Monthly Archives: October 2013

Happy Halloween!

There are too many quintessential scary/Halloween movies to try to squeeze into watching today. From “Beetlejuice” to “Dracula” to “The Lost Boys” to “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” to “Psycho” to “Rear Window” to “Vampires” to “The Ring” to “The Exorcist” to “The Addams Family” to “Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles” to “Young Frankenstein” to “The Shining” to “Hocus Pocus” to “Halloween” and all its subsequent sequels.

And that’s just to name a few.

All of the films listed above have validity on this day of Trick-or-Treat: October 31st/All Hallows’ Eve. Last year’s post was dedicated to the Disney staple, “Hocus Pocus.” A truly great, fun movie. This year, the focus will be on the complete opposite end of the scary spectrum.

It’s the classic Halloween movie. Literally.

Have a Fun and Scary Halloween!!

Books of Epic Proportions

Dan Brown. J.K. Rowling. Tom Clancy.

And now J.J. Abrams apparently.

Reading books is still a popular leisure activity, despite how it may pale in comparison to venturing off to the movie theater to see the next big blockbuster sensation. The bottom line is that people enjoy stories of all genres with varying temptations and hooks. One day it may be action or adventure, the next could be drama and romance and the weekend may be primed for mystery or humor. The imagination has no limitations and is, therefore, eternally receptive to stories of all variations and styles.

In recent years, the word, “epic” has flown into our lexicon as nearly the same speed as Superman himself. There was even an animated film titled, “Epic” released earlier this year. While book releases rarely create epic fanfare or global pandemonium, there was one yesterday that just might expand literature into an unseen dimension of creativity.

Famed filmmaker J.J. Abrams, who is prepping the Disney reboot of “Star Wars,” had his book (co-written with established writer Doug Dorst) debut to the public yesterday. The title of the nearly 500-page mystery, “S,” may be the beginning of a new style and era of creative writing.

Yesterday, it was J.J. Abrams releasing an original novel. Who will be next? Steven Spielberg? James Cameron? Kathryn Bigelow?

Dare I dream for an original novel by Christopher Nolan?

There is no singular style, method, genre or process to writing, acting, directing and producing an epic blockbuster. There are unequivocal similarities, no doubt: original story, great characters, plot twists, big, yet believable action for the setting, stunning cinematography, hints of ambiguity, etc. But each crew has done it differently with a certain trademark.

Imagine this formula translated into an original novel that reads like an epic Hollywood movie that instinctively provokes intrigue and that relentlessly illustrates vivid scenes in our minds like the flow of some of our favorite movies?

Incredible books with the similar qualities listed above have and are being written. However, the scale of these literary adventures, mysteries, romances, etc. would be new with a particular cast of writers.

Try to envision a movie in IMAX with a powerfully unforgettable soundtrack somehow captured and placed within the binding restraints of a book.

There is a grandiose expectation with J.J. Abrams’ book because of his acclaimed cinematic skill set and storytelling accomplishments behind the camera. People will be expecting that “it” factor that will definitively distinguish “S” above the other available mysteries on the shelf.

Adapting popular books into movies is a common practice in Hollywood. And these scripts usually sound as if it were penned by an author instead of a screenwriter. The pace and style of the dialogue and the patience paid to character development is discernible. It’s not always absolutely good or bad, but it certainly is noticeable to the audience.

Last year, in late November, director Christopher Nolan made a rare public appearance to participate in a solo forum in New York City with a small audience to discuss his current, “Dark Knight” trilogy, his past movies and his then upcoming role in “The Man of Steel.” In fact, it happened on a Wednesday. Due to a contradictory statement given to me about a conflict at work that Wednesday and following Thursday, I had to refrain from securing one of those rare tickets when one was remarkably available.

I digress.

Christopher Nolan had agreed to answer a few questions from fans and/or attendees during this gathering. The question I submitted was essentially this: “Have you ever created your own original superhero with a corresponding universe and enemy(ies)? If so, who is it? What are his or her superhero powers? If not, would you ever be interested in such a venture?”

I was interested in not only my question, but all of the questions, plus his responses of course.

Maybe he read my question, maybe he didn’t. But if he did and the answer is yes, the possibilities and excitement among his fans would be difficult to contain.

The aura that surrounds “S” was palpable the moment I held it in my hands. There is a unique power and influence that radiates and thrills from the work of creative cinematic storytellers. Imaginations simply run wild with the stories they tell.

I just hope more will soon put it in writing.

The Annexation of Patience

There is a trend in sports that has transformed analysts and “experts” into Bingo contestants that frequently stand-up with bravado and gusto to shout “BINGO!” for all to hear.

The only problem is that this occurs after only marking off one letter.

College football punditry is a perfect example of this evolving dynamic. There is a tendency to want to declare with absolute certitude the two best teams in the country each week. Admittedly, it is perfectly okay to speculate about teams and their corresponding achievements and failures. Totally fine. These are fun debates. However, it shouldn’t be exercised in the definitive nature that is done today. Three games into the season and the national championship is already being predicted with incomplete statistics from some of the aforementioned analysts.

Will the BCS Standings remain exactly same by the end of the regular season? Probably not. And that’s partly because of the unpredictable and inspirational dimension of college athletics.

It’s a weird phenomenon: these analysts love to watch college football, but they are more often than not so eager to chisel in stone certain bowl match-ups with incomplete statistics and records that they end up not allowing football teams the “ridiculous” courtesy to work hard, improve and then play their best game by the end of the regular season as a final exclamation point to their fall campaign.

As written above: weird.

While the schedules for most Division 1 college football teams list around 12 games, the attention span for most analysts seems to range from 5-7. At this point, most of the “experts” would have you believe the top two teams are pretty much penciled in (not with a pen, but pencil mind you) and that the remainder of those seasons are mere technicalities.

Of course, do you know how many “technicalities” have resulted in shocking upsets or surprising victories?

One of the amazing aspects of college football (and college sports in general) is that anything can happen…anything! In college, the underdog, whether a single player or an entire team, has the potential and opportunity to shine for that one play or one drive to win the game or to make a strong goal line stand to complete an upset for the ages.

What’s even more incredible is how many of these moments occur during the final seconds of the last games of the season when everything is on the line.

Hopefully, the lighting crew won’t turn off the lights in the stadiums on those players, coaches, teams and fans when those unbelievable plays happen at season’s end.

Technically speaking, that would be a terrible thing to do. And the same notion goes for day games as well.

Otherwise, the world may never have witnessed the incomparable, “Annexation of Puerto Rico” that only works as the last play…

Those “one time” moments help make up the magical fabric of sports.

So, let’s just sit back, relax and watch some football.

You just may see something special.

Happy Monday!

Halftime shows at Ohio State football games cannot be described as uneventful.

This past Saturday, while the Buckeyes and Nittany Lions were preparing for the third quarter, the Ohio State Marching Band once again had something spectacular planned.

The Best Damn Band in the Land (TBDBITL) + Hollywood Blockbusters = Awesomeness!

Happy Monday and Let Your Imagination Fly High and Run Wild this Week!