Movie Review from Memory: Marathon Man

Prompt: Marathon

marathon-man-dustin

Without consulting IMDB, I will now attempt to review the classic thriller, Marathon Man, starring Dustin Hoffman and released, I think, in the 1970s, which many call the Golden Age of Hollywood movies. Think The Godfather, A Clockwork Orange, Chinatown, American Graffiti, The Sting, Blazing Saddles, M*A*S*H*, Straw Dogs, Klute, Apocalypse Now, Star Wars, Jaws, Taxi Driver, Network, Annie Hall, The French Connection, Blazing Saddles, Rocky Horror Picture Show, The Exorcist, Saturday Night Fever, and so many more. (Whatever happened to good, original movies? A question for another time.)

All most people can remember about the film Marathon Man is the torture scene, where Dustin Hoffman’s character is submitted to a dentist’s drill and well— suffice it to say I have a bit of a phobia about going to the dentist.

Is it safe?” I swear I will up and die if my dentist ever utters those words to me at any time and in any context.

Was this movie in black and white? I remember it as such. Dustin Hoffman is the bumbling, humble everyman, who gets into trouble when his spy brother, played by Roy Scheider, is killed while tracking down a Nazi concentration camp doctor, the ever brilliant Lawrence Olivier. This evil, evil character wants to know, I think, if he can safely sell the millions of dollars worth of diamonds that he stole from Holocaust victims.

Dentists, concentration camps, a Dr Mengele character— it all sounds pretty awful, right? But this film is a thriller worth watching, as Dustin Hoffman tries to survive pursuit by the relentless Nazi doctor, and part of this involves running? Yes, thus the title. I remember a magnificent scene which took place in the diamond district of New York City, a predominantly Jewish part of town, where the evil doctor ventures with great trepidation tempered by an insatiable, delicious greed.

Does a Holocaust survivor recognize him and scream at him like the Donald Sutherland character at the end of The Body Snatchers?

You betcha.


Later: I have now checked in with IMDB, and Marathon Man was in colour (I got Giant wrong too), but was indeed made in 1976. Here is the trailer:

And a bit of famous movie trivia about Olivier and Hoffman in Marathon Man:

Dustin Hoffman (being a “method actor”) stayed up all night to play a character who has stayed up all night. Arriving on the set, Lawrence Olivier asked Hoffman why he looked the way he did. Hoffman told him, to which Olivier replied in jest, “Why not try acting? It’s much easier.”

Product Review: Hello Kitty Egg Ring

Prompt: Mystical

hello-kitty-at-window

There is nothing mystical about the Hello Kitty Egg Ring (though it has a mystical quality about it as it gazes out the kitchen window in the photograph above). It is a thingie composed of plastic/rubber, with the rubber part formed in a circle, that you crack your egg into to keep it in a nice neat circle as it fries. I understand you can also fry up some homemade crumpets in egg rings such as this— you know, those delicious crispy-on-the outside crumpets with the air holes that invite all that melted butter…

Anyway, are you tired of those random, spreading, Rorschach-shaped egg whites that fry up all unevenly? I wasn’t, but there you go. Things happen to your brain when you are in the dollar store.

Product: (Generic?) Hello Kitty Egg Ring, pink

hello-kitty-package

Purchased at: Dollarama, British Columbia, Canada

Price: $2.50 (I know right? At the Dollarama?)

Value: Seems expensive

How to Use: Clean all the Dollarama cooties off of it, dry, and then spray the inner part with non-stick spray, or grease it with butter. Firmly place it into a heated, non-stick frying pan. Crack your egg into a measuring cup, then pour into the ring. Press the ring down a bit, or watch the egg white escape through the bottom of the ring. When the egg is set, you can remove the ring and cover the pan to get a more even heat.

hello-kitty-pan

Did it work?: The egg was trapped inside a pink rubber cage. It did not like this and dug a tunnel to escape into the pan. Freedom! The egg was more compact in its little ring, instead of spread out, which meant it took longer to cook (I like firm whites and runny yolks), thus it burned on the bottom. The yolk was delicious, but Hello Kitty had nothing to do with that.

hello-kitty-final

Recommended for: People who can cook with egg rings and/or people who like burned eggs.

Stars: ** out of *****


Relish and Day 6

Prompt: Relish

calvin-hobbes-food-relish

Hobbes was a wise tiger, whose advice was: Truly experience and relish and have fun with everything you do in life.

Hard to do, of course, because we are all so “uptight” about our duties and responsibilities. I was thinking about alcohol and drugs, and how what they really do for us is to break down barriers, allow us to feel what we feel and to express what has never been expressed, and that somehow our day to day lives inhibit our freedom to enjoy without thought of consequence.

Writing allows that kind of exhilarating freedom. One thing about NaNoWriMo and the relentless demand for 1600 words per day, is that you just write, you get the words on the page, and sometimes the immediacy takes you on an unexpected journey of discovery. (And, there is no hangover.)

Here’s to Day 6 of Nano, which I have so far neglected, but might attack with relish once I can relax and focus.

Movie Review from Memory: Giant

Prompt: Giant

giant-movie

I saw the movie Giant quite awhile after it was first released in 1956, and I watched it on TV with commercials, which gave all of us the opportunity to to get a snack, go to the bathroom, or look out the window and wonder how stars hang in the sky, though no one did that.

The move was in black and white, or that could just have been our TV at the time.

Without reading the IMDB summary, I will give my review by memory, and my memory sucks. But here we go: Giant, as I remember it.

It was about oil, and possibly ranching, and took place in a very dusty Texas. Rock Hudson was in it, and the alleged teen idol, James Dean, who died young. Rock Hudson played manly parts in films, which is in no way inconsistent with the fact that he was gay, but no one knew it at the time, except for Elizabeth Taylor, and really, it was no one’s business. Do you share your sexual proclivities with everyone you meet?

Elizabeth Taylor was, as usual, a luminous beauty, and the cause of conflict between the establishment type, Rock, and the rebel, James Dean. They struck oil on their land, and I remember that as a very exciting scene!– which might be on YouTube; but Rock and James had a terrible, violent disagreement, which led to their estrangement.

This is a sweeping epic spanning many long years, though I only remember the beginning and the end, in which everyone had aged. So Elizabeth, Rock, and James were all made up to look old, which never really works.

So, if you like sweeping epics, movie idols in movies (and who doesn’t?), a woman in the middle and the cause of conflict yet again, and interesting makeup decisions, be sure to catch the movie Giant.

Ok, it was in colour, not black and white.

Trivia, courtesy of IMBD:

The lead character, Jett Rink [played by James Dean], was based upon the life of Texas oilman Glenn H. McCarthy (1907-88), an Irish immigrant who would later be associated with a symbol of opulence in Houston, Texas: the Shamrock Hotel, which opened on St. Patrick’s Day, 1949. Author Edna Ferber met McCarthy when she was a guest at his Houston, Texas, Shamrock Hotel (known as the Shamrock Hilton after 1955), the fictional Emperador Hotel in both the book and the film.

Smelly Elements

Prompt: B+
Write about what you did last weekend as though you’re a music critic reviewing a new album.

dog headphones

Album Review: Park’s, “Walk In The

While Park seems to have been around forever, the band manages to reinvent itself and keep die-hard fans gasping for more, even if, as in this latest album, Walk In The, we are hearing creative patterns that we think we have heard before. But have we?

Anticipation starts to build with the first track, Crazy Dog, where fresh, dynamic licks propel the track forward, and actual licks transcend the audio experience. Chance*, the theme thread that ties the album together, makes a first appearance, with restless impatience.

Put on your headphones for the middle section of Park, when guest musicians dominate, in sometimes harmonious, sometimes cacophonous arrangements that stretch expectations. Max, Joy, Twiglet, Lily, Charlie, Mackenzie and other guest vocalists contribute an immediacy that is at once challenging and satisfying, if unpredictable.

The one downside was the introduction of Jazz* to the concept album. These undisciplined ramblings added nothing to this critic’s listening experience.

Not many albums are perfect, and this one suffered from downright smelly elements, which fortunately, were quickly cleaned up and disposed of.

As a reinvention of previous expeditions, Park works, as they mesh their traditional oeuvre with new, down-and-dirty perspectives, fresh audio air, some primitive animal harmony, while stretching creative muscles and building social ties with other Park enthusiasts.

*Chance: good dog
*Jazz: bad dog