Wednesday, January 29, 2014

movies of 2013... the best part one

Finally... the best movies I was able to see in 2013. Now you'll notice this is a Part 1... because there are actually 20 movies to talk about. Tomorrow, you'll get Part 2, which are all 2013 movies, and I'll list the best of them that I saw from January 1st to December 31st, 2013...

Today, however, is the Top Ten Movies from 2012 and before that I watch in 2013. Y'all feel me flow? Dig? Cool.

10... The Good, the Bad & the Ugly (1966)... As part of our movie series, we were assigned to watch this classic spaghetti western, part of the "Dollars Trilogy" (no, that's not Campbell, Lorelei and Naomi, my three kids, two of which I don't have)... this goes along with "A Fistful of Dollars" and "For a Few Dollars More", which all star Clint Eastwood as The Man with No Name. This particular tale is all the usual Western standards... robbery, gold, betrayal, hangings, horses, ponchos... but its Eastwood, Eli Wallach and Lee Von Cleif that sets this apart... that, and the all too familiar score that you would know in a second.

9... Les Miserables (2012)... When I heard they were doing a movie version (again) of Les Miserables, I didn't think of the Liam Neeson film, I thought of two other films... Chicago, that did the musical adaptation right... and Mamma Mia!, which was a big, fat mess... so all I could do was hope for the best. For the most part, I wasn't disappointed. Hugh Jackman is a fantastic Jean Valjean, and Anna Hathaway defines Fantine (when she finished singing "I Dreamed A Dream", I looked at The Lovely Steph Leann and said, "She just won an Oscar"--and I was right). Amanda Seyfried is just fine as Cosette, though I do not love her singing voice, and I think Sacha Baron Cohen is incredibly miscast as Thenardier... though that might be because I'm loyal and beholden to the Highlights CD that I've been listening to for 20 years...

Russell Crowe? I don't think he was nearly as bad as everyone made it out to be, and I applaud his bravery for even doing the singing part... but he was not a strong point. However, I did love this version overall.

8... This is 40 (2012)... Let's see... Paul Rudd is one of my favorite two or three actors out there. I have a thing for Lesley Mann. Judd Apatow is a solid director. Put them altogether, and we have the perfect movie? No... not perfect. But good. I've seen it twice, and it got much, much better the second time I watch it.

7... West of Memphis (2012)... I'm a big fan of crime drama true story books and documentaries, and this one was unbelievable. The story goes that in the early 90s, three little boys were murdered and mutilated by a creek in the town of West Memphis, Arkansas. The police, in a hurry to find someone to pin this on, found their guys... three teenagers, led by Damien Echols, who had the audacity to listen to metal music, draw pictures that church goers didn't like, and wear lots and lots of black. On the strength of what seems like a forced confession of one of the three, all three teens were arrested, tried in a ridiculous trial and sentenced to life, with Damien getting the death penalty.

Over the years, more and more evidence that showed their innocence came out, as well as proof of shoddy and biased police work, until it was almost obvious that the teens didn't have anything to do with the crimes--and what's more, investigators all but ignored glaring evidence and signs that pointed to one or two other suspects.

All of this was chronicled in the three part documentary series of Paradise Lost Trilogy, which is an amazing viewing in itself--but this one takes all three of those, and puts them together into one 2 hour and 20 minute package. I highly recommend you see this, and make your own conclusions.

6... Room 237 (2012)... For fans of "The Shining" by Stephen King, you will have probably seen "The Shining" film, directed by Stanley Kubrick. King himself in years since says he hated Kubrick's vision of the story (in recent years, King has reiterated this point)... but Kubrick's vision is amazing. And creepy. And terrifying. And so, so odd. Hence, the documentary "Room 237", named for a hotel room in the story that holds strange, unspeakable things. The doc centers on conspiracy theories, everything from Kubrick's nod to the Holocaust by using a German typewriter, to the odd way he's laid out the hotel scenes... in one shot, the main character Jack is talking with the hotel manager in the office, where out of a window you can see trees and sky... in another shot, Danny is riding his tricycle down the hall, passing that same office, and based on his path, the office is obviously in the middle of the hotel with no window. That kind of stuff. Its almost a car-wreck type fascination that draws you to this, you sit and watch and think "These people have way too much time on their hands" and then remember you've been watching for an hour. It's awesome.

5... The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012)... What a sweet, cute little movie. Based on the novel by Stephen Chbosky, who also directed, its a coming of age high school tale of a loner named Charlie, a new freshman, who really only connects with his favorite teacher, played by Paul Rudd, who is excellent in this small role. He is somehow befriended by two seniors, Sam (Emma Watson) and her stepbrother Patrick (Ezra Miller), and throughout the school year, their friendship grows, especially as Charlie develops real feelings for Sam--and this is to the chagrin of Mary Elizabeth (a growed up Mae Whitman) who is possessive of Charlie after one accidental kiss.

There is also a small subplot involving Charlie's aunt, played by one of my favorites, Melanie Lynskey, that provides a turn that I didn't see coming at all until just before its revealed, but it provides real heart and even heartbreak to the story. Its a beautiful movie, and well done, especially by Emma Watson, who is continuing to prove that she is, in fact, no longer Hermione Granger.

4... Pitch Perfect (2012)... Another one of my favorites, Anna Kendrick, leads this pack of up and coming Hollywood stars and starlets, as her Beca is trying to fit in to Barden University, all the while chasing her own dream of being a music producer. She tries out for the a capella female group The Barden Bellas, once the darlings of the university, now on the bottom rung due to one of its lead singers vomiting on stage at the previous year's competition.

This film is fun, its light, never preachy, and really, surprisingly, not gay. As in, it doesn't take a gay guy and hit you over the head like some films do, preaching tolerance. Instead, the cast is brilliant, with Rebel Wilson as the hilariously named "Fat Amy", the unknown Hana Mae Lee as a very quietly talking Lilly who can beatbox, and Brittany Snow, as the co-leader of the Bellas. And a cameo by the likes of Donald Faison and Tom Lennon as part of a "we were cool then, trying to be cool now" group that graduated college years ago, but is still hanging around.

3... 12 Angry Men (1957)... Keep in mind, this list is titled "Best" but its my favorites of the year. If I were truly declaring "Best films Ever", this would probably be in the Top Ten, as this film is nearly perfect, flawless. Henry Fonda plays Juror #8 who is the only one who says "not guilty" in a trial of what looks like a slam-dunk case. A teenager from a slum is accused of stabbing his father, and Juror 8 just simply wants to talk about it. The other 11 jurors range from a guy with baseball tickets burning a hole in his pocket (Juror 7) to a rational stockbroker only interested in facts (Juror 4) to an extreme racist (Juror 10) who is ready to fry the defendant because of his color.

Every character is important, and some you love and some you despise, Juror 10 being one of them, and some you just want to smack, like Juror 3, who refuses to believe this kid might be innocent.

This.Is.Such.A.Good.Movie. It goes beyond "yeah, great movie" to "this is a good, good film". See it.

2... Django Unchained (2012)... Set in the pre-Civil War era, this Tarantino film follows a slave named Django (pronounced "jango", as the "D" is silent) who is purchased by a bounty hunter named Dr. Schultz (Christoph Waltz, who won an Oscar for this role) In exchange for the assistance in finding a couple of fugitives that Django knows of, Schultz agrees to help Django rescue his wife, Broomhilda, who was taken away and sold to another owner.

Its a sweeping, epic-type film that takes you from one scenario to the other as Schultz and Django first work together, and then develop a friendship, as they end up at a ruthless slavemaster's plantation--played to the hilt by Leonardo DiCaprio--who enjoys the sport of "mandingo fighting", that is, pitting one slave against another to the death.

While Leo is deplorable, likewise is his servant, Stephen, also played deliciously by Samuel L. Jackson. You learn to hate them both, and quickly.

This movie is not for the faint of heart, like most of all of Quentin Tarantino's movies are, but as a movie fan, I ate this movie up. Its a hard R, with soooo much violence, almost to the point of comical, and lots and lots of language, including a pervasive use of the N-Word. This isn't one I'll watch over and over, for the reasons I just named, but its still a winner to me.

And my favorite film that I watched in 2013 that wasn't actually a 2013 release?

1... Silver Linings Playbook (2012)... There are certain movies going into them that you know you will like... "American Hustle" was one. "Up in the Air" was another. "Frozen" is a third example. And this one, "Silver Linings Playbook". I am so in love with this movie that it might actually be the best film I saw overall last year, no matter the release date.

Pat (Bradley Cooper) has just been released from psychiatric care following treatment for bipolar disorder. He's now living with his mother and his gambling addicted father (Jacki Weaver and Robert DeNiro, respectively, both in amazing roles) and is trying hard to get his life on track and reconcile with his wife Nikki--who has a restraining order against him due to the violent episode that got him committed to begin with (its explained throughout the film).

Sometime later, while having dinner with his friend Ronnie and Ronnie's family, he meets Ronnie's sister in law Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence, in an Oscar winning performance), a widow who just lost her job.

The connection is there due to shared issues, neurosis and just an odd pair of lives. She convinces him to dance with her at an upcoming dance competition, while she agrees to help Pat get back together with his ex-wife, Nikki.

The movie is just wonderful, in all aspects, and one that I could--and have--watch over and over... I love the characters in this film, I love the appearance of Chris Tucker as Pat's hospital friend, and everything just flows.

So that's that Top Ten... how about the actual movies that I saw in 2013 that came out in 2013?

(20,118 words written in January... #20KWordsInJanuary accomplished)

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

the butterfinger battle

Tonight I worked out.

I am hefty. I need to lose weight. 

I worked out. On a bike. A stationary bike. 

But before I could work out, I had to buy some water.

I forgot my water. At home.

I went to CVS to buy some water.

The Butterfingers grabbed my attention.

The Butterfingers Cups called to me.

They said, "Buy me."

They said, "Eat me."

They said, "I be tastin' so gooooood before you work out."

I picked it up.

I wanted to buy it. 

It was on sale.

I could buy it. I could eat it. I was going to work out, so it would wash, right?

It would.

Picked it up.

Looked at the peanut butter and chocolate. Thought of how good it would be.

But when do I stop?

When do I realize that I can work out all day long, I can do all the right things

But I continue to parallel them with the wrong things, it wont matter.

One workout does not equal Butterfinger Cups

I put them back

I bought my water.

I lamented. Butterfinger Cups would have been so good. 

I sipped my water. It was sparkling. And fizzy. I didn't realize that's what I was buying.

And that's okay. The Butterfinger Cups would have been so good. 

But not tonight. Perhaps I'll lose the Butterfinger Battle tomorrow.

Perhaps I'll lose it next week.

But not tonight.


I won the Butterfinger Battle. 

I'll lose the weight I want to lose by winning one small battle at a time.

(18,146 words written for #500Words... 1,854 words until #20KWordsinJanuary)

Monday, January 27, 2014

things carly simon made me say late at night

Its two minutes shy of 11:30. And this is what is known as writer’s block… well, maybe. Sort of. I mean, I wrote a post on Friday, so its only been a few days… I guess I should write something, working on my 20,000 words for January. I’m getting close… you might say “well, you just wrote about movies and stuff, so that only sort of counts”, but I think it counts completely. They are my thoughts, my words, and I made sure not to count anything that I quoted from my earlier posts.

Its 1131 now. Someone on Facebook made a comment about my blog, telling me “You’re so vain. You probably think this comment is about you.” We bantered about lyrics from the song. Of course, as probably 98.7% of you know, that’s where the title of the blog comes from…

 “I had some dreams, they were clouds in my coffee… clouds in my coffee and… you’re so vain…”

Of course, then I had to play the song. Put the earbuds in, turn on some Carly Simon, and type away.

Type away about what? I have no idea!!

I feel like every time I go to Wikipedia, they are asking for a little change. I always feel like I should contribute, because darn if I don’t use it just about every day, multiple times per day. When I watch a movie, many times I’ll look there and IMDb, just to read facts and such about the film… box office returns, trivia, production information. I’m really a nerd like that.

Yeah, this looks a bit dated, don't it?
“In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning”, from Carly Simon just played and ended. Now its “Nobody Does It Better” from what I’m positive is “The Spy Who Loved Me”, a James Bond film.

Never been a James Bond fan, really. I mean, I liked the Daniel Craig films… “Skyfall” and “Casino Royale” and not really sure what the heck a “Quantum of Solace” is, but I liked it. Pierce Brosnan was not too bad in “Goldeneye”. I’m sure if I saw more of the Sean Connery ones, I’d like them more.

 “I Haven’t Got Time for the Pain” is on. I don’t know the album, but its such a great song. A great, “suck it up, Im heartbroken, but I got junk to do, so I’m gonna suck it up and get ‘er done.” Boom.

Boom is a great word. Boomsauce is an even better. I use Boom randomly. I think I’ll incorporate Boomsauce in there too.

So, when I was growing up, I heard about this syndrome called Toxic Shock Syndrome. It was this thing you could get if you were a chick and you improperly used feminine hygiene products. I’ve never heard of anyone ever dying of Toxic Shock Syndrome, and I never hear about it anymore. Is it still a thing?

Milo’s chicken fingers are so good. Milo’s is the burger joint in our area that serves their burgers with this brown gravy sauce on it that I don’t like, so I always get it plain, adding my own condiments, like ketchup and mustard and mayo...

"You Belong To Me” just came on. I know it best from the credits on the late Brittany Murphy’s “Little Black Book” a great little underrated, forgotten comedy with Holly Hunter and Peter from “Office Space”, who’s real name esca… Ron Livingston! Yeah, him. Anyway, it’s a great song.

Yes, its got the same title as the Taylor Swift song, and I probably like that song a little bit better, mostly because I am on the downslide to 40 and am a Taylor Swift fan and I’m #notsorrynotsorry. As a matter of fact, I'm going to listen to “You Belong to Me” right now.

Of course, it would help if I remembered that the Taylor Swift song was actually called “You Belong WITH Me”, not “TO Me”. Not quite as possessive.

She wears short skirts and I wear t-shirts, she’s cheer captain and I’m on the bleachers… this song makes me happy. When I hear it, especially if I watch the cutie-patootie video, it makes me think of high school, and how 16 year old me was the male Taylor Swift and I was singing to Julie Wise. That didn’t work out, and that’s okay.

Wasn’t I talking about Milo’s?

Yes, their fries are good too. And they just started doing chicken fingers a few months ago could have been a year ago, and I dig them. Dig ‘em a lot.

If I quoted Taylor Swift’s lyrics above, do those words count towards my total? Okay, I’m a purist, so I’ll discount those sixteen words. Does t-shirt count as two words? Its hyphenated, so

Holy crap “Head Over Heels” by Tears for Fears just came across my iTunes shuffle…. What. This song is so good. I won’t quote it or sing it here because I don’t want to have to count the word total and subtract it from my overall total. Too much work.

That’s the hard part about Milo’s… too much work. If its too go, I have to park, and in my lap, doctor it up with the condiments, and then what do I do with the empty packets of stuff? Toss them in the bag, sure, but like, I’ve got fries in there. Chicken fingers are less messy, but I can’t eat those in the car.

I was eating something in the car not too long ago, and like, I had on a white sweater, and I dripped ketchup out. Thankfully, it landed on a napkin, and I was so pleased that it didn’t land on the right side of my shirt where I thought it did. I didn’t look at the left side until a few minutes later, and yup, there it was. A little red splotch.

Splotch. What a weird word. Makes me think of the character Elmo Blatch in the movie “The Shawshank Redemption”, literally my 2nd favorite film of all time (#TheDave500).

Anyway, this red splotch was on my sweater, and I wiped it up, or blotted it anyway, not realizing some had gotten on my lanyard that I was wearing…

My new job requires us all to wear lanyards now, and my picture is a stark reminder of the fact my face gains weight faster than the rest of my gloriously pudgy frame.

..and when I was wiping up the spot on my sweater, I was moving the lanyard which was spreading more ketchup onto my sweater. It was a nasty business.

“Sunrise” by Simply Red is on. I’m addicted to this song, don’t ask me why. I watched the video of it recently, which was a live performance of Simply Red, though I think its just one guy now, singing it. He looks reeeeeeally old, which isn’t surprising because I remember their stuff like “Holding Back the Years” from the late 80s.

Anyway, towards the end of the song, this chicks sings lines from “I Can’t Go For That (no can do)” by Hall and Oates, which “Sunrise” samples.

Sunrise samples.

Sunrise sampler.

Mmm. Now I want to go to Cracker Barrel, or Waffle House.

Apparently the Grammys were on tonight. And I so didn’t care. Pharrell apparently wore a big hat. It looked like the Arby’s hat. So.

I tried Taco Bell’s Cinnabon Delights the other day. I watched “Undercover Boss” with Cinnabon’s CEO chick, Kat Cole, who I follow on Twitter, not that that matters, just worth mentioning and when I watched it, I suddenly wanted Cinnabon… and Taco Bell was as good as any… they were so delish.

I just said Delish.

"You Give Good Love" by Whitney Houston is on my iPod now. If you don't think I'm sitting here, mouthing the words quietly so as not to wake up the family upstairs, yet doing it with over exaggerated head movements that can only come at 12:05 at night, then you are crazy. You give good love to me, honey, never too much will ever be...

My friend Michelle had a huge problem with this song, mostly because it was so grammatically faulty.

I love Whitney Houston. No kidding. I also love Cinnabon Delights from Taco Bell. And Carly Simon music. And Walt Disney World. And my Deuce buddies. And WWE Royal Rumble, which we watched tonight. I don't love Toxic Shock Syndrome. But I do love Whitney Houston.

And yet, I still said Delish up there.

Geez, its late. Crap it all.

Perhaps tomorrow I won’t have writer’s block.

(17,888 words written for #500Words... 2,112 words left in #20KWordsInJanuary)

Friday, January 24, 2014

the god suck

"What would it be? The guillotine? Hanging? The chair? The rack? The Chinese water torture? Hmmph. Mere child's play..." Ralphie, after using the Eff Dash Dash Dash word in "A Christmas Story"

Campbell Isaiah's many traits that make him a genuine conglomeration of The Lovely Steph Leann and myself include his looks... many people say he resembles me when I'm holding him, only to turn around and resemble Mommy when she's holding him... his digestion, which probably takes after me, as I'm all kinds of regular... and his allergic tendencies.  As in, he is congested.  A lot.  Just like The Lovely Steph Leann.

Perhaps its a trait on her side of the family, as most of them are snorers, and I suspect that as he gets old, Campbell will be as well.

Sometimes, the poor kid wakes up scared and crying because he can't breath, due to his congestion, and its a little heartbreaking.  We use Young Living Essential Oils with him so that does help him out some... but other times, like last night, The Lovely Steph Leann utters six horrible words... "We need to suck him out."

Have you ever heard of a nosefrida?  Many of you will say "no", especially those of you who either aren't parents or haven't been around small children.  Its this little tube, with a flat end on one side, and a large, cylidric tube on the other.  See, what you do is, you jam the tip of the larger end into a kid's nostril and then you put the flat end in your mouth and you inhale--suck--as hard as you can.  And this pulls all the snot out. 

We do this sparingly for Campbell because he hates it.  Okay, maybe "hate" is too light a word.  God does not merely hate sin. Jennifer Aniston does not merely hate Angelina Jolie.  An Alabama fan does not merely hate Tennessee... no, Campbell deplores it.  Campbell despises this process.  What's worse, he's terrified of it... and that's the heartbreaking part.

I sat downstairs, two laptops open, working on some Disney quotes last night for some clients, the time ticking away, probably closer to 11p, when I heard Campbell wake up.  I didn't move because I knew The Lovely Steph Leann was up there, in the bathroom, getting ready for bed... he cried some, and then was silent, so I knew she had picked him, or had soothed him back to sleep or whatever...

Then, I heard my name being called, with a request that I make an appearance post haste... I stopped what I was doing and jogged up the steps, and as I entered the bedroom, that's when she informed me of what had to be done.  We needed to "Suck him out". 

I sighed.  I hated this process, because I knew of what it did to him.  Well, I'll rephrase that, because it did nothing but help him, actually, but it scared him so, so badly... but, she was right.  In his shallow breathing as he lay on Mommy, resting his head on her shoulder, tired, sleepy, but unable to stay asleep, I could hear the sounds of nasal obstruction.  That slight, off-key whistle you make when something, usually snotty, is partial blocking your nasal cavity.

I grabbed the apparatus from the bottom drawer in our bathroom, grabbed a clean rag and went to them. 

Does anyone else find this picture terrifying?  She's creepy.
Here's how this went down... usually we lay him flat on the bed, I immediately lay close to him, pinning his arms and hands down... this time, we laid him with his head in The Lovely Steph Leann's lap, with me still holding his arms down.

I think it's at this point when Campbell realized the unpleasantness that is about to occur, because usually he starts crying now.  He was actually already crying, but then the crying becomes screaming.

And in the instance the tip of that plastic tube goes into his nose, the screams go from "I'm uncomfortable, I don't feel good, please hold me Mommy" to sheer "WHAT THE.... HOLY CRAP... WHAT ARE YOU DOING... WHAT ARE YOU PUTTING IN MY N..."

...only he can't finish it, as there's a tube in his nose. As I crouch next to him, my hands lay across his arms, pinning his hands and arms to the mattress, while my own elbow and upper arm lay on his feet and legs, to keep the kicking at a minimum.  The Lovely Steph Leann begins to suck on this tube, making an inhalation sound broken up with noises of moisture in the tube, like when a vacuum sucks up paper or rocks, that random ffft-fff-tfff sound.

And Campbell begins to shriek.  Ear piercing, blood curdling shrieks of terror, of horror, of panic, so unbelievably scared out of his 2 year old mind.  He's not in much pain, as it really doesn't hurt at all... but he's terrified, first because I'm holding him down--and he HAAAATES being pinned--but also because... well, there's a piece of plastic jammed up his nose.  Who really likes that?

For me, its almost unbearable.  The screams are so bad that they even go silent here and there, because they are so powerful, so full of insecurity and betrayal...


...that it nearly breaks my heart.  In a minute or less, it's over... I grab the nosefrieda and take it out of sight to wash it, while The Lovely Steph Leann picks him up and cradles him immediately.  This is important for her and Campbell, so he never sees her as only the "bad guy with the thing".

And as I said my goodnight and left them to go back downstairs, giving Mommy and Baby time to bond, giving Campbell a few minutes to completely forget what just happened because now all he knows is love and comfort and security in the arms of his beautiful mother... it hit me.

God does this. 

He does it because He has to.

God makes corrections in our lives, allows us to go through pain and suffering because that's how we get better.  God will pin us down, sucking the bad out of our lives, so that when its over, we may breathe deeper of the Holy Spirit.

God sticks things, people, circumstances, life straight into our proverbial noses and then proceeds to remove all that doesn't need to be there.  And its uncomfortable.  We do our own crying, our own shrieking, our own hurt...

But more than that, God doesn't enjoy it... not... at... all...

I am by no means comparing myself to Him in anyway, but I can imagine His heart breaking over us, watching us squirm and fight and try to get away, watching our own tears fall as we are rendered immobile by Him in order that He can "suck us out".  And much like it kills me to watch my own son in such discomfort, in such a state of fright and terror, even though I know that the end result will be health and so much more comfort--an end result that Campbell cannot see nor does not recognize as possible...

...I know it must be like a knife for God to watch His own children be so uncomfortable, be so scared of an end result that we cannot know or comprehend or predict, even though He knows it will all be fine, and we will be stronger, deeper in faith and just a little, or a lot, closer to Him. 

I dwelled on this for several minutes last night, considering times in my own life when I was scared and saw no end to the pain and even had my own "WHAT THE HECK, GOD?!  I TRUSTED YOU!! I THOUGHT YOU LOVED ME, WHY ARE YOU LETTING ME GO THROUGH THIS??!!" moments... and now, I can look back and say, "Oh... that's why.  And I came out so much better, stronger, breathing so much deeper."  And before I forgot, I added, "Thank you, God."

Not sure if Campbell will thank us anytime soon.  But I know he loves us anyway.  And I know He loves us anyway too. 

(16,480 words written in January, #500Words... 3,520 words to go for #20KWordsinJanuary)

Friday, January 17, 2014

a playlist for hustla's

My driving record is not very exemplary... actually, its kinda bad.  In the last three or four years, I've had no problems, but prior, there have been a few tickets here and there.

Maybe it was this post's content's fault.  Today, on The Facebooky Thing, I got a challenge to list my favorite "Hustle Songs"... meaning, what songs pump me up and get me moving? 

Well, when I'm writing or Pixie-deep in Magical planning and training, I seldom listen to anything, or might have some random music playing, but its more of a distraction... but when I'm working out, or running, or both (and yes, I'm starting to do this)... or when I'm in The Cabana, getting my de-clutter on in the garage or the back junk bedroom, I do have a list of music that I stinkin' love... fast paced, loud music that makes me drive fast and work hard. 

(Disclaimer... I am by no means telling you to buy these songs.  I like them, some for the songs themselves, some for the purposes of this entire post... so please do not download a hip hop song and then be offended when Luda tells you he wants to give you a hicky.)

So, here are 21 of my favorite Drive Fast Ger 'Er Done tunes...

"Bombs Over Baghdad" by OutKast... 1... 2.. 1 2 3 yeah... I love OutKast, I think Andre3000 is fantastic, and I love the Big Boi line "Have you evah seen a pimp rocka micrah-fone..."  I also love the fact his name is Big Boi... Avril Lavigne tried to use "Boi" in a title (Sk8tr Boi) and it failed miserably.  You have to be ubercool to pull off Boi, and few of us can. From the album "Stankonia"

"Heavy" by Collective Soul... I like the split audio at the beginning, so when it comes on, I hear it first in my left ear, then my right, then my left, then my right... Not a great song, but nice and loud and kinda cool.  From the album "Seven Year Itch: Greatest Hits"

"La Grange" by ZZ Top... Made famous in many movies, most notably the training scene in "Armageddon", its just cool... great guitar, great tune.  Sure, the lyrics are strange, but are fun to imitate anyway.  From the 1973 album "Tres Hombres"

"Calling Baton Rouge" by Garth Brooks... From the album "In Pieces", its a remake of the classic Oak Ridge Boys song... and only my favorite country song, ever.  I know its a remake, but its loud, and I have to sing it as such... "OOOOOOOPERATOR WON'T YOU GET ME ON THROUGH GOTTA SEND MY LOVE DOWN TO BATON ROUGE HURRY UP WON'T YOU PUT HER ON THE LINE GOTTA TALK TO MY BABY ONE MORE TIME...


(in fact, I'm going to listen to it right stinkin' now)

"Miss You Much" by Janet Jackson... from one of my top 20 albums of all time, "Rhythm Nation 1814", this is a funky beat of love, missing someone and awesome.  Just as an aside, "Love Will Never Do (without you)" is by far my favorite Janet Jackson song, and I can run to it too... but it wouldn't really qualify for an open list such as this one. 

"Slide" by The Goo Goo Dolls... I looked at these lyrics not too long ago... think song might be a little more innuendous that I thought.  I don't care, its still one of the most fun songs I've ever heard... From one of my Top 50 albums all time, "Dizzy Up the Girl"

"Crazy On You" by Heart... Oh, that Ann and Nancy Wilson.  This, along with "Barricuda" and "Magic Man" make up my Heart 70s Trifecta, and "Crazy on You" is the one that gets the slight nod... so good.  From their 1976 debut album, "Dreamboat Annie"  (incidentally, this song was actually their first single ever)

"Sin Wagon" by The Dixie Chicks... Yes.  Yes.  Yes.  Absolutely yes.  Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition, give me more of that 12oz nutrition.. though, I mean, I don't know what she's talking about.  Mattress dancing?  Must be bed seizures.  Yeah, that's it.  Also, the banjo pickin in this absolutely rules.  From one of my Top 10 Albums of All time, "Fly"

The cover of the cassette single that kept me hearing--and singing--this
song for a decade or more.  And I still don't really know all the lyrics,
or at least all the right lyrics.  I kinda make 'em up.
"Real Love" by Mary J. Blige...  Probably not as loud and fast paced as the other songs on this list, but I carry a special affection for it from high school... bought the cassette single, learned every word and would walk the halls of Samson High School singing it.  The folk of the not my color would always laugh at me.  And then join in.  What can I say, I'm diverse.  From the 1992 album, "Whats the 411?"

"When I Looked At Him" by Expose. Not a workout song. Not a drive fast song. Just the song that's on my iPod at this second, and I'm quietly singing along. Just worth mentioning.  From the 1989 album "What You Don't Know"

"Some Kind of Zombie" by Audio Adrenaline... When then-lead singer's family did missions in Haiti when he was younger, they experienced the voodoo doctors that you often hear about in that area of the world.  He said they would make these potions in an attempt to make the dead move, becoming slaves to their masters, zombies.  And this song makes that comparison to our Walk... becoming slaves, zombies for Christ, ready to do His will upon command, without even thinking about it.  And this song is loud and strong and cool.  From the album of the same name.

"Stand Up" by Ludacris... if you choose to download this song, please, please, PAH-LEEZE go for the edited version.  Do NOT get the album version.  Edited.  I beg of you.  You know what, forget this one, and let's move on.  From the hilariously titled album "Chicken-n-Beer"

"You Belong With Me" by Taylor Swift... Driving to my house in the middle of the night I'm the one who makes you laugh when you know you about to cry I know your favorite songs and you tell me about your dreams I think I know where you belong I think oh its with me...

If you want to know the truth, this video depicts EXACTLY how The Lovely Steph Leann and I got together. 

Don't judge.
I frickin' love this song, her "Fearless" album and this video.

"Crazy" by Gnarls Barkley... Everyone likes this song.  Why wouldn't you?  Cee Lo Green at his best, with Danger Mouse (who decides thats a good name?  And yet, it works!!)... the album, "St Elsewhere" isn't all that great, but this song is amazing.

"Yeah!" by Usher, feat (Lil' Jon with Ludacris)... This one of those songs (YEA-AH) that will be around forever (OH-KAAAY), due not only to its (WHAT!?) infections (WHAT!?) groove from the very beginning, its (OH-KAAY) got catchy lyrics, even if all you can sing is YEA-AH.   Its also good to go into the gym and say, "Watch out my outfit's ridiculous in the gym looking so conspicuous..."  From his album "Confessions"

"Two Tickets to Paradise" by Eddie Money... A little softer (but not by much) but a 70s classic and sa staple in my Top 50 Most Played on my iPod... and its easy to learn and sing along to, which is important when you are running and focusing.  From the 1977 album "Eddie Money"

"Shakedown" by Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band... There's a more than good chance that most of you will have never even heard of this song.  From the Beverly Hills Cop II soundtrack, its one of Bob Seger's last big hits, and its a doozy... its catchy, its fast, its full of electric guitar and 80s synth sound and yes, you will want to drive fast. 

"Fergalicious" by Fergie... Hey, we said we weren't going to judge, remember?  I mean, its not like I own her dumb CD, right, especially not the enhanced version with videos and extra tracks?  (whistles, looks away)

"A World Away" by Avalon... No, that's not a typo. From one of my Top 30 albums of all time, "A Maze of Grace", CCM group Avalon and their song about where we were in Christ, and where we are now... I love love love this song, because it speaks to me.  And for whatever reason, I love this song on my iPod when I'm on the move.  Like, I'm listening to it right now, and its awesome.  And it also helps make up for...

"Right Round" by Flo Rida... Though I've never actually heard anything else from his album "R.O.O.T.S.", (which I just found out stands for "route of overcoming the struggle... I wonder how long they spent on that acronym), I really dig this song.. mostly because he discusses "My Perelli's on hold", which is a pretty big endorsement to the high priced tire company, and then later he talks about his quantity of $100 bills, aka, "Ben-ja-min Frank-ah-lins".  That makes me happy.  If I get rich, I'm going to go into church, with a stack of $100 and make it rain, singing about my "Ben-ja-min Frank-ah-lins".  I had a Ben-ja-min Frank-ah-lin once.  I miss it.  Where were we?

At what point do I start really considering that one day, Campbell Isaiah will read some of this, possibly take my recommendations and load up Flo Rida on his own iPhonepodtouch 7.0 thing?  Hmm... let's not ask such uncomfortable questions right now, okay? Good.

"Basic Instructions" by Burlap to Cashmere... I almost finished this post, and realized I had not mentioned this tune... holy jeebers this song is great.  Make sure, though, you get the live version from the EP "Live at the Bitter End".  The album version is okay, but the live version is so musically talented, these guys were.  Are.  Am.  Right?  Right!

"Everything Zen" by Bush... Perhaps my favorite drive-fast song of all time.  Starts out strong, continues and finishes even stronger, with reference to Elvis, sex, violence, sex in your violence (and the fact there is none) and "my (expletive deleted) brother."  d$ digs it.  From the album "Sixteen Stone"

 Quick honorable mentions... I've said this before online, but it's worth repeating--two movie themes that I think are awesome include "Gonna Fly Now (Rocky's theme)" from Rocky, and "The Gael", which is the ending song from "The Last of the Mohicans".  Also, "Duel of the Fates" by John Williams, from "Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace", but you really want the version with the dialogue. That makes it cool. 

So there ya go.  There is a  whole host of songs I could have put on this list, most notably "Learn to Fly" by The Foo Fighters, which was on this list but came off at the very last minute to make it a nice, even list of 21, and I certainly am not going to mention Big Punisher (ft Fat Joe) and their song "Don't Wanna Be a Playa"

What do you think?  What are some of your drive fast, getcha moving songs? 

(15,101 words written in #500Word Challenge... 4899 to go in #20KWordsinJanuary)

other people and their filters

I came across something today that I wanted to share... this will be a brief post, as its 1255 in the morning time, and I'm tired and want to sleep...

...but I had to toss this out there.  Jon Acuff writes two different blogs... God love him, I can barely keep up with one, but there's his main sight, Stuff Christians Like... then there is his more personal site, Jon Acuff, which he puts little truths, tidbits and life lessons.

Today, it was titled "1 Thing Writer's Shouldn't Forget", and it was about a main point that we, as writers and bloggers, often fail to consider when writing.

See, I think I can speak a little for fellow bloggers like Jamie Harper, or Jason Sprague, or Chris Holmes, or Kim Fortenberry, (some of these names are completely foreign to some of you... and that's okay.  If you are thinking "oh, he's just linking those sites in case I might click on them and give them some traffic..." well... you might be right.) or any other number of pages I check on a weekly to semi-weekly basis... we have a habit of trying to please, maybe a little too much.

I think this is important to a point... I don't want to just come out and do three days of movie listings and... well... okay... that's kinda my thing so I'll have it on record what I watched in 2013, but you get my drift.  We do have to play to an audience somewhat.

But Acuff, in his post, spelled out two things that I can't forget... the first is this:

You don’t get to control what people read, you get to control what you write. And those things are very different

I can't make anyone read what I write.  I can't control the posts they search for, and subsequently, I cannot control what people may or may not stumble across if its publish on a blog.  If I wrote something in March of 2008 that I'm not really proud of, if its still up there, I can't stop people from finding it.  I can only control the content.  I can only make sure what is written is respectable, acceptable, above reproach and at least have an attempt made at being somewhat decent.

And the other thing?  This one hit me hard as it dawned on me... its common sense, but it still caught me off guard:

Often because people don’t read what you write with their eyes, they read what you write with their filter.


Everyone has a filter.  And they aren't just using that filter to read what I write... they are using it to hear what I say.  To watch what I do.  And to read, hear and watch what you do as well.  Everyone has a filter... myself include. 

If I'm being completely honest with myself, I would say its seldom that I don't have at least a teeny tiny preconceived notion of something when I go through any kind of new experience, be it seeing a movie for the first time, reading a book, reading a blog, visiting a restaurant, or meeting someone new.  Or hearing someone I've know for a while tell me a story.  I use my filter. 

I guess this was weighing on me today as I finished a book, then watched the movie adaption, all in one day--and I want to talk about it.  But to do so, I'm going to have to be opinionated.  Probably very opinionated.  I've already lost a few Twitter followers because I carry with me strong opinions on certain topics that, while I don't spout off endlessly and recklessly, I don't hesitate to comment on a story or a news headline.

And I mustn't be afraid to write what I want to write... if that loses my readers, then... well, then that's what I'll have to face.  I don't control what filters people use when they read what I write, I can only control what I write, and how I write it. 

So that's it.  I do have some American Idol thoughts coming soon enough, I do want to review the book/movie just completed, and I still have my favorite books and movies from 2013 to fill you guys in on.  And so much more, too. 

G'night.  Crap its late. But I'm glad I wrote.

Cause I'm a writer, and I can't not write.

FYI... I picked "March 2008" randomly when I wrote that above... not only does it have one of my favorite posts from the mission field... not only does it have a post about leaving our old apartment and moving into The Cabana... it also has a post declaring what I believe, which I know led to some people not reading my blog at all... and I'm okay with it.

(13,188 words in #500Words Challenge... 6812 words to go in #20KWordsInJanuary)

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

movies of 2013... almost the best

So, there's the worst movies of the year... then there are the movies that were somewhere in the middle... now, in what's becoming a four part 2013 movie reflection (ReFlicktion?!), here are the movies that were good.. maybe really good... but just noooooot quite good enough to break my Top 10 of 2013...

And this is in no particular order...

This is the End (2013)... Raunchy yet hilarious, the ensemble cast of Seth Rogan, James Franco, Jonah Hill, Danny McBride, Craig Robinson and Jay Barachel--if you don't know all of the names, if you saw the faces, you'd recognize them from "that movie..." Kudos to Michael Cera and Emma Watson for two unbelievably hysterical cameos.

Now You See Me (2013)... Really clever premise with Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Isla Fisher and Dave Franco (James' little brother) as magicians hired to perform a few heists. Becomes a bit too unbelievable towards the end, but a strong cast includes Mark Ruffalo and Morgan Freeman.

We're the Millers (2013)... Jason Sudeikis is a small time weed dealer who is stuck owing lots of money to corporate suit Ed Helms, and agrees to smuggle a huge amount of weed from Mexico to the US, and hires on a "family" to make it look more legit. Its really funny is a wrong, Hangover sort of way, but one main reason to see this film is to really see how good of an actress Jennifer Aniston has become.

Iron Man 3 (2013)... Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr) is having an identity crisis, at the same time another global madman (this time portrayed by Ben Kingsley) is set on world destruction. A solid, fun twist in the middle gives this film some real life, as does an excellent turn by Kingsley as The Manderin. Gwyneth Paltrow and Don Cheadle are also very likable, and Guy Pearce is a good bad guy too.

Melanie playing a chick who is just losing at life
Hello, I Must Be Going (2013)...  I do love movies with a little quirk to them... add to the fact I'm a fan of Melanie Lynskey, and you have this movie.  She's a character actress who you would know from "Up in the Air" as George Clooney's sister, or Reese Witherspoon's hometown BFF in "Sweet Home Alabama" (she's the one with the "baby... in a bar..").  Anyway, she's a 30 something woman who is divorced, at her parents house, life going nowhere, and she develops a crush on a much, much younger dude.  Its a sweet story, I promise.

Seven Psychopaths (2012)... An all awesome, all star cast with Sam Rockwell, Woody Harrelson, Christopher Walken, Tom Waits and Colin Farrell in the lead tells this hilarious, violent tale of mobsters, gangsters, a screenwriter at the wrong place at the wrong time, and a kidnapped Shit Tzu.  I laughed alot, and enjoyed it throughout. 

The Longest Yard (1974)... Lest you think this is the tripe from a few years back with Adam Sandler, I say nay.  Oh, nay nay.  This is the 70s original, with Burt Reynolds, teaming up with some rough prisoners to form a football squad to take on the prison guards with a sadistic warden, played to the hilt by Eddie Albert.  I actually haven't seen the updated version, so I don't know how it compares, but I really liked this one.

The Magnificent Seven (1960)... Based on the Japanese masterpiece "The Seven Samarai", this one takes the story to the old west, where a poor Mexican village hires Yul Brenner to help defend them from a jerkface (Eli Wallach) who comes in to steal, pillage and plunder several times per year.  The cast is strong, with Charles Bronson, Steve McQueen, James Coburn and Robert Vaughn making up some of the Seven, and many scenes mirror the Japanese original exactly, sometimes word for word.  Great story, though a little long.

Seven Samurai (1960)... Speaking of which, I watched this one right before the Seven above, and I'm glad I did.  Though I don't usually get too enthralled with any movie featuring subtitles, I did like this alot. I can see the influence of this film on modern directors, especially Tarantino.  It is one that I probably won't watch again, but as a moviephile, am very, very glad I watched this time. 

Cabin in the Woods (2012)... From my review: "If you like suspense and scary type of films, but want something different, then check this flick out. There is a needless boobie scene in the middle, and lots of language... plus slasher violence, so get ready for that."  I thought it was creative, and the Bradley Whitford/JK Simmons scenes are funny and out of nowhere.

For me, its Amy Adams.  For all y'all, its Timberlake. Everyone wins.
Premium Rush (2012)... Perhaps the greatest bike messenger movie of all time... from my review... Joseph Gordon-Levitt is fun, Michael Shannon is a perfect creep, and the supporting cast is likable enough to keep the film going. Again, the plot is a bit far fetched, especially when you actually learn the contents of the bag, but still... check it out. PG-13 for language."

Trouble with the Curve (2012)... From my review: "It's pretty good. Slow at times, but the story in engaging, and having a grizzly Clint Eastwood, a really good Timberlake and Amy Adams, whom I'm in love with, on screen doesn't hurt."

Dredd (2012)... Great action flick. A billion times better than that Sly Stallone crap from the 90s. Violent, language, but well shot and lots of fun.  Its cool watching someone as lovely as Lena Headley play the villian, and I love the fact that Dredd never takes off his mask.  (I'm not alone in this either... its got a 7.1 on IMDb, while the Sly version is only at 5.3)

Here Comes the Boom (2012)... From my review... "DO watch this movie. Seriously. This movie is fantastic. Well, I say that being a Kevin James fan... yes, he's kinda dopey, and yes, his movies won't win any awards ("Zookeeper"? Its awful. But awesome. And I love it), but this is a delightfully fun story." (by the way, I still mean what I wrote then)

Blackfish (2012)... So, CNN picked up and showed this documentary essentially excoriating Sea World and their practices of animal captivity.  The main focus is on a killer whale named Tillicum, who was directly involved with the deaths of at least two trainers while in a show... its fascinating, its enthralling, and its almost upsetting, especially when former Sea World workers are on camera blasting the park and how it does business...

This movie would have made my Top Ten, except, like many documentaries, its stylish and well done, but much of it may or may not be exaggerated... or even false.  Many of the trainers that spoke up have come forward to say they were misrepresented (though when someone says something like "The way Sea World treats these animals is just criminal... if I had known it would be like this, I would have never gone to work there", I'm not sure how that's said misrepresented), so the truth lies somewhere in the middle.  I encourage all to watch it--but take it with a grain of salt.

So there we go... that's Part 3 of 2013 movie... coming up, finally... my favorite movies of 2013.  And because I'm awesome and so generous, you won't get a Top Ten... you will get TWO Top Tens... My 10 favorite films of 2013 that I saw in 2013... and my 10 favorite films that came out before 2013 that I saw in 2013... wait, did that make sense? 

(12,436 words written, 7564 words to go in #500Words Challenge / #20KWordsInJanuary)

Sunday, January 12, 2014

the 2014 golden globes running diary

FIRST... Blogger has taken a dive.. the formatting is horrible, there are triple spaces all of a sudden, and its a clusterpoop. Plus, pictures cannot be uploaded. Which sucks. So please bear with me as I do my thing...

Welcome to the 2014 Golden Globes! Every year, I like to "live blog" three events--The Golden Globes, the Super Bowl and the Academy Awards... time for jokes, time for recaps, predictions, and so on...

In tow are Campbell Isaiah, wreaking havoc throughout the homeland, be it pulling diapers out of a box and tossing them, or attempting to slap the tv over the Great Wall of Campbell fence we've put up around the room... and The Lovely Steph Leann, on the couch, ready to offer her wisdom, her wit, her incredible insight... like these gems, dished out during the red carpet show:

"Jennifer Lawerence's dress is not good. Its white, but its too dark."
"Paula Patton is not attractive."
"What is Julia Roberts wearing?! That's horrible!" (the interviewer compliments Julia on how great the dress is) "Its not great! It's hideous!"

That's right. All of this and more over the next few hours... if you want to keep up, I'll be putting new updates at the bottom, so you'll need to scroll.

655p... Amy Adams is here. Amy Adams, whom I'm in love with. 

655p... I comment about how much taller Tracy Pollen is than her husband, Michael J. Fox. The Lovely Steph Leann says, "Its probably due to her heels and his condition." 

Thanks for keeping it real. There goes the jokes.

7p... Its the 71st Annual Golden Globe Awards! Campbell Isaiah just pooped, and Tina Fey and Amy Poehler take the stage for hosting duties! Doody. Ha!!

7p... Tina: Tina & Amy's Lee Daniels' The Butler's Golden Globe Awards!

702p... And here comes the zingers to the stars... the part that people love...

702p... Matt Damon is here, from "Behind the Candelabra", a movie so gay, RuPaul watched it and said, "That's a bit much..."

704p... Tina: The original title of American Hustle was "Explosion at the Wig Factory"... if you have seen that movie, you'll laugh heartily.

705p... Julia Louis-Dreyfus, sucking on a Blu e-cig...

706p... The house just blew up at Tina saying: Gravity... a movie that shows you that George Clooney would rather float into space than spend one more minute than a woman his own age... (camera pans for George, who is obviously not there)

707p... Movies that used prosthetic genitals: Wolf of Wall Street... Saving Mr. Banks... (Tom Hanks laughs uncomfortably with a "what the...?" look on his face)

709... Just a side note, Tina Fey looks better than she ever has at this exact moment. Ravishing.


710P... Sandy Bullock and Tom Hanks come up to give out the first award of the night... Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture... the Golden Globe goes to Jennifer Lawrence in American Hustle!!

711p... Jen Lawrence is going to become our Meryl Streep of the next generation. I call it now

713p... Jen Lawrence gives a sweet, nerve filled speech... why is she so nervous?  She knew this might happen. A 1 in 5 chance!  And now..

713p... Mila Kunis and Channing Tatum for Best Supporting Actress for TV Movie/Series... which features a bunch of chicks in shows I've never seen...

714p... Jacqueline Bisset wins as the Globes go old school... for a movie I've never heard of. 

716p... Bisset not only gets lost on stage, but takes several seconds to fight back tears to give her speech... The Lovely Steph Leann: She's gonna make me cry! (and she wipes her eyes)

717p... This is one of those speeches where the conductor says, "Hey... give her a few extra seconds before you play her off..." Especially when the audio goes out, while Bisset uses some choice words... standing ovation from the audience. Band moved beyond slow music, to commercial bumper music

722p... Glad Jennifer Lawrence didn't fall up the steps this year... that would seem somewhat staged

722p... Mark Ruffalo and Naomi Watts are out for Best TV Movie or Mini-Series. In Gay Hollywood, do you think Behind the Candelabra would NOT win? 

724p... Its everything Hollywood loves. Two great actors portraying gay men daring to show gay sex on screen. 

725p... Good thing is, this is the last award show that Behind will be nominated for... so now I never, ever have to see it. We can put it...behind us.

726p... Elisabeth Moss wins for Best Actress in a Movie or Mini Series in "Top of the Lake", whatever the heck that was... audio goes out as Liz Moss mouths "Oh s***"

728p... Can no one give a speech? Everybody is all nervous... I mean, If I was cast as "pool boy" in "Little Man 2", I would still practice my award speech, on the off chance, just in case...

728p... Matt Damon comes out to introduce "Captain Phillips", which I'm hearing is fantastic...

730p... Do we think the Somali actors will end up like the Mexican crewman at the end of "Bowfinger"?

734p... Its not a party unless the Hollywood Foreign Press President comes out and makes his speech...

736p... Jonah Hill and the hot chick from "The Wolf of Wall Street" come out to introduce their movie, but have a blank stare, because, as Jonah says, "No joke, the teleprompter says Aaron Eckhart and Paula Patton... this is not our stuff..."

737p... In other news, Hollywood producers are looking for a new teleprompter operator

738p... Here comes Aaron and Paula (The Lovely Steph Leann: Yep. Her dress is so terrible). Best Actor TV Drama award is up. "Breaking Bad" had a huge final episode that was much loved and watched... so how you could vote against Bryan Cranston

740p... So, I've worked a teleprompter, in loading, operation and scrolling... its not that hard.

741p... Best TV Series Drama...Breaking Bad. 

747p... John C. Reilly is narrating a TurboTax commercial. If Morgan Freeman isn't available to narrate my funeral, consider JCR.

748p... Steve Coogan and Philomena Lee... spelling? She's the actual person that the Dame Judy Dench played in "Philomena". Another nominee for Best Picture, Drama.

749p... Usher! Kate Beckensale! Diddy! Best Score in a Motion Picture. "All Is Lost" wins the award, which might be its only trophy tonight...

751p... What you didn't hear: Diddy whispering to the winner "Hey, I'm sampling all your stuff, I refuse to write my own."

753p... Usher, Diddy and Kate for Best Song... can we just say we ALL want Let it Go to win?

754p... Bono is the only one who can beat Let It Go... and I'm still not even sure what movie this is from.

The Lovely Steph Leann: I saw The Edge. I knew they were up for something.

Hearing The Lovely Steph Leann just talking about The Edge makes me laugh.

755p... Mandela + Mandela's death + Bono = Hollywood has to vote for them.


Amber Heard, her 9 inch high hair, and two dudes... Best Supporting Actor MiniSeries/Movie/Series... And Jon Voight gets the award for his part in Ray Donovan.

804p... Ray Donovan makes about 4,988 shows mentioned tonight that I've never seen.

804p... Olivia Wilde comes out to present "Her", a nominee for Best Picture Comedy/Musical.

806p... Robert Downey Jr comes on stage.

806p... In unrelated news, The Lovely Steph Leann just started paying even more attention. Best Actress Comedy Musical... Winner?


Okay, I'm good.

807p... Amy Adams is my Hollywood Girlfriend. We're pretty serious. We double with The Lovely Steph Leann and Colin Firth sometimes.

814p... Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgewick! Kevin: We were wrangling for someone here we were connected to....

816p... Best Actress TV Drama goes to... Robin Wright, House of Cards!

818p... GASP from The Lovely Steph Leann. I look up. She says, "The tape on Robin's boob was showing!!" Then she gets up to peel Campbell Isaiah from scaling the vacuum cleaner and licking the brush. She's so multi-talented.

819p... Jim Carrey comes out now, probably not to present Kick A** 2. He was actually funnier here than his last four films combined.  (his last 4 films:  KA2... The Incredible Burt Wonderstone... Mr. Popper's Penguins... A Christmas Carol... I rest my case)

821p... Best Supporting Actor Motion Picture, presented by Christoph Waltz... and Gay Hollywood strikes again, giving it to Jared Leto, for his portrayal of a cross dressing transgender in Dallas Buyers Club. 
823p... The Lovely Steph Leann: He was in My So Called Life. That's all I got.

826p... Applebees wants me to not only send pics of myself dancing to their food, but #BeeFamous. Um. No. You are not that cool, Applebees.

827p... Emma Thompson takes the stage... carrying her drink and her shoes... ha! Nominees for Best Screenplay... and the winner is... Spike Jonze for "Her"... and I'm happy about that... that's easily the most original story of the year.

830p... Spike Jonze, the new hubby on the couch in Moneyball, when Billy Beane (Brad Pitt) is visiting his ex (Robin Wright)

831p... Laura Dern is out now to present the film her dad, Bruce, is in, "Nebraska"... its in black and white, and I've heard its unbelievably good, with Will Forte just as good as Bruce Dern.

833p... Julie Bowen and Seth Myers out to give out Best Actor TV Series Comedy/Musical... and winner? I just said "It would be awesome to see Andy Samberg get a Golden Globe..." AND HE DOES

834p... This is Golden Globes way of saying "Suck it Oscar. Give your award to some old guy... Andy Samberg gets our award..."

837p... Muppets Most Wanted just showed one of the best, most timely trailers I've ever seen.

840p... Zoe Saldana and Orlando Bloom. Best Foreign Film. Some movie I've never heard of, will never see and will forget about as soon as this show is over just won.

843p... Banter between Tina Fey, Amy and Julia Louis-Dreyfus is very funny...

845p... Jimmy Fallon and Melissa McCarthy out, being funny... Best Actor in TV Movie/Mini Series.

846p... Michael Douglas, for Behind the Candelabra. Gay always wins.

852p... Chris Pine and Hermione Granger... Let's give this to Frozen and be done with it. The winner is? Frozen. As it should be.

854p... Colin Farrell comes out, and could be drunk. Actually, I'm shocked that he's not. Here's "Inside Llewyn Davis"

855p... Best Actress TV Series Comedy... They show Lena Dunham. She is dressed. I'm shocked again. Winner? Amy Poehler for Parks & Rec... and she makes out with Bono before she hits the stage.

858p... My friend Mikey would have done the same thing

902p... Emma Stone, who has a huge range of "Not so much" to "Ohmahgah she's beautiful"... thankfully, its the latter tonight.

903p... Woody Allen gets the Cecil B. DeMille Award for Being A Famous Guy. I've never been a Woody Allen fan. Time to give Campbell Isaiah a bath.

912p... If you are too pompous to show up for an award because you think they are silly or you are too good for them, then you don't get an award. Woody Allen is a wanker.

915p... Liam Neeson is out... "I have a special set of skills that allows me to present Gravity..."

916p... Ben Affleck is out now for Best Director... a tough year, too... winner is.... Alfonso Cuaron for Gravity... probably a make-do for not winning it for Harry Potter & the Prisoner of Azkaban

917p... Tina Fey digs on Michael Bay, then invites Uma Thurman and Chris Evans out for Best TV Series Comedy... Brooklyn Nine Nine, the Andy Samberg led series. Never seen it, but I like this award!

924p... Commercial  now for "Chicago PD", a new show on ABC.... a character just uttered the line "we do things my way..." At least they are original.

926p... Jennifer Lawrence for Best Actor in Comedy/Musical... and the winner is Leonardo DiCaprio for The Wolf of Wall Street... wow. WOW. Did not see that coming... and now it makes me wonder what his Oscar chances will look like from here on out...

929p... Reese Witherspoon comes out to present "12 Years a Slave". I'm afraid to make any jokes here.


Chris Hemworth, AKA, Thor, and an old guy who drove cars in races come out, obviously to introduce "Rush", which is strange to me, because the Hollywood Foreign Press might be the only people who actually liked "Rush"

936p... Or have actually seen more than a few minutes of "Brooklyn Nine Nine"

937p... Drew Barrymore, my first "favorite bad girl" from the early 90s... she's here to hand out Beset Musical/Comedy... If American Hustle or Her took this, I wouldn't be sad... though I vote for the former, as it would have a better shot at winning the Oscar...

938p... American Hustle! Hustle! HUSTLE!

938p... Is this the first Best Picture for Comedy or Musical winner that is neither a Comedy or a Musical?

944p... Why can't Tina Fey and Amy Poehler just give out all the awards... and the screen just went black? Did someone do something bad when Leo DiCaprio came out?

945p... Best Actress Movie Drama... the winner is... Cate Blanchett for "Blue Jasmine"... its a Woody Allen film, but I've heard its one of his best in decades...

946p... When Tina Fey made that joke about a supermodel's vajayjay, did it break NBC? Did anyone else see that?

948p... Jessica Chastain comes out... perhaps the most beautiful looking of the night (besides Amy Adams, natch)... Best Actor Movie Drama

949p... Matthew McConaughy gets the award for Dallas Buyers Club! Dave Wooderson got a Golden Globe!! 

956p... The star of "Transcendence"! Johnny Depp! (not the star of The Lone Ranger, huh?) Best Motion Picture Drama... and the winner is... not Johnny Depp, who looks like he

957p... 12 Years a Slave wins the award for Best Picture. Not seen it, but I do want to. It strikes me as the kind of movie that I'll see once and never again. Like Passion of the Christ, or Blackhawk Down or Friday After Next. Just too powerful to get through twice.

10p... Tina Fey, Amy Poehler and Scarlett Johanssen as Samantha in Her should just be hosts for everything.

10p... And, that's all she wrote... thanks to everyone who paid attention, who checked back, and who kept reading... onto the Oscars!

(ps.. I will totally fix this formatting later...)
(11,335 words so far... 8,665 words left for #20KWordsinJan)

Friday, January 10, 2014

movies of 2013... not the best, not the worst

Okay... so this post is forever long.  This is a prime example of not writing to be read, but writing to write, because there are 64 quick reviews below.  Yes, I said SIXTY FOUR.

I don't expect really anyone to read all the way through, but more of a perusal, stopping on certain titles they wanted to read about... but I wanted a recap of the movies I have seen for the first time in 2013... we looked at my picks for the worst viewed movies of the year... coming in a few days, the Really-Good, Almost Great Movies of 2013, then my picks for the Ten Best Films I Saw in 2013... plus the Golden Globes on Sunday Night!  Boy do you have a lot to read.

So, here's a lot of movies, and a quick word about them, written in alphabetical order for your convenience...

American Reunion (2012)... From my review: " The entire cast is back, and though its more of the
same, its fun watching the characters try and act like adults for once. Rated R for lots of bad things, like the first one."

The Artist (2011)... A "silent film", in black and white, its stylish and well done.  That said, its a chore to watch, and shouldn't have won Best Picture... I would have given it to The Descendants, or even Midnight in Paris, both superior films (I've seen The Artist once, not likely to ever watch it again)

The Bourne Legacy (2012)... I like Jeremy Renner, and he really makes this movie what it is.  Its hard to see a Bourne movie and not see Matt Damon as Jason Bourne, but Renner pulls it off (playing a contemporary, not Jason Bourne).  The addition of Ed Norton only makes it better

The Call (2013)... This is that WWE Studios film that has Halle Berry as a 911 operator and Abigail Breslin as a kid who gets kidnapped... and let me tell ya... I was expecting a pile of crap, and I got a pile of... well, decent filmmaking.  Its not as bad as you think, I promise.  I actually kinda liked it.  Probably gets my "Way Better Than I Expected" Award for 2013.

The Campaign (2012)... Its silly to say that The Campaign, with Zach Galifianakis and Will Ferrell, is silly.. but it is.  Its just silly.  There are better silly movies out there. 

Chronicle (2012)... Three students find a glowing rock from space, gain superpowers.  Its more about teenage angst with added powers more than anything... it starts strong, then kind of gets predictable. 

Coma (1978) ... Kinda creepy 70s thriller about a hospital program with sinister intentions, and the nurse that stumbles upon the truth.  A little dated, but worth a watch.

Death Race: Inferno (2012 )... Forgettable prequel to the revived Death Race franchise with Jason Statham.  Still, kinda fun, if not ridiculous in its premise.

Elysium (2013)... Sweeping and grand, its a sci/fi tale with a believable, bulky Matt Damon and Sharlto Copley as an awesome bad guy...  Jodie Foster co-stars, with some weird accent.

Everything Must Go (2010)... Will Ferrell in a semi-serious role about a guy who gets thrown out and ends up camping out on his own yard, befriend a black kid in the neighborhood to help him out.  Its a very underrated, and I'm afraid, forgotten film by now...

Extreme Measures (1996) ... Hugh Grant is a doctor who finds out that Gene Hackman, another doctor, is doing bad stuff and I don't remember the rest of it.  It's watchable, but not imperative.

Flight (2012)... from my review: "Its got language, its got tons of drug use, some boobies right off the bat, and a depressing downward spiral of a man who seems like a good man. A good man doing very bad things. Verdict? If you can handle it, its definitely worth a watch, just once. I'll probably never see it again."

Future World (1976)... Forgettable sequel to the far superior, and creepy, "Westworld" from 1973.

Gangster Squad (2013)... Good cast is wasted on what I thought was an overly ambitious movie. Tried to be more than it was. Eh.

Get the Gringo (2012)... Mel Gibson returns in this tale of corruption and so forth in a Mexican prison.  It got good reviews overall, but I personally found it lacking.

GI Joe: Retaliation (2013)... Not as silly as the first one, plus The Rock, makes it better. Not great, but passable.

Gone (2012) ... I love Amanda Seyfried, though I don't know why... her body of great work is being overshadowed by her body of crap work.  And this movie didn't help at all... and I'm really afraid to watch "Lovelace".

The Good Student (2006) ... I actually don't remember anything about this movie, or even who's in it, other than I think it was so-so

Grown Ups 2 (2013)... You really, really have to like the first one to enjoy this film. I mean, the cast is the same, save one (paging Schneider, Rob Schneider) who is not even alluded to in this one. Same
gags, same pointless storyline that goes nowhere. The first one is a guilty pleasure for me, and this one is much the same.

The Heat (2013)... Sandra Bullock AND Melissa McCarthy?  Instant classic.  In a Bridesmaids-type humor, this is a really funny flick, but full of language, 99%  of it from Melissa herself. 

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013)... Easily better than the first one, with an unbelievable dragon onscreen.  Still, its a long, long movie, and seems like it stops right as its really revving up.

Hugo (2011) ... Animated film directed by Martin Scorsese.  I wanted to like it.  I was bored. Really bored.

Intolerable Cruelty (2003) ... George Clooney and Catherine Zeta-Jones star in this Coen Brothers vehicle, probably one of their least acclaimed ones, though its kind of fun and clever.

Jack Reacher (2013)... Tom Cruise is in this phase where he is doing sci/fi action future film after sci/fi action future film... this one may not be set in the future, but its all about him being the mysterious hit man get-it-done cooler guy... and for what its worth, its pretty good.

Jeff Who Lives at Home (2011)... From my review: Expecting a comedy, I was quite surprised when I discovered it was more of a drama... a dramedy, if you will. And, I was also quite surprised how much I enjoyed this film... it all rests on the charm of Jason Segal, who pulls it off well.  Plus, its got Judy Greer, and I love me some Judy Greer.

Kick A** 2 (2013)... I liked the first one, and I liked the feel of this one... the addition of Jim Carrey was great, despite his whining about it afterwards.

Killing Them Softly (2012)... Brad Pitt is... something.  An assassin?  A hit man?   I saw this last week, and I don't remember much about it. It was that forgettable. 

The Last Stand (2013)... With Ah-nold headlining a film for the first time in forever, he really seems too old to do this kind of movie... and he kinda is.  And this doesn't work on any level.  Its stupid, its ridiculous, and its poorly written... yet, I was entertained.  Maybe its Johnny Knoxville, who knows, but I would say its worth a look.  Keep your standards low, and you won't be disappointed.

Lincoln (2012)... From my review: "Its definitely a talkie.. a lot of talking. A lot of talking. A lot. So, don't go into it sleepy, as you will lose yourself amongst the chatter of slavery and freedom and government and war. Even Danny D-Lewis' immaculate performance as Lincoln becomes secondary to the story after a while."

The Lone Ranger (2013)... A little longer than necessary, its not a bad movie... but Johnny Depp is what hurts this film the most. Here's my review from July.

Machete Kills (2013)... Takes the awesome, craptistic premise of the original and makes it more awesome and far more craptastic.

Major League 2: Back to the Minors (1998) ... Oy.  I mean... so bad.  So, so bad.

Man of Steel (2013)... Sigh. I wanted this to be so good. I wanted this to be good. I really did. Amy Adams, whom I'm in love with, is Lois Lane, and I thought this film took Lois in a terrible direction. Amy did awesome, because she's Amy, but the character was terrible. Michael Shannon, normally a sure-thing in a movie, is wooden and reading from a cue card as Zod, the bad guy. Kevin Costner is a talking 2x4. Its overly long, and the ending climactic battle is great for the first, oh, 45 minutes of it... then you start realizing that two dudes, Zod and Supes, are pretty much destroying an entire city, more than the bad guys in Marvel's The Avengers in their final battle. I wanted to like it, I really did, and I promise, you, I tried.

Me, Myself & Irene (2000) ... My friends Amarylis By Mornin' and Hurricane Rhett live and die by this movie, telling me how hilarious it is, how much they laughed, how it was the funniest movie hahaha... and... my verdict?  Eh.  I laughed here and there.  But overall, it's just a mildly amusing. 

Moonrise Kingdom (2012)... Cute, but too quirky for its own good

Mud (2013)... Though I thought Matthew McConaughey was great, I didn't find this good movie to be the great, stellar film that so many critics did.  Seen it once, I'm done.

Olympus Has Fallen (2013)... The White House was in trouble with this one and the next film listed. Gerard Butler has to save President Aaron Eckhart, and this has much more of a serious tone.  Enjoyable.  But don't miss the next film, which is...

White House Down (2013)... This time, its Channing Tatum saving President Jamie Foxx, with a predictable twist on the identity of the bad guy.  More fun, due to Tatum and Foxx's snappy chemistry, though the plot isn't as good as the aforementioned Olympus. (out of alphabetical order, but I thought it fit well here)

Pacific Rim (2013)... Big Robots battling Monsters! There's a plot here somewhere (maybe?) but who cares. You don't watch this for plot, you watch it for big robots beating up monsters.

Parental Guidance (2012)... Billy Crystal and Bette Midler keep the grandkids for the weekend.  Hilarity ensues.  Well, attempted hilarity... they do try. 

The Place Beyond the Pines (2012)... Great performances by Bradley Cooper and Ryan Gosling, but was a little long and dragged a lot.

Presumed Innocent (1990)... Harrison Ford goes to Paris with his wife, and she ends up dead--naturally, he's the main suspect.  This film is fast paced, its clever and its worth a real watch... despite its age, it holds up well.

Project X (2012)... From my review: Don't watch this movie. Its a "found footage film" about a party
that gets way out of control... and I got through the first 10 minutes of it and couldn't deal with it.  So much language, so much drinking, just too much depravity at a too rapid pace.

Rock of Ages (2012)... The attention was on Tom Cruise as Stacee Jaxx, but the story is Julianne Hough and Diego Boneta, as rock star crossed lovers-to-be... the appeal is all the 80s music sung by the cast. Pretty good, better than I expected.

Savages (2012)... This is a tough flick, focusing on drug dealers who get caught up in the wrong sort of people... but I liked it.  A little too much violence and sex, but still, I thought it was great storytelling, if not a little too gritty.

Scarface (1983) ... Heralded as one of the all time great films, I tried three times to watch it.  I fell asleep all three times.  Once, I was actually tired. 

Skyfall (2012)... Solid James Bond movie.  I have never been a huge fan of James Bond--I don't dislike them, in fact, I've liked the ones I've seen, I've just never made it a point to watch them--but Daniel Craig really shines in this one.

Snow White Movie 1: Mirror Mirror (2012)... The ONLY reason I liked this movie was Lily Collins. Full review here.

Snow White Movie 2: Snow White and the Huntsman (2012)... One of a few reasons I didn't like this movie was Kristen Stewart. Full review here.

Taken 2: Qui Gon Boogaloo (2012)... Don't see this film.  See the first one. The first one is fantastic. This is the first one, just not as good.

Ted (2011)... Ted is a pot smoking, gettin' it on, drinking, cursing teddy bear, first belonging to, then rooming with Mark Wahlberg.  In every way, its wrong... but hilarious... but I have no interest in seeing it again.

Thats My Boy (2012)... From my review: "This film is not good. It has its funny moments every now and again, and the addition of Vanilla Ice as a major character, playing a parody (though its probably close to real life) of himself, is a major plus. Maybe more films should have Vanilla Ice in them."

A Time to Kill (1996)... Somehow, I missed this film when it came out... me being a John Grisham novel adaptation fan, I was excited to sit and watch it start to finish.  Its not perfect, but its well done.

Think Like a Man (2012)... Steve Harvey introduces and narrates this tale which, while not a great, or even good, film of any kind, its light and fun enough to pass as background noise, or even one of those "okay, nothing else is on, I can do this for a while" moments.

30 Minutes or Less (2011)...  Jesse Eisenberg and Aziz Ansari co-star with Danny McBride in this comedy about a dude who gets a bomb strapped to him by two dimwitted criminals in order to rob a bank.  Lame, not funny, and you'll be wishing the movie were over in less than 30 minutes.

Thor: The Dark World (2013)... Better than the first one, which wasn't bad, but is one of my least favorite Marvel flicks.  But we all know Loki is the real reason these films work.

Triple Dog (2010)... So this was on Lifetime... about three chicks at a slumber party investigating the suicide of another chick and... well, it was on, okay?!  Leave me a alone.

2 Guns (2013)... Mark Wahlberg AND Denzel?  Gold.  This won't win any awards, but its funny, its a solid action and its got some good story to it... a high re-watchability factor.

View from the Top (2003) ... Way back in the day, Gwyneth Paltrow starred alongside Christina Applegate and Mike Myers in a film about girls going to stewardess school.  If that description doesn't grab you, nothing will... this film is a turkey.  I laughed maybe once, twice, if that... then again, maybe not. 

Wanderlust (2012)... From my review: I wanted to like this movie alot, with Paul Rudd and Jennifer
Aniston, as a couple who ends up in a strange commune in Georgia. Mildly funny, but it wasn't what
I wanted it to be. Eh.

The Watch (2012) ... An ensemble cast of Vince Vaughn, Ben Stiller, Jonah Hill and more star in comedy/sci-fi movie that had loads of potential, but seems wasted with bad jokes, a thin plot and the whole thing just falls apart as it goes along.

Wimbledon (2004) ... Paul Bettany and Kirsten Dunst, when she was relevant and awesome, find themselves in court.  In LOVE COURT.  In a love TENNIS COURT... Hey, these are the jokes.  Weak and forgettable.  The jokes and the movie.

The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)... Drugs.  506 F-words.  Boobs.  That's the entire movie.  Like most Scorsese films, I can say that I've seen it, I was entertained, it was a good enough movie... but I'll likely never watch it again.  As my friend Tommy Mac would say, "I watched American Hustle.  I was subjected to The Wolf of Wall Street."

The Wolverine (2013)... Honestly?  I liked the first Wolverine--I know that makes me in the vast minority... that being said, I thought this was one really well done... Hugh Jackman obviously loves playing Logan, as he keeps doing it... like RDJ's portrayal of Tony Stark/Iron Man, Logan is Jackman's character now...

So.... there ya go.  Did you make it this far?  Its okay if you didn't, I won't be upset... what do you think?  Disagree with anything I said? 

Keep checking back... more of the best of 2013 is coming soon, including the best movies of the year, books read in 2013, and my favorite posts of 2013...

(8,884 words so far in #500words per day challenge, 11,116 words to go for #20KinJanuary)