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“We all forget things. That’s what reminding is for.”

There was a “little” movie that you might’ve heard of in the early 90s called “Pretty Woman.”

…and a star was born.

Being a 13 year old boy, I had no interest in that film.  Mainly because at that point, my sister had a huge interest in it and I knew the kind of movies she loved when she was in high school: lame, comedy romance.  I avoided it…for a few years anyway…

Even though I had not seen it, pretty much every other person on the planet had, so there was no escaping it.  There were clips on “Entertainment Tonight,” trailers shown on every other television break, and trailers again whenever I went to a movie.  The scene that I remember is when Gere closes her hand in the jewelry box and she cries out her boisterous, yet feminine laugh.  I also remember seeing a scene of her singing in the bath tub to “Kiss” by Prince (RIP)…I remembered that because of the song.  She was America’s new sweetheart and she was not going away.

julia-kiss

Man, I sound like I wanted her to go away…I didn’t, I just wanted “Pretty Woman” to go away.  Which brings me to my very first Julia Roberts experience; and WOW-was-it unexpected.

I remember thinking that she was beautiful, yet she had this very honest, kind, and gentle quality about her.  She gave the impression that she could be talked to by anyone.  She wasn’t goofy like I had been made familiar with through all of “Pretty Woman‘s” advertising.

In “Sleeping with the Enemy,” Julia plays a very timid, kind, and gentle housewife that is the victim of an abusive husband played by Patrick Bergin in a very aggressive, haunting performance.

The great thing I remember about her performance was the fact that the audience is not witness to an actual case of physical abuse until the end of the first act; yet her unease makes us feel like Bergin is a pitbull, just waiting for a reason to lash out.  We find out that he is and before we do, we are as tense as Julia is.  That is because of Julia (although Bergin did help portraying a total psychopath).

This movie wasn’t just a basic woman escapes a monster through “the system.”  It is a clever psychological thriller that tells us what we need to know, when the writer felt we were ready to know it.

This is the part where I remind everyone that I would hate to give anything away.  Know this, the moment of truth is EXTREMELY satisfying.

Julia, like Denzel, was another “new” star, that we all wanted to see more of.  The rest of America knew that a little quicker than I did re: “Pretty Woman.” Just like I did with Denzel, I looked for prior movies and got excited for new ones with her.  I later found that Julia had already made a GREAT movie that just didn’t hit it too big unfortunately.  For those of you that have not seen “Mystic Pizza,” put it on your list.  It is a great coming-of-age story told through the eyes of teenage girls unlike any other.  Keep your eyes peeled for a very young and fresh Matt Damon.  If you blink, you’ll miss him.

She had a very minor role in “Steel Magnolias,” which I watched a number of years later as that was labeled another “sister” movie (cue gag noise). That is a sign of my immaturity, not that the film was bad.  I thoroughly enjoyed it later.

Julia made A LOT of different movies that I enjoyed over the next twenty years…but I can’t tell you all of them at once.  I have to write about something, after all.

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Links for everyone.

So, I’ve made it easy for Americans to access my book.  I feel like a jerk for not including my loyal readers all over the world.  Just click on the link below and you should be redirected to the correct amazon store in your part of the world:

 

For GET BACK: rxe.me/9K35K2

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 For GROWING UP MOVIES…: rxe.me/0998113018

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Also, if you type “Clintington” into Amazon’s search bar, it’ll take you straight to my books.

Thank you all for reading.

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First…and last.

Sorry to disappoint anyone, but this is not a post on Talladega Nights.  Its just my weird way of letting you know that this will be the first and last time that I will burden any of you with the announcement of my first work of fiction being published and available on Amazon:

Yes.  The wait is over and I wanted to let all of you know that I appreciate all of the support that I have received from all of you these last two years.

You continue to read my work and engage with me on social media and it is both encouraging and flattering.

I hope that you enjoy it.  If you do or don’t, I’d love to hear about it.  Please take the time to give me an honest review on Amazon.

Once again, thank you.

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“I love you, dream woman.”

Oh, freshman year.

Acne.

Poor hygiene.

An inability to wear current fashion trends.  Yes.  I was an uncomfortable teenager.  I know…shocking, right?  I feel that the majority of us were/are.  We are/will be able to admit it 20 years later.

We all have our best friend at that time…thank you Jared.  But we have no opportunity for a social life, generally.

All of us have a refuge…mine was SNL.

Most agree that Sean Connery is the best James Bond.  He was the first. He set the standard.  He made five Bond films before another actor attempted that role and then made two more before he decided to hang it up.

Like Sean, “Blues Brothers” is the gold standard for movies made based on characters that originally aired on Saturday Night Live.  It was the first movie made based on “SNL” characters, it had a massive budget, they went all out on guest stars, car chases/crashes, sets, and musical renditions.

I’m not arguing…

This next one is a distant second…okay, for me, closer than that.

There was a time that I didn’t know who Queen was.

Wayne’s World” changed that notion.

It’s the first time I ever heard “Bohemian Rhapsody.”  I may be naive, but I thought it was a cool new song written by a hot new band that made it specifically for this movie…

…then I watched the movie with my parents (who also loved it).

I remember them talking with their friends who had watched it too.

“I loved the rocking out in the car to Bohemian Rhapsody.”

Me: You guys know the name of that song?

Parents: We had that record.

Friends (at the same time): We used to rock out to it in OUR car…8 track.

*raised eyebrow/blown mind face*

Yes, I did buy the soundtrack…on cassette. Jealous?

I had it in my car (72 Buick Century) tape deck around the clock.

1972-buick

I fell in love with Wayne and Garth on SNL.  What is a lonely male freshman to do on weekends?

Can’t drive, friends can’t drive, girls liked Juniors and Seniors (yes–THAT’s why they didn’t hang out with me–*shakes head*)…again, SNL = refuge.

When they put out a movie, I was all in.  I even went to the theater…what?

I know.

Outside of the epic soundtrack and a smoking hot Tia Carrere, there was witty dialogue, a Rob Lowe comeback, and great cameos.

tia-c

I was grateful for the laughs, the wit, and the star that was born in Mike Meyers, but I loved the music.  A huge part of the lore that was Wayne and Garth was their legitimate love for great music.  This was a part of the true core of both Meyers and Carvey (decent musicians in their own right).  Not only were they able to deliver a great interpretation of their material through an original script, they reminded a nation of 90s kids that the music of the 70s was more than valid.

Always remember, “No Stairway…denied.”

Advice that’ll save you a lot of money if you try to use that song on your next movie.

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Another frakking publishing update?

Another quick update to my fellow loyal readers.

Bare with me…

GROWING UP MOVIES is officially up on amazon.com.

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Here is where I am asking “Please”…

For those of you that have been loyal readers of my blog for the last two plus years…please take the time to give my book an honest review.

It is this blog’s content and you are all the experts on the material.

I highly value your loyalty and would appreciate it.

Thank you for your support.

I’d be nothing without all of you, sincerely.

 

Growing Up Movies… The Compilation…

This will be a very quick announcement…

I wanted to get the word out that my compilation of this blog (and all its glory *wink, wink*) is now available as a nonfiction book on Kobo.

I cannot thank all of you enough for joining me on this journey and would love to invite you all to enjoy this free book as my gift to you. (You will only need the free Kobo e-reader application available on PC, Mac, Apple & Android).

This “thank you” also has a “please” attached.

Please–if you have already taken the time to enjoy my blog or if you plan on downloading and reading my book–take the time to write a quick honest review.

Again, thank you for your support.  I would be nowhere without it.

“Women and children can afford to be careless, but not men.”

I have a confession.

I love this next movie.  From time to time in my life I have told people that it is my favorite movie.

…and…

I have avoided writing about it.

I mean, how do you write about your favorite movie?  It has to be perfect, right?  You have to know everything about it–inside and out–and you have to have seen it at least 10 times.  I feel that I have accomplished that, but I found myself having a difficult time putting into words all of the reasons that I love it…and there are many.  I thought I’d do what I always do.

Talk about my family.

So there are two phases with this movie.  There is the first time that I’ve heard about it and the first time that I watched it.

I’ll start with the first time that I heard about it.

I had a friend named Rob that used to play “jam ball” with me when we were in junior high.  For those of you that don’t know what “jam ball” is, it’s when a bunch of short people that will never be able to “jam” a basketball on a 10′ hoop decide to go to an elementary school play ground and “jam” on an 8′ hoop.

If you haven’t tried it, don’t judge.  It’s fun to feel like a real basketball player sometimes.

Any way, on a Friday, we ended up going to my house and Rob was going to stay overnight.  When we walked to my house mom had rented a movie and she was so excited to sit and watch it.  I could tell by the way she said the title.  It was like it changed the atmosphere of the room when she spoke it, and everyone knew what she was talking about when she said it…everyone…except me.

“What’s ‘The Godfather,'” I asked with a raised eyebrow.

Without hesitation Rob said, “It’s about the mafia.”

I looked at him like he was speaking Aramaic.

“What’s the mafia?”

“Organized crime,” my mom said.

It was a brief conversation that I ignored at the time as Rob and I ended up playing out in the yard for most of the evening after dinner.

I do remember pausing with Rob at the tv as we watched the movie briefly on our walk to my bedroom for bed.

There was a car that exploded…

Awesome. (I found out later that it wasn’t so awesome…)

My curiosity was peaked and a week later I was asking my mom if she would let me rent that again.  I wanted to know what everyone else knew….

…and the car bomb was pretty cool.

Mom agreed as long as she could watch it with me again.  I didn’t care, I was glad to.

I learned a lot of things about the movie watching it with my mom for the first time.  Number one, it was a book.  A book that my mom owned, read a couple of times, and loved.  I also learned a lot of “inside book reader” information that my mom had and shared with me throughout the movie, in particular, there is a scene where Michael takes out a handkerchief and wipes his nose when he is in Sicily talking with his bodyguards and sees his future first wife Apollonia for the first time.  Mom would pause the movie and explain to me that Michael had chronic nose bleeds ever since Captain McCluskey punched him in the face breaking his eye socket bone, outside of the hospital the night he saved the Don’s life.  These are the kind of details that you get in the book and the movie made subtle decisions to keep those details in it without using dialogue to explain everything.

That’s just one example.  Mom had many throughout.

I remember the tension the movie had starting with the first monologue.  It took a little break to get through the wedding, then each scene after the next felt like it was slowly clenching a fist and after the first jab when Luca Brasi gets viciously murdered, the movie is a series of plots, political discussions and brutal murders during wartime in an organized crime underground that seeps out into the front page of the newspapers.

…and that’s just the tone of the movie.

The cast became legends after this movie.  Brando first, then Caan, Pacino, Duvall, and Keaton.

The story has many different levels to it.  Really it is about one generation keeping what they have and making sure that the future of the next generation is secure.  Along the way there are choices made by many characters that have extreme consequences in their world. It is a world full of danger, confidence, bravado, tragedy, horror, and triumph.

I really feel that I would’ve loved this movie regardless, but there was something about watching it with my mother and her commentary that made it mean more.  Her love for the story and the characters made it a deeper viewing experience for me.  This added to the enjoyment of a great story and had an influence on how I viewed stories thereafter.

My dad liked the car bombs.

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“Are you one of them?” — “One of What?”

I was 11 and I was a good listener.

My mom used to talk about movies with my “adopted aunt” Jo Lynn and I’d drop some eaves (thank you Samwise for one of my favorite phrases).

I should mention, my family was a huge Kevin Costner fan…

Okay…my mom was a huge Kevin Costner fan so my family was a huge Kevin Costner fan, right?

So there was a period of time where all we rented was another Costner movie after another Kevin Costner movie…not complaining. This was when they were good.

Yes. There was a period of time when that happened. It’s called the late 80s circa early 90s…then he made “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves” (as if we didn’t know that green hooded asshole was the “prince of thieves”)

Colons don’t belong in movie titles.  They belong in three places:

  1. Before a list (See the irony here?)
  2. Between the hour and the minutes, and
  3. Between our cecum and our rectum (toilet joke, you’re welcome!)

Where the hell am I?

Oh, yeah…so I overheard my mom talking to my aunt about this movie and she went on and on and on about how, “wonderful” it was and, “what a great story,” and how it “forced her to pay attention,” and that she was glad that she did pay attention.

I was intrigued.

So I asked my mom later about it.

“What was that movie you were talking about?”

Mom: “Huh?”

“With Jo Lynn.  You said it was a great movie.”

*Looked at me like she might need me to get tested for a mental illness.*

I sighed and rolled my eyes.  I didn’t want to say it but, “It had Kevin Costner in it.”

Mom: “OH!  It’s called No Way Out…you can’t watch it.”

Typical.

I expected this reaction (I was used to it) so I had to keep it cool and work on her.

This was the first movie that mom REALLY caved on.  By the end of that day with my nagging, she made it happen and we watched it that weekend. I secretly think she really wanted to watch it again with me and get my opinion.  If you think about it, she got to watch a great movie again, and she got see my reaction to a very intelligent twister of a movie. Sometimes watching a movie with your kids for the first time and hoping that they’ll share in your joy and reaction is better than your first viewing.

I think that happened with mom on this one.

I sincerely remember having my first “WHAAAAAAAAAT” moment by the end of that tense movie.

I learned about “plot.” How important it really is and how interesting “plot” can be.

I think I watched it three times that year.

08 No Way Out

I also learned a little more about the female anatomy (thank you younger Sean Young)…the first time I watched it with mom those scenes were fastforwarded.  In a weird way the fastforwarding made the sex scenes more awkward to watch with your mother if you can imagine that.  It makes it look way more painful than anything and sometimes you cut off the beginning of a crucial scene and you had to rewind and then you were in the middle of the sex scene again and you had to fastforward and mom got stressed out and pushed the buttons harder than she needed to….

It amused me.

No Way Out” is another one of those movies that I don’t want to mention regarding the story because that would be taking away a very good moment for you if you have never heard of it or seen it.

Go watch it.  It’ll deliver.

Oh, except the very cheesy 80s electric piano score…try and block that out.

Other than that distraction, #Great movie!

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“Walter? Walter? Walter!”

Whoever coined the phrase, you always remember your first(s), was not lying.

My first kiss–Beth Eddington.  I was six.  We obviously didn’t know what we were doing and we closed our eyes too soon and bonked each other with our noses.  Our lips touched.  Hers were wet, mine were dry…

…that was about it.  I ran away, blushing. She smiled and watched me act like my hair was on fire.

I remember the first time I scored a goal playing soccer.  It was my third year playing.  We had a pretty decent team and a great coach.  I was in the box, there was a square pass made to me and I kicked it as hard as I could at the net, past the goalie.  I was pretty close, it wasn’t very fair.  After I got my first one, they just started flooding in and I can’t remember any of the rest.

Just like after your first goal when there are many more goals to quickly follow, such was the case with the first Cary Grant movie that I ever watched.  I had to watch many more.

I’ve discussed a lot of the bonding that I’d done with my dad and movies on this blog.  Time to share about my mom too.  We absolutely loved Cary Grant, and “Father Goose” was a pure joy to watch.  When Cary Grant passed, one of the networks (I can’t remember which one) ran a late evening marathon over the weekend of a lot of Grant’s pictures.  We discovered the marathon right before “Father Goose” started and my mom grabbed a tape and we started recording.  Standard practice at this point.

We took turns “pausing out” the commercials.

As I was looking for quotes, there were so many well crafted moments, that it was hard to pick just one.  It was a movie that had such well written dialogue delivered by so many talented people, that it is truly an underrated Grant gem.  My mom and I weren’t the only ones that thought so. Peter StoneFrank Tarloff, and S.H. Barnett won the Oscar for Best Writing, Story, and Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen in 1965.  The Oscars and I rarely agree…an exception I’m glad to concede.

Being that this was my first experience with Cary Grant, a decade later I found out that he was an Englishman (in real life that is) and was dumbfounded.  In this and many of the other roles he portrayed in American films…he was an American. He would always, in some way be, the unshaven, un-bathed, crusty old American drunkard, Walter Eckland, who ends up being responsible for the lives of a school teacher and her female students on an isolated island during World War II.

Cary Grant Goose

Grant and girls Goose

I’ve raved about Grant, Leslie Caron as, “Catherine Louise Marie Ernestine Freneau,” was given a role of a lifetime and did beyond her very best with it.  The Chemistry that Grant and Caron were able to share in this picture goes right alongside Redford and Newman in “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” as one of the greatest pairings on film–in my book any way.

leslie caron

Grant and Caron

It would be a shame not to mention the great Trevor Howard as Commander Frank Houghton.  He plays the “friend” responsible for conning Walter into taking a job reporting enemy war craft that he spots while remaining on an isolated island after an unfortunate “accident” with Walter’s boat and the Commander’s ship.  The majority of the dialogue shared between Walter and Houghton is over the radio; cut and edited to perfection by Ted J. Kent.

The comedic timing portrayed between Grant and Caron on the island and with Howard over the radio was not only entertaining, I haven’t seen this type of scenario performed better in movies that share the same ploy.  The closest is probably the scene in “Roxanne,” when C. D. is trying to help Chris woo Roxanne in person while Chris wears a listening device under an Elmer Fudd cap.  Again, that is one scene.  Grant, Caron, and Howard did it similarly throughout multiple scenes of an entire motion picture.

I know that I have not talked about the scenes in detail.  Again, I do that because I do not want to spoil the comedy that you will find viewing this film fresh for the first time.

Enjoy.

PS–I have decided that Cary Grant’s career has earned a Multi-Movie post as well.  Keep your eyes open for that one.  It’s gonna be big and you won’t want to miss those titles.


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“You must learn to govern your passions; they will be your undoing.”

I watched a lot of television with my dad in the evenings after I had finished school and he had come home from work.  We used to watch “The Dukes of Hazzard,” “The A-Team,” and “Airwolf.”  The show we never missed: “Star Trek” (the original series) and then “Star Trek: The Next Generation” once it hit the air in 1987.  I learned very early on not to talk until the commercials came on.  I used to inundate my dad with queries in between scenes because there was a lot about the story that I was too young to understand.  During commercials, he was glad to explain things to me.  He had a way with words that kept it simple, without a lot of unnecessary conversation.  My dad was not a man that liked to hear himself talk.  He was a great storyteller because of that.  He had a natural use of metaphor about him and could get his point across, quickly with great visual style.

I cannot forget the first time my dad and I sat and watched “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.”  There are scenes in this film that can never be “unseen” for me as long as I live.

I have found over the years that Hollywood has done an amazing job with the “even” numbered Star Trek films.  No one ever talks about “Star Trek: The Motion Picture.”  I don’t think that I have seen it to this day.  EVERYONE talks about “The Wrath of Khan.”

The writers got very smart and pulled from the television series to start this tale.  Long ago, Kirk left a gang of genetically superior warriors from the 20th century abandoned on a believed to be survivable planet with no technology.  We later find that the planet was uninhabitable and almost killed the genetically superior warriors lead by none other than Mr. Roarke from Fantasy Island.

mr roarke

We get to this path quickly and once Khan enters the scene, the movie takes off from one moment of suspense to the next.

I want to go on record saying that I have and will always love the main cast actors for each and every role on both the series and the feature films.  Everyone of them owns their characters and I can’t imagine any other actors playing their roles (that’s not to say I dislike the new cast at all, those are altogether different films in my opinion, and I enjoy that set too).

star-trek-the-wrath-of-khan-uniforms

This film features intense moments, intriguing monologues throughout from both Kirk and Khan, and my favorite chess match on film between the protagonist(s) and Khan (eat your heart out Moriarty and Holmes).

The two unforgettable scenes that I have eluded to will not be written about here.  I would not want to take seeing those for the first time from anyone.  I will say this.  They are visually stunning, horrifying, heartbreaking, and well wrought.

My dad and I ended up watching this film together many times.  It became one of our staples: Jaws, Blues Brothers, Fright Night, others yet to be mentioned….

I will remember this film for the compelling suspense, action, acting, drama, etc. but I like to remember how much enjoyment my father and I had together bonding over scenes after our first viewing.  It was like we were at a concert with our favorite band and they started playing our favorite song right before we saw each of our favorite scenes.  Then we would make a small comment on how they made us feel.  Remembering those moments with him are truly enjoyable and I hope that I can never forget them.  I haven’t so far.

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