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!)