Should You Watch It?: My Movie Review Podcast

There’ve been a steady stream of movies that came out this summer. Several were great, some were good, and others were extremely forgettable. I love movies so much that it’s hard to stop talking about them and dissecting them. So, in an effort to scratch that continual itch to do so, I started a podcast where I talk about nothing but movies!

Whether you’re a movie buff or not, try giving my podcast a listen to see if particular movies I review are something you should watch or not.

Movies I’ve reviewed on my podcast so far:

Deadpool 2, Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, Avengers: Infinity War, Tag, and Fiddler on the Roof. 

So check out “Should You Watch It?” on your favorite podcast vehicle, or just click the link below to be taken directly to my show in iTunes. Enjoy! And remember, your feedback and suggestions are always welcome!

Click here to be taken to iTunes

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What “Friends” Would Survive “The Walking Dead?”

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We had so much fund deciding who from The Office would survive The Walking Dead that we decided to give it another go.

The beloved characters from our favorite 90’s show grew up in the same world we occupy. It was safe, a little spunky, and somewhat predictable. No one gave death a second thought, and certainly no one had to plan an evacuation route in case of some sort of apocalypse, namely a zombie apocalypse. But, in the case of Friends, how would the characters reacted to the threat of a zombie invasion such as in The Walking Dead? Read on to find out.

Click here to continue reading…

The Oscars Formula Cracked!

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Want good odds on winning your Oscar bets next year and going forward? Then read on:

Every year it’s the same thing. I tell my wife, “Hey, the Oscars are on.”

“Want to watch?”

“Sure.”

“What time does it start?” she asks.

“Seven.”

I have to pull up the channel guide online to find what channel ABC is on.

At 7:07 I say, “Damn. It doesn’t actually start at 7. They’re showing off their ugly dresses for the next hour.”

So for the next 90 minutes we point and laugh at everyone who looks like they’re dress up to be in Suzanne Collins’ fictitious Capitol.

If we make it through the opening number (Chris Rock sucked, Kimmel was okay; please bring back Billy or Neil!) I then end up just following the show on Twitter and Facebook seeing what everyone else says about it. (If you want to follow a hilarious and agreeable commentator, check out @JonAcuff.)

Then I look through all the past winners and losers. And last night I came to a rather mathematical solution on how the Oscars work. Granted, it’s not foolproof, but I think it’s just enough to help us all predict the winners from here on out.

Fact: No super hero movie is ever to be nominated for Best Picture. And I think most people agree that this unspoken rule cheated The Dark Knight out of a possible win.

Secondly, no matter what other category the films nominated for Best Picture are, there is a hierarchy that can almost always guarantee a correct prediction.

If a war movie is nominated, it can most assuredly take the Oscar home over its contenders. Unless any of its competitors is a movie about the arts or deals with racism. (In 2008 The Hurt Locker won because its competitors did not deal with racism or was not about the arts.)

So: If a war movie is pitted against a movie about art, the art movie will win. If an art movie is pitted against a film about racism, the racism movie will win. Don’t believe me? I’ll show you:

89th: Hacksaw Ridge < La La Land < Moonlight

88th: Bridge of Spies < Spotlight (there were no movies nominated about race this year)

87th: American Sniper < Birdman (again, no movies nominated about race)

86th: 12 Years a Slave (There were no films about art or war nominated this year)

Now this theory is not at all airtight. Argo won over Lincoln and Django Unchained, and the year before that The Artist beat The Help (which also beat War Horse), so there are exceptions. Or it could be argued that this is a relatively new pattern the Academy is setting, though no one can forget (or forgive) Shakespeare in Love robbing Saving Private Ryan in 1998 (again: war > art).

So what do you think of my theory? Have there been other patterns in the past? Perhaps each decade or generation follows a list of new rules? Are all best picture winners just based off of the social temperature of the time? Do movies that really deserve best picture wins get overlooked every year? What constitutes a movie being worthy of the honor? And why can’t they bring back Billy Crystal or Neil Patrick Harris to host the awards indefinitely?

Share your thoughts below!

Happy Birthday, Kat!

My favorite little girl on the planet turns three today.

She can drive me up a wall at times, and I’ve had my share of losing my cool, but she knows that she’s daddy’s most prized possession.

We drove two hours north to IKEA yesterday to pick up a kitchen set for her birthday. (In fact, as I write this, I’m sitting on the living room couch, listening to her and her brother waking up in their room. In just a couple of moments, she’s going to totter out here and stumbled upon the kitchen set I have set up for her by our living room windows.)

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She has no idea what’s in the big box I purchased for her, because at IKEA, you never know what you’re really getting.

We’ll be having donuts for breakfast from our favorite bakery down the street. It’s going to be  good morning. But really, it’s been a good three years. A lot of bad things happened last year, and the waters have been rough for quite a while, but my daughter has always been a constant. It’s guaranteed that she’ll laugh if I tickle her in just the right spot, and that she’ll always want me to kiss her goodnight even if we’ve had a bad day.

She loves the things I obsess over (chips and salsa, ice cream, Toy Story), and her dancing always makes me laugh, even if life seems too much at times.

I never really knew what it was like to be proud until we brought her home from the hospital, and now I get to experience that feeling every day as I watch her grow, learn, speak, and sing, and discover who she is a little more each day.

I can hear her brother trying to coax her out of their room. I better get the light on…

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How Your Personal Hygiene Can Help You Finish Writing Your Book

So you’re a writer. Or you try to be, anyway. With kids and doctor appointments and work and school and your spouse’s psychological mommy-issues, you’re lucky if you can manage to write one paragraph in any given day.

But suppose one day the heavens opened up, the school’s not calling you to pick your kids up, it’s slow at work, and it’s just you and your pen and your paper.

NOW you can write!

But the clock is ticking. Tick-tock, tick-tock.

Your pen touches the paper and… You’re stuck! You’re so ecstatic by the calm in the storm that you don’t know what to write.

The last time you visited your book-to-be, you had your protagonist dangling off the edge of a cliff by his teeth. His wife was in one hand, his X-Box console in the other. Whom does he sacrifice? Whom will he save! What’s going to happen!!!

Ding! “Time’s up,” says Alex Trebek in the form of your boss checking in on you or a customer demanding your attention (or your spouse texting you with another problem about how his parents didn’t support him enough when he wanted to be an American All-Star).

Those glorious minutes you had all to yourself vanish like a mist as though they were never there, and your paper is still an empty canvas.

Take my advice. Think ahead. Prepare for those brief moments. One of my favorite times of the day is when I get to shower. That’s when I disappear mentally into my book. I analyze what I’ve already written, I dissect my characters, but most of all, I plan ahead.

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He’s hanging there by his teeth, I think. He’s got his wife and his X-Box. His wife nags him, but his X-Box brings him unlimited, albeit meaningless joy. But his wife gives him kids. Does he even like his kids? But his X-Box makes him late to work, which he hates. … Hmmm… nagging wife, meaningless video games, kids that annoy him (and quite frankly isn’t even sure are his), a terrible job… THAT’S IT! He opens his mouth and screams!! Now they’re all dead! 

Then I refine and refine that scene and by the time I get those glorious undisturbed moments back five new-moons later, I don’t have to worry about that time being wasted because I already know what the next scene is going to be about and how to resolve it.

It’s kind of like, I hate that I can’t take my phone into the shower with me and watch Netflix, but at least I can play my own movie in my mind while I wash up.

So there it is. Take advantage of yourself in the shower, and you’ll be surprised what goodies you’ll pop out!

Why We Don’t Tell Our Kids They Can be Anything They Want

It’s preached everywhere: “Believe, and it will happen.”

“Trust and you will find.”

“Try and you will succeed.”

“You can be anything you want to be and more.”

Once you get to a certain age you realize that’s all crap. Because, you know, when I was little, I believed I’d be an astronaut and go to the moon (there have only been twelve manned moon landings since 1969). I also wanted to be a cartoonist for a newspaper strip, but that was before I learned that Jim Davis already had the market cornered in that department.

The problem with me, then? Well, I believe there were two issues.

  1. My expectations were unrealistic. I hate science and always have, so any chance of me becoming an astronaut were doomed to begin with. And, even after some art classes, my cartoons were mediocre at best.
  2. I wasn’t consistent. I bounced around from one cool potential career to the next, whichever sounded most appealing at the time. Usually I was inspired by pop culture, and never really tapped into what I – little Andy – really wanted to do with my life.

Now that I’m a dad, I’m careful not to tell my kids they can be anything they want to be when they grow up, because let’s be honest: My daughter is too tall to be an Olympic gymnast. My son is too sensitive to be a linebacker for the Dallas Cowboys, and so far his hand-eye coordination is as great as his dad’s – never mind hitting the broadside of a barn, we’re lucky just to make the ball past the fence.

I love the movie Wreck-It Ralph. Ralph didn’t want to be a bad guy anymore, and no matter 982468_032how many medals he won or good deeds he performed, he was always going to be a bad guy. But he learned to make peace with it.

An even better one is the bold Monsters University, where young Mike wants to be a scarer, but he really just sucks at it. He’s small, puny, and pretty funny looking.

No, as much as I would like to change things, our kids cannot be anything they want to be. It’s just not realistic, and beyond that, it’s a lie.

That’s not to say that if they worked and studied hard enough that they can’t become doctors and lawyers, business owners and CEO’s, or any other profession that requires a large degree of panache and brains. And as their parents, we’ll support them in every way.

But if my son dreams of making it on Juggling with the Stars in sixteen years but he can’t juggle any more than his daily chores, then I’m going to be flat-out honest with him and suggest that maybe he could coach someone to juggle or something.

But whatever they set their mind to, it is my hope that not only is it achievable within their skill set, but that they stick with it and don’t give up.