THE YEAR OF THE ACTOR: The Best of 2013

Am. Hustle

Back in the blog game. This year has been a particularly crowded year for movies that’s seen a couple revolutionary looks at storied settings (Gravity & space, 12 Years a Slave & southern slavery, Spring Breakers & … spring break?), original insight on the 20th century American identity (American Hustle, Dallas Buyer’s Club, Inside Llewyn Davis), and a handful of tiny pictures that’ll stay in your heart and mind much longer than most of their big brothers (Fruitvale Station, Before Midnight, Short Term 12, The Spectacular Now, Spring Breakers). Most of all, though, this year is notable for how much actors took over their movies, not due to their own star power but through pure screen presence. Hollywood got casting right this year, and it shows in movies big and small:

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THE SCORE: Coldplay Live 2012

Coldplay Live 2012

Coldplay’s latest tour, which officially launched around the time of their album release in October 2011, actually reaches back to the previous summer, when the British band hit up Festivals across the world as a test for their new music. Among these fests was Glastonbury, sort of a musical home for the band, which played there in 1999, 2000, 2002, and 2005. Continue reading


From Brosnan to Craig

Most people under the age of 30 — all part of the Millennial Generation (or ‘Generation Y’) — would probably strain to remember any experiences with Bond films before the Pierce Brosnan era, which stretched back to Bond’s first post-Soviet-dissolution adventures in the mid-nineties. While I never knew a Bond movie until 1999’s The World is Not Enough, my first experience with the walther-packing martini-sucking spy had come a few years earlier through a video game: Rare‘s classic N64 game Goldeneye, released in 1997 as a tie-in for the 1995 film of the same name. James Bond was a video game character first, and movie character second, at least in my eight-year-old eyes. Continue reading

ARCHIVE PIC: Me and the Duplass Bros


Photo courtesy of AJ Manoulian.

I uncovered this picture from over two years ago, when I sat down with Cyrus directors Mark and Jay Duplass as part of an interview I wrote up for the Michigan Daily. These guys have both since gone on to direct the 2011 film Jeff Who Lives at Home and Mark (middle) stars in the FX show The League and is also in Safety Not Guaranteed and the upcoming Kathryn Bigelow movie Zero Dark Thirty.


I recently traveled relatively far from the Michigan homeland of Ann Arbor — first I visited Vancouver, BC for the Vancouver International Film Festival and then continued on to Los Angeles for four days. While most of the trip was social and vacation-like, it was all nonetheless embedded in the context of filmmaking and my future career plans. Zug played at the Vancouver International Film Festival on Oct. 1 and 4, and the next week I was on to Los Angeles to pay my old Disney friends and coworkers a quick visit.

I don’t get out of the house much (or at least out of Ann Arbor). The occasional trip is, then, something I’m remarkably not used to — the combination of the comfort of home and the danger of peanut ingestion on the road often keeps me in a physical comfort zone where it’s incredibly easy to just be. When I get out, it’s a different enough experience that it inherently does a number of things to me. First, it makes me appreciate the awesome and generous place my hometown is; and second, it brings exciting new places and new ideas of what my future could realistically become. CONTINUE READING →

The first blog post. Ever.

The thought of starting a blog never crossed my mind throughout the past years, even as I saw blogs progress within popular (and my own) understanding from opinion springboards to legitimate sources of information, discourse, and well — college humor, memes, images, and pop culture in general. The fact that sites like The Huffington Post and Deadline Hollywood (and Gizmodo and TMZ, etc.) are formally blogs but practically instantaneous periodicals is, although logically something that would draw me to blogs, actually something that turned me away from starting my own. The blog format could clearly be effective, useful, and generally more 21st-century compatible than other sources of information. But I didn’t want to be a source of information, or news. That just doesn’t make sense. And I didn’t want to have an “opinion springboard” or a place where I would simply recount my adventures. I had no need for a blog. CONTINUE READING →