Saturday, April 29, 2017

I'm Okay, You're OK...Connery

Think I'll try my hand at writing scripts for Euro-spy knock-off movies. Looks like fun.

I never knew Sean had a brother. For those of you who love Euro-spy flicks, or Bond knock-offs, this is the Pot o’ Gold. And, with tongue placed firmly in cheek, we’ll get started.

I’ve seen this film at least three, perhaps four times, and I love it. Where else could I see Neil, Sean’s younger brother, playing…Neil Connery, the brother of Agent 00… yeah, you know who. And they get lots of mileage out of almost naming Neil’s big brother, and almost saying the ‘7’ in ‘007’. But, wait, the brother of Neil Connery would be Sean Connery, not James Bond, so are they saying that Sean is the super-spy, or Bond? That’s one of the many great things about OK. Ya just never know which universe they’re in. Is the actor the spy or the character the actor plays, or...? My brain hurts.

While we’re looking into OK Connery’s (aka Operation Kid Brother, or Operation Double 007) uber-alternate take on spy-guy stuff, this Italian Bond riff uses several of the James Bond actors in roles that are kinda sorta like the ones in the Sean Connery Bond films. In OK, we get to see Lois Maxwell (we know her as Miss Moneypenny), play Max, a field operative in MI6 (if it’s MI6 – I don’t recall them ever saying for certain). Haven’t you always wanted to see Moneypenny out there packin’ a machine gun, blazin' away? I know I have. Italian actor Adolfo Celi (Largo in Thunderball) remained a bad guy, playing Mr. Thai, also known as Beta, in OK. Bernard Lee (‘M’ from the Bond films) gets a full name--or at least a last name--in OK. Now he’s Commander Cunningham. Anthony Dawson, Professor Dent, in Dr. No, plays Alpha, the head of Thanatos, in OK. Thanatos is the Spectre of OK.  According to IMDb, Mr. Dawson played Blofeld, the cat-friendly mastermind in From Russia with Love and Thunderball, although in Russia he’s listed as (?), and in Thunderball he’s uncredited. Hmm, a true man of mystery.

Keep writing, friends.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Reflections on a Dark City

Wanta hear a joke?

Speaking of writing, I have to include this post from a while back about my favorite TV show, Gotham. The writing is without peer.
I’ve been reading comics for fifty-plus years, and Batman has always been one of my favorites. I’ve bounced from The Flash to Superman to Batman as far as which has been my go-to comic. Batman would be my top pick, because he’s a regular Joe. No super-powers--just discipline, developing himself to the peak of his physical and mental abilities, and some cool technology.

One thing I haven't read much about in the comics is the story behind Gotham, the city. Why and how it got that way. That’s what the show Gotham does for us. It’s not about Batman. In fact, most of the time I forget that it has anything to do with Batman. Yes, we have the young Bruce Wayne, but this is long before he wears the cape and cowl. One of the elements I like is how they’re focusing on Bruce’s developing detective skills. Detective Comics. DC. Remember? At one time, lost in the dusty past, one of Batman’s taglines was “The world’s greatest detective.” Somehow that got pushed aside over the years, placing more emphasis on his martial skills, or his access to extreme technology. Some of my favorite scenes in Gotham are of Bruce poring over bits of printed material at his super-sized desk, or drawing inferences from the photos and clippings on his bulletin board. I’m not seeing him use tech a lot yet. He’s doing it the old tried-and-true way, going full-on Sherlock.

Normally I don’t get into series-based shows. The ongoing situations that never end. And, over time, I’ve seen all kinds of plot situations and devices, so it’s hard to surprise me with anything. So, true, we know Bruce Wayne becomes Batman, and *** Spoiler Alert*** Ed Nygma, the quirky analyst at GCPD, eventually becomes The Riddler, Cat becomes Catwoman, Ivy transforms into Poison Ivy, etc. What I love are the characters and the way each actor brings something new to the table. I love watching the new and entertaining interpretations on our eventual major/minor players, and how they interact with each other. So, for me, it’s about slipping into a familiar world, but with something new added.

In fact, one of the logos for Gotham on Facebook has pictures of Jim Gordon in the top-left corner, Selina Kyle (Cat) in top-right, Fish Mooney at bottom-right, and The Penguin at bottom-left, with the word ‘GOTHAM’ in the middle. No picture of Bruce Wayne or Alfred. This is a dark, edgy police drama with backbone, plus some quirks, and a hint of the supernatural (or unnatural).

The city itself is a major player, providing us with dark alleys, waterfronts, and speakeasies. When’s the last time you’ve heard the word ‘speakeasy’? That’s another interesting take on the show. It’s set current day, but it has a noir-ish, pulp-detective novel feel that runs deep. One of my favorite characters is Detective Harvey Bullock, played with a 1930s/1940s style by Donal Logue. His signature leather jacket and hard-bitten P. I. fedora is a direct pipeline to Sam Spade or Mike Hammer. He’s a borderline burned-out cop who’s learned how to walk the edge. Heart of gold beneath that tarnished exterior.

Keep writing, friends.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

The Writer in the Park

I will be trying something new here. A continuing story created from separate posts:

Part I 

"Ernie? That's what you go by?"
"Yep. Sure do."
"But your real name is Robert Scud Miller?"
That's all the information I would get from Ernie for a while. My first time I talked to Robert Scud Miller, or rather, Ernie. Must've been a few weeks ago, can't remember for sure.
Just out for a walk, and saw some folks gathered around this fellow sitting cross-legged on one of the picnic tables. He looked in his 70s, but I think he was younger. He had one of those black composition notebooks in his lap, and he was writing at a frantic pace, total concentration, his eyes laughing, and his tongue poking out the corner of his mouth. There was this crazy hat resting cock-eyed on his head, the kind a 1960s TV dad would wear when he took his kids fishing. Looked like presidential campaign buttons from several years were pinned all around it.
No one spoke while he wrote. After a few minutes, he finished with a grand flourish of his pen, waving it in the air, then stuck the pen in his torn shirt pocket. He tore out the pages and handed them to a young woman and said, smiling, "One dollar, please."
She dug around in her purse, fished out a five, and handed it to him....

Part II

Keep writing, friends.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

View from the Inside

This week I have to do it. I have to move my desk around so I can look outside. The way I face now is directly at my bookshelves, which is rather uninteresting. Now, since I have decent peripheral vision, my attention is drawn to the right where the TV hangs on the wall. I always see movement out of the corner of my eye. What I should do, of course, is turn off the bleeping thing. But I need something to look at when I'm not looking at my laptop screen. When I'm in thinking mode. So, this week. Turn the desk around so I can see outside.

Yes, I'm rambling. It's been some time, since March 8th, since I've penned a post, and the pipes are rusty. But I'm writing.

It's spring, so stuff is blooming, and there are yellow and green things growing outside. Some white things, too. Don't know what most of them are called. But I want to look at them. Also, we have a monster of a fountain which we've turned into a miniature garden. Keeping watch over the plants are a lamb, a Thai goddess (at least I think she's Thai), a gnome, and a rabbit. Used to have a gargoyle, but he broke. The four remaining watchers are concrete. They don't move much. At least not while I'm watching them. So, I guess I'm watching the watchers.

Keep writing, friends. And try to avoid doing what I did, which is to take too long of a break from writing.