Category Archives: Movies

Valley Lodge is Closed

Since a few people have been asking, I am making a formal announcement.



THERE IS NO CHRISTOPHER D. BENNETT BIRTHDAY EXTRAVAGANZA AKA BENNETT-FEST THIS YEAR!


The reasons are multiple and complicated, but it is probably your fault. If you search your heart, you know it to be true.

So there will be NO:

– Baby Got Rack Award Winning Barbecue
– Hardcore Firetub Action
– Bubbles
– Sidewalk Chalk
– Golden Retriever
– Master’s Playlist
– Cornhole
– Tent
– Stimulating Conversation
– Catching up with old friends
– No photos like the ones below







2016 Birthday Party Photo Booth

2016 Birthday Party Photo Booth

2016 Birthday Party Photo Booth

2016 Birthday Party Photo Booth

2016 Birthday Party Photo Booth

2016 Birthday Party Photo Booth

2016 Birthday Party Photo Booth

2016 Birthday Party Photo Booth

2016 Birthday Party Photo Booth

2016 Birthday Party Photo Booth

2016 Birthday Party Photo Booth

2016 Birthday Party Photo Booth

Better luck in 2018. I have the idea for that year’s invite. I just need to find some volunteers and some costumes.

HDR EFEX PRO 2 BETA

Today we take a look at the second half of the “made to order” HDR EFEX PRO 2 filters.

As a refresher, here is the original image:


Original Image

Here is a look at the filters:


HDR EFEX PRO 2 - BLACK & WHITE ARTISTIC
Black & White Artistic

HDR EFEX PRO 2 - DRAMATIC
Dramatic

HDR EFEX PRO 2 - SINISTER
Sinister

HDR EFEX PRO 2 - PALE & STRUCTURED
Pale & Structured

HDR EFEX PRO 2 - GRANNY'S ATTIC
Granny’s Attic

HDR EFEX PRO 2 - END OF THE ROAD
End of the Road

HDR EFEX PRO 2 - INDOOR 1
Indoor 1

HDR EFEX PRO 2 - INDOOR 2
Indoor 2

HDR EFEX PRO 2 - OUTDOOR 1
Outdoor 1

HDR EFEX PRO 2 - OUTDOOR 2
Outdoor 2

HDR EFEX PRO 2 - SOFT
Soft

HDR EFEX PRO 2 - VIGNETTED
Vignetted

HDR EFEX PRO 2 - GRADUATED 1
Graduated 1

HDR EFEX PRO 2 - GRADUATED 2
Graduated 2

Then, of course. If you want, you can play with the numerous options and come up with a creation of your own. Like so…


HDR EFEX PRO 2 - MY CONCOCTION
My Concotion

I am, once again, sorry for the disgusting subject of these photos, but like I wrote, tomorrow will be something fuzzy and cuddly.

We will touch base with the Nik Collection again in the near future.

THE CHRISTOPHER D. BENNETT TRIVIA QUIZ

QUESTION 19

In youth, my friends and I tried and failed to make 1 horror movie STAYIN’ ALIVE: THE SPORTING twice, an action movie (SWORN TO VENGEANCE), and another horror movie (QUIETUS). However, we did successfully finish a movie starring Jay Janson (as an androgynous ne-er-do-well), Bill Wentworth as his manservant, William McAlpine as a short tempered natural philosopher, Anders Runestad as a hen-pecked husband with a gambling addiction, Corey Faust as an omniscient narrator, and Christopher D. Bennett as a trash talking homophobe, playing a deadly game of RISK. What was the name of this nearly cult classic?

ANSWER: GAMES

BONUS

What was the unfortunate name of the “studio” that produced this film?

ANSWER: CHEESEDICK FILMS

WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE – WEEK 37 – EMOTIONS

EMOTIONS was a profoundly unpopular theme. I’m sure destined to hit the cutting room floor if this challenge extends into a second year. Maybe it was the holiday weekend. Maybe people were like feelings? Actually feeling something? No thanks! Back to my mass consumerism, thank you very much*. Either way, Angie was the only person that kept this theme from being a shutout and being the first strike against this challenge.

Here are the submissions for EMOTIONS:


WEEK 37 - EMOTIONS - CHRISTOPHER D. BENNETT
Christopher D. Bennett

WEEK 37 - EMOTIONS - ANGIE DEWAARD
Angie DeWaard

WEEK 37 - EMOTIONS - BECKY PERKOVICH
Becky Perkovich

But enough dwelling on the past. Time to look to the future. We are all interested in the future, for that is where you and I are going to spend the rest of our lives. And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future.

This week’s theme is…


WEEK 38 - PERSPECTIVE
PERSPECTIVE

Back when I was compiling the list of 52 themes, I thought about breaking PERSPECTIVE into LOW PERSPECTIVE and HIGH PERSPECTIVE, but I thought it would be interesting, given the choice where people would go. The level of a rat or the level of an eagle. Both animals forage through trash for food, but their perspective on the world is totally different.

However, being high or low isn’t the only definition of perspective. As always, feel free to define perspective any way that you want.

HOUSEKEEPING

RULES

1. The picture has to be taken the week of the theme. This isn’t a curate your pictures challenge. This is a get your butt off the couch (my personal experience) and put your camera in your hands challenge. Don’t send me a picture of you next to the Eiffel Tower, when I know you were in Iowa all week. I will point out that I have let that slide some in the past. I will not in the future. Since it is literally about the only rule.
2. Your submission needs to be emailed to bennett@photography139.com by noon on the Monday of the challenge. It should be pointed out that this blog auto-publishes at 12:01 on Mondays. So it wouldn’t hurt to get your picture in earlier.

That is it, them’s the rules.

That’s all I got, so if the good Lord’s willin’ and the creek don’t rise, we will commune again next Monday. Hopefully with a lot of new perspectives on the world.

*Just wanted to make sure everybody knows that I’m a minimalist and that I’m super excited about the new movie coming out about my people.

THE CHRISTOPHER D. BENNETT TRIVIA QUIZ

QUESTION 7

Quentin Tarantino famously was once quoted as saying: “When I’m getting serious about a girl I show her RIO BRAVO and she better (expletive deleted) like it.” What one of my 3 favorite movies do I use as a test of the quality of the people in my life? They better (expletive deleted) like it!

ANSWER: A CLOCKWORK ORANGE

BONUS

What are my other 2 favorite movies? To earn the point, you must include the year of release.

KING KONG (1933) & PSYCHO (1960)

WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE – WEEK 27 – TREE

There aren’t as many people out there that are as passionate about a TREE as they are about their PET. However, the people that have passion are very passionate.

Here are this week’s submissions for TREE:


WEEK 26 - TREE = BILL WENTWORTH
Bill Wentworth

WEEK 26 - TREE - KIM BARKER 1
Kim Barker 1

WEEK 26 - TREE - KIM BARKER 2
Kim Barker 2

WEEK 26 = TREE = SARAH KARBER
Sarah Karber

WEEK 26 - TREE - ANGIE DEWAARD 1
Angie DeWaard 1

WEEK 26 - TREE - ANGIE DEWAARD 2
Angie DeWaard 2

WEEK 26 - TREE - ANGIE DEWAARD 3
Angie DeWaard 3

WEEK 26 - TREE - CHRISTOPHER D. BENNETT
Christopher D. Bennett

It should be noted that we are officially at the halfway point of this project and it has yet to have a single strike against it. Therefore it is somewhat safe (as safe as a UNI lead anyways) to assume that this project will return for a second year. Which means, you should start thinking about themes you want to see for next year. I might be open to suggestions. Although I might not.

On a week where I’m not as rushed, I will publish the full list of 52 themes, so you know what is out there.

How about next week’s theme?


WEEK 27 - SILHOUETTE
SILHOUETTE!

I’m 100% sure that everybody knows what a tree is. I’m about 98% sure everybody knows what a SILHOUETTE is, but just in case, here is a definition.

the dark shape and outline of someone or something visible against a lighter background, especially in dim light.

The best way to tackle this is to photograph something that is backlit. Preferably something that has an interesting shape. Size or action.

You get it. And I can’t wait to see what people submit.


HOUSEKEEPING

A quick note from THE PHOTOGRAPHY 139 SHAMELESS SECRET DIVISION.

It is troublesome that people have actually been paying attention to my blog post titles lately. I mean, that means I don’t completely exist in a vacuum and that is scary. While I’ll be glad to occasionally answer a “what does that mean” blog title question, I am glad to solve another mystery that I’ve recently been asked.

How do I decide the order of the pictures in the WEEKLY CHALLENGE posts?

I believe when I was asked this question, the person thought I ranked them. I don’t. Believe me. I don’t. I upload all the submissions at the same time, so I post them in the order that they get uploaded. So pictures submitted that are smaller and have a name that is near the front of the alphabet, that picture will probably be near the top. Larger files are usually towards the bottom.

I’m not here to judge art. Unless it is Andy Warhol’s art. That guy sucked. See FACTORY GIRL is you don’t believe me. If it is in a movie it has to be true.

Ranking Balboa

Yeah, I didn’t get this out in time. Need to do something less ambitious next week. Like 5 things I hate most about Facebook. Or my least favorite type of sports fan. We’ll see.

I thought that in honor of Sylvester Stallone’s nomination for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for CREED, I would rank the 7 ROCKY movies from great to greatest.

SPOILERS GALORE — Ye be warned.




7. Rocky V

Even though it is the worst ROCKY, I still love me some ROCKY V. In this ROCKY, Rocky gets back from ending the Cold War and defeating Ivan Drago to find out that Paulie has lost all of their money and the entire Balboa family is forced to move back to their roots in the poor Philadelphia movie they came from. Rocky is forced to retire from boxing because of a brain injury he sustained over the many years in the ring.

While there, an aspiring fighter Tommy Gunn comes into their life and Rocky begins training him.

Tommy can’t deal with being constantly in Rocky’s shadow (probably how Steve Prohm feels some days) and eventually breaks from Rocky to be managed by George W. Duke (a thinly veiled caricature of Don King). Even after winning the World Championship Tommy is still in Rocky’s shadow. He tracks Rocky down and they engage in a street fight that Rocky wins.

A subplot of the movie is Rocky dealing with his son who becomes jealous of Rocky’s relationship with Tommy. Rocky’s son was played by Sylvester Stallone’s son and while I don’t want to speak ill of the dead, his acting makes Tommy Morrison’s portrayal of Tommy Gunn look award worthy.

This was supposed to be the last ROCKY movie. In Sylvester Stallone’s original screenplay Rocky is killed. However, the studio did not want Rocky to die.

While I’m glad this isn’t the last ROCKY movie, I do think that the last scene of this movie would’ve been a great way to end the series. Rocky’s son takes him up the famous Rocky Steps to the Philadelphia Art Museum. Rocky reveals that he had never knew that it was a museum at the top of the stairs.

ROCKY: … Look at this, you know. I’ve been running up and down these steps for 20 years, and I never knew there were valuable pictures in this building.
ROCKY BALBOA JR.: Well you’re never too old to learn somethin’ new. You’re gonna love Picasso.
ROCKY: Yeah, yeah. Well I love almost everybody.

The last line I think just perfectly encompassed the Rocky character. He is all heart.

FAVORITE LINE:

ROCKY: You see, fear is a fighter’s best friend. You know, but it ain’t nothing to be ashamed of. See, fear keeps you sharp, it keeps you awake, you know, it makes you want to survive. You know what I mean? But the thing is, you gotta learn how to control it. All right? ‘Cause fear is like this fire, all right? And it’s burning deep inside. Now, if you control it, Tommy, it’s gonna make you hot. But, you see, if this thing here, it controls you, it’s gonna burn you and everything else around you up. That’s right, you know?





6. ROCKY IV

ROCKY IV was actually the first ROCKY I ever saw. In fairness, it should be higher on the list. This is the movie (along with RAMBO: FIRST BLOOD PART II and RED DAWN) that helped us win the Cold War. The Russkies saw that they could cheat all they wanted and America would just go in up in the mountains, do some one-armed push-ups and then come back down and kick their asses!

The basic story of ROCKY IV is that after ROCKY III Apollo wants to get back in the ring. He has been out of boxing for awhile and is now aged, but when a Soviet boxer named Ivan Drago is touring the U.S. Apollo sets up an exhibition match with Drago and Rocky signs up to be Apollo’s trainer.

Drago proves to be too much for Creed and kills him in the ring. Drago isn’t too phased about it though. As Apollo is dying in the ring Drago quips: If he dies, he dies.

Rocky isn’t going to sit around and let his best friend get killed. He immediately signs up to fight Drago in the Soviet Union. The actual running time of ROCKY IV is 91 minutes, but at least 40 minutes of that movie are training montages and montages of Rocky driving around in his sportscar feeling bad that he didn’t throw in the towel for Creed when he had the chance.

While Drago is training in a technologically advanced training facility and taking all the steroids he can get his hands on, Rocky and Apollo’s old trainer head up into the mountains where Rocky does manly training like chopping wood, running up mountains and lifting up carts. Oh yeah, and one-armed push-ups. Lots of one-armed push-ups.

When the fight comes around Drago doesn’t seem to be human, but eventually Rocky wears him down and the Soviet crowd begins to cheer for Rocky? Why? Because he is Rocky! After defeating Drago Rocky gives a heartfelt speech about people changing. 2 days later, the Berlin Wall was torn down*.

FAVORITE LINE:

ROCKY: : During this fight, I’ve seen a lot of changing, in the way you feel about me, and in the way I feel about you. In here, there were two guys killing each other, but I guess that’s better than twenty million. I guess what I’m trying to say, is that if I can change, and you can change, everybody can change!




5. ROCKY II

There isn’t really a ton that stands out about ROCKY II. The story is very similar to the first movie. Only this time Rocky gets to win. It’s like the producers saw the first ROCKY as a failure and then figured, well it would be an even bigger hit if he won. Sort of missing the entire point of the first movie.

There are a couple of strange things in this movie. Mickey trains Rocky to fight right handed, even though in the first movie that make a point of Rocky being left handed and that is one of the reasons Apollo’s trainer doesn’t want him to fight Rocky. It is also in this movie that Mickey trains Rocky for speed by having him chase chickens. After which Rocky quips: I feel like a Kentucky Fried Idiot.

FAVORITE LINES:

INTERVIEWER: Do you have a criminal record?
ROCKY: Nothin’ worth braggin’ about.

MICKEY: You’re gonna eat lightnin’; you’re gonna crap thunder.





4. ROCKY III

The reason ROCKY III is ranked over ROCKY IV is because this is the movie that introduced the world to “Eye of the Tiger”. Also, Mr. T as Clubber Lang is one of the great movie villains of all-time. Otherwise, they are mostly on par. In ROCKY III Rocky becomes a big complacent after winning the title. He doesn’t train as hard (does this sound like Apollo in ROCKY?) and then to make matters worse, when he fights his nemesis Clubber Lang in this film Mickey dies in the locker room before the fight. Rocky goes out and gets pounded and loses.

In a quest to get his title back, Apollo takes over his training and teaches Rocky how to fight like a black man. Rocky, of course, wins his title back. Then in the final scene Rocky repays Apollo’s training him by granting him his request. A third fight. No cameras. No spectators, just the two of them. Who wins this fight? You have to see CREED to find out.

FAVORITE LINE:

INTERVIEW: What’s your prediction for the fight?
CLUBBER LANG: My prediction?
INTERVIEW: Yes, your prediction.
CLUBBER LANG: Pain!




3. ROCKY BALBOA

We’ve actually hit a point where I believe that the ROCKY movies are great. Independent of a Rocky Bias. Which, I clearly have.

This chapter of the ROCKY franchise checks in on Rocky when he has moved past middle age. He is a widower now. He is dealing with the loss of his wife, the end of his boxing career, and dealing with a son that can’t deal with living in Rocky’s shadow. He can never be his own person. He will always be seen by the world as Rocky’s son.

Into this environment a sports show produces a computer simulation of Rocky against the current champ, Mason Dixon. In the simulation Rocky defeats Dixon. This leads to Rocky fighting Dixon in an exhibition match.

The story about the boxing match is really secondary and not what makes this movie great. What makes this movie great is watching Rocky deal with the themes of the movie. Growing old. Dealing with loss. Having to move on from the things that you can no longer do as you age. Particularly if that thing is how everybody else defines you.

FAVORITE LINE:

ROCKY: You ain’t gonna believe this, but you used to fit right here.
[taps on the inside of his hand]
I’d hold you up to say to your mother, “this kid’s gonna be the best kid in the world. This kid’s gonna be somebody better than anybody I ever knew.” And you grew up good and wonderful. It was great just watching you, every day was like a privilege. Then the time come for you to be your own man and take on the world, and you did. But somewhere along the line, you changed. You stopped being you. You let people stick a finger in your face and tell you you’re no good. And when things got hard, you started looking for something to blame, like a big shadow. Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place and I don’t care how tough you are it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done! Now if you know what you’re worth then go out and get what you’re worth. But ya gotta be willing to take the hits, and not pointing fingers saying you ain’t where you wanna be because of him, or her, or anybody! Cowards do that and that ain’t you! You’re better than that! I’m always gonna love you no matter what. No matter what happens. You’re my son and you’re my blood. You’re the best thing in my life. But until you start believing in yourself, ya ain’t gonna have a life. Don’t forget to visit your mother.




2. CREED

Choosing between CREED and ROCKY BALBOA was the toughest call on this list for me. I’m taking CREED over ROCKY BALBOA because it is viusally better made than Balboa. Directed by an up and coming director Ryan Coogler there are more than a couple of visually impressive feats. One being shooting an entire boxing match in one shot.

The story of CREED follows the son of Apollo Creed (who was born after Apollo’s death) following his father’s footsteps into the ring. Rocky trains him, while fighting his personal battle with cancer.

CREED deals with some of the same themes of other ROCKY movies. Including living in the shadow of a famous parent. But it also deals with new themes like being a caretaker for a sick family member. Deciding what to do when you are given a horrible diagnosis. What makes CREED great is that not only does it throw the punches, it lands them.

The final scene where Creed helps a chemo-weakened Rocky up those famous steps in Philadelphia, should have you weeping like a baby. There is no shame in that.

FAVORITE LINE:

ROCKY: Time takes everybody out; time’s undefeated.




1. ROCKY

This one really is a no-brainer. ROCKY. The ultimate underdog. One of the best movie scores of all-time. The movie that launched one of the best and most iconic movie characters of all-time. It even won the Oscar for Best Picture.

Everybody should know the story of ROCKY. Rocky is a failed middle-aged boxer that is given a shot at the title after Apollo Creed’s challenger backs out at the last second. However, in addition to being a great underdog story, it is also a very moving and touching love story.

Rocky is the ultimate underdog. His trainer thinks he’s a bum. The other employee of the loan shark he works for doesn’t respect him. But when Rocky gets his title shot, he is suddenly somebody. Even if it is only going to be for a few weeks.

I just don’t want to describe it any longer. I’m just going to watch it. That is what you should do to. Come over to my house and we will watch ROCKY on the big screen.

FAVORITE LINES:

ROCKY: Ah come on, Adrian, it’s true. I was nobody. But that don’t matter either, you know? ‘Cause I was thinkin’, it really don’t matter if I lose this fight. It really don’t matter if this guy opens my head, either. ‘Cause all I wanna do is go the distance. Nobody’s ever gone the distance with Creed, and if I can go that distance, you see, and that bell rings and I’m still standin’, I’m gonna know for the first time in my life, see, that I weren’t just another bum from the neighborhood.

MICKEY: Women weaken legs!

ADRIAN: Why do you wanna fight?
ROCKY: Because I can’t sing or dance.

MICKEY: OK, I’m gonna tell ya! You had the talent to become a good fighter, but instead of that, you become a legbreaker to some cheap, second rate loanshark!
ROCKY: It’s a living.
MICKEY: IT’S A WASTE OF LIFE!

APOLLO’S TRAINER: He doesn’t know it’s a damn show! He thinks it’s a damn fight!

Of course, leave your opinions in the comments section below.

*Don’t try verifying that fact with your history books.

The Archives: Edition #153

Today’s images come from the following folder:

Backup/Robot Monster Bros/RMB Peripherals/Designs/






This image and its slight modification is a drawing by Jay Janson. It was meant to be the logo for a subdependent movie studio that was comprised of my friends and I. But we never really accomplished much. This is what happens when you are indigent and don’t actually have a video camera or means to edit a film.

There are rumors out there that we did complete a handful of films, but that is all they are… rumors…

Next week’s folder will be:

Backup/Robot Monster Bros/RMB Peripherals/Poster Designs

The Archives: Edition #152

Today’s images come from the following folder:

Backup/Robot Monster Bros/Project Universe Stills

A slight explanation of these images: These are stills taken from the Anders Runestad Joint Project Universe. This was probably the best thing that Robot Monster Bros/Cheesedick Films ever made. Well, at least the most competent, any way.

It was also our first/last foray into digital media. Project Universe is a still photo film inspired by the French film La Jetee. The still photos taken for this movie were taken with a digital camera that recorded the images on floppy disks. Each floppy disk could hold 3 images. Yea… Go technology!










Jay and I were the only humans to appear in this movie. I am in exactly one scene. I play Jay’s boss.

Next week’s folder will be:

Backup/Robot Monster Bros/RMB Peripherals/Designs

The Archives: Edition #151

Today’s images come from the following folder:

Backup/Robot Monster Bros/Games 2 Production Stills

I will explain this collection. A very few select of you have had the very distinct pleasure of viewing the magnum opus of my group of friends: Games. These pictures are from the Jay Janson Joint/sequel Games 2. Unfortunately, this movie will never be released. However, that hasn’t stopped Bill from writing a script for Games 3.






























































Next week’s folder will be:

Backup/Robot Monster Bros/Project Universe Stills