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Ever wonder what it's like to be in that moment between struggling artist and published author? Read on and find out.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Writing Prod - Celebration

            I’m getting closer to the end of my list of writing prompts and notice two of them involve holidays in one form or another. And since I think the day your kids go back to school should be an official adult holiday (except for the teachers) I’m going to present what I call . . . Celebration.
            The idea for this prompt is to create an unusual holiday; which might be harder than it seems if you keep track of all the holidays that have been invented already. This can be based on something you are already passionate about, like camping, talking on the cell phone, or collecting cereal box tops. The idea for a holiday can be from something you randomly see while traveling down the street like gas stations, people waiting at the bus stop, or red traffic lights. Maybe you have an idea for an unusual holiday already. If all of those methods of creating a holiday fail, you can take a random noun or verb and turn it into a major event.
            Here are my two sample stories based on made-up holidays.

            Back-To-School Pool

            After a long summer of swimming, biking, and fighting with her younger brother, Brenda is ready to head back to school. That is, until she notices the adults acting strangely. They seem a little too happy about getting the kids out of the house and rounded up in one place.
            With the help of her best friend and her annoying little brother they uncover the conspiracy of all conspiracies – a betting pool where the parents place wagers on how the children will perform during the upcoming year and throw a party for the event.

            Ok, that was just for fun. The next one is meant to be a serious effort at putting together a viable story from the prompt.

            Swim Day
            No one considered what would happen to the inmates of Harbor Island Correctional Facility if the world stopped functioning as it always had. Now, ten years after the cataclysm, the survivors are desperate to find a way off the island. The first day of every month is Swim Day. The lucky winner of the Swim Day lottery gets a day to live as a cell block celebrity and then is cast into the waters and forced to attempt a trip to the mainland. If any have made the trip they haven’t come back to help the others.
            Stitch is drawn to make the swim. He’d been counting down until the day of his execution when everything went bad. Dying during the swim doesn’t bother him, but leaving behind the only person who ever treated him humanely does. He must do more than just survive the watery ordeal, he has to find a way to return and save his brother, the prison guard.

Friday, July 27, 2012


            Time for another writing prompt over at The World of My Imagination. It used the picture below and the following five words: Devotion, Counterfeit, Miss, Smear, Heckle. Hope you enjoy what I came up with.



            It didn’t look like a place of refuge with similar brown houses lining the street, connected by yellowish lawns, under a washed-out sky. I stopped for a moment to drink deeply of the scene before me. Compared to the superficial dreams, faux emotions, and counterfeit lives I had been involved with over the last year what lay before me looked beautiful.
            Success is over-rated. Or at least what the world defines as success. Before I had left home I heckled my father for his silly devotion to family and principle. Obviously, I thought, he just wasn’t in touch with the real world. He barely had a high-school education and settled down with the girl that lived next door. What did he know about the big, bright world that beckoned to those talented enough to make their mark on it?
            Oh, I made it alright! Straight to the top of the charts. Everyone loved me. My fans loved my image. My friends loved my money. How I miss having someone love me for myself.
            If it hadn’t been for a tiff with one of my contemporaries I’d still be there. I’d still be going through the motions, playing to the crowd that always surrounded me, pretending I was happy. Instead, just a few words in the right ear were all it took to smear my name and end my career.
            At first, I was furious. Then, I was desperate. Finally, I accepted the situation. I even called my ex-associate and told him it was alright; that I was happy it happened.
            He laughed.
            A short walk down the street and I’m standing in front of my parent’s home. It feels like my home, but I’m not sure what the folks will say when they see me coming back, not even a suitcase in my hands, with nothing to show for my great adventure except failure.
            I knock on the door.
            My father opens it, his eyes wrinkle as a smile spreads across his face. “I hoped that you were coming home.”

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Movie Review - Batman: The Dark Knight Rises

Batman: The Dark Knight Rises  $$$$ 1/2 


164 Minutes
Starring: Christian Bale, Anne Hathaway, Tom Hardy, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
Director: Christopher Nolan.

            A good understanding of the rules about story crafting can be a detriment to enjoying your Movie-going experience. While my wife laughs, cries, and flinches at all the appropriate spots I’m groaning at the orphaned plot fragments, weak character development, and gaping holes in the story.
            On the other hand, there is an exquisite beauty to a play, movie, or novel that weaves all of the complex elements of story-telling into a masterpiece that feeds our minds as well as our hearts. This is the case with The Dark Knight Rises.
            Originally, I didn’t plan to see this movie because I thought it would be too dark for my tastes. How wrong I was. While the overall look of the film is dark, I feel that this is one of those rare circumstances where it works to bring out the right atmosphere for the story that is being told. And it does this without being morbid or depressing.

            The story takes place eight years after the death of Harvey Dent. Batman (Christian Bale) has taken the fall for the crimes that Dent’s alter ego – Two Face. He did this so that the people of Gotham could rally around the anti-crime plan that Dent supposedly put together.
            Bruce Wayne has fared no better during this time, he is a man broken both physically and spiritually. But when a cat burglar (Anne Hathaway) steals a string of pearls from his home, it snaps the lethargic hero out of his funk. And none too soon, as he discovers. Gotham is once again under attack. This time it is from a villain named Bane (Tom Hardy).
            The rest of movie I leave for you to explore on your own.

            I happened to catch Batman on one of the biggest screens in Arizona. It sure didn’t hurt the experience any by doing so; however, I think that this movie does not require a big screen or state-of-the-art sound system to enjoy the outstanding story that it offers. That being said, seeing it big and dark and with all the accompanying mood music really made the setting come alive. I could feel the dread the citizens of Gotham were feeling as their city came under siege.
            There were great performances all around. This version of Bane has become one of my top five villains of all time. Veteran actor Michael Caine shows us why he’s probably made more movies than anyone in Hollywood. Morgan Freeman is charismatic as ever. And young Joseph Gordon-Levitt steals a good portion of limelight in this film with an extremely solid performance that has convinced me to expect good things from him in the future.
            Of course, the real star of this film is the writing and directing which make this one of the best films I’ve seen in long time. In saying that I know that I gave high praise, and justly so, to Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows and The Avengers. Nothing has changed my enthusiastic endorsement of those two films, but this final chapter of the Batman trilogy demonstrates a mastery over character arcs and interwoven plots that places it even higher in my esteem. I have to go back and watch it again so I can allow more of the story’s details soak into my brain.
            I give this film my highest rating. Just like my rating indicates, pay full price to see this movie right away because it’s worth it. Then plan to go back and see it a second time.

            Randy’s Rating System

$$$$   = Full Price    See this movie right away and pay full price, it’s worth it.
$$$     = Matinee      Catch this as a matinee or other discounted showing.
$$        = Discount     Wait until this movie reaches a discount theater near you.
$          = Rental         Wait until this movie reaches your local video rental outlet.
0          = No Sale       Don’t see this movie at any price.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Writing Prod: Ph-ph-phrases

            While this may be about the simplest writing prompt in concept it is definitely one that is tricky in its execution. I call it Ph-ph-phrases (sung to the song Changes by David Bowie) and all you do is take an old saying and find a way to turn that into a story, or poem, or pitch. That’s it. As you can tell by the amount of space I needed to explain it there isn’t much to it.

            I’m going use two saying this week for my examples and see if I can’t come up with reasonable pitches for both of them.   

1. One in the hand is worth two in the bush.

            Trade-Day Hunt (Young Reader Book)

Trina loved the market on Trade-day. Today was no exception. Molly Burton had on her trade table the perfect doll. The only problem was that Trina didn’t have enough money. Calling upon the age-old tradition of barter, Trina agrees to locate two hard to find collectibles in trade for the doll. Very quickly, she finds out that the rest of the traders have deals of their own they need help with and soon she is in over her head with tricky requests. All of this for a doll – the perfect doll.

2. Don’t buy other people’s problems.

            Space Junk

 Roy Spunkmeyer wanted to be a space merchant since he was old enough to observe the stars in the sky. When an old friend of the family announces that he is ready to retire Roy jumps at the chance to buy the “slightly used” ship that Bill had been using over the last sixty years. Only after Roy spends the last of his savings, exhausted all sources of credit available to him, and convinced his parents to take out a mortgage on their home does he find out he has not only bought Bill’s business, but all of the problems that go with it. How will he, and the crusty old alien that comes with the ship, solve a cargo full of problems that were forty years in the making and do it in less than a month?

Friday, July 20, 2012


            I have moved away from the This Week In The Blogverse feature and will probably be focusing more on showing everyone what I can do as a writer. Hopefully, that will be a good thing and won’t drive away the people that follow this blog.
            On Wednesday, The World of My Imagination put up a writing prompt. In 500 words we were supposed to come up with a poem or a story that used the picture below and the words: Nurse, Cockroach, Brooch, Pride, and Noise. This is what wrote:

            Main street is normally a place of refuge from my own dark thoughts. I can focus on the noise of cars and people as they go about their every day business. These are the sounds of life in the city.  And Main is the busiest, loudest, most vibrant street here.
            But today Main showed me a different face. Mean. Cruel. Spiteful. Maybe just so I’d remember not to take it for granted whenever I walked down its sidewalks.
            Outside Struthers Treasure Emporium sat a used theater organ. Not just any old organ, but the one they put into the Bell Flower Hall when it was built. That was before cockroaches infested it and the locals drunks elected it as the ideal place to sleep it off.
            That was also back when I was an actor. Or at least thought I was. What a grand time that was; one acting gig after another, money, accolades, and the attention of women. In particular, a pretty nurse that had a laugh that sang to my soul like the merry clinks of a wind chime.
            I reached into my breast pocket and pulled out a brooch. Other than my memories, it was all that I had from that perfect time. As sharp and vivid as if it were happening right now, I remember the night I gave her the token of my love.
            They say that “pride cometh before the fall.” What they don’t tell you is that it stays with you.
            Looking at the organ made me think that the brooch belonged here with it. Besides, I could probably pawn it to Struthers for enough to buy one last lunch at the corner cafĂ©.


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Hookers and Hangers - Part II

            This is the second part of the Hookers and Hangers bloghop. On Monday, I posted the first line from ten chapters of Exit Stage Left. Today, I am posting the last sentence from each of those chapters.
            Here they are:

1. “Looks like we have a case to solve.”

2. Everything tilted as the ground rushed at me.

3. “Vincent, did you finally decide that turnabout was fair play?”
4. You make things right with me or I’ll take my pound of flesh.

5. “We need to meet the rest of the cast of Space Trip and find out who murdered their captain.”

6. “Which one do you think will lead us to the killer?” Dave asked.

7. “A stakeout,” Dave said with a big smile. “Awesome.”

8. Not the best view of the historic landmark, but if Felix was telling the truth it would be the best place to snag an interview with Ken Noyota.

9. “If whatever you might be looking for exists, my bet is you’ll find it there.”

10. “This is the lost episode.”

            In addition to the Hookers and Hangers I will be posting some flash fiction as soon as I take a look at the writing prompt over at Chasing Revery and write it.

            Leigh Covington is participating in a blog hop. This hop has the code to add a bloghop linky to your blog and I decided to give it a try. If you get the chance check out some of the other participating blogs.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Hookers and Hangers

            The ladies over at Falling 4 Fiction are conducting the Hookers and Hangers bloghop.  It sounded like fun so I have decided to participate. In short, those of us involved in the bloghop are to post the first lines from each of the chapters from our book.
            Initially, I thought I would use the opening lines from my first novel, Hellathon. Then I copied over the lines from the first ten chapters and read them, realizing that beyond the awesome opener in chapter one the rest fell flat and didn’t do what they needed to in order to pull in my readers.
            So, change of plan, here are the first ten opening lines from my murder-comedy, Exit Stage Left.

1. “I got us a job.”

2. A car makes a statement about its owner.
3. I opened my eyes.

4. “Dave, did you happen to talk to Vincent before you signed us up for this case?”
5. When people get into trouble they hire lawyers.

6. Private investigators in television and movies have a lot of advantages over real ones.

7. Where do you start an investigation when the only obvious suspect is an innocent man?

8. Stakeouts are typically long and tedious

9. A second attempt to enter the theater brought us face to face with a stagehand the size of a small mountain Felix had sent to guard the front door.

10. Even with an address, Denny’s secret apartment proved difficult to find.

             By the way, if you were interested in reading the opening line from chapter one of Hellathon, here it is”

1. Banan had already killed six-hundred and sixty-three men in order to enter the race . . . some of them more than once.

Writing Prod - Heroic Rebirth

            Yahoooooo! It’s Monday.
            Alright, for many of you that probably means back to work and looking at another long week. And for all of you in that boat – I feel for you. However, to me Monday is my most fun blogging day because this is when I do the Writing Prod.
            This is the fourteenth week for this feature. When I started it, I don’t know that I expected to come up with this many methods of generating unique story plots. And really, that is my main goal for these prods; to help people to come up with ideas that will make great novels.
            Today’s prod is Heroic Rebirth. With this prompt you choose someone that you greatly admire (historic figures work best) and place them into a fantastic setting. Then figure out how they would react. Use the traits that you admire in this person to solve the story problem that they have been plopped into.
            This prompt is very similar to one I introduced a couple of weeks back – Where Fantasy and Reality Collide. That earlier method is intended to come up with quirky stories that play off the “duck out of water” element that comes about when you mix the real with the made-up. As opposed to the more serious stories you are likely to create using this prompt.
            You’re basically creating a fictional story that runs along the lines of a real one. You can do this to emphasize a strong characteristic of the person you’ve selected (like Abe Lincoln’s honesty) or to present a theme in a fresh setting.

            For my example I am going to use Mother Teresa as the template for one of the characters in my story and place her in a Science-Fiction setting.

            Aliens Have Mothers Too

Becky graduated at the top of her class in Xeno studies. With the recent advances in warping technology the whole universe is open for exploration. She can hardly believe it when the governing board for Interstellar Research and Exploration assigns her to the most vital interspecies negotiation the Earth has ever participated. Until she finds out that she will be playing translator and nurse-maid to a talkative old woman without even a rudimentary education in alien affairs. What can Mamma Maude, as she insists on being called, bring to the table of interstellar diplomacy that will convince the rest of the universe to accept Earth into their community of civilized sentients.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Scaredy Monster

            For today’s post, I am participating in Susanna Leonard Hill calls a “Short and Sweet.” This will provide an interesting writing juxtaposition from my horror offering earlier in the week. For this writing prompt she provided four lists of story components. We could either pick from the list or randomly generate a number and use the corresponding item. This is what I came up with:
            Character = Monster who is afraid of thunder.

            Setting = An Enchanted Forest.

            Time = During the first warm day of Spring.

            Situation = Someone’s pride has been injured.

            The story is supposed to be 50-100 words, but Susanna gave us permission to go a little long if we wanted to. Keeping a story to a hundred words is tough. I gave it a try, but came in at 189. Still, keeping it under two hundred is an accomplishment.


Scaredy Monster

            Petey jumped as the first growls of thunder rolled past him. Wasn’t it bad enough that he was lost in the stupid enchanted forest? Now the Spring rains were going to dump cold water on him just as the weather had gotten warm and comfortable.
            Thunder exploded in the sky above.
            Boy, he hated thunder. He hated it more than being teased. Now he wished he hadn’t run away from home.
            Petey sat down under a big oak tree and started to cry.
            Then he heard a different sort of thunder from the forest. The sound of falling trees . . . getting closer . . . and closer. Until the two trees in front of him were torn from the ground and tossed aside.
            There stood his mother. Big. Green. Warty. And so beautiful.
            “Petey,” she said in a voice louder than a freight train. “I was so worried about you. Who knows what you might have run into in this forest? Maybe even humans!”
            Petey ran to his mother and wrapped his arms around her. Compared to humans, putting up with his sister didn’t seem so bad.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Cult of the Fang

            I have come to a decision about my blog. For the last 15 months I have focused primarily on the art of writing and how to help my fellow authors in training get published. There are plenty of blogs that already do that and frankly they do it better.
            While I don’t plan to do away with all content related to the craft of writing, I think it is to my advantage to present more of samples of what I do to the public. In other words, this is the first step towards making this blog more about my writing. I hope that doesn’t sound ego-centric. At some point I hope to have one of my novels published and when that happens my blog will be drawing fans who have little, or no, interest in writing related subjects.
            As part of that effort, I plan to participate more often in the writing prompt they offer at The World of My Imagination and other opportunities that come up. I hope all of you will stick around and enjoy my stories.

(Warning: this first story is a little darker than what I normally write. I don't think it goes too far, but it isn't the light and fluffy stuff I normally post.)

Cult of the Fang

            The old church faced north. Except that it wasn’t old and it wasn’t a church. The building permit for this architectural throwback had been filed six years ago. And who ever heard of a church as big and grandiose as this building that didn’t display any religious symbols.
            No, this was a sanctuary for the Cult of the Fang. Heaven only knew why they faced all of their dens of death to the north.
            A gleam from the gutter caught Jim’s eye. He bent over and retrieved a necklace with a small silver cross. No doubt, cultists had stripped it from some poor soul before dragging them inside. Jim put the necklace into his pocket and then slunk towards the property.
            With the sun low in the sky it wouldn’t be long before the cult’s master arose. When that happened, no place within twenty miles would be safe for Jim. He had to strike now.
            Jim decided against climbing the wrought-iron fence surrounding the property and chose to pick the over-sized padlock that secured the gate. After checking the street to make sure it was clear he pulled out his lock-smithing tools and opened the lock in under a minute. The front door of the faux church proved no more of a challenge.
            Slipping inside, Jim listened for activity.
           As quiet as a tomb and smelled like one too.
           He snuck along the walls, using what furniture and trappings there were for cover. If the cultists had followed tradition when designing the sanctuary, the next room would be a huge, fancy hall and beyond that the private sanctum of their master.
          Jim slid the door back without making a sound. The reek of blood assaulted his senses. He paused for a moment, watching for movement inside, adjusting to the smell. The way appeared clear.
          He had made it halfway across the central room when doors opened all around him. Cultists stepped inside, cruel smiles on their faces.
          “Herald,” one of the cultists called out in an old, raspy voice. “You crossed the line. The Pact forbids you from directly interfering in our affairs. Now that you have, the clause that protected you is void. It seems that you have reached the end of your participation in our millennium old conflict.”
          “It is a stalemate that has continued for far too long,” said Jim.
          The cultists tightened the circle around the Herald and he feigned a break through their lines. As they wrestled him to the center of the room he retrieved the necklace and placed it in his mouth.
They positioned him over a huge mahogany bowl and spilled his blood.
Jim let the necklace fall out of his and into the bowl. With the last of his life energy he mumbled the prayer that would purify the blood and poison the cult’s master when he drank it.
            The rules of the pact hadn’t changed, just their understanding of it.
            To defeat evil – sacrifices had to be made.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Writing Prod: Advertising A-No-No

            Are you ready to set pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard, and let loose the dogs of inspiration? If you aren’t quite ready to start your serious writing you can get a nice creative warm-up with this weeks writing prompt. Or you can just check out what kind of craziness I come up with for my examples. No matter what your reason for stopping by (and I’m awfully glad you did) it’s time for this weeks prod.
            The prompt for this week is a little bit silly. I call it Advertising A-No-No. Isn’t that a cool sounding name for it? The idea is to take an advertisement on television, radio, or any of the print media and write a story about what would happen if the world was just as it is depicted in the commercial.
Now, if you want to generate a story that is a little more serious all you need to do is take the commercial and turn it into a sinister conspiracy. Imagine what nefarious goal, other than making money, a company might have for wanting you to purchase their product. If you want you can even try coming up with your own diabolical sales campaign and sell us a product that no one in their right mind would want to buy.

Example 1:  Based on the current series of M&M commercials that have the witty candies talking to regular people. This presents what would happen if the world was just as it is depicted in the candy commercial.

Food For Thought
Lenny doesn’t have any friends. Unless you count his roommate Stewart; the only person in the world with less social skills than Lenny. Worse yet, he has three weeks to finish his final thesis for psychology and has no idea what to write about. Then Stewart asks Lenny to test his latest chemistry experiment – a food additive that will make people smarter. When Lenny takes the serum he doesn’t get any smarter, but now his food talks to him. Candies, vegetables, even soft drinks want to give him advice on everything from the stock market to his love life. He questions his own sanity and urges Stewart to find a way to reverse the effect until he realizes that what the foods have to say makes sense.
Example 2: Based on your average beer commercial that depict a happy and carefree atmosphere as long as you drink their product, I have developed a little conspiracy to give you something to think about while you’re drinking.

            Happy Hour
Nate might be in a rut, but what a rut it is. Energy-drink his way through eight hours of complete tedium and then meet up with the gang at The Dive. As soon as that first beer hits the back of his throat everything changes. He laughs. The people around him laugh. They don’t even have to know what they’re laughing about. This is the life. And then Nate hits the jackpot; he wins a tour of the local brewery for him and five of his friends. He is half way through the tour when his alcohol-diminished sense of balance sends him tumbling down a set of stairs. Eventually, he wakes up and overhears a discussion that sends chills down his spine. The company is brewing up more than just some tasty suds, they have laced the beer with a chemical that overrides the human drive to excel thus making the country susceptible to an invasion.

Challenge: Writing about how a company turns an unwanted item into a marketable product is a story all of itself. I had thought of presenting an ad campaign for toxic waste as an example, but I think I will leave it as a challenge for all of you instead. Can you come up with a way to sell this? (I know a couple of companies that did.)


Friday, July 6, 2012

This Week In The Blogverse - The Warrior Muse

            For the final offering of This Week In The Blogverse we are going to hop on over and visit Shannon Lawrence at The Warrior Muse. This is another blog that I’ve been following for a long time and really find it useful.
            On Mondays, Shannon offers writing advice. This is sometimes her passing along what she has learned from J. T. Evans and titled Write Brain, which most recently discussed computer security. She also puts out tips of her own; as she did this week with a post about taking inspiration from life and included a writing prompt about it.
            Then she has Mostly Wordless Wednesdays which is sort of a double feature. First up is the mostly wordless portion of the post where she includes pictures of whatever theme / topic she picked for the week. These vary from week to week, but often involve personal elements of her life. Last week, she posted pictures of the fires around her home in Colorado Springs. My favorite was the pictures that she took at the Fine Arts Center.
            However, it is the second part of her Mostly Wordless Wednesdays that originally caught my attention. Shannon offers helpful links. Most often these links are to writing contests or other writing related events on the blog. As it just so happens, I am working on a short story today so I can submit to the Once Upon An Apocalypse contest I read about thanks to Shannon.
            For me, a blog that has assembled a host of writing opportunities into one place that I can check out on a regular basis is marvelously useful. I wish I knew more about more blogs that did this.
            You may notice that the link to her blog takes you to a post on writing post-apocalypse stories. Yeah, I did that because that’s my favorite genre and really enjoyed the post. But it’s all good.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Movie Review: Brave

Brave  $$$ 1/2

100 Minutes
Starring: Kelly MacDonald, Emma Thompson, and Billy Connolly.
Director: Mark Andrews, Brenda Chapman, and Steve Purcell.

            As usual, Pixar does a wonderful job with this film. Before I get into that I want to take a moment to comment about the short feature they included with it. I love that Pixar has brought back this form of micro entertainment to the theater. Not only is Luna a fun featurette, but it’s a nod to masterful storytelling. It demonstrates that conflict (which is at the heart of any true story) can be fun and light and that character can be developed without using a single understandable line of dialogue. For all of my fellow authors, take a moment to admire the craft that goes into creative and compact story.

            Moving on to the main event, we are introduced to Princess Merida (Kelly MacDonald). She is a free spirit who wants to choose her own destiny. Unfortunately she is the princess and expected to select a suitor from one of the three clans that are allied with her father’s kingdom. None of them are good matches for her, but even if they were she is headstrong and unwilling to accept the life that has been arranged for her.
            The opportunity to direct the helm of her own destiny is given to her when she follows a trail set by the will-o-wisps and encounters a witch. Merida purchases a spell from the witch that will change her mother and in doing so will change her destiny. As you can imagine, the change is not what Merida expected or wants and she must race to save her mother and her father’s kingdom.

            If I have to find a fault with this film it is in the fact that it is predictable. That’s not always a bad thing. You know coming into a Pixar film that it will be good family entertainment where we have a predictably satisfying ending and a host of laughs along the way. Let’s face it, that’s why we go to Pixar films in such large numbers. The story line is interesting and I especially love the Scottish setting of the story.
            The voice acting was seamless and the animation was beautiful. This is everything you expect from the Pixar studios. Normally, this is where I would make a comment about the villain and how he/she either made the film better or weakened the movie with their sub-standard appearance; however, there isn’t a true villain in the movie. The conflict in the film is provided by Merida and her mother Elinor (Emma Thompson) in a manner that makes the story all the more touching because of it.
            See this first run so you can enjoy all the color and sound in its best presentation, but you can probably wait for a bargain showing. While it caused me to tear-up in spots, I don’t find myself anxiously waiting for it to come out on DVD so I can purchase it, or a need to rush out and see it again right away. This is good fun and worth the money to see, but I don’t expect it to be the best movie of the year or even of the summer. 

            Randy’s Rating System

$$$$   = Full Price    See this movie right away and pay full price, it’s worth it.
$$$     = Matinee      Catch this as a matinee or other discounted showing.
$$        = Discount     Wait until this movie reaches a discount theater near you.
$          = Rental         Wait until this movie reaches your local video rental outlet.
0          = No Sale       Don’t see this movie at any price.