Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Against the Crowd '17: Blogathon

Dell and KG are at it again, so my advice is we check it to wreck it. Let's begin.

In terms of blogathons, these two dudes drop probably the biggest event that I know of (or, uh, am loosely invited to), and it can be summed up in three lovely words: f--k you, everyone! Wait, what?

Here are the rules:

1) Pick a film that everybody thinks is a wonderful achievement in the arts, and let them in on the little secret that it's no better than a massive turd, rolled up in wet newspaper and microwaved on high.

2) Pick a film that everybody thinks is a raging dumpster fire, and let them know that if they ever say anything else bad about said movie again, the only thing burning out of control will be their toothlesswithered corpse.

3) Make sure, after reading your entry, no one ever talks to you again.

Welp, here goes...everything. 

Monday, August 14, 2017

It's preventable, that's the worst part.

It's late summer of 2017, and when I turned on the news this weekend, the flickering headline said three dead at white nationalist rally. Being that my kids were already asleep, I was able to watch the footage for a few minutes, and all I could think to myself was how f--ked up this godforsaken country is. How I absolutely dread where we're headed...

...moments after kissing the cheek of my precious four-year old girl. Seriously, where am I supposed to find comfort in this world, when I'm the father of such a little kid? Where's my solace?

Oh, right. This level of awfulness?

It's nothing new.

I wasn't super excited to see Detroit this past Tuesday, but I'm increasingly glad I did. It's rare that my wife and I get a night to ourselves, and I knew she wanted to see something light and fun. Yeah, about that. See, shocking no one, Kathryn Bigelow's latest? It's the direct f--king opposite. 

It's late summer of 1967, and after the police raid an unlicensed club in downtown Detroit, hauling out many African American veterans in the process, tensions between the police and the people on the street escalate exponentially. Despite being encouraged to chill the f--k out by community leadership, the crowd turns violent and rioting and looting erupts.

The next day, as local police and national guardsmen patrol the city, the film's action picks up with an officer named Krauss pursuing a looter. The dude flees on foot, and instead of letting him go, Krauss shoots him in the back. Multiple times. By the time Krauss gets back to the station, he is informed that murder will be indeed, the case they give him. Inexplicably, however, he's allowed to finish his shift.

Well, at least he'll probably play it cool, right? Being that his ass is most definitely grass, right?

Right? *crickets*

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

That was beneath you.

I don't have a job that keeps me staying late at work. No out-of-town conferences. No sexy co-workers putting their hand on my toned shoulder, laughing and turning in slow-motion.

I've been with my wife for so long, I wouldn't even recognize any ex that could show up on a rainy evening, with a broken high heel, scraped knee and a bottle of wine. Not that I have a lot of them any way. [Seriously, I might have more buttholes than legit ex-girlfriends.]

I don't own any sleeveless shirts. And I wouldn't ever cut wood on a hot day, never would wipe my brow with the aforementioned sleeveless t-shirt, revealing the rock-hard abs that I don't have.

The lady next door is pretty old, and if I was ever caught sleeping with her, jealous is the last thing my wife would feel. I'd lean more toward nervous. Or nauseous.

My point? If things ever go south between me and my wife, she has nothing at all to be jealous about. The only place I ever go The only person I talk to late at night?

Is you.

When I saw the preview for Unforgettable earlier this year, I knew I was going to absolutely Redbox the shit out of it. I knew I would happily pay my two dollars and twelve cents (uh, gotta go with the blu ray, right?), and knew that I would unequivocally love hating it. But what I didn't know, and totally should have, was that my wife would fall asleep before the f--king thing even started.

*dramatic pause*

That. Bitch.

Actually, I'm not really mad at my wife, as she busted her ass yesterday and deserved the early snooze. No my fire and fury is solely reserved for everyone involved in this smoldering garbage can. See, I wanted a glorious dumpster fire to roast delicious f--king s'mores on using only my bad-movie boner as a skewer. But instead, what I got? A lame flick and a limp dick. Here's why...

Julia (Rosario Dawson, hot as ever) has met some dreamy guy and is headed by car in some direction (West, one could only assume) to spend the rest of her life with him. She loses her luggage on the way, but get this, not her baggage. Oh, f--k me. Anyway, it turns out that said dreamy guy is David, owner/operator of a successful brewery, Crazy Slut Ale House. Okay, that's not the name - you got me. Anyhow, detective, David's got a scarily hot ex-wife Tessa (Katherine Heigl, still with a great set of personalities), who, shocking no one, ain't all that stoked to be replaced. But instead of stepping aside like a regular person, Tessa cranks the crazy up to eleven...million... and makes Julia's life a living Hell by always walking around topless and unnecessarily washing really dirty cars.

Okay, that also didn't happen.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

I'm not dead. I'm just...regrouping.

I don't know what the Hell is wrong with my house, but if you step outside for more than a minute, there's a good chance you're coming in with at least one mosquito bite. If not eleven.

Outside of the time I got very, very sick from a bite a couple of years ago, these little annoying f--kers don't even phase me any more. But my wife and kids? Goodness. They come in the house holding their arms and legs like they got shot.

And while I used to think they were being dramatic, I'm starting to think they're underselling the pain. Cause a bullet? Shoot.

That ain't nothing. 

Quite the circle jerk, no?
I started to lose track near the thirty-minute mark, but I'm pretty sure that every character in Ben Wheatley's Free Fire takes at least one bullet, if not eleven. And for the most part, even after getting shot, this gang of motley scumbags, keeps on keepin' on. It might be admirable...if it were altogether decipherable.

Set in damn near real-time, the setup is both simple and entirely convoluted. The initial gang we meet, led by that handsomely terrifying bastard Cillian Murphy, is gearing up for a late-night meeting in some abandoned factory. On the agenda? A pretty epic arms deal. Brie Larson and Armie Hammer are helping to broker the deal, in addition to some low-level grunts tagging along to do the heavy lifting. Literally.

On the other side of the table, is the consistently charming Sharlto Copley. He and his crew haven't exactly brought the right weapons, but as far as he's concerned, a gun's a gun. And after a tense moment or two (and a shit ton of shit-talking), it appears the deal is a go. The money is counted, the van pulled 'round. Pleasure doing business, ya know?

Oooh, about that....

Monday, July 31, 2017

This is my malfunction. I can't be 'meh' about anything.

Look, we were all in high school at one point. We all got off on hating that shit that everybody else loved, right? I did, you did, we all did. Well, except that one guy, he was too cool to hate...or like...anything. A real trendsetter he was...never setting a trend.

But, man...I'm telling you, there's this trend going around that I refuse to participate in. Like, I'd rather be caught licking ice cream of a dead donkey's dick, then to perpetuate this black eye on the jizz-riddled face of humanity. Maybe it's because I'm a teacher (a shitty one), or maybe it's because I'm a 'blogger' (also a shitty one), but I can't stand the constant need for shortcuts in everything writing. So it should be pretty clear when I say:

I f--king hate emojis. Hate every stupid f--king thing about them.

This is clearly the work of Satan.
But I love my kids. And being that it's my daughter's birthday, and my adorable little angel devours those awful things, I had to take her and her brother to see The Emoji Movie. But didn't you just say you loved you kids? 

Good point.

I'm not going to say that I enjoyed any aspect of this dreadful movie, but after hearing that it was possibly the steamiest of steaming piles of dogshit, I hate to report that it's really not that bad. Oh, it's terrible, uninspired, hopelessly boring and sends likely the worst message to kids in the history of time, sure.  But, uh, what would one reasonably expect from something called The Emoji Movie? I mean, at least it's not eighty-six minutes of an older gentleman acquiring Tin Roof from the shaft of a decaying ass. Uh, why do you keep typing that?

Because, uh, obviously, there's no emoji for it.

But what there is an emoji for is 'meh', and perhaps shockingly, he's is the star of our film. Yep, it turns out the little shitty character responsible for how stupid people explain indifference (myself included), Meh (as voiced by T.J. Miller), is having a bit of an identity crisis. And instead of thinking everything is, you know, meh, this f--ker has feelings that he feels the need to express.

Using...*throws hands up* emojis. Well, of course he does.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

There's no hiding from this, son.

You're reading a movie blog, so I know you know.

You're sitting there in the theater, waiting, eager. Yeah, this is fun, but it's not a game. You've arrived on time (missing the previews means missing the movie), set your phone on vibrate, dimmed the screen, Hell, maybe you've even taken your shoes off. You might even have your notepad out. Nerd. 

I mean, fellow nerd.

Anyway, you're sitting there, and you hear them coming. Could be loud kids, a family, an old couple - whatever, but you hear them coming and you think, what the f--k is wrong with people? Is this not a civilized world we live in? And you watch them loudly look for their seats and you cross your fingers so tightly, they just about snap off at the knuckle. The tension mounts.

Lord, just let me make it through this. This will be the last time I ask, I swear.
I just want to do what I came here to do...and get the Hell home. 

Take this tension, this momentary flutter of the (geeky) heart, and multiply it by say, infinity, and you have your average ten-second span of Christopher Nolan's Dunkirk. Sitting in the theater last Tuesday night, I'm not sure if I was breathing too fast or not at all, but as a cinematic experience, few have had the emotional impact of Nolan's latest.

However, like I imagine it to be for a soldier, the impact of what I have seen...keeps evolving and frankly, getting more intense as the days go by. So much so, I don't think I want to revisit it.


Many of the films I've seen this summer struggle with keeping one story straight (or consistently interesting), but with Dunkirk, howeverNolan deftly weaves together three. Each is a rather intimate tale of strength and survival, shockingly free of any of the hallmarks previous war films have hung their hat on. While the stories are indeed small, they eventually come together to create something that borders on spectacle. It's so smart, so technically stunning, you almost don't feel your heart being ripped out of your chest. Almost. 

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

That's okay. We all make mistakes.

I know it's possible, but how the f--k does one person make a better sandwich than somebody else?

I'm serious. If all the ingredients are the same, it should be impossible to have such a varied experience. Say you enjoy one person's B.L.T, then for f--k's sake they all should be good, right? You take the bacon, the goddamned lettuce, and a f--king tomato, slap that shit between some bread and it's hoo-ray, lunch is served. If you've got the slightest f--king clue about basic sandwich composition, you can't f--k it up.

But here's the thing. Bad bacon, is still f--king bacon, so if you like it, it's good times. You can't really f--k up lettuce or tomato, unless that shit is moldy or wilted, and then you're just an asshole for serving it. Ah, but what about the delivery system, right? What about the bread?

Turns out, you can totally f--k up the bread. 

The main problem with Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, and they're are a host of them, is definitely the f--king bread. While the rest of the film is serviceable (if not awkwardly chaotic) science-fiction, it's the dysfunctional duo of actors holding it all together that are squarely responsible for this film's epic failure. While some of you may dig these two, not a single f--k could I give.

And I wanted to!

Luc Besson has served up some pretty tasty movies in his career, and if memory serves me correctly, one helluva B.L.T science fiction flick (known around here as The One Where the Lady Has Rocks in Her Belly). But while that one had Bruce Willis and Mila Jovovich to leap through Besson's chaotic sci-fi world, in Valerian, we're stuck with two strung-out looking cool kids that are supposed to be top-tier government agents.

Right, like someone so unqualified and utterly miscast could ever rise to such a position of power in the government.

Oh, f--k me.

Monday, July 24, 2017

This ain't no treasure hunt you're on.

When the hotel my father worked at changed hands, apparently the new ownership had to technically rehire every single person that worked there. And whenever they (symbolically?) lined up the twelve hundred employees, according to him, my pops was rehired first. Yep, the man that I will inevitably look just like, was goddamned Employee number 1. 

While that story may be totally number two, his clout at that massive Hawaiian resort was impossibly legit. Years later, as a fellow employee (wonder how I got that gig?), and even as perpetually clueless as I was (/am), I could feel it. In fact, whenever I f--ked up, I didn't even have to mention who my dad was. Not only because I'm not that kind of asshole (clearly, I'm a different kind of asshole), but...

..because somebody else always would. Immediately.

Half the time, it totally sucked having people always kiss his ass when they spoke to me, as if I was going to run home and say, Gee, Dad! One of the bartenders said you're a swell guy! But the other half...well...occasionally... had its moments.

Speaking of a fleeting moment here and there, let's talk for a quick second about Winter Kills, a political thriller from the year I was born, 1997. I mean, 1979. One of those.

Watched so I could (perhaps intelligently) appear on the 93rd episode of Todd Liebenow's rad podcast Forgotten Films, director Willaim Richert's flick is, to put it lightly, a mixed bag...of absurd nonsense. 

When we first meet Nick Kegan (a very young, very handsome Jeff Bridges), he's on some sort of ship, in the middle of the ocean. A helicopter lands, and they hastily bring aboard a man wrapped in bandages head-to-toe. Apparently, before this dude dies, he's got some information for Nick.

See, nineteen years ago, Nick's half-brother was assassinated during his term as President of the United States. This bandaged guy, in between moans and gasps, claims he was one of the gunmen. In fact, if Nick heads to some building in Philadelphia, he'll find the murder weapon stashed in the floor. Oh, okay then. Guess he'll have to sit around a gigantic boat doing nothing some other time.

Friday, July 21, 2017

King Kong is dead.

When the end of humanity is finally upon us, I hope there is a moment before the impending carnage, where we all take a second or two to realize how, more often than not, conflict can generally be avoided. Things don't have to end in battles or wars, but instead can end in conversation, compromise and ultimately, peace. Share a Coke and a smile, for f--k's sake.

Yes friends, peace is entirely possible, if people weren't such stupid f--king bastards, Hell-bent on ruining shit for the rest of us. Sometimes, it's a collective that destroys everything, like a political party, or a nefarious corporation damning us all in the name of profits and shareholders. Other times it's simply an unhappy prick, gleefully sharing his or her own personal misery with the rest of us.

That said, when the world as we know it is coming to an end, I ask you, dear reader, to tip your cap to the dickhead who started it all. You know, that blonde-headed twat, who had to ruin everything. Again. The one with the name you'll never, ever forget. The one, the only...

...Draco f--king Malfoy.

While Tom Felton has made a career out of being a no-good dipshit, the Battle for Hogwarts can't hold a magically floating candle to the War for the Planet of the Apes. Malfoy helped destroy Hogwarts, sure, but Felton's Dodge Landon (the douchey zoo-keeper from 2011's Rise of the Planet of the Apes [review!]) helped destroy the f--king planet. And unfortunately, he wasn't the only one.

Continuing the trend of awful human beings doing terrible shit, Matt Reeves latest Apes film opens with a tactical force infiltrating an Ape stronghold. Caesar, further evolved and as badass as ever (Serkis for Best Everything), manages a victory and even catches a few prisoners of war. Instead of killing them like, say, a wild animal, he instead releases them to return to wherever it is they came from, in an effort to stop all the senseless violence on both sides.

This gesture is appreciated, and the humans bid the Apes good day. 

And by that, clearly I mean they don't give a f--k, double back in the middle of the night and slaughter Caesar's sleeping family.

Wait, they did what? F--king people are the worst!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Obviously, I got second pick.

This is my six hundred and fifty second post.

For over half a decade, I have reviewed every single film I've have seen. Sometimes, I can start writing about a movie without the slightest bit of hesitation (it helps when my definition of 'writing' is mostly coherent horseshit, with commas!). But occasionally, I get stuck. Very stuck.

It gets so bad that I don't even open my laptop to do non blog-related things, simply because I'm consumed by this invisible demon breathing down my neck. I thought hobbies were supposed to be fun.

They are, but how can you create something when you've got absolutely nothing to say? 

Oh, right.

Just add Minions.

In full-disclosure, I think I wanted to, but yes, I hated Despicable Me 3. Had I not been flanked by in-laws (yeah, you read that right -one on each side), I'm quite positive I would have fallen into a deep, deep slumber. 

And if I had, and been rudely awoken to find out that I had not only been loudly snoring, but for the first time in my life, had actually shit my pants publicly, I still think I would have left the theater in a better mood than I did. At least in this imagined scenario, my shit was fresh. Because what was on screen, was anything but.

Four-ish movies in, and we're already at the desperate point where Gru has recently discovered that he has a long-lost twin brother. And if that's not dick-crushingly bad enough, his twin brother's name is Dru, and he's a stupid asshole.

While Gru and Dru are essentially having an epic tickle fight no cares about, Gru's (once?) adorable little daughter Agnes is chasing a mythological unicorn in the forest. Yep. Enjoy that. 

In fact, things are so bad even the Minions have bailed! These little ubiquitous yellow bastards have somehow ended up in prison, where if there truly was a Movie God, they'd collectively drop the soap, and wake up the next day feeling like everyone (over the age of 9) who put money on the counter for Despicable Me 3. 

So, what you're saying, Blogger Guy, is that there's no way in Hell I should ever, ever, see this abomination, right? Like, even at gunpoint, take the bullet, right?


Friday, July 14, 2017

Ugh. My toothbrush stinks.

The shower? That's obvious. The bedroom, too.

Not sure if I'd put one in the pool, but I guess that makes sense. I'm just not sure if my love for bikinis trumps my general aversion to  extra shriveled wieners.

But the kitchen? Lame. The entryway? Who gives a damn? But where I'd never put a hidden camera?

The toilet.

I mean, that's just...shitty.

If you walked into someone's house and this poster framed...
After viewing the fairly awesome horror flick Sweet Home [review] the night before, I returned to the golden well of short-ass cinema by catching the extremely rad 13 Cameras. Written and directed by Victor Zarcoff, this creepy little flick was a helluva good time. Especially considering that moments before I pressed play, my wife and I were scouring the web...looking at new houses.

Claire and Ryan are a young couple with a child on the way. It appears as if Ryan's job has hastily taken them to the West Coast, and they need to find a home to rent quickly. Ryan will be working all hours as a big cog high up in some tech company, while (the exceedingly lovely) Claire will be home looking fine and getting ready for baby. Aww?

Not really.

See, the guy they've rented their nice-ass house from is a weird f--ker to say the least, and when we meet this creep he's grunting and stinking his way through the tour of the place. Momma Bear's instincts immediately think f--k this, but Ryan does that thing us guys so often do and says, Don't worry about it. Where a reasonable person would really consider what's going on, Ryan would rather end the home hunt as quickly as possible. I hear ya, Ry, I do.

But this f--king guy is sketchy as f--k. 

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Thanks for not pretending.

As a married man, with two cockblocking lovable children and a seriously amazing wife, I'm always looking to get away. Not from all of them, silly goose, just the two little ones.

Whether it's my birthday, her birthday, Valentine's Day, our anniversary, f--king Arbor Day, Tuesday, whatever it may be, the possibility of a romantic escape consistently resides at the top of my mind near famous breasts and 90s movie quotes. 

I've planned good and bad ones, but like any true champion of sport, you gotta put it all behind you and prepare for the next one. The only problem? I'm the only one who does any of the legwork.

She doesn't plan shit.

And after seeing the 2015's Sweet Home, I'm more than alright with being in charge of a night away. At least when I'm calling the shots, the only thing getting murdered in the night is our hopes and dreams of staying up past eleven.  

Thankfully, Rafa Martinez' little horror flick isn't about a pathetic married couple, but instead young lovers, likely in their twenties.

Sexy blonde Alicia (Ingrid Garcia Jonsson) is a real estate broker in Spain, and when the film opens she's visiting the last remaining tenant of a beautiful old building. Apparently, somebody wants this building vacant, but a stubborn old man on the top floor won't budge. This will matter in a few short hours.

In the meantime, Alicia plans a romantic birthday celebration for her boyfriend Simon, a recent med-school dropout (this too, will matter later). But being that they're broke, or least Simon is, Alicia plans the candlelit tryst in, of all places, a vacant room in the aforementioned building. Good thing murderous thugs weren't planning on breaking into the building that very same evening, cutting the power, and killing that old bastard upstairs. I mean, 'cause that would really be a bummer, you know? (unless they've already had sex, I mean, at that point, the night's pretty much over anyway...might as well head home).

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

I'm all in on this.

The New Guy is always the Best Guy. Unless he isn't. Sometimes the Best Guy is the actually the Original Guy, even if he wasn't that good. But he was. At least he was back then.

See, that's the thing: no matter what, you can't mess with the Original, because he did it first. New Guy? Shoot. You're only the New Guy till the Next Guy. And sometimes, well, the Next Guy is the Best Guy.

Until he's not New anymore.

Then he just becomes That Guy.

I'm just curious if we'll ever get to the Last Guy.

My son has been waiting for this movie for months.
Me? It was pumped, too. But now it's time for the Apes.
Spider-Man: Homecoming is a really good time at the movies. It's fast-paced, fun and totally entertaining. I had a good time watching it with my kid. But let's be honest with ourselves, we've been down this road before. We've seen this story. A lot. We know these characters. Well. So when it comes to the excitement surrounding this flick, as a very wise man once said, Well, let's not start sucking each other's dicks quite yet.

This latest attempt, from director Jon Watts, likely whips out the last possible (not-stupid) innovation for the story of Peter Parker, and rubs it deliciously in the face of everyone who loves the MCU. Here, Peter's young. Like, young-young. And it's the absolute perfect way to play it.

With Tom Holland absolutely kicking ass as both the kid and the hero, Spidey has gone from whatever the Hell he was with Tobey and Garfield, to a young dude that we simply like. Holland's Parker (and his Spidey, frankly) is so stoked to be potentially an Avenger, he's literally bouncing all over the damn place. And I know it's cliche as Hell, but his enthusiastic is damn near contagious. He doesn't have to ride his skateboard like a giant douche, or dance down the street like an asshole to impress us. Instead, he just tries to do the right thing again and again, even if he keeps screwing up.

And this time, it's not really us (or a girl) he's trying to impress.

It's Tony Stark.

Friday, July 7, 2017

For my world to live...yours must die.

If I had a towel, I'd throw it in. Or, if it was white, I'd affix it to a broom handle, and wave that friggin' thing with everything I've got.

At this point, my hands are up, and I'm going to lay on the floor, slowly, with my head down and unequivocally surrender. I'll even lay my wallet out next to me, but, you know, you already got my money.

But before you finish me off, please, please! 

Let my boy go.

After the relative goodwill leftover from seeing Age of Extinction [review] a few days ago, my son and I headed to Transformers: The Last Knight. We were all caught up with Cade Yeager and the Dinobots, so despite the overwhelmingly negative reviews, we were ready. And dare I say...excited?

Welp, so much for that. Maybe had I waited three years for the dust to settle (like we did with Extinction) things would have gone differently, but I will officially go on the record by saying this is a joyless, lifeless, brainless, steaming robotic turd of a movie. It transformed me from a functional person to a bag of human waste. And worse? It couldn't even destroy me quickly, you know? 

It took almost two and half hours to do it.

But that's the 1.0 version that was destroyed. m.brown 2.0 (aka my son, Matthew) loved it.

That (sadly) said, I'm (sadly) gonna give the plot a shot. If it kills me, well, I've had a good run. And - added bonus - I'll be dead for the sixth one.

People still hate the Transformers. Yep. And not because Michael Bay has dedicated just under twelve cinematic hours to their portrayal, but because they keep trying to save Earth. I mean, at this point, clearly we don't deserve oxygen. Anyway, as far as I can figure, no one gives a good God damn about the space robots, outside of a pretty orphaned girl named Izabella and Cade Yeager, Mark Wahlberg's character from the first one. Where Cade was once just a regular dude trying to save his farm, when we meet him, he's basically Dog the Autobot Hunter - minus the super rad/lame shades and Costco-sized jug of pepper spray. But instead of cuffing them and giving them a cigarette, Cade's rescuing the wayward bots and bringing them back to his junkyard. Uh, okay.

I guess that makes sense.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

You call, I'm there.

Before we were married, there were these dark days where my wife and I lived with her parents. We had our own rooms, which sucked (but was clearly the right thing to do), so any uh, alone time, was relegated to an instance where the house was guaranteed to be empty for hours. And with neither of her parents having anything resembling a regular schedule, that was just a shade below absolutely f--king never. We lived in Pennsylvania, sure, but we were miles away from Intercourse.

So our solution to this problem (honestly, I think I was the only one this bothered), was to get in the car and go somewhere. I don't know if we had an elaborate story (likely the movies), but we would basically drive to an empty development...and talk about our feelings. 

And while those steamy (literally) conversations will always be my favorite thing to do while someone else is in the car, my favorite thing to do alone?

I f--king love to sing. Like top of my lungs, bring-on-the-drum-solo, use-the-rearview-mirror-as-a-mic, answer-the-phone-breathless, doesn't-matter-the-genre sing my f--king ass off.

And if I can't sing? Then I won't drive.

Fine. Unless I have to.

While music makes me a much worse motorist (I'm almost positive of this), quite the opposite is true of the protagonist in Edgar Wright's latest, Baby Driver. Pegged as my favorite movie of the summer before I had seen it, Wright's love letter to music and cars is an absolute f--king blast, start-to-finish. Oh, you've seen this movie before, probably a bunch of times, but I don't think it ever looked and sounded so damn cool.

Baby (Ansel Elgort, forever my hero) is a getaway a driver for a bank-robbery outfit headed by the decidedly bullshit-free, Doc (Kevin Spacey, cranked to 11). Baby, as these stories go, has only a few more jobs left before he's even-steven and can move on from a life of crime. Clearly, he's a good dude, but even if he's only the wheelman, he can't seem to keep the blood off his hands.

Initially, his only real reason to get out is to please his deaf foster-dad Joseph, but after meeting a lovely waitress named Debora (the delightfully smitten Lily James), Baby's got much bigger ideas. The plan, if you can call it that, is to get in the car with his soon-to-be ladyfriend and get the Hell out of Dodge, er, Atlanta. If sounds so simple, right?

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

I'm asking you to look at all the junk and see the treasure.

Outside of a giant f--king clue, I didn't know what to get you. So instead, I decided to write this post as my gift to you on your special day. Now, now...don't be upset. I know you don't like to read, okay? I'll keep it quick. Promise.

Besides, these words? They're all about your favorite things.

Fast cars. 
Young girls in tight clothes. 
Robot dinosaurs. 
Mark f--king Wahlberg!

So cheer up, dammit. America, let's make this the best 241st birthday ever!

After running across the trailer for this summer's entry in what could be considered the most inexplicable film franchise in the history of cinema, I promised my son we'd take a look at 2014's Transformers: Age of Extinction. He's an incredibly easy-going, almost eight year-old boy, and therefore the owner of the most ideal set of eyes to watch the fourth talking robot movie. And while I shouldn't have liked this movie in the least, with that dude next to me? I simply couldn't help myself.

Kinda-sorta, the premise is cool. See, after the events of the third flick [review], it seems ol' Earth ain't taking too kindly to the giant talking space robots no more. In fact, those dang ol' machines is being hunted down and sold to the government for research and the like. Someone smarter might say this an allegory for the full-on death of knowledge and understanding in contemporary society. Me? I reckon we gotta keep 'Merica safe. Ain't no one got time for talking when there's explosions to be had.

Cue Mark Wahlberg as Cade Yeager, your typical single-dad farmer-type, who, when he's not drinking domestic beers in the back of his Chevy, or adjusting one of the many American flags hanging around his property, is out back inventing robots. Yessir, I did in fact say inventing robots. And that ain't a euphemism for beatin' the meat, ya hear? I mean that in a very literal sense.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Love is cold.

Let be clear when I tell you...I'm no f--king hero.

I've never rushed into a burning building. Never lifted a car off a pinned kid. Shit, I'm not even that guy that stoically goes to work everyday and puts in an honest eight (I bitch half the time I'm there and call out like a motherf--ker. A sick motherf--ker).

But when I hear a film is an epic disaster? When I read that the ninety-minute runtime will crush your f--king soul? When I feel it's going to be absolutely back-breaking to finish some utter piece of dogshit? Hell, when I know all that?

I'm your Huckleberry. 

See, only a sick motherf--ker, in the face of all the unseen quality films of the world, would willingly rent something called The Dark Below from Redbox. But being the absolute f--king hero that I am, when I saw this...

'NOTE TO RENTERS: There is no dialogue in this film'

...I threw myself on that grenade. Dick first.

While they had me at no words, the premise is even more deliciously terrible, assuming that's not only possible, but those are words that should be adjacent to one another.

So, the plot? Uh, Woman is drugged by Man. Man places her in a wet suit, weighs her down, and sinks her ass about seven feet below the frozen surface of a lake. No, really. You read those words correctly. You're not f--king mental.

Woman will come to, try to crawl out of a giant ice hole, and inadvertently alert man that she's no longer sort-of drowning. Man will show up angrily and Woman will slip back under the ice. Rinse and repeat (always repeat), and feel free to go f--k yourself for renting this film.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Try something new, huh?

Last Sunday, about a hundred miles into our trip to Delaware (yeah, Delaware), we passed the massive Dover International Speedway. And because I'm a Dad, I essentially demanded that my kids look up from their devices and take a gander at that!

Now, since I'm not a backwards hillbilly, I've never been to a NASCAR event, but I almost pulled the car over immediately when my wife, gazing longingly out the window, wistfully said, You know, I'd go to race if you took me.

Wait, what?

You'd willingly want to go to a racetrack, surround yourself with a bunch of redneck a-holes, and watch a bunch of stupid cars drive in circles? Really?

But, didn't we just do that?

Even though it reminds me of the glorious time when my son was a wee lad, I hate just about everything concerning the Cars franchise. The latest installment, Cars 3, isn't the outright lemon that Cars 2 [review] was, but trust me, that ain't saying much.

What's that, you don't give a damn about the plot? Neither do I. But here goes anyway:

In the Piston Cup, a new wave of racers have cropped up, and these speedy youngsters are forcing all the old-heads into retirement. Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson), the once upstart rookie, now a seasoned vet, crashes in the final race and appears to be finished. But when he heads back to Radiator Springs for rehab, hanging it up is the last thing on his mind.

Honestly, at this point, I was kind of on board with what Pixar was offering up as Cars 3, at least initially, is a welcome return to the pace and themes of the original (again, not a film I want to sleep with, but I wouldn't kick it out of the bed, either). McQueen's nostalgia for his old mentor Doc Hudson (the late Paul Newman) was totally welcome, and the idea of going out on your own terms was also appreciated. But then...well...

...the girl showed up.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Up, back, forward, down.

I was obsessed with stand-up comedy.

I watched An Evening at the Improv every single night that it was on. And I swear that f--ker was on seven days a week. Hell, Budd Friedman was like a second father to me. MTV, before it was (extra) terrible, used to have a show called the Half Hour Comedy Hour, and I simply couldn't get enough of that shit (and host Mario Joyner). And whenever HBO had those free preview weekends (which as a kid, was nothing short of world-changing), I would record an expletive-filled hour long special...on something called a VHS cassette, and watch that f--ker till I memorized it.

Between you and me, and this is something I'm not sure I ever said aloud...but, funny or not,...I wanted to be a comedian. That was my dream.

And I never did a single thing about it.

Eddie Edwards, fortunately, wasn't such a pussy, and as detailed in the ultimate crowd-pleasing film Eddie the Eagle, this dude straight up made his dream come true. There are lots of ways to be inspired in this world, but Eddie's story is nothing short of astonishing, especially considering how it all began.

And of course, as these movies often go, how it all ended, too.

Taron 'Eggsy' Egerton plays Eddie, whom despite a youth spent on dodgy knees, is doggedly determined to be an Olympian. While this kid might not have the slightest bit of athletic skill, he's certainly bringing home gold in biggest balls on the planet. With the help of a reluctant coach named Bronson Peary (Hugh Jackman, donning the tightest jeans in the history of cinema), ol' Eddie sets the world on fire sixty-one meters at a time.

Ski-jumping. Or as it should be known, Why would anyone ever willingly do this?

While the plausibility of just about any minute of this movie seems f--king laughable, there's nothing remotely funny about what Eddie Edwards accomplished. This guy had an impossible dream and absolutely made it come by sheer force. Me? I never asked the question. This guy not only asked it, but then didn't give a f--k about the answer.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Are we good?

I saw him coming. Saw him before my dog did, in fact.

So, quickly, I followed Dodger into the backyard, hopefully allowing this guy time to stroll by without listening to the relentless barking of my forty-two pound pup. Thought I'd do each of us a solid. 

But something wasn't right. It had been more than a minute, and this guy hadn't walked passed my house yet. And it's not like I locked the front door, for f--k's sake. I honestly thought to myself, Watch this asshole be in my house. 

F--k this. F--k all of this, you know? Why do these f--king people always show up at my house? Can't they ruin someone else's night? All I want to do is go the f--king movies with my wife, and now I gotta get murdered by some dickhole in a blue shirt.

(But more on that in a bit)

My wife, yes my wife, actually wanted to see the f--king shark movie with Mandy Moore on Saturday night, but in a shocking turn of was sold out (I shit you not). Ten minutes later, and with just a few seats remaining, we trudged into an 8:10 showing of It Comes At Night

Bullet. Dodged.

Having not seen a trailer, nor read a synopsis, all I knew was that early word suggested this Joel Edgerton-starring flick might knock me on my ass. And while quite literally everyone else in the theater f--king detested the flick, I thought it f--king ruled.

Something terrible has happened in the world, and the population has drastically dwindled. When we meet Paul and his family (a wife and a teenage son), they are reluctantly putting ol' Grampa down, as a mysterious illness has ravaged what's left of his body. It's brutal, it's frightening, and utterly f--king horrific. But as you look into the forlorn eyes of the family patriarch, it was absolutely necessary too. Paul isn't taking any chances to protect his family. And surviving in this f--ked up reality has become nothing short of business. And the Paul runs things?

Business is good. Real good.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

This is not a tomb. It's a prison.

We catch up. We laugh. We bullshit about whatever.

We go out to eat (usually Mexican). We go to a baseball game. We bullshit some more.

We talk about our wives. We play some videogames. We talk about our wives some more..

And then, as is also part of the annual tradition of when my older brother comes to visit me, we go to a terrible f--king movie.

In 3D.

Last year, it was the dreadful-ass sequel no one asked for, the steaming bucket of dicks that was Independence Day: Resurgence. This year, it was a dreadful-ass reboot no one asked for, the sack full of assholes known as The Mummy

It's not that we hate ourselves, or our money, that continually leads us down this awful road of dick-punch cinema. But it's instead something that we both love (and always have): the promise of a big screen spectacle. We're men of simple tastes, and getting together always reminds us of our shared childhood thirty-plus years ago. A big-budget nod to the past should have been the stuff of dreams, right? Well...maybe if either of us could have stayed awake.

I don't think I could pass a test on the finer points of what exactly happened in the Tom Cruise-led re-imagining of The Mummy, but I'm not sure anyone involved in its production could either. 

Consider that everything you're about to read is based on the opinion of a man who saw the second half of this film through the lens of a single alternating eye. And when you're that tired, or that bored, or whatever the case may have been, you start to really get angry at the film that's keeping you awake. I just wanted to rest in peace, you know? And then this handsome, ageless prick wakes me up, and I'm thinking: I'd like to level whatever city that f--ker's in, mainly by way of a giant sand cloud, shaped like my screaming face. 

Uh, or something like that.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Your parents were obviously total failures.

My son is in second grade. Well, he was, as the school year is already over for that lucky punk. Me? I have to trudge along for another couple of days.

There are a ton of things to worry about when you send your little one off to school, and as a teacher I'm privy to some super-sketchy insider information, but my wife and I routinely find ourselves fretting over one thing in particular.

We're not sure he has any friends.

Which is entirely brutal no matter how you look at it, but unless this dude's pulling a major Keyser Soze on us, I'm telling you, what breaks my heart in half?

He's a really nice kid.

As are George and Harold, the two main characters in Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie. Well, they're at least really nice to each other. If you're a teacher, or worse, a principal, you might not be such a fan of this dynamic duo.

But somebody definitely likes these boys, to the tune of over 70 million books sold. Based on the wildly-popular series of kids' books by Dav Pilkey, this animated flick, while typically hyper-active and full of fart jokes, is shockingly (and pleasantly) a very nice story about friendship. After the dumpster fire that was the previously unmentionable kid's flick [review], my sites were pretty low...which may explain why I enjoyed the movie so much.

George and Harold have been in the same class for years. When they're not fighting the injustices of how boring and soul-sucking elementary school can be, these two goofballs are up in a rad tree house concocting yet another adventure of Captain Underpants, their homegrown comic book character.

After yet another prank has their principal Mr. Krupp threatening to separate the boys into different classes (and in their minds immediately ending their life-long friendship), George and Harold end up, of all things, hypnotizing the disgruntled head-of-school. Instead of a worst-case scenario, now our guys can instead focus on being best friends again. And endlessly embarrassing their principal along the way.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Fighting does not make you a hero.

I have a penis. And a brain, too.

I'm not 100% sure which one is bigger (or which one I use more), but that's a discussion for another day. Perhaps even another blog. 

Sometimes the top floor and the bottom floor work together, and sometimes they don't. While I consider myself smart enough to know that I'm not terribly intelligent, one thing I know for sure is that yes, I have a dick, but no, I'm definitely not a dick. 

And all nonsense means what, exactly? Well, obviously...

...that means I loved Wonder Woman. Loved almost every single thing about it. 

I love that it's simultaneously breaking records and smashing barriers, love that it will likely open doors for many more female-centric superhero movies (fingers crossed for Squirrel Girl). But, yeah, what I loved the most? Watching one of the most beautiful women in the world kick f--king heaps of ass. Yeah. I loved that too.

Why someone would ever doubt a female director (or a female writer) is beyond me, and beyond stupid. But I certainly thought it was fair to doubt a Wonder Woman movie. Initially. 

First, it's part of the DCEU, which instantly had my Shitty Movie Sense tingling. Second, and perhaps even more damning, is that all I knew of the Wonder Woman character came from watching my two older pervy brothers snicker their way through episode after episode of the Linda Carter television series (when we were kids). Invisible Jet? Lasso of Truth? The outfit that would make a stripper blush? This is a joke, right? No way this is going to work.

But then we all saw Batman v. Superman [review]. And Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman was the best part. By a mile.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

This place really is the worst.

Unless you have kids, or work with them (or in my case, both), you might be blissfully unaware of the influences quietly molding the future leaders of our country. And I would argue, vehemently, that your lack of knowledge about the latest trends and fads makes you a better person. Because knowing what passes for the best thing ever, might make you want to kill yourself...

...with a fidget spinner.

If you have, know, own, or just the worst, are an elementary school student, you're likely all about Jeff Kinney's Diary of a Wimpy Kid series. As a mostly-functioning adult, however, I've never read a single page of his eleven (or so) books featuring the douchey awfulness, er, wimpy-ness of one Greg Heffley. But my students have. And more importantly, my son has.

After bitterly not sleeping through Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul, the fourth film in the franchise, I'm starting to rethink my ludicrous stance of taking my son to any film he's legitimately interested in seeing. Like, majorly reconsidering. See, I'm trying to foster a healthy love of actually going to the movies (the day he illegally downloads a movie is the day we have an actual fist-fight) in both of my kids, but after director David Bowers 'film', maybe piracy isn't the worst thing in the world. I mean, that way he would have only been stealing an awful movie. But this? This robbed me of my f--king soul.

Not that you care, in the least, but here's a short summary of The Long Turd Haul. Instead of allowing her three boys to just lay around all summer and be annoying a-holes, Mom decides the Heffley's need to load up the car and head out on an epic to visit their beloved Meemaw. They're going to get off their devices and spend some time as, you guessed it, a family.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

This is the real deal now.

Earlier this calendar year, I decided I needed to lose some weight. I hadn't been on a scale in awhile, but I knew it was going to be bad news. I was counting monthly gym visits using my thumbs, and sadly recalled a trip to pick up Chinese take-out...where I stopped at Wendy's on the way. The heaviest I ever knew myself to be was somewhere around 226 pounds, and standing at a mere six feet tall, that wasn't exactly a good look.

On January 13th, 2017, I stomped onto the scale for a little friendly competition at work.

I weighed 233.2 pounds. 

After blowing their fragile little minds with the stellar (and thoroughly captivating) documentary Blackfish [review], I decided to show my Honor's class something a bit more tangible: Corbin Billings' 2014 doc, Bite Size. This flick, from 2014 and currently streaming on Netflix, isn't about the dangers of swimming with vindictive orcas, no. Instead, it's about something much less exciting, but perhaps even more life-threatening: It's about eating. Poorly.

Following the lives of four middle-schoolers, my students found Bite Size immediately compelling. Tracking the lives of drastically overweight kids the same age as they are, I quickly realized I would have their full attention. What I wasn't sure I was going to get was their respect.

Using quick-goat thinking, I had to preface the film by addressing the knowledge and curiosity level (and frankly, maturity) of my students in regard to their health and diets. While none of my current students could be considered overweight, many of them were aware that living on nothing but soda and candy was likely going to catch up with them eventually. And, Hell, let's be honest, no matter what their body-type is in middle school, deep down they could all relate to kids getting picked on, frustrated and devastated by some aspect of their physical appearance.

I mean, take it from me, it doesn't get much easier in your thirties either, you know?

Friday, May 26, 2017

Thank God you're pretty.

Many months ago, and despite my love of bad movies and great racks, a certain film was announced and truthfully, I couldn't have given a single f--k. It was based on a TV show that I never really watched, didn't even hold any level of sympathetic nostalgia for. But then certain actors were attached, and all of a sudden, the Boner Meter (or, Bonometer) not only sprang to life, but went from beloved animal funeral to college Halloween party in record time. All the show had going for it was hot chicks running around in bathing suits, right? And now we were getting a movie version of that?

How could they f--k that up?

Well, turns out, they didn't.  The shitty show...well, shocking no one, became a shitty movie.

Aw, Hell. I summered in my pants again.
Looking back at my (pathetic) life before I laid eyes on the mostly-lame movie-adaptation of Baywatch, I seriously have to ask myself, well, what the f--k were you expecting? Did you really think it would be two hours of Alexandra Daddarrio tying up Zac Efron True Detective-style? No.

I just thought it would be funny.

And there might be some boobs. Like, any boobs. 

Turns out, I was wrong on both counts. Yeah, sandwiched in between flat jokes and round (but clothed) titties, director Seth Gordon's Baywatch movie, instead sets its sights on a dumbf--k mystery absolutely no one gives a salty shit about. It doesn't even go full-parody either, and plays entirely too much of its one hundred and sixteen minute runtime a half-assed version of serious. A welcome level of self-awareness surfaces occasionally, only to be dragged under by f--king moronic themes of family and trust.

While the nine credited writers and lone director should all be drowned in a sea full of dicks floating in whale semen, the casting department and the guy in charge of the high-speed film should both be doing the backstroke in Scrooge McDuck's money bin. The cast bounces and jiggles in all the right ways, and somehow manage to all escape this film as charming as they entered it.

Monday, May 22, 2017

That's the spirit.

Sure, I've talked some shit about it before, but in all seriousness, it's really great being a dad.

Backed by an innate sense of love and protecting our offspring, us dads are afforded the opportunity to guide these little creatures from such delicate beginnings, all the way to the madness of adulthood. And it's then, long after all the wondrous efforts that go into creating them (uh, easily my favorite part of the process), when you finally reach that incredible moment when you know your work is done. You can sit back and smile with pride, as these once-little monsters you've created go out there and just f--king devour the world.

Like, literally.

After not really knowing what the f--k happened in Prometheus [review] (even after a super-smart chick once explained it to me), Alien: Covenant thankfully dumbs it down tremendously. While that might not sound like a ringing endorsement, as someone who publicly admits James Cameron's Aliens is the best in the series, it was exactly what the space-doctor ordered.

Set years after the events of Prometheus, Ridley Scott's latest tells an, at least initially, unconnected story. This time out, the ragtag crew of racially-diverse space people we're hurtling through the galaxy with has a fairly straightforward mission: get to a remote planet named Origae-6, and f--k like rabbits. Okay, not really, but the goal is to populate that shit with the two thousand (hypersleeping) peeps on board, plus the one thousand embryos just waiting to be hatched (that's how babies are made, right?). Sounds easy enough...

Well, it would have been, had some freaky shit not happened and killed a few fairly clutch crew members, you know? Oh, and not talking about acid-drooling xenomorphs, either - at least not yet. No, the real nefarious f--ker that sets this shit in motion? Uh...turns out to be an energy blast that happened at the universally worst possible time for anything bad to happen: when everybody was sleeping.

Well, everyone except Walter. The droid.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

I'm Mary Poppins, y'all!

If you were my girlfriend in middle school (or high school, or college), or, more realistically, the girl I was too much of a pussy to ask out (an thus we ended up, like, best friends), there's a good chance that I would have you made you a pretty rad mix-tape at some point in our...friendship.

The first track (on each side, perhaps) would have been that one song that we both were currently obsessed with (or at least you would have been, as I might have [secretly] hated that shit), followed up by a steady drip of similar stuff by similar bands. I mean, you can't do the exact same thing over and over again, sure, but uh...between you and me, why f--k around with a good thing?

Now, I'm not equating the clearly-talented James Gunn with a pathetic eighth grade boy or anything, but as the writer/director of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, this dude's not f--king around with a proven formula. Side Two, er, Volume 2, isn't as
(incredibly) strong as the first [review], but it's still a hellluva jam, full of tasty beats and epic riffs.

After one of the best opening numbers in recent years, the second road trip with Peter Quill/Star-Lord and crew, finds the Guardians balls deep/tits up in interstellar turmoil. After completing the job they were hired to do by some golden, elitist a-holes known as the Sovereign race, Rocket not only offends their leader Ayesha, but steals some of the shit they were hired to protect on the way out. Instantly, our gang is up against droves of Sovereign fighters, until some mysterious freakshow bails them out from a distance. Oh, okay then. Thanks, stranger.

Turns out, this eccentric cowboy-type is actually named Ego, and he's pretty much Star-Lord's father. Oh, and a planet. Wait, what? See, this guy is essentially a god-like being, and he's been searching the galaxy (uh, that he created?) for his son, for like, ever. And while Ego's trying to protect Peter and maybe play catch with his boy, ol' Ayehsa has hired Yondu and his unsavory squad to have Peter catch something else instead. Something less like a baseball, and more like that rad-as-f--k spear thing, he controls by whistling.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Let's find a home for his spirit.

The last time I set foot in another country, I was seven years old.

The last trip to a place I'd never been to before, was f--king Seattle. Not exactly Timbuktu, you know?

I'm thirty-seven years old, don't even own a passport, and I'm deathly afraid that I've more or less seen as much of the world as I ever will. I once considered teaching abroad (primarily in Japan), but the one-year commitment is simply too daunting. Since I wouldn't even consider uprooting my family, I'd have to spend those twelve months a stranger in a strange place...alone. And while it would be hard enough not to see my wife on a daily basis...the real reason why I'll probably never go anywhere?

My kids, Matthew and Violet.

Not only could I never leave them behind (for more than a long weekend, I suppose), but at this rate, I probably couldn't afford to take them with me.

So I go to the movies instead, which is where I happened to stroll into a solo-viewing (of all things) of a little (/giant) flick called The Lost City of Z. Having never seen a trailer, or even glimpsed a (poorly-written) synopsis, I headed into writer/director James Gray's latest film not knowing what lay before me. Cinematically speaking, this was uncharted territory, and I totally forgot my machete.

And my cool hat.

And rad mustache.

Oh, and a half-naked native dude. You totally need one of those, right?

Percy Fawcett (Charlie Hunnam, kicking all kinds of ass) is a good man, undone by a bad name. A bad family name, that is. Passed over for promotion after promotion, seemingly because of something his father once did, Fawcett is a gentleman of the finest sort. Hell bent on improving his lot in the world, he enthusiastically throws himself into any situation he's tasked with, no matter how daunting. In 1906, a few years after we initially meet him, he's assigned to lead an expedition into South America. There, his map-making abilities will hopefully quell an impending border disagreement between Brazil and Bolivia. Apparently there's money to be made down there, as long as war is prevented.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

I'll tell you what: I'm never eating at Benihana again. I don't care whose birthday it is.

The things we do in the middle of the night.
Sometimes we regret them in the morning, but sometimes...they change our lives forever.

Six years ago tonight, Two Dollar Cinema was born in the darkest of dark alleys. It was an unremarkable delivery, with a hairy little post barely making a sound upon its arrival into the world. It weighed in at a mere 270 words, and sadly, it looked just like its father.

Unfortunately, no one was present to see it. Luckily, times have certainly changed.

While we're trying not to separate anything patting ourselves on the back, this is the one night a year that I reflect on the year that was. Sure, it's a bit of a (douchey) tradition (check out TDC's first, second, third, fourth and fifth birthdays), but a party's still a party. Even if you throw it for yourself.

Alright, let's cut the shit, shall we? In the last twelve months of this blog, the following thirteen (yes, thirteen...f--ker) films were my favorite. And yes, Observant Reader, I didn't say best. Oh, and don't stress too much about the order, okay? We're six years old, for f--k's sake. We're not really paying attention to anything.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

If you do your shtick the whole time, then it will no longer be a shtick.

Even if I only reach one...

As a teacher, there are times that you know your lesson is a dog. You realize that most of your students will not only be unable to appreciate or understand the material you're presenting, but that they simply won't give a damn. Yes, you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him appreciate how that water will make him a more-balanced horse that could potentially grow up and do things to help all the other horses, or at least not be a f--king drag on everybody else in the stable.

And so you tell yourself, in between taking shots of paint thinner and calculating the years til retirement, it'll all be worth it, if one of the kids milling around your classroom, just one...actually gets it.

I had a plan going into last Monday morning. It was a week where we were finally finishing up standardized testing, and to keep things moving  (and dare I say, not academic), I was going to show the kids a documentary called Batkid Begins [review]. It was going to be great. I printed out some higher-level questions, made a cool graphic for my home slide, and was literally making sure the assignment stacks were looking good, when I realized that I had already shown the documentary this year. To these kids. Aw, shit.

So, with less than five minutes before it was go-time, I pulled Most Valuable Players out of my sweaty ass. Even before understanding what it was all about, I headed to Common Sense Media (the best website alive for a slacker teacher) to check the content. Some brief talk about gay students, someone says 'maybe we're bitches?' and the use of the word kick-ass topped the list of questionable occurrences, and away we went. Now all I had to do was make it fit.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Three is the perfect number

None of my friends are divorced. Yet.

None of my co-workers have been let go or asked to retire early. So far.

But I do know this one dude who was totally replaced by someone younger, seemingly out of nowhere.

His name is Matthew Brown.

And he is my son.

Though the ubiquitous trailer was amusing enough, I had very little desire to actually see DreamWork's latest animated flick, The Boss Baby. But when rain cancels baseball practice on Bargain Night, it just seemed like the logical thing to do. And while my family ending up at the movies (on a totally calculated whim) should surprise no one, the amount of heart and smarts in this comedy just might.

Timothy Leslie (ha!) Templeton had it all. A nice house, a cool room, two loving parents that doted all over him day and night. But then - the worst thing possible happens - a new baby arrives by taxi, and Tim's perfect world is knocked out of its orbit. This adorable little creature, known only as The Baby, instantly demands all of his parents attention, leaving Tim, for the first time in his life, desperate and alone.

It turns out this chubby-cheeked cherub is, of all things, a secret agent. His mission? To derail a hush-hush plan for total domination by, you guessed it...puppies. Yep, it seems that baby dogs have finally become cuter than baby, uh, babies, and the future of every would-be ankle biter is in jeopardy. And with Tim's parents being important cogs in the puppy machine, it looks like in this all out war, Poor Tim's happy life is collateral damage.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

I should be the one that's writing angry letters!

I get it. I do. It may sound strange to you...but I'm cool with it. It's just how some of us deal with things, I suppose.

See, in a way, I also write letters to the universe. But I write mine because I have kids, you know? This dumpster fire you're currently standing in is a gift for them when I'm gone (Dad, you shouldn't have. Like, for real. Stop.), whatever the circumstances may ultimately be.

Yet, even though no one owes me a response, I'm not gonna lie: I certainly welcome it.

Collateral Beauty is the 2016 bullet point on Will Smith's resume of annual holiday-season/feel-bad movies. Released this past Christmas, the once freshest of princes plays Howard, a father still mourning the loss of his young daughter to cancer. Howard hasn't moved on, and we find him quietly drifting through his life at the film's outset.

Personal tragedies are typically just that - personal - until three top execs at Howard's company have finally had enough of his downward spiral. Turns out, it isn't exactly top form that their former fearless leader spends days in his picturesque office setting up and knocking down dominoes. Oh, it's totally rad, sure, but cost-effective it ain't, and they decide to walk the dangerous path of proving he's mentally unfit to steer the ship.

Knowing their boss has actually written letters to the universal concepts of Life, Death and Time (the former benchmarks of their advertising firm), these three kooks cook up a wickedly deceptive, three-step plan: 1) hire three actors to play Life, Death and Time 2) film their interactions with Howard on the streets of NYC and 3) digitally remove the actors making Howard look like a f--king psycho.

Wait, what?

Monday, April 24, 2017

People need their history. It gives them strength.

I can hear Jimi.

Many years ago, when I heard this certain exchange in Ron Shelton's White Men Can't Jump, I thought I understood it. See, the two main characters, Billy Hoyle and Sidney Deane were arguing about music when Billy, a goofy white dude (Woody Harrelson, my hero) claimed that he too loved Jimi Hendrix. Sidney, a super-smooth black dude (Wesley Snipes, also my hero), essentially states that that's not possible. And as your typical (cluelessly) know-it-all high-schooler, I got the joke but disagreed with Sidney. Anybody can get anything, and it was unfair to think otherwise, you know?

But now I'm older. Not only do I know what I know, but more importantly, I know what I don't know. I'm with Sidney. I think it's entirely fair that where you're born and raised can exclude you from really knowing about something, right? But even more telling?

When you were born and raised.

As much as it's possible to enjoy a two-hour funeral service, I liked last year's Jackie a good deal. Like the rest of the world, I was hopelessly transfixed on the stellar performance of Natalie Portman, I'm just not sure I can fully appreciate the film surrounding it. Oddly enough, I was born just thirteen miles from where JFK was assassinated, but sixteen years after it happened.

Set before, during and after the horrific events of November 22nd, 1963, Pablo Larrain's meticulous film plays like a documentary at times. Juxtaposing the nationally-televised version of our then First Lady with the determined (and at times, despondent) mother and wife behind-the-scenes, is a harrowing yet inspirational view of the iconic Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. Obviously, any person dealing with that unimaginable level of shock, grief and despair would struggle immensely. But Mrs. Kennedy? At that time? And on that stage? Her response is nothing short of breathtaking. She's entirely (and deservedly) overwhelmed, but somehow, she keeps it together.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

It's not possible for you to be here.

"I time every journey, to bump into you...accidentally..." 
                                       - Franz Ferdinand's Dark of the Matinee.

I suppose, like anything (and uh, beauty), romance is in the eye of the beholder.

After becoming impossibly smitten (sounds way better than obsessed, right?) with a young woman I went to college with, I began to have a lot of official business...that would perhaps make an encounter with her possible. Or, probable. She worked on campus as a S.T.A.R. (a student something-something resource), and all of a sudden, I had a lot more work to do in the library. And the computer lab. And just about wherever I learned she would be. I wasn't quite moving tiny pieces around a map of southern Connecticut while wearing a bicorne, but it might have been close. Even if it ultimately worked out, getting a girl to notice you probably shouldn't be so...


While that girl and I have since pledged til death do us part, my initial pursuit of her anyway, didn't immediately jeopardize her life-expectancy (though the act of marrying me may ultimately be hazardous). In 2016's ill-received Passengers, however, falling in love goes hand-in-end with a fiery death, as two potential lovers find themselves awoken out of hyper-sleep ninety years too soon. You had me at 'we're going to die alone'.

As the megaship Avalon majestically soars through the galaxy toward a better life, an asteroid strike results in one of the 5,000 sleeping, uh, passengers, to awaken. Jim Preston (the now unlikable? Chris Pratt), a mere mechanic, comes to to find himself utterly alone in space. Initially, it's kind of cool having the ship to himself, but even Kevin McCallister eventually got tired of eating junk and watching rubbish. With over 90 years left in the journey to Homestead II, and any hope of correspondence taking almost as long, Jim's left with a tough choice. Die alone. Or...

...kill someone else.