Feb 8, 2016

Mondays With Columbo: SWAN SONG

You might think, "Oh, this is the Columbo episode with Johnny Cash, so it's got to be a bit terrible."

Actually, this entry from Columbo's third season is quite remarkable in how it both reveals the crime and the resulting investigation....

...but first, the not-so-good parts.

First, the concert footage at the beginning - there's a quite obvious visual difference between actual Cash concert footage and studio-filmed Cash footage. (Admittedly, it was the 1970s, but the feel as like bouncing from the Captain America: Civil War trailer and the Batman V Superman trailer). It also doesn't help that Sorrell Booke - playing the victim's brother and the man who kick starts the investigation - plays his role a little too over-the-top.

But Johnny Cash? His performance is pretty rock solid. Oh, sure, there are some...interesting dialogue and pronunciation choices (as the Just One More Thing podcast points out), but Cash never plays Tommy Brown as an overt villain. It's very reminiscent, in fact, of Andy Griffith's turn in A Face In the Crowd - behind the aw-shucks demeanor is a carefully calculating individual. A man who sees himself as slightly ahead of the curve....which is what Columbo's counting in.

But there's another nice aspect to the episode....and that's Columbo's interactions with Pangborn, an FAA investigator played by veteran character actor John Dehner. Normally, Columbo's interactions with investigators of various kinds tends to be....well, Peter Falk portrays Columbo as a slight annoyance to others. With Dehner - I'm willing to bet it's the script - there's a nice, polite respect between the two men. Gone are the obvious overt Columbo-isms - there's a great deal to joy in watching these two men work together. It's only a few scenes, but it's sheer delight.

Finally, this is one of those scripts that - with only a minor tweaking - could be a 21st century episode. A religious country music singer who murders his wife and background singer in order to gain money....and hide a dark secret? Had this been produced two or three years ago, the conservative set would have been up in arms about this. But in the 1970s, it was....a bit more polite, but still has something of a contemporary edge.

One of the better Columbo episodes.

Feb 5, 2016

Farewell to My Feline Brother Chucky

Originally Posted on Facebook

Today was....kind of rough. 

Mom's cat Chucky has been sick for the past week. Barely eating, sleeping a lot....well, Chucky never was an up-and-lively cat. He was more of a quiet, reserved kitty.

Kind of like me as a person. 

When Mom was in and out of the hospital pre-transplant, he would poke his head out when I would visit, see that I was there, and then head off, leaving me to annoy his brother Smokey. 

But today, I took the time to take Mom and Chucky to the vet. Long story short....chances weren't good. 

And Mom and I both had to let go of Chucky. 

Losing pets is relatively new for me - my original high school-era cats had passed while I lived in St. Louis. Smokey got a pre-ending visit, and I was able to be there for Dax. 

And thankfully, I was able to be there for Mom. 

 It's rather ironic - a few days ago, I was accused of being "arrogant" because I suggested that some things weren't worth drama. I'm proud of the fact that I was able to be there for my mom....and my feline brother. 

And if that makes me arrogant, so be it. 

RIP, Chucky. You'll be missed.

Feb 1, 2016

Kick off African-American History Month with MACKED, HAMMERED, SLAUGHTERED & SHAFTED

Macked, Hammered, Slaughtered, & Shafted - a blaxploitation documentary from David F Walker on Vimeo.

Came across this while reading Derrick Ferguson's movie review blog.

Many of his sentiments and opinions echo my own, so I thought that rather than repeat what he said, post both his review....and the direct link to the film.

Definitely a must-watch.