Entertainment Expert Joshua Leake stopped by to talk about the latest in Movies and Entertainment this week! Click here for more information about Joshua.
Here’s my weekly update on News & Entertainment
1. WONDER WOMAN 1984: Directed by the amazing Patty Jenkins, the much anticipated sequel to the woke Super Hero genre is now opening in the theaters at the same time as online. Wonder Woman 1984 is headed to HBOMax and limited theatrically. This will help in making it a clear destination for current and big budget entertainment. Remember this is also where Ridley Scott, from the Aliens franchise, is producing his series Raised by Wolves on exploring life outside of planet Earth. Hbo Max is also now available on the Amazon Fire Stick, look for this film on December 25th, just in time for the holidays.
2. POLITICIANS AGREE ON ONE THING: If you’re staying inside for the next four weeks. Holidays are great times to watch movies. We reached out to all sides of the aisle about favorite holiday movies, and we got some great responses. Mayor Wheeler, Commissioner Eudaly, District Attorney Schmidt, even two of the four Multnomah commissioners responded, but the most surprising and funnest pick goes to Senator Ron Wyden. His pick was «Rocky,» which he believes is great for the holidays and year-round to the point that his kids beg him to be spared the Rocky reruns.
( If I had 10m with Wyden, I’d probably ask what’s on his wife’s book shelf, as many know she runs New York’s most famous bookstore, The Strand. Her store made a plea about four weeks ago for more business. Rumor has it, they are busier than ever before. )
Oregon Senator Ron Wyden
“His favorite movie is “Rocky,” which he believes is great for the holidays and year-round to the point that his kids keep begging to be spared the Rocky re-runs. But specifically for the holidays, he expects to be watching his children’s favorites like “Elf” (with Will Ferrell), “The Polar Express” and “How The Grinch Stole Christmas” (with Jim Carrey).”
Our take—this guy is probably the coolest member in the Senate. Good choices for parents or people wanting to feel some of the Christmas holiday love. His positive undertone with Rocky is a positive side to politics, we need to see more of that!
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler
“A Christmas Carol with Patrick Stewart as Scrooge. Seeing Captain Jean-Luc Picard In This role is awesome. What an incredible actor.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas with Jim Carrey. It’s creepy how naturally he plays the role.
The Nightmare Before Christmas. Who knew puppets could be so compelling. Even the skeleton dog!”
Our Take: Solid choices. The mayor has gone through a lot over the last few years and especially recently with the protests outside of his own condo, but you have to respect a sci-fi geek’s choice. Lots of us out there! Homage in his last choice to our local film studio, Laika—what are they up to these days?
Portland Commissioner Joanne Hardesty
“Her top three are: The Wiz, The Preacher’s Wife, and Soul Food.”
Our Take—Who doesn’t love the acting chops of Denzel Washington and the wonderful late departed Whitney Houston. If there was ever a year that we needed Whitney Houston, 2020 was that year. Directed by Penny Marshall this is a classic movie. Soul Food is another ringer with Vanessa Williams and Vivica A. Fox. Commissioner Hardesty is an amazing communicator and she’s been working in our community for longer than most have lived in town. I love how straight forward and no-nonsense Commissioner Hardesty is. And really who hasn’t had a weird uber or lyft ride? I know I have. A+
Portland District Attorney Mike Schmidt
“National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. “This movie reminds me of my family – my entire extended family. As a kid, we would always hunt for the perfect tree in the forest and cut it down ourselves – no matter how high the snow was! We had relatives park and RV and plug into our house for weeks on end. And sledding adventures – like taking our kayaks up a hill and running them down. It has everything.”
“A Christmas Story. “Every year I watch this movie and find new things to laugh at. And now as a father, I experience the film from another perspective. Also, Santa booting Ralphie down the slide always makes me laugh.”
“Gremlins. “It’s probably still a little too scary for my kids, so I’ll have to watch it after they go to sleep. Gizmo is the original baby Yoda.”
Our Take—first off, the speed at which we received the response and the perfection in its formating, makes me happy we have the right person at the wheel when it comes to handing out the unpopular side of living life. His choices are creative but traditional, but good with facts. National Lampoon is crazy, and what better thing to do now than forget about your crazy life and see someone even crazier. Mr. Schmidt is a big picture guy. A Christmas Story is in the tradition that helps us remember the way it once was, but of course my mom lived in an apartment, so we all have different childhood memories. And to finish off with Gremlins, a little scary but fun at heart. He even adds some pop culture with a reference to The Mandalorian. A+
Portland Commissioner Chloe Eudaly
“I have a long list but this is what I’m in the mood for: Bell, Book & Candle, Auntie Mame, and Carol.”
Our Take—She’s Portland’s voice of the artistic and creative community. Losing her is like cutting off a limb for so many of us. Never has someone spoken out for some of our neighbors. But she did. Her movie choices are good too. Shout out to Hollywood Theater Board Member and supporter Todd Haynes. Carol is a great film, it didn’t get much fan fair, but Todd really knows how to make actors work.
Multnomah Commissioner Jessica Vega Pederson
“What fun! My favorite holiday movie that works for kids and adults is Arthur Christmas. It’s a funny and sweet animated story of Santa Claus and his family that takes into account modern technology’s impact on Santa’s job.
Another favorite is A Christmas Story. I grew up watching it because it was a favorite of my mom’s. Hammond, Indiana, the city that family lives in, was next to the town my mom grew up in. And it’s a wonderful movie that tempers the sugary-sweetness of traditional Christmas movies with a good dose of real-family life salt.
And I’m a big fan of the traditional stop-motion Christmas shows like Frosty the Snowman, Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town, and most especially, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.”
Our Take—another winning three suggestions. First off, she is giving us a film to watch that’s really good but has received little or no fanfare. She must be someone that brings up really good suggestions, that no one has thought of. In the vain, of looking for more out of the box ideas, I appreciated her suggestion to watch a genre films—stop motion animation. We have lots of Oregonians that focus their days on stop motion animation. Remember Will Vinton.
Multnomah County Commissioner Susheela Jayapal
“My kids are now adults, but your question led me to reflect on what we watched when they were kids, and what we might watch together this season. We are a blended Hindu/Jewish family; so, as you can imagine, the films generally thought of as «holiday» films don’t usually reflect those traditions. So taking all of that into account, here are three selections — two favorites and one current.
Lagaan: Bollywood movies are probably an acquired taste, but I love them. This one’s a classic – British overlords challenge villagers to a game of cricket in order to determine whether they’ll be subject to a land tax. Gorgeous settings and colors, and of course everyone bursting into song/dance at the least opportunity.
Anything Harry Potter: These were holiday favorites when my kids were little, and I’m betting they’ve stood the test of time.
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom: Love August Wilson, love the late Chadwick Boseman and Viola Davis, and there’s music here as well.“
Our Take—Yes. I’ve never watched Bollywood for the holidays, and why not? I love learning new things! Thank you. You really know how to respond with sincerity. Plus, who doesn’t love watching Harry Potter? Have you been to the Harry Potter ride and wand shop? So cool. And what a cool shout out to the awesome Chadwick Boseman. Good choices! Traditional but lots of fun too. And much love to all the Multnomah County Commissioners, you all have had your work cut out for you! We appreciate you.
NO RESPONSES FROM: President Donald Trump, President Barack Obama, President or Secretary of State Clinton, President-Elect Joseph Biden, Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris, Governor Kate Brown, and a few others. But we are willing to add to the post, if you send them in.
3. ULTIMATE HOLIDAY JOB: Get paid $2,500 to watch 25 holiday movies in 25 days. Review.org is pulling out all the tricks to get people to visit their website. The only requirement is that you are 18 years or older and eligible to work in the US—other requirements are that you have to have a device compatible for streaming, watch 25 holiday movies in 25 days and then fill out a short post-movie survey.
4. LEARN TO MAKE MOVIES LIKE THE PROS for FREE: People are stuck at home now. Wondering what they can do. Some people are breaking out their college scripts and making movies. It’s super busy out there. If you are thinking about shooting a movie or doing a podcast, there’s a great local resource guide that is getting bigger every day. Check out Koerner Camera’s Tutorials. Their website is KoernerCamera.com and click on the Tutorials section. You can learn about lighting, camera work and everything needed to make a short or feature film.
5. SHOOTING NOW IN PORTLAND: MetalLords is shooting now from Netflix in town by the creators of Game of Thrones. The director of Photography Anette Haellmigk has shot more GOT episodes than any other DP that worked on GOT. Season 2 of Shrill is back with Aidy Bryant wraps mid december. Season 2 of Facebook’s the Birch is finishing off their second season after an illness caused a bit of a delay—not covid.
6. ULTIMATE ABRIDGED BEST HOLIDAY MOVIE/TV LIST:
For laughs: Elf (2003) – good for adults and kids
To get into someone else’s shoes: Trading Places (1983) Adult but maybe older kids that know about money.
Watch Ghost Dog (1999) online with the Hollywood Theater on Saturday, November 21 at 6pm—live commentary with RZA and stars the best and most underappreciated actor Forest Whitaker.
For action and male bonding: Die Hard (1988) – for adults and kids with parents that don’t care.
To be inspired if you are depressed by our political situation: Merry Christmas (Joyeux Noel) (2016) adults.
To feel inspired and to have time to enjoy it: Little Women (2019) adults
To feel like Ron Wyden’s kids: Rocky (1976)
To see a bunch of celebrities: Love Actually (2003) adults
To watch a movie from someone local: see Carol (2015) from Todd Haynes.
If you’re cool or want to sound cool at your next zoom call, watch: The nightmare before christmas: good for kids (1993) adults
And the one film you shouldn’t watch, because the director is on bad list, is Hannah and Her Sisters (1986)
TODAY: Last day to watch any of the films at the Portland Film Festival. Support independent voices and buy a movie ticket at portlandfilm.org. Or watch a selection of films free at home by simply stating “Portland Film
Festival” into your X1 or Flex voice remote.
TOMORROW: Watch Ghost Dog (1999) online with the Hollywood Theater on Saturday, November 21 at 6pm—live commentary with RZA and stars the best and most underappreciated actor Forest Whitaker. Second listing of this event. It’s really that cool. Don’t miss out.
“The Mandalorian” last week saw the introduction of local Portland actress and Battlestar Galactica bad-ass super cool and alumni of the Portland Film Festival, Katee Sackhoff as a Bo-Katan Kryze. She reprised her roll based on the animated series: “Star Wars: The Clone Wars.” Remember episodes drop at Midnight PST Fridays until they stop.
Set your calendar for HBOmax for December 25th—Wonder Woman 1984 hits! Go back and watch all of Patty Jenkins movies.
Check out Holidate on Netflix—it’s fun but don’t miss Christmas on the Square with Dolly Parton—hey didn’t she just help cure Coronavirus?
For the younger and kids check out Disney’s new releases of Just Roll With It and Raven’s Home.