#5 Don’t wish one year to be better than the last, because you’ll likely be disappointed at least every other year.
#4 That old coworker or colleague you haven’t seen in a while and always think “I should have lunch or coffee with them.” Do it. Don’t be that L.A. person who says, “Let’s have lunch” and then flakes. You’ll laugh over good times, and you might just help each other network.
#3 Find snow. If you live in a warm climate, go find snow at least once this year. And trees. And if you live in a cold climate and can’t afford the plane fare, um, watch movies with deserts or tropical jungles in them. I recommend Raiders of the Lost Ark. It has both!
#2 Enjoy some really good liquor, wine, or champagne. Life is too short not to understand what the fuss is all about. If you don’t drink, then the same goes good food at a good restaurant.
#1 Go to the movies. As in a movie in a real movie theater, and be sure to talk about it afterwards. We’re getting too used to binge watching shows on our couches. Nothing beats a few hours at the cinema with good friends.
I’ve stayed in shape most of my life, but it’s definitely not without challenge. This week, I saw a photo of actor J.K. Simmons as he prepares for his upcoming Commissioner Gordon role in Zack Snyder’s Justice League film. This dude is 61, and he’s in the gym doing arm curls looking like he could squish Matt Lauer’s head in his biceps like a grape. Okay, before everyone cries, ‘He’s a celebrity! He’s on HGH! He gets paid to be in shape!” consider that it’s J.K. Simmons. It’s not Hugh Jackman, Ben Affleck, or Chris Evans. Oh sure, the man won a much-deserved Academy Award for the 2014 film Whiplash, but he’s still a character actor. Character actors will tell you they fly coach, you know?
I’ll never forget in 2000 when Michael Caine won his second Supporting Actor Oscar for The Cider House Rules. He was complimenting his fellow nominees in the audience, and when he got to Tom Cruise, he joked, “Tom, do you know how much a supporting actor makes?” Supporting actors and actresses are the rocks of the talent industry. They’re the ones who add the seasoning to the main course. They’re the icing on the cake, the Hershey’s syrup on the ice cream!
So, when we see someone like J.K. Simmons busting his butt in the gym and looking like a piece of strip steak, yeah he’s probably got a trainer from the studio helping him out. However, he’s in a gym down the street from you and me, and he ain’t in there with Superman or Batman. He’s in there with a bunch of neighborhood gym rats. A regular Joe? Perhaps not. He’s an Oscar-winning actor who probably gets paid more to sell Farmers insurance on TV than to co-star alongside #TeamJusticeLeague. Regardless, he’s putting in the work. He’s committed to a regimen. He’s disciplined, and he’s a 61 year-old man who looks like he could arm-wrestle a MME fighter. Inspiration comes in many forms. #JKSimmons
Boy, there sure is a lot of fighting going on in our country as of late with divisions running deep and hope scarce. Dominating the news, you’ve got the fierce dark-haired guy up against the famous reddish guy with the sturdy, battle-tested woman there to spoil it for them. You know, the tough-talking billionaire vs. the pompous do-gooder from the heartland, along with the hard-as-nails female likely kicking their asses for her own agenda. Of course, I’m talking about Batman versus Superman, with Wonder Woman joining the fray.
If Don LaFontaine still alive today to narrate the movie trailer, I’m sure he’d begin with, “In a world … where the good guys are not so bright … “
Admittedly, I have not seen the new Warner Bros. movie that punts their DC cinematic universe right into Marvel’s and Fox’s end zones, but it’s interesting their inaugural choice for a shared universe (if you don’t count Man of Steel) is a film where beloved heroes fight each other. What do you tell young kids?
“Oh, these heroes are only fighting each other, because they are making bad choices today. They likely chose sugary chocolate milk over regular milk.”
On BvS’s heels, will be Captain America: Civil War, aka, We At Marvel Have Had the Avengers Take on Planet-Destroying Bad Guys, So We Have No Choice But To Have the Bad Guys Be Each Other. Again, we’ve got heroes fighting their own best interests. I’m sure folks will kiss, make up, bro-hug, fist-bump, offer up raw steaks for their black eyes, and invite each other over for beers and Netflix marathons. In the meantime, the landscape is plastered with the real bad guys having a laugh as the good guys slug it out. Hmmm, are the terrorists paying attention to our presidential election? Nah.
2016 is shaping up to be a year of transition. While Americans are divided politically, we’re also seeing our onscreen heroes go at it. First Batman vs. Superman followed by Captain America vs. Iron Man? Say it isn’t so, guys! Transition and change can be hard on a lot of folks. I welcome it, because without change, we can’t always move forward. I made a big change in my career. After more than a decade working for entertainment studios, I took the big leap into following the path that was urging me to follow. I love doing voice work, and the opportunities I’m finding have been amazing, fulfilling, and even mystifying. I mean, if you had told me a year ago that people attending major exhibits in major museums and cathedrals in several cities in Italy would hear my voice in their ears, I’d have thought you were crazy. However, working with D’Uva Workshop on over 25 audio tours, along with production companies here in Los Angeles has been very rewarding, and I’m looking to bringing my voice to as many people as I can. Change is good.