Tuesday, April 26, 2016


Reading Matt Zoller Seitz's remembrance of his wife, Jennifer, on the tenth anniversary of her death, filled me with a sense of dread, sadness and anxiety. Despite having read Matt's reviews on RogerEbert.com for years and being aware of the books he's written about director Wes Anderson, this was an aspect of his life of which I was unaware. I felt sadness for his loss, even though it is now a decade old. The dread and anxiety crept-in because such a read will invariably make one reflect on their own life situation and think, 'Oh no, what if it happens to me?!'

Ashley & I will have been together sixteen years this June. First and foremost: if anything ever happened to him, I would be devastated. Of that, there is no doubt. It's not something I dwell on, though I do think about it perhaps more than I should. Every time he drives to work, or even goes off to the store on his own, I hope he comes back. I've known people whose spouses have died in car accidents just driving around town.

There's always the health risks. Ashley seems in good shape, and I hope that holds for many years to come. I, on other hand, have high blood pressure, and have had cancer. My dad died at 52, and I am now 40. Here's hoping there's more than twelve years left in me. We never know the future. I could be gone tomorrow, or I could croak a week shy of my 101st birthday in 2076, just like my Grandma Callie. Happy topics, to be sure.

Monday, April 18, 2016

The Book That Never Was

Be wary of people who like to say they don't care what anyone thinks about them, for those are often the people who care the most about others' opinions. There's nothing wrong with that. As human beings, we do not live in a vacuum, devoid of social interaction and all that comes with it. The need to impress and gain approval is fairly ingrained in us, and to deny it is silly at best, folly at worst. Thus we land on a topic that's been foremost on my mind this past week.

Another Ebertfest has come and gone and, with it, a reminder of the book that I never wrote, and likely never will. It was to be a collection of film reviews, and some of the work had already been done. For a few years during the early aughts, I wrote reviews on Amazon, many of them for movies I'd seen. Some of them needed a bit of polish, but for the most part, they were a good spring board for a nice collection. The plan was to edit those film reviews, and write perhaps twenty or thirty more, privately, to help create the compendium.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Movies, Movies, Movies

We're a little over a quarter-way through the year, the Roger Ebert Film Festival is about to kick-off, and so I thought it would be a good time to take stock and rank the 2016 films I've seen thus far. It's been an interesting year....

1. Hello, My Name Is Doris

The three leads -- Sally Field, Max Greenfield and Tyne Daly -- turn-in such delightful performances in this gem of a film. Doris, an eccentric sixty-something woman, develops a crush on her thirty-something co-worker, and awkward hilarity ensues. Really sweet movie.

2. 10 Cloverfield Lane

Look up the word "taut" in the dictionary, and a still from this film should accompany it. An engrossing, stage play-like tour de force from the three main actors, combined with great direction and pulse-pounding music, makes this an edge-of-your-seat experience.

3. Eye In the Sky

Helen Mirren and Alan Rickman (in his last live-action role) headline this tense political thriller about the use of drone warfare in the Middle East. Despite prepping myself for its agenda and expecting some ham-fisted moralizing moments, the movie actually really, really works.

4. Deadpool

Most of you have probably seen this R-rated superhero flick already. It's a nice break from the norm. I didn't think I'd like Ryan Reynold's sarcastic shenanigans, but the movie won me over. From the opening Juice Newton song, to the Bea Arthur shirt, to the Fawlty Towers and Sinead O'Connor references, everything just works.

5. Midnight Special

Another odd film from director Jeff Nichols (though a good kind of odd). The man who brought us Take Shelter and Mud (and who has been at Ebertfest multiple times), brings us an entrancing story of a father, his young son with special powers, a multi-state road chase, and characters with humanity and depth.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Pic of the Week

Our latest of Pic of the Week (I know, I know, it's more the Pic of the Month), is actor Peter Scanavino, of Law & Order: SVU. He had a really good episode last night, and is a handsome, thirty-something man. Enjoy.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Stage Left

It was years ago, probably a decade or more, that I first saw Andy Bendel. Sitting in the audience of the darkened Station Theatre, I was enjoying the production of Deathtrap, and especially the performance of one of the leads. This would have been Andy. Having watched the Christopher Reeve/Michael Caine movie, I was pretty familiar with the plot of the play, but it still managed to mesmerize. A lot of that was down to Andy.

Then there was the classic farce Charley's Aunt, also produced at the Station Theatre. There, Andy played a butler, and nearly stole the show. He did so much just by standing there, raising his eyebrow. Everyone else on stage was great. It was a wonderful production, full of energy, and yet through it all my focus kept coming back to Andy's performance of the staid butler, very much the (extra) comic relief.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

My First First Lady

Nancy Reagan was the third First Lady of the United States during my lifetime, but the first one I remember. Through the prism of youth, I developed a great fondness for her. In adulthood, as I learned more details about her husband's presidency and her proclivities (astrology, anyone?), my opinion really wasn't too diminished. The strength of childhood appreciation is difficult to put asunder. And I do appreciate Nancy Reagan, even now that she is no longer with us, having passed away today at the age of 94.