Robert Wm. Gomez's

Flower Drum Song (6/10)

A musical with no memorable musical numbers. There are a couple of nice dreamy dance moments. I think the key to a movie musical is the complete disregard for realism. This is why The Wiggles Movie is the greatest musical movie since Fiddler on the Roof. The problem with this movie is that the story and characters never go anywhere. There is no motivation behind why the male lead falls for the female lead other than she is the closest female. It was surprisingly nice to see Asian characters played by Asians in 1961.

The Man Who Would Be King (8/10)

I've never used this word ever in my life, but the best description of this Sean Connery/Michael Caine adventure movie would be rollicking. Nowadays I suppose it would also be called problematic from it's depiction of foreign cultures and the ease by which they accept Westerner's bullets in the belly.

Esther and the King (5/10)

Epic Biblical story which was partially directed by Mario Bava. Joan Collins is a bride to be who is stolen from the altar then falls in love with her captor, the king of Persia. It's mostly a love story and the action is few and far between.

A Simple Plan (7/10)

Sam Raimi directed this serviceable bit of 90s noir in which a trio of Minnesota lads discover a gym bag full of cash and make a plan to wait for the heat to die down before splitting it up. Of course they are idiots and do everything they possibly can to screw things up. These sorts of stories are so frustrating to me. This is basically every Walking Dead plot line (and why I stopped watching that show).

Far Cry 4 on PC (8/10)

Far Cry Kill Kill Kill!

All these Ubisoft open-world games (Assassins  CreedWatch Dogs, etc.) follow the same basic formula. Main story which you can take your time completing, lots of side activities and missions, and collectible stuff that gets you nothing in the end. Each is enjoyable up to a point, but then they wear out their welcome and become tedium. But despite the flaws, I genuinely enjoy the Far Cry games. I am a sucker for the FPS/stealth mix in which you can approach any conflict from a large number of paths. Each outpost I conquer without tripping the alarms feels like a real achievement.

Swap Clubs by William and Jarrye Breedlove (8/10)

Published in 1964, this book presents itself as a scientific analysis of swinger culture. The opening chapters are filled with various statistics about the numbers of couples who participate in swap clubs, their social class, education levels, etc. Of course none of this data is cited so who knows if any of it is legitimate. Surely the, ahem, Breedloves are thoroughly committed to scientific rigor?

Jotun on PC (3/10)

Jotun is all about drawings

The only thing this game has going for it is its art direction. There's some wonderful hand-drawn characters and evocative music. However, like a Doublefine game, this one is all style and no substance. The highlight is supposed to be the various boss battles in which you spend a ton of time chopping at these giant character's heels. Every swing of your axe removes about 1% of the enemy's health. It's just an exercise in tedium. The controls are sluggish and un-responsive . It's like fighting in a bowl of molasses.

Mysteries of the Unknown: Ancient Wisdom and Secret Sects by Time-Life Books (8/10)

The chapters on Free Masonry and The Golden Dawn were pretty informative. I think my big takeaway about these sects was not so much that they are dark subcultures that secretly control the world, but rather, that well-to-do people will come up some really goofy extracurricular activities just to feel out of the ordinary (the 19th century equivalent of a polar plunge or costumed 4K fun-run). Oh, and Aleister Crowley was a big, pervy jerk.

The Naked Sun by Isaac Asimov (5/10)

A murder mystery on a sparsely populated planet where each person lives isolated from everyone else and all the work is done by robots. Since the robots must follow the first law and nobody can stand proximity to other humans, who committed the murder? Turns out, the answer isn't all that interesting and neither was this book.