Our Oscar Theme Summer (Part 3)

FamilyI’ve said it before (and many have said it before me) but parenthood changes you. My wife and I joke all the time about how we have no idea what we used to talk about before we had our kids.

We had to have talked about something!

We were married for five years before the first one arrived, there had to have been some kind of a conversation going on.

Another sign for me on how things have changed is the tally for me around “Oscar Summer.” Before kids, we probably would have done a different movie a night, maybe even an extra one on weekends. I could almost imagine us hitting anywhere between 80 and 90 movies by the end of the summer. Yeah, that high.

Yet, with kids around and them biting into our evening time and because we can sometimes be so tired in the evening (especially after chasing them all day) and everything else that comes along with life our tally is a little over 20.

It is nothing to write home about.

The hope when we began our Oscar Summer was to hit some of the big Oscar films, but really in the end it became kind of scatter-shot. In a way, I was almost drawn to watching the films that didn’t win, or the ones forgotten. But even in that, we didn’t do much. Again, 20.

Seriously, only 20? Continue reading

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Our Oscar Theme Summer (Part 2)

dmbBefore I get to the films my wife and I watched as we continued our Oscar summer (which I first talked about here), I want to go off on a tangent… about Dave Matthews Band. This has no real point and doesn’t relate at all, it is just a tangent.

Here we go… A few weeks ago my wife and I saw DMB in concert, it was her first time seeing them in concert, it was my fourth. It feels like every time I go to see Dave, it is to remind myself why I don’t like seeing him in concert. Oh, I am not talking about him or his band (they are great and I will always be a fan; I own every CD), but I just really dislike the audience that follow him.

See, my wife and I came to see Dave and his band perform, but I couldn’t say that was true for a majority of the people around me.

For them it was a party with drinking, drugs, loud talking and laughter. The fact that a band was on stage giving their all didn’t even register with them. Seriously, it all felt so disrespectful for the band that they supposedly love. And let me clarify, this wasn’t just in our section of the audience, this was everywhere. Heck, the “party” atmosphere started before the band even entered the stage.

I get the whole tribal thrill of following a band like many of these people do, feeling part of a community, but I came to hear a show, see an artist I love, I didn’t come to bump into old friends or play the bongos (yes, someone had the bongos near us).

I’m sure in a few years, I’ll attempt to see Dave again and I will be reminded of this all over again. It’s what I do, but I am disappointed. And I’ve spent my days since seeing the concert listening to my CDs (including some of my live CDs) wondering about what could have been… All of the shows can’t be that bad, right? Argh, I’m doing it again.

Like I said, this was a tangent and has nothing to do with the point of this post.  It was just frustrating, and I had to get it off my chest.

Where was I?

Oh yeah, Oscar movies, round two! Enjoy! Continue reading

Our Oscar Theme Summer (Part 1)

I always wondered why the sword...Every summer my wife and I like to have theme TV watching. It’s a thing with us and is kind of a fun way to pass the hot nights, hiding away in our air-conditioned living room.

Okay, maybe it makes us sound a little cute. But what can I say? Yes… Yes, we are a cute couple.

Artistic, snobby, witty, literary, but very, very cute.

Last summer was a Doctor Who summer, working our way through all of the recent variations of the good Doctor. The summer before that was our WA summer, which were movies by Wes Anderson and Woody Allen. Then there was our Charles Dickens summer, and on and on.

This year we struggled a little over what we were going to choose. I was arguing a while for a “catch up” summer, which meant we catch up on shows that we never got around to watching (Orange is the New Black, for example). I get that it was an “easy out” choice, but there were just random things I was interested in and linking them was a little difficult.

Finally, we finally settled on an Oscar summer (no, there are no tuxedos and evening gowns involved), which means we are checking out the films we have not had a chance to watch yet. My main focus has been checking out some of the films nominated for Best Screenplay, which is obviously my favorite category.

I thought it would be interesting to keep a running tally of the films we have checked out and some of my thoughts on them. Here are the first five: Continue reading

Discussing Brave

This discussion/review is filled with spoilers so if you have not seen Brave… Well, go see it, it is great.

I’m not sure whether to compliment the marketing division at Disney or scold them, but Brave is not the movie they were selling to us. Oh, it is a good film, and I really enjoyed the trip, but it’s not the film I felt like we were seeing in the ads.

Yes, there is magic, there is the princess with the bow, there is some adventure in the end, but it is not on a grand magical stage. If anything the film seems smaller than all that, and even seems to decrease in size over the picture, since we keep returning to locations we have seen before, again and again.

Yes, in many ways, Brave is a small  and personal film, with only a small cast dealing with an issue that doesn’t affect the entire world but only one country in a minor political way. Kingdoms are not going to fall because of this story. Princess Merida is not fighting to save the world with all of the odds against her; no she is only trying to save one person, her mom. Continue reading

Recommending Woody Allen…

When I was 14, I wrote a letter to Woody Allen.

I’m pretty sure it was a long letter (I never skimped on words), detailing how I wanted to grow up and be just like him. It’s not like I really wanted to be him, per se; I just loved the idea of the freedom he had to make the stories he wanted to tell. See, even then I could tell this was a storyteller not only having the creativity in abundance, but the capability to let that creativity reach its heights.  As an adult, I am even more floored by his ability.

So my letter begged for advice. What did I expect from him? I couldn’t say, I was a kid trying to latch on to some kind of a future, like any typical young teen. Maybe I was hoping he would send me a plane ticket and take me in as an apprentice?  He didn’t write back, of course, but he did send an autographed picture, which I still have today.

There is a chance that Midnight in Paris, Woody’s most recent film will take home the Oscar for Best Screenplay (It is also nominated for Best Picture), and I think well deserved. Of course, Woody won’t show up for the award.  That is not Woody’s way, and I find that also very bad ass.  Simply put, he is too busy making his movies to stop and take an award for the past, he is already on the next story, the future.

These, as a Woody fan, I would recommend as first dips into his library. Continue reading

Five Things I Am Into Right Now, February 2012

When I originally decided to write more on the blog as my New Year’s Resolution, one of my initial ideas was to capture each month what I was into… and then I skipped doing it in January.

So I guess in January I was into NOT writing about five things I am into.

It’s a snapshot into my life at a given time. A diary, if you will, of consumerism, as compared to creation and original observations…. Boy, that sounded much better in my head than it reads.

Looking over this list, I think you can tell it is February and cold out and I am looking for some extra sunlight someplace. February is never a good time for moody or dark stories or music. We have enough of that in the crisp air and short days.

The Artist

What I love about The Artist the most is how much it loves films. It is riddled with references to classic black-and-white stories, including a few great homages to Citizen Kane. Would I like this film as much if I didn’t love the movies that inspired it? I can’t say. It is light on plot, but most films like this were and are.

For me, I couldn’t stop smiling during my watching of it. And while I wrote before about how I think the idea of giving awards for films is kind of silly…  I really want it to win the Oscar for Best Picture.

Does this make me a hypocrite? Yeah, probably. A terrible, terrible hypocrite… Continue reading

Why Disney’s BEAUTY AND THE BEAST Kind of Disturbs Me

I’m a Disney fan.

If I had to make a list of three people I would like to meet alive and/or dead, Walt would be on that list for me, just for the sheer creativity he had in his life. I also had season passes for Disneyland when I lived in Los Angeles. Heck, thanks to an app on my iPhone I can tell you right now that there is a 20 minute wait to get on Space Mountain; and I am in Michigan as I write that fact. So, yeah, I’m a fan.

When it comes to the movies, I lean more towards THE JUNGLE BOOK and the Pixar films (especial WALL-E and THE INCREDIBLES) as compared to the princess movies (We’ll see how that changes when my daughter starts watching things at age 2), however I have seen all of their animated films at one point or another. Yet, of all of the films it is always BEAUTY AND THE BEAST that leaves me scratching my head in confusion. Continue reading