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If it’s City Slickers it must be my birthday

January 14, 2014 12 comments

Well, throwback Thursday is a day early this week. Yeah, yeah, yeah … I know that actually makes it a throwback Wednesday, but I think this blog post from four years ago is apropos for the day. So, just like Mr. Peabody and Sherman, let’s step into the WABAC (as in “wayback” for the uninitiated) machine and travel all the way back to January 14th, 2009.

City Slickers and my birthday

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Every writer’s worst nightmare

April 11, 2012 Leave a comment

Though no writer in his right mind would (or should) maintain their latest manuscript as a single, mountainous pile of paper, one can still empathize with the pain, despair, and utter loss suffered by Professor Grady Tripp (Michael Douglas) in this funny/horrifying scene from the movie Wonder Boys.

http://movieclips.com/e/M95Uw/31.9/77.5

In today’s world, I suppose this would be equivalent to hearing your computer’s hard disk screech and click to a premature death after having never bothered to back up your work. If it were me, I know my face would pretty much look like Grady’s, except I would be staring at my computer in disbelief while I imagined all those bits flying away to their death. Tripp’s tragedy, as played out and observed in today’s technologically advanced society, wouldn’t be nearly as spectacular a failure, but it would be just as heartbreaking as watching him stare at seven years worth of work swirling away through the air.

Something to consider next time you put off backing up your disk for one more day …

–dp

Categories: Movies, Writing

The night was …

January 11, 2012 3 comments

Recently, while watching one of the bazillion channels available via DirecTV, I stumbled across an old, familiar Billy Crystal movie. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen the entire film, but it’s been awhile and I don’t quite remember all of it. One thing I did remember about the movie was that Billy Crystal plays a writer named Larry who falls into a horrific case of the dreaded writer’s block. Though it’s a terrifying prospect for anyone who wants to write, you just can’t help but laugh at Larry’s attempts to get his writing kickstarted again.

While I’m certainly not in Larry’s position, I can sympathize with his predicament. Recently, it seems I’ve hit a bit of a roadblock on my writing path. I can never remember a time while I’ve been actively writing where I simply got stuck at a certain point. But, I have. And not just in one book, mind you, but two! Every time I open either of them, all I seem to be able to do is stare at the screen (Larry had it worse – all he could stare at was a blank piece of paper) and think to myself, “The night was …”

For a brief glimpse into the agony that is writer’s block, enjoy, if you will, this short video. Don’t worry. It’s okay to laugh at Larry’s misery. I’ve done so myself 🙂

Okay, so I can’t even post a few minutes of a longer clip from a movie that I found already posted on youtube. What’s up with that? Yeah, like my clip was going to cause them to lose revenue. Bleah … Well, it will come back. Just wait and see.

The night was …

I know the block will eventually go away, and that all I need to do is keep trying to plug away. But it’s certainly scary when something like this grips you. You wonder if anything good will ever come from your fingertips again. So for now, maybe it’s time to start work on that third novel. Or maybe a new short story. Yeah, yeah … that’s the ticket.

–dp

PS – for those who are curious, and don’t recognize the movie, it’s Throw Momma from the Train 🙂

Categories: Movies, Writing

Apes Redux

August 25, 2011 Leave a comment

WARNING: If you don’t like hearing about a movie you think you might see, then don’t read any further.

Being a big fan of the original Planet of the Apes

The one that started it all.


though not necessarily the sequels, it was a sure bet I was going to see the new ape movie, Rise of the Planet of the Apes. I had high hopes. After all, I still remember my folks packing us kids into the family car and taking us to see the new sci-fi movie about talking apes at the local drive-in theater. Yeah, you heard that right. A drive-in movie, complete with the klunky, metallic speaker (broken volume knob included) hanging on the window, a snack bar within walking distance, and even a playground for kids. I’m not sure, but I think drive-in movies are almost extinct these days, which is too bad. Anyway, I digress. Back to the monkeys.

It was a nifty idea to try and kick start the old monkey movies into new life, to add to the lore surrounding the ape mythos. But it just didn’t work for Debbie and me. Basically, I felt two things while watching the movie: anger and boredom. I was angry at the way the central ape character, Caesar, was treated throughout most of the movie. I realize by saying such a thing that I’m actually complimenting the movie in the realism of the apes that were created. And I suppose that’s true; they were very well done. So kudos to the filmmakers for that. But, I didn’t go to the movie to feel bad, nor get treated to a movie-length piece of PETA propaganda. If I want to feel bad about animals, I can easily do that on my own time.

Okay, so once I got over being mad at every human being alive, I simply started not to really care all that much. There was a sense of ennui that settled over me as I watched and munched popcorn, mainly due to the lengthy setup for the premise, which, to both of us, took way too long. We went expecting a quick start and then lots of apes revolting against all the bad humans. Instead, we had plenty of geeky science techno-speak and lab shots leading to the creation of the stuff that makes apes smart, then just a relatively small amount of monkeys going crazy. To be honest, by the time the movie ended, I really assumed it must have been a two and a half hour picture. Instead, it was really only one hour and forty-five minutes. I guess that tells you something.

I think the most fun I had during the movie was after I noticed the first reference to the original, classic film. Once I saw/heard it, I was ready to catch others if they came along. In all, I caught only three, but they were good ones. Here are they are (in order, for whatever that’s worth):

“It’s a madhouse. A madhouse.”

A Charlton Heston movie playing on a TV.

“Get your hands off me you damn, dirty ape.”

For anyone else who sees/saw the movie, were there any other references to the original?

BTW – I really had no intention of talking so much about the movie. I started out planning to mention only the three references to the original film, but then I just got caught up in the moment and kept typing. My bad.

So Rise of the Planet of the Apes, in my opinion, is a movie worth a rental if you’ve seen all the other ones on your list, or if you’re a big James Franco fan. As for me, I don’t plan on seeing it again.

It sure had some great looking apes, though.

–dp

Categories: Movies