Showing posts with label Beatles. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Beatles. Show all posts

04 December 2018

Twice Watched Tales

by Paul D. Marks

Some people I know only watch a movie once. Once they know how it ends they have no interest in seeing it again. Other people like to watch movies over and over. I fit in the latter category. If there’s a movie I like I can watch it over and over and over. Sometimes I get new things from it. Sometimes I just enjoy the ride. This list just touches the very tip of the iceberg for me and is also heavily weighted towards classics from the 30s and 40s, with only a handful of more “recent” movies and little or nothing from the last few years, ‘cause I have to wait and see what sticks. There are more esoteric movies that I like, but this is a list of movies that I like to watch over and over and can pretty much do so from any point in the picture. So, here’s some movies I’ve seen multiple times:

Sui Genris:

Casablanca – my favorite movie, bar none. What more can I say, except, I’m shocked. Shocked.


Film Noir: I don’t have the time or space to put them all in here, but almost all classic film noirs would be on this list.

Double Indemnity – The ultimate film noir imho. Covers all the bases.

     —Walter Neff: How could I have known that murder could  sometimes smell like honeysuckle?

     —Walter Neff: Suddenly it came over me that everything would go wrong. It sounds crazy, Keyes, but it’s true, so help me. I couldn’t hear my own footsteps. It was the walk of a dead man.


Big Heat, The

Big Sleep, The

Blue Dahlia, The

Born to Kill – One of my favorites and has one of my favorite movie quotes of all time. It’s not said by either of the main characters, but by Walter Slezak, a sleazy private eye:

     Delivery Boy: My, that coffee smells good. Ain’t it funny how coffee never tastes as good as it smells.

     Arnett (Slezak): As you grow older, you’ll discover that life is very much like coffee: the aroma is  always better than the actuality. May that be your thought for the day.


Criss Cross

D.O.A. (original) – The ultimate high-concept flick…for my money

Dark Corner, The – Bradford Galt: There goes my last lead. I feel all dead inside. I’m backed up in a dark corner, and I don’t know who’s hitting me.

Dead Reckoning

Detour – Al Roberts: That’s life. Whichever way you turn, Fate sticks out a foot to trip you.

Fear in the Night

His Kind of Woman

In a Lonely Place – Tied for my second fave movie in any genre (with Ghost World, yes, I love Ghost World):

     —Dixon Steele: I was born when she kissed me. I died when she left me. I lived a few weeks while she loved me.

Kiss Me, Deadly – Much better than the book

Lady from Shanghai, The – Mirrors, what else can I say but mirrors?

Maltese Falcon, The – The schtuff dreams are made of.

Murder, My Sweet

Narrow Margin, The

Nightmare Alley

Out of the Past

Postman Always Rings Twice, The (original)

Scarlet Street

Somewhere in the Night

To Have and Have Not (which may or may not technically be noir)

Touch of Evil

Where the Sidewalk Ends

Woman in the Window, The


Thrillers and Neo Noir

Clockwork Orange, A

Devil in a Blue Dress

Die Hard

Final Analysis – Doesn’t get a great rating on IMDB, but I like it.

Fracture – So clever, so good.

Kill Me Again

Last Seduction, The

Malice

Pacific Heights – Creepy.

Pelican Brief

Red Rock West

Sudden Impact – My favorite Dirty Harry movie.

Taxi Driver

Vertigo (and most Hitchcock movies)


Quirky (for lack of a better term)

And Now My Love (Toute Une Vie) – Though I’ve heard horrible things about the DVD version, which I have, but can’t bring myself to watch,

Art School Confidential

Crimes and Misdemeanors

Ghost World – I can’t get enough of this movie.


Lilies of the Field

Sideways – Can’t get enough of this one either.

Soldier in the Rain – Based on the book by the late, great William Goldman.

Tender Mercies


Newer Classics

Chinatown

Godfather Movies – All 3, the third one’s not as bad as it seems initially and if someone besides Sofia Coppola had played that part it would “read” much better.

LA Confidential


Holiday Movies

Christmas Story, A

Miracle on 34th Street

Shop Around the Corner

(since I’m posting on Christmas Day, more holiday movies then)


Where Does This Fit?

Born Losers (John Floyd) – The movie that introduced Billy Jack, before he got too preachy. This one’s just a biker movie. How Billy got his start. When I was younger, I loved going to all the biker movies. That’s how I got introduced to Jack Nicholson before his breakout role in Easy Rider


Screwball/Classic Comedy

Awful Truth, The

Bachelor and the Bobby Soxer, The

Bringing Up Baby

His Girl Friday – Classic and hilarious

Holiday

Libeled Lady – This and Love Crazy below, both with William Powell and Myrna Loy are terrific.

Love Crazy

Monkey Business (Marx Brothers)

My Favorite Wife

My Man Godfrey

Philadelphia Story, The

Sullivan’s Travels

Thin Man series

To Be or Not to Be (original) – Proves you can laugh at Nazis, even at the time they were in power.

     —Colonel Ehrhardt: They named a brandy after Napoleon, they made a herring out of Bismarck, and the Fuhrer is going to end up as a piece of cheese!


Westerns

Monte Walsh (both versions)

Shootist, The – I put The Shootist out of alphabetical order because I see it as a pair with Monte Walsh, both about people who’ve outlived their time, a theme I like to explore in my own writing.

El Dorado

Shane – If I had to show one western to a Martian to show them what the genre is it would be this.


Science Fiction/Horror – Not a big science fiction or horror guy these days. Liked them more as a kid.

Dracula (Lugosi)

Forbidden Planet

Haunting, The (original)

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (original)


The Beatles

A Hard Day’s Night

Help! – Help me if you can I’m feeling down…

Let It Be


Newer Comedy

After Hours

Can’t Buy Me Love – Even though it’s named after a Beatles song, which is played at the end, it’s got nothing to do with the Beatles, but it’s still fun.

In-Laws, The (original)

Manhattan

My Cousin Vinnie – One of the funniest movies I’ve ever seen and no matter how many times I watch it I always laugh

Reuben Reuben – A treasure!

Sting, The


Musicals/Music:

Ramones: It’s Alive – Okay, maybe it’s not a musical per se, but it is music and ya gotta love The Ramones: “One, two, three, four…



Singin’ in the Rain

Wizard of Oz, The

***

I could go on forever, but I gotta stop at some point. So:

What about you? What movies do you like to watch over and over again?

~.~.~

And now for the usual BSP:

I'm thrilled by the great reviews that Broken Windows has been receiving. Here’s a small sampling:

Betty Webb, Mystery Scene Magazine:  "Broken Windows is extraordinary."

Kristin Centorcelli, Criminal Element"Although it’s set in 1994, it’s eerie how timely this story is. There’s an undeniable feeling of unease that threads through the narrative, which virtually oozes with the grit, glitz, and attitude of L.A. in the ‘90s. I’m an ecstatic new fan of Duke’s."

"Duke and company practically beg for their own TV show."

John Dwaine McKenna, Mysterious Book Report:  "This electrifying novel will jolt your sensibilities, stir your conscience and give every reader plenty of ammunition for the next mixed group where the I [immigration] -word is spoken!"

***


I’m also honored and thrilled – more than I can say – that my story Windward appears in The Best American Mystery Stories of 2018, edited by Louise Penny and Otto Penzler. I wrote a blog on that on SleuthSayers if you want to check it out: https://www.sleuthsayers.org/2018/10/the-impossible-dream.html .

I’m doubly thrilled to say that Windward won the Macavity Award at Bouchercon a few weeks ago. Wow! And thank you to everyone who voted for it.

Please join me on Facebook: www.facebook.com/paul.d.marks and check out my website www.PaulDMarks.com


19 November 2018

The Watts Riots, Rodney King and Me

by Paul D. Marks

I cannot tell a lie, this piece has been published before in a couple of different places. Nonetheless, it has a lot of personal meaning for me, as well the larger societal context. My novel White Heat was partly inspired by the Rodney King riots and both that and the Watts Riots have helped to shape L.A. as it is today.

*          *          *

When people think of Watts they think of the Watts Towers—and the Watts Riots of August, 1965. That year, while the Beatles sang about Yesterday, another chant went up in South Central Los Angeles.
*          *          *

1965: "Burn, baby, burn!" is the anthem that many remember the Watts Riots by. It is the chant shouted by people as the city burns. The spark that sets off the riots is a black man being stopped for a traffic ticket. Long-simmering frustration boils over and the city ignites. Thirty-four people are killed, a thousand-plus are wounded and almost four thousand arrested. Tensions in Los Angeles are as high as the smoke rising from the smoldering city streets.

Los Angeles is burning.

*          *          *

1991: Another motorist is stopped for speeding and evading the police. His beatdown is caught on video:

1992: The cops accused of beating Rodney King are acquitted. People pour into the streets. Looting.
Assault. Arson. Murder. Fifty-three dead. Twenty-three hundred injured and sixteen-hundred buildings damaged or destroyed.

Los Angeles is burning.

*          *          *

I was in Los Angeles in both ’65 and ’92. I remember the smoke, the fear permeating every quarter of the city.

During the Watts Riots, we were lucky to be able to watch it on TV and not be in the middle of it. My then-girlfriend's cousin was a National Guardsman assigned to patrol Watts during the riots and what he saw was so horrible he would never talk about it.

But I have a different memory of Watts. It isn't of the riots, but occurred during another hot summer, not long after.

I met a boy named Walter in class. Unlike everyone else in the class and just about everyone in the school, he was black. And he wasn't a local, but was on some kind of student exchange program from Jordan High in Watts.

I'm sure we were as much a curiosity to him as he was to us. After all, we were the privileged white kids and he was the angry young black man. Only he didn't seem angry. He seemed like just another nice guy with glasses. He invited a group of us to come down and see where he lived: Watts. A word that sent shivers down a lot of Angelinos' spines in those days.

We were a little apprehensive about going down there, especially as Walter had told us to come in the crappiest cars we had. No shiny new cars. There were six or eight teenaged boys and girls in our little caravan of two crappy cars. But crappy in our neighborhood meant something different than it did in Walter's.

Our caravan weaved its way through the Los Angeles streets until we were just about the only white faces to be seen. We finally came to Will Rogers Park (known today as Ted Watkins Park). Mind you, this is not the Will Rogers Park on Sunset where the polo ponies play on Sundays. This park is in the heart of South Central and I can say that all of our hearts were beating faster than normal.

Watts Riots - 1965

We parked nearby and walked as a unit to the park, as if we were a military outfit. People looked at us—we didn't look at them. But maybe because we looked like hippies and we were young nobody bothered us.

We met Walter in Will Rogers Park in South Central Los Angeles and sat under a shady tree, a bunch
of white kids and one black guy. We sat, just rapping—in the vernacular of the time—talking about music and houses and politics. We stood out like the proverbial sore thumb and people started coming over. Big dudes, little dudes. Cool dudes. Girls. No one seemed to resent our being there. In fact, they seemed glad to have us. Glad to be able to share with us and have us share with them. There was no sense of rancor or resentment. Just curiosity—a curiosity that went both ways. This was a time when people wanted to come together, not be separated. None of them knew Walter and they certainly didn't know us. But they joined our group and we rapped on.

After a while we got up and played a game of pickup basketball—try doing that in a pair of cowboy boots.

Then Walter said, "You want to see where I live?"
Jordan Downs Housing Project

Of course we did. So he took us to the projects—Jordan Downs. We drove past burned out buildings and vacant lots that not so long ago had had buildings on them. And we saw how the other half lived.

"It's not the best place in the world to live," Walter said. "But it could be a whole lot worse."

Watts Towers

Our last stop was a trip to the Watts Towers, those soaring spires of glass, steel and concrete built by Simon Rodia. They are a monument to what anyone can do if they put their mind to it.

We finally returned to our cars and, to our relief, they hadn't been stolen. And, corny as it might sound, I think we all learned that we're more alike than different, with the same aspirations, hopes and fears.

That day was one of the most memorable experiences of my life—one that I wouldn't trade for anything. It was a wonderful day and we all went home full of hope for the future. We just wanted to get to know each other. Ultimately I think Rodney King had it right when he said, "Can we all get along?"

Why the hell can't we?

###

07 June 2016

Hope There’s No Shortage of Tinfoil

by Paul D. Marks

It’s June. So I thought I’d write about conspiracy theories. What it has to do with June, I don’t know. But why not? Maybe it’s a conspiracy.

So, to start off, here’s a list of conspiracy theories from Time Magazine (http://content.time.com/time/specials/packages/completelist/0,29569,1860871,00.html). The commentary is mine and not meant to be offensive. We can agree to disagree, but hopefully have some fun doing so.

The JFK Assassination: Okay, we all know about this one. The CIA or Lyndon Johnson or the Mafia or Castro had Kennedy killed. Nobody can believe that a dipwad like Oswald could have done it alone. And despite Oliver Stone’s fiction called JFK, and having read Jim Garrison’s book, Heritage of Stone, which challenged the truth of the Warren Commission’s investigation about JFK’s assassination, I still believe Oswald acted alone. So put me down on the side of Vincent Bugliosi, who pretty much debunked the conspiracies. The real conspiracy here is the size of his book, but you know what they say, big book, big… Just ask Mr. Trump. He has big books.

9/11 Cover-Up: In this one it’s our own government (again) who planned and done it. I hate to blow anyone’s tinfoil helmet off their head, but sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. And sometimes it’s the simplest theory that explains something. There have been investigations, both government (I know, can’t trust ’em) and by private groups, including Popular Mechanics and The National Institute of Standards and Technology, and there’s just no real evidence of a government conspiracy.

Area 51 and the Aliens: Aliens crash landed in the Southwest desert and are being refrigerated at Area 51, a top secret base. Now, I know this one’s true ’cause I saw Jeff Goldblum and Will Smith in Independence Day and that was a documentary, wasn’t it? Kind of like Stone’s JFK was a documentary. Okay, the government has secrets. Okay, people have seen weird flying machines over the desert, most likely from the Lockheed’s Skunk Works in Lancaster, CA, if not from there from their own psilocybin addled brains. – Okay, for real: for this one you need more of a colander on the head. Tin foil just won’t do.

A magazine about the Paul is dead rumor
Paul Is Dead: Well, I know this one’s not true. Because I’m not dead…yet. But I have come close a few times. Once, when a producer threatened to send his pals in the Israeli Mossad after me after we got into an argument. But I digress. This one’s about all the clues in Beatle songs and on their album covers pointing to the “fact” that Paul McCartney was killed and replaced by a look-alike, sound-alike double. After all, we all know the Walrus was Paul, Paul was barefoot on the cover of Abbey Road, which also had the words 28 IF on a car license and John sings “I buried Paul” at the end of Strawberry Fields. All I know is that if Paul is dead, the FNG did a pretty good job at songwriting and singing and coming up with some inventive bass parts. So maybe it was a good thing the real one got offed. And perhaps he is dead or at least ran away with Elvis and Jim Morrison, who are really not dead either, and are living the life of Riley on some fabulous bikini atoll somewhere.

Secret Societies Control the World: The Illuminati, the Masons, the Bilderbergers, the CFR, rule the world behind the scenes for their own nefarious ends. But unless their nefarious ends are total stupidity and chaos, they’re not doing a very good job. Now, if I could write a great conspiracy yarn and make Dan Brown money off this I’d become a true believer. And you know what they say about converts…

A Scene from the movie Capricorn One
The Moon Landings Were Faked: Hey, I know this is true. I saw Capricorn One, with James Brolin, Elliot Gould and O.J. Simpson, before he learned how to swing a knife. In this documentary something goes wrong and instead of looking like morons and upsetting the American people, the Powers That Be decide to create the whole moon landing experience on a movie soundstage. Lotta people believe it went down this way. I wonder how Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin felt/feels about that.

Another scene from Capricorn One

Jesus and Mary Magdalene: This is an alt rock band from Scotland. Formed in 1983… Oh, wait, that’s the Jesus and Mary Chain. Take 2: In this one Jesus and Mary are married. People want to believe what they want to believe. See Dan Brown comment above.

Holocaust Revisionism: This one says the Holocaust never happened. And I know it didn’t. I cite an impeccable source, quoting from the Time piece: “Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, for one, has called the Holocaust a ‘myth’.” We know there’s no agenda there and such an upstanding citizen of the world would never lie. Hence it never happened.

The CIA and AIDS: This time we learn that AIDS was created by the CIA to wipe out homosexuals and African Americans. Let’s not forget Ebola and now Zika. I’m sure they were also created by the CIA. I’m not saying nobody in our government – or other governments ever do anything wrong. But as my mom would say, some people just want to believe the worst. I know we’ve done some bad things, I just don’t think, from what I’ve been able to find via people who don’t wear tinfoil helmets, that this is true.

The Reptilian Elite: Okay, I have to admit I didn’t really know what this one was. So here’s part of the Time piece in case you’re as ignorant as me: “They are among us. Blood-drinking, flesh-eating, shape-shifting extraterrestrial reptilian humanoids with only one objective in their cold-blooded little heads: to enslave the human race. They are our leaders, our corporate executives, our beloved Oscar-winning actors and Grammy-winning singers, and they're responsible for the Holocaust, the Oklahoma City bombings and the 9/11 attacks ... at least according to former BBC sports reporter David Icke, who became the poster human for the theory in 1998 after publishing his first book, The Biggest Secret, which contained interviews with two Brits who claimed members of the royal family are nothing more than reptiles with crowns.” Now, I don’t know about the royal family, but I’m pretty sure Kanye West might be one. And all of our prez candidates and everyone in DC. So this one might be true.

This list barely taps the source, it’s proverbial tip of the iceberg of conspiracy theories. But in an effort to keep it manageable I went with Time’s list.

There might be some great story ideas here – reference Dan Brown and Dan Brown above. And they can be fun and entertaining. But they can also be scary when people believe them and reject common sense. And if they’re proven true you can tell me how wrong I was and let one of the Reptilian Elite perform a Vulcan mind meld on me.

Sorry if you’re a true believer and don’t think I’ve taken these theories seriously enough. I will probably be locked up when the New World Order takes over.

So if I’ve offended your paranoid fantasy, put on your tinfoil helmet, plug yourself into the wall and blast off. And for the real stories check out the Time link above.

***
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