When I became a wrestling fan, it was in the heyday of larger-than-life characters like Hulk Hogan, the Ultimate Warrior and the British Bulldog. Not only did these superstars have otherworldly personas, they had spectacular physiques. While Lex Luger wasn’t known for being the most charismatic performer, his physical presence couldn’t be denied. In the 1980s he was a force to be reckoned with in the National Wrestling Alliance and World Championship Wrestling (WCW), and when he came to the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) Luger was a top babyface (i.e., good guy). After his stint in the WWF, Luger went back to WCW and became World Champion and eventually joined the rebellious New World Order. Luger had a stellar career but he wasn’t without his vices. His autobiography reveals all of the ups and downs he went through, including the death of the “First Lady of Wrestling,” Miss Elizabeth. I found it to be a captivating read up until the final couple chapters where the book turned into what felt like an infomercial for Christianity. While I’m glad religion helped Luger turn his life around, his heavy-handed use of Bible verses came off as preachy instead of inspirational. Nevertheless, Wrestling With The Devil was an enlightening and entertaining read that wrestling fans should check out.
Pro wrestling sensation Lex Luger was leading a thrill-ride life, with fans screaming his name and money pouring in faster than he could spend it. One of the most memorable figures in the sport’s history, Lex was the ultimate all-American muscleman. The three-time world champion could slam anything that got in his way—and he believed he was invincible.
But outside the ring, Lex was self-destructing. He lived a secret double life that was taking him down and ripping his family apart, culminating when his mistress died from a much-publicized drug overdose. Without realizing it, Lex was fighting for his very life—and the enemy was a host of his own demons.
Yet it wasn’t until he was at his lowest point that Lex Luger began to discover what true strength is all about. That strength would get him through the greatest challenge of his life: a paralyzing spinal cord injury.
In this stunningly honest memoir, Lex Luger reveals behind-the-scenes stories from the world of pro wrestling, recounts his dramatic struggles with personal failings, and shares how—through unexpected faith, grace, and redemption—today he’s standing stronger than ever and fighting the battles that matter the most.
Approximately five minutes from each of the 22 Eon produced James Bond films have been cut together, in order and in sequence, beginning with the first five minutes of DR. NO (1962) followed by minutes 5-10 of FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE (1963), minutes 10-15 of Goldfinger (1964), minutes 15-20 of Thunderball (1965), continuing on through each of the remaining 18 Bond features (accounting for variables in each title’s running time) culminating with the final five minutes of 2008’s Quantum of Solace.
This fresh look at the “James Bond Formula” provides a new exploration of the evolution of the series into a filmmaking genre uniquely its own. With few exceptions, each title’s transition into the picture that follows it is nearly seamless, creating a viewing experience that at first might serve to remind us “if you’ve seen one Bond film, you’ve seen them all,” but looking more closely it is in fact an endearing homage to a character who single-handedly shaped modern cinema’s action/adventure formula and who continues to leave an indelible mark on generations worldwide.
Last week I read Moonraker by Ian Fleming and watched the film of the same name. The book was better than the movie – big surprise – but neither were spectacular. The novel was a straightforward old-school thriller that, unfortunately, lacked mystery. It’s plot was more cohesive and believable than the film’s, but it didn’t keep me guessing. While I’ve yet to read them all, Fleming’s Casino Royale is still my favorite in the series and coincidentally it’s also my favorite Bond film. But back to Moonraker the movie. The opening scene, where Bond is fighting another man in mid-air for a parachute, is one of the greatest in cinematic history (check it out below). And the movie’s theme, written by Hal David and sung by Shirley Bassey, is one of the most beautiful songs I’ve ever heard. For your viewing and listening pleasure, I’ve also included the opening title sequence from Moonraker below. The bottom line is this: If you’re a James Bond fan, you should read the book and see the movie. Just don’t expect either of them to blow you away.
I finally got around to watching The Expendables 2 and it was great. Like its predecessor, it was a balls-to-the-wall action movie that featured a ton of gunfire, explosions and humorous one-liners. Speaking of which, I really enjoyed the references the characters made to some of the real-life stars’ iconic films, such as The Terminator and Rambo. The acting, while not Oscar-worthy, was appropriate for the subject matter, and I loved Chuck Norris’ role in the movie – especially when he dished out a line that could have easily been one of the endless “facts” people tell about him. Jean-Claude Van Damme was a terrific villain, and his showdown at the end with Stallone was awesome. The Expendables 2 was a non-stop action movie I enjoyed just as much as the original, and I highly recommend you check it out.
Writing a Killer Thriller by Jodie Renner, a well-respected freelance fiction editor, is a worthy addition to any writer’s library. Filled to the brim with useful information for aspiring and published authors, the book is broken into nine parts:
Renner’s advice, while sometimes repetitive, is spot on. And her use of book excerpts to illustrate points, as well as quotes from industry experts, made for an engaging and enlightening read. Writing a Killer Thriller was a quick, powerful book that provided me with a behind-the-scenes view of what goes into writing a top-notch thriller. If you’re a writer, make sure to add it to your reading list today.
The first WrestleMania took place three days after I was born. Since then, it has gone on to become an annual extravaganza that generates nearly $75 million and attracts nearly 100,000 attendees, not to mention the millions of people watching it worldwide on pay-per-view. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been enjoying WrestleMania from home. Next year, I’ll be there in person, in New Orleans, to celebrate its 30th anniversary.
In addition to the event itself, I’ll be enjoying WrestleMania Axxess, where fans get to meet wrestling legends, as well as the superstars of today, and engage in a variety of fun activities. I’m also attending the WWE Hall of Fame ceremony, where the superstars of yesteryear are honored for their impressive body of work. And finally, the weekend will wrap up with WWE Raw, where I’ll get to see how the aftermath of WrestleMania plays out.
Being a lifelong wresting fan, I’m thrilled to have the chance to attend WrestleMania; and with it being the event’s 30th anniversary, the timing couldn’t be more perfect. I’m equally happy that it’s taking place in a vibrant, historical city I’ve yet to explore. It will be a fantastic weekend that I’ll remember for a long time to come.
For a taste of what WrestleMania is like, here’s a video of the “Top 10 Championship Changes” to take place at the event:
Placebo by Steven James is a very good thriller that’s worth your attention. I recently completed the book and was impressed by many elements of the story. I found Jevin Banks to be an extremely likable protagonist who matured as the story progressed, and the supporting cast was equally memorable. James’ ability to jump between characters, even those who aren’t in the same room during a scene, impressed me. Character hopping can be a hard thing to pull off without disorienting the reader, but James handled it extremely well; and by doing so, he ratcheted up the suspense during tense moments and sustained a brisk pace throughout the novel. The plot itself was an interesting one that despite being sometimes bogged down by moments of expository scientific dialogue, made me think critically about the pros and cons of the pharmaceutical industry. And being from Philadelphia, I loved that a good portion of the novel was set in the City of Brotherly Love. It seems every book and movie takes place in New York City, so whenever someone wants to shake things up and pick a different locale, I’m all for it. Overall, Placebo was a highly enjoyable read that I blew through in just a few days, and I highly recommend it.
Stay tuned for my interview with Steven James, as well as my review of his upcoming novel Singularity, the second book in the Jevin Banks series.
While covertly investigating a controversial neurological research program, exposé filmmaker Jevin Banks is drawn into a far-reaching conspiracy involving one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical firms. After giving up his career as an escape artist and illusionist in the wake of his wife and sons’ tragic death, Jevin is seeking not only answers about the questionable mind-to-mind communication program, but also answers to why his family suffered as they did.