RIP John Lennon


I remember being in English class in Grade 8, and our teacher -who often taught with a guitar- described to us how awful this event was. I was surprised that a lot of my classmates had no idea who The Beatles were. Even though the mp3 world is experiencing a revolution in accessing those wonderful tunes, it’s the truth that those songs were rightfully hard to get without buying the entire albums.

Rest in PEACE, John.


Sadly, Mel Gibson is Dead to Me Now


It is with a heavy heart, and a sad farewell that I confess: Mel Gibson is forever stricken from my list of actors I like. It’s a huge loss for me, as The Road Warrior and Lethal Weapon were both pivotal movies in my youth. However, the actor whose alcoholism has affected his work throughout his life, the guy who we tried to forgive for his Jose Cuervo inspired drunk driving arrest tirade, the guy who was infamous for being a practical joker on set…

He’s done it again. And I have had enough. Here’s to filmmakers hopefully culling a good remake of the Mad Max franchise. Maybe even remake the strangely titled Braveheart. Seriously, did anyone ever say the word “Braveheart” in that movie? I think not. And Mr. Gibson is not brave, and he has no heart. This is the final straw.

Kevin Gilbert’s “Kashmir”


(YouTube Link)

Kevin Gilbert was a flourishing musician in the L.A. scene who tragically died the same way INXS singer Michael Hutchens did. He left behind some promising recordings, including this cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir. “

The simple, but rockin’ twist on this version kicks in at around 1:30. Oh, and yeah… Koyaanisqatsi footage.

Buy Kevin’s music at Amazon.

R.I.P. Dennis Hopper


MGM Studios

R.I.P. Ronnie James Dio


Photo: Guino Patrice

Ronnie James Dio has lost his battle with cancer, and Clark Collins has a great lil’ eulogy of sorts up, along with some of the metal icon’s best work à la YouTube. I saw him live once, and it was an amazingly great experience.

R.I.P. Dede Allen, Film Editor


Dede Allen was a phenomenal editor whose work covers many of my personal favorite movies, including Bonnie and Clyde, Dog Day Afternoon, and Wonder Boys.

Allen was the first American to embrace European methods of editing by beginning sequences with close-ups or jump cuts and using the sound from the next shot while the previous scene was still playing. Greg S. Faller, professor of film studies at Towson University in Maryland, said “The Hustler” and “Bonnie and Clyde” “must be considered benchmark films in the history of editing.” Many of her techniques are now standard in modern filmmaking. “It’s hard to see the changes she made because most of what she did has been so fully embraced by the industry,” Faller said. (Texarcana Gazette, Associated Press photo)

She has been immortalized (at least in this heart) through her oft-quoted mantra: “Cut from the gut.” Everyone will have their favorite movie she edited, but for me it’s The Breakfast Club, hands down. Particularly the penultimate sequence where the Club has its first (and ostensibly only) meeting. That scene is all about Dede and her mastery of the split-edit. The next time you see that scene, just imagine how different it would be if the camera would always just show who’s speaking. Her gut decisions on who to show, and when to cut back to the speaker is awe-inspiring.

Remembering Dede Allen with a happy grin. She did good.

Unfairly Obscure: I Love You to Death


In my post, Great Movies That Don’t Get Major Play, I listed five flicks that have become what I’d call Unfairly Obscure. So in that vein, and since I keep thinking of others that (other than word-of-mouth) aren’t all that well-known, I’ll just update this new category now and then.

First up, I Love You to Death. Sandwiched between Lawrence Kasdan’s The Big Chill and Grand Canyon, this comedy wins over every person I’ve ever shown it to. Kasdan favorite Kevin Kline is an unfaithful husband to the wholesome/batty Tracey Ullman, and a cast right out of ensemble nirvana carry out his punishment: to be put out of his philandering misery.

Sample scene here featuring the brilliant William Hurt, the perfectly cast Keanu Reeves, and the tragically-talented River Phoenix.

(YouTube Link)

More River Phoenix clips at river1983.

And speaking of River and Keanu, I remember spotting Reeves walking through Northwest Portland around 1991, and tried to circle back in my car to catch up, but lost him. I had wondered about it, and if it was real, when I later learned that he and Phoenix had spent a month or so living in a house in Portland, researching their roles for My Own Private Idaho. They even jammed out with bassist Flea, and Phoenix comes across as someone very serious about his craft here, in this rare video of the creative process.

(YouTube Link)

(Poster: Tri-Star Pictures)