Month: December 2019

When I was 36, it was a very good year…

At the end of last year I professed some wary optimism that, if current trends held, 2019 might end up being a good year.

I did not expect that 2019 would ride up on a snowy white horse, place a single finger on my trembling lip, whisper “You deserve better than this, let me treat you right” and whisk me away to a world of adventure and romance.

2019 has been the best year of my life since 2012, a year which saw my wedding, the birth of my daughter, a play of mine getting a staged reading in the Abbey, the launch of this blog and the world not ending due to Mayan calendar magic. Guys, it has been a trip.

So let’s start small and work our way up.


The Reviews

So in 2019 I reviewed 1 Canon Disney movie, 2 Disney sequels, 1 MCU movie, 2 X-Men movies, 1 Studio Ghibli film, 4 live action movies, 3 non-Disney animated features, 2 animated series…

…and Mysterious Girlfriend X who has to sit over here away from the others.

2019 also saw the launch of my new feature, Bats versus Bolts, which you can probably tell how much I love because I did it four times over the year.

Counting each BvBs as two movies because it’s my blog and who among you has the power to stop me, that’s 23 movies reviewed, 2 TV series…

…and Mysterious Girlfriend X.

Best movie I reviewed this year was Frankensteinworst (in a pleasing symmetry) was Van Helsing.


Novel Fair

The year got off to a great start when my novel, The Caspian Sea, was selected for Novel Fair at the Irish Writer’s Centre. 12 Novelists are selected and then locked in a room with 12 agents and publishers in a brutal no holds barred battle royal. By which I mean, you sit down with each of them and have five minutes to pitch your book. But in a brutal, no holds barred way. And while I didn’t land an agent at Novel Fair it was a fantastic experience where I got to meet lots of great writers and publishing nobs.


BBC Writer’s Room

Because The Caspian Sea has basically been holding my brain hostage for almost a decade now I also have a screenplay version that I submitted to the BBC Writer’s Room. Didn’t get in, unfortunately, but I made it to the final 35 out of 4000 applicants and got to visit the Beeb in London, where I got to see THIS:

You cant go in, unfortunately. Couple of Daleks got trapped in there and went completely feral.


Got an Agent

Oh yeah, this was a big one. In the early summer I had the privilege to be signed by Jennie Goloboy of the Donald Maas Literary Agency. A literary agent basically does all the things a writer does when trying to get published, like sending off manuscripts and enquiry letters to publishers. The difference being that when the agent does those things, the publishers actually care. It’s actually amazing how much more willing people are to look at your stuff when you’re agented. It’s like that episode of The Simpsons where Homer joins the Stonecutters.


The End of Sharuf

This one was bittersweet. After 2 years of YouTubery my brother John, me and my Dad George decided that we just couldn’t commit the time to Sharuf that it deserved. You can see our final farewell below.


And lastly…

Micro-Mouse was born last month and he is a really cool guy.


So yeah, 2019 was pretty good to me. I hope it was good to you. Have a wonderful New Year guys.

See you in the twenties. Who’s up for running a liquor racket and taking on Capone for control of Chicago?

And to all a good night…

A very warm welcome to new patron Veratrin Dye, the substance over which innumerable guild wars will be fought over in the far distant stellar empires of the future.

And to all of you a very Merry Christmas from the Mouse family. Look after yourselves. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve been challenged to a trivia game by my extended family.

Wish me luck…😈

The Rise of Skywalker I saw (and nobody else did)

Spoilers for The Last Jedi from the outset, spoilers for Rise of Skywalker after the jump. 

I sense a great disturbance in the fandom…

Rise of Skywalker has begun its inevitable conquest of the global box office and people are about as mad at it as it is possible to be at something while still giving it a billion dollars. Call me Nostradamouse but I have the feeling this is going to end with two extremely angry, polarised factions dominating the fandom, those who love The Last Jedi and those who love Rise of Skywalker. And, while history shows that eventually the changes to canon Rise of Skywalker has wrought will be grudgingly accepted just like the New Editions, Midi-Chlorians, Leia being Luke’s sister, Jar Jar and the Ewoks…things are still pretty raw right now.

This is not my review of Rise of Skywalker because I’m not going to be doing a review of Rise of Skywalker because other than the occasional obscure bit of media here and there Star Wars is a picked clean zebra carcass on the Serengeti of the internet. Honestly, I don’t think I have anything to add by reviewing any of these movies. But in the coming great Jedi/Skywalker debate this is where I am:

Rian Johnson tried something bold, gutsy, admirable and radically deconstructive with The Last Jedi. Unfortunately, he did it with Star Wars, possibly the one major franchise least suited to that kind of take. Star Wars is very purposefully echoing the ancient tales laid out in Joseph Campbell’s Hero with a Thousand Faces. They are supposed to be hero tales of the very oldest sort. What Johnson did was give us a fairy tale where the prince finds out he’s actually the heir to a small pub in the Netherlands, then gets eaten by the dragon, and the Princess frees herself and goes on to found a successful chain of business schools. It’s…different. Certainly. It subverts your expectations, no doubt. It’s probably got something frightfully clever to say about privilege and gender roles and such but it is also, on a very fundamental level, unsatisfying.  During Last Jedi I felt the following conversation was taking place.

“Ha! Isn’t this great? You don’t want to see some boring story about a Chosen One discovering a shocking secret lineage and fulfilling their Destiny as the galaxy’s saviour!”

“Of course not, why else would I be watching a Star Wars movie? Now please do something about all these ghastly space-ships.”

As for Rise of Skywalker, while the desperate back-peddling Abrams carries out to undo two of Johnson’s most significant choices would be hilarious if it wasn’t so bloody artless, I do kinda feel for the guy. Johnson left him with some very large corners to paint himself out of and precious little paint to do it (may cover that in another post). And yeah, Rise of Skywalker is a big messy, fan-servicey mess of fan-service (I’m a writer, me) but you know what? It’s fun. It’s got Oscar Isaac, John Boyega and Daisy Ridley having adventures and shooting flying storm troopers with C-3PO and Chewie and that is a good time. And Star Wars should be fun. Last Jedi feels like a slog, slowly watching our heroes being winnowed down and ground under by disappointments and betrayals.

Rise of Skywalker is like your typical Irishman. He has faults, and be God he has many of them. But he’s mad craic.

 But that’s not what I want to talk about. I want to talk about the version of Rise of Skywalker that I saw and no one else did…


Disney(ish) reviews with the Unshaved Mouse: Olaf’s Frozen Adventure

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Guys, tell me the truth. Am I going soft?

Do I just not have the same bile and critical killer instinct I once had?

Because I feel like I just don’t hate the way I used to. Maybe the Christmas spirit has managed to claw its way into my chest and lay its eggs along my cardiac wall. To put it another way, I’ve reviewed three Disney sequels/continuations this year and gave a positive review to every durn one of ‘em.

“Hey, it’s Old Man Mouse, let’s throw snowballs at him!”

“Why you little…beat it, you sequels!”

“Ooooh, whaddya gonna do? Give us a mixed to positive review?”

“Gasp! They’re not AFRAID of me anymore.”

It was with this in mind that I decided to review Olaf’s Frozen Adventure, Frozen short (well, I say “short”) that got people’s dander up something fierce two years ago when it was released preceding Coco. Whereas people were expecting a nice light, seven minute appetiser, they instead got a hefty twenty-one minute late lunch and the backlash was fierce enough that some theatres actually had signs warning ticket-holders that the snowman movie would be taking up more of their precious lives than they might have budgeted for. And, because it’s the 2010s and life is hell, the movie was also accused of racism, with the reasoning being that Disney were too racist to trust people to come and see a movie about Hispanic people without it being preceded by a short set in Scandinavia before the movie about Hispanic people that they had spent $175 million dollars making.


And yet more!

Dang, I don’t know what I’ve been doing lately to have everyone make it rain up in here but here is ANOTHER new patron! Well, I say new.

Erik Copper is a longtime friend of the blog, was my voice for a brief period and is the long lost scion of an inter planetary race of sentient elements.

New Patrons!

Hi guys, give a warm welcome to our three newest patrons!:

Mackenzie Macklin returned from the Pacific a shattered husk of her former self and set up of a PI firm in post war Los Angeles.

Calagon 1 is an obscure but well-regarded Autobot from the Generation 1 line who is notable for being the first and so far only Transformer where the robot turns into another robot.

Peter Mousseau, Co-Prince of Andorra from 1957 to 1968.

Thanks for your support!