Category Archives: Movies

Never A Team Of Psychiatrists Around When You Need One

“You’re seeing a whole team of psychiatrists, aren’t you?”

Watching one of the all-time greatest movies while simultaneously watching psychotic folks with nuclear codes on mania inducing steroids Tweet nonsense, and that line comes up.

If only.

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I’m fried, don’t have two brain cells to rub together. I’m also out of new photos to share and I’m too tired to start hunting through thirty years of photos at this time of night to find something. And an actual conversation or thoughtful article? Please! NOT!

But I do notice that on cable (The Movie Channel) it’s apparently Kubrick Week – “Eyes Wide Shut” and “A Clockwork Orange” are on tonight, and I’ve seen “The Shining” on in the last couple of nights. Or maybe it’s just Psycho Week – I also see “Carrie,” “Dressed To Kill,” and “Basic Instinct.”

Anyway, let’s stick with Kubrick, one of the finest directors ever.

What’s your favorite Kubrick film, and why? Inquiring minds want to know. Answer in the comments.

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Spoilers Are Now Authorized

The past two months and more have been a pressure cooker, with one seemingly impossible deadline and fantastically ridiculous workload after another. (You might have noticed if you read this regularly.)


There’s a bit of calm. (Feeling like I’ve come through a huge storm, I’m hoping this calm period isn’t the eye of the hurricane with the need to very soon fight my way back out the other side.)

The major deadlines at both my paying/day job and my volunteer/weekend job are behind me. There’s time to see what I need to catch up, what’s been shoved off onto the back burner. Which includes a LOT of movies we didn’t get out to see. Like that latest “Star Wars” film. It’s still out there, right?

Well, yes and no. I was looking at the upcoming weekend and it seems that by then it will only be in about six or seven theaters in the entire Southern California area, and the nearest one is 40 miles away.  That sucks!

But it’s still at the theaters just around the corner a bit – tonight and tomorrow. And tomorrow we’ve got another commitment in downtown LA.

We went for it. Saw the film. Even stayed awake through the whole thing!

You may all now start discussing the spoilers. I grant you my permission!

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I do love me some movies, both as entertainment and as art. There are certain actors I would watch read a shopping list – Jimmy Stewart, Helen Mirren, Sigourney Weaver, Bill Murray, many others. Similarly, there are directors for whom I will hand over my cash blindly to see anything they’ve done – Alfred Hitchcock, Steven Spielberg, Ron Howard, early Rob Reiner. But above all, there’s Stanley Kubrick.

Tonight I fell into watching the second half of “Full Metal Jacket” when I had had enough of the news. It was more relaxing.

Long, long tracking shots. Moving, bobbing, weaving through smoke and fire.

No. Special. Effects.

Real. Film.


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From The Ridiculous…

I had some CAF documents to knock out tonight and there was a shortage of good background video to have on. The Angels were on YouTube instead of a good, God-fearing, American cable channel like real baseball should be — I have no idea what’s good on regular television any more — and I just couldn’t bring myself to watch a Hallmark Christmas movie on demand.

Flipping through the various premium channels, I found the last hour or so of “Armageddon.” Have I told you how terribly godawful horrible that movie is? It’s not even the ridiculously bad science, even for a special effects extravaganza summer blockbuster piece of fluff. The story sucks. The science sucks. The special effects are big and flashy but so stupid that even they suck.

Fortunately, after that I was able to find the Disney version of “Into The Woods,” which I have never seen. That would be the sublime follow-up to “Armageddon.”

As much as I love the original, and would absolutely kill to see it live on stage, the Disney version is more than just a bit sanitized, especially in the second act. The original play, in addition to the marvelous and beautiful music (some of which has been deleted from this version), the play is dark and people get what they deserve, which is often death. That’s all sort of whitewashed, as is the Prince’s infidelity.

I enjoyed it, but I’m going to have to go back and watch the real version again soon.

Following that, “The Princess Bride” came on.

I got my CAF stuff done and emailed out, but I might not get to bed on time tonight. (We’re just getting to where we need to find Miracle Max.)

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Yet Another Damn Near Perfect Movie


Ron Howard’s a genius. That ensemble cast is stellar. From scene to scene I can’t even decide who’s more perfect.

Jason Robards? The only movie I like more of his is “Something Wicked This Way Comes.”

Mary Steenburgen? Perfection.

Dianne Wiest? There’s a reason she got an Oscar nomination for this film.

Keanu Reeves? The scene where he explains to Dianne Wiest why her son is upset and depressed is freaking brilliant.

Tom Hulse? Just wanna slap his stupid punk ass up one side and down the other. Only his role in “Amadeus” is better.

Not a single bad scene in the entire film.

Agree with me or resign yourself to being wrong.

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Epic Fantasies

So, after four straight weeks of binging through Seasons 5, 6, 7, and the start of Season 8 of Game of Thrones, we’re now up to date and ready to watch the last two episodes with the rest of the world.

I won’t say much about GOT except to say that they have the most villainous villains I have ever even conceived of. And I love Arya Stark more than I think any fictional character that I’ve ever seen. Except for possibly Ripley. Possibly.

While “processing” the latest from GOT 8-4 tonight and heading to my office to get some work done, I found “The Princess Bride” on one of the premium cable channels. I’m pretty sure somewhere along the line in the last few years here I’ve described it as one of those movies that I’ll watch any time at the drop of  a hat. It doesn’t matter how many times I’ve seen it recently.

Again, watching it tonight, I’m struck by just how perfect it is. As many times as I’ve seen it, I can’t find a single scene or line of dialogue that isn’t pristine.

More significantly, to see it just after seeing the last couple of GOT episodes… Similar themes and settings, knights, castles, swords, horses, bad guys who are really bad, good guys who are really good, and so on. But what radically different worlds!

Finally, in the category of “You See Something New Every Time You Watch It,” (for $2,000, Alex!), I just noticed that the music was done by Mark Knopfler.

Wait, what?

THAT, Mark Knopfler? Dire Straights’ Mark Knopfler? “Sultans of Swing” Mark Knopfler?




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Reminds Me Of Someone

Some nights I just don’t have the right feel for music to keep me company while I work, and silence is not really golden, so I’ll see if there’s something to turn on the idiot box that might be background noise. Not as easy as you think – in many cases it’s still “10,000 channels and nothing on.”

Tonight I got lucky. “Dune” was just starting. I had forgotten just how bizarre and occasionally wonderful David Lynch’s “Dune” (1984) was.

I had first read “Dune” in 1973 in high school, about eight years after it had been published. I was enthralled with the book, but at the time figured it would never be made into a movie since the technology wasn’t even close to being sufficient. That said, by 1984 it still wasn’t quite there, but it was close enough for Lynch to give it a damn good try. I think he hit a lot of the high points about the mystique and power politics of the book, but with a book of that density there was of course so much that had to be left out.

Especially over the top in Lynch’s version was Kenneth McMillan’s portrayal of Baron Vladamir Harkonnen. It’s so far over the top that it’s never been a favorite piece of the movie for me. But tonight I noticed something. Maybe it’s because I haven’t watched it in a year or two.

Baron Vladamir Harkonnen.

Evil incarnate.

Batshit crazy insane.

Diseased and grotesque.

A 100% complete megalomaniac, self-obsessed and narcissistic.

Not to mention the extremely orange skin tones and bizarre orange hairdo.

It reminds me of someone…

Maybe Lynch was a bit more prescient than we give him credit for.

So the next time you’re cussing out that certain prominent politician for being a complete freakin’ idiot, instead be grateful! If he had two brain cells to rub together he might be this guy!

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Groundhog Day

Simple statement – “Groundhog Day” is a perfect movie.

I just realize this might be the only movie I’ve seen more than the original “Star Wars,” and I was one of those kids who saw it over fifty times just in the theater. But I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if I have seen “Groundhog Day” more times now.

Bill Murray – perfect. His every expression given the circumstances and timing. His growth and change through the movie. The ups. The downs. The enlightenment.

Andie MacDowell – perfect.

The concept – simple. The execution – eloquent.

Go ahead. Prove me wrong. Name one thing wrong, one scene that doesn’t click, one missed beat or missed step.

I triple dog dare you.

“Groundhog Day” is a perfect movie.

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Things I’m Relearning This Weekend

First – I’m still not ready for Henry Blake to not make it home.

Second – I’m still not ready for Will Hunting to tell Skylar that he doesn’t love her.

Third – I’m still not ready for Wash to be a leaf on the wind.

Fourth – There must be a hell of a lot of pollen in the air this weekend. Or smoke. Or tear gas.

How’s your July going?


Filed under Movies, Paul