Monday, January 10, 2022

Crazy, Jeremy Hawkins Tribute, and Movie and Series Reviews


Thank you, Alex, for your support, and for boldly trusting me with the spotlight today. You’re brave. You’re also as sane and as stable as they get. Me? Not so much. In fact, I’ve been called “crazy” multiple times—by myself alone, hourly.
Scarier still, I’m a mental health clinician. I know. There are many…“unhinged” (shall we say?) people in the helping profession. That’s one point I playfully underscore in InSanity.
Meanwhile, I ponder the terms “insane” and “crazy.” I’m perplexed by this antiquated yet still mainstream lingo. “Crazy” is used to stigmatize people. It’s not good to be crazy. That’s understood.
Wait, what about Ozzy Osbourne’s “Crazy Train,” Alex? It’s a fabulous song! I know this because, um, you mentioned it. (I then listened to it.) Of course you’re right. It’s crazy good, much like the man himself. He practically boasts about his craziness.
There are countless other songs with “crazy” in the title: “Still Crazy After All These Years” (Paul Simon), “She Drives Me Crazy” (Fine Young Cannibals), “Crazy in Love” (Beyoncé), “Let’s Go Crazy” (Prince). Thus, crazy is good, thrilling, sexy, and exciting, right?
It seems there’s a good crazy and a bad crazy.
By the same token, perhaps there’s a good sane and a bad sane. A sane person like you makes for a loyal, dependable friend.
Yet according to R.A. Salvator, “Sane is boring.” We don’t like mundane predictability all the time.
Then again, you’re not at all boring, Alex. You’re a good sane. I’ve proven my point.
Me? Um, well I’ve rambled too long already. * Crazed smile*

Insanity by Robyn Alana Engel
Author of International Award-Winning memoir, Woman on the Verge of Paradise, delivers another hearty dose of optimistic love, painful heartache, and all the feels for which words don't suffice. In this refreshingly intimate search for the line between "sanity" and "insanity", a sassy seductress encounters human grit, benevolence, and one man who isn't weird.
"Never before has a book so completely changed my viewpoint on mental illness and suicide (with the exception of Moby Dick). InSanity has really sunk its teeth in me."-Ken Lynch, Author of a series of books based loosely on his childhood and not-so-loosely on his service in the Navy
Find Insanity on Amazon

Movie and Series Reviews

Descriptions courtesy of the IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes.

In theaters and free on Disney+
A young Colombian girl has to face the frustration of being the only member of her family without magical powers.
This stunning animated film is set in Columbia but not sure if it’s based on Columbian folklore.
It is beautiful to look at and very charming. The colors, the animation – it all comes alive.
Could’ve used a little bit more editing and development, but overall very entertaining.

The Matrix Resurrections
In theaters and free on HBO Max
To find out if his reality is a construct, to truly know himself, Mr. Anderson will have to choose to follow the white rabbit once more.
Wait, Neo isn’t dead? Nope! They have brought him back to cash-grab for mor money.
The film’s story line is very similar to the first, albeit done a little differently. But you do watch the movie thinking you’ve seen it all before.
A couple stars return, but it’s mostly a new cast. They also shaved some money on special effects – now they aren’t quite as good as the first film (which came out twenty years ago). The action scene weren’t quite up to snuff, either.
It was nice to see Neo and Trinity again, and the movie was entertaining – but completely pointless.
Watch if you’re curious.

Ron’s Gone Wrong
The story of Barney, a socially awkward middle-schooler and Ron, his new walking, talking, digitally-connected device, which is supposed to be his 'Best Friend out of the Box.'
This is a thoroughly charming and fun adventure!
B-bot is the device every kid must have and it was originally designed to help kids make friends – which now the bots do through social media instead of in person. But Ron isn’t connected or upgraded, so he bumblingly but sweetly tries to make friends for Barney. Of course, the top of the company doesn’t like Ron’s malfunction (independence) and wants to eliminate him. (Using other bots to spy – so much commentary on Bill Gates and other big-tech guys!) This is a great film for kids and adults alike.
Highly recommended!

Series based on the Marvel Comics superhero Hawkeye, centering on the adventures of Young Avenger, Kate Bishop, who took on the role after the original Avenger, Clint Barton.
Absolutely the funniest of the Avenger series. It also kept everything fun and never grew too dark.
There are some great surprises and call-backs to previous NetFlix series. It also ties in with Black Widow and there are a lot of surprises.
Renner and Steinfeld play well off each other in a father-daughter/reluctant mentor-protegee kind of way.
At only six episodes, it’s the perfect length.
Highly recommended!

The Witcher – Season Two
Geralt of Rivia, a solitary monster hunter, struggles to find his place in a world where people often prove more wicked than beasts.
And of course for season two, he has a partner – Ciri!
The first season was a bit confusing as it jumped around in time. Season two offers a straighter narrative and is much easier to follow.
Season two is also far superior. The cast and writers have found their footing. If you are a fantasy buff, this is a much-watch.
Highly recommended!

The Wheel of Time
Set in a high fantasy world where magic exists, but only some can access it, a woman named Moiraine crosses paths with five young men and women. This sparks a dangerous, world-spanning journey. Based on the book series by Robert Jordan.
I started this series despite a few negative reviews. I’m not sure why any reviewers had issues though – I found the show to be spectacular.
I haven’t read all the books (they were a bit over-stuffed and I wasn’t sure the series would ever end) but the show follows them closely. It does eliminate a lot of the books’ minor characters that are just there for padding, which is a bonus.
It’s a hundred percent entertaining and engaging and another must for fantasy fans.
Highly recommended! 

Jeremy Hawkins Tribute

On January 3, we lost an amazing guy – Jeremy Hawkins.
On February 2, we are going to pay tribute and give back to one who was so giving and involved in our community.
To honor his life and support the family he leaves behind, on that day:
• Post a story or memory about Jeremy.
• Post photos of Jeremy.
• Share some of the graphics he made for you.
• Post a photo of you wearing one of the t-shirts he designed.
• And to support his family, between now and then, purchase one of his t-shirt designs, one of his books, or one of his prints. (He also created the IWSG t-shirt.)
Spread the word and let’s pay tribute to one of the most supportive and loyal guys ever to cross our paths, Jeremy Hawkins.

Any other crazy songs you can think of? Seen any of those movies or series? Will you join us on February 2 in honoring Jeremy Hawkins?

We need IWSG co-hosts for March, and April! If you can help, please leave a comment. We need three to four more for each month.

Next Monday is a holiday so I will be back on January 24 with two awesome guests!


Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

There's "Crazy" by Gnarls Barkley. :) That's a good one. Nice post about the thin line between sanity and insanity (sometimes I think writers cross it a lot!)

Natalie Aguirre said...

I'm going to try to watch Encanto and Wheel of Time. It's good to know The Witcher is less confusing this season. I may have to go back and watch season 1 again first. That's what I'm doing with Locke & Key now.

That's great you're having a tribute for Jeremy. I didn't know him but will enjoy reading what others share.

nashvillecats2 said...

So sorry to hear about Jeremy, a lovely idea to have a tribute to him in Feb,
Another great post of news and reviews.
Take care Alex and have a good week.


Computer Tutor said...

Great reviews. I watched Matrix, disappointed, expected more, absolutely agree with your sentiments. Like your comments about Hawkeye. I have been a huge Marvel Comics fan, but found them too dark of late. Good to hear this one isn't.

Count me in for co-hosting. Any of those months will work. Or all. It's a lot of fun!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Natalie, try the second season - it gets better.

Jacqui, thanks!

Steven Arellano Rose Jr. said...

I liked the first Matrix film but after I saw the second not seeing it much more than a rehash of the first, I stopped watching them.

Michael Offutt, Phantom Reader said...

I also loved Encanto, and I agree with you that this Matrix sequel seemed pointless. But all of them have seemed like they have been trying to catch lightning in a bottle again, which the first Matrix so handily did. I wonder why they just haven't rebooted the Matrix by refilming the first movie with a new cast. Maybe it's one of those films that has achieved some kind of sacredness to it that no one will ever redo it.

I didn't really get to know Jeremy, but I'm glad they were your friend. The tribute is nice and touching. Hawkeye and the Witcher were both series I enjoyed and thought were wonderful distractions for a stressful December. Really the only thing on this list I haven't watched is "Ron's Gone Wrong." So I'm going to fix that soon. Maybe this week.

Finally, Robyn Alana Engel quoted R.A. Salvatore. I think that's interesting and decidedly un "crazy." I feel like I could have something in common with the sassy seductress, as I long to make a connection with another man who isn't weird.

Joanne said...

Congrats to Robyn on her work - such a good writer. I wish her well and that she goes "crazy" with sales.

I liked Encanto a lot, Matrix Resurrections - whoa! Had no clue what was going on but on HBO MAX, what the heck - we were entertained. Hawkeye was great fun - I liked being surprised with Black Widow connection. I tried Wheel of Time and couldn't get into it. I need to try The Witcher again. So many of these shows blur into each other (in my opinion).
I click around and have trouble landing these days.

Andrew Leon said...

Hawkeye was a lot of fun.
WoT was good.
Haven't watched season two of Witcher, yet, but I wasn't overly fond of season one.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Alex - Robyn's description is just 'perfect' - clever writing and I'm sure her book will sell really well ... sane is good for me - though we need a little craziness occasionally as I love to laugh.

Films - I'm sure I'll catchup sometime.

I didn't know Jeremy - except that he was there and very supportive ... I'll be around and may contribute if I can think up something appropriate. I feel for his family ...

With thoughts - Hilary

Elephant's Child said...

Thank you for getting word out about Robyn's latest book. Sanity (like time) seems to be a flexible beast.
I am sorry that you lost your friend, and love the way you have chosen to commemorate him. said...

Alex you're what we Jews call a true mensch. Not sure if you know this word. It means honorable, a gentleman. But nothing quite says it with the same feeling and power as the Hebrew or Yiddish version. I'm very grateful for your friendship, heart, and sanity.

Michael, I don't know if it helps or discourages, but it took me 55 years to find one man who isn't weird. I'm sure you'll be quicker than me, though. I'm quite slow at those things, as sassy and seducing as I am or attempt to be.

Joanne, you've been so generous with me. I appreciate you and your supportive words, always.

EC, "flexible beast" -- what an appropriate term for sanity and time. You're wise beyond words, and I always love the way you spin words.

Jeremy was remarkably special. I'm so sorry for this profound loss for you, Alex. It's a wonderfully meaningful way to pay tribute to him.

Hugs and heartfelt care.

Sandra Cox said...

What a wonderful way to honor Jeremy.
I've thoroughly enjoyed Wheel of Time and Witcher. The HH has read all the Wheel of Time books. I think there's 14? I couldn't get through the first chapter, but now that I've been watching the series I may have to try again:)
I'd be happy to co-host.
YOU have an excellent, day, week, month, year;)

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Congrats, Robyn!

That is so sad about Jeremy. It's nice you are giving him a tribute.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Michael, check out Ron's Gone Wrong - best movie of the bunch.

Joanne, the Black Widow connection was great.

Andrew, give season two a try. They really did up their game.

Hilary, please do.

Robyn, you're welcome and thank you.

Sandra, thanks!

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

I'm so sorry about Jeremy. It makes the world feel much smaller when we lose someone at IWSG. It's amazing we haven't lost more. Just before Christmas a member of my family committed suicide. You're never prepared to lose someone even tho accidents happen. But suicide?! I'm not handling it well. In November we lost a close friend to Covid. They're all senseless deaths. I'm struggling, but reminded everyday how fortunate I am to have my health and my dear husband at my side. Our deepest condolence, Alex.

J E Oneil said...

I didn't know Jeremy, but I'm interested to see what everyone has to say about him. A lot of people have spoken highly of him.

Nilanjana Bose said...

I am so sorry to hear about Jeremy. I didn't know him personally but the graphics were superb. A-Z is not going to be the same without them.

Anonymous said...

I've always put myself in the "not sane" category, Robyn!

I beg to differ on the "no point" to the Matrix Resurrections. Keanu Reeves is the point! :-D

I can host any of those months.

Liz A. said...

I've been hearing good things about Wheel of Time. I'll add it to the when-I-get-Amazon-Prime list.

Heather M. Gardner said...

Alex. I'm so glad you're doing this tribute for Jeremy. Well done, sir.

Truedessa said...

Congratulations to Robyn!

I watched all of Hawkeye and loved it! Of course I am a Jeremy Renner fan so, I would most likely enjoy anything with him in it.

Encanto was a visual pleasure to watch and the story line pure enchantment.

It's wonderful what you are doing for Jeremy. It's heartwarming to know the blogging family remembers him. I am sure his family will find comfort in knowing people care.

Peace and love...

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Joylene, very sorry. That would be difficult to handle for anyone.

Lee, thanks!

Heather, thanks for sending messages for me.

Thanks, everyone.

Birgit said...

I will pay tribute to Jeremy even though I only commented on his unique blog. I. Glad you showcase Robyn here and it sounds like an excellent book. I think of that Pink Floyd song about the crazy inside one’s head...I just can’t remember the title. I haven’t seen any that you saw but I hope to see the Marvel ones one day. My ex read all the Wheel Of Time books,

Damyanti Biswas said...

Happy New Year to you and your family, Alex! I'm still on hiatus but slowly returning to online life. Thanks for all the movie and Series reviews--I've been busy writing and not watching TV. Might change that soon :)

Cal's Canadian Cave of Coolness said...

Jeremy was a sudden thing that I still am thinking about. He was always kind and supportive to me and the Cave of Cool. I appreciate your comments on him.

Al Penwasser said...

Not gonna the Hawkeye series. Plus, I was surprised to learn that his apprentice was Maddy Ross in "True Grit" (the lesser, probably more realistic, version than the one with John Wayne, Glen Campbell, and Kim Darby).

Roland Clarke said...

I didn't know Jeremy but was always impressed with his designs for IWSG and A to Z over the years. So your tribute day feels appropriate.

As for TV series, my wife and I enjoyed Wheel of Time and Witcher, although the latter did depart from the books more than the expected. Still great entertainment so look forward to more.

Catch My Words said...

We really have not stepped foot into a theater due to COVID. To make matters worse, our governor is blocking our city from imposing a much needed mask mandate due to a strained health care system. Time to elect a new governor in Tennessee.,

Sandra Cox said...

Is HawkEye on Netflix or Prime?

Michael Di Gesu said...

Hi Alex,

So sad to hear of Jeremy's death. He will be greatly missed!

Congrats to Ms. Robyn! Another "CRAZY" book is just what we all need! She is such an effervescent person who we all know and love.

Great reviews! I am looking forward to watching season two of the Withcher for sure.

I'm thinking a LOT about the pitch at the end of the month and I will be gething those pitches ready. See you at the end of the month! said...

Thank you for joining the "not sane" club, Lee L. We'd get along great, at least for short stints of time.

Thanks, Birgit. I need to find that song you're talking about. Pretty sure I'll hear it and say, "Yeah, why didn't I include this one?" So much craziness out there.

Ah, Michael, you're a sweetie. Thank you, hon. I appreciate your kind words.

Thoughts and feelings still with Jeremy and his loved ones, including you, Alex. I look forward to getting one of his tshirt designs that I ordered yesterday.

Lynda Dietz said...

Congratulations to Robyn on all fronts, book and weird guy alike!

So sorry to hear about Jeremy. I didn't know him well, but he always seemed like a standup guy.

Alex, glad to know Season Two of The Witcher is less confusing. I liked the first season quite a bit but hated trying to always figure out where we were in the timeline.

cleemckenzie said...

Everyone in my family wants to see Encanto. Thanks for your review today.

Sorry to hear about Jeremy Hawkins. He was one of my early contacts when I started being on social media.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Birgit, that would be nice. Was that song on Dark Side of the Moon? Can't remember.

Cal, I hope you can join in the tribute.

Al, I liked that version!

Kathy, at this point, masks aren't helping anyway. Seems half the people I know have it and many of them are vaccinated.

Sandra, Disney+.

Michael, good luck with the pitch!

Robyn, that was awesome of you to order one! I also ordered one yesterday.

Lynda, exactly! They kept it straightforward and easy to follow in season two. said...

Lynda, thank you. I appreciate it. Not sure what's more challenging, writing a book or finding one man who isn't weird. But I've done both. Woo-hoo x2. Smiles.

Alex, thanks for making it so easy and linking us to Jeremy's
t-shirts, etc. I really look forward to my Batman and Robin shirt! Smiles.

Take gentle care, Alex. You're a gift to us and the universe.

Christine Rains said...

I loved season 2 of The Witcher. I did watch Wheel of Time. I was hesitant at first, because of the differences from the books. Episode 4 nabbed me, and I ate them up until the final episode which was disappointing. I think maybe if they had more time and more episodes in the first season, they could have done a lot more. I still have yet to get to Hawkeye. Have you ever seen the British show, Taskmaster? It's hilarious. I think you'd like it. I'm watching the most recent season now. Have a great week, Alex! :)

~Sia McKye~ said...

Wow, I'm sorry to hear about Jeremy. His sense of humor and wonder will be missed. Great imagination, too. It was nice to see you wanting to honor him.

Mary Kirkland said...

I watched season 2 of The Witcher and really liked it.

I also watched The Matrix Resurrections and really enjoyed the movie. I'm a fan of the Matrix movies.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Robyn, you're welcome. You'll have to take a photo of yourself in the shirt.

Christine, never heard of it - thanks for the recommendation.

Sia!!! So good to hear from you. We've missed you.

Donna K. Weaver said...

I watched the first few episodes but stopped. I understand it's an adaptation and it won't be like the books, but some of the character changes I didn't like. Perrin is a prime example. Except for the hint of the wolves, he's nothing like in the book. When I read that the actor who played Mat didn't return after the first lockdown and they would have to change him, I was done. I've read the first book several times. Jordan did a fabulous job of establishing important characters early and did some great foreshadowing. But Eye of the World wasn't nearly as dark as the series. Since the story gets even darker as the books progress ... ugh. No thanks.

We loved Hawkeye too.

Cathrina Constantine said...

Alex, I only knew Jeremy through your blog. Our community is heartily saddened by the loss of another blogging friend.

Ron's Gone Wrong was entertaining. My grandson loved it. I thought Hawkeye was one of the best Marvel movies for television thus far. I loved everything about it. The holiday music, along with witty banter and scenes were exceptional. I first saw Steinfeld in True Grit, and loved her. She's a fabulous actor.

I flew through The Witcher and The Wheel of Time. Both entertaining.

Toi Thomas said...

Thanks for sharing Insanity by Robyn Alana Engel. The book sounds interesting and Robyn makes some good points about good and bad crazy.
I enjoyed Encanto more than expected. I like your assessment of it.
"Watch if you’re curious," is a great assessment of The Matrix Resurrections. I feel like if you've seen all the others and all the anime, you could watch this just because.
Haven't seen Ron’s Gone Wrong yet.
I really enjoyed Hawkeye and look forward to spin-offs.
I'm just now watching the first season of The Witcher and just started The Wheel of Time. So far so good.
The tribute to Jeremy Hawkins sounds nice. I hope lots of his books and designs sell well.

Sandra Cox said...

Good luck to Robyn on her latest release. said...

I appreciate it, Toi.

I will take and post a picture of me in my Jeremy shirt. I'm anxious for its arrival.

Love to you.

mshatch said...

I totally agree with you about the Witcher. Long wait for season 3, tho :(
I read 7-8 of The Wheel of Time Books so I might give the show a watch. Definitely want to see Encanto as I heard good things about it. Probably won't bother with the Matrix much as I love Keanu Reeves.

Very, very sorry about Jeremy.

Al Penwasser said...

My son saw the new Matrix movie and came to pretty much the same conclusion as you. Therefore, I think I shall "wait for cable."

Shannon Lawrence said...

I really liked the actress who played the sister in Black Widow, so was delighted to see her in Hawkeye.

Congratulations to Robyn!

I plan on posting a tribute to Jeremy.

Shannon Lawrence said...

Oops, missed the final note. I'm available to be a co-host in either March or April, so wherever you need me.

mail4rosey said...

I'd like to see the Hawkeye Series. Also, Ron Gone Wrong and Encanto sound good to me.

I'm so sorry to hear about the loss of your friend. It's wonderful that you're honoring him.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Donna, I just didn't like the excess of minor characters who didn't matter in the books. OR the fact the story was never going to end.

Catherine, agree! And True Grit was the first place I saw her as well.

Toi, the new Matrix is just that - nothing new.

Robyn, very cool!

Marcy, the series is better than the books. I may have made it through that many...

Shannon, that would be great!

DMS said...

I have seen The Witcher and Hawkeye and enjoyed them both. :)