Archives for category: Movies

I haven’t posted about too many TV sitcoms, yet after watching a few episodes of “The Goldbergs” recently, I wanted to share my thoughts. The 1980s were a part of my childhood and early teen years, so I could relate to many aspects of the show right away. Breakin’ it down by several characters, here are a few elements that jostled nostalgia.

Barry (Troy Gentile)

A regular item he carries is a denim backpack and I had one just like it. But that wasn’t all; I went through a variety of denim pocketbooks in different sizes as well. Then, there were those cropped denim jackets with like long strips of white leather fringe. It was…like, totally…denim overload!

In the world of fragrance, many girls like myself were spritzing ourselves with Debbie Gibson’s Electric Youth perfume. In one episode, Barry gives Adam pointers on how to be more attractive to a girl, advising him to use Drakkar Noir. I actually wasn’t aware of that cologne in 80s, but later on, my high school crush wore it and he rocked that scent.

Erica (Hayley Orrantia)

I love the pop culture posters decorating Erica’s bedroom. At some point, my walls were covered with New Kids on the Block pin-ups from the pages of teen magazines. Not just page-size pin-ups, but centerfolds and pull-out posters. I also had a few banners, wherever they were bought, along with tons of other fan merchandise. While on the subject of my generation’s boy band NKOTB, I had a quick glimpse of Erica wearing a t-shirt featuring Jordan, Donnie, Danny, Jonathan and Joe. Later, I caught part of an episode with their names as the title; if the onscreen fan mentioned her favorite, I missed it. I’ll have to catch that one from the start next time it reruns. But who was my favorite guy? Jordan…loved his eyes, smile, hair, voice, style, dance moves. I saw NKOTB in concert back in the day and even got to see them again when they had a tour date in Philly last June. Check out my NKOTB concert blog post.

A lot of other styles Erica wears takes me back to the 80s. My friends and I all loved the combo of big earrings, bangle bracelets, jelly bracelets and denim dyed to colors such as teal. I never shopped at Benetton as the onscreen teen does, but it’s among brands I remember clearly. While watching the show, I haven’t noticed specific footwear looks representing 80s shoe styles. My favorite sneaker brand back then was definitely L.A. Gear.

Erica also had a pen pal who she eventually meets. I remember filling out forms to sign up and get matched to pen pals based on common age range, interests and so on. As a teen, I wrote to a handful of pen pals, but never met them. They lived in countries including Ireland, Germany, Malaysia, Australia and Italy. I still have my letters from them, stored away with many other mementos from my early teen years.

Adam (Sean Giambrone)

It’s funny relating even to the youngest kid on the show, but my generation often did something he did – going out to a local video rental store. It feels like a completely different world or lifetime compared to these days. I hadn’t thought about it for a long time, renting movies on VHS. Then, a guy in one of my graduate writing classes wrote a short story about his own video rental store experiences. The tone of his story was that he missed those times and included several reasons why he felt that way, despite convenient streaming technologies of today. He saw a video rental store trip as an adventure. And of course, we couldn’t forget to rewind and get any movies we rented back by the due date.

A couple of other episodes revolving around Adam had themes of “The Goonies” and “The Karate Kid.” Who knows how many times I’ve watched these two movies? A sense of friends’ one last adventure, led by inspired Mikey (Sean Astin) makes me think of how different time periods in life come to a close. A friend moves far away or we graduate and lose touch with some classmates. At least that’s the case with my generation, since our high school years came before the era of social media and easily keeping connected. Also, the whole plot of a long-ago maritime mystery is a favorite theme of mine that, in the spirit of “The Goonies,” never dies. Then, in “The Karate Kid,” there is the story of a new kid who gets bullied, finds love and the strength to hold his own. It was a mix of common situations that teens experience, making this a relatable movie. But I also had a huge crush on Ralph Macchio when he became known for his role of Daniel, “The Karate Kid.” I remember wishing I could be his onscreen girlfriend, Ali (Elisabeth Shue). And who could forget the wisdom and humor of Pat Morita as Mr. Miyagi?

Beverly (Wendi McLendon-Covey)

Her use of Aqua Net hairspray reminds me of junior high and all that stiff, high-poofed hair many girls had to top off their look. Beverly had a more toned-down style as the mom. However, some late-80s teen girls in my yearbooks must’ve had their bangs sprayed up to stand five inches high!

Opening references to 80s pop culture and history moments are among what I relate to as well, remembering those myself. I also love the added touch of home videos featuring the real-life people behind the show’s characters.

Jeff Garlin and George Segal star as the father and grandfather respectively, rounding out the Goldberg family regulars. Patton Oswalt narrates episode stories from Adam’s point of view.

The biggest award show in movies is just hours away now; so last minute with my picks this year! Anyway, minus a few categories I still haven’t seen or decided among nominees, here are my favorites to win.

  • Best Picture: “Darkest Hour,” “Dunkirk,” “Lady Bird” or “The Post”
  • Actor in a Leading Role: Gary Oldman – “Darkest Hour”
  • Actress in a Leading Role: Saoirse Ronan – “Lady Bird,” Meryl Streep – “The Post” or Margot Robbie – “I, Tonya”
  • Actor in a Supporting Role: Christopher Plummer – “All the Money in the World”
  • Actress in a Supporting Role: Allison Janney – “I, Tonya”
  • Director – Christopher Plummer – “All the Money in the World”
  • Animated Feature – “Coco”
  • Animated Short: ?
  • Adapted Screenplay: “Molly’s Game”
  • Original Screenplay: “Lady Bird”
  • Cinematography: “Dunkirk”
  • Documentary Feature: ?
  • Documentary Short Subject: ?
  • Live Action Short: ?
  • Foreign Language Film: ?
  • Film Editing: “Dunkirk”
  • Sound Editing: “Dunkirk”
  • Sound Mixing: “Dunkirk”
  • Production Design: “Beauty and the Beast”
  • Original Score: “Dunkirk”
  • Original Song: ?
  • Makeup and Hair: “Darkest Hour”
  • Costume Design: “Beauty and the Beast” or “Victoria and Abdul”
  • Visual Effects: “Star Wars: The Last Jedi”

Any thoughts on this year’s nominees? Which are your favorites?

I remember the original “Magnum, P.I.” TV series, although I never watched it at the time. Considering how young I was, it just didn’t appeal to me or others my age. Looking back on the show, I can see the main audience being viewers in their 20s and 30s. The lead star, Tom Selleck, as a handsome actor certainly would’ve been part of the draw. That, too, I also get now. I was just too young to see him as a celeb crush when the Hawaiian-set show was airing new episodes.

Checking my email recently, I saw a message from the Hollywood Reporter. Its subject line was about a new version of the early 80s TV series. As it turns out, the lead actor is a new celeb crush of mine, Jay Hernandez. I first saw him in “Bad Moms” when he’s walking in slo-mo up to his onscreen daughter’s school with her. The camera, also in slo-mo to emphasize his attractiveness, moved up toward his face; my jaw dropped. I just thought he was so gorgeous! Actually, he somewhat resembles a guy I had a crush on for a while. My best friend and I also followed up on seeing “Bad Moms” when its hilarious sequel arrived in theaters.

Among his other roles, I’d been wanting to check out “Suicide Squad” and finally saw it; pretty good and with a cast of favorites in acting. But as with other movie stars I don’t become aware of until later, I’m hoping to catch up on past roles Hernandez has to his credits, such as an early one in “Crazy / Beautiful” from 2001. I think there’s something in its storyline that I could relate to in a way through my high school experiences. Other movies I want to see include “Torque” and “Friday Night Lights,” both from 2004, “World Trade Center” (2006) and “Nothing Like the Holidays” (2008) to name a few.

So, even though we’re in an era of remake and reboot mania, I’ll be sure to tune in as the new version makes its debut. It’s the same with movies; some updated takes on them aren’t that appealing to me, while others are for one reason or another.

Sometimes, even when it comes to the hottest movies, I fall behind catching them in theaters and that includes those in a franchise. It comes down to taking in these cinematic works on DVD or TV. That was the case with the first few installments of “The Fast and the Furious” movies and then I followed up 5, 6 and 7 at home as well. I hoped to finally see the most recent addition to “F & F” on the big screen. Unfortunately, I missed it and awaited its release on DVD, planning to watch it with my best friend during one of my visits.

However, we don’t always get around to enjoying movies, getting more into fun girl talk and catching up with anything new going on. So, just a few nights ago, I finally got to see “The Fate of the Furious” (2017) when scrolling through the TV Guide grid looking for something of interest.

I haven’t written about any movies from this action-packed franchise and as the closing credits rolled, I had an idea. Why not re-watch each installment and write about them as I go? One “F & F” movie or another airs here and there on TV, yet I can’t say I’ve watched any of them a great number of times. Despite that, I feel as though no matter how many times someone sees them, the stunts continue to amaze. I’ll wonder just how they pulled off such intense action behind the wheel. But at the same time, I don’t want to lose the mystery and movie magic that goes into bringing together many incredible car stunts throughout the franchise.

I can’t wait to go through each movie again as there is so much to say about the cast, characters, best quotes, settings, plot points and car-heavy stunts. The cars used in “F & F” also give me a lot to write about, since I love so many cool rides. A recent favorite of mine is definitely the latest Dodge Challenger model. The slick one in the photo above is one I spotted at a local car show this past November. I write about various car shows on my photo / travel blog; it’s one of my top warm-weather activities. Check out more images I snapped of cool wheels on this post.

For me, each “F & F” movie has a favorite moment besides the climactic action scene. I can’t say yet which installment is #1 in my opinion. Which one is tops for you?

Now that the SAG awards are coming up next, it seems as though the year’s top honors will be here before we know it. I still have some catching up to do in choosing Oscar favorites until then. Except for a few categories I’m unsure of, here are the nominees I hope will win this weekend.

Movies

  • Male Actor in a Leading Role: Gary Oldman – “Darkest Hour”
  • Female Actor in a Leading Role: Saoirse Ronan – “Lady Bird”
  • Male Actor in a Supporting Role: ?
  • Female Actor in a Supporting Role: Allison Janney – “I, Tonya”
  • Cast in a Motion Picture: “Lady Bird”

TV

  • Male Actor in a TV Movie or Miniseries: Geoffrey Rush – “Genius”
  • Female Actor in a TV Movie or Miniseries: Jessica Lange or Susan Sarandon – “Feud: Bette & Joan”
  • Male Actor in a Drama Series: Peter Dinklage – “Game of Thrones”
  • Female Actor in a Drama Series: Claire Foy – “The Crown”
  • Male Actor in a Comedy Series: ?
  • Female Actor in a Comedy Series: ?
  • Ensemble in a Drama Series: “The Crown”
  • Ensemble in a Comedy Series: ?
  • Stunt Ensemble in a Comedy or Drama Series: “Game of Thrones”
  • Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture: “Dunkirk” or “Wonder Woman”

Any thoughts on this year’s SAG nominees?

Several factors led to not catching this year’s Golden Globes. I never added it to my calendar, plans with a friend ran late and we were without a working television set. I didn’t want to track live social media updates as we caught up with each other. Later on, I found out which nominees won (congrats to all!) and heard a lot about the “Me Too” movement in relation to the show.

I’m mobile blogging about movies for the first time, due to a technical issue on my laptop. Considering the long list ahead in sharing my favorite Critics’ Choice nominees, it seemed daunting to get through by typing on a phone. Yet with so many great nominees again this year, I didn’t want to skip my award season posts until next time. So, here are my 2018 favorites:

Movies

  • Picture: “Darkest Hour,” “Dunkirk” or “Lady Bird”
  • Actor: Gary Oldman – “Darkest Hour”
  • Actress: Saoirse Ronan – “Lady Bird”
  • Supporting Actor: ?
  • Supporting Actress: Allison Janey – “I, Tony’s”
  • Young Actor / Actress: Jacob Tremblay – “Wonder”
  • Acting Ensemble: “Lady Bird”
  • Director: Greta Gerwig – “Lady Bird”
  • Original Screenplay: “Lady Bird”
  • Adapted Screenplay: “Wonder”
  • Cinematography: “Dunkirk”
  • Production Design: “Beauty and the Beast”
  • Editing: ?
  • Costume Design: “Beauty and the Beast”
  • Hair & Makeup: “Darkest Hour” or “I, Tonya”
  • Visual Effects: “Thor: Ragnarok”
  • Animated Feature: ?
  • Action Movie: “Thor: Ragnarok”
  • Comedy: “The Disaster Artist” or “Lady Bird”
  • Actor in a Comedy: Chris Hemsworth – “Thor: Ragnarok” or James Franco – “The Disaster Artist”
  • Actress in a Conedy: Saoirse Ronan – “Lady Bird”
  • Sci-Fi / Horror Movie: “It”
  • Foreign Language Film: ?
  • Song: ?
  • Score: “Dunkirk”

TV

  • Drama Series: “Game of Thrones”
  • Actor in a Drama Series: ?
  • Actress in a Drama Series: ?
  • Supporting Actor in a Drama Series: ?
  • Supporting Actress in a Drama Series: ?
  • Comedy Series: “The Big Bang Theory”
  • Actor in a Comedy Series: ?
  • Actress in a Comedy Series: ?
  • Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series: ?
  • Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series: ?
  • Limited Series: “Feud: Bette and Joan” or “Big Little Lies”
  • Movie Made for TV: ?
  • Actor in a Movie Made for TV or Limited Series: ?
  • Actress in a Movie Made for TV or Limited Series: Jessica Lange – “Feud: Bette and Joan”
  • Supporting Actor in a Movie Made for TV or Limited Series: Stanley Tucci – “Feud: Bette and Joan”
  • Supporting Actress in a Movie Made for TV or Limited Series: Regina King – “American Crime”
  • Talk Show: “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon”
  • Animated Series: “The Simpsons”
  • Unstructured Reality Series: “Ice Road Truckers”
  • Structured Reality Series: “Who Do You Think You Are?”
  • Reality Competition Series: ?
  • Reality Show Host: ?

Which nominees are you rooting for this year?

Hope everyone is enjoying 2018 so far and here’s to another year of great movies!

This movie has so many old Hollywood details that I love, from the big studios to executives’ vintage phones taking audiences back to that time of glamorous style. Eddie Mannix (Josh Brolin) opens the story and as an industry exec, his demeanor is also like a detective in a classic black and white film. He’s sitting in a curvy, old car at night and the rain falls. I love it because the whole scene looks very mysterious.

Following that are scenes of the cinematic work “Hail, Caesar!” within the onscreen world, in which George Clooney first appears. He plays an actor named Baird Whitlock, leading the epic ancient Roman-themed film in production.

Mannix discusses actors in a phone conversation, leading to the possibility of a young western star working for him. One of my favorite scenes includes this particular character. The actor in question for Mannix is Hobie Doyle (Alden Ehrenreich), who is rather stuck in the mode of cowboy roles, maybe an early example of being typecast.

Someone approaches him about a change in his image as a movie star, including being in an arranged date and taking on a drama film. Acting in a new genre means numerous mishaps in this case, as it brings him into unfamiliar territory from wardrobe and mannerisms to language and phrases. The way he swaggers and poses is still in cowboy style. I even wonder if his accent is possibly from working in so many westerns, as a way to go all the way with the idea that he’s truly stuck in that genre. Either way, it gets in the way of him saying his lines with the accent for the drama. He can’t seem to get away from his twang, no matter how hard his director, Laurence Laurentz (Ralph Fiennes) tries to help him.

A creatively choreographed swimming scene being filmed is lead by DeeAnna Moran (Scarlett Johansson). She’s a spitfire personality in debating relationships and her public image with Mannix. What the public sees her as is totally different from that of how she responds to him and he is concerned by her personal life, how it is perceived in that time period.

Throughout the story, filmmaking issues are discussed among higher-ups, from problems regarding those who can’t act and the use of various images onscreen. International relations also come into play with certain characters.

Meanwhile, Whitlock has been kidnapped and he finds himself among a group of elder men whose serious and intellectual topics cover history and economics. I believe that they see themselves as anti-Hollywood or a group who fear for how Hollywood would impact the coming years. They have sent a note to Mannix about their captive and a deal.

I haven’t seen too many movies in which Tilda Swinton has starred. But I loved the styles worn by her dual characters, twin sisters Thora and Thessaly Thacker. A hat with a striking black feather tops off a pale pastel suit and sections divided by an inch of black material in either case. She’s a strong feminine character representing that time, while advising Mannix about his predicament.

Another one of my favorite scenes is when actor Burt Gurney (Channing Tatum) leads a Navy sailor musical number in his film. His dance routine is reminiscent of classic movie dance scenes as he incorporates the bar furniture around him. Gurney’s part in the overall storyline of the Coen Brothers movie has a twist.

Back to Whitlock and his kidnappers, it is revealed why they took action involving the leading actor of a major film. The big-wig studios get everything for what ends up on the silver screen. They explain their actions to him by using the topics of concern and that they’re not even asking for much in return. In their level of the film industry, they feel that their work is forgotten while higher-ups reap the benefits. However, there is more to the group’s agenda.

Some cool lasso work is displayed by the young western-turned-drama star as he awaits his arranged date with an actress named Carlotta. They seem to have a nice bonding moment as she shows ease in her onscreen dance moves. It breaks the barriers that they each have some kind of skill from consistent acting in certain type of role. Their date takes them to one of his westerns showing at the cinema and the audience gets great laughs at one character’s antics.

Adding to the timeframe of this movie, Whitlock references a real-life classic Hollywood actor as he talks with his kidnappers. In another scene featuring Moran and for the first time, Joe Silverman (Jonah Hill), the glamor shows again. Johansson’s classy blonde waves remind me of many actresses in the 1940s and the hairstyles they donned. In this scene, they’re in an shadowy office and it looks very noir.

The young stars on a date share more laughs over dinner and confusion over the sisters they encounter only seconds apart. But suddenly, suspicion arises in Doyle when he spots Gurney at a nearby table. He follows him, having been alerted earlier about the kidnapping situation. As he comes across the captive star and drives him back to the studio, little do they know what becomes of the kidnappers’ plan. But now, Whitlock has to contend with how he interacted with those who held him hostage, as well as with finishing “Hail, Caesar!”

I enjoyed this movie for all the detail reflecting the story’s time period, along with the great cast, characters and how various issues come into play. If you love classic Hollywood, you’ll love it as well. This Coen Brothers work also stars Frances McDormand, Fisher Stevens, David Krumholtz and Wayne Knight.