Archive by Author

Tom Hanks Project – “Forrest Gump” Review

29 Apr

Forrest_GumpThis movie is as close to perfect as it’s gonna get. I remember a time in the mid-90s when it was so over-quoted that it was easy to get burnt out on it. And there are plenty of film fans who think it was a dopey, lightweight movie that stole all the Oscars that should have gone to “Pulp Fiction” or “Shawshank Redemption.” I don’t buy it. Even though I knew every beat of the movie after dozens of VHS viewings in my childhood*, I was amazed at how it could still affect me and how much I loved every minute of re-watching it with Caitlin for the first time. Spoiler alert: I’m throwing out 10’s for the first time. A bunch of them.

*I only saw this classic once all the way through, so I’d forgotten a lot, which was almost a happier surprise for me — I got to see it with fresh eyes and be delighted all over again. Continue reading

Tom Hanks Project – “Philadelphia” Review

17 Apr

phil

Let me explain this to you like you’re a six year-old*. Philadelphia is a tough watch. You’re going to feel all the feels watching Tom slowly die from AIDS. You’re probably going to cry**. You’re probably going to shake your head at the homophobia. Especially coming from Denzel. You may get a bit of a happy ending, but not really. Emotional weight aside, this is a damn good movie and Tom rightfully earns his first Oscar for it. We’d been dreading this viewing for quite some time***, but a great sad movie doesn’t make me as sad as a terrible funny movie. I felt better after this than I did after “Volunteers.” 

*UNGH! Brilliant film reference opener. I just have to call this out because UNGH!!

**Check your pulse. Is it there? OK, you’re going to cry.

***Hence the late posting here. We couldn’t bring ourselves to watch this over the weekend. Continue reading

Dusting off our Win & Regine Costumes for Arcade Fire

14 Apr

winandregine

A month after we dressed up as our favorite living rock couple for Halloween, we purchased pit tickets for their April show. We had five months to get hyped up about our 4th Arcade Fire show together*, with three hours of build-up to get our expectations sky-high. Maybe too high. Sure, my hair looked more like Macklemore than Win. And yes, songs that moved us to tears last time got us jumping**, but didn’t stir up that magic feeling inside us. But it was still a special night. We had extensive conversations about “Six Feet Under” with new friends we met before the show. We were two arms lengths away from Win again. We saw our favorite songs off our favorite non-Beyonce album of 2013 performed so brilliantly that we fell even deeper in love with them. We heard some deep cuts we never thought we’d hear live. It wasn’t the perfect show, but with a Funeral heavy set-list, two sweet covers and everything from Rick Perry TV heads to a Disco Ball man and getting to see Caitlin be Regine’s Reflektor shaking her ribbons, it was pretty darn close to perfect in my book.

*Individually, I’ve seen the band 7 times now, and Zack has seen them 5 times. We’re fans, to say the least.

**More like shuffling, really, given the amount of room we had to move. Continue reading

HIMYM Finale – The Playbook: How to Disappoint Your Fan Base in 5 Steps

1 Apr

how-i-met-your-mother-series-finale-one-last-surprise-04Robin, Marshall and Lily’s faces in this picture capture a few of the reactions Caitlin and I had as we watched the de … wait for it … pressingly awful HIMYM finale. We winced. We cringed. We half covered our faces with balled up fists of fury. Going in, we’d hoped the finale could pull off what “The Office” did in their brilliant finale and undo a couple of misguided, meandering seasons by letting us love our beloved characters one last time as they head off to satisfying conclusions. This episode failed on every level. It was a major disappointment (Major Disappointment). So, what went wrong? In the words of Judge Fudge, describing what went down in MacLaren’s, “All kinds of stuff.” They got the actual meeting of the mother scene right, but by that point we were so infuriated by the rest of the episode that we could barely appreciate it*. Here’s the 5 biggest ways the finale messed up.

*I want to point out that I don’t expect or even want a show’s creator to explicitly cater to the fans’ desires. I think writers and creators should have complete control over their characters and stories, because isn’t that the point? I feel the need to put this here because my brother, a brilliant writer and animator, pointed out that fans really shouldn’t be expecting that writers write FOR THEM, that they write with the fans’ desires in mind, and I 100% agree with this sentiment. I just felt that this was awful writing. Let’s talk about why.
Continue reading

Tom Hanks Project – “A League of Their Own” Preview

30 Mar

leagueofown

We’ve now entered Tom Hanks’ absolute prime. 12 great films from 1992 to 2000 for which he earned five best actor Academy Award nominations and two wins. We want to give these greats as much coverage as possible, so we’re bringing back the Thursday preview* along with the Tuesday review for the next dozen films. “A League of Their Own” was the first Tom Hanks movie I ever saw. I vividly remember an extended family trip to the theater in 1992 and loving every minute of it. I don’t think I fully appreciated the genius of Hanks’ comedic performance, but I do remember thinking he was especially great at peeing. We’ll go through the special features on the Blu-Ray and get into our personal memories of this movie that used to play on cable three times a week in our adolescence** in this week’s preview of the instant classic.

*Sadly, my schedule delayed the posting of this preview — we’ll (read: I’ll) try to get timely with this.

**I don’t remember this happening for me, but I do remember our family sitting down together to watch this gem of a film on video (probably VHS).

Continue reading

Tom Hanks Project – “Radio Flyer” Review

25 Mar

radioflyer

I was very excited to share this Tom Hanks film with Zack*Radio Flyer was a film I grew up with — I’d guess my mom screened this film with my brother and I four or five times. I hadn’t seen it since I was fairly young, but I remembered Elijah Wood played young Tom Hanks, a horrible song that haunts me to this day, and a little bit of magic in the retelling of a tragic tale.

*I had slightly higher hopes for this one than I did for “One Magic Christmas” and I ended up loving that, and even though this had lots of sappy potential, I was curious.

Continue reading

2014 SXSW Awards

24 Mar

togethersxsw

We keep getting better and better at this SXSW thing. It hasn’t always been that way. I mean, Caitlin and I both used to be champs at rocking a SX alone, but when we first tried to go it together in 2011, we realized we had conflicting interests. I wanted to get drunk and not wait in lines and basically do whatever I wanted at any given moment. Caitlin, being the more sensible and reasonable human being of us, actually wanted to see a lot of bands, stay pretty sober and have a plan of who to see and stick with it. We struggled that first year, but we’ve gotten better and better about planning a SX week so that we can both do our thing. Now Caitlin still gets to see every buzz, indie and dance-y band her heart desires and I join her for most of it, but slip away for the occasional Watch the Throne drunken escapade and she can see Against Me! in peace. The fact that our interests overlap more and more every year only makes it easier*. Instead of a long day by day breakdown, we decided to give out fake awards for the best of SXSW 2014. The awards may be fake, but our feelings are real. In fact, the awards aren’t fake at all — these are real, honest RLA awards for the best of SXSW. It’s a little like Whose Line Is It Anyway? but with a lot less Drew Carey.

*I’d add comments to any of this, but this was such a mature, honest take on the SX’s of our past that I really don’t want to sully it with any snarkiness so I’ll just say…yep, agreed**.

**OK, OK, I do have to add: SXSW is always during my birthday so that has always made it trickier/feelings more raw. But I’m really done now, honest.

Continue reading

Tom Hanks Project – “Bonfire of the Vanities” Review

20 Mar

bonfire-of-the-vanities-movie-poster-1991-1020233660The only real argument about this movie is how terrible is it? I’d argue that it’s pretty terrible, but not the worst Hanks movie. Caitlin found it utterly unredeemable*. With Hanks, Bruce Willis, Melanie Griffith and Morgan Freeman starring in an adaptation of a popular Tom Wolfe novel directed by Brian DePalma, what could go wrong? A LOT! It’s such a well-known disaster of a production that a book was written about how badly it went. Honestly, one of the main problems is the casting of our boy Tom. He’s at his most unlikable when playing a rich, detached a-hole. It just doesn’t suit him**. Not that there aren’t far more serious problems in this train wreck. We had to watch it in two viewings, only managing to watch 15 minutes Monday night and powering through Tuesday. By the end, Caitlin was begging for it to end and I found myself being hooked in, but still hating it.

*I still can’t decide if it’s as bad as Volunteers, or just a smidgen less awful…it’s a really, really close call.

**We’re supposed to kind of root for him, I think? At least Bruce Willis’ “journalist” character positions him as his “hero,” but there’s literally nothing heroic about this character. Continue reading

Tom Hanks Project – “Joe Vs. The Volcano” Review

4 Mar

joe_versus_the_volcanoWe’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

2014 Oscars Preview – The Shorts

28 Feb

OscarShorts_2014_PosterThere 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

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