Friday, November 30, 2018

Remembering Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan

Yesterday, I inexplicably turned a post about Hugh Jackman's recent announcement into one focused on wrestling, so it seems about the right time to finally write a piece that I've needed to do for over a year. A tribute to one of the all-time wrestling greats, Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan.

I would easily rank Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan as one of the top ten most significant figures in 1980s WWF wrestling. He was the top manager who was often in the corner of the headlining heel, he was a hilarious commentator with an amazing chemistry with co-announcer Gorilla Monsoon, and even occasionally wrestled in some of the more prominent matches.

When I first started watching wrestling back in late 1987, I was afraid of Heenan. The main reasons were likely that he managed some of the more intimidating wrestlers in monsters King Kong Bundy and Andre Giant, he constantly insulted the fans by calling us humanoids or ham n' eggers and tried to push around interviewers like Mean Gene Okerlund and Craig DeGeorge. I was too young at the time to appreciate Heenan's great slapstick skills and his incredible comic timing, but also his ability to really enhance the act of all his wrestlers. 'The King' Harley Race, 'Ravishing' Rick Rude and the Brainbusters were great wrestlers and characters, but Heenan accompanying them took them to the next level.

The longer I watched wrestling and the older that I got, I really started appreciating the genius of Heenan. He was great as part of a comic duo with Okerlund or Monsoon, where he'd berate them or try to make himself look better, but often end up being the punchline at the end. He often had the persona of a guy who talked tough and thought he was better than everyone else, and so it made it more satisfying when the face beat him up or he ran away like a coward. While he was very charismatic and a great interview, he always knew that the focus should be on the wrestlers and he enhanced rather than upstaged the guys he managed. He also was very sly at making his insults and dress-downs of his enemies framed in a way that made them look better and made you salivate for the moment they'd get their revenge.

He was involved in some of the most famous moments in WWF history. The biggest actually happened right before I got into wrestling but I've now seen several times, which was the famous Piper's Pit where Andre the Giant turned heel by challenging Hulk Hogan for the WWF World Heavyweight title at Wrestlemania 3 while also aligning with his one-time enemy, Heenan. The good guys blamed Heenan for poisoning the mind of Andre and making him jealous of the champ. It is still one of the greatest angles ever conceived and was the reason why Wrestlemania 3 is still considered one of the biggest and greatest wrestling events ever.

Other major Bobby Heenan moments included when he couldn't stop insulting The Big Boss Man's mom, which then lead to him being handcuffed to the railing at ringside for the remainder of the show. An entire feud constructed from mom jokes in theory is really stupid, but Heenan's acting while be stuck at ringside was one of the great comedy moments.

Heenan had a habit of insulting, as another big moment was when for months he would berate one of his wrestlers, The Red Rooster, for not being good enough until one day the poultry-inspired wrestler had enough and turned on him. Heenan then declared that he could turn any loser into a winner, and transformed long time jobber Steve Lombardi into tough street fighter, The Brooklyn Brawler, whose character debuted by sneak attacking the Rooster after Heenan provided the distraction by pretending to apologize for abusing him in the past.

During Heenan's run, the WWF was mostly a live-action cartoon with many silly storylines but Heenan made dognapping Matilda from the British Bulldogs or having a coronation to make a wrestler a king or trying to sell a wrestler into slavery (the wrestler was white) all entertaining because he made you believe and his charisma made the moments memorable.

He also had a few running gags like in 1987 where he wore a neck brace for most of the year saying the top face did serious damage and his colleague Monsoon kept accusing him of goldbricking. Heenan would then get all upset and then suddenly remember he is supposed to have a bad neck.

The thing that Monsoon teased Heenan the most about was the inability to get any of his men to win championships. That all changed in 1989 at Wrestlemania 5 when Heenan cheated to help Ravishing Rick Rude win the Intercontinental Championship from the then undefeated The Ultimate Warrior. A few months later, his Brainbusters broke Demolitions' year and half WWF World Tag Titles reign by winning the titles (by cheating again, of course) on a summer episode of Saturday Night's Main Event. Heenan then for the next several months wouldn't stop bragging about his accomplishments.

Heenan then would go on to manage two more champions in the WWF by leading  the Colossal Connection (Andre the Giant and Haku) to the WWF World Tag Team Titles at the end of 1989.and Mr. Perfect Curt Hennig to the Intercontinental Title in May 1990 (and again at the end of 1990). Heenan always did a great job at making his title wins feel like huge deals. Though he never led a guy to the WWF World Title despite being the main manager who sent monsters and heels after Hulk Hogan for several years.

Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan was a legend. He was a colourful personality that knew how to entertain crowds but was never selfish and used his act to make others look good. I've read that many felt he had the charm and wit to have been a great sitcom star or the comic relief in a major movie, but I'm glad he gave me so many years of entertainment in professional wrestling. He was an all-time great and one of my favourite wrestling personalities ever.

RIP Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan (November 1, 1944 - September 17, 2017)

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Hugh Jackman's Non-Wolverine Announcement is the Latest Example of the Dangers of Over-Analyzing a Promised 'Surprise'

Apparently, there was a significant amount of buzz on social media this week over Hugh Jackman potentially announcing he was returning to his most famous role, Wolverine. A few days ago, Jackman promised a huge surprise on this morning's Today show, and many jumped to the conclusion that huge announcement had to mean the return of his famous superhero, because comic books movies is all anyone could possibly want to talk about, right?

This assumptions was made by many despite the fact that on several occasions that Jackman has sworn he was done with Wolverine, Disney not owning the property yet means such a big deal would likely be held off, if Fox was greenlighting a new Wolverine before acquisition then they would have promoted the appearance too, and the biggest one, didn't people see the ending of Logan?

Then Jackman announced a one man arena touring musical show called "The Man. The Music. The Show' where he will be performing songs from The Greatest Showman on Earth, Les Miserables, and other musicals.

I haven't bothered checking out the Twitter or Facebook, so I don't know if the pitchforks are being sharpened over that reveal. I assume this was not the project that many comic book movie fans were dying to hear. Maybe he will do a set about adamantium to appease them?

I would have declared this one of the greatest internet troll jobs ever, except it was the movie news sites and social media that suggested it could be Wolverine. Jackman never even hinted at it. Plus his first love is clearly the musical, and this is the stuff that he is passionate about. A big, glitzy musical tour would be a huge deal for him. I wouldn't be surprised if Wolverine didn't even cross his mind nor has he thought about it much since Logan was released.

This reminds me of a few years back when Robert Downey Jr promised to release something on Twitter and everyone jumped to the conclusion that it had to be a trailer for the upcoming Avengers movies. Instead, we got a trailer for The Judge. Surprisingly, Downey's life wasn't just Iron Man and he wanted to use his star power to promote his other works. I remember the internet was baffled.

Here is a little secret for you all, when a star or company promises a surprise, they aren't obligated to reveal what you want or expect. A surprise is actually allowed to be anything, and there is a chance you could be disappointed. If you are set on it being a specific thing, then you are actually almost guaranteed to be disappointed.

Being a lifelong wrestling fan, may have helped me learn to lower expectations when celebrities or companies promise a huge surprise. Or at least, make me well aware that what I am envisioning may be entirely different then what is being concocted by the presenter.

Throughout wrestling history, wrestling has promoted a 'mystery partner' or a 'mystery opponent.' What it almost always has meant, is the company does not have a big draw for an upcoming match but if they promote it as a 'surprise' that may get people to tune in or buy a ticket on the hope it is the person they are imagining. The rule is that if a wrestling company has a real draw then they would promote that draw rather than promise a surprise. The reveal is almost never worth even doing a five second little happy jig over it.

Leading up to the 1996 Survivor Series, the WWF promoted a mystery partner in one of the eight man elimination tag matches. I remember reading heavy speculation that it may be the glorious return of Macho Man Randy Savage who recently disappeared from WCW television. Some lowered their expectation to think it was Ahmed Johnson who had been injured in the summer but was a relatively big star in the company at the time (most of you now are probably yelling, 'Who?'). Instead, we got a way past his prime and semi-retired Jimmy 'Superfly' Snuka for a one night only return. By 1996, he was about a decade removed from when he was an actual top star.

Two years later at another Survivor Series, Mankind had a mystery opponent in the first round of the WWF World title tournament and everyone I know was excited about it being the return of Shawn Michaels. It ended up being early 90s, formerly mulleted (but now bald) jobber, Duane Gill, someone who probably was only recognizable to big wrestling fans like me. He was a few rungs below Iron Mike Sharpe and SD Jones on the jobber ladder. It was about an Everest step down from Shawn Michaels.

It wasn't just the Survivor Series that taught me to not get excited about a mystery. In 1999, there was a several week storyline about a Higher Power who the evil Undertaker was following and the mystery figure was out to destroy Stone Cold Steve Austin. I remember reading online about how it would be Mankind turning heel, but instead it was just Vince McMahon, who had already spent over a year feuding with Austin. We were just getting the exact same storyline over again.

I did not mean for this to suddenly become an article about wrestling, but my point is that it has a long history of delivering farts in church surprises. In 1993 WCW, Sting promised a mystery partner that would shock the world and some hoped it would be the Ultimate Warrior debuting in WCW. Instead, we got WWF cast-off Tugboat wearing a Stormtrooper helmet covered in tin foil being called the Shockmaster (who you could say really stumbled in his debut).

There was the 2000 storyline of Austin hunting down the evil villain that ran him over with a car a year earlier. Who would be this vicious villain that would become the top heel in the company? Of course, it had to be the obese Rikishi who loved to dance and shove his bare ass in people's faces. Now, that screams main event heel.

This is not to make you so jaded to give up on a surprise delivering the goods. At Halloween Havoc '91 the Halloween Phantom was revealed to be a debuting in WCW Ravishing Rick Rude and kicked off a storyline that could be considered a precursor to the very successful NWO. In Survivor Series 1990, the mystery partner paid off with the debut of The Undertaker, one of the biggest stars in WWF/WWE history. So, sometimes a surprise is what you hope or maybe even better than you expected.

Of course, Survivor Series 1990 also had a giant egg that WWF promoted for weeks would hatch a huge surprise. Leading up to the event, I would debate with my friends what awesome wrestler would come out of that egg. Was it a returning King Kong Bundy? Maybe Ric Flair was finally coming? Nope. It was a giant dancing turkey called the Gobbledy Gooker.

So yeah, have fun guessing and debating what a huge surprise could be. But always assume that it isn't what you hope or want. It almost always is going to more likely be a guy in a turkey suit.

Monday, November 26, 2018

The Breakdown of 'Ralph Breaks the Internet', 'Creed 2', 'The Ballad of Buster Scruggs', 'The Princess Switch' and 'Cam'

This past weekend is considered the big kick-off to the Christmas shopping season and The Movie Breakdown have some shiny gifts for you in the form of big reviews for five 2018 releases. The long weekend in the United States means some big event movies, including two big sequels. We have a huge animated movie that is a follow-up to hit from six years ago in the new adventure of Wreck-It Ralph and his friend Vanellope in Ralph Breaks the Internet. We have a big boxing movie event in the sequel to one of the best movies of 2015 in Creed 2. Speaking of big event, it is always exciting when there is a new Coen Brothers movie and we have one in The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, We also have a new Christmas movie in the romantic comedy, The Princess Switch. We also have a new twisty thriller in Cam. It is a huge show and we hope you really love it, and if you do, please help us out by spreading the word to other movie fans.

Reminder that you can now subscribe either to The Movie Breakdown feed (a subscription link is at the top right hand of this site) or on iTunes (if you enjoy the show, please help us by giving us a five star review).

The Movie Ratings:

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs *** (CS) & **** (SM)
Ralph Breaks the Internet **** (CS)
The Prince Switch *½ (CS) & ½* (SM)
Creed 2 *** (CS)
Cam ** (CS & SM)

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Oh Baby, I Really Hurt Scott This Time

Scott has written a review for the second movie that he was forced to see due to losing the Summer Box Office Challenge. According to his review, Baby Geniuses may be the most gruelling torture he has ever experienced for losing the annual contest. That is pretty impressive, because he loses every year, so I've forced him to see a lot of crap. So, go over to his site and read a review of what sounds like it is barely a movie.

Monday, November 19, 2018

The Breakdown of 'Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald', 'Outlaw King', 'Instant Family'. 'They'll Love Me When I'm Dead' and Remembering Stan Lee and William Goldman

We lost two pop culture icons this week in comic book legend Stan Lee and acclaimed screenwriter and novelist William Goldman. Both writers were creative forces behind beloved entertainment like Spider-Man and The Princess Bride respectively. This week we fondly discuss the personal and bigger impact of both men. But we also review movies and we have a highly anticipated one in the latest film set in the Harry Potter world in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. We also have a dramatic feel-good comedy in Instant Family, a historical epic in Outlaw King and a documentary about Orson Welles' last film in They'll Love Me When I'm Dead. We also get distracted by talking about stars and movies that have nothing to do with this episode, because that is our superpower. As always, we hope you love the show and if you do, please spread the word to other movie fans.

Reminder that you can now subscribe either to The Movie Breakdown feed (a subscription link is at the top right hand of this site) or on iTunes (if you enjoy the show, please help us by giving us a five star review).

Four Star Rating:

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald **½ (CS)
Outlaw King ** (CS) & *** (SM)
Instant Family *** (CS)
They'll Love Me When I'm Dead *** (CS & SM)

Friday, November 16, 2018

The Movie Event of the Year . . . for Someone. . .Maybe

You know that Scott has been counting down the days for this one. Last year on our The Breakdown of the Worst of 2017 show, he gave his number one spot of the worst of the year to A Christmas Prince beating out stuff like The Emoji Movie and The Bye Bye Man. Now we all get to return to the kingdom of Aldovia for A Christmas Prince: A Royal Wedding.

Last year, we both declared that we didn't know who the original movie was targeted towards and thought it even failed at being a Hallmark movie. Well, a year later, I can confess that even though I still don't think it was a good movie that it did know its audience and was a bona fide hit on Netflix. It seems some people want hammy acting, cheesy dialogue, contrived plots twists, a world less realistic than Narnia and diabetic inducing sentimentality in a cheaply made Holiday romance movie.

Netflix looks to be committed to making a few of these every year to be released around the Christmas season. Scott and I will be just as committed to torturing ourselves every year as we pull out these lump of coals for our listener's enjoyment.

The latest trailer shows that this one may be even more painful and eye-roll inducing than the first. Considering how popular actual royal weddings are on TV, I think this is a pretty genius idea for a sequel, even if it is 90 minutes that I'd rather use plucking my unibrow with a monkey wrench. You can't fault them for going all in on this schlock. I know at least one of you is pumped to the heavens for this, and you can keep it to yourself if you want.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Remembering Stan Lee

Stan Lee passed away at age 95. As a kid who collected comic books, I looked up to Lee as an inspiration. My skill level as an artist was one where you could make out that I drew a bird by it having wings. It was an inspiration to me that Lee was an icon in the comic book world mostly through his writing and imagination. It was encouraging to know that comic books needed more than just great artwork but people who can craft compelling stories and complex characters.

He played a huge role as the co-creator of many of the most iconic superheroes including Spider-Man, Iron Man, Black Panther, Incredible Hulk, Thor, Ant-Man, Daredevil, Fantastic Four and the X-Men. As a kid, I always wrongfully assumed that he was the owner of Marvel comics, because he had his monthly column, Stan's Soapbox, in every issue of Marvel's comic books. His editorials were a balance of humour and social discussion, and often were some of the most entertaining and informative parts of the comics. Even though he was not the owner or founder of the company, he did become the face of Marvel.

There is some dispute over how much he did creatively, but despite that, he is credited for shaping Marvel into its own distinct comic book powerhouse. Those editorial made it clear that he was imaginative and passionate, and he saw the medium of comic books as more than just child entertainment. He wanted them to say something and even drive positive change in society. He was one of the first where I learned that mainstream entertainment can both be exciting but have deeper meaning and be about important issues.

I was never part of the DC Comics vs. Marvel Comics divide as a young collector, and I was a big fan of Batman and Superman. It is pretty hard to argue that people like Stan Lee, Steve Ditko and Jack Kirby reshaped how people saw comic book storytelling and played a role by indirectly improving DC Comics. Prior to the 1960s, the superheroes were mostly one dimensional and straight-forward unshakeable virtuous heroes. Lee and company created heroes who not only had cool superpowers but were complicated and nuanced.

The characters were often allegories and metaphors for deeper issues. Spider-man and his powers represented puberty and the challenges of a teenager. The X-Men symbolized the civil rights movement that was growing at the time. Professor X and Magneto helped represent the real divide that existed among factions that were seeking justice and equality.  But these comic books were nuanced and challenging even without any of the symbolism or metaphors.

Lee created heroes that had struggles that the average person faced. Peter Parker was a hero that battled evil super villains but he also was worried about asking a date to the first dance or dealing with acne. Tony Stark struggled with alcoholism, and Bruce Banner has more issues than just turning green and monstrous. None of the new heroes were purely good, but wrestled with their egos or depression or anxiety or various problems that every person encounters. I connected with these characters because there was authenticity to them even if they had powers that were pure fantasy. It was through comic books as a kid that I learned about layers in storytelling and deeper characterizations.

It was Marvel's gamble on more complicated stories that I think forced DC Comics to really add depth and create some of their most interesting story arcs in the 1970s and 1980s. Lee played a huge part in changing perceptions of comic books and crafted stories that eventually would be the inspiration for the big blockbusters that flood the big screens today.

Of course, even if you are not a reader of the comic books, then you know Stan Lee as the older gentleman who has a fun cameo in every Marvel movie. I know that is something many movie fans will miss.

I will always be thankful for Stan Lee being one of my first major creative inspirations and giving me the power to dream and think big/

RIP Stan Lee (December 28, 1922 - November 12, 2018) and Excelsior!

Monday, November 12, 2018

The Breakdown of 'The Girl in the Spider's Web', 'The Grinch', 'The Other Side of the Wind', 'The Holiday Calendar', and 'Shirkers'

This week on The Movie Breakdown we've got reviews for some long awaited movies. If we're talking about long waits then how about a movie that was filmed before I was born and has finally been released now with legendary filmmaker Orson Welles' final movie, The Other Side of the Wind. We have a soft-reboot quasi sequel to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo with the now Claire Foy starring The Girl in the Spider's Web. Who hasn't been saying that we need more remakes of holiday specials stretched out to feature length, and we have that in The Grinch. It is finally that time of the year when Netflix starts rolling out their Hallmark-esque purposefully (I think) cheesy romantic holiday movie in The Holiday Calendar. Then we have a documentary of a small indy film that went missing for over a decade in Shirkers. As always we really hope you love the show, and if you do then please spread the word to other new movie fans.

Reminder that you can now subscribe either to The Movie Breakdown feed (a subscription link is at the top right hand of this site) or on iTunes (if you enjoy the show, please help us by giving us a five star review).

Four Star Rating:

The Other Side of the Wind ***½ (CS & SM)
The Girl in the Spider's Web **½ (CS)
The Holiday Calendar *½ (CS) & * (SM)
The Grinch **½ (CS)
Shirkers ***½ (CS) & *** (SM)

Tuesday, November 06, 2018

The Breakdown of 'Bohemian Rhapsody', 'The Nutcracker and the Four Realms', 'Hunter Killer', 'Apostle', 'The Night Comes For Us', and 'Gnome Alone'

It is jam-packed episode of The Movie Breakdown with reviews for six new releases. The biggest movie this week is the rock biopic of iconic frontman Freddie Mercury and his band Queen, Bohemian Rhapsody. We also look at two kid pictures including the retelling of a classic short story turned ballet in The Nutcracker and the Four Realms and the animated adventure feature, Gnome Alone. We then discuss some thrillers in the violent Indonesian gangster picture The Nights Comes for Us, the submarine flick Hunter Killer, and the story of a man trying to save his sister from a cult in Apostle. As always, we had a blast recording this week's episode, and we hope you have just as much fun. If you enjoy the show then please help us out by spreading the word to other movie fans.

Reminder that you can now subscribe either to The Movie Breakdown feed (a subscription link is at the top right hand of this site) or on iTunes (if you enjoy the show, please help us by giving us a five star review).

Star Ratings:

Bohemian Rhapsody **½ (CS)
Apostle *** (CS & SM)
The Nutcracker and the Four Realms *** (CS)
The Night Comes For Us **½ (CS) & ** (SM)
Hunter Killer ** (CS)
Gnome Alone ** (CS) & *½ (SM)

Scott Goes to War with His First Punishment Movie

As any long time listener of The Movie Breakdown knows, we have an annual Summer Box Office Challenge where Scott and I each draft ten summer movies that we think will have the highest grossing opening weekend. The winner of the contest then gets to pick three movies that the loser has to watch and write a review. Another thing long time listeners will know is that I've won every year.

Scott has written the review for his first 'punishment' movie in the faith based picture, War Room. Apparently, this is a Christian production that actually looks like a real movie. That is also about the only positive that Scott is able to come up with, as it appears he really hated this one. I've already been told that this is the worst movie that I've forced him to see. I say that is yet another win for me.

The review actually has some pretty good insight in why it doesn't work and the problem with most faith-based movies. Please check out Scott's pain in his latest review over at his site.

Monday, November 05, 2018

Best Movie vs. Favourite Movie: Is There a Difference?

It is the time of year that the studios start releasing their big Oscar hopefuls. It is also around this time that film reviewers and critics start reflecting on all the movies that they've seen in preparation for their annual top ten movies lists. Most of those movies are still to be seen, unless the critic hit most of the festivals. Many of the lists tend to skew heavy with movies released in the last two months, though they are some critics that prefer to scatter then with the big summer adventures. No matter who makes the lists, they tend to stir a lot of comments from readers complaining how wrong the critic was to leave off a certain movie or to rank another so high.

In a vain attempt to stop these comments, the list maker will often inform their reader or listener or viewer that the lists are subjective. Just like I've written a thousand times on here, all movie reviews or even any critiquing on art is subjective and just the view of the person who is declaring it. Often the reviewer will mention how star ratings don't matter for lists and sometimes a movie that got a lower score will rank higher than a movie that scored better in their initial reviews. The reason is often because the person rewatched the movies and their opinions were altered or one movie turned out to age better in the person's mind. A movie that didn't leave much of an impression at first can continue to haunt the reviewer for the remainder of the year. Opinions can change and sometimes a movie becomes gold on that second or third rewatching (Get Out got better and better each time that I revisited it, which is why it ended up ranking higher at the end of the year compared to the mid-year).

Some reviewers and critics will start their lists by saying that the movie may not necessarily be the best movies but rather their favourite movies. I have also seen some critics and reviewers rebrand their list to Favourite Movies of the Year rather than Best of the Year.

I call shenanigans.

When looking at something subjective like art and in this case specifically movies, I don't believe there is any difference between best and favourite. The best movies for a specific person happens to also be their favourite movies. When I list my Best Movies of 2018, I will also be listing my favourite movies, and I am well aware that my list will be different than every other critic. If that wasn't the case and the best movies of 2018 was objective and provable then there would be no point of Scott and I having separate lists for our end of the year shows.

Now, you can determine what is great cinematography or a great acting performance or even a well-written script, but as a whole a package, it is much harder deciding what is the best movie. You can even admit a movie is well-directed or have amazing acting, but it still did not resonate with you. If a well-made movie falls flat or doesn't connect, then you're not going to call it one of the best of the year. The best movies for a person is one that emotionally connects with them and affects them in a deep way that they are still thinking about it days later. One person's best can be another person's slog.

This also comes with star ratings. If I give four stars to a movie, I am not saying it has perfect cinematography or the best acting but rather the movie that left an unshakeable impact on me. It was movie that I loved and is one of the best. The criteria can and does change from movie to movie. There is no formula that makes a movie get four stars and land on a best of the year. It just does, and as a reviewer, it is my job to try to communicate the journey to how it got there for me personally.

This is also why I hate labels like 'guilty pleasure' or 'so bad that it is good', because they just come off as someone embarrassed that they liked something that others have deemed garbage. For me, if you like it then you like it. If you want to rewatch it, then it has some type of value. It is the job of the critic to figure out why a movie worked. I stand by liking The Lone Ranger or Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets even when no one else seemed to agree. I am not feeling guilty about it though.

Now, favourite does not have to mean fun or enjoyable. I have connected with movies that are dark or even depressing, but they've spoke to me in some way and have made a deep connection. Usually movies like that have challenged me or given me new perspective, and for those reasons, I feel they are one of the best movies. Movies like mother!, 13th, The Revenant, Under the Skin, or 12 Years a Slave were not feel-good movies, but they were powerful movies that left a mark on me and I thought were important. I am glad I have seen each of them and still think about them often, which is why all of them made my Best of the Year lists from their respective years.

When my best of the year list arrive for 2018, realize that what I am saying is that these are my favourite movies, but also, that they are favourites because I think they are the best for what I want out of a movie.

Thursday, November 01, 2018

Pictorial Tale of the 2018 Spicer Halloween

You may have heard, there was this thing called Halloween yesterday. It made its way to the Spicer Compound. This is how we handled it.

I take great joy in knowing Danika is channeling young Christopher who loved digging into pumpkin guts. She is also about as messy too.

Everett wanted 'his jack-o'-lantern to be Groot. Emily drew the face and Everett carved it out. I would say it was a mighty fine job by my ambitious six year old (turning seven).

I asked Danika what she wanted her pumpkin to be carved into. She said 'make it an ugly monster that will scare the people and eat them all up.' This is what I settled on. This particular pumpkin was really bumpy and looked like melted wax, and it was really hard to carve. I ended up not using the typical pumpkin carver and had to resort to a steak knife.

Up until the Halloween, Everett was being a dragon. He then decided that day that he wanted to be a creature riding a dragon. We didn't have time to find additions to his costume, but he decided to take his treat bucket and turn it into the head of his 'Pumpkin Knight.' So, this was his creation and surprisingly he didn't walk into too many walls or trees.

Danika was dressed up as Disney Junior character Fancy Nancy. But if you asked her, she was Fancy Dancy, then would give you a short dance to accompany that announcement.