The Favorite Contest Results

We didn’t get a lot of entries for this contest, but the entries we got were appreciated and awesome. Thank you all for your participation. (Sorry, no participation medals here.)

Here are the results:

3rd prize: Krista Jensen! (Shall I link to

2nd prize: Loran Cook! (We can talk about a guest review and a link.)

1st prize: Rob Wells! (Now I need your address and I will link to your author site by the end of the day. I’ll email you.)

Let this be a lesson to you all. Rob was the first to enter this contest and thus, Karma showed him some love.

We will have another contest in the next quarter. Stay tuned and as always, pass this website along to your friends and enemies.


The Favorite Contest

Announcing the first-ever ReviewsbyJared©®™ contest of all time in the history of the world.

Let’s lead off with the prizes, shall we?


3rd prize: A link to your website/blog in my blogroll on the right column 

2nd prize: A guest review on ReviewsbyJared and a link to your website/blog in my blogroll

1st prize: A $25 Cinemark movie gift card plus a link to your website/blog in my blogroll


Isn’t that exciting?

To win one of these prizes, you just have to put your name in the hat and then hope that luck favors you. So put your name in the hat a lot.


The Favorite-ing

This is simple, my friends. Just check out the tabs above which rank the movies I’ve seen in the last 4 years. Find a movie that you really liked. Comment on this post with the name of that movie.


You just entered this contest.

What? You want more entries? Read on.


The Sharing

You can get 1 extra entry for tweeting once about this contest. Two extra entries for tweeting twice. And so on up to five bonus Twitter entries. Make sure your tweet includes my @jaredgarrett (two Rs and two Ts in that surname!) handle. If you don’t, I won’t know you tweeted and can’t count the extra entries.

Posting about this contest on Facebook earns 1 entry as well per post, up to 5 bonus entries. Make sure you let me know you did that and also share the link to your Facebook post here, and then I will put your name in the hat again!


It is called the Favorite Contest, after all.

All of your entries will be totaled, leading us to…


The Winning

After all the entries are in, all the names repeatedly put in my virtual hat, I will draw names to determine the winner. Thus, the more entries you have, the more chance you have to win.

The first name I pull will win 3rd prize. The 2nd I pull will win 2nd prize. And the 3rd name I pull wins 1st prize!

So post your favorite film in the comments and share. And may the odds be ever in your favor.


Contest Duration: 

The contest re-begins today, Monday, July 1st and goes through Monday, July 8th, at midnight Mountain Standard Time.


What are you waiting for? Get favoriting! And get sharing. And thus, all of your dreams will come true.


Star Trek: Into Darkness

Star Trek: Into Darkness is very aptly titled. The title makes you wonder: is this flick going to be grim and challenging? Are difficult things going to test the mettle of our heroes? Or maybe the villain leads the entire universe into darkness.

Is it going to be as grim as The Dark Knight Rises?

The title might also be referring to the final scene as the crew set forth on a historical journey.

What is so splendid about Star Trek: Into Darkness is that it is very intelligently made, and the multi-layered title is simply a symptom of the delightful disease we call ‘smart and polished film-making.’

I loved this movie. You will too.

Here’s a trailer (as if you haven’t already seen every trailer for this flick):

The deets:

Released May 16, 2013

Written by Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman, and Damon Lindelof. Based on the original TV show by Gene Roddenberry

Directed by J.J. Abrams

Starring Zoe Saldana, Alice Eve, Nazneen Contractor, Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban, Simon Pegg, John Cho, Anton Yelchin, Bruce Greenwood, Peter Weller, Noel Clarke, and Benedict Cumberbatch

Rated: PG-13

*     *     *     *     *


Kirk (Pine) and his crew on the Enterprise, Starfleet’s flagship vessel, have been out on missions for some time since the last time we caught up with him. Into Darkness opens with Kirk fleeing some natives of a distant planet, accompanied by Bones (Urban). They are trying to lure the natives out of the kill zone of an exploding volcano, but at the same time they must not violate the Prime Directive, which is to remain unseen and not alter the course of a society’s evolution.

Meanwhile, Spock (Quinto) is going to descend into the volcano with a high-tech fusion device that will stop the volcano from erupting. Piloting his shuttle is Sulu (Cho) and helping him prepare is his love interest, Uhura (Saldana).

They succeed, of course, in their mission, which it turns out was totally in violation of rules. Now Kirk is demoted and becomes first officer to his mentor, Pike (Greenwood). But there’s a bad guy named John Harrison (Cumberbatch) who seems to have it in for Starfleet, and Admiral Marcus (Weller) specifically. After Harrison commits some dastardly deeds, Kirk and his crew are sent to deal out retribution. But things are complicated, and Scotty (Pegg) finds he has to take a stand against some questionable technology– whereupon he resigns his post on the Enterprise, and Chekhov (Yelchin) must take his place.

As the quest to get Harrison begins, a new science officer shows up without being asked for. She is Carol (Eve) and she might know more about the questionable technology and John Harrison than she should.

A series of events take place, through which Kirk becomes uncertain of himself and where his loyalty really ought to be. Uhura has to face down some Klingons, and the crew of the Enterprise becomes stuck between two massively powerful enemies and they have to somehow stop the bad guys while saving lives.

And that’s all I can say without spoilers. But believe me when I say this is an intricate plot that surprises and delights.


Star Trek: Into Darkness is not as fresh as the first one in this rebooted franchise. It’s not an origin story, but is instead a story about a bunch of people who have to reassess who they are and come to a greater understanding of what is important to them. It also handily positions the Enterprise and her crew for the next film in which they hopefully are doing actual exploration– as is their mission.

The script is nearly flawless, with the exception of two problems, both of which center on Carol. First is the idiotic underwear scene. Alice Eve is a beautiful woman and this scene is dumb. Second is her British accent, which is totally unexplained by the script. For a professionally trained linguist, this is irritating.

Other than those issues, the script takes the time to set up conflict, try-fail cycles, character development, and solid resolutions that satisfy. It’s an intricate plot that Kirk and his crew have to uncover and stop, but it all makes sense at the end.

One interesting tidbit is that some people will take issue with a Spock who is not quite as alien and dispassionate as he was played by Nimoy. This is true, but this is a different Spock in a different timeline who lost his ENTIRE PLANET. Get a grip, people.

The acting is great, with more being asked of Pine than to be a rogue and a brash hero. His scene after the devastating attack on the Starfleet Council is just excellent. Cumberbatch is wonderfully larger than life and is truly awesome in his iconic role. Simon Pegg gets to do a lot in this film as well, with his truly excellent Scotty being an unsung hero throughout the story. Karl Urban, again, is a surprisingly good Bones. Saldana adds some very nice, tough layers to Uhura that we only started seeing toward the end of the original Star Trek TV show’s run. Quinto is also a very good Spock.

The fact that these films have focused on the relationships, particularly the legendary friendship between Kirk and Spock is wonderful, and the actors have a great chemistry. This is an ensemble film and you might be surprised at how much is asked of characters who are not Kirk and Spock.

Now. There are a lot of explosions. Lots and lots. There’s a lot of physical conflict in this film. These explosions and this conflict are appropriate for a film that is about war and terrorism. This stuff isn’t glorified; it’s shown as ugly and devastating. Listen for the screams and confusion.

That said, the punches sound like thunderclaps, which will never stop irritating me.

You will laugh, cheer, and possibly even cry as you watch Star Trek: Into Darkness. It’s one of the best movies of 2013 and is a fitting sequel to the first one.

Content warnings: Some salty language and a bit of skin and sensuality. Plenty of scifi violence.

Writing: 5          Acting: 5          Overall: 5

Trek into your social networks and share this review! I know, I know, you’re a doctor, not a blogger. Do it anyway.


Saying Goodbye to Tony Scott

I can’t believe I just wrote that headline. Last night, my dear wife, knowing full well that her news would probably affect me strongly, told me about the headline she’d just seen. Stunned, totally disbelieving, I got online and confirmed the news.

Tony Scott, brother of my all-time favorite director Ridley Scott, had thrown himself off a bridge in LA, ending his own life.

I was dumbfounded. Flummoxed. How could this be?

I never met Tony Scott, but through his movies, I felt like I knew him a little. The scenes in Man on Fire where Denzel’s rage is allowed to develop and the light and the frenetic moments– these showed me that Tony Scott had a dramatic and decent heart. Fury is not pleasant; violence should not be glorified. Violence might be a necessity, because you do NOT do terrible things to sweet little girls, but it was not to be glorified.

In Crimson Tide, The Last Boy Scout, and Spy Game, stories about honor, duty, human decency, and determination are told. We also see a respect for sacrifice and a disdain for abuse of authority, hypocrisy, and dishonesty.

I adored Unstoppable. There’s a finely tuned ear that honed the dialogue and the rhythm of the exchanges between characters in that film. There’s an honor, a reverence, for heroism and self-sacrifice. There’s an honesty about people with flaws who find a reason to reach beyond themselves.

Then there’s The Taking of Pelham 1-2-3. I think this is one of Tony Scott’s finest films. Your every day schlub is set back on his heels, confused by sudden brutality, and has to find a way to cope with a maniac. The schlub is weak-kneed, constantly questioning whether he belongs in this situation, but when it comes down to helping people, he steps up.

Ridley Scott is my favorite director of all time. Tony Scott is my second favorite. (FYI, Peter Weir is #3.)

The world has lost a man with a great eye for light, a great head for action and rhythm, and a storyteller of the highest caliber. I don’t know why Tony Scott took his own life. I can’t begin to imagine what pain and/or illness moved him to such a drastic, heartbreaking, final, and tragic step. I send my love and prayers to his family and call upon film-lovers the world over to celebrate Tony Scott and his contributions to the world and the art of film by popping some corn, grabbing a cold beverage, and immersing yourselves in one of his films. Be drawn in by his leads’ heroism, the frenetic action, the character of light, and the sensitivity to sound and silence.

Celebrate him and let your love of his work carry his spirit to a happier place.

I invite all readers to share in the comments your favorite movie experience created by Tony Scott. Feel free to pass this post along; I’d love to bask in everyone’s appreciation of this remarkable artist.