Tag Archives: ” Father’s Day

A movie post: “Rocketman” provides great music, and a so-so story. 30 years on, remembering the great “Dead Poets Society.” And a father’s day PSA honors Dads of all kinds

Here are some things I can tell you after a rare trip to the cinemas Friday night, to see the new Elton John biopic, “Rocketman.”

— There are a whole lot of Elton John songs in this movie (although disappointingly, we didn’t get “Candle in the Wind”), and they’re all sung excellently and with fantastic stage presence by Taron Egerton. Egerton is so freaking good he almost redeems the movie’s flaws by himself.

— This is a sanitized version of John’s story; I mean, yeah, we see him treating people badly, and we see the drugs and the drinking that takes place after he shoots to fame, but it’s really pretty tame stuff compared to most rock biopics. Alas, Sir Elton was an executive producer on the film, so that explains why it was rather tame.

— Did I like the movie? The music scenes were excellent, Egerton was, as I said, superb in channeling the look and sound of Elton John, and visually there were some incredible set pieces.
But the story was really, really slow-moving; we didn’t need a half-hour of Elton John’s childhood. There were lots of unexplored avenues in the film, a lot of the plot was simplistic in regards to John’s parents, and the movie abruptly ends telling John’s story in around 1989. Lots of interesting stuff has happened to him since then, including his incredible AIDS charity work, his musical evolution without working with Taupin, etc. I would’ve liked to see a lot more of the last 30 years, and less of his first 30.

I’d give the movie 2.5 stars, because when all is said and done, I did have a fun time watching it.

— If you believe this movie’s chronology, about 95 percent of the classic Bernie Taupin-Elton John songs they wrote together were penned in the first year they knew each other. Seriously, SO many hits were played/sung in the first months of their collaboration that you’re left thinking “Man, these guys started out hot, then didn’t write another great song for like 10 years.

— Finally, this has nothing to do with “Rocketman” but I just need to share:

The guy working the snacks counter told me, authoritatively, that not only are there people who purchase the giant horsebucket-sized container of popcorn for $9.50, but often bring it back for the promised free refill, while the film they’re seeing is still going on.

Who are these people that need THIS much popcorn? How can they eat this much popcorn? Even if they’re sharing it with, like 6 or 7 people, that’s still a ridiculous amount of popcorn?
Sorry, this stayed with me for a few hours after the movie.

**Next up today, in the same “movies” vein, The Ringer.com and Bill Simmons had an excellent podcast the other day about the classic “Dead Poets Society” which turns 30 years old this year.

I have always loved, loved, LOVED “DPS,” because I’m a writer and an English major nerd and because it’s just such a beautiful film, acted so well by Robin Williams, Robert Sean Leonard, Ethan Hawke, and a young Josh Charles.

Anyway, they of course talked about the final scene, which for my money is the best last scene of a movie, ever.

Enjoy. And seize the day!

**And finally today, Sunday was Father’s Day, and I hope if you’re a Dad you had a great one, and if you’re lucky enough to have your own father still around, you called him or hugged him or maybe did both (I saw mine and we had a lovely day).
Before I go on, had to share these two fantastic Dad jokes I took from NPR’s Twitter thread Sunday, when they happily unveiled a flurry of Dad jokes for our groans and amusement. These two legit had me laughing out loud:

1.My wife is really mad at the fact that I have no sense of direction. So I packed up my stuff and right.

2. Guy walks up to a librarian and says…”Can you tell me where I can find the books on paranoia?” The librarian (whispers) “They’re right behind you.”

OK, moving on, thanks to my Facebook memory feature Sunday I saw this incredible PSA from 2013 that I ran on the blog here in honor of Father’s Day, and it was so good and moved me, again, on Sunday that I wanted to run it again here.

Just beautifully put together by the folks at Family Today; the Dad’s face at the :55 mark is all of us…

A beautiful story on Father’s Day. The “Field of Dreams” catch, of course. And R.I.P. Clarence Clemons, you will be missed

Happy Father’s Day to all the Pops out there (including Cliff Huxtable, who still kills me when I watch that scene posted above).

Want to thank my Dad of course, who taught me most everything I know and mostly about being a good, decent human being, and my stepfather Arny, who has been a wonderful blessing in my life these last two decades.

Jane Leavy, an outstanding writer, had a great father as well. I was looking for the perfect piece to illustrate Father’s Day, and she wrote a darn good one here for Grantland.com. Enjoy.

**Then of course, since it’s Father’s Day, I must post the greatest father-son scene in the history of film, as I did last year. Probably be an annual tradition here at Wide World of Stuff since it’s my favorite movie of all time and all:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

**Finally, some sad news came down Saturday night. Clarence “Big Man” Clemons, the iconic saxophone player in Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band, died a week after suffering a massive stroke. He was 69.
I’m not going to claim to be the biggest Springsteen fan in the world; I love his music and own several albums (do kids still know what those are, albums?) but I’m not obsessive about it. But Clemons always struck me as the heart and soul of the band. He was large, of course, but also seemed so fun-loving and dedicated to putting on a great show.
Here’s Bruce Springsteen’s statement about his dear friend, and two clips of “Big Man.” The first is a solo on “Jungleland” which is just so beautiful, and the second is Clemons telling the story of how he met Bruce. It’s a terrific tale.

Enough with all the anger at Obama. Couples you just click with. And a bizarre Father’s Day promotion

I’ve been listening to, and reading, a whole lot of criticism of Barack Obama the past few weeks.

Where the heck’s he been on the oil spill? Why isn’t he doing more? Where’s the leadership in his presidency already?

And I understand some of the anger, I do. When a major disaster like the oil spill in the Gulf happens, we immediately look for someone to blame. Someone, somewhere must’ve been able to stop this!

And in this case, yes, BP absolutely screwed up.

But I don’t really get the anger at Obama here. BP caused the spill. BP will be held responsible. I think people expect Obama to break out a magic wand or something. I understand the crying need for leadership in this country, especially after the eight years of incompetence from George W. Bush.

But what more would you have Obama do? Nobody knows how to stop the oil from spilling. Would Obama being down there every day, hollering and empathizing, be able to stop the animals from dying and the industry in the Gulf being choked off?

I feel like he’s on top of the situation, and he, and the rest of the smart people in his administration, are doing all they can.

It’s just that Obama isn’t flashy, and he doesn’t make grand gestures, and his talents and abilities aren’t easily captured in 30-second soundbites. And that frustrated a lot of people.

I’m not being very articulate here, I feel. Andrew Sullivan says it much, much better than me in this essay called “Getting Shit Done.”

***This one may only make sense to married people…

You know how there are certain couples that you and your spouse just click with? When the four of you hang out, everything is easy. The conversation flows, the laughs are long, and each of your strengths plays to theirs.  It’s a pretty rare thing, I’ve found, to have that complete ease with two other people. It’s sort of like jazz, when four people are able to riff off each other so easily.

Happily, Julie and I got to hang out with our “perfect match” couple a few times last week. Jen and Greg live in Georgia and were down by the beach for the week. I love them and their two daughters, but we only get to see them about once a year, if that. Jen is wickedly funny, and very much like my wife in a lot of ways (she told Julie after meeting me for the first time, in 2003 “You’re going to marry that boy.”)

She’s always just a little bit harried and bothered by life’s frustrations, but never truly loses it. Greg has a dry sense of humor, is an excellent cook (he made us terrific scallops the other night), and is a genuinely good guy.

I’m not sure if I saw them more often, if I’d appreciate how well we mesh. But I probably would. It’s a special thing when you can be completely relaxed around good friends, you know?

Plus, you know, they love board games as much as we do.

***Finally, from the “World of Diminished Expectations” Dept., I  saw this Sunday night on my way home from picking up takeout. It was on a marquee for a pizza joint:

“Happy Father’s Day. Free slice to any Dad with a child support payment stub.”

If that won’t induce a man to honor his obligations, nothing will!

A couple of Father’s Day stories to make you smile. And the dancing Brazilian baby!

Happy Father’s Day to all the daddies out there, especially mine, who did a pretty OK job, I’d say, raising me.

One story and two clips I wanted to share today. First, Esquire writer A.J. Jacobs always has some strange takes on things (he wrote a book once where he decided to live, literally, by the Bible for a year), but he wrote a wonderful article about raising his three sons in this month’s issue.

Check it out here.

**Then of course, since it’s Father’s Day, I must post the greatest father-son scene in the history of film:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

**And finally, because every father wishes he had a kid like this, the dancing baby that’s been taking the Internet by storm!

Seriously, this kid makes laugh and scares me at the same time.