Tag Archives: Matt Damon

Things I Loved This Week


Sometimes, we just need to smile.

I spent waaaay too much time trying to come up with a relevant or humorous article for Rocking the Boat this week. Nothing really came to mind quickly. I thought about being negative by talking about used games, or something else about E3, but I feel like there’s enough negativity coming from E3.

So I decided to just have a list of things that I really like from this week.

 Tom Clancy’s The Division

Here’s some gameplay from E3. This game looks insanely cool. I love the way multiplayer is integrated.

The 1985-Style opening for Fringe

I’ve been watching a lot of Fringe this week, like some of the other Cool Shipmates have been. The flashback episodes are some of my favorites, and here is the opening sequence that denotes them as flashbacks.

Destiny Gameplay Demo

I’ve been a fan of Bungie ever since Halo (I’m not one of those awesome people that got to play Marathon or any of their other games pre-Xbox), so I’ve been following the development of Destiny with great interest. Hopefully it delivers on everything they are promising.

New Elysium Trailer

Nothing says sci-fi like class warfare. Also, I really like Matt Damon.


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Dear Heath Ledger…You Are Missed.

January 22nd of this year marked the five year anniversary of the death of Heath Ledger. It’s hard to believe that it’s been that long. It feels like it was just yesterday the news was breaking on Ledger’s body being found in the SoHo apartment of Mary-Kate Olsen, dead of an apparent overdose. Autopsies would later discover that it was an accidental overdose from the misuse of multiple prescription drugs. It’s the way many Hollywood stars have gone out, but it was definitely not the way many fans had expected him to die. Heath was one of the actors that were expected to live many years a grow into a respected actor and Hollywood legend, much like Clint Eastwood or Tommy Lee Jones. Instead, he’s become one of the Tinseltown tragedies, much like River Pheonix. Gone too soon, just as his star was on the rise.

Rest in Peace, Heath.

Rest in Peace, Heath.

I’m sure most people’s first experience with Heath Ledger was from his performance in 10 Things I Hate About You, where he played the high school rebel trying to “tame the high school shrew” so another guy could date her sister. From there, he wowed us in The Patriot, Monster’s Ball, and the modern-day/medieval mashup A Knight’s Tale. After that, he starred in a few less than successful but still quite wonderful films; The Four Feathers, The Order, Ned Kelly, and Casanova.

Next, he co-starred in The Brothers Grimm with Matt Damon. The film, directed by Terry Gilliam, is one of my absolute favorites. It’s the not-so-true story of Wilhelm and Jakob Grimm, a couple of con artists posing as witch hunters who find themselves in deep trouble when they must hunt down and kill a real witch for a French general or be killed themselves. It’s a quirky and eccentric film combining elements and characters from all the Grimm Fairy Tales into a story that only Terry Gilliam can tell. If you haven’t seen it, you should.

Following that, he made Lords of Dogtown, where he played Skip Engblom, one of the creators of legendary skateboarding team, the Z-Boys.

His next film, Brokeback Mountain, brought a bit of controversy for his portrayal of Ennis Del Mar, a cowboy turned gay cowboy. The film drew much critical and box office success and earned Heath Ledger, as well as his co-star Jake Gyllenhaal, some much due acclaim (and I’m sure some good natured ribbing).

He followed up the success of Brokeback with a couple indie films, Candy and I’m Not There. In I’m Not There, he portrayed a persona of Bob Dylan during a period in his life. He shared the screen with five other actors to tell six different stories in Dylan’s life.

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The Clown Prince of Crime.

And then there was The Dark Knight. One of the greatest comic movies ever made, if not the greatest, and it was in part because of Ledger’s performance as The Joker. No other actor has captured the character quite like Ledger did. He lost himself in the character to the point where you didn’t even recognize him. You didn’t see Ledger, you saw The Joker. This was the greatest performance of what would be a very short career that should have been a jumping-off point for a long and fruitful career. And it was Ledger’s loss of himself in the character that may have lead to his untimely demise, but that’s neither here nor there.

This role would usher Ledger into the pantheon of legendary actors and make it very difficult for any other actor to ever portray The Joker ever again. It also made it very difficult for Christopher Nolan to continue The Joker story line in his Dark Knight Trilogy which saddened many die-hard Batman fans, including myself.

His final performance was in another Terry Gilliam film, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, where he portrayed a conman on the run for embezzling money through a charity. He hides out with a small troupe of traveling performers whose leader just happens to be immortal. The film, also one of my favorites, was more surreal and trippy than The Brothers Grimm and just as successful; I mean it’s more of a cult classic than a box office success. But even without the commercial success, it and The Dark Knight were excellent performances for Ledger to end his career. His performance as The Joker did win an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor posthumously.

He was a star that burned out too soon. An incredible actor, father, and all-around wonderful personality that was taken from the world all too soon, leaving a void that will never be filled by another actor. In a sea of talentless hacks, it seems to be the talented ones that seem to be the first that sink when they should be soaring high above the waves, like a proud seagull or something. I’m not all that good with sentimental analogies.

Heath Ledger…You will always be missed.

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“Stumped” by Celebrity Endorcements

Clint Eastwood made quite a stir at the Republican National Convention last week. Eastwood’s usage of an old vaudeville era bit to show his displeasure with the job performance of our president was a success or an embarrassment depending on your political affiliation. Why was Clint even at the Convention? Why was he given free reign in a historically prized time slot? Easy! Americans are celebrity obsessed.

Does anyone understand our sick fascination with celebrities? Entire periodicals are dedicated to what they eat, where they sleep, who with, and what they do in their spare time. We cannot get enough of the mundane details of these glittery people.  Celebrities stumping for candidates is hardly new. Every four years various famous and semi-famous actors, athletes and musicians turn out to support the candidate of their choice.

Celebrities from the idiotic (Toby Keith) to the highly intelligent (Ben Stein) step up each election season to tell you who to vote for. Even celebrities who don’t live here and cannot vote get in on the stump. (Bono, Mel Gibson) The tactics used range from simply playing a few songs at some campaign rallies (Bruce Springsteen, Jackson Browne) to making campaign videos suggesting that if you plan to vote for someone other than his chosen candidate then just don’t vote (Matt Damon).

I hate everything about this practice! Not only because the liberals get better celebrities (all the way back to Frank Sinatra and The Rat Pack Stumping for John Kennedy), but the idea that we common folk should be lectured by the shiny millionaires about which politician will do the best to solve our common little problems makes me want to rip the remainder of my hair out.

image appears courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Then we are supposed to react something like this:

“Well Ron Howard thinks Obama is a good choice…I liked Happy Days…I want to be happy…a vote for Obama is a vote for Happiness”

Or something like that. It is insulting and preys on the uninformed.

During the conventions and beyond both parties will trot out whomever they can to win your vote. This week’s DNC will be overrun with celebrities attempting to sway your opinion. Just do me a small favor whenever one of the parties tries to employ this tactic–try to really listen. Consider the actual issues and listen for substance. Try to forget the endorsement is coming from an actor who made a movie about smoking drugs and a late night trip to a third tier fast food joint (Kal Penn) and consider what is actually being said. Even Dirty Harry should not be able to sway your vote without some facts…Punk.


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