About troycarruthers

I am a franchise owner/technician specializing in mobile auto paint and tire rim repair. I live in New Brunswick, Canada, with my wife and children whom I love even more than movies.

Pick your movie of the week: Movie Stills; the 2010’s (Aug 16-22/20)

It’s a bit of a challenge to pick iconic movie stills when the decade in question just barely ended. I wasn’t sure which of the following could be dropped to bring the nominees down a tad, but I found it too close to call. Each movie still has proven itself as memorable, and maybe even iconic for the decade. Choose by favourite movie of the three or by which still you think is best.

Inception (2010)

Get Out (2017)

Roma (2018)

La La Land (2016)

Joker (2019)

A Case for the Zipper Merge

I’ll start with a confession. Remember when you were travelling down the highway earlier this summer and either an accident or construction slowed traffic down? Remember how you stayed in your lane and creeped along at 20 klicks or less with everyone else and how you wished you could just go head and take that empty passing lane and zip past everyone? And remember how you resisted the urge because no one wants to be that deuce who zips by everyone and BUTTS in front? Well, I’m that deuce. It may have been me who zipped past you.

But please hear me out. When I’m driving I am always trying to think of ways to be efficient. Not faster, just more efficient. Faster means cutting people off, being selfish, and speeding. Efficient is always being aware of who is close to you, what is ahead, the timing of lights, etc. And trust me, the zipper merge is more efficient!

Here in Canada, we pride ourselves in being polite. It’s almost akin to the desire for “cool” in youth culture (Regardless of the lingo changing, the concept of the need for “cool” is still as prevalent as it was at its conception in the 50’s.). But in this case, making a 20-km long single-file line is not being polite. It’s being too sensitive to our own fear of being “that guy.” If we all used both lanes and saved our politeness for the point at which we really do have to merge into one lane, we will take turns at that point and move along faster.

But don’t take my word for it, CBC has had more than one article written on this. Here is one: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/windsor/merging-madness-windsor-launches-campaign-to-educate-polite-motorists-about-zipper-merging-1.4161596.

Which brings me to a funny story. Just last month I was traveling on Highway 1 between Saint John and Quispamsis when this very thing happened. I know I traveled at least 5 kms in the passing lane before I needed to merge. Waiting near the front was one guy in line who saw me approaching in my rearview mirror and wanted to alert me of his displeasure. He had waited for probably 15 minutes in this line and here I was about to merge after a pleasant 1 minute Sunday drive. To communicate with me, he used a hand gesture. Unfortunately, here in polite Canada we generally only make use of two hand gestures while driving a motorized vehicle: “go ahead in front of me,” and “F*** YOU!!” His wasn’t the former.

But the funny thing is, because he was doing this and looking to see if I was taking notice, he was missing his opportunity to inch ahead. The car in front of him accelerated and he missed it. Which meant I merged right there in front of him. You have to admit that the irony of his unintentional allowing me to merge in front of him because of his desire to flip me off is pretty hilarious.

So are you with me? Zipper lane! ZIPPER LANE!!

Congratulations Ford v Ferrari. This is your week.

And the Oscar goes to…

Best Actress: Charlize Theron as Megyn Kelly in Bombshell.

Best Actor: Joe Pesci as Russell Bufilino in The Irishman.

Best Quote:I don’t speak Italian, but he ain’t happy.” — Matt Damon as Carroll Shelby in Ford v Ferrari.

 

My top 10 favourite competitive racing movies:

  1. The Love Bug (1968, mostly for nostalgic reasons)
  2. Breaking Away (1979)
  3. Ben-Hur (1959)
  4. The Cannonball Run (1981)
  5. Cars (2006)
  6. Cool Runnings (1993)
  7. Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (2006)
  8. Rat Race (2001)
  9. Ford v Ferrari (2019)
  10. Rush (2013)

WALL-E and Charlie

Wall-E is a character I feel like I can relate to. He works hard, finds joy in simple things that not everyone can appreciate (perhaps wrestling is my “cockroach”), and looks forward to going home to watch his favourite movies. And you know who he might just relate to? Charlie Chaplin.

I should clarify who I mean here… When you and I think of Chaplin we picture the one character he played in multiple films: the Tramp. He’s poor, a bit clumsy, unintentionally funny, and most of all, loveable. Then he meets a smart, nice girl and they fall in love. All things we can say about Wall-E.

Not so coincidentally, the creators of Wall-E studied Chaplin in preparation for filming. Its two main characters, WALL-E and EVE, speak very little. What better way to make sure they are still engaging and entertaining than to take cues from silent films? For me, this is one of the coolest things about this movie. I enjoy films that have so little talking and yet communicate and impress so much.

And on top of this, characters like Wall-E and the Tramp are almost background characters that mistakenly got put in the forefront of a victory story. Superman and Wonder Woman weren’t around and this simple, unassuming figure who’s more likely to work a broom than a sword, is in the right place at the right time to save the day and win our hearts. And perhaps what endears them to us the most is their reminder to us that we can too.

Congratulations Wall-E. This is your week.

And the Oscar goes to…

Best Actress: Linda Hamilton as Sarah Connor in Terminator 2: Judgment Day.

Best Actor: Peter Weller as Murphy/Robocop in Robocop.

Best Quote:My brain hates my eyes for seeing this.” — Damon Wayons Jr. as Wasabi in Big Hero 6.

My top 10 favourite movie robots:

  1. HAL, 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
  2. The Iron Giant, The Iron Giant (1999)
  3. Baymax, Big Hero 6 (2014)
  4. Johnny 5, Short Circuit (1986)
  5. Fender, Robots (2005)
  6. Robocop, Robocop (1987)
  7. Ava, Ex Machina (2014)
  8. The T-800, Terminator series (1984-)
  9. WALL-E, Wall-E (2008)
  10. R2D2, C3PO, BB8, Star Wars series (1977-)

Iconic Inanimate Objects from Movies (Ranked)

Keep in mind, these are not ranked according to how iconic the movie is, but how recognizable the object would be all on its own to someone who looks at and recognizes it (and in most cases can identify the movie). So imagine a room full of people of different ages, gender, backgrounds, etc and imagine the percentage of recognition from the group with each object. Here we go…

  1. Pink soap bar from Fight Club (1999)
  2. Axe from The Shining (1980)
  3. Snow globe from Citizen Kane (1941)
  4. Cup of water from Jurassic Park (1993)
  5. Spinning top from Inception (2010)
  6. Ghost trap from Ghostbusters (1984)
  7. The Neuralyzer Memory Eraser from Men in Black (1997)
  8. Sewer grate from It (2017)
  9. Golden ticket from Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971)
  10. Mockingjay pin from The Hunger Games series
  11. The Heart of the Ocean diamond necklace from Titanic (1997)
  12. Box of chocolates from Forrest Gump (1994)
  13. Lightsaber from the Star Wars series
  14. Whip from the Indiana Jones series
  15. The ring from The Lord of the Rings series
  16. Giant piano keyboard from Big (1988)
  17. Lamp from A Christmas Story (1983)
  18. Wilson volleyball from Cast Away (2000)
  19. Hook from Peter Pan (1953) and Hook (1991)
  20. Ruby red slippers from The Wizard of Oz (1939)

You may have noticed I left out vehicles. That is a list of its own, a list I believe I’ve made at some point. I also left out food (chocolate pie from The Help, oranges from The Godfather, etc.) and masks (Darth Vader, Jason, Hannibal Lecter, etc.).

And now for the runners up:

Black sunglasses from Terminator 2: Judgment Day {I would have included this, but these could be recognizable from They Live (1988) and Men in Black (1997) as well}; Infinity Gauntlet from The Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame; old black boot from The Gold Rush (the one that Charlie Chaplin eats); briefcase from Pulp Fiction; banjo from Deliverance; harmonica from Once Upon a Time in the West; Burn Book from Mean Girls; red Swingline stapler from Office Space; tea cup from Get Out; boom box from Say Anything; rock hammer from The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

Congratulations Inception and your spinning top. This is your week.

And the Oscar goes to…

Best Actress: Cotillard is clearly the best actress in all of these, but other than her I would go with Ellen Page as Ariadne in Inception.

Best Actor: Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Arthur in Inception.

Best Quote: “I need to get home. That’s all I care about right now.” — Leonardo DiCaprio as Dom Cobb in Inception.

Sometimes I ran into some objects that were a bit problematic. For instance, if I showed you an umbrella, what would your answer be? I’m thinking most would say Mary Poppins, but I’m sure a lot would say Singin’ in the Rain. A little too close to call. The same could be said about a single rose: Beauty and the Beast and American Beauty.

 

Pick your movie of the week: Marion Cotillard (July 26-Aug 1/20)

The first movie I remember seeing her in was Big Fish (2003). I didn’t take much notice of her after that until she was the big surprise winner of the best actress category at the Oscars in 2008. Ever since I’ve always enjoyed every one of her performances, and according to her trophy case, so do a lot of other people. Which one of the following would you pick for this week’s movie?

La Vie En Rose (2007)

Inception (2010)

Contagion (2011)

The People I Hope to See Portrayed in a Biopic Someday…

Here are ten people who I hope to see a movie made about them, and who I would suggest plays them in that movie:

10. Rasputin — Liam Neeson. There are a few movies made with a portrayal of this “mad monk,” but I would love to see a high quality biopic made on him. His story, and the story of the Romanovs, is spellbinding to say the very least. Neeson has not only superior acting chops, but also the ability to portray the enigmatic mystery of Rasputin.

9. Shirley Temple — Millie Bobby Brown. As for finding a child to play Temple in her early years, I have no idea who is out there for child actors and who would be the best one. But we need to know her story after her childhood. Most of us don’t know much about her life after her movies. I’m sure there is a good biography written on her life somewhere, and I hope it gets adapted to the big screen.Haven’t heard of Millie Bobby Brown? Well, if you’ve watched the Netflix series Stranger Things, she plays El, or Eleven. She’s still quite young, but an outstanding actress who has more potential than just about anyone else I can think of to do this.

8. Louis Riel — Adam Driver. To me he was a hero and to see him as a traitor is short-sighted. In today’s world of finally coming to terms with our history in Canada between the Europeans and the Indigenous People, this movie could not only educate us, but bring us together as well. Perhaps it’s a role an Indigenous person or a Canadian should play, but I love the thought of Adam Driver playing Riel!

7. Martin Luther King, Jr. — Daniel Kaluuya. Yes, we already have Selma (2014), but I believe MLK deserves another biopic that focuses more on him as a man. Kaluuya doesn’t look identical to King, but I believe he’s got the heart and soul to pull off a great portrayal of this social justice hero.

6. Eminem and Dr. Dre — Timothée Chalamet and Chiwetel Ejiofor. I would LOVE to see a movie made about these two and their relationship. Both actors have some resemblance of the two musicians and have proven themselves as superior actors. Someone out there please make this movie happen!

5. Viola Desmond — Zazie Beetz. Here in Canada we know her story (though likely not as well as we should), but imagine if the world had the chance to be inspired by her. Zazie Beetz (Joker, 2019; Deadpool 2, 2018) is one of the most exciting actors in Hollywood right now. She could totally bring the emotion and class to the role, and seeing as her act of social justice heroism was done in a movie theater, this movie just has to be made!

4. The Dalai Lama (Tenzin Gyatso) — Yun-Fat Chow. Again, this man’s story needs to be told more to Westerners who seem to be more in tune with the Catholic Pope than Tibetan Buddhism. I almost chose Donnie Yen (the Ip Man actor), but I like the idea of Chow more. Besides, here in North America we don’t see enough of him. Such a great actor.

3. Roddy Piper — Christian Bale. Trust me on this… his story would hold your attention and you’d be glad you experienced it. Christian Bale is so good at becoming the person he is portraying and he would be the perfect matchup for HotRod.

2. Judas Maccabeus — Rami Malek. Again, trust me on this one. If you’re not Jewish and don’t know the story of “The Hammerer,” it’s awesome. Rami Malek is one of the best actors going today and his Middle Eastern ethnicity would bring more realism to the role, as opposed to all the white actors we’ve had in movies set in biblical times.

1. Terry Fox — Lucas Hedges. There was a pretty good TV movie on his life not too long after his death, but we are in desperate need of a high quality biopic on Terry Fox, one that is on par with American Sniper (2014) or Straight Outta Compton (2015). Honestly, I think American movie goers would eat this story up. And I think putting Hedges in the role is probably the best pick of all ten of these I’ve shared. He may not be Canadian, but if anyone can capture the essence of Terry Fox, I believe it’s Lucas Hedges.

And I don’t have to tell you that this week’s biopic choices were all great movies. Knowing how many high quality biopics come out each year gives me hope that we will see any of the above become a reality.

Congratulations A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood. This is your week.

And the Oscar goes to…

Best Actress: Renée Zellweger as Judy Garland in Judy.

Best Actor: Taron Egerton as Elton John in Rocketman.

Best Quote:Anything mentionable is manageable.” — Tom Hanks as Fred Rogers in A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.

And if you’re wondering, yes I’ve heard of the Hulk Hogan biopic that’s being made with Chris Hemsworth playing the Hulkster. And yes, I can’t wait!

Dance Dance Revolution

A cool thing happened to John Lithgow the other day. Actually it happened 22 years ago, but stay with me. A little over half-way through 1998, while the parents and children of the world were preparing their return to school, Lithgow was on set shooting the latest episode of his hit sitcom Third Rock from the Sun. It was in its third season, and in this one the characters are searching high and low for Harry who had gotten himself kidnapped (If you haven’t seen this show, you really should. It is every bit as funny today as it was in the 90’s.). In a scene set at the circus there are a few extras and one of them, who played the strongman, approached Lithgow at one of the breaks.

Going back a decade further, you may remember that Lithgow portrayed a pietistic preacher in the small town of Bomont, OK in the now classic music/dance movie Footloose. The story is based on real events—exaggerated as they are—in the life of the film’s script writer. The town council has banned dancing for years, but a group of high school students decide to challenge the ordinance and ask for dancing to be allowed at their prom. This was what the circus strongman extra wanted to talk to Lithgow about.

Apparently the movie had a big impact on the young man. He’d watched it back in his own high school days when the movie was still out in theaters. He too had a very old-fashioned and strict upbringing in a small town in Louisiana. His father, a Baptist minister, wouldn’t let him nor his siblings dance or listen to rock ‘n’ roll. He told Lithgow that he had gone to see Footloose and said that his portrayal of Rev. Shaw Moore was the epitome of his own father.

He went on to share that he ended up watching the movie again, this time with his father who had no warning of the movie’s plot. The minister was moved by Lithgow’s performance, which led to a miraculous thing: He permitted his son to attend a dance. He was the first of 6 children permitted to do so.

Though the story is simple, it really encourages me. Throughout the history of humankind you cannot pick a single century—not even a decade—where we weren’t banning something we shouldn’t or encouraging something we shouldn’t. Sometimes the stakes are high, sometimes they are just trite and silly. But we can change, and though it often takes a very long time, we always do. My advice to you: no matter how dedicated you are to the beliefs and values of your family or community, don’t let anyone convince you that having an open mind is dangerous or that changing is “giving in.” There are times when change needs to happen, and if we listen to such people, it can ruin our ability to know when that is.

Congratulations Footloose. This is your week. 

And the Oscar goes to…

Best Actress: Whoopi Goldberg as Delores in Sister Act.

Best Actor: Ryan Gosling as Sebastian in La La Land.

Best Quote:Ecclesiastes assures us… that there is a time for every purpose under heaven. A time to laugh… and a time to weep. A time to mourn… and there is a time to dance. And there was a time for this law, but not anymore. See, this is our time to dance. It is our way of celebrating life. It’s the way it was in the beginning. It’s the way it’s always been. It’s the way it should be now.” — Kevin Bacon as Ren in Footloose.

Wanna hear something hilarious? Today when Kevin Bacon attends wedding receptions he pays the DJ to not play Kenny Loggins’s “Footloose.” Otherwise many of them like to play it because he’s there and then people want him to get up and dance like he did in the movie. Not only would this be annoying to him, but there were at least 4 different people who served as a dance-double for Bacon in this movie. All those dance moves are impressive, but not necessarily him.

Now go watch some 3rd Rock from the Sun if you haven’t already. You can stream it on Prime in Canada (and most likely US).