The Last Heist: It’s pretty awful

Watched a movie this morning. One of those straight-to-video-on-demand ones. You can get it for $4 on Amazon, if you like. I’m not going to link to it, because you should save your cash. Buy half a beer instead. Better investment of your time. Silly me, I spent the $4.

It actually has a great premise. Here’s the plot: Heist movie. Bad guys rob a bank to get at a safety deposit box with $100 million in it. Except that one of the people in a bank turns out to be a serial killer… played by Henry Freakin’ Rollins.

Now, that sounds pretty awesome, right? Like Die Hard, but twisted. Well, for a such a great idea, they really turned out one terrible movie.


First, let’s get this out of the way. If you love Henry Rollins, then you’ll find that his performance is very good. He’s actually not in the movie a bunch, which is probably the main problem with it. But when he is on screen, he completely is the whole movie. Best acting in the film, and he’s just playing a guy who is covered in blood, standing perfectly still, and talking a little bit like a very calm crazy-eyed preacher. Not a whole hell of a lot of “range” in his performance is my point.. and still he’s the best in the whole movie. By a mile.

The second best acting in this film is that of the burrito truck guy who has like three lines near the beginning of the movie and is never seen again.

Everybody else: they really, really suck. Like, their performances are easily the worst I’ve ever seen. Stilted, awkward, not delivered as if they’re, you know, in any form of stress. No, because either robbing a place or being held hostage is a totally stress free environment.

The robbers are naturally a diverse cast of men, women, one black guy, etc. Standard. The guy that plays Washington (aka the black guy) actually isn’t half bad. He manages to eek out a bit of stress from the situation, but he just doesn’t have the necessary material to work with here. Not his fault. He’s okay, I’ve seen him before, but I’m darned if I can tell you in what. Probably a CSI episode or something.

But the point is that you actually want Bernard (Henry) to kill them all, partially because they’re stupid and annoying, but mainly so that Henry can get more screen time. Seriously, he has so little screen time that it looks like they shot his scenes over a weekend or two. Given the rest of the movie though, that’s probably true.

In fact, this kind of looks like the type of movie you make when all your budget involves borrowing props from other movies being shot nearby, and using locations where your brother works or your friend has the keys for the place over the weekend.

None of this is helped much by the horrible effects that they used. Muzzle flashes don’t look like that outside of photoshop, guys. Guns don’t fire that way. The ridiculous CGI cartoon like pinging of bullets against the walls that somehow fail to do any damage, even when you’re firing an automatic rifle at what is clearly sheetrock… It’s that bad. And the performances of every single actor shooting any form of weapon here really, truly, showcases that they have never actually shot a gun in their life outside of a Call of Duty game. Nobody really stands up, screams like an idiot, and does a one armed rapid fire spray of bullets. This isn’t a video game, you idiot. Despite your Payday style masks.

Oh, by the way, since the budget clearly couldn’t afford things like blanks for the guns (the gunfire is all just mimed, seriously, it’s that bad, I could go on), so where’d they get a bank to film in? They didn’t, instead it’s a “safety deposit box location” in what appears to be the warehouse district. So, today’s color scheme will be “gray”, and “dark”. Most of it looks filmed inside what looks like disused office space, probably over the weekend.

Any good heist story has twists, and the twists in this particular story number about 8. All of them are easily spotted well in advance, of course, because the script is laughably bad. Arguments between characters seem to exist only to pad out the runtime, which is thankfully short to start with. Every argument makes no sense. Every character is unlikable because of it. Every action taken by the would-be-robbers is stupid in the extreme. None of it makes a damn bit of sense. And every plot element is not only explained, but explained multiple times.

Early on in the movie, they move to a backup plan, which involves opening a hole into an old disused elevator hidden in the building. Fair enough. One guy starts breaking a hole in the wall in a back room.
Later on, we see him continuing to break this hole in sheetrock and bricks.
Later on, somebody asks for his progress on making said hole.
Later on, he has dug said hole, and we discover that voila, there’s an elevator door behind it.
Later on, we see him wander off to the electrical closet to try to get power to it.
Later on, two cops who broke in and are sneaking around find the elevator doors and move on.
Later on, the power comes on, he wanders back, and we get a shot of him pressing the call button to get access to a now working elevator.
Later on, when the bad guy is talking to the corrupt cop, the corrupt cop says something like “so, was your backup plan to use the elevator?” and bad guy says “you know about that?”.
Later on, corrupt cop uses the elevator and we get a shot of him pressing the freakin’ call button.
I mean, at some point, shouldn’t an editor recognize that he’s padding the film out pointlessly? The whole movie is like this, in many ways. The story as filmed would better fit into an episode of a TV show. And not a very good TV show.

Because you’re not going to see this movie, and you shouldn’t, then I feel okay spoiling the ending for you. Henry lives, pretty much everybody else dies. I don’t even consider that a spoiler. He’s clearly the (anti-)hero of the piece, and he’s a crazy serial killer who cuts out people’s eyes. Everybody else is simply so unlikable that you want that guy to win. Which, of course, he does.

Henry, please, go back to making good films. Remember when you had that role in Heat? I know it was a long time ago, but come on. You’ve clearly got the chops to be in good films. We still love you, man. :)

Thoughts on Hearthstone

Hearthstone is a game I like to play when I get a few minutes here or there. Fun to play, the matches are relatively short, new cards appearing every so often keeps it interesting. If you have not played it, but want a fun and free game, give it a try. Works pretty good on phones, great on tablets and PCs.

Whispers of the Old Gods Logo
And there’s a new expansion coming out next week

Anyway, here’s my thoughts on the recently announced nerfs which will be accompanying the new expansion next week. If you’re not into Hearthstone or gaming, you might just skip this post. :)

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On Terry Pratchett


When I was a kid, I found about Sci-Fi and Fantasy novels from my dad very early on. He had quite a large collection, including an original paperback of Dune (in sadly terrible condition), lots of the ERB Princess of Mars collection (NSF kids, BTW), and all sorts of assorted good collections from the 60s and 70s. Heinlein, Asimov, Clarke, just everything. About 200 to 300 novels.

At one point he was going to toss them. I stole the whole lot instead and took it to college with me. Now they sit in my bookshelf, because *hell no* you’re not tossing those! :)

In something like 8th grade, I discovered Douglas Adams in my school library. Sometime shortly after that, I discovered the Discworld of Terry Pratchett. Instant addiction.

When I was in college, one summer, I was staying at home. I was probably around 19 or 20, and working for the summer, as a computer salesman (yes, seriously). My dad had a predilection for late-night reading back then. Lot to do during the day, people bugging him all the time, best to do his reading alone, when he could smoke, at some time after 10 pm. Simple. He used to borrow from my collection (his, which again, I totally stole and told him I was doing so), but which also had many of my own added in.

One night that summer, he chose to read “Moving Pictures”.

I woke up to my dad *screaming* in laughter. He came into my room, at about 2 am, turned on the light, and in between fits of giggling, read this back to me:

‘What’s it called?’ he said cautiously.

‘We call it Evil-Minded Son of a Bitch,’ said the newly-appointed Vice-President in Charge of Camels.

‘That doesn’t sound like a name.’

‘ ‘S a good name for this camel,’ said the handler fervently.


I laughed along with him, and proceeded to inform him that a) yes, I had read the book like a dozen times, and b) it was 2 in the god damn morning, let me sleep you son of a bitch, I need to be at work at 7 am, jackass.

Here’s the thing. Thinking back on that, that particular quote isn’t actually funny without the backstory and setup. It’s a straight-man joke. It’s the kind of joke you need setup for in TV shows. That’s how good Terry Pratchett was. You had this entire mental image of the surroundings, the people, the background, the backstory, everything necessary to make that joke *friggin’ hilarious*, without ever seeing anything but black text on a white background. Terry was simply that good of a storyteller.

Tonight, I received in the mail “The Shepherd’s Crown” from my Amazon pre-order. I have not opened it yet. I actually teared up when I looked at the package, because Terry died back in March, and I have not fully dealt with that fact yet. I have read and reread everything Terry Pratchett ever wrote, oh, hundreds of times. I have memories of me and my dad laughing over his prose. I know excessive amounts of details about the Discworld and can quote ridiculously long passages from the novels for no reason whatsoever.

Laughing along with Terry at his insanely funny parody of the crazy world around us helped me through sometimes, especially when I needed to laugh rather than weep at the silliness surrounding us all.

I’m not sure I can open that package from Amazon. I’m sure I will, eventually.

But, you know what? I miss you, Terry. Thanks for all the laughs, especially when I needed them the most.

How WP affected me

Since everybody else is doing a blog post about how they got started with WordPress, figured I might as well give up my story too. Hey, a blogger’s gotta blog. ;)

Originally, this was a story about WordPress. But I’m not posting it on my WordPress blog, because as I wrote it, I found that this isn’t a story about how I use WordPress, as such. It’s a story about how using and working with and on WordPress has impacted my own life. So it’s on my personal blog. This may reduce the number of readers, but whatever. :)

This is long. So, click through the more link to read it.

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How to cook properly


Not “man show fire to meat and then eat it while it still squirts and pulses.”


“Medium rare” = “good vet could get it up on its feet in an hour or two.” That’s not cooked with fire. That’s threatened with fire.


Start seasoning steak and before you know it? You’re French. No. I go to my personal butcher and say, “Give me a piece of meat that’s been sawn off an animal.” And they throw me a chunk of animal. And then I say “Show me the animal this meat was sawn off.” And they show me a picture of a crying cow with a gaping hole in its side. And I say “Did the animal cry when you sawed my piece of meat off it?” And they show me a Ziploc bag full of cow tears. And I say, “Rub that on my steak! Let that be my seasoning!”

Second email to my condo management company

> Otto:
> Thank you for the note. Help is on the way this morning.
> Pete

Howdy Pete!

After walking up six flights of stairs, I’ve lost more than a little faith in your definition of “help”.

Don’t get me wrong. After the sudden flooding rain downtown and the ensuing lightning storm, I fully get it. Shit breaks. No problem.

But, and here’s the thing, if the “usual” guys haven’t been able to get it to work on a reliable basis for almost 5 fucking years, then I’m not 100% sanguine about their ability to suddenly magically acquire the necessary skills to “fix it”.

Perhaps you should look into a different maintenance company? Maybe one with the “skills” to fit the “bills”. Just saying that, right now, after having to, once again, “hike” to my freakin’ condo, I’m thinking that perhaps we might be paying you guys (and by extension, the elevator maintenance company) a tad too much.

Needless to say, fucker’s still broken. Just so you know.