Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Top 10ish Movies of 2010

Top 10ish Movies of 2010

No one film stood out to me this year as especially amazing, other than the one I worked, but there were several(eleven) I appreciated and thought were worth the price of admission. In no particular order, here are the flicks, which were distributed in some form during 2010, that I became a fan of.

Crazy Heart
I’m a fan of Jeff Bridges, I was fortunate enough to meet some very talented folks who worked on the soundtrack, and very rarely do I say the words, “I wish this movie was a little longer.”

I have a crush on the Duplass Brothers (directors), Brad Wise will testify. They did more with $7 million than most do with $50 million. John C. Reilly makes me smile, a lot. And I’m jealous of Jonah Hill’s ability to be so awkwardly funny.

One of the rare instances that a big budget movie is entertaining and provokes thought. I don’t know that I will necessarily want to see it again, but I highly enjoyed the experience of watching it in a cinema.

Despicable Me
What a pleasant surprise. I love Steve Carell, but was worried it would be something just slapped together for Steve Carell to do. I was wrong. I was thoroughly entertained, did not regret spending $10 to see it, and was even a little moved. And who doesn’t love cute mumbling minion?

Hitting The Nuts

So I can’t be terribly unbiased about this one since I was on set. But what I thought was hilarious when seeing it shot in person, turned out to be at least as funny in edited video form. Joe Boyd took on a huge task attempting to produce, direct, and star in his first feature film and succeeded like a boss.

Get Low
Robert Duvall, Bill Murray, in a small town, with a low budget. That is my sweet spot. Take the above combination, add Sissy Spacek, redemption, and quirky character and it doesn’t get any better. Very glad I had the opportunity to watch this one before hit shelves.

The Damned United
Damn good. Yeah, I had to go there. I don’t care for soccer, and I know next to nothing about European soccer, or football as it is. But I engaged through this film and am already looking forward to the director’s next project, The King’s Speech.

The Fighter
I was asked to watch it a second time within a week of the first viewing and was happy to oblige. Christian Bale was so good that I forgot I was watching Christian Bale. The producers deserve a cookie for this one.

Big Fan
Patton Oswalt was the lead, and was nearly perfect. The story had a fun couple of twists. After watching Big Fan and The Wrestler, I’m eagerly awaiting Robert Siegel’s next project as well.

Whip It
Roller Derby is cool. Ellen Page is charming. And it carries some healthy messages for young girls. It also makes me want to go watch the Cincinnati Rollergirls.

Exit Through The Gift Shop
It made me smile. It was unique. Not sure what to think of it’s subject. But it did make me think. Which is the sign of a good film.

Small Potatoes: Who Killed the USFL
One of the best things to happen in documentary world over the last year is ESPN’s series “30 For 30.” And my favorite thus far is Small Potatoes: Who Killed the USFL? Though I was a toddler during the professional football alternative, I have always been intrigued by it and this was the perfect way to feed my appetite.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Next 11 Days

I will be spending the next 11 days with a group of folks from Vineyard Cincinnati following up and expanding upon the activities explained in the videos below.

H2O Nigeria - First Well from Still Rendering on Vimeo.

Nigeria H2O Update 2010 from Still Rendering on Vimeo.

H2O Nigeria Update - Director, Kande Wilson from Still Rendering on Vimeo.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

I'm A Pretty Lucky Guy

This afternoon I stood around an old hotel room in Middletown with about 10 people, eating vegetable soup, sweating, listening to an antique radio, and loving it. And this is part of my job!
I can't believe I get to make movies, like as part of my job. But yet at the same, I also have health insurance.
I think I'm probably the most blessed person I know. Who else gets away with this? And on top of it all, my wife goes along with it. She actually helps on crew and allowed a 15 to 20 person film crew to invade our home for 15 days.
Don't misunderstand, we work hard. We work really really hard at times. And sometimes we get really stressed. But then there are moments like I described above and I can't imagine too many things that are too much better.
This filmmaking stuff is like being 9 years old again, working on a monstrous lego sculpture; sometimes the pieces don't fit like you want them to or a block falls off, but you work through it, slaving away at your creation, loving it, and in the end you can't wait to show off what you just made.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Saturday, September 18, 2010

A Public Blessing

This evening as I reflected on blessing, I realized I've been better at receiving than at giving. This is particularly true of my relationship with my wife. She's regularly praises me and builds me up, and I too often take her for granted and neglect to accurately express my appreciation for her. So tonight, I wanted to briefly share who she is to me and how I think God sees her.


You are God’s gift to me. You have and are what I lack. Your smile calms the uneasy waters shifting within me. Your blind faith challenges me. You have the ability to shrink the social gaps between groups of people and make everyone feel important, worthy, and loved. You have been created unique, for a unique purpose and will be the spark to inspire many to leave the comfort of normal and jump into the divine chaos of love. Your journey is just beginning. And I look forward to witnessing all that will be done through you.

P.S. I just coughed up some flem.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Vineyard is offering a Film Camp

I'm pretty pumped that for the fourth summer in a row I get to help facilitate a film camp to train young people in the filmmaking production process. And for the first time ever, Vineyard Community Church is partnering to support the camp. Should make for a great summer experience.

Here's a link to more info.

Check out a couple highlight videos from previous camps.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Whale of an Escort

I read an interesting story today about someone paddling 40 miles while being escorted by a minke whale. But I think there's more to the story than just a nine hour aquatic adventure. Jodie was called to do something extraordinary and peculiar and hoped for help from man(celebrities). But when man didn’t answer the call, she didn’t dismiss her calling/mission/vision. She didn’t give up hope. And now it looks as though something supernatural will provide her a vehicle to achieve her calling/mission/vision that she could have never designed or planned for.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Redemptive Snow

As I left for work this morning, I was refreshed by my aesthetically pleasing surroundings. What is typically an old worn down neighborhood in need of more than a few repairs, was made beautiful when covered by white snow. The blanket of snow covered imperfections and helped me see what the neighborhood might have looked like when it was new. I think there's a song about that...

Monday, January 11, 2010

I Heart the Music City

Over the last 3.5 years I've visited Nashville 5 times. Each time my visit has been for business and this week I return again to do a little business. Though most of my trips have involved some physical labor and 15-hour days, I've highly enjoyed all of them. I imagine this one will be no different. Brad Wise and I have the honor of joining Michael Wilson to do a little work for a group of super talented musicians for their concert at the Belcourt Theatre.

I'm not a big country music fan, or even a big music fan, but I don't think you have to be to enjoy the city. It’s a great eclectic collection of artists, urbanites, and southern charm. The Music City is also home to the bowl my favorite university football team (their obviously not that great) frequents and three of my favorite restaurants.

If you're ever in the area and have a hankering for some tex-mex check out San Antonio Taco Co. on Commerce St. If high quality yet amazingly affordable Steak and Italian is more your thing, just walk about one more block on Commerce and pay a visit to Demo's. Last time I was there, I got a bacon-wrapped filet and a side of spaghetti for under $12! And though Memphis is the Mecca of Barbeque, Jack's on Broadway in Nashville can compete with anyone. I hope while during my 24ish hours there I manage to drop by one of these southern gems.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Holiday Movie Review

This post is a few days late. However, if you actually follow my blog, you know all of my posts are either late or nonexistent.

Over the holidays I had a little more down time than usual and decided to take in a variety of motion pictures. Some good, some bad, some okay. Not that you asked, but here's the skinny.

Avatar - $400 Million. We could have produced more than 4,000 sequels to Hitting The Nuts for that chunk of change. However, said HTN sequels would not have been in amazing 3D imagery and grossed $1 Billion. Basically, James Cameron convinced a few rich folks to spend $400 Million on 160 minutes to say "I hate George Bush." Though I don't have any extreme emotions toward George Bush, the movie was great to experience 1 time in the theatre and I will probably never watch again.

The Wendell Baker Story (released 2005)- I watched Henry Poole Is Here a few months ago and really enjoyed it. "Why not see what else those Wilson boys can do for a few million bucks?," I thought. Bad thought. Their first attempt at producing and directing something significant revealed it was their first time.

Julie and Julia - Amy Adams is on a hot streak. The creators flowed through the dance of the two stories flawlessly. And Meryl Streep made me worry I might have a crush on Julia Child - thats impressive. Thanks to Joe Boyd for the recommendation.

500 Days of Summer - So I hear Brad Wise sing the praises of this flick for months. I tried to see it at the theatre and it's run ended about 18 hours before I made it to the box office. So I snatched it up at Hollywood Video and when the Sugar Bowl got out of hand, I enjoyed one of the best films of the year. The story was good, but the delivery of the story was genius.

The Blind Side - Who knew Tim McGraw could act? I understand Dave Workman's concerned with the message within the message, but I wouldn't mind if more Leigh Anne Tuohys existed within the realm of private Christian schools.

The Puffy Chair (released in 2005) - This was created for only $15,000! It held my attention. The characters were quirky, interesting, and believable. They used their restrictions as artistic style instead of cheesy lackings. If you don't mind the strong but believable language, its a great example of less can be more.