Monday, January 13, 2020

Neil Peart Tribute, 1917 and The Witcher Reviews, #IWSGPit, Top Albums of Last Decade, and Movie Trivia

Neil Peart Tribute

I’m going through a period of mourning for Neil Peart. No, I never met him. I don’t personally know anyone in his family or his close circle of friends, and yet I’m very sad. You see, Rush was very important to me during my formative years. I would say that I idolized them as a teen. When I accepted Jesus into my life, that idol worship turned to admiration. I admired their talent, songwriting, musicianship, and their friendship. They went from supermen to men that I wanted to emulate. I loved the fact that they put so much effort and time into their craft.

They called Mr. Peart the professor because every drummer who ever met him has learned how to be a better musician by studying him. His musicianship made me want to reach new heights with all my passions; his lyrics spoke to me and lifted me up; his dedication made want to try harder in all my endeavors.

I was lucky enough to see Rush in concert over twenty times. Like everyone else in the crowd, I stood in awe while watching (in my humble opinion) the greatest drummer of all time. My heart and prayers go out to his family, band mates, and friends.
God bless you Neil for the music and the inspiration.

1917 Review

Caught it Friday night and most of the audience was older—but boy, did they pack the house!
This is a powerful film and told in a really unique manner.
The movie itself is very somber. It places you in the shoes of two young men sent off to warn a platoon not to attack as they are walking into a trap. The mission is almost impossible and you are right there with them in the mud, ducking the shots, and feeling the fear.
What’s really amazing is the movie appears to have been shot in three takes. (It was filmed over two months though.) The camera moves so smoothly and seamlessly as it follows the two men on their journey. You almost believe you are watching it real time.
The two leads do an amazing job. Other characters come and go quickly and the guys must carry the film. (Slight spoiler – George Mackay as Lance Corporal Schofield really steps it up.)
The explosions, the plane crash—they all seem so real. The sets themselves were incredible, from the never-ending trenches to the bombed-out city. Both special effects and cinematography were top-notch.
This isn’t a psychologically heavy film like Full Metal Jacket. It’s more somber and sad and a realistic look at the lives of the men in the trenches in France during WWI. It won best picture and director at the Golden Globes and it won’t surprise me if it wins the Oscar as well.
Highly recommended.

The Witcher Review

The series is based on the book series by Polish writer, Andrzej Sapkowski, of which I’ve read.
The translation from books to show is outstanding – the series is really well done and a lot of fun.
Henry Cavill absolutely nails the role – the mannerisms, the look. He owns the role of the Witcher, Geralt of Rivia.
The rest of the cast is great, including Yennefer, the sorceress, who is naked in half of the episodes. (Note to parents – this is not kid-friendly!)
Minor complaints aside, I thought this was a tremendously successful first season, with great action, fun characters, and top-notch special effects. (For a television show.)
And on a side note, this show is more popular world-wide than the Madolorian. Wild, huh?
Highly recommended.

Top Ten Metal/Prog Albums of the Decade

Amorphis - Queen of Time - Thirteen is a lucky number. The thirteenth album by Amorphis is killer from start to finish.

Baroness – Purple - I’ve always liked Baroness, but Purple turned my like to love.

Devin Townsend – Empath - This album is crazy. It’s everything Devin has ever done thrown into a blender and it is a stunning achievement.

Dream Theater - The Astonishing - Yup, I picked DT’s most divisive album and put it in my top ten. This album took chances, and even though it’s a little bloated, it’s a stellar achievement as a prog concept album.

Haken - The Mountain - This is the record that established Haken as a prog force to be reckoned with. Incredible musicianship, stellar compositions, and they went beyond normal prog conventions to create something new and exciting.

Katatonia - The Fall of Hearts - First listen - “I’m not so sure about this, but I’ll give it another spin.” Second listen - “I think I like it—there’s something so compelling about it.” Third listen - “Is this a masterpiece?” Fourth listen - “Yes, it is!”

Khemmis – Hunted - Take crazy D&D type lyrics, mix in a cool retro 70’s vibe, add some of the coolest guitar breakdowns I’ve ever heard, and the result is an album that just crushes.

Rush - Clockwork Angels - So much love for this band! Their last studio record turns out to be one of their best (and that is truly saying something). An incredible prog concept album from the kings of prog music.

Symphony X – Underworld - This is power metal meets prog with the great Russell Allen on vocals and Michael Romeo absolutely dominating on guitar. If you are a guitar player, you need to check this out. Your jaw will literally be scraping the ground listening to his incredible riffs and break downs.

Voyager – V - I discovered this Australian band quite by accident (a super happy accident). These guys (and gal) are amazing. It’s prog with pop sensibilities. Every song is an ear worm in the best way possible

#IWSGPit

#IWSGPit is this Wednesday!

8:00 am - 8:00 pm Eastern Standard Time

Writers may send out 1 Twitter pitch every hour per manuscript.

Publishers/Agents will favorite/heart pitches they are interested in. Publishers can either Tweet basic submission guidelines or direct writers to their submission guidelines.

No images allowed in pitches.

Pitches must include GENRE/AGE and the hashtag #IWSGPit.

Visit the #IWSGPit page at the IWSG site for the list of hashtags.

See you Wednesday!

Movie Trivia

Today it’s all about war movies! (And war movies of any genre.) Name the movie from the three actors and year:

1 - Fionn Whitehead, Tom Hardy, Barry Keoghan, 2017
2 - Brad Pitt, Christoph Waltz, Eli Roth, 2009
3 - Casper Van Dien, Denise Richards, Dina Meyer, 1997
4 - Jeremy Irvine, Davile Thewlis, Tom Hiddleston, 2011
5 - Marlon Brando, Martin Sheen, Robert Duvall, 1979
6 - Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt, Bill Paxton, 2014
7 - Charlie Sheen, Tom Berenger, Willem Dafoe, 1986
8 - Josh Hartnett, Ewan McGregor, Tom Sizemore, 2001
9 - Lee Marvin, Ernest Borgnine, Charles Bronson, 1967
10 - Andrew Garfield, Sam Worthington, Hugo Weaving, 2016
11 - Peter Sellers, George C. Scott, Sterling Hayden, 1964

Answers January 27!


Anyone else shocked by Neil Peart’s death? Have you seen 1917 or The Witcher? Participating in #IWSGPit? What are your top albums from the past ten years? And do you know any of the trivia answers?

Since next Monday is a holiday, I will be offline and back on January 27 with trivia answers and the top movies of the last decade.

71 comments:

Elephant's Child said...

My very best wishes to anyone taking part in the twitter pitch.

nashvillecats2 said...

Sorry you're so upset about the passing of neil. It must bring back many past memories for you.
Good luck to those doing twitter.

Have a good week.
Yvonne.

Sarah Foster said...

I've seen a lot of people talking about The Witcher. I should probably check it out.
I'd love to do the Twitter pitch but I don't have anything that's quite ready. I think pitching my main book would be bad, too. I need more characters to explain it.

Michael Abayomi said...

I am absolutely anxious to see 1917. Doesn't look like we'll be getting it anytime soon over here in Nigeria though, so total bummer.

Shady Del Knight said...

Hi, Alex!

Nice tribute to Neil Peart. As a drummer myself I admired him too, and I remember Rush visiting the studios of the MTV style station where I worked in the 80s. The band was in town for a show and stopped by our station to shoot promos and be interviewed by our hard rock/heavy metal veejay.

Thanks for the review of 1917. Mrs. Shady and I are eager to see it. Have a great week, good buddy Alex!

Pat Hatt said...

Enjoyed the witcher, first episode was a bit meh, but it got better after that.

Dunkirk
Inglorious bastards
Starship Troopers
umm
Apocalypse now
Edge of Tomorrow
Platoon
Black hawk down
ummm
Hacksaw ridge
ummm

G. B. Miller said...

Always thought that RUSH was an amazing band. I think YYZ is heads and tails beyond any other drum solo that I've listened to in the past 3+ decades.

1917 sounds like a very historically accurate movie, which means all the SJW's and their ilk are already condemning it for not having any ethnic minorities in it. Thing is, these people probably haven't cracked open a history book in quite sometime, because if they did, they would realize that back in that particular time period, things were quite nasty in regards to race relations, so that fill was/is accurately portraying the world of the 1910s.

Ray Rousell said...

I just couldn't get into The Witcher??? It seemed so wooden??? Looking forward to 1917 though.

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

My husband, huge Rush fan, was so upset about Neil Peart. He was an amazing musician.

I'm glad to see a film focusing on WWI, which seems to get short shrift a lot of the time. Sounds like a good one!

alexia said...

I enjoyed The Witcher a lot, even though I haven't played the game. And not just because of Henry Cavill!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Sarah, give it a try anyway.

Michael, sorry!

Shady, lucky you!

Pat, you got all but three!

GB, that's an amazing song. Ironically, there were a few minorities in the film, probably a direct ratio to the actual number in the British army at the time.

Elizabeth, I was in shock when I read the news.

Joanne said...

my blog reviews 1917 today and we agree. Quite a powerful flick.
As for Witchers I had it on my list due to Henry Cavill, then took it off after some bad reviews. Now I must reconsider.
Rush was huge back in the day - he was the professor. Nowadays, 70+ is just not that old, but the rockers life can be tough...
Happy Monday - the cold dreary days of January are here.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

I keep hearing mixed things about The Witcher, but I still have it on my To Watch List.

Good luck to everyone participating in the Twitter Pitch!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

That was really sad about Neil.

I know some of the trivia. You forgot Slim Pickins!

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

Good luck to everyone on the Twitter pitch.
Have a great week.

Jemi Fraser said...

Neil Peart was an incredible drummer - I love the clip he does for Hockey Night In Canada - which we (obviously) watch all the time. A talented man.

Murees Dupè said...

My sisters and I enjoyed The Witcher. Too bad the second season is only coming out in 2021. All the best for 2020, Alex.

Lisa said...

I am a major fan of both Witcher and Mandelorian! I love love love them both. I haven't seen 1917, but it's playing right now so might go. I'm sorry to hear of the passing of the drummer. I wasn't much of a Rush fan, so didn't know.

Jacqui Murray said...

I don't go to many movies but have been considering 1917. Great review. Now I need go see it.

Chemist Ken said...

I enjoyed 1917, but I'll admit I spent some of the time watching for the scene breaks. I just started the Witcher, but I'm hooked.

Patricia Josephine aka Patricia Lynne said...

I was wary of Henry Cavill at Geralt, but he won me over. He nailed the voice I know from the games so well. I'm reading The Last Wish now.

Damyanti said...

I am hearing a lot of things about The Witcher. Have to make time for it soon.

Spacer Guy said...

Henry Cavil prepared a lot for the Witcher series. I couldn't believe it really. His day was like 16 hours long with Cavil getting up at 3am to fit everything in from filming, training to get big, makeup (2 hours) eating yep apparently bodybuilders eat 2 lunches. I'm sure theres more but what a life huh? movie stars have it tough eh?

diedre Knight said...

Howdy, Captain!
Indeed, the passing of the legendary drummer Neil Peart feels like a theft of something (someone) priceless has occurred. I’m impressed that you saw the band perform so many times.
Your reviews are, as ever, so compelling I hope to see them both. Thanks to you – and my grandson, I’ve become a fan of Dream Theater ;-) Now that I’ve jotted it down, I do plan to check out Clockwork Angels.
While several wisps of movie clips stirred within my memory bank, I bet I only get two trivia answers correct! Still, I can’t wait to find out.
Until again, happy trails!

Liz A. said...

There was a great write up in January's Entertainment Weekly about 1917 and some of how they did it. You might want to check it out.

When I saw that Neil Peart was trending on Twitter, I had to look up who he was. I missed out on Rush. It's always sad when a hero passes.

Carrie-Anne said...

It's always difficult to say goodbye to someone from a favorite band, even if you never met personally. Even years later, it can still feel not quite real that he's gone.

I told my local writers' group about the upcoming pitch event, and several members are looking forward to it.

Mary Kirkland said...

It's always sad when someone we enjoyed and admired as we were growing up has passed on even if we didn't know them personally. I felt the same way when the lead singer from Linkin Park, Chester Bennington passed away.

Natalie Aguirre said...

So sorry about the loss of your music inspiration. That can be a hard loss.

So glad you liked Witchery. I have it on my wish list and now want to start it soon.

J E Oneil said...

I heard about the Witcher video game way before I knew it came from a book series. I don't know any of the trivia, though. I'm not big on war movies.

Rawknrobyn.blogspot.com said...

I'm slightly ashamed to say that I didn't know Neil Peart's, but from everything I've seen and read, this was a huge loss. He was far too young, far too talented, and - damn cancer. I'm sorry, Alex.

I've heard 1917 is a great movie, however outdated. (Excuse my attempt at humor).

Take care, Alex.

Juneta key said...

I enjoyed The Witcher a lot too. Cant wait for next season.

Andrew Leon said...

I'm sure I should go see 1917 in the theater, but I just don't think it's going to happen.
On the whole, movies have kind of fallen out of my life of late.
:(

Roland Clarke said...

Excellent Neil Peart tribute. Never got to see Rush in my gig-attending days sadly.
1917 has been on my must see list ever since the first glimpses - the single track approach must be brilliant as Deakin is a brilliant cinematographer.
I scanned the list of war films and some came at once - Apocalypse Now and Dr Strangelove are memorable especially.
Witcher was worth the anticipation. I played Witcher 3 - my all time favourite RPG - and I started reading the books last year. Must get the rest read this year.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Joanne, you need to watch The Witcher. And Rush is still huge! Who else could play the biggest arena in Brazil and sell out three shows?

Diane, I thought he'd be a dead giveaway.

Jemi, all weekend, the NFL played Rush songs, obviously in tribute.

Spacer Guy, I'd do that for a couple million dollars!

Diedre! That is awesome. Fan of Dream Theater - now to get you hooked on Clockwork Angels.

Thanks, Liz!

Carrie-Anne, thanks!

Mary, that was sad. He had a family and everything.

Robyn, funny!

Roland, you got two!

Truedessa said...

Hi Alex,

A wonderful tribute to Rush. I became a fan later in their career. It must have been wonderful to see them 20 times in concert. I just love their music and lyrical style.

mshatch said...

I started watching the Witcher without thinking I'd like it a lot but I have to say that by the last episode I was pretty annoyed there wasn't more! I hate when that happens!

kaykuala said...

Hi Alex
I see your point. Somehow drummers create a showmanship of movements against the stoic presence of other members of the band. One gets mesmerized and remember them better besides their music. Ringo for one could even overshadow Cliff in many ways (not forgetting his rings on all fingers!)

Hank

Botanist said...

I was saddened to read about Neil Peart, but that was an uplifting tributes. Not listened to Clockwork Angels, but I did enjoy reading the book a couple of years ago.

Sandra Cox said...

What a wonderful tribute to Neil Peart. And to touch someone as he touched you is a true legacy.

Sandra Cox said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Karen Lange said...

Thanks for the info, Alex. We can always count on you to keep us informed. Movie guesses, all I have is #9 - The Dirty Dozen. It's one of my Dad's favorites. Have a great week!

Rhonda Albom said...

I know we generally don't have the same taste in music and movies, but I too was a big fan of Rush in my younger days. Although, I think you have seen more Rush concerts than I have seen any concerts. And as for war movies, they are generally not my thing, but to my surprise, I knew two of them - could be that I thought of them as Brad Pitt or Tom Cruise movies rather than war movies.

Sorry you are feeling the loss.

Birgit said...

I live in the city where Neil Peart grew up and, in fact, live about 10 minutes away from Lakeside Park. Funny, my brother walks around Port Dalhousie often and he has been talking about Lakeside Park and showcased one of the homes he grew up in in that small town. You know I am not a Rush fan but i do like everything except the singer’s voice. He was excellent in his craft. I want to see 2017 and will see if my hubby and I can see it this weekend. I have been horrible again in seeing this year’s movies and have seen Judy of the films that were nominated. As for the war films...1. Dunkirk.2. Inglorious Basterds 3. And 4?? 5. Apocalypse Now 6. Elyssium 7. Platoon 8.? 9. The Dirty Dozen 10. Unbroken 11. Dr. Strangelove. I know Josh Hartnett was in Pearl Harbour a mediocre flick but it co-starred Ben Affleck. Tom Sizemore was in Saving Ryan’s Privates [ sorry, couldn’t resist) but the others were not in that.

John Wiswell said...

Sounds like you've had a great time watching media lately! 1917 definitely looks like something special. I look forward to seeing it.

Ted Cross said...

My family mourns for Peart as well. My elder son loves Rush, and we were lucky enough to take him to see them live in LA at their very last concert, when Peart for the first time came forward to take a bow with the others. He was a master.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Truedessa, I'm thankful I did.

Ian, and Neil wrote that book!

Karen, you're correct!

Rhonda, you have good tastes.

Birgit, that's cool. And you got six right.

Ted, he was! I saw that last tour as well. Now we know why Neil was calling it quits.

Cathrina Constantine said...

I loved watching the Witcher, and now I want read the books. I'm looking forward to seeing 1917.

I can only guess at most of those movies, which I'd probably seen ages ago. #11 with George C. Scott has to be Patton. #5, I think is Apocalypse Now. #6 Edge of Tomorrow, weird movie, and liked it. #7 Platoon. #9 The Dirty Dozen, which I've seen more than once.

Alex, have a great week.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Alex - as soon as I saw Neil Peart's death ... I thought of you and your admiration for 'Rush' - I feel for you. I'll be getting to see 1917 as soon as I can ... I know I won't have seen many of your guess the war movie ... so I'll leave off now! Good luck tomorrow night with the IWSGPit ... cheers Hilary

Arlee Bird said...

Neil Peart's death did take me by surprise even though I think I had heard that he had brain cancer. I don't keep up with pop culture like I used to, but I do think that Rush has left a powerful music legacy behind them.

1917 is one film that I'd like to see. I'll have to wait for its appearance on DVD since I don't do theaters anymore.

Arlee Bird
Tossing It Out

Lynda R Young as Elle Cardy said...

I was kind of hot and cold with the Witcher. Some episodes were awesome, but many lacked...something. I dunno. I haven't read the books, though.

Nilanjana Bose said...

That is a heartfelt and lovely tribute. It's so painful to lose an admired icon.

!917 is on my list, carried over from the last weekend. My best wishes to all who are going for the twitter pitch.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Cathrina, you got five right!

Thank you, Hilary.

Lee, they kept it very quiet - no one knew he had brain cancer until after his death.

Lynda, the books are rather average.

Elizabeth Mueller said...

Hiya Alex!
How have you been? How was your New Year? How is going?
1917 sounds like a good movie, though war movies aren't my thing because they make me sad.

Thanks for the #IWSGPit reminder!

Sandra Cox said...

#9 and #11 are the only ones I'm familiar with and they were classics:)
YOU have a good one.

Steven Arellano Rose Jr. said...

I haven't seen 1917 but based on what I've seen in the previews it looks really good. It sounds like it keeps the viewer's attention really good. It's sad that more young people aren't into historical films such as this.

Jeremy [Retro] said...

Sad day, indeed RUSH will never be the same! Not gotten around to many films as of late, life gets in the way. Hope you head into 2020 full steam my friend.

Notes Along the Way with Mary Montague Sikes said...

Sorry about the loss of a special hero!

The 1917 movie sounds well-done. I just like happy endings, and it's hard for war movies to have them!

Thanks for so much good information, and Happy New Year!

XmasDolly said...

Well you always hit on a little bit of everything, so my best part I like is when we're going to see the movies I always stop by here first & see what you thought of them first. ~hehehe~ Is that cheating? Nahhhhhhhh I didn't know Martin Sheen was that old. Dang! Well, looks like we're going shopping sorry my visit was so short, but I read everything first & then say hello! So hello my friend have a wonderful day and thanks for all your reviews. They're the greatest! hugs

Tony Laplume said...

1917 probably felt pretty timely considering the Iran business. Probably helped people notice it more than they would have.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Elizabeth, and this one is sad.

Steven, it is sad. Our crowd's age average was at least sixty or older.

Mary, it was a somewhat satisfactory ending if that helps.

Marie, just good to have you stop by.

Tony, timely for 1917 or for the business with Iran? Could be either!

Elizabeth Seckman said...

Love Witcher. The show is good too. LOL

I cry over everything anymore. Commercials. Greeting cards. Because of that, my kids told me I should probably pass on 1917.

J.H. Moncrieff said...

While I've never been a Rush fan, they're a Canadian institution. I know a lot of people here are taking Peart's death hard. Glad to hear he was such an inspiration for you.

One of my international students raved about The Witcher to me before the series came out. He absolutely loves the books. They're on my list.

Enjoy your holiday!

Elsie Amata said...

I tried to watch Witcher but couldn't' get into it but my hubby enjoyed it. I may try it again though since it's my kind of series.

I have a friend from high school who is much like you; loves Rush, saw them a ton of times and is so upset about Neil's passing. Their talent is amazing.

Elsie

Blue Grumpster said...

I couldn't agree more, Alex. 1917 is one heck of an impressive movie.

Victoria Marie Lees said...

I hope all went well for those who participated in the twitter pitch. Sorry, I haven't seen these movies. I'll have to check back to find the answers to the war movie trivia. I bet my husband knows some of these movies. All best to you, Alex!

Raimey Gallant said...

Thanks for sharing about Neil Peart. I think a lot of Canadians were sad the day he passed. I can't wait to see 1917, and your review has convinced me to watch Witcher. I may be one of the only people who hasn't yet. ;)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Elizabeth, it was sad but not crying sad.

Elsie and JH - he is mourned by many.

Victoria, the Twitter pitch went great!

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

I think we'd like the movie 1917. There's a new show on TV now, too, that we want to see. It's called 68 Whiskey, and from what we saw in a brief promo, it looks really good. Ron Howard produces it, and it combines the reality of war in Afghanistan with bits of sardonic humor.

DMS said...

I found The Witcher fascinating. I was confused for a bit, as I didn't read the books. But- I ended up really liking it and I can't wait for the next season- lol- in a year. I will be reading the books in the meantime.

I also feel sad about Neil. He left a part of himself behind in his music, that's for sure.
~Jess

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

So many movies, so many albums, so much to do. And lots of books to read.
Have a great weekend.

Katherines Corner said...

I cried when Maurice Gibbs died, he was preceded in death by Andy and Robin. So I completely understand your sadness and the fact that you saw Rush 20 times says a lot about how they impacted your teenage years too.
We love the Witcher! I'm always bummed when they make so few episodes though. Just like Lost in Space, we wait what seems like years and there are only a few episodes. I'm not sure if its a budgetary thing but I would love to see longer seasons of both shows.
Sending hugs your way my friend, hoping you have a lovely weekend :-)