Monday, February 28, 2011

Best Pictures

It wasn't my intention to watch the last two Best Pictures within a span of three days, but it happened. The King's Speech, which I saw on Saturday night, is a superb film that has two wonderful messages of perseverance and hope. Colin Firth well deserved his awards. Geoffrey Rush was also deserving of his accolades. His role was less flashy, but it was essential to the film and essentially a second lead part. Unfortunately, awards this time of year are rarely handed out to performances that are just good acting. There has to be flash or starvation or wigs and heavy makeup. I like Rush and shouldn't complain, though. Would he have even been in this role if he hadn't won his own Academy Award? And what did he win the award for? Well, for playing a mentally ill piano player which was all... flash.

I haven't seen The Social Network, so I can't be a judge as to which film is the "best" picture. But I've reached a point that I don't care. Any movie that gets made is an accomplishment. To be considered one of the best of the year really should be good enough for the filmmakers and other artists involved with a movie. How can you really compare 127 Hours to Toy Story 3? Yet, they were both competing for "Best Picture" at this year's Academy Awards.

Speaking of Toy Story 3, I have a huge issue with it being nominated for "Best Adapted Screenplay." Apparently the logic is that it's based on the previous two films. Well, actually, I agree with that assessment. Overlooked in all of the well deserved praise for the quality of Toy Story 3 was the fact that the movie borrowed HEAVILY from the second in the series. Don't get me wrong, it's a great movie, but I was only surprised once or twice (that ending at the trash dump where they all almost die... whew!). The animated film that really surprised me this year was How to Train Your Dragon. That film really moved me and I was blown away by the cinematography of the film. There was so much depth and composition to Dragon. The music was some of the best I'd heard in ages, and the story really got to me. Maybe it's because I'm a father and I could relate, but that was one of my favorite movies of the year. I wish we'd seen it in 3-D.

Tonight I watched The Hurt Locker. It's been sitting on our DVR since January (free Showtime, oh yeah!). I'm not a war movie buff, but this movie immediately sucked me in and I couldn't stop watching. I've been thinking a lot about Apocalypse Now the past couple of weeks for a script I'm developing (Charlie Sheen constantly being in the news also helps) and I felt like The Hurt Locker was a cousin of Francis Ford Coppola's '79 classic. Jeremy Renner's character, Will, is just a couple years away from becoming Martin Sheen's Willard. I'm starting to get tired of the hand held/documentary camera work of so many films (which may account for why I loved The King's Speech so much), however, I thought it was essential to The Hurt Locker's success. I can't recall what other films were even nominated last year...

I just reviewed the list. Again, how do you compare a film like Up in the Air (a modern classic, as far as I'm concerned) with a gripping war film like The Hurt Locker. You can't.

It's taken me a long time to really not care so much about the Academy Awards. It's not that I don't love movies anymore. On the contrary, I've kind of fallen back in love with them after several years of not caring. Maybe it's because I'm over the need to win one of the statues. My friends, I'd be happy to make another movie again someday (anyone got some $$ they want to invest in a film project?). It's that my priorities have changed.

By the way, here's a piece of trivia: Guy Pearce was in back to back Best Picture films. He starred in neither.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

It's that time of the year again. Please donate!

Hello again,

It’s that time of the year when we once again reach out to our friends and family to help support us in our quest to find an end to cystic fibrosis. Each year, our family walks in Great Strides, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s 5K Walk-A Thon, in support of our son, Jacob, now nine-years-old, and all people who suffer from this life threatening illness.

As you may know, Cystic fibrosis is an inherited chronic disease that affects the lungs and digestive system of about 30,000 children and adults in the United States (70,000 worldwide). A defective gene and its protein product cause the body to produce unusually thick, sticky mucus that clogs the lungs and leads to life-threatening lung infections. It also obstructs the pancreas and stops natural enzymes from helping the body break down and absorb food. Because of the illness Jacob, must sit through at least two daily breathing treatments and take an assortment of oral medications, including enzyme pills with each meal.

We’ve been blessed that Jacob continues to do well. However, that doesn’t mean there haven’t been challenges. Over the past nine months Jacob has had a pretty significant drop in his lung function. Through a change in some of his medications and a lot of hard work he’s gained back some ground, but he’s still at about a 12% loss. Although it has been difficult at times, we’re so hopeful about what the future holds.

As we speak, some very exciting new drugs that are coming through the pipeline. One in particular, VX-770, just finished phase 3 clinical trials with extremely positive results. This drug is for a certain mutation of CF that Jacob unfortunately doesn’t have but it opens the possibilities for other medications. Another, VX-890, is in phase 2 trials and also looks very promising. (Jacob thinks these drugs sound like secret agent names!) Using these two drugs in combination could benefit almost 90% of those with cystic fibrosis, including Jacob. They don’t just treat the symptoms; they actually correct the basic defect of the CF gene!

As you can imagine, news of these medications has ignited a new sense of urgency through the CF community. An even deeper determination has set in to do whatever it takes to get these medications to our loved ones affected by this terrible disease.

Now, more than ever, it’s absolutely vital that we continue our fundraising efforts. It takes a great deal of money to get a medication through clinical trials and FDA approval. To see this type of treatment on the horizon and not be able to reach it because there isn’t enough funding would be devastating.

This year’s Great Strides will take place on April 9th in our hometown of Valencia. We would love for you to join us if you’re able. You can also support us by going to our webpage and donating to this amazing cause. Simply click to donate! You may also Please know that ANY AMOUNT is appreciated more than we can fully express.

Thank you for continuing to support Team Jacob and The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation!

Scott, Julie, Sophie and Jacob


It's been quite some time since I've written a blog entry here at thunderbolt, I fear that I've questioned what worth I have in adding my voice to the blogosphere. Anything I wanted to get out of me usually wound up in the Basement Songs posts over at Popdose, so what else could I really say?

Today I have wonderful news I want to share. This week the Cf Foundation made a reamrkable announcement that has spiked the hope of every CF parent. I'd rather give you a link to the NY Times article than to try and explain it myself. So here it is:

Pretty exciting!

Another reason I haven't written much has been my efforts to get my first novel complete. After two years of writing, though, I sent it off to NY in hopes that it will get read by a publishing company and stir up some interest in my skills as writer. With the manuscript out in the world, it seems like a good time to pull the old blog out of the garage and see if she still runs. I suppose I'll try to cross promote any entry I make by using Facebook and Twitter. I'd be foolish not to.

In the meantime, I hope the ten of you reading this right now will be patient as I try to gt back in the swing of things here at thunderbolt.

It's 1:44 AM in Saugus, CA and the rain is pouring outside. There's talk of snow and the one thought that keeps going through my mind is, the Indians are in Arizona and the baseball season is a little over a month away. Nice.