My mother and father weaned me on film.
My earliest memory is my father sitting on my bottom bunk bed recounting the plot of Goldfinger (it’s still my top James Bond movie). My Mother, Maree , could name every lead actor and support in every film she had seen. Or she would drive you nuts trying to recall – “You know the fella that was in the film with the other fella with the hat. Go on. Of course you know. The lad with the horse.” Eventually I did know them all too. Love you Maree!
I started going to movies on my own in the Claddagh Palace as young as I was allowed. Films would back then take an age to reach Ireland after their original release in the United States. I often had months of pent up anticipation before getting to see a movie. Every Irish teen knew the words to every song in Grease by the time it arrived in Galway. They’d all been hits long before the film got to to the Claddagh Palace. Grease was a singalong event in my home town cinema. Jaws couldn’t get to Galway fast enough for me. I could tell you everything you needed to know about great whites in advance – my original shark week. Before illegal film replication, streaming and the blockbuster release format, films were a slow trickle getting to Ireland.
So fuck the wheel .
The VHS player was the greatest invention in history. As soon as I could afford it I bought one of the first players, on Hire Purchase, from O’Connors Electronics . I was in college then. I then bought or copied every film I could afford on VHS tape. Hundreds of them. I was then the idiot who bought Laserdiscs; chrome disks the size of LP Vinyl that only played an hour a side and needed to be flipped over to finish a movie. They were a short lived fad, soon replaced by my DVD collection. And now I have every movie I’ve ever wanted on Blu-ray. I’m a hoarder. And YES all the drawers are filled with movies and I’ve watched and rewatched them all.
Abbie, my niece back in Ireland, is taking advantage of her down time to train as a newscaster for RTE.
I’ve often mused that if we had as many serial killers as films about them we’d all be toes up. I don’t muse about serial killers a lot, by the way.
This gets complicated.
The 1981 novel Red Dragon, by Thomas Harris , introduced the world to Hannibal Lecter. The book covers the investigation of FBI profiler, Will Graham, into a the serial killings of families by a murderer nicknamed The Tooth Fairy. He leaves bite marks on his victims. Lecter is a support character in this book, helping(?) Will Graham, the man who locked him up.
Manhunter, is the visually stunning 1986 neo-noir based film on Red Dragon. The film bombed on release but has grown in critical esteem over the years. I was a fan first. Brian Cox (Succession) is mesmerizing as Lecter, caged in a stark white cell. Directed by the master , Michael Mann, this is my favorite Lecter film. A total rewatchable.
Will Graham is based on real life profiler John Douglas who’s autobiography , Mindhunter is the loose basis for the Netflix series of the same name.
Mindhunter is like Pringle’s. There’s not enough in one episode – you need to keep going. I mean that in the best of ways. It’s a series that gets right under your skin. Director and producer David Fincher brings the same bleakness and realism he did with his three hour movie monument Zodiac. Another rewatchable.
Manhunter Season 1 centers on the formation of the FBI’s behavioral science unit, with our protagonists interviewing incarcerated killers . Mindhunter positioned all 6’ 9” of Edmund Kemper on my radar as the most unknown and underrated serial killer in history. That man was messed up. Brienne can give you the episode number for the Sword & Scale podcast with audio interviews of old Ed. That one will keep you awake.
With the characters firmly established, Mindhunter S2 puts you squarely inside the Atlanta child murder investigation.
My Bestie Kevin Naylor, is currently on lockdown with bestie family Max, Maddie & Alfie in their London home. That’s the reality TV show I’d watch. Kev reminded me I should have included Miller’s Crossing on my St. Paddy’s day list. He’s very right.
Millers Crossing is the The Coen Brothers take on an Irish prohibition gangster movie.
Gabriel Byrne and Albert Finney lead the superb cast in this telling of a power struggle between two rival gangs in a nameless American city.
Millers Crossing’s dialogue is endlessly quotable.
Kevin once phoned me, sooooooo pleased with himself. He’d seen a man run after his hat on a London city train platform. Kevin got to quote – “Nothing more foolish than a man chasin’ hid hat”, to the man chasing his hat . I was very pleased for Kevin too. There’s a lot of hat chasing in Miller’s Crossing.
Is this my favorite Coen Brothers movie? I could watch that brilliant dialogue free Danny Boy scene on repeat. But favorite Coen movie is a tough one. I have four or five, for later.
Miller’s Crossing is way up on there my rewatchable list.
I went outside today for five minutes and got my first deer tick of 2020. You’re right Alfie Naylor, it’s not safe in those woods.
Citibank did make good on my debit card delivery. The only person I saw today was a fedex driver.
But the world is still functioning.
Spring is in the air.