Pick your movie of the week: Spielberg! (Mar 25-31/18)

He’s arguably the greatest director of the last 100+ years and his movies do more than just make a lot of money. They’ve inspired countless films for decades. And next week his newest and much anticipated Ready Player One will be released.

I tried to choose big Spielberg favourites but not ones that might win a little too easily (e.g. Saving Private Ryan, Schindler’s List, etc.). Which of these blockbusters would be your pick for movie of the week?

Jaws (1975)

Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)

Jurassic Park (1993)


The Largest Feeling Ever Held in Captivity

Just last night I had a nightmare about captivity. It was one of those dreams that felt so real. There was a foreign country that came into ours and forcibly took over our homes. If they didn’t kill you, they’d keep you captive somewhere like a dirty cellar. I don’t know which nation invaded, but I know we couldn’t understand their language. I can also remember the fear and desperation I felt in that dream, and in such situations wondering about a detail like that is so fleeting. Survival takes precedent.

I remember trying to escape, trying to protect those with me, especially children. And I can even remember that sometimes the invaders would laugh and joke with you amidst it all, which was eerily terrifying. They weren’t dressed as soldiers, just in plain clothes though they were armed and large in number. Of course, as dreams do, it had elements that doesn’t make sense in the awake world. I do believe they had a King Kong-like monster to help them. But even then, the fear was real.

In Blackfish we see what captivity (at least the misappropriated kind) can do to an orca. Surely some captivity with animals is fine, considering that the four animals living in my house are technically all in captivity and would frankly rather not be “freed.” But both this movie and this dream I had helps me try and understand the importance of my actions with relation to animals. In the past I would roll my eyes when people would speak for an animal’s “feelings.” They’re animals! But I came to realize that if they swim away from danger, pull away from pain, run happily to greet you, etc., then they do indeed have feelings and they matter. I may eat meat, enjoy the zoo, and own a caged gecko, but I have to consider the best way to be humane in all ways when it comes to living things.

Congratulations Blackfish. This is your week.

And the Oscar goes to…

Best Actress: N/A

Best Actor: Shamu?

Best Quote:Uhmmm… You know… it was at that point that I realized that maybe Thierry wasn’t actually a film maker, and he was maybe just someone with mental problems who happened to have a camera.” — Banksy in Exit Through the Gift Shop


My favourite documentaries

10. Beyond the Mat (1999)

9. Blackfish (2013)

8. Wrestling Isn’t Wrestling (2015)

7. The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters (2007)

6. Casting JonBenet (2017)

5. TIE: The White Helmets (2016) *short; and Heaven is a Traffic Jam on the 409 (2017) *short

4. Jesus Camp (2006)

3. 13th (2016)

2. The Act of Killing (2012)

1. Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom (2015)

(Honourable mentions: Hot Coffee (2011), Bowling for Columbine (2002), Searching for Sugar Man (2012), Cobain: A Montage of Heck (2015), Man on Wire (2008), Hoop Dreams (1994)


Pick your movie of the week: Documentaries! (Mar 18-24/18)

This is only the second movie of the week centering on documentaries, which feels so wrong. These are all ones I’ve seen and loved. Maybe you’ve seen one or more, but just in case, I’m including a brief description of each taken from IMDb. Which one piques your interest most?

Exit Through the Gift Shop (2010)
The story of how an eccentric French shop-keeper and amateur film-maker attempted to locate and befriend Banksy, only to have the artist turn the camera back on its owner.

The Act of Killing (2012)
A documentary which challenges former Indonesian death-squad leaders to reenact their mass-killings in whichever cinematic genres they wish, including classic Hollywood crime scenarios and lavish musical numbers.

Blackfish (2013)
A documentary following the controversial captivity of killer whales, and its dangers for both humans and whales.

13th (2016)
An in-depth look at the prison system in the United States and how it reveals the nation’s history of racial inequality.


Today’s 80’s Movie Stars

The 80’s had some serious movie stars. The following are a list of some of the biggest ones and who I think may have taken their place in the decade we’re in right now:

Congratulations Rocky III. This is your week.

And the Oscar goes to…

Best Actress: Jennifer Beals as Alex Owens in Flashdance.

Best Actor: Hulk Hogan as Thunderlips in Rocky III.

Best Quote: “Of all the things I regret I did, the ones I didn’t, are the ones I mourn the most.” — Brooke Shields as Jade Butterfield in Endless Love.

Well folks, when you’re face to face out in the heat, hang tough, stay hungry. If they stack the odds, let’s just take to the street for the kill with the skill to survive. k?


Pick your movie of the week: 80’s Music Hits!

Four years ago Billboard released a list of the top 50 movie songs of all time. They based the list on the performance the song did on their Billboard Hot 100. The number one song was “You Light Up My Life” from the movie of the same name. And these 80’s hits all made it on the top 10. Based on the song and/or the movie, which would choose for our movie of the week?

“Endless Love” (Lionel Richie and Diana Ross)
Endless Love (2014)

“Eye of the Tiger” (Survivor)
Rocky III (1982)

“What a Feeling” (Irene Cara)
Flashdance (1983)


An Ivy League of Their Own

I almost went to an Ivy League school. Actually, I should clarify that I almost applied to attend an Ivy League school. It was Princeton, which has a divinity college. Up until today I hadn’t even known where the term “Ivy League” came from. In case, like me, you didn’t know, it’s actually the name of a sport division that includes those eight schools. It would evolve into a way for us to refer to those prestigious schools outside of sports. Likely you already know the schools include Harvard, Princeton, and Yale. You may also have known that Brown, Cornell, and Dartmouth are also in the group. The other two are Columbia University (ok) and University of Pennsylvania (definitely wouldn’t have guessed that one).

I remember wondering what people would think if I went to Princeton. And it’s funny… there was like this duality in the thoughts I had about it. On the one hand, I thought it would be prestigious. Maybe I and my department at the time would get a level of respect we hadn’t had before. But on the other hand, I believed there would be a lot of joking around about it too. “Ooh, big important professor! Going to Princeton!” And you know what it’s like: when there’s kidding present, there is also present a subtle ambiguity and uncertainty. Did they mean that? …even like a tiny bit?

It’s funny that we do that, don’t you think? We are in the presence of someone who either has a big degree, a big title, or a big salary and we feel the need (at some point at least) to address it somehow with good natured humour. It almost seems like we’re intimidated and just need to get it off our chest with a joke.

The decision I made at the time was to buy a business instead of a doctorate. Now, both are very valuable. I really could have gone either way. They both would involve a lot of work, study, stretching and challenging my limits and abilities, etc. And let’s not forget the holy trinity of hard work: blood, sweat, and tears. I haven’t received much teasing about owning a business. I’m pretty sure I would have if I’d ended up with Princeton attached to my name, but that wouldn’t have mattered. It would have been wonderful to have it. Besides, we need to strive to achieve things based solely on our own needs and desires and for the needs of our family and communities. It’s not fair to ourselves, nor to those around us, to chase things based on gaining—or avoiding—prestige.

After all, it’s only a sports division.

Congratulations Lady Bird. This is your week.

And the Oscar goes to…

Best Actress: My pick for who will win is McDormand, but because I can pick my own winner, out of the 9 nominated movies I’m going with Sally Hawkins for her role as Eliza Esposito in The Shape of Water. I’m proud to say that Joy and I were big fans of hers before this movie came out because of Maudie (2016).

Best Actor: Again, my pick to win is Oldman, but this week’s winner is Daniel Day-Lewis as Reynolds Woodcock in Phantom Thread.

Best Quote:  “You think I care about dentists?… I don’t care about dentists… Nobody cares about dentists.” — Woody Harrelson as Sheriff Willoughby in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. This quote 1) made me laugh and 2) made me think of my own dentist. I emailed he and his wife and shared the quote with them. Not sure he’ll find it as funny as I did.

No spoiler here, but a character in Lady Bird talks about aspiring to attend an Ivy League school, hence the content of this post. If any of you happen to go to one of these schools, you have my support. Not financial, but, you know… support.


My Oscar Predictions 2018 (FY 2017)

I’ve seen all 9 movies nominated for best picture, two of the ones nominated for best animated, and 4/5 nominees for best documentary short. “But who cares? No big deal. I want moooooooooooooooore!”


Should Win: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Will Win: The Shape of Water
That’s my pick, but I have to say that this is the most difficult year for me to predict the winner for this category (and several others for that matter). It truly is anyone’s game. I also struggled not putting Get Out in my “should win” category. It won’t win, but it’s one of the most deserving.


Should Win: Christopher Nolan (Dunkirk)
Will Win: Guillermo del Toro (The Shape of Water)


Should Win: Daniel Day-Lewis (Phantom Thread)
Will Win:
Gary Oldman (Darkest Hour)
And why Daniel Day-Lewis? Because he’s Daniel Day-Freaking-Lewis. He’s the only man to capture best actor 3 times and I’d love it if he had 4 and became virtually untouchable.


Should Win: Margot Robbie (I, Tonya)
Will Win: Francis McDormand (Three Billboards)
Honestly, under my “should win” I see a three-way tie between Hawkins, McDormand, and Robbie. Again, tough to call. But I’ve made my pick, now I’m going to lie in it. Or however that saying goes…


Should Win: Willem Dafoe (The Florida Project)
Will Win: Willem Dafoe (The Florida Project)


Should Win: Laurie Metcalf (Lady Bird)
Will Win: Allison Janney (I, Tonya)
The above can be swapped easily. I can see them rewarding either one of these actresses.


Should Win: Get Out (Peele)
Will Win: Lady Bird (Gerwig)


Should Win: Call Me By Your Name (Ivory)
Will Win:
Call Me By Your Name (Ivory)


Should Win: Loving Vincent
Will Win: Coco
Don’t get me wrong, I loved Coco. But Loving Vincent left more of a lasting impression on me.


Should Win: War for the Planet of the Apes
Will Win: War for the Planet of the Apes


Should Win: Blade Runner 2049
Will Win: The Shape of Water


Should Win: “Remember Me” (Coco)
Will Win: “Stand Up for Something” (Marshall)


Should Win: Three Billboards
Will Win: The Shape of Water


Should Win: Darkest Hour
Will Win: The Shape of Water

*BRIEF EXPLANATION FOR SOUND AWARDS: Editing is pre-production, mixing is post-production. Editing is getting the sounds and manipulating them. Mixing is putting them all together to form a whole.


Should Win: Dunkirk
Will Win: Dunkirk


Should Win: Baby Driver
Will Win: Dunkirk


Should Win: Darkest Hour
Will Win: Darkest Hour


Should Win: Heaven is a Traffic Jam on the 405 (Beware. If you watch this, those 40 minutes will both break your heart and make you a better person.)
Will Win: Heroin(e)

There are a few more categories but I haven’t seen enough of the nominees to be able to make a prediction.