Friday, April 23, 2010

The Return of Snake Plissken?

Here is the headline, “Breck Eisner directing 'Escape From New York'”. See for yourself here at:

Now that that is out of the way please allow me a moment to vent my mixed feelings at this announcement. You see, Gentle Reader, John Carpenter’s “Escape from New York” is near and dear to my heart and to hear such talk upsets the ole’ apple cart, so to speak. I faced this a couple of months ago when Gerard Butler was up for the roll that Kurt Russell owns.

Please give me a moment…

Deep breathe. Exhale.

Good. That’s better…

These days one has to look at remakes and “re-imaginings” of beloved projects as par for the course. The directors that loved this stuff growing up are fans and geeks just like me. Of course they are going to want to play in the sandbox of some of their favorite characters. Who wouldn’t? When Ronald Moore announced that he was given the reins to a new “Battlestar Galactica” I was initially up in arms. After seeing what he shaped it into and the shear love of the story that he poured into the project I find it hard to see a Cylon without the stamp of Ronald Moore upon it. Yes I love the original but the remake / re-imagining is so much more engrossing; so much… (dare I say) BETTER.

The same thing happened back in 1982 when a young filmmaker decided that he was going to remake the science fiction classic, “The Thing”. Just who did this guy think he was messing with a classic that generations of movie geeks had grown to love? What could he do that the original filmmakers couldn’t? As it turns out that young filmmaker knew what he was doing. He pulled the best remake EVER out of his hat, “John Carpenter’s The Thing”. It is one of my all time favorite films.

I love John Carpenter. I love his films. I miss him. Horribly. I wish that he had started a school or had taken some pupils under his wing like Roger Corman did for him. Carpenter HAS something to say. What kills me is that he is keeping it to himself these days. The cinematic world is the poorer for it.

In a perfect world I would love to see a John Carpenter directed and Kurt Russell staring part three to the saga of Snake Plissken. One where Snake turns the world back on (since he shut it down in part two) where the powers that be decide that he is more a risk than an asset and where Plissken makes the escape that we never expected.

Since this is not a perfect cinematic world I am no longer inclined to write off a remake / re-imagining of one of my ALL TIME FAVORITE FILMS. Yeah, I know, it’s kooky but what can I say, Snake Plissken is one of my ALL TIME favorite Anti-Heroes. He packs way too much angst and memory to resist. I truly wish it would be Kurt in the role but “remakes” do not lend themselves to “trilogies”.

Come what may, I’ll see you at the multiplex – eye patch in hand.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Surrounded by Stories Surreal and Sublime

“Surrounded by stories surreal and sublime I fell in love in a library once upon a time.” – Jimmy Buffett

Once upon a time a boy met a girl in a bookstore. She worked there and the boy bought a lot of books from her. Sometimes he read the books sometimes he did not; this does not lessen the fact that he bought a lot of books from her. One day the boy mustered up the courage to ask the girl out and, to the boy’s amazement, the girl said, “Yes.”

They went out together on a handful of dates but their appointed time had not yet come. They went their separate ways both knowing that there was something there… something special. Time passed and, as luck would have it, the two ran into each other in night school at college. He was taking a literature course and she… well; she was there. His heart jumped into his throat when he saw her. His friend who was on the payphone to her boyfriend knew the situation between the two and advised the boy. “Don’t say anything.” She said, as the girl was getting closer to where the boy and his friend stood. “Say nothing!” she said. He could swear that the girl had seen him. She was getting closer now. “Don’t talk to her.” The boy’s friend said just out of earshot of the girl.

“Linda?” the boy asked knowing it was she all along. The boy’s friend rolled her eyes.

“George?” the girl replied.

And it came to pass that a conversation was struck. Subsequent nights found the two talking in the parking lot for hours at a time. There were nights that security had to shut off the lights just to get the pair off of the property. The two had found each other once again and their appointed time was approaching. Late night coffees turned into dating; dating turned into a deeper relationship. Soon the girl met the boy’s mother and the boy met the girl’s parents. One day the boy mustered up the courage to ask the girl to marry him and, to the boy’s amazement, the girl said, “Yes.”

Twenty years ago their appointed time had come. The girl and the boy got married at the First Baptist Church in Wildwood New Jersey. She was beautiful. He was nervous – so much so that after the ceremony he ran least three red lights on the way to dinner.

The two then got down to the business of life and, if you are paying any attention at all, is a commodity that moves quickly. There were adventures and misadventures, there was laughter and tears but the two knew that they were stronger together than either had ever been apart. The two had a daughter; and then there were three. Then another; and then there were four. Then another; and then there were five and oh the adventures they had! Over the span of those twenty years, the girl and the boy became a woman and a man; growing up and growing together with deep roots, always stronger together than apart. As for the FIVE? Well, they are still having adventures and their tales are still being written and told. It was stories that brought the two together and the wonder of the legends yet to unfold that has the two excited for what future chapters may bring.

We truly have lived our lives surrounded by stories surreal and sublime. Happy anniversary Lady; I can’t wait to see what’s next.

Monday, April 05, 2010

That’s My Story and I’m Stickin’ to It

So we are heading to the “Liar Liar” Geocaching Event on Saturday morning; which was all part of the plan. We drove up the overpass on Route 55 and down the ramp to the hamlet of Deptford NJ where to our wondering eyes did see a traveling carnival being set up in the parking lot of a closed down movie theater.

“Can we go?” shouted two of the three kids from the backseat of our SUV.

“No.” I said listening to the groans of disappointment gush from over from the backseat.

“Why not, Dad?” Chick 3.0 asked. “It would be fun.”

“There!” I said pointing at the attractions from our view at the stoplight, “That’s why not.” Four sets of eyes surveyed the rickety view. Half constructed rides that twirled, dropped or rotated at amazing spleen crushing speeds. There were names like “The Gut-Masher”, the “Vomit-Tron” and “The Mangler”. I could have sworn that the letters were shaped like broken bones on that one. In my mind’s eye I could see the unforgiving gas engines turning gears, pulling chains that made the wobbly, poorly constructed rides work. In my imagination I could see a man with a hook for a hand turn in our direction and scream through the greasy smoke of the funnel cakes and hot dog carts, “DO YOU KNOW HOW I LOST THIS?

“And what’s wrong with that?” Chick 2.0 asked.

Before I could explain to my 13 year-old exactly what was wrong with that Mother Hen spoke, “I use to love going to the fair.”

“This is not a fair – it’s an Erector Set gone horribly awry!”

“What’s an Erector Set?” Chick 3.0 asked.

Mother Hen smiled. “Let’s take a look at what they’re doing.”

“I don’t know, Carnies don’t like to be disturbed.” I said.

“Carnies?” Chick 1.0 asked with a grin on her face.

“People who work at carnivals and traveling fairs – carnies.”

“So will they have games?” Chick 1.0 asked. “I love to play the games.”

“Games! I think you have to sign a waiver to play ‘em.” I said.

“Oh come on, it’s not that bad.” Mother Hen said. “Come on, let’s see what they’re up to.”

The light turned green and instead of driving straight to the event I turned into the parking lot. We made our way to the outskirts of the fair where workers looked up from their toils and watched us with untrusting eyes.

“Isn’t this cool!” Chick 2.0 said. I smiled at the workers as our SUV moved further on into the bowels of the fair.

We could see two men suspended on harnesses trying to secure a HUGE bowling ball to the top of a set of cartoonishly rendered bowling pins. They must have been 30 feet in the air. There was a sign underneath them that read, “Mad Jack’s Beyond Bowl-A-Drome”.

“They have games!” Chick 1.0 said.

A figure stepped in front of our SUV. I was going slowly but it still jarred us as I stomped on the brakes. No lie, this guy was dressed just like Indiana Jones. I didn’t know if he was a carnie, a sci-fi convention attendee, a mental patient or a geocacher. I just didn’t know. However, I did know that he was pretty faithful to the character from the fedora adorning his stubble-chinned head to the Mark VII British gasmask bag hanging to his left side. He had the beaten leather jacket, the bullwhip and a holster on his right hip that I was praying did not hold a Webley Mark VI like Indy’s did. He sneered at me and purposefully walked to my side of the SUV. Unfortunately, I already had the window down.

“Just what do you think you’re doin’ here?” Indy asked.

“We were curious and wanted to take a look.” I said.

“We ain’t open yet.” Indy said. Another worker who bore a striking resemblance to Chunk from “The Goonies” came over and stood just by Indy’s shoulder. Chunk was looking inside our SUV with that one good eye of his. I could see that he had Summer Teeth dentition – some are here, some are there.

“So when do you open?” I asked.

“When we are not being interrupted by trespassers.”

“Yah.” Chunk said. “Trespassers.”

“Trespassers? This is a public lot. We might be future customers.” I said although neither Indy nor I believed the later part of what I had just said.

“You’re trespassers!” Indy said. I’m sure he was going to say something else but an ear splitting CRACK interrupted him. As it turns out the two guys working on that huge bowling ball they sheared the bolts off of the thing and gravity was about to have its way with anything or anyone standing in its way. I saw the look of fear race across Indy’s and Chunk’s faces as the bowling ball… I’m sorry that’s not right… the BOWLING BALL crashed down and began to roll towards us. Sensing impending doom Indiana Jones ran past us with the Huge Bowling Ball in hot pursuit.

“INDIANA, INDIANA!” Chunk cried as he ran after him. He had a bit of a limp but this did not stop him from aiding his friend.

The five of us stared at the scene, jaws open. “All right then.” I said. “Who’s hungry?” Mother Hen looked in my direction as I put the SUV into drive and we made our way to Joe & Sue’s Liar Liar Breakfast Event (which was GREAT by the way).

Now if I could only get the theme to “Raiders of the Lost Ark” out of my head. Den da da da, Den da da!