Archive for May, 2013

Reading Forrest Carter’s Josey Wales novels

Posted in books, Genres, movies, Western with tags , , , , , on May 31, 2013 by Paxton


I have been a fan of Clint Eastwood’s 1976 western The Outlaw Josey Wales since I first saw it with my dad back in the 80s.  I actually saw and know Clint Eastwood more for Josey Wales than I do “The Man with No Name” because I saw it first and it led me to Leone’s “Dollars Trilogy”.  So, being a fan of it for so long I was surprised a few years ago when I discovered the movie was actually based on a 1973 book by Forrest Carter called Josey Wales: The Rebel Outlaw.  The story would subsequently be retitled Gone to Texas.

Being such a huge fan of Eastwood’s take on the character I felt I needed to read the source material. So I got the above book from and set about reading about one of my favorite gunslingers.

I have to say, I’m really surprised how close to the story the movie was. Carter writes a very good, gritty, action-y western. The feel on the page is the same as watching the movie. It helped that I had Eastwood’s visage burned into my brain whenever I hear the name Josey Wales. The mannerisms, the speech. It’s obvious Eastwood was very respectful of the original stories and strayed little from not only the character but the overall storyline. The only thing I think the book does better is the character of Laura Lee is a much better character in the book. But, honestly, I’m not a big fan of Sondra Locke, so that may have been a factor.

But the book, I can honestly recommend it for both fans of Eastwood’s movies and fans of good, western action in general.  The book is a fast paced read, clocking in at around 200 pages and offers a lot of gunfights and good dialogue.  It actually got me excited to read Old West fiction again, something I haven’t really done since high school.

In 1980, Carter followed up Gone to Texas with a sequel called The Vengeance Trail of Josey Wales.  This sequel was also included in my book copy.  Needless to say, I was pretty eager to read this sequel and see what could have also been a sequel to Eastwood’s Josey Wales (Eastwood did consider doing it but it never developed).

Josey Wales - Eastwood

The story picks up a short time after the original book.  A terrible tragedy befalls Josey Wales’ bride and his newborn child.  Honestly, the tragedy is told in detail and it’s pretty horrific to read, especially as a father.  And the rest of the book is also incredibly violent, even more so than the first novel which is not as much as you’d expect.  However, I was pulled in again by Carter’s writing style and the way he tells a story.  It’s another excellent Josey Wales novel and I liked it as much if not MORE than the original.

It’s sad that Carter never wrote anymore Wales novels.  I know Eastwood had the book and I think he was considering, but by 1980 I think he wanted to do other movies and leave the Western behind.  When he did his final Western, Unforgiven, I was surprised that the main character wasn’t Josey Wales, however, there may have been rights issues.

So if you enjoy good action, you can’t go wrong with these Josey Wales books.  They are excellent examples of fast paced Old West fiction that I personally enjoy reading.  Do yourself a favor and give it a chance.


Podcast Double Feature: Nerd Lunch Episode 87 and Cult Film Club Episode 7

Posted in movies, podcast, pop culture with tags , , , on May 29, 2013 by Paxton

Nerd Lunch Podcast

First off we have episode 87 of the Nerd Lunch Podcast in which we are again joined by our friend Jeremy from Geek Chunks to discuss Ultimate Movie Trilogies.

Octagon Enter the Ninja Tombstone

Jeeg gives us a few categories like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Alien Invasion and “Wild Card”. We then all have to come up with our own Ultimate Movie Trilogy for that category. It’s a lot of fun and I think you’ll be surprised by some of the movies that get selected.

Download this episode from iTunes or listen to it on Feedburner. Or listen to it online right here.

Cult Film Club

Next up we have Episode 7 of the Cult Film Club podcast. This month Jaime, Shawn and I talk about the mid-90s video game to movie adaptation Mortal Kombat.

Mortal Kombat

We talk about our history with the game, some of our favorite characters and whether all of the early 90s CGI holds up in this 18 years later. It’s a fun discussion, come join us.

Download the latest episode from iTunes or listen to it online right here.

Bionic Review: The Six Million Dollar Man Season 1 – Part 1

Posted in pop culture, Six Million Dollar Man, TV shows with tags , , , , , , on May 23, 2013 by Paxton

Bionic Review


Okay, it’s time to start reviewing regular season episodes of the show. I’ll group episodes in the same way they are presented on the DVDs. So here are the first four episodes of Season 1 from The Six Million Dollar Man.

Episode 1 – Population Zero

Special guests: Don Porter (Gidget)

Synopsis:  In this episode Steve and Oscar investigate the seeming death of an entire town. After arriving Steve uses his actual moon walking space suit as a rudimentary Haz-Mat suit to investigate the town. A disgruntled scientist contacts Oscar to claim credit for the town and promises to strike again if not paid $10 million.  Steve sets out to find out who the guy is and how to stop him.

Bionics: We see a lot of good bionic slow motion running in this episode, but no “bionic sound”.  Not sure when that particular sound effect will start showing up.  When Steve is running, the sound is silent except for the sound of a beating heart.  In the episode conclusion, Steve rips a metal fence post out of the ground (including the cemented base, see pic above) and hurls it javelin-style through a truck killing all the bad guys.  Probably one of the more bad ass things Austin has done and we are only in episode 1.  We also learn in this episode that deep cold will hinder the performance of Steve’s bionics.

Notes: This is the first episode of the weekly series. We finally get the regular series opening with the famous tag line “Better, stronger, faster…”.  The music has a very “X-Files” feel to it which is interesting because the entire opening feels like an episode of that show.  It seems almost EVERYONE already knows about Steve’s bionics. Why do they bother keeping it a secret?  Apparently Steve lived 20 miles from the afflicted town in this episode and knows everyone in the town by name.

Review:  This was a very good episode.  Steve and Oscar work well together, the story was good.  The villain, played by Don Porter is fun.  The perfect setup for a weekly series.

Episode 2 – Survival of the Fittest

Special guests: Joanne Worley (Rowen & Martin’s Laugh-In)

Synopsis:  During important negotiations with Russian officials, Oscar’s life is threatened by individuals wanting to make sure those negotiations fail. When the plane that Steve and Oscar are flying in crashes, Steve must protect Oscar when it becomes clear that someone else on the flight is not who they appear to be.

Bionics: In the opening, Steve uses his bionics to remove lug nuts from a flat tire in one of the more “real world” applications of his abilities we’ve seen.  Another instance, after the plane has crash landed, has Steve karate chopping a coconut in two.  It’s not immediately clear whether he uses his bionics for this.  Steve saves Oscar from getting bitten by a snake by bionically  running up to the snake, grabbing it and hurling it into a rock wall, straight up murdering the snake.  Without prejudice.  Late in the episode we see Steve’s bionic “night vision” for the first time.

Notes: While on the plane, the in flight meal is delivered in really nice lunch boxes.  Oh the golden age of commercial air flight.  The plane’s engine catches on fire and the pilots immediately DROP IT OFF THE PLANE. Is that standard procedure?  While crash landed on the island, someone jury rigs the CB radio and attempts communication.  On what power source is that radio running?  And why is no one taking off their uniforms, jackets or ties?  It looks pretty hot on that island.  Apparently this episode was remade as Fly Jaime for The Bionic Woman series.

Review: This is also a pretty good episode.  Lee Majors is likable and fun.  We get some pretty awesome bionic action and there’s a nice reveal at the end.  I thoroughly enjoyed this episode.  Except for Joanne Worley.  I mean REALLY?

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Nerd Lunch Episode 86: Give That Guy Some Work 3 + Extra Helpings of Iron Man

Posted in movies, podcast, pop culture, Star Trek with tags , , , on May 21, 2013 by Paxton

Nerd Lunch Podcast

Welcome to the next exciting episode of the Nerd Lunch Podcast. This week we are joined by Matt Young from the awesome Improvised Star Trek live show and podcast.  We brought Matt on to discuss a little bit about Improvised Star Trek, but also we get him to join us in our third installment of Give That Guy Some Work!


We all pick two actors we feel aren’t getting enough face time in Hollywood and present them to the group for inclusion in a joint movie project sure to be box office GOLD. Gold, I tell ya!

Download this episode from iTunes or listen to it on Feedburner.

Or listen to it online here.


You’ll also notice that we’ve snuck in a special Extra Helpings episode of Nerd Lunch into our feed.  CT, Jeeg and I have all watched Iron Man 3 and we wanted to get together and just talk about it.  So we did.  Check out the Nerd Lunch Extra Helpings episode for Iron Man 3.

It’s available in iTunes, Feedburner or right damn here.

Iron Man 3

Review of the TV movie The Dreamer of Oz (1990)

Posted in movies, pop culture, TV shows, Wizard of Oz with tags , , , , , on May 16, 2013 by Paxton


I’m going to continue with my reviews of all things Oz with a TV movie that NBC aired in 1990 called The Dreamer of Oz.


The movie was a fictionalized biography of the adult life of L Frank Baum and how he was inspired to write The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.  I remember watching much of this when it originally aired.  My family had no desire to watch it so I was vetoed during commercials and had to switch back and forth, sometimes missing chunks of the story.  However, I remember it fondly and I wanted to revisit it for my Oz series.

In the movie, L Frank Baum was played by John Ritter.


Baum’s wife, Maud, was played by Annette O’Toole. Maud’s mother, Mathilda Gage, was played by Rue McClanahan.

doo_annette1 doo_rue1

Also of note, Ritter’s real life son, Jason, played one of his sons in the movie which I thought was a nice touch.

The movie is actually book ended by scenes at Grauman’s Chinese Theater (aka, TCL Chinese Theater in Hollywood) in 1939 during the world premier of the MGM musical version of The Wizard of Oz. A reporter takes an elderly Maud Baum aside and asks her about her husband Frank and how he came to write the book.

The rest of the story is told in flashback and begins about the time Maud meets Frank during a party thrown by one of Frank’s sisters. We see the courtship of the couple and the many lean years in which Frank tries to do different jobs and make ends meet. We see him start to tell his children and the children of the neighborhood pieces of a larger story about what he calls “The Magical Land”. The ideas are developed over the years and we see some of the inspirations for characters along the way. Eventually Baum meets WW Denslow while writing the book Father Goose which would go on to be a big hit. Baum gambles the royalties of that book to sell what is now called “The Land of Oz” book. And, obviously, it hits. Big time.

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