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Sunday, October 28, 2012

Hurricane Sandy Preparedness. Will the Power Stay On?

A storms a brewing.

Never in my 40 years on Earth have I been witness to such hype.  Not for a Super Bowl or an upcoming election.  Not even an imminent threat from a foreign land has concerned me as much.  i was witness to the Trade Center burning but that was a shocking surprise.  This is Let me tell you about Hurricane Sandy!

Oh that's right.  We all know!  On one hand you are hoping this thing really takes hold and causes destruction.  That is, with all the hype if it blows over without harming anything you are forced to think of all the monies wasted prepping, not working, etc...  Or does all the shopping over a fall weekend provide enough consumer activity that it cancels out millions not working Monday and Tuesday.

Obviously, on the other hand you want Sandy to head off the Coast and die a fast and harmless death.  In like a lion and out like a zephyr is best case scenario.  Watching Chris Christie labor through a press conference struggling to breathe does not give me a warm, safe, confident feeling.

Bottled water is already off the shelves at my local supermarket.  At 8am this morning it looked like Soderbergh's Contagion both on the roads and in the stores.  Plywood covers the windows of precious shore houses.  Schools have been canceled for the next few days.   Turn on the Quiet.

Last year the Northeast saw Halloween ruined with a rare October snowstorm.  Now "Frankenstorm" approaches.  A Category 1 hurricane with a publicity machine that would make Justin Bieber envious.

Since trains into, out of and around New York City are also suspended that means no work for many folks to.  If all goes well that means catching up on Homeland and/or other DVR favorites.  It also might mean getting sucked into a comfortable movie.  It happened again yesterday afternoon.

Saturday afternoons are often a wasteland for television.  But if you have enough channels you can get lucky.  The best case scenario is finding one of those films you simply cannot escape.

Bull Durham stopped me in my tracks yesterday.  Baseball movies tend to do that to me.  Eight Men Out, The Natural and even Field of Dreams are also guilty pleasures.  America's pastime on America's top entertainment option (television)  is a can't miss proposition.  Throw in a comfortable chair/couch and the rest is history.

Ron Shelton's baseball comedy has terrific performances and chemistry from its leads.  Kevin Costner was in his prime.  Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins met on the set, fell in love off screen and became one of Hollywood's power couples shortly after.  It is a comedy with some heart.  It has plenty of memorable one liners.  Quite simply it is the gold standard for sports movies.  And don't give me the Slap Shot or North Dallas Forty argument either!  Those movies either haven't aged well enough or have Burt Reynolds in the cast.  Or worse, both.

Annie Hall is another picture that can play on a continuous loop without the slightest chance of annoying.  This is Woody Allen's most succinct, sweet and funny film.   Boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy cannot seem to get it right.  Underdog comic and quirky actress type try to navigate a relationship in NYC.  It is as timely today as it was 30 years ago.  Allen's insights and observations were never better.  He attacks pretentious people in line.  He berates Los Angeles and awards shows.  He questions the validity of red meat and college.  Diane Keaton plays the la-di-da free spirit to perfection.  Who else can pull off the tie/vest/hat post tennis look like she does?  At a brisk 90 minutes Allen packs a whole bunch in.  No editing problems like you see these days.  Seriously, do all Judd Apatow movies have to be 2 and 1/2 hours??!!  You can pick this flick up at any point and before you know it the end credits are rolling.

Science Fiction is very often an acquired taste.  Rarely are you ambivalent about this genre.  Most either love it or leave it.  More often than not I head for the hills.  That is not the case with Ridley Scott's Blade Runner.  Harrison Ford puts the ego away that made his Han Solo so memorable.  He manages to keep the smirk and we don't hate him for it.  He is a bounty hunter in a futuristic world that Scott makes so rich in color and imagery it is difficult to look away.  It is Times Square on crystal meth.  It is Madison Avenue meets Thunderdome, before there was a Thunderdome.  A rain soaked landscape filled with robots, replicants and weary warriors.  What is real?  What is imagined?  How will you survive?

Sean Young was a movie star not a train wreck.  Darryl Hannah's wide eyed, short haired, and dead sexy.  And Rutger Hauer's villain is unnerving.  His stare is bone chilling.  Scott's story is straightforward good versus evil stuff, like your standard sci-fi fare.  But the presentation and production design remain the benchmark for modern filmmakers.   JJ Abrams can make a thousand more films and never capture the mood here.  It is nearly impossible to switch channels when this comes on the small screen.  Big, HD screen???  Forget about it.

"Forget about it" gets me thinking about Brooklyn, which is in NYC, which has been host to the best movies of all time.  More specifically the best mafia films were set in New York.  The Godfather Parts 1 and 2 are without question worthy of best of all time category.  But it is Martin Scorsese's GoodFellas that stops me in my tracks.

Maybe it's the card game where Spider forgets to get Tommy a drink.  Maybe it's the long tracking shot that follow Henry Hill and Janet through the Copa.   Remember the music montage that accompanies Hill as he avoids helicopters in his coke fueled paranoia?  Rolling Stones tracks slide into a George Harrison song then back to the Stones.  Jump cut/close up/tracking shot/song change.  Film perfection start to finish.

It may not be Scorsese's best film.  After all Dances With Wolves beat it for Best Picture that year.  Ordinary People beat out Raging Bull too so you can safely discard all that Hollywood nonsense.

It is his most captivating and thrilling work though.  A lesson in storytelling and filmmaking which also happens to include tremendous acting.  Joe Pesci is a force.  Has Lorraine Bracco ever made anything else even comparable?  DeNiro, Liotta, Sorvino, et al chew up scenery like so many cannoli's.

It is a masterwork.  And as the storm moves we all desperately hope the electric hangs in there throughout.  Is there anything better than being stranded at home with the family watching an old classic?

What are the films you cannot turn away from?  Disagree with any of the above choices?

Let's hear it!  Looks as if many of us are not going anywhere the next few days.  Diversions people!!

Get through it safe and happy.  

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