Got A Happy Thought?

I have always loved the character of Peter Pan.

First of all he could fly. Really, of all the powers I could have flying would be the first one I’d want. No more TSA security screenings, no more traffic, seriously I think it’s the best power to have.

Second, he personified the idea of enjoying life to its fullest. Something that seems very hard to do nowadays for many.

in the book by the brilliant J.M. Barrie, Peter teaches the children that to fly all they need is a little pixie dust and to think of a happy thought.

In the pseudo-sequel Hook by my hero Steven Spielberg, Peter Pan has grown up and become a cold hearted business man who is now afraid of taking chances, fears everything and doesn’t know how to relate to his children. He has become the exact opposite of everything he stood for and seemingly lost his true soul. He has lost all of his happy thoughts and is grounded from flight by reality and responsibility.

While I think that reality is incredible important to keep in mind, you still have to live. It’s one thing to be responsible and to be an adult, but it doesn’t mean that you need to be that way all the time nor do you have to carry it to such extremes that you make everyone around you miserable.

Life is so short and as a popular quote goes “each new day is a gift, that’s why they call today the present”. I’m not saying you need to go about your life with reckless abandon or no responsibility at all but to ground yourself completely and not let your soul breath is as I learned in my own life, no way to live one.

I for a period of time in my life became too grounded in reality. I lost the freedom and joy I had once afforded myself from time to time and became so serious and intense that I made others miserable. I had not just grounded myself I had firmly planted my roots in the ground and become a weed. I had lost my happy thoughts and was shriveling up.

I chose to pull myself up and get more out of life. Over the past 6+ years I have slowly pulled myself from the ground and have slowly but surely found the things in life that made me smile and am now feel more free than I can remember feeling in a long time.

I have a job that I am passionate about and work with some pretty remarkable people that challenge me in so many different ways and help me continue to grow.

I am the father I wanted to be with a son that knows he is loved to no end.

I am a friend who people want around them.

I am a person who is trying to make a difference in the world and knows that every little thing counts.

I have learned that perfection is great for many things but you don’t have to nail it every single time.

I have learned that failure brings on success.

Over the course of the last couple of months my girlfriend Jenny and her daughter Kaylin have helped me know what it is to be loved for exactly who I am. They have reminded me that it’s okay to be the geeky dork that I am, to be silly, to laugh until it hurts and that it’s okay to sing out loud and to dance as if no one else is around.

They along with Josh have become my happy thoughts and I have learned how to fly again.

So what’s your happy thought? What gives you strength? What drives you and helps you fly?

Let me know what gets you off the ground. Perhaps your thoughts can help remind those that lost them of their own and together we can help them start lifting off the ground because we all deserve to fly.

Another Oscar Ceremony Goes Into The History Books…

Another Oscar Sunday has come and gone and now comes the post-Oscar analysis.

I managed to correctly pick 17 of the 24 awards. Amazingly two of my wild guesses for Animated Short (Lost Things) and Short Film (God of Love) were right. Not bad but still under my highest of 20 of 24.

A few thoughts on last night’s show…

* While I liked the show and was impressed by how tight they kept it, it was altogether just ho-hum. Loved the stage and and the arches of video though. Very cool!

* James Franco, great actor but horrible award show host.

* Anne Hathaway, great energy which frequently got sucked away by James.

* Kirk Douglas, you’re still the man!

* Best Picture montage  – Could watch that a few times.

* Best speeches – Melissa Leo, Tom Hooper, David Seidler, Natalie Portman and Colin Firth

* The closing with the kids from PS 22 was heart warming to begin with, it went to absolutely unbelievable when the winners from the night came out on the stage behind the kids. 24 statues that prove that dreams do come true.

And the Academy Award Goes To – Chris’ Oscar Picks

I love the movies. It’s as much a part of me as is technology.

As I told a friend the Academy Awards is like my Superbowl.  It’s the one event where you better not call or e-mail cause you’re not going to get a hold of me.

This year I managed to see 9 of the 10 movies nominated for Best Picture.
The only one I missed was 127 Hours. Unfortunately it was only playing at theaters a fair distance away from me and I don’t know any academy members.

However, having now seen the majority of them I’m gonna offer my opinion (like so many others) on who I think should win, and will likely win. Some of them will be absolutely wild guesses.

Feel free to use my picks in your Oscar party pools. If you win big as a result of this list, feel free to send a Starbucks gift card my way. You know, if you’re feeling generous. 🙂

Best Picture
Black Swan,”
“The Fighter” COULD WIN
“Inception,” SHOULD WIN
The Kids Are All Right,”
The King’s Speech,” WILL MOST LIKELY WIN (MUCH DESERVED)
“127 Hours,”
The Social Network,”
Toy Story 3
“True Grit”
Winter’s Bone

Actor in a Leading Role
Javier Bardem in “Biutiful”
Jeff Bridges in “True Grit”
Jesse Eisenberg in “The Social Network”
Colin Firth in “The King’s Speech” SHOULD  & WILL WIN
James Franco in “127 Hours”

Actor in a Supporting Role
Christian Bale in “The Fighter” SHOULD & WILL WIN
John Hawkes in “Winter’s Bone”
Jeremy Renner in “The Town”
Mark Ruffalo in “The Kids Are All Right”
Geoffrey Rush in “The King’s Speech”

Actress in a Leading Role
Annette Bening in “The Kids Are All Right”
Nicole Kidman in “Rabbit Hole”
Jennifer Lawrence in “Winter’s Bone”
Natalie Portman in “Black Swan” SHOULD & WILL WIN
Michelle Williams in “Blue Valentine”

Actress in a Supporting Role
Amy Adams in “The Fighter”
Helena Bonham Carter in “The King’s Speech”
Melissa Leo in “The Fighter” WILL WIN
Hailee Steinfeld in “True Grit” SHOULD WIN
Jacki Weaver in “Animal Kingdom”

Animated Feature Film
“How to Train Your Dragon” POSSIBLE UPSET WIN
“The Illusionist”
“Toy Story 3” SHOULD AND MOST LIKELY WILL WIN

Art Direction
“Alice in Wonderland”
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1
“Inception”
“The King’s Speech” WILL WIN
“True Grit”

Cinematography
“Black Swan,”
“Inception,” SHOULD WIN
“The King’s Speech,” WILL WIN
“The Social Network,”
“True Grit,”

Costume Design
“Alice in Wonderland,” SHOULD AND WILL WIN
“I Am Love,”
“The King’s Speech,”
“The Tempest,”
“True Grit”

Directing
“Black Swan,” Darren Aronofsky SHOULD WIN
“The Fighter,” David O. Russell
“The King’s Speech,” Tom Hooper WILL WIN
“The Social Network,” David Fincher
“True Grit,” Joel Coen and Ethan Coen

Documentary (Feature)
“Exit through the Gift Shop,” WILL WIN…WILD GUESS
“Gasland,”
“Inside Job,”
“Restrepo,”
“Waste Land,”

Documentary (Short Subject)
“Killing in the Name”
“Poster Girl”
“Strangers No More”
“Sun Come Up” WILL WIN – ANOTHER WILD GUESS
The Warriors of Qiugang

Film Editing
“Black Swan” SHOULD WIN
“The Fighter”
“The King’s Speech”
“127 Hours”
“The Social Network” WILL WIN

Foreign Language Film
“Biutiful,” Mexico WILL WIN
“Dogtooth,” Greece
“In a Better World,” Denmark
“Incendies,” Canada
“Outside the Law (Hors-la-loi),” Algeria

Makeup
“Barney’s Version,”
“The Way Back,”
“The Wolfman,”  SHOULD AND WILL WIN

Music (Original Score)
“How to Train Your Dragon,” John Powell
“Inception,” Hans Zimmer SHOULD AND WILL WIN
“The King’s Speech,” Alexandre Desplat
“127 Hours,” A.R. Rahman
“The Social Network,” Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross

Music (Original Song)
“Coming Home” from “Country Strong,”
“I See the Light” from “Tangled,” SHOULD WIN
“If I Rise” from “127 Hours,”
“We Belong Together” from “Toy Story 3,” WILL MOST LIKELY WIN

Short Film (Animated)
“Day & Night,”
“The Gruffalo,”
“Let’s Pollute,”
“The Lost Thing,”  WILL WIN – YET ANOTHER WILD GUESS
“Madagascar, carnet de voyage (Madagascar, a Journey Diary)”

Short Film (Live Action)
“The Confession,”
“The Crush,”
“God of Love,”  WILL WIN – ONE MORE WILD GUESS
“Na Wewe,”
“Wish 143,”

Sound Editing
“Inception,” SHOULD AND WILL WIN
“Toy Story 3,”
“Tron: Legacy,”
“True Grit,”
“Unstoppable,”

Sound Mixing
“Inception,” SHOULD AND WILL WIN
“The King’s Speech,”
“Salt,”
“The Social Network,”
“True Grit,”

Visual Effects
“Alice in Wonderland,”
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1,”
“Hereafter,”
“Inception,” SHOULD AND WILL WIN
“Iron Man 2,”

Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
“127 Hours,”
“The Social Network,” SHOULD AND WILL WIN – PURE GENIUS WRITING
“Toy Story 3,”
“True Grit,”
“Winter’s Bone,”

Writing (Original Screenplay)
“Another Year,”
“The Fighter,”
“Inception,” SHOULD & WILL LIKELY WIN
“The Kids Are All Right,”
“The King’s Speech,” POSSIBLE WIN, STILL DESERVED

World Cup Fever Meets The Star Wars Universe

Snoop Dog and a lightsaber…

Do you really need any more of a reason to watch this?

C’mon…step up!

Star Wars In Under 3 Minutes…With Legos!

I couldn’t not post something about this video.

First it’s Star Wars.

Second it’s all done with Legos.

Do you really need any other reason to spend a little over 2 minutes watching this?

C’mon…those e-mails can wait…treat yourself!

Toy Story 3 Viral Marketing – Pure Genius!

First there was the viral marketing for The Dark Knight which took those that took part on treasure hunts for clues scattered in cities all over the world.

This year Disney started up with a viral campaign to promote Tron:Legacy. This one focuses on where the movie’s character Flynn is with a simple tag line “Flynn Lives” and the website www.flynnlives.com. They’ve even gone so far as to hold mock press events for the fictional company Encom featuring Bruce Boxleitner who played Alan Bradley/Tron in the original and classic 1980 movie Tron.

Now the brilliant folks at Disney/Pixar have come up with “found” TV ads featuring Lots-O’-Huggin’ Bear a new character in the upcoming Toy Story 3. They didn’t just settle for re-creating 80’s style commercials with vintage sets and clothing. They took it a step further by tweaking the audio and the quality of the picture to make it look like it was uploaded to YouTube from some old VHS cassette. They even put in artificial snow and warbling. As if that wasn’t enough they even created a japanese ad for the toy. BRILLIANT!

I’ve always had incredibly respect for the folks at Disney/Pixar. Now it’s gone another notch higher. Not just for using viral marketing but to go to such clever lengths to do it.

You can check out their fine work below…

Star Trek LIVES LONG AND PROSPERS!

While I’ve always been a Star Wars fan, I have enjoyed Star Trek. My favorites were the original cast movies. Loved the Next Generation cast, but they never quite captured the level of relationships from the original series.

There was a lot of speculation of what J.J. Abrams and Damon Lindeloff had envisioned and what Roberto Orci and Kurtzman had written.

Would they slaughter Trek? Would they breathe new life into it? What would happen?

I’m not going to go into nitty gritty details, but I will tell you.

IT WAS ABSOLUTELY UNBELIEVABLE! TREK IS BACK!

Directing – WOW…I mean really…WOW. Lucas, let Abrams re-do the Star Wars saga.

Writing – Orci and Kurtzman have not only re-booted the series, they’ve opened up so many doors for so much re-imagination. My mind is just going crazy thinking of all the cool Trek stories they can re-tell and if you see the movie you’ll find out how the re-tellings can be really incredible

Cast – Someone give that casting agent a cut of the back-end. Every single cast member wa spot on and performed well individually as well as an ensemble…forget nominations and award ceremony…just give the cast the SAG award for best ensemble

Music – The instant I got home I bought and burned the soundtrack. Just when I thought Michael Giacchino couldn’t out do himself, he out does himself and blows away ever other composer out there. The emotion that this guy envokes with music is incredible. Be prepared for some tears in the opening sequence…even some man tears.

Visual Effects – The best I’ve seen – HANDS DOWN – The way they handeled particles, and debris and the detail that’s in the starships and displays.  There’s one shot of the Enterprise towards the end that combined with the music, it’s just awe inspiring.

Alright, it’s late and I’m sure I’m saying many of the things the others are saying.

Go out and see this movie, even if you’re not a Trek or sci-fi fan. Chances are by the time you’re done seeing this you will be.

Chris, out.

The Passing Of A Legend – Stan Winston

On Sunday, June 15th 2008 Hollywood and the world at large lost a legend.

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Academy Award winning visual effects artist and master Stan Winston passed away after a seven-year battle with myeloma.

Many are not familiar with who Stan Winston is, but everyone in this world has at some time seen his work.

Stan was responsible for bringing the intimidating robots from the “Terminator” movies to life.

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Stan created the fearsome Predator who stalked Governator Arnold Schwarzenegger in the jungle.
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Stan gave us a reason to scream in space with the sinister Aliens who did battle with Sigourney Weaver.
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Stan introduced us to the unique person that was Edward Scissorhands.
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Perhaps the most well known was the life he breathed into creatures of “Jurassic Park” making every little boy”s fantasy come true. Living dinosaurs.
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I was fortunate to be able to meet Stan Winston a couple of times.

The first was at a press junket for ?Jurassic Park 3?. After a brief tour of one of the jungle sets we were taken back to a non-descript office where we got to sit and ask Stan questions. He came into and lit up the room. His personality just spilled over and made a potentially boring roundtable interview fun and interesting. After our little roundtable he took us to the Universal Studios 747 stage where two of his biggest creations were hanging out.

We walked into the 747 stage and he first revealed his latest creation – the Spinosaur. Right across from the Spinosaur was the legendary T-Rex.

Stan was a like a proud papa the whole time, you could tell he was proud of his work and the work of his team. He truly loved what he was doing and considered himself very lucky.

The second time I met him was after a screening of “Jurassic Park” at Arclight Cinemas. The same cheerful attitude and appreciation for his fans, the whole time. I was even lucky enough to get him to sign my “Jurassic Park”, “Lost World”, “Jurassic Park 3” and “Terminator 2” DVD covers. A few months later James Cameron signed my “Terminator 2” cover and when he noticed Stan’s signature said “I share great company on this”.

Stan Winston was an incredible man who brought the imaginations of many filmmakers and moviegoers to life. The world will never be the same without him.

Cloverfield Addicition

So lately I’ve been completely addicted to the movie “Cloverfield”.
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Part of it is a result of listening to the instrumental piece that was played at the end credits of the movie, called “Roar!” by the musical genius behind the scores for “The Incredibles”, “LOST”, and the most recent film “Speed Racer” – Michael Giacchino.

Cloverfield is like a Godzilla film for the YouTube generation, and the way that it was shot, edited and overall put together is absolutely brilliant.

Perhaps part of my addiction is still not fully knowing what the monster in the film is or where it came from.

***SPOILER ALERT***(Highlight to read)In the end of the movie there is a part showing the main couple of the movie at Coney Island. As the shot overlooks the ocean on the right hand side you see something fall from the sky and splash into the water.
According to the filmmakers this is the creature. Also according to the filmmakers the monster is a baby and is essentially confused and frightened.
***SPOILER END***

There?s been a great deal of viral marketing for the film which I also can’t seem to get enough of. I actually think the campaign for it is pretty impressive, because there is stuff EVERYWHERE. There’s even a blog called “Cloverfield Clues” which you can find at http://cloverfieldclues.blogspot.com.
They’ve tracked down a lot when it comes to this movie.

If you haven’t seen Cloverfield by all means RENT IT. It’s not academy award winning stuff…but it’s a damn fun movie and my current addiction…until “Dark Knight” comes out.