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On the Road

I used to love flying. As a child, I used to count down the days until the next plane trip. I used to love staring out the window at the clouds as we flew over them, leaving a whole world below us. It made me feel so free. I even wrote a story about the man that grew from that little boy who loved to fly.

I’m still a window-seat guy, but flying has become little more than something I do. It’s just part of the routine. I’m home for a few weeks, then it’s back to the airport and on to the next gig. Don’t get me wrong, I like what I do and I still enjoy flying. I love to travel and never dread the next trip, it’s just that flying has lost most of the magic.

I just finished watching Up in the Air and found myself identifying with George Clooney’s character. I don’t have near the miles he does, I fly almost exclusively domestic, but something about his routine rang true with me. I think that’s where the magic of flying went. It became routine. I guess that’s what growing up is, finding your routine. It’s kind of sad really, life can be little more than finding your place in line. I think that was also the point of the movie.

I fought it for a long time, the routine. I freelanced for 5 years after graduating college. Floating from gig to gig, never knowing where the next paycheck was going to come from, never knowing what the next day was going to offer. It was kind of exhilarating. My one constant for so many years was change; change of job description, change of venue, change of locale, I even moved to New York City with no solid job lead in sight. It was fun. Little by little, change became routine. It was just something I did.

Flying for me isn’t much different from driving anymore. I do both pretty regularly now. In both cases, you’re just trying to get to your next destination as quickly as possible so you can get to whatever it is you need to do. You do everything in your power to distract yourself from the mind-numbing process of long-distance travel. In both cases, the trip becomes one long blur with sporadic glimpses of real beauty.

Some of the most beautiful things I have ever seen have been through an airplane window. Some of the most beautiful people I’ve ever met I met on the road. There’s nothing quite like driving by the St. Louis arch right as the sun is setting. There’s nothing quite like flying over a sprawling metropolis in the dead of night and watching it light up below you on the 4th of July. Yet, sadly, the more I travel, the longer the blurs become and the glimpses of real beauty are even more sporadic.

It seems that this is just what happens as we get older. We find our routine and the blurs get longer and longer. The next thing we know, we’re 40 or 50 years old and wondering where the time went. Mid-life crises are nothing more than us realizing our blurs have gotten too long and it’s time for a little more beauty in our lives.

In Up in the Air, Clooney’s job is to fire people for companies that don’t want to do it themselves. His main method of easing the pain of job-loss is to help them make the loss a wake-up call, to snap out of their routine and re-focus on their dreams. I think that was the whole point of the movie. Everyone needs to break their routine more often and remember their dreams. We need to stop and take the time to see the beauty in our lives. It’s a little cliche, but I think it’s become a cliche because of how easy it is to get stuck. It’s crazy to think how many movies center around this very phenomenon.

This movie became a wake-up call for me. I went full-time last year for the first time since college 5 years ago. In so doing, I’ve pushed away a lot of the things I enjoyed doing for things that needed to be done. I started making excuses like, “I’m too tired right now, I’ll do it tomorrow,” or “I’ve got more important things to do,” or most often, “I need to catch up on all my TV shows.” Work time was for work, and everything else was for resting and relaxing. That left no time for hobbies or work to further my dreams or develop my talents.

I’m not going to make any pledges in this post, I know myself too well for that. Just look at this site. There are pockets of consistent posts spread over the years, but the last post was much too long ago. I will be writing more, whether here or elsewhere, but the main point of this post was to process the thoughts I had after watching the movie. In college, I was required to keep a weekly “Film Journal” for a semester, where I was supposed to write about the effects any media had on me during the week; to process what I was viewing a little more actively.

At some point last year, I made a goal to do this again on this site. As this is the first one, you can see how well that goal went, but I do need to do this more. I need to quit pushing off the thoughts that race through my mind after viewing some movies or TV shows. I need to take the time to process them. I need to take the time to seek out the real beauty in my routine.

This Fall in Television

After the debacle that was Jay Leno trying to hang on to his talk show on NBC, they’re doing their darnedest to refill the 10pm time slot. That not only means a whole crop of new shows on NBC, but also a whole crop of other networks trying to jump on the opportunity. That means there could actually be some decent TV to watch in the next year. Here’s the new stuff to watch out for:


  • The Event (NBC) – Some dude looks for his missing girlfriend and ends up uncovering THE LARGEST COVER-UP IN US HISTORY!!!!1111!!!11!!! Look, it will probably be suspenseful and all that, but they’re going to drag you along all season long, giving you little bitty clues along the way just to reveal one tiny kernel of knowledge about this “event” at the end of the season. Then they’re going to drag you along for years until you finally lose interest, at which point they’ll have “the final season” where they frantically throw pieces together in a lame attempt to tie up all the loose ends they created over the years. It’s from the producers of 24, so people are going to watch it, but don’t say I didn’t warn you 6 years from now. Premieres Sep. 20, 9/8c
  • Chase (NBC) – See, they call it, “Chase” because she’s a US Marshall who “Chases” criminals. Watch Justified on FX or Hulu instead. Premieres Sep. 20, 10/9c
  • Lone Star (FOX) – Lamest. Title. Ever. A con man juggles identities. Premieres Sep. 20, 9/8c
  • Mike and Molly (CBS) – Another lame sitcom. As a general rule, I don’t watch anything with a laugh track. Premieres Sep. 20, 9:30/8:30c
  • Hawaii Five-Oh (CBS) – Same show, different decades. Think of it as CSI: Miami done as a buddy cop show. I’ll watch at least one episode. Premieres Sep. 20, 10/9c


  • Raising Hope (FOX) – The pool boy impregnates a felon. Parenthood ensues. Meh. Premieres Sep. 21, 9/8c
  • Running Wilde (FOX) – This is the story of Will Arnett as a rich playboy trying to woo Keri Russell, all told through the eyes of a 12-year-old girl. From the creator of Arrested Development, this one should be good.  Premieres Sep. 21, 9:30/8:30c
  • No Ordinary Family (ABC) – Julie Benz (Dexter) and Michael Chiklis (The Shield) have a pretty ordinary family. After some sort of accident, they get super powers. I’m not sure what to make of this one, but if it involves super powers, I watch at least one episode as a general rule. Premieres Sep. 28, 8/7c
  • Detroit 187 (ABC) – Another cop drama. One guess where this one’s based. Premieres Sep. 21, 10/9c


  • Undercovers (NBC) – JJ Abrams’ (Lost, Alias, Felicity) latest about a married couple that happens to be former spies. JJ Abrams could make a show about a pile of burning tires and I’d watch it at least once. I’ll be checking this one out. Premieres Sep. 22, 8/7c
  • Law & Order: Los Angeles (NBC) – Yup, another one. This one has Terrence Howard (Iron Man 1, Hustle and Flow). You can thank Jay Leno. Premieres Sep. 29, 10/9c
  • The Defenders (CBS) – Jim Belushi and Jerry O’Connell (Stand by Me, Jerry Maguire) play 2 Las Vegas lawyers who “play by their own rules.” If Jim Belushi and Jerry O’Connell don’t scare you away from this show, you’re in the wrong place. Premieres Sep. 22, 10/9c
  • Better With You (ABC) – Another family sitcom, another laugh track. Premieres Sep. 22, 8:30, 7:30c
  • The Whole Truth (ABC) – That guy from Northern Exposure and that girl from ER star in another lawyer drama. I couldn’t care less. Premieres Sep. 22, 10/9c


  • Outsourced (NBC) – A young, American call center manager is sent to India to train the very employees his company outsourced to. The movie was pretty funny, so the premise is good, I’ll give it one shot. Premieres Sep. 23, 9:30/8:30c
  • $#*! My Dad Says (CBS) – This one’s based on a book that’s based on a Twitter feed and stars William Shatner. I’d just follow the Twitter account if I were you. Premieres Sep. 23, 8:30/7:30c
  • My Generation (ABC) – The latest in High School/20-something soap operas, this one is based on the premise that a documentary crew followed a group of students in High School and then catches up with them 10 years later to see what they’re up to. I assure you, the shows a lot more fake than anyone at your High School was. Premieres Sep. 23, 8/7c


  • School Pride (NBC) – Another feel-good makeover show. This one gets students and faculty to rebuild their own schools. And they say TV never amounts to anything good. Premieres Oct. 15, 8/7c
  • Outlaw (NBC) – Jimmy Smits was a Supreme Court Justice until he quits and goes to private practice, then you get another Lawyer drama. Yay! Premieres Sep. 15, 10/9c
  • Blue Bloods (CBS) – Tom Selleck and Donnie Wahlberg are cops in NYC. I like this cast, but CBS has already given it the Friday night death-toll that NBC gave Southland once upon a time. Give it the fair shot CBS didn’t. Premieres Sep. 24, 10/9c
  • Body of Proof (ABC) – Something about a neurosurgeon and a car accident. I got bored halfway through the description. Premieres this Fall [no date yet, always a good sign]


  • Sunday Night Football (NBC) – It’s in no way a new show, but I’m putting it here so you remember to tune in to watch the Cowboys stomp all over the Redskins in the Season Premiere. Premieres Sep. 12, 8:15 EST

Noteworthy New Cable:

  • Boardwalk Empire (HBO) – Steve Buscemi stars in a Prohibition-era gangster epic based in Atlantic City. It’s written by one of the guys that did Sopranos and the pilot’s directed by Scorcese. Premieres Sep. 19, 9/8c
  • The Walking Dead (AMC) – Based on a graphic novel about a guy that wakes up from a coma after a Zombie Apocalypse, this show looks like a modern-day Western … with zombies. Does it get any better? Premieres in October
  • The League (FX) – It’s not new, but I came into this one late and I loved it. It follows a group of 30-something men that play fantasy football together. It’s a little bit crude, but most women won’t like it anyway, as they thing football and its fantasy spawn is the devil. Premieres Sep. 16, 10:30/9:30c
  • Conan (TBS) – It’s a long, painful story, but Conan O’Brien is now on cable, where he will be free to serve the comedy gods however it pleases him. If the last month or so of his stint on The Tonight Show was any indication, this is going to be the talk show to watch. Premieres Nov. 8

This Week in Movies – 9/7/10

Don’t worry, you didn’t miss anything last week. This week is even worse.

In Theaters:

  • Resident Evil: Afterlife – Milla Jovovich stars in a video game. You better believe they made it 3D.

Last Week:

  • Machete – Moments of glorious gore spattered across a lame plot line.
  • Going the Distance – “I’m a Mac” is in a long-distance relationship with the little girl from E.T. I liked one of the guys in the trailer, but Drew Barrymore cancels out any positive this thing had going for it.
  • The American – It’s supposed to be a throwback to the old-style cinema starring George Clooney. Most reviews I’ve read say it’ll throw you right back to your pillow.

On Video:

  • Killers – Ashton Kutcher is a secret agent man. It also stars Katherine Heigl. That’s 3 strikes.
  • MacGruber – Probably your best chance at something decent to watch this week, but that’s not saying much. Be warned, it’s supposed to be pretty crude.

Last Week:

  • Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married Too? – His movies will always be successful, I will always wonder why.
  • Marmaduke –  A live-action talking dog.

Recently Watched

As stated in the post below, I wanted to start keeping tabs on the movies I’ve seen as friends are constantly asking for movie recommendations. They will consist of short, one or two-line reviews to supplement the movies I feel warrant further analysis (this will also help my lazy butt stay a little more current with my reviews). Anywho, they can be found by clicking “Recently Watched” in the title bar above, or by clicking here.

As always, let me know if there’s anything else you’d like to see on this site in the comments below (I know, I know, everyone liked Favorite Video Friday, but it’s very time consuming. I’m trying to bring it back, but it may be a while still).

This Week in Movies – 8/25/10

We’re officially in the suck. There won’t be anything good coming out for a while, but here we go anyway.

In Theaters:

  • The Last Exorcism – All we can hope for during the movie dead season is a few good horror flicks. This movie brings no such hope.
  • Takers – It’s got Paul Walker, T.I., Chris Brown, and Hayden Christiansen. That’s 4 strikes. It also has Stringer Bell, but I assure you, this is not The Wire.
  • Avatar (Limited) – They brought it back to select theaters so the few shmucks like me who missed it in theaters the first time can finally give James Cameron their money. There’s still no 3D Blu Ray version, so if you want to see it as James Cameron intended, now’s your chance.

Watch these older movies instead:

  • Scott Pilgrim vs. the World – The director of Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz leaves Simon Pegg and Nick Frost behind to bring us a stylized comic action movie starring Michael Cera. I haven’t seen it, but I feel like I’m in his debt after he allowed me to bask in the glory of his first two movies. I’ll be seeing this one.
  • Piranha 3D – The B-Movie is back and in glorious 3D. This gimmick of a movie is what the gimmick of 3D was made for. That said, as with most B-Movies, expect lots of blood and gratuitous sex, violence, and nudity.
  • Salt – I figure if you have to watch a dumb action movie, it might as well be this one. Just don’t watch the Expendables, I’m begging you.

On Video:

  • The Back-up Plan – J-Lo. That’s all I have to say about this one.

It’s worse than I thought, there was nothing really worth watching that came out on video since my last post, so just use DrChocolates recommendations below if you must watch something. Or check out my other site, and watch something on  Netflix’s Instant Watch.

In other news, I’m thinking of keeping a list of all the movies I watch and my brief thoughts about each. I’ll post it somewhere on this site, so be on the lookout.