Dare to Compare Not Always the Best Choice

I recently heard from a good friend of mine. Over the past ten years, his career has blossomed. He has the job he always wanted, with very little compromise.

Meanwhile, I have not been so lucky. In 2008 I was diagnosed with mental illness and it was deemed that because of the extreme nature of my disability I would no longer be able to work a full-time position.

You see, I have good days and bad days. On the good days, I have flashes of the old me wherein I can accomplish things very few others have the talent, intelligence, or drive to succeed at. On the bad days, I am in a corner crying for hours on end or talking to imaginary people. Or worse. Traditional workplaces don’t really tolerate these kinds of challenges.

I am happy that my friend has succeeded in life. I truly am. But in comparison, some would say that in the eyes of the world I am a failure. And that depressed me.

I took this quandary of emotions with me to my therapist appointment. In her observation, it seems that my self-esteem isn’t what it once was. I am no longer the cocky SOB who once was on the cusp of greatness.

My therapist offered up the notion that despite my disabilities, I have accomplished a lot. And, perhaps those accomplishments are just as meaningful as those of my successful friend because of the very fact that I have done them despite fighting multiple debilitating disabilities.

Since my diagnosis in 2008, I have tried not to let life pass me by.

As a writer, I have had two books published since 2008: Blood Lust (a Hollywood vampire novel) and Unbecoming Travolta (a memoir). Including my 2002 Amazon Top 10 Recommended My Fractured Life novel, that makes three books published in total. Further, my screenplays have been finalists in several prestigious screenwriting competitions.

As a singer and songwriter, I have released my third album in 2019 – Man on Fire.

As an actor, I have shot several films and starred in a number of highly touted stage productions that earned me two Best Actor nominations in the annual Broadway World Theatrical Awards.

As a communicator, I host a popular weekly radio show focused on the entertainment industry.

And, as a theatrical creator I have founded and grown It’s Showtime Theatre of Huntley.

When I look at those accomplishments on paper, I see where my therapist is coming from. There’s a lot of meat on those bones. But there’s a difference between how the logical mind and the emotional mind process things.

A part of me will always be the child that was told he was fat, ugly, stupid, and untalented. A part of me will always mourn being abandoned by my father at the age when a boy needs one the most.  A part of me will always carry a dark scar on my soul from being molested – once by a family friend and twice by strangers.

Those traumas aren’t conducive to developing a good self-esteem. So, my natural inclination is always going to be to see myself as unworthy of greatness. With that kind of predisposed mindset, I will always struggle to give myself credit for my accomplishments.

My friend who has his dream job is a great person. He is smart, creative, loyal, and moral. I applaud his success, as I know he would mine had the shoe been on the other foot.

But maybe, I’m not the disappointment that my subconscious says I am.  Maybe some of the things I’ve been able to do despite my challenges are impressive in their own right. Maybe, at least, I get points for trying.

Comparing yourself to others is not always the best thing to do. Instead, focus on your positives. That’s a good lesson to learn. I think I’m going to have to study that lesson a little more.

I can’t change the fact that I am disabled. My mind doesn’t work the way that others’ minds do. But I can continue to strive to be the best that I can be – not the best in comparison to others, but the best in comparison to myself.

And who knows? Maybe I can even be an inspiration to other disabled people – people with challenges like mine, or even greater than mine. There is no reason a disabled person can’t be a role model.

Peace. Love. Trust.

 

 

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Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood Good in Parts

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood from renowned writer/director Quentin Tarantino is an interesting film.

Is it a masterpiece? No.

Does it measure up to his two modern classics Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction? No.

Is it at least good? In parts.

Set in 1969, the initial story is interesting enough as it explores the relationship between Hollywood leading man Rick Dalton and his stunt double Cliff Booth.

Dalton, played effectively by Leonardo DiCaprio, is a former television star of the 1950’s Western series Bounty Law. Since the cancellation of his series, Dalton has struggled for work – most recently playing the villain in a series of television guest spots. Fearing that his career is over, he is considering playing the lead in Spaghetti Westerns (in the vein of A Fistful of Dollars).

Booth, played wonderfully by Brad Pitt, is a stuntman who specializes in doubling for Dalton, who has also become his best friend. As Dalton’s career has begun to slide, the opportunities for Booth have also begun to dwindle. He makes ends meet by serving as Dalton’s driver and errand boy.

This part of the movie works. I’ve always thought DiCaprio and Pitt should play brothers in a film due to their similar appearances. While they aren’t brothers in this picture, the film does capitalize on their physical similarities.

The world of has-been actors done in the right hands is always fascinating. The world of stuntmen is also an interesting sub-genre.

The best scene in the film is an impromptu face off between Pitt’s Booth and Bruce Lee. Lee is played spot on by Mike Moh, who not only looks identical to Lee, but also has his speech and physicality down pat.

The film loses its way with the incorporation of the Manson Family – a real life group of cult members turned murderers who follow the teachings of Charles Manson. In addition to adding no value to the picture, the use of the Manson Family also segues into a stark deviation from the actualities of history – something Tarantino also did in his film Inglorious Bastards.

While I’m not opposed to pictures that deviate from history, it has to be done effectively. In this case, it isn’t.

Of course, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood wouldn’t be a Tarantino film if it didn’t include at least one scene of glorified violence. I must say, the designated scene of graphic violence in this film is by far the best of any Tarantino film so far. It is deliciously violent and creatively done.

The film is stock full of cameos including Margot Robbie, Dakota Fanning, Bruce Dern, Al Pacino, Kurt Russell, Luke Perry, Damian Lewis, Zoe Bell, Michael Madsen, and Rumer Willis. While the story goes awry, the acting throughout is still exceptional. Lewis’ take on Steve McQueen is particularly impressive.

As with all Tarantino films, there are fun fictional brand names. In this case the standout is “Wolf’s Tooth” dog food that comes in rat and racoon flavors.

Tarantino remains one of my favorite film directors, but this one just doesn’t measure up to the hype.

Would I see Once Upon a Time in Hollywood again? Maybe on Netflix. But I wouldn’t pay money to see it again.

Peace. Love. Trust.

Top 10 Superhero Movies of All Time

It’s time for another Top 10 List from the mind of the Great & Wonderful Big Sexy Superhero Rikki Lee Travolta.

Superhero movies are all the rage. Some are good. Some are bad. But which ones are the best?

For your convenience and consideration, I offer you the Top 10 Superhero Movies of all Time.

10) The Incredibles (2004)

Superheroes got their start as drawn characters in comic books. With modern technology the door is open to all sorts of animated films. One such animated movie, The Incredibles, surpasses many fantastic live-action superhero films.

Although targeted to resonate with children, The Incredibles equally captures the imagination of teens and adults.

In the story, Superheroes have gone into hiding. Mr. Incredible and his Wife Elastigirl are trying their best to pass as normal civilians. Along for the ride are their three children, each of whom also has specialized superpowers.

When the opportunity arises to jump back into action to save the world one more time, The Incredibles take the plunge.

It’s a great script by Brad Bird, who also directs.

9) Spider-Man (2002)

There have been many incarnations of Spider-Man. Marvel is currently on it’s second reboot of the character.

While Tom Holland makes a fantastic Spider-Man in Captain America: Civil War, Spider-Man: Homecoming, and Avengers: Infinity War, it is Toby Maguire and Kristen Dunst who first brought the Spider-Man legend to screen.

The film shows the origins of the character and how he comes to believe in the mantra “With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility.”

Plus this Spider-Man movie features one of the greatest cameos of all time in Macho Man Randy Savage playing Bonesaw McGraw.

8) Wonder Woman (2017)

DC Comics has had a rough go of trying to create entertaining films to compete with the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Man of Steel, a reboot of Superman, was boring. Batman vs. Superman is probably the worst superhero movie ever made.

However, DC struck cinematic gold with Wonder Woman starring Gal Gadot in the Amazon princess role.

The film provides the story of how Wonder Woman got her powers and why she left her home on the mystical island of Themyscira in an attempt to stop World War I.

Most of the action is flashback, but there is some carryover into the modern world. It was named one of the Top 10 movies of the year by the American Film Institute. As of August 2018 Rotten Tomatoes has listed Wonder Woman as Number 3 on it’s list of “Best Superhero Movies of All Time.”

7) Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

The first two Thor movies were practically unwatchable as they gave an almost Shakespearean feel to the characters without the storytelling skills of the Bard. The dialog is stiff, as are the performances.

However, with the third installment in the Thor film franchise, the producers created a truly great film by infusing the story with comedy. Who would suspect the mighty God of Thunder could get laughs?

In addition to the title character, Thor: Ragnarok imports Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk and Benedict Cumberbatch’s Dr. Strange for added action and comedy.

I always suspected Chris Hemsworth could be a great Thor. It just took until the third movie to happen.

6) The Toxic Avenger (1984)

Lloyd Kaufman, the mastermind behind low budget shlock film production company Troma Entertainment, managed to step out of the dark recesses of the film universe reserved for B-movies.

The Toxic Avenger was well received in theaters and spawned multiple sequels and even a Off Broadway musical.

Described as a “superhero comedy splatter film.” The dialog is campy, the special effects are cheesy, the makeup is hilarious, and the many many displays of violence are comical.

Even today, The Toxic Avenger stands out as a fantastic outside the norm superhero film.

5) Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

In the last two decades, Marvel has worked its way into being the premier source of superhero films. They’ve released single-focus films like Iron Man and Captain America, but the films really started to swell in popularity when multiple heroes were featured.

Infinity War is the 19th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It is very dark by Avenger’s standards, and that is part of what makes it so good. I have the utmost respect for screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely for fitting all the characters into one film with a high profile villain (Thanos).

I think what I liked most about the film is that it isn’t a happy-go-lucky, the good guys always win formula piece. Without revealing any spoilers, the ending totally throws the Marvel universe into chaos, setting the stage for Avengers: Endgame.

4) Superman (1978)

Superman is the standard by which all superheroes are judged. There have been multiple incarnations of the Superman character in both film and television.

The first instance of Superman on film came in the 1948 serial Superman and the 1950 serial Atom Man vs. Superman, starring Kirk Alyn. Then there was the famous black and white television series The Adventures of Superman featuring George Reeves as the man of steel.

There have been so many incarnations of Superman that you can somewhat define pivotal moments in life by which movie or television series portrayal they most identify with.

For me the Superman actor I put on the highest pedestal is Christopher Reeve who played Superman in the movies from 1978-1987. Interestingly, to achieve his Superman physique, Reeve was trained by British weightlifting champion David Prowse who would go on to bring the body of Darth Vader to the initial Star Wars Trilogy (although the character was voiced by James Earl Jones).

Reeve’s first appearance as the superhero was the simply titled Superman in 1978. I was just a kid and this tall, handsome, super human with a heart of gold and bulletproof skin I saw on screen amazed me. I had loved the George Reeves television show, but nothing had prepared me for the powerful ultimate good guy Reeve brought to the screen in the film from Richard Donner.

3) Condorman (1981 )

Condorman was the movie that defined me as a child. It was a corny Disney live action flick about a comic book writer who is drafted into service to become his main character ‘Condorman’ with the aid of the CIA and help a Russian spy defect to the U.S.

Seeing it years later as an adult, I realize how campy the film is. But it was just the right amount of campy as to touch the heart of a kid who lived vicariously through his comic book heroes. It doesn’t hurt that the film starred a young Michael Crawford before mesmerizing the world with his voice in Phantom of the Opera.

2) The Crow (1994)

The Crow is a cult favorite adaptation of a lesser known superhero – dark, mysterious, sacred, and raw. The picture became shrouded in mystery when star Brandon Lee was killed on the set during filming. Lee was the son of legendary martial arts movie star Bruce Lee, who also died in a mishap on a film sound stage. Although Brandon Lee had done some smaller roles in a few forgettable movies, The Crow was to be his breakthrough performance – and it was. He just didn’t get to see it happen.

After Lee was killed on set by a faulty prop gun, the film makers had to figure out how to tell a story with the footage they had on hand. So the film was re-scripted and re-cut. The result was a masterpiece. It spawned a slew of terrible to tolerable sequels (the least bad being The Crow: Wicked Prayer starring Edward Furlong, David Boreanaz, Dennis Hopper, and Danny Trejo released in 2005). But there is no taking away the brilliance of the original.

Brandon Lee did what defines a legend: he went out at the peak of his career, leaving us wanting more.

1) Logan (2017)

I collected comic books for most of my younger days. I inherited a collection from my uncle and then built it from there. Thanks to my uncle’s donation to my collection, I was exposed to a wide variety of comic books – not just the familiar ones that I already knew I liked. It was eye-opening. Many of my all time favorites came from sorting through the collection my uncle gifted me.

But between my uncle’s interests and my interests, I never really fell in love with Marvel’s X-Men in comic book format. A million years later when they announced that there would be an X-Men movie, I wasn’t all that interested. But I saw the movie and liked it – primarily because of the performance of Hugh Jackman as Wolverine.

Logan is the Wolverine’s requiem. It brilliantly brings closure to the stories of both Logan and Professor Xavier. Closure is the key word to the film’s brilliance. The stories have become finite.

Sure they will probably re-boot the X-Men and start the stories all over again. But, this movie – Logan – is the closure for this X-Men Universe.

It’s a dark story that shows Logan the character as severely flawed, but always ultimately sacrificing for others. The fine performances of Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart drive a well-scripted, well-directed, well-acted movie that I can easily say is my favorite superhero story of all time.

Peace. Love. Trust.

 

The Legend of Jerry Lee Lewis

I recently saw an amazing stage production of Million Dollar Quartet, which gives a fictionalized account of the night Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, and Jerry Lee Lewis all jammed together at Sun Records in 1956.

The gentleman playing Jerry Lee Lewis, Nat Zegree, was awe-inspiring in his performance…absolutely breath taking.

This prompted me to want to revisit the 1989 film Great Balls of Fire! for a more in-depth look at the life of “The Killer”.

The film stars Dennis Quaid as Lewis and Winona Rider as his 13-year old cousin/bride Myra Gail Brown.

I now realize why I haven’t been tempted to revisit the movie since seeing it in the theater in 1989. It is truly awful.

The film is based on the biography of Myra Lewis, Jerry Lee Lewis’ child bride. However, she has denounced the film for being historically inaccurate. In her book, Myra paints Jerry Lee as a dangerous man who has had two of his seven wives die in unusual circumstances. In the film he is more like a harmless comic book character.

Director Jim McBride admitted he never intended to offer an authentic view of Jerry Lee Lewis, preferring instead to employ Jerry Lee as a consultant on the film and creating a white washed romantic comedy.

Rider actually does do a great job as Myra. In fact, most of the actors turn in fine performances. However, it is Quaid the ruins the movie.

Let me be clear, I am a Dennis Quaid fan. So, it pains me to criticize his performance. But there is just no way around the fact that his cartoonish over acting ruins the film.

This portrayal might have worked if the rest of the cast also played their characters as cartoons. But with Quaid the only one chewing the scenery, the stark contrast in acting approaches is obvious.

I would love to see a movie about Jerry Lee Lewis that sticks closer to the facts of his troublesome life. I hope that when a producer eventually decides to make a new and accurate movie about The Killer, they won’t make the mistake of just doing a remake of Great Balls of Fire.

Lewis was a great musician in his time, but he was no hero when it comes to how he treated other.

I invite you to listen to some of Lewis’ early recordings like Whole Lotta Shaking Going On, Great Balls of Fire, and High School Confidential. But when it comes to the Dennis Quaid movie, you can do without.

Peace. Love. Trust.

2019 Oscar Predictions

The 2019 Oscars take place Sunday, February 24, 2019.

What kind of self-respecting entertainment curiosity would I be if I didn’t offer my thoughts on this year’s awards?

So here goes – what I think will happen, and for added seasoning, what I think should happen. Sometimes they aren’t the same thing.

BEST ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE

Competition in the Best Actor in a Leading Role category is probably the hardest to predict.

The nominees are Christian Bale (Vice), Bradley Cooper (A Star is Born), William Dafoe (At Eternity’s Gate), Rami Malek (Bohemian Rhapsody), and Viggo Mortensen (Green Book).

While I enjoyed all these actors in their roles, I think the award will come down to either Christian Bale or Viggo Mortensen. I’m rooting for Mortensen. Both he and Bale changed their appearance dramatically for their roles. However, Bale has won an Oscar before; Viggo has not.  Will the sympathy vote go to Viggo? Also to consider is that Green Book is a far better movie than Vice. However, I think ultimately the Academy is going to go with Bale.

Who Should Win: Viggo Mortensen

Who Will Win: Christian Bale

BEST ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

The nominees are Mahershala Ali (Green Book), Adam Driver (BlacKKKlansman), Sam Elliott (A Star is Born), Richard Grant (Can You Ever Forgive Me?), and Sam Rockwell (Vice).

This really comes down to a three-man race between Ali, Elliott, and Rockwell. All three stood out in their respective films, but the one who captured their character absolutely perfect without error is Rockwell. However, I think in this case the sympathy vote is going to come into play and Elliott will walk home with the Oscar.

Who Should Win: Sam Rockwell

Who Will Win: Sam Elliott

BEST ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE

The nominees are Yalitza Aparicio (Roma), Glenn Close (The Wife), Olivia Colman (The Favourite), Lady Gaga (A Star is Born), Melissa McCarthy (Can You Ever Forgive Me?)

While I don’t mind Lady Gaga’s music and tabloid exploits, I would not consider myself a huge fan. With that said, her acting debut blew me away…and I think the Academy will agree.

Who Should Win: Lady Gaga

Who Will Win: Lady Gaga

BEST ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

The nominees are Amy Adams (Vice), Marina De Tavira (Roma), Regina King (If Beale Street Could Talk), Emma Stone (The Favourite), and Rachel Weisz (The Favourite)

I’ve never been a big Amy Adams fan. I’ve always found her harmless at best. But I will tell you, she shined like a big bright star in the sky in terms of her performance in Vice. Hands down the best supporting performance of the year.

Who Should Win: Amy Adams

Who Will Win: Amy Adams

BEST DIRECTOR

The nominees are Spike Lee (BlacKKKlansman), Pawel Pawlikowski (Cold War), Yorgos Lanthimos (The Favourite), Alfonso Cuaron (Roma), and Adam McKay (Vice).

Unfortunately the actual Best Director isn’t even nominated. My vote goes to Bradley Cooper for a remarkably well-done movie in A Star is Born.

Who Should Win: Bradley Cooper

Who Will Win: Yorgos Lanthimos

BEST PICTURE

The nominees are Black Panther, BlacKKKlansman, Bohemian Rhapsody, The Favourite, Green Book, Roma, A Star is Born, and Vice.

I enjoyed Black Panther as much as any other Marvel movie, but it is in no way, shape, or form deserving of a Best Picture Oscar.

I’ve been a fan of Spike Lee since School Daze. BlacKKKlansman was interesting and well-done, but again, no Oscar material.

Bohemian Rhapsody had the most possibility of being a Best Picture, but the film ended up being rather sterilized. A good film, but not great.

Vice may have had the best hair and makeup, but it’s not a Best Picture.

It didn’t care much for either The Favourite or Roma.

That leaves Green Book and A Star is Born. In a more heated contest with stiffer competition, I doubt Green Book would win, but things being as they are, I think it will edge out A Star is Born.

Who Should Win: A Star is Born

Who Will Win: Green Book

And there you have it…the winners and should-be-winners of the 2019 Academy Awards as analyzed by the Great & Wonderful Rikki Lee.

Peace. Love. Trust.

Seeing ‘On the Basis of Sex’ Now is More Important than Ever

On the Basis of Sex, a new biographical film about the early law career of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, is both entertaining and important. I’ll touch on both.

The story begins with Ginsburg’s first day at Harvard Law School. She is one of only nine women in a class of approximately 500 men. Her husband, Marty Ginsburg is a second-year law student at the same prestigious institution. Together they balance their schooling with caring for a youngster at home. Sadly, at that time, women like Ruth had to endure overt discrimination. For instance, there wasn’t a woman’s bathroom at Harvard Law School.

When her husband falls ill and has to be hospitalized, Ruth attends both her and her husband’s classes until he is able to return to school. She tutors her husband at night and helps him with his homework, while never falling behind in her own studies. It is a true testament to the limitless potential of someone who refuses to let circumstances get in the way of her desires.

Although she is at the top of her class, Ruth transfers to Columbia University in New York to finish out her law degree when Marty gets a lucrative job in the city.

Even though she graduates at the top of her class at Columbia, Ruth can’t get a job with a legitimate law firm. As a conciliation, she takes a job at Rutgers Law School teaching “The Law and Sex Discrimination.”

The story then takes us through the start of Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s passionate work in discrimination and civil rights law. Again, no matter the obstacles, her superior intelligence and unending drive bring her out on top. There is even a Rocky type build up towards the knock out fight where the film culminates.

But this isn’t a story just about a gender discrimination attorney. It is a story about a real woman and this is where the story really succeeds.

The marriage of Ruth and Marty Ginsburg is given a great deal of screen time. And deservedly so, you don’t find marriages like that anymore where the husband and wife stick by each other no matter what. They were married 58 years until Marty’s passing in 2010.

Felicity Jones does a fabulous job portraying Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She demonstrates passion for her ideals of right and wrong, a love for her partner and children, and even a romantic side in the bedroom. I applaud this move by director Mimi Leder to show Ruth as a real person with many sides to her personality.

Arnie Hammer plays Marty. And he does a fine job. The chemistry he shares with Jones is beautiful to watch. Hammer makes it believable that Marty never falters in his dedication to his wife and children. He even made me forget that he was the man behind the mask in 2013’s The Lone Ranger. Consider that high praise, as that I have a healthy obsession with playing the role of The Lone Ranger myself.

Sam Waterston and Kathy Bates provide very interesting supporting roles. Waterson plays the head of Harvard Law School, Dean Griswold. From his many years on the popular television series Law & Order, Waterson is instantly acceptable as a powerhouse in the field of law. Bates plays civil rights lawyer Dorothy Kenyon, an inspiration to Ginsburg.

The movie doesn’t take us into Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s rise to the Supreme Court. But it is that move up the ladder of success as an attorney and judge that makes this film so important.

We just had an accused rapist confirmed to the Supreme Court. Not only is Brett Kavanaugh likely guilty of multiple sex crimes, he was nominated for the post by President Donald Trump who himself has been accused by no less than 22 women of sexual misconduct and has openly bragged about sexually assaulting women. He has also openly praised neo Nazis and white supremacists as “good people.” He himself has also publicly identified himself as white nationalist. Let that sink in.

Justice Ginsburg is 85 years old. She knows that if she retires now, her replacement would be extremely right wing. Perhaps even worse than Kavanaugh.

So she serves. And she will as long as she can make a difference. This movie tells the story of why she serves – who she is as a person.

On a scale of one to ten, I give On the Basis of Sex a strong 7.75.

Peace. Love. Trust.

Even Jason Mamoa’s Charm Can’t Save Aquaman

I wanted to like Aquaman. I tried very hard to like Aquaman.

When it started, I thought to myself, “Not bad.”

By the time we got halfway through, I thought, “There’s still time for it to get better.”

Three quarters of the way done, I thought “Maybe it will have a really great ending.”

By the time we reached the conclusion of the exhausting 2-hour and 22-minute movie, all I could say was “That sucked.”

I really like Jason Mamoa. He has this twinkle in his eye that let’s viewers know he’s in on the joke. His charm radiates from the screen. I thought that would be enough to take even a bad script and make it palatable. I was wrong.

Mamoa isn’t bad as Aquaman. In fact, he plays the character quite well. However, when a script says “have Jason Mamoa sit in a pile of excrement” … there’s not much hope for the scene.

Don’t take me literally. There was no scene in the movie of Aquaman playing in a pile of excrement. Truth be told, that might have been more entertaining.

There is a lot of action in Aquaman. In my opinion, too much. Way too much. This is a reminder that there is a growing trend in Hollywood to be lazy in the balance of story and action. Bigger and bigger fight scenes do little to impress without an emotional buildup in the story.

Director James Wan and screenwriters David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick and Will Beall really could have put together a nice movie if they focused more heavily on character development. Wan’s preference of action over substance is evident in his 2015 film Furious 7.

The romance of Aquaman’s human father and an Atlantian mother is grazed over in a few minutes. Those scenes are some of the best in the movie. More depth into this forbidden union would be welcomed.

The scenes representing Aquaman’s childhood are few and far between. What was presented was great, but not enough.

Want to know why Arthur (Aquaman) has never been to Atlantis? So would everyone else in the audience.

Want to know why rebel with a chip on his shoulder Arthur decides to use his powers to help humans – becoming a superhero? That would be nice too.

These and many other important pieces of information are missing from this film. But, hey – there’s action. Lots of action. An amount of action that is so overwhelming it becomes boring.

D.C. simply can’t seem to make good movies. Batman Versus Superman stands out as the worst superhero movie of all time. Justice League was palatable but not good. Suicide Squad? You’ve got to be kidding.

With the one exception of Wonder Woman, there hasn’t been a decent D.C. movie since Ben Affleck took over the franchise as Batman.

I don’t blame the downfall of D.C.’s movie ventures on Affleck. I wanted to like him too. I think if he had decent scripts to work from, he might have been a decent Batman.

In fact, if you really want to be fair, you could actually go back to The Dark Night Rises with Christian Bale in the cowl as the beginning of the downfall of D.C. heroes on film.

As unlikely as it may sound, there were some bright moments in this epic crapfest we shall call Aquaman.

The always beautiful Nicole Kidman is simply ethereal as Aquaman’s mother – the Queen of Atlantis. And, it’s great to see Dolph Lundgren back in a significant role in a mainstream blockbuster, returning from the ashes of straight-to-video. Willem Dafoe is always a treat.

Aquaman…should you see it? That’s up to you. Sometimes you have to witness something terrible yourself in order to appreciate that it is on a plane of awfulness that few things ever fall to.

On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the best, I rank Aquaman a solid 3.

Peace. Love. Trust.