21 March 2015

Saturday Speaks (and Links): Spring Break Edition

Part of the idea behind this Saturday Speaks thing is that I actually have to put it together on Saturday morning. Alas, if I don't have time on a Saturday morning, I will not post. These have to happen on Saturday mornings when I am up early and/or don't have company (like last week). Having said that, it has been three weeks since I've done one of my weekly recap posts. Did you miss me? 

I was off work all week for Spring Break, baby!!!, and I hardly left the house. I got outside, but it was yard work/junk removal related. 

I want to get something sad out of the way before I bring in the happiness. On Thursday, as I've done for a couple months now, I did a post as part of Wandering through the Shelves' Thursday Movie Picks Meme. This week's theme: Movies Adapted from Young Adult Novels. My first pick, the first movie that came to me, was Francis Ford Coppola's 1983 adaptation of S.E. Hinton's classic teen tragedy, The Outsiders. The sad part is that 8 of the 12 fellow bloggers who commented on this post admitted to never having seen this movie. I am still shocked by this news. Okay. It's not some sort of cinematic masterpiece, but it is a great movie with a sort of throwback visual style and perfect performances from an unreal cast of young actors who would go on to pretty much own Hollywood at one point or another. 

To all of you who haven't seen it, please do, and then come back here and let me know what you think. This movies is as important to my cinematic memory and education as just about any other.  

Spring is here, baby!!! Yesterday was the first day. Today is the second, which means it's my Mom's birthday. Happy Birthday, Mom! You mean more to me than you'll ever know.

I am hoping beyond hope that David Robert Mitchell's It Follows opens at a theater near me. So far, it's not around, but the buzz surrounding this thing is hanging like a low fog. I can't seem to escape it. And that poster! 

Got myself into some outdoor "spring cleaning." The flower beds are washed of the fall and winter and ready to go. Next step is fighting the weeds. 

Making Summer Plans

The boys from Kentucky are back! My Morning Jacket released a video the other day, a trailer, if you will for their forthcoming album and tour, "Waterfall." We have tickets for two shows on the tour. One here in Knoxville at the majestic Tennessee Theatre. The other at Red Rocks in Morrison, CO, where I also get to spend a few days in Denver with my little sister. 

Comerica Park in Detroit

Rogers Centre in Toronto

Progressive Field in Cleveland

PNC Park in Pittsburgh

You may not know this about me, but I am a baseball fanatic. It is THE BEST sport ever created by man. It is the sport of summer. Memorial Day weekend, Amanda, a couple friends, and I are doing four ball parks in four days. I'm dubbing it The 2015 Great Lakes Baseball Tour.

The following weekend,  Amanda and I will be seeing Ira Glass live here in Knoxville. I am so excited. I've been a long time listener of This American Life, which is one of the great radio shows/podcasts out there. Start listening if you don't already. 

The Week in Movies

New Release of the Week

I reviewed Cinderella, which I found beautiful and perfect for families. 

Blast from the Past

I watched M. Night Shymalan's under-appreciated 2004 thriller, The Village. It is just gorgeous on all levels. And I love the silly twist. It's cool, and I don't care who hates it. Plus, Bryce Dallas Howard is beautiful and a fine actress. 

Rob Marshall's Chicago - Best Picture 2002

Errol Morris' The Fog of War - Best Documentary Feature 2003

Denys Arcand's The Barbarian Invasions - Best Foreign Language Film 2003

As part of an upcoming blogging project to be named later, I am going back through Oscar winners in four categories (Best Picture, Best Documentary Feature, Best Foreign Language Film, Best Animated Feature). See shots above. 

I enjoyed watching The Fog of War more than any of these. I had seen it and Chicago before. They all have something but all lost me, as far as my attention goes, at one point or another. I really found The Barbarian Invasions to be quite effective in its dialogue but as a movie meant to pack an emotional punch, well, it didn't hit me nearly hard enough. 

Mini Kevin Smith Marathon

Chasing Amy (1997)

Dogma (1999)

Kevin Smith is one of the finest comedy writers there has ever been. Sure, he was not very good at directing (he's gotten better over the years), but his ability to get inside the mind of a twenty-something male is unmatched. I fell in love with his movies once long ago. They aren't as great as I once thought, but they certainly still mean something. 

When I Was Thirty Update 

My next Blu-ray trilogy is Wes Craven's Scream. Number 2 was on the menu this week. 

Scream 2 (1997)

Not as good as the first. Still fun as hell.

2015 By the Numbers

I've watched 55 movies so far this year, of which 35 are for the first time and 20 are re-watches.

The Tube

Netflix's Orange is the New Black (Season 2)

HBO's Togetherness (Season 1)

My wife is more of a TV person, so, when we watch stuff together, it's usually TV. We are caught up with two current series. Netflix's Orange is the New Black is hit-and-miss for me, but Season 2 really rocked in the last few episodes. Much greatness. The Duplass Brothers' Togetherness is one of my favorite new shows. It is so well-written, so real, so filled with talent. An excellent comedic take on the modern American family. 

The Coolest Thing I Saw All Week

Video essay master, Jacob T. Swinney, posted a 5-minute clip of first and last frames juxtaposed side-by-side. It uses Thomas Newman's score of American Beauty. It is awe-inducing. I found it via No Film School on Facebook. Please watch. 


Daniel hit the nail on the head with his Thursday Movie Picks.

Fisti dropped some perfect cinematic moment. 

Alex pitches R-Rated movies kids should see. 

Jenna and Allie blind spot Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction. I'm envious. 

Sati beautifully obsesses over the upcoming new season of Game of Thrones.

Jay discusses his favorite eleven Coen Brothers' regulars.


  1. Kevin, I really enjoy reading your blog. It's always interesting and I learn something new every time. Good job on the yard work. We've just started on ours and it's gonna be a BIG job. Hope we can get ya'll here for a day or two this summer. Love ya! Cathy

    1. Thanks. The yard work is always tough. But I love doing it. The end justifies the means.

  2. Wow, I feel so comparatively lazy.
    Also, four parks in four days? Super fun! Last summer I went to the one in Cleveland. The summer before I was in Chicago, but accidentally referred to Wrigley as Fenway! I think I nearly got jumped.


    1. I'm sure you're not lazy. I just had the whole week off work (I'm a middle school teacher), so I had plenty of time on my hands. The vacation planning happens this time of year as a result of tax return and time off.

      My wife and I are on a mission to visit every MLB stadium. We've done 9 so far, including both Chicago stadiums (Wrigley is by far my favorite of all that I've been to). Yeah, Cubs fans are strangely protective of their ball park for a fan base so used to losing. LOL.

  3. Yup, I'm a baseball fan, too. So jealous of the Great Lakes Baseball Tour. Have fun!

    I'm guessing trilogy means you're not watching Scream 4? Shame. I find that to be very underrated. Oh well, looking forward to reading about 1 through 3.

    1. Yeah. I can't wait. We'll be visiting stadiums 10, 11, and 12 on that trip. We are trying for all of them.

      I may actually do Scream 4 anyway. It's not part of this Blu set, but it's my second favorite after the original. Totally agree with you.

  4. Thanks for the link, man! I felt good about those picks.

    That first/last frames video is INCREDIBLE. Thanks for sharing!

    1. They were good, man. And your write-ups were great as well.

      Isn't it beautiful? I love that thing. No problem.

  5. 1) Yes I missed you (and these posts)
    2) Thanks for the link :-D

    So much more. Like, I feel ashamed that I haven't seen The Outsiders. Now I must add that to the Netflix queue...and bump it to the top! I love the dedicated section to your mother. Glad you're digging into those Oscar films ;-)

    Funny, I was just talking about The Village with friends last night...

    1. 1. Thanks buddy.
      2. No problem.

      I really hope you do watch The Outsiders, and I hope you like it. Let me know for sure. Loving going back to these old Oscar winners. So far, they're mostly bland and oddly similar. I mean, two foreign films about assisted suicide back-to-back. That must have been a hot topic in '03/'04.

      The Village is beautiful, if a little bit stupid at the end. I've never been turned off by it.

  6. Great post! I love all the photos of your mom. :-)

    1. Thanks. She's a good lady, and a great mother.

  7. Thanks for the link! The Village is underrated indeed, people focus on the twists, but it's such a beautiful gothic romance story and Howard makes my line up for Best Actress as well as the score which is just lovely

    1. No problem. Howard's work in this movie is incredible. She just nailed a super tough role. Shyamalan's visual style is better in this one than any other. The tone of this movie is just perfect. And that score!

    2. William Hurt is also amazing in this, his line "the world moves for love, it kneels before it in awe" is one of my favorite of all time