Somewhere deep within the fiery heart of Mordor, John Carpenter mated with Giorgio Moroder and the composers behind Netflix’s Stranger Things, Michael Stein and Kyle Dixon, to create my latest musical obsession: Magic Sword.
Back in September 2016, my band played at the Badlander during the Plus One Fest in downtown Missoula, MT. We were on at 8:30 and Magic Sword was on at 11:30. I’ll be honest: we didn’t watch their entire set. We were tired. We’d driven all day to get there, played our show, and we were ready to head back to the hotel, drink some PBR, shoot the shit, and unwind.
It’s a decision I’ve regretted ever since. Read more…
The sidewalks of Seattle are a battlefield. A leisurely stroll downtown quickly turns into a high-stakes game of pedestrian Frogger. You bob and weave; you dash and dart; you stop and go. As Seattleites, we champion and support many causes, but, when our feet hit the pavement, our consideration and respect for others flies out the window.
Binge-worthy television is all the rage. Series like Game of Thrones, Stranger Things, and Breaking Bad are turning viewers into eager and awestruck couch potatoes.
And it’s easy to see why—production, storytelling, and acting are firing on all cylinders; characters are given room to develop; plots twist and turn surprisingly.
In terms of overall quality and entertainment value, television is giving box office juggernauts, like Star Wars and the Marvel Cinematic Universe, a run for their money. I mean they don’t call this the Golden Age of Television for nothing!
But modern television is more than just entertainment escapism; it’s a cultural currency.
We theorize, and we spoil. We “talk it out” with friends. We scour the internet for clues. We troll. We read magazine articles. We watch. We re-watch.
Let me begin with an apology: this will be a profanity-laced, spoiler-filled review of mother! If that’s not your cup of tea then hit the back button, close your browser window, or light your goddam house on fire—oh, that’s how the movie ends, by the way; Jennifer Lawrence lights the house on fire and then God—played by Javier Bardem—removes her crystalized heart from her charred-to-a-crisp body, places it in a display case, and that resets the movie back to the beginning. See? There’s gonna be fucking spoilers EVERYWHERE! Read more…
It’s a legendary story, but it’s not true: When Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) confesses her love for Han Solo (Harrison Ford) in Empire Strikes Back, the scripted reply was, “Just remember that, because I’ll be back.” Feeling that the line lacked a certain je ne sais quoi, Ford changed it.
“I love you.”
It’s humorous, poignant, and a spot-on character-driven interaction. It’s often cited as the best actor-improvised line in movie history, but, here’s the thing, it wasn’t improvised.Read more…
Yep. You read that title correctly. Here’s another goddamn article about Star Wars!
Star Wars celebrates its 40th anniversary this year and the ubiquity of George Lucas’s groundbreaking creation is enough to choke a rancor. Every time you get online, there’s a slew of clickbait promising spoilers, beat-by-beat breakdowns of the latest trailer, and advertisements for the newest doodad with Star Wars stamped on the box.
It takes a near-herculean effort to slog through the crap and remember what it is that makes Star Wars SO FUCKING GOOD. Read more…
The lights dim; a less-than-witty set of M&Ms remind us to quiet our cell phones; and then something strange happens. Writer/director Edgar Wright thanks us for “getting off the couch” to see Baby Driver as it was intended: in a movie theater.
With the rise of Netflix, Hulu, HBO GO, and Amazon Prime Video, being a part-time couch potato is all the rage. From Game of Thrones to Transparent, binge watching long-form media is part of our cultural currency. Not only are these stories marvelously performed, written, and directed, but they’re an easy way for us to quickly relate to one another. Discussing the entertainment we consume is a shorthand approach for creating meaningful connection. Read more…
The best Westerns don’t have happy endings. Movies like Unforgiven, High Noon, and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid end on the lowest of low notes. Our heroes save the day, but they make tremendous personal sacrifices (most often their lives) in order to do so.
Of course, as far as endings go, there’s none better than John Ford’s The Searchers. Ethan Edwards, a haggard and out-of-place Civil War veteran (John Wayne), rescues his abducted niece (Natalie Wood) and returns her safely home. In one of cinemas most famous and bittersweet scenes, Edwards turns around, forgotten by his family, and walks off into the desert silhouetted by a doorway. It’s a near-perfect ending. The doorway is a threshold between the outlaw West and civilization; a metaphor for the character’s internal struggle to find his place in the modern world. Read more…
On the surface, James S.A. Corey’s The Expanse may seem like science fiction escapism, but there’s so much more. It’s the very best of modern juggernauts like Game Of Thrones and Star Wars with a dash of The Walking Dead and All The President’s Men. It’s fun, action-packed, full of political intrigue, hard science, and sometimes it’s really freaking scary.
Pure and simple, The Expanse is epic space opera done right.
It’s FINALLY here! Red Letter Media returns with a dizzying analysis of fandom, corporate greed, and the magic of forgetfulness. In other words, they’re critiquing the blockbuster of blockbusters, The Force Awakens.
If you’re not familiar with Red Letter Media I wrote an introductory piece about them a few weeks ago. I’d suggest watching The Phantom Menace review before delving into this video, but if you’ve already seen that, it’s time to sit back, cook up some Pizza Rolls, and listen to the monotone brilliance of Mr. Plinkett.
From House of Cards to Orange Is the New Black, Netflix produces many of the best television series currently running. Since Netflix isn’t bound by the same restrictions of cable television, they have the freedom to explore more mature subject matter that often carries a heavy dose of sex, violence, and Shakespearean heft. In an age where any form of entertainment is just a click away, Netflix is churning out high quality content that’s guaranteed to create the buzz and hysteria needed to attract new members. Read more…
If you’re one of the rare breed of people who love a combination of in-depth film critique and analysis, off-the-wall campiness with a dash of wry humor, and binge-worthy YouTube channels, then Red Letter Media is just the thing for you.
I first stumbled across Red Letter Media when Mike Stoklasa’s The Phantom Menace review was just beginning to go viral in early 2010. If you’ve never had the pleasure of watching this internet masterpiece then do yourself a favor and watch this video ASAP. Read more…
As we near the 50th anniversary of that juggernaut we call Star Trek, I’m reminded of all the things that make the series a pop culture icon and continue to capture the imagination of audiences from generation to generation.
Star Trek isn’t about science. Or photon torpedoes. Or action sequences. Or new life and new planets. Or even space for that matter. Yes, all those ingredients are vastly important and make up the very backbone of why this show works, but in the end they’re merely plot devices that the story hangs on.
Star Trek is about relationships. It’s about characters and how those characters interact with each other. Star Trek invites you to fall in love with these characters and to boldly go on an adventure with them. And, hopefully, you’ll want to go on that adventure every week. Read more…
Adrienne and I attended the Emerald City Comic-con again this year. We sat in on a few fascinating horror and science fiction panels, bought some nerdy t-shirts and posters, and we got to see the great Stan Lee and John Barrowman.