We’d been hearing a lot about this one. You tell people you’re doing a Tom Hanks Project and they’ll tell you their favorites and ask if you’ve seen a hidden gem. “Joe Vs. The Volcano” kept coming up. It was the one Tom & Meg movie we hadn’t seen. A cult classic so popular it made the Alamo 100 list. We were confident we’d love this quirky, under-appreciated-in-its-time comedy. We loved the poster so much, it was in the lead to take over the space above the TV in the rock garden. All we had to do was watch it and fall in love with it. Well, we watched it and enjoyed it, but we didn’t fall in love, and it’s certainly not going to get the prime poster spot*.
*Still not sure what’s going to end up there — we’ve discussed “Big,” but as much as I LOVE Hanks, just a poster of his face isn’t that appealing to me. Continue reading
There are more than enough articles predicting the Oscar winners and snubs and who should win, but won’t and all that jazz. We’re continuing our tradition of focusing on the lesser-seen animated and live action shorts, after seeing a double feature of all 10 nominees at the Drafthouse a few weeks ago. Last year we had both winners (“Curfew” and “Paper Man”) in our top two for each category* and we feel pretty confident about our winners this year. We agree on the best live action short and had an easier time narrowing down the animated shorts since it was kind of a weak year for the category. It was a great year for movies, though, so once we get through the shorts, we have a quick list of awards for you**.
*It still makes me deliriously happy that “Curfew” one, given my relationship with the band stellastarr* and their lead singer’s having written/directed/starred in the thing.
**Not necessarily Academy-approved, but Wittbloom-backed at least. Continue reading
In a town full of cool, free options for entertainment*, the PBS “Overheard with Evan Smith” tapings somehow manage to fly under the radar. They’re free, open to the public, they don’t check RSVP and they bring in big names. I’d seen David Cross and Tony Hale‘s hilarious tapings (full video in hyperlinks) and they’ve brought in everyone from Fred Armisen to Aimee Mann and Neil deGrasse Tyson. This was the first chance I’d had to take Caitlin, and, even though we barely made it in time**, we caught a great free show and had an entire section of the studio to ourselves***. Now that the video of the Q&A is up, we figured we’d write it up and implore you to go to the next taping****.
*I am 100% guilty of taking this for granted a lot of the time. We really do have all kinds of cool stuff go down in Austin on the regular.
**You can chalk that up to me being out of shape from spending 2-3 months recovering from a knee injury that kept me from doing almost any physical activity. I’m rehabbing now, but it’s a slow road, so the crazy uphill biking path we had to take to get to this thing nearly knocked me out.
***I managed to bring attention to that as I was swinging my backpack off to sit down…and my aluminum water bottle came crashing to the ground. Yipes.
****But leave room for us, please!
Sure, you start a Tom Hanks Project or Tom Hanks Day because you love Tom Hanks movies and want to enjoy them with friends and loved ones*. But deep down you secretly hope Tom will find out about what you’re doing and acknowledge you**. For a group of college friends in Kalamazoo, Michigan, a spur of the moment decision to watch a bunch of Hanks movies on April Fools Day, on a double decker couch, has grown beyond anything they could have imagined. Now in its 11th year, the International Tom Hanks Day (THD) is about to clear 5 figures on their Kickstarter and the friends even got to meet Tom (and Hank Aaron!) in person. The THD guys now create a t-shirt every year, and Tom sends along signed DVD’s, posters and Wilson Volleyballs*** as they raise money for a great cause of Tom’s choosing every year with celebrations around the world.
*And because your girlfriend has a secret desire that Tom Hanks could be her uncle.
**So he can be your adoptive uncle.
***This is going on our wedding registry.
We interviewed Kevin Turk and Kellen Manley, two of the founders of Tom Hanks Day, who generously shared their stories of meeting Tom in person, how THD has grown over the years and their thoughts on Tom’s best, worst and everything in between.
“Have you seen any good shows lately?” Friends ask Caitlin and I this question a lot, since we’ve made a name for ourselves as music bloggers. It used to really get me going, telling tales of crashing, stage diving and the last “best” show I saw. In the last couple months, I’ve mostly responded with, “Shows? Well, I’ve seen a lot of movies…” I believe Caitlin feels similarly, feeling that it’s been hard to balance a demanding manager job with pursuing her love of live music and getting out to a lot of shows*. She put on a successful Free Week show last month, but between busy schedules and cold weather, we’ve found it difficult to see as many shows as we’d like. Thankfully, we got to see three bands in two days this weekend, including a wonderful opportunity to see a solo Clap Your Hands Say Yeah show with less than 50 friends around a bonfire, a new Austin band we really got into and our favorite tribute band around. It was a great re-entry back into live music as we gear up for SXSW.
*This has been depressingly true. Especially when it comes to the local scene, which was so long my wheelhouse, I find it far more difficult to gear up after a long day in the office and get myself to head to a venue and stand around for a few hours. Continue reading
We finish off our break between the ’80s and ’90s with a quick biography. There weren’t any real bombshells in this thing, but we did come away with 10 new Tom facts and observations. In 42 minutes, we’re guided from his wild haired junior high days through his membership in the high school kazoo club, into Bosom Buddies and over two decades of Tom’s brilliant film career, wrapping up with the making of ”Catch Me If You Can.” The doc kind of glosses over the serious stuff like how rough his childhood was and the timeline on when he left his first wife for Rita*, but with a title like “The Luckiest Man in the World,” what do you expect? I’m glad we watched it for these 10 tidbits, but I wouldn’t recommend seeking it out unless you happen to stumble upon it on cable**.
*I think Zack scandalizes this more than it needs to be…or maybe that’s just me needing to see every Hanks move through rose-colored, family-loving glasses. I did learn through this doc that he took care of his ex-wife when she was dying, which I thought was really moving.
**Even then, Peter Scolari…has a flair for the dramatics, let’s say. (In other words – everything is the most life changing moment of Hanks’ life. Sure, Scolari, because you’re the expert.) Continue reading
“Nooo! You’re not supposed to see me yet!” Caitlin exclaimed, as I whipped my head around to see her in her red Valentines Day dress early Friday morning*. She’d been getting ready especially quietly while I slept in on my day off. Once the cat was out of the bag that she was wearing the red dress I’d gotten her last year, she knew how to proceed. “There’s a surprise for you in the living room,” Caitlin said sweetly, as she gave me a kiss and headed out to start her day.
*I wasn’t sure what I wanted to wear, but Zack had begged and begged me to wear a specific red dress, and even though I knew it’d be a bit weird to wear to work, I knew I had to do it for my man.
I got up to find my favorite treats waiting for me, along with an incredibly sweet card. I had a feeling it was going to be our best Valentines Day yet. Continue reading