>Some Nice Things I’ve Missed #1: Wishful Drinking With John Cazale and Billy Zane During the Summer Wars

>Some Nice Things I’ve Missed is the name of a Frank Sinatra album from the mid-70s that I recommend tracking down if you want some head-scratching lulz. The Voice covers “Bad Bad Leroy Brown” and “Sweet Caroline” on it, and his enunciation of “Swe-e-t Caroline!” is, as the SPL would say, exquisite. I’m pretty sure there’s a cover of “Hotel California” on there, but don’t quote me on that.

Some Nice Things I’ve Missed is also the name of a new feature on this blog, read by all of nine people. It’s not to be confused with Some Nice Things You May Have Missed, which is where I share links from other places written by myself, or by people I dig. Since I’m an egomaniac who needs to be told what people think of him in order to function, that one will probably be mostly links to other things I’ve written.

If you’ve been reading this blog, you know that I review films from time to time. The idea of keeping track of my thoughts on every new movie I’ve watched this year is a fun one, but I’m not going to write full reviews of every single one. So when I have a back-log going, I’ll throw one of these up with a paragraph or two and maybe a picture. For this entry, I’m not going to list the year or directors, because I don’t want to work that hard.

Upwards and Onwards With The Arts…

SUMMER WARS

This animated film from Japan might not be the first great film of 2011, but it’s the first really, really good one. Set in a near-future where a Facebook-Second Life hybrid named Oz controls most daily systems, including banks, trains, aeroplanes, and nuclear weapons, the film is a little bit Terminator, little bit War Games, little bit The Wizard, whole bunch of fun. All of those films I mentioned were from the 80s, and that’s what the movie felt like — one of those high-stakes adventure movies I loved when I was a kid. It moves, but it leaves time to breathe. It has a great big heart, and is gorgeous to look at. The scenes within Oz are a marvel, and my only complaints are that the “real world” sequences often can’t compete visually. That, and the film does feel a tad long in spots, but it sticks the landing and offers a suspensful climax. I find myself thinking about this often, and if I had kids that were 10-13, I’d take them to see this.

WISHFUL DRINKING

Rather than being a straight-up filming of Carrie Fisher’s one woman show, this film incorporates elements from Fisher’s films as well. I’m sure the clips from Star Wars (which I was surprised they got) and Postcards from the Edge, among others, were shown on the screen projected behind Fisher if you saw this live. Enough about the production values, because this is a very funny little movie. Carrie Fisher’s like Kevin Smith before he lost his mind — I could listen to her talk and tell stories for hours. Only bad thing about this one: No stories about her career as a Hollywood script doctor or writing for the Oscars.

I KNEW IT WAS YOU

A short documentary about the late lamented actor John Cazale, which is only short by virtue of the fact that the dude was only in five movies, but five great movies — the first two Godfather pictures, Dog Day Afternoon, The Conversation and The Deer Hunter. Deer Hunter is the only one I haven’t seen, but I SHOULD. It’s also one of those movies I’m waiting to see for the first time on the big screen. Anyway, Cazale. This was a nice little documentary. Long time readers/friends/people who know me know that I tend to judge documentaries about the movie biz or people in the movie biz by the quality of the stories that are told within. This has some great, great stories, and if anything, you get to see Meryl Streep talk about being in love with John Cazale and being with him through the cancer that killed him. Next up: Raul Julia documentary plz.

TALES FROM THE CRYPT: DEMON KNIGHT

Billy Zane is a national treasure, and he is at his most Billy Zaniest in this movie. You also get a side of William Sadler, Dick Smith, and Thomas Haden Church, some pretty decent gore effects, and although it’s hampered by this complicated bullshit mythology, I found this to be a very enjoyable movie to watch while taking breaks from cleaning the apartment. Liked it quite a bit. Kind of want to watch it again. Enjoy writing like James Ellroy. I’ll say it again. Billy Zane. National treasure. Get on that, Kennedy Center Honors.

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