Category Archives: movies

Scenes that remind me I’m watching a movie…

Tonight, while watching the movie Argo, a scene from my past caused me to suspend time for about five seconds, think hard, and have a mental dispute with the filmmakers.

When they drop the needle onto the record, it looked like they dropped it on track four of five. When the song started and John Bonham’s familiar boom, tap, boom boom-boom, tap intro to When The Levee Breaks kicks in, I thought, “Wait. Waitwaitwait… that ain’t right. That’s the last song on side two.” Lise saw the look on my face as I backed up the film and watched it again. As I explained to her what was going on, she said, “Get out. You remember that? I don’t believe it.” “Oh, REALLY?!?” I replied, having already decided I needed to hit the garage and dig through my LP’s and find the proof.

I thought hard as I found the album, wondering how they could’ve made such a simple but fundamental mistake.

And naturally, they didn’t. As I looked lovingly at the LP cover and slid the album out, I realized: This sucker only has eight tracks on it.

And two things struck me:
First, I’m old. The fundamental mistake was mine.
Second, I am become my father.

Except he probably wouldn’t have forgotten that there are only four tracks on each side of Led Zep IV.

Movies That Stamped Me

I’ve had several conversations recently with folks about Top Five or Top Ten movies of all time / movies that made an impression / movies that changed our lives (for better or worse). I realized that I’d not put a definitive list together of OMG All-Time Favorite Movies.

Now, having had some time to think about it, this list is not exhaustive or definitive, but it does contain movies that have left their mark on me in one way or another.

Top Twenty Favorite Movies (in no specific order):

  1. Amélie
  2. Dead Poet’s Society
  3. Terminator 2
  4. The Producers (1969)
  5. Big Fish
  6. 12 Monkeys
  7. Hot Fuzz
  8. The Last Waltz
  9. Cinema Paradiso
  10. Stranger Than Fiction
  11. Being John Malkovich
  12. Monty Python and the Holy Grail
  13. The Game
  14. The Fisher King
  15. A.I. (Artificial Intelligence)
  16. Kill Bill Vol. I & II
  17. Eyes Wide Shut
  18. Star Wars trilogy
  19. Pink Floyd’s The Wall
  20. Young Frankenstein


sometimes you just need a stupid movie

there are days where i don’t want or need to be intellectually stimulated.

every now and then, when school has been kicking my butt, or life in general has been hectic, i crave mindless entertainment.

hellboy2.jpgwe don’t watch TV. what’s a dude to do? how do i get my mindless fix?

Hellboy II was the answer tonight.

and it was everything we needed it to be.

no thinking required.
simply shut down and watch.


the first one wasn’t too bad, either.

old granddad meets pink floyd

we were 17. we were young, stupid, and bored.

scott and i managed to swipe a bottle of old granddad and were out on a saturday night, mercifully without a curfew. we’d been driving, without the drinking, but now our master plan was to be enacted.

we pulled into the I-275 theater on the east side of cincinnati where every saturday night was a midnight showing of some concert film.

tonight’s film?

pink floyd’s The Wall. we’d been singing it in the car at the top of our lungs for the past year or so but had never seen the movie.

we sat in the parking lot and hit the bottle for a while, getting a buzz on. and then went a bit further.

we bought our tickets, grabbed seats in the mostly empty theater and settled in for what we were sure was going to be an incredible, mind-altering ride through one of the greatest albums ever made.

and all i can say now, even 23 years after the fact, is this:


the shaving scene had us stuttering like sylvester in a crazy, mouse-infested haunted house.

we were still twitching while the credits were rolling.

i never drank old granddad again.

the movie still disturbs me.


cool things from the family, pt. 1

lise asked me this afternoon at lunch what the coolest thing my mom ever did for me when i was younger.

it surely wasn’t the coolest thing of all time, but the very first thing that popped into my mind was this:

when i was growing up and going to school K-4th grade, we lived under the 1 mile mark from school. this meant that we walked to school most days. not a big deal. i remember getting rides when weather was crummy and getting picked up, etc. but i remember walking to and from more often than not.

oh_god.jpgthe one day that stands out took place back in 3rd grade – 1977. i remember leaving school and being surprised to see my mom’s car out front! she told me that she had a surprise and we had to get going… i smelled popcorn in the car and this was definitely strange.

we arrived at kenwood theater and mom bought tickets to see Oh, God! with george burns and john denver. she hid the paper bags of popcorn in her coat and in we went! i remember a couple of funny scenes from the movie but what i remember most was mom surprising me by picking me up from school and taking me to a movie in the middle of the day. it was exciting and fun – a real adventure and so out of the ordinary that it’s stuck with me ever since.

my mom is cool, what can i say?

live free, die hard, oy, kill me now!!

i won’t lie to you:

there are times when the only kind of movie that i want to see is a pure, straight-forward action movie. a movie you don’t have to think much about, just sit back, enjoy the speeding, the shooting, the gore, the ridiculous plot, the unbelievable stunts, the guns that never run out of bullets, the pace that never seems to slow down.

lise and i rented kill bill several years ago when it was the last movie in the store that we hadn’t seen. i knewkillbill.jpg almost nothing about it, but from what i read on the box, it seemed stupid. we were desperate for something so we got it. we got half way through the thing after an inordinate amount of ridiculousness surrounding the plot, the characters, the circumstances, the excessive gore and the nonstop violence when finally… FINALLY we came to the animated sequence. and then. THEN i froze the movie, turned to lise and said, “holy crap! this movie is a COMIC BOOK!” i had been sitting there thinking and saying out loud that stuff like this only happens in comic books and it struck me: this movie is based on a comic book!

and then the movie made perfect sense! and we watched the rest of it, laughing, cheering for The Bride, and being sad that kill bill 2 was not out yet on DVD! and kill bill 2, when it did come out on dvd, surpassed the first one easily! oh! terminator_two_judgement_day.jpgOH!! those movies are two of my favorites!

terminator 2 is another one of those movies – we first saw this sucker at the carousel theater in cincinnati on the BIG SCREEN and folks, when during the opening credits, that big metal foot comes crunching down on that skull? haha! woo, we jumped about two feet each, laughed like loons and settled in for what has become another one of those ridiculous action movies that you can’t think too much about, but just enjoy the ride.

well, last night was one of those nights for a mindless action movie. die hard has not been a franchise that we have watched closely, although i do know i’ve seen at least two of the first three films. i remember them being ok but maybe a little silly.

as i walked into blockbuster, lise warned me when i joked about getting that movie. doggoneit, there was nothing else to rent, so off i go with bruce willis firmly tucked under my arm. lise punched me and told me to apologize for what she was sure was going to be a horrible movie. i refused.

and two hours later, i was begging for forgiveness.

it’s a dog. i mean, it’s a junkyard dog that ought to be put out of its misery. i can handle certain levels of unbelievable, and if i can get in the right mindset, i can excuse a lot of plot BS, but this? THIS??

oy. i was praying for john mcclane‘s death by the end of the movie so there’d be no further torture to the movie-watching public. no such luck.

spare yourself the pain and please, don’t lose 129 minutes of your life that you will never be able to get back.

stream of consciousness, pt. VI

  • many thanks to the folks calling, emailing, texting to make sure lise and i were ok after the tornado ripped it’s way through pensacola on thursday. it got within 8 blocks or so of my school and we lost power from 10:15am through the end of the school day, but there was no damage and no one was hurt. definitely made for an interesting day, though!
  • funny thing about the tornado: lise and i had NO IDEA that a tornado was going through until my dad sent me a text message saying he saw on the news (in CINCINNATI!) about it and wanted to make sure we were ok. even at the school, we didn’t know.
  • many folks are asking how we’re doing since the news we received last wednesday and the answer is: we’re as ok as we can be. we’ve decided to stay the course down here and see where it leads us, but it won’t be without pain and (obviously) sacrifices we weren’t thinking we’d need to make. we’re ok.
  • i finished reading Roots by Alex Haley a couple weeks ago. i remember watching the miniseries on TV waaay back in the 70’s when i was a wee lad and it must’ve made an impression on me – as i read the book i very easily visualized scenes and remembered in some cases what was coming next. it was a very good book, despite the apparent “controversies” surrounding Haley and the writing. recommended reading.
  • florida has a Sunshine State Young Reader’s Award that is voted on and given each year. our librarian walked each class through this years books and i was so impressed that i took some of our classroom money and bought a couple copies to read aloud and share with the students – two standouts from the list include The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane and A House of Tailors. both are excellent books with edward tulane being my favorite.
  • we’ve kept with our decision to not watch any television and have been watching a lot of movies recently. we’ve also discovered Scrubs again for the first time. we’ve seen maybe one or two shows a season but always seemed to be busy the night it’s on – we rented season three and laughed our butts off. i love dr. cox.
  • hollywood video is going out of business in several locations here in p-cola, and i stumbled on their liquidation sale at one store – all dvd’s were $1.99! now, there weren’t that many left, but i did end up with 12 movies, several of which are absolute favorites – the biggest of them being Cinema Paradiso. this movie won the best foreign film Oscar back in 1988 – lise and i saw it last year for the first time and we were totally floored with how incredible it was. what a sweet and touching movie! finding the director’s cut version for $1.99 made my week.
  • red tide has hit the gulf coast in our area and it’s made it nearly impossible to go to the beach this week. we went last saturday and as we got out of the car, i said, “something doesn’t smell right” – dead fish floating all over and the water was a murky brackish green color. it’s spread up and down the coast and is still affecting the water. seafood friday is still on the schedule for tonight but i’m not sure how long we’ll be on the beach. :-(
  • no bites on the house yet. may end up dropping the price yet again – at this point we’re losing more money than it’s worth, but dropping the price means we’ll lose even more. gosh, we just didn’t think it’d take this long!
  • birk.jpgwe’ve got a birkenstock store here in pensacola that’s bigger than any we’ve been in yet. it’s called comfort zone and one thing that makes it unique is that they have a LARGE “discount” section – we’ve NEVER seen this before from a birk dealer. i found a pair of waterproof birkenstock sandals, normally priced at around $180, for only $19.95. they’re fantastic! woo!! nothing like being flat broke and being able to say you bought a new pair of birkenstocks, yo.
  • i’m heading out of school to hit maria’s seafood for some shrimp, then heading home to pick up the wife. be well and thanks for reading.