Documentary Recommendation: Ballet Now (2018)

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Executive Producers: Paul Allen, Elisabeth Moss, Alex Blavatnik, Olga Blavatnik, and Simon Perry

Director: Steven Cantor

Major Cast:  Isabella Boylston, Zachary Catazaro, Preston Chamblee, Reece Clarke, Harrison Coll, Lauren Cuthbertson, Jeanette Delgado, Michelle Dorrance, Virgil Gadson, Marcelo Gomes, Rachel Hutsell, Bill Irwin, Lauren King, Claire Kretzschmar, Marc Moreau, Lars Nelson, Tiler Peck, Kleber Rebello, Taylor Stanley, Cory Stearns, Byron Tittle, Daniel Ulbricht, James Whiteside, and Indiana Woodward

MMPA Rating: NA

Running Time: 1 hour and 14 minutes

*******

As one of the principal dancers with the New York City Ballet, Tiler Peck is only 4 feet 10 inches tall and 29 years old (at the time).  She’s the first women ever asked to curate the Ballet NOW program at The Music Center in Los Angeles, CA in 2018.  Peck was also the director and lead performer, in addition to a varied cast of dancers with different styles.  As the camera chases her around the stage during rehearsals or while she tries to nail down her own routines, it all leads to the night of the show.  There’s hip-hop, clapping, tap dancing, and a comedic performance with a live orchestra.  As with many artistic endeavors, it somehow comes together in the end through all the stress to make a success.  This is not like the other documentaries I’ve seen about ballet, but just as interesting to watch especially for someone who has no rhythm and has one move on the dance floor. 

*******

I rate Ballet Now GREAT with Four Fingers at 90%

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2019

Objective: Spreading the Blog/News

What a great way to make me post another blog with minimal writing.  The second person to email me on my pisariescreator email happened in August of this year that wasn’t spam.  Being my life is never dull and I never seem to have a moment to spare, I decided to look at that particular email address.  My other e-mail accounts notify me when I have new emails, but not this one so I missed the three emails from this guy who travels, mainly of the overland style.  I don’t mind learning new things, but I can tell you  this probably wouldn’t be for me on a yearly basis.  I’m not a fan of road trips especially since I get car sick easily.  I could give the old try once, but that’s all my head and body could handle.  There’s good information on this overland site and just spreading the news, as the saying goes.  There’s a lot of places to travel and people to meet.  While I plan on traveling more when I’m retired or at least older, it’s something to think about in my future.  Click anywhere on the Overland Site strip below to connect to their website.  Cheers everyone!

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My Favorite Songs Out of the Top 500 by Rolling Stone

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Rolling Stone magazine compiled a list of the top 500 best songs.  The list was extensive and hard to pick from although I managed to do it.  I broke them down into increments of 100 and picked the top 11 in each one.  Why 11?  I couldn’t pick just 10.  I’m sure there are passionate Beatles fans out there, but The Rolling Stones are better.  I like their songs and lyrics better although The Beatles had more songs included on the complete list.  Bob Dylan had the second most included songs on the list and The Rolling Stones came in third.  The complete list was updated in 2010. The highest number of songs came from the 1960s with 196 and the lowest number of songs from the 1940s with one.  The top three songs were “Like a Rolling Stone” by Bob Dylan from 1965, “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” by The Rolling Stones in 1965, and “Imagine” by John Lennon in 1971.  You might find some disagreement with my order or the songs I picked, but feel free to create your own and share.

Rolling Stone Songs Ranking 1-100

PC Ranking RS Ranking Year of Song Name of Song Artist/Band
1 14 1963 Blowin’ in the Wind Bob Dylan
2 69 1961 Crying Roy Orbison
3 31 1971 Stairway to Heaven Led Zepplin
4 95 1956 Blue Suede Shoes Carl Perkins
5 58 1983 Billie Jean Michael Jackson
6 15 1980 London Calling The Clash
7 89 1965 California Dreamin’ The Mamas & The Papas
8 19 1956 Hound Dog Elvis Presley
9 40 1964 Dancing in the Streets Martha And The Vandellas
10 6 1966 Good Vibrations The Beach Boys
11 92 1976 Blitzkrieg Bop The Ramones

Rolling Stone Songs Ranking 101-200

PC Ranking RS Ranking Year of Song Name of Song Artist/Band
1 122 1961 Stand By Me Ben E. King
2 165 1990 Nothing Compares 2 U Sinéad O’Connor
3 167 1988 Fast Car Tracy Chapman
4 182 2003 Hey Ya! Outkast
5 188 1970 Who’ll Stop the Rain Credence Clearwater Revival
6 176 1966 Paint it Black The Rolling Stones
7 147 1979 Rock Lobster The B-52’s
8 126 1960 Will You Love Me Tomorrow The Shirelles
9 120 1977 Go Your Own Way Fleetwood Mac
10 179 1989 Free Fallin’ Tom Petty
11 181 1980 Love Will Tear Us Apart Joy Division

Rolling Stone Songs Ranking 201-300

PC Ranking RS Ranking Year of Song Name of Song Artist/Band
1 285 1971 Ain’t No Sunshine Bill Withers
2 272 1983 Sunday Bloody Sunday U2
3 286 2003 Seven Nation Army The White Stripes
4 216 1989 Rockin’ in the Free World Neil Young
5 201 1966 Hey Joe Jimi Hendrix
6 264 1994 Hallelujah Jeff Buckley
7 233 1972 Walk on Wild Side Lou Reed
8 236 2007 Paper Planes M.I.A.
9 273 2004 Jesus Walks Kanye West
10 238 1957 Everyday Buddy Holly and the Crickets
11 263 1969 Oh, What A Night The Dells

Rolling Stone Songs Ranking 301-400

PC Ranking RS Ranking Year of Song Name of Song Artist/Band
1 385 1995 Fake Plastic Trees Radiohead
2 377 1989 Personal Jesus Depeche Mode
3 392 1997 Bitter Sweet Symphony The Verve
4 327 2004 Take Me Out Franz Ferdinand
5 343 1971 Wild Horses The Rolling Stones
6 321 1979 Comfortably Numb Pink Floyd
7 307 2000 One More Time Daft Punk
8 344 1982 Beat It Michael Jackson
9 354 1958 La Bamba Ritchie Valens
10 348 1966 You Keep Me Hanging On The Supremes
11 394 1965 Ticket to Ride The Beatles

Rolling Stone Songs Ranking 401-500

PC Ranking RS Ranking Year of Song Name of Song Artist/Band
1 435 1983 New Year’s Day U2
2 417 1989 Monkey Gone to Heaven Pixies
3 474 1970 Into the Mystic Van Morrison
4 452 1991 Come As You Are Nirvana
5 480 1994 Sabotage Beastie Boys
6 448 2002 In Da Club 50 Cent
7 405 1976 (Don’t Fear) the Reaper Blue Öyster Cult
8 439 1973 Midnight Train to Georgia Gladys Knight and the Pips
9 466 2001 Get Ur Freak On Missy Elliott
10 429 1973 Piano Man Billy Joel
11 450 1973 I Shot the Sheriff Bob Marley and the Wailers

2019

Movie Review: Pet Sematary (2019)

Quote from Pet Sematary by Louis Creed

“A place to bury our pets and remember them. I know it seems scary, but it’s not. Perfectly natural, just like dying is natural.”

There are not major spoilers in this review!

pet sematary

Sometimes Once is Enough

Pet Sematary is a remake of the original movie released in 1989 that was written by Stephen King and directed by Mary Lambert.  I preferred this one so much better for several reasons.  The first was the casting choices.  Dale Midkiff playing a tortured father of Louis Creed interacting with Fred Gwynne as the semi-friendly neighbor of Jud Crandall was a good exchange.  Denise Crosby’s as Rachel Creed and Miko Hughes as Gage Creed had all the creepiness you would expect.  The second was how the characters’ personalities.  For all the admiration I have of John Lithgow, his portrayal of Jud Crandall was more bitter than discerning grandfather.  The emotions of Jason Clarke as Louis Creed fell flat and Jeté Laurence as Ellie Creed’s performance didn’t have the same effect because she was older.  I’ll leave the rest for my evaluation at the end.

Bad Things Happen in Small Town USA

Pet Sematary is a horror, mystery, thriller movie with a running time of one hour and 41 minutes. The MPAA rating is R for horror violence, bloody images, and some language. The screenplay is written by Matt Greenberg and Jeff Buhler and adapted from Stephen King’s novel and the movie is directed by Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer.  The cast include Jason Clarke as Dr. Louis Creed, Amy Seimetz as Rachel Creed, Sonia Maria Chirila as Young Rachel, John Lithgow as Jud Crandall, Jeté Laurence as Ellie Creed, Hugo & Lucas Lavoie as Gage Creed, Obssa Ahmed as Victor Pascow, Alyssa Brooke Levine as Zelda Goldman, Suzy Stingl as Norma Crandall, Maria Herrera as Marcela, Jacob Lemieux as “Mouse Face,” Maverick Fortin as “Dog Face,” Lou Ferrando as “Rabbit Face,” Najya Muipatayi as “Cat Face,” Emma Hill as “Horse Face,” and Leo, Tonic, Jager, and JD as Church the Cat.  This Di Bonaventura Pictures and Paramount Pictures production is basically about when good intentions go bad in small town U.S.A.

    Pet Sematary’s Trailer

    Short Synopis of Pet Sematary

    Pet Sematary begins with Dr. Louis Creed who moves from big city to a small town in Maine.  In Ludlow, he settles into a spacious house with his wife and two children.  He works in a university hospital and after failing save a student named Victor Pascow, he starts to have nightmares about it.  October is fast approaching and changes have occurred.  The family cat is no longer friendly and the Creed family reacts to in different ways.  Whether haunted by past incidents or present tragedies, as head of the family Louis Creed finds himself having to make decisions despite the advice of Jud Crandall.  The people intimately involved with Pet Sematary, that being Louis, Jud, and Ellie, are set on a collision course among each other.  Rachel is still at her parents’ house dealing with the nightmares of her sister.  When she returns to Ludlow, it signals a new beginning for both her and Louis.  There are two endings to the movie and the one chosen was the better of the two.  Although I did like the closing scene in the alternate ending as it is the more disturbing of the two.

    Evaluation of Pet Sematary

    I knew from the beginning Pet Sematary wasn’t going to be a great movie, but this remake fell far from the mark of being a solid good movie.  I commented a little about my preference for the original, but I will give this version credit of expanding and making it different.  I just wish Ellie had less freakish strength in a particular scene.  It was hokey and unbelievable.  You can have a mean character in any story, but it begs the question of why Louis would hang out more than once with such a grumpy old fart that stayed grumpy throughout the movie.  I wouldn’t have invited Jud to my child’s birthday party or invited him over for a beer.  There’s a way to warn someone without sounding like a know it all.  There were two versions of the end scene.  The version included in the movie was the one I preferred although the end scene in the alternative one was more disturbing.  For everything Ellie was, I would’ve changed her outcome so with this in mind this movie fell into the territory between bad and good.  Since I didn’t account for this rating, it’s either a high bad or low good at 70.5% (hypothetically speaking).  Going off my rating sheet, I would rate it 71% to put a positive spin on it.

    I rate Pet Sematary GOOD with THREE FINGERS at 71%.

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    2019

    Four October Quotes

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    2019

     

    Journal Entry Type #19: Do What I Can

    I recently posted somewhere else my ability to touch the back of my feet with relative ease.  The thing I didn’t mention were my thighs hurting like hell before I bothered my roommate and asked if he’d take a picture.  They always seem to be overly tight and have to force myself to use the foam roller every week to loosen my muscles.  I’ve been trying to commit, at least, five days out of the week to exercise.  It’s not so easy not to do and find myself accomplishing this three times each week.  If you’re trying to lose weight, don’t buy candy or junk food.  They put on the pounds.  Guess what?  I bought candy and then ate my feelings on Saturday with a chocolate bar.  Lesson learned.  I’m working my way up to jogging 4 miles (it has to get easier) and getting back to weights consistently.  I went grocery shopping and bought some new things (after listening to a mom describe to her husband what each one was).  I prefer the cauliflower puffs.  There’s three months left to attain the two major goals I set for myself in January 2019.  Where has all the other 9 months gone?  I guess time to haul ass as they say and do what I can.

    mebackfeet

    2019

    Documentary Recommendation: Frank Serpico (2017)

    Quote from Frank Serpico by Frank Serpico

    “I said this to the Knapp Commission over 25 years ago,… We must create an atmosphere where the crooked cop fears the honest cop, and not the other way around.”

    frank serpico

    Executive Producers: Brian Devine Sr. Silvija Devine, and Jonathan Gray

    Director: Antonino D’Ambrosio

    Writer: Antonino D’Ambrosio

    Major Cast: Frank Serpico, Stanislao Pugliese, Janet Panetta, John O’Connor, John Bal, Londel Davis, Ramsey Clark, Bob Delaney, Eddie Mamet, David Burnham, Robert Daley, Luc Sante, Donna Murch, and John Turturro plus archive footage of John G. Avildsen, Dino De Laurentis, David Durk, Daryl Gates, Rudy Giuliani, Charles Grodin, Whitman Knapp and voice of Al Pacino

    MMPA Rating: NA

    Running Time: 1 hour and 38 minutes

    *******

    When the movie Serpico was released in 1973, based on the experiences of Frank Serpico while employed by the NYPD, he probably didn’t think it would lead to Al Pacino’s Oscar nomination for Lead Actor or Waldo Salt and Norman Wexler’s Oscar nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay from the book written by Peter Maas.  Al Pacino did win the Golden Globe for Best Actor in 1974 although the real Frank Serpico was in Switzerland during this time.  He has since returned to live in New York and continues to speak out about police corruption and brutality.  While any random police department has never operated 100% completely in the negative or positive, there are some departments that seem more prone to operate in the shadows.  It’s in these larger police departments, where corruption, violence, and greed breeds, that is the concern of Frank Serpico.  It’s easier to get rid of a few sour grapes, as I call them in police departments, compared to a whole organization operating outside written policies and principles.  The justification seems to be “it’s always been done this way” without looking at ways to change things for the better.  Many current police officers view Serpico as a traitor while others view him as a hero.  It’s easier to stay in the background and remain quiet than speak up for your convictions as fellow officers point out in the documentary.  I believe it’s possible to dissect parts of any police department without destroying everything around it including morale.  With the right open minded people, it’s possible to improve police relationships within their own ranks, let alone the communities they are to protect.  To quote Serpico himself, he said, “the problem is that the atmosphere does not yet exist in which an honest police officer can act without fear of ridicule or reprisal from fellow officers.”  It’s hard not to think he was put there for a reason.  I’ve said before you’re a human first and profession second.  Your childhood upbringing will influence your views later in life.  If you grew up in a family committed to certain beliefs, chances are you won’t outgrow them until you move away from your family or you find the strength within yourself to challenge them for whatever reason.  Serpico held fiercely onto his need for authenticity and while it got him kicked off the movie set of Serpico, he was willing to sacrifice himself for the greater good.  This documentary ends on a sobering note where it’s clear some important aspects of police work have remained the same despite the amount of time passed since the 1970s.

    *******

    I rate Frank Serpico GREAT with Four Fingers at 90%

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    2019

    Poem: Coming Home

    tunnel

    In the dark, night after night, I sat, uncomfortably, on the chair,

    the bars digging into my back.  The minutes could not be counted.

    There were too many, perhaps thousands or millions, it was only

    the absence of influence that was certain.

     

    Deeper into the night, I closed my eyes, and invited the brightness

    of the stars with the imaginary moon guiding me on the water.

    The echoes of nervous tapping on the rocks, the current never strong

    enough take me where I needed to go, to escape for my body to recover.

     

    Submerged into the darkness, I stood with cracked feet, fully committed,

    the chains held by rusted nails.  Under the wooden slats, where the head

    of my enemy began and rubbed against my ankle.  The keys clinking

    with other keys, belonging to someone else’s hands, not far away. 

     

    In the dark, back and forth, I rocked side to side, nothing bearing down

    or making the situation different.  The images were kept proportional.

    Their thoughts of my being, some anxiety and fear, it was only

    the lack of understanding that I would come home.

    2019

    How Much is Your Gas Worth?

    I decided to look online to see what the prices of gas were in the states and how it compared to the rest of the world since the cost of gas recently went up in California.  I was able to get numbers on the average cost of gas in the USA and the 10 top highest and lowest gas prices in the world.  California had the most expensive average gas, thanks to the additional taxes the state adds, and Louisiana had the least expensive average gas when only looking within the USA.  Within a day, the average price of gas in California went up by $0.05 so $4.12 today according to AAA.  It doesn’t even compare when going into the rest of the world where Hong Kong in 2018 had the most expensive gas at $7.12.  Libya had the least expensive gas at $.42 in 2018.  According to 24/7 Wall St., the most expensive gas is Zimbabwe at $12.64 and the least expensive gas is Venezuela at $0.03 in 2019.  As of right now, I’m perfectly fine sitting, lying, and standing (key word: living) in Nevada although I miss parts of Los Angeles although not the traffic.

    Source: AAA from October 1, 2019

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    Source: 24/7 Wall St. from March 12, 2019

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    Source: World Atlas from June 11, 2018

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    pc2019

    Hulu Documentary Recommendation: Untouchable (2019)

    Quote by Harvey Weinstein

    “People want to see big, escapist fare.  They don’t want to be challenged to think.”

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    Executive Producers: Charlie Dorfman, David Gilbery, Hugo Grumbar, Tim Haslam, Tom McDonald, and Simon Young

    Director: Ursula Macfarlane

    MMPA Rating: No Rating Given

    Running Time: 1 hour and 38 minutes

    Have you ever wondered about the actual power Harvey Weinstein possessed and why the actors and actresses chosen for his movies won Oscars time and time again in the 1990s and early 2000s?  It’s because he knew a great story when he saw one and had the guts to take risks.  It’s because he knew how to wine and dine those associated with the Academy, which led to crucial votes for his movies.  It’s because he had his hand in every inch of Hollywood.  How many times have you heard of a particular movie that saved or bankrupted a studio?  Not that Miramax and the Weinstein Company needed rescuing unless you’re talking about their bad year of 2017 and the really bad year of 2018 when the brothers filed for bankruptcy.  To make matters worse, Harvey Weinstein was kicked out of the Academy in 2017 too.  Untouchable points to the weaknesses and insecurities of Harvey Weinstein as a child and yet he grew into a man who used tactics to get what he desired and did anything to make his movies tantamount to gold.  He was the “IT” man who could make things happen.  He could also make things bad for you.  The negative result of his fame, fortune, and status without boundaries is where the tender meat of the documentary is found.  It is found in those people who challenged him after all the liquor had been drunk, the drugs had been swallowed and snorted, and the paparazzi had moved onto someone else.  It is found in the women that had something to say after many years of silence.   For all his generosity that appeared genuine, he wanted something in return later.  As his power grew and no one bothered to intervene, his  personal need to dominate others increased.  As Brad Pitt recently spoke about when he confronted Harvey Weinstein for making a pass at Gwyneth Paltrow in her early days as an actress, Pitt made it to clear to him that nothing else was going to happen between them.  But not every actress has a caring partner in the movie business as Gwyneth did and even if she did, Harvey Weinstein knew what it took to gain the upper hand.  As he said himself at one point during his life, he was the “sheriff of this shit-ass fucking town.”  I’m sure he was worth his weight in gold back then, but after his second wife divorced him in 2017, after he was arrested in 2018, and now waiting for his trial in 2020, he can’t feel too powerful anymore.  He had a lasting impact on the movie industry,  but whether it is viewed as more positive or negative thirty years from now remains to be determined.  If this documentary highlights anything, it is the following: Hollywood cycles where nothing lasts forever, but certain memories do and it is those people they belong to that have a way of making history.

    *******

    I rate Untouchable FOUR FINGERS at GREAT at 90%.

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    2019

     

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