Biggest Film Disappointments 2016

So a little over a week ago I posted about my top 10 films for last year. If only those had been the only releases in 2016. There were some major disappointments that not only t0ok advantage of my hard earned cash, but also wasted my time. There wasn’t a ton of agreement on my top 10, but I’m fairly certain this list will be very agreeable.

Note: Even if a film is on this list of disappointments, that does not mean I didn’t find it enjoyable or something in there to like. It just means my expectations were not met. 2

Star Trek Beyond – Dir. Justin Lin, Written by Simon Pegg, Doug Jeng

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Of all of the films on this list, this is the one I didn’t expect. As they were announcing the team behind this entry in to the Star Trek film universe, I was pretty happy. Simon Pegg as the screenwriter (love that guy) and Justin Lin as the director (who has produced some pretty enjoyable work.) JJ was still involved as a producer and Idris Elba was cast as well. Everything was looking aces…and then that first trailer dropped. It was like a punch in the gut as disappointment came crashing down on me. Even Pegg spoke out about how crappy of a trailer it was. Yet I still held out hope that it was just crappy marketing and was not an actual reflection of the film’s quality. Turns out the trailer was actually pretty accurate.

Don’t get me wrong, I that the crew of the Enterprise were more than fine. There were some fun action beats. I liked idea of pairing Bones and Spock together for a large chunk of the movie. But everything else just felt…rushed. Rushed as if it was a TV show having to make an episode every seven days. That impression was so strong that the first thing I said to my wife as we left the theater was “I would have enjoyed it so much more if that had been the conclusion of several episode arc on a Star Trek tv series.” Sometimes what was born on TV, should stay on TV.

Independence Day: Resurgence – Dir. by Roland Emmerich, Written by over 5 screenwriters

I was not surprised this one was a disappointment at all. I full anticipated that it wouldn’t be a “quality” movie (this was a Roland Emmerich movie after all) but I was surprised on how it wasn’t a “fun” movie. The first film in this franchise is no brains, all fun (I still get chill’s during Bill Pullman’s “Independence Day” speech.) This one was still all brains, but the film forgot to be fun too. I was promised a fun, spectacle from each trailer that dropped…that’s not what we got. Now, there is a kernel of an idea in this film that I actually really liked and would have enjoyed seeing explored in another movie, but I highly doubt we’ll get that chance.

Suicide Squad – Dir. by David Ayer, Written by David Ayer

Ok, so where to start on this one? The first glimpse we got of this film told us we were in for a ride. It made us feel this was going to inject some life and fun in to the DC cinematic universe. Harley Quinn finally coming in to live action? Jared Leto coming on board as Joker (riding the high of a recent Oscar win)? Will Smith playing the badass assassin Deadshot? David Ayer directing, who’s film End of the Watch blew me away? Sign me up! And when still’s started dropping I was feelin’em. I thought they were pretty creative while still being fairly close to the comics (I particularly loved how they a direct translation of Katana’s look.) While I had issue with the lack of clothing for Harley (not because I was offended, but because I felt it could undermine the character) I was still on board. And then…the Joker picture. Oh man. That picture. It was at that point I felt the movie was in trouble. I know Leto wanted to go a new direction, away from previous incarnations, but there is something to be said with those other versions; they all worked. They all captured the core of what the Joker is. Caesar Romero, Jack Nicholson, and Heath Ledger (I’m also going to include Mark Hamill) provided a different shade to the same character.

But Leto decided to go “F*** that” and do whatever he wanted. His interpretation of the character had little to nothing to do with the Joker of the comics; it was like a meth addict who was trying really hard to be a crime kingpin who was always going to a Halloween party who threw temp tantrums like a 12 year old who kept losing at Call of Duty. Needless to say, he ruined the whole experience for me. And I haven’t even begun on the crappy editing, story structure problems, tone issues, horrible antagonist choice, logic questions, etc. But I don’t have the time. Just know this: This movie has a crap ton of problems.

X:Men: Apocalypse – Dir. by Bryan Singer, Written by Simon Kinberg

This one hurt. After the amazing X-Men: Days of Future Past (which was tightly directed, written, and edited) I was riding high on my love for X-Men. With this film and Deadpool as well, 2016 was looking to be a banner year for the X-Men cinematic universe. And the trailers and promotional materials had  a few bumps (the purple Apocalypse controversy), but still managed to muster up excitement. I was so ready to declare this the best X-Men movie yet (as well as the most accurate in regards to looks; yay for comic accurate costumes!) but that isn’t what happened at all. The film lacked a soul; it was lifeless and paint by numbers. It was almost as if Bryan Singer and Co. didn’t really care about what they were making; they just wanted to meet a deadline. Oscar Isaac was wasted as the Apocalypse and the movie spent way too much time retreading old ground with the main trio (Lawrence, Fassbender, and McVoy.) It offered nothing we hadn’t seen before in this film universe and at about the halfway point I was begging for the movie to end. It was, for a lack of a better term, just plain boring.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice – Dir. by Zack Snyder, Written by Chris Terrio and David Goyer

If there was any movie on this list that HAD to deliver, it was this one. Announced to much hype at SDCC several years ago, this film was being portrayed as the epic of all epics in regards to comic book movies. Batman AND Superman in a film together for the first time? Loosely based on The Dark Knight Returns? This has the makings of something great! I was willing to give Snyder some leeway since A) I actually enjoyed MoS and his other big comic book film Watchmen and B) He has talent based upon his reimagining of Dawn of the Dead. And I was on board with the casting; Affleck as the Batman, Gil Gadot as Wonder Woman, and even Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor.

But then when the day came upon us for the world to witness BvSDoJ…we saw the mess that it was. YUUUUGGGGEEE plot holes, a unsympathetic Supes, a murderous Batman, and the worst conflict resolution ever conceived (“MMMMMAAAARRRRTTTTHHHHHAAA!!!!!!”) Once the third act was upon us, I didn’t give a crap about any of the characters. Every single one of them had infuriated me beyond forgiveness and I just wanted it to be over. DC had taken characters I grew up loving and made me almost despise all of them. So screw you DC, thanks for that.

Keepin’ it Geeky,

The Oey

 

Top 10 films of 2016

I know this is a few weeks late, but I’m doing it anyway. I need something to distract me that is the travesty of President Cheeto being sworn in to office. So here…we…go!

10) The Invitation (Dir: Karyn Kusama, Writers: Phil Hay,  Matt Manfredi

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This movie…if I had started to put this list together shortly after I had seen this one, it probably wouldn’t be here. However, since I’ve seen this flick, it’s dug deeper in to my mind. It’s stuck with me. After seeing this with my cuz Ryan, we spent at least 90 minutes talking about it. We both decided it was a “good” movie, not a “great” one. Yet, I keep coming back to it. I thought maybe I didn’t give it a fair shake when I originally saw it. A rewatch confirmed that: this movie is so packed with tone and expert storytelling. Very seldom do I watch a film where you’re questioning the sanity of the protagonist; you start doubt whether you should trust the main character, who’s POV you are seeing the film through. I won’t give any spoilers away; just do yourself a favor and check this out on Netflix/Amazon. Preferably alone. With the lights off. Late at night. Trust me.

9) Captain America: Civil War (Dir: The Russo Brothers, Writers: Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely)

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In past years, my top 5/10 films in a particular year are predominantly comic book movies. This year, not so much. With only two comic book movies on my list, I made a strong effort to focus on other genres (and production sizes) to expand my movie tastes. That said, one can’t deny the awesome spectacle that is CA: CW. Chris Evans and RDJR have such a strong chemistry. Every time they are on screen together I’m in awe. I would literally pay so much money for them to star in a My Dinner With Andre remake starring them two. While it wasn’t a straight adaption of the comic mini-series the name is based off of (for good reason), the Russo Bros were able to make something better and logically sound based off of everything that has come before in the MCU. Plus introducing Black Panther and Spider-Man was a huge bonus. (P.S. I really hope the Marvel folks stop dragging their feet about bringing the TV folks in to the movies…I want to see Daredevil, Punisher, Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, and the like crossing paths with the Avengers and Guardians.

8) 10 Cloverfield Lane: (Dir: Dan Trachtenberg, Writers: Josh Campbell, Matthew Stuecken, & Damian Chazelle)

Two of my favorite films of all time are T2: Judgement Day and Alien. Besides many of the obvious reasons, the biggest would be the strong, female protagonists both films have (Sarah Conner and Ripley respectively.) Characters like that have been missing for quite some time. When attempts are made to make movies with these types of characters, even if well done it doesn’t feel earned. In 10 Cloverfield Lane, we finally see a movie where the female protagonist earns the title of “Badass Heroine.” While I’ll avoid spoilers explaining how that comes to be, this movie does an amazing job showing Michelle (played by an on point Mary Elizabeth Winstead) digging deep within herself and finding the inner strength/badass to overcome the dire situation she has been dragged in to (both metaphorically and physically.) The final 10 minutes of the 3rd act had me on the edge of my seat in the theater, so much so my back ached from how tense it was afterwards. Amazing sound design and editing keeps the pace quick and the shocks big. And the final scene literally made yell “F*** yeah!”

7) The Nice Guys: (Dir: Shane Black, Writers:  Shane Black,  Anthony Bagarozzi)

Oh man, Shane Black just knows how to do dark comedy. Don’t get me wrong, The Nice Guys isn’t a dark and twisted comedy by any means, but the humor does a hint of that. Just enough to make you laugh with your jaw dropped. My question is: Why hasn’t someone thought to put Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe together sooner in a movie? The back and forth between this two makes it seem like they’ve been doing this for years. A classic 1970s buddy cop/film noir comedy. And it wouldn’t be a Shane Black movie if it all didn’t start with some random, seemingly unrelated event kicking things off. This film is packed with laughs, great acting, impeccable directing, and a screenplay that just oozes awesome. I would love it if this became a new Lethal Weapon-style franchise for Black.

6) The Witch: (Dir: Robert Eggers, Writer: Robert Eggers)

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Unsettling. If I had to choose one word that describes The Witch, I couldn’t think of one better than that. Set 1630s New England, the dreary colors and Puritan devotion to religion gets under your skin from the very start. Why this movie succeeds is because it doesn’t reveal it’s hand until the very end. While most movies want to hurry up and get to the “money shot”, this film uses restraint like a master. Robert Eggers understands the need to let atmosphere and character work to draw you in. He gets you fully invested (with a cast that is pitch perfect casting) so that when the curtain is drawn back, it hits you like a freight train. Are there jump scares? Yeah, they’re present. But they aren’t what matters. What matters for Eggers is creating an experience that will get under your skin, that will make you appreciate what you saw but make you question if you want to come back to this New England homestead any time soon. Trust me when I say the final shot of the film will leave you speechless…and unsettled.

5) Green Room: (Dir: Jeremy Saulnier, Writer: Jeremy Saulnier)

Talk about shocking! This film starts off by presenting characters that some may deem “unsympathetic”; they’re in an indie punk rock band, they steal gas to drive cross country while on tour, they shun things like “social media”, they’re kind of rude dicks to people…but then you start to realize that when you’re just busting your ass trying to get by, trying to make something happen with your creative endeavors, that they’re just tired and trying to make things work, in whatever way they can. So while you learn this about the bandmates, there is a slow burn happening in the background. A slowly burning fuse that leads to a powder keg. When you are starting to invest in the struggle of the starving artists in the band, things take a sudden (and horrifying) turn. Each scene ratchet ups the tension and brutality more and more. Characters shockingly die that you don’t expect, drastic measures are taken by people that you know won’t end well. The end of the movie makes you feel like you’ve ran a marathon, but instead of an easy run, it involved barb wire, guard dogs, guns, knives, grenades, broken light bulbs, fire, and a shit ton of neo-nazis. And one more thing: after the 1st act, you’ll never willingly put your arm through a slightly cracked open door again.

4) Deadpool: (Dir: Tim Miller, Writers: Rhett Reese,  Paul Wernick

This is the 2nd (and best) comic book movie to make the list. Finally, after waiting for what seems like forever, Ryan Reynolds and Co. were able to make the Deadpool movie we’ve been wanting (no, NEEDING) for years. This movie does the right thing and veers way in to the hard R rating, allowing the title character be the mutant he’s meant to be. The amazing thing about this flick though is it is not grotesque for the sake of being grotesque; it is a genuinely amazing movie that has heart and plenty of character to boot. Maybe it’s because Reynolds oozes charisma, the writing team did an amazing job, or the director just knew how to bring this character to the screen, but whatever the reason, it makes for one of the best movies of the year. This movie gets better with repeated viewings, which is hard for me to say. Most movies diminish in value. Deadpool keeps coming back, better than last time. Gah, can’t wait for Deadpool 2!

3) Sing Street: (Dir: John Carney, Writer: John Carney)

This movie has all the feels and probably the best soundtrack in 2016 (trust me, Brown Shoes will be stuck in your head long after watching this.) A ragtag group of teenagers in a Catholic school in the U.K. form a band. Why? ‘Cause why not? (Well, the lead singer and founder of the band does want to win this one girl over, but ya know…) With original songs that just radiate classic 1980s pop, it never lets you stop smiling. There are so many “coming of age” films now in the indie scene, it is so awesome to find one that is so unique and unafraid of what it really is: a musical, fairy tale story. You don’t realize until the very end that you just watched a fairy tale wrapped in a musical wrapped in “coming of age” story. And that is expert filmmaking.

2) Hunt for the Wilderpeople: (Dir: Taika Waititi, Writer: Taika Waititi)

This film is just pure joy. Take Waititi stole my heart on work on shows like Flight of the Concords and on movies like What We Do in the Shadows  (“What are we?…we’re werewolves, not swearwolves” is still one of my favorite movies scenes ever.) This film though…it made me giddy. Happy. Excited. Full of wonder. Waititi takes something simple and for the most part fairly unexciting (the drop off of a foster child at their new foster home) and it soon becomes a rollicking, pseudo father/son adventure through the New Zealand wilderness. By the end of the movie you are stuffed full of all the feels and want nothing more than a happy end for Hec and Ricky. The third act pays off on everything that has come before, which makes it all the better because of that. I can count on one hand how many times I’ve watched a movie (at home or in the theaters) that made me laugh this hard. The best thing about this film is that while you are laughing your arse off, there is still an emotional through line that draws you in. It could just as easily have been made a drama and you would still love it. Plus, you will never laugh so hard at a warthog being butchered than you do in this movie.

  1. Arrival: (Dir: Denis Villeneuve, Writer: Eric Heisserer)

This movie folks…this movie. When the trailer was revealed, I expected it to be good. I didn’t expect it to be AMAZING!!!!!! The director, Denis Villeneuve, is so far 2 for 2 in films of his that I’ve seen (Prisoner and Sicario) but I didn’t know how he would handle sci-fi. This was an important question as he is directing Blade Runner 2049, the sequel to one of my all time favorite films. So I went in to this movie with a lot of questions and he answered all of them! His control of pacing, visuals, acting, story, and all of the other elements that make a film were soooooooo good. You are never overloaded with information, everything has a specific reason for existing, and are not disappointed in anything that happens on screen. I don’t want to get in to specifics on Arrival simply because by revealing anything, it can diminish the overall experience. After my wife and I walked out of our local Alamo Drafthouse after seeing this, we struggled to form sentences to truly state our thoughts on what we just saw. This movie must be seen. It must be experienced.

Honorable Mentions: Doctor Strange, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Midnight Special

“Dead Hearts” shoot starts tomorrow…

And I’m excited, nervous, scared, thrilled, over-joyed, etc, etc, etc. All of the emotions one could feel before such a big day, I’m feeling’em. This short film has technically been in the works for 10 years or so now. How do I mean? Well, check this…

To Recap:

2005: While at community college (don’t knock it, I highly recommend it as a great place to get a higher ed), I watch two films for the first time: Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction. Classics. I’m blown by how…cool each film is. The dialogue pops, the jokes hit perfectly, and the shocks are big. I was instantly in love. These two films coupled with my affection for Clerks (which I saw my sophomore year of high school) made me realize that film could be a possible career path. Well, I could at least try and make films, even if I never made it in Hollywood.

Late 2005: Still feeling the affects of those QT films, an idea popped in my head for a movie scene. Well, less an idea and more a small seed. And not really one scene but rather two. It was at first the question of “What if the roles were slightly changed for Jules, Vincent, and The Wolf?” From there, I started writing down little pieces of dialogue, snippets of visuals, etc. in my head. It was hackneyed, horribly written, formatted incorrectly, and I was writing it in a little 3×5 Mead notepad on my lunch breaks from work. But it was something.

2005-2008: That notepad followed me to my (2nd) brief tenure at KU, to Wisconsin, and to Minnesota. (Note: As a matter of fact, I believe I still have it somewhere in storage.) There are scribbles, changes, new *unrelated* ideas, and it’s all together awesome and bad. But I proceeded forward until…

Late 2008: I am promoted with the retail big box company I was currently working for. I went from being a simple hourly employee to a salaried manager. I went from working just 40 hrs per week to 60 (by my choice honestly.) I had no social life where I lived in Minnesota. Went on a few dates but nothing more. Most of my time was spent doing most of the following: A) Work B) Work from home C) video games D) watching movies at home and E) watching movies at the run down theater the small town I lived in had. It was during this time I gained a crap ton (that is an actual measurement in my opinion) of weight and started to suffer from severe depression. That little notepad I had? It just sat in a box, never being touched. I would talk about it sometimes with people, but that was it.

Mid-2010: I move to KS for work and Cuz R (who is my actual cousin and #BestFriend4Life) moved with me too. It was during our time living together that I would mention my story sometimes while also throwing other ideas back and forth every once in a while. But we were both so focused on our jobs and had no idea how to actually make a movie (at all or in the middle-of-nowhere KS) that if never became more than just talk.

Mid-2015: I know this is a 5 year jump, but not much progressed with this film during that time. However, at this time in the story, I had been talking to my wife a lot about actually making that idea from 2005 as a short film. I was working a job that had me on the road 95% of the time, I was miserable, and I was not enjoying life at all. The wife asked what would make me happy; I told her, “Honestly, getting off the road, working a part time job at a bookstore, and making my short film.” She could have been logical and rational and said “I wish you could, but we need to be able to provide for ourselves and the kids we want someday, so lets just find you a job in your field closer to home, etc.” But, that’s not how my wife rolls.

9/21/15: This day is specific for a reason: this is the day that a phone call between my wife and I would change everything. I was in St. Louis for work, having just completed an assignment, and I had seen her only a couple days over the last month. I was sitting in my car in the parking lot of the mall I had just stopped working at and I was crying. Literally crying. So of course she is too. There’s a break in the blubber-fest and she says “Why not? Why not come home and make your movie? What is stopping you?” It was at this moment that I fell even more in love with her and also realized that the answer of what I should do was right in front of me. So I literally called my boss once I got off the phone with her and put in my 2 weeks. Was it slightly foolhardy? A little irrational? Yes, oh god yes. Yet, it was the best decision for me to make. (Spoiler Alert: Our movie shoot is taking place almost exactly 1 year from this day.)

Late 2015-2016: So after I got off the road, I started hammering away at the script. It was too long, bloated, had plot holes galore, and just wasn’t that good at all. But putting those words on the page was the most thrilling rush of excitement; it was like riding that awesome new ride at Walt Disney World for the first time again and then riding a bazillion times after that, each ride better than the last. Knowing I couldn’t do this all alone, I sought the help of some trusted confidants.

Durka: To produce and push me to make this project an actual project, rather than a crazy fever dream.

Cuz R: To help rewrite, redraft, and redevelop the film. He became the official co-writer and my partner in crime. The film went from being a silly idea by me to a true vision for both of us.

The wife: She says she only wanted to handle craft services, but she really wanted to be in show biz 🙂

9/15/16: We are less than 24 hrs before we are on set, calling action on the first shot. I have so many worries going through my head. I am bouncing back and forth between extreme confidence to utter despair. But I wouldn’t ask for anything different. The call sheets for tomorrow have been sent by the 1st AD. Follow up texts are being sent by various folks to finish prepping for tomorrow. Equipment rentals and purchases are arriving at any time today. A final walkthrough for the biggest scene (the one that started all of this) is tonight at 9 pm.

It’s all coming together. 10 years of waiting finally coming to an end. Once we wrap Saturday evening…raising a kid will be a piece of cake (Cue nervous laughter.)

Let’s break some legs!

Keepin’ it Geeky,

j

 

Best of 2015!!!!! (Film Friday)

It’s that time once again! Where everyone rolls out their “Best of 2015” list for just about everything. Good thing you have me to protect you from the lack of originality that is the “Best of…” topic…

Ok, I kid. I love those lists. I read as many as I can the last week of the year (and the first week of the new one.) I too enjoy compiling these lists. So I shall provide my much-desired thoughts on what was the best to come through the cinemas this past year. Mind you, these are only for films that I actually saw either at home or in theaters. The release for the film had to be in 2015, but I did not have to see it in theaters for my list. That means there may not be as many films that are “critically acclaimed” as I usually wait until just before the next Oscars to binge those. So without further ado, here are my Best Films of 2015.

8) Crimson Peak dir. by Guilmerro del Toro and written by del Toro & Matthew Robbins

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This film makes it to my list based purely on the technical achievements it had. Let me get my complaints out of the way: I did not connect with the characters, I felt many of the actors were either forcing it or were fast asleep, and story-wise I saw the big twist at the end coming from a mile away. However, it was probably the best costume, set, and maybe even sound design in any movie that came out in 2015. All three categories should be heavy favorites for Oscar consideration. I didn’t enjoy this film as a moviegoer, I enjoyed it as student of film and the machinations that turn the wheels in films.

7) Kingsman: The Secret Service dir. by Matthew Vaughn, written by Jane Goldman & Matthew Vaughn

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This is what happens when James Bond is written by comics superstar Mark Millar and adapted by Matthew Vaughn. Balls to the walls (or batshit crazy may be more applicable) action with plenty of humor throughout. What Vaughn does with a story and twists everything on its head is just genius. He did it with X-Men: First ClassKick Ass, and Layer Cake and will continue to do so in the future. Colin Firth proved he was more than just a romantic leading man, he could be an action superstar. Samuel L. Jackson hams it up as a mix between Lex Luthor and a major Bond baddie. Taron Edgerton oozes charisma and marks his place on the map as an up and comer to look out for. The action scenes were wildly inventive and the breakneck pacing means you never get bored. There are some moments you have to watch with a strong stomach (let me say this is a VERY violent film) but trust me, it is worth pushing through for.

6) Ex Machina dir. and written by Alex Garland

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Probably the biggest gamble I took going to the theaters all year. Most of the time when I venture to the cinemas there is a good chance I’m going to be a fan of the feature I go to see, simply because I’m fairly selective with my moviegoing dollars. This one I only went to go see because A) Alex Garland was involved, who was involved with 28 Days Later and B) My cousin R wanted to check it out. Man am I glad we went! This movie was not only visually stunning, but had powerful performances across the board. And it gets under your skin. As you are watching the slow burn buildup to the final few scenes, you can’t help but start questioning everyones motives and wondering who you should be trying to root for. Plus, it has a dance with Oscar Isaac that just messes with your mind in just the right way.

5) It Follows dir. and written by David Robert Mitchell

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Ok this one just barely qualified for the list. The wife and I didn’t watch it until just a few nights ago but this shows how impactful it was. Usually, when I watch horror movies I can’t get in to it due to the idiotic, paper-thin characters, the needless gore, and the cheap thrills for the sake of cheap thrills. Sometimes though, a movie comes along that just grabs me by the throat and doesn’t let go; It Follows is one such movie. From the opening, tension filled scene to the ambiguous ending, my wife and I were on the edge of our seat for the entire movie. So much so that I can recall multiple times that we both said “Nope, not finishing, nope nope nope” and yet still kept watching because it was just soooo good. Because this is one of those films that sticks with ya, we had to watch several episodes of Scrubs right after to get the feeling the film left is in off of us. I myself will eventually attempt making a feature length horror and I pray it is at least a quarter as good as this one.

4) Inside Out dir. by Peter Docter & Ronnie Del Carmen and written by Peter Docter, Meg LeFauve, & Josh Cooley

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To me, this film pulled the heartstrings the hardest. Don’t get me wrong, it is downright hilarious. How could it not be with Amy Poehler voicing the lead (Leslie Knope from Parks & Rec is one of the greatest TV characters of all time.) Visually amazing and with a strong, relatable story about growing up and the emotions that come with that journey, it had something everyone could hang on to. And the character Bing Bong? I don’t think I’ve cried harder because of animated character ever in my  life.

3) The Martian dir. by Ridley Scott and written by Drew Goddard

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This is the one that may cause the divide. First, for having it on my list and second, for having it so high. But this is my list so I can do whateva I want!  The Martian was Ridley Scott back in top form. His last few films were either hated by most or had too many nagging plot holes to truly enjoy. Yet, with this Drew Goddard script he turns in a powerful Sci Fi feature that is breathtaking in so many ways. I had read most of the book beforehand so I knew most what was going to happen yet that didn’t stop me from being surprised as everything that was taking place was brand new information. Mr. Scott, I’m glad to see you back in tip top shape!

P.S. Of the two most recent Matt Damon space movies (The Martian and Interstellar), this one is by far the better movie.

2) Star Wars: The Force Awakens dir. by JJ Abrahams and written by Lawrence Kasdan and JJ Abrahams.

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What more can be said about the highest grossing movie of 2015 (and possibly the highest of all time?) I’m going to keep it brief and just say this: This movie made me become a Star Wars fan. Now, I want SW everything.

1) Mad Max: Fury Road dir. and written by George Miller

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This is me watching MM:FR

No film this year made me sweat and breath heavy like this one (eww, don’t be gross.) Seriously, from the first 45 seconds to the final fade out, I was being dragged along a face melting 2 hour long chase scene that was going to drag you by head or your balls, but it was going to drag you regardless. The music, the world design, the action sequences, FURIOUSA!!!!, the list could go on and on and on about how amazing this movie is. George Miller wanted to bring insanity to the silver screen in ways we had never seen before and he achieved it. Not only is this my favorite film (and the BEST film) of 2015, but it is one of my all time favorite films…ever.

Keepin’ it Geeky,

The Oey

Sometimes you just need a little structure…

Have you ever ran in to the struggle where it seems everyday you start off with a lot of motivation to get a lot of stuff done and then all of a sudden you get caught in a time suck? That’s been my day to day over the last month. Silly things that shouldn’t be distracting keep pulling me to them like a mosquito to a bug light. I gotta stop that. So to do that, I am adding some more structure to this bloggie thingie. If I stay consistent with this, I should have content, using both the written word and the visual medium of “vlogs”, every day.

So below are the seven themes for each day that I will be using to add structure and some explanation for each.

Mrs. H Monday’s –

This day, in my opinion, is the wild card. Mrs. H, my beautiful wife, will be posting on this day. More than likely it will be just a bunch of random thoughts thrown together and plopped in to a blog (that is kind of how she is with most things.) I’m thinking that by challenging her and getting her to consistently write will free up her creative muscles some more for her future zombie/buddy cop movie she’s gonna make (and I’m being completely serious about that.)

TableTop Tuesday –

I think this one is fairly obvious. This will be full on tabletop/boardgames discussion. Maybe it will be about a new game I want to play (or did), any fun things from my gaming sessions, thoughts on a relevant topic, or even discussions about a current campaign I am putting together. Trust me when I say there is never a reason to run out of things to stay about tabletop games.

Walk Down Memory Lane Wednesday –

Here I will do my reflection and storytelling of tales past. Experiences I’ve gone through growing up, lessons learned, funny stories, painful failures, and uplifting successes. This will be the day most of my family and friends will tune in.

Teach Me Something Thursday –

Here I will be focusing on the various things I am trying to improve my skills at. Things I am trying to learn or master in some way, for example it could be a tutorial on a certain VFX in After Effects, a recipe I tried, or even a gaming table how-to-video I’m obsessed with…I’m not saying that happened or anything…zip it.

Film Fridays –

Probably the day I am looking forward to the most. It will be my weekly vlog post that will be discussing my chosen film for Friday night viewing. It could be a classic (think Citizen Kane, Star Wars Ep. V, Apocalypse Now, etc.), films that are hugely popular and have impacted popular culture in countless ways. Others will be more of the cult fair (Rocky Horror Picture Show, Repo Man, newer ones like Turbo Kid, etc.) to provide a wide taste range. A good chunk of these I will have already seen, but I’m going to throw some new ones in there. As well as some bad movies every once in a while because what the hell right? Each post I’ll discuss some background about the film, a synopsis, and a recap of my thoughts at the end. Each posting I do will be in the 3-6 min range.

Substitute Saturdays –

On Saturdays it is pretty much anything goes. This day can have anything I am feeling like that particular day. It could be a topic of the other six days, it could be something completely unrelated to everything else. This day will probably be the most challenging as there will be times where I can’t think of anything to talk about. But if there’s no challenge then it is not worth trying.

Something Fun to Read (or Check This Out!) Sunday –

Finally, Sunday will be day where I give shout outs (and links) to anything interesting I’ve read throughout the week (as well as anything that tickled my fancy.) So maybe I read a really cool essay on Tuesday and found an awesome new podcast on Thursday. Both of them would get some appreciation on this day. I’m hoping this will encourage me to keep trying to find new, exciting content wherever it may be.

So that’s it. My weekly posting structure/schedule. As this is the first time I am posting about this, we won’t be starting with Mrs. H Monday mainly because she is still trying to figure out her first post. But I am hard at work for TableTop Tuesday. I am aiming to have all posts up and ready by 5 p.m. CST daily so it would be ready for most people as they get off work and start browsing the inter highway. While this may be an exercise in futility, I say it’s worth the try. When you start working out to lose weight you may never make you goal weight, but you may add months or years to your life so it is still worth it. I’m looking at this idea in the same way. So here goes.

Keepin’ it Geeky,

The Oey

 

Donkey! Shrek! (Or How a true friend taught me self worth)

Time for a trip down memory lane…

So back in the day (wow, it is crazy to think I am now at an age where I can actually say that) I had a friend. A very awesome friend. An awesome friend who would become a very loving and caring husband and father who does so much for his family, often at the sacrifice of himself. I may be  a bit older than him, but I look up to the guy. A lot.

He’s been on my mind recently for a couple of reasons, but it all started due to a picture. This picture in fact —>

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Yeah, we kept it cool.

During high school we were pretty inseparable. School, after school, weekends, etc. You name it, we were always finding time to hang. What was crazy about it is that we had varied interests, we weren’t clones of each other. He enjoyed anime and Nintendo games, I was a comic book guy who loved Sony consoles. We did have the sports connection for awhile but towards the end of my time in high school I realized I lacked physical talent while he was overflowing with it. It didn’t matter though, we had a friendship that was deep. It is no stretch to say he was my best friend and our relationship at that time is the standard I use today for true friendship. Since then we have continued living our busy lives, but always staying in each other’s orbits just enough so there would be at least somewhat of a bond. But that’s life ya know? You grow up and other life priorities become more important or take more time.

Yet the reason I look so fondly on our friendship is because of something very important he taught me. Without even realizing it, “E” taught me the meaning of self-worth. Join with me as I recount the tale of his lesson…

Back in high school, I suffered from extremely low self-esteem mixed with slight depression. My close friends were very keen to this fact, while many people in the school were not. I kept my feelings and issues hidden from most. Of everyone I hung out with, probably three people total knew some of what was going on. Only one knew everything. That was E. And I didn’t have to tell him. He just instinctively knew. He never pressed the issue on trying to find out more, he just knew that the best way to help was to be the most awesomest friend he could be. He did that, amazingly.

I always admired the fact that he didn’t really put much stock in to what other people thought of him or his friends. If you were a good person and gave people their proper due, you were cool with him. That’s what made him a friend to pretty much everybody. But he didn’t let that go to his head. He had a strong sense of humility about him that was very inspiring to see.

During my Junior year and his Sophomore, we were both heavily involved in youth group together. It was during this time we would attend youth rallys and other church events. Also during this time, the Shrek movies were very popular (see, the title will finally start to make sense!) During these events a strange thing began to happen. E, due to his outgoing personality and charm, would be called “Donkey” form the movies. I, being slightly closed off and the larger of the two, would start being called “Shrek”.

That became our thing when people saw us. They’d see us walking up to them and they’d be like “Shrek! Donkey!” and we’d all laugh. However, when it first started, I didn’t enjoy it. I was not a fan. I was interpreting the intent different than everyone else. While they may have meant it in jest and were referring to the fact that the two characters were best friends and had a funny back and forth (much like E and I did), I saw it as a subtle insult towards me.

Why am I the ogre? Ogres are considered monsters in most of fantasy lore. Even in the films Shrek is portrayed as a scary monster to normal people with many flaws. Why do I have to be that character?

It weighed on me quite heavily. More than it should have. Yet E either knew this from observing me or just never viewed this nicknaming thing the same as me. It would be his approach to something as simple as a nickname that would teach me a lesson of self worth I still rely upon today.

When E and I would be hanging out, it was very much an equal playing field. Neither one of us was the leader really, we had friendship that was a lot like a collaboration. It was awesome. And when the nickname happened, I was worried the structure of our friendship would change. Yes, this name bugged me that much. Back then, I was known for letting small things bother me in big ways (just ask me about the whole signature fiasco of ’00.)

I don’t know if because E knew me well enough or that’s just the type of guy he is, but it seemed like he made it a point to show that even though there were nicknames given to us that could have an underlying meaning to them, that didn’t matter. We were still that equal partnership. And as this nickname thing continued, E would show in many ways (like a best friend does) that a nickname is just that; a name that is not your real name (sorry if that sounds silly.) To him, I was still best bud. No name or supposed title would change that. And even if someone intended for the nickname to have a deeper meaning, the meaning it was given was not determined by them. It was determined by us, two best buds who really just wanted to have a good laugh and enjoy some Buzzard’s Pizza.

While E did not do anything specific that is earth shattering or mind blowing, E showed that true friendship doesn’t have to do that. All that matters is the respect each gives to each other and 100% acceptance of who they are. It was because he was so good at this that I began to learn what self-worth was; that I wasn’t some ogre that people wanted to get away from. I was a fella filled with joy and caring, as well as a few good jokes. I admit, the lesson wasn’t learned completely that year. But the path towards it started that year. It would come to completion the day I would meet my future wife, Heather.

So thank you E. Without realizing you showed a guy how friendships really work, what it means to value oneself, and set me on the 10 year path that would lead me to eventually win over my future wife. And ya didn’t even have to try. Thanks buddy. You showed me I was a parfait, not an onion.

Keepin’ it Geeky,

The Oey a.k.a. Shrek