Category Archives: Crossposted

The Lego Batman Movie

LegoBatmanWhile it did not quite make it across my Threshold of Awesome, The Lego Batman Movie was plenty of fun, and had lots of awesome moments. It’s something I’ll probably want to pick up on Blu-Ray, because there are plenty of amusing, fannish, and/or Easter-eggy things going on in the background, and those are usually good for a couple of re-watches. At least for me.

The opening romp¹, in which our hero is awesome and makes it look easy, is possibly the most over-the-top action movie romp ever. Possibly. I hadn’t realized this was something for which I would want to be keeping score.

Unlike The Lego Movie, The Lego Batman Movie does not have live-action stuff happening outside the fourth wall. I’m not sure how I feel about that. Those scenes made The Lego Movie work for me², but I know they threw a lot of other people out of the film. I share this not as a spoiler, but as a meta-unspoiler. Don’t sit there waiting for live action moments to explain in-Lego plot points. You might be able to headcanon³ a few such moments (I know I did) but that’s always a perilous path to walk, since you’re putting things into the movie that the director did not put in.


¹ By my definition, the Romp is the Act I scene in an action/adventure film in which we see our hero(es) being competent and successful. It is used to make promises about the kinds of action we’ll see later, and it sets the bar for what our hero is capable of. Some films do it really well (Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation) and some do not (I won’t name names here.)

² The Lego Movie placed #4 on my 2014 list, and totally crossed my Threshold of Awesome.

³ “Headcanon” is usually a noun, but verbing it makes total sense to me.

John Wick: Chapter 2

JohnWick2If you enjoyed John Wick, which starred Keanu Reeves as a hitman whose retirement is interrupted, you’ll enjoy John Wick: Chapter 2, which stars Keanu Reeves as a hitman whose sabbatical from retirement is extended by more non-retirement.

Dog lovers might appreciate knowing that the death of a dog is not Wick’s impetus in this film¹. Car lovers² will appreciate John Leguizamo’s estimate about how soon Wick’s car can be fixed. People who love witty dialog in the style of superhero banter should probably just re-watch one of the Avengers films, or at least not show up for this film with high hopes for any of that.

I enjoyed John Wick 2, but it does not clear my Threshold of Awesome. The fight scenes are every bit as amazing as they were in the first movie, but the story is on rails. There are no plot twists, unless you count employer treachery as a twist, which is about as unexpected as a meet-cute³ in a romantic comedy.

So, you know… enjoy the fight scenes, and pretend that the world will be a better place without any of these nameless thugs, who probably eat babies with a garnish of puppy.

¹ I was asked very specifically about dogs by someone on Twitter.
² I was not asked about cars. 
³ If you re-watch THE MATRIX before seeing this film, pay attention to the meeting between Reeves’ character and Lawrence Fishburne’s character. I think they re-used some dialog on purpose, just to see if they could.



The HUNTED Camera Loves Myke

I don’t watch much TV. We don’t have cable. If a program gets good reviews from my friends, I’ll pick it up on Amazon Prime, or I’ll wait until it hits Netflix. Sometimes I’ll buy DVDs and Blu-Rays.

MykeCole-HuntedMy friend Myke Cole, whose books I’ve plugged in blog posts of yore¹, is featured in a reality TV program from CBS called “Hunted.” (Episode 1 is currently free to stream from CBS.²) Reality TV is pretty much my least favorite form of TV, but Myke is awesome so a gave it a shot.

No regrets. None.

A team of investigators, of which Myke is a part, break out all the tools of their trades to track down nine two-person teams of runners, who are playing the part of fugitives, with a $250k prize awaiting them if they can stay hidden for 28 days. We follow some of these teams each week, and each episode thus far has had at least one capture in it.

I have no idea what the actual mechanics are behind this game, but the tools and skills on display are the real deal. It’s a lot of fun to watch, and it’s entertaining to wonder how long you’d make it before Myke tracks your “untraceable” burner phone from a convenience store receipt and a traffic camera. (Answer: I can remain hidden for at least three meals if you give me a 1-hour head start. That’s probably it.)

Here’s the thing: The camera loves Myke. Several times during the first two episodes I noticed that shots were framed to include Myke in the background for no other reason than to make the shot look better. The costuming department is dressing him in t-shirts made of little more than paint and hard living, and I am forced to concede that not only is my friend Myke a fine human person and an outstanding writer, he looks really, really good on TV³.


¹ Here, here, and here. No yore was harmed in the reposting of these links.

² We’ve subscribed to the show via Amazon Prime, which is my least favorite part of this whole thing. Their digital delivery of HD is full of MPG artifacts that I never see from NetFlix. I’ll take MPG artifacts over commercials, but it stings to do that after spending actual real money on HD.

³That paragraph won’t embarrass Myke. His already-thick skin has been hardened under regular abrasion provided by his friend and mine, Sam Sykes, on Twitter. The Sam and Myke show (as I like to call it) is worth following: @MykeCole and @SamSykesSwears.

Politics: Neither Fun nor Profitable

Schlock Mercenary is, in its heart of hearts, satire. It has always been political, but those messages are delivered in the abstract. It is sociopolitical satire framed in military sci-fi comedy. It invites the reader to laugh as they ask questions, but it does not commit to giving them hard and fast answers.

On rare occasion the blog posts beneath the comic have been a bit more explicitly political. Over the years I’ve determined that political punditry isn’t something I enjoy, and that the people who find it profitable seem to also encourage a widening of the spaces between us, driving both the left and the right to more entertaining¹ extremes. Mostly, then, my blog is about movies and merchandise.

Of late, however, my Twitter feed has been extremely political. This isn’t because I enjoy politics, nor because I’m seeking attention. It’s because important things are happening², and I believe they’re important enough for me to expend a bit of my social capital to boost critical messages. I still tweet the slice-of-life silliness I used to, but the mirth is diluted a bit.

The pattern described above is likely to continue:

  • Schlock Mercenary is going to follow the outline I’ve established for it, and won’t wander off into what would definitely be the weeds for the story I’m telling in order to take specific political positions.
  • The blog below the comic is going to focus mostly on movie review things, merchandising, and the occasional public service announcement.
  • My Twitter feed is going to reflect my personal opinions on matters of the soul, the State, and a scattering of other things. It’s going to remain on the side-bar here at, but you’re neither required nor expected to read it.

Regardless of what is said in any of these spaces, each of them belongs to me. I’m under no obligation, legal or moral, to give equal time to positions other than my own³. I do feel a strong obligation to say things that are true. I aspire to the high levels of journalistic integrity currently demonstrated by people like Farenthold and Tapper, but I’m not a journalist, so I’m much more likely to get things wrong from time to time.

¹ “Entertaining” in the same way that watching a car accident is entertaining. I hold the modern pundit-provocateur in extremely low regard. 

² Political protest appears to be on track to be the American national pastime for 2017, displacing Baseball.


³ My personal political positions have changed over the years, and some have flipped nearly 180 degrees. You can peruse if you’d like (not everything there cross-posts to but only the most current stuff is going paint an accurate reflection of what I think.