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The Female Perspective: Summer Reading Is Where It’s At!

Welcome! This is a weekly blog* by Author J.L. Metcalf where I discuss anything and everything that strikes my fancy. If you have ideas on what you think I should write about, please send me an email via my website!

For now, sit back, relax and enjoy the blog!

*All views expressed in “The Female Perspective” are those of J.L. Metcalf, not Great Stories, Inc


Summer is a great time to dig into some new books, it’s (hopefully) got a slower pace and there are more days spent by the pool, at the beach or just chilling in your backyard while the family plays and barbecues. To that end, I thought I’d give a shout out to some of my personal favorite summer reads.

How do I pick summer reads? Well, I pick them like any other book I want to read, does it sound interesting? Does it have a cool cover (I know, I know, don’t judge them that way but a lot of times a cover is what calls me to a book, the synopsis is what keeps me reading)? I don’t think that summer reads have to necessarily be shorter, less intense (as many summer reading lists would suggest), I think summer is a great time to dig into an intense series or a nice, long book so that you have plenty to read at the beach. There’s not much that’s worse than finishing your book with a long day ahead and having no backup!

That being said, here are my Top 5 Summer Reads!

1. The Stand by Stephen King

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Nothing says summertime fun like the end of the world, am I right??? I’ve talked about The Stand a few times because it is hands down one of my top 5, all time favorite books to read and I find myself gravitating to it almost every summer. Maybe because the story starts in the summer? The story itself (if you don’t know) is an engaging one, told in typical Stephen King fashion, that brings us hero, villains and the fight over the soul of the world. It’s a tale that is simply about good and evil, but at over 1,000 pages, it’s much more than that. To me it is King’s finest works and it is worth a read.

2. A Song Of Ice and Fire (aka Game Of Thrones) by George R. R. Martin

Bookset

The first time I read this epic series it was during the summer I was laid off from work so I had a lot of time on my hands. It was recommended by a good friend and since I am a huge fan of anything similar to Lord of the Rings I thought it had to be a win-win. I have to say that I was instantly hooked, while also being completely devastated when characters I had fallen in love with were brutally slain. The end of the first book made me realize that Martin isn’t fooling around, your favorite characters will die and no one, literally no one is safe (Red Wedding anyone?), which is why I love these books. I am finally getting around to watching the HBO show and am feeling the urge to re-read these beauties to invest once again in the rich, Tolkien-esque world that Martin has created, while also refreshing myself for when he eventually releases the next volume, The Winds of Winter.

3. Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling

harry-potter-series

No list of mine would be complete without some Harry Potter and honestly, it took me a very long time to get into this series. I was finishing up the 6th book when the final book came out so I never had to wait between books like so many others. I cannot say enough good things about these books, it is about friendship, magic, doing what’s right even when it feels wrong and so much more. I cry all the time when some of my favorite characters die because I feel like they are truly alive. The power of Rowling’s work is in her words, she is a master of her craft and one day I hope to be half as good as she is. If you haven’t read Harry Potter yet, get on that, and summer is a perfect time to start enjoying the adventures of Harry Potter, Ron and Hermoine!

4. American Gods by Neil Gaiman

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Another one that it took me way too long to read. I admit to not being a huge Gaiman fan (I actually liked the movie version of Stardust better than the book), but this one was a great read. For being as long as it is, it’s a lot of fun. I never really knew where the book was going to go, but I knew I wanted to be along for the ride. The characters are engaging, interesting and some of them are downright annoying, but that’s what makes the book so much fun! That and an upcoming TV adaptation makes this a must-read in my eyes.

5. The Martian by Andy Weir

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This book is AMAZING. Seriously. Check it out. It’s not super-spacey at all (even though the guy is on Mars), it’s this amazing story of survival and science. When I first started reading this it’s because I saw the movie trailer and was instantly intrigued. When I realized it was from the point of view of the guy trapped on Mars alone I was instantly curious, how do we keep a book going that’s one person, alone, on Mars? Well Weir did a fantastic job of that. He crafted a character that is funny, smart and oh yeah, super funny. The quips and jabs that Mark Watney make had me laughing out loud as I read along. But never forget, this guy is trapped on Mars and just as you settle in to enjoy his diatribe about disco music, something explodes and you are reminded just how dangerous his existence is. It’s a great read, perfect for a day at the beach and it will keep you on the edge of your seat. The movie adaptation is also pretty darn good, Matt Damon is a perfect Watney.

There you have it folks! Some of my favorite summer reads, how about you? What are some of your go-to summer reads? Tell me in the comments! I’m always looking for new books!

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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week 6/29/2016

Greetings comic book fans and welcome to another episode of the Crank File. I’m fighting a pretty nasty cold this week so we’ll be foregoing the usual banter.

Here’s what I’m reading this week:

 

CASR2

The Top of the Pile: Captain America Steve Rogers #2

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Nick Spencer
Art: Jesus Saiz

What it is: As Steve battles a resurgent Hydra more dangerous than ever before, he must confront a ghost from his past!

Why we love it: Hail Hydra?!?! I have to see where this is going.

 

UI11

The Mainstream One: The Uncanny Inhumans #11

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Charles Soule
Art: Carlos Pacheco

What it is: After what Iron Man did in CIVIL WAR II #2, Medusa must act. Inhumans vs. Stark Industries.

Why we like it: The first appearance of the anti-hero Mosaic will be in this issue. Mosaic will be getting his own solo series in October so this will likely be the hot speculation book on Wednesday.

 

4KWIaB

The Indie One: 4 Kids Walk into a Bank #2

Publisher: Black Mask
Words: Matthew Rosenberg
Art: Tyler Boss

What it is: The titular 4 Kids figure out what’s going on… and develop a plan of their own… and eat some pizza.

Why we love it: Dungeons and Dragons meets a Dog Day Afternoon. Issue #1 was funny, geeky and undeniably cool. Glad to see a Black Mask book coming out at a semi-normalish schedule.

 

JSPS1

The #1 One: Jade Street Protection Services #1

Publisher: Black Mask
Words: Katy Rex
Art: Fabian Lelay

What it is: In this new series that mashes The Breakfast Club with Sailor Moon, Kai, Saba, Noemi, Divya, and Emma are (bad) students at Matsdotter Academy, an elite private school for magical girls. When they all meet for the first time in a totally unfair detention, these punk rock witch delinquents cut class and discover the fates Matsdotter has in store for them are even more sinister than they suspected. With JSPS, the creative team of writer Katy Rex, penciler/inker Fabian Lelay, colorist Mara Jayne Carpenter, and series cover artists Annie Wu and Kiki Jenkins channel Black Mask’s edgy, subversive sensibility into a whipsmart adventure for delinquents young and old.

Why we like it: Because it’s a Black Mask #1.

 

EX11

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Extraordinary X-Men #11

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Jeff Lemire
Art: Humberto Ramos
Cover art: Humberto Ramos

What it is: Trapped one thousand years in the future on a world ruled by the genocidal tyrant Apocalypse, the X-Men are literally mutantkind’s last hope! But in fighting Apocalypse’s newest horsemen, the X-Men’s future is slipping away from them, especially when one of those horsemen is a Wolverine with a Venom symbiote!

Why we like it: It’s Old Man Logan melding with the Venom alien symbiote. Nuff Said.

That’s all I got this week. Until next time, carpe comics!

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Trailer Snark (June 24, 2016 Theatrical Trailers)

Welcome to Trailer Snark, a weekly column covering trailers for movies that will be released this week with thoughts from our roster of bloggers (Jessica from The Female Perspective, Ken from The Crank File, Jim from The Front Row View, Rob from Spector for Hire, and Great Stories founder Chris).  Thanks for reading, and enjoy the previews!

Last Week: Was there ever any doubt?  Finding Dory topped the box office with $136.1M.  Central Intelligence managed a solid second place debut with $34.5M.  The Conjuring 2 slipped to third place with $15.5M to add to its $71.7M domestic total.  The rest of the list did not manage double digits and came in this order:  Now You See Me 2 ($9.6M/$41.3M), Warcraft ($6.5M/$37.7M), X-Men: Apocalypse ($5.2M/$143M), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles:  Out of the Shadows ($5.2M/$71.9M), Me Before You ($4.1M/$46.3M), Alice Through the Looking Glass ($3.6M/$69.3M), and Captain America: Civil War ($2.2M/$401.2M).  This week’s contenders are…..

Independence Day: Resurgence (Twentieth Century Fox) – Action/Sci-Fi
Rated PG – 13 for sequences of sci – fi action and destruction, and for some language
Tag Line: We had twenty years to prepare. So did they.
Starring: Liam Hemsworth, Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman
Plot: Two decades after the first Independence Day invasion, Earth is faced with a new extra-Solar threat. But will mankind’s new space defenses be enough?
Running Time: 120 minutes

Chris: I was one of the few people I know that did not enjoy it the first time around.  I guarantee you I will not be rushing out to see the sequel.
Jessica: YESSSSS!!! I ADORE the first movie for it’s goofy America-ness so I am soo there for this one. It looks equally as fun and has a Hemsworth in it to boot (any Hemsworth will do really).
Jim: 20 years ago, a big-budget alien invasion movie was still something of a novelty. Now they’re a dime a dozen. I’m not sure how many people are interested in this, could be this year’s Terminator: Genisys.  That  said, the trailer’s well done, evoking the enjoyably corny too-muchness of  the original.
Ken: That looked sweet, guess I should get around to watching the first movie at some point. Earth should build a wall around the planet to keep the alien invaders out. And have the aliens pay for it.

The Shallows (Columbia) – Drama/Horror
Rated PG – 13 for bloody images, intense sequences of peril, and brief strong language
Tag Line: Plan your getaway.
Starring:  Blake Lively, Oscar Jaenada
Plot: A mere 200 yards from shore, surfer Nancy is attacked by a great white shark, with her short journey to safety becoming the ultimate contest of wills.
Running Time: 87 minutes

Jessica: Good timing with Shark Week starting on Saturday, it shows A LOT in the trailer so that concerns me, I’d watch this at home though because I do enjoy a good shark flick and this has potential to be good.
Jim: The Shallows—Jaws and Open Water did it for me. What more can anyone really add to another shark attack movie without it appearing drawn out and/or ridiculous?
Ken: She’s gonna need a bigger surfboard. Probably pass on this one, but that is one cool looking shark.
Chris: I hate that they show you so much in the trailer, but it sure freaks me out something fierce.  I am ready to squirm in my seat!

Free State of Jones (STX Entertainment) – Biography/Drama
Rated R for brutal battle scenes and disturbing graphic images
Tag Line: Based on the incredible true story.
Starring: Matthew McCounaghey, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Keri Russell
Plot: As civil war divides the nation, a poor farmer from Mississippi leads a group of rebels against the Confederate army.
Running Time: 139 minutes

Jim: Civil War movies have always held an appeal for me. That and Matthew McConaughey—I’m in.
Ken: Love me some Civil War. The McConaughey revival marches on.
Chris: Looks like a solid civil war era military drama…..my cup of tea.
Jessica: I do enjoy Matthew and this looks like a solid pick, but I’d watch it at home, not the theater.

The Neon Demon (Broad Green Pictures) – Drama/Horror
Rated R for disturbing violent content, bloody images, graphic nudity, a scene of aberrant sexuality, and language
Tag Line: Beauty isn’t everything it’s the only thing.
Starring:  Elle Fanning, Christina Hendricks, Keanu Reeves
Plot: When aspiring model Jesse moves to Los Angeles, her youth and vitality are devoured by a group of beauty-obsessed women who will take any means necessary to get what she has.
Running Time: 117 minutes

Ken: I don’t know what I just watched, but I didn’t like it.
Chris: Psycho model Elle Fanning.  I remember when she was such a sweet girl.  Pass.
Jessica: Looks interesting but I really didn’t like “Drive” all that much and a movie about unhappy models…Meh.
Jim: Trying too hard to impress me with its weirdness.

Weiner Dog (IFC Films) – Comedy
Rated R for language and some disturbing content.
Tag Line: None
Starring: Danny Devito, Ellen Burnstyn
Plot: A dachshund passes from oddball owner to oddball owner, whose radically dysfunctional lives are all impacted by the pooch.
Running Time: 90 minutes

Chris: Was that supposed to be funny?
Jessica: This one charmed me I have to say. I’d watch it at home for sure.
Jim: Couldn’t be less interested.
Ken: I found this oddly charming, but not enough to make a trip out of it. Renter maybe.

Hunt for the Wilderpeople (The Orchard) – Adventure/Comedy
Rated PG-13 for thematic elements including violent content, and for some language
Tag Line: None
Starring:  Sam Neill, Julian Denson
Plot: A national manhunt is ordered for a rebellious kid and his foster uncle who go missing in the wild New Zealand bush.
Running Time: 101 minutes

Jessica: I am already in love with this movie. Great casting, I loved “What We Do In The Shadows” so I have a feeling the humor will be spot-on and creative.
Jim: Looks funny and enjoyable.  Sam Neill is always a plus.
Ken: The dialogue had me in stitches.  I’ll definitely be streaming this down the line.
Chris:  Now, THAT looks funny.

Tickets Purchased: Two for Independence Day (Jessica and Ken), One for Hunt for the Wilderpeople (Jim), and One for The Shallows (Chris).

Keanu's movie didn't get picked by anyone this week, but he is so captionable!
Keanu’s movie didn’t get picked by anyone this week, but he is so captionable!
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The Female Perspective: Is Body Positive Really Positive?

Welcome! This is a weekly blog* by Author J.L. Metcalf where I discuss anything and everything that strikes my fancy. If you have ideas on what you think I should write about, please send me an email via my website!

For now, sit back, relax and enjoy the blog!

*All views expressed in “The Female Perspective” are those of J.L. Metcalf, not Great Stories, Inc


I see things all the time regarding the “body positive” movement and about fat shaming and skinny shaming and all that. As a woman, as a human, I have struggled with my own self-confidence and self-acceptance pretty much as long as I can remember. There have rarely been times when I feel super confident about how I look and what people think about me. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve gotten a better grasp on it, but it still haunts me.

Some of you may know that last year I had Gastric Bypass Surgery to help me lose a substantial amount of weight. Since March of 2015 I have lost about 140 pounds and am still trying to lose another 10-15 pounds to get to my goal weight, therefore I feel that I am in a place where I can talk about what it’s like to be overweight and to also be what is considered a “normal” weight and how frustrating it is to see people online mock those who exercise, mock those who don’t, make fun of overweight people, make fun of skinny people, blah, blah, blah. It goes on and on and on.

It’s no wonder that most of us have body image issues, there doesn’t appear to be any one image that appeals to everyone, so you know what I say to that? F*&k it. What society needs to learn, what so many of us need to learn, is that your body is beautiful. Your choices are yours to make, and unless you are self-harming, you are just perfect.

Why Being Body Positive Kind Of Stinks

I’m really tired of seeing meme’s, gifs, videos, etc of women basically shaming other women for how they choose to live their lives. You want to exercise and eat healthy? Great! Good for you! You want to not do either of those things? Great! Good for you! You know why? Because it is YOUR body and therefore, YOUR choice. Our choices define who we are in the world, our choices make us who we are. What other people think of you is pretty insignificant in the grand scheme of life and what matters most is that you love yourself. Of course, being 6 feet tall and 90 pounds is not so healthy, so is being 6 feet tall and 500 pounds. Our bodies are made to carry a certain amount of weight and that varies from frame to frame, but if you can move around and feel good and do the things you love to do, then I’m happy for you and I think you’re awesome.

Our differences make us great.
Our differences make us great.

What I don’t think is awesome is men and women who think that being overweight is “disgusting” or “shameful” or, and this is my biggest pet peeve, that if you are overweight you are lazy. Yes, that is sometimes true, there are people who are overweight and they are also lazy, but there are also overweight people who make an effort to eat well, exercise and they still can’t lose weight because they simply aren’t knowledgeable about how to do it correctly or, if you’re like me, you are a food addict. You cannot help yourself because you are ADDICTED to food. Yeah, food addiction isn’t as well known or perhaps as interesting as alcohol or drug addiction, but it can destroy lives. It can kill, and it does kill. It’s serious and needs to be taken seriously.

We need to stop looking at those that are obese and think that they are simply lazy. There’s a lot that goes into that weight gain: genetics, depression, stress, lack of self-esteem, etc. It’s more than just fat, it’s a security blanket that keeps us safe.

When I see women (or men) who are overweight and singing the praises of body positivity I am always torn. On one hand I think, yes! Be proud of who you are! Don’t let anyone tell you you aren’t amazing. On the other hand I think, you are overweight and your body does not like that, your joints don’t like that, your internal organs don’t like that. But I am not a doctor, nor am I here to judge your choices.

Honestly, I want people to be proud of who they are. I want people to look in the mirror and think, I love myself. I didn’t feel that way about myself for a VERY long time so I chose surgery. I chose to change my stomach size so that I could eat less, it was a tool in a very big toolkit that has saved my life. I also changed what I ate, how much I exercised and more important than anything else, I changed my relationship with both myself and with food. It’s not the crutch I lean on when I’m sad or stressed. It’s something I have to have in order to nourish this body as well as I am now able to enjoy, to savor the food. Not to just shovel into my face mindlessly.

A Feminist Bikini Body

I recently saw this video posted by Bustle.com and I am confused by it, again, on one hand I see their point, any BODY can be a bikini body, but just what are they saying here?

I watched this video and thought, hmmm, they’re kind of making fun of people who exercise in that they seem to be saying that if you exercise, you are trying to attain the status quo beach body and not the beach body you have. I have to strongly disagree with that. As a person who exercises every day (something I never thought I’d say) I don’t do it because the world thinks I need to look a certain way, I do it because it FEELS GOOD, it makes me feel strong and powerful and sexy and more than anything else, I feel darn proud of myself for being able to run/walk (aka wagging) 7-8 miles a day. It feels good when I lift weights and I can do that extra bicep curl or add more weight. It feels amazing that I can do yoga comfortably now. I didn’t lose weight to please the patriarchal societal ideal of what beauty is, I did it for me, for my health. To have that mocked so openly is frustrating and why I think the body positive movement is so flawed.

Also, why is this specifically “feminist”? Because it’s women? Because it’s supposedly empowering? Labeling something as feminist simply because it seems “radical” is a waste of time in my mind. I don’t go around saying, this is my feminist point of view (with the exception of this blog). I don’t say, “This is a feminist reading a book”, or, “This is the way a feminist takes a pee.” I simply do my thing, and if things get all feminist-y then so be it.

Why do we have to poop on one side of things in order to lift up the other? Why, as humans, do we have to put someone down to make someone else feel better? I say this as someone who is guilty of doing this. I say this as someone who was once 343 pounds and who mocked skinny people, who scoffed at those who could lift weights and jog, because I was sad I couldn’t. I was sad that I was overweight and felt trapped in my own body. Now, I’m not saying these women feel that way, I’m not even saying every overweight person feels that way, I’m saying that we can lift each other up without putting others down. Let’s try that for a change and see what kind of world that brings us to.

I’ll start:

You look beautiful today and I hope that you feel good in the skin you are in because it’s amazing and I am quite sure that the brain inside that head is amazing too.  You are more than what you look like and you are more than what you think. Those are just parts, you are a whole, complete person with dreams and power and kindness within you. I am proud of that. 

Now you go…

Just in case you've forgotten...
Just in case you’ve forgotten…
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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week 6/22/2016

Welcome back comic book fans to another episode of the Crank File, the only blog on the web that cranks late so that you can read great.

I attended the New England Comic Con up in Wilmington, MA last Sunday and much to my delight (and to the vendors’ chagrin) there was hardly anyone at the show. I didn’t find any dollar bin gems or high value keys at a discount, but there were a couple of highlights. My girlfriend really wanted to meet Karyn Parsons (aka Hilary Banks of Fresh Prince fame) and since the con was practically deserted we ended up hanging out with her at her table for half an hour just chatting her up. She was a sweetheart and is still achingly gorgeous. Later in the day we stopped by the lounge to grab a drink at the bar. We order our drinks and look over and we’re sitting right next to Micky friggin Dolenz of the Monkees. Unfortunately he must have been on his fourth or fifth whisky and didn’t feel much like singing, playing or monkying around. At least not with a couple of comic nerds, which is understandable.

Here’s what I’m reading this week.

 

F1

The Top of the Pile: Flash #1

Publisher: DC
Words: Joshua Williamson
Art: Carmine Di Giandomenico

What it is: ‘LIGHTNING STRIKES TWICE’ chapter one A new storm brews over Central City and disproves the old adage about lightning never, well… you know. Just as Barry begins to feel overwhelmed fighting crime, a new speedster debuts-but just where did this amazing new friend come from?

Why we love it: The Rebirth train keeps on rolling and the Flash races to the top of the pile along with it. Who’s this new speedster they are mentioning? Will we see more of the mysterious Godspeed who was teased in the Flash Rebirth issue, or will an all-new hero tap the Speed Force? There’s only one way to find out. Run, don’t walk, to your comic shop because this one’s already selling out.

 

H7

The Mainstream one: The Totally Awesome Hulk #7

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Greg Pak
Art: Alan Davis

What it is: Bruce Banner’s fate during the 8-month gap post-Secret Wars is revealed! Was he really cured by Amadeus Cho? Did he survive? Has Amadeus made a disastrous miscalculation?

Why we like it: One of the biggest Marvel mysteries since Secret Wars has been, what the heck happened to Bruce Banner? Seems like we’re going to find out what the heck right here.

 

R14

The Indie One: Rai #4 (Guinaldo variant)

Publisher: Valiant
Words: Matt Kindt
Art: Andres Guinaldo

What it is: For the first time ever, witness the violent foundation of Father’s space-born utopia of New Japan and, with it, the shocking genesis of the line of guardians that bear the name Rai! Born and bred by Father to enforce peace at any cost, follow the first Rai and his successors across two millennia as they chronicle the history of 4001 A.D. – from the launch of New Japan into orbit to the latest Rai’s crusade to bring it crashing back down to Earth!

Why we like it: It’s the introduction of a new Rai. A female Rai. Hey, it’s working for Divinity II (whose issue #3 is also out this week from Valiant).

 

DPvG1

The #1 One: Deadpool Vs Gambit #1

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Ben Acker
Art: Danillo Beyruth

What it is: Gambit-one of the smoothest, best-looking operators in the world of the X-Men. Deadpool-one of the most annoying, ugliest dirtbags in the world of everything. Naturally, these guys got beef. But do you know what they have in common? A secret history of working together to pull con-jobs. That’s right-the grift is on as the Regeneratin’ Degenerate and the Ragin’ Cajun begrudgingly take on one last job together.

Why we like it: Deadpool vs. Spiderman has been absolutely hysterical. I’ve always been a big Gambit fan so I’m hoping for another uproarious team-up book.

 

WW1

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Wonder Woman #1 (Cho variant)

Publisher: DC
Words: Greg Rucka
Art: Liam Sharp
Cover art: Frank Cho

What it is: ‘THE LIES’ chapter one Why has the lasso of truth stopped working for the Amazon Princess? Start down the rabbit hole as dark secrets from Wonder Woman’s past unravel her present!

Why we like it: Dem thighs!

 

That’s all I got this week. Until next time, carpe comics!

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Trailer Snark (June 17, 2016 Theatrical Trailers)

Welcome to Trailer Snark, a weekly column covering trailers for movies that will be released this week with thoughts from our roster of bloggers (Jessica from The Female Perspective, Ken from The Crank File, Jim from The Front Row View, Rob from Spector for Hire, and Great Stories founder Chris).  Thanks for reading, and enjoy the previews!

Last Week:  The Conjuring 2 was a hit at the box office with $40.3M last weekend, and topping the list.  In an unusual (of late) turn, the next two entries were also debuts with Warcraft pulling in $24.3M and Now You See Me 2 taking in $23M.  Fourth place was Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles:  Out of the Shadows ($14.8M/$61M), and fifth place belonged to X-Men: Apocalypse ($10M/$136.3M).  The rest of the top ten were as follows:  Me Before You ($9.2/$36.8M), Angry Birds ($6.8M/$98.1M), Alice Through the Looking Glass ($5.5/$62.4M), Captain America:  Civil War ($4.3M/$396.8M), and The Jungle Book ($2.7M/$352.6M).  Let’s look ahead to this weekend!

Finding Dory (Disney/Pixar) – Family
Rated PG for mild thematic elements
Tag Line: Have you seen her?
Starring: Ellen Degeneres, Ed O’Neil, Albert Brooks
Plot: The friendly-but-forgetful blue tang fish reunites with her loved ones, and everyone learns a few things about the real meaning of family along the way.
Running Time: 97 minutes

Jessica: I liked Nemo okay, I don’t really care about Dory. I am sure people will enjoy it though.
Chris:  Mine?  Mine? Mine?  Yes, all mine and it’s about time.
Jim: Nemo is a classic. It’s Pixar. Most likely another classic.
Ken: The lovable Dory stole the show in the original Finding Nemo. Expect more Pixar cuteness and hilarity from the sequel.

Central Intelligence (Warner Bros) – Comedy
Rated PG-13 for crude and suggestive humor, some nudity, action violence and brief strong language
Tag Line: Saving the world takes a little Hart and a big Johnson.
Starring:  Kevin Hart, Dwayne Johnson
Plot: After he reunites with an old school pal through Facebook, a mild-mannered accountant is lured into the world of international espionage.
Running Time: 114 minutes

Ken: Feels like a pretty cookie cutter buddy cop movie. Love the Rock and Hart though, so I might rent this one later.
Jim: Looks like an enjoyably dumb time-waster.
Chris: I laughed a lot in the trailer.  Kevin Hart is a favorite of mine.  And who doesn’t love the Rock?
Jessica: NO THANK YOU. Looks really, really, REALLY dumb.

Swiss Army Man (A24) – Adventure/Comedy/Drama
Rated R for language and sexual material
Tag Line: We all need some body to lean on.
Starring: Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Daniel Radcliffe
Plot: A hopeless man stranded in the wilderness befriends a dead body and together they go on a surreal journey to get home.
Running Time: 95 minutes

Jessica: I don’t know … I just … Ugh … This movie makes me feel icky.
Ken: Daniel Radcliff makes Wilson look like a piece of crap. So bizarre that I might have to check this one out.
Jim: Huh?

Chris: *Yawn*

Clown (Dimension) – Horror/Fantasy
Rated R for horror violence and gore, and for language
Tag Line: The kids aren’t alright.
Starring: Andy Powers, Laura Allen
Plot: A loving father finds a clown suit for his son’s birthday party, only to realize that it is not a suit at all.
Running Time: 100 minutes

Chris:  Couldn’t find a distributor for two years?  It does not paint the whole picture, but I am not encouraged.
Jessica: NO WAY EVER. I hate frackin’ clowns. Now and forever until the end of time.
Ken: Aqua Team Hunger Force already did this in the classic episode, “The Clowning”.
Jim: This could be a good scary movie underneath the terrible trailer.

Tickets Purchased:  Two for Finding Dory (Chris and Jim) and Jessica stays home with Orange is the New Black

She may be simple, but we share the same passions.
She may be simple, but we share the same passions.
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The Female Perspective: Show Me Something Good, Please

Welcome! This is a weekly blog* by Author J.L. Metcalf where I discuss anything and everything that strikes my fancy. If you have ideas on what you think I should write about, please send me an email via my website!

For now, sit back, relax and enjoy the blog!

*All views expressed in “The Female Perspective” are those of J.L. Metcalf, not Great Stories, Inc


The news has been pretty bleak as of late and I find it hard to not allow that to bleed into my writing, but this blog isn’t about politics or the latest shooting tragedy or anything like that. It’s meant to be a fun (and hopefully lighthearted) take on entertainment, pop culture, whatever, all from this feminists’ perspective.

In that spirit I realized I wanted to read about some good news for a change so here are a few fun snippets, courtesy of The Good News Network, of human beings doing cool stuff to hopefully put a smile on your face.

Also, baby animals. Because really, who doesn’t smile at baby animals??? Cold hearted ninnymuggins is who!


Man Donates To Pet Shelter Like a Boss

A Canadian man buys and then donates 570 bags and cans of pet food to the local shelter because,

“Because I could, and the animals needed it, basically,” he told The Telegram. “I thought it was the normal thing to do.”

We need more of this kind of thinking in the world. Now some happy and well fed critters are being fed because one man decided it was the right thing to do.

Woman and Baseball, A Perfect Combination

Most women have heard it before, “Baseball is for boys,” and we nod and go along to our gymnastics or softball games. The fact is, if nothing else, A League of Their Own proved that women could and should be playing baseball. Not only that but young girls should be encouraged to give it a go!

Baseball for ALL is a great cause that stresses that not just boys can play the popular game and in this short article, it’s never too late to start!

Boy Hugs Dog and Nothing Bad Happens

If you’ve watched the news, you’ve probably seen this video snippet of a young boy who secretly hugs a dog every day, he was caught on video (obviously) and has now been invited to play with the lucky pup whenever he wants! See, good things happen when you open up when you are kind and loving!

Stuff On My Cat

Have you seen the website Stuff On My Cat? It’s hilarious. I highly recommend it if you need a giggle. It’s fairly self explanatory, you know, people put stuff on their cats and for some reason, it’s always funny.

Stuffonmycat.com
Stuffonmycat.com

I wonder why that is?

Tiny Hats For Tiny Pets

Oh thank you Buzzfeed for showing me this, it totally made my day! Now I must make a tiny hat and put it on my cat and combine my two loves, tiny animal hats and putting stuff on my cat. It’s truly a win-win situation.

https://www.buzzfeed.com/margaretjung/yes-you-can-make-tiny-hats-for-your-pets-and-its-adorable?utm_term=.kuXNok1Q5#.bgR53djJB
https://www.buzzfeed.com/margaretjung/yes-you-can-make-tiny-hats-for-your-pets-and-its-adorable?utm_term=.kuXNok1Q5#.bgR53djJB 

Last But Not Least…

This may have not been my best or most informative blog yet, but I sure hope it put a smile on your face, as it did for me. It’s a reminder that not everything in life is bad and that even though we must be ever vigilant to the bad that rises up into our faces seemingly every day, there is a whole heck of a lot of good in our world too.

Please feel free to share some of your favorite posts, blogs, tweets, etc and share the smiles today. Let’s all try to smile and love one another, no matter what we believe or who we love, let’s all be human together.

Baby Sloth says Hello!
Baby Sloth says Hello!
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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week 6/15/2016

Greetings comic book fans and welcome to a very somber episode of the Crank File, where the important thing is not the object of love, but the emotion itself. Thoughts go out to the victims, families and friends affected by the Orlando shooting. While it’s natural that we feel angry and afraid, this is not the time for hate and division. It is a time for grieving and unification. Because there’s only one way to make it through a tragedy, together. Peace, love and crankiness.

Here’s what I’m reading this week.

BM1

The Top of the Pile: Batman #1

Publisher: DC
Words: Tom King
Art: David Finch

What it is: No one has ever stopped the Caped Crusader. Not The Joker. Not Two-Face. Not even the entire Justice League. But how does Batman confront a new hero who wants to save the city from the Dark Knight?

Why we love it: The last time DC rebooted, Batman turned out the epic Court of Owls story arc, laying the foundation for Snyder and Capullo’s legendary run. While I will miss the masterful work of Scott and Greg on Batman, I think DC nailed it with the new creative team. Add in possible first appearances and a #1 on the cover and you have the recipe for a classic.

 

SM1

The Mainstream one: Superman #1

Publisher: DC
Words: Peter J. Tomasi
Art: Patrick Gleason

What it is: The Last Son of Krypton must decide whether to help his young son use his new and rapidly increasing abilities, or hide them from the world.

Why we like it: While I enjoyed Pak’s run on Action Comics, the New 52 Superman always felt a little off. I was happy to see the pre-New 52 Superman back in action (see what I did there?) Superman classic returns to Metropolis and he’s brought his family with him. Last week’s Action Comics gave us one of the biggest WTF moments in comics since “Hail Hydra”.

 

 

MD20

The Indie One: Manifest Destiny #20

Publisher: Image
Words: Chris Dingess
Art: Matthew Roberts

What it is: Many have claimed to have seen the Sasquatch? now join the men who made first contact!

Why we like it: Manifest Destiny started its latest arc by straying from its typical, linear storytelling. The story begins with a flashback to an early attempt at settling the American North West frontier that turns cannibally before we catch up with our regularly scheduled protagonists, Lewis and Clark, whose expedition just stumbled upon a ruined settlement. Action, horror and the legendary Big Foot.

 

 

GA1

The #1 One: Green Arrow #1

Publisher: DC
Words: Benjamin Percy
Art: Otto Schmidt

What it is: As Oliver struggles with how he can fight ‘the man’ when his huge fortune makes him the man, he and Black Canary uncover a deadly new threat to Seattle that cuts the Archer to the bone.

Why we like it: This was what writer Benjamin Percy had to say about the new Green Arrow, ‘My touchstones are Dennis O’Neil and Mike Grell, while trying to make the series my own. Green Arrow will be a politically and culturally relevant series. Expect stories that aim a broadhead into the zeitgeist, that are ripped from the headlines.’ I’m in. I’ve always felt that Green Arrow works better with a partner, and I’m stoked that Black Canary is around.

 

 

SW20

The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Star Wars #20

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Jason Aaron
Art: Mike Mayhew
Cover art: John Tyler Christopher

What it is: Another dive into the journal of Obi-Wan Kenobi! Jabba has hired bounty hunter Black Krrsantan to find out who’s been thwarting his men! The old hermit of the dune wastes might know something about that.

Why we like it: A rare Yoda cover appearance keeps it from being a DC sweep this week. All asses, this cover kicks.

 

That’s all I got. Until next time carpe comics!

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Trailer Snark (June 10, 2016 Theatrical Trailers)

Welcome to Trailer Snark, a weekly column covering trailers for movies that will be released this week with thoughts from our roster of bloggers (Jessica from The Female Perspective, Ken from The Crank File, Jim from The Front Row View, Rob from Spector for Hire, and Great Stories founder Chris).  Thanks for reading, and enjoy the previews!

Last Week:  The Turtles ruled the box office with $35.2M, dropping X-Men: Apocalypse to second place with $22.3M to add to their $116M total.  In third was the debut of Me Before You with $18.2M.  Fourth place belonged to Johnny Depp and Alice Through the Looking Glass ($10.6M/$50.7M).  Angry Birds stayed in the top five with $9.7M and $86.6M overall.  The rest of the top ten shook out this way.  Captain America: Civil War ($7.5M/$388.5M), Neighbors 2 ($4.7M/$48.5M), Popstar ($4.6M/New), Jungle Book ($4.2M/$347.4M), and The Nice Guys ($3.5M/$29.1M).  Here are this week’s new entries.

The Conjuring 2 (New Line Cinema) – Horror
Rated R for terror and horror violence
Tag Line: The next true story from the case files of Ed and Lorraine Warren.
Starring:  Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga
Plot: Lorraine and Ed Warren travel to north London to help a single mother raising four children alone in a house plagued by malicious spirits.
Running Time: 134 minutes

Jessica: The first movie actually scared me (which hardly ever happens) so I am interested to see what they come up with for the 2nd one. Hopefully it’s just as creepy!
Chris: The first was a horrific triumph…..I am quite looking forward to some more scares.
Ken: Hadn’t seen the first Conjuring or Annabelle movies and would skip this latest installment. I appreciate that they are based on real-life cases investigated by the Warrens, but they stray pretty far from the source material in order to draw in the crowds.
Jim: The first movie was scary. Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga helped make it credible. This looks effective enough to step past the usual horror movie trailer cliches.

Now You See Me 2 (Lionsgate) – Action/Comedy/Thriller
Rated PG-13 for violence and some language
Tag Line: Reappearing June 10
Starring: Woody Harrelson, Mark Ruffalo, Jesse Eisenberg, Lizzy Caplan
Plot: The Four Horsemen resurface and are forcibly recruited by a tech genius to pull off their most impossible heist yet.
Running Time: 129 minutes

Jim: Didn’t see the first one. Might be worth a rental.
Jessica: I really liked the first movie so I will most certainly be checking out the sequel. I love a movie about magic tricks!
Chris: Rarely do I laud a second sequel film in one week, but here goes.  Make my money disappear.
Ken: No I don’t.  Magic loses its charm when I’m aware that it is all special effects.

Warcraft (Universal) – Action/Adventure/Fantasy
Rated PG – 13 for extended sequences of intense fantasy violence
Tag Line: Two worlds. One home.
Starring: Paula Patton, Travis Fimmel, Domenic Cooper, Ben Foster
Plot: The peaceful realm of Azeroth stands on the brink of war as its civilization faces a fearsome race of invaders: orc warriors fleeing their dying home to colonize another. As a portal opens to connect the two worlds, one army faces destruction and the other faces extinction. From opposing sides, two heroes are set on a collision course that will decide the fate of their family, their people, and their home.
Running Time: 123 minutes

Chris: Truth be told, I want to like this one more than I do.  I think it will be entertaining, but in no way will it provide the same satisfaction as the similarly themed Tolkien movies.
Jim: ZZZZZZ SO SICK OF CGI-STUFFED “EPIC” FANTASIES ZZZZZZZZ

Ken: The music at the end of that trailer was awful. I wanted to like this one too, but pass. Anyone who has ever played a Blizzard video game knows how epic their cut scenes are. But despite the eye-popping blend of CG and live action, everything else felt pretty lifeless. 
Jessica: Pass, pass, pass…Looks like a poor person’s “Lord of the Rings”

King Jack (Well Go USA) – Adventure/Drama
Not Rated
Tag Line:  Everyone should rule for a day.
Starring:  Charlie Plummer, Cory Nicholls
Plot: Trapped in a violent feud with a cruel older bully and facing another bout of summer school, Jack’s got all the problems he can handle. So when Jack’s aunt falls ill and his runty younger cousin must stay with him for the weekend the last thing Jack wants to do is look after him. Unfortunately no one really cares what Jack wants.
Running Time: 81 minutes

Ken: I grew up in a small, suburban town and this pushed a lot of my nostalgia buttons.
Jessica: Looks sweet and thought provoking, and very, very sad. I’d watch this at home where I can weep in the dark, alone.
Jim: Nice trailer, looks like it might be a well-made slice ‘o life flick.

Chris: Coming of age film of a boy who is learning what it means to live for more than himself.  Lessons all of us go through in our formative years.  I’ll check it out on the small screen.

Tickets Purchased: 4 tickets for The Conjuring 2 (unanimous decision!).

The Trailer Snark team is going for scares this week!
The Trailer Snark team is going for scares this week!
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The Female Perspective: Ninja’s Abound

Welcome! This is a weekly blog* by Author J.L. Metcalf where I discuss anything and everything that strikes my fancy. If you have ideas on what you think I should write about, please send me an email via my website!

For now, sit back, relax and enjoy the blog!

*All views expressed in “The Female Perspective” are those of J.L. Metcalf, not Great Stories, Inc


With everything going on right now in politics and more, I wanted to write a blog that focused on the lighter, more fun side of life. It can be hard for me to not focus on the negative, but when you really look around, there’s a lot of positive in our crazy world. One of those positives is the show American Ninja Warrior. Yep. That’s right, I said American Ninja Warrior, the insane obstacle course show hosted by a comedian and a former NFL player.

I think June marks the start of the 8th season of this show. I’ve only been watching for one or two seasons, I always saw it as a silly show with no merit whatsoever. I have since changed my mind because there may be more male competitors than female, but the women that are creeping into the ANW team are powerhouses that give feminism, that give healthy, and strong good names.

Here are a couple examples of the cool women of American Ninja Warrior.

Kacy Catanzaro

The Might Kacy!
The Might Kacy!

You may or may not have heard this woman’s name, but Catanzaro was the first woman ever to make it up the famed “Warped Wall” on American Ninja Warrior. She showed that women can in fact compete on ANJ. Not only can they compete, they can stand toe to toe with the guys. An impressive feet for the 5 foot tall woman.

In 2014, Catanzaro became the first woman to complete the qualifying course of American Ninja Warrior, making it up the warped wall on her second try at 5:26.18 at the Dallas qualifiers, ranking her 21 out of 30; this also makes her the first woman to make it up the warped wall in competition. On July 14, 2014, Catanzaro competed in the Dallas finals of American Ninja Warrior. She was the first woman ever to complete the course (and the second woman to attempt it after Jessie Graff in season 5), qualifying for the national finals in Las Vegas with a time of 8 minutes, 59 seconds. Host Akbar Gbaja-Biamila remarked “I’ve seen greatness during my NFL career…And I’ve been in awe of people, but I am really in awe of Kacy”. Her achievement made her a social media phenomenon, with her run being viewed over 100 million times. –Wikipedia

Kacy had a really tough season last year, the stress and pressure of being the first woman through the course got to her and she had a few tearful moments that broke my heart. I have a lot of respect for her because she keeps coming back,she doesn’t stop trying. She does not give up and I have hopes for her 2016 season. She’s going to make it all the way to the end!

Jessie Graff

Jessie rocking it, ANW style.
Jessie rocking it, ANW style.

Jessie Graff is probably my favorite of the female competitors. She is a stuntwoman who has worked on Supergirl, The Walking Dead, X-Men: First Class and Iron Man 2 to name a few. She often rocks some kind of awesomely adorable outfit (last week she wore a Wonder Woman ensemble) and she is strong. Like, seriously strong. In season 8 of ANW they have raised the height of the “Warped Wall” to 14.5 feet and Jessie was the only woman in the LA qualifiers to make it up in one try. Many of the seasoned male competitors didn’t make it up the wall at all.

This chick is amazing. She makes me want to train even harder when I watch the agility and confidence with which she moves through this course.

I could go on, because thankfully, there are A LOT of women now on American Ninja Warrior and that makes it worth a watch for families especially. Little girls (and boys) can see what the human body can actually do when perseverance and commitment are at their top. For a show about jumping through obstacles, it continually impresses me with it’s message of hard work, dedication and heart. This show has a lot of heart. We hear stories about compeitors competing for their families, for loved ones they’ve lost, for loved ones battling disease and so much more.

It’s not just a show about being the best, it’s a show about being a human and it shows you that giving up is not an option.

The Warped Wall. Now 14.5 feet high!
The Warped Wall. Now 14.5 feet high!

American Ninja Warrior is on NBC on Thursday nights at 8pm. 

What do you think? Do you watch the show? Who’s your favorite Warrior? Sound off in the comments!