Welcome ya'll,

Thanks for checking out my blog. This is mostly my own crazy thoughts on a variety of subjects, but primarily they will be about movies, tv, and books. Being a movie junkie, rabid reader, and TV show-aholic, this blog is just another excuse to feed my addictions. [a quiet 'yay me']. Hope you enjoy, Clancy Metzger

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Movie Watching Feast and Famine

I was suffering a dearth of movie watching for weeks and weeks. Probably the source of my lack of posting.  I was depressed.  Not watching movies is depressing to me.  When I need to de-stress or cheer up or relax - I watch a movie.  So, after my famine, I feasted.  Here are the results of my movie binge.

Harry Potter movies 1 thru 8 - Over two weeks I watched the last one and then rewatched all eight again.  For more on this see the post on my writing blog

Contagion - Scary.  I've mentioned before I like natural disaster flicks and epi/pan-demics count.  This one makes you truly think about how often we touch each other and ourselves (stop smirking you pervs)...I mean like how often we touch our face and touch stuff in the world and then touch our faces again... and how easily disease is spread.  It was thought provoking to say the least.

Twilight: Breaking Dawn Pt 1 - I thought this part was good.  Don't hate, but Book 4 wasn't my favorite of the series for two reasons.  First - I felt that Bella turned into a raging bitch once she is turned (others have disagreed with me - and I could be wrong, but that was my initial reaction).  Second - the baby was creepy (again - others have disagreed, but this was my initial response).  This part ends just after the baby is born and Bella is turned.  I may like the second part  less because these two issues are prevalent in the second part and not this one.  I guess we'll see.

Immortals - This was eye candy for everyone.  Hot quasi-naked men.  Hot quasi-naked women.  Fighting, violence and enough splattering blood for any gore-aphile.  History.  Mythology.  Gorgeous Greek Gods (especially Zeus).  It's got it all.  Maybe the plot is a little thin, but the action is awesome. 

I also went to a night of Buster Keaton movies.. That was amazing.  I've seen his movies before but this time it really hit me how good looking and how athletic he really was.  And smart.  His humor might be physical but it is also smart.  If you haven't watched a Buster Keaton movie - do yourself a favor and seek one out.

Some honorable mentions:  Rocky Horror Picture Show - classic cheesy goodness.  Super 8 - not what I expected, but not bad.  The kids were pretty good.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

"Moneyball" and "Killer Elite"

So, yesterday I was feeling really desperate for some movie watching down time.  Did I have the money or time to spare - not really.  But did it improve my mood and energy level - Yes indeedy, it did! I really miss the days when I had the the luxury of cash and time for a weekly movie date (with anyone willing or by myself).  I did go alone last night, but that doesn't bother me in the least.  I get to watch what I want and eat ALL the popcorn... I really love those refillable tubs ready to attack my thighs at the first delectable taste of buttery, salty, crunchy goodness  :)
What did I go see all by myself in a late night double-header?  I saw Moneyball and Killer Elite (not that the title of my blog gave that away or anything....)

Moneyball was really good.  Starring Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill with supporting roles played by Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Robin Wright.  And this time, although I would have seen it just for cutie Brad - he was not the reason I saw it. 

I saw it because it's a sports movie.  I may not even be a fan of the sport, but I love sports movies.  Not a fan of golf, but I'll watch Tin Cup all day long.  Don't watch boxing but I'll watch Girl Fight or any Rocky movie at the drop of a hat.  I do like ice hockey and I love Mystery, Alaska.  Also a fan of NFL and Any Given Sunday.  Rugby - yes. And rugby movie Forever Strong - hell yes.  When it comes to ice-skating I will watch competitions and any movie about it (can we say Cutting Edge?).  How about skateboarding and Lords of Dogtown.  Soccer's not really my thing but I won't say no to Escape to Victory.  And baseball.... not a big fan (don't hate - I know it's America's game) but Major League is awesome.  And now I have another sports movie to add to a really, really long list of sports movies I love.  I have plenty more titles for every sport mentioned - don't think I don't.

Moneyball is based on a true story (which is always nice) of how the game was changed back in 2002.  It has a terrific cast (already noted), and makes you think about what really is important or not.  Maybe it's if money is the ultimate goal, or can gut instinct and personal biases replace hard facts and statistics.  Maybe it's what's important to you, personally.  It's funny and serious and has you cheering for this baseball team and it's General Manager (Pitt) who is fighting an uphill battle against his players, his coach, his spotters, his boss and pretty much everyone involved in the sport.  He has one ally (Hill).  The two make a crazy - awesome pair.  Watch this one, folks.  So worth it.

As for Killer Elite.  I liked it.  It starred Robert DeNiro, Jason Statham and Clive Owen.  It's a fast paced, violent action flick of the variety I love.  Hired killers doing their level best to rack up a body count and one guy trying to turn it around and reinvent his life sans the killing.  Good stuff.  Great cast.  Well acted.  Not sure why I didn't love it.  I think it may have had something to do with the main premise of the story being a little thin but still and all - it was a good movie.  You could wait for video on this one though, but watch it then - if this is the violent kind of action movie you also love :)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


First, let me say that I didn't not like this movie, but I can say I didn't like aspects of it.  Drive stars Ryan Gosling (who we all know I love), Carey Mulligan, Bryan Cranston, Albert Brooks, and Ron Pearlman.  Great cast right?  And they all do a really great job. 

It's based on a book by James Sallis.  I haven't read it, but I'm interested in doing so because I really liked the main character.  He may not do the best of things, but he definitely does them for the best of reasons.  He's a terrific anti-hero.

I loved the romance aspect of the movie - that meeting the right gal changed this man's life from being rote (albeit exciting rote) to having some real meaning. 

The action scenes / violent scenes were fast / bloody respectively.

So, why didn't I love this movie?  It a nutshell, it was slow.  When it wasn't the above mentioned action / violence scenes, it moved at a snail's pace.  I mean really s...l....o....w!    My immediate thought as I left the theater was this must be the director's fault.  I don't know.  The overall vision is his, right?  The pacing, the look, the editing are all his final say, right?  I could be wrong - it's been known to happen.  But when you have all these scenes where nothing is going on more than watching somebody do nothing or the camera zooms in on a hand clenching for like a minute (perhaps exaggerated), I have to think, huh?

I looked at the director's credits and didn't recognize anything, but then he was apparently chosen by Ryan Gosling to direct.  I know Gosling has a history of doing some really bizarre movies, but I generally love them anyway.  This one - not.  But not because of the actors, acting, or story which were all good. 

As a side note, apparently the critics loved it.  It was "unique and to be celebrated".  Different strokes, huh?

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

NFL, 'Rise of the Planet of the Apes', 'Crazy, Stupid, Love' and 'Chicago'

Tomorrow is the first day of the regular NFL season and I can't wait! You know this, but I wanted to affirm it again, cuz it just makes me that happy :)

Several weeks ago, I saw Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Since I am a huge fan of these movies, whether they are good, bad or indifferent, of course I loved it. The special effects were terrific and those critters looked about as real as humanly possible to my mind. I wish Tom Felton (aka Drako Malfoy from Harry Potter) would play a good guy, so we could see him in a different light, but perhaps he is being type cast, I dunno. What I do know is that as I was watching our shameful treatment of animals, I was rooting for the apes. To the point that when the end of the movie rolled around, I was actively cheering for human annihilation. Yep. If the movie had an agenda (and I'm sure it did), I fell for it hook, line and sinker. And I had no defense against it. My movie-watching-partner- du-jour had to suffer a tirade against mankind that grew as the movie progressed. I do like mankind. But, really, there are times when we are not so likable, and do things that are truly inhumane - to animals, to each other and that makes me sad. Bottom line though - I liked the movie.

Then another movie-watching-partner-du-jour took me to see Crazy, Stupid, Love with Steve Carell, Julianne Moore, Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone. Mind you I would have see this movie for any one of these actors, but I will admit I mostly saw it for Ryan Gosling because that man is a Genius-Actor-Uber-Sexy-God like person to me. In the pantheon of hot guys who happen to be awesome actors as well - he is Top 5, although when I think of him, I actually can't think of any others...oh, I thought of one. Jake Gyllenhaal is another Top 5. Anyways - great movie - funny, dramatic, heartfelt and romantic. And for my money, there is never too much shirtless Ryan Gosling.

Now, onto Chicago. I watched it last night - twice in a row. I was watching it because it has the best cast, songs, costumes and dancing of pretty much any musical ever filmed. And I do not say this lightly - I love me some musicals! But this one, well, I can't get enough. So, I was watching it again cause I never tire of the Cell Block Tango and my son caught the end of it, so then he decided he wanted to watch it too. I just put it on from the beginning and watched it again. And I was so proud - he liked it a lot. That boy has good taste. :)
If you haven't seen it in awhile (or ever... I cringe), I suggest you check it out.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

It's NFL time again...

... and I want to offer up some gratitude to the football gods for it being so? You can't see it but there is major fist-pumping going on here - trust me.

It took two days, but I got my elaborate schedule put together and printed. I am ready to go. I have to be able to track each game, the scores, winners and current W-L stats for each team. It also includes the time and channel so I can best choose my Sunday schedule. Four (sometimes five when they are playing Thursdays or the rare Saturday) are all I can watch. I'm only human. Not that I couldn't DVR a game if the situation was dire and I needed to watch a game that was on simultaneously - but then it's hard to not know what's going on with the unwatched game and it's less fun to watch when you know the outcome. Sad face.

Of course pre-season isn't awesome like regular season but it's a sweet warm up to keep us in football for one more month of the year, and I appreciate that. The regular season begins on Sept 8, and I think it's safe to say you may see at least one more post on the glories of NFL before the Playoffs.

So, the glories of football! And let me be clear, football for me is only NFL. Nothing against the players or teams, but college ball holds no appeal - the politics and random organization of their league and playoffs irritates me. Football!! I still need to peruse all the team rosters and see what's changed and who's where, but my boys are back and I can't wait to see them play. My top teams to follow include the Giants, Colts and Saints but close seconds are the Packers, Patriots and Ravens. I do believe you can root for more than one team and support anyone who agrees. Do you have a team or several?

I wore my Giant's jersey for the first time in months. It felt goooood. I need some more though. One is not enough to get you through two and sometimes three days a week. And if the guys are playing, I'm wearing. I'm just like that. And the food.... yumm.... nothing beats garbage-snack food for football watching. The chips, dips, salsa, sandwiches, and beer (for those who like it - although I love me some beer commercials... does that count?) - it's all good. And commercials - who doesn't agree that football attracts some of the best commercials? You know they do. I just spent a hour watching nothing but Peyton and Eli Manning commercials on YouTube. Sigh.... the Manning brothers.... big crush in case you couldn't tell.

The QB's, the wide receivers, the tight ends (yeah - I like me a nice tight end), the colors, mascots, coaches, camaraderie and temper tantrums, and the stadiums filled with fans. My 52" TV filled with football, Faith Hill and Hank Williams Jr singing, it all adds up to some uber happy Clancy from now until February. Count on it. So, are you ready? Really ready, for some football....

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

I'm back - here's summary

I can't believe I blew off all of July - but medical issues and some depression thrown in for good measure will do that for you. I'm back and feeling better - thanks for asking!

And Now For Something Completely.... Summarized.
New Movies:
Larry Crowne - I really liked it. I thought Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts were honest and it was a nice story about life.

Fast Five - I love the Fast and The Furious franchise, so I loved this. And it has the best car chase action scene ever! Seriously - downtown Rio, two fast cars, a giant vault and a ton of cops... need I say more? And Vin Diesel... still makes my heart go pitty-pat (sigh).

Horrible Bosses - OMG - this is so fucking funny. Great cast and funny, funny, funny script. Jennifer Aniston is great as an evil sexpot dentist. Kevin Spacey and Colin Farrel are great villains too. Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis and Charlie Day are hilarious as the poor shmoes dealing with their terrible bosses.

Then I watched a bunch of DVD's and movies on Cable - Whip It was a good story about coming of age and trying to be who you are. My Future Boyfriend was a nice made for TV rom-com that pleased me immensely because happiness (for me) is a cheesy romantic comedy. My Girlfriend's Boyfriend actually got me on a couple levels - the first being a made for TV rom-com, the second being it's about a writer struggling to find emotion in his work (I can relate) and the third being Christopher Gorham who is smoking hot in a sexy geeky way. Alyssa Milano is so pretty too. Dear John worked for me as I had some ups and downs and all ended as I wanted. A Good Woman was a quintessential Oscar Wilde re-do with hidden identities, mistaken motives and enough brilliant one liners to quote for a lifetime.

Well, I got caught up on my TV shows. The second season of Justified was great - gotta love Timothy Olyphant. White Collar kept me on the edge of my seat wondering what Neil was going to do and how Mozzy and Peter would react. All good. I like the new guy on Warehouse 13 and can I add how much I love Allison Scagliotti and the character she plays. The dancing this season on So You Think You Can Dance has been stellar. Some new shows got on my radar - Suits, Franklin & Bash, and Alphas are all good cast, good shows - I'll keep watching. Falling Skies was a disappointment, sadly.

And I think that catches us up. Have a nice day!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

"The Green Lantern" and "Escanaba in da Moonlight"

Some people were panning The Green Lantern starring Ryan Reynolds, but I enjoyed it. I liked the special effects and all the actors. Peter Sarsgaard was really good as a bad guy. I didn't even recognize Mark Strong as Sinestro or Blake Lively with dark hair... my mad skills are failing me . Anyway - I liked it. It was a nice blend of action, special effects, humor, and heart. I'm easy to please, I think we all know this by now :)

So, I'll just say, if you thought you wanted to see it - do.

Now, I was directed to a movie by a friend because it depicted life in the U.P. and he used to live there. What's the U.P.? It's the Upper Peninsula of the state of Michigan. Seriously - I didn't even know that part of the state was there... go figure. Apparently they talk with an accent that's a cross between the MacKenzie brother's Canadian and Fargo's Minnesota-speak. It was co-written by, directed by and starred in by Jeff Daniels. I truly laughed out loud. If you like dumb humor - this is so for you. Just trust me.

Monday, June 6, 2011

"Killers" and fun in movies

I want to see the new X-Men movie, but I haven't yet. :(
My nephew, when he saw it, said if I wasn't committed to the comics then I'd think it was pretty good. Maybe even on par with the first movie. Then a friend, L, saw it and he said it was heavy on story and emotion but lacking in fun. And the X-Men are supposed to be all about the fun. So, he didn't care for it so much. I still want to see it, but I agree - the X-Men are supposed to be fun. Any thoughts on this? I'll share mine once I've seen it.

Then, L and I watched Killers with Ashton Kutcher and Katherine Heigl. It also has Tom Selleck and Catherine O'Hara. I didn't mean to wait so long to see this and it's been waiting for me to watch it for several weeks. But, so worth the wait. This was a fun movie with lots of great lines that just made me laugh. It had a nice story that I enjoyed, cool action scenes, and lots of eye candy for girls and boys alike. Seriously, Ashton is looking good, really good. And Katherine, very pretty. The parents, (hers) played by Selleck and O'Hara are brilliant and the family dynamics the source of many a chuckle.

After hearing L talk about the lack of fun in the new X-Men movie, it brought home even more how much fun Killers was to watch. If you haven't seen it yet and aren't afraid of a good Romantic-Comedy, check it out.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

"Something Borrowed" and " Water for Elephants"

What do these two movies have in common, besides they are both out at the theaters right now? First, I saw them back to back, cuz that's the movie lovin' fan I am. Second, they both kept me guessing as to how they were going to turn out (not an easy thing to do being the movie lovin' fan I am). Three, both were a lot more dramatic and heartfelt than I had expected (well I sort of expected it from Water for Elephants but not as much as it was).

I'm going to do this in the opposite order I saw the movies - I don't know why... stop asking. Water for Elephants was wonderful and heartbreaking and tough to watch and so good. A friend, V, told me he wasn't a fan of Reese Witherspoon which sort of surprised me and now I can't remember if he liked the movie or not. I thought she was good. I did go because of her, Robert Pattinson and Christoph Waltz. Casting directors have my ticket punched.

Do you remember when Christoph Waltz won an Oscar for playing the bad guy in Inglorious Basterds? That same night he was on Jimmy Kimmel Live and he did the funniest, most ridiculous sketch "Christoph Waltz on his part in Der Humpink" and yet both movies I've now seen him in, he's a bad guy. I want to see him play a good guy. He's awesome! Ok - he does a good bad guy, but still. V said he plays good guys in his German films - I may have to check them out.

It really is a very good movie - and I'm not going to tell you how it ends, but there are some tough moments - be prepared.

As for Something Borrowed. It's a Rom-Com. (V, stop making that face!) But I am seeing a trend where more Rom-Coms are starting to have some real substance to them on the emotional level - it's not just all fluff these days. I like fluff, so that's all good too, but I'm also liking this new depth. This one had me guessing who our heroine was going to end up with. It bounced around a couple times and I wasn't really sure. I was surprised I can assure you - surprised that I wasn't sure, not at who she ends up with. There are three options and two of them are good ones. This stars Ginnifer Goodwin, Kate Hudson, John Krasinski (so funny!), Steve Howey (total horn-dog and too cute), and this complete hottie (uber-doobie hottie) Colin Egglesfield as the main love interest. Awesome cast and a really good movie. I did nail some of the plot points though (cuz I'm just that movie-lovin'-fan-tastic). It's worth the watch.

Know what I learned from it? Yes - it has a little message tucked in there... I learned that you should not let people or shyness or your own insecurities keep you from trying for what you want. This secondary character (played perfectly by Ashley Williams) even says it - "Well, at least I tried." If you try, you won't have regrets. Regrets are a terrible thing, my friends.

So, I think I'll leave you with that thought... if you try for whatever or whomever, the worst that can happen is you get a no, but the best that can happen is you get that yes. And either way, you have no regrets. Win-win if you look at it right :)

Friday, May 13, 2011

Chance to win a Kindle or Nook....e-Readers are cool

For you hold outs who don't already have an e-reader, you're going to have to cave at some time. Welcome to the future, troops. As reluctant as we are to change, I promise - it's not as painful as you think. E-readers are fun, easy to use and inevitable. You know you want one...

A friend's novella is free for Kindle on Amazon right now - go get it - quick - it won't last long. Here's the link. You can get Kindle for PC on your computer in case you're really obstinate. We won't tease. We might laugh a little, but only behind your back :)

Kidding - I started that way :)

And to celebrate his many downloads - this friend, Moses Siregar III - is having a stellar contest where you might win a Kindle or Nook. Check it out here.

Good luck!!!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

TV shows and my DVR - a romance

Can I just say how much I could not live without my DVR? With TV seasons doing strange things like running all four seasons of the year and occasionally taking weeks off between new shows, I would be a basket case if I had to try and follow this stuff on my own.

I am old enough to remember when we had a small finite number of channels and the seasons all began and ended at the same time. Maybe you remember this distant time. The shows you watched were on without fail from roughly September to May. Simple. The summers were for reruns and that's it. I might have had six or seven shows I followed faithfully and I had to stay home to watch them. I knew what channel and night they were on and you can bet my schedule worked around them because if I missed it - I MISSED IT.

Now, we have an almost endless supply of channels and shows and they start and stop willy nilly throughout the year. My DVR will track 50 series for me and I have it maxed out. I almost need a second one to accommodate my voracious appetite. It's sad - really - I know this, but the thought really does cross my mind.

Now, life is different. I frequently don't know what channel or night anything comes on. I know that my DVR will grab and hold onto it for me. I LOVE THIS. If I do somehow miss a show - odds are I can soon watch it online as well. I don't have to worry about whether my show skipped a few weeks, or whether the new season has started, or whether I was out that night - it's all programmed safe and sound in my most beloved DVR.

Truly, this is the great love of my life - much better than men (most of the time). :)

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

"Atlas Shrugged"

The opening weekend, now two weeks past (I'm a slacker), I went and saw Atlas Shrugged Pt 1. Anyone who knows me, knows Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand is my favorite book of all time. You may also remember earlier posts where this is the book that allowed my best friend, H, to guilt me into reading that other book I hated because she's just like that .

Anyways, it's apparently a three part movie, which makes sense since the book is almost 1300 pages long. On the plus side, I think they cast it well (no real big name stars) and the acting was great. This is not an easy book to convert to a movie, but they managed to capture the essence of the book better than I expected. Trust me, while we fans have waited what seems like eons for this movie to be made, we were also worried about the story being corrupted. It wasn't.
On the down side, now I have to wait what will seem like an eternity to see part 2 & 3.

When I saw it, I was with a couple of friends, He is a fan of the book and She has never read it. She thought is was just as terrific as He and I did, so you needn't be a fan or have even read the book to find this a film worth seeing. She is now reading the book, because she wants to know what happens. I couldn't be happier. And as a side note, for anyone who knows - the bracelet (yes - the Reardon steel bracelet) is available for us Rand-geeks to own and yes, I do want it. :)

Thursday, April 7, 2011

"A Single Man"

This was an interesting movie starring Colin Firth. The supporting cast of Julianne Moore, Matthew Goode and Nicholas Hoult all do a great job. The story - It's about a man, George (Firth), who has lost his partner of sixteen years, Jim (Goode), to a car crash. The movie is one day in his life a year after that accident. A day George plans to be his last. Because George plans it to be his last day, he sees everything more vividly, more appreciatively. He lives more fully. And I think that is the beauty of this movie. We all need to live everyday as though it were our last, live it with clarity and with purpose. It is also a love story. And the moments captured between these two men, in flashback, are what any couple could hope for - simple joy in each other. Colin Firth's performance is brilliant as he can express love and grief without saying a word. Well worth the time to view, my friends.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Paragraph breaks... ugh

Just so you know - I have brilliant paragraph breaks in these next two posts, but Blogger is being idiotic today and not recognizing them... grrrr. Sorry it looks like bricks of text.


I'm doing a separate post just for this movie because it deserves it. The movie in question is Bent starring Clive Owen and Lothaire Bluteau, who are both so incredible in this film. Smaller roles are played by Mick Jagger, Ian McKellen, Paul Bettany, Jude Law, and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau. It's the story of a gay man, Max (Owens) in Nazi Germany. I'd seen this years ago and recently decided to re-watch it. In the course of one day, I watched it twice. It's so powerful. When Max is caught by the Nazis, he is forced to ignore his lover who has been beaten nearly to death and deny even knowing him or suffer the same end, and he must rape a young girl to 'prove' he is straight, thus earning him a yellow star (Jew) to wear. He meets Horst, who wears a pink triangle (Gay man). Max keeps telling Horst, "I'm going to survive" while he battles his own self-loathing over what he is doing to accomplish this. Eventually, the two are given the job of moving rocks from one pile to another and then repeating it in reverse, day in, day out for months on end. They do this task together away from everyone but a guard who watches them. Every two hours they have a three-minute 'break' where they are allowed to stand at attention, not moving. This is where the film really gets me. On a visceral level. As a writer, I know the power of words. This is the film where that power moves me with such strength of force, I am helpless to do anything but absorb and feel. I feel that strength surging through my chest right now just thinking about it. During these breaks these two men fall in love although Max is incapable of admitting he loves anyone including himself - this is the lesson he must learn. The two express that love the only way they can. They can't touch, they can't look at each other, but they can speak. Making love, holding each other, comforting and keeping one another safe and warm - these things they do through nothing but their words. I cry every time I watch it, I'm crying now remembering it. It is this that allows them to remain human in inhuman circumstances, hope when despair could devour you, and survive when everything is trying to crush you. Horst says to Max at one point (and I paraphrase), " A man killed himself last night. They [the Nazis] hate that. It;s an act of free will." This is a movie that is hard to watch. Man can truly be so horrible to one another, it sucks all the air from your lungs, but we also have such a capacity for love, hope and survival that it fills you up. This movie takes you to both places. It is not for everyone, but if you take this journey, I hope you will get as much from it as I did. It is terrible, wonderful, decadent, loving, sweet, sad, and inspiring. Max will eventually learn what love is, that he does love, and that we all always have a choice.

"Limitless" and "Cleopatra"

With the sad loss of Elizabeth Taylor, one channel was showing Cleopatra all day long. Which I, of course, had to watch. This was the Titanic of its time. Gorgeous, epic, broad in scope and star power and with a wow factor off the charts. When Cleopatra first goes to Rome and is entering the city with all the spectacle, carried in on that ginormous Sphinx? Crazy awesome, right? Right! Not to mention the drama and betrayal and passion and politics - seriously, the four hours it runs keeps you watching. And it holds up over time. You never think - that's cheesy or anything. I actually found myself a little shocked by what they got away with back then. Nudity and sex, so blase' to us now, yet I knew they were probably cutting the edge of censorship at the time. And Elizabeth Taylor - good grief she was a looker and talented... there was one scene especially where she just learned that Marc Antony married someone else and she knocked my socks off - her emotion was so deep and raw. She will be missed. Last night, I saw Limitless with Bradley Cooper. I'm not ashamed to say that while the movie looked cool in concept, I really went to spend 2 hours with Bradley :) Could he be any more smokin' hot - I don't think so. But the movie was really cool too. The premise was interesting and the way they accomplished certain effects was well done. The premise, without giving too much away, is that there is a pill that allows you to use all of your brain, not just the small percentage we normally have accessible to us. So what happens when you have that ability - watch the movie! But, how they displayed time and progress was pretty cool and how they distinguished between normal and uber-aware was also very cool. If Bradley Cooper, the cool premise or the neat effects aren't enough to draw you in - how about Robert DeNiro? He's in it too troops, doing his usual stupendous best. Plus, there's Russian gangsters, murder, and sex. Just go see it, sit back and enjoy - with popcorn.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Me, a book festival, "Zombieland" and a gadget

Wow, back to my slacker ways, I see. What to talk about.... hmmmm...

I went to Tucson, AZ for their Festival of Books. That was terrific. It was free and had a ton of authors there signing books and doing informative panel discussions. So two thumbs up. If you get a chance to go next year, I say do it.

I'm reading a bunch of books right now, but nothing especially noteworthy at the moment.

On the movie front - I saw Zombieland. Can't say I'm a fan of zombies in any form, but I did like Shaun of the Dead and Zombieland had a similar irreverent feel to it that was amusing. There were some definite logic flaws you had to sort of overlook, but still, I enjoyed it for the most part.

I got a new gadget for my computer. It's a fan that sits underneath the laptop and keeps it cool. It plugs into an USB port and sends out a blue glow from under my laptop reminiscent of the cars that are all pimped out... kind of cool. Plus it's keeping my laptop cool (Duh - that's its purpose) which is total plus, since that last time I had computer problems, they were heat related. My mom got it for me for Christmas, but didn't find it until yesterday when she was moving her furniture around - funny huh?

Do I seem tired and not my usual perky self to ya'll? I feel tired and not my usual perky self. Sorry. We're having construction work done in the house and it's distracting and disruptive. It will be done soon I guess, but not soon enough :)
'Nuff for now. More soon.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

"The Adjustment Bureau" and "Wristcutters: A Love Story"

You may be wondering what these two very different movies, The Adjustment Bureau and Wristcutters: A Love Story, have in common - wonder no more, friends, I'm going to tell you.

First, they are both worth watching. Second, they both have a plane or level of existence your average Joe knows nothing about. Third, they are both about love trumping all. So, lets look at them individually and I shall endeavor to convince you why both should be seen.

Let's start with the lesser known, lesser budgeted, lesser star-powered Wristcutters: A Love Story. It does have two stars in it that you may know: Shannyn Sossamon (remember her as Heath Ledger's hottie love interest in A Knight's Tale) and Will Arnett in a very small role. Mostly though, you won't recognize anyone - don't let that slow you down. What's it about? Calm your silly selves... I'm getting to it.

Ever wonder what might happen to you if you killed yourself? This is the answer to that question (whether you wondered or not). You go to another realm of existence that's pretty lackluster. And you can't smile. I know... bummer. But, what happens if you weren't supposed to be there or what if you were so in love that you had to find that loved one? Watch and see - the movie tells you. SPOILER ALERT at the bottom of the blog!!!!! I'll warn you again, don't worry. Keep reading.

Now, The Adjustment Bureau. Such a great movie. When it ended, I wanted to turn around and watch it again. Matt Damon and Emily Blunt are so sweet, you just hate that they are being thwarted at every turn. This is love, people. Love, like L O V E. Get it? Love! And The Adjustment Bureau is trying to keep them apart. Bastards.

This is what happens when the powers-that-be (call "it/him/her/them" whatever floats your boat) are in charge and have other plans for you. And in this movie, we get to figure out, sort of, who they are and why they are controlling our fate/destiny. We get to figure out why free will may be an illusion. We get to figure out other important things too... like why all the hats? Or, how to get across town in NYC during rush hour by just going through a few doors. I know... cool.

On one level this is simply a terrific action-romance fit for guys and girls alike. But on another level, it's really quite philosophical. So, whether you want a great popcorn movie or to have an hours long debate about the meaning of life - you go check this out. I promise you won't be disappointed.

NOW...the SPOILER ALERT... AGAIN. Do not read further unless you want a small hint about how things turn out for those suicidal love birds.

Small hint: it has a happy ending :)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

An interview I participated in with Sherrilyn Kenyon

A friend of mine, Moses, did an audio interview with paranormal romance writer, Sherrilyn Kenyon. And, I got to give an assist!!
Here is the link (look for the audio play link at the bottom). The interview with Sherrilyn starts near minute 20 and ends at minute 43.
It was so much fun, and Sherrilyn is the sweetest, coolest lady - not to mention one of my favorite authors. Enjoy...


Monday, February 21, 2011

"The King's Speech"

I haven't seen a new movie in several weeks. I was feeling wicked deprived : (
Today I saw The King's Speech starring Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush. It was as good or better than I'd heard and what I'd heard was awesome.

Small stuff first - Helena Bonham-Carter is wonderful as Firth's wife. Guy Pearce is perfect for the role of King Edward (who abdicated his throne so he could marry Wallace Simpson). Timothy Spall is a convincing Winston Churchill (gold stars for all who remember him as Wormtail in Harry Potter). The casting across the board is so good. The setting and costuming are wonderful. The music - let's just say this: During King George VI's 'big' speech, Beethoven's 7th played in the background to brilliant effect - It gave me goosebumps and I teared up (be quiet).

Big stuff next - Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush were brilliant. Really, truly, I'm-getting-chills-thinking-about-it-now brilliant. I was enthralled by this movie. Swept away and involved. And most importantly - inspired.

If you don't know, it's based on the true story of Bertie, the eventual King George VI (before and after he becomes King) trying to get over his stammer or stutter so he can give public speeches. Bertie is played by Firth and his speech therapist is played by Rush.

It made me want to fight any problem, tackle any quest, succeed at any venture - because anything is possible if you are brave and try. You will walk away a more motivated and inspired person for having seen this film. And there are quite a few very funny moments too - in case I was sounding too serious : )

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Classic goodness, "My Man Godfrey"

There are two versions of this wonderful movie - the 1936 b/w version with William Powell and Carole Lombard and the 1957 version with David Niven and June Allyson. I love both. I can't even tell you how many times I've seen both of them. It's a lot.

The stories are slightly different, but essentially both are about a man, Godfrey, found living as a bum, who is rescued by a wealthy socialite. She is one of the two daughters of a screwball family and Godfrey becomes their butler. Did I mention it's a screwball comedy? It is. The nice daughter who saves Godfrey falls for him and makes his life a little uncomfortable, the other daughter is a vindictive wretch who tries to make his life a misery. The other fun characters include the housekeeper who also has a crush on Godfrey, the dingbat mother, her talentless protege, and the beleaguered father who has to deal with the insanity.

The thing with both of them is that they are both wonderful (did I already say that?). They are both funny, both different enough to make both worth watching, and have sweet messages. Like you never know where you might find love, that people can change, that you shouldn't take people for granted, and other stuff like that. They are really funny if you like screwball comedies and their silly humor. I do. I love old classic comedies. I love all the actors who star in these two great films. So, if this is your thing, or you just want to watch a movie with a nice story and good acting that has no violence, sex, swearing or special effects, then here ya go.

SPOILER ALERT!! I'm about to tell you the ending. So, stop here if you don't want a general idea of how they end. You probably know anyway, but still...

We eventually find out Godfrey is actually from a wealthy family, but hiding out from his status and past. And at the end, Godfrey embraces who he is and his love for our rescuing heroine.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Books and First Lines

I just read ten blog articles on the importance of first lines in books. They're important. A lot of suggestions were thrown out. I liked many of the ones they named. I couldn't think of any that stuck in my mind, but I may not be paying attention.

If I'm ready to read your book based on the blurb or excerpt, then you pretty much have me committed for at least the first 30-50 pages (less if it really, really sucks). If it kind of blows, then I'll stop. But as long as I really like at least one character, or the premise, or the story, or the writer's voice - I'll finish it. Some get better as the book goes on, some don't. Some I end up loving after being dubious for the first 50 pages. You just never know. It's only a handful that I don't finish at all - but boy-o, if you are one of them, I will never - never ever - read your writing again. Period.

Back to topic... I read the back cover blurbs, I read the tag lines, but I have never read the first line or even the first few lines and thought, 'Boring, I'll move on'. Many people do, apparently. So, I see the importance. You don't want to lose those readers.

But in all honesty, the first line is important, the first page is important, the first and last lines of each chapter are important. They say that the last page/paragraph/line of your book sells your next book. Don't ask me who they are. So, what part of your book isn't important? You gotta love the characters. The setting can pull you in. The dialogue can be authentic or witty. It all has a place and the combination of these elements is what makes you great or not.

This was compared to pick-up lines in a bar. I get that - to some degree. If a guy walks up and says, 'what's your sign, doll?' - I may think he is a jerk, but if he's cute enough or smells good enough or is wearing the concert tee that I have too - then I may give him a few more moments to prove that perhaps he is just clueless about meeting girls, but has charm lurking somewhere.

I am not dismissing the important first line. I want mine to be great whether it is the basis by which my entire book is judged or not. So, what's the point of my musings? I dunno - maybe that's it, just thoughts. I wasn't consciously aware that first lines mean nothing to me as a reader until I started thinking about this. As a writer, well...that's a different story.

Monday, January 31, 2011

"The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest"

You may or may not remember when I blogged about how I sometimes get my hackles up about some 'trend' or another and then, often - but not always - get around to that trend myself and then love it. Examples of trends I love - The DaVinci Code, Harry Potter, the Wii Game System, and Salt & Vinegar potato chips (this one may be a push to qualify as a trend). Examples of trends I loathe - 'reality' shows.

I'm pretty sure I sounded off about the Swedish films made of Steig Larsson's trilogy.. or at least the first one or two I had seen. Loved them both. Last night I finally got to see the third movie, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest. Loved it! I had just finished a three movie marathon with girlfriend, J, when we noticed we could watch this one too. It was already 11 pm. Couldn't wait. Got home around 2 am. Couldn't be happier!

Get on with the love fest, you say? Okay! Michael Nyqvist plays Mikael Blomkvist and is terrific. He's not a traditional hottie, but there is something undeniably attractive about him. Now, before you think I only think in terms of looks, sexiness, hot-levels.... I don't... mostly. It's just a factor that is on my mind, so get over it. Blomkvist is an interesting character to me because he's a lady's man who mostly manages to stay friendly with all the ladies after the fact. That takes skill and genuinely being a nice guy. And he has a firm moral code he follows, which is not true of everyone. The actor does a great job of portraying Micke as a complex character, flaws and all. They are making American versions of the films with Daniel Craig as Blomkvist. I can see this. Good call, Hollywood.

The biggest love fest is with the character, Lisbeth Salander, and the actress, Noomi Rapace, who plays her. I have a major lady-crush on Noomi Rapace. Major. I also think the character Lisbeth is the coolest female character of all time. Seriously, she's got mad skills, a bad attitude and a stringent moral code. Her code may not follow the law, but it makes damn good sense. And she's smart - smarter than most. And Noomi Rapace plays her to perfection. Every nuance of this complicated, difficult character is nailed. Nothing against the actress cast in the American version (I'm sure she'll be great), but I will have a hard time seeing anyone else in this role.

The American movies start coming out this year and I'm jazzed to get to see them again. I have also been reading the books which are so rich with detail. I've finished the first one, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and I'm almost done with the second, The Girl Who Played with Fire. The third is waiting on my coffee table. The movies really do justice to the books, but the books just have so much more in them that the movies could never manage. So, my recommendation is read the books and watch the movies (Swedish with subtitles if you can, troops). And in my humble opinion, I'm not sure it matters in which order. I have seen all the movies before I read their book counterpart, and it has not diminished my enjoyment of either. Okay - if you're a patient person who can wait for the big payoff - read the books first. If you are an impatient type - watch the movies first. BUT DO BOTH! They are mega best sellers for a reason.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


It's been a different week. On the sad side, I went to my friend's memorial service. His family was awesome. On the productive side, I'm making great progress with my book and sent out some partials. On the NFL side, the Superbowl has been saved because the Green Bay Packers made it. When three of the last four teams playing for a slot were teams I dislike, I was seriously worried the Superbowl would be a total write off. Gratefully, the Packers won and I have a team I like playing.

So, lets talk some TV show frivolity here.
I haven't had a new episode of Supernatural in way too long, but there should be a new one this week. I miss my J's (Jared and Jensen) YAY
I think I only have one more week of Lie to Me before it's the end the season. I loooove Tim Roth, loooove the show, loooove all the characters. Okay, less than love the cop chick.
Human Target is taking its sweet time in giving me some new hunky man action (I count all three guys here), but it's so worth the wait, I forgive. I like the young chick - Ames, but not a fan of Ms. Pucci.
Finally got to see Castle and Beckett kiss on Castle. Yummy! And how delicious is it that Esposito and the M.E. are involved?

On Chase, I love seeing Cole Hauser as a good guy. Seems like he's played his fair share of questionable types in the past. And the gal, Kelli Giddish... big fan. She's hot, gonzo, fearless and whenever the cute bounty hunter dude is around, she's so adorable. I'm holding off on my latest episode since it's a two-parter and I want to watch both back to back.
Enjoying the new NCIS and NCIS:LA episodes. Seriously, what's to say ...they rock.
Soon, the new season of Justified and Memphis Beat will start, something to look forward to: Timothy Olyphant and Jason Lee, respectively.
And the new season of White Collar recently began.

The evenings between me and my DVR and DVDs is what keeps me sane from the intensive mental workout I get writing during the day... Don't judge. : )

Monday, January 17, 2011

"Adam" and a note that Authors are Rock Stars!

I was just going to do a whole blog about how authors are rock stars, but then I watched Adam and now I have to talk about that. But before I rave about the amazingness that is Adam, I will explain why authors are rock stars. And, possibly why I am being amazingly, positively redundant.

I was sitting in a bar recently with some best selling authors and low and behold - who was working in the bar... readers, uber-fans. Me and the best-selling authors I was privileged to be partying with had been in this bar the day prior, so this particular night, the uber-fans had books, pens and cameras at the ready. Personally, in the past - I have been feet away from Steven Tyler and Joe Perry of Aerosmith on a Chicago street (I was giddy). Let me assure you, never have I been more geeky-fan crazed than when I got to meet Sherrilyn Kenyon this last weekend (hint: she's an author). Seriously, just take it from me - Authors are ROCK STARS!!!

Now, onto Adam. This is a romantic dramedy about Adam (Hugh Dancy) who has Asperger's Syndrome and a gal he meets, Beth (Rose Byrne). It is about their relationship. I learned a lot about being human, about understanding, and about the stuff between the obvious. But additionally, what I took away from it was how brilliant Hugh Dancy was in this role. Rose Byrne was wonderful too and the chemistry between them was so tangible. But, Hugh was deeply emotional while having to act emotionally shut off. He was funny and charming and adorable while acting incapable of understanding others emotions. He was brilliant. Really brilliant. I watched the movie, watched every smidge of bonus material, and then ordered it online, so I can forever own and watch this moving movie about a man unable to be moved like the rest of us.

I'd also like to give a shout out to Annette Benning for winning a Golden Globe for The Kids Are Alright. And for the film winning Best Movie. It was a terrific film with a terrific cast who acted terrifically!

In answer to my redundancy, sometimes you just need to say the same things in the same and different ways over and over and over and over again. : )

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Business and networking

I just finished a grueling and wonderfully amazing three day seminar: The Superstars of Writing. I am wonderfully exhausted from an intense overload of information and networking. I loved every minute.

As a writer, I am constantly working to improve my craft through reading books, taking classes and workshops, attending conferences, and of course by writing. But one thing that is hard to find is other writers sharing with you the business of being a writer. How do you find successful people willing to give you hints, debunk myths, give you a behind the scenes view, and tell you the straight 411 on any business. That is what this seminar does. That is what five immensely successful, NY Times best-selling authors shares with you. I believe in this enough to endorse it.

The authors involved are Kevin J Anderson, Brandon Sanderson, David Farland/Wolverton, Eric Flint and Rebecca Moesta. They are all SciFi / Fantasy writers, but what they share is valuable to any writer, whether you write non-fiction or fiction in any genre. If you do not know who they are, I recommend checking them out - you'll be impressed.

Now, onto some general thoughts. There are professions in this world where networking is crucial. Writing is one of them. Yes, it is an art and you have to be able to craft an appealing product that people want to to read. But getting that writing published and in the readers' hands requires a lot of networking. Doing it without the networking is possible, but it makes your job about a thousand times harder. So, a writer needs to attend conferences and meet industry people.

Another type of networking is that with your peers. This is the kind also done at conferences, but done too at writing groups of a wide variety. Peer networking gives you new friends and new resources for specialized information in everything from legal to medical to puppetry advice. These will be your peers that come up through the ranks with you. Before CS Lewis (Chronicles of Narnia) and JRR Tolkein (Lord of the Rings) were the epic writers known the world round, they were peers sitting in a coffee shop talking writing with each other (fact).

I am talking writing, but this applies to life, my friends. Meet and be nice to one another, you never know when you have met someone who will play an important role in your journey through this world.

Friday, January 7, 2011


Today I am unbelievably sad, so no movies, no books or actors, no perky Clancy. Today is for reflection. Yesterday, I called a dear friend of mine only to find out he had died the day before - very sudden, very tragic. He was only in his early forties.

We met several years ago under somewhat unusual circumstances , but quickly became friends. Over the years, we have dated on again/off again, but we were always friends. He was a kind and generous man valiantly fighting to correct health issues, and get his life on track in several areas. He wasn't perfect, but he was a really good guy. And now I feel a huge void in my life that he filled. Even when I hadn't talked to him or seen him for awhile, he was there and I thought of him.

On his behalf, I have regrets...little things, maybe even silly things. I regret that for the first year in a long time, his favorite NFL team, The Kansas City Chiefs, is in the playoffs and he won't get to see them play. He collected a certain author's books, but was saving them to read when he had them all and could read straight through - now he'll never get to read them. These things make me sad.

For me, I regret not spending more time with him and being a better friend... can't we all be better than we are? I have similar regrets about my dad's death two years ago - I wish I'd called more, visited more, and so on. I don't want to have regrets - they're so awful because no matter what you do in the present and future, you can't go back and change whatever it was you didn't do and now regret. You can do many things but the regrets are there forever.

I'm not much for New Year's resolutions, but I'm resolving to be better... and if I think I should do or say something, I will. I don't want to look back and think ...why? Why did I hold back? Why was I afraid to reach out? Why didn't I make time for this or that? Don't say - oh, I'll call tomorrow... I said 'tomorrow' for about four days and when I did get around to calling, it was too late. Embrace life, loved ones, friends and even strangers...for life is truly fleeting and unpredictable. Here's to my dear friend Jon - he is greatly missed.