Soda, Popcorn, and Movies Go Together a Little Too Well

When you have a home entertainment system, you tend to indulge a bit too much. You can’t resist inviting everyone you know at one time or another for a nightime film fest. After one or two movies are shown, soda, popcorn, and snacks are offered up to entice people to stay and talk. These things all go well together. So well, that I have put on a few unwanted pounds. I am not going to suspend film night, but I need to watch my waistline. Others can eat to their hearts’ content, but I will put on the brakes after one handful of popcorn. It is hard to cut back, but when people whisper comments in your presence, you know it is time. It isn’t that I need to diet and start eating carrots and celery; it is more about self-control in the presence of my friends. I am known for fun film evenings, so they will continue as my contribution to my friend and family community.

Meanwhile I am going to drink more water and eliminate all that sugar-laden soda. Popcorn is salty and water takes care of your thirst. Soda only makes it worse. I can stock up on cases of bottled water, but I have limited space. As another solution, I am going to install a whole-house water filtration system. Some people have home brew pubs, others have soda fountains that can make specialty drinks. My choice of beverage is going to be pure, clean water from now on.

When purchasing a system, I had to weigh first and foremost the amount of contaminant reduction I could get. Filtration units do more than this. They improve taste and eliminate odors that emanate from some tap water. You can’t go wrong by going along with NSF certification. Then it is a matter of ease of installation, whether you choose under or over counter locations. The water in my city has a chlorine residue and various particulates. Any system I choose must reduce them to a minimum. I want a state-of-the art design and probably a reverse osmosis process. I think it has to do with proper channeling of water to find the path of least resistance, so that there is minimal time of contact with the internal media. I read at https://www.homewaterhealth.com that multiple tanks and an upflow design are the most effective.

I like the fact that whole house water filters are installed where the water source enters the home. Thus, contaminant problems are immediately nipped in the bud. Then you have to consider the need for additional drainage or electricity, and what flow rates are appropriate for the size of your home and typical water usage. Of course, bigger homes require bigger systems. Here’s how it works. The system may entail “back flushing,” which occurs when the flow is reversed and drains dirty, used water into a wastewater unit. So you can get as complicated as you like and you can customize your filtration the way you like.

I have been talking so much about my water filtration system that guests are now asking for water instead of beer or wine. I believe that I have started a new trend. I won’t tell anyone that you have to clean the tanks and remove the pounds of wet, contaminated media. From time to time you have to replace parts in the system, or at worst the entire tank. But there is a savings in the long run when you add up what you aren’t spending on pricey Evian.

Movie Night

My friend learned to weld some time ago and all he talks about is his new-found skill. I suppose I am impressed, not being a handyman at all. I know you can do all kinds of things with a MIG welder, but right now I am too busy to go this route. I would rather watch TV or a movie to pass the time. There are so many out there and it takes hours and hours to take them in on time to be in the know. If someone asks my opinion of a film, as they often do, I better be ready to offer a timely response. When you are known to be a big cinema aficionado, people want to know what not to miss. They also don’t want to waste their time on rubbish.

My welder friend invites me over to watch in his home entertainment center that he installed in the basement with all custom equipment. It no doubt cost a pretty penny, but he tells me he saved money on the shelves since he build them himself. He prides himself on making the metal brackets to hold his surround sound system. I had to listen to him go on and on about how he did the work, and ultimately there was no time to watch the movie. I should have known better when I accepted his invitation. He went on and on in an email about showing off the new brackets. When in his recreation al space, he offered to help me build metal shelves using the MIG machine. He even said he would teach me the ropes. If I did want something in the comforts of my home, I would get a pre-fab no assembly product. He practically begged me to let him help as he wanted to get more use out of the welder.

Why a MIG, I asked, and not a stick or arc welder? This was his entrée to instruct me right in the moment. We went to his computer screen and searched for this model online so we could read the reviews. He even wrote down this web page for me to look at later – https://www.ratemywelder.com/best-mig-welder-reviews/. He liked them on Facebook and told me that I should too. I obliged him although I didn’t care much at all. I did learn that this type of welder is useful for a variety of applications. They can run up to a thousand dollars. I had to take a closer look at his device. You need it to cut, braze, and solder he bragged. He added that his is a venerable Everlast. Bravo, I exclaimed with feigned enthusiasm. He gets top ratings. You have to rely on user experience he added or ask a professional construction worker. With your knowledge, I inserted, I won’t need to do that. Plus, he droned on, with a good machine, welding is not that difficult. Ha!

He enumerated the additional benefits whether I wanted to hear them or not. Okay, this welter has a 200 AMP MIG gun and a twenty food spoolgun that come together. These are encased in a heavy-duty cabinet. The arc, he said, is optimized to deliver a flawless weld. There is minimal spatter making post-weld cleanup a breeze. What is professional-grade arc quality, I asked? He was delighted at my interest. He explained including a tutorial on voltage control and duty cycle, the regular and flow gauge, and the gas hose works. He loves the built-in running gear and cylinder rack. Then I had to peruse the weld, setup and parts information chart. It was a long night.

Surviving the Morning Routine After a Late Night

Everyone who knows me, also knows that I watch movies and TV whenever I can. I am a big fan. There is never enough time during the day. This means a few late-night marathons when I have insomnia or am with friends. It is great fun, but this kind of behavior takes its toll. Try waking up at six when you have been watching your favorite films most of the night. It is hard to stop when you are on a roll. Staying healthy means having a good routine. You start with your morning tasks and go through the day eating right and exercising as time permits. People swear by this practice and I am following suit. So, what do I do to conquer the morning hours?

When I was in college, I had early classes and as a social being, I was up late at night. I learned some tips to use it wisely to help me arise on time. Alarm clocks have come a long way in recent years and are amazing devices to rouse you from even a deep sleep. I learned that you must read the instructions and see what your appliance can do. You must program it and not forget to reset it as needed. Laziness will make you late to class or work. Make it part of your regular routine and don’t ignore its benefits.

Wake up alarms used to rouse you with a blaring noise or your favorite radio station. For college kids, that was always the top pop selection on the dial. For others, it has become the news, particularly the morning weather. You want to be tuned into the world first thing in the morning, but that doesn’t necessarily mean reading Twitter. Now you can wake up to natural sounds like a running stream, birds chirping, frogs croaking, waves hitting the sandy shore, and lots more. I read about that here: https://www.berightlight.com/alarm-clock-tips-help-conquer-morning-routine/. If you prefer music but have grown beyond the rock n’ roll stage, New Age instrumentals are the way to go on an FM station. They often feature a flute or chimes. It is a peaceful way to arise.

The latest gadget is a sunrise and sunset simulator. This means you get up to soft ambient lights. If your drapes are drawn, it will feel like sunlight pouring into the room. You can select your colors and change them as you wish. You can combine the lights with music or sounds. It is all personal taste and a matter of push button controls. Nothing too complicated to deter you from taking advantage of all the new innovations. Read up on the new models to be sure you understand all your choices. You no doubt will want an LED screen for clear digital readings (it dims at night) and a snooze option. One last feature of the new models is that for security purposes, the light goes on at programmed times to indicate that someone is home.

A Weekend off the Couch

I have taken a break from my usual weekend moving watching to read online reviews of miter saws. You must be thinking that this is very odd indeed. There are much better things to do with your time like taking a walk on a beautiful day, swimming, jogging, biking, or visiting friends or relatives. I have my reasons about which you will soon hear.

I was sitting on the sofa one afternoon after a very dramatic and intense movie. I was contemplating the ending and deciding whether or not it was effective. My mind started to wander and then got bored. My eyes roamed about my living room and I thought it needed some enhancement. I spend hours here but was just noticing some defects in the décor. Why not make the room look nicer, I thought. Should I paint it a soft pastel color to tone down the ubiquitous white? Should I recover the couch and matching chairs or buy a new rug? These were all good ideas and I expect that I will implement them. From a structural point of view, I realized that installing crown molding would add just the right touch. It would change the space immensely. No wonder people always ask for it when buying a new home.

I haven’t done this type of work but was willing to try since I have done a bit of woodworking in the past. I know how to use a tool or two. I first had to decide on the measurements and how emphatic I want this molding to be. You can make it quite bold if you like. I think I will opt for an average size. Now I would need to find a good miter saw designed for such projects. Thus, I was online with a vengeance. All the descriptions, reviews, and testimonials were very helpful. The prices here vary from a hundred to five hundred dollars for the state-of-the-art model. How much power would I need? What was the difference between a radial arm saw vs a miter saw? I found that one here. I would want adjustability for different angle cuts and the right size blade. It would have to have a safety shut off feature and be double insulated. The question for me now with the crown molding was how many settings would be needed from fifteen to forty-five to ninety degrees.

I started to narrow down the best saws by brand and price and model. There is Bosch, DeWalt, and Makita. Each brand has a full range of offerings. I decided to buy something in the middle. I wasn’t a professional millworker so I needed something suitable for small jobs and home use. I went to the lumber depot to look at prefab crown molding to assess what would look best. I watched numerous videos about cutting the corners. I would be using wood, not polyurethane. I wanted quality and not savings. Crown molding styles can be simple or elaborate and I went somewhere in between. I am a middle of the road guy with the material and the equipment I guess.

Now Out on Video

Remember the phrase ‘now out on video?’ I guess it still brings a nostalgic glow for some of us. Videotapes weren’t really all that great. They broke. You ended up taping over the things that you really liked or you ran out of videotape at the worst point. Lots of bad stuff happened and the videos eventually stopped working for no reason half the time. Still, I guess we all can wonder about the videos of old and explain to members of Generation Z and the youngest Millennials what it was all like.

Do people even use DVDs anymore? Someone has to keep on using them or they wouldn’t keep on making them, I guess. Still, you have to wonder how DVDs keep on getting made in a world where people can stream everything and people usually do stream everything. You can stream things on Netflix, and I don’t even know why Netflix even bothers when it comes to sending out its DVDs these days. Netflix is the kind of company that managed to see a new age coming, and you’d think that they would realize that people today really want to stick with the most convenient options possible.

Lots of old movies are getting new anniversary editions. The 1976 version of Carrie is like that in order to celebrate the fortieth year that some of us have been watching this movie. The Thing, The Hills Have Eyes, and Dark Water all fall into that category as well. This is October, so there are going to be plenty of Halloween releases. They figure that this is the only time that some of us watch horror movies, even though plenty of them really do watch them all year long and we’d love to get DVD releases like this all year long.

Of course, you do have to wonder how long DVDs are going to last. I stream pretty much everything these days. Most of the people I know do the same. I mean, I’m a movie writer and a huge film buff. If I’m not the target audience for DVDs, I don’t know who is. If they can’t even get someone like me to buy the DVDs, I really don’t know how they’re going to get some kind of casual film fan to do it. I guess only time will tell. It’s possible that DVDs are going to continue to exist, but they are going to be much more niche in the future. It’s also possible that they’re going to go the way of dinosaurs on VHS tapes and VHS tapes in general. If nothing else, if people don’t know what we mean by the phrase ‘now out on video,’ they can at least Google it.

Favorite Remake

Don’t laugh: it is possible to create remakes that are actually good. Listen, I hate 2010’s movies as much as anyone for the most part. It seems like every other movie is a remake, a sequel, a prequel, an adaptation, or some kind of combination of the bunch that demonstrates that Hollywood has not only completely run out of original ideas, but that they now hate original ideas and think that original ideas are ‘so twentieth century.’

Still, I’d be lying if I said that remakes weren’t sometimes great. You can hate remakes as a concept while still thinking that some of them can actually be good. Sometimes, movies really are old and they need to be updated. In other cases, the movies can be given a fresh take and unique voice. I’ve seen both of these scenarios play out and more.

True Grit is probably the best film remake that I can think of, even if I’m not usually a fan of Westerns. This one is so much better than most of the rest of the genre that I would say that it transcends most of it. The original film was just awful, even if you use the excuse that it’s just a product of its time. It’s not something that I can get into, and updating this movie for the twenty-first century was a really good idea. The acting is great. I’m glad that they got an actual girl in her early teens to play a character that was in her early teens. I also thought that they did a good job when it came to attention to period detail since the characters really did seem like historical characters. In terms of overall quality, this is my favorite remake.

Now let us go back a few decades to a movie from the horror genre: the Fly. I actually did like the original movie from the 1950’s. However, I think that the 1986 version really did something new and different with the story. It uses the broader outlines, but the story is still so different that it manages to succeed in spite of the fact that some people would say that it isn’t a remake so much as a movie that is loosely based on the original source material. In terms of which remake I actually consider my personal favorite and not just which remake I think is objectively the best, I’m going to go with the Fly.

Favorite movies and movies that you think are objectively good are not necessarily the same. Some of them are going to be better than others. There are plenty of things that I like that I consider flawed. There are also plenty of movies that I think are great objectively, but I had a hard time really getting into them personally. There are also movies that fall somewhere in the middle. It’s good that there are remakes that belong in all of those categories and more.

Movie Franchises that Jumped the Shark

All movie franchises jump the shark eventually. There’s nothing that you can do about it. If you have that many movies, they’re going to get bad at some point, especially if there was really no reason for a movie to turn into a franchise in the first place. We all know that with television series, even with really good television series, there are going to be some seasons that are just terrible.

It’s the same for movie series, except it seems to happen a lot faster. I mean, movies are basically two television episodes strung into one. You don’t get the leeway that you get in a television series, where a season is still going to have between thirteen and twenty-two episodes. You don’t have the same margin for error and you have to make sure that everything that you do is good right away.

I think we can all agree by now that the Pirates of the Caribbean series has jumped the shark, for instance. Frankly, I think that the series jumped the shark ten years ago or so when the second movie came out following the surprising success of the first film. However, the shark jumping of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies has really only increased more and more. Audiences still keep on lapping them up, though, so Hollywood keeps on making them.

We’re getting another one. You know the one: Johnny Depp wasn’t even in the trailer, now that people know that he’s a domestic abuser. Hopefully, this movie is going to bomb and people can get on with their lives without a pirate movie franchise from the early 2000’s that went on far longer than it should have. They should have just given Jack Sparrow the keys to immortality and left us all alone after the film with the mermaids. I did like the mermaids.

These days, it’s getting harder and harder to point to movie franchises that jumped the shark because almost everything today is an adaptation of something. If the books jumped the shark, the movies jumped the shark. There’s also the fact that Hollywood keeps coming out with all of these remakes. The remakes usually attempt to start their own franchises. However, if the first movie is already really bad, you can’t really say that the franchise jumped the shark. You can’t jump the shark in the first minute of a franchise, not even if you’re George Lucas.

Star Wars is weird in that it jumped the shark with the prequels, and now, with the sequel series, it has finally returned to form. We really do have to thank Disney for that, I guess. Star Wars at least shows us all that it is possible for a movie franchise to come back from the shark, so to speak. However, some people would just say that the new Star Wars movies represent different franchises anyway.

Best Horror Series

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What’s the best horror series today? If you’re talking about movies, you’re better off not really thinking about horror movies in terms of series. I mean, there are some horror movies where the sequels actually were really good. Scream comes to mind: the first and second movies were both good. For the most part, though, the horror genre is not known for great franchises or great sequels.

Horror partly relies on surprise, which is one of the many reasons why sequels often don’t work in horror. Horror is also all about shocking the audience without pulling them out of the story. Sequels often have to be bigger than the originals. The thing is, if you do that with the horror franchises, you’re going to end up with sequels that are really over-the-top. That’s the way most of the sequels to horror movies are.

Most of the good movies in the horror genre stand on their own. Here are my favorite horror movies: The Ring and Ringu, the Others, Dracula (1931), Psycho, the Haunting (1963), and Let The Right One In. What do all of those movies have in common? Either they didn’t have a sequel, or they did have a sequel and it was terrible.

Horror television tends to be better. The new hit series Stranger Things really is awesome, and it’s better than any five horror movies put together in most cases, except for the very best horror movies. There are plenty of other horror television series that are great because these television series have to be about something other than scares. If you want to have a horror movie, though, you’re better off keeping it as a standalone work.

Hollywood keeps on disappointing fans with its bad new movies these days. One of the only good horror movies that I saw that was made in the 2010’s was Cabin in the Woods. Movies, in general, have been in decline for a while these days. They’re probably not going to get back to the point at which they were back in the twentieth century, either.

Movie fans like me are just going to have to appreciate the older output of Hollywood, back before the 2010’s, or at least it looks like this is going to be the case. It’s possible that Hollywood is going to get its act together and produce something that is not a superhero reboot, a remake, an adaptation, an attempt at resurrecting a franchise that’s been dead since the 1980’s or earlier, or something else that is so unoriginal that saying that it is original is unoriginal.

Then again, that’s about as likely as the possibility that Hollywood is going to give up producing movies in orange and teal, which has been going on for about a decade now and which shows no signs of stopping. Just like black and white movies have become their own thing, the orange and teal movies are going to become the symbols of the movies of today. Lots of people today do not like to watch black and white movies even if they are actually good. Lots of people in the future aren’t going to want to watch orange and teal movies either, and most of them are not going to be genuinely good.

In the Mood for a Comedy?

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Okay, I honestly understand it when critics say that comedy movies are awful. They usually are awful. Making people laugh is great, but it is a parlor trick. You have to do something else, or you’re really going to have a hard time when it comes to actually creating something that is good.

There’s also the fact that when you aim for the lowest common denominator when it comes to comedy, you’re going to end up with some jokes that aren’t funny at all. If you look at a lot of the comedy that’s been produced in the last twenty years or so, half of it involves scatology and the other half involves bad puns.

The thing is, even then, there still are some comedies that are worth watching. You really do have to hunt around for them, though, or you’re never going to find anything. Most of them tend to be slightly older movies, too. You’re not going to find that many great comedies made in the twenty-first century.

Lots of the best comedies do something other than make you laugh. Beetlejuice is one of my favorite movies in general. Some people would say that it’s a comedy. Most would say that it’s a horror-comedy. Other people just think that it’s strange and they have a hard time really categorizing it. I laughed out loud during this movie, so I partly classify it as a comedy.

Shaun of the Dead is another comedy movie that I really love and that also partly falls in the horror genre. This is a movie that people are really going to remember in a lot of different ways, but I also think that it’s funny enough to be partly classified in the comedy genre. Ghostbusters probably falls into that category too in the sense that it has a supernatural horror theme in one sense, but that it is technically a comedy film.

Of course, the best comedy film of all time is still probably the Big Lebowski. The Dude is one of the best movie characters of all time. This movie has so many funny scenes in it that you have to actually watch the whole movie several times in order to actually appreciate all of them in all of their hilarity. The acting actually works well in spite of the fact that this is a comedy. People still don’t descend into a complete farce when it comes to acting here. Most comedy movies don’t hold up the more you watch them, but I would say that the Big Lebowski is one of the best examples of a comedy that can be watched over and over again.