Posted in General Thoughts, Writings

The Composer

When I was 12yrs old I wanted to be Indiana Jones. While my friends bought the Valley Girl film music with its totally tubular sounds, I religiously played the soundtrack to Raiders of the Lost Ark. I loved the film and I reenacted scenes in my room. Being able to listen to the music made my play time feel that much more authentic.  I didn’t bother to learn who made the music until later, I just cared about making sure I hung on to the edge of my bed like Indy hung on to the edge of that truck. Over time the name John Williams became more prominent in my life.

If there is anyone who I can say created the soundtrack to my childhood it’s Mr. Williams. It was over many years that I learned he had created the themes and scores for almost all of my favorite films; Jaws, Star Wars, E.T., Close Encounters and Superman just to name a few. Hell the guy did the theme song to my favorite show Lost in Space. I became in awe of his accomplishments and I wanted to learn more. He became my gate way drug, introducing to me other film composers; Bernard Herrmann, Jerry Goldsmith, Basil Poledouris.  And it’s those giants that opened me up to the classical works.

It all started with John Williams. His collaboration with Steven Spielberg is iconic. Spielberg movies on their own are amazing, but add a few musical notes by this legendary composer and they become extraordinary. When Mr Williams shuffles off this mortal coil, so will my childhood. But his music will continue to inspire me and I cannot thank him enough for opening me up to a world that I may not have found on my own had I not wanted to be Indiana Jones.

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Posted in General Thoughts, Writings

Here we go again

I’m trying to figure out what to write.

I’m trying to get this blog going in some way. Trying to find the direction I want it to go.

Do I stick with films? Do I talk about other thigs like books and TV and music?  Do I branch out and just talk about what’s on my mind like politics, pop culture, and my own feelings on all kinds of things. Do I just create a fictional narrative like a multi part novella that might get people to come back more than my idiotic ramblings?

Ugh I just don’t know.

But I think that’s a good thing. I know I’ve done this several times. But then I get frustrated and give up for a bit. I sit and stare and muse and rack my brain trying to come up with A) an interesting topic and B) an interesting way to present said topic. So I throw up my hands and just binge the latest Netflix drug of choice.

But I have a clean slate; I always do. I can write I want and have no restrictions. I don’t have anyone to impress except myself and I’m my own worst critic. This is the time to experiment. This is the time to try different things and sees what sticks. This is actually a more exciting time because I can try any style and see what my and the audience reactions would be.

I always tell people that the beginning is the best place and find your voice.

So, once again, I sit and stare and muse but I’m not going to get frustrated. I’m not going to distract myself and I’m not going to give up. I want to put something up at least once a week regardless of the topic. I want it to be a habit, an addiction that when I don’t put something up I get hives or the DT’s. I was going to wait until Jan 1st but ugh that’s so cliché and why wait.  So here we go…

(3hrs later. Netflix: Are you still watching The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina instead of writing? Me: Sadly yes)

Posted in Films

Top 10 of 2017

So to add to the rampant unoriginality of the internet at the end of the year, here are my top 10 films of 2017. I could have easily done 20 or 30 as this was a great year for film but 10 is my sweet spot, so lets get to it.

10.

thor_ragnarok_ver2

The Thor films have been the weakest of the MCU. Not really bad just bland (which could be worse). You’d expect movies about an Asgardian God of Thunder to be big and bombastic but they usually end up kind of small (the majority of the first film is set in New Mexico so there) But this 3rd outing does a 180 and takes Thor to where it should be. It’s big, its colorful, the music is amazing and most importantly, it’s fun.

9.

baby_driver_ver2

Edgar Wright is my favorite filmmaker. All his film (even the TV show Spaced) show me someone who is having fun being a director. There is a joy that comes through his lens and infects the audience. This film truly captures that joy. Baby Driver is a love letter to the very best of Walter Hill films and it captures that magic that Wright has up his sleeve.

8.

dunkirk

I was white knuckling my arm rest from the moment the film started to when the credits rolled. The movie and the music are unrelenting. It grabs you and doesn’t let go and it hits you with every emotion possible. This is Christopher Nolans masterpiece.

7.

war_for_the_planet_of_the_apes_ver2

It’s hard to find a trilogy that actually gets better with each film and comes to a satisfying conclusion but the new Apes film did just that. War beautifully wraps up the journey we went on with Caesar; his Rise as an intelligent ape, the Dawn of the apes as a superpower and the War to settle who controls the planet. I teared up a few times  and came away happy with how things ended, it’s a true gem.

6.

logan

Anyone who tells you comic book movies are just kid stuff need to be shown Logan. A film that is pure drama with some fantastic elements. Like Thor, the Wolverine solo films have been, umm well, kind of ok. X-Men Origins: Wolverine was a goofy turd fest, but things got better with The Wolverine. Then came Logan. Loosely inspired by the Old Man Logan comic book, we see a battered and broken Wolverine (long with a mentally broken Professor X) trying to survive in a world where the mutants have lost. It’s an exciting and heartbreaking film.

5.

mother

A truly divisive film. I have had many a spirited conversation about it. You either love it or you hate it and I loved it. Which is saying a lot since I’m not the biggest Darren Aronofsky (Enjoyed The Wrestler and Requiem for a Dream while The Fountain is 90min of Aronofsky masturbating to a picture of himself and the less I speak of bad ass macho Noah the better) But Mother is a bold, audacious and engrossing film that you will continue to speak about after the it ends.

4.

get_out_ver2

A horror movie with a message. A film of terror that makes a social commentary. Get Out hits all the right horror beats while at the same time shines a light on the issues African Americans face in this country.  Jordan Peele showed the world that not only is he a hilarious comedic performer but now he can scare the crap out of them.

3.

wonder_woman

Lets face it DC/WB has not been doing well with the live action comic book films. Man of Steel while gorgeous looking brought us a dour and emo Superman. Batman V Superman showed us the fight of the century that was stopped because of a mom’s name and Suicide Squad was Guardians of the Galaxy minus anything entertaining. But them Wonder Woman came in and saved the day with its sense of hope.  It finally gave us a DC hero we can look up to and enjoy.

2.

blade_runner_twenty_forty_nine_ver5

I absolutely adored Denis Villeneuve’s continuation of the Ridley Scott classic. It does what a sequel is supposed to do; keep enough of the familiar and add new elements to make it fresh. The look and tone perfectly captured the look and tone of the original. A lot of people complained about the running time but I for one could have spent more time in this world.

Before my No.1 film here my honorable mentions:

Murder on the Orient Express,

It

Spiderman Homecoming

The Disaster Artist

Guardians of the Galaxy 2

Big Sick

The Last Jedi

John Wick 2

1.

shape_of_water_ver2

Guillermo Del Toro continues to be one the greatest storytellers out there. He has created original modern day fairy tales with Pans Labyrinth,  shown his geek cred with Blade 2 and Hellboy and created beautifully terrifying films like Devils Backbone. All those were the warm ups for this, his absolute masterpiece.  A true love story that only Del Toro could make.

Posted in Writings

Christmas Instiutions That Need to Stop

4. WHITE ELEPHANTS

The object of this joyous game, which I like to affectionately call “5 Finger Discount Christmas”, is to go to a table riddled with gifts, take one, open it, hopefully getting something you like and then praying to whatever God you believe in that the second person choses to pick from the table and not pluck that wonderful little present from your not so cold and dead hands. But alas, it’s encouraged to take from the person so that the ooohs and ahhhs can be heard all the way to the North Pole making Santa and probably the Baby Jesus cry.

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His tears help make Egg Nog

So there you are presentless again and now you must trod off to the table and grab another gift hoping your luck will remain but knowing history tends to repeat itself. And this goes on and on and on until everyone has something in their hands from either the table or by simply ripping off the person who had it first. Because nothing screams Christmas spirit more than out right thievery.

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The Patron Saint of White Elephants

Some will argue that it’s not about the gifts it’s about the game and the fun. Yes, I’m sure the person who started the game with a $500 gift card from Amazon is perfectly happy with the Pine and Dog Shit scented Yankee Candle they got at the end.

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For those romantic evenings

3. OFFICE SECRET SANTAS

Usually it works the same as any other Secret Santa, you pull a name from a hat (usually a Santa or elf hat because why not indulge in clichés’) and now that persons happiness and your reputation are permanently intertwined.  It becomes an almost month long stressed induced nightmare of “What the Fuck do I get this person” Made worse because A) you are new and you don’t really know anyone at the office or B) the person you picked is new which means you will either form a strong bond by the end of this or simply look like a jackass and your name will appear has the headline for the Office Gossip Gazette or C) you ended up with someone you don’t like, like Gary from accounting who’s just an asshole. So not only did you get the asshole, not only do have no clue what the asshole would want  but now you’re pissed at yourself because you’re worried about what to get the asshole for Christmas.

growing-up
Gary’s such an asshole

But it doesn’t even end when you present your gift because even after they open it and smile and gush with the thank you’s and all the You shouldn’t haves, you will always wonder in the back of your mind “Did they really like the gift or will I find it back on the shelf at Goodwill where I found it in the first place”  

2. THE IDEA OF A WAR ON CHRISTMAS

Let’s get one thing straight, there is no war on Christmas. People are not lining up outside of Starbucks with pitch forks and torches because their cups aren’t Christiany enough (they’re probably mad because they limited the espresso shots) Most people really don’t care. Besides do you really want this on a cup containing your delicious, frothy double foam macchiato?

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Jesus Died for our Latte’s

And no the President never banned Christmas trees or the saying of Merry Christmas and if you believe he did then you deserve coal in your stocking and then getting repeatedly beaten with said stocking because you’re an idiot.  Most of the flames of this war on Christmas rhetoric were fanned by this guy (Whose  name I will not mention) who looks like a cross between Kevin James and Fred Durst who was not really born but more like he was hatched while under a heat lamp at Burger King.

war-on-xmas-guy
King of the Whopper of all Lies

The bottom line is this is the time of year to come together. No matter your belief, no matter your gender, no matter your color Christmas time is for everyone because buying last minute gifts at the Dollar Store is a universal trait.

1. BABY IT’S COLD OUTSIDE

No song has ever brought the worlds of Romance, Christmas and Sexual Assault together so seamlessly than this little ditty. How could you not feel the warmth of a crackling fire with lyrics like this:

My mother will start to worry (beautiful what’s your hurry?)
My father will be pacing the floor (listen to the fireplace roar)

Or feel the air of Christmas with these verses:
So really I’d better scurry (beautiful please don’t hurry)
But maybe just a half a drink more (put some records on while I pour)

Or feel the abject terror that awaits with these melodic words:
The neighbors might think (baby, it’s bad out there)
Say what’s in this drink? (no cabs to be had out there)

I’d be surprised if Dean Martin didn’t end up wearing a skin suit by the end of this song.

skinsuit-horror-world-435096_543_800
Baby its cold outside so I need your skin to keep me warm

 

 

Posted in Writings

Eye of the Dreamer Chapter 5

                When Tommy was a kid he had been asked to help in his Dad auto shop. He reacted as any child would when asked to work when all he wanted was to be outside playing with his friends or inside playing his video games.  He begrudgingly walked in with a pouty look thinking how he didn’t want to be there. His Dad told him to start moping the floor, then he had him organize the parts and tools, he then had him move the tires from inside to the back area. He then had him work some of the machines.

                                “I don’t know how to work this” Tommy said with trepidation.

                                “Let me see if you can figure it out” his Dad responded.

                                Tommy looked around at the machine and studied it and started touching the buttons and slowly but eventually he learned how certain equipment worked.

By the end tommy was exhausted. He sat at his father’s desk. Dad gave him a coke and sat with him.

                                “I know you didn’t want to be here” Dad said

                                “Ya think” Tommy quietly responded.

                                “But I’m proud of you. Even though you were mopey you still did the work and you did a great job. See I just wanted to show you that whatever’s put in front of you, no matter how much you don’t want to it or it seems hard, you can accomplish anything. I know you got the heart all you need is the confidence.”

                                “Yeah I do feel I can do anything” Tommy responded proudly

                                                   _______________________________

                                “I CAN’T DO THAT!!!!” Tommy shouted. He had just been told that he was going to be the caretaker for peoples dreams; a far cry from learning hydraulic lifts inn his dad’s shop. Plus being told that while preparing to battle some nightmare creature, not the best combination.

                                Tommy followed Mr Sabbiaman to what he felt was the center. The lights were denser, bigger more vibrant. Tommy could feel a greater amount of energy being released. There was almost a feeling of euphoria washing over him.

                                Mr Sabbiaman turned around and faced Tommy “I’m sorry what were you saying?”

                                “Look, I don’t know what’s going on right now. All I know is that you are some crazy old dude who’s got a really cool light show going on. You say these are all people’s dreams and you take care of them. I was robbing your house for christsaks and now I’m supposed to help you fight some friggin monster at the same time you’re sayin that I’m supposed to take your job!!!” Tommy finally stopped and took a breath.

                                Mr Sabbiaman was looking around. He was eyeing all the different lights that shone in the room until he came upon the only white light, “ahhh there you are “ he whispered.

                                Tommy looked at him “What are you looking for? What is that”

                                “That is the collection of own dreams. We have to dream. It’s a way for the sub conscious to purge, to release. If we don’t dream we slowly go mad. A custodians sleep patterns can be rather erratic to say the least we don’t dream like normal humans. So right before we begin our job, our last dream is collected. It’s stored in this white void. We then periodically enter the void to purge our minds. This will help us stop The Nightmare” And with that Mr Sabbiaman prepared to enter the void. Just as he was about to walk through both he and Tommy heard a scream, the nightmare was getting closer.

                                “Enter the void with me, together we can stop the nightmare once and for all. We can harness the power from my collected dreams and end this” Mr Sabbiaman turned to the void.

                                “wait a minute” Tommy shouted “ I don’t understand any of this.”

                                “You will once you enter the void, all your questions answered and you will be fully aware of everything” Mr Sabbiaman said with impatients .

                                Tommy saw a figure coming closer and closer. He looked at Mr Sabbiaman who was about to enter the void and looked back the shadow figure barreling toward them. He made his decision, he ran toward Mr Sabbiaman and just as they were about to enter Tommy heard a familiar voice.

                                “STOP!!!!” Said the voice.

                                Tommy turned and his face was ashen with shock. The figure came out of the shadow and Tommy could clearly see his face but he couldn’t believe his eyes.

                                “Do not listen to that man.” Said the figure “I am Mr Sabbiaman and I’m the custodian”

Posted in General Thoughts

A Plea for Sanity

I’m scared.

Ok maybe scared isn’t the right word; terrified I think hits the nail on the head.

I honestly didn’t think I would be this nervous the closer we got to Election Day.  I didn’t think it would be a slam dunk (remember no one thought Trump would even get a ticket to the RNC let alone come within a hairs breath of the White House) but I also didn’t think it would be a close as it is. It feels like a see-saw, one side gets up and then it goes back down.  This Election could go either way and that’s not good.

I will be embarrassed  if Trump is elected into our Highest Office (I stand by my belief that no matter what, this election will hold a first; either we elect the first Woman president or we elect the first internet troll). So yeah this is the first time in all the years I’ve been able to vote that I feel utterly terrified of what the outcome could be. Trump is a misogynistic, racists asshole who will make us the laughing stock of the entire planet. This man talks about building walls that Mexico will pay for, banning Muslims, that his hands prove he has a big penis, grabbing women by their pussies,  and  with all that and he is still a viable candidate. While Howard Dean screamed like a banshee and that derailed his presidential run.

hd-aspect-1454081235-dean-scream-header
Oh how I long for the screaming days

 So I beg, I plead, I implore you all don’t let this country fall into the hands of a 6’3 Oompa Loompa and his bible thumping Race Bannon looking partner. We took some amazing steps forward in the last 8 years. Don’t force us to take 50 steps back. Fine you don’t like Hilary because she is shady, guess what THEY ARE ALL SHADY!!!  This election is too important to not vote because YOUR preferred candidate didn’t make it  , its too important to vote 3rd party because yes you will be splitting the vote, it’s too important to simply be blasé about it. On Nov 8th bite down on that leather strip, grind your teeth into nubs in frustration and vote for Hilary because, seriously , do you really want to see this orange faced baboon for the next 4 years…

2016-07-15-1468607338-43291-donaldtrumpangry

Posted in Writings

Eye of the Dreamer Chapter 4

                            “So it would appear our time is limited. I would have rather you learned organically but based on the what we just heard I will need to spoon feed you the information” Mr Sabbiaman said with calm but with a hint of urgency. Tommy was still reeling from that blood curdling scream that cut through the cavern. “What you are seeing are portals. They are doors to the sub conscious. We can see what frightens them, what brings them joy. We can learn where their anxieties lay and see how the mind tries to find answers to unanswerable questions.” Tommy stared at Mr Sabbiaman. They were both silent for a moment.

                                “Who are they?!!?” Tommy shouted “Portals to what? You need to speak English to me”

                                “Dreams. These are portals to people’s dreams. Those images that flicker on and off in the light are the streams of consciousness of people while they are sleeping” Mr Sabbiaman grab Tommy by the shoulder and slowly spun him around “We are connected to everyone on the planet who is dreaming”

                                “How is this possible” Tommy said

                                “For now, all I you need to believe is that it is possible”

                                “So if this place houses peoples dreams, does that make you some kind of…dream master”

                                Mr Sabbiaman raised an eye brow “Hardly. Im what you would call a Custodian. I make sure that nothing interferes with how the dreams unfold or with the people dreaming them”

                                “Ok ok so you’re a custodian. Then what the hell is that, that nightmare we heard. I mean I have nightmares all the time but…

                                “Not a nightmare, THE Nightmare. This is a creature that stalks these portals trying to syphon their energy”

                                Tommy looked confused and was about to say it when he was cut off

                                “Dreams give off energy, that’s what these portals of light are.   Even when sleeping the human mind is still producing thoughts; tiny electrical currents still zapping around your cortex, thus energy.”

                                “Ok so what does that have to do…

                                “The Nightmare feeds on that energy. Haven’t you awoken feeling more tired even though you slept throughout the night? That’s because some of your energy was stolen. This creature feeds on it to gain strength. Of course it engages in harsher methods”

                                “What do you mean”

                                Mr Sabbiaman stared at Tommy for a minute “Do you remember that period of time when you woke up but couldn’t move?”

                                Tommy looked on in utter shock. Not only was that a terrifying period of his life, the paralysis, the feeling of helplessness, the tightness in his chest as if he were being suffocated,  he couldn’t believe that this man knew about it.

“Do you remember those shadowy figures that would appear? They would stare and begin walking toward you.  Sometimes right on top of you? “Tommy nodded. “That was The Nightmare feeding heavily. There is a middle point between the dream world and the real world, I call it The Great Barrier. That paralysis that you felt was you being pulled into the great barrier; awake yet not, aware but not sure if it was real or not and then the creature would feed”  

                                “But there were times I saw more than one figure”

                                “Visual distortion. Your mind cannot process what goes on in the great barrier, so what you see as multiple figures is just one monster”

                                Tommy slumped to the floor, the look of confusion, shock and exhaustion was setting in. “Look this is a lot take in”

                                Mr Sabbiaman knelt down and put his hands on Tommy’s shoulders “I know it is. And I am sorry. I do wish you could learn and absorb all this at a slower pace but time of the essence. We must prepare” And with that Mr Sabbiaman got up and started walking.

                                Tommy stood up and shouted “what do you mean, We???  I don’t even know why you brought me down here in the first place”

                                Mr Sabbiaman stopped but didn’t bother to turn around “I brought you down here for one simple reason; You are to be the new custodian”