DJB

Finding Adventure...

In memory of Carolina Freight

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I have a soft spot for the old trucking companies that used to move this nation's products. My grandfather was a truck driver when I was growing up, and because of that, "trucking" was always just something that was cool to me. Of course my favorite movie of all time is Smokey and the Bandit, but other trucking movies like Convoy and TV shows like BJ and the Bear hold a special place in my heart. A recent news article on WRAL brought me back to some memories of seeing Carolina Freight trucks on the road. My grandfather did work for them for a couple years and my other grandparents lived near the hometown of Carolina Freight, Cherryville, NC. So growing up I got to go to the C. Grier Beam Truck Museum in Cherryville.

I was very happy to find that museum is still alive and well, and from the pictures looks to be the same as I remember it. I definitely hope to get my kids in there one day, and do recommend it for those of you who remember Carolina Freight trucks roaming the interstates or just enjoy looking at some very cool old trucks (from back in the days when the "sleeper" was actually on the front of the trailer rather than the back of the cab of the truck!).
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Movie Review: Toy Story 3

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Ashley and the boys took me to see Toy Story 3 yesterday as my Father's Day present. I was a big fan of the first one, but thought the second one was just okay. But the reviews seemed very good for three, so I went in with high expectations.

It did not disappoint. Very good movie. I'm impressed they've been able to keep so much of the original cast involved through three of these. They have also been able to dramatically increase their abilities as far as the computer generation of the graphics. The facial expressions are incredible, as is Buzz's spanish dance scene. Amazing work.

This was by far the most emotionally moving of the three movies for me, and I'm sure it will be for any parent. I don't think I'm spoiling anything by saying that the theme of the movie is what happens to all the toys as Andy prepares to leave for college. I mean I know my kids will leave one day, and I thought I was fine with it, but wow. This movie drives that realization home. Even with that, I still really enjoyed it. Nice work, Pixar.
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Movie Review

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I'm an admitted sucker for a romantic comedy, so keep that in mind. If you're not, well, you probably won't enjoy this one. It's He's just not that into you. There's nothing terribly special about it, but within that genre I'd say it was very good. Most romantic comedies can also be called "chick flicks", but I wouldn't say this one is quite that far down the pipe. Guys will definitely enjoy this one as it does make a certain amount of fun of the amount of obsession women can have over the details of dating. It also has a pretty stellar all star cast, and the acting is very good. All in all, I'd say this one is a good date movie.
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Movie Review

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I had no idea what to expect going in to this one, but let's say this. Do not expect a blockbuster. Do not expect hilarity. Do not expect action. Do not expect suspense. Do not expect romance. You will not be thrilled, chilled, or distilled. You might even get a little bored at times. But stick with it because what you will be is moved. If you give it a chance. I almost turned it off, to be honest, but I'm glad I didn't. I think you will be, too.

It's called Elizabethtown.
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Cadillac Records

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Took some time to watch Cadillac Records tonight. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that rock-n-roll evolved mostly from the blues, but this movie is more a history of many of the people involved in that evolution, primarily Muddy Waters and to a lesser degree Etta James and Chuck Berry. It's "based on a true story", but I left this one wondering just how much of it was "based" and how much was "true." Did Little Walter really just shoot a man who was in a traveling band impersonating him? I'm skeptical.

That said, the story was very good. And for a movie with a good many recording artists having turned to acting, it had VERY good acting. I'd say the direction was very good, too. Writing was good. Casting was excellent with the exception of Cedric The Entertainer as Willie Dixon and the narrator at the beginning and end. But where it was lacking was in production quality. The editing was just plain odd...there were several scenes that I don't even understand why they made the movie. The musical performances were far too obviously studio recorded and then sync'ed...this is not hard to do properly these days.

Overall I'd say if you're a music lover, this is a good film to see. Even if the stories aren't completely accurate, I did feel like they gave a good sense of the emotion of the time. It also made me want to learn even more about Muddy Waters. I knew through interviews with people like the Rolling Stones and Eric Clapton that he was a major influence on the early days of rock-n-roll, but he was much more than that. While he never played much rock-n-roll, he did sort of champion it through his influence at Chess Records.

Definitely a recommended movie, particularly for music lovers.
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Movie Review

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Righteous Kill is a pretty good NY city cop thriller with a few twists you won't see coming. I'm a little surprised they cast De Niro and Pacino in it, unless those two were just looking for a movie to do together or something. They're good, don't get me wrong, but overall the movie just isn't the quality that you'd expect from something with both of these guys. It's probably not fair, but you sort of expect amazing, not just pretty good.

At any rate, definitely a worthy rental if you like fairly dark cop thriller type movies.
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Movie Review

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I don't actually go to theaters very much, but I let friends talk me into going to see Marley & Me. I heard going in that it was one that required tissue, and that was spot on. It's a really cute movie that's really well done, but it'll definitely be difficult for anyone who has gone through having to put a pet down that you've loved for a long time. Still, it's a must-see for dog lovers. Maybe not in the theater, but definitely at home once it's on DVD. I do still pretty much detest Owen Wilson, but he's passable in this.

It will be particularly hard on those who have or had rambunctious Labrador Retrievers.
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Movie Review

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Growing up, I loved to catch reruns of the TV show Get Smart. There was just something great about it that I can't really explain. I was apprehensive, however, that the movie might be yet another over-the-top remake that turned something good to something incredibly stupid (like Dukes of Hazzard...ugh!). Mel Brooks was the creator of the original series, so I should have checked to see if he was involved in this one. Fortunately he was, which likely played a part in it being true to original.

All in all I thought it was a fun movie. True to the original with the addition of a few more modern fight scenes. Be warned that it isn't for small kids as people are killed as well, which I don't think was true of the TV show. But the violence isn't terribly graphic. I thought Dwayne Johnson (still perhaps better known as "The Rock" from wrestling circles) was really good, too. Steve Carell and Anne Hathaway were perfect in their roles.

If you like Mel Brooks movies, you'll like this one. Oh, and some folks might know that I own a Smart car. I got a personalized plate for it...KAOS. Really, it couldn't be helped.
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Paul Newman passes at 83

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There are some people who seem ageless and immortal, and Paul Newman was one of those precious few. You can read any number of news articles today profiling his life and achievements (which included a fifth place in the Rolex 24 at Daytona and, more impressively, a second place at Le Mans...he was quite a race car driver). I just want to say simply that I will miss not only his work, but his amazing vigor for life. He was truly an amazing American artist who brought joy to people's lives in many ways, and his philanthropic endeavors are legendary.

The following snippet from The Late Show with David Letterman is a classic piece of Paul Newman. I loved every appearance he made on that show, and it's because it was almost always something like this.



Paul, I wish I could have known you personally.
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The Snowman joins Smokey

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The world lost a great entertainer today, Jerry Reed. I think he's best known as "Snowman" in Smokey and the Bandit (I may have mentioned that's the greatest movie ever made once or twice), but he was much more than just that. A great songwriter, singer, stage performer, and actor. I actually saw him in concert when I was a kid in Charlotte. Another one that will be missed. Godspeed, Jerry.
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