Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Cheesy Christmas Newsletter.....

Every year, I tend to find a letter in the mail around the Christmas season, that is a family "newsletter" of some sort telling everyone what their family has experienced throughout that year. I have always wanted to write one as a joke with false information, just for fun. I think that sometimes they are kind of lame, but then I was looking at it from another side earlier today. Those newsletters in some way are almost like a short, non-electronic blog about the family, and sometimes I don't find blogs  lame depending on the person. Anyway, I thought about it. I am going to write a "newsletter" style blog with a couple pictures here and there, and tell people what I was up to this year, You can read it if you want, or not if that's what you want to do. I think this is a great year to do this since 2011 through 2013 kind of sucked, and this year sucked less. Anyway here we go.

This year has been a fast and crazy year full of changes and realizations of sorts. I have lived another year, so my plan to live forever is still working out for me. As you may or may not know, I have been divorced for a couple of years, and it only gets better as time goes by. They say that you are more happy in marriage the more time passes, and that works with divorce as well, let me tell you!

Even though I am single, which tends to suck, especially in Utah, it sucks a little less because I have a great four-year-old son who keeps me in check and constantly remembering what is important in life. I honestly feel closer to my faith in certain ways because I have a son who I want to be a good example for, since he has to get it from somewhere, and it helps me constantly realize what is important.

January is always a crazy month for me. The first half not so much, but the second half is the Sundance Film Festival which I have covered for the past six years, with my seventh year coming up in about four weeks from now. It's always a great time to see some great stuff that I will either never see again, or see on Netflix three years from now. If you want some recommendations of great documentary films from Sundance from three years ago that have barely found their way to Netflix, shoot me an email, and I will let you know some great, not so new, docs.

February, Basically, I turned 33. Everything else from that month isn't really coming to me right now, which probably means I wasn't doing anything special unless playing a video game or watching lots of movies is worth noting, but in this case, probably not.

March was fun. Basically auditioned for Shrek: The Musical out at the Empress Theatre. I got cast as Papa Bear and one of the Knights of the Back-up, which, yeah, were super small roles, but the friends I made in that show were great. Basically, April and May are me rehearsing for this show and performing them with some cool movie screenings in between. Most notably Captain America: Winter Soldier in April and May a couple too.

Also in May, I will just skip April, we performed Shrek: The Musical, and I auditioned for The Addams Family: The Musical.  I went in wanting the role of Fester, and I ended up in the role of Fester, and it was awesome, but we didn't really get started with that until......wait for it......

June,  Shrek: The Musical ended and I started right into rehearsals for The Addams Family. Everything about the show was a blast. It was double cast, so I had fun working with people who I didn't end up performing with...except for the one time Dallon and I switched nights so he could do something, but didn't want to miss out on a performance.  Anyway, Dallon was fun to work with. We played the character very different, but it was fun.

Also in June, we had a fun time with  Elliot and my nephew and two nieces, Carson, Elizabeth and Olivia. The summer was met with lots of splash pads and trampolines with sprinklers under them.

July and August was full of movie screenings for the summer as well as The Addams Family performances. I was at either a movie theater or the Empress.

Here I am on Fox 13 News in the Morning with Big Budah. It was a fun interview.  We had a good time.

Also in August, I gained a new niece, Stella.

September was a good month. Elliot turned 4 years old, and I can't believe that he is already that age. Four years seems like a long time, but when you have a child or multiple children, four years in nothing.

Also in September, I was made an uncle for the fifth time. My new niece Sophie was born!

Totally kidding, here is the real picture of Sophie, but really, that monkey is freaking adorable!

October was fun. I got back in the swing of things with The Jesters Royale out at the Empress. If you didn't know already from my annoying advertisements on my Facebook page, it is the Improv Comedy troupe that I play with on Friday nights. If you haven't seen us, you really should come check us out. Really, Magna is a lot closer than downtown SLC for most of the Salt Lake Valley.  We had a fun Halloween show. Elliot came and we went Trick or Treating before the show. He was a Blue Power Ranger Pirate from one of the 17 incarnations of the show.

Here are all of the kiddos in their Halloween get-ups. Olivia is the Witch, Elliot the Blue Pirate Power Ranger, Carson as a Karate Kid or Ninja, Lizzy as what every other girl in the country was for Halloween this year, Elsa from Frozen, Sophie as a Strawberry and Stella as a Cupcake, I think.....

In October, I also attended a Gala for The Empress Theatre, where we had The Emppys, which are awards for the shows for the past season. I was nominated in two categories:  Best Supporting Character in last year's Christmas show, The 12 Days of Christmas (We were supposed to do A Christmas Story where I was cast as the father, and then we had to change the show when the rights became unavailable to do the show due to a Broadway touring company wanting to do an East Coast tour, and we had to learn a new show within two weeks. It was crazy.), and Best Character Actor for Fester in The Addams Family.  I have said it before, and I will say it again, I am flattered that people loved me as Fester in that show, but you telling me that "I looked the part" isn't exactly a compliment, ha ha ha. The Gala was a masquerade, so I had Elliot color some cheap paper bear masks, since I was Papa Bear in Shrek this season. I was Papa Bear, Elliot was Baby Bear for the gala.

October ended and November began, which saw me rehearsing for A Charlie Brown Christmas. I played Linus in the show, which was great, but I will get to that a little later. I had Elliot more consecutive days in a row over Thanksgiving than I have ever had him before, due to the schedule I currently follow for the times we have him. I realized over this break that life isn't as good without Elliot around. I miss him tremendously when he isn't there and time seems to slow down when he isn't around, which isn't always a good thing. A few days almost seems like months when you want to see your child. It's hard to explain and hard to understand if you don't have your kid all the time. Some parents look for breaks from their kids...I wish I didn't have any. November was a good month. I also attended an Aquabats concert where Kepi Ghoulie, one of my favorite punk rock artists, was the opening act, which didn't disappoint, and the Aquabats were awesome too, and then a week later, I went to see one of my favorite bands, Coheed and Cambria. It was great.

Finally the end of November, and throughout December, most of my life consisted of rehearsing and performing A Charlie Brown Christmas. People in the theater world tend to not do Christmas shows because life gets so busy around that time of the year, which is true. Since 2007 when I started getting into performing a lot, I have been in five Christmas shows. Some have been great, some have not, lol. My first one in 2007 was an old time radio style version of It's A Wonderful Life, and that was a great experience. I loved everyone in the cast and had fun with it. Over the years, they haven't all been the best, but I almost feel like the holidays aren't special unless I share my talents on stage with other people by helping to tell a story to remind people of the spirit of the holidays.

This year, however, was probably the best time I have ever had with a cast, Christmas show or not. There were nine of us in the cast, and three musicians, one director, and a couple technical crew. That's super small considering for Shrek we had over three times that many people in just the cast. Anyway, the cast was made up of a couple of friends from past shows I was in, and then a couple friends from improv, and then a friend from my fourth grade class back in the day, and then one new person who played Lucy, which was weird considering that I had never met her before, and the first rehearsal I had was with just her, blocking out our scenes, and maybe she didn't feel this way, but it felt like, to me, that we had been in shows together in the past, and we knew each other and how we worked and acted. It was really cool meeting someone new and feeling like we were friends already. The show has only been over with for about five days now, and I miss it like crazy.

The 17 performances we had flew by. We would hang out and get food after rehearsals or performances. Saturdays were crazy between a matinee performance and evening performance, but we had lots of fun together with food and movies and games. We played Rock Band and Beatles Rock Band for hours after Saturday evening shows. We worked hard on the show, and then we played hard after. It was great. I am excited to be rehearsing a new show, Into the Woods, for January, with Chalese, who played Sally in the show, but I am going to miss Margo, Connie, Robert, Kevin, Kristina, and to a lesser extent, Justina ( who is going to be doing sound for us for Into the Woods), David (who is on the improv team with me), and our music director, Nancy (Who is our director for Into the Woods). Also, Lindsay was an awesome director and Nancy, Larry and Zach were a wonderful Jazz trio. I love you all so much, and thank you for making this holiday season wonderful.

Another great thing about doing A Charlie Brown Christmas, is that my character, Linus Van Pelt, or Li-Li V.P. as he is known in Detroit, Michigan, is kind of a know-it-all, but at the same time has the same amazement and wonder of a little kid, and his character is pivotal in the show as he helps Charlie Brown discover the true meaning of Christmas. Every show I had the wonderful opportunity to quote the Christmas story from the bible, but I truly believe in what I was quoting, with all my heart, and so being able to quote those passages was a way for me to be able to share my testimony of the birth and mission of the Savior, and I can't think of a better way to end the year, than by doing that.

As I look back at this past year, sure, there were cool or fun things like getting a Playstation 4 or going to lots and lots of movies, or concerts or whatever, but what really stood out to me this year were the talents I was able to share, the people that came into my life, the new family members gained, and the time spent with the friends and family that I love which are more dear to me than anything else. Sometimes in life, we get caught up in things and we sometimes gloss over the experiences we are having with friends and family. We work on achieving goals that are important, sure, but like John Lennon used to say, and wrote into a song, "Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans". It's profound, but simple. Remember this coming year to focus on the little things in life that make up your everyday life, and not just to the big moments, because the little things that happen are what make us who we are and that make us truly happy.

Here is wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy and Prosperous 2015.

Nate and Elliot Unck

Monday, November 24, 2014

Top Tens #1: Top Ten Favorite Albums That Got Me Through High School.....

I cannot believe that it has been so long since I have posted something here on my personal blog that isn't connected to "The Reel Perspective" podcast I have. It's been way too long. I have been really busy, but still, I don't have an excuse.

So, being a media critic, I am always asked what my top ten favorite things are, whether it's movies, music, books, video games, comic book, anything dealing with entertainment. It's always hard to answer those questions because when you are so busy being immersed in the media and arts, you experience so many different things and enjoy different things. It's hard to do because there are are so many different ways that the media and arts inspire us about a wide variety of many different subjects. So, I decided that I will do some top ten lists about things that I love, but I am narrowing the categories so that I can share more things.

My first list is the top ten albums that got me through high school. They aren't exactly listed in order, but it doesn't really matter. Here is my list and explanations.

The first thing you need to know is that I was in high school from 1996 through 1999, so you won't find anything after that.

10. The Beatles: Rubber Soul  (UK Release)

While I listened to every Beatles album all the time with them being my favorite band of all-time, Rubber Soul is my favorite. Not that the others aren't amazing, but there is something wonderful to me about this record. It doesn't have a lot of the big number one hits, but it has Nowhere Man, I'm Looking Through You, and In My Life, which is probably my favorite track. I love the idea presented in that song that people come in and out of your life. You have family, friends and lovers that you share life with, wonderful experiences with, and then people change, or pass away, or leave. Not only is it deep, but I think it describes high school, or being a teenager really well. You see these people you go to school with for a few years. They are part of your life, almost everyday, and then you graduate, and people move on out and up in the world. It doesn't mean they weren't special, it just means life is happening. John Lennon recorded a song during his solo career that says "Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.", It really shows how life changes.

9. The Smashing Pumpkins: Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness

When I received my first CD player when I was in 7th grade, I only had Beatles albums for a while, ha ha ha. Seriously, I listened to them a lot. Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness was my first album that wasn't a Beatles album. I loved the song "Bullet With Butterfly Wings" which I watched the music video of on "The Box". If any of you know what I am talking about when I say that, then good for you, you are awesome...and old, lol. Anyway, I remember getting the album because my dad tried to talk me into getting another Smashing Pumpkins album because Mellon Collie was a double record, so it cost more, but I insisted on it. Thanks, Dad. Anyway, I listened to this album a lot driving out to school and back, since I was traveling from West Jordan to Magna. I might have had it earlier than high school, but a lot of the songs from the album were great for high school and teen angst. Their follow-up album, Adore, didn't come out until close to my graduation, so this was the Pumpkins album that I listened to most.

8. Oasis: What's the Story Morning Glory

As I said before, I loved The Beatles, and Oasis, although not nearly as good as The Beatles, still had a lot of great songs on this album. Oasis is still around, but really, their best stuff came out in the 90s. Their follow up album, Be Here Now, had some great stuff too, but overall, this is the Oasis album that I have always loved the best.

7. The Mr. T Experience: Our Bodies, Ourselves

My super cool cousin, Greg, got me into punk rock, and I mean, really got me into it. The Mr. T Experience is so awesome. Dr. Frank (A.K.A. Frank Portman, author of the young adult novel, King Dork), may not be the greatest singer at times, but man, this guy knows music and how to write it, and his lyrics are absolutely genius. This song had my high school anthem on it..."Even Hitler Had A Girlfriend". A guy singing how he can't get girls, but the worst guy in history even got them, so what's wrong with girls?  When I heard the recent news this past week that Charles Manson is getting married in prison, this is the first thing I thought of. The funny thing is, Charles Manson is mentioned in the song as well. This record has some really great west coast bay area punk at it's best. I also wanted to put their album, Revenge is Sweet and So Are You on the list, but I wanted to add variety.

6. The Groovie Ghoulies: Fun in the Dark

Another awesome "Ramones" style punk band. The Groovie Ghoulies had quite a few albums, but this one is my favorite. The song "She's My (Vimpire Girl), is freaking awesome, and ends with the lyrics "I wanna rock n' roll every night, and sleep through every day." sung over and over, and since I have insomnia, and loved going to punk rock shows, those became some of my favorite lyrics of all time. Other notable songs on the album are Carly Simon, Brain Scrambling Device, Outbreak, and Don't Make Me Kill You Again. Although they broke up in 2007, they were around since 1986, their lead singer, Kepi Ghoulie still writes, records, and tours today. He has some great stuff, and even just released a new album last week called "Kepi Goes Country". He took some of his rock music and has recorded them with acoustic guitars and classic country instruments, not modern twain country stuff. More like Johnny Cash country. He also did that while the Groovie Ghoulies were still together under the band name The Haints. It's great, fun and energetic music.

5. Bush: Sixteen Stone

I got this album when I was in 8th grade, but I didn't care too much for their follow up album, Razor Blade Suitcase, so this was my go-to Bush album. Everything from "Come Down", "Machine Head" and "Glycerin" always put me in a good, energetic mood. I loved listening to this album before track meets or whatever.

4. U2: Achtung Baby

Although most people consider U2's album, The Joshua Tree, to be their best, Achtung Baby (Achtung is German for attention, by the way, just in case you were wondering) is my favorite. It has some of their biggest hits including: "Mysterious Ways" and "One", but it's the other songs that really make it my favorite. The song "So Cruel" is incredible, and "Light My Way (Ultraviolet Rays) is a wonderful song. While I still consider "With or Without You" to be the greatest song to slow dance to at dances, as a whole, this one is super awesome.

3. The Aquabats: The Fury of the Aquabats

I love The Aquabats. I heard about them and how they went to BYU and are Latter-Day saints was icing on the cake for me. Their brand of humor and Ska music really connected with me. To this day, this is still my favorite Aquabats album. I love to watch their TV show with Elliot, and even got Elliot to love them as well. It's a father-son bonding experience to have fun with The Aquabats. It's not the best video recording in the world, but here is a link to a video I posted on Youtube with Elliot and me playing "Guitar Hero" guitars while watching an Aquabats concert DVD that I have.   This was also my first Ska album in general, but it really got me into the genre and is still one of my top favorite genres today.

2. Led Zeppelin: Led Zeppelin IV

Three words: Stairway to Heaven. Also, Black Dog, Rock And Roll, and When the Levee Breaks.  I love tons of Led Zeppelin, but this was the first time I "Got the led out". I remember buying it and listening to it with my headphones because my mom told me a story that whenever her good friend used to listen to Led Zeppeling, she would drink a lot. I thought that that was my mom's way of telling me it wasn't very uplifting and that I probably shouldn't listen to it. However, one day, I thought everyone in the house was gone, and I put it on my stereo and cranked it. My mom came running down the stairs and half said and yelled "Yeeahhhh, Led Zeppelin".  All of that sneaking around to feel rebellious blew up in my face. I could have been blasting them that whole time. My one "guilty pleasure" album ended up being not guilty. It wouldn't be until I started listening to Sublime that I would get that back.

1. Journey: Journey's Greatest Hits

Although I did have a vinyl of the Journey Album "Frontiers", (Which was awesome, the label on the record had a picture with the band in skydiving uniforms holding hands in a circle, so while the record was spinning, it looked like they were doing a skydiving trick formation.) When I got around to getting an album, I got their Greatest Hits. I feel like this is kind of a half point because I don't exactly count greatest hits albums as a real album, since usually albums are works of art themselves and songs fit into albums for a reason, well, most of the time anyway, but I loved this greatest hits album. Most people consider "Don't Stop Believing" and "Any Way You Want It" to be their biggest hits, I have always been partial to "Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)" to be my favorite. Which is also the song that opened up their album "Frontiers", that I mentioned above. There are even more awesome songs on the album, but I think you get the point.

Anyway, that about does it for the list. Like I said, they weren't numbered in a "countdown to my favorite" list. It would be impossible to rank them. Other bands that are honorable mentions are The Guess Who, The Who, Green Day, I can't believe that I didn't have Green Day on there somewhere, but to be honest, Green Day was kind of something I was into more in Middle School. I still love them and listen to them all the time, but when I think of my favorite albums from Green Day, they are from different time periods.

Anyway, I hope you like the list and are inspired to check some of them out. I hope this was a fun blog for you to read. It was a blast to write.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Coheed, Cambria, and the Tragic Story of Love and Lost...

Most of you who know me well know that I am a die-hard Coheed and Cambria fan. Like, crazy nuts over Coheed and Cambria. Earlier this evening I attended their Neverender Concert where they played their second album: In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3. I could spend forever on a blog about the band. How their albums are a soundtrack to a comic book that their lead singer/songwriter, Claudio Sanchez writes. The comics cover their first two albums so far, out of six albums, lol, but the story is all there. Anyway, at the concert, I was able to push my way up to the front, here is a picture we got of Claudio singing and playing away.

Yes. We were that close. Front and center.

Now at rock shows, especially if you want to get close to the stage in a general admissions show, you have to get nice and comfy with the people around you. Mosh pits are the best because they clear big crowds of people out of the way, and it is easy to sneak in and past and get closer. It was closer when my love story starts.

Coheed had been playing for about 20 minutes and the crowd was rocking and having a great time. While being pushed around a little as I was working my way to the front, I stopped moving, the song had just ended. Everyone was regrouping, so I was standing there, and I look next to me expecting to see my friends, Tom and Michael, and there I saw a stunning blond girl. Everyone was all sweaty and stuff from the dancing and moshing going on, but she still looked fantastic.We both bought the same tour t-shirt, which she put on over a t-shirt with the Abbey Road Beatles album cover, (my second favorite Beatles album after Rubber Soul), and she had green ear plugs, Chuck Taylor Converse All-Stars (my favorite shoes), and jeans. She looked over at me and smiled one of the prettiest smiles I have received from a girl in a long while now. It wasn't just a normal smile, though. It was like we looked at each other, smiled, and something clicked. Coheed starts playing again and she starts dancing super fun and crazy and looks at me, and by that time, I was under a spell. I couldn't help but jump and dance around with her. We were singing all of the words to the songs together. She smiled, got in front of me, while dancing and kept looking back over her shoulder at me. We shared this dance together. I was completely unaware of my surroundings by this point. One of my all time favorite bands is up playing some of their best music, and I was lost.

The song ends, I feel a tap on my shoulder, and behind me is a guy...matching green ear plugs. He reaches over, and pulls her back by his side, glaring at me with fire in his eyes. I had no idea, of course. He took her back a couple rows of people and with the craziness of the show coming back into picture, I turned around, rocked hard, but didn't see her again.

I always loved the song 'You're Beautiful" by James Blunt, (listen and or download the radio edit, by the way, he says the F word in the regular album version which sucks because it doesn't fit the song, like, at all.) I never felt the weight of the song until tonight. Anyway, I can't remember the last time I connected with someone like that. I never learned her name....nothing. Forever in my mind, she is going to be called "The Coheed Girl", and when I hear their song 2's My Favorite 1 by Coheed, she is the girl I am always going to think of.

They say "It's better to have love and lost than to have loved at all". I never knew that in the right setting in the right way, you can fall in love and lose it just as fast. Tonight the new girl of my dreams is somewhere in the Salt Lake Valley being taken home and kissed goodnight by someone who isn't me. It's a safe bet to say that I will never see her again, but my heart, though a little broken, is a little happier for having that moment.

I don't think I will ever forget you, Coheed girl, and even though you will never see this, and let alone know it is about you, I wish you love and happiness wherever you are and whoever you are with. Thank you for the gift of your warm smile and the dance/rock-out we had. It proved to me that the magic of love is still out there, and that in the right circumstances can still find me.

To end I will quote a line from Coheed and Cambria's song 2's My Favorite 1 about my Coheed Girl, "Cross towards the dance floor and together we will show them who's boss".

Monday, September 1, 2014

My Football Movie Checklist....

It's that time of year again and I am excited. American Football is upon us. I am more partial to NCAA football than I am the NFL, but I love watching both. Since the first week in September hardly has any new movies coming out due to the summer season ending, I thought I would make up a checklist of movies about football. All of the films I name are either available through the Salt Lake County Library on available on Netflix if you have a subscription to Netflix. Let's get started...

Rudy        Rated: PG for language and mild violence

Rudy is about a young man who loves football and dreams of playing for Notre Dame. However he is very small, and in order to play for Notre Dame, he also needs to be a student. The film follows the struggles and triumphs that Rudy has to go through. This is one of my all time favorite movies about football. It's very inspiring and has a very pretty soundtrack.  Rudy is directed by David Anspaugh and written by Angelo Pizzo who are the same team that  brought us the very awesome movie, Hoosiers. Rudy is based on a true story.

Remember the Titans      Rated: PG for mild violence and racial themes

Remember the Titans is also based on a true story. It is about a newly integrated high school football team that struggles with the issues of race. The whole town is upset with the hiring of coach Herman Boone, an African American coach. Everything seems to fall apart, the members of the team are at each others throats about race and losing certain players to make the best team possible and the towns people are threatening and trying to coax the new football coach out of his job. However, with a strong attitude, both mentally and physically, things start to turn around. 

Friday Night Lights      Rated: PG-13   for language, violence, teen partying and alcohol and drug use

Staying to the track of films that were brought about by a true story, Friday Night Lights is probably the most realistic since it follows the book of the same name very well. A reporter from New York heard about how crazy Texans like high school football. He moved to Odessa, Texas  where he witnessed the whole season of the Permian High Panthers. The players were treated like royalty. They had cheerleaders and pep squad girls that would follow a player around and wait on them hand and foot. The town is in an uproar when the newly appointed coach loses a game to start off the season. Can they make it to the champions ship game, or not. There was also a TV show that was called Friday Night Lights, and it was the exact same thing, except with a fictional town, but still set in Texas. The show ran for five seasons. It was a great show. I believe it is still on Netflix. It does a great job and keeping the same intensity from the town as the original story did.

The Blind Side     Rated: PG-13    for one scene of violence, drug and sexual references

Guess what?  Another true story coming at you. The Blind Side tells the true story of Michael Oher. He didn't know who his father really was. His mom was a drug addict and Michael had family members or people in his ghetto neighborhood who were gang members and drug dealers. He was homeless until a wonderful woman and her family took him in and helped him with school, but also helped him by putting him on the football team. Michael didn't really have experience, but he was a natural talent. He is then sought after for colleges putting their new rosters together, and eventually to the NFL draft.  The Blind Side is an incredible film. Sandra Bullock who plays Leigh Ann Touhy, the woman who took Michael in, and was honored with an Oscar for the best performance in a female lead role. This movie is very touching.

Brian's Song    Rated: G            Contains some racial themes

I am sensing a pattern here. Brian's Song is a true story about a football player named Brian Piccolo and his relationship with his friend, Gale Sayers. Piccolo and Sayers were the first players in the NFL who were assigned to be roommates where one was white and the other African American. Their relationship grows into a strong bond of friendship, but that isn't the only thing that is growing. Brian Piccolo develops cancer and fights through it with Gale Sayers. This one is one of my all-time favorite movies about football. There are actually two versions of Brian's Song. The one I am referring to is the 1971 version with James Caan and Billie Dee Williams.

A Triumph of the Heart: The Ricky Bell Story        Not Rated,  but most likely a G or very low PG rating. Thematic Issues.

If Brian's Song doesn't succeed at tugging your heart strings, this one will. Another true story,  Ricky Bell, a pro football player for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with an education in speech therapy is assigned to visit and work with a boy by the name of Ryan Blankenship who has some handicaps. Ryan's family works at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers stadium, which makes Ryan even more excited to meet Ricky Bell, since he is Ryan's favorite player. They end up forming a bond to each other. Ricky starts spending time with Ryan's family and uses his teammates to do things to help Ryan out. However, when Ricky Bell gets traded to the San Diego Chargers, things start to get more complicated, Ricky Bell who Ryan looked up to so much, turns the tables and it is Ryan who Ricky Bell looks up to for courage and strength. This was a made for TV movie, but it is my favorite movie dealing with football. It is available on Netflix, or  if you look it up on the Internet Movie Data Base,, and it will let you stream the film from there, so it is completely free if you have an internet connection. Remember to have a box of tissues handy for this one. I have seen it quite a few times, and no matter how hard I try, I can't up but tear up.

Invincible       Rated: PG for sports action and some language

This is the true story, surprise surprise, of Vince Papale, who is a 30 year old bartender in Philadelphia who goes to open tryouts for the Philadelphia Eagles NFL team and against all odds, ends up making the team. Mark Wahlberg plays Vince, Greg Kinnear plays Coach Dick Vermeil, and Elizabeth Banks plays Janet Cantrell who plays Vince's love interest.

We Are Marshall             Rated: PG for thematic elements and some language and brief violence

We Are Marshall is yet again another true story about the Marshall University football team who loses quite a few players and fans due to a plane crash. The story follows Coach Jack Lengyel and his remaining player and their struggles to keep the football program alive for the rest of the season. Matthew McConaughey and Matthew Fox are great in their roles as the coaches for Marshall. I enjoyed this one quite a bit.

The Freshman           Not Rated as it was released in 1925   Nothing Offensive.

Finally a film about football that isn't a true story. The Freshman is my favorite silent film. It start Harold Lloyd as a young man heading off to college. He has dreams of becoming the best man on campus, but his quirks and awkwardness get in the way in a hilarious way. He wants to be captain of the football team, even though he is super scrawny, just so that he can copy other student's paths at becoming popular. What he doesn't know and realize is that the boarding house he is staying at is being ran by a girl and her mother. The girl falls in love with Harold Lloyd and is secretly cheering him on, while at the same time loving him for who he is and not his status. He makes the team as a tackling dummy, but in the final, most important game of the season, injuries start to mount up and in order to not forfeit , the coach reluctantly sends Harold out to play. The results are hilarious, but also follow the real football rules at the time. This film is absolutely a joy to watch. All of the comedy and word play are still popular today. This has my favorite silent film caption. The title card reads:  Tate University - A large football stadium, with a college attached. Sounds like schools from the Big Ten conference today.

When the Game Stands Tall                  Rated: PG  for football action.

I reviewed this film last week. Just a quick recap, a true story, a high school football team has the longest winning streak in all of football history. They come into a season and loose two games, but are determined to beat a team who is next to impossible to beat. They work hard to get to the game and even make it to the state championship. There are lots of motivational speeches in this film. Maybe a few too many, but the heart is there. There isn't one swear word to be heard. It makes a great family film. It is in theaters right now.

Well that just about wraps it up for this checklist. Here are a few other films that I didn't go into detail about that you might enjoy.

The Waterboy,  The Longest Yard (the 2005 version), The Express, Necessary Roughness, and Jerry Maguire,

I hope this article has been fun to read and I hope that I have inspired you to watch a few of these films.

If you have other football movies that you like and enjoy, be sure to let me know via the comments or email.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

BYU of U.....

So, I come from a family whose dad's side is completely obsessed with sports, which is a great thing, I think. My mom's side of the family had more of the performing and fine arts background, which is where I must get my passion for those things from.

I seriously live my life not by the change of the seasons from Winter to Spring, Spring to Summer, Summer to Fall, and Fall to Winter.  I live it like, Okay, in September we get NCAA and NFL Football and MLB and MLBB are finishing up., October we get NCAA and NBA basketball, in January we lose NCAA football, but still have everything else. February brings NFL to an end. March ends NCAA basketball, and April we get MLB and MLBB baseball back. Live, rinse, repeat.

We have our favorite teams from every sporting team, but there are some contradictions with other people we love to get into sports with. My favorite spectator sport is college football. In Utah it's hard because most people want you to be a BYU fan or a Utah fan, but not of both.

While growing up, I didn't have the extreme hatred for Utah that three out of my four best friends did, lol, but still didn't hate Utah as much. My dad coached sports for a high school. My dad knows tons of stats of players I've never heard of. Just the other night we were at a Bees baseball game and he was telling me all of the players who were in the majors that are now playing in the minors, and where they were from and everything. I love that about my dad. Anyway, my dad coached football with his best friend, who actually played for Utah when he was in college. He is a huge Ute fan and can't stand BYU.  My brother in law, yeah, huge Utah fan. I have lived most of my life surrounded by fans of both teams.

So, in my family, growing up, my family would cheer for both teams. If one team had more at stake in their season, that would decide who was rooted for. I actually had BYU football season tickets growing up. Every once in a while I would go with my dad to see a Utah game, which I enjoyed, but leaned more to the blue than the red.

Now that I am my age, I love college football so much, just as much as I always have, but with Utah joining the Pac 12, and the "Holy War" rival game is more of a thing of the past, besides certain seasons, it is a lot easier to be fans of both. I feel that I love college football so much that I feel happy and excited to root for both teams equally.

I want to apologize to Kevin, Spencer, and Kendall for being able to sit on the fence and be fair about it. I love the passions we all have for our teams. Darin, I can finally say that I can now root with as much enthusiasm as you have for Utah. I always cheered for them until they played BYU, but years of learning to be a Utah fan from my brother in law and the Brady family has molded me into a perfect fence-sitter. In the future for "Holy War" games, I will be rooting for who has most at stake. I am kind of a little frustrated at both teams. While I feel that Utah will get better over time playing in the Pac 12, I struggle to get behind Bronco. I don't care for his coaching. I remember people wearing Fire Crowton shirts at BYU games, but honestly, I think that I would rather have him back in some respects. My dad and I think that a head coach should worry about the team as a whole, and delegate someone to take over as the defensive coordinator. The defense seems to suffer some, and the rest of the team doesn't get as much time with the head coach that they should. Utah is in a conference with big teams with big money, and though they have struggled a little bit, I think that in time they will be able to work up the ranks. 

So with me being totally excited about College Football starting this coming week, here we go!

Good Luck BYU of U.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Planetarium and Baseball....

Sometimes being a dad is hard. My dad is probably the greatest person I know, and now that I have a little boy of my own, my appreciation for my dad has gotten deeper. My dad just retired from being a high school English teacher for 35 years. I loved going to Cyprus where my dad taught and I was happy that I got to share a lot of great times together growing up.

My dad isn't made out of money, but the way my sisters and I were raised, we never felt like we were going without. There are things in my life that I look back on and realize that my dad was there and loves me unconditionally. When I was in elementary school and middle school, I was considered a nerd. I got beat up from time to time and was teased well beyond what normal kids get teased.

I remember in the early to mid 1990s, one of the fashion trends going around were kids wearing Starter Sports Coats. A lot of kids at school had them from all different teams and even sports. NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL and NCAA. I remember my dad coming to me and said that if I helped him do some stuff around the house that he would get me a Starter jacket. They were expensive too. Like, between $90.00 to $120.00. We went to The Pro Image at the mall which is what Fanzz used to be called back in the day. We were looking at the jackets and we spotted a Salt Lake Buzz Starter Jacket. Franklin Quest Park, now Smiths Ballpark, opened in 1994 and my dad took me and my four best friends, Kevin, Darin, Kendall and Spencer to see a game. The team started out as The Buzz, but got threatening letters from Georgia Tech, since they refer to their mascot as "The Buzz" and that people were buying Salt Lake stuff instead of theirs. Anyway, that happened after a few years. The team changed from The Buzz to the Salt Lake Stingers, and after a few seasons, Larry Miller bought the team and renamed them the Bees, since a team way back in the middle of the 20th century that played in Salt Lake was called The Bees.

Anyway, we saw the jacket. My dad played college baseball and had a short stint on a minor league team. We love baseball in our family. I remember my dad telling me how awesome the jacket was and I agreed. We went home with a $95.00 Starter jacket, and I couldn't wait to wear it to school the next day. I went to school feeling excited. When I got there, I started walking down the halls, and the kids started making fun of me as usual, except they were all bragging that I was stupid to get a Buzz jacket. They were teasing me about this jacket that I loved not just because it was an expensive jacket, but because of the emotions of love and gratitude, and now a lifetime memory of my dad showing his unconditional love and pride in me. I still have that jacket today. I don't wear it. I wore it out to a few April games the following season when it was still cold in the evening. I got some great comments from strangers about the jacket. I didn't wear it too much, not because of the teasing I got for it at school, but because when I look at that jacket, my heart feels full and heavy. My dad loved me and he thought it was so neat, and I did too.

Sometimes I have a nightmare or hear a news story where people in my life have died or people around me in general. I can't help but wonder sometimes how much more time I have with my dad on this earth. He isn't too old, but when I look back on pictures or family videos, he has changed. I still feel like that four year old little boy who dressed as Superman, but even superman had an amazing dad to teach him how the world works and how to live your life the best you can. His love, kindness and example won't leave me when he finally does go. He will live on in my heart and thoughts, and hopefully I will be able to pass that down to Elliot and have my dad's legacy live on from generation to generation because I made it a point of him sticking with me.

So every time I have Elliot over, I try to do something fun with him. I don't have a lot of money, but I try to do things with him that show him how much I love him and how much I love my time with him. This past Saturday, I took Elliot to the Clark Planetarium at the Gateway Mall. I hadn't been there for a few years and they had some new, well, new to me, exhibits. I thought we would only be in there for half an hour tops. We spent three hours there between playing with the exhibits over and over again and trying to decide on what toy or treat we should get from the science toy store there in the planetarium. We were going to buy astronaut ice cream, but for a dollar more we found a fun kit with some Mentos candy with a pipe and stopper that you screw onto the top of a two litter bottle of Diet Coke, put the Mentos in with the stopper plugged up, and then release the stopper. The Coke shoots up over 25 feet high. It's a really fun toy. Anyway, here is a picture of Elliot playing on the Moon.

I have a really great friend who works for the Salt Lake Bees. We were in a play together, and so whenever we want to go down to a Bees game, he comps us a few tickets. So, earlier this evening My dad, Elliot and I went to the Bees game. It was great weather, except for the rain in the 9th inning. We had a bunch of $1.00 hot dogs. It was great. I got some fun pictures here.

I hope that one day Elliot will feel the same way I do about my dad, but with me. I want him to know that I don't have a lot, but I have a lot to give where it counts. I want him to experience as much of life as a person can have, especially while still being a kid. I hope that that lasts a long time. The best part is, I don't think I have grown up much. I am a big kid as well. I love learning and exploring new things all the time. My friend Stephen probably knows that more than anyone, but it's okay because Stephen is where I learn a lot about things like comic books and Anime. Point is, both of us have a hard time finding girls to date! (Don't curse me, Stephen, I still have your Scott Pilgrim graphic novels, so you need me if you ever want those things back!).

Anyway, I hope that you all love your family members. If not, try to maybe not thing about how much you disagree with them and pray or wish good things for them. My dad is the best. I hope I can be that way for Elliot, and I hope and pray that Elliot will be that way for my grand kids. Now there is a scary thought.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

We're Going To Las Vegas??? No? Oh Crud, We Are Going To See Sin City???

Tomorrow morning is the day for my critic screening of Sin City: A Dame To Kill For. I have been dreading it since the last Sin City. I went against my better judgement to see it. What I saw and felt during the film was dirty and uncomfortable. I know some people out there will not agree with me at all with this blog, but I have my opinion and feelings, and as a critic am inclined to share them.

I love comic book and graphic novel films. I grew up loving comic books and superheroes. Now that I am older, I have found comics and graphic novels that are written more for late teens and adults. Some of them are great to read. Some of them even better than their movies, like most books. However, when it comes to comic book writer, Frank Miller, he knows how to hold readers captive with the help of his artists who ink some incredible panels. If you look back, Frank Miller's other popular graphic novel, 300, the art is true the same. Frank Miller also did The Spirit, which he directed and was awful. Hopefully they will make Frank Miller's Ronin into a film, but with better judgement.

The problem with these franchises is the fact that the directors and cinematographers can get the look of the film right, but can't get the ideas across in film that come across so well in print. I am not too big on the Sin City comics, though I have read them all. There is something wrong about them that translates through both print and film. Before I make my comment on Sin City, I want to first share with you my reasons on thinking and feeling this way. 

A few years back, Gothic rock star, Marilyn Manson, was performing in Iowa when a person bringing a prop on stage had a smiley face sticker on it. Marilyn Manson acted like that smiley face was the plague, he swore, recoiled and ran off stage. This started a riot at the concert that ended up with lots of injured people and 33 arrests. I don't know how many of you have been to a Marilyn Manson concert. I haven't, but I have seen videos of the crowd who show them in some kind of trance. You know that feeling when there is something terrible, but you can't take your eyes off of it like you are in some trance. I believe that this is the way Marilyn Manson wants his crowds to feel.

In The Phantom of the Opera, a young woman becomes enchanted with aura of evil that surrounds the phantom. Just when you think that the phantom has won, the young woman sends him a ray of sunlight, a holy kiss. The phantom can't take it and fades away. Like some vampire exposed to the sun.

In my opinion, I think that vampires exist today. Not the "Let me suck your blood, bleh"  but the kind that are ready tosuck some of your soul away one ticket at a time. These celebrities make their livings by promoting violence, sex, drugs, rebellion and other things that can stick in your mind way after the entertainment happens.

So, back to Sin City. With the first film, I went to see it and looked around at some of the people in the audience. They had the same looks that those people had at the Marilyn Manson show. It's awful, but we can't look away. The artistic value is neat to look at, but the film doesn't have any characters that aren't involved in anything good. It is bad people fighting bad people. There is no bright ray of sunshine that comes across in the film at all. It's violent, crude, gory, see through clothing making it pretty much nudity, and what do we get out of it? What lesson do we learn. I understand people go to movies to escape and not think for two hours or so, but almost every film we watch, every film that we love is all about the story. Overcoming odds or capturing the bad guy. Symbolism that helps you look inside yourself and inspire you. None of that here. Just dirty and gritty characters, locations, and situations.

The film tricks us. It looks cool, but offers no faith and hope of rescue from it. Charity becomes a bad thing, and frankly, I don't think the writers and filmmakers of the Sin City films don't want to portray that. I think they lack the faith not to portray anything but the bad. The idea of a holy kiss or sunlight or smiley face stickers is disgusting to them. Who do they really care about, you or them? They are in it for a paycheck. They don't care who they hurt. There are people that will disagree with me on this, but that is how I think and feel.

I will be reviewing Sin City 2 tomorrow so that I don't turn in a biased opinion. I will be fair to it just as I am with every other film I see. I hope that I will walk out with a little sunshine in my pocket that I didn't come in with, but I'm not holding my breath. My review will be available on Friday.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Cancelled Television Shows That I Wish We Had Back Today.

Most people know me as a film critic. I attend movies all the time and write about them. I have a hard case of insomnia, which sucks at times, and is great in other ways. I am able to keep up with Hollywood and Independent films, but also keep up with a good number of television shows. There are a ton of shows out there that don't deserve to be on TV anymore, but still go season after season.

The sad thing about TV is that it has all been done before. There are tons of unfunny sitcoms on the air that had a great idea in the beginning, but have run out of ideas. If the ratings and money are right, a show lasts a lot longer than it really should. I'm looking at you Two and a Half Men.

Even with Fox having lots of animated shows that air every Sunday evening have lost steam, or frankly, are only copying The Simpsons and ride on that show's heels. Family Guy? Yeah, not as good, nor ever will be as good as The Simpsons. I feel that it is popular on the only fact that it is more crass than The Simpsons. They might have different characters, but if you look at both Peter Griffin and Homer Simpson, they are both dumb, sarcastic, and spit out "life lessons" that no one in life should ever follow. The Difference, Homer Simpson came about in 1989, and family guy happened almost twenty years later. Just saying. I have found myself to laugh at certain things in Family Guy. I just don't think it is this great work of comedy that is fresh. It's definitely in your face, but sometimes, in your face gets old pretty quick. I am not meaning to totally bash Family Guy. I just used it to compare original and differences of style.

The sad thing is, there have been great television shows that people adored that aren't on television anymore. I will talk about my three favorite shows that are currently off the air.

Number 1: This show will always be my number 1 when it comes to cancelled television shows.


It may have been created by the creators of The Simpsons and have the same styled world that The Simpsons have, but Futurama was special. It took characters, some like characters on The Simpsons, but in different ways. Fry was stupid like Homer Simpson, but Bender had the in-your-face attitude of Homer Simpson. The show aired on Fox, and during that time, The Simpsons was starting to go downhill, a problem that the creators of the Simpsons have been able to fix as of late. True, The Simpsons isn't as good as it was from seasons 3 through season 10, but they went through a slump and worked their way out of it. Anyway, I promise, I am not meaning to write a love letter to The Simpsons, but I feel that it is required when talking about other animated shows. The fact is that while The Simpsons was starting to go downhill, Futurama came about and was very fresh and hilarious. It's episodes started at good and got better, even while its sister series, The Simpsons was starting to decline.

Futurama also had outlandish creatures and characters that you can't get on any other show. It was a dream show for geeks, especially for Star Trek, Star Wars and Doctor Who fans. The science fiction comedy was in a situation to do anything possible. Want to make Richard Nixon jokes years after his presidential and after years, put his head in a jar, and bam, there they are. It also boasted consistent writing, winning several Emmy Awards for writing. You want to see some incredible writing and care for a television show, watch the Futurama episodes "Roswell That Ends Well", "Jurassic Bark" or "Luck of the Fryish". Those episodes go down in my person book of best episodes of any television show ever.

After a couple of seasons, Fox cancelled the show. However, Cartoon Network's Adult Swim programming added syndicated episodes of Futurama to its line up. Sales in Futurama Season DVD sets started selling like hot cakes, and so Fox made a deal to make 4 DVD straight to home video films, which sold super well. Those 4 DVD movies got cut up into pieces and aired on television in episode formats. All performed super well, and Comedy Central brought Futurama back to life. Right before that, Family Guy did the same thing, and now it is stronger than ever on Fox. Futurama did two seasons worth of episodes, over a couple of years time. They would release 13 episodes during the summer, and then 13 episodes the next summer clamping it all into one season. It's final episode aired in 2013 on Comedy Central with an incredible episode. All creators and voice actors involved want the show to return, but hasn't had much talk recently, except that they are going to do a crossover episode with The Simpsons this coming season on Fox.

It amazes me that this unique, hilarious and smart television show is off of the airwaves when we have American Dad or Bob's Burgers. There is always hope that it could come back. It has a fan base, but who is willing to take the risk by putting the show back on television after two different cancellations? Honestly, I don't know what Comedy Central was thinking with the show having the best ratings on any  show on that network. Here's hoping.

Next up on my list is probably the best thing to happen to television in a long time, only to be cancelled after two 13 episode seasons.

Pushing Daisies aired on ABC Televison close to six years ago. The show had a beautiful production. The story was original and funny while dealing with the subject of death. It was a crime show in a fantasy world. Here is what the show was about.

Lee Pace, who you may know from The Hobbit and the evil enemy in this year's film, Guardians of the Galaxy, Ronan.  He played Ned, an incredibly gifted pie maker who owned a shop called "The Pie Hole". He was known for his pies being the freshest pies in the city. His secret, when he was a young boy he found that he had a gift. He could touch someone or something. like a piece of fruit, and bring it back to life. However, with his touch came a curse as well. He could bring people back to life after they had passed away, but after sixty seconds, something else in the vicinity of equal value to that spirit had to die. Also, the person would live for sixty seconds, but if he touched them before the sixty seconds was up, the person would die again and would not be able to be brought back to life.

In comes a girl named "Chuck". He brings her back to life, but kind of falls in love with her, so he let her live while someone else died. It was a choice that weighed on Ned, but what happens next is sad. Chuck and Ned fall in love, but if he touches her again, she will die and never be able to come to life again. Some of the fun creativity from the show was Ned and Chuck finding ways to show each other physical attraction without actually touching each other. However, Ned is also loved by one of his employees who isn't dead and brought back to life, Broadway star Kristin Chenoweth's character, Olive. She was great and the show made use of her singing talent.

The other aspect of the show was there was a private detective that was hard up for crimes to solve. His name was Emerson. Emerson and Ned would go to morgues looking for people who had been murdered. Ned would touch them, bring them to life for 59 seconds. The deceased person would tell them what happened, and then they would scope out the crime scene, solve the murder, and get paid well for doing it. It was so original and funny. One of the show's creators, Barry Sonnenfeld, producer and director of The Addams Family films and the Men in Black films, was a producer and used his wisdom behind pulling off macabre in a sweet and fantastic way. Pushing Daisies was bright, full of humor, awesome sets, original stories, and fun. It was a show I could not wait for every week.

The show didn't struggle so much in ratings, but the production value it cost needed more fans to watch the show. At the time, it was ABC's most expensive show to produce. Lower ratings than what were needed killed the show. It even left huge, gaping questions to  the characters and storyline. ABC and creators of the show promised a comic book idea that was perfect for the show to continue on in some other format and answer all of the questions the show left hanging. It never happened. I own season one and two on DVD and get them out, watch them and feel thankful that I at least have 22 episodes of the show, but how I yearn for more. To leave this one on a positive note, however, the show creator, Bryan Fuller did an interview and said that he would love to bring Pushing Daisies to the big screen or in the form of a Broadway musical. I would love either one, although I think that maybe with a film, people could want the TV show to return. Either way, I want more, and I hope it will come in any format. Personally, comic books would be super awesome. Either way, I want to follow more adventures of Ned, Chuck, Emerson, and Olive. Hopefully it will happen.

My last show I wanted to talk about, but actually am breaking the rule of this article is I wanted to talk about a show that I loved to watch that was able to run its course, but wish we had one more season to fix the up in the air feeling.

I remember the first time I heard about Chuck. I read that it was brought about by the people who made The O.C., a show I wasn't particularly a fan of. I wasn't too interested in Chuck until my mom called me up and asked me if I had watched it. I said that I hadn't, and she proceeded to tell me that it was really funny and charming in a strange way. I remember watching season one, loving it, and then there started to be rumors that they wouldn't continue with the show. But with the fans writing in, Chuck was able to survive for five seasons. Of course the nerd spy show was fun, but my interest was always a "Are Chuck and Sarah ever going to end up together?" The show answered the question in the end, but it was strange and open-ended. I think the show, as far as the spy comedy it was, ran its course and there didn't really need to be anymore "Intersect" story lines. The show started to go downhill as far as the spy stuff went when the intersect was something that almost anyone could get and turn into. I just wish we had one more season to find out where the characters were going to go, especially in the "Are they together or not" department. It gives me the same feeling that a tied soccer match gives me. Who the heck won? I don't know, but it's an ending.

Also, this is kind of a cheat, but wanted to mention one more show. Said above that Chuck would be the last show I brought up, but I have to include 24.

I am really glad that Fox brought 24 back to TV. I loved the show during its run on Fox for eight seasons. Also in the middle of the series, was a made for TV movie to air during the end of the summer to set up the next season of 24. I watched every season every year without fail. It was great to have Jack Bauer back kicking some trash. It only lasted half of the time that a normal season lasted, but 24: Live Another Day  delivered making it one of the best seasons of the show. Everything was action packed, and the drama between the big action sequences raised the stakes of the situation. There were twists and turns, and it was a heck of a lot of fun to watch. I am sure that Fox made the season a kind of ratings "test" to see if it could draw high numbers that it once did. It was successful, so here is also hoping that Kiefer Sutherland  and company will return with another season of action packed drama.

Anyway, those are my shows I wish I had back, even just for a little bit. Let me know what shows that have been off of the air for a little while that you would love to see return.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

The Funny Thing About Being A Film Critic......

All of my life, I have always loved going to the movies, like a lot of people. I always love them and collect them and share them with people. My favorite thing about the movies most of the time is that they share ideas or can inspire people. There are tons of films that I love because they make me feel something different that I don't feel anywhere else. The same is true with books, live theater and music. But there is something about film that always fascinates me a little more than other arts.

I was talking about a film I recently saw and hated, cough (Into the Storm), and I felt kind of bad because I was talking with a friend of mine at the theater who was excited to see it. I gave my reasons, but I also know that there are some bad movies out there and for some reason, I have enjoyed them, and have even added a few to my collection. As a film critic, I like to report my opinions about films, but I also encourage people to make their own minds up about things.

Back in May when The Amazing Spider-Man 2 came out, I walked out of the theater and had enjoyed myself. Other film critics ripped it to shreds, but I also understand why the filmmakers made the choices that they did, and also being a fan of comic books, everything made sense to me. I also loved the chemistry behind Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone. They touched on and answered some questions brought about by the first Amazing Spider-Man, and they left a wide open window for the next film. From what I understand, they are preparing to make a "Sinister Six" film which includes Spider-Man's top six foes.

At critic screenings, I have to report to the person in charge of the screening and tell them my thoughts. A critic in front of me who I personally can't stand to be around very much, lol, said it was the worst movie he had ever seen and said that he was praying for the day when Transformers 4 would be released to get the bad taste out of his mouth. In my opinion, what an idiot. Transformers 4, in my opinion, was terrible. If you search online for other critics opinions, you have probably came across Rotten Tomatoes. That site collects around 150 reviews from critics all over the world and gives a percentage of what films are considered good by critics and bad by critics. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 has three times more the good ratings than Transformers 4 did. However, this critic's opinion is just as valid as mine, and he has the right to think that.

Sometimes there are films that I am willing to defend because I really enjoyed them, when sometimes most critics don't. I try to express my opinion and leave the reader up to decide for themselves if they want to see the film or not. Everyone is different and has different tastes. A close friend of mine that attends screenings with me sometimes will say what he thinks, which is great. It's funny to see the difference in opinions. I can walk out of a film thinking that it was really awesome and how I can't wait to see it again. My friend will come out and say that he liked it, but doesn't really never need to see it again.

If I like something, I usually end up with a copy and watch the film every now and again for the sole reason of what I said earlier, they help me feel something or think something that only that story can teach.

I have my opinions and people have theirs. I say what I think and feel and am able to express myself through the stories. I say what I think and hope that people will decide for themselves as well. People are allowed to have their guilty pleasures, of which I have many. There are films I hate and will never see again, but I know that some people can find a piece of themselves in, so I try not to be too critical of other people and their opinions so that in turn people won't be too critical of me.

This evening, I sat down and watched two films. Safety Not Guaranteed and re-watched The Amazing Spider-Man 2. I still feel the same way about Spider-Man as I did when I saw it. Safety Not Guaranteed debuted at Sundance 2012, and I wasn't able to get in with my press pass because I arrived too late from another Sundance screening. I really enjoyed it. It is available on Netflix, and it is rated R for a handful of language and a couple of sexual references.

I just felt the need to say some of these thoughts while the end credits started to role for Spider-Man. I don't think that my opinions outrank anyone else and their opinions. I love being a critic and love spending two or three times a week at the theater. I feel so lucky that I am in the position that I am in and hopefully my love for cinema can come across in my reviews and  help other people maybe connect with something that inspires them.

Anyway, that's just a few of my thoughts. If I get some feedback on this blog through blogger or Facebook, I will gladly post a list of films that are guilty pleasures of mine. Until next time, I hope you enjoyed reading this post. Come back and visit my blog soon.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

New Addiction to My Family.....

Here we are. Born on August 1st, 2014 at 11:22 in the morning. Baby Stella Christine Park came into the world as part of our family. My sister Christine and Brother-in-Law, Dave, my nephew, Carson and niece Elizabeth have a brand new family member moving in. Due to watching Elliot this weekend, him having a runny nose, I was only able to see Stella for about five minutes, but here are the little videos I took. I actually do two stupid things in them. One, I filmed my dad's phone while he was filming the baby, just to give people who like the film Inception....and two, my dad quietly asks what he was on, meaning video or camera mode while recording the baby. Dad says "What was I on?" when I comment "Acid". I apologize for the dumb jokes. Here is the video. This will be dated come September when my other sister has her baby.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Crazy Week.....

Wow. So I thought that with the play being over with that this would be a nice week to relax and not have to worry about anything much. However, I have had a movie screening, to a movie I actually saw last week, but loved it so much I went back to see the second critic screening for it. It was Guardians of the Galaxy, and I am going out on a limb here and saying that I actually love the Guardians over The Avengers, just a teeny tiny bit. It is hysterical and the action is great. They had a couple of spaceship battles that I hope J.J. Abrams sees while filming the new Star Wars film. They are going to be some good competition, and I think that Guardians raised the bar as far as space battles and  honestly, I love comic book movies, and while I thought that Guardians of the Galaxy was a weird choice to "gamble" on, by picking a not so famous comic book set of characters and stories, Marvel has paid off in a huge way. I have seen it twice now and I enjoyed it just as much the second time around as I did the first. I have more details about my critique that will be published online at The Oquirrh Observer website, but I am telling you these things now since the film opens Friday, and you aren't going to want to miss it. You need to see this one in the theater folks!

Earlier this evening, we got Elliot and I took him on Trax to the Bees Baseball game.  It was a nice evening, there was a little bit of a breeze, but it kind of felt nice after all of the heat we have been having lately. The Bees lost, yet again. Their pitching is terrible. Two Tacoma players were walked home, which is awful. The Bees just can't get a pitcher that can throw strikes. Of course, with Elliot, we had to do some things to keep is interest in everything. There was a $1.00 hot dog promotion, so we got five, I ate four and Elliot ate about half of his, ha ha ha. We broke out the Gummie Bears for Elliot. We went and rode the little train they have for kids out around the outfield range. We were waiting in line, and I watched a kid get on the train, but I didn't think much of it. The train was full, so Elliot and I got to be at the very front of the line for the next ride. A lady came around hysterically crying that her son was missing. I put two and two together and told her that I saw him get on the train. Of course when the train came back around, the relieved mother got her little son and probably hugged him hard enough to turn her into the state for suffocating a child. All joking aside, I was glad to help the mother calm down a little bit by letting her know. Elliot and I rode the train, and then on our way back to our seats, we got some ice cream. They had these little baseball helmet cups with the Bees logo on them. I assumed that they didn't put much ice cream into them considering their size, but after I bought and paid for the ice cream, they put three huge scoops into them. Needless to say, I ate a lot of ice cream while Elliot continued to eat more of his gummie bears. We then left in the 8th inning so that we could beat the crowd to the Trax station. On the way out, we stopped and saw Bumble, the Bees mascot. I am not allowed to tell anyone who he is, but the man in the suit is a really close friend of mine, so he took his time and played with Elliot of a minute. As I said the Bees pitching was terrible, so we didn't mind leaving a little bit early. Elliot fell asleep after five minutes of sitting on the train. It was hard to get him home and into bed.

I found out today that my sister, Christine, is scheduled to have her new baby on Friday morning, well, actually, that is when she will be induced. Family parties are kind of crazy right now, so it is going to be super interesting when we have a new baby. Also, my sister, Gina, is pregnant and is due in August, so it is going to be even more crazy. I am super excited about the new babies coming. I love being a dad and an uncle. I love to play with the kids and I find it fascinating to see what their likes and dislikes are. Sometimes when you are a parent, or a role model for little kids, you have to do some acting. Elliot loves TV shows that I hate, but Elliot thinks they are great. It makes me happy just to sit with him and watch him interact with anything that he is doing. It reminds me of when I was that young and being into lots of different things. Some things are best left to childhood memories over discovering how dumb you find how those things are. I remember watching Masters of the Universe with He-Man, and I put on an episode for Elliot. He liked it, but I sat in disbelief that I could have liked it as much as I did. It was bad, ha ha ha. Either way, I will support Elliot with what he loves and likes to do or watch.

One final thing I found hilarious last night, I am a huge fan of The Simpsons. I have all of the DVDs of the seasons that are out so far, and have downloaded the episodes that they don't have on DVD yet. Sometimes on the show they have really funny signs or something to that effect. For example, They have a cookware store in the Mall that is called "Stoner's Pot Palace". The hippie bus driver, Otto walks out saying that the store has a "flagrant false advertising" title.  Sometime they watch TV on the show, and they scroll lists of things super fast that you can't read unless you pause the show quickly to read them. I was pausing a long list on an episode I watched recently, and I came across one in the middle of the list that said  "If you are reading this list, you don't have a life". I laughed really hard at it at first, then felt slightly saddened at the fact that I have no life. Ha ha ha.

Well, there you have it. My life this week in a nutshell. I just realized how stinking late it is. I need to go check on Elliot now and make sure that he is still sleeping, and hopefully catch some zzzzzz's while I am at it. Have a good night, or day, depending on the time you read this..if you made it this far. I will probably be posting a video blog on Friday or Saturday with videos of my new nephew or niece, since they didn't tell us what the gender of the baby will be.

Until next time, Thanks for reading. Take Care.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Two of my Favorite Things....

So along with being a film critic, people ask me all the time what my favorite movies are. I always tell them my all time favorite is Singin' in the Rain, which is true.  A couple weeks ago, I had Elliot with me and we always watch a movie before bedtime together and I got Singin' in the Rain out to see how long it would take for Elliot to either fall asleep or ask to watch something else. To my surprise, Elliot watched the full movie and laughed all the way through it. He loved it.

I got a picture from my ex-wife of Elliot walking home from church.... Here it is.....

Along with the picture, my ex-wife said that Elliot saw the lamppost and ran up to it, jumped on and started singing "Singin' in the Rain".

I have my favorite movie with my favorite boy in the world. I thought it was super cute, so I decided to share.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

19 Days......

Wow. It has been 19 days since I last posted a blog entry. So, let me catch you up to what is going on with me.  I performed my final show as Uncle Fester in The Addams Family musical out at The Empress Theatre in Magna, Utah. I love performing there. There is something special about performing there and the people that come out to act or spectate. It maybe at the end of  a run-down street, probably one of the last bigger buildings, anything further north and you would be in the Great Salt Lake. A little further west and you would be scaling a mountain.

I have been so blessed to have been a part of the show. I loved everyone in the show, and even though the show was double cast, I had a wonderful time rehearsing and going to watch the other cast.

I am kind of funny in some ways. I have a bi-polar disorder, and usually people with bi-polar disorder get super depressed during the winter and then go into a kind of mania in the summer time. For some weird reason, I am the opposite. I usually seem to be in better spirits come winter, and feel depressed in the summer. I have a really great medication and treatment plan that drastically improves my situations with the highs and lows that come with bi-polar disorder, almost to a point where the ups and downs are hardly an issue. Being involved with the show and everyone who put it all together helped my slump stay closer to normal and now I can feel that my mood is rising to around what most people would call normal.

One thing that makes me happy is that during the rehearsals and run of the show, there isn't one person in the cast that didn't help me reach my potential in my character. The list would be too long to go through the full cast and write something about every single person in the cast and crew. I tried really hard to get to know the other actors, whether I already knew them already and got to know them better or people new to the theater. I have made some incredible new friends and deepened my love and appreciation for those I already knew.

Anyway, I have been out to the theater quite a bit from the end of March through now between Shrek The Musical and The Addams Family. It will be nice to take a little break, get back into the swing of things with my film critic gig and have more time and hopefully more money since I won't be buying gas two times a week to travel out to Magna and back home to West Jordan. I hope to spend more time with Elliot and taking him places that would be fun to do. I also am involved again with The Jesters Royale. It is crazy to think that almost five years ago, I was playing a big part in putting together a new improv show format with some close friends of mine, and I am joining the team once again after a two year break to see if we can't produce some more of the improv magic we once had, but by doing it with a couple old friends from the team as well as new players that seem to have a lot of great wit.

Anyway, that is what I am up to these days. I have to brag and tell everyone that I got to see Guardians of the Galaxy two weeks early, and am going back again to see it one week before it opens. I legally can't review it, but the fact that I want to go again should tell you something, wink wink. 

Anyway, have a good morning, day, afternoon, evening, or night depending on when you read this.

If this is your first time visiting my blog, be sure to check out some of the older posts. I have had a lot of fun blogs, my personal favorite is about politically incorrect the first Curious George book is, and if you don't believe me and my points I argue,  I have the pictures from the book to make my case. Also, Jennica, if you read this, I am going to have to look up the C.G. book where he makes pancakes.

Love you all.

Peace Out!