Are The Russians The New Nazis?

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Photo by Michal Zacharzewski from FreeImagesHave you noticed this?

It seems like I can’t turn to a movie, TV show, or just about anything else produced by Hollywood without seeing the same thing over and over again.

No, I’m not talking about the plot. (That’s not a Hollywood thing, there are only three basic conflicts in all dramatic literature and that means a lot of repeated plots going all the way back to ancient Greece.)

And I’m not talking about the protagonists. (Yes, this superhero thing has gotten out of hand, but, hey, can you blame Hollywood? The more it sells the more they’ll make, at least until it stops selling.)

What I’m talking about is fast becoming a stereotypical prototype for the antagonist, the enemy of the protagonist, otherwise known as “the bad guy.” It’s not that they aren’t Continue Reading “Are The Russians The New Nazis?”

Criminal Hubris: It Gets Them Every TIME

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Search for the term “criminal hubris” and chances are you won’t find anything (except, hopefully, this woeful column). We know what a criminal is. We know what hubris is. But there is no definition of “criminal hubris.”

Yet there is, and it’s staring at us right in the face. Metaphorically, it’s all around us. Cinematographically, it resides on the screens we watch. Its roots, however, lie within the body of literature – both philosophical and dramatic – we ought to be most familiar with.

Whether as a metaphor for real-life, a character in a story, or an actual crime, “criminal hubris” is easy to spot (if you’ve got a trained eye), hard to avoid (if you’re arrogant), and, best of all, wonderful to watch (because it hoists offenders with their own petard quite regularly).

Before I reveal the “7 Steps of Criminal Hubris” let’s explore the origins of “hubris” and Continue Reading “Criminal Hubris: It Gets Them Every TIME

A Hero Has Fallen

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Say what you will about cinematographers, but they’re literally responsible for what we see in movies. Ultimately, save for a few choice lines, it is these images we remember most from the classic films we cherish.

It was the cinematographer’s use of a soft lens in critical close-ups that told more of Ilsa Lund’s backstory in Casablanca than any flashback could. We see a hint of it when she first enters Rick’s Café Américain, a popular casino. There, she’s introduced to Captain Renault.

But it is the extended close-up when Ilsa asks Sam to “play it for me.” There, the lens embraces the wholesome beauty of Ingrid Bergman and the sweet alluring yet Continue Reading “A Hero Has Fallen”

Every “Real Man” Knows How To Tie A Bow Tie

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If you’re a guy of a certain age, (or maybe any age, I don’t know), you can’t say you’ve never fantasized the following: You’re sitting at a plush Baccarat table, debonairly dressed in a crisp tux, cradling a dry martini (shaken, not stirred) in one hand, fondling a couple of heavy chips in the other, while coyly catching the eye of a certain femme fatale.

If there’s one prop that defines this scene, the one thing your mind’s eye focuses on, it’s the bow tie.

You can’t wear a shiny tux without one. The bow tie tells the story – the whole story.

Here’s why.Continue Reading “Every “Real Man” Knows How To Tie A Bow Tie”

Rotary’s Casino Royale

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Rotary Casino 20160226_203741Who doesn’t like James Bond? And, if you like James Bond, you just gotta love a casino! Not since ol’ Doc Smith brought the circus to “right here in Honeoye Falls” so many decades ago have I looked with such anticipation to a Rotary event. (Yes, that includes the year they delighted my son Peter – who polished and shined it back to life – by awarding my ‘83 Camaro a third place price at the Rotary Car Show in 2011.) When we found out about the casino, (which wasn’t hard given the poster was right there on John’s counter at the Mendon Pharmacy), Betsy and I decided we had to go.

OK, OK, I admit I was more excited about the “Casino” part. Betsy, on the other hand, she Continue Reading “Rotary’s Casino Royale”