Friday - June 2, 2023

Articles Written By TimBrennan


Alone Time

May 29th, 2023

I’m alone as I type this. My solitude isn’t quite solitude, though. Here in my office with me are two dogs. One cat just walked out of the room, while the other cat is upstairs. She’s with my wife, who mostly works from home. Our son is in his bathroom, listening to music at a fairly punishing volume. Like I said, my solitude isn’t solitude, per se. Years ago, though, the solitude was very real. I’m not so old that I don’t remember that lousy one bedroom apartment in Tacoma, Washington. There was a feeling of being the only person in the complex, despite the neighbors above, below,... Read More

Put A Spoon Under Your Pillow

May 22nd, 2023

What kind of a film viewer are you? I get the people who work jobs that they quietly despise. They come home with little to show for it beyond a small paycheck and a large feeling of frustration. All they want from their cinematic experience is to relax, be entertained, watch something to take their mind off the whipsawing in today’s world between existential horror or existential drudgery. They’ll watch something like Fast X & think, “Eh, that was okay.” Sometimes, okay is enough. I also get the people who want to jump into the deep end of the pool, artistically speaking. Horror movies... Read More

Safe Mountain

May 15th, 2023

Post traumatic stress disorder is a condition that’s highly individualized, and a person who served two tours in Afghanistan can have a very different experience from a person who experienced domestic violence. That also means that PTSD depicted in movies isn’t always recognized as the real thing. I understand that a certain amount of artistic license is taken sometimes by filmmakers. There are absolutely serious examinations of PTSD in films like The Hurt Locker, Ordinary People, and Mystic River. It can also be a feature of a character or a plot point in a film, and it can be portrayed semi-accurately... Read More

The Forever and Beautiful Sky

May 8th, 2023

Fifteen years ago, the Marvel Cinematic Universe was born with the release of Iron Man. It’s made billions of dollars. It’s had thirty-two entries released so far, another entry is up for release this year, and another nine and counting are in the pipeline.* Barring some kind of cultural cataclysm, I reckon the MCU will go on for a while yet, but a part of it is over. Jon Favreau’s Iron Man created the framework of what the modern MCU film looks like. Despite being a horror of a human being, Joss Whedon created the tone of the MCU, a union of rampaging snark and grounded mythology with The... Read More

How Do You Solve a Problem Like Nazis?

May 1st, 2023

It’s been said that entertainment in general, and American entertainment in particular, is too violent. For decades, there has been hand-wringing over the ever increasing cinematic bloodbaths taking place in theaters and televisions. “When, Lord!” they cried, “When will we return to a society that embraces love over hate, understanding over violence?”* We say we want movies that are free of carnage. And yet, there’s one category of violence we can all rally around. One group that we’re totally cool with seeing get pummeled, beaten, stomped, and otherwise disrespected. I am, of course,... Read More

Looking Back: Tim’s Top 10 Movies of 2022

April 26th, 2023

I get that talking to me is not a great experience. The long-winded answers, questionable wit, and occasional maudlin emotion all makes for a conversational minefield. But I also have enough self-awareness to realize what happens when you think to yourself, “He’s the Movie Guy and I’m obligated to talk to him. I’ll ask him what his favorite movie is. What could possibly go wrong?” Well…kind of a lot. To save you time, my response to that is, it depends. It depends on my mood, where I’m at in my life, hell, my blood sugar level probably has an effect. When I tell you that, I know you’re... Read More

Jumping Spin Kick of Love

April 24th, 2023

Does sincere have to mean serious? A lot of filmmakers seem to think so. The idea exists that, in order to say something about the human condition, the yuk-yuks need to be tamped down. Why? Because if humor exists, it will inevitably leech away the essential emotional truth of a film. At least, that’s the theory. I can hear some of you saying, “What, are you saying there needed to be a moment in Schindler’s List where Oskar Schindler got kicked in the nuts by a mischievous kid?” I am not. I’m saying a well-placed joke, even one appearing in a film about a monstrous event, can reveal important... Read More

A Bloody Awful Boss

April 17th, 2023

Approach is everything when it comes to movies. To paraphrase Ebert, it doesn’t matter what the movie is about, it matters how it is about it. Tone, character, pacing, all of it can change your opinion on a genre or style of film that you’d ordinarily blow off in a New York minute. For example, I’m not too into romantic comedies. It has nothing to do with my being a dude. Rather, the rom-com genre is one where I’m so acutely aware of the tropes and conventions, I often let out a “meh” without thinking twice. And yet, Long Shot, the 2019 rom-com in which schlubby journalist Seth Rogen... Read More

Friends in Strange Places

April 10th, 2023

Not long ago, reporter Chris Lee made a shocking accusation that, upon five seconds of thought, is not actually that shocking. Lee claimed that Marvel Studios intentionally hires filmmakers who are inexperienced in visual effects work.* This is allegedly done to assert a greater level of control over the decisions the directors make during production. It also means that, regardless of who the credited director is, Marvel movies increasingly look alike. A film directed by Martin Scorsese, Wes Anderson, Spike Lee, or Nancy Myers could only have been made by those directors. Edits, shot choices, even... Read More

Natural 20

April 3rd, 2023

Of course I played Dungeons and Dragons as a kid. It shouldn’t be that surprising. I grew up in the Reagan-era 1980s, a nerdy kid who didn’t respond to sports, couldn’t relate to insecure machismo, and had a father who was a product of the World War II generation. He wanted me to play sports and likely envisioned a son who was a strapping he-man. Instead, he got Dweebosaurus Rex, which I’m sure was a source of…ah…let’s go with consternation. Of course I play Dungeons and Dragons as an adult. In fact, I’m in a D&D campaign right now. A group of us from college meet about once... Read More

Tumble, Push, Turn

March 27th, 2023

Before Rain Man, I imagine the vast majority of people had no idea what autism or neurodivergence was. Of course there were families who did, and people who did, yet the cultural conversation hadn’t swung in their direction yet. When Rain Man was released in 1988, however, it hit like a bomb.  The fact that Rain Man won Dustin Hoffman an Oscar is perhaps one of the less important parts of its legacy. More importantly, it caused people to simultaneously understand and misunderstand autism on a wide scale. Even now, a misconception exists that a neurodivergent person also has savant syndrome,... Read More

Everything Will Be Fine

March 20th, 2023

A yawning chasm of difference exists between seeing a bad movie and seeing a movie that you don’t connect with. It took me years to learn the difference, and it saddens me that there are people out there who will never learn the difference. For example, after Everything Everywhere All At Once won a metric ton of Oscars, I saw comments like: “SUCH an overrated movie.” “It was terrible.” “More woke garbage* from Hollywood.” “Why can’t they make movies people want to see?” That last one is one of my favorites, and I think it gets to the root of the problem. Too many of us have... Read More

Two (Dismembered) Thumbs Up

March 13th, 2023

So they’re making another Scream movie, huh? Yes, we’re talking about Scream VI. Joy.  Trust me, it’s good! Sure, I was hoping for yet another gory whodunit featuring red herrings, cackling psychopaths, and scads of meta-commentary about the state of horror today. …you say that like it’s a bad thing. Ugh. Why can’t Hollywood make something original? You mean like all those movies that were released theatrically that you didn’t see because “theaters are annoying?” Or all those movies that dropped on streaming that you didn’t watch because you were re-watching The Office for... Read More

Cocaine Bear is Good, Actually

March 6th, 2023

First, let’s talk about what really happened. Drug runner Andrew C. Thornton II was in a small plane flying over the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest. Inside the plane was his accomplice and a truly astounding amount of cocaine. The weight became problematic for the small aircraft, and Thornton began tossing bricks of cocaine out the hatch. He then leaped out the plane while wearing a parachute. For some reason, his chute failed to open and Thornton was killed.  That took place on September 11, 1985. On December 23 of the same year, officials from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation found... Read More


February 27th, 2023

I feel like I’m supposed to care about the Rocky franchise. Look up any list from a reputable source of the best American films, and Sylvester Stallone’s 1976 Oscar-winning film will likely be in there somewhere. It belongs there. John G. Avildsen made a gritty drama featuring both an efficient screenplay and a naturalistic performance* from Stallone. So why don’t the adventures of Rocky and pals make me want to stand up and cheer? Part of it is that I am a bad American and largely don’t care about sports.** Part of it is the vast disparity in the quality of the Rocky franchise. For every... Read More


February 20th, 2023

During the previous Christmas, my family decided to adopt a new tradition. Instead of eating turkey, which we can’t abide, or singing Christmas carols in subzero temperatures, which is a good way to joyously get hypothermia, we decided to give each other books on Christmas Eve. This concept hails from one of those Scandinavian-ish countries, and everybody is meant to give/receive a book, settle down with a drink, and peacefully enjoy the evening.* The tome I received was “All of the Marvels,” by Douglas Wolk. It’s an excellent book in which Wolk recounts his experience reading every single... Read More

Shooting Blanks

February 13th, 2023

Gather round, beloved, as we mourn the passing of the mid-budget thriller for adults. This film genre found its peak in the 1980s and 1990s, an almost unthinkable time where movie theaters could be filled by a majority of grown-ups. The cause of death? Risk-averse Hollywood and risk-averse filmgoers. Let me explain, or, to paraphrase one of our most beloved philosophers, let me sum up. It used to be that the cinematic landscape wasn’t choked by Avengers, Transformers, and other IP-related critters. That’s not to imply that studios had a laser-focus on producing unimpeachable works of art. There... Read More

The Grasshopper Catcher

February 6th, 2023

Let’s say you’re a muscular and intimidating looking dude. Exactly what are you supposed to do with yourself? Rip out tree stumps for homeowners? Loom menacingly for fifty bucks an hour? The basic understanding is that Big Burly Dudes (BBDs) have limited career paths, and that’s simply the way of the world.  Is that fair? Of course not. The vast majority of us have a BBD in our lives, and they’re probably not doing things like wrestling grizzlies or kicking over cars. My friend Bob is a card-carrying BBD. He’s also a phlebotomist, and the mere fact of having inhuman strength has nothing... Read More

Jammed Up

January 30th, 2023

I’ve never been a big sports guy. In point of fact, you’d need an electron microscope to measure my interest in athletic competitions. I suppose that comes from growing up as a mostly indoor kid, but as much as I don’t care about participating or observing sports, I have to give credit where credit is due.  To excel in sports – at all – is a kind of miracle. Doing that requires a level of commitment to a singular goal, a degree of physical fitness that most of us will never reach in our lifetimes, and the ability to make complex bodily adjustments within a millisecond. Those... Read More

Childish Things

January 23rd, 2023

There’s a vivid memory from childhood I have, and I’ve never been able to shake it. We lived in a house in Maryland. For the most part, it was comfortable and felt safe. My mother spent the majority of her life as an enthusiastic evangelical Christian. My father was a softly lapsed Catholic, and while he was less than thrilled by the idea of religious iconography displayed around the house, he loved my mother. That’s why the portrait went up. It was a large oil painting of Jesus, placed on the wall at the top of the stairs. You couldn’t miss it, no matter how hard you tried. I certainly... Read More