Thursday, September 12, 2019

Brittany Runs a Marathon plus a couple of Short Takes on Coup de Cinema and The Flying Fish

Determination, Perseverance, Achievement

Reviews by Ken Burke

I invite you to join me on a regular basis to see how my responses to current cinematic offerings compare to the critical establishment, which I’ll refer to as either the CCAL (Collective Critics at Large) if they agree with me or the OCCU (Often Cranky Critics Universe) if they choose to disagree.

          Brittany Runs a Marathon (Paul Downs Colaizzo)
                                                  rated R

“Executive Summary” (no spoilers): Brittany lives in Manhattan (somehow surviving there well enough with little income), is almost 30, has not much in her life except her constant diet of hedonistic pleasures, then is confronted by a doctor with news her body’s not in great shape for a woman of her young years, advising her to lose a good deal of weight in order to also improve other aspects of her medical status.  Unable to afford a gym, she takes to trotting through the streets of NYC, finally putting aside enough of her hostility toward a neighbor to join a running group, eventually getting better command of her stamina, losing the needed pounds in the process.  In fact, she’s so confident in her physical achievements (but still maintains a caustic personality easily resulting in insults to anyone around her, even those at times futilely attempting to be her friends) she wants to enter the NYC Marathon but is way short of the entry fee, so she tries to pick up extra cash as a dog-sitter for wealthy, traveling owners, in the process sharing their home (squatting, really) with another sitter whom she starts having sex with.  Much of Brittany Runs a Marathon is devoted to establishing the premises noted above with the resulting complications/ resolutions coming within the Spoiler zone, so either seek this movie out for yourself (it’s not playing in that many locations, though) or save yourself some cash (my suggestion, although most other critics will disagree so this time I’m representing the OCCU) by reading my spoiler-disclaimed-comments below.  This is a pleasant-enough-story (inspiring in its own way, I suppose), but Brittany makes herself a tough character to like—or even admire some of the time—which didn’t resonate much with me, even if this is based (as so many movies are today) on a true story.

Here’s the trailer:  (Use the full screen button in the image’s lower right to enlarge it; activate that same button on the full screen’s lower right or your “esc” keyboard key to return to normal size.)

If you can abide plot spoilers read on, but as this blog’s intended for those who’ve seen the film—or want to save some bucks—to help any of you who want to learn more details yet avoid important plot-reveals I’ll identify any give-away sentences/sentence-clusters like this: 
⇒The first and last words will be noted with arrows and red.⇐ OK, now continue on if you prefer.

What Happens: Brittany Forgler (Jillian Bell) is a young woman (almost 30) without much in her life (but unlike Miles Smith in the movie to be reviewed below at least she has a collection of odd jobs when her story begins; it may not pay her enough to afford joining a gym at $129 a month for needed exercise but she’s got enough income to somehow share an apartment in Manhattanwhich even many trendy folks in Brooklyn aren’t well off enough to door buy drinks for random patrons at a bar) of any consequence so she fills her spare time with clubbing, drinking, smoking, junk food, and let’s-not-talk-about-it-sex in those club restrooms.  One day while seeing a doctor in hopes of getting some Adderall (supposedly to help her be more alert, focused but really just for recreational purposes) she’s confronted with uncomfortable news about her weight (about 198 for a 5’6” woman—yes, I know, different body types need to be accepted/honored, but this character knows she needs to improve her health, so if you have complaints about my language take them up with the screenwriter-director and his roommate, whom this movie’s based on), her heart rate, her blood pressure, body-mass-index, etc., with a recommendation she lose 55 pounds (about the size of a Siberian husky as she notes to the doctor).  Still, despite her initial disinterest in improving her lifestyle (which might bring her closer to the orbit of thin roommate Gretchen [Alice Lee]), it will take more than exercise to improve her personality, quite caustic much of the time, often lashing out at the few people who actually try to be friends (unlike Gretchen, whose social-media-presence is drowning in “likes,” even if it’s all rooted in superficial b.s.).  One person who easily raises Brittany’s ire is neighbor Catherine (Michaela Watkins), a photographer whom Brittany often quietly insults (although Catherine hears her comments), but they make peace enough for Brittany to join Catherine’s Saturday morning running group (Brittany chooses the free exercise of plodding along NYC’s city streets, attempting to reconcile health improvements with income stagnation) where she meets an equally-out-of-shape-guy, Seth (Micah Stock), a gay man with a partner and children.  After forcing themselves to conquer a 2-mile-distance, Brittany signs up for a 5K run, keeps training with Seth and Catherine—losing many pounds in the process—with the mutual goal of being in the NYC Marathon (which one of my nieces ran in a few times when she lived in NYC, later worked for the organization).  However, even though Brittany’s cut back a bit on her high-calorie-lifestyle, she still can’t afford the big run’s entry fee so she gets a new job working as a dog-sitter (her attempts to lie her way through human babysitting options came to nothing) for a couple who’ll be gone for awhile with a young man, Jern (Utkarsh Ambudkar), also in place as the “night guy” (unbeknownst to his employers, he’s now moved into their home), a dude who's immediately attractive to Brittany.

 Now that all these premises have been established, the plot shifts gears into complexities:  Even though Brittany’s still snotty toward Catherine a good bit she begins to understand how her somewhat-friend doesn’t have the comfy life everyone assumes because she’s in the process of a bitter divorce; Brittany and Gretchen trade insults with Gretchen dismissing her roomie as just “a fat girl” at heart, no matter how she might try to change herself; Brittany’s attraction to Jern intensifies when he helps her write a pleasing profile for a dating site, with the first encounter from that connection almost leading to sex until she suddenly decides to leave, lies about it to Jern, then after he gives her a neck massage they end up in bed on a regular basis (which he says is just sex, not dating) with her mostly sharing their employer’s home as Brittany doesn’t want to be around Gretchen anymore. Then things get more complicated when Seth's accepted for the marathon but Brittany's not notified yet (hoping for a charity entry), although when he and Catherine attempt to pay her fee she gets insulting again, storms off, then finds she has a stress-fracture on her foot which will keep her out of the race anyway; she and Jern then get thrown out of their uptown-squatting when the owners suddenly show up.  In sorrow, Brittany returns to Philadelphia to stay for awhile with her older sister, Cici (Kate Arrington), and brother-in-law, but at his 41st birthday party she finds herself spewing more bile to Jasmine (Sarah Bolt), a woman much larger than she used to be (Brittany’s dropped at least 40 lbs. by now), telling her that her man will never truly love her because of her size.  After that party debacle, brother-in-law Demetrius (Lil Rel Howery)—a guy who somewhat raised Brittany (due to his involvement with her sister) after Brittany’s Dad left the family—lays into her about her wicked attitudes leading Brittany to a string of apologies (including to Jasmine, who accepts but says she’s comfortable with her size, doesn’t agree she can’t be loved because of it), along with a decision from Jern they should be friends, no sex.  A year later she runs the NYC Marathon, gets a cramp toward the end but struggles to the finish line, cheered on by her friends; after the event, we see she’s living with Jern but insists they have no need to be married.⇐

So What? Because the other 2 offerings I’m reviewing this week are rather obscure in terms of availability (well, maybe everyone in the civilized world has Amazon Prime where the first one’s concerned but the other isn’t fully released yet), I wanted to devote my lead review to something a bit more easily-found, preferably with love from the CCAL in that those others below don’t have ratings at Rotten Tomatoes or Metacritic.  So, based on lack of interest in most of what ended up being #’s 1-13 according to Box Office Mojo at our domestic (U.S-Canada) venues last weekend (except for The Lion King [2019] [Jon Favreau; review in our July 25, 2019 posting], Once Upon a Time in Hollywood [Quentin Tarantino; review in our August 1, 2019 posting], Spider-Man: Far from Home [Jon Watts; review in our July 11, 2019 posting]) plus being intrigued by the trailer which I’d been seeing for a couple of months prior—along with finding myself highly encouraged by the RT 90% positive reviews, MC 74% average score (reasonably supportive for most of their results)off I went to see Tiffany Runs a Marathon.  While it’s not a bad movie, it is one of those where most of what’s interesting has been packaged into the trailer (a come-on implying a lot more comedy—most of the best of those scenes are in this oft-running-preview—than is actually delivered, focused more on the drama of Brittany’s struggle not just to get healthier but, more importantly, to rise above her tendency to push everyone away who’s trying to help her along, due to her tendency to lash out at anyone who’s been too nice or seems like an acceptable victim of her latest flurry of insults).  This is somewhat of a true story based on real events of Colaizzo’s roommate, Brittany O’Neill, whom we see in quick visuals of her actually running a marathon (the NYC one, I assume); in that she’s presented as such a basically-miserable-human being throughout most of this movie I have to give credit to the real Brittany for allowing herself to be depicted in such a negative manner (seemingly not hiding real [or close-to-it] events [or their fictional equivalents] from this story to potentially be seen by millions of people [or not; see the next review section just below]); still, on-screen-Brittany's rapid-redemptive-transformation right at the end seems rushed (more so than her pace at the races, although I do give both actor and real-world-subject my respect for such running; even when I was their ages I never tried anything longer than 3 miles jogging so the idea of going as hard as you can manage for 26.22 miles is astounding to me—my wife, Nina, in her younger days ran a half-marathon once, leaving her with the uplifting experience of a “runner’s high,” but my jogging only resulted in sweat, fatigue, and a minor salvation from eating Mexican-food-dinners).  There’s well-earned-humor here, some self-help-encouragement for those looking to rise above their self-imposed-limitations, but there’s also a lot of snarky meanness from Brittany toward anyone who offers support until far too long into the story for me to have very much empathy for this character.

Bottom Line Final Comments: My goal of finding something to review more in the mainstream than the 2 I’ll attend to farther below didn’t play out quite the way I’d planned; based on great reviews and expectations about such a storyline I thought it would likely find its way out to the suburbs where I live, yet Brittany Runs a Marathon seems to be in only 2 Berkeley theaters in the entire San Francisco East Bay; further, it’s already been out for 3 weeks so whatever momentum I assumed it was building must be slow in coming because domestic-domain-wide it’s still only in 230 sites, taking in a measly $1.9 million so far.  Even my assumption its basically-Millennials-cast plus a storyline about a social-media-flop determined to be accepted as an alternative to rigid ideals of attractiveness along with pushing herself to previously-unconsidered-accomplishments would lead it to appeal to a much-younger-demographic than me (71, rushing farther than I care to from being “almost 30” [or 40 or …]) didn’t pan out either as my late Saturday afternoon audience was more in my age bracket, probably lured more by the glowing reviews than the specific content.  Ultimately, the main thing that didn’t work for me was my intended pleasure in watching this movie; yes, it’s got some decent humor (mostly recapped in the trailer); yes, it serves as inspiration for someone who’s privately not happy with their situation, including their basic personality, to push forward into a more-productive-approach to life; yes, it’s commendable the filmmakers were determined to cast a woman who apparently had a body type similar to the “before”-status of actual Tiffany O’Neill rather than cast some more-well-known-star in a fat suit, with further lauds due to Jillian Bell for doing all that running herself, actually losing the pounds the fictional Tiffany sheds in the movie.  But, no, for me this wasn’t the heart-warming-experience so many others have found it to be, so decide for yourself if this concept truly appeals to you or whether you’ve been seduced by the trailer to think this is a laugh-a-thon with an easily-embraceable, uplifting message.

 Essentially, it establishes where it’s headed just by announcing the title, spends most of its time plodding along (like Brittany in her early runs) toward that eventual, inevitable climax, reveals its supposedly-sympathetic-subject as a basically-miserable (probably scared also)-bottle-of-vinegar, then turns her into that charming delight we always expected her to be in the whisk of a few brief final scenes.  In recognition of all that unpromoted-downer-time here, for my usual tactic of a wrap-up Musical Metaphor I’m going with Roy Orbison’s “Running Scared” (a #1 hit in 1961, on his 1962 Crying album) at (1982 Austin City Limits performance with the odd twist of his encore being to come back on stage to finish this song) where a guy in a relationship with a woman is fearful she’ll return to a former lover (“Just runnin’ scared, feelin’ low […] Just runnin’ scared, afraid to lose”) which I compare to Brittany running in the streets trying in one way to improve herself but also running away from the frightened, insecure person she’s become, afraid that anything usefully-new about herself is all a fragile act easy to break by those more confident than she is, although it all comes together for her quickly at the end: “My heart was breaking, which one would it be You turned around and walked away with me.”  She found the courage to be a better person, but it comes about in an odd whirlwind-finish just like the quick resolution of this essentially-short-song (if not stretched longer through that encore-flourish).
SHORT TAKES (spoilers may also appear here—and the comments may not be all that short compared to the “featured” review above, but I truly do keep trying to be more concise)

       Before reading any further, I’ll ask you to refer to the plot spoilers warning far above.
 Occasionally, Two Guys in the Dark get requests from independent filmmakers to give our account of their work, which is something we aspire to do (we're honored to even be asked) as time and energy permit, which was the case last weekend when my glorious—but intestinally-troubled—wife, Nina, sent me off on my own to see Brittany … while she rested with some medications and a heating pad on her tummy; as I reported to her, I was pleased enough with what I saw, assumed she’d be as well, but honestly didn’t think she missed all that much beyond what she’d already seen in the trailer.  Her health-related-wrinkle also gave me time to respond to 2 requests for comments from a couple of filmmakers I’m glad were interested in Two Guys' opinions, so let’s get on to some alternative fare.  Again, as I noted in my comments on American Factory (Julia Reichert, Steven Bognar; review in our September 4, 2019 posting), I normally don’t pay attention to what you can only access through streaming because I’m trying to maintain enthusiasm for what can only be seen on the big screen, but when someone’s nice enough to ask me to look at their aspiring-to-be-better-recognized-work, I try my best to honor the requests.  Therefore, here we go.

                                        Coup de Cinema
      (Sean Parker, Austin Hillebrecht*2011)   Not Rated
                                  *(also screenwriters, producers)

Miles is a young guy whose life’s not working out very well on the employment or personal fronts, then he finds some hope by being hired as a production assistant at a local film studio known for its poor product largely because of low budgets and the egomaniacal director; Miles wants to improve the movie by reshooting scenes at night unbeknownst to his employers, but will his plan succeed?

Here’s the trailer:

 Miles Smith (Hillebrecht) is a young man down on his luck, needing a job (but rejected by all potential employers), getting little support from his video-store-employee/minimal-girlfriend, Caitlyn (Normi Summa), when he chances upon a DVD from Bourgeois Pictures, a local outfit known (at best) for low-budget, schlock movies.  With the combination of his lack of experience and their lack of competency, he’s hired as a production assistant for their new project, Marauders of the Doors of Doom (think of Indiana Jones tales, only with Harrison Ford’s fifth cousin in the lead, shot mostly in a local warehouse).  Soon, Miles finds just how low-budget this place is (company-old-timer Buster Owens [Dennis Fitzpatrick], goes into the restroom as the only spot with decent Wi-Fi reception [stealing the non-password-protected-account from the business next door]) as well as how tyrannical director Adrian Dreyfus (Corey Brunish) expects his word to be taken as law, no matter how useless his decisions may be.  (He could run for President!)  Out of a sense of loyalty to the cinematic arts, Miles takes it upon himself to steal a copy of the script, edit it furiously, convince the rest of the cast and crew (with encouragement from well-respected Buster, an admitted-rebel in his younger days) to slip back into the studio at night for reshooting most of the scenes, so with the help of browbeaten-editor Ren Fields (Tony Zilka)—a name that must be a goof on the traditional subservient character in the Dracula stories—they can collectively make a better movie, try to bring some long-needed-prestige to this woebegone outfit, a project they all willingly put their energy into, defying Dreyfus' demeaning-attitudes/remarks.  However, even as the clandestine-alternative goes forward, earning Miles the respect of his coworkers as a much-more-insightful-director, his private life further deteriorates as Caitlyn wanders away, taking up with Steve (Patrick Oury)—as it turns out, a guy Miles knew in high school, now another filmmaker-hopeful.  Then the secret shoot’s in trouble when Adrian finds out what’s going on, has the locks to the studio changed, but, somehow, a mysterious stranger has a copy of the new key so the revised-Marauders … goes on as intended, even as the last needed scenes are wrapped just prior to the movie's premiere screening.

 Director (of the film-within-a-film) Adrian thought he had the counter-Marauders … wiped out by cruelly erasing Miles’ files, but Ren had backups available.  At the showcase, Miles slips into the projection booth, ready to put his DVD into the machine when he’s confronted by Adrian, who demands—at gunpoint!—his original version be shown.  But, when it is there’s just visual chaos on screen (due to further subterfuge by Ren) so Dreyfus reluctantly agrees for Miles’ version to be shown (listing both of them as directors).  It’s a big hit with the audience (although newly-impressed-Caitlin still stays with Steve), leading to our final scene where Miles is working with his loyal collaborators—including Adrian—on their next project, which may veer into leather-lingerie-territory.⇐   Coup de Cinema’s available on Amazon Prime (technically, it's Prime Video Watch), free with that subscription (or cheap to rent or buy if not), so I’d say have a look at this pleasant—at times quite funny—look at how anything can be improved when integrity takes precedence over ego, even when someone like Caitlin can’t fully recognize the difference (Miles will likely have better prospects in the future anyway).  Sure, there are some technical problems here—mainly having to do with the background music track getting really hot sometimes when compared to the foreground dialogue, along with the cinematography in some scenes looking flat or overexposed*—however, for a movie made for about $15,000 we shouldn’t quibble too much about production matters because it’s a small miracle such a story ever got to the screen anyway (thanks to Amazon Prime for finally picking it up so that it can potentially reach a wide audience, which it deserves to do).  Given the scant budget for this movie it accomplishes a lot, with solid acting throughout, although the concept’s consistently light-hearted enough so the outcome’s easily-ordained at the beginning.

*Such visual problems may actually be in the eye—or, more specifically, the viewing equipment—of the beholder; I initially watched Coup … on my LG flatscreen TV in Game mode (which, after hours of experimentation, proved to offer the best lighting/hue renditions of their various viewing options), leading to my comments above about some shortcomings of Coup ...’s cinematography.  However, when I looked at those same scenes on my iMac desktop they looked considerably better; likewise, back on the LG in Cinema mode those “troublesome” scenes had better exposure/saturation although others that looked fine in Game mode were now a bit dark.  So, if you do choose to watch this movie, you might play around a bit with your viewing options because the result you see may vary from machine to machine, with the filmmakers not responsible for the final result (for me, the best visual compromise was the desktop computer but the most enjoyable viewing was on the living-room-big-screen-TV even if some shots didn’t look as well-rendered as they ideally might be).

 It has room for improvement overall (the situation for much of existence), yet even as is it’s mostly enjoyable.  (Since creating Coup … a few years ago [another reason to be accepting of it, as emerging-filmmakers usually continue to grow in their talents with further-gained-experience], the production company, Hapstance Films, has also made several comedy shorts you can see here or on YouTube if you like.)  Keeping my Short Takes somewhat short for a change, I’ll finish here with my Musical Metaphor (which you may consider a very odd choice, but please hear me out) of The Beatles’ “Hey Jude” (a big hit 1968 single, on the 1970 Hey Jude and 2000 1 albums) at https:// because Miles takes to heart the advice of “Take a sad song and make it better […] And anytime you feel the pain, hey, Jude, refrain Don’t carry the world upon your shoulders […] And don’t you know that it’s just you, hey Jude, you’ll do The movement you need is on your shoulder.”  Yeah, I know the song seems to be about a reluctant guy encouraged to pursue a woman he yearns for (although supposedly McCartney wrote it for young Julian Lennon to help perk him up some, upset Dad John was leaving Mom Cynthia for Yoko Ono, although that does make the “You have found her, now go and get her” line odd in such a child-based-context)“Remember to let her into your heart And then you can start to make it better,” so that’s also a little clumsy for Miles’ situation, but if you attach a female identity (“her”) to the Marauders … movie (OK, what little we see of it’s clearly more about the macho male hero, but we’re in the metaphorical zone here, so play along, damn it!), then it all comes together about as reasonably as Miles’ movie does (besides, a lot of guys I’ve known give female names to their cars [maybe those were the only “women” they're allowed to enter]; I even had a housemate once who referred to his refrigerator as “she,” so maybe my metaphor’s not as farfetched as it might initially seem to be).  But, even if not, maybe you can just lose yourself in singing along with one of the longest-running-radio-hits of all time, both in length (7:11) and on the charts (19 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 [9 of them at #1] as well as 1968 best-selling-single in Australia, Canada, UK, US).
             The Flying Fish (Murat Sayginer)   Not Rated

This is a fascinating animated short, comprised of previous even-shorter works, currently making the rounds of festivals, but you can see the trailer (just below) and the individual pieces of it (link also just below); the visuals are astonishing, evocative of a great many themes of life/afterlife, an immense pleasure to watch in its sublime flow.

Here’s the trailer:      

(If this link doesn't connect—although it should—either cut & paste it to a Web browser or go to the second link just below for the trailer [you may have to cut & paste there too].  Sorry, but my computer literacy's quite limited with this Blogspot software when I can't get videos from YouTube.)
 You can also access the official website of Sayginer (born in Prague, childhood in Paris, university work and current residence in Turkey; writer, producer, director of this film, composed the music in collaboration with Jochen Mader, Onur Tarcin), where if you click around within the Motion section at* you’ll find options to look at 15 other short films of his (many of which are incorporated into The Flying Fish, which runs about 21 min. 22 sec.; I was given the privilege of access to the full version, and I definitely encourage you to see it when it becomes available) along with the detailed inner-site about … Fish (other categories at this website lead you to still images of his along with other information about this talented artist and his work—including a long list of international awards) or you can just jump to flyingfish* for more about The Flying Fish (including a nice cluster of supportive comments) where you can also access the trailer from the middle image on that screen (be sure to enter the full-screen-option from the lower-right-corner of the trailer image for maximum effect of these visuals—that option’s already in place for any of the others in this Motion group you choose to view).  This is work that needs to be seen more than talked about—for me it’s a massive collection of stunning visuals, a sort of 21st-century Fantasia (from a host of Disney directors, 1940) of separate pieces coalescing into a satisfying gestalt, a magnificent collage of fascinating images, a triumph of imaginative animation without a specific linear narrative but rather thematic motifs evoking concepts of life, death, afterlife, consumerism, spirituality, blending ultimately into an evocation of a higher consciousness, a transition to new levels of awareness.  However, rather than trying to find parallels for these visuals with words I’ll just provide you with a few more representative images that convey a sense, as in the trailer, of what this awe-inspiring-flow of grandiose visual beauty is about.

*Again, if either of these links don't connect automatically from here [which they should] you can cut & paste them to a Web browser; this alternative-tactic worked for me as a possible back-up strategy, hope it does for you because the images and info contained are quite useful for exploring.

 Because I attempt to end each of my reviews, even this mini-one, with a Musical Metaphor I’ll do so here also using The Moody Blues' “The Word/Om” (from their 1968 album In Search of the Lost Chord) which also has spiritual intentions, illustrated in this case at watch?v=5-lGKnIbNbw with appropriately-meditative, psychedelic-like imagery (lyrics beneath the YouTube screen if you’re interested), but with nowhere close to the visual power of The Flying Fish.  I thank Murat Sayginer for making his work available to me (and the rest of us), encourage you to see the complete short film when it’s available in 2020 (after its run through the festival circuit), but in the meantime please avail yourself of the brilliant imagery found on Sayginer’s website for a transformational quieting of the distress so often visited upon us in our increasingly-troubled-world.
 In (very near, you lucky readers) conclusion for this posting, regarding the brief comments way above about my wife, Nina, being sick lately, indications are she’s slowly getting better, but to help cheer her up here’s a final clip just for her from Picnic (Joshua Logan, 1955), a sentimental favorite of hers (that we usually watch every Labor Day, given it’s the 24-hr.-cycle-setting of this story) with her must-see-scene being this "Moonglow" dance between Hal (William Holden) and older-sister Madge (Kim Novak) rather than his nominal “date,” younger-sister Millie (Susan Strasberg), where their mutual lust practically oozes out even though they just met that very morning.  I hope you enjoy seeing this again, my Sweetie, just as I hope you're fully recovered whenever you discover it. 
Related Links Which You Might Find Interesting:
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Here’s more information about Brittany Runs a Marathon: (but there’s really nothing here) (5:18 interview with actor Jillian Bell)

Here’s more information about Coup de Cinema:

Here’s more information about The Flying Fish:

Please note that to Post a Comment below about our reviews you need to have either a Google account (which you can easily get at if you need to sign up) or other sign-in identification from the pull-down menu below before you preview or post.  You can also leave comments at our Facebook page, although you may have to somehow connect with us at that site in order to do it (most FB procedures are still a bit of a mystery to us old farts).

If you’d rather contact Ken directly rather than leaving a comment here please use my email address of if you truly have too much time on your hands you might want to explore some even-longer-and-more-obtuse-than-my-film-reviews—if that even seems possible—academic articles about various cinematic topics at my website,, which could really give you something to talk to me about.)

If we did talk, though, you’d easily see how my early-70s-age informs my references, Musical Metaphors, etc. in these reviews because I’m clearly a guy of the later 20th century, not so much the contemporary world.  I’ve come to accept my ongoing situation, though, realizing we all (if fate allows) keep getting older, we just have to embrace it, as Joni Mitchell did so well in "The Circle Game," offering sage advice even when she was quite young herself.

By the way, if you’re ever at The Hotel California knock on my door—but you know what the check out policy is so be prepared to stay for awhile. Ken

P.S.  Just to show that I haven’t fully flushed Texas out of my system here’s an alternative destination for you, Home in a Texas Bar, with Gary P. Nunn and Jerry Jeff Walker.  But wherever the rest of my body may be my heart’s always with my longtime-companion, lover, and wife, Nina Kindblad, so here’s our favorite shared song—Neil Young’s "Harvest Moon"
—from the performance we saw at the Desert Trip concerts in Indio, CA on October 15, 2016 (as a full moon was rising over the stadium) because “I’m still in love with you,” my dearest, a never-changing-reality even as the moon waxes and wanes over the months/years to come.
Finally, for the data-oriented among you, Google stats say over the past month (which they seem to measure from right now back 30 days) the total unique hits at this site were 29,829 (as always, we thank all of you for your support with our hopes you’ll continue to be regular readers); below is a snapshot of where and by what means those responses have come from within the previous week:

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