Movies, November, part 2 of 2:

99. (1037.) First Family (1980)
Perhaps because I expected more from screenwriter Buck Henry, I spent most of the second and third acts of this political satire screaming, "But that's unconstitutional!" Perhaps, it's worth remembering that this film was made in the years just after Nixon's "If the president does it, it's not illegal" claim. So much of comedy is context that I'm reluctant to be too hard on this film.

100. (1038.) Start the Revolution Without Me (1970)
I felt this Prince and the Pauper-inspired farce makes a few comedic missteps early (slapstick that lasts too long, a voiceover gag played too early — in comedy, timing really is everything), but it recovers well thanks to a broad performance by Gene Wilder and the more subtle style of Donald Southerland. Not great, but not bad.

101. (1039.) The Sea Wolf (1941)
I haven't read the Jack London book this movie was based on, but the film really is pretty good until you reach an ending that feels a bit contrived. Was London responsible for that, or did Hollywood just force another one of its famous endings on me?

102. (1040.) Mr. Peabody & Sherman (2014)
This was the movie Mom chose to watch for Thanksgiving. I found it disappointing. Both the script and the animation felt under developed and clumsy. That was never a problem for the Jay Ward cartoons it was based on.

103. (1041.) Ender's Game (2013)
I have read the Orson Scott Card book this movie was based on. I've read it multiple times. And while the movie managed to capture the "Gee Whiz" sci-fi elements, it moves too quickly to do anything but hint at the deeper conflicts of the subject matter. Simultaneously too simple and too complex, I understand why this flopped at the box office.

104. (1042.) Punk Vacation (1990)
Years ago on this blog, I called Armageddon the worst movie ever made. My brother called me out and said that I hadn't seen enough movies. His Exhibit A should have been Punk Vacation. The cinematographer wasn't incompetent, and the editor looks to have been trying to do the best he could with what he was given. However, these actors wouldn't have passed auditions in a community theater, and the director, well, I don't know what the director was thinking. There are some unintentionally funny moments here — I think there was supposed to be dark comedy — but not enough to make it worth watching. By anyone. Ever.

More to come.

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Last week, the Athens Banner-Herald ran a news story about deer/vehicle collisions on state roads, including my favorite road, US Highway 29. The story ended with this line:

"In three instances, deputies had to shoot the badly injured deer."

Think about that. Imagine a scenario in which a police officer "had to" shoot a deer. What do you see? Does it look something like this?

Buck no

It should. Those collisions weren't accidents. They were yet another offensive in deer's eternal war against humanity.

What if, instead of shooting them, the officers had given the "badly injured" deer medical attention and let them go free? How many days do you think would pass before that deer attacked another car? What if next time, it was your wife's car? Or your daughter's? Can you really afford to take that chance?

Deer. They'd do it to you.

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Square meals for July are literally square

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Power's out. No post today. (Hard to type in the dark.) Thanks, President Trump.

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In 2014, Georgia Tech won in Sanford Stadium on a last second collapse by Georgia. Two years later, here we are again. Mark Richt was fired exactly a year after his mistake. Is Kirby Smart on the same path?

Georgia Tech 28, UGA 27

First of all, a word about Georgia Tech. The much maligned Paul Johnson brought crafty play calling and superior discipline to Athens and beat a team with superior talent 28-27. Congratulations. See that it never happens again.

Now back to Smart.

Before the season started, a friend asked me what I thought of Kirby Smart as the new head coach of the Georgia Bulldogs. At the time, I wasn't nuts about some of the bad habits he brought over from his former employer (including hiding from the press, influencing the Georgia legislature to exempt his program from sunshine laws, and resisting the transfer of student athletes). However, I said I'd wait until the season ended to render an opinion. The season is now over, and I remain less than optimistic.

Fact: Despite playing all four of them most years for the better part of a century, Georgia has never lost football games to Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Florida, and Georgia Tech in the same season before. Not under Richt, not even under Donnan. Add in that we only squeaked by Auburn because they ran out of players and it gets worse. That's an incredibly inauspicious start to the Kirby Smart era.

All season, I've heard about how Georgia is losing because its talent is lacking. Somehow, that never came up while Richt was coach. Smart started the season with Heisman hopeful Nick Chubb, his talented roommate Sony Michel, and the most talked about quarterback recruit in the SEC. He ended the season ranked 12 of 14 SEC teams in total points per game. Maybe former Defensive Coordinator Smart needs time to adjust to learning to coach offense, but his defense still finished 7 out of 14 SEC teams in total points allowed. Maybe, as his defenders claim, Smart doesn't have the players with the skill sets necessary to play "The System" he brought over from Alabama, but that's not the fault of Richt or the kids he recruited. That's on the coach who chose a system and failed to adapt it to suit the talent he had available.

I hope that the problems of 2016 represented growing pains for a rookie head coach learning on the job. The good news for Smart is that it will be hard to do any worse in 2017. That is, unless he's determined to lose to Auburn, too.

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If you're a Kindle reader looking for a way to kill some time this Thanksgiving, I've got a present for you.

The Central Kingdoms Chronicles: Book 2, Prince Thorgils' War The Central Kingdoms Chronicles: Book 3, A Quest Before Dying

Until November 26, you can download digital copies of my second and third books for free from

Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Black Friday, everybody.

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To be continued...