March 30, 2015
Elsewhere on the Web...
It’s been pretty quiet lately on this site, but that doesn’t mean the music has stopped. I’m still writing and chatting about movies, theme parks, and Survivor all over the Internet. The challenge is finding enough time to balance all my interests. It’s fantasy baseball draft season, so even my love of movies is taking a back seat this week. In case you’re curious, I’ve included some recent blogs and episodes below from sites that deserve your attention. Thanks should go out to the webmasters and podcast hosts that believed I had something to contribute to their fine establishments.
Back in January, I ranked Michael Mann’s 10 features for Movie Mezzanine at the time of Blackhat’s release. After re-watching Ali and Miami Vice for my latest marathon, I might already change those rankings. Heat is the obvious top choice, but spots 2-6 remain a lot more fluid. It’s been thrilling to revisit Mann’s work this year, and he’s only fallen short once during a long career.
I recently joined up with the guys at Battleship Pretension to write periodic reviews. Tyler and David do great work on their podcast and have a talented group of writers on their site. My first post was about the indie film Growing Up and Other Lies, which started a limited run on March 20. The movie wasn’t very good, but it was still exciting to join up with this excellent site.
Another site that I’ve enjoyed writing for in the past year is Cinema Axis, which covers a diverse selection of new releases and classics. Courtney Small is a very good writer and has recruited smart people to join the fun. Once again, I’ll be writing about several films appearing at the Hot Docs festival in Toronto next month. I also spotlighted lesser-known movies available on Netflix in a regular series. The most recent piece in January was about the documentary Bill Cunningham New York.
Last week, I was the guest on the Forgotten Filmcast with Todd Liebenow. Our topic was the 1967 political satire The President’s Analyst, starring James Coburn. It’s a ridiculous film that’s firmly within its time period, but it mostly works. Catching up with Todd to discuss a movie that I knew nothing about previously was a blast. If you’re interested in finding hidden gems, Todd is your guy.
Jason and Nolahn recently celebrated their 100th episode at the Lair of the Unwanted. They cover some terrible movies but find a way to make the shows entertaining. They’re fun even if you haven’t seen the films, which is common for me. I happened to be on Skype at the right time and made a very brief appearance on their big show, which included a lot of friendly guests.
I’m also a serious theme park fan, and one of the top blogs in covering the parks is Theme Park Insider. Robert Niles keeps the tone light but professional, which is a tricky balance in a world filled with very enthusiastic Disney blogs. He covers both the behemoths and the regional parks and is even-handed by theme park standards. I started writing for his site back in November and contributed three articles following our trip to Disney World in January. The most recent post recounts our experiences with FastPass Plus, Disney’s controversial crowd management system. There are some positives with the new structure, but it also introduces major challenges that don’t enhance the guest experience.
One of my favorite TV shows is still Survivor, which is currently airing its 30th season. That’s an amazing number, and it’s easy to think the show couldn’t sustain itself creatively. Surprisingly, some of the recent seasons (especially Cagayan) have been among the best. I started writing about Survivor for former contestant Rob Cesternino’s awesome spot Rob Has a Website last year and love digging into all the strategy each week. My latest post looks at the reasons for throwing a challenge and how everyone stands going into the merge. Writing thousands of words about a reality show each week may sound ridiculous, but it’s easily one of my favorite hobbies.