I almost forgot that I hadn't said anything about this most momentous passing that occurred this past week. Probably because my father's birthday was more significant so it overshadowed the event. But make no mistake, to someone like me whose life is filled with a passion for music, this latest death was huge.
Music and television icon Dick Clark passed away Wednesday after suffering a massive heart attack. He was 82-years-old.
As old as I am I'm still not old enough to remember Clark when he first pioneered the very influential "American Bandstand". However, I knew enough about my television and music history to realize how crucial that show and he was to the music scene. For instance, he was one of the first show to successfully integrate his show. He actually had partners of different races dancing together. That was huge back then. That alone was enough to mark what an impact he had.
There was also the most obvious fact that he introduced generations to music that would be legendary for years to come. The young Beatles, the fledgling Jackson 5ive, newcomer Prince...just a few of the future greats that would all grace his show. While Soul Train gave us that urban element that America so desperately needed, American Bandstand brought it full circle by incorporating an even wider musical palate.
My earliest memory of Dick Clark was his hosting duties as the New Year's Eve countdown on ABC. New Year's Eve was not complete until I tuned into that show at least once during the night. I never watched the entire thing, but I would at least check out a little bit of it. It was almost as if I had to see Dick Clark on New Year's Eve to somehow validate it was actually New Year's Eve. He became as much a part of that evening as Santa Claus was with Christmas.
I think everyone would be kidding themselves if they didn't admit they saw the writing on the wall when Clark suffered that stroke in 2007. I was surprised that he made it back from that. Then when they kept using him very sparingly on air afterwards, it was obvious that he was in bad shape. Despite the fact that he was still looking very young for his age. We all knew that his days were numbered from that point forward but at least the days behind him were filled with some great memories he shared with us.
I ended up using this picture on Facebook to commemorate Dad's birthday. Only because I don't have a more recent pic of him. It reminded me that I should have taken more of just him when I was there last Thanksgiving. Hindsight is 20/20 though I guess. I'll know better the next time I'm in Bloomington.
The interesting thing about Dad's pic on The Book is the amount of attention it received. For those of you that aren't familiar with The Book, you probably don't know anything about "Likes". Basically, it's an option that every FB member has whenever they see a picture and/or a post. They can show their approval but clicking a "like" button. FB then records who all liked it to show you the individuals and the number of people that liked something on your page. Prior to today, the most "likes" I had on a picture of mine was right around 75.
Dad's picture got close to 100 and counting.
The more I thought about it the more I figured it was more than just the picture itself. It was what it represented. It was that here I was a grown man giving adulation to my father. My actual father. Not a mere father figure. Not just the person who was there for me. The man who was there as a major part of my life since day one with be being his own flesh and blood. Actually since even before day one. I cannot stress how fortunate I am to have that benefit.
Actually, another reason I chose this particular picture was because he has the camera dangling from his neck. I told y'all that the seed for my fascination with photography was first inadvertently planted by Dad having the same interest. Here is proof that he still has it too. Now it's gotten to the point where he's even asking me for pointers. Probably just to make me feel good. I'm fine with that though. And let's face it...this is a well composed shot if I must say so myself.
I'm still trying to figure out why Hollywood has been on this kick lately where they feel the urge to release horror movies so far away from Halloween. It wouldn't be so bad if they worked it out so that there were some coming out during Halloween season too, but that hasn't been the case lately. So here I am faced with the decision to see a horror movie on Easter weekend? Didn't seem quite right, but with the normally uptight site Rotten Tomatoes giving it a good rating there I was at a matinee of "Cabin in the Woods".
The story is that five friends go off to a cabin in the middle of nowhere. Because you know any good horror movie has to involve at least five friends going off to the middle of nowhere. Although it doesn't always necessarily be in the woods, it certainly does help. An entire "Friday the 13th" franchise was based on it. All 13 movies. An entire franchise can't be wrong, can it?
Anyway, I don't want to give too much away on this one for the folks who haven't seen it and genuinely want to. However, I have to touch on some of the secrets in order to accurately analyze it. If you've seen any of the trailers at all, you already know the cabin isn't what it seems to be. That the kids were sent there as a set up. Probably for them all to die. My question is, who really still goes out to a cabin in the middle of the woods anyway? Don't people watch movies? And if you do that, why in the world would you mess around with stuff in there which is OBVIOUSLY weird??
It was too bad that the one sound voice of reason in that instance was the kid who smoked weed. Almost sending a message to the kids watching that movie that weed will help you escape a murdering spree. Okay, that is reaching, but it was predictable that he was the only one who was thinking clearly. It's rather ironic because of all the actors in the movie he was probably the one that did the worst job.
I will give "Cabin in the Woods" props for keeping you guessing. I thought I had it figured out exactly what the place was and it's purpose early on. It turns out I was wrong and wasn't able to figure it out until deep into the flick. However, they lose much points for biting from a "Blade" movie concept that any "Blade" fan will pick up on immediately when they see this one.
As of the writing of this post, "Rotten Tomatoes" has this rated at 92%. One of the highest ratings they've had which isn't an easy feat for a site that's notoriously stingy with their ratings. I think they were off the mark on this one though. "Cabin in the Woods" had its moments. Particularly the free-for-all that showcased the finale. It also had some pretty bad-arse monsters. Ultimately, I personally wasn't a fan of the blatant "Blade" ripoff that was pretty much the premise of the film though. Or the prevalent subpar acting. It was probably best they put this out now instead of getting hopes up at Halloween time.
At first I was just going to put up a pic only of this cat as an homage to his legacy. You know...because of the whole time constraints issue I've been dealing with lately. Then I figured that wouldn't even be right considering that he was another pioneer in the field that I studied.
"60 Minutes" legend Mike Wallace passed away this past Saturday in Waveny Care Center in New Canaan, Conn. He was 93-years-old.
I would be remiss if I didn't mention what an influence Wallace had on the journalism game. He was renown for asking the tough questions. Moreover, he didn't seem to ever be intimidated by his interviewees. It's a trait that's hard to find in journalists these days with so many of them wanting to cater to the egos of their subjects.
What I remember most about Wallace is how he helped turn "60 Minutes" into one of the most feared journalism shows out there. Actually, were there even any other journalism shows out at the time? I just know that back in the 80s, having a "60 Minutes" crew come to your business would be the equivalent today of having Chris Hanson and the "Dateline" homies show up. You know the outcome won't be good.
I don't think there's much of that "60 Minutes" gang left now. Ed Bradley and Andy Rooney had already left within the past few years and now Wallace. That infamous ticking clock that marked ever Sunday night just won't ever be the same again.
Well looks like I did it again. I've been so busy shooting and editing and working that I didn't have time to get you an update on some flicks that I've checked out. Major releases too. Probably ones that may have even deserved their own separate entries. Alas, they will have to share a post due to time constraints. Since none of them teetered on classic status, it only seems appropriate anyway.
Wrath of the Titans I should have known they were going to do a sequel to "Clash of the Titans". It was only common sense. The problem was it meant they had to come up with their own original story. The problem with that the story just wasn't that good. I personally have never been a fan of the whole concept that Zeus and Hades had a father who was the most powerful of all the gods. Is that really the way that Greek mythology went? I could have sworn that I always learned that Zeus was the most powerful of all the gods and that was that. At any rate, "Wrath" gave them an opportunity to bring back Kronos as the nemesis here. And not a very good one. The effects used on him were over the top ridiculous.
Outside of Kronos, the other effects in "Wrath" weren't all that bad. Even though they spilled most of the good ones in the previews. I was expecting to see more then realized that the movie wasn't long enough to put in a whole lot more. At 99 minutes, it felt like it was over before it even started. That was probably for the best though. It was just long enough to put it some good special effects yet just short enough to not be subjected to too much of weak storyline. And I'm even more mad that theater I saw it in only had it available in 3D when the 3D effects were pretty much non-existent. You'll be good to wait for Redbox for this one.
American Reunion I have many self-imposed rules that I follow when it comes to movies. One of them being that when a series that I loved does a reunion type film then I have to see it. Even if the trailer doesn't look like it will be that good. But especially in the case of the "American Pie" films where they brought back the entire cast. How can any "American Pie" fan pass that up? I went in fully expecting not too much at all. That's exactly what I got. Not that it means I was disappointed by any stretch. It was still great seeing the entire cast complete with even the minor characters all together again.
It dawned on me that I was watching "American Reunion" that I'm getting too old to appreciate those raunchy teenage films anymore anyway. Probably why I have no desire to see "Project X" (even though I feel compelled to watch it at some point). It's just difficult watching those type of flicks knowing I have children that age and knowing I wouldn't want the behaving that way. I admire the fact that "Reunion" briefly touched on the whole "we're too old for this" concept. Made me feel a little better about having the urge to watch a movie which reunited a cast that rejuvenated the R-rated raunchiness in Hollywood. There were a few genuine laugh out loud moments but too much was forced. Another one that would be a decent Redbox rental.
21 Jump Street I have to admit that I had NO desire to see this in theaters. The trailers didn't really look all that great. Even though I've been a big Jonah Hill fan ever since he's been a big Jonah Hill, they just weren't impressing me. Maybe it was because I still remember the original show and was not a fan of them tampering with yet another cool thing from my childhood. And then I started seeing that it was actually getting good reviews? Even Rotten Tomatoes had it rated in the 80% range. Well that moved it up on the radar more. Before you know it, I was throwing down primetime money to see if it was worth the hype.
I'm not 100% sold that Channing Tatum was the best choice for the role opposite Hill. He may have been brought in for the eye candy appeal, but his comedic ability leaves a lot to be desired. Perhaps that's why Hill wasn't as funny as he could have been because his co-star didn't give him a lot to work with? That's probably a better argument then the silly perception that he's not as funny when he's thinner. Although I definitely didn't feel this was some of Hill's best work, "Jump Street" did have its moments. Surprisingly, Tatum was even involved in many of them.
What I personally wanted to get from this flick was the cameos from the original cast. Seeing Holly Robinson, Peter Deluise and even Johnny Depp made the movie for me. It would have been nice if they could have found some way to bring back the original captain (Steven Williams) too though. Especially since I was NOT feeling Ice Cube's portrayal in that part at all. But when you add the cameos they did have along with the efforts that both Hill and Tatum gave then you have a fairly solid film. One at least worthy of matinee funds.