Levar Burton Reads

Levar Burton was a man whose name I’ve known very well since my early childhood. In 1983, “Reading Rainbow” hit the PBS lineup. I loved the idea of being able to watch someone read me a story and not have to wait until bedtime for my mom to read me one. I’ve always been a lover of books and stories long before I realized I could write my own.

Fast forward 30 years and I come across this new podcast simply called “Levar Burton Reads” and it’s everything I could hope for and more. A “Reading Rainbow” for adults. A simplistic concept and structure where Levar Burton briefly introduces a personal favorite short story of his and then reads it to you. His voice is just as soothing and comforting as I remembered it from when I was a child. Only now, he discusses stories with more adult themes, concepts, and conflicts. So far, he has read to me stories of varied genres as I would drive to work or run errands throughout the day. When he finishes the story, he offers a brief analysis and reflection of the story and why it was that he chose that story in the first place.

For anybody who would like to take a quick break from their audiobooks, but still want to hear great stories, this podcast is a nostalgic masterpiece that deserves your listening ear.

Listen to the introductory episode here and then subscribe. It’s a thing of beauty.

But you don’t have to take my word for it…

https://rss.art19.com/levar-burton-reads

 

My Reaction to “Ready Player One” Trailer

The wait is over. (Sort of.) Yesterday at ComicCon, a “Ready Player One” panel consisting of Ernest Cline, Zak Penn, Steven Spielberg, Tye Sheridan, and more proudly premiered the first trailer for a movie I have been waiting nearly three years to see from a book that I’ve been writing about for six.

The trailer alone was more than I could ever hope for. I haven’t been this excited from seeing a movie trailer since the first time I saw the full trailer for “The Dark Knight.” Without trying to reveal any spoilers (from the book) I saw many similarities true to the book and quite a lot of differences. But these differences certainly still feel as if it stays completely dedicated to the soul of the story. As it says in the trailer, “Ernest Cline’s Holy Grail of Pop Culture.” That is exactly what I saw and more.

I saw lots of cinematic similarities to “Minority Report.” But I also saw characters and cinematic properties Robert Zemeckis (“Back to The Future”) and Brad Bird (“The Iron Giant.”) Not to mention characters from Marvel, DC, and Freddy Krueger. Did you also hear the song “Come With Me” from “Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory?”

I’m writing in a hurry and not quite sure how to formulate thoughts in any rational way on this one. But I was prepared for this. For the first time, I filmed myself watching the trailer for the first time to truly get a sense of what I was feeling. Go on and laugh at my awkward self as I try to contain my elation.

“Ready Player One” premiers March 30, 2018.

 

First Official Image of “Ready Player One”

Here is the first official image of “Ready Player One” set for a March 30, 2018 release. The photo shows the protagonist Wade Watts (played by Tye Sheridan) wearing his OASIS visor and haptic gloves likely inside his van hideout as it is written in the book. Rumor has it on strong authority that the first trailer will drop at Comic Con in San Diego next week. If the trailer does premiere at Comic Con, (or whenever it does) I will be guest spotting on GTTGP Podcast. Stay tuned for updates as they happen.

SO PSYCHED!!

A Tweet From Ernest Cline (and Listen to GTTGP Podcast!)

This morning I was on my way to work and listening to GTTGP Podcast, which you should totally check out.

Wait…

I haven’t mentioned GTTGP podcast yet, haven’t I? So GTTGP stands for “Get To The Good Part” and it’s a podcast dedicated entirely to a chapter-by-chapter break down of “Ready Player One.” YOU ABSOLUTELY MUST HEAR THEM! They’re insightful and go off on just the right amount of tangents to entertain my ADD-riddled brain. I’ve been in contact with one of the hosts as I write this post and hopefully will be able to workout a time to be a guest on one of their upcoming episodes. I’ll keep you all posted.

Maybe if I’m really good, they’ll have me back on for after the movie comes out. (March 30, 2018 release date.)

There is also a spectacular RPO subreddit page that has an amazing community where the GTTGP hosts are avid contributors and interact beautifully with their fans and fellow gunters.

 

So on to my original thought…

It donned on me that principal photography for the “Ready Player One” movie has been done by now. And damn it the RPO community wants to see something good! A trailer perhaps? So I tweeted @erniecline himself and asked. You can see what he had to say… 

Meeting Kevin Eastman


I had the honor today of meeting Kevin Eastman, co-creator of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. He had a signing this morning at Ultimate Comics in Durham, NC. I bought my ticket over the phone four days in advance because I wanted to be assured I would not miss this. So I woke up early on this cool Saturday and drove just over an hour and got in line at 10:30 this morning. I had brought with me two pieces for him to sign (as the ticket stipulated) and stood in line for about another hour. It wasn’t until I had him in my full line of sight and about two minutes away from meeting him that it had dawned on me. (more…)

“Arts & Entertainments” – Christopher Beha

“Arts & Entertainments” by Christopher Beha is a book that at the start I felt was written just for me. It had a parallel and even eerie introduction that had many similarities to my own life about a man named Eddie. He’s in his thirties desperately trying to hold on and improve his meager success of his earlier years in the film industry only to realize that nearly a decade has passed him by and is now teaching at his former high school; a private Catholic school for boys.

I am now in my thirties, was a substitute teacher for two years at my former high school (a private Catholic school for boys), and still effortlessly trying to make my mark in the entertainment industry. There are a few major exceptions of which will never apply to me. The first is that Eddie was trying to be an actor, whereas I am trying to make it as a screenwriter. The other is that in this book, Eddie willingly crashes and burns into it by selling a sex tape he had made with a former ex girlfriend and now television superstar to a reality show… and that is where the freight train that is the parallel stops. (more…)

Beauty and the Beast (2017)

“Beauty and the Beast,” the animated Disney movie, is (to-date) the only animated film to be nominated for best picture. That was in 1991. 26 years have passed and in the era of remakes and re-interpretations, there is no doubt that a remake, a live-action one no less, would be very large shoes even for Disney themselves to fill. With CGI effects at a near “nothing is impossible” capability, how far or how extreme would Disney be willing to go to make us all experience that magic again? Would Disney even be able to? Even though I tend to avoid extended trailers and reviews, I had seen a nearly shot-for-shot original to remake split-screen and they were virtually identical. So how close was the remake to the original? If I ever write about remakes, I try not to compare them, but I feel like it’s a necessity with this one.

I mean… how do you improve on a tale as old as time?

(more…)