Interview: ‘Wheelman’ writer/director Jeremy Rush

With Netflix’s Wheelman, writer/director Jeremy Rush set out to make something different.

Working with a simple setup (getaway driver gets sabotaged, spends entire night figuring out who wronged him), a first rate leading man in Frank Grillo and dynamite producer (Joe Carnahan, launching War Party with Grillo), Rush tricked out the action thriller genre entry like a fast car lover would with an old muscle car, replacing an old engine with sophistication instead of the ordinary expectation.

The result was an 82 minute thrill ride, punctuated by pulpy excitement and an exhilarating energy; an experience that triggered old school cinema which relied on its own idea of cool instead of recycling someone else’s model. Continue reading “Interview: ‘Wheelman’ writer/director Jeremy Rush”


Here’s What I Know, Vol. 15: Eastwood, Mayweather Jr., Ted Drewes, and Peaky Blinders

A potpourri of semi-important topics for your consideration.

Good evening, folks. Let’s talk about a few things you may or may not deem important. Tip the whiskey and let’s get started on the latest edition of Here’s what I know, in bullet formation.

  • Clint Eastwood makes very good movies, but occasionally, he can fire a dud out of his filmmaking pistol. His latest, 15:17 to Paris, recounts the heroic tale of three Americans who saved lives on a train in Paris taken over by terrorists. It arrives in theaters this Friday, and WAS NOT screened for critics. I’ve been reviewing films for seven years, and this is never a good sign. It’s like sneaking your girlfriend into a party through the kitchen. The studio didn’t like the cuts of the film they saw, so there were no word-of-mouth generating screenings. We all know the end to the film, so why withhold it? This is not good, but I hope Clint proves me wrong.
  • Ted Drewes and Imos Pizza are institutions for St. Louis residents, and the former reopens this week for people seeking something sweet. Let’s say you hit up the Hill for an Italian dish, but the old fashioned tiramisu doesn’t interest you for dessert. You head over to Ted Drewes for a delicious hot fudge sundae or lemon crumb concrete that will make you believe in world peace for a matter of minutes. People who speak out against it simply don’t know what good custard tastes like. Get over there and have some.

Continue reading “Here’s What I Know, Vol. 15: Eastwood, Mayweather Jr., Ted Drewes, and Peaky Blinders”

2016-2018: The story of my life on the radio

The rise and fall of my AM radio career.

“I’ll be back, in some form, but for the time being, goodnight St. Louis.”

On Friday, I signed off my weekly radio show, “A Dose of St. Louis”, for the final time. After just over three months and 14 shows, it was time to call it. Deciding to stop doing something that gives you pleasure is about as easy as saying no to fresh French fries at McDonald’s, but sometimes, it’s the wiser decision.

Why cut something so short? The answer is simple: AM radio is a brutal business to survive in. A place where making a buck and putting on a good show usually don’t run hand in hand. Like most true stories, going back to the beginning is important in grasping the entire scope of the story.

Jan. 12, 2016. A good man named Chris Denman messaged me on Facebook about coming on his CBS Sports radio show, “We Are Live”, to discuss the Rams departure from St. Louis as well as movies and the Cardinals/Blues. I was following comedian and actor Jay Mohr, and I had no idea what to expect. Why did he want me? Is this a joke? It all swirled around up there before I went on a little after 8 p.m. while I sat in my apartment in North Little Rock, Arkansas.

When I was done, I felt good, but as nervous as a visiting Giants fan in an Eagles bathroom. I chugged a beer, tried to sit down, and immediately threw on some music and paced around my apartment like an artist who just found a new audience, but didn’t know when his next show would be.

I was suddenly passionate about the radio-and I didn’t know how to handle it.

Up until then, I had done a handful of appearances on Rob Butler’s Jonesboro morning radio show, a few Cardinals podcasts, and a couple hits on ESPN’s Columbia, MO radio station, KTGR. In a way, I was everywhere except St. Louis, my hometown.  Continue reading “2016-2018: The story of my life on the radio”

A towering Christian Bale makes ‘Hostiles’ truly special

Captain Joseph J. Blocker (Christian Bale) is a conflicted man as 1892 rolls around and the last of the Native Americans are being rounded up by the American soldiers. A legendary leader to so many, he quietly battles demons about the things he has done in honor of his country-and wonders about the toll it will someday take.

Director Scott Cooper’s new film, Hostiles, asks the age old question: are we all one incident away from becoming violent? Continue reading “A towering Christian Bale makes ‘Hostiles’ truly special”

‘Sweet Virginia’: Independent beauty with dark intentions

Sam (Jon Bernthal) is a simple man with a colorful past that won’t quite let him go. Once upon a time, he was a rodeo star with a family. Now, he is the manager of a motel with a hitch in his step, early on-set Parkinson’s, and is engaged in an affair with a married woman, Bernadette (Rosemarie DeWitt). Essentially, he is a man apart, trying to find his way.

When a troubled man named Elwood (Christopher Abbott) walks into a bar and kills three men, Sam’s small town and existence is shaken up, setting these characters up on a collision course.

Thankfully, director Jamie M. Dagg allows the events of his film, Sweet Virginia, to unfold at their own pace, resisting the urge to speed things up for the audience’s comfort. This is a tense film that doesn’t feel like marching to the drum of its genre’s beat, instead creating its own rhythm. You may have seen this before, but not done in this particular fashion. Continue reading “‘Sweet Virginia’: Independent beauty with dark intentions”

Every day should feature “Bell Let’s Talk” awareness

Everyone can help fight this beast.

Mental diseases are bastards, because they are camouflage to everybody not named “you”.

They can’t be cured, or properly treated. There is also no way to detect how severe they can get. You don’t see this particular train coming. It isn’t like an alcohol addiction, where you can follow steps, get help, and try to recover. Depression, anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder are things you are born with; tiny assholes in your brain that never leave you alone.

Jan. 31 is Bell Let’s Talk day. The national day to tweet about helping millions out with these terrible conditions. Frankly, every day should be Bell Let’s Talk day. 24/7/365. Every day, someone is hurting, dealing with, or fighting depression. People are trying to not feel strangled by anxiety in public or tough situations. It’s not limited to one day.

What is Bell Let’s Talk? Back in 2010, a group of people in Canada starting something called “Bell Let’s Talk” as a way to discuss mental illnesses more often. Before long, millions of Canadians were extending the conversation and bringing in more people. Conversations were starting and the stigma was getting thrown around the ring by regular people. Through government help and corporations, Bell Let’s Talk have generated $86 million for research and care of people dealing with mental illnesses.  Continue reading “Every day should feature “Bell Let’s Talk” awareness”

‘Phantom Thread’ sends Daniel Day Lewis out in style

When I think of true artists, a hill comes to mind. The artist stands on top of the hill, blasting his greatness across the world, forbidding connection and sadly, love. Everyone else is busy climbing the hill in an attempt to get close to him, including his family and friends. Paul Thomas Anderson and Daniel Day Lewis dive headfirst into the world of an artist in Anderson’s latest feature, Phantom Thread.

This is a fascinating film, and that’s not because it told me a lot about the fashion scene in 1950’s London, which the film is set in. Instead, this movie explored the cost and toll that weighed on a brilliant mind like Day Lewis’ Reynolds Woodcock, a world renowned dress maker, and what happens when a feisty and strong-willed woman named Alma (the amazing Vicky Krieps), enters his life. Continue reading “‘Phantom Thread’ sends Daniel Day Lewis out in style”