The Athletic Nerd: The Final Post

August 10, 2013 at 7:47 am


It’s hard to believe I started this blog 4 years ago. So much has changed in the world of movies and in my own life. Honestly, I’ve evolved just as much, if not more, than this site. More than anything I’ve learned, that I’m happy when I write.

When I first started The Athletic Nerd, it was meant to be an outlet used to promote the short films we were producing in those days. Over time, I incorporated reviews, interviews, top 10 lists, short films and more. At the peak of this cinematic blogging adventure, I was writing 6 posts a week. Things were going well and traffic steadily increased which fueled my passion to keep updating the site. To keep writing.

Recently, I took some time away from this blog in order to finish my latest screenplay. After a few weeks, I decided to put everything on hold and just enjoy the summer. Why not? I went out more, I saw more movies, I went to England, I read a novel and I relaxed. For the first time in years, I wasn’t writing blogs or screenplays and I wasn’t producing short films. I took a vacation from it all. It was a great chance to reflect on where I wanted to focus my addiction to writing.  It was an interesting experiment that lead to a few important realizations.

In addition to my career as a professional editor in television, I love to write screenplays. I can’t get enough. In fact, this past May I launched a brand new screenwriting site called The Screenwriting Spark.

But… I haven’t finished many screenplays in the last few years… I have no excuse. I just didn’t set aside enough time for screenwriting.

When it comes to this blog, there are a number of changes I’ve wanted to implement but I was limited. This blog has a certain style and focus that just didn’t fit my new vision.  I just turned 30. I watch movies differently now and I want to write about movies differently.

I realized it was time for a change. The combination of more free time, more time for screenwriting & the prospect of developing a new movie blog was too intriguing to ignore.

So I’ve decided, with mixed emotions, to end The Athletic Nerd.

It was a tough decision to make but I’m excited about it nonetheless. I’m ready to move on. Throughout the next year, I’m going take more time for myself and my family. I’m going to write more screenplays and FINALLY (read: maybe) send them out into the world. When I’m ready, I’ll launch a brand new movie blog. A place where I can continue to share my love of films.

After 4 years, 1000 posts and well over a million page hits, it’s hard to say goodbye. I’ve learned so much in the last 4 years. I plan to use that knowledge to create something better in the near future. I’m not done with movie blogging yet. I’m just taking an extended vacation to focus on other things.

For now, the plan is to keep The Athletic Nerd online. I’ve cleaned up my archives considerably but many frequently visited pages remain.

From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank everyone who stopped by my blog to read about movies, screenwriting & independent film. I’m already looking forward to launching something new when the time is right. Until then, you can still follow me on Twitter @17west or check out The Screenwriting Spark.



15 Movies To Look Forward To For The Rest Of 2013

June 28, 2013 at 12:00 pm

15 Movies To Look Forward To For The Rest Of 2013 | July - December Movie Preview


It’s hard to believe 6 months of 2013 has come and gone.  It’s been a fantastic year for movies thus far but there are tons of amazing films on the way.

COUNTDOWN | January – June 2013 Movie Review Round Up & Rankings

COUNTDOWN | 44 Movies To Look Forward To In 2013

Here are 10 movies I’m looking forward to the most:


October 25th

I don’t know a lot about this property but, like The Hunger Games, it’s hard to ignore when so many people love the material it’s based upon.


November 20th

I wasn’t a giant fan of the original but I’m curious about the sequel regardless.

REVIEW | The Hunger Games


October 25th

I’ve written a lot about the entire Paranormal Activity franchise.  The fourth installment was the first I didn’t enjoy at all.  Let’s hope the 5th doesn’t rely on the same scares and actually advances the mythology.

15 Movies To Look Forward To For The Rest Of 2013 | July - December Movie Preview

XTRA | The Athletic Nerd on Paranormal Activity

REVIEW | Paranormal Activity 4

12. KICK ASS 2

August 16th

The first film was over the top but it had it’s moments.  We’ll see how Jim Carrey’s recent decision affects the film leading up to it’s release.

REVEW | Kick Ass



It’s hard not to get excited for another movie from the incredibly talented Coen Brothers.


December 13th

Matt Damon, George Clooney, John Goodman, Bill Murray, Jean Dujardin and more…  The cast alone is worth a top 10 mention.

Click here for more on the film.


July 26th

I seriously hated X-Men Origins: Wolverine but this movie has a very good chance of erasing that movie’s existence from my mind.


September 20th

A fantastic looking drama with an impressive cast.


November 15th

Martin Scorsese reunites with long time collaborator Leonardo DiCaprio in what looks like one of the best films of 2013.


December 13

I can’t wait to go back to Middle Earth!

COUNTDOWN | Top 5 Moments: The Desolation of Smaugh Trailer #1

REVIEW | The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

XTRA | The Athletic Nerd on The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit & Middle Earth


December 20th

Easy pick.  The first film is one of my favorite comedies.


August 9th

An impressive looking following up to District 9 by director Neill Blomkamp


October 4

One of my most anticipated movies of the year.  I can’t wait to see this.

XTRA | 5 Reasons Why Gravity Is A Must See


November 8th

The next chapter in Marvel’s Phase Two set of films.  How can that not be high on the list!

COUNTDOWN | Top 5 Moments: Thor The Dark World Trailer #1

XTRA | Marvel Cinematic Universe Archives


July 12th

Giant Robots vs Massive Monsters directed by Guillermo Del Toro.  That is all I needed to hear.

COUNTDOWN | Top 5 Moments: Pacific Rim Main Trailer

Click here for more Movie Countdowns.

Man of Steel Second Viewing: 10 Things That Stood Out

June 28, 2013 at 11:30 am

Man of Steel Second Viewing: 10 Things That Stood Out Watching | Man of Steel Review 2


I thought I wouldn’t want to see Man of Steel in theaters twice but I was wrong.  On a rainy afternoon, I caught a nice relaxing matinee.  Turns out, Man of Steel is MUCH better the second time around.

REVIEW | Man of Steel is the Superman movie we wanted right?

I think my main issue with my first viewing was the lengthy first act.  It’s completely understandable that his iconic origin must be established.  There are many moments people expect to see but as I said in my review:

It’s interesting for such a fast paced movie to feel slow.  Time crawls when you can’t wait to see super speed.

I just wanted to see Superman in action.  My feelings about the movie changed once I finally saw the Man of Steel fly.  Well, watching the film a second time allowed me to truly appreciate the story free from the unbelievable anticipation I felt the first time.  Man of Steel has since become my favorite movie of 2013 thus far.

Man of Steel Second Viewing: 10 Things That Stood Out | Man of Steel Review 2

I suppose it’s not fair to the other films I’ve seen as I’ve only seen them once.  I simply couldn’t resist watching the incredible action sequences on the big screen again.  I just didn’t expect my original complaints to disappear. Here are 10 things that stood out:

Editor’s Note:  I’m perfectly comfortable admitting that I can be an idiot sometimes.  It’s important to mention this for #10 to make sense.  Also there are spoilers ahead…


I was reading movie news on the bus heading to the theater when I realized I may have missed my stop.  I pulled out the map on my iPhone and realized I had!  So I got off the bus.  It was 12:49 and the movie started at 1…  I was going to be late.  Thankfully, another bus going the opposite direction arrived quickly.  To my horror, I realized a few streets down the road that I was still going away from the theater.  And then I figured it out.  My map was upside down…  I shouldn’t have left the first bus.  I got to the theater at 1:19 thinking I had missed the first few scenes.

It turns out, I missed nothing.  I even got a chance to see the latest Pacific Rim trailer.  How could I be 20 minutes late and NOT miss any of the movie?  These commercials and trailers are out of control!


The final fight maybe the highlight of the movie but this entire sequence was pretty awesome.


This story broke a few days before I saw Man of Steel the second time.  I was on full alert and I think I agree.  They CGI’d a frame of Christopher Reeve in there.

Read more about the story and see an animated GIF of the sequence here.

Man of Steel Second Viewing: 10 Things That Stood Out | Man of Steel Review 2


Clark Kent is Kal-El’s disguise but we rarely see him in public as an adult.  He spends much of the film hiding and it isn’t until the final moments when we get to see the real Clark Kent.  It’ll be interesting to see how Henry Cavill plays the role in the inevitable sequel.


Jor-El is an integral part of Superman’s origin and Russell Crowe truly shines with many fantastic moments.


It’s not easy to craft shots when Superman is traveling at such high speeds but Snyder succeeds throughout the movie.  There are so many unbelievably creative shots.  Especially when Superman is at full speed.

Side Note: That World Engine is action is awesome.

Man of Steel Second Viewing: 10 Things That Stood Out | Man of Steel Review 2


When he finally arrives, they don’t waste anytime posing him in iconic ways.

Man of Steel Second Viewing: 10 Things That Stood Out | Man of Steel Review 2


We know what’s coming.  I didn’t think they HAD to kiss.  Save some moments for the sequel.

Man of Steel Second Viewing: 10 Things That Stood Out | Man of Steel Review 2


Hans Zimmer did an absolutely spectacular job with the score.  It stayed with me after long after both viewings.  You can hear it in action in the trailer above or at length in the clip below:


When Superman and Zod take to the skies in their epic final battle I was mesmerized.  I think it’s time to revisit this post:

5 Awesome Gravity Defying Movie Fights

Question: Which film caused more damage their respective final acts: The Avengers or Man of Steel?

Man of Steel Second Viewing: 10 Things That Stood Out | Man of Steel Review 2

Click here for more Movie Countdowns.

ROUND THREE: One Trek, One No Trek

May 12, 2013 at 5:06 am

One Trek... One No Trek | Original Star Trek vs New Star Trek J.J Abrams Star Trek Into Darkness






The Setup:

JAY: A fan of J.J Abrams’ Star Trek Universe with little knowledge of the original series.

JOHN: Not a fan of J.J Abrams’ Star Trek Universe but a huge fan of the original series.


Top 5 Moments: Star Trek Into Darkness Final Trailer #3

(JAY) The sequel is not far away and you say it’ll get your money but as a sci fi fan and not a Star Trek fan. It makes me wonder what it would take for Star Trek Into Darkness to convince you that it is a tale worthy of it’s name.

I think it’s going to be spectacular because of the approach they’ve taken with the villain. After years of ‘Kahn’ speculation, it appears as though Benedict Cumberbatch is playing an original character. I’m hoping he is an original character. I’m sure you are as well. Why recycle legends like Kahn?  Let’s see something new.

Having said that, I think ‘John Harrison’ will have a lot in common with Kahn. He’s a powerful being who appears to have serious business with the federation and Earth. It’s almost a given that things will get personal with Kirk but I think it will be a classic battle of strategic minds.  They’ve even cast Alice Eve as Dr. Carol Marcus…

Much has been written about John Harrison’s back story. (note: need to find link for this) He’s fighting for a very real and very relatable cause. We’ll have to wait to find out what that cause is but I couldn’t be more encouraged.

Beyond the villain, I’m also excited to spend time with the crew of the Enterprise without the need to establish them. A part of me believes you didn’t respond to the first because they spent a lot of time setting up relationships you already knew inside and out. For me it was new but I can see how it can be frustrating for a long time fan. Especially when you factor in the time travel element they used to ‘reset’ the universe.

Now, the Enterprise has it’s captain and the adventure can begin right away. I hope they deliver more space battles. More strategy. More science fiction concepts. Essentially… More Star Trek. (And more lens flares.)

If Star Trek Into Darkness features more of the crew doing what they do best and a formidable foe, would that be enough?

What did you think of the trailers?  Encouraged?  Discouraged?

COUNTDOWN | Top 5 Moments: Star Trek Into Darkness Trailer #1

COUNTDOWN | Top 5 Moments: Star Trek Into Darkness Final Trailer

Personally, I think the sequel will surpass the original. They worked so hard to create a new universe of sorts where they have the freedom to do whatever they want with the franchise. They’ve got a blank check. I think it’s fascinating to consider the options they had available to them.

Opening credits. Star Trek.

However, I have to admit I’m not fully versed in what that entails. I know it’s going to be more Star Trek as I know it but will they be able to include enough to please fans of old?  As we reach the end of this debate I’m more convinced that I really don’t know the subtleties that makes Star Trek work.  But I know I’m a fan of this new crew.

Maybe I’m looking forward to the same movie you are. I’m just a lot more excited to see it because I love the new versions of the characters.

As this is technically the final round, I propose we revisit this debate after we both see the sequel. A fourth round.  We can find out if they succeeded in winning you back.

Top 5 Moments: Star Trek Into Darkness Final Trailer #3

(JOHN) With the new movie closely approaching, I’m rather impressed how the identity of the villain is still a mystery. If they do decide to go the original route, I’d definitely find that a welcome decision, as recreating a previous villain will naturally force me to draw comparisons and stay loyal to the original. That’s just how I roll.

Having still not seen the original series minus The Wrath of Khan, I still find it hard how one can make comparisons to the new characters if they didn’t even really get to know the original ones. In essence, there isn’t really much there to base a comparison due to lack of reference. How do you know you “love” these new characters better than the original ones if you haven’t really seen them?


Pretty much any recreation of anything that already appeared in The Original Series is going to discourage me. You touched on more space battles, and I will admit that is the ONE thing I am curious about and interested in seeing. It may just be the ship, an inanimate object, but the Enterprise is definitely part of the “cast” of the series and is a character in itself. Even though they made some of their own modifications to the design of the ship, that is the one thing in the new films that I can mildly accept the aesthetic changes to as it still closely resembles the original, more than anything else they have tried to re-create. That quick shot of the Enterprise diving into what looks like water sparked my attention. The ship is something that is timeless, and whether you’re seeing it in The Motion Picture from 1979, or in the upcoming Darkness, it still holds true for me. I can imagine MY crew on the newer ship, and deal with it.

As I stated before, I’ll probably go see the movie when it comes out. But I’ll be there to basically check out the effects and watch someone else mess with “my” universe.

One Trek... One No Trek...

5 reasons why Gravity is a must see in 2013

May 10, 2013 at 7:45 am

5 reasons why Gravity is a must see in 2013 | Gravity Alfonso Cuarón 2013 preview

[UPDATE] Multiply these reasons by 50 now the the trailer has been released!  Forgive the pun but Gravity just skyrocketed even higher on my 2013 must see list.

Originally posted on January 30, 2013

Gravity is the next film from director Alfonso Cuarón. (Children of Men)  It’s a thriller about two astronauts who get stranded in space after their shuttle is destroyed.  Two people floating around with little hope of setting foot on Earth again.  Where will the story go?  How will they survive?  Why has this film’s development taken so long?  These are just a few questions that make Gravity one of my most anticipated movies of 2013.

Click here for 43 more movies to look forward to in 2013.


Original Release Date: November 21, 2012

Actual Release Date: October 18, 2013

Those who were anxiously awaiting Alfonso Cuarón’s space thriller were forced to wait another year.  A year!  It’s unclear why the film was delayed given the overwhelmingly positive early buzz but I’m over it.  The film is obviously packed with challenging special effects.  If he needed an extra year to get it right I’m more than happy to forgive the delay.


5 reasons why Gravity is a must see in 2013 | Gravity Alfonso Cuarón 2013 preview

George Clooney and Sandra Bullock.  Two fantastic actors tasked with bringing these astronauts to life.  Many big names were attached to Gravity before George & Sandra took on the roles.  Names that included Robert Downey Jr., Marion Cotillard, Scarlett Johansson, Blake Lively & Natalie Portman.

5 reasons why Gravity is a must see in 2013 | Gravity Alfonso Cuarón 2013 preview

Tons of interest in roles that are sure to be challenging to pull off.  With a high concept that demands a ton of screen time for few actors, the cast is crucial.  As a fan of them both, I think this movie is in good hands.


5 reasons why Gravity is a must see in 2013 | Gravity Alfonso Cuarón 2013 preview

Children of Men was a phenomenal movie full of imaginative ideas and incredible visuals.  Director Alfonso Cuarón gave us a thrilling science fiction adventure that dealt with extremely tense circumstances.  I loved Children of Men.  It’s full of breathtaking long shots that pushed the limits of what you can accomplish without an edit.

Rumor has it Gravity begins with a spectacular 17 minute opening shot.  I can’t wait to see it. (If it’s true.)


Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) is a brilliant medical engineer on her first shuttle mission, with veteran astronaut Matt Kowalsky (George Clooney) in command of his last flight before retiring. But on a seemingly routine spacewalk, disaster strikes. The shuttle is destroyed, leaving Stone and Kowalsky completely alone–tethered to nothing but each other and spiraling out into the blackness. The deafening silence tells them they have lost any link to Earth…and any chance for rescue. As fear turns to panic, every gulp of air eats away at what little oxygen is left. But the only way home may be to go further out into the terrifying expanse of space.

Sounds awesome doesn’t it?  For now, this is all we know BUT it’s what we don’t know that makes Gravity so intriguing.


What excites me the most is what WON’T happen.  A concept like this could easily end with some kind of space battle or an alien world.  Perhaps a ship picks them up and they must fight to survive.  I’d be okay watching a movie like that but Gravity promises to be something different.

Two characters.  Endless Space.

A while back, George Clooney did an interview and had this to say:

“It’s a two-hander with only two actors in the whole film,” he says. “It is a very odd film, really. Two people in space. No monsters. It’s more like [2001: A Space Odyssey] than an action film.” (USA Today)

No monsters?  No aliens?  Just two people stranded in space and tethered to each other?

…  What’s going to happen!? I can’t wait to find out.  What do you think?

XTRA | 5 awesome gravity defying movie fights