The Unredeemable Hate (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri review)

You’ve heard that love conquers all, and that all you need is love. But in a real world, love is not the obvious emotional outpouring, hate is far more common. But I have this interesting theory.

In a time when instant gratification runs rampant, a film that interlaces three character arcs, can accomplish a larger thematic goal.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017)

Cast: Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell, Peter Dinklage, Abbie Cornish, Lucas Hedges, Caleb Landry Jones
Director: Martin McDonagh
released on blu-ray February 27, 2018
********* 10/10

IMDB: 8.2
Rotten Tomatoes: 92%, Audience Score 87%
The Guardian: *****/*****

Martin McDonagh is a playwright, writer and director. He has dual citizenship in England and Ireland, having spent most of his childhood in London, and is widely regarded as an Irish playwright legend. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is his third turn in the directors chair, but In Bruges and Seven Psychopaths are both amazing films too.

While he has written far more plays then films, McDonagh has admitted that he has always felt connected to film, that it’s something he appreciates on a personal level. And I think that comes through with Three Billboards.

Special thanks to Fox Searchlight Pictures and their IMDB account for the summary.

After months have passed without a culprit in her daughter’s murder case, Mildred Hayes (Frances McDormand) makes a bold move, painting three signs leading into her town with a controversial message directed at William Willoughby (Woody Harrelson), the town’s revered chief of police. When his second-in-command Officer Dixon (Sam Rockwell), an immature mother’s boy with a penchant for violence, gets involved, the battle between Mildred and Ebbing’s law enforcement is only exacerbated.

This might just be the greatest performance of Frances McDormand’s career.

The plot is entirely driven by anger – McDormand’s Mildred Hayes is empowered by righteous anger to seek justice against the police for her daughter’s rape and murder, but it never really gets any easier for her. Harrelson’s Chief Willoughby commits suicide to spare his family the pain of watching him succumb to cancer, using violence to demonstrate compassion and love. Rockwell’s second-in-command Officer Dixon then enacts his grief through violence against a billboard salesmen, losing his job in the process, and spiralling towards the bottom of the barrel.

The friendship that Willoughby shows Mildred, despite the public believing they hate each other, is the first major act of love we see.

The second major act of love also comes from Willoughby, this time post-humously, in the form of a letter encouraging Dixon to use love rather then hate to become a detective.

The third comes from Red Welby, the ad man that Dixon had beat within an inch of life in his grief-fueled act of brutality. Welby forgives Dixon and offers him a glass of water when Dixon is recovering from burns; burns Dixon got after Mildred lit the police station on fire in her continuous attack on the police.

The final act of love comes from Dixon himself. He overhears a man bragging to a friend about a women he had raped, a woman who was dying from being lit on fire. He then gets into a brawl with the rapist, scratches the man to get his DNA, and hopes to reveal the man as the Hayes murderer.

When Dixon tells Mildred it wasn’t the guy, she forgives him and appreciates the very-delayed attention from the police, even if Dixon is no longer an officer. But the pair decide to seek justice against the rapist anyway, ending the film as they take a road trip.

Pros: It balances the humour ever so carefully with the drama, and each of the three leads do their part to see the story to it’s unobvious, but completely realistic ending.

ConsOn your first pass it might seem like female aggression is totally acceptable or that racism can be redeemed. Upon subsequent viewings, the layers come through.

Runtime: 1 hour 55 minutes

Points of Interest: Frances McDormand won an Academy Award for Best Actress for this film. Woody Harrelson described the movie as Super Troopers meets Seven Psychopaths.

While the narrative of the film is amazing to witness, and gets even better upon subsequent viewings, what I find even more impressive about this film is that it features elements of westerns and intelligent comedy about life in a small town. These are a people in a constant of re-evaluation.

theories Summarized

This drama happens in a fictional town, but the real social issues presented can forgive any fantasy elements being presented. In short Three Billboards is an amazing film and well worth the attention. You should totally watch it.

And if that story didn’t whet your whistle, Mike and I made a really cool video review about the film Nightcrawler. One of my favourite Jake Gyllenhaal movies, and an interesting peek into the world of stringers and documenting violent crime.

So please let me know what you thought of our review, like and share the video, and subscribe to the channel if you haven’t already. With so many more theories coming up in April, you’d have to be a fool not to check out even more great timotheories content.


Better Be Starting Something (Our Lady Peace, Somethingness review)

Fifteen years ago, I had an opportunity to see Our Lady Peace live at a festival and while I took it upon myself to watch them, I never really appreciated it. They were alternative rockers in an open sea of rock and roll, and their music was good, but not great, in my limited opinion.

mp3s hadn’t completely overtaken the musical landscape just yet, but it was becoming more common for smaller musicians to get attention, and more and more Canadian musicians were cropping up. 

Now, after twenty-six years of activity, are they still relevant?


Our Lady Peace – Somethingness

released February 23, 2018
****** 6/10

Our Lady Peace, sometimes known as OLP, are a Canadian rock group that have their roots firmly planted in Toronto. Headed by founding member Raine Maida (vocals, guitar), and longstanding members Steve Mazur (guitar) and Duncan Coutts (vocals, bass), Somethingness is their ninth studio album, and the first since the departure of twenty year drummer Jeremy Taggart, and new comer Jason Pierce.

As I mentioned previously, I’ve seen this group live before, but I have not been much of a fan in their lifetime. This might have stemmed from defiance on my part, refusing to vote with my money simply because a rock group was Canadian, but as I look back on their catalogue, it occurs to me, that these guys really have contributed to the current rock landscape. Maybe not as influencers, necessarily, but by association with with major acts – Foo Fighters, Goo Goo Dolls, Stone Temple Pilots, and Big Wreck all come to mind.

It’s not a particularly innovative album, but as Maida states on opening track Head Down, “I’ll find my place in the sun,” which a mid-tempo song, and a good indicator of the pace to expect for the majority of the record.

Embracing their skill with guitars and penchant for coded lyrics, songs like Ball Of A Poet and Hiding Place for Hearts demonstrate that sound well, and are welcome additions to the album. What I found most surprising of all was how great of a job Drop Me In The Water does of demonstrating the groups strengths, and showing a new generation why their sound was beloved in the 1990s and as a great alternative to the dance-rock and indie folk of the day. Nice To Meet You‘s lyrics are uplifting and topical.

When we get to the last two songs, Let Me Live Again and Last Train, it takes a bit of effort to become reinvested, but Last Train is the most experimental of any of the songs on the record, and a strong point to end on.


Pros: As stated already, singles Nice To Meet You and Drop Me in the Water are excellent, as they raise the emotional bar enough to resonate with a broader audience, and they are technically sound too. But best of all is

Cons: Towards the back half of the record, we listen to some even more subdued tracks – Missing Pieces and Falling into Place. These songs feel at odds with the emotional tone set up in the first half of the record.

Runtime: 33 minutes

Points of Interest: OLP initially decided to split the album up into two volumes, releasing the first EP back in August 2017, but after some consideration a full-length album dropped February 23, 2018 which is the subject of this review.

I wish Last Train would have been an opening track, and influenced more of the record. To be considered as a final thought, is frustrating, to be perfectly honest. I would’ve probably written this album off with out it, Drop Me In The Water, and Nice To Meet You in the mix. I hope this is the start of something, rather then a middling effort at the end of a career.

theories Summarized

At the end of the day, I’m not sure I can fully endorse this album for the average music fan. It’s great if you already know about Our Lady Peace, but if you are looking to try them out, I would direct you to Naveed or one of the other first four albums in a heartbeat upon personal reflection.

That said, I do have a Canadian album that I can easily and happily support. The sophomore effort from k-os, an artist who should be considered a national treasure at this point. And if you don’t believe me, I brought Brendon along to show you the finer points of the record.

What a gem he is. I’ll leave it up to you to decide if I’m referring to my co-host or the artist in question! For now, I’ll listen to The Love Song on repeat. 

And remember, if you liked what you saw, and/or enjoyed what you read, please click on the like button, and even better, subscribe to the channel and my mailing list! I’ll be back tomorrow with a film review on Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri. A film which deserved more then it got at the Academy Awards. I have a few theories on what happened…


Meditate On This (Vinson Lim interview preview)

There is a lot to be said about the importance of discipline, meditation and reflecting on your creative projects upon completion… Whether you shoot video, take photos, design logos or any of the other convention commercial arts, timelines and making the work count is a necessary evil of the job. People pay for expertise, and so you have to look at your art as a business in order to satisfy client needs, but what about the importance of inspiration?

Vinson Lim has come to accept that you need a healthy dose of both in order to achieve greatness as an artist. Truly talented individuals can live in the moment all they way, and produce high volumes of work too, but it’s even more important to take care of your health, and develop intelligent practices to maintain the workflow for years to come.

And so I asked Vinse the question – how often do you find yourself in a state of meditation when you work?

I wanted to see if he actively reflects on life or if there is simply rituals in place that fuel the fire and keep things going even when the spark of youth has left us. This is just a taste of our broader discussion on spiritual alignment, but I promise you’ll get a lot out of hearing what Vinse has done over more then a decade of shooting fashion photography, commercial product photos, living the weekend warrior life of wedding photography, and make artistic work too.

It’s an amazing introduction to the topic of spiritual alignment, and while this might be considered a heavy topic, Vinse has a great ability to present his thoughts in a meaningful way. But enough from me, it’s time for you to watch the video and see for yourself.

theories Summarized

Fun fact, I’ve known Vinse for quite a few years now, but it has been a while since we’ve been in touch. I’m truly impressed with how much he has matured in half a decade, taking on husband duties and now a father as well. But I’d rather not go into those details just yet, better to save them for the official interview, which I will be releasing next week!

That said, if you’ve enjoyed this introductory question and answer on the importance of meditation, please like and share the video, and of course leave some comments if anything really stood out or if you’ve got a good example of balancing inspiration and ritual in your own artistic practice.

More theories on the way, especially with this Our Lady Peace review coming out tomorrow! Check back soon!


Now Look Up, Waaaay Up (Uprise review)

There are things in life which are pure, which are simple and straightforward, and often it isn’t until we’ve had some time away from them that we truly appreciate how invaluable they are.

That’s how I feel looking back at The Friendly Giant, something I love as a young boy. I now have a stepson of my own, and spending time with him has re-invigorated an appreciation for the purest forms of art.

Board games that accomplish this task are essential.


Uprise (2018)

Player Count: Solo, Co-op 2-8, Competitively 2-4
Age: 10+
released on Kickstarter March 20, 2018
Play Time: 30 minutes
Designer: Games By AR
Publisher: Games By AR
******** 8/10

BoardGameGeek: TBD
The Guardian: TBD

Alex Racine is a 3D printer, board game designer, inventor, and a big proponent of DIY game making. He launched Games By AR in the summer of 2017 and has been slowly building up his roster of games. I’ve spent some time with him 1-on-1, learning about his passion for making games (1) (2), so follow the numbers I’ve listed to learn more about him!

Now, Uprise is the first game he has officially launched, but he has a couple of other games on the way (Anchor What?) too. I wanted to give him an opportunity to describe his game in his own words.

Uprise is a strategic tower building game; grow your secret society by completing your Missions! Disguised with a trendy Top Hat, travel to countries around the world. Disguised with a mischievous Moustache, you’ll be free to place your Bureaus. Successful Secret Societies have Secret Agendas. Yours, of course, is no different.

To be fair, Uprise is still in a state of production. You see, dear readers, Games By AR is launching this game on Kickstarter, as many designers do these days, to get the game backed, produce lots of copies and get a foothold in the door. So you can’t buy this game today and bring it home tomorrow – yet. If you back his campaign though, you’ll have fun getting to build your own towers using a mix of strategy and dexterity.

What’s great about Uprise is that it can be played solo, cooperatively, and competitively, with various player counts. As I mentioned above, what I find fascinating about this game is that you can play it with children, and yet, it works just as well with a group of serious gamers in a bout of competition.

This is accomplished by either building towers as a team or working on your secret agendas separately with mission goals to have the most bureaus, reach a certain height first and a myriad of other challenging problems. With the introduction of crisis cards, you can tip the balance of power in your favour, and buy decoys to help build your towers without the use of stache cards.

Pros: The theme is so well considered, the components are tactile and withstand abuse, and the variety of modes can accommodate different player groups.

ConsWhile the game is easy to learn, the instructions on how to play the game in it’s different modes are not always apparent without some serious investigation.

Points of Interest: Alex has two 3D printers at home that he has put to task in helping to cut costs on game production. Games By AR is not only a board game company, Mr. Racine has created several carnival games over the years, and even some variations on popular sports.

Now, I haven’t mentioned this yet, but another fun component of the game is the ability to use bridges, and other yet to be released pieces in constructing famous buildings, behemoths of architecture and fantasy structures.

theories Summarized

Do I think you should pick this game up? Yes absolutely, it does it better then Rhino Hero, Riff Raff, Bausack, Ghost Blitz and a host of other dexterity games, while being a fun strategy game too.

And if that still doesn’t make a good case for it, please check out my video review for some more insights. I promise you’ll get a laugh out of my late night antics.

I really do hope this was a helpful review. And please let me know if you’ve bought the game and enjoyed it as much as I do, independent game designers like Alex work really hard to bring these ideas to the table, and they appreciate feedback when their work is satisfactory.

So please let me know what you thought of my review, like and share the video, and subscribe to the channel if you haven’t already. More theories to come next week!


The Dude (The Disaster Artist review)

To quote from The Big Lebowski, one of my comedy dramas of all-time –

Sometimes there’s a man… I won’t say a hero, ’cause, what’s a hero? But sometimes, there’s a man. And I’m talkin’ about the Dude here. Sometimes, there’s a man, well, he’s the man for his time and place. He fits right in there. And that’s the Dude, in Los Angeles.

In 2003, Tommy Wiseau WAS the dude in Los Angeles. And that’s a true story.

The Disaster Artist (2017)

Cast: Dave Franco, James Franco, Seth Rogen, Ari Graynor, Alison Brie, Jacki Weaver, Zac Efron, Josh Hutcherson
Director: James Franco
released on blu-ray March 13, 2018
********* 9/10

IMDB: 7.6
Rotten Tomatoes: 91%, Audience Score 87%
The Guardian: ****/*****

James Franco is an American actor, filmmaker, and instructor. Comfortable behind the scenes as he is on camera, Franco has been involved in a lot of interesting projects in his career, most notably Milk, The Little Prince, This Is The End, the Sam Raimi Spider-Man trilogy, and 127 Hours.

The Disaster Artist is the first critical and commercial success Franco has achieved in the role of director.

Special thanks to IMDB user Kenneth Chisholm ( for the synopsis.

In the 1990s, Greg Sestero (Dave Franco) is an aspiring actor, who meets the strange Tommy Wiseau (James Franco) in an acting class. Together, Tommy inspires Greg to overcome his nervousness in acting so well that Greg agrees to come to Los Angeles with his odd new friend to pursue their dreams. However, their dreams seem to prove hopeless, especially for Tommy whose mysteriously strange accent and personality repels nearly all around him. Out of an inadvertent suggestion from Greg, Tommy is inspired to instead create his own movie, The Room (2003). What follows is a bizarre struggle to create that film, guided by Tommy, a man who has plenty of money, but not a trace of filmmaking education, experience, talent or even common sense. Along the way, Greg’s friendship with Tommy is put to the test as this project takes shape that would produce a film that ultimately becomes a bizarre accomplishment of a cult classic nature that no one, including Tommy, can see coming.

This is a movie about a movie that was made against all odds… Except for all of the mysterious money that Tommy Wiseau had on hand that allowed him the means to see his shitty movie to the finish line. And no, this movie never answers the questions of Wiseaus heritage, where he got his money from, or how come Greg Sestero was so drawn in by Wiseau and his aspirations.

At a high concept level, it’s pretty easy to see why James Franco aspired to make this film, he relates to the focus of his subject on a personal level, having lived on the edge of art and commercial success for so long. And little brother Dave dotes upon James to gain attention.

Pros: James Franco carries the films strength throughout; his portrayal of Wiseau spot-on. And to top it off, there is clearly a deep appreciation for the story of The Room at the centre of this film, which is emulated through the familial bond of the two Franco brothers.

ConsWhile it is clear that there is love for The Room when watching the movie, what is not demonstrated, is true affection for Wiseau, the author that inspired all of this to happen. He is never truly elevated and the stakes are not presented in a way to produce real drama.

Runtime: 1 hour 44 minutes

Points of Interest: Greg Sistero noted in the book, upon which the film is based, that Wiseau would only allow James Franco or Johnny Depp to portray him. This is the first time that James and Dave Franco have appeared on screen together in a feature length film. There was talk of having Dave appear in This Is The End, but he would have died which was too sad, and James was considered for a part in 21 Jump Street, that never came to light.

As is the case in The Room, the comedy of The Disaster Artist comes out of the tragedies of something that is meant to be dramatic. The absurdity of making films, starring in films, and attempting to get a production under control. It’s obvious why so many stars feature in cameos on this film, they see it as an important piece of history and a strong demonstration of what NOT to do when making a film.

It reminds me of Ed Wood, another triumph of will from someone with no desire to earn their stripes.

theories Summarized

Franco was the perfect choice to play Tommy Wiseau, and I’m glad to see him finally share screen-time with his brother. And I also find it fascinating that Sestero and Wiseau do share a resemblance. But while this is an entertaining film, about a so-bad-it’s-good film. It reminds me of an even more important theory, life is too short to eat bad  food / drink bad wine / insert appropriate example here.

But on the positive side. We have a video review of Whiplash to share, finally. It’ll make your neck crane, in a good way. Like The Disaster Artist, or like the The Room, I guess. If you liked La La Land, then this movie is for you. If you like drama, then this movie is for you. If you like J.K. Simmons, you know what I was going to type.

So please let me know what you thought of my review, like and share the video, and subscribe to the channel if you haven’t already. I anticipate that our content will continue to grow much like the Marvel cinematic universe. A well considered theory on my part.