Tag Archives: hollywood

An Open Letter to All Big Time Hollywood Directors

Dear Big Time Hollywood Directors,

I know life is hard for you, what with having a job most men dream of and banging supermodels on top of big piles of cash, all while promising them a gig in your next movie (you aren’t going to give it to them are you, you sly dog) but I’d love it if you could take a moment to consider my book, “Toilet Gator” for your next project:

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Toilet Gator.  Yes, toilet gator.

It’s got heart.  It’s got soul.  It’s got people being eaten by a giant lizard while they’re trying to take a dump.

It’s a comedic romp, a heartwarming drama, a baffling mystery, an epic horror story, a romance and a summer blockbuster action tale all wrapped up into one big scaly package.  I have no doubt that the alligator chosen to play the toilet gator will become the next big celebrity unless, of course, you choose to go the CGI route.  It’s up to you.  Who am I to stifle your creative process?

For the hero gator hunter Cole Walker, I see someone like Jon Hamm, a bit up there in years though he has still retained his handsome features.  Maybe his estranged wife Sharon Walker could be played by someone like Kim Dickens, that chick the plays the mom on “Fear the Walking Dead.”  I’m not telling you how to make your casting decisions.  I’m just saying that we need a hot babe after forty who has fought the forces of gravity to still keep it tight, someone who has withstood the ravages of time and come out the other side with the ability to still pop all the boners in her general vicinity.

Is this the best novel ever written about toilets, gators, or toilet gators?  Yes.  But don’t take my word for it.  Check out this quote:

Toilet Gator is the best novel ever written about toilets, gators, or toilet gators.”

– No One Ever

There’s no arguing with that.  Did I mention that Dame Judi Dench would be an excellent choice for elderly spitfire Maude?  As for Rusty, we just need a famous redheaded man.  What about that guy that played Brodi on “Homeland.”  He’s not doing anything important these days is he?

Look directors, I’m telling, this one is a winner.  So let’s make a deal.  Have your people call my people.  We’ll get the crooked lawyers to draw up the paperwork and I’ll tell you where to back up the Brinks truck full of my gold ingot bars as my compensation for allowing you to put the fruits of my genius mind on screen.

J.J. Abrams, you could add a sci-flare with an edge to this.

Tarantino, you could feel free to start the story with a victim getting pooped out by the gator then work your way to the beginning when the victim is eaten.

Scorcese, you could turn this into an Italian gangster flick with the toilet gator as the boss.

Ron Howard, you could hire Tom Hanks to play the toilet gator.  Just put him in some green makeup and then have him steal our hearts for the umpteenth million time.

Wes Anderson, you could turn this into an eccentric comedy, one where people who read the New Yorker and sit around their chic Manhattan apartments and sniff their own farts find it hilarious while the rest of us don’t find it funny at all but feel bad about ourselves for not laughing, like if we’d just paid a little more attention in school we’d get your jokes.

Christopher Nolan, you could make the toilet gator really dark and brooding and leave us completely unsure of what we just saw.

M. Knight Shyamalan, you could end the story with the toilet gator unzipping himself to reveal that he is actually a toilet elephant.  What a twist!

George Lucas, you could present the toilet gator with some fabulous special effects and then sell out twenty years later and add in a bunch of bullshit that no one wants just because CGI gives you the ability to do so.

Steven Spielberg…eh, I’m not messing with you, Spielberg.  You’d make a fantastic toilet gator flick.

Patiently Awaiting Your Answer,

Bookshelf Q. Battler

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BQB’s Oscar Predictions – Best Picture

Hey 3.5 readers.

OK.  The coveted best picture award.  Who will win?

Let’s talk about Hollywood’s many problems this year.

First of all, if you love Donald Trump or if you hate Donald Trump, I feel like the whole “let’s make the awards shows super political” trend has been backfiring on Hollywood.  The average person goes to movies for entertainment purposes.  The average person turns on the Oscars for entertainment purposes.  The average person will make up their mind on politics based on their own beliefs, values, research, what have you.  There really won’t be any people saying, “Huh, that celebrity thinks this so I should think this.”

It also comes off as a bit disingenuous.  I mean, these people live lives the average person can’t possibly fathom.  They wear suits and gowns to an event that cost more than the average salaries of like 50 people combined and then they probably just throw those clothes away and never wear them again.

They live in fancy mansions, can buy whatever they want and get paid piles of money to play pretend all day.  Some do a better job of reaching out to those in need than others but all in all, I just don’t see any of these celebrities opening up one of the several homes they own to shelter poor people in need.  Hell, if they took like a one percent pay cut the people who fetch their coffee on set could probably earn a living wage.

All I’m saying is that it’s better to do than to say.  Celebrities say a lot.  They don’t do a lot and it’s ironic because they’re in a better position to do than anyone.

3.5 READERS: Do you have a point, BQB?

Yes.  Thank you, 3.5.

This year, the Best Picture Nominees are:

Arrival

Fences

Hacksaw Ridge

Hell or High Water

Hidden Figures

La La Land

Lion

Manchester by the Sea

Moonlight

WHO SHOULD WIN:  Though I haven’t seen it, my gut tells me any film but La La Land.  The plight of the forgotten, struggling people who keep working but never get ahead has been forefront on the public’s mind this past year.

Reflecting that mindset, you’ve got Fences, about a father who is poor and has been knocked around and yells at his son to stop dreaming about becoming a football player and get a regular, boring job and it becomes hard to tell whether the father is trying to give the kid tough love by telling him to stop chasing pie in the sky dreams and focus on reality or if the old man is so pissed off that he never made it that he feels inner jealousy at the idea of his son doing better than him.

You’ve got Hell or High Water, about two brothers cheated out of the family farm by a corrupt bank so they go on a bank robbery spree as an act of revenge against the bank that done them wrong.  The idea that people who depended on farms, factories, and other ever dwindling blue collar jobs are being forgotten is prevalent in the film.

In Manchester by the Sea, a troubled man has to raise his nephew when his brother dies.  Stepping up to do more when a relied upon family member dies is something the average people can relate to.

Moonlight – Cuban born drug dealer tries to be a part of his bullied son’s life.  A lot of people can relate to bullying, struggles with drugs and drug related crime, trying to make it as an immigrant and so on.

Hacksaw Ridge – Son tired of seeing his father beat his mother becomes so disgusted by violence that he refuses to carry a gun when he signs up to become a World War II army medic and overcomes threats of court martial and imprisonment due to his refusal to carry a weapon.  His abhorrence of violence drives him to become the best medic ever, single handedly saving tons of wounded men by dragging them down the side of Hacksaw Ridge on a rope while Japanese forces are in hot pursuit.

Hidden Figures – In the 1960s, black women overcome stereotypical views held by society about black people and women to become mathematicians, helping America win the space race.

Lion – An Indian kid gets so hopelessly lost that he is unable to find his family again.  He is adopted by an Australian couple, then years later, uses Google to locate his original family, thus highlighting how new forms of technology have helped people who in the past were not able to be helped.

La La Land – Gosling and Stone fall and love and sing and dance and shit.

WHAT WILL WIN: La La Land.  And, OK, I haven’t seen it.  Maybe it’s good.  But this is the problem.  Hollywood already gave the Oscar to a shitty love letter film to Hollywood’s greatness called Birdman in 2014, and that movie was truly a pile of crap.  It really was.

So I just think Hollywood is going to end up with a lot of egg on its face this year.  All the stars are going to rant and rave about how the government doesn’t do enough about poverty and how no one worries about poor struggling people and then all of the films about poor struggling people are going to get screwed over in honor of the film about two pretty people who have nothing better to do than fall in love and sing and dance and shit.

 

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RIP Florence Henderson

Oh my God, 3.5 readers.

It is a very sad day here for the pop culture fest that is Bookshelf Battle due to the news that Florence Henderson has passed away at the age of 82.

I mean, she lived a full life and got to do great things and lived to an old age but still, she was truly America’s mom.

She played Carol Brady, the mom on the Brady Bunch, then in her post-Brady years, made a career off of cameos where she’d either do something hilariously un-Mrs. Brady-like or would appear as a funny motherly figure or something.

I never heard of some of her other pre-Brady gigs before but the news outlets are reporting she did have a pretty noteworthy Broadway career and spent some time on The Today Show before becoming Alice’s boss.

Oh God, I’m so shaken by this tragic news that I’m going to refrain from asking why did Mrs. Brady need a house keeper if she didn’t have a job.  We all know why. Six kids are a handful and the woman needed assistance. Stop judging, haters.

2016, you dick! How dare you take America’s mom?

Anyway, I’m sure you’ve seen plenty of Brady Bunch clips on the news today, so I’m going to share the Weird Al Yankovic clip where she starred opposite Weird Al in his Amish Paradise video.

What are your favorite Florence Henderson memories, 3.5 readers?

PS thank you the Yeti for letting me out of the cage to write this Florence Henderson report.  It is nice to know that we can put our rivalry aside in dark times like these.

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Madame Tussaud’s New York City Part Two

So many celebrities so little time.


Johnny Depp – usually needs to be Jack Sparrow, Willy Wonka, or the Mad Hatter to be recognizable.


I’ll be there for you…


Anne Hathaway – hot and smart, a double threat I could never please.

Morgan Freeman narrated as Anne rejected me.

“I don’t believe in all my years I had ever seen such an epic rejection.”


Mummy.


Hitler…oh no, wait, Charlie Chaplin.


John Wayne, pilgrims.


Yippy ki yay.


No Lucy you can’t-a play at the club.


Sit in Don Draper’s chair.


They had a virtual reality Ghostbusters game. VR is here, 3.5.


He slimed me.


Hee hee!


Don’t make me close one more door, I don’t want to hurt anymore.

RIP Whitney.


Crap I forgot to find out if this was Venus or Serena. I will guess Serena.


Float like a butterfly…


Jeter.


She needs a wax meat dress.


Puffy taught me everything I know about being a media mogul.


I wanted there to be a wax Toto.


Madame Tussaud herself.

You know, 3.5 readers, it’s never too late. Madame Tussaud lived in obscurity until age 41, when she started going on tour with her wax creations in 1802. She even survived a shipwreck while sailing with her figures to Ireland.

Chase that dream, 3.5.

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BQB Does Madame Tussaud’s New York City

Celebrities.

We love them. We worship them.

Alas, though we rarely, if ever, get to meet them, Madame Tussaud’s legendary wax figures give us the next best thing.

To my surprise, visitors are encouraged to to touch (I refrained from honking wax celebrity boobs) and to take pictures.

Madame Tussaud’s has definitely embraced the selfie generation as the masses love taking pics with their favorite wax celebs and posting them on social media.

Here are some of BQB’s faves:


“I’m wax Regis and I’m out of control!”


Kim Kardashian – the madam had to use a whole helluvalot of wax to craft that baronka donk.


Scarlett Johansson – I offered to buy this figure, not for perverted reasons, but because sometimes Video Game Rack Fighter goes away on business and I get ever so lonely.

OK so for perverted reasons.


Bleh!


I’m not sure who this man is but he was WAY more into the Scarlett Johansson figure than I was. 


Not gonna lie. Teenage me would have sprayed his shorts. Come to think of it, thirties me needs to change his undies.

Moving on…


Work, work, work, work, work. Sigh, Madam T wouldn’t sell me RiRi either.


 This is how we do dee doo.

I didn’t offer to buy her. I didn’t think I could handle it.


Jenna Marbles – this one warmed my usually otherwise cold heart, 3.5 readers.

No agents, auditions, or lucky breaks. Jenna hit it big with her YouTube videos.

To the best of my knowledge she’s the first Internet celebrity to be so honored.

Maybe Madam T will put a wax self-publisher on display one day?

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#31ZombieAuthors Rewind – Day 9 – Devan Sagliani – Bringing Zombies to the Big Screen

With Your Host: Schecky Blargfeld, Zombie Comedian

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I was in a movie once.

Wait.  Come to think of it, it was more like a news report of a zombie outbreak.

Mmm was that cameraman delicious.

So scratch that. I have no info about the movie industry knowledge to share with you.

You should check out the interview BQB conducted with Devan Sagliani last year instead.

Devan talked about the screenplay he wrote for Humans vs. Zombies as well as his prolific career as a novelist.

Don’t forget to check out Devan’s latest works, including Zombie Attack, on Amazon.

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Movie Review – Hell or High water (2016)

Bank robbers. Sadness. Landscapes. Intergenerational poverty.

BQB here with a review of Hell or High Water.

SPOILER ALERT – Be forewarned of spoilers.

Chris Pine and Ben Foster team up as brother bankrobbers Toby and Tanner Howard in a scheme to rob and screw over a Texas bank chain that screwed them.

However, despite Chris and Ben’s performances, the state of Texas is the star.  Some great cinematography in this film where you, the viewer, end up feeling as though you’re practically driving through the Lone Star state yourself and able to look around the flat plains and see land for miles and miles in every direction.

We’re also taken into the world of poor southern life and poverty in general, how problems are passed from one generation to the next and it usually takes one generation to do something pretty drastic (bank robbery is definitely too drastic) to change the situation for the family’s future.

I don’t know what a good example of a drastic change would be to change a family’s financial future.  Maybe inventing robot underpants or some great new gadget that sells well.

Sorry. That was out of left field. Moving on…

There are a lot of themes in this movie, as well as attempts to get viewers to pay attention to problems they may not be aware of.

For example, we see the blight and decay facing many poor Texan towns, communities that used to thrive around farming and ranching, now falling apart and losing population because there are few, if any, opportunities left due to corporate takeover of many of these industries.

The banking industry is the villain of the film as Toby and Tanner are put through enough crap in their lives that you end up sort of understanding (though not necessarily condoning) why they end up driven to a life of crime.

Hunting the brothers down are Texas rangers Marcus Hamilton (Jeff Bridges) and Alberto Parker (Gil Birmingham.)

I won’t explain this well because I don’t know about how Texas lawmen are ranked but ultimately, Marcus is the head ranger, lamenting his upcoming retirement and Alberto is his second-in-command, slated to replace him as the boss.

They have this great buddy cop, love to pick on each other bromance that in my mind, may go down as one of the top (and most heartwarming) bromances in movie history.

Marcus makes mean, highly politically incorrect jokes about Alberto’s Mexican and Native American heritage.  Alberto returns the favor by joking about how he can’t wait for Marcus to croak.  There’s definitely love there.

And the thing about good writing is by the end of the movie, you find yourself hoping that some how everyone will win.  You want the brothers to get away. You also want the rangers to catch them.

Fear not, I won’t tell you what happens.

Instead, what I will tell you is that some how, some way, and much to my surprise as an ugly rights advocate (note my many columns on the #OscarsSoPretty movement in which I demand that the Academy nominate more visually displeasing actors and actresses), Hollywood suits were prevented from filling up this film with good looking people.

Chris Pine is basically the only one in the film that could win a beauty contest.  (I assume there’s a requirement that all movies must have at least one over the top good looking person in them.)

Now, I’m not dumping on the rest of the cast when it comes to looks.  Ben Foster, for example, has built his career on playing psychos and true to form, he looks and comes off as one in this movie.

And Jeff Bridges looks good for an old dude and I can only assume he bagged his fair share of chicks when he was in his prime. Hell, for all I know maybe he still is.

I’m talking about the extras.  Watch this movie and look at the bars, the casino, all the people who are either in the background or maybe have a line or two – many are ugly (or well, to put it in more PC language, “not traditionally good looking”).

Instead, many of them look haggard, broken down, depressed, like they’ve lived lifetimes of woe and misery as poor Texans and it shows on their faces.

I don’t know how they did it. Maybe they put out a casting call for people who look like all their dreams have failed.  Surprised I didn’t get a CC on that memo.

But that’s not all.  What really warmed the cockles of my heart was that hot and chubby actress Katy Mixon (you may know her as Mrs. Kenny Powers in Eastbound and Down) is featured as a love interest to Chris Pine.  Chris friggin’ Pine.

Just…I mean…holy shit, people. I don’t think you understand how big this is for Hollywood.

A movie was made in which epically handsome stud muffin Chris Pine played a character that fancied a chubby woman.

Sure, they found the hottest chubby woman available but still, this is great progress for Hollywood.

CUE THE RE-ENACTMENT

HOLLYWOOD SUIT #1 – Sir, we need you to approve this film that features Chris Pine taking a romantic interest in a chubby woman.

HOLLYWOOD SUIT #2 – How fat are we talking here? Orca fat or had a little too much on Thanksgiving and could get rid of it with a few months at the gym fat?”

HOLLYWOOD SUIT #1 – The latter.

HOLLYWOOD SUIT #2 – How’s her face?

HOLLYWOOD SUIT #1 – Hot face. Hottest chubby chick we could find.

HOLLYWOOD SUIT #2 – Approved. Ugly rights advocate BQB will literally shit his pants in the theater when he sees this.

And I did. I feel bad for the movie theater clean up crew. Those aren’t milk duds.

It is now only a matter of time before they cast a hideous gargoyle like me as a love interest for Charlize Theron.

Eh…ok.  We’re not quite there yet. Baby steps, Hollywood. Baby steps.

Be optimistic, ugly and/or chubby people.  We will see ugly and or/chubby people doing it with good looking people on screen by the year 2050 now that the path towards ugly acceptance has been started by this film.

There are traces of Oscar worthiness in this film.  If it were to be nominated as a Best Picture, I think that would be great. On the other hand, it was released kind of early. Most Oscar type movies are released at the end of the year.

So we’ll see.  But even so, it is, IMO, the best movie I’ve seen in 2016 (at least when it comes to serious drama as opposed to comic book type movies) thus far.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy.

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Movie Review – The Magnificent Seven (2016)

Guns. Horses. A town in trouble. White hats and black hats.

BQB here with a review of The Magnificent Seven.

So yesterday I railed against Hollywood reboots and now I’m going to be a hypocrite and tell you that I really enjoyed this remake of The Magnificent Seven (1960) starring Yul Brynner (dead), Charles Bronson (so dead), Steve McQueen (a badass even in death), Brad Dexter (also dead), James Coburn (totally dead), Horst Buchholz (the German James Dean who, like the American James Dean, is dead,) and Robert Vaughn (still alive, huzzah!)

Admittedly, I never saw the original, so the new version was new to me, which just goes to show that reboots are always new to someone and when the inevitable Back to the Future reboot comes out and some dumb kid asks, “There was an original BTTF?” then I will know my time has run out and it is time for me to dig my own grave, lie down, and wait for the worms to eat me.

But I digress.  The new seven are:

  • Denzel Washington as lawman Sam Chisholm
  • Chris Pratt as drunken gambler/comic relief Josh Faraday
  • Ethan Hawke as the troubled yet smooth talking Goodnight Robicheaux
  • Vincent D’Onofrio as grizzly mountain man Jack Horne
  • Byung-Hun Lee as knife thrower Billy Rocks
  • Manuel Garcia-Rulfo as mysterious Mexican Vasquez
  • Martin Sensmeier as Native American warrior Red Harvest

Peter Sarsgaard, who’s built a career on playing epic douches, stars as epic douche/evil businessman Bartholomew Bogue who notifies the townsfolk of Rose Creek that they have three weeks to sell their land to him on the cheap or be killed.

Not willing to roll over for Bogue’s chicanery, Emma Cullen (Haley Bennett, who looks so much like Jennifer Lawrence that movie studios could save a bundle by hiring her instead of J-Law and no one would know but movie nerds like myself) scrapes her life savings together and uses it to hire the seven.

The first half of the film is basically Chisholm wandering the countryside recruiting the seven, during which time we learn about who they are and what they’re capable of and then this all leads to the second half, the ultra violent, action packed showdown.

I loved it. It had all the Western tropes that I love.  The townsfolk want to bend over and take it from Bogue rather than risk incurring his wrath.  Sigh.  Western townsfolk always want to take it from the bad guy rather than cooperate with the good guys. Also, there’s card playing, drunkenness, prostitution, duels, gambling and so on.

I applaud Hollywood for making historical movies at a time when they aren’t doing so well.  Earlier this summer, I enjoyed the Ben-Hur remake (meaning I’m a hypocrite again, though I hadn’t seen the original so it was new to me) but it did not do well at the box office.

I hope this film does well so that Hollywood will be encouraged to keep making historical movies.  In fact, you should go see it to add to the ticket sales.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy.

 

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Brangelina Breakup

Hello 3.5 readers.

Egads.  Brangelina is (are?) no more.

So startling was the news that there was an actual earthquake in CA right after they broke up.

Coincidence?

I think not.

How are you holding up, people? Don’t worry. We’ll get through this together.

 

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TV Review – Ray Donovan

Is this a show about a Hollywood fixer or a family whose mobster father’s crimes keep coming back to haunt them?

I don’t know….I’m not sure the people behind the show know either, but either way, I like it.

BQB here with a review of the Showtime series Ray Donovan.

About to close its fourth season, this show stars Liev Schreiber as the titular character Ray Donovan, the man that Hollywood celebrities go to with problems that can’t be handled through regular channels (i.e. the police, lawsuits, etc.)

I have to admit it, when I first started watching the show in 2013, I thought this sounded like a great premise.  Surely there must be a seedy underbelly to Hollywood that we mere mortals never see.

The series began strong.  Ray beats up a pop star’s stalker with a baseball bat.  As the show moves on, he blackmails celebs, hides their dead bodies, etc.

Problem – the show, pretty much from the start, made the Hollywood stuff a side dish and the family drama the entree.

Ray’s father is Mickey (Jon Voight) , an ex-convict recently released after serving a long stretch.  Despite being in his seventies, Mickey is constantly plotting a heist, a hustle, any number of get rich quick schemes that threaten to tear the Donovan clan asunder.

It goes without saying that looking out for his brothers is Ray’s second full-time job.

Here, the actors who play Ray’s brothers shine.  British actor Eddie Marsan is boxing club owner/trainer Terry.  Marsan’s performance captures the essence of a man who is single, getting older, clearly depressed over not having a family of his own and wishing he could have done more in life.  His brain was willing but his past boxing career left his body weak.

Meanwhile Dash Mihok stars as slow yet loyal Bunchy, sort of like the family puppy dog who from time to time declares that he too can put on his big boy pants only to end up causing trouble.  Still, you can’t help but hope that Bunch puts on those big boy pants one day.

Pooch Hall, a boxer in his own right, is the Donovan family’s black half-brother, Daryll aka ‘Black Irish’ a young, wannabe boxer and the product of Mickey’s affair behind the late Mrs. Donovan’s back.

The show follows a basic formula:

  • Ray tells Mickey to go F himself and never talk to anyone in the family ever again because he is tired of cleaning up after him.
  • Mickey ignores Ray and concocts an illegal scheme.
  • Mickey is so charming that he tricks one, two, or sometimes all three of the Donovan brothers into helping him.
  • Mickey’s plan is botched, resulting in potential criminal charges, arrests, and/or other criminals coming after the Donovans.
  • Ray, not wanting to see one, two, or all three of his brothers go to jail or worse, uses his fixer skills to bail them out.

I’ll say this for the show – it is schizophrenic.  A third of the time it is about scummy Hollywood life and the other two-thirds are devoted to the family drama.

Is it a Hollywood fixer show or is it The Departed with palm trees?  (Oh, I forget to mention the Donovans are all Bostonites transplanted to California, so expect a lot of wicked bad Bah-stahn accents, kid.)

Other cast members:

  • Ray’s henchman Avi, an ex-Israeli agent played by Steven Bauer who often tells Ray the hard truths he doesn’t want to hear.
  • Ray’s hench-woman, Lena – messy haired lesbian played by Katherine Moennig.  I thought it was interesting that this show has a hench-woman.  And she doesn’t do the stereotypical “oh let me put on a pretty dress and fool the men” schtick.  She is a pretty serious member of Ray’s fixing operation.
  • The other Donovans – Paula Malcolmson as Ray’s wife Abby, who puts up with Ray’s constant cheating and Kerris Dorsey and Devon Bagby as Conor and Bridget.)  Viewers, you may not be able to relate to a bat wielding leg breaker like Ray (and that’s no doubt a good thing) but if you’re a parent, you can probably relate to the spoiled brat hi jinx that Ray and Abby have to deal with on a regular basis.

At times, I have thought that the show would be better if it would pick one angle and stick with it.

If it is going to be a show about a Hollywood fixer, then focus on Ray doing illegal shit to get celebrities out of trouble…OR…

…if it is going to be about a man who constantly has to bail his dumb father and brothers out of trouble, then focus on that.

But somehow, this cast and the folks behind the show make it work, tie it altogether, and provide a good story.

Thus I can’t fault them for having two angles.

I keep coming back to find out what will happen next and that is always a sign of a good TV show in my book.

And while Jon Voight has had a long career starring in many acclaimed movies, in my mind, his role as Mickey “I do horrible things that ruin my family’s lives but I’m so charming they forgive me in five seconds” Donovan is what I will remember him for years from now.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy.

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