Mike Sirota's Blog – Swords, Specters, & Stuff
Welcome to My World
I started this blog in January 2012 for one simple reason: I love to write. I named it “Swords, Specters, & Stuff” because I especially love to write about writing, about books and movies in my favorite genres, about authors that mean a great deal to me. But there’s so much more than that, hence the all-inclusive “Stuff” in the title. It is “Stuff” that gives me carte blanche to write about anything, which is why you’ll see stories about special trips to Cooperstown, Sedona, and other places; about getting older; about baseball; about the otherworldly way in which I met my soul mate; about the loss of good friends, and so much more. Enjoy! And feel free to leave a comment.
The much-maligned 2017 film, GEOSTORM, is a disaster movie. And a sci-fi movie. And a political thriller. Guess what: I enjoy disaster movies; and sci-fi movies; and political thrillers. So despite its poor box office and terrible reviews, I love this film.
What does former National Basketball Association great Bill Russell have to do with leading classes and workshops about writing novels? I’ll tell you…shortly. But, first things first.
While hanging out in the quarantine cave for most of this year, my bride and I have watched a lot of police procedural/detective shows on BritBox, Acorn, and Prime. They range in presentation from intense (BROADCHURCH, VERA, PRIME SUSPECT) to outrageously funny (AGATHA RAISIN). Somewhere in the middle, joining favorites such as MIDSOMER MURDERS and THE BROKENWOOD MYSTERIES, is the delightful BBC production, NEW TRICKS.
The 1998 sci-fi/disaster flick, ARMAGEDDON, grossed well over half a billion dollars—so why is it a Guilty Pleasure? Doubtless because its reviews were uniformly awful.
Day 18,764 of the coronavirus pandemic: enough already! I mean, FREAKING ENOUGH! Are we back in the Dark Ages with the Black Plague? And it only seems to be getting worse.
In these challenging times we could all use a good laugh, so this edition of Movie Lines is all about quotes from comedy films. The post first ran in 2017.
Just like the many larger-than-life characters that he played on the silver screen, Sean Connery toughed it out for ninety years on this plane of existence before succumbing on Halloween. I count many of his films among my favorites and have previously written about some of them. The one I’ve chosen for this post as an homage is the lesser-known 1981 science fiction “space western,” OUTLAND.
The 2012 film, TOUCHBACK, is another inspirational sports movie that you undoubtedly missed. I viewed it on Netflix last year because I enjoy sports movies, and because Kurt Russell, one of my favorites, had a co-starring role in it. The film proved a pleasant surprise, and a copy of it is now a part of my collection.
There are those who stress sitting down with your laptops on fire and writing novels just as fast as you can. Write 5,000 words over a weekend. Or better still, write 50,000 words in thirty days. As a professional novelist and writing coach of a thousand years, I disagree with this method of helping writers, or wannabe writers, explore their creativity.
When William Friedkin, director of THE EXORCIST, proclaims, “I’ve never seen a more terrifying film,” you have to take notice. He was referring to the 2014 Australian psychological horror film, THE BABADOOK, and I definitely agree with his assessment. This one is designed to cause more than a few sleepless nights.