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Wednesday, January 11, 2017

One of the greatest movies ever, GlenGary Glen Ross, with one of the greatest speeches ever that may be able to tell you much about someone by their reaction to it.

I Loved It

I was recently sick. Lying on the couch, exhausted from the illness as well as from my feverish rant to the children about how I know without a doubt that God is not merciful because I wasn't dead I decided to see what was on Netflix.

I'd taken a couple of ibuprofen for the aches even though I wasn't supposed to because of a recent kidney issue, but there really was no other choice when the oxycodone I had left over from a past back issue hadn't worked and my anti anxiety medicine was also failing to kick in, so I was waiting for the shotgun blast of medicine that I'd thrown at my body to start working and to pass the time I found myself looking for a movie.

I was feeling miserable and first off wanted a movie I could relax with. I didn't want an action movie, and the idea of laughing at a comedy felt wrong, I wanted to see people who were miserable - possibly even more miserable than me?

GlenGarry Glen Ross is probably one of the greatest movies ever made, a slow and calm movie with moments of rage and sorrow that would make even the most deathly ill person thankful that they are who they are and not the characters in the movie.

I can recite Alec Baldwin's speech nearly word for word and yet lying there as I was, feeling terrible, his speech was like a cool fall breeze against my feverish forehead because though I was listening to it - none of it was directed at me, instead I found myself hating those salesmen just as Alec's character did and my hatred for them and their being less than me made me smile warmly and allowed me to finally find the couch comfortable, but then with his character gone I was one with the salesmen and their plight of dealing with upper management. Though I knew the outcome of the movie I adjusted my head on my pillow and agreed with the salesmen that they weren't being treated right and someone should do something about it. If anything I wondered why they went with the plan of theft instead of plotting the murder of Kevin Spacey's character who was - is - one of the most perfect villians in movie history.

Through the film I was shown the joys of power, the embarrasment of being young and inexperienced, the fear of losing my job, and again the joy of being powerful over someone - which is what it's all about, you may get yelled at by one person, but there's always someone you hold some power over - of course lying there dying on the couch, I had no power - but atleast I wasn't as bad as the characters in the movie.

Now this movie is a drama, no doubt, but like Alec's character's speech - it has moments of true dark comedy, or so I think.

I showed a clip of his speech to a coworker who is in sales and he thought it was hilariously uncomfortable and an extreme view of what sales is really like. He then showed it to another guy in sales who thought it was not funny and a true depiction of the stress from working in sales. I worked in sales for just over a year, I did cold calls through out Kansas, Oklahoma, and Missiouri, and I could certainly see how the stress of sales could get out of hand, while at the same time others who enjoy that type of stuff may not see it as a bad thing but instead treat it as a goal or their drive to keep going.

I almost feel that this scene of Alec's speech could be treated as a psychological guage of a person's personality. Now I don't know what it would mean if you find this funny, or sad, or true to life, but I feel that it could be used to let you know about someone.

My suggestion, show this clip to a friend - actually show them the entire movie, but start with the clip I guess - and determine with them and the meaning of the answer to: Is this scene funny or not?






Tuesday, December 13, 2016

The Duplass Brothers continue to make Netflix worth it, this time by adding the documentary "Asperger's are us" to the library.



I Really Liked It
My wife and I like documentaries; we watch them about as often as we do a regular movie.

To me documentaries are like old fashioned storytelling, there's nothing fake about them (I am of course choosing to ignore the whole "having the camera and crew there changes things so that the people aren't behaving as they normally would were the cameras not there" (which is even mentioned at one point during this show how New Michael is okay with the camera crew filming him at his house because then his parents will leave him alone).)

So a documentary shows the real world, real life, real people.

My children, the girl is 11 and the boy is 8, have in the past been in the room during a documentary if it was okay to watch with them possibly entering the room. Last night, while watching Asperger's Are Us was the first time they came into the room, asked what we were watching - I explained the difference between documentary and what they knew as a "movie" - and they both sat down and started to watch it with us. When there was just around 30 minutes left in the show my daughter said to me: "I like this." and my son who usually agrees with his big sister on everything added his two cents with: "Yeah."

Asperger's Are Us follows a group of friends who share the same condition: Asperger's. To deal with their lives and the sort of obstacles that life throws at them, they use humor, and so they created a comedy troupe. The documentary follows them leading up to their final show as they are separating to go to colleges and generally continue life away from family and friends and now on their own.

The movie doesn't really concern itself with the stress or anxiety of moving into the college part of life, instead it centers on the boys and their preparation for the final show and the stress and anxiety of working on creating something with other each other.

The whole documentary was well done and interesting and entertaining, but for me the stand out was New Micheal's father and the insecurities he feels in regards to his son. His father is only shown for a few brief moments through out the documentary but the first time he is shown he talks about wishing he was smarter so he could talk to his son and relate to him, and he talks about how he worked a lot and had to sacrifice time with his children because of that and how he wished he'd had more time with them as they grew up.

I may be a sucker - or I looked out the window at the sun right then - but I got teary eyed hearing him talk. My son is only 8 so I don't have any issues with him other than him being picky about what he eats and arguing with me about having to brush his teeth and take a bath every night, but I can imagine what it must feel like to have him grow up and suddenly he's a stranger.

His father then later talks about how New Michael doesn't like being hugged or even patted on the back, and his father says that he likes hugging him and rubbing his back, stuff like that, but his son doesn't like it.

I have to stop looking into the sun during this documentary.


When I get home from work I make it a point to find both my kids and give them a hug, or a kiss or even just rub their back for a second - just touch them in some way, and to not have that would be painful, or to just know that they don't like it would be painful. I'm sure I'd power on with life - but Jesus that seems so utterly painful to lose that, and I see a guy like New Michael's father deal with it and I would pray that I would handle it as well as his father seems to.

At the end there's a point where the two are talking and it just seems that the father wants nothing more to grab his son and hold him and hug him, he seems so proud of his son and New Michael just seems so shy around his dad that it's almost like he knows what his father wants and he's even maybe expecting it but his father doesn't know if this is a time when it's okay to hug his son or if it's a moment that only he's feeling and not his son. It's a painful moment, one that nearly caused me to yell at the screen to hug each other already - but before I could the moment was gone. It would have been really sad were it not for the fact that they had probably had moments like that for years now and they seemed to understand - without actually touching - the father communicated to his son how proud he was and New Michael got it and understood.

New Michael's father just seemed like a cool guy, like a soldier who'd been over seas and returned all cool and mellow but you know the guy had seen some shit and it made him into a cool and quiet guy who learned to deal with things instead of reacting to them.

Part of me wanted more time spent with New Michael and his dad but at the same time I didn't want to know more; his dad was like a celebrity who I liked but was afraid that if I knew more about him or they showed more he might do something that would change my image of him so what little I saw of him was just the right amount.

After wards we talked with the kids about the condition, and I even got on the computer and read some stuff about it to them. Since they missed the beginning of documentary they asked if they could watch it again and I said later - "but not tonight, besides it's time for a bath." They immediately started arguing and all I could do was look at them and truly appreciate them and what I have with them, and I know as they grow up it'll change shape and at times be tested more than I ever thought possible, but in the end I will always have them when they were young and loved me and their mom without question, and that may help us deal with the sort of things to come later in life.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

A list of movies streaming on Netflix come November.

Guess which one I'm most excited about.
Here is a list of movies streaming on Netflix come November 1st. In the past this list has been pretty spot-on with a few exceptions being released a day or two after the posted date. There are also several surprises through-out the month that aren’t on this list, so be on the lookout for those.








November 1, 2014:
Artifact (2012)



Kingpin (1996)
The Rocketeer (1991)
Spike (2008)
Total Recall (1990)
The Quick and the Dead (1995)
Star Trek VI : The Undiscovered Country (1991)
Hart’s War (2002)
Airplane! (1980)
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988)
Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (2001)
The Core (2003)
Fatal Attraction (1987)
Addams Family Values (1993)
Braveheart (1995)
Internal Affairs (2004)
The Haunting (1999)
Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992)

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia: Season 9
Portlandia: Season 4

November 4th
Altman (2014) – A documentary about Robert Altman, not one of my favorite guys, a bit self-indulgent towards the end (I think) but still The Player and Short Cuts are pretty solid movies. His movie Mash is streaming and I don’t know if I’ve ever seen it so I may have to check it out.

November 5th
Fading Gigalo (2014) – I’ve never been a fan of Woody Allen’s movies. Out of the many he has made I’ve enjoyed two, maybe? I do really like John Turturo, though, so that makes me feel a bit bad for not having any interest in the movie at all.

November 7th
Virunga (2014)



Scream 4 (2011) – Finally, all Scream movies streaming on Netflix. I’m kidding of course; I can’t believe they made 4 of these things. That being said, still, with nothing else to watch I could see myself checking these out because of a mild curiosity to see just how crazy they got at the end with the whole thing.

November 8th
Louder Than Words (2014)
Nebraska (2013)



November 11th
Not Yet Begin the Flight (2012)

November 12th
La Bare (2014) – Male Strippers!

November 13th
Small Town Santa (2013) – I’m sure there are those who enjoy these movies. If so then why are you here reading me? And also, stop watching these movies! There are so many better made, better acted, better written movies with the same idea but so much more . . . well, better.



November 14th
Chelsea Peretti: One of the Greats (2014)

November 19th
Sabotage (2014) – I was all set to write this off as the usual Schwarnenegger movie – which ain’t so bad, I mean, it is what it is – but then I watched the trailer. The female detective from The Killing and I think – did I see a glimpse of The Martin Donovan? So this movie is now possibly cool.



November 21st
Lilyhammer: Season 3 – The second best Netflix show streaming after House of Cards.

November 22nd
Ida (2014)

Snowpiercer (2013) – Granted this is the best thing this month, but I’m still curious, weren’t there two different versions of this movie? Or no. I can’t remember what happened with the studio wanting to edit the crap out of this movie, if they lost or won? But like I said, I don’t care, I want to see this movie!



Nikita: Season 4

November 23rd
Happy Christmas (2014)

November 25th
Beyond the Edge (2013)

Running from Crazy (2013) – Ernest Hemingway, not my favorite author (kind of think of him as the Robert Altman of books) but certainly interesting, and it looks like their whole family was interesting too so I’ll definitely be watching this one.

War Story (2014)

November 29th
The One I Love (2014) – This is probably the second most anticipated movie streaming this month. I don’t know like anything about it but I have heard it’s good so I’m going to check it out.



Trailer Park Boys 3: Don’t Legalize it (2014) – I’m not . . . I mean, seriously . . . why?

November 30th
About Cherry (2012)

Friday, October 17, 2014

Indie Game and Print the Legend: Surprisingly entertaining documentaries about video games and 3D printing.

I LOVED IT
Like movies? Like video games? (bonus points if you like the music of Jim Guthrie) Check out Indie Game. In fact, if you like all of those things, then why haven’t you seen it?

It’s easy to play a game and never give a single thought to what went into making the game, the amount of time and work that went into the color of the the sky and the way it changes color as you go, or even the simple drive for the game - why is your character doing any of the things it’s doing? These are the sort of things that the people highlighted in the documentary Indie Game deal with and fight with, and all of it is rewarded by the fact that you who play the game don’t know or even think about any of them.

That’s their job, they create something that is fun and takes the player away to a different world, and if you never give the people behind the game a second thought then they’ve done their job perfectly.

It seems a painful job that in the end, with the finished product, it all becomes worth it. I mean, to be able to create something that others can play, and even better - enjoy! That is something truly amazing. They’re not making up something that people are only reading about, nor are they making a movie that people are only watching, they’re making a world that other people can interact with and explore and solve puzzles. A good game is one that lets you feel as though - while you’re playing it - you actually exist in that world, you are the character. To be able to do that, to be able to get others to experience that, I would say is completely worth it - but boy would it be exhausting, and this documentary shows that it is - as well as frustrating.

I love to write, obviously, but I love to write stories, and I love video games and movies and all things theatrical, so I’ll admit I looked into how to make a video game; and again, I’ll be honest that it didn’t take long for me to change my fucking mind and laugh at myself for even thinking it was something I could do. I knew it wouldn’t be easy, but seriously. How anyone can do all of that and still have a passion for it is beyond me. I’ve written long stories and worked on them for months, adding and subtracting words and whole chapters and such - but that is nothing compared to making a video game. Sure you can make a simple video game with an app and you’re done but who wants to do that when you could make an epic plot driven character developing video game? Me, but not anymore. I’m perfectly happy with letting someone else do it and I’ll play in their world.

Indie Game is about the people and not much about the games, and not really much about the details of making the games, it’s about the industry and the people who are working on their own or with a small group. They are the small fish in an ocean of big fish.

I definitely like the indie games. Journey is a short game but one that my kids still play and I got that when it was first released, and hell I’ll even still pick it up every once in a while too. The big budget games like Mass Effect are great and amazing and I love those games, but the indie games are great too just for different things, they have an emotional and involving story, like some of the bigger video games, but the indie games - on a budget - have to use different ways to get the connection with the people playing than the bigger games do.

Journey is the perfect example.

At the end of the game I asked my kids what they thought, and my daughter thought the ending was good and happy, my son thought it was sad (I agree with my son). I played the game, my kids have played the game, and after each time we still talk about the things that happened and what the story is and what it means and what the ending means, I freaking love that! They’ve seen parts of Mass Effect and what they see they like, and it took them a while to understand that it wasn’t a movie they could watch when I wasn’t around, it was a game I was playing (like the Uncharted commercial, a game they also liked to watch me play).


I don’t get why people - parents - get so upset about their kids and video games. You want them to go outside and play, make ‘em do it, but if they’re gonna be inside playing a game, talk to them about it, get involved! So many people know so little about what the games can offer both you, and your child, and the relationship between you both. Now that’s just me, and I sure as hell ain’t no Father of the Year, but like I said, for me and my kids, some of these video games are good. They’ve even taken to do drawings of the games, and my son drew up a level for Sound Shapes so I showed him that you could actually make your own level in the game and he took to creating levels like crazy! No matter how bad of a day I’m having, or what I’m doing, I have and always will find time to sit down and play a freaking video game level that my 6 year old made. I think that is awesome!

I LOVED IT
Another documentary streaming now is Print the Legend, and this movie took me by surprise with how much I enjoyed it.

I’d heard about the 3D printers but never really gave them much thought. You can print out an object, okay . . . I’d seen the titles for articles on the printers but never clicked on them, and watching this movie is like watching the highlights of all those articles about the 3D printers, how the little guys started playing on a playground that was pretty well populated with the bigger guys; the difference being that the little guys were going to bring the 3D printers to the masses - which was something I didn’t know we needed, and I think this documentary shows that we pretty much don’t, at least not yet.

It’s kind of like a fad - for now the 3D printing is a fad, I think, most definitely. A fad that has potential to be something much bigger. I’m not belittling the accomplishments of those developing the 3D printers by calling it a fad (at least not intentionally), it’s just that there’s nothing major being done with them by the average guy who bought one and with it in his basement developed a working prosthetic hand. No, that was one of the companies that developed the printer developed the prosthetic hand, which is great and amazing but I don’t see how that’s going to get your average Joe guy to buy one, and if it doesn’t catch on then it’s gonna fade away and in turn when looked back at it all it will be seen as a fad.

Now I’m not a fan of the kid who used his printer to make a working gun, obviously that’s the worst thing that anyone could use it for, and the last thing we need is just anyone being able to make a gun in their house. I think even the NRA would be against it for no other reason than there being no way for them to come out looking good if - now think about it - ANYONE could make a gun? I don’t think anyone wants that, but I’ll be damned if that gun printing kid suddenly made the printers something more than just a fad(?).

The documentary was well done for the same reason that the Indie Game documentary was interesting and that is because these people were interesting, and what they are doing was interesting and important, both films are about groups of people changing the way things are done in either the video game industry or the 3D printing industry (which I never knew was a thing until I saw this).

Obviously this would be a rather dull film were it not for the people who are behind trying to make these printers mainstream. You have the gun guy, but the other groups working to make the printers a “thing” are entertaining because you have people who just like to mess around and invent stuff all of a sudden find themselves in charge of companies with an image and soon the infighting begins and people change as well as their ideals and not everyone makes it all the way to the end, and if it weren’t for all of this - if it weren’t for human nature - it wouldn’t be nearly as entertaining as it is.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Netflix Streaming: Torment, a good movie - if you like the Home Invasion sub-genre; and shouldn't every movie have either Emily Perkins or Katharine Isabelle in it? Answer: Yes

I REALLY LIKED IT
I’m not sure when I first rented and saw Ginger Snaps. It was a new release at the time, so sometime around 2000 or 2001 probably. Either way it was one of those movies that I’d heard a little bit about so that when it came to video I knew that I’d probably like it. A young girl is bitten by a werewolf and struggles with it alongside her non-werewolf sister, nothing too special, but for an independent movie it looked decent enough, and though I haven’t checked it out since then I remember really liking it. The movie was one of those lesser known movies that spawned sequels that managed to keep the original actresses and even managed to keep the original entertainment, even the third one which if memory serves was set in the past – a plot point whose purpose is lost to me now but going off of memory was just as good as the first movie.

IN MY HIGH SCHOOL EVEN THESE
TWO WOULD HAVE BEEN MORE
POPULAR THAN ME
            The two girls who were playing the sisters had a chemistry that made the story believable – and not the werewolf part but the whole thing about two sisters – both outcasts – having to deal with one sister suddenly becoming popular while leaving the other sister behind. A tale as old as time I’m sure but one that was interesting because of the actresses and the sort of emotional punch portrayed by the younger sister of watching her older sister change. It’s not a subtle movie by any means, but a good one certainly.

            The younger sister, played by Emily Perkins hasn’t any anything streaming on Netflix – according to Netflix. I did a quick IMDB search (the first time I’ve done any major research for one of these things – so you should feel especially special Mrs. Perkins) and found that she’s in the new movie Extraterrestrial which I recall seeing the preview for and it looked . . . okay; I mean, if it’s streaming I’d definitely check it out, but that’s about as far as I’d go to see just about any movie now-a-days. She was also in the movie Prozac Nation, which is streaming, but I don’t know the extent of her part in that movie, and she was also in an episode of Supernatural, which I’d really like to watch but Jesus there’s a lot of steaming TV shows to watch (I’m on the second to last season of House and burning through it at almost an episode a day, I’m also watching Attack on Titan which was hard for me to get into but now with roughly 10 episodes left it’s getting good, and don’t get me started on the season of shows I haven’t started yet; third season of Continuum, the recent season of Hell on Wheels and the second season of Longmire, and that’s just the tip of the TV iceberg that Netflix is floating towards me).

            So in school I was the loner kid, and not in a cool way – or, it wasn’t cool to be like that all those years ago at least. I read books and watched movies and in between I went to school, and for all I know most of the other kids I went to school with were into all the same things I was but I was just too shy to find out so I was on my own.

AN AMAZING ACTRESS WHO HAS A
SUBTLE STRENGTH THAT MAKES
HER VERY ATTRACTIVE AS WELL
AS AN AMAZING ACTRESS
            I related to Emily Perkins in Ginger Snaps, and wished I was like her older sister – and by that I mean popular and cool and good looking, not female. Although the movie Ginger Snaps does a great job of making Katharine Isabelle desirable because she is beautiful and confident, it’s her sister who – to me – was the main character of that movie – and every Ginger Snaps movie that followed.

            Now I don’t know any of these people in real life, so all that I have to build my perception of them on is through their movies, and unfortunately I’m not stalker enough to go and hunt down their movies like I am for Steve Buscemi or Adrienne Shelly, so if I stumble across a movie and they appear in it’s a cool “Martin Donovan Moment” that makes me think of their previous work and wonder why they’re not in more things and then wish that they were.

            I honestly didn’t even know the two actresses’ names until I saw the movie Torment. I put it on because my wife didn’t want to see it and she went to bed early. I was surprised to see Ginger herself, Katharine Isabelle, and holy cow how many years have gone by and she is still as freaking beautiful as she was in 2000. It’s rare that for over a decade later and a person looks almost exactly the same, and maybe she just has a face that is memorable, and of course for a boy in high school who has seen Ginger Snaps, that shot of Katharine walking down the school hall in slo-mo – I had to stop there because upon going to Youtube and watching the clip I felt like a terrible old perv; plus the scene now looks like a spoof of a shampoo commercial or something like that so maybe the movie doesn’t hold up well today, but still it should be seen.

TRUST ME, IF EMILY PERKINS HAD ANY
PICTURES LIKE THIS I'D HAVE USED
THEM FOR HER TOO. I'M ONLY WORKING
WITH WHAT I'VE GOT, PEOPLE
            Katharine Isabelle seems to favor the independent movies, which is cool, but at the same time I wish others could see her and see what an amazing actress she is. She’s kind of like that cool indie band (we’ll call them Benedict Cumberbatch) you listen to on Spotify that you dig and try to get others to listen to but they won’t, and then one day you hear one of their songs on the radio and they’re being interviewed and kids too young to know any better are into them and suddenly you hate that band now. That’s probably how it would play out, and the opposite would be for Emily Perkins (her band would be Ewan McGregor), when she makes it big you would enjoy being able to talk about Ginger Snaps and have someone who was a fan of her but hadn’t seen it yet to check it out. Of course they’d also ask about the girl who played her sister in that movie and you don’t know of anything else she’s been in because some people are cooler when there’s less people that know about them (see: Martin Donovan, or Eddie Redmayne).

            Torment was a good movie, but then you bring in Katharine and it turns into a really good movie – mostly because I’m a fan, but it honestly doesn’t change the movie much. To the genre, the movie wasn’t anything new, it was pretty basic with a few interesting points (I hesitate in calling them twists, though one is presented as such). The movie struggles with the child of the family who isn’t the best actor and comes across not so much as disliking his new mom as being just kind of creepy; when the boy disappears and things get going it has everything that these movies need and it doesn’t do any of it in a bad way at all, just nothing new.
SEE THIS MOVIE! THAT IS
ALL I WILL SAY ABOUT IT

            I know all of these movies can’t be Funny Games – a movie that is at the top of the home invasion sub-genre pyramid, and is so awesome that I refuse to say anything other than it is awesome and if you love these kinds of movies and haven’t seen it you’re an idiot. The pacing of that movie is slow and steady but tense like non-other. This one isn’t about the tension (even though it tries to be), but more about the fighting, which again isn’t really bad, just nothing new.