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I’ve Never Seen These Two Together In Color June 8, 2018

Posted by Jim Berkin in General, Movies.
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Until today.

“I hope my Kodachrome impresses you, Rick.”

“It does, Ugarte. I am impressed with you now.”


Launching Wagstaff Summer 2018 June 1, 2018

Posted by Jim Berkin in General, Movies, Writing.
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Starting it off right – today I set a new record for alcohol purchases for a single day by replenishing different departments. Between a Trader Joes run and then a Costco trip, I refilled the ol’ wine fridge with a nice assortment, grabbed a new monster-sized Bulleit Rye (which I came back to after a brief sampling of some others, both for taste and for the Costco value), and then figured “Why not? snagging a 24 pack of Modelo regular and Modelo Negro.

I was also a good boy and donated 2 big boxes of books I culled from my overstocked library, picking out stuff I’ll never read or never read again, or in the case of numerous old reference books, never use again. I also took an old computer to be recycled. Lots more room in here to stretch out, that is until I inevitably buy more books to fill the opened up shelf space.

No books at an estate sale I happened upon on the way to Costco, but I did manage to grab some nice vintage kitchen items. They don’t make Tupperware like that anymore, y’know.

But the big plans this summer have to do with getting more books ready. First up will be a young adult scifi adventure novel I wrote sometime back that has spent enough time bouncing around Hollywood hell and ought to just get an Amazon release. It will be the first book in a series, so if y’all like the characters & the concept once you check it out, there’ll be more to come. Watch this space in the next few weeks for more details and previews and the like. This one will have illustrations and a more complex interior design, so I’ll need to be experimenting with that aspect. Aiming for a late summer/early fall release.

And yes, it IS the actual “kid’s book” referenced repeatedly in the Wagstaff detective series. It really does exist. I can write clean material, really I can.

For those of you who want to take the escalator up to the Adult Department of Berkin Inc.,  the raw material for the third entry in the Wagstaff detective series is pretty much all organized and ready to work with.  I will also spend the summer banging out a draft of Wagstaff 3. Stay tuned for more on that as well, not sure of a release time yet.

I know, I know… work work work (Hello boys, I missed you…)

But as long as I can get into a routine and concentrate, I think I can git ‘r all done. Not sure if I need Jonathan Shields to light my pipe and fly in my favorite rocking chair from my cushy southern university post teaching medieval history, but then again, I’m not sure I’d want him around after he set up my overheated southern belle wife played by Gloria Grahame to run off with Gilbert Roland and die in a plane crash.

I don’t smoke a pipe.

I don’t write in a rocking chair.

The married to overheated Gloria Grahame part I like, although I don’t think I’d want to come home and find her in bed with my 13 year old son from a previous marriage like Nicholas Ray did. I wouldn’t want to come home and find her in bed with Nicholas Ray, either.

Might be best just to watch those great old noirs she turns up in.

If you’ve never seen “The Bad & The Beautiful” I strongly recommend it. And NOT just to better understand parts of Wagstaff 3. And that’s the only big fat hint you’re getting at this point, mac.






This Picture Is The Cure For “Low T” April 27, 2018

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Manliness to the seventh power, bitches.

Even with Horst Buchholz.

Jimmy Cagney had to stop himself from punching out Buchholz  during the filming of “One, Two, Three.” Not sure how these other six guys felt working with him.

I think I’ll down some whiskey and work with power tools. It’s the weekend.

Don’t Listen To That Shiksa, Moses! You’re Meant For So Much More! March 30, 2018

Posted by Jim Berkin in General, Movies.
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Didn’t you see how she screwed around with Margot Channing’s marriage?

She’ll play two different villains on Batman fer chrissakes!


Get in touch with your SECRET INNER JEW!

Cross the desert, it’ll be worth it, Lily Munster awaits!

ABC’s annual airing of the Jewish Wizard of Oz will be tomorrow night, the Saturday before Easter, as it is every year.

And I always wind up watching all or a decent part of it. Yeah, I know…. over the top scenery chewing, incredibly stilted dialogue, bla bla bla….


Moses, Jewish law AND God versus a lineup of villains played by Vincent Price, Edward G. Robinson and Yul Brynner? How can you not LOVE that??

They loved it in 1956, and you’ll love it today!

It’s how I want my Bible movies, too. I don’t want them to look like reality, especially the earlier you go in the Bible. The cinematic landscape has to transcend reality towards the imagination of the spiritual. DeMille’s epic scale, amazing use of color and imagery – combined with the clunkiness of silent-era style actor blocking and shot framing all come together to produce such a landscape. Other Bible films don’t measure up. I like lots of  ’em too – both the silent DeMille and Nicholas Ray versions of King of Kings, Zefferelli’s TV miniseries Jesus of Nazareth,  as well as quasi-Bible films like Ben-Hur… but none of them resonate in the memory like The Ten Commandments does.

Especially when you watch the damn thing every year for decades. I must have seen this film three dozen times by now.

So have a Happy Passover, everyone. And a Happy Easter to all the goyim! Remember, The Last Supper was a Passover Seder. I bet Judas cheated to find the afikomen and get a shekel from Jesus. It would be in character.

So let it be written, so let it be done!



I Want This Channel Back March 15, 2018

Posted by Jim Berkin in Movies, Television.
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Every Saturday afternoon from the old Channel 56 outta Boston.

Amazing how many clips in that montage I immediately recognize, and how many are from films I’ve seen. Gawd.

I’m Thinking Criterion Collection March 13, 2018

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Just in case any of you were wondering what happened to Elliot Gould’s career by the late ’70s, this ought to clear things up.

Look fast, and you’ll see Robert Mitchum. Just how stoned he had to be to take this gig will NEVER be cleared up.

But you gotta admit, this montage is up there with Rocky IV:

The stark realism of the kangaroo suit is what makes it. Even Marlon Perkins would be fooled.

It ought to be on a double bill with this:

I know, I know. You want to see the whole movie now. Well, I dare you:



Sigh. I need some coffee… one of those mornings…


I Needed That Drink March 6, 2018

Posted by Jim Berkin in Cats, General, Movies.
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One of those days.

Although I decided to add “Wag The Dog” and “The Big Short” to an economics/government class next year while I mapped it out. I might throw “Margin Call” in as well, and there also might be room for “A Face In The Crowd,” but we’ll see.

In the meantime, I’m trying to figure out why I had a weird dream last night that I had to attend a Halloween costume party, and was wearing only a gray turtleneck/blue blazer combo, and had to write down who I was supposed to be on a piece of paper. For some reason, I wrote “Napoleon,” and then tore it up since I didn’t have the hat or French army uniform. I asked people what Hollywood star wore the turtleneck/blazer get-up since I didn’t want to run home and change, and everyone came up empty.

And then I woke up and for the life of me, I STILL can’t think of anyone I could claim to be dressing as in that getup.  I should have chucked it, and gone as this guy instead:


All made to mix, baby! He’s young and single & ready to mingle.

Either that, or he’s been cloned 4 times and given a scary wardrobe indicating that his leisure army will soon ACHIEVE WORLD DOMINATION.

Seig heil! Ich bein ein airline seat upholstery!

Meh. Hopefully I’ll have better dreams tonight.

Movies Worth Seeing: Kedi (2016) March 3, 2018

Posted by Jim Berkin in Cats, Movies.
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Kedi is a wonderfully photographed documentary on the street cats of Istanbul, directed by Ceyda Torun. It’s available on several online platforms after a short theatrical run, and gets a big thumbs up from yours truly.

Well, come on, you KNOW I’m gonna love a movie all about cats. That’s a no-brainer, or more likely, a toxoplasmosis brainer.

Torun’s film depicts the realities of what must be the thousands of street cats living all over Istanbul, and how they are basically a mainstay of the life of the city. The cats of particular neighborhoods are well known by the people and merchants. Many of the people who take care of the cats are shown & interviewed, as well as other people who merely live alongside them.

Torun filmed stories about dozens of cats and their respective people, and offers up close up profiles of seven. The cats differ in personality, from a mother cat who knows how to cajole & steal food for her and her kittens, to a “psycho” female who patrols her territory like a turf boss, dominating her “husband” cat (and fighting off a rival for his attention at one point) as well as commanding specific types of affection on her terms only from the people around. All of this serves as wonderful entertainment for those of us fascinated by watching cat behavior.

A territory fight (source of the pic above) is particularly interesting. We first see the black & white cat make her rounds, from the streets and people who she must consider her property, up a specific tree and patio route to a second story apartment where she’s worked out a specific body language to get allowed in, to let the owner’s house cat know the boss has arrived, and then to leave. When Ginger the orange cat arrives in the ‘hood to assert himself, he clearly follows scents to trace the exact same tree-patio-apartment route to claim ALL of the first cat’s kingdom, before they square off in a hiss and swat match that the apartment cat watches from a distance, wondering who she’ll belong to next.

The people’s reflections on their relationships with the cats makes up most of the interviews. Most of them discuss the healing power of cats in their lives, on how the cats absorb negative energy and reflect back positive. One man who we see feeding dozens of them, something he does daily, tells a story of how he had a nervous breakdown years ago and withdrew from life, until he found that caring for the cats and what he got back from them restored his energies and interest in the world.

These small encounters and glimpses into everyday cat and human behavior open windows towards the entire history of the interesting relationship between humans and this fascinating animal, who seems to have domesticated us in a way, becoming a pet while maintaining a level of independence. More than one of Torun’s human subjects state that the cat is aware of God, and understands that humans are the middlemen in fulfilling God’s will in caring for them.

The setting, obviously, is an added bonus – Torun’s camera, from cat-eye level to flying overhead, gives us wonderful views of Istanbul. The rich history of the city connotes the long history of human/cat interaction. Both cat and Istanbul are deeply intertwined with the history of people and both are fascinatingly beautiful.

Yeah, my knee-jerk reaction to stray cats is to take every God damn one of ’em home and basically turn into this eharmony vid from some time back, and there were times during this film where I felt terrible for the cats living in the wild of the city. But they all seem so happy, and happy to be wild and independent as one interviewee puts it. I guess there’s a case to be made that if those cats wanted to live inside someone’s house, they’d just demand to come in and never leave. They do everything else they want, don’t they? They’re CATS!

Well worth seeing, a must for cat lovers.

And if you don’t like cats, GET THE FUCK OFF MY BLOG NOW.

Some Oscar Predictions for 2018 March 2, 2018

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Every year, I care less and less about the Oscars. Last year I didn’t bother watching and I was only sad to miss the amazing screw up with the Best Picture announcement when it was live.

I won’t bother watching this year, either. Part of it stems from the weakness of Hollywood product. Part of it stems from the ever-growing gap between that quality and the self-promotion of Hollywood that accompanies it. Part of it is also because even when the movies are great, the show is consistently awful to sit through.

If the Oscars meant Cary Grant and Myrna Loy and Humphrey Bogart speaking and Bob Hope or Johnny Carson hosting, I’d tune in. But they don’t. And the Oscar show never really acknowledges or showcases the rich history of Hollywood film, or when stars were truly stars. They promote current product, and most of it is just crap.


But I’ll attempt to handicap some of the major awards and see if I get ’em right. In the past I’d predict all of ’em, to match whatever Oscar pool ballot I’d fill out at whatever viewing party I attended. But those days, much like the days of regularly reading a morning newspaper as I wrote about in an earlier post, are over.

For Best Picture, it turns out that there’s sort of a horse race this year. For a while, it seemed that The Shape of Water was a lock, especially with Guillermo Del Toro winning the DGA award and picture/director traditionally going together.

But lately they haven’t, and I think the younger voters will see to it that we have a similar split this year. I think Del Toro will win Best Director, but I think there’s a really good chance Get Out will surprise people with a Best Picture win. Will there be another “La La Land” moment? I think all we can expect is a joke along those likes with Beatty & Dunaway presenting again.

I think the acting awards are easy to predict. Gary Oldman will get a career award at Best Actor. Frances MacDormand will win Best Actress, and Sam Rockwell Best Supporting Actor for Three Billboards. Allison Janney will win Best Supporting Actress.

Original Screenplay goes to Get Out. Adapted to Call Me By Your Name.

And that’s basically all I’ll bother with. I haven’t seen any of the films I predicted to win anything, although I intend to at some point. The only movie I saw last year that scored some noms is Dunkirk, which I liked & appreciated as a technical kinetic marvel even if it left me cold.

But the Oscars? I’m still pissed at them for leaving DeForest Kelley off the memorial reel back in 2000. They also forgot to include Patrick McGoohan in 2009. Maybe they’ll include Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey’s careers on this year’s death reel. But they better not forget Adam West & Don Rickles on this year’s memorial OR I’LL BE PIG-BITING MAD. Watch –  I bet they will. SO FUCK THEM (in advance).

This May Be The Greatest Thing On Youtube March 2, 2018

Posted by Jim Berkin in Movies.
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Not sure if I’ll see the remake. Especially when I realize this is better than anything Hollywood has released lately.

The Giggler gets it at 3:12, btw.
Way to go, Wildey!