I've seen "Once" a couple times now, and plan to see it again soon. It's one of the most charming, inspiring films I've seen in a very long while. No wonder Spielberg said it gave him enough inspiration to last the rest of the year. Made for $150,000 and shot on a handheld HD camera, the film went on to make over $14,000,000 worldwide. But that is all I will say. If you are wondering what the movie is all about, do yourself a favor and watch it. You won't regret it.

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Hellboy II

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The Dark Knight

So awesome...


Eat, Sleep, Repeat

Ok, so I'm about a year late on this one, but somehow I had avoided picking up Copeland's "Eat, Sleep, Repeat" record until now. And let me tell you, it's unbelievable. I enjoyed "In Motion", their last record, quite a bit, but I always thought it felt a little uneven. That problem is solved on "Eat, Sleep, Repeat", which feels like one grand idea from start to finish. Definitely worth the purchase.


iPhone Epiphany

This is an earnest plea I wrote to my relatives regarding my Christmas wishes:

I had an epiphany today. The epiphany, the revelation, the sacred vision that was given to me: I need an iPhone. That's right. I can't deny it anymore, brush it off, pretend that it doesn't exist while I quietly mourn inside. It is now at the top of my otherwise HD-movie-laden wish list. I pass it along to you now, in the hopes that one of you, or all of you together, may be so gracious as to grant me the small, high-tech, groundbreaking, revolutionary object of my affection.

Sincerely, Ryan

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To whom it may concern at NBC,

I am coming for you. Yes, you heard me right. Under the cover of a moonless night, I will appear with no warning and wreak a most unmerciful havoc upon your network. God have mercy on the unfortunate soul who attempts to stand in my way (I'm bringing my nunchucks). And why, you ask, do I choose to inflict my murderous, barbaric rage upon NBC? It is simple. You canceled "Studio 60 On the Sunset Strip", one of the best shows this trained assassin has ever seen.

And this brings me to the purpose of this correspondence. Though I am trained to be unmerciful, I am willing to extend you mercy so long as you meet my modest but specific demands: "Studio 60" will return in full form next season. I'm talking full-form here, people. That means Sorkin's back as showrunner, the whole cast is intact, the sets are rebuilt, the storylines are continued. And not only that, but you have to step it up from the first season. As hard as it is to imagine, season two has to be better than season one (I can talk to Aaron directly about this if that is what you would prefer).

Can't you see that I'm hurting here, NBC? I may kill people for a living, but I still have a heart (that's broken I might add). I mean, how am I supposed to live without Matt and Danny? And what about all the unanswered questions in my head? For instance, will the show go on? Jack finally stood up for something, which really showed some dimension to his character, but will he retain his integrity? And Matt and Harriet - there's so much I could say about this, but let's face it, the only thing I really want to know is, where's the ring, people? Wedding bells in the future? Maybe he and Danny can have a joint wedding. And let's not forget about all the little B-Storylines that got lost in the mix, including Darius's and Simon's ongoing argument about the place of African-Americans in the arts. And another thought: Danny finally got over his pride and said a prayer. Does this mean there's a conversion in the future? Will the whole Tripp family start attending the local Baptist church?

And not to mention Cal. Let's just take a moment, ladies and gentlemen. He may not have been a main character, but his presence added something invaluable to the show. I realize I haven't even mentioned Tom or Jordan, two of my other favorite characters. Aw, shucks. They're all my favorite. What else can I say? Help me out, NBC. I really didn't mean what I said about all that murderous, barbaric rage stuff. Truth is, I haven't even killed anyone yet. Pretty pathetic for a trained assassin, huh? I guess I just have to come to terms with the fact that "Studio 60" is never coming back. Story of my life. Just one crippling disappointment after another. Oh, well. I guess I'll just go back to my couch and start over with season one. At least I have that cling to.

Anonymous Trained Assassin

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Currently Listening


The Strike Defined

Some interesting tidbits concerning the WGA strike...

John August, screenwriter of "Big Fish" and "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory", has written an enlightening explanation of why WGA members are on strike in Hollywood. If you're confused about the whole thing, read his blog post here.

Damon Lindelof, co-creator and executive producer of "Lost", has written an article titled "Mourning TV" for the New York Times about the future of television and how the strike will impact Hollywood in years to come. Read here.

Finally, Seth Worley has posted a video of The Office writers on strike outside of NBC. It's a must-see. View here.

As a writer, I understand the desire to be compensated for your work. Let's just hope both sides can come to an agreement soon. I don't know if I can wait much longer for "Lost" Season 3.

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Having heard that it was "one of the worst movies of the past ten years" from my brother and "excruciatingly bad" from others, I didn't go into Spider-Man 3 with high expectations. Having now seen the film, I wonder, did I see a different movie?

Yes, it has too many subplots and too many villains, and let's face it: two marginally fascinating villains like Sandman and Venom can't make up for one as complex or intriguing as Doc Ock, whose character made the second film one of the best comic book movies ever. But despite its shortcomings, I found Spider-Man 3 incredibly enjoyable. It's never boring, the action is as good as ever, and, most importantly, Sam Raimi keeps it about the characters.

At its heart, this is still a human story, and that's easier said than done for big budget Hollywood blockbusters (think about what happened to the "Pirates of the Caribbean" sequels). I admit, the scenes with Peter dancing down the sidewalk and doing a strange cabaret performance in a nightclub are a little goofy, but props to Raimi for dealing with real issues like pride, the sanctity of marriage, and forgiveness in a comic book movie that has no reason to be anything other than fun.

Spider-Man 3 may be a step down from the second film (the "Empire Strikes Back" of the trilogy), but it is not a bad film. For me, it proved there's still life in the franchise, and still good stories to tell, perhaps with better writers next time (Raimi and his brother Ivan wrote this one). I am also impressed at how visually consistent the three films are, and how they create a world that is believable and true on its own terms. Quibbles aside, that it an accomplishment.

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New Screenplay

I am really excited about a new screenplay I am working on with Tyler Torti. The first draft came really fast (about a month) and now we are jumping into rewrites. I can't say much about the story right now, except that it's an ensemble drama that takes place in one night. If all goes well, this will be my directorial debut. Let's hope some other people think it's as good as we think it is.

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What a brilliant show. What a shame no one watched. I rank this up there next to "Arrested Development" in "The Best Shows That No One Watched, Resulting In Their Being Canceled By Greedy Networks" list.

Ok, so this movie probably has too many subplots. And maybe it feels like a few different movies thrown together. And yes, Orlando Bloom's performance feels stiff and forced at times. But how can you not like this movie? It may be Cameron Crowe's worst film, but it's a beautiful failure.

I guess I'm on a Cameron Crowe kick these days. I'd forgotten how great "Almost Famous" is. Crowe has a way of making a movie feel like a genuine experience. Hats off, ladies and gentlemen.

Speaking of great shows dumped by greedy networks, Joss Whedon's sci-fi western "Firefly" is one of my personal favorites. I recently introduced it to a friend. The 90 minute pilot is pretty fantastic, considering how much ground they cover in just the first episode. Great stuff. I definitely recommend watching the show before seeing the movie spin-off, "Serenity".

In case you can't read the small text, this is the album "The Earth Is Not a Cold Dead Place" by the band Explosions in the Sky. These guys are amazing. It's instrumental, guitar-driven rock, and it plays like a soundtrack to your life.

More tiny text. This is Caitlin Cary and Thad Cockrell's "Begonias" album. Great songwriting. If you're into the country-folk thing, it's definitely worth a listen.

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Currently Reading

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Pan's HD

Oh yes. I'm excited about this. December 26th...

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I'm reading "The Alphabet Of Grace" by Frederick Buechner (pronounced Beekner) right now. Buechner has a way of articulating everything you thought was impossible to articulate about human existence. Here's one of my favorite passages:

"Beneath the face I am a family plot. All the people I have ever been are buried there - the bouncing boy, his mother's pride; the pimply boy and secret sensualist; the reluctant infantryman; the beholder at dawn through hospital plate-glass of his first-born child. All these selves I was I am no longer, not even these bodies they wore are my body any longer, and although when I try, I can remember scraps and pieces about them, I can no longer remember what it felt like to live inside their skin. Yet they live inside my skin to this day, they are buried in me somewhere, ghosts that certain songs, tastes, smells, sights, tricks of weather can raise, and although I am not the same as they, I am not different either because their having been is responsible for my being now. I am like a candle lit from a candle lit from a candle, as Gautama said, the traveling flame never the same and never different either. And buried in me too are all the people I have not been yet but might be someday - the Boston Strangler and St. John of the Cross, Heliogabulus and Dagwood Bumstead, Judas Iscariot and Robin Hood and Little Nell, all the lives not yet lived like promises not yet kept, dreams waiting for or dreading the possibility of being dreamed."

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Squash Casserole

Roger Ebert has written a timely article about the new trend of
displaying 4:3 images on 16:9 televisions. Thank you, Roger. It drives
me crazy too. You can read the article here.

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Yes, that's my daughter. She's HUGE. Hard to believe she's already 6 months old. See more at the Audrey Blissful blog and Whit and Jack's blog.

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There's some great stuff coming out soon on high def. My Christmas list is in a constant state of expansion!

Edward Scissorhands (Blu-ray) - Oct. 9

2001: A Space Odyssey, The Shining, A Clockwork Orange, Eyes Wide Shut, Full Metal Jacket (HD DVD, Blu-ray) - Oct. 23

Spider-Man Trilogy (Blu-ray) - Oct. 30

Ratatouille (Blu-ray) - Nov. 6

Cars (Blu-ray) - Nov. 6

Close Encounters of the Third Kind (Blu-ray) - Nov. 13

Die Hard Collection (Blu-ray) - Nov. 20

The Bourne Ultimatum (HD DVD) - Dec. 11

Harry Potter 1-5 Boxed Set (HD DVD, Blu-ray) - Dec. 11

LOST Season 3 (Blu-ray) - Dec. 11

Blade Runner 5-Disc Edition (HD DVD, Blu-ray) - Dec. 18

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