Mind Games


Shared another sublime moment with the Momster on Christmas Day. I used to enjoy taking her out to dinner, but I can’t anymore because she’s become calamitously incontinent. Thankfully, she was serene and accepting  — not at all as agitated as she has been. I’m never quite sure how she thinks of us in our absence– as grownups, kids, babies, or what. I guess it fluctuates. I told my brother she thinks of him as a tiny baby, and he told me she thinks I stole her car and I’m out galavanting with some wild girl I picked up. I guess once you’re the black sheep the impression sticks. She barely remembers my name, but have a few wild years and it’s written in the Book of Momma forever. We’ve always been especially frank with one another, though, so I just cut through the shit, and flat out ask her how she pictures us when she dreams? After reminding her our sister, Priscilla, was killed in car accident thirty years ago, the severity of the dementia seems to sink in. I explain it’s the only reason she’s in the nursing home, because of the nasty tricks her mind plays — the insidious nature of Alzheimer’s. Otherwise she’s as healthy as a horse. She nodded and shook her head with an understated resignation, but then a mischievous smile crept across her face. “I’m having some great parties, though, Michael. In my dreams? You should see it, everyone’s there!”

Tarantino Self-Explained


For excellent insight into Tarantino’s methods, mind, and madness check out a gem of a movie called “Sleep with Me” where the iconoclastic (and then unknown) screenwriter delivers a hysterical soliloquy about the movie Top Gun being the “most subversive movie ever made”. While Tarantino is always wildly erratic and, perhaps, overly self-indulgent, I love his commitment to turn our most cherished myths, vanities, and genres on their face. Like Parker and Stone he gets away with the most outrageous liberties when others would be resoundingly rebuked. Regardless of his many flaws I’m always curious as to what he’s going to do next. Sleep with Me (1994) – http://lnkd.in/cSzMNM 

Mythmaking or Troublemaking: Zero Dark Thirty


From what I’ve seen it isn’t the filmmakers who’ve been spinning this as a “docudrama”, but the Media. I’ve seen it happen dozens of times — especially when there’s a trumped up “controversy” to exploit. They excoriated Rudy Langlis’s Hurricane for daring to revisit the Rubin Carter case, as they did Oliver Stone for his very personal and polemical slant on history, and now even Spielberg for daring to adhere to the “great man theory of history”, but then they freely give a pass to Tarantino’s fabulist revenge fantasies of Jews and Nazis. (With only some early push back on Django now brewing.) We seem to have permanently jumped the shark as a culture where we insist our national and religious myths be taught as historical events while demanding our traditional venues of “storytelling” be strict adherents to someone else’s idea of the “facts’ — with zero tolerance for creative license whatsoever. While ZDT declares itself to be based on actual “accounts”, it does not, nor have Mark and Kathryn ever declared it to be a documentary or a docudrama. As for the general moviegoing audience (and to some extent the professional media and politicians) they don’t seem to know the distinction anymore, and that’s extremely troubling.


“I am become death, the destroyer of worlds”
J. Robert Oppenheimer, Trinity 1945

Tell me who are You in such a fierce form? My salutations to You, O best of gods, be merciful! I wish to understand You, the primal Being, because I do not know Your mission.

Bhagavad Gita, chapter 11, verses 31-33


I’m watching the parade of cunning culprits now
wringing out the tired hobgoblins of “evil men and evil deeds”.

Here comes the “amen” choir of ministers, priests,
politicians, and popes with their archaic philters,
amulets, mantras. and talismans to ward off the dreaded “evil  eye”; the deep dark unknowable monster of our own backyard brewery.

I understand there is comfort and community here and I would
not disparage a one for taking temporary shelter. But what if the horror is neither mysterious nor evil?

What if the same ancient terror drives the assassin as the acolyte? HIM, the original figurehead of every crass religion known to man from cannibalism to the crucifix — the unconquerable, incomprehensible, machination and ministration of almighty King Death?

So we take a troubled twenty-year-old with a diseased heart, crippled mind, and a broken family wrestling every day with the retching convulsive inevitability of his own self-immolation, and the only companion to avail itself, as it has since the beginning of time is… to become DEATH himself.

To hold him in one’s trembling hand, invite him into the tribe, the nursery, to sacrifice the virgin, to slaughter the swaddling babe, to burn the pascal lamb, to ritualize, lionize, and humanize, or, perhaps, hang him in effigy around our necks, above our beds, and on the walls of our most holy sanctuaries — to transmogrify the cruel master of our pathetic fate into the dream god of eternity that cannot and will never speak our name.

What if the real reason we blame “evil” is because we cannot answer “why” without unveiling the face of He who has forged our most timeless terrors and still shapes our most sacred and deadly delusions?


Dressed to Kill

On the Left: Would you accept any form of censorship for extremely violent video games, TV shows, or movies if it saved one elementary school child’s life? On the Right, would you allow any regulation of gun possession that might save a 6 year old’s life? Maybe it’s time we all started looking at OUR culture and make the necessary compromises that will allow us ALL to coexist and let our children live without fear.

How is these young killers are such trained experts in the culture of mass murder?

How is these young killers are such trained experts in the culture of mass murder?

Why do these mass murderers all dress up and don the same gear and outfits if they aren’t mimicking something they’re intimately familiar with?  (This kid went to an elementary school dressed in black wearing a bullet-proof vest. )

How is it these killers have such a preternatural sense of how to “look” and use these killing machines with such expert precision, if they aren’t being modeled and trained by a video game or a movie? ( I would barely know where to point the gun let alone how to dress for the occasion. ) The first question the Aurora theater shooter asked the police when they took him in to custody was, “how’d the movie end?” So, definitely, while availability is a problem, we’re kidding ourselves if we’re not willing to look at other contributing factors as well. Former governor Mario Cuomo defined compromise as an agreement that will “hurt” both sides, so I’m saying if you’re demanding more gun control ( which I am) what are we willing to give up on our side? I’m as much of a fan of movie action and violence when it is called for, but the other night watching the grand finale of Boardwalk Empire I was disgusted by the gratuitous and over the top blood bath. It made no sense and only served to sound the death-knell on what was once a promising crime drama.

The Master part 2

Well, I don’t mind admitting I think The Master is one of the most important films of our time, and has set the bar for cinematic realism that is not likely to be equalled in the next fifty years. I realize that many of you will disagree, so I do have to confess I am extremely partial, and, probably, giddily gobsmacked in general, by the synthesis of screenwriting, filmmaking, storytelling, religion, psychology, mythology, and the evolution of human consciousness. So, for me, a film, and filmmaker, that undertakes to bring all these into confluence, conflict and resolution/revelation through a superlative cast of actors working at the top of their form is an achievement of unparalleled genius. I am brought to my knees by this film, and marvel that Anderson was able to realize it so completely. I am disappointed that it seems to be going over the head of most of our peers, but maybe that’s just how it has to be. I’ve often felt the only obligation a screenwriter/director has is to prove the “theme” of his film whether the audience gets it, likes it, or not. That The Master accomplishes this, is without question, perhaps in time it will be more widely seen and accepted accordingly.