2008, Movies

The Incredible Hulk (2008, Louis Leterrier)

So I’ve finally found my way to one of the few MCU movies I’ve missed, the weird one where they replaced the star before things really took off. At this point this feels like a movie from another era, as it has more in common with the first Iron Man, as you’d imagine, than it …

2015, Movies

Jurassic World (2015, Colin Trevorrow)

I have no idea who was clamouring for yet another Jurassic Park sequel over 20 years after the original movie but somebody must have been. My memory is that this movie got some pretty good reviews, certainly better than the reviews for the last sequel. But I imagine the pitch meeting was “This film will …

2020, Movies

The Trial of the Chicago 7 (2020, Aaron, Sorkin)

Until the ridiculous final season, I was torn between this and Chicago 10. For the most part, this is a better film than Chicago 10, it’s live action, it’s well-acted, and it’s nowhere near as ADD. (Though it’s clearly inspired by that film.) The ridiculous final scene of this film shook my confidence in that …

2018, Movies

Invisible Essence: The Little Prince (2018, Charles Officer)

My father read The Little Prince to me as a child, and maybe I read it myself a few times too. It’s been a very long time. But this whimsical and ambitious documentary does a fairly good job of showing me why it’s such a popular children’s book. I’m not sure it overcomes its nature …

1976, Movies

At the Earth’s Core (1976, Kevin Connor)

This is one of those “hollow earth” films. And it stars the one and only Doug McClure, one of inspirations for Troy McClure. If you ever want to watch one of the great man’s performances, I guess you could do worse than this very stupid film about a land in the middle of the earth, …

1966, Movies

The Christmas That Almost Wasn’t (1966, Rossano Brazzi)

There are movies that more competent than the worst made movies but somehow manage to be almost worst than the least well made films, in how dull they are, or how incompetent they are from a story perspective. This Christmas film was an absolute chore to sit through even with the MS3K jokes.

2020, Movies

Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn (2020, Cathy Yan)

I remember hearing about the good reviews. And I briefly thought that maybe here was a recent DC movie I wanted to watch. And then I promptly forgot about it until I got on a plane. Now, it’s possible that this film didn’t work for in part because it was the second film I watched …

2021, Movies

Black Widow (2021, Cate Shortland)

Much like Captain Marvel, this is a necessary and needed corrective. And much more than Captain Marvel, we can legitimately wonder what took so damn long. Most of the other Avengers got their movies a long time ago. (The Hulk got his own movie, remember.) But being a necessary corrective to a patriarchal movie franchise …

2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, TV

Parks and Recreation (2009)

This is a good-hearted but often hysterical situation comedy that it took me entirely too long to watch. I’m not sure exactly why but I guess I was at least slightly aware that it was a little bit wholesome and I’m pretty sure I wasn’t into wholesome in, like, 2011. Anyway…

2014, Books, Non-Fiction

Up, Up, and Away: The Kid, the Hawk, Rock, Vladi, Pedro, le Grand Orange, Youppi!, the Crazy Business of Baseball, and the Ill-fated but Unforgettable Montreal Expos (2014) by Jonah Keri

This is an entertaining and page-turning overview of the existence of the Montreal Expos. It’s clearly written from the perspective of a fan, which is both a good and a bad thing. But it’s also relatively measured in its assessment of why the franchise failed. There’s just one rather big problem hanging over all of …

1969, 1970, Movies

Woodstock (1970, Michael Wadleigh)

Note: I am reviewing the director’s cut, not the much shorter theatrical version. So, I’ve seen the majority of the musical performances in this film multiple times, and some of them many times. (Hendrix’s “Star Spangled Banner” in particular, but also the CSN performance and some others.) I’ve seen them because Woodstock used to be …

2018, Books, Non-Fiction

Crashed: How a Decade of Financial Crises Changed the World (2018) by Adam Tooze

This is an exceptionally detailed and sourced book, that is also highly readable. It occasionally walks a fine line between history and a rant, however. (It never does, which is to Tooze’s eternal credit. And even if it it did, it would be a very well-informed one.) I worried about reading a history written literally …

1953, Movies

Tôkyô monogatari (1953, Yasujirô Ozu)

Some critics consider this simple drama to be the best movie ever made. I don’t really understand that, as I don’t really believe that there is a “Greatest Movie of All Time.” I know there are movies I’ve watched that have felt “near perfect” to me but I’m not sure too many of them would …

1984, Movies

Ghoulies (1984, Luca Bercovici)

It’s been a long time since I’ve been this disappointed in a bad horror movie. It should be called Chokies or Undead Warlockies or something like that, not Ghoulies. The cover of this movie terrified me as a child in the video store and it turns out that the ghoulies barely do anything, they’re utterly …

1983, Movies

Carnival Magic (1983, Al Adamson)

There are some terrible movies that are technically awful and might have actually been saved by some budget. And there are some terrible movies that are bad for story reasons, in addition to some other issues (the cast, the script…). This is one of the latter, presumably a product of the animal craze caused by …

1980, Books, Fiction

The Name of the Rose (1980) by Umberto Eco

This is a compelling detective novel set in a 14th century Italian monastery that doubles as a novel of ideas. I’d actually seen the Hollywood movie twice, once as a teenager – for some reason I watched it in High School – and once recently because I thought my girlfriend would like it. The novel …

2011, Movies

How to Die in Oregon (2011, Peter Richardson)

This is not a particularly interesting film as a film, it’s a pretty typical documentary in terms of form and style. But it’s subject matter is extremely vital – looking at the lives and decisions of terminally ill people who are trying to decide whether or not to end their lives legally in Oregon. (With …

1994, Movies

Sátántangó (1994, Béla Tarr)

Since I re-ordered my list of films to watch, to prioritize critical opinion, I’ve been watching a lot of extremely long films. I think these types of films are critically celebrated for at least two reasons: There’s a self-selecting group who watch these types of movies: only certain types of people will sit through a …

2018, Movies

Venom (2018, Ruben Fleischer)

The world is a strange place. Because of rights issues, Venom is not currently part of the MCU even though Spider-Man and the recent Spider-Man movies are. So Venom isn’t part of the MCU and there is no Spider-Man in it. So that’s, um, weird. It might not be the worst thing, given all the …

2017, Music

Oceanarium (2017) by Deluge Grander

Literally 4 years ago (seriously) the leader of this group sent me a message and asked if I would review this album based on a partial release. I suck and so it’s taken me 4 years to get to it. (In my limited defense, my podcast was still running so I basically listened to nothing …

1986, Music

The Way It Is (1986) by Bruce Hornsby and the Range

I know basically nothing about Bruce Hornsby. I remember seeing his name on a Mix 99.9 ad on the subway in high school. And I know he toured with the Dead. That’s all I got.

1986, Music

Duotones (1986) by Kenny G

Upon reflection it seems kind of cruel to assume that Kenny G isn’t actually a good saxophone player just because he doesn’t have taste. If I learned one thing from this preposterously popular record, it’s that Kenny G can indeed play. Now, that begs the question, what is worse, someone who has talent and uses …