It's with both joy and deep sadness that we celebrate the birth of BRANDON LEE, who would have been 54 today. A man who didn't seem to mind being born in the shadow of his legendary father Bruce Lee. A man with a big heart, a gentle soul, phenomenal martial arts skills, and the charisma of a rising star who was poised for greatness. Despite being the son of one of the most iconic figures in cinema history, he soared to stardom at a young age with highly memorable roles in martial arts films Showdown in Little Tokyo (1991) and Rapid Fire (1992). His skills were undeniable and his likability was off the charts. Thanks to these wildly entertaining thrill rides, and characters that demanded your attention and adoration, he landed the role that he knew would be the dream role that put him on the map. That role was THE CROW. He was so excited to be part of this project that he ignored numerous warnings from friends who insisted the production was cursed after a series of accidents and complications that plagued the film. He got through the most grueling part of filming that included performing with no shirt or shoes in the rain in 30 degree weather and several elaborate stunts and fight scenes. He was counting the days until he could finish the last few minor scenes and marry his fiance Eliza Hutton. Sadly and tragically; carelessness on the set led to Lee's untimely death. Apparently, a chunk of lead was lodged in a gun that was supposed to contain only blanks. The gun was used in the scene where Eric Draven (Lee) walks in on a gang of thugs who have broken into his apartment. Actor Michael Massee (Funboy) fired the gun and Brandon hit the floor. He lay there writhing in pain and the crew thought it was part of the scene. They soon realized, to their horror, that the lead from the gun had hit him in the stomach. It was later learned that it tore through his stomach and was lodged in his spine. He was pronounced dead March 31, 1993. His wedding was to be a little over 2 weeks later on April 17th. I must admit; I'm writing this article because the films of Brandon Lee have made a huge impact on me. Something about Lee and his very few films grabbed me and I knew that he was going to be a huge star. His death hit me harder than any other artist's death in my lifetime and I cannot fully understand why it still affects me so deeply to this day. I followed the career of Brandon before he was ever considered for The Crow. RAPID FIRE was (and still remains) one of my favorite action films of all time. I was over the moon with excitement when I learned that he was poised to play the title role in a Gothic horror tale, based on the comic, about a rock musician who is murdered and his soul is brought back from the grave by a Crow to exact brutal revenge on the men who murdered him. I followed the pitfalls of production every week in Entertainment Weekly (back when it was good) rooting for my favorite action star to complete his dream role and give me a movie that is much closer to my personal tastes than any of his previous films. News of his death was like a punch to the gut that I still feel to this day. The potential he had. The achingly personal performance he brought to such a fun and stylized action film. His words of wisdom that he seemed to speak directly to me. His excitement for his future with the love of his life. All of it came crashing down because of tragic and avoidable accident. He doesn't need any help being remembered because THE CROW is a beloved genre masterpiece, but he deserves to be introduced to every new generation of movie fans because he was the real thing. An immensely talented man with the world at his feet and he deserves to live on in the hearts minds of everyone who has the privilege of watching his films.Read More
Yoga may seem like a temporary novelty in the U.S. because of the sharp rise in popularity in recent years, but it’s not just a passing fad. Just a few years ago, the number of people who practiced yoga in the U.S. was around 20 million. That number has doubled, but Yoga has grown far beyond being a novelty. It’s an effective exercise that loosens and strengthens muscles all over your body, helps distribute the flow of energy, and can even help relieve stress. It tones your body while keeping it limber. It also helps prevent injury by retaining the elasticity of your muscles and especially by strengthening the muscles around the spine. It might be obvious that yoga is most popular on our coasts and in large cities, but even the number of practitioners in Middle America is rising. As the country grows more health-conscious, yoga has become the exercise of choice for millions, for various reasons. Some practice it because they see it as an easy way to stay in shape, but if you want to get the most out of it, you shouldn’t take the easy way out. Go for the more challenging stretches and balancing techniques, or take a class. Classes are no walk in the park, but it’s not that expensive and the benefits are outstanding. The reasons Americans practice yoga are varied and split fairly evenly among those who practice it. The most popular reason is flexibility, followed closely by stress relief and overall health / physical fitness. The reason it’s so effective on stress is that it is a form of meditation and was originally created for that reason. It wasn’t until later that it became a common exercise for the body as well. The popularity of yoga doesn’t seem to be going away any time soon because a larger and larger number of practitioners are under the age of 18. Contributing to this number are schools that add yoga to their curriculum and an overall awareness in the younger generation about the importance of fitness. Our population is more enlightened by the access to information that explains the many advantages. The more people who practice yoga, the more they will pass on its benefits to their children, family, and friends. The more popular yoga gets, the healthier our population will be and that will have lasting positive effects on the mind and body of every person that practices it. Photo credit: Andrea Obzerova - FotoliaRead More
[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Celebrities have helped guide the evolution of fashion for decades. It’s obvious that many of us turn to models, musicians, or movie stars for fashion ideas and we are constantly on the lookout to see what our favorite celebrity is wearing. This need to dress like our idols has given rise to countless clothing lines over the years. Some better than others.
Musicians are especially notorious for turning their fashion into a business for obvious reasons. Who doesn’t want to dress like a rock star? Just a few who made a name for themselves in fashion are Beyonce, Miley Cyrus, Kanye West, both Will.i.am and Fergie from The Black-Eyed Peas, Pharrell Williams, Carrie Underwood, Taylor Swift, Bono, Justin Timberlake, and Rappers like Snoop Dogg, Eminem, 50 Cent, Jay-Z, and Nelly
Actors strut the red carpet and use their movie star influence to sell their fashion sense to the masses. Jennifer Lopez, Melissa McCarthy, Gwyneth Paltrow, Chloe Sevigny, Natalie Portman, Lindsay Lohan, Sarah Jessica Parker, Rebel Wilson, Kate Hudson, David Arquette, to name a few. Even soccer star David Beckham and his Spice Girl wife Victoria Beckham have clothing lines.
The latest example of this trend is clothing lines created by celebrities who are famous for being famous like Nicky Hilton, Nicole Richie, Pam Anderson, Lauren Conrad, Snooki from Jersey Shore, and pretty much all the Kardashians.
Some celebrity fashion lines thrive and are still going strong. Some of the most notable from musicians are L.A.M.B. by Gwen Stefani, Sean John by Sean “P-Diddy” Combs, The Jessica Simpson Collection by Jessica Simpson, and Abbey Dawn by Avril Lavigne. Victoria Beckam by Victoria Beckam expanded from dresses to other merchandise and made $95 million in the first year. The most notable actors-turned-fashionistas are perhaps shockingly THE OLSEN TWINS. They have had consistently successful clothing lines since they were pre-teens and have been praised for their fashion sense with CDFA awards and billions of dollars in revenue a year. Celebrity fashion is big business!
Photo Credits - Theo Wargo (Getty Images), Alberto E. Rodriguez (Getty Images), Ivan Nikolov (Wenn.com), Xpx Star Max (GC Images)[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]Read More
Marijuana has been a part of pop culture long before hippies were toking doobies in the 60’s. The anti-weed propaganda film REEFER MADNESS dates all the way back to 1936 and acts as a cautionary tale for young people thinking about smoking weed and features ridiculous exaggerations about the effects of marijuana on the human body and mind. Various people in the establishment felt it necessary to demonize marijuana because they saw it as a threat to civilized society and especially young people. Some people are still touting unfounded and nonresearched assumptions about marijuana and stating it as fact to this day. This article is meant as a bridge between the truths and myths about weed. What naysayers don’t realize is that half-truths and exaggerations, much like the film Reefer Madness, have become a joke among the more enlightened individuals in our society. Lying to us has only kept potential pot smokers from seeking the truth about marijuana because they don’t know what to believe. This article addresses the fundamentals of marijuana use and what it means to our society today. Hopefully this will clear up some of the major misconceptions about weed by addressing the harmful effects as well as the benefits.
Lies about Weed
You can overdose on weed: First of all, let’s address the lies that still seem to be lingering in the dialogue about modern marijuana use. Legalization in states like Colorado and Washington has led to a panic among the opposition and has prompted them to plant stories in social media about the horrible deaths at the hands of recreational pot. Let’s get something straight. No one in human history has ever died from a marijuana overdose! If you see a story about death caused by weed, check the source. The human body is not able to consume enough THC to cause death. You would fall asleep long before that happened.
Weed is more harmful than cigarettes: Are you kidding me? Is there anyone in their right mind that actually believes this? This blatant lie is actually printed in Junior High school literature to this day. Cigarette smoking is responsible for 480,000 deaths a year in the United States alone and averages out to about 1,300 deaths every day. Marijuana smoking is responsible for 0 deaths anywhere in the world. There is simply no such thing as a fatal marijuana overdose. It seems an obvious no-brainer, but 2 major studies proved it. A major study was conducted in California over the course of 10 years. It involved over 65,000 men and women ages 15 to 49 and there was no evidence that marijuana contributed to premature death. Another such study was conducted in Sweden involving over 45,000 people over the course of 15 years and the results were the same.
Secondhand weed smoke gets you high: Another popular misconception about weed is that you can get high by simply being in the same room as someone who is smoking. It is possible to get high from secondhand weed smoke, but it is highly unlikely. If you were in a room while 4 joints were being smoked simultaneously, you would not get high. In order to feel the effects of secondhand marijuana smoke, you would have to breathe in the smoke of 16 burning joints at the same time. Also, weed smoke is not as much like cigarette smoke as you may have heard. Cigarette smoke contains over 4,000 chemicals with 43 of them being very harmful carcinogens as well as 400 other toxins like nicotine, tar and ammonia. They are chemically very similar simply because both weed and cigarette smoke are the results of burning plant matter. The major difference is that cigarette smoke contains Nicotine while marijuana smoke contains Cannabinoids. Cannabinoids are the complex medicinal properties of marijuana and have actually been found to kill numerous types of cancer cells. The fact that marijuana smoke contains many of the same carcinogens as tobacco smoke gives the opposition a nice high horse to sit on, but what they fail to tell you is that there are additional pharmacological activities in weed smoke that result in different biological endpoints. The absence of any links between marijuana and cancer of any kind should make this obvious.
The Truth about Weed
Let’s face it. Weed is not harmless. You are burning a plant and inhaling it into your lungs. That can’t be all good. And you have just heard the only valid argument among anti-weed proponents. It seems like it should harm you and ruin your life, but it just doesn’t. What it does is affect you mentally and could cause you to lose motivation. The first thing you must realize about this is that everyone is different. The negative effect weed has on your life really has more to do with you personally than it does the weed. If you are prone to laziness and lack motivation, weed is only going to make you worse. If you are a motivated person, weed is not likely to drag you down into a life of obscurity. Simply put: Weed makes you content. If you are lying around content, you aren’t going to get anything done. It does no good for you to numb yourself to the world around you. It will keep turning while you’re sitting in your beanbag getting high watching the latest Seth Rogen film.
If weed makes you feel good physically and mentally; it makes sense that it could become mentally addictive. The key to responsible marijuana use is essentially the same as the key to responsible eating, drinking, watching TV and even having sex. That key is moderation. If you eat, drink, watch TV, have sex and smoke weed in moderation, you are likely to get better results from all of them. Have you ever heard the saying “too much of a good thing”? Too much of anything is going to start to affect you negatively in the long run. If you stay conscious about your intake, you should have no problem avoiding things like loss of motivation and depression.
Do your kids smoke weed?
As mentioned earlier in the article; lies about marijuana have become a joke among the younger generation. This only serves to undermine the words of parents who are desperately trying to keep their kids off weed that they feel is a gateway drug. Let’s not beat around the bush here. Marijuana IS a gateway drug. Many kids think that, since all the warnings against weed are lies, their parents must be lying about hard drugs as well. That’s why you should seek the truth and warn them about the real dangers rather than the more exaggerated and unfounded ones. Who they are friends with and what you teach them about drugs plays a much bigger part in their decision than weed does.
A much more effective way to keep your children off marijuana at a young age is the truth. If they hear the same propaganda from you that young people have been hearing for generations, they are just going to laugh at you and your words will have no more effect on them than the laughably silly film Reefer Madness. The truth is; inhaling smoke in your lungs is harmful and weed can affect your motivation when it’s not done in moderation. Marijuana smoke adversely affects various cells in your body, but the average adult human can regenerate them fast enough to compensate. This can’t be good for a body that is young and still developing. Knowing the truth may prompt them to wait until they are older and their body is fully developed or, at the very least, make them think twice about smoking a lot of marijuana at a young age.
One of the reasons there has been no link found between Marijuana and major health issues is the lack of research. The reason so much of society remains so ignorant about it is the lack of real information. Propaganda and the demonizing of Marijuana in our society’s history has caused a lack of growth in our understanding about it. So much so that the U.S. government has refused to conduct detailed tests because they don’t recognize marijuana as medicinal. It’s a curious point since the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services patented the use of cannabinoids for treating a wide range of diseases. The legalization of pot for recreational use in a growing number of states is the first step toward a deeper understanding of this fascinating plant. Until then, think for yourself. Educate yourself and mind your sources. You have the right to know what you put into your body and you shouldn’t have to sort through lies and misconceptions to find out.
Photo credits: Glen Stubbe, RobotBoot, Shane Cotee[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]Read More
There have been several films throughout cinematic history that are obviously designed to appeal to male sensibilities. Many have action and violence to primarily appeal to the guys, while others have love stories and relationship drama that primarily appeals to women. Well, films like Wonder Woman successfully blur those lines and give both sexes various elements they can relate to. If you are sick of sitting through explosions, fist fighting, and misogyny just to make him happy, here is PlanetHopperTV’s list of the top 10 guys flicks you won’t just tolerate, you’ll both love because they have various elements you can appreciate. Enjoy!
- Swingers (1996) – Directed by Doug Liman (The Bourne Identity, Edge of Tomorrow) based on an exceptional script from actor/writer/director Jon Favreau (Iron Man, Chef) who also stars alongside a young and magnetic Vince Vaughn in his first major film role that launched his career. This is very much a guy movie, but there is more than enough for women to appreciate. It’s loosely based on Favreau’s real life experiences when he moved to Los Angeles and broke up with a long-term girlfriend. He relied on his friends Vince Vaughn and Ron Livingston to help him recover and navigate the social scene. Vince and Ron play themselves in the film. The meager $200,000 budget was raised independently because Liman sent the script to studios, who were interested, but when Liman insisted that Favreau and his friends be cast in the film, they turned it down. They also wanted to take out all the mentions of “money”, “baby”, and “honey” which help give the film its distinctive voice. Vince Vaughn’s masculinity is perfectly complimented by Favreau’s sensitive, doe-eyed character who is sure to illicit plenty of aaaaw’s from ladies.
- Desperado (1995) – Written and directed by the great Robert Rodriguez; Desperado is a bigger budget sequel to his magnificently violent first independent film El Mariachi (1992), but mirrors many of its plot points and elements and reimagines them in a decidedly more stylistic and polished way. It stars Antonio Banderas as musician / gunslinger El Mariachi in a bloody war with a local drug runner. The incomparable Salma Hayek plays his fiery and capable love interest Carolina. It also features great performances from Steve Buscemi and Cheech Marin. It’s extremely violent with a death toll of almost 70, but it’s also extremely sexy in its style and the chemistry between Banderas and Hayek who have a steamy sex scene. It features over the top action complete with explosions and creative gunplay, but it’s the sensual and often beautiful style of the film that makes it a joy for both men and women.
- The Nice Guys (2016) – Written and directed by Shane Black in only his 3rd feature film as a director; Black manages to deliver a modern neo noir buddy action comedy that is just as instantly iconic as his earlier writing credits Lethal Weapon, Monster Squad, and The Last Boy Scout, showing that he’s not going away any time soon. The film is set in 1977 Los Angeles and stars Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling as polar-opposite private investigators who get mixed up in a murder mystery involving a missing girl and a dead porn star in a story chock full of comedy, eccentric characters, and outrageous situations. I can’t express enough how much of a joy it is to see Gosling and Crowe trade quips, making you hope that they return for tons of sequels. It’s a convincing period piece that feels like the 70’s and the mystery and action are just as fun as the comedy. A smile is not likely to leave your face the duration of its runtime.
- The Town (2010) – Directed, co-written, and starring Ben Affleck and costarring Rebecca Hall and Jeremy Renner who got an Oscar and Golden Globe nomination for best supporting actor for his role as Affleck’s best friend and bank robbing partner James. Jon Hamm also appears as the FBI agent hot on the trail of the crew that accept the challenge of robbing banks in the Charlestown neighborhood of Boston where armed robbery is a way of life. When a robbery almost goes wrong, they are forced to take a hostage (Hall). After releasing her, Affleck’s character trails her to ensure that she doesn’t tip off the cops and ends up falling in love with her, causing friction between him and his friend James. Renner steals the show as a hothead criminal who has love for his friend, but disdain for the law, and the love story between Hall and Affleck gives the film an emotional core that many heist films don’t even attempt.
- Kill Bill (2003) – Written and directed by Quentin Tarantino, the iconic master of violence and sharply unique dialogue; this is one of the many balls-out masterpieces of his illustrious career. This one being the most colorful and ultra-violent. Uma Thurman stars as The Bride in the most exemplary role of her career. She shares the screen with a cast of colorful and extraordinary characters played by actors like Lucy Liu, Vivica A. Fox, Daryl Hannah, David Carradine, Michael Madsen, and the late great Michael Parks. The Bride awakens from a coma after 4 years and realizes her baby is gone from her womb and the team of assassins she was once a part of betrayed her and left her for dead. The rest of the film is an orchestra of violent revenge where The Bride battles professional killers and scores of poor saps who stand in her way. This heavily female cast delivers one of the most violent films of our generation and some excellent drama, dialogue, and fight scenes that are beautiful and bloody.
- Fight Club (1999) – Directed by the unparalleled David Fincher (Seven, Gone Girl) and written by first time screenwriter Jim Uhls, based on the wildly original novel by Chuck Palahniuk. This strange and kinetic drama thriller stars Edward Norton, Brad Pitt, and Helena Bonham Carter. Norton’s awkward insomniac office worker is in a life crisis and crosses paths with Pitt’s enigmatic soap maker Tyler Durden. Together they form an underground fight club that turns out to be something much bigger and much more dangerous. The allure of the film is less about the violence, twists, incredible visuals, and large-scale anarchy than it is about the mixture of all of them. It’s a joy to watch on many levels and Bonham Carter is fascinating as she plays off Pitt and Norton in a way that only she can.
- Logan (2017) – The newest film on the list is also the most surprisingly touching, especially since it’s a story about comic book hero Wolverine. Directed by James Mangold (Girl, Interrupted, Identity, 3:10 to Yuma) who came up with the story and co-wrote it with Scott Frank and Michael Green; this might just be the most compelling and emotional superhero film ever made. Helping get the balance of action and drama just right are co-stars Sir Patrick Stewart, as the aging Professor X, and Dafne Keen in a star-making performance as Logan’s daughter Laura and 11-year old wrecking machine in her feature film debut. The story follows Logan in the near future as he cares for Professor X who is mentally and physically ill after a tragedy has forced them into hiding. Meanwhile, Logan’s health is failing as well. In his final adventure, he fights to save his daughter from the clutches of men who want to exploit her powers and the powers of a group of young mutants who the world believes are extinct. It’s equally sad, graphically violent, profound, and wonderfully intriguing.
- Drive (2011) – Directed by otherworldly auteur and true original, Nicolas Winding Refn; this moody and stylistic thriller stars Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, Bryan Cranston, and Albert Brooks. Gosling sizzles as a mysterious and enigmatic stuntman and mechanic who moonlights as a getaway driver and what a driver he is. He falls for his beautiful and troubled neighbor (Mulligan) and things get irreversibly complicated when he meets her husband. Refn creates such a unique and thick atmosphere that the element of danger hangs over the film like a cloud full of lightning.
- Pulp Fiction (1994) – The second film on the list written and directed by Quentin Tarantino and one of the most original and exhilarating cinematic experiences in the last 50 years. It won the Oscar for best writing and was nominated for 6 others including Best Picture and Best Director. It’s one of the most iconic films of our generation for a reason. Four compulsory stories weave together and collide before your eyes in a way that jars your senses and stimulates your imagination with an ensemble cast made up of John Travolta, Samuel L. Jackson, Uma Thurman, Bruce Willis, Tim Roth, Ving Rhames, Christopher Walken, and Harvey Keitel. Virtually every scene is beloved and exemplary among casual fans and cinephiles alike.
- True Romance (1993) –Directed by the late Tony Scott (Top Gun, The Last Boy Scout, Enemy of the State); this gem is based on another script by Quentin Tarantino featuring a bad ass chick, Alabama, portrayed to perfection by Patricia Arquette. Another example of Tarantino’s writing drawing star power with enduring performances from Christian Slater, Dennis Hopper, Gary Oldman, Christopher Walken, Brad Pitt, and James Gandolfini. As the title suggests; Clarence and Alabama (Slater and Arquette) are swept up in a whirlwind romance that erupts in violence when Clarence inadvertently steals a suitcase of cocaine from Alabama’s pimp (Oldman). This sends them on a dynamic adventure full of romance, guns, drugs, pimps, cops, gangsters, and a Mexican stand-off. The romance is just as sweet and touching as the violence is graphic and explosive. The unblemished frenzy of excitement is off the charts and in your face and the love birds make you root for them gleefully as they fight tooth and nail for their happy ending.
Most guys have been there. You sit down to watch a movie with your significant other and you can’t decide what to watch. Everything she picks seems sappy and unappealing and everything you pick is a bit too macho and full of testosterone for her tastes. The last thing many guys want to see is a movie that they consider a chick flick, but they watch them anyway to appease her. Well, there are some movies you can suggest with the chick flick elements she likes, but are still enjoyable for you. Here is PlanetHopperTV’s top 10 chick flicks that guys will not only tolerate, they’ll enjoy. 10. For a Good Time Call (2012)– This is a hilarious and well-written comedy about 2 former college frenemies who start their own phone sex line to make ends meet. It’s directed by Canadian director Jamie Travis and stars relative unknowns, Ari Graynor (The Sitter) and Lauren Miller with a great supporting performance from Justin Long. The impressive, sexy, and endearing writing comes from the mind of one of the leads Lauren Miller, who also happens to be Seth Rogen’s wife and the voice of Camille the Tampon in Rogen’s Sausage Party. The writing is the backbone of this film and one of the main reasons guys will appreciate it. The lines are delivered splendidly by the two leads who shine in starring roles after spending most of their careers as bit players. (Something that is likely to change for Graynor when she stars alongside James Franco in the upcoming film The Disaster Artist, based on the making of the so-bad-its-good phenomenon The Room). Justin Long plays excellently off these two as the gay friend in a role that could have easily been a caricature, but the writing and Long’s performance give it depth. Why guys will appreciate it: It’s raunchy, provocative, and genuinely funny with strong sexual content and tons of great jokes about vibrators, orgasms, and creepy callers. Why chicks will appreciate it: It’s a heartfelt story about friendship and female empowerment and you know it’s going to feel good for her when you’re laughing your ass off at a movie like this.
- Clueless (1995) – A classic high school comedy from legendary writer / director Amy Heckerling (Fast Times at Ridgemont High, National Lampoon’s European Vacation) and starring Alicia Silverstone, Brittany Murphy, and Paul Rudd. This is probably the most unlikely movie on the list because it features girly high school drama, shopping, and makeovers, but it’s still a damn good movie for both sexes and consistently fun on repeat viewings. The teen girl angst and juvenile zaniness are gloriously over the top and grounded in sarcastic realism by Paul Rudd’s character who’s smart-mouth aloofness and self-awareness seems to spread to the rest of the characters, and the film itself, as the story progresses. I dare you not to laugh when Silverstone and Rudd mix it up and the adorable Murphy shows her knack for physical comedy.
- Jerry Maguire (1996) – Another high quality romantic comedy from a phenomenal writer / director. This one stars Tom Cruise, Renee Zellweger, and Cuba Gooding Jr. Cameron Crowe (Say Anything, Singles, Almost Famous) who also wrote Amy Heckerling’s Fast Times at Ridgemont High, directs this romance for the ages and delivers a highlight in the illustrious career of its star Tom Cruise making this his 5th consecutive $100 million film. Cruise plays the title role based on the real-life story of sports agent Leigh Steinberg. Jerry Maguire is a successful agent who has it all, but begins an existential struggle, prompting him to pour his heart out in a mission statement. This results in him being stripped of all his biggest clients and status at his prestigious agency. He climbs his way up from the bottom with the help of only one football star client (Gooding Jr.) and the only colleague who believes in him (Zellweger). The film catapulted Zellweger to superstardom after having no money in her bank account when she got the part. The now iconic lines “show me the money” and “you had me at hello” help solidify the film’s place in cinema history.
- 10 Things I Hate About You (1999) – This touching and irreverent film is based on the Shakespeare play “The Taming of the Shrew” and stars the late Heath Ledger, Julia Stiles, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. It’s directed by Gil Junger, who is mostly known for his work in television, and penned by the writers who went on to bring us films like Legally Blonde and The House Bunny. This could have been just another teen romantic comedy, but It’s elevated by memorable characters and Heath Ledger who brings us a chiseled and dreamy bad boy while appealing to both men and women with his macho charm and endearing vulnerability in the face of true love. It defies rom-com stereotypes with sentiment that feels grounded and comedy that combines subtle chuckles with big laughs.
- Bridesmaids (2011) – This wildly successful and critically acclaimed raunchy comedy is directed by Paul Feig (The Heat, The Office) and stars an ensemble cast that includes SNL’s Kristen Wiig, who also wrote the script, Melissa McCarthy, Rose Byrne, and Maya Rudolph. Wiig plays a down on her luck pastry chef whose life falls apart during the planning of her best friend’s wedding while in a hilarious competition with a bridesmaid (Byrne) who wants to take her place as the bride’s best friend. It’s a wild ride that pulls no punches in moments that range from painfully awkward to lewd to heartwarming and all of them work to gut bustingly hilarious effect. The poop jokes, sex jokes, and captivating story are woven together superbly in a script that got an Oscar nomination for Kristen Wiig and a breakout performance from Melissa McCarthy that got her a Best Supporting Actress nom.
- As Good As It Gets (1997) – Directed and co-written by The Simpsons creator James L. Brooks (Terms of Endearment, Broadcast News) and starring legendary actor Jack Nicholson, Helen Hunt, and Greg Kinnear. Nicholson is delightfully ornery as Melvin Udall; a cantankerous and bigoted aging writer with obsessive-compulsive disorder who snaps at anyone who dares interfere with his regimented and troubled existence. Kinnear plays his gay neighbor who, along with his adorable little dog, start to break down Melvin’s defenses, opening his heart enough to let in Carol (Hunt). A struggling waitress who must leave work to care for her sick son and is unwittingly part of Melvin’s obsessive routine. It’s an irresistible film with a magic that never subsides, even with repeat viewings.
- Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) – One of the most captivating, mind expanding, and original films on the list. Directed by visionary director Michel Gondry (The Science of Sleep), written by distinctively talented writer Charlie Kaufman (Being John Malkovich, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind), and starring Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet in one of the finest films of their respective careers. A short description could never do this film justice, but it centers on a young couple, Joel and Clementine, whose relationship becomes so sour and painful that they submit to a procedure that will erase each other from their memories. While watching the memories of Clementine fade away, Joel realizes he still loves her and struggles to get back what they lost. It has drama, comedy, and mind-bending imagination in spades and makes an outrageous and magical storyline feel somehow grounded.
- The Wedding Singer (1998) – This heavily musical Adam Sandler vehicle set in the 80’s is directed by Frank Coraci who went on to direct slightly less notable Sandler movies The Waterboy, Click, and The Ridiculous 6 and written by Tim Herlihy who wrote most of the films in Sandler’s filmography. Not to knock the rest of his body of work, but this is one of his crowning achievements that got the balance of comedy, music, love story, and nostalgia just right. The costars are Drew Barrymore and most of the Sandler clan. This one is a fun crowd pleaser in every way with Sandler’s brand of comedy at its finest while highlighting his talent as both a musician and a comedian and his ability to mix the two.
- Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008) – Jason Segel writes and stars in one of the few romantic comedies with almost wall to wall sex and naughty humor. This uproarious and lively comedy directed by Nicholas Stoller (Get Him to the Greek, Neighbors) would be considered downright smutty if it wasn’t so damn charming. The film also stars Mila Kunis, (who is just as funny as she is sexy), Kristen Bell, and Russell Brand. Peter (Segel) vacations in Hawaii to recover from a recent break-up, only to discover that his ex, Sarah Marshall (Bell) is at the same resort with her new boyfriend (Brand). What ensues is a fresh and boisterous film that is an absolute blast with unforgettable moments that include side-splitting appearances by stars like Paul Rudd, Jonah Hill, and Bill Hader.
- Crazy, Stupid, Love (2011) - Directed by surprisingly inexperienced directors Glenn Ficarra and John Requa (I Love You Phillip Morris, Focus) and surprisingly written by the writer of kid’s films Cars, Bolt, and Tangled, Dan Fogelman; this is an equally dramatic, exhilarating, and laugh out loud funny film with a fantastic cast made up of undeniable talent like Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Julianne Moore, and Emma Stone. Not to mention, scene-stealing appearances by Marisa Tomei and Kevin Bacon. Cal (Carell) is devastated when his wife Emily (Moore) asks for a divorce and he is forced to re-enter the dating market with the help of handsome stranger Jacob (Gosling). Watching Gosling teach Carell to pick up women is so entertaining, I could have watched it for the entire movie. Luckily, the writers gave us much more by giving Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling a platform for their positively electric chemistry, a cute and compelling sub-plot with Cal’s son Robbie and the babysitter, another sub-plot with Emily and Bacon’s David Lindhagen, and so much more. Few films are this watchable with enough layers, charisma, and charm to make it entertain no matter how many times you watch it.
If you are a guy in the dating scene, you probably have a lot of people trying to give you advice on the best dating strategies for the modern world. Some might tell you that the best place to pick up girls is now online, and no one really picks up at bars anymore. Others might tell you that online dating is a trend that will pass and the traditional method of picking up at bars is the only way to go. Well, I’m here to tell you that both are wrong. The internet might be a good place to find girls these days, but you will always be able to pick up at a bar. On the other side of the coin; online dating is not a trend. It’s a growing phenomenon that just gets bigger with every advancement in technology and social media. Even if it was a trend; there will always be trends to come and go and a good argument can be made to follow them. If it’s popular enough to be a trend, the dating pool will be larger and likely hold more probability for success. Basically, both the newer method of finding girls online and the traditional method of picking them up at bars still works. That being said; why wouldn’t you do both? You might have to adjust your strategy for each method but doing both allows you to cast your net farther and enjoy the advantages that each method has to offer. I’ll go over both methods in detail, so you will know the differences between them and the best way to approach each one. You will start to see the similarities as well. Then you can navigate between the nightlife and online to add to your dating pool and increase your chances of finding love or just hooking up. Hooking Up Online When you are hooking up online; you can be looking for casual sex or a relationship, but your initial approach is pretty much the same. If you are just looking to hit it and quit it, you’re not going to let that be known until later. If you are looking for love; you’re not going to let that be known until later either. Below are some tips to being successful with hooking up online. This is a unique approach to dating with more and more casual dating sites growing in popularity. This guide of things to keep in mind when hooking up online should provide some simple solutions for altering your strategy to find the most attractive girls on the internet and keep them interested. Keep These Things in Mind - Hooking Up Online
- Your online presence: Let me get this out of the way first; NO SHIRTLESS SELFIES! Okay, now we can proceed. The first thing you should consider is your profile picture. Choose one main picture and 3 to 4 others. Your main profile pic should be you in your best light without being misleading. It’s best to have a picture where your face is easily visible in a shot from the chest up or closer. You want your picture to catch her eye in a gallery full of other guys. Yours needs to be close enough so she can see your face well and look in your eyes. The 3 or 4 additional pictures can be full body shots or pics of you at some of your favorite places. You should post pictures where you look your best, but you show your personality.
- Where to hook up online: If you’re only looking to hook up online; there are several popular sites dedicated to online hookups. Some are international, and some are confined to certain areas. Do an online search for “casual dating sites” or “hookup sites” and you will be able to find the most popular sites for casual sex and maybe even some in your area. Tinder is an app that can be a hit or miss, but I know many guys who were very successful at finding some very cute girls to hook up with. They recently implemented some changes to make way for their pay service, but it’s worth a try because it tracks your location and shows you all the girls who want to hook up in your area based on your search criteria.
- Where to find love online: Almost as many people are looking for love online as there are people looking for casual sex. Some of the major dating sites like Match.com have been very successful in helping many couples find love. Do an online search for “dating sites” or “online dating” and you will see the current most popular dating sites and maybe some local ones.
- Know the importance of confidence: Once you get a girl to talk to you with your presentation, it’s important to carry yourself with confidence. This is going to be one of the things that attracts her to you the most. Confident does not mean cocky. There’s a fine line, so always be aware of that. Confidence means that you are comfortable with yourself and you know that you have something to offer.
- First contact: Tread lightly when you first start talking to her. You are both feeling each other out and the intentions of both of you need to be slowly brought out in the open. Be prepared for your intentions to change half way through depending on the girl and the experience you are having. Let things happen naturally and don’t force your interaction in any direction. Pay attention to her and she will give you signs when it is okay to move forward.
- Sealing the deal: If you play it cool and let things happen naturally; she will start giving you signs to proceed. She may start flirting with you more or maybe even saying some sexual things. This is when you should start saying things like you can’t wait to see her in person. You should have already determined whether this was a casual encounter or not at this point. If it’s a casual encounter, sexual talk should escalate leading up to the first meeting. The more signs she gives you to move forward, the more sexual your teasing should become. By the time you finally meet; she will be ready to jump your bones. A bonus would be to build her anticipation by taking her to a movie or to dinner and never discuss anything sexual. She’ll be ready to explode by the time you get back to your place.
- How you present yourself: Put your best foot forward any time you are going out looking for a lady. Keep yourself well-groomed and dress in a style that suits you. You know what looks good on you. Don’t try to imitate anyone else. If you have no fashion sense, enlist the help of a friend who does. Also, keep in mind that some places have dress codes. If the dress code doesn’t suit who you are, find another bar. Stand tall with your shoulders wide when you get to the bar. Be ready to make eye contact and strike up a conversation with a girl at any time.
- Which bars to go to hook up: You’ll want a bar with a lot of girls, but you need to make sure that it fits your style. Different types of girls go to different bars, so do your research. If you find popular bars that play your type of music, your type of girl will naturally be there. A club that plays music that you can dance to is a big plus. You would be surprised how much dancing will increase your appeal. Girls can’t get enough of you when you can dance. You can sometimes hook up without saying a word.
- Which bars to find love: You can find love just about anywhere and you can never pinpoint when it’s going to happen. Quiet restaurant bars are a good place to start. Any gathering of people in a social setting that is quiet enough to allow for more conversation is going to be the best place to find love. Bars and clubs with loud music and big crowds make it easier to submit to our animal urges with less talk and more action.
- The importance of confidence: If you’re trying to pick up a girl at a bar; confidence is crucial from the get-go. Confidence and being comfortable with yourself is going to help tremendously in attracting her and holding her attention. Be sure of yourself but be sure to talk a lot about her. The more you talk about her the more you will find things you have in common. Talking yourself up is not confidence. You don’t want to come off as over-confident or full of yourself. Just a feeling of confidence will cause you to exude it without trying.
- First contact: If you’re at a place with loud music; all you need is eye contact. Once you’ve made eye contact, make sure that she looks back at you again. That’s when you can start slowly moving towards her. If her look is a strong come-hither look, make a b-line for her. If she’s just glancing, make it look natural as if you just happened to drift toward her. When you are standing close enough to talk to her, make eye contact with her one more time. If she holds eye contact and/or smiles then you’re in. Just be yourself after that. Ask her about herself and find some things you have in common.
- Sealing the deal: If you know how to dance, you can often seal the deal before you even introduce yourself. Make eye contact in the same way here, but on the dance floor it’s much more powerful. If they like how you dance, girls won’t even try not to look at you. By the time you’re close enough to bump into her on the dance floor things could get very sexual very quickly. You could find yourself racing back to your place because she can’t wait to have you.
One of many films in the onslaught of original content that streaming giant Netflix has made possible in recent years is the subversive and wildly entertaining comedic thriller “I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore” starring Melanie Lynskey and Elijah Wood. It’s the directorial debut of actor and producer Macon Blair, who also penned the script. You might know Blair from director Jeremy Saulnier’s films: The indie horror gem Murder Party (2007), the moody revenge thriller Blue Ruin (2013), and the highly-acclaimed horror thriller Green Room (2015). All of which displayed Blair’s skills as an actor and a producer. Filmed in Portland, Oregon; the film centers around the socially awkward and perpetually depressed nursing assistant Ruth in a rousing performance from Melanie Lynskey. After a particularly bad day, her home is burglarized and the police seem unwilling to help. Fed up with being a sad victim in a harsh world, she decides to track down the stolen items with the help of her neighbor Tony (Elijah Wood) who’s an outcast in his own right. Lynskey and Wood play off each other perfectly with their social awkwardness and a disdain for injustice being the only things they have in common. Only Elijah could give us a character just as loveable and memorable as Lynskey while bringing an undeniably endearing charm and an exciting unpredictability to the story. The protagonist, Ruth, feels like a real person and you believe in her arc as she moves from being a victim of her harsh surroundings to a woman who takes charge of her life and makes those who try to victimize her pay the price. What’s different about this story compared to others that are similar is that this is not a defeated woman who suddenly becomes a force to reckon with. The transition is believable and you never lose sight of the character you got to know in the first act. Director Blair, with all his wonderful characters, seems intent on realism in every aspect of the film from the script to the locations.Blair got the inspiration for the story from a real-life experience in which his apartment was broken into and he didn’t get much help from the police. It’s hilarious, dramatic, and often sad without being depressing. It’s gritty and unfamiliar with a sense of realism that doesn’t seem like the director is trying to achieve it. It’s a comedy without being jokey. The laughs come from a place a little deeper than you would expect from a high concept indie comedy. You laugh at the personalities of the characters and the way they react to outrageous situations rather than having a set-up and a punchline. The violence is shocking and realistic and everything about the film is atypical and unexpected. The use of natural light seems to fit the material and pulls you into the main character’s world, experiencing it the way that she does, and makes you feel for her struggle. You feel her frustration and you want justice as much as she does. An antagonist, played by Devon Graye, appears 30 minutes in and he is outstanding. He looks strange, he acts strange, and he makes you feel consistently uneasy. This makes his journey as a character all the more unexpected. His partner Dez, played by Jane Levy (Don’t Breathe), turns in a small but remarkable performance and turns out to be one of the unexpected highlights. The film makes excellent use of music with a great soundtrack, adding to the impact of the film without relying on it to generate energy and mood. Most of the music is being listened to by the characters and helps set them apart as individuals. Other times the music is an auditory aid to the excitement on screen and just a part of what makes those scenes exciting. The carefully placed score in between is well crafted and often subtle, adding another layer to an already compelling story. Macon Blair and Jeremy Saulnier worked together under The Lab of Madness production company to produce phenomenal indie films Murder Party and Blue Ruin. Blair co-starred in Murder Party and did an amazing job carrying Blue Ruin as the main character. Murder Party was filmed in 2006 with no money and became a cult hit after being released in 2007. Blue Ruin gave Blair and Saulnier a much bigger budget to work with at a little over a million (which is still low budget by Hollywood standards). It was released in 2014 receiving praise from many critics, but had criminally minimal success (which is a shame because I personally consider it a modern revenge masterpiece). This is likely why Saulnier got an even bigger budget to make 2015’s indie hit Green Room, giving him his most successful film to date and Blair a much smaller, but still memorable, acting role. This is when Blair set his sights on writing and directing. After following his career since being obsessed with Murder Party for years and being unabashedly floored by Blue Ruin; I couldn’t wait to see what Blair had in store for us as a writer / director. He met and exceeded my high expectations and somehow managed to reach the level of his partner in crime Saulnier in one film. If you’re a fan of Saulnier and as impressed with Blair’s writing as I am; you’ll be happy to know that Blair wrote Saulnier’s upcoming thriller “Hold the Dark” starring Alexander Skarsgard, based on the book by William Giraldi, about a wolf hunter who tracks down a young child in the Alaskan wilderness. I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore is a funny film, but it’s not trying to be. It’s an often-shocking action drama, but it doesn’t call attention to itself as an action film. It’s not trying to be anything. It crawls into your mind and plays with your senses in a way that feels fresh and inviting without being too heavy-handed or stylistic. It’s a character piece that descends (or rather ascends) into glorious chaos with an original and exciting climax with balls. I highly recommend this film and I’m sure you will agree that Macon Blair is a filmmaker to watch if you want an escape from the remakes and sequels that are flooding cinemas. Leave it to Netflix to have the courage to give talented artists control over their original creations so they can give us something new in an age where everything that has already been done is being done again... and again.Read More