“Who is the Tall Dark Stranger There?” James Garner, My First Man-Crush

“I’m getting a little jealous of James Garner,” my wife informed me as I headed down the basement with my burned DVDs.  I was in the middle of  a bit of binge-watching a few months before Netflix appeared on our horizon.  It involved setting our DVR for a series of old Maverick episodes on the Starz Western channel.

I’d finally figured out how to burn a bushel of the episodes to a DVD and was taking them downstairs to put by the dusty exercise equipment to induce me to get hooked on a show and lose pounds at the same time.

I knew the  Maverick theme song years before I finally saw one of the old episodes…

Who is the tall, dark stranger there? 
Maverick is the name. 
Read More…

New Podcast: “The Fourth Wall” Award-Winning Young Filmmakers

 

How do you make a movie?  What does a producer do?  Are English accents tough?

Kevin is joined by Adam and Daniel Cooper who wrote, directed and edited the short film “The Fourth Wall,” winner of the international festival for young filmmakers Urban 15’s Josiah Media Festival in San Antonio.

Producer Jeremy Shecter and Jonathan D’Ambrosio join the Cooper Brothers to discuss the film, teamwork, making it in the film industry and surprises along the way.

The film won the category for best narrative and is now in competition for the festival’s Best of Show award that will occur live via streaming at 7pm July 10-12 via the group’s site:  http://www.urban15.org/

My Friends Call Me Tex Cobb: a Personal Contemplation of Bravery and Loyalty

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Someone who knows me as well as anyone in the world–someone I’ve known since the playground–once told me he didn’t think I was someone who “had his back.” In a difficult time, I was not a guy he would turn to for help. The context of his comments is forgotten. Maybe it was just a mean thing someone says during an argument to get the last word. Maybe he was recalling a specific incident when he said it, although I can’t imagine what.  The comments hit me like a jab to the temple.  I believe this guy would always have my back. Whatever the context, when … Read More…

Yucking Up “The Walking Dead” to a Few More Emmys: Comic Tips from Three Great Dramas–“Justified,” “The Wire,” and “Breaking Bad”

Granted it’s a zombie apocalypse; granted it’s exhausting peeking around every corner; granted Atlanta in the summer without air-conditioning is brutal.  But come on, let’s have a little levity.

There’s a fine line between tragedy and comedy.  Shakespeare knew this as he preceded the haunted and soon to be hysterical Hamlet in the graveyard with a pun-contest with a local gravedigger.  Even Mercutio, after he was stabbed, found time to squeeze out a groaner:  “Ask for me tomorrow and you shall find me a grave man.”

And what works for the Bard, certainly bears true for three of my favorite dramas.

Justified (FX)

In Justified, Timothy Oliphant is sentenced to his home town of Kentucky after going all Dirty Harry in the opening scene of the opening episode.  … Read More…

Unintentional Vanity Plate: Revenge of the DMV Gods on a New Ass-Man

I’ve always chuckled at people who order vanity plates, but secretly wanted one since I watched an episode of “Dallas” and saw JR pull up in in his Mercedes proclaiming to the world that “EWING 3” had arrived.

JR

But like the cell phone and personalized M&Ms, vanity plates no longer require great wealth or vast oil-connections in the Texas legislature.  States realized the extra windfall and for $10 more, even without a genie, you too can be Larry Hagman.

But I was always too cheap, too lazy to think far enough ahead or, I suspect to be the main reason, too self-conscious.  I didn’t have the nerve of one Dr. Kosmo Kramer…

But the DMV … Read More…

Hollywood’s Spring Training – Saturday’s 46th Michigan Student Film Festival (Great Seats Still Available–and They’re Free!)

Two events, besides roller coasters,  when people don’t mind long lines:  movies and sporting events.  People will drive 24 hours through the night to get a glimpse…

Pitchers

Spring training.  Your team’s undefeated…

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There’s sunshine, plenty of seats available, a great overall vibe…

Autograph

And it’s the only time you can get close enough to some celebrities–some even before they’re famous.

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Old Passions in New Hands: The Ausmus-Abrams Effect on the Tigers and Star Wars

Opening Day has always been much more than the start of a new baseball season. For the players and teams, it marks a new opportunity. For some, it is a chance to put physical or statistical shortcomings behind them. For others, it’s finding someway to harness past success and release it in time for a brand new campaign. And for many, it’s the first taste of playing in front of the tall buildings.

From the fan perspective, Opening Day is a celebration of the past, and a time to party and look towards the possibilities of the future. Who will surprise? Who will disappoint? Is our team destined for play in October?

Here in Detroit, I don’t think there’s been a more intriguing Opening Day … Read More…

For Those Who Don’t Speak Spy: The Case for “World is Not Enough”

Chanukah 2000 was a pivotal moment in my life. One of those fulcrums in the space-time continuum. I remember it vividly. My family was in Memphis, Tennessee visiting my cousin. The trip marked my first time in Memphis, which would spark an interest and appreciation for the blues and Elvis Presley that would stretch well into later years; motivating more trips to the heart of the mid-South and grizzly versions of “Heartbreak Hotel” at karaoke bars across the nation. In addition to those very cultural pillars established that Chanukah, I received two gifts that would mold my childhood and shape much of my adolescence and adulthood. We don’t really do gifts anymore on Chanukah, and I appreciate that, because that’s not what the holiday is … Read More…

New Podcast: The Oscar Post-Op Show Starring Kim Novak, John Travolta and at Least One Mispronounced Celebrity

Kevin Walsh is joined by Sheri Horwitz, Aaron Lebovic and Collin Ward as they dissect the  2014 Oscars, including…

  • Our Panel’s Prediction-Accuracy (and those pesky costume awards),
  • Cringeworthy Moments:  Kim Novak’s Vertigo, Travolta’s stumblings, etc.,
  • The Big Surprises:  Shutout for Hustle,
  • What Should Be Cut:  Montages of Heroes, what?
  • Ellen:  Too-low key and casual–or just right?

So I Didn’t See ‘Em All: Some Oscar Predictions Anyway

Welcome our newest contributor, Steve Palizzi!  You can also hear our podcast with Oscar predictions…

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And for our dissection after the Oscars, Sheri rejoins us along with Aaron Lebovic and Collin Ward…

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I have a confession. I haven’t seen all the movie in all the categories.  I haven’t even seen all the movies nominated for Best Picture. Am I embarrassed? Not really. I figure I’m no different from most of the American public who are making predictions, and I’m certainly no different from most of the voting members. Heck, I won the Detroit Free Press Oscar Derby a number of years ago with limited viewing exposure.  If you can forgive me … Read More…

Watch a REAL Love Story this Valentine’s Day: “Cut me, Mick!”

There is some sort of holiday this Friday, I’m told.

And in an attempt to get some views on my blog for writing something topical, I’m gonna weigh in on Hallmark’s most polarizing holiday. I could use this opportunity to whine about 23 years of lonely 14ths of February, but I don’t need to go all Anakin Skywalker on you, because that’s on me, not you.

What I can do for you, though, is make a suggestion on what to watch, for, no doubt, you are likely fiddling around right now trying to figure out what you’re going to do on Valentine’s Day with your spouse or boyfriend/girlfriend or that cutie that sits next to you in your Arts and Humanities class or, that bottle … Read More…

Hollywood with a Heart: “Brightest Star” Producer Gives Unforgettable Gift to High School Students

Listen to our podcast with Jason…[powerpress url= “http://traffic.libsyn.com/mymediadiary/MMD_Jan20_2014_JasonPotash_Brightest.mp3″ length=”8092296″ type=”audio/mpeg”]

I was just giving him a call, being the nosy person that I can be…

“How’s your movie coming along?”

Former student and current producer, Jason Potash, was in New York prepping for the film Brightest Star which opens on January 31st.

“Great!” he answered, ever positive. “How’s the family?” ever quick to shift the spotlight back to someone else.

“Wish I could bring my class,” I joked. “It’d be a great field trip!”

“Why not?”

“Ha!”

“No really. We’ve got a few college lecture hall scenes and we need extras.”

Less than a … Read More…

Golden Globes & 2013 Film Trends: What Will Be the Next “Shawshank”?

Listen to our second podcast, a further discussion of the 2013 Movie Year-in-Review with contributing writer, Kale Davidoff.  Readers also submitted questions for this section.  Click here for more of our podcasts.

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I know I’ll remember Christian Bale’s terrible hairpiece years longer than Sandra Bullock dodging space debris.

Amy Poehler and Tina Fey will remind us, once again, why everyone secretly likes the Golden Globes better. The stars are all having fun. They’re at tables with drinks–there’s not nearly the pressure that falls on Oscar night. It’s more like the PSATs. And when a movie or show wins, everyone gets to run onto the stage–not just Harvey Weinstein who wrote the check.

But the Oscars are the Life cereal to … Read More…

Support the Next Spielberg: The Michigan Student Film Festival and Joining DAFT

Support the Michigan Student Film Festival by December 31st to be eligible for a 2013 deduction by clicking here.

Not a bad vibe.  A room full of students who had just been honored at the 45th Michigan Student Film Festival talking with a past winner, soon to be premiering Pixar’s latest hit, Monsters University.

In May, Dan Scanlon, of Clawson High School, flew in from Hollywood  carrying with him a special showing of Monsters University–nearly a month before its release.  Pixar allows its directors to select a charity for a special screening benefit and Dan selected three non-profits:  the Assistance League, Friends of Detroit Film Theatre and Digital Arts – Film & Television (DAFT).

Mr. Scanlon was only nine when DAFT first recognized … Read More…

Walt, Jim and George: The Wonder of Storytelling

I just saw “Saving Mr. Banks”. To my surprise, it was nothing like “Saving Private Ryan”. Regardless, it was a good flick. Without spoiling much, Walt Disney ends up convincing writer P.L. Travers to hand over the rights to her beloved “Mary Poppins”. Throughout the film, Ms. Travers struggles in letting her characters go to be turned into a typical, jolly, Disney musical filled with laughter, joy, cheer, redemption—all of the things that Ms. Travers knows all too well rarely find their way into the truths of the world.

There is a line in the film, where Ms. Travers is told that Dick Van Dyke, “one of the greats”, will be playing the character of Bert. Her response is that of pretentious laughter as she … Read More…

Fortune OR Glory: The Case for “Temple of Doom”

This past Wednesday was Steven Spielberg’s birthday. I’m not gonna go on here and ramble about how this gentleman has affected my life, because I think that, for any aspiring filmmaker, that need not be explained. The guy turned 67. Sixty-seven! Yet, I stop myself from calling him old, because to have that kind of body of work at 67 is just ridiculous, even for Steven Spielberg; the kind of body of work that makes 67 continue to feel like 27. I guess a sizable bank account helps, too.

As a birthday gift to Mr. Spielberg, I thought I’d write a piece defending one of his most divisive of films: “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom”. This is one of those films that the … Read More…

Corinthian Leather: A Fond, Gas-Guzzling Reminiscence of Shag-Luxury

It’s funny what passes for luxury when you’re a kid.

Laura with JimBob kids in pool 1972

In 1973, we visited my Uncle Bob and his family in Winter Haven, Florida and I couldn’t believe they had a fountain in their backyard.  Along with so many in-ground pools, lizards running all over the yards was added the magic of my grandma’s mobile home park three miles away where they actually had adult bikes with three wheels!

Moving into our new house that same summer, I was amazed to see that each of the kids’ rooms had its own color scheme of shag carpeting—pink, green, … Read More…

Rating People Like Movies? Using a Metascore for Your Neighbor and Spouse

In the land of The Newsroom‘s Aaron Sorkin, everything ends up as it should be–Karma works and Yins and Yangs co-exist happily.  (For example, the Obamacare websites would be working on day one.)  In Sorkin’s final scene in The Social Network he portrays the Facebook founder as a miserable billionaire with no friends, cyber stalking his ex-girlfriend who started the whole ball a-rollin’–all to the Beatle’s tune, “Baby You’re a Rich Man.”

But unfortunately for us, Zuckerberg’s not really that sad and Martin Sheen isn’t in charge of the Affordable Health Care Act.  Hollywood isn’t real–but maybe a piece of Hollywood could be real–the Metascore.

Bloodsuckers in Washington?  Who Knew?

I’d finally caved and started a Netflix viewing of the … Read More…

Former Students, Facebook Afterlife and Heartwarming Gore with “Deadheads”

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It’s not every zombie film that you can share with a12 year-old daughter and 80 year-old mother in-law and have them exclaim they loved it. 

Until Facebook, every June was like a funeral.  The likelihood that I would ever see or hear from the 300 or so graduating seniors was small–aside from an occasional homecoming game or trip to the mall.  But I finally dropped down the Facebook rabbit-hole and discovered what these folks had done with their lives.  Some might even meet up for a beer–if it wasn’t too awkward for the  41 year-old father of four to meet with his 46 year-old teacher–even … Read More…

An Important Halloween “Thriller”: From Music Videos to Music Films

It’s Halloween again, so it’s time to watch it:

But, watch.

I mean, really sit down and experience it all. Turn on that 480p, shut off the lights, grab a bag of popcorn and if you’re lucky enough to have a significant other, grab him or her too, sit down, and watch “Michael Jackson’s Thriller”. It’s one of the most incredible short films ever created, and its impact on pop culture can never be overstated. We view it every Halloween because it puts air in our tires. It gets us excited for horror films and candy and costumes and–dancing. But before it became a Halloween staple, it was the production that changed music videos and television and the role of the pop … Read More…