I’ve been hearing the scratchy sound of little footsteps running around the dropped ceiling in my man cave. Mice again. I thought about maybe capturing it and sharing the furry cutie as my cuddly new pet on the recently launched company animal chat page.
But fuck that. I killed the little prick. It was shitting little black pellets everywhere. My best friends have two legs.
Last thing I need is to have my speaker cable eaten by another country rodent. I know they like gnawing on German rubber, from my Mercedes eating debacle. That cost me $3,000 in repairs. I wasn’t taking the risk they’d like the British speaker cable on my B&Ws.
I took the humane approach. I poisoned the four legged vermin with one of those soylent green cubes rather than clubbing it with a hammer. I threw them above the ceiling tiles. Seems to have worked. I had a quiet, scratch free, Film Noir viewing tonight. An important lesson for those looking to poison mice – they go back to their nests to croak. No smell! Score!
I was always full of shit when it came to talking film. I’d seen and remembered enough movies over my life that I felt all my opinions were right. A number of years back I decided I’d become a little more educated on the topic and put some scope around my scrappy film knowledge. I started taking evening classes in the New School, beginning with a class in Film Noir.
An unexpected bonus to taking classes has been the number of good friends I made. Manhattan’s New School classes are a varied blend of full time scholars and mature students. It makes for a broad age range and diverse opinions. Back in the day I’d drag everyone to the bars on University for post screening booze and bonding. I used to do a lot of bonding.
I’ve long contended to my single friends that if you want to meet others in the big city, take an evening class. You start out in a group of people with a common interest and worst case scenario, even if you don’t make friends, at least you’ve learned a little something. These classes also helped me get over a lot of my shyness issues.
So I’ve taken full advantage of these recent quiet evenings here in the countryside with my ten foot movie screen. Im working back through the dozens of Film Noir DVDs and Blu-Rays I own. There’s a real cinema feel watching those old B&W shadows on the wall downstairs. I decided at the start of the current goings on not to watch regular or cable TV. I’m eight weeks here and it’s been movies and binging only and that’s been a wise choice. I cherry pick the online news I want to read. I don’t feel I’m missing anything.
So Film Noir, a world where no good deed goes unpunished. A world filled with dames, guns and hard men who cannot get out of their own way.
Here are a few of my favorite Noirs. I have a lot. Theres no point my trying to explain any of the plots, so just trust me and watch.
Chinatown – that rare Noir set in glaring L.A. sunlight, rather than night and shadows. The water commissioner is murdered in the middle of a drought. Jake Gittes (a note perfect Jack Nicholson) is on the job, hired by the murder victims wife. Chinatowns complex screenplay is perfevt, there’s not a wasted scene in one of AFIs top 100 films. And my favorite.
Out of the Past – My jack daddy of B&W noirs. Jeff (played by King of Noirs, Robert Mitchum) is working a small town gas station, when his past comes to collect. When they talk about beautiful black and white, this is what they mean.
I’m going to go out on a limb and say that any Noir with Robert Mitchum is worth a peek. The man exuded movie star, he was build for a fedora and trench coat.
Ace in the Hole – cynical journalist Kirk Douglas manipulates events and the news to fit his ends. Now here’s a scorching Media movie before it’s time. Billy Wilder directed two other Noir Classics , Sunset Boulevard and Double indemnity. But nothing beats the heartlessness of Ace in the Hole for this dark soul.
I previously recommended the New York classic The Sweet Smell of Success. I’m recommending it again.
The Long Goodbye – Robert Altman’s 70’s slant on a Philip Marlowe classic stars an unlikely Elliot Gould as a seemingly hapless sleuth. This has a low end California beach bum vibe. Watch out for Arnie, before he was Arnie. Warning: You may get the terrible theme song stuck in your head.
In a Lonely Place – Bogart plays screenwriter Dixon, a man who’s temper and temperament make him suspect in an ex’s death. Humphrey has never been better than in this not seen by enough of you, often listed as the ultimate Noir devastator. I’m watching it tomorrow.
You’ve binged enough Netflix rubbish, team. Try something different.
My transition to country living is complete. I’m now getting Amazon deliveries in Ancramdale! What else is needed?I will miss the city doormen and I did get bigger deliveries to my door in the Manhattan apartment, but I will suffer through. It’s unlikely I will ever need dry cleaning picked up in Ancramdale, so no loss there. The food here is better – I’ve an excellent chef. The view is certainly better. The weather is getting better. The air is better. I’m getting to see my garden grow day by day for the first time. I love being able to step outside and have a coffee in the middle of the night.
I will pick up some dungarees when the General Store reopens. I have a couple of plaid Ralph Lauren shirts and some wranglers. Maybe I’ll buy a shot gun and learn to skin things. I can grow a beard if required. I just googled, wild turkey season soon. I see Agway is taking orders for chicks – my own free range eggs. I’m buying a tractor. Thank God – I’m a country boy.
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