In 2014 I made a huge leap of faith from my long time home in Michigan to the great unknown in California. It was and continues to be scary.
This is a place that’s much more open to helping you when you’re a visitor than it is when you’re a resident. When I would visit, I got on the best shows in town because I knew a handful of people and could say, “Hey, I’m going to be in LA the second week in June, can you put me on?” Now that I’m here, there’s no urgency. I’m just another mouse trying to get a piece of the cheese. As far as comedy goes, honestly, I’ve done more here as a visitor than I have as a resident.
That was a horrible surprise. Here’s a nice one. Acting is another story completely and I’ve been lucky enough to get cast in a few things. It’s not much, but it’s a start.
I sold a script for an episode of a web series for Funny or Die. I moved here to write. I thought I was ahead of the curve because I already had a couple scripts written and knew a few people who were involved in television shows one way or another. The harsh reality is that I am no different than a good chunk of the people out here trying to get jobs as writers or sell scripts too. It’s been a rude awakening. Many dies I was to give up. I want to cry. I feel overwhelmed. I feel in over my head.
That brings me to my New Year’s resolution. Louis CK generates a ton of material and opportunities for himself. I resolve to approach every day of 2015 with a “What Would Louie Do?” mentality.
What would Louie do? He’d create. A lot. All the time. He’d be open to opportunities. He’d work hard. He’d be focused. So that’s what I’m going to do. I’ve been lazy. I’ve been lazy here and I’ve been lazy in Michigan where, quite frankly, in some aspects I had more opportunity. I’m going to write. I’m going to create. I’m going to take risks.
To keep myself in the habit of writing, I’m going to resume something I tried to do way back in the days of Myspace. 365 Days of Movie Reviews. Starting tomorrow and every day in 2015, I’m going to write something about a movie. It might not be much some days, but it will going to be something. If I miss a day, call me on it. Because if I’m slacking there, I’m probably slacking elsewhere too.
Happy New Year.
In the past week I’ve watched both The Perks of Being a Wallflower and The World’s End. Both are movies that got me thinking a lot about nostalgia.
Wallflower takes place during the 1991-1992 school year. It was two years after I graduated, but the world was very familiar. I had groups of friends I bounced between back then. I had my closest friends in John and Bill who never overlapped. John was my metal head buddy and together we played video games and went to concerts. We’d drive around late at night and talk about girls. Bill and I went to the community center and shot pool or we’d go to the movies. I also had my own personal Wallflowers.
There were a lot of huge popcorn films this year, but my favorites are made up largely of smaller films. For me in order to really enjoy a story I have to care deeply about the characters. While I recognize The Master as a great film it just didn’t click with me. I thought the world was interesting, but it followed my least favorite character in that world….much to the dismay of Jared from the Man in the Movie Hat website. The Master does follow the same theme that makes up my top five favorites though. It’s a story about friendship. So here’s my list.
#5: 21 Jump Street. Yeah, I know. I had so many movies to put in this slot. Moonrise Kingdom, Goon and Frankenweenie could have all easily been here instead. Ultimately the reason I chose 21 Jump Street is because if all four movies were sitting on the shelf and were the only thing I could watch, it’s the one I’d put in the Blu-Ray player. It’s fun and Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill have real chemistry together. You get the feeling that it was just a fun film to make. Nick Offerman has a great scene where he basically goofs on the whole idea of rehashing an idea from twenty years ago. It’s self aware. There are a couple of great cameos that will probably take you by surprise too.
I don’t know or care about hockey at all, but Goon was great. The final scene is cringe worthy. Moonrise Kingdom is your typical quirky Wes Anderson film where every frame is a work of visual art. Frankenweenie had me really caring about an animated character and pleading near the end to just let the film entertain me and not remind me of any life lessons. All three films are ultimately about friendship.
#4 Looper. I’m always a sucker for time travel stories. I’ve worked on the idea on stage about how if I could go back in time to meet with my younger self I don’t think we’d like each other very much. That’s definitely the case here with Looper. Ryan from the aforementioned Man in the Movie Hat website saw this before I did. I sent him my prediction of what I thought it would be about. I was way off. So I went in excited to be surprised…and surprised I was right up to the finale. Maybe it’s not really a movie about friendship as much as it’s about self preservation….but hey…that’s pretty important too. Filmmaker Rian Johnson gets better and better with each project. the fact that he glosses over the mechanics of time travel has been criticized, but it’s just not important to the story. He does a great job of imagining a near future and creates it with a pretty limited budget. Joseph Gordon-Levitt keeps proving himself as an amazing actor. Just look at his range when you compare something like this to Hesher from 2010. Read the rest of this entry