What Comes Naturally


Words are not necessary.  They seldom are.  A noise is enough, a sound, a riff, the strumming of a young Irishman’s hand across the strings of his guitar.  I know the riff, millions have come to know this sound and not just the millions who own the album.  It is a song and the song is called “Where the Streets Have No Name”, a desert song of mythical images that speaks of pain and rain and far off places where love turns to rust and it is the calling card for what Rolling Stone declared the single best album of the 80’s.

One.  That is what the track is.  Fifty is the number of minutes left before the album will be finished.  Three is the number of rooms between mine and Paul’s and one hundred would be the number of miles you would have to be away from this campus before you would be able to escape it at the volume which he has the stereo turned to.  It is more than an opus for the band, it is also the signal for Paul to let loose, to relax, to let himself fall into another world where no problems can reach him.  Most especially me. (more…)

Not exactly a "meet cute". More of a "meet dirty, smelly and cramped".

Not exactly a “meet cute”. More of a “meet dirty, smelly and cramped”.

You can read more about this year in film here.  The Best Picture race is discussed here, with reviews of all the nominees.  First there are the categories, followed by all the films with their nominations, then the Globes, where I split the major awards by Drama and Comedy, followed by a few lists at the very end.  If there’s a film you expected to see and didn’t, check the very bottom – it might be eligible in a different year.  Films in red won the Oscar in that category (or Globe, in the Globes section).  Films in blue were nominated.  Films (or directors) in olive are links to earlier posts that I don’t want to have show up in blue and be mistaken for a nominee.  Films with an asterisk (*) were Consensus nominees (a scale I put together based on the various awards) while those with a double asterisk (**) were the Consensus winners.

I’m listing the top 10 in the categories but only the top 5 earn Nighthawk nominations.

Nighthawk Awards:

  • Best Picture
  1. Out of Sight  *
  2. Shakespeare in Love  *
  3. Saving Private Ryan  **
  4. The Big Lebowski
  5. Gods and Monsters  *
  6. The Truman Show
  7. Ringu
  8. Pleasantville
  9. Insomnia
  10. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

Analysis:  Only the top 9 are ****.  As is discussed down below, this is not a strong year for great films but it is a very strong year for very good films.
With Out of Sight (NSFC, BSFC wins, BFCA nom) and Gods and Monsters (NBR win, Globe, PGA, BFCA noms) in instead of The Thin Red Line and Life is Beautiful, the Consensus nominees are a lot better than the Oscar nominees.
Out of Sight is a great film, but let’s be fair.  It would have finished 6th in 1996 and fifth in 1997.  The most recent year where it even would have finished second is 1988.  In spite of that, this Top 5 is one point better than 1995. (more…)

What Private Griefs…

is a dream a lie if it don’t come true
b springsteen


She slides up on the hood of the car, stretching her long tan legs, letting eyes settle in upon her.  I have seen her like this before, remember her sliding the straps of her bikini across her shoulders and letting the straps and then the entire top fall loose upon the dirt before running and diving into the water.  She knows that she is beautiful, drop dead gorgeous, god awful sexy, whatever term you might wish to choose.  Her long dark red hair is pulled behind her in a ponytail and she is dressed to the max as the little summer sex kitten with a black tank top and fairly short khaki shorts.  She might be the most beautiful woman I have ever laid eyes upon.  True to the role I am expected to play, I keep my eyes upon the car.

“This is yours?” Bruce asks.  He stands and stares in amazement as I slowly make my way around the car.  It’s a 1996 Honda Prelude VTEC which has only just come out.  It’s a gorgeous deep red sports car and it matches her perfectly. (more…)

The seven actors that make the 1937 the best year ever for actors.

The seven actors that make the 1937 the best year ever for actors.

Ten Oscars.  That’s how many have been won by the group of seven great actors who were born in the year 1937 and will all be turning 80 this year.

I started thinking about this in December when I was re-reading John le Carre’s The Looking Glass War (which was one of the first starring roles for Anthony Hopkins, over 45 years ago) and Westworld was heading towards its season finale (which stars Hopkins in a great role with a great performance to go along with it).  On December 31, Hopkins will turn 80 years old.  But he’s just part of a year of truly great actors.  I really don’t think there’s a comparable year for actors, or possibly even for other artists. (more…)

The Star Wars Action Figure 2016 Memorial Tribute

The Star Wars Action Figure 2016 Memorial Tribute

Well, everyone didn’t die in 2016 in spite of what you may think.  Would you be stunned if I told you that as many acting Oscars were won by people who turned 100 this year as people who died this year?  (It’s true: Olivia de Havilland, who turned 100, won 2 Oscars, which matches the Oscars for the two people who died this year, George Kennedy and Patty Duke).  Though, sadly for me, my first childhood crush, Carrie Fisher died, as did Kenny Baker and Erik Bauersfeld (the voice of Admiral Ackbar). (more…)

img_1574Well, 2016 is almost over and it’s about damn time.  But there’s still time to open presents and relax for a day (or, maybe more, since Veronica and I left work early on Friday after the idiots doing construction at UMass Boston cut the water line to the Mass Archives).  The picture is Thomas opening his annual ornament from Great-Aunt Melinda and Great-Uncle Dave (who is home for Christmas after a rough year, so that’s something good).

img_1575On the left is a picture of our breakfast.  It’s baked French toast, which Veronica baked in her new Dutch oven, a gift from my mother.  Later today, well, later today we will sit around and probably open the pile of presents and later watch some football.  Later in the week, Veronica and I will be headed down to the City, because, you know, HAMILTON!!!!!!  Woot!  And 2017 might hopefully be better, because, you know, Baby Groot!  And more Star Wars (I’ve seen Rogue One three times so far)!

Oh, and as for why we thought 2016 sucked?  Well, part of it should be obvious.  And part of it is made more obvious with the embedded video below, just one of the gazillion people who died this year.

Summer Dusk

a romance

Dear Diary,

So, another year of school is over and done.  And it’s time to say goodbye.  Goodbye.

I don’t want to say goodbye to Jessie.  It just gets me started thinking about next year when Paul and Sharon are gonna graduate.  Graduate.  Which means after that, the rest of us graduate and that’s it, we’ll have had this short time where we’re all together and then we’ll all have nothing.  It’s bad enough floating down I-5 to Coronado to start another summer.  I don’t want to think about saying goodbye to everyone, don’t want to think about what happens, when we all have to go away and live different lives.

It was hard to watch last night.  It may have been the most romantic thing I have seen coupled with the saddest moment I have ever witnessed all at the same time.  Jess was headed out the door, then she turned and ran back into Bruce’s arms and then they were kissing, so passionately, so desperately, and then she was out the door and the look in his eyes as he watched her go just made my heart break. (more…)