In Defense of The Lone Ranger – A Movie Review

I watched The Lone Ranger the other night on DVD.  I didn’t start it until about 9:30, and I fully expected to watch about an hour before turning in for the night and finishing it later.  This broke my heart, because I adored The Lone Ranger as a child.  But, it seemed every critic in the world hated it, I didn’t hear any good buzz amongst friends, so I prepared myself for the worst and considered it a labor of love.

Well, I’m a tired guy today because I stayed up past midnight watching The Lone Ranger – I couldn’t turn it off!  I loved it.  I didn’t just like it, I loved it. Loved it.  I really and truly have no idea why people hate this movie so much.

Is it silly?  Yes, at times.  Tonto and The Lone Ranger are funny, and it has some great laughs in it.  But it’s also full of adventure, nonstop action, amazing effects, and a thorough story comprised of an interesting structure that gives each character his due.  In fact, they stuck pretty closely to the initial origins of The Lone Ranger when he first arrived on the radio waves in 1933.

The costumes were beautiful, the locations were magnificent, and the general filmography took my breath away.  Depp and Hammer, the actors playing Tonto and The Lone Ranger, seemed to have genuine charisma with each other, and I especially appreciated that they did not rush the characters’ relationship.  It took two and a half hours, but they eventually formed a bond that can’t just happen in a few scenes.

Much of the comedy arose from The Lone Ranger’s initial ineptitude at vigilantism.  He was an educated prosecutor returned to his hometown and found himself in a horrible situation, one that even his incredibly apt Texas Ranger brother couldn’t escape.  They played heavily on the fact that the wrong brother became The Lone Ranger, but by doing so, it made us appreciate the man under the mask all the more.  Tonto, depicted as both incredibly wise and half nuts by Depp, had some great lines, especially at the expense of The Lone Ranger.

Was it too silly?  Was there too much comedy?  I think if the action hadn’t been so big, the thrills so consistent, there may have been a danger of it being too slapstick.  But honestly, this is a well-conceived story with some exquisite scenes, as well as some very serious moments that added depth to the characterization.  I’m not saying it deserves an Academy Award, but as a lifelong Lone Ranger fan, I had zero issues with it.  Frankly, I’m okay with my childhood heroes having a little levity.  They’ve taken Batman to the extreme, and even Superman seemed to lack any joy in his latest outing.  I was actually kind of relieved that they gave us a Lone Ranger that didn’t seem like a genocidal/suicidal psychopath.

All in all, The Lone Ranger is far better than you’ve heard.  Maybe I don’t know anything about what makes a good movie, but for me, the two and a half hours flew by and I enjoyed myself immensely.


Jupiter Ascending, the Wachowskis, and My Proclamation

Several months ago I proclaimed that I would, from that moment forth, see all theatrical releases from a select group of directors.  The Wachowskis were included in that group.  So when I heard they had a new movie due in 2014, Jupiter Ascending, I naturally became very excited and started lining up babysitters.

And then the  trailer came out.

I’m not getting a strong sense that Jupiter Ascending is going to impress me the way The Matrix, Cloud Atlas, or Speed Racer did.  Now, it’s just a trailer – I could be totally wrong.  I’m going to stick to my original proclamation and see it in the theaters, because every time I skip out on their movies and wait for the DVD, I regret it.  Sure, I’m not a huge Channing Tatum guy.  Mila Kunis doesn’t really “wow” in the tease, and I’m not exactly sure who Sean Bean is.  But, that’s okay.  This is a test of loyalty.  I know it’s going to be amazing, because it’s the Wachowskis.  Right?  Right?  Right.

If you haven’t seen the trailer, give it a view at the link, then share your thoughts if you so desire:

Jupiter Ascending (2014) Poster

The Bat Tie Clip

I have many passions in life, but two of them are rather obvious to people at work: Batman and ties.  So when a college student intern gave me a gift in order to thank me for her time in my classroom, she decided to combine the two!  Thus, you see the amazing gift below …

batman tie clip

I flat out love this tie clip!  It’s made by a man named Kevin Coss.  You can see more of his work at the following website …

I’ve worn it twice so far and it seems to be a quality product.  I’ve had many compliments on it, and not just from students.  Many of my colleagues had nice things to say as well.

Fantastic gift.  Thanks, Ms. W.!


Report from the Interior by Paul Auster – A Book Review

If you follow this website, you know I’m a Paul Auster fan and will read anything he publishes.  I love the man’s fiction just as much as his nonfiction, and I’ve learned more about the craft of writing through his personal tales than I thought possible.

Report from the Interior is about his coming of age through his very own eyes.  He recounts his thoughts and feelings on a great number of subjects from the time he was a little boy all the way into adulthood.  Somehow, he makes almost all of it riveting, even as he’s describing movies he watched that heavily influenced him.  I attribute the dynamism of rather mundane topics to his unparalleled mastery of the captivating sentence.  The man simply knows how to write in a way that cannot be ignored, no matter what the topic!

Report from the Interior serves almost as a history lesson, for Auster not only recollects the little personal things he experienced, but also the world’s happenings and his reactions to them.  I loved viewing these events through his eyes, with his voice serving as a guide.

And though I’m an unabashed fan of the man, I cannot suppress some criticism.  The book is divided into four parts.  It’s the third part that, frankly, I had difficulty reading.  It is largely comprised of notes he wrote to a loved one during his late teens and early twenties.  They are pretentious, arrogant, and self-obsessed.  And while I know all of us are those things at that age, it was very challenging to stomach.  I do, however, admire Auster that he was brave enough to put those letters out there, to display an aspect of himself that I didn’t find terribly flattering.  The man continually takes risks, even as an established master, and he has my unending readership as a result.

In the end, Auster continues to give himself to us, to peel away layers of his persona that contribute to the writing we so love.  The most amazing thing is, and this is yet another credit to the man’s skill, that the more he reveals to us, the greater of an enigma he becomes.

To the uninitiated, I’m not sure this book is a good place to start with Auster.  But for those who have read much of his work, it’s yet another volume that adds to the overarching epic that is, in my mind, one continuous story blending fiction with nonfiction, novel with memoir, poetry with correspondence.

A Christmas Confrontation – A Short Story For Your Enjoyment

Traditionalist James Henderson is enraged and he’s got a bone to pick with Marty Yaple, a youth minister. In fact, James is so angry that he raids Marty’s church, catching Marty off guard. It’s James, though, who is surprised in the end, because Marty is not what James imagined, and because the minister helps James realize that his real issue isn’t with Marty’s Christmas Eve service—Get Jiggy With Jesus’ Birthday—but with something else entirely.

But just what is at the heart of James’ fury? How does Marty help James deal with his ire? What is so different about Marty that James hadn’t expected? To learn these answers, read “A Christmas Confrontation.”

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