My Top 5 Naruto Arcs

My Top 5 Naruto Arcs

Greetings all,

A slow news week on the writing front allows me to play a bit for my Saturday post. I’m watching Naruto with my sons, which is something I’ve always dreamed of doing. That got me to thinking, “What were my five favorite arcs?”

By arc, I mean a storyline from beginning to end. Maybe one day I’ll do “episodes” or “fights,” but since we just recently finished my number one, I wanted to do this list.


This spans the entire Naruto Saga, both Shippuden and the original. You might be shocked by some I leave out. How did I make the list. I just sat there for a few minutes and wondered which five would come to mind. The first five that came up won. That doesn’t mean there weren’t great arcs, but these arcs jumped out at me.

Number 5: The Quest to Save Gaara: I don’t know about you all, but I cry every time Gaara wakes up and sees all those people surrounding him. I have a soft spot for redemption stories, and to see how far Gaara had come was just a great way to really kick off the Shippuden ark. Sure, there was a lot of waiting and way more exposition than I wanted, but we also get Kakashi’s magekyo and the cool puppet fight. It falls short because of the exposition, but it’s definitely worthy of the top five for me.



Number 4:  The Chunin Exams:  The first reason I love this arc is the sheer number of great fights. If you consider the exams to be from the test of confidence to the end of the Gaara fight, you have a lot of action to go with. I’d rank this in the top five alone just for Gaara, but his fight with Rock Lee and the saga with the third is more emotional to me than I suppose others. The action of each fight and Gaara’s story puts this in the top five, but the lag (how long did that monkey hold that stupid sword for?) it doesn’t get any farther than number four. This is the saga where you learn about the rookie nine and Guy’s team. We meet Lee, who I love. We see Naruto grow and Sasuke’s arc truly begin.



Number 3: The Naruto Bridge:  I don’t know if anyone else would put this on their top five, but I don’t think I fall in love with this show if I don’t watch that arc. This is the story where we first see the power of the fox. This is where Naruto chooses his ninja way. This is where Sasuke and Naruto begin their rivalry and start to grow together. I also have a soft spot for mentors and students or adopted father roles. As far as a true introduction to the show, I really thought this was a nice launching point for the series. I put this above the Chunin Exams because those exams made us wait an awful long time for the cool stuff. Sure, it was cool when things happened, but man I we every bit as frustrated with the lag of the backstories and that third fight. The Naruto Bridge story was complete and concise, and I give it higher marks for that.



Number 2: The Asuma Ark: The Rasenshuriken alone would have been enough to get on the list, but man, Shikamaru shines! The way he plotted out that whole fight before even leaving the village is just masterful! The fights are great. Asuma’s death was so tragic (though not the most tragic). Seeing all this come together made for such a rewarding end and a beautiful set up for future arcs.



Number 1: The Pain Arc: Now, I consider this to be from Jiraiya’s entrance to the hidden rain to Nagato’s Rebirth, you have what I feel is unquestionably the saddest death, the greatest hero moment (Naruto’s return), the best fight amid a host of cool fights, and Konohamaru uses the Rasengan! I haven’t even stopped to talk about Minato’s appearance and reveal. Most fans had this theory pegged, but that didn’t make it any less satisfying.



I’m sure there are at least two arcs you all feel should go on this list that aren’t here, and I’m not saying they were bad. They’d definitely be on a top ten list, but these always pop right into my head when I think about Naruto. But feel free to give me your list.

Thanks for watching,



My Top 5 Music Themed Movies

My Top 5 Music Themed Movies

Greetings all,

Poster for Bohemian Rhapsody used for review purposes under fair use doctrine.


So apparently getting married is time consuming. Who knew? My post is a tad late, and I blame Freddie Mercury. We just saw the movie, and I enjoyed it. It’s a great mix of biography and musical fun. I’m pretty sure Julie and I sang through the last half of the movie. (No one complained. They might have been singing along.  I honestly couldn’t tell.) The movie felt raw. I don’t feel as though it held back. It wasn’t the tribute to homosexuality some may argue it was, nor did it ignore that part of Mercury’s life. I read one review that said it was more about the band than Mercury; that’s false. This is absolutely a Mercury biography, only it focused much more on the creation of his music than it did his lifestyle choices.  I enjoyed the music as I always have.

The thing is though, I love pretty much ANY movie that has anything to do with music. So when I got home and suddenly realized I’m supposed to post today, I couldn’t think of anything better than my top 5 list of best music themed movies.

This is, of course, my list. You’re free to comment, offer your own list, tell me what you think of mine, or all of the above.

#5 Eddie and the Cruisers 2:  So, the first thing I’m going to tell you is that I love hero moments. There’s nothing better than when you’re watching a movie, and you want to jump out of your seat and shout, and all of these movies have it. You might not have heard of Eddie and the Cruisers, much less it’s sequel Eddie Lives, but it’s the first movie I can remember watching that was about a band trying to make it. It might not be that good a movie. I haven’t seen it since I was a kid, but I can still probably sing at least two songs, and I love the scene where he says, “…and I’m Eddie Wilson!” Then the fans chant his name.

The movie stars Wilson, who had faked his death and tried to live obscurely, writing music, looking for the perfect sound. Along comes a young rocker who convinces Wilson to Jam with him. Before he knows it, he’s leading a band. There are a lot of great quotes here, my favorite is: “I want music someone can wrap around themselves like a warm blanket.” This is true of what I like in my music. Songs that stick with you and warm you up no matter what.

Poster for Coyote Ugly used for review purposes under fair use doctrine. 

#4 Coyote Ugly: Yes, you read that right. Remember what I said about hero moment? First of, come on, Piper Perabo is as talented as she is beautiful, and her portrayal of a shy girl finding her chance to shine is fantastic. Yes, pretty women doing alluring things might have got a young man to sit down in front of the TV, but the songs and the creation of music is what kept me watching. Also, she’s a writer/performer in the show, and that’s just awesome!

#3 Bandslam: If I feel down. If I feel cast off or sad, I watch this movie. Frankly, everything about this movie is touching and powerful. It might be one of the better coming of age movies of all time as well. (Go ahead, @me on this!) All of these movies have a great hero moment, but this one is the best. This young man takes his most shaming part of his life, and, in the heat of a moment, turns it into a cry of victory.

#2 August Rush: If you watch this, and you don’t cry at the end, you have no soul.  So, I probably like this more because it’s about a kid, and I have a soft spot for kids finding their families again. But even if you just watch it for the music, you see the heart of what makes music wonderful. It’s organic. It’s alive, and to those who are blessed, it calls out to you. The love story is amazing. The journey to knowledge is wonderful. The music is electric.

Movie poster for Mr. HOlland’s Opus used for review purposes under fair use doctrine.

#1 Mr. Holland’s Opus: I’ve mentioned you may share your list with me, but any list that doesn’t have this as number one is wrong. (Again,  go ahead, @me on this!) This movie has everything: A great hero moment, wonderful music, the struggles of the passion of music, love, family, and one of the best musical histories you could ever ask for. I don’t know that it has the best of any of those categories, but it absolutely is the only movie I’ve ever seen that has them all.

So that’s my list? What do you think? What does your list look like?

Thanks for reading


Facing Fears: A Different Sort of Review for the Movie “IT”

Facing Fears: A Different Sort of Review for the Movie “IT”
This is about the right age.

Let’s start with the prologue:

I must have been between 8-10 years old when I saw the TV mini-series “IT.” From the moment that damn boat fell into the storm drain until even now, that movie haunted me. I’ll be blunt.

I don’t think I slept for a year. I wouldn’t go anywhere near a storm drain. Don’t even get me started on how I responded to clowns. My mom would put on a movie and let me fall asleep watching that (Best of the Best if you’re curious). Even as recently as last week, I had a wake-up-shouting, turn-on-the-lights nightmare involving a certain dancing clown.

However, if any of you remember a certain post I wrote a while back regarding my opinion of fear, this post is me putting a certain degree of action behind those words.

I’m always afraid. Ever minute of every day. The list of things I’d said I was afraid of in the aforementioned post is still true. So is my response to it.

So, tonight, I mustered up my courage (and a fairly high number of Facebook support for my alter ego’s page), and went to see the movie. I begged (twice) for someone to show up and watch it with me, but it wasn’t to be. So it was with a racing heartbeat and memories of a 10-year-old version of myself taking a different street if the one he was on had a storm drain, that I went into the theater, sat down, and got ready to watch the new version of “IT.”

I sat down in my favorite spot (first large isle, far-right seat. I can put my feet up, and I can head to the bathroom without stepping over or in front of anyone). I could feel my fear starting to nag at me, so I pulled out my phone and started playing a game while I waited for the movie to start.

That’s when a fucking clown walked into the movie theater holding a red ballon.

21430154_10154596722857142_281902408187726966_nI didn’t move. It was either freeze or run out of the theater. I held still. The damn clown sat right behind me.

At this point, I was strongly considering my position on telling fear what it can do to itself. I snapped a cell phone image of the event, but I wasn’t the only one. The clown became an oddly creepy, horrifying celebrity. Once the clown realized he was the center of attention, he did something cool. He stood up and walked to the side of the theater where dozens of people all lined up to get a cell phone.  (I didn’t do that….I like breathing.)

They all got their images without winding up a snack before the movie, and that all by itself did a lot to actually  set my mind at ease.

The previews ran; the music started, and the movie began.

It started out exactly like the original. It wasn’t the frame for frame rip off that X-Men: First Class was, but it was pretty much in lock step until the USS Georgie hit the water.

That’s when this movie did a thing that broke from the original at the expense of a lot of fear. It traded in goure for tension and suspense. I’ve seen the Saw films. I’ve seen action movies and anime. They aren’t scary; they’re gory. What I can tell you is the scene from the modern version could never come close to the nightmares I had when I was a kid. By showing the action, the director gave the viewer an out. It actually provided closure in a sort of way. Hitchcock was the greatest at this. DON’T show the viewer what’s going on. Let him be uncomfortable. Let his own hyperactive imagination to the scaring for you.

Which brings me to another point a friend of mine mentioned, which I happen to agree with: I think viewers SHOULDN’T compare Skarsgard’s interpretation to Curry’s. That’s unfair to either. I’m not going to talk about the acting, I’m going to talk about the other aspect of why this modern version didn’t haunt me like the original.

No, this isn’t Skarsgard’s image, but I tried carefully, even under the protection of review. So this Pixabay image will have to be enough.

Skarsgard’s persona is clearly terrifying. He absolutely sent chills down my spine every time I saw him, but that’s what was wrong with it. The most frightening things I think (and I promise a lot of those fears come from the original mini-series) are the usually mundane things in creepy situations. The obviously evil all the time appearance wasn’t nearly as haunting as the seemingly normal Pennywise Curry portrayed.  Again, both actors did a wonderful job (in my opinion) playing the part, but twisted normalcy is more frightening to me than outright creepy from the get go.

These two things are what separated one from the other for me. The original would still give me nightmares for days. This one didn’t because it showed more and never really gave viewers that sense of betrayal. When we feel safe, and then have that safety ripped from us, fear is more powerful.

Before you decide not to bother seeing the movie, I should tell you it was a good movie. I’ll admit that it’s more blunt on certain sub plots that are honestly huge turn-offs for me. But it does some things right.

One thing I’ll say is the side characters felt more real to me. Well…I guess it’s MORE accurate to say characters I didn’t care at all for in the original were more fleshed out in this one. The original miniseries left some of the characters pretty flat. This movie gave them all more sympathy.

The lighting and shooting of this movie were great. The relationship between the characters felt more real.

In short, “IT” was a solid movie if you’re a fan of horror. Yes, I think the original was better because it had a bigger impact. But, I was also about 10 at the time. If you’re willing to wait as long as Billy had to get a second crack at Pennywise, then we can ask those who were watching it tonight how they slept the next 27 years.

people-2577929_960_720What this experience did for me on a more-cathartic level was help me move past some of those childhood fears. (No, if a clown knocks on my door, I’m getting my shotgun, but I might warn him before shooting…I might.)  I suppose the only thing left to do would be to watch the original, and see how may of those childhood issues come back, but

I’m not sure I need to do that. What I wanted to do was prove that no movie should control a person’s fear. While I’m still uncomfortable around actual clowns (I worked at McDonalds for a number of years, and I’m happy to say Ronald never showed…I would have gotten fired.), I came out of that movie feeling like I’d done what I went to do. I saw the movie, and didn’t feel the need to stay up all night. Now, I haven’t gone to sleep, so who knows what my amazing imagination is going to produce (I am a writer after all, and when I DO dream, they’re usually vivid).  As it stand though, I feel good. I feel a bit relieved.

People should never live in fear. They shouldn’t let fear dictate what they do, and this was another opportunity to deny fear any power over me. For those who were just curious as to how the movies lined up, I hope this was useful to you as well.

Thanks for reading,


I Have a Youtube Channel!

I Have a Youtube Channel!

I had an idea a while back. I love this blog, but the primary function of my posts are analytical in function. I love it, and I’m honestly a very analytical person, but I love geeking out too. So I figured it would be fun to create a Youtube channel designed to cater to the more “fan” side of me. That’s why I named the show FanTalk. I’ve done two episodes so far. I plan for them to be weekly episodes.

I’ll offer top 5 or top 10 episodes. I’ll talk about movies I just watched or TV episodes that caught my eye. It’s different because I’m really just having fun with it. It’s new, and there’s work to be done, but I wanted to share it with you all.  Feel free to head over here and have a look. I hope you like what you see, subscribe, and comment.

Just a quick update this weekend. I hope you had a merry Christmas and a happy New Year!

Thanks for reading,


I’m just Saying I Told You So

I’m just Saying I Told You So
Cover and feature image taken from for reporting of a newsworthy event under Fair Use Doctrine.

My first post on this website was one where I discussed books I felt would make a great Cinematic Universes.  I was elated a few weeks ago when I learned that DMG Entertainment made a licensing and film deal for Brandon Sanderson’s Comere Universe.  Here’s a link to TOR’s announcement.

The team has already selected screenwriters for The Way of Kings. It also appears as if The Final Empire is on the horizon.

My reaction:

First off, I’m totally geeked out about it. I didn’t just select this book because I thought it’d make a good universe; I selected it because I WANT to see these movies. If I ruled the world, I’d rather see the Mistborn movies first, but I trust Sanderson as a creator. He wouldn’t just hand his work to anyone for any reason. Everything this man does is done with purpose and the desire to tell the best story possible.

So that’s it for today.  I just wanted to be a smug SOB for a moment and celebrate the news. No, I don’t think my blog had anything to do with it, but it doesn’t devalue the idea.

So now that we know what movie is coming up first, any dream casting? Who would you cast as Kalidin or Syl? Do you think they made the right call going with Stormlight first?

Thanks for reading