Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Post Oscar Thoughts - 2012

As you all should know, the Oscars were this past week. Yes, I did give a few of my thoughts on a facebook post, but I decided to go beyond that and dedicate a blog post to my thoughts about the Oscars now that they are over and I have had a bit of time to stew over the results. Giving out awards to movies is quite honestly a hard thing to do because it is one hundred percent opinion based. No matter what wins, someone is going to be upset because we all have different opinions. So of course I disagree with some of the decisions made. And in analyzing this, of course you are going to disagree with some of the stuff I say, so no need to make a huge racket about it. It's just my opinion. But nonetheless these are some thoughts I have about this year's Oscars. And no, I'm not going to go over every category because there are a lot of smaller categories that I don't pay attention to or don't know enough about to make a judgement on which movie was best in that category. Best makeup? Best Costume Design? Best Documentary? Yeah, I will just hit the bigger categories that are fun to talk about and discuss.

Best Picture- The Artist won this award. Most people knew it was going to happen. If there was one thing we learned at this year's Oscars it is that if you make a movie that is a tribute to movie history and you do it well, the Academy is going to love you. The Artist and Hugo both did that and they both took dominated the Oscars with a million nominations each and five wins each. The Artist is a black and white silent film and you really don't see those any more. The reason for that is obvious. A long time ago, they learned how to make movies in color and put sound and audible dialogue into movies. Most people take advantage of that technology. Now personally, I prefer this new technology of sound and color, but I think its a cool idea to take us on a trip down memory lane. I didn't grow up in the Silent film era, but with this movie I will have a little taste of what it was like to do this, so I don't really have a huge problem with this movie being commemorated, but I personally wouldn't have given it best picture. "But Adam, you haven't seen it yet. You can't say that." Ok, you got me there. I haven't had a desire to pay 8 bucks to see it. I'm waiting for the Dollar theater or RedBox. However, I don't envision myself changing that opinion after I see it. Yes, Black and White / Silent films are a huge part of movie history and its great that the Artist made a tribute to that, but I just don't personally enjoy those movies when I sit down and watch them. Yes, shoot me if you want,  but that's me. What movie would I have given the award to? Well, besides the Artist, I really think there were only three other movies that deserved the nomination: The Help, Moneyball, and Hugo. I think The Rise of the Planet of the Apes, The Warrior, and We Bought a Zoo are a few movies that deserved to be nominated instead of the likes of War Horse, Midnight in Paris, The Tree of Life, and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. Out of the movies nominated, Hugo is my choice. Now if I get to pick out of every movie from last year and not just the ones nominated, my personal choice is Warrior. The Warrior is a movie that due to a poor advertising campaign and poor time of release went completely under the radar, but it was fantastic.

Best Director- No, I'm not going to bore everyone by writing a big long paragraph about each category. Best Picture is the topic that's the most popular subject to talk about. Michel Hazanavicius won best director for the Artist. I would've given the award to Martin Scorsese for Hugo.

Best Actor-  With this award, given the actors nominated, I can't argue with the choice of Jean Dujardin from the Artist. That probably would've been my choice out of the five that were nominated. Brad Pitt and George Clooney are great actors that will get nominated every time they are in a movie it seems. And Gary Oldman is one of my favorite actors, so I can't dis on him. But I think there were some outstanding actors this year that stood out to me that didn't get nominated at all. I will name three. James Franco from Planet of the Apes, Tom Hardy from Warrior, and Matt Damon from We Bought a Zoo. With those names added, I give the award to Matt Damon. We Bought a Zoo was such an inspiring movie that Matt Damon did such a good job in. Now I've liked him in most every movie he's been in, but this performance solidified the fact that he may be my favorite actor.

Best Actress- Now I'm not sure why, but I don't think that this category was the strongest this year. Out of the movies I saw, I didn't leave the theater too many times with the overall impression that a certain actress in the movie did an amazing job. I think one movie that would change that idea is if I saw The Help. Don't know why I haven't seen this one yet. Viola Davis would be a safe pick if I was choosing. But I can't argue with Meryl Streep winning. She is a great lady and a great actress that has performed wonderfully in so many movies and yet doesn't have a lot of Oscars to show for it. Her winning may have been a lifetime achievement award, but she deserves it.

Best Supporting Actor- Here is a category that saw the Warrior's only nomination. Christopher Plummer got the nod for Beginners, but I think Nick Nolte deserved the win.

Best Supporting Actress- No argument here. A deserved win for Octavia Spencer from the Help

Best Original Screenplay- This is one that given the nominees, I would give to the Artist. Funny that in one of the categories that I would be fine with them winning is one that they didn't win. Now there were a lot of good screen plays, so I'm glad they didn't ask me to pick any nominees. I guess they decided that Midnight in Paris needed to win something.

Best Adapted Screenplay- Another category that maybe they thought that since the Descendants was nominated for 5 Oscars, they needed to win something. I'd probably give Hugo another win here. This is also a category that I would give Moneyball something. Poor Moneyball got nominated for 6 Oscars but won nothing.

Best Cinematography- Now this is a category I can judge. Hugo won this award and it was well deserved. The Cinematography was excellent. War Horse wasn't my favorite movie, but in terms of Cinematography, it was excellent as well and I actually would favor it just a touch more than Hugo in that category, but not by much.

Best Visual Effects- This one was a tough one to call. Harry Potter and Transformers were both nominated. The Planet of the Apes was nominated. Real Steel got nominated. Hugo got nominated and won. Any of these movies could've won and I would've been fine with that. Hugo's visual effects were stunning and so I have no problem with them getting the award. However, if I were forced to pick the movie that I think should've won, I would've gone with the Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Did you know that none of the apes in that movie were actual animals? They were all CGI. That is very impressive. I watched the movie without knowing that and when told afterwards I didn't believe it at first, but its true. That deserves an Oscar for visual effects in my eyes.

Best Original Score- You can look at my Best Picture category to get my thoughts on the Artist. There are several categories that I would be fine with them winning. This is not one of them. John Williams had two scores and both were fantastic. Hugo's score was great and was also nominated. I would've rather seen any of those three win. My pick would be John Williams War Horse score. The music in that was beautiful. I liked it so much that I sat in the theaters until the credits were over just because of the music. John Williams got robbed.

Best Original Song- Man or Muppet was a great song and I was happy it won. It was one of my favorite parts of the movie when Jim Parsons showed up to participate in that song. However, the thing I  wasn't happy with is that it only got one song to compete against. Surely the Academy could've come up with two or three more songs to nominate for this.

Best Animated Feature- When I saw Rango back in March I was blown away. I thought it was such a good movie and my immediate reaction was that it needs to win animated feature of the year. However, I was given opposition to this opinion because ever since Tintin was announced, everyone and there dog pretty  much had it marked down that it would win. When Tintin came out at the end of the year I saw it and thought it was good, but not as good as Rango. For that matter I thought Kung Fu Panda 2, Arthur Christmas, and Puss in Boots were also better animated movies. I prepared myself for the disappointment that would come if it won, because everyone was still sure it was going to win. Then the nominations came out. Tintin was left out and everyone was shocked. I wasn't expecting that to happen, but for once in my life the Academy agreed with me and disagreed with everyone else. Rango, Kung Fu Panda 2, and either Puss in Boots or Arthur Christmas were the movies I was hoping would get the nominations with Rango winning. That is exactly what happened and I am happy.

Best Editing / Best Art Direction / Best Costume Design / Best Makeup / Best Sound / Best Sound Editing / Best Foreign Language Picture / Best Documentary - Feature / Best Documentary - Short Subject / Best Animated Short / Best Live Action Short - 
I'm not going to deal with these categories. I'm sorry if that offends you

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Dating Advice

A while back I asked a question about dating on facebook. I got quite the epic reply from a friend named Becky that gives great advice to both boys and girls. I thought it was so insightful that I saved what she said and used it as a reference on multiple occasions. I have now decided to post it here for people to read. Enjoy:

WARNING: long and opinionated. If you don't want to know what Becky thinks, please pass by.

So here's a link to a facebook picture someone posted about a boy named Brad I went on a date with on my recent adventures in Texas. It would be impossible for me to "get the wrong idea" about this guy because he goes on a date every week! (Or more in his case.) 


I think obedience is always on our side, you guys learned this over and over on your missions, why should it be different now?Remember 1 Ne 3:7, when the Lord gives the commandment, if you are obedient, he always opens the way for you to achieve it. That doesn't make it easy, but it makes it possible! We cannot receive the full blessings of a commandment, or a promise from the Lord if we do not obey it to the very fullest. 

I don't know about you, but if I were chastised by my Stake President (aka the Man (or God) he represents) I would get my tail into gear as quickly as I could.

I also saw this example in my brother who got married only a year ago at age 29. He literally took a girl out each week for almost all of his young single adult life (minus his 2 years in Russia!) He is an incredible, talented and very handsome young man that most any girl would want to go out with anyway. And of course all the girls he asked out loved him and were falling for him (not only because he was so cool, but also because he was probably the only one asking them out), but he did not have the same problem as those who timidly, occasionally obeyed the commandment to date. 

Girls knew he was wonderful, and that THEY were worth something because a wonderful guy cared to ask her out, but they knew they were one of the dozens he had gone out with that year, so that awkward expectation for another date didn't always follow. (That wasn't true in every case, but in most cases it was, but that's just what comes with obedience. Ammon had to cut off peoples arms.) 

Both he and the girls were blessed. I saw him grow and be blessed in ways that those who are not obedient can never know because they didn't earn it. He also had a lot of pain and heartache, but he didn't give up!

Maybe what the Stake President is trying to teach is a principle that is above just the young men. Might I propose that dating is not for the Young Man alone, 

-but it is for every young woman who has never been asked out on a date ever.

-For those who have grown up in abusive situation and who need to gain faith that there are good men out there who will not physically or mentally abuse them. 

-For the girls who have ended relationships and afterward feel worse than dirt because they don't match up to the pornography their boyfriends have looked at. 

-For the girl that because of physical or health or family or money limitations, will never look as pretty or be as attractive as the "four or five girls in the ward that most guys want to go out with". 

-For the girl who realistically and painfully realizes she will probably never get married in this life. But that I believe deserves to have at least one happy memory of her young adult life before entering that ever lonely state. 

-For the new convert or the foreigner who has come here out of great expense with high expectations from a place with few or no other members and has been taught to marry another member in the Temple, but who cannot get a date because they are not the "physical or cultural ideal".

I have seen each of these situations while I have lived in this stake. I have heard the heart ache of many girls who, because they aren't perfect now, are passed by.

Might I suggest that dating isn't just about finding an eternal companion. It isn't about making us feel good. It is about making others feel good. Dating is a gift. It may be what we covenant to do in this stage of life. To bear one anothers burdens. To give those blessings to another. 

GIRLS this is just as pertinent to you. Let's say there are 50% of girls in a ward who routinely do not get asked out ever. I would say there are likely 50% of guys who for many various reasons do not routinely ask girls out. I know many who: 

-have been burned so badly by a terribly inconsiderate girl that the thought of trying again is so painful they are not willing to try. 

-Who are avoided like the plague, because they lack proper hygiene, social skills, experience, attractive clothing, a car, or good job or education prospects. 

-Who has a bad reputation because they hurt one of your roommates or friends.

-Who is so painfully shy that girls are not willing to make the effort it takes to get to know him. To meet him half way.

-Guys who are not aware of what they are doing to constantly drive girls away. 

-Who could do it if they just had a little sincere encouragement from someone he admired. 

What does it hurt to be kind and honest at the same time? What does it hurt to go out with someone YOU don't think will be your eternal companion? Just to reassure him that his efforts to be obedient are righteous and noble. How can we expect to be asked out on more dates when we aren't cherishing the dates we get, however goofy or awkward or not ideal to us they may be?How can we expect them to be obedient to their call if we are not encouraging and making effort to be available and asked out? How can we expect a guy to penetrate the ever-intimidating ever-thick roommate barrier--the girls who go everywhere in a cluster of gossip and giggles, making it hard to reach a girl alone for 2 minutes to ask her out--Why would a guy single you out of that knowing he will be talked about for the next 2 weeks? How can we expect to be attractive to a guy if we are not giving our very very all to be the very best us? What can we do to improve ourselves?How can we cast a blaming stone at a guy when we are guilty of the not-available or willing sin ourselves? 

I am striving to always be grateful for an invitation and a free meal!

Lets please all remember what sister Hales said to those girls in the elevator who eyed Elder Hales saying "I want to marry somebody just like you!" She said "Get your own! He wasn't like this when I married him." 

Sisters, men are boys, not apostles, when we find them (even if they don't know it at the time) We are the ones who help inspire them into what they can be. They need you. And they aren't perfect when first discovered. It requires finding a righteous, willing and obedient boy with flaws and perhaps no direction, and encouraging him to make good choices until he becomes what Elder Hales is today. Behind every good man is a solid, patient, loving, willing, incredible woman.We all know that guys can use some help. You may not be going on your dream date each week, but by accepting "less-than-ideal dates", you are helping some sister's future husband to gain courage and to be better prepared to love her. Shouldn't this be what dating is all about?

So why don't we start suggesting outings to guys of all backgrounds, not just those who are dreamy, but those who may never get the courage otherwise? You never know what might happen.

If any of you have sawed wood with a two-man saw (like on Legacy) you know that in order to go smoothly both sides pull when it is their turn. If you push the saw gets stuck. But in order to complete the task, it takes equal pulling effort on both sides of the saw.

So let's take Courage! Everyone! To do what we have to to be obedient to the commandment of dating.

One more note to guys:I went on a date while in the 77th ward. My first in several months. I was very grateful to be asked on a date and I did all I could to be helpful to him as he was hosting a large group of couples at his house. It was simple and fun, and I got to know him a little better. I was not necessarily super interested, but I would have gone out with him again. 

A few weeks after the date I got an email from him and at that time realized that I hadn't seen or heard from him since the date. He wrote about how uncomfortable he had been knowing that I was super interested and was reading too much into a simple date. 

I laughed out loud! 

That was not my intention at all! He was so paranoid that I liked him that he translated my "trying to be helpful and supportive" into being super interested.

Brothers, don't be paranoid! Chances are she doesn't have it as bad as you think. 

Remember, the Lord will prepare the way. 

To answer your question Adam, I think both our sisters and our Elders need to have a little more courage and a little more faith, and to do a little more pulling. :)

Monday, February 20, 2012

Top 30 Disney Songs

And by top 30 Disney songs, I mean it is the top 30 original songs from a Disney animated movie. I recently got into a discussion with some friends about this and that sparked an interest for me to create this list and post it here. This is all my opinion of course and you will learn that there are some Disney classics that for some reason I didn't really grow up watching, so if you feel I left something important off, that could be why. So of course, this is all a person opinion of mine based on my preference. I hope you enjoy. We'll start from number thirty and work our way down to number one. Here we go!

#30- A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes - Cinderella

#29- When You Wish Upon a Star - Pinocchio

#28- Mother Knows Best - Tangled

#27- Hakuna Matata - The Lion King

#26- Trashing the Camp - Tarzan

#25- Savages - Pocahontas

#24- I Will Go Sailing No More - Toy Story

#23- Belle - Beauty and the Beast

#22- Friend Like Me - Aladdin

#21- I Just Can't Wait To Be King - The Lion King

#20- Not in Nottingham - Robin Hood

#19- Go the Distance - Hercules

#18- Be Our Guest - Beauty and the Beast

#17- Oo-de-lally - Robin Hood

#16- Perfect World - The Emperor's New Groove

#15- Just Around the River Bend - Pocahontas

#14- Zero to Hero - Hercules

#13- Circle of Life - The Lion King

#12- You've Got a Friend in Me - Toy Story

#11- The Bare Necessities - The Jungle Book

#10- Gaston - Beauty and the Beast

#9- Prince Ali - Aladdin

#8- Under the Sea - The Little Mermaid

#7- I See the Light - Tangled

#6- Be Prepared - The Lion King

#5- Can You Feel the Love - The Lion King

#4- A Whole New World - Aladdin

#3- Beauty and the Beast - Beauty and the Beast

#2- Colors of the Wind - Pocahontas

#1- You'll Be in My Heart - Tarzan

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Julian Smith - Kidnapped - Explanation

Just this past week, Julian Smith, a YouTube sensation, just completed a short series of six episodes called Kidnapped. Now Julian Smith a while back did a similar thing where he got kidnapped by a character named Gabriel and the whole thing was a way to get Julian Smith more subscribers because Gabriel said he would execute Julian if he didn’t get a certain number of subscribers by a certain time. Now I don’t have a problem with that. I think it’s a fun way to hit a milestone with subscribers. Now when he started this second Kidnapped season, I thought it was the exact same thing. And from the first five episodes, there was no reason to question that theory. However, the sixth and final episode threw a huge curveball into that. After watching that episode for the first time, it confused me a whole ton. But after re-watching the whole series again last night and a few other Julian Smith videos that tied in with it, it all connected and I think it is one of the coolest things that Julian Smith has ever done. The thing that made it unique was that usually Julian Smith videos are just clever, fun, and don’t require much effort in thinking about what happened in the video. This one is the exact opposite. It is a lot more serious and causes you to really think about what happened.

Now, if you watched this video beforehand and are just coming here for an explanation, then that last paragraph was probably redundant to you, but thanks for enduring that while I give that introduction to those reading this without having known anything about the video. Meanwhile, if you haven’t seen this, I recommend that you stop reading this blog post and go watch the series first. While you are at it, I recommend checking out his other videos as well. They are all really good. My purpose here is to give my explanation of what happened in this series for those confused after watching it. So let’s jump in. Warning, there are spoilers ahead.

So to understand a little bit of background, the video you need to watch his “You in Five Minutes” video. That explains the idea of the box. Once Julian touches the box, a clone of him is created. Whether or not this was Julian’s intent when he originally made the “You in Five Minutes” video is a debate for another time, but either way, this is the direction he decided to go with it for this series. So the jist of what happens is that Jeffrey calls Julian and warns him that Gabriel is coming. Julian is alarmed and gets up and packs his things. In the process of this, he finds the box and picks it up and when he does a clone of him is created. After this happens, the real Julian barely escapes and Gabriel comes and kidnaps Julian’s clone and not him. So if we re-watch the first episode of the series, we are seeing things from the Clone’s point of view. In that episode, before he’s kidnapped we see he looks into a room and sees someone packing. That was the real Julian. So Gabriel thinks he kidnapped Julian but he never did. In episode two you see two of Julian’s friends walk up and say they are looking for Julian because they were planning on making a movie. Gabriel makes up a bunch of excuses and the clone yells that he is in the shed. The two friends walk away and it appears as if they give up on looking for Julian, but we find out that they end up finding the real Julian and start shooting a video. That’s why at the end of episode six, Julian is walking through a movie set. You’ll notice both of the friends there in that scene as Julian is walking through as well as Donnivin, who Julian typically uses in his videos. Throughout the series you see Gabriel talking to a mysterious somebody who hired Gabriel to kill Julian. That somebody tells Gabriel that he is weak and can’t do it, but Gabriel is angered by this and goes through with it and drowns Julian in a pool. Or so he thinks. Once again, it is the clone that he drowns and after it is done you see that the real Julian walks away from it. After quite the epic finale song through the credits, we learn that it was Mr. Timn who hired Gabriel to kill Julian.

So with this in mind, watch the series over again, especially that final episode and prepare yourself to be amazed at Julian’s brilliance in the whole thing. So that is all from me. If I missed anything that you noticed, feel free to chime in. I would love to learn anything else that I may have missed.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Chuck Norris Jokes

Leading hand sanitizers claim they can kill 99.9 percent of germs. Chuck Norris can kill 100 percent of whatever he wants.

Chuck Norris's calendar goes straight from March 31st to April 2nd; no one fools Chuck Norris.

Chuck Norris's tears cure cancer. Too bad he has never cried.

Chuck Norris counted to infinity - twice.

Chuck Norris does not sleep. He waits.

Chuck Norris can speak braille.

When you spell Chuck Norris wrong on Google, it doesn't say, "Did you mean Chuck Norris?" It simply replies, "Run while you still have the chance."

Chuck Norris can do a wheelie on a unicycle.

Chuck Norris once won a game of Connect Four in 3 moves.

Once a cobra bit Chuck Norris's leg. After five days of excruciating pain, the cobra died.

Chuck Norris died ten years ago, but the Grim Reaper can't get up the courage to tell him.

When the Boogeyman goes to sleep every night, he checks his closet for Chuck Norris.

Chuck Norris can delete the Recycling Bin.

Chuck Norris can slam revolving doors.

Superman owns a pair of Chuck Norris pajamas.

If it looks like chicken, tastes like chicken, and feels like chicken, but Chuck Norris says it's beef, then it's beef.

Giraffes were created when Chuck Norris uppercutted a horse.

Chuck Norris can punch a cyclops between its eye.

Chuck Norris doesn't do push-ups, he does world-downs.

When Chuck Norris gives you the finger, he's telling you how many seconds you have to live.

Chuck Norris is the only person on the planet that can kick you in the back of the face.

Death once had a near-Chuck-Norris experience.

Chuck Norris can strangle you with a cordless phone.

MC Hammer learned the hard way that Chuck Norris can touch this.

Chuck Norris can build a snowman out of rain.

The reason newborn babies cry is because they know they have just entered a world with Chuck Norris.

When Chuck Norris enters a room, he doesn't turn the lights on, he turns the dark off.

Chuck Norris once had a heart attack; his heart lost.

The only time Chuck Norris was wrong was when he thought he had made a mistake.

Brett Favre can throw a football over 50 yards. Chuck Norris can throw Brett Favre even further.

Chuck Norris knows the last digit of pi.

Chuck Norris can play the violin with a piano.

The quickest way to a man's heart is with Chuck Norris's fist.

Chuck Norris doesn't get wet, water gets Chuck Norrised.

Prisons don't keep society safe from criminals, they keep criminals safe from Chuck Norris.

Voldemort can't die because Chuck Norris is his horcrux.

Santa delivers presents because Chuck Norris goes north for Christmas.

The real reason Hitler killed himself is because he found out that Chuck Norris is Jewish.

Chuck Norris can light ants on fire with a magnifiing glass, at night.

Chuck Norris once heard nothing can kill him so he tracked down nothing and killed it.

Chuck Norris doesn't play hide and seek, he plays hide and pray I don't find you.

Chuck Norris once shot someone, with a knife.

Chuck Norris can punch you so hard your blood will bleed.

Chuck Norris threw his first paper airplane when he was 4; it just landed yesterday.

The devil once sold his soul to Chuck Norris.

Chuck Norris is why Osama Bin Laden is hiding.

Osama Bin Laden once feared Chuck Norris was after him so he changed his name to Waldo.

Chuck Norris tried to shave his beard and the razor broke.

Chuck Norris can divide by zero.

Chuck Norris received his driver's licence at the age of 16 seconds.

If you have five dollars and Chuck Norris has five dollars, Chuck Norris has more money than you do.

The first man on the moon wasn't Neil Armstrong, it was Chuck Norris.

Chuck Norris's birthday is February 30th.

Chuck Norris knows Victoria's secret.

Chuck Norris can draw a four-sided triangle.

The only reason Justin Bieber is still alive is because Chuck Norris doesn't hit girls.

Chuck Norris doesn't travel at the speed of light, light travels at the speed of Chuck Norris.

Twitter follows Chuck Norris.

Chuck Norris is the reason why the dinosaurs are extinct.

At age 5, Chuck Norris's mother gave him a toy shovel; he then gave the world the grand canyon. 

Chuck Norris can drown a fish.

Chuck Norris can believe it's not butter.

Tornadoes have Chuck Norris warnings.

Chuck Norris can eat soup with chopsticks.

Chuck Norris once peed in the gas tank of a semi-truck. That semi-truck is now known as Optimus Prime.

When Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone, he had two missing calls from Chuck Norris.

Who would win a fight between a jedi and a ninja? The answer should be obvious by now. The only possible winner between a jedi and a ninja is Chuck Norris.

Chuck Norris played in Star Wars...he was the force.