Saturday, December 31, 2016

Eimer's Best Movie Experiences of 2016

Back in the day when my kids were between the ages of one and five, I never thought I'd ever have a chance to pursue my passions again. Now that they're a bit older, I find myself writing more (working on a book), drawing more (going to publish more toons), and watching more movies in the theater (yes!). And the beauty of it all is that I have these two impressionable young minds to educate ... or screw up, along the way.

Well, probably a little of both.

Here are my best movie experiences of 2016. I say 'experiences' because some of these films came out in 2015, some came out a bit later (not this year).

Some other films I wanted to see, but didn't have the time, include Fences, The Edge of Seventeen, Jackie, La La Land, Camera Person, Elle, Moonlight, The Founder, Scorcese's Silence, and Chan Wook Park's The Handmaiden.

Oh yeah, and please tell me your ten favorite film experiences of last year. I'd love to know. And also, can you give my Twitter feed One-Sentence Movie Reviews some love, please?










  • Sully
  • Sicario
  • The End of the Tour
  • Pawn Sacrifice
  • Spotlight
  • Me & Earl & The Dying Girl
  • Cinderella
  • Green Room
  • Finding Dory
  • The Bronze
  • The Jungle Book
  • Don't Think Twice
  • Midnight Special
  • Diary of a Teenage Girl


Friday, December 30, 2016

Eimer's Worst Movies Experiences of 2016

Well, it's been an odd year of film-watching for me.

Like Ulysses getting mesmerized by the Sirens' enchanting song, I've been slowly lulled into the dreamy pit that known as streaming television. Thus, my movie watching has suffered immensely. I find that December, January and February are the times that I ramp up my film watching and knock out (almost) one film a day for two and a half months in the winter.

That said, surprisingly, I've come across a number of duds that I've viewed this past year. Some of these films have made the critics top 10 best list. Some of these films have made audiences swoon with delight. But, not me.

Enjoy this 'worst of' list with a grain of salt. I'm sure there are much more terrible movies out there. But, thanks to Rotten Tomatoes, I've been able to stray away from some of the super duds.










What about you? What was your worst film of this year? Let me know and I won't watch it.


Thursday, December 15, 2016

Eimer's Best Reads of 2016

According to the awesome book-cataloging site Goodreads, last year I plowed through 21 books, read more than 6,776 pages, and gave an 3.4 (out of 5) average rating on said books.

Not to brag ... but I've read harder.

This year, I started reading more books off my Kindle, which might not be a good thing. I still prefer a book book, but I hate reading a book book at night. I like to lug a book book around, but I don't like the bright light of a Kindle book. I like the convenience of book-marking a book book to see how you've progressed (almost like running a marathon), but I don't like a "percentage" of how fast you're reading as a sign of progression through a book... it makes it feel more like a contest than enjoyment.

We'll see how long this Kindle experiment will last. I'm still not sold.

In any event, I checked out a wide-array of books from a wide-array of genres including horror, graphic novels, biographies, mysteries, fantasy, etc. etc. etc. Below are my favs from 2016. Not my best list (see 2012) but I felt there were some solid choices in the bunch nonetheless.

Enjoy ... with links to Amazon for easy-buying.

Old Man's War by John Scalzi
Great read! Almost like a mix between Avatar, Cocoon, and Heinlein's Starship Troopers. Fun, fast entertaining read. Highly recommended if you're a fan of science-fiction.

Trashed by Derf Backderf
Every Christmas, I always tip our sanitation works. After reading this book, I may tip them even more. Jus a terrific graphic novel following a character's (Derf) two years working for the sanitation department. Also, with tons of interesting tidbits about trash and refuse. I find myself thinking about this book quite often, especially the statistics about trash. Very interesting read and highly recommended. If you like this book, also check out Derf's other graphic novel 'My Friend Dahmer'.

But Enough About Me: A Memoir by Burt Reynolds
I grew up watching Burt Reynolds films in the 70's and 80's. Sharky's Machine. Cannonball Run 1 & 2. Hooper. The End. Deliverance. So, there's a special place in my heart for Burt. In this book, Burt takes a look at his entire life from his childhood all the way to Boogie Nights and beyond peppered with great stories - warts and all - about the movie industry, his financial ups and downs, the various ladies in his life and the friends he met along the way. Highly recommended if you're a Reynolds fan.

Will Not Attend: Lively Stories of Detachment and Isolation by Adam Resnick
First off, Cabin Boy is a movie that's near and dear to my heart. I saw it twice (TWICE!) in the movie theater. Many people hated it. I loved it. So, I was really excited to hear that the man who wrote the screenplay for Cabin Boy (among other things) had written a book. A memoir nonetheless. I heard about the book on Mark Maron's WTF podcast and thought 'What the hell? I'll pick it up.' What I found inside where some of the funniest autobiographical stories I've read in quite some time. Just some strong, witty, deeply sarcastic writing that pulled memories of Harvey Pekar's 'American Splendor' as well as Paul Feig's autobiographical work 'Superstud' and 'Kick Me, Adventures in Adolescence' - all recommended by the way. Just a fun, quick read that will - at the very least - have you chuckling to yourself. 

When I found out that Writer/Director Alex Garland (of Ex-Machina fame) was adapting this into a movie with Natalie Portman playing the lead, suffice to say I was intrigued. And I didn't put the book down. After a bit of contemplation, it reminds me a bit of the 90's video games MYST and RIVEN - dystopian, green lands void of humans but filled with mystery around every corner - but it's much more than that. It's a science-fiction mystery, it's a study in psychology and biology, it's horrific, and it's a soap box message about humans interaction with it's surrounding environment. It's pretty damn interesting is what it is and I can totally see why Garland optioned this as his next film. Check 'er out. For your information I read the other two books in the series and I thought they sucked. So, you've been warned.

Most final trilogy installments suck. I'm looking at you Hunger Games, Southern Reach & Chaos Walking trilogies. I've fawned over Cronin's two previous 'vampire' novels (The Passage and The Twelve) and often contemplated this final installment. How's he going to bring everything together? How will he tie up all the loose ends? Will the story make sense? Well, Cronin succeeds mightily. This is a long trilogy with combined pages totaling more than 2,400. There was a head scratching moment in the middle of the novel discussing the life of a certain person who shall not be named at this moment. But, it works to the overall storyline so well and would be a tragic deletion to the overall scope of the book. Just like Harry Potter, Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and the Lord of the Rings - this journey is well worth it. What more can I say? Well written. Well executed. Fantastic dialogue. And the ability to weave words into beautiful sentences that paints the perfect, tragic, violent picture. Highly Recommended.

I'm a sucker for time-travel books. This time-travel book delivers ... and even offers up a different twist in the genra. After you live your life, you get to live it again from birth all the way to death. Over and over and over again. But, it's much more than a time-travel book, it's a bit of a mystery and a thriller. Our protagonist and antagonist going tete-a-tete with one another over the same centuries. Year after freakin' year. Hats off to Claire North. Seems to me like she did her homework on this. Packed with great dialogue and well-written prose, this is one of the better fiction books I've come across this year. Keeps you thinking days and months after reading it.

Funny book. Follows Spade's life as he grows up, enters college, strikes out with the babes, gets accepted into the SNL cast and beyond. Great behind the scenes stories. And just funny, funny stuff - especially if you like Spade. Highly recommended to listen via Audio because Spade reads the book himself. Enjoy!

Very great, thought-provoking read. Almost a horror novel in a sense. It's almost like the precursor to Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 and Orwell's 1984 - more so the latter. A Google-esque company strives for total transparency with no secrets, no lies, and no whispers. Is it good? Is it bad? I'm sure plenty of people will lean on one side or another. For me, it's a lesson: once in a while, maybe more often than not, we all should put down that evil rectangular handheld computer device in our hands. Take a moment to step away from the vehicle, look around at our surroundings - and simply go out and stare at the clouds ... without saving it to the cloud.

Great inspirational read. Motivates you to toss your fears aside, and start getting busy on your writing, your art, your gardening, your DIY project, your jewelry - whatever you do that's creative. One of my speed bumps in life is whether or not I'm going to eventually make some money off of my creative work. Gilbert's book puts all of that crap into perspective with a big 'Who cares!!". I always feel the most satisfied after I send off a cartoon, a piece of writing or finishing a chapter in my forever unpublished book. We should be chasing those creative feelings and not the monetary ones. This book talks about that and much, much more with plenty of mistakes and uh-oh moments that Gilbert made along her journey - which is always nice, and motivating, to read about as well.

Other Top Reads From Year's Past:

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Eimertoons - Flo's Fun Land Coloring Book Page

Soooo, since adult coloring books are all the rage, one of our senior art directors had a brilliant idea to create a Progressive-Themed Adult Coloring book to sell to our more than 26,000 employees via our merchandise site.

She reached out to all of the designers (and myself) to create this one-of-a-kind art. Of course, I threw my hat into the ring. I like a good cartooning challenge.

There were only three rules, it had to (1) Be Fun, (2) Be Progressive, and (3) Be Easy To Color.

For a couple weeks, I couldn't think of anything. I was getting depressed. No ideas were seeping into my noggin.

Then, one weekend, I was organizing our basement and came across one of our kid's children's books called Tickets to Ride, An Alphabetic Amusement created by Mark Rogalski.

I started shuffling through the pages and came across the image near the back of the page where the entire park comes together:

Then, I got an idea. I got an awfully creative, fun idea ...

(click to enlarge, print out and color!)

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Top 12 Anticipated Movies For Autumn (and December) - 2016

Well, today - around 10 a.m. - marked the official first day of Autumn. It also marked my son’s 9th birthday.

For his big day, I purchased him a book that I came across at The Learned Owl book shop called 101 Movies To See Before You Grow Up, a great little handbook for movie-lovers under 5-feet tall.

Not bragging or anything, but we've seen most of the movies in this book. But, there are a few that we haven’t gotten to just yet (Lord of the Rings and It's a Wonderful Life ... I’m looking at you!).

In any event, it was that book that jogged my memory to put out a top 12 list of anticipated autumn (and some December) movies. I almost entirely, but not totally, forgot.

So, here’s my list – with some short write-ups. Don’t forget to follow my OneSentence Movie Reviews on twitter!

Great book that my daughter and I read together. Tim Burton direction. A bunch of weird kids and creatures. Creepy-licious!

The director of The Help (Tate Taylor). Emily Blunt. Mystery thriller in the same vein as Fincher's Gone Girl.

Ben Affleck. Math savant. Government conspiracies, and murders!

A sad, sad book. A fantastical monster. Director of The Orphanage and The Impossible (Antonio Bayona).

Odd Marvel Superhero. Hopeful great acting by Benedict Cumberbatch. Sorcery, mysticism and Tilda Swinton.

Director Mel Gibson is back to war. A man (Andrew Garfield) who rejects violence. Bloodiest battle of WW2.
Director of Prisoners and Sicario (Denis Vlleneuve) takes on UFOs. Starring Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner and Forest Whitaker.

Two-Time Academy Award Winning Director Ang Lee (Brokeback Mountain, Life of Pi). War Movie. Shot in 3D at 120 frames per second

All-star cast. Getting great reviews at film festivals. A mysterious manuscript from an estranged husband arrives at the wife’s (Amy Adams) front door.

Story of Ray Croc, the founder of McDonalds. Michael Keaton in a Michael Keaton-esque role. The director of one of my 2013 sleepers of the year Saving Mr. Banks (John Lee Hancock).

The secret map to the Death Star. Mysterious reshoots. Director Gareth Andrews (Monsters, Godzilla). An actual Star Wars war movie?

Chris Pratt. Jennifer Lawrence. Two people who wake up on a spacecraft 60 years before everyone else. Can you say original sci-fi?

Others that almost made the list:
  • Manchester By The Sea
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
  • The Magnificent Seven
  • Lion
  • The Birth of a Nation
  •  Loving
  • La La Land
  • Queen of Katwe
  • Deepwater Horizon
  • Bad Santa 2

Monday, July 11, 2016

Flo Ghostbusters Cartoon

In case you live under a rock, the company I work for created a Ghostbusters-themed TV spot.

No, I didn't have anything to do with it. But don't tell my brother, because I tell him I write all the spots. (Sorry bro!)

In any event, I entered a contest at work to create a Ghostbuster's/Progressive mash-up with your favorite cultural ad icon mixed with the Ghostbusters. I had her battling the "competition".

I didn't win. :(

(click to enlarge)

Monday, February 29, 2016

Academy Awards Post Mortem (15-9)

Not too many surprises during last nights' Academy Awards. 

I finished with a modest 15-9 win-loss ratio. 

Had I went with my gut on sound and visual effects and would have went with the top picks for supporting actor, I would have had the best showing ever since I've been keeping track of this stuff.

In any event, happy with Mad Max showing. It's a tip of the hat to George Miller. You could tell all of the winners truly love him as a director and person. Haven't seen Spotlight, but I picked it to win based on conversations with people who have seen it and, of course, Rotten Tomatoes. Being a former journalist, I've got to see this. 


WON: 15
BEST PICTURE - Spotlight
ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant
COSTUME DESIGN - Mad Max: Fury Road The Revenant
DIRECTING - The Revenant
FILM EDITING - Mad Max: Fury Road
MUSIC (ORIGINAL SCORE) - The Hateful Eight
MUSIC (ORIGINAL SONG) - “Writing’s On The Wall,” Spectre

ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE - Sylvester Stallone, Creed (Winner: Rylance)
ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE - Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful Eight (Winner: Vikander)
DOCUMENTARY (FEATURE) - Cartel Land (winner: Amy)
DOCUMENTARY (SHORT SUBJECT) - Last Day of Freedom (Winner: Girl in the River)
SHORT FILM (ANIMATED) - World of Tomorrow (Winner: Bear)
SHORT FILM (LIVE ACTION) - Ave Maria (Winner: Stutterer)
SOUND EDITING - Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Winner: Mad Max)
SOUND MIXING - Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Winner: Mad Max)
VISUAL EFFECTS - Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Winner: Ex Machina)

Monday, February 15, 2016

Eimer's 2016 Academy Awards Picks

This past year, I felt very fortunate. This past year, I’ve been able to hit the movie theater a good bit more. This past year, I've even seen some of those movies with my wife and kids - especially in the fall when the Oscar Bait gets released.

That said, here are my picks for the upcoming Academy Award nominated movies. Hopefully, I'll be able to check out more in the weeks leading up to the Feb. 18 date.

Also, if you're on Twitter, why not give my One Sentence Movie Reviews some love?

The Big Short
Bridge of Spies
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant

Eimer Note: I loved Room, Big Short, Mad Max and The Martian. I want the Revenant to win. Haven’t seen the rest … yet. But something just tells me that Spotlight is going to win.

Bryan Cranston, Trumbo
Matt Damon, The Martian
Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant
Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs
Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl

Eimer Note: This is the year of the Leo. He should have won one for What’s Eating Gilbert Grape a looooong time ago. Never too late though, right?

Cate Blanchett, Carol
Brie Larson, Room
Jennifer Lawrence, Joy
Charlotte Rampling, 45 Years
Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn

Eimer Note: I thought Brie Larson’s performance was fantastic. I really felt that she was the character. I dare any mom to watch this movie and not cry.

Christian Bale, The Big Short
Tom Hardy, The Revenant
Mark Ruffalo, Spotlight
Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies
Sylvester Stallone, Creed

Eimer Note: I loved Tom Hardy in Mad Max and Revenant. But, I'm going with Sly. It seems like everyone wants him to win this one. So, sure, I'll hop on the Italian Stallion bandwagon. 

Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful Eight
Rooney Mara, Carol
Rachel McAdams, Spotlight
Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl
Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs

Eimer Note: My gut is going with Jason Leigh in this. No really reason, just a feeling. Plus, I haven't seen any of the other performances.

Boy and the World
Inside Out
Shaun the Sheep Movie
When Marnie Was There

Eimer Note: I’m surprised Pete and Pixar team didn’t get nominated for Best Picture.

The Hateful Eight
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Revenant

Eimer Note: Haven't seen Carol, but the rest of these movies were beautiful. Revenant was just outstandingly beautiful. Revenant cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki has won the past two years for Gravity and Birdman. He's on a roll!

The Danish Girl
Mad Max: Fury Road The Revenant

Eimer Note: After watching this film in the theater, my wife and I were talking and we had a feeling that the costume design crew had an orgasm when they found out they were going to be working on this movie.

The Big Short
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Revenant

Eimer Note: Only John Ford (40 & 41) and Joseph Mankiewicz (49 & 50) have won back-to-back Directing Oscars in the history of the Academy Awards. I'm pretty sure Inarritu is going to be the third.

Cartel Land
The Look of Silence
What Happened, Miss Simone?
Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom

Eimer Note: I think it’s a toss-up between Amy, Cartel Land and The Look of Silence. I chose Cartel Land just because it won an award from the Director’s Guild. Haven’t seen it, but looking forward to checking it out.

Body Team 12
Chau, beyond the Lines
Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah A
Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness
Last Day of Freedom

Eimer Note: I haven’t seen any of these shorts, but I think I’ll go with Last Day of Freedom.

The Big Short
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Revenant
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Eimer Note: With so many different high-octane scenes, and so much damn action, you have to give the award to Max Max, right? Right?

Embrace of the Serpent Mustang
Son of Saul
A War

Eimer Note: Haven’t seen it, but I’m hearing some pretty fantastic things from first-time director Laszlo Nemes.

Mad Max: Fury Road
The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed out the Window and Disappeared
The Revenant

Bridge of Spies
The Hateful Eight
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Eimer Note: Did you know Ennio Morricone's unused score for the John Carpenter's The Thing ended up being the chosen score for The Hateful Eight? Yep! Isn't ironic that Kurt Russell was also in both films?

“Earned It,” Fifty Shades of Grey
“Manta Ray,” Racing Extinction
“Simple Song #3,” Youth
“Til It Happens To You,” The Hunting Ground
“Writing’s On The Wall,” Spectre

Eimer Note: I'm convinced that all ‘Bond’ songs win this category. I'm wrong. But, I'm still going to pick it to win this year. 

Bridge of Spies
The Danish Girl
Mad Max: Fury Road 
The Martian
The Revenant

Bear Story
Sanjay’s Super Team
We Can’t Live without Cosmos
World of Tomorrow

Eimer Note: You can watch World of Tomorrow on Netflix right now. It’s short (duh) and freaky awesome.

Ave Maria
Day One
Everything Will Be Okay
(Alles Wird Gut) Shok

Eimer Note: Again, taking a stab with Ave Maria ... because I love the song?

Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Eimer Note: Man, this is a tough category. Maybe the Academy will spread the wealth an give it Star Wars, although Sicario, Mad Max, Revenent and Martian deserve some respect as well. Screw it, going with Star Wars.

Bridge of Spies
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Ex Machina
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Eimer Note: Will Ex-Machina get some love? That Revenant bear was pretty damn impressive, though. Eh, let’s do Star Wars … just because.

The Big Short
The Martian

Eimer Note: The Big Short was smart, witty and so fucking awesome with the dialogue. Going with Charles Randolph and Adam McKay on this one.

Bridge of Spies
Ex Machina
Inside Out
Straight Outta Compton

Eimer Note: Ex Machina was my favorite movie from last year, but I’m going with Spotlight on this. And, from what I hear, the dialogues was so well written.

That's it! See you on Monday or Tuesday after the Oscars for a post mortem.