Pick your movie of the week: Masks (Nov 1-7/20)

There are many iconic movie masks, likely the holiest of grails being Darth Vader’s and Batman’s. These are pretty heavy hitter’s though, so let’s pick from these classics as our last hurrah for Halloween:

Halloween (1978)

Friday the 13th (1980)

Scream (1996)

V for Vendetta (2005)

My Ranking of the 25 Greatest Vampires in Movies

And wasting no time…

  1. DRACULA, Adam Sandler, Hotel Transylvania (2002)
  2. JARKO GRIMWOOD, WWE’s Triple H, Blade Trinity (2004)
  3. BARNABAS COLLINS, Johnny Depp, Dark Shadows (2012)
  4. AMILYN, Paul Reubens, Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992)
  5. DRACULA, Gary Oldman, Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992)
  6. SCHRECK, Willem Dafoe, Shadow of the Vampire (2000)
  7. JESSICA, Anna Kendrick, Twilight saga (2008-2012)
  8. MAXIMILLIAN, Eddie Murphy, Vampire in Brooklyn (1995)
  9. THAT ONE PLAYING THE VIOLIN, Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992)
  10. SELENE, Kate Beckinsale, Underworld series (2003-09)
  11. DRACULA, Christopher Lee, Dracula Has Risen from the Grave (1968)
  12. LESTAT de LIONCOURT and LOUIS de POINTE du LAC, Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt, Interview with the Vampire (1994)
  13. CLAUDIA, Kirsten Dunst, Interview with the Vampire (1994), a child vampire!
  14. THAT ONE WITH THE CORN ROWS AND LEAD PIPE, Blade II (2002)
  15. MARK KENDALL, Jim Carrey, Once Bitten (1985)
  16. DRACULA, Leslie Nielson, Dracula Dead and Loving It (1995)
  17. PETER LOEW, Nicolas Cage, Vampire’s Kiss (1988)
  18. JERRY, Chris Sarandon / Colin Farrell, Fright Night (1985, 2011)
  19. EDWARD CULLEN, Twilight saga (2008-2012)
  20. THE COUNT, Follow That Bird end credits (1985)
  21. VIAGO, Taika Waititi, What We Do in the Shadows (2014)
  22. DAVID, Kiefer Sutherland, The Lost Boys (1987)
  23. ELI, Lina Leandersson / Chloë Grace Moretz, Let the Right One In (2008) / Let Me In (2010), more children vampires!
  24. DRACULA, Bela Lugosi, Dracula (1931)
  25. GRAF ORLOK, Max Schreck, Nosferatu (1922)

 

Congratulations Buffy the Vampire Slayer. This is your week.

And the Oscar goes to…

Best Actress: Madeline Kahn as Elizabeth in Young Frankenstein.

Best Actor: Simon Pegg as Shaun in Shaun of the Dead.

Best Quote: “Some people freak out a bit about the age difference. They think, ‘What’s this 96-year-old lady doing with a guy four times her age?’” — Taika Waititi as Viago in What We Do in the Shadows.

 

I was surprised to see Christopher Lee (the “old bad guy” in both the Star Wars prequels and in The Lord of the Rings trilogy) was once the iconic Dracula for the 70’s. Also, please note that The Count also made an appearance in Muppets take Manhatten (1984).

Pick your movie of the week: Comedy Horror (Oct 25-31/20)

I can remember the first time watching comedy horror on TV with my siblings and we LOVED it. Problem is, we can’t remember what it was called. But these comedies are very well known and they’re all good ones to vote on this week in preparation for Halloween. What’s your pick?

Young Frankenstein (1974)

Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992)

Shaun of the Dead (2004)

What We Do in the Shadows (2014)

We Didn’t Start the Fire, Post 1989 Edition

I do hope Billy Joel won’t mind… I recently saw a remake of “We Didn’t Start the Fire,” done by Marvel actors and was consequently reminded (by a couple of you) that as a teenager I wrote my own version. So I decided this week to do that again. Essentially, you should be able to read the lyrics below in your head to the tune of Joel’s classic 80’s song.

Looking back at the past 30+ years, to quote the great Rich Mullins, “This the world as best as I can remember it.” 

Oprah Winfrey, Princess Di,
Iraq war and NAFTA signed
Big debt, Internet, 
Freddie Mercury

Michael Jordan, World Wide Web
Referendum in Québec
Jerry Seinfeld, OJ Trial
iMac, Euro Disney

Y2K, Princess Di, 
NHL and Baseball strikes
Clinton Scandal, ice storm
Baywatch, Matlock, Google’s born

George Dubya, Enron
9-11, dot coms
Dr. Dre and Eminem
Michel Jordan’s back again

CHORUS

Zuckerberg, climate change
iPhone and Saddam Hussein
Middle Earth and Dark Knight, 
Bombers, shooters on the rise

Iran, Ahmadinejad
Earth is shaking in Japan
Barack Obama, Conrad Black, 
Bin Laden is found at last

Haiti crises, Wikileaks
Pride parades, equality
Egypt, Ukraine, Hong Kong
Oil spills and Amazon

CHORUS

Harry Potter, legal weed
Syrian War and refugees
Trudeau, Trump and Rob Ford
Martin, Taylor, Floyd, and Moore

Snowden, Tarantino
Marvel superheroes
Rwanda, Darfur, Taliban
Psy, Korean dancing man

Call Me Kaitlyn, Wikileaks
The M-M-I-W-G
Spotify and Instagram
Moonlight wins, not La La Land

CHORUS

Fidget spinners, Harambe
Banksy, and Linsanity
Lady Gaga, Black hole
An Oscar for DiCaprio

Ebola hits in Africa
Fires in Australia
Dow Jones falls, US wall
COVID-19 threatens all

Green new deal and hybrid cars, 
Netflix and a trip to Mars
Kobe Bryant, RBG
Black Lives Matter, I can’t breathe!

CHORUS

And now, let’s go to the movies…

Congratulations Get Out. This is your week.

And the Oscar goes to…

Best Actress: Florence Pugh as Dani in Midsommar.

Best Actor: Daniel Kaluuya as Chris Washington in Get Out.

Best Quote: “Do you want a balloon too, Georgie?” — Bill Skarsgård as Pennywise in It.

And 2020 could have its own song altogether. If any of you feel inspired to write one, please send it along. I’d love to read/hear it!

What is wrong with Troy?!

Here are things that are currently wrong with my body:

  • Out-of-control eyebrows. I got this from my paternal grandfather, and I have to say I actually love those two adorable giant caterpillars on my forehead. But it does require gardening skills, and most would rather not have this particular blessing.
  • One missing tooth. Without my fake one in I look like some guy who buys underwear on kijiji and loves to start a fight at the Thirsty Mule.
  • A big ol’ prostate. The enlargement is a normal malady for guys my age, but man I wish it would just behave and let me pee in peace.
  • Bad vision. Just upgraded to progressive lenses.
  • A bad back. This one is a biggie. I have to take care of it with exercises and good posture practices. Otherwise I turn 90 years old in the blink of an eye.
  • Bald. I happen to think this makes me much cooler, but it’s the butt of a lot of jokes on TV and movies, so I’ll include it.
  • Weak wrists. I had carpal tunnel surgery and ever since I give pickle jars to my kids to open.

Now look these over and ask yourself: Would I choose not to be a friend to Troy because of any of the above?

I mean it. Would you consider that at all? Would you choose to maybe start conversations with me less often? Would you hope that I wouldn’t invite you to my house or out for a coffee? Would you avoid me?

I think most of us would understand if someone’s back wasn’t perfect. It’s a complicated part of the body, really. Vision even more so. The human eye is more complicated than any computer on this planet, and poor vision is pretty common. So I don’t worry what other people think about it.

And now consider that the brain is the most complex part of the body. It tells your body to go eat, to breathe, the blink, to feel, to flee danger. It allows you to see, to hear, to touch; even empathize, love, and laugh. Without it you couldn’t read a word of this. And that’s just the beginning. It’s made up of billions of nerve cells and trillions of synapses. TRILLIONS!

And if the slightest thing goes wrong, you could hallucinate. You could cry without knowing why. You could be driven to do something you never thought you would. You think a bruise or blister hinders your foot from working properly? Imagine the effect of something like that if it were on the brain!

Keeping this in mind, did you know that according to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health:

  • 42% of Canadians were unsure whether they would socialize with a friend who has a mental illness.
  • 55% of Canadians said they would be unlikely to enter a spousal relationship with someone who has a mental illness.
  • 46% of Canadians thought people use the term mental illness as an excuse for bad behaviour, and 27% said they would be fearful of being around someone who suffers from serious mental illness.
  • Just 50% of Canadians would tell friends or co-workers that they have a family member with a mental illness, compared to 72% who would discuss a diagnosis of cancer and 68% who would talk about a family member having diabetes.

Would you like to see drug addiction end? Or at least see a significant drop in cases? How about suicide? It sure would be nice to see fewer of those. Currently every day there is about 11 people who commit suicide in Canada. Homelessness? Murder rates? Abuses? It’d be nice to flatten that curve, wouldn’t it?

Today, October 10, is World Mental Health Awareness Day. We need to end the stigma if we want to get anywhere. We can roll our eyes when someone says they have anxiety, or we could offer a hug. It’s not a weakness. It’s a health issue. If you can love a bald man with glasses, a fake tooth, and eyebrows that only a forest ranger could love, then surely you can love those of us with a bruise or blister on our brain.

Which is 1 in 5 of us by the way.

Congratulations Phantom of the Opera. This is your week.

And the Oscar goes to…

Best Actress: Anne Hathaway as Fantine in Les Misérables.

Best Actor: Gerard Butler as Maestro/The Phantom in The Phantom of the Opera.

Best Quote: “Immigrants. We get the job done.” — Daveed Diggs and Lin-Manuel Miranda as Marquis de Lafayette and Alexander Hamilton in Hamilton.

My Top 10 Mental Health Movies

  1. A Beautiful Mind (2001)
  2. Memento (1999)
  3. Lars and the Real Girl (2007)
  4. Silver Linings Playbook (2012)
  5. Fight Club (1999)
  6. Little Miss Sunshine (2006)
  7. Good Will Hunting (1997)
  8. Rain Man (1988)
  9. Mary and Max (2009)
  10. Joker (2019)

Source: https://www.camh.ca/en/driving-change/the-crisis-is-real/mental-health-statistics

 

The Best Movie of Each Decade

1920’s 

  • How many I’ve watched (as far as I know): 17
  • My pick: The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928)
  • Critics’ Likely Consensus: Battleship Potemkin (1925)
  • Honourable Mentions: The Gold Rush (1925), The General (1926), Nosferatu (1922), Metropolis (1927), Sunrise (1927)

1930’s

  • How many I’ve watched (as far as I know): 18
  • My pick: The Wizard of Oz (1939)
  • Critics’ Likely Consensus: Gone With the Wind (1939)
  • Honourable Mentions: All Quiet on the Western Front (1930), City Lights (1931), M (1931), It Happened One Night (1934), King Kong (1933), Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)

1940’s

  • How many I’ve watched (as far as I know): 25
  • My pick: Casablanca (1942)
  • Critics’ Likely Consensus: Citizen Kane (1941)
  • Honourable Mentions: The Grapes of Wrath (1940), Pinocchio (1940), It’s A Wonderful Life (1946), The Best Years of Our Lives (1946), Bicycle Thieves (1948)

1950’s

  • How many I’ve watched (as far as I know): 44
  • My pick: 12 Angry Men (1957)
  • Critics’ Likely Consensus: Vertigo (1958)
  • Honourable Mentions: Sunset Boulevard (1950), Singin’ in the Rain (1952), Roman Holiday (1953), Seven Samurai (1954), Rear Window (1954), The Searchers (1956), Throne of Blood (1957), Ben-Hur (1959), Some Like It Hot (1959), North by Northwest (1959), On the Waterfront (1954)

1960’s

  • How many I’ve watched (as far as I know): 54
  • My Pick: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)
  • Critics’ Likely Consensus: 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
  • Honourable Mentions: Psycho (1960), To Kill a Mockingbird (1962), The Apartment (1960), Dr. Strangelove (1964), The Sound of Music (1965), The Graduate (1967), Bonnie and Clyde (1967)

1970’s

  • How many I’ve watched (as far as I know): 65
  • My Pick: The Godfather (1972)
  • Critics’ Likely Consensus: The Godfather (1972)
  • Honourable Mentions: A Clockwork Orange (1971), Paper Moon (1973), The Godfather Part II (1974), Chinatown (1974), Jaws (1975), Taxi Driver (1976), Star Wars (1977), Alien (1979)

1980’s

  • How many I’ve watched (as far as I know): 255
  • My Pick: Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
  • Critics’ Likely Consensus: Raging Bull (1980)
  • Honourable Mentions: The Shining (1980), The Empire Strikes Back (1980), Bladerunner (1982), The Thing (1982), E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (1982), Back to the Future (1985), The Breakfast Club (1985), Amadeus (1984), Die Hard (1988)

1990’s

  • How many I’ve watched (as far as I know): 431
  • My Pick: Schindler’s List (1993)
  • Critics’ Likely Consensus: The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
  • Honourable Mentions: Goodfellas (1990), Unforgiven (1992), The Lion King (1994), Pulp Fiction (1994), Forrest Gump (1994), Braveheart (1995), Toy Story (1995), Fargo (1996), The Shawshank Redemption (199), The Big Lebowski (1998), The Matrix (1999)

2000’s

  • How many I’ve watched (as far as I know): 549
  • My Pick: There Will Be Blood (2007) 
  • Critics’ Likely Consensus: Mulholland Dr. (2001)
  • Honourable Mentions: The Lord of the Rings trilogy (2001-03), Spirited Away (2001), The Dark Knight (2008), Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

2010’s

  • How many I’ve watched (as far as I know): 612
  • My Pick: Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) 
  • Critics’ Likely Consensus: The Tree of Life (2011)
  • Honourable Mentions : Inception (2010), The Social Network (2010), The Avengers (2012), Birdman (2014), Boyhood (2014), La La Land (2016), Get Out (2017), Joker (2019), Parasite (2019)


Congratulations The Outsiders. This is your week.


And the Oscar goes to…

Best Actress: Marisa Tomei as Mona Lisa Vino in My Cousin Vinny.

Best Actor: Pat Morita as Mr. Miyagi in The Karate Kid Part II.

Best Quote: “Stay gold, Pony Boy. Stay Gold.” — Ralph Macchio as Johnny in The Outsiders.


For my picks I tried to choose with a critical view as opposed to just listing my favourite. For instance, my favourite movie of the 80’s would be a toss-up between The Empire Strikes Back and Back to the Future. But to take a critical standpoint, a film that I believe checks all the boxes and represents the decade as a whole, I think Raiders is the right choice.

A Tale of 2 Offensive Songs

Perhaps you’ve seen the meme going around about the irony that “Baby It’s Cold Outside” was temporarily taken off several Canadian radio stations last year (I thought it was in 2018, but I could be wrong…) and now, this week in 2020 the most popular song is “WAP” by Cardi B. The meme said to “let that sink in,” so I decided to do that. I let it sink in and I do believe I have a better understanding of this apparent irony. May I share?

For those of you who are not aware of “WAP,” it is a song where Cardi B explicitly spells out what she wants a man to do with her sexually. The song is so explicit it gets heavily censored when played on the radio. The title itself is an acronym, one that I will not deconstruct. But I’m sure some of you will Google it and shake your head as you read a few lines. What is this world coming to??

On the other hand, “Baby It’s Cold Outside,” though filled with sexual innuendo, does seem to be innocent enough. It seems like it’s meant to be given to listeners with a wink and a smirk. You can imagine someone smiling while saying to the singer, “Oh you’re so bad!” in a playful reprimand. Well… “WAP” sure ain’t like that!

But let’s look at this from another perspective.

Let me first state: 1) I am not a fan of Cardi B. No, not in the slightest. Not much of a fan about any of the new music coming from these danged young people, just like any other self-respecting grumpy old man. Furthermore, 2) I am ok with “BICO” to be played on the radio. The song is nuanced today, but asking for its removal may be a little drastic. I would be ok with either song being either kept or removed from the radio. Radio stations, do your thing. I know how to use a dial. And how to put together a playlist, despite my grumpy-old-man-ness.

With those caveats behind us, let’s consider this… “WAP” is about sex between two consenting adults. Not all of us are ok with that being sung about in such an irreverent way, not to mention being made available to the public to listen to, including impressionable kids. However, that has more to do with each of us and our comfortability with the subject of sex. Cardi isn’t singing about hurting anyone, despite how much her music might hurt the ears.

“BICO” on the other hand has been criticized as of late because the male character in the song, as we all know well, is trying hard to not only convince a woman to stay and get… cozy… with him but is appearing to not take no for an answer, and may or may not be trying to weaken her resolve with strong drink (or whatever is in that drink). There is even a line that teases the idea she may be a minor. 

But this song hasn’t been under fire in recent days because we are all just too darned sensitive and can’t take a sexually suggestive song. It is because we live in a different time now. We know better. Testimonies of countless victims have changed how we think and how we interact. Sure, the protests may seem annoying, but doesn’t it feel good to know that you are alive at a time when being “rape-y” is not ok and gets called out so quickly?

And perhaps we don’t like it when people throw out the “if it was a man” argument, but consider for a moment that “Baby Got Back” by Sir Mix-a-Lot only garnered grimaces, giggles, and the odd “Do you know what that song is actually saying? Hahaha, don’t sing that song. Trust me! Hahaha.” Whereas Cardi’s song is just plain tasteless and deplorable. What is this world coming to? And Mix-a-Lot’s song was recorded 28 years ago. What is this world coming to? Actually not much has changed.

Also remember that artists will often throw things in the face of their critics. An actor pours his heart and soul into a performance and all he hears after is how he wore an ugly pink tie, the next time he’s in front of a camera he might get himself all decked out in hot pink. A songstress is mocked for a song that doesn’t seem to make sense, she might make the next one ten times more convoluted. Or maybe insultingly oversimplify it as if she’s addressing third graders. This is especially true when the criticism seems shallow. In fact, those who get offended by sexual talk are often the ones who poke and prod entertainers, often catapulting them into notoriety and/or superstardom.

And let’s just take a peek into the Black Lives Matter movement for a second. When an unarmed teenage boy got shot in the back, many of us responded with “Yes, but…” When an unarmed woman without a criminal record got shot multiple times in her own home, many of us responded with “Yes, but…” Since “WAP” has hit the top of the charts with all its vulgarity, I have yet to hear any of us respond with “Yes, but…” Yes, these are very different matters. But we have to take a hard look at what shocks us. It says a lot about who we are and what we value.

So… I did let it sink in. This is what I found.

And now we turn our attention to a woman who is badass for all the right reasons. Gal Gadot was a struggling young actress who had made a definite decision to give up on acting. She was not getting any significant roles and the 15-hour trips back to home in Israel made it all the more discouraging. She decided to try out for just one more part as a final effort. It was only a reading and she had no idea what the part was for (None of the auditioners did.). It was only after her first call back that she was told she was on the short list for playing Wonder Woman. Thankfully, she was the one they’d settled on.

Congratulations Wonder Woman. This is your week.

And the Oscar goes to…

Best Actress: Daisy Ridley as Rey in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Best Actor: Woody Harrelson as Hamitch Abernathy in The Hunger Games.

Best Quote: Only love can save this world. So I stay. I fight, and I give… for the world I know can be.” — Gal Gadot as Diana Prince in Wonder Woman.

And seeing as the nominees this week were badass female characters, here’s a tip of the hat to a real life badass who left the world too early: The Notorious RBG. She fought for causes that not everyone was on board with, but she proved herself to be a woman of virtue who’s honest desire was to help people and make the world a better place. Like Diana Prince in Wonder Woman, she wanted to “fight for those who cannot fight for themselves.