“Going All Kanye On You”: New Year’s Eve (dir by Garry Marshall)

“New Year’s Eve is the worst, people who don’t drink or party all year suddenly going all Kanye on you.”

That line was delivered by Ashton Kutcher in the 2011 film, New Year’s Eve.  Seven years ago, when the film was first released, I thought it was an awkward line, partially because Ashton Kutcher sounded like he was drowning in self-loathing when he said it and partially because the sudden reference to Kanye West felt like something that would be considered clever by 60-something screenwriter who had just spent a few hours scanning twitter to see “what the kids are into nowadays.”

(Of course, hearing the line in 2018 was an even stranger experience.  People who don’t drink or party all year suddenly going all Kanye on you?  So, they’re putting on red MAGA caps and spending New Year’s Eve tweeting about prison reform?  True, that’s the way a lot of people celebrated in my part of the world but I’m not sure how exactly that would play out in Times Square.)

In New Year’s Eve, Kutcher plays a character named Randy.  Randy is a comic book artist, which means that he’s snarky and cynical and doesn’t really see the point of celebrating anything.  Fortunately, he gets trapped in an elevator with Elise (Lea Michele) and, with her help, he comes to learn that New Year’s Eve is not the worst.  Instead, it’s the most important holiday ever created and, if you don’t think so, you’re worse than the devil.

Fortunately, Hillary Swank is present to make sure that we all get the point.  Swank plays Claire Morgan, who is in charge of making sure that the ball drops at exactly the right moment at Times Square and who gets a monologue where she explains that the purpose of the ball is to make you think about both the past and the future.  As she explains it, the world comes together one night a year, all so everyone can watch that ball drop.  Apparently, if the ball doesn’t drop, the new year doesn’t actually start and everyone is trapped in a timeless limbo, kind of like Iron Man at the end of Avengers: Infinity War.

Of course, there’s more going on in New Year’s Eve than just Randy taking Kanye’s name in vain and Claire refusing the accept that Times Square is not the center of the universe.  There’s also an old man (Robert De Niro) who wants to time his death so he passes right at the start of the new year.  Sarah Jessica Parker plays the mother of frustrated teenager Abigail Breslin and gets to make a “girls gone wild” joke.  (A Kanye reference and a girls gone wild joke in the same film?  It’s like a pop culture tsunami!)  Michelle Pfeiffer tries to accomplish all of her new year’s resolutions with the help of Zac Efron.  Halle Berry worries about her husband (Common) , who is serving overseas.  Josh Duhamel searches for a woman who once told him that his heart was more important than his business.  Seth Meyers and Jessica Biel compete with Til Schweiger and Sarah Paulson to see who can be the family of the first child born in the new year.  Jon Bon Jovi thinks about the woman that he nearly married and Katherine Heigl wonders if she’s ever going to have a career again.  In other words, New Year’s Eve is an ensemble piece, one in which a bunch of slumming Oscar winners and overachieving TV actors step into small roles.  It leads to some odd pairings.  De Niro, for instance, shares scenes with Alyssa Milano while Sofia Vergara and Ludacris are both relegated to playing sidekicks.  Michael Bloomberg, New York’s then-mayor and general threat to civil liberties everywhere, also shows up, playing himself with the type of smarminess that already has many people dreading the prospect of his 2020 presidential campaign.  This is one of those films where everyone has a familiar face but no one makes much of an impression.

New Year’s Eve was directed by the late Garry Marshall and it’s the second film in his so-called holiday trilogy, sitting right between Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day.  By most accounts, Garry Marshall was a nice guy and popular in the industry, which perhaps explains why so many familiar faces were willing to sign up to appear in New Year’s Eve.  Though the film is ruthlessly mediocre, it’s actually the best of the holiday trilogy.  For all the schmaltz and forced sentiment, one gets the feeling that the film actually is sincere in its belief in the importance of that ball dropping in Times Square.

I remember that, when New Year’s Eve was first released, a lot of people joked that Marshall was going to make an ensemble romantic comedy about every single holiday, all with the hope that at least one of them would eventually become a television perennial in the style of It’s A Wonderful Life or The Ten Commandments.  Interestingly, that’s exactly what happened with New Year’s Eve.  Yesterday, E! aired New Year’s Eve three times, back-to-back!  For better or worse, this film is probably going to outlive us all, ensuring that, in the far future, viewers will spend New Year’s Eve asking themselves, “What’s a kanye?”

Welcome to the Future!

by Raymond L. Jones

Happy New Year and welcome to the future!  Whenever we start a new year, I always like to go back and see what people thought the future would be like.  While a visitor from the 1950s would be astounded by much of what we take for granted in 2020, they might still wonder why we don’t have a single lunar colony.

Here are just a few examples of what the pulp era expected from the future:

by Stanley Meltzoff

Artist Unknown

by Earle Bergey

by Earle Bergey

by Earle Bergey

by Earle Bergey

by Rudolph Belarski

by Ed Valigursky

Artist Unknown

by Elliott Dold

by Milton Luros

by John Forte Jr.

by Milton Luros

Happy 2019 From All The Writers (and the cat) at Through the Shattered Lens!

(Picture by Erin Nicole)

You did it!

You survived 2018!

2018 was a year when humans everywhere proved that they should just be quiet and let cats run the planet.  Well, 2018 is over now.  It’s 2019 and hopefully, everyone will try to do better over the upcoming 12 months!

Here’s what we have to look forward to in 2019:  The Oscars.  The release of Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman.  Another Star Wars film.  The Cannes Film Festival.  Terminator 6.  Zombieland Too.  Another season of The Walking DeadIt: Chapter Two.  Captain Marvel.  Avengers: Endgame.  Spider-Man: Far From Home and Toy Story 4.  Mike Posner’s A Real Good Kid and Outer Peace from Toro y Moi.   A lot of original films on Lifetime and a chance to see if SyFy will ever have another franchise as successful as Sharknado.  Stephen King will probably release another 900-page novel about Maine. And, of course, so much more!

On top of all that, In 11 more months, this site will be ten years old!  Can you believe it!?

So, sit back and enjoy the ride.

2019 has arrived!

Lisa’s Week In Review: 12/24/18 — 12/31/18

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!  Here’s my final week in review for 2018.  I’ve been sick for the past few days so this is going to be an abbreviated week in review.  Fortunately, I’m feeling better now and I’m looking forward to spending the next two weeks getting caught up on stuff and, starting next week, posting my picks for the best of 2018!

Movies I Watched:

  1. 23 Blast (2014)
  2. Aquaman (2018)
  3. Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
  4. Black Mirror: Bandersnatch (2018)
  5. A Christmas Story (1982)
  6. Die Hard (1988)
  7. Die Hard 2 (1990)
  8. Doctor Zhivago (1965)
  9. The Godfather (1972)
  10. The Godfather Part II (1974)
  11. The Godfather Part III (1990)
  12. It’s A Wonderful Life (1946)
  13. Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
  14. New Year’s Eve (2011)
  15. Picadilly (1929)
  16. Vice (2018)
  17. The Warriors (1979)

Television Shows I Watched:

  1. American Justice
  2. California Dreams
  3. Degrassi
  4. Degrassi High
  5. Degrassi Junior High
  6. Doctor Phil
  7. Face the Truth
  8. Ghost Whisperer
  9. King of the Hill
  10. Law & Order
  11. Model Killers
  12. The Office
  13. Parking Wars
  14. Saved By The Bell
  15. Unsolved Mysteries

Books I Read:

  1. Spooky Texas (2008) by S.E. Schlosser
  2. Twin Peaks: The Secret History (2016) by Mark Frost

Music To Which I Listened:

  1. Above & Beyond
  2. Adi Ulmansky
  3. Aice Glass
  4. Armin van Buuren
  5. Arston
  6. Avril Lavigne
  7. Avicii
  8. Bad Suns
  9. Blackpink
  10. Blanck Mass
  11. BowLand
  12. Calvin Harris
  13. Cat Power
  14. Cedric Gervais
  15. The Chemical Brothers
  16. Daft Punk
  17. Darlene Love
  18. Dillon Francis
  19. Fatboy Slim
  20. Girls’ Generation
  21. Guster
  22. Gwen Stefani
  23. Hardwell
  24. Harry Nilsson
  25. Icona Pop
  26. Jackal
  27. Jakealope
  28. Jeff Phillips
  29. Kaskade
  30. Kedr Livanskiy
  31. Lindsey Stirling
  32. Moby
  33. Needle Damage
  34. Nine Inch Nails
  35. One Direction
  36. Otto Knows
  37. P!nk
  38. Porter Robinson
  39. The Ronettes
  40. Saint Motel
  41. Seamus Trout
  42. Stephen Puth
  43. Swedish House Mafia
  44. Taylor Swift
  45. Tiesto
  46. Tove Lo


(Click here to check out last week’s week in review)

Music Video of the Day: Right Now by Van Halen (1991, directed by Mark Fenske)

If it seems like Sammy Hagar looks like he was pissed off during the filming of the music video for Van Halen’s Right Now, that’s because he was.  Hagar was firmly opposed to the video’s concept, saying that the MTV audience would be so busy reading the subtitles that they wouldn’t pay attention to the lyrics.  It also didn’t help that, when the video was shot, Hagar was also suffering with pneumonia.  When Hagar slammed the door at the end of the video, that wasn’t acting.

The video was directed by Mark Fenske and produced by Carolyn Beug.  (Ten years after the video was released, Beug was killed in the crash American Airlines Flight 11 on Steptember 11th, 2001.  At the National 9/11 Memorial, Beug is memorialized at the North Pool, on Panel N-1.)  For the shot of the photograph being set on fire, Fenske used an old picture of himself.  As well, Fenske’s mother appears in the video, kissing the camera.

Right Now is probably the best known of the songs to come out of the Van Hagar period.   Despite Hagar’s reservations, the video was one of Van Halen’s most successful, winning the award for video of the year at the MTV Music Video Awards.