Movie Review – Velvet Buzz Saw

 

I recently kicked DirecTV to the curb and embarked on the streaming lifestyle. After all, if I’m going to pay nearly $200 a month on unlimited bandwidth and an internet connection that supposedly rivals NASA, I might as well get something out of it besides me working my butt off writing books. So, enter in Hulu, NetFlex, & Sling TV.

My love affair began with binge-watching LOST on Hulu, but quickly spiraled out of control into watching NetFlex original series and movies. I’ll be honest – I tried watching several NF original movies, but just couldn’t get into them for a variety of reasons: bad acting, bad plot line, flat characters – the usual.

However, Velvet Buzz Saw was one of those movies that, despite not being as riveting as The Haunting of Hill House, it wasn’t so bad that I had to stop watching it, like I did with The Rain. It was fairly interesting, had just enough action and suspense to keep me watching. It wasn’t exactly scary, more of a thriller than anything.

So here’s my take on it. The first thing it had going for it was the lead being played by Jake Gyllenhaal. I’ve seen this guy act in a lot of movies, and he seems to be pretty adaptable. Because of this, I was willing to give the movie a try. As usual, Jake did not disappoint. Out of all the characters I’ve seen him play, this one was probably about as “on the fringe” as his Brokeback Mountain persona. He plays the bi-sexual art critic Morph, a character that somehow managed to seem both high-strung and low-key at the same time.

Again, while the plot line was not riveting, it did have potential. I feel like maybe the movie failed to capitalize on what it had going for it. The death scenes could have most certainly been gorier. The beginning seemed to prattle on, almost losing me in the first twenty or so minutes. There seemed to be far too much dialog about art and corporate espionage and yet failing to really drive the entire thing home. The acting wasn’t necessarily bad as it was a bit more over-the-top. It really felt like the director was going out of his way to create a film that skirted all the major genres – horror, action, drama, thriller – in an attempt to be as blasé as possible.

As I said, it wasn’t so bad that I had to stop watching it, but it certainly could have been better. I feel if the director had actually chosen a genre and a rating and followed through, it would have been much better. But alas, all we ended up with was a mediocre film which made art seem both boring and dangerous.

I’d give Velvet Buzz Saw a solid 3 stars out of 5.

Sometimes a Rainbow is Better than a Pot of Gold

 

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I wanted to share something positive with my readers & fellow authors today, something which has touched me in such a profound way as a writer I think it bears repeating. As I am quickly learning, Pete has become a major inspiration in my life since reading his new book, THE MOMENTS THAT MAKE US. This book has spoken to me on so many different levels, but none so much as Chapter Fourteen.

 

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There is no way I can possibly do this book, Pete, or the message behind the book justice, but if you will indulge me, I’d like to share a few passages from Pete’s book which has spoken the loudest to me. I hate to butcher the book and the message like this, but to understand the point of my post, I feel I must post a few excerpt paragraphs, even though I think the message does not come out as clear as it does when reading the entire chapter, or book, for that matter. I would like to point out this is not the entirety of the paragraphs, just small excerpts that have made the most impact on me.

 

“…..The music of the era was powerful. I was sold on the energy and the sound. But Poison was different. While they made the trek to Hollywood to make it, they weren’t from the West Coast or some big city. Those guys were from a small town in Pennsylvania – just one state away from Virginia. Maybe that’s why I could relate…..

Cry Tough” had struck such a nerve with me that I begged Todd to let me take the tape home that night. He agreed, and I played that tape over and over again. Suddenly, the second verse came screaming out at me.

Life ain’t no easy ride,
At least that’s what I’m told.
But sometimes a rainbow baby
Is better than a pot of gold.*

 And there it was. The single most defining lyric of my life, to this very day….

“Cry Tough” gave me validation to be poor, to struggle, to not make it. It gave me permission to chase my dreams at all cost…..”

 

I struggle on a daily basis with being a writer. Mostly, it’s guilt, a feeling of inadequateness with a good, strong dash of jealousy added into the mix. I’ve got to the point where I avoid FB like the plague because it stresses me out to see all the posts by fellow authors of new releases coming out, the author events, the launch parties, etc.

No matter what I’m doing, I always feel guilty when I’m not writing. Never mind I have a full time job, a husband, kids, and a house to tend to. I know I have 900 different things that require my attention any day of the week, I know my regular job requires long hours and lots of stress that I had not bargained for, but I still feel guilty when I’m not writing.

I know there is no way for me to push out a new novel every month or two, and if I did manage it, it would be utter crap and I wouldn’t be able to bring myself to put my name on it because I’m such a bleeding heart artist I refuse to put out anything I’m not 100% sure is the absolute best work -I- can produce.

Mentally I KNOW these things, know I’m doing good to get a single book out each year, but I still can’t help but feel I should be doing more. I’m probably harder on myself than anyone else could ever be, know there is really no reason for me to feel guilty about the lack of time I have to write when I have so many other things I can’t put off which require my immediate attention, but yet here I sit, reminding myself I have 2 unfinished novels I need to be writing even though I have 2 closets that need to be cleaned out before school starts in a few days. Even though I know in the back of my mind that my department would probably crash and burn if I were ever to resign from my position, I still can’t help but look at my complete lack of success at both my regular job and my writing career and feel like I am a complete failure.

What, exactly, have I accomplished in the last twenty-two years of my life?

A few weeks ago I bought Pete’s book and read it during my lunch hours while at work. I’ve laughed, I’ve been brought to tears, I even saw red and wanted to psycho-momma on a certain unnamed teacher. But Chapter 14, aptly titled “Sometimes a Rainbow is Better than a Pot of Gold,” was the wake-up call I truly needed as a writer.

I know most of us writers push ourselves too hard. We try to keep up with everyone else, strive to make a name for ourselves and are out there doing all this on our own. We have chosen to go indie despite the massive amount of time involved, the over-saturation of the market, and the all-consuming work which never seems to end. We are so busy trying to obtain some far-off goal where we can finally say “I made it as a writer!” we forget —sometimes a rainbow is better than a pot of gold.—

I want everyone to sit and really think about that for a second. For me, the pot of gold would be a massive contract with a large advancement where I could quit my job and write full time and become a major bestseller, or better yet, the ultimate goal would be a multi-million dollar movie deal. But I also know getting that type of deal would come with deadlines, huge responsibilities, and more pressure than what I am currently under.

Right now, I AM living in my rainbow. I have a great job, granted some days I loathe it and want to smack half the company, and I am certainly underpaid for the amount of work and total crap I have to deal with, but all-in-all, I can’t complain. When I have fellow coworkers and managers tell me quietly how much my VP thinks of everything I accomplish at my job, I know I am needed, even if I’m not really appreciated. It’s not exactly glamorous but I’m good at it, and I’m also lucky to have it.

I often say I have the best of both worlds. I have a job which keeps a roof over our heads, with time spent away NOT thinking about books, and I also have this wonderful passion for creating stories which I am able to share with people thanks to Amazon and social media. But I think the simple fact sometimes a rainbow is better than a pot of gold gets lost on all of us. We are so busy chasing our dreams we forget to stop and appreciate what we have already accomplished. I’m not saying I wouldn’t jump at the chance to write full time, or work on a movie project, or any number of other projects, but I also am very proud of the seven books I’ve managed to publish in the past four years. It’s not exactly the dream career I wanted for myself, but it certainly is no small feat.

I guess what I’m trying to say is, take the time to appreciate the small things you have accomplished. Live inside your rainbow and be happy to have it. Don’t ever stop chasing your dreams, but don’t forget to savor the ride. I never set out to be Anne Rice, and I think it’s time I stopped comparing my success to the success of others.

I have always looked to Bret as my mentor, for giving me the drive to keep writing and chasing my dreams no matter what life has thrown at me. In the past year, I have become an avid Black Veil Brides fan who both admires the hard work and dedication they have to their music and their fans, as well as strive to remember they didn’t just have all of their good fortune handed to them. They worked hard to get it, and so I must too.

Today, I came across another man who has also worked hard to earn what he has accomplished, and I am happy to add Pete Evick to my short list of mentors. Today, I am not just striving to keep chasing my dreams like Bret, but I am also striving to be more like Pete, and learn to be happy and appreciative of the rainbow I have, because right now my rainbow IS better than a pot of gold.

So thank you, Pete, for being a totally awesome guy, and for sharing your words of wisdom and self-discovery with your fans. I can’t say enough about how wonderful and inspiring this book has been to me. And if I’ve went so far off base on the message your words were trying to convey, please forgive me!

 

 

*Cry Tough – words and music by Bret Michaels, Bobby Dall, Bruce Johannesson, and Rikki Rockett. All copyrights to their original creators where applicable.

Book Review: THE MOMENTS THAT MAKE US by Pete Evick

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BLURB:

The world we live in is fast paced, cutthroat, and incredibly confusing. We are often forced to make choices we truly aren’t sure about, or weren’t ready to make. We spend our time saying “What if?” or “I shouldn’t have.” We often look out instead of in as we try to find the root of what makes us tick, placing blame on everyone and everything other than ourselves along the way.

AUTHOR BIO:

Pete Evick, professional musician, award-winning producer, songwriter, and father, shares his personal stories about the unique moments in his life, in hopes that they will convince you, the readers, to dig a little deeper into your own moments and evoke the mental archaeologist lying dormant in all of us.

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Given the type of literature that is awash on Amazon and being produced by even trade publishers these past few years, THE MOMENTS THAT MAKE US was both a pleasant surprise and a breath of fresh air in the literary world.

Before I get into this review, I must confess I rarely read these days, and certainly not non-fiction. I’ve been following Pete’s career off and on ever since he joined Bret Michaels Band. With that said, I purchased his book because I support both him and his career, regardless of which direction that career goes. Had I never read it, I would have at least contributed to a guitar legend’s newest endeavor, and so I was giving back in some small way to the artistic community.

It wasn’t until after I placed the order for a paperback copy that I actually read the blurb and several of the reviews. One of my favorite reviews by A. Brantley starts off thusly:

“First of all, I love that this isn’t your typical rock star book. It’s not all, “Hey, look at me and all the cool stuff I did!” It’s more, “Hey, I did some pretty messed up things, but this is what I learned and I’m not perfect.” The Moments That Make Us is such a good read that you forget you’re reading an awesome rock star’s book and focus on the true meat of the story…..”

With just the blurb and this one review, I was eager to read this story. Now, I can’t imagine my life without having read this amazing journey of self-discover by not only a rock legend, but a really funny, down-to-earth, and all around amazing guy.

The first thing which struck me about this book is Pete’s writing style. It’s personal, narrated as if Pete is sitting down talking to you directly, recounting stories and lessons throughout his life. I was moved to tears on more than one occasion, discovered myself giggling at other times, felt my motherly instincts kick in for a young Pete who was wronged in my eyes so many times.

I oftentimes nodded my head in agreement with Pete’s words, his theories, with the lessons he had learned over the course of so many years. At one time while I was reading, blinking through tears, I tweeted to Pete something along the lines of “@peteevick It’s like we were separated at birth!”

I have never felt so close to another person as I did while reading this book. Growing up, isolated with my own demons to bear, I was never really close to anyone. Reading about this uber famous guitar legend who had some of the same insecurities as me growing up, even some of the same insecurities even now, is a much-needed reminder that, underneath everything, we are all still human. I can’t help but feel if Pete and I had grown up together, we may have become fast friends. Needless to say, I have not only learned a lot about Pete, but also a lot about myself, and also found within his words much needed inspiration in not only my personal life, but in my professional life as well.

All in all, I simply cannot say enough good things about this book. If you are looking for something more down to earth, a book which will not only lead you to your own self-discovery, but will also give incredible insight into the mind of a rock legend who considers himself to be just another average Joe, a book written which you can actually relate to and will make you feel better about yourself and the world in which you live in, a book which will make you appreciate the small things in life, then do yourself a favor and pick up Pete Evick’s THE MOMENTS THAT MAKE US. If nothing else, you will find your own little slice of the rainbow, and find it all the more sweeter than you ever imagined.