Wednesday, March 28, 2012


Coach Sloan turns 70 today.

He's one of the greatest NBA coaches of all time and if Deron Williams hadn't been such a cry-baby and Greg Miller cared as much about running an NBA team as he does about car dealerships, prompt lunch meetings and Internet-bullying, he might still be around today.

But he's not. Coach Corbin (who I respect and think is doing a great job with a deeply flawed roster) took his place, but it's still strange to see him roaming the sidelines instead of the old guy with the silver hair and penchant for calling referees a "cocksucker".

When Sloan retired, I had these shirts printed up in his honor and I've still got a few of them left, so what better way to celebrate than by wearing a shirt of the man that made the Utah Jazz a relevant basketball program for so many years.

Long Live Sloan.

Available at my Big Cartel Store that you get to by clicking this link.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


My friends have been on a Land Rover kick lately, buying up old ones for the winter while their motorcycles hibernate until the days it's nice enough to haul them out (which has been kind of a lot this "winter").

Brook's has a tape deck in it, so he asked if I had any old cassettes sitting around that he could borrow. Of course I did, because for some reason I can't seem to get rid of shit like that. Though they were all sitting in parents basement, that way I could still have them but not actually have to deal with them. Sorry Mom and Dad.

Anyway, I went up there a few weeks ago and grabbed the box that I could find. I know there's another one somewhere up there, because it's the box that has the original Rhythm and Rhymes (a story for another day) recordings. I just didn't have time to look for it.

I did find these gems though. There's a nice mixture of all the ones I made in high school when I'd take my Walkman to school, run the headphones up the back of my shirt and sit with my long hair over my ears to conceal the earbuds. That way I could listen to "The FAT Mix" (FAT WRECK CHORDS bands), Nirvana, Pearl Jam and AFI while we learned about geography. There are also the ones I made right after I got into buying records (none of which I have anymore) and actually wanted to listen to them without owning a record player. Luckily my parents had a humungous stereo with a turntable and dual cassette deck that made things a lot easier.

I used to be great at making mix tapes. I still am, but they lose a lot of their luster when they're done digitally. But since tapes are making a comeback (like all things that died for a reason), maybe I'll get back in to it. I've still got a closet full of CD's and stereo with a working tape player somewhere.

Monday, March 26, 2012


YouTube might be the greatest invention of the Internet.

It's become something where embarrassing videos just seem to show up whether you want them to or not. I'm sure it's only a matter of time until the video of me pretending to be He-Man when I was three is posted or my first band, Renaldo and the Smoothies, covering "Day Tripper", "Polly" and "Wild Thing" when I was 15 surfaces online. Me singing, nonetheless. And yes, it's just as bad as it sounds.

Videos like that have a tendency to surface whether you want them to or not.

My friend Colin posted on Twitter one morning that he was listening to my old band Cherem, which sparked a conversation. He told me that some friends of his made a video for the song "I Hate George Bush" that we did with our MC friend Foekus back in 2003 and I immediately knew I needed to see it.

That song was never supposed to become as popular as it did. But that's the way things always work.

Foekus was at a show one night and after our set was done, people were asking for another song. Bill said that we'd play one more if he came up and rapped over it. We were a vegan straight edge band and he was a vegan straight edge MC, so it seemed like a good idea and maybe we'd have some fun with it. He came up, did some freestyle over the top of a track called "Playing Victim" that Bill didn't really like singing, and the place went crazy. We started getting asked to do it at every show after that, and we did, because it was fun.

When we went in to the studio to record a few months later, we came up with the idea to have Foekus record his part and Bill record his part and put out a 7" with both versions of the song (which we did) and then add the Foekus track as the secret song on the actual CD (which we also did).

We had no idea that people were going to respond so heavily to that song. We thought it was fun to do and were kind of taken aback when it gained steam, never intending for anyone outside of Salt Lake to hear it. But then we had a 7" and it was on our self-pressed CD that we were actually selling to people in other states and it kind of went from there. We ended up taking Foekus on tour with us a couple of times and he showed up at a few shows in California we played and people loved it.

Honestly, we thought that if anyone outside of SLC heard that track and didn't know that it was written/recorded/performed all in good fun, we'd be the laughing stock of hardcore.

As I was watching this video, I was laughing so hard I nearly cried. It's so ridiculous (both the song and the video), but I'm still so happy that we did it. I'm even happier that these two dudes that I don't know liked this song enough to make their own music video for it, that they took time out of their day to have as much fun with it as we did.

And that's what it was all about.

Thursday, March 22, 2012


Back in the heyday of Grudge City Activities, Casey and I decided that we wanted to start a podcast. We had no real radio skills or equipment to do such a thing, but that's the beauty of podcasts—any idiot with a microphone and an internet connection can do one. We had both of those things, so we did.

We recruited Dan Fletcher to do it with us and soon after he moved away to NYC (where he still is) we brought in our buddy Sias aka Cuatro to take his place. We got a solid years worth of podcasts done before we all kind of got bored or busy. The GCA website slowed down a bunch after that too, so there wasn't much reason for us to keep on keeping on.

We still had all the equipment and Casey and I talked about starting another one up, but just never got around to it. I broke everything out for a SLCFF podcast around this time last year, but even that was short lived.

Then, somewhere around Thanksgiving of 2011, Richard (who had done one episode of the GCAcast with us) and Casey decided they were going to start a new one. They added me on as a "producer"and recruited Fernando for the first episode. My role was basically to set everything up, edit the thing and "check facts" as they spouted off ridiculous things one after another. My only stipulation for that was that Casey had to be in charge of the website and finding a place to host them. If I was going to do all the work of editing them, the least he could do was make sure people heard them.

He agreed and we recorded the first one the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. I had it edited within a week and sent it off to Casey.

About a month and half later, they wanted to record another one. I asked what happened to the first one and Casey told me he wanted to get a few in the can before he posted them so we could keep a regular schedule. Once we had a couple of them done, we'd start posting every couple of weeks. I edited that one together and had it done around the beginning of February.

Two weeks ago I posted the first one on my Soundcloud page. Yesterday I took it down and posted the second one.

Casey's been planning his wedding recently (well, he's been planning it in his head for 10-15 years, but now he actually has the proper requirements like a fiance) and that's taken up most of his time. Also, (and mostly) he just doesn't want to do it. He's compulsive and comes up with awesome ideas, but has very little followthrough. So I stepped up, created a bullshit Tumblr page for it and started posting them.

I doubt we'll ever get to an Episode 3, but the first two are available right now. Go check them out and give them a listen.

We came up with the simplest name possible: Bad Ass Dudes Talking About Bad Ass Stuff


Episode 2 - Stream or Download -

Bad Ass Dudes Talking About Bad Ass Stuff Website

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


This was pulled out of the creek next to my work a few weeks ago. The atmosphere only added to it.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


I have a thing for notebooks.

I buy them, find them, get them as gifts and start writing in them. The plan is usually to use one for one thing and another for a different thing, but soon after I start, I forget which is which and just grab whichever one I feel like carrying that day.

The best part about having all these random, half-filled notebooks? That I still have them all.

I have the spiral notebook with a sacred heart on it that I bought from Hot Topic when I was 19 where I recap a trip I took to Portland where all of my vegan friends decided we were on "road trip rules" and could eat anything they wanted. A few pages later I write about having seen Converge for the first time and how in awe I was. Thing is, I was still a little in awe the last time I saw Converge in 2009, too. Some things don't change.

There's the red U of U notebook that has a partial outline/notes and reading parts from the first screenplay I wrote back in 2005 and a first person narrative story that I never finished.

I have four different notebooks with GCA podcast notes, SLCFF suggestions, movie review slug lines and Comic Con notes.

There's the notebook in which I used to outline every issue of the second half of Red Pulse back when I was the editor.

A little black one with a "Sharks Are Scarier Than Terrorism" sticker on the front has pages and pages of different line breaks and the formations of the poems I wrote back in 2007. Those were later typed up neatly for my poetry class and I think I still have the critiques I got from my classmates that were too scared to leave their names.

All of them rest on the top shelf of the bookcase right behind my desk, that way, every once in a while I can grab a random notebook and see what I was thinking at any given time over the past 13 years.

I can't bear to part with them. For damn good reason, too.

Monday, March 19, 2012


This is the movie I'm most looking forward to this year. I re-watched the entire ALIEN series (minus RESURRECTION, because I remember it being awful) over the past couple of months and still think that Ridley Scott's original is the best of the bunch.

I cannot wait for this movie.


I didn't write this. I stole it from the Trip City website, but every word of it is true and more people need to see it, so I'm re-posting it here.

Written by Dean Haspiel for Trip City -- Comics writer/artist/publisher, Jimmy Palmiotti, recently Tweeted, “Publish or perish.” Maybe it was end-of-the-year blues but I was feeling particularly bleak about my career and was struck by Jimmy’s charge and asked if we could discuss the origin behind those three ominous words and what I got was a pep talk for a lifetime.

Securing work from franchise publishers is harder than ever before and very few other publishers pay livable advance wages anymore. Most deals are made for royalties and back end rewards based on sales. Print is competing with digital and profits are questionable. Readers want archives and new stories but making money at publishing has become a challenging and schizophrenic mess. The risk for a corporation to launch something new has become greater and all the bean counters want to know before they gamble on your idea is the sales of your last three books and whether or not your comic book idea has multimedia legs and if you have a strong fan base. In other words, publishers hardly publish what they “like” and franchise publishers would rather update 75-year old icons every five years [which they've worked hard to maintain] than build and grow new ideas that inspire writers and artists today. I understand why that is but it’s paranoid, lazy, and shortsighted.

Frankly, pitching proposals sucks right now. What if you don’t have three books and your new idea doesn’t translate to a movie or toy? Worse, what if you do have three books and the numbers didn’t inform the zeitgeist and thrill Hollywood? Why does one thing need to yield the other in order to make a cool comic book? Because comic books don’t sell like they used to. I get it. While the internet leveled the playing field it also made everything a niche. However, the comix industry does have a strong fanbase. I’ve seen them and they are us.

Now is the perfect time for a cartoonist to manifest his or her own industry. We have the DIY tools. We have the social networks and viral know how. We have proof that crowd funding works and community is key. We have a cranky comedian like Marc Maron rise from the ashes of every bridge he ever burned and make his own rules with his WTF podcast, and popular acts like Radiohead and Louis C.K. making affordable, direct deposit products; offers no one in their right mind could refuse, and venues like Etsy and Kickstarter changing the ways we consume by supporting work with our wallets BEFORE it’s made so that it can BE made sans corporate fear and scrutiny.

But, what about us? Viva la Michel Fiffe for self-publishing ZEGAS, a print-only experience that reminds us why magical efforts like Los Bros Hernandez’ LOVE & ROCKETS were punk yet vital and stand the test of time. All hail Alex De Campi for recognizing the virtues of the old self-publishing model while implementing new rules with the understanding that in order to hawk your wares you must show up to the party and build sound relationships with the people who produce, distribute, and purchase your wares. Rock out with your cock out Jimmy Palmiotti for having the talent and acumen to keep your feet firmly planted in all ponds while knowing how important it is to be different.

Bottom line: I’m sharing these thoughts to rally myself, too. I count myself lucky to have been paid to make comix and I owe a lot of people my perpetual gratitude. I would love to continue to get hired and occasionally play with the toys I grew up with but I can’t allow over-worked editors to ignore me or my talented friends, anymore. It doesn’t champion creativity and it doesn’t pay the bills. Indifference only engenders ill-will and I won’t be banished to that bitter cabal of disgruntled cartoonists.

“Publish or perish?”

In 2012, I’m excited to see comix auteurs bring their A-game and step up to the plate with a hit in their mind and a home run in their heart.

–Dean Haspiel

Thursday, March 15, 2012

BEST OF 2011

There's an inherent problem with making a "Best Movies of 2011" list while living in Salt Lake City. We're a small market and a lot of the best movies (or the ones getting Academy Award pushes, anyway) get released on platforms. Most of them have smaller budgets which means they get released in a few cities at a time in order to rely on strong word of mouth, reviews, blog posts, etc. so they don't have to shell out millions of dollars on advertising campaigns.

Salt Lake is usually right in the middle or towards the end of that platform cycle. Something that opens in New York and Los Angeles in late November/early December might not play theaters in Salt Lake until February of the next year, as was the case with movies like THE ARTIST and SHAME.

I've always loved making "Best of" lists for movies and I've always held off until I've seen most things before making it. Right now it's February 13 (at the time I'm writing this, anyway) and I just barely saw SHAME. I feel that was the last one I needed to see before I could make my list for 2011. But at the same time, we're now two months in to 2012 and I've just barely seen everything I wanted to see before making this list. Kind of feels like cheating a little, doesn't it? I kind of have to, though. It's one of the perils of living in a small market.

Ideally, my list would run from mid-February to mid-February, but that causes a problem if I see something that blows me away at Sundance. I'm spending entirely too much time thinking about this, but that's kind of what I do. I over think and over analyze a lot of things and write about them. It's why you keep coming back to read this, isn't it? Too share my inane observations about life in general? That's what I thought.

Now enough excuses. Let's get to the best—and by best, I mean my favorite—movies of 2011.


Sure, it was more mood than plot, more style than substance but that's what I loved about it. In a year when so many movies tried so hard to be ambitious and meaningful but just came off as pretentious and boring (yes, I'm talking about you, TREE OF LIFE), DRIVE was a breath of fresh air. Ryan Gosling was just a bad ass. Albert Brooks does an awesome evil. Bryan Cranston does a great everything and Ron Pearlman, Carey Mulligan, Christina Hendricks added little bits of greatness here and there and the score/soundtrack took it to the next level. I don't care what anyone says, DRIVE was just cool, and it's been far too long since somebody made as cool of a movie as this. My hat is off to you Nicolas Winding Refn.


It's a rare occasion these days that I see a movie that reminds me why I wanted to be a filmmaker when I was younger (and I wrote about that after I saw it). DRIVE did that to an extent, but I SAW THE DEVIL did it to a masterful degree. The performances were spectacular all the way through and I watched the whole thing with a wide-eyed wonder. That doesn't happen often, but I wish it happened more.


It might be because I have enormous aspirations of being a writer that I loved this, but I think it's more than that. I love Charlize Theron and Patton Oswalt and they both kill it in this movie. It's also the least Diablo Cody of Diablo Cody's movies, which is a compliment. I like her ideas more than her execution usually, but she showed restraint with this story and that was the most impressive part. I agree with the people that said it didn't seem like Jason Reitman brought much to the table when directing this when he was probably capable of doing more, but at the same time, it felt like he did the perfect amount. He got out of the way and let the script speak for itself and that was a great decision.


As much as everyone says that HUGO was all about the magic of movies (it was, but in a very esoteric way, I thought), THE ARTIST did it much, much better. Not only did it have two of my favorite actors in it—John Goodman and James Cromwell—but the two leads were totally unknown to me and made the story that much more compelling. The fact that it was a silent movie and everyone had to rely on facial expressions and subtlety more that they otherwise would have made it so much more enjoyable. I totally see why everyone was bashing the "gimmick" aspect of it and praising HUGO instead, but HUGO was in 3-D, so that knocks it down a few pegs in my book. THE ARTIST cleaned up at the Academy Awards last month, but how the dog didn't get nominated for any awards is beyond me.


Sometimes the best movies are the ones you know absolutely nothing about. I don't follow a lot of foreign cinema and I pay even less attention to Samurai movies, but this movie was just great. The last 45 minutes in particular, in which an enormous battle sequence is staged in a small town with makeshift booby traps and wall to wall combat is amazing. I was doing karate moves in my apartment into the early hours of the morning the night after I saw it.

Honorable Mentions

These are some of the other movies I loved, but couldn't quite crack the Top 5 and there were too many for a Top 10.

THE MUPPETS - Loved it, but a few strange choices towards the end hurt it.
X-MEN: FIRST CLASS - A great origin with killer performances from Fassbender and McAvoy.
MIDNIGHT IN PARIS - Still think Owen Wilson is a weird choice, but I went home loving Hemingway even more than I already did.
RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES - "Why cookie Rocket?" made its way into pop culture lexicon for a very, very good reason.
ATTACK THE BLOCK - Even though I couldn't understand what they were saying half the time it didn't matter. The movie was still epic.
50/50 - I almost cried.
MONEYBALL - I love baseball, but more than that I'm fascinated by the behind the scenes aspects of professional sports so this was thrilling for me.
POINT BLANK (A BOUT PORTANT) - Kind of like TAKEN, but with less Liam Neeson and more  subtitles, but just as good.
MARTHA, MARCY, MAY, MARLENE - A haunting look at cult life that I still don't forgive for ending so ambiguously. 
THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO - I liked the Swedish version better, but Rooney Mara is so fucking hot that she gets the movie on this list for that alone.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


I'm already in trouble.

I promised myself I'd do something on this blog each and every day. I wanted to keep up with a week's worth of movie related posts (which were already written) to kick things off again, but Wednesday was the day I needed to fill in and I'd planned on using it to start back up my Half-Assed Review column with whatever I saw this week.

Then one thing led to another and I ended up not having the day off as I'd planned. So instead of this being a Half-Assed Review of JOHN CARTER, it's going to be a 1/4-Assed Review because it's late and I'm tired.

I really liked this movie. It was big, epic, fantastic and Bryan Cranston was in it for about six minutes.

The thing that I think hurt it the most was John Carter. I didn't really care about his arc, though I'm glad at the end it was called by its actual name, JOHN CARTER OF MARS.

But what I really wanted, but didn't know until about halfway through the movie, was that I wanted it to be called A PRINCESS OF MARS and I wanted Deja Thoris to be the focus of the movie. She was awesome. She threw herself so into the role that no matter what crazy scene was happening on a green screen behind her, she killed it the entire time. Lynn Collins (who was the best part of season 1 of TRUE BLOOD, which I just finished) was the best part of this movie.

Taylor Kitsch, on the other hand... He was just okay. He's not the best actor in the world, didn't go for it with the gusto that Collins did and I still just see Tim Riggins every time he's in anything. I think he'll be okay in the long run, but he's got a few hurdles to get over before I stop seeing good old 33 whenever I see him.

Andrew Stanton showed that he's as good of a director of live action as he is of animation and it makes me admire him even more. He's got a bright future in this game.

JOHN CARTER was a fun movie and I hope there's more like it. I also hope Collins gets that PRINCESS OF MARS movie, because I'll be there opening night.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


In 2011, I saw 58 movies in the theater. 41 of those were on a Sunday night.

I'd say that makes a pretty damn successful Sunday Night Movie run for the year. On top of that, of the 11 Sundays that we missed, it was usually only due to people being out of town. It's become a pretty solid tradition that I don't see slowing down any time soon.

Late last January, I went through and found all the movies that had release dates scheduled for the coming year and made sort of an unofficial "most anticipated" list, and yesterday, I went through it again and compared it to what I'd seen. It was fun to do, so I figured why not do it again.

Early next year, I'll come back to this list and see what I loved, what I hated, what I missed and what I stayed away from all together.

I'm starting in March this year, because I've fallen a bit behind in posting these (even though I'm writing this on 2/9, it won't go up for a couple of weeks).

JOHN CARTER - Andrew Stanton directed WALL*E and he's making the jump to live action with Tim Riggins in tow. His Pixar buddy Brad Bird made the jump with MI:4, and it was great. I really, really want to like this.
21 JUMP STREET - I'm torn on this. I think I'll see it, but I have very, very low expectations.
THE HUNGER GAMES - The only thing I know about this movie is that both Twilight and Harry Potter fans love the books. That doesn't exactly fill me with excitement or confidence.
JEFF WHO LIVES AT HOME - Ed Helms and Jason Segel together. I expect it to be funny, but it's a Duplass Brothers movie and sometimes what they think is funny and tragic just ends up being boring as shit.

AMERICAN REUNION - I grew up with the AMERICAN PIE movies, so I have to see this by default. I expect one really funny part and the rest will be a whole bunch of alright.
CABIN IN THE WOODS - A horror movie that supposedly isn't anything you'd expect. I know just about every horror movie ever says that, but Joss Whedon (BUFFY, THE AVENGERS) wrote it, so I kind of believe it.
THE FIVE YEAR ENGAGEMENT - The guy that directed FORGETTING SARAH MARSHALL, with Jason Segel and my two celebrity crushes right now, Alison Brie and Emily Blunt. Sold.

THE AVENGERS - Cautiously optimistic and have been since they announced it. It has to be awesome, right?
BATTLESHIP - I'd be way more willing to give it a fair chance if it wasn't named after a god damn board game. But, Peter Berg and Liam Neeson with some FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS alum along for the ride? I'll roll with it.
MEN IN BLACK III - I'm not excited, I'm genuinely curious why they're making it. Not like Will Smith needs the money.
MOONRISE KINGDOM - Not the biggest Wes Anderson fan. I feel he gets more pretentious with every movie, but I'm willing to put that aside to see what he's been up to.

PROMETHEUS - Might be my most anticipated movie of the year. I just want it to be awesome.
BRAVE - I skipped both CARS movies, because I want to pretend Pixar's track record is impeccable. From what I've read/seen, this should be pretty great, keeping the streak intact.
G.I. JOE - RETALIATION - I didn't see the first one because it looked awful. This one looks like a very different kind of awful. A really, really fun kind of awful.

THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN - A brooding punk rock Peter Parker turns into a gritty Spider-Man. I think of all the super hero movies this year, this one has the most at stake for starting over so soon and retelling an origin that not only everyone knows, but was done very well by Sam Raimi barely a decade ago. I still don't know what I think.
THE DARK KNIGHT RISES - I've stopped looking at anything related to this. I don't want to know anything else. I just want to bask in the glory of the last chapter. Very high on the list of things I'd like to see.

THE BOURNE LEGACY - I liked all three of the Matt Damon movies and I'm totally on board with Jeremy Renner taking over. Should be awesome.
TOTAL RECALL - Just to see what kind of bullshit Len Wiseman has in store. Bryan Cranston is in it too, so at least he'll be awesome. The rest of it will probably suck.

ARGO - Ben Affleck has been killing it from the director's chair, so I'm all in.
LOOPER - Right up there with PROMETHEUS and DARK KNIGHT RISES. The director of BRICK making a time travel, bounty hunter movie starring Bruce Willis. It's going to be awesome.

GANGSTER SQUAD - They've been trying to get this made for a while now, and I'm always skeptical of that situation, but I have high hopes for this one.

WRECK-IT RALPH - Disney movie about a video game character trying to redeem himself. Everything I've heard so far has been great. Really hope it stays that way.
GRAVITY - Any time Alfonso Cuaron (CHILDREN OF MEN) makes a movie, I'm seeing it.
SKYFALL - Bond is back, and hopefully Sam Mendes can make a more interesting movie than QUANTUM OF SOLACE, because that movie was boring as shit.

WORLD WAR Z - Another long gestating project that finally came through. Hopefully not everyone is sick of zombies by then.
THIS IS FORTY - Judd Apatow's sideways sequel to KNOCKED UP. Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann were great together in that, but Apatow has a knack for letting his movies run too long. Hopefully he fixes that, otherwise get ready for a dearth of headlines that read THIS IS FORTY... MINUTES TOO LONG.
THE GREAT GATSBY - Leo, Toby, Carrie Mulligan and Baz Luhrmann can hopefully do this book justice. At least Vinnie Chase isn't the lead, right? But I just found out that it's in 3D, so I've already got one foot out the door.
DJANGO UNCHAINED - Tarantino's spaghetti western. I'm already in line.
THE HOBBIT - I felt I had to put this on the list even though I don't care if I ever see it. I've never been a Tolkein fan. I've tried, but just can't do it. THE TWO TOWERS was great, but I didn't care for RETURN OF THE KING at all and I've been sick of hearing about this movie for three years already. Can't imagine I'll be less sick of it by December.

Release Dates To Be Determined

SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS - The writer/director of IN BRUGES makes another movie is all I need to know.
ONLY GOD FORGIVES - After BRONSON and DRIVE, I'll watch anything Nicolas Winding Refn does.
THE MASTER - Paul Thomas Anderson has an awesome track record, and this movie is apparently about Scientology. I expect great things, even if I have no idea where it's going to go.
COGAN'S TRADE - The guy that made CHOPPER with Brad Pitt as a mob enforcer? Where do I sign up?

Anything I miss that's for sure coming out this year? I know there will be some Sundance/Cannes/Toronto Film Festival movies that come out of nowhere, and those are usually the best ones because of the surprise factor.

What are you looking forward to?

Monday, March 12, 2012


I put this blog on pause back in January with the idea that I'd "re-launch" by the beginning of February. Well, February came and went and nothing ever happened.

The plan was to get a new banner, a new logo and clean up the layout a little bit. I had a lot of things planned for this year and I just wanted to kind of get off to a fresh start. Only, the problem is that I'm not a designer, nor am I very web-savvy so I had to outsource to get a new banner/design. And since the person I reached out to has a full time job, a family and I wasn't paying for anything, I couldn't really ask them to drop everything and do that for me. So I just kept waiting and hoping that I'd get home from work one day and have an awesome e-mail waiting for me and I could get back to it.

But now it's March 12 and I decided I should just start and the changes will trickle out as they come.

Also, I've been writing a bunch of posts in my spare time and just saving them as drafts—stockpiling for the new beginning. Problem with that is that a few of them became outdated and worthless and I had to scrap them. Just a few though, and I was able to fill in the spots with other things.

So here it is. The new-but-not-quite-new This first week is dedicated (almost) solely to movies, next week will probably be comics, then I'll start rolling out the new features like weekly columns and videos and maybe a podcast. Not quite sure about the last one, but we'll see. That one might even become a weekly "Countdown to Casey aka The Big Dogg's Out Of Control Wedding" podcast where he just tells us all the crazy things he has planned one week and then the next week tells us how that all fell apart shortly after setting it in motion. That would entertain us all the way to September.


Welcome back. I'm sure you've missed me as much as I've missed you.

First post of a "bold, new direction" is right below and it's everything you never knew you wanted to know.


If you'll remember last January, I compiled a list of all the movies I wanted to see that already had set release dates.

It's time to go back to that and list all the movies I saw this year, month by month. I'm doing kind of a then and now type thing. You might get bored. I'll try to keep you interested.


BEATS, RHYMES & LIFE (Tribe Called Quest doc)

Summary: None of those were on my list because half of them were *technically* 2010 movies that didn't get released in SLC until January, two of them were Sundance movies and I didn't make that initial list until the 26th of January. So...


What I said then: "Ben Foster, Jason Statham in a shitty action movie? Of course I'll see it."
What I say now: "Yep, pretty much exactly what I thought."



What I said then: "Because I think Ed Helms is hilarious"
What I say now: "Stick by it. I thought this movie was great."

What I said then: "Could be awesome, could be a laughable train wreck. Either way, it's a way to spend my Sunday night."
What I say now: "This movie was terrible. Not even laughably bad. Long and boring, it was like watching someone play a shitty video game."

What I said then: "Matt Damon is great, Emily Blunt is pretty and Philip K. Dick was awesome."
What I say now: "Way too many religious undertones. Really wanted to like it, but was kind of silly."



What I said then: "Just to see if Zack Snyder is who I thought he was. Plus over the top action, way too much slow motion and out of nowhere sex scenes? It can't be all bad."
What I say now: "He is exactly who I thought he was and I was wrong. It was all bad. The whole thing was just awful."


What I said then: "It's either going to be hilarious or it's going to miss on every level."
What I say now: "I had no idea there was going to be THAT much weed humor in it. I don't smoke weed, so didn't do it for me."


What I said then: "Curious to see whether they can make something good or if they should have just left it alone."
What I say now: "Probably should have just left it alone."




What I said then: "I have faith in Kenneth Branagh."
What I say now: "My faith paid off. I loved THOR."



What I said then: "Matthew Vaughn hasn't made a bad movie yet."
What I say now: "Still hasn't. It was awesome."

What I said then: "Neither has JJ Abrams."
What I say now: "Still hasn't, but maybe he shouldn't try quite so hard to be Spielberg."


What I said then: "This movie will be so overhyped that there's no possible way for it to live up to the expectations. It'll still have one or two really funny parts."
What I say now: "It was exactly the same as Part I. No one tried, no one cared. It was just boring."



What I said then: "I don't have faith in Joe Johnston, but I'm hoping he surprises me."
What I say now: "He surprised me. Not great, but a fun Cap movie was all I wanted and that's what I got."

What I said then: "Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford together will get me into the theater to see just about anything."
What I say now: "I wish they'd gotten me into the theater to see a better movie."



What I said then: "James Franco and John Lithgow battling super intelligent monkeys? Sold."
What I say now: "So much better than I thought it would be. So, so good."

What I said then: "Reuben Fleischer (ZOMBIELAND) alone will get me in to the theater just to see if he can give me another fun hour and a half."
What I say now: "Fun, short and sweet. Really enjoyed it."




What I said then: "Steven Soderbergh and Matt Damn. Don't need to know anything else."
What I say now: "Decent. Not great, but had some fantastic moments. Didn't scare me as much as it did other people."

What I said then: "Nicolas Winding Refn tells a story of a Hollywood stunt driver. I already bought a ticket for this."
What I say now: "Everyone should have bought a ticket for this. Might be the best movie of the year."



What I said then: "I love baseball movies and this seems like it has potential."
What I say now: "Potential fulfilled. Maybe a bit too long, but I really, really liked it."




What I said then: "Jason Segel was handed the reins of the Muppets franchise based off Dracula The Musical in FORGETTING SARAH MARSHALL. Absolutely nothing can go wrong."
What I say now: "Knocked it out of the park. It was the perfect reintroduction to The Muppets and I loved every second of it."

What I said then: "Martin Scorsese. Enough said."
What I say now: "Glad I saw it, didn't think it was as amazing as it was made out to be."



What I said then: "Brad Bird (THE SIMPSON'S, THE INCREDIBLES, IRON GIANT) makes his first live-action feature. Cautiously optimistic."
What I say now: "So much fun. Best MI movie yet and I didn't hate Tom Cruise at all. Which was shocking to me."

What I said then: "David Fincher. Enough said. Plus Daniel Craig. And Rooney Mara looks great."
What I say now: "Took me about half the movie to stop comparing it to the Swedish version, but still really liked it. And I'm totally on the 'I now have an enormous crush on Rooney Mara' bandwagon."

What I said then: "Because it's the only movie anyone will be talking about come December. 'Spielberg and Jackson working together?!?!?! I HAVE TO SEE IT NOW!!!!!'"
What I say now: "Waaay better than I gave it a chance to be. Really fun movie."

On the initial list that I never saw because they didn't look remotely appealing after seeing the trailer or I heard/read enough bad things to stay far away:

NOW (retitled IN TIME)

All in all, I saw 58 movies in the theater in 2011 and none of them immediately stick out as the frontrunner for BEST OF THE YEAR. I'll probably narrow it down to a TOP 5 sometime over the next few days, and also go through the 2012 releases so keep an eye out.

What did you see last year that you absolutely loved? Anything?