Wednesday, May 3, 2023

Insecure Writer’s Support Group; May Movie Preview; and Reviews – Mandalorian, Battlebots, Picard, and Nope

It’s time for another group posting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group! Time to release our fears to the world – or offer encouragement to those who are feeling neurotic. If you’d like to join us, click on the tab above and sign up. We post the first Wednesday of every month. I encourage everyone to visit at least a dozen new blogs and leave a comment. Your words might be the encouragement someone needs.

The awesome co-hosts for the May 3 posting of the IWSG are Joylene Nowell Butler, Ronel Janse van Vuuren, Meka James, Victoria Marie Lees, and M Louise Barbour!

May 3 question - When you are working on a story, what inspires you?

This should come as no surprise – music! Whatever prog-metal band has me captivated at that moment. Jam some tunes and the words flow.

We are sad to say Elizabeth Seckman will be stepping away from the IWSG Admin team. Juneta Key has assumed her duty of producing our newsletter.

Elizabeth, we’ll miss you!

Quick Reviews

The Mandalorian

It just wrapped up its third season and is still as great as ever. A little more focus on Mando as opposed to Grogu, but you still get plenty of ‘Baby Yoda’ cuteness. Also a bit more side-quest and not as focused on the overall story. And the final ten minutes are just perfect. So far Disney is still telling a great story without any agenda and it’s refreshing.


Also on its third season, it’s an improvement over season two which I never could finish. (Season two was an insult, three more of a love letter, although it still falls a bit short.) Lots of previous Trek characters are back – lots! Still slogs in part when the villain goes into a long dialogue about why she’s so evil. But the action is good and some episodes harken back to Next Generation in feel.


Yes, it’s another round of ‘Robot Fighting Time!’ A few surprises and a few lame fights, but as always it’s great to see giant metal monsters beat the crap out of each other. Finals approaching soon, so don’t miss it.


This is one weird film. It’s a mesh of many genres, from Western to science fiction to horror. Mostly horror. But it was too long and some of the subplots were unnecessary. It was well done, actors were great, and it was very unique. Just…weird.

May Movie Preview

Here are the theatrical releases for May. Descriptions courtesy of the IMDB. Snark provided by me.

5 -

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3

Still reeling from the loss of Gamora, Peter Quill rallies his team to defend the universe and one of their own - a mission that could mean the end of the Guardians if not successful.
Director: James Gunn
Stars: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista
From what I understand, James Gunn has replaced all of the Guardians with DC characters. (Just kidding! Looking forward to it)

12 –


A detective investigates a mystery involving his missing daughter and a secret government program.
Director: Robert Rodriguez
Star: Ben Affleck, William Fichtner, Alice Braga
Perhaps they can hire a hypnotic to get people into the theater?

19 –

Fast X

Dom Toretto and his family are targeted by the vengeful son of drug kingpin Hernan Reyes.
Director: Louis Leterrier
Stars: Vin Diesel, Jordana Brewster, Tyrease Gibson, Michelle Rodriguez, Jason Momoa, Ludacris, John Cena, Jason Statham
Finally! A Fast and Furious-Aquaman mashup.

26 –

The Little Mermaid

A young mermaid makes a deal with a sea witch to trade her beautiful voice for human legs so she can discover the world above water and impress a prince.
Director: Rob Marshall
Stars: Halle Bailey, Jonah Hauer-King, Melissa McCarthy
I understand they changed the lyrics from something I don’t care about to…something I don’t care about.

What inspires you? Have you seen any of those shows or the movie? What May movies catch your interest?
I will be back next Monday with a special guest!


Shannon Lawrence said...

We've been enjoying The Mandalorian, and I can't disagree with your view of Nope. Odd, but good.

Thank you to Elizabeth for her time on the newsletter, and welcome Juneta!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Alex - I've seen a few movies ... but not these you've highlighted. Elizabeth has done the IWSG proud, so welcome Juneta for taking on the opportunity. I need to get my act into gear ... it'll happen - but for now - cheers Hilary

T. Powell Coltrin said...

As always, thank you for the reviews. I can trust your opinions on the movies. I plan on seeing two of them.

Thank you to Elizabeth for helping all this time. We all appreciate it.


Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

I did watch "Nope," which was a departure from my usual TV viewing! Very different. I enjoyed it, although "Get Out" was better.

Liza said...

I love music, but I rarely write to it...until someone reminds me that listening while writing often inspires me. Thank you for the reminder, Alex.

Cathrina Constantine said...

Hi, Alex. Music is a great inspiration, I know many writers like to listen to music while writing. But I can't listen to it while I write because I get lost in the music and I can't concentrate on my writing.LOL.

Have a great week!

Birgit said...

Music does inspire but I am opposite to you since classical is my forte but I do love other genres just not heavy metal and blecchhh to Rush…lol sorry I know you love them😁
I don’t know all the movies. I still have to see the 2 film of Guardians. I love Picard! I enjoyed the 2nd season and really loved the 3rd. I enjoyed the captain of that ship who was at odds but he was so quirky in his humour. It is set up to start a new series.

Truedessa said...

I finished watching The Mandalorian. I am still enjoying this series. Baby Yoda is adorable.

I’m a Guardian of the Galaxy fan so of course I want to see this movie.

Music and a glass of wine always gets me in the writing mood. Does the music selection set the tone of the writing? I think it does. What do you think?

Nancy Gideon said...

Had a hard time getting into Mandalorian (once they killed off Tim Olyphant) but the final episode was worth the wait. Nope I'm looking forward to and dreading at the same time. Too much weirdness. It takes a lot to get me into the theatre. John Wick was my only forray. For something with little plot it never stopped ramping up the action. And, Keenu! Guardians I'll go to the big screen for, but the rest, meh.

H. R. Sinclair said...

Music? You don't say. 😂 I like Nope. I went into it not knowing anything about it, so it was fun. There was a scene or two that went on to long for me (the monkey).

Jennifer Lane said...

Thank you to Elizabeth, Juneta, and YOU, Alex!

I need to watch The Mandalorian. I'm glad there's no agenda forced onto the show--so tired of that. I want entertainment, not lectures.

Good to know music inspires us both!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Liza, you're welcome.

Birgit, blech to Rush is unacceptable!

Truedessa, I think so.

Nancy, the latest John Wick was just too long to get me into the theater.

Holly, what was up with the monkey, anyway? Made no sense.

Jennifer, exactly! I just want to enjoy.

PT Dilloway said...

I liked Nope. The Mandalorian season 3 was OK but too many of those side quests. I didn't like GOTG 2 and don't watch the Fast movies so not all that interested. The Affleck one I'd watch on streaming at some point.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Your comment about Hypnotic cracked me up. :)

Carol Kilgore said...

I haven't seen any of those movies/shows. What inspires me when I'm writing? Everything. I rarely know what's going to pop in to say hi. I think a lot of people will agree with you about music. I do. But sometimes I play music and sometimes I don't. I use Pandora, and rarely will I play the same type of music two days in a row.

Computer Tutor said...

I love reading your reviews. I've heard Picard was... better... might even try it after quitting the other seasons in disgust. Love your previews--"A Fast and Furious-Aquaman mashup"--I might watch it just to see what the heck that is. Little Mermaid--"I understand they changed the lyrics from something I don’t care about to…something I don’t care about." Keeper!

Jean Davis said...

I've never understood people who listen music while they write. I can't do it. Way too distracting. But hey, we all have our own thing and I'm in the minority on preferring silence. ;)

In the middle of Picard right now. I'm liking it more than the previous seasons, but it still has too many lagging moments.

I actually enjoyed this season of the Mandalorian. The previous ones dragged, but the pacing was improved and we've been quoting No! No! No! endlessly since watching the robo-Grogu episode. That was hilarious.

Jemi Fraser said...

Music always inspires me too!
I'm enjoying season 3 of Picard - only about halfway through but I love the TNG feels :)

Elizabeth Seckman said...

I'll still be around! And ready to pinch hit at busy times, if you ever need anything. You guys are an awesome bunch of people and I will miss you too!

Ronel Janse van Vuuren said...

I think I'll watch the new Little Mermaid movie just for kicks...

Ronel visiting for IWSG day Joining the Creator Economy

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

Too bad about the uninspiring lyrics. Makes you wonder sometimes what they were thinking. Thanks for the movie reviews. As always you make my decisions much easier. Happy IWSG Day, Alex.

Rachna Chhabria said...

Hi Alex, I should have guessed that music is your inspiration while writing your story :)

cleemckenzie said...

Of course it would be music you'd turn to for inspiration. Makes perfect sense.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Baby Yoda was so cute in that final scene.

I'm so excited for Fast X.

Jen said...

Music always inspires me. I can be in a store, hear a song and suddenly get an idea for a story!

So I've tried to watch The Mandalorian twice and each time, my Disney+ app tells me it can't play that title. We can watch anything else on the app but not that. Weird....but all I hear is good stuff so I'm looking forward to actually watching it!

Still need to see the first Guardians of the Galaxy. Yes. I'm that far behind in my movie viewing ...

Have a great day!

diedre Knight said...

Howdy, Captain!

Excellent reviews - as always ;-) I thought I might like NOPE. Now I'm not so sure. Seems as if everyone I know is watching the Guardian movies these days. There are some funny moments. I like baby Groot. HYPNOTIC sounds interesting, but not enough to get me into the theater ;-)

Aw, we'll miss Elizabeth. Welcome, Juneta!

Happy May!

Arlee Bird said...

I like prog rock, but I think if I put it on for a writing background music I would get too distracted by it. Classical for me. Especially something symphonic like Bruckner or Mahler. It's like having a film score for my writing.

Your "Little Mermaid" comment nailed it for me regarding so much new film and other entertainment. I just can't get myself up to caring about the issues they raise.


Lynn La Vita said...

First I've heard the term, prog-metal band. I had to Google the definition. So, heavy metal and progressive rock in the ears and words spill out keyboard? Am I close?

Thank you Elizabeth for you hard work. And Welcome Juneta!

Lynn La Vita

Victoria Marie Lees said...

Your blog is so amazing, Alex. My daughter and husband like the Star Trek and Mandalorian series.

And good for you to be able to listen to music as you create words and stories. I can listen to music if I am NOT trying to think of what to say in a story. More power to you! said...

All I can say is: Yay for baby Yoda cuteness!
Plus as always, I hope you're doing well, Alex.

Diane Burton said...

As long as the music has no lyrics (or are in a foreign language) I can write to it. Lyrics get into my head and stop the flow.

I agree on The Mandalorian. Perfect ending. Loved the last episode of Picard--the band was back togethers one last time. Sad to see the show end, but it was time.

Rebecca M. Douglass said...

Of course it's music for you. I, on the other hand, can't listen to anything while working. I am apparently easily distracted, even by instrumental music. God help me if there are lyrics.

J E Oneil said...

Like, one of the GOOD TNG seasons or are we talking like season seven? Because there's a huge range there.

Patricia JL said...

I can't do music when writing. It distracts me. I have had music fit with a story after the fact, but I've yet to have one inspire me for a current or future story.

Hold up. HOLD UP. The Little Mermaid. Did they change lyrics to the songs???????? Or are you being sarcastic because, as my favorite Disney movie of all time, they better get this live action remake right. It's about the only one I care about to consider actually watching.

PJ Colando said...

Aargh - I was hoping you'd seen AIR and would write a review. My husband and I loved it -
1. We are basketball fans and revere Michael Jordan
2. Its cast was terrific in their roles of this true-to-life tale
3. Reveling in the tech - a rental car with a phone! - in 1984 and all the iconic commercials!

Thanks for forming this group and for commenting on my post.

Sandra Cox said...

Hypnotic and Guardians appeal.
I second your sentiments, a huge thanks to Elizabeth for sharing her time and creativity with us.
Looking forward to your Monday guest;0)

C.D. Gallant-King said...

The Mandalorian is the only Star Wars content I can get my family to watch with me, so that's a plus for me. :-)

Olga Godim said...

I love the Mermaid poster - very beautiful.

Lisa said...

I’ve already bought tickets for Guardians!!! Can’t wait. Did hear it will be the last one though…

Melissa said...

I watched the second Top Gun movie last night.
I'm way behind. I know. LOL

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Jacqui I am here to amuse!

Jean, that was really funny. We really liked season three.

Jemi, it is so TNG!

Elizabeth, we can never replace you.

Jen, that is really odd you can't access it.

Lee, you get it!

Lynn, close!

Robyn, I am!

JE, definitely not talking the first two seasons! It's lucky the series survived those.

Patricia, they changed the lyrics!

Lisa, that's sad...

Melissa, it wasn't that good anyway.

Cherie Colyer said...

I'm looking forward to the Guardians movie too. :-)

Various things inspire me when I'm writing. It really just depends on my mood. Sometimes it's music, other times something I see, or a great book that makes me want to work on mine.

Rhonda Albom said...

The title Nope, just sounds like something weird and creepy. I do love your commentary on the Little Mermaid music. Thanks for the laugh.

Tyrean Martinson said...

I will definitely go to see Guardians in the theater.
And I'm glad music works for you!

A Hundred Quills said...

Music always always ignites something wonderful. And I think I grossly misunderstood the question😀 Thanks for the IWSG, Captain and some very interesting questions.
-Sonia said...

I like music as well, but I have to listen before I write. I need silence during my actual writing.

Liz A. said...

It's too bad you didn't finish season 2 of Picard. That season finale made the whole trip worth it (in my opinion). The third season... I mean, it was great to get the band back together, but we kind of lost all the interesting characters that Picard met in the show.

Lynda R Young as Elle Cardy said...

Music is a great inspiration.
I enjoyed the latest season of the Mandalorian, struggling with Picard though. I couldn't finish watching it's first season and skipped the second season. Loved Nope. Yep, weird and unsettling, but very clever.

Nick Wilford said...

Always inspired by music, the only time I can't listen is when actually writing!

Nope might be a yep, I'm always up for something weird. Remakes can be great but it's good to have something different.

Karen Baldwin said...'re a man of my ears. Thanks for all the reviews. Fast X sounds interesting.

Toi Thomas said...

Thanks for another great hop.
Farewell, Liz.
Mando 3 was cool.
I can't believe they are still doing FAST movies.
Part of me wants to be excited about Little Mermaid, but it's difficult with so much hate surrounding it.

Steven Arellano Rose Jr. said...

I saw Nope in the theatre last summer and really liked it. Like you said it was weird (the way I like it). I thought the overall plot was good but you must be right about it having too many unnecessary subplots since when I and a couple of relatives were talking about the movie a few days ago they brought up a lot of scenes that I couldn't remember!

Fundy Blue said...

Hi, Alex! Thanks to Elizabeth for her work with the IWSG Admin team. I appreciate all the members on your team. I hope you had fun visiting yesterday! It's no surprise to hear that music is an inspiration for you! You've certainly broadened my musical interests. I haven't seen any of the shows or movies that you featured. I'd surely like to see "The Mandalorian" and "Picard," and "Hypnotic" is definitely my kind of movie. We just finished "The Diplomat" and are now enjoying "Night Agent" on Netflix. Have a great rest of the week!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Rhonda, I aim to amuse!

Toi, I've never even seen the cartoon version of Little Mermaid!

Loni Townsend said...

I'm looking forward to Guardians of the Galaxy 3. It's definitely one that the family's going to. We finished Picard and it seemed like a nice send off to the old crew. Looking forward to the Mandalorian, when we start up Disney+ again (we only do it like once a year).

XmasDolly said...

I wish I could watch all these movies. The company that charges us to watch TV is called Comcast. I have TV (as little as possible so my bill isn't as tall as the empire state building & I get my phone, tv & internet. My bill is $135. I can barely afford that. Last month they wanted to raise it to $169.00 - I called them & told them sorry cannot afford it. I explained of my dilemma being disabled, and retired & they said okay I didn't have to pay the raise & I still had to pay $135. So, I have no extra channels just norm... 2,5,7,9 and I think 11 and others here & there if I care to search for them. I also found a channel that had Gunsmoke and other old movies/programs. Well, that's all over as of yesterday. We now have to pay for that. Very depressing. I really got into the old cowboy movies & shows finally & they take it away! So such is life I guess. I'll tell ya what though its no fun getting old. Start saving your money now or it won't be no fun for you either. Thank you so much for stopping by my friend. I'm finally starting to remember how to blog again. Woo Hoo! Did one all by myself yesterday! hahahaha I hope you & your family have a great weekend! Be safe, be happy!

Denise Covey said...

Thanks for the recs, Alex. I wondered about The Mandorians.

Ray Rousell said...

Just finished S3 of Picard. I quite enjoyed the storyline. The most frightening thing about it though was Beverly Crusher's new face! What the hell must she have been thinking?

Janet Alcorn said...

I need to revisit the third season of the Mandalorian. I loved seasons 1 and 2 but found the first couple of episodes of season 3 a little slow. I think that was more about the mood I was in than the show itself though.

Nilanjana Bose said...

Definitely want to watch Guardians, preferably on a big screen somewhere. Now that April is gone and life is back to normal...

Annalisa Crawford said...

I enjoyed the third season of Picard because there were so many nods to TNG which I adore (and still watch when I happen across repeats). And I still hide behind a cushion when a certain villainous race appear!

Al Penwasser said...

I really want to see Guardians of the Galaxy. It looks to be a silly romp that does not require a brain, but sign me up!

Roland D. Yeomans said...

I have no desire to see THE LITTLE MERMAID. My dying mother loved to watch the cartoon in the hospital room - I'll stick with those memories. If the first 2 seasons of Picard had only been as good as the 3rd! Thanks for visiting my post of today:

Kim Elliott said...

I agree with you about Picard. I couldn't finish season 2 either, but season 3 was fun.

Regarding The Little Mermaid, I've heard some complaining about Disney's live action remakes. People are sick of unoriginal content. I agree to an extent. However, my daughter won't watch cartoons, so this is my chance to introduce her to a story I loved as a kid. I'm looking forward to seeing it with her in the theater! :)

XmasDolly said...

Hello my friend, Thank you so much for stopping by! Boy, I'll tell you what it sure is hard growing old is the words I'm looking for I think. I hate the part of forgetting things, how to do things, and people pickin' on you like because of my age am I supposed to know everything??? It's really quite depressing!!! Even hubby is starting to say too many things of why didn't I do this or why didn't I do that, and a lot of the, "what the ....."? Yes, I'm depressed. I don't like this!!! I never claimed to be smart, but I am & always was a hard worker & my eldest son takes after me!!! He's definitely a hard worker & the more he knows the better off he likes it!!! Anyway, thanks again SO VERY MUCH for stopping by! YOU'RE DUH BEST!!! My friend in order to do all the things you do & remembering stuff you must be very intelligent! Wouldn't want to share would ya??? ~hehehe~ And also, do not, and I repeat, DO NOT... BELIEVE ANYTHING YOU TUBE SAYS! THEY LIE OR THEY'VE GOT SOMEBODY REALLY STUPID IN THAT CATEGORY! The first page is always deaths of celebrities & where they lived & about the family... yada yada yada & they're all lies. They got me about Barry Gibb. Cathy looked it up and he's fine! Still singin' & still kickin' up a storm, but he does smoke too, too much!!! hmmmm So have a wonderful week my friend. I will try to stop by again this week! I always tweet your stuff too... guess cuz you always got something goin' on! Anything you want me to advertise just let me know & I'll help ya out! Have a great week and please be happy, be careful, and take care of your wonderful family! Hug those babies for me!!!! Hey, by the way one more thing... THANK YOU! YES A VERY BIG THANK YOU FOR BEING MY FRIEND!!! You're the best!!! Anything you need done or advertised just let me know! Have a great week!

Michael Di Gesu said...

Hi Alex,

Music is certainly a great inspiration! I am not surprised that you posted this. I know you've played guitar for years!

Thanks for the movie reviews. I always enjoy your take on them.

I am SOOO looking forward to traveling to Scotland and I am going to ALL the places you suggested. Three days in Glasgow, five days in Inverness, and five days in Edinburgh! What I am really looking forward to the most is the train ride along what west coast of Scotland (Glasgow to Inverness). It is supposed to be one of the scenic in Europe! Squee!

Sandra Cox said...

Ooh, glad of the review of Citadel. I've had my eye on it.
Have a great one.