Monthly Archives: January 2018

Movie Thoughts: Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond

jim&andyJim & Andy: The Great Beyond – Featuring a Very Special, Contractually Obligated Mention of Tony Clifton

For a couple of years in the late 90’s, actor Jim Carrey seemed to be moving beyond the screen persona he’d honed in the Ace Ventura movies and The Mask and was really challenging himself (and his audience) as an actor. This period led to some great movies by Carrey including The Truman Show, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and the Andy Kaufman bio-picture Man on the Moon.

Carrey’s performance as Kaufman in Man on the Moon generated critical buzz and even had some speculating that he could get an Oscar nod for the year.  Carrey never got that Oscar nod (though he did joke about it on the Oscar broadcast that year) and, in many ways, those three films stand as some of the best work Carrey has done.

So, it’s interesting that twenty years after Man on the Moon hit theaters that a new documentary would reveal that maybe Carrey wasn’t so much acting in the film as channeling the spirit of Andy Kaufman.  Early in the documentary Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond, Carrey tells us that he spirit of Andy Kaufman came up to him, tapped him on the shoulder, and told him that he’d be taking over for the duration of filming.

Behind-the-scenes footage seems to support this with Carrey not breaking character as Kaufman or his alter-ego, Tony Clifton.  That footage, originally banned by Universal because it made Carrey look like an asshole, forms much of the documentary along with a new interview from Carrey, looking at not only his time on the picture but also his career as a whole.   

In many ways, Jim & Andy feels like a lost extra from the DVD release of Man on the Moon.  The footage will also make you want to immediately seek out the original Man on the Moon and visit it again.

But the more the movie goes along, the more I couldn’t help but wonder if Carrey was pulling a Kauffman-like prank on that has gone on for these twenty years. The footage seems to indicate this could be the case, but it’s never entirely clear one way or the other. (Which, on some level, would make Andy Kauffman proud, I suppose).  

Focusing on only on Carrey, the film never allows us to see reactions or reflections from the rest of the cast and crew, except in the footage taken during production.  Part of me can’t help but wonder what certain participants made of Carrey’s dedication to the role and the craft and how they feel about it today. (It’d be interesting to see what Jerry Lawler thought of things, for example).

Unfortunately, the film doesn’t come up with any answers but instead leaves it to you to decide.  

 

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Review: I Let You Go by Claire Mackintosh

I Let You GoA rainy afternoon turns into a parents’ worst nightmare. A five-year-old boy slips from his mother’s grasp and runs out in front of a car. What follows is a set of tragic events that set into motion that gripping mystery story, I Let You Go.

Haunted by the event, Jenna Gray flees to an isolated town, renting a home with little or no contact with the outside world. Meanwhile, the police task force assigned to the case is haunted by the fact that no witnesses will come forward and they can’t seem to find the missing piece of the puzzle to understand this tragic event, much less track down the culprit.

After an initial character choice that took me out of the novel for a moment (the lead detective’s name is Ray Stevens. As a big fan of the musician Ray Stevens, it took me a few pages to not see my favorite singer in the role as the lead detective), I Let You Go, slowly ratchets up the tension and suspense until the layers of the central mystery are slowly peeled back. It all adds up to one of the more satisfying series of revelations, character examinations, and solutions to the central mystery I’ve read. Every twist is earned and while I saw a few coming, Mackintosh pulls up a few surprises within the story.

I Let You Go is a bit of a slow-burn. The first half is all about putting the pieces on the board and setting up our assumptions of the characters, situation, and mystery. The second half is about pulling the rug out from under the readers in the most satisfying way possible. Be prepared to blaze through the second half of the novel and possibly stay up a bit later reading than you’d originally planned.

 

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Top Ten Tuesday: Resolutions

Top 10 Tuesday with B-day Cake

It’s a snow day here in Music City!  And that means it’s time for Top Ten Tuesday (hosted now by That Artsy Reader Girl).

Today’s topic is what are you resolutions for the upcoming year?  I’ve got some that are related to reading and some related to other areas of my life.  So, here we go with my resolutions for 2018.

  1. Read at least 60 books (audiobooks count toward the total!)
  2. Work on whittling down the physical and Kindle TBR pile. This also includes reviewing these books when appropriate.
  3. Watch 100 movies during the year and post thoughts about them.
  4. Go on 100 runs during the year and run 1,000 miles in 2018.
  5. Be the best father I can to Shortcake and the best husband I can to my wife.  Along those lines, I want to find time to read with Shortcake as much as she’ll sit still with me.
  6. Read the Chronological Bible.
  7. Find time to catch up on some of the cool streaming series out there like Stranger Things, The Crown, The Handmaids’ Tale, etc.
  8. Join my local library’s new Sci-Fi/Fantasy book group.

I think those are enough to keep me busy this year!

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TV Round-Up: The X-Files: This

x-files-episode-1102-this_4Who needs Google when you’ve got Scully?

One of the bigger missteps of the tenth season of The X-Files was continuing to follow the same pattern the series did for nine years.  Have a big mythology episode and then follow it up without any follow-up for weeks or months on end.  

And while “This” isn’t what I’d call a huge step forward in the mythology nuggets we got last week, it still felt like it was trying to build on some of the blocks put into place last week as well as paying off some of the history of the series (assuming we can remember it all, of course!) Continue reading

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TV Round-Up: The X-Files: My Struggle III

x-files-season-11Oh. That’s the plan. A secret space program? I don’t think so. I think this is a power play. You want me to kill him so you can implement your own plan. You want to see blood in the streets. The colonization of space? How do you plan to do that? Transport all humanity off-planet? That’s 7 billion people. That’s not possible. Only a chosen few. And you call him evil?  –Mulder talking pretty much for the entire audience…

It used to be that when I heard that Chris Carter was writing an episode of The X-Files, I was filled with a sense of excitement. These days when I hear that Carter is writing an episode of The X-Files, I’m filled with dread.

It’s not secret I wasn’t a huge fan of the conclusion to season 10.  “My Struggle II” felt like Carter throwing a lot of things at the screen and seeing what might stick. He then painted himself into one heck of a corner, flashed up the words “To Be Continued” and dared Fox not to give the series another season.*

*It’s almost like he took a page from the Sledge Hammer playbook when it came to cliffhangers. Continue reading

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