Sunday, March 2, 2014

Sawley’s 2014 Oscars predictions

Best Picture

American Hustle
Captain Phillips
Dallas Buyers Club
Gravity
Her
Nebraska
Philomena
12 Years a Slave
The Wolf of Wall Street

Best Director

David O. Russell - American Hustle
Alfonso Cuaron - Gravity
Alexander Payne - Nebraska
Steve McQueen - 12 Years a Slave
Martin Scorsese - The Wolf of Wall Street

Best Actor

Christian Bale - American Hustle
Bruce Dern - Nebraska
Leonardo DiCaprio - The Wolf of Wall Street
Chiwetel Ejiofor - 12 Years a Slave
Matthew McConaughey - Dallas Buyers Club

Best Actress

Amy Adams - American Hustle
Cate Blanchett - Blue Jasmine
Sandra Bullock - Gravity
Judi Dench - Philomena
Meryl Streep - August: Osage County

Best Supporting Actor

Barkhad Abdi - Captain Philiips
Bradley Cooper - American Hustle
Michael Fassbender - 12 Years a Slave
Jonah Hill - The Wolf of Wall Street
Jared Leto - Dallas Buyers Club

Best Supporting Actress

Sally Hawkins - Blue JasmineJennifer Lawrence - American Hustle
Lupita Nyong’o - 12 Years a Slave
Julia Roberts - August: Osage County
June Squibb - Nebraska

Best Original Screenplay

Eric Warren Singer & David O. Russell - American Hustle
Woody Allen - Blue Jasmine
Craig Borten & Melisa Wallack - Dallas Buyers Club
Spike Jonze - Her
Bob Nelson - Nebraska

Best Adapted Screenplay

Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy & Ethan Hawke - Before Midnight
Billy Ray - Captain Phillips
Steve Coogan & Jeff Pope - Philomena
John Ridley - 12 Years a Slave
Terence Winter - The Wolf of Wall Street

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 song of the year

I had some over 400 words written, talking about this song and hyping it up and explaining my decision. And then I lost it all. Every. Single. Fucking. Word. Because Tumblr doesn’t have fucking auto save.

I don’t even know what happened. I hit backspace, I guess, and my browser went back to previous pages because I could even recognize what happened.

FUCK.

I’m pissed. It’s happened to all of us in various media throughout our lives. And it SUUUUUUUUCKS.

All those words, my thoughts, gone forever. I babbled on some about how EDM over the last year and a half has become one of my more listened to musical genres, and how this is the first time in a couple years in which a Frank Ocean song isn’t getting the honors. And yadda yadda yadda. All of that is now in the pits of whatever Internet wasteland that stuff deposits itself. I’m going to cry.

I’m not even going to attempt rewriting everything because that’s a lot I would have to remember and I’m too fucking disheartened to even try.

Sorry to all three of you who might have cared. But you’re just gonna have to settle for the song by itself.

So, in conclusion, FUCK Tumblr. FUCK you. FUCK me. FUCK the Internet. FUCK EVERYTHING.

Happy New Year.

Nicky Romero & Krewella - Legacy

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Recap of 2013 in movies

It’s the end of the year, so you know what that means: my look back back at the year in movies. If you’re at all familiar with me, you know how this is going to go. I talk about how I’m not a movie critic and how I always base my appreciation of movies on how much fun I had watching the movie and not on any of that technical mumbo jumbo some movie snobs care about and how these rankings are only of the movies I’ve seen. (Takes deep breath.) Nothing new this time.

Overall, I was pretty disappointed with the selection of movies this year. That’s reflected in the fact that I only saw 20 movies. That may seem like a lot for one person in any given year, but I saw 26 in 2012 and 29 the year before that. Clearly, I’m an avid cinephile and this cinephil was unimpressed with the selection this year, especially the summer movie season, which is typically where I make a feasting.

Anyway, there were still some terrific movies released this year, and rather than dwell on what could have been, let’s get all glass-half-full and celebrate the movie year the was.

Here are this year’s rankings:

(A note first: I mostly enjoyed the movies I saw this year, but as always there were some regrets. Once you get to Pain & Gain, you’re getting to the shit movies)

1. The Wolf of Wall Street
2. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
3. Prisoners
4. Fast & Furious 6
5. Star Trek Into Darkness
6. Side Effects
7. Thor: The Dark World
8. Gravity
9. Iron Man 3
10. This is the End
11. Captain Phillips
12. The World’s End
13. Spring Breakers
14. Don Jon
15. American Hustle
16. Pain & Gain
17. Man of Steel
18. The Great Gatsby
19. Olympus Has Fallen
20. The Hangover Part III

Saturday, October 19, 2013

On Andre Iguodala fitting in with the Warriors

Important analysis by Marcus Thompson:

Jack was tough, had a reliable pull-up jumper and was savvy enough to beat most defenders. But he was small and dribbled a lot. Both became a problem as defenses began to focus more on Jack.

Iguodala — who stands 6-foot-6, 207 pounds — doesn’t seem to have such shortcomings. Because of his size and vision, he can see the whole floor and can make passes many small guards can’t make. Because of his athleticism, he gets to spots on the floor quickly and easily.

Jack ran the offense and, when the play call didn’t get Curry or Thompson open, simply took his man one-on-one. But Jack, because of his size, had a tendency to find himself in traps or had a tough time seeing the open man in traffic. Conversely, Iguodala can see all the angles while in traffic. What’s more, he gets guys open by drawing the defense to him. That’s going to equal a lot of open looks for the Warriors’ shooters.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

A soliloquy about Breaking Bad (no spoilers)

Just rewatched last night’s Breaking Bad, and I cannot think of a more riveting, emotionally draining hour of dramatic television in my experience. Oh, there have been more shocking MOMENTS on TV. Stringer Bell, Lane Pryce, the Red Wedding and a whole bunch of shit on 24 come to mind. But last night was an hour straight of poetic torture. 24 hours later and I’m still reeling. AND THERE’S STILL 2 EPISODES LEFT. We haven’t even gotten to the climax of this story arc yet! I presume that comes in the penultimate episode this weekend and will be handled the same way the shootout was the last two weeks—begins in the last 10 minutes, then cliffhanger, then resolves itself within the first 20 to 30 minutes next week, leaving ample room in what’s sure to be an appropriately expanded episode, minutes wise, for resolution. But if we don’t get at least a 30 minute epilogue to close out the finale, I’m going to be pissed. I hate rushed endings in the narrative of episodic TV. WE NEED SUFFICIENT RESOLUTION. Anyway, if you’re still catching up on the show, just be prepared to enlist psychiatric help beginning whenever you expect to finish the episode Ozymandias.


Rambling: completed. Now I’m going to drink some Schraderbrau.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

If I had to rewatch old episodes of Power Rangers shows from when I was a kid as an adult, I think I’d be pretty fuckin’ miserable. Yeah, karate and nostalgia and the pink ranger and yadda yadda. But at it’s core it’s still a corny kids show that’s horribly acted.

But when it comes to the theme song, it’s a different story.

I could spend an entire Saturday sitting on my couch in my underwear listening to this on repeat while bobbing my head and playing air guitar.

Now THAT is nostalgia.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Farewell to my sweet Sienna

image

I was 9 years old, no, maybe 10, when we first welcomed my dog Sienna to our family.  She was 1 or 2 years old (we never really knew) when we rescued her from the pound. That was some 14 years ago. I’m 23 now. And Sienna, well, you can do the math for dog years. I still remember that day at the pound vividly, as with the day we finally got to bring her home. And along the way there have been countless memories I’ll always hold close to my heart.

It’s been 14 years of each other’s company. 14 years of pooping and peeing in the house and drinking out of the toilet. 14 years of beef with the neighbor’s cats that would rival only Biggie and Tupac. 14 years of mutual love and affection. 14 years of growing up together. 14 years being the sweetest, kindest, coolest dog you can ask for. 14 years I’ll never forget.

Sienna passed away on Friday. It’s with immense sadness and through many tears that I write this. But I can think of no better way to memorialize the dog I love so much than putting my thoughts and feelings into words and sharing these cherished memories with anybody who wants to read them.

Growing up I had always wanted a dog. But living in an apartment complex that prohibited pets prevented that from being anywhere near possible. Then after I completed the fourth grade, my family moved into a house. This was my chance, I thought. The shameless incessant begging began almost immediately after the move. My early attempts were shot down, with my parents citing reasons such as “dogs are too much responsibility” or “if the dog barks too much, the neighbors complain.” That didn’t discourage me, however. And after months of relentless and carefully-planned pleading and empty promises (“I’ll get up early every morning before school to walk the dog!”), and probably some timely tears along the way (I was an evil child), I finally got my parents to commit to getting me a dog. Or, at least my dad did. My mom wasn’t on board at first (that didn’t last long once we brought Sienna home). But one parent was all I needed.

Not long after, my dad finally took me to the pound to pick out the new member of our family. On our way there, I didn’t know what to expect. I thought we had to pick out a name for the dog. I remember considering names of my favorite Pokemon, which I was balls deep into at the time. Thank God the dogs already had names. I’m really glad I didn’t have to call my dog “Pikachu” in 2013.

The one condition my parents established from the beginning, however, was that the dog had to be quiet. We didn’t want to have a dog that wouldn’t stop yapping and bringing dismay to the neighborhood, a thoughtful consideration our neighbors through the years have brazenly ignored with their own pets.

We considered a few dogs before we finally came across a quiet and shy medium-sized dog timidly hunkered down toward the back of her kennel. As frightened as she appeared, she was also beautiful, with a lush black and brown coat of fur and paws that looked like they were dipped in vanilla ice cream. On the kennel’s gate, the nametag read “Sienna” and had “husky mix,” whatever that meant, listed as the breed (to this day we still don’t know what exact breed she was). We took her for a short walk outside of the building as a sort of “test run.” When she interacted with us we was very affectionate and gentle and exhibited no signs of being an aggressive- or hostile-natured dog. Sienna didn’t have a single mean bone in her body. Upon seeing Sienna outside, one lady who worked there exclaimed, “There’s my baby!” almost to give her stamp of approval to us. By the end of the walk, we knew Sienna was the one we wanted to adopt. I hope all the other dogs at the pound were able to find safe and loving homes like we gave Sienna.

When we finally brought her home, it became clear she was previously the victim of abuse wherever she came from. Her timorous state at the pound was an early indicator of this. She would also cower down and pee or hide somewhere when we would raise our voices while housebreaking her. The top of her right ear had a gimp to it, apparently from being harmed. She would also coil her ears back and slump her face downward when somebody was giving her love. She was just generally afraid of people. But after she saw she now had a loving family and home, she learned to trust us. Eventually that applied to other people as well. She was especially genial around kids who were eager to pet her. But the thought that somebody could ever be so heinously vile to an animal—especially a sweet and innocent one like Sienna—still makes my blood boil to this day.

There were some growing pains along the way, however. OK, a lot of growing pains. Like any pup, Sienna went through a habit of chewing through things she shouldn’t be chewing through. Furniture. Shoes. Electrical wires. Screen doors. Yes, SCREEN DOORS. (And, yes, plural.) There was also a lot of peeing and pooping indoors, even after she was housebroken. The constant shedding of hair was an unrelenting nuisance as well. Other times when she was being pest it was a little more endearing. Like how she wouldn’t eat her dog food unless we mixed in chicken or other leftovers from dinner. Or how she would also stand up on her hind legs and put her front paws up on people when she was nervous or excited. She’d also beg for food when you were sitting down at the dining table by repeatedly poking her face in your lap. Going away to a college eight hours away for four years was a tough time for me, as well. It was the first time I’d have to spend an extended time away from her. Whenever I came back home, Sienna was always the one I most looked forward to seeing. Sorry, parents helping me with tuition.

Sienna’s favorite pastime was going for walks at a nearby middle school, which we referred to as “the Hill” because it’s literally perched on top of one of our town’s highest points. The school’s campus is expansive, complete with vast areas grass for half a dozen or so soccer fields and three baseball diamonds, along with other various walking trails. Some days Sienna would be the only dog there; other days there’d be as many five or six. Taking dogs off the leash didn’t seem to be an issue, either. The school grounds are so immense that even with several dozen brats named Tucker or Cody chaotically chasing a soccer ball while annoyingly overzealous soccer moms cheered them on, it was still safe in some places to let your dog run free. It was like the Disneyland of dog parks. It provided ample area for Sienna to let loose, poop, sniff around, meet other dogs and sometimes get into trouble. She would run and run and run and run until her tongue was practically dragging on the ground. It gave Sienna an abundance of exercise and kept her in great shape. But more importantly, she absolutely loved going there. She loved it so much that, not even three months after we first got her, she went there by herself when she somehow slipped out of our backyard one time. We didn’t even realize she had gotten loose until the school called us. Thankfully she wasn’t run over by a car, and thankfully we had our contact information on her collar. Eventually she would learn to associate the words “go bye-bye” with going up to Hill. Whenever my dad would get ready to take her up there, he would say those three words to her and she would go certifiably ballistic with uncontrollable excitement and anticipation. Watching her become so animated, you couldn’t help but to think about how smart she was to be able to so keenly determine the meaning of those three words. And then she’d accidentally run into a wall in her haste and make your reconsider everything. A few years ago, however, the assholes from school district banned dogs from coming onto the school’s grounds. Sienna, if she knew what was going on, would have been devastated. I will support any campaign that sends bags of dog shit to the school district’s offices.

Unfortunately, over the last few years, Sienna began showing signs of her advancing age. It became increasingly harder for her to get up the stairs or onto our couches to lie on. She would pee herself while sleeping. She became lazier than she already was. (So lazy that she started pooping inside more often than she was outside. Zero fucks were given on her end. Gotta give it up to her having the balls to do that.) She had difficulty getting up after lying down. Her hind legs were becoming weaker to the point where she could barely stand up while eating food. All of it was heartbreaking to witness, but we accepted that it was part of what came with her age.

The latter two were sadly the beginning of the end. One night a couple weeks ago, Sienna, as she always did, went to my parents’ bedroom to lie down for the night but never got back up. The next day I thought it was weird she hadn’t moved at all over the last several hours since I first saw her. Was she sick? No, her nose was still cold. So, I tried to pick her up to help get her active. But once I got her on her legs and let go, she immediately plopped down backwards. It was clear what had happened. The condition of her hind legs had finally deteriorated to the point where she could no longer get up and stay up on her own.  She wasn’t crippled. She still had feeling and some movement in the legs; they were just very weak. It was surprising only in that it happened quite suddenly and wasn’t a more gradual process over time. Initially, the hope was that this was just a temporary spell and that she’d be up on her own and back to pooping next to the backdoor in no time. After all, it wasn’t the first time she had a problem getting on her feet under her own power; it was never something that rest couldn’t fix. But several hours turned into the next day and the day after that and a few more. Along the way we tried to keep her as comfortable as possible. We put her on extra fluffy bathroom rugs, which we switched out every time she went to the bathroom. We moved her around on all sides so she wouldn’t develop bedsores. And we gave her as much food and water as she wanted. There were mornings in which I wished I woke up and saw her walking around or heard her galloping on the hardwood floor downstairs as she so often did after proudly returning from going to the bathroom outside. Instead I would wake up and see her lying down in the same place with the same defeated look on her face. It became evident this wasn’t going to be something that would work itself out. We probably waited longer to contact the doctor than we should have. But the writing was on the wall. Chalk it up as being in denial or dreading news we didn’t want to hear. And so with immense trepidation over what would result, we finally took her to the vet last week.

The vet said it was ultimately kidney failure that was causing Sienna’s body to shut down. We opted to go for treatment in a last-ditch effort to see if her condition could improve. She spent the last three days of her life in the animal hospital hooked up to an IV. There wasn’t any progress. The doctor said, at her age, doing anything else was futile. It was time to say our goodbyes.

Sienna took her final breaths shortly after noon on Friday, May 10. She was surrounded by my mom and dad and me. Her family.

Now that she’s gone, it’s still all too surreal. Even after heartfelt and emotional goodbyes, I still can’t believe she’s gone. The house feels empty now. Every time I walk past my parents’ bedroom, her favorite place to lie down throughout the day, I still expect to see her sprawled out on the floor. I don’t think that habit will ever end. And I don’t want it to because that would mean forgetting about Sienna, even if just so fleetingly.  A lot of people probably don’t understand the unwavering attachment some people have to their pets. Sienna was more than just the family dog. She was a family member. We grew up together. There exists a special connection between people and their childhood dog. For me, being an only child brought that connection to another level. So as I try to deal with all the pain right now, I’m still damn grateful I got to have that bond with Sienna.

It’s only been a couple days, but I already miss her so, so much. But anytime I find myself lapsing into grief or sadness, I just think of the wonderful, loving home we gave her and the long, good life she lived. And then I’m brought to tears.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

2013 Oscar predictions

Presented without comment, here are my picks for the Oscars:

(picks in bold-italic)


Best Picture:

Amour
Argo Fuck Yourself
Beasts of the Southern Wild
Django Unchained
Les Miserables
Life of Pi
Lincoln
Silver Linings Playbook
Zero Dark Thirty

Best Actor:

Bradley Cooper, Silver Linings Playbook
Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln
Hugh Jackman, Les Miserables
Joaquin Phoenix, The Master
Denzel Washington, Flight

Best Actress:

Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty
Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook
Emmanuelle Riva, Amour
Quvenzhane Wallis, Beasts of a Southern Wild
Naomi Watts, The Impossible

Best Supporting Actor:

Alan Arkin, Argo Fuck Yourself
Robert De Niro, Silver Linings Playbook
Phillip Seymour Hoffman
Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln
Christoph Waltz, Django Unchained

Best Supporting Actress:

Amy Adams, The Master
Sally Field, Lincoln
Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables
Helent Hunt, something nobody cares about
Jacki Weaver, Silver Linings Playbook

Best Director:

Michael Haneke, Amour
Ang Lee, Life of Pi
David O. Russell, Silver Linings Playbook
Steven Spielberg, Lincoln
Behn Zeitlin, Beasts of a Southern Wild


Best Original Screenplay:

Amour
Django Unchained
Flight
Moonrise Kingdom In My Pants
Zero Dark Thirty

Best Adapted Screenplay:

Argo Fuck Yourself
Beasts of the Southern Wild
Life of Pi
Lincoln
Silver Linings Playbook

Thursday, January 31, 2013
historical-nonfiction:

This is a young, hip Alex Trebek at age 23. He’s on a tv show called Music Hop in 1963 on the CBC in Canada.

WHUT?

historical-nonfiction:

This is a young, hip Alex Trebek at age 23. He’s on a tv show called Music Hop in 1963 on the CBC in Canada.

WHUT?

Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 in movies

I don’t know why I do this every year. I’m not a movie critic. I’m not a student of film. I guess I do it because, since I typically see a lot of movies, I feel like I need do some type of reflection on something I spent a lot of my time and money on.

Or maybe this is just me being an OCD weirdo, and subconsciously I can’t truly move on from any of these movies until I pass judgement on them.

Or maybe this is just me posturing. “Look at me! I saw a lot of movies and have something to say about it!”

Anyway, I saw 26 movies that were released this year, which may seem like a lot for an ordinary movie-goer, but it’s not even the most I’ve seen in one year. I saw 29 in 2011.

So here they are, ranked from best to worst. Typically when I do this, I order the movies based on how much I enjoyed each one. Did I leave the movie theater impressed? Did the movie live up to expectations? Was I entertained? DID SOMEBODY SHOW THEIR BEWBS?!?!?!

Or did I sit there thinking, “This is stupid,” every time something happened? (The Amazing Spider-Man)

A note before I get to the list: I genuinely did enjoy a majority of these movies, obviously to varying degrees. When you get to somewhere around Paranormal Activity 4 or Total Recall, my opinion starts to sour. And by the time you get to the end of the list, you’re looking at utter rubbish.

The list:

1. The Avengers
2. Lincoln
3. Skyfall
4. The Dark Knight Rises
5. Argo
6. Looper
7. The Hunger Games
8. The Bourne Legacy
9. Flight
10. Django Unchained
11. 21 Jump Street
12. Project X
13. Ted
14. Contraband
15. This is 40
16. The Dictator
17. Taken 2
18. American Reunion
19. Haywire
20. Paranormal Activity 4
21. Total Recall
22. The Campaign
23. Safe House
24. Men in Black 3
25. Prometheus
26. The Amazing Spider-Man

100.