Monday, December 23, 2013

Reflections, Movie Reviews

Okay another birthday has come and gone by about six days and now I am reflecting on what I reflected about that day.  After all that should be what birthdays are all about.  But , I have found that as that special date comes up every year and starts looking like a century mark instead of a yearly mark the reflections take a different look and attitude.  For example everything seems to jump into a group of 10, 20 or 30 years rather than 2, 5 etc.  A good example is when I talk to people who have just watched their 18 year old son/daughter graduate from high school, whereas when I look at my son’s graduation it was 34 years ago.  When I look at my own graduation I am looking at 56 years.  Then as I watched one of my high school senior grandson’s play in a football playoff game it reminded me that I played on that same field 57 years ago.  The only difference is they play on that sissy grass instead of dirt, some grass and lots of hard knocks. We of course call that the “good ole days” when concussions came much easier, the finger nails stayed dirty longer, and the bruises went from flesh to bone and stayed there for at least a week. We also wore our jock straps way too many days in a row!! One of my major reflections was to look at my birth certificate to make sure the numbers were right, sure enough I was born three quarters of a century ago or in simple terms 75 years on December 16, 1938 at 6:30 a.m., and both my parents were 24 years old.  So, now as I reflect I find myself asking, “what the hell have I accomplished by this milestone age and what am I going to do for the next 25 years or so?”  Well, as I look around this office, or as some call them, my “man cave” I see lots of stuff on the walls, book cases, filing cabinets, desk, floor, windows, etc., etc., that indicates I have been around a long time and put a lot of hardware all over the place.  But, what I have accomplished that I really like and enjoy is my good health that sets me apart from many of my friends in this age group.  Now don’t think I am bragging or boasting on this blessing I have been given, and believe you me I do consider it that very much, and am very thankful for it.  When I see some of my old time friends suffering from health challenges I am thankful everyday that I have the good health that I have.  Now as I sometimes get irritated because I can’t lift as much, run as fast or remember everything I should, I know that I have healthy aging and must take it in stride.  I must always look out for that next information break on how we can maintain a healthy diet/exercise and take care of ourselves.  I must always remember that my good health is my responsibility not the health professions.  I only use them when I have NO other choice and then do everything I can to heal myself with natural sources and the right attitude.  That is my goal and plea to everyone who is reading this!!  See you on the 76th, I got stuff to do!!

Movie Reviews:

“The Book Thief”,  ****, While subjected to the horrors of World War II Germany, young Liesel(Sophie Nelisse) finds solace by stealing books and sharing them with others.(Remember the Germans were burning all the good books in the libraries, especially if they did not agree with the philosophies of the Furer’.) There are scenes where they are burning great books in large stacks on the city streets. The family that adopts her, also is hiding a young Jewish man(also illegal since the Germans exterminated millions of Jews during this time and would usually murder anyone caught hiding them).  This is a very good movie.  Rated PG-13 for some violence and intense depiction of thematic material.  

“Dallas Buyers Club”, ***, This is a true story that happened in Dallas around 1985.  Electrician and sometime rodeo bull rider Ron Woodroof(Matthew McConaughey) lives hard, which includes heavy smoking, drinking, drug use and casual sex.  These turn out to be combinations for acquiring HIV and the doctors tell him he has 30 days to live.  So, back in those days all the legal drugs for this infection were not approved by the FDA.  But, he found out he could get the drugs from Mexico and bring them back to the USA for his use.  Along the way he also found out he could buy in quantities and sell to the infected people in the states that could not get them legally.  He sets up the “Dallas Buyers Club” for a $400.00 membership fee and all the drugs they need to stay alive.  Well done movie but of course somewhat depressing and he does die after 7 years, but I guess that beats 30 days.  Rated R for pervasive language(understatement), some strong sexual content(understatement), nudity and drug use.

“Saving Mr. Banks”, *****, This is a great five star true story about the making of the movie “Mary Poppins” authored by P.L. Travers, and made into a movie by Walt Disney.  It stars Tom Hanks as Disney and Emma Thompson as P. L. Travers from England.  Great supporting actors are Colin Farrell, and Paul Giamatti.  While the core story is about convincing Ms. Travers to allow Mr. Disney to make the story into a movie the other story is about her ghosts from child hood.  So, there are two stories going on with flashbacks to her younger days.  Very well done!  Rated PG with no sex, no profanity, no excess blood, no murders, some alcohol and some smoking.  

“American Hustle”, ***, This movie is about the ultimate con artists during the 70’s.  It even says in the beginning credits, “some of this may be true!”  Christian Bale and Amy Adams make a great con artist team and do a great job playing off of each other.  Then you have Bradley Cooper playing the somewhat sleazy, crooked FBI Agent and his wife played by Jennifer Lawrence.  Just to give it some real gangster feel Robert DeNiro makes a short cameo appearance, just enough to make it feel real.  The main objective in the scam was to get money, of course, and to expose crooked politicians in Atlantic City, New Jersey.  Rated R for pervasive language, some strong sexual content, and violence.  

EA, SH..........:)!


Saturday, December 07, 2013

Hope, Movie Review

A  daily habit of mine is to read the newspaper early in the morning right after it has been delivered.  That way it is still news and fresh off of the press, so to speak.  While I know I could have read the same news on the internet the night before it just isn’t the same.  I like the feel of paper and rubbing the black print off my fingers after I finish reading the entire contents.   Since there is always lots of death and destruction in the paper I like to skim that stuff(why do I want to read about a gory murder/suicide in Houston, TX?) and find some positive refreshing “news”.  This morning I hit the bingo jackpot while looking at the short articles that are listed on the borders of the front page of each section.  This happened to be on the sports section and was about a college football player.  Now it is fashionable for the players to play a few years and then if they are having success on the field they have certain options to apply for the National Football League draft with the hope of being drafted and signing multi-million dollar contracts. They leave the college life experience behind, shuck the idea of a college degree, and hope for the big contract.  So, to read about quarterback Marcus Mariota of the University of Oregon deciding  that he will return to Oregon for his junior season provided me with some real feel good moments.  He said, “it is an honor to be a student at the University of Oregon and to have the opportunity to represent our institution on the football field alongside my teammates.”  “I look forward to earning my degree next year and to the rest of my career at this great University.”  Bravo Mr. Mariota, I have a new hero.  Wish I could watch you play more often.  Maybe this will be an inspiration to one of the current Texas Tech Red Raiders who has considered leaving “early” to enter the draft.  There is hope!!

Movie Review: 

“The Armstrong Lie(s)”  *****, Note:  While the majority of the population may not give a hang about cycling this is truly an excellent documentary about the rise and fall of a great professional cyclist.  While it is not just about the bicycle, since it includes his brave fight and victory against cancer, it also enlightens us on his inner drive and determination of this person.  This of course is one of the major motivators in his fall from grace in becoming involved in the athletic doping scene, since his desire to win overcame good judgement.  The Austin racing cyclist won a record seven consecutive Tour de France victories before he was disqualified for doping offenses.  This 2 hour movie is very detailed and professional.  For those who follow cycling will find it worthwhile, for those who don’t will be bored silly!   For those who supported the cancer fighting “Livestrong” foundation, created by Armstrong, will be mad and disgusted with their hero.  Rated R for language(F-bomb). 

EA, SH........:)!


Monday, December 02, 2013

Where Are the Eye Balls? Movie Reviews

Since I see a lot of movies(being a amateur critic) I notice right before the movie starts they have a plea message for everyone to turn off their cell phones.  The words are kind of like this:   “There are too many electronic things in this world today, and the movies are not a place for them!”  So, if you don’t turn them off we WILL remove you from the theater.  Well I see phones on all the time and never have I seen anyone removed.  So, while the fact is there is too much electronics the removal of people from the movie theaters just doesn’t happen.  But, while I am on the point of electronics and the over abundance of electronic stuff to amuse, entertain, inform, and frustrate us I must say it will only get worse.  Yes I know, I am from the I remember when the fax machine was invented and I remember getting our first television set, and I remember when giant mobile phones were installed in automobiles and cost an arm and a leg to use them.  So, I have been through all this advanced electronics stuff and as I watch people walk up to each other in public the first thing they do is reach for their cell phone.  Then the group are all standing around checking their e-mail, text’s, games they play, or bets they have placed, or whatever.  When I was doing marketing work with Honey Milk I recall doing a product demo field project in Colorado and at the end of each days work we would meet for dinner.  While all of the people involved were at least 40 years younger than me I astutely noticed that the first thing they did when they sat down in a restaurant was pull out their cell phone.  So, I am sitting there like a bump on a log while they check their messages for the day.  I remember when we use to review our daily activities by talking to each other eye ball to eye ball.  Now the eye balls are directed into the screen of the almighty cell phone.  I could also be accused of wishing for the good “old” days which was exemplified by exchanging hand shakes, looking at someone in the eye ball, and then conversing in verbal direct communication.  While I know we never go back in time I just wish we could take a break and enjoy old time commo and stuff those cell phones in a box some where.  Wonder if I could create a cause like, “Save Real Eye Ball Eye Ball Communication” 5K crawl, naked, $1,000.00 entry fee.  Possibly this would show the world how stupid all of this commo has gotten!

Movie Reviews:

“Delivery Man”, ****, This was a good movie with a different twist.  Vince Vaughn plays an underachiever that finds out he has fathered 533 children through anonymous donations to a fertility clinic 20 years ago.  Now he must decide whether or not to come forward when 142 of them file a lawsuit to reveal his identity.  Worth the time to see.  Rated PG-13 for thematic elements, sexual content, some drug material, brief violence and language.

“Jackass Presents:  Bad Grandpa”, (Really Bad-0 as in Zero), This is one of those hidden camera type movies that is beyond gross!  The sad story is that is has grossed over $89M at the box office, and with home camera’s it cost around $15M.  Rated R for strong crude and sexual content throughout, language, some graphic nudity and brief drug use.(this rating was a good description of this terrible movie)!

“Captain Phillips”, *****, Tom Hanks, playing Captain Phillips of the freighter MV Maersk Alabama, is truly one of the great actors of our time.  This is a true story about the hijacking by Somali pirates of the freighter transporting goods through a very dangerous hijacking high seas zone.  Rated PG-13 for some violence with bloody images and for substance use.  

“Enough Said”, **, A slow moving love story that was the last performance by James Gandolfini.  This a sharp insightful comedy(almost black) that humorously explores the mess that often comes with getting involved again(after divorce or loss of a spouse).  Rated PG-13 for crude and sexual content, comic violence, language and partial nudity.  

“Hunger Games:  Catching Fire”, ****, This is a sequel to the original with a new twist, called rebellion.  Jennifer Lawrence returns as one of the two heroes after winning the 74th annual Hunger Games along with Josh Hutcherson.  They are pitted as boy and girl friend to appease the powers of the Capitol.  President Snow is sitting on uneasy ground now with a possible rebellion.  So, the drama continues with a second sequel.  Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, some frightening images, thematic elements, a suggestive situation and language. 

“Last Vegas), ****, While I admit I wondered how any film maker could design an entertaining story around four old men, I was pleasantly surprised.  For an all star cast how about, Michael Douglas, Morgan Freeman, Robert De Niro, and Kevin Kline who have been life time friends.  Billy(played by Douglas) never married decides to get married to a woman 32 years younger than him.  So he wants his childhood buddies to be there for it in Las Vegas.  The movie gives us a view inside each of their life times up to this point and then gets them to Vegas, and the fun begins.  It is a go see movie.  Rated PG-13 on appeal for sexual content and language.

“Thor: The Dark World”, ***, Faced with an enemy that even Odin and Asgard(followers of Thor know these characters), cannot withstand, Thor(Chris Hemsworth) must embark on his most perilous and personal journey yet, one that will reunite him with Jane Foster(Natalie Portman) and force him to sacrifice everything to save us all.  A good movie for this type of sci fi!  Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense sci-fi action and violence, and some suggestive content.

EA, SH..........:)!