Wednesday, August 2, 2023

Insecure Writer’s Support Group, Oppenheimer and They Cloned Tyrone Reviews, and August Movie Preview

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 August 2 posting of the IWSG are Kate Larkindale, Diane Burton, Janet Alcorn, and Shannon Lawrence!

Today’s question: Have you ever written something that afterwards you felt conflicted about? If so, did you let it stay how it was, take it out, or rewrite it?

I don’t think I ever have. I write from my moral gut, so nothing there to alter. My only conflict was killing a main character, but I left it in anyway. Although some people protested the fact there are no women in my first book. (Read the second and you'll understand why.) I never changed it though. How about you?

Just a heads up – next month is the twelve-year anniversary of the IWSG!



Christopher Nolan’s latest ambitious project covers a portion of the life of J. Robert Oppenheimer, the man key to the development of the atomic bomb.
Like all Nolan films, this one boasts a high level of brilliance on every level. The visuals are precise, purposeful, and striking. The music fits every scene, often haunting and unsettling. And the acting – everyone brings their A game.
Most notably is of course Cillian Murphy in the title role. He wastes no words, gestures, or expressions. Robert Downey Jr. also blends into his role as Lewis Strauss.
My one negative – can no one make a movie under two hours anymore? At three hours, it’s just too long.
That said, every scene is riveting. Good luck getting up to go to the bathroom! For a talking film, it moves at a fast clip and clues are dropped every time the scene changes.
The moment they test the bomb is of course spectacular. Although I liked the last third of the film (what happens after that test) the best.
I didn’t love it yet I have to highly recommend it!

They Cloned Tyrone

Set in the ghetto, strange events leads to three people trying to track down the truth.
Highly recommended, I had no idea what to expect. And the first ten-fifteen minutes just follows Tyrone as he traverses The Glen and its slew of shady characters. (Who do not hold back with their colorful language.) I was beginning to wonder.
Then things get weird!
Yes, they discover Tyrone has been cloned. And a bunch of other suspicious events start piling on top of that.
Where this movie excels is in the banter between the three leads. John Boyega (Finn from Star Wars) is Tyrone Fontaine the drug-dealer, Jamie Foxx is Slick Charles the pimp, and Teyonah Parris is Yo-Yo the ho. As they stumble through the bizarre, X-Files like things happening, they keep it light with exchanges that will have you laughing out loud.
This film isn’t for everyone, but if you can handle the language, I really recommend it.

August Movie Preview

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

4 –

The Meg 2: The Trench
Director: Ben Wheatley
Stars: Jason Statham, Jing Wu, Sienna Guillory
Sequel to the 2018 film 'The Meg.'
Not so much a sequel as a cheap ploy by Discovery Channel to pad out Shark Week.

10 –

Director: Salvador Simo
Stars: Bill Nighy, Anthony Howell, Brendan Coyle
In ancient China, dragons were once friends of humans, but our greed ended their alliance, and these magical creatures were hunted down. Years later, in a remote fortress, a young slave girl, Ping, strikes up an unlikely friendship.
When I was in high school, I had a trapper keeper…

11 –

Last Voyage of the Demeter
Director: André Øvredal
Stars: Corey Hawkins, Aisling Franciosi, Liam Cunningham
Based on a single chapter, the Captain's Log, from Bram Stoker's classic 1897 novel Dracula, the story is set aboard the Russian schooner Demeter, which was chartered to carry private cargo - twenty-four unmarked wooden crates - from Carpathia to London. The film will detail the strange events that befell the doomed crew as they attempt to survive the ocean voyage, stalked each night by a terrifying presence on board the ship. When it finally arrived near Whitby Harbour, it was a derelict. There was no trace of the crew.
Please don’t suck. Or please do! I’m so confused…

17 –

RiffTrax Live: RAD
Going to be awesome!

18 –

Blue Beetle
Director: Angel Manuel Soto
Stars: Becky G, Bruna Marquezine, Xolo Maridueña
An alien relic chooses Jaime Reyes to be its symbiotic host, bestowing the teenager with a suit of armor that's capable of extraordinary and unpredictable powers, forever changing his destiny as he becomes the superhero Blue Beetle.
Special guest appearance by Herbie the Love Bug!

Have you written something that made you feel conflicted? Have you seen Oppenheimer or They Cloned Tyrone? Any movies catch your eye for August?


Elephant's Child said...

What is it with looooong movies. They put me off even making the attempt. I am glad you found Oppenheimer moving though.

Karen Baldwin said...

When I'm back in the States, I always see as many movies with my daughter in Texas. Problem is - the theater we go to has recliner seats. Yeah....3 hours ....I'm gonna be falling asleep unless I sit bolt upright. Still, I will go see Oppenheimer.

T. Powell Coltrin said...

I love watching movies, but cannot sit for three hours. I normally wait to watch those movies at home. I WILL watch Oppenheimer one way or another.

Jennifer Lane said...

I do want to see Oppenheimer! That sucks that people threw you shade about not having women in your first novel. You can write what you want!

ib said...

While on vacation, my younger nephew and I would stay up and watch a movie or show together. I wanted to watch Tyrone but we chose The Harder They Fall in its place. We didn't make it to the end. We shut it down and opted for Extraction 1 and 2. I will be seeing Oppenheimer at some point, even at it's length, I am stoked to watch.

Diane Burton said...

It takes a confident writer to not regret what he's written. We'll always get criticism. We can't please everyone. Good for you for sticking to your guns despite criticism.

PT Dilloway said...

If I had Netflix I'd probably watch They Cloned Tyrone. I wish I had the money to see that Rifftrax Live but maybe it'll be on VOD at some point. It looks, dare I say, rad?!

I'm not sure why they didn't do Blue Beetle as a TV show instead of a movie; it would have probably worked better. I read the first batch of comics with the character and liked those so if they stick close to that and what was on season 2 of Young Justice it should be a pretty good movie.

Natalie Aguirre said...

My daughter and boyfriend really liked Oppenheimer. I'll wait to stream it because it's so long. I'm with you about movies (and books) sometimes being too long.

That's awesome that the IWSG is having it's 12th anniversary.

Roland D. Yeomans said...

The only way I can watch long movies is on blu ray or streaming! Like Natalie, I am amazed that IWSG is going on 13! Oh, those teenage years. :-)

Nancy Gideon said...

I love characters who are morally ambiguous. Not everyone's cup of java but I was lucky enough to find an editor who shared my interest to the tune of an 11-book series. Stick with your own truth and search for those who share it.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Alex - yes sadly I can't sit through movies now - wish I could ... but I watch a few at home ... I gather Oppenheimer is informative and well made. Cheers - I do note you didn't mention Barbie?! Cheers Hilary

Jen said...

Good for you in sticking to your guns about your stories. People are always going to have complaints about things and I'll be honest with you, I rarely notice the things people do. I probably wouldn't have thought a thing about there being no women in the first book unless someone mentioned it! I get too caught up in stories to find something ridiculous like that to complain about.

Oppenheimer looks so good but I just can't watch movies like that. They disturb me I'm convinced this one will be a classic!

OK, not sure what this says about me, but when I saw the title "They Cloned Tyrone" I laughed out loud because in the animated series Gravity Falls, there's an episode where the main character clones himself and names one of his clones Tyrone. Yeah...I'm that kid...

Always a pleasure, Alex! Happy IWSG Day! And next month is TWELVE YEARS! Holy COW!!! That's awesome.

Lynn La Vita said...

Congratulations on your upcoming 12 year anniversary. IWSG has changed so many lives and supported writers as they face their insecurities and thrive.

I just checked our calendar and 12 years ago we sailed into La Cruz, Mexico.

Thanks to Joylene, I joined in 2015. How time flys!

Cheers, @ Lynn La Vita

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Karen, go see it. You won't fall asleep.

Jennifer, I do!

PT, they usually sell the DVD not long after the show. And you're right, Blue Beetle would be better as a series.

Hilary, no Barbie for me!

Jen, that's funny.

Meka James said...

My oldest son went to see Oppenheimer and had the same complaint on the length. Youngest is ready for The Meg 2, he enjoys all things shark.

diedre Knight said...

Howdy, Captain!

Back in the day, we girls could go see an entire movie while the boys watched NASCAR at home. Now the two seem to be in competition for length. Good grief. I did hear that Oppenheimer is so loud that the explosions could be heard during the Barbie movie playing next door.

Congratulations on 12 years! We should celebrate ;-)

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

12 years! Congratulations!! It seems like just yesterday in so many ways.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I thought Oppenheimer was amazing. I was enthralled by the story.

Computer Tutor said...

I've been eyeing Oppenheimer. Glad you reviewed it. Somehow I missed that Robert Downey Jr. was in it. He is excellent.

No Barbie?

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

Always appreciate your movie recommendations, Alex. Thanks. Happy IWSG day!

cleemckenzie said...

I noticed you didn't mention Barbie in your August Movie Preview section. Hmmm. Maybe it's because of all that pink? :-)

Pat Garcia said...

Thanks for the review on Oppenheimer. I plan to go see it.
Shalom shalom

Cathrina Constantine said...

Looking forward to Oppenheimer. And 3 hours is long, the same as the LOTR trilogy. The other movie I'm looking forward to is Mission-Impossible. I like these intriguing movies. I was hoping you'd seen it giving me a glimpse of what to expect.

Have a great August!

Jemima Pett said...

I'm looking forward to seeing Oppenehimer. No idea where or when, though.

Truedessa said...

Happy Wednesday Alex! I saw previews for Demeter when I went to see Mission Impossible. Which, I really did enjoy.

I read all your books, I do like a few female characters as they add some spicy drama. Dots will always be my favorite.

PJ Colando said...

Hmm. Did I miss something? I was so looking forward to your review of Barbie!

My husband and I did our version of the 'Barbenheimer' this: he went to Oppenheimer and I went to Barbie. It wasn't tough because I used the 1 hr. time disparity to write.

I enjoyed Barbie, though I felt it had too many themes to track. Part Mattel's tribute to the woman who created Barbie, part musical fluff, part social satire. All done in pink-pink-pink, which is decidedly NOT my favorite color.

That said, I had multiple Barbies and spent hours story-telling their lives, a tween precursor to being a writer.

Thanks for commenting on my blog -

Donna K. Weaver said...

Now that I know Herbie shows up, I'm tempted to check out Blue Beetle. lol

Carol Kilgore said...

Great review of Oppenheimer, Alex.

J E Oneil said...

I have not heard of They Cloned Tyrone, and now I really want to see it. So now they're only adapting chapters of books? This is even worse than dividing them in two.

Samantha Bryant said...

I always enjoy your quick takes on movies! I'm interested in They Cloned Tyrone, for sure! @samanthabwriter from
Balancing Act

Victoria Marie Lees said...

Most all of these movies are way above me. I like more realistic stories. And you know I can't watch--or read!--anything scary.

Thanks for always keeping me up to date on what's coming out, Alex. 12 years for IWSG? Yahoo! All best to you, sir!

Loni Townsend said...

Regarding your no women comment: I just had someone point out there might be reverse sexism in my current book because Derek runs away in chapter 2 and is saved by a trio of beautiful women. But I say Nah. Derek will always run from conflict if he can. That's just who he is, and I've got Cameron who definitely fits the standard stereotype.

I will probably wait for Oppenheimer to come out on streaming to watch it.

Arlee Bird said...

If you wrote it then it should stand. It's wrong to alter history.

I'd like to see Oppenheimer but if I do it will be in the comfort of my own living room. Bathroom breaks are not a problem in that case.

I'll skip the film with a lot of bad language.


Liz A. said...

3 hours? Yeah, I'll wait until I can stream Oppenheimer. I do want to see it, but I get antsy.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Meka, something about a giant shark that just draws you in...

Diedre - that loud they interrupted Barbie? Funny!

Jacqui, no way!

Lee, it came out in July but I didn't mention it either. Even my wife gagged at the thought of seeing it.

Cathrina, we didn't see it. Back to back three hour movies just wasn't enticing so we picked just one.

PJ, your husband got the better deal.

Loni, then you stick to your gut instinct on that.

Jemi Fraser said...

12 years!!! That's amazing - you've done so much good for this writing community, Alex! Congratulations!

Susan Kane said...

We saw Oppenheimer on Saturday, and were jaw dropped by the quality and story of what a Jewish Physicist did, not using math, but sound amazing. Great actor, Cillian Murphy. is an actor to watch.

One of the marks of a good movie is that I don't even need or want to go pee.

G. B. Miller said...

I've rarely watched a movie longer than 2 1/2 hours long. If I had to watch a three hour movie, I probably would have to watch it on DVD, as trying to carve out a three hour gap is something that has to be planned, at least for me.

I've regretted writing a couple of blog posts that I ultimately took down, if only because I felt they would really offend a few of my regular readers at the time.

Elizabeth Seckman said...

Why don't these complainers write their own perfect stories? I didn't even notice you didn't have any women. But then I lived most of my life in a house full of men. I guess that just seemed normal to me. said...

Congratulations on twelve years! 🎈🍾🎉

Janet Alcorn said...

I agree re: movies being too dang long. I hate having to miss part of the movie to go to the bathroom, and most long movies I've seen would have been better with some aggressive editing. Haven't seen Oppenheimer yet though, so I'll reserve judgment on that one.

Birgit said...

What? You didn’t see Barbie? Hahahaaaaa. They really are pushing that flick down our throats. I hear nothing but good things but …I just can’t. I’d much rather see Oppenheimer but I’m with you, why can’t they just make a film that’s 2 hours. The ship movie..meh they all die..Dracula's on board and killed everyone so…so what.
I think if I wrote, I would not feel conflicted because I would never write something I didn’t believe in.

Olga Godim said...

IWSG 12th anniversary sounds interesting.

Fundy Blue said...

Hi, Alex! I guess you could say I write from my moral gut as well, but it can definitely leave me conflicted. I'm late posting. I screwed up something when I tried to publish automatically. I'm sitting in the business center of a hotel by the airport in Calgary straightening things out. I hope that you had a fun IWSG Day!

Shannon Lawrence said...

I hadn't heard of They Cloned Tyrone until it popped up as available, so I wasn't sure what to think. It's on my list. I wanted to be excited by the Meg sequel, but the commercial was disappointing.

Denise Covey said...

Some movies are obviously a cheap ploy. Sorry about Mag2 as I was hoping to watch it with my grandies and have a good scream together like we did with the first one!

mail4rosey said...

I want to see Oppenheimer. Even more now, after reading your take on it.

Melissa said...

12 years?!!! Dang! That's an accomplishment!

Oppenheimer was very good. Even at three hours in length, they still had to make the most of every line. It was a LOT to cover.

We also saw Sound of Freedom. If you haven't seen that, you should. Very heartbreaking and very tastefully done.

Steven Arellano Rose Jr. said...

I can kind of see why Oppenheimer goes as long as three hours, it's a historical movie and many historical movies call for longer time frames. But I agree with you on movies in general going over two hours too much these days. Too many expand on scenes that really don't need expanding. And what annoys me is, theatres haven't had the decency to bring back intermission for those movies that go more than two hours.

I've been waiting all summer for Voyage of the Demeter. I just hope it's as good as the trailers make it seem and that it will be far better than Renfield.

I liked the first Meg movie but I'm having my doubts about this second one. The shark doesn't seem to be as big as in the first one and the special effects not as convincing. I may just save my money and wait until it comes out on video.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Susan, you didn't want to get up and miss something!

Elizabeth, thanks for understanding!

Louise, no worries!

Melissa, everyone we know says it's a great film.

Steven, what annoys me is the ten to fifteen minutes of commercials before the film. No movie starts on time anymore!

Kate Larkindale said...

I'm probably the only person who hasn't seen Oppenheimer or Barbie yet, but I'm the middle of our International Film Festival so commercial films are just going to have to wait until after 13 August. They Cloned Tyrone sounds like a blast! I will have to look out for that one.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

No movies catching my eye at all. I guess soon the writers' strike will mean nothing new anywhere. Not sure if their strike will hasten or slow AI takeover of the business.

authorjessa said...

My alterations/rewriting have so far come from a desire to add more after the story is finished. When I expand on an existing character/plot line, I want to go back and add more details to the beginning.

Rajani Rehana said...

Great blog

Fundy Blue said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rhonda Albom said...

Interesting question you pose. It is exactly why I stopped writing my book. By the time I was done with my critique groups changes, I hated the direction the story was going. The big lesson for me is to keep earlier drafts. As for movies, as always, we watch entirely different genres.

Rhonda Albom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joanne said...

Thanks for all your comments on my blog as I've been on vacation. I am now catching up. And you know my feelings about these long ass movies - edit, edit, edit.!!!
I always like your snark and your joy. We do have hope when we sit down in front of a big screen. Alas, we are busy getting Ray's folks moved and selling their house - not a lot of time for fun.
Stay cool my friend! cheers

Toi Thomas said...

Thanks for another great hop. It's hard to believe it's been 12 years. Congratulations!
Oppenheimer sounds like something I'll wait for on streaming. I'll need to be very comfortable to sit through it.
They Cloned Tyrone is something I'll try this weekend.
Dragonkeeper sounds interesting.
I want to be excited about Blue Beetle but I'm not.

Mary Kirkland said...

I'm looking forward to Med 2, I loved the first movie so I'm excited to watch this one now.

I don't have a book published but I have shared some stories on my blog and have felt conflicted about sharing it after I published it on my blog. It's nerve wracking to wait and see how it will be received but so far readers seem to like the stories I am sharing.

The Happy Whisk said...

I haven't seen a new movie in a bit now. I don't know if I ever wrote something and then felt odd about it or took it out. I do though edit down and take stuff out like that when writing - though that's not the same thing.

Thanks for the nice words about Wiggy. She's having a good day, today.

Tara Tyler said...

always love your reviews and previews!
totally agree — what’s up with the extra long movies? it helps i watch most of them at home, love the pause button!

12 years. woah.

Tara Tyler Talks

Pat Hatt said...

I don't think they know how to make movies under 2 hours and a half anymore. Only way I watch them is at home.

I write what I write, doesn't bother me lol I may raise an eyebrow a time or two, but I'll leave it.

I remember Rad. My brother was obsessed with that movie.

Eden "Kymele" Mabee said...

Long movies come somewhat from longer books. More of them are based on novels these days (or at least more than short stories, as they used to be). And to be honest, we're making books longer than they used to be too. Average length of a novel is up at least a good 20K from what it used to me.

I like the longer pieces personally. Maybe not for the duration of sitting in a movie theatre, but then I prefer a good series to a one-off anytime. Your mileage may vary

Michael Di Gesu said...

What? TWELVE years already? I can't believe it. CONGRATS TO ALL in the IWSG, and thank you for all your collective talents that make the IWSG so AMAZING!

Sandra Cox said...

Oppenheimer is on our list. In fact, we were going to go last week then forgot about it. LOL

Sandra Cox said...

I think we're going to see Oppenheimer today, though I'm not looking forward to three hours.
Have a great one.

Catch My Words said...

I haven't felt conflicted about what I've written, either. I definitely want to see Oppenheimer. My husband and I have unused free movie tickets from, years ago. We haven't been to a movie theater since before the pandemic.

Maurice Mitchell said...

I'm not sure if I'm watching any movies from this list except The Meg 2 and They Cloned Tyrone. You're right that the Megashark sequel is probably just a ploy to milk off shark week, but my wife liked the first one. What an encouraging article, and I wish you a nice evening Man.

Susan Kane said...

We enjoyed Oppenheimer immensely. Husband is a physicist/chemistry/Math person and he knew the names of the key scientists.
The others?
The best movie this year is "Sound of Freedom". It must be seen! Jim Caveziel was superb. The message is horrifying.

Sandra Cox said...

12 years. Woot. Woot.

DMS said...

I just saw Oppenheimer tonight and enjoyed it. It was long, but I wasn't bored at any point. I do agree that a little shorter would be better. :)

Susan Kane said...

We loved Oppenheimer. My husband has degrees in math and physics. To see the other scientists was awesome. Dragonkeeper is on the list. The Meg2 haz Jason Statham, nothing cam go wrong.

Sandra Cox said...

Still haven't made it to Oppenheimer.

Sandra Cox said...

I loved John Boyega in Star Wars, didn't you?
They cloned Tyrone sounds like an interesting premise.

The Happy Whisk said...

Think the last movie I saw was Galaxy and even longer before that. I do enjoy going. We just haven't gone much lately.