My dad has four brothers; the oldest, Gary, was born in 1951. Gary was a hippie for a while, and saw 2001: A Space Odyssey in the theater (probably on acid, shh). He’s a blue collar intellectual, a salt-of-the-earth fellow who knows about cars and Greek philosophy and cooking and political theory and electrical stuff. Gary worked at a newspaper in Port Huron, Michigan for 25 years and then retired. In 1985, his left index finger was severed in half by some machine. When he removed his work glove he felt something dangling which felt like a string, and later he asked the doctor what it was, only to receive the reply, “that was your tendon, it had been pulled out”. (That detail has no relevance to anything—I just wanted to make you shiver.)
Continue reading My Uncle Gary, The Bargain Bin Junkie
Whether or not we can learn a thing or two about the current state of cinema by examining the 1980 film Maniac by William Lustig and its 2012 remake by Franck Khalfoun is difficult to say—both films were not made for mainstream audiences. And both have leading men that wouldn’t ordinarily be considered leading men: starring in the 1980 film is Joe Spinell (the extremely prolific character actor who had bit roles in such films as The Godfather 1 & 2, Taxi Driver, Rocky 1 & 2, and Cruising) and in the remake, Elijah Wood, star of the immensely successful Lord of the Rings saga (as well as many other films that aren’t necessarily known as Elijah Wood vehicles). The original Maniac was shot in the very seedy New York City, with Spinell stalking about the grimy 42nd St theaters that would soon be playing the very film he’s acting in. When it was released, it caught some of the backlash that all “slasher” films were experiencing at the time—namely, accusations of being merely an exercise in violence for its own sake. (Gene Siskel took pride in claiming he walked out of Maniac after 30 minutes.) The remake was shot in sunny Los Angeles, mostly in the downtown area. It has yet to have a wide release here in the US.
Continue reading Multiple Maniacs