Dandy Cat

In this week’s new episode of Stream Dream Team, we’re talking about armies of the undead, podcasts about people who were made dead, and a sad writer’s dead daughter.

I promise it’s a lot less morbid episode than it sounds. Give it a listen now! 🎙

Letterboxd Diaries—July 2021

  • I’m Gonna Git You Sucka: Of Keenan Ivory Wayans’s films, this one is certainly better than A Low Down Dirty Shame. Its quality rests completely on the fact that it doesn’t take itself seriously at all. If this one wasn’t a parody of blaxploitation films, it would have been insufferable. Thank goodness for Bernie Casey and Isaac Hayes. (★★)
  • The Tomorrow War: This was overly long, felt like it had some major logic holes, and it underutilized Sam Richardson and Mary Lynn Rajskub (which is a serious crime in itself). The alien design was pretty dang effective, though. They seemed intimidating and were clearly capable of actually destroying all of humanity. By the end, they unfortunately just ended up becoming nothing more than some bugs to be squashed. They lost all their power when the humans figured out how to kill them. There was very little challenge for anyone. If you’re looking to watch a film that depicts a thrilling and moving future war, then you’d do much better to watch Edge of Tomorrow. You can never go wrong with Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt. (★★★)
  • Predator: I’m not sure why I was surprised that this one was as violent as it was, but who can ever prepare for the sight of human beings that have been removed from their skin? I certainly wasn’t ready for it, and then POW! Loads of dead people in a jungle. This was gruesome for an ‘80s film. It also became so much more than just terrible deaths. The first half of the movie is a decent examination of masculinity and its shortcomings. The back half is a great cat and mouse game between Arnold and the titular alien monster. I’d call this one pretty dang decent. (★★★★)
  • Clueless: I wish there were more movies made like this today. It was a perfect, low-stakes way to spend some of my time. There was no real antagonist. Everyone was very goofy. The main character, Cher, had far more depth than one might expect at the beginning of the film. Heck, the people who could have resembled an antagonist aren’t given much screen time. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised considering it’s obviously, and famously, based on a Jane Austen novel. It was just a pleasure to watch, even if it was the most ‘90s thing I’ve seen since the ‘90s. (★★★★)
  • Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 1: This is about as faithful an adaptation as you can get. Lines are taken straight from the graphic novel. Plot points hit at exactly the same time. Even visually there’s little difference between the two. That begs the question, if the source material is nearly perfect, then why wouldn’t I rank this adaptation higher? For me, the voice cast doesn’t quite work. The shadow of Kevin Conroy is long. Peter Weller doesn’t have the kind of gravelly gravitas I’d expect from an aged Batman/Bruce Wayne. I don’t know what’s going on with Commissioner Gordon. That voice is higher and reedier than I’d ever have expected. The acting is fine, but the sound of the characters is enough to make this one less effective. (★★★★)
  • Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 2: You can just refer to the entry above this one. It applies to this film, as well. (★★★★)
  • Black Widow: With this being the first new Marvel feature film since Avengers: Endgame, there was a lot riding on its success. The recent Disney+ tv shows have proven that Marvel still has the good stuff, but could they deliver again on the big screen? The answer, for me at least, is a pretty resounding yes. However, this isn’t a film that drives the long arc of the Marvel Cinematic Universe forward. This one exists in the past. That’s not a bad thing—this one is a blast from beginning to end—but it’s hard to see Marvel’s future plans if you’re using this film as a landmark. It seems to exist out of time. I loved Scarlett Johansson and everyone else who was featured. (★★★★)
  • Another Earth: For a film about a spectacular celestial event, there’s so little science in this film. Indeed, the titular other Earth is really only referenced in news reports, radio programs, and either hopeful or frightened whispers. I appreciated the effective drama between the two main characters, but boy did I ever want more information about the world-changing event the film depicts. If it had a larger budget to work with, that would probably have been seen. This wasn’t a disappointment, but there was still a lot more that could have been done with it. (★★★½)
  • The Royal Tenenbaums: This is arguably the film that first showed Wes Anderson’s unique, symmetrical, colorful style as we would come to know and refer to it now. It works on every level. For a long time, this was his standard-bearer, and the film that worked best as an introduction to his work. Having seen this several times before, I was struck this time by how complete and well-crafted the screenplay was. His work with Owen Wilson on the story created a tale that’s always propellant, intoxicating, and hilarious. It was the last film the pair wrote together and I would love to see them collaborate in this fashion again. This, combined with their previous work on Rushmore and Bottle Rocket, showed a pair of filmmakers that were creating eccentric beauty. I want more of that. (★★★★½)
  • Big Night: A simple plot that was turned into a full-length film. This one hinges on the strong relationship between Tony Shalhoub as Primo and Stanley Tucci as Secondo. Without them and their amazing chemistry, it would have been just an okay film. There’d be little substance to support the enjoyable cooking scenes, of which there aren’t enough to buoy the film without the family drama. This one takes its time and trusts that you’ll go along for the ride it presents. It’s hard to find such a confident film these days. (★★★★)
  • How to Steal a Million: There are surely some credible knocks to be made against this film, but none of those matter to me. What does matter is just how dang fun this one is. It’s a lovely caper film with great energy. It’s also got Audrey Hepburn and Peter O’Toole. Are there any greater two reasons to watch this film than them? I think not! This is probably one of the best lazy weekend films I’ve ever seen and repeated viewings won’t go to waste. (★★★★½)
  • Wild Wild West: What an affront on every level. Plant a tree, kiss a puppy, eat some ice cream. Do anything but watch this film and you’ll have spared almost two precious hours of your life. (★)
  • No Sudden Move: Along with Killing Them Softly, Ray Liotta is making a real career out of getting the crap kicked out of him in front of a car in the rain. I can’t wait to see where he gets beat up next. Otherwise, this was a well-made film. It’s one of those things that throws non-stop names, connections, and dates at you. Much like a high school history class, it probably helps to take notes. (★★★½)
  • Gunpowder Milkshake: The story of this film really isn’t all that impressive, but damn if its style doesn’t push this over the edge into something more impressive. Karen Gillan was as lovely as ever. The cinematography and lighting were particularly top-notch. This is one of those films where it’s clear every cast and crew member enjoyed making it. Mostly, it felt hollow, and it’s a shame that there was little substance below its flashy exterior. (★★★½)

Total movies watched: 14

Be sure to follow me on Letterboxd! 🎥

Title Card: Zodiac (2007)

The title card for Zodiac.

Zodiac was written by James Vanderbilt and directed by David Fincher. It was released in 2007. The film was produced by Paramount Pictures, Warner Bros., and Phoenix Pictures. The titles were designed by Eric Ladd and Bruce Schluter.

Set primarily in San Francisco and spanning several decades, Zodiac tells the frightening story of a string of horrific serial murders that were perpetrated throughout Northern California.1 The Zodiac Killer is a still unidentified serial killer who operated throughout the late ‘60s, spreading uncertainty, paranoia, and fear. The film follows Robert Graysmith, played by Jake Gyllenhaal, a political cartoonist and one of the foremost authorities on the Zodiac Killer. His relentless investigation, helped along by San Francisco Chronicle reporter Paul Avery, played by Robert Downey Jr., and Inspector David Toschi, played by Mark Ruffalo, steadily brings the killer out of the darkness and into the public. While never identified or caught, the Zodiac Killer and his crimes have devastating effects on both the people who are chasing him and the city of San Francisco itself.

For my money, this is still David Fincher’s best work.2 It’s hard to find much fault in its storytelling, its visual style, or its performances. It’s one of those rare films that was made by an entire production crew that was firing on all cylinders all the time, as they say. And yet, it’s not spoken of with the same adoration that’s afforded to Fight Club or The Social Network. Those are both fine movies, The Social Network especially, but Zodiac so captures a time and mood that watching it feels like living during the harrowing years it depicts. It’s a rare thing to witness a film that is so of its time. Fincher is an exacting and demanding director. He may even be relentless to the point of assholery, but damn is he able to tell a story that envelops you, that holds you, and that can entertain you while also shocking you to your core.

There’s a moment in the film when Robert Graysmith visits a man named Bob Vaughn, played by Charles Fleischer, a silent film organist. Vaughn had once worked with a projectionist named Rick Marshall. Graysmith had previously been tipped off that Marshall was the Zodiac. The clues surrounding Marshall are soon attributed to Vaughn by the man himself, shortly before he invites Graysmith to follow him into his dimly lit basement to look for evidence that could provide a valuable link to the Zodiac. Graysmith descends into the dark, and we are given a scene that still frightens me every time I see it. I know what’s going to happen, and yet I feel my chest tighten whenever Graysmith sets his trembling feet on those creaky stair steps. Enjoy, in all its creepy glory. 🎞

  1. And possibly even Southern California. There is a potential link between the Zodiac Killer and Cheri Jo Bates, who was found murdered on the grounds of Riverside City College where she was also a student. It’s always surreal to consider that a school you used to attend was also the site of a grisly murder, made famous by the notoriety of its potential perpetrator. Whenever I drive by the campus, I feel a small chill deep down inside of me. [return]
  2. This isn’t something I’m going to argue with anyone over, but not for the reason that may suggest. I believe that David Fincher has crafted a staggering body of work (except for, perhaps, Alien 3). Any one of his films is worthy of being his best, or at least, someone’s favorite. Zodiac just so happens to be my preferred Fincher film. [return]

I really wish Apple would spend as much money marketing For All Mankind as they do for Ted Lasso.

I just finished the amazing second season and this brilliant show deserves far more attention than it’s getting. 📺🍎

On the Stream Dream Team podcast, we’re chugging right along with Violet Evergarden. This week, with episode six, we’re asking the question, “Do you want to have a picnic on top of an observatory?”

Listen to the new episode today! 🎙

Pattering rain one hour and bright sunshine the next. Southern California is being weird today.

If I had a nickel for every time the hand washing feature on my Apple Watch didn’t work, then I’d have enough money to buy a new Apple Watch that had a properly working hand washing feature. 🍎

It being more “industry standard,” I frequently try to give Logic Pro a fair shake for my podcast editing. I’m not sure what’s wrong, but it just never sticks. I always find my way back to the comforts of Ferrite Recording Studio.🎙

The Stream Dream Team has posted a brand new episode of their podcast today!

This time, we’re discussing Olympic sports, watching movies in movie theaters (finally), and Violet Evergarden becoming a badass uniter of nations. Listen today! 🎙

If I didn’t have tinnitus before my brother’s wedding, I certainly would now.

In all seriousness, I’m thrilled for him! He and his wife deserve all the best. I was very happy to share and celebrate the day with everybody. ❤️

Nothing has ever made me feel more pleased with my own small wedding than witnessing the huge production that is my brother’s wedding. To each their own, but man, does that look stressful to me.

Did Christmas come early for everyone today? Not quite, but on More Movies Please! we did watch and talk about a Christmas classic this week. It’s The Long Kiss Goodnight and it was a blast! 🎙🎥

Title Card: Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

The title card for Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Raiders of the Lost Ark was written by Lawrence Kasdan and directed by Steven Spielberg. It was released in 1981. The film was produced by Paramount Pictures and Lucasfilm. The titles were created by the MGM Titles department.

Archaeologist Indiana Jones, played by Harrision Ford, discovers that the Nazis, led by rival archaeologist René Belloq, played by Paul Freeman are hot on the trail of the Ark of the Covenant, the chest holding the Ten Commandments. Indy is recruited by the U.S. Army to recover the Ark before Adolf Hitler can use it to make his army invincible. Reuniting with old flame Marion Ravenwood, played by Karen Allen, and friend Sallah, played by John Rhys-Davies, the trio sets off on a globe-crossing adventure to find the Ark so it doesn’t fall into the wrong hands.

Coming off the one-two knockouts of Jaws and Close Encounters of the Third Kind, it’s no surprise that this film quickly became a critical and commercial success. What’s a little more surprising, even to some of the stars of the film, is how influential and beloved the movie has become since its release. It’s a thrilling and moving film, to be sure, but a crown jewel in the history of cinema? Who ever expects something like that to happen? Something like James Cameron’s Avatar is undeniably more financially successful,1 but you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who holds Avatar in higher esteem. They’re both action-adventure films, made with the height of filmmaking technology at their respective production times. Yet, here we are. Due to its amazing performances, stellar direction, and a closing sequence that still boggles the mind, Raiders of the Lost Ark is a film that will be remembered forever. 🎞

  1. As of this writing, that behemoth has made over 2.8 billion dollars. When adjusting for inflation, it’s second only to Gone with the Wind. [return]

I’ve been co-hosting a new podcast show with my dear friend, Lee! It’s called Stream Dream Team and here are the most recent episodes. We’ve got a good head of steam going with our series on Violet Evergarden. I’d love for you to give them a listen! 🎙

I finished watching Schitt’s Creek a few days ago. The show has been stuck in my mind since then for two reasons:

  1. I enjoyed just about every dang second of it.
  2. I’m disappointed by the ending of the show.

In fairness, the conclusion of a tv show will never satisfy every viewer, and this is especially true when a show becomes widely watched and beloved. Game of Thrones, anyone?1 However, for a show as smart and caring as Schitt’s Creek, I expected more real growth from the main characters than what we got.2

The Rose family blew through the town of Schitt’s Creek like a slow whirlwind, affecting its citizens in myriad ways. The tears and heartfelt goodbyes that the Roses received when three-quarters of them left in the series finale demonstrated that they all left indelible marks on those with whom they had relationships. Therefore, it leaves a hollow feeling when it’s only David who stays behind. The rest leave with some fond, peculiar memories, but in some cases, little personal growth.

Were it not for his new husband, Patrick Brewer, David would have been out of the town in a flash, opening up a new location for his Rose Apothecary somewhere in New York City. That is, if he had ever been able to open up the Schitt’s Creek store in the first place without Patrick’s help. I’m grateful for his sensible realization that he’d be happier with his husband and business in the place that’s given him so much. His new house isn’t half bad either.

Alexis’s exit made the most sense. She’s at the beginning of a grand new adventure. Her blossoming PR firm, Alexis Rose Communications, was born out of her determination to get her G.E.D., find something to do with her life, and chase after that goal. It’s a great tragedy that her relationship with Ted Mullens had to end for her to achieve her dream (and he to achieve his), but sometimes life gets in the way of even the best relationships.3 Alexis’s life before her time in Schitt’s Creek was certainly colorful, but it was aimless. By the end of the show, she’d found an exciting path to travel. It just so happened that the path led away from the town. Nevertheless, her emotional parting conversations with Twyla Sands show that she understands the value of her time spent there.

Johnny, always the patient, level-headed patriarch,4 birthed a new business with the help of the wonderfully acerbic Stevie Budd. Their sure-to-be successful chain of motels will give them all security and purpose, along with, one can assume, a new mountain of cash. Why the headquarters of Rosebud Motels couldn’t be located in Schitt’s Creek, I have no idea. How nice would it have been to give back to the town, and Roland and Jocelyn Schitt, that took the Rose family in at their lowest point by making it a major hub for this business? California is nice,5 but why is it an essential location? If that was the case, why wasn’t it necessary for Stevie to come along to California? It’s an interconnected world. They started the new business in Schitt’s Creek and got noticed, so why couldn’t they keep that momentum up in the city?

Moira may have been the worst of the bunch, in this case. As we saw in the season five finale, titled, Life Is a Cabaret, upon learning that her beloved crows movie wouldn’t be getting a premiere event or distribution deal, she let out a scream to split the heavens and collapsed into a sorrowful heap. She spent a decent amount of the subsequent episode in a near-catatonic mess, hiding in her closet behind its flimsy accordion door. Her hard work was going to go unseen, but more tragically, her burgeoning ticket out of the titular town was being stolen from her.

However, when things turn around for The Crows Have Eyes III: The Crowening, leading to her reprisal in the reboot of her star-making soap opera, Sunrise Bay, she ultimately takes the role. The job would necessitate her presence on set outside of Schitt’s Creek, but why couldn’t the town be her home during the show’s downtime? Instead, she’s always been the most eager to return to a life of recognition and riches. It’s a shame to never see that desperation fade. I do not doubt that she became a better person since losing her past life, but even the newfound closeness her family experienced was never enough to fill the hole that fame dug into her. Even after her heavy goodbyes to the group that loved her the most—her fellow Jazzagals—she was all too willing to put the town in her rearview mirror, so to speak.

I loved this show and will surely watch it again in the future. However, the ending could have had a better message—one of growth, appreciation, and love for the people of Schitt’s Creek. They were always more welcoming and caring than the people who turned their backs on the Rose family at the beginning of the show. The journey was fun, but for me, still fell short of being spectacular. 📺

  1. While that show had its issues, I don’t think its conclusion was nearly as bad as the internet makes it out to be. But much like Star Wars fandom, nobody hates Game of Thrones quite like a Game of Thrones fan. If you’ve spent any time on the internet, you know that subtlety is a rare find. [return]
  2. WARNING: there are some major spoilers beyond this point. [return]
  3. I’m still sad about that one. Seriously, how great were they together? [return]
  4. At least, compared to the rest of his family. [return]
  5. I may be a bit biased here. [return]

Steven and I are talking about the wonderful and thrilling film from Gareth Edwards, Monsters. Make sure to give this episode a listen. This film is quite unlike any monster story you’ve ever seen. 🎙🎥

Happy Day When All the Inconsiderate Jerk-Faces Set Off Explosives That Scare My Dogs All Night Because They’re Jerk-Faces!

Title Card: Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954)

The title card for Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers was written by Albert Hackett, Frances Goodrich, and Dorothy Kingsley and was directed by Stanley Donen. It was released in 1954. The film was produced by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

In 1850, there’s wood to be chopped, dances to be danced, and women to be married. Adam Pontipee, played by Howard Keel, meets local tavern worker Milly, played by Jane Powell. Within hours of meeting and falling for her, Adam asks her to marry him—a proposal which she accepts. Upon returning to Adam’s mountain cabin, Milly is surprised to learn that Adam is the eldest of seven brothers, all living together. Despite her disappointment at not being able to live the married life she had envisioned for herself, she tasks herself with cleaning up her new home and teaching the brothers how to be polite and proper men. These six lovelorn men soon realize that the only way they’ll meet and marry a woman like Milly is if they drop their poor manners and do things her way. At a social gathering in town, they meet six women and try out their new personas on them. The girls take a liking to these brothers, but trouble erupts when their current suitors find out about these new sweethearts.

There’s a shameful hole in my movie-watching past, and it consists almost exclusively of unwatched musicals. I don’t dislike musicals. I just haven’t watched many of them. It’s a damn shame because a great many of them can be counted amongst the best films ever made. Singin’ in the Rain, anyone?1 My wife, on the other hand, has maybe seen every single musical ever made. Thank goodness she still decided to marry me. I think she saw my musical inexperience as an opportunity to educate me on the finer points of this genre, one of those being this film. Which I loved. Loved a whole lot. Like many musicals, the songs are the main draw here, and there are some serious bangers (as the youths say).2 You would do well to check out Bless Yore Beautiful Hide, Goin’ Courtin’, and The Barn Dance. If you’re anything like me, you should go into the film without any notions about it. Its bouncy, tuneful, and vibrant spirit will win you over. If you’ve already seen it, why not give it another watch? You already know how excellent it is. 🎞

  1. In fairness to myself, I have at least seen that one. [return]
  2. Or have they moved on to some other gobbledygook and I’m showing my age here? [return]

Letterboxd Diaries—June 2021

  • Point Break: While watching this, I became even sadder knowing that Patrick Swayze is dead. He was a great talent, but more than that, we’ll never get to see a sequel where Bodhi is somehow still alive and finally makes everyone’s dreams come true by getting it on with Utah. Surf-style. Also, I will never not enjoy John C. McGinley yelling his damn head off at other people. That’s my happy place. (★★★½)
  • Capernaum: This is an amazing, moving, important film that I never want to see again. It sapped me of so much energy and was one of the toughest watches I’ve ever had. There can never be enough praise given to Zain Al Rafeea for his supernaturally good performance. What he did, and at his age, is beyond comparison. It was truly something special. (★★★★½)
  • Batman: Mask of the Phantasm: An extended version of a show that’s already one of the best superhero cartoons ever made is sure to be excellent. This one did not disappoint in any way. In fact, it elevated Batman. By delving into Bruce Wayne’s history, we’re shown more about the motivations and hindrances that the Caped Crusader faces. Throw in a great Mark Hamill performance and a mysterious new antagonist and you got something timeless. (★★★★)
  • Bo Burnham: Inside: A melancholic, introspective look at isolation, humanity, the desire for connection, and creativity. This is a moving and imaginative work of art. It comes with frequent bouts of brilliance, as well as songs that can stand on their own. I’m astounded by how much Bo Burnham was able to accomplish on his own. He’s got true talent. After watching this, I wish nothing but the best for him. (★★★★½)
  • An American Tail: That damn mouse! So much heartache and terror just because a kid wouldn’t listen to their parent, but I guess that’s just reality when it comes to children. There was some pretty astounding animation shown off in this film, and it was apparently unique in its classic feel. It goes a long way to making a somewhat thin storyline feel more robust. This film gains depth by providing some astounding eye candy. (★★★½)
  • Shadow of a Doubt: The peculiar editing of this film threw me off so much that I thought there was something wrong with the video file itself. To find out that this is one of Hitchcock’s favorites of his own work takes me aback even further. Teresa Wright and Joseph Cotton are thrilling and excellent, to be sure, but this one just didn’t do it for me like the director’s other works have. It’s a dang shame because the story is clever and unique. I wanted to enjoy it more than I did, but alas… (★★★)
  • Say Anything…: Watching this felt like I was peering through a portal into my teenage years. So much of this felt familiar. It’s astounding to know that this is Cameron Crowe’s first feature film. His first outing is this damn strong? Who the hell does he think he is?! If I had watched this film when I was Lloyd Dobbler’s age, I’m sure I would have related to him the most. I’d be sick of the world, man, and I’d be head over heels for Diane Court (Ione Skye is breathtaking). Now that I’m almost twice his age, I find myself more enamored by John Mahoney as James Court, and I don’t think that’s just because of my love for Frasier. The tragedy of his character is so palpable that I want nothing more than to spring him from his prison cell in a daring, midnight prison break. Maybe one day. (★★★★)
  • Dawn of the Dead (2004): As a first feature film, this is a strong offering. Zack Snyder, along with the incredible help by the usually amazing James Gunn, has somehow managed to take a classic of the genre and not turn it into a flaming dumpster fire. That’s usually much harder to accomplish than it should be. However, there’s not a huge amount of depth to the characters. They’re all caricatures of their upbringing/profession, and until the very end of the film, are never given a chance to be anything more than a police officer, a nurse, or a homophobic loudmouth. (★★★)
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring: I watched the extended edition of this film, which is probably the only way this trilogy should be watched, and it continues to hold up. The visual effects are beginning to show their age, which is no surprise considering the age of these films. For my money, the main draw of this trilogy has never been the visual effects. The adventurous, thrilling, and at times, heart-wrenching story of the Fellowship was what captured my imagination and what keeps this movie engaging. It’s a timeless good vs. evil story that has begun to acquire the same fame and importance that its source material has developed over its long life. (★★★★½)
  • Wall Street: The notoriety this one has developed since its release led me to believe that it would be far better than it ended up being for me. By the end of it, I found its strongest aspect to be Michael Douglas’s performance. No wonder why he received an Oscar for it then. Its quick pace and the finance-centered script made it something of an inscrutable watch for someone who has no foot in the world of Wall Street. Beyond that aspect, it’s just a fairly good downfall drama that Aaron Sorkin probably would have written if it had been made in the last decade. (★★★½)
  • Airplane!: Oh boy, did I ever see this one at the wrong time of my life. I should have watched Airplane! when I was a teenager because that’s clearly the target audience for this film. I think I would have appreciated it far more than I did. I would be hard-pressed to call it a bad film—it’s not by any stretch—but I don’t think it achieves the legendary comedy heights that so many people believe it has. This is worth a watch for Lloyd Bridges and Leslie Nielsen in one of their first comedic roles. (★★★½)
  • Thelma: I can’t figure out why, but something about Joachim Trier’s films really does it for me. His previous film, Reprise, was a transformative experience. This one takes that same Norwegian drama feel and adds a supernatural aspect to it. It works on every dang level. Some people may be put off by its slow pace, but if that’s not an issue, then you’ll be treated to a great mystery. The fraught love story at its core gives the film balance and momentum. A woman who has grown up in a religiously oppressed family falls in love with a woman. There’s no way that’s not going to be an emotionally charged story. Throw in possible mind powers and you’re left with a film that’s going to stick around for a long time. (★★★★)
  • Army of the Dead: Compared to Dawn of the Dead, this film is clearly an improvement in many ways. Thanks primarily to a healthier budget, the scope of the film, the visual effects, and the sheer bombastic attitude have been elevated to extreme heights. When it comes to something like story, there’s not a huge amount of improvement. Everyone’s trying their damnedest to inject more dimensions into their characters and, aside from Dave Bautista, it largely fails. As with Dawn of the Dead, it’s hard to create something that just isn’t there on the page. The unique premise makes for thrilling fun, though. (★★★½)
  • Ralph Breaks the Internet: I truly enjoyed the first film. I thought it was filled with fun and had a lot of heart. Where that one taught the important lesson of loving yourself for who you are, this one throws all of that out with the message that you should try your damnedest to be someone else if it’s attractive to you. I feel that so much effort was put into visualizing the grand and intimidating world of the Internet. I wish more was put into asking whether this film truly needed to be made. (★★★)
  • Network: I want so badly to call this film something like an adult dramedy. It goes to lengths that seem absurd, including giving our poor, dear Howard Beale his own sensational, televised soapbox from which to yell. The last decades since the release of this film prove that it is instead a sad, prescient satire. This film shows that it’s still okay to be “mad as hell,” so long as your anger doesn’t interfere with anyone else’s money. If it ever does, there will be hell to pay, because life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness only apply to the richest among us. Once it infringes on their money accounts, you’re a problem to be squashed (unless you too somehow become rich, and then, hey, you’re actually worth a damn). Dream, dream, why don’t you, but don’t you dare make any real noise. Don’t you dare try to lift the boot that is squashing you out. You’re here to make the rich richer, and that is your only value. You could make this movie today without changing a thing and it would still be exactly as relevant. Still… there are some extremely funny bits. Faye Dunaway earned the hell out of her Oscar. (★★★★★)
  • Boss Level: I really should have just watched Groundhog Day or Palm Springs. Those were more engaging than this thing. I expected more from Joe Carnahan. (★★)

Total movies watched: 16

Be sure to follow me on Letterboxd! 🎥

Yes, it’s always a citizen of the U.S.A.’s great civic duty to appear at the local courthouse when summoned for jury service.

As I experienced earlier today, getting one of those dreaded envelopes in the mail is still a bit of a day ruiner. 😩

On this week’s episode of More Movies Please!, Steven and I welcome a special guest from ‘90s nostalgia TikTok fame, Tara Town!

We’re all traveling back in time when things were (relatively) easier as we talk about the enjoyable Disney film, A Goofy Movie. Listen today! 🎙🎥

Wife: has to spend several hours at a bridal shower.

Me: gets to spend the day at home watching season seven of Bosch.

I need to get her some cookies because I think I got the better end of the deal here.

Title Card: The Matrix (1999)

The title card for the film, The Matrix.

The Matrix was written and directed by Lana Wachowski and Lilly Wachowski. It was released in 1999. The film was produced by Warner Bros., Village Roadshow Pictures, Groucho Film Partnership, and Silver Pictures. The artists for the main titles were Harold De Jesus and Marcel Valcarce.

Thomas Anderson, known by his preferred hacking alias “Neo,” played by Keanu Reeves, lives an unsatisfying life and has always suspected that there’s something wrong with the world he lives in. His suspicions are confirmed when he meets Trinity, played by Carrie-Anne Moss. After an unfortunate run-in with a sentient computer program known as Agent Smith, played by Hugo Weaving, she introduces him to a mysterious man named Morpheus, played by Laurence Fishburne. Morpheus explains to him that the world Neo knows is nothing more than a computer simulation, a construct playing out within the minds of comatose humans as they are used as an energy source by intelligent machines. Initially resistant to this staggering revelation, Neo is soon reborn into the real world, a post-apocalyptic hellscape full of human factories and immense dangers. Morpheus believes Neo to be “the One,” a human who is believed to free humankind. Neo must learn what it means to be alive in the real world, and hopefully, live up to what’s prophesied about him.

The titles demonstrate an unusual juxtaposition in the film. The Matrix, with all of its advanced technology, is personified through ancient computer screens. There’s no color besides green. No icons on the screen. No menu bar to be seen anywhere. The vast complexity of this simulation is shown as raindrops of computer characters. The words “The Matrix” are themselves formed from the physical representation of The Matrix: the sickly green on black glow of old computer screens. This feels like an expert melding of the visuals of the film and the complex ideas that drive its story. From moment one, the film gives us a clue as to what is in store for us.

I recall being held in rapt silence while watching this film in the theater when it came out. You knew you were about to watch something special when those characters started falling from the top of the screen. One of the most thrilling sequences in film history follows this opening title: a squad of police officers and three relentless, terrifying Agents surround the building in which Trinity is holed up. She must fight her way out and into safety, or die trying. To this day, it’s still completely effective. Give that scene a watch again. 🎞

Do you want more action, romance, and oiled-up Jason Statham punching people’s faces than you can handle? Well, More Movies Please! has got the film for you. For June’s B-movie bonus episode, we watched and talked about the film, The Transporter!

Listen today!🎙

Google, Facebook Pressure Falls Short as Antitrust Measures Advance in House Committee

I’ll readily admit that I don’t know as much about this burgeoning antitrust legislation as I should. However, does this “American Choice and Innovation Online Act” mean that I have the choice to keep any new Apple device I get largely the same as I have them now? Doesn’t seem like it.

I believe that giving the ability of smaller businesses to fairly compete with larger ones is generally good. Lower the cut Apple takes on sales. Make it easier, i.e., not impossible, to go to a company’s website where I can subscribe to their service. Remove the fear that some developers have over dealing with these large companies. However, don’t throw the word “choice” around without understanding and acknowledging that it should cut both ways. I don’t want the overall Apple experience I know and love to be destroyed because, for example, Epic wants its own app store on Apple’s devices.

I’ll also readily admit that I may be singing a different tune if I were a software developer working with Apple’s platforms. As a consumer, though, I’ve had no problem with my past Apple experiences and would like the ability to keep that going for myself. That’s my choice.