The Equalizer 2

If you were a big fan of “The Equalizer,” the 2014 thriller starring Denzel Washington, and wish they would make another one that was pretty much exactly like it — good news.

If you prefer your sequels to take the characters in new directions or bring something fresh and interesting to the proceedings — the news is not so good.

6ee368fb71e49bda6cf1019a4eebf00aDirector Antoine Fuqua brings the same languid style (an odd choice for an action thriller) he used in the original to “The Equalizer 2.” Retired CIA agent Robert McCall (Denzel Washington) is now a Lyft driver, who occasionally takes a break to beat up people who have done someone wrong.

The first half of the film follows McCall’s mundane life in great detail — he drives people around, he reads books, he’s good to his neighbors, he befriends a young man (Ashton Sanders) who wants to be an artist.

Then someone is murdered in Brussels, his friend Susan (Melissa Leto) investigates, more murder, McCall takes care of business.

If you can stay awake through the first half, things do kick into gear later. But everything just feels random. We never find out why the person in Brussels was killed, who he was or what was important about him. The movie ends with McCall leading a group of trained killers to an abandoned town in the middle of a storm, where the supposed professionals all separate to search for him — making it easy for them to be picked off one by one.

I remember seeing “The Equalizer” when it came out and reviewing it, but I couldn’t remember anything about it except that it starred Denzel Washington. Then last night it was on TV so I watched it again, and I was struck by how similar – and equally forgettable – this new one was to the first one.

Washington is always a compelling presence on screen and the movie is worth watching if you’re a fan, but that’s about all I can recommend about it.

 

 

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T W E N T Y

It was 20 years ago today that I sat down at the computer in my office — which back then was the spare bedroom — and typed out the first RRoy Report. It started out as a weekly email and then eventually transformed into whatever it is now.

That first report went out to 9 people, half family and half friends — I have no idea where 2 of those people are anymore. The first review was “There’s Something About Mary,” in which I referred to Cameron Diaz as Gwyneth Paltrow. From the very beginning it was clear that I needed an editor.

But we’re not here for a history lesson. If you want that, go to the “About” page. No, I need some other way to mark this inauspicious occasion.

At first I thought about throwing a party, but then it hit me: Why am I always having to throw my own damn parties?

Then I thought about writing about how the RRReport has changed my life and made it so much better and all the money and opportunities that came out of it. But then that would be a lie and the truth is more depressing and who wants to focus on that?

Finally, I figured I would just take this opportunity — in this age of divisiveness and negativity — to just say thanks. After all, I don’t know that this will still be going for the 25th anniversary and I’m damn sure I’ll be dead before this reaches 30, so it’s now or never.

And what better and more pompous way to say thank you, than with a fake awards ceremony. Which is sure to be the only kind of awards ceremony I will ever be taking part in.

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Cameron Diaz: Welcome back to the 2018 Blogger Awards and Hall of Fame ceremony! And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for: Winner of this year’s Blogger of the Year and Hall of Fame inductee for 2018…a man who needs no introduction.

stunned look. looks around. hugs wife. accepts the accolades of those sitting nearby. slowly stumbles to the podium…

Thank you, Gwyneth. Let me begin by thanking the members of the academy, the Hollywood foreign press, and the Hall of Fame selection committee. Like Ron Swanson, I do not believe in awards — but I did enjoy the pre-awards pie.

First, and most obvious, I would like to thank my parents for making me possible. I suppose for completeness sake I should also thank their parents and so on back down through the annals of time, but that’s a bit much.

Thanks to the Stockton Junior High Band for making me their boy reporter back in 1975 and setting me off on this trajectory.

Thanks to the University of Missouri School of Journalism for being in Missouri. If it had been somewhere out of state I probably wouldn’t have gone there.

Thanks to Chris Duggan for suggesting me for the entertainment editor gig at the Journal when he moved on. Thanks to Jim O’Neil for giving me the job even though I suspect there were many other more qualified people.

Thanks to my sisters, for their loyal support and for keeping all the early reports on their computers, all filed away for easy retrieval. Once I hit “send,” I was done with it. Now, if I need to find something I wrote about the Walnut Festival in 2003, Cindy can find it within minutes.

Thanks to my brother, because, well, I just thanked my sisters and my parents and I don’t want him to feel left out. Hmmm, I got it. Thanks for inheriting all the good genes and leaving me with the writing one.

Thanks to Jeff and Rachel Peine for setting me up at wordpress.com when we moved the report from being a weekly email to a blog. And thanks to wordpress.com for making it easy to do this and not charging me for it.

Thanks to the good people at Allied Integrated Marketing, the Fabulous Fox Theatre, and the wonderful Julie Lally for not taking me off the mailing list and letting me stay in the game.

Thanks to the 116 friends of the RRReport’s Facebook page. Especially the 46 people that I am not Facebook friends with.

Why is there music playing? Shut that crap off! I’m not through yet! I will cut you!

Thanks to my most loyal Facebook fans, Joel Bowerman and Ann Hein. If I post something and they don’t like it, either (a) I’ve written something terribly bad, or (b) it didn’t show up in their newsfeed.

Thanks to Jan O’Brien for ignoring that we quit doing the RRoy Report Holiday Gift Drive about 10 years ago.

Thanks to everyone who subbed here over the years, whether through RRoy Report Idol or simply because I asked you to cover for me.

Thanks all my friends and family who have found themselves — willingly or not — the subject of a report. I know a time or two (or more) I wrote something that hurt someone’s feelings. My apologies. That was not my intent, sometimes my sarcastic wit does not go over well. But I think for the most part you enjoyed the attention.

Finally, I want to thank the two people who have spent the most time having their lives misinterpreted by The RRReport — The Wife and The Son. Your support, and the fact that you haven’t killed me — or at least broken my fingers — is a large part of how this thing has kept going this long.

Is the mic still on?

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 Post Script

Why do I write? A simple question. Some do it for money, or so I’ve heard, and some do it for fame and glory, or so I’ve heard. Most, I suspect, do it for the attention. Nobody writes unless they want somebody to read, unless you’re writing in your diary. And even then, you probably want somebody to read it after you die.

When I got laid off in 2009 I was pretty sure that would be the end of The RRReport. What was I going to write about– sitting on the couch watching “That ’70s Show” reruns while cursing Lee Enterprises? That Sunday I had to sit down at the computer and let everyone know what had happened and what it would likely mean for our weekly one-sided chats.

It was a dark time, believe me. Everyone was sympathetic and supportive, but then you expect that of your family and friends. I had pretty much lost the will to go on writing. And then this showed up in my inbox:

Hi Ron,
No, you don’t know me. 
I’m part of the underground to whom your sister sends your work.
She started sending me the RROY REPORT when your mom died and you wrote your Random Thoughts article.  I’d like to tack something dignified to the end of my name to let you believe that someone with clout said these next words to you, but truth is, I’m just a regular kinda gal. 
 
After I read your Random Thoughts, and quit crying because I don’t cry and I was afraid someone would see me, I marveled at the expertise in your writing.  I teach high school English and Comp I and Comp II at a Community College (college, by the way, is where you belong as a teacher).  Three things came out of your Random Thoughts writing.
 
1) I started my own Random Thoughts about my mom who has had Alzheimers for 13 years.  She used to be mean.  She developed Alzheimers.  Now she’s meaner. So, my Random Thoughts are my positive way of connecting with a mom who tolerated more than loved me.  I love the mom of my Random Thoughts.  I read her life, and I can understand why she is mean.  I even took out the part when she tried to kill me by choking me.  It didn’t sound right, and I escaped and survived anyway.  You gave me some pretty dog-gone good therapy.
 
2) I fessed up to Teresa that I assign my college Comp I students an assignment to focus on one person in their lives and write Random Thoughts.  They’re still beginners, so nothing has even been in the same league, let alone ballpark, with your writing.  But it gets them to thinking.  They don’t have the coherence and the “wrap” with which you write.  Ah, but the neophytes get a chance to try their hand at something they can’t plagiarize.
 
3) Humph…I really did think of three things, but I’ll be a monkey’s uncle if I can remember what the third thing was…
 
I do hope you don’t stop writing.  I miss Far Side cartoons, and I’ll miss your cynical yet poignant writing.  Sometimes I worry that humor is a dying breed here in the USofA.  So, for now, I’ll go back to my Animal Farm and Crucible (Can you believe I have juniors in class who don’t have a handle on who Marilyn Monroe was?  If they can’t understand the Kazan-Miller-Monroe age of McCarthyism, why should I teach The Crucible!!!??). 
 
Tell Teresa to start up the underground mailings again when you relocate.  I’ll be waiting.
 
Brenda Heller

 

If you have ever enjoyed anything I’ve written these past 9 years you should probably thank Brenda Heller, whoever she is, because she pulled me out of the abyss.

And that is why I write.

 

At The Movies: Ant-Man And The Wasp

After the intense gloom and doom of “Avengers: Infinity War” it was time for Marvel Studios to pull out something more lighthearted. And you don’t get much more lighthearted in the MCU than Paul Rudd’s Ant-Man.

“Ant-Man and the Wasp” brings back all your favorites (I’m assuming Yellowjacket wasn’t anyone’s favorite) from Marvel’s 2015 pint-sized hit “Ant-Man.” They are joined in this go-round by Michelle Pfeiffer as the original Wasp, Laurence Fishburne as Hank Pym’s former partner Bill Foster, and  Hanna John-Kamen as Ghost, the antagonist of the piece.

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We begin with a flashback so Marvel can use more of their patented age-reversing technology to make Michael Douglas (Hank Pym) and new-to-the-franchise Michelle Pfeiffer (Janet Van Dyne) look young again. Hank and Jan (the original Ant-Man and Wasp) are about to go off on their fated last adventure, which ends with Jan trapped in the microscopic quantum realm.

After many years, Hank and daughter Hope (Evangeline Lilly) have decided it’s time to bring Jan home. Meanwhile, their former partner Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) is finishing up 2 years on house arrest for playing superhero after such activities had been declared illegal during “Captain America: Civil War.”

Circumstances eventually bring the trio together as they work to free Janet from the quantum realm while avoiding trouble from the mysterious, intangible Ghost and a low-rent thug named Sonny Birch (Walton Goggins).

“Ant-Man and the Wasp” has everything you’d expect from an “Ant-Man” sequel — lots of humor, lots of action, lots of pseudo-science jibberish, lots of size-change gimmicks, a hint of romance, a touch of father/daughter bonding, and more of the hilariously fast-talking Michael Pena.

It’s a solid sequel even if the jokes and set-up isn’t as fresh the second time around. I found the main plot was weak as well — a lot of the conflict could’ve been avoided if two of the characters had just had a conversation early on. Still, the action scenes were clever and exciting and Lilly is a welcome addition to Marvel’s superhero lineup.

The movie thankfully doesn’t run too long and doesn’t end with a huge, overstuffed battle scene. It’s superheroes on a smaller scale, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

You definitely need to stick around for the first post-credits scene, but not the second one.

The RRoy Report Culture Roundup 2018

Right now a lot of longtime RReport readers are thinking, “Didn’t opera season just end? Ronnie didn’t write about the opera once. Did he not go? How did he get out of it? And didn’t the St. Louis Shakespeare Festival just end? He didn’t write about that either. Did he not go? How did he get out of it?”

OHMIGOD! DID SOMETHING HAPPEN TO LAURA? IS SHE IN A COMA? IS SHE DEAD? WHAT HAS HAPPENED? SHOULD I CALL THE POLICE?!!

Calm down, people. Laurie’s fine. We did indeed attend the opera and Shakespeare this month, it’s just that it’s been such a crazy, busy month (what with Shakespeare and the opera and a dozen other things) that I haven’t had the time — or the motivation — or the strength — to report on these things.

My apologies that these reviews are coming too late for you to make an informed decision as to whether to attend these shows yourself, but let’s be honest, if you’re coming to me for advice on whether to see an opera or a Shakespeare play, you’re seriously ill-informed.

And so, in the order that I saw them…

La Traviata

La-Traviata-Opera-Theatre-St.-LouisOur first opera of the season and I honestly don’t remember much about it. The wife really liked it. It’s a classic — music by Guiseppe Verdi, so it’s good that I saw it even if it didn’t leave much of an impression.

I do remember we saw this with Christine and Emma and that was a good thing because it helps to get through TWO INTERMISSIONS if you have other people to talk to.

Hold on while I read the synopsis…Oh, now I remember. So, in comic books there’s this movement where people get all upset if the hero’s girlfriend dies in an attempt to build up the hero. Let me tell you something, comic books didn’t invent this trope – it happens in opera all the time. “La Traviata” is about a courtesan who falls in love with a guy and they run off to the country but his dad doesn’t approve so she breaks them up and then she gets sick and they are reunited on her deathbed and you know the rest because it’s a tired, old plot. Although maybe it was new when this was first performed in 1853.

Good show but probably my least favorite of the four (I think it was Laurie’s favorite, so there you go).

Orfeo & Euridice

OTSL_ShowArt18_OE_Final-600x600Remember what I said about how many operas feature men grieving over dead/dying girlfriends? Well, that’s what this show is all about. It starts out with Orfeo lamenting the death of his beloved Euridice. His cries reach the ears of Amore, the goddess of love, and she lets him go to the underworld and bring his wife back — there are conditions, of course, that complicate matters.

I enjoyed this one because (a) I’m a sucker for stories based on ancient myths; (b) it was the shortest of this season’s shows; (c) there was only 1 intermission (d) I was amused by the weird, joyous, colorful, totally out-of-place hippy-trippy ending that was tacked onto it.

On the downside, because the plot was so thin they filled the space with dancing. It was decent dancing but, still — dancing.

An American Soldier

AmSoldier_KeyArt_Final-1-600x600Every year Opera Theatre of Saint Louis includes a new opera in the set of four. This year it was this show based on the true story of Danny Chen, a U.S. soldier who died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound while serving in Afghanistan. He had been brutally treated by his fellow soldiers before his death.

As you might imagine, this was a very powerful and painful show to watch. The story begins in the courtroom as the ghost of Danny watches helplessly as his superior officer is put on trial. Things then flash back and fourth to Danny with his girlfriend and mother, to his brief, tortured time in the military.

I was impressed by this show but it really was 2.5 hours of unrelenting tragedy and anguish.

Romeo & Juliet 

2018-Season-Poster-FINAL-225x300We took a brief pause from an opera sandwich last weekend to attend this year’s Shakespeare Festival St. Louis performance of The Bard’s classic “Romeo & Juliet.” (We literally attended opera Friday/Shakespeare Saturday/Opera Sunday. I don’t recommend that much concentrated culture to anyone. I spent my rare free time watching “Luke Cage Season 2” just to decompress.)

It was a good show but long. I think the problem with R&J is that everyone knows the story and knows the beats so you just want to get on with it — balcony scene, fight, poison — but these people just won’t… stop… talking.

Granted, that’s an issue with all of Shakespeare, but most of the time you’re not familiar enough with the story to know what’s coming next and so you sit there and take it. But with R&J I’m just sitting there thinking “take the poison! take the poison already!”

But then, maybe I was just tired.

Regina 

Regina_Original-600x600We wrapped up “June: Month of Culture” with a Sunday night performance of “Regina.” I actually enjoyed this show even if I did begin snoring early in Act 1 (I told you I was tired). Once I was nudged back into consciousness, I did get into it.

It’s about a woman who is working with her brothers on a big business deal. They need the cooperation of her ailing husband but he’s not interested. Toss in various subplots involving other family members.

The performers, set design and costumes were impressive, but that’s true of all the OTSL shows. “Regina” isn’t your typical opera. It’s more of a musical/opera hybrid. There is a lot of spoken dialogue (unheard of in most opera) and the singing was more song oriented than just people singing dialogue. It also featured a variety of musical styles, from ragtime to gospel to musical to opera. It was different. I liked it. Almost enough to forgive the TWO INTERMISSIONS.

*****

And now, for the first time in weeks, I have nothing to do on a weekend. I would like to thank Hollywood for not releasing anything this week except “Uncle Drew,” thus giving me time to get caught up.

 

 

 

A RRoy Report Special Report: Ronnie and Laurie’s Chicago Adventure, Part II

Thirty years is a long time to live with someone. Especially if that someone is me.

My brother joined the military to get out of sharing a room with me. My parents only had to put up with me for 18 years. I went through 9 college roommates. My son has been with me 27 years, but he really doesn’t have a say in it.

Laurie has lived with me for three decades. Of her own free will, for the most part. So I was determined to give her a fun-filled weekend in Chicago, where she could do everything she wanted.

Even if it killed me.

And it almost did.

Day 1

The flight from St. Louis to Chicago was mercifully short and largely uneventful. The first ordeal was the hike from our terminal gate to the train station — roughly 5 miles while carrying a carry-on. (because if it has wheels, it ain’t a carry-on – you idiots! Stop cramming the overhead bins with your oversized suitcases!)

After 45+ minutes on the train, we arrived in downtown Chicago where it was another roughly 2 miles walk from the train stop to the hotel while carrying a carry-on. (Laurie will tell you my mileage estimates are out of whack, but we all know how she likes to exaggerate).

By the time we reached the hotel room I was exhausted, but no sooner had a put down my bag than L was ready to go. First stop: Architectural boat ride. I was actually in favor of this because (a) It wasn’t too far from the hotel and (b) you sit while you ride the boat. It was a nice, leisurely boat ride and we learned a lot about the buildings and history of Chicago. All of which I have since forgot.

chicago8Afterwards I was given the choice of going up into the Willis Tower or the Hancock Building. I didn’t care. We did our usual hemming and hawing for about 30 minutes and agreed on the Willis Tower. We walked and walked until we realized we didn’t know where we were going. So we turned around and walked toward the Hancock building. Tall buildings are much closer than they actually appear. We eventually got there, bought our CityPass which would get us through the weekend, went up the the observation floor, observed, went back down and ate at a nearby pizza joint.

Meanwhile… Andrew, Cindy and Chuck are playing Uno, hanging out at the pool and eating pizza.

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Day 2 

Did I mention everything in Chicago is expensive? One way to beat the expense is to buy a CityPass, which will get you into 5 attractions for the low, low price of $100-and -something. If you do 3 things you’ve recouped your money. But why stop at 3 when you can do all 5, right? So what if all 5 attractions are spread out across town?

Now, a rational person would say you cannot do 3 museums and a skyscraper in one day. But a rational person has never met Laura Thielmeier Roy.

After a quick hotel breakfast (which would have to see us through to dinner because lunch is not on the agenda) we began the long trek to the Field Museum. In the rain. We have a half-dozen umbrellas at home, I don’t believe we’ve paid for any of them, but none of them were in Chicago. So we stopped and bought an umbrella at the CVS a few doors down and began the long trek to the Field Museum.

We were originally going back to see Sue, but sadly received word that she was being moved. The good news was she was being moved to make way for Maximo the Titanosaur — the largest dinosaur ever to walk the earth (until they find a newer, bigger one).

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Had a nice visit with Max. Watched a movie about Sue. Walked through the dinosaur exhibit and found Sue hanging out in her new, unfinished, digs. Walked through the Mummy exhibit. Tried to take a selfie with Max, but it was a disaster.

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A short walk across the street to the Shedd Aquarium. We had been there before, and it doesn’t have dinosaurs, so we didn’t stay too long. The octopus was cool and we enjoyed watching the Beluga whales. I’ve been in better aquariums, to be honest.

Next was the long trek to the Chicago Art Institute. You gets to see dinosaurs, you gots to see Renoir. There was a long line of people waiting to get in. Do these people know this is an art museum? With our wonderful CityPass we did not have to wait in line like the tourists.

My oh my, but that building was overflowing with art. Rooms full of Monets and Van Goghs and all your other Impressionist favorites. In other words: Laurie Heaven. We eventually made our way to the modern art wing where they had several Warhols for L to admire as well.

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I had begun to despair of their being anything of interest at the Chicago Art Institute when I found the weaponry and armor exhibit. So it wasn’t a total waste of most of the afternoon.

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By roughly 4 p.m. we had had all the culture we could stand, so we began the long trek back to the hotel. I was given a roughly hour reprieve before we would head out for dinner and our final stop of the day — Willis Tower. This time we got directions.

I don’t remember the name of the place where we agreed to eat but it was right next door to a comic book shop! I swear to God I  did not plan that. Comic book shops were not on the agenda, but hey, if there’s one right next door to your restaurant you have to stop in, right?

During dinner we watched the Belmont Stakes which was a fun thing to do in a pub atmosphere. I started to feel a bit woozy and retired to the restroom. Upon my return Laurie noticed I was all pale and that I had indeed walked myself to near death. She wanted to go back to the hotel but there was no turning back now. I would see this through to the Willis Tower even if it killed me. Surprisingly, I got my second wind or something after we left the restaurant and I made the hike with minimal complaining (minimal for me).

There was an insane line to get up into the tower. Which we avoided with our pass. (Hint: Get that CityPass — it doesn’t just save you money, it saves you hours). We got up to the top and it was pretty much like the Hancock Building. There’s some kind of setup at Willis where you can stand out and it looks like your suspended in air but the line to do so was outrageous so we punted that and eventually made our way back to the hotel.

Meanwhile… Andrew, Cindy and Chuck are playing Uno, shopping on Main Street, eating chicken strips, and not shaving.

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Sadly, his rugged, unshaved look did not survive long once Laurie got home.

Day 3

The original plan was for us to go for a walk to the Navy Pier before our flight at noon, but that was not destined to be. Gotta save something for next time. In, say, another three decades.

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– 30 –

A RRoy Report Special Report: Ronnie and Laurie’s Chicago Adventure

Part 1: Before You Go

A couple of months back Laurie went to Chicago for a meeting. She came back all excited about the city and determined that we should go there soon and play tourist.

We had been to Chicago once before. Once. It was many years ago when Andrew was young and autism was something we were still getting used to. We went to see Sue the T-Rex at the Field Museum and that went well. In fact, the trip went well for the most part until it didn’t. We never returned.

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But that was many years ago and many travels since. Still, vacationing with autism is never really vacationing — or rather, it’s never really relaxing. You are constantly on your guard for when things are going to go bad. Most of the time things never go bad, but you don’t know that in advance, and I am The Worrier King, so I’m always expecting the worst. This can be a real drain on your fun.

So, I start thinking that wouldn’t it be nice to go on a long weekend trip without autism. What would that be like? I can’t remember. Oh sure, like all young parents in the beginning we had no trouble dropping the boy off with Nana when we wanted to travel. But unlike other parents, our child never got old enough to take care of himself while Nana eventually reached the point where she couldn’t watch him anymore. So we haven’t vacationed without autism in years.

Plus, Chicago is expensive. Nothing is free and nothing is cheap. Why spend an extra $$$ for museum admission for someone who doesn’t care? What would it be like to go to a restaurant and not worry about if they serve chicken strips?

I decided we were going to make this trip without Andrew. But how? Can’t leave him at a kennel for 3 days. Can’t ask the neighbors to come over twice a day and feed him. No, this would require finding someone willing to come to the house and stay for a few days with no strings attached.

Enter Sister2.

It wasn’t always easy living with Sister2. Sister1 was caring, looked after baby brother, bought him his first X-Man comic. Sister2 and I fought over everything — control of the TV (when Dad wasn’t around), who got the most Coke (we had to share a bottle in those days), we fought over e v e r y t h i n g.

But then Cindy went off to college and came back a changed person. She was all about family. There is nothing she will not do for her family. There is not a niece or nephew she will not spoil rotten.

She was the perfect patsy. I mean, the perfect person to come spend quality time with Andrew.

I dropped her an email and she agreed immediately and enthusiastically. I don’t know that she consulted first with husband Chuck, but it probably wouldn’t have mattered. He would be a good sport about it, as is the way with the men in our family.

Laurie was shocked and upset that I would ask such a thing of my sister, but she got over it pretty quick and was soon making all kinds of plans for our big weekend.

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Coming Up: Be careful what you wish for

At The Movies: Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

Oh, you “Jurassic Park/World” movies. So many stupid, stupid moments. So many cardboard characters. So many action sequences that go far beyond the limits of reason or patience. So many repeated bits. So many plot holes.

But I love them dinosaurs SO MUCH.

“Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” is the sixth film in the franchise, and the second since the successful reboot of the series back in 2015. The action quota is high, the logic quota is low, the leads are still charismatic, the dinosaurs are plentiful but don’t get enough screen time.

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A volcanic eruption is about to destroy the Central American island of Isla Nublar, home of the former Jurassic World theme park and the cloned dinosaurs that were its major attraction. When the island goes up in flames it will mean the second extinction for dinos.

Trying to head that off is Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard), former theme park manager who is now a dinosaur rights activist. When the U.S. government fails to intervene (although I’m not sure why the U.S. government would have any say in what goes down at a private island in Central America), Dearing is contacted by Benjamin Lockwood (James Cromwell).

Lockwood is the former partner of John Hammond, creator of the original Jurassic Park. Funny how we’ve never heard of this person before now, but he wants to rescue whatever dinosaurs he can and take them to his own private island. To do so, he requires the assistance of Claire and her former boyfriend/co-star from the previous film — dinosaur wrangler Owen Grady (Chris Pratt).

But Lockwood’s business manager, Eli Mills (Rafe Spall), has other plans for the prehistoric creatures.

“Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” delivers everything you’ve come to expect from the franchise:

  • People making really, really dumb decisions (I think I’ll crawl in bed instead of running away from the dinosaur; I’m going to open this cage with the killer carnivore and try to extract one of his teeth — I’m sure he won’t wake up). I could go on…
  • Our heroes being saved at the last minute from a dinosaur by a bigger dinosaur (or a smaller but more aggressive raptor)
  • Genetically modified super-dinosaurs. Because real dinosaurs aren’t cool enough
  • Cartoonish bad guys eaten by dinosaurs. Good guys surviving so they can cash another check for “Jurassic World 3.”

If you’re good with that, you’ll be good with this.