It is gratifying to discover that mankind is still capable of finding new ways of being weird.
I sometimes worry about the current deficit of wonder in the world. With the increasing digitization of society, where are we to go for a sense of wonderment? Anytime a thought or question comes up, we go to our phone or laptop and look it up. There we find an exact and quantifiable answer, we don’t spend time in awed fascination anymore. We don’t sit and wonder about the stars, we don’t wonder about the life Edvard Grieg lived, we don’t wonder what it would be like to be live in Nova Scotia.
We still have curiosity, but with the decline of wonder are we perhaps losing some of our imagination!? Are we not pushing or stretching our minds as far as we once did? Life is beginning to resemble a science fiction scenario where organisms and machines share a common superfluity. With so much information floating around, is it really a surprise we’ve lost some of our awe and admiration?
It’s movies like this that make me happy there are still people and artists out there wondering. People and artists who are just taking it out there.
I believe my parents might still be holding out hope that I will become an Olympic athlete. I remember doing all those weird events growing up. Shot put, discus, high jump. None as weird as Pole Vault, which basically seems like a dare made by drunk acrobats.
We have this funny thing happening at the house.
I think it happens every summer, or every ‘allergy season’ (whatever that means). Our dog gets his itches and allergies that lead to some obsessive licking. Now we give him meds and look after him but he will still do some serious licking, which is loud, unhealthy, persistent and annoying as hell.
What happens is when we walk out of the room, he will start licking, thinking he is secretly getting away with something. This licking can be heard clear across the house and forces us to yell his name, to try to get him to stop. Only we don’t yell his real name, we yell his nickname, which is “Turds.”
Here is what I realized… more often than not I am yelling while I am in the bathroom. I asked the wife and she agreed, odd as it may seem the yelling happens most often in the bathroom. So this means that on a consistent and daily basis, both of us are yelling “Turds!” multiple times from the bathroom.
Now I am sure, because we live in close quarters to our neighbors (and to the sidewalk), that people hear all of this. I can’t know for sure what people must think about this daily declaration of “Turds!” coming from our bathroom window, nor of the odd combination of irritation and fervor with which we yell it, but I would guess they would have to surmise some sort of excited vocal confirmation of this basic human act.
To heighten the effect, and add a nice complexity to the issue, the 6 year old started copying us as well. So hopefully now at least people think we are great proponents of tradition.
Best Picture 2015
GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY
I didn’t want to believe it, but this movie is undeniably good. Even the kid loved it. There were a few swear words but the dick jokes went over her head. A big, well done, funny, irreverent kind of space epic. It’s a story I would love to have written and worked on.
I have the Great American Novel in my head. I started to write it but committed a fatal flaw by killing off the main character in the first chapter. But it’s still up there, and maybe if I didn’t spend so much time writing these stupid movie reviews I could finish it.
GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL
Having a big brown Great Dane is kind of like walking around with a deer on a leash. I swear. People freak the fuck out.
Dear Christopher Nolan, please cut your movies in half.
This movie could have been excellent, but too much was packed into it. Spend some time in the editing suite bro.
And please hone your philosophical knife. There are 34 grand conceptual issues trying to be addressed and they all spill messily out of your hands. Just grab a few and really hold them.
I still enjoyed it visually, but you’re better than this. Pull it together.
Interesting fact: Penguins can jump up to 9 feet in the air. No shit.
Another interesting fact: a traffic jam in Beijing lasted 9 days.
This movie is incredible, go see it.
I love hotels, always have.
Growing up we used to go to a Holiday inn for like a family vacation and I think I still hold a reverence for them. I love everything about em, I jump on the beds, wear the bath robes, order room service etc.
The family was traveling recently and we stayed at a hotel that had pay-per-view movies that were playing in the theater. (How the hell does that even work!?) Anyway we started watching Nightcrawler after the kid fell asleep and we were liking it.
About an hour in the movie suddenly shut off, some technical glitch, and we couldn’t get it back. We were bummed, we called the front desk, no dice. We had to wait for 2 months to see the end.
The end wasn’t as good as the start, maybe it had something to do with not being in a hotel for the end.
THE BOOK OF LIFE
I wanted to rent this movie the other day but the kid said: “ We already saw that!”
I don’t remember seeing it.
Social graces 101, I swear I was placed on this earth to write the syllabus.....
Subject 4G; Don’t drive like an ass. Why are you peeling out down a residential street? Seriously why dude?
Subject 12C: Just be kind, everybody is fighting a struggle.
Subject 27E: Rescue dogs, don’t go to breeders. Do you realize that 1.2 million dogs are put down every year because they can’t find a home! Jesus.
FANTASTIC MR FOX
I am waging a war against my backyard and the backyard is currently winning.
It’s an interesting fight, one I didn’t expect myself to be in at this point in my life. I always imagined myself battling other major league athletes on the field, or fighting evil in the streets with other superheroes. But here I am in a bathrobe and a cup of coffee, cursing the weeds, scratching my head, angrily coming up with new strategies.
I guess it's just part of manhood, owning a house, broken toilets, burning toast and crazy women. But it’s part of my life, it’s my battle and I’m gonna fight it. I’m running onto the field with sword in hand. God damn it I’m gonna have the yard I want, I’m an adult!
The antagonists in this movie battle a nuisance in their backyard and that nuisance is Mr. Fox, voiced by George Clooney. Just one of the many stars who lend their voices to this movie. What a gem of a movie. We watched it last night and the thought of it glides gently across my mind as I swear at the dirt.
I hate leaf blowers.
They are one of the worst noise polluting things out there and our neighbors are obsessed with them.
If and when I run for public office it will be my platform to get rid of them.
Duke Carmichael for Comptroller.
Down with leaf blowers.
I don’t understand why my car is always dirty. Inside and out.
It is absolutely impossible for me to keep my car clean. Even remotely clean. I officially give up. I’m deciding right here and now that this will be one less thing that gives me stress. My car will be dirty and that is just who I am.
This is now officially a part of me, one way people will describe me, an annoying or endearing quality, a visible factor in my existence, some extra dirt and dust in my vicinity as I constantly move and change while hurtling forward on this giant spinning rock in space. I think I’m cool with it. The dog obviously doesn’t mind.
Saw Birdman. Loved it. Not at all what I expected. It made me realize how much I like Michael Keaton.
LA VIE EN ROSE
I have an accordion, it’s a good one too. I’d like to learn it solely for the purpose of waking up the six year old.
I am growing tired of the cliched and utterly boring sports interview.
This goes for players as well as coaches, GM’s, the whole lot.
I want somebody who is funny and self deprecating, even bizarre.
I understand the need for professionalism at work and in appearance. I’m just being grumpy, I just want somebody who will make me laugh after the game. I understand that these are athletes, skilled in arenas outside comedy, improv and forensics. But I’d like to think there’d be a handful of players who would break the mold.
UNDER THE SKIN
What a wonderfully bizarre little sci-fi indie flick. I knew nothing about it neither should you
Some blurbs come easy, like soda from a fountain. Like a potato picked from the ground. Others are hard, they require physics and math. They involve viscosity and thermal dynamics. I imagine the same with movies, scripts, songs, paintings etc.
I watched this movie with the kid, I thought it was awesome, the kid was like “eh, I’ve seen better.” Made me realize the high level of skill and craftsmanship in today’s movie world, it’s a high bar. I can’t believe the amount of work and talent that goes into it. Lots of viscosity and thermal dynamics man.
After 16 years hosting the Daily Show, Jon Stewart is stepping down.
The news is hitting the internet like somebody died.
I met him once, years ago. A friend was working with him and we were invited to a Christmas party that he attended. I was chatting with Larry Wilmore when all of a sudden a small guy in a leather jacket and raggedy ball cap was standing next to me. At second glance I realized it was Jon. I introduced myself, somebody brought us beers and we shared small talk for a minute. Upon leaving I said simply: “nice work.”
The next day I cursed myself for saying that. What a stupid thing to say, “nice work,” like he needed to hear that. I didn’t realize it then, but I realize now that I couldn’t have said anything better. That’s exactly how I feel, then and now.
Nice work Jon, nice work.
THE LEGO MOVIE
It's hard to go to the movies these days. I know it’s costing me $127 just to get it, but what comes afterward is what bothers me most. Sure the Milk Duds for the 6 year old cost $8, the wife’s popcorn cost $12, but they tried to charge me $6 for an empty cup….
“No, I’d just like to fill it with water from the water fountain.”
“Ok sir, I need to charge $6 for the cup.”
“Are you serious?”
“Yes sir, it’s our policy.”
“No seriously, are you fucking kidding me!?”
“Sir, there are children around.”
“Yah, I know, that one there is my fucking kid.”
At that point I got a gentle tug from my mature half and we carried on to our theater, me still grumbling.
Now the last few years I have been going to movie theaters in the Los Angeles area, where you think the audience would be , I don’t know, movie-considerate !? Nope, people are having all out conversations, half the teenage girls are on their cell phones, the person directly behind me has been slowly opening some plastic food device for the last 35 minutes, the fat dude to my right chews his nachos so loudly it haunts my dreams that night. Whole families come 20 minutes into the movie, and then discuss in normal voices what seats they think best.
Some might really enjoy this `community style' viewing. I do not. My take away, as I grow grumpier and older and more frugal, is that unless you can sneak a full wine and cheese board into an empty matinee, going to the movies just might not be worth it.
Give me my big ass flat screen, surround sound, and my comfy couch. Hell I don’t even need pants on, and I’ll still shush my wife.
THE WOLF OF WALL STREET
I watched this on a day off.
It took me about 5 hours to get through because I kept stopping and starting it. Fucker is long but I thoroughly enjoyed it. I laughed out loud at the country club Quaalude scene and I thought Leo killed it. And for whatever reason it made me really horny so I had buttsex with the wife that night.
DALLAS BUYERS CLUB
Have I talked about my idea for a Social Graces class yet!?
Seriously, maybe in High School, maybe before, but you would need to take it and graduate it , like Drivers Ed. Upon completion you would then be issued a `social license' so you could go out in public.
Here’s a rough idea….
-OFF before ON. Allow people to exit an elevator before you enter it. This applies to pretty much everything: trains, busses, bathrooms, etc…off before on
-Noise Pollution. This is a real thing people, I have sensitive ears so I am extra aware of it, but let’s start getting a grip on all the noise we are putting into the environment.
-Phone etiquette. There will be a whole semester devoted to this. Don’t even get me started. I just popped a blood vessel thinking about it!
So many things bother me out in the world. My friends laugh at me and say that I’m an asshole, but I don’t think so…for example I let people go ahead of me if they have less groceries, I help women lift their strollers on the curb, I am extremely Socially Grace Conscious!!!! I’m an adult !!!
Now granted my wife would say that I have a lot of things I can work on and I won’t deny that. This is why we need a whole panel of people to build the curriculum. I am currently taking applications.
Dallas Buyers Club was epic by the way.
TOY STORY 3
It was probably the well timed Vicodin, or the half bottle of wine, but this movie tops my list. I thought I was on acid, with all the colors and 3D shit going on. Wow.
I cried like a baby at the climactic scene in the landfill. I am tearing up right now just thinking of it. What a great movie. God damn it, great fucking movie.
Sometimes I think rampant free agency is hurting sports. It makes people just root for laundry.
I was at an A’s game the other day and half of the jersey’s people were wearing were for people who don’t even play for them any more.
I know its the nature of the business, but it just kinda makes me sad. I grew up around Chicago where Ryne Sandberg played his entire career as a Cub. He was my idol and I want that for kids these days. A hero that is rooted.
I read all the articles and listen to all the podcasts, I understand it’s a new era. America is built on upward mobility. Individuals need to find their niche and build their “brand,” companies need to deal with salary caps, unions and regulatory committees… thats all fine and I understand it. I just grew up with a hero who was rooted in the community. And I want that for the kids.
MAN OF STEEL
I think I might have shin splints.
Possibly my favorite movie of this genre. Not only visually epic, but the plot, characters, script and soundtrack are top notch. I think I have watched this movie 48 times. I will put it on silently in the background while I’m working in my shop, always a cool thing to pan my eyes to. Seriously…. go watch it. It’s fucking great. People scoff at Sci-Fi and fantasy movies but I will stand up in a courtroom and say this is one of my Top 5 all time.
THE DARK KNIGHT RISES
So I showed this blog to my wife and she kinda laughed and said “eh… yah, you can do better.”
I don’t know exactly what that means, so i asked…
”Should I try to be more funny ?”,
“No, people can tell you’re trying to be funny.”
“Ok, should I try to be more critical and film savvy?”
“No, that’s boring.”
“Ok, should I try to be more abstract?”
“What ?….well… !? I don’t don’t know….can we start RoboCop now!?”
So we started the The Americans, the FX Show.
I fell asleep the first couple episodes, not because it was boring but because I was just tired. I am now trying to stay awake. The show is good, great acting, plot….
I don’t know how many people watched the weird CNN Anderson Copper interview with Donald Sterling, (the disgraced LA Clippers owner), but there was a moment that went under the national radar. In response to Cooper’s query of “You are accused of having a plantation mentality.” Sterling quickly and reactionary responded: “You have a plantation mentality!”
It was similar to how I would talk with my close friends, “Your mom is a plantation!”
Donald Sterling is an idiot and he needs to get beat.
For the record I really did want to watch RoboCop, I know it has mediocre reviews, but I love the cast and want to watch it. The wife had to work tonight so we put it off. I will say that if we DID put on RoboCop, I would taken my pants off. Instead I am trying to take notes on The Americans.
I’m pretty sure my review of RoboCop will come under the heading “Book Reviews: The Goldfinch”.
You’re a RoboCop
I expected to see Charlie Kaufman’s name in the credits. Do you know of Charlie Kaufman? He didn’t write this movie, but it reminded me of him. It’s probably due in large part to the writer/director Spike Jonze being a long time collaborator of Kaufman’s and the quirky narrative of the film.
For those of you who don’t know of Charlie Kaufman, learn about him. His films are brilliant…
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Being John Malkovich
Confessions of a Dangerous Mind
If you haven’t seen these, then here you go.