Tag: film

Friday Five: Songs from Favorite Movies

Hey guys!  I hope you all have a fabulous Labor Day Weekend.  I’ve been having so much fun with my sister in town for a visit.

Today I posted my first video in the Youtube series- The Friday Five.  This was started by youtuber Sara Crawford where each week she picks a theme and you have to pick 5 songs to go with said them.  I’ve been wanting to participate but couldn’t quite fit it in.  Then I saw today’s theme and just had too.

The theme for the week is Songs from Favorite Movies.  The only hard part was narrowing it down to just 5! I could do hundreds.

Anyway, here’s what I came up with.  Check it out and let me know what you think and what your picks are.  I will try and post this series on the blog and channel each week so it should be a lot of fun.

Books Into Movies

Just thought I would share this video with you all of books I think would make good movies. Some of them were movies like The Chosen and Hiding Place but they could be much better movies or new versions.

I have also decided a cast I think would be good and director.

I think it turned out pretty well.  Have you read any of these?  What books do you think would make good movies?

 

Life Itself: A Movie Review

“We all are born with a certain package. We are who we are: where we were born, who we were born as, how we were raised. We’re kind of stuck inside that person, and the purpose of civilization and growth is to be able to reach out and empathize a little bit with other people. And for me, the movies are like a machine that generates empathy. It lets you understand a little bit more about different hopes, aspirations, dreams and fears. It helps us to identify with the people who are sharing this journey with us.”

Roger Ebert

I bet if the great film critic Roger Ebert and I met we would have about 2 things in common.  We disagreed on religion, morality, philosophy and definitely politics.  Why then do I admire him so much? I love Roger because of the way he got me to think. My parents are big on thinking and not just doing, but they don’t watch movies or television.

Let’s face it- being a kid in the post Star Wars world, means movies are a huge part of most of our lives.  So, when Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert were teaching me how to think about  movies, they were kind of teaching me how to think about life.  It was a building block to add on to what my parents demonstrated at home.

From 1975 to Siskel’s death in 1998 Gene and Roger reviewed movies on their PBS and then syndicated show under various titles, the longest being At the Movies.  They of course were famous for their thumbs up and thumbs down and their constant on air debates over the movies. Here’s one of their best

I have never seen Full Metal Jacket but I still find the review fascinating (and entertaining). In fact, I probably didn’t see 90% of the movies reviewed on Siskel and Ebert and yet I still loved watching the show.

Anyway, with that preface a new movie has come out about the life of Roger Ebert who died in 2013 after a long and painful battle with cancer. It is amazing to think one of the most verbose men in media became someone who could no longer speak. For the last 5 years of his life he communicated through a keyboard and laptop.  His blogging and twitter posts became his new voice and he taught many of us how to use the medium to enrich the world not simply criticize.

The film Life Itself is directed by Steve James of Hoop Dreams fame and it is a lovely film about a man that lived a unique, fascinating life.  He started filming as he was going into a final surgery several years before his death.  They are unflinching (at one point insistently so by Roger) in showing the damage which had been done to Roger’s face and neck.  Even his famous Esquire magazine shoot did not really show what had happened to his face.

They show him writing and then go through his life starting as a young journalism student who insisted on a page edit on his local paper the day Kennedy was shot.  Then it moves on to his first job at the Chicago Sun Times, his alcoholism, his Pulitzer prize winning writing, his time on the show, relationship with Gene Siskel, his marriage and then his illness and last chapter.

I learned a lot about Roger Ebert from the movie but it also reminded me of all of the lessons I’d learned from Roger over the years.  He taught me about movies but also subtely how to live.   Roger and Gene were a reminder to all of us that to share your opinion is not something to be fearful of and to avoid but it is a gift of knowledge and discussion to the world.  Through sharing we hopefully become better people.  I suspect Siskel and Ebert did that for a lot of people.  They made us better by sharing their perspective.

Life Itself is a loving piece but not a complete lovefest.  It makes it clear Siskel and Ebert really did not care for each other for most of their careers.  Roger was also an egotist and a perfectionist to a fault, but we all have our flaws don’t we?

I love learning about people’s lives and how they became who they are.  If you enjoy those types of documentaries than you will like Life Itself- even if you disagreed with Roger Ebert most of the time.  He had quite the life.

Getting back to the quote from above.  Roger Ebert says the movies create ‘shared empathy’.  I propose they do such a thing because he and Gene Siskel taught us to see that empathy.  To look beyond the moment and think about the art whether it was a blockbuster, a silly comedy or a war movie:

Siskel and Ebert showed all of us how to watch the movies.

I’m grateful.  Thumbs up!

Overall Grade A              Content Grade C   (There are a few photos briefly shown of naked women, and a few swears but not too bad)

roger ebert

This is perhaps their best reviews because they both hated it so much.  Love it.

 

 

Offended by bad?

Michael-Bay-Movies-List-900Yesterday I had an interesting experience.  I was following the reviews for Transformers 4 (It’s like a car crash that you can’t help but look at).  Sometimes the bad reviews are the most entertaining and so as I was doing a rather boring project I put on podcasts and reviews and it all sounded pretty terrible.  It was funny as the day started the score on Rottentomatoes.com steadily declined from 53, 35, 26, 18, 13…

When my roommate got home I was telling her about it and how frustrating it is such junk gets made and that people go to see it!  The only reason 4 exists is because the 3rd one made over a billion dollars.  That makes it #7 in all time box office gross.

“Well, all movies are trying to make money”  my roommate responded, which is completely true.  However, I like to think people who create things for us to consume have at least an ounce of artistic integrity.  That they are at least trying to do something that is beautiful or funny or splashy to them.

Stephen Spielberg, James Cameron, Tim Burton, Wes Anderson, and even M Night Shyamalan are making money yes, and some junk, but what they think is beautiful or interesting or challenging.  Even George Lucas in those awful prequels can’t be faulted for trying to make something that he liked. It was terrible but not a complete cash grab.

The Simpsons is perhaps the greatest marketing machine there is.  Simpsons cups, toys, clothes, and everything else but the show is made with a certain degree of integrity.  Some could argue that the last 10 seasons have been unnecessary but I feel like they are at least trying to do something good.

Then we get to Michael Bay…

Michael Bay has made the same jaw droopingly bad movie over and over again.  They keep making money (why America?) but come on?  Wouldn’t a movie that is actually good also make a lot of money?  2 of Michael Bay’s movies made it on my Movies I Hate list Pearl Harbor and Armageddon.

I could easily put Transformers 2 and 3 on that list.  They all are explosions, objectified stupid Maxim cover girl women, and mind numbing special effects with horrible music.   To make matters worse Bay also always includes humor that is based on some type of ethnic stereotyping.

Some language in this clip but it shows throughout his movies the same cringe worthy treatment of Latinos, women, African Americans and any other non-alpha male group.

After talking a little with my roommate she said something interesting.

She said ‘well, I don’t like it.  I’m not really offended by it though’.

I said ‘well, I’m not offended by it either’

She said ‘Are you sure?’

It made me think.  Am I offended by it or is it just simply something I don’t like that others like?

offended- resentful or annoyed, typically as a result of a perceived insult.

Given the definition I guess I am a bit resentful that all the money spent on making and watching such trash and  it isn’t used to create something at least a little bit fun. Pacific Rim proved you can do ‘giant transformer movie takes over city’ without being so insulting to your audience.

I’ve long said that my most hated movies of all time are Drop Dead Gorgeous, Superstar, Brother”s Grimm, Armageddon and Pearl Harbor, but I recognize DDG and Brothers Grimm were trying to do something different and it didn’t work.  So what is worse the lazy mediocrity or the ambitious flop?

Pearl Harbor gets a special place in offensively bad movies because it is takes a dump on the memories of our brave servicemen.  It’s one thing to see autobots and dicepticons  dodge explosions while humans engage in cringe worthy dialogue, but an entirely new level of nightmare when it is real people who sacrificed everything in those explosions.  They deserve better than an hour of Ben Affleck pining over a woman and another hour of mindless explosions.  It’s offensive to me…

Some language in this but the NC says it pretty well…

And what about other mediums?  For instance, last year’s Mixology definitely offended me.  I really hated the book Julie and Julia.  There was a little book called Amazing Adventures of Dietgirl that came out a few years ago, and I was really offended by that book.  (The author actually contacted me on goodreads after my review and we discussed my feelings.  Love her.  Hate the book).

But I also hated Austenland, but I’m not offended by that.  So where’s the balance?  Where does something tip the scale between not caring for something and finding it’s existence offensive?

I’m not sure. The Michael Bay movies make me nuts because I know he has every available resource and this is what we get?

http://www.torontosun.com/2014/06/26/transformers-age-of-extinction-review-has-michael-bay-lost-his-mind

I think where it crosses the line to offensive and not just bad is when it is mean spirited, cold, insulting, chauvinistic, degrading of any ethnic group/women.  That I just don’t get. That’s why Mixology made me so angry.  I like to think that over the years we have learned something about how to treat human beings and then something like that exists and it blows me away.

I actually hope that Michael Bay is just being lazy and stupid.  If he really see’s this as art then shame on him.  I do not get why people see it.  Why?

It is even worse when it is geared towards children. The Smurfs was such cynical film making.  It exists only for the money.  The second Smurfs was  literally a giant Sony product placement.  This makes me sad because it discourages people from participating in modern storytelling.  You have a bad experience with a Smurfs or Transformers and you assume it’s all a waste of time.  It doesn’t have to be that way.

I agree with Chris Stuckmann.  Certainly our kids deserve better

So, yes these kinds of things offend me.  Not often but it does happen. I know many are cynical about pop culture, literature, movies, television and it’s no wonder when you have this kind of cash grab.  It’s discouraging, but I refused to let such junk sink me down.  I believe in storytelling in all it’s mediums.

And perhaps that is why such garbage does offend me.  I know the power it has and it is being used to give us less than nothing.  Roger Ebert once said about a film ‘this was the first time I’ve been to a movie where staring at a blank wall would have been preferable’.

That’s a pretty low standard to be setting and yet I’d agree with him.  At least then you could come up with your own stories.

It’s summer.  Please do something outside or rent The Lego movie.  Don’t reward this behavior.

If you don’t believe me here’s a lot of smart people who do.  Don’t’ see Transformers 4. Please!!!!

I guarantee you these reviews have more wit and thought than the mess for nearly 3 hours on screen. (some of these have strong language)

there I said it!  🙂

Clean Reviews

Hi guys!

I’m really excited about a new feature I am adding to my youtube channel.  It kind of goes with the personal standard I mentioned in my recent post  How to be Mormon and Like Movies.

My goal is to share with all of you not only movies I like but also what type of content a movie has.  That way you can easily know if something is worth your time or not.

This is the rating system I came up with for offensive content

content

The rating will not be a quality of movie grade, just the amount of adult content in the movie.  Some of my favorite movies may get a D on content, but hopefully I will explain what type it is and what you should consider before viewing. This will make your movie going experience more pleasant and even inspiring.

What do you think of the idea? What movies would you like me to review?  Anything you’ve been wondering about and would like more detail?  As long it is possible I will give it a watch through and review. Here is a video of me explaining more about the feature.

Youtube All Stars

As I’ve mentioned several times on this blog I have been working hard on my videography skills lately and having a blast while doing it.  I have also had the chance to get to know youtube very well as I’ve been working on my channel making it better each day.  Naturally this means I have seen a lot of other contributors and created a running tally of what I call the ‘Youtube All Stars’.

So, you don’t have to do the same kind of work let me share what channels I think are worth your time.

Movies- 

There are a lot of movie review channels and to be honest most of them are pretty good.  Film criticism has basically gone away from television and moved to youtube/rotten tomatoes.  In some ways this is a good thing as someone ordinary like me can make a review and some ways it’s a bad thing because someone ordinary like me can make a review…

Some of the best are Chris Stuckmann, Jeremy Jahns, and Schmoes Knows.  Sometimes the bad movie reviews are the most entertaining.  Here’s a funny review of Batman and Robin with both the Schmoes and Stuckmann

I also really like the Nostalgia Critic but the language is bad .  However,  if you can handle  the language  I think you will laugh.  Check it out.

TV-

My favorite TV youtubers are

Rob Cesternino for reality TV analysis.  He’s a good interviewer and it’s fun to hear the backstory on Survivor, Amazing Race, Big Brother and more.  The last few seasons of Survivor have been very entertaining and Rob’s site have made it even more so.

Another one I like is the After Buzz channels.  They have roundtable discussions on all kinds of shows and they are a lot of fun.

Subscription Boxes/Beauty-

There are a lot of great youtubers on boxes but 2 of my favorite, aside from myself, are Mort3mr and Jen Luvs Reviews.

Mormon Messages-

If you are a member of my faith or just like nice messages The Mormon Messages channel is great

Given my history of bullying this video is very moving. There are lots like these on the page on a variety of topics.

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So there are a lot of other great sites to subscribe too.  Go and explore.  There is comedy, make up tutorials, crafts, cooking videos, etc.  Youtube has managed to remain corporate and still have the user friendly amateur level.

My Aunt has a channel for her business some of you might be interested in and Poler has a site showing some of their gear.

https://www.youtube.com/user/CarolTuttleVideos

https://www.youtube.com/user/polerstuff

What are some of your favorite channels?  Do you like youtube?