I Know What I Know, You Know? (timotheories December 2016)

 

Everybody loves Christmas right? Something something winter wonderland.

Well, all I really know is that it has finally snowed in Edmonton and in a sizeable fashion. AND because I started a new relationship recently with a wonderful lady, literally everything is magic. It’s magic dammit!

So many feels too.

Speaking of feels, I declare it officially appropriate to do your Christmas(y) things now.

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Which means that it’s also important I invest a little of my blog calendar to Christmas related activities and culture, because after all, I’m as white as the damn snow and this is what I know. Rhyme unintended, but conveniently placed for effect. Also, I’d like to give you all fair warning that I will be taking the last week of December off for Christmas and New Years, and to reflect upon the past year, potentially to also come up with some cool ideas for 2017. And maybe watch a metric ton of movies.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves just yet.

*Disclaimer* As always, every week I purchase an album and movie one week ahead of the actual review release and while I have the best intentions, I don’t always get what I want… so if you follow me on instagram (@timotheories) you can actually see what’s coming.

timotheories summarized – December

Stimulating Sundays – (12/04) Georg Rockall-Schmidt, (12/11) Cross Talk Ep.14, (12/18) Cross Talk Ep. 15
Melodic Mondays – (12/05) The Weeknd, (12/12) The Rolling Stones, (12/19) Michael Buble
Theatrical Tuesdays – (12/06) Hell or High Water, (12/13) Don’t Think Twice, (12/20) Die Hard
Wisdom Wednesdays – (12/07) Jobs, (12/14) Arnold Schwarzenegger, (12/21) Good Will
Timely Thursday – (12/01) timotheories December, (12/08) Megan Warkentin exhibition, (12/15) Singing Christmas Tree, (12/22) Christmas

Can you believe it dear readers, friends, and creative cuties? The year of all killer, no filler is drawing to a close. That means I need to come up with a new theme soon, but for now, let’s look at what’s on the menu for December…

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There are some great album and film reviews lined up, and a couple of Xmas themed classics for your enjoyment too. Then the wisdom continues as I read a book by Arnold Schwarzenegger for starters, I’ll  continue my series on the OECD index about health and well-being with some thoughts on “jobs”, and then I’ll cap it off with some theories on good will. Our timely entries for the month feature my friend Megan’s graduation exhibition, a couple of Christmas events, and oddly enough, the day in particular.

I already know I’m on the naughty list for not following through with twelve unique interviews each month in 2016, but let’s be honest with ourselves folks, these interview previews have really taken off, eh? And Georg has such a wealth of information that I just HAD to give him two preview clips last month, so now we top off his entry proper with a legit full-length interview.

What about Cross Talk you say? Everyone’s always wondering about Cross Talk. Well Cross Talk isn’t going anywhere, in fact I’m gonna keep adjusting the group rotation and really aim for a weekly rotation into 2017, but for now I’ve got Episode 14 and 15 in the can, heck, we might even see about Episode 16 if I can squeeze it in somewhere… pacing, essentials, and wisdom for sure.

That’s literally all of the theories I have left in 2016, you magical makers. I want you to pat yourselves on the back for making it this far, and really enjoy this month. We’ve got some great stuff lined up, and now is the best time to give the gift of subscribing to the blog, sharing it with friends, leaving some helpful comments, and contacting me to let me know what you love, what you hate, and how you relate.

Spreading the love the only way I know how. With theories.

 

Tim!

One Of These Things Is Not Like The Other Ones (The Night Before review)

Christmas movies are an interesting topic, because what constitutes a “Christmas” movie can vary by opinion. But the general idea is that a movie has to open no later than November (American Thanksgiving) and the story has to take place inside of the holiday season.

Whether the story is about Christmas itself is where the debate opens up, but fortunately for us, this week’s review is safely within that criteria.

 

 

 

The Night Before (2015)

Cast: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen, Anthony Mackie, Jillian Bell, Lizzy Caplan, Miley Cyrus
Director: Jonathan Levine
released on blu-ray March 1, 2016
****** 6/10

The-Night-Before-Movie-Poster-001

IMDB: 6.6
Rotten Tomatoes: 67%, Audience Score 67%
The Guardian: **/*****

Jonathan A. Levine is an American film director and screenwriter. He has directed 6 feature films to date, and the one you’re most likely to have seen is 50/50, which also happens to star Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Seth Rogen. It’s a great movie about the trials of cancer both from the perspective of the friend with cancer and the friend without.

And that movie wouldn’t exist if The Wackness hadn’t done so well at the Sundance, LA and Melbourne film festivals.

So what is The Night Before about?

Taken from IMDB and edited,

Ethan Miller (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) lost his parents in a car accident on Christmas eve 2001. His best friends Isaac Greenberg (Seth Rogen) and Chris Roberts (Anthony Mackie) start a tradition to hang out every Christmas Eve. In 2008, while at a bar, they learn about the craziest Christmas party ever – The Nutcracker Ball. Each year, the guys try to find the party, but never succeed.

In 2015, Chris is now a famous football player that secretly uses steroids while Isaac is married to Betsy (Jillian Bell) and is expecting their first baby. Ethan is a struggling musician that has recently broken up with his girlfriend Diana (Lizzy Caplan) and works at a hotel. While tending the coats, Ethan finds something in one of the pockets – three tickets to The Nutcracker Ball. He calls the number on the tickets and learns that the location will be announced at 10:00 PM.

Isaac is at a party hosted by Betsy’s sister Cindy (Helene Yorke). Ethan, already a little drunk, shows up before Chris arrives. Isaac and Chris want their yearly tradition to end now, but don’t think Ethan is quite ready. Before heading out, Betsy gives Isaac a box full of every drug known to man.

They take a Red Bull limo (Chris sponsors it) to Rockefeller centre where Ethan reveals the tickets. They kick off the night by going to FAO Schwartz and dancing on the piano like Tom Hanks in “Big” to Kanye West’s “Runaway”. Chris calls teammate Tommy Owens (Aaron Hill), who is attending The Nutcracker Ball and asks for weed. The guys call their dealer Mr. Green (Michael Shannon) who shares some weed with Chris and tells him to go to a party he’s throwing later, and to tell Isaac that he’ll see him later.

Next the guys sing “Christmas in Hollis” at a karaoke bar while wearing three festive sweaters that Ethan wants them to wear. They are met by Diana and friend Sarah (Mindy Kaling). Ethan and Diana make small talk while Isaac is already tripping. He runs into the bathroom to do coke and balance himself out, and then makes a video expressing fears over becoming a dad. He goes back to talk to Sarah, gets them both drinks but his nose starts bleeding and a drop falls into Sarah’s drink, which she drinks unilt Isaac’s nose bleeds harder and he admits he did coke. Outside the bar, Chris talks to a fan named Rebecca (Ilana Glazer), who admittedly hates Christmas. The two have sex in the bathroom.

Afterwards, Ethan call for the party address. Chris then realizes Rebecca stole his weed during sex. They contact Mr. Green again and wait at Chris’s mother’s house. Isaac gets the weed when Mr. Green shows up. He shares weed with Isaac and gives him a glimpse of the future where his daughter is a stripper.

When Isaac goes back inside the house, his phone’s ringtone goes off, waking up Mrs. Roberts (Lorraine Toussant). She feeds the guys while Isaac trips out and looks at his phone to find a dick pic from a guy named James. Confused, Isaac responds and is propositioned by James. Realizing he has Sarah’s phone, Isaac freaks out that Sarah while show Diana his video, which will get to Betsy. Meanwhile, Chris and Mrs. Roberts talk about Ethan and Diana, Mrs. Roberts suggest Ethan take the opportunity on Christmas to make it up to her.

This festive comedy is fun and entertaining, but a little bit mediocre.

Pros: The story is best when the nuances of the three friendships are tested and enjoyed, but the real comedy comes from Seth Rogen and Michael Shannon.

Cons: The scenes change constantly without ever really feeling necessary, and the plot can feel gimmicky, especially at the very end.

Runtime: 101 minutes

Points of Interest: Jonathan Levine admitted that the comedy elements of the story were mostly improvised but the dramatic ones were planned, and served as an outline. All three main actors have portrayed super-heroes.

The movie has its moments, particularly the vision into the past where the two friends become Ethan’s symbolic parents, and joke about James Franco and Seth Rogen’s character is very on point. Where I struggle with it, is that the movie never fully committed to Ethan as the protagonist and the plot had too many threads.

I will say this though, the movie is very entertaining for a Christmas themed one, and I can definitely picture it coming out occasionally for those times when you’ve got the Christmas jones.

The Night Before is definitely a Christmas movie, but whether it can be considered a prestigious one is unlikely. Having said that, that doesn’t mean you should avoid Christmas movies altogether, especially if you like comedy. Christmas Vacation, Elf, A Christmas Story, Scrooged and Home Alone are all excellent choices to consider.

Anyways, I’m all out of theories for today folks. I’ll see you tomorrow with some wisdom. Comment! Subscribe! Email!

Tim!

Santa’s Workshop (Secret Santa Gift Exchange)

Happy Christmas Harry! Whoops, that’s not how I meant to start today’s post!

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Just kidding, who am I, The Grinch?

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I must be pretty grumpy that I can’t come up with some Christmas cheer and make the season just a bit lighter for you dear readers.

As I mentioned in yesterday’s Wisdom Wednesday post, today is going to be all about fun and lighthearted things, because I want to send off the year right and because even timotheories needs to take a break.

Don’t worry though, I’ll be back after the 2015 year is over.

And what a year it’s been! I’ve written just over 70 posts this past 12 months, and I plan to write 5 posts a week next year, along with introducing the Cross Talk and Real Time Games videos into the timotheories YouTube channel mix. AND I want to support more local artists, so my goal is to put out 1 interview a month, so if you or someone you know is interested in talking about the arts and your art practice, please get ahold of me via timotheories@outlook.com or send a message by using the contact form below.

Now it’s time to share with you what today is all about. That’s right we are going to be talking about Santa Claus! Because I was raised with the North American Christmas holiday and know it rather intimately as a consequence.

elf santa giphy

And are any of you familiar with the western tradition of Secret Santa? If not, I’ll break it down for you. It is essentially a group event wherein the members exchange gifts but where each person is randomly assigned one person to whom they give a gift. And they do it anonymously. Cool right?

Well we have a tradition like this in my family too – one that has been going on for the better part of 10 years, probably closer to 15 years at this point.

My immediate family all draw for a secret santa, but the twist is that we are supposed to “make” a gift for our person and we are allowed to spend money, but no more than $25 to accomplish the gift construction. It started out this way because we were a family of meager means when I was growing up (as mentioned in this post), and my siblings wanted to give gifts but usually couldn’t afford to do so because they didn’t have jobs.

Thus the Family Secret Santa Gift Exhange was born.

My contribution to this process is to make art of some sort, though I have been known to make food on occasion. And this is how I’ve tied it back to the arts, see?

What is great about this process is that you get to make something special for a loved one, and as a result the gift is just a little bit more meaningful then it would have been if it came from a store.

I bet you’re curious what I did this year, aren’t you dear readers? Well I guess I can share it with you since, it is Christmas eve and all. Plus the exchange happens on Christmas eve, and by the time this post hits the internet, the gifts will all have been shared, and the tears of joy will have dried.

Please see below for reference.

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Cute right? Well, let me explain a bit more about why I made pencil crayon drawings of Pikachu and Yoshi. Have you ever heard of Nintendo? Of course you have. But what may be lesser known to you is a game released for the N64 in 1999. It’s called Super Smash Bros. and is my all-time favourite multiplayer game by Nintendo and also my favourite fighting game ever conceived.

My youngest brother Ryan is a huge video game fan and this is one pastime we have always enjoyed together. And we get incredibly competitive when it comes to Smash Bros. So it’s significant to him. Now, this gift is years in the making, and every time I get Ryan for Secret Santa, I make him a drawing or two.

Please see below for previous entries.

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What is really fun about creating these drawings is that even if I get Ryan by chance every year, and I make 2 every Christmas, I can make them every year for the rest of my life, and I probably won’t have made all of them (upwards of 60 so far). So I may have to change my strategy to complete the original roster.

Please see below for reference.

Super_Smash_Select

As you can see, I’ve only made 6 so far, and there are 6 left. But every time I add a drawing to the wall, I feel a bit better about the project. This scale of work is exactly what art should be about, creating something more than your own ego and sense of worth. If I had never ventured down this road, I would probably struggle with ideas for Ryan every year, but because I commited to making something that suited him, I stuck with the spirit of Santa and made something special, something that hopefully makes miracles.

I hope you enjoyed this last post of the season my friends, and I hope you enjoy the holidays. If you celebrate Christmas, Merry Christmas to you and yours, and if not, happy holidays. See you on January 3rd, 2016!

Tim!