Because I Want To!

Somewhere in space, the final frontier….

As most of you know, life has been kicking me around a lot lately.  Star Trek is one of the few things that has been able to make me smile recently.  With that in mind, here’s a few photos of some of the many strong, intelligent, lovely, and fun ladies of Star Trek.

Enjoy!

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May Update

Lake Charles, LA

2017 has kicked my tail.  I’ve missed every single convention that I hoped to attend so far and will not make it to Southern Geek Fest, either.  Why?  I’ve been really busy with work, family duties (which I’m not complaining about), and life in general.  Money is also tight as well.  With that said, I wanted to give another push for Southern Geek Fest.

SGF has a great lineup this year, and I’m really disappointed that I won’t be making the trip east to hang with my biggest and favorite geek family.  I know that I talk about this group more than most, but they really are that great.  If you can make it to Hattiesburg, MS at the end of this month, do so, you will not regret it.

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The slideshow above is only a small sampling of the wonderful guests that will be present at SGF.  Celebrities from Clerks, Stranger Things, The Walking Dead, and comic artists will be on hand, as well as authors, pro wrestlers, and much, much more.

In other news, Star Trek Continues recently released their latest episode, Still Treads The Shadow.  If you haven’t seen this episode (or any other episode for that matter), check them out here.  There are only a few episodes remaining, so be sure to experience this brilliant fan-made production of Star Trek.

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Photo by Hannah Barucky

Oh, and that image above?  That’s a creation of the super cool Hannah Barucky.  I purchased a print from her awhile ago of Dr. McKennah (portrayed by the lovely Michele Specht).  I hope to one day meet this wonderful lady at a convention in order to thank her personally for her awesome work.  Check out her art, cosplay, and fashion work here.

Well, that’s all I have for now.  2017 has me beaten down a bit, but I’m not out!  Hopefully I will see a few of you in the real world very soon.  As always, thanks for reading!

It’s The Little Things

Over many years…

Well, I didn’t get to attend CyPhaCon like I hoped thanks to the fact that real life once again swooped in at the last second and dealt me a vicious blow that kept me from much of anything over the weekend.  With that in mind, I figured that I would give all of you a glimpse into my world.  I’m literally throwing this together at my office, so don’t expect any amazing photos.

Here goes….

Collector……Hoarder……Stockpiling Fool…..Call me what you will, but I like to collect things.  I’ve collected many things over the years and I don’t see myself stopping any time soon.  Many of my things are stored away, rarely seeing daylight.  Other things, particular mini figures and a few bobbleheads, are displayed either on my shelf at home or at my office.  My office usually features my current addiction, but a few things have managed to stay put over the years that refuse to go into storage.

I have an Ozzy Osbourne bobblehead that has been in my office since I first acquired it (which was roughly at the height of “The Osbournes” fame in the early 00’s).  He has rarely been dusted or even paid much attention to since I placed him on my desk, but every once in awhile I take a look at him and smile.

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My office also features a number of recent Batman and/or DC Comics themed acquisitions such as a classic 1989 Batmobile and the recent 2016 BvS Batmobile.  I also have a ton of mini figures such as the DC Comics’ Lil Bombshells, Funko Pint Size Heroes, Mighty Meeples, and a whole host of other mini figs.

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I’m a sucker for mini figures, but I also like larger figures such as the Star Wars 6″ Black Series figures, standard sized action figures, and the 6″ DC figure line as well.  I also enjoy collecting books, music, and just about anything else I can get my hands on, as the following photos show.

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I’m also a collector of photographs and autographs.  I have binders that I keep all of my autographed photos in and even more binders that include photos that I’ve taken with both celebs and friends over the years.  One great tradition that has been going on since 2011 has been me getting a group shot with the members of Orion’s Envy.  I’ve befriended these wonderful ladies over the years and I probably have more pictures with them than I do with some of my family members!  It’s always fun to see them at conventions.

Below are a few of my photos with friends and celebs, as well as a few autographed pictures, and a special collection of most (but not all) of my photos with Orion’s Envy (and a couple with the Just Us League as well).

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As you might have noticed, my weight has greatly fluctuated over the years.  I’m constantly working on that.  In fact, if you read some of my earliest posts, I actually talk about my weight issues.

So, no CyPhaCon for me over the weekend, but hopefully you’ll accept this glimpse into my collection as an apology.  As always, thank you for reading.  I hope to see some of you out on the trail or at a convention very soon!

Somebody Cue Up “Eye Of The Tiger!”

All Over Alexandria

Two warnings right off the (barbed-wire wrapped) bat:

1.  This post is loaded with spoilers from all over the seventh season, including Sunday’s epic finale.  Avoid at all costs if you’ve missed any of this season.

2.  I’ll probably go into Shiva overload before this post is over.  You’ve been warned!

With that out of the way, let’s get down to business.

Sunday’s season finale of The Walking Dead was one of the best ones yet.  It ended on a note of unity and confidence, two things that were gravely absent most of this season.  We witnessed the Scavengers turn on Rick and company at the worst possible moment.  I have to admit that while things were falling into place for the beginning of the war, I had my suspicions about Jadis (Pollyanna McIntosh) and her crew.  What really tipped me off was the way that the Scavenger sniper leered at Michonne (Danai Gurira) while they were setting up and her, “We win!” remark while swapping places with Michonne.

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The episode unfolded while we were given snippets of a vision Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green) was having while riding in a coffin to Alexandria.  The vision came in the form of Sasha talking to her deceased (by way of Negan) lover, Abraham (Michael Cudlitz).  She was also listening to some sweet tunes provided by Eugene (Josh McDermitt).  Eugene also provided her with a pill he created earlier in the season for some of Negan’s wives.  It was meant to kill Negan, but Eugene refused to take the risk and didn’t give it to the wives.  Sasha made the decision to sacrifice herself in order to get one last shot at Negan and possibly save her friends in Alexandria and The Hilltop.

Meanwhile, Rick (Andrew Lincoln), the Alexandrians, and the Scavengers were preparing for war against the Saviors.  Little did they know that the Kingdom and the Hilltop were also planning to attend the festivities, and their presence would pay off in spades later in the episode.

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Dwight (Austin Amelio), fresh from giving himself up to Rosita, offers to help Rick bring down Negan from the inside.  Nobody trusts him except for Daryl (Norman Reedus), and even Daryl’s trust in him is weak, but the group decides to let Dwight return to the Sanctuary so that plans can be put into motion.

Cut back to the moment where the Scavengers have betrayed the Alexandrians.  The Scavengers have confiscated the guns from Rick’s group and have them pretty much surrounded.  Michonne realizes what’s going on but is immediately jumped by the Scavenger sniper.

Negan says that Sasha (safely tucked away in a coffin on a flatbed truck) can help make things right with the group.  When Negan opens the coffin, though, a zombiefied Sasha leaps out at him in one last heroic attempt to take him down.

Not even flinching, Carl (Chandler Riggs) sees the surprise as an opportunity, grabs his gun, and starts shooting.  Other members of Rick’s group do the same.  Chaos ensues.  Soon enough, though, Negan and Jadis’ groups regain control and Rick and Carl find themselves in a very familiar and very uncomfortable spot.

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With that being said, Rick still mouths off to Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and reminds him that he will, no matter what, kill him.  Negan decides to take his own confusion and fury out on Carl, but midway through the first swing of Lucille, a surprise attack comes out of nowhere.  That surprise?  None other than Shiva, King Ezekiel’s pet tiger!

The big cat’s attack heralds the arrival of the Kingdom and the Hilltop communities.  Scavengers and Saviors run for safety, and Negan, completely shocked and, for the first time, a little bit scared of what’s going down, makes a mad dash for his truck.  Ezekiel screams that Alexandria will not fall that day and Maggie leads the Hilltop’s charge, barking sure orders to the left and right.

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A side by side look at the CGI Shiva attack and the “real” Shiva, a stuntman, in action.

I let out a yell of “Shiva!” when she appeared on the screen.  I then screamed out Ezekiel’s name, Carol’s name, Morgan’s name, Maggie’s name, and pretty much anybody else from either community that I recognized.  It was a glorious moment and the biggest highlight of the season.  All of the poor CGI from earlier in the season was forgotten.  All of the somewhat drawn out episodes were forgiven.  It all led up to this beautiful, wonderful, tiger-fueled moment and it…..was……GLORIOUS!

Negan and his crew bolted, middle finger held high, but they knew that for the first time in their existence that a potential threat to their safety had arrived.  The combined forces of the Alexandria Safe Zone, the Hilltop, and the Kingdom will definitely be a formidable opponent, and I can’t wait to see what season eight has in store for us.

As I warned y’all earlier, I’m going to have a Shiva love fest for a bit.  That big cat scared the crap out of Negan and all of his crew.  Negan was caught with his pants down and was made to look like a fool.  How in the world are they going to fight a tiger?  Shiva is fast, silent, and strong.  She adds an entirely new weapon to the mix.  I just hope that the production crew holds off on any other lackluster CGI in the show and focuses strictly on Shiva.

I’d also like to point out how quick Carl was to react whenever Walker Sasha tried to eat Negan’s face.  The kid is tougher and smarter than his father most of the time, and that’s saying something.  He accepted his fate at the hands of Negan THREE TIMES this season.  He’s definitely got some brass in the ol’ Fruit of the Looms!

Ezekiel (Khary Payton) has definitely injected some life into the series.  As I’ve stated before, Negan doesn’t impress me that much.  He’s too slight to be physically imposing and I find it hard to buy him as a feared leader.  King Ezekiel, on the other hand, has charisma, a booming voice, and can look very imposing with that hair and….that….TIGER!  Payton does a brilliant job in the role, and I hope that Ezekiel stays around for a long time.

That’s all I have for this week.  I hope to see some of you this weekend at CyPhaCon in Lake Charles, LA.  Online registration is closed, but you can purchase tickets at the door.  Folks in the Lake Area will get to see a couple of familiar faces in Chuck Huber and Luciana Carro, both of whom have attended other conventions in the area.  If I remember correctly, this will be Huber’s third visit to the area and Carro’s second.  Her first visit was for ConDuLac, the defunct convention that bore CyPhaCon and a second convention which has also shuttered its doors, BayouCon.

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Julian Glover (Star Wars, Game of Thrones, James Bond) will also be in attendance. I hope to meet him this weekend.

I plan on attending late Friday night, Saturday afternoon or evening and possibly on Sunday.  If you’re in attendance, come say hello!

As always, thanks for reading.  I’ll post a follow-up on CyPhaCon next week and then I’ll start prepping for Southern Geek Fest at the end of May!

“Walk” Right Up!

Lake Charles, LA

The Walking Dead has definitely had a peculiar season seven.  Some fans loved the violent opening that finally revealed the victim of Negan’s brutal attack.  They were shocked when Lucille, Negan’s beloved barb wired bat, dealt a second death to a character that was very near and dear to viewers of the show.  Many viewers (and I’m betting that most of them were casual) believed that the violence in that episode was a bit too much for viewers, and demanded changes to the levels of violence in the program.

Where in the heck have these people been since season one?  Oh, well, AMC folded to the complaints and apparently a lot of the gore that we would have seen this season was reduced to wide angle shots and audio-only deaths.

BEWARE!  SPOILERS AHEAD FOR SEASON 7!!!!  STOP NOW IF YOU HAVEN’T WATCHED THIS SEASON YET!!!!!

From there, the show went on what many consider to be a hit-and-miss cycle of episodes.  Many of these episodes focused on just one or two characters, like The Well, which caught up with Morgan and Carol, and Swear, a Tara-centric episode.  I enjoyed both of these episodes, and pretty much every other character driven episode like these, with the only exception being the Rick and Michonne lovefest known as Say Yes.

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Other episodes saw our beloved heroes attempting to acquire support against the Saviors from the Hilltop community, the Scavengers, and the Kingdom, all with varying degrees of success.  The Scavengers, lead by the bizarre Jadis, agreed to an alliance after uneasy (and violent) negotiations in New Best Friends.  This carried over into the Say Yes episode, as did a considerable amount of poor CGI, but I’m not going to talk about that today.  The Kingdom refused, but despite this, Rick found allies within the group, particularly Richard.

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As the season wore on,  Richard tried unsuccessfully to force the Kingdom to join with the Alexandrians by setting up Carol to be murdered by the Saviors and then attempting to sacrifice himself but failing in that attempt only to have young Benjamin die instead.  The result of Richard’s actions led to the return of the voices in Morgan’s head, as he brutally choked Richard to death in front of a gang of Saviors and King Ezekiel.  I was so glad to see crazy Morgan back, as well as crazy Carol after she reunited with Daryl and found out about Abraham and Glenn.

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Last night’s episode, The Other Side, gave us a slightly deeper look into the life of Jesus, revealed even more friction between the Hilltop’s leader, Gregory, and Maggie, who is quickly building her own following within the community, and focused primarily on Sasha and Rosita as they set out to murder Negan.

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Rosita’s vengeance has clouded her mind, making her want to infiltrate the Savior’s compound and kill Negan.  Sasha, the levelheaded member of the duo, believes that it is best to shoot Negan from a distance.  Rosita is eventually convinced that Sasha’s sniper technique is the best method to use, and while waiting for the perfect shot, the pair iron out their differences over Abraham.  When Sasha can’t get a clear shot, Rosita’s desperation plan goes into effect.

The pair make a failed attempt to free Eugene from the Saviors.  After successfully making it to the front gate of the compound, Sasha and Rosita offer to free Eugene.  He refuses their help and runs back into the compound.  This sets off the community, and Sasha seals herself inside the compound after tricking Rosita to stay outside of the gates.  She tells Rosita that she’ll get another chance and then runs off into the compound.  Rosita runs off and then the camera focuses on her shocked face whenever she sees a figure watching her.

Who is it?  Rumors are flying around, but you’ll have to wait until next week to find out.

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With that brief summary out of the way, I have to say that this season has been lacking.  I’m a huge fan of the character development episodes (heck, I enjoyed season two, the heavily loaded character developing season that many fans hate with a passion), but only a few of them were strong this season.  There were a lot of boring sequences (and that dumb Easy Street song) that made watching some of the episodes quite a task.  Also, the CGI was noticeably horrible in the two episodes I mentioned earlier in this post.  I’m assuming that the background behind Rick in New Best Friends and the wretched deer from Say Yes were a result of AMC throwing all of their money into Ezekiel’s tiger, Shiva.  If that’s the case, lay off of the CGI until Shiva shows up in a scene!  Shiva has looked pretty awesome for a television series CGI animal, but don’t sacrifice the rest of the show just for the cat.

On the plus side, I’ve grown to really enjoy the performance of Steven Ogg, who portrays Simon, one of Negan’s most trusted leaders in the Saviors.  In all honesty, he’s more imposing than Negan.  There’s no showboating with a bat or excessive leaning back.  Simon’s just straight up untrustworthy.  I love that about the guy.  In last night’s episode, I’m not sure if he was truly wanting to help Gregory or setting him up for a fall.  That difficult to decipher demeanor and the added bit of “just one wrong word shy of crazy” makes Simon one of my favorite characters this season.

Oh, and even though Jeffrey Dean Morgan is an excellent actor, I still believe that he is a poor choice to portray Negan.

Well, I’ve blabbed enough.  As always, thanks for reading.  If you enjoyed this post, feel free to share it on social media.  I’ll be hitting the con scene in the very near future, so look for me if you feel the need to do so.

I’m Jealous!

Not At A Convention!

I have to admit that I am super jealous of all of my friends that have been attending conventions this year.  Many of them went to Wizard World NOLA earlier this year, but this weekend a ton of them headed over to Pensacola, FL for Pensacon!  It’s one of my wishlist conventions to attend because they seem to bring the big guns every year as far as guests go.

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You don’t know how hard it was to see my friends taking photos with the likes of Sophie Aldred (frickin’ Ace from Doctor Who!), John Wesley Shipp (The Flash, the original frickin’ Flash!), and Lita Ford (a legend in hard rock and my ex-wife in way too many dreams).  It pained me to see Ming from Comic Book Men hanging out with my friends in Southern Geek and Southern Geek Fest.  It bruised my innards whenever I saw that the Nature Boy, Ric Flair, was also a part of the festivities.

To top it all off, Pensacon had the audacity to really rub it in my face by announcing guests for next year’s event (February 23-25) including Lou Ferrigno (The Incredi-frickin’-ble Hulk), Paul Blake (gosh darned Greedo from Star Wars), former WWE star Lita (she hangs out in my dreams with Lita sometimes!), and Frazer flippin’ Hines, Jamie from Doctor Who!  Don’t you dare click here to learn about this year’s event and to keep up with what’s happening next year!  Hopefully the scheduling gods will smile upon me and I’ll get to attend this wonderful event!

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You’re probably thinking:  Ken, why don’t you just go to one of your all-time favorite conventions, CoastCon!  Brilliant idea, you!  Except for the fact that I have work scheduled for that weekend!  CoastCon truly is one of my favorite conventions.  It’s one of the oldest fan-run conventions in the southern United States and it’s celebrating forty years this year!

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This wonderful event decided to stick it to me this year, inviting some of the coolest guests that they’ve ever had like Oded Fehr.  You know this guy.  He’s killed mummies in the flippin’ The Mummy franchise, taken on zombies in the Resident Evil franchise, and dominated in Showtime’s Sleeper Cell.  To make the fact that I’m going to miss this event even worse, they’ve added awesome authors like Claudia Gray and the Gothic Queen Supreme (and Facebook friend) Kimberly Richardson!  They’ve also thrown in stuntman, actor, and all-around cool guy (and friend), John Mangus!

This excellent event is taking place March 3-5 at the lovely Mississippi Coast Coliseum and Convention Center.  Visit their webpage for more information about this great, long-running convention.

Okay, okay.  So I missed Pensacon and won’t be able to attend CoastCon.  What about something a tad more local?  CyPhaCon, perhaps?

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Yeah, it’d be awesome to attend CyPhaCon, which has consistently put on awesome events in Lake Charles, LA and will do so again from April 7-9, but work is going to prevent me from attending the bulk of the convention.  Hopefully I’ll get to visit on Saturday afternoon and meet Julian Glover (Star Wars, Game of frickin’ Thrones), Chuck Huber (Bones from Star Trek Continues and anime vocal mastermind), and the lovely Luciana Carro (Battlestar Galactica).  I’ve met Luciana at CyPhaCon before, and she’s an awesome lady.

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To really bust my chops, CyPhaCon also added the very talented Jessica Von Braun, who happens to be one of my favorite artists.  My family loves her work as well.  There’s going to be awesome tunes, awesome authors, and all sorts of cool panels to attend.  Check them out here and see what all the fuss is about.

Despite missing all or most of some of these wonderful events, the month of May has graciously offered me a small window to attend another of my favorite events, Southern Geek Fest.  This one is close to my heart, as I’ve become good friends with many of the folks that are a part of this event and love the fact that Southern Geek, a Facebook group, gave birth to this wonderful convention.

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Southern Geek Fest will feature tons of awesome artists, authors, and panels, as well as a lot of celebrity guests and cosplayers as well.  One of my favorite wrestlers of all time, Hacksaw Jim Duggan, will be in attendance, as well as Peyton Wich of Stranger Things, Victor Gischler (who has done work on titles such as Deadpool and The Punisher), and one of the loveliest, friendliest cosplayers on the circuit, Kimberly Battista.

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Oh, and rumor has it that DDK will make his triumphant return to Hattiesburg, MS once again and turn it into Hottiesburg!  Visit SGF’s webpage to learn more about the event.  I promise that you’ll have a great time!

So, I might be jealous of all my friends at the moment, but whenever I return from SGF with an autograph and photo from Hacksaw and a pic with the wonderful Kimberly Battista, we’ll see who’s jealous then!

As always, thanks for reading.  If you happen to attend any of these events, especially CyPhaCon and/or SGF, be sure to drop me a line so that we can meet in person!

Give Monster Trucks A Chance!

In An Almost Empty Theater

A couple of weekends ago I had the opportunity to spend an entire Saturday with my son and no one else.  The rest of my family was involved in an event that I was not obligated to attend and my son didn’t want to attend, so we had a Father/Son day.  We did the standard family things like eat at a restaurant, have ice cream for dessert, and buy one or two goodies just for ourselves.

We decided to check out a film as well.  The only problem was that there weren’t very many options for us.  Most of the films showing at our local cinema were either rated R or not at all interesting to the both of us. We settled on seeing Monster Trucks.  It was PG, family friendly, had monsters INSIDE of trucks, and looked like it would contain enough action to hold our attention.

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In all honesty I wasn’t expecting much from the film (and I don’t believe my son expected much either).  We were just happy to sit together at the movies, share Coke and popcorn, and get away for a little while.  After watching Monster Trucks, though, we left the theater feeling pleasantly surprised.

The film stars Lucas Till (X-Men:  First Class, MacGyver reboot) as Tripp, a young man who doesn’t like his home situation or his mom’s boyfriend (gamely played by Barry Pepper).  He helps out at a local scrapyard/tow truck service run by Mr. Weathers (Danny Glover), who gives Tripp parts from different vehicles to help him complete the construction of his own monster truck from the ground up.

Nearby, a company is drilling for oil when they come upon an underwater lake that appears to have a thriving ecosystem within it.  The company’s owner (Rob Lowe, in a wickedly fun small role) pushes his crew to continue with their drilling work.  This leads to three subterranean creatures escaping through the drill site.  Lowe has his crew capture two of the three creatures, but one of them escapes.  That creature eventually finds its way to Mr. Weathers’ scrapyard and after a humorous encounter, it befriends Tripp.  Tripp gives it the name “Creech” and he and a would-be love interest, Meredith (Jane Levy), team up to rescue the other creatures and return them home.

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The duo gets help from Mr. Weathers, Rick (Barry Pepper), one of the scientists (Thomas Lennon) that works for the oil company that captured the creatures, and a few others in order to save Creech and the other creatures.  What follows in a huge chase involving trucks with monsters for motors, a sinister henchman (Holt McCallany), the local sheriff, and lots of special effects.

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The film is lighthearted, sometimes silly, but ultimately a very family friendly yarn that will please most children under the age of ten.  I don’t even believe that one strong word is uttered in the film.  There’s a little violence and action, but none of it comes across as too unsettling.

The creatures are funny.  They tugged at the heartstrings of young and old audience members alike.  The special effects are excellent as well.

The cast is extremely solid, especially for a family film.  Lowe, Glover, Whaley, Pepper, and Lennon all deliver solid performances in supporting roles.  Till and Levy have great chemistry on the screen as well.

Ultimately there is nothing overly amazing about this film.  It’s just a simple, funny, family flick.  It’s the perfect distraction for an afternoon with the youngsters.

So, ignore the professional critics and the idiots on Rotten Tomatoes.  This film is worth a watch.

As always, thanks for reading.  I’ll have more movie reviews, Ten Burning Questions, and lots of other stuff.