In 2017 this meme-list-game-datamining thing was going around Facebook, in which you were supposed to list your favorite movie from each year of your life. Naturally, like all things on Facebook, it’s coming around again. Since I never did it back then, I thought I’d do it now. I quickly realized that while a Gen-Z or Millennial could bang out a list of a couple dozen films pretty quickly, for an old fart like, me, a list of films for every year of my life is a major undertaking; rather than squander all that time on a Facebook post, I thought I’d turn it into an article here, where I can expound a bit on some of the entries.
I’ve been sitting on the last part of my interview with Kevin Conran and Michael Sean Foley for a few years now, waiting to coincide with the long-delayed release of Kevin’s beautiful book, Sky Captain and the Art of Tomorrow. That day is finally upon us; the release date is today, February 23, and with it, here’s the conclusion of our interview.
From about age 12 to 15, almost all of my pop culture itches were scratched at the Torrance Public Library. Where Greg Hatcher steeped himself in genre fiction, I was all about the nonfiction; the people, the history, the methods. We were both trying to escape, but while Greg was escaping into fictional worlds, I was trying to escape into a different real world, become a different person, and I knew that the tools to do that would be found almost entirely in the 700 section.
Songwriter Jim Steinman, best known for writing the Bat Out of Hell album for Meat Loaf, a number of hits for other singers, and a couple of musicals, died last week. He was 73 and had been ill for some time, ultimately succumbing to kidney failure. It took me a few days to figure out what to say about him. I think the best approach is to just tell my story of discovering and experiencing his work.
One thing I think everyone who loves Star Wars has said at least once is “man, I wish I had an R2-D2!” My good friend and fellow archery coach Russell Rucker said the same thing, and then he went ahead and built one. His R2 unit is completely screen-accurate, and has appeared at a number of Star Wars events over the years. Naturally, like a whole lot of other people, I asked Russell how he built his R2. He gave me permission to share the process here.
Pixar’s Soul was the center of a meme that circulated this summer, prior to the release of the film, which suggested that it was racist for the lead character, an African-American, to be transformed into a blue-green blob in the trailer. The author cited several films as examples of the problematic pattern. Taking a look at the trope, the cited films, and the context and messaging of each, might be in order.
Recently, our own Greg Hatcher sent me a link to a new documentary about Harry Chapin; when I mentioned that I’d seen it, he suggested a review, and when I mentioned that there are also a couple of new books out, he suggested a round-up review. See, Greg is smarter than me and he thinks of things like this. So here we go.