Friday, February 28, 2014

Who Needs Oscar When You Have Tim?

Courtesy of Wikimedia
Googie Man under CC BY-SA 3.0 license

Tim pitches in for this Hollywood week with his picks for the best movie of 2013 ahead of this Sundays' Academy Awards broadcast...

Today I finally got to see the film Nebraska in my quest to see the best picture nominees for the 2014 Oscars. It was very good. I have now seen 7 out of the 9 films up for consideration As of right now, it is probably in the middle of the pack for me. If I were to rank them right now it would go like this:

1. Dallas Buyers Club-I cannot say enough good things about this movie! Top notch performances from Matthew McConaughey, Jared Leto and Jennifer Garner. The story focuses on many social issues that are still prevalent in society today. 

2. 12 Years A Slave-Best film of the year so far. It serves as a reminder of a part of history we should never forget.

3. American Hustle-Comes in a close third. The more I think about this film the more I like it. Great acting performances all around.

4. Captain Phillips-Had the feel of Zero Dark Thirty from last year's awards. Very intense and entertaining. Well deserved nomination by newcomer Barkhad Abdi. On the other hand, Mr. Hanks is one of the biggest snubs in recent memory.

5. Nebraska-Great realistic film that shows what our world is like today. Very funny and entertaining. I could definitely relate to what the main characters were going through. It reminded me so much of the various places my family and I have traveled to. Great performances by Bruce Dern, Will Forte and June Squibb.

6. Her-Another very good film. The premise of a love story that involves a computer is definitely weird, but that's what director Spike Jonze is about with very quirky stories. He somehow makes it work. One final note: Joaquin Phoenix delivers his best performance of his career.

7. Gravity-This is the most disappointing of the nominees because I wanted to like this movie going in. The only thing it really has going for it is the 3-D and the visual effects. The plot can be very predictable and I didn't really feel a connection with the main characters. Having said all that, this is a movie that the Academy drools over which means a lot of Oscar gold.

Copyright 2014 - Tim Musick
All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

CHEAP GETAWAYS: Scottsdale on a Budget

A weekend getaway from the Los Angeles area to Phoenix or Scottsdale is easy. Just head east on Interstate 10 for a few hours, take a one hour flight, or busing it on Greyhound.

It can also be done on a budget or a "sky's the limit" stay at the Biltmore or the Boulders. We're here to tell you how on a budget. The prices below are for a high-season stay in mid-winter, if you come late spring through early fall, you may be able to get a hotel rate for half the price.

GAS - $230
It's 380 miles each way, 760 round trip, and count on another 100 while you're there (the Valley of the Sun is very spread out). Being very conservative and counting on 15 miles per gallon, that's $230 for gas. If you get better mileage and buy most of your gas in Arizona, you can probably knock a third off of that. If you fly, count on at least $70 each way from California per person. The bus starts at $40 each way.

HOTEL - $375
We stayed at a fairly expensive one, the Marriott McDowell Mountains Resort at $173 per night (including tax) or $520. You can stay at a very nice but less expensive property like the Hospitality Suites in downtown Scottsdale for around $125 per night, including breakfast.

FOOD - $255
We spent about $25 per day on breakfast and about $50 per night on dinner, with a $10 snack in between (for three people). $85 per day.

Our entertainment was hiking and free music in the bar, and exploring Old Town so nothing there.

Total for three nights...$860.

Copyright 2014 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved