than a doctor and they live in New York City not Chicago. Kersey and his wife (a famous actress of the time and I can’t recall who, it wasn’t Bronson’s wife Jill though, who he did do movies with) have been vacationing in Hawaii. When they return, they go out of their way to show that Kersey is a bleeding heart liberal and thinks criminals get a bad rap and are just down on their luck.

The Kerseys have an adult daughter in this one and she is married. In this one, Kersey’s wife and daughter are spending the day together and they are seen at a local high end grocery store that delivers to their high-rise apartment. A group of “freaks” sees them. That is even what they are called on IMDB. None of the freaks are recognizable save for one, and it’s Jeff Goldblum in his very first role. Anyway, these freaks follow Kersey’s wife and daughter back to their apartment building and somehow sneak through a side door even though it’s the kind of building with a doorman.

They ring the bell of the apartment and because they are waiting for groceries to be delivered, the daughter opens the door. The freaks come in and brutally beat both women. They try to rob them but they have very little cash. They then rape the daughter. I had read that she got raped and I was hoping it wasn’t especially graphic but it was graphic enough trust me. There is one thing they do that…I can’t even say. Anyway, it’s mercifully fast and over.

But they leave the women for dead. The daughter manages to call her husband and they are taken to the hospital where the wife dies. The daughter lives but is never the same and just stares into space and is eventually committed to a mental hospital.

Kersey has the son-in-law in this one and he is whiny and annoying. The brother character in the later version is much better.

Anyway similar to the remake, Kersey begins to go after criminals and he ends up killing a lot of them and gets a reputation as a vigilante killer in the city and many people like him because of it.

Unlike the remake, the cops never figure out who the “freaks” were and neither does Kersey. So he never gets those directly responsible for what happened to his wife and daughter.

But I found Bronson’s Kersey to be surprisingly much more sympathetic. When he first starts killing muggers and the like he gets sick and hates himself for it. Feels terrible. Bruce never does. And anyway he just seemed like he had been a nicer guy.

In the end, just like in Bruce’s the cops tell him to stop killing and he says he will. But he then moves to Chicago and starts to look at criminals like he’s not done.

Now, like I said, I thought Bronson was more sympathetic, but I liked how in Bruce’s he went after the guys who actually attacked his wife and daughter rather than random thugs. The son-in-law in Bronson’s was horrible and whiny and the brother in Bruce’s was one of the best parts. I liked how the daughter recovered in Bruce’s and also because she was a teen, they didn’t go the rape route. The music in the 70s version was just awful.

I didn’t come away with hating either movie but I can’t say I loved either movie or even liked them. They weren’t the worst movies I’d ever seen, but they were, like, meh.

Ramblings of the Week, January 08, 2018

On the 7th, I updated A Surprise with a second chapter.  I always wanted more to this one-shot but didn’t have time to accomplish that at the time. I have now.

I will updated My Devotion.

This coming weekend is a three day weekend for me. We get MLK off. On Sunday is my niece’s baby shower at a restaurant called The Old Spaghetti Factory. Otherwise nothing else is set in stone for the weekend.

This week on Tuesday I will finally be seeing Star Wars. I saw Ferdinand last week and it was cute but not amazing like Coco was. I’m rather unfairly ambivalent about seeing Star Wars, but others in our movie going group want to see it so we will. Just the endless hype of it just gets to me and it’s certainly gotten worse with Disney in charge.

I made a bunch of arrangements for my cruise coming up in now less than three weeks! I am having a hot stone massage (I booked this back on Black Friday) but now also beginning Acupuncture (just to try it) as my second massage. I also booked an excursion to St. John’s of the US Virgin Islands, a walking tour of the top 10 things to see in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and a taste of Grand Turk tour.

I also have onboard gifts sent to my fellow travelers (and me of course). Yeah, I am rather a nut case. But it will be fun. We will have fun and everyone is excited.

I am feeling so much better. My cough is gone. Yay. I am still on some medicine but in about a week and a half I should be done with everything.

I may skip a flash this week to concentrate on some neglected stories. We shall see.

And that’s my rambles for now.

Just Some Stuff

So I got a chapter of For the First Time in My Life I was Happy and a chapter of Where My Demons Hide done this week.  That’s likely it for this week as I have some other commitments and I am feeling rather lazy. I anticipate the other two stories that are due to be updated will make it next week just before I leave. I “may” get a second chapter of Unbonded up  as well but we shall see. No guarantees.

Tomorrow I am going to be seeing Wonder Woman. I can’t wait to see Chris in it. In recent movie happenings, I’ve seen Guardians of the Galaxy 2, King Arthur, and Snatched. I expect to see Pirates of the Caribbean this next coming Tuesday. After that there will a slight pause while I am way.

My trip comes in about 10 days. *Bites nails*.  I hate flying. I’ll be glad when we land on the ground. I will be even gladder when we land in LA a week later! HA. I won’t be bringing my laptop with me on this trip either, so that’s both a relief and a conundrum.

Tomorrow’s flash fic is pretty short! But it will still be up.

Since I am a little overwhelmed with preparing for my trip and getting a couple more updates done, I will likely post old one-shots for the next two Fridays, June 09, and Friday, June 16. Flash Fics will resume from me June 23.

I think that’s about all I have to say right now. Have a great weekend.


Movie Reviews from Ivan 03.2017 Edition

So I thought it might be fun to post my own personal movie reviews as I begin the 2017 viewing season. We go many Tuesdays and so I end up seeing quite a few. I won’t review all of them and who knows maybe no one will really be interested, but anyway.

I’m going to start with two I’ve seen recently.

And warning warning warning: SPOILERS AHEAD (read at your own risk)

Get Out

I went into this with not many expectations. I’d heard an interview with Jordan Peele who created and directed it. I’ve like his comedy work but this promised to be a little different and based on that interview I expected it to be more like a horror film.

I ended up being pleasantly surprised it was more like a dark thriller than like a gory horror flick. I thought he had a great way of getting you to instantly like the characters he wanted you to like and sympathesize with.

The opening scene is an African American man attempting to find the house of his girlfriend’s parents in a quiet suburb. He’s on the phone and clearly feels uncomfortable with where he is. Even though you only get his dialogue at this point you like this guy already and then bam this car pulls up and starts acting weird and as he realizes he’s in trouble, you know it too.

The main character, Chris, is another African American man who is about to go away for the weekend to meet his white girlfriend’s parents. You like him instantly (he has a dog after all) and you like his friend who works for the TSA who is also taking care of Chris’ dog while he is away for the weekend. The girlfriend, Rose, seems pretty cool too.

She drives them down to see her parents assuring him that her parents are not racist. They don’t appear to be when you meet them but they are vaguely strange and Chris recognizes that instantly as well. They also have a black maid and a black groundskeeper who both behave oddly and rather like zombies.  Her father is a neurologist and her mother a psychiatrist. When they find out Chris smokes they attempt to talk him into undergoing hypnosis to change the habit but he politely declines.

Eventually he meets her brother too who is also vaguely off but Chris endures things pretty well. They inform Chris and Rose that an annual party is that weekend too so Chris knows he is going to be forced to meet even more people.

Anyway, as the film progresses you realize this family is even more off than you initially thought and Chris is basically hypnotized against his will. He speaks of this and his doubts to Rose and she admits to him that she may have been wrong about her family and she apologizes.

The party happens and Chris meets a lot of really strange white people and one African American who is probably in his late twenties but is married to a white woman probably in her sixties. Chris realizes this is odd to say the least. And the guy acts really weird and also has the same sort of zombie qualities the maid and groundskeeper have. But when Chris flashes a camera in his face, this dude freaks out and yells, Get Out.

Eventually it is discovered by Chris that the family, through the help of Rose, abducts young black people to use for their bodies. The father puts the brains of dying white friends and family who have bid on the abducted into the fresh, healthy bodies. It’s bizarre and twisted and works really well, actually. Chris is their latest victim, though he didn’t realize it at first.

You root for him to get away from this freak show and eventually with the help of his very funny best friend, the TSA agent, he does.



Up front I will say I was not a fan of X-Men Origins: Wolverine or of The Wolverine. I did really like Logan in the first X-Men movies as well as in X-Men: First Class and as well as X-Men: Days of Future Past.

In this one we find Logan to be an older character who is disillusioned and drinks too much. There also appears to be something quite wrong with him because he doesn’t heal like he used to. He’s been working as a chauffeur in a limo to make money and he lives in Mexico with an albino mutant named Caliban and Charles Xavier, who is very old now.

Charles has mental issues and Logan has to keep him constantly drugged because of his powerful mind. If he doesn’t take his drugs, he has seizures and all hell breaks loose. It seems clear from the implications that this has happened with Charles before and this is why Logan now keeps him in a bunker in Mexico. His plan is to one day buy a boat for he and Charles to live on in the middle of the ocean, presumably so they can not hurt anyone.

He runs into a woman who desperately begs for his help but he initially rejects her. Eventually she tracks him down and tells him about a little girl named Laura. The woman eventually is killed by the bad guys and Logan and Charles are left trying to keep Laura safe from them. It is learned that she was created by evil scientists who created children from Mexican women and mutant DNA. Laura is actually Logan’s daughter as he was used for her.

My main objection was, as I said before, too many action scenes. I know it is an action movie but they began to become tedious. This was actually one of my complaints about the previous Wolverine movies. I also think it went on about 30 minutes longer than it needed to.

But as I have thought about it one of my main things was that I think there was a major plot that was rather not in character with Charles Xavier as I saw him in the previous movies.

The three main characters are on the run from these absolutely dreadful bad guys. The bad guys have found them time and time again and have shown they are capable of hurting anyone that gets in their way.

They run across this nice little family that have a farm and horses through a near accident with the horses on the highway. They end up helping the family get their horses together. The wife offers to cook them a meal for their trouble and Logan, rightly, immediately says no. Charles, however, insists on going to their house AND accepts their invitation to stay the night. Charles, basically, knowingly puts this innocent family into harm’s way and of course they end up butchered by the bad guys, and I just don’t believe the character I have seen would have done that. Charles knew the dangers they were facing and basically sacrificed this family for his own selfish needs. I did not dig that at all.

So obviously, these are only my opinions. Most people have liked Logan and I did like it better than the other Wolverine offerings just not enough for me to personally recommend it.

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