Why the Undertaker still matters in 2015


Think about it for a minute. We’re in the year 2015. Hot topics of conversation center on cars that can drive themselves, space tourism and head sets that can put us in virtual worlds. And still, one of the major headlines of the Wrestlemania season is how will the Read more

Birdman flies high for 2015 Academy Awards


It’s a time-honored tradition of mine to provide an Oscar recap the day after the annual Academy Awards gala each year. It’s also becoming a regular ritual to summarize what a bore the telecast was. Outside of a few moments of inspired political and social notice during acceptance speeches, the Read more

Alex's Official Predictions for the 2015 Oscars


The Oscars are set to take place Sunday night, and, as usual, most of the winners seem pretty clear-cut before the ceremony even starts. Despite the minor drama in Best Picture, the Academy’s yearly show should be fairly by the books. Could “Boyhood” win Best Picture? Of course. The BAFTA Read more

Inaugural 2015 Groucho Movie Awards


So over the past several years, as 10-15 of you have seen (thank you!), I've done my top movies of the year lists. I've ranked anywhere from my top 25 to my top 50. Even the year I did my top 50, I semi-embarrassingly felt I had to make some Read more

He Said, She Said TV Review: Better Call Saul


Better Call Saul has premiered its first three episodes. As AMC's latest groundbreaking original series spinning off from Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul has had great reviews and ratings. Joseph is a huge fan of Breaking Bad and Palmer never quite got into it. In the latest He Said, Read more

Oscars 2015: The Year of not taking Risks


This year I’ve written less about the Oscars than ever before. I wondered if the reason for this lack of enthusiasm to cover the 2015 race had to do with personally being overwhelmed by other obligations. After seeing all of the nominees and dwelling on the Academy’s choices, I’ve Read more

Home Alone & Church at Christmas

Posted on by Joseph Williams in Faith, Featured, Movies | Leave a comment

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The Wise Guise has enjoyed presenting high-quality Christmas content since our first year. We’ve posted old Christmas-themed Facebook notes from yours truly in addition to the infamous 2012 Christmas Movie Smackdown and a Christmas YouTube Hall of Fame. As I write this, I continue my tradition of watching classic TV Christmas specials late at night. Currently, for the first time ever, while watching Frosty Returns, I realized that Elisabeth Moss (Peggy from Mad Men) voiced the protagonist Holly in Frosty Returns. A Christmas miracle if there ever was one!

This year, I’ve decided to blog about several less memorable scenes of classic Christmas films. It’s not that these scenes haven’t always been special, but instead, they are scenes overshadowed by their place in the film, other more iconic moments, or in my case, scenes that are more memorable to a child’s mind when I first saw the film compared to re-watching these films as an adult.

Beginning with this first post, I wanted to dive into the church scene from Home Alone. I still remember seeing Home Alone in theaters when I was four years old. Every Christmas, I’d dust off the VHS or DVD or watch it on TV. This year was no different. When I was a kid, the church scene was the one that bored me the most. Finding myself restless and anxious for Kevin versus The Wet Bandits with his house filled with booby traps, I’d want the church scene and serious conversation with Old Man Marley to just hurry up and be over.

Now, as I’ve become an adult starting my own family with my own son, it’s the scene in the church that I want to last forever because it’s so rich and emotionally powerful. For those of you that haven’t done your duty and rewatched Home Alone already this year, here are two YouTube clips. Neither is high quality, but together, they capture the best 8 minutes of the film.

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SAG, Golden Globe nominations push “Boyhood” out front in Oscar Race

Posted on by Alex Beene in Awards Addict, Entertainment, Featured, Movies | Leave a comment

boyhood_stillIs “Boyhood” really the frontrunner for Best Picture? Upon release this summer, it certainly felt like a contender. The perfect review scores and strong limited box office seemingly guaranteed that. And yet, the lack of star power in the film made it feel more like a production made for critical praise than gold.

The Hollywood Foreign Press and Screen Actors Guild this week have reversed the opinion held by some others and myself. With strong showings in the nominations for the Golden Globes and SAG this year, Richard Linklater’s latest entry seems poised to take Oscars by storm. Lack of big stars be damned; the quality of the film will stand for itself.

And yet, we know how the Academy feels about these things. Remember “Gravity” last year? That film was lavished as a major cinematic accomplishment (and had star power on top of that!) but failed to win Best Picture. It certainly didn’t do poorly in terms of statuettes awarded, earning quite a handful, including Best Director.

“Boyhood” could end up in the same boat this year, especially if “The Imitation Game” catches on. Packed with historical relevance and a strong cast, it’s the type of classic Best Picture winner the Academy may be more in line to honor.

“Birdman” continues to get attention, but its meta-filmesque status makes it hard for the Academy to embrace as a whole. That won’t stop it from being a really strong contender throughout the season. Ditto to “The Theory of Everything.”

The Globes stepped in to save “Selma,” which didn’t impress SAG. It remains to see if the historical drama can catch on. “Unbroken” is similar in its struggle, but it’s massive absence so far doesn’t speak well for its chances down the line.

Golden Globe Film Nominations:

Best Motion Picture – Drama “Boyhood” “Foxcatcher” “The Imitation Game” “Selma” “The Theory of Everything”

Best Motion Picture – Comedy Or Musical “Birdman” “The Grand Budapest Hotel” “Into the Woods” “Pride” “St. Vincent”

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama Steve Carell, “Foxcatcher” Benedict Cumberbatch, “Imitation Game” Jake Gyllenhaal, “Nightcrawler” David Oyelowo, “Selma” Eddie Redmayne, “The Theory of Everything”

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama Jennifer Aniston, “Cake” Felicity Jones, “The Theory of Everything” Julianne Moore, “Still Alice” Rosamund Pike, “Gone Girl” Reese Witherspoon, “Wild”

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Comedy Or Musical Amy Adams, “Big Eyes” Emily Blunt, “Into the Woods” Hellen Mirren, “The Hundred-Foot Journey” Julianne Moore, “Map to the Stars” Quvenzhane Wallis – “Annie”

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Comedy Or Musical Ralph Fiennes, “The Grand Budapest Hotel” Michael Keaton, “Birdman” Bill Murray, “St. Vincent” Joaquin Phoenix, “Inherent Vice” Christoph Waltz, “Big Eyes”

Best Performance by an Actress In A Supporting Role in a Motion Picture Patricia Arquette, “Boyhood” Jessica Chastain, “A Most Violent Year” Keira Knightley, “The Imitation Game” Emma Stone, “Birdman” Meryl Streep, “Into the Woods”

Best Performance by an Actor In A Supporting Role in a Motion Picture Robert Duvall, “The Judge” Ethan Hawke, “Boyhood” Edward Norton, “Birdman” Mark Ruffalo, “Foxcatcher” J.K. Simmons, “Whiplash”

Best Director – Motion Picture Wes Anderson, “The Grand Budapest Hotel” Avu Duvernay, “Selma” David Fincher, “Gone Girl” Alejandro González Iñárritu, “Birdman” Richard Linklater, “Boyhood”

Best Screenplay – Motion Picture “Birdman” “Boyhood” “Gone Girl” “The Grand Budapest Hotel” “The Imitation Game”

Best Animated Feature Film “Big Hero 6″ “The Book Of Life” “The Boxtrolls” “How To Train Your Dragon 2″ “The LEGO Movie”

Best Foreign Language Film “Force Majure” – Sweden “Gett, the Trial of Viviane Amsalem” – Israel “Ida” – Poland “Leviathan” – Russian “Tangerines” – Estonia Georgia

Best Original Song – Motion Picture “Big Eyes” – “Big Eyes” – Music and Lyrics by: Lana Del Rey “Glory” – “Selma” – Music and Lyrics by: John Legend, Common “Mercy Is” – “Noah” – Music and Lyrics by: Patti Smith, Lenny Kaye “Opportunity” – “Annie” – Music and Lyrics by: Greg Kurstin, Sia Furler, Will Gluck “Yellow Flicker Beat” – “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Pt. 1″ Music and Lyrics by: Lorde

Best Original Score – Motion Picture “Birdman” “Gone Girl” “The Imitation Game” “Interstellar” “The Theory of Everything”

 

Sneak Preview: Favorite Films of 2014 So Far

Posted on by Clayton Martin in Entertainment, Featured, Movie Reviews, Movies | Leave a comment

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Every year I rank my favorite films of the previous year in January or February. You can find past editions in our archives, including the 2012 edition when I ranked my top 50 movies of the year. Like I said then, and will reiterate now, I need to get a life. This year I want to share my work-in-progress list early and make sure some of these films that deserve your attention get it before award season. I still have a lot I want to/plan to watch (plus some films that haven’t even come out yet).

The order is very much subject to change but here are my current standings (plus a tweet-length review): Read more

Why WWE was right to fire CM Punk

Posted on by Alex Beene in Featured, Other Sports, WWE | Leave a comment

Punk

Fittingly, as we were all giving thanks for the wonderful things in our lives yesterday, former WWE superstar CM Punk interrupted the holiday with a long, rambling podcast as close friend Colt Cabana’s guest.

It’s filled with the typical, ego-charged rhetoric from Punk we’ve come to expect. He says he’ll never go to work for WWE again, citing a barrage of claims, with the most damning being Vince McMahon and company sent him termination papers on his wedding day. Read more

Rugby: My New Favorite Sport

Posted on by Grant Oster in Featured, Other Sports | Leave a comment

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Last week I experienced the thrill and experience that is the sport of Rugby. Well, the thrill and experience that comes from watching the sport of rugby. Last Saturday, I went to the USA Eagles v New Zealand All Blacks game in Chicago. Packed into a sold out stadium, with 61,499 other screaming fans, I enjoyed my first professional rugby match. This was unlike any display of athleticism I had ever seen. Rugby has the fast-paced and continual play that is exhibited in soccer, with the full contact that one would expect during an American football game. It only took one game because I am now hooked on rugby. Read more

Movie Review: Interstellar

Posted on by Joseph Williams in Entertainment, Featured, Movie Reviews, Movies | 2 Comments

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On September 12, 1962, President John Fitzgerald Kennedy gave a speech at Rice University setting the United States of America’s Space Race goals for the 1960s.

We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.

I wish we didn’t live in the cynical world we live in. I’m perfectly willing to admit, as my wife reminds me often, that I can be too optimistic for my own good at times. Matthew McConaughey’s character is similarly ridiculed as too optimistic and too much of a dreamer in Christopher Nolan’s latest epic cinematic adventure (and first since the conclusion of his Dark Knight trilogy). But the world where he farms and raises his children is Nolan’s vision of what could result if our cynical world devolves to its natural conclusion.

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