Carl T. Holscher fights for the customers.

Category: Movies & TV (Page 1 of 2)

Refreshment Center

Described by my wife as “Peak Carl.”

I am laying in bed watching 75 minutes of drive-in movie ads and laughing my head off at some of them.

There’s a Dr. Pepper ad where men “ride horses” and it looks like they’re on pogo sticks (without the pogo sticks).

Lots of ads reminding me to go to church. So many hot dogs and children taking big bites of them. Popcorn. Coke. Popcorn. Dr. Pepper. Coke. Popcorn. Candy. Popcorn. Coke.

Pepsi. For those who think young.

There are a disturbing number of clowns. Especially early on. Not nearly as many racist animations or pictures as I feared.

So many car speaker and car heater ads and instructions on use. Bernz-O-Matic will allow this theatre to stay open all year. Do you have a drizzle guard? It will keep rain off your windshield. It will save your battery and wear & tear in your car. Don’t sizzle in a drizzle!

If you have information on drive-in speaker theft, report it for a $50 reward.

Lots of brands Toddy. Flips. Watch the Manley machine work it’s magic on Manley’s popcorn! Nepco Frankfurt. Flavos Shrimp Rolls. They’re Shrimply delicious! Deeds Bros. Dairy.

There was an ad decrying the horrors of Pay TV! Not enough people signed the petition to keep Free TV from turning into Pay TV!

One instance of pop-corn. And a final reminder to Vote. Tell your friends to study the records of all candidates and choose the best one!

I was disappointed to learn there is a drive-in theatre near where I grew up but somehow never learned about it as a kid. Possibly because a movie ticket was $5 and a $20 could buy you dinner, a movie and snacks.

It wasn’t until years later I learned the Family Drive-in was in Stephens City. I’ve now been a number of times and enjoyed it every single time. I can’t say watching these ads tonight made me nostalgic for the ads when I was younger. But I do dearly miss going to the movies.

Marshawn Lynch: A History

Compression, concision, velocity are my three watch words. And you could say that’s true of Marshawn as well.

Lynch: A History is a documentary about American Football player Marshawn Lynch.

I learned about it from Austin Kleon’s tweets this morning. I’d been aware of Lynch and his refusal to speak to the media, which I had never realized was part of the contract professional athletes sign. One day he stopped talking to them. Stopped giving interviews. Stopped playing into the professional sports game of things like we played hard out there or we didn’t do enough tonight to get the win. There’s so much utter nonsense about the interviews after games.

The team either won or they lost. There’s not a lot of deep thought that needs to go into why. They were outscored or they outscored the opponent. Done. Why do we need this “analysis” after the game? Why talk to the tired, sore and frustrated/pleased athletes after they performed for us?

It’s streaming on Kanopy, (likely available free through your local library), so I watched it this evening. Making a film about a man, but without the man himself must have been a challenge. When filmmaker (author and professor) David Shields approached Lynch he was told no, but they wouldn’t stop him from makin it. So the result is a video collage.

The result is almost jazz-like: pulling together more than 700 video clips and a handful of literary quotes, “Lynch: A History” forms a collage around the athlete that spirals out with greater and greater aims. The movie jumps quickly, sans narrator or an overt guiding hand, and yet it tugs its viewers through time, linking sports to mythology to biography to history and back.

Watching the film is like riding on Lynch’s shoulder as he twists and spins his way through blockers and kicks into high speed. It’s a frenetic ride that goes hard for 84 minutes without stopping to breathe. The collage is about race and athletes. The insistence that entertainment and politics should be separate by a vocal minority and how athletes (often black men) are told to Shut Up And Entertain.


With 700 clips, I hadn’t even considered the fair use implications of making this film. There would have been no way to get clearance (or afford it) to make this film, so as Shields had his lawyer on speed dial brevity was key. Use as little of a clip as possible. This exercise in artistic restriction shaped the film into the bruising ride it became. This film is an amazing balancing act.

And then a third thing for us — just sort of boringly but crucially — was just sort of fair-use considerations. I had my intellectual property lawyer on speed dial and he explained to us over and over again that it’s crucial that all clips be as brief as possible, and that they all be making a commentary, and that the cultural commentary be legible to so-called average viewer.


Two things I was curious about that while the film didn’t answer, subsequent stories about the film did.

Has Marshawn Lynch seen the film?

A couple of months ago I sent a vimeo link of the film to Marshawn’s entertainment agent, at the agent’s request, and now I asked Marshawn if he had watched it and what he thought; he said, “I wanted to hate on you, but I couldn’t, ’cause you did a good job with it.”

What’s up with the Skittles?

“You’re not just dating Skittles,” Waggoner told Lynch. “You love Skittles.”
“We intimate,” replied Lynch. “We done became one.”

His love started young.

It was during his prep years that his mother, Delisa Lynch, began giving him “power pills” — or Skittles — during games to keep his stomach settled.

I wish Lynch: A History would have gone deeper but without his participation, there was little chance of that. It’s an interesting project and a fascinating piece of art. I’m glad to have watched it and tells a story that needs telling.

Uncut Gems needs cutting.

Uncut Gems movie poster

I was skeptical about seeing this movie because it starred Adam Sandler. I took a chance on it because it wasn’t an Adam Sandler Movie. It had high scores on Letterboxd and I had seen a couple of people I follow online mention it was enjoyable.

I could say something about the plot. But it was unmemorable. Man makes series of extremely poor decisions. Outcome is as expected. I didn’t hate this movie for any of the reasons I was prepared to.

The Sound Mixing.

What happened? When mixing sound, the point is not to layer sounds upon sound upon sound and call it done.

When you have a room full of shouting people, layering all of those shouts and then adding music from your old Atari on top of that isn’t a good idea. It was so loud and discordant and painful to endure.

At one point there’s a fountain. You’ve seen fountains before, yes? They’re found outside office buildings as this one was. When you walk near it as the water flows through it, does it sound like a roaring ocean sweeping away everyone in the street? Perhaps you’ve awaiting The Rock’s appearance landing a Chinook on the corner? No? Then why did you make the fountain sound as if Sharknado was around the corner?

The best part though had to be a scene where our hero is hiding in a closet texting his love interest. And we are to believe the DING DING is not audible across the room. I’m pretty sure the people in the next theater over heard those texts coming in.

I don’t know exactly what it was about the sound (other than the volume turned up to 11) but I felt anxious the entire time. I spent the entire film fidgeting and crawling out of my skin. It was a painful, uncomfortable experience to sit through this film.

There were many shots in the film that… went… on… way… too… long… for no good reason. Here’s Adam Sandler walking away. There he goes… There’s a car driving down the road. Why? We needed to make this movie hit 2 hours 15 minutes. When it could have been 75-90 without losing anything.

Plot: Meh

Sound: OMG NO!

I have never enjoyed the silent elevator ride back to the lobby and silent walk across the street into the misty night after this aural assault.

WonkaPiercer – A Film Theory

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory is one of my favorite movies ever made. I voraciously read through every children’s book Roald Dahl wrote. The story of Charlie Bucket is one of my favorite stories.

The story of Snowpiercer is that of a post-apocalyptic train racing through a frozen world. The passengers of that train are the last remaining humans in a world frozen by humanity.

Are these two films related? Is Snowpiercer a sequel to Willy Wonka?

I don’t know (and neither do you) but it’s fun to think about. I will link two videos below. If you’re familiar with both films it will be a fun ride through a theory that is either completely true and compelling. Or a silly walk through finding correlations because you’re looking for them.

Why SNOWPIERCER is a sequel to WILLY WONKA AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY.
Snowpiercer = Willy Wonka Sequel? (Rhino Stew followup)

Choose Your Own Adventure Movie

I loved Choose-Your-Own-Adventure books as a kid. I would always keep a finger in the last page so I could go back when I died. Or was lost.

I always wanted a movie to change endings or give me a different experience as I went through it. I want to talk about a movie only to find other people had seen a different version of the same film. I thought about what it would be like to have an alternate ending shown at every X showings of the film. You watch a movie expecting the ending, only to have it change without explanation. Then on the next viewing, it would be back to normal.

28 Days Later had different endings. Some of which made it into theaters. But Bandersnatch completes the vision.

Black Mirror’s Bandersnatch is the realization of my childhood choose-your-own-adventure wishes.

Is it the best movie? No. Is there a lot of foreshadowing and winks to the audience in the narrative? Yes. Am I absolutely struggling to get back to a certain choice I’ve only found once and failed? YES!

I love following the story and choosing a separate path with each viewing. I am sure there are entire branches I’ve not seen yet and I want too. I am starting to pick up on clues. While I haven’t gotten a notebook out yet, I’m tempted to make notes on my various viewings. Of course, Redditors are already on the case. But I am not ready to have the answers handed to me. I want to live the story over and over again. I want to see what I can find on my own before I go looking to the hivemind for help.

I’m loving the experience on the iPad with headphones. It feels very intimate as I push Stefan through the world.

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