It was just announced that Hollywood institution IOwest is closing. It was the west coast arm of the Chicago improv club that has been around for nearly twenty-five years. I was never an actual member of the IO community but it was a huge part of my time in Los Angeles and it feels weird that in just over ten days it will be no more.
I’ve never had a cavity. That’s good, I suppose. My dentist once referred to my teeth as “perfect” (her word) despite my compulsive ice-chewing habit. That said, I don’t have a long history of good luck with my chompers. I’ve had five root canals, mostly due to random injury. I have three fake teeth, due to, well, let me get into that.
In an effort to use this space to document my life as well as Facebook, I’m posting this here even though everyone saw it already over there. This is my One-Second video, where I took 1 second of video over the entire year (really for only 312 days, but who’s counting). It’s a perfect little time capsule for my year, covering the end of my job, my fitness regime, the concerts, travels, and everything and (hopefully) most of the friends involved.
I never knew how much I could cry. I mean, if I’m being honest, I’m still surprised I can cry at all. But over the past few weeks I might’ve solved California’s drought problems if I just harvested my tears. After eight-and-a-half short years, I had to say goodbye to my sidekick, my wingman, my favorite, my puppers, my little chicken, my Radley.
10. The Runaways
With the rest of Marvel’s TV series faltering this year (Inhumans and Iron Fist tanked, Agents of Shield is tired, Defenders and Punisher were okay but pale in comparison to the heights achieved by Jessica Jones and Daredevil), leave it to this mashup of the OC and the Avengers to bring a new twist on super heroic teen angst. While the comic was one of my favorites, the TV series has done a great job of broadening the scope beyond the basic premise of group of teens discover their parents are evil. Honestly, while the TV show has pretty awesome and faithful adaptations of the kids, it has done an amazing job of making the parents infinitely more interesting and adding a dose of mystery to keep things interesting.
10. Dan Wilson – Re-Covered
The songwriter behind some of the biggest hits and/or best tunes of the past decade or two, Dan Wilson presents stripped down guitar-focused versions originally done by artists as varied as Adele (“Someone Like You”), Dixie Chicks (“Not Ready to Make Nice”), John Legend (“You and I”), and his own band Semisonic (“Closing Time”).
10. The Disaster Artist
While ostensibly about the making of The Room, aka the worst period movie period ever exclamation point, The Disaster Artist is actually more about the strength of friendship. Dave and James Franco both do a wonderful job of taking characters that could’ve been punchlines, and presenting them as thoughtful, three dimensional creatures.
Aaron Sorkin is brilliant, one of my favorite writers, but he has patterns and traps he sometimes falls into: rat-a-tat dialogue that is sometimes more clever than it should be, a dogged everyman as his central character, unrelenting idealism. It’s why, despite some fantastic moments, The Newsroom was a bit of a failure. And it’s why, despite some missteps, Molly’s Game is a triumph. Based on the book/true story of Molly Bloom, an Olympic skier who sidestepped her future plans to become the host of an exclusive high-high-stakes poker game, raking in millions on both coasts until her eventual arrest. The film jumps around between the case and Molly’s retelling of what lead to her eventual downfall, a bit too similar in structure to The Social Network (which Sorkin wrote), but it’s still a funny, surprising and interesting look at the underground poker world.
A lot of press has been made of Director Ridley Scott, and the other producers of All the Money in the World, and their decision to replace Kevin Spacey with Christopher Plummer in the wake of the allegations against Spacey. Watching Plummer was interesting knowing how quickly his scenes were put together. It’s an amazing feat, but it’s possibly the most interesting thing about the movie, based on the true story of the kidnapping of a billionaire’s grandson and his refusal to the pay the ransom. It aims to be taut thriller, but the stronger element is the character interplay.
Meryl Streep. Tom Hanks. Steven Spielberg. It’s so easy to take for granted how good these titans are, it’s almost boring to see them churn out another great film. But the triumvirate at the center of The Post, which details the newspaper’s salvo into political prominence with its publishing of classified government documents regarding the Vietnam war, deliver an exhilarating, thrilling testament to the importance of a free press. The movie is timeless, the fashion and setting of the early 70s don’t choke the film with nostalgia, and yet it’s also, almost accidentally, the perfect movie for our current existence: an aggressive, contrarian president who cultivates a distrust in the media while seeking to bury his own criminal activity (you know, allegedly). It’s also a movie that explores the rise of feminism through Post publisher Kay Graham (Streep) and her authority, as it is questioned, challenged, and undermined by the men that surround her.