My 7 Favorite Movies of 2012 (so far)

The holiday season is upon us! This is a busy time at work and in that spirit, I thought I’d present to you my favorite movies of the year so far. Some are still in theatres, but most aren’t. And I still haven’t seen Lincoln yet, but I’ve heard amazing things about it. So many great movies begin coming out around this time of year…here’s the stuff I’ve really liked.

Happy Thanksgiving!

The holiday season is upon us! This is a busy time at work and in that spirit, I thought I’d present to you my favorite movies of the year so far. Some are still in theatres, but most aren’t. And I still haven’t seen Lincoln yet, but I’ve heard amazing things about it. So many great movies begin coming out around this time of year…here’s the stuff I’ve really liked (in no particular order):

Ruby Sparks


Zoe Kazan’s wonderful little movie about an author whose writer’s block leads him to manifest a character from his writings into real life. Paul Dano and Kazan (who date in real life, I believe) have terrific chemistry and Chris Messina provides terrific support as Dano’s brother.

Ruby Sparks is out on DVD and Blu-Ray

Wreck-It Ralph

Wreck-It Ralph posterI’m a sucker for good animated movies. They’re accessible to all ages and have more flexibility to be creative than most traditional films. Wreck-It Ralph fits that mold completely, telling the story of a “bad guy” from the video game Fix-It Felix, Jr., who decides he doesn’t want to be bad anymore. The adventure leads him to “game jump” trying to prove all of the people of his game wrong. Released by Disney Animation under the tutelage of John Lassiter, who was one of the co-creators of Pixar, this movie has all the things that we love about Pixar movies: originality, comedy and heart. The voice characterization of the main characters by John C. Reilly (Ralph) and Sarah Silverman (Vanellope von Schweetz) is nothing short of perfect. I loved this movie. And I haven’t talked to a single person yet who hasn’t felt the same way. Bonus points for the short film that precedes it, Paper Man. Just trust me on that one.

Wreck-It Ralph is in theatres now

The Dark Knight Rises

There is no doubt that Christopher Nolan revolutionized not just the Batman franchise, but the approach of comic book movies into the future. Batman Begins was the reboot that all of these other comic book reboots have been based on and The Dark Knight Rises is the wonderful conclusion to his epic trilogy.

The Dark Knight Rises is out on DVD and Blu-Ray December 4

Argo

Argo posterBen Affleck has become one of the most talented and sought-after directors in Hollywood. So far, he hasn’t missed a step. Last year’s The Town was one of the best films of the year and should have garnered him his first Academy Award nomination since Good Will Hunting. This year, Affleck tackled a historical film about a CIA mission to get out several embassy workers from Iran in the late 1970’s. Affleck both stars and directs in this taut thriller that keeps you at the edge of your seat the whole movie long. He stays very faithful to the era and gets wonderful supporting performances from John Goodman and Alan Arkin.

Argo is in theatres now

Moonrise Kingdom

Most people either love or hate Wes Anderson movies. He has a very specific style that people either like or dislike. There isn’t a lot in between. I actually kind of fall in between though. I’ve never been a huge fan (for example, I think Rushmore is extremely overrated), but he has his moments. This year’s Moonrise Kingdom was, to me, his best work to date. Creative and quirky, Moonrise Kingdom follows two kids who fall in love during a summer on an island off the coast of New England. The kids who play the main characters are perfectly weird and play their roles well and the adults provide a backdrop that shows people don’t stop being screwed up even into their adult years.

Moonrise Kingdom is out on Blu-Ray and DVD

The Perks of Being a Walflower

The Perks of Being a Wallflower posterI read this book way back in 2005. When I heard about the movie adaptation, I was nervous. I really loved the book and I thought it might be difficult to translate to screen. I was comforted by the fact that Stephen Chbosky, who wrote the book, was writing the screenplay and directing. I was not disappointed. Telling the story of a confused teenager named Charlie, Chbosky explores some pretty heavy subject material for teenagers, but gets a wonderful assist from his talented cast, led by Logan Lerman, Emma Watson and Ezra Miller. This movie really succeeds in staying true to the challenging nature of the book, but keeping it accessible to many audiences.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower is still out in some theatres

The Avengers


It’s difficult for me to write a best-of list without the biggest blockbuster of the year, Marvel’s The Avengers. Anchored by the return of everyone’s favorite billionaire playboy philanthropist Tony Stark, played by the always terrific Robert Downey, Jr., The Avengers was arguably one of the biggest movies of the year, bringing together the last few years of work that Marvel has done with Iron Man, Thor, Captain America and The Hulk. What results is a really big, fun, entertaining ride that pits good vs. evil for the fate of the planet. When it comes to entertainment, I don’t know if there was another movie this year that could eclipse The Avengers.

The Avengers is out on Blu-Ray and DVD now


There’s still a lot of great stuff yet to come this year. I’m looking forward to seeing Lincoln, Life of Pi, The Silver Linings Playbook, Django Unchained, The Hobbit, The Impossible and Promised Land.

So what have your favorite movies of the year been? And what are you most looking forward to seeing this holiday season?

Thankfulness

My buddy at work posted a status update every day in November of something he was thankful for. I did something similar a few years back on this blog and while I didn’t get around to posting something every day (and it is December 1st), I have a lot to be thankful for:

  • Obviously, there’s nothing I’m more thankful for than my amazing wife. She inspires me and makes me laugh every day. Our relationship is the thing that I am most proud of in my life. 10 years of marriage and I fall in love every single day with her.
  • My family always is at the top of the list. I’m thankful my parents have returned from overseas and I’m thankful for my in-laws and my hilarious nieces (and nephew on the way).
  • I’m thankful to be blessed with a great group of friends…people I’ve enjoyed being around for most of my life, who make me laugh and occasionally let me win at poker and fantasy football.
  • I love my church family. For the past year, I’ve served as the Assistant Pastor at the Olathe Community of Christ, a church that I grew up in and has been our congregation since we got married. The people there are amazing and I’m so excited to serve another year.
  • I’m thankful for a terrific job that allows me to do something I’m good at (digital and online marketing) in a field that I absolutely adore (the movies).
  • I’m blessed to have a house that I love coming home to — cozy and perfect for the two of us and Dreyfuss. And our new backyard! (more on that later)
  • Speaking of Dreyfuss, I don’t know what I would do without that mutt. He is seriously one of the funniest personalities in my life.

I could name so many other things. I’ve truly found myself very blessed this year. I hope that as we’ve passed Thanksgiving and entered into the holiday season that you find time to be thankful.

Happy Thanksgiving

I’ve got a lot to be thankful for and I try to remember that daily and not just because the pilgrims told me to.

On this day of Thanksgiving, I am thankful for:

  • My beautiful, loving, talented wife. She’s my best friend and the first person I want to talk to in the morning and the last one I want to talk to at night.
  • My awesome family. All of them, immediate and extended. My family is fantastic.
  • My great friends. I’m blessed with a large group of great friends who are a lot of fun to be around. I’m looking forward to our Gardner-Olathe football game this Saturday.
  • And so much more…

I hope that this day finds you healthy, thankful, and blessed. Thanks especially to those who serve our country overseas and cannot be with their families on this day.

Happy Thanksgiving

I wanted to wish all of you a happy thanksgiving. I know many of you will be off today and traveling.

Alli has been posting regularly over the past month about what she is thankful for every day. Last year, I took the opportunity to do the same thing, but I listed one thing each day. It was a wonderful exercise and I enjoyed it a lot. This year, I haven’t managed to post everyday like I did, but I am by no means any less thankful.

Just want to share some of what I’m thankful for today:

  • I’m thankful first and foremost for my lovely wife Alli who makes my life complete. Plus, she started my fan club.
  • I’m thankful for my loving and understanding parents who set a terrific example. 
  • I’m thankful to have a brother who is my best friend outside of my wife. 
  • I’m thankful for Alli’s family, who have accepted and loved me as a son and brother.
  • I’m thankful for Kelly and Ireland, the newest members of our family. Love you guys!
  • I’m thankful for my wonderful dog, even if he constantly licks and chews his feet.
  • I’m thankful for a great group of friends that I’ve grown up with and acquired along the way.
  • I’m thankful to have a home that I love being in and a great job.
  • I’m thankful for the cool fall weather and the evening dusting of snow.
  • I’m thankful for having teams to root for in the fall - Rock Chalk and Go Chiefs! 
  • I’m thankful that Alli and I got to take a dream trip to Paris and Italy this summer.
  • I’m thankful to have a great church family that I enjoy worshipping with every Sunday.
  • I’m thankful for the thorns in my life that remind me through tears the colors of God’s rainbow are more brilliant.

Happy Thanksgiving.
Love, Shane