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Boston Fan Expo

Posted by: Ryan 3 years, 5 months ago
Categories: TV & Movies

Last weekend, Jess and I went to the Fan Expo (formerly known as Comic Con) in Boston.  We didn’t go for any particular reason other than to simply experience something rad.  I was excited to see some enthusiastic fans and to see a big energetic event. Our actual experience was a slight let down.  But that’s partially our own fault, because our expectations were all wrong.

Right off the bat, things were going poorly when we tried to park. First, people working at the Hyatt (a hotel right next to the convention center) tricked us into thinking they worked for the convention, told us that the standard parking lot was full, then directed us to their parking lot which was $25. Not cool, and I was upset that the convention was letting Hyatt do this because it was happening right outside the main entrance. Then, after getting back into the right parking queue, we were directed through a dozen turns by convention staff and eventually directed out onto a street in the Boston seaport with no further directions, instructions, nothing. Then we had to find our way back to the convention center and we finally parked in a private lot for $15.

At that point the convention really needed to be stellar to lift our spirits back up. We bought tickets, but I struggled with how tiny the exhibition area was compared to the annual Pax East convention (which takes place in the same building).  It’s totally rediculous to fault a convention for being smaller than a different convention - but it was hard for me to really get into it.  The energy of Pax with in the back of my mind, and that same energy just wasn’t there.

Now that I’m done with all that negativity, I’d like to describe what was good about it!  There were tons of artists showing of really great, unique, quirky art. No boring art here! There were many areas where fans could line up and meet various personalities, like writers, artists, actors, etc. I think it’s cool that fans could connect directly with people they admire.  There were tons of vendors selling weird and neat stuff.  I actually kind of regret not buying something weird that I could wear at a music festival or something. Everyone there was very friendly and it good spirits. I’d say around 25% of the people were dressed up in some way.

So if it weren’t for the parking frustrations and my silly expectations, this would have been better experience.  I will treat this as a lesson: don’t let expectations stand in the way of a good time.

I didn’t take many good pictures.  The image above is of an exhibitor who had amazing Star Wars droid replicas. I thought they were super impressive...and then they started to move around and make noises. It was surreal. 

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National Treasure

Posted by: Ryan 3 years, 10 months ago
Categories: TV & Movies

I watched National Treasure for the first time tonight. This movie has been on my ‘to-watch list’ for a long time now. I knew it wasn’t going to be Citizen Kane; I was merely hoping for a fun Indiana Jones-alike.  And it definitely delivered.

The movie is entertaining and easy to watch. Good popcorn flick. Some of the historical details are a little questionable, but I’m willing to let that slide.

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What it feels like for a Star Wars fan to see a Star Wars movie

Posted by: Ryan 4 years, 1 month ago
Categories: TV & Movies

Trust me, this post contains no The Last Jedi (2017) spoilers.  However it does contain spoilers for the The Force Awakens (2015).

The second installment of the new Star Wars trilogy was released a few days ago.  Jess snagged us some movie tickets for Friday night at Jordan’s Furniture (the best place to see a movie, if you didn’t know), and we enlisted our friend Casey to watch Violet (thanks, Casey).

I build these movies up a lot in my head.  I might be fanatical.  I strictly avoid reading/watching/hearing anything Star Wars related – I didn’t even know who was directing this movie.  I have a romanticized idea that I will sit down in the theater without any preconceived notions and get blown away by something great.

So, I obviously had expectations – but let me dial it back a little bit.  I know I can’t ask for Disney to deliver us another “The Empire Strikes Back”.  I’m really just looking for three things: a good story, some good characters (I’d argue those were already created), and a lot of that familiar Star Wars aesthetic.

 

Star Wars fans had to endure a pretty bad spell from 1999 to 2015.  During that time, three Star Wars movies were released that didn’t really accomplish any of those three wish-list items.  The story lines were dull, the characters were dull, and the aesthetic was nowhere to be seen.  Then, there was all of the merchandise.  It might be hard to take a Star Wars fan seriously when people see nothing but R2D2 pencil erasers, Yoda backpacks, Lightsaber candies, and Chewbacca slippers for 20 years.  Don’t get me wrong, I love my Star Wars juice glasses – but I eventually started to wonder if the general public remembered that all of this nonsense actually started with three good movies, and it’s not all about Darth Vader driving mugs.

In 2015, Disney released their first movie to reboot Star Wars.  Overall, I’d say it was very good.  It hit all three of those wish list items.  I’d say the “good story” task was only lightly accomplished, but it did a really great job at hitting on the Star Wars aesthetic.  Plus, it introduced a new cast of good characters while staying true to the old characters.  It left off on a pretty great cliff-hanger ending.  If you don’t know, it ended with the new protagonist, Rey, finally finding an old, wizened Luke Skywalker in a remote hideout on the edge of the galaxy.  Rey hands Luke his old lightsaber, and then without any dialogue, it ends.

Now we are caught up to this weekend.  While walking into the theater, Jess and I had to dodge people walking out from the previous showing because we were afraid of overhearing spoilers.  I had to overt my eyes from posters and video screens showing previews while waiting in line.  We managed to get our concessions and a set of decent seats.

If I did a good enough job with this post, then you’ll understand that when the iconic opening frame flashes onto the screen “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…”, I am happy.  I am happy regardless of how many of those wish list items get accomplished.

While staying true to my promise of no spoilers - I will say that I had a great two and a half hours.  There was action, there was suspense, there were lightsabers.  If you're a fan of the franchise even a little bit, I encourage you to get out to the theater and experience that pang of joy and anticipation when you see the opening frame.

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Jerry Before Seinfeld (Netflix Special)

Posted by: Ryan 4 years, 4 months ago
Categories: TV & Movies
I just watched this 1 hr special on Netflix. I would definitely recommend it. There are no surprises - it's just another rock solid comedy set by Jerry Seinfeld, broken up by a few short segments about his childhood and his first steps into comedy.
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Dunkirk

Posted by: Ryan 4 years, 5 months ago
Categories: TV & Movies
Two Sundays ago, Jess and I tricked Violet into thinking it was a weekday and took a rare trip to the movies to see Dunkirk. I was particularly excited to see this at Jordan's Furniture because they have an excellent sound system and this movie was said to have a good score and good sound in general.
Dunkirk is written and directed by Christopher Nolan, who I am a fan of ever seeing inception (and the recent batman movies). I think the movie was entertaining, in s bleak kind of way. Unfortunately, I felt like it lacked a strong storyline. The dialogue in the movie is extremely sparse, and the characters have literally zero backstory. All of these things were deliberate choices by Nolan, but I didn't personally care for those choices.
I can't deny that the movie sounded and looked great. Christopher Nolan very rarely uses computer effects, and it somehow comes through.
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Stranger Things

Posted by: Ryan 5 years, 4 months ago
Categories: TV & Movies
The Netflix series 'Stranger Things' is a real treat. Jess and I just watched the last episode of the first season. It's got a really approachable sci-fi theme that reminds me a lot of Spielberg movies (think E.T.). It has good characters and some very nice cinematography. One of the main characters reminded me a lot of a young Harrison Ford. Check it out!
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