After finishing Crazy, Stupid, Love. for the… I don’t know how many times, I’ve realized just how much of an unabashed rom-com fan I am.
I’ve always enjoyed them, but I’ve never vocally appreciated the genre like I should. 🎥
Total movies watched: 32.
Would you look at that! This is probably the most films I’ve ever watched in a single month—an average of about one a day. I’m going to pat myself on the back for that one. Perhaps, for a future challenge,1 I’ll make sure not to miss any days or watch a Criterion Channel movie every day for a month or something.
Be sure to follow me on Letterboxd! 🎥
On this week’s episode of Stream Dream Team, Lee wants to be a Michigander, I want to be a Wisconsigoose, both of us are infatuated with Matthew McConaughey, and Violet Evergarden helps a dying soldier send his love to his family. 🎙
On this week’s episode of Stream Dream Team, I have no experience with cheese curds, Lee has fallen down a true crime tv show rabbit hole, and Violet Evergarden befriends a young girl with a dying mother in one of the most moving episodes of this show yet.🎙
After having watched nearly the first couple seasons of Cheers for the first time now, I’m struggling to see the allure of Sam and Diane. These two train wrecks need to break up before one murders the other. 📺
In the latest episode of Stream Dream Team, we’re saying gesundheit, waxing on about turtles of the ninja variety, and Violet Evergarden falls into a tempestuous whirlpool of grief before being saved by the Santa of Letters.🎙
In this week’s episode of Stream Dream Team, Lee is clearly and undoubtedly a vampire, Sean is angering up his blood, and we’re going back in time to experience more of Violet Evergarden’s violent, tragic past.🎙
By Chris Nashawaty:
Five summers ago, the DC supervillain extravaganza Suicide Squad had a massive $133.7 [million] opening weekend at the North American box office. Despite those eye-popping numbers, critics and audiences were left unimpressed by the film. This weekend, the complete opposite happened: critics and audiences loved its big-budget follow-up, The Suicide Squad, but its theatrical receipts were underwhelming, pulling in just $26.5 million in its debut weekend. In the age of COVID, it appears that up is down, black is white, and blockbusters just ain’t what they used to be.
In this case, I feel like “disappointing” is a word that should only be used by someone who hasn’t been paying any attention to the world for the last year and a half.1 I’m hoping that the people who make the decision to green light a film won’t read too deep into this sort of misleading headline.
The writer’s conclusion is correct. Blockbusters indeed “just ain’t what they used to be,” but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re underperforming. Streaming services don’t often publish clear data about their viewership numbers and COVID has screwed up theatrical revenue. With those two factors in mind, The Suicide Squad, if I had to bet, is by no means a disappointment. To be more accurate, nobody knows yet how to properly gauge a film’s success in a world that values streaming at home over going to the theater.
Netflix: “I see you watched an entire season of a single anime show. Let me offer you some new suggestions. Have you considered watching every anime ever produced now?”
Me: “…You’re coming on a little strong. I think we need to see other people.”
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! 🎙
Total movies watched: 14
Be sure to follow me on Letterboxd! 🎥
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. 🎞
I just finished the amazing second season and this brilliant show deserves far more attention than it’s getting. 📺🍎
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.
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. 🎞
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:
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. 📺