Not quite (and not as cool as Professor Griff) but I did speak at a college last week! My friend Nick, who manages Thrice, teaches a music business/ management course at Biola University and he invited me to speak to his class of about 18 students as a guest. It was awesome!
I have never done anything like that before and I found myself getting anxious/ nervous immediately beforehand. It's funny considering that I have fronted a band at festivals like Hellfest and on tour in front of combative crowds (ever played in front of a Dillinger Escape Plan audience at the height of their popularity? Or how about a nose in the air Isis audience?) and I have appeared on three different television networks, sometimes live (and often live to tape), without any jitters. But something about talking to 18 college kids about what I do every single day made me nervous! Go figure.
It was a blast. I shared a lot of stories at first, talking openly about the DIY ethic, about how I got my start in print journalism, about the pros and cons of working in the bigger corporate media, and of course about my experiences in management. Once they started asking questions they really became engaged (most of them). The focus of their questions really kept coming back around to, "But how do I get a band from point A to point B?" Erik, who came with me, pointed out afterward that it sounded like most of them are IN bands as opposed to looking to MANAGE bands. We may have found our first intern there, too. Waiting for him to contact us. All in all it's definitely something I would enjoy doing again.
Vaughn's aggressively infectious charisma and Aniston's understated comedic talent (utilized much more effectively in "The Good Girl" and of course "Office Space") basically coast this otherwise formulaic snooze fest along into watchability. It's, you know, pleasant. And then there's the awful ending: the-much too-obvious result of too many test screenings and over-thinking. And why put Vincent D'Onofrio in a movie if you aren't going to do anything with him except an underused and minimal variation on his brilliant "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" performances? **1/2 stars.
Downey, Ryan James Downey
The Bond marathon over Thanksgiving weekend might have been the first time I've ever watched Spike (sort of curious about that "Blade" series, but I think it's already over). I didn't really catch any of these in their entirety, but I did get some glimpses of a few of my favorites, including "Goldfinger" (isn't that everybody's favorite?), "You Only Live Twice," "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" (I like Lazenby better than Dalton) and "A View To A Kill," which will always make me think of Duran Duran.
BBC America has been re-running this guilty pleasure English confection which lasted five seaons over there. The problem is that we started watching it on the third season finale, got hooked, cruised through the entire fourth season, and then BBC America STARTED IT OVER WITH EPISODE ONE! We decided to Netflix all of them instead of relying on the telly, only to find out that only the first three seasons have been released in America (to say nothing of the two seasons-long spinoff series). But man was this show fun for the entire season that we watched it. Maybe we'll reinvest some time from square one soon.
This movie NEVER gets old to me and somehow my fiance had never seen it! One part "Clueless" and one part every great rom-com ever made, this movie friggin' rules. Unfortunately the sequel was a total dog. I had the opportunity to cover the sequel in London though so I'll always remember that. Reese was filming "Vanity Fair," and pregnant, so she refused to do press for "Legally Blonde 2" in the US and therefore MGM flew all of us over there. It ruled.
I didn't even mind having to go by the set of "Agent Cody Banks 2" while we were there. I almost met Robbie Williams on another film set. It didn't happen but I did get to meet him a few months later in LA, so it was all good. Anyway, Reese is a fantastic interview. She's uber-intelligent, somewhat guarded, and doesn't put up with crap, and I love that. I had interviewed her once before during the press cycle for "Sweet Home Alabama."
Here's my interview with her for "Legally Blonde 2" right HERE Here's the longer feature around "Sweet Home Alabama" right HERE.
"Million Dollar Baby"
I'm only writing this to be the, well, millionth (cough) person to tell you to see this thing NOW if you haven't gotten around to it. Worth every single one of the accolades it received, especially for Eastwood's taut direction and jaw-dropping acting. Watching this recently made me actually want to go see his war movies. Maybe I will. ***** stars.
We finally got around to watching this over the weekend. Expertly directed, beautiful to look at, a message I connected with (although I felt like the choir in this case -- sorta the reason why I haven't bothered to see the Al Gore doc) and typically knockout performances from two of my favorite actors, Matt Damon and George Clooney (to say nothing of the doctor from "Deep Space Nine" and whatever he plays on "Battlestar Galactica" -- who knew?). The problem with this movie is the narrative. It's one thing to be layered, to skip around, to construct things in a way that assumes your audience doesn't want to be pandered to. Unfortunately "Syriana" crosses the line into incomprehensibility too many times. Maybe that was part of the point, I know, but this isn't a David Lynch art movie for crying out loud. Worth watching... But overrated. *** stars.
Coming soon from Netflix... "Clerks 2" and "Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut." Must... Resist... Urge... To Buy.
Why doesn't Netflix have "The Punisher" Extended Cut? Grr. Thomas Jane rules and so did that movie. Here's something I wrote about Thomas and "The Punisher" way back when. I even love the Dolph Lundgren Punisher movie. There, I said it (again).
- Ryan J. Downey
- I'm a longtime contributor to MTV, Billboard, Alternative Press and MovieWeb. I've worked as on-air reporter, host, writer and producer for MTV, MSNBC and E!. I have provided opinion and commentary to programs on VH1, IFC, G4, Fuse, Current and Oxygen. I have written for Huffington Post, Premiere, OC Weekly, SFGate.com, NextMovie.com, MTV's television and movie blogs and other publications. I am the founder of Superhero Productions, providing broadcast, online and aftermarket content for a number of clients including Lionsgate, Sony and Warner Bros. I personally handle artist management for a handful of bands. "Ryan Downey has established a history of breaking some good scoops in the last few years, and you could certainly do worse than bookmark [him] to check in on." -- Ain't It Cool