So, I’ve watched a bunch of movies the past week. I figured I might take a bit to run down the list and sort of mini-review some of them…
First off, and don’t laugh, but I watched an ABC Family original movie from a few years back called HOLIDAY IN HANDCUFFS. I actually saw this on the rack in WalMart several times…it was combined with 3 or 4 other Christmas-y movies…it sounded sort of, well, delightful. I never picked it up though. Good thing, as I saw it under Christmas movies in the Netflix streaming list. It’s actually really good. Melissa Joan Hart plays a wannabe artist who works as a waitress and has basically no prospects…her boyfriend has just dumped her, and she just bombed the interview her dad got her with a family friend…an interview for a serious job, no more of this dead end artist nonsense. Her parents are expecting her for Christmas- they have rented a massive cabin in the middle of nowhere, there’s lots of snow on the ground, they have a tradition of banning cell phones at these get togethers, and they’re expecting their daughter’s boyfriend to make an appearance. Since she’s basically screwed everything else up, she HAS to bring her boyfriend. But, since he’s just dumped her, she has no choice but to bring a guy who happens to be in the diner, a patron played by the uber-charming, Mario Lopez, who is there to propose to his girlfriend, a nasty and arrogant gal played by Gabrielle Miller (Lacey from Corner Gas). Lopez is certainly not coming to her Christmas willingly, so she kidnaps him at gunpoint, thanks to an antique, but working, gun the restaurant has on display.
It’s pretty much the typical cliched story of two people in a weird circumstance who should hate each other, but discover they have a lot in common and eventually fall in love. It’s an ancient story, and it’s been done better in other films, but this one is nice as well. Markie Post does a nice job as the mother who is constantly trying to make the best Christmas ever. The setting is beautiful, and who wouldn’t want the type of Christmas they have with their various traditions and all? Lopez and Hart have nice chemistry, and their love is ultimately sort of believable, if not a bit silly. It’s all fairly cheesy, but it’s comfortable and light throughout. There are some decent laughs, and no one ever takes things too seriously. 7/10 on this one. Now, I just need to check out the other ABC Family film with Melissa Joan Hart called My Fake Fiance. Sort of the same plot line, but in this one they apparently pretend to be getting married in order to score the many gifts that come along with weddings. As luck would have it, that one is on Netflix too.
So, let’s see. I also watched the Mel Gibson movie, Get The Gringo. I had tried to watch this before but would always start it, get 5 minutes in, then go to bed because it was too late to finish. I finally watched a downloaded copy I had for about an hour only to realize that the spanish in the film DID have subtitles, just not on the version I had. So, I had to go back and watch all the parts with subtitles on Netflix streaming…finishing the movie there. A weird movie, to be sure, but it’s a good one. I sorta kinda love Mel Gibson for a lot of reasons. He does a superb job here given the odd material. A Mexican prison filled with kids and families and an almost carnival-like atmosphere, run by a shady bad guy who is need of a kidney transplant, but he has a very rare blood type, so he keeps a kid in the prison who shares his blood type for the day he’ll need the transplant? There’s some well executed action throughout the film, plus it’s funny. Gibson is the ultimate bad ass, and he makes it through on his likeability. The actor who plays the kid is excellent, especially given his young age. I’d give this one a 7/10 as well.
I also watched a movie I had been wanting to see for a while now. I have a habit of wanting to see subpar films apparently. This one is called Homerun Showdown. It looked like a cute family movie, and better yet, it stars Matthew Lillard, an actor I’ve liked since seeing him in the first Scream movie (which I love). The script here wasn’t perfect. In fact, it was, as mentioned, kind of subpar, but I still liked the movie. It was cute, warm, and lighthearted, despite the inclusion of some deeper themes throughout. The actors all did a fine job. Lillard was likeable as he always is, and Dean Cain was hateable, which was a change for him, as he’s usually the charming nice guy. It’s the story of a rag tag bunch of kids who form a baseball team after being cut from the tryouts of the regular league. If they can find a coach, they can field a team. They find Lillard, who once played minor league ball for a very short period of time. He now works at his dad’s bar and grill…dad played by The Rocky Horror’s Barry Bostwick (likeable as well!) Lillard’s heart isn’t into coaching, and he’s only roped into it through a competition with his brother– whoever can snag more balls at the homerun showdown gets to own the bar when dad retires. Dean Cain is Lillard’s older brother, and as it turns out the more successful of the two. He owns his own car dealership and used to play major league ball until an injury ended his career. Cain is set up as the mean one, Lillard as the nice guy. There’s a subplot involving romance with Lillard’s character, but frankly it made no sense. They didn’t explain how the two wannabe lovers knew each other, so how they came to be a couple was just weird. Some of the dialogue sounded as if it came from a script written by someone who had no idea what they wanted to say, but still, in totality it worked. Let’s give this one a 5.5/10.
Okay…so, onto Magicians starring two hilarious Brits– David Mitchell and Robert Webb, the two stars of the series The Mitchelle and Webb Look and the even funnier, Peep Show. This is a sort of throwaway film, the script was silly, and there weren’t as many jokes as I would have liked to see, and they weren’t anywhere near as funny as the ones in the series, Peep Show (which is written by the writing duo who wrote the film’s script), but I liked it overall. Mitchell and Webb have great comedic timing, and they have a nice comedic chemistry together, they play off each other so well. Webb the dummy and Mitchell the completely lacking in self esteem loser who can’t seem to do anything right. This film has them as a magic duo who were on top of the world, but it all came crashing down when an accident involving Sarah Hadland (from the brilliant British series, Miranda) cut their careers short. The story follows them years later trying to win a prestigious magic award, but bickering the entire time and eventually going off into their own solo acts. Like I said, this movie feels almost like a throwaway, but again, I liked it. Not perfect, but you can’t go too wrong with these two comic geniuses. 6.5/10.
I watched a documentary called Craigslist Joe. It’s the story of a guy named Joe who decided to spend 31 days living completely from Craigslist. He ended up traveling from Los Angeles to NYC, down to Florida, then back across the country to L.A. to end his journey at a New Year’s eve party with friends on Dec 31. He would get all his food from Craigslist stuff, volunteer opportunities, ride shares, etc. He had only a laptop, cell phone, his backpack, a set of clothes, and one guy with a camera. He wanted to see if community was truly dead, or if he could depend on the kindness of strangers. It was pretty cool to see him travel across the country, finding ride shares on the site, crashing in various houses of the people he met along the way. He did a bunch of volunteer jobs. He got food by meeting new people and explaining his story. Some people bought him meals, others cooked for him or invited him to dinner with them and friends. A lot of people shared their lives and their life stories with him. It was really endearing, and maybe it shows there a lot of nice people out there willing to lend a helping hand. But, the flaw with the film is that it wasn’t really about a guy living off craigslist and the kindness of strangers, but rather a guy making a movie, followed by a camera topped with a shiny light. That ruined the experiment part of it, but I always like this sort of thing just to see normal people and how they live and as close to normal as possible since there IS a camera there and a stranger, so that’s not precisely 100% normal for any of them. It’s probably as close as you can get though, and I tend to lamely live vicariously through them, the wish that I could so easily meet total strangers and get to know them in a matter of hours or, at most, days. 7.5/10
Finally, I watched Headhunters, the film based on the novel by Jo Nesbo. It was bloody as hell, pretty graphic many times, and filled with blood. It did have a nice plot with some interesting twists along the way. In this one, Roger Brown is a headhunter who finds the best talent for the best corporations. He’s also an art thief, a habit he has to stick with in order to pay for his lavish lifestyle and to keep buying the expensive stuff he thinks makes his wife happy, though a kid or two is what she really wants. He explains at the start of the film that he’s 5’6″ and he uses money and the stuff it buys to compensate for that lack of height. It’s all Reputation with a capital R. He steals art by tricking various people into letting down their guard and telling him when they will be away from their homes, what works of expensive art they have, etc. In comes Clas, a potential new CEO for a big company looking for a good leader. It turns out that there are nefarious things in play and Clas is a very bad man. I won’t give away too much of the plot, but it’s filled with gun play, violence, fighting, and lots and lots of blood. It’s a fun film that misses the mark in a lot of ways. It could have been so much better with some changes to the script, but as the pattern goes here so far, I liked it. 7/10.
My plans for tomorrow? Watch the following- Trollhunter and maybe Rare Exports.
I’ve created an economics discussion page on wordpress.com. I was going to initially put it on here, but I wanted the URL to reflect the theme and separate it a bit from TheBlueSite content.
Check it out if you’re interested in learning about economics and discussing it in order to get a better grasp on it. I’m currently studying economics at Western Kentucky University with plans to get a BA in econ and a BA in film production. Might then proceed into the econ masters program or perhaps an MBA. Not really sure just yet. So, I’m trying to gather any other econ students and maybe we can ask questions, pose problems, etc to learn more than we would in classes alone.
Check it out if you get a chance, tell me what you think…
So, last weekend, I was a production assistant on a short film shot in nearby Owensboro and Henderson Kentucky. Lee Goldberg, executive producer of Diagnosis Murder, writer for Monk, Spencer For Hire, Psych, Nero Wolfe Mysteries, and a whole slew of other well known series, was the director on this project- his directorial debut from what I understand. Nicest guy you could ever ask for– very cordial on set, easy going, more than willing to sign any of his many books for you (if you ever try to get two books signed within 5 mins of each other, use a different name the second go around …just a really cool guy all around.
I read the script for Remaindered a few days before the first day of shooting on Friday, and I loved it. It’s comical, there’s a bit of violence, but it’s balanced so well with the light nature of the whole project that it doesn’t ever really get dark in any manner. It’s got some really nice plot twists…I remembering reading– thinking to myself, ‘this seems rather mundane– pretty standard stuff’…until the end where you sit back and smile at the smart ending. Very clever, Mr. Goldberg, very clever, indeed.
So, production assistant isn’t a very glamorous job, and I spent most of Friday night outside just waiting for something to do. I had to miss Saturday’s shooting due to issues at work I had to deal with, and Sunday was fun. I met a lot of nice people Sunday– it was definitely nicer to be inside to see some of the shooting and the whole process as it takes place, even if I was lying on the floor in the produce department cueing extras into the scene for background action. It’s always nice to get any experience possible.
I’m nearly finished with this video and film program at school, hope to move somewhere in the southwest next fall to finish a bachelor’s degree in film or something closely related. My goal is directing, but I do love cinematography- just the way they make things look really fantastic in movies and TV. God knows the raw footage looks nothing like the finished project, and that process is just exciting in a lot of ways.
I’d like to thank Rodney Newton and P.J. Starks, whom I got in touch with about taking part in this whole process. I had a small role, but like I said, any chance to get more experience is worthwhile if you ask me. I hope to get the chance to do some more projects with them in any role they’ll have me fill. Same goes for the rest of the crew- Marx, Lewis, Neil, Sharon, and all the others who couldn’t have been nicer throughout our time together on this project and others.
I’d also like to thank Lee for being a cool guy. Friday night, I approach him, all fanboy nervous (I love Monk and the Monk books he writes), my voice cracking, trying my best not to sound dumb in front of THE Lee Goldberg, and what do I do, I awkwardly mention we had chatted online twice before about his first Monk book, and how I made a big deal about how he had the character of Monk eating cereal and milk (not realizing Monk is deathly afraid of milk). Shooting was about to start again, so our conversation was kind of cut short, so I kept hoping he didn’t think I was bashing him! He took it in stride, making note that around 10, 000 people had told him about the milk thing, totally cool about all of it.
Lee did tell us some really interesting and often hilarious stories while on set…about Hollywood, his experience in writing for TV, and even some of his experiences in years past in Owensboro where he comes to work with the Mystery Writers group.
I got that first Monk book signed and got a second stand alone novel of his signed as well. Now, I just need to get a Burn Notice book signed by his talented brother, Tod Goldberg, who is also an author (of course). Someday.
Can’t wait to see the final product of a weekend of hard work by all. I have a feeling, from what I did see, that it’s going to turn out great. A totally enjoyable experience, and hopefully there will be more to come.
Slate.com has a story on the disappointment that was DICK TRACY (1990).
I remember being so psyched to see this when I was a kid. I was living in Florida at the time…I made friends with this younger kid in the neighborhood (I was 11, I guess he was probably 8?) who was excited to see it too. But he was too hyperactive. Annoying even. My mom and I were set to go, and he showed up at the last second wanting to go too.
I remember having my Dick Tracy watch and my Dick Tracy hat and my Dick Tracy shirt on before leaving. I had all the McDonald’s collectors cups and I saved all the scratch off game pieces with the characters and a scene from the story. (I still have those in storage somewhere).
Disappointing film, no doubt, but it was an exciting time as an 11 year old who was obsessed with all things Dick Tracy.
I came home that night and played Roger Rabbit on Nintendo into the early morning hours. Good times.
I should totally host a dinner for all the people who used to comment here. I’m sure we’d have a grand ol’ time. As long as we kept the topics centered around movies and music and such. I’d call it BlueCon, and there’d be a whole 5 people in attendance.
I find myself posting political stuff to facebook which just tends to annoy people. Still trying to think of some website names that would encompass what I’m trying to do. Then again, I lost a lot of my ambition for blogging politics when my mom died (4 yrs ago, seems like a million yrs ago and a second ago all at the same time)…plus, readership declined, in large part due to much bigger political blogs coming online and dominating. Well that and I suck at advertising or even gathering a loyal following. I never understood those people who could go to twitter or whatever social site it was and meet random people they had never met and make strong bonds. I’ve never been able to do that but on a rare few occasions. And even those usually never last very long.
My situation changed as well- I was working full time, then part time, then taking care of my mom and not working but 3 days a week, then full time in a much more important position that called for more time, then college classes in 2008 (through the present). So much more going on. Plus, it all sort of lost its cache in some ways.
I’ll be more clear on where things stand in October…well around October. Will probably keep this, then split off into a political site and media site. Just for good separation. So, keep checking back. Until then, enjoy the snippets of movies, tv, etc. Unfortunately, since things are so disconnected, it’s a smaller readership, but hopefully that will change…in time…
Hope you all are well. Whoever you are. And thanks. For everything.
I was listening to the new Dave Matthews Band CD- Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King. Not loving it really. It’s okay, but there aren’t any really catchy tunes. Which is really what I’m all about with DMB. Been a fan since high school.
Picked up Under The Table and Dreaming and listened to it a million times on my CD player on bus trips to marching band contests. Ants Marching is my favorite from that album, and it’s probably my favorite Dave Matthews Band song overall. I remember the first time I saw the video- I remember being a sophomore in high school, I got up early for once, my mom was getting ready for work, and the video came on MTV. I was feeling good all day thanks to that wake up. It’s catchy, it’s really light and whimsical, and it’s just plain fun.
What Would You Say? (also a very fun video) from the same CD was their big radio hit, and I like it a lot. The Best of What’s Around is fun and catchy, but nowhere near as fun to listen to as #34 which is nothing but an all instrumental track and is dominated by what I assume is Leroi Moore on saxophone. It’s fairly slow, and slow is what I never liked about the band, but this one works being mostly sax and not the slow folksy guitar stuff Dave does. On the actual CD, it is an odd addition- it’s actually on track 34…so I didn’t realize it even existed my first few listens. Not until I left the CD player go through tracks 11-33.
Remember Two Things has a slow live version of Ants Marching. It’s an extended cut, which is nice, but it’s way too slow to enjoy too much. The snappy and quick Beauford backbeat just isn’t there at this slow speed. The CD also has a live cut of Tripping Billies, which was anoither favorite.
Their five track CD, Recently, has the interesting song Recently on it. I could do without the rest of it.
Their next album, Crash (after Dreaming), has the great tracks (and radio hits), Too Much and Tripping Billies…as well as the funky So Much to Say. I remember first seeing the video for Too Much on MTV at Ethan Jones’ house and loving it. Had to record it the very next time it came on. #41 starts out with instrumentals, but Dave’s smooth vocals join the party pretty quickly. It’s a nice track, but it can’t even touch Too Much and Tripping Billies- the latter track is infused with latin sounding percussion, bluegrass-laden fiddle, and the soulful Moore sax. Beauford’s drumming is filled with lots of staccato crash cymbals and snappy hi-hat. This is one of the songs I could get into with just the percussion track by itself. Crach Into Me was a big radio hit, but it was too slow for me. The video had some original visuals, but outside of that, I’m sort of just, ‘eh.’
I have the Live at Red Rocks 2 disc set, and it’s okay, but the tempo and tone of some of the live tracks just differ too greatly from the studio versions I came to love so much. I do love the very funky #36 from this one (mainly Carter’s intro solo, not so much the almost drunk-sounding vocals from Matthews), and Ants Marching here is good. The tempo is actually a bit faster than the studio version, and it’s very full with Tinsley’s violin and Moore’s sax in the beginning. Carter gets extra time on the drums as the song seems to almost start over when Matthews thanks the crowd for coming out.
Before These Crowded Streets was their next album, and the intro Panatala Naga Pampa (41 seconds long) alsways sounded tropical/african-inspired to me. Rapunzel is light and quick, but the best track on the CD is Stay (Wasting Time). The intro guitar, the bass backing, and the lyics here are all just happy and laid back.
Listener Supported, another live album had a nice version of Too Much (what I’d call the ‘funk’ version). Most of the rest of it is just average- Dave’s live vocals are just too weird for me most of the time. His pitch, his inflection, and his odd pronunciations sound mostly like drunk nonsense. On most of the tracks, if you even make out half the words, you’re already doing much better than me.
At this point in the band’s history, I pretty much checked out. They had no really memorable tracks after this, seemed to do nothing but live CDs every other year or so, Dave went solo and got all dark. The band did a nice live version of the aforementioned instrumental track #34 on their CD Weekend On the Rocks.
What Would You Say (one of my favorite DMB songs) made it on their live CD Live At Piedmont Park. It’s decent, but it’s nothing to get too excited about. The vocals aren’t all that great, and there are too many muddled instruments in the background (some weird guitar riffs that sounds almost Woodstock-esque to me.)
Onto another live CD (or 4 or 5 or 20), and we’re back to Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King. Maybe I’ll listen to it some more, and I’ll find a song (or a few) that get stuck in my head, but I don’t hold out tons of hope. The last original song that did that to me was from These Crowded Streets, and since then it’s just been a rehash of live versions of the songs I loved from before, but none pulled off anywhere near as well as the originals.
So, 16 years worth of CDs, a bunch of cherished songs both in the studio and in various live performances. Not too shabby overall. Even if I don’t find another new catchy Dave Matthews Band song, I’ve got a whole cache to play with already. I think I’m okay with that.
I took part in a conference call with Bruce Campbell this afternoon. Here are some of the notes I made. I should have the transcript and a write up tomorrow afternoon hopefully. I am thinking of starting a second site as companion to TheBlueSite based on entertainment, movies, TV, etc. Will make note of that news when it’s ready. Think of any good domain names for that sort of site?? Hit me up in the comments with any suggestions.
Here are the notes from the call. I got tired of taking notes at some point and just gave up…more tomorrow…
TV Mega Site
Bruce has been stuck in genre series. Is this change a purposeful act?
New Media Strategies. Krissie Heckins
Moderate question queue- *1
Recording, will receive copy of transcript.
NiceGirlsTV.com question 2
Question 3- Anne??
Question 4- Anthony BurnNotice.com
tvwithoutpity.com Zach Oats
expo center almost torn down. miami- shoot where else if moved?
bruce lives in oregon.
ONLY show shot regularly in miami. gov crist came to visit them to thank tham. they coould fake fl if they had to
stevie wilson latvstory.com
media blvd magazine next call
What does Bruce know about Sam Axe that no one else knows, not even the writers per se?
Sam is a big reader of fiction and his favorite book is Wuthering Heights. He’s a secret romantic.
Evil Dead will be a remake coming up…he won’t be in it, but he will produce it. Probably will do a Bubba Hotep sequel, but he couldn’t come to agreement with director in the story, so he won’t be in it.
Vagabond, the gypsy life of an actor will be Bruce’s upcoming book in a couple of years.
Bruce has 2 previous books
deadbolt.com beer question with sams lovelife
readjunk.com—can we expect sam axe boody spray??
stu miller gunaxen.com?? beer guy again
kelly rutherford (brisco) is babe a licious to bruce
lastory.com stevie wilson
in florida- bruce has been cycling alot. exploring bike paths and such. florida is very flat. hes a new freak and craves reality= ny times and news. basketball he loves. generic guy stuff
bruce has his own blog
bruce talks about golden girls and how that show is an example of how tv caters to older people sometimes. not all tv is catered to 14 yr olds. usa has done a good job of doing xharacter based shows, not based on age and beauty. more mature stuff.
He will probably be in Spiderman 4, but Sam Raimi (who is a good friend) usually doesn’t let him know until the last second.
Sam will never get with Michael’s mother in Burn Notice.
NBA Finals- anyone but Kobe Bryant! He wanted Cavs to take it. He wants Orlando to knock Lakers down.
Bruce has directed Hercules, VIP, Xena, and more on TV. He doesn’t want to boss anyone around on Burn Notice, however. So, he doesn’t see himself ever directing an episode of Burn Notice.
Okay, my journey into 16 year old girl land is taking a bad turn here. Check out the video 9:05 in…there’s a song that they play part of, but apparently all the music for the show (outside of the theme song which was on the 3D experience album) is original to the show. I want this song “keep it real” (I assume that’s the name of it). Guess who’s buying the soundtrack to Jonas when it comes out?
Listen to the snippet of the song, and if you find it utterly horrible and not one bit catchy, I’ll each my shoe. And a hat. And maybe a sock.