Category Archives: Movies & TV

Meeting Famous People

clarissa

One of my favorite questions to ask somebody is, “If you could have a sandwich and a conversation with anyone on earth… but you couldn’t tell anyone else about it, who would you pick?”  I like that question because I think it gets right to the heart about what it means to have a meaningful moment with someone you admire.  Is that moment about them, or you?  Are you excited to learn more about that person, or are you excited about how much more interesting you’ll seem to everyone else?

I got the opportunity to interview Melissa Joan Hart last week.  The timing was so odd.  Not long ago here I confessed my secret that I’d been binge watching Clarissa Explains it All on Hulu.  I had just wrapped up watching the last episode on Tuesday, Thursday an e-mail shows up at work in my Inbox. “Interview Melissa Joan Hart”.  Well that’s… weird.  There’s a lot of long odds from the beginning to the end of this scenario.  Whoever is doing publicity for Melissa Joan Hart has stumbled onto some sort of fifth dimensional wavelength that apparently I was tuned into.

mjh email

I was pretty excited at the opportunity.  Surely nothing would come of it.  But what if it did?  What would I ask her?  What would she be like?  How weird would it be to hear her voice and know that she’s talking to me?  All of a sudden that sandwich question was the furthest thing from my mind.

It was a busy day that day.  I had a live broadcast to do and plenty of work around the station.  The interview opportunity was for the next morning and with every refresh of my e-mail inbox, and every hour that passed by, the chances of getting to talk to her at all were fading away.

Then as I was pulling back into the radio station that afternoon my phone rang with a number I didn’t recognize.  It was from California, and usually I just let numbers like that go to voice mail… but this was the kind of day I answered calls from the farthest possible strangers.  2 minutes later, I had 10 minutes reserved for the interview.  Weird how you go from metered disappointment, to throttled jubilation.

mjh calendar

As the reality started to set in about what was happening, the REAL REALITY really started to set in about what was happening.  First thing I wanted to do was I wanted to be respectful.  Why is this happening in the first place?  An alarm didn’t go off on MJH Headquarters saying, “Matt just finished watching Clarissa!”… she’s promoting her new movie.  Gotta talk about that.  Gotta make sure I AM ABLE talk about that.  Then you start to put yourself in their shoes.  I’m the first of probably at least 10 radio interviews she has to knock out in 2 hours where everyone is going to ask her the same questions.  And having been known for her TV shows dating back 20 years, probably asked the same questions she’s been asked for the last 20 years.  Suddenly this sounds like one of the most dreadful things I can possibly imagine.  Now I was less excited about how cool it was going to be to talk to Melissa Joan Hart, but more thinking about how I can get through my interview without making her want to blow her brains out.  I decided I wasn’t even going to bring up Clarissa or Sabrina unless she did.  Spoiler alert: she didn’t.

I researched her movie and wrote down enough questions to fill 10 minutes on my own… just in case.  Right on time, the phone rang.  After the briefest of pleasantries with the interview coordinator, I said “Hi”.  She said “Hi”. And it was time to roll.

“What was it like?” everyone later asks.  This is the part where I’m supposed to be cool because Melissa Joan Hart talked to ME.  Here’s the truth.  I had fun.  It WAS cool.  But I am completely cognizant to the fact that she was just doing a job.  I would have loved to have gone deep on Clarissa questions and things that would satisfy my thirst for more information.  I guess at the end of the day to ask all the questions I really wanted to ask seemed selfish and rude.

So the sandwich question turns out to be an interesting thought experiment, but a real life impracticability.  We want to meet celebrities because we feel like we have a relationship from the stories they help tell, or what they share through social media.  But turn it around, and how many sandwiches do you want to have with complete strangers who know more about you than you know about them?  Most of us won’t even say “Hi, how ya doin’?” to a stranger.

I suppose we should worry less about how interesting our lives are and appreciate more the people who just genuinely enjoy our company for being normal boring old us.

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Growing Up

Luke Spagheti

Anybody who’s been around Luke for any amount of time, knows that he is just the happiest little guy around.  He just loves to have fun.  Loves to play.  Non stop.  He’s a chatterbox, and a goof-nugget!

I absolutely love hanging out with him, of course because of all the things I just mentioned, but also because it reminds me so much about growing up myself.  And how fun and carefree it all was.  I mean yeah, Luke will have the occasional breakdown when he really wants something, but has to put his toys away first.  But he rebounds quicker than you can flip a pancake.  I had some extra time to spend at home this weekend and just about every minute was spent with this little guy.

He wouldn’t be such a happy kid though, if Andrea weren’t such a great mommy.  I know it can be tough on her sometimes.  I can imagine going all day without any kind of adult interaction can be draining, and probably a bit lonesome.  But when you’re around Luke, you know how awesome she is at what she does!  I try to help after work and on the weekends like this, just to give her a little break.  I’m sure she could always use more though!

Luke Andrea Kangaroo

But basically what inspired this post was just all the things I’ve been able to share with him.  And that he totally latches onto.  We do a lot of things together that I did when I was a kid.  We play with Hot Wheels cars, we race around on the carpet, we watch cartoons.  We’ve been watching the Super Mario Bros cartoons from the 90’s, the Care Bears from the 80’s, and we see a lot of Mr. Rogers too.

Mario Cartoon

It’s fun watching him get excited about things like the Care Bears.  To us, they’re retro and dated, they’re brand new to him.  And to be honest, it’s fun for me to watch them with him and see certain things and think to myself, “I THINK I remember that…”  Mostly it’s not really specifics, but like the voices of a lot of the characters just feel super familiar, and this after not even thinking about the Care Bears for at least 20 years.  Funny how our minds work.

Care Bears Cartoon

Part of me feels a little guilty that I’m subjecting him to something that’s 3 decades old, compared to what his peers are probably being exposed to.  He’ll go off to school and his friends will have whatever the hot new lunchbox is, and he’ll have no idea who the characters are on the cover.  It’s not going to derail him socially, but still it’s a consequence of a choice I made, that he didn’t even know existed.

The other part of me thinks… you know my parents would have done the same thing as me… if they had the option to.  We don’t have cable.  We watch all this old stuff on places like Hulu and Youtube.  It’s amazing how much is out there.  More than I ever saw as a kid of these shows.  When I was growing up, what was on TV is all that I could be exposed to.  I suppose if my parents had the ability to keep me in a bubble of the media that they knew, trusted, and felt comfortable with, they would have done it too.  They just had to keep an eye on what we watched and make sure it wasn’t too “out there”.

Mr Rogers Feed Fish

It does make you wonder though, if this is all he knew, what would Luke share with his children?  Will kids still be watching really bad Mario & Luigi skits between animated mushroom adventures from 1991 in the year 2033?  I’m sure as he gets older and starts interacting with other kids and being exposed to more, he’ll develop his own memories.  Stuff that I just won’t understand.  It will happen eventually.  But until it does, I’m going to soak up our awesome Saturday mornings eating pancakes, watching cartoons, and pretending I’m growing up all over again too.

Pancake Smiley

I haven’t seen Avatar yet.

...or have I?

Communication is the key!

Well one of the benefits of my recent lack of motivation is that I’ve had plenty of time to *gasp* watch TV.  Something I don’t usually do a ton of.  Biebs introduced the show “Big Bang Theory” to me quite some time ago when it first came out, and I watched a few clips, but never really felt like sitting down and watching a show.

So now with a lack of anything better to do, Andrea dug up some episodes of the show and we started watching.  A couple episodes in and (a few years late to the show) I’m hooked.

We’re both really enjoying the show, so we’ve been trying to watch all the episodes together, but it’s HARD.  Especially when she’s off bowling and I have nothing to do for about three hours.  So after resisting for as long as I could, I went ahead a few episodes and just figured I’d watch them again when sat down and watched them “together”.

So only after we sat down at lunch and watch an episode (which I’d already seen) did I find out that Andrea had done the SAME THING TOO!  So we both re-watched an episode that we both thought the other didn’t watch only because we didn’t tell each other about skipping ahead.

So maybe if we’d been honest with each other we could have actually seen something new!

Saw the new Bond movie…my opinions.

It’s gotten a ho-hum reception from most of the people I’ve talked to personally…but I’m going to say that I really enjoyed it.

The biggest complaint I’ve heard is that its devoid of gadgets.  This is true, I can’t recall the use of a single “gadget” in the entire film.  Casino Royale was much the same though.  It had a couple, but they were very few and far between.  In a way, the move away from the gadgetry has sort of brought Bond full circle.  Watch Dr. No, the first film, and you may be surprised to see none there as well.  In fact it wasn’t until the fourth film Goldfinger that Q’s handywork was really in the spotlight.  So I guess as a bigger Bond nerd than most, I’m actually able to appreciate the lack of gimmicky props as “getting back to the roots of Bond”.

I think that these last two films have really done a great job of defining James Bond as a character for the duration of Daniel Craig’s run.  Casino Royale set the stage last time for a deep look into Bond’s character in Quantum of Solace.  Not since On Her Majesty’s Secret Service have we seen so much of the emotional side of 007.  So many of the other films portray him as a cold, calm, and confident man who won’t hesitate to do what it takes to accomplish the mission.  Now we finally get to see past that exterior and see a man that also feels pain, compassion, and loss.  Bond is certianly a more complex character this time around and in my opinion, that makes him more interesting.

This is no sappy story though.  There’s lots of action to be had.  Probably 80% of the movie is almost non stop, only slowing down once in a while to let you catch your breath, and then it throws you back on the run.  There’s some great scenes as Felix Leiter is somewhat reintroduced as something other than Bond’s concierge.  But for all of the great improvements in character identity, I felt as if ‘M’ took a step backwards.  Spending most of the time looking like a confused puppy dog.  That and her nickname kept driving me crazy throughout the entire film.

All in all, a great film.  One of the better ones.  While it’s quite different than most of the films of the past 30 years, I think its heart and soul are truly Bond and continues a chapter that is a refreshing and takes the series in a much needed direction.  I can’t wait for the next one!