Chris and Sarah Go To Bali

This video details our trip to Bangkok, Thailand, Singapore, and Seminyak/Gili T, Bali.

We were lucky enough to ride elephants, play with monkeys, and swim with sea turtles.

After traveling to Costa Rica, Australia, Hawaii, Canada, Europe, India, and China this trip was our new favorite.

Posted by Chris Brodhead on Tuesday, November 17, 2015

 

Number 2: “Dark Knight”

During the pinnacle summer of 2008 I saw Dark Knight twice in eight hours.  I then proceeded to see it six more times during that same summer.  So yeah I kind of liked it (what’s this guy’s problem?)

This film was so good and I was having so much fun that summer that I assumed time would simply stop there.  I felt I had reached the apex of my existence and life really couldn’t get any better.  I was in graduate school, partying harder than ever somehow, I was a freeman after breaking up with my long time girlfriend, and yet in spite of all these wondrous good times and memories (you never forget… being told about the next morning), time continued moving forward.  Which at the time was a major bummer.

Thankfully I had this film to lead my path into the future.

This movie rocked me to the core.  I had previously seen Christopher Nolan’s “Batman Begins” and thought it was damned decent.  There were some parts that came off a bit hokey and silly to me but this film was still head and shoulders above any other superhero movie.  But even still I can’t say I had very high hopes for this movie.  I was thinking mid level tops.

My best friend Michael Dennis saw the Thursday midnight showing which he invited me to but I declined citing an acute drinking problem.  When those two and a half magical hours were over he was positively speechless.  I remember at first being skeptical.  I was like “really? That was the best movie you’ve ever seen in your life?  Better than “Empire Strikes Back”?  Better than “Indiana Jones”? Better than every other comic book movie combined times a million? Alright fine I’ll see it.”

I believe it was Saturday morning when we finally had this conversation.  I being the productive partier had set my alarm for the crack of noon.  We set off immediately to the theater to witness this “Truly Amazing Film”.

The film starts and right out the gate I can tell this movie is different.  Instead of building up to something we are put right in the middle of this CRAZY heist scene where all the criminals are wearing clown masks.  You can tell something is not right from the get go.  After each section is cleared the proceeding guy up the ladder kills the other guy who just finished his job.  How has a movie never done that before? I thought.  “One less share!”

It continues until the glorious positively orgasmic reveal of Heath Ledger’s The Joker.  Now up to this point and a few years prior I had been highly skeptical of Heath Ledger playing the Joker.  To me The Joker was a skinny high pitched psychopath and with Ledger’s wide handsome face and deep manly voice it just didn’t seem possible for that to work out.  Boy was I happy to eat my words.   Ledger’s Joker worked impossibly well.  He took the character I knew and loved and “brought him down to our level”.  He made The Joker real.

I know this is offensive but I can’t help but think the level of depravity, insanity and psychopathy of this character had an effect on Ledger’s mental health which caused him to not be able to sleep which then caused him to mix medications and accidentally overdose.  It’s truly tragic and tears me up inside.  I feel, just like so many great artists before him, he had so much more brilliance to share.  Also after finally taking an acting class I’ve come to the conclusion that Method Acting is downright dangerous ie To play a crazy unstable character you become crazy and unstable in real life so you don’t even need to act!

Then the movie continues building and building around this perfectly captured and expressed villain.  Amazing set piece after amazing set piece not only inspired me to pursue film with renewed piss and vinegar but to literally move to Chicago and live there (because that’s where it was filmed).

This movie has had and continues to have a GIGANTIC impact on me in not only my artistic merits but my geographical position as well.  This film moved me… to a bigger city called Chicago!  And I couldn’t be happier with that inspired direction.

And if you choose where to live based on your favorite film than come on down to the Staged Reading of my Psychedelic Cyberpunk Film Noir screenplay “Mum Knows Best” on Sunday August 9th from 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm at the Annoyance Theatre & Bar https://www.facebook.com/events/875860632494808/ because we’ll help you move.

Number 6: “Fight Club”

In eighth grade I witnessed this masterpiece of social commentary on the current state of masculinity in our society. “Fight Club” immediately became my favorite movie of all time.  It wouldn’t be until Freshman year of college, six years later, that it would be dethroned.

To say it left a lasting impact on me would be so massive an understatement it could cause your personality to fray thereby creating an alter ego who then took over the world.

I love this movie.  It’s masterfully directed by David Fincher and based on the masterfully written book by Chuck Palahniuk.  To this day I cannot comprehend how a film like this was ever even considered to be made.  It’s basically a propaganda film on how to stop being such a pussy while also taking over the world with your fascist regime.  But I digress.

“Fight Club” gives the world one of the coolest and most interesting characters ever set upon the silver screen.  Tyler Durden.  This dude is the bees knees.  And SPOILER ALERT it all comes full circle when we realize he’s not even real.  I remember seeing this during a peak of my awkwardness and legitimately wishing I could create an alter ego of his charm, wit, appeal, style, and boldness.  But alas all my trying proved for naught.  But I did get a lot less awkward through my studies of interpersonal relationships (Read: “How to win friends and influence people” best book ever).

So this movie is beautiful.  The colors are all faded and you can’t see anyone’s eyes really.

The topics that this film touches on are both extremely important and highly relevant to anyone alive today in these United States.  I was moved to doubt the feasibility of living a fulfilling life in corporate cubicle America.  I was in eighth grade and could barely remember to put the dishes away and I was already like “well that corporate cubicle path is out.”  And it was.  I only got a job at a corporate America ish place to prove “Fight Club” correct.  I knew from the get go that was not going to work for me.

Then the film touches on materialism and consumerism.  “The shit you own ends up owning you.”  This blew me away.  I had always held the decree “he who has the most shit wins”.  Now that entire concept was turned upside down and I was quite lost.  I realized the truth to this and saw only slavery to the “crap you own which you don’t even need.”

Lastly it was understanding your own mortality and using that thought to further enjoy and improve your day to day existence.  This one I am still working on.  I don’t think I fully comprehend that I will in fact die someday.  Their method of flooring a stolen car into a bunch of parked cars seems a bit extreme method to comprehend this concept.  So I’ll continue trying to simply be mindful and keep searching for more “near life experience”s.

I can’t thank this film enough for altering my life path in such an incredibly powerful way.  It not only shaved years off of my life learning curve but helped me to realize the incredibly persuasive and enlightening power of movies.  They are entertaining as can be but within some truly special movies lies a deeply important and life improving message.

And if you are looking for your life improving message come on down to the Staged Reading of my Psychadelic Cyberpunk Film Noir screenplay “Mum Knows Best” on Sunday August 9th from 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm at the Annoyance Theatre & Bar https://www.facebook.com/events/875860632494808/ because we’re gonna give it but you probably ain’t gonna take it.

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Number 7: “Django Unchained”/”Inglorious Basterds”

To me “Django Unchained” and “Inglorious Basterds” are two halves of the same story.  Sure they are about one hundred years apart BUT to truly understand the point of each story I think it is imperative to see both.

In “Basterds” the Nazis, led by Christoph Waltz, are clearly the bad guys.  While the Americans, led by Brad Pitt, are clearly the good guys.  This goes over just fine and we’re led through an immensely entertaining and brilliant film.  Then Quentin Tarantino throws a major curveball at us by setting a story roughly one hundred years before WWII and completely reversing the good guy and the bad guy situation we had come to know.

Now the Germans, again led by Christoph Waltz, are the good guys and the Americans are the bad guys as displayed by their incredibly graphic and horrific treatment of Django and all other people of color during that time period.

What a brilliant storytelling move.  Encourage us to cheer blindly for the good guys and then rip the curtain off to reveal that “hey those good guys we’re evil and those bad guys we’re good.”  Really makes me question how much of what we learn in school about our “victorious” history and the history of all “victorious” countries really is true.

Plus I felt like I learned a lot about the actual atrocities of slavery from “Django”.  I’ve read books, seen documentaries, written papers on said atrocities but never had I fully immersed myself in exactly what those atrocities would look like.  Really scary to think that people we’re treating other people like this ONLY 150 years ago.  That’s not that long ago.  That’s two grandpas.

But anyway, these movies are incredible.  Tarantino in my mind is the only filmmaker today who holds a candle to Kubrick.  He’s the only one who can simultaneously tell you a story so enchanting you don’t even notice the blunt object behind his back that he then bashes you over the head with.  It truly is masterful and I find myself watching a disproportionately high amount of his interviews on Youtube in an attempt to capture his genius.

I love both of these films.  They are incredibly entertaining, violent, and enlightening.  I think Jamie Foxx was the absolute right choice instead of Will Smith.  I heard Will Smith refused to play “Django” because he wanted to kill the bad guy.  The balls on that guy!  Hearing this tainted everything I had ever loved with Will Smith and then I realized I never really loved anything with Will Smith.  Sure “ID4” was awesome when I was ten but it’s pretty terrible by today’s standards.  He didn’t touch on anything remotely questionable in “Ali”.  What has he done that matters besides “Fresh Prince”?  I struggle to answer that.

And if you think Will Smith should take more risks with his career and play Mum in “Mum Knows Best” than come on down to the Staged Reading of my Psychadelic Cyberpunk Film Noir screenplay “Mum Knows Best” on Sunday August 9th from 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm at the Annoyance Theatre & Bar https://www.facebook.com/events/875860632494808/ because Will Smith is going to play Mum in “Mum Knows Best” (Will Smith would smartly not touch my screenplay with a ten foot pole)!

Number 8: “Mad Max: Fury Road/Road Warrior”

Yep “Mad Max” is what I’m talking about.  These movies are DARK AS FU…  and so dang entertaining.  I actually attempted to watch “The Road Warrior” when I was like twelve or so.  I totally didn’t get it and was used to much higher production values so it didn’t stick.  It wouldn’t be until this year of our lord 2015 that I realized the INSANE love I have for this universe and these films.

As referenced in my last blog I like my movies to be dark for some reason.  Hence why I like Film Noir I suppose.  And this film nails every shade of darkness with flying colors (all dark colors of course).  Ho my gosh where to begin?

Practical effects.  Besides the giant hideout for the villain was there any CG in this movie? It appeared to me they created and then blew up every car and costumed perfection in this film.  That technique makes me so happy I could cry.  How do you keep me in a movie?  Make your story dark as fuck and blow up actual sets.  Pretty simple.

The story structure.  Wow was this cool.  They basically said “get in! We’ll explain on the way!”  And with Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron at the wheel you KNOW I am getting in that ride.

What  a freaking ride!  The cars, characters, sets, and mayhem are just ball drainingly good (too dirty?).  So many interesting characters with their equally interesting cars and then they are in this world that is arguably as complicated as Star Wars and they just blow the shit out of each other.

“Fury Road” was so good I actually went back and watched the original trilogy just to continue getting my fix.  It turns out the same guy George Miller did the entire quadrilogy and is now seventy years old.  Wait didn’t Tarantino say directing was a young man’s game?  That’s insane!  And he won an Oscar for “Happy Feet”? WTF!  This dude is a truly gifted storyteller and I can’t thank him enough for fighting a thirty year battle to get “Fury Road” made.  He’d had this story in his head since before “Thunderdome”.  The Gibson meltdown followed by multiple economic crises put this one on the back burner where it could have easily stayed for good.  But I cannot thank George Miller enough for making sure this movie exists.  Rarely do I immediately add a film to within my top ten upon first viewing but this movie was that good.

Then going back to “The Road Warrior” you realize how effing good that movie is!  All practical effects and amazing car chase carnage and awesome characters.

I love how few words Max says in either of these films.  Talk about brooding.  If there is a more film noirish aspect to a character who says nothing but kicks so much ass throughout a quadrilogy, I haven’t seen it.

And if YOU like kicking ass more than talking come on down to the Staged Reading of my Psychadelic Cyberpunk Film Noir screenplay “Mum Knows Best” on Sunday August 9th from 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm at the Annoyance Theatre & Bar https://www.facebook.com/events/875860632494808/ because we’re not going to talk we’re just going to kick you in the ass (we probably won’t kick you in the ass)!

 

Number 9: “Empire Strikes Back”

“Empire Strikes Back” at Number 9?! Blasphemy right? Well hear me out.  I flippin love this movie.  Seen it probably thirty times.  Connected with it and the whole original trilogy like whoa BUT it just wasn’t dark enough FOR ME.  I deeply connected with this film but there was just something missing.  I needed more brooding, pain, and darkness I suppose.

This one definitely got the closest of the bunch and I love it but it’s not going to make it to my top five this time around.  Although I do have very high hopes for “The Force Awakens”.  I trust JJ Abrams with my very soul.  He’s essentially the opposite of how I feel about George Lucas.

But anyway let’s talk about why I love this film.  It’s my goto whenever I am discussing story structure or the hero’s journey.  Due to my intense love and burning desire to create great stories I’ve read everything there is to try and find my storytelling edge.  Every book and their Mom points directly to “Star Wars” as the pinnacle of effective storytelling through the Hero’s journey.

I feel there is a lot of truth to this.  I once heard a quote from Penn and Teller lambasting religion.  They said if you erased everything on earth all of science would come back exactly the same but all religions would have to be re-made up.  To a certain extent I agree with them but I think they overlook certain story structures and arcs that have been recurring for thousands of years.  The stories in the Bible have amazing arcs and represent the hero’s journey extremely well.  But they are not alone.  All other religious texts both before and after the Bible have similar story arcs and hero’s journeys.  So I think these recurring themes and story arcs would come back just as scientific facts do.

Back to the lightsabers.  This movie rocks my face off.  The old school special effects are still better and more real looking than all the Transformers in the universe.  There is something about practical real effects that keeps me in the story so much better than armies of computer graphic artists toiling away.  Maybe it’s my INTENSE hatred of the complete lack of any character development in Transformers maybe it’s nostalgia.  In any case I wish we still did special effects like this.

The story is great and gave us the greatest sensai of all time in Yoda.  He quickly became the paragon of all great teachers throughout life.

The ending to this movie is so ballsy it brings tears to my eyes.  SPOILER ALERT ASSHOLE!  We find out Darth Vader is Luke’s father?  WHAT? OmG! That’s awesome!  Then after his partnership request is denied he cuts off Luke’s hand and leaves him for dead?  Dark dark dare I say Film Noir esque ending.  Really really enjoyed that.

If you enjoy Dark Dark film Noir esque stories than come on down to the Staged Reading of my Psychadelic Cyberpunk Film Noir screenplay “Mum Knows Best” on Sunday August 9th from 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm at the Annoyance Theatre & Bar https://www.facebook.com/events/875860632494808/ because my movies a film noir OMG!

Number 10: “Terminator 2: Judgement Day”

If you’re wondering, yes I did just start humming the theme song to this unbelievably well done and insanely entertaining epic film.

I can’t think of a single movie that I watched while growing up that has influenced me more than this movie.  It had Arnold jacked and bad ass as ever in a super cool and interesting alternate reality where artificial intelligence blows up the world with nukes.  Nowadays that actually sounds pretty standard and normal but this movie is anything but!

James Cameron is simply a master at creating incredibly engrossing hard boiled worlds where the action is simply the best you’ve ever seen.

This dude straight up will wait decades until the technology catches up to his ambition. Like what he did with “Avatar”.  He knew he wanted to create his “Star Wars” with the next round of game changing technology in the late nineties.  But the technology simply wasn’t there so he just waited!  He had already made the highest grossing most successful and every eleven year old girls’ favorite movie in “Titanic” and could have made anything with anyone at anytime he wanted.  But he just waited… twelve years until the technology caught up with his imagination.

Now that takes balls!  The same balls it took to create a movie so good it has spawned three awful sequels, a television show, and plenty more in the works.

Quick Aside: That’s a theme I keep running into.  These great masterworks are amazing and life changing but they leave a wake of crap. “The Simpsons”, “Billy Madison”, “Terminator 2”.  These are my favorite tv shows and movies that I would not be the same person without and yet they are still making “Simpsons” episodes which are unwatchable.  Adam Sandler is still making films which are below unwatchable.  And “Terminator” is still pumping out awfully unwatchable films.

But anyway back to the awesomeness at hand.  I F-ing love this movie.  I love the ideas in this film.  The time travel, artificial intelligence that wants to wipe us out so bad, and the humans who continue to fight the good fight and even have a chance to win is so freaking cool I could shriek.  And then all of these amazing ideas are wrapped up into an astounding film that NO ONE ELSE could make but James Cameron.  Really what a triumph.

I hear he’s a major asshole as well.  Unbearable even.  But for art of this caliber is that really so high a cost to endure.  I am not recommending that or even intimating I might take try out that strategy myself but it does seem to work #SteveJobs!

And if you wish all it took to create great art is you becoming an asshole then come on down to the Staged Reading of my Psychadelic Cyberpunk Film Noir screenplay “Mum Knows Best” on Sunday August 9th from 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm at the Annoyance Theatre & Bar https://www.facebook.com/events/875860632494808/ because I’ll probably continue to be a nice and friendly dude…

My favorite arcade game ever...
My favorite arcade game ever…

 

 

Number 11: “Billy Madison/Happy Gilmore” or “What happened to Adam Sandler?”

“Billy Madison” and “Happy Gilmore” basically defined my life from the age of eight to fourteen (and still echoes into my thirties).  I have to thank these movies for so many good times.  I am still a heavy user of quotes from both of these films.

Adam Sandler was basically the funniest person in the world when I was nine.  I couldn’t imagine a funnier actor in the world.  The way he just said whatever he thought and did whaterver he wanted connected directly with my funniest of funny bones.  I didn’t even understand a lot of the jokes but watching Sandler say “Peeing in your pants is cool!” caused me to have convulsions.

And then because I was so deeply in love with these films I could use them as friend tests.  I could utter a standard quote from one of these films in passing and if my new acquaintance could finish the quote or drop a relevant new one than I knew they were good people.

These movies are amazing.  Adam Sandler is an incredible talent.  I really thought after seeing these two films probably fifty times each that I would have a new and amazing Adam Sandler movie to enjoy every two years or so.  Well that couldn’t have been further from the truth.

Though these films did deliver on everything I loved cherished and enjoyed in this world they brought with them an onslaught of some of the worst films to ever grace the silver screen.  Dare I say “Star Wars” prequel bad.  For every one “Wedding Singer” or “Water Boy” we got ten awful terrible death to the art of film as we know it films.

This trend started off slow at first with “Big Daddy” and “Little Nicky” both of which I really didn’t mind and thought we’re better than the reviews gave them credit but no where near the genius level of “Billy/Happy”.  Then following this we’re the WORST movies I maybe have ever seen.  “Click”, “Grown Ups”, “Grown Ups 2”, “You don’t mess with the Zohan”, “That’s My Boy”, “Jack and Jill”, “Anger Management”, “Mr. Deeds”, the list goes on.  I almost wonder if the beauty and glory of “Billy Madison” and “Happy Gilmore” were worth the horridness and tragedy that followed.

Whenever Sandler went off on a creative tangent with the likes of “Spanglish” or “Punch Drunk Love” I was the first in line to support him in his artistic pursuits.  I was really hoping this would become a new development and he would grow as an artist.  This sadly was not the case.  And now with the release of “Pixels” which has been aptly nicknamed “The death of art” I pray that he is somehow stopped.  I understand people still show up in droves and pay top dollar to see these “films” but once your bankaccount has eight zeros in it what’s driving you to continue?  If it’s just for the money than how much is enough?

These are the questions that keep me up at night.  If Adam Sandler started putting out material that he even appeared to give a single fuck about I would certainly be the first in line.  But until then FUCK “PIXELS”!

If you also hate the movie “Pixels” so much you can’t sleep at night than come on down to the Staged Reading of my Psychadelic Cyberpunk Film Noir screenplay “Mum Knows Best” on Sunday August 9th from 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm at the Annoyance Theatre & Bar‪ https‬://www.facebook.com/events/875860632494808/ because it will hopefully be more like Billy Madison!

Number 12: “A Clockwork Orange”

Everytime I watch any Stanley Kubrick film “2001”, “Dr. Strangelove”, “The Shining”, even “Eyes Wide Shut” I’m left with this incredible feeling of euphoria and awe.  He is that rare filmmaker that can make a film so engrossing and perfect that you forget you’re watching a film at all.  I can’t say I’ve experienced this feeling with any other filmmaker.

Narrowing him down to just one favorite film is really really hard.  I’d like to just say his entire lexicon (including “A.I.” WHAT?!) but if you’re twisting my arm I would have to say “A Clockwork Orange”.  Because this movie is AWESOME!  And for lack of a better word perfect.  Every shot is a perfectly set up work of art.  Kubrick was a professional photographer before he became a film director and it’s VERY apparent in his shot compositions.  They are ultra symmetrical and convey a story within themselves.

I love the world of this film and the main character is one of my all time faves.  I like to imagine that he grew up into “The Joker” with his honest charm and love of ultra violence, murder, rape.  He’s certainly no role model or something to strive for but definitely an interesting character.

When I was fourteen I saw my first Kubrick film “Eyes wide shut”.  I told my mom how much I enjoyed it’s masterful subtleties.  I was then informed that another of Kubrick’s films “A Clockwork Orange” was my grandfather’s favorite movie.  I immediately had to see it in an attempt to understand this great man.  I was completely confused by it but could feel the brilliance and power of Kubrick’s vision.  I knew this was a special film I just didn’t know why.

He passed about a year later and I never really got to discuss it with him but I’ll always have this deep connection with the film.

There are so many deep and interesting questions this film brings up in my mind.  Like “what do you do with a person who enjoys violence, rape, and murder so much?”  Is it justifiable to administer the treatment?  Would that even solve the problem or just turn him into a zombie?

It really seems like Alex’s issues are more systemic than personal.  His father is too busy with work and his mother appears heavily medicated.  Perhaps better more supportive parents could reduce his blood lust and Joker like habits.

And if you are trying to reduce your Joker like habits than come on down to the Staged Reading of my Psychadelic Cyberpunk Film Noir screenplay “Mum Knows Best” on Sunday August 9th from 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm at the Annoyance Theatre & Bar ‪#‎Chicago‬https://www.facebook.com/events/875860632494808/ because the Joker is gonna be there (he will not be there)!

Number 13: “Citizen Kane”

This may appear to be my “Look how smart I am” addition to the list.  I did initially see this film BECAUSE it’s supposedly the greatest/most important film of all time but that’s not why I loved it.  There are plenty of movies I saw because they are great but didn’t necessarily enjoy them.  I saw “The Godfather” and didn’t lose my mind.  I’m absolutely certain of it’s brilliance but it just didn’t connect with me.

“Citizen Kane” on the other hand connected, hook line and sinker.  As a boy growing up you have this odd thought that only modern actors/directors/writers can really make you feel anything or possess any sort of gravitas or bring any weight to a performance.  Watching Orson Welles chew the scenery as the most interesting and broken man in the world (at the time) was so pleasurable I could shriek.  And he also wrote/directed/produced it AGAINST the world’s most powerful man’s almighty force is equally triumphant.

Watching this for five minutes you forget that it was made seventy years ago.  Because frankly not that much has significantly changed since then.  We still have emotional problems, we still don’t know how to make relationships work, and we still have problems that no amount of technology or money can or will ever fix.

And this movie is just fucking brilliant.  The camera angles, the story, the characters, the structure.  It’s just a fucking blast to behold and as described by my good buddy Michael “it’s just a lot of fun.”  I could not agree with him more.

citizen kane
My favorite show loves this damn movie!

What a presence Orson Welles is in this film and every film he’s in for that matter.  I recently had the good fortune of discovering “The Third Man” which is one of my favorite Film Noirs of all time.  He doesn’t show up until about an hour into the film but his hilarious and powerful presence is felt throughout.  And when he dies at the end, even despite of his severe despicableness you’re still left wanting him on screen.  You want to see that smiling mug of his and enjoy his energy and presence.  It was watching this movie, that withholds and then grabs away his magic energy that really drives the point home that he was something special.

So in a way Orson Welles with his incredible ability to DO EVERYTHING in the world of filmmaking would easily be my be all end all.  And if I was alive in that time and still possessed this incredible desire to become a filmmaker he would have been my number one.

If you think not a thing has changed since 1941 then come on down to the Staged Reading of my Psychedelic Cyberpunk Film Noir screenplay “Mum Knows Best” on Sunday August 9th from 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm at the Annoyance Theatre & Bar ‪#‎Chicago‬https://www.facebook.com/events/875860632494808/ because you’re right!

Citizen Kane
This quote sums up my life philosophy pretty handily.