My Favorite Book Reading Experiences Of 2019

Let’s keep this Best Of 2019 thing going! So far, I’ve covered my favorite classic horror movie viewings of last year and now I’m on to books. I keep this rad super hero wall-mounted shelf in my office and stack up the physical books I’ve read throughout the year. As you can see in this photo, I also have a list next to it that I can put digital and library conquests on as well. It sure makes it simple to do a list like this!

Continue reading My Favorite Book Reading Experiences Of 2019

My Favorite Film Experiences Of 2018

I haven’t done a lot of blogging this year, but, don’t worry, I’ve still been watching a ton of movies! I’ve even been keeping track of everything I’ve watched or read in a pair of Composition Note Books that I’ve (not so) cleverly dubbed Pop Notes. Thanks to them, I’m pretty confident looking back at the year and piecing together thoughts on some of my fave film-watching experiences (minus horror, which will get a list or two of their own). This one’s pretty long, so hit that jump and get into it!

Continue reading My Favorite Film Experiences Of 2018

Three Movies I Didn’t Finish: Vanishing Point, City Heat & Mercury Man

I laughed pretty hard to myself after reading Stacie Ponder’s post about trying to decide which movies to watch. I often have the same problem. I’m awake so few hours past 10PM these days that I want to get the most out of my time dollars. So, I’ll either play a video game (right now it’s Arkham Asylum, more on that later in the week), or watch a movie on NetBox. See, I take the DVDs with me on the train and I’ve got over 250 movies in the online queue, so I try to get through as many as possible. Oftentimes that means I’ll watch some pretty bad movies and sometimes some good movies just don’t hook me enough. Here are three such movies in the order that I semi-watched them.

I’d heard about Vanishing Point before I saw Death Proof and even though I didn’t like that movie, I still wanted to check this one out, but the problem is that it’s pretty boring. You’ve got a lot of a guy driving a car, some chases and then weird flashbacks to him getting in motorcycle accidents and being a good cop. We also get several scenes of a blind DJ. I completely admit that I got distracted by other things and wasn’t giving this movie 100% of my short attention span, but it didn’t really seem like there was a lot of story here (guy’s driving a car across a bunch of states for a guy, but I’m not sure why). It’s kind of like when I tried to watch Superfly, which was so bad I didn’t even write about it. With Superfly the script was way-short so they padded it with tons of scenes of people driving and walking places. That’s just boring. I got the same feeling with Vanishing Point unfortunately, and like I said WAY back in my Bullitt review simple car chases just don’t do it for me. I’m not completely writing Vanishing Point off. Does anyone have a reason for me to give this one another shot?

CITY HEAT (1984)
This is one that I completely forgot about when I was putting random movies on my digital queue. It’s the only time that Clint Eastwood and Burt Reynolds were in a movie together. By the time this movie came out, they were both around their early 50s, but still kicked ass. Reynolds is a private detective who used to be a cop with Eastwood. The movie’s mostly about Reynolds trying to find the killer of his partner, played by Shaft–Richard Roundtree (who I JUST saw in Maniac Cop, I think he might be stalking me through his old movies). It’s set in the 30s and has kind of a less-bright (color-wise) Dick Tracy-vibe to it. It’s a comedy, but definitely riffs on a ton of film noir movies like Maltese Falcon. There wasn’t anything particularly wrong with this movie, I was just getting restless and it wasn’t moving all that fast (which is saying something considering it’s only 80-some minutes long). I thought I was going to move on to something more horror or action oriented, but barely lasted. I think I’ll actually go back and give this action comedy with two awesome Manly Movie Men another shot. Also of note, it was directed by Richard Benjamin Money Pit. So many connections!

Hey, don’t watch this movie. I checked it out thinking it would be another Thai movie in the vein of Ong-Bak or The Protector which are freaking amazing with a superhero bent. It isn’t. It’s a poorly CGIed Spider-Man rip-off that rivals some pretty bad Indian knock offs. I completely admit to falling asleep for an indeterminate amount of time fairly early in the movie and TRYING to stay away to check out a fight scene to see if this thing was worth my time and it wasn’t. If you want to watch a crazy version of Spider-Man, head over to and peep these Japanese Spidey videos they’ve got. This is episode 26, so it might not make much sense (though I don’t know if it would matter if you’d seen the previous 25).


2:41:05 am

Cannonball Run II (1984)

Starring Burt Reynolds, Dom DeLuise, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Jamie Farr, Marilu Henner, Telly Savalas, Shirley MacLaine, Jackie Chan, Tim Conway, Sid Caesar, Tony Danza, Richard Kiel, Don Knotts, Ricardo Montalban, Jim Nabors, Charles Nelson Reilly, Frank Sinatra, Joe Theismann and even Cheech Marin

Directed by Hal Needham

Written by Hal Needham, Albert S. Ruddy & Harvey Miller

Hey, remember how much I like Cannonball Run? Welllll, I can’t necessarily throw my hat in the ring completely for its sequel. First of all, everyone feels a lot older, even though this movie was only shot 3 years after the original. The element of fun and wackiness is still there, but it definitely seems watered down. But there are still great moments like the interactions between Jackie Chand and Richard Kiel (Jaws, to most folks). Also, you get to see Jaws fight Sid Caesar and Kojak’s Telly Savalas.

The basic plot is that Jaime Farr, who plays a shiek, has a dad (Roberto Mantalban) who’s disapointed that he lost the race from the first movie, so he encourages his son to hold a new race this year that he can win. All the usual faces show up to win the million bucks that’s up for grabs, but at some point Jaime Farr gets captured by some gangsters and the Cannonballers have to roll in and save the day, which brings about another great fight scene between a bunch of great actors and some stunt men. I think I could watch a 90 year old Dean Martin punch a dude and I wouldn’t get sick of it. That guy’s awesome.

Did I mention that Frank Sinatra’s in this bad boy? I read that he filmed all his scenes by himself and they used stand ins for some of the shots, but I like seeing him around too. Have you ever seen the original Ocean’s 11? You really should, those Rat Pack fellas sure knew how to have a good time. I also highly recommend listening to the Rat Pack Live at the Sands CD. You get a great idea of how well these guys really got along. But more on the Rat Pack at another date and time.

I can’t wholeheartedly recommend this flick. It’s definitely not as good as the original, but it does still have a lot of fun elements that make it worth tossing up on your queue or renting sometime. Oh yeah, one more thing. I did a little math (which I hate doing) and came up with something a little weird. In the movie, the two main love interests for Burt and Dom and Merilu Henner and Shirley MacLaine who play dancers dressed as nuns. Well, like I said I did some math and Merilu would have been around 32 when she shot this movie, which isn’t a big deal, but Shirley was 50. And you know what? She didn’t look half bad. Just something to think about. Or not, whatever.


5:54:00 pm

Seriously, if you’ve never seen Cannonball Run, you should.

Burt Reynolds, Jackie Chan, Sammy Davis Jr., Dean Martin, Terry Bradshaw, Dom DeLuise, Farrah Fawcett, Roger Moore, Adrienne Barbeau and JAMIE FARR (a fellow Toledoian) each get a laugh and also kick some ass in a fight with a biker gang lead by none other than Peter Fonda (yeah, Easy Rider himself). Oh yeah, there’s also an illegal cross-country car race that the above contestants participate in.

Look, if you trust me for any reason (whether you actually know me or have come to enjoy my goofy reviews on here), then just go rent this movie. You won’t regret it. And if you do? Well, I have nothing to say to you (unless you’re Em and I made you watch it in college and you hated it, we’re even for you making me watch Moulin Rouge).