Saturday, November 18, 2017

MOVIE REVIEWS - In Theaters NOW

The better movie season is finally here, and let's see what's new for you this week at the flicks!

Justice League

I really wish I had better news on this one, but Justice League misses the mark.  This brings together numerous DC characters to save the world, with the main plot revolving around Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot)  and Batman. (Ben Affleck).

This is what you would think it is.  A huge CG fest that at times looks like a video game, with our characters fighting for good, and for screen time.  The action scenes are long, drawn out and a bit clunky with no real flow to them.  This is also the basic formula you would expect, about 40 minutes of team building and about 90 minutes of action sequences. 

To its credit, it's not too long checking in at about 2 hours. And this movie knows its audience, and could care less about what the critics say, as it will bring in a ton this weekend, and for the next few weeks.  And they are counting on it, as the budget was about 300 million. 

Justice League.  This is NO Wonder Woman, that for my money is the best superhero movie ever.  But fans will be ready for this one, as where many of the rest of us will simply tolerate it.


Wonder

Good to see Julia Roberts back on the screen in the new very good, Wonder.   Roberts stars with Owen Wilson, and a really nice young actor, Jacob Tremblay in a well told story about a young boy named Auggie who is badly disfigured since birth.  His struggle to integrate into middle school is the plot here, and his acceptance, or not.

This movie is so relevant to pretty much any parent in today's world, and the struggle they have many times with any kid today.  This takes on bullying, and abandonment, the school systems, and parenting, or the lack thereof.  Even though Auggie clearly has more mountains to climb in middle school than most kids, this flick does a remarkable job of making it for everyone.

Tremblay as Auggie is amazing, and Roberts and Wilson as his caring parents are terrific too. This is a nice movie the for the most part is very family friendly, without looking like a "family" movie.

Wonder.  Great!


Daddy's Home 2

Real quick.  This movie knows its fan base and what they think is funny, and that's to it's credit.  But I think many have to draw the line at drunken 9 year olds, and the continuation of more of the same with this cast.

The original cast is joined this time by Mel Gibson, John Lithgow, and John Cena, but it makes no difference.  There is nothing new here, despite a could of funny scenes.

Daddy's Home 2.   Too many.

Monday, November 6, 2017

MOVIE REVIEWS - In Theaters Now

Bad Moms Christmas

This bunch is back again, and this time taking on Christmas.

Here comes Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, and Katherine Hahn reprising their characters again.  And this time, their moms are involved, as we welcome Kristine Baransky, Susan Sarandon and Cheryl Hines. A big cast, but are there big laughs. Well, yes there are some.  This is a movie that is a good example of knowing exactly what its target audience wants and gives it to them.  Don't look for this at the Oscars though.

This movie does a few things well.  It is wonderful parody of the relationship between mom and daughter, and how it relates to the holidays. Of course it's exaggerated and over the top, but it's overall effective.  I do like how they have carved out these three main characters, and our stars are fine.  Is this hilarious? No, but fun.

I do wish that sometimes editors would realize when a joke, or phrase is being beaten to death though. Fair statement, this is no where near original.  There is too much of the same gag, and jokes in much of this, but if you can wade through that like I was able to, this is fun.

Bad Moms Christmas. If this is your thing, then it's your day!


Thank You For Your Service

Miles Teller stars in this movie that s very powerful, and anything but light movie watching.

But, this is good.  Being fair, this is not as good as I thought it would be.  But it's still good.  This deals with three veterans, all young, and their re-entry to being out of the Army and blending back into society. And it's not very easy, if possible at all.  I do like the story and the entire idea of telling these stories, as this is based on true events.

But some of this becomes to my eye a bit like a news feature at times, and for moments loses its focus. But is does refocus and gets back on track. This is a very serious movie that deals with a very poignant topic, and I'm glad it's here for us to see.

Performances are good, story is worth telling and this will leave you more aware than when you walked in.

Thank You For Your Service.  Quite good.


Only The Brave

This is a movie that is a great example of a story that should be told, and takes you somewhere you have never been before.  Both are huge checks in the plus column.

Toss in a GREAT cast,  lead by Josh Brolin, Jeff Bridges, and Miles Teller, and you have a really strong early fall flick. This movie makes us all pause and again give thanks for the fearless folks who fight fires of all kinds, including suburban, city and wildfires.  This movie is the true story of the Arizona Granite Mountain Hot Shots.  All were lost in a terrible wildfire a few years ago.

I won't give too much away, but this tells you exactly who these guys are, and who their families are, as they are all in the lifestyle together.  These are truly the Navy Seals of firefighters.  They fight fires without water, and go places that most would never dream of going daily, putting themselves in incredible danger.

Brolin and Bridges are terrific, and the story is powerful and on point.  To this movies extreme credit, this movie is far more story and substance as opposed to special effects.  This movie is very careful to get it right, and spends far more quality time on what they should do...and not what they could do.

Only The Brave.  I loved every frame of this movie.


The Foreigner 

It is so good to see Jackie Chan back making movies.  With all due respect to the half action, half comedy movies he has made and had great success with.  This is the Jackie Chan I really like.

This is the story of a very sad man, (Chan).  His entire family has been killed over the years all by political means.  After his youngest daughter is killed in England, our hero decides he has had enough and sets out to avenge years of horrible events.  The last killing has ties to the political wars in Ireland and England, and this is backdrop of our story.

Chan is still remarkable as he continues to amaze us with his physical talent, and his overall charm and likability.  This also stars Pearce Brosnan, who I thought was terrific in this movie.  This has action, and a strong story, and more than that, it marks the return of the Jackie Chan we have been waiting for.

The Foreigner.  Very good, and is set up for more!




The Mountain Between US


Very quick. Idris Elba and Kate Winslet star in this love story, that I really liked.  Can these two survive a plane crash in the Rockies, and where do they go from there if they do.


Great date movie, and just a good movie that got lost in the movie shuffle


The Mountain Between Us -  Good!

CMA Preview - Big Night Tonight

When the CMA's were born in 1967, the founders could not imagine for the growth of our format, and the show itself.  From a "gathering" of a thousand or so, to a concert of 25,000 and a dominant national TV audience, tonight's 51st installment will be huge! Plus, this year no World Series game 7 to get in our way.

I am a lifetime member of the CMA, and look forward to tonight with a good deal of well - I have no idea about the winners, or who they will be.  Many times me and my peers have far more confidence in our choices.  These are not predictions, but things to keep in mind as we watch together.

The grand award of the night, is the Entertainer Of The Year and the competition is strong, all with worthy resumes.  But my feeling is that with 6.5 million concert tickets sold on his current tour, Garth Brooks may be a bit out front.  His shows are amazing after all these years. Garth is simply uncanny in his ability to stay relevant, packing arenas every single night.

One of the more interesting races to watch is Female Vocalist Of The Year.  This is a wide open race, with Miranda and Carrie more than likely leading the list of favorites.  Both winners of this award. But I have yet to meet someone who doesn't like the music of Maren Morris and who she is. She is giving voice to a new generation of fans.

Male Vocalist is generally a tough one. Dierks Bentley would be a very interesting choice, as he has done something that is rare and very tough to do.  He is recording the best music of his career after all this time, as he continually reinvents himself.  But Thomas Rhett is everywhere, and has throngs of fans in Country and well outside of Country.

I am always intrigued by the New Artist category as it is a mix of men, women and groups usually, so it's fun to watch. What a year Jon Pardi had getting the traction so long thought that he would.  He scored 3 BIG songs, all among the most memorable songs this year.  Hey, and Luke Combs has the same wonderful affliction Maren Morris has, as I have yet to meet anyone who doesn't love his music.

Album Of The Year is one I do have the strongest feeling in that, as good as they all are, Chris Stapleton's, From A Room, is flying off the shelves and his fans just flat out like him. Plus, he is gathering more fans seemingly every minute of every day.

Vocal Duo. This year's nominees are so incredibly different it's a difficult call.  But undeniably Florida Georgia Line is as big as any act in our format and from any category.  They jam venues every night, and their fans are insanely loyal.  They are also a few years ahead of the others in their bracket.  Brothers Osborne though, look like blue chip prospects.

Vocal Group? Fans love all of them no doubt.  But Little Big Town has a special relationship with fans, as they have hung in there all these years even when times were not so good.  Fans relate to them, like them, and support them.  Old Dominion is off to a very strong start, and Zac Brown is solid year after year.

The Song and Single category I really have no feel for.  And truth be told, we for the most part are a stars format. Fans more often than not, love their favorite singers first. All fine songs here, a couple will win.

The show promises to be the biggest one yet, and the chatter around the office the next day and on social media is always fun to watch and participate in.  We can talk about it Thursday morning on the show, as we will host an After Show with Scott And Sarah.

Enjoy the CMA's and we'll talk it over in the morning!

scott@wqmx.com


Saturday, November 4, 2017

The Four Places

I only speak for me, but I tend feel a bit reflective when some places close and we lose them for good.  Honestly, I am not even close to the guy that lives in the past, or wants you off the lawn, but I feel I know -  too bad  - when I see it.

And now it's the Akron Rubber Bowl's time to end.  As dilapidated as it now is, I still feel reflective on its life.  And not just for this city, but for any city where something that was once vital, is no longer so. And in the Rubber Bowls case, not by a little.  We have learned yes, some places we build are living, breathing things.  I call them The Big Four  - Schools, Stadiums, Theaters, Amusement Parks  - the list is short.  Even sometimes when a golf course is left to die and grow over itself.  Places made by humans strictly to give humans joy, or be communal that outlive their usefulness.  Their demise fills me with a sense of thinking about what happened there.  But not in the here and now condition, but when the Rubber Bowl was shiny new, prime of life, and breathing well.

It will be torn down soon mercifully for every reason that is right to do so.  The times had at the Rubber Bowl were both good and bad for many for sure.  It does have a very interesting history that a simple Google search can show you.  The Rubber Bowl has been standing there roughly 80 years, and it has met the exact same fate that the old Chippewa Lake Amusement Park in Medina County did some 40 years ago after a 100 year run.  Newer, shinier places showed up as times changed, and people just - walked away and left the older ones there to decay slowly.  Chippewa Lake became overgrown and eerie to say the least, and now so has the Rubber Bowl.

Being honest, these things seldom happen to the extent they have around here. Huge, expansive places made for humans, just ....left to fend for itself.  I will never say the Rubber Bowl should have been saved because that simply is not a clear thought.  It had its run, but it's over, as now the clock has simply run out.  But I still think that there is a certain melancholy that is triggered inside us when places like this meet their maker.  Even though it's been a long time since Charlie Frye threw a touchdown there, or the Stones or Tom Petty played a note of music there, it's now officially over.

All of my schools I attended as a kid are demolished or will soon be as I have learned. The neighborhood theaters are by and large gone, and the stadiums of my youth too. And even though some amusement parks get bigger, the smaller ones get  - smaller.  And golf courses?  Some nice ones are now parking and retail.  Times and people change, but one thing that doesn't, is that luckily they still build The Four Places that for these days -  will have their shining moment of the now.

And the inevitable fate - of the later.  

                             


Wednesday, October 18, 2017

MOVIE REVIEWS - In Theaters Now!

Only The Brave

This is a movie that is a great example of a story that should be told, and takes you somewhere you have never been before.  Both are huge checks in the plus column.

Toss in a GREAT cast,  lead by Josh Brolin, Jeff Bridges, and Miles Teller, and you have a really strong early fall flick. This movie makes us all pause and again give thanks for the fearless folks who fight fires of all kinds, including suburban, city and wildfires.  This movie is the true story of the Arizona Granite Mountain Hot Shots.  All were lost in a terrible wildfire a few years ago.

I won't give too much away, but this tells you exactly who these guys are, and who their families are, as they are all in the lifestyle together.  These are truly the Navy Seals of firefighters.  They fight fires without water, and go places that most would never dream of going daily, putting themselves in incredible danger.

Brolin and Bridges are terrific, and the story is powerful and on point.  To this movies extreme credit, this movie is far more story and substance as opposed to special effects.  This movie is very careful to get it right, and spends far more quality time on what they should do...and not what they could do. 

Only The Brave.  I loved every frame of this movie. 


The Foreigner 

It is so good to see Jackie Chan back making movies.  With all due respect to the half action, half comedy movies he has made and had great success with.  This is the Jackie Chan I really like. 

This is the story of a very sad man, (Chan).  His entire family has been killed over the years all by political means.  After his youngest daughter is killed in England, our hero decides he has had enough and sets out to avenge years of horrible events.  The last killing has ties to the political wars in Ireland and England, and this is backdrop of our story.

Chan is still remarkable as he continues to amaze us with his physical talent, and his overall charm and likability.  This also stars Pearce Brosnan, who I thought was terrific in this movie.  This has action, and a strong story, and more than that, it marks the return of the Jackie Chan we have been waiting for.

The Foreigner.  Very good, and is set up for more!

Monday, October 9, 2017

I Will Miss Tom Petty

It's been about a week since Tom Petty died. And because of recent events, it's now I am more comfortable about sharing this. And why not, as you will hear a Petty song covered at about any Country concert you go to, and have for years.

I was a fan.  I'm not the fan that can tell you song 3 on album 4, and its length. But a fan nonetheless.  I was a big fan of his music, and of who he was.  He was just a guy with his crew that simply recorded good music. When he hit in the 70's everything was simpler, and musically it was a very good time especially for rock music.  The music was where the sole emphasis was.  Straight out of the garage, to the bars, and to hopefully better days ahead.  And he went up against the big boys on the charts and did very well.  Somehow we didn't view him as such. But now we know he was one of the big boys, and so do those who are still around, at long last.

I feel Tom Petty maybe the most underrated rock star of all time.  We all just thought he'd be here forever.  He never became dated, or a caricature of  himself.  It never became hard to watch him on stage, as it has many others. He aged well, and never left his musical roots so far behind we didn't recognize who he was. I respected that. He remembered he was Tom Petty.

If Tom Petty came out today, he probably would not be a star.  He was not a heartthrob. His shows were good, but there were no dance routines, no fluff, nothing that distracted you from the music. They were playing music, and not relying on ancillary diversions making you think the music and the stars were better than they really were. 

Petty's music stayed relevant till the end.  For every reason there is, when his music was introduced to new and younger audiences, they loved it. Jerry MacGuire gave Free Fallin' a huge resurgence.  As did a terrific Superbowl Halftime show.  I'm not sure anyone got more out of, or appreciated an appearance there more than Petty.  By the iconic picture of he and his Heartbreakers at shows end,  they understood the moment clearly, and climbed a mountain they never thought they would.  The word was they were not the first choice that year by a long shot, and they knew it, and they didn't care.  They played with incredible confidence and joy.

Petty was a heavy influence as well on many of today's Country Stars clearly.  Although Petty's recorded music and vocals are more aggressive than even the most rockin' country stars, the beat and the Petty idea of many songs is apparent.  Petty even wrote a top 20 country hit years ago recorded by group Southern Pacific called, Thing About You, that featured Emmylou Harris.  Cool song.  Being from Gainesville, Florida, Petty understood Country, and in he end, had the Southern Rock feel to much of his music, that is clear in much of today's Country.

I will miss the music, and the kind of guy we knew.  Where he was out front of his band, where the music he made was the star  - and it was out in front of him.  Guys like him in music just don' really exist anymore.

I will miss Tom Petty. 

Saturday, October 7, 2017

The TRIBE - The Right Way

This Tribe ride we are all on is simply amazing.  Last nights unimaginable win has electrified our area - yet again.  As they have many times this summer.

Why is this team so fun? Why are they so successful? And why is this happening?  The reason, to me, has become clear as glass.   They play the game, and handle themselves the right way.  Granted you need talent to get to this point, but to win this way and possibly climb the tallest mountain in sports, the intangibles are what gets you there. 

These guys are not outwardly worried about being on Sportscenter, and they don't care the Cubs have a huge following.  They don't mind where they play, who they play, or on what obscure network or what time. They don't care who gets the credit, and they go out every day with the idea of going on.  All of this is pretty unusual in today's modern sports world with today's modern pro athlete.  Isn't is funny, when you watch the Tribe play, it's not like watching sports, it's like watching life.  A bunch of guys that clearly care for each other, relish each others company and celebrate each others contribution. 

They play with a Little League like enthusiasm, they run out ground balls, they never give up, the bench is into the game.  As a season ticket holder I have been to a bunch of games, and this fact alone you can clearly see, has other teams in this league befuddled.  They just don't get it, it's all over their faces. They play positions and take on roles that Tito asks them to, and it works. Sure, Tito looks like the genius, and he is. But the guys have to buy into him, and give it all up on the field for him, for them and for us, and get it done.

What a great lesson for all us of in what we do, at work, or in life.  When we believe in what we are doing, who we are with, and where we are going, it makes a difference. When you do something the right way, the right thing has the best chance of happening.

Go Tribe!