So There’s an Extra During the “Kubo and the Two Strings” End Credits

Kubo and the Two Strings!

Animation so accomplished, even the characters can’t help staring at each other in awe.

One of my long-standing rules here on Midlife Crisis Crossover is that every movie I watch in theaters gets its own entry. The results aren’t a formal review so much as they’re a brick-by-brick deconstruction to cherry-pick which parts I’m interesting in recording my thoughts about for my own future archival purposes, stitched together with just enough exposition and summation for any MCC readers interested in following along even if they haven’t seen the movie in question.

Said subsection of readers isn’t what it used to be. I realize the format is odd and amateurish in some respects, and it’s not lost on me that the movie entries receive far fewer Likes from other WordPress users than our travel photo galleries do. But part of the grand MCC experiment is facilitating my itch to write and express myself, hoping anyone else out there finds kernels of usefulness in my indulgences, and not wallowing in self-loathing second-guessing whenever they don’t. It’s been one of the tougher aspects of the blogging process to grapple, and I think I’m thiiiiis close to nailing it.

I saw Kubo and the Two Strings over a month ago but kept procrastinating its entry because I worried the results would be a 1000-word stream-of-consciousness brainstorming session of every complimentary adjective Roget ever catalogued. And if there’s one opinion above all that I’ve acquired after 4½ years of writing about theatrical releases, it’s that I’ve grown to hate adjectives as a word class. Rather than risk abolishing the long-standing rule mentioned in paragraph one, I can either stick to my commitment or find something else to write about between travel entries.

Soooo who wants to see me typing lots about the week in politics?

…okay, then: Kubo!

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Top 10 Best Scientific Inaccuracies in “Interstellar”


The stars of Zero Dark Thirty and Gone Baby Gone spent months crafting an accurate portrayal of apocalyptic farm life.

[Courtesy Spoiler Warning. Plot points ahead.]

So you and your friends have turned Interstellar nitpicking into your new favorite spectator sport? You say you’re not content with forgiving the movie its flaws, or with engaging in the more challenging activity of brainstorming reasons why they’re maybe not flaws? Or you’re possibly dissatisfied because Christopher Nolan’s new movie barely passes the Bechdel test and only scores 1/3 on the Blackdel Test. (The latter is of course rarer and tougher, requiring a movie to contain (1) at least 2 black characters (2) who talk to each other (3) about anything except race. And a 1/3 is an amazing score compared to most other major-studio films.)

Internet users have had no shortage of axes to grind over the movie, and it’s telling that Interstellar has pulled in over $120 million at the U.S. box office without winning the #1 position in its first three weeks of release. It’s on track to become Nolan’s lowest-grossing film since The Prestige, possibly because everyone has been quick to dissect it and find faults since it doesn’t meet their narrow expectations of what a film about spaceflight should look like. Or everyone’s still bitter about The Dark Knight Rises. Hard to say.

Personally, I liked what Interstellar tried to do and appreciated what it accomplished, even if it may not become The Film That Saved NASA. I embraced it despite its problems, theorized why some viewers may have been overthinking it, and thought that some of its errors, omissions, and outrageous fallacies were actually pretty cool.

From the Home Office in Indianapolis, IN: Top 10 Best Scientific Inaccuracies in Interstellar:

10. Tom eating a giant dust burrito and exclaiming, “Mmmmm, farm-to-table dust!”
9. The tap-dance shoe-clicking in Anne Hathaway’s zero-G musical number
8. McConaughey insisting he needs to lose forty pounds
7. The ship slingshots around the black hole and reappears in the Enterprise‘s 1986 humpback-whale tank
6. Waterworld suspiciously free of the wreckage of Kevin Costner’s career
5. Reciting the same poem three times somehow does not summon the ghost of Dylan Thomas
4. Fifth Dimension ruled by a black gay female Mr. Mxyzptlk
3. Rocket fuel magically synthesized from used copies of Failure to Launch
2. Matt Damon in a movie without top billing

And the number one Scientific Inaccuracy in Interstellar:

1. God appears to the crew; reveals His true name is Oscar Consideration.

“Interstellar”: Space Enough at Last


“Hey, kids! Wanna journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imagination?”

Not all of Christopher Nolan’s films are five-star masterpieces (here’s nodding off at you, Dark Knight Rises), but the foundation of new ideas that underpin each production guarantees we’re in for a unique cinematic experience rather than prefab Hollywood conveyor-belt product. Witness the debate-class spectacle that is Interstellar — one-half homage to 2001: a Space Odyssey, one-half admitted love letter from Nolan to his daughter bearing messages of hope, curiosity, science, human achievement, and the strength of intangible, immeasurable bonds that keep us connected even when we’re parsecs apart.

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My Labor Day Weekend 2014 TV Marathon Report

Peter Dinklage!

Tyrion Lannister wishes you would go away.

I’m grateful every day to have a job that observes the largely superfluous privilege of Labor Day. I spent most of the weekend recovering from “con crud” and saving up energy and money for future chores and exploits. It was nice to have the time and excuse to make headway into my infinite viewing pile — with my wife’s blessing, no less. I’ll make a point of mowing the lawn some other week, just for her.

The weekend’s results, in no particular order:

* The Station Agent (Netflix): Before Game of Thrones, and slightly before his winning scene in Elf, Peter Dinklage starred in this 2003 indie, a low-key character piece about a railroad enthusiast who retreats to small-town New Jersey after his best friend dies and his model-train hobby shop is sold off. His attempts at hermitage are thwarted daily as life pushes other people into his path — a happy-go-lucky food-truck runner (Bobby Cannavale), a separated wife and grieving mother (Patricia Clarkson), a teen librarian with a secret (frequent Oscar nominee Michelle Williams), an unassuming young black girl, the backwater citizens who mock his stature, and Mad Men‘s John Slattery in a bit part as a disgruntled husband. Dinklage barely talks, letting his doleful gaze speak or deflect for him, but he slowly emerges from inner captivity as the tracks are laid for new connections to new friends, each overlooking the others’ outward differences and recognizing their inner wounds.

Right this way for the rest of the viewing schedule…

Yes, There’s a Message After the “Dallas Buyers Club” End Credits

Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers ClubOlder fans of Matthew McConaughey’s spate of ’90s romantic comedies may be in for a shock when they walk into Dallas Buyers Club and see him playing Christian Bale’s character from The Machinist. He and costar Jared Leto (both radically transformed and up for Oscars this year) underwent severe weight loss for their roles in this based-on-a-true-story underdog drama that’s one part can’t-we-all-just-get-along and four parts sticking-it-to-The-MAN.

About that Best Picture nominee…

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