Dad v Jeopardy!

I didn’t need Jeopardy! to know that my dad was a genius, but it sure helped to prove it every night.

Just like most every kid, I thought my dad was the smartest person in the world. Granted, he had to be pretty smart to graduate with an degree in economics and all that (though I always joked that economics was made up when he was in college in the 1960s so he learned it before it got all hard). I recently learned he spent two-ish years at Berkley… until it got a little hard for him (or too liberal), after which he moved on to BYU, graduated with that economics degree, married my mom, and joined the Army.

But my dad was a pretty humble, blue-collar type of person my entire life. Before he got his job at the post office in 1994 (the ultimate blue-collar, moving folks to the middle class job ever), he worked in jobs not normally associated with one that didn’t get into law school: Pepsi delivery driver, Army Reservist (he was an administrative specialist), souvenir salesman. Anything to ensure that his rather large family had enough to eat and a room over their heads. The things a humble man does to support his family.

Continue reading “Dad v Jeopardy!”

13 Reasons Why – A Review

Note: This post contains mild spoilers from the Netflix series “13 Reasons Why,” as well as some talk of suicide and sexual assault. Reader discretion is advised.

“13 Reasons Why” is the latest Original Series from Netflix. Based on the novel of the same name, the series begins after the “unexpected” suicide of high school junior Hannah Baker (Katherine Langford) and follows Clay Jensen (Dylan Minnette) after he receives a box of 13 tapes anonymously. The tapes outline the “13 reasons why” Hannah committed suicide, with Hannah narrating 13 distinct events, perpetrated by classmates and others, over the previous year that led to her taking her own life.

The subject person of each tape has listened to the series and passed them on to the next person, mainly because of unspoken consequences enforced by Tony (Christian Navarro), a friend of Hannah’s with promises to keep. Whereas the previous recipients of the tapes had simply listened and passed them on, Clay takes a special interest in the tapes in an effort to eliminate some of his own feelings of loss over the death of Hannah, but also in an attempt to hold the others accountable for their actions. This doesn’t make him very popular with the other folks on the tapes, who pressure him to just get through them and get to the end and put it all behind him. This culminates in a conclusion that is just, yet open-ended enough to potentially lead to future seasons of the show. The true fallout is just beginning to be felt by the end of the 13th episode, and many loose strings are left untied.  Continue reading “13 Reasons Why – A Review”

Today’s Movie Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014)

Believe me, when I first heard about the Michael Bay-produced reboot of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, I had the same reaction that most of the internet did: how dare he ruin my childhood!?!?* I prejudged the idea of the movie based on the initial rumors: that Bay was going to make them aliens and remove the “mutant” part of the turtles. Had that actually happened, I think my reaction to the movie would have been different.

*Only in the sense that my childhood could be in fact ruined by a movie.

And sure, the secondary backlash after the initial trailer landed with the new look for the turtles should have dissuaded me further, but I wanted to give the movie a chance…unlike what seems like 85% of the rest of the internet, guilty of judging the movie by it’s trailer, or the thinking that explosion master Michael Bay will somehow travel through time and remove my original experience to the original turtle films or cartoon that I grew up with. Despite the horrible reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, I trusted my gut and decided to give it a chance, and while it is not the best movie I have ever seen, it definitely exceeded my expectations.

(Minor spoilers ahead) Continue reading “Today’s Movie Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014)”

Today’s Movie Review: Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

Note: I actually saw this movie on the Thursday before it officially came out (July 31st), and I was part of its $94.3 million opening weekend. I’ve just been dragging my feet in getting this review up, pending a potential second viewing, but instead decided to check out the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot instead.  

Of the many movies that have been released so far this year, Guardians of the Galaxy was probably my most anticipated movie. Not because I am/was familiar with the characters ahead of time, but because I was interested in seeing a movie that I had little knowledge. Even though the stories of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and Transformers: Age of Extinction, for example, were new stories, it was still relatively easy to see where those movies would end up, especially considering the previous movies in their respective series.

But Guardians would be different; though I knew the general premise of the movie from reading a little about it and from the trailers, it ended up being something slightly different than what I was expecting. Because of this, it is definitely one of the best Marvel Cinematic Universe movies released to date, and it has me excited for some of the “deep cut” Marvel movies that are coming over the next few years. While DC Comics/Warner Brothers continues to struggle to build its own cinematic universe, Marvel/Disney  have shown how you can turn even lesser known characters into box office gold.

(Minor spoilers ahead) Continue reading “Today’s Movie Review: Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)”