Thursday, October 31, 2019


“Oh, what a tangled web we weave 
When first we practice to deceive!”
(From Walter Scott’s Marmion poem, Canto VI, stanza XVII [1808])
Review 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.

                               Parasite (Bong Joon-ho)   rated R

“Executive Summary” (no spoilers): There are some straightforward aspects to this most intriguing, major-award-worthy film but also some complications that can’t be fully noted in a no spoilers summary.  Basically, it’s about a very poor South Korean family of 4 (the Kims) living in a Seoul slum, barely scraping by (even stealing Wi-Fi reception from neighbors), when the young adult son gets a chance to replace his college friend who’s tutoring English to a rich teenage girl (from the Park family).  Once the son’s in place (with some phony credentials, but Mrs. Park’s quite naïve about a lot of things), he carefully gets his slightly-younger sister hired (but under a different name, no acknowledgement of their relation) as an art tutor/therapist (with no training) for the Parks’ very young son, with further devious tactics used to get the Kim parents on the payroll as well, now serving as chauffeur and housekeeper (after deviously pushing out the former jobholders).  One night as the Kims are celebrating their good fortune by helping themselves to the Parks’ food and whisky while the rich family’s away on a camping trip, the displaced housekeeper arrives, begging to be let in to retrieve something she left behind in the basement; what’s down there, though, is her husband in a secret bunker where he’s been hiding for years to escape some deadly loan sharks.  Conflicts quickly emerge between these 2 servant-level families, with the Kims tying up, locking up the others when they learn the Parks will soon be home after all due to the heavy rain ruining their outdoors intentions.  Even though 3 of the Kims ultimately escape from the Parks’ home, returning to their slum to find it flooded, more (deadly) difficulties arise for all these characters the next day in the midst of what’s supposed to be a suddenly-sunny birthday party for the Parks' little boy.  What happens next definitely pushes us into spoiler territory so you might want to hold off on reading everything in my full review below, yet this magnificent film (winner of the Cannes Film Festival’s Palm d’Or, surely an Oscar contender) is currently playing in only a very limited number of domestic theaters so if your curiosity consumes you go ahead and read all I’ve presented because even if you know what’s coming in this complex plot the execution of it is so well done you’ll likely still enjoy it when it’s later available in some form of video.  No matter how you locate it, though, see Parasite because it’s clearly one of the best 2019 releases on any topic from any country on our vast globe.

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: In a slum neighborhood of Seoul, South Korea the Kim family (father Kim Ki-taek [Song Kang-ho], mother Kim Chung-sook [Jang Hye-jin], young adults son Kim Ki-woo [Choi Woo-sik], daughter Kim Ki-jung [Park So-dam]), live in a crude, semi-underground apartment, barely getting by as none have steady jobs (currently they make a little cash by folding boxes for a nearby pizza store, but even then their work’s shoddy so they don’t get full payment), Dad tells them to keep the windows open when fumigation services spray the streets in order to kill the stink bugs they share occupation with, and there’s a local guy who keeps urinating in the street right outside their window (until Ki-woo throws a bucket of water on him).  Then, a financial opportunity arises when Ki-woo’s friend, Min-hyuk (Park Seo-joon)—a college student—encourages his buddy (also old enough to be in college but isn’t, maybe due to lack of financial resources) to take over his job as an English tutor to the daughter of a rich family, Park Da-hye (Jung Ji-so) while he’s traveling abroad although he intends to get romantic with her when she’s old enough to go on to higher education in a couple of years.  With the help of his artistically-talented-younger-sister (although she’s surly when asked why she’s not in art school yet) Ki-woo presents a fake transcript to naïve Mrs. Park Yeon-kyo (Jo Yeo-jeong) who hires him easily on Min-hyuk’s recommendation, is impressed with how easily he gets along with her daughter as he encourages her to take better command of her future (once hired, he takes command of her, quickly commandeering the same intentions voiced by his friend).  For some reason, Mrs. Park decides to call him “Kevin,” then shares with him her concerns for her very young son, Park Da-song (Jung Hyun-jun), who acts out a lot but also shows some artistic talent (in a Picasso-ish manner, at best).  Kevin recommends an art tutor/art therapist who’s actually his sister, now known to the Park family as “Jessica,” who knows nothing about the career she’s supposedly an expert in although she does connect well with little Da-song in a strictly-controlling-manner.  Jessica then continues this integration of the Kims into the lavish Park household (Mr. Park Dong-ik [Lee Sun-kyun] is a successful IT guy; their huge home and grounds were designed/once lived in by a famous architect) by leaving her underwear in the back of the swanky family car when the driver’s giving her a ride to a train station so insidious implications can be brought against him, resulting in his firing, replaced by Dad Kim supposedly Jessica’s uncle’s former driver.  Mr. Park takes well to Ki-taek, although he makes clear servants of his family must never “cross the line” of improper behavior.  Working as a team, the Kims also push out long-term-housekeeper Gook Moon-gwang (Lee Jeong-eun)—who came with the swanky house when the architect sold it—by subtly exposing her to peaches (a strong allergy for her), then framing her as having TB so she’s replaced by Mom Kim, with this family now more financially secure than ever.

 When the Parks go off on a camping trip, the Kims raid the pantry and the booze, having a high old time (especially Ki-jung who keeps swilling expensive whiskey straight from the bottle) until Moon-gwang suddenly rings in during a rainstorm, asking to be admitted so she can retrieve something she left in the basement.  While the rest of the Kims hide, Chung-sook lets the former housekeeper in, then is shocked to find her trying to move a large display case in the basement.  Mrs. Kim helps get this device out of the way, with a hidden door now exposed; Moon-gwang runs down into the secret dwelling place to give food to her husband, Gook Geun-se (Park Myeong-hoon), who’s been hidden down there for 4 years as she snuck him into the architect’s safe space during the home-ownership-transition because his previous business had failed, vicious loan sharks were looking to do him great harm.  At this point, he’d only been alone down there for a few days (he used to sneak up at night once in awhile, using a hand crank behind the door to move the display case, getting a bit of unnoticed food until one night he was seen by Da-song; the kid, terrified he’d seen a ghost, had to be rushed to a hospital before the physical stress on his little body would have killed him) after Moon-gwang was dismissed, so she now wants “Sis” Chung-sook to help look after him.  Mrs. Kim refuses, starts to call the police just as her curious family tumbles down the subbasement stairs, saying a few things revealing to Moon-gwang they’re actually all related (which she quickly records on her cell phone), then they’re held hostage with Moon-gwang threatening to send the video to Madame Park unless they cooperate with her (there’s an hilarious scene of Moon-gwang comparing the Send button on her phone to a North Korean missile launch as if she’s a Kim Jong-un newscaster toadie), but in an ensuing scuffle the Kims grab her phone, erase the video.  Of course, at this point the Parks call Chung-sook (who now lives there, as a housekeeper would) to say the rain’s cancelled their camping trip, they’ll be home soon.  The Kims gag Geun-se, tie him with duct tape to a pipe in the subbasement, but as Moon-gwang tries to escape Chung-sook kicks her back down the long flight of stairs where she lands hard, has a bleeding concussion, ultimately dies.  Then, in a tense but ultimately funny series of scenes all of her family but Mrs. Kim hide under large coffee tables in the living room while the Park parents sleep (as well as fondle each other for awhile) on the couches so they can watch Da-song, out in the rain in his teepee (he has a fetish for American Indians); ultimately, the other 3 Kims (except Chung-sook) slip out but when they get home the rains flood their neighborhood forcing them into public shelter until the next day when the Park parents separately invite them all by cell phone to a big impromptu birthday party for Da-song.

 The Kims attend, but, after some passionate necking with hot-to-trot Da-hye, Ki-woo takes a heavy ceremonial stone (given to his family by Min-hyuk from his grandfather’s home, supposedly to bring his friends some needed financial luck), that he saved from their waterlogged flat down to the subbasement, apparently to finish off Moon-gwang and her husband.  He’s shocked to find her already dead at the bottom of the stairs, then he’s attacked by Geun-se who somehow escaped from his bonds.  Ki-woo almost escapes as well into the regular basement but is subdued by Geun-se who bashes him with the large stone (killing him as best I could tell), then this angry recluse grabs a kitchen knife, wanders into the backyard party, fatally stabs Ki-jung.  In the midst of all this mayhem, Da-song, again seeing his “ghost,” has another seizure so Mr. Park’s frantic to get the car keys from Ki-taek because Dad has only 15 minutes to rush his son to the nearby hospital for treatment before he’ll die.  Ki-taek tosses the keys, but they land under the struggling Chung-sook and Geun-se, with the now-liberated-recluse dying from a fatal stabbing from her meat-filled-skewer.  Mr. Park pulls the man’s body off the keys, recoils from the “poor man’s smell” (Da-song previously noted this odor on all of the Kims, with his father saying this is residue from underclass people who ride on the subway), which sparks Ki-taek to stab, kill Mr. Park, then run away from all this insanity (we never know what happens with Da-song, but his situation’s not too hopeful within this crazy trauma).  In concluding scenes we see Ki-woo didn’t die after all, just suffered brain damage, needed surgery; then he and his mother stood trial for their various crimes but were released on probation.  Even though the remaining Park family has moved from their home, Ki-woo periodically goes to look onto it from a secluded hillside where one day he sees what he recognizes (from Geun-se’s explanations) Morse Code signals from some of the hallway lights controlled by buttons in the subbasement, telling him this is a message from his father, explaining how he’s now hidden in this secret bunker, stealing food from the kitchen of the German family who bought the place, waiting for release somehow.  In what at first seems to be a recap of the future, we see Ki-woo dedicating himself to making money, eventually buying this expensive house, allowing this father to come out of hiding, although it’s all projection into the intended-future in a long letter Ki-woo’s written to Dad, with the implication he’ll somehow inform Ki-taek of these long-term-plans.⇐

So What? This was yet another one of those weeks where there were many other activities cutting into my first-run-screening time (including a very-intentionally-disturbing-play about race relations at the Berkeley Rep, White Noise [by Pulitzer Prize for Drama winner {Top Dog/Underdog, 2002} Suzan-Lori Parks, her latest one a big winner of the 2019 Obie award for playwriting], a disturbing-in-its-own-way season debut of my NBA Golden State Warriors basketballers [now at 1-3, still trying to figure out what those hoops are for, but superstar Steph Curry broke his left hand tonight so there's slim hope for the near future; maybe I should shift my interest to football where the San Francisco 49ers are an amazing 7-0—nah, I overdosed on football living in Texas all those years so I'll leave that sport to anyone who adores it], and the ongoing drama of the World Series [where I’m glad to see the never-having-won-it-Washington Nationals triumph 4 games to 3 {a previous version of that franchise won once in 1924} by overcoming the terrifically-talented-Houston Astros]) so, once again, just 1 review, but at least it’s of a terrific option for those few of you nationwide who may get a chance to see Parasite on the big screen before you have to search for it on video.  In my previous posting with my review of Pain and Glory (Pedro Almodóvar) I was noting how Antonio Banderas seems a solid contender for Oscar’s Best Actor category come next spring, with that film an even better contender for Best International Feature Film (apparently the new name for the Best Foreign Language Film category).  Well, now that I’ve seen Parasite, I don’t think they’ll be any Oscar-acting-noms here (even though the entire cast is terrific) but this entry from South Korea in the International category is almost guaranteed to be a contender, if not the runaway winner (much as I still respect Pain and Glory, wouldn’t howl at all if it should surprise me by taking the trophy), called by many as the best film of the year from anywhere (at least so far).  I’m a bit hesitant to go that far myself because that means it would have to be notably better than the other 26 2019 releases I’ve given 4 stars by now, but I’m not opposed to making some decision along the lines of “first among equals” (like how the Orthodox and Anglican Churches justify the precedence of a specific patriarch or archbishop over the other leaders of their huge congregations even though all of them are priests supposedly equal in their service to God) as I often have to do any year for a Top 10 list when I don’t find myself in the luxurious situation of seeing a true 4½- or 5-stars triumph (could still happen in 2019 because we’re a long way from Dec. 31), as I’ve been lucky enough to do most years since Pat (Remember him?  He's still out there somewhere.  Hi, Pat!) and I began this blog in late 2011 (see our Summary of Reviews—a regular component of these postings’ Related Links section far below—for the limited list of those rare higher-achievers).

 Director Bong (like the Chinese, Koreans put their name order with surname first, so when I refer to this filmmaker or his cast I’m actually being more formal than casual, given our assumptions of name order in Western societies) in the interview below in Related Links acknowledges Alfred Hitchcock as a mentor which certainly is well demonstrated regarding how Parasite evokes tactics of the “master of suspense” as the assumed plot lines take a backseat to unexpected twists, making our experience of the events onscreen all the more satisfying in retrospect no matter how much we might be surprised (disturbed?) by them as they unfold.  Certainly, we expect things to go awry for the Kim family when their raided-larder-and-liquor-feast is (we assume from the beginning) interrupted by the sudden return of the Park family from their abandoned camping trip, but we (or at least I) had no clue about the earlier interruption happening that night from Moon-gwang, let alone the further shock of her sequestered husband in the hidden subbasement⇒Further unexpected events also catch us off-guard (as did Hitchcock so successfully throughout his long career), especially the escape of Geun-se during the birthday party, although his attack on a member of the Kim family is a foregone (if grotesque) action, given their responsibility for the death of his wife, although we get a further surprise later on when we find Ki-woo’s still alive because he looked to be hopelessly put away by the rock assault on his skull along with the large pool of blood around his head.  Successful, suspenseful surprises aside, though, we might well question some of the coherence of Bong’s later shocks as it seems almost impossible Geun-se could have extricated himself from the large amount of duct tape around his upper body holding him to a pipe, just as the Morse Code message spelled out by the houselights from Ki-taek to Ki-woo would likely not have been as long as the voiceover-explanation-scene recounting this message by the elder Kim (very helpful to us, though) given the code’s dots and dashes transcribe single letters, not words, so it would take an enormous number of light flashes to convey all that information; similarly, Ki-woo’s letter back to Dad about his ambitious plans to rescue him, reunite the remaining family, would be uplifting to the clandestine father, but how in the world would the son be able to deliver it to him?⇐

 All of these possibly-problematic-examples of plot questions I’ve cited are aspects of what’s still a very satisfying exposition on screen, even as they might potentially undermine the validity of what we’re supposed to accept if we probe this narrative too deeply, giving me hesitant-reason to not ultimately follow up on my initial consideration of a 4½-stars rating for this film (with that choice not fully resolved in my mind, but at some point a decision must be made), yet even with Hitchcock are we supposed to believe everything we see, against our rational hesitations, especially when we’re proved right at the end?  In Vertigo (1958)—still not better than Citizen Kane (Orson Welles, 1941) for me, no matter what the 2012 Sight and Sound poll shows (their rankings done once a decade)—are we really expected to think Madeleine and Judy (Kim Novak as both) aren’t the same person even though it takes Scottie (James Stewart) most of the film to realize that?  In Psycho (1960) are we really supposed to think Mother Bates is some sort of homicidal zombie until “she’s” revealed as son Norman (Anthony Perkins) in drag taking on his dead mother’s persona as he murders in her name?*  Probably not, as we reflect on what we’ve seen in these Hitchcock favorites, but their plot-ambiguity at the time helped make these stories the successes they are, just as Bong’s fast-and-loose-twists enhance his structure, although further pondering just gets us into logical trouble.  I guess I'm like a baseball umpire giving leniency to a pitcher or a batter regarding the strike zone based on the player's established reputation: with Hitchcock I defer to the weight (so to speak) of his total accomplishments; with Bong, I'm being a bit more picky (at least I'll admit my subjectivity).

*Are you going to hassle me for plot spoilers about classic films (easily 5 stars for all 3 mentioned in the above paragraph—but with … Kane as another excellent example of “first among equals”)?  Good question:  At what point do spoilers lose their stigma as they pass into common knowledge?

Bottom Line Final Comments: Whatever trouble Bong’s story (screenplay co-written by him and Han Jin-won) might conjure up in a close analysis of its particulars, it’s a marvelous mix of comedy, drama, social commentary (it’s atrocious the Kim family has to live like they do, largely through the misfortune of fate rather than a great lack of skills on their parts, so it’s understandable they take whatever they can somehow find for sustenance in a highly-competitive-society, just as Moon-gwang desperately tries to protect her husband from homicidal thugs just because his business hit the rocks in that [just like the U.S.] dog-eat-dog-world; however, the Parks aren’t bad people despite their wealth, just enjoying the perks Mr. Park’s earned through tech-success [also just like the U.S.], mostly acting generously to their new employees [although Mr. Park occasionally shows his obnoxious side, especially right at the end], finding themselves completely dumbfounded by the actions of the Kim and Gook families), and narrative surprises easily keeping us intrigued throughout its well-structured 132 min. (flying by easily).  The CCAL’s hugely-supportive, both Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic offer the highest ratings of the year so far for anything both they and I have explored; RT’s 99% positive reviews are as close to perfect as you can get (they also had that result for The Farewell [Lulu Wang; review in our August 8, 2019 posting], while this is clearly the highest average MC score—95%—I’ve seen all year [more details on both review sites in the Related Links section]).  The sad reality is, though, despite such accolades, this film’s not easy to find; it’s been out for 3 weeks but playing in only 129 domestic (U.S.-Canada) theaters, generating a mere $4.1 million (global total of $93.3 million), so it’s been left behind in the ticket-sales-dust by the heavyweights still battling for the weekly domestic crown, with Disney’s Maleficent: Mistress of Evil (Joachim Rønning) in its second week now at in $66.2 million (worldwide total $295.6 million) again edging out WB/DC’s Joker (Todd Phillips; review in our October 9, 2019 posting) for the second time even as the latter’s now at $277.9 million domestically, $852 million worldwide.  Except for Joaquin Phoenix in probable Best Actor competition for an Oscar, though, I wouldn’t expect either of these big-money-earners to be much in the running for the top prizes next spring (maybe Joker in various technical categories), whereas Parasite (an ambiguous-reference-title, depending on your point of view as to whom/what this might refer to in the film) has already taken the prestigious 2019 Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival (first South Korean entry to do so, first with a unanimous vote since Blue Is the Warmest Color [Abdellatif Kechiche, 2013; review in our November 21, 2013 posting—with the usual lousy layout for my earlier reviews]), will likely score a good many more wins as awards season continues on through the rest of this year, well into 2020.

 Well, after all those accolades what is there left for me to do but bring this to closure with my choice of a Musical Metaphor to put it all in perspective?  Given the complexities of the various plot elements at work here I couldn’t easily decide what song would best serve the intriguing, probing, unsettling aspects of this excellent film (again, no problem with me easily considering it as one of 2019’s best, but I do need to see some other seemingly-solid-ones over the next couple of months before getting too definite about such things as Top 10 considerations); however, I finally gravitated once again toward Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car” (from her 1988 Tracy Chapman album) at https:// (a 1988 performance at my nearby-on-the-BART-train-Oakland Arena [previously known as Oracle Arena until the Warriors moved out, heading across the SF Bay to their fabulously-expensive Chase Center, where you practically have to mortgage your home to buy a seat; they’d better start winning more if they expect people to pay those rates] rather than her official music video just because of my local connections; why I didn’t attend that concert—having already been a fan of her music—I can’t recall at this point, so I enjoy seeing this small part of it now, although I did sort of see her in person once, sitting right behind her at a showing of the late Marlon Riggs’ documentary about the complexities of African-American identity, Black Is … Black Ain’t [Marlon died in 1994 from AIDS; the film was finished by his associates, released in 1995], but as much as I wanted to say even a little something to her about how much I admired her artistry I knew she was there just as an audience member—like me—so I didn’t think it was appropriate to intrude on her that night).  Yes, the song’s originally about a hardluck-couple with dreams of leaving shelter living and previous obligations behind, motoring off to a new location, getting a fresh start, making enough cash (limited as it might be) to find a new outlook on life; yet, in my consideration of it, I can see it as a collective dream or recrimination by the Kim family toward each other as well as their lives in general about rising above their “poor man’s smell” to finally “be someone, be someone, be someone.”  The “fast car” could be their mutual intrusions into the Park family because they “want a ticket to anywhere Maybe we can make a deal Maybe together we can get somewhere Any place is better Starting from zero got nothing to lose […] Leave tonight or live and die this way.”  Some death does come when the Kims “go cruising to entertain ourselves,” but maybe salvation will find the survivors in their future if Ki-woo’s optimistic plans ever find realization.

  One final note I’d like to leave you with this week is recognition of all the people in my extended area of northern California—from roughly Oakland north into the Wine Country (along with the folks around L.A. who’re having their own climate/weather/disaster-related problems) as we continue to struggle with horrible wildfires burning thousands of acres, causing much death and property destruction, power shutoffs for millions in attempts to prevent additional fires from sparking transformers or trees falling onto powerlines, lots of tension even for those of us like me not directly impacted by any of this yet (although the power outages have just barely missed my neighborhood so far).*  People have had their lives uprooted (not just this year but for a few in recent times by these furious blazes driven by the powerful Diablo Winds in the north, Santa Ana Winds in the south), their livelihoods destroyed, their futures compromised (fires are even bearing down now on neighborhoods trying to rebuild from previous recent infernos) with thousands more burdened with power blackouts resulting in spoiled food, non-functioning water systems, closed stores and gas stations, uncertainty about when the next windstorm will come blowing in, starting the whole cycle all over again.  I offer my condolences to anyone directly hurt by these tragedies, my praise to all the first-responders who’ve bravely battled the horrendous flames, the civic leaders who’ve done all they can to protect their threatened communities.  In minor tribute (as I have so little else to offer except donations to charities trying to help the dispossessed) to all these suffering souls, I’ll close with one more Musical Metaphor dedicated to all those impacted by these calamities, “Homeless” (from Paul Simon’s fabulous 1986 Graceland album [which indirectly helped me and my now-wife, Nina, to meet in early 1987; long story for another time]) at x__kcVB1DxU as sung by Simon and the magnificent vocal talents of Ladysmith Black Mambazo.  This tune is more about a different type of environmental tragedy (“Strong winds destroy our home Many dead, tonight it could be you […] Somebody cry ‘Why, why, why?’") incorporating Zulu (from Joseph Shabalala) and English (from Simon) lyrics which deal overtly with another sort of group tragedy although they also offer hope (which I wish for my troubled neighbors) as Shabalala says the phrase “we are homeless” can also refer to words a Zulu man uses in proposing to his future bride, implying the shift of a newly-connected-couple into their own lives beyond their familial past just as any displaced Californians must now choose to move to/build new homes, by starting again.

*Here’s one option of a report on this situation as I go to “press” late tonight; you can just search the Internet for “2019 California wildfires” if you want to explore further accounts of these horrors.
Related Links Which You Might Find Interesting:
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*A Google software glitch causes every Two Guys posting prior to August 26, 2016 to have an inaccurate (dead) link to this Summary page; from then forward, though, this link is accurate.

Here’s more information about Parasite: (28:33 interview with director Bong Joon-ho and actors Song Kang-ho, Lee Sun-kyun, Cho Yeo-jeong, Choi Woo-shik, Park So-dam, Chang Hyae-jin [actor Lee Jung-eun’s listed in the video info but she's not actually on this panel; this is quite a multilingual experience in that the questions are translated to the panel at times from French to Korean with the answers given in Korean translated simultaneously to us in English so pay attention—I tried to activate the closed captions but they’re in Korean too so unless you already speak/read this language I doubt this will help too much; I’ll also note there are a few spellings of actors’ names a bit different here than in my text because I’ve just taken these spellings here from the link site whereas my text spellings are from IMDb’s listings because they better match other citations I’ve found in reviews, which I can’t corroborate from much of anything else, including the very limited official website noted just above]) and HI (5:13 interview exploring how this film came about, what Bong's expectations are with his work)

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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.
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