Category: arts and entertainment

Spoilers and Spoilerphobia

I’ve been working really hard lately and battling headaches and other issues.  Yesterday I posted a video where I let out a little rant about something that has been driving me crazy- spoilers or SPOILERPHOBIA!!!

I get not wanting to be spoiled on big epic moments but we have come to a point where talking about media or books is almost impossible.  Somebody always ends up yelling ‘spoiler alert’.  It finally got so annoying I had to rant a bit about it!

The spoiler culture we currently have drive me crazy.  What about you?  What do you think about the video?

I would love your feedback.  Thanks

 

Saturday’s Warrior Review

I normally don’t review movies on this blog very often but since Saturday’s Warrior is an LDS film I felt like it belonged here more.  It was interesting because I saw Everybody Wants Some, the new film from Richard Linklater today along with Saturday’s Warrior.  Both films are set in the late 70s and both are heavily nostalgic and both rely on music to tell their stories.  It’s funny because on the surface they couldn’t be more different but seeing them back to back I saw some similarities. To read my review for Everybody Wants Some go here.

Anyway, let’s talk about Saturday’s Warrior.  Based on the popular stage play written by Lex de Azevedo, Saturday’s Warrior is a musical focused on a Mormon family in the 1970s.

It starts in the premortal spirit life where the family is gathered to say goodbye as each of them leave to join their earthly family.  The oldest Jimmy and Pam promise the youngest Emily that they will make sure their parents don’t get tired of having kids before they can have her, the 8th child.

Then Julie, the second daughter, sings to her love Tod that they will find each other on earth. The last group is Wally Kestler who is desperate to go on a mission and convert the world.

saturdays warriorOnce they get to earth things get more complicated with the appeal of that darn old rock and roll music (gets you every time!) and Jimmy gets dragged into a band that is up to no good.  They even start singing a song literally called ‘Zero Population’ criticizing his big family and threatening the birth of little Emily.

Meanwhile Tod hasn’t been born with the gospel and is an artist and poor Elder Kestler doesn’t have much luck on his mission (until he meets Tod…spoiler alert).

The main appeal to this movie is the songs.  If you have nostalgia for the songs than you will probably enjoy it.  There is no attempt to lessen the camp at all and this is true for the songs.  Aside from having popular Mormon singers like Alex Boye involved they feel like they are straight from the 1970s.

saturdays warrior2I guess you either go with that kind of vintage feel or you don’t.  There’s also no attempt to update the production either.  It might as well have been shot on the Brady Bunch set how low budget 1970s it looks.  That has some appeal but wears thin after a while.

One thing that was weird is the camerawork seemed off the entire time. I am wondering if there was something wrong at my screening.  It felt like everything was chopped off.  You’d have characters talking and their foreheads would be chopped off of the shot.  It was very weird but when I watch the trailer I don’t see that happening.

saturdays warrior3The acting feels low budget and it is a religious film where the Mormon way is the right way and the other is the way of the devil.  Not a whole lot of in between.  If you are looking for a subtle movie about faith this is not the film for you. It’s very cheesy but I knew that going into it.  No surprises there!

Unfortunately the acting isn’t very good and it all feels like a Mormon episode of Saved by the Bell.

If you are a big fan of the music than you will probably enjoy it.  I had fun with it on that level but I can’t really recommend it.  It’s not a good movie but not the worse thing I’ve seen either so take that for what you will.

Overall Grade- D+ (2/5 stars)

My youtube review- If you like this review I would really appreciate subscribing to my channel or giving it a thumbs up.  Thanks!

You Are What You Media Tag

Hey friends!  Today I posted a fun tag over on my channel.  I was tagged by my friend Matthew Aronhalt who is doing a top 300 movies list over on his channel.

The tag asks you to list 3 things that influenced you or made you who you are. I tried to pick stuff that influenced me when I was a little.

Books

  1. To Kill a Mockingbird
  2. Little Women
  3. Anne of Green Gables

Music

  1. Les Miserables
  2. The Beach Boys
  3. REM

TV

  1. The Simpsons
  2. Fairy Tale Theater
  3. Boy Meets World

Movies

  1. Little Mermaid
  2. Home Alone
  3. Clueless

Social Media

  1. Roger Ebert
  2. Rob Cesternino
  3. Car Talk

If any of you would like to do the tag please do! It’s really interesting to think about the media that influenced you.

Here’s Matthew’s tag video

The Nostalgia Accusation

I don’t know if all of you are aware but nostalgia has become a dirty word for some in discussing media.  Recently I reviewed Fuller House on my youtube channel and the response was positive to my video; however, on a forum I noticed phrases like ‘only idiots drinking the nostalgia koolaid would like this’.  This type of accusation really annoys me.

So let’s talk about nostalgia.  The dictionary defines nostalgia as “a sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations”.  So in other words it’s looking at something from our past and remembering it in a positive, happy way.  I get nostalgia for lots of things.  For example, whenever I drive past my old house in American Fork that I lived in with Camille and Megan I feel very nostalgic.  Whenever I go to BYU I remember all the good times I had there and it causes me to feel good- nostalgia.

Now granted these feelings are by nature stilted.  We remember either the bad or the good in the most vivid colors, and we may magnify those emotions with the passing of time.  So something that was sad becomes devastating.  Something that was happy becomes perfection.  We all do it.  It’s part of being human.

I guess where I get annoyed is the exaggeration brought on by nostalgia is only part of that memory.  I loved going to BYU, and just because I remember it with probably too much nostalgia doesn’t mean it wasn’t a genuinely wonderful time in my life.  I feel like people who say ‘you only like it because of nostalgia’ are throwing out the baby with the bathwater.  Nostalgia is part of the experience but there are really things I liked about it.

Nostalgia being part of an experience is not a reason to devalue said experience. If I love a movie because it reminds me of my Grandpa that doesn’t mean my other reasons for liking it are somehow less valuable because of a personal connection. Am I supposed to separate myself from all my life experience when viewing art and give some kind of robot review?

Recently I saw a critic on youtube eviscerate Star Wars Force Awakens and of course she accused all of us who liked it of being ‘blinded by nostalgia’.  I’m sorry but that is just not true.  Was nostalgia a part?  Probably but it also had a villain who was a true apprentice, it had a female hero who is discovering who she is, it had BB8 who was adorable, it had awesome light saber fights, it had a storm trooper rebelling.  All of that was great!  And yet I feel like this critic would discount everything I just said and accuse me of only being nostalgic.  That irritates me.

Now make no mistake there are definitely things I like for nostalgia purposes that I know are crap.  And you know what I own to that.  I know The Cutting Edge is not a great movie.  I get that, but I watched it with my friends in high school and it brings back good memories.  What’s wrong with that? I don’t expect you to have the same attachment to it and fully admit it isn’t a great movie.  And it’s not like I would give it an A+ just because I love it for nostalgia.  I would probably give it a C+ because that’s what it deserves, even though I love it.

I guess I just feel like the nostalgia accusation is a cheap way to discount what someone says.  I’ve had people claim I was nostalgic about Star Wars, Little Mermaid, Wizard of Oz, The Muppets, the list goes on.   These are all things I genuinely love and can give you reasons. I guess there is a little bit of nostalgia but that’s way down the list of why I enjoy those properties, and yet it is used as a reason to throw away my opinion?  That frustrates me!

I’ve even had people accuse me of nostalgia for things I didn’t like as a child.  I was not interested in fantasy or superheroes at all growing up.  And yet when I enjoy Avengers: Age of Ultron or other films people claim it is nostalgia.  It’s not.  I just liked it!

And I am not immune from the nostalgia accusation.  Just the other day I was talking to someone about the Care Bears movies and they were saying how people they knew LOVED them.  My response was ‘it must just be nostalgia because they aren’t that great’.  And then I stopped myself and realized I was doing the very thing that drives me crazy.  Maybe they have perfectly good reasons liking Care Bears? Or maybe it is nostalgia and what’s wrong with that?

I guess I just feel like nearly every time I’m accused of nostalgia it’s actually not the case.  I like what I like and I try to give as good an explanation as I can.  If nostalgia is part of that experience I will own to it, even celebrate it.  Nostalgia is a powerful thing and if we like something because it reminds us of our life that is great.  I just don’t like being accused of it when it isn’t true.  It makes me seem less objective than others who are ‘untainted by nostalgia’.

What do you guys think?  Can you relate to what I am saying?  What’s your view on nostalgia?  What’s something you enjoy but you know it is mostly for nostalgia sake?

Friday 5: 5 Great Broadway Singers

This week on the Friday 5 we were asked to focus on 5 great female singers.  Well, I could have easily went with singers like Adele, Whitney Houston, Celine Dion etc but the more I thought about it the more I came back to Broadway.  For my money there is nothing like a Broadway singer in terms of quality of the singing voice.  Maybe you could make a claim for opera but I’m not as familiar with individual opera singers as Broadway.  Anyway, Broadway was my pick and I chose 5 singers I love:

  1. Julie Andrews- Does anything even need to be said to defend this choice? I mean Mary Poppins and Sound of Music alone seal the deal alone. The fact she can no longer sing makes me very depressed.  What an amazing voice and actress! Here she is singing Spoonful of Sugar
  2. Linda Eder- You might not be as familiar with Linda but she is an incredible talent.  She became famous playing Lucy in Jekyll and Hyde.   The most famous song from that show is Someone Like You.  I almost went with her rendition of Anthem from Chess but I couldn’t find a good 25 second or under section.  That’s the trouble with Friday 5 is you have to find a song that sell’s itself in a short section because of copyright issues. Not all songs do.
  3. Idina Menzel- My favorite belt singer is Idina and after seeing her live I am an even bigger fan of hers.  What a mastery over this particular type of sound.  It’s bold, striking and beautiful.  Here she is singing Defying Gravity from Wicked and Let it Go from Frozen
  4. Judy Garland- Ok she was not technically Broadway but she was in a lot of musicals and did a lot of concert albums, so I say it counts.  This particular song I went with because You Made Me Love You is such a heartbreaking reality of Judy’s life.  I also love her in Meet Me in St Louis and maybe I will use some of her songs from that show in later Friday 5s like the Trolley Song. . Of course I love Over the Rainbow.  Here she is singing it live in her famous London concert
  5. Kelli Ohara- Perhaps non-Broadway buffs might not be super familiar with Kelli but she has an amazing voice and has done just about everything on Broadway.  Recently she lit it up playing Anna in the King and I.  She’s also been amazing in Light in the Piazza, Nice Work if You Can Get It, South Pacific, Pajama Game and more.  Here she is singing Getting to Know You.  and here is Beauty Is from Light in the Piazza. 

What do you think of my 5 choices?  What are some of your favorite female Broadway singers both living and past on?  As a musical buff I would love to talk about it!  What’s your favorite musical?

Screenwriting interview with Melissa Leilani

Hi guys! Many of you know I have dabbled in writing over the years and participate in Nanowrimo each year.  Of course, I also love movies and especially a well written script.  Well, today I had the cool experience today where I got to interview Melissa Leilani and find out what it is like to be a screenwriter.  She was the main writer for a film I loved in 2015 called Freetown.

Freetown is a faith-based film but one that is approachable to anyone.  It tells the story of a man who must smuggle 6 missionaries out of Liberia during their brutal civil war.  Things are tense and Brother Abubakar is a man of practical faith mixed with a healthy dose of skepticism.  It makes him a very compelling character.

What I really appreciated about Freetown is that it told a compelling story and let the messsaging take care of itself.  Unlike many faith based films (that I still find some value in) I didn’t feel it was preachy or forcing a message upon me.  In fact, my friend Yusuf who is Muslim liked the film as much as I did.

Here are both of our reviews:

I think you might find it interesting to watch the film and then listen to the interview about her experience.  However, I also think it will be interesting if you are just interested in screenwriting or writing in general.  It was really cool to hear about her process, the research that went into the film and how she approached characters and faith.

We do get off topic a few times (we have very similar movie and theater taste!) but it was a lot of fun for me.  She has a theater background so her transition from playwright to screenwriter was very interesting.

Anyway, this is only the 3rd interview I have done, so if you have any feedback that would be great.  I hope you enjoy it.

Movie Munchies: Ratatouille

Today I get to present to you the 2nd episode in my Movie Munchies series.  Just in time for Valentines Day Jacqueline and I make the french dish ratatouille and talk about- you guessed it- Pixar’s Ratatouille!  These videos were a huge challenge for me so I would love your feedback.  We plan to do a couple a month so if you have ideas for good movie/recipe combinations please put in the comments sections.

Also if you try the recipe let me know what you think.  It’s a very versatile dish that you can use as a main dish or side.  Very tasty.

Thanks so much for your feedback and help!

Recipe:
1 can (28 ounces) whole peeled tomatoes
1 large eggplant (1 pound), cut into 1-inch pieces
2 large yellow onions (1 pound total), diced large
1 head garlic, cloves smashed and peeled
2 bell peppers (any color), seeded and diced large
2 large zucchini (1 pound total), diced large
1 lb mushrooms
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon oregano leaves
2 to 3 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
Olive Oil, Salt and Pepper

Salt the eggplant and squeeze out as much moisture as you can. Saute peppers, onions and garlic till translucent.  Add eggplant, zucchini and mushrooms and get some color.  Add tomatoes and then let stew on medium low heat as long as you can.  Serve as a topping for pasta or a side with meat.