What The 4th Of July Always Sounds Like (To Me)

Earlier this week, I mentioned John Philip Sousa's unmatched compositional contributions to the sounds of the Fourth of July. So I suppose now's the ideal time for me to admit that despite the almost-relentless performance of his "Stars and Stripes Forever," the sound that I will always associate with today's holiday is not "SaSF." Or any other Sousa march.It's Aaron Copland."Rodeo" comes to mind, as does "Billy the Kid," "Our Town," and "The Red Pony" -- all works that pop into my head w … [Read More...]


Today’s Streaming Suggestion? “The Secret of Roan Inish”

Last year, I went hunting for a holiday-appropriate film to recommend, and thought that Frank Capra's mythical Mr. Smith Goes to Washington fit the bill quite nicely.This year, I'd fully intended to do something similar. But then I stumbled across a film I've been waiting to recommend for (literally) years, so you're going to have to excuse me and my giddy excitement long enough to learn that The Secret of Roan Inish is finally streaming somewhere. On NETFLIX INSTANT, to be precise.And it … [Read More...]


Gearing Up For The 4th With America’s March King

There are few names as inextricably linked with the Fourth of July as that of John Philip Sousa. Even those for whom the name means nothing will almost certainly recognize his "Stars and Stripes Forever" after only a few bars. That piece will be playing on a loop from now 'til Sunday morning. (It's the National March, you'll recall, so the ubiquity should not surprise anyone.)As I headed into town earlier today (to pick the boys up from Shakespeare), I was pleased to hear a nice piece on NP … [Read More...]


Sometimes Baseball Is Just Too Hard, Even For the Pros

Hey, I can TOTALLY do that, you guys! Where's my contract, Tampa Bay?There's something wonderfully encouraging about watching professional baseball players do incompetent things; things that make them look ...well...as incompetent as I look pretty much every time I play. "Oh, yeah? You think I'm bad? Well, you should see Ronald Belisario!"In fairness to Mr. Belisario, throwing an intentional ball is always harder to execute than one might expect. You spend a lifetime training yourself to … [Read More...]


SSF: “Every Star”

As someone who moved to a place with quite a bit of light pollution (Cheek by Jowl SoCal) to one with very little (Big, Beautiful, and Pretty Near Empty Wyoming), this simple but lovely little short really hit me between the eyes. (There are plenty of metaphorical reasons to like it, I suppose. But I was mostly just responding to the literal ones, which is pretty much always my first instinct.)In everyone’s heart, there lives a little boy and his star. The story taken place between cities and … [Read More...]


SVS: “Shaolin Soccer”

After a hectic day of Full-Blown InterWebbing, I feel like something mindless is what I want tonight. And I'm probably not alone.I'm not going "mindless" like Transformers IV, though. I'm worn down (and out), sure. But I'm not cruel.  And watching that one won't be good for what ails you; it'll just make you feel worse.Instead, I'm going with Shaolin Soccer, which is currently streaming on NETFLIX INSTANT, YOUTUBE($), AMAZON INSTANT($), and SOME OTHERS. And which is "mindless" not becaus … [Read More...]


The Perfect, Perfectly Understated Dolly Zoom in Pixar’s Ratatouille

This post's about something that first came to my attention almost a year and a half ago, so it's not exactly timely. But it's so cool, I haven't been able to get it out of my head. And so, just in case there are some who missed the bandwagon last February, I'm going to mention it again.As any number of friends who are (foolishly) willing to watch films with me can (sadly) tell you, I'm a bit obsessed with dolly zooms. Basically, I'm like Dug in Up. Except I get … [Read More...]


Music For When It’s All Just A Bit Too Much

The Internet can be a demoralizing place. So much sadness; so much anger; so many people worked up about so many things. Sometimes, it all just feels like too much. Sometimes, you just need to escape.For me, "escape" usually means movies. But sometimes, I just need a quick fix. And then, it's music that does the trick.If you're in the "Today's Just Too Much" camp with me, here's a little something to help. Crank up the volume. Put on some good headphones (if you've got 'em). And maybe eve … [Read More...]


My Most Powerful Memory of Mr. James Horner

My job ... is to make sure at every turn of the film it’s something the audience can feel with their heart. Today is a sad day for film fans and soundtrack lovers everywhere. James Horner, one of film music's modern legends and The Man Who Scored The 90's, is gone.Details are still a bit sketchy, but here's The Hollywood Reporter:View image | gettyimages.comJames Horner, the consummate film composer known for his heart-tugging scores for Field of Dreams, Braveheart and Titanic, for … [Read More...]


SSF: “The Mountain King”

This one's timely, right? An animated reflection on the ways we influence and are influenced by the environment around us, and a reminder that our behavior towards Creation says a great deal about us as humans.Also, there are giants. ... Yep.OK, fine. So saying it's timely is probably a bit of a stretch. But it's a fun piece all the same.From creator Brandon Wu:A selfish king must learn humility in a land populated by giants.Of particular note (for me): The way comp … [Read More...]