A few weeks ago, Brad Bird’s latest film, Tomorrowland, hit theaters. It’s had a mixed reception but we can’t really weigh in on the consensus. Why? We haven’t seen it yet. How did we not see one of the most anticipated films of the year? Well there’s a reason for that (that little nugget I’m holding in the header image has something to do with it), and, truth be told, I’ve missed a few other very notable films this year as well.
I lead off with mention of Brad Bird specifically to bring up a line from his 1999 film which has been going through my head for many months now.
In The Iron Giant, one of our very favorite movies by the way, Kent Mansley (voiced by Christopher McDonald) shares an ice cream sundae with young Hogarth (voiced by Eli Marienthal) hoping he’ll get the young boy to reveal the whereabouts of the titular metal man. When talking about the advanced technology of the day, he says “we live in a strange and wondrous time”. It may be an animated film, and, in that scene, Kent lauds the now dated achievements of the day, but it’s a universal statement which rings true as much now as it did back then.
It’s been a while since I’ve offered up something personal, and, to help explain my absence, I will simply say that I have had my world turned around. But before we get to that, and now that we are halfway through 2015, it’s a good time to look at what’s happened this year – both in theaters and my own house. Stick with me, there’s a lot to cover.
Now, this is a bit of a catch-all, as well as a perfect chance to assess where we are, explain our absence, and celebrate a belated happy birthday.
February saw GoSeeTalk celebrate its sixth year on the web. But, more importantly, stepping away from the hustle and bustle of the entertainment world, I was preparing to change gears and again put focus on that which I saw to be more important than movie reviews and interviews.
Some weeks later, my wife and I welcomed our first child into the world. My real job (a shock to many of you might be to learn that GST is just a hobby blog) and my workload ramped up to almost ridiculous speed as I prepared for the coming of baby Olivia. It is said that there is no such thing as a “perfect time” to bring a child into the world. I agree completely.
As I am a movie lover to the core, and have been raised on what I deem to be some of the best films of any generation, I am excited about the newborn, but also to see that so much of what I grew up with is now popular again. Further, the things I grew up loving are being released with modern stylings to my daughter and her generation.
Children change your life, that’s for sure. I love every minute of our time with her….yes, even the sleepless nights, the cranky scream fests, and the unanswerable ‘what do you want?’. She makes waking up worth it. It pains me to leave her in the morning, but coming home really is the best part of my day. She has put things into priority and, as I wrote in my last birthday message, am glad to have stopped chasing news stories and trailers. Tis a tedious and thankless chore. It’s also less than fulfilling when you are concerned with a child’s welfare.
Granted, I knew this was coming, and as such, I missed the Avengers: Age of Ultron, Mad Max: Fury Road, Jurassic World, and more; I won’t name others because it bums me out. Now I will continue to catch big releases on dollar theater screens or my media room television, but like I told my wife a long time ago, film is forever…small, meaningful moments with my family are not.
So I soak up the latter and remind myself of the former. Plus, GoSeeTalk doesn’t pay the bills, so I have to put my focus on my career. You know, the thing that feeds my family. But the good news is that even though a new baby is a handful, the trip is so worth it. Would you just look at this kid!
Now over the years, I have found that interviews, especially those with composers, have been the most fulfilling and thrilling part of running the site, more so than banging out reviews week after week. Getting to meet and interact with personalities in the entertainment industry – learning about their process and hearing stories first hand – is infinitely more interesting than anyone’s opinion of a film.
On that note, I’ve always said that movie magic is really music magic; film scores give more depth and mystique to a story than even the wildest visuals. So, getting to speak with composers (check out our interviews here), and expanding the site’s focus to highlight film scores, has been very rewarding. That’s why we have become more of an interview and promotion site. I personally like the pace, even if we don’t have daily content.
So 2015 is here, and our yearly editorials give me the chance to look back and reflect on the current entertainment world. We may not have flying cars, but let’s take stock.
Looking at the calendar, we see that Back to the Future turned 30 – still no hoverboards as teased in its sequel. Also Ghostbusters, who had the same milestone last year, is now getting notoriety because of the all-female reboot in the works. Just goes to show that what’s old is new again. Furthermore, sometimes in the audience’s quest for ‘new’ in lieu of remakes, reboots, and sequels, going back to the well is not a bad thing. It just needs to be done well.
More to that point, Fury Road is, so I have been told, a shining example of spectacle, full-bodied storytelling and a reason for a film to exist – sequel or not. Right now, it may might be the number one movie of the entire year…until J.J. Abrams gives his forthcoming Christmas present to the geek community and the world. The world loved the fantastic but flawed Avengers sequel, but we also have two Arnold Schwarzenegger films in one calendar year (yay!) and are close seeing another Terminator film (**heads up film fans, we will start giving advance screening passes again soon starting with that film). He said he’d be back.
From the looks of it, it gets Cameron’s blessing because it perfectly blends the things that fans have loved for decades, but puts an interesting spin on it. We’re big score fans so we’ll get two more Michael Giacchino scores (bringing the year’s total to four) attached to another Jurassic Park movie, and Inside Out – a Pixar film that looks to their best and top Pete Docter’s 2009 Up in the water works department.
There’s also something to be said for Matthew Vaughn helping breathe new life into the spy spoof/action genre with his patented anarchic irreverence in Kingsman: The Secret Service. Pretty good report card for any half-way mark.
And as far as re-branding and reissuing, there’s even news of a particularly interesting remake on the horizon. This one is another of our dear favorites, Big Trouble in Little China; a film so beloved by cult audiences that it’s a complete mystery why it would stand a chance for a mainstream revision starring “The Rock” of all people. In fact, as unlikely as it is, it almost makes you believe in the impossible. Now that it’s 2015, we may even see a new Back to the Future. Shudder the thought, but it seems these days that nothing is sacred, err, impossible.
Who knows, but again, we do live in a strange and wondrous time. If that’s not enough to make you glad to be alive and a film fan, there should be much rejoicing when J.J. Abrams releases his above-mentioned Star Wars: Episode VII. Talk about ending the year with a bang.
I’m excited about all of that, but mostly because one day I can share it all with my daughter. Before we knew we were going to have Olivia, I had been setting aside certain films to add to our filmic library that would be just for her. Of course Big Trouble in Little China would come in due time, but Song of the Sea, The Book of Life, The Land Before Time, standard Disney/Pixar fare, The Muppets, the whole Ghibli catalog and more are all set for her young eyes.
I’m particularly looking forward to see what she picks up on that I didn’t as well as the things we will have in common. Even though she looks like me, I sure hope we’ll have the same sense of humor.
I honestly can’t think of a better time for my daughter to be born into. Although she won’t appreciate it for a while, I will take pleasure in all that is hitting screens now and in the second half of this year. Here’s hoping I can get back in the groove, otherwise if I just make people happy with free passes while I soak up time with composers (and my daughter, obviously) then I think that suits me just fine. I traded one baby (my site) for another (that bundle of cuteness atop this post) and I have never been happier.
So as we speed toward the end of ’15 with S-foils locked in attack position (can you tell I’m excited about Star Wars?), it behooves us to take note of what’s happening around us instead of just looking to what’s ahead. After all, Ferris Bueller might have said it the best. “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it.” Yup, that’s another one I’m saving to share with Olivia. Ain’t love grand?