Blog Awards Round Up And The Mission Everyone Should Accept


Over the last couple of weeks I’ve managed to get not one, but TWO blogging awards! I’m always amazed to get just one, but two?! Holy guacamole.
The first award, The Creative Blogger award, comes from mlbradford. I love Brad’s site so it’s an honor to get an award from him.
The second award is The Blogger Recognition award courtesy of Elena. Elena has a great site filled with great insight into films and books. Please go check it out.
I’m going to cheat a little and nominate just five bloggers for the Creative Blogger award. The nominees are…
Reel Red Reviews
Back to the Viewer
Assholes Watching Movies
The Movie Review Dude

The (well, my) rules:

  • List 5 facts about yourself
  • Nominate 5 blogs


Mission Impossible: Rouge Nation
Praise Xenu! Tom Cruise has made another incredibly fun action movie. It’s a blast from start to finish. Is it believable? Hell no, but who cares? I loved Tom as always and his crazy stunts. It really does add something vital to the film knowing that he is actually doing them. But my favorite thing was Rebecca Ferguson. I watched her on The White Queen (I should really finish that show) a few months ago and fell in love with her then. She’s a great, very talented actress. And she’s a surprisingly good action star. It’s great to see more good, well rounded female characters in action films these days (this movie, Fury Road). I really like Ilsa because while she is sexy and beautiful those qualities don’t define her character. And while she and Ethan Hunt have chemistry, the movie never resorts to contriving a romance between them. They seem more like two highly skilled spies that can admire and respect each other. Rogue Nation gets 9 BMWs out of 10.

Praise Xenu! Tom Cruise Appreciation Post

Today is Tom Cruise’s fifty-third birthday so in celebration I’ve put together this post. Despite the title there will be no discussion on Scientology. This post is to praise Tom for his amazing contributions to cinema, his love of films, and his incredible work ethic.

Tom is a unique, truly amazing person. He has had a 30 year+ career with 41 movies to date, with no sign of stopping. The way Tom lives his life and the fact that he does his own stunts makes him almost like a real life superhero. Not only is he a great actor, but he excels at anything he puts his mind to. For instance, when he did The Color of Money he acquired the skills of a pro pool player.
One of the things that I love the most about Tom is that, in every role he does you can see his love of film shining through. This is one of the busiest guys on the planet and he still watches one film a day. I’m lucky if I watch one a week. Cruise produces many of his own films, including the Mission Impossible films. Tom has been instrumental in how the franchise has been molded and from the start he specifically wanted a different director for each film, so that each one would have a unique artistic vison and to keep them fresh. Tom is undeniably the world’s biggest movie star (heck there’s even Tom Cruise day in Japan). Screenwriter Ken Miyamoto has said Tom “has the best reputation in the industry, by far. He works his ass off and has this utter positive energy that he brings to the development phase, the set, and beyond. He’s the hardest working actor in the industry (and most that have worked with him have said so) and he’s known as one of the nicest actors to work with.” Actually, Tom is the LAST great movie star. (Please go read this great article to see more on why:

Tom may at first appear to be a one note actor. A novice, casual film goer may think he only does action films and jumps on couches. But even the briefest glance at his career will show that he is so much more than that.




Rain Man




















Tom believes “We take responsibility for our own lives and we create our own lives.” That is most definitely true as his career and life are definitely of his own making, formed by his ambitions and desire to succeed. So, happy birthday Tom! Keep doing you.

Vanilla Sky (2001)


“I’ll see you in another life when we are both cats.”
I was watching this silly show, Celebrity Style Story, the other day and the focus of the episode was Tom Cruise. The commentators are pretty shallow on these kinds of shows, but when one of them said that Vanilla Sky seriously sucked I was extremely shocked and angry. What an asshole!! How dare he say such a thing?! Vanilla Sky is amazing! Then I went and googled the ratings for Vanilla Sky and found I was in the minority. On IMDB the film has a rating of 6.9 and on Rotten Tomatoes a measly 41%.
So what gives? I was first recommended this movie by a cab driver one day. The driver gave a somewhat spoilery synopsis of the film and it sounded extremely convoluted, but hey, I love Tom Cruise so when I saw the DVD cheap at a pawn shop I grabbed it.

Clever Bob Dylan reference!
Clever Bob Dylan reference!

And I love the movie, a lot. It is based on a Spanish film, Abre Los Ojos. Cameron Crowe directs and adapted the screenplay for the English version. Tom Cruise plays David Aames, a young, vain, rich man that seems to have it all. That is until one of his lovers turns his whole world upside down.
There is something about this film that appeals to me on a deeply emotional level. It is hard to pin point why exactly. Part of it is that I relate to David quite a bit. I’m not rich like him, nor am I as confident. But I can relate to the hubris of youth somewhat. David feels invincible, nothing can touch him. Early on in the film he and his friend, Brian, nearly get hit by a truck. But they make a narrow escape. David laughs with glee, as he never really felt all that threatened to begin with. He’s young, good looking he has his whole life ahead of him.

But David is brought down by his own ego and whimsical attitude. Yes, it is the accident caused by his lover, Julie (Cameron Diaz) that in a lot of ways ruins his life. But this act is only a symptom of David’s own selfish actions. He treated Julie carelessly and didn’t care about the effect his frivolous actions had on her. But the accident is also a result of his sense of immortality, of never having anything go wrong. David falls in love with Sofia (Penelope Cruz) at first sight. He vows to change his ways and be a better person in order to be worthy of her love. But then Julie shows up, offering herself to him. Even though David is in love with Sofia he feels he can have his cake and eat it too. Why not have one last romp with Julie? Sofia will never know. Well it is that selfishness and ignorance that changes David’s whole life.

I find this film to be quite deep and it is able to convey a very strong message without being too preachy. It is an emotional film brought to life by some incredible acting, particularly Tom and Penelope. No wonder they started dating after filming this, the chemistry between them is great. Their scenes together are very touching and intense.
The film looks great, I love the use of bright colors. I also enjoy the foreshadowing that happens early on as well as some of the visual metaphors. I really like the structure of the film as well, which I think is probably what turns other people off the most. Vanilla Sky is sort of a dream within a dream kind of film which can feel like a cheap twist in a lot of films. But I think it really works here and simply strengthens the message of the film, it isn’t done to get a cheap shock out of the audience. I also really enjoy the pop culture references, particularly near the end of the film. The soundtrack is also phenomenal, anything that uses Bob Dylan gets an A+ in my book.

Some dark humor.
Some dark humor.

Simply put, I love Vanilla Sky because of the emotional impact it has on me every time I watch it. I’ve never felt so emotional about a film, nor have I been able to relate to one the way I do Vanilla Sky. It stays with you for a long time after watching it and it really makes you question how you behave in your own relationships. Vanilla Sky is also very creative and there is no other movie like it. I think it is extremely underrated and it is some of Cameron Crowe’s and Tom Cruise’s best work. Maybe I’m crazy, but I give Vanilla Sky 9.5/10


Please feel free to give your opinion of Vanilla Sky, whether you love it or hate it. I would love to hear your take on it.

Collateral (2004)


I feel the same way about almost all the Michael Mann films I’ve seen. I hate his camera techniques and sometimes his films are even a little dull, emotionless. But then he throws an action sequence at you that blows your mind, making you forget all the things you’ve disliked about the movie so far. For me, Collateral isn’t all that different. Collateral is the story of a cab driver (Jamie Foxx) taken hostage by a contract killer (Tom Cruise) for a night as the killer completes a series of hits.
Collateral is by far my favorite Michael Mann film (Public Enemies is my second, surprisingly). While it is slow at times (especially at the beginning) overall it is very exciting. The story is great, a really suspenseful, thrilling plot. And the two actors that bring it to life are quite compelling. I never really liked Jamie Foxx until I saw Collateral. He is quite convincing as Max, a good, ambitious guy who can never follow through on his plans. He really feels like an average Joe, someone the audience can easily envision themselves as being. The moment that really blew me away though was when Max has to pretend to be Vincent. It is so difficult for him at first and he just remains his timid self. But then, suddenly Jamie flicks this button and he IS Vincent. He’s commanding, charismatic, and someone who should not be fucked with. It’s a great turn by Jamie Foxx and one of the film’s highlights.

Tom Cruise and Jamie Foxx.
Tom Cruise and Jamie Foxx.

And then of course there is Tom Cruise in one of his best turns, and a rare turn as a villain. I LOVE Tom Cruise. He is one of my all-time favorite actors. There’s a reason why Tom Cruise is the biggest movie star on the planet. He ALWAYS delivers. Tom’s known for his big blockbuster roles, but he is just as effective in more understated films that aren’t so focused on action. I adore him in Rain Man (he is really underappreciated in that film). And he is great here as Vincent. He brings his natural charisma and presence to the role as well as a malice and dangerous quality that the audience rarely sees from Cruise. The whole movie hinges on how convincing Tom is as Vincent and he does not disappoint. And the great thing is, Vincent isn’t some out of control psychopath, chewing the scenenery and screaming constantly. No, Vincent is quite realistic, He’s calm, controlled and he has some opinions that make him relatable. He doesn’t kill people for fun, it’s his job (and he also thinks people are assholes).

He even does the signature Tom Cruise run!

Collateral is a great thriller, something that is really rare this days. It has a great blend of action and also raises some great conversations about the nature of humanity. This is a highly entertaining film that satisfies the audience’s desire for action while also treating them like intellectuals instead of complete idiots (as most films seem to do). Collateral gets 8.5/10