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Showing posts from 2017

Movies of 1997, part three: Blockbusters, duds, and more

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Films released in 1997--and later nominated for Academy Awards in 1998--rightfully have a foothold on their place in history. The same can be said for certain blockbusters from the same year not named Titanic. When I started this little project, my main goal was to discuss the 1998 Academy Awards and what great movies were represented that year. I had no idea it would unleash a three-part series, mostly because there were so many good films released in 1997 I'd simply forgotten about over time. The movie about a disaster at sea can cause these things to happen.
In all actuality, during those the last three years of the 90's, I was consuming movies and films at a rapid pace. Between living at home the year after high school and not really knowing anyone in my semesters at Boise State, a lot of my time was spent watching movies from not only 1997 but further back as well.
I do believe the films of 1997--classics, blockbusters, and duds alike--all hav…

Movies of 1997, Academy Awards of '98: Part two

Films from 1997--especially many going onto the 1998 Academy Awards--have stood the test of time and continue to entertain people 20 years later. Last week we began a journey in exploring a few favorite films released in 1997. Narrowing the scope, we focused on the nominees for best picture at the 1998 Academy Awards. (Sans The Full Monty, substituted here by Boogie Nights.)
These films might have dominated the evening in any other year. Going up against a love story set against the backdrop of a sinking ship, it seems other films did not stand a chance.
Except they did when it came to acting statuettes, leaving Titanic to take home 11 Oscars but none for their actors.
Instead, actresses from the two other films we're looking at, L.A. Confidential and As Good as It Gets, went home with an Oscar on Academy Award night 1998. God himself could not sink this ship After all of these years, it is still Billy Zane who steals the show in Titanic. Setting aside he i…

The movies of 1997 and the 1998 Academy Awards


The year of 1997 in cinema might be one of the greatest of all-time, leading to a 1998 Academy Awards ceremony in which almost every nominated movie had a legitimate shot at winning. Of course, there was a monster iceberg movie standing in the way. A sinking ship. Hijacked airplanes. Murder. Porn stars. Aliens. John Travolta.
These are only a taste of what films released in 1997 had to offer audiences. Subject matter was sprayed in every general direction, allowing for fans of all genres to sit up and take notice. And looking back at this year, many of the movies listed were ones that influenced and impacted me in some way and a few are still on my list of all-time favorites.
For a quick reminder, here is a sampling of what movies were released in '97:
TitanicL.A. ConfidentialBoogie NightsJackie BrownCon AirAir Force OneGood Will HuntingMen in BlackAs Good as it GetsFace/OffMy Best Friend's WeddingAmistad *Many of these were nominated in one way or the other …

July coming at you with medium heat

The newsletter is a (sometimes) monthly post in which I take a look at what I've enjoyed as of late in pop culture. The following is volume 1, issue 3. Hello friends. Welcome back. 
It's been a bit longer than thirty days since I've sat down to do a newsletter. This is partially because I've been putting a lot of focus into finishing the first draft of The Blue Gem. It is also due to the fact I've written about other stuff over the past few weeks and the newsletter is partly used as a way to still write when other topics are eluding me. 
This is not to say I don't have something brewing. Hopefully coming later this weekend, I will once again travel back to the late 90's to examine some very important movies from that time.
As it is, I spent way too much of any free time watching stuff I've seen before. I've mentioned it before, but even with more than a handful of great stuff being made out there, I find myself stuck watching t.v. shows I've se…

Inches closer and miles away: A look at the United States Men's Soccer Team

A little over a year ago, an argument was being made for the United States Men's National Team to retain Jurgen Klinsmann as coach through the 2018 World Cup.
Then World Cup qualifying began. The United States got off to a horrendous start, Klinsmann was let go, and Bruce Arena was brought in to coach. A one-time thought of soccer ascent now failing, the U.S. turned to its past to transform its future.
Despite  Arena sitting without a loss (7-5-0) since his return, the USMNT looks as uneven as ever.
They can look brilliant, as they did in a 6-0 win over Honduras and a tie with Mexico at Azteca. And the lackluster play follows suit, such as a Gold Cup win over Martinique.
Never mind the team is gearing up for a semi-final match-up in the Gold Cup versus Costa Rica. The results--though at times a struggle--have the United States exactly where they should be in the Gold Cup. 
Arena has used--for the most part--matches in the Gold Cup to evaluate some of t…

That's Science! A formulaic journey into 1990's ABC television

"Pigman is trying prove the Caine-Hackman theory. No matter what time it is, 24 hours a day, you can find a Michael Caine or Gene Hackman movie playing on t.v." - Droz (Jeremy Piven), PCU

There are some days I believe the character of Pigman from PCU is a fictionalized account of my life.

Some days.
It's no secret television shows from the 1990's have a grip on me. Saved by the Bell. Seinfeld. ER. Friends. These shows only scratch the surface of what I sometimes watch to pass the time.
It was while watching an episode of Roseanne that took place at Disney World in which the wheels of my inquisitive mind began turning.
Coupled with seeing episodes of The Middle and Modern Family--two comedies currently showing on ABC--I wondered just how how many sitcoms on ABC had episodes centered on a trip to either Disneyland or Disney World.
More specifically, I wanted to focus on sitcoms airing on ABC in the 1990's (or beginning in the late 80's). Formin…

The value of the unwritten rules of sports

Unwritten rules may not be found in an official rule book, but for many, they are just as important as the written rules that govern a game. Last week, while listening to the latest episode of the That Baseball Show podcast, the hosts briefly brought up the unwritten rule in baseball of 'not bunting to breakup a no-hitter'. This made me wonder how the greater Twitter universe felt about this.
That's right. It was poll time.
It's safe to say the turnout was low, but the results were as follows: Unwritten rule time: Do you bunt to break up a no-hitter? — Jason Haskins (@jasonrh_78) July 3, 2017 Those who voted were pretty split. And with any Twitter poll, there is a lot not said within the parameters of the poll that can come into play. Is it the fifth inning? Seventh? How many runs is your team behind? Is the game tied at zero in the late innings?
My thoughts? You don't do it, especially late in the game, unless the deficit is under three runs. In…

Happy Birthday to (old) America

We are all part of the human race. 
As much as there are certain people of power in this nation--and their followers--that continue to believe otherwise, it's true.
In a day we all should be celebrating our freedoms, more and more is being done to undo years of progress, preventing scores of people to truly feel free, to feel safe.
All done in the name of "Making America Great Again". [Sidenote: what is the point of this song? America was pretty great, until late January of 2017.]
Here's what making America great should look like:
A person should have a right to live the way they choose and to pursue that life, within the constraints of laws, of course. (life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness)A person should be able to live without fear of being discriminated against, without judging looks, without have to walk in a neighborhood without being suspicious.Equality.
Here's what the slogan as coined by ol' 45 truly embodies:
Let's …

Promising stories fall short at The Ranch

"Do you even binge watch, bro?"

I finally submitted to the modern day of watching shows when I went on a three-season, four-day binge of The Ranch.

Normally I'm a big proponent of watching television shows the old-fashioned way: One episode at a time with an ample period of waiting in between.

That's stretching the truth. A few Saturdays ago the great 90's hitER played on my television for close to eight hours, including a gut-wrenching episode involving Carter (Noah Wyle) and Lucy (Kellie Martin).
When it comes to shows on Netflix, I'm usually a 2-3 episode a week kind of guy.
The Ranch turned out to be much different. This was not due to the fact the show is overtly entertaining. It just was...on. And I let it play.
The worst part? There's actually a great show that occasionally bubbles up to the surface when it's not playing to sophomoric humor. The RundownThe Rundown sure was an entertaining movie, wasn't it? I mean, Dwayne Johnson really burst…

Going old school in a new era

Confession time.
I am a 38-year old curmudgeon.
I'm not speaking about everything in life. There have been the occasional old man rants over the years. Clickbait headlines will always annoy me. And don't get me started about keeping people off my lawn.
And today, I'm going to add sports to the list.
Am I shaking my fist at the television (or internet), complaining about the lack of respect these kids have today for the game? No. If anything--thanks to the rise of the internet--there might be more respect for the history of the game than there ever was.
Will I stand on a soapbox and tell you how today's players in various leagues aren't as good or as tough as the players of yesteryear? No. Generations produce different aspects of greatness, with things like safety coming into play. (Though I will say there is a certain league that has done a fair amount to eliminate fun from their games. Different story, different time.)
Sports are ingrained in me. I will take watc…

Local dad to children: Love is not a secret ingredient

Landing as the second-favorite parent in his family for all these years finally took its toll on local dad Ray Hansen.
Fed up with second-tier adoration, Mr. Hansen revealed to his children a family secret he'd been harboring for years: their mother's cooking did not in fact include the secret ingredient of love.
"Love is not something you can mix in with flour and milk," Mr. Hansen told his two teenage kids. "Your mother loves you--just as I do--but never once has she put love into your cookies. And her meatloaf? Ground beef and onions are included, but there is no love. Love cannot be measured in a tablespoon or a quart."
Questioned as to why he chose Father's Day to deliver this stunning revelation to his kids, Mr. Hansen defiantly replied, "To be quite honest, I was tired of my kids believing I didn't love them as much just because I didn't cook.  Yeah, I barbeque from time to time, but am I going to say, 'Kid, these hot dogs are m…

The Cleveland Cavs: Dreaming the impossible dream

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The Cleveland Cavaliers certainly like to make things interesting as far as the NBA Finals are concerned.
The 2017 iteration is trying to outdo the 2016 championship team by trying to come back from a 3-0 deficit to win the title.
In 2016, the Cavs shockingly came back from a 3 games to 1 deficit to take down a Golden State Warriors team which had won a regular-season record 73 games.
To even get one victory in this series, it has taken a herculean effort by LeBron James and a record-setting 24 made three-pointers in game four victory to get the Cavs even this far. 
James--in 2016--had quite the Finals, finishing with averages of 29.7 points, 11.3 rebounds and 8.9 assists. In 2017, he is doing his best to outperform those averages, despite essentially having the same makeup of players supporting him.
To wit, his 2017 stats (thru four games): 31.8 ppg. 11.8 rpg. 10.5 ppg.
The man--hated or loved--will go down as one of the greatest of all-t…