Backlighting: Jóhann Jóhannsson

I just heard the sad news of Oscar winning composer Jóhann Jóhannsson’s passing at the age of 48. As my love and passion for film continues to grow, I have started to remember names and faces like I used to do with my favorite sports teams. Now, instead of knowing the Braves AA backup catcher, I remember the composer or cinematographer of my favorite movies. I don’t know many composers off the top of my head, but Jóhann Jóhannsson was one I knew and knew quite well. I have a spotify playlist dedicated to my favorite movie scores and Jóhann is a big part of it.
I first noticed his work with the film, The Theory of Everything. A powerful Eddie Redmayne performance driven home by Jóhann’s beautiful score. He has also teamed up with probably my favorite director working right now, Denis Villeneuve, on several projects including Prisoners, Sicario, and Arrival. He won a Golden Globe for his original score for The Theory of Everything and an Academy Award for his original score for Sicario. At just 48 years of age, it feels as if Jóhann was just beginning an amazing career. Sad loss for the world of film and music.
RIP Jóhann Jóhannsson

My Top 5 Songs

  • “Forces of Attraction” The Theory of Everything Soundtrack (2014)


  • “Flight From the City” Orphée (2016)

  • “Cambridge, 1963” The Theory of Everything Soundtrack (2014)

  • “The Beast”  Sicario Soundtrack (2015)

  • “Fordlandia”  Fordlandia (2008)

Backlighting: Adam Sandler


Adam Sandler, a comedic icon to my generation after his years on SNL and the hilarious movies my generation grew up with. Comedy classics like Billy Madison, Big Daddy, The Waterboy, and Happy Gilmore were staples in the youth of the 90’s. His career never quiet advanced past that childish humor, something I loved as a young boy. Today I still enjoy his work, just with lower expectations. He recently signed a 4 picture deal with Netflix and released the first of the four in December, The Ridiculous 6. Occasionally he will get out of the immature humor box he seems trapped in and show off his acting chops in movies like Funny People and Reign Over Me. Regardless of what you think of Adam Sandler’s recent work, there is no denying the impact he has had on the comedic movie genre. Thank you, Adam.

My Top 5

  1. Big Daddy (1999)
  2. Happy Gilmore (1996)
  3. The Wedding Singer (1998)
  4. Funny People (2009)
  5. Billy Madison (1995)

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3 Honorable Mentions

  • The Waterboy (1998)
  • Mr. Deeds (2002)
  • Hotel Transylvania (2012)

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The Overrated

  • 50 First Dates (2004)

I don’t necessarily think it’s overrated. Adam Sandler movies sort of fall where I expect them to at this point, but people do seem to enjoy this a lot more than I do. It was fine.


The Underrated

  • Reign Over Me (2007)

Such a great movie that seems to not get its due. Adam Sandler teams up with Don Cheadle in this heartwarming tale of a understandbly troubled man who lost his family in 9/11 and is trying to pick up the pieces. You hear Sandler’s name and you don’t hear this movie and you really should.


The Dud

  •  Jack and Jill (2011)

This was the train wreck we expected from the trailer release to end of the film, but for some reason I had to see it. I love Adam Sandler and if I can see him at his best, then I will see him at his worst. This is really bad though and Al Pachino is in it and I don’t know why.


5 Still on the Watch-list

  • Men, Women, and Children (2014)
  • Don’t Mess with the Zohan (2008)
  • Spanglish (2004)
  • Punch-Drunk Love (2002)
  • Going Overboard (1989)

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Backlighting: Robin Williams


Robin Williams was not only a fantastic comedic and dramatic actor, but he was also an amazing stand up comedian. His loss will forever leave a giant hole in the childhood memories of my generation, but the laughs will live on forever. From hearing his voice in Aladdin, to him dressing as an elderly English woman, there will never be another Robin Williams. He saved the movie RV, a film that falls flat with any other lead, but is saved by the life he brings to his character. Other classics like Dead Poets Society, Good Mourning, Vietnam, and of course Good Will Hunting would be far from what they were with any other actor in Robin’s place. Unfortunately, he had a personal battle with depression that was never fully cured and it led him to take his own life. Thank you Robin Williams. Oh captain, my captain. May you now find happiness… rest in peace.

My Top 5

  1. Dead Poets Society (1989)
  2. Mrs. Doubtfire (1993)
  3. Good Morning, Vietnam (1987)
  4. Aladdin (1992)
  5. Good Will Hunting (1997)

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3 Honorable Mentions

  • The Birdcage (1996)
  • Worlds Greatest Dad (2009)
  • One Hour Photo (2002)

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The Overrated

  • Jumanji (1995)

Full disclosure, this movie kind creeped out a 9 year old me. So right out the gate I wasn’t a fan. I have seen it since in my adult life and still don’t see why people enjoy it. No, I wasn’t creeped out again, it just felt like a below average movie. When he passed this title kept coming up in clips and conversation and I wanted to pull my hair out. His catalog is so vast and has done much better work before and after this film.


The Underrated

  • Patch Adams (1998)

This movie warmed my heart, made me laugh, and turned on the water works. I haven’t seen this movie since it’s release but I remember the emotions I went through while watching this film. Now when I went to see what I wanted to put as Robin Williams most underrated movie, I was shocked to see that Patch Adams is at 22% on Rotten Tomatoes. How? It’s not a masterpiece by any means but I would have assumed this film would be sitting in the 70s or so. For that reason, this is my pick for underrated.



The Dud

  • Old Dogs (2009)

Woof… what more should I say about Old Dogs. I have almost blocked this movie out of my mind completely. Without going back and re-watching a clip or the trailer, I don’t have much to say besides avoid at all cost.


5 Still on the Watch-list

  • Bicentennial Man (1999)
  •  Death to Smoochy (2002)
  • Insomnia (2002)
  • What Dreams May Come (1998)
  • The Fisher King (1991)

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