Link’n’Blog – 8.16.19 | Sorkinisms West Wing and More…

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I loved Lincoln Logs when I was a kid. Though I never entertained the idea that I would be a designer, engineer or architect, something about putting together these wooden and plastic pieces was simply simple fun. Connecting to ideas through the blogosphere seems similar to this pursuit, hence the title of this weekly post. Each Friday, I intend to post something interesting I’ve read out there on the internets. Hopefully others will find these posts as fun or thought provoking as I have.

Are you an Aaron Sorkin fan? Have you ever wondered watching a Sorkin television show or movie if you have heard something in his characters’ dialogue somewhere else? Do you worry he might be stealing?

He is.

From himself:

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The Best Sequential Art I Read Last Week: August 6 – 13, 2019

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I am a comic book collector and happy to be one. I might say “proud” if I hadn’t, over a year ago, switched to reading digital as opposed to print comics. I feel a bit robbed of the tactile sensations of the hobby – of the turn of the page, the sneaking look to the panel a page over, the bagging and shorting and stacking and filing. Though I read my comics in a different medium than I used to, I still treat each Wednesday (comic book delivery day to specialty shops around the country) as different from the other days of the week. I subscribe and now, rather than go to the comic store to be handed the books pulled for my “Hold Slot,” I click a button on my iPad and watch them download.

Then I read them.

Rare is the week that I don’t read them all between Wednesdays and some weeks I have, well… let’s just say more comic books in my digital downloads than a grown man should. Comic book legend Will Eisner (creator of The Spirit) is one of the most influential men even to put pencil to drawing board in the pursuit of making comics. So influential was he that the industry awards (think the Oscars or the Emmys or the Grammys) are named The Eisner Awards. He called comic books “sequential art,” perhaps because he became embarrassed by his profession when he had to admit what he did for a living. This is my weekly reaction to the comics I read.

Comics I Read Last Week:

The Best Comic I Read Last Week Was Batman #76

Writer: Tom King

Artist:  Tony S. Daniel

Batman. Again.

Predictable that I would select this book. That’s okay. It’s almost perfect.

I cannot remember a feat like this, like what writer Tom King is accomplishing in a very long time. This issue has call backs to his first on the title and that’s something else, given that he’s in the midst of over 80 issues (including Annuals and other specials) of Bat-Action. Talk about your basic long-form narrative.

Impressive.

Partnered for this arc with the terrific Tony S. Daniel, King shows other writers and collaborators how comics ought to be done.

It is almost impossible to judge the entirety of the accomplishment here but King’s run on Batman will be discussed for ages.

And it deserves to be.

 

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Filed under Batman, Comic Book Pick of the Week, Comic Book Review, Comic Books, DC Comics, Marvel, Marvel Comics, Weekly Comic Book Review

Dad, We Didn’t Really Lose You… Why Are You Laughing?



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g-sxgs2uEight years ago today, my father passed away. When writing about Dad on this anniversary, as I have done each of the last 8 years, I typically have the impulse to type “we lost Dad” but I hear the joke forming in my subconscious – a joke Dad would have loved – that it’s pretty careless to lose ones father.

That’s fair. And funny.

Dad loved jokes.

My sisters and mom and I and his grandkids and children-in-law learned much from him and all carry parts of him with us. I suspect they, like I, think about Dad each-and-every day. I know that I do.

There are occasions, though, when I hear my voice bouncing off the back wall of a classroom or when I catch my reflection just right in a mirror or when I have a thought pop in my head whose origin I quickly recognize as coming from him, when I feel so very close to Dad, when it feels – in some real and palpable way – like he is not really gone.

Our minds and our emotions are funny like that, aren’t they?

It’s 37 years ago and I am opening brown paper grocery bags full of DC Comics superhero cups that Dad collected for me.

It’s 32 years ago and during a blizzard and Dad is among fewer than 25 people in the audience of a play in which I was acting.

It’s 25 years ago and the family is gathering in the mountains of Colorado – mountains Dad said blocked the view – for the first of many, many weeks spent on vacation together.

It’s 24 years ago and Dad and I start work on a remodel of a bathroom he estimates will take 3 days. 10 days later we finish.

It’s 21 years ago and Dad and I are at Coors Field watching the All Star Game.

It’s 12 years ago and Dad is speaking about love at my marriage.

It’s 8 years ago and I am just leaving work with my wife and daughter hearing that Dad has died.

It’s 2 minutes ago and I feel closer to Dad than ever.

We haven’t lost him. But Dad would have loved that joke…

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Link’n’Blog – 8.9.19 | Abbey Road at 50

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I loved Lincoln Logs when I was a kid. Though I never entertained the idea that I would be a designer, engineer or architect, something about putting together these wooden and plastic pieces was simply simple fun. Connecting to ideas through the blogosphere seems similar to this pursuit, hence the title of this weekly post. Each Friday, I intend to post something interesting I’ve read out there on the internets. Hopefully others will find these posts as fun or thought provoking as I have.

Do you need a smile this week? How about remembering the album below and listening to some Beatles music?

ROCKS-Abbey-Road-at-50-SHOW-CARD

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The Best Sequential Art I Read Last Week: July 31 – August 6, 2019

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I am a comic book collector and happy to be one. I might say “proud” if I hadn’t, over a year ago, switched to reading digital as opposed to print comics. I feel a bit robbed of the tactile sensations of the hobby – of the turn of the page, the sneaking look to the panel a page over, the bagging and shorting and stacking and filing. Though I read my comics in a different medium than I used to, I still treat each Wednesday (comic book delivery day to specialty shops around the country) as different from the other days of the week. I subscribe and now, rather than go to the comic store to be handed the books pulled for my “Hold Slot,” I click a button on my iPad and watch them download.

Then I read them.

Rare is the week that I don’t read them all between Wednesdays and some weeks I have, well… let’s just say more comic books in my digital downloads than a grown man should. Comic book legend Will Eisner (creator of The Spirit) is one of the most influential men even to put pencil to drawing board in the pursuit of making comics. So influential was he that the industry awards (think the Oscars or the Emmys or the Grammys) are named The Eisner Awards. He called comic books “sequential art,” perhaps because he became embarrassed by his profession when he had to admit what he did for a living. This is my weekly reaction to the comics I read.

Comics I Read Last Week:

The Best Comic I Read Last Week Was Batman: Last Night on Earth #2

Writer: Scott Snyder

Artist:  Greg Capullo

For their swan song with what has become their signature character, Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo apparently got together before they embarked on Batman: Last Night on Earth and said: “let’s do whatever we want.”

And they are doing it.

Bizarre, hilarious, over-the-top and brazen, this Black Label title is everything one expects from two daring creators who know what they are doing and why they are doing it. They seem very much to push one another to the limits of their talent and their imaginations and we, the readers, are the beneficiaries of this collaboration.

It is a collaboration the comic book world will deeply miss.

This post-apocalyptic (I think – you never really know what Snyder and Capullo have in mind) story is a clear culmination of the plot points and themes these two have been developing for over 10 years. What a pleasure to see them pull this off.

And what a pleasure to see DICK Grayson, not the ridiculous “Ric” Grayson running around in the Nightwing title…

 

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Once Upon a Time in Hollywood – A Movie Review


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MV5BOTg4ZTNkZmUtMzNlZi00YmFjLTk1MmUtNWQwNTM0YjcyNTNkXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNjg2NjQwMDQ@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,674,1000_AL_I cannot think of a movie I have recently seen that left me with one immediate impression upon leaving the theater that morphed into a different impression within a few days. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is one of the strangest, weirdest most self-indulgent movies I have ever seen. I defy anyone who has seen it to describe the plot of the movie in one sentence. 

First, let me state that I understand having a discernible and clear plot is not the point of the movie. I do get that. There were, however, multiple times – especially during the first two acts of the movie – where I wondered just what in the hell was going on. And, upon reflection, I understand, too, that that is part of Quentin Tarantino’s point.

I am not a Tarantino aficionado. No expert in his movies (I’ve not seen his classics), I came to Once Upon a Time in Hollywood not knowing what to expect but excited by the story (I am interested in the Manson story), by the director’s renown for brilliant use of music (and the soundtrack is so very well composed and evocative) and by actors assembled for the movie. What a shockingly stocked set of performers Tarantino had with which to play. 

The cast does not let one done. Leonardo DiCaprio has been labeled the last real movie star in America for all kinds of reasons – from his acting choices to his image to his talent. He is a towering presence in the movie in a role that requires far more bravery from him than one might gather watching the previews. Paired with Brad Pitt, whose Cliff Booth is just as an indelible creation as the actor’s Rick Dalton, DiCaprio shines even as his character is supposed to be fading into the background. His friendship with Pitt’s Booth – the character I loved best in the film – is the through line of the picture, and it’s a good one. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is at its best when the two are on screen together, although Pitt’s solo scenes – especially as tension mounts as he tours the infamous Spahn Movie Ranch – is commanding.

Rounding out the trio of mega stars is the ubiquitous Margot Robbie. Playing the ill-fated actress Sharon Tate with a light, comedic and blissful air, Robbie is captivating. As pressures mount towards the end of the movie, the mind juxtaposes this beautiful creation of Robbie’s with the end that is coming. Robbie’s work here is a love letter not only to the actress, but to a time in Hollywood that has passed by and will never return.

And this, clearly, is one of the themes on which Tarantino built the movie. In 1969, Hollywood was being blown apart by forces within and without and actors like Rick Dalton were discovering they no longer had a clear role to play. One wonders if Tarantino in this age of CGI and superhero franchises and re-cycled concept after sequel films wonders if his time is almost up.

I believed this was on his mind right up until the last act of the movie. In that last act, Tarantino through his 3 lead characters issues a most visual and visceral middle finger to the idea that his time is up. And the last act is simply stunning. 

The more time that passes the more I want to see Once Upon a Time in Hollywood again. It is a lyrical sledgehammer that remains with the viewer far after the brilliant closing credits wrap.

ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD receives THREE AND A HALF SPAGHETTI WESTERNS out of a possible FIVE

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Link’n’Blog – 8.2.19 | DeNiro. Pacino. Pesci. Scorese. The Irishman.

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I loved Lincoln Logs when I was a kid. Though I never entertained the idea that I would be a designer, engineer or architect, something about putting together these wooden and plastic pieces was simply simple fun. Connecting to ideas through the blogosphere seems similar to this pursuit, hence the title of this weekly post. Each Friday, I intend to post something interesting I’ve read out there on the internets. Hopefully others will find these posts as fun or thought provoking as I have.

This de-aging technology in Hollywood is REALLY something…

And thank you, Netflix, for backing a movie like The Irishman.

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