Sunday, January 29, 2012

extremely loud and bothersome

I am now in the mode of wanting to complete my viewing of movies that I have missed that are up for Oscars. Today it was the movie, "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close". This movie could also be titled "extremely long and incredibly hard".

I have heard people say that it is not a downer movie, that it isn't just about 9-11, and that it somehow is like "Pay It Forward". I say wrong, wrong, wrong.

The critics don't like this movie for the most part because of the subject (It is TOO soon). The kid that plays the main character is not likable even when you realize that he has emotional, medical, or mental problems. He is extremely loud and I can say that I did not like this movie until he meets a guy (possibly his Grandfather) who cannot speak. Max Von Sydon saves the film. He gave it heart. Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock (the parents) are good in their supporting roles, but I had to get past the kid.

In the end I did, but it wasn't easy. The theater tested me. When they were late starting, I went to the lobby to tell them to start. Then I had to return and tell them to make the sound coherent. And last we weathered two power outages as the movie was starting to answer story questions.

There are not many stories about 9-11 that will ever be easy. I won't read or see many of these stories. I would have been better off to leave this be. I like drama. I like realism. I do not like to be stabbed.

I survived. Whether you should see it is up to you (either in the theater or rental). It did not engage me like it should have and I give it **1/2 stars.

2012 Movie #4

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Less Time Traveled Roads


I was in Study Hall my sophomore year of high school when the High School principal came in and announced, "They shot Kennedy". It was such a shock and before long they were broadcasting the radio account over the intercom. That weekend many events including football games were cancelled and some movie theaters closed.

This event started my journey into how the country worked. This event brought out every one's true colors. The bigots spoke up. Confusion ruled. My folks were Republicans and that was a stretch. There were probably only 5 Republicans in our town and this event would lay the ground work for many more. In 1963 ALL office holders were Democrats. Soon Belmon would become the first Republican Governor but LBJ created the Republicans. It has been said that if JFK had lived, LBJ (a master of Congress) would have been hampered by being VP in his promotion of Civil Rights. The Civil Rights movement converted the South and Southwest from Democrat to Republican. I watched George Wallace and Barry Goldwater start changing opinions.

Stephen King's new novel captures the time as well as any. His small details of local color. It is fiction for sure, but as someone that was there, it was challenging story. I liked every inch of this- even the dark parts. He nailed the temperament of the public schools and the things that could not be discussed or acknowledged.

I also liked the dilemma of time travel. WHAT IF? King first did that to me when I read "Pet Cemetery" when he asked a similar question: "If you could bring a loved one back to life even though there is a chance they would be different, WOULD YOU? You see a had just gone through the loss of our daughter. Why I read that book, i don't know. It scared me to death.

This story though was very therapeutic.

This is book #3 for 2012. (I've read as many books as movies watched!)

Friday, January 20, 2012


It was Friday and I needed a movie. This time I didn't need a great movie (Tom Hanks will wait!).
I needed a popcorn movie. Last week that I said I would wait to see Mark Walberg's "Contraband" when it made DVD, but today I gave in. Timing was right and I occasionally need a "revenge" type story since I can't do that myself. (There is a "Moral problem" with that statement but I will pass for now.)

Contraband is a solid Hollywood plot used by westerns, cop movies, etc. Guy, who has gone straight after years of bad living, is forced to do one more "job" to free a family member. It is fun but it is R. Actually if should be rated F for F-bombs! In the first five minutes they wanted us to know that these guys are mean and mean guys say "F***" a lot, I guess. After the first five minutes things calmed down a bit. It is a fun ride as most Walberg movies are but it won't tax your brain.

I give it **1/2 stars. 2012 Movie #3

Carmike Men's Room Update: I am proud to say that they finally changed the burned out lights and of the three urinals, TWO are now working!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


I'm still reading the new Stephen King book and so many things in it remind me of my youth. I finished reading a story about a High School Junior-Senior Play, and could only think of my experience. It was 1965 in Haskell, America and I decided to try out for a part in the play. My Junior year I was not interested, but my last year in school everything changed. The play was a comedy called "Everyone's Crazy" and all my friends were trying out. I did as well. I did not get the lead (thank goodness!) but i got a great role of a crazy guys who had the "delirium tremors"!

It was great fun and a good experience except for two incidents.

At home one night my Mother picked up my play book and was shocked that I was going to say words like "dad gum", "gol-darned", and such. These were substitutes for cuss words and she took the time to cross out all such words and replace them with "Oh My" or "Goodness me"! We had a long discussion about that and she would not no my decision until the play.

But wait there's more:

Seems our church had planned the Spring Gospel Meeting the same week as the play. Melba, a fellow classmate and I as members would miss. I came home from school the week before the play and our Minister was paying a visit. He had what he thought was a great idea. Here was his proposal:

The church would take out a large add in the town paper stating that Mike Martin and Melba C. had decided to fore go the Junior-Senior Play and instead would be attending the Spring Gospel Meeting like all "faithful church members"."

I barely let him finish before I, with tears in my eyes, told him in NO UNCERTAIN TERMS that I would not let my classmates down and ruin the school play. Melba had the girl lead and my part was in many scenes. This was in a small school and the idea of "stand-ins" or "understudies" had not been invented yet. I stormed out of the room and would not discuss it again. I was grateful that my dad did not bring it up when he came home (he was a church elder).

I think about that every time school play is mentioned. For some this is a moral dilemma. For me, I thought of how that newspaper add would have been received by the town, my school and my friends.

Many "Moral Stands" or "Faith Stands" have been misapplied in my life. Your audience needs to possess enough knowledge or insight to even understand that you are actually taking a stand and not simply just trying to "hack" (mom approved) everyone off.

FYI: I went to the play and my parents went to the gospel meeting so my Mother never knew which words I used! Gol-darn-it!


Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Iron Lady

I went to see my first movie of the year and a good way to start "my year of better movies".

We saw "Iron Lady", the Meryl Streep movie about the life of Margaret Thatcher, the first female Prime Minister of Great Britain. The movie lets us see her as she is in her later years with flashbacks that reveal her early life, her years of service, and her family life. While I cannot judge the historical accuracy, Meryl as usual, totally nails the mannerisms and the look of the real person (see the photo comparison). Jim Broadbent plays her husband and does a great acting job as the man "behind the scenes."

NOTE: We were at a packed theater today (we sat on the second row!), and while I didn't take role, no one seemed be be younger than 50! Same thing happened when we went to see "War Horse" Young adults are missing some good movies. hope they catch them on NET FLICKS!
They would go to see "Iron Man"!

I give it ****stars.

2012 movie #2

Thursday, January 12, 2012

1958, The Future Arrives!

The first part of Stephen King's latest book takes place in 1958. I was 11 and in that year everything pointed to the future. In January of that year Russia, who had been beating us in the "Space Race" not only launched another satellite, but it had a LIVE dog in it! Maybe not a big thing to you, but consider that USA had not launched ANY satellites yet! It would be another couple of months before we launched the "Explorer". I know this because I read my "Weekly Reader" at school and was a fan of anything space.

The other thing that caught my eye was the 1958 cars (that came out in the fall of 57) had DOUBLE HEADLIGHTS! VERY COOL! See the FORD photo.

The summer of 59 I heard that Harding Chevrolet in Haskell had received a 1959 Chevy early. I raced down on my back to the this futuristic car.
It was a simple sedan, but it had fins! I was in the showroom as a farmer came in to get his pickup serviced and said something that never has been stated since in explaining a new car.
He walked to the rear and looked at the fins and said: "You could put a goat in there!"

My main memory came when that summer someone at church asked if I had seen the Estes family's new car. Orin Estes, the Free Will Baptist minister, had bought a RED 1959 Pontiac.
It was the wildest thing yet. After seeing that I was sure that we would having flying cars by 2000!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Time Travel

I'm reading the new Stephen King book and it deals with time travel. So far it is a hoot!

After reading some of the Diana Gabaldon books in the "Outlander" series, and add to that I just finished the first year of the TV series, "Tera Nova", I'm almost an expert.

The cool thing about "11-22-63" is that the story deals with my early life from 1958 ( I was 11) to 1963 (I was 16). I know this era well. So far King is on target! I will share more as I read.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

I learned a lot about blogging during the holidays.
Mainly: If you want a lot of people to find or visit your blog, post Christmas cartoons. Before December 24 I was averaging way over 120 people a day on the blog from 78 countries and every state and US Territory!

When Christmas came it stopped and went back to varying from 20 to 40 a day.

People like cartoons!

Friday, January 6, 2012


I just finished my second book of the new year, "Micro". This was the almost finished book by Michael Crichton and completed by Robert Preston. For the world's quickest summary think, "Honey, I shrunk the Scientists!". Remember this is the guy that did all those science fiction stories that Hollywood loves.

I started out skeptical about the story, but it was so well written that I was drawn in. It is a little creepy, and it will make a great movie. It deals with nature, bad guys, and robots!

I liked it. 2012 Book #2

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Yeah, its like that

Monday, January 2, 2012

Bad Idea!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Diary of a Player: Brad Paisley

I just finished my first book of 2012, "Dairy of a Player" by Brad Paisley. This is a short book by Brad about his life. As he says, it is biographical but not a biography. He has much more to go.

Brad has had it together his whole life. If you even have a passing interest in Country Music or Brad, this is a worthwhile read.

Things I learned:

1. His talent at guitar was seen early and his first band consisted entirely of guys over 60 who could really play.

2. He is a believer in Gladstone's theory that expertise takes 10,000 hours of practice.

3. He graduated from Belmont University in Nashville with a degree in Business Management with a emphasis in the Music Business.

4. He wrote "The Fishing Song (I'm going to Miss Her) in college and George Strait, Garth Brooks and Allen Jackson all thought about recording it, but finally turned it down. Brad says that if they had, he would have made enough money from royalties that he would not have become a performer!

There are other great stories in the book that include Okies like Garth, Carrie and Vince.

I recommend this to anyone.

The Grandsons go to a Movie

My grandsons are spending the first day of 2012 with us and wanted to go a movie. They wanted to see Alvin and the Chipmunks in "Chipwrecked". Unlike many animated movies that are being released, this one IS TRULY for kids! It is TV quality with a bigger budget. Carnival Cruise Lines invested in this movie big time. It is about shipwrecked with much writing stolen from "Castaway" and other shipwrecked stories.

There are a couple of adult level references including one of the chipmunks climb the mast and say, I can almost see Russia!" (Sarah Palin).

I asked Avery and Addison to rate the movie from 1 star to 5 stars (5 being highest). They both give it *****stars and called it one of the best ever. Me: No comment except to say it was better than Hangover 2.

2012 Movie # 1