The 2014 Matty Awards

The ballots have been cast. The votes have been tallied. They winners are about to be revealed.

That’s right, friends! It’s time for the annual release of the Matty Awards! I know you’ve been on the edge of your seat in anticipation of this year’s announcement. This is, after all, a highly coveted award. It’s right up there with The Old Man’s fragile Leg Lamp.

So here’s this years winners in all their glory. But before I announce them, please note that the links included are affiliate links. If you happen to buy any of these fine products, a small portion of the profits will go back to me. And that helps keep this blog up and running. Thank you for your continued support!

Now that we have that disclaimer out of the way, I’m pleased to present the 2014 Matty Award recipients.

Congratulations to all of the winners!

2014 Matty Awards

Best Movie


Captain America: The Winter Soldier
I think the second Captain America is my favorite installment in the Marvel series so far. Of course, I haven’t seen Guardians of the Galaxy yet. Some say it’s even better than Winter Soldier. That’s a pretty tall order. I plan on finding out soon if this is a valid claim or not.

Best Album


Andrew Peterson, “After All These Years: A Collection

Andrew Peterson is no stranger to this award. In fact, his album, Behold the Lamb, won the award for Best Album in the inaugural appearance of this award (back when it was called the Ralphies).

This is not your typical “best of” or “greatest hits” album. There are some new songs mixed in with the old ones. And the old ones have been redone. It’s like Andrew Peterson is covering Andrew Peterson on this album (or something like that). While I love every song on this album, I’m especially fond of the second half.

Best Song

I think this category is going to be handed over to my kids. Permanently.

Here are their choices…

Aiden


Lecrae, “Nuthin”
from the album, Anomaly

Alyson


One Direction, “Girl Almighty”
from the album, Four

Mihret


“Let it Go”
from the Frozen soundtrack

I know. Mihret’s choice is a shock. Isn’t it?

A #Frozen #selfie with Olaf. #Christmas2014

A photo posted by Matt Todd (@mattdantodd) on

Best Book (nonfiction)


Creativity, Inc.
by Ed Catmul

Not only is this the story of the creation of Pixar and the resurrection of Disney Animation, but it also talks about how to be a creative organization. This is a must-read for any fan of Pixar, Disney, or Steve Jobs. It might even be a must-read for fans of Industrial Light and Magic. It’s also a must-read for anyone remotely concerned about leadership, management, creativity, teamwork, or storytelling.

The chapter about failure is worth the price of admission alone. It’s completely contrary to what I’ve experienced in the corporate world.

Best Book (fiction)


The Warden and the Wolf King
by Andrew Peterson

No, this hasn’t become the Andrew Peterson Awards Show or anything like that. I managed to read some good works fiction this year. The Warden and the Wolf King is the best work of fiction I’ve read in a long time. I laughed. I cheered. I cried. I couldn’t put the book down. It is a fitting end to the Wingfeather Saga.

Best TV Show

Still retired. I have one show that I’d like to name, but I don’t want to jinx it. It seems like every show that wins this award is canceled shortly afterward. So I’ll keep my choice to myself because I kind of like watching Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

oops.

Best Sports Moment

Aiden Todd, North Middle School

I didn’t write about this when it happened. And it was one of the few times I didn’t have the camera ready when Aiden was on the football field this season, but the best sports moment, by far, has to be the interception he got during one of his games. Hopefully it’s only the first of many in his career. Although I don’t have a video or a photo of his interception, here’s a little video I put together while playing around with flipagram.

 

Best Blog

DorkDaddy
Dork Daddy
I mean, the guy is raising his kids in the ways of the Geek. And he and his family dressed up like characters from The Princess Bride this Halloween. And he even took his kids to meet Wesley himself. That makes for an awesome dad. And an awesome blog.

I could probably also give the award to Indy with Kids and Geeking in Indiana, too. But they’d be repeat winners. And we’ve already had repeat winners this year. Besides, they’ll probably win next year, too. Because they’re pretty awesome people with some pretty cool blogs, too.

Now it’s your turn! What books, movies, etc. are on YOUR list for 2014?

Star Trek fans: this dad needs your help!

Kids in Space

I have a big confession to make. Some of you aren’t going to like it. But that’s OK. I’ve come to grips with this horrible parental neglect that I’ve been practicing for the last decade or so. The whole situation is what it is and it’s time that I man up and own what I have done.

Or what I haven’t done.

I like to dabble in the art of geekery. I enjoy a good superhero story or a sci-fi flick. I still wouldn’t qualify myself as a “gamer,” but I have allowed myself to get caught up in the occasional pursuit of video game domination. It’s because of my interest in all things geek, I’m pretty excited (it took all that was within me not to say “pretty geeked” here) about Indy PopCon*. But when push comes to shove, my first true geek love has been and always will be the Star Wars universe. That being said, there’s plenty of room for Star Trek.

And that’s where I’ve failed my kids.

This might even be a bigger failure than the fact that Aiden’s favorite Star Wars episode is Attack of the Clones. I don’t know how I allowed this to happen. Frankly, I’m embarrassed to admit it.

My kids have never watched Star Trek.

There. I said it. I know this is a travesty. But it’s time to fix this situation. And that’s where I need your help.

Since I’m introducing them to the Star Trek universe, I need to provide an introduction. How do I do that? Where should their starting point be as they boldly go where they had not gone before?

Come on. You knew that reference was coming.

Begin at the beginning?

In The Sound of Music, Maria tells us that the very beginning is a very good place to start. That ain’t happening here. Thanks to Netflix, I recently had the chance to re-watch Star Trek: The Motion Picture. And that’s definitely somewhere I don’t want to start with them. In fact, I’m not even sure if they’d miss anything if they never saw it. Unless they desperately need to understand some cultural reference to V’Ger. Or fall asleep. Then I guess they could watch it.

Now that we’ve established that we aren’t beginning at the beginning, where does that leave us? I remember watching The Wrath of Khan in the movie theatre. I didn’t eat my popcorn during the rest of the movie after watching this scene. I was scared those wormish things were in my bucket of popcorn and would crawl into my ears.

Oh man. It still makes me squirm. That’s some good filmmaking right there.

Since I’ll be watching it with them, I could guide them through the film, filling in the gaps along the way. That would make sense, right? Then I could follow with the two subsequent sequels that complete this story arc.

I have no desire to watch Star Trek V again. So I don’t really want to subject them to watching a bunch of retired guys flying around the universe in search of the Divine. It just didn’t hold my attention and I highly doubt it’ll capture theirs, either.

OK, so we’ve established that I’m not going to initially show them The Motion(less) Picture or The Final Frontier. Might as well throw Insurrection and Nemesis into that category, too. They’re decent movies, but let’s face it: Insurrection feels like it’s just a really long episode of The Next Generation. It doesn’t necessarily feel like a film. And Nemesis? Well, it just feels like a big ol’ mess.

So that leads into the reboot.

Let’s recap, shall we? 

This is the order I’m thinking of showing the Star Trek films to my kids:

  1. The Wrath of Khan (II)
  2. The Search for Spock (III)
  3. The Voyage Home (IV)
  4. The Undiscovered Country (VI)
  5. Generations
  6. First Contact
  7. Star Trek (reboot)
  8. Into Darkness

OK, Star Trek lovers, I need your insight!

Is this the right path to take? Or should I start with the Next Generation films and then somehow fill in the story after those? The problem with doing that is they really won’t care that much about Kirk’s appearance in Generations if they don’t know who he is or why he is so significant.

I would assume that very few of you would suggest that we start with the reboot. Right?

And then once we’re done with Star Trek, I guess I should introduce them to Indiana Jones, Back to the Future, and Ghostbusters.

Oh man. I’ve failed my kids. I’ve failed them.

Please help!

Oh, and live long and prosper!

 

 

*Yeah. That’s an affiliate link. I’m a member of the Indy PopCon Street Team! 😀

Star Wars Day: Celebrate the LOVE

My Junior year of high school, I had Mr. Hughes for English Lit. He really opened my eyes to the world of literature. One of the lasting legacies of learning under him was my understanding of the art of tragedy. Mr. Hughes helped me realize that the Star Wars trilogy wasn’t really about Luke Skywalker, Chewbacca, Jawas, and Ewoks. It was really the Tragedy of Anakin Skywalker.

Now, with the coming of the Prequels, this might not be that big of a deal. Of course it’s the story of the rise, fall, and ultimate redemption of the Chosen One. But fifteen years ago, there was no Prequel. We only had the Original Trilogy. And the realization that Star Wars is about Anakin blew my mind. It revolutionized how I watched the films.

There was one class session, however, where Mr. Hughes and I had a spirited disagreement about the final scene of Return of the Jedi. He was discussing how Jedi was about Anakin’s redemption and he said, “Even at the end of the movie, they’re calling attention to Lord Vader when the choir sings, ‘Celebrate the lord,’ and the closing credits come up” (obviously, this is paraphrased).

“No they don’t,” I interrupted. “They don’t sing ‘Celebrate the lord.’ It’s ‘Celebrate the love.'”

“No. I’m pretty sure it’s lord,” he replied. Then he continued on his monologue.

You’re wrong, I thought. I know it’s love. But I could never prove it.

Five years later, I was finally able to purchase the Star Wars Anthology and it included the lyrics to the Ewok Celebration. Do you know what the final line is? That’s right…Celebrate the LOVE.

So…if anyone still talks to Mr. Hughes or if you happen to run into him in the grocery store or your local Barnes & Noble, please inform him that I was, in fact, right. I’m sure he’s been tossing and turning about it for 15+ years.

Quoth the Emperor: “Young fool, only now – at the end – do you understand.”

Or something like that.

The Ewok Celebration is something that’s near and dear to my heart. I still get goose bumps from time to time when I hear it. It doesn’t hurt that we used it as part of our Recessional at our wedding (have I mentioned recently how awesome my wife is for agreeing to that?).

I’m still disappointed that they decided to remove it from the “Special” Edition re-release back in ’97. They changed it once. I’d prefer to see them change it again. Something tells me there’s a better chance of making Han shoot first than the return of the Ewok Celebration.

But one can hope. Maybe Sir Lucas will figure out that he’ll make more money that somehow if he changes it back. But until that day, at least we’ll have Ewok Karaoke.