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Movies | EduClaytion - Part 10
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Fall Of The Crow

Brandon Lee was accidentally killed in North Carolina while filming The Crow on this date in 1993.  He was only 28 years old and by all accounts would have been on his way to a whole lot of fame and stardom.  Many strange occurences conspired to end his life.  You might say it was just his time.  To make the story even stranger, his father Bruce Lee had also died under bizarre conditions. 

The point is that you never know.  Be thankful for each day you have.  This could be the last thing you ever read.  Are you ready?

Merry Christmas 2009!

“What’s My Destiny Momma?”

Do you believe in destiny? In 1994, Forrest Gump asked his dying mother a powerful question: ”What’s my destiny Momma?” Did she have the answer? Do you? Is her response any good? If you believe the movie, perhaps not.

It’s been 15 years since that film came out (and in the process made nearly $700 million). Paramount’s been kicking around the idea of a sequel for years. Producers would now like to get the movie out sometime in the next couple of years, but it takes an awful lot to get such projects going and completed even though a script’s been in place for years. Some complications have held the thing up. Most of all, will Tom Hanks reclaim the role he mastered? If he doesn’t, would you be interested? Me neither probably.

You may not recognize the name of the movie’s screenwriter Eric Roth, but you’ve probably heard of a couple of his films like The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Good Shepherd, Munich, Ali, and more. Yeah, he’s pretty good and has probably made more money than Gump & Co., the title of the planned sequel to his 1994 masterpiece.


It’s almost as if Winston Groom, author of the original 1986 novel, listened to Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Simple Man and then created Forrest. So much of the simpleton’s story can be summed up in the first verse of that song.

 “Take your time… dont live too fast,
Troubles will come and they will pass.
Go find a woman and you’ll find love,
And dont forget son,
There is someone up above.”

Someone said Forrest believes in God, Momma, and Jenny, and “everything else has to be filtered through those three things.”

He encounters one character after another with bigtime dreams. Jenny seeks fame; Bubba wants to run a shrimpin’ business; Lt. Dan longs to fulfill his military destiny.  None of them achieve the success they long for, yet Forrest attains all those things and more without ever realizing what he has. He just want to make his mama proud and be loved by Jenny.

People think he’s a genius, a brave hero, an inspiration, and more. Forrest accomplished all this stuff without trying, but as far as he was concerned, he didn’t achieve much. Those things didn’t matter to him, and after Jenny left he felt so alone and empty that he literally ran for years. He thought a lot about the people who’d impacted his life, but mostly he thought about Jenny. Like many of us, he was obsessed with that one thing he couldn’t have, life’s biggest regret.

He just knew that “Momma always said you gotta put the past behind you before you can move on.” That’s what his run was all about. Everyone wants to know the reason he runs or does anything. The answer is often the simplest possible explanation.

We want to believe that we too can maintain our innocence despite all the terrible realities around us. We’re drawn to themes of heartfelt innocence and simplicity because the more we understand, the harder life is to digest. Continue Reading…

Marvel Vs. Disney

Disney got bored last weekend and had $4 billion dollars sitting around, so the mammoth company bought Marvel.  The move is sure to shake up the international entertainment industry for years to come.  DC Comics maintains a healthy level of irrelevance and simply pointed to a Dark Knight movie poster when asked for comment.

Disney artists and developers suddenly find themselves with 5,000 new characters to play with.  Get your creativity hats on because the crossover possibilities are swirling.  Marvel holds onto a healthy level of autonomy, but their shareholders will be cashing in.  The price tag isn’t as hefty as some might expect.  This year’s Ice Age film made $600 million outside of the U.S. alone.  Nevertheless, I don’t care about business ramifications.

This story’s mostly interesting for all the fun mashups floating around the internet.  Since it’s a holiday weekend I’m gonna go ahead and let random strangers be witty for me. 

Super Punch has a ton of these artistic interpretations over at his blog.  You’ll also get a kick out of The Little Amazing Spiderman by Jeremy Bernstein. 

Maybe we’ve just been jaded for too long.  After Joe Pesci made the jump from Goodfellas to Home Alone, everything else was just child’s play.

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Dom DeLuise Dead…Darn

Comedian Dom DeLuise died last night at the age of 75.  Click the link for a full obit.  A whole new generation will learn about this actor’s brilliance over the next few days.  Gene Wilder once said that DeLuise is the funniest man he ever met.  Here’s a sampling, the last brilliant scene as far as I’m concerned. 

Great Scott! It’s George McFly’s Birthday

Today is Crispin Glover’s birthday.  Glover gave life to one of the greatest underdogs in Hollywood lore.  George Douglas McFly is the loveable loser from Back To The Future, one of the greatest trilogies ever created.

Some people mistakenly believe that Glover played the diminishing role of Marty’s father in the Back To The Future sequels, but the role was recast and played by Jeffrey Weissman.  With the help of some special effects and brilliant mimicry, the actor switch is usually undetectable even by watchful fans.

Glover ended up suing over the use of his character, and the Screen Actor’s Guild tweaked the rules for future cases.  Nevertheless, Glover made the role what it is, a man who overcomes relatable fears by standing up to the prototypical bully, Biff Tannen.  Here is a sampling.

Here’s another one that’s great fun.  Someone combined BTTF with Barrack Obama.  Very creative.  Continue Reading…

Braveheart, Weird Science, & Kevin Bacon

[Did you know that Robert the Bruce is one of my ancestors? For reals. Check out the story here.]

By now you all know that Braveheart is the greatest movie of all time. You’re welcome to disagree, but that makes you a horrible person.

Turns out, through much genealogical digging by my fellow-dorkish family, that yours truly is personally related to the real Robert the Bruce, the 14th Century Scottish noble who was really stupid to William Wallace and the commoners before wising up and deciding to lead the freedom-seeking revolutionaries of Scotland.

In Braveheart, Robert the Bruce is played by Angus MacFadyen. The versatile actor has kept busy since that blockbuster work in 1995. He’s done a bunch of stuff from portraying Peter Lawford of the Rat Pack to many recent appearances in the dark and popular Saw movies.

Since the Bruce and I are practically brothers, I’ve given some more thought to my conflicted, old ancestor and the man who once portrayed him. That’s when I started thinking about another movie, Weird Science.

The popular comedy Weird Science was made in 1985. The famous high school fantasy flick features characters Gary and Wyatt who create the quintessential bombshell Lisa, played by Kelly LeBrock. Gary is played by Brat Pack star Anthony Michael Hall whose acting career is still going strong these days. Wyatt was played by Iian Mitchell-Smith. His life took a surprising turn away from fame.

Mitchell-Smith left acting in the early 90s to pursue his love of history and enter academia. An interesting website Bearotic also found this forgotten man post-worthy. Check out this photo they tracked down of the camera shy professor (on the right, pictured in 2000). These days he specializes in medieval studies including 14th Century England, Scotland, and (you guessed it) Robert the Bruce. Maybe this connection explains the modern look.

So in case you were wondering, and I’m sure not one person in the world was, Wyatt from Weird Science did not portray my granddaddy Robert the Bruce in Braveheart.

By the way, Weird Science goon Bill Paxton later appeared in Tombstone with Kurt Russell who appeared with Mel Gibson in Tequila Sunrise. Gibson and Julia Roberts were in Conspiracy Theory (1997) together, and Roberts was in Flatliners (1990) with Kevin Bacon.

The bottom line is that you no longer have to fret over how to connect Wyatt from Weird Science to Kevin Bacon. I’m sure you were troubled.

Have you ever been surprised to find out where an actor ended up?
Got any good Kevin Bacon connections?

Chuck, Fletch, and Quantum Leap?

As the great Dr. Sam Beckett would say: “Oh boy.”

If you aren’t familiar with Sam Beckett, you have never watched a popular show from the 90s called Quantum Leap. Why bring it up now? Because Leap star Scott Bakula is appearing tonight on that sweetest of current TV shows–Chuck.

But that’s not all.

Also joining the show’s cast tonight is comedic legend Chevy Chase, star of one of the funniest pure comedies of all time: Fletch.

This episode sounds like a radio station with the best of the 80s, 90s, and today. Chase will play some maniacal bad guy and Bakula shows up as Chuck’s long lost father.

The combo is strange since I just learned that author Gregory MacDonald, creator of Fletch, wrote 9 books in the brilliant character’s series. How did I miss this for the past thirty years? Can’t wait to read the next seven, but there’s more to this story. Continue Reading…

Heath Ledger Birthday

Today would have been Heath Ledger’s birthday. I know his performance as the Joker in The Dark Knight would have launched him to the top of the heap if he didn’t accidentally kill himself first, but the greatest movie he ever appeared in was The Patriot (#15).  Follow the link to the movie page and a great scene from the film.

Are You Living In A Lie?

The world you think you live in does not exist. That’s lesson one for any student of life. As a life-long lover of movies, I’ve realized that some of the most captivating stories are about characters who realize that the world in which they live is not real.

The Matrix, The Truman Show, and Stranger Than Fiction all tell stories about people who are jolted from their everyday reality. Each of these characters comes from a different perspective. Just about everyone relates to at least one of these protagonists. Which one are you?


In The Matrix, Neo is unsettled, always sure that something is missing from life. His world is hollow. He feels empty, unsure of what needs to happen or who will ever understand.

Truman Burbank spends his life oblivious to the false reality encapsulating every second of his existence. He is a commodity, a human for sale. Every second of his life generates ratings and income for someone else. His hopes and dreams and passions mean nothing in the real world.

Then there’s dull Harold Crick who controls every instant of his life down to the number of toothbrush strokes at the same time each morning. The ultimate image of control, Harold is knocked out of rhythm by the sudden enlightenment that he is about to die, and there’s nothing he can do about it.

The passions, joys, and trials of these characters pique our interest, but their search for answers and meaning captivates us. We want the same answers they seek. We want to know if our lives matter, if there’s more to existence than what we see. We want to know if there’s a higher power.

We have omniscience over Truman and Harold. We know what they do not, who is in control. For Neo, however, we must follow him down the rabbit hole in the ultimate search for reality. Despite entirely different worlds, these three men suffer through a fundamental theme. Awakening is painful.


Americans are haunted. We live with one eye peeking back, never sure if we’ve escaped the ghosts of our past.  Continue Reading…

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