Film Death Tournament!

Forgive me if this is morbid, but if you click on the image below you will be brought to a set of brackets that you can fill in to determine which of  32 famous film deaths are the greatest in your mind. Mine came down to Vizzini’s death (Wallace Shawn) in The Princess Bride and the shower scene in Psycho. I picked Psycho. What did you get??

Film Deaths

Or copy and paste –>



It’s time for a story

Yes. It’s time. A story about an adventure. It all starts with a young boy named Luke who loved a great adventure. Early in his his life he developed a passion for something that involves risk, adrenaline, and an adventurous spirit. Drag racing. He dreamed of one day becoming a professional race-car driver. What could be better than doing what you love to do and get paid for it? Though he was more than determined to make this dream a reality, something unexpected happened just after his high school graduation that changed things. Luke had gotten involved with drag racing in an underground circuit and he looked forward to every race he could possibly watch or race himself. But in one of those races he got into an accident. A bad one. Another driver hit him and his car flipped, nearly killing him. Now as scary and horrifying as close calls like this are (and most of us have had at least one in our lives), one good thing we can say about them is that they can change our perspective on life and clarify for us what really is important. And this is what happened to Luke. His life changed and so did his passion. He now saw drag racing as something that involved risk, adrenaline, adventure and danger–a danger that was just too life-threatening to Luke. He lost that dream and decided to search for something else.

If you can’t drag race, make a movie with drag racing in it (i.e. American Graffiti, 1973)

So Luke decided the best next step was to go to college. He studied many subjects, but one of them grabbed his attention more than the others. It was a film making class. He started out filming drag races and just couldn’t get enough of using his camera to capture events and tell stories. So he transferred to another college that specialized in cinematic arts and there he made friends with a classmate named Steve. He and Steve shared a great deal when it came to movies. They loved them, of course, but they also both loved to be creative with film, to explore and experiment with it.

Luke did so well in his studies that he landed a sweet scholarship from Warner Bros. It involved an internship where he was to choose a movie that was in the making, spend time with the director, and observe the movie being made (thereby learning the skills of the trade). The movie he chose was being directed by none other than Francis Ford Coppola. Luke didn’t know that just four years later Coppola would write and direct one of the greatest movies of all time, The Godfather.

As you can imagine, Luke learned a lot watching that movie being made. He made his first movie, which was an extension of one he’d made in cinema school. It didn’t go over very well. But the next one he made did well enough to be nominated in five different categories at the Academy Awards in 1973. Luke, a big fan of storytelling, decided it was the right time to tell a fantastic story that he was hoping to tell through the medium of film. It would be a space story patterned after one of his favourites, Flash Gordon. He decided to call one of the main characters Luke, after himself. You probably figured out by now that Luke was just his nick-name growing up. His first name was actually George and his nickname was short for his last name, Lucas.

Getting funding for his new movie was difficult. but Luke was determined. He made his movie and had a lot of fun doing it. But on the weekend that it was to open in theatres, Luke was far from the scene. Every time he made a new movie he preferred to make himself scarce on opening night to avoid the attention, and perhaps even more so, the criticism. He traveled to Hawaii and spent the weekend there. Lo and behold Luke’s movie was a huge success. Star Wars would become the highest grossing movie that summer. It even became the highest grossing film of all time!

While in Hawaii, Luke relaxed with an old friend of his: Steve. Steve, too liked to make movies. And like Luke he was a master at it. While in Hawaii missing all the Star Wars hooplah Luke and Steve started talking about movies. Luke shared how he enjoyed 1930’s action film serials. It was there in Hawaii waiting for Star Wars hype to calm down that the two of them came up with the idea of making a movie called Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Luke called the main character “Indiana” after his dog and had originally wanted the last name to be “Smith,” but Steve didn’t like it. Seeing as Luke wanted his character to be seen as a regular everyday sort of guy and wanted his name to reflect that, he decided to choose the next obvious choice when “Smith” is taken out of the mix: Jones.

Though his friend Steve enjoyed the adventure of making this film as much as Luke did, he saw it as a B movie in the making, having no idea how great the end product would really be. In fact, in 2008 Empire Magazine made a list of the greatest movies of all time and there on this list was Luke and Steve’s snake infested, face-melting movie. It made it all the way to #2, being beat out only by Luke’s internship mentor, Francis Ford Coppola: The Godfather.

It’s hard not to be inspired by George “Luke” Lucas and his audacity to try and make a living doing what he loves. He found something that involved risk, adrenaline and adventure. And I can’t be grateful enough to him for creating such a great character and story as Indiana Jones and Raiders of the Lost Ark. I may hate snakes like Indiana does, but I love this movie.

Congratulations Raiders of the Lost Ark. This is your week.

And the Oscar goes to…

Best Actress: Lorraine Bracco in Goodfellas.

Best Actor: Al Pacino in The Godfather Part II.

Best Quote: Tie: “You mean, let me understand this cause, ya know maybe it’s me, I’m a little bleeped up maybe, but I’m funny how, I mean funny like I’m a clown, I amuse you? I make you laugh, I’m here to bleepin’ amuse you? What do you mean funny, funny how? How am I funny? What, do you got me on a bleepin’ pay-no-mind list kid?” (Goodfellas) and “I know it was you Fredo. You broke my heart!” (The Godfather Part II)

By the way, it was during shooting breaks on the set of this movie that Steve began writing a new script with Melissa Matheson: ET, the Extra-Terrestrial, a movie I saw in the theatre with none other than James Carruthers, the man celebrating his birthday this week. Happy birthday bro.

For Reels, installment 1

For Reels

I used to have a segment called “FYMI” meaning “For your movie information.” It was kind of a lame name, so I picked one I liked better. It’s just a posting of interesting videos, quotes or facts of great movies and/or great actors, directors, etc. The following is an audition for Forrest Gump. It has Tom Hanks, Haley Joel Osment, Robin Wright, and the child actors who play the young versions of Forrest and Jenny. Click on Forrest (or the link underneath him) and enjoy.


Theme: James Carruthers; Week: Aug 22-28/14

My brother is the birthday boy this month: August 26. The following are movies from the top 250 that he described as movies he could watch over and over again, and I must say that I concur. Each of these I’ve seen more than once and look forward to the next time. How about you? Which should be Movie of the Week?Aug 22-28-14


1. The Godfather: Part II (1974, #3)

2. Goodfellas (1990, #17)

4. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981, #30)



The best worst word in our language today

There is a word that used to be highly offensive in the past but seems to have worked itself into the common vernacular of popular culture. It still offensive, but it’s getting close to becoming the next “sucks” —still kinda bad but we’ve learned to live with it. I am hesitant to write about it, but the word has become surprisingly informative for our own social welfare. The word is… ok wait… I’ll just say it once, get the uncomfortable squirmyness out of the way and then I have an idea. Ok, here goes nothing:


Some of you will not read any further after seeing this and let me just say I understand. There are words that turn me off too. I hate the words “penalize” and “slacks” for instance. I know they’re not offensive but I hate them all the same. So, I have an idea. I will simply type “deuce” in its place for the rest of this blog entry. If the word bothers you, then just pronounce it in your head the way I’m spelling it. For those of you who have developed a calloused heart from hanging out with the wrong crowd and playing too many video games: well, you know how to pronounce it.
CalvinWhen once-offensive words become commonplace we can sometimes get that “what-is-this-world-coming-to??” feeling. Knowing this, when I was living in the southern US I didn’t admit to people that I grew up saying “frig.” My Hungarian friend refrained from his colloquial use of “hell” when he was attending a Bible college in rural New Brunswick. I think we can all understand that different words are distasteful to some and not to others. But to change our own language and begin to accept a word that was once unacceptable is never easy. Even OMG doesn’t have to bother Christians as much as it does. God’s name is not “God.” The Old Testament law forbade people from using his name in vain, which was Jehovah or Yahweh. Today you could probably say either of those in vain around Christians and get away with it easier than you would by forgetting to drop the d and add the sh when expressing shock and surprise.

So back to deuce, deuciness and deucebaggary. Understanding what people mean in the use of this term is important. This isn’t just another nasty name to call someone you are upset with. There are plenty of those. No, a true deucy person is one who displays very specific characteristics that are highly repulsive to the general society. A deuce is someone who is full of himself, thoughtless and rude to others, infinitely tacky, and has little to no self-awareness. Deuces even have a dress code. The following quiz may be helpful:

1. Do you have a pair of penny loafers in your closet?

2. Would you ever consider draping your sweater on your back and tying the arms around your lower neck/upper chest?

3. Do you wear cologne or perfume that could possibly be considered “extra strength”?

4. Do you unbutton your shirt so that at least a hockey puck sized patch of hair (or shaved chest) is showing?

Exhibit A

5. Do you have a tattoo of a rebel flag, barbed wire or Chinese lettering?

6. Do you pop up the collar of your golf shirt?

7. Do you wear your Bluetooth earpiece when you’re not using it?

8. Do you wear sunglasses inside?

If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, you may be a deuce. But it’s not that shallow. Being a deuce is much more than
a dress code. It involves behaviour as well, of course. Here’s another deucy quiz:

1. Do you butt in line at the bank, customer service desk, or any line that involves a meal at the end?

2. Do you flex your muscle when taking a swig of Monster energy drink or Pepsi Max?

3. Is it your hope that Habitat for Humanity does NOT build a house in your neighbourhood because it would lower the resale value of your home?

4. Do you like to exclaim “Nice!” in a sarcastic tone? (Pronunciation possibly being close to “Noice”!)

5. Do you flash the peace sign and kiss the air when posing for a camera?

6. Do you park on—instead of between—the white lines in a parking lot (esp with a pick up truck)?

7. Do you wink when you’re kidding?

8. Do you take selfies?

If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, you may be a deuce.

When I was a preteen it was important to not be a nerd. When I was a high school graduate it was important to not be lame. Today the ultimate uncool thing to avoid is being a deuce. And as bad as that word may sound, this is good news for our society. Instead of it being socially unacceptable to be smart, imaginative and unique; instead of it being socially unacceptable to be awkward, out-of-place and weak; it’s socially unacceptable to be a self-serving, inconsiderate clown with an overinflated sense of self worth. It’s going past the level of jerk and it’s not because of being into science fiction, wearing braces, doing well in calculus or being awkwardly shy. It’s because of bad behaviour towards your fellow human being. Hey, I know a bad word when I hear one, but I can also appreciate a sentiment shared across social lines in our culture.

Congratulations The Green Mile. This is your week.

Steve Buschemi. Not a deuce.

And the Oscar goes to…

Best Actress: Bonnie Hunt as Jan Edgecomb in The Green Mile. She is always a very believable actress. She is also great in Jerry Maguire, Return to Me, Cheaper by the Dozen, etc. She also provides a lot of voice talent for movies like Monsters Inc and Cars.

Best Actor: No question here. One of my favourite actors of all time: Steve Buscemi. And I think his acting in Reservoir Dogs could be his best performance to date. It’s a pretty cool coincidence that he’s also in Monster’s Inc with Bonnie Hunt…

Best Quote: “I’ve just spent 120 quid on me hair. If you think I’m puttin’ a stockin over me head you’re very much mistaken.” – Gary in Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrells.

You may have guessed already, but this write up was inspired by the character Percy Wetmore played by Doug Hutchison in The Green Mile. If you are wondering what exactly a deuce is and this blog post didn’t help you, watch this movie and it will all become crystal clear.

Old Irish proverb: Never bolt your door with a boiled carrot, and never ever be a deuce.

R.I.P. Robin Williams

One of the hardest working and most beloved comedians of our time has left the world. I thought about mentioning some great memories from my childhood, teen years, and adult years that were made possible by Robin Williams and I can’t believe how many come to mind. There’s not a time period in my life that there wasn’t a show, movie, or stand up appearance that was seen, appreciated and remembered by me and millions of others around the world. My favourites are Good Will Hunting, Hook, Good Morning Vietnam, and Mork from Ork. I even had the Ork action figure (complete with egg spaceship) when I was a kid.

Well Robin, as you said to Captain Hook, “To die would be a grand adventure.”