Movies, movies and more movies

I am going to be boring you guys to tears with movie reviews for a while from here on out.

I watch movies all the time, just like everybody else. The difference here is I have made movies back in the day of Super 8 and 16 millimeter. In fact, I shot a movie once on Super 8 entirely edited in the camera; I shot it the way it would’ve been edited, thus removing the need for editing after the fact. It was great.

Also, I grew up in a household of movies. My dad was an actor, James Whitmore. We lived in Rustic Canyon, near the Pacific Palisades in sunny Southern California. Our neighbors were Lee Marvin, James Arness,among many others.

When I have time today I watch movies in the theater or on my flat screen with surround sound at home. The sound is great; five Bose speakers situated perfectly around my living room. When I turn it up, the walls shake. It’s great. Sound is vital for movies. Without it, it just sucks.

I made a movie once broadcast on Public Television, KCET, Ch. 28, here in the Southern California area, and the sound was awful. Actually, the whole movie was pretty bad, but the sound was the worst. It sits hidden in my attic, where it belongs. It was called “Choices” and was part of KCET’s Independent Eye program, lo’ these many years ago. I shot it on 16 mm over a long weekend for $7,000. Jeez! That was something. A seasoned pro once screened the movie and said I should rethink my entire career. Sound advice that I promptly ignored.

I have been known to watch movies over and over again, whether it’s “Open Range,” “The Company You Keep,” or “Guardians of the Galaxy” – what a great movie that was. I just like certain styles, Michael Mann, Sydney Pollack, Robert Redford, and, of course, Marvel.

Marvel certainly has carved out the immediate future of film-making. I know there are those who poo-poo those movies. Screw ‘em. I say. If a movie is good, it’s good. There is just no way getting around that. And Marvel is making good movies.

Last night, My wife, Eileen, me, and my son, Brennan, watched “Big Hero 6.” And it was terrific. I cried. Course, I’ve been known to cry during American Express commercials, so what the hell!

I was somewhat embarrassed because I was completely immersed in this cartoon, I guess nowadays “cartoon” can be construed as disparaging because the animation is so beyond anything I saw as a kid. I loved this movie. As mentioned, I even cried near the end. Couldn’t believe it. But my family also was moved by the film. It is not a cartoon for kids and yet kids can watch.

What a great movie. The characters, the story, and the relationships as well as the action, it was all good. I found nothing wrong with the movie, and now can see why it won the Academy Award for best animated feature.

Next on the agenda is a film made in 1967 called “The Flim-Flam Man” starring George C. Scott. This was the first movie I saw as a 17-year-old kid that spawned the desire to take off “on the road” so-to-speak. The scenery is to die for and the story is simple and sweet. It made bumming around the country an ideal pastime. And I did just that.

So, now it’s off to the moves.

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A poem for all of us

Ships collide and dip as the ocean throws them about
as if toys in a bathtub

Clarity rescues them like a dream with confusion starts
and stops, hard cases

“So be it!” The Captain orders with espresso-stained hands
gripping way too tight

“It is a beginning,” he mutters to his toy monkey sitting on
a ledge near the end

Railings won’t help because they penetrate all existing
stands on a rest-stop

Can’t be this way, is another boundary lost to well-intentioned
ideas scraping the bottom

Words are synthetic leather driven by self, again a wind tunnel
of nothing without meaning

And nothing evolves into everything as opposites crash head-on
into yet another vow

Chastity is such bullshit but so what, why can’t it mean
something is a scream

Because it is a toy monkey after all. A toy monkey has
no meaning by us

We are the toy monkey. Isn’t that another direction away
from it all and so

Ships are at rest waiting for another shoe to drop only
if it be the way

Yes, the way is too long for a sidewalk, cracked, broken
upheld for all of it

It. Fallen beneath the scraping, blood-stained, soaked to
the core of all

Yes! We are here.

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Only for you

My loss comes in waves
crashing on the beachhead
like soldiers preparing to die
for the sake of the invasion,
which we all know is suicide;
that pain just before death
takes the light from your eyes

try as we might, the loss comes

it doesn’t scream or happen all
at once, no it creeps up slowly
with blind determination, slithering
to a place of rest where it shimmies
under your skin, your heart, ultimately
your soul where all pain lives; the kind
that causes labored breathing

try as we might, the loss comes

Always for a woman; whether real
or imagined. it’s always for a woman;
love of sorrow, love of lust, love of
love; it’s always for a woman who
you learn again the meaning of pain
that mistakes bring home an empty
suitcase of apologies ringing endlessly

try as we might, the loss comes

I cannot stomach this loss anymore
as I beg forgiveness over a $300
explanation that ends abruptly but
without resolution or a complete
cycle where breathing easier lives
with passion, joy, fulfillment; every
time words tumble to the ground silently

try as we might, the loss comes

It just does…

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Rock ‘n’ Roll was here to stay…

Mirrors, hallways, dust, Tim Buckley,
the Troubadour, Glinda, I reach back, grasping
trying to grab some of it, but it”s gone, like a lost
cat. It’s gone. Goddamnit!

That blond hair tumbling down, freely with all the
vigor that youth has, all the passion, it becomes
her and I think and wonder: Am I lost? Too many
echoes as the rock ‘n’ roll plays on the car radio.

Turn it up, I do. I used to wait for the next record.
It was a deal. It was a day. Music soaring
above my head while my belly was filled with
whiskey and girls. Oh, the girls were majestic.

One touch. One smile. One breath, my way and
the day, night was born again, again and again.
Rocky streets of San Francisco bristled in the
wind, blowing you back, forth like a ping-pong
ball, rock ‘n’ roll was the answer to everything.

My guitar, always out-of-tune, slung around my
shoulder like a ragged shawl, dangled down my
back, waiting to be uncorked with all the fury
loneliness and resentment can bring. “Unleash
the hounds of anguish,” I would scream to no one.

To no one. Always, sitting next to a dog, looking
out at the empty sidewalk, where souls lose the
battle daily to survive. Just to survive. Breath in and
out. Keep moving. Keep ducking, they say. Goddamnit!

That word caused a furor in the Midwest once; once
when a building and more than 200 souls died in an
attack of unbridled tragedy. Children, men, women
no more. No more is the day of calm. No more.

And all anybody cared about was the Goddamnit!
Words cut like razors unexpectedly flung at you with
weights finding their mark. It doesn’t hurt until right
after the cut; then it barks its presence. And it hurts.

I’m stumbling, bumping into things, losing sight of
the reflection of today. I keep grasping back to
the belief that rock ‘n’ roll would save the day.
Goddamnit! Is all I can muster now. And it hurts.

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It is the light

A single light shines
way beyond comprehension
it shines with bright illumination
with no excuses or apologies

It’s just a light that shines
and we come to it with
our burdens, sorrows and
confusions; the light shines

There is no time for conversation
or abused action with thoughts
of freedom or pursuits of happiness
the light is shining and we are here

So be lost and confused with
burdens of excess and loves
crosses that hold us down
with excessive weight and weariness

The light still shines. And it will always
shine until that day when you
turn away with intent to be right or
to defend wrong that is not so

Remember: We come to the light
and the warmth is good and the
illumination is crisp, the light
is shining and we are fine

It is the light shining that is enough.
It is the light shining that wills us.
It is the light shining that becomes us.
It is the light shining that holds us

It is the light and we give thanks…

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A pathway back

Tumbling downward, spiraling out of control
lasting only a few minutes is the sensation of
loss; “Come back home,” the wind screams.
“Come back home” – there is nothing to see,
nothing to do but acknowledge the postman as
an employee of us and then you and then who

But it is the postman with the bag and the long
face of weariness like a razor-sharp tree branch
that offers refuge; not of this world but also not of
the next. Just an offering, like the box at a church,
offering for salvation, saving of the soul with a
small donation of coin that glistens, shines for a

“Such thoughts,” the aged lady grasping a lizard
of rather large proportions mutters. “You should be
ashamed,” she cries after the passersby ignore her
yet again. They always ignore her. She cares. She
cries. She cries a lot. All the time, actually. It doesn’t
help; more like anguish on steroids. Lying is the only

Can’t stop the clock as it winds down further and further,
winding consistently like a relentless water torture, it
drips and drips and drips. Jump up and take control: That’s
the ticket. Jump up, take control. It’s repetition of the redundant
that affords the greatest plan of attack. Ah, yes, attack
with all your controlled might and may the best man

Jeez! I’m tired to my bone marrow with no excuse other
than to know I’m not you who resides in us all. Not of you
who resides in us all. Not with you who resides in us all.
Not by you who resides in us all. Not even the promise
of you who resides in us all. No, I reside where we all do:

Just now…

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Item 33 – Some other thoughts

I sat on a bench the other day;
rainy, windy, cold, bitterly cold,
I sat…waiting for the
proverbial bus

A piece of drenched paper, crumpled,
dirty, driven by the wind
attached itself to
my legs like a hungry chigger

I snatched it from around my shin
to discard with disdain…piece of
wet, scratchy, piece of shit
paper – i noticed some writing

It read, smudges and all:

“What if loss was an introduction
to bounty?
What if darkness was a shortcut
to light?
What if sadness was a decoy
for joy?”

Jesus! My mind screamed silently.
What the f*&^#!! I thought again.
Serious stuff for an old piece
of wet, crumpled paper.

I began to take this seriously.
“What does this mean?” I thought.
“Why did this happen now?” I thought again.
“What do I do?” I thought…

Lot’s of thinking going on here.

Just then an old lady pushing a shopping cart
waddled by, snatched the paper out of my grasp,
blew her runny nose with purpose, such a noise,
and tucked the paper into the
shopping cart amongst her other
life belongings.

She looked at me, winked, and said “thank you.”

The bus came and I got on. Lucky for me I had exact change. Bus drivers get finicky about stuff like that.


Talk soon…

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