What’s In a Name?

Of course, there is the famous Shakespeare quote. To quote someone else, however, has always indicated that you are not clever enough to think for yourself. So, I steer away from it when I can.

In my research, I found a lot of pure bologna, some half-hatched notions, and a pinch of intelligence. It may not be a recipe for the very best blog, but I’ll be damned if I don’t try, anyway.

My name was rather unique and even a bit old-fashioned when I was young; believe it, or not. Now (thanks to Ms. Roberts, I presume) it has moved up significantly on the ‘popular names for girls’ list. I’ve always been a rather odd individual, too…I’m not gonna lie. However, one case hardly counts as any bit more than circumstantial proof one way or the other. There does seem to be a slight correlation between names and personalities, but I can’t in good conscience consider them much more than coincidental.

My cultural learnings to make benefit the glorious nation of Web information, thereby, are this:

Until scientific (OBJECTIVE) research can effectively prove otherwise, a name is nothing more than what people call you. Just keep watching out for those sticks and stones.

The Top 5 Most Underrated Movies of All Time

(Some of you might be sensing a theme, here…)

I will tell you why I chose each one. They are all based on my opinion alone, and what I like to see in a movie; which consists of a great storyline, an unpredictable ending, and a cast who can pull off both of those with witty dialogue. I don’t do explosions and I can’t stand cheap nudity. So NO: ‘Eyes Wide Shut will not be on this list, although it is widely acknowledged as an underrated movie.

No. 5 is, however, a Kubrick movie. It’s’ called ‘Paths Of Glory’ and features Kirk Douglas in his first collaboration with the famous, dead director. ‘Paths Of Glory’ is the tale of a few soldiers wrongly tried for treason by their commanding officers. All are expected to perpetrate the ruse, to make an example of these soldiers and boost morale, but Douglas refuses, causing discord. It’s beautifully filmed and well-told.

No. 4 is called Waking Life. It’s a Richard Linklater film. If you know him at all, it’s probably from ‘Dazed and Confused’ or (less likely, but still possible) ‘A Scanner, Darkly’. Scanner would have made this list if it was less known. The fact is, hardly anyone I have ever met has seen ‘Waking Life’, until I convince them to watch it with me. It’s a story of random outbursts seen from the point of view of a young man who appears to be dreaming. The whole movie is full of interesting concepts, shared with the audience through a lucid dream…the result, of course, is rather open-ended. I still have debates about the ending of that film.

No. 3 is ‘The Virgin Suicides’, directed by one of my favorites; Sophia Coppola. Sophia’s cast endears us from the beginning, throughout the plight of pubescent teenage girls locked away by their fervently religious and stalwart, strict mother. From James Woods (the passive father, wanting to help, but not knowing how), to the boys who watch them from across the street, to Kirsten Dunst as the insatiable Lux, the girls enchant from the very first line.

No. 2 is a Guy Pierce winner. ‘Memento’; one of Christopher Nolan’s first flicks (I guess I didn’t keep to form, here, ‘The Following’ is probably less known) stunned me with its backward motion and it’s unbelievable beginning (which actually was the ending; literally filmed backwards, that one). It’s a little hard to follow, but completely worth it if you aren’t a victim of insufferable ADD.

NUMBER 1!!! It’s called ‘Big Nothing’. This was suggested to me by Netflix, so I figured I’d give it a shot. That movie had me at the edge of my seat, going, “What the F??? No way that just happened. Oh damn…”. The whole movie was this great storyline full of twists that I, as a writer, couldn’t predict. I got a little bit of the end right, about thirty seconds before it happened, and that was it. That movie is still one of the very best I have ever seen. I never thought David Schwimmer could pull off anything close to his character in that flick. It was hilarious, sickening, and thrilling, all at once.

Give the Indies a chance, folks, otherwise, you never know what you’re missing.

Aside

Sweet Revenge

I’ve wondered, often, at the acts of grandparents.

If you are a Mum or a Dad; you completely understand. If you are a kid or a Grandperson…you already know. I remember, when I was younger, how badass it was to go hang out at grandma’ s house. I also know that my daughter LOVES to see her folks’ folks. Yes; part of it is the presents, part of it is the candy, but mostly; it’s just the payback…

That’s right; Mums and Dads. They’re in on it together. Everything you ever did to your own parents is reflected in your children and they (as grandparents) have every right to reward now, what they fought, yesteryear. Say what you will…I hate it, too. But life, it seems, like any ridiculous drunken frat boy will tell you, requires our own particular brand of hazing. We pay our dues, love their faults, and then (finally!) get to make fun of them with their kids.

I am rubbing my palms together like the evil villain in a terribly made and low-budgeted science fiction movie (or, a kindergartner trying to melt a crayon with pure friction). Aha!!! Revenge!!! I can hardly wait, and she’s only four.

That Time of Year

is upon us.

I can’t help but to think that the best way to live is to love. To believe in love like a little kid believes in Santa Claus is all that we have left; right? Unless you buy the whole bible-thumper lifestyle; hook, line, and sinker. To live for love is to be true to whatever makes us different. Period. Just off, and awkward, and weird. I like being all of the above. It’s what makes us…. I love these movies because they’re so real. The only way to see the beauty in life is to open up the jar and let the world in. You have to see people to know them, and you have to know them to appreciate them. 

To see, you have to open your eyes. To believe, you have to open your heart. To know, you have to leap, and to appreciate, you have to first understand. It’s a vicious, wondrous cycle. It’s hard to explain how to be a human being, but at least I tried. It’s more than I can say for anyone who ever mouth-spanked their waitress over pickles on a burger.

The Top Ten Movies You’ve never Seen; Or…

Have Forgotten (altogether).

No. 10= Big Fish

I rarely meet someone who has watched this flick, let alone, someone who likes it. As for those who actually GET IT…fewer, still. We are a rare breed, those who watch a movie to infer the contents of the soul(s) behind it. This was a movie about a young man who told tall tales about a mostly imagined life (as seen from the point of view of his very cynical and over-worked, modernized son). This was a tale told to remind us how great our fathers and grandfathers were. To teach a generation of decomposing values how our mothers waited and our fathers fought. How hard and how epic was the journey of life when it still meant making a climb or two. It’s visually stunning with exceptional dialogue, and a hero we can’t help but to love. Watch and enjoy.

No. 9= The Ringer

Yeah, it might be a bit cliche, and it’s definitely the ONLY format movie you’ll see on this list (same storyline….insert character name; here…type of bullshit), but it’s got something beautiful to say. The Ringer reminds me why I like the Farrelly Brothers so much. The characters aren’t perfect, but you’ve got to love them. The realism of those offbeat people who waltz into your life insisting you take notice of a world you hardly ever see, are the most beautiful of our gifts, here.

No. 8= Vanilla Sky

Yes. I know I’m the only person on Earth who liked that movie. Guys who wanted to get into my pants have occasionally pretended, but it’s easy to tell when that happens…usually. Hear me out. I love Vanilla Sky for a couple of reasons. The first is that the preview set me up. I didn’t expect a single effing thing that happened, aside from her driving off the bridge. I’m  a writer. I enjoy a good old-fashioned mindfuck every now and then. It’s why I write…or play chess…or fiddle with Pandora, just to see what they’ll make me listen to, based solely on the masses. The other reason, is the dialogue. Yes, they all talk like writers (which I generally loathe), but they all are writers and agents, so it fits…for once. The writers want the agents to pull for them; the agents want the writers to think they are witty enough to sell them. It’s a fake world to begin with, except the one real thing; love. Hence; the tagline (title of the original Spanish Indie flick, by the way): “Open Your Eyes”. This is funny…it’s a good seguay for the next one.

No. 7= American Beauty

Call me dumb, if ya want…I call me young. I certainly didn’t see this little spin on Romeo and Juliet (with the fathers as the dead people) coming. It was a great little switch for me and it sort of paved the way for me to be this independent thinker type. I said it before and I’ll say it again…if I didn’t see it coming; I’m impressed.

No. 6= Prime

Uma Thurman has always looked like an alien to me…sorry. She has this face you want to send to its home planet. Nonetheless, I respect her as an actress. There was the leap from daft looking cover girl to Pulp Fiction, plus the fact that she rocked the bride in Kill Bill(s). Then, she dates this hot young guy in a romantic comedy where (wait for it….SPOILER ALERT!)

Nah, I’m messing with you. Watch the movie, already. I’m not a dick.

No. 5= Nothing But Trouble

Man, was that movie fun. John Candy, Chevy Chase, Demi Moore (when she was still cute, before the boob job slutty stuff), a couple of other 80’s funny people… It was good stuff. Way out of the ordinary, unpredictable, random cast. Just a really fun story. I loved that movie, purely for its inherent weirdness.

No. 4= It Happened One Night

Okay, so it’s a classic. Does ANYone born after 1965 remember why?? I highly doubt it. If you ever catch TCM; you’ll see the stage set for everything that came after. This movie is the reason I hate modern comedy. It’s a farce of a copy of something real, at this point. When you make a copy, it will always be flawed, and I see why.

No. 3= The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou

If I were terribly biased, all seven of Wes Anderson’s movies would have been on this list, simply by default. I picked this one because it was my first, and because I had no idea what I was getting myself into with this movie. I sat there, watching it, wondering (for two hours) if it was worth my time. I almost turned it of fifteen times; but something compelled me to watch. I guess it was akin to the thing that keeps the horrible (but naked), big-breasted, blond actress stamped firmly to the floor in a bad horror flick a second too long, except that I wasn’t murdered. At the end of the movie, I immediately rewound it (yes; VHS; I was poor) and watched the whole thing over again. I was in love with that style of movie-making from the get-go.

No. 2= The Dark Crystal

I can’t really explain it. Just watch and, either you get it, or you don’t. It’s weird; I’ll grant you, but it does have a way of morphing into (at least) slight obsession; so look out. It’s Henson at his best, truly.

No. 1= (drum roll; please…)  Harold and Maude

Again, it’s hard to describe. I lost myself somewhere in between the Cat Stevens soundtrack and a teenager’s obsession with death mixed with the oddest love affair I have ever seen. The thing about Harold and Maude; you see; is a grand lesson in not taking life too seriously.

Stay tuned…guilty pleasures might rear their ugly heads in a day or two. And, again, thank you for reading.

iPhone 5: Beyond the Novelty

Yes, yes, I have the new iPhone 5. I work for a company that repairs iPhones and customizes them. As innovators, we have to be on the verge of technology. I wasn’t one of the damned fools who camped out in front of the store, or anything. The i5 is a great little gadget. However, I still love my 4. Why, oh why? Never underestimate the power of the jailbreak, ladies and gentlemen.

The iPhone 5 is sleek and sophisticated. I’m not gonna lie; it’s pretty. It’s about half the weight of the 4; this is true. And the LTE seems to be the only real, solid reason to get it. That LTE is lightning quick, but it eats the hell out of your data plan. If you’re like most of my colleagues, who managed to get grandfathered in on the Verizon Unlimited; good for you. LTE, away! If, however, you are like me and never used much data until recently; you’re screwed. Verizon has done away with unlimited data just when the best technology has been offered for Apple products.

My 4 automatically hooks up to WiFi, anywhere I go, plus she is jailbroken. So, yes, I can safely say that the 4 and 4S are not going to be quite obsolete any time, soon. There are a lot of advantages to owning both phones, but I wouldn’t have traded the 4 (who sports a gameboy case plus every single NES game ever made, prompting me to name it Zelda) for the 5. No way; no how.

There you are. My analysis; for your consideration.