Grappling With the Instinctive – and Unnecessary – Fictionalization of History

I recently watched Michael Mann’s Public Enemies for the first time since its 2009 theatrical release. Based on Bryan Burrough’s excellent 2004 book of the same name, it narrows the focus of the sprawling book to the cat-and-mouse game played by bank robber John Dillinger and Melvin Purvis, special agent in charge of the Chicago … Continue reading Grappling With the Instinctive – and Unnecessary – Fictionalization of History

Fact and Fiction in Relationship Portrayals: BEAUTIFUL GIRLS Meets My Romantic History

The indispensable Internet Movie Database (“IMDb”) informs me the underrated romantic dramedy Beautiful Girls debuted in American movie theaters on February 9, 1996. However, I did not see it until sometime in the last decade or so. I enjoyed it, especially the bravura performance by then-14-year-old Natalie Portman. Her portrayal of Willie Conway’s (Timothy Hutton) … Continue reading Fact and Fiction in Relationship Portrayals: BEAUTIFUL GIRLS Meets My Romantic History

Moving, Non-Publication…and Dada?

I rarely break the fourth wall here: personal stories I tell are usually contextualized within some larger theme, like interrogating memory. Today, however, I speak directly to you – to explain why, after 16 posts in 3½ months, I have not posted since June 25. I will not, however, explain why I did not post … Continue reading Moving, Non-Publication…and Dada?

Finding The Worst Character In Neo-Noir: And The Winner Is…

At 2:44 am on May 8, 2021, I tweeted the following using the handle @drnoir33: Finding the worst character in #neonoir begins with this Corrupt Power matchup: Noah Cross from CHINATOWN Harry Angel from ANGEL HEART #filmnoir #cinema #film Attached to the tweet was a poll allowing a Twitter user to choose either Cross or … Continue reading Finding The Worst Character In Neo-Noir: And The Winner Is…

Finding The Worst Character In Neo-Noir: Let The Voting Begin!

WARNING: Spoilers ahead!! In two previous posts, I… Introduced two metrics, POINTS and Opportunity-Adjusted POINTS (“OAP”), to rank films by how often they are cited as “neo-noir,” allowing for how many reputable authors on film noir could have listed them.Selected 64 characters as contenders for “worst character in neo-noir.” These 64 characters are evenly distributed … Continue reading Finding The Worst Character In Neo-Noir: Let The Voting Begin!

Finding The Worst Character In Neo-Noir: Setting The Brackets

WARNING: Spoilers ahead!! [Editor's note: In an earlier version of this post, I neglected to include Woo-Jin Lee in my Cunning Manipulator list, so I correct this post by adding him and removing Hedra Carlson] In a previous post, I used two metrics—POINTS and Opportunity-Adjusted POINTS (“OAP”) to identify 96 films most often cited as … Continue reading Finding The Worst Character In Neo-Noir: Setting The Brackets

That Time My Great-Uncle Helped Send a Man To Prison

On January 29, 2021, 3½ years after my wife Nell suggested in financial exasperation that I write a book, I put on “outside” clothes, sneakers and my protective mask, then walked down to our local FedEx office. There, I plugged my thumb drive into a printer…then watched in relief and wonder as it printed out … Continue reading That Time My Great-Uncle Helped Send a Man To Prison

Dispatches from Brookline: Home Schooling and Social Distancing XIII

I have described elsewhere how my wife Nell, our two daughters—one in 4th grade and one in 6th grade—and I were already coping with social distancing and the closure of the public schools in Brookline, Massachusetts until at least May 4, 2020. Besides staying inside as much as possible, we converted our dining room into … Continue reading Dispatches from Brookline: Home Schooling and Social Distancing XIII

Dispatches from Brookline: Home Schooling and Social Distancing XII

I have described elsewhere how my wife Nell, our two daughters—one in 4th grade and one in 6th grade—and I were already coping with social distancing and the closure of the public schools in Brookline, Massachusetts until at least May 4, 2020. Besides staying inside as much as possible, we converted our dining room into … Continue reading Dispatches from Brookline: Home Schooling and Social Distancing XII

Dispatches from Brookline: Home Schooling and Social Distancing XI

I have described elsewhere how my wife Nell, our two daughters—one in 4th grade and one in 6th grade—and I were already coping with social distancing and the closure of the public schools in Brookline, Massachusetts until at least May 4, 2020. Besides staying inside as much as possible, we converted our dining room into … Continue reading Dispatches from Brookline: Home Schooling and Social Distancing XI