SXSW 2020 Review: Run/On (dir by Daniel Newell Kaufman)

Run/On is a 13-minute short film that opens with a shot of a young boy balancing a fidget spinner on his forehead.

It’s haunting shot, one that is beautifully composed and which also tells you almost everything that you need to know about the film.  Fidget spinners are very useful to those of us who have ADD and who sometimes find it difficult to focus in a chaotic world.  I carry a fidget spinner everywhere that I go and, as strange as it apparently seems to some people, spinning it really does provide me with some focus and comfort.  Whenever I start to feel the world overwhelming me, I concentrate on watching it spin and, by the time that it stops, I’ve usually managed to calm down a bit.

The rest of Run/On deals with a boy named Luke and his mother and the time they spend waiting in a believably filthy Greyhound bus station.  Luke doesn’t speak throughout the entire film, but he sees and hears all of the chaos around him.  His mother, on the other hand, can’t stop talking.  She’s got two trash bags full of clothes and two tickets for a Greyhound.  She also has a gun in her purse, something Luke obviously finds to be concerning.

It’s a scary bus station.  Speaking as someone who once spent the night at the Greyhound bus station in Dallas (long story, don’t ask), I can say that this film did a great job of capturing just how scary, menacing, and exciting a big city bus station can be.  When Luke goes to a vending machine, we’re aware of the two men sitting in a corner of the bus station and watching.  When he later walks around the station, he passes a seedy-looking man on a phone.  All around him are people living their own lives of desperation and it’s somewhat frightening to witness it all.  It’s enough to make you want to run and keep running.

Run/On, with all of its mysteries, is currently available on Prime for a limited time.

Scenes That I Love: The “Tears In The Rain” monologue from Blade Runner (RIP, Rutger Hauer)

I just read that Rutger Hauer passed away on July 19th.  He was 75 years old.

Though Hauer played many great roles, most people will always think of him as the replicant Roy Batty in 1982’s Blade Runner.  One of Hauer’s most memorable scenes in that film was his final monologue.  Reportedly, Hauer himself came up with this monologue on the spot, feeling that the lines in the original script didn’t do justice to either the story or his character.

Rest in peace, Rutger Hauer.  He was one of the greats.

10 Sci-Fi Films That Should Have Been Nominated For Best Picture


Over the past few years, it’s gotten a little bit more common to see science fiction films nominated for best picture.  While a sci-fi film has yet to win best picture, it is no longer as much of a shock to see a science fiction film nominated.  At least not as much as it is to see a horror film nominated.

That said, it’s still an uphill fight.  Here are 10 science fiction films that I feel could and should have been nominated for best picture:

  1. Metropolis (1927)

Fritz Lang’s expressionistic silent epic remains one of the most influential films of all time.  Metropolis was eligible to be nominated during the first year of the Oscars, a year in which not one but two awards for best picture were handed out.  That Metropolis was nominated for neither Best Production nor Unique and Artistic Picture was a huge missed opportunity.

2. The War of the Worlds (1953)

This film may be over 60 years old but it’s still one of the best alien invasion films ever made.  And yes, I prefer the original to the Spielberg version.

3. The Time Machine (1960)

Morlocks, Eloi, and war … oh my!

4. Planet of the Apes (1968)

“A planet where apes evolved from man?”  No, not quite.  “YOU BLEW IT UP!  GODDAMN YOU TO HELL!”  Yes, that’s better.  Today, Planet of the Apes may seem more than a little bit campy but it’s still an unusually intelligent social satire.  Charlton Heston’s persona has never been better used.

5. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

Can you believe that this classic from Stanley Kubrick was not nominated?  Kubrick got a directing nomination but, when it came to picking the best films of the year, the Academy nominated Oliver! and Rachel, Rachel.


6. Blade Runner (1982)

Blade Runner is today recognized as a classic but it originally received mixed reviews and was ignored by the Academy.  At the very least, Rutger Hauer deserved a nomination.

7. Never Let Me Go (2010)

This underrated clone drama was sadly overlooked.  Andrew Garfield’s performance is heartbreaking.

Film Review Under the Skin

8. Under the Skin (2014)

This enigmatic film was probably too bizarre and unsettling for the Academy but Jonathan Glazer’s direction and Scarlett Johansson’s performance make Under the Skin a classic.

9. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

Whenever I rewatch Guardians of the Galaxy, I’m happy to discover that it still holds up as a wonderful piece of entertainment.  It remains my favorite film of 2014.

10. Ex Machina (2015)

Quite simply an amazing film, this is a Metropolis for the 21st Century.


Song of the Day: Blade Runner End Titles (by Vangelis)

While I find my thoughts on how to continue my review on one of my favorite films of all-time I began to listen to it’s soundtrack for inspiration. So, while listening to the Vangelis composed score for Blade Runner I came across what has to be my favorite track from the many different editions of this film’s soundtrack. This track I picked to be my latest “Song of the Day”.

The track I chose is simply the “End Titles” which plays during the film’s end credits sequence. This version of the Vangelis ambient score comes directly from the Esper Edition of the soundtrack which was a bootleg edition that made the rounds in 2002. More specifically, this version of the “End Titles” track is a demo version of what would finally end up in the film.

Vangelis was one of my favorite film composers growing up and it’s saddening that he hasn’t done as much work in the last decade or so. But then his work on Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner was his best and it’s been difficult to top since. Everything about the “End Titles” track was able to convey each and every genre influence the film would mash together to make it into the masterpiece it has become. It’s ambient and electronic synthesizer melody has hints of film noir and, of course, the very science-fiction the film’s foundation has it’s origins in. This was a soundtrack that was one-of-a-kind and as much as others have tried to copy and emulate it they’ve never succeeded.