Category Archives: General

New Year’s Eve

Hey guys! It’s New Year’s Eve and you know what that means: New Year’s Resolutions! Woohoo! Am I too excited, or does no one care anymore?

There’s something magical about New Year’s Eve. Being caught in the history of this year, and marveling at the history the next will bring. We honor those who died yesterday, but even prepare for the deaths tomorrow. New Year’s Eve is magical, and I’m always happy to see it.

Let me tell you guys a story that happened to me this year (it’s gonna get pretty serious). Earlier this year, I had a hospital scare, and was admitted to the hospital for pancreatitis. Never heard of it before? It’s a nasty thing, and the worst part is that this was my second time. I had it before four years ago.

The pain wasn’t as bad as the first time, and I originally thought, nah, it’s just that new stomach bug everyone is talking about, I don’t have to worry about it. Well, I did.

We called my gastroenterologist, and he didn’t think that there was going to be much to worry about either. And my doctor told them to admit me to the hospital because my enzyme levels were extremely high.

I was in a state of panic. “Oh my God, this is going to become Chronic Pancreatitis. What do I do?” All the way to the hospital I was crying to my mom questions that I know she didn’t have the answer to.

Just like four years ago, I was in the hospital for around five days, but unlike last time, no G-Tubing down my nose, and I didn’t vomit with the crappy stuff that they make you drink for CT Scans. I thought this acute thing would maybe just blow over with no worries.

Everything went normal in the hospital but we ran some tests we didn’t run before. They tested me for something genetic. And as it turns out, the pancreatitis was a symptom of my Cystic Fibrosis.

This past September 17, 2013 I was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis. I was more prepared for the result than my mother was. I took all the time I could not to worry about the results, saying I’m athletic, and I’m smart, and I will get through this.

It’s brought a lot of heartache not only to myself, but to my entire family. And the few friends of mine that know the results worry about me. However, through all the other tests, my doctors say my exercise capacity is 125%. My lung function is near perfect (astounding for a CF patient) but with chronic changes that would raise questions in a “normal” child.

Through all this, I realize that I’ve been fighting something my entire life. And my entire life, I’ve been winning. It’s emotional for me to share this story because even when I say “I have Cystic Fibrosis”, I almost want to cry because I never thought I would say that.

But what I want you guys to get out of this is that a New Year comes and the Old Year goes. And even while the diagnosis put a downer on me this year. A lot of great things to be proud of happened. And it leads me to make my Resolution this:

To be a resilient human being. To be someone people look to in times of great distress. If Cystic Fibrosis can’t hurt my dreams, then do everything I can to achieve those dreams, and help others along the way.

This story is not to create a shift in the way I want to take this blog. This blog remains entirely entertainment oriented. But even the most fun loving people have a story to share.

I don’t share this story with many people for a reason. I don’t look for sympathy, because people look at you different when they feel sorry for you. But a New Year is coming. And I think we all could use a little inspiration to give us that special push for the great things to come in 2014.

United (TV Film) – Review

I had nothing better to do today, Hockey was cancelled, and I still don’t feel like getting my Christmas Break homework done yet. So I took to Netflix to find a film to watch and review. I’m going to try something different by organizing how I do the review. If you guys like the way I do it, please let me know. Let me know even more if you dislike the way I do it and give me some suggestions on how to perfect my critiquing.

The movie I found was called United, a TV film by BBC on the 1958 Munich Air Disaster that killed eight Manchester United players, and left the team without its greatest squad in years. If you’re a soccer fan, particularly Manchester United, then you may know what went down on that fateful day in 1958.

Perhaps the most well known star in the film was David Tennant, known for his role as The Doctor in Doctor Who, and Barty Crouch in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. David Tennant is an amazing actor and his expressions can change in an instant. I could spend a whole post talking about David Tennant, but there were other actors in this film that were simply amazing.

Jack O’Connell played Bobby Charlton, famous United midfielder, and overall the main character of the film. I found Jack’s act in a role that required immense emotion to be conveyed was done surprisingly well. The film, released in 2011 meant that Jack was 21 during the role, and I believe that the role of Bobby Charlton in this film required a mature actor who could convey everything perfectly. For being a young actor, Jack is going to go places. I wish him good fortune in his future. He was astounding.

Dougray Scott as Matt Busby was a wonderful performance. I liked the deep voice as well. Fun fact here, Dougray Scott was originally meant to be Wolverine in the X-Men movies but was removed after his filming in Mission Impossible went over the original timing. So they went and got Hugh Jackman, who is now making big bucks with those movies.

The movie begins with the Manchester United team watching film that spoke of the young players and their achievements. This being the most successful team of players under the age of 25 is a big deal. Chris Chibnall (writer) did a good job of introducing the characters as such, making their loss later in the film a much more emotionally shocking. This team, with so much intensity and potential, to die so young is a hard thing to bear. Kudos to Mr. Chibnall for giving us the picture of how young these players were and how wonderful they were. It made their loss more emotional.

Aside from the great storytelling, I had a problem with the film’s character focus. There are other people on the team who are not Bobby Charlton, however, it seemed to me that most of the beginning of this film focused on Bobby Charlton. Perhaps because he was the most successful to come out of that crash, but he’s still not the only one who survived. Tell us more about Harry Gregg (Ben Peel) who is the reason why Sir Bobby survived the crash. The first half of the film seemed to almost be all Charlton. I feel that they could have led up to the incident in better fashion than giving Charlton all the attention.

Is this film for everyone? No. If you don’t care for soccer, I’m not sure that you’d care about this either. If you do like soccer, then I bet you may enjoy it. I like soccer (I support many clubs, but I’m a true fan of Newcastle) and it’s the reason why I chose to put the film on. The film is like Remember the Titans for football fans. Or Miracle for hockey fans (I love that movie). It’s inspirational, and worth watching more than once.

Overall, I give this film a 4 out 5.

Overall, out of 5, I’d give this film a 4.

Why Blog?

I think everyone who owns a blog should write a post like this. I don’t know if I’m writing it too early, but I thought it’d be a cool thing to write about.

I blog because I enjoy talking about things that interest me. I don’t even talk about all those interests because the purpose of this specific blog is to not have to be serious about anything I do. I write because I want to on here, not to advertise or make a profit, but to build up a network of bloggers and friends to talk to about the things we love and maybe one day work on a viable venture that could lead to some income.

Many people have made it big blogging, and I’m not looking to create the next Huffington Post or Gawker, I just want to create a blog that generates at least a decent readership of people who love entertainment.

Do I hope to one day make money writing? Well, that would be the easiest job for me to do and I would enjoy doing it. But right now, it’s not about the money, it’s about the blog, and the content. Just because I don’t make any money doesn’t mean the blog shouldn’t make quality posts. Everybody has their humble beginnings, and I’m hoping that That’s What I Like can be my very own beginning. The blog’s not going to be around forever, that’s for sure. I’m going to want to move on to other things, and blog about other things one day, but I hope that if I ever do become a well known writer, that people can remember this blog, and think of it as my  humble beginning.

This blog can very easily fail. Without dedication, it will be nothing. But with dedication, the blog can mean everything. And I think anyone who has a vision for the world, or just a love for something, they should create a blog. Those are the people who inspire me. They want to create something where they can share their voice and be heard on the topics that they care about. I care about their opinions more than I care about some movie critic’s opinions, or any mainstream news media’s opinions.

Power to the people, and the blogosphere attest to that. I created a blog to be heard and to create a network of people that I may one day be able to work with. Why do you blog?

A Digital World

Obviously we live in a digital world. Our books are being bought through our tablets straight to our digital library. Our movies are being bought through Ultraviolet and being placed in a digital collection. Music has almost nearly become all digital through iTunes and Google Play Music. And is it a good thing?

I’ve been extremely torn on my view of the digital world that we’re coming to. When people tell me that they buy their movies online for their digital collections, I ask them, “what about hard copy?” They just tell me that they don’t use them anymore, and that disc cases take up space in the house. Before just recently, I didn’t know much about digital films.

I use Ultraviolet, but I only have two movies on it. Mostly because I’m not into spending a lot of money on films. I usually only buy movies that I saw in theatres, unless I rented it and loved it. But more and more, I’m looking towards digitalizing my film collection. Why? Sometimes I enjoy just sitting down with my Microsoft Surface (I advertised can I get paid now?) and relax with a good film or TV show. I use Hulu for my television, and I haven’t gotten Netflix on my Surface quite yet.  But I do like having a hard copy, not only to solidify my physical ownership of the movie, but to have a safe backup if anything were to happen to that digital library.

Now I did look at the FAQ and Terms of Ultraviolet, and the service is much better than expected. Like they should, they also want to solidify your ownership of the movie, and even will offer you a hard copy of the film you buy online, free of charge, to make sure you have the film on hand. Not only that, but if your provider (say VUDU or Flixster) were to discontinue their services, your files are not affected and another service is likely to offer you the backup for those files. Even if that were to happen, you can download the files onto your mobile device and even download it onto a disc, SD, or USB, to have multiple copies. You can do that at anytime and you are not limited. Why? UV understands that the movie is yours.

Now everyone knows what Ultraviolet is, most movies now are coming with Ultraviolet, unless you buy simply a DVD. But they even let you download that onto your collection for free (depending on what service you have). Ultraviolet is taking digital in the right direction in m opinion. They understand that hard copies are important to many people, and give them free access to do what they want with the file that they bought. They make sure that other services are there to protect you if your service happens to just discontinue its service or shutdown. This is the way digital should be done, and UV is doing it right. Many people like myself were afraid to go digital, for fear of not having true ownership of the content, and for fear of it being lost and irretrievable. I can take multiple precautions to protect my films and TV shows bought through my service (I use Flixster) to make sure I never lose the product I paid money for. As we’re moving into a more digitalized world, I hope that it’s done the way UV is doing it with entertainment. Digital ownership is a tough thing. Streaming is easy, you pay for the service and own nothing. But when you buy something, you want to keep it, and doing that digitally can be a challenging thing. While I think hard copies are still the best way to go, I can trust UV with my content, to make sure that it is always mine.

Rant #1: My Problem With Hobbit Haters

I told you guys that I would be doing a ranting post. And after you read this, you may find out that I love to go on rants. So I thought I’ll number my rants so you know what to expect out of these kinds of posts. I’ll also create a category on the blog also. So. Here. We. Go.

Like I said in my review of The Desolation of Smaug. I really enjoyed the first film as a whole. I thought that the action was placed in the movie very well to keep the movie going, and Peter Jackson did what he could to keep it interesting. The movie was the foray into Bilbo’s journey with the dwarves on their quest to reclaim the Dwarf Kingdom of Erabor from the evil dragon Smaug. In order to get the story right and to help the viewer understand everything that is going on, it was necessary for Peter Jackson to take his time. Wonderful reasoning for dividing the story up into three films.

Did I read the book? You bet I did. And I think that most people who watched the movie did not. Peter Jackson does a good job of sticking to the story he was given, but like any other producer/director he makes changes not only to accommodate the viewer but those who read the book as well. I think too many people went in there (the theater) and expected the movie to be almost exactly like the book. What people don’t realize is that it’s not going to make for a very good movie.

If you read the book (if you haven’t, I highly suggest that you do) you know that there are things that Tolkien did not go in depth with. Of course, we know Gandalf’s ulterior motives in joining the dwarves on their noble quest. Smaug had the potential (and likelihood) of being recruited by the Necromancer (Sauron) in joining his army. If Smaug had been recruited by Sauron, the war of the One Ring would have been a much different story. It would have been less of a war, and more of a slaughter. In the second movie, Jackson actually visualized what went down when Gandalf went to Dol Guldur. Jackson did this so those who did not read the book understand what is going on behind the scenes of this journey.

What I’m reading are complaints from viewers that Jackson took a wonderful book and ran it into the ground. That he’s dragging out the story into three installments for the sake of money. But I have to say that they are completely wrong. The book may not take long to read, but it takes a couple times of rereading it to understand the book in its entirety. This book is the reason for the epic story that is The Lord of the Rings. It’s a very good reason to divvy up the story into three films.

I’m also reading complaints that Jackson has been adding too much. One review I read, from Christopher Orr of The Atlantic, said that The Hobbit was bad fan fiction. Now I don’t care for Christopher Orr, I’ve read other reviews of his and I always feel like he’s missing the point. He seems like that critic that knows it’s a popular movie and wants to write a controversial review.

“Whether through ego, avarice, or unchecked enthusiasm, Jackson has entered deep into the realm of fan fiction. Indeed, having granted himself boundless license to reimagine, he seems to have begun reimagining even his own reimaginings.”

Mr. Orr, you couldn’t be more wrong. In a book, it’s easy to discuss and explain a back story, or make sense of what happened previously. It’s much harder in a film where most people aren’t going to understand. These “reimaginings” of Jackson’s are put there for the viewer to get what else is happening at the same time Thorin is attempting to retake his home.

The Hobbit has everything to do with the LOTR series. Had Bilbo not found the ring and stolen it from Gollum (I’m a believer in Bilbo’s theft of the ring) then everything would have been different. Bilbo may have died in the journey had he not made use of the ring’s cloaking abilities. The ring made use of Bilbo and put him in situations in which he would rely on the ring more and more, all with the goal of getting back to its master…Sauron.

You can hate on Jackson’s work all you want. I cannot stop you. It’s your opinion and you’re welcome to have it. But I just believe that if one is going to complain about the length Jackson has made these films, you should understand the purpose for doing so. And Christopher Orr calling it “bad fan fiction” is far from the truth. Jackson had the license to do what he wanted with story, and he could have thrown in lightsabers if he wanted to, but Jackson added in things that he believed would give the film’s viewers a back story that would only have been offered by the book had he not included the scenes.

So thank you guys for reading my first rant on this blog. There are plenty more to come, and if you liked it, I’d like to know what you liked about it and if you would enjoy more. Also, don’t forget to follow me on Twitter (it’s on the left sidebar of the blog) and be sure to add me to your Google+ circles, I add back! Thank you again for reading.

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

My review of this movie has been a bit overdue. I saw it the day it came out and have just neglected posting a review of it until today.

To begin with, I love Peter Jackson and his work in adapting Tolkien’s novels to the big screen. Lord of the Rings was an amazing trilogy, it wasn’t without its flaws but, the movies were done extremely well and I don’t think they could ever be done better.

Was this movie better than the first one? Absolutely, however I quite enjoyed the first one, it set the stage for everything to follow. However, I could rant about the fans who annoy me, but not today. Maybe some other day…tomorrow.

Yes, the movie was better than last year’s An Unexpected Journey. There was so much more action, and there was always something going on. Laketown was probably the most boring part of the movie, but it was necessary to the story. You can’t always be hacking and slashing your way through orcs. Laketown, however slow it made the movie feel was an extremely necessary part of the movie as it also has significance in the next movie. *wink*

There were inclusions of things that were not in the book (however, added masterfully to add to the story and stuck true to the premise of the novel). You had Legolas included, and a little bit of a love interest going on with previously nonexistent character Tauriel, played by Evangeline Lilly. Like any story, there has to be a love story involved. Other than have hit handed to him like the LOTR novels did, Peter Jackson had to create one out of thin air. I think the addition of Tauriel was actually an enjoyable one, and if you see the movie, I think you’ll enjoy her presence too.

Like last year’s first installment of the series, the acting was simply superb. There was one acting problem I did have a problem with. I want to like Lee Pace as Thranduil, I really do. But I felt that his acting during the dwarves time in Mirkwood was overdone. I felt this his movements were a bit overly dramatic and they didn’t feel natural to me. Other than that, I have no problems with Lee Pace as an actor, he was picked for Thranduil for a reason.

Ken Stott as Balin is just amazing. I’m not the only one that will tell you that either. Many critics and fans are really proud of Stott’s portrayal of the wise Balin. He also rocks that beard.

Martin Freeman and Ian McKellen are both amazing actors. Hard to believe that he was that guy in Love Actually making a dirty movie. Oh how far he’s come. Having film veteran McKellen come back to reprise his role as Gandalf was very important to me.

But onward! To what really matters! The movie as a whole! The graphics with Smaug made me want to cry with tears of joy!

Benedict Cumberbatch’s voice was amazing. No one could do it better. The movie’s progression was much better than the first. And the cliffhanger at the end… wow!

All in all, blows last year’s movie right out of the water. However, sales this year are not booming. Why? Last year’s film. But I encourage you to see this movie by any means! Whether you like the first one or not, this movie is not only a redeemer, but it’s simply just a wonderful movie. The journey has just gotten to its “holy shit” phase.

Out of 10, this baby gets a 9.5.