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.



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.



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.”



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