Monday, January 26, 2015

The Movie Breakdown Podcast Ep 74: Remakes, Everett, Sundance, Oh My!

It is Dumpuary time in the cinemas, and when you're not in a large city, you often get denied the current Oscar fare making the rounds as well. Instead of talking new releases, Scott and I talk about some of the major news like Amazon breaking into the film distribution business and the Sundance movie festival. As well, it was an Everett and daddy weekend and as is the tradition, we watched some animated animal movies, so I talk about those too. Scott does what he does best, reviewing a shitty movie from the past. As always, if you love the show then please pass on the word.

The Movie Breakdown Outline:

0:00 - 3:46 Intro (Christopher's wife left him, Scott name drops Wicker Man, movies on Netflix)
3:46 - 14:29 The Three Musketeers review (2011) (Scott Only), our own version of a Musketeer movie with cast picks, problems with cinematic universe in classic works
14:30 - 25:02 Christopher's weekend with Everett, Everett's excitement of watching a movie and eating pizza, Christopher avoiding seeing a lousy low-budget animal animated movies, quick Curious George and Rio 2 reviews, Scott tries to get Christopher to see Killing Season, Everett playing with Pizza Guy, Everett running from imaginary bad guys, Everett passes on Secret of NIMH, Changing accents of Killing Season
25:03 - 29:59 The Trip review (Scott only)
30:00 - 43:59 Amazon getting into movie distribution, how streaming will shake up movies, rise of mid-budget adult dramas, Southpaw movie, Scott rants about Son of Anarchy, differences among American and British TV models
44:00 - 50:02 Sherlock series review (Scott only), Problems with Series Premieres, Empire series review (Christopher only), Man Seeking Woman series review (Christopher only), 12 Monkeys series review (Christopher only)  
50:03 - 51:45 Are mid-budget wide release movies really on the rise? Guessing what movies will go wide
51:46 - 56:25 Analyzing PGA award winners, Looking at Oscar favourites and past history of shifting momentum, The Lego Movie and Life Itself get their due
56:26 - 1:05:50 Looking at remakes, Strangers on the Train, The Blob, The Escape from New York, plot guessing about Stranger on the Train, Movie announcements don't always mean a movie will be released
1:05:51 - 1:12:59 Johnny Depp and Chris Hemsworth bomb in box office, Hemsworth not able to shake Thor, tedium of Johnny Depp's roles
1:13:00 - 1:18:14 Looking at interesting Sundance pictures, Tye Sheridan makes stars to watch list
1:18:15 - Closing

Monday, January 19, 2015

Time to Give Up on My Dream of Being a Fact-Checker or a Professional: AKA Why Yes, Sienna Miller Does Play Bradley Cooper's Wife in "American Sniper"

There is a clearly a reason why I'm a writer rather than a TV or radio personality, and more than just the fact my startling good-looks would detonate TV's across the globe or my dulcet tones would force workers everywhere to refuse to leave their cars when listening to me on the radio. As a writer, when I spew countless thoughts from my brain onto the screen, I have the wonderful ability to actually verify all my ramblings before publishing and making sure I'm not spreading horrid lies everywhere. Many a stupid things have stopped from entering out into the world by checking a few reputable sources (or if that fails, Wikipedia).

It isn't so easy when rattling off those word crazies during a podcast recording where the delete or backspace button aren't accessible thus stupidity is more easily immortalize. Admittedly, factual errors and general hackery exposure is rather quickly remedied by things like research and preparedness or being able to honestly boast real knowledge. When such things are sacrificed, podcasting becomes an open door into one's general ineptitude. Once again why research and being prepared is a clear and loyal friend when one doesn't have the security of proof-reading and pre-publishing fact-checking to make one trick all into believing he is smarter than the reality.

I properly, but with the dangerous degree of self-doubt, blurted out that Sienna Miller played Bradley Cooper's wife in American Sniper during my review for The Movie Breakdown this weekend. I was slightly on edge and nervous about peddling falsities so close to my bonehead declaration that Shirley McClaine was Carrie Fisher's mom during the Mike Nichols podcast when any self-respecting movie buff knows her mom is actually Natalie Portman. . . er. . . I mean, Debbie Reynolds. Even worse, I was coming into the podcast off a week that was effectively distracting and prone for the mind to drift into clouds while also alienating myself from any appropriate level of pre-show confirmation of facts.

Obviously, "Hey life is distracting and I've got stuff on the plate, so I didn't do the requisite amount of research" is clearly the excuse the entire Internet quickly accepts and the commenters are dissuaded from sharpening the spears. Every boss and editor in the history of publishing and news will gently wave their hand in an instant and bestow complete forgiveness with such airtight reasoning. This should be enough to excuse me from the torches and pitchforks being wield outside my door but I'm on an excuse roll so let's keep this party rocking.

Maybe I should also actually focus on the original point of this post, which was the correction. Sienna Miller does play Bradley Cooper's wife in American Sniper, so I was initially correct and was in no need to deliver an inaccurate correction later in the podcast. But I did anyway, thus you're now all being punished with this article. Doesn't seem fair, does it?

So, essentially I saw Sienna Miller's name early in the credits, and since there was only one female with a significant role and the performance of Taya Kyle was strong enough that I assumed it had to have been done by an established and talented actor. But then a few problems arose.

First of all, I am absolutely awful with names. So bad with names that for the first month after Everett was born, I called him something entirely different and needed my wife's constant corrections. Actually, I'd probably call my wife by the wrong name too if I didn't keep my marriage certificate in the drawer of my desk office for reference sake. "What is her/his name again?" is a constant thing uttered by me to my wife at parties or on the way home (or during my own family reunions). So needless to say, I don't remember movie character's names unless it is someone very established or the name is distinguishable. In this case, I actually knew a bit about Chris Kyle before the movie and even knew Taya was actively involved in the picture, yet that apparently wasn't enough to remember important names in the movie filmed by Clive Eastwood.

The next issue is that I apparently can be easily fooled by hair colour changes. I know Sienna Miller. Honest. I actually really like her and want her to get more meaty roles. She is talented. But I clearly was expecting the blond haired woman I get through Google searches and so the dark hair was enough for me to doubt this was the actress that I'm desperately now claiming that I do know. Not personally by the way, but as was established, I'd forget her name even if she would accept my party invitations.

The last problem is that rather than confirming Sienna's roles, which would have been easy since one of the very first lines in the Wikipedia entry informs that Taya is Chris Kyle's wife and shortly after that Sienna Miller plays her, I went in armed with my foggy mind during a week that did a fair number on it. So with no confidence or vigour I declared who played the role of the wife and instantly started doubting myself, because once again, I forgot hair dye is something that exists now. apparently doesn't believe in having any helpful order to its casting list, and the first female name I saw was Debby Kyle played by Elsie Robertson. I conveniently forgot that Chris Kyle's mother has a small scene in this movie, and the same last name was enough of a convincer that I made a mistake. A quick skim finally revealed that Sienna Miller played some person called Taya without a last name, because really wanted me to turn out to be an ass in all this. Because my ability to remember names sucks, I assumed that must have been the girlfriend that cheated on him at the start since obviously, such people never have last names but must warrant name actors to play them.

The moral of the day is never make the confession of a supposed error in the middle of the podcast and just hope everyone just assumes they didn't hear you right. Trying to correct mistakes just make things worse. That is something we can all agree on, right?

Now, that my credibility is completely destroyed, I can finally confess that The Other Woman and Blended were really my favourite movies of 2014. 

Whoa, I barely dodged that flaming pitchfork.

The Movie Breakdown Episode 73 Podcast: Is The Imitation Game and American Sniper the Best Pictures of 2014?

Scott and I have decided to tweak the Breakdown and to signify that change we're going with the revolutionary new title of The Movie Breakdown. While the plan is to still have movie reviews, we're implementing some changes to ramp up the discussion aspect of the reviews, and as well as incorporating some debate on the major movie news of the week. The biggest movie news of this week is obviously the recent Oscar nominations and we both have some pretty strong opinions on some of the performers and filmmakers that received major snubs. We also stick with the Oscar theme by reviewing two movies that got Best Picture nods, The Imitation Game and American Sniper.

As always, if you love the show then please spread the word, and if you have any comments or opinions on our reviews this week (or any suggestions) please contact us at our respective emails of or or via Twitter at either @SpiceDawg or @BreakdownScott.

The Movie Breakdown Outline:

00:50 The Imitation Game review
13:34 My apparent response to head hammering and Scott's excuse for missing American Sniper
15:29 People love them some American Sniper
19:48 Finally, the actual American Sniper review (Just Christopher)
26:26 It's Such a Beautiful Day review (Just Scott)
32:47 Sienna Miller doesn't play Bradley Cooper's wife (Edit: Oops, she does!)
33:41 Paddington review (Just Christopher)
38:10 Scott answers crucial question about It's Such a Beautiful Day
38:50 Woman in Black: Angel of Death review (Just Christopher)
42:53 Whitey: United States of America vs. James J. Bulger review (Just Scott)
45:51 Brief digression to speak upon Hot flavoured chips
47:21 Back to Whitey
52:30 Ranting against the major Oscar snubs
1:10:15  Early Oscar predictions
1:14:07  Trailer reviews of Spy, Outcast, Playing It Cool, Unfriended
1:22:53  Reason for no new release reviews next week
1:25:00   Review Rundown

EDIT: Steve James didn't direct The Overnighters (Jesse Moss did) -- I meant to say The Interrupters.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

The Breakdown of the Best of 2014 Podcast, Plus Remember that State of the Site Address I Promised?

This week's The Movie Breakdown is several days late and we also recognize the insanity of reflecting upon 2014 when we're 15 days into 2015. But still, this past year was incredible for movies, and Scott and I have both compiled our ten best of 2014 that will hopefully give you a great selection of motion pictures to hunt down. We've got some great big studio movies but also some great independent and foreign pictures that you may not have heard about but are proof that "they still make them like they used to" just maybe not in Hollywood.

Now for those who don't want to tackle a two hour mammoth show, I'm going to reveal our top ten pictures right here.


10.  Blue Ruin
9. Gone Girl  
8.  Life Itself   
7.  Interstellar 
6.  Only Lovers Left Alive  
5.  Like Father, Like Son
4.  Under the Skin 
3.  We Are the Best! 
2.  The Grand Budapest Hotel  
1.  Boyhood  


10. Edge of Tomorrow 
9. Grand Budapest Hotel 
8. Guardian of the Galaxy
7. Virunga 
6. Began Again
5. Nightcrawler  
4. The LEGO Movie  
3. A Most Wanted Man   
2. Boyhood  
1. Gloria


Okay, you still here? Alright, a few days ago I promised a State of the Site Address post, and as you can tell, then proceeded to post nothing for a few days. That has sort of been my calling card for the past year, which was the entire point of why I wanted to write the post. It hasn't been a great year for my writing career or especially this blog, but I want to change that. I have reasons that I've addressed before, so I don't want to start spinning that record endlessly. Simply put, I'm passionate about writing and I have lots that I need to spill from my brain.

My original plan was to write an extensive post detailing what I wanted from the blog including upping the movie writing content to pave the way for the eventual monetized site while also reconnecting with my stay-at-home dad posts that have dropped off ever since the Dad's Eye View contract ended, but clearly, I can mention those things without rattling off a thousand plus words. So, consider this my address, and hopefully, going forward this will be a rocking and rolling place again.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Postponing This Week's Breakdown

Some unforeseen circumstances have forced the Breakdown to be postponed this week, but if things turn out smooth and groovy just like that peanut butter the kids love to accompany their jam then hopefully we'll still be able to bring you the Breakdown of the Best of 2014 podcast (yes, I'm aware we're already 12 days into 2015). If not then you can all hide under your covers, make your best imitation of Scott and my voice, and make up your own Top Ten Movies of 2014 list -- it'll be fun.

If the Breakdown ends up being held over until another week, don't you worry about not getting any more love from me. As I plan to do the unbelievable and actually update the site this week. And I'll talk about that very thing and my plans for this site this year with a State of the Blog Address that should be posted at some undetermined time later today (or early tomorrow).

Until then, get to work on mimicking my voice, as you'll be tested when you least expect it.

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

The Midweek Breakdown Goes All Rambo

As in, Scott and I talk about the announcement that there will be yet another Rambo movie. Since that kind of sets the tone of the show, I then discuss the new The Walk trailer and how Hollywood's obsessions with big event special effects extravaganzas can squeeze the excitement out of pictures that sound intriguing on paper. We end up talking quite bit about 2015 and how it might shape up, because it will likely be a pretty huge year for the movie industry -- be it good or bad.

Monday, January 05, 2015

Breakdown of the Stinkers of 2014 Podcast: Kicking Off the Year By Skewing the Worst of Last Year

It is a new year and in order to kick off 2015 proper, Scott and I engage in some cathartic cleansing by properly purging the worst of 2014 by ripping into our most awful movie viewing experiences with the past 12 months of releases. It also happens to be the podcast Scott is always the most passionate and full of vigor. Joins us for the second part of our 3 part podcast series looking at the year of 2014 (last week we discussed the major movie news events). Be sure to come back next week as we'll be looking at much better pictures with our Best of the 2014 show.