Did you know the word “quiz” originally meant an odd person? That’s from the Oxford English Dictionary. In the days before the Internet I used to read dictionaries and reference indexes while in residence upon the porcelain throne. Some prefer magazines, I’m told. Continue reading
Category Archives: Cinema
Like the weather in my region, I’m in a holding pattern. I haven’t felt the need to write much lately. I’m recharging my psychic batteries, reading, dreaming, and waiting for it to get warmer and dryer so I can enjoy more outdoor activities.
You can’t look good in that sweater.
You guys know I’m a fairly traditional sort of holiday observer, right? No, really, it’s true. STOP LAUGHING!!! Continue reading
I have a bad cold, so I have to stay in alone while my pals are feasting together, and I’m kind of grumpy about it. I had the good fortune to help restore a truly remarkable film, Giant (1956), a decade ago. It’s full of honest, meaningful glimpses into the contradictions of American life. Continue reading
Sex! Violence! Politics! (The Late Sixties)
In the 1960s, a number of factors converged to produce changes in what were acceptable subjects for filmmaking. In America, the studio system was in sharp decline, and the self-censorship rules known as the “Hays code” were abandoned. There were “new wave” movements in England and France as well as the U.S. Independent films made with smaller budgets and crews were finding larger audiences. These kinds of movies covered topics rejected by the more risk-averse studios. Continue reading
Nazis, Newborns & Nuts
When I was ten, I got into an advanced education program and began attending a different school where most of my classmates were Jewish. The benefit of being immersed and welcomed into Jewish culture was at least as valuable as anything I learned in class. Continue reading
Clansmen, Commies, Catholics and Climaxes
All movies are propaganda in the sense that they try to persuade the audience to believe that what’s on the screen is “real”. It’s always an illusion. Continue reading
A Memorial Day Observance
My feelings about holidays that commemorate and accept war as a historical inevitability are complicated. I realize that millions have sacrificed their lives in acts of service to the nation. That’s a deeply honorable choice, worthy of great respect. However, wars aren’t really winnable, any more than executing murderers prevents murder. Continue reading
Having always been an odd boy, at different ages I sought identity among the punk enclaves where I lived. Continue reading
When I was a lonely, nerdy little boy in peril, I learned important survival tips and got cheap therapy from seeing movies about other young ones who were having a hard time. Continue reading
The Artist, this year’s most-nominated film, is simultaneously reverent and cheesy. Continue reading
Books and movies aren’t the same thing. That should be obvious on the face of it, but I’ve read hundreds of articles here and in all kinds of publications that miss that central, inescapable point. A film adaptation will never, can never and shouldn’t be evaluated on the basis of being “like the book”. Continue reading
It’s less than two weeks until Halloween, the holiday that empowers children, usually the victims of the rest of the big, scary world, to become the scary ones themselves for one night. All of us were children once. Now that we’ve survived, it’s fun to look back on the kinds of things that once filled us with fear. Here are ten seldom seen spooky movies to get you in the right mood. Continue reading
Romantic, Classical and Baroque music is often repurposed for film soundtracks and other things. It’s evocative and heightens emotional impact if chosen wisely, and it’s cheap compared to the cost of licensing current pop songs Continue reading
Because her mother has moved to the area, that baby (my Brother’s Granddaughter) from a previous post (here/) visited my home last weekend. She’s nine months old already, and she says “BAP-fff!” with specific emphasis.
The legends about the members of my tribe have something in common. If you look at the life stories of those in my extended family as if they were plays, there’s a similar arc of development. We all have chaotic first acts. Continue reading
There’s an underbelly to show business that’s every bit as ugly as all those stories you might have thought were urban legends. Continue reading