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Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009: A Retrospect

I think I start out every year retrospect with the same sentence. Where have you gone (insert year here)? So, without further ado, where have you gone 2009? Seriously, a year is really such a small amount of time when you think about it. Still, when I look back on a year I realize how much happens in such little time. The good and the bad always happen no matter what year it is. 2009 is no different. Every year is a test for everyone. Some years are definitely better than others, but as long as we survive we should hold our head high and smile even a little. That's how I feel in 2009.

Honestly, this year was better than 2008 and arguably better than 2007. Looking at those retrospective posts, I feel much better about myself now. Maybe part of that has to do with the fact that a new decade is also upon us, but I feel more hopeful and positive as we enter 2010. There's definitely things to still be accomplished, but I could be a lot worse. Let's take a look back.

This year has arguably been one of the more uneventful ones in recent memory. I made what some people would say is a questionable choice and am getting my masters degree in school counseling. After going to one of the top film schools in the country to get my BFA it's understandable to be scratching your head. All I can say is I made a choice that I felt was the best thing to do.

My film career is far from over and 2009 was just small proof of that. I did produce two web series this year. One I produced much more than the other, but the other one is still technically only beginning with one episode filmed so far. I'm hopeful that 2010 my friends and I can get the ball moving on it. The one that I produced more should hopefully hit the web in 2010 and I'm intrigued by its possibilities.

While I clearly don't blog as much as I used to, I thought this year's Oscar coverage was damn good and probably the best I'll ever do. Living right next to the Kodak was so much fun during Oscar season. It's something I won't forget and as the Oscars approach in 2010, I know I will miss it. I set my personal Oscar record this past year. I predicted an amazing 22/24 categories and I still can't believe it. I ended up winning numerous Oscar pools, which was also really cool. It will be hard to top 22/24 in the coming years, but it's a good goal and one I'm willing to try to surpass.

I got to see Paul McCartney for the fourth time at Fenway Park. Even as Paul ages, he still puts on a phenomenal show. I got to see the show with my Dad and it became another moment I'm glad I got to share with him. McCartney at Amoeba is still number one, but this show quickly became number two. Seeing Paul rock in front of the Green Monster is one of those images I can't get out of my head.

It was a quiet year for Boston sports. The Bruins fell in seven games to the Carolina Hurricanes in the second round of the playoffs. It was a great seventh game and it hurt to watch the Canes score one in overtime to knock out the B's. The Celtics also fell in seven games to the Orlando Magic in the second round. The Sox got knocked out in the first round and the Patriots are gearing up for a postseason run in 2010. While there may not have been anymore championships, it's hard not to step back and still realize it was a fun year to be a fan. I hope the end of the decade is not the end to the golden age of Boston sports.

Of course, grad school was a big change for me. Getting back into the academic mode was tougher than I thought and I struggled a little every in the semester. After a couple weeks though, I regrouped and it became a positive experience. I even somehow managed to get A's in both my classes. Grad school has taught me a lot about myself and made me evaluate myself. I think it's made me a better person. I also got to meet some nice people, too. They are much different than film school people. That's both good and bad, but times are changing and I hope to have room for both groups in my life.

Personally, I've made some other good strides in other areas of my life. I'm still looking for the one, but I think she's closer than I want to admit. I feel like I am going in the right direction and I hope something happens in the near future. I feel like that is the final piece of the puzzle.

2009 is almost like a transitional year. It may have been uneventful, but it laid a foundation for what I hope is a great 2010 and new decade. I'm 24 years old and there's still time to shock the whole world. Now, only time will tell.

Happy New Year,
Mikey Filmmaker

Moments That Defined a Decade: 2008, 2009

Patriots Lose Super Bowl XLII and Perfect Season
Date: February 3, 2008
Backstory of The Moment: The Patriots were 18-0 and were one win away from 19-0 and a perfect season. They would be the first team to ever do it and first undefeated team since the '72 Dolphins. They faced the New York Giants in the big game.
The Moment: The Patriots take a late 14-10 lead, but can't hold off the Giants. They march down the field and score a touchdown with 35 seconds remaining. They win 17-14 and the 18-1 chants begin.
Looking Back at The Moment Now: This is one moment I still can't believe happened this decade. I just can't believe the Patriots blew this game. I was reading Sports Illustrated the other day and it still named the Patriots the best NFL team this decade. I somewhat agree, but it's a bitter feeling. I've never seen a team as dominate as them. They were unbeatable and it was fitting that they were going for 19-0. I don't know if you will ever see a team do that. To paraphrase something Bill Simmons wrote shortly after the loss, if this team didn't do it, then probably no one will.

It's still shocking that they lost since if they played the Giants 100 times, they would probably win 99 times. Like SB XXXVI, the lesser team simply played a better game that day. It sucks. It will always suck. The game shouldn't have even been close, yet the Pats let the Giants stick around. That final drive is just ridiculous and I've never seen an athlete (Eli Manning) and team (Giants) with a bigger horseshoe up their ass. They caught every break and the Pats couldn't capitalize on anything from dropped interceptions, 4th down, and of course the great escape/helmt catch play. The pain from this one never really goes away. Just like the '86 World Series. The losses are too huge. You just have to not think about them. Sadly, now I'm thinking about it. Thanks to this post.

Auntie Tina Dies
Date: February 27, 2008
Backstory of The Moment: My Aunt Tina was my maternal grandmother's sister. She babysat my sister and I when we were growing up. In September 2006, she had a stroke and went into a nursing home.
The Moment: After a couple years in the nursing home, she had a heart attack and died at 86.
Looking Back at The Moment Now: While we all knew that Auntie Tina could die any day, it was still a bit shocking. It was tough and hit me a lot harder than when Nana died. Auntie Tina asked me to give the eulogy at her funeral and I thought I wrote a pretty good speech. I didn't break down or anything even though I was crying at parts. I still miss her and I still cherish the memories I shared with her and my sister growing up during the summer months. Whether it be playing games or watching Jerry Springer. Haha.

First Day at IE
Date: April 10, 2008
Backstory of The Moment: I interview for this job back in November 2007. The WGA strike happened. The strike ended in February. After a few months of following up, I was finally interviewed again.
The Moment: I met with Steven from HR and Jess, one of the managers, and was finally offered my first job in the entertainment industry.
Looking Back at The Moment Now: I'm still proud of this moment as it was a long struggle to finally get to job. It was the beginning of my seven month stay at IE. Obviously, it didn't work out like I wanted it to and by the summer things were going downhill fast. Still, I have some fun memories from there from meeting the likes of Corey Haim and Jeff Goldblum as well as talking to all kinds of people on the phone such as Sam Worthington and Zach Braff.

I was put into a couple tough positions while there and had my back against the wall. If I could do it again, I would have never accepted a full time assistant job from two of the managers there. It just killed me and led to me quitting. It's also funny to think that things could have went much differently if one of assistants got another job. He wanted to leave and get another gig. He was interviewing, but never got anything. I was supposed to take his desk, which was for two really nice and productive lit managers. If that happened, I still may very well be working there. I'm not and believe it or not, that guy is still their assistant. That's life I guess.

Celtics Win NBA Title
Date: June 17, 2008
Backstory of The Moment: The Celtics are the NBA's most storied franchise. They won 16 NBA titles, but in the '90s they became one of the worst teams in the league. That continued for most of the '00s. Then, Danny Ainge traded for both Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett in separate trades to team with Paul Pierce to form a new big three. The Celtics went from like a 20 win team in 06-07 to a 60 win team in 07-08. They faced the the LA Lakers in the finals.
The Moment: The Celtics beat the Lakers in game six of the finals in dominating fashion and won their 17th NBA title.
Looking Back at The Moment Now: This title was weird because who would have thought they could win it all after being so crappy the previous year. It was a complete 180. Plus, Ainge gave up over half the roster for two guys. It seemed rather crazy for a while until everyone realized how good this team became with KG and Allen. It was fun that the Celts faced the Lakers and I'm glad they won the title in Boston. Finally, the TD Garden has a moment that it can call its own. The building has been around for almost 15 years and it really lacks a classic moment. Them winning the title changed that.

This was probably my least memorable title of the decade as I simply don't like basketball as much as the other three sports. It was just nice that the city of Boston could rebound after that horrible Pats loss in the Super Bowl. It didn't erase the pain, but it was a great short term fix.

81st Annual Oscars
Date: February 22, 2009
Backstory of The Moment: I was living very close to the Kodak Theater and was running an Oscar blog. I vowed it would be my best year.
The Moment: I covered the Oscars like it was nobody's business in 2009 and capped it off with an unbelievable 22 out of 24 correct picks. Thus I broke my previous record of 21/24 that I set three years earlier.
Looking Back at The Moment Now: This happened less than a year ago, but I called this the greatest Oscars ever. From my coverage to setting the record to living so close, it was just fun. With the next Oscars coming up sooner than later, I'm starting to wish I still lived in Hollywood. It was a lot of fun and I'm going to miss it. Plus, the show was also very well done. It was like the perfect storm of the Oscars. It may never be duplicated.

Accepted into Grad School
Date: March 25, 2009
Backstory of The Moment: I left IE in November. I was thinking of numerous things to do. Do I get another entertainment job? Or do I something much more radical?
The Moment: I went with something more radical. I went on an interview for LMU's school counseling program. I was accepted on the spot.
Looking Back at The Moment Now: I wanted something that gives me flexibility and options to still pursue a career in film while balancing it with something more stable. Ideally, I want to be like a renaissance man, who is great at more than one thing. A modern day Ted Williams if you will. Will it happen? Well, we will find out in the '10s. Like every moment in 2009 and even to a lesser extent '08, it's hard to look back on these moments as they happened so recently. I just finished my first semester and go straight A's. Let me just put it this way, I don't have any regrets on my decision regardless of how fucking crazy my friends and family think I am.

McCartney IV
Date: August 5, 2009
Backstory of The Moment: I had seen Paul three times before and he decided to do a mini summer tour in the US. One stop was the legendary Fenway Park.
The Moment: My Dad and I got tickets and Paul put on another amazing show in front of the green monster.
Looking Back at The Moment Now: It's Paul McCartney. What else is there to say? The guy's the best around. He never gets old and all four times I've seen him, he's put on a show that leaves you wanting more. It's even more amazing to think that Paul is 67 years old. Doesn't look or feel it. I hope I get a chance to see him in the '10s, but if I don't then I will be perfectly content with all four times I've seen him. This one being the second best after the Amoeba show.

Top 10 of the Decade

I feel obligated to do this list. It's difficult to do really. How can you pick 10 films from 10 years? I left some films out that I didn't want to such as 40 Year Old Virgin, (500) Days of Summer, American Psycho, The Aviator, The Departed, High Fidelity, Milk, etc. I could have done top 25, but I didn't want to water down the list. Like I do with my annual top 10 lists, this list isn't what I think are the 10 best films of the decade. If so, I would have included Assassination of Jesse James, Children of Men, The Lord of the Rings trilogy, No Country for Old Men, etc. I also know I didn't see everything this decade. Yes, I still haven't seen films such as City of God, Amelie, A History of Violence, Dogville, etc. The aforementioned films are on my must see list in the near future.

This list is a combination of overall quality of the film and personal taste. This list is for 10 films that made me think differently about filmmaking and the art of story. It's about films that inspired me, challenged me, and gave me a reason to love film even more. Without further ado, here's the top 10...

10. Pan's Labyrinth (2006)
The fantasy world the Guillermo Del Toro creates is just magnficient. It's so visual and stunning at times. I love how this is a fairy tale, yet it's set during World War II. This passion project for Del Toro is just a film that really intrigues you from the beginning with its mystical creatures as you explore uncharted territories with Ofelia trying to live a better life. The ending is sad, but at least you're at peace. At least I was.

9. The Dark Knight (2008)
Who would have ever thought a movie about a comic book character would be so damn good? Hell, who thought a movie about Batman would be so damn good? Especially after those Schumacher disasters of the '90s. Then, came Christopher Nolan and the franchise was completely renewed. While Batman Begins is a damn good film, this movie is even better. From the iconic performance of Heath Ledger of The Joker to just non-stop action. This is one film that never gets old and you can watch at any time. The "rewatchability" on this film is extremely high.

8. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (2007)
There were few films this decade that really made me appreciate life. This was one of them and the most powerful of them all. I love Julian Schnabel's direction and mise-en-scene in this film. The cinematography is stylized, yet stunning as the audience only sees through the one eye of Jean-Dominque Bauby. This film has a lot of heart and is extremely interesting for a film about a man paralyzed after a stroke. It was one of the many greats films from the amazing year of 2007.

7. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
Charlie Kaufman made being a screenwriter cool. His ideas were so out of the box and different that few people can match his creativity. I do like another film he did this decade better, but Eternal Sunshine is such a great idea. It's really his crowning achievement. Michel Gondry became somewhat of a household name with his quirky visual style and Kaufman finally won his screenplay Oscar. It's a brilliant plot as Joel decides to erase all his memories of his girlfriend, Clementine. Then, halfway through he realizes that he doesn't want to forget everything. This film jumps all over the place and is just a visual treat. Like I said, it's out of the box and different, but one of the most original films of the decade.

6. Brokeback Mountain (2005)
This is not only the best film of 2005, but one of the best of the decade. It's one of the few that would have made my best of the decade list as well. I just think this film is so well done about two men who embrace in a forbidden love. Both trapped in their mundane lives while longing to be together even though they know they never can. I honestly think this is Heath Ledger's best role. It's not as flashy as The Joker, but as Daniel Day-Lewis said shortly after his death, that scene at the end with the shirt was simply perfect. The rest of the cast is great, too. Ang Lee won the Best Director Oscar and this film won almost every award imaginable before its Oscar loss. Yet, maybe the most amazing thing about this film is the fact that it was based on a short story that I believe is only a few pages long. That's something that doesn't get enough credit in my mind.

5. Mulholland Drive (2001)
I always defended this film in film school. Some of my best discussions in film school was defending this movie. I've said this before, but I love this film so much for the simple reason that every time I watch it, it means something different to me. I think that's cool. It's a new experience every time and very few films can say that. What is this film about? I still don't really know and I've watched it probably ten times or so. That's why Lynch films piss people off, but that's why I think he's one of the best directors ever. This film about two women trying to figure out their identity after a car crash makes me want more and more each time.

4. Adaptation (2002)
As a film it's not as good as Eternal Sunshine, but I just like this movie more. I love how Kaufman basically breaks every screenwriting rule in this film and yet the movie works. It makes fun of itself, yet no one cares. Nicolas Cage is even good in this film and it's best role since Leaving Las Vegas. Playing twin brothers, Charlie and Donald, he just plays the opposites so well. He was nominated for an Oscar for this role in that wide open 2002 race that Adrien Brody won. The rest of the supporting cast is also strong with Chris Cooper (what happened to him after he won the Oscar for this role?) and Meryl Streep. This film also became a favorite of mine after I started to write Sweet Pea since both movies were about flowers.

3. There Will Be Blood (2007)
If I was doing a list about the best films of the decade, then this would be number one. As I already explained at the beginning of this post, it's not. Hence this is at number three. This film is just a masterpiece and I don't know how P.T. Anderson is going to follow it up or even top it. After watching this film the first time at a preview screening in LA, I didn't even know what to say. It was so heavy and powerful. Daniel Day-Lewis gives the best performance of the decade as Daniel Plainview in a role that is almost flawless. You hate Plainview so much, yet you want to know more about him. Paul Dano actually holds his own against Day-Lewis and that should be applauded. These performances are supplemented by Jonny Greenwood's haunting score and Robert Elswitt's stunning cinematography. I haven't seen this film a bunch of times simply because it's too much at times, but if I want to watch an amazing film, this is always one that comes to mind. Okay, I'm finished.

2. Almost Famous (2000)
Sometimes I forget this film even came out this decade. For example doing this list I forgot before looking through some movies and realizing it did indeed come out in 2000. This film is just a lot of fun especially if you love '70s, which I do. Cameron Crowe's (somewhat) autographical film about his early years at Rolling Stone is a story full of heart. He knows the era so well that I don't think it's been depicted any better. This film does a great job combining drama with comedy. It makes you laugh and cry. The Tiny Dancer sing-along is one of the best scenes of the decade. Believe it or not, I actually haven't seen this film in a couple years, so that's one of the first things I need to do in 2010.

1. Sideways (2004)
I'm sure this film may not make number one on many people's top 10 decade lists. That's okay because these lists are subjective. I just love this movie. Alexander Payne made a film that is basically a film I wish I made. Part of me could relate to this movie and part of me was scared I may end up like Miles or Jack. I liked the simple premise that was layered by the complexity of the characters' issues. I liked how it relied on just four characters and basic locations to tell a story. It was more about the script and the acting, which was exceptionally strong. Somehow, Paul Giamatti was not nominated for an Oscar. To sum it all up, this was an amazing independent film. Plus, this film really got me into wine and more importantly pinot noir.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Moments That Defined a Decade: 2006, 2007

Adventure in Tucson
Date: January 16, 2006
Backstory of The Moment: Dres, Kyle, Nolan, and I went to Tucson for a long weekend right before we shot The Movers short film. It was Nolan's friend, B.T.'s 21st birthday party and it was in a hotel.
The Moment: I simply drank way too many Mike's Hard Lemonades and was the sickest I've ever been drinking. I probably drank like six of them give or take and I threw up all night. I was actually dry heaving I was so sick. It took me a few days to recover even after we got back to Orange County.
Looking Back at The Moment Now: It's funny that I've drank much more after this, but I have not nearly been as sick. I've thrown up my fair share of times, but again nothing comes close to this. It's actually due to the sugar in Mike's Hard Lemonade. I haven't drank one since this night and I don't see myself drinking one ever again. The thought of Mike's just makes me sick.

Other highlights of that night include Niko's taco shop and me trying to sing Live and Let Die. It was a disaster and what makes it worse is that Nolan still has me singing Live and Let Die somewhere on his computer. Add on top of this that the Patriots lost to the Denver Broncos in the playoffs and this ranks as one of the worst nights of the decade for me.

78th Annual Oscars
Date: March 3, 2006
Backstory of The Moment: It was the 78th Annual Oscars and I was determined to predict as many categories correct as possible. Brokeback Mountain had the most nominations, but was upset by Crash for Best Picture.
The Moment: I had a phenomenal night as I predicted 21 out of 24 categories. It shattered my record of 18 out of 24, which I did a few times previous.
Looking Back at The Moment Now: I thought this would be my best night ever (it was eventually topped), but what makes this night even more memorable was Crash winning. There's certain things I will never understand in life and this is one of them. How that film beat Brokeback Mountain is just a head scratcher. Doesn't make sense and it put a damper on what was a great night for me predicting the Oscars.

First Night in Monroe House
Date: August 20, 2006
Backstory of The Moment: This was technically the second night in the house, but the first night all five guys (Angelo, Julian, Kyle, Nolan, and I) would be there. It was a night full of no electricity, beer, and marijuana.
The Moment: The five of us sat around a coffee table in the middle of an empty house and just had fun. Candles were our source of light and it was a great way to start off senior year of college.
Looking Back at The Moment Now: This is one of those classic college moments. Not something you really want to tell your kid until you're older or maybe not at all. These are some of my favorite moments just because it would be impossible to do again. Something like that is just never going to happen again. We didn't have to worry about too much in life and we had fun. One of my favorite moments of that night was trying to get Nolan to take a hit and we had to hold the pipe for him. We were all just laughing our asses off. I guess it's one of those nights you just had to be there to completely understand how fun it really was.

Prefontaine Party
Date: September 15, 2006
Backstory of The Moment: This was the first party we had at the Monroe house and easily the best. The theme was decided randomly one day when I was watching Without Limits on HBO and Kyle speared Nolan into the couch yelling, "Steve Prefontaine". The rest is history.
The Moment: The theme of this whole party was Steve Prefontaine and being a runner. We asked people to come in running attire and mustaches. We figured no one would, but they did. I don't think we hit 100 people, but there was a damn lot and we had a lot fun.
Looking Back at The Moment Now: I can't really explain how this party got so big and popular. I think only like 30 people RSVP'd on facebook, so we figured it would be small. It wasn't. This party was unique too in its theme and I think that made it cool as well. How many people can have a Prefontaine Party and make it work. Somehow we did. I got somewhat obsessed with Pre for a period of time senior year, but it was all in good fun. All the guys in the house dressed up in Oregon colors and had 'staches. Julian and I had real ones. Some of my friends remember this night for when I slapped Julian across the face like a bitch after he passed out. Sorry Julian.

Sweet Pea Premieres at Chapman
Date: May 5, 2007
Backstory of The Moment: My senior thesis film was shot in October/November 2006. It was edited in the months that followed as I tried to get it ready to premiere at Chapman in May.
The Moment: During the senior thesis screenings, Sweet Pea screened in front of my fellow film students in the Folino Theater. The audience was decent size and reception was very warm.
Looking Back at The Moment Now: I'm really glad I had this moment as it was a very positive screening experience. Especially with BFF being so poor, I'm glad I had one moment where people applauded me and made me feel like all the hard work I did on this film was worth it. Even though I'm hard on myself, I still am proud of this film and everyone involved in it. Do I wish I did more with it? Of course, but that's life sometimes.

Chapman University Graduation
Date: May 19, 2007
Backstory of The Moment: After four years of college and three years at Chapman, I finally earned my BFA in film production.
The Moment: I received my degree at one of the best film schools in the country. My mom, dad, and sister came out from Mass. My grandfather also came out.
Looking Back at The Moment Now: It was such a long journey that finally getting the degree still feels damn good. I'm proud of it especially since I had to work so hard to get into Chapman and then finally be accepted into the film production major. Yes, I know I'm getting my MA in counseling right now, but that doesn't make this degree obsolete at all. It gave me skills that I wouldn't have acquired from anywhere else.

McCartney III
Date: June 27, 2007
Backstory of The Moment: There were rumors going around on probably June 24 or so about a possible secret Paul McCartney show being held at Amoeba records. The rumors were true and I camped out to see the former Beatle.
The Moment: After camping out for part of two days, I crammed into Amoeba records with about 1000 people to see Paul McCartney perform for roughly two hours. Still, the best and most special concert I've ever seen.
Looking Back at The Moment Now: Everything happened so fast with this moment. I heard rumors and made the decision to camp out. Julian was kind enough to drive me to Amoeba at like 8am on Monday morning. Then, I stayed there until roughly 3pm. Still felt like forever. Think that I was originally going to have to stay all night and until the show started at 7pm the next day. They let everyone go home since the line was just huge. In retrospect, it would have been cool if they let us stay. Though, I'm glad they didn't as I probably would have been exhausted and felt like crap during the show.

What made this show even cooler was that I somehow got put in the section right behind Ringo Starr, Barbara Bach, Olivia Harrison, Woody Harrelson, Alanis Morrisette, Rosanna Arquette, Joe Walsh, and Jeff Lynne. Paul starts to play Drive My Car and I'm literally watching Ringo Starr moving his head to the music. That's something I'll never forget. I still think that's one of the coolest things ever. Doesn't get much better than that. At the time I called this The Greatest Story Ever Told. Two and a half years later, I still think that statement is true. At least through my eyes.

Sweet Pea at Boston Film Festival
Date: September 16, 2007
Backstory of The Moment: My uncle Reevie randomly put in a fireplace of the guy who ran the Boston Film Festival. The guy told Reevie to have me send him Sweet Pea. He would put it in. I sent it to him and after a huge fiasco of mismanagement he finally told me the film was in only days before the festival.
The Moment: Sweet Pea screened in a theater that was 3/4 empty. No one from the festival was there to introduce it. No one publicly acknowledged that I was in attendance. It was the complete opposite to Sweet Pea at Chapman.
Looking Back at The Moment Now: This should have been one of the best moments of the decade for me. Local filmmaker brings his short film back to his hometown for its festival premiere. Instead, the Boston Film Festival was nothing more than a poorly managed disgrace of a film festival. It's an embarrassment to the city really. It only makes me feel better that I've heard from other people that Boston Film Festival is a joke. I've been to other film festivals since this one and this festival experience is the worst. The events sucked. The organizers were horrible. Sweet Pea isn't even in the program. There's no record that my film ever screened there. It sucks. They didn't take care of the filmmakers at all. A little over two years later and I still can't find a good thing to say about this festival. Oh, actually the only good thing I can say is that since I didn't have to pay to get into the cinema, I watched a few wide release films for free while at the AMC Boston Commons.

Red Sox Win World Series Again
Date: October 28, 2007
Backstory of The Moment: The Red Sox had another dramatic comeback in the ALCS, this time coming back from 3-1 to Cleveland. They faced the Rockies in the World Series. Like 2004, it wasn't much of a series.
The Moment: The Red Sox sweep the Colorado Rockies and win their second World Series in four years.
Looking Back at The Moment Now: I don't really even remember much about this series. Like 2004, it was rather boring. I just remember watching game four at a bar with Brian. After the game we played bar trivia for the first time at Barney's. Besides that, the Sox were just too good for the Rockies. This team was a little different than the 2004 one. It was younger and more set up for the future even though they haven't been back. It was just nice to win another World Series. Until this past October, it was awesome to think that the Sox won more World Series than the Yankees. Unfortunately, they ended up winning two a piece.

Meet Paul Thomas Anderson
Date: November 15, 2007
Backstory of The Moment: My favorite director for years was Paul Thomas Anderson. In the late '90s I must have watched Boogie Nights on HBO and Cinemax countless times. He was attending a screening of There Will Be Blood in Los Angeles (first LA screening to my knowledge).
The Moment: After watching There Will Be Blood, Judd Apatow conducted a Q&A with both P.T. Anderson and Daniel Day-Lewis. After that was over, I got to meet Paul for like 30 seconds and had him sign a brand new copy of Boogie Nights.
Looking Back at The Moment Now: Some time before this moment, I randomly bought a new Boogie Nights dvd for under ten dollars at like Costco. I jokingly decided to keep it in shrink wrap just in case I ever met P.T., I would have him sign it. For this screening, I took the dvd with me and right before I met him I ripped off the shrink wrap. I had him sign it and I proceeded to put it in a protective case. To my knowledge only myself and Paul have ever touched that dvd. That my friends is why I'm single. I'm eccentric like that.

One thing I did learn from this was how not to act in front of people you admire. I got really nervous meeting Paul and I looked like a fool. It's hard meeting people you admire as they probably get sick of hearing how much you admire them. The problem is that it's hard to have a normal conversation with someone you really don't know. What do you say? If I ever meet him again, I'll probably just say something short and sweet. That's what I have done since when I met people at IE and even when I met Dhani Harrison. I sounded too much like I fanboy. While I admire the autograph and handshake, I wish it went more smoothly.

Paul seemed very humble that evening. The lady running the event said no autographs, yet he signed numerous dvds. I thought that was awesome. He also shook people's hands and didn't rush off the stage. Even Daniel and Judd hung around. It was a very casual feel and I wish I got to meet Daniel as I got a vibe that he's very down to earth.

I will honestly say that I wasn't a huge fan of this movie that night. It was so much different than anything Paul did that it literally threw me off. I've seen it a few times since and I really admire it. I honestly think it's the best film of the decade. Though, let me clarify it's not my favorite.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Moments That Defined a Decade: 2003, 2004, 2005

Bowling 161
Date: March 3, 2003
Backstory of The Moment: In 2002-2003, I was bowling in two leagues during the week. One was the Saturday morning youth league, which I was since the seventh grade. The other was the St. Ann's league on Mondays, which was my first (and only) year. I was bowling fairly well at the time averaging in the high 90s.
The Moment: I bowled a 93 and a 98 in my first two strings. On my third I bowled my personal high single of 161. Yes, 161. My previous high single was 136. I ended up bowling a 352, which is also my personal high triple.
Looking Back at The Moment Now: It's hard for me to really choose between this moment and winning the travel league as my best in bowling. Though I can confidently say that this is my best individual moment. I've never bowled another game as good as this. Even though, I should say I never bowled another string like that. I always think what if I bowled even better in the first two strings. Still, that 161 is amazing. It was actually the fourth high single in the league that year.

Bowling this great game and impressing a lot of the guys there was probably the reason I won rookie of the year. It's one of the few times I've been legitimately shocked in my life when I won that award.

Looking back on that string, I still have no idea how I bowled such a great game. I was rolling an amazing ball and hitting the head pin every time. I knocked down seven or eight pins and gave myself plenty of mark opportunities. I was literally in a zone and I can't explain it even six years later.

That is one of my only regrets abut moving to California. I wish they had candlepin bowling. Thinking about these bowling moments made me remember that I was a really good bowler and I could have probably been much better. I wasn't even in my prime when I was doing my best bowling in 2002 and 2003. Unfortunately, it is one of the "what if's" in my life.

High School Graduation
Date: June 15, 2003
Backstory of The Moment: I was in the Peabody school system my entire life. Finally, I would get my chance to graduate and start the next chapter of my life.
The Moment: After 13 years (12 grades plus kindergarten), I walked across the stage and received my high school diploma.
Looking Back at The Moment Now: High school was okay for me, but graduating was a great feeling. It's the end of an era, which is both good and bad. After seeing the same kids for so many years, it's kind of a weird feeling. Everyone is going in different directions.

Being one of the two class presidents, I got to lead the class out to graduation and was one of the last people to graduate (Jenna graduated last since her last name came after mine). It's crazy to think that I haven't seen probably 97% of the kids I graduated with since that day. I missed the 5 year reunion and we'll see what happens in 2013. Part of me doesn't really care. I've moved on and I rarely talk to anyone I graduated with still.

Red Sox Lose Game 7 and the AL Pennant
Date: October 16, 2003
Backstory of The Moment: The Red Sox probably had their best team since 1986. They had a great lineup and pitching staff. They were in an intense seven game series with the hated New York Yankees. In the 8th inning, they were up 5-2 with Pedro Martinez on the mound. They were only five outs from the AL Pennant.
The Moment: Grady Little made the infamous decision to leave Pedro on the mound after Martinez threw over 100 pitches. He paid for it. The Yankees tied the game at 5. In the 11th inning, Aaron Boone hit one deep to left off Tim Wakefield. The Sox blow it and it's 85 years and counting.
Looking Back at The Moment Now: It's funny looking at this moment maybe more than any other for the fact that this moment doesn't bother me at all anymore. It still sucks they lost and Nomar never won the Series with the Sox, but a year later the Sox got the ultimate revenge on the Yanks. It was frustrating when it happened. I was watching the game in my dorm at Fitchburg State when Boone hit the homerun. People were pissed and of course a riot started at every college campus in New England.

Was it the right call? It's really a lose lose for Grady as if he took out Pedro and the bullpen blew it, then everyone today would be saying, "Why did Grady take Pedro out?" I wasn't as hard on Grady at the time and I'm still not hard on him today. I'm more mad at the offense when they had chances to score in extra innings and didn't. I know they left a guy on third in either the 10th or the 11th. Regardless, this was a great series and really set the tone for the ALCS the following year.

Appointed to the Cable Commission
Date: December 9, 2003
Backstory of The Moment: I was going to school at Fitchburg State College and trying to transfer to Chapman in California. Mayor Bonfanti was a friend of the family and needed someone to fill the vacant seat on the cable commission.
The Moment: This was a surprising moment for me as I never anticipated getting a call from my Dad saying the Mayor wanted to know if I would sit on the board. I was 18 1/2 years old at the time. I decided to accept the offer figuring that I could resign if I got into college at Chapman.
Looking Back at The Moment Now: It was actually a big deal when I got nominated for the seat. I was called the youngest public official in the history of Peabody by the Peabody Weekly newspaper. I also got another newspaper article in the Salem News. It was a big deal and I'm glad I got to do this. I only served until August 2004, but I learned a lot and it made me very mature. During my time on the board I actually was part of negotiations between the city and Comcast for a new cable contract. At times I felt way over my head, but I tried my best to understand the situation. When I left the negotiations were still going on.

If I didn't get into Chapman, I probably would have stayed on the board and eventual ran for office in the city. Like candlepin bowling, it's another "what if" situation. I had to leave for California, so I don't have any regrets. Still, it's fun to think how much different my life could have been and how I actually could have accomplished a lot if I stayed in Peabody. Politics could have very well been an option.

Patriots Win Super Bowl XXXVIII
Date: February 1, 2004
Backstory of The Moment: The Pats won Super Bowl XXXVI in 2002. The following season, they barely missed the playoffs at 9-7. They actually opened the 2003 season with a 31-0 loss at Buffalo and started the year 2-2. They wouldn't lose again for the rest of the season. They would meet the Carolina Panthers in the Super Bowl.
The Moment: The game started off slow in the first half. In the second half it was a different story. The score was tied 29-29 and Adam Vinatieri did it again hitting a field goal with seconds remaining. The Patriots won their second title in three years with a 32-29 win.
Looking Back at The Moment Now: This was a weird game as it was a defensive one for the first half and a offensive one for the second. It was intense too and just as good as the Super Bowl a couple years before. I know some people think this game is better. I'll just say it was one of the many great Super Bowls this decade has seen.

Brady really came into his own this game and I think proved he was a hall of famer when he led his team down for another game winning drive in the biggest game of the year. Like XXXVI, I was nervous and I didn't know if they were going to do it. They got a little luck when the Panthers' John Kasay kicked the kickoff out of bounds. Brady still put the drive together so well and Vinatieri did it again. The Pats didn't become a dynasty after this one, but definitely proved they were for real and became the team to beat in the NFL. No longer were they the underdogs.

This was actually also my final Boston sports championship that I saw in Massachusetts. I watched this one in my dorm at Fitchburg. I guess that adds some more sentimental value to it.

Leave for California
Date: August 17, 2004
Backstory of The Moment: I spent the first 19 years of my life in Massachusetts. I got accepted into Chapman University in February 2004. I would leave in August for my first semester at the film school.
The Moment: After months of preparation and endless goodbyes, I headed off to Orange County, CA to go to film school. It was the first time in my life that I got a one way ticket.
Looking Back at The Moment Now: This is arguably the defining moment of my life. There's Mike Cersosimo before August 17, 2004 and after August 17, 2004. I figure the next big defining moment will happen when I get married. It was tough leaving even though I really wanted to go to Chapman. I was leaving my family behind. I was leaving everything I knew behind. In the beginning it was just me.

Luckily, I did make some good friends after a few months. Some of them I'm still very close to today. That did make it easier, but it was still tough in the beginning. I cried a little on the plane that day. I knew life would never be the same. I was right. I still only come back to Massachusetts know twice a year. The duration of the trips vary, but I definitely spend a majority of my time out west. That probably won't change. I've learned to adapt though and I make the best out of the situation. I have no regrets even if it's hard sometimes. If life is about making bold moves, then I want to make as many as possible.

Red Sox Come Back from 0-3 and Win the AL Pennant
Date: October 17, 2004
Backstory of The Moment: The Red Sox lost the 2003 AL Pennant to the Yanks. They faced them in a rematch in 2004. The Sox quickly fell into a 0-3 hole, losing game three 19-8. The Red Sox then proceeded to win game four and five in dramatic fashion. Game six is the legendary bloody sock game. Then, there was game seven.
The Moment: The Red Sox shock the baseball world and come back from 0-3 and win the next four games. It is also not just against any team. It's against the Yankees. The aura of the Yankees owning the Sox is over and the Red Sox or the Idiots go to their first World Series since 1986.
Looking Back at The Moment Now: I can still remember watching game four in my dorm and lying on the bed thinking it's over in the 9th. I never thought they were going to come back from 0-3 and win four straight. If I only gambled some money on them to come back. I could be rich right now. It's really the crowning achievement in Boston sports this decade and maybe ever. It also almost made the World Series anti-climatic. All 25 guys are this team captured the hearts of New England and helped erase any pain from the previous season. While I am a believer that heartbreaking losses are more like scars, these Sox gave us one up on the Yanks any day of the week for the foreseeable future. The Yanks choked so bad in this series. It's really a much bigger choke than the Pats a few years later as the Yankees had four chances to win one game. Two of them were in extra innings. It's still amazing to think and something special any Sox fan who lived through it will never forget.

Red Sox Win the World Series
Date: October 27, 2004
Backstory of The Moment: The Red Sox won the AL Pennant 10 days earlier. They face the NL Champs, St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series.
The Moment: The Red Sox never trail in the series and sweep the Cards to win their first World Series in 86 years.
Looking Back at The Moment Now: Like 9/11, I sometimes forget what life was like before the Sox won the Series. Like I also wrote a little earlier, this series was anti-climatic. Most people silently thought the Sox weren't going to blow it after coming back from a 0-3 deficit. They were too hot and it was true. They never trailed. Historically, this was one of the worst World Series ever. It was so one-sided that if the Red Sox weren't in it, then the ratings probably would have been horrible. I actually didn't even watch the first couple games because I had class and whatnot. I did catch game four in my dorm and I yelled, "We fucking did it" when they got the final out. Then, I played Queen's We are the Champions on continuous repeat on my iTunes. It was a sweet day in Boston and one most of us won't forget. My only regret what that I was 3000 miles away. After they won, I just went outside and smoked a cigar. Victory was sweet.

Patriots Win Super Bowl XXXIX
Date: February 6, 2005
Backstory of The Moment: The Patriots went 14-2 for the second straight year. They entered the playoffs trying to become the first team since the Broncos (97-98) to win back to back Super Bowls and the first since the Cowboys (92, 93, 95) to win three in four years. They would face the Philadelphia Eagles
The Moment: This game was easily the least dramatic of all the Super Bowls the Pats were in this decade. It was still close, but the Pats managed to take a 24-14 lead before winning 24-21.
Looking Back at The Moment Now: At the time I never would have guessed this would be the last of the decade for the Pats. They were so invincible at the time. Still, it was a hell of an accomplishment and really made Pats fans spoiled. Even Boston fans were spoiled at the time. The city won three championships in almost a year (two Super Bowls and one World Series).

It's funny to think that this was the least dramatic of all the Super Bowls for the Pats as this was still a very good game. I believe the Eagles had the ball trailing 24-21, but McNabb got picked off by Rodney Harrison to seal the game. It's fun looking back on these Patriot teams as their three titles in four years was truly a modern day dynasty and will probably not happen again anytime soon.

WrestleMania 21
Date: April 3, 2005
Backstory of The Moment: I'm a big wrestling fan. I went to WrestleMania XIV in 1998 and decided to go to the granddaddy of them all for the second time.
The Moment: WrestleMania went Hollywood and it was a ppv headlined by some great matches including the classic HBK vs. Kurt Angle.
Looking Back at The Moment Now: It's hard for me to pick which WM was better. This one or XIV. I will say that the HBK vs. Angle match is the best match I've ever seen live. It was so intense and I literally had no idea who was going to win. HBK (my favorite wrestler) sadly tapped out.

Going to WM is just fun. I'm actually going to WM XXVI this March in Glendale, AZ, so I'm sure that even will make this list in 10 years. For now though, WM 21 was just a great event and it's really something every wrestling fan should experience at least once.

What Happens in Mexico, Stays in Mexico
Date: April 17, 2005
Backstory of The Moment: Devi, Dres, Julian, and I were bored on a Saturday night. We made a decision to go to Tijuana.
The Moment: While this moment started on Saturday 4/16, we made it to Mexico on 4/17. We stayed there all night and arrived back in Orange County early in the morning.
Looking Back at The Moment Now: This is what I wrote a few years ago about this night, "If there is one moment that I honestly consider this is what college is all about, then this would be it." It was really a crazy night and I actually never went back to Tijuana. I have said this many times and I'll say it again, I don't need to. Between walking the creepy streets to going into the creepy bars, it's something you don't want to experience numerous times. I drank a lot that night, but surprisingly didn't get sick. I did a flaming shot that night even. Then, there was asking Dres to point me straight.

Julian and I actually drank so much that we passed out in the back of his CRX, which is an extremely small car. We woke up in a parked car since Devi and Dres left us there. We only woke up since I farted and it smelled so bad. Hey, I drank a lot and I blame the flaming shot. This night is full of a lot of fun memories and I know Dres, Julian, and I still reminisce about them every now and then.

McCartney II
Date: November 11, 2005
Backstory of The Moment: I saw McCartney in 2002 with my Dad. This tour was to support Paul's new album, Chaos and Creation in the Backyard. I was living in CA at the time and went to see Paul for the second time.
The Moment: Paul put on another incredible show. My seats were better than the last time, but this still ranks as my least memorable Paul McCartney concert.
Looking Back at The Moment Now: I saw this concert at the Pond in Anaheim. I just think I forget about this since it lacked an amazing experience or cool venue. It was just another concert, but featured a Beatle. I also saw this show alone, so I think that also attributed to it.

Still, Paul played all the hits and it's still the fourth best concert I've ever seen. Chaos and Creation was also a much better album than Driving Rain and I think it was his best work since probably Flaming Pie. All my concerts with Paul I hold close to my heart and they are moments I will never forget as a Beatles fan.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Moments That Defined a Decade: 2000, 2001, 2002

With the 2000s coming to a close, I thought it was only fitting that I do this. Yes, it's the moments that defined a decade for me. Some are on a more personal level while others are moments any person is familiar with. I'm going to shy away from doing a complete retrospective on the decade until December 31st. Doing this made me realize that while this decade might have been boring compared to others it still had plenty of amazing moments. The schedule for doing this feature is as follows (subject to change).

December 23: 2000, 2001, 2002
December 26: 2003, 2004, 2005
December 28: 2006, 2007
December 29: 2008, 2009

First Commentating Game
Date: May 17, 2000
Backstory of The Moment: It was the start of what would be my commentating career which spanned numerous sports (baseball, men's basketball, women's basketbal, football, and softball) from 2000 to 2004 (I believe). My career as a commentator really was the beginning of my career in film.
The Moment: I started my color commentating career with a game of softball between Peabody and Arlington. Papa (my grandfather) did the play by play. I remember asking before the game what I should call him. He told me, "Lou." I still laugh when I think of that. I think Peabody won the game. I think...
Looking Back at The Moment Now: Wasn't the best game I called or the most memorable. I only remembered this date due to having a vhs copy of the game. It's funny how nervous I was at the time, but it was the beginning of what became a decent career calling games. It helped I did it with Papa and they are some of the best memories I have with him. Still, I think I greatly improved from this game to some of my later ones in 2003 and 2004. I'm glad I still have the tape and it will be something I hold on to for a long time.

First Episode of Public Invasion
Date: December 7, 2000
Backstory of The Moment: At the end of 1999, beginning of 2000, I was really getting into tv/video. I just entered high school and I was getting involved with the cable access channel for sports games (see above moment). I was also getting involved in high school studio. Having a public access seemed like the logical first step. My friends and I actually started this process on March 20, 2000. Almost nine months later, we finally produced a first episode.
The Moment: Dave Bartlett, Drew Fitzherbert, Kenny McHugh, and I finally shot a pilot episode on Thanksgiving Eve 2000. We edited the show together and got ready to air the first episode. Believe it was a Thursday night at 9:00 p.m. 23 episodes, two newspaper articles, and two and a half years later, we put together one of the most successful high school public access shows in the history of Peabody.
Looking Back at The Moment Now: Like the above moment, this wasn't the best episode, but it was the beginning of something special. Also, like the above moment, I was nervous and the later episodes I got much more comfortable. It's funny to watch this one again. This show was the first creative venture of my own. It had its ups and downs, but I still consider it a success. We got some press (two newspaper articles) and I know people did watch it. Considering my age (15 for the first airing), I think it's something to hold my head up to and acknowledge what I did. We had some good episodes too. We interviewed two mayors and most importantly had fun. When we called it quits, I had no regrets. Drew quit after the 2nd episode and Kenny left towards the end, too. Unfortunately, stuff like that happens. We ended the show in September 2003 since Dave and I were heading to college and it was simply time to move on. I actually still have the episodes on SVHS. One of these days, I need to put them all on dvd.

Class President Speech
Date: May 30, 2001
Backstory of The Moment: The previous year I ran for Class Co-President. I made it to the finals (four candidates, two winners), but lost. I actually gave out a good speech, but it was too serious. I learned from my loss and regrouped for the junior year class co-presidency. I once again lobbied for a speech assembly, so I could try to win over the voters. I actually managed to top the ballot of the primaries this year with my bumper sticker campaign, but it was tight. I may have won first by less than 10 votes. I knew I needed to step up, I wrote the speech in a week or so. I rehearsed it endlessly and actually almost memorized it. I was prepared to give out the speech of a lifetime in front of roughly 500 people.
The Moment: On the day before my 16th birthday, I was the first of four candidates (eight candidates in the primaries) to give out a speech for Class So-President. It was really an unbelievable moment. The microphone even went out and I screamed my way through it. The speech did a great job combining humor and seriousness. I also delivered what would become my signature line and claim to fame in high school, "The Class of 2003 is a lot like spaghetti, all it needs is sauce." The place erupted and I raised my hands giving out the peace sign before leaving the podium. I did it. A day later we voted and the day after that I won in a landslide (by 100 votes according to the class advisor).
Looking Back at The Moment Now: This is a moment I hold very close to my heart. It's arguably my greatest accomplishment considering the circumstances. Plus it was a moment that happened due to my peers recognizing me. I extremely proud of it and that speech. I reread it recently and it's not amazing, but it worked for the audience. I actually put tons of Beatle references in the speech. I actually also briefly screwed up the final line. I said, "Let it be Mike Cersosimo," rather than "Let it be Mike Cersosimo as I speak words of wisdom.

My famous line was actually never intended to be that successful. It's actually about 3/4 from the end. It doesn't even really fit in the speech, but I put it in there from a suggestion of a friend. He gave me a pickup line, "Let me put some sauce on your spaghetti." I reworked it. The original intended slogan of the campaign was a slight variation of a John Lennon lyric, "There are no problems, only solutions." Thankfully, the spaghetti line is the most well known.

I was extremely nervous before, during, and after the speech. I think I was especially shocked after. I never anticipated the response. It spoiled me since the following year, the speech was nowhere near successful. A couple kids came up to me after the speech assembly was over and told me how it was the best speech ever. It was crazy. Add on top of this that I used my grandfather's old bumper stickers. Not only was I covered in the stickers, but I probably gave out 50 or so to other kids. They wore them too. I vividly remember overhearing someone that didn't know me say, "Who's this famous Cersosimo kid?" I was arguably the most popular kid in school that day.

This sounds pretentious, but I call my win that year "A Perfect Win" (came up with this term shortly after I won). It's the grand slam of best campaign, best speech, win the primaries, and win the general election. The class presidency itself didn't live up to expectations, but it's okay. I was reelected the following year and it looked good on my college resume. It's funny too since whenever I am back in Peabody and see someone I graduated with there's a good chance they still bring it up. The quote is almost always butchered, but I don't care. It's really cool to hear people still talk about that. It happened eight years ago. Honestly, if I had to pick the quintessential moment of this decade this would be it. It defined me really in many other things I did. I went up against impossible odds. I flourished in the big time. I shocked the world (or at least my graduating class).

The Smell of Marijuana
Date: June 11, 2001
Backstory of The Moment: I went to my second concert ever (I literally saw U2 three days earlier in the same venue, the TD Banknorth Garden). I was seeing a guitar god in Eric Clapton and arguably more importantly smelled something very different.
The Moment: Not sure what song it was during, but I just remember the smell of marijuana. It definitely didn't smell like cigarettes or cigars. I was 16 during this moment and I never smoked weed before (I actually didn't smoke it until a few years later).
Looking Back at The Moment Now: I just remember asking my father how he knew it was marijuana. He replied, "You just know." I just think this is a funny story about my first memory of marijuana (don't remember much from health class). I briefly mentioned it above, but I didn't actually try it until I was 20 years old. I'm a late bloomer. This was actually a really good concert. Much better than when I saw Clapton in 2007. He played a lot of hits and even Billy Preston was in his support band.

September 11th Attacks
Date: September 11, 2001
Backstory of The Moment: It was another normal day. I went to school. I was in 3rd period AP European History with Mr. Andruskiewicz. Then, we heard the news.
The Moment: The teacher next door told us that planes crashed into the Twin Towers. Mr. A ignored it. Minutes later, the teacher came back and said they hit the pentagons. Mr. A is legitimately concerned. The whole class goes next door and watches coverage of the attacks. School stays in session the rest of the day. Though, little work is done as everyone is shocked. When I got home I just watched the news nonstop.
Looking Back at The Moment Now: 9/11 was the "where were you moment" of the last 20 years. It defined the decade and the presidency of George W. Bush. I will probably get criticism for this, but I have mixed feelings about 9/11. In one sense, it's a horrible day. All the people that died from those attacks is extremely unfortunate. It's sad to think of all the lives lost. It was also very scary to think that something like that could happen. I've flown numerous times since the attacks and part of me always thinks for a split second maybe my plane could get hijacked. I think it's just natural. I can't even imagine what it was like on those planes. Knowing that you're going to die.

Another part of me was just sickened by the phoniness of American patriotism. Everyone had flags waving nonstop after 9/11. People wore clothes with flags. Cars had patriotic bumper stickers and even flags. Radios played patriotic music. The government passed the Patriot Act. Hell even the New England Patriots won the Super Bowl months later. I know I shouldn't be so naive, but it baffles me since it took a tragedy like 9/11 to make everyone patriotic. It's pathetic, really. I remember a Vietnam vet I met shortly after 9/11 telling a group of us at school how every year he was the only person on his street that put out a for veterans day. After 9/11, everyone on his street got a flag and he was the last person to put his out. He got criticized for it. He then told our class, "Where the hell was all this patriotism before?" I never forgot that line and this was one of the main reasons I never wore any flag apparel. I'm not saying you can't love your country, but love it in moderation. To me, It came off the wrong way after 9/11 and lost its meaning.

I sometimes forget about the twin towers. I've been to NYC twice (my only two times) and don't miss them from the skyline. I honestly forget about life before 9/11. It's such a huge moment and for everyone it means something different. I'm just glad the radios stopped playing that Lee Greenwood song.

George Harrison Dies
Date: November 29, 2001
Backstory of The Moment: John Lennon died in 1980, so only three members of the greatest band ever, The Beatles, were still alive. George Harrison was battling cancer. He also had a couple operations. By late 2001, he couldn't last any longer.
The Moment: George Harrison died at the age of 58 from cancer. Only two Beatles remained alive, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr. When I got home I think my Mom told me, which prompted me to turn on the tv. The news was confirmed that the Quiet Beatle was gone as most major news stations had coverage on his life.
Looking Back at The Moment Now: I lost my first Beatle. I missed John (by roughly five years), so losing George was kind of weird. I actually had no idea he was that sick. I was shocked. I was a big Beatles fan then, but nowhere near as big as I am now. I was young and the internet was young, so I wasn't that familiar with any Beatle news sites to update me on his health.

I didn't know what to say. Remember George was only 58 years old. It was sad. Not as sad as John, but definitely sad. Made me really appreciate The Beatles even more. I must have watched countless retrospects on his life. It made me realize how special him and The Beatles were and how it's a sad day when you lose someone that talented. My Dad was even sad. He was a man of few words that day.

I think George like John has got even bigger in death. In one way it's sad, but also a testament to him that people still care about him after he's gone. I know I appreciate his music even more and more. Here Comes The Sun, Something, Taxman, and While My Guitar Gently Weeps are amazing songs. All Things Must Pass is an amazing solo album. It's arguably the best Beatle solo album. I'm serious, listen to it. I still prefer Lennon's Plastic Ono Band, but All Things is right up there. It's one of the best.

Like John, I wish George lived a little longer. He didn't get to see Cirque Du Soleil's Love, the remasters, or Beatles Rock Band. I hope he would have been proud that his band was still the biggest in the world.

I got to meet George's son, Dhani at a record signing in early 2009. Looks and sounds so much like George. He's talented too, so I hope he continues to make music.

Blaze Dies
Date: January 4, 2002
Backstory of The Moment: My family got Blaze in September 1994 (she was born on July 7, 1994). She was a purebred beagle that I grew up with really. In the fall of 2001, she was beginning to throw up. We later found out she had kidney disease. She was dying. On Christmas she was fine, but days later she declined. Shortly after the new year, we had to put her to sleep.
The Moment: Putting your dog to sleep is one of the hardest things to do. It was impossible to save Blaze, so we decided to put her to sleep. My Mom and I stayed in the room as she was put down. She was only 7 1/2 years old.
Looking Back at The Moment Now: I call this moment the unofficial death of my childhood. I was 16 at the time. It was real hard to do. Still hard even thinking about it. That dog was a pain at times, but I loved her. I hate to say this, but losing Blaze hurt more than losing my grandmother months later.

I decided to name my production company after her. The night before she died, I told her this and shared one final moment with her alone while everyone was asleep. I actually still have a dead flower she sniffed on the last walk I ever took with her in late 2001. It is in my room. I also took her dog collar right before she died. It is also safely in my room back in Massachusetts.

My family had Blaze cremated and her ashes are located in the living room. She's still with us and I haven't forgot her. I just wish she lived longer. She was relatively young when she died.

Patriots Win Super Bowl XXXVI
Date: February 3, 2002
Backstory of The Moment: For years the Patriots were the laughing stock of the NFL. In 1996, they managed to go to the Super Bowl. They lost that game and for the next four years they were a good team, but not great. In 2000, they hired Bill Belichick and also drafted Tom Brady from Michigan in the sixth round with the 199th overall pick.

Drew Bledsoe started the year as the starter. In week two he was knocked out by the Jets with internal bleeding. Tom Brady stepped in that season. He led the Pats to an 11-5 record and into the playoffs. He survived the Snow Bowl and beat (with the help of Bledsoe) the heavily favored Steelers to go to the Super Bowl.

The Pats would play the Rams, who were two touchdown favorites. The Rams that season were setting offensive records and known as "The Greatest Show on Turf". They had MVPs Kurt Warner and Marshall Faulk on the team and won Super Bowl XXXIV.
The Moment: The Patriots played an incredible game. They were up 17-3 late in the game. A holding penalty stopped them from taking a 24-3, which would have put the game away for good. The Rams managed to tie the game with less than two minutes remaining. The score was 17-17. Against John Madden's advice, Tom Brady led the team down the field to set up a field goal attempt. With no time remaining, Adam Vinatieri hit a 48 yard field goal to give the Patriots a 20-17 win. This would be regarded as one of the biggest upsets in Super Bowl history.
Looking Back at The Moment Now: Honestly, I think this championship is the most important of the decade. Yes, even bigger than the 2004 Red Sox. I just think this team set the tone for the decade and gave hope to Boston sports again. It was our first championship since 1986. It brought some optimism to a usually pessimistic sports town. The '90s were a horrible decade for Boston sports. This started one of the most successful stretches of time in Boston sports.

I will never forget my excitement over them winning. I literally jumped in the air as the field goal was good. I didn't know what else to do. I never watched my sports team win a championship. I still don't know how the Pats won this game. We had no business winning it. They just played an incredible game and beat the Rams up. Also, their defense came up huge and shut down the Rams for the majority of the game. Unfortunately, the Pats felt the opposite end of this in 2008, but let's not talk about that yet. This was a positive experience.

Some people forget about that Willie McGinest penalty that cost the Pats a touchdown. If that hold was not called, then the Pats would have went up 24-3. In retrospect it's fun that they won in the final seconds, but I was nervous.

At that time, Tom Brady was still a "lucky" QB and it's amazing to watch that final drive. It's something I won't forget. The guts Brady showed is something that can't be underestimated. He became a legend that night and his shock at the end of the game echoed all of New England. No one could literally believe it. The Patriots won the Super Bowl. What?!?

The huge upset obviously was not a fluke. At the time I thought it was. I would have never expected them to win two more and almost win a third. I even was not convinced Brady was the real deal. At the end of the decade, I can confidently he is.

Nana Dies
Date: April 14, 2002
Backstory of The Moment: My paternal grandmother was a unofficially diagnosed with cancer (never went to the enough doctors to have it officially diagnosed) in probably late 2001 (don't exactly remember). She was doing okay for a while, but it was only a matter of time. We all knew it was coming and by April the end was near. I think I saw her three days before she died.
The Moment: Nana died on a Sunday. I heard the news when I came home from CVS on Sunday night. My Dad, Mom, and Lori were sitting in the family room. Nana was 72.
Looking Back at The Moment Now: I lost my second grandparent. It was seven years after Grandma, so I was older and more mature. It wasn't a shock when Nana died. It was just a question of when it would happen. The only good thing about this death was everyone got to say goodbye and whatnot. Though, it was sad to see her actually die.

Nana stayed at my Aunt Jeanne's house. For a while, Nana was okay, but before you knew it she couldn't walk. Then, her mind started to go. I can remember her speaking gibberish towards the end and being bedridden. The last conversation I actually remember with her and me was when we started about candlepin bowling. That was probably a couple weeks before she died.

I never really got that close with Nana. To be honest, she was a cold woman at times. She was also an alcoholic and chain smoker. She wasn't a healthy woman and at times she could be mean (see alcoholism). I know my Dad and two Aunts didn't have the best childhood because of her alcoholism. She divorced my paternal grandfather (Papa) in the 70s, so she was a divorcee for a good portion of her life.

I actually delivered the eulogy (my first one) for her funeral. I actually didn't prepare a speech or anything. I was going to read a passage, but the Priest didn't give me one, so I read the back of those prayer cards they give you when you attend a wake. I also called her a "wonderful mother and grandmother". Okay, I lied a little, but in the end she was my grandmother. I never loved her as much as my other three grandparents, but I still loved her.

Bowling Travel League Win
Date: May 19, 2002
Backstory of The Moment: My bowling buddies (Chris, Drew, and Matt) and I represented the Metro Bowl for a youth traveling league. The basic concept of the league was a bunch of teams from different alleys would compete each other at a different venue every month. In May, the Metro Bowl hosted the event.
The Moment: After being told by one of the league organizers that we couldn't touch the trophy, we competed for the youth traveling league monthly championship. I bowled my best (now second best) game of my career. After bowling an average 88 first string, I went off for an 128 and 129 in the second and third string.
Looking Back at The Moment Now: I still can remember the woman telling us that we couldn't touch the trophy. She even took a cleaning spray and sprayed the trophy after we got close to it. This is my proudest moment as a bowler. Chris, Drew, Matt, and I defended our home court and won it. This was the only time we did. We came close a few times, but this was the only time we got to hold the trophy.

It was an odd game of bowling for me. I had a mediocre first string, then was on a mission. I do remember going in the bathroom and telling myself to get it together, but I also do that a lot when I'm bowling. You wouldn't believe it, but I get very emotional and pumped up when I bowl. I've been in the zone twice during my bowling career (you'll hear about the other time in 2003) and I can't really explain it. I was just rolling a real good and accurate ball. I hit my spots and gave myself plenty of mark (strike or spare) opportunities. I was also bowling anchor (the last and usually best bowler) and I came through. I finished with a 345, which was my career high at the time.

This was arguably the last hurrah for the four of us as a team. Drew barely bowled with us after that, so it's fun to think we all got to share this moment. It's especially special for me since I was the main reason we won. I want to think the other guys bowled good to great games too, but I don't remember. I do know my teammates let me accept the trophy. Thinking about the moment when I lifted it up over my head still makes me smile.

First Live High School TV Broadcast
Date: September 11, 2002
Backstory of The Moment: It was the first anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Peabody High just got new televisions in every classroom. Mr. Melville was in his second year as the teacher and was about to embark on a high school news program. Before that got off the ground, we were asked to broadcast a message from the principal with a few students.
The Moment: I was actually in 1st period and my teacher took us outside to talk about 9/11. When I was returning from outside, I bumped into Mr. Melville and another student, Ryan. They asked if I wanted to help with the broadcast. I said yes and managed to get out of my class at the time to direct the broadcast. Principal Patuleia gave an address to students about 9/11 and led a panel discussion with other student leaders. It was the first live broadcast in the history of Peabody High School.
Looking Back at The Moment Now: I was very close to not being part of this moment. I don't know if I would have ever directed this if it wasn't for pure luck to bump into Mr. Melville. I wasn't extremely close to Mr. Melville at the time, so I wasn't hanging out in tv studio much. I'm glad I got the chance to direct the broadcast. It was a little different directing something live. It was basic, but I was still nervous. Didn't want to screw up in front of the whole school.

That one broadcast really started my one year of running the TV studio. I was the top dog there. Mr. Melville was the first in command and if he wasn't there, then I made the call. The TV program at PVMHS was mediocre at best my first two years. Then Mr. Melville came and really got me excited again about working in tv/vidoe/film. From this broadcast to my final one in June 2003, I had a lot of fun directing countless morning news broadcasts. I actually haven't directed a TV broadcast since I left PVMHS.

I have no idea what they are doing at the studio now. I know Mr. Melville is sadly gone. I think he left after the 2004-2005 school year. If he was still there, then I probably would still visit PVMHS and keep up to date with the TV studio. I hope that the foundation I laid in 2002-2003 has been built upon and made into a nice, big house. It's been seven years since this first broadcast, so I expect something great to be going on in the tv studio today.

Paul McCartney I
Date: October 1, 2002
Backstory of The Moment: I was a big Beatles' fan for a good four to five years now. After a nine year touring hiatus, Paul McCartney announced he was touring to support his new album, Driving Rain. He first toured in the spring of 2002, but my Dad couldn't get tickets. Paul later announced an extension of the Driving USA tour now called Back in the US tour. Dad managed to get tickets this time.
The Moment: After years of being a Beatles' fan, I got my first chance to see Sir Paul McCartney. It was at the Fleet Center (now TD Banknorth Garden). Dad and I sat in the very last row of the balcony. Paul played his standard 2 1/2 to 3 hour show with multiple encores. He blew the place down.
Looking Back at The Moment Now: I actually cried at the very beginning when Paul came out. It was just unbelievable to hear him singing in person. Here I was in the same building as a Beatle. It was mindblowing. My Dad, who saw Paul in '93, also looked like he choked up.

Thinking about the last row tickets, I can't help to think about how my Dad would never buy tickets online back then. Maybe it wasn't as popular. He would always go to a box office and wait in line rather than buy online. It's still funny to think that we sat in the very last row. We kept walking and walking up the balcony before we saw a cement wall. I don't remember the view being horrible, but it was difficult at times to see the stage. Luckily most people sit during these concerts, so it makes it a little easier to see.

The concert itself was great. This was the beginning of the supporting band that Paul has played with for the majority of this decade and they had it even back then. He played all the classics and really put on a show. I was amazed at the Hey Jude sing-along and how he came out for multiple encores. I only rank this as my third out of four Paul shows due to seeing even more amazing shows. It could be technically two, but as of right now, I consider Amoeba number one and Fenway number two. Regardless, I'm glad I got to spend this moment with my Dad.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Golden Globes Nominees

This has been an odd awards season for me. It's actually the first time writing this blog that I've actually had a job/school commitment during the season. While that is definitely a positive it also makes it difficult to get fully immersed in the season. It also leaves less time to post and whatnot. For example, I honestly had no idea that the HFPA were even announcing nominations today. I know, I know...

Up in the Air leads the pack with six nominations. It's followed by Nine (5 noms), Avatar (4 noms), and Inglourious Basterds (4 noms). The Hurt Locker, which recently took the top prize at the LA and NY film critics got three. It's rather spread out. The Globes are not always the best Oscar indicator, but it's also arguably the second biggest award show of the year. It has to be taken seriously, but we also have to be careful and not get too excited. Below are some quick thoughts on the Best Picture races. I need to do more research/watch the nominees to really write anything intelligent about the other races. Don't worry I promise to get on top of things around the New Year.

Motion Picture, Drama
The Hurt Locker
Inglourious Basterds
Up in the Air

Thoughts: Avatar continues to prove it will be nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars. If it was five nominees, I would be worried, but it's ten. The Globe nom helps a lot. I see all five of these films nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars. I'm unsure what will win here at the Globes. I need more time to think, but I'm going to go with Up in the Air.

Motion Picture, Comedy/Musical
500 Days of Summer
The Hangover
It’s Complicated
Julie and Julia

Thoughts: This should be Nine's to lose. Glad to see Summer and Hangover nominated, but to think either of these films gets nominated for an Oscar would be a stretch. I really only see Nine getting nominated from this group.

Actress, Drama
Emily Blunt, The Young Victoria
Sandra Bullock, The Blind Side
Helen Mirren, The Last Station
Carey Mulligan, An Education
Gabby Sidibe, Precious

Actor, Drama
Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart
George Clooney, Up in the Air
Colin Firth, A Single Man
Morgan Freeman, Invictus
Tobey Maguire, Brothers

Actor Comedy/Musical
Matt Damon, The Informant
Daniel Day-Lewis, Nine
Robert Downey Jr., Sherlock Holmes
Joe Gordon Levitt, 500 Days of Summer
Michael Stuhlbarg, A Serious Man

Actress, Comedy
Sandra Bullock, The Proposal
Marion Cotillard, Nine
Julia Roberts, Duplicity
Meryl Streep, Julie & Julia
Meryl Streep, It’s Complicated

Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker
James Cameron, Avatar
Clint Eastwood, Invictus
Jason Reitman, Up in the Air
Quentin Tarantino, Inglourious Basterds

Best Supporting Actress
Penelope Cruz, Nine
Vera Farmiga, Up in the Air
Anna Kendrick, Up in the Air
Mo’nique, Precious
Julianne Moore, A Single Man

Supporting Actor
Matt Damon, Invictus
Woody Harrelson, The Messenger
Christopher Plummer, The Last Station
Stanley Tucci, The Lovely Bones
Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds

Neill Blomkampt & Terri Tatchell, District 9
Mark Boal, The Hurt Locker
Nancy Meyers, It’s Complicated
Jason Reitman & Sheldon Turner, Up in the Air
Quentin Tarantino, Inglourious Basterds

Original Score
Michael Giacchino, Up
Marvin Hamlisch, The Informant
James Horner, Avatar
Abel Krozeniowski, A Single Man
Karen O. and Carter Burwell, Where the Wild Things Are

Foreign Language Film
Broken Embraces
The Maid
Un Prophete
The White Ribbon

Original Song
“Cinema Italiano,” Nine
“I Want To Come Home,” Everybody’s Fine
“I See You,” Avatar
“The Weary Kind,” Crazy Heart
“Winter,” Brothers

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Hurt Locker Wins NY Film Critics

This is going to be a short post as I'm in the middle of studying for finals. The Hurt Locker has done it again. Is it the frontrunner? Not sure yet. I'm a bit skeptical on a film about the Iraq war being named Best Picture at the Oscars. This could be a case of a film being a critic's darling, then failing at the Oscars. Nothing wrong with that. I think it's just important not to be too high on The Hurt Locker's two big wins. It's still early.

Oh, and Avatar won the NY Online Film Critics. That was surprising. I really think this film will be nominated for Best Picture.

Anyway, here's the list of the major winner for the NYFCC.

Best Film
The Hurt Locker

Best Director
Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker

Best Actress
Meryl Streep, Julie & Julia

Best Actor
George Clooney, Up In The Air and Fantastic Mr. Fox

Best Supporting Actress
Mo’Nique, Precious

Best Supporting Actor
Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds

Best Screenplay
In the Loop

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Hurt Locker Wins LA Film Critics

One of the more prestigious film critics groups is LAFCA. Not always the best Oscar indicator, but still a damn good award to win. This decade they are an "amazing" 0/9 in predicting Oscar's top prize. The previous decade they were 2/10 (Unforgiven and Schindler's List). The great thing about LAFCA is they don't like to follow the leader and they tend to make bold choices. So, while The Hurt Locker may not win Best Picture in March, it will still be able to say it took home one of the most respected awards of the season. I do think this award validates the fact that this film is a major player though and with no dominant film this season, could really make some noise.

Here's a look at the major winners.

Best Picture: The Hurt Locker
Runner-up: Up in the Air

Best Director: Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker
Runner-up: Michael Haneke, The White Ribbon

Best Actor: Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart
Runner-up: Colin Firth, A Single Man

Best Actress: Yolande Moreau, Seraphine
Runner-up: Carey Mulligan, An Education

Best Supporting Actor: Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds
Runner-up: Peter Capaldi, In the Loop

Best Supporting Actress: Mo’Nique, Precious
Runner-up: Anna Kendrick, Up in the Air

Best Screenplay: Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner, Up in the Air
Runner-up: Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, Armando Ianucci and Tony Roche, In the Loop

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


29 Years ago tonight, we lost John Lennon. Like last year, I'm just going to post a piece I wrote back in 2007. Next year, for the 30th anniversary, I will be writing something new. I just feel like the writing is more powerful if spread out rather than doing something each year. I want some time to pass, so I can continue to reflect on the man and his life as I grow older.

Feel free to read that piece unedited from December 8, 2007 HERE.

As I also posted last year, please take a moment at 10:50 p.m. (time of shooting) and 11:15 p.m. (time of death) eastern times to remember him and his legacy. It's amazing to think that 29 years later, his message of peace, love, and positive thinking are still alive. If only he were here today...

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Up in the Air Wins National Board of Review

Up in the Air was the big winner today. Not only was it named the top film, but also won for adapted screenplay, supporting actress (Anna Kendrick), and best actor (George Clooney). Though, best actor was actually a tie with Morgan Freeman for Invictus. As for Avatar, The Lovely Bones, Nine, and Precious, they were nowhere to be seen. It's only one award, but not the way those films wanted to start the season. Here's the full list.

Best Film: Up in the Air

Top 10: (in alphabetical order)
An Education
(500) Days of Summer
The Hurt Locker
Inglourious Basterds
The Messenger
A Serious Man
Star Trek
Where the Wild Things Are

Best Director: Clint Eastwood, Invictus

Best Actor: (tie) Morgan Freeman, Invictus and George Clooney, Up In The Air

Best Actress: Carey Mulligan, An Education

Best Supporting Actor: Woody Harrelson, The Messenger

Best Supporting Actress: Anna Kendrick, Up In The Air

Best Original Screenplay: Joel & Ethan Coen, A Serious Man

Best Adapted Screenplay: Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner, Up In the Air

I was actually 6/10 on the top 10 list. Not bad, but not great either. At least by my standards. I missed (500) Days, Basterds, The Messenger, and Star Trek. I'm really happy for (500) Days, which is arguably my favorite film of the year. Also think it's great to recognize a film like Star Trek, which was a great all around film.

I have no idea what happened to Nine or Precious. Those are two big Oscar contenders and both were shut out. I know I picked Nine yesterday as my best picture winner, but I can slowly see myself switching to Up in the Air. I'm still not going to change my mind yet, but the Oscars are about momentum. If Nine keeps slipping, then its status a Best Picture frontrunner will begin to slide. I still think this film has the cast and director to make it a contender. Also screened well. Same thing goes for Precious. And even Avatar to a certain extent. This is one award and this race is far from over. It's only the beginning.

As for the other major races, I'm extremely glad and excited for Anna Kendrick. As some of my hardcore readers know, I have been all about this girl since I saw Rocket Science two years ago. I thought she was going to be huge and if I was an agent at the time I would have tried to poach her from APA. I think she is that talented. Like I did two years ago with P.T. Anderson, I'm quietly pulling for her, but I promise it won't cloud my judgement when making predictions.

Clint winning for Best Director was big for Invictus. He's always a serious player in the Oscar field and this year is no different. He represents that old section of the Academy and that is the section that votes. I see a Clint vs. Jason Reitman battle this season. Reitman is young, but very respected in Hollywood. He really hasn't made a bad film yet. And his Dad, Ivan Reitman, is a damn good filmmaker, which makes him a second generation filmmaker and the Academy is always a sucker for legacies.

Another battle between Invictus and Up in the Air will probably be Best Actor. People have been talking about Morgan Freeman the whole year. And yes, he's playing a real person (Nelson Mandela). That helps. Especially recently with wins from Philip Seymour Hoffman playing Capote to Sean Penn playing Harvey Milk. The problem is that everyone loves George Clooney. I think actually Clooney's Oscar from a few years ago hurts him a little, but at least it was supporting. Same goes for Freeman actually who won the same Oscar the previous year. So, it could be argued that their Oscars cancel each other out.

Once the critic awards start getting handed out, these races will even take more shape. It's exciting and this year the Oscar season is a little longer. Yes, we're in March this year. It's a long derby and the NBR has kicked it off.