Lost Cinema: Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry (1974)

While Peter Fonda's Easy Rider is the essential counter-culture outlaw classic from 1969 this rumbling road movie from '74 is wicked fun with great photography of seventies California and frantic car chases that have aged well. In the vein of other subversive flicks like Vanishing Point and Two Lane Blacktop, Dirty Mary Crazy Larry is a moody time capsule of a bygone era.

September 1995: President Obama reading and discussing "Dreams from My Father" in Cambridge

Stumbled upon this the other night. Many years before he would burst onto the national political scene, Obama was a magnetizing orator. 

Late Summer Albums for Bicycling in a Pandemic

Taking on spin with new albums from Nas, The Killers, Erasure, Bright Eyes and Washed Out.
It's beautiful outside and the white clouds and blue sky are saturating my eyes like the highest definition television set. Hyde Park is a ghost town and I'm peddling across the pavement where leaves are still splayed since last fall. I am still the same as I was in 8th grade, listening to a new album from Nas in 2020 like it's 1999. On "Ultra Black," Nas shouts out the Motown Museum in Detroit and raps "No matter your race, to me, we are all black" - it makes me smile inside and out. We all originate from the same motherland. King's Disease is a blunt title and given the current affairs you can interpret it in multiple ways. More importantly, the album is bloat free and one of Nas' most effective efforts in years, teaming up with Hit Boy as his single beat supplier envelopes him in a cohesive vibe. Those that were left disappointed after the Kayne composed…

Disgruntled Doc: George C. Scott in Paddy Cheyafsky's 'The Hospital' (1971)

In The Hospital, dead bodies of the staff are piling up and the suicidal, recently divorced Dr. Herbert Bock (George C. Scott) begins to lose his grip as the hospital tailspins into utter chaos. Scott delivers a masterful performance as the hot-headed chief of medicine whose conservative ideologies and sense of self-worth are becoming dubious. It's the 1970s - his kids are rebellious runaways and there are protesters rallying outside the hospital. Hitting the sauce a little heavy, Bock has the self-actualization that he is not only impotent sexually but spiritually. In a moment of enlightenment, he rages at the medical industrial complex, screaming out into the darkness that: "We've established the most enormous medical entity ever conceived... and people are sicker than ever. We cure nothing! We heal nothing!"
While Bock's hospital may have run smoother and possibly avoided malpractice with today's technology, his scathing assessment of the American healthca…

'Reds' was one of the greatest films of the 80s: Warren Beatty's underappreciated masterpiece is the epic cinematic counter to the Reagan era and a lesson for today's unrest

What would you say this war is about, Jack Reed? Profits

Warren Beatty had balls.
The bold follow-up to his 1978 box-office smash Heaven Can Wait,Reds, was released in December of 1981, during the Cold War and first year of Ronald Reagan's presidency as tensions began escalating between the United States and the Soviet Union. In mid-December, the communist party leadership of Poland would enact Martial Law to combat political opposition. Reagan privately pled for the Soviets to influence a reversal of course while he publicly imposed sanctions against Poland.  Counter to the American jingoism of the Reagan '80s, Reds is steeped in communism and Bolsheviks, with its ideology centered on workers' rights, making it ever prescient to today's gig workers caught in the web of a techno-global corporatist plutocracy. In beautiful brushstrokes, Reds brings to canvas the story of real life journalist and communist activist John 'Jack' Reed (Beatty) as he becomes swept in…

Capital in the Twenty-First Century: The Thomas Piketty inspired documentary helps to explain the COVID-19 economic crisis

Capital in the Twenty-First Century is a documentary inspired by the unlikely 2013 best seller of the same name by French economist Thomas Piketty. Capital was a dense volume of academic research clocking in at over 500 pages that became an overnight sensation as it meticulously investigated the causes of the inequality gap that has plagued nations. Piketty's elevator pitch is that there are two types of income sources: capital and labor and those that hold the capital assets ultimately win out in the end. Piketty demonstrated through extensive research that the historical returns on capital outpaced economic growth. It's the stark theme highlighted in countless books, articles and documentaries as we've grown familiar of the charts contrasting the stagnant wages of the working class and the exponential accumulation of wealth by the elite.

Inequality has only accelerated since 2013 and much has changed both geopolitically and in the global economy. Rising levels of ine…

Andrew Ahn's "Driveways" features the late Brian Dennehy

Hollywood legend Brian Dennehy passed away in April of this year. One of the all-time great character actors (as hilariously noted by Patton Oswalt), Dennehy is probably most remembered for playing John Wayne Gacy in To Catch a Killer and as the small-town cop harassing Rambo in First Blood along with roles in thrillers like the F/X films and Best Seller.

One of his final roles is playing a Korean War veteran and widower in Andrew Ahn's new film Driveways. Driveways is the follow-up to Ahn's first feature, Spa Night, a sultry slowburn centered around a closeted youth who takes a job at one of the spas in LA's Koreatown. I highly recommended tracking down the DVDfrom Strand - sadly there is no blu-ray.

Driveways is a coming of age tale centered around the relationship between a mother (Hong Chau) and her young son and their neighbor, played by Dennehy. Dennehy resembles my own maternal grandfather and the trailer for Driveways reminds me of the summer days I would spend wi…