Through random circumstance, this week has led to more personal essays for this blog. I wrote a piece on Tuesday about struggling to find a film-viewing balance and then joined Nostra's Movie Confessions blogathon Thursday. Today, it's time to respond to an award from a fellow blogger! Steve Honeywell from 1001 Plus has generously passed along the Liebster Award, which asks each recipient to respond to a series of questions. You should definitely check out Steve's excellent blog, which delves into both well-known classics and hidden gems. I can't promise that this material will be thrilling, but I gave it my best shot.
Here are the rules for the Liebster Award:
1. Each person must post 11 things about themselves.
2. Answer the 11 questions the person giving the award has set for you.
3. Create 11 questions for the people you will be giving the award to.
4. Choose 11 people to award and send them a link to your post.
5. Go to their page and tell them.
6. NO TAG BACKS
11 Random Things About Me
1. I'm not as crazy about the Olympics as some, but I'll watch a lot of swimming this week. I was a high-school swimmer but would look silly next to those athletes.
2. I'm a pretty mild-mannered guy, but that all goes away when karaoke is involved. I know my limited vocal range, but I can do okay if I pick the right songs. Some of my favorite choices include "Suspicious Minds" by Elvis Presley, "A'int Too Proud to Beg" by The Temptations, "Born to Run" by Bruce Springsteen, and "Beds are Burning" by Midnight Oil.
3. Speaking of Midnight Oil, they broke up nearly 10 years ago but remain my favorite band. I was lucky enough to see them live six times during their final U.S. tours in 2001 and 2002. Those were some of the greatest concerts that I've ever seen, and that says a lot. Part of the draw is the social conscience in their music, but they also write really sharp hooks. They're much better live, especially when you add Peter Garrett's manic dancing to the mix.
4. I'm not a big science guy, but I'm fascinated by the Apollo program and what they accomplished in a short period of time. I've devoured books, documentaries, and fictional movies on the subject. Take me to a science center with a space exhibit and I'm a happy guy. If they have a giant IMAX theater, that's a bonus.
5.I didn't grow up with pets, but I've been completely turned around during the past 10 years. We have a pretty large cat named Elly, and I can't imagine life without her. She's ridiculous and can be maddening, but it's a good thing.
6. My daughter Elise is three years old, so she's just getting started on her movie watching. She has visited the theaters three times to see Winnie the Pooh, The Muppets, and Chimpanzee so far. Right now, her favorite movies seem to be Ponyo and Tangled. It's remarkable to see how entranced she is by Hayao Miyazaki's animation.
7. The arrival of fall is a great time for movie lovers, and it also re-ignites another passion of mine. It's time for fantasy football! I usually intend to join a few leagues, and it ends up expanding to a lot. I get drawn into the numbers side of it and become pretty competitive.
8. I haven't traveled extensively around the world, but I have visited London, Paris, Rome, and Mexico. The most unique trip was a cruise through the Kuril Islands on the far side of Russia near Japan. I used to work for a travel company, so it was technically a business trip. The itinerary also stopped in Hiroshima, Miyajima, and other Japanese port cities.
9. At the end of that trip, I was flying back from Japan on September 11, 2001. The original destination was Los Angeles, but we mysteriously took a detour to Vancouver with no explanation. We landed and sat on the runway for five hours. Some passengers were getting bits of information (this was before high-tech phones), but it felt surreal. We didn't find out the extent of the situation until that night. I was stuck in Vancouver for six days before the flights opened up again. I did benefit from working for a travel company, however. I stayed at the very nice Fairmount Hotel in the middle of the city.
10. Although my sports fandom has waned a bit over the years, I'm still a serious fan of the St. Louis Cardinals. I'm not sure they have the talent to win the World Series, but I didn't think so last year either. Watching them make a September run and then survive to win the title was something to see.
11. I haven't seen The Dark Knight Rises yet. I'm hoping to rectify this situation very soon.
Questions from Mr. Honeywell
These are the insightful questions passed along by Steve that require a thorough response.
1. At a movie theater, what snacks do you buy? Or do you sneak them in? If money were no object, what would be your movie theater snack of choice?
I rarely eat at the movie theater. A lot of the food is loud and messy. I will pick up the occasional soda, coffee, or beer. The downside (especially from giant sodas) is the need to visit the bathroom. It's usually a great achievement when I make it through a two-hour movie without a break. There's a science to determining the right moment to exit. It's usually somewhere in the middle of act two right after a big scene.
2. What's the first movie that really scared you?
My clearest memory of an early scare is the Disney live-action movie Something Wicked This Way Comes. This big-budget 1983 adaptation of the Ray Bradbury novel is surprisingly creepy. I was seven years old, and my parents were fooled because it came from Disney. Jonathan Pryce stars as the evil Mr. Dark, who runs a traveling circus. It would likely seem tame today, but I still remember being terrified by the supernatural images.
3. The television show/book/graphic novel/other thing I would really love to see adapted to film is?
I would have picked Neil Gaiman's American Gods, but now it's being developed into a full series by HBO. Looking at other authors, I'd enjoy seeing an ambitious soul take a shot at some of China Mieville's novels, particularly Kraken or The City & the City. They wouldn't provide an easy adaptation but could translate into intriguing movies.
4. If you like horror movies, why do you like them? If not, why not?
I wouldn't list horror as one of my favorite genres, but there are some exceptions to the rule. Like any segment of films, there are classics that should be seen by anyone interested in the medium. Horror is no different, and there are great examples within each sub-category. Signature films like The Shining, Halloween, Alien, and others transcend the formula and deserve attention from fans and skeptics alike.
5. If you could be any movie character, who would you be, and why?
I answered this question recently while recording a future episode of the Demented Podcast, and I'm going to stick with that answer. Along with being witty and handy with a gun, Malcolm Reynolds has an exciting life. He lives on a spaceship and visits planets that resemble the Old West. Serenity isn't luxurious, but it has a warm environment and great people. That's all you really need. Plus, Mal can pull off some really tight pants!
6. Why did you start blogging? What keeps you going?
I'd been writing about movies for a while, but they were mostly DVD reviews as assignments for various websites. At the start of 2011, I was looking for the chance to try different writing styles while controlling what I watched. There were so many films that I'd intended to see for years and had never checked out. At the same time, I was unfulfilled by my daytime job and needed a creative outlet. What's surprised me about blogging has been the communal aspect of the medium. This has been a wonderful bonus and keeps me going when I'm struggling to find the time. I never would have guessed I'd be able to join podcasts and chat with fellow movie fans. That's one of my favorite parts about having a blog. If you have a podcast and are looking for a passionate film geek to be a guest, I'm your guy.
7. What movie would you most like to see again for the first time with no prior knowledge?
I'm going to pick the most obvious one and say Star Wars. I'd like to watch it without having any knowledge about the sequels, midi-chlorians, and the horrors from George Lucas to come. I should clarify that I'm referring to the original theatrical cut, not the "special" and "even more special" editions. Seeing that landmark movie in the theaters without any expectations sounds like an earth-shattering experience.
8. If you could write your own epitaph, what would it say?
I have no idea what to put for this answer, so I'll respond with lyrics by one of my favorite artists, Bruce Springsteen: "The dogs on main street howl/'cause they understand/If I could take one moment into my hands/Mister, I ain't a boy, no, I'm a man/And I believe in a promised land." I'm not sure how this applies to my daily life, but it's a damn good song.
9. What is the best or most useful class in school you have ever taken?
The easy answer is a few film classes from college. During my senior year, I took a German film course that covered most of the major directors. It included movies by F.W. Murnau, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, and Wim Wenders. Looking beyond that group, the advanced magazine writing classes helped to chop my overly long sentences. We dug into our papers line by line and pared them down to what was absolutely necessary to make the key points.
10. Describe your favorite article of clothing.
I'm not sure I have one favorite piece of clothing, so I'll go a bit more general. I'm most comfortable in a dark t-shirt, jeans, and casual shoes by Adidas or Converse. I don't feel as relaxed in business casual, especially when it involves button-down shirts. I'd be a much happier and productive person at work with a different dress code.
11. If there was one household chore I could get away with never doing again, it would be?
There really isn't any household chore that I truly despite, but the closest is probably mowing the lawn. It hasn't been an issue at all this year because the rain has been nonexistent, however. Our yard has its share of weeds, and they usually spring up with even the smallest amount of rain. That does not make me happy.
These 11 bloggers are all doing amazing work and deserve your attention. For that reason, they get the rare chance to answer some essential questions. The winners are:
The Droid You're Looking For
And So It Begins...
blah blah blah gay
The Warning Sign
The Most Beautiful Fraud in the World
i luv cinema
Questions for This Fine Group
1. What's the best movie of 2012 so far?
2. What's the worst movie of 2012 so far?
3.What is your favorite band or artist?
4. What's your opinion on singing karaoke?
5. Spike Lee: Overrated or underrated?
6. Although he won't admit it, does Tommy Wiseau realize that The Room is terrible?
7. Beyond movies, what is your area of expertise for a trivia team?
8. What's your favorite brand of cereal?
9. Is The Tree of Life a brilliant movie, a self-indulgent mess, or somewhere in between?
10. Are you excited about the Olympics? If so, which competitions?
11. What's the last movie that you watched?
Wow, that was a long post. If you've made it this far, thanks for checking out this blog. I appreciate all the support and love checking in with my fellow movie fans.