Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Amazing Story of Christopher Knight - A Tribe of One

Meet Christopher Knight.

Incredibly powerful story of a man who, for reasons he really didn't either understand or want to share, left society behind. In 1986 Knight drove his Subaru Brat as far as it would go into the Maine woods and wasn't discovered for nearly 30 years. Well worth the read.

The Daily Mail Online also has an update about Knight trying to follow court orders and assimilate back into society.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Lauren Bacall 1924-2014

The great Lauren Bacall nee Betty Joan Perske passed away at age 89 on Tuesday. Ms. Bacall was nothing but class (at least onscreen), one of the last of the golden age of American cinema.

She was 19 years old when she appeared in To Have and Have Not with the great Humphrey Bogart. Bogey and Bacall went on to get married and make some of the most memorable films in history. Their onscreen chemistry was simply amazing.

This is the famous "You know how to whistle, don't you Steve? You just put your lips together and blow" scene from To Have and Have Not released in 1944, when again, Lauren Bacall was 19 years old.

"Slim" was Bogart's nickname for her on and off screen.

Here are some clips and photos:

Again from To Have and Have Not (1944)

The Big Sleep (1946)

Dark Passage (1947)

Key Largo (1948)

Ms. Bacall is quoted as saying: "I think your whole life shows in your face and you should be proud of that."

More quotes:
Actors today go into TV, which I don't consider has a lot to do with acting. They only think of stardom. If you photograph well, that's enough. I have a terrible time distinguishing one from another. Girls wear their hair the same, and are much too anorexic-looking.
We live in an age of mediocrity. Stars today are not the same stature as Bogie, James Cagney, Spencer Tracy, Henry Fonda and Jimmy Stewart.
A legend involves the past. I don't like categories. This one is great and that one is great. The word "great" stands for something. When you talk about a great actor, you're not talking about Tom Cruise. His whole behavior is so shocking. It's inappropriate and vulgar and absolutely unacceptable to use your private life to sell anything commercially, but I think it's kind of a sickness.

RIP Lauren Bacall. As my late great dad used to say "They don't make 'em like they used to."

Monday, August 11, 2014

Sad News. RIP Robin Williams

This was quite a shock. First off, I want to talk about depression. I've seen and heard comments that this was a cowardly thing to do, and who cares about a celebrity killing themselves, etc.

Depression is no laughing matter. It can happen to anyone, from any social status, rich, poor and in between, famous or unknown, it doesn't matter.

While it's likely that we may never know what drove Robin Williams to (allegedly) commit suicide, what's important to know that nobody is immune to depression.

There are reports that Mr. Williams had been battling major depression of late, and his drug and alcohol abuse are well documented.

I'm no expert by any means, but it seems to me that as giant a personality as Robin Williams was, he may have been battling personal demons all his life. It's very likely that whatever drove him to suicide is something he has been dealing with since childhood.

When I saw the first reports that Mr. Williams had passed, I remembered watching ABC Monday Night Football back in 1980 when Howard Cosell announced that John Lennon had been shot.

Hearing that Robin Williams was dead felt the same.

I was surprised at how hard it hit me as I began to read about it and hear more of the details. I was always an admirer of Mr. Williams talent, but not always a fan of his movies. In fact, I probably have seen half of the films he's been in.

That said, I'm not here to critique his career, the man was immensely talented and of course, a comic genius. What does get lost a little bit when we think of Robin Williams, is how good he was as a dramatic actor. He was amazing. It's pretty rare for comics to pull off dramatic roles, many have tried, few have succeeded. Robin Williams was a very good dramatic actor.

Here's a scene from the movie Insomnia where he more than holds his own with Al Pacino

It's a shame that he took his life, and it's a shame that we have lost such a great talent. As I said, we'll probably never really know why.

But what applies to Robin Williams applies to many, many others who suffer with depression. It is real and it can take someone down to the point where Mr. Williams went where someone can feel that they can go no further.

If you ever feel that life is too much or know someone struggling, please try to get help. You never know, it could save someone's life or even your own.