Thursday, August 15, 2013

Guest Blogger: He's back ... Papa G

A Close Brush with death

My poor daughter with Juvenile Alzheimer's (ME), mis-shared a legendary tale of great trepidation I once shared with her so here it is in its less abridged and corrected form....

To realign and refine....

It was sister Jenny and I, 11 and 15 at the time, on one side of a 50's looking gold-glitter flecked, beige tiled bar - on the den side of it.  On the other was my very serious, oft-angry and very-brilliant father tidying up the kitchen.  His cigarettes sat perched on the counter quite near to her and I (as luck would have it, que lastima!).

I had in my possession a cute little red-and-white round tin of what were lovingly called "cigarette loads".  These were very cool little wooden spikes about a fifth or so of the diameter of said cigarettes.  I slowly opened my hand and uncapped them as I motioned from Jenny towards the cigs with my chin.  Her eyes truly widened as she nodded: "No."  

I really felt somewhat possessed, as to proceed. May well have meant certain death but it was out of my hands and in the hands of a greater (much) power.  It seemed to take hold of her, as well, wondrously enough, as SHE reached for the pack and handed me a cig.  

I inserted the load.  

Evidently, she, and I confess, I, did not want to miss the 'fun' so....when he reached for another, she said, "Here, Dad, let me," passing him the possible fuse of our demise.  I think MY eyes widened in shock of her incredible bravery and audacity as this would seal her fate as a known co-conspirator.

The nails of my fingers dug into the bottom of the swivel chair's naugahide as he lit up the cigarette, turned ordinance....  

What amazingly LOUD crack there was!  Who, mind you, WHO would have thought that little bitty piece of wood (coated with some white shiny powder) would have the power to make 4, perfect, evenly spaced and sized, strips of cigarette paper dangle half way back to his super-surprised lips!!  

But, voila, there his two small eyes sat gazing at the end where once there stood a cigarette as we were collapsing in admission to our grave and perhaps last, sin.

Not to besmirch, belittle or diminish...but the scene was VERY reminiscent of some I had seen on MANY a cartoon...the RoadRunner comes to mind - he the wily coyote and me having a growing desire to be saying "beep beep" and disappear into a cloud of smoke.  Just on the other side of our guffaws (raucous, I'm sure) lay, in terror.

His response?....THAT WILL BE 10 CENTS! - such novel MUSIC to mine ears.  

With a different set of characters his directive would have had me digging into my pockets for 20 cents - maybe even a dollar so as to engage a reenactment or two...or 10...however, far closer to my thoughts was the feeling of great fortune to have escaped with our lives.

Next, Walt and my purple chicken.....

-- I take a meaningful bow to My Papa G for this contribution. 

I've always loved that story. And love you, sir.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Chris Pine, my new crush.

Is it possible that I haven't bloggled in almost 17 months? I've been able to keep my restless fingers from trying to embarrass me online for such a long spell?

I'm impressed with myself.

There's no point in picking a "rational" start in the egregiously long list of films I've seen of late, so I'll just blather about the first that come to mind.

I adored "Frances Ha,"a Noah Baumbach movie starring Greta Gerwig as a tragically clueless, if endearing, late-20s New Yorker who can't really get her life in order. She is an aspiring / struggling dancer whose best friend is actually rounding the corner to becoming a true "grown-up," whereas dear Frances is still bouncing from apartment to apartment, boy to boy, job to job, etc.

I fear that my true adoration of the movie might stem from me finding her character sadly recognizable. Not in myself. Of course. Ahem.

It is one of my favorite movies of the year thus far.

To keep up the movie-industry optimism, I will move to "Mud," which I saw three times in the theater. The film stars Matthew McConaughey as a scraggly-haired, chipped-teeth drifter hiding out on an island in Mississippi. He's killed a man to protect the love of his life (a very down-and-out-looking Reese Witherspoon), and bounty hunters are out to get him.

Two boys befriend Mud after finding him on the island and going on big and small adventures for Mud to help him win his Lady Love and avoid being knocked off. The two little boys, Tye Sheridan and Jacob Lofland, are ones to watch in the future. And, the last couple Matt McConaughey movies I saw were "Magic Mike" and "Killer Joe." It was nice to not have to see his naked behind magnified on the big screen (Magic Mike) or watch him ruthlessly kill people (Killer Joe) this time.

Also, with characters named Mud, Ellis, Neckbone and Juniper -- I was in love before I knew it.

A huge let down was "Before Midnight," the third installment in Richard Linklater's "Before..." series starring Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke. The three films have followed the fictional couple since 1995 ("Before Sunrise") when the two were young and idealistic, traveling independently in Europe. They meet on a train and fall in love, of course, during their one night together. They plan to meet up in a year, but they miss each other and don't meet until nine years later ("Before Sunset") when they re-fall in love.

This time around, it's 9 MORE years later and they have settled into married life, replete with all of the bickering and mundane problems that come along with it.

But, whereas in the first two "Befores..." they were lovable and endearing in their immaturity and foibles, now they are just unlikable people. She's become a controlling mess and he's become a huge pushover, which is so very unattractive.

They need to get divorced and spare future audiences from their depressing vacuity.

Next up: "The Conjuring," "This is the End," "Crystal Fairy," "The Purge," "Star Trek."

And, I owe it to my old Texas nemesis to promote his pretty awesome new movie blog.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Kid with a Bike - A Return

Due to a dear Colombian friend of mine (names have no place here), I've decided to saddle up and get back on the old blog horse. His entreaties rang true: "Don't you miss it?" I suppose I do.

So, well, I've seen perhaps 50 gazillion movies since I last wrote, but I'll highlight the latest one.
"The Kid with a Bike" -- directed by Jean-Pierre Dardenne and Luc Dardenne

Yes, a foreign film for those few who don't like to read subtitles. It's worth it.

There I was, fully prepared to see this film alone, having had to drag my Friend from some Brooklyn/writer-induced gloom to the netherland that is IFC theater in Greenwich Village. Oh, I could feel through the phone how desperately sorry he felt for himself for having to get on the MTA and stand through a film he was not "in the mood" to see.

Poppycock, is what I'd say.

He came, we went, and afterward ... what do my bewildered ears hear?

Me: "So, what'd you think?"

"I thought it was great!" Brooklyn Sir exclaimed.

Don't distrust me when I suggest a movie, fool.

The story starts off simply, if sadly: an 11-year old boy is denounced by his father in the most inhumanely way. The kid doesn't really get it -- he thinks his dad's just on a break, or is away to make some money for home for a bit. Well, no. Dear old Dad just doesn't want you, the child quickly learns.

Enter a quiet, compassionate hairdresser from "just down the road," her empathy for the little boy supersedes any thoughts toward her own happiness. She takes him in ...

Yet, our little abandoned boy is still a terror, and she has to determine whether he's worth it.

Friday, November 4, 2011

In Time, Justin Timberlake: Cheated.

My bud and I saw "In Time" last night, the new Justin Timberlake movie. It was, perhaps, one of the worst movies I've ever seen. So bad that I now will probably see it again just to torture myself.

Story goes a little something like this: You pay for everything (from coffee to cab rides to hitmen) with minutes of your life. Or "minutes, hours, months" and then you grab hold of whomever you're paying's wrist and you exchange time through some Total-Recall-like function. AND, everyone lives only until they're 25 -- or, that's when everyone stops aging. So, some dude on the street will say, "How old are you?" "I've been 25 for the past 175 years."


It reminded me of a Christopher Nolan interview I read way back when, where he said that he thought of the concept of "Inception" when he was a kid. And I had the thought back then, "Uhhhh, yeah, when I was about 7 I was thinking about worlds upon worlds upon worlds, too. Why are you wasting my time?"

This was a horrific movie, and I never, ever want to see Justin Timberboots running around through the streets of a made-up town as if he were a real movie star. And, it was really sad because all the previews they played beforehand were of some great-looking action movies (new "Mission Impossible"!) that made you think that this stupid movie might be ok. It was not, those cheats.

I will have to see something good tonight.

That said, I will definitely be buying "In Time" because bad movies are also awesome movies. And watching people slump to the ground as a Timekeeper comes running toward them is never a bad thing.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Paul Newman, Revisited, Part 2.

I've been thinking a lot about it, and it's bothering me that I didn't mention in my last bloggle post a very big deal this past summer.

I went on a date in early June -- something Ms. Grice never does, or doesn't like to do. This boy took me to the Museum of the Moving Image. In Astoria, Queens! It was such a trek that I thought to myself, "Well, self, if this boy doesn't get that making me go all the way up here is a big to-do, we know where he stands."

However, I got there and holy Toledo. This was a palace. If I could've found a nook to sleep where I wouldn't be found, I'd have been sleeping there every night for the past 4 months.

Best part was, I ran up to the ticket-taker, and he gave me the paper listing out what exhibitions were on display.

The guy says: "Yuh know, it's Paul Newman week."

My jaw dropped down to the floor and I swallowed many mosquitoes.

"Ahbadabada, whaaaaaaat?"

"Yeah, we're playing The Hustler and The Color of Money tonight. For free since you already paid for your entrance ticket. [$10!]."

I felt like I had stumbled into my Heaven.

The date after half an hour of bumbling around said: "So, let's go get dinner?"

Me: "Uhh, no. Yeah right. Did you hear that guy? The Hustler AND The Color of Money?"

He looked at me curiously; I stared back, my Texas spine finally putting itself to use. "Nah, good to know you," as I furrowed my brow. "But, I gotta go see Paul."

In between films, I called Mama G and told her about my good fortune. She was so excited for me -- until I told her I gave up on a date. Then: "MORGAAAAAAAAN!!!!!"