Skip to main content


Showing posts from January, 2017

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like...Star Wars

The air outside is crisp. You can see your breath and the end of your nose is red and cold. The houses that you pass have Christmas trees in the windows. There are lights arranged all over the front lawns. The stores are all lit up and twinkling. The bell ringers are sitting in front of the shops collecting your spare change for charity.

But it’s not a Christmas party that we’re going to tonight.

I’m sitting in a restaurant with my wife and my daughter. It’s not a fancy place. “It’s not the Shangri-La,” as I’ve been known to say in description of any place that doesn’t require a jacket and tie. No, this is just a hamburger joint.

We’re sitting in a booth enjoying big, fat cheeseburgers, shoestring fries, and ice cream sundaes. There is electricity in the air. There is a smile on my face. This is a special day.

At the table next to us there are two men about my age. They’re having a casual conversation about their work and if you just listened to the words you’d think they were in bus…

40 Movies For 40 Years: 1981

I started kindergarten in 1981. That’s about the biggest accomplishment that I can think of. I started going to a place where I had a regular diet of cookies, Kool-Aid, and crayons.
Yes, I ate crayons.
Chariots Of Firegot the Academy Award for best picture.Mommie Dearestgot the Razzie for worst picture. Christopher Reeve was back in the tights inSuperman II, 007 was drinking another shaken martini inFor Your Eyes Only, and Terry Gilliam directed the cult classicTime Bandits.
I am, as I’ve said before, a huge Superman film. I have the tattoo to prove it. And I absolutely loveSuperman II. I think that in a lot of ways it is superior to the first film. But this list is about more than just nostalgia. I have to determine what my favorites more. And if I’m being honest there is one movie that came out in 1981 that would definitely get more rewatchability. I’m, of course, talking aboutRaiders Of The Lost Ark.
AfterThe Empire Strikes Backcame out Harrison Ford was officially a big star. The endi…

40 Movies For 40 Years: 1980

The year that I turned 3 years old because I have a picture of myself with tears in my eyes sitting next to a birthday cake that said “Happy Birthday You Big Dummy”.
That might seem like a very cruel thing to say to a small child, but there actually was a little context to it. One of my favorite things to do when I was little was to sit in my grandfather’s lap and watch television. “Paw-Paw” would watch all kinds of things, and I’d watch with him no matter what it was. Sometimes it would be Sesame Street just to please me. At other times it would be The Andy Griffith Show or All In The Family. His favorite was Sanford And Son. The slogan on the cake was from that show, but my three year old mind didn’t get the joke so my feelings got hurt.
1980 was a good year for film releases. Dolly Parton was working 9 to 5, Clint Eastwood was back in Any Which Way You Can, and Dan Akroyd and John Belushi were on a mission from God in The Blues Brothers.
I didn’t have to think about this one very …

40 Movies For 40 Years: 1979

1979 was the year that I turned 2 years old. My dad was transferred from Ft. Walton Beach, Florida to Columbus, Mississippi. And less than a week before Christmas my little brother was born.
The box office was pretty active as well. 007 was back again with Moonraker, Francis Ford Coppola had another hit on his hands with Apocalypse Now, and Sigorney Weaver was running from Xenomorphs in Alien.
I’ve had to do a lot of thinking over this year. I had to really dig down deep and be honest with myself over a couple of films in order to find what takes this spot on my list. This is the year that Star Trek: The Motion Picture was released. If you know anything about me then you know that I am a Star Trek fan. I don’t mean that I kind of like the show a little bit. I mean that I had a couple of years in high school where I didn’t read a bit of literature that wasn’t a Star Trek novel. I watched The Next Generation every evening at 9:00pm even if I had seen the episode 12 times.
So, I sat do…

40 Movies For 40 Years: 1978

I had my first birthday in 1978. It was a big day for my family because it meant that my mom and dad had gotten through their first year of parenthood without killing me. I have no idea what my cartoon character my cake was made to look like. I don’t know what decorations that my mom put up for my party. I’m not even entirely sure that I had a birthday party. My dad was in the Air Force when I was a baby and at the time that I turned one I believe he was still stationed in Ft. Walton Beach, FL, which is the same place where I was born. This was a good four hour drive from most of my extended family so I doubt that they all made the trip just for some cake and ice cream.
1978 was also a big year for movies. John Travolta had another hit in theaters when he donned his leather jacket in Grease. Clint Eastwood was taking care of business in Every Which Way But Loose. And Michael Myers was chasing down Jamie Lee Curtis for the very first time in Halloween.
It wasn’t until December that on…

40 Movies For 40 Years: 1977

On July 4 of this year I will be turning 40 years old. That is a big day for any person. It seems bigger to the person actually making the milestone than to the people around them since everyone has a 40th birthday eventually…unless they die before they get there. And barring any unforeseen circumstances over the next six and a half months I will probably be blowing out those candles on Independence Day.
But I want to conduct a little experiment with myself. I am a movie guy. I love movies and I love television. I have been this way since I was a child. To me there has never been a more pleasant and satisfying pastime as sitting and letting a story wash over you the way that a movie can do. The two or three hours that you spend watching film are the culmination of hundreds of hours of work by hundreds of individuals that poured their heart and soul into that project. The actors, the director, the camera guys…all the way down to the guy that sweeps up after everyone has left have all …

Popular posts from this blog

"Stretching From Here To Pletcher"...a tribute to Steve Latham

Today is a dark day.
If you’ve ever read any of my blog posts before then you’ve heard me tell the stories of my experiences in high school. I was bullied. I was bullied a lot. It’s something that has affected me my entire life. It has caused social anxiety issues that I deal with to this day. It’s not something that I like to remember, but it’s my history and it’s a part of who I am.
Granted, I was an awkward teenager. I didn’t play any sports. I wasn’t on the little league team. I didn’t even like watching sports...I still don’t. I don’t know enough about football to have an extended conversation about it. The stuff that I was into was a lot nerdier than that. I liked Star Trek. I liked reading science fiction and fantasy novels. I liked writing stories. I liked watching old black and white monster movies. I liked British sitcoms. Like I said…weird kid.
When I was a junior in high school I signed up to be a library aid for one class period a day. I figured I liked to be around book…


He was a kid.
He wasn’t literally a child. I mean, he was technically a grown man at the age of 23. But he hadn’t really experienced much of life. The small town life had been all he’d every really known and he had not yet figured out what his place in the world was. He made $6.50 an hour at a job that didn’t really hold much of a future for him. He spent his days working and at night he’d sit alone in his room, watching TV and wishing that there was more to his existence.
She was a kid, too. She was only 22. And in her short life she’d actually already lived a lot. She’d lived long enough to have been hurt by the man she loved. And she’d been around long enough to have a precious little boy that meant the world to her. She thought she had everything she needed. She thought that if it were just her and her son that she’d be fine.
The Universe had other plans.
These two met one day. They went on a date. Neither of them was really out to find a relationship. They were each just trying …

13 Reasons Why: A Parental Review

As I walked by my daughter’s bedroom a couple of weeks ago I saw her staring intently at her phone. I could tell that she was enthralled in something and I figured she was catching up on some of her favorite shows.
“What are you watching?” I said, trying to be the dad that knows what his daughter is doing.
“It’s a new show on Netflix,” she replied. “It’s called 13 Reasons Why. Everybody at school is watching it.”
I thought nothing else about it. I very rarely condemn anything that my kids are watching unless I know that it is something extremely violent or raunchy. The title actually registered in my mind because I had seen the book on the shelf at the bookstore and online a few times. I knew it was a young adult title so I figured a Netflix show based on that should be alright. I mean, she’s seen The Hunger Games, right?
A couple of days later my wife tells me that she saw a few stories online about some kids that have committed suicide after watching the show. That sounds a little f…