Tag Archives: thanks

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.

——

Please join my newsletter #Clintington on Film Dope Sheet.

 

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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.

——

Please join my newsletter #Clintington on Film Dope Sheet.

Oh what a night!

Last night (09/22/16) I had the pleasure of appearing on The Imperfect Podcast from Heckler Kane Creations.

It was an honor and a true pleasure to just shoot the shit and talk movies with these guys.  I feel like I didn’t shut up much to give them a word in edgewise as I babbled on.  I tend to carry on when it comes to movies…

….

*crickets*

….

Anyways…

The experience was nothing less than joyful for me.

Joe, Dan, Wayne, and Sal were humble hosts and made me feel like a million bucks throughout the entire interview.

imperfect-podcast

If you haven’t had the pleasure of experiencing their podcast, catch up with them here:

Youtube= https://www.youtube.com/user/hecklerkanecreations

FaceBook= https://www.facebook.com/hecklerkanecreations/

Twitter= https://twitter.com/hecklerkaneinc or @hecklerkaneinc

Instagram= hecklerkanecreations

It’s a bunch of good people talking passionate about film.

I hear Monday night is going to be a great podcast…wink wink.

I hope you all check it out and subscribe to their show.  You won’t be disappointed.

——

Please join my newsletter #Clintington on Film Dope Sheet.

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.

My First Chapter Sneak Peek

I’ve had a number of people over the last month ask me about my novel.  I know, it doesn’t seem like I’m ever going to publish it.  I assure you I will–in full–in November.  That doesn’t mean I shouldn’t share a little with you right now.

Those of you that have signed up on my email list were given a sneak peek (although it was just a paragraph) a while ago.

So, here is my first chapter.  I hope you enjoy it:

(1)

Matthew Bryerson

December, 1996

That scrawny looking guy that looks out of place amongst all of these people having a good time.  That’s me.  Not the one that lost his map to math lab and took a wrong turn, he is wearing a sweet orange vest though over that nice collared long-sleeve black shirt.  Go B’s!  The other guy standing next to him with the beer in his hand; the guy with the glasses and the short ratty hair, that’s me.  I’m the host of this god awful festival if you can believe that.  Look at all of those debauched little fools dancing around like its Mardi Gras.  Well, at least I get to make sure the music is good at my own party.  Once “Free Bird” hits the ears I know that it is time to jet.  You won’t hear that shit kick’n’ piss tonight.  Look at all those assholes and elbows banging together to some alternative tune that half of these people don’t understand the words to or recognize.  They have no concept of who the artist is, the name of the song, or why the poet wrote it.  All they know is that it has a good beat to slam into each other with in unison so that no one falls over and gets trampled.  I enjoy this kind of music for different reasons.  Right now I just want to listen to the words and try to understand why this song is speaking to me in this moment.  I don’t know why he titled it “Lithium”.  Maybe it was because that is how he felt after taking it.  Maybe that is how he thought he might feel if he took it, who knows?  “I’m so happy…I’m so lonely…Sunday morning is every day…Light my candles in a daze….YEAHHHHH!” Every time I hear it, I try to see myself doing and being those things that he describes.  I never can relate it to Lithium though since I’ve never taken it.  Besides, I think an upper would be more appropriate.  I might act like these guys and enjoy myself.

I used to have fun at these things, but lately I don’t have that much to cheer about.  Now, before I continue, I’m writing this so you get a perspective of what it’s like to be an average guy digging through a trough.  I’ve hit some peaks, but as I write this, I tend to be in what I am hoping is a small gutter with low flow.

That girl’s alone.  I should go talk to her.  I hate this part.  This is the shit that I have never been good at.  She’s alone and waiting and I’m bumbling around with my hand in my pocket trying to think of something clever to say.

Oh, man.  Asshole spilt beer all over me!

I didn’t need that.  It’s one thing to be witless and dry, the wetness adds an anxious bonus.  Now, before I take this plunge, I should probably give you a little back-story so that you get to know me before I make a total and complete jackass of myself while trying to woo this innocent girl with my evil man powers.

Four months ago my life changed…

September, 1996

I woke up to an empty bed and my unhappy girlfr—ex-girlfriend—was packing the remaining portion of her stuff.  What the hell, right?  Well, I kind of saw it coming, but no one—I’m talking no one—wants to go through what those days offer.  So I got up and watched her finish packing.  Yes, it was stressful and I did take my glasses off and rub my temples.  You’ll find that I do that a lot when I am trying to think of something clever to say.

She just kept packing that damn box and didn’t act like I was even there.  The packing kept getting louder and louder with each object that hit the bottom of that box.

Thump!  Thump! THUMP! THUMP!

“Don’t go.  Please, I know how hard it is to live with me.”

That’s about as clever as it gets when I am stalling—pathetic, but honest.

She just kept packing that goddamn box as if I had not said anything at all.

THUMP! THUMP!

“Just…Can we talk some more?”

THUMP! THUMP!

“I know we hashed the hell out of this but….”

THUMP! THUMP!

“COULD YOU STOP PACKING FOR A SECOND AND LISTEN TO ME?!”

THUMP, went one more item as she crossed her arms and glared at me.  I may have come on a little strong with that last request, but I got the result.  It was probably the first time I had her full attention in the last six months.

“Thank you.”

I had to stop and think for a second before I lit the fuse.

“Now I refuse to believe that this entire time that we’ve been together you weren’t happy.  How can you be with someone seven years and not tell them that you’re unhappy?”

Question of fucking Questions if you ask me.

“We had fun.” PRESENT TENSE, PRESENT TENSE! “We have fun.”  I stumbled over that one.

“I love Thursday mornings.”

On Thursdays, we alternated making breakfast in bed for each other.  We hadn’t missed a Thursday in the seven years we lived together.

“You’re a great cook.”

Lie.

“That’s our catch up day.  I love breakfast.  I . . . I love you.”

Stalling again.

“Don’t you see that?  Now, I know that I am miserable, but I have always loved you.  You’re the only one I’ve been with since high school.  If that ain’t love, I don’t know what is.”

You can’t see her face right now, but she is mentally slitting my throat; bad time for a joke.

“Seven years.  Do you really believe we’ve been wasting our time?  We can work it out.”

When she stood up and picked up that box, my heart crushed my balls.

“You seem content.  But, if you ever had a feeling at all that we weren’t doomed from the beginning, you’ll empty that box and talk to me.  But if you leave, that means you never really loved me.  It was just words every time you said it.”  Heartless manipulation, I know, but she was leaving with the last box.  

There was a blissful moment there when I looked up into her eyes and I thought for a split second that I had her, but her mind was made up.  When she slammed the door behind her, it was a slap to the face.  I got up and had to say something.

“Seven fucking years!”  I shouted at her.  “What a cliché!”

It’s unfortunate that I am one of those “has-to-have-the-last-word” kind of guys.  Even though she didn’t say anything the whole time, that door slam was louder than any of those expletives I yelled at her.  So I tried to slam the door louder than her a couple of times, but it just never seemed to get as loud as hers no matter how much force I put into it.

I don’t remember a lot of the details that day, except when I broke the news to my “friend(s)”.  You have to tell someone.  They’ll find out eventually and it’s just better to get it off your chest.  It was after practice, and I had a shitty practice.  Everyone noticed.  My best friend Billy sat down next to me after practice when we were taking our cleats and shin-guards off.  I only had what happened with Randy on my mind, as you can imagine.

“Whew, I am one sweaty bastard,” he said.  “I think that was all right for me any way.  You okay?”

No, my girlfriend left me.  How are you?

I really said, “Randy left me.”

I thought that he was going to throw up.  I guess that’s how best friends react.

“Fuck you, serious?” he asked.

I just gave him a look and he understood how serious I was.

“Fuck, sorry man.  What happened?”

I was surprised by all the expletives.  He doesn’t curse a lot—especially with the “for unlawful carnal knowledge” word.  I didn’t know that I had it in me to make him swear so much.

I couldn’t answer his question.  I needed more time to think about it, but I didn’t particularly want to be alone, either.

“Let’s go to Emery’s and we’ll talk about it.  I don’t want to do it here.”

Just a side note, Emery’s is my favorite sports bar.  Wonderful food, any beer you want, and—it’s locally owned so there are no corporate douche bags worried about sales and expanding.  Fucking Cheers man.

Anyways, as I invited Billy to the bar, I didn’t notice the tall drinks of water standing behind me; Davy and Brock.  I would call them friends, but  with friends like these—well, I guess all best friends give each other shit, that’s why they’re your best friends.  Musketeer wise, Davy is to Aramis as Brock is to Porthos as Billy is to Athos.  Yeah, I’m fucking d’Artagnan.  I’m telling the story, I’m d’Artagnan.

So, not noticing them, they heard “Emery’s” and their ears perked up.

“Emery’s?  I’m down,” said Brock.

Before I could say anything, Billy blabbed, “Randy left him.”

“Fuck off man.  Serious?” asked Davy.

I couldn’t describe the look I threw Billy.  I don’t think he felt comfortable with his back facing me the rest of that evening.

“Well, let’s go get some pizza bombs,” suggested Brock.

“And beer,” Davy added as he looked at me and shook his head.  “Shit man.”

We made it across the street and started talking after we sat and ordered our food.  I was definitely ready for sympathy night, but Brock and Davy weren’t selling.

“She basically told me she never really loved me,” I continued.  “I know I’m a fucking asshole, but come on, I made some sacrifices for her.”

That was the point at which I hoped the conversation would lead to my “friends” reminding me of all the sacrifices I did indeed actually make, but they weren’t going to tug on that line.

“Like what,” asked Brock.

I wanted to knock the smug bastard off the back of his bar stool.

“Like staying here instead of trying out,” I quickly reminded him.  “I went to school because she wanted me to.  I wanted to go try out for the Foxes…didn’t happen…I stayed here for her.”

“You were really going to try out?” asked Davy, raised eyebrow in tow.

What the fuck?

“YES…as sure as you’re sitting there.”

I couldn’t let him think that I wouldn’t.

“So go try out now man, you’re free,” said a positive (and appreciated) Billy.

“Next year man.  I missed this year.  Next year.”

Brock shook his head wearing a pompous smile, “I think that’s your problem right there.”

“What?” I asked.

“You’re always putting shit off. There’s no decision making, just excuses.”

“Nice Brock,” said Billy.

At the same time I said, “What the fuck man?”

All Brock could muster at that point was, “Hey, I’m just saying.”

My steam whistle was getting ready to go off.

“Do you have to say it now? Dickhead!  My girlfriend just left me after seven fucking years.  The only woman I’ve ever been with.”

All three of them sipped their beer and ate their pizza.  I lost my appetite.  It was very uncomfortable.  Davy broke the silence.

“Brock makes a good point though.”

“Don’t encourage him,” said Billy.

Davy replied, “No, hear me out.”

He looked at me and smiled, I didn’t want to hear what he had to say, but I knew I was going to.

Davy continued, “When did you finally declare a major?”

Low blow.

Everyone knew I didn’t want to be in school, so how the hell was I supposed to pick a major.  I replied honestly.

“When I had to.”

I wanted to call him a dickhead, but I don’t think he would have heard me.

“How many times did you switch majors?”

The fucking questions! I just wanted them to eat and leave.

“Five times.”

I couldn’t look at them.  I just looked up at one of the televisions and drank my beer.  I didn’t care what was on; it could’ve been “Beverly Hills 90210 for all I cared.  I wasn’t going to look at those assholes.

I could feel their eyes on me for a split second. I know those two bastards shared a smug glance with each other.

Discomfort.

Damn silence.

“What kind of friends would we be if we didn’t point out the obvious,” asked Davy.

At least the douche bag broke the awful silence.

“The kind that do it later,” said Billy.

I could have kissed him.  He took the words right out of my mouth.

He continued, “Like not the day that someone’s been fucked over.  I know he’s an asshole—hell he does.”

“I do,” I said.

Please continue sir.

“It doesn’t mean he needs to hear this shit right now from you assholes.”

They ARE assholes! I don’t know why I hang out with those two.

“Well he needs to hear this,” Brock spouted off.

“I’m sitting right here,” I wanted to hit him.  No one likes it when they’re being talked about like they’re not there.

“You need to hear this,” agreed Davy.

Motherfucker!  I want to kick his ass too.

“You guys are out of line,” said Billy.

Speechless for too long, I got sick of the silence.  I did what every guy I know does when he is having a conversation that is going nowhere and he no longer wants to have it.

“I gotta take a piss.”

And I did.

I didn’t see it, but I imagine Billy shook his head like he always does when he’s disgusted beyond words.

I don’t think I’d do that to them if they were in this circumstance.  I don’t think they know better….but sometimes, friends feel that being self-righteous is the only way to be a true friend.  That’s Brock and Davy.

So the day after my friends reminded me of what an asshole I was, we had a game.  The game was not one to be remembered, but what I do recall was very interesting—I “shared a moment” with someone at that game.

Okay, that sounds weird, I know, but I’m banking on it’s not what you think.  I’m not the kind of guy to get sappy and write about what a wonderful, kooky experience I had and how it changed my life for the better.  As much as it changed me, I don’t have a gift of visions where I go from town-to-town helping people change their futures. Like Kane from “Kung fu”…that would be badass—but…no, not that kind of “moment.”  I don’t write those stories.  I write what I know and I know that it was a perception, but it was a little more selfish than the average, uh, “gift.”  That’s probably why I don’t write those kinds of stories.  Yet again, we are aware that I’m an asshole; well established.

I remember the whistle clear as day as the ref called a foul on Billy for tackling from behind.  The next thing I know me, Davy, Billy and Brock are setting up the “wall”.  Davy was on my left facing the ball.  Billy was on my right facing the ball.  Brock was next to Davy with his back to the ball as he looked to our keeper for directions.

I always get jazzed up when I’m standing in the wall.  It is one of the few experiences in life that can be generally physically painful, but emotionally rewarding at the same time.  It was different that day, my mind wasn’t in the game.

I remember looking into the stands for any sign of Randy.

I also felt that was a great moment to share my pain and frustration aside to Billy.  I’m not sure why, but when you feel shitty, you just want to talk about…a lot.  To anyone that will listen.

“I can’t believe it was all a sham.  I thought she loved me.”

Billy humored me.

“She fooled all of us,” he said, a little distracted.

Yeah, my head was not in the game.

“Man, seven years.  All on one girl,” I said as I turned to Billy.  “One fucking girl.”

“Well,” he replied lowly, “you have to admit, you haven’t actually been beating them off with a stick my friend.”

I jerked my head toward him and glared.

Startled by the abrupt and honest comment from Billy, I heard the ref blow the whistle and as I turned back to react, I remember seeing a white and black checkered sphere spinning toward me as blackness flashed.

Yes.  Right in the forehead between my eyes.

It all happened in slow motion when I thought about it later. I remember being able to read the Adidas label on the ball right before it struck my head.

Billy told me I was out for over a minute.

The light faded in and I opened my eyes.  I woke up to Billy’s out-of-focus mug standing over me.  He was smiling like he just got laid.

“Bright side—you saved a goal,” he said.

Like I’m concerned about the score—we were getting our asses kicked.  I sat up, moaned, wiped the drool/snot from my mouth and felt that red spot on my forehead.  When I stood in the mirror later I could read sadida.

“Bad news—I think you gotta concussion dude.”

Billy helped me up and I don’t remember walking off the field.  I was thinking that it was going to be a late night talking to Billy because I knew that asshole wouldn’t let me sleep if he thought I had a concussion.

I guess everyone clapped when I got up and walked off.  Funny thing, the biggest cheer I ever got while playing was when I had to leave the game because of an injury (I didn’t score a lot of goals).  Billy helped me off with one arm over his shoulder and I made my way.

Now, I don’t know why, but it was like the sun was a perfect spotlight on that girl I saw in the stands.  She stood up from her seat and began walking down the stairs, all in slow motion of course.

I made it off the field as she was making her way down the stadium steps when our eyes met.  She stopped and I felt my heart race.  My head was heavy.  Something was going to give.  Billy lost his grip on me and I hit the ground, knees first.  My head followed as it slammed into the track that enveloped the barrier of the field.

I remember what I saw when I was out again, but it was difficult to describe.  I was in my apartment, it was dark, and there were a lot of people.  I couldn’t hear anything, but everyone looked like they were having a good time mingling, and some were jumping and dancing to the music I couldn’t hear.  I was floating through the crowd, not flying above them, just hovering through them.  I was drawn to a light that was coming from an open door.  Everyone else there didn’t notice it like I did.  I know because I checked.  I felt invisible.  I walked through the door.  I saw the girl I noticed at the stadium as I passed through the doorway and the spotlight hit her at the end of my tunnel vision.

I wanted to find out who she was.

I know that I was “awake” at the game, but everything was fuzzy and I didn’t start to remember anything until after I got home.  Billy was there to make sure that I was okay.  Good guy, but I remember being annoyed because I was tired and wanted to sleep.  He wouldn’t let me.  Like I said, I had an awesome new forehead tattoo. He went and got an ice pack ready and told me to put it over my sadida.

I was inebriated and I just started talking about whatever came to mind.  Of course I talked about her.

“Did you see her Billy?”

“Who?”

“I’m not sure, some girl.”

I felt so tired and wanted to doze off.  Billy humored me; allowing me to babble on.

“She was so…so pretty.  She…was sweet looking and gentle.  I noticed her leaving as I fell.  She had her hair up in a ponytail.”

“I love the ponytail,” he said.

“Me too,” I replied.  “It’s so…so cute.  She had this delicate little smile.  Her hair bobbed up and down as she descended the steps.”

I remember seeing her face in that moment.

“There was this holy glare about her as if she were the only one that stood out among one-hundred people.  I wish I would’ve gotten her number.”

“Okay,” he said.  “You got hit really hard.”

I did.

——

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“Hi. How’re you doing? I’m the Easter Bunny.”

Oh man, this one is going to be another tough one, I can feel it.

I was just reading through some of the quotes and my eyes started tearing up reading them and thinking about my first viewing.  What an experience.

Movie night with my parents as a kid was like a surprise birthday party.  I was young and involved in sports so I didn’t watch a lot of television and didn’t see a lot of trailers.  Plus, if the TV was on, I was playing The Legend of Zelda on my Nintendo Entertainment System.  I didn’t care how many times I beat it, I kept playing that damn game over and over again.

Anyways….

I’d come home from a practice and I’d see some rentals in their clear plastic cases on the counter.

fod vhs case

They would always rent a “new release” and an “old” movie that they wanted to share with us.  This experience was a “new release” and it was one of the most emotional experiences that I have had with a film on its first viewing.

Before I say anything else, I want to share that I am not a baseball “fan” per se.  I can sit and watch a game with my friends given the perfect set of circumstances.  I understand the game enough to know the strategy and the lingo, but I’d rather watch football, basketball or soccer.

With that said, there is nothing like going to the ball park, getting a dog and a beer and relaxing in the sun.

Even if you are not a baseball fan, this movie can help you appreciate why people are still so enthusiastic about experiencing it.

Field of Dreams” is about why there is passion for baseball.  It has moments where I watch it and think that W.P. Kinsella (novel) and Phil Alden Robinson (screenplay) conspired to answer an elementary short essay, “Why do you love baseball?”

Watching James Earl Jones as Terence Mann and Burt Lancaster as Archibald “Moonlight” Graham as they monologue on their different reasons for loving the sport is more than inspiring.  I can get goosebumps thinking about their descriptions.  Lets be honest, listening to James Earl Jones read the back of a cereal box can give you goosebumps.

All of that is great, but the heart of the movie comes from Ray Kinsella (Kevin Costner).  We learn very early on that his father, John, was also a man that had a passion for baseball like Terence and Archibald.  Throughout the film it is learned that Ray’s rebellion with his father happened at a young age when he rejected the sport that his father loved so much.  Ray remembers feeling wrong for having rebelled against baseball and his father and always felt that there was a necessary apology that he was never able to make before his father passed.

This of course is told appropriately over the course of the film and delivered in a most well written fashion.

I remember enjoying the energy that Annie Kinsella (Amy Madigan) displayed in her effort to support the eccentric decisions that her husband decides to make throughout the movie, along with influencing their daughter and community to make healthy decisions.  When she is able to inspire people in their town to choose not to ban a book at their local schools, it is both humorous and moving.

Ray Liotta as Shoeless Joe Jackson is played with the correct level of poise and passion for such an iconic Major League figure.  When he talks about putting a glove to his nose with his bright blue eyes, he’s in a trance.  I wanted to go grab my glove and smell it while he was talking about it (I didn’t need to, I could smell the glove where I was sitting…I think I was hypnotized).

shoeless joe

This is the first film I recall watching where my dad could not contain the tears.  They poured from him at the film’s climax after Terence disappears into the corn and Ray Kinsella demands clarity from Shoeless Joe.

I found later that my dad’s father had a very similar story to John Kinsella.  He played in the minors and was on the cusp of moving up into the majors, but made some choices in his life that impeded this.

Like Ray Kinsella giving out hints about his relationship with his father throughout the movie, my dad gave me as many clues about his relationship with his father throughout his life with me.  This is the movie that got my dad talking with me about his baseball experiences…and sometimes, when I was lucky, a little more.

——

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“Bullshit. What’s the Job?”-“I love it when you talk dirty.”

I’m still surprised how early I was allowed to see “Blazing Saddles.”

So, one weekend every summer, my mom went off to a woman’s retreat, leaving us home alone with dad.  We lived on eggs, cereal, hot dogs, and Ramen Noodles.

Yep.

Now, dad was a little more lenient than mom when it came to TV and movie viewership.  We (me and my big sister and little brother) knew that.  Did we take advantage?

Hell yes.

A few weeks prior to my mom leaving for her retreat, I remembered walking through the living room and observing my parents laughing at what they were watching, until they noticed me.

Mom: “This isn’t for you to see.”

Me: “What is it?”

Dad: “A Funny movie.”

Mom: “It’s for adults.”

Me: “What’s the name of it?”

Dad: “Blazing Saddles.”

Game over.  I had a title.  I knew mom was leaving.  It was a matter of time before I talked my dad into letting me watch it.  It wasn’t hard.

Me: “Dad, can we watch ‘Blazing Saddles‘ with you?”

Dad: “Sure….don’t tell your mother.”

Did I get all of the jokes?  Hell no.  But I had a dad that was more than happy to explain them to me.

I always thought my dad was an impatient man, and he was about certain things.  He was very impatient with my ability to complete chores.  That was my major interaction with my dad, so I, of course, always felt that he was an impatient, short tempered man.  Looking back, there are plenty of moments where he displayed patience regularly.  Watching movies with the kids is one of them.

Me: “Dad?  What’s a shitkicker?”

Dad: (giggles) “It’s a mean name for a cowboy.”

Me: “Oh.”

That was most of the movie.  Luckily dad had seen it enough to humor us throughout the viewing.  Listening to my dad laugh along with us was like hearing The Beatles for the first time. It was something new and wonderful and you didn’t want the song to end on the radio.  I have mentioned before that my dad was not one for laughter often.  A trait that I have inherited from him.  Watching “Blazing Saddles” with him was like listening to 5 of The Beatles greatest hits in a row on the radio.

My dad loved the ability to “pause” tapes.  He grew up without a VCR and never had a chance to “stop” the things he was viewing.  It seemed like we were giving him a chance to control the world when we had a question and he could grab the remote, click “pause,” and explain a scene to us.  He enjoyed it, and he was good at it.  This happened every time we watched some dialogue we didn’t understand and dad had a huge laugh.

I remember laughing at the funny faces, sounds, and slapstick of “Blazing Saddles” when I was younger.  Viewing it as I grew, I started laughing at the scenes my dad laughed at.

What an amazing movie.  The courage to take on a film like this deserves accolades itself.  No way could this movie be made in this day and age of political correctness.  Is that a good thing?  Probably.  Am I thankful this movie got made? Yeppers.

Mel Brooks to me, is the godfather of Farcical Comedy, without a lot of competition. He makes films that can make a child laugh for the reasons I mentioned above and have the wit to keep an adult’s attention with clever writing, and satire that strikes true.  That is not an easy thing to do and he will never get the artistic credit that he deserves.  It’s a shame that comedies–aren’t taken more seriously????

What the hell do I know?

I know three things in retrospect watching “Blazing Saddles” over 5 times over the years: 1) Richard Pryor is one of the greatest comedic writers of all time 2) Adults enjoy the layers of wit that occurs in the dialogue of EVERY Mel Brooks movie 3) Campfire farting scenes will always make any person laugh-out-loud.

Basically, the film is about a greedy railroad entrepreneur that cannot get a town to yield their land.  They try to strong arm them, but that does not work.  They send in a black sheriff to help them, with the idea that it will cause internal strife so that they will destroy themselves from the inside out.  Shenanigans ensue on many, many, many, different levels–including breaking the “5th wall,” in which they fight into another Hollywood set of a musical production.

The cast is amazing:

cleavon

Cleavon Little,

gene wilder

Gene Wilder,

harvey korman

the underrated and amazing Harvey Korman,

slim pickens

Slim Pickens,

madeline kahn

Madeline Kahn,

dom deluise

and a short/hilarious performance by Dom Deluise.

Reading through the quotes to pick one for this post was a mild joy.  I laughed reading them, visualizing the scenes again in my head.  Rarely can a movie do that and it is pure exuberance when that can happen.

What people need to understand before they watch this movie is that it is a total satire-farce on every level and is never supposed to be taken seriously.  This is not a film for the easily offended, but for the person that can think about what the writers are trying to say between the lines…and snicker with them.

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Clintington Presents Hitchcock 2.

I was just 8 years old (1985) when Jimmy G. ruined “Psycho” for me.

(Originally I had the dialogue of the actual spoil that occurred in 1985, but I omitted it because I didn’t want to do the same to any of you.  Who says I don’t care?)

I was too young to realize I should have been angry, not confused.

Years later when my parents finally allowed me to see it, I was angry.  It could’ve been the scariest movie of all time for me, but instead, it was…okay, had to delete this too.

I admit it, I don’t like to get spoiled.  That’s why I’m not a huge fan of trailers much any more.  They give too much away (especially in comedies) and it ruins the theatrical experience of “shock and awe.”

That is the fuel that fired up Mr. Hitchcock.

How can I shock people into “awe?”

Some of his other films that I watched that summer were:

Strangers on a Train

Classic Hitchcock.  Two men who each need someone “out” of their lives, meet on a train.  The one gentleman (the naive one–there is always one in a Hitch movie), thinks it a mere coincidence, but he has been stalked by the other gentleman.  They do what a lot of people do in Hitchcock films, get onto the topic of murder and discuss how to commit one.  That’s all you’re getting.  Go see it.

Frenzy

I feel this was the master’s last great film (this was his second to last film, the last being “Family Plot” which I did not like the acting in particular).  There are MANY brutal murders (there is a serial killer who strangles people with his neck ties) and a case of mistaken identity/wrongfully accused.  Watch it.  It’s horrifying.

…and…

My favorite Hitch of all time:

REAR WINDOW

I love this movie.  It was one of the last ones I had seen that summer.  I remember every time that I tried to rent it, it was not available.  It was finally in the store and I felt like it was Christmas.  We rented 7 Hitchcock films before I could watch it!  After seeing it, I knew why it was always gone.  In terms of setting, it is Hitch’s greatest achievement.  An adventurous photographer is home-bound at his apartment loft in a wheelchair after he broke is leg on the job.  His only contact is with his girlfriend, played by the Princess Grace Kelly, and his maid.  He entertains himself by breaking out one of his large telephoto lenses and “peeps” on his neighbors across the way at another complex.  It’s a Hitchcock movie.  What could he possibly see?  There is no way I am writing another word about it.

MUST SEE.

It was one of the best summers of movie rentals I every experienced.  My mom, dad, and I would talk about them right after we finished and would ask each other things like, “Why did he do that,” “Who writes these things,” “Remember when … happened,” and “What was she thinking?”

These weren’t the only Hitch films I watched.  I would eventually see “Shadow of a Doubt,” “Rope,” and “Notorious.” I recommend all three, especially “Notorious.”  Cary Grant plays a very different character than what you are likely used to seeing on screen–as only Hitch could force him to do; and Ingrid Bergman shines as a spy, forced into a very dangerous circumstance.

Hitch’s movies will appear to “drag” by today’s standards.  They are full of a lot of “explaining” dialogue that distracts from the flow of the story, even in Hitch’s time of film making (the last explanation in “Psycho” by the doctor explaining the psychology of it all absolutely destroyed a near perfect film).

With that said, the scenes where Hitchcock ensnares us as the viewer and dares us to look away–makes all of the “explaining” and the lengthy monologues well worth the wait for the “AWE” moments.

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