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Showing posts from June, 2018


We're halfway through 2018, and I wanted to compile a list of my Top 20 favorite movies of the year (so far). I've seen about 40 2018 films, so this is roughly half of them, ranked. I've enjoyed all of them, for varying reasons.

Right, here we go...

1. Lean on Pete
2. Won't You Be My Neighbor?
3. Ready Player One
4. Black Panther
5. Annihilation
6. First Reformed
7. Book Club
8. Love, Simon
9. Paddington 2
10. Oh Lucy!
11. Game Night
12. Beast
13. The Party
14. Hereditary
15. Unsane
16. Hotel Artemis
17. Tully
18. Avengers: Infinity War
19. Ocean's 8
20. Deadpool 2

It should be interesting to see what the rest of 2018 has in store at the box office.

When Johnny Comes Marching Home

I do my best not to be bogged-down in the news. Much of this is a defense mechanism, necessitated by my depression. Wallowing in too much negativity (which much of the news is these days) is certainly a trigger for a full-on breakdown. I about had one of those earlier in the week, in fact, partly brought on by being overwhelmed with too much ingestion of daily accounts of what's going on in our country and the world. I'm not a hermit. I take-in enough to stay informed, but try not to over-indulge in things like comments sections, or Twitter feeds that are incessantly outraged.
As mentioned earlier, I overdid it this past week, and partook in all of the things I try not to do. Indeed, one simply can't ignore the reality of children being detained in cages away from their parents. I read the comments, I scrolled through Twitter constantly. The anger, the bewilderment, the fear, the resentment, the arguments, my own struggle with trying to comprehend a world seemingly gone m…

The Author In Spite of Himself

On a wintry December night in 1990, I entered WEFT studios for the first time. Secluded along a narrow portion of Market Street in downtown Champaign, it was a radio station comprised mostly of volunteers, with an eclectic schedule and a homey interior full of CDs, records and the requisite equipment necessary to run a radio station. It was the glorious antithesis of modern radio, and I was immediately intrigued.
It was in those funky walls of WEFT that I soon met Christopher Stasheff. He was one of the many talented and unique individuals I encountered while partaking in the local radio theatre troupe. We often met, rehearsed and recorded at the radio station, and our director, Joel, would host the weekly radio theatre time slot on WEFT, wherein our efforts were broadcast. I was part of the performing group from that fateful night in December 1990, until early 1994.
During those years (which coincided with my time at high school), I would sometimes spend time at the Stasheff abode, …

Sweet Land of Liberty

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled in favor of a Colorado baker who refused to make a cake for a gay couple for their wedding. Though the ruling is fairly limited, our society -- being what it is -- will not pay attention to the nuance, and therefore sides will be drawn, celebrations and angry reactions alike will be had, and our culture war will continue to be stoked. I think I understand the majority ruling, but I do not agree with it.
Back in December, former blogger Andrew Sullivan (himself a longtime gay rights activist, though also an admitted conservative) wrote a piece wherein he thought that the Colorado gay couple had gone too far in suing the baker, and that they (and by extension LGBT people) should just "live and let live." In other words, it was a 'pick your battles' argument. I thought about this particular train of thought for quite awhile, but, in the end, decided it is wrong.

Cinematic Universes' Divine Decline and Fall

It is my contention that the lackluster box office performance of Solo: A Star Wars Story, and the boffo reception for Avengers: Infinity War are potentially harbingers of the same future for what is now termed the 'cinematic universe' existence for both the Marvel and Star Wars franchises. That may sound odd, so of course some explanation is in order. Part of what follows necessitate going back a few years.
As is well-publicized, Marvel has different "phases" of its cinematic universe. Everything is planned-out (something which Star Wars could benefit from greatly). It could be (and has been) argued that Marvel's template is very much rote by this point, even with the inclusion of fresh directorial blood with recent films. Nevertheless, the process seems to have done well for them. The movies have almost always done well at the box office, and the average moviegoer seems genuinely invested in what happens with the characters.