Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The Fantastic Four... Or Flop

The Fantastic Four! A name of a team that is so renowned in the world of comics that when you hear the name, your ears flinch and a chill goes up your spine. One of the original teams of superheroes that broke out and captured the imaginations of kids who either read the comics, watch the television series or played the games. The trailer for the remake of the famous franchise was released recently and all directions seem to point to this movie being a flop more than fantastic. Unfortunately when it comes to live action movies like most marvel properties owned by different movie companies, they just can’t get it right.

For those that don’t have a clue, The Fantastic Four is a group of superheroes that were scientists who went up into space and got caught in a cosmic storm that gave them powers. Reed Richards became Mr. Fantastic who can expand his body parts to certain limits, Sue Storm who plays the invisible woman and I guess you have an idea what she can do, Johnny Storm plays the human torch who is Sue’s brother and can set himself on fire by saying the famous phrase, “Flame on!” Then there’s my favorite, The Thing who goes by Ben Grimm. Together they face off against famous marvel villains but none so deadly then Dr. Doom. Arguably the most dangerous villain in the Marvel Universe because unlike most villains, he’s a king in his country and can’t be imprisoned for his crimes against others.

This allows for an endless feud between the team and Dr. Doom but sometimes it involves others but mostly Doom is involved with the Fantast Four. It’s Dr. Doom who again is the main antagonist in the reboot and while this trailer reveals a more serious direction for the superheroes, something is just off. As I looked at it, I thought I was watching a preview of a sequel to Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar but only when you see a glimpse of the four in their new look do you think, “Oh the Fantastic Four.” Honestly I didn’t feel anything at the end of the trailer and while I like to keep an open mind, this movie is looking more and more like a disaster.

The word disaster fits well when it comes to the history of the Fantastic Four in the movies. The first try came in 1994 The Fantastic Four and it was done so poorly with cheap special effects and a terrible story that it went into obscurity immediately. The second try came in 2005 and that one was decent enough that 20th Century Fox was able to make a sequel Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer but it was the final nail in the coffin. This time the four are a young cast and the origin is going to be completely rebooted in order to draw in a new audience and a fresher look to the team. The problem with new is that purists will have a problem with it and this reboot has left a trail of plenty complaints.

Josh Trank, the director of the popular film Chronicle was burdened with this reboot and decided to make a move that would send shockwaves through the Marvel Universe. Michael B. Jordan, a breakout star due to the success of the film Chronicle is African American and when it was decided he would play the Human Torch, fans went on the most enormous rant I’ve seen since Ben Affleck was announced as Batman. Now if you’re going to ignore this film because of the race issue then that’s pathetic, Jordan is a great actor and I know he could pull it off but changing the story around is where I can understand the pain that the purists feel. Johnny Storm, who is Sue Storm’s brother is now adopted and the synopsis reads that this film takes the scientists to an alternate universe where they gained their powers so clearly this film is completely taking things off the comics.

Again, I like to keep an open mind about everything but unfortunately I don’t see much to be excited about and it’s sad because this film will be the third strike for 20 Century Fox. For some reason they can get X-Men right but that’s mostly because of Bryan Singer and his direction for the team but that same magic can’t happen for the classic team. Hopefully things will look a little better as time goes on but as of right now, The Fantastic Four doesn’t look so… good. We’ll know more as the film comes closer to its August release date and more previews will be released. Until then, for all the fans of the Fantastic Four, I keep your fingers crossed and keep praying because it’s looks like we have another fantastic flop on the way. 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Pitiful Patriots

The NFL recently concluded an investigation it began since the AFC Championship game between the New England Patriots and the Indianapolis Colts. The accusation came when a player from the Colts intercepted a ball from Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and felt something wrong with the ball. That player went to the sideline to inform the Colts General Manager, Ryan Grigson who then requested the league to investigate. The results found that the balls used by the patriots were in fact deflated so in short, the Patriots cheated. Now the game was a virtual blowout so some are skeptical as whether or not this was a factor in their victory over the Colts.

Would it have mattered or not isn’t the question, the question now is what exactly does this mean for the Patriots now they have been caught again. Back in 2007, the Patriots were caught video-taping on the Jets which permanently stained the team and labeled them cheaters to the rest of the league. Since then the Patriots have always had a watchful eye on them and the rest of the league has taken measures to ensure a fair chance against the once powerful team. Under Belichick, the Patriots have won three Super Bowls, numerous AFC titles, and broken several records that will probably never be touched in my lifetime. But ever since they were caught in 2007, some have questioned whether or not those records should be respected.

Some throw out the claim that the Patriots aren’t the only team that cheat in the NFL so I say to them, does that make it right? Now you may be asking yourself is deflating the ball that big of a deal? In a way because if you think about it, the softer the ball it then the easier it would be to grip or catch. Even if it wasn’t easy, the fact is that the Patriots were using balls that were against the NFL’s rules and regulations. So the next question is what will happen now and that is a very complicated debate considering that this is a team that dominated the early 2000s. Should that matter?

Not really but the fact is America loves winners and they pay top dollar to see winners win so the Patriots generate a lot of revenue for the NFL. Not to mention there is Rodger Goodell whose decisions on punishments as of late have been lackadaisical at best. Let’s not all forget about the infamous Ray Rice incident, the former Baltimore Raven who knocked out his wife in an elevator and at first was only suspended for two games at first. Only until the video emerged of Ray Rice punching his wife out did Goodell initiate a real form of punishment which was Ray Rice’s immediate termination with the Baltimore Ravens. Unlike Ray Rice, this is out in the open and the results are in so a decision has to be made but what kind should there be?

USA Today and other media outlets have already voice their opinions as well as several celebrity and public polls, the Patriots should be disqualified. As children we’re taught that cheaters never prosper so if the Patriots were to go and possibly win the 2015 Super Bowl on February 1st, it would be a travesty. In every other sport, when an athlete is caught cheating they’re disqualified from competition and that’s what should happen out of principal. I’m pretty sure it won’t with the Super Bowl only two weeks away but hopefully Rodger Goodell will listen and do what should be done. If not then most likely what will happen is what happened last time, the Patriots will be fined money they can afford to lose and lose draft picks they don’t need anyway.

It’s a real shame when you think about it, when you have incredible talent on your team and a coach that can get you to the championship but you still turn to cheating. Now do I believe the Patriots are the only team that does, absolutely not. Let us not forget the infamous bounty program which was an incentive for New Orleans Saints players to cause intentional injury to opposing players. The coach was suspended for a season and the team was punished severely, for the first time that I’ve seen, the NFL took appropriate measures. It’s time to make an example out of the Patriots and take appropriate measures again to deter other teams from cheating. It’s called Sportsmanship and it’s time we remember what that word means.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

The Romantic: The Prom Date

Had the best night of my life.
I did my research and found the spot.
I got the tuxedo and borrowed my father’s car,
Now I just need to pick up my date.

My hands are sweaty, they’re slipping on the wheel.
I haven’t had anything to drink but I really need to pee.
I’ve been planning this night for weeks
but now everything has gone completely out the window.

I finally get to her house and see steps outside the door.
In a beautiful gown that makes me thank God that I could see.
I wipe the sweat from my face and step outside,
The cold air fills my lungs and I almost faint.

She gets closer so I regain my senses
and rush over to get the door for her.
She laughs a little as I almost trip over the curb
but luckily I don’t fall completely, she just thinks it’s cute.

We drive off and she thinks we’re off to the prom,
amazed that I was able to buy the tickets.
We are the products of less fortunate parents
so after school events are not available to us.

After a few minutes, she begins to get nervous
because she knows now that we’re not heading for the school.
I confess to her that I lied about the tickets
but I do plan on giving her a prom night.

We get where we need to be and her nervousness
turns into a heart-warming sensation.
I take her to the baseball field,
where we met for the first time as kids.

We were on the team together and that’s where it started.
Surgery couldn’t remove us from each other since then
and I take her to the left outfield which is where we collided
while we were trying to catch a fly ball.

The runner got a home run
but I’m the one who scored that day.
I met the girl I knew that I wanted to be with
and after the icepacks came off I asked her out.

Years later, we’re here now.
Sitting on the table cloth and her favorite foods.
Tacos, nachos and ranch dip with a 2 liter soda
and we eat underneath the stars.

She thanks me for making the best of this
because she badly wanted to have a prom night.
I tell her that everyone deserves a prom
even if it’s not at a school with everyone else.

At least this way, we don’t have to worry
about whose going to be prom king and queen
because it looks like we’re winners by default.
She laughs and we stand up to kiss like lovers.

I stop and pull out my cell phone
and the first thing that comes out of her mouth is
“Are you kidding me right now?”
I laugh and tell her to listen very carefully.

Music starts to play over the speakers on the field,
It’s her favorite country song.
The song that she always said that she would want to get married to.
We begin to dance and I wave to the janitor as he leaves the booth.

She tells me how she thinks I’m real smooth
and I tell her that I think there’s no way
this night could get better.
She disagrees.

We begin to kiss and she runs her hands down my chest
but I stop her.
I tell her now is not the night
and I don’t want our first time to be here.

I was afraid I had just killed the mode
but in actuality, I think she appreciates it more.
So we continue to dance on with the music
enjoying the best part about prom night.

When the music ends, we kiss one more time.
I tell her that I love her and I want to be with her.
Tears come out of her eyes and almost cries,
she grips my back with her fingernails.

She tells me that she loves me
and pities every girl in the school.
They will never have what we did,
a prom night meant for lovers.

"Sample from my book of poetry Faces of the Masses available now in print and on Amazon Kindle."

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Sometimes You Just Need Help

You come to realize certain issues growing up in the life of a starving artist. You become humbled, you see what you’re willing to do to make it in the business but most of all you realize what you have to sacrifice in order to make it. This is what’s happened to me as I try to become a successful author and as of late, I realized one more issue that I’m going to address. The fact that as good as you may believe you are or as dedicated as you are, sometimes you need help. I’m ashamed to admit that I am a stubborn man with a hard head and it’s hard for me to accept that there are some times that I need a hand.

Attending college, I heard every voice telling me how hard this business is and read every book about how to best benefit from this career. I didn’t listen. I honestly believed that I was going to get the ball rolling as soon as I got the degree and that my work would hit it big as soon as it was released so at first, I was na├»ve. Then I graduated and life happened, that’s when I got a big right hand from the forces of reality. That’s when I was humbled and realized that success is going to take time for me to achieve, nothing is going to happen overnight.

I read about how other authors had to build an audience first before having best sellers and that’s what I did. I created blogs, I developed a following on social media and I continued on with writing my short stories, plays and novels. I used my own money, developed a budget and advertise when I can to expose my author’s page and novels. As much exposure as I got, sales weren’t coming and I was strongly considering just throwing in the towel. Then I got a kick in the rear from the most supportive friends I have and reminded me that if you want something, it’s going to take time.

Time. That’s something I still can’t believe has been flying since I’ve been self-publishing my work. I’m going on 4 years and I can’t believe that it’s been this long already. Where has my life gone? My friends have moved on, most of them are married with kids and have the lives they want. I almost feel at times like I was left behind and stuck in a vortex, constantly spinning around going in circles but never leaving the same area. That leads to this point in my life when I realize now that I most likely don’t know what I’m doing and it’s time to finally get help.

I’ve started searching for an agent and it’s the hardest step I’ve had to take so far in this business, not because of the searching issue. It’s the trust issue because if there’s one thing I’ve never had good luck with its being placed with a “good group.” It’s hard for me to work with someone and trust them to represent my work and get them the exposure that I know they deserve. To be honest I still don’t want to do it but the fact is I don’t want to starve anymore and clearly self-publishing isn’t something I can accomplish on my own. So wish me luck because I’m not going to stop until I get where I want to go in life.

Until the next is written.
Anthony Labson

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Staying Positive

Give me a mop and floor cleaner.
Then leave after showing me a dirty floor.
I’ll pretend it’s a guitar and I’m a singer
while I’m performing a much desired encore.

Throw out your boxes and your trash.
I will take it and make it my treasure.
I should thank you for wasting cash
because taking free stuff is always a pleasure.

Take away my house,
I’ll only be rid of another bill.
The only thing I’ll feel sorry for is the mouse
and I’m not afraid of the winter chill.

So I can’t afford fancy dinners and expensive dates.
Spending money doesn’t define my character.
Women who only date for money, I hate
and they should all be thrown in a wood chipper.

I may live a life that others may pity
but I pity you in the long run.
I am use to having nothing and being happy
while you need everything or reach for a gun.

My life isn’t blessed or easy
but there’s no reason for the easy way out.
I’m happy with being alive and healthy
and I hope one day you’ll figure that out.

Excerpt from Faces of the Masses. Available now in print or on Amazon Kindle.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Awareness in 2015

2014 can be summed up with one word, awareness. We saw the unveiling of secrets and the risks that people took to reveal them, perceptions on lifestyles are changing, a reminder of how money can’t buy happiness and the rise of a former super power. Not much is different from what we hear at the end of every year such as celebrity deaths and milestone achievements. But what really stood out for me this year was Russia specifically after the incident with Ukraine. This was the first time in decades that all eyes were one Russia because just like the Cold War, fears of a world war resurfaced.
Earlier this year, Russian forces massed at the Ukrainian borders after political events took place and Russian President Vladimir Putin acted on behalf of “Russian interests.” People have their beliefs and their theories on the truth but that doesn’t matter, the fact is that it was clear Russia was back in the public eye. Weeks went on as sanctions were being placed and threats were being thrown around. My father kept reminding me of how this brought back fears of the Cuban Missile Crisis that happened back in the 60s. The whole world was on the edge of their seats because the invasion of Ukraine was a clear sign that Russian is once again a country to keep an eye on.
Speaking of keeping eyes on people, it was revealed that America had their eyes on everyone and not in a good way. There was a massive security breach by Edward Snowden and others which lead to the leak of secrets that America didn’t want revealed. Fearing for his life for obvious reasons, Snowden left for Russia and is currently living there and will probably be doing so the rest of his life. When this story broke, people saw the measures the American government take in the name of “national security.” Some agree with it and others don’t, whose right I’ll leave up to you but it’s clear now that everyone really is being watched.
Another controversial issue being watched was the march for gay and lesbian rights. This year, more and more states have been overturning or throwing out bans keeping homosexuals from getting married. This is showing the change in people’s mind sets as it pertains towards people views on how they define marriage and the rights of the individuals. There is still some opposition from religious groups and right wing conservatives but it’s clear that they’re slowly becoming the minority on the issue. It’s hard to believe that a decade ago things were completely opposite.
Another thing that’s hard to believe for me personally is the loss of a man that I looked up to for decades and is the reason I wanted to become a writer and enter the field of entertainment, Robin Williams. This man was one of the greatest entertainers of all time ranging from improve, comedic performances, voice acting, etc. He had fans all over the world and had enough money to last several lifetimes so people ask, “Why the hell would you take your own life?” Robin Williams’s suicide made people aware of the sickness that we know as depression and how it attacks the soul. His death is a reminder to everyone that just because a person has success, it doesn’t mean their happy.
2014 had moments of great achievements and moments of great tragedies, and it’s important that we remember these incidents. The events I mentioned up here are just a fraction of what else took place such as the landing of a shuttle on a moving comet or the loss of Malaysia Airplanes. As we enter 2015, let’s not forget just how close we were to almost going into a new world war. That our rights and our liberties are constantly at threat either by foreign and sometimes by domestic individuals. Most of all, let us not forget to appreciate life and live it for what it can be and not for what it is.