Category Archives: Entertainment

My Current Top 15 Favorite Movies

I decided to lighten things up a bit… because I can! lol It’s been years since I’ve written anything talking about my “favorite” whatever. I’m going to spare you the “honor” of seeing those old articles; one is from 2014, and it was videos with me in them. The other two were in 2010 where I touched upon the topic of favorite sports movies and sci-fi movies.

I’ve had an interesting epiphany concerning favorite whatever. It’s hard to have a list of any topic be permanent when things are always changing and we’re always getting older. I’m sure a list of my favorite movies before I turned 18 would have been a much different list than what I’m presenting in my early 60’s (ouch!).
Continue reading My Current Top 15 Favorite Movies

The Keys

A sidebar. Every once in a while, instead of a traditional blog post I’ll detail a story of something that happened in my life. This article was originally written on March 4, 2009. It was quasi-popular when it was published, but 12 years later no one knows about it. What many people don’t know is that after “so many years” Google will de-list articles on blogs with a lot of content unless that content’s refreshed. If I put in the exact title of the article and my blog’s name, it’ll show up. Without that, no amount of keywords or phrases will ever bring it up.

mailbox lock with keys

volkspider via Compfight

Because I felt it was a pretty good tale, and because everyone who commented on it back then is no longer blogging, I felt it deserved a refreshing and re-release. I often write stories of what takes place in my life and I’ve always shared them with all my friends. I hope you enjoy it; as always, it’s my truth… which means it’s the truth! 🙂
Continue reading The Keys

My 10 Favorite Videos of 2014

This is an easy post if you want to read just a little bit of stuff or want to watch/listen to videos I made in 2014. Why this kind of post? One, it’s New Year’s Eve and I’ve got stuff to do (even though I put this together ahead of time). Two, you probably have stuff to do and after that last post on blogging, which was pretty long, I figure you might want something that you can just listen to… if you’re interested at all.

Also, I created lots of videos this year between my two video channels, and a few of those videos I actually liked a lot more than others. Yes, I went back and watched, aka listened, to every single one of them, some more than once. When I needed a boost I listened to my motivational videos along with the same from other people. Sometimes I forgot it was me; now that’s really getting into it.

Without further delay here are my 10 favorite videos of 2014, not in any specific order. A couple of these are interviews, which means they will be a bit longer than the rest. Let me know what you think, please watch, and have a wonderful and safe New Year’s Eve and New Years Day! 🙂


http://youtu.be/ROUeV3r26Og

 

http://youtu.be/d5jMeTyimuI

 

http://youtu.be/roOzb1sdqYA

 

http://youtu.be/-fvMBWefD_8

 

http://youtu.be/R03n-qKmxSI

 

http://youtu.be/pNHuv4kDLdI

 

http://youtu.be/l80hH_b7bQo

 

http://youtu.be/r5sawgjnFQA

 

http://youtu.be/fXpSWlH3NLY

 

http://youtu.be/XIWN8UoMc5E

 

Les Misérables: My Movie Review

A few days ago I went to see the movie Les Misérables, going into it having no idea of what it was about, but being familiar with some of the music in it. Yesterday at lunch someone asked me if I liked it, and I responded “I don’t know”.

Les-mis

Just to get this out of the way, I’m not mentioning the names of any characters because, truthfully, I only remember the name of one of them, Cosette, and I’m not in the mood to go looking them all up. So go with me here as I give a synopsis, then opinion, about this film.

The title stands for “the miserable ones”, and man, did that turn out to be true. About 25 minutes in I leaned over to a young lady I consider as my niece and said “Wow, this is depressing”. Her response was “it gets worse”. As I stated earlier I knew it was a musical, and the only other musical I’ve paid money to go see was Phantom of the Opera, which I thoroughly enjoyed, and also didn’t know what the story was about before I went, though I knew all the music.

Overall this is the tale of a guy who’s finally released from a penal detention in France after 20 years because he stole a loaf of bread to feed his family, makes it on his own until he’s eventually rich. He tries to save a woman that was fired from his factory but she still dies and vows to take care of her child whom she’d left with some sleazy people. He turns himself in when another guy is arrested as him because he’d broken probation 8 years earlier, but runs to find and take care of the girl.

He hides with her about 9 years or so until a bunch of consequences find him hiding once again from Crowe, her falling in love with a young guy she just met, the young guy in the middle of trying to help start another French Revolution, the older guy saving him from being killed so he can get healthy and hook up with the young girl who’s been his daughter for all these years, goes away so his daughter will never know what he did, and then the young guy he saved learns he was saved by the older guy (he never knew), tells the daughter about it on their wedding day (along with the older guy’s background, which he never divulged to her), and they rush to the convent (I never knew men could be in a convent) where the older guy’s character is dying, dies and meets up with all the other people in the movie who died; whew!

The older guy is played by Hugh Jackman of Wolverine fame, and he actually goes through about 20 years of aging or so in the movie. He’s a credible singer, a Broadway guy, and he has the major part in this flick. The guy who gives him the “I’ll be watching you” speech is played by Russell Crowe. My wife would say he’s a “talking singer”, and I’ll go with that assessment. He had to be there because of his acting more than his singing, but truthfully I wasn’t overly impressed with his acting in this one. Actually, I’d never seen him in anything else that I could think of, and maybe this is why.

Anne Hathaway plays the woman who was fired from Jackman’s factory, and then whose life went into a major spiral, selling everything, having her hair cut, and becoming a prostitute. I knew the song “I Dreamed A Dream” pretty well, or so I thought, but seeing it performed in this movie the way they did it… this woman wins Best Supporting Actress, hands down! I have a much deeper appreciation for what this song was about.

The comic relief in the movie was handled by Helena Bonham Carter of Harry Potter and many other movies fame and Sacha Baron Cohen of Barat fame; he was unrecognizable to me and I only knew it was him when the credits came up. I hated them immensely, which probably means they did a good job.

Two people played Cosette, one as a young girl, then as an older girl Amanda Siegfried. Her singing was passable but nothing outstanding. Someone who I felt was really outstanding was Samantha Barks, whom I didn’t know but it turns out she’s also a Broadway star in her own right, and hot as well, even though she wasn’t supposed to be.

The guy who played the young man who Cosette falls in love with… don’t care, and that’s a shame. Truthfully, the student revolutionary piece kind of threw me off from the rest of the story, and the only part that actually made me care was when this young boy was killed by the French army on purpose; that was pretty cold.

One last thing before I move on. Crowe’s character, Mr. Law and Order, decides near the end to let Jackman’s character get a pass while he’s trying to save the young guy because Jackman had let his own life go when he could have killed him. Crowe’s character sees this as a flaw in himself and he jumps off a bridge to kill himself. What I didn’t expect was that they actually showed the body hitting the ground, half on the ground and half in water; I wasn’t prepared for that in this type of movie, and I have to admit I didn’t like it.

Overall review? There was a lot going on yet they kept it all together pretty well. I could have done without the revolution part but without it we’d have lost this one great song and I guess a purpose for Jackman to go try to save this kid. I wasn’t ever sure I cared about anyone in the movie until Jackman’s character was about to die. I almost cried, though I didn’t, but a lot of other people did; sniffles were everywhere, and I couldn’t blame any of them. It’s hard to say I enjoyed such a depressing movie but it did touch me. Since this isn’t normally the type of movie overall that I’d even watch, I’m not quite sure how to process it.

It touched me in a couple of places on an emotional level; I’ll own up to that. I liked the music but didn’t like what the director did. The shot the music “live” rather than in a studio, and to do it many of the music scenes were closeups, and I kept wishing they’d pull the camera back as that made me uncomfortable.

I’ll say this then. If you like musicals definitely go see this. If you like to cry, give it a shot. If you like happy endings, this ain’t it. This isn’t a bad movie, but I didn’t hear a single person saying as we were walking out “that was fantastic”. I think we were all too depressed. 🙂
 

The Hobbit – A Review

Last Friday I decided to go to see the new movie The Hobbit. I had seen all 3 of the Lord of the Rings movies, enjoyed each of them, but truthfully had no idea what any of it was about. In my mind, I thought it was only about a guy called a hobbit who had to get a ring to a volcano to melt it; all that other stuff was confusing. And I had never read any of the books; I tried, but just wasn’t interested.

The_Hobbit

Also, this movie had gotten fairly maudlin reviews from many professional reviewers who griped about its length, griped about how it was shot (48 fps, or frames per second, versus the normal 24 fps for 3D), griped about what they said reminded them of Star Wars Phantom Menace… they didn’t like it. They liked Ian McKellen and Martin Freeman and nothing else.

The story of The Hobbit is how Bilbo Baggins, the uncle of LOTR’s hero Frodo, comes to discover and own the ring that ends up having to be destroyed later. It also talks about the adventure he goes on, along with 14 other individuals which includes Gandolf the Grey, who’s also in the LOTR movies, to help liberate the Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor that had been taken over by a dragon named Smaug. The second story arc is that the current exiled king of Erebor, Thorin Oakenshield, had thought he killed Azog, a top leader of Orcs, and it turns out that not only is he not dead but he wants revenge; who wouldn’t?

And the ring… it’s almost a subplot, to the extent that if you hadn’t seen any of the LOTR movies and were seeing this movie for the first time without knowing anything else you’d think it was just a plot point that was setting up the next movie, since this will be a 3 movie arc. That’s saved until the last 35 minutes of the movie, which is about 2 hours and 45 minutes long. We know how important it is, and it seems that Gandolf knows something’s different near the end, but the rest of us… if we didn’t have foresight into what was coming we’d miss it.

You know what? I thoroughly enjoyed this movie and knew exactly what was going on at every step along the way. Probably because this movie explains how they got to the LOTR movies and books, some things started to fall in place for me. The faster filming of frames made the movie lighter than traditional 3D, and that was nice. The one problem was that every once in awhile it looked like the background was moving when the action stopped; that was freaky.

The part some critics hated was the comedy part. There were a lot of funny parts in this movie that were interspersed with the serious and action parts. I loved that, especially early on when Bilbo is trying to figure out what’s going on. Frankly, I think all of us would react the same way to suddenly having lots of creatures in the house that aren’t like you and you don’t know why, and they’re eating your food and drinking your wine.

Even the scenes with Gollum were both intense and funny and, well, weirdly sick because I’d never gotten the real sense of just how dangerous he was and could be in the 3 LOTR movies, which might seem strange to some of you who saw those movies. It was well done here; frankly, I think this entire movie was well done.

Overall I had a great time. I didn’t notice how long the movie was while watching it. The critics said no action takes place until the last 40 minutes of the movie; I wonder what they were watching. There are great back stories here and lots of fun. Visually it’s stunning, and I’ll just say that it was fun seeing rock people fighting as opposed to Transformers, which I also enjoyed. This is a lot of fun, with no bad language and yet I’m still not sure that young kids should see this. But the teens will love it, the movie’s going to be successful, and I have no qualms about recommending it.

Go have fun!