Memento

Memento

I just watched Memento for the first time. I’m still sitting here trying to wrap my head around it.

I’m not sure what I was doing in 2000, when Memento was released, but somehow I completely missed its arrival in theaters.

Then, somehow, I kept missing it for 15 years after.

I saw it in my DVD collection, shamefully still wrapped in plastic. I skimmed past it when it showed up on Netflix, adding it to my queue, but never taking the time to press play. Each time I’d see it, I’d think, maybe I should watch it.

Ultimately, it was the announcement last week that there was going to be a remake of the groundbreaking film, and the resounding, expletive laden “NO” coming from the internet that finally forced me sit down and watch it.

Don’t ask me why this is what finally convinced me to watch Memento, because I can’t explain it either.

What I can say is this: from the opening scene, played in reverse, to the final shot of Guy Pierce skidding to a halt in front of the tattoo parlor, I was enthralled.

Who would have thought that a movie like Memento would work? This is a movie where half of the story is moving backwards, while the other half is moving in the right direction, with scenes leapfrogging each other, finally intersecting at the end.

What really has me confused is trying to figure out how Christopher Nolan wrote this. I know it’s based on his brother, Jonathan’s, story called Memento Mori. But did he write out the the entire story in sequence, and then scramble it? Or did he write it out exactly as it played out in the movie?

I can’t imagine the late nights and headaches the script must have caused. I know I could take a lesson from the Nolans.

I really hope this rumored remake is abandoned like so many other stories in Hollywood. Some things are better left alone.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to dive back into my shame pile.

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NaNoWriMo: Point of No Return

NaNoWriMo: Point of No Return

This weeks’ update will only be a brief one.

Why?

Because right now, it’s 11:42 PM on Sunday, November 15th. We have now hit the halfway point of NaNoWriMo 2015.

It’s all downhill from here, right?

I’ve spent the better part of this past weekend hiding out in my garage pecking away on this keyboard and staring at this monitor. I don’t think I can last much longer.

I’m looking at my list of things I need to get done and wondering what I’ve accomplished this month.

There have been phone calls, emails, and text messages between me and my writing partner. There have been meetings with people who are “in-the-know” with the Hollywood television industry. We are pushing forward on the pilot, and at the same time working on the outline of a story that will hopefully span multiple seasons. When, and if, this show gets picked up, it can’t be a story that runs out of steam after a few episodes, and then spends the rest of its time struggling.

I’m looking at you, 24 Season One.

Seriously, go re-watch it. Episode 12 sees the story being wrapped up neatly, if not a little too prematurely. And then the next 12 episodes are just a mishmash of unexplained amnesia, mountain lions, and Dennis Hopper doing the worst eastern European accent ever caught on film. Rumor has it, the showrunners weren’t confident the show would get renewed beyond it’s original 12 episode order. Because of this, they only mapped out those first episodes. When FOX decided to pick up the full 24 episodes, the writers had to scramble to come up with the rest of the season.

Oops. That is my worst nightmare.

I’ve also dug up my old box of index cards. These cards served as outlines for the stories I lost when my computer crashed. These have all been reentered into their corresponding Scrivener project files, and backed up, for good measure. Now, to just get back to writing out the stories so I can finish them.

So, now there are two weeks left in the month. It’s crunch time.

I have so much more to do.

I need to go to bed before I turn into this…

Gremlins

Gremlins

I’ve never seen Gremlins.

I’m serious.

Just about everyone I know has seen it in some point in their lives, and consider it to be a classic.

But not me. Up until this past week I had never seen the 1984 classic, nor it’s sequel, Gremlins 2: The New Batch. Well, I decided to do something about that. I sat down and watched both of them.

I have to admit: movies like this make me miss the ’80’s. As evidenced by Gremlins, it was a time when being politically correct was not an issue. Back then, PG-rated movies still had some teeth, no pun intended. In fact, Gremlins was partially responsible for the creation of the PG-13 rating, due to it’s over the top violence. The violence in the movie was considered to be too strong for a PG rating, but not enough for an R rating.

Stephen Spielberg, producer of Gremlins, and director of the other movie responsible for the creation of the PG-13 rating, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, suggested the intermediate rating to the MPAA. Now it’s on pretty much every movie. Anything rated PG that comes out now, is usually looked down upon as a family film.

Watching Gremlins for the first time, I was a little bored at the first half hour of the movie. It seemed just a little bit too cloying and sweet. But once the second act started, I giggled like a mad man. I can see why this movie is a classic. The gremlins as characters are actually pretty funny and make the perfect fodder for some gruesomely cartoonish death sequences. The very first one, involving an orange juicer, is still my favorite.

After I finished watching Gremlins, I put on Gremlins 2: The New Batch.

I have to say, whatever magic is found in the first Gremlins movie, is nowhere to be seen in the sequel.

I HATED that movie.

While the first Gremlins feels almost timeless, Gremlins 2 feels dated from the second it starts.

The cuteness of the first act of Gremlins is turned up to 11 in Gremlins 2, to the point where Gizmo annoyed me so much I sided with the gremlins whenever they tortured him. And don’t even get me started on the gremlins created for this movie. Some of the sequences of the first movie can be excused as being funny despite not making much sense, ie Cate being robbed by a gremlin in a ski mask using a gun that just happens to be the perfect size for it’s little hands. That was not the case for The New Batch. Every time they would reveal a new version of gremlin, I’d just roll my eyes and shake my head.

Joe Dante, the director, said that his idea was to make the second movie self aware, to make fun of the first movie. I can say that idea didn’t work. The constant references and jabs at the first movie only made me wish that I were watching it again instead of this drivel.

There’s even a musical number. That was the point where my brain officially checked out. It had seen enough. I had to force myself to finish watching. And I was slapped with a final scene of a man being seduced by an oversexed female gremlin for my effort.

Who writes this shit?

I should have stopped after the first one. This would have been a much happier post.

So, to sum it all up, Gremlins is a classic that I would watch again, anytime. Gremlins 2: The New Batch is horrible. I’m going to go on in life pretending it doesn’t exist, like the Schumacher Batman movies.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to dive back into my shame pile.