Wednesday, April 14, 2010

New Site for Posts

For those following me on this site, I'm now posting on Wordpress. You can find me here...

See you there!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Peanut Butter and Jelly of Music

What songs do like nothing else can do is reach my innermost emotions, draw them out, and remind me that I'm not alone in my emotions... whether it's joy or sorrow, happiness or sadness. You know the feeling when you hear the right song at the right moment? Something about the lyrics, the melody, or the music can cut right to the core of your emotion. You've gone through a tragedy, you're trying to be strong, you're holding yourself together then that one song comes on the radio and you fall apart. You scored the winning goal, you win the championship, your heart pounds out of your chest in excitement, and then you hear the song you've been listening to all season, and you're on the highest of high's in that moment. You're about to have your first kiss then you hear Paula Abdul's "Rush Rush" playing in the background, and you don't think it can get any better than this. (ok, that last one was my brother when he was in junior high school, I had to throw it in there!)

I'm sure we've all been there in one way or another and, honestly, I like being there. I'll listen to Queen's "We Are the Champions" on the way to a softball game I'm playing in. I'll listen to "Come Thou Fount" by the David Crowder Band in the morning as the sun rises. Or listen to "Kokomo" when I miss the beach. Or "Unchained Melody" by Cindy Lauper when I want to be sad. Know what I mean? There's a song for every mood I'm in. And those songs make those moments richer, more memorable. They take me farther into an emotion where I can't get on my own. And that is so awesome. Music is such a great thing for me. But when it comes to which songs I like, well, there are a ton of songs I like certain parts of. I'll fast forward to those parts, or rewind to hear them again or sometimes listen through the whole song just to get to the 10 seconds I really like. Like eating the crust of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I don't prefer the crust, but I eat it because, well, it's part of the sandwich. So it is with some songs, I don't prefer the whole thing, but there's a verse that I really like, so I listen to all 3 minutes of the song.

I'm not sure why I'm writing about peanut butter and jelly. Maybe I'm getting hungry and the peanuts I'm munching on only makes me think more about dinner? I'm grilling burgers tonight on what is supposed to be a cool clear night here in Tennessee. And I'll be watching the college basketball championship while I eat said burgers. But writing about food was not my intention for this posting. I think I've stumbled onto something huge. I consider it music perfection. A pb & j sandwich with no crust, if you will. It's a list of songs, when taken as a whole, that encompass every emotion and in my opinion, are all sandwich and no crust. The songs are so well-aligned with emotions I feel and are strong when standing alone, presenting their message well. But when combined together, they reach a new level, a perfect level. Put these on your music player. Listen to them and I think you'll discover the same thing: the sum is much greater than its parts.

"Hallelujah" Jeff Buckley.......... writer: Leonard Cohen (1984)

"Keep the Faith" Michael Jackson.......... writers: Ballard, Garrett, Jackson (1991)

"All These Things That I've Done" The Killers.......... writer: Flowers (2004)

"Yeah!" Usher.......... writers: Lil Jon, Garrett, Smith, Ludacris, McDowell, Phillips (2004)

"She's Gone Forever" Randall Goodgame.......... writer: Goodgame (2005)

"The Story" Brandi Carlile.......... writer: Carlile (2007)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

a few things I've noticed about Nashvillians!

you volunteer to take your friend to the airport because you're their friend (and the gas around there is usually about 10 cents cheaper than anywhere else).

you don't know if Franklin is a suburb of Nashville, or it's own city.

while driving through the intersection of Edmonson and Nolensville, you wonder which corner is actually Nipper's.

you're afraid to leave your car unprotected while you watch a movie at 100 Oaks Theater.

you've used the pedestrian bridge in downtown Nashville as your personal workout facility.

listening to 107.5 on your way to work, you smile just a little when you hear "'s definitely not a Nashville party" in Miley Cyrus' song.

you're tired of Interstate 440 being "closed" on the weekends.

you work in Franklin, live in Hermitage, shop in Green Hills, leave East Nashville before nightfall, and have seen the ferris wheel at Carnival Kia in Antioch.

you think that driving 4 hours to IKEA in Atlanta is worthwhile.

in Fall 2009 you wished for snow. In February 2010, you regretted it.

because of the heavy heavy snow this year, your car is still somewhere on interstate 65, abandoned. with a green sticker on it.

you walked to the grocery store because the roads were too slick. When you got home you joined this Facebook group:!/group.php?gid=238997510403&ref=ts

you will drive faster through a yellow light if the intersection doesn't have traffic cameras.

you're too lazy to use your blinker when changing lanes, but feel disrespected when someone else does the same thing in front of you.

while you're driving, you're right and everyone else is wrong.

believe you have the right-of-way whether you are walking, on a bicycle, or driving your car.

you won't drive a few extra miles to fill up with cheaper gas, but you'll take alternate routes to avoid sitting still in traffic.

your "maps" in your "glove compartment" have been replaced by your "apps" on your "phone".

you miss the days when rolling your window down required no buttons or motors.

you're more excited about the color of your speedometer than the safety rating of your car.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

95 Movies in 2009: Reaction to the Bottom 10

85. Backwoods (2008, Marty Weiss, R)
Don't rent it. I got it from Redbox, and apparently Redbox accepts d-level movies as ones they can vend to consumers. The story was surpisingly complex and somewhat original, which made me upgrade it from an F to a D.

86. Martian Child (2007, Menno Meyjes, PG)
I tried my best to get connected to this film. I genuinely wanted to be moved by the story, but never was and I don't think it's my fault. It sort of feels like they had a great attempt at showing John Cusack's character grow into a hero, but then when I actually think about the movie, the story, the dialogue, his relationship with the "martian child," I'm left with an empty, unfulfilled question mark. The bottom line is that the makers of this filmed wanted the viewer to be moved, and I, as a viewer, was not. Words that come to mind are: forgettable, regular, emotionless, and unconnected. There were a few likable characters in this film, but for me, those did not include John Cusack's or the Martian Child. To explain my lack of fervor for this film, in the final scene where the ultimate decision is being made by the child, I would have been fine if he stayed with his dad (John Cusack) and also would have been just as fine if he was zapped up to Mars. I was sort of hoping for an alien encounter (and I don't even like alien movies), just so there would be something more interesting happening on screen. Yippee! Aliens! But you'll have to watch the movie to find out what really happens... or save yourself 2 hours (which you can use to watch one of the top 10 films I saw in 2009).

87. The Haunting In Connecticut (2009, Peter Cornwell, PG-13)
Supposedly based on a true story, these kind of spirit-filled ghost movies do little to frighten me. Not saying I don't scare easily, but other-worldly beings never seem realistic to me, because I've never seen one. The scary movies that actually scare me are the ones that are relative. Something that can easily happen, like Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Shining, and Life As A House. Ok, Life As A House was scary, but for a whole nother reason. Why they made that movie, I don't know.

88. Behind Enemy Lines: Columbia (2009, Tim Matheson, R)
My recommendation? Read the synopsis on the back of the DVD, put it back on the shelf and save yourself $4 and 2 hours. This is the third in the "Behind Enemy Lines" franchise, and guess what, third time is NOT the charm. There is so much I can say about this movie, I don't know where to start. It was no where near the quality of the first "Behind Enemy Lines" (starring Owen Wilson). From the cheesy one liners (that aren't even bad enough to laugh at) to the unconvincing characters and dialogue, this movie was as formula as you can get. Perhaps because it was a WWE Production, and yes I mean the wrestling WWE. Mr. Kennedy (a WWE wrestler), who played one of the main characters in this film, either needs to brush up on his acting (with a gigantic brush) or simply stick to wrestling, where I hope he has more success than what I saw in this movie. I'm just disappointed to see that the first "Behind Enemy Lines", which I liked so much, has fallen down to the level of this third one. However I did like the second one (Axis of Evil). Not sure what the difference is between the three (possibly having 3 different directors), but whatever it is, it needs to be fixed before a 4th film disappoints even more.

89. August Rush (2007, Kirsten Sheridan, PG)
Why Robin Williams? For a character that is serious, why Robin Williams? A pretty corny predictable movie. There were a few songs that I liked throughout the movie, but not enough to watch it again when I could be sleeping. And unless the young kid had 3 hands, there's no way he could play the music he was playing. Either that was bad editing, or they wanted us to think he was a mutant.

90. Step Brothers (2008, Adam McKay, R)
I thought this movie was ehh, so so. If you've seen other Judd Apatow movies, you've seen them all. Nothing new in this one. Vulgarity, language, typical attempts at humor. But if you like his other ones, you will like this one. At least it had a good ending that gives some sort of satisfaction. If you end up watching it, I consider it pretty darn close to a waste of a couple of hours UNLESS you watch it with friends or watch it while you eat dinner or dessert. Then at least you are multi tasking. If you don't watch it, consider yourself 2 hours ahead on something else.

91. Life As a House (2001, Irwin Winkler, R)
Is it 4pm? Did I just get home from school? Did I just turn on PBS? Is this an after school special? Or an after school punishment! "Life As a House" is one of the worst movies I've seen in a long time. In any movie, most character arc's take a long time to happen, nothing happens overnight. In the beginning of the movie the character will be a tough angry person, and near the end we'll see that they've changed their ways. But the son in this movie changes faster than a politician seeking office. To me, it was more like a soap opera than a movie, with all the sleeping around, the forced one liners, and the unreal circumstances. There were some good parts to the movie, but the best part of the movie was seeing how bad it would get. I will admit, it was memorable, that is for sure.

92. The Goods: Live Hard. Sell Hard. (2009, Neal Brennan, R)
For a movie that was striving for shock value, I'd say this one... failed. Hard. Actually I was shocked at how bad it was. How's that? Are there no true comedies anymore? A third grader could have written this movie, and actually I would prefer the 3rd graders because at least it would have some creativity and imagination to it. For a movie that has the word "hard" in the title twice, it looks like the script was easy to write. It was dumb from the get-go. I'd be shocked if it ends up on the top 100 list of any critic, and even more shocked if someone who sees it once, sees it twice. Its a disappointing contribution to American film-making, and worries me about what Hollywood thinks America enjoys watching. Perhaps if they got out of LA they'd see there are actual humans living in America that don't laugh when someone names a male body part (although the scene of Will Ferrell skydiving was pretty funny). But DO NOT see this movie, it's hurrendous, a waste of their time and money, don't make the same mistake they did by wasting your time and money. Take an extra 5 minutes and choose a different movie to see, finding a better movie will not be "hard" to do.

93. Year One (2009, Harold Ramis, PG-13)
Mildly humorous, and by mildly I think I laughed 3 or times. Year one is not even worth dollar one. Waste-oh time-oh.

94. Gone, Baby, Gone (2007, Ben Affleck, R)
I wanted to watch this movie because Ben Affleck directed it. Unfortunately, I didn't like it. However, if you like cuss words and not feeling happy about anything, then this movie is for you. Even when the story was wrapped up, I still didn't feel good about it. It's a similar idea to "Man On Fire" but it paled in comparison. Take everything "Man On Fire" did right out of the equation, and then you have "Gone, Baby, Gone". In fact, to compare them I feel like I'm cheating at something. So for this movie, I highly recommend watching "Man On Fire" instead.

95. Miss Castaway (2004, Bryan Michael Stoller, unrated)
I suppose there was a reason this movie is ranked #86 on IMDB's bottom 100 movies. What I can't figure out is how the 85 movies above this one can be any worse. I don't plan on finding out, that's for sure. If I were to narrow down which parts of the movie I liked the least, I'd say it was the beginning, middle, and end. If I had to narrow it down. It was painful. I laughed once.... I think. The special effects were not special, the comedy was simply not, and the whole movie... I can't. I just can't keep talking about this movie. I feel like I'm wasting even more time than the hour and a half I already wasted. If you have the opportunity to see this movie, run.

95 Movies in 2009: Reaction to the Top 10

1. (500) Days of Summer (2009, Marc Webb, PG-13)
Did they read my journals or something? How can this movie so accurately resemble my current situation? I LOVED this movie. The story, the presentation, the dialogue, the non-dialogue... all of it was great. Such a refreshing, creative, interesting, relatable movie. I came away feeling down about what the main character went through in this film, and yet at the same time I had a glimmer of hope. And I can only suggest that this paradox of emotions is precisely what the film-makers wanted the audience to feel. It was such an accurate version of real life and how relationships can be so great and so terrible pretty much at the exact same time. If you have the opportunity to see this movie, do it. And if you don't have the opportunity, create the opportunity. You will not be disappointed. My favorite scene, as will be for a lot of viewers I'm sure, is the "expectations/ reality" sequence. Brilliant and spot on. The movie takes you up to the mountain and down to the valley, just like real relationships do. Very well done.
"Robin is better than the girl of my dreams. She's real."

2. Up (2009, Pete Docter, Bob Peterson, PG)
If you haven't seen the movie, don't read this. Quite possibly my favorite movie this year. Someone wrote a comment on their facebook page about how remarkable it was to show such a heart-wrenching love story without using words, and I admit, they are right. Right from the get-go, I was hooked. This movie has every element that a good movie needs, drama, action, humor, love, and a proper ending. My favorite character, as I bet is true with most of you, is the bird, Kevin. Loved that even when the young boy discovered the bird was a girl, he kept calling him by the name Kevin. Hilarious. Really good movie, great for children, adults, senior adults. Go see it!

3. Big Fish (2003, Tim Burton, PG-13)
At first I was not excited about this movie. That's why it's taken me this long to watch it (it came out in 2003). I just thought it might be a little too strange for my tastes. Boy was I wrong. It was strange, but I really enjoyed it. It's about 2 hours long and when I realized it was about to end, I was hoping it wouldn't end. I venture to say this is the only movie so far that I wish would have kept going instead of ending. Very creative, but not wild or extravagant for extravagance sake. I'm not sure exactly yet what the message was, if there was one. Perhaps life is less about the facts, and more about the story around them. Maybe? One thing I am reminded of after I see this movie is that I love my dad. Im so happy that we have never gone through a period of not communicating like the characters in this movie did. Overall, very good movie. You should see it. If you like to feel good, to laugh, and to have your heart strings tugged a little.
"Most men, they'll tell you a story straight through. It won't be complicated, but it won't be interesting either."

4. Taken (2008, Pierre Morel, PG-13)
There were parts to this movie that I thought were unexplained, and definitely kept it from being rated higher on this list. I mean, how many people can you kill consecutively with one chop of the arm? Surely there would be some that needed another chop, or a follow-up shot in the leg or chest or something. And how do you just happen to have all the equipment you need to perform medical treatments? Unless you're MacGyver, of course. But despite the unexplained issues I had, this was a great movie with a satisfying ending. The protagonist was kick-butt and I loved that!
"I will look for you. I will find you, and I will kill you."

5. Slumdog Millionnaire (2008, Danny Boyle, Loveleen Tandan, R)
Unfortunately I had high expectations for this movie, because of the critical acclaim but even moreso because friends of mine saw it before me and said it was excellent. Well, I will have to agree with all of them! The movie was very good. From top to bottom it was full of action, drama, humor, love, fear, and emotion. And they accomplished this with little (if any) curse words. I have never been to India, but I felt like I was there with the characters, experiencing all the drama and action of their lives. And to incorporate a show that we all know, "Who Wants To Be A Millionniare?" was a pretty fantastic idea. I definitely felt like I was cheering for the underdog, and the payoff was everything it should have been! I love when love wins. If you haven't seen it, you are missing out.

6. The Blind Side (2009, John Lee Hancock, PG-13)
The hype around this movie proves true. The story is really good. I did think it went on a little too long, but I dare you to resist getting into this underdog story. It's a story of overcoming, a story of hard work and success.
"You should really get to know your players. Michael scored in the 98th percentile in protective instincts."

7. Best In Show (2000, Christopher Guest, PG-13)
I love the type of humor in this movie! A simple story, with simple characters, but performed brilliantly. Just goes to show if you have a great idea for a movie, and have great actors and actresses, you don't need to have crazy special effects and billion dollar budgets. I'm a fan of this one, and of Christopher Guest.
"And really, I think what we're talking about is standards, basically; very, very specific, rigid, you could say, but in this world where would we be without them, I think. And notice where we are."

8. High Fidelity (2000, Stephen Frears, R)
This movie starred John Cusack but for me, Jack Black stole the show. Some of the humor was a on the crude side, but it was limited. When I was watching this, I actually was reminding quite a bit of "Slumdog Millionaire" in the way the movie was put together. So thumbs up to "High Fidelity" to doing this kind of editing years before the revolutionary film set in the slums of India. Another good John Cusack film in my book, but if you watch it for him, you may be surprised who you come away liking more, John or Jack.
"She didn't make me miserable, or anxious, or ill at ease. You know, it sounds boring, but it wasn't. It wasn't spectacular either. It was just good. But really good."

9. French Kiss (1995, Lawrence Kasdan, PG-13)
Classic 80's romantic comedy. There were tons of one liners and for me, that goes a long way. It also has a satisfying ending (did you expect to be left uhappy at the end of a romantic comedy?). So if you are into rom-com's from the 1980's, this is one you should see. I really enjoyed it.
"I love the sea. So beautiful, so mysterious... so full of fish."

10. Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed (2008, Nathan Frankowski, PG)
This is a great movie for anyone with an open mind. The truth is, no one knows for sure how the earth, the universe, the whole human experience started. All we have to go on is what is around us. The movie explains how there is sort of a secret divide between theories of how everything began. And while it explains the secrets, it calls out those who claim that only certain ways are possible. It dives into evolution, Intelligent Design, faith in God, atheism, creationism, and many aspects of the scientific world and how science and faith sometimes (and often) intertwine. Ben Stein was very good at remaining neutral while at the same time questioning the established norm in areas of scientific discovery, faith and how both sides have a lot to offer. Very good documentary that confirms that while Intelligent Design is a scientific theory, it is much the same as evolution in this: it takes a huge amount of faith to believe in either one.
"And I suppose it's possible that you might find evidence for that if you look at the um, at the detail... details of our chemistry molecular biology you might find a signature of some sort of designer."

95 Movies in 2009: The Rankings

I watched 95 movies in 2009 and only had 1 rule: it had to be a movie I had not seen yet. After a year of watching many films, here is my ranking of all 95 movies, #1 being my favorite and #95 being my least. Let me know what you think!

1. (500) Days of Summer

2. Up

3. Big Fish

4. Taken

5. Slumdog Millionaire

6. The Blind Side

7. Best In Show

8. High Fidelity

9. French Kiss

10. Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed

11. Into The Wild

12. Garden State

13. The Brothers Bloom

14. Happy Feet

15. Seven Pounds

16. The Butterfly Effect

17. Behind Enemy Lines: Axis of Evil

18. Gran Torino

19. Secondhand Lions

20. Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian

21. Madea Goes To Jail

22. The Sure Thing

23. Reservation Road

24. Mystic River

25. Chaos Theory

26. Waiting For Guffman

27. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

28. For Your Consideration

29. North Country

30. Hotel Rwanda

31. Obsessed

32. James Bond: Quantum of Solace

33. A Good Year

34. Snakes On A Plane

35. He's Just Not That Into You

36. Mamma Mia

37. Gomorrah

38. Let The Right One In

39. Yes Man

40. Memoirs of A Geisha

41. The Big Lebowski

42. Broadcast News

43. Rabbit-Proof Fence

44. Transformers: Rise of the Fallen

45. Eagle Eye

46. Night At the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian

47. Pride & Prejudice

48. The Second Chance

49. Evan Almighty

50. Everything Is Illuminated

51. Henry Poole Is Here

52. Death Race

53. Bride & Prejudice

54. The Wrestler

55. Australia

56. Bride Wars

57. The Proposal

58. Public Enemies

59. The Last of the Mohicans

60. The Ultimate Gift

61. Spinal Tap

62. Darjeeling Limited

63. The Soloist

64. Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants

65. Dark Water (American)

66. I Love You, Man

67. Waitress

68. School of Rock

69. Blue Hawaii

70. Burn After Reading

71. Grosse Pointe Blank

72. In Bruges

73. 17 Again

74. Inkheart

75. Ratatouille

76. The International

77. Role Models

78. The National Tree

79. Dark Water (Japanese)

80. Fast Times At Ridgemont High

81. Mean Girls

82. I Want Someone To Eat Cheese With

83. Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

84. Harem Scarem

85. Backwoods

86. Martian Child

87. The Haunting In Connecticut

88. Behind Enemy Lines: Columbia

89. August Rush

90. Step Brothers

91. Life As a House

92. The Goods: Live Hard. Sell Hard.

93. Year One

94. Gone, Baby, Gone

95. Miss Castaway

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Welcome to Beagleville

Welcome To Beagleville.

When I was praying a few days ago, I made a decision: I'm willing to let God wreck my schedule. My plans. My limited expectations... and then I took another leap. A beagle named Piper was born in September 2009 and yesterday, we met for the first time. This feeling I have is unlike any other. Fear. Deep down in a way that I know is going to change my life, my character, my schedule. And I'm a very scheduled person.

Here's to living life with a beagle... and a God that is in charge!