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My life has been hard, as far as glitz and glamor goes.

Early on, I have it rough — well, as far as guys like me go. I have a simple life, a banal life; not much to complain about, but not much to write about either. It’s not tough, per se, but it ain’t necessarily easy. Then, suddenly, I make the right connections, make the right calls, I get a couple million bucks and people think I‘ve got it made. Sure, I’ve been lucky. Plenty lucky, as far as these things go. I’m world-famous. I’ve got a healthy bank account. I’ve got two Oscars sitting idle in my house. With my name on them, no less. People say I’m a handsome, outgoing, easy-to-get-along-with guy. I’ve got people who love me. Hell, I’ve got people who hate me too, but at least I’m important enough that people give a damn. All things considered, I’ve lived a decent life. Maybe even an enviable one, depending on how you look at it. Certainly not flawless, but decent living. Maybe I’m being modest. I made an impact. I made myself a household name. …


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It’s only a short matter of time — mere hours at this point, in fact — before the 91st Academy Awards make their way onto ABC, airing their fair share of glitz and glamour to millions of viewers watching across the globe. But this year’s annual cinema celebration is going to be a little bit different than most years.

After a storm of controversies, it was announced — following weeks of speculation, continued hardships and, frankly, more-than-a-few bad decisions — that this year’s ceremony would be the first in decades to not have a host at the helm. At least, not an official host. Even down to curtain call, there’s speculation about a secret host being involved with the troubled awards show — Whoopi Goldberg, for instance, is believed to be this year’s makeshift host. At the time of this reporting, however, the hosting duties are left vacant. …


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If there’s any sequel that warranted the right to repeat itself, it’s “Happy Death Day 2U.” Writer/director Christopher Landon’s promising continuation of his surprisingly spry time loop PG-13 horror-comedy smash “Happy Death Day” is given a liberating golden pass to ultimately remix its original and essentially remake his hit film — if he wished. Hell, I wouldn’t even put it past the filmmakers to re-release the first film just for the sake of an easy, if short-lived, laugh.

But thankfully, Landon uses this winning sequel opportunity to not merely redo his energetic and refreshingly inspired original film but challenge it instead — building upon its kooky, evergreen foundation and expand the story in scope, scale, genre, and tone. The result is a sequel that lives up to the promise delivered by the first film, and one that suggests that this newfound series could — fittingly enough — continue vibrantly for the foreseeable future. …


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I have long admired Paul Simon’s music. His wit, candor, heart, and humor have long appealed to me, and there has always been a calming comfort found in his soothing accompaniments and clever-yet-sincere lyricism. I consider him a true great in the profession of his choice, and his legacy is indelible, to say the least.

Tonight, I will be seeing Paul Simon perform in Pittsburgh, PA for one of his final on-stage performances before he reportedly calls it quits after nearly 50 years of music-making. I will be attending the concert with my dad, the man who first introduced Paul Simon’s music to me many years before. It will be a bittersweet occasion, for more reasons than one, and in the spirit of nostalgia and remembrance, I decided to pull out this review I once wrote for Peter Ames Carlin’s unauthorized biography Homeward Bound: The Life of Paul Simon, a submitted review which (to the best of my knowledge) was never officially published.


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The world is changing. In some ways, for the better, but in many ways, for worse. And I don’t know how to handle that, especially as I get older.

There’s a constant darkness to the outside world. I find myself stunted and scared by it, knowing I should have a more proactive part in the betterment of our collective society, but not knowing what to do or how I can truly help. I’m constantly frightened and worried and overcome with emotions I don’t know how to handle or process. I have often turned to comedy to take away from the dark dangers I don’t wish to know or understand, but that’s not enough. …


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I feel like shit.

Vaping on my e-cig, letting the Blue Voodoo tickle the inside of my throat, I once again find myself pondering my life as I catch my reflection the rearview mirror of my Lexus LS. My hair is haggard-looking, aged salt-and-pepper grey. My beard is untrimmed, growing ragged and unkempt. Entirely discarded. My clothes are covered with wrinkles and creases, the look of a man without care. I am not the man I was before. I am not the man with life burning in his eyes.

I am Ben Affleck, as I was before and I always will be. …


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I am a stubborn man.

When the trailer for The Happytime Murders dropped online Friday morning, I was genuinely really excited. Finally, after years and years of hot anticipation, Brian Henson’s long-gestured passion project would make it to the cinema. In a summer movie season crowded with sequels, prequels, reboots and many other blockbusters, it was exciting to see an original, high concept comedy coming out towards the last month in the summer movie season. Especially one that seemingly harkened to Who Framed Roger Rabbit, a perfect off-beat film that I firmly believe is one of the best movies in American cinema. Part of what makes Roger Rabbit so genius, though, is that it shouldn’t work. At all. …



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I am drifting, aimless. I feel shapeless, indistinct, incomplete. Life is passing and I’m at a standstill. I don’t know who I am or where I am supposed to be. I don’t know how to make sense of anything. My purpose is unclear. Undefined.

I’m at a crucial part of my story and I’m completely adrift.

I haven’t figured things out and I don’t know if I’ll ever figure things out. I’m left in the dark, running my fingers through the walls, trying to find my way to the nearest doorway or exit. Every step seems to be taking me in the opposite or wrong direction. I’m not so much hopeless as I am confused. …


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2017 was a disappointment.

Not just for me. For many people, 2017 was a prolonged sigh, deflating us by the month, day and minute. It’s January 1st, 2018, and I feel very exhausted.

I’m still in a place of reflection. I think a lot —maybe too much — and I can’t help thinking about all my shortcomings this past year. I wouldn’t call 2017 an outright failure. I did some great things. I reconnected with good people. I started two podcasts, Cinemaholics and It Ain’t Ogre ’Til It’s Ogre, that I love. But I can’t help feeling like I could’ve done more, especially when I look back at the post I made around this time the year prior. I was similarly weary but optimistic. It’s striking, saddening and telling that I’m basically in the same place, both physically and emotionally. In fact, in quite a few ways, I feel older and bluer and more burdened than I was 12 months prior. …

About

Will Ashton

Will Ashton is an entertainment writer. He also co-hosts the weekly film podcast Cinemaholics for We Got This Covered. Follow him on Twitter @thewillofash.

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