Music Video of the Day: Back to December by Taylor Swift (2010, dir by Yoann Lemoine)

Right now, as I write this, there are lot of people on twitter and in the media who are bitching and whining because Taylor Swift hasn’t written any #Resistance songs.  She didn’t endorse anyone in the 2016 election.  She never talks politics.  She even had the gall to say that she had a good 2017!

Since when did being happy become a microaggression?

See, this is one of the things that I hate about social media.  Just because you can’t stop talking about Trump or Hillary or whoever, that doesn’t mean that everyone else is obligated to do the same.  When I see people whining about Taylor Swift not using their favorite hashtag, I’m reminded of Joss Whedon, at this time last year, whining about people saying, “Happy holidays,” because he was upset over how the election went.  Just because someone isn’t constantly bragging about how pissed off they are, that doesn’t mean they don’t care or that they’re not doing their part.  It just means they, like me, have a life outside of whatever’s on CNN or Fox News.

Anyway, I was so annoyed with all the Taylor Swift hate that I spent Saturday listening to Last Christmas on repeat.  So, it seemed like a perfect pick for Music Video of the Day, right?


Sadly, there isn’t an official music video of Taylor’s version of Last Christmas.

So, I decided to feature her video for Back To December, instead.  It’s not specifically a Christmas song.  In fact, it’s generally agreed that it’s a song about Taylor’s breakup with Taylor Lautner.  (Taylor Swift has never specifically confirmed who it’s about, beyond saying that the song was meant to be an apology to a former lover.)  But hey, it’s December and there’s snow on the ground.  As far as I’m concerned, that makes it a Christmas song.

The video was directed by Yoann Lemoine, who has several credits.  (He’s also directed videos for Katy Perry, Lana del Ray, and Drake.)  Taylor’s love interest is played by Guntars Asmanis.




Music Video of the Day: Praise You By Fatboy Slim (1998, dir by Spike Jonze)

This is perhaps the greatest music video of all time and it only cost $800 to make.

First a little background of how Spike Jonze came to direct this video.  Apparently, Jonze unsuccessfully lobbied for the chance to direct the video of Fatboy Slim’s Rockafeller Skank.  However, Jonze still made a video of himself dancing to the song and sent it to Fatboy Slim (also known as Norman Cook) as a gift/joke.  Cook was so impressed that he hired Jonze to make the video for Praise You.

Here’s what you really need to know about this video:

Despite the authenticity and the passion of the amateur performance captured in this video, The Torrance Community Dance Group does not exist.

Richard Koufey does not exist. That is Spike Jonze playing Koufey.  I don’t know if Jonze “performed in several B-boy posses” while growing up, as Koufey claims to have done.  There’s something oddly touching about the enthusiastic way that Jonze/Koufey shouts, “B-boy.”

The bewildered audience is real and their confused reaction to Koufey’s performance was real too.  This video was shot outside of a movie theater, without permission or permits.  What you’re seeing in this video is technically a crime, which makes it all the more enjoyable.  I’m not sure if the man who briefly turns off the music was in on it or not.  If that wasn’t planned out ahead of time, Jonze was definitely taking a risk by jumping on him.

Myself, I just love the enthusiasm of it all.  It takes talent to be both bad and good at the same time.



Cleaning Out The DVR: Just The Ticket (dir by Richard Wenk)

(Hi there!  So, as you may know because I’ve been talking about it on this site all year, I have got way too much stuff on my DVR.  Seriously, I currently have 193 things recorded!  I’ve decided that, on January 15th, I am going to erase everything on the DVR, regardless of whether I’ve watched it or not.  So, that means that I’ve now have only have a month to clean out the DVR!  Will I make it?  Keep checking this site to find out!  I recorded the 1999 romantic comedy Just The Ticket off of Epix on October 13th!)

Just The Ticket tells the story of Gary Starke (Andy Garcia).

Gary lives in New York City.  He is a tough, streetwise character, loyal to his friends and quick to anger if he feels that anyone is trying to take advantage of him.  He has no time for pretentious posturing or snobbish social gatherings.  Gary’s a man of the people.  He works with and takes care of an aging former boxer named Benny (Richard Bradford).  He looks after a pregnant, former drug addict named Alice (Laura Harris).  When the slick and dangerous Casino (Andre B. Blake) starts to do business in Gary’s territory, Gary is the only person with the guts to stand up to him.  Having never had a family (he’s never even seen his birth certificate and has no idea who his parents were), Gary has adopted the street people as his surrogate family.

That’s not all.  Gary is also a lapsed Catholic who, when he goes to confession, opens by saying that it’s been 25 years since his last confession and that he’s taken the Lord’s name in vain 20 to 30 times that morning.  Gary needs some help because his girlfriend, an aspiring chef named Linda (Andie McDowell), has left him and Gary wants to win her back.  The priest asks Gary if he can get him tickets to see the Knicks…

Why does he ask that?

You see, Gary is a legendary ticket scalper and…

Okay, I probably just lost you when I used the terms “legendary” and “ticket scalper” in the same sentence.  And I’ll admit that, when I discovered this movie was about ticket scalpers, it nearly lost me as well.  Just The Ticket treats ticket scalping with a dignity and reverence that I’m not quite sure it deserves.  I wasn’t surprised to discover that director/writer Richard Wenk apparently based the character of Gary on an actual ticket scalper that he knew.  A lot of bad movies have been made as the result of a director, writer, or producer coming across some mundane activity and thinking, “Wow, this would make a great movie!”

(That’s one reason why, every few years, we suddenly get a dozen movies about race car drivers.)

However, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that Just The Ticket is not a terrible movie.  Admittedly, it’s totally predictable and there are a lot of scenes that don’t work.  For instance, there’s a lengthy scene where Gary and Linda destroy a snobbish food critic’s kitchen.  I could imagine Gary doing that because he has nothing to lose.  But Linda is actually hoping to become a chef in New York City.  Would she really run the risk of making a permanent enemy at the New York Times?  There’s nothing about Andie McDowell’s performance that suggests she would.  The scenes between Gary and his aging partner also tend to overplay their hand.  Richard Bradford gives a good performance as Benny but we all know what’s going to end up happening to him as soon as he starts crying after Gary insults him.

With all that in mind, Just The Ticket still has an undeniable charm.  Some of it is due to Andy Garcia’s dedicated performance.  He is frequently better than the material and he and Andie McDowell have enough chemistry that you do want to see Linda and Gary get back together.  Some of it is because Just The Ticket is not afraid to shy away from being sentimental.  It’s hard to think of any other romantic comedy in which the Pope plays such an important supporting role.  It’s a sweet movie.  It has a good heart.

There’s something to be said for that.

Music Video of the Day: I Love It by Icona Pop featuring Carli XCX (2012, dir by Fredrik Etoall)

To be honest, the main reason that I picked this for today’s music video of the day is because it’s rare a day passes by that I don’t describe myself as being “a 90s bitch.”

Reportedly, this song was recorded at a time when both Aino Jawo and Caroline Hjelt were going through difficult break-ups.  From

The song doubles as a kiss-off to the Icona Pop duo’s then boyfriends. “We were going through similar stuff, with dating pigs, and things were not going our way. And when that song came along, we just felt it, and we wanted people to feel our anger,” Jawo explained to MTV News. “We felt the song was a strong song, and … we just wanted to get the song out and get the pigs to hear it. You know who you are.”

“Now, we meet them on the street when we’re back home, and you’re like ‘Hi!’ and they’re like ‘hi,'” Hjelt added. “And we’re like ‘Hahaha, thank you for the inspiration.'”


Music Video Of The Day: Uprising by Muse (2009, dir by Hydra)

Hi, everyone!  Lisa here with today’s music video of the day!

Yes, yes, I’m late.  Sorry, I fell asleep last night before I got a chance to set up today’s music video of the day.  Then, when I woke up, I was out the front door and driving down Central Expressway before I realized that I’d forgotten to put in my contacts.  Seriously, I was totally blind and driving down the busiest, most dangerous highway in Dallas.

And yet, I survived!

So, in order to celebrate this momentous occasion, how about a music video from one of my favorite bands?  This is Uprising by Muse.  It seems to go with the general tenor of the times.  Everyone’s convinced they’re a revolutionary. even if they’re just some rando on twitter.  Things are blowing, if only in our neighbor’s dreams.

The bit with the teddy bears?  That’s a Ghostbusters tribute.


Wrap it Up. DFW Has Spoken!

Reunion Tower (picture by Erin Nicole)

Awards season is fun and all but today is the really the only day that matters.  Today is the day that the film critics of my home town — the Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association — announce their picks for the best of 2017!

And who got the love down here in DFW?

The Shape of Water!

Check out all the winners below:

Best Picture
The Shape Of Water

Best Actor
Gary Oldman – Darkest Hour

Best Actress
Sally Hawkins – The Shape Of Water

Best Supporting Actor
Sam Rockwell – Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri

Best Supporting Actress
Allison Janney – I, Tonya

Best Director
Guillermo del Toro – The Shape Of Water

Best Foreign Language Film
The Square

Best Documentary
City Of Ghosts

Best Animated Film

Best Screenplay
Greta Gerwig – Lady Bird

Best Cinematography
Dan Laustsen – The Shape Of Water

Best Musical Score
Alexandre Desplat – The Shape Of Water

The Russell Smith Award (Independent Film)
The Florida Project

Here Are The SAG Nominations for 2017!


As far as Oscar precursors are concerned, all of the critic groups are fun to follow but the guilds are what you really need to pay attention to.  The reason is simple enough.  Critics may have influence but they’re not members of the Academy.

The Guilds, on the other hand, do include members who are voting members of the Academy.  And the biggest branch of the Academy is the Actors Branch.  That’s why the Screen Actors Guild nominations are traditionally viewed as being one of the most important of the precursors.

Of course, getting a SAG nomination does not always translate into an Oscar nomination.  It’s rare that the SAG noms and the Oscar noms line up 100%.  I can still remember, back in 2015, when we were all briefly excited when Beasts of No Nation and Straight Outta Compton picks up Best Ensemble nominations.  Of course, when the Oscar noms came out, Compton got one nomination and Beasts was totally shut out.

Another thing to keep in mind is that, according to Clayton Davis on Awards Circuit, the screeners for The Post and Phantom Thread weren’t sent out in time for either of those movies to be a factor in the voting.  Believe me, I was really excited when it seemed as if The Post had been totally snubbed.  The last thing I want to do next year is have to sit through another one of Meryl Streep’s speeches about how she’s just an average, middle class person from New Jersey who went to public school.  (Meryl always comes across like the type who would brag about being on a first name basis with her maid.)  But, it would appear that there is a perfectly understandable reason for The Post‘s lack of a nomination.

Anyway, here’s my main takeaways:

  1. Get Out‘s Daniel Kaluuya is emerging as a pretty strong contender for best actor.  I’d be surprised if he actually won over Timothee Chalamet and Gary Oldman but it does more and more likely that he will at least receive a nomination.
  2. Denzel Washington for Roman Israel, Esq?  Did anyone actually see that movie?  I didn’t so I don’t know if Denzel’s nomination was deserved or not.  Washington got a Golden Globe nomination as well.
  3. The biggest surprises in Best Supporting Actor?  Not only did Armie Hammer and Michael Stuhlbarg not get nominated but Steve Carell did.
  4. My favorite nomination is The Big Sick for Best Ensemble.
  5. Mudbound keeps its Oscar hopes alive, with its nomination here.
  6. I don’t have a sixth reason but I don’t do odd numbers.

Here are the film nominations:

Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role
Timothée Chalamet, CALL ME BY YOUR NAME
Daniel Kaluuya, GET OUT
Denzel Washington, ROMAN J. ISRAEL, ESQ.

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role
Margot Robbie, I, TONYA
Saoirse Ronan, LADY BIRD

Outstanding Performance by Male Actor in a Supporting Role
Richard Jenkins, THE SHAPE OF WATER

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role
Mary J. Blige, MUDBOUND
Holly Hunter, THE BIG SICK
Allison Janney, I, TONYA
Laurie Metcalf, LADY BIRD

Outstanding Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture

The Big Sick