Friday, February 15, 2019
Format: TCM on DVR
The Best Years of Our Lives (1946) rightfully won accolades and awards upon its release, telling the story of three returning GI's in terms that try not to gloss over the hardships and adjustments those who went to war in WWII must make as they come home and attempt to re-enter civilian life. Perhaps as much or more importantly, the movie doesn't ignore the adjustments and expectations of those who were safe at home, including arcs for the folks who didn't go, for whom life was not on pause as their loved ones - or even former coworkers - disappeared for a few years.
Sunday, February 10, 2019
Format: Amazon Streaming
Decade: 1970's (obvs)
It's too hard to unpack both the film All the President's Men (1976) and the actual events of the Watergate scandal without writing a full treastise, so I won't. But in 2019, the events of this movie have both an echo that sounds all too familiar, but one which it is difficult to believe would actually register with at least half the voting population. If the movie is *about* anything, it's showing how goddamn hard it is to build a newspaper story that will stick, the near-impossible job of the press, and, of course, the responsibility of the press in a free and open democratic society, something this blogger firmly believes in.
Tuesday, January 22, 2019
Format: Fathom Events at Arbor Cinema
It's fascinating to see Peter Jackson turn his eye for detail and technical achievement to the discipline of documentary film-making. In many ways, They Shall Not Grow Old (2018) could herald a new era of popular documentary as important as the narrative innovations of Ken Burns, which have become the de facto mode for serious historical documentary for those of us who watch PBS. Frankly, from an historical/ accuracy perspective, I have a *lot* of quibbles with Jackson's approach - but we'll get to that after praising his achievements.
Thursday, January 10, 2019
Monday, December 10, 2018
Format: streaming on Prime, I think
Viewing: 7th or so
Holiday Inn (1942) is a terrific movie, except for the deeply problematic blackface sequence.
Friday, November 30, 2018
Former President George Herbert Walker Bush, our 41st President, has passed at the age of 94.
From the New York Times.
I genuinely always liked Mr. Bush as Vice President and then as President. When I think of the age in which you may not agree with policies and procedures of a politician, but respected the integrity of the person, I often think of G.H.W. Bush.
Thursday, November 29, 2018
I started reading All the Answers (2018) a couple of weeks ago, got ten pages in and realized that I wouldn't have time to read it cover to cover in one sitting, the way one generally wants to watch a film, and so I put away the book and picked it up again when I had uninterrupted time.
Written, researched, drawn and lived by Michael Kupperman, a cartoonist and artist I've followed for well over ten years at this point, the book is more than a minor pivot from a particular brand of humor comic that I would fail to capture here if I tried (and what is explaining a joke, anyway?) - this is also a biographical and autobiographical graphic novel. I believe Snake n' Bacon strips were my entree into Kupperman's work, followed by Tales Designed to Thrizzle - something that should be a staple in any comics-studies course. And, of course, Mark Twain's Autobiography, 1910-2010.
Sunday, November 4, 2018
Thursday, November 1, 2018
DISNEY HISTORY PODCAST: EPCOT - Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow! NathanC and Ryan talk about the park! Yesterday, today and tomorrow!
Walt Disney had a vision for an Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow, a city he'd build from scratch with businesses, living spaces, arts, science, universities, etc... And we got an amusement park. NathanC and Ryan delve into the history of EPCOT from concept to execution to today to tomorrow! Are we nostalgic for the future?
Here Come the Warm Jets - Brian Eno
Innoventions - Future World - EPCOT park soundtrack
The Universe of Energy - EPCOT park soundtrack
Promise - Leaving EPCOT song - EPCOT park soundtrack
On Some Faraway Beach - Brian Eno
Disney History with NathanC
Sunday, October 28, 2018
Saturday, September 29, 2018
Format: Amazon Streaming
People, for oh so many reasons, I am absolutely baffled and stunned by this movie.
Where to start...
Begin at the beginning, I suppose
Tuesday, August 28, 2018
Watched : 08/28/2018
Format: DVR/ TCM
Audrey Quotient: Nowhere near enough Audrey!
This isn't a noir film! Nope. This one is an historical drama about the creation of the atomic bomb. So, you know, fun stuff.
Friday, August 24, 2018
Format: Amazon Streaming
You guys, I @#$%ing loved this movie. Get a look inside my wheelhouse and what works for me in a movie with Southland Tales (2006). And, man, we really missed so much of what there was to say - enough so that I'm ready to make covering this movie an annual event.
AmyC returns with this overlooked, underseen sci-fi satire of a post 9/11 America. We struggle to convey the plot and all of the amazing things packed into this film - from one of the most astounding casts ever assembled, to musical choices, to transdimensional travel, to porn stars with rock solid business plans. Truly an unusual film that was never given a real shot at finding an audience - Ryan watches the film for the first time and is absolutely ready to push it to his list of recommendations.
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Tuesday, April 24, 2018
This weekend Jamie and I flew to New Orleans for the wedding of two folks I met via blogging and have become good pals with as we all lived in Austin for a few years before they departed for San Francisco and then NYC. On Saturday Steven H and Lauren R tied the knot in City Park with yours truly officiating.
|The Peristyle in City Park. This is from the internet, but it is where the wedding occurred.|
This was the third time I've officiated and every time it's no less nerve-wracking, and it is no less special as I've known all the couples well and know their stories. It's truly an honor and privilege to be asked, and to get to play that role is a truly memorable experience.
It's also the best seat in the house, if you're going to show up for a wedding, anyway. You want to see people having a moment as up close as it gets? That's where you want to be. You'll also see your friends looking as dashing and beautiful as they will ever be from, like, three feet away.
In short - I hope I didn't mess up the ceremony too much.
Monday, April 23, 2018
So, I guess I missed my own 15th Anniversary of blogging. We were over at League of Melbotis back then. Here's a link to the first batch of posts.
Back then, kids, we had no facebook, no twitter, barely had iTunes and it took me forever to figure out how to upload photos and have a comment section. I was a lad of about 27 and living as a Texas ex-pat in Arizona at the time. I was busily learning about Superman and comics, and I was oh, so, sweetly naive. Reading those early posts is sometimes a teeth-gnashing experience but also a journal of what was going on in my head in the blogging salad days.
Wednesday, April 18, 2018
Former First Lady Barbara Bush has passed at the age of 92.
Mrs. Bush was the wife of President George H.W. Bush, the 41st President, Vice-President under Ronald Reagan and former CIA Director.
She was also the mother of George W. Bush, the 43rd President and grandmother to Jenna and Barbara Bush.
My politics don't always run in line with the Bush clan, but I liked Mrs. Bush. You knew where she stood, you knew she had a sense of humor of sorts but didn't suffer fools. She seemed to know her own mind and while she was a presence in the White House, she didn't rub me the wrong way that Nancy Reagan always did.
And when Jenna was getting trashed at parties during her tenure at UT Austin and she and Barbara got busted for fake ID's at Chuy's... Mrs. Bush summoned those two miscreants, had a talk with them and got them permanently straightened out.
Mrs. Bush used her platform as First Lady to support literacy programs and for civil rights, and in her later years didn't hold her tongue when it came to the national scene. In retirement the Bush's called Houston home and could be seen at the Symphony, Astros games and around town. She was reportedly gracious and kind.
I heard she once slipped her security detail and made her way to the George HW Bush Library in College Station where the couple have an apartment built right into the library (man, no I don't know why. There's a nice few hotels in that town.). What Mrs. Bush didn't know was that she needed to tell someone she was there, and she didn't, so she got locked in the library over night and surprised the heck out of everyone the next morning when they opened up.
I really hope that story is true.
We'll miss you Mrs. Bush. You were good people. Even if your one very public feud was with Marge Simpson.
I hope Millie is waiting for you.
Tuesday, April 17, 2018
April 18 marks both the 80th Anniversary of the release of Action Comics #1 and the release of Action Comics #1000.
Short a few documents written by fellows in wigs and waistcoats, there are few things in Western culture, Pop or otherwise, with so profound an impact or as wide a legacy as this simple, brief story by a couple of young men from Cleveland.
Superman's first appearance was just one of several of different genres appearing in Action Comics #1 (this link is currently good and includes the first Superman story) To revisit the story, every time I read it I find it shocking how much of Superman springs to life there in those first few pages - an assemblage of parts of other characters and science fiction concepts forged into something entirely new and its own.
Doomed planet. Locomotives and bullets. Lois Lane as a tough girl reporter. The cape, the boots, the forelock. A newspaper setting. The dual-identities of Clark Kent and Superman, Lois' failure to recognize her co-worker. Superman/ Clark's immediate attraction to Lois. Righting wrongs.
Tuesday, March 13, 2018
Physicist Stephen Hawking has passed.
Hawking was not just one of the finest minds of our era, but a brilliant communicator for science with a dry sense of humor. I don't need to remind you that Hawking suffered from motor neuron disease, but he served as an example of overcoming those challenges and how a mind perseveres.
Saturday, February 24, 2018
Format: Amazon Streaming
Way, way back in - I think - early high school, the slim, prestige format comic Gotham By Gaslight arrived in comic shops, and as a good little comics-kid, I picked up my copy, read it, loved it, and it was probably in a longbox until the great purge a few years ago. I am 95% certain I have it in a collection somewhere amongst the Batbooks, but its been two decades since I've read the thing.
Like everyone else, I was batty for Gotham by Gaslight upon arrival. It featured art by Mike Mignola and a pretty decent story by Brian Augustyn, and I think it took off much better than DC figured. This put the idea of Elseworlds into DC's head, and for the next two decades we got endless versions of Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, and sometimes others, in various periods, geographies and genres. It took a concept like "but what if Superman emerged in conjunction with, say, War of the Worlds!?" or "Batman, but a pirate" and sold a couple of prestige-formatted issues. Or, you got some "what if?" sort of story, like "what if Krypton never exploded?"
Some of it was great, some of it serviceable or bad. Some of it got way overhyped (everyone needs to relax about @#$%ing Red Son. It's not that good.). But Gotham By Gaslight started it all, and - for my money - though I haven't actually re-read it in two decades - was among the very best.
The movie is okay.