Archive for December, 2010

Dec 28 2010

Another Movie Post Pt1

Published by under Entertainment

I just counted and I have 21 movies to watch to reach my goal to watch the top 50 rated movies on imdb. That kind of shocked me a bit, but then again, there are a good number of those that I have seen portions of and I included on the list to rewatch them and also a good portion that I am simply not old enough to have been exposed to them.

Out of this last group of movies I’ve watched, I noticed there were a couple of them that I had seen at least portions of them even though I didn’t know those were the movies those scenes or portions were from. Two in particular, One Flew Over the Coockoo’s Nest and Taxi Driver, I had seen scenes that lacked context so they really couldn’t have counted as “seeing” the movie. But it was kind of funny that there was that theme in some of these groups of movies this time.

The Blind Side

Normally I’m not terribly big on sappy, feel good type movies. Or Sandra Bullock movies either. Maybe it was because it was football related or I got caught in a good mood or something, but I was surprised by how much I liked the movie. Being this is based on the true live story (I don’t know if it’s officially considered a biography) and that story was a football story, I did come into this knowing a good portion of the basic plot facts. I kind hearted kid with obvious physical advantages for certain sports gets taken in by an affluent family who later become investigated due to some creatively allegations that he was taken in for the sole purpose of influencing him to help their alma mater when he decides to go to the school of their choice. It’s funny and the whole family seemed to enjoy the movie.

4

12 Angry Men

Since this movie was released in 1957, it certainly wasn’t one that I’ve had lots of opportunity to see it. From what I had heard, I was looking forward to watching it though. Being rated #8 on the all time IMDB list, I figured there was no way it could be bad. Many movies of this age lack in a lot of the polish and more contemporary cinematic features we are used to seeing in even the most low budget films being created. That is really the only knock I can give this movie though. It’s actually very interesting as you watch in what seems to be a real time deliberation of a jury as one man refuses to give in to the group pressure to convict a young man of murdering his father. He slowly gets his doubts to change the opinions of his jury mates. You get to see the difficulty and frustration as strangers from many different backgrounds try to work as 1 entity and try and come up with a unanimous verdict. While this wasn’t one of the movies that I had seen portions of prior to watching it, I had seen one of Artie’s reenactments of one of the scenes.

The scene is pretty spot on, so I did feel like I had seen a portion of the film. I was certainly glad that this film did hold up to my expectations.
4.5

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

Without realizing it until I watched, I had seen a good portion of this movie before. Unfortunately it was like the last 3rd so I got to see a lot of interesting scenes that totally lacked the context needed to fully understand what was going on. I was able to mark another movie off of my goal list being ranked as #9 on the IMDB list. After watching it, I felt that was a bit high – although it’s been a couple weeks since I’ve watched it and I have to admit that thinking back on it I have a higher appreciation for the movie now that I did immediately after finishing the film. This might have to be one I go back and watch at some point since I feel I could easily have missed some aspects of the message. There were a bunch of excellent performances in the movie and tons of notable scenes. I think the main message and plot are not as obvious though.

3.5

Taxi Driver
Are you talkin to me? There are few movies that get quoted more than Taxi Driver. It also happens to be #41 on my imdb quest list. De Niro puts on one of his better performances as a veteran becomes a victim of his own delusions which drive his desires to save people from the evil he sees around himself. It combines interesting characters with interesting situations.

4.0

Memento
Some how I missed #29 on my quest list. This should have been the exact kind of movie that I would have been all over when it came out. This movie kind of reminded a bit of Pulp Fiction as it’s most notable feature is it’s atypical format. It doesn’t take place chronologically, it works it’s way backwards. The basic premise is a guy who was involved in an accident received a head injury preventing him from retaining any memories after the injury. You end up watching short segments about the length of time that the lead can remember. You have no history just as he has no history. The one question I have with this premise is how is it that he remembers that he has no memory? Wouldn’t he just think it’s the day of (or after) his accident? Despite that, it’s still a good movie.

4.0

Diary of a Wimpy Kid
Perhaps it’s my curmudgeon gene is maturing with age, but many of the kids shows that are coming out now just seem to be retarded. Even going back and watching the shows I once enjoyed seem to be ridiculous. Nothing like the awesome I remember. Fortunately this movie seemed reasonable. Perhaps it was the atmosphere of watching it in a theater full of kids enjoying it, or perhaps I was awe struck by the movies wily use of Alternative Hip Hop. Whatever the case. I didn’t hate the movie. I shudder to say I even liked it…. but just a little.

3.0

Little Shop of Horrors
This movie was a rewatch as an attempt to teach my children some appreciation for awesome cult classics. I hadn’t seen it for longer than I can recall, so a refresher certainly couldn’t hurt my aging brain. The choice was between this and Rocky Horror Picture Show. Little Shop of Horrors won out simply cause it was a tad less risque than to try and explain transsexual transvestites (they would get the Transylvania part) to the kids and why I was throwing toast at the screen. Besides, how can you go wrong with a musical movie about a meat eating alien plant? To answer my rhetorical question, you can’t. I did forget just how awesome some of the characters (like Steve Martin) were and some of the song’s like Suddenly Seymour. Good times.

4.0

There Will Be Blood

Daniel Day Lewis is probably the 2nd best bad guy actor in my book (FWIW, I would put Gary Oldman in the top spot). This is one of those movies that should have been a Cohen brothers movie. There aren’t a lot of movies I would put in that category. It takes something unique to fall in there. Despite DDL’s great performance, I couldn’t get into this movie. It seemed to be like one of those stories that some elderly person tells you, and while you don’t find it uninteresting, you get to distracted trying to divine some sort of meaning from the story, that you miss the story itself. If the story was really about the conflict between Danial and Eli, then they probably should have had more than like 30 minutes of screen time together through out the whole movie. It’s still worth watching just for those 2 though.

3.0

How to Train Your Dragon

I had heard this was a good movie before I had a chance to see it. The story isn’t that original. You have your odd kid who, coincidentally, is the son of the group leader. The odd kid is a disappointment to his family and his community. The odd kid finds his own way to contribute and ends up saving everyone. Nothing new and I don’t think I’m ruining anything for any one by saying this. Even with the well worn story, I liked the characters in it and still found it funny. This was probably the biggest surprise movie for me in a while. And hopefully not to spoil it for any who haven’t seen it, I was glad to see that they didn’t go for the pure happy ending where everything is all sunshine and roses. Kudos for trying to teach kids that they can find ways to deal with adversity and still be happy.

4.5

Kick-Ass

Kick-ass is an atypical format for a very typical contemporary movie subject. It would seem that comic book heroes are a necessary staple to the diet of any cinema buff any more. You can’t go more than a couple of months before the next one is out. Thankfully, they have improved. There have been a bunch of them that haven’t been up to snuff. Kick-ass takes the most interesting story line to this genre since Unbreakable. This movie was better than Unbreakable, though. And I am probably one of the few people who liked Unbreakable. I just hope that they don’t force it and ruin this with an awful sequel. The setup is there. We’ll see how they return the volley. I will certainly watch the next chapter.

3.5

Grown Ups

If SNL had an all show reunion, the cast would look strikingly similar to this movie. It’s like SNL just vomited it’s cast from the last 20 years all over this movie. Oh, and Dan Patrick too. This movie mashes together several different types of feel good themes in it. Family building, check. Reliving the glory days, check. Getting back to the joys of a simpler life, check. Slap stick comedy with tons of “oh isn’t it funny how that guy got hurt?” moments, check. Hmm. Ok, so that one doesn’t fall into feel good themes, but seems to be a requirement for any movie containing more than one former SNL cast member. And this one had at least half a dozen of those. Trying to cram that much feel good into a movie isn’t easy but this movie ended up being funny and didn’t dwell on those themes too heavily. It isn’t exactly what I would call family friendly, but probably is perfect if you have any teen aged boys. There are plenty of low brow jokes that certainly will be a hit with that demographic. Or any who feel the need to shut their brains off for 2 hours and just enjoy a movie that tries to cram pack it full of funny moments and jokes.

3.5

It’s been about 3 months since I’ve made one of these posts and I can definitely feel the pain of waiting that long. I’m sure any one else who reads through this will have a similar feeling as I’ve written this post at different times and the styles are probably all over the place. I don’t even want to punish myself by proof reading this mess. Well, there should be the second half of this coming shortly but hopefully it won’t seem so random.

To be continued…

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Dec 19 2010

The Weekend

Published by under Personal

This weekend, as with most of our weekends of recent, was filled with a great deal of events. Most notably, TJ had 2 tournaments he was involved with this weekend. Nothing to tire out a youth like getting home just after 10pm only to need to be at a school the very next morning at 7:30 for the next events weigh in.

Unfortunately the event on Friday was not so conveniently scheduled Friday afternoon and a 2 hour drive away. I wasn’t fortunate enough to be able to tear myself away from my daily grind to see his match. He was in good spirits after returning despite not getting his first bout win.

This is TJ’s first year with wrestling and, even at that, wasn’t fully decided to be involved until a mere couple of weeks prior to the start of the season. As I recall, he waited until the evening before the first meeting with the coach before deciding for certain to join. A good portion of his motivation to join was to stay in or get into better shape for his first sporting choice of football.

So in he lept into a pool full of kids seasoned by years of experience that he lacked. I’m not sure if he displaced his lack of success as being the price to pay to be involved, but at any rate, I was happy to see that he has been positive about wrestling through it all. He found a comfort with his place but also has seemed to develop an interest in the sport beyond his original goal that stirred a desire for him to improve and learn more.

That was all well and good but there was nothing more we could have asked for than for him to have his efforts rewarded with success beyond his enjoyment of the activity. That day finally came. After countless bouts and many matches, close calls like the bout he was leading in points only to be pinned in the 3rd round, his hard work and practice was rewarded with success. He finally had his hand lifted in victory. There was little that could have happened to sullen his mood after that point. Being so excited that he nearly forgot to return his winning bout sheet back to the head table.

A small success and huge feeling of relief had fallen. I would have felt horrible if he hadn’t been able to taste some sort of validated success for the season. I am not about to say that my involvement was anything to his level, but living and dying by your child’s successes and failures is draining to say the least.

So here it is in all of his glory. TJ’s first win.

These matches are almost unbearably long. I have learned that it’s needed to bring a sweatshirt or some other article to be used as padding on these seats that certainly did not have comfort as a top concern when they were built. I do have to say that the plastic bleachers do have a gentler feel to them after many hours of use than the natural wood bleachers do. If any of you find yourself in a position to make that call, I give you my opinion on the matter that they are decidedly a more comfortable material. I have to admit that I no longer look upon those parents bringing in their own portable cushioned seats with a look of mocking but more a look of envy.

We rewarded his success with a treat at any fine establishment of his choosing. This allowed me to become aware that Denny’s has a new culinary masterpiece gracing their menu. I’ll let the description from their website do this it’s due justice:

FRIED CHEESE MELT
Grilled cheese with a twist. Four fried mozzarella sticks and melted American cheese grilled between two slices of sourdough bread. Served with wavy-cut French fries and a side of marinara sauce.

If that doesn’t set your mouth watering, then you sir are not alive. I somehow found the will to avoid it’s temptation and likely have earned some (albeit not much) additional time at the end of my life by sticking to a patty melt. I’ll save that cheesy option as a treat for a day for me. This was TJ’s day.

Today we decided to take it a bit more easy. We decided to test the slopes at the local sledding hill. I use the term easy only in relation to the previous days. If you have ever tried to motivate and squeeze 5 children into clothing suitable for extended time in sub freezing weather, then I’m sure you realize how loosely I’m using the word. The final product can only be aptly explained by a crew Ralphy’s younger brother bundle up in “A Christmas Story” of varying sizes.

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The older kids found some friends from school so we ended up dragging the younger ones around from one end of the hill to the other until they found their Goldy Locks suitable side of the mound. Most of them seemed to have a good time. All of them I’m sure but Zoe. For some reason she still can’t bring herself to overcome her fear of “things that might be fun but doesn’t get exposed to them daily so it’s out of the question”. I kind of understand as I used to be an anxious kid too and was stricken with completely irrational fears that I know limited the fun I could have had. The sick part, even though I went through, I haven’t the slightest idea of what we can do to convince her of how silly these fears are. I’m chalking it up to just one of those things that people have to decide on their own to overcome and grow out of. I did, hopefully she doesn’t take as long as I did to get there.

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This is getting a bit long winded though. Hell, I wouldn’t even read this much so if you got this far, I commend your commitment and hope you are a fast reader. Would have been a shame to waste too much time on this. As a reward, enjoy some pictures from the sledding.

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The rest of the captured moments can be seen here.

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Dec 13 2010

Wife Chat: Moratorium Lifted

Published by under Personal

Whew. Glad I didn’t have to hold this in much longer. Today was the day my wife was able to release her review of on of the latest games she received so I can reveal this wife chat.

amy: not that you will anyway, but i fogot to tell you that you can’t discuss marvel pinball online
me: Too layr
me: late
amy: did you give a review of it?
me: I already started site dedicated to it
amy: oh man….now i’ll never get another review :(
me: yep
me: fucked
amy: oh, well, i guess i’ll have to start reviewing sex toys instead……unless you’re joking?
me: totally not joking
me: guess it has to be sex toys
me: The site is wootmywifeisreviewingsextoys.com

Actually, her video game reviews have been doing pretty well. Or at least that’s what I’m told. I only have to deal with her spending time chatting online with a bunch of guys like this guy. But hey, I’m getting free games so it’s all good, right?

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