Tag Archives: Pete Harrison

A short review of “Predestination” (2014)

Blog Correspondent Pete Harrison has been recommending “Predestination” to me for a couple of years now.  It took me the longest time to get around to it — I knew that the Spierig brothers’ mindbending science fiction film would be challenging, and I wanted to wait until I was in just the right mood to take it in.

It turns out Pete’s recommendation was a damned good one.  (Followers of this blog know he is our resident horror expert; turns out he knows his sci-fi too.)  “Predestination” is a grim, moody, well directed time travel movie, beautifully performed by Sarah Snook, Ethan Hawke and Noah Taylor.  The storytelling style reminded me so much of Christopher Nolan’s work that I had to check the credits again to make sure he wasn’t at the helm.  (Coming from me, that’s high praise.)  I’d rate “Predestination” a 9 out of 10.

I don’t think this movie is for everyone.  It’s hard-core sci-fi, adapted from a short story by Robert Heinlein called “– All You Zombies –,” and its stranger story elements will challenge the viewer instead of of pleasing them emotionally.  (This would be a very confusing choice for a date movie, for example.)

And there is a major plot element here that requires so much suspension of disbelief that I think many viewers will be put off by it.  (It doesn’t involve the plot-enabling time travel tehcnology.)  I truly enjoyed this film, and even I struggled with this element’s plausibility.  I feel certain it was easier for Heinlein to get across on the page than for any filmmaker to show on screen.  (Would any of us react the way these characters do if we were in the same situation?  I don’t think the human heart works quite the way the story suggests it does.)

Still, this was a very good movie for a science fiction fan.  If you are in the mood for something dark, different and demanding, then give it a chance.

 

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Isn’t IT cute?

My baby groundhog buddy came back, but he’s shy all of a sudden. See the little twerp peeking out of the storm drain?

When I posted his picture on Facebook, however, Blog Correspondent Pete Harrison immediately cautioned me that he might NOT be a groundhog.  (And me all alone in my little yellow raincoat!)

 

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Throwback Thursday: “Get your stinkin’ paws off me, you damned dirty ape!!!”

“Planet of the Apes” (1968) is a half century old; today is the 50th anniversary of the film’s premiere at the Capitol Theater in Manhattan.  (Thanks to Blog Correspondent Pete Harrison for pointing out the date for us.)  The movie’s original trailer is below.  I actually learned something new looking for it — Rod Serling co-wrote the screenplay.  (I wasn’t aware of that, but it makes sense.)

I’ve already written at length about how the “Planet of the Apes” franchise was a part of my childhood.  (No, I wasn’t alive in 1968, but these films were broadcast periodically on television in the late 70’s and early 80’s.)  So I won’t blather on yet again about it.

But I will say that the iconic line of dialogue you see in the above headline made a pretty big impression on me as a kid.  (And Charlton Heston’s delivery of it was unforgettable.)  When I was in the second or third grade,  I once growled that line at a girl at recess who kept poking me and smacking me on the head.  She was really taken aback by it.

 

“To make others less happy is a crime. To make ourselves unhappy is where all crime starts.”

Yesterday was the fourth anniversary of the passing of Roger Ebert.  (Our own Blog Correspondent Pete Harrison pointed it out to the gang on Facebook.)

I still miss reading Ebert’s reviews.  He was such an intelligent man, yet so lacking in pretense or pedanticism.  His had an unassuming, straightforward, everyman’s voice that the average reader could trust and relate to.  His talent for that remains inimitable.

The quote below is one I discovered just today.  It’s a good one.

 

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“The Man of Double Deed,” by Anonymous

Tonight’s frightening poem was found and shared by our resident expert in all things scary, Blog Correspondent Pete Harrison.

The Man of Double Deed
By Anonymous

There was a man of double deed,
Who sowed his garden full of seed;
When the seed began to grow,
‘Twas like a garden full of snow;
When the snow began to melt,
‘Twas like a ship without a belt;
When the ship began to sail,
‘Twas like a bird without a tail;
When the bird began to fly,
‘Twas like an eagle in the sky;
When the sky began to roar,
‘Twas like a lion at my door;
When my door began to crack,
‘Twas like a stick across my back;
When my back began to smart,
‘Twas like a penknife in my heart;
And when my heart began to bleed,
‘Twas death, and death, and death indeed.

 

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Photo credit: By Marcus Quigmire from Florida, USA (Scary Branches) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Pete’s Perspective: “A message to all the people on the planet who carry out terrorist attacks.”

Blog Correspondent Pete Harrison weighs in tonight on the subject of terrorism.  As always, Pete’s good sense matches his encyclopedic knowledge of the horror genre.

“A message to all the people on the planet who carry out terrorist attacks on innocent men, women, and children:

“There is no Giant Invisible Man in the Sky who wants you to kill other people.

“In fact, the reality that we all exist in right now, all of us, at the same time, may well be the only one we’re ever going to exist in.

“So, for the sake of argument, let’s accept that this life is the only one we will ever have.

“And further, even if you don’t believe that, why don’t we all just let everyone else believe what they want to, and they let us believe what we want to.

“Keeping this in mind, let’s just all celebrate our time on this Big Blue and Green Happy Funball Called Earth by being grateful for every breath we take, and just make it our mission to be kind and respect everyone, help people when we can, and just generally all get along and not kill and maim one another.

“I understand that it’s easy to forget how good it is to be alive, and start to take it for granted.

“I did that all the time myself, up until December 12, 2006, when I was told I had cancer.

“That’s when I realized that I was really ALIVE, and wanted to stay that way.

“It’s so precious, man, and it’s so easy to get lost in all the noise and forget how fucking precious it is.

“Try not to.”

 

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An untitled poem by Pete Harrison

Pete Harrison has long been a valued contributor to this blog.  Tonight I’m fortunate enough to feature a poem he’s authored himself — one which I happen to like a lot.

Thanks, Pete!

*****

We had just made love
There was enough light to see her
So I looked at her
Under the soft light
She smiled and asked what I was looking at
I said I was looking at her
Every part
Every mark
Every mole
She said she wished I would not do that
She said she had parts of her that she did not like
She said she had been told that they were imperfections
And when I told her it was all these parts I loved
Because they were all parts of her
And to me she was perfection
She laughed quietly
And looked away from my eyes
I will never be with her again
And I still don’t know
If she believed it was true
For me about her
Or about her for herself
And I still don’t know
Why she would believe anyone or anything else

 

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Throwback Thursday: “Tales of The Gold Monkey” and “Bring ‘Em Back Alive”

I was chatting the other day with author and blogger “Porter Girl,” about what I call the “80’s ‘Raiders’ TV ripoffs.”  And that’s … probably an unjustly harsh term coming from me, because I absolutely loved both shows in question when they were on the air in 1982.

I’m talking about “Tales of the Gold Monkey” and “Bring ‘Em Back Alive,” which both aired for only a single season.  (“Bring ‘Em Back Alive” had the misfortune of airing opposite “The A-Team,” a show I never liked but which was a LITTLE popular among my peer group of 10-year-olds.)

“Raiders of the Lost Ark” had hit theaters a year prior.  Countless adults will tell you today that the “Star Wars” movies were part of their childhood, and that’s true for me too.  But “Raiders” was a far larger part, and today it is still tied with “Vanilla Sky” (2001) for my favorite movie of all time.  And if you’ve ever read this blog before, then you know that I watch a lot of movies.

So I was thrilled when two shows appeared that were so much LIKE “Raiders.”  Both were sort of … “Raiders” Lite.  (I think what a lot of people fail to realize is that the sometimes grim inaugural 1981 movie was unambiguously aimed at adults, while the sequels were geared toward the younger set.)

And, to be fair, each show stood on its own.  “Tales” was set in the Pacific in 1938, and followed cargo plane pilot Jake Cutter (played by Stephen Collins).  He and his near-sentient, one-eyed dog, “Jack,” adventured among all manner of period players: Nazi spies, American spies, Imperial Japanese officers, et alia.  (I think that both “Tales” and “Raiders” misled an entire generation about the degree of gunfights and swordplay connected with certain careers.)

The show’s title derives from the adventure in its pilot episode; Jake and company face a mysterious island in which giant, vicious were-monkey cryptids protect a golden monkey statue.  (Think of the evil primates in “Congo” (1995).)  I explained to my friend that I thought this was maybe inspired by the Hovitos’ gold idol in the opening of “Raiders.”  Quite honestly?  I remember that pilot episode being pretty scary for a kid, and it was unusually dark for early 80’s primetime show.

“Bring ‘Em Back Alive,” while also developed to capitalize on “Raiders'” popularity, was actually based on a real person.  Bruce Boxleitner’s “Frank Buck” was based on the very real Frank Buck, a famous big game trapper in the 1930’s.  He wrote a book entitled “Bring ‘Em Back Alive,” and the film treatment followed in 1932.

I’m surprised that anyone even remembers “Tales” or “Bring ‘Em.”  I don’t ever remember meeting another fourth grader who talked about either show.  It was always about “The A-Team” in the lunch room, and the “DID YOU SEE WHEN THAT GUY SHOT THAT GUY?!”  But Blog Correspondent Pete Harrison chimed in immediately when I posted about “Tales” on Facebook, and there are people in the blogosphere who fondly remember them too.

If you do recall them with a smile, as I do, I think they’re both available on DVD.

 

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Goldmonkey     jakecutter1

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Pete’s Perspective: “Fuck all the bullshit!”

Here is a guest post from Blog Correspondent Pete Harrison.  As you might recall, Pete is a veteran of Afghanistan, where he served as an intelligence specialist for the United States Air Force 55th Expeditionary Rescue Squadron.  I believe he knows a thing or two about fighting terrorism.  Based on his message below, I think he also knows a thing or two about common sense.

Pete’s Perspective:

I want to make something clear. I would like to see everyone affiliated with the cowardly terrorist organization ISIS wiped off the face of the Earth. Every last one.

They have proven that they value no human life at all. Not even their own.

They are like bad dogs who will do nothing but attack and maim and kill any and all other dogs.

So they need to be put down. Everywhere they are.

Now to my POINT. If they all CLAIM to be a certain religion, that doesn’t matter to me at all.

They need killing BAD.

If they were all Catholic, Jewish, Buddhist, Mormon, Protestant, Lutheran, I don’t care what faith they CLAIM to be, I don’t care if they’re all atheists or if they worship canned sardines.

They’re just animals who need to be put down.

So to everyone out there starting up the bullshit argument that saying you want to see all these scum dead equals saying you want to see all Muslims dead, please, give me a break.

Not the same thing at all.

So don’t try to muddy the issue.

Thanks.

 

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Thank a Veteran.

Speaking of veterans today, I’d like to mention that our own little online circle is honored to have one among us.  Blog Correspondent Pete Harrison is not only our expert on all things horror-related, but also someone who has served his country with distinction.

Pictured below before an HH-60G PAVEHAWK are members of the United States Air Force 55th Expeditionary Rescue Squadron, in the summer of 2004, in Kandahar, Afghanistan.  Pete is first left in the top row, with his arms folded.

If you enjoy the movies, books and comics that we chat about here at the blog or on Facebook, then thank a guy like Pete or one of his colleagues.  Constitutional freedoms of Speech and Press would be absent without those to defend them — not to mention our lives and our safety.

Thanks, Petey!

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