Eric Boyd

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My Best Movies of 2018

‘I just wanted to take another look at you.’

Another year is coming to a close, with lots of excitement as we head into the big holiday. The movie scene was electric this year, with huge movies and gigantic box office numbers. I am going to list out some of my favorite movies from this year.

In no particular order:

  • Black Panther

Black Panther showed the world the possibility of diversity in a superhero movie, and how not all heroes look the same. It also presented us with a great villain: Michael B. Jordan’s portrayal of Killmonger will go down in the archives of superhero movie history next to Heath Ledger’s Joker.

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  • Incredibles 2

Welcome back, Incredibles! After a 14-year hiatus, the superhero family we love came back with a vengeance. This movie had something for everyone, but for me, the highlight was Jack-Jack vs. the Raccoon.

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  • A Star is Born

The amount of pressure on this remake was immeasurable; however, Bradley Cooper delivered one of the best moves of the year as a director and actor. And the movie vaulted Lady Gaga into another stratosphere.

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  • Crazy Rich Asians

Surprise hit of the year. Another movie showing us that we don’t need all the movies to look the same with the same actors. The all-Asian and Asian-American cast proved to be a huge box office success. And for my wife and I, it was the best date night movie of the year.

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  • Creed II

The Rocky Saga continues. Capping off his incredible year, Michael B. Jordan returned to his Adonis Creed role and delivered a knockout. Pardon the cheese, but in all seriousness, this was a great sequel to the 2015 hit. Here is my full review.

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  • Mission Impossible: Fallout

Death, Taxes, and Mission Impossible movies: All things that are certain in my life. This installment delivered yet again; actually, all the Mission Impossible movies have delivered, minus number 2. One particular standout scene: the now mustached Superman, Henry Cavill, cocks his arms in a bathroom fight scene. (Psst! The photo credit below goes to the scene; enjoy!)

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  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

Still fresh in my head, Spider-Man might be the best movie I saw all year. My full review was delivered early this week.

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  • Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

As a child of the 70s and 80s, few people (if any) have had a bigger impact on my television life than Mister Rogers. He was there for us every morning, comforting us, teaching us, and helping us with his wonderful characters and soothing voice. This documentary is a must-see if you are in my age range; it reminds us how things were and how they could be again if people cared the way Fred Rogers cared.

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  • Blindspotting

A sleeper movie to make my list. It was still fresh in my head when I stumbled on a copy of it a few weeks ago. Here is my full write-up on this must-see independent movie.

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  • Avengers: Infinity War

In just one snap, our Marvel Cinematic Universe was spent spiraling. Infinity War brought all the people to the movies. And as we left, we all had the same response: what happens now? See you in March when we start to get some answers with Captain Marvel.

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Those are the big 10 that stick out in my mind, out of the countless movies I’ve watched this year. I spent too much money to remember at the theater on myself and my family. The two-plus hours we spend each week in the dark and silence are really worth it; my kids jump up and get ready the fastest for movie day. My wife is able to detach from her incredible work load for those few hours as well. We continue to talk about the movie as we leave, and about when we might get to re-watch it. I hope as you head into the New Year that you make 2019 your best year. I am honored to write my little reviews each week for you; it is fulfilling a dream of mine. Since this is my last article of 2018, I thought it would be best to leave you with a quote from the great Fred Rogers:

“We live in a world in which we need to share responsibility. It’s easy to say ‘It’s not my child, not my community, not my world, not my problem.’ Then there are those who see the need and respond. I consider those people my heroes.”

Thanks, Fred, for being a hero.

I Watched... Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

“One thing I know for sure: don't do it like me. Do it like you.”

Fact: When you have kids, you watch a lot, and I mean a lot of animated movies. Also fact: When you are a comic book lover and somewhat on the geek side of life, you see a lot of animated moves. When these two worlds meet, you have the ultimate joy. This weekend, we plunged into the Spider-Verse. And with that, move over, Pixar, we have a new leader in the clubhouse for favorite animated movie of all time. We piled into the family Truckster and even convinced Mom since should join in on the ride. We took our places in the IMAX 10:30 a.m. screening, the first of the day. What happened over the next 2 hours was pure Spidey gold.

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Every story needs a hero. In Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, we get not one but six heroes. First we meet Miles Morales (played by Shameik Moore), a teenage boy with an admiration for Spider-Man and all he does for his city. But Miles’s father is a police officer who doesn’t care for Spider-Man or his vigilante actions. Miles is starting at a new school, a boarding school for gifted students, which takes him away from his old friends and his comfort zone. Miles must adjust and meets a new friend, Gwen Stacy (played by Hailee Steinfeld). Miles’s passion for graffiti is not looked upon kindly by his father as well, but his Uncle, Aaron Davis (played by Mahershala Ali), encourages Miles to tag and shows him a place where he can work on his craft. An underground abandoned subway is where this story officially begins.

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Miles is bitten by genetically altered spider created by Alchemax, a story you might have heard before. Miles starts to develop powers and abilities that he does not know how to control; this is shown in a great interaction with Gwen that alters her hair style.

Like in all great comic book stories, there is a secret lab, and Miles stumbles upon this lab looking for his Uncle. Miles interrupts Spider-Man fighting the Green Goblin, who is protecting Wilson Fisk, better known as King Pin and his super collider. Wilson Fisk (played by Liev Schreiber) is creating an experimental supercollider so that he can bring back alternate versions of his wife and son who had previously died in a car wreck.

Spider-Man senses Miles and realizes they are the same, and offers to help Miles and train him. But the story quickly changes, as the Peter Parker that we know is no more. Wounded during the fight, he is finished off by King Pin, and Spider-Man is dead. A City mourns. During the fight a portal opens up, and five different Spider heroes enter.

Gwen Stacy

Peni Parker (anime version of Spider-man)

Spider-Ham (voiced hilariously by John Mulaney)

Spider-Man Noir (a black and white Spider-Man from the 1930s, voiced by Nic Cage)

And finally, Peter B. Parker, a down on his luck Spider-Man (voiced by Jake Johnson)

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And this is where we will end the storyline portion of our review, to keep it spoiler free from here on out. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is a comic book come to life. Complete with beautiful colors and action, the screen seems to flip from page to page for you. From traditional comic book dialogue boxes to the film’s score, everything about the Spider-Verse is what we love. When you hear the buzz words “Updated Version,” or “A Spider-Man for a new generation,” it seems laughable, but then I saw my kids completely enthralled with the movie and as they edged closer to the end of their seats I knew they were hooked on Miles Morales and his journey to Spider-Man.

Unfortunately, during our viewing the theater lost power for about 10 minutes. We sat there with the screen frozen, but it gave us time to discuss what we were seeing. All three of the kids turned to me said, “This is absolutely amazing.” From his humor to what now will be his trademark Air Jordans, Miles is exactly what we need right now in the Marvel universe: diversity and hope. Kids need kids that look like them; not every hero has to be 6’5”, blonde or brown hair, blue or green eyes, and white. Seeing vulnerably and compassion in your heroes and seeing them struggle and succeed is exactly what Stan Lee wanted all those years ago.

For me, this was a dream come true; I knew long ago that Miles would be a hit someday, not only with my kids but with the public. I hope we can keep him as is and let the character grow as my kids grow; I hope Sony Animation knows what they have and doesn’t let it slip away. My hope is that everyone sees it and loves it the way the Boyds loved it. I hope that everyone who sees it talks about it the whole ride home without picking up their devices. And I hope that days later after seeing, they turn to each other and say, “Let’s go see it again.”

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A few things to look for in the Spider-Verse:

  • At the opening credits, comic book lovers are rewarded with the Comics Code Authority Seal before the film, a nod to the CCA that was formed in 1954 to help protect content and alert parents that it was safe for their kids to read.
  • A montage of Spider-Man at the beginning shows all his best (and worst) moments in the Sam Raimi universe.
  • Time Square is littered with Easter Eggs, too many to count or speak but look for the Kisslnd, a play on The Weeknd and his album cover.
  • Oh man, all the alternate Spider-Man costumes.
  • Aunt May, a.k.a. New Alfred.
  • And a moment that made me choke up, and will continue to do so for a while: The Stan Lee cameo, complete with the line, “Yeah I am gonna miss him too.”

If you’ve read this far, stop reading and head out to the movies. Take a friend, take a loved one, and take a kid. This movie was made for sharing, and this movie is now my favorite animated movie of all time. Thanks, Sony!

PS: As always, there is an after-credits scene!

Jaxwing Scale – 10/10

Completely Worthy

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I Watched... Blindspotting

“You monsters got me feeling like a monster in my own town!”

As I anxiously await Aquaman and Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse, I thought it was a good time to find some of those hidden gems that I have missed so far this year. I chose Blindspotting this week, a film that received some buzz early and had some nominations in the smaller award circuit.

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Blindspotting follows the last 3 days of probation for Collin, played by Daveed Diggs, best known for his work in Hamilton. Diggs brings his unique hip-hop style to this role, incorporating his Clipping style in every day events, seamlessly going from rap to regular cadence throughout the film. Three days before he is released from probation, Collin witnesses a murder performed by an officer chasing a suspect. It shakes him, not knowing what to do; should he report what he saw, or let the media keep believing what the officers are saying about the incident? This part of the story will be resolved later in the film, but let’s leave that to you to figure out.

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The real story of Collin is his friendship with Miles, his tough-exterior white male friend from the slums of Oakland, where our story takes place. Miles is played by the writer and producer of the film, Rafael Casal, who steals every scene he is in, including a hilarious exchange with Mama Liz, a hair salon owner played by Tisha Campbell-Martin. Collin and Miles have been friends since elementary school. For those that still have a connection or friendship going back that far, it connects to pretty much every part of their lives. I am lucky enough to still talk to my friend from 3rd grade every day. Our friendship has withstood 35 years, and this is where I connected with the film.

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We know Collin is on probation, and the details at the beginning of the film are a bit foggy on why. We later discover through a co-worker, Val, played by the Shiva herself, Janina Gavankar, that Miles is directly involved in the reason Collin went to jail. The film begins to play both sides and lets us decide which is better: to give up on your friendship if it is poisoning you, or stick with it because he is always there for you. This, too, comes to a boil near the end of the film.

The third major character of the film is Oakland, a city that always seems to be on the brink of destruction, yet now on the brink of a rebirth. As San Francisco overflows, people must emigrate. It helps that the Golden State Warriors have become the “it” team in the NBA and picked up a ton of people on their bandwagon. With that popularity comes more people to the city, and Oakland is turning into an Austin West. It is perfectly shown throughout the film with random hipsters, on gigantic bikes, with incredible mustaches and beards, and arms full of Whole Foods bags.

One scene shows the Oakland Fox theater. On the marquee is Oakland legend Too Short, and below him is Third Eye Blind. This shows the changes happening in Oakland these days. Later in the film, the hardcore Oakland native Miles comes across a new transplant from Portland. They have the same tattoo, an outline of the state of California on the neck with a star in Oakland.

At the end of the film, I sat back to digest what I had seen. The movie was beautifully filmed with colors and scene changes that illustrate the good and the bad of Oakland. An incredible scene was presented at the very end of the film to tie a bow on it all. The message of the film fully comes through: race, friendship, and community all play a part of our lives, and ignoring any part of it is a disservice to yourself. If you ignore what you see, how are you ever going to understand what you are seeing? What do you even see? I highly recommend seeing it for yourself. And look for a complete scene-stealing moment by Utkarsh Ambudkar that reveals the reason Collin in on probation. Try to find a way to watch this film; every person should see it.

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Jaxwing Scale – 8/10

Worthy

Golden Globe Nominations 2019

Awards season has officially begun.

This morning the nominations for the 76th annual Golden Globes Awards were announced. Live and in color, actors delivered the announcements that they were not nominated, but that several friends and coworkers were. The complete list is below; I will hit on a few of my highlights as the push now begins for the Oscars 2019.

The Golden Globes are a unique awards show. We don’t just get movies, we don’t just get television, in fact we don’t just get drama; we also get comedy and musicals. Awards are broken down by film and television, then broken down between drama and comedy. Let’s start with some film nominations, how I view them, and early predictions.

Right off the bat we make a little bit of history. Black Panther becomes the first super hero movie to be nominated for best picture in drama. I worried about the movie being forgotten since it was released in February, but the buzz held up, and deservedly so. At the time I saw Black Panther, I believed it to be one of the best movies I had watched. At the time, the Oscars hadn’t yet been given out, but due to its 2018 release date, it did not qualify. As we watched for what seemed like forever, it grew in box office (to date: 700 million domestically and 1.3 million globally) and became hard to ignore.

Four other movies made the grade; BlacKkKlansman, Bohemian Rhapsody (see my review), If Beale Street Could Talk, and A Star Is Born. Of the five nominees, my odds-on favorite is A Star Is Born. Quite simply, it is the best movie I have seen so far this year, and the reason why I write for this website. (I was singing its praises online to Jayson Braddock, CEO of Houston Preeminence, and he asked me if I would like to write weekly for the site and let the people know about movies, good or bad.) I have been waiting to see BlacKkKlansman. My son wants to view it with me, and we haven’t yet, but it is coming. If Beale Street Could Talk hasn’t been made available to me as of yet, but again, it will be handled when I get the chance.

As for A Star Is Born, since I never wrote a review on it, I will keep it short. This movie has been made four times prior, but this latest version finds a way to reinvent it, and push not one but two stars even further into superstar status; this makes it my choice, hands down. Lady Gaga (who gets a best actress nomination for it) was a star before, but this catapults her to a real threat to do whatever she wants in entertainment, and I applaud it. She is the star of the movie; you feel the story through her eyes. But those eyes are on Bradley Cooper (also nominated), who weaves such a wonderfully painful troubled character in front of us that we have no choice but to feel his pain. It was beautifully directed by Bradley Cooper as well, and the pressure to make this movie a success was incredible since its last version in 1976. It lived up to the hype and is my choice for Best Picture Drama right now.

Best Picture Comedy or Musical also displays some heavy hitters that I believe will play a role in the Oscar. Early buzz for Vice, the story of former vice president Dick Cheney, is strong. Cheney is played by Batman Christian Bale, and the rest of the cast is a who’s who of actors. I haven’t yet seen the film, but soon, soon, my child, you will be viewed. I look forward to it and have for several months. Others nominated are The Favourite, Green Book, and Mary Poppins Returns. But the favorite for me is Crazy Rich Asians. I took my wife to see this movie several months back; we were drawn to the story and the beautiful colors presented in the trailer. The humor is off the charts, and the cast is perfect. It was an incredibly fun date night at the movies; if you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it. Thus for now, pending my other viewings, I select Crazy Rich Asians as the winner.

Those are the two big awards for me; I am not fully ready to break down each and every category. But we will soon be presented with the Oscar nominations, which is quite the event at the Boyd house. We go all out for the awards, including an Oscar menu, and we each fill out our own ballots and talk trash along the way about who is winning. It is the playoff push for movies right now, an exciting time of year. I love sports and this is just another form of it. After the first round (Golden Globes), business picks up, and we weed out the pretenders from the contenders. I hope you enjoy the ride; I will report back once I have completed more of these movies.

The Complete list of Golden Globes 2019 Nominations

Best Motion Picture – Drama

  • Black Panther
  • BlacKkKlansman
  • Bohemian Rhapsody
  • If Beale Street Could Talk
  • A Star Is Born

Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy

  • Crazy Rich Asians
  • The Favourite
  • Green Book
  • Mary Poppins Returns
  • Vice

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture — Drama

  • Bradley Cooper (A Star Is Born)
  • Willem Defoe (At Eternity’s Gate)
  • Lucas Hedges (Boy Erased)
  • Rami Malek (Bohemian Rhapsody)
  • John David Washington (BlacKkKlansman)

Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama

  • Glenn Close (The Wife)
  • Lady Gaga (A Star Is Born)
  • Nicole Kidman (Destroyer)
  • Melissa McCarthy (Can You Ever Forgive Me?)
  • Rosamund Pike (A Private War)

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture — Musical or Comedy

  • Christian Bale (Vice)
  • Lin Manuel Miranda (Mary Poppins Returns)
  • Viggo Mortensen (Green Book)
  • Robert Redford (The Old Man and the Gun)
  • John C. Reilly (Stan and Ollie)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture — Musical or Comedy

  • Emily Blunt (Mary Poppins Returns)
  • Olivia Colman (The Favourite)
  • Elsie Fisher (Eighth Grade)
  • Charlize Theron (Tully)
  • Constance Wu (Crazy Rich Asians)

Best Actress in a Supporting Role in any Motion Picture

  • Amy Adams (Vice)
  • Claire Foy (First Man)
  • Regina King (If Beale Street Could Talk)
  • Emma Stone (The Favourite)
  • Rachel Weisz (The Favourite)

Best Actor in a Supporting Role in any Motion Picture

  • Mahershala Ali (Green Book)
  • Timothée Chalamet (Beautiful Boy)
  • Adam Driver (BlacKkKlansman)
  • Richard E. Grant (Can You Ever Forgive Me?)
  • Sam Rockwell (Vice)

Best Original Song – Motion Picture

  • All the Stars (Black Panther)
  • Girl in the Movies (Dumplin’)
  • Requiem for A Private War (A Private War)
  • Revelation (Boy Erased)
  • Shallow (A Star Is Born)

Best Director – Motion Picture

  • Bradley Cooper (A Star Is Born)
  • Alfonso Cuaron (Roma)
  • Peter Farrelly (Green Book)
  • Spike Lee (BlacKkKlansman)
  • Adam McKay (Vice)

Best Television Series – Drama

  • The Americans
  • Bodyguard
  • Homecoming
  • Killing Eve
  • Pose

Best Performance by an Actress in a Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television

  • Amy Adams (Sharp Objects)
  • Patricia Arquette (Escape at Dannemora)
  • Connie Britton (Dirty John)
  • Laura Dern (The Tale)
  • Regina King (Seven Seconds)

Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy

  • Barry (HBO)
  • The Good Place (NBC)
  • Kidding (Showtime)
  • The Kominsky Method (Netflix)
  • The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy

  • Kristen Bell (The Good Place)
  • Candice Bergen (Murphy Brown)
  • Alison Brie (GLOW)
  • Rachel Brosnahan (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel)
  • Debra Messing (Will & Grace)

Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Drama

  • Jason Bateman
  • Stephan James
  • Richard Madden
  • Billy Porter
  • Matthew Rhys

Best Motion Picture – Foreign Language

  • Capernaum
  • Girl
  • Never Look Away
  • Roma
  • Shoplifters

Best Television Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television

  • The Alienist (TNT)
  • The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story (FX)
  • Dirty John (Bravo)
  • Escape at Dannemora (Showtime)
  • Sharp Objects (HBO)
  • A Very English Scandal (Amazon)

Best Performance by an Actor in a Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television

  • Antonia Banderas
  • Daniel Brul
  • Darren Criss
  • Benedict Cumberbatch
  • Hugh Grant

Best Screenplay – Motion Picture

  • Alfonso Cuaron (Roma)
  • Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara (The Favourite)
  • Barry Jenkins (If Beale Street Could Talk)
  • Adam McKay (Vice)
  • Peter Farrelly, Nick Vallelonga, Brian Currie (Green Book)

Best Original Score – Motion Picture

  • Marco Beltrami (A Quiet Place)
  • Alexandre Desplat (Isle of Dogs)
  • Ludwig Göransson (Black Panther)
  • Justin Hurwitz (First Man)
  • Marc Shaiman (Mary Poppins Returns)

Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy

  • Sasha Baron Cohen (Who Is America?)
  • Jim Carrey (Kidding)
  • Michael Douglas (The Kominsky Method)
  • Donald Glover (Atlanta)
  • Bill Hader (Barry)

Best Animated Feature

  • Incredibles 2
  • Isle of Dogs
  • Mirai
  • Ralph Breaks the Internet
  • Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television

  • Alan Arkin
  • Kieran Culkin
  • Edgar Ramirez
  • Ben Whishaw
  • Henry Winkler
I Watched... Bohemian Rhapsody

‘We need a song teenagers can bang their heads to in a car. Bohemian Rhapsody is not that song.’

Let me set the stage for you a bit. My family (two boys, aged 10 and 16, and a wife of undisclosed age) travels to the movies quite a bit, maybe once or twice a week, unless Select baseball season is in full bloom. We also watch a lot of movies from home through various devices. When the time came for us to go to the movies this weekend, everyone selected Bohemian Rhapsody. That even included the 10-year-old, who officially boycotted the song after an unfortunate moment of his dad singing it loudly with the windows down in the car pool lane. I think he secretly loves it because of this, but he doesn’t want to show weakness in front of his 5th-grade friends. So it was settled: we were headed to the movies; but then my wife had a moment of clarity. Even though the movie is rated PG-13, it might not be the best thing for the little guy to see, since we hadn’t seen it yet ourselves. So we split up, boys headed to the Grinch, parents headed to see Freddie Mercury. That turned out to be the best decision two terrible parents could have made.

Bohemian Rhapsody came out a few months ago. We were a bit behind in seeing it, but we wanted to get it in before all the award season shows begin. My first thought was that this was made for an Oscar, and it had everything that would be required:

  • Killer music by a band everyone loves
  • An idolized front man who tragically departed before his time
  • A meteoric rise of everyday guys to superstardom and the rocky road to it

It was positioned perfectly; yet I had an immediate pause when I noticed the release date was just outside the typical Oscar movie release date. No worries; we still have an up-and-coming star playing the iconic Freddie Mercury, Rami Malek, who previously won an emmy for his role in Mr. Robot. Early pictures started to come out, and he looked to fit the part perfectly. He nailed the look, from the early days to the mustache years. So why has the Oscar buzz cooled so quickly? I have a theory.

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Jamie Foxx and Joaquin Phoenix broke the mold for the music biopic and won Oscars for the roles. What does that mean for the industry? Fire up more music biopics. And so they produced them in what felt like the hundreds. Before Bohemian Rhapsody, they showed a trailer for the next music biopic, Rocketman, following the life of Elton John. The industry took something that was pure, and once again ruined it by churning out more than needed. But still, there I was in the theater to see one of my childhood favorites, Freddie Mercury and Queen.

The story begins where all music biopics begin (predictably), at a small run-down bar with a few band members fighting after a performance. We meet the early pieces of Queen, Brian May and his hair, as well as Roger Taylor the drummer (both of them produced the film as well). Don’t Forget to Smile are breaking up after their lead singer quits to go make it big with a better band, whose name we have never heard of. Enter stage left Freddie Mercury (real name Farrokh Bulsara), with his co-star, his teeth. And when I say co-star, I really mean it. The teeth become such a big part of the movie, I found it hard to even pay attention at times to the words they were forming. It was so over the top, it felt like Rami Malek had real trouble acting with those teeth in. It felt like watching the asshole at the Halloween party who wears fangs and keeps them in all night, then spits on you during a conversation. The teeth go into the movie hall of fame next to other great prosthetics like:

  • Eddie Murphy’s fat suit in The Nutty Professor
  • Dirk Diggler’s dong in Boogie Nights
  • The One-Armed Man in The Fugitive
  • Anything with John Travolta

Teeth aside, the movie shows the story of Queen’s rise from bars to stadiums. It tells (somewhat) the story of Freddie Mercury and his demons. From drugs to sexuality, Freddie Mercury, like everyone in music biopics, has to find his balance and stay fresh. I cannot remember one other person in this film than Freddie Mercury and Ray Foster. But sadly, Ray Foster isn’t even a real person. Made just for this story, Foster is portrayed hilariously by Mike Myers (who ironically made Bohemian Rhapsody famous again in the mid-90s with Wayne’s World).

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The movie moves along, again predictably, with band infighting and Freddie’s drug abuse. It all leads to Queen’s breakup and reformation at one of the biggest concerts of all time. The movie shows how Queen sets themselves apart with one of the greatest 20-minute sets in the history of music, Live Aid 1985. It is shown exactly as I remember it as an 11-year-old Eric, sitting in my room watching it on MTV. Thousands of fans sang along, and Freddie performed at his absolute best. This is exactly how I want to remember him forever; this 20-minute set was one of the best things I had ever seen at 11, and 34 years later it still might be. I still remember singing Radio Ga Ga along with the crowd, which was perfectly recreated for the film. The rest of the story might not be how it all really went down, but that is the problem with quickly-produced biopics by directors (Bryan Singer) who are famous for superhero movies. Still, as I sat and enjoyed the movie, I found myself singing along at times, and getting choked up knowing what was coming soon for Freddie. As for the Oscar, this movie will not be part of the mix, so just enjoy it for what it is: a close recreation of the iconic band, but not quite the real story.

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At the end, our sons scurried into the theater after finishing their movie. The credits were rolling (with an actual beautiful performance by Queen in their early years), and I looked at my wife and said, “So glad we didn’t introduce our 10-year-old son to AIDS, cross-dressing, and homosexuality in this 120-minute movie.”

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Jaxwing scale 7/10

Worthy

I Watched… The Rider

“If any animal around here got hurt like I did, they'd have to be put down”

As awards season nears, the first of the smaller award shows finished up over the weekend. People use these award shows and showcases as a barometer for Oscars and Golden Globes. This weekend the Gotham Awards held its annual event. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t watch the Gotham Awards or really even follow it that closely. What I do is wait and see who might have been nominated and who took home some awards, so that I might take an early shot at some movies and get a jump on my annual rite of passage in trying to watch all Oscar nominated movies. The top prize at this year’s Gotham Awards went to The Rider.

the-ridernew_wide-34f08ddf1ca9dffab202ff448e37af31249c6890[1].jpg

Photo credit - https://media.npr.org/assets/img/2018/04/11/the-ridernew_wide-34f08ddf1ca9dffab202ff448e37af31249c6890.jpg

The Rider follows the story of Brady Blackburn, played by Brady Jandreau. Brady recently suffered a traumatic injury while bronc riding in a rodeo. Doctors inserted a metal plate into his head after a bronc stepped on him. That’s the easy part of the story; the rest starts to get blurred. Brady checks himself out of the hospital and is told not to resume his career; in fact he is told to simply rest for now. But if you only know one thing, how do you give that up?

After leaving the hospital, we learn that there is more going on at home for Brady, who lives with his father and his special needs sister, Lilly. Brady’s mother died a few years back, and the home has suffered in her absence. His father is often drunk, and unable to make a living. To make money, he sells most of the horses and other items on their land. The one thing that Brady is good at, horse training, is also a problem after his fall.

The heart of the story is: what do you do when you can no longer do what you love? Brady learned all he knows from his mother and father, and horse training seems to be the last bit of his mother he has left. He comes across one special horse, and he is determined to train this horse so that he can feel like himself again.

This is a true indie film. The entire cast seem to be new to acting, or simply playing themselves. There are long moments in the film with little verbiage, and constant staring into sunsets or sunrises. It is a very slow paced film, I assume to slowly make you feel the pain of Brady. In one scene, a group of his friends are sitting around a campfire and discussing Brady’s injury. They seemingly laugh off his injury because of the many injuries they have all sustained. This might be the best scene of the film, as each discusses their numerous concussions and breaks, and yet they all get back on the horse and do it again. But the question will be, can Brady?

The difficulty in this film is the long breaks in any kind of action. I can only look at a man sitting and thinking for so long before I lose interest. And without a dynamic actor to control the scenes, the film falls on a first-time actor to carry everything, which at an hour and 40 minutes proves to be troublesome.

There are a few side stories going on as well. Brady has a friend who was disabled from a bull ride, and he seems to be the only one who cares about this person any longer. This seems to push him forward as well, to not be forgotten like his friend.

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Photo Credit - http://www.shockya.com/news/wp-content/uploads/The-Rider-Movie.jpg

Overall for me, the film falls short. I was hoping to fall in love with the idea of bronc riding and cowboys and the personal struggles that they go through. But without strong acting, I start to lose the story and care less about the central figures. Chloe Zhao, first time director and writer, does some things right, if making us feel depressed is right. And the movie is shot beautifully, with its long majestic scenes of fields and horses. Let’s see where this film ends up later in the year as the bigger-named Oscar contenders start to show up.

Jaxwing scale 6/10

Meh

I Watched… Creed II

“My son will break your boy”

I was downright giddy as I walked into the Cineplex Tuesday night, 7 p.m., first showing. You see, this is not just about Creed II, this is about a journey. I am 45 years old, I have been watching Rocky movies my whole life, and I have shared the experience with my kids. Three years ago when Creed came out, I got to heighten the experience by introducing my kids to the new chapter, their chapter. My kids, like most now, are into hip-hop culture. I don’t always know now what is the latest and greatest; I usually stay in my lane with old school hip-hip or listen to some Lil’ Dickey, J. Cole, or Kendrick Lamar. My 15-year-old knows it all, so when a new breed of hip-hop-infused Rocky came long, we were all aboard.

Photo credit - https://usatftw.files.wordpress.com/2015/02/1976_rocky_1_19_1714585.jpg

Photo credit - https://usatftw.files.wordpress.com/2015/02/1976_rocky_1_19_1714585.jpg

It has been a few years since we last saw Adonis Johnson, son of Apollo Creed. Times have been good for him; he has won several fights and was poised for the title shot against his rival Danny Wheeler. It feels like a title fight, with Max Kellerman on the call, and (unfortunately for my ears) Roy Jones Jr. on commentary. This was spoiled in the trailer, so I am fine with talking about it. The title and the mustang (lost in the first movie) are now Adonis Creed’s. But the good times are short lived, as an evil 30 years in the making rises up.

Photo credit - https://www.releasemama.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/Michael-B-Jordan-and-Sylvester-Stallone-in-Creed-2.jpg

Photo credit - https://www.releasemama.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/Michael-B-Jordan-and-Sylvester-Stallone-in-Creed-2.jpg

Viktor Drago, son of Ivan, has been destroying opponents in the Ukraine (Ivan was exiled from Russia following his loss to Rocky, in Rocky IV). Working hard in a concrete factory in a cold and deserted town, Ivan pushes his son in training, with visions of revenge in the ring. The tomato cans put in front of Viktor are no match for his size, strength, and quickness. Enter Buddy Marcelle with a plan to make a legacy out of either Creed or Drago.

It is also worth noting here that Dolph Lundgren, a.k.a. Ivan Drago, is exceptional in this role. The years of pain are felt on his face. Kramer Morgenthau, the cinematographer, does a tremendous job of making us feel the cold, dreary life that the Dragos are living. The canvas shifts between the two main characters as the gold of Creed is outdone by the blues of the Dragos.

Photo credit - https://static.vix.com/es/sites/default/files/styles/large/public/c/creed-ii-los-drago.jpg

Photo credit - https://static.vix.com/es/sites/default/files/styles/large/public/c/creed-ii-los-drago.jpg

I like to keep the rest of the story spoiler free for the audience, but I can give you a few more highlights of my experience.

The cast is back again, highlighted by Michael B. Jordan. Jordan seems to be great in any role that comes his way, but he especially shines as the hungry, longing-for-love Adonis Creed. He seems to always be running from his father’s legacy, yet trying to forge ahead to create his own. The weight of all of this is felt throughout the film, with little dialogue, just the cold eyes of Adonis, a kid still hurting.

His beloved Bianca is back, her hearing fading faster and faster, as her career continues to rise. Tessa Thompson is one of the hottest IPs in Hollywood right now; she seems able to do it all: Valkyrie (Thor and MCU), Charlotte Hess (Westworld), and now Bianca. She is not only beautiful but completely mesmerizing as Bianca yet again. As a girl in love, she is torn between helping and hurting, similar to the Adrian role 30 years ago.

Also back, of course, is Sylvester Stallone, who has been portraying this character for over 40 years. He continues to grow with the character, adding his heart and warmth to the once mighty champion. His transformation in the Mickey role is nearly complete, yet he has more to add with the history between the two fighters’ fathers. The movie would not work without Rocky, at least not in my opinion. He ties the stories all together, and for me, he makes it easy for a father and son to relate.

Photo credit - https://postmediatorontosun.files.wordpress.com/2018/11/stallone-creed-2.jpg

Photo credit - https://postmediatorontosun.files.wordpress.com/2018/11/stallone-creed-2.jpg

As the movie continues to move forward, the weight of the characters’ decisions is felt. I began to move up in my seat as each song played. I nearly screamed in excitement as an old school montage began, a staple in the 80s movies. And as the final act played out, I was the one screaming at the screen, as my sons and wife looked on in horror and smiled. They knew what this meant for us, not just another night out at the movies, but an experience to remember as we wait to watch all the Rockys and Creeds in a row someday and talk about the first time. I am lucky that they come on these journeys with me. Someday, I hope they get to experience the same joy I get as we walk out of the movies and eagerly discuss our favorite parts.

It was easy this time; we were excited for a montage!

Photo credit - https://comiconverse.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/CREED2REVIEW.jpg

Photo credit - https://comiconverse.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/CREED2REVIEW.jpg

Jaxwing scale 8/10

Worthy

I Watched... Instant Family

“You’re lucky I don’t end your life right now, Carrot Top!”

As the weather starts to change, so does the landscape of movies. Good bye to the summer blockbusters and hello to some family-friendly flicks. Enter stage left, Instant Family. The latest movie from Marky Mark and his production company, Closest to the Hole, who brought you the Daddy’s Home saga and probably every Boston movie made since 2005. You have probably seen the commercials if you have a TV and have turned it on in the last three weeks. It’s based on a true story about a husband and wife who take the plunge into Foster Care and end up with not one, but three kids.

Mark Wahlberg and Rose Byrne star as Pete and Ellie, who decide they want to try foster care since their busy schedules are unable to accommodate a newborn child. After taking a Foster Parents eight-week course; where we met a cast of people with various dreams and desires about what kind of foster kid they want (including one single mom who would like to play out the plot from The Blind Side), Pete and Ellie find themselves at what can best be described as a cattle call of children in need of homes.

During this time, there are some truly cringe-worthy moments with parents fighting over various kids they want, as if they are a basket cart at the grocery store. But we fight through this awful scene, which sets up the teenage kids in need. Pete and Ellie decide on Lizzy (Isabela Moner) after another uncomfortable interaction. Lizzy has a catch, though, well two to be exact: her brother and sister, Juan and Lita.

Photo credit - https://www.adoptuskids.org/_assets/images/AUSK/announcements/2018/instant-family-still-1-415x298.jpg

Photo credit - https://www.adoptuskids.org/_assets/images/AUSK/announcements/2018/instant-family-still-1-415x298.jpg

Shenanigans begin to ensue, as the new parents now have three kids under their care. You can kind of see where this is going, and that is ok. Struggling parents, neglected kids, and a fish out of water scenario. The first-time parents have some guidance by their ensemble cast, which includes the two social workers, outstandingly played by Octavia Spencer and Tig Notaro. And they also have their own families there to ‘help.’ The long-forgotten Julie Hagerty as Grandma Jan, who still seems like she is playing Elaine Dickenson from Airplane! And the always outstanding Margo Martindale playing Grandma Sandy, adding her love, affection, and hard-nosed style to her son’s new family.

Photo credit - https://stream.org/wp-content/uploads/InstantFamily-MarkWahlberg900.jpg

Photo credit - https://stream.org/wp-content/uploads/InstantFamily-MarkWahlberg900.jpg

Back and forth we go, like a mix of Daddy’s Home, Big Daddy, and an episode of Fixer Upper. But overall, I was pleased with the pace and the film in general. To me, there are two real reasons to see the movie. The first reason is the emergence of Isabela Moner as Lizzy; her performance was great as a troubled teen, bounced from foster home to foster home, and dealing with the struggles of a junkie mom, and two siblings she would like to keep together. But the real winner of this movie is foster care and adoption.

Photo credit - http://www.trinityasheville.org/announcements/instant-family/instant-family.jpg

Photo credit - http://www.trinityasheville.org/announcements/instant-family/instant-family.jpg

I have seen firsthand what a great set of adoptive parents can do for someone. I have two cousins who were adopted, and the positive influence my Uncle and Aunt gave them through their lives is truly inspirational. Through the highest of high moments in their lives and the lowest of lows, my Aunt and Uncle hugged, loved, and helped them. They helped shape them and provided the stable and loving home that all kids desire and need.

I have also witnessed the power of adoption in sports. My son is a part of a select baseball team. One couple has an adopted son, after trying to have kids of their own. The love they have is infectious, and you can see it in his face as they greet him after each game. I will never truly know what their journey or experience is like.

I know we have similar fears as parents, but the selfless act of adoption or foster parenting has to bring in a completely different set of fears, as well. The movie truly highlights some of this. And I believe it is coming at the perfect time of year. The credits include pictures of the real families of foster care and adoption, as well as a link to find out more on how you can help, which I have included below. We all have things to be thankful for this time of year; happy Thanksgiving and God bless to you all.

Jaxwing Scale 7/10

Worthy

Find out more about foster care or adoption at www.instantfamily.org

RIP: Stan Lee … Excelsior

The world has lost a comic book legend. Stan Lee, the co-creator of Marvel and every fanboy’s favorite cameo, has passed at the age of 95.

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Photo credit - http://cdn2.gamedots.mx/media/gd/images/2017/03/stanleecancelaevento.jpg

Imagine building an entire universe that people love, worship, and consume on a daily basis. Stanley Lieber started Marvel in the 1960s. Collaborating with Jack Kirby, Lee created some of the most iconic superheroes the world has seen. Not because the heroes were powerful and unbreakable, because he made them flawed, with tempers and depression. He made them more human for the reader.

I have only lived in a world with Stan Lee. He was there when I was a kid, and I consumed his comics daily, weekly, and monthly, from Fantastic Four to Incredible Hulk. Believe it or not, there was a time when reading these comic books, like wearing a backpack with two straps, was not the cool thing to do. I would eagerly await each issue, to take me away from my daily problems (as many as I could have at age 10) and escape, if just for 30 minutes. I wanted to be Peter Parker, Bruce Banner, or Tony Stark. More importantly, I started to realize that I wanted to write and tell stories like this.

Spider-Man is one of the most iconic superheroes of all time. Lee and Ditko introduced him to the world in August of 1962. I was still a ways away from birth, and a long way away from seeing him on The Electric Company and then finally on the big screen. Peter Parker is all of us, at least those who read. He was a shy, nerdy high school kid with a quick wit and genius IQ. Ditko and Lee created a character that would change all of us. It changed how we read comics, how we consumed media, and ultimately how we watch a superhero movie. As a kid and teen, Lee had a direct effect on me, and nothing was better than reading his letters at the end of the comics each month. He built his community with Dear Editors letters and with things as simple as crediting inkers, writers, and pencillers. He was a pioneer with those innovations into comics.

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Photo credit - https://www.screengeek.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/stan-lee.jpg

As I grew older, I started to leave the comic world. I had to get out and experience different things in my life. I never lost the love; it just shifted to movies and tv shows. As a young adult, I was more into the darker DC comics, partly because of my love of Batman.

Marvel at that time was evolving. They were selling various characters to different companies to try to stay afloat. One important purchase was Spider-Man by Sony. Sony would go on to produce two great Spider-Man movies with Tobey Maguire. They shattered the box office and brought Marvel back into the game. Something new was starting to bubble up. Stan Lee transformed himself into an icon, not just for his comic work, but also because of his cameos.

We had seen Stan Lee our whole lives, including a brief appearance in the TV show Incredible Hulk, which might have sparked something in his head and with future writer/directors. I have had a love affair with Kevin Smith movies my whole life. He had seemed to do exactly what I wanted to do but never could. In 1995, he made the movie Mallrats, and cast his idol, Stan Lee, into the movie as Stan Lee. Lee helped the central character to find his balance while answering annoying questions. It got Stan Lee back into the spotlight, and praise for him started to flow again. And then there was a light bulb.

With properties spread all over Hollywood in 2000, Stan Lee made his first cinematic cameo appearance in X-Men. This became his introduction to my kids’ lives. I became a father in 2003, and this was when all the cameos started happening:

Spider-Man (2002): He saved a little girl when Green Goblin showed up and dropped debris on crowd.

Daredevil (2003): He is saved by a young Matt Murdock.

Hulk (2003): He shows up as a security guard with the original Hulk, Lou Ferrigno.

I could list them all, but there are 56 of them. Here are a few of my favorites.

Iron Man (2008): Lee is mistaken for Hugh Hefner.

Amazing Spider-Man (2012): He listens to classical music with headphones as a fight rages behind him.

Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015): Lee is a military vet, drunk on Asgardian liquor.

Deadpool (2016): Lee is a Strip Club DJ.

I could go on and on listing cameos; the point is that they are what my son remembers about Stan Lee. Every time Lee’s cameo happens, he turns to me with the biggest smile on his face, like he found an Easter egg in the movie. He is so excited to tell me about it that I have to calm him during the film and wait till we are done. It is always the first thing he says about the movie when we exit. And yes, he knows what Stan Lee means to me and others, but to have a connection like that between a father and son is priceless.

At 95 years of age, Stan Lee had lived a full life, even though reports of abuse and legal difficulties marred his last few years. But for me, he will always be the person who let me explore my mind. He took me to other worlds where I met characters that are still relevant today, if not more popular. He developed characters like Black Panther because he was someone who had had enough of the norm in comics. He was someone who always seemed to be working and creating, because he truly loved his craft and his community. Iconic is not a big enough word to describe him. He was EXCELSIOR!

Mistakes Were Made

“Yes, we are so blessed to have not one, but two teams in the playoffs. Most families don’t have any.” – Kevin (The League)

I have been playing fantasy football for something like 25 years. I drafted Brett Favre when he was a rookie. When we used pen and paper, and by paper I mean that thing that had Houston Post written on top of it (Old School Houston reference.) I have also been a father now for 15 fantasy football seasons. There have been great days as a father (when I taught my kids to wipe their own asses), and there have been days that can only be described as a struggle (all days before I taught them to wipe their asses.) But all in all, it has been a good run as both father and fantasy football team owner.

We all had the friends in the league that could never quite make it to the draft in person. And they struggled with technology, and it was a headache to try to make it work. I was the guy who had the kids first, and so I would bring my kid along as a proxy and he would draft for one of the teams, for like 3 years in a row at a BW3 in Midtown. He did well, and was encouraged by the other owners and the guy he picked for. I felt like a dumbass, but I had to bring him for this event; I didn’t want to be that guy. And this was his first exposure to the world of fantasy football.

A few years went by, he got older. And started to dabble in the waters on his own. Nothing major, some quick Yahoo or ESPN drafts with anonymous people. It was like a gateway drug, though. This year he took the full steps into the deep end of the pool. With his major $20 dollar-a-team league (eyes roll.) And thus begins this article.

Do you remember when the kids were 2-4 years old? And they kept saying the same things. And kept playing the same movies. I got so tired of the crap he was watching when he was 4 years old, that I removed that particular terrible kid movie DVD and put in Smokey and Bandit. I thought this was genius, a movie I love; I should be able to handle this being on. Let me tell you, after 300 viewings, you will eventually get tired of Burt Reynold’s laugh and Jackie Gleason’s Sheriff Buford T. Justice. Granted it took like 200 viewings, before I started to hate it, but it happened: the kid broke me. Fast forward to ten years later, and following his first independent pay league, the questions started.

“Dad, what do you think of my Running Backs?”

“Dad, check out these QBs that are available?”

“Dad, what kicker should I use this week?” (Yes, he had multiple kickers.)

It was early in September, and I played along, because hey, my kid and I have an interest together. He started planning his weekends around the game schedules.

“Dad, Jets and Browns are on Thursday Night Football tonight: I am pumped, my kicker is in this game!”

I smiled, and looked around at what I had created. My wife had a different look on her face. October began, and questions never stopped. It was like he was 5 again, constant questions, and I started to crack.

“Dad, why do they call them the Browns?”

“Dad, why can’t they see the yellow line?”

“Dad, would you start Trubisky or Flacco, or should I pick up FitzMagic?”

“Dad…”

“Dad…”

“Dad…”

I went numb, and played deaf.

Don’t get me wrong, it is great that he found this form of crack rock. But I am the guy that has seen it for 20+ years. The guy that has made fun of people talking about how good their team is in meetings at work. Guys who drafted a kicker in the 10th round, because it was just “too hard to pass up on Gostkowski.” Now this madness has infected my home life, my sanctuary.

He now stays home on Sundays. As we leave for his brother’s baseball games. He gets his favorite snacks lined up and his go-to soda, sometimes he showers. He says crazy shit like, “Dad, I can’t wait to see this game from London, at 9:30 AM.” Not a day goes by that we don’t talk fantasy football. It is a blessing and a curse. And man do I hope he wins, but when he loses, hell hath no fury like a 15-year-old who didn’t get Zeke Elliot his touches, and loses because he didn’t start the correct kicker. But as a father, it’s not more you can ask for; at least I know where he is every Sunday morning. And that’s more than my mom could have hoped for.

Tis the Season to Drink Beer

Last week, Saint Arnold’s Christmas Ale made its way back into stores. You’ve probably seen it, and maybe you’ve passed it by. It’s time for you to stop doing that and make it a yearly purchase instead. The beer debuted in 1995. That’s right: craft beer in 1995. It’s a different beer for sure, and I know a few tricks for it that I will explain in a bit. First, here are some details about the beer from Saint Arnold himself:

Christmas Ale

Available October - December

A rich, copper colored, hearty ale perfect for the holiday season with a malty sweetness and spicy hop character. The generous use of five different malts is responsible for the full flavor and high alcohol level of this beer.

Saint Arnold Christmas Ale is best consumed at 45° Fahrenheit.

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(Source: Saint Arnold website)

Your first taste of Christmas Ale will be wicked. It pops and hits you with hard spice notes like you ate a pine tree hanging in the car window. It hits you with only 24 IBUs – less than you might expect. The ABV is 7.5%. Moreover, here is where it gets fun: the Christmas Ale has two underground recipes attached to it.

There are two ways in our house to drink it: my way, and Monica’s (the wife’s) way. Both are equally great; mine just gets you sideways faster.

Sailing Santa (a.k.a. The Monica Way)

Long ago, Saint Arnold’s sold a special holiday beer called Sailing Santa. It has since been discontinued, but here is the formula:

Saint Arnold.PNG

Start with your cold mug of choice. Monica likes to pour the Christmas Ale into the glass first, filling it about halfway, then top the rest of the glass off with Elissa IPA. The result is incredible. The Elissa is a classic by Saint Arnold and is available all year. It has an IBU of 52, and an ABV of 7.1%. The hops from the IPA break up the pine taste of the Christmas Ale, and together they form a terrific partnership. It’s sad that the actual Sailing Ale is long gone, but it’s good to have this in its place.

We first discovered this at the brewery itself, from a good friend who was tired of hearing bitching about the absence of Sailing Santa. When he revealed the formula to make it, I felt like a complete moron, yet [RFO1] I couldn’t wait to get home and try it out.

Rocket Santa (a.k.a. The Eric Way)

Soon we discovered another recipe. Rocket Santa starts the same way, with half a glass of Christmas Ale, but we are kicking it up a notch with a harder beer. Enter the Endeavour.

Beer 3.PNG

Endeavour was one of my first true craft beer loves. I was looking for a way out of the “shit beer” scene when I came across Divine Reserve, a series of single batch beers by Saint Arnold. Endeavour was the 11th Divine Reserve. It’s a double IPA that punches you in the balls when you first try it, coming at you with 68 IBUs and a hefty 9.0% ABV. Adding this to the Christmas Ale, like the Elissa, breaks up some of the pine taste, and drops in more ABV, which is perfect for the holiday season. After a few Rocket Santas, everyone looks forward to me making an ass out of myself or saying something inappropriate (but to be fair, this could happen sober as well). The Rocket Santa was also discovered at the brewery, and I was able to enjoy a few of them before we walked downtown for the Astros’ victory parade.

Conclusion

The Christmas Ale is ok by itself, and nothing for me to write home about. But when I combine this beauty with two year-round favorites, the results are magic. Cheers, and let’s get the holiday season started early!

I Watched … Daredevil Season 3

"And some bloody their fists trying to keep the Kitchen safe." – Karen Page

The man without fear, last time we saw him, he was presumed dead by his friends and others close to him. However, are you ever really dead in the world of fiction? Matt Murdock is a betting man, no doubt about it. A building fell on top of him, but the Netflix Original managed to overcome the obstacles and was nursed back to health by some gracious nuns. More on one particular nun in a second.

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Photo credit - http://cdn.collider.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/daredevil-season-3-image-2.jpg

Matt seems to have lost some of his ‘powers’ at the beginning of the season. His senses seem to be out of whack, audio distortions hampering his sonic vision. Back where it all began for him, in the orphanage, Matt gets some tough love help from Sister Maggie, played by Joanne Whalley. A character that is so important to the comic series, it was amazing to get to see her on the screen finally, and wow, she does not disappoint.

Let’s just say; she is not your average nun. As always, I will keep this spoiler free, but I can say she is brilliantly portrayed and the payoff throughout the season is well worth it. And in what can only be called a staple, yet again Daredevil (the show) outdoes itself with another great one shot. In Season 1, it was the hallway scene, in Season 2 it was the prison scene. So what do they do for an encore, A Prison Hallway scene, fuck yeah I am sold, look for it in Episode 4.

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Photo credit - http://cdn1.sciencefiction.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Daredevil-Season-3-Episode-1-Matt-Maggie.png

As much as the show is called Daredevil, there is way more characters that share the airtime.

Moreover, this season belonged to Karen Page. Not only in her presence on the existing story but for the first time, we get a backstory episode of the character that has been there since the beginning. She has always been there for us. She introduced us to Matt. She quickly pulled the trigger and killed Fisk’s right-hand man that help shape her character and the season of Daredevil.

So to finally see what happened to her that brought to Hell’s Kitchen is huge. Deborah Ann Woll’s portrayal of Karen Page has grown on me, Season 1, I wasn’t sold, outside of the death of Wesley, she just got on my nervous, and she always looked to be on the verge of tears. Season 2, she was somewhat forgotten, as well in Defenders and Punisher. However, with this backstory, I feel like I now know why she was always on the verge of tears, like it was slowly played out for me. I was a fool, and please forgive me Karen Page.

As for the other main characters, Foggy gets his fair share of the screen. In a bold move, he seems to be close to greatest with his run for DA. He is always there, willing to lend a hand to Matt, to Karen, and constantly providing the comic relief, we need at times. However, more importantly, this season, he provides a bit more realistic ideas, which helps with a show about a blind man that fights crime. However, season 3 adds one of the best villain arcs ever. I loved him in Season 1, but Vincent D’Onofrio’s version of Wilson Fisk is one of my favorites of all time now.

His Season 3 raise to Kingpin is now the stuff of comic viewing legend for me. His perfect manipulation of any and every one in Hell’s Kitchen, along with sidebar characters that help make it work, have elevated this Season to new heights. He doesn’t simply become Kingpin, he is now Kingpin, at least for a while, like how Ledger holds the crown as Joker. Wilson Fisk plays everyone throughout the season for the sole purpose of love, without spoilers again, let’s just say it is a great ride. Moreover, the rise of a new villain, you see there is a doppelganger Daredevil, and his casting is a bullseye in my opinion. Wilson Bethel taking on the fanboy role of Benjamin ‘Dex’ Poindexter is a complete win for fans and comic lovers. He even comes equipped with his own backstory to help with the enhancement of the beloved character.

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Photo credit - https://i2.wp.com/themarvelreport.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Daredevil-Season-3-Fisk.jpg?fit=750%2C500

As the sun starts to set on a great time in television, it is most certainly the beginning of the end for the Marvel Netflix series’. My previous favorite, Luke Cage was given the boot a few months ago, before him, my least favorite, Iron Fist, got shown the door. We still like to think Jessica Jones is out there, but if this is the end of Daredevil, then it went out with a bang, and it will truly be missed. However, here is hoping he will just be BORN AGAIN.

Jaxwing scale – 8/10

Worthy

To further enhance your Daredevil feels after Season 3, go back and read the Born Again series by the great Frank Miller.