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It is time to start anew!  As you all know, I recently moved to Tucson Arizona, and I am really excited about the prospects of my new job there.  I am also extremely excited about the opportunity to open an improv theater in town.  Check out my website: http://tucsonimprovmovement.wordpress.com/

With all of these new developments, you may have noticed my lack of blog posts.  I have been investigating the idea of a personal brand and new uses of social media.  Through my research, I decided to rebrand and move forward with a new blog.  I originally wanted to convert Justimprov into the new format, but I really wanted to let Justimprov stand as a time capsule to my first foray on the blogosphere. Please join me at my new site http://justinlukasewicz.wordpress.com/.  My new blog will follow much of the same format, but I all be streamlining my topics.  I will strictly explore my continued study of improvisation and the lessons I learn in creating a new business.  I will be eliminating all of the extraneous things I used to post on this site such as TED talks, movie reviews, etc.  I hope you join me on this next step of my journey.

Last year I posted Amy Poehler’s Harvard Class Day speech, which had a lot to do with improv, and expressed a really great message.  This year Andy Samberg another SNL alum spoke at Class Day, and while there may not be a beautiful improv message, this is still hilarious!  So enjoy!

Today’s TED is out of the normal for talks that I usually post.  Seth Shostak works to monitor the skies looking for extraterrestrial life.  It is interesting to hear his thoughts on what would happen if a signal was discovered and the importance of passing on a love of science to our youth!

Men in Back!

The first Men in Black movie I loved, it was such a refreshing and fun concept.  After seeing that movie in my early high school days, I just wanted to see more adventures by these mysterious agents.  So when MIB 2 was coming to the big screen, I was totally pumped.  Then we all know how that turned out, a really disappointing turn on the big screen.  After that movie was over, I felt a bit betrayed.  Something that I liked so much seemed like there wasn’t much care taken with it.  I left the theater that night, talking about how bad the film was, and deep down inside I just wanted to see another one, a movie to make up for what went wrong with number 2.  Here comes Men in Black 3, starting of with the amazingly catchy song “Back in Time,” and I was ready, a time to make up for past grievances!

In MIB 2, there were a couple things that went horribly wrong.  All of the fun periphery characters from the first movies became focal points in the second film.  Example number one, Frank the pug, fun two minute cameo, but became an annoying leading figure in film 2.  I mean really, they jumped the shark and made him an agent.  Well I am glad to see all of those things fell to the background in the most recent turn.  We saw the worms walk by in a short cameo, all of the crazy alien characters were in the periphery, and this film focused only on the agents and their relationships.

That is one of the main goals of an improv scene.  Don’t want to see plotty stories, its important to get to the relationships between the people on stage and play them out in a meaningful way.  The filmmaker certainly developed the relationships of our main agents in a fast, fun, and meaningful way.  The twist at the end was unexpected and developed our two main characters in probably the most dramatic way in the whole series.

In most of the past editions of the MIB series when we meet aliens I never found them very inventive or interesting.  That was something that also changed this time around.  The villain Boris the Animal was pretty interesting, but my favorite character was Griffin, an alien who could constantly see multiple versions of the present/future playing out.  He also brought nice positive comments to the heartfelt moments in the movie.  Positivity is a major improv goal, and this character certainly brought positivity to this film. This was a fun time traveling character in a time turning movie.

Overall, I really liked Men in Black 3.  Was it the best movie of the summer, probably not, but it was a fun film to sit back, enjoy, and down some popcorn too.  There were a few things that really frustrated me.  In the past films Agent K was always shown as partnered character that really missed his wife, while they did divorce in film 2, a love interest from the past was added into a portion of time when K was in my mind dedicated to his wife.  As with turning time, there are always plot holes, while they were there, I feel like this film did a bit better then most in that department.  Overall, I definitely enjoyed this film! (3 ½ stars out of 5)

Today’s TED blog is all about memory.  This is one of the things I really need to work on, I have horrible short-term memory, which is not a good thing in improv.  I especially find it hard to remember all of the things I need to as I am performing in a harold.  I thought this video would help me out in that department.  While it did give a few good tips, the overall take away was “to remember to remember.”  We don’t remember things because we don’t pay attention, the best way to improve memory is to live in the moment and take our world in through a meaningful way.  If we practice that piece of advice, our memories will improve!  Sounds like great improv and life advice to me!

Goodbye Kristen Wiig

Kristen Wiig a 7 year cast member on Saturday Night Live performed in her last show on Saturday night.  Wiig got a musical send off from host and musical guest Mick Jagger, where she danced with other cast members and producer Lorne Michaels.  The cast members sang “She’s a Rainbow” and then transitioned to “Goodbye Ruby Tuesday.”  Some other SNL alums also showed up to participate in the send off.  Wiig was a very versatile performer, and in my opinion the strongest cast member of recent years.  Some of her skills rival the variety of characters that Will Ferrell used to play!  I am sad to see her go, but excited to see what she will do in her future career post-SNL.  Boo to Hulu for not being able to be posted on WordPress, but go and enjoy the link below.  It is emotional and fun to watch!

saturday-night-live-shes-a-rainbow

 

 

Today’s TED flows right up with building our creative confidence!  David Kelly talks about building our creative efficacy and going out into the world and doing what is most important to us.  Through his program people build confidence and the feeling of being more successful overall in life, it just takes getting past that barrier!  Sounds like taking an improv class to me!  If you continue on or just go for the opening experience, I think improv falls right in line with this speech!

Today’s TED shows the story of creating the 9/11 Memorial Museum at ground zero in New York City.  It’s an interesting story with some short videos from a future documentary on the topic.  Very interesting story on how museums are created and the stories they tell.  Also helps put 9/11 into perspective.

Midnight Maddness!

Midnight premiers are one of my favorite communal experiences.  It’s not often you get to sit down with like minded people who are all super fans of the same thing.  There is a heightened sense of excitement and enthusiasm in the room, especially when the film lives up to all expectations.  I recently had the opportunity to watch all 5 Avengers movies in a row leading up to the premier of The Avengers.  That may have been my all time favorite movie going experiences, the excitement and suspense in the room was palpable to all in attendance.

When you get to the end of a Broadway musical or a live performance there is typically applause, something you generally do not see in a movie theater.  At the end of most midnight premiers there is a loud applause when the movie is finished.  I think this is an ovation to all of the people who worked hard to put that film together.  It’s also apart of the fun communal experience everyone feels when something spectacular is seen.  It’s moments like these that bind us together, and make us feel apart of the whole.

I have seen several midnight premiers, and then gone to see the movie in theaters again a few days or weeks later.  I can tell you the midnight experience is much more fun then any of those later experiences.  There is a higher level of reaction by audience members, be it through laughter at just the right times or cheering when the protagonist makes just the right move!  The times I have gone to a repeat showing I have often been let down by the audience, which completely changes the movie going experience.  Sometimes it even gives me a different perspective on the film, and there is often a let down in what was so magical the first time around.

If you have not been there you need to go, positive emotions truly form great impacts on the world.  With regards to how we feel, our outlook on life, and the success of an improv scene; midnight premiers is one place in the real world where you can find a definite outflow of positive emotions.  The summer season is just beginning, and I will take in at least one more midnight showing when the batman returns to the big screen, and I can promise one thing on that night, a positive and highly eclectic movie going experience.

Time to get back at it for another summer.  Every year when summer blockbuster season comes around, I feel like a little kid waiting for Christmas.  I just love heading to the theater eating popcorn, and just taking in the magic of blockbuster fun.  As with past posts, my summer reviews will be a bit shorter, and I don’t plan on doing that typical movie review stuff.  I hope to make some connections to improv and then write a summary paragraph with a little rating on a scale of 1-5 stars.  Enjoy my reviews, and I would love to hear if you agree and disagree with my thoughts!

There was no better way to start off this summer then with The Avengers. The build up for this movie has been a long time coming, and I have been exceedingly impressed with what Marvel, now thorough Disney has done in building this franchise.  I actually went to a movie marathon of all the previous films leading up to the midnight premier, and it was really great to see how all of these movies were intertwined and building into one film.  When improvisers perform a harold the ultimate goal is to create a complete piece where the characters intertwine at the end in unexpected ways.  I felt like that is what this movie was, the last beats of a harold, the place where we get to see what happens when all of these characters happening in well-defined separate worlds collide and need to interact.

This film was also hilarious.  You can imagine Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man just making fun of other super heroes and how funny that would be, but that was only part of it.  I found this movie to be very funny through out, even when we get to the action orientated all out war climax scene.  This movie also presented several moments to clap in happiness at the action occurring on screen, this could have been exacerbated by the fact I was with about 100 people who spent fifteen hours in one theater together, and I like to clap!  Either way I feel like I need to go back and watch this film again to catch some of the lines stated after those break out moments.

If there was any lacking issue in this film it was the character development.  You can imagine we didn’t see much of it, because there were only 10 different main characters to deal with.  To me this wasn’t an issue, because in improv land we don’t necessarily focus on the plot heavy development of scenes, but more about pushing the action forward, and if this film had anything it was a crazy build up of momentum constantly pushing forward.  I would also like to confess, I am definitely not a Hulk fan, especially with the two films produced in the build up to The Avengers.  Alas, I think the Hulk got the most character development in this film, and I enjoyed him the most.  Maybe it was because there was a limit on the amount of time he was on camera snarling, but it was also because this is the first time we really saw Bruce Banner able to control “the other guy” on screen, and I think that is a crucial development point to make his character more enjoyable.

Overall, this film was awesome.  For me it lived up to all the hype and the year’s long development.  It seemed like everyone else loved it also, as it made the most money all time for an opening weekend.  Now my secret hope is The Dark Knight Rises can over take that as my most anticipated movie this summer.  The Avengers was fun, fast paced, funny, and action packed, everything you could want in a super, super hero movie.  Make sure you wait until after the credits for the second secret scene, it was amazing, and something I feel like had to come out of improvisation!  I also can’t wait to see the future of this franchise, I want more single hero films developed and then Avengers 2. Disney the fall is in your court not to mess this up!  (4 ½ out of 5 stars!)

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