Movie review: “Streets of Fire” (1984)

Streets of Fire

“I’m not paying you to add any thrills to my life, Cody. That’s not how this works.”

Walter Hill’s Streets of Fire wields its appellation “A Rock & Roll Fable” with a heavy emphasis on “fable” in the mythic or legendary sense of the word, almost as a hedge against having to explain why, despite outward appearances (of, it must be said, unflagging prettiness), it is not populated by recognizable human beings. The “Rock & Roll” part is also important, insofar as the characters in Streets of Fire, a gaggle of ineffectual tough guys, gun molls, and collateral damage otherwise, only ever seem at all comfortable expressing their feelings when either singing, playing, or listening to live music. On that score, I can relate. A gritty, visually arresting street opera minus approximately 60% of the necessary attendant emotion, the movie is yet another flawed yet beloved artifact of my youth that I have struggled to fully embrace as an adult, in large part because its unassuming strengths and glaring weaknesses are so clearly at war with each other. Continue reading “Movie review: “Streets of Fire” (1984)”

Steelers Thoughts #16 (7/19/18): The Ring of Distant Bells

NFL: Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers

I can, thankfully, only imagine the tedium with which dedicated sports beat reporters fill their offseasons. Freed from the strictures of working at a more traditional, or even outwardly identifiable, sports website, I wile away those same days in a barely distracted haze, neither slave to their all-consuming 24-hour news cycles nor subject to their unquenchable thirst for reckless speculation and calorie-free commentary. At certain points of the journey, however, as forks in the road come into view, I can still rouse myself and adopt more or less the same passionate guise in week three of July that I’ll wear in week ten of the regular season. As the Steelers zero in on the commencement of another training camp in picturesque Latrobe, Pennsylvania, their biggest lingering distraction has finally been sorted out, for better or worse Continue reading “Steelers Thoughts #16 (7/19/18): The Ring of Distant Bells”

Movie review: “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” (2018)

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“The greatest thing that we can do is to help somebody know that they’re loved, and capable of loving.”

In purely technical terms, we have been without Fred Rogers for fifteen years. I know, it surprised me too; although by the time of his passing in 2003 he had, for me, long since drifted out of sight, if never quite out of mind. The mind is funny that way, as I learned while watching Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, a spellbinding new documentary that does generations perhaps suffering similar problems of perception, in addition to those not yet born, the courtesy of presenting the man and his work on roughly equal footing. Both are nothing less than inspirational. Technicality has no place in the realm of feelings, of course, and so those fifteen years might well be millennia to some – whether or not they are wholly cognizant of the loss – so difficult is his absence, so great is the distance from there to here, so dark and cold it can be to sit, day after day with insufficient comfort, in the shadow of a sun obscured. Yeah, my trusty house brand of hyperbole shrinks in the face of the legacy of Fred Rogers Continue reading “Movie review: “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” (2018)”

DVR Hindsight #17 (7/3/18): Glow – Season Two

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To make me click “Play” instead of just investing a checkmark, a Netflix original needs to appeal to me on multiple levels. Despite its deluge of weaponized options, the sly, only seemingly slight pro wrestling comedy Glow, whose second season dropped this past Friday, is the first Netflix original since Marvel’s Jessica Jones debuted to pull me into an arrangement anything like the appointment viewing I still maintain offline (albeit with the help of a DVR that runs at 80-95% capacity at all times, like one of those massive coal furnaces on the Titanic). For what it’s worth, Jessica Jones’ second season still sits wrapped beneath the tree while I’m already writing about Glow approximately twelve hours after cracking the seal. Continue reading “DVR Hindsight #17 (7/3/18): Glow – Season Two”