Tag Archives: summer

Cocktails & Movies PRESENTS:

(ways to spend time inside…)

This is the first of a 3-part summer movie preview.

Going to the theater (I recommend Arclight Theaters)

It’s no secret that I LOVE the movie theater. It’s big. It’s roomy. It’s dark. For the most part, it’s quiet. Who gives a shit about $4 sodas, $5 popcorn and crowds of people? Go to the airport and these movie theater prices will seem like a bargain. AND the crowds are more well behaved. It is that shared experience of laughter and fright, that huge screen and deep, rumbling bass that shakes the theater which makes a trip to the movie theater a fun night out. AND, if you add cocktails to the mix, it can be one hell of a good time.

Before we begin, I want to mention one of the funniest times I’ve had with my “Cocktails & Movie” group. Years ago, when “Chicken Little” (with Zach Braff voicing Chicken Little) came out, a group of about 12 of us decided on a three hour happy hour before the movie started on a Friday night. We were NOT expecting the huge crowd of children and parents  that night, but damn were those kids funny! I don’t think there was a parent in the theater who didn’t turn around at us at some point to figure out why there was a group of drunk 30-somethings laughing 10 seconds AFTER the funny part that happened on the screen… Good times.

If you want to be included in a Cocktails and Movies outing with a fun group of people, usually held on Sunday afternoons at the Arclight Beach Cities for the 4 p.m.-ish showings, please email offtopictim@gmail.com or post a comment. I won’t share your email with anyone; I don’t have the time…

I thought of one long column today about the whole summer schedule, but it’s Friday, so you’ll only get June. And, you’ll like it.

These are June’s movie picks to see. I’ve not been invited for advanced screenings of any of these films (ATTENTION MOVIE STUDIOS!!!!!), so my reviews are based on trailers and general gut feelings. As always at this site, my opinion is correct. Feel free to contradict, but home field advantage here gives me the tie:

June 1st (In Limited Release, unfortunately)

Piranha 3DD – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_XIyJO6vf3c

Fishing and girls! Grab a date for this celluloid gem. Or your buddies and a 6-er!

You’re not going to get Shakespeare here. If movie posters are worth a 1000 words, then this film will probably have: scantily clad, buxom women, impossibly bloodthirsty fish terrorizing impossibly buxom women in a North American lake and some “killer” dialogue. If you haven’t seen the first one, (Piranha 3D), don’t worry. You’re not missing anything – besides Jerry O’Connell as a sleazy “Girls Gone Wild” type producer. Ving Rhames does make a return as the deputy who lost his legs in the first movie. Look for lots of boobs, and appearances by Christopher Lloyd (“Great Scott, Marty, look at those Piranhas!!!) reprising his role as the knowledgeable fish guy, as well as cameos by Gary Bussey and David Haselhoff – playing himself, the “Hoff.” Even though I am probably 3x times the intended age of this film chronologically, maturity wise I am in that sweet spot AND I can buy my own ticket as it is RATED R.

Suggested cocktail of choice for this film: cocktail? This one is PBR (Pabst Blue Ribbon) all the way, people!

June 8th (Opening wide release)

Prometheus – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N0WUpsErUBA

Ooooh, brings back memories of the original "Alien"

I’ve been eagerly anticipating the arrival of this movie ever since the world was made aware that Ridley Scott, the director of the original “Alien,” was working on bringing this “not to be called” prequel to the silver screen. I have no idea if it will reveal the secrets that were left open in the original film – who was that big dude sitting in the chair of that alien spaceship before the crew of the Nostromo (who apparently didn’t watch any of Earth’s horror films from the 1980’s and 1990’s) decided to inspect the unknown alien eggs? But, this movie does look fun! Ridley Scott (“Bladerunner,” “Alien,” “Blackhawk Down,” “Gladiator”) is excellent at bringing sci-fi to the screen with nuanced noirish-ness, using human emotions well, so that a lot of the time he does a great job of suspending the disbelief that most times is inherent in a sci-fi film. Charlize Theron, Michael Fassbender (“Shame,” “X-Men: First Class”) and Idris Elba (“The Wire”) make for a great, moody cast.

Suggested cocktail of choice for this film: I tried to put my mind into the heads of the explorers in the film, and since real absinthe is out of the question (legally, that is), I went with Midori sours to drink something green, as they always do in sci-fi films.

(Also, In Limited Release)

Safety Not Guaranteed – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=73jSnAs7mq8

Enjoy this film with a few cocktails to FEEL safer.

Also opening the week of June 8th, is this small, limited-release film called “Safety Not Guaranteed.” From the producers of “Little Miss Sunshine” and starring Aubrey Plaza (who plays the FANTASTIC April Ludgate on NBC’s “Parks and Recreation”) and Mark Duplass (F/X’s “The League”), this film has all the makings of a charming, funny, smart little film that could make noise next January/February when awards nominations are announced…

Suggested cocktail of choice: be  your own man/woman! It’s an indie film. Go for that drink that you NEVER try and then have a few, sit back and enjoy.


June 15th (Wide release films, unfortunately for all of us…)

Rock of Ages – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TT_Ytd21mKg

Girls, get your hearts racing. Guys, bring a flask of JD.

Tom Cruise as an 80’s rocker… Hmmm. I HAVE heard that my lady friends are gathering up a group to go see this movie and I can’t suggest a drink more appropriate to go see this movie than straight up Jack Daniel’s so that you can forget it afterward.  Look, eventually I had no problem with Mr. Cruise taking the lead role of the vampire Lestat in Anne Rice’s “Interview With the Vampire,” but couldn’t we let someone with more rock and roll gravitas star in this movie? When I think of rock and roll movie stars, I DON’T think of Tom Cruise. Still, this movie will probably do well. You are bound to see many local news reports interviewing middle aged women who have left their husbands and boyfriends at home in order to act all bachelorette-party-ish in a theater and gush over “how much they loved the musical” and “can’t wait to see the movie.”  They’ll have another chance to act this way again in two weeks with Channing Tatum…

Cocktail of choice for this “movie:” If you’re a woman, whatever you want. If you’re the guy forced to go along with said woman try Jack Daniel’s, neat. Repeat several times.

That’s My Boy – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fPV2L2CGWdQ


I really can’t say anything good about this movie. I really do like Andy Samberg from SNL. He did give us the SNL digital short craze (“Chronic -What?-les of Narnia,” “Dick in a Box,” etc.), but hitching your horse up to Adam Sandler for your first big project isn’t the greatest idea… There are some who will go see this, but Sandler’s steadfast movie supporters are all grown up now and not about to go see Sandler’s pratfalls and hijinx anymore if they have girlfriends and those girlfriends are asking them to take them to see “Rock of Ages…”

Cocktail of choice: if you still have anything left in the bottle of JD, consume it before you buy the tix, then see if you are still okay to see the film.

June 22nd (Wide Release)

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter –  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wZp7eBStN1U 

America's greatest president? F*ck yeah!

Based on the new wave of novels taking historical figures and great pieces of literature and combining them with the popular monsters – vampires, werewolves and zombies, (“Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” is undoubtedly shooting), this film actually caught my eye for its director. Starring Benjamin Walker as Abraham Lincoln, it follows his hereto unknown career as a vampire hunter. Written by Seth Grahame-Smith, based on his own novel, it is directed by Timur Bekmambetov, who is one of Russian’s greatest sci-fi/thriller directors with such great movies as “Night Watch,” “Day Watch” – both fantastic Russian films, as well as “Apollo 18” and “Wanted” here in the U.S.


Cocktail of choice: Several rounds of good American Bourbons for everyone!

Also opening  for the kids this weekend:

Brave – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TEHWDA_6e3M

I do like the images and contrast of grays and red hair...

I was more than a little upset that they showed this trailer before the “Avengers,” as I didn’t see the connection between this movie and the the superhero flick, but I guess it’s got something to do with little girls feeling empowered or something. Listen, marketing geniuses – the people seeing the “Avengers” aren’t the ones who are going to go see “Brave.” But, I digress, and I don’t have the job deciding where trailers go, (sigh). This movie comes to us from Pixar, usually pretty good with movies, but I just don’t see it here. Even though I don’t have kids or know many kids, I don’t hear the clamor for seeing this movie like I did with “Toy Story,” “Cars,” or “Wall-E,” etc. Still, if you have kids, you’re probably going to see this.

Cocktail of choice: What? You’re going to drink and take your kids to a movie?!?! What are you, an asshole? Seriously, you are a poster person for “parental licensing.” Dick.

June 29th – the end of the month

Magic Mike – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eMU7s6cwxEM

This poster belies what is beneath it!

What’s really going to blow your mind is that this is directed by Steven Soderbergh (yes, THAT Soderbergh – “Ocean’s 11,” et al, “Michael Clayton,” “Syrianna” and so forth)!! Channing Tatum is slowly beginning to grow on me, much the same way that Mark Wahlberg and Justin Timberlake have done. All three had other careers before they turned into actors. Walhberg and Timberlake were “boy band” lead singers who transformed into pretty goddamned good actors in their own right. Tatum, while he still has a lot of work to do in honing his skills, is at home in this film as he was once a male stripper. (If you want to see him not stretch himself too far acting wise, watch him in “21 Jump Street” with Jonah Hill. Not much to it, but he’s hilarious.) In this film he plays a popular stripper with aspirations to get beyond that lifestyle. This film is like his autobiography and you think he should be able to nail it! Look for well known names like Matt Bomer (USA’s “White Collar”), Matthew McConaughey, and Olivia Munn as Tatum’s love interest.

Cocktail of choice: look, you’re probably going because YOUR love interest is dissatisfied with you and needs some eye candy for the night. Take her to a nice restaurant, wine and dine her and you’ll get what you want… (Yes, I am single, what about it?)

Ted –  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VxKfC77XAp8 (RED BAND TRAILER – NSFW!!!)

I have a stuffed Bucky Badger, but all it does is yell "F*ck you, Gophers!"

No movie has captured my buddy Eric’s attention more than this movie from Seth McFarlane (“Family Guy,” “American Dad”) who wrote it, directs it and gives the voice to Ted, a stuffed bear that Mark Wahlberg, (see? GREAT actor), has refused to give up even into his adult life. Now, thanks to an impending marriage, he must confront letting go of his childhood friend. (Women!) Thanks to Paramount Picture’s incredibly flawed, and therefore shelved until 2013 “GI JOE: Retaliation,” this movie has been moved up a few weeks. I couldn’t be more excited as well.  That the bear is alive and smokes pot and drinks with Wahlberg’s arrested development John character is besides the point. So am I. This movie isn’t pretending to be anything that what it is. I think that the Red Band trailer I put up is enough to give you an idea what you’re going to get here.

Cocktail of choice for this film: look, you’re not going into this movie having been drinking. You’re going to be out in the parking lot, with the rest of the “Family Guy” devotees looking out for the cops. Grab a soda to go with your munchies.

Until next month, movie goers!

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Summer “Mode” (brain now switching to STANDBY mode)

(it’s almost always summer mode around here…)

The Hermosa Beach Summer Sunset Concert Series

Now that Memorial Day weekend, the traditional start of summer, has come and gone, I’m easing myself into “Summer” mode. Summer, the season lasting from June 20th (at 4:09 PST –  which is the Summer Solstice, if you are a member of the Druid faith) to September 22nd (at 7:49 a.m.), actually doesn’t begin for three weeks, but I’m already feeling that inner personal pressure from deep inside the brain to try to get NOTHING done.

“Why, Tim? Why are you turning off your brain now that the days are longer and warmer and the nights shorter?” you ask. Well, thanks for asking. I know most of you readers (few as you are) would miss me if I actually turned my brain all the way off for 3 months. So, just to allay your fears, I am NOT going to totally turn off my brain. I’m just going to put it on the back burner so speak. How could I pass on blogging about politics, “Cold Void,” summer TV, the decay of society, my job hunting prospects and other “off topics?”

We’re “Programmed” to take Summer “off”

What it comes down to is that I’ve been programmed to take the summers off by my ancestors. Thanks, mom and dad! You see, in the “olden times” in the U.S., kids went to school after the growing season was done in the Fall. The school year lasted all Winter (walking 50 miles! In bare feet! Every day!) into Spring and then took the entire Summer off to work in the fields and farms. The only field I worked in during summer was my backyard growing up, throwing crab apples at other kids in epic, cross-neighborhood, running battles until someone caught one in the eye or tempers flared with the heat. There were the 4-week growing seasons where I DID work at Doehne’s Strawberry Farm (Michigan’s BIGGEST U-Pick Strawberry Farm!!!), but mostly my summers were spent devoid of any learning or productivity. At least I played outside most of the time, unlike kids today…

By the time I returned to grade school the following Fall, after slaving away all Summer softening my brain, I would have trouble spelling the word “the.” No lie! I actually spent five minutes in Mrs. Marlette’s class in 3rd grade one September trying to figure out the word “the.” This and the fact that the band director, after my tryout for an instrument, told me to “never play an instrument,” led me into a spiral of self-doubt that plagues me to this day. (Thank God I turned out pretty good-looking and could f*cking care less what people think…) The lesson to be learned here are:

1. Parents – home school your children! Unless, you know, you’re not really that smart and/or you’re just going to teach them Intelligent Design and that Adam and Eve rod on dinosaurs and that science is dangerous. Nevermind, forget this idea. We’ve seen how certain states have (ahem) “benefitted” from this approach.

2. But, kids should be taught year round. It’s great preparation for the soul-crushing reality of life once you graduate from high school: yes, kids, you’re not going to get that WHOLE summer off anymore. Welcome to the real world.

Summer as an adult is NOT summer as a kid

After graduation from high school and needing a job to pay for things when not hitting the books (hahahaha) at the University of Wisconsin, I realized my summers no long existed as they once did. Throughout my professional life, they have never existed. You see, I actually worked each summer. Usually inside a mall, selling shitty men’s clothes to other “professionals.” I saw the beautiful glare of the sunset only as I stared out the doors to the store while standing under the harsh fluorescents. I missed out on deep, even tans and daytime activities that my friends did such as drinking and canoeing, or drinking and fishing, or drinking. Maybe it was a good thing to have a job each summer… Clearly, summer is only for kids. And I am not one.

What the hell, who cares?

As Calvin and Hobbes once said, "The Days are just packed."

Yet, I am still going to pretend like I am a kid again and enjoy my summer. Now that I am back to “amateur status” (aka NO JOB), I am going to go to the beach more often. I already got back on the volleyball court last weekend. Of course, I am still paying physically for that, but it’s Summer; nothing a beer or 12 won’t cure…

Maybe I’ll find a few $20’s in a book on my shelf and I can go golf…

Some days, I’ll just do nothing at all…

I’m going to do some exploring around Southern California. I’ll take little 100 mile road trips and write articles. Maybe I’ll spin this into a travel writing gig…

Maybe I’ll even look for a girlfriend…

(Summer is the best time to find a girlfriend, in my opinion. When you meet your soon-to-be-girlfriend at the beach, you already know what your getting. It’s not like meeting her in the winter and you realize she really wasn’t wearing four sweaters. But, finding a girlfriend during the summer is great because you can easily build a relationship without all those pesky holidays, and plans surrounding them, intruding on establishing something. PLUS, my birthday is in September, just enough time for this mythical woman to learn enough about me to get me a cool present!)

Yes, I think that this summer is going to be fun. Unless, that is I return to “pro” status and get a job… (sigh)

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