Category Archives: Films and Series

25 years of Goodfellas

As far back as I can remember I always wanted to be a gangster

With this sentence, Henry Hill starts telling his story of rise and fall inside a mob family. It’s not fictional, Hill was a mobster for real, and passed away not too long ago. As fascinating it is, the responsible for delivering it to the mass on a silver plate was Martin Scorsese, who masterly directed one of his best films, and I dare to say, one of the best films in the history.

godfellas

Believe me if I reckon I’ve watched it more than 20 times, and I still find it awesome. One of those films every time you watch them you discover some details which you didn’t earlier, from actors, to locations, or any tiny detail. I never get tired of Ray Liotta laughing at Joe Pesci at the Bamboo Lounge, and how he scares the shit out of him.

This week it’s been celebrated the 25th anniversary of the release of the movie. It’s nice to see the cast gathering for the celebration of a great project, and it’s sad at the same time because you can see time does not forget anyone.

Is Goodfellas the best Italian mob film? Probably not, if you start thinking of The Godfather or Once Upon a Time in America, but it’s definitely one of the best.

The dynamism of a story told in 146 minutes is brilliant, separating the most remarkable episodes in the life of Hill. How he started being the kid running errands and grabbing an umbrella to protect one of the big bosses, the time he’s a successful young guy “well positioned” and falls in love with Karen, the Lufthansa Heist planned with Jimmy Conway and Tommy De Vito, and the devastating consequences for most of the people involved, the jail time, the drugs…everything supported by amazing performances by Liotta, DeNiro, Lorraine Bracco, Joe Pesci and Paul Sorvino, among many others, a terrific soundtrack, and many other features a good film analyst would be able to list.

I love the way Scorsese introduces the viewer to the family, as if making us one of them, going through all the Bamboo Lounge greeting everybody. The little man repeats this formula several times, one when Henry takes Karen to Copacabana, and instead of using the front door, they get into the restaurant by the kitchen access until a table is immediately set for them right at the moment they reach the lounge. Everything filmed with a steadicam, and the other at their wedding, when Karen tells about how overwhelmed she was with such a large family, so many people and so many envelopes.

Goodfellas was also the seed for David Chase at the time of creating The Sopranos. Ray Liotta and Lorraine Bracco were considered as candidates to play the roles of Tony and Carmela, but the idea eventually was turn down, although Bracco became Dr Melfi, Tony’s shrink, proving what an amazing actress she is. Also many actors were hired for the series, from Michael Imperioli as Christopher Moltisanti to Frank Vincent as Phil Leotardo or Tony Sirico, the great Paulie Gualtieri.

I think there’s nothing else to say. If you don’t like Goodfellas you’re missing a hell of a great film.

Chewie, we’re home!

I never wanted Xmas to arrive so badly, but this time THIS TIME it has to be fast, for fuck’s sake!

I’ve just watched the second official trailer of Star Wars episode VII: The Force Awakens six times in a row and now I have two tears about to roll.

I feel so excited about this movie! Very frightened too, to be honest. I’m scared of what Abrams might do, but at the same time that classic sentence “You’re my only hope” is constantly kicking in my head.

The fact that all the ships, the X-Wings, The Tie-Fighters and the fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy, The Millennium Falcon, or Chewbacca and R2-D2 appear on the trailer really makes my heart bits fast. And Solo, MY MAN! He’s an old rascal, but it doesn’t matter, damn! I’m near 40 but I feel like a kid again, how can this be possible?

How can this fiction be so essential for many? Whenever I start wondering about it I feel overwhelmed. We were kids, innocent and impressible when we watched this saga for the first time. But it’s been almost 40 years since it started, people have grown up, have their families and responsibilities, and still the world stops when a new trailer is released, and the impact on so many people is so unbelievable it makes me think these are the greatest movies ever made. Not in terms of performing nor even the plot, which I reckon it’s a simple and clear way to understand Jung’s theory of the archetypes (child, father, good, evil, the hero, the journey…), but because what George Lucas achieved to recreate on three films with the passing of timehas become something cultural, I’d dare say, historic, and this makes them simply perfect.

chewie and solo

December, 18th is marked in my calendar. Victory and death are on the table. Am I ready to cope with both options? It can be the greatest disaster or something really big. Who knows?

Hope, friends, hope. We can never surrender to fear, cause fear takes you to the dark side.

Events occur in real time.

This is my new addiction.

24: season seven logo.

It’s taken me ages to face 24. Probably I disliked the idea it was massively broadcast by one of the Spanish TV channels I hate most, and thought this wasn’t to be a smart series, but something for popular consumption. Well, I’m not gonna theorize about the plot and the quality, and to be honest I must admit thanks to its dynamism it’s actually a series looking for major audience. It’s easy to understand, and easier to get hooked to it, and in terms of sensitivity it doesn’t mess with your head, which is something good sometimes.

After enjoying this massive wave of emotions in the shape of Six Feet Under (I gotta write something about The Fishers, most def), I needed something easy.

For 2 years I’ve had the complete series at home, because a very enthusiastic friend lent it to me (Mayra, I swear I’ll return them in perfect condition), but I always had something more attractive to watch so I left it aside. Probably the pressure of some friends reckoning Jack Bauer was definitely worth it made me approach it this time.

jack-bauer

The expression ‘dog day’ should be changed to ‘Jack Bauer day’, as this poor CTU (Counter Terrorist Unit) agent is deep in shit from minute one for 24 hour episodes, trying to save America and the world. He’s a fuckin’ hero who’s able to do whatever it takes to accomplish his mission, risking his own life constantly.

I’ve just finished season 2, at marathon speed. If I have a day off without socializing, I easily watch 8-10 episodes nonstop, because I need to know what comes after. I don’t think I could stand following the seasons in real time. I’d probably get anxious. So many things going on…

The funniest thing of all is that it’s always the same pattern, but you don’t get bored with so much repetition. There’s a major threat and Bauer is summoned to try to sort the shit out, and an insane and reckless race starts. He’s got allies and enemies, even inside the bureau. Several people spend all the time in close spaces, Almeida and President Palmer for instance, while Jack and his daughter get constantly in trouble and move from one place to another. How many times will Kim Bauer get kidnapped through the series? How many times is she about to get raped? How many times does Jack get hit, is injured or tortured? Impossible to count.

kim bauer

By the way, thank God she’s not my daughter. I’ll kill her myself! How can she get in trouble so easily?

Of course if you pay attention, and considering these 24 episodes cover a whole day, there are lots of inconsistencies and free licenses you don’t get too serious because the balance is positive, but clothes, makeup, injures cured, wired places and , sound speed trips are constant, and don’t forget nobody eats nor sleep at all. Ah! Jack Bauer never experiences one of the worst current problems in the first world: his phone never runs out of battery.

Jack Bauer is the 21st Century Chuck Norris, not so strong and muscled, and definitely not so ridiculously kitsch, but at the end of the day he’s unbeatable, and that’s what counts.

Jack, you saved senator Palmer for being assassinated, the city of L.A from the devastating effects of a nuclear bomb, and prevented America to invade 3 middle-East countries, which would have caused World War III. Not bad in just two days. Let’s see how you handle next.

I’m federal agent Jack Bauer, and today is the longest day of my life.

Remembering My So-Called Life

On August 25th 20 years ago My So-Called Life pilot episode was aired for the first time in the US. I never knew the impact of the series in its country as it was broadcast here 2 years later by Canal +, the first private pay TV channel  in Spain, in free-air hours. The reception was quite poor because it was August, and being scheduled at 8pm wasn’t very appropriate either to catch the teenagers attention. Too many distractions and activities  better than spending the evening in front of a T. For no reason I was THAT freak. I was home alone for the month so I could watch TV, listen to music or do whatever anytime I wanted. Same as nowadays except for working.

my so called life

Up to that moment I had never been very interested in teenage “drama” series. If I had to enjoy an empty-headed series I’d choose Melrose Place over Beverly Hills 90210, with more adult characters, but If I had to get deep in shit, I’d choose classic Dynasty and Falcon Crest over any. Getting back to these teenage oriented series, none of them could catch my attention. However the impact of Angela Chase’s view of life was huge.

The story was happening in my time, we were in the same range of age, and being Claire Danes super gorgeous, we share that slob dressing style, with plaid shirts, XL tees… There were some moments I wanted to be her, and express myself as clear as she did in her thoughts or to her friends. I had never felt so close to some fictional character, with so much reality and deep thinking.

Hatred can become like food, it gives you this energy that you can like, live off of.

The coolest thing was that teenage drama was dealt in a teenage way. I mean, when you are 16 and your one-month boyfriend dumps you for another girl you reckon is hotter but never as cut as you, the world falls apart, and you feel like that’s the worst thing that can ever happen to you. When you are to date that guy you like so much and a damn huge spot sprouts in your chin and you even consider calling off the meeting.  Or when there’s no communication between you and your parents and they just don’t understand you. All things considered, becoming an adult is not as easy and irrelevant as many people reckon. It’s pretty fucked up actually, so in My So-Called Life you could see yourself reflected as in a mirror. And it worked as  some sort of painkiller, showing you weren’t the only one having complexes and insecurities and  low self-esteem.

jordan and angela

And then there was Jordan Catalano. Thinking of Jared Leto nowadays makes really hard to believe I had a crush on him, but yeah, I had it, because this handsome but not very smart guy was a symbol. Thus I sighed for Catalano, my ex was in love with Angela and secretly wanted me to be her, and I also wanted to be Angela because she was cool.

Unfortunately the series was suddenly cancelled, and apparently it had to do with the decision of Claire Danes to quit, leaving lots of open plots. Would the relationship between Jordan and Angela have worked? I don’t think so. At the end of the day he was a prick and she seemed to be more into experiencing and discovering.

Truth is that My So-Called Life marked a starting point for teenage drama series, with Dawson’s Creek as one of the most remarkable examples, but I was never into any similar story anymore. Perhaps I had already grown up, or just because the first time is the experience which will prevail in memory throughout the years. I don’t know.

rayanne and angela

Right now I’m speaking out of my memory, but I really want to recover the story of Angela, Jordan and Rayanne, and see how it feels being now an adult. I might learn something I didn’t notice back in the day. Who knows?

Meet me in Farmington if you dare.

It’s been ages since I don’t post anything. Sorry about that. There are two reasons  which can help me to justify my absence: first, I’ve been very busy attending shows which have piled up in a narrow period of time: Michael Monroe, Night Demon, Title Fight, Guerrera, Johnny Winter or The Coup are some of them.

The second reason is that, since I was in my hometown earlier this month, I’ve recovered one of my favorite series on DVD, The Shield, and I’m completely hooked. So much, it’s May 19th and I’m in the middle of season 4. I reckon if I hadn’t attended to those shows I’d be finishing season 5 at least, but still I got some social life to attend.

the shield cast

I feel like talking about this series, created by Shawn Ryan, because it’s usually regarded as minor, compared to The Sopranos and The Wire, but the plot, the dynamism and the characters are as appealing and attractive as those belonging to the others, and personally speaking, focusing on the police environment and story, I choose The Shield over The Wire without blinking.

Honestly, I’m enjoying this second viewing even more than expected.

First approach to The Shield, back in 2008, blew our minds to such extent, watching  it became some sort of addiction. We watched the complete series in barely 5 weeks, and I reckon we missed part of the message, many details and the development of the characters. We were somehow infected by the intense whirl of the series. Really, we were jonesing afterwards.

This time I enjoy my own rhythm. I have no pressure and no hurry, but the truth is that the deeper you’re in the mud, the more you need, so the rhythm I’m watching the series is quite fast, and the sessions are very intense. Nevertheless, whenever it’s necessary I repeat a scene, to catch everything, or just for pleasure, and I’m noticing lots of details I hadn’t paid attention earlier, especially regarding the characters.

For those who aren’t aware of the main plot of The Shield WITHOUT SPOILING, the action takes place at a Police precint in the district of Farmington, L.A, known as The Barn, which used to be a church, but now it’s filled with cops, detectives and all kind of scumbags you can imagine. Farmington is a ghetto area with a high rate population of (illegal) immigrants, Russian, Armenian, Korean, Muslim and Latin among them. Street gangs such as The Mags, Los Torrucos or The 19rs, and organized mobs threaten the security of the citizens, vulnerable to robberies, rapes, murders, guns and drugs. Crack and heroine is on every corner of every street, prostitution is constant, and the criminal rate is outrageous. Captain Aceveda aims to clean the streets and implement his strategies and methods in order to improve quality of life there, but at the same time he’s surrendering to the seductive power of politics. The Strike Team, commanded by detective Vic Mackey is an obstacle for reaching his target, as cop violence, corruption and influences are words constantly related to this squad.

strike team

As a reflection of the society, even though cops are supposed to be the good side of the coin, to protect and serve, the series actually deals with this dichotomy of good vs evil, exemplified in the circumstances the characters have to go through, sometimes at their choice, and sometimes forced by them. Some of the characters moved by the standards of moral, at some point have to yield for their own survival or to protect their beloved. Some others prefer playing rough and cross the line so they can find a quicker path to stop the evil. Extreme and quick decisions are constantly taken in this series, and the only lecture the series aims to give is that no action comes without a consequence.

Then you choose your favorite characters. Some of them you have a crush on immediately: Vic and Shane on one hand, detectives Wyms and the Dutch boy, Aceveda, and officer Danni Sofer. With others, although it takes time to build their relevance, eventually you realize how important they are and how greatly they contribute to the richness of the plot. And the picture you get of them can change in a nick of time depending on their actions. I find that fantastic in a series.

7 seasons define the story of The Barn. And they’re all worth it. If you haven’t watched it yet, I strongly encourage you to do so. But always remember this:

“STRIKE HARD”

STRIKE FAST

strike team card

MAY THE FOURTH…

MayTheFourth

Ain’t it great there’s a day we can celebrate the existence of the universe of Star Wars?

Since I started Since My Baby Left Me, I’ve been reminding the world about how much I love this saga, better said, the holy trilogy of episodes IV, V and VI. There are not many things at this stage of life which make me feel in the same way as when I was a little girl. There are very few movies which can make me laugh, cry, feel excited, devastated, in love or upset every time I watch them. And there are very few things I relate to in the real life even though they are impossible: I want a lightsaber, to have the Jedi mind power, send people to die in Sarlacc’s pit, get married with Han Solo, and hire Boba Fett as my bodyguard.

I can’t recall how many times I’ve quoted quoted sentences such as “Obi-Wan Kenobi, you’re my only hope” “it’s a trap”, “Uchini!” “These aren’t the droids you’re looking for”, “I find your lack of faith disturbing”, “I love you”, “I know”, or “Jabba! This is your last chance. Free us or Die”. Believe me, they’ve been many. I was told once I laugh in the same way as Jabba the Hutt. It’s not a very nice thing to say, but I bear this burden with some kind og dignity.

This is what George Lucas has made of me. A freak. But I love it.

star wars cast

Forgetting the first episodes, which I consider a waste and an insult, everybody is looking towards the episode VII reluctantly yet curious and excited. Last week this amazing photo shocked and made all fans recover enthusiasm. Full cast in a relaxing meeting. The old and the new generation of actors with the director J.J. Abrams. Good news is that Lawrence Kasdan, responsible for The Empire Strikes Back, will co-write the script, instead of the director by himself, who we don’t trust much. I don’t know what to think of all this. I’d hate getting disappointed again, but at the same time I got faith. Let’s see what happens next year.

In the meantime, May the Force Be With You. Always.

Have a fab fourth!

Fire Walk With Me

tp

Gorgeous Norma refills my cup with one of the best black coffees I’ve ever tasted in my life, while I’m waiting for Shelley to bring me a piece of that fantastic cherry pie. Agent Cooper sits next to me, and we both smile at each other in pleasure, and deeply inhale at the same time. Everything is so peaceful here! The warm scent that makes me feel home, the buzz created by Donna and Maddie gossiping, the doorbell sounding, the noises coming from the kitchen and… the lady with the log chewing gum hysterically. That little bitch of Audrey Horne flips a coin into the jukebox, and this sensual and hypnotic jazzy tune spreads in the air, and makes me feel like dancing with her, in the middle of Double R diner, moreover, I wish I was that little adorable creature.

horne

Yes, I’m back in Twin Peaks, after so many years, and it feels like being at home. You know, a familiar place, surrounded by objects, sets and people you get the feeling of having been acquainted with for long time.

This is how I feel these days while enjoying my third time watching the series. And you know what? The more I watch the more I want. This time I’ve enjoyed the comedy remarks, the characters, the locations, and the coffee you know it has to be terrific but cannot smell nor taste.Every single detail is there for a reason, everything is planned and designed to fit perfectly.

laura 25

It’s been few days since I wrote this, and today it’s March 26. I’m very bad at calendar references mentioned in series and films but Twin Peaks fans sent me a remarkable reminder. March 25th 2014 was the date Laura Palmer referred to when she said to Agent Cooper she will see him in 25 years. Did it happen anything last night between them? In our minds it did, even though we didn’t have any news about it, but it’s amazing and way too cool to realize there are still people celebrating this kind of events, proving the magic of great and catchy stories which really left a mark on us, a particular generation .

Damn Lynch! You had a great day when your mind created all the Twin Peaks universe. It’s so unique! Let’s dance with the dwarf to celebrate!