Monday, November 6, 2017

The #Orville #review #why #comedy

I am not about panning creative endeavors. Creating an entertaining series is difficult and it’s not all in the hands of the writer or producer as to how that series might turn out. Perhaps it is expectations that have SUNK The Orville. As a lifelong fan of Star Trek and a big fan of Galaxy Quest which parodied Star Trek and its loyal fans, I was looking forward to one of my favorite comedic minds, Seth MacFarlane, taking a crack at this. I mean this guy makes some extremely funny films and Family Guy is an iconic series, so I had little doubt he was going to pull this off.

He did not! When I teach writing I explain the 2 laws of writing are audience and purpose. Simply who are you communicating with and what do you want to achieve with the communication. This series doesn't know if it's a comedy or a drama. I tried to stay with it, hoping for the natural development to take place with acting chemistry, writing development and so forth; however, episode 8 is as far as I will go with this series and I should have stopped sooner. During episode 8 I wasn't sure if I was watching a Macfarlane comedy or Nickelodeon afternoon series. There was one joke forced into the script in order to bring comic relief to a dramatic episode that was sleepy and clumsily put together, and it was a glory hole joke. So we go from two young brothers learning the lesson that their mommy really is important to them, to entering the glory hole. 

I just wish this series was funny. Bad storylines don’t bother me, but one joke an episode means it is classified as a drama and basically it’s ‘NO STAR TREK’ so it’s perhaps Star Trek for children. If it found a home on Saturday cartoons or on a children’s network, I could see this series doing well; however, in its current format I have to believe viewers have better options.   

Friday, October 27, 2017

The GENIUS of Woody Allen #film #romance #comedy #legend

The 1975 Allen offering LOVE AND DEATH was the first Woody film that made me feel he had written a film to directly make fun of me during my university years. I was obsessed with intellectual debate and as he put it 'mental masturbation with concepts and ideas that truly have no answer.' Actually it would be more accurate to say I loved ideas that could be argued around in a circular defense and attack at the same time; such as fate or destiny vs. free will or choice. But attending a Woody Allen film festival during my university days in the late 80's opened my mind to Woody's love of making fun of the exact character I was trying to become; the dreaded pseudo-intellectual.

I was laughing so hard at the conclusion of this film my date asked, 'what was so funny about that?' 'Just a bit of self-degradation I guess. Nothing is funnier than someone drawing universal truths with an etch a sketch.'
I don't think she thought I was funny or that the film had been. Never ask someone from the accounting program to go see an art film. Dating 101 I guess.

Anyway, the film LOVE AND DEATH is dated, in face I would guess today's audiences would have a lot of trouble getting into the film. I would encourage students of film to take a look at the masterful timing of the cast and the way they used their dramatic touch to deliver the comedy. The scenes in the film rely heavily on dialogue and create a comical sense of Russian life without an extensive budget. At times Diane Keaton is so good that she completely takes over this male dominated cast with her eye contact with other actors, her waiver in voice to express her uncertainty or lies, and perhaps best of all she kept the straightest face during some of the most absurd scenes written in this era. 

If you enjoy this clip, give the film a try.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

BLADE RUNNER 2049 #art #flim vs #action film

The original Blade Runner was the topic of my first lesson in my introduction to film studies course. My professor showed the film's introduction and we deconstructed the opening scene with nerd vigilance and inexperienced critical assumptions. Scene by scene we rolled the film and debated it's use of futuristic images that pull us back to historical deity references and universal human quandaries. Perhaps because this was my first experience like this, I have always had a deep respect and love for this film. It truly was, especially when considering the early 80's budget and special effects limitations, a masterpiece of extrapolation about the future conundrum of  the meaning of life, existence and human development beyond scared children bending their knee to lighting and thunder  and into the roll of life creating GODS.
Now finally 35 years after it's predecessor, comes Blade Runner 2045. Much like the original this is an art film advertised and packaged to movie viewers as an action sci-fi flick, but it truly is an art film. It explores so many current and future issues of the human condition, it's hard to focus on an individual one, but certainly the most talked about is that of soul and it's idea that soul begins with the birth canal. So that one is too obvious and a bit over discussed, so let me bring up the concept I found more interesting; 'Sibling rivalry as a proof of humanity.' After a brutal fight one of the replicants  screams at it's defeated foe, 'I'm the best one!' This trigger line takes made me think back to the film's development and the constant sharp tongued banter between replicants. It's subtle at times, but thinking back on the film it is an ever present sub theme that is quiet interesting at the film reaches it's crescendo late in the final act. 

And of course, the theme of LOVE and what it means to love is captivating and strikes a cord across AI and I alike. The heartbreak of a Replicant is as heartbreaking as any felt by a human and that scene, when our Blade Runner understands the truth of his love, is an echo to the truth everyone comes to before a breakup. 

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Driving in the #rain #Thailand #bkk

RAINY days just keep coming in the Kingdom of Thailand. I'm not sure if it is because of the release of the Blade Runner sequel or just the over all global warming causing the rainy season to stretch for what seems like 6 months instead of 4, but rainy season has become a ceaseless season.

But I must say the blur of the window and the splashing through puddled and flooded streets, still makes me happy.

Thursday, October 5, 2017



 The courses in Thailand are amazing. If you're a golfer that suffers through winter layoffs, how can you not by a ticket to the land of smiles and enjoy the tropical courses.

So there are some things to consider when you come here to play, and as a veteran of the golf scene here for more than 12 years I compiled a list of things to consider.

1. COST: The price has gone up steadily over the years, but there are ways to save. Most courses offer 50% off if you T-off after 1 PM. Last week I played a course that usually costs 1500 and by playing in the afternoon we paid 750 baht and that includes the caddie, but not the TIP for the caddie, which is absolutely expected.  The usual tip for a solid caddie is 300 up to 500 for the kind of caddie who can read greens like a local pro. So all in my last outing was 1050 baht or basically $30 US dollars.

2. CARTS: Carts are just now becoming a thing in the Thai golf scene. They have always been at courses that focus on foreign tourists or mountain courses; however, now more and more courses are not only offering carts but suggesting them -- of course at a fee -- but you can't blame them for trying to make a little extra money. I actually don't believe in using carts because let's face it this sport doesn't offer much exercise at all except for the cardio of walking and taking that away just seems wrong.

3. HEAT: Don't pack your polo shirts for playing in Thailand, they will be TOO hot. Shorts are okay on most courses and I recommend it because it is going to be HOT. But don't make the mistake that you can go collar less or sleeveless, this is a sport the Thai's consider to be posh and they will reject you. Also, watch the alcohol and drink lots of water. Heatstroke in the tropical heat of Thailand takes a few foreigners every year.

Friday, September 29, 2017



Thailand is a vast place. After living here for nearly 15 years I've found a plethora of amazing locals I look forward to visiting any time I can get some time off. 

This beach is my favorite for so many reasons. I love the long white sand that stretches for more than a mile. I love the calm water for swimming. It's just far enough from Bangkok that it is always quiet. But perhaps more than anything I love the memories I have with so many friends I've taken here. 

So where is it? No. If you want to find it, you find it, but I'm not sharing this one. For those of you who know, let's keep this little gem a place for those of us who know, you know. 

Thursday, September 21, 2017

#1 Best Foreign Language #Film #romantic #Italian #movies

#1 Best Foreign Language Film is Cinema Paradiso 

Without a doubt this Italian classic, that is approaching 30 years old, should top any list of top foreign language films. For filmophiles or film students it is a constant in discussion and praise. I would guess the biggest draw of the film is it's countless homage to great filmmakers and the film world itself. If you are a fan of classic movies and for some unknown reason have let this film slip by, order it NOW and enjoy it on arrival.

I have always had a warm and sentimental place in my heart for this romantic film. My memories of lost loves, mentors, my home town, childhood and in truth memory itself, have kept it in my teaching of film for decades. Not a class that I've shared it with have been unaffected by the powerful blend of classic films, music and Italian culture creating a masterpiece that reminds us all what it was like to have dreams and loves, and how impossible it can be to hold on to both. Even just a few bars of the sound track still make me pause and smile at those Judy Jones that got away.

Not on a top 40 list of foreign language films? This should be the TOP of that list, enough said.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

#TOP2 Foreign Language #Films not on the TOP 40 List #Delicatessen #French

Sim's Scintillating PART 2 of the top 3 best foreign language films.

So it would seem logical that France would produce one of the best films I've ever seen. France has long been a contributor to the ethos of visual story telling and always with an open minded approach. As Hollywood continues to drive the middle path of mediocrity and predictability in order to appeal to the masses, French films often search for an expression that might not appeal to everyone, but just might take your breath away.

So Delicatessen was released in 1991, again probably a bit too old to make the list of 40 I recently read. I understand older films can be difficult to access.

So to enter the world of Delicatessen picture a post apocalyptic France in which food is scarce, people are out to survive at all cost, and within the gloom of fog and darkness rises a dingy apartment building seemingly alone at the end of the world. Here we have a building kingdom ruled by a butcher who has, because of his amazing and unique talent in being able to cut and prepare meat, create a self sufficient world of dysfunction within a world of doom.

Without completely spoiling the plot, know that -- when you watch this -- every character represents some facet or cross section or position, if you will, in society. That you will see through these characters the social interactions of those ignoring where the meat comes from and enjoying it's nourishment. #cannibals oops spoiler alert. But don't worry, redemption and  survival can be one in the same in the eyes of a #clown.

Still don't know if you want to watch it? Watch the trailer and I think you'll change your mind.

Friday, September 15, 2017

#TOP3 Foreign Language #Films not on the TOP 40 List #chocolate #Mexican


Now as an expat living in Thailand I must admit I find the term foreign film a bit elitist, snobbish and down right ignorant.  Americans often look at the rest of the film world as foreign, so for the sake of discourse I shall do the same concerning the  list I read. I certainly want to praise the compilers of the list for some seriously quality films, but how can they have missed these 3?

So here is the 3rd best film that should have made this list, the Mexican production, LIKE WATER FOR CHOCOLATE. This Spanish language film was a sensation in the 90's and perhaps this is why the film has missed the list, because that was quiet a long time ago.

Produced and Directed by Alfonso Arau, the film was the highest grossing Spanish language film ever released in the United States. Its release in 1992 was highly anticipated, as it's based on a popular novel of the same title, and lingered in art house theaters for nearly the entire year. But again, 25 years is a long time ago and perhaps time has not treated the film well.

If you have never seen it, are a fan of magical realism or just had let it slip from your memory, I highly recommend it. It's a romantic piece but the passion within it is so strong you find yourself swept up in it's ever intensifying splendider. If you love MEXICAN FOOD, you won't want to miss this tantalizing example of the power of this cuisine.

Thursday, September 14, 2017


Sim's scintillating Top 6 Reasons THOR would ROCK YOUR WORLD.

#6  Great hair, as a guy that is challenged with follicle count, I see this as a serious attribute. You young guys out there just don't get it, but every year the hair get's harder to grow; however, Thor's golden main never seems to abate in the least. 

#5  The guy can fly, now agreed most super heroes can do this, but somehow Thor does it with such style. 

#4 He is the God of Thunder. How awesome would it be to party with this guy? Need a little charge in the night, how about a massive Earth shaking clap of thunder.

#3 Well Thor is Royalty, the son of the ruler of Asgard, which means he will rule Asgard soon enough. Chicks dig a prince, it's hard wired into their DNA. 

#2 Loki constantly fools the naive God, imagine what his lover could talk him into.  I’d guess his gullibility would appeal to nearly every woman or man.

#1 He wields a MIGHTY BIG HAMMER!

Monday, September 11, 2017

TOP 5 Reason #WonderWoman Would Suck as a Girlfriend #comics

Sim Scintillating TOP 5 Reason Wonder Woman would Suck as a Girlfriend

#5 Relationships usually end, and just imagine dating after you were with Wonder Woman. Even gorgeous women would seem so average after being with her.
#4 I am entirely in favor of strong women with a self-reliant attitude; however, doesn’t every man want to be needed just a little bit. She not only wouldn’t need you she could do everything better than you.

#3 Every guy loves to have a beautiful woman on his arm as he goes about his life. Seeing others check out your date –- granted we aren’t supposed to admit this -– is a wonderful part of the social experience. The ‘well done buddy’ nods other guys give you are usually worth the trials of dating a beauty. Having admitted this, nobody wants their girl to draw the kind of attention Wonder Woman is going to attract. You couldn’t leave her alone for a second without some smooth talker with a Porsche, or at least a Porsche key chain, sauntering over to take his shot. 

#2 I talk in my sleep and I might accidentally say D.C. Comics suck, because I’ve always been all about Marvel. That might not go well.

#1 Lasso of truth, well enough said. 

Friday, September 8, 2017



As the United States is suffering from hurricane season, at the center of our universe a storm rages as well. If you have not seen this footage you have got to check it out. It's amazing! 

Tuesday, September 5, 2017


Sim’s Scintillating TOP 5 Reasons Your Cat Watches You

#5 Cat’s watch everything, their eyes don’t rest and you just happen to be in the way of their gaze. Don’t be a narcissist.

#4 Cat’s are ever searching for an advantage in every situation, if you are their source of food they are going to keep an eye on you.

#3 Your cat is trying to remember why they didn’t suffocate you while you slept. Cat’s have been known to steel the breath of children and since they may have let you get too old, it’s now the distant stare of regret that they missed their chance.

#2 Your cat is in love with you (wink wink) as much as you are in love with them.

#1 Your cat sees you as a furless freak of nature that lives for the soul purpose of providing them with food, water, and to scooping that poop out of their litter box. Wouldn’t you watch a gigantic bald creature that steels your feces and talks to you in an inexplicable baby babble?