Better Late Than Never on "Isle of Dogs"

I'm writing earlier than usual today because I literally just finished watching the movie "Isle of Dogs", and I have some thoughts.

I'm a Wes Anderson fan. I like pretty much all of his movies, save for maybe "Darjeeling Limited", but even that movie has its moments. I was first introduced to Anderson by RD, when he showed me the classic movie "Rushmore". I was immediately in love. The way he shot and directed the movie, that is how I like my independent comedies. A little dark, but usually with a fairly happy ending. After "Rushmore" I dug very deep into the world of Wes Anderson. I watched his first movie "Bottle Rocket" next. That is a great, very underrated movie. Then I saw "Royal Tenenbaums". That is, not only one of his best movies, but one of the best movies ever made. It is nearly perfect. RD and I then saw "Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou" on Christams day in 2004. I think that is a very solid movie. It doesn't get the love his other movies do, but I enjoyed it. My wife and I, who at the time was my girlfriend, watched "Fantastic Mr Fox". That movie is an achievement. It was so cool. The stop motion was neat and the story was great. My wife and I, to this day, still walk around the house saying, "I'm more of an athlete" all the time. We then sat down a few years later and watched "Moonrise Kingdom". That is one of the sweetest movies ever. It is also a great story about childhood. I'd take "Moonrise Kingdom" any day over "Boyhood". I then watched "Grand Budapest Hotel" by myself in the theaters. That movie is cool. It is neat to look at, the story is fun and it is very adventurous. I also love the detail that went into it. I liked it so much that I convinced my wife to watch it on a flight we were on to Mexico for our anniversary.

Then I kind of forgot about Anderson. He didn't make anything for a couple years. I remember seeing the preview for "Isle of Dogs", but I never got the chance to see it in the theaters. Luckily I have HBO, and I was up early today and it was on. I watched it before taking my son to school, and I really, really, really liked it a lot.

I'm going to go out on a limb here, because Anderson is a writer and director I have come to really enjoy, I think "Isle of Dogs" is his best movie. And this is not recency bias. While watching "Isle of Dogs" I thought about his other movies, and while some may be better in smaller aspects, I feel like "Isle of Dogs" is the perfect amalgamation of everything that Anderson is, and wants to be, as a director and writer. First of all, he goes back to the stop motion that made "Fantastic Mr Fox" so cool. Except in "Isle of Dogs" I think it looks so much better done. He really honed his skills and the people that worked on this movie with him are really good technicians. The dogs looked real. Their fur, when the wind would blow, looked just like my dog when he rides in the car with me and I have the windows down. The humans in the movie looked real too. They didn't have that Claymation feel that so many stop motion movies have. Sure they had wild hair and wild costumes, but they looked like real people. The voice work in this movie is amazing too. The people Anderson got are all amazing. He has his usual people, like Edward Norton, Greta Gerwig, Bob Balaban, Bill Murray, Harvey Keitel and F Murray Abraham. But the people he added to the cast are a who's who. Frances McDormand, Liev Schreiber, Jeff Goldblum, Scarlett Johansson, Tilda Swinton, Courtney B Vance and Bryan Cranston. And they were great. Cranston is the voice of the main dog and he is tremendous. Vance as the narrator of the story was the perfect person to tell this story. He has a great voice for a role like this. McDormand as a translator was so good too.

That was another thing I loved about this movie. It takes place in the future in Japan, and the Japanese people in the movie are voiced by Japanese people, and then the dialogue is translated via text or people playing translators. And the kid who plays the main human, Atari, voiced by Koyu Rankin, is so easy to root for. Yoko Ono plays a voice of a scientist in the movie. The evil mayor, Kobayashi, voiced by Kunichi Nomura, was so threatening, but does have a heart of gold. The real bad guy, Major Domo, voiced by Akira Takayama, was so scary my kids were afraid to watch when he was onscreen. He was phenomenal.

Which leads me to the story of this movie, and what I interpreted it as. This movie is about classism and judging one without really knowing them. Sure, the main characters are dogs, but that doesn't mean you cannot tell a story like that. And the way Anderson pulls it off is glorious. The mayor sending these dogs to "Trash Island" because he believes them to be "bad dogs", just casting them aside, was so sad. Funny thing about that, I could see our current "government" doing something very similar. Hell, they already are trying to do this, separating families at the border like a bunch of terrorists. Looking at this "fake" government in "Isle of Dogs" was so eerily similar to what the real "government" is trying to do right now. Anderson drew a perfect parallel. Then, to see the dogs side of the story, it was just amazing. To see them trying to survive, to hear their stories, to see some of them thrive, it was great. Also, seeing the opposition's story, which included the mayor's "son", had me wanting to start a revolution myself. I love to see the resistance win, and they certainly win in "Isle of Dogs".

I feel like this movie is the best work that Anderson has done to date. I have zero problems with it. I want to watch it a million more times. I do not think I will ever grow tired of it. I have a newfound respect for my dog after seeing it. I want to treat people better, not that I was treating anyone bad, after seeing this movie. The movie also makes me like Anderson even more. I don't care if that makes me sound pretentious either, the dude makes good to great movies pretty much all the time. I almost wish I had seen it prior to this morning because it definitely would have made my best of 2018.

Ty

Ty is the Pop Culture editor for SeedSing and the other host of the X Millennial Man Podcast. He was going to make a movie about his dog, but the only compelling drama he could find is when Charlie spent ten minutes going in a circle looking for a place to pee.

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Ty Watches "Bandersnatch"

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Okay, I have now watched “Bandersnatch” 3 times. I’ve seen, at least I think I have, all 5 endings and I have some thoughts. First things first, just like my “Bird Box” review, this is going to be as spoiler free as possible. Okay, let’s get into it.

I need to say right off the bat, I LOVED “Bandersnatch”. I am a “Black Mirror” apologist, and I will never say a bad thing about the show. That being said, the show is amazing, so that will never be a problem for me. With “Bandersnatch”, I was completely fascinated, and totally engaged every time I’ve watched it. I really think the writing was exceptional. The acting was tremendous. The “choose your own adventure” aspect of it, for someone that has never experienced that, was awesome. Sure it could be a bit overwhelming at times, but that never took me out of it. The story that is the basis of this, I don’t know if I should call it a movie or an episode, maybe a “moviesode” we will go with I guess, was dark and bleak and everything I want from “Black Mirror”. The idea of creating a computer game in the 80’s is fascinating to me. I like to see the old tech compared to the new age stuff. I like to see how it used to be done. I also like, and appreciate, how the writers of the show are able to show us the bad side of technology in all decades. I feel like that is one of “Black Mirror”s main objectives, and they nailed it again in “Bandersnatch”.

As for the performances, man where they excellent. Will Poulter, as Colin Ritman, the genius game maker, was outstanding. I don’t get the hate that he is getting online. He was outstanding. I really loved his performance, especially his monologue when he and the main kid were tripping on acid. Craig Parkinson, who is the main character’s dad, was so good. He had this subtle way in his performance that almost made me feel bad for him, even though he may be a monster. Alice Lowe as the therapist was totally believable. I completely bought her as a psychiatrist. She pulled it off.

But the star, and rightfully so, was Fionn Whitehead as Stefan. He’s the main character and he was outstanding. The way he showed his character’s slip onto insanity was so good. I mean, it felt real, no matter what path you chose for him. To think that he had to act it out in so many different ways, to do all this different stuff, it is truly remarkable. That is a big time credit to his ability as an actor. And he was amazing. To see him go through all that was, it was just, WOW. To watch him deteriorate as a person, Whitehead really crushed the performance.

As far as the story goes, I liked the basic through line in all the various ways the story could go. It was essentially about our free will as people, and while free will may or may not be a thing, “Bandersnatch” did a great job of showing how we use, and let others, control it. Giving the viewer the choices, and having Stefan yell at the viewer from time to time was so cool and new and interesting. I continue to be blown away that “Black Mirror” can still surprise me. How they can still make me think. How they can still make me pore over episodes for days. How they can make me want to go back and watch episodes multiple times, it’s amazing.

I love “Black Mirror”, and in turn, I love “Bandersnatch”. I’m also definitely not done watching the “moviesode”, not by a long shot. I still have a whole lot to unpack in my mind. I feel like I will watch it a ton leading up to the new season, whenever that comes. For the time being though, “Bandersnatch” is a work of art. It needs to be seen by everyone. The choose your own adventure aspect is worth it alone. It’s tremendous, like everything else “Black Mirror” does.

Ty

Ty is the Pop Culture editor for SeedSing and the other host of the X Millennial Man Podcast. He sometimes writes his articles as a choose your own adventure. Being a stay at home dad gives him a captive audience to help craft his masterpieces of blogging.

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Ty Watches "Bird Box"

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So my wife and I sat down and finally watched "Bird Box". We wanted to see what all the fuss was about. She said people were talking about it at work, and she felt a bit left out. I have heard some of my buddies talk about it, so I also felt a bit left out. I have also seen all the memes and gifs and stuff on social media mentioning this movie. A lot of the social media stuff had to do with sports, so I was getting even more frustrated because I just didn't get it. So we put the kids to bed on Saturday night a little early, and we put the movie on.

First things first, this review will be spoiler free. It is going to be spoiler free because I feel like people should really check this movie out. But even before I get into it, I do need to yell at everyone on social media for not informing me how sad this movie is. I expected it to be scary, which it is. But, this movie is depressing as hell. I mean, my wife was sobbing at points. I was holding back all of my tears. I had to cover my face several times because I do not like to cry in front of her. We were both emotionally drained at the end of the movie. So this is my way of letting anyone know that hasn't seen the movie yet, and only expect it to be a horror movie, and they want to watch it, it is also super sad and super depressing. You will cry, and you will be upset. Just a warning.

Getting to the review now. "Bird Box" is excellent. I didn't really know what to expect, stayed away from all the stuff, with the exception of the memes and what not. But what I saw, I really, really liked. It was suspenseful and scary and well told and greatly acted and brilliantly directed. I have no real problems with the movie at all. Sandra Bullock is wonderful in this movie. She acted the hell out of this role. I totally bought pretty much everything about her role. She was awesome. The other people in the movies, Sarah Paulson, John Malkovich, Trevante Rhodes, Jackie Weaver and Lil Rel Howery, among others, were great as well. Paulson as Bullock's sister was perfect in her minimal role. Malkovich is a total dickhead, and he has every right to be. Rhodes, who was so awesome in "Moonlight" as well, was great as the love interest/badass with a heart of gold. Weaver is good as the house mom after the apocalyptic event takes place. And Lil Rel, in a not so comedic role, just keeps winning me over with performances like this and his character in "Get Out".

What I really loved about "Bird Box" was how the people all reacted to the event. Something crazy happens, again I do not want to spoil anything and it causes people to do unthinkable stuff against their will. The people who end up in the house, not yet effected, each have different ways of dealing with it. It was pretty well done to see how each one dealt. Some were strong, others were scared, others were mad, others were ready to let it go. It was great. It also made me think of how I would react in a similar scenario.(I would not last long, which my wife and dad agreed with) Aside from that, pretty much anything else I tell you would be a spoiler.

This movie needs to be seen. I have now, and I will never, ever watch it again, but I am glad I did. This is a cultural phenomena, and I wanted to be part of it. I wanted to be able to talk about it. Also, Sandra Bullock, like I said before, was outstanding. The only person, and my wife disagrees with me here, that I thought did a better job in a similar movie was Emily Blunt in "A Quiet Place". But, they both crushed it. I would hope that Bullock would get some kind of awards consideration for this role. She is that good.

"Bird Box" is great, you should see it, you should be prepared to be scared and sad, and prepare yourself to be thinking about it for days. It is the type of movie that stays with you for days, in a good way. "Bird Box" is a must see.

Ty

Ty is the Pop Culture editor for SeedSing and the other host of the X Millennial Man Podcast. He is back on the Netflix bandwagon now that he has seen a good movie. The last one he saw did not make him hopeful for future films from the streaming giant.

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SeedSing is funded by a group of awesome people. Join them by donating to SeedSing.

The Best Movies of 2018

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I waited until today to do my top 5 movies of 2018 because I went to the movies today and I thought the one I was seeing would be on the list. By the way, it made it. My movies are fairly mainstream this year. As I’ve said before, it’s harder for my wife and I to go to the movies. Sometimes it’s even harder to watch them at home because we are so tired. But, I still see enough movies to make this list. I still go to the movies by myself, or bring my dad to some of the odder movies I see. I see more kids movies because I have 2 of my own that enjoy them. So my list is odd, with 3 big time movies on it this year. Maybe this will make RD stop calling me Pierre. We shall see.

At number 5 I have “Teen Titans Go! To The Movies”. I took my kids to see this because my son loves the show. I’ve watched a few episodes with him, found them kind of funny and agreed to take him. I had super low expectations, and this movie far surpassed them. This movie is great. It’s fast, funny, well written, animated like the show and has several good stories. I love the joke of how many super hero movies there are now. There’s far too many. Hell, counting “TTGTTM”, I technically have 3 on my list. But how they make a joke about it is great. The underlying stories of friendship, camaraderie, stardom and teamwork make this movie even better. Add the fact that is basically a musical makes it that much more fun. I had a blast watching this movie. And since seeing it this summer in the theater, I’ve enjoyed the 2-3 dozen more times I’ve watched it. I can also sing every lyric to every song. “Teen Titans Go! To The Movies” was one of the best times I’ve ever had in a theater.

At number 4 is the movie I saw this afternoon, “Spider-Man: Into the Spider Verse”. This is one of the coolest looking movies I’ve ever seen. The way it was filmed is like a comic book. It’s like “Sin City” for kids. This movie was simply incredible. The way the story is told was masterful. Seeing young Miles Morales go through his journey with all the different versions of Spider heroes was remarkable. The bad guys were bad too. I loved Doc Ock as a woman. She was evil. Kingpin was just as bad as any bad guy in a gangster movie. And the heroes were awesome. The second Peter Parker, who has B as his middle initial was hilarious. Spider Gwen was a total badass. Penni Parker, Spider Noir and Spider Ham all had their own personal charm, which I liked. The story was tremendous. The lessons were amazing. This is the type of movie that pulls me back into the super hero and comic book genre. It’s a work of art. I’m still totally blown away at how cool that movie looked. It’s awesome.

At number 3 I am getting away from hero movies and dipping into horror/suspense with “A Quiet Place”. This movie had me at the edge of my seat the whole run time. I kept apologizing to my wife for squeezing her hand so much throughout the movie. This movie made me not want to eat my movie snacks because it needed to be silent in the theater. What John Krasinki and crew did with this movie was usher in a new era of suspense. They made it hip to make a new age silent movie. And with this being, technically a silent movie, I was never, ever bored. As I said I was on razors edge. And Emily Blunt was phenomenal in this movie. Watch it alone for the birth scene. You may get anxiety after seeing it, if you don’t already suffer from it. “A Quiet Place” has renewed my love for the horror/suspense genre. I’m very excited/curious to see what they do with the sequel. But for the time being, this movie is right up there with “Get Out”, at least for me. 

At number 2 I have “Black Panther”. This is the best super hero movie ever. Nothing will top it. As good as some of the early Marvel stuff was, they all pale in comparison to “Black Panther”. This is the type of movie that has it all. A tremendous villain, maybe the best one yet. Strong, powerful female leads. African Americans as the stars. A great story about family and how important home is. Doing what’s best for the people you love. Great fight scenes. Funny moments. Touching moments. All of this in a comic book movie. “Black Panther” was overdue for its spotlight. But when it got it, they smacked it out of the park. Also, the soundtrack is amazing. The movie has it all, and it has zero flaws. “Black Panther” is the perfect movie. But there was one better, at least for me.

My number one movie of 2018 is “Sorry to Bother You”. There is no other movie like “STBY”. It’s an original, one of a kind. It’s science fiction with a story about race and culture and selling out and what all that means to multiple groups of people. I was blown away by this movie. I have watched it a dozen times since I saw it on its opening weekend, and with each new viewing I find something I missed or something new I like. And the performances, my goodness are they wonderful. This movie will make LaKeith Stanfield a star. Tessa Thompson is remarkable. Stanfield’s buddy, the guy from “Superior Donuts”, is hilarious. Steven Yeun is perfect. Even bigger actors, like Terry Crews and Danny Glover, shine in their minimal screen time. We need more movies like this. I’m done with remakes and sequels. Please give me new and fresh stuff. And nothing is newer or fresher or more I treating or cooler or crazier than “Sorry to Bother You”. I will watch this movie for the rest of my life. It’s a remarkable achievement. And it’s so unique. I love this movie. There was no question this movie was going to be number one the moment I left the theater. It’s amazing.

That’s it fit today. Come back tomorrow for my top 5 podcast moments of 2018.

Ty

Ty is the Pop Culture editor for SeedSing and the other host of the X Millennial Man Podcast. He may not go to as many independent films like he did as a younger man, but the Head Editor will always call him Pierre. Old habits die hard.

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SeedSing is funded by a group of awesome people. Join them by donating to SeedSing.

The Worst Things of 2018

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Next week I will spend the 5 days of the week doing my best of 2018 in movies, music, tv, podcasts and sports. I will do a top 5 of each category. Today though I want to do a similar list, but I want to do the one thing I consider the worst of 2018. I'll pick the worst tv show, movie, album/musician, podcast moment and sports moment. Before I get into it, I do have to say that this is just my opinion. I know that I will have a few things on here that will be odd and make people mad, but that is what year end lists are for, are they not? This will also be much quicker since I am just picking one thing from each category. My best of lists next week will be a bit longer. Okay enough preamble, lets get to it.

I'm going to start with sports because this was quite possibly the worst thing for me, as a sports fan, that has not only happened this year, but has happened in a long time. I am of course talking about Michigan getting absolutely crushed by the University of Ohio State in football. I have written about this game already, so I won't go as deep into detail as I did the Monday after the game. But this was awful. Michigan's vaunted defense got torched and refused to adjust all game long. This was their best chance in a long time, they were the better team on paper, and they laid a total egg. I mean, their offense scored 39 points, but it was all garbage time, and it was all for naught. They gave up 62 points, over 500 yards of offense, and it could have been much, much worse. Michigan blew it on the biggest stage for them in quite some time, and it was painful to watch. They had their best chance to beat their hated rival for the first time in 7 years, and a possible playoff berth at stake if they won the Big Ten title. They got none of that. They choked. They got crushed and it was, by far, my worst sports moment of 2018. Nothing else was even close.

When it comes to podcast/podcast moments, I have to go with "Comedy Bang! Bang!" not doing their usual Halloween episode. I look forward to this every year, and Halloween came and went with no visit to Boogie Woogie Avenue. I didn't get to hear Bret Gelman and Jon Daly do their thing. There was no Comedy Fang Fang this year. No weirdo ghosts for me to cackle with laughter at. It was a real bummer. The biggest disappointment with no "CBB" Halloween episode was the absence of Leo Carpatzi and his daughter Scaroline to sing their version of "The Monster Mash", which is always my favorite part. Although, as you will see next week, they do make up for it a bit in their Christmas episode. But, no 1122 Boogie Woogie Avenue, no Scaroline, no Mesmor, it all bummed me out. This episode is one of the few things I look forward to for a "holiday" that I am not the biggest fan of. Hopefully they remedy this next year because their Halloween episodes are some of their best.

My worst music of 2018 is kind of weird, but it struck me as odd, and kind of stupid to be completely honest. So, you all know how I feel about Drake. He is a wannabe, a front runner, a HORRIBLE rapper, he is just trash all around. So, for him to think he could even touch Pusha T was a joke and made that my most disliked music moment of the year. There is no beef, Pusha T is a far superior rapper, and always will be, when compared to Drake. He has lived that life. He has earned and grinded hard for everything he has accomplished. He isn't a fake, a phony or a frontrunner. Pusha goes about his business and makes incredible rap music. He literally started from the bottom. Drake was on a teenage high school drama in Canada when he was a kid. He is from the suburbs. He's never had a hard day in his life. He is a fake, a phony and a wannabe like I said before. He's a poseur. Pusha T will always, always be a much, much better rapper. So will thousands upon thousands of other rappers that a lot of people may not know about just yet. Drake is a rapper for white tweens. Pusha T is for a true hip hop fan. This whole beef was pointless and dull. Find something better to do with your time Drake because you are not even a top 500 rapper of all time. You are trash.

With TV I was very conflicted because the 2 shows that I think are the worst were 2 I LOVED last year. With that being said, what in the hell happened to "Westworld" and "Legion"? Am I not smart enough? Do I not get it? Am I not hip enough anymore? I don't know, and that was my biggest problem with both these shows. I feel like they decided to really just make some weird stuff and see if major critics would bite, and boy did they ever. I have read a lot of best of lists, and most have both shows on their lists. I totally disagree. Now, it needs to be said that I didn't finish either season. But I didn't finish because I was too tired of sitting there in utter confusion for hours after watching an episode. I made it through 3 of "Legion" and 2 of "Westworld" and just gave up. These shows are already confusing enough, but like I said, I felt like the writers were just messing with me now. They were intentionally trying to confuse me. I like my intelligence to be tested time to time when watching a show, but in watch these 2 shows this year, I felt like I was being made to look like a fool. Like I was stupid because I didn't get it. That is not how I should feel when watching a show. TV shows and movies should let you escape and have fun. I got none of that from "Westworld" or "Legion" this year. That was a bummer for me.

Finally, my worst movie of 2018. I have to admit that I don't get to the movies as much as I would like, but I still watch a fair amount On Demand and on streaming services. With all that being said, the worst movie I saw in 2018 has to be "Avengers: Infinity War". Now, I kind of liked the movie, but compared to everything else, it just doesn't stand up. I found parts of it dull and dragging. I don't like that Thanos wipes out half the population, but we just have to accept that most of those people are still alive because it's a "comic book movie". It would have been so much cooler if they really did kill off all the characters that Thanos killed. I found Thanos kind of dull and, while an okay bad guy, he was no Heath Ledger Joker or Tom Hardy Bane or Alfred Molina's Dr. Octopus or Ultron or even a marginal bad guy like The Mandarin. I think my biggest problem lied within my expectations for the movie. They were through the roof, and that is unfair. But still, my wife and I saw this movie on opening weekend, with a packed theater that had a 10 month old there, and we both left kind of shrugging our shoulders. It wasn't like when we saw "Black Panther" or the first "Ironman" or the "X-Men" movies. We left those exhilarated. With "Infinity War". we left unfulfilled. That is why I have it as my worst movie of the year.

Okay, I got the bad stuff out of the way. Come back next week where I will dedicate one day with a top 5 of 2018 for each category. 

Ty

Ty is the Pop Culture editor for SeedSing and the other host of the X Millennial Man Podcast. Ty is lucky to have survived the Thanos snap so he can dump on the movie. Others in the SeedSing virtual cube farm were not so lucky. We forward to seeing Tina S when the next movie “fixes” all the important deaths.

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SeedSing is funded by a group of awesome people. Join them by donating to SeedSing.

Ty Watches the Trailer for "Us"

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Yesterday Jordan Peele released the trailer for his follow up to "Get Out", "Us". I have been on pins and needles waiting to see how he would follow up his Oscar winning movie. "Get Out" was so unique and new and funny and scary and violent and fresh. I had never seen anything like "Get Out" before. I was pleased to see something new and different in this current climate or remakes and sequels. So when Peele announced that he was going to make a new movie I was stoked. I was hoping it was going to be another horror movie too. I like that he is doing these types of movies, given his comedic background. He could have done trite, typical comedic movies and been very, very successful. But, he went with what he liked, horror, and crushed it right out of the gate.

I was very excited to watch the trailer for "Us" yesterday. I had to wait awhile, what with going to see multiple family members for the holiday, but when I got home, put the kids to bed and showered, the first thing I did was watch the trailer. The only stuff I had seen or read prior to watching this last night was the poster, which is awesome, and some of the cast, which features Lupita N'yong’o and the guy who played the vegetarian troupe leader in "Black Panther". So, after all the dad stuff I had to do, I sat, in silence and watched. I try to stay away from trailers, I don't want movies ruined for me, but this one was a must watch. And it did not disappoint.

The trailer opened with the excellent song, "I Got 5 on It", and it has a family of 4 driving to a beach for a family vacation. It starts out all nice and happy. They meet up with another couple and are seemingly having a great day at the beach. Then the son of the main family starts to walk off to see this odd figure just standing out on the beach with scissors and blood dripping from them. The mom, N'oyongo runs up to him and tells the son he cannot run off like that. Then we get to see the entire creepy family in the very next scene of the trailer. The dad goes outside to confront them, and even has an aluminum bat and says he is ready to get physical. This is when the trailer starts to reveal some crazy stuff. We come to find out that this other family is out to get the main family. They are fast, scary, will talk to the main people, and they oddly look exactly like them. It is as if they are fighting evil versions of themselves. The daughter is terrified of her counterpart. The mirror scene is horrifying. The dad continues to get brutally beaten up by the evil version of himself. The mom fights and fights and fights back with her counterpart. But the son is oddly accepting of his evil half, especially when he takes off his mask and sees a scarred face. This trailer scared me, legitimately. I loved that about it.

The movie looks absolutely amazing. It seems like an excellent follow up to "Get Out". I cannot wait to see this movie. I'm so full yon board with "us", and pretty much anything Peele will do from here on out. He is easily on pace to be this generation's horror master. He is the dude. He is the shocking guy now. And he deserves all the accolades. I cant wait to see the movie. But first, I need to go watch the trailer about 10 more times. I suggest you all do the same.

Ty

Ty is the Pop Culture editor for SeedSing and the other host of the X Millennial Man Podcast. For Christmas he got a bad cold, out of control children, and some Michigan gear. How was your holiday?

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The Advent Calendar of Great Holiday Movies: Day 24 "Alastair Sim as Ebenezer Scrooge"

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The pre-Christmas Day season of Advent is upon us. Here at SeedSing we love the chocolaty goodness of getting a piece of candy once a day until we get to open our presents. As our gift to you we will present a great movie associated with the holiday season. Many will be awesome, some will be extra awesome. Enjoy.

Day 24: “Alastair Sim”

Opened Doors: Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5, Day 6, Day 7, Day 8, Day 9, Day 10, Day 11, Day 12, Day 13, Day 14, Day 15, Day 16, Day 17, Day 18, Day 19, Day 20, Day 21, Day 22, Day 23

Christmas Eve is a time of comfortable tradition. The entire holiday season changes form day to day, year to year, generation to generation, reality to reality, and on and on. Yet when the 24th of December hits, we want things to be the way they have always been. We want comfort. Be it food, music, television, and movies, we want to revisit our favorites. For the month of December we have presented all the different holiday movies to fit the mood of the seasons. Today we present the best person who played the best role in the best holiday film series ever.

Alastair Sim was a Scottish film actor who worked in the middle part of the 20th century. He did many a Shakespeare plays, acted in a wide variety films, and made a nice career out of being a supporting player. In 1951 he got the chance to play Ebeneezer Scrooge in one of the many movie versions of “A Christmas Carol”.

With “Scrooge”, Alastair Sim created what many people believe to be the greatest film version of Ebenezer Scrooge. Where many people play Scrooge as an angry old man who was afraid to die and had a soft spot for one disabled child, Sim played Scrooge as a man who has sad, and needed to remember why happiness is important on Christmas and during the entire year. The portrayal was so beloved that Sim provided the voice for a 1971 Oscar winning animated short film of “A Christmas Carol”. In less than thirty minutes, Sim again showed the entire holiday movie loving public why he is the greatest Scrooge ever.

On the night before Christmas we will gather together and eat our favorite foods, eat our most wanted dishes, be with those we love the most, and watch our favorite holiday movie. Most of us will sit down to watch one of the many versions of “A Christmas Carol”. Do you want to watch the best. The only choice is Alastair Sim, and he gives you to different ways to watch his Scrooge.

Happy Christmas.

RD is the Head Editor for SeedSing. After you watch the best Scrooge, go listen to the best Christmas song ever.

SeedSing is funded by a group of awesome people. Join them by donating to SeedSing.

The Advent Calendar of Great Holiday Movies: Day 23 "Trading Places"

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The pre-Christmas Day season of Advent is upon us. Here at SeedSing we love the chocolaty goodness of getting a piece of candy once a day until we get to open our presents. As our gift to you we will present a great movie associated with the holiday season. Many will be awesome, some will be extra awesome. Enjoy.

Day 23: “Trading Places”

Opened Doors: Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5, Day 6, Day 7, Day 8, Day 9, Day 10, Day 11, Day 12, Day 13, Day 14, Day 15, Day 16, Day 17, Day 18, Day 19, Day 20, Day 21, Day 22

Happy Festivus!

At this most joyous, and odious, of celebrations let’s celebrate those we look down upon. If we are in the gutter, those in the high rises who manipulate the economy for their gain are the ones that need to hear our grievances. If we are in the top tax bracket, those at the bottom are no match for the hired help we can procure and best our economic enemies in the feet of strengths. But what if this Festivus means something a little bit more? What if this Festivus, the rich and the poor trade places? Would we learn anything and come together as one humanity on this planet we call Earth?

In June of 1983, the John Landis directed comedy “Trading Places” hit theaters. The movie was a smash hit. Dan Aykroyd was far removed from his days on Saturday Night Live and was already considered a top movie star in the comedy genre. Eddie Murphy was still new to the movie game, but was a breakout star from the beginning, and “Trading Places” solidified Murphy’s superstardom. With Jamie Lee Curtis, Denholm Elliot, Don Ameche, and Ralph Bellemy, “Trading Places” was a film that could not fail. Critics and audiences of 1983 loved it, and thirty-five years later it is one of the most quotable, and beloved movies of the last two generations.

The plot of “Trading Places” shares a lot with the ideas of Festivus, a fake holiday made popular over a decade later. The dehumanizing nature of wealth and materialism, “Trading Places” has it. The whole movie is a big airing of grievances on the ideas of wealth and poverty. With all the slapstick in the back half of “Trading Places”, the feats of strength is more than covered. The aluminum pole may be missing, but we do get a dirty, drug out, gun toting Santa Clause. All seems fairly in line with the spirit of Festivus.

We are lucky to have the tradition, and angst, of Festivus to break up the joy, and stress, of the holiday season. Many of us may see Festivus as a recent gift to the Christmastime canon, but movies like “Trading Places” show us that Hollywood has embraced the philosophy of Frank Costanza. Take this December 23rd off from the same old movies we watch every weekend before Christmas. We do not need the false lesson of ‘It’s A Wonderful Life”, we need the cynicism, scheming, and R rated shenanigans of movies like “Trading Places. It is a film after all that is made for the rest of us.

RD

RD is the Head Editor for SeedSing. After you watch “Trading Places”, go back and remember that we got the holiday of Festivus all because of a bagel shop strike.

SeedSing is funded by a group of awesome people. Join them by donating to SeedSing.

The Advent Calendar of Great Holiday Movies: Day 22 "Home Alone"

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The pre-Christmas Day season of Advent is upon us. Here at SeedSing we love the chocolaty goodness of getting a piece of candy once a day until we get to open our presents. As our gift to you we will present a great movie associated with the holiday season. Many will be awesome, some will be extra awesome. Enjoy.

Day 22: “Home Alone”

Opened Doors: Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5, Day 6, Day 7, Day 8, Day 9, Day 10, Day 11, Day 12, Day 13, Day 14, Day 15, Day 16, Day 17, Day 18, Day 19, Day 20, Day 21

The final few days before Christmas can get quite hectic. Now imagine you are planning to take your whole family overseas for a fabulous holiday getaway. The normal hectic becomes an uncontrollable kind of hectic. You have to navigate through your massive suburban home, your spouse is not helping, and a few of your kids are being annoying jerks as you make sure everyone is packed and ready to go. Sounds dreadful, right? Well it becomes a whole lot worse when half way over the Atlantic Ocean you realize that one of your kids was left in your sprawling house all alone for Christmas.

Released in November of 1990, “Home Alone” came out of the gate and was instantly a holiday classic. It made a young Macaulay Culkin a star, Joe Pesci and Daniel Heard created the modern template for comedic bumbling criminals, and it made us all cry when the old man was reunited with his wife. The elaborate traps set by Kevin were ingenious and gruesome at the same time (what would really happen with those traps?) The entire Tom and Jerry nature of the back half of the film is glorious. Yet the most important thing we all learned from “Home Alone” is that a mother that forgets her child is really not that bad of mom.

Watch Catherine O’Hara’s performance as mother Kate McCallister in “Home Alone” and wonder why the excellent actress has not won an Academy Award yet. O’Hara takes a thankless role, one of a mother who leaves her young child home alone as she gallivants off to Paris, and makes the audience sympathize with her struggle to get back to her helpless child. Along the way Kate runs into many obstacles, but it is the angel like John Candy who reminds the distraught mom that kids are resilient, hell he left one in a mortuary one time so how bad could Kate’s son be? In the end Kate, alone herself, makes back by Christmas Day to be with her ingenious, and maybe psychotic, son. In the end Kevin had an adventure, learned a lesson, and Kate went from being the worst mom, moved heaven and earth, and become an adequate mom, With that a holiday classic film was brought into the pop culture.

The weekend before Christmas is one of most hectic times of the entire holiday season. The shopping malls are like a thunder dome, the airports are filled with self centered mobs, and our own homes devolve into chaos due to uncooperative spouses and children. Things tend to get forgotten. But if the thing forgotten is your genius, semi-psychopathic, child, the power of a mother’s love will always save the season. Also, a polka playing John Candy is always a welcome helper on the way back home.

RD

RD is the Head Editor for SeedSing. What is better than being home alone and stopping inept criminals for Christmas? Listen to Patton Oswalt destroy the terrible song “The Christmas Shoes”.

SeedSing is funded by a group of awesome people. Join them by donating to SeedSing.

The Advent Calendar of Great Holiday Movies: Day 21 "Edward Scissorhands"

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The pre-Christmas Day season of Advent is upon us. Here at SeedSing we love the chocolaty goodness of getting a piece of candy once a day until we get to open our presents. As our gift to you we will present a great movie associated with the holiday season. Many will be awesome, some will be extra awesome. Enjoy.

Day 21: “Edward Scissorhands”

Opened Doors: Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5, Day 6, Day 7, Day 8, Day 9, Day 10, Day 11, Day 12, Day 13, Day 14, Day 15, Day 16, Day 17, Day 18, Day 19, Day 20

When most of us think of winter we think of snow. The Coca Cola company, Normal Rockwell paintings, and every other piece of western pop culture in between likes to show crisp snow on a cold Christmas evening. It does not matter that a good part of the United States will not see snow on Christmas, or all winter, the image of snow and the holidays is burned into our cultural psyche. If every other part of the holiday season has a legend associated with it’s creation, why not have a legend about where the snowfall comes from?

In December of 1990 director Tim Burton released the movie “Edward Scissorhands”. The story of a kind, not quite finished, man child and his interactions with the modern world was a big hit with critics and the audience. The film has gone on to become one of the most beloved films of the last thirty years. It made a star of Johnny Depp, solidified Winona Ryder as the it girl of the early 1990’s, and was the last major film role for Hollywood legend Vincent Price. The cast also included once and future Oscar winner Diane Wiest, future Oscar winner Alan Arkin, and an unusually buff, and menacing, Anthony Michael Hall. After the success of “Batman”, Tim Burton was given the keys to Hollywood’s best talent, and “Edward Scissorhands” was the legendary end result.

The weirdness of “Edward Scissorhands” was notable, but it was the tenderness of the story that made the movie legendary. Depp gets special recognition for his performance, but the entire cast was hitting homeruns in the movie. The scene of Vincent Price dying in his unfinished creations arms is heartbreaking. The wild topiary, dog grooming, and hairstyle creations of Edward’s are forever iconic. But the true magic of “Edward Scissorhands” comes in the moment when Ryder is dancing in the “snow” coming off of the ice sculpture Edward is creating. The music by Danny Elfman, Ryder’s look, and dance of wonderment, in the “snow”, and Burton’s flowing camera makes the scene a piece of cinematic magic. Ryder and Burton capture the joy of experiencing a quiet snowfall on a peaceful winter evening like no had before or since. In a movie filled with incredible imagery, this scene wins the gold medal.

The idea of snow coming from a Gothic mansion because an unfinished man with scissors for hands is carving an ice sculpture in the image of his beloved he can never see again sounds pretty ridiculous when you put it down on paper. Tim Burton made it into magic. We may know the real reason why the snow falls on Christmas evening, but because of “Edward Scissorhands” we can look at simple snowfall and make it a moment of holiday joy.

RD

RD is the Head Editor for SeedSing. The holiday season is often a time of quiet reflection and hopeful renewal. Dolly Parton sings about these feelings with “Hard Candy Christmas”.

SeedSing is funded by a group of awesome people. Join them by donating to SeedSing.

Ty Watches "Aquaman"

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Last night my wife and I went on a movie date to see "Aquaman".

Going into this movie I had very, very little expectations. I'm a Marvel fan. I have made that abundantly clear many times. I am not a big fan of the DC series, with the exceptions being the Christopher Nolan "Batman" movies and the "Wonder Woman" movie that came out a few years back. Most other DC movies are not good. "Batman V Superman" was mad dull. "Justice League" was too dark and boring. The "Superman" movies with Henry Cavill are just flat out bad. So I wasn't too high on "Aquaman". But, my wife wanted to go to the movies, and she wanted to see "Aquaman". Also, I like Jason Momoa, so I was in.

Now, as I get deeper into my review, I am going to be as spoiler free as possible. So, first things first, this movie is visually stunning. It was a delight to look at for 2 and a half hours. It was bright and vibrant and just plain cool. Whoever concocted this universe with this color palette totally nailed it. Then we have the star of the movie, Jason Momoa. Honestly, I would watch this dude read a phone book and he'd make it enjoyable. He is also a very attractive guy. It's the truth. Part of where he got to where he is today is his looks. As we were watching the movie I told my wife that he is what Taylor Lautner wishes he could be. Momoa is charismatic and funny and I bought him as this half bred fish/human being. He seems like a genuinely cool dude, and that came across on the screen. I also enjoyed the jokey nature of the movie. It didn't take itself too seriously. Sure, the bad guys did their villainous things, and some of the dialogue was corny, more on that later, but all in all, it was a fast moving movie with some jokes sprinkled in and out. Also, as I just mentioned before, the movie did not feel like it was 2 and a half hours. The flow was nice and the battle scene after battle scene made its pace that much more fun. I was never bored, and I found myself enjoying the movie.

Now for the picky side of me to come out. I love Nicole Kidman. I think she is a wonderful actress, and I usually enjoy her in the many movies I have seen her in. That being said, she was not great in "Aquaman". She seemed almost tacked on. I think she took this part because she passed on "Wonder Woman", and her role felt hollow. Patrick Wilson, as King Orm, was too cliché of a villain. He yelled and stalked and did all the things that typical cartoon villains do. While I think he is a solid actor, he does not play a good bad guy. Amber Heard is the female Taylor Lautner. That's right, I have 2 Lautner references in this post. She is in movies because she is unfairly beautiful. But her performance was very meh, and she had no chemistry with Momoa. That was one of my wife's biggest criticisms. Heard felt out of place. Willem Dafoe was also pretty useless in the movie. He helped a young Aquaman learn his powers, but he was just kind of there. He didn't bring much of anything to this movie.

My biggest problem with this movie, and this goes for all DC movies for that matter, whenever the hero is getting ready for a big battle scene, there is some cheesy 80's guitar riffs played over and over again. It is so dumb and sometimes it totally takes me out of the moment. That music drives me nuts.

All this being said, I enjoyed "Aquaman". If it just had the battle scenes and the stuff with his dad, it would have easily gotten an A from me. But, the people writing the movie had to fill the time, and they added some stuff that wasn't necessary. That is the case with most super hero movies. All in all, I liked it. If I did have to give it a letter grade I would give it a solid B-. This is definitely the second best recent DC movie, far, far behind "Wonder Woman". But, I would recommend this to everyone. It is family friendly, not bloody, not too violent and fun. It is also visually stunning. "Aquaman" is a perfect popcorn movie. That's the best compliment I can give it.

Ty

Ty is the Pop Culture editor for SeedSing and the other host of the X Millennial Man Podcast. He thoguht Vinnie Chase was the only man that could play Aquaman. He is happy to be wrong in his ignorance of real life.

Follow Ty on instagram and twitter.

SeedSing is funded by a group of awesome people. Join them by donating to SeedSing.

The Advent Calendar of Great Holiday Movies: Day 20 "The Night Before"

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The pre-Christmas Day season of Advent is upon us. Here at SeedSing we love the chocolaty goodness of getting a piece of candy once a day until we get to open our presents. As our gift to you we will present a great movie associated with the holiday season. Many will be awesome, some will be extra awesome. Enjoy.

Day 20: “The Night Before”

Opened Doors: Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5, Day 6, Day 7, Day 8, Day 9, Day 10, Day 11, Day 12, Day 13, Day 14, Day 15, Day 16, Day 17, Day 18, Day 19

The holiday season is filled with parties. We have work parties, family parties, and parties at the bars and clubs in our neighborhoods. We have an idealized vision of the best party ever when we are younger, and we spent most of our days chasing that perfect party. In the midst of the chase, we grow older. We start to have more professional responsibilities, we may start a family, or we may need to just grow up. The perfect party is an illusion, growing up is reality.

In 2015 “The Night Before” premiered and was a very modest hit. The final “Hunger Games” movie opened against “The Night Before”, and the raunchy holiday film had no chance. In the few years since it’s premier, “The Night Before” has found a cult following for people looking for something funny, and a bit more modern in their holiday entertainment.

The story in “The Night Before” is relatable to anyone who used the holidays searching for the perfect party with their friends. Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen, and Anthony Mackie play three friends who swore they are going to find the best Christmas Eve party in all of New York City. Year after year they get together, do some drugs, get drunk, and never find the mythical Nutcracker Ball. After a while Rogen and Mackie have professional and family responsibilities, and finding the perfect party is not at the top of their priority list. Gordon-Levitt however is still committed to the goal of going to the Nutcracker Ball. Hijinks ensue, truths are revealed, weed gets stolen, friends fight, weed gets stolen, Michael Shannon saves the day, and friends learn a valuable lesson. It is a tale older than Christmas itself.

The holiday parties of our twenties look very different than the parties of our thirties, and those look different than the parties of our forties, and on and on. What makes any of these get togethers perfect is that we have them with our friends.. We may fight, our drugs may get stolen, and we may need Santa’s son to save us, but we were together on that magical night before Christmas. That is the reason for the party season. .

RD

RD is the Head Editor for SeedSing. Being around friends for the holidays is great, but what is it like being alone? Let Bill Murray and the band Phoenix tell you all about being alone on Christmas Day.

SeedSing is funded by a group of awesome people. Join them by donating to SeedSing.

The Advent Calendar of Great Holiday Movies: Day 19 "Die Hard"

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The pre-Christmas Day season of Advent is upon us. Here at SeedSing we love the chocolaty goodness of getting a piece of candy once a day until we get to open our presents. As our gift to you we will present a great movie associated with the holiday season. Many will be awesome, some will be extra awesome. Enjoy.

Day 19: “Die Hard”

Opened Doors: Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5, Day 6, Day 7, Day 8, Day 9, Day 10, Day 11, Day 12, Day 13, Day 14, Day 15, Day 16, Day 17, Day 18

Today I’m going to answer a question many people seem to bring up more and more every year around this time. Is “Die Hard” a Christmas movie?

Yes, absolutely it is.

This is the movie of the day for our Advent Calendar of Holiday Movies. “Die Hard”, for all intents and purposes, is an action movie. I’m not denying that fact. But why can’t it be both? There’s plenty of movies we’ve talked about to date that aren’t exclusively Christmas or holiday movies. I talked about the “Black Mirror” episode, “White Christmas”. Sure it has Christmas stuff in the episode, and in the title, but that is more a horrifying look into our future. RD has talked about “Lethal Weapon”. That’s a straight up action movie. “Hebrew Hammer” is a comedy, satire and action movie above a Hanukkah movie. All these movies have other themes than just the holiday, even the Hallmark movies. So when people get all up in arms about “Die Hard”, I laugh.

“Die Hard” is an action movie like I said, but look at the time of year that everything takes place in. The company party is a holiday party. There’s Christmas trees, holly, ornaments, mistletoe, all kinds of stuff that scream Christmas. When John McClain ices that one bad guy, he dresses him in an ugly Christmas sweater, writes a Christmas message on said sweater and wraps him up in lights. Oh, he also has a Santa hat on as well. The very imagery of the movie screams Christmas. I mentioned all the decor, but it’s cold outside, there’s some snow (or ash, whatever) and, when I watch it, it just feels like it takes place in December. Also, McClain does everything he does in this movie to help his ex, and the people she works with. He is giving unto others. He just has a specific set of skills. It doesn’t matter when he needs to use them, and in “Die Hard”, he uses them at Christmas time. Even the bad guys know it’s the holidays. They have the sweaters, they tell the hostages they don’t care that they want to be with their loved ones, I’m sure they partook in some eggnog. I mean, if even the bad guys know it’s Christmas, how can it not be a Christmas movie?

I think where people get most tripped up is the fact that it isn’t blatant. All the movies we’ve mentioned so far, mostly, make note that it’s the holidays. “Die Hard” doesn’t, but I respect that. They wanted this movie to have more than just one theme. They were ahead of their time.

“Die Hard” is a movie I can watch pretty much anytime of year, but around this time I itch to watch it. I crave it. “Die Hard” is not only a great action movie, it is one of our best holiday movies ever. I’d feel guilty if we left it off our Advent Calendar. It definitely belongs. Yippie yi ki yeah m f’ers, and happy holidays. 

Ty

Ty is the Pop Culture editor for SeedSing and the other host of the X Millennial Man Podcast. One Ty’s other favorite things to watch during the Christmas season is the great episode of “The Office” called Christmas Party.

Follow Ty on instagram and twitter.

SeedSing is funded by a group of awesome people. Join them by donating to SeedSing.

The Advent Calendar of Great Holiday Movies: Day 18 "A Christmas Prince: The Royal Wedding"

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The pre-Christmas Day season of Advent is upon us. Here at SeedSing we love the chocolaty goodness of getting a piece of candy once a day until we get to open our presents. As our gift to you we will present a great movie associated with the holiday season. Many will be awesome, some will be extra awesome. Enjoy.

Day 18: “A Christmas Prince: The Royal Wedding”

Opened Doors: Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5, Day 6, Day 7, Day 8, Day 9, Day 10, Day 11, Day 12, Day 13, Day 14, Day 15, Day 16, Day 17

Last week for the Advent Calendar I wrote about the Netflix original “A Christmas Prince”. I teased that I would talk about the sequel soon, and that’s what I’m going to do today. After the “success” of the first movie a sequel was deemed “necessary” I suppose. I thought they wrapped everything up pretty well in the first movie, but, spoiler alert, it ended with a proposal. I guess Netflix decided they needed to continue this story. That is about the only good thing I can say about “A Christmas Prince: The Royal Wedding”.

My biggest beef with the sequel is, they had fun goofing off in the first one and expected nothing. In this one, they tried too hard to make a bad movie. It was too aware of how ridiculous and goofy the first one was. They tried to make it just as silly, if not more so, than the first one. That’s a problem. That would be like Tommy Wiseau trying to make a sequel to “The Room” right now. He knows how bad it is, but he’s capitalizing in a different way. He’s doing his thing, and it works for him. With “A Christmas Prince: The Royal Wedding”, they just made a bad holiday movie.

This one wasn’t nearly as fun. The chemistry between the 2 leads, they didn’t have much to begin with, was dead on arrival. The Queen, who asked to be invited to their next sledding expedition, got her wish, but it felt hollow. That whole sledding scene was unnecessary. The bad guy was down and out, looking “haggard”, but he turns out to be a good guy. He helps the leads this time around. The sister all of the sudden became tiresome and a genius computer hacker. The friends were pretty useless, even though they had much bigger roles. The people who work in the castle were just as single minded and boring as in the first. They didn’t need to be in this movie. The wedding planner, a new character, was a caricature of every single over the top party planner. He was insufferable. The main guy was barely in this movie. I hardly remember any scene he was in. I could easily say the same for the female lead. She drifted in and out without any real notice.

The most egregious thing, they recast the female lead’s dad, and gave him a much, much bigger role. He was the comic relief, and this actor took a big swing. He whiffed, and he whiffed big time. He was over the top, told corny jokes and was just too much. I found myself get angry when he showed up on screen, and I even started to dislike the character. In the first movie the dad was barely a side character. But the sequel decided he needed to be a main player. That was a mistake.

“A Christmas Prince: The Royal Wedding” was a sequel not needed. Most sequels aren’t needed. But, as I said, I think Netflix wanted to jump on the bandwagon and keep this story going. I just wish this one didn’t take itself serious. More so, I wish they just goofed off more and had more fun. I also think, due to the fact that a ton of people watched this, they’re going to make more. Don’t. They should have stopped at one. If you’re a person like me, and you need to watch everything in a movie universe, I guess you should watch this movie, but you won’t enjoy it. I know I didn’t. I’d much rather just watch “A Christmas Prince” instead.

Ty

Ty is the Pop Culture editor for SeedSing and the other host of the X Millennial Man Podcast.

Follow Ty on instagram and twitter.

SeedSing is funded by a group of awesome people. Join them by donating to SeedSing.

The Advent Calendar of Great Holiday Movies: Day 17 "American Psycho"

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The pre-Christmas Day season of Advent is upon us. Here at SeedSing we love the chocolaty goodness of getting a piece of candy once a day until we get to open our presents. As our gift to you we will present a great movie associated with the holiday season. Many will be awesome, some will be extra awesome. Enjoy.

Day 17: “American Psycho”

Opened Doors: Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5, Day 6, Day 7, Day 8, Day 9, Day 10, Day 11, Day 12, Day 13, Day 14, Day 15, Day 16

The holiday season feels like a competition. We want to to one up our friends and family with better gifts. We want to impress our neighbors with superior outdoor decorations. We want to be the most stylish, and the most recognizable, at our office holiday parties. The competition of the holiday season is not only annoying, it is also dehumanizing. It is not a shock that some of us have fantasies about murder and mayhem on all of those around us when the competition hits a little to close to our own neurosis.

At the Sundance Film festival in 2000 writer director Mary Harron premiered her film adaptation of the novel “American Psycho”. The film was a hit and featured future Oscar winners Jared Leto, Reese Witherspoon, and in a star making role, Christian Bale as Patrick Bateman. “American Psycho” revived interest in author Brett Easton Ellis’s work, and became one of the definitive films of the early 21st century.

Early in the film, Patrick Bateman is at a Christmas party with a fiance he does not love, work friends he loathes, and massive insecurity about his place in the world. Drugs and alcohol are no help. The banality of 1980’s pop music is helping him get by a little bit, but Bateman needs more. He needs to destroy what feeds his insecurity. At the Christmas party, Bateman convinces Jared Leto’s Paul Allen to have dinner. The dinner is a disaster, and the evening ends with Bateman murdering Allen with a shiny ax while the dulcet tones of Huey Lewis and the News tell us all that it is hip to be square.

The weeks following Christmas find Bateman destroying anyone he sees as artificial. The false commercialism of the holidays have broken the young Wall Street worker. In the end, Bateman’s own artificial nature saves him from any punishment. He is free to wreck havoc on the poor yuppies of Manhattan next Christmas time.

The commercialism of Christmas is dehumanizing. We do not want the latest, expensive, gift, but we must participate. We really do not care about the fashionable holiday getaway, but we still make sure to book the trip. The fanciest business card from one of our office mate drones, who cares? You better damn well believe though that we are going to one up Brad from marketing. If we can not do better this holiday season, we may just go insane. In our insanity it is important to remember that ATM’s do not eat cats.

RD

RD is the Head Editor for SeedSing. Sometimes we go crazy during the holiday’s we discover something dark from Christmases past. The gang knows this all too well in “A Very Sunny Christmas”.

SeedSing is funded by a group of awesome people. Join them by donating to SeedSing.

The Advent Calendar of Great Holiday Movies: Day 16 "Rent"

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The pre-Christmas Day season of Advent is upon us. Here at SeedSing we love the chocolaty goodness of getting a piece of candy once a day until we get to open our presents. As our gift to you we will present a great movie associated with the holiday season. Many will be awesome, some will be extra awesome. Enjoy.

Day 16: “Rent”

Opened Doors: Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5, Day 6, Day 7, Day 8, Day 9, Day 10, Day 11, Day 12, Day 13, Day 14, Day 15

Christmas marks a time for reflecting on the year behind us, and what is to come in the new year. Most people will say that New Years Eve is the time for reflection, but in reality we tend to spend New Years Eve drunk, and News Year Day trying to sleep it off. Christmas is spent with family and friends we do not see very often, and we regale each other with stories from the previous year. On our way out the door, we share our dreams and good luck for the next twelve months. Christmas is truly the psychological end of one’s year and the beginning of another.

In 2005 the long waited film adaptation of the hit musical “Rent” finally hit the theaters. The critics were split on the film, and it was not a big hit at the box office. Since the premier of the musical in 1996, to the release of the movie, most people recognized the music as top notch, but the story has now been recognized as fairly ridiculous. The fact that the villain is an old friend who “sold out” wants to collect rent, you know so the sellout landlord can stay in business and house people, is a pretty darn stupid. The artists want to live their “free” lifestyle, but adulthood has rules. The story of “Rent”, loosely based off of 19th century opera, is one that appeals more to baby boomer nostalgia and does not speak very well to the gen xers and millennials that have mostly been struggling to keep ends meet in their early adult lives. By the time the movie “Rent” premiered, the majority of the audience was not enamored with it’s unrealistic faux bohemian story.

Yet the music of “Rent” is still great. Individually, many of the songs talk of being together, having fun, and remembering those we have lost in the last year. The story starts on Christmas eve of one year, a time everyone gathers together, and it ends on Christmas eve a year later, a time for us all to forgive and be together once again. The friends use the hope of new year to dream, and use the memories of the year past to learn, and dream again. “Rent” may not understand basic economics, but it gets the reflection of Christmas time.

The time we mark between Christmases is exactly five hundred and twenty five thousand, six hundred minutes (not including leap years), enough time to mark a year of memories. Many of those minutes are filled with pleasant things, and many are filled with sadness, but we reflect on them all every Christmas. One of the greatest gifts we get every December 25th is the ability to take the good and bad and turn it into the hopes for the next five hundred and twenty five thousand, and six hundred minutes (not including leap years). We can use Christmas as the time for new dreams. After all there is no day but today.

RD

RD is the Head Editor for SeedSing. The holiday season a long, long time ago introduced one of the greatest characters in “Star Wars” history in one of the worst programs in “Star Wars” history.

SeedSing is funded by a group of awesome people. Join them by donating to SeedSing.

The Advent Calendar of Great Holiday Movies: Day 15 "The Christmas Shoes"

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The pre-Christmas Day season of Advent is upon us. Here at SeedSing we love the chocolaty goodness of getting a piece of candy once a day until we get to open our presents. As our gift to you we will present a great movie associated with the holiday season. Many will be awesome, some will be extra awesome. Enjoy.

Day 15: “The Christmas Shoes”

Opened Doors: Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5, Day 6, Day 7, Day 8, Day 9, Day 10, Day 11, Day 12, Day 13, Day 14

Yes the movie I choose for day fifteen is a little film called “The Christmas Shoes”. First things first, I have never seen this movie, but I wanted you the audience to be aware of it’s existence. I put it on here for two reasons, the star and the song.

“The Christmas Shoes” premiered in 2002 and Rob Lowe, aka one Ty’s favorite actors, was the star. I do not know why. Rob Lowe has always seemed to make pretty good career choices. To star in a movie based off a terrible christian book and song, that seems noteworthy. Maybe Lowe, like us all, has his own guilty pleasures. Starring in this maudlin, convoluted, story is his I guess. God speed Rob.

The other reason I think you should all be aware of “The Christmas Shoes” is because of the epic take down Patton Oswalt does on the god awful song. (Here is a great animation with Oswalt’s epic piece.) It may not be a movie, but that under eight minute YouTube clip is probably more worth your time than the two hour made for tv movie.

My gift to you this season is to make you aware that Rob Lowe starred in a made for tv movie based on one of the worst Christmas songs ever. Now you know, and that is half the holiday battle.

RD

RD is the Head Editor for SeedSing. Do you know what can be festive and tacky at the same time? Christmas lights. Thank goodness there is a joyous song about all the lights we see during the season.

SeedSing is funded by a group of awesome people. Join them by donating to SeedSing.

The Advent Calendar of Great Holiday Movies: Day 14 "Black Mirror: White Christmas"

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The pre-Christmas Day season of Advent is upon us. Here at SeedSing we love the chocolaty goodness of getting a piece of candy once a day until we get to open our presents. As our gift to you we will present a great movie associated with the holiday season. Many will be awesome, some will be extra awesome. Enjoy.

Day 14: “Black Mirror: White Christmas”

Opened Doors: Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5, Day 6, Day 7, Day 8, Day 9, Day 10, Day 11, Day 12, Day 13

For day 14 of our Advent Calendar of holiday movies, I am going to kind of cheat a little bit. Instead of a movie, I'm going to pick an episode of "Black Mirror". Now, before you call me out because it is an episode of a TV show, its run time is 73 minutes. To be considered a movie that you can release in theaters it needs to be 80 minutes or longer. Well, at just shy of 80 minutes, the episode of "White Christmas" from season 2 of "Black Mirror" is far, far superior to some 80 minute long movies that get put into theaters. I would have much rather watched this in a theater as opposed to some movies that got nation wide releases. Give me "White Christmas" over some garbage I've seen, movies like "Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter", or "Kickin it Old School" or even a halfway decent movie like "Millions". "White Christmas" is better than all of these. Plus, most of us watched this on Netflix just like any other movie.

For those that may be thinking this is a happy go lucky, typical holiday/Christmas movie or show, it is not. "White Christmas" is very bleak. There is no happy ending or pleasing life lesson learned. And for those that may have not watched this episode yet, and are considering, or even currently watching, RD I'm talking directly to you(ed note: Watched it last night), I am going to spoil quite a bit of things. So proceed with caution.

What I enjoy, and why I now go back to it every holiday season, is how dire this episode is. It all starts with Jon Hamm cooking a Christmas meal in some remote cabin. He is then accompanied by another gentleman, Rafe Spall, joining him for a meal. It seems, at least at first, that they are just a couple buddies on a trip, but that is most certainly not the case. Hamm is a very talkative, almost annoyingly upbeat dude. He just talks and talks Spall's head off, and Spall just kind of grunts and makes odd noises in his direction. But, through all this talking, Hamm gets Spall's character to open up, to tell his story, and it is bleak. Meanwhile there is another story going on, involving Oona Chaplin, you may know her from "Game of Thrones" or "Taboo", and it is depressing too. This one also involves Hamm.

Jon Hamm is a type of salesman, and Chaplin plays a super busy, needs everything done her way business lady. In this "Black Mirror" universe an egg like home has been created, and busy people like Chaplin can spend their days in the egg, with everything planned out perfectly accordingly by a host. Hamm plays this host. At first this is a great thing for Chaplin. She loves the structure. But, it becomes more and more insane as time goes on. The problem with the egg, you are at the whim of your host. They control you. You are shrunk down to fit in the egg, and if the host, who is regular sized decides to leave, you are left all alone. Oh, and time flies by in the egg. A day is an equivalent of a year. There are points when we see Chaplin in total disarray, or just laying on the floor, just waiting for her host to come back and start her day. And Hamm uses this to his advantage. He toys with her. He gives her menial tasks. He basically ruins her life. She becomes depressed, then insane. It is heartbreaking to watch her go through what she goes through.

We then go back to the cabin. As Spall begins to open up to Hamm, we find out that maybe this isn't a couple of buddies on a camping trip. This cabin might not be a cabin after all. It may be a snow globe that is essentially a prison. As the 2 men open up to one another we find out that they both have done some shady stuff.

Jon Hamm tells his story first. He ran this business that helped guys pick up girls. It was a shady online thing. A dude gets killed kind of shady. Hamm’s wife finds out that he was doing this, and she left him and blocked him. In this world, "blocking" means that you cannot hear the person, and there voice is inaudible. It is tragic. 

With Spall, what he has done is much, much worse. One night during a dinner party, after it is over, Spall is cleaning and he happens upon a positive pregnancy test. He is thrilled and brings it to his girlfriend. She is not so thrilled. She tells him she doesn't want the baby, leaves him and blocks him as well. He is devastated. He then becomes obsessed with her and begins to follow her around. After some time he sees, through the blocking system that his ex girlfriend had the baby and is raising it with the help of her father. Again, Spall becomes despondent. His stalking becomes much, much worse. He even tries to communicate with the child, although he cannot see or understand it, and neither can the child with him. After 4 years, Spall finds out that his ex has died in a train wreck, and this lifts the block. He can now see is child. He then proceeds to the ex's father's cabin to see her. Here he finds out that the child is not his. She is of Asian decent, and Spall is a white guy. Again, devastation befalls him. He realizes his ex was cheating on him, and the whole abortion idea was just a way to rid him of her and the baby. When he sees the child again, he has a snow globe to give her as a present. But, he runs into the ex's father first, and while pushing and pleading to see the kid, he gets into a fight. He then proceeds to hit the ex's father with the snow globe, and the blow to the head kills him. Spall has committed murder, and he flees the scene, leaving the child alone in the cabin in the woods.

After spilling all this to Hamm, we realize that they are in a prison version of the ex's father's cabin. He is in the very prison where he committed his heinous act, and he is left there to live in this nightmare for the rest of his days. After getting Spall to confess to what he has done, it is revealed that Hamm is talking to him via a type of virtual reality helmet like the one in the first story about the egg. He then removes his face and the 2 other people in the room with him seemed pleased with what he done. He has basically agreed to a plea deal, and if he could get Spall to confess, he would be free from his charges, running that shady online hook up thing, and all the stuff he did to Chaplin working for another shady online company.

When freed, it is revealed that there is a catch. The 2 other gentleman working with him tell him he is free, but everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, in the world is blocked. He walks out of the room, into the city, and it is all amorphous blobs and static sounds. Sure, he can see it is Christmas because of the décor on the buildings, but every single person, he is blocked from. This is almost the most tragic thing. He will spend the rest of his days as a free man, but in a prison of no human interaction. It is a harrowing end to a harrowing episode.

I love this take on "A Christmas Carol" from "Black Mirror". At least that was what I took it as. There are three stories that all seem to have that past, present and future story line. But this one is super bleak. I highly recommend that people who may be a little sick of the saccharin holiday movies or shows, and want something a little different, to watch this episode. It is "Black Mirror", so you know it will be well told and properly acted, but it will also be sad and scary. It is a good change of pace. This episode is now something I revisit every year around the holidays, and it gets better every time. This is a stand out of a show that is filled with nothing but great episodes. It's a masterpiece.

Ty

Ty is the Pop Culture editor for SeedSing and the other host of the X Millennial Man Podcast. For another tale that looks happy, but is quite bleak, check out the Pogues sing “Fairytale of New York”.

Follow Ty on instagram and twitter.

SeedSing is funded by a group of awesome people. Join them by donating to SeedSing.

The Advent Calendar of Great Holiday Movies: Day 13 "The Christmas Prince"

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The pre-Christmas Day season of Advent is upon us. Here at SeedSing we love the chocolaty goodness of getting a piece of candy once a day until we get to open our presents. As our gift to you we will present a great movie associated with the holiday season. Many will be awesome, some will be extra awesome. Enjoy.

Day 13: “The Christmas Prince”

Opened Doors: Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5, Day 6, Day 7, Day 8, Day 9, Day 10, Day 11, Day 12

For the Advent Calendar today I want to talk about the Netflix original movie, “The Christmas Prince”, don’t worry, I’ll do the sequel soon. Pretty much everyone knows at least one thing about this movie. It was widely regarded as one of the worst, not only holiday movies, but worst movies ever. This is what I heard all last year, so I decided to avoid it. My wife watched it, but she watches every holiday movie no matter what. She loves them.

This year I decided that I needed to see what all the fuss was about. I’ve seen some really bad movies in my lifetime, so after reading what I read about this movie I was expecting something horrid. Before tuning in my wife did tell me she didn’t think it was as terrible as people made it out to be. The fact she was making what I deemed at the time an excuse, I thought I was in for a real, real bad movie. And, while “A Christmas Prince” is pretty bad, it’s not as awful as it was made to be.

First off, it’s better than any Hallmark Christmas movie, and I find myself enjoying those. The production value alone puts it above any Hallmark movie. But, while the acting is rough and stale and boring, it’s fine for what it is. The people that acted in this movie, I only recognized the main girl because my wife used to watch “iZombie”, seemed to know what they were making, and they had fun doing it. I’m pretty sure they didn’t expect awards or recognition or rave reviews. I’m sure they just wanted to shoot a holiday movie during the holidays, and they wanted to enjoy themselves. And that’s just what they do. Sure the leads have no chemistry, but I’m not watching the movie for their chemistry, I’m watching it to enjoy myself, have a laugh and make some jokes. And the side actors were just fine. There’s total typecasting, we have the gay and African American best friends, the widowed queen who still wants to have fun, the sassy little sister, the uptight workers at the castle, the dad that just wants what is best for his daughter and the evil guy and evil ex girlfriend. But that’s fine. They were all doing their best. In fact, the little sister and the bad guy, I enjoyed them quite a bit.

The story is total nonsense, but again, that’s fine. I’m not watching for the story. What I appreciate about this movie most is, it knows what it is, and they rolled with it. They had fun. They provided my wife and I ample joke opportunities. We had a blast watching together. It wasn’t nearly as awful as i was made to believe.

If you choose to watch this movie, go into it with very, very low expectations, and I think you’ll find yourself liking it as much as I did. While it’s no “Scrooged” or “Lethal Weapon” or “A Christmas Carol”, “A Christmas Prince” is far, far better than other holiday options, like “Love Actually”. I’ll take “A Christmas Prince” 10 times out of 10 over “Love Actually”. The movie is fine and it knows what it is. That’s more than enough for a cheesy holiday movie.

Ty

Ty is the Pop Culture editor for SeedSing and the other host of the X Millennial Man Podcast. Today is the greatest day in Ty’s life. It’s his birthday. Have a great one Ty.

Follow Ty on instagram and twitter.

SeedSing is funded by a group of awesome people. Join them by donating to SeedSing.

The Advent Calendar of Great Holiday Movies: Day 12 "Eyes Wide Shut"

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The pre-Christmas Day season of Advent is upon us. Here at SeedSing we love the chocolaty goodness of getting a piece of candy once a day until we get to open our presents. As our gift to you we will present a great movie associated with the holiday season. Many will be awesome, some will be extra awesome. Enjoy.

Day 12: “Eyes Wide Shut”

Opened Doors: Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5, Day 6, Day 7, Day 8, Day 9, Day 10, Day 11

The holiday season can be quite busy for married couples. Many times we need to visit our parents, and with a married couple that is at least two sets of parents. If the couple has children, there is a number of school activities that must be attended. Within their own lives, married couples have numerous work gatherings, and parties thrown by their friends. With the constant need to be somewhere, or doing something, a married couple rarely finds time for themselves. Oh, and sex together is almost definitely out of the question.

In the summer of 1999 Stanley Kubrick’s last film “Eyes Wide Shut” opened in theaters. The legendary director had passed away a few months prior to film’s release. The production of “Eyes Wide Shut” was at four hundred days, a record that has still not been broken. The movie was a moderate success and has gone on as a curiosity for some, and part of a film student’s curriculum for others.

The plot of “Eyes Wide Shut” is fairly simple, and nonsensical. Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman, the Hollywood power couple of 1999, starred in the film as a married couple. Kidman’s character tells Cruise about a fantasy she has about having sex with a Navy man they met last year. Cruise is not happy about his wife’s fantasy, so he decides to go out on the town and be a little naughty. He almost kisses a prostitute, gets embarrassed and threatened by a secret society at an orgy, and identifies the body of a woman his friend was having sex with earlier in the film. Along the way we meet old friends who play piano at the orgy, a costume shop owner who sells his daughter into prostitution, and old friends who have sex with junkies that assure Cruise that everything is a okay. In the end, while shopping, Kidman tells Cruise there is only on thing left for them to do. With that “Eyes Wide Shut” ends with a one word exclamation. And this all takes place around Christmas.

It is hard to find time to be alone, and intimate, with one’s partner during the holidays. We all have much to do, in a very little time. We have school / church pageants. The shopping can take up morning, noon, and night. We might also find ourselves having to deal with the aftermath of an angry society of orgy havers. No matter how busy we are, couples should find the time to be together. To misquote Nicole Kidman at the end of ‘Eyes Wide Shut”, there is only one thing left for couples to do this holiday season and that is to cuddle.

RD

RD is the Head Editor for SeedSing. Looking for a good Christmas tune that has some sadness behind it? Check out Tina S write about “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”.

SeedSing is funded by a group of awesome people. Join them by donating to SeedSing.