Dear Pegasus – Welcome to Level 5

Dear Pegasus,

You’ve had an impressive year. You’ve grown in every way and I’m really proud of the person you’re becoming.

This year you’ve:

  • Done homeschool with Mum
  • Taught yourself to read (What?)
  • Learned to use a mouse and computer
  • Learned how to add and subtract
  • Done a lot of baking and cooking
  • Played video games
  • Learned the rules for Battleship

You are all signed up for school in September and I’m just as nervous with you as I was with your sister. I worry about teasing and you having trouble with kids your age. You have had so little time to learn how to play with kids that aren’t Dragon. I’m sure you’ll be fine.

Your big sister loves you, she might fight with you, yell at you, and sometimes go out of her way to get on your nerves, but she loves you. She wanted to go into your class for the first few days to make sure you’re okay. I hope that level of mutual concern continues. I never had anyone like that in school and I’m glad you two will be together for 4 years.

Dragon is more concerned about teasing and fitting in, but I’m also worried about your language and dealing with a real classroom where you’re not the centre of attention.

Before that happens, there’s a whole summer to get through. We have a big trip planned and you’re excited to get on the first plane you remember.

Something really special that I’m going to miss next year is spending time with you during the day. You would randomly ask me to read you a book (or 12) and snuggle into me. We’d play phone games and you just snuggle close.

You climbing into my lap and putting your head against my chest and demanding we do something is soothing and wonderful. I’m going to miss that with you at school all day and me coming home late 3 days a week.

You are stubborn in ways I’ve never seen before and sometimes you do things just because your sister does, but you are a joy to be around and I love you dearly.

Welcome to Level 5 and all the new challenges it’ll bring.

I love you lots!

Papa

The Secret World of Arrietty – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2010 film The Secret World of Arrietty.

Story

I found it very soothing and calm but I can see where it could be considered stressful. I remembered just enough from the books and reviews to know nothing bad happened.

The overall story is similar to the book but fairly different at the same time.

Score: 0.5

Characters

The characters are extremely well animated and voiced. They grab attention, even in the slower talky moments.

Score: 1

Dialogue

The dialogue is cute and I love the term Bean for humans. There’s some interesting thoughts on what it means to be alive and trust.

Score: 1

Visuals and Music

The animation is breathtaking and absolutely spectacular. I could re-watch it in slow motion and still not catch all the details.

The music was lovely.

Score: 1

Fun

I grew up reading the Littles and the Borrowers, and although I barely remember them, I still love the aesthetic.

The kids absolutely adored it and the rest of the family loved it too.

Score: 1

Overall

This is a wonderful melding of cultures, with a sweet and fun story. If you liked the books you’ll love the movie. Highly recommended.

Final Score: 4.5 Stars out of 5

Geek Charming – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2011 film Geek Charming.

Story

It’s a teen rom-com where the popular kid has to work with the nerd and they fall in love. I did like the gender-swapped makeover scene.

Score: 0.5

Characters

The female lead almost seems like she’s a bad actress to start with but it turns out that it’s the character who’s a bad actress and she’s nowhere near as shallow or vapid as she seems. This is a hard transition to pull off without seeming fake and the movie did a great job.

The male lead became more accepting and confidant but didn’t have much more development than that.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

Sometimes I forget what the 2010’s was like, but this is filled with dated slang and quippy one-liners.

When the movie decides to be serious, it does a great job in those softer moments. Bonus points for explaining relativity in one breath.

Score: 1

Visuals and Music

The camera work was very early 2000’s Disney channel. The clothes, sets, and everything else were okay but low budget.

The music was acceptable but nothing special.

Score: 0.5

Fun

I get irritated watching the characters flinging their cameras while filming and I found the idea that a film club would be all sci-fi a little unlikely. Film nerds tend to look down on the genre.

That being said, the actors did a great job and it was cute. I really liked that this movie showed the world what made him fall in love with her. It was a nice touch and made everything more believable.

Bonus point for having the poor kid showing the rich man Metropolis, a film about the class divide between workers and wealthy land owners.

Score: 1

Overall

A product of its time, it celebrates nerds and love with lots of innocent heart. The actors do a great job with a predictable script.

Final Score: 3.5 Stars out of 5

The Holiday Sitter – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2022 film The Holiday Sitter.

Story

This is the Hallmark Christmas formula at it’s best. I appreciate that they took a little time to show how hard it can be for gay men to date and the trauma involved.

Score: 0.5

Characters

I was worried at the beginning because the main character was a complete ass, but once he calmed down and started to open up about his feelings, he became a lot better. He was actually quite charming and funny when he wasn’t trying too hard to be a jerk.

The handyman next door who just wanted a family was charming and adorable and the two of them had pretty good chemistry.

The kids were cute if forgettable and the rest of the cast was good.

Score: 1

Dialogue

Some of the dialogue was terrible and the only thing that kept them from making the movie unwatchable was the earnestness and quality of the actors.

There are also a few cute quips and lots of family adorableness.

Score: 0.5

Visuals and Music

The movie was well filmed and showed that each shot was well thought out from a framing point of view. It bugs me in these movies when people leave on vacation and they still have food out. In this one his popcorn machine was still filled with popcorn.

Early in the movie the little girl wins a massive quantity of stuffed reindeer toys; from that point forward there are stuffed reindeer in almost every scene and it was a lot of fun looking for them.

The music was standard and did it’s job.

Score: 0.5

Fun

This is a Hallmark Christmas movie. You should know in advance if you’re into that sort of thing. I thought the romance was fun and the movie was easy to watch with little to no forced drama.

Score: 1

Overall

A nice gay twist on the Hallmark Holiday movie formula with two actors that had great chemistry. It’s cute, fluffy, and warm; everything a holiday romance should be.

Final Score: 3.5 Stars out of 5

Help for the Holidays  – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2012 film Help for the Holidays.

Story

Adorable story that didn’t take itself too seriously. Everything is wrapped up nicely and well explained.

Score: 0.5

Characters

The main character is adorable beyond reason. They manage to make her innocent and full of wonder without infantilizing her.

The kids were adorable and better actors than most, and the love interest was appropriately attractive and sweet.

The actor who played Santa was fantastic and did a great omniscient Santa.

Score: 1

Dialogue

Lots of holiday sweet and lots of optimism. There were several very appropriate confused moments that made for great humour.

Score: 0.5

Visuals and Music

The camera work is great, the sets simple but pretty, and the sparse special effects are good.

The music is jingly but forgettable.

Score: 0.5

Fun

If you like saccharine sweet and adorable Christmas movies, this one’s for you. Everyone in the family that watched it loved it.

Score: 1

Overall

Filled with the holiday spirit and lots of adorable charm, if you like your holiday movies with a little more magic, this is a great choice.

Final Score: 3.5 Stars out of 5

Semi-Coherent Ramblings

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

Last night, between Pegasus waking up several times (it’s been a while since he’s done that), insomnia, stress dream, and a couple of days of really bad allergies; I didn’t sleep well.

I’m a little grumpy today. Mumble mumble mumble. So I apologize for today’s disjointed post and possible incoherence.

Jen and I’s newest work in progess is going well. I love being able to plan and geek out about stuff with her as we write. Even if it means we don’t get to bed at anything related to a reasonable hour. I’m planning on writing a song for it and I’m terrified I’ll screw it up.

I read up on the plot, deaths, and story of the new Doctor Strange movie and I have to say it sounds pretty tedious. I loved WandaVision and from what I’ve read, it undoes a lot of the character progression of Wanda and falls into the “hysterical woman” trope that Marvel comics love so much. It’s a good thing Marvel releases so many movies because there are more and more of them that I don’t like.

I’m just waiting for a large bag of dirt that comes in on Friday and I’ll be able to plant my garden. Every year I say I won’t garden, and every year I do. I love the idea of growing my own food. Unfortunately, I only have a green thumb with the help of a marker.

Shamelessly cute photo of the kids.

Jen and I are prepping two manuscripts for submission and it’s a little stressful, but fun. Both are related to Assassins! Accidental Matchmakers (Pre-orders now open at your local bookstores for September 15th) and that makes it awkward for our publisher. They have to judge the quality, but also have to decide if it’s financially worth publishing a sequel and story collection without having any sales data. You could make their decision easier by pre-ordering it. 🙂

I’m not good at this whole publicity thing. I need to improve my ability to get people interested about my books. They are awesome, but if you don’t read them, how do you know you want to read them? Jen has all sorts of exciting ideas that are great.

I think I’ve rambled enough for today.

Stay safe and be kind,

Éric

The Knight Before Christmas – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2019 film The Knight Before Christmas.

Story

The story is Christmas-y and happy. They avoid awkward tropes and lean into the cutesy cheese. The least believable part was that a teacher could afford the property taxes on such a massive house.

Score: 1

Characters

The characters are sweet and heartwarming. They are also completely unrealistic. Brooke is a teacher, but throws money around like an heiress. She’s overly trusting and kind of naive.

Sir Cole is anachronistic in every way. His knight’s code is pure Romantic reconstruction, he speaks modern English, his armour is off a little and his sword is styled more like WIlliam the Lionheart than William the Third.

The rest of the cast are adorable and interesting.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

Pure Christmas movie cheese and I loved every part of it. Once you get over the fact that the historical characters are not talking in middle English, it’s freaking adorable.

Score: 1

Visuals and Music

The cinematography is okay and the setting is picturesque. The leads are pretty to look at and the clothes are fantastic.

The music isn’t amazing, but it’s fun.

Score: 0.5

Fun

It kept the interest of the entire family and was a lot of easy fun.

Score: 1

Overall

This is a cheesy, angst-free, lovely holiday movie with a great cast and a lot of cuteness.

Final Score: 4 Stars out of 5

Single All the Way – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2021 film Single All the Way.

Story

The story is a copy paste from so many other Christmas movies. Instead of an ex or childhood friend, it’s a current best friend, but it’s pretty much the same. Even though the story is basic, the final touches are wonderfully queer.

Score: 0.5

Characters

The slightly neurotic big city agent, the small town ski instructor, the overbearing mother trying too hard, the sensitive nice guy, and the overdramatic aunt. All the stereotypes are there and they added a few extra with the meddling teens and the wise dad.

A lot of Christmas movies feel like they forget about the love part of romance and the love in the family around them. This one didn’t and love was very much central and believable.

Score: 1

Dialogue

Oscillating from corny to sweet, the dialogue was perfect for the type of movie. I’m also really impressed at how well the different couples communicated. It would be easy, and typical, to have non-communication caused hijinks. I’m glad they didn’t go that way.

Score: 1

Visuals and Music

The visuals were pretty but generic. The filming was effective and I really liked how they framed the lovey-dovey moments.

The music was pretty good. Lots of Christmas and a few original songs.

Score: 1

Fun

I took particular joy at the teenagers forcing a “There was only one bed” scenario. Obviously the teens are learning their set-up methods from fanfics. I also really liked seeing all the Canadian actors.

My five year old liked it; she really got into the set up. She kept asking why he was going on date with the other guy. My two year old got a little bored.

I appreciated that they avoided angst and awkwardness. I also liked that it was an unabashedly queer and happy story, which is a combination that we need more of.

Score: 1

Overall

This is the happy, queer, and Christmassy movie you’ve been looking for. It’s fun, cute, and honestly really refreshing.

Final Score: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Barbie: Spy Squad – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2016 film Barbie: Spy Squad.

Story

Definitely geared towards younger audiences, it’s a solid intro into the secret agent / spy genre. The twist was predictable for me, but I’ve seen a lot of these.

Score: 0.5

Characters

The main three characters are the usual super awesome Barbie and friends. They fit into the basic spy stereotypes very well. The techie computer guy felt really relatable and the over-the-top spy aunt was pretty funny.

The villain felt a little meh and the heel-face turn was abrupt and could have used more set up.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

The dialogue oscillates between cutesy and inane. There are a few funny jokes and the overall message is good.

Score: 0.5

Visuals and Music

The visuals are standard Barbie movie with lots of cute spy and action bonuses. It’s not great, but it’s not terrible.

The music is catchy… too catchy. They have 1 song and they use it A LOT!

Score: 0.5

Fun

I enjoyed this the first time I watched it. It has constantly been on of my daughters favourite movies since she could ask for it. She used to say she was going on missions with her spy girls and then do a bunch of flips.

Score: 1

Overall

One of the best Barbie movies available with a strong message and catchy music. It’s a great intro into spy and action movies without the gratuitous violence. It’s fun and one of my daughter’s favourite movies.

Score: 3 stars out of 5