Animated Shorts 2018

Packed Suitcase

We went to see the Oscar Nominated Short Filmes over the weekend. We started on Friday night with the animated films.

They were all really good this year.

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Different How?

Get Out

Sometimes a movie has one quote that wins best quote of the movie without any real competition. This is one of those movies.

I’ll share only part of it so we can share in the inside joke if you’ve seen it and yet I won’t spoil the incredible fun it is when you hear it for the first time.

We handle shit. That’s what we do.

It’s been a long time since I saw this one, but it still sticks with me. It’s a brilliantly directed, terrifying comedy featuring a fantastic performance by Kaluuya.

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All this anger, man

Don’t say what, Dixon.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

We could not wait to see this film.

I was disappointed.

The only redeeming part of the film, if you ask me, were two excellent performances by McDormand and Rockwell.

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If we do nothing

O woman, we gonna burn in hell!

The Shape of Water

The Post was a movie I didn’t love that told two great stories. The Shape of Water is a great film that tells a story I don’t really get.

Certainly worthy of the thirteen nominations it received. I think it’s possible it will clean up at the awards this year, but it is my pick for only three. Three big ones, though.

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Mobilizing the English Language

Darkest Hour

I love to share my favorite quotes from any film I see. Over the last few years, I’ve even started to ask my son and daughter after the film “so what was my favorite quote?” It’s a fun exercise in how well they know dad. :)

Darkest Hour, a film about Churchill, is certainly going to give me a lot of options, but I am going to stick to just two, as usual.

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All We Did is Survive

Seeing home doesn’t help us get there, Captain.

A little while ago, before I saw Dunkirk, my daughter asked me “which are your favorite three Nolan films?”

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Cinema Is A Mirror

Cinema is a mirror of reality and it is a filter.

Call Me By Your Name is one of those films I can’t say a lot about, and I may push the boundaries and say more about it than I should.

It’s a tremendous film.

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Go Eagles!

Two weeks ago I wrote that I was rooting against the birds.

If the Jaguars had won, they would have been my choice against either NFC team, including my brother’s Vikings. After they lost, I knew I’d be rooting for the NFC - even if it turned out to be the Eagles.

We were really pulling for the Vikings then. Billy even mentioned to me that if the Super Bowl were the Patriots and Eagles, it might be hard to even watch it.

Over the last two weeks I’ve really gotten excited about the possibility of an Eagles win. I think the whole family has. Billy and Maya even drove down from New York to see the game with us.


Terri and I chimed in doing the E-A-G-L-E-S! chant at ACME yesterday!

I even bought a cake and a tee-shirt. :)

Go Birds!

Super Bowl VII

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Reviews Without Spoilers

Whenever I write a movie review I have the urge to explain why the reviews are so short and lacking in plot details.

Since I’ve decided to post reviews more than once a week, I thought I should just write and post this explanation once.

I like to write movie reviews that contain as few spoilers as possible. I realize that may be irrational in a world where we talk about everything via social media, etc, but I don’t want to be the one that spoils a movie for anyone.

I like to share my favorite quotes from a movie, and sometimes I even have to hold back on those because it spoils too much.

Which means most of my reviews are relatively short - some of them very short.

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News is the first rough draft of history

My daughter kept telling me “it’s definitely your kind of movie” talking about The Post. Now that I’ve seen it, I think she meant my kind of story.

If that’s what she meant, she is absolutely correct. The movie actually tells two great stories - both of them my kind of story. Both stories are also very timely. We need to hear these stories in today’s political and social climate. If you ask me, though, the movie was not spectacular. Perhaps worthy of a best picture nomination, perhaps not.

So, let’s focus on the stories.

It’s a story about moral decisions The Post’s screenwriters Liz Hannah and Josh Singer - Vox

The characters in the film are asked to make decision after decision - sometimes between two “wrong” options, sometimes between two “right” options - but in the end it all comes down to the choice of risking everything in the name of what one believes in.

In the First Amendment the Founding Fathers gave the free press the protection it must have to fulfill its essential role in our democracy. The press was to serve the governed, not the governors.

That alone makes it a great story, but there is another story told that is, if you ask me, just as timely - a woman standing up to men.

I’m talking to Mr. Bradlee now!

This is probably my favorite quote from the film. I just love the way Katharine Graham stopped the interrupter in his tracks. I went online in search of the actual quote to be sure I remembered it correctly, and while doing so I found a really good explanation of the way Graham’s character was portrayed in the film - and what I really liked about this scene and others like it. The author of the quote below explains it better than I could.

There are so many instances of how she went from a goody-two shoes, an oh-dear, oh-dear, pearl necklace-clutching neophyte who would allow men to talk over her in board meetings, to being able to command the room and confidently state that she’s made ‘the decision’ and that is that (“And I’m off to bed,” she says at the end of one scene in the movie, my favourite one, I think). In that scene, her tone doesn’t waver when she proclaims after hearing out all the flustered men, “I’m talking to Mr Bradlee now!”, shutting up annoying management types sniping at her ankles, about how the company would go bust and investors would flee if Mrs Graham went ahead and published the Pentagon Papers. I know I was cheering for her. So many women in real time — and men! (let’s not paint them all with the same brush) — must have been. Katharine Graham, the woman who had the “guts of a burglar”

A must see film that tells stories that need to be told. It might actually win best picture, but I think there are better contenders this year.

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I love movies!

If you’ve read more than a couple of my blog posts you’ve probably gathered that I’m a big fan of movies.

Every year for the past several years my son has put together a spreadsheet of the films he expect will be in the running for Oscars and we all keep track of which ones we’ve watched. When the nominations are announced, he updated the sheet accordinngly. At that point we also begin to plan the menu for Oscars viewing. The menu is always based on the best picture nominations. On the day of the awards I also post my predictions for the winners, etc.

I used to confine myself to writing movie reviews at most once per week, but since this is prime movie viewing time for me I think I’ll pull out all the stops and post reviews as much as I want. Unless I have something else I really want to share, I’ll probably post a review every day until the awrds show.

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Go Jaguars! Go Vikings!

As I’ve written about before, my enthusiasm for the NFL is waning (while my interest in the NBA is re-emerging).

But this year I have been pretty excited about the playoffs.

Last week, we had two teams to root against on Saturday - Patriots and Eagles - and then two teams to root for on Sunday - Jaguars and Vikings. I am not an Eagles fan but I grew up in Eagles country, and now I’m back in the shadow of Philadelphia again, so there is a lot of excitement about this season.

In between those times, I lived in VA and then in the Jacksonville area for the Jaguars inaugural season. My son was a Jaguars fan from day one. He lives in NYC now so he’s become a Jets fan like his dad, but he and the rest of us are really pulling for the Jaguars this season.

Meanwhile, my brother is a life-long Vikings fan who will be alone in a house full of Eagles fans watching the game today.

I have not been this excited about two NFL games in a long time. :)

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Off the Grid Indeed

You could have almost predicted it. I wrote about going off the grid and then I stopped blogging for a week.

I just happened to miss my writing the next day, then I didn’t post anything here. I was bummed that I had missed a day - my first in 2018 - but then I thought “no big deal, it’s one day.” The next day, I missed again! Then I thought I’d just get back to it on Tuesday, after the Monday holiday.

The next day, I almost missed my writing again (I’ve been not feeling well and sleeping in later) but I did it later in the evening. So I thought for the next ten days I would write late at night and get my The Night Bat badge.

It is obvious to me again why I prefer writing in the morning.

Hopefully, I can stick to it again.

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Off the Grid

I spent much of 2017 working on two things. One, a project that is designed for people who would prefer not to be connected all the time. The other was doubling down on cryptocurrencies and blockchains.

The news over the last month has me re-thinking the same thoughts I have had over and over for the last twenty years. Should I - or more precisely, do I want to - go “off the grid.” Even more fascinating a question is would it even be possible?

I wake up this morning, read another article about the possibilities of hacks, and I seriously start to think of it again.

On the one hand, it seems preposterous. After all, I make my living online. On the other, the work I do is evolving and I really think I could find a way to do it off the grid.

Meanwhile, since we are empty nesters now, we have been thinking of moving to some island somewhere and living on the beach.

It will almost certainly not happen, but I find myself dreaming of it more and more.

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As I may have mentioned in one of my first posts of the year, last year was not a great one. The one before that wasn’t so great either.

I have been planning to share more about that with some people tomorrow morning and it hit me how important perspective is.

In my estimation, I have been very, very blessed. When I mention that to others, who look in from the outside and see some of the challenges I’ve faced - even before the last two years - they just don’t get my positive attitude. My attitude is a direct result of my perspective. Even now, when I talk think about the last two years and 28 days, which has been, without doubt, the hardest stretch in my life, I still seem able to see how things could have been worse.

Because of perspective.

What made me think of it tonight was Terri telling me that a former student is coming in to school tomorrow to thank the students for raising money for his cancer treatment. All I could say was “wow!” She said he has a pretty good outlook on life, despite having gone through this twice now. She said something like “I guess when you stare death in the face like that, you think differently. You know what I mean?”

And I said, “I know exactly what you mean.”

It wasn’t cancer, but I’ve stared death in the face a few times and it gives me some perspective.

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Minecraft Screenshots

The other day I posted something about playing Minecraft. I am playing a bit more lately since I’ve introduced a couple of my nephews to it, so I will probably write more about it in the days ahead.

For today, I thought I might just share a few screenshots from a while back.

Skeleton on a Spider

Creeper in Ravine



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Ice and Snow

I grew up about 90 miles from where I live now. I spent a total of about 28 years living very close to that area, and I’ve lived another 15 years here.

I was talking to a friend who has spent most of his life in thie area too - longer than I.

I haven’t looked it up, but neither of us can remeber a time when it was this cold for this long at once.

I don’t get cold easily, but this is pretty stinkin’ cold.

I might have to rethink moving further north. :)

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I realized earlier today that I have never written anything here about Minecraft.

I was very late to the Minecraft party. I knew about it from the very beginning, but I didn’t start playing until about 18 months ago. I remember seeing one of my nieces play on her tablet a long time ago, but I didn’t really get it. It wasn’t until some time later that I decided to try it. I kept hearing teachers talk about using it in the classroom. Some even talked about letting student turn in “Minecraft worlds” as assessments. So, I figured I should at least see what all the talk was about.

After playing just a few times, I was completely hooked.

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Our Favorite Girl

I wrote yesterday about how Terri and I would be saying goodbye to Becky again for another quarter this morning.

Because of the airport trip this morning, I got a late start on my writing. After about thirty minutes, I hear Terri stirring upstairs. I heard her say something but I couldn’t quite make out what it was.

Then she calls out “Bill, did you know about this?”

“What? Hold on, I’ll be right there!” The tone of her voice concerned me.

“She left me a huge box.”

“To ship?” I said. She and Terri had gone on a shopping spree one day (a new Christmas tradition, Terri tells me) so we expected her to leave a box for us to ship to her.

But as I reach the top of the steps, Terri is coming out of Becky’s room crying and soliciting a hug from me.

She left her mom a box of gifts to open after she left.

I am at a loss for words, really? I can’t even focus on anything but how special our little girl is. This surprise she left for her mom blows me away, but it’s only a part of it. She is the best daughter we could have hoped for. We love her dealy.

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Is that your given name?

Lady Bird is a fun film centered around difficult themes - family and growing up.

You’re not gonna get in a car with a guy that honks, are ya?

My daughter saw it at the premeire in LA promised it would be one of our favorite movies from last year. I am still working through my list, but she is right. It will certainly be among my favorites.

She really wanted to see it with us, but we were unable to go the first time we planned it. That actually led to some tension in the family that night, an irony that wasn’t lost on my daughter or on me after I saw the film. We say goodbye to my daughter for her second quarter of college tomorrow, so the film really hit home with us.

Highly recommended.

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