Smile, Doctor Who, and Lessons of Curiosity and Courage

Last night Kalie and I went to see Smile.  I wasn’t planning on blogging this weekend and I certainly wasn’t planning on writing a piece on the Smile movie as I don’t write about horror often.  However, as the movie unfolded I found myself thinking of Doctor Who.  This, in and of itself, isn’t surprising as I’m almost always thinking about Doctor Who.  However, I began to see a tie between the Doctor and the horrifying film unfolding before us.  Specifically, I found myself thinking of “Mummy on the Orient Express” (S8E8).  As these connections grew in my mind I could feel the piece developing alongside them…which was nice as there was no way I could have went to bed after I got home because THIS WAS THE SCARIEST MOVIE I’VE SEEN IN AGES and I needed time and distractions to decompress before bed.  So I started writing and here we are!  In an unexpected twist, Smile helped me see how the Doctor’s curiosity makes them such a remarkable hero.

This piece has basic plot spoilers for Smile so read on based on your comfort with such things :).

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Celebrating National Cinema Day with a Quadruple Feature

Yesterday was National Cinema Day.  In honor of this, my local movie theatre set every ticket for every seat for every show for every movie – regular seats, the D-Box seats, or 3-D shows – at only $3!!!  As a result, I embarked upon something I’ve only dreamt of.  I spent the entire day at the movies.  It wasn’t a double feature (which I’ve enjoyed for years whenever time allows) nor a triple feature (more rare but a I’ve done them all the same).  No, today I attempted the QUADRUPLE FEATURE.  I arrived at Tinseltown, our local Cinemark theatre, a little after noon and I got in my car to head home right before midnight.  This is the story of a dream that turned into a journey.  A journey that became a quest.  A quest which will live on in legend.

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Jurassic World: Dominion – Considering the Legacy Sequel and the Advent of My 40th Birthday

A few weeks ago Kalie and I went to see Jurassic World: Dominion.  Heralded as, “The epic conclusion of the Jurassic Era” (*cough* for now *cough*), it’s the latest in the long line of legacy sequels.  Like every film from Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull to Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens to Halloween (2018) to Terminator: Dark Fate to Ghostbusters: Afterlife to The Matrix Resurrections to Scream (2022), this film saw the new Jurassic World cast – Chris Pratt (Owen Grady), Bryce Dallas Howard (Claire Dearing), and Isabella Sermon (Maisie Lockwood) – come together with the legacy Jurassic Park cast – Sam Neil (Dr. Alan Grant), Laura Dern (Dr. Ellie Sattler), Jeff Goldblum (Dr. Ian Malcolm), and BD Wong (Dr. Henry Wu) – and several new allies – DeWanda Wise (Kayla Watts) and Mamoudou Athie (Ramsay Cole) – to face the latest dino-adjacent threat from scientists so preoccupied with whether or not they could they didn’t stop to think if they should.  I really enjoyed the film and, somewhat surprisingly, it got me thinking about my birthday and how excited I am to be turning forty.

This piece will have the mildest spoilers for Jurassic World: Dominion, only discussing a general overview of the plot points which put the narrative in motion at the beginning of the film.

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Considering Dr. Christine Palmer and the Ever-Expanding Size of the MCU

This weekend, in anticipation of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, I returned to a favorite tradition of mine – marathoning old movies before I see the new one!  The size of the Marvel Cinematic Universe means the last time I watched every movie was my marathon for Avengers: Endgame.  Now, saner (and healthier!) parts have prevailed.  Instead of ruining my life by trying to watch the twenty-eight different films and nineteen different TV series with thirty-six seasons between them that make up the MCU (at the time of this writing), I’ve just chosen to watch Doctor Strange (2015), Avengers: Infinity War (2018), WandaVision (2021), and Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021).  Rewatching Doctor Strange a question struck me: whatever happened to Dr. Christine Palmer?

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Ghostbusters: Afterlife 2 – “Nostalgia is Going To Kill Us”

The blog’s been extra quiet lately as I’ve been writing my book (ahhhhh! yay!) but I decided to give myself a night off from book work tonight.  Why?  Well, I’m glad you asked.  I could read for pleasure.  I could enjoy watching Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy! and then go to bed early.  I could spend the whole night with the Doctor.  All of those would be excellent uses of my night.  However, instead, I’m using it to vent a little frustration.  You see, Ghostbusters is one of my all-time favorite movies and one of my all-time favorite storytelling universes so when I recently read Jason Reitman’s plans for Ghostbusters: Afterlife 2 I had FEELINGS.  As is so often the case, this piece was born in a conversation I had with Jeffrey (of The Imperial Talker).  The title of the piece – Nostalgia is going to kill us – was his exact quote when I told him of the sequel story.  I couldn’t agree more so I was super excited when he said I could nick his observation for this piece.  Shall we dive in?  Are you ready?  Siiiiiiiiiiiiigh…let’s go.

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Ghostbusters: Afterlife and Ghostbusters: Answer the Call – Honoring the Ghostbusters Legacy

Making a sequel to Ghostbusters (1984) is tricky.  Ghostbusters is one of few perfect movies.  Everything about it works!  It was one of my all-time favorite movies when I was five-years-old and it still is now at thirty-nine.  Already a fan of the cartoon show, my world was forever changed when my uncle gave us a VHS tape on which he’d recorded a Ghostbusters movie with real people in it from HBO.  I was a little thrown (at first) as they looked different and I am 99.99% sure it was what scarred me and made me scared of dogs all through my youth (as they constantly refer to the demonic forms of Zuul and Vinz Clortho as “dogs”) but none of that really mattered.  It was love at first viewing and it’s the only movie from my youth I still watch multiple times a year.  It spawned three sequels – Ghostbusters 2 (1989), Ghostbusters: Answer the Call (2016), and the new Ghostbusters: Afterlife (2021).  One I loved!  One disappointed me.  And one was a straight up traumatic experience.  With thoughts of Ghostbusters: Afterlife fresh in my mind, I felt it’d be fun to discuss which is which!

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Best MCU Viewing Order / My Avengers: Endgame Preparation!

It’s that time of year again.  It’s time for me to add stress and pressure to my life by trying to wrap all daily obligations around a now TWENTY-ONE FILM movie marathon before seeing the twenty-second entry into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Avengers: Endgame.  Last year I said the MCU was getting too large for this.  I can’t marathon their entire catalogue three times a year with each new entry.  But I also admitted I’d have to do this at least once more because Avengers: Endgame is the closing chapter of the MCU’s first generation.  If I marathoned it all for Avengers: Infinity War, then I had to for Avengers: Endgame.  I figured I’d discuss my preferred viewing order now too.  Why is it the best?  Um, well it’s the one I’ve chosen for myself and why wouldn’t I pick what I like best for myself?  Do you agree, dear reader?  Well, there’s only one way to find out…read on and let’s get our Mighty Marvel Movie Marathon on together! Continue reading

My Life in Spider-Man Movies

The brilliant new podcast Pods & Ends – “the junk drawer of pop culture” – asked me to write a piece for them about Spider-Man movies.  Hot dog!  I excitedly agreed and I think you should excitedly read this.  In the post, I reflect nostaligically on everything from this Spidey movie whose name I cannot find no matter how hard I try from the ’80s up to and including the MIND-BLOWINGLY AMAZING Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.  I was honored to write for this great show and would love you to check it out.

You can listen to Pods & Ends here and you should also follow them on Twitter @pne_pod because they are way awesome people. Continue reading

Best Picture 2018 – MY Nominees

In honor of Oscar weekend, a few days ago I posted a piece about the nine films nominated for Best Picture 2018.  I’ve seen them all this year (woo!) and offered my thoughts on each film, leading to my prediction of the winner as well as my favorite film and the one I want to win Best Picture.  Today I’m looking back at the movies I personally saw at the theatres last year – presented in the order I saw them (with multiple viewing dates when appropriate) – and offering up my Best Picture nominees.  If I was in charge of the Academy Awards, who would get the Best Picture trophy?  And how does my list match up to Oscar’s?  Well, let’s take a look and find out! Continue reading

Best Picture 2018 – The Oscar Nominees

Well, this was a year I did it.  I managed to see all nine films nominated for “Best Picture” at this year’s Academy Awards!  I thought it might be fun, as it’s Oscar Week and all, to do a little post with my thoughts on each of the nine Best Picture nominees.  Below you’ll find a little paragraph about each film, written in the order I saw them, all leading up to the film I think should win the Oscar for Best Picture this year.  What’s my choice??  Let’s get to it! Continue reading