Saturday - April 1, 2023

Archive for the ‘ Movies ’ Category


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

Golden Boy or Black Sheep?

January 16th, 2023

There’s one in every family. As sure as water is wet or the sky is blue, there’s always one. The black sheep. The bad boy, though they’re not always male. At family gatherings, they spin a tale of woe about how, yet again, they got screwed. That’s the best-case scenario. The worst is that they’re up in your face, all smiles, and they want to tell you about an amazing opportunity. All you have to do is loan them…I’m sorry, invest some money. You’ll get two, three, four times back what you invested. Guaranteed. My family has one of those. I’d bet all your money that yours does,... Read More

Critic & Son – M3gan Edition

January 9th, 2023

One of my proudest moments recently came during last October. My son, Liam, has been dipping his toe into the murky pool of horror movies. During dinner, he told me he was ready for one of the big ones, the OG Halloween. Did I want to watch it with him? Well. In a moment of parental maturity, I nearly lunged over the table and yelled, “YOU’RE DAMN SKIPPY I DO!” And, as is the tradition, my wife rolled her eyes at this. So how did he like the merry adventures of one Michael Myers, esquire? He dug it! I told him that the franchise has more than its fair share of crap, yet there are diamonds... Read More

Tim’s Top 10 Movies of 2022

January 2nd, 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

Works Of The Flesh

December 26th, 2022

When my brother was drinking himself to death, he was alone. He didn’t die in the shabby Tulsa house he rented. That came a few days later in the hospital as his organs shut down, one by one. But I suspect there was a moment earlier on, it could have been months or years, where he saw two paths for his life. The first involved asking for help, treatment, backsliding numerous times, and the possibility of something approximating a fresh start. The second path involved cheap vodka, dim rooms with beige walls, and a tragic death. That’s one of the troublesome aspects of addiction, the idea that... Read More

Blue Cat Group

December 19th, 2022

As I write this on Wednesday, December 14, a few of the main news stories of the day on The Washington Post are: An article about how Tijuana has evolved into a trafficking hub for fentanyl The arrest of Sam Bankman-Fried, the founder of the cryptocurrency exchange FTX, and the various politicians he allegedly donated to The tenth anniversary of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary The Texas attorney general’s office sought information on transgender residents The discovery that soccer journalist Grant Wahl died of an aortic aneurysm A science article about why some parts of Earth warm faster... Read More

Freedom Is Taken

December 12th, 2022

To look at Gordon’s back is to see a map of a country forged in brutality. He was an enslaved person and, in March of 1863, he managed to escape from the plantation where he was imprisoned. After a harrowing forty mile journey, he reached Baton Rouge and the safety of the Union Army.  Two moments of note occurred during his examination. The first was when he said this: Ten days from to-day I left the plantation. Overseer Artayou Carrier whipped me. I was two months in bed sore from the whipping. My master come after I was whipped; he discharged the overseer. My master was not present. I don’t... Read More

Pasadena Down Under

December 5th, 2022

What could you do with one hundred thousand dollars? If you wanted to be insufferably responsible, you could make a solid down payment on a house, begin a solid college fund for your kid, or generously help one (or several) charities. Those are all mature, respectable suggestions. They’re also boring. For starters, you could buy a jet pack! By that I mean, a jet pack, an honest to God functional jet pack. You could buy a security detail and have them protect you for a solid year. You could buy an untitled piece of art made by Basquiat, one of Kobe Bryant’s NBA championship rings, hell, you... Read More

Eat The Rich

November 28th, 2022

You don’t get to look like me without being a foodie. I’ve joked with my wife that she married a man who will never have rippling muscles or six-pack abs. It’s all because I love food. The preparation of it, the eating of it, and the reminiscing of it. There’s something special about it, and the right meal eaten at the right place with the right people can be nothing short of magical. I’m a foodie, but I also know that the foodie scene sometimes gets to be…well, a bit much. At a local pizza place in Boulder a few years ago, our waiter regaled us with the quality of the ingredients.... Read More

The Best-Case Worst-Case

November 21st, 2022

The act of making a movie is the act of solving an escalating series of fiendishly difficult problems. If there’s a story problem the dumbass screenwriter missed, you have to fix it. If your lead actor can’t perform the role the way you need, you need to handle it. If you run out of money three-quarters of the way through filming, you must find a way to work the problem. Ryan Coogler understands this concept intimately. He broke in as a filmmaker with the independent film Fruitvale Station. He invigorated the way past dead Rocky franchise with Creed. Most notably, he made one of the most intelligent... Read More

Edge of Adulthood

November 14th, 2022

Empathy is in short supply these days. It seems that way, anyway. Horrifyingly large numbers of so-called Christians not only allow bullying but embrace it and cheer it on. People who claim to have an evolved outlook on…well, everything, also lean hard into being judgmental and positively flee from the concept of forgiveness. It’s all quite dispiriting. Though perhaps it’s not as bad as all that? Consider that, as I write this, an election that was supposed to be a red wave turned into a purplish puddle. It wasn’t long ago that the idea of two men being married — legally! — would have... Read More