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My Year in Film: 2013

Once again, I’ve put together a roundup of all the movies I saw last year. I exceeded my goal of seeing one movie per month and mostly liked everything I saw.

I note that because, unlike the killjoy, jaded critics, I still find going to the movie theater a magical experience.

Also, I think it goes without saying, but there are spoilers.

Warm Bodies 

I believe this was the first movie I saw in 2013. I’m sure a lot of people have had enough of zombies, but I really enjoyed it.

Yes, it’s essentially Zombie Romantic Comedy, but Nicholas Hoult was great–even when handling stunted zombie dialogue. Rob Corddry was also pretty good in a supporting role.

I guess the one thing I didn’t get were the Boneys. They are skeletal zombies that have lost any trace of humanity. See, the normal zombies move pretty slowly, but the Boneys, who supposedly are a step beyond the zombies, move at a clip comparable to an NFL running back.

What? How do they move at all without any remaining muscle mass?

Yeah, yeah, suspension of disbelief…

The Place Beyond the Pines

Boy did I get hornswaggled when I went to see The Place Beyond the Pines. The trailers and the commercials really played up Ryan Gosling’s carny anti-hero character. It seemed to me as if it were being sold as Drive on two wheels.

Admittedly, that would have been awesome, except *Spoiler* his character dies a third of the way through the goddamn movie. Honestly, they could have rolled credits after Bradley Cooper’s character shot him, and I would have been perfectly content.
Oh, yeah, Bradley Cooper is it. Like me, you might forget that going into the movie because he was in the trailers and commercials for all of 20 seconds.

 This movie also does something that I love.

The first part of the movie is set in the near past, but without explicitly saying it does. I gathered that it takes place in the late 80s. The cut of the jeans and the amount of un-ironic windbreakers tipped me off at first but repeated references to Hall and Oates sealed the deal.

All snark aside, I actually enjoyed it.

Evil Dead

Generally, if I take the effort to go out and see a movie, I’m going to like it. Evil Dead was an exception, though. Don’t get me wrong, I wanted to like it. I really did.

I think I’m too close to the original. I’m a big fan Bruce Campbell and Sam Raimi, and I guess I liked the combination of horror and goofy slapstick in the original.

The reboot had nice homages to the original that I was happy to see, like the Michigan State sweatshirt (Campbell and Raimi are from Michigan) and the Oldsmobile Delta 88. It suffered, in my unprofessional opinion, from just going too crazy.

It’s something a lot of current horror films do. Essentially, “Hey, maybe if we just make it bat shit insane we’ll shock people into liking it!” It was just off-putting to me.

Also, get off my lawn.

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My Favorite Albums of 2013

Honestly, I could have done a better job with the music listening in 2013. However, I still got around to listening to a decent amount of albums. Most of them were from bands I already liked, so I guess I’ll have to expand my horizon in 2014.

*Also, it should be noted these were my favorites of 2013, not necessarily the objectively best albums of everything released last year.

British Sea Power – Machineries of Joy

I’m a sucker for this stuff. British Sea Power is one of many bands that picked up where post-punk bands from the 80s left off. Machineries is a little mellower than their earlier stuff, but “Machineries of Joy” and “Loving Animals” prove that’s a good thing.

Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin – Fly by Wire

I don’t know why it took me so long to get into SSLYBY. They’re from Springfield, Mo., and I probably missed lots of awesome shows while I was at Mizzou. Anyway, they’re catchy as ever on this album.

Local Natives – Hummingbird

Local Natives are one of the bands I think of when I hear “indie band.” I had a chance to see them in Asheville at the start of 2013 but didn’t go, and I’ve been kicking myself since.

Frightened Rabbit – Pedestrian Verse

Here’s the thing about Scotland: If it produces a rock band, I’m going to like it. Orange Juice? Yup. Teenage Fan Club? Sure. Franz Ferdinand? Of course. We Were Promised Jetpacks? Naturally. Frightened Rabbit? You’re goddamn right.

This is another band that I had a chance to see but didn’t. Man, I am a stupid idiot.

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Casting Marvel’s Netflix Series

Marvel recently announced big news–It will be bringing four of its heroes (Daredevil, Luke Cage, Iron Fist and Jessica Jones) to the small screen via Netflix. From what I’ve read, each hero will be getting a 13-episode run on the streaming service. Based on Orange is the New Black and House of Cards, this is good news.

Naturally, the Internet is already telling Marvel who should play who, so I thought I’d join. I’ll start with the characters with which I’m least familiar and work my way to Daredevil.

Jessica Jones

Jones has pretty standard powers (super strength, flight, etc…) after being exposed to–you guessed it–mild radiation. She kinda blew it in the super hero game, cutting her losses and opening a private detective agency.

One name that I keep seeing in online discussions, and with which I agree, is Tatiana Maslany–the star of BBC America’s Orphan Black. From what I’ve seen of the show, she seems very talented–having to play a variety of clones throughout the series. That experience could be useful playing a private eye/spy.

Another actress that comes to mind is Lauren Cohan, a veteran TV actress. She’s appeared in Supernatural, Vampire Diaries, Chuck and, most importantly, The Walking Dead. Admittedly, I haven’t seen the first three, but I have seen The Walking Dead. 

Cohan has to handle some pretty heavy, emotional scenes while still kicking ass, because, you know, zombie apocalypse.
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6 Things About the Laundromat

For the first time in a while, I’m living in an apartment without an on-site laundry facility. There are hookups for a washer and dryer in my apartment, but come on. That’s like a restaurant saying “You bring the meat and vegetables, but don’t worry! We have seasoning and cooking utensils!”

Consequently, I am making regular trips to the laundromat. Share in my pain:

6. I’m the only person that reads 

I should clarify–I’m sure the other people I encounter there can read (probably)–but I never see them do it. If I have to spend 30 minutes or more waiting for my laundry, you’re goddamn right I’m bringing a book.

I guess the other people who frequent my laundromat don’t see it like that. In fact, it’s like they’ll do anything else to avoid cracking the spine of a book. Some watch the Spanish-language soap operas and talk shows that are often on the TVs, even though I’m positive some of those people can’t speak Spanish.

Others will play Angry Birds or just sit and stare. Still, others will go outside and chain smoke until their laundry is done. I mean, why use down time to better yourself?

5. Other people’s kids are the worst 

If you’ve ever been to a Wal-Mart, you already know this. While the adults of Laundro Land might be content to drool and stare at the wall, their kids will find their own fun. And make no mistake, it will be at the expense of the your eardrums and your patience.

Yep.

The laundromat I go to isn’t a terribly large place. Imagine my surprise when I saw four kids chasing each other, sprinting the length of the building at full-speed. That would have been enough to annoy me but they were also screaming at the top of their lungs.

Listen, I get that a lot of these people aren’t going to hire a babysitter for an hour while they do laundry. Also, I’m sure to a parent screaming children are just background noise–like the white noise of a fan to me. However, some of us live alone sans demon spawn. I’m not used to that type aural punishment.

Would it be too much for you to tell your kids to knock it off?

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My Favorite Music Videos

BuzzFeed has been the foremost Internet beneficiary of ’90s and ’00s nostalgia; they have quite a racket going with all their reminders of pogs and Nickelodeon shows that only seemed great because our brains were still grey mush. Obviously, that excludes Pete and Pete, which was genius and don’t you dare fight me on that.

One of the things I miss the most, though, is music videos. Believe it or not teenagers, there was a time when MTV programming consisted of more than just knocked up high schoolers and Rob Dyrdek.

When the Internet was still in its adolescence, TV was decent place to see your favorite bands. So, in no particular order, here are a handful of my favorite music videos from the last 20 years.

Wax “Southern California”

Wax was a really great band that never got as big as they should have been.

The video is a pretty simple idea executed perfectly by Spike Jonze.

Weezer “Buddy Holly”

Another Spike Jonze classic. Also, fun fact: At the beginning of “Undone (The Sweater Song),” the voices before the first verse are jabs at Wax.

The two bands were contemporaries (hence Jonze directing videos for each) and the members of Wax were certain they were headed for mainstream success.

It didn’t quite happen. Instead, Weezer hit it big, and they felt the need to remind Wax of it. Kind of a dick move.

Foo Fighters “Everlong”

The Colour and the Shape was the first album I ever bought, and I still get goosebumps when I hear this song.

Nostalgia aside, I appreciate that the Foo Fighter have always tried to do something different with their videos. Even without audio, it’s not hard to spot a Foo Fighters video.

I enjoy the surreal dreamscape, and, as a Kids in the Hall fan, I appreciate the band’s willingness to cross dress.

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