Author: tonyacolvin

Movie: Tommy Boy

tommy boy poster

Tommy Boy includes stars Chris Farley, David Spade, and Dan Aykroyd. They can all be characterized as Impersonator actors, largely due to their many appearances together on Saturday Night Live. The unlikely duo of Farley and Spade were also in the movie Black Sheep; this duo worked very well together. They fed off of each other in their comedic acting. They were able to portray numerous character roles. They have portrayed fictional characters, as well as impersonating real people.
With the untimely death of Chris Farley in 1997 his career came to a tragic ending. Within the movie Tommy Boy he was portrayed as the not-so-bright son of a smart well-to-do auto parts manufacturer Tom Callahan, played by Brian Dennehy. From the beginning of the movie to the end he is plagued by unfortunate but comical circumstances. In a scene when he is sitting on a park bench, feeling down, the bench breaks. tommy-boy-movie-clip-screenshot-no-for-an-answer_largeHis reaction is, “Could have done without that.” Another scene in the movie as Richard, played by David Spade, is driving him back to town after being picked up from the airport, upon graduation from college. The open bag of M&M’s Tommy has set on the car dash, in the vintage hot rod owned by Richard, roll into the vent as Richard turns a corner. Richard is not happy, to which Tommy replies that it’s okay; they won’t melt because they have a hard candy shell. Chris Farley played a great variety of characters, even impersonating a senator on SNL.
David Spade — known as a prankster most of his life — caught a break in 1990, and became a regular cast member on Saturday Night Live. During his days there he portrayed many real people, such as Tom Petty, as well as fictional characters. He did many great skits with Chris Farley. In the movie Tommy Boy, Spade plays the character of Richard. Richard is a nose-to-the-grindstone, trying-to-move-up-the-ladder, serious, hard-working right hand man of the company owner, Tom Callahan. After the untimely TommyBoy_261Pyxurzdeath of Tom, Richard is put in charge of helping his son Tommy save the factory. What entails is a series of comedic events that leave you in stitches. Spade has went on to have a successful career in movies and television. He is an actor that can adapt well to many roles.
Dan Aykroyd has been around forever. What hasn’t he done? His work dates back decades. From The Blues Brothers, Trading Places, Saturday Night Live, Ghostbusters, Spies Like Us, My Girl, Coneheads, Pearl Harbor, and the voice of Yogi Bear in 2010. This well rounded actor played Zalinsky, the man trying to buy up Callahan Auto in Tommy Boy. He would also be characterized as an impersonator actor. He can handle rolls from comedy to drama. His career has spanned many decades due to his talent and versatility. Aykroyd has portrayed so many characters, and played them well. From his earliest works on Saturday Night Live to his starring role in Coneheads, he can make you laugh. His roles in Driving Miss Daisy and My Girl show you he is diverse enough to play a serious role. He is a very gifted and talented actor.

fat guy in a little coat


MOVIE: Top Gun


The three basic categories of sound are dialogue, sound effects, and music. Dialogue consists of the words spoken by two or more characters in the movie. It is usually recorded live, sometimes it is dubbed and added later. The difficulty with dialogue is making it look seamless and natural. Sound effects serve to enhance the film. It can enhance the action or thrill of the movie. Whether it’s an explosion, or roaring jet plane, it can bring you to the edge of your seat. Music can be a very critical part of a film. It can help set the mood for a scene. Whether its upbeat or low tones, the music sets the feeling. The music can make you want to get up and dance, or make your heart race with fear.

Top Gun was released in 1986. This movie centers on the Navy’s elite fighter weapons school. This film has all three basic categories of sound in dynamic format. This film is categorized in the genres of Action, Drama, and Romance by IMDB. The dialogue between the characters is everything from comedy to serious, and back again. The sound effects are phenomenal. One of my favorite scenes in called “Buzzing the Tower”. It is a wild scene where Goose and Maverick do a very close fly by the air traffic tower.


The dialogue between the actors is great, and the sound effects are amazing! Watching this in surround sound you feel the roar of the jet engine. The background music adds to the excitement, and victorious feeling. Top Gun was also nominated and won awards for the song Take My Breath Away”, sound effects, editing, sound effects editing, and soundtrack.

Throughout this film there is the glorious sound of jets, and an awesome soundtrack. Even during the dark sad times of the movie, the music and dialogue, move you close to tears. During the times of action and victory, those same sound effects, dialogue, and soundtrack make you want to get up and cheer. Had this movie been done in such a way that those elements were less than superior, it would be a mediocre movie at best. This movie brings sound effects, dialogue, and music to the forefront, and is a must see for that reason.

Goodykoontz, B., & Jacobs, C. P. (2014). Film: From watching to seeing (2nd ed.). San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education, Inc.

We Were Soldiers


Original Cinema Quad Poster - Movie Film Posters

Mise en scène can be easily defined as what you see on the screen. This is not just the props, actors, or costumes, but also the lighting. In this blog we will explore the lighting in the movie, We Were Soldiers.

WWS_05.28.06_cabIn this movie there is a wide variety of lighting used. High key during the bright sunny day, Low key in the dark of night. Fill and back lights were used to simulate lamps in the house, street lights, and also the lights on the base. One of the scenes with the use of backlight is where the cab driver is knocking on the door to ask for assistance in finding an address to deliver a telegram regarding the loss of a soldier.

Three point lighting, as well as underlighting and over head lighting were also used. These lighting sources were made to look very natural and realistic. One of the many scenes with the use of overhead lighting sources, made to simulate natural outdoor light, is on the base as one of the privates is running in the morning and salutes.

wws saluteColor was used in a variety of ways and brought great drama to many scenes. In one profound scene in particular saturation is used to bring great emotion. This scene is where the helicopter pilot is rinsing the blood out of the inside of the chopper after airlifting wounded and deceased soldiers from the battlefield for many hours. The scene is dark and dramatic. You see the sea of red being washed from the inside of the chopper. Low key lighting was used in most all of the battlefield scenes.

The lighting director had a very challenging job in this movie due to the amount of camera angles, and every type of lighting scene imaginable.

MOVIE: Field of Dreams

title field of dreams

FILM:  Field of Dreams


DIRECTOR:  Phil Alden Robinson

WRITERS:  Phil Alden Robinson (screenplay) based off the book “Shoeless Joe” by W.P. Kinsella

MAIN CAST:  Kevin Costner, James Earl Jones, Ray Liotta, Amy Madigan

STORY/PLOT:  Ray Kinsella (Kevin Costner) is a relatively new farmer living with his family in rural Iowa and, as the film’s opening narration mentions, did not have the best relationship with his father (who was a massive baseball fan).  One evening at dusk, Ray is walking through his cornfield when he hears a voice distinctly and repeatedly say the phrase “If you build it, they will come”.  He also sees a vision of a baseball field on his property, and takes both the words he hears and vision he sees as instruction to do just that — build a ball diamond smack-dab in the middle of his corn crop.

Shoeless Joe brings a whole team of players back on his return visit.

Shoeless Joe brings a whole team of players back on his return visit.

After building the field to proper specifications, nothing happens for months and the farm is in danger of being lost due to lack of money from using cropland for the field.  One night, Ray’s wife Annie sees a man standing in the field.  When Ray investigates, the man turns out to be Shoeless Joe Jackson (Ray Liotta), a dead baseball player that Ray’s dad happened to love but who also happened to be banned from the sport after the 1919 Black Sox scandal.  Realizing that this is a field he can actually play on, Joe leaves but vows to bring others with him when he returns.  He does just that and soon many deceased players are playing exhibition games in Ray’s field, though only Ray and his family can see them.

Ray then hears another voice urging him to “ease his pain” and after attending a PTA meeting involving the banning of books by author Terrance Mann, he believes it is Terrance’s pain that

Ray attempts to prove to Terrance Mann (James Earl Jones) that he is not crazy.

Ray attempts to prove to Terrance Mann (James Earl Jones) that he is not crazy.

must be eased.  When Annie discovers that Terrance was a baseball fan, Ray travels to Boston to track Mann down.  Upon finding him, Ray invites Mann to a baseball game at Fenway Park which Mann warily accepts.  While at the game, Ray and Mann both see a vision of the scoreboard saying “Go The Distance” and then showing stats for a New York Giants player, Archibald Graham, who played just one game and never had a chance to take a turn batting.

Traveling to Minnesota to visit Graham, Ray and Terrance find that Archibald died more than a decade earlier after spending his life practicing medicine.  When Ray goes outside for a walk, he somehow travels back in time to the 1970’s and encounters a still-living Graham, who also passes on the opportunity to play ball again.  Yet as Ray and Terrance drive back to Iowa, they pick up a hitchhiker who identifies himself as Graham (and looks to be barely out of his teenage years).  When they arrive back on the farm, there are enough players for two teams and Graham finally gets his “at bat”.

When Ray’s daughter Karin begins to choke on a hot dog, Graham leaves the field and instantly reverts back to the age at

Ray introduces his wife and daughter to his long-deceased father.

Ray introduces his wife and daughter to his long-deceased father.

which Ray first saw him.  After saving Karin’s life, Graham reassures both the other players and Ray that practicing medicine was his true calling and disappears into the cornfield.  After the game, Shoeless Joe offers Terrance a chance to see what is beyond the cornfield, and Terrance accepts.  Ray is initially angry at not being offered the chance to be included, but Joe scolds him while reminding Ray about the first voice, and saying “If you build it, he will come”.  “He”, in this case, happens to be Ray’s deceased father who Ray introduces to his family for the first time just before beginning to play a game of catch with him.

PRESENTATION:  Despite the leaps back in forth in time, the film presents events in a chronological order.  When Ray travels back in time to the early 1970’s, he is experiencing the events for the first time along with the audience.  The movie in some ways plays out like a modern fairy-tale, and presenting it in that way helps preserve the sense of wonder both the audience and the characters feel.  By following a chronological order, many of the film’s “a-ha!” moments are kept close to the chest until the story decides it is the right time to reveal them.  This results in the on-screen actions of the characters being followed more closely by the audience due to the fact that it can not be easily concluded as to what will happen next.  Had the film shown the events in a non-linear fashion, it would have been much easier to connect the dots of the plot and story and the movie would have been nowhere near as engrossing.


Field of Dreams (1989).  Retrieved from iMDB (Internet Move Database) at