Thursday, June 25, 2009

Ryan sings Jesus loves me

It's Liam and Noel all over again . . .

Monday, May 11, 2009

Me and Hayward

There's no way my story is better than the one you're entertaining right now so enjoy.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Is Breaking Bad really that good?

You bet it is.

Narrative driven TV shows are not typically meant to imitate life. Sure, some are written from real life experiences, some are written from amazingly sharp imaginations, but in the end they are not designed to imitate real life.

However . . .

One show may be very close.

I, along with my good friend Alex, would like to make a case for the show Breaking Bad on AMC.

First off, Breaking Bad is not for everyone (This includes you mom); this show plays at a varsity level. The Hollywood Reporter sums up the premise:

A pathetic high school chemistry teacher named Walt White who -- upon learning he's dying of lung cancer -- chucks it all to become a crystal meth chef in a mobile lab with a perpetually irritated ne'er-do-well former student, Jesse, to make enough money to provide for his family after he's gone. That family includes a pregnant all-American blonde, and an adolescent son afflicted with cerebral palsy.

So, why would I encourage anyone to watch this?

Alex says:

1) Breaking Bad feels so real.

“Feels so real” In my mind this is the one of two key reasons that Breaking Bad is great. It does feel real at every step of the way. Actions and decisions are deliberate and logical. The show’s progression never stresses my suspension of disbelief.

But any show can do that. The key is to do so in an entertaining way.

The next key element is that the show, “goes there” in other words it moves it’s story’s plot points forward before the viewer might anticipate so. They surprise you therefore leaving events unpredictable.

The accomplishments of both these things are inherent in premise:

A high school chemistry teacher saddled with debt, a handicapped son, pregnant wife . . .

This is the “real” part.

. . . is diagnosed with terminal cancer and decides to start cooking and selling crystal meth in order to provide for his family after his inevitable demise.

This is the “goes there” part.

If you really think about all the great shows you are engaged in, the premise falls on logical decisions that are based on these two elements. That’s my thoughts anyway.

I say:

1) There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.

Walter is a man who has followed the straight and narrow all his life. He’s not very cool, yet very smart. He’s not a man’s man, yet has a wife loves him. He has tried to be a good person all his life, yet now has terminal cancer. He has worked hard to build a good life and now it’s all going to be taken away.

What did Walt do to deserve this?

This can be debated of course. However, Walt is at a breaking point and in the end decides to do the wrong thing for the right reason.

Rebel (break bad).

He decides to use his chemistry knowledge to cook meth under the premise of financially securing his family. Selfishly satisfying his rebellion and his responsibility. The thrill of breaking the law breathes excitement back into his life only to be brought down by the guilt and shame of his actions. His actions are slowly killing him from the inside out.

What makes this show work is that it isn’t glorifying what Walt is doing. It’s showing you what happens when you make decisions like this. These choices are nothing but destructive and deadly to your soul, family, and everything good you’ve worked for.

2) When you make the choice to rebel, you can't always control your consequences.

It is our human nature to imagine getting away with a wrongdoing. It's also in our human nature to imagine what consequence we "may" receive in order to judge whether the actual action is worth it. The flaw is that when we finally make the choice, the imagined plan of action assumed everything would swing in our favor. Real life denotes differently though and we all know it. This is what makes Breaking Bad feel so real.

When Walt decides to cook meth with his partner Jessie, Walt safely assumes he will only cook and never have to deal with the actual drug dealing. This is a way to justify maintaining his rebellion and responsibility. Unfortunately, his partnership with "dealer" Jessie forces Walt to become more involved alas becoming more endangered. There are more and more elements he can’t control which constantly make him rethink what he’s doing. The more he compromises on the side of his new venture, the deeper and deeper he becomes indebted to it. Now the line of right and wrong is blurred.

What makes this show so attractive is that it’s on the side of “doing the right thing”. Walt is not doing the right thing, but you long for him to make the right decision regardless of the consequences. Breaking Bad, for me, constantly encourages me to be honest and open. It constantly points to the importance of communication and trust. Lastly, it’s an indirect accountability partner, always telling me to choose the right path in life’s “fork in the road”.

Friday, February 6, 2009

5 things to bestow upon Ryan & Jack

Yes, baby #2 will be a boy. Woohoo! Of course I had a choice on what the sex was, I just chose boy so that Ogdens can slowly but surely dominate the world. Besides, look how awesome Doug and I are. . . well, look how awesome I am.

Anyway, I've been thinking about what's important to pass down to my two boys. Obviously they are smart, but good taste isn't always nature, sometimes it's nurture.

Here are some things I feel are important for them to learn in order to be on the road to awesomeness.

1)Good Gin

Beefeater's will not cut it. My sons will drink good gin and like it. Besides, it's good with tonic or cheerios.

2)Criterion Films

And none better to start with than Seven Samurai. Seven Samurai is one of the greatest samurai films of all time, if not one of the best films of all time. Thanks to Criterion, I can show my sons real cinema like L'avventura, 8 1/2, Wages of Fear. Ryan and Jack will be so snobby that when their friends ask them if they've seen Star Wars episode I, my sons will punch them in the face, no questions asked.


The greatest band there is. How could my sons ever learn to be rockstars if they don't listen to Oasis? Well, I'm a good dad so I will teach them to be supersonic.

4)The Bible

You may think to yourself "What does the bible have to do with the other three on the list?" Well, they don't really. I believe that nobody can be a real man (or be saved) unless they read and understand this book.

5)Stephen Colbert

Politics can be real ugly and eventually my sons will be old enough to make decisions on their own. Navigating through what's right (Colbert) and what's wrong (Rush, Hannity, Beck) can be tricky. It's important to teach them that if someone disagrees with their political view, that someone is wrong.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Define Irony

Vicki Christina Barcelona & Fireproof may not make for the best double feature.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Sunday, January 11, 2009