Tag Archives: Movies

Obsession of the Week: Gene Hackman – the Actor

On Tuesday, Gene Hackman released his first novel, Payback at Morning Peak, and Time magazine interviewed him about the book’s release. In the interview, Hackman talked about his retirement from acting. Retirement? How does an actor of his caliber retire?

This week I watched PBS’s “American Masters” on Clint Eastwood and in it I was reminded of how great Hackman was in Unforgiven. It was basically an uncomplicated part that Hackman made complex and interesting. Hackman won his second Oscar for the role. I also recently watched Bonnie and Clyde where Hackman played Clyde’s brother, Buck, for which he received his first Oscar nomination and first gained fame for his film work. Again, I was reminded of Hackman’s ability to take a small part and make it something special.

Inspired by these viewings, I watched Mississippi Burning last night for which Hackman received another well-deserved Oscar nomination. It’s incredible to watch his performance in this film. He plays a deeply flawed FBI agent who knows the Klan too well as his father was a member. His good ol’ boy character evolves over the course of the film. He’s broken, he’s imperfect and he’s tough. The part is so much of what we love in Hackman as an actor that it’s a shame he has given acting up.

In the Time magazine interview, Hackman talks about living in New Mexico where many movies are being shot these days. He talked about still having “wanderlust” for filmmaking and tells a story of pulling up in his car to a young assistant director directing traffic on location for a film. He pulled up and asked if they were hiring for any extras. The woman simply said, “No, I’m very sorry sir.”

You can’t help but wonder if this two-time Oscar winner feels like movie-making no longer needs a man like him in the comic book dominated world that overwhelms movie theatres these days. Less anyone forget, Hackman was Lex Luther in the original Superman movies. We miss you Gene and wish you would continue acting!

Other not to be missed Hackman roles (not mentioned above): The French Connection, Hoosiers, Young Frankenstein, The Firm, Crimson Tide, and Get Shorty.

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“Obsession of the Week” (OTW) posts talk about some pop culture reference that has infiltrated my head for the week. I use “obsession” because aren’t we all little obsessive and fanatical about the things we like so much to the point that we saturate ourselves in it and make ourselves sick of it only to move on to something else.

Obsession of the Week: “Lemonade: The Movie”

 

“It’s not a pink skip, it’s a blank page.”

I watched this documentary a few months ago but ran across some quotes I had scribbled down from it just this morning that reminded me just how good it is. At a time when companies continue to do more with less and lay offs continue to plague our economy, this film offers an optimistic approach to getting that pink slip.

The film is about 16 creative professionals who used their layoff as an opportunity to launch into doing something they love. In today’s economy, there are hundreds of thousands unemployed who will for various reason (mostly related to age) not return into the traditional work force. Many will be forced to change careers and forge a new way of life and making a living.


“Lemonade” looks into the lives of these 16 professionals and how they found their way back to employment through untraditional means. I loved the optimism this film professes at a time when so many are discouraged. For all those people out there looking for a new job, a new opportunity, or something to change in your life, this film shows you how some people are cutting a new path in their careers and not waiting for the next job to fall in their lap.

Here is a quote I jotted down when first viewing it that I just love:

Don’t be a person out there looking for a job. Be a person who is out there doing something interesting. Put your energy into things you love. Put all the energy you can into those things and see what happens with them.

You can purchase the DVD of the film on the “Lemonade” website (http://www.lemonademovie.com/ ) and even watch other videos submitted to the site from those inspired by the film about their own lay off and redemption story. The film is also occasionally featured on The Documentary Channel (check their website for show times) which is where I first saw it. This film is a ray of sunshine in a world full of discouraging news. I urge you to check it out.

If you enjoyed this post…why not subscribe to this blog. It’s easy just look to the right and add your email address.

“Obsession of the Week” (OTW) posts talk about some pop culture reference that has infiltrated my head for the week. I use “obsession” because aren’t we all little obsessive and fanatical about the things we like so much to the point that we saturate ourselves in it and make ourselves sick of it only to move on to something else.

Obsession of the Week: “Never Let Me Go” by Kazuo Ishiguro

“All children should believe they are special.” So says the Amazon review of the novel Never Let Me Go by British author Kazuo Ishiguro. I just finished reading this novel over the weekend and can’t put it out of my mind. The more distance I get from reading it, the more I am able to connect things in the book.

It’s nearly impossible to tell you about the plot of the novel without giving too much away. I hate when people say that but in this case it’s really true. The Amazon review describes it like this “The students of Hailsham, an elite school in the English countryside, are so special that visitors shun them, and only by rumor and the occasional fleeting remark by a teacher do they discover their unconventional origins and strange destiny.” To say any more than that is to rob you of the joys of reading as this world reveals itself to you.

The book’s slow steady reveals itself as the story moves forward in the lives of three students from Hailsham (Kathy, Tommy and Ruth). I found it to be about the entirety of life: love, regret, hope, disappointment, death and how we look back over the events of our life as we get older. Looking back longing to have those moments again and longing to go back and not just do it all again, but do it all again better than we did the first time.

Like Ishiguro’s most known work The Remains of the Day, the theme of an importance of duty over personal emotion is very apparent and tragic. In that regards the two books are strikingly similar. Unlike The Remains of the Day, Never Let Me Go is strangely set in a non-existent 1990s world. “Non-existent” because, believe it or not, the book has a science fiction element. Don’t let that scare you. There are no aliens or fantasy-type creatures. It’s strictly human. Its style has been compared by critics to Dickens’ Great Expectations.

When it was released in 2005, it was critically hailed. However, the online reviews from readers have mixed reaction. It’s either a book you get or you don’t, and the online reviews are clearly written in those two camps. When I first finished it, I liked it. Now the more I think about it, the more of the depth is revealed to me. The ending is hauntingly tragic.

Fox Searchlight released a movie version late this last year. It’s scheduled for a wide release later this month. I’ve included the trailer to the film. If you want to experience the full effect of the book – DO NOT WATCH THE TRAILER – it’s full of spoilers. I know some of you will want to know more than I am letting on here – so have at it. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

This book is so layered with detail that it feels like it will haunt me for years with details and insight about life. I think it will be a while before I’m able to let it go. For that reason, it’s my obsession of the week. If you’ve read it – leave me a comment on what you thought. I’d love to read what others think about it.

Chino Mosque Answers to “Kill the Infidels” in the Quran

My articles about Islam are always a hot topic. I’m generally inundated with hateful comments and e-mails about being a Muslim sympathizer when I write these type of articles. While I do not share their beliefs, I am sympathetic to the way the religion as a whole has been demonized. I feel there is still far too much rhetoric that paints the entire religion in the extremists’ views. I know Christians wouldn’t like it if they were always portrayed as the Branch Dravidians of Waco, Texas. Here is an Imam trying to get his beliefs out there that Islam is a peaceful religion. No matter your views, you owe it to the Imam to hear what he has to say. He’s all over the media – on radio, on TV, on YouTube, in the newspaper. Click here to read the entire article.

Here is a news piece from KABC Eyewitness News of the Imam after the Fort Hood Shooting.