Tag Archives: movies

Oscar-Bait Movies? Yes, please

I’m not getting into The Last Jedi yet, but yes, I’ve seen it (three times) and I fucking love it.  I’m so pissed that the music from my favorite trailer is NOT in the official soundtrack though.  WTF, Lucasfilm?

This post today is all about some of the recent movies we’ve seen that are complete Oscar frontrunners, and happily, they’ve all been very good movies!

Call Me By Your Name (2017)

We saw this two weekends ago as it’s getting a bit wider of a release, finally.  Long story short, it’s a fantastically beautiful and sensual movie, which happens to focus on a budding gay romance in gorgeous Northern Italian rustic scenery some time in the 1980s.  Armie Hammer is a hunk of a man and Timothee Chalamet is the more earth-bound guy that gets a summer in Armie Hammer’s orbit.  The gorgeous scenery and slow but sure seduction between these two is captivating, but let’s be honest, this is a complete gay fantasy.  Nevertheless, it’s such a well-done movie that it’s hard not to get swept up into the fantasy. It helps all the performances are amazing, and critics are rightfully talking about one scene/monologue that the father figure has at the end, as it’s quite a stunner.   Funny, erotic, emotional and mesmerizing – don’t be surprised if it wins Oscars this year.

Here’s the trailer:

Next up….

The Disaster Artist (2017)

It’s possible you’ve never heard of the movie called The Room, a justifiably terrible movie made by Tommy Wiseau.  It came out in 2003 and almost immediately jumped into that weird world of cult movies, this one getting the branding of sooooooooooooooo bad it’s good.  Like, I used to say Showgirls was so bad it’s good, but there’s still a lot of decent stuff in Showgirls.  The Room is just bad all around, and in very weird, confounding ways.  Full disclosure:  I’ve not seen The Room, but have seen the scenes most people talk about and I’ve read plenty and listened to the “How Did This Get Made” podcast for it, which had a special guest of Greg Sestero, who is the guy who helped Tommy Wiseau make the movie and co-stars in it with him as “Mark.”

Basically, The Disaster Artist is the tale of how this movie came to be.   James Franco is the director and mastermind of this masterpiece and also stars as Tommy Wiseau, and holy hell, he’s amazing.  Not only is it an amazing retelling of the entire story from Greg and Tommy meeting in acting class up to and including the creation of The Room and its premiere, but the movie is fucking hilarious.  You do not need to have seen The Room to enjoy this movie as The Disaster Artist lets you in on the joke:  Tommy Wiseau is not a human.  It’s not clear at all who he really is or where he gets the money to make this movie, and he’s got absolutely no acting ability.  But Tommy had passion and with Greg’s help and encouragement, they get there.  They destroy their careers in the process, but managed to become infamous.  And here we are with this movie, so I guess it’s the silver lining.

The cast in this movie is thrilling.  Dave Franco, James’ brother, is the co-lead of this movie and does a fantastic job playing the straight man to Tommy.  Dave Franco is also super hot.  A giant assembly of comedians from that crew is also here, like Seth Rogen, Paul Scheer, and Alison Brie.  Amazingly, this movie has every likelihood of getting Oscar nominations and James Franco would certainly deserve one for acting, and who knows, maybe directing?  I highly recommend catching this movie if you can, otherwise you’re just teaaaring me apaaaahrt!!!!

And finally, at least in this post….let’s get to:

Lady Bird (2017)

A very ‘feels real’ movie about a senior in a Sacramento high school who calls herself “Lady Bird.”  Lady Bird wants nothing more than to leave for a New York college but the trouble is that her family can’t afford that kind of college and she’s also a little bit unqualified academically to make it.   So she gets invested this last year of high school to make it happen.  Of course over the course of this year, situations at school and home serve to get in the way.  Saoirse Ronan as Lady Bird is amazing, but it was just wonderful to see Laurie Metcalf as her mother.  You’ll be seeing both of their names likely as Oscar nominees as they both giving stunning performances.  You’d think this is purely a drama from my notes here, but there is a lot of funny stuff to be found in this movie.  And of the three movies listed here, this one had me in tears many times.  Hopefully that’s not a deal breaker, as it’s a movie well worth seeing.  Check out the trailer:

And that’s that.   Stay tuned for my thoughts on The Last Jedi as well as whatever the hell else I can think of to post about.  I have so many pictures still to get through it makes me nervous.  🙂

Finally, the Roadhouse, to complete my 2017 Year of Twin Peaks

2017 may have been a shitshow for a whole slew of reasons, but one giant reason in its favor is that it was so full of Twin Peaks goodness.   Not only did the revival on Showtime kick serious ass, we got 18 hours of it and it still managed to confound and excite us.  I really should have known that with it being Twin Peaks, it wouldn’t end neatly.   Then obviously I posted about it back in September, which was when Larry & I went to Seattle & Vancouver for a week and tagged one of the days as a Twin Peaks day:

Finding the Real Twin Peaks 2 Days after the Return Finale

I said it enough in the post, but that day was seriously one of the best days ever.  I got to see nearly every Seattle-adjacent filming location that I would have wanted to have seen….except for the actual exterior location of “the Roadhouse.”  It was located in the opposite direction of where we were heading, so it had to be dropped and I figured maybe one day, we’d go back?  Well, may not need to as the Roadhouse came to Los Angeles!

Saturday, December 30, 2017 @ The Roadhouse in Los Angeles

This pop-up was incredible.  You enter and then walk through several corridors of Black Lodge goodness, passing into an outdoor area with some sycamore trees, the entrance to the Black Lodge, and Owl Cave scribblings.  Then you head into the restaurant area where you are now in the Roadhouse.   Great food and some solid, interesting drink offerings, all themed to Twin Peaks characters or motifs.   I ended up getting a fantastic Great Northern Steak & Frites while Larry got Betty Briggs Meatloaf Burger, and then I had a Laura Palmer drink followed by a surprising hot cup beverage called Cherry Pie That’ll Kill Ya.  All followed with Cherry Pie and Donuts.  Yeah, we might have eaten a lot.

At the end of our 90 minutes or so, we left and I bought two Twin Peaks t-shirts, and then we called it a day.  This excursion also served as our ‘going out for New Year’s’ event as basically there were so many unpleasant outings for a few years it is just not fun anymore.  But staying home?  Hella fun.  We ended up watching movies yesterday, starting with Diamonds Are Forever, then renting Despicable Me 3 from ITunes (it was okay – I think I liked the previous 2 more although I did like the 80s-themed villain), and following it up with Spy, which still is just so damn funny.    Larry made a wonderful chicken parmesan dinner and then we watched the Kathy-less CNN NYE for a little and drank a bottle of champagne.  And here we are now in 2018.  Let’s make it a good year – lots of exciting things coming up, notably buying and moving into a brand new house!!!

New Year’s Eve at Home, 2017 version:

It was a Bond, James Bond Day

Friday, Sept 16, 2016 – Day 3 of London

<– Previously, we’d been bussed all around Southern England!

This was a fun day.  We were able to sleep in a little bit (not much), as we had tickets to the London Film Museum’s exhibit “Bond in Motion” – a collection of Bond cars and vehicles from throughout the movies.  Started at 10am, which was our window (although from having visited there now, I don’t think it was quite necessary to buy the tickets in advance; better safe than sorry).  So we got a quick breakfast in at the nearby Starbucks, then walked over to the museum.  Yeah, walked, as our hotel is so centrally located.  Walked through the West End, seeing the theaters for Aladdin and Harry Potter on the way there.  It was also raining slightly, which was about time as London is supposed to have some rain! It also was nice for it to be cool a little as it’s been pretty damn hot/warm here and in Paris!

Anyway, we got to the exhibit and it was absolutely amazing.  Everything was laid out in a great fashion and there were so many important cars to the series present, from the Aston Martins, the Rolls Royces, Jaguars, etc.  Quite amazing, and I took lots of pictures.  Larry bought lots of cool things too, including the guide book.  We also got a few shots with the life size Connery mannequin up front.  Just spectacular the whole thing.  Well worth coming to London for!!!! 

So….let’s try to break these pictures down in some kind of order…first, getting to the London Film Museum via the route shown above:

The Foyer of the Exhibit:

MI:6 Mock-up from The World Is Not Enough:

You Only Live Twice:

Heading down into the main exhibit…

Heading down into the main floor of the exhibit

The main floor of what was shown was simply spectacular.  Almost every vehicle you’d expect to see was there, seriously.

A View To A Kill:

Goldeneye / Goldfinger:

The Aston Martin DB5s shown here had a model version based off of the Goldfinger one, as well as a real car that was used in Goldeneye.

Die Another Day:

Octopussy:

The Living Daylights:

The World Is Not Enough:

Quantum of Solace:

On Her Majesty’s Secret Service:

Diamonds Are Forever:

The Spy Who Loved Me:

Spectre:

For Your Eyes Only:

The Man With the Golden Gun:

Casino Royale:

Various Odds & Ends:

Just saying – this was the best collection of James Bond cars you could ever hope to see.

The James Bond Walking Tour

But that wasn’t the end of our James Bond adventures today.  So after the London Film Museum exhibition, we came back to the hotel to drop off the new goodies we’d just bought, then headed back out to Charing Cross Station as at 2pm, we were joining up for a James Bond Walking Tour!!!  Holy crap, this is quite an amazing and somewhat grueling walk, as you walk a LOT.  Starting at Charing Cross, you get some insight into how the underground sections were used quite frequently, especially for the chase scenes in Skyfall. 

We then meandered through London to various locales that were used in Spectre and Skyfall before heading to the National Gallery Museum right near Trafalgar Square.  Got a lot of backstory on the filming there as well as the use of art, especially in Skyfall.  The use of the various paintings, combined with the accounts of Admiral Nelson in the battle of Trafalgar and how those were analogous to James Bond and M’s demise….holy shit, it was amazing.  Then when in the National Gallery (didn’t know we’d be going in there!), we saw not only where Q and James Bond meet for the first time in Skyfall, but also the painting that James Bond notices in Dr. No, which at the time in the 60s had just been stolen.   AWESome.

Heading to Charing Cross for our James Bond Walking Tour

In Charing Cross’ Tube Station & Outside Rules

Off to Trafalgar Square

And Inside the National Portrait Gallery

After leaving the museum, we walked through Trafalgar Square and over to the Admiralty Gate which faces Buckingham Palace.   These were the scenes of other M:I6 locations in the movies, which was a lot of fun.  The guide was just such a great source of knowledge and energy!   

We then walked over through the Whitehall street area which is a huge place for Skyfall, passing 10 Downing Street too.  After getting a great shot in the middle of the street that matches Bond’s chase of Silva down the street, we all then hopped on a red London Bus (which I’d been wanting to do!!! Score!) and rode the route down to a station right across the Thames from where the MI:6 building actually is and what you see in the movies.  That was where the tour ended, and it was just a blast to have gone on it.  Seriously.  Amazing!!!   

Through Trafalgar Square to the Admiralty Gate

Walking Around the Whitehall Area:

And then near 10 Downing Street, with some Action Shots:

The double-decker red bus took us down the Thames so we could get the across-the-river view of MI:6.  It was awesome.

MI6 along the Thames

The day wasn’t over yet!

We walked across the Vauxhall Bridge to the Tube station there, taking it back to the Westminster area as we had a Champagne Experience on the London Eye at 7.  But that wasn’t for a few hours, so we ended up finding a place called Slug & Lettuce to eat at, which was a bit of a more corporate looking place to eat.  It worked for us, although the food wasn’t anything special to write home about.  After that, we got checked in at the London Eye for the Champagne Experience, which was okay.  The time was good as the twilight was ending and the lights were coming on, and we got a glass of champagne and the host was very helpful with taking pictures of us.  It was a good time but we were definitely getting tired.  

Heading Back to the London Eye Area

The Champagne Experience on the London Eye at Sunset

We’d been on our feet most of the day, but that didn’t stop us from walking back to see what’s what.  We crossed the Golden Jubilee Bridge and then meandered through the West End and SoHo again, finding Chinatown this time as well as the gay bar area.  

Oh yeah, also found a gelato place that made the coolest rose formation of ice cream in a cone for you.  It was delightful, and Delicious.

Nighttime

That was an action-packed day, to say the least.

Honeymoon Picture Pages:

Trailer Time – April 2017

There’s a lot of exciting stuff headed our way whether it’s TV or Movies, and MAN, I am pumped for some of these things like no one’s business….

First off, Showtime just released this SPOILER-FILLED teaser (for the original two seasons of the show) but it is pushing all the right buttons and man, it’s crazy to think that in ONE MONTH, Twin Peaks Season 3 will begin.  That. is. CRAZY.

So yeah, that’s happening.

Then of course, the movie trailers below are just so fucking awesome and great, and will have to hold us over until the movies themselves are released in the distant fall… First?  Thor: Ragnarok, and believe you me, I would never have believed it myself if you had told me I’d be pumped up for a freakin’ Thor movie.   They’ve been the weakest of the Marvel movies in my mind, and while Thor is obviously attractive, I’ve got Captain America for that.  But this trailer?  Showing Cate Blanchett in all her bad-ass glory?  Set to Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song”?  Thor cracking wise when he sees Hulk?  Jeff Goldblum goldbluming???  SIGN ME UP.  And it’s on my birthday too, so hey:

I’d be remiss if we didn’t of course talk about effing Star Wars:  The Last Jedi finally releasing a trailer!  We finally hear Luke speak!  And know very little else, but it does look great, and things seem kind of bleak with Luke being ‘over it’.  Ready to find out what happens next, finally!

In other news…it’s kind of hard to believe, but Larry & I are close to celebrating our first anniversary.  Where did the time go?  I know, actually, all too well, with work having swallowed it up pretty effectively…but still, kinda shocking.  Life comes at you fast…

“How Did This Get Made?” and More

Another week goes by and I’m still employed (yay) and the week goes by quick enough for me not to be too dragged down by it all.  Yay, again.  I’ve been trying to figure out what it is I want to do with my life, and yes, I recognize I am 40 and should have figured that out a while ago.  So while I recognize that the career side of things is basically just me finding a niche where I can get stuff done and get paid while doing it, as being a true “professional” in some career has long ago stopped being an option for me, I do think I can figure out hobbies and such that will bring me personal satisfaction.

Writing is certainly up there, and if I can get the discipline to write on a regular basis and also figure out things to write about passionately, that would be a good first step.  Musical instruments are also an interesting thought, but man, you need to take lessons and get the time commitment figured out, and that’s freakin’ tough right now.  But I have this new guitar and I want to get back to it, so we’ll have to make that work out.   Stupid video games are also a bane to my productivity, to be honest.  So many good ones out there.  Anyway, just some random notes from me to you.

How about some pictures?

Barb and I had a nice after-work catch-up at Traxx earlier this week and it was wonderful.  Sometimes, you gotta get a drink at the Art Deco Union Station in your city, amirite?

Larry and I got dinner at a great new restaurant called The Tsujita in the Americana, where the specialty is a weird twist on ramen:  the noodles and pork are served cold and separate from the broth, which is really hot and delicious.  You then dip the noodles/pork into it….and it’s fucking wonderful.  A great addition to the restaurant selection here.

Yesterday was the main event for us though, as Larry had been able to secure tickets to an event called “How Did This Get Made?”  What it is is 3 hilarious people (Paul Scheer, June Diane Raphael (who we feel in love with from her role in Grace & Frankie), and Jason Mantzoukas) + a hilarious guest talking about various terrible movies and all the wondrous ways it is terrible.  It’s a podcast you can listen to via iTunes or Earwolf podcast website and you definitely should.  The first one I ever listened to was recommended by Larry and it was all about A View to a Kill, yes, the awesome 80s James Bond movie.  Both Larry & I grew up on it so we’re blinded to its failings, but man, this really long podcast just does a number on it and it is epically hilarious.  Well worth the nearly 2 hours to listen to it if you have time, as they point out so many of the ludicrous plot points and characters.  So funny.  Anyway, Larry’s been addicted to the show ever since, and finally scored tickets to it for this past weekend!  He’s been super excited although I think we all were kind of worried once we learned about the movie that was going to be the topic of our show yesterday:  Chopping Mall…..yes, it’s a craptastic 80’s “horror” movie about “teens” trapped in a high-tech mall with 3 malfunctioning murderous robots.  Holy shit this thing is bad….but don’t take my word for it, here’s the awful trailer for this awful movie:

I can’t be sure this is the real trailer as the description kind of indicates it’s not?  But it captures the sheer cheese of it all.  Anyway, Larry & I ventured over to where Nicki lives in LA to watch the movie on Amazon Video with her as she and Austin were going to go with us for this fun.  The three of us watched it in wonder as the movie truly is just terrible terrible terrible.  And the performances are ridiculous and there’s lots of boobs for no reason and it begs the question, HOW DID THIS GET MADE???  Full circle, people, that’s what just happened.  It’s a truly perfect movie for this show (and podcast).

Anyway, having done our research for the night’s entertainment, we then went over to the Largo Theater, which is on La Cienega Blvd just a block north of the Beverly Center, which hilariously is the exterior for the Chopping Mall.  So of course, after we got our tickets for the show (not too bad of seats – it’s a random draw and we ended up getting 5th row), the three of us went down to the Beverly Center.  Apparently it’s not the interior that was used for the movie as another mall had that distinction, but it was still fun to think about it anyway.  There is a main foyer in the Beverly Center that looks a LOT like the movie though.  It’s still weird to be back in that neighborhood and see the Beverly Connection across the street and consider I spent 5 years working there at the Bookstar which is now gone….like truly gone.  It’s been remodeled into an Old Navy.  🙁

We then met up with Austin at the Largo’s bar once that opened up and we had a few drinks to get into the spirit of things.  Anyway…the show was amazing.  Larry had been bracing for the possibility of June not being there, but as it was the 8pm show, the likelihood is higher that she was going to be present and happily she was.  They of course loved tearing this movie apart as it certainly deserves to be.  I’m looking forward to hearing the podcast once they release it, which we think is going to be in a week or so.  Highly recommended once it is!

Anyway – pictures!

Saturday, Mar 11, 2017: How Did This Get Made @ The Largo

It was just a great night and a fun way to spend most of a Saturday.   Of course, Daylight Savings Time coming around this morning to steal some of our precious sleep time is the worst.  Anyway, we eventually got our act together, watched last night’s SNL (the Ivanka Trump “Complicit” ad was amazing), and then headed out to Target to restock the house supplies and then watch Logan.

Logan (2017) (saw this on Mar 12 @ the Pacific Theaters in Glendale)

Well, the reviews are in and it’s been getting across-the-board raves, and rightfully so.  It’s getting praised for very good things, such as a stripped down story, wonderful performances, and a more serious take on what usually isn’t.  And oh yeah, it’s R-rated and it takes full advantage of that, as Logan is fucking violent as hell.  I mean, it’s REALLY violent.  But I have to say that while I did enjoy the ride, the movie feels too long and I think it needed to have an explanation for some things to help place you in the world.  I get it, you do get enough hints as to what’s happened in the time between the last X-Men movies and 2029, which is when this is set.  But I kind of still wanted to know more – what actually happened that Professor X and Logan keep referring to?  Obviously it resulted in the deaths of pretty much all the mutants, but what was it?  Maybe it doesn’t matter, but the ambiguity for ambiguity’s sake kind of turned me off.  And this movie is bleak, full stop.  There’s very good reasons for that but just know this is not the movie that ends with everyone hugging it out at the end.  Nope.

Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart are of course fantastic, as is the young actress who played Laura / X23.  It’s interesting to think where the “modern” X-Men movies plan to go from here…do they tell the story I’m bitching about missing?  Or are they only going to do the “First Class” X-Men?  OR just reboot the whole damn thing?    Logan is certainly a better movie than the recent Apocalypse though, and for sophistication, it stands pretty much above most of the other recent X-Men movies too.  I guess I’m struggling with liking it but not loving it?  And wanting to have SOME exposition to fill in some of the blanks.

Movies Seen in 2017:

Fantastic / Rave-worthy:

Very Good:

Okay / Wait to See at Home:

Only if You’re Going to “How Did This Get Made?”

  • Chopping Mall (1986)