Weekly Wonderings – June 21st, 2021

So today, I am 40 years of age. It is a bit surreal because my perception of time makes me feel like it wasn’t that long ago that I was getting my Master’s degree or getting married. But those were a decade ago or longer. Undergrad is even further in the past. From today to when I was born is a longer amount of time than when Marty McFly traveled in Back to the Future. I’ve begun to use Back to the Future to gauge how old things from my past are. For instance, if the film was made today using the present (2021) and traveling back 30 years, Marty would have gone to 1991. Now, I think about my perception of how long ago 1955 was as a kid in the late 80s watching the film over and over again, and that felt like such a bygone era. Meanwhile, I have vivid memories of the 1990s, and it doesn’t feel like something as “old” as the 1950s.

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My 40 Favorite Movies Part 1 (of 4)

Wet Hot American Summer (2001, dir. David Wain)

In honor of turning 40 years of age, I am presenting a list of my 40 Favorite Films in order. The long list was over 200 items so this has been pared down and mulled over considerably . The films that make up the bottom part of a list like this are often the “just made its.” They had some unique element, in some cases utterly indescribable, that qualified them for a spot over something else. We begin with Wet Hot American Summer, a film I saw in 2001 while a college student. I had become tangentially aware of The State through one of my friends Keith, the same friend who introduced me to Mr. Show and for whom I am incredibly thankful. These shows ultimately helped shape my personal taste in comedy in a significant way.

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TV Review – Loki Season 1, Episode 2

Loki Season 1, Episode 2 (Disney+)
Written by Elissa Karasik
Directed by Kate Herron

After this episode of Loki, it was clear to me this and the first entry should be viewed as the entire pilot. It reminded me of the 1980s and 90s when some network action-dramas would debut as a two-hour made-for-TV movie that served as an origin story and set up of the series’ conceit. For Loki, it seems the show will be about trying to repair the now fragmented timeline before time runs out. It was established in this episode that the TVA agents can only enter branches in real-time, unable to go back to before the incidents happened to erase them. That sort of ticking clock scenario is the hallmark of much procedural television series.

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My Favorite Ned Beatty Performances

Toy Story 3 (2010, dir. Lee Unkrich)

Beatty delivered one of his best performances near the end of his acting career as Lotso-Huggin’ Bear, the villain of the third Toy Story movie. By now, the shine of Pixar has faded a bit, but for the longest time, it seemed they could do no wrong. I was pretty skeptical going into a third Toy Story if the quality could be maintained, yet they presented one of the best outings yet. Helping that work was Beatty in the role of the antagonist. Lotso holds a grudge after he is left behind at a rest stop by his owner. This is made even worse when he arrives home and finds she’s had a replacement Lotso bought for her. Now he spends his twilight years in a daycare where he runs things with an iron fist when the humans go home. Beatty does a great job bringing layers to Lotso, showcasing his charisma and grandfatherly charm at the start. When things get dire, he doesn’t hold back on the villainy, and it is what makes the character one of the more compelling villains created by Pixar.

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Weekly Wonderings – June 14th, 2021

This last week I’ve really noticed how relaxed I feel. Getting out of a work system that just pulls everything out of you made a big difference. I sleep deeper and wake up more energized. There are certain things to feel anxious about, and some items on our list have big question marks on them. I guess I just feel like if we stay level-headed, we can work through them and move with ease. I’ve taken to manage my anxiety in ways that are simple and helpful. I’ve been setting many alarms for online classes or tasks I need to do that are scheduled. Before, my brain would fixate on the appointment and basically keep me from doing anything else out of a fear of being late. With the alarms on my phone, I just relax, knowing it will go off when I need to be ready. I think so much of our society is built around keeping people on edge all the time, and we need to break free from that.

Also, the new podcast episode is up with our Top 5 Films of 1996 and a review of Disney’s Cruella. Give it a listen!

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PopCult Podcast Episode 6

This episode it’s a conversation about our Top 5 Films of 1996. There are some interesting moments where we agree and disagree. One thing we do agree on is what we think about Disney’s Cruella which is our review of the episode.

We’d love to know what you thought of this episode so leave your comments here or leave a voice message on our Anchor page. We might share your comment on an upcoming episode of the show.

You can listen to the podcast here or on Spotify or Google Podcasts.

TV Review – Loki Season 1, Episode 1

Loki Season 1, Episode 1 (Disney+)
Written by Michael Waldron
Directed by Kate Herron

I am one of those people that never got all the fans gushing over Loki. He’s a perfectly okay character, and it wasn’t until Thor: Ragnarok that I actually found him entertaining. Even in the comics, I just never found Loki a very compelling character. He feels very one-note to me and just works in the same repetitive cycle. With his death in Avengers: Infinity War, I supposed it was the end of the character in the MCU. However, Endgame had the Avengers traveling back in their own timeline and allowing a variant Loki to be created, one who shunted away with the use of the Cosmic Cube. This Disney+ series is where we find out where he went and what became of him.

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Weekly Wonderings – June 7th, 2021

We finally watched the Bo Burnham special “Inside” on Netflix, and wow! I don’t think I’ve seen a piece of media yet that really captured the inner turmoil I felt during the pandemic. I don’t believe everything Burnham did in front of the camera was an authentic expression in the moment, but I think he gave some striking performances of what was happening internally. It’s also an impressive technical achievement, particularly the lighting he used. It is part stand-up comedy, but I think it’s more than that; it’s a piece of performance art that is actually good. I feel it will be one of those pieces of pandemic art that will get unpacked over time. It’s something you certainly have to strap in for before you start watching.

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Weekly Wonderings – June 1st, 2021

June is set to be a busy month for us. We’re waiting for the announcement from the European Union on Americans entering the region so we can arrange a move date (likely in July). This month I turn 40, which means I have some special blog series coming. Starting tomorrow, I will be doing a Flashback to 1981, rewatching and reviewing movies that came out the year of my birth. Starting on the 21st, my birthday, I will be doing a four-part “My 40 Favorite Movies” series. This was pretty difficult because my first draft of the list had over 200 films on it, so I had to spend May paring that down to the top 40.

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