Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Book Review: Dead-Bang Fall by J.R. Sanders (Nate Ross #2)

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Strong characters, plot, and setting
Cons: A bit too much slang early on
The Bottom Line:
Simple turns deadly
With connection to Nate’s past
Strong historical

Helping a Face from His Past

While I got both books published so far in J.R. Sanders’s Nate Ross novels last year, I only got the first one read.  I decided to fix that early in 2023, so I picked up Dead-Bang Fall.

Nate Ross is a PI solving cases in late 1930’s Hollywood.  He’s an ex-cop forced out when he took down a few dirty cops, making him a pariah among his former co-workers.  Even as a PI, he hasn’t lost that distrust from his former brothers in blue.

But Nate’s still getting work.  His most recent case starts out quite by accident.  He’s been hired to figure out if the usher at a small theater is reselling tickets, something Nate quickly confirms.  However, things take a deadly turn when the usher is murdered in a back alley while Nate has him under surveillance.  Nate didn’t witness the murder, but he did see one other man go into the alley – one of the cops he helped convict five years earlier.

So you can imagine Nate’s surprise when this corrupt cop stumbles into Nate’s office a few hours later insisting he is innocent and hiring Nate to find the men he says really committed the crime.  Then his newest client goes on the run, making Nate question the truth.  The more he digs, the more questions he has.  Without a clue who to trust, can he figure out what is really happening?  Or is his client guilty?

As with the first book, this is very much a private eye novel.  As a result, it has a bit more language and violence than I would read in a cozy, but it isn’t excessive.  The one thing that did bother me was an excessive use of slang.  Early on, the characters seem to want to work as much police jargon from the time into the story as they could.  Fortunately, that eased up as the book went along, so the few times it was worked in added to the fun instead feeling overwhelming.

The plot is strong.  Nate doesn’t know who to trust, and with good reason because it becomes clear early on that no one is telling him the whole truth.  But he is good as learning what is truly going on, even if he hits a few brick walls along the way.  The ending was creative and wrapped things up in a satisfying way.

Nate still had some wise cracks in this book, but he was a bit toned down from the first book in the series, or they didn’t hit me the same way they did in the first book.  Still, I grinned several times as his antics.

And he makes a strong lead character.  While we don’t get quite as much backstory here as we did in the first book, we get enough to fully understand the background to this story.  That allows for some interesting growth, and I’m curious to see where things go in the future.

There are a few returning characters in this book, and I enjoyed seeing them again.  The majority of the characters are new, and they came to life for me, keeping me guessing about what exactly was going on as I read.

I also enjoyed reading about Hollywood in 1939, and the setting came to life for me.  While I didn’t spot any cameos by real people, it was still fun to be living life back in the era for a few hours while I read.

If you are looking for a PI novel that harkens back to the early days of the genre, Dead-Bang Fall is for you.  This book will have you turning pages through all the twists and reaching the last one before you know it.

Monday, January 30, 2023

Movie Review: The Pacifier

Stars: 3 out of 5
Pros: Family friendly laughs and action
Cons: Predictable, some laughs didn’t work for me
The Bottom Line:
A Seal babysits
Out of water comedy
That has its moments

Mindless Disney Fun

There are many movies on my “I’ll see them someday” list, and The Pacifier was on it.  It looked like it could be fun.  So when some friends wanted to watch it recently, I didn’t put up any fight at all.

This movie centers on Shane Wolfe (Vin Diesel), a Navy Seal.  When a mission goes horribly wrong, Vin finds himself in the hospital for a couple of months recovering from his injuries.  His first assignment back isn’t one he expected.  He’s assigned to the Plummer family.  The father, who was developing an amazing new piece of technology, has died, and the mother, Julie (Faith Ford), needs to go to Switzerland to retrieve the contents of the box he had there.

And so, Shane finds himself responsible for the daily care as well as the safety for five kids ranging from teens down to a baby.  None of them trust him.  None of them want him there.  Can he convince them he is a good guy?  Are they in danger?

Anyone familiar with a family comedy can pretty much guess where things go from here.  The things that I didn’t see coming were things I should have seen coming.  But, as I have said before, as long as you are having fun, it really doesn’t matter.

And there is fun to be had here.  The cast is filled with many familiar names, especially for 2005, like Carol Kane and Brad Garrett.  As you’d expect, they all make the most of their scenes, giving us plenty of laughs.  The emotional moments work as well, and I teared up a time or two.

Yet, some of the scenes don’t work like they were supposed to, and I found a couple of the characters who were supposed to be funny to be more annoying.  I get what the laughs were supposed to be; they just didn’t work for me.

Vin Diesel is known more for his action movies than his comedy.  He works as the out of his element Navy Seal here, but part of the reason he works in this role is because the film calls for plenty of action.  Don’t worry, it is in keeping with the family friendly movie, but I enjoyed that aspect of things.

I am glad I saw The Pacifier.  I’m not sure I need to see it again, but it was enjoyable to watch once.  If you are a fan of the cast or curious about it, give it a shot.

Sunday, January 29, 2023

Music Review: One Name by Selah

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Six new songs of praise from Selah
Cons: None from me
The Bottom Line:
Six new songs of praise
In Selah’s uplifting style
For amazing God

Selah Releases an EP filled with Anthems of Praise

The trio Selah is best known for their modern covers of classic hymns, and rightly so.  However, I also love the more modern anthems of praise they’ve started filling their releases with.  Last fall, they released two new CD, one a Christmas project and one a brand-new collection of hymns.  I liked both of them, but I was missing the anthems, so I was happy when they followed those releases up with One Name.

This is a six track EP, but it is filled with new to me songs.  The first of these is the title track.  “One Name” has a Latin flavor that makes it lots of fun.  It reminds us that Jesus is the only way to be saved.  Things slow down for “So Beautiful,” which focuses on what God has done for us and praises Him because of it.  “God of Ages” comes closest to feeling like a classic hymn and it focuses on praising God for who He is, while “Jesus Victorious” feels like it could be a more modern praise song.  The tempo picks up a little more with “Crying Holy” before we get to the souring melody of “Glory Hallelujah.”

There’s actually a bonus track on the disc.  This seventh song is “Gloria E Aleluia” or “Glory Hallelujah” in Spanish.  For this track, the trio is joined by Gabriel Guedes.  I skip right by this one since I don’t know Spanish, but it’s a bonus track, so that doesn’t bother me.  Those who speak Spanish will love it.

By now, I feel like Selah fans know what to expect from them, and that’s exactly what they will get here.  There really isn’t any change in their sound and their lyrics are still focusing on praising God.  But that’s why we love them, right?

If you’ve never given Selah a chance and this sounds like something you’d enjoy, I recommend you pick up One Name.  If you are already a fan, you’ll love this shorter release.

CD Length: 31:45
1. One Name
2. So Beautiful
3. God of Ages
4. Jesus Victorious
5. Crying Holy
6. Glory Hallelujah
7. Gloria E Aleluia (with Gabriel Guedes)

Saturday, January 28, 2023

TV Show Review: United States of Al - Season 2

Stars: 2 out of 5
Pros: Season premier, early episodes
Cons: Second half of the season destroys what fun the show had
The Bottom Line:
Season started well
But second half went downhill
Recommend you pass

“You Are Destroying My Life.”  “Only Because I Love You.”

I was amused enough by the first season of United States of Al to give season two a chance.  I was impressed with how the season started, but as it went along, it lost much of the enjoyment I was getting from it.

If you’ve missed this show, it focused on Al (Adhir Kalyan), an interpreter for the US Marines in his native Afghanistan who has immigrated to the United States and is now living with his best friend, former Marine Riley (Parker Young) and his family, including his father, Art (Dean Norris), and sister, Lizzie (Elizabeth Alerfer).  Rounding out the cast, we have Riley’s ex-wife, Vanessa (Kelli Goss), their daughter, Hazel (Farrah Mackenzie), and Vanessa’s new boyfriend, Freddy (Brian Thomas Smith).

While I know the characters and show are purely fictional, I couldn’t help but think of the characters as the disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan was happening during August of 2021.  The writers felt the need to address it as well, so we get the season two opener, which was the best episode of the show, hands down.  While this is a sitcom, they actually made this episode without any jokes, and it felt more like a thriller as Al was trying to get his sister out of Afghanistan.  It was tense and heartwarming at the same time, and the actors brought their A game, pulling us into the story.  If you have never watched an episode of this show, I recommend you watch at least this one.  It was that good.

From there, the show got back to its comedy roots.  Yes, there were some references to Afghanistan and Al’s family, although the references to real events dropped away.  Instead, we got more stories about Al trying to fit into his new country and the college classes he started to take.  We still get some serious storylines as Riley deals with his time in the Marines, but there is still humor as well.

I actually appreciated these storylines.  They were realistic about what our soldiers have to deal with during and after they leave active service, but they did it without disrespecting the men and women who serve or our armed forces.  It was a perfect balance of comedy, public service, and respect.

I also felt like the humor was getting better.  This was never a sitcom that gave me huge laughs, but it was always amusing, and I felt like the writers were beginning to find themselves and the humor in the characters.

Then came the second half of the season, where things went off the rails.  We began to have more and more storylines related to Riley and Al’s love lives, and I didn’t appreciate where they took either character.  I especially felt like Al was out of character this part of the season.  Not only that, but they started to go for the easy and cheap joke.  I rarely laughed in these episodes, and, if we weren’t so close to the end of the season, I might have stopped watching.  That’s not to say that we didn’t get some of these jokes and storylines all season, but they took over at the end of the season.

Needless to say, when CBS decided to cancel the show at the end of season 2, I wasn’t heartbroken at all.  I’d already decided I wasn’t going to be back for season 3 if it had happened.

Since the show was cancelled at the last minute, there are several storylines that are left unresolved.  I wouldn’t say there are any direct cliffhangers, but it would have been nice to get some closure on certain relationships.

Honestly, I recommend you watch the season 2 premier, and then skip the rest of the season.  What could have been a great show was never allowed to bloom, but instead was choked out by sex jokes.

Friday, January 27, 2023

Movie Review: John Wick Chapters 2

Stars: 1 out of 5
Pros: The first 15 minutes entertain
Cons: The rest is a repetitive violent mess with cardboard for characters
The Bottom Line:
Taking one last job
A boring action movie
Way too violent

“I Don’t Know If You Noticed, But You’ve got a Crack in Your Windshield.”

The friend who talked me into watching John Wick fully admitted that the first movie was bad, but he promised that John Wick Chapter 2 was a better movie.  While some things were better, overall, he was wrong.

This movie picks up just a few days after the last one ends.  John Wick (Keanu Reeves) is hoping to finally go back into retirement from his former life as an assassin when Santino D’Antonio (Riccardo Scamarcio) shows up at his front door.  He’s heard that John is back as an assassin and therefore wants to call in the marker that John has with him.  It takes a little persuading, but John eventually does take on the assignment – going to Italy to kill Santino’s sister.  What will happen when John takes on the assignment?

With the first movie, I did complain about the motive for John going out committing all the murder and mayhem – revenge.  Here, he’s hired to go out and kill someone.  Ironically enough, I wasn’t as disturbed by his motive here as I was before.

However, the first movie had better and more action scenes.  This movie starts out with a great action scene.  Unrealistic?  Sure.  But lots of fun.  From there, it devolves into a video game movie.  What do I mean by that?  John takes on wave after wave of bad guys out to kill him, just like we would if we played a video game.  Heck, at one point, they are even showing three different fights that happened close together in time, but interspersed with each other.  One has to wonder why.  We never get the answer for that.  Late in the movie, we do get a creative location for a fight sequence, but it goes on much too long.

And that was the biggest problem with the movie – I got bored in an action movie.  It was the same thing over and over again, and I was counting down the seconds until it would end.  Yes, it ended on a cliffhanger, but I’m not sure I care.

Granted, that is partially the script’s fault.  Oh, don’t worry, the dialogue, what little there is of it, is better written than in the first movie.  I know, that isn’t saying much.  I felt like a little thought and effort was put into the dialogue here.  But we get nothing as far as character development.  As much as I thought John’s behavior was out of line in the first one (revenge and all), it at least gave him something relatable.  Here, he could easily be a mindless killing machine.  We just don’t care about him.

I said it was partially the script’s fault.  The other fault is the acting.  For me, Keanu Reeves is a hit or miss actor.  Here, he was a miss.  His dialogue came off as stiff, which again made it hard to care about the character.  For the most part the other actors are better, but the script doesn’t give them much to work with either.  Of course, most of the “characters” are just the nameless people that John Wick has to kill, so they don’t have much to work with.

Just in case you haven’t figured it out yet, this movie is violent.  And there are several scenes that are needlessly violent.  They could have toned it down, but by going over the top, it turned me off again.  There’s also quite a bit of foul language, although that seemed to die down as the violence ramped up in the second half.  Either way, this movie earns its R rating.

Honestly, there’s isn’t much to recommend the movie.  After the first 15 minutes, it devolves into a boring, gross mess.  Even mocking it with my friends didn’t make it enjoyable because it was so repetitive.  You will be best served by avoiding John Wick Chapter 2.

Thursday, January 26, 2023

Book Review: Hallowe’en Party by Agatha Christie (Hercule Poirot #36)

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Interesting mystery
Cons: Biggest for me – victim’s age
The Bottom Line:
Death at a party
Can Poirot find the motive?
Overall, still good

Drowned in the Apple Bobbing Tub

I probably wouldn’t have picked up Hallowe’en Party right now if it hadn’t been announced that it was going to be the inspiration for the next Kenneth Branagh Poirot movie, coming later this year.  I wasn’t the only one suddenly interested in this lesser-known Christie book since it took me a couple of months and a few tries to get the audio version from my library.  While this doesn’t have the renown of some of Agatha Christie’s other books, there is a good mystery here.

This book is near the end of the Hercule Poirot series, originally coming out in 1969.  It finds Poirot called to a small English village after a Hallowe’en party ends in a tragedy.  Thirteen-year-old Joyce, who was helping with the party for the children of the village, is found dead in the tub used for the apple bobbing.  Earlier in the evening, she had bragged about seeing a murder, but no one believed her.

Poirot’s friend, mystery author Ariadne Oliver, was one of those who found Joyce.  She thinks that Joyce might have been telling the truth, but as Poirot starts to interview those who have known Joyce longer, everyone says that Joyce was always lying or embellishing stories, so there is no reason to take her seriously.  But if not, why did someone kill her?

I mentioned 1969 earlier for a reason.  This is definitely a later entry from Agatha Christie since the theory in the village is that the killer is a wandering sex criminal, a problem that they were having in “modern” British society.  I’ve got to admit, I found that a bit jarring.  No, we don’t get much more discussion than that, but it’s not something I was expecting.  The book does provide a bit of interesting commentary about how some topics we are still dealing with in society were being viewed at the time.

The other thing I found a big jarring was Joyce’s age.  I can’t remember the last time I read a book with a victim this young.

However, I definitely got into the story.  As Poirot digs into the past and the present in order to make sense of the crime, he uncovers some pretty strong motives, and I enjoyed trying to piece together what happened.  The ending is an edge of your seat thrill as he must race to keep tragedy from striking again.  I didn’t have everything pieced together, but I was definitely on the right track, so I felt the ending made sense.

I also felt the characters were good.  We didn’t get to know everyone super well, but we got to know them enough to care about the outcome.  I think if the characters were better developed, the victim been thirteen might have impacted me even more than it did, so this was probably a good thing.

As I said at the beginning, I listened to an audio version of this one.  Hugh Fraser was the narrator of this particular version, and he did a good job of helping bring the story to life and keeping the characters straight without overwhelming the story.

Since the new movie will be “inspired” by Hallowe’en Party, I’m expecting some major changes (including the location, I believe).  But it will be interesting to see if I recognize anything from this book in the movie.  In the meantime, I’m glad the movie inspired me to read this lesser-known Agatha Christie books.

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Ornament Review: Top Hat Snowman - 2022 Hallmark Release

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Great looking ornament with ties to recent series
Cons: Nothing, unless I start to get nitpicky
The Bottom Line:
Throwback to series
Snowman inside ornament
Nice VIP gift

Snowman Inside a Companion Ornament

Several years ago, Hallmark had a limited series they called Inside Story.  These ornaments feature a scene of some kind inside a traditionally shaped ornament.  They returned to this series with Top Hat Snowman.

The main ornament is a red oblong shape with a sphere at the top and a teardrop shape at the bottom.  It’s nice and shiny, too, which I like.  Inside the main oval, we see a snowman.  He’s wearing a gray hat and a red and white striped scarf.  He’s leaning on a candy cane, and there’s a snowflake shape on his stomach.

The snowman is a little simpler than the rest of the official Inside Story ornaments.  But that’s a minor complaint.  The red really stands out on the Christmas tree, and it looks so elegant.  It’s just a fun little piece.

Since this is a companion ornament released a few years after the original series ended, you won’t find a series marker on it at all.

Obviously, with the shape of the ornament, it won’t sit out.  You have to hang it.  Fortunately, it hangs straight.

If you had gone into a store specifically to buy this ornament, you wouldn’t have been able to find it.  Instead, it was a gift to Hallmark’s best customers during their November VIP event.  It’s probably the one thing from the bag I’ll be using going forward.

Top Hat Snowman is a fun ornament.  I was happy to see them go back and revisit the Inside Story series since I love that concept.

Check out the rest of the official Inside Story ornaments.

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Book Review: Irish Coffee Murder by Leslie Meier, Lee Hollis, and Barbara Ross

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Three fun St. Patrick’s Day set novellas
Cons: A couple of issues, mainly with the first story
The Bottom Line:
St. Patrick’s Day deaths
In these three fun novellas
Settle in, enjoy

Here's to a Deadly St. Patrick’s Day

I’m noticing that Kensington is increasing their holiday novella collections this coming year.  It seems these collections are really finding an audience, which isn’t a surprise since they can be lots of fun.  Since Leslie Meier, Lee Hollis, and Barbara Ross have teamed up several times before already, we get a collection focused on a different holiday from them this year – St. Patrick’s Day.  Irish Coffee Murder takes us to Maine for three fun mysteries.

The collection starts off with the title novella, which stars reporter Lucy Stone, the main character in Leslie Meier’s long running series.  Spring is slow in coming to Tinker’s Cove, but it is March, so when Lucy gets a lead for a potential feature on four Irish step dancing students in the area who are going to be going to national competitions, she thinks it will be perfect to run this month.  However, things take a turn after Lucy meets the teens when one of their mothers is found dead.  What would lead someone to kill her?

Since I don’t normally read this series, I appreciated that we didn’t get tons about the series regular characters.  I know just enough about them to appreciate the little bit of updates we did get.  The characters were good, and helped pull me into the story.  The pacing was off in the story, however, with too much time spent wandering before things really came together.  And I was bothered by how the politics that found its way into the story was presented.

Up next is “Death of an Irish Coffee Drinker” from Lee Hollis and featuring characters from their popular Hayley Powell series.  When Hayley’s friend Liddy gets comedian Jefferson O’Keefe to return to Bar Harbor for a special St. Patrick’s Day show, everyone in town is buzzing.  Jefferson grew up in town before gaining fame as a comedian, so the show is sure to sell out.  Jefferson is warm and friendly, so it is a surprise when he keels over at the after party that Hayley is catering after proposing a toast with his Irish coffee.  Can Hayley figure out what really happened?

I don’t read this series, but I’ve read enough novellas to begin to remember who a few of the key characters are, so I enjoyed getting to see them again.  The warm and friendly atmosphere that they create pulls me right in.  I may have to start the series.  The plot is strong, introducing us to a couple of suspects before Jefferson dies, and then giving us a couple of nice twists before we reach the end.  Thanks to Hayley’s columns in the local newspaper, we get some funny side stories and several traditional Irish dishes, including one for the title drink.

Rounding things out is “Perked Up,” by Barbara Ross.  This novella is the reason I picked up the anthology since I love her Maine Clambake series.  When the power goes out on St. Patrick’s Day, Julia and her mother find themselves hosting an impromptu party.  Over mugs of Irish coffee, the group starts to discuss an unsolved murder that took place in town on St. Patrick Day back in the 1860’s.  Everyone has their own theory on who committed the murder and why.  But the night makes Julia curious what really happened.  Can she figure it out after all this time?

This novella will definitely please fans of the Maine Clambake series.  I loved how the first half unfolded, and it allowed us to spend some time with characters who have been in the background in recent books.  I became curious what really happened and how Julia might solve it.  I was impressed with how she did that in the end.  There was one element I wasn’t thrilled with, but that’s minor.  Meanwhile, we also got some updates on ongoing storylines in the series.  As a bonus, there’s a recipe for Irish Soda Bread at the end.

Since these are novellas, each story is roughly 100 pages, so there’s just enough time to get a taste of each author and the communities they’ve created.  If they leave you hungry for more, there is a list of the books by all the authors in order at the beginning.

It’s nice to see another holiday getting it’s turn in the murder mystery spotlight.  Now’s the time to grab a mug of Irish coffee and settle in with Irish Coffee Murder.

If the last story piques your interest, here are the rest of the Maine Clambake Mysteries in order.

NOTE: I received an ARC of this book.

Monday, January 23, 2023

Movie Review: Signed, Sealed, Delivered - From Paris with Love

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Another great movie with characters we love
Cons: The character of Holly didn’t work for me
The Bottom Line:
Divorce papers and
Oliver’s long-lost wife are
Set up for this film

“It Is Hard to Ignore a Confident Man with a Broom.”  “What Do I Do?”  “You Get a Better Broom.”

Somehow, I let six months go without watching the next movie in the Signed, Sealed, Delivered series.  When I realized this a couple weeks ago, my desire to see what happened next to the characters was so strong, I sat down that night to watch From Paris with Love.

It’s been a few months since we last checked in on the POstables – Oliver, Shane, Rita, and Norman (Eric Mabius, Kristin Booth, Yan-Kay Chrystal Lowe, and Geoff Gustafon).  Not much has changed in their relationships, however, and they are still working together as a great team working for the post office in Denver dealing with letters that haven’t been delivered for whatever reason.

However, things start to change when the gang gets a package that hasn’t been delivered for two years – someone mailing divorce papers to his wife.  When Shane discovers the letter that Oliver sent to his estranged wife in Paris several months ago has landed in their office.  Meanwhile, Rita seems to be infatuated with Ramon (Zak Santiago), much to Norman’s dismay.  Will they track down the couple with the divorce papers?  What will happen with Oliver’s letter?

Oliver’s wife having abandoned him was set up the very first time we met these characters, and I’ve been looking forward to this movie to find out exactly what happened there.  Well, I knew how it would end.  It helps that there are ten more movies with these characters, and I might have read some plot teasers about what is coming for them.  But even if I hadn’t done that, it still was very easy to figure out thanks to this being a Hallmark movie.

Having said that, I still got caught up in the story.  The letter the gang is working on is really a sub-plot in the midst of what is really happening with our main characters.  But, since I love these characters, I’m really not complaining.  And with the three storylines, there was plenty to keep my attention.

I’ve got to say, my biggest disappointment with this movie was Oliver’s wife, Holly.  Now, don’t misunderstand, that’s not a complaint with the actress, Poppy Montgomery, who I’ve seen in other things and enjoyed.  I just felt like how she was written didn’t quite work.  Or maybe I was just prepared to hate her since we are rooting for Oliver and Shane to get together and I wouldn’t have given the character a chance no matter how she was written.

But that’s my only complaint with the film.  I went through the usual as I watched.  I laughed.  I teared up, and I wondered exactly how things were going to wrap up for the characters.  In the end, I was very happy with the movie.

At this point, the four leads know their characters, and they are perfect at bringing them to life.  Yes, this is a Hallmark movie and definitely not for everyone, but I’m hard pressed to find any of the Hallmark cheese I usually reference here.

If you jump into the franchise here, you might not appreciate From Paris with Love.  But if you already love the characters in the Signed, Sealed, Delivered movies, you’ll love watching them in action here.

This movie is included the Signed, Sealed, Delivered Movie Collection: Movies 1-4.

Sunday, January 22, 2023

Disney Pin Review: Prince Charming Regal Carousel - Mickey Mouse the Main Attraction #7 - 2021 Release

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Good theme for the carousels
Cons: Mickey’s got to be tired of holding that pose
The Bottom Line:
Royal attraction
Gets a royal costume change
Mickey looks regal

Mickey Makes a Royal Visit

We are entering the second half of the Mickey Mouse the Main Attraction series.  And Mickey is kicking things off with a visit to the Fantasyland Carousel in this pin.

Back when they were releasing the Minnie Mouse the Main Attraction series, I took the releases to be Disneyland based, and I thought they referred to the seventh release as King Arthur’s Carousel.  However, I see that with this release, Mickey is visiting the Prince Charming Regal Carousel, which is in Fantasyland in Walt Disney World.  Either I got things wrong two years ago, which is possible since I live in Southern California and immediately think of Disneyland, or they decided to theme the new series around the other major Disney Park in the USA.  Obviously, I’m making a big deal about nothing.  The attraction is in both locations and it really doesn’t matter which carousel they officially theme this pin around.  I just found it interesting.

Mickey is dressed up for the occasion.  He’s pastel this month.  Instead of black, his ears, nose, and eyes are a minty green.  I don’t know why, but this also made that fact that his eyes are Pac-Man shaped in these pins pop out to me.  He’s got a cape flowing out behind him, and he’s wearing a royal vest in white and pink with some fleur de lis on it.  On top of his head, he’s wearing a royal crown.

The pin looks great.  It is easy to see which attraction Mickey is visiting, although, like me, most people will probably go with the carousel they are most familiar with.  Since both are royal themed, it doesn’t matter at all.  As usual, I wish that they had given Mickey several different poses for the series, but that’s a minor thing.

I know the Carousels don’t have the biggest fan base compared to other Disney Park attractions, so this one will probably appeal most to those completing the series, like me.  But it’s a nice addition to the Mickey Mouse the Main Attraction pin collection.

Saturday, January 21, 2023

TV Show Review: L.A.'s Finest - Season 2

Stars: 3 out of 5
Pros: Action, crime, some humor
Cons: Soap opera personal storylines
The Bottom Line:
Two big mysteries
Drive much of second season
In average show

“Old School.”  “Emphasis on Old.”  “Actually, I’m Retro.”

While L.A.’s Finest didn’t grab me initially out of the gate, I was invested enough in the characters by the end of season 1 that I decided to give season 2 a chance.  It helps that I have Spectrum TV, and the show is a Spectrum original.  Like the first season, the second had its moments, but it was hit or miss for me.

If you’ve missed the show, it is a spin-off of the Bad Boys film franchise since it features Sydney Burnett (Gabrielle Union) from the second movie.  She’s relocated to Los Angeles and is working as a homicide cop alongside Nancy McKenna (Jessica Alba).  While the two get results, they often go about it in questionable ways.

This season picks up a few months after the first season ended.  In that time, the death of Sydney’s friend Jen has remained unsolved, and Sydney begins to investigate it herself despite the fact that she isn’t on the case.  Naturally, Nancy is right there to help her.  Along the way, they are officially assigned to investigate a string of crimes in Koreatown.  Is it related to the boxing star that is trying to give back to the neighborhood?

This season was different from the first since we really focused on these two cases.  We occasionally had a smaller case that came in for a couple of episodes, but most of these twelve episodes focused on these two cases.

Well, and the private lives of our two leads.  While we learn more about Sydney’s family, we are more invested in Nancy’s family since her husband, DA Patrick McKenna (Ryan McPartlin), and step-daughter Isabel (Sophie Reynolds) were a big part of season 1.  There storylines come directly from what we saw in the first season.  They took them to some interesting places.  Some of which I liked, but some of which I definitely didn’t.

The cases were strong.  There were some great twists that I didn’t expect.  Other times, while I saw certainly plot complications coming, the suspense they gave us were great.

But it’s not all drama and suspense.  We do get some comic relief, mostly coming from the Bens, Detectives Ben Baines and Ben Walker (Duane Martin and Zach Gilford).  They are a delight.

With everything going on, the show is entertaining.  But it was still hit or miss with me.  Part of that is some storylines that were clearly inspired by soap operas and diminished the characters in my eyes.  I mean, there is a reason I don’t watch soap operas – I don’t enjoy those kinds of storylines.  But when it was a crime drama, it was good.

Being an original for a TV service and not the broadcast networks, it does have more violence and language than most TV shows I watch.  Still, they didn’t push the boundaries too far.

I knew the show had been cancelled before I started watching season 2.  It certainly makes the cliffhanger ending of the season more frustrating.  It could have been worse, but I would like to know what happens next.

L.A.’s Finest is one of those shows I enjoyed when I was watching it, but I have no desire to go back and watch again.  I’m glad I had an opportunity to watch season 2, but it isn’t worth going out of your way to watch.

Friday, January 20, 2023

Movie Review: Bad Boys II

Stars: 2 out of 5
Pros: Action is good
Cons: Action is not supported by story or characters; little true humor
The Bottom Line:
Big action movie
But bad characters, story
Film is skippable

“Just Another Day with Mike Lowrey.”

Of the two Bad Boys movies I recorded a couple years back, I was most interested in seeing Bad Boys II since it was the one that introduced the character of Sydney Burnett as played by Gabrielle Union that was spun off into the TV show LA’s Finest.  While I didn’t find the original super impressive, I went into this one with an opened mind.  Sadly, it didn’t even live up to my low expectations.

Marcus Burnett (Martin Lawrence) and Mike Lowrey (Will Smith) are narcotics cops working in Miami.  They are trying to stop the biggest shipment of ecstasy to come into their city, but their tips aren’t leading them to the source of the drugs.

Meanwhile, Marcus’s sister Syd (Gabrielle Union) is visiting from New York City where she works a desk job for the DEA.  She and Mike reconnected when he was up there last month, but Marcus doesn’t yet know.  And neither of the men know that Syd is actually in Miami undercover, going against the same drug king pin they are after.  With all that set in motion, just sit back and watch the sparks fly.

Good action movies make the action an important part of the plot.  This movie is a series of action scenes loosely help together by a plot.  Don’t try to think about it or you will strain yourself.  Just sit back and wait for the action.

I’ll give the movie this – it does the action scenes well.  As improbable as they are, they are fun.

The first movie also provided enough character development to make us care about the characters.  That’s something else missing here.  Yes, we get some character arcs, but you know where they are going to wind up.  The characters are cardboard pieces to be moved around as deemed necessary by the plot.

This isn’t a reflection on the actors.  This is all the fault of the script which just focuses on the action scenes and little else.

The first movie had a few scenes and lines that made me laugh.  Here, we have Will Smith and Martin Lawrence (and some of the other characters) arguing over the top of each other substituting for the comedy.  Martin Lawrence does get a few bits of physical humor that I did enjoy.

Then there are the nitpicks – some major, some minor.  Like how is Marcus able to afford his house on his cop salary?  If they hadn’t made a big deal of Mike being the rich one in the first movie (and mentioned it again here), it wouldn’t have struck me as a big deal.  That isn’t his house from the first movie either.  So how did he get to be so rich?

Also, Marcus and Mike have been friends since school.  Maybe it was just my assumption, but I thought they grew up in Miami.  Yet Syd has never been to the city because they are talking about showing her around Miami at one point early in the film.

I was working under the assumption that there was little from this movie that followed the character of Syd into the LA’s Finest TV show, and I was right.  In fact, the only thing that followed was the character name and that she once worked for the DEA.  Definitely glad I didn’t wait until I’d seen the movies to watch the show.  If you started with the show like I did, there’s no need to worry you are missing anything if you haven’t seen this movie.

And, honestly, you aren’t missing anything if you haven’t seen this movie.  Bad Boys II is completely skippable because it is immediately forgettable.  Unless you are a huge fan of someone in the cast, don’t waste your time watching this one.

Thursday, January 19, 2023

Book Review: Where the Guilty Hide by Annette Dashofy (Detective Honeywell Mysteries #1)

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Strong characters and great mystery
Cons: All cons are in hiding
The Bottom Line:
Home invasion, death
Great start to a new series
Hard to put down book

When Home Invasion Leads to Murder

I’m still several books behind in Annette Dashofy’s Zoe Chambers series, but I couldn’t pass up a chance to get in at the very beginning of her new series.  Where the Guilty Hide takes us to Erie, Pennsylvania, and introduces us to an entirely new set of characters.  It’s no surprise that the result was wonderful.

Erie City Police Detective Matthias Honeywell has been called to the site of a second home invasion robbery in a matter of days.  Like the first one, the family was home and tied up while the group robbed them.  Unlike the first one, the father managed to get free and take off after the thieves.  However, he is now missing, so not only is Matthias racing to find the thieves, but he must find the missing man before something horrible happens to him.

Photographer Emma Anderson has recently moved to Erie, partially to escape her past and partially to look for her sister.  While taking a walk on the shore of Lake Erie, she sees a pile of debris washed up during the storm overnight.  Unfortunately, in that rubble is the body of the missing man.

It seems that every time Honeywell turns around in this case, there’s a connection back to Emma.  How involved is she?  Can Honeywell solve the case?

These may be brand new characters, but they leap off the page from the very beginning of the book.  Both Honeywell and Emma have some baggage in their pasts, and we slowly learn about it as the book unfolds.  It was nice how it was doled out without slowing down the main story, yet it wasn’t teased endlessly either.  The rest of the cast also come to life perfectly.

One thing that I appreciated was that Honeywell and his partner at work got along.  Oh, they had their differences occasionally as they worked on the case, but even then, you could tell they respected each other and considered the other’s point of view.  That feels different from many police procedurals where the author tries to work up additional conflict with a difficult partnership.

Those familiar with Annette’s first series won’t be surprised to find that the story is told from both Honeywell and Emma’s points of view.  These changes happen at chapter breaks, so it’s always easy to know who’s head we are following at this moment in time.

And the plot was wonderful.  It continued to build until we reached a page turning climax.  Sadly, I was trying to read on my lunch hour and breaks, so I kept having to put the book down when I’d reached the climax.  Believe me, it wasn’t by choice.  Honeywell drives much of the investigation, but Emma learns plenty that helps wrap things up.

Being a police procedural, the book wades into some darker territories than a typical cozy.  As long as you know this going in, you’ll be fine.

I’m very curious to see where these new characters are going to go next.  If you’re already a fan of Annette Dashofy, you’ll be very happy with Where the Guilty Hide.  If you haven’t started her books yet, this is the perfect place to get hooked on her books.

NOTE: I received an ARC of this book.

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Movie Review: Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

Stars: 3 out of 5
Pros: Good characters, action, effects, fun cameos
Cons: Ending feels like too much of a cheat to really work for me
The Bottom Line:
Doc Strange answers call
For help across dimensions
Fun parts and weak parts

“Rule Number One of Multiversal Travel – You Don’t Know Anything.”

I wasn’t the biggest fan of the original Doctor Strange movie because I found it too, well, strange.  But since I know that Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness was going to follow up on WandaVision, I was looking forward to the sequel.  Even so, it was just a couple of weeks ago that I finally got around to watching it.

Dr. Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) is attending the wedding of his ex, Dr. Christine Palmer (Rachel McAdams) when the reception is interrupted by a huge fight happening outside.  A strange creature is after a young woman, America (Xochitl Gomez).  What’s really weird is that Dr. Strange had just had a dream about America the night before.  Yet he’s never met her before.

Dr. Strange quickly learns that America has been jumping across dimensions in an effort to stay away from someone who is determined to get his hands on America’s powers.  Not that America knows how to control her dimension hopping power.  In an effort to get some help, Dr. Strange turns to Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen), who is currently in isolation.  But when the next attack goes wrong, Dr. Strange finds himself with America in a different dimension.  Can they stop the force against them and find a way home?

Ironically enough, I found this movie a little better grounded than the first one even with all the dimension hopping.  Of course, it helps that we’ve already set up the multiverse in other recent Marvel movies and shows, so I’ve had the time to wrap my head around that idea.  And, I’ve gotten used to Dr. Strange and his powers, so they didn’t feel so out there to me.

The movie pretty much jumps into the story.  We have just enough time to get reacquainted with the characters before the first attack happens.  From there, it’s a fast-paced race that keeps us engaged the entire time.

However, it was the characters where the movie was a letdown for me.  There was one in particular that I just didn’t like what they did with.  I can understand it.  I just didn’t like it.

Which leads us to the climax.  Again, I have mixed feelings on it.  From one stand point, it feels like a cop out ending where the writers didn’t know how to end things.  On the other hand, I feel like it truly did create some nice character growth.  Or maybe it was just the character growth I was hoping for since looking back on it, it was a little forced.  And that forced feeling is probably why I didn’t buy the ending.

There are some very fun cameos at one point in this movie that fans of Marvel in all its movie incarnations will appreciate.

None of my problems with the movie come from the actors.  The cast is all fantastic and bring their characters to life well.

Likewise, the special effects are all wonderful.  And there are a lot of special effects.  The actions scenes are fun as well.

I don’t have a good sense of how the various Marvel movies are building to anything right now, so I will be interested in seeing how Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness ties into that storyline.  If you are still interested in the Marvel universe, you’ll want to see this movie.  However, it’s not the strongest movie in the series.

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Ornament Review: A World Within #8 - Owl in a Star - 2022 Hallmark Release

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Good looking ornament
Cons: Not really that Christmassy
The Bottom Line:
Owl sitting in star
Doesn’t quite connect for me
But it still looks good

You’d Be Wise to Pick Up This Ornament

Most of the time with the A World Within ornaments, I see the connection with the elements and the connection to Christmas.  I must admit, with 2022’s entry in the series, I don’t quite get it.  That doesn’t mean I don’t like the ornament, but I don’t connect with it like some of the others.

This year’s ornament is a star.  It’s yellow, and you can see the brass connections at the top as if this were a traditional ornament instead of a Hallmark ornament.  The center of the ornament is hollowed out, and inside we see a white owl.  He’s got one wing up to wave at us, a red ribbon around his neck, and he’s sitting on a tree branch.

Okay, I can see the connection of a star to Christmas.  And it’s certainly a shape that people would get in an ornament set to put on their Christmas tree.  And I guess we have an owl because an owl is out at night like stars are.  But I don’t get the owl’s connection to Christmas at all.

This is a miniature ornament, but it feels bigger than it is.  It’s about an inch and a half tall from top to bottom.  I think it’s the thickness of the ornament that makes it seem bigger than most of the miniature ornaments I have.

Since this is a star, it doesn’t really stand on it’s own.  It keeps wanting to fall forward or backwards.  However, when you go to hang the ornament on your tree, you’ll find that it hangs perfectly straight.

You’ll find the 8 in a Christmas tree series marker on the back of the ornament.

Obviously, this isn’t one of my favorites in the series.  That’s not to say I dislike it, but it feels a bit weird and not as connected to the others.

I don’t see this one appealing as much to the casual collector of the series, but if you’ve been collection A World Within, you’ll still want to get it.

Enjoy the rest of the A World Within series.

Monday, January 16, 2023

Book Review: Oh Danny Girl by C. Michele Dorsey (Danny and Nora O’Brien Mysteries #1)

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Strong characters and a page turning plot
Cons: A couple, but they are both minor
The Bottom Line:
Unexpected gun
Then, husband’s death a scandal
Page turning great read

Life Unraveling Can Be Dangerous

When an author I already love starts a new series, I am always willing to give their new venture a chance.  Since I’ve enjoyed C. Michele Dorsey’s Sabrina Salter mysteries, I figured I’d enjoy Oh Danny Girl.  What I wasn’t expecting was just how hooked I would get on this story.

Danny O’Brien’s biggest problem is that her middle aged mother, Nora, has decided to join Danny’s law practice.  Since Danny was in solo practice, she isn’t sure she will have enough work to keep her mother busy, much less the issues of being her mother’s boss.

Then Danny’s entire world come crashing down around her.  It starts when she steps into a courthouse and a gun is found in her briefcase.  Then the gun is connected to a high-profile case where her husband is defending an alleged cop killer.  Then her husband is found murdered in a hotel bed, naked, with another woman.

As if grieving wasn’t bad enough, Danny now has to figure out her own legal challenges.  But as secrets about her husband come to light, Danny realizes she has to figure out exactly what is happening.  Can she do it before it is too late?

This book jumps right into the story.  And I was hooked.  It truly doesn’t take long for the teaser I’ve given to take place, and then Danny is trying to deal with all life is throwing at her.  There were times I was a step ahead of the plot, but there were plenty of twists that took me by surprise as well.  Every time real life demanded I set the book down, it was a major disappointment.  And the ending wrapped this up wonderfully.

One reason this story works so well are the characters.  While we jump into the action fairly quickly, we still get to know Danny pretty well.  She and the rest of the cast are real people, and that makes us care about the outcome.  It also means that some of the revelations and twists of the plot hit us, too.  I did feel that some of the character growth happened a little too quickly.  I get it from a story point of view, it just didn’t quite feel realistic to me.  But I’m nit picking here.

The story unfolds from several different characters’ points of view.  These changes always happen at chapter breaks, and it is always clear whose head we are in when the chapter starts.  This is another reason why I felt like I really got to know the characters well, and it also does a great job of giving us all aspects of the case.  These chapter breaks were used to give us false suspense occasionally, as someone learned something but we didn’t learn it until a couple of chapters later.  I hate that technique.  Fortunately, it only happened a couple of times, so again, this is a minor complaint.

Since this is a thriller, it isn’t as clean as most of the cozies I read, but as long as you know that going in, you’ll be fine.

I really can’t emphasize enough how much I got caught up in this story.  This is one of those books you can’t wait to finish to find out what happens but at the same time don’t want to end because you are enjoying it so much.

Oh Danny Girl was a page turner that left me satisfied when I turned the final page.  I’m curious to see what will happen next to these characters, so I will definitely be along for the ride when the sequel comes out.

NOTE: I received a copy of this book.

Sunday, January 15, 2023

January 15th's Sunday/Monday Post

Time to kick off another week, and what better way to do that than with a Sunday/Monday post?  I'll be linking up to:

Sunday Post
Sunday Salon
Stacking the Shelves
Mailbox Monday
It's Monday, What Are You Reading?

Who has a three day weekend?  I don't.  This is one of the holidays that I consider a partial holiday.  I know schools and the government are shut down.  But I've never had it off since I got out of school.  I'm actually surprise, but the company I work for gives us President's Day off.  This is the first place I've worked where I get that off ever.

This month marks ten years since I started Carstairs Considers.  I've been reviewing much longer than that.  I started out at Amazon in 2001 and then migrated to another site in 2005.  When that site was looking like it was going to close soon, I started this blog and started by importing all my old reviews.  So if you look at 2013, you'll see I posted a LOT in the first six months.  That was the backlog.

I don't know the exact date I started the blog, and since I was playing around with stuff at the beginning, the dates on the posts don't necessarily mean anything.  But it was sometime this month, and I always like the mark the occasion.

In case you haven't heard, we got RAIN this week in California, especially here in Southern California.  I am so glad I still work from home since that meant I didn't have to drive in it.  No flooding around my place, although I have seen pictures of some flooding around my town.

Saturday morning, I ran a 5K over at my alma mater, which is across town from where I live.  It was sprinkling a bit and then raining lightly while we were running, but fortunately the worst of the rain coming on Saturday hadn't started yet.  They take us back in an area I didn't even know about when I was a student, but it was really beautiful this year with all the green thanks to the rain we've already had.  I did that instead of paddle boarding Saturday morning, not that I would have tried to paddle board in the rain anyway.

Then that afternoon was game day with my friends.  That was fun as always.

This Past Week on the Blog:

This Coming Week on the Blog:

Sunday - Sunday/Monday Post
Monday - Book Review: Oh Danny Girl by C. Michele Dorsey
Tuesday - Ornament Review: A World Within #8
Wednesday - Movie Review: Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
Thursday - Book Review: Where the Guilty Hide by Annette Dashofy
Friday - Movie Review: Bad Boys II
Saturday - TV Show Review: L.A.'s Finest - Season 2

Book Haul:

Can you believe I only got two books for the second week in a row?  I know, it's shocking.  Since I read two books a week, that means I'm staying even instead of going backwards in my TBR pile.  I'll take it!

Both of the books were eARCs, both from the same publisher, and both for books coming out in February.  Up first is Wined and Died in New Orleans by Ellen Byron.  I always enjoy Ellen's books.  This is the second in her Vintage Cookbook Mysteries, and I'm looking forward to diving in and spending more time with the characters.

The other book is Six Sweets Under.  I've been wanting to read a book by Sarah Fox for a while, and I figured that the start of a new series was the perfect time to try her out.  I've seen lots of good things about her books, so hopefully, I'll enjoy it.

What I'm Reading:

As I type this, I'm just about 50 pages from the end of Dead-Bang Fall by J. R. Sanders.  I should be able to finish it up on Sunday.  This is the second in a series, and it features a PI in 1930's Hollywood.  It's a lot of fun, and there's plenty going on to keep me confused.

Once I finish that, I will be starting on February books (yes, already), which means I will be reading Wined and Died in New Orleans, which I am planning to review February 2nd.  Kind of crazy that I'm starting on February books already, isn't it?

Hope you have a great week.

Saturday, January 14, 2023

January 14th's Weekly TV Thoughts

Quantum Leap – That was the first episode of the series that was rather blaw.  Maybe because it felt like a push on hot button issues more than we’ve seen before.  Or maybe they were trying to do too much.  I just didn’t really feel invested.  And I don’t feel like we got much in the present day storyline until the last scene.  That was certainly an interesting twist.  I really want to know where they are going with all of this.

Will Trent – I guess the first case was just a two parter.  Now I need to decide if I want to stay with the show or if these two episodes were enough.  I can’t decide if the characters were growing on me a little this week, or if I just really want to have a new show to watch and that is what is drawing me to the show.

Special Forces: World’s Toughest Test – Wow!  Three more gone.  They are dropping quickly.  Someone has to make it to the end, however, right?  Otherwise, they wouldn’t have enough episodes of the show.  I used to be able to hold my breath for 20 seconds, but I think I’d be panicking, too, if I were in that car.

Lingo – I debate about watching this show.  I was a fan of the original version of Lingo, but I feared RuPaul would be an issue for me.  I find him annoying.  And I was right.  But I stuck with it.  I would have liked to see a final showdown with the neighbors from round one.  They were the much stronger team.  Although it wasn’t quite the blowout I thought it would be.  Still, would have liked to see it be much closer.  The various word lengths make for some interesting twists on the original game.

Friday, January 13, 2023

Movie Review: Friday the 13th (1980)

Stars: 3 out of 5
Pros: Some fun moments
Cons: Boring for a horror movie
The Bottom Line:
Scary night at camp
Doesn’t stand the test of time
Genre fans only

Hope You Enjoyed Your Last Night at Camp

Growing up in the 1980’s, you couldn’t help but hear about some of the larger slasher franchises in the theater at the time.  And, as an adult with a fascination with slashers, I’ve watched all the movies in what I consider the Big Three from the 80’s – Halloween, Friday the 13th, and A Nightmare on Elm Street.  Of those three, two of the opening movies still hold up, but the first movie in the Friday the 13th franchise is the weakest.

After an initial scene in 1958, we jump to the “present day” of 1980, when the movie came out.  After being closed for many years, someone is reopening Camp Crystal Lake.  While it’s still a few days before the campers arrive, the counselors have arrived, and they are trying to put the finishing touches on getting it ready to reopen.  That is when they aren’t playing around.  But someone is watching them, and they are getting warnings about danger.  Still, they are perfectly safe, right?  Right?

You’ll notice that I haven’t mentioned any characters by name or given more of the plot than that.  I mean, this is a slasher, so we know that someone is going to start killing the counselors one by one.  What makes a movie in this genre work is how much we care about the characters before that starts happening.  And that’s where the movie fails.  We don’t really get to know the characters, so we don’t care.  Honestly, I think the problem is there are too many of them, and they are mostly in group scenes.  As a result, there is no way for them to stand out before they start dying.

Then there’s the suspense.  While we know that most of the characters are going to die, we still enjoy the moments leading up to that, especially if we know they are in danger before they do.  This movie doesn’t have nearly enough of those moments.  There’s hardly any suspense before they die.

The movie was very much inspired by Halloween, and it is easy to see that and make companions.  The problem is, Halloween did it better.  While they both have slow starts with most of the carnage coming in the second half, Halloween actually does build characters and have some moments of suspense early on, while this one doesn’t play up the suspense as well as it should and leaves us with cardboard characters.

That’s not a knock on the cast.  They are all as good as the material.  I had forgotten how well they do until I rewatched it.  No, there isn’t an outstanding performance here, but it’s not terribly acted.  Interesting to note is that this movie is an early appearance of Kevin Bacon.

I will admit, I have only watched this movie on TV, and I know that at least a couple of scenes have been cut.  That might change my opinion of the movie.

And keep in mind this is an R rated film before you watch it.

And that’s not to say that the movie doesn’t have its moments.  The scene with the counselors playing around in the lake is fun, and the final confrontation is great.  It’s just that the rest of the movie is pretty forgettable.

If you are a big fan of slashers who hasn’t seen this movie yet, you’ll still want to see it.  However, if you are only a casual fan of the genre, you can easily skip the original Friday the 13th.