Deleting series

Since finishing my responsibilities for the Shirley Jackson Award, I’ve been back at the process I think of as “clearing the desk.” This involves making a list of everything that has an imminent deadline and knocking them off one at a time, preferably in chronological order.

The big one at the top of the list was a series of eight articles I agreed to write for Matt Cardin’s Horror Literature through History. I’ve participated in a couple of these before, and have always enjoyed the process, although there can be quite a bit of work involved. Typically I like to pick topics to cover where I am reasonably familiar with the material but haven’t necessarily written about them at length before. My biggest piece for this book is a 2000-word entry on Ray Bradbury, which for a while was kicking my butt. Bradbury is a huge topic, even when narrowing the focus to the more horror-oriented side of things. But I finally have a polished draft that I’m happy with and ready to send in to the editor. So I can cross that project off the list, pending editorial requests.

Next up, I’m going to put on my thinking cap to try to come up with stories for two forthcoming anthologies. Maybe I’ll try Bradbury’s concept. He wrote a story a week every week. First draft on Monday and revisions for the next few days (always on a typewriter in his case). On Saturday he sent the story off to a market, took a breather on Sunday and started again on Monday. He would create a list of nouns and then interrogate himself about why he had chosen those particular words and what they meant to him, hence the preponderance of story titles of the form THE NOUN, especially early in his career.

So, Castle came to an end. To my way of thinking, it wasn’t a series that needed a grand finale. Castle and Beckett could just keep on keepin’ on. The series finale was a patch-up job and the show deserved better. One more episode to tidy things up and send it on its way. It’s clear that they intended the shooting in Castle’s apartment to be the cliff-hanger, but once the powers-that-be decided that Beckett wasn’t going to survive, the wheels fell off. Sure, the show was named for Fillion’s character, but it wouldn’t have been the show it was without Stana Katic. I loved watching her, right from the very beginning. She’s the kind of actor who is totally present in the scene, all the time. Even when the focus is on a different character, you can see her reacting. She’s not upstaging—she’s just living in the scene. I always appreciated it. Plus I liked her clipped Canadian accent.

Anyhow, they shot this “and they lived happily ever after” clip that was only necessary because they couldn’t leave us with the Escape from the Planet of the Apes finale they’d written themselves into. It was okay, but oh-so-rushed, and we deserved better, after eight years. It always feels a little strange to delete a series like this from the DVR schedule. It’s so final.

It wasn’t a series finale for NCIS, but it was definitely a watershed moment for the series, with the departure of Michael Weatherly’s Very Special Agent Anthony DiNozzo. It was a powerful episode (that featured the final departure of another character, off screen) that gave Weatherly the chance to show some serious chops, especially early in the episode when he’s all rage. Then along comes this little girl, and, my, what a cutie she was (actually she was twins). It will be interesting to see where they pick up next season. Whether there’ll be any additions to the cast. Apparently they’re going to get some mileage out of Joe Spano’s character’s injuries, which could be good.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Deleting series

Fangs for the memories

My featured review of Joe Hill’s The Fireman went live at Cemetery Dance online this morning. The review will also appear in the Hill special double edition of the magazine, together with my interview with the author.

You know it’s been raining a lot when the egrets and cranes start looking for fish in the ditches in front of the house…and finding something! I’m not quite sure what the egret found so yummy last night, but it put up a fight. Perhaps a crawfish or a frog. We had pea-sized hail on Saturday afternoon, and it has rained significantly each of the past couple of days and will probably do so for the next few.

We watched a strange and intriguing movie on Saturday night called The Family Fang. It stars Nicole Kidman and Jason Bateman (who also directed) as the children of a couple of performance artists (dad is played by Christopher Walken) who used them as kids in most of their public performances. They filmed the reactions of innocent bystanders to some outlandish behavior to capture the essence of life. Once Child A and Child B grew up and left home, the elder Fangs fell on hard times creatively, and they want to get the kids back in the game again. Child A (Kidman) is an actress who has a reputation for outlandish and unpredictable behavior and Child B (Bateman) had a successful novel and a less than successful sophomore book, and is currently blocked to the extent that he’s willing to go on assignment to cover a bunch of rednecks who like to shoot potato guns into cornfields.

The story takes a strange twist when the elder Fangs go missing. Their car is found at a rest stop in a region where a number of people have been murdered in recent years, and there’s blood in the car. Kidman is convinced this is another bit of performance art and doesn’t take it seriously whereas Bateman is somewhat convinced they may have been murdered because he prefers that to the possibility that their parents want them to think they’re dead. In the ensuing weeks, the siblings delve into their pasts and make some discoveries. I’d never heard of the film, but it’s quite good. Kidman is spectacular, as usual, Bateman is solid and a fine director, and Walken is, well, pretty much Walken.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Fangs for the memories

And now it can be told

Now that the contract is signed, I am pleased to announce that I will have a short story published in a forthcoming (yet to be determined which) issue of Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, which has long been one of my dream markets. I already cracked their sibling publication, Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, so I’ve had my eyes set on this one for some time now.

I was invited to be part of the Literary Track at Comicpalooza in Houston next month. I’ll be sitting on two panels, one on “Horror Explorations in Literature” on Friday afternoon (Lee Thomas and Nate Southard are two of my co-panelists) and one on “Writing in the Thriller Genre” on Sunday afternoon. I’ll also have a signing at the Barnes & Noble booth on Friday afternoon immediately after my panel. This is quite a growing concern, this convention. Among the actors who will be attending are Sigourney Weaver, Paul Reiser, Kate Beckinsale, Sean Patrick Flannery, Norman Reedus, Bill Paxton, Tara Reid, Lou Ferrigno, Lennie James, Walter Koenig (!!), Peter Mayhew, and David Prowse. Not to mention the extensive slate of authors, musicians, and people from the comics and gaming worlds. Should be a blast.

We saw Mother’s Day on the weekend, directed by Garry Marshall. OK, so it’s not Wuthering Heights, but we enjoyed it. There were several parallel storylines, some of which interlinked. It stars Julia Roberts, Jennifer Aniston, Jason Sudekis, Kate Hudson, Timothy Olyphant, Margo Martindale, Hector Elizondo, Britt Robertson (Under the Dome) and others. Lots of preposterous and unlikely situations, but it was fun. The “bloopers” with the closing credits were amusing, too. We got a kick out of the one where Olyphant’s character is trapped in a collapsing inflatable backyard slide and Aniston looks to the camera and says, “Justified!” The movie has the lowest Rotten Tomatoes score I’ve ever seen (7% from 98 critics) but it fares better among the general audience. We’d shared a bottle of wine before seeing it, so that may be the recommended approach to it.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on And now it can be told

The Lottery

I’ve probably sunburned most of my body at one time or another in my life. Rarely much of it at the same time. There was the time I forgot to put sunblock on the back of my knees when I was walking around the beaches of France. Or the time I sunburned (severely) the tops of my feet while I was writing my doctoral thesis. Or the time I sunburned my scalp when we were driving around northern California in a convertible. Add to that list my shins, which I managed to sunburn this past weekend.

We spent four days at our favorite beachside getaway, Surfside Beach, which is less than two hours away by car. The place we usually rent is no longer available, so we tried a new rental property, which was quite nice. Centrally located, good view of the beach, nice big outdoor deck—two of them, in fact. After the first day, we limited ourselves mostly to the lower deck, where we were afforded the shade of the upper deck. Although it was hazy (the threatened torrential rains never materialized, thankfully), the sun was still doing what it does best, which is to fricassee exposed flesh.

We treasure these getaway weekends. They’re a kind of reboot. The sound of the crashing waves does something for the soul. Plus the chance to be completely off the grid for a few days is rejuvenating, too.

This year I was a juror for the Shirley Jackson Awards. The nominees for 2015 were just announced this morning. Congratulations to all those who made the final cut. I still have a little reading and considering to do as we prepare to vote on the winner. It’s been an interesting experience, which has exposed me to a number of works I probably wouldn’t have otherwise read.

My latest post at News From the Dead Zone went up on Friday while we were off the grid. Amazing how that happens. I was greeted by an enormous box on the front porch when we returned. It contains over 1000 sheets of paper needing my signature for a project that has yet to be announced but is really cool, I think. I can’t wait to see how it turns out.

A couple of weeks ago we watched an interesting documentary called 1971. It was about a group of “radicals” who decided to break into an F.B.I. substation in Media, PA and steal every document they could find. Which they did, successfully. They then began to dole the documents out to the media, exposing illegal surveillance activities by the agency and ultimately leading to the first Congressional investigation into the F.B.I. They were never caught, despite an intensive search for the culprits. Now that the statute of limitations is long expired, they are telling their story for the first time. I thought it ended a little abruptly, because I would have liked to have known more about the reactions among their friends and colleagues and family members to the truth coming out. I would also like to have heard a little about any discussions they might have had with the ninth conspirator, who dropped out before the plan was executed, about whether he or she would agree to be named. Still, it is a fascinating look at a moment in time. Interesting, too, how these activists have become more conservative over the years. Also fascinating that The Washington Post was the only one of several involved newspapers that agreed to publish the documents. All the other papers, including the New York Times, turned them back over to the FBI.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on The Lottery

Patience; the virtue of

You get used to rejection letters after a while; in fact, you even grow to expect them. I know that when I submit something, the odds are about 10:1 in favor of it generating a rejection versus an acceptance. So, when I see a response to a submission, my gut tells me to prepare for the worst.

Last night, I received an email response to a submission that had been out for quite a while. So long, in fact, that I had deemed the submission beyond salvation and I had sent the story to a new market.

The original submission was to one of my “bucket list” markets, one I’ve been trying to crack for as long as I’ve been writing. And, lo and behold, the email was not a rejection but an acceptance. What was the first thing I did (after a brief but energetic happy dance in the living room)? Get on my computer and withdraw the submission from the more recent place I’d sent the story. Happy ending: the editor wasn’t the least bit put out that I’d withdrawn the story.

The story in question has an interesting genesis. I originally wrote it for a themed anthology, but it didn’t make the cut. So I made a second pass at it and de-themed it, which didn’t actually take very much doing. I changed the story’s location at the same time. And off it went, 323 days ago. Yes, that’s right—the story had been in the queue for about 11 months. In this biz, 3-6 months is the norm.

If the story had been accepted by the original market for which it was written, or to the more recent one that I sent it to, it would have earned 1/8 to 1/4 of what it will make in its new home. But it’s not specifically about the money. The story will have far greater visibility in its new home, and that’s even more important.

I hadn’t read the tale in a while, and my wife had never read it at all, so I read it to her last night. It pleases me immensely that she liked it a lot, and I still like it a lot, too. I’m very proud of it, and I look forward to seeing it in print, though that might take a while.

I haven’t received the contract yet. That should take another 30 days or so. I’ll announce it more officially once that happens.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Patience; the virtue of

A Rancher and a Gentleman

We don’t often get snow days here in Southeast Texas, but rain days we get. Yesterday we had the (according to one source) rainiest day ever in the Houston area. Harris County, the county that contains Houston and comes to within a few miles of where I live, received enough rain yesterday alone to fuel Niagara Falls for three and a half days.

The rain started Sunday night, and thunder and lightning occurred throughout the night. When I got up at my usual time and looked out the window from my exercise machine, the water was flowing fast and furious in the ditch out front, and the yard was soggy. Our subdivision must be just a few inches higher than everywhere else around us, though, because we’ve always been able to withstand these heavy storms (10-12″ in one day, apparently) without any threat of flooding. Lots of people in the vicinity weren’t so lucky. At least five people died, many in their cars when they were inundated or attempted to drive through standing water. The city came to a standstill. All schools closed. All government agencies closed. The IRS is going to try to extend the deadline for people who waited until the last moment and then couldn’t make it to the post office to file returns.

I’m always amazed by how much water is involved. Imagine looking out your front window and seeing six, eight, ten feet of water and then try to figure out how much water that involves everywhere around you to achieve that level! That’s what it was like in downtown Houston, which is prone to flooding. Apparently we’re going to get more rain today and tomorrow—nothing like what we got yesterday, but with the ground saturated, it probably means more flooding. A lot of schools are still closed today because feeder roads and surface roads are still covered in water in a lot of places, and the rivers and bayous are still rising.

This from a storm that didn’t even get a name. It wasn’t even a tropical depression.

My wife and I like Sam Elliott, so we decided to give the new Netflix series The Ranch a try. Elliott is the patriarch, Debra Winger plays his somewhat estranged wife (they live apart but they still hook up regularly), and Ashton Kutcher plays the prodigal son who left to pursue a pro football career but now has to slink back home to small town Colorado and nurse his wounds and ego. The “responsible” brother is played by his That 70s Show costar Danny Masterson, whose brother Chris I met when I visited the set of Haven a couple of summers ago.

The humor is fairly sophomoric, but it’s Debra Winger who saves the show. Elliott is good, but Winger is the only one who plays it straight. She gets some good, funny lines, but she doesn’t play them for laughs, with a deliberate pause for yuks. She delivers them like they’re normal, regular dialog, and that works so much better. We’re five episodes in (out of ten) and we’ll probably watch the rest. Not “must-see” TV but it’s okay. Sitcoms seem to have left me behind over the years. The lafftrak on this one gets on my nerves. The only sitcom we watch regularly is The Big Bang Theory and even that one is starting to wear thin. We also came to realize that sitcoms aren’t really binge-able. Two episodes in a row is about our limit.

I’m not at all happy to hear that ABC has decided to not renew Stana Katic’s contract for Castle. I’m hoping it is a ploy to build suspense at the end of the season. Nathan Fillion is fun, but Katic has always been the bigger attraction for me. She’s the kind of actor who I enjoy watching when the focus is on another character, because she’s always doing something interesting. Not upstaging, but she’s present in the scene, not waiting to say her lines. The show won’t be the same without her. In fact, I can’t think of any way for them to have her leave that maintains the show’s premise for another season.

Funny thing—we saw a guy wearing a t-shirt that said “Muir” something or other, which led to a discussion of the TV show The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, which led to the mutual realization that neither of us had ever seen the 1947 movie on which it is based, so we queued it up on Amazon video last night. The TV show was set in Maine, but the original is on the British coast, with Gene Tierney, Rex Harrison, George Sanders, and a very young Natalie Wood. Tierney is a feminist in 1900, unwilling to let anyone tell her how she should feel or live. The score was by Bernard Herrmann, which lends the movie a Hitchcockian atmosphere. It’s not perfect: Mrs. Muir ignores her daughter for huge chunks of time, and it leaps ahead twice at the end to a kind of saccharine finale, but it was pretty good, if you can adapt to the glacial pacing of the era.  The “coarse language” (blasted this and blast that) is amusing.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on A Rancher and a Gentleman

Don’t let the fire rush to your head

The previews looked good, and it starred Helen Mirren, a household favorite, so we checked out Eye in the Sky last weekend.  Highly recommended. It’s about a covert operation in Kenya where a group of terrorists, including an American and a woman from England, are convening. UK military and intelligence want to capture the woman and take her back to England, so they have operatives on the ground and an American piloted drone in the sky. Circumstances change, causing the various entities to debate launching a Hellfire missile at the compound.

Besides the physical location in Kenya (actually South Africa), there are three distinct silos. Mirren is orchestrating everything from her command bunker. Alan Rickman (in his final role) is acting as military liaison with the British politicians who can decide whether certain things are legal or justifiable. And Aaron Paul and Phoebe Fox are in a silo of their own, piloting the drone, analyzing its feedback and targeting the missiles.

The movie is all about collateral damage and risk assessment. How much is allowable given the intelligence on the ground? Barkhad Abdi from Captain Thomas has some high-tech gadgetry to surveil the compound, but is in a tenuous position. Not since Les Miserables has so much importance rested on loaves of bread. One would like to hope that the same amount of soul-searching goes on before every strike of this type. I was interested and amused to see the way the two different groups were depicted. The British debated and delayed, passing the buck up the chain of command, unwilling to pull the trigger, whereas the Americans consulted at various points had no compunction about authorizing a strike, almost regardless of the collateral damage. It’s a taut thriller that will leave you with plenty to talk about once its over.

Only one episode of Better Call Saul left, and whoa, are things ever getting intense. The series could equally be called Don’t Mess with Mike. Or Kim, for that matter, as she got one of the series’ best scenes when she confronted Chuck. Rhea Seehorn isn’t a showy actress, but you can always tell there’s a lot going on in her head all the time. There was also a moment early in the episode when Bob Odenkirk almost looked straight into the camera. It was quite disconcerting.

I’m into episode three of The Path, still not quite sure where it’s going to go. I’m intrigued but not 100% hooked.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Don’t let the fire rush to your head

Stories and stories and stories

Being the judge for a literary award means you have to do a lot of reading. A lot. A lot. A lot. I’ve been up to my eyeballs in anthologies and short stories for the past few months. Some novelettes, too. But mostly short stories and collections thereof. Easily a thousand short stories.

I won’t be sorry when that part of the process is over. The only novel I’ve read recently is End of Watch (how could I not?). I’ve had a galley of Justin Cronin’s City of Mirrors for over a month and really want to dig into it, but I’m waiting for a time when I can tackle it without interruption. This morning, though, I picked up The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins and tore through the first sixty or seventy pages. It has an interesting structure. One set of chapters is narrated by an alcoholic woman, divorced, prone to blackouts, and another is narrated by a somewhat depressed woman, though the timeframe of her story is a year earlier. It will be interesting to see how it all joins up.

My wife and I binged through 11.22.63 last weekend, finishing up last night. This was my second time through the eight episodes, and it was good to refresh my memory of it for my News from the Dead Zone overview, which went up yesterday at Cemetery Dance Online. I don’t have much more to say about the series than I did there, but my wife really enjoyed it. She thought the first episode was okay, not compelling, but it got its hooks into her after that and she was as eager to see the next batch of episodes as I was. She hadn’t read the book, so it was good to get her fresh opinion of the adaptation. She was especially pleased with the ending.

I also finished Season 4 of House of Cards this morning. It was what I’ve been watching during my weekday exercise regimen. More of the same, more or less. Nothing too earth shattering, but it’s always interesting to see where they take the story. I wish they’d found more use for Neve Campbell, but it was terrific to see her again. It took me a while to realize where I knew Governor Conway from—he was played by the Swedish actor who played Holder in the US version of The Killing.

Speaking of Swedish actors, my wife had read part of a book called The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared by Swedish author Jonas Jonasson. I stumbled across the movie adaptation on Amazon Prime a couple of weeks ago, so we decided to give it a go. It’s about a centenarian who absconds during his birthday party and soon thereafter winds up coming into possession of a suitcase full of money. Hilarity ensues. It’s a quirky story, like something Roald Dahl might have written for adults. It has a surprising amount of explicit violence and some absurd coincidences, but it’s always interesting to see the sorts of things that other cultures enjoy. The stuff with Albert Einstein’s lesser known brother Herbert was particularly amusing. It’s the third highest grossing Swedish movie of all time, up there with The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. movies.

We also watched The Grand Budapest Hotel, which was a lot different than I thought it was going to be. For some reason I thought it was going to be about shenanigans at the aforementioned hotel, but it was actually more about shenanigans involving the concierge (Ralph Fiennes) and the lobby boy (who grows up to be F. Murray Abraham). It’s just as absurd as the Swedish movie, but we liked it. More than I expected we would, in fact.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Stories and stories and stories

The Revolution Starts Now

I was very nervous about that bag of money on this week’s episode of Vinyl. When Richie was playing blackjack, I had a bad feeling. And then it played out the way I thought it might once they went back to the room. Only, in a twist that O. Henry would have loved, the reality was different than Richie allowed his long-time friend to believe. It was a great twist.

We watched a bunch of movies this weekend. Started with Gosford Park, a murder mystery written by the guy who wrote Downton Abbey and directed by Robert Altman. You can see where the idea for the dowager countess came from, although Maggie Smith was cattier and nastier in this film. It was also fairly obvious who the murder victim would be: the guy everyone had a motive to kill. Altman’s directing style is interesting, especially for big group scenes. Seems chaotic, with multiple people talking at the same time, and yet it also seems real.

Then we watched The Big Short, and I couldn’t help thinking that Steve Earle (pictured), who was so incensed in 2004 that he wrote the energetic album that gives this post its title, along with the memorable song “F the CC,” could have written an equally vitriolic album about the 2008 crisis.

The Big Short takes a complicated financial disaster and makes it entertaining. One thing I like about movies of this type (also: Spotlight) is that they take a scenario where everyone knows the outcome and still manage to make it suspenseful. I liked the movie’s conceit of using unlikely people in cameo roles to explain complicated economic concepts. Selena Gomez, for example, explaining synthetic CDOs or Margot Robbie in a bubble bath drinking champagne while she explains mortgage-backed securities. I still have a hard time taking Steve Carell seriously, but he’s winning me over. A great ensemble cast and a script that doesn’t take itself too seriously, but at the same time dives deep into a serious subject. Highly recommended.

Finally, we saw Like Summer, Like Rain, a light drama about a young woman played by ‎Leighton Meester who falls on her feet when she gets fired and ends up as a nanny for a 12-year-old musical and mathematical prodigy with a neglectful, mostly absentee mother (Debra Messing). I found some of Meester’s characters’s decisions toward the end somewhat improbable (where the heck did Idaho come from?), but it’s one of those feel-good movies. Bonus points for a small part played by Billie Joe Armstrong from Green Day.  We also watched the short “One Hundred Eyes,” which is the origin story of a character from the Netflix Marco Polo series, which returns this summer.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on The Revolution Starts Now

And Then There Were…

I saw 10 Cloverfield Lane on the weekend. It’s a movie best enjoyed by knowing absolutely nothing about it going in. I was intrigued by the trailer, featuring John Goodman and (to me) a couple of unknown actors. The premise is pretty straightforward: A young woman who’s just had a row with her boyfriend is driving through Louisiana when she gets in a wreck. She wakes up in an underground room shackled to the wall with an IV drip in one arm and a jury-rigged cast on one leg.

Okay, so this is Room redux, right? Not so fast. John Goodman tells her that there’s been some sort of event outside this bomb shelter and it could be a year or two before it’s safe to venture out. Not to worry. Goodman is a good paranoid conspiracy freak, so he’s got everything they need to survive. Just him, her and a neighbor who helped him build the shelter who pushed his way in at the last second. So, the question is: did something happen to the rest of the world, or is this all an elaborate ruse to keep her prisoner? The answers, as they come, are surprising but, mostly, foreshadowed. Or at least the basis is laid for them. On the other hand, not every question is answered. We’re left to wonder about Meghan’s fate, as well as that of the woman in the photograph. Goodman’s performance is compelling.

It’s almost like a three-person play, given that the set is limited. Some really good surprises and jolts. And then comes the third act, which starts with a chemical bath and ends with…whoa. Wow-eee. Don’t read anything more about it: go see it. You won’t be sorry.

We watched the Lifetime version of Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None over the weekend. There have been many adaptations of this classic novel: Original title: 10 Little very-non-PCs. Renamed 10 Little Also non-PCs. In this version, they’re soldiers, so I guess that’s okay. This is the most faithful adaptation with which I’m familiar. Most movies pull the punch at the end. Not so here. Some familiar faces: Miranda Richardson, Sam Neill, Burn Gorman (Torchwood). If you like a good locked-island mystery and are jonesing for some Downton Abbey vibe (it’s set in 1939), check this out.

I watched the second season of Bosch on Amazon Prime. The premise is that instead of exploring how cops work on crimes, the series (based on the Michael Connelly novels) looks at how the crimes work on the cops. A pornographer is shot by the side of the interstate—that’s the main case. His widow is played by Jeri Ryan. The story pulls in the Armenian mob and a cadre of bad cops. One “problem” with the season is that there’s a very recognizable actor playing what seems to be a minor role, so it’s apparent early on that he’ll figure more into the story. He ends up being the Big Bad, ultimately. It’s a minor quibble. The plot involves Bosch’s ex-wife (a former profiler who is now a pro gambler) and his teenage daughter, so the stakes are elevated. One of my favorite things about the series is the look of Los Angeles: it looks much more genuine than in anything else on film. Also, a lot of the locations are real and real cops came out to fill in the background in a shootout scene and a police funeral, for example. Titus Welliver (Lost) plays Bosch: he’s a guy who’ll do anything to get the job done, even if it’s off the books. Especially if it’s off the books. Lance Reddick (The Wire, Fringe) plays a Deputy Chief whose character I like a lot more in the series than in the books. Good stuff. Definitely binge-worthy.

I guess I should have known that I was straying into Twin Peaks territory when I cued up Mulholland Drive but I honestly didn’t expect the movie to be so weird. There’s something highly artificial about the way characters look in his movies. Take the couple Naomi Watts meets on her flight to L.A. How creepy do they look when they get into their car after they part company? Rictus grins on their faces. Justin Theroux is virtually unrecognizable as the movie director. My favorite scene, though is the one where Mark Pellegrino plays a hit man who totally botches the job, accidentally shooting someone through the wall and then having to try to clean up that mess, only to create worse messes. It’s pretty hilarious. Ultimately, though, I guess I don’t get the movie. Not in the sense of it being “one of the greatest films of all time” (according to the British Film Institute).

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on And Then There Were…