Pick your movie of the week: Greatest Movie Kiss! (Feb 1-7/16)

Feb 5-11-16

There are a pile of iconic movie kiss scenes, and I realize that many big ones are not represented here (i.e. Titanic, Gone With The Wind, etc.), but these 3 are no slouches. So which movie do you think has the greatest kiss?

1. Spider-Man (2002)
2. The Notebook (2004)
3. Lady and the Tramp (1955)
4. From Here to Eternity (1953)

Movie of the Week

What About Bill?

A golf course greenskeeper. A ghost-catcher. A modern day scrooge. A badger. A cat. A cab driver turned army recruit. This is Bill Murray.

Right now he seems to be one of the most beloved actors in Hollywood. I have read more facebook and tumblr posts on him than any other actor, and they’re never negative. Bill Murray is more than just a classic actor. Yes he’s been around for years and has given us excellent performances in many great movies, but there is so much more to him that we love.

Both Bill’s face and his sense of humour communicate something about him. His features and his expressions seem to always say, “Hey, I don’t take myself too seriously. For that matter, I don’t take anyone else too seriously.” Bill doesn’t use an agent, manager, or even an assistant. He simply uses a personal telephone line to book himself in movies. From what I understand, the line usually goes straight to voicemail and he doesn’t check it all that often. Sometimes his arbitrary approach leads to some oversights. For example, he signed to do Garfield in 2004 because he thought the writer, Joel Cohen, was one of the famous Cohen brothers. He wasn’t.

There are countless stories floating around the Internet about him tackling strangers or stealing a fry from their Wendy’s tray and then looking them in the eye and saying “No one will ever believe you” and walking away. Though none of us would be able to know if any of the stories are true, all of us would find it very easy to imagine them being true.

To me, Bill Murray is like he’s a favourite uncle who I can’t wait to see again. His quick wit, his infectious smile, his mock whininess, and his carefree approach to life makes every event memorable.

Considering this past week saw the “Bell Let’s Talk” day in support of mental health awareness, and since this week’s movie is about a man with one or more mental health disorders, I think it’d be good to take a page out of Bill’s playbook. Maybe it would help us to not take ourselves nor those around us too seriously. Even better, let’s take the pressures around us with a grain of salt and enjoy the randomness and spontaneity of life.

And when life gets incredibly difficult, take baby steps.

And the Oscar goes to…
Best Actress: Sigourney Weaver in Ghostbusters.
Best Actor: Richard Dreyfuss in What About Bob?
Best Quote:There are two types of people in this world: Those who like Neil Diamond, and those who don’t. My ex-wife loves him.” — Bob Wiley in What About Bob? (In response to being asked if he wants to talk about his divorce.)

Thank you Uncle Bill. Please answer that voicemail and make more movies.

Pick your movie of the week: Bill Murray! (Jan 29-Feb 4/16)

Seeing as Groundhog Day is just around the corner (unarguably the oddest observance in the North American calendar year) I think it’s fitting that
1) the movie Groundhog Day be declared the honourary movie of the week and…
2) that we choose from 4 other iconic Bill Murray movies. The following are not only ones he’s usually known for, other than GHD, but they also rate quite high on IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes.

Caddyshack (1980)
Ghostbusters (1984)
What About Bob?
Lost in Translation (2003)

Are You Offended by This?


Don’t you hate how people get so offended by little things? Check and see which of the following would offend you if said in a conversation:

“His” (as opposed to “his/her”)
“Policeman” or “Garbage Man”
“Woman’s Work”
“Man’s Job”
“Broad” (referring to a woman)
“Bum/Tramp” (as opposed to “homeless person”)
“Crazy” (as opposed to “mental illness”)
“Christmas tree”
“Happy Holidays”

Most of us would agree that political correctness can be annoying. It has a way of taking the humanness out of conversation and replacing it with what appears to be hypersensitive technical talk. Like, what’s wrong with secretary? It’s a perfectly good word. Even in WWE the have stopped using the word “wrestlers” opting instead for “superstars.” They even edited out Bret Hart’s uttering the word “wrestler” on their reality show Tough Enough. This has more to do with branding than with being politically correct, but it’s the same kind of thing. Annoying!

However, I have to say that for a lot of politically correct terms, perhaps we’re whining a bit too loudly. Is it really that bad? Here’s why I say this:

Does it affect me? I remember in high school saying/thinking something like, “What’s wrong with the word handicapped?” I thought it was the better word used to avoid other ones like “cripple” or “retarded.” But I also remember years later coming to the realization that a man like myself who has no physical challenges has no reason to fight such a battle. If someone who is exceptionally short doesn’t like the term “dwarf,” why wouldn’t I honour that? Why would I care if I don’t use that term anymore? Saying “bum” never crossed my mind as being offensive, but if I was homeless, maybe I wouldn’t like it. Maybe it would hurt to hear it. Maybe my fellow human beings wouldn’t mind obliging.

The way things used to be. Honestly, this is insane. To say people are offended easily “nowadays” as opposed to, say, the 1950’s is laughable at best. In 1994 a 40-year-old woman told me that when she was a kid her Sunday school teacher told her that good Christian girls don’t wear red. Archie Bunker flushed the toilet on TV and it “broke the internet,” to borrow from today’s lingo. My parents’ generation still hate the word “sucks,” and I’m pretty sure their parents’ generation still hates the words “drag” and “make out.” I honestly don’t think things are all that different. We’re just offended by different things than we used to be.

Am I afraid of change? This one is tough to accept. When I was having a hard time adjusting to Microsoft’s new format for Word and Excel, a friend of mine told me I sounded like an old man. As I was working on a comeback in my brain a pesky little realization emerged instead: he was right. It’s easy to get stuck in our ways. Sometimes it’s more of a frustration with having to deal with a change in our vernacular than it is a frustration with political correctness.

The alternative. It gets annoying, but if it means being sensitive to others, it can’t be all that bad can it? I’d rather err on the side of too sensitive than on the side of callousness. And hey, some cultures struggle with starvation and war. I’m sure we in the cushy and comfy western world can put up with a little political correctness.

And all of this does have a relationship with social activism. It is because of many social movements in our history that has led to much of our changes in language. I’m a big fan of all four movies this week, but I think a good point was made by Kirk. Blood Diamond made a significant change in our world. I’m sure things got complicated and difficult for jewellers, but it’s nice to know that we have become more aware of the evil highlighted in this movie and, therefore, are willing to make a change.

Congratulations Blood Diamond. This is your week.

And the Oscar goes to…
Best Actress: Jennifer Connelly in Blood Diamond. I have yet to see her in a movie where she wasn’t awesome and didn’t make the movie great.
Best Actor: David Oyelowo as Martin Luther King Jr in Selma. Big shout out, however, to both Leo DiCaprio and Djimon Hounsou.
Best Quote:God sometimes does His work with gentle drizzle, not storms. Drip. Drip. Drip.” — Albert Finney as John Newton

And you know, the same kind of reasoning can be applied to this Oscar boycott. Officially, I think they should be boycotting Hollywood instead for not using non-whites enough in their movies rather than the focusing on the Academy Awards. However, consider this:

1) Last year it seemed to a lot of people that David Oyelowo and Carmen Ejogo got a big snub by not getting nominated. It may seem petty, but I’m sure you can relate. I mean, do you not feel, as I do, that Jim Carrey and Brad Pitt should have won Oscars long ago? Did you not find it a huge snub to Ben Affleck that 
Argo won best picture in 2013 yet he doesn’t even get a nomination as its director? Selma was an incredible movie with some unforgettable performances. If it was your community I’m sure it would mean more.

2) And now, a year later, we find ourselves, again, with a completely white list of actors/actresses being nominated, and this time there are so many deserving non-whites. I haven’t seen Creed yet, but from what I hear, Michael B. Jordan was robbed by not getting a nomination, yet his white co-star did. I did see Straight Outta Compton and I have to admit that having neither Jason Mitchell (playing Easy E) nor O’Shea Jackson (playing Ice Cube) got a nomination is pretty crazy. And there are a host of others: Mya Taylor in Tangerine, Phylicia Rashad in Creed, Samuel L. Jackson in The Hateful Eight, Qi Shu and Chen Chang in Assassin, etc. Sure I think the boycott is a bit misdirected, but let’s not go crazy. Non-whites have a strong point here. And good for them for standing up for themselves.

Whaddya do?

I recently watched a video where a man explains the difference between “non” and “anti.” He talked mostly about racism and that it’s not enough to simply say “I’m not a racist” or “I am against racism.” That’s the “non.” He went on to say that being “anti” means deciding to do something about it. In essence, “I’m against racism and I won’t stand for it. I will therefore…”

The part that really hit home for me was when he suggested we replace the “c” in racist to a “p.” What good is it to say, “I’m not a rapist and I am against rape”? Instead, it’s important to decide that we are anti-rapists who will decide to help make this world a better place by somehow helping to stop and prevent rape from happening.

Here is my struggle: What do I do?

Most of the time I can’t relate to 007. I do love those unshakable characters like Jason Bourne, James Bond and Ethan Hunt. I like to put my fabricated confidence in them and watch them do their thing. They’re fun heroes. But I find more in common with characters who have a shaky but steady confidence in what to do, like Indiana Jones or Sarah Connor (the Terminator franchise). But then I treat problems around me like I’m somehow powerless because I’m not 007. I completely forget about the Indiana Jones in me. If I can’t pull out a pen that’s rigged to stun the bad guy, use ninja training to finish the job and save the victim, then I feel powerless. But Bond himself I’m sure would sip his shaken-not-stirred martini and tell me I’m wrong. None of us are powerless. We can use whatever resources we have at our disposal, and at the very least you have a heart and a brain. The two most effective weapons in the world.

It’s what all of our heroes also have in common. Where there is imagination and resolve, there is a way.

At the very least we can talk. I’m a big fan of getting ourselves in discussion about tough subjects. Trying to be as civil and respectful as possible isn’t easy. In fact, it’s much less difficult to simply leave the conversation and mask the fear with something like, “I don’t like petty arguing.” If it’s about a problem that genuinely affects human beings, there’s nothing petty about it. Some aren’t good at discussion and get petty themselves, but should that make any of us call it quits?

Hate bullying? Experts who study this problem say the answer lies greatly not with the bully nor the victim, but with the third party individuals. When they don’t act, bullying tends to do just fine. One person speaking up for another makes a huge difference.

But then that question enters the mind, “Waddya do…?” It doesn’t have any other words after it. Just those 2-3 words accompanied by either hands thrown up or head shaking. Usually it’s used to communicate frustration. But you know what it really is? An indication to show that you’ve given up.

As you can see, I’m not listing ideas for solving problems. We all have that ability. I just need to remind myself (and maybe you) that in our everyday lives we can make a difference. We’re like the lion, tinman and scarecrow. We do have a heart, brain and courage. We just need to acknowledge them and use them.

Congratuations James Bond franchise. This is your week.

And the Oscar goes to…

Best Actress: Emma Watson as Hermione. I love her character and Watson has always filled that role with perfection.
Best Actor: Daniel Craig. He’s actually my favourite bond.
Best Quote:Hold your ground, hold your ground! … I see in your eyes the same fear that would take the heart of me. A day may come when the courage of men fails, when we forsake our friends and break all bonds of fellowship, but it is not this day. An hour of wolves and shattered shields, when the age of men comes crashing down! But it is not this day! This day we fight!” Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen) in The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.

And for your listing pleasure, the following info comes from boxofficemojo.com and is the top ten highest grossing movie franchises of all time, worldwide. Any wagers on whether the #2 and #1 spots will switch places in the next 10 years?

10. Jurassic Park
9. Shrek
8. The Hunger Games
7. Spider-man
6. Middle Earth
5. Batman
4. James Bond
3. Harry Potter
2. Star Wars
1. Marvel Cinematic Universe

Pick your movie of the week: Best Franchise! (Jan 15-21/15)

Jan 15-21-15

There are so many great franchises out there today. These days I’m becoming more of a fan of the Mission: Impossible and Bourne ones, but I think the following are formidable opponents in the battle for “best.” And once again, to keep it interesting I left out both the Star Wars and Marvel Comics franchises for this week’s considerations.

So which one is your pick of the week?
And feel free to include your favourite movie from that franchise.

1. Harry Potter
2. James Bond
3. Lord of the Rings

Movie of the Week