Category Archives: movies

30 Years Ago Today: Dead Poets Society arrives in theaters

Dead Poets Society Robin Williams Carpe DiemCarpe diem. Seize the day, boys. Make your lives extraordinary.”

I am certain I did not see Dead Poets Society when it first arrived in theaters in 1989; I probably didn’t see it until more than two years later when I could drive to Blockbuster and rent it on VHS. Maybe I saw an “edited for television” version at some point before then. One thing I can tell you: when I did see Dead Poets Society, the movie had a major impact on me.

I have always been in love with writing. I often put it off and procrastinate and beat myself up for my lack of skills, but I cannot resist the pull of putting words to the page. The words of John Keating, portrayed by the legendary Robin Williams, inspired me as a teenager. I wanted to seize the day. I needed to make my life extraordinary.

Somewhere along the line, though, “real life” got in the way. I gave up on dreams until I stopped dreaming. I walked away from opportunities because of fear of failure and lack of self-confidence. I discouraged myself, despite the encouragement of others all around me.

Now, three decades later, I want to seize the day; I still feel the need to make my life extraordinary. And I still have no idea how to do that.

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30 Years Ago Today: Indiana Jones chooses wisely

Indiana Jones and the Last CrusadeHave the adventure of your life keeping up with the Joneses.

Indiana Jones is at it again, this time with dad in tow in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Harrison Ford appeared again as the main character, while Sean Connery joined the cast as Professor Henry Jones and River Phoenix played a teenage Indy in the third film in the series.

The movie was recognized with an Academy Award for Best Sound Effects Editing, beating Black Rain and Lethal Weapon 2. It was the third Oscar for Ben Burtt, who took home an Oscar in 1981 for Raiders of the Lost Ark and in 1982 for E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.

Last Crusade is set largely in 1938, placing it after the events of Temple of Doom (1935) and Raiders of the Lost Ark (1936). The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was set in 1957. With over 767,000 users voting, Last Crusade has a 94% score on Rotten Tomatoes.

35 Years Ago Today: Indiana Jones pushes the boundaries of the “PG” rating

Indiana Jones and the Temple of DoomIf adventure has a name…it must be Indiana Jones.

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom burst into American movie theaters on this date in 1984. The film received heavy criticism at the time due to violent scenes, which led director Steven Spielberg to suggest a new rating between “PG” and “R.” In July, the Motion Picture Association of America introduced the “PG-13” rating.

Harrison Ford reprises his role as the titular character in the second installment of the Indiana Jones series, a prequel to the 1981 blockbuster Raiders of the Lost Ark. Temple grossed over $333 million worldwide, and was the third highest-grossing film of 1984, behind Beverly Hills Cop and Ghostbusters. Wow, 1984 was a great year for movies.

The film featured a score by the inimitable John Williams.

If I were forced to rank the Indiana Jones movies thus far, I would have to rank them in the order they were released. Raiders of the Lost Ark is far and away the best, although I have to say I have enjoyed them all. Yes, even Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

25 Years Ago Today: Maverick arrives in theaters

MAVERICK MOVIEMel Gibson, Jodie Foster, and James Garner star in Maverick, the western comedy based on the 1950s television series of the same name. The supporting cast was quite good, including James Coburn, Denver Pyle, and Corey Feldman. There were quite a few uncredited guests as well, including director Richard Donner, John Fogerty, Danny Glover, Margot Kidder, and Reba McEntire.

The movie has its moments, but the real treat is the soundtrack, a virtual rundown of the biggest country music names in the ‘90s. Clint Black, John Michael Montgomery, Tracy Lawrence, Confederate Railroad…a ton of talent packed into about 40 minutes of music. Many of the artists featured on the soundtrack also appeared in minor roles in the movie.

Clint Black’s “A Good Run of Bad Luck” is easily my favorite song on the record. It also appears on Black’s own No Time To Kill album. The Maverick soundtrack hit #4 on the Country charts, and #35 on the Billboard 200.

20 Years Ago Today: We returned to a galaxy far, far away

Star Wars Episode I The Phantom Menace

We waited 16 years…for this?

Even Ani and Padme had their doubts

Sure, The Phantom Menace featured one of the coolest-looking Star Wars villains ever, but then he was (supposedly) killed at the end. A couple of spoilers there I guess, sorry.

Darth Maul

And then there was Jar Jar Binks.

Jar Jar Binks

What was George Lucas thinking?

MONEY

Yeah, that’s what he was thinking.

Star Wars movies

The Phantom Menace is now 20 years old. I’m glad George sold the rights to Disney, and I’m glad JJ Abrams gave us The Force Awakens in 2015 and will bring us The Rise of Skywalker later this year. Let’s not talk about The Last Jedi. Ever. Please. Thank you.

Random Awesomeness (part 2019.8)

Random Awesomeness

What I’m Reading Right Now: Almost Yankees: The Summer of ’81 and the Greatest Baseball Team You’ve Never Heard Of by J. David Herman.
 


Purchase Reckless & Me by Kiefer Sutherland!
(Yes, that Kiefer Sutherland, a.k.a. Jack Bauer,
a.k.a. President Tom Kirkman, a.k.a. David Powers.)
 

May The Fourth Be With You

Star Wars. It’s a cultural phenomenon. Long before the Avengers ruled the silver screen, George Lucas’ space opera captured the hearts and imaginations of moviegoers everywhere in the late 1970s.

I’ve ranked the Star Wars films before, but I’m going to do it again (without referring Star Warsto my previous ranking). Tell me where I’m wrong…

    1. Episode IV: A New Hope
    2. Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
    3. Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
    4. Rogue One
    5. Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
    6. Episode VII: The Force Awakens
    7. Solo
    8. Episode II: Attack of the Clones
    9. Episode I: The Phantom Menace
    10. Episode VIII: The Last Jedi

Where will Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker fit into the saga?

[Ok, I couldn’t resist looking back to see how I ranked them shortly after seeing Solo in theaters. I had ESB above ANH, and Solo came in at #4 because it was new and shiny. In the end, it doesn’t really belong in this list because it has so little to do with the overall saga, but I love it anyway. AOTC actually settled into the last spot. So there have been some slight adjustments over the past year, but nothing really earth-shattering.]

Goodbye, Peter Mayhew

(May 19, 1944 – April 30, 2019)

Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca Star Wars

Words escape me. He didn’t speak English, but Chewbacca was certainly one of the more entertaining Star Wars characters. The actor underneath all the fur, Peter Mayhew, passed from this life April 30.

The actor’s family shared the news via his official Twitter account:

The official Star Wars account and several other people involved with the franchise shared memories and photos on Twitter, as did fans of the lovable fuzzball…

Random Awesomeness (part 2019.5)

Random Awesomeness

What I’m Reading Right Now: Firefight: The Reckoners, Book Two by Brandon Sanderson. (Yes, still working on it.)


Purchase Feral Roots from Rival Sons!
(Greta Van Fleet is great, no doubt, but Rival Sons rocks harder for my money.)

Random Awesomeness (part 2019.4)

Random Awesomeness

What I’m Reading Right Now: Firefight: The Reckoners, Book Two by Brandon Sanderson.


Purchase the debut album from The End Machine!
(The End Machine features classic-era Dokken members George Lynch, Jeff Pilson, and Mick Brown, with current Warrant vocalist Robert Mason behind the microphone.)

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