Tuesday, November 17, 2015


Yes, Linda Amstutz of Decatur, IN, won the drawing for the "Rowdy" Roddy Piper Hot Rod T-shirt. Congratulations to Linda!

So let's move forward with our next contest!!!!

I know sooooo many of you have become fans of the SHARKNADO series of films. It would be easy to make fun of these movies but the reality is they are some of the most fun movies being made. Are they cheesy? YES! Are the ridiculous? YES! Are they hilarious? YES!

These films have been like some of the classic so bad they're good movies of the past, low budget flicks that featured names that became big and have discovered a legion of cult followers. With each successive movie they've gone further and further into the world of the absurd and taken some well known actors and actresses along for the ride.

Now Cinedigm, Digital Views and The Decatur Daily Democrat want to offer some luck person the chance to enjoy the latest in the series, SHARKNADO 3. This blu-ray edition of the film comes packed with all sorts of extras in this "Sharktacular" edition. So how can you win this movie for your collection?

All you need to do is send an email to dailydemcontest@gmail.com . Include your name, address and phone number as well as entering SHARKNADO in the subject line. All entries must be received by December 7th and the winner will be drawn on December 8th. It cost you nothing but the time it takes to send in your entry, so do it today!


Coming of age movies have found a built in audience with teens for years. As far back as REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE through THE BREAKFAST CLUB and on, the problems faced by teens growing up has felt a similar concept running through them while adapting to the situations faced by each successive generation. So it’s always interesting to see what comes next as we do this week with PAPER TOWNS.

Based on the best seller by author John Green who wrote last years THE FAULT IN OUR STARS, this movie takes a look at life through the eyes of narrator Quentin “Q” Jacobsen (Nat Wolff). As the film opens a younger Q tells us about the first moment he set eyes on his new neighbor Margo Roth Spiegelman and immediately fell in love with her. As they grow they start out friends but a chance encounter with a suicide victim’s body changes their dynamic. Q grows into a semi-nerd while Margo (Cara Delevingne) runs with the popular kids, becoming the talk of her generation with the various adventures she has supposedly gone on.

Q hangs with his two best friends Ben (Austin Abrams), a cocky little guy who talks big about his sexual conquests which obviously have never happened and Radar (Justice Smith) the only member of the trio to actually have a girlfriend. The prom is coming up and only Radar has a date. This is there life, a situation where all three never take walk off of the path to success or dare to do anything they shouldn’t. That all changes in one night.

One evening Q is awakened by Margo sneaking into his bedroom window. She tells him she needs to borrow his mother’s car but he refuses. Instead he tags along with Margo on her “missions”. They begin in a store purchasing items for the “missions” and then begin. Each revolves around Margo taking revenge on her so called friends after discovering that her boyfriend has been cheating on her with another friend. As they go from place to place their doing things which could get them in trouble but having fun at the same time. A moment between the two is shared. And then, the next day, Margo goes missing.

As Q tries to figure out where Margo has gone her friend Lacey approaches him to find out where she went as well. Q begins to find clues, the sort that Margo would use to solve the mysteries of life that have always intrigued her. As he and his friends cipher through the various clues Margo has left behind, Q becomes certain that she left them for him to find her. The end result is a road trip but it is the journey that it takes to go on the trip and the trip itself that offers the adventure these friends go on, a trip that changes their lives.

The term “paper towns” is one Margo uses to describe life where they all live. It references something mapmakers used long ago, false towns they would place on maps to insure their copyright to those maps. The towns were fake towns that didn’t exist but insured that one mapmaker wouldn’t use the same information from another’s. For Margo it represents an empty life, an empty existence. It also provides the group with their greatest clue.

The whole concept of the treasure hunt here makes for a lot of fun in this film. It creates the background story that links together the lives of the three friends, Lacey and Radar’s girlfriend along with Margo into something that explodes their lives from living the mundane existence that they have created for themselves and most likely will carry on till they die and transforms it into experiencing life for perhaps the first time.

The young actors here do a wonderful job of bringing life to what could have resulted in nothing more than cardboard cutouts. Each has their own quirks that make them who they are but rather than those quirks being challenges to overcome they are what make each of them special and a necessary part to the journey.

The story is one that grabs you from the start and holds on to you until the finale. Not only are these friends going on a journey, the viewer is as well. In the end perhaps each viewer will find themselves looking back in regret for a chance never taken, a journey never traveled. But the truth is that these opportunities for adventure never end. With any luck, those who go on this trip with Q and friends will seek out adventures of their own.

Click here to order.

Friday, November 13, 2015


As a young movie fan I spent numerous days and hours watching the classic Basil Rathbone/Nigel Bruce versions of Sherlock Holmes on TV. These movies left a lasting impression on viewers for decades first when they appeared in theaters and then when people like myself discovered them on TV. Those 14 films they made were what we based our knowledge of the character on. For me it wouldn’t be until later that I discovered the books on which they were based.

Yes Sherlock Holmes has been with us in one form or another for decades now. But we never hear about what happened later on in life, what happened when Dr. Watson had passed away and Sherlock got older. That is until now. With the new movie MR. SHERLOCK we get a glimpse of what might have happened. It’s a wonderful film that discusses both what happens when we age and what becomes of our heroes. And like those movies that inspired a search for the real Holmes stories my guess is this movie will make viewers seek out A SLIGHT TRICK OF THE MIND by Mitch Cullin on which the movie is based.

The year is 1947 and Holmes (Ian McKellen) is retired now, living in a Sussex village and tending to his bee colony. His life is less adventurous and he’s assisted in his home by his housekeeper Mrs. Munro (Laura Linney) and her young son Roger (Milo Parker). A bit on the cantankerous side now, Holmes softens when young Milo takes an interest in helping him with his bees. For a character who based his life on rational thinking with little or no emotion, he now finds himself faced with feelings that have long been buried. His fatherly affection for the young boy whose real father died in the war provide him with the impetus to do more than just get by.

While his exploits gained him notoriety due to the literary license used by his chronicler Dr. Watson, Holmes always felt he got things wrong. In particular the one case that has bothered him the most was his last one which he feels didn’t tell the truth. But as he has aged so has he taken on the problems that entails. His memory is fading. The details of that last case elude him. With the friendship of young Milo Holmes is invigorated and begins to recall things he’d forgotten. Before the film ends the details of that last case will be remembered and the reason for much of why he’s become who he is at this point is revealed.

What has always made Sherlock such an interesting character has been his ability to perceive the world around him in an analytical nature. And yet at the same time he was rarely able to see his own faults, in particular this lack of emotion. When it did occur it usually resulted in some tragedy and in the case of this film that potential happens with two different incidents, one in the past and one in the present. But this concept that Holmes always considered a flaw was what in reality made him the best detective that he was. While he never showed that he cared, deep down he did.

McKellen is magnificent in the role, bringing to life the character at his deepest roots. Not to discredit those who have played the part in the past but their versions were always the man on the hunt, the deductive man of action in search of a criminal. McKellen is left to play a man who is aging whose nemesis is not a human being but himself and his slowly digressing mind and body. He brings to life a character we know and yet don’t know at the same time.

The supporting cast also does a fantastic job here. Linney is wonderful as a woman dealing with her loss while at the same time trying to provide for a child she loves dearly. Parker as Roger is an amazing talent for his age and fills the shoes of this boy too young to know the legend of Sherlock Holmes while at the same time having an adulation for the older man who he shares a home with. It could have been played as far too precocious but he does a great job here.

Those who are looking for the pace of the recent Robert Downey Jr. films will be disappointed, that’s not what this film is all about. But fans of the real Sherlock Holmes will adore this film. The pacing is slow but the story is what matters. And there is plenty of story to go around in this film. It’s one that fans of Holmes will want to watch more than once. I know I intend to.

Click here to order.


I was contacted to see if I would be interested in reviewing these headphones and agreed to do so. It’s been some time since I’ve owned a pair of headphones and to be honest I’d always opted for the very inexpensive brands in the past. This was due in part to their being affordable but also because I tend to be far too rough with my headphones. I’m one of those people who accidentally rolls from one part of the room to the other so immersed in my music I forget I have them on.

Since the last pair I purchased there has been a dramatic interest in headphones and they’ve gone from a good pair for $20 to pairs that exceed several hundred dollars. I’m sorry but I’m still not ready to shell out that kind of money for headphones. If I worked in the recording industry maybe. But the truth is while I enjoy using headphones quality for the price is more of what I’m inclined to look at when purchasing them. There is also the fact that I am not a sound technician. I am the average Joe on the block looking to see what sounds good. No bells and whistles, no technical equipment to measure frequency and the rest, just two ears to listen.

So rather than hook up modulators and the like I decided the best way to determine if these headphones were worth their salt was to try them out with some music. That is what most people will be using them for. And rather than try them on one single or one album (yes I’m old and still call them that) I would try them out on several songs from various styles. Would they hold up to heavy metal but not soul? What about classical or folk? So here is what I found using various songs.

“You Shook Me All Night Long” by AC/DC. Great. The bass came through but wasn’t overpowering. Lead guitars were crisp and clear. Vocals came through as intelligible. The drums were fine and the cymbals rang. All in all this song came through perfect.

“I Robot” by The Alan Parsons Project. The song starts low and soft and that was there with great mixing back and forth from left to right. Again the bass came through without being the only thing I was able to hear, one of my biggest complaints with headphones and sound systems in the past. As the melody came in all parts of the composition could be heard clearly and clean.  Another perfect sound experience.

“Pink Moon” by Nick Drake. The opening guitar chords strummed away and I closed my eyes. I was transported to a smoky nightclub or campus center where I could hear everything as it was meant to be, Drake playing in an intimate setting. The headphones allowed me to go there, offering superb quality sound that brought it all together.

“Déjà vu” by Crosby, Still, Nash & Young. One of my go to songs for harmonies, something that doesn’t always transfer well when listening to headphones. One that I listened to on headphones for years. The harmonizing of the four singers combined sweetly through the headset. Guitars solo and background sounded real. The bass was there but not overbearing. Another plus mark for this headset.

“Elevate” by Winery Dogs. Great bass on a level playing field with the lead guitar. Bass drum pounding beneath it all. Other drums and cymbals beating wildly and with clearness not usually found in headphones. Vocals clear as can be. Once again a perfect sound experience.

“Spring” by Vivaldi. The concert hall came alive. Lows, highs, midranges all came through loud and clear. Violins came through sweetly and the orchestra around them added much support clearly and cleanly.

That gets me through the sound experience but what about the rest of what makes a good pair of headphones? To start with on a comfort level these were better than headphones I’ve had in the past. The cushions used allow for maximum comfort without applying too much pressure. They also provided great sound enclosure preventing sound from not only being heard by others but from stopping sound from coming in as well. When your wife comes in and tells you she’s been calling for you from the other room for the past ten minutes you know the sound canceling works better than she would hope for. The tangle free cord was a feature I loved as well having dealt with far too many coiled cords that did little more than wrap themselves up after a single use. Perhaps it would have been nice if it were a little longer but I can take care of that on my own with an extension cord. The case the headphones come in is nice as well providing a protective location for them to reside in when not in use.

As I am not a game player and was using these for just listening to music I can’t tell you if the built in microphone on the cord worked well or not. But it seems like most headphones these days require that.

My entire experience with these headphones was exceptional. Are they worth the money? At a list price of $79.99 on amazon but marked down to $19.99 I would say they are way more qualified for that sale price. They are quite possibly worth the $79.99 price tag. If you’re looking for a pair of headphones that will fill the bill of what is required for a basic set then this is something you should look into buying.