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Friday - September 20, 2019

Archive for the ‘ Movies ’ Category

 

Tonight’s Word is Inevitability

September 15th, 2019

There’s a threshold that everyone crosses between childhood and adulthood. For some people, stepping across that threshold is akin to getting a boost of rocket fuel. I’ve known people who met and exceeded all expectations. They excelled at prestigious universities and entered lucrative professions. One even spent time working in the White House.* Aided by family, friends, and a considerable amount of luck, the path through their threshold likely shone brightly. For most people, that threshold is covered in fog. You look across it and catch shadowy glimpses of possibilities. Years spent grappling... Read More

Can’t Sleep, Clown Will Eat Me

September 8th, 2019

Back in the day, liking horror was viewed as nothing to be proud of. It was a genre that was grimy, unseemly, positively dripping with bad thoughts and worse intentions. If you were into the scary stuff, why, it must mean you’re some kind of dangerous freak! Speaking from experience, telling someone during the first date that one of your favorite movies is The Exorcist is an excellent way to ensure there’s no second date. Then Stephen King came along, and it’s possible that he, moreso than anyone else in the last 40 years, dragged horror kicking and screaming into the mainstream. As of now,... Read More

An American Fable

September 1st, 2019

To say that Shia LaBeouf has had an unpredictable career would be an understatement. Consider that, at ten years old, he attempted to launch a stand-up comedy career. From there, he became a Disney Channel wunderkind, and younger audiences were the first ones to witness his talent. I can hear between guffaws, many of you saying, “Talent?! Pshaw! He was in the godawful Transformers movies! He was in the only terrible Indiana Jones film! He went crazy in public! Maybe lay off sniffing glue before you write your reviews, okay?” With the exception of the sniffing glue thing, all of that is true. Strip... Read More

Let the Games Begin

August 25th, 2019

Everyone should spend a little time working in either the food industry, retail, or customer service. More than any other profession, you’ll witness some of the best and worst aspects of human behavior. When your job is to serve food or handle phone calls, you’ll see moments of towering generosity, unimaginable pettiness, and everything in between. I’ve been there. I spent over ten years trapped in a cubicle, armed with nothing more than a phone, a disinterested managerial team, and a substandard personal computer. My job was to be an abuse sponge, soaking up invective from people who really... Read More

A Good Lie

August 11th, 2019

One of the most prominent sections of the American Cancer Society’s website is the Treatment and Support page. There, you’ll find a host of useful information regarding the feelings both patients and caregivers experience during and after treatment. Understandably, fear, depression, and anxiety are all cited as normal responses. What is a “normal” response to a cancer diagnosis in a loved one? To make things even trickier, what if the diagnosis is terminal? That’s a tough one. If you’re the patient, how are you supposed to come to terms with your mortality, say your good-byes, and face... Read More

The Middle Lane

August 4th, 2019

You know what my problem with romantic comedies has often been? They’re neither romantic enough nor comedic enough. Is the base problem simply that I’m a straight white guy, someone who gets his cinematic pleasures from seeing people shot in the face repeatedly? Do I simply need to accept that rom-coms are made by and for women, and shut my stupid face? Well…no, I wouldn’t put it quite like that. Remember the old cliché of a straight couple fighting over which movie to watch? The female half wins, naturally having chosen a rom-com, and as she sighs heartily at the onscreen shenanigans,... Read More

A Hollywood Fairy Tale

July 28th, 2019

When Quentin Tarantino’s debut feature Reservoir Dogs was released in 1992, the American film industry was in crisis. Cracks were appearing in the star system. Mainstream films were flopping at the box office. Audiences wanted something, anything new, and Hollywood didn’t know what to give them. For a moment, there was a window for Tarantino to pass through. Along with independent filmmakers like Steven Soderbergh, Paul Thomas Anderson and others, he irrevocably changed movies and culture. But 1992 was a long time ago. Sure, Tarantino was a big swinging dick—still is to a degree. He’s one... Read More

Punch with Your Foot

July 21st, 2019

We live in a misogynistic culture; no big surprise there. But where is toxic masculinity birthed from? Along with antiquated customs and some creepy religious dogma, media can be a big driver in how us guys view ourselves and conduct ourselves. Men are supposed to be assertive—just look at Harrison Ford! Men don’t cry, just look at Clint Eastwood!* That’s the bad news, but the good news is that we also seem to be in a period of flux. Among other concepts, long-held assumptions about gender identity are changing. How do we know that? One way is by looking at how movies portray masculinity... Read More

Skräck

July 14th, 2019

Like comedy, horror is all about provoking a reaction. It’s the setup and the punchline, only horror traffics in chills rather than chortles. If a skilled filmmaker causes a viewer to react the way they want, that means the director knows their job. If the same filmmaker can play an audience like a violin, you know you have a major talent on your hands. That’s why I love seeing horror movies with a crowd. It’s the wide variety of reactions. Some people yelp, others shrink down in their seats with hands covering eyes, and still others mask their fear with bravado. Some horror movies, like... Read More

Does Whatever A Sequel Can

July 7th, 2019

This review will thoroughly spoil Avengers: Endgame. Proceed at your own risk.  Stan Lee used to talk about “the illusion of change.” It was a concept they used at Marvel Comics, and I imagine it’s still in use today. If you’re a comic book writer for one of the major publishers, you have a very fine line to walk. You need to make it seem as if the life of your character is changing, but have them remain essentially the same. For example, Peter Parker starts off as a geeky high school kid. He has trouble dating. He never has quite enough money to do much of anything. While big-time superheroes... Read More

I Am The Bad Script, Goo Goo G’Joob

June 30th, 2019

What do The Beatles mean? It’s a difficult question, one that I’m ill-equipped to answer. What we know for sure is that they cast a shadow that touches virtually every aspect of human life. Think of the music they made as the first domino in a vast and sprawling design. From pop to indie to rock to hip hop to punk and beyond, the DNA of the Fab Four winds through virtually all of it. Their reach stretches far beyond music. Their 1964 concert film/documentary/comedy A Hard Day’s Night is both massively influential and enormously entertaining in terms of film. They were pioneers in the development... Read More

They Stuck the Landing

June 23rd, 2019

It fascinates me how people respond to art in general, and movies in particular. If I had a beer with you right now, the odds are good we’d eventually talk movies. I’d pick your brain about them and try to get a handle on what you like, what you dislike, and why. One person views Forrest Gump as a sweet-natured fable, while a second person thinks of it as anti-liberal propaganda. That’s fine, as most films occupy some kind of a middle ground. What about the classics? What about the few films that stand among the elite? And what about the people who hate those classics? That’s why I adore... Read More

New Team, New Place, Same Flashy Thing

June 16th, 2019

Let’s say you get the idea stuck in your craw that you wanted to write or direct a summer blockbuster. To do that, you’ll want to study the best of the best. What you don’t want is something stupid, cynical, or pandering. Look, I get it. For many of us, the summer movie season is a nightmare. We’re ritually bludgeoned with special effects, broad humor, and cloying animation. Ask the average filmgoer, and they might tell you that summer movies aren’t even intended to be good. They exist to move a franchise forward or sell toys. The average filmgoer might even think that an entertaining... Read More

Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me

June 9th, 2019

Hearing the right song at the right moment can be life-changing. It can put the love of your life into hyper-focus, pull you back from the abyss, and give you the confidence to stand up to someone twice your size. The right song can feel like it was written just for you, yet millions of people can relate to it. Those kinds of songs are not easy to create, much less perform in a way that feels heartfelt. Elton John has been in the business of creating precisely those kinds of songs for decades. Fine, maybe his stuff isn’t necessarily for you, but whether you like his music or not is almost irrelevant.... Read More

Straight A’s, Zero F’s

June 2nd, 2019

In our own ways, we all have power. From petitions, to marches, to your own creativity, everyone has the power to push the needle in a positive direction. Film has a power that’s mighty, and one of my favorite things is championing a film, getting absolutely blissed-out, and transforming into a cinematic evangelist. The right film can open eyes, change a life, and make the unbearable a little easier to bear. But what if you had the power to prevent a great film from becoming a train wreck? Office Space and Clue are some of the most beloved comedies ever made. They were also disasters at the box... Read More

We Need to Talk About Kal-El

May 26th, 2019

As a human being, I have the ability to hold two completely contradictory ideas in my noggin at the same time. The first idea is that I love superheroes. They’re part of a genre that’s remarkably malleable, and with a bit of creativity, you can tell virtually any kind of story with them. The second idea is that, if superheroes truly existed, they would be terrifying. Let’s talk about Batman, for example. In movies, comics, and other media, he’s a relentless crusader. A protector of the innocent. He’s a hero—one of the good guys. One of his defining attributes is that he always knows... Read More

A Man of Focus

May 19th, 2019

Let’s begin with something that’s indisputable. On April 1, 2009, Alfonso Hernandez and Michael Edmonds thought it would be funny to shoot a dog dead. Why? All cruelty has ever needed to flourish is an opportunity. In this case, Hernandez and Edmonds saw a yellow Labrador puppy outside a home. They shot the dog with a .357 Magnum pistol, then stood over her body, laughing. In addition to being evil, this was a seriously dumb move. The puppy’s name was Dasy. Her guardian was Marcus Luttrell, a SEAL team member awarded the Navy Cross for heroism in combat while serving in Afghanistan. He was... Read More

Detective Deadpool

May 12th, 2019
tim goodman

In order to understand Pokémon: Detective Pikachu, you need to understand a couple of startling facts. First, let’s explain what Pokémon actually is. Created in 1995, this Japanese franchise concerns itself with a world overflowing with what are known a   s pocket monsters. Folks known as trainers must capture different species of Pokémon, which are weird critters that have fantastic powers. From there, they do battle with other trainers to become a champion.* You probably know this, but Pokémon is massive. 807 distinct species of the titular beastie have been created so far, and they appear... Read More

When Everything Works

May 5th, 2019

I don’t know if you guys knew this, but Hollywood is kind of shallow. If you’re a woman, regardless of your talent, intelligence, or drive, an awful lot of people are going to base their first and last impressions of you on your looks and body type. How many wildly talented women never got their shot because they didn’t wear a size zero? Take Charlize Theron for example. Impossibly attractive, she was first noticed in 1996’s 2 Days in the Valley.* For several years, she appeared in a string of forgettable films. She took a risk in 2003 playing serial killer Aileen Wuornos in Monster. The... Read More

The End Is The Beginning

April 28th, 2019

“A thing isn’t beautiful because it lasts.” That quote comes from the under-loved Avengers: Age of Ultron. Upon its 2015 release, we were 11 films deep and there were two schools of thought about the Marvel Cinematic Universe, a sprawling epic of interconnectivity. Eager nerds like myself were excited. Comic book creators and imagination machines like Jack Kirby, Stan Lee, and Steve Ditko used these characters, perhaps unwittingly, as a kind of modern mythology. There were lessons of tolerance, justice, decency. You could take something of real value away from the adventures of a bunch of... Read More