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Hypothetical Concert-Going

As I sit and lament the fact that Jack White will be touring this summer yet not coming within twelve hours of me (fingers crossed for added dates), my mind wanders into morbidity.  What if Jack White died?  What if I were never able to see him perform live?  The impact White has had on my life has been tremendous.  The entirety of the White Stripes discography got me through some of the toughest times of my life.  He is a complete stranger yet my gratitude towards him is enormous because of the profound effect he was able to have just by yelling melodically and hitting metal strings with a plastic disc.

I'm not a crazy person.  I don't think a terrible accident will befall Jack White, I just am selfish enough to have the morbid thought that no doubt comes across many of our minds whenever something important falls out of our reach.  Not seeing my favorite musician when I had the opportunity solely by being alive during his active years is a just lazy.  This is an extremely long-winded and overly thought out way of saying that during this time of contempt for potentially missing out on this tour due to distance, it made me think of other musicians I've missed out on.  I still haven't seen Neutral Milk Hotel, Gorillaz, Kid Cudi, or System of a Down.  But what about those that I can't see anymore?  What about those who are dead?

It's a question that gets asked in record stores across the country and likely will be for as long as music exists: if you could see anyone, living or dead, who would it be?  To me, what is the point in naming someone you could actually see when the theoretical question is exactly that... theoretical?  So my mind immediately goes to the bands who've lost someone, since retirement in music seems to only happen when death comes knocking.  Not just a Cliff Burton but someone who is the heart and soul of the band, their presence being noted the moment they're gone (calm down Burton fans, I didn't mean offense).

It doesn't really take me long to think of my top two bands but narrowing them down to one?  I'm not sure. Let's examine the facts AKA my opinion.  When I think of bands that aren't the same because of the loss of a band member, I can look no further than Queen.  Freddie Mercury is a once in a lifetime voice that completely took the world by storm.  Watch any of his live performances and you'll be wondering why people make a big deal out of Lady Gaga.  The energy he exudes and the emotion he brings to the table is otherworldly.  Frontmen have been trying to mimic him for years and no one can even come close to the man, the myth, the legend.

Mercury aside, Queen has a live lineup that would absolutely destroy: Killer Queen, Under Pressure, Don't Stop Me Now, Crazy Little Thing Called Love, oh and a little song called Bohemian Rhapsody.  Good look up the live performances on youtube for each and every one of those songs if you want your mind to be blown.  The lyrics, the builds, the energy of Mercury, all of it accumulates to something unique and rare.  The remaining members of Queen have tried to recapture it with various other frontmen, but no one compares to Freddie Mercury.  They're fools for even thinking they can pull it off.  Mercury is Queen.  And Queen is a band I would kill to see.

The next has been one of my favorites since I was a kid and a song about smelling like teen spirit came into my life.  Now I've seen Foo Fighters live in concert and during the performance, Dave Grohl got on the drums and showed us what he had.  This should have been enough to warrant Nirvana being at the top of my list for the sole purpose of seeing Grohl drum the shit out of those songs but that's not even including the most important part of the equation: Kurt Cobain.  Cobain killed himself in 1994 and changed music forever.  Nirvana provided a rock performance unlike many others, with such natural chaos that it was infectious.  Watch Live at Reading and you'll be including them on your own list as well.

What's funny about Nirvana is that while they had many of amazing original songs, it was the fact that they made ANY song better.  Listen to Nirvana Unplugged and you'll experience one of the greatest albums of all time... and its a lot of covers.  I love David Bowie, absolutely ADORE him.  But Cobain's rendition of Man Who Sold The World is absolutely mesmerizing.  The potential that Unplugged showed makes the tragic suicide of Cobain all the sadder.  Their performance are now just another part of the history books and those books are filled with praise.

I sat and thought over and over about which of these two bands I would actually put at the top of my list but then I realized... why am I thinking so hard about a hypothetical question that would never happen?  It's not like somebody is going to be browsing the internet, come across this blog entry and go "Oh hey, I should really use my last genie wish up on this."  It's not gonna happen.  Maybe.  Framing it who I would like to see is much harder so I decided to view it more as -- if I were to have tickets to see either of these bands, missed the show, and then their respectives leads died, which would I have more regret about having not seen?

Nirvana.  It's gotta be Nirvana.

Oh yeah, my parents see Jack White in July.


Oh So You're A "Screenwriter"

Writing a screenplay is tough work.  No, it's not building bridges or saving lives in an emergency room (not sure why those are the first two things I think of, and in such an odd order) but it's still something that takes a lot of time, involves a lot of hair pulling, cursing and self-deprecation.  There are so many written and unwritten rules of screenwriting that it makes it difficult to even know where to start sometimes.  I have many books on the subject and most of them say different things.  Then any of my screenwriter friends (okay, just the one, hi Diego) would say something completely different.  It's a lot of mix and match with the rules and that can be... challenging to say the least.

Last summer I came to the realization that I hadn't completed a feature-length screenplay in about seven years.  I was 22 at the time.  That means that my four finished screenplays had been done before I was even 16.  And what did I have to show for the past seven years?  A bunch of half completed messes of movies.  They'd feature a cool scene or a cool premise but then I'd phizzle out and not really know where to go next with it.  So that just resulted in document after document on my computer that was just a couple pages long.  Don't get me wrong, if I could combine all my script documents into one giant mess, I'd have a 400+ page epic.  But they were nothing more than ideas for no one's eyes but my own.

Yet if people were to ask what I write, I'd say screenplays were my specialty.  But then, if they were to ask to read one, I wouldn't have any for them to read.  My old scripts hardly counted as scripts as is since I didn't understand many basic concepts at the time, and what had I written lately?  Nothing.  So I'd call myself a screenwriter and then not write screenplays.  Can anyone call themselves a writer if they don't actually write?

All of this is to say that if you're going to call yourself something, then you need to actually do it.  I've started refraining from calling myself an editor anymore because, truthfully, I don't really edit anything anymore.  And how can I call myself an editor if I don't do the most base thing there is in that field: edit.  Same with videography.  I haven't done that in months so I don't feel comfortable calling myself that.  Have I done enough in the past to still pick either back up?  Absolutely, and I intend to.  As a matter of fact, I'm currently planning a web series with an actor friend.  But all of it is hypothetical right now as I have not captured image on film or edited a single frame.  At that moment I'll be an editor and videographer again.  But the statute of limitations has to come into play at some point.  I can't say I'm still a football player just because I played in High School.

At this moment, I'm confident in calling myself a screenwriter.  Amateur yes, but still a screenwriter.  I just finished my second script in the past six months and will be sending them both out to agents/producers in the coming weeks.  Do I list "screenwriter" in my facebook occupation section?  No, because I haven't made money off of it yet but that doesn't mean I can't treat the work like I am a professional.  And that's really all you can do when you're starting out, no matter what the field.  Want to be an actor?  Act in bullshit short films that only make it to youtube.  It's still acting and yeah, you still get enjoyment out of it but most importantly it gets you closer to your career goal.  Writing these screenplays for me is like writing a letter to get into college or writing a resume.  A professional will read it and decide if it, given the work I put in, is something they want to make or someone they want to hire.  That's why writing, to me, is more than just a hobby, it's an interview for my future.

What. The. Fuck. (with Marc Maron)

A little bit ago I got into the IFC show Maron and realized that Marc Maron is one of the coolest guys on the planet.  Given my current run with podcasts (religiously listen to How Did This Get Made and Doug Loves Movies amongst others), I kept wanting to try out Maron's WTF podcast.  And really, there's no reason for me to wait so long since this is the number one podcast... pretty much everywhere.  And there's a reason for that: it's damn good.

The most intriguing part of the podcast is that it's so personal.  You really feel like you're getting to know Maron since he's so candid about his life.  Even the most embarrassing of things that happen to him, he confronts.  When he and his girlfriend break up, he talks about it and doesn't hide any of his feelings towards it.  That's intriguing.  Then when he finally meets someone that's age appropriate and you can hear him gushing about her and he's clearly in love?  Absolutely heart-warming.  It's a window into the world of a comedian that most people consider

I think that this personal nature of the podcast is what makes the guests reveal more than they ever do in other interviews.  The many life stories of the guests provide some one of the best aspects of the podcast.  I enjoy hearing various people that I look up to talk about both their morals and views on life and how they got started.  From Will Ferrell to Paul Scheer, the stories of how they broke into the business is so intriguing and it feels like you're listening to something really special.  They all worked years to finally get their big breaks and, for the most part, it was reliant more on luck than talent.  As cynical as it may seem on the outside, it's a good message to send because it shows that you could have just as much talent as the next guy but sometimes it doesn't work.  Sometimes life is all about timing.

I honestly feel like a better person having listened to the few episodes I have.  Learning from the guests' mistakes, hearing Marc's hardships, all of them can be taken as a huge learning experience.  And this is just me talking about the various actors that have interesting viewpoints (Lena Dunham, Amy Poehler) and that's not even counting the various spiritual and scientific leaders he's interviewed.  I'm used to just being entertained by podcasts, so coming to big realizations and epiphanies through WTF has been an eye opening experience.

Tomorrow is the 500th episode of WTF.  I have listened to about 15 of them so needless to say there's plenty I need to catch up on.  But even with those 485 episodes remaining, I'm really excited to go back and listen to all the guests.  It costs a measly subscription but it could not be more worth it.  These podcasts are little insights into the lives of extremely interesting people all in just 80 minutes.  Add to that the fact that the host may be the most interesting person of them all, I really could not recommend this enough.  But hey, this is the number one podcast on the internet, I'm sure you beat me to it.

Why ____ Is The Greatest Movie Ever Made #1

NOTE:  This was actually posted yesterday but apparently the blogger app likes to say you've published something and then not publish it.  I had page views on this post but for some reason it was gone when I checked today.  I apologize as I want to keep a tight schedule with this. I won't be using the blogger app again.  Thanks google.

Damn that's a bold title.  And that's the point.  I wouldn't mind doing this column a couple times for those few movies that are in the upper echelon of cinema.  Those movies that filmmakers across the globe cite as their inspiration and motivation.  And there are few that are as revered as this week's Amity Island centered classic . . . Jaws.

This is the ultimate example of being the finest film imaginable.  I seriously fucking adore this film.  The story is both original, classic and totally understated.  The tone, while threatening, does all it can to draw you in, making you feel like you're almost in the waters with the shark himself.

What's all the more remarkable about this film is the story behind it.  I know, you should judge solely based on the film itself and trust me, I have.  But the filmmaker side of me cannot help but appreciate the work done behind the scenes by Steven Spielberg.  This film was a disaster.  It went over-budget, absolutely nothing was working on it, and everything seemed to be collapsing in on itself.  If it weren't for the good faith of the backers, the movie that changed the industry may not be as we know it.

And that's exactly it: "The movie that changed the industry."  That statement is bold yet so very, very true.  This is the movie that helped to establish the "summer blockbuster", a concept that never even existed before 1975.  Seeing pictures of the lines and lines of people is just jaw dropping. I wish I was there to witness it in person.

Want a moment of pure humanity?  Watch the scene with Roy Sheider and his son at the dinner table.  As the kid begins mimicking his dad, you realize that these people are real, simply reacting to the circumstances around them.  And as soon as they become real, the situation becomes real and you are at the discretion of the filmmaker.  Which brings me to what may be the most important aspect of the entire film: Mr Steven Spielberg.

The troubled production has been written about in book after book and made for several entertaining documentaries, and one thing remains evident: this film wouldn't be what it is without Spielberg at the helm.  I honestly can't imagine being apart of this production.  But for as much of a nightmare filming was, it all paid off, creating a more elusive and mysterious villain.  I can't imagine the opening scene how it was originally storyboarded: Jaws popping out of the water, seeing it full force right off the bat.  Yeah, sometimes you have to be thankful for breakdowns.

Tension is an omnipotent being throughout the duration. It gnaws at you and makes those moments of actual terror all the more impactful. Any shot of water causes you to question what is beneath the surface. It's a brilliant tactic of less is more. Your imagination does more than they could ever do on celluloid. 

Jaws is a film I can put on no matter what time of year or mood I'm in. It fits any situation for me because I appreciate so much about it.  The 70s simplicity, the 2.34:1 aspect ratio, the beach, the skinny dipper, the USS Indianapolis. Just listing these excites me to no end. I honestly don't think there's ever been a film like Jaws and I don't think there ever will be again. At least we got one.

Celebrating with Mr. Benson and Mrs. Doubtfire

Mother's Day was just a few days ago so that means we were all busy showing our appreciation for the woman we popped out of.  Yes, Mothers Day is upon us and I figured what better way to celebrate than to watch a movie... with a comedian... while he made fun of it.  That's right, I went and saw Doug Benson Movie Interruption for Mrs. Doubtfire and it is undoubtedly one of the most ridiculous experiences I've ever had.

This took place at the Alamo Drafthouse in Littleton and damn does that theater deliver.  Reserved seating and a strict no texting/cell phones policy.  Not to mention the fact that they don't let people in late.  This is the ultimate movie fan playhouse in regards to forcing people to respect theater etiquette and in this day and age, that is a valuable thing.  If you've never been to an Alamo before, they allow drinking in the theater and even have a waiter for you throughout the duration.  It's the most amazing thing ever.  Needless to say, several beers and treats were ordered throughout the course of the concert and it's the only way a movie should be watched in theaters.

At first I thought that the various trailers and videos being shown before the show were chosen by Doug himself but after I got a little more acquainted with the theater, I realized that it's likely their own choices which makes it even more awesome.  The previews for Samurai Cop and Showgirls had me nearly falling out of my seat.  Samurai Cop will be added to my download/netflix queue immediately and if you haven't seen the trailer, youtube it.  Don't even get me started on all the videos straight out of the 90's that played leading up to that.  Pure insanity and I loved every second of it.

I was actually pretty surprised at how sober Doug seemed when he came out.  Not sure if it's just because he's used to being high all the time or what but he was an absolute professional and totally commanded the crowd.  He had three comedian friends join him for the movie interruption but dammit if I don't know any of their names.  No one big.  One of the guys was in Doug's movie Super High Me and The Greatest Movie Ever Rolled.  He was Doug's opening act who doesn't smoke weed and becomes increasingly obnoxious.  Yeah, I'd say that pretty much covers the role that he played for this interruption.  Randomly chiming in with loud noises and obvious remarks.  The other two said all of ten words the entire time so I'm not sure what to talk about with them.  They were... nice?

The real star of the show was obviously Doug Benson.  Dear god is that man hilarious.  There would be long stretches without them saying anything but when they did, it was always Doug with a quippy one-liner that tore the house down.  I guess I never really viewed Benson as being nearly as quick and witty as he actually is.  His image has simplified him down to just a stoner comic but he's a lot more than that and these movie interruptions are a good showcase of that.

Before this I didn't really hold Mrs. Doubtfire in such low regard.  In fact, I quite liked it as a kid and, while I rolled my eyes, I wasn't too upset by the fact that they announced a sequel.  Now I'm upset.  This film is absolutely terrible.  The entirety of this film is just Robin Williams doing wacky voices and being in situations that would never, ever happen.  I like Williams but dear god does he just go overboard here.  He needs to be reigned in, in order to give a next level performance and this was most certainly not that.  Though I guess this film has given us the classic "Whyyy hellooo" (which was quite prominent throughout the interruption) so it's not all a wash.

I can't recommend Doug Benson Movie Interruption enough.  I honestly don't think there's a single film that wouldn't be enjoyable with Doug's ridiculous commentary over it.  I wish that there would have been a little more talking but I think that they just got lost in the movie sometimes and forgot that they were supposed to be talking.  Either way, if you live in a big city where one of these is taking place, do yourself a favor and go to it.  Doesn't matter if stoner humor doesn't appeal to you because that's not what this is, this is just Doug Benson going to town on bad movies with a microphone.  Doesn't get much more entertaining than that.


I had tried this show out in the past but couldn't get into it (read last blog entry for more).  This past week I binge watched the entire series in a 24 hour span.  Sure, it's only eleven episodes but hey, I did it.  Given the high quality of the show, I'm glad that I did.  This show got a ton of praise last season for a reason.  From the top notch acting, to the true to life stories, this show excels at everything it does.  It's not afraid to take risks and go the untraditional route and that's in a lot of thanks to IFC.  They let their talent run while.  That leads me to the whole reason this show works how it does, the man behind it all... Marc Maron.

Marc Maron is a pessimistic individual.  I can relate.  Sure, I'm sure he plays it up on the show, but the character is still very relatable and overall just an interesting person to see go about his day.  To think that he is both the creator, a producer, a director and a writer on the show is astounding.  He is a lot of the creative force that makes this show as great as it is and it shows.  His character on screen has such an idea of what he's involved in.  I'm sure playing himself helps but he's really a fantastic actor, fitting into every moment perfectly.  Much like Louis CK, it's amazing to see someone excel so much in their own show yet have much experience beforehand.  Both were comedians with bit roles in various things, never really showing their true talent till their respective shows.  Hopefully Maron follows suit with CK and appears in more movies (ie. CK in American Hustle).

The guest stars on this show are what really make it stand out.  From Aubrey Plaza to Dave Foley, this show adds everyone from the comedy world you'd want.  I even saw that CM Punk is going to be on one of the episodes this season and I could not be more excited.  He hasn't appeared on anything, outside of The Talking Dead, since his departure from WWE.  It'll be interesting to see what the topic is that gets discussed.  I'm sure it'll have nothing to do with wrestling, or nothing of significance, but his presence is still enough to leave me anticipating.

This brings me to the unique part of the show that really solidifies that this show is from 2013-14, it's embrace of the present.  No, Marc Maron isn't pulling a Frasier Crane, being a radio host.  No, instead he hosts a podcast, the 21st Century answer to radio.  It adds a dynamic to the show, much like radio, where different guests are able to come in from different parts of the industry and it logically makes sense in the scheme of the story.  Makes guests feel less shoehorned and more natural to the flow of the story being told.  Plus, Podcasts are the in thing right now.  If you're in comedy and don't have one then something is either wrong with you or you're too big for them.

The entire first season of this show is on Netflix and the second season just premiered last Thursday.  Do yourself a favor and get caught up.  Pair this with Louis and you've got yourself a damn fine summer of TV viewing that feel very similar in tone.

A Change Of Heart

"I was wrong."  Not many people like to say those words.  They even feel awkward coming out of your mouth and don't exactly result in pride.  But you know what, they really help you become a better person because you become open to more things.  It's the reason I've watched nearly ever movie I've ever seen two or three times.  Yes, I'm not even kidding about that.  Unless I legitimately feel ill from watching a film (Nothing But Trouble, I'm looking at you) then I see it as my duty to give the film more than one shot.  It's a good view to have about life in general and you'll really get an idea of how much you can change as a person throughout the years.  It's the same reason that certain kids movies we enjoyed as adolescents don't quite hit that same point of entertainment.   We grow up and change.

Even genres sometimes are enough to disinterest us.  Truthfully, I can't imagine sitting down and watching a documentary at this point in my life.  They just don't interest me.  Sure, I can watch Crystal Lake Memories every hour of every day but that's a sit-down interview about a movie franchise.  I've had Blackfish on my Netflix queue (fuck you guys for taking years to finally change it to 'list', I'm sticking to it) ever since it was put on there, same with The Cove.  You know how often I stop on either of those even thinking about watching them?  Absolutely never.  But yet they'll remain on that queue until either I do or Netflix dies.  Probably the latter.  My point is, people change and as do our tastes.  There's the most long-winded way of getting to the point possible.  Your welcome, audience.

I feel like once people see something, or experience something once, they feel like they have the end all be all of the final say on that specific thing.  But you know what?  Things change.  Something that sucked five years ago may have some charm now.  A little over two years ago, Girls premiered on HBO to a lot of buzz.  I watched the episode with my then-girlfriend and by the time it was over, both of us were yawning and disinterested.  It just didn't understand what the point of the show was.  Every character was unlikeable and the problems were very shallow.  I had no interest.  Then I gave the show another shot and... I still didn't like it.  I watched a couple episodes of the first season and hated Lena Dunham with a passion.  I just didn't understand how anyone could like this show.

Cut to two years later.  I'm suddenly the same age as the characters on the show and living a thousand miles away from home.  Suddenly I felt a desire to give the show another chance and I binge watched the first two seasons in a few days.  I now understood how Girls wasn't about anything more than being real to life.  The characters aren't likeable a lot of the time because that's real.  Can you imagine your own life being a TV show?  I don't think many of us would be the fun, likeable one.  Because we're humans and we go through a lot of shit.  Sometimes we don't handle things correctly but that's not how it goes in movies.  Characters in movies and television have such control over every situation, even when they don't.  They get that last line out right before the train hits, someone conveniently interrupts them right before they're about to say something stupid.  These characters aren't that.  They say the wrong things, act selfish, and take advantage of their friends.  One of the most likeable people on the show is still an asshole to most people and not accepting of ideas that aren't his own.  Hell, the main character is extremely selfish at a funeral asking the widow if her book deal would still go through.  It makes her look terrible but it's something most of us would think of in that situation, we just wouldn't go through with it.  I would be 100% accepting if someone were to say they didn't like this show.  But if they were to say these characters don't feel straight out of real life?  Thems fighting words.

This is baffling to think of now but I actually hated Workaholics when it first came out.  My buddy Sam kept trying to get me to watch it and I despised it every time he did.  I just thought it was really stupid humor that never really went past potty humor.  But again, I tried it out and it's now one of my favorite comedies.  And I'd say some of the best episodes of the show are ones that I hated when first giving it a try.  I'm not sure what went on in my life that suddenly I connected more, if anything I connected more with that lifestyle then than now, but it did so I try to avoid judging a show right away.

I'm sure during my more snobbish movie buff days (even movie buff sounds snobbish), where I was a consistent visitor to movie forums and watching two movies a day, I hated stuff that I now enjoy.  I was harsh back then.  I never got enjoyment out of bad acting unless it was a horror film.  Now?  I love that shit.  Sometimes it's just a simple fact of taking time away from it and gaining appreciation, other times it's you growing up and being more mature.  I know I can't take fart or poop humor anymore but me at ten?  Fucking hilarious.  Okay... maybe fifteen.

Don't get me wrong though, having opinions based on experience is absolutely something we should be doing.  If you have no opinion then you just get walked over and have no personality.  Opinions are what makes us who we are.  They ARE personality.  But I can't recommend enough remaining open to the fact that those opinions may change in due time.  Sure, you're probably still gonna love Tell me ten years ago that Nicolas Cage would become a joke of an actor where it's more terrifying to see his name attached to a movie than encouraging, I would have said "No way.  Not the guy behind Con Air, Raising Arizona and Face/Off!  Blasphemy!"  Yet look where we are.

The point is:  Have an opinion.  Be completely impassioned about a film or tv show or musician or whatever, but just be accepting of the fact that, that may change.  Sure, most of the time things aren't going to work out like this.  I watch Spider-man 3 every couple years and it has yet to get better.  Peter still has stupid emo hair and Venom still looks like a Spider-Gremlin.  It will probably always suck but you know what I'll be doing in a couple years?  Giving it another shot.  So yeah, it's not going to work every time, but it is a way to be a more open individual.  Do I go out of my way to watch stuff I hate?  Of course not.  But if I can't remember why I didn't like something, whose to say that I still dislike it?

Justice League? *yawn*

With the success of The Avengers, you just had to know that DC (though more specifically Warner Bros.) was going to try and replicate the same model.  Only one problem: Marvel/Disney took five films to accomplish this and WB is trying to do it in two.  They're just trying to strike while the iron is hot and I think it's going to blow up in their face.  Don't get me wrong, I'm fairly certain it will make a metric shit ton of cash.  I'm just also convinced it will be Spiderman 3 level bad and not balance all the different elements out a la Whedon.  Here's why...

Man of Steel was pretty much the epitome of the word "meh."  Sure it looked pretty but a dark and gritty Superman film?  Snyder does realize that every character isn't Batman right?  Oh wait, he doesn't.  Superman doesn't need to have a hairy chest, curly hair, and no regard for his own secret identity.  Admittedly, I don't mind Cavill as Superman, I just wish that he was put in someone's hands other than Snyder's.  Even Michael Shannon manages to be uninteresting as Zod, which is something I would have guaranteed would not be the case when he was first cast.  Yet somehow here no amount of ranting and raving can make him a badass villain.

Then they go ahead and cast Ben Affleck as Batman.  Okay, interesting choice.  Is he who I would have chosen?  No chance in hell but I still want to give the guy a chance.  I'm not sure what will happen but he's at least caught my interest and we should have an idea when Batman v. Superman comes out (or whatever they decide to call it).  And I actually like the casting of Eisenberg for the exact same reason in that it raises my interest.

The Rock as Green Lantern?  Yawn.  I mean, don't get me wrong, I enjoy Dwayne Johnson as much as the next guy but as a Green Lantern?  Yeah, I could just care less.  Maybe it's just that he isn't much of a draw for me but never could a Rock headlined movie raise my interest enough for me to actually go to the theater and see it.  Don't get me wrong, I'd watch the shit out of it one Bluray but in the theaters?  Yeah, not a chance.  I view my ticket purchases more as a vote cast to Hollywood stating what I like so I won't pay for something if I'm not genuinely interested.  Honestly, I'd rather see Ryan Reynolds back in the CGI suit with a halfway decent screenplay.

Truthfully I think that my biggest doubt towards this film is the director, Zack Snyder.  Truthfully I haven't enjoyed a Snyder film since... 300?  And even then, that film does not stand the test of time at all.  So I guess I really only like Dawn of the Dead which kind of... no, I'm stopping.  I like Dawn of the Dead.  I think.  Either way, Snyder's style over substance approach which just doesn't work for me.  And when it comes to shepherding a complicated story, connecting multiple characters universes, I just don't think he's the man for the job.  But then again, I guess Joss Whedon is a busy man.

How Did This Get Made

I came to the realization mere seconds ago that I haven't written about How Did This Get Made.  In case you weren't aware, HDTGM is a podcast featuring Paul Scheer, June Diane Raphael, Jason Mantzoukas and a special guest where they talk about bad movies.  If you know me at all then you've probably heard me mention this show a couple of times.  I listen to it at work, while working out, in the car, just about any time really.  Obsessed.

The basic concept of watching a bad movie and then making fun of it is something I've done with my buddies since middle school.  My love for bad, bad movies has only grown since then so when this podcast was brought to my attention I was immediately intrigued but podcasts weren't really for me.  I liked the concept but I just couldn't see myself sitting down and listening to it.  Then one fateful night when I was home from college for break, I decided to give the live episode of Anaconda a chance.  I haven't turned back since.

Mantzoukas is definitely my favorite part of the show.  His crassness and general don't-give-a-fuck attitude makes him stand out.  He's not afraid to say what's on his mind, whereas the others play it a little safer.  The "Give me your baby" portion of one of the live episodes, where June sounds genuinely terrified at how far Jason will take the joke is one of the best moments of the podcast's run.  Speaking of June, she's the voice of reason amongst the chaos, for the most part.  She's always looking at the positives, whereas Jason is mostly negative, and then Paul is a little both.  I think that dynamic is why the show works.

The guests range from great to okay, with the best probably being Scott Aukerman and Michael Ian Black and the worst being Kevin Smith. It's really all about how much the guest is about themselves or about participating in the concept of the show which is to analyze bad movies.  That's why Smith's ends up falling so flat because it's mostly him just talking about stuff that's gone on in his life.  But really there is no terrible special guest throughout the run.  They clearly tend to get friends or people they've worked with in the comedy world, so it's always funny regardless of the movie.

The show has unfortunately dropped to only releasing one episode a month rather than two so there's a lot of time in between eps, which is making my interest wane with it.  The good news is that there are, as of this writing, 85 episodes of the show and 95% of them are gold.  They sometimes bring on people that are involved in the movie in question, which can be either inciteful or annoying, depending on how much they get sucked up to.  Regardless of who the guest is, no one beats the core team of Paul, June, and Jason.  So if you haven't listened to me before this, do yourself a favor and go seek this podcast out.  It takes two seconds.  It's even on youtube.  Don't worry I'll wait.

Now! (The Amazing Spiderman 2 review)

This was originally going to be a review of The Amazing Spiderman 2.  Now I'll just call it "Dane Dehaan is the Man (and Spiderman is there too).  Seriously.  Dane Dehaan.  He needs to be cast in every movie from here on out.  The guy absolutely steals every scene he is in and brings a gravitas to the role that it feels so established in the world, even though he's not introduced until like 30 minutes in.  And the arc his character goes through is one of the most natural and evolving I've seen in film.  It's amazing to think that the entire movie wasn't about him because, leaving the theater, that was all I could think about and all I could hear from those around me.  He stole the movie.  If he's not somehow in the third one, I'm breaking legs.

Okay, I guess I should talk about the actual movie now.  Now I tend to be rather critical of movies I'm looking forward to just because I subconsciously build them up to unreachable expectations but truthfully I didn't really care about it being perfect.  I just wanted a good Spider-man movie and that's exactly what I got.  Every scene that the wall crawler is in, it feels like the Spider-man from the comics.  Everything he says, the way he moves, it's what you picture when reading the comics and something the Raimi movies never got quite right.  The way they spotlight his specific senses shows us just how good our hero is at his job.

Do I even need to say this?  Obviously Peter and Gwen are incredible together since Garfield and Stone are a real life couple so their chemistry is off the charts.  Makes for several scenes that really leave a mark since the dialogue comes off as so natural.  I'm sure some of my favorite lines were improv because of just how natural they were.  Then again, maybe Stone and Garfield are just really good actors.  Or something.  Also, thank you for just having them take realistic relationship photos for Peter to look at and not some photoshopped monstrosity.  Much appreciated.

I think the story is a little bit of a mess, given that it featured soooooo much.  I could have done without the entire opening scene but hey, I guess it makes the payoff later much more refreshing.  But the best part is that they really treat it like Spider-man is constantly fighting and he's already been through plenty of struggles, which we see part of, but more so than the Raimi films where it was all a contained period of time.  This movie has months go by in seconds, which is very uncommon for a comic book movie, although I could be wrong.

This review has been kinda all over the place hasn't it?  Yeah, perfect allegory for this movie.  I think that it's an organized chaos, but it's chaos nonetheless.  We're jumping from storyline to storyline, villain to villain so much that I'm curious if the casual viewer can keep up.  I'm sure the third film will feature a lot bigger payoffs than we've received so far, so I guess there's always that to look forward to.  I'm just hoping that Webb can allow the story to play out naturally and not try to cram so much into a film.  This film just felt like he wanted to do so much and make sure to contain it to three films so that he had Garfield for it which admittedly most directors would do when given the talent that Garfield has.  Either way, I was a happy camper at the end (Outside of that terrible credit music.  What the hell Pharrell.  Absolutely garbage.)  Anywayyyyyyy, I'd recommend it but just don't expect a masterpiece, expect... well, expect a Spider-man movie.

Oh yeah, and did I mention Dane Dehaan?

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