Friday, November 11, 2016

RIP Leonard Cohen


I haven't yet been able to put into words how I feel about the election results. But I had to say something on the passing of Leonard Cohen. If he had done nothing other than write "Hallelujah," he would have had more of an impact on music than 90% of the songwriters, ever.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 28, 2016

Back with a list. Explanation forthcoming.



 Bravo's list of the 100 Scariest Movie Moments.

Released in 2004 and made known to me by Decider. As I do with such lists, I've decided to mark the ones I've seen in red italic.

100.     28 Days Later (2002)
99.       Creepshow (1982)
98.       Zombie (1979)
97.       Cat People (1942)
96.       The Birds (1963)
95.       Jurassic Park (1993)
94.       Child’s Play (1988)
93.       Pacific Heights  1990)
92.       Village of the Damned (1960)
91.       Shallow Grave  (1994)
90.       Night of the Hunter  (1955)
89.       Alice Sweet Alice  (1976)
88.       Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)
87.       Black Christmas (1974)
86.       Wizard of Oz (1939)
85.       Blood & Black Lace  (1964)
84.       Blue Velvet  (1968)
83.       The Others  (2001)
82.       Terminator  (1984)
81.       The Howling  (1981)
80.       Poltergeist (1982)
79.       Dracula (1931)
78.       The Brood (1979)
77.       Signs (2002)
76.       Evil Dead  (1981)
75.       Candyman  (1992)
74.       Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory  (1971)
73.       Blood Simple  (1984)
72.       Them!  (1954)
71.       The Sixth Sense  (1999)
70.       The Stepfather  (1987)
69.       Re-Animator  (1985)
68.       The Black Cat   (1934)
67.       Duel  (1971)
66.       The Tenant  1976)
65.       Marathon Man  (1976)
64.       Near Dark  (1987)
63.       Deliverance   (1972)
62.       The Wolf Man  (1941)
61.       The Devil’s Backbone  (2001)
60.       The Beyond (1981)
59.       Fatal Attraction (1987)
58.       Cujo  (1983)
57.       House of Wax (1953)
56.       Single White Female  (1992)
55.       The Vanishing (1993)
54.       The Changeling  (1980)
53.       Demons  (1985)
52.       The Phantom of the Opera  (1925)
51.       The Dead Zone  (1983)
50.       The Last House on the Left  (1977)
49.       Diabolique  (1955)
48.       The Thing (1982)
47.       Nosferatu (1929)
46.       The Sentinel  (1977)
45.       The Wicker Man (1973)
44.       The Game  (1997)
43.       It’s Alive!  (1974)
42.       An American Werewolf in London   (1981)
41.       The Hills Have Eyes (1977)
40.       Black Sunday (1960)
39.       Dawn of the Dead  (1978)
38.       Peeping Tom  (1960)
37.       House on Haunted Hill (1959)
36.       Cape Fear (1962)
35.       Aliens  (1986)
34.       The Hitcher (1986)
33.       The Fly (1986)
32.       Pet Sematary  (1989)
31.       Friday the 13th  (1980)
30.       Blair Witch Project  (1999)
29.       Serpent and the Rainbow  (1988)
28.       When a Stranger Calls (1979)
27.       Frankenstein (1931)
26.       Se7en  (1995)
25.       Phantasm  (1979)
24.       Suspiria  (1977)
23.       Rosemary’s Baby  (1968)
22.       Don’t Look Now  (1973)
21.       Jacob’s Ladder  (1990)
20.       The Ring (2002)
19.       Hellraiser  (1987)
18.       The Haunting  (1963)
17.       A Nightmare on Elm Street  (1984)
16.       The Omen (1976)
15.       Freaks  (1932)
14.       Halloween  (1987)
13.       Scream  (1996)
12.       Misery  (1990)
11.       Audition  (1999)
10.       Wait Until Dark  (1967)
9.         Night of the Living Dead  (1968)
8.         Carrie (1976)
7.         Silence of the Lambs (1991)
6.         Shining  (1980)
5.         Texas Chainsaw Massacre  (1974)
4.         Psycho (1960)
3.         Exorcist  (1973)
2.         Alien  (1979)
1.         Jaws  (1975)


Monday, July 18, 2016

Yes, please and thank you.

UPI is reporting that Starbucks and McDonald's will block porn on their WiFi networks.

First, although I'm a big believer in first amendment rights, and that people should be able to look at porn if they want to, I don't think McDonald's, Starbucks, or any private business is obligated to provide access to it. Also, porn is exploitive, and as far as I know, it's impossible to tell whether the people on the screen have made a voluntary choice to participate.

Second, it's just weird to watch porn in public. That's my own opinion, but yeah. I don't want to have to walk past someone's porn screen to take my grandkids to McDonald's' play place.

There's also an argument to be made that allowing porn access means that children may accidentally (or not) stumble onto porn while they're surfing the web, if it's not filtered out. 

Of course there's a slippery slope effect: What will McDonalds and Starbucks decide is bad for us in the future? The McDonald's by me usually has CNN on-screen. Is the news too violent for a family-friendly restaurant? If the last week or so is any indication, maybe so.

As much as I appreciate the free wi-fi and CNN when I go to McDonald's or Starbucks (both seldom), these businesses don't owe it to me. So I guess they get to decide.

In this case, good onya, McDonald's and Starbucks.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Studying the sea floor

When I was a kid, we had a relief globe from National Geographic. Not only did it show the topography of the land, but of the oceans as well. My dad pointed out the Marianas Trench as the deepest part of the ocean; so deep that no light reaches it.

NOAA has been doing deep diving in the Marianas, and I've gotten hooked on following their finds.

You can follow along, too, here.

Monday, May 16, 2016

So long...

It feels like it's been a million years since I posted anything here. And I do go through phases like that.

Part of my absence has been laziness, part feeling as though I have nothing to say, and most of all, lots and lots of stuff happening that's kept me busy. I can't say it's kept me offline, but I haven't had the... oomph, I guess, to sit down and write much of anything.

My family have finally - finally - moved out on their own. My daughter, her husband and their four children have been living with me in my tiny apartment for nearly two years(!), and it was beginning to feel like it would never end. Then, just like that, they're gone. They've been in their own place for two weeks.

I haven't yet experienced empty nest syndrome. I've been too busy cleaning up the messes. All the dust and grime and broken bits of toys that end up behind and under furniture. Tiny handprints, furniture scrapes, footprints (yes, footprints) on the walls. Coffee spots on the ceiling from a last-minute tantrum. It's quite literally amazing.

But now I sleep in a bed, not a pull-out couch. My place is being painted. Soon I'll be able to bring all the breakables and art and things that made it my house back into the rooms that echo in their emptiness.

Maybe I'm selfish, but it feels so good to have the place to myself. To do, and go, or stay, by myself without having to answer to anyone. Without anyone having to tiptoe around me, and not having to tiptoe around anyone in return.

There's other stuff, too, but for right now I'm updated.

Sunday, April 03, 2016

A year's worth of movies



Film School Rejects (well worth the follow) has released a calendar of movies corresponding to specific dates. I've put it here to see which ones I've seen (in red), and if I can think of anything to add in green).

JANUARY
1: New Year’s Day (Henry Jaglom, 1989)
2: January 2nd (Matt Winn, 2006)
3:
4:
5:
6: Three Kings (David O. Russell, 1999) – it’s already Three Kings Day
7:
8: (500) Days of Summer (Marc Webb, 2009) – the day Tom met Summer
9:
10:
11:
12: 2001: A Space Odyssey (Stanley Kubrick, 1968) – HAL 9000 was born on 1/12/97
13:
14:
15:
16: The Night of January 16th (William Clemens, 1941)
17:
18:
19:
20:
21:
22:
23: The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (Joseph Sargent, 1974) – 1-2-3
24:
25:
26:
27:
28:
29:
30:
31:

FEBRUARY
1:
2: Groundhog Day (Harold Ramis, 1993)
3:
4:
5:
6:
7:
8:
9:
10:
11:
12:
13:
14: Valentine’s Day (Garry Marshall, 2010)
15:
16:
17:
18:
19:
20: Gone With the Wind (Victor Fleming, 1939) – Scarlett saves the plantation Tara on 2/20/1866
21:
22:
23:
24:
25:
26:
27:
28:
29: Leap Day (Anand Tucker, 2010)
President’s Day: President’s Day (Chris LaMartina, 2010)
Ash Wednesday: Ash Wednesday (Edward Burns, 2002)

MARCH
1:
2:
3:
4:
5:
6: The Big Lebowski (Joel and Ethan Coen, 1998) – Day of the Dude, because of its original release date
7:
8:
9:
10: 3:10 to Yuma (Delmer Daves, 1957)
11: The Matrix (Lilly and Lana Wachowski, 1999) – Neo’s birthdate is 3/11/62
12:
13:
14:
15: The Ides of March (George Clooney, 2011)
16:
17:
18:
19:
20:
21:
22:
23:
24: Singin’ in the Rain (Stanley Donen, 1952) – the day Don, Kathy and Cosmo figure out how to save The Dueling Cavelier
25:
26:
27:
28:
29:
30:
31:

Good Friday: The Passion of the Christ

APRIL 
1: April Fool’s Day (Fred Walton, 1986)
2:
3:
4:
5: Star Trek: First Contact (Jonathan Frakes, 1996) – humans make first contact with aliens on 4/5/2063
6:
7:
8: Empire Records (Allan Moyle, 1995) – “Rex Manning Day,” based on this being the date of Rex Manning’s appearance at Empire Records
9: April 9th (Roni Ezra, 2015)
10:
11:
12:
13:
14:
15: Titanic (James Cameron, 1997) – the Titanic sank on 4/15/12
16:
17:
18:
19:
20:
21:
22:
23:
24:
25:
26: Alien (Ridley Scott, 1979) – “Alien Day” based on the alien moon LV-426
27:
28:
29: The Godfather (Francis Ford Coppola, 1972) – Don Corleone’s birthdate is 4/29/1892 (although in The Godfather Part II it’s said to be 12/7/1891)
30:

MAY
1:
2:
3:
4: Star Wars (George Lucas, 1977) – “Star Wars Day” based on the phrase “May the Fourth (Be With You)”
5:
6:
7:
8:
9:
10:
11:
12:
13:
14:
15:
16:
17:
18:
19:
20:
21:
22: Milk (Gus Van Sant, 2008) – Harvey Milk Day in California
23: Cloverfield (Matt Reeves, 2008) – the monster attacks on 5/23/08
24:
25:
26:
27:
28: Dazed and Confused (Richard Linklater, 1993) – last day of school
29:
30:
31:
Mother’s Day: Mother’s Day (Garry Marshall, 2016)
Memorial Day: Memorial Day (Samuel Fischer, 2011)
 
JUNE
1:
2:
4:
5: Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (John Hughes, 1986) – fans believe the day off took place on this date
6: Forrest Gump (Robert Zemeckis, 1994) – Forrest’s birthday
7:
8:
9:
10:
11:
12:
13: Friday the 13th (Sean S. Cunningham, 1980) – Jason Voorhees’s birthday
14:
15:
16:
17:
18:
19: Maximum Overdrive (Stephen King, 1986) – Earth passes enters the tail of Rhea-M, causing machines to kill
20:
21:
22:
23: The Silence of the Lambs (Jonathan Demme, 1991) – Clarice Starling meets Hannibal Lecter
24:
25:
26:
27:
28:
29:
30:
Father’s Day: Father’s Day (Ivan Reitman, 1997)

JULY
1: Raiders of the Lost Ark (Steven Spielberg, 1981) – Indiana Jones’s birthday is 7/1/1899
2:
3:
4: Independence Day (Roland Emmerich, 1996)
5:
6:
7:
8: Jaws (Steven Spielberg, 1975) – the shark is finally defeated
9:
10:
11:
12:
13:
14: July 14 (Rene Clair, 1933)
15:
16:
17:
18:
19:
20:
21:
22:
23:
24:
25:
26:
27:
28:
29:
30:
31: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Chris Columbus, 2001) – Harry Potter’s birthdate is 7/31/80

AUGUST
1:
2:
3:
4: The Terminator (James Cameron, 1984) – Skynet went live on 8/4/97
5:
6:
7:
8: August. Eighth (Dzhanik Fayzlev, 2012)
9:
10:
11:
12:
13:
14:
15:
16:
17:
18: Avatar (James Cameron, 2009) – Jake Sully and the Na’vi battle the Earth army on 8/18/2154
19:
20:
21:
22:
23:
24:
25:
26:
27: The Town (Ben Affleck, 2010) – date of the robbery is 8/27/10
28: Everybody Wants Some!! (Richard Linklater, 2016) – the first day of the end of summer break
29: Terminator 2: Judgment Day (James Cameron, 1991) – Judgment Day was 8/29/97
30:
31: Oslo, August 31st (Joachim Trier, 2011)

SEPTEMBER
1:
2:
3:
4:
5: Back to the Future Part III (Robert Zemeckis, 1990) – Hill Valley was founded 9/5/1865
6:
7:
8: Howard the Duck (Willard Huyck, 1986) – Howard arrives on Earth
9:
10:
11: September 11 (Youssef Chahine, Amos Gitai, Shôhei Imamura, Alejandro González Iñárritu, Claude Lelouch, Ken Loach, Samira Makhmalbaf, Mira Nair, Idrissa Ouedraogo, Sean Penn, Danis Tanovic, 2002)
12:
13:
14:
15:
16:
17:
18:
19:
20:
21:
22:
23:
24:
25: Demolition Man (Marco Brambilla, 1993) – the last murder in Los Angeles happened 9/25/10
26:
27:
28:
29:
30:
Labor Day: Labor Day (Jason Reitman, 2013)

OCTOBER
1: Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (Mel Stuart, 1971) – Willy Wonka Day because that’s the day of the factory tour
2:
3:
4:
5:
6:
7:
8:
9:
10:
11:
12: The Time Machine (George Pal, 1960) – H.G. Wells meets the Eloi and Morlocks on 10/12/802701
13:
14:
15:
16:
17:
18: The Dark Knight (Christopher Nolan, 2008) – the day The Joker starts trouble in Gotham City with a bank robbery
19:
20:
21: Back to the Future Part II (Robert Zemeckis, 1989)
22: October 22 (Richard Schenkman, 1998)
23:
24: E.T. the Extra Terrestrial (Steven Spielberg, 1982) – E.T. is left behind on Earth
25:
26:
27:
28:
29:
30:
31: Halloween (John Carpenter, 1978)
Columbus Day: Columbus Day (Charles Burmeister, 2008)

NOVEMBER
1:
2:
3:
4:
5: V for Vendetta (James McTeigue, 2005) – Guy Fawkes Day, “Remember, remember, the fifth of November!”
6:
7:
8:
9:
10:
11:
12: Back to the Future (Robert Zemeckis, 1985)
13:
14: 11:14 (Greg Marcks, 2003)
15:
16:
17:
18:
19:
20:
21:
22:  JFK (Oliver Stone, 1991) per The Gal Herself: (I'm adding this, but I've also seen it).
23:
24:
25:
26:
27:
28:
29:
30:

DECEMBER
1:
2: Casablanca (Michael Curtiz, 1942) – the day, of all the gin joins in all the towns in all the world, Ilsa walked into Rick’s
3:
4:
5:
6: Aliens (James Cameron, 1986) – the colonists of LV-426 are wiped out after investigating the alien ship on the date 12/6/2079
7: Pearl Harbor (Michael Bay, 2001)
8:
9:
10:
11:
12: Psycho (Alfred Hitchcock, 1960) – Marion is killed at the Bates Motel
13:
14:
15:
16:
17:
18:
19:
20:
21: 2012 (Roland Emmerich, 2009) – the world ends on 12/21/12
22:
23: Home Alone (John Hughes, 1990) – Kevin is left home alone
24: The Night Before (Jonathan Levine, 2015) (I would have chosen It's a Wonderful Life or any one of the versions of A Christmas Carol)
25: A Christmas Story (Bob Clark, 1983)
26: Buffalo ’66 (Vincent Gallo, 1998) – Billy Brown’s birthday
27:
28:
29:
30:
31: New Year’s Eve (Garry Marshall, 2011)


Tuesday, March 22, 2016

The best movie the year you were born.



Using data from a number of sources, PrettyFamous identified the best movie of every year since 1916. They selected the movie with the highest Smart Rating each year, which is a weighted average out of 100 of the following:

- Rotten Tomatoes' Tomatometer
- Rotten Tomatoes' Audience Score
- IMDb Rating
- Metacritic's Metascore
- Gracenote's Proprietary Rating
- Inflation-adjusted cumulative domestic box office gross

This is 100 movies. I've marked in red the ones I've already seen. I'll try to see the rest as I go along.

Intolerance (1916)
Easy Street (1917)
A Dog’s Life (1918)
Broken Blossoms (1919)
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920)
The Kid (1921)
Nosferatu (1922)
Safety Last (1923)
The Navigator (1924)
The Gold Rush (1925)
The General (1926)
Metropolis (1927)
The Wind (1928)
Pandora’s Box (1929)
All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)
City Lights (1931)  (Personally, I would have chosen M)
Freaks (1932)
King Kong (1933)
It Happened One Night (1934)
Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
Modern Times (1936)
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)
The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938)
Gone With the Wind (1939) (Personally, I would have chosen The Philadelphia Story)
Rebecca (1940)
Citizen Kane (1941)
Casablanca (1942)
Shadow of a Doubt (1943)
Double Indemnity (1944)
Spellbound (1945)
It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
Miracle on 34th St. (1947)
The Bicycle Thief (1948)
The Third Man (1949)
Sunset Blvd. (1950)
Strangers on a Train (1951)
Singin’ in the Rain (1952)
Roman Holiday (1953)
Seven Samurai (1954)
The Night of the Hunter (1955)
The Killing (1956)
12 Angry Men (1957)
Vertigo (1958)
North by Northwest (1959)
Psycho (1960)
Yojimbo (1961)
Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
The Birds (1963)
Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)
For a Few Dollars More (1965)
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf (1966)
Cool Hand Luke (1967)
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) 
The Wild Bunch (1969)
Patton (1970)
The French Connection (1971)
The Godfather (1972)
The Sting (1973)
Chinatown (1974)
Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
Taxi Driver (1976) 
Star Wars (1977)
Dawn of the Dead (1978)
Apocalypse Now (1979)
Raging Bull (1980)
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
A Christmas Story (1983)
Amadeus (1984)
Back to the Future (1985)
Aliens (1986)
Full Metal Jacket (1987)
Grave of the Fireflies (1988)
Do the Right Thing (1989)
Goodfellas (1990)
The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
Unforgiven (1992)
Schindler's List (1993)
Pulp Fiction (1994)
Toy Story (1995)
Fargo (1996)
L.A. Confidential (1997)
Saving Private Ryan (1998)
Toy Story 2 (1999)
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)
Spirited Away (2001)
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)
Million Dollar Baby (2004)
Brokeback Mountain (2005)
Pan's Labyrinth (2006)
Ratatouille (2007)
The Dark Knight (2008)
Up (2009)
Toy Story 3 (2010)
A Separation (2011)
Argo (2012)
12 Years a Slave (2013)
Whiplash (2014)
Inside Out (2015)