Saturday, September 6, 2014

Andrew's Cinematic Adventures: As Above So Below Movie Review

I hate horror movies. They are the worst. I especially hate horror movies that deal with anything demonic...because I've seen stuff like that in my own life...and it scares the living daylights out of me. For good reason too.

I don't know what possessed me (bahahaha...demon puns) to go see this movie. I blame it on a combination of adrenaline from wanting to be scared and my friend Abby. She wanted to see it...and forced me against my will to see the movie with her. I lie. It was completely my decision. I wanted to see if I could handle it.

As Above So Below is a found-footage style film like The Blair Witch Project or Cloverfield. Normally, these types of movies give me motion sickness and I have to watch with a healthy mix of Dr. Pepper and dramamine, due to excessive camera shaking. This movie, somehow, didn't do that to me. Perhaps because I was utterly terrified throughout the entire movie.

The basic plot of the movie revolves around a group of archaeologists of some sort who are in search of the legendary Philosopher's Stone and are led to the catacombs underneath Paris to search. The catacombs of Paris are basically a tomb filled with millions of dead people. You can imagine where this movie takes this. They decide to enlist the help of some French grave-diggers or something (I'm not sure what they were...they found them in a club) to guide them to certain untouched parts of the catacombs. The majority of the movie takes place in areas that would make any person who hates tight spaces and dark corners absolutely mad. IT WAS ABSOLUTELY TERRIFYING.

This movie did exactly what it was supposed to do. I legitimately jumped out of my seat and swore very vulgarly (is it even possible to swear and not have it be vulgar) numerous times because of what was happening on the screen in front of me. This was more terrifying than The Blair Witch Project or any of the Paranormal Activities. The setting was perfect for the found-footage format. I felt legitimate dread every corner they looked around and the further into the catacombs they ventured.

 There are a few gripes that I have with the film, which I guess could be gripes with the entire found-footage genre. It might be purposeful, but these movies always seem to pick actors and characters that I really could care less about. They are always unnecessarily annoying and tend to make decisions that no normal person would ever make. The majority of their fates in the movie are justified...because they are putting themselves into STUPID SITUATIONS. The characters in this movie are exactly like that. Especially the main character Scarlett. She essentially gets all her friends killed because of her thirst for finding the Philosopher's Stone. The only character I actually cared about was the cameraman Benji. His reactions to events and scary figures were actually the reactions I would have if I were in the situation. So, in a sense, I related to the man. Poor Benji. Why would you ever become friends with Scarlett.

The other gripe I have with this movie is the ending. I won't give away too many details, but once the sh*t starts hitting the fan I kinda lost my understanding of what was happening. The more things got murky and freaky, the more my head started to hurt. I'm pretty sure there was a grip reaper at one point...maybe a dog ran past playing a piano...something about popsicles. I don't know. I got super confused and all I know is that things were freaky and then someone mentioned the name of the movie AS ABOVE SO BELOW. It was written on the wall somewhere...and I always get really excited when the movie says the name of the movie. It's all like meta or whatever.

But besides all that, the movie was incredibly entertaining and achieved the purpose of frightening the viewers. Abby and I closed our eyes numerous times and jumped various times. That's hard to do. We are avid movie goers and it's not easy to get us. This movie got us.

Also, it was slightly difficult to get past the obvious Philosopher's Stone connection with Harry Potter. The more they talked about it, the more I wanted them to go talk to Nicholas Flamel or Dumbledore. It got even more ridiculous when they actually TALKED ABOUT NICHOLAS FLAMEL in the frickin movie. I was half expecting Hagrid to show up and say..."Yer a wizard Scarlet."

Monday, September 1, 2014

Andrew's Cinematic Adventures: Who Framed Roger Rabbit? Movie Review

We all have our go-to childhood movie, I'm sure. Mine were the following: Muppet Treasure Island, Jurassic Park, and Space Jam. My friend Abby LOVES cartoons and her go-to childhood movie was Who Framed Roger Rabbit? For some reason, I have made it 26 years in life without ever seeing this movie. To be honest, I also never really had the desire to see the movie, either. But, because of previous golden movie recommendations, I trusted dear Abby and gave this movie a fair shot.

I am glad I did. I'm not necessarily a fan of cartoons in general, but I've gradually grown more and more appreciative of the entire genre. This movie was incredibly enjoyable...and...dare I say it...BETTER THAN SPACE JAM.

For me to say such a thing about a movie I straight up blasphemy.

In case you're in the minority of people who've never seen this cinematic classic (I was), this is the story of a cartoon character who's framed for the murder of Marvin Acme, the leader of the well-known cartoon manufacturer of failed products (just watch Wile E. Coyote for examples...ANY EPISODE). Roger Rabbit is the tune in question and must enlist the help of noted cartoon-hating detective Eddie Valiant. Other major characters include Roger Rabbit's too-hott-for-him wife Jessica, the creepy Judge Doom, and Benny the Cab.

To be honest, I hated Roger at the beginning of the movie. He had way too much energy...and I started watching the movie at a point where I was too annoyed to be able to handle Roger. But he really did grow on me. He also started to remind me of how much I used to love the Looney Tunes from days past. I loved this world that this movie was portraying: a world where tunes are also actors and living in this world with humans.

It was a bit darker, though, for a cartoon movie. The tunes themselves seemed like slaves, forced to cater and entertain the humans in the movie. Pretty dark for a cartoon movie. But it worked somehow. If you really think about it, the Looney Tunes have always been dark and full of adult humor that you don't really catch until you grow up. I mean, they ARE incredibly violent. Would you survive if a piano fell on your head?

A couple of things I loved about this movie....I loved the way the cartoons maintained their cartoon personalities even within this universe. They are who they are and they never change from that. That's something I noticed about Space Jam as well. For example, Sylvester the cat is always and forever going to be concerned with whether or not he can catch Tweety Bird. There's nothing that will ever trump that never-ending task in his brain. Really, they are all driven by a single purpose, and that's what makes them entertaining. It was also incredibly entertaining to see a mix of Disney and Warner Bros characters, which is not something that EVER happens (according to Abby...I'm not smart enough to know that information). For example, Bugs Bunny and Mickey Mouse have a scene where they are skydiving together. One day, I wish we could have a movie with both of them...some sort of epic rivalry/showdown between the two. Alas, it'll probably never happen.

One of the other greatest parts of the film was the villain played by the great Christopher Lloyd. I hadn't seen this guy in ages...I haven't seen a movie with him in it since Back to the Future or Angels in the Outfield. But he played Doctor Doom. For those who haven't seen it, I won't spoil it. But there was a scene with him that would STILL give me nightmares. I can't even imagine how terrified I would have been if I had seen this movie as a child.

Benny the Cab was also fantastic, if not adorable. My favorite scene of the movie, randomly, was the moment he got into the people car and started driving it with his tires being cute little hands. Oh my gosh, it was so cute I could die.

 But the greatest part of this movie BY FAR was the overall 40s/film noir feel to it. It was incredible. You don't see movies like that anymore and I am absolutely in love with that detective noir feel. To be honest, Hollywood needs to read this and make more movies like that. I would spend money to see more detective noir movies. MAKE IT HAPPEN HOLLYWOOD AND STOP DOING REMAKES.

Anyway, this movie was an instant classic for me. I'll probably purchase it and I actually liked it more than Space Jam. Which is incredible, because Space Jam has basketball in it.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Andrew's Cinematic Adventures: What If Movie Review

My most recent movie experience wasn't necessarily my greatest experience of all time. While the company I was with was fantastic, the movie I saw left a little (well...a LOT) to be desired.

I initially went into seeing "What If" with an open mind. I had not seen Daniel Radcliffe in anything other than Harry Potter. But I had seen Zoe Kazan in "Ruby Sparks" and I have always been in love with her.

Seriously. She has replaced both Ellen Page and Zooey Deschanel as my shameless celebrity crush. Zoe Kazan is gorgeous, beautiful, cute, adorable, and any other adjective you could use to describe the attributes of a woman. SHE IS ALL OF THEM DANGET. THE WOMAN IS GLORIOUS (she's the one with the blonde hair in the movie poster on the left, if you were wondering).

Back to the movie. If you haven't heard of "What If", it's essentially the story of a guy named Wallace (played by Harry Potter) who meets a girl named Chantry (I spent the majority of the movie thinking her name was there's that) at his friend's party. They have an instant connection, but she has a boyfriend. Wallace then spends the entirety of the movie being her best friend/puppy dog guy who follows her around hoping he can lift her back up once her boyfriend turns out to be the doosch bag he's inevitably going to become. This movie is basically about the horrors of the friend zone.

By the way, I don't actually think the friend zone is a thing. My opinion is that the friend zone is something created by non-confident guys to make girls who don't want to date them feel bad about not wanting to date them.'s ok to just be friends with girls. ITS OK.

So Harry is essentially wanting to date Zoe throughout the movie. There's a lot of sexual tension. A lot of Harry just being Harry and giving her that look that says he wants to invade her "dormitory." But because there's a Keeper (boyfriend), he cannot access her Golden Snitch. (I'm sorry...there's just so many Harry Potter references to be made). I think I can find a picture of that weird/creepy wizard look he gives Zoe throughout the movie. it is:

The movie was ok. I'm not entirely sure it knew what it wanted to be. It was half romantic comedy/ half raunchy comedy. Zoe Kazan was was Harry's (I know his name isn't Harry) best friend (played by Adam Driver). I really just struggled seeing anyone other than Harry Potter for the entirety of the film. I'm not sure Daniel Radcliffe will ever be to be anything other than Harry Potter. There was a part in the movie where "Wallace" says he wishes he could just disappear and I yelled out, "But you can Harry! Use your CLOAK OF INVISIBILITY! Or apparate..."

Radcliffe just wasn't made for romantic comedies. He's awkward in a way that just didn't work for this movie. And there was very little chemistry between he and Zoe. I felt more chemistry between Harry and Ginny in Harry Potter (there wasn't much, but more than between he and Zoe). Plus there was a lot of awkward forced dialogue and conversations about things I don't believe any sane person would have a conversation about (like Elvis' bowel movements and whether he had one the night he was found dead in his bathroom...yeah).

I was honestly just waiting for Harry to go back in his cupboard under the stairs and tell Hedwig it was all a dream about how he realized he wouldn't necessarily make it in the world of Muggles. And then Zoe Kazan would be free for me to come sweep her and her beautiful self off her feet. She'd forget all about the "Chosen Boy" Harry Potter that she didn't want to date for half the movie anyway...

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Andrew's Cinematic Adventures: 'The American' Movie Review

I'm back. And I'm not going anywhere. To prepare you all for the incoming FLOOD OF JAMES BOND MOVIE REVIEWS, I'll start with something a little different but slightly similar. A movie review on a fine film with George Clooney called "The American." Watch it.

I am not entirely sure what pushed me to watch this movie. It had been sitting on my Netflix queue for awhile now, and I think I accidentally pushed play or something...but was too lazy to find anything else. Regardless, I was pleasantly surprised with this film.

The movie essentially follows George Clooney's character Jack/Edward...or something. He's called a lot of things. Jack is an assassin who had been hiding out in Sweden, where he was tracked down and forced to relocate for one last job in Italy. It's a remarkable film that really grasps the feel of what village life would be like in Italy. That's what kept me most interested in the film. I love it when a film can grasp a certain aspect of a culture, or lifestyle (especially one I'm not used to) and really push it through the screen, helping the viewer feel like they are actually there. 'The Amercian' does this flawlessly.

Also, if you've ever wondered what it would be like to be an assassin on the run, while simultaneously not being able to have any close friends or family, and at the same time second guessing your career choices....well I guess you could say George Clooney really shows what THAT would be like. If you were wondering.

This is not an action flick. You can't go into it expecting Jason Bourne or Jack Bauer. This is entirely a character-study of a fed-up assassin who can't trust anybody, including the person he relies on the most (his boss). It's a slow movie, with very little dialogue (a lot of the dialogue is actually in Italian, with subtitles). Still, the way it is filmed is fascinating and George Clooney nails the role of the bitter assassin better than most could. I don't think this movie would've worked with anyone else in the lead role.

It's also definitely a change of pace for George Clooney. From what I've seen of him, he's mostly in light-hearted roles, banking on his charm and general gorgeousness to sell a character. In The American, he plays a much darker, less smiley version of himself. But for some reason, the Italian ladies still love him. He has a love interest throughout the movie (a prostitute), who quickly falls for his mysteriousness and overall lack of cheer. Not gonna lie, I somehow found myself falling for it also....Clooney really is a silver fox.

But like I said, it's a very different George Clooney. I watched it expecting this Clooney:

And was greeted with a lot of this Clooney:

Really. I don't think he smiled once during this movie.

Overall, I enjoyed the movie. I honestly could see myself adding it to my movie collection. I wouldn't recommend it if you're looking for an action movie. It's not one. Lots of guns in the movie...but the guns aren't used very often. Buttttt....if you're looking for a thought-provoking character study...or just want to look at George Clooney a "The American." It's a fascinating film and accomplishes exactly what the movie set out to accomplish...which doesn't happen very often.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Andrew's Cinematic Adventures: My First James Bond Movie Experience

I have always been aware that James Bond was a thing, but I had never actually watched a James Bond movie. So for my next reviews, I have decided to watch all of the Bond movies (yes, ALL of the Bond movies) and review them in the eyes of a newcomer to the Bond movie franchise. The closest I've ever come to a Bond movie is the Goldeneye game for Nintendo 64. While a fascinating and, at times, frustrating game, I don't believe that game could properly prepare me for this movie experience. So here we go.

My first Bond movie was the most recent one that game out: Skyfall. I know, technically I should've started in the 60s with Dr. No or something, but I didn't have that movie readily available. So I started with Skyfall...mainly because it is available on Netflix and is a nice, quick watch. I would say it gave me a good start and feel of what to expect in the coming days of all things James Bond.

This was a Daniel Craig movie and before I even get started, let me just say that I am not a big fan of Daniel Craig. I find him him to be fairly unlikeable, not convincing as a ladies man, and overall just an unpleasant human being. So, clearly, watching him as James Bond wasn't a good start to my James Bond movie-going experience. I basically wanted to punch him in his smug face throughout the entirety of this movie (which is ridiculous because he has the capability of killing me one slap to the face). . The first time I ever saw him in a movie was in Road to Perdition (in which he played quite the creeper) and then of course the Internet has provided me with a 90s version of Mr. Craig. Try getting the following picture out of your brain:

I know what you're thinking. And yes, that is his real hair. Kinda makes him a little less masculine doesn't it? Glad I could help.

Back to the movie. I DID enjoy the movie. But NOT because of Mr. Craig. The main premise was that a list of the top MI6 agents had gotten into the wrong hands threatening to expose their identities and something about Bond pretending to die and coming back later all pissed off and mad at M (Judi Dench) for accidentally shooting him. Just watch the movie. It makes sense if you watch it, plus I don't want to give anything away.

Here are the things I liked about the movie:
1. Judi Dench- Not much to say here. She is gorgeous for being upwards of 70 years old, her voice is angelic, and she's just adorable. Look at her.


Honestly, I would have been much more interested watching her fight on top of trains and perform epic action sequences than watching Daniel Craig be all masculine. Maybe that's just me. Let's make it happen. A Judi Dench action movie. I'd watch the hell out of that movie.

2. Javier Bardem- If there was a list of actors who were born to play villians, Javier Bardem should be at the top of that list along with guys like Kevin Spacey, Ralph Fiennes, Anthony Hopkins, Christoph Waltz, and Jack Nicholson. The guy just makes my skin crawl. I first saw him play the lead villain in No Country for Old Men, where he was just pure evil. He was even better in this film as the pissed off former agent. When he's on screen, you can't help but cringe. Let's get him in more movies ASAP.

3. The Bond/Q dynamic- It reminded me a lot of Sherlock and Watson. They had a great banter going back and forth between the two of them. It was a tough guy vs. the smart guy sorta banter. Let's keep that up in future Bond movies. And whoever played Q...loved him.

What didn't I like? Honestly, just Daniel Craig. Everything else seemed to work well in the movie. I especially loved the Bond theme subtly playing in the background every now and then. My biggest disappointment was that I never once heard Bond say, "I'm Bond. James Bond." Really? Not, even once?

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Andrew's Cinematic Adventures: Kill Bill Vol. 1 Movie Review with Bonus Thoughts on Tarantino

After watching Django Unchained a year or so ago, I made a personal goal to check out everything Quentin Tarantino had to offer. His style stood out so uniquely to me and I was, honestly, incredibly intrigued. Yes, it's weird. Yes, he's creepy. Oh and yeah...he's bloody as hell. But still...intriguing.

As of this post, I have officially and finally watched a good chunk of Tarantino films and can say I truly enjoy his style. I've enjoyed every single one of his movies. Kill Bill (volume 1) was my latest endeavor. was...interesting.

This movie (I'm sure most of you have already seen it) follows the exploits of THE BRIDE (a brilliant character played by Uma Thurman) who recently survived a blood massacre at her own wedding by a guy named Bill (hey...that's the guy in title of the movie...) and his henchmen. The whole film is essentially about her finding everyone who was involved and murdering them in increasingly creative ways. Yes...creative.

I'm not going to lie. I enjoyed it. But after awhile, I found myself struggling to make it through. I wouldn't say this is Tarantino's finest work (obviously), but it was fairly enjoyable for what it was. The style is very...well...Asian and the soundtrack (as it always is) was well used. The best parts of Kill Bill are the fight scenes, with my favorite being the very first scene of the movie between The Bride and Vernita Green. What a great way to start a film...and a good idea as I'm sure it grabs most people as soon as they sit down. I've noticed that a lot of Tarantino's movies start off slow and build up. Not Kill Bill. It starts bloody, loud, and fast. Definitely a different mood for Tarantino.

If you're thinking of watching Kill Bill, let me warn you. It's very, very, very bloody. Wait...hold up. It's not very, very, very bloody. It's VERY, VERY, VERY, VERY bloody (I had to add one more very). That should be a given though. It's about an assassin murdering other assassins. Also, it's a Quentin Tarantino movie. So if you're going in expecting a movie that makes you think about the meaning of life....well go watch the Lion King or something. This is not that movie. It's exactly what it's supposed to be: violent, colorful, weird, and strangely endearing. Just like all of Tarantino's works. If I were to rate it on a scale of 1 to 10...I'd probably have to give it....hmmmm....perhaps a 6. It's above average movie quality. The cinematography is abnormal...which makes it stand-out. The dialogue always...very smart. It's a 6. But not the greatest film I've ever seen.

And on that note, I'd like to actually rate the rest of Tarantino's films (at least the ones I've watched). Because my opinion matters. We all know that.

1. Pulp Fiction- Could it really be anything else? This is STILL considered a masterpiece of storytelling and dialogue. It really put Tarantino on the map as a force to be reckoned with. Whether it be Samuel L Jackson's one-liners (" a tasty burger!) or John Travolta's's not a film that is easily forgotten after you watch it. I am comfortable suggesting that everyone should watch Pulp Fiction at least once in their life. It's weird, wacky, the storyline is out of sync, but it's one-of-a-kind and Tarantino's finest work to date.

2. Reservoir Dogs- I'm not gonna lie. I may have been more entertained by this movie than by any other movie I've ever watched. I loved the whole concept of a caper gone wrong and a bunch of "wise-guys" turning on each other. It was highly entertaining. Plus, you can't go wrong with a character named Mr. Pink played by the always lovable Steve Buscemi. Watch it. Have I mentioned it's bloody?

3. Django Unchained- I absolutely adored this movie. The concept was intriguing, with Jamie Foxx playing a slave trying to save his wife who's still in captivity. And who does he team up with? None other than Tarantino's favorite Christoph Waltz, playing a very lovable dentist character who drives an adorable tooth-carriage thing. This movie has to be top 3 in Tarantino movies. It got me to watch every other movie he has created. the way....this movie also has a bit of blood in it. Should I really have to say that every time?

4. Inglourious Basterds- Christoph Waltz plays a Nazi. Brad Pitt is in the movie. It's a bloody story of Nazis getting what they deserve. Plus, it's exactly what it's supposed to be. The movie is haunting....but in a really funny way. It's incredibly hard to describe without spoiling anything.

If anything, Tarantino has the entertainment factor down. He definitely knows how to give the people what they want. And a lot of it.  Basterds is nothing different.

5. Kill Bill, 1 and 2- Bloody, unforgiving, I've already talked about it plenty. Not incredible, but definitely Tarantino.

6. Jackie Brown- Just because this movie comes in last on the list doesn't mean it's a bad movie by any means. It's signature Tarantino, but the movie I enjoyed the least. BUT I STILL ENJOYED IT.

I found it a lot easier to follow than say...Pulp Fiction. The story revolves around a flight attendant who's been framed by the always glorious Samuel L. Jackson (with long hair this time). Instead of going down quietly, she sets a scheme up to frame Jackson and also trick the cops who are following her. Not as bloody as most Tarantino films, but definitely a lot smarter. Pam Grier was phenomenal and alarmingly frightening in this movie. Check it out.

In the end, Tarantino definitely has a style that no one else can really duplicate. It is his and his alone. Also, he's certainly not for everybody. Not for the squeamish. Not for the easily offended. Make no mistake about it...every film will entertain you. But he is also creepy and I'm not sure what goes on in his head....I mean...look at the guy...makes sense right? --->

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Andrew's Cinematic Adventures: Into the Storm Movie Review

If you've kept up with my blog, you'd probably already know that I was at one point extremely afraid of the wind. I also love movies. I've grown up a little, but I still get a little goosebumpy when the wind gets...well...windy. Regardless, when Into the Storm was announced, I knew I had to see it. A MOVIE....ABOUT CRAZY WIND?!?! Part of me likes to receive the adrenaline rush you get when seeing a movie that utterly terrifies you. Let's it put this way...I own a lot of alien movies (creepy as hell) and I also own the movie Twister.


Into the Storm is essentially your normal disaster movie. It was basically Twister on steroids. By that, I mean the disaster is what makes the movie. Movie goers will care more about the disaster on the screen and the characters are really as lifeless and boring as you can possibly imagine. This movie is full of boring story-lines, wooden acting, and lame dialogue. BUT I LOVED IT. And not in a "holy hell this movie is incredible/Oscar worthy/the the best thing I've ever seen." It was more of a "my goodness this is so stupid it's hilarious" kinda enjoyment.

The story is filmed in a "found-footage" format much like Cloverfield, Chronicle, and The Blair Witch Project. At times, this format made me dizzy, but it also helped me feel like I was actually there. But mostly...I was dizzy. Taking place in the small town of Silverton, Oklahoma, the movie follows a number of flawed characters like an awkward boy who is in love with an out-of-reach hot chick, a dad who sucks at bonding with his kids, a single mom who cares more about storm chasing than her actual daughter (played annoyingly by Sarah Wayne Callies (Lori in The Walking Dead), a couple of redneck thrill seekers (easily the best parts of the movie), and a ridiculously storm-obsessed storm chaser dude who puts everyone's lives at risk just so he can get "that shot." Every single character has some sort of problem they are dealing with, which are ultimately resolved at the end of the crazy tornadoes they endure. 

And oh boy are there tornadoes! Tornadoes everywhere! I think one of them was the size of the Superdome (they call it an F5 I learned...because of the updrafts...or something...). 

In reality, the only story-line that I cared about was the storm-obsessed dude. His name was Pete and he was played fabulously boringly by Matt Walsh (known mostly for character acting in comedies). He and his crew drove a gigantic tank-like machine that was supposed to be tornado-proof. It was pretty cool-looking and the brunt of many jokes during the movie. My friend and I settled on dubbing it was a mix of the Batmobile, the shaggin-wagon from Dumb and Dumber, Auntie Em's house in the Wizard of Oz, and most importantly the Tardis from Doctor Who (due to it ACTUALLY being named Titus in the movie). 

The worst part of the movie was definitely the character played by Richard Armitage (Thorin Oakenshield in The Hobbit) He had the dramatic and daunting task of portraying a vice-principal dad who has a hard time bonding with his two boys. I don't think his tone changed throughout the entire movie. His dialogue was horrid and the monotone was almost laughable. The following video is a good example of what it was like listening to his portions of the movie:

The movie wasn't all bad though. I was pretty impressed with the special effects. The tornadoes were SUPER RAD, especially the fire tornado. I also enjoyed the sharks flying out of the tornado (spoiler alert: there are no sharks in this movie). There were also definitely some scary visuals and moments. But for a movie that's supposed to make me terrified for the was pretty laughable and very poorly done. I shouldn't have been laughing as much as I was during the movie. 

The characters were so bad that my friend and I were trying to figure out what their names were about halfway through the film. We had to refer to them by other names we know them Lori from the Walking Dead, or that funny guy from Community...or Peter Pan. There was even a point where I was referring to the black guy as....well...the black guy (i.e. "Wait...where did the black guy go? Did he die?")

Overall, it was an enjoyable movie-going experience. I laughed, I didn't cry, I was slightly scared, and I will forget the movie tomorrow. Out of 10 stars, I would give it 4..  but I only give it 4 stars because of the entertaining rednecks and the Tardis. 

Just go see it. Please? Have a good laugh. 

Friday, July 11, 2014

Dream Places to Live

As far as places I've lived, I've pretty much lived in the most non-exotic places you could imagine. Let's examine.

For starters, I grew up in a little town called Elko, Nevada. Elko is pretty much the modern-day equivalent of a Wild West town. It's small, in the desert/mountains, surrounded by mines, and there are even a few saloons still hanging around. Not to mention that there is also a street with like 4 whorehouses on it. Elko is the Wild West.

Since I've lived in Elko, I've only really lived in Rexburg, Idaho and Provo, UT. EXOTIC. EXCITING. EXUBERANT (I really didn't mean to write three words starting with ex). Because of the lack of excitement in places that I've lived, I've decided to make a list of dream places that I would love to live one day. In all honesty, none of these will probably happen. But it's still fun to speculate.

1. New Orleans, LA

I was in Miami for two years on my mission and discovered a love for the South and the way of life down there. Miami isn't necessarily the same as southern places like Alabama or Louisiana, but it still had things that made it seem slightly Southish. Sorta. Either way, I've always wanted to live in New Orleans. The whole concept of the city is fascinating to me. It's in a swamp, it has a ridiculous amount of jazz clubs, and it's warm.

There are many pros that would come from living in a place like New Orleans. Not only could I live out my dream of chilling with a bunch of old black dudes in a foggy-looking jazz club while a saxophone plays in the background, but I could also "down on the bayou" to my regular vocabulary. I've never found a reason where I could actually use that phrase. If I live in New Orleans....I would say it every day.

2. Boston, MA

I've always been intrigued by the history surrounding Boston. Also, I've visited a lot of places but for some reason have never had the chance to visit Boston. It's on my bucket list.

I mostly became intrigued with Boston during the whole Boston Marathon tragedy and was quite impressed with the way city came together and rallied around the victims. "Boston Strong" I believe is the motto they used. It was quite inspiring to say the least.

Not only does it have a rich history, but the sports teams have a ridiculous track record. I'm pretty sure the Boston Celtics have won like 20 championships (don't fact-check me, I haven't Wikipediaed that number). How could you not love an NBA basketball team that has a green leprechaun as it's mascot?

On the flip side, Boston is like two hours away from the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. To me, visiting a place like that would be like a kid visiting a candy store. It's quite possible I would pass out due to pure joy.

I've also always wanted to visit Pride Rock...or whatever that thing is called. Oh wait...I'm thinking of Plymouth Rock or something. Pride Rock was from the Lion King. Still. I'd love to visit both.

There are plenty of other cities I'd love to exist in. I'm not sure I'm going to write them all right now. Leave it for another blog post? I have to give you folks a reason to actually come back and read this on a daily basis, right?

If anyone does read. If not, I enjoy babbling (or typing) to myself.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Western Meadowlarks Bring Death

Well hey! Look at this, I'm writing twice IN A MONTH. Can we all just take a moment of silence and appreciate the significance of this moment???



OK. Seriously, though, this is a huge moment in the history of my blogging career. A second post in a two week time period.....

On another note, the whole point of this post is to discuss something that has been on my mind this week. Well, actually, it's been on my mind for a couple of weeks. SUPERSTITIONS. Superstitions are a thing that people have. 

A couple of weeks ago, I was sitting at my desk at Vivint (not really MY personal desk, but I call it MY desk because I sit there a lot...sometimes there's someone else sitting there, so technically it could be THEIR desk instead of my desk...I'll just call it MY desk... ) and I looked out the window to see a bright full moon. It also happened to be Friday the 13th. A full moon on Friday the 13th? Some people could find such a day to be a day of bad luck and...I don't know...werewolves attacking people...or ghosts pulling your comforter off in the middle of the night...but honestly I didn't really feel anything significant about the day. It was just another day of kicking butts and taking names at my amazingly satisfactory job in a Vivint call center...cough...

But I can sorta see why some people would be a little frightened by the concept of a full moon falling on a Friday the 13th. People are superstitious about a lot of things in this world. For example, some buildings don't even build a 13th floor during construction because of the bad luck that is known to fall around the number 13. Certain NBA players never change their routine to how they shoot free throws, since they fear switching up that routine would cause them to miss the free throw shots. It's madness. 

I don't have superstitions. The only thing that I'm potentially superstitious about is the concept of aliens and thunderstorms. Ever since I watched the movie War of the Worlds, I fear that every bolt of lightning is transporting a giant alien into the ground in order to inevitably emerge, attack, and exterminate the entirety of the human race. That's normal though, right?

Well, an event happened this week that has resulted in me becoming a little bit superstitious. On my day off, I had the great desire to venture off to...well...McDonald's to see if the Shamrock Shake had returned. I do enjoy a good Shamrock Shake and for some reason I always forget that McDonald's only carries the Shamrock Shake during St. Patrick's Day...which would make sense (hence the name Shamrock Shake and the fact that it is green). When I arrived at my car in the parking lot, I noticed a morbid scene on the windshield. Below is the actual picture from the front of my car:

That's a dead freaking bird. ON THE HOOD OF MY CAR. How does that happen? The logical portion of my brain would say that someone was being a jerk, saw the dead bird on the ground, and threw it on the hood of my car as a joke. Logical. Sound reasoning. 

But I'm well-known as a person who's guided by the illogical portion of his brain. Who would pick up an obviously dead bird and throw it on someone's car? Bird flu, am I right? I've also watched enough Supernatural/read enough Harry Potter to understand bad juju when I see it. A dead bird doesn't just die in midair and fall smack dab onto the hood of someone's car who (just a week ago) was laughing at the thought that people would become superstitious over stupid things like full moons and Friday the 13th. 

Of course, I idiotically came inside, pulled up Google and typed in "dead bird superstitions." Obviously, this wasn't the greatest idea and would only lead me down a rabbit hole of paranoia and dread. And it did. Much like what happens when one Googles their own health symptoms and finds out that every headache could only mean herpes and/or polio. 

Here's what I discovered. When one discovers a dead bird, it's a well-known omen that means the person that finds the dead bird is inevitably going to die. Of course. The reasoning behind this reads as follows: "birds can easily move between earth and sky, humans have long viewed our feathered friends as a link between the temporal and spiritual worlds." 

I think we can all agree that I've been taught a valuable life lesson. Don't mock things that you don't understand. Don't trivialize the power of Father Sky and Mother Earth. Because I was mocking the idea of superstitions, the universe decided to play a little trick on me, with a poor, innocent Western Meadowlark to convince me to take certain things seriously.

I get it, universe. I'm going to die. Inevitably. And now I can't look at a dang Western Meadowlark without thinking of death, werewolves, Friday the 13th, and the bird flu. Serves me right. 

Saturday, June 21, 2014

The Cow In The Bathtub

My last blog post was back in September and in that amazing post I claimed I would be updating this site more. Yeah....that was about 7 months ago. I'm pretty much a liar at this point. I call myself a writer, but I don't write things. So consider this post my official rebuke of myself and the fact that I call myself a writer while never writing anything. I plan on remedying this issue.

And it begins with this post.

Recently, I've noticed a huge difference in my demeanor as a person now compared to how I was back when I was a child. Back then, I'm pretty sure I was afraid of my own shadow. Even so, I never saw my shadow enough to be afraid of it because I was essentially afraid of leaving the house anyway to even see my shadow. But if I did leave the house, I would have been afraid of that shadow trailing behind me.

There are plenty of stories that illustrate the ridiculous bouts of fear I had as a kid, but none more prominent than the time I was afraid of a scene that happened in an over-the-top cartoon I watched. Let's discuss THAT story.

Around the time when I was about 6 years old, I developed a fascination with the program Ren & Stimpy. Y'all may have heard of it. And if you HAVE heard of it, you haven't heard anything necessarily good about it. It's a terrible show. The show is about as vulgar as it gets and was definitely on the list of banned programming in the Wallock household growing up. The premise of the show revolved around dirty jokes that children wouldn't understand (but parents clearly did) and quite a lot of toilet humor. I loved it. Despite my parent's stern warnings not to tune in to the Ren & Stimpy show, I never missed it.

But I paid a hefty price for my insubordinance.

One summer while watching the show, there was a scene that came on that involved the characters trying to get a very large and creepy-looking cow from exiting their bathroom. Regardless of their best efforts, the cow remained, staying in the shower with a shower cap on. I'm not entirely sure what it was about this scene that stuck with me, but for the whole rest of the summer, I would put off going to the bathroom as much as I possibly could. There was no way I was going to be caught dead in the bathroom alone with that creepy-looking cow that my young brain knew was present. This is about was ludicrous as it gets, but to young Andrew it was very much a legitimate and real fear.

Now that I look back on it, I can only chuckle to myself. I'm fairly certain the cow wasn't scary at all. It probably looked a lot more like this:

See? That's a cool cow. Nothing to be afraid of there. I believe my young brain saw something more along the lines of this:

Makes more sense right?

I don't remember exactly how I got over this exact fear. I believe that I eventually just grew out of it. But not before a full summer of driving my parents nuts, not pooing when I need to poo, and plenty checking behind the shower curtain for any bathing bovines.

Another story that stands out in my mind is a story that my mother, especially, loves to tell. It's no secret to those close to me that I was deathly afraid of the wind as a child. It was so bad that I would refuse to leave the house if there was even a hint of breeze outside.

But, if I was ALREADY outside, I was very prepared. I was a thinker. I would wear a tiny, tiny brown cowboy vest with a little feather hanging out of the pocket while playing outside. It looked something like this:

Holy heck, I was adorable. Anyway, while I was playing outside I would follow a certain system. If the feather started to blow around at all in the wind, I would immediately quit all activities and run inside. I would wait inside until the wind stopped before I would allow myself to resume any outside activities. No way was I going to allow the wind to blow me away, never to be heard from again. Because clearly that's what would happen.

How did I get over this fear? It came down to my mom locking the door during a windstorm, while I screamed and banged on the door outside. I think I even went to an extreme length and pretended like I was being blown away by hanging on to the door. My mother would just glance outside, smile, and say, "Hang on!!!"

Horrible parenting, am I right? But it worked. So perhaps, in the end, that was genius parenting.

Why do I tell these stories? In a way, it's to show myself how much I've grown up as a person. I still have my moments of fear, but it mostly revolves around the normal, adulthood fears. A lot of what I learned from these irrational scares was that, in the end, nothing can keep me from living my life. You can be afraid, but you should never let that fear dictate your life. It's the same lesson I have learned ever since I permanently left the house and moved to Utah on a full-time basis. It's a scary thing. Leaving the house, leaving your childhood friends, coming to a new's not an easy step. You could sit around your apartment, watch Netflix (which I do), and never go out and make something of yourself. But that's just letting your fear dictate how you live your life. And that should never be the case.

So, in a way, it's good that my mom locked me outside the house to be blown away by the wind. I learned something from it. I wasn't blown away. The wind did not take me into the clouds. At the time, it seemed like the only logical conclusion. But eventually, my desire to play outside outweighed my fear of the wind. Think of how many awesome adventures I would have missed out on if I had allowed myself to be overcome with fear of the wind.

On the flip side, think how much constipation I would have dealt with if I had allowed myself to avoid the bathroom over fear of a cow washing his ears. I avoided long-term bowel problems by forcing myself to use the bathroom when I was too afraid to do so....

That, in the end, is a blessing.