Matthew Kauffman Smith Archive
Back to the Future
Last Wednesday, October 21, 2015, I picked up my phone and hailed Siri, iPhone users’ favorite personal assistant, confidant, and fake friend. I said, “Happy Back to the Future Day, Siri.” She responded by saying, “Be careful who you date today, or you could start disappearing from photos,” a reference to the first Back to the Future movie. I wished her Happy Back to the Future Day probably 20 times, and received 10 original answers, all referencing the 1985 film and its two sequels. She said “Great Scott,” a favorite saying of character Doc Brown. She asked if I wanted […]
The Streamy Awards
If you were caught up in the excitement of Sunday’s Emmy Awards—or overly excited about the Media Matters National Mid-year Music Day Awards in July—you may have blinked and missed the Streamy Awards last weekend. That’s pretty much the show: two dudes choosing a topic, talking about it, or in the show’s best episodes, experimenting with a topic. The lesser-known Streamys honor online entertainers, or basically the biggest stars streaming on YouTube. As with any entertainment medium, flash-in-the-pan Internet stars come and go, but then there are proven commodities out there, ones that have made a living by gaining subscribers, […]
Psychological thrillers are an odd genre for me, because once the intrigue has played out, the secrets come out, and the ending reveals surprises, the thrill is gone. I can watch good comedies repeatedly because a good laugh never gets old. I’ve seen the Fugitive half a dozen times because watching the good guy win—and watching Tommy Lee Jones’s character—never gets old. I’ve seen Hoosiers probably 20 times because, well, I’m from Indiana, and watching game-winning buzzer-beaters never gets old. The Sixth Sense? Once. Mystic River? Once. Silence of the Lambs? Once. They’re all well-made, entertaining films, but I don’t […]
National Mid-year Music Award Day
You may not know this, but today is National Recycle Your Own Mediocre Ideas Day. It is Exploit Your Creative Shortcomings Day. Lest we all forget, today is also Plagiarize Yourself Day. By this point, you might think it’s National Lie to Your Readers Day. Or maybe it’s just All of the Above Day. Truth be told, it is actually National Thermal Engineers Day today, which I scoffed at until my computer started overheating; now I’m a believer. Frankly, legitimate holidays just aren’t enough. If we have to make up reasons to be goofy and celebrate, then so be it. […]
When I reviewed Monsters University two years ago, I implied that Pixar, while always producing entertaining films, was in the middle of a creative rut. Cars 2, Brave, and Monsters University were decent movies, but they lacked the creative ambition, unique storytelling, and authentic emotion that helped to propel Ratatouille, WALL-E, Up, and Toy Story 3 onto my year-end top movies lists from 2007 to 2010. The movie introduces characters that all kids know but may not have ever really talked or thought about: the emotions inside their heads. Part of the charm of WALL-E and Up was that they […]
Mad Max: Fury Road
Two weeks ago, an antifeminist blogger received way too much media attention when he suggested that men shouldn’t see Mad Max: Fury Road because it was feminist propaganda disguised as an action flick (even though he hadn’t actually watched the film). That non-story gained a lot of traction among media outlets, but it really just gave a lot of press to a site that should have just been left to wallow in its own hatred. The question remains, however: is Mad Max: Fury Road really a shift in action film philosophy regarding gender roles? Well, not quite. The women are […]
I gave my two daughters and my niece a pen and a pad as we entered the movie theater to see Monkey Kingdom, Disneynature’s latest documentary. “I need help writing my review,” I said. The underdog story of Maya drives the film, and she is perhaps the strongest female protagonist in a Disney film in recent memory. When we exited the theater, I received back two whole sentences, the most complete being, “This was a really good movie,” from my 9-year-old niece, who also noticed that there were “a few parts of monkeys fighting.” In retrospect, it was an unfair […]
What is Dove’s “Men Care” Up To?
When I see commercials with aloof dads, I don’t think much of them. The mom talks to the camera, the kids eat and play, and the dads act clueless (uh, honey, where do we keep the cheese?). I’ve heard the arguments that these commercials make dads look like idiots, and I buy that, but after years of watching mothers mis-portrayed in commercials, I’m not going to pretend that we dads are major victims. When I watch these commercials, I know I am not going to buy whatever they are selling anyway. So I just hit the mute button, check email, […]
Watching Moore forget a dinner date in her early stages, making a video for her future self to find one day, or struggling to locate the bathroom in her vacation home, we see how the disease plays out.