Showing 1 - 10 of 144 posts found matching keyword: friends

Friend Chad recently asked me if I had any interest in the upcoming Joker movie. You know the one. It just won the Golden Lion award for Best Film at the Venice Film Festival. My answer, in short, was no. In long, it was *hell* no.

As a longtime reader of comics, I have a well-established mental image of what I expect from Batman and his rogues gallery. As a general rule, I don't enjoy films about gangsters (which Joker was in the 40s) or films about serial killers (which Joker has been since the 80s). I've seen both Bonnie and Clyde and Natural Born Killers exactly once, and that's each one time too many.

My biggest problem with the film is that the Joker is unequivocally a villain. Pure capital-E Evil. However, a story's protagonist has to be relatable to its audience. Just as the short-lived Joker comic series of the mid-70s focused on its eponymous star's zany antics (and minimized the collateral damage), to put the character at the center of a film it becomes necessary to humanize him, to turn him from villain to anti-hero. No, thank you.

Call me a prude, but I don't see any reason to make a film exploring how someone becomes a narcissistic, mass-murdering sociopath on the scale of the Joker. In fiction, the Joker has beaten a child to death with a crowbar, slaughtered an entire talk show audience on camera, and gassed the United Nations General Assembly. All for giggles. If such a monster existed in the real world — an Osama bin Laden-squared — would you pay to see that person's biography on the big screen?

Joker works best in comics as a larger-than-life malevolent force of nature, the personification of the chaos that Batman strives to eliminate from the world. That's exactly how "Why so serious" Heath Ledger played him (and "This town needs an enema" Jack Nicholson before that). If you insist on reinventing the character, I'd say making him mortal is the wrong direction to go. Forget realism for a character that is inherently unreal. Give us a film about how Cesar Romero's wacky Joker earned his place as Gotham City's Clown Prince of Crime with a painted-over mustache (the anti-Groucho Marx!). Or choose to elaborate on any random Joker entry from silly The Super Dictionary.

Joker is a liar! Beets are NOT good to eat.

But don't try to remake Martin Scorsese's The King of Comedy with a super-villain behind the greasepaint. Once was enough for that one, too.

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The draw for the opening home game of the 2019 Georgia season wasn't the opponent, Murray State, but the dedication of "Dooley Field at Sanford Stadium."

Murray State 17, UGA 63

The dedication was held about 15 minutes before kickoff to a partially-filled stadium. Vince deserved a better crowd, but that's what happens when you schedule something for pregame against a sub-par opponent in 95° heat, the same temp that drove Mom and me from the stadium before halftime on opening day last year. Even football legends are subject to the weather.

As for the game itself, friend Randy — who replaced Mom at the last minute when she said one 95° opening day was enough for her — and I spent most of our time drinking bottles of water and trying to guess whether Georgia, who managed only a 7-7 tie at the end of the first quarter, could manage to pull out a win against the 49-point spread. They didn't, but only barely. Final score was Murray State 17, UGA 63 (a 46-point differential). And yes, we watched all the way until the last second had run off the clock, a decision I'm sure my poor crispy skin will be paying for tomorrow.

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In the past 48 hours, at least 35 people were shot in Dayton, Ohio and another 46 were shot in El Paso, Texas. Those are the headlines, but they're only the tip of the Titanic-sized iceberg that is gun violence in America.

Excluding suicides, over 26,000 people have been shot in the USA this year to date, which puts us on pace for 44,000 by the end of December. By those numbers, an American has a roughly 1 in 74,000 chance of being shot each year. That's only slightly worse than the odds that you'll die in a motorcycle accident. Except, of course, that to die on a motorcycle, you have to first be *on* a motorcycle. The person who shoots you will generously donate the necessary bullet.

Right now, it seems there's not a whole lot you can do to avoid getting shot. Night clubs, bars, and retail stores seem to attract shooters, but so do schools and churches. Outdoor festivals are popular, and your workplace is a death sentence waiting to happen. Sadly, you're most likely to get shot in your own house by a member of your family, so staying home is no help.

About all you can do for sure is stay away from other people entirely, and even that is no guarantee. My friend Randy, who lives a good fifteen minutes from anything I would call civilization, has had people shoot into his house from the street 100-yards away, apparently just to see if they could. Guns are cool!

Personally, I love attending live sporting events. So far, those have been generally bullet-hole free, but that's clearly only a temporary condition. I hope I don't get shot at a football game. I probably won't; many people ride a motorcycle their whole life without dying on one. But if the worst does happen, know that I was shot doing what I loved: running in panic from someone shooting people. U-S-A!

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I don't usually run movie posts back-to-back like this, but Dad's still his own part-time job. (There are only so many hours in a day, you know.) Add to that the fact that I've lost sleep because I left my phone and wallet in a Ted's Montana Grill yesterday, and, yeah, another movie review post is all you're getting.

97. (1536.) Night and the City (1950)
I found this hard to watch because I didn't sympathize with the protagonist at all. However, it has some pretty good cinematography, especially the shot of the protagonist caught by headlights in an alley as the mob closes in on him. Good noir.

98. (1537.) Hidden Figures (2016)
I'd categorize this as Bubblegum Biopic: a history of American popular culture punched up for mass consumption. (That's not an insult. My favorite musical, 1776 would fall in the same category.) I really enjoyed this, too. In hindsight, I'm glad it was nominated for an Academy Award so that more people will be encouraged to see it.

99. (1538.) Friendly Persuasion (1956)
Quakers! Civil War! Church Organs! Girls! Geese! If this sequential series of unrelated events was supposed to have a point, it went over my head. (*Someone* must have gotten it. It was nominated for Best Picture in '57. Quakers must have been a big Academy voting block back in the McCarthy era.)

100. (1539.) Destination Wedding (2018)
Recommended by friend Otto, this romantic comedy has only two roles, played by Keanu Reeves and Winona Ryder as two mismatched, unlikable people destined for one another. Or not. Otto's right, it's got some funny in it, especially if you like the actors.

101. (1540.) Till the End of Time (1946)
Have you seen The Best Years of Our Lives? Yeah, this is that, but much more boring.

102. (1541.) Dirty Mary Crazy Larry (1974)
Have you seen Vanishing Point and Sugarland Express? Yeah, this is those. It's pretty good, actually.

103. (1542.) Outlaw Blues (1977)
Peter Fonda was the embodiment of 60s-70s counterculture on celluloid, here playing a felon who goes on the run from the law while simultaneously becoming the Next Big Thing in country music. It has its moments, in no small part thanks to Susan Saint James.

More to come.

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I helped a friend do some work around his house last week, and I spotted this, the tumbler he uses to hold his 6-year-old daughter's juice.

Put your lips on this

Normally, when I see this sort of thing, I'm left wondering what the owner could be thinking. However, I've known Randy long enough to know that this isn't a thoughtless accident. He probably gets a kick out of watching his little girl suck shit.

I suppose if you have a child, you get to decide what to do with it. Kids are just pets that can talk!

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Mom woke me up early because she couldn't turn on the television. The cause? Dead batteries in the remote control.

Dad complained that his washing machine was leaking water all over this pantry floor. The problem? The intake hose, which he had connected himself, was too loose and was spraying water everywhere.

No wonder my brother excommunicated himself from the family.

In 2003, co-worker Jeff showed me a lighter he couldn't get to work. I took it from him and tried it myself. It was a joy buzzer. Jeff laughed at me and said, "I knew you'd fall for it. All anyone has to do is tell Walter that they can't do something, and he'll do it for them."

Jeff, wherever you are now, know that you're still right. I'm still a sucker.

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This counts as news only to me, but I fixed my bedside lamp. The switch had worn out.

My bedroom aesthetic is 1970s yard sales

It's no antique, though it's no spring chicken, either. I "inherited" it when my college roommate graduated and moved to the west coast. (Hi, Jason!) That was only... fifteen years ago. I don't know how old it was then. (Can you shed any light on that subject, Jason?) If I've yanked that chain twice a day ever since, that's somewhere in the neighborhood of approximately 11,000 pulls. Maybe I should have been counting.

Anyway, thanks to a replacement switch found on eBay, I can now read in bed again. Sweet dreams, everyone.

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2019 moves, part 2 of... many.

7. (1446.) Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol (2011)
8. (1447.) Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation (2015)
10. (1449.) Mission: Impossible - Fallout (2018)
I lump these three together because even though I watched them barely a month ago, I don't think I could tell you which was which. The very definition of popcorn movies, they rely on their fast pace to keep the audience from realizing how little sense they make. I'm pretty sure they all take place inside Ethan Hunt's head while he lies in a coma, but they keep Tom Cruise too busy to make another Magnolia, so I'm willing to cut them a little slack.

9. (1448.) Daddy's Home Two (2017)
Friend Keith challenged me to find fault with John Lithgow's performance in this broad comedy. I couldn't. He's sterling as always. Everyone was pretty funny, including Mel Gibson, playing the character we all believe him to be in real life.

11. (1450.) The Aztec Mummy Against the Humanoid Robot (1958)
Two-thirds of this Mexican B-movie is a recap of the previous two movies in this trilogy about greedy assholes stealing gold from a cursed Aztec tomb guardian. The last third involves building a robot from a corpse to kill a zombie. It has its moments.

12. (1451.) Wizards (1977)
Ralph Bakshi movies are always more meandering acid trips than functional narratives. This one spends most of its time invoking Nazi propaganda as the ultimate evil, then twists at the end to make the good guys look just as bad as everyone else. At least I think that's what happened.

13. (1452.) Old Acquaintance (1943)
Bette Davis and Miriam Hopkins are childhood friends who grow to become rivals in work and love. Davis plays the angel against Hopkins' bitch. The animosity between the two is palpable. Pretty good.

14. (1453.) Ghostbusters (2016)
Sure, it's not as good as the movie that inspired it, but rare indeed is the remake that outdoes its inspiration. The movie could have benefited from a director less indulgent of his star's ad libs. (It's most telling that Chris Hemsworth steals every scene he's in.) Still, not bad, assuming you can get past the rampant product placement.

Drink Coke! (Ghostbusters)

More to come

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I'd been saying for several years that I should just take a day trip over to Legion Field to attend the annual Birmingham Bowl. This year, I finally put my money where my mouth was and bought tickets near midfield. I'm glad I did.

Memphis 34, Wake Forest 37

Friend Randy drove. He's always extra fun at football games. He often sees things on the field that I would miss. However, neither one of us spotted the fireworks on the field prior to the National Anthem. We weren't the only ones in the stadium caught off guard when rockets quite literally went off with a red glare, interrupting the poor singer struggling to cope with a bad sound system.

That wasn't the only time fireworks would catch us unaware. There were explosions after every score, it wasn't until halfway through the second quarter (score 28 to 7, Memphis lead) that we finally learned to anticipate the bang.

Dreamland BBQ was one of many vendors brought in just for the event, and we were surrounded by a cloud of delicious meat smoke for most of the game. Considering the warm December sun and enthusiastic (if smallish) crowd, it was an ideal way to watch a game.

All of which was set dressing for the game itself, which was fantastic. Memphis managed both an interception and kickoff returned for touchdown on back-to-back drives, and Wake Forest fell into an early hole which would take them more than three quarters to reverse. Memphis responded, and the game came down to a missed field goal at the final gun. Very exciting.

If every Birmingham Bowl was this good, I'd go every year.

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I've had a lot of bad things to say about the Miami Dolphins as of late. Enough that after today's game, friend Keith sent me this text:

Dude. Stop complaining. Ya'll won for fucks sake.

Yes, we did! With the longest play from scrimmage (69-yards) to win a game with no time remaining in the fourth quarter by any NFL team since the 1970 merger. (I know that's a long qualifier, but I'll take what I can get.)

Woot.

Watch it on YouTube.

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To be continued...

 

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