Sunday, September 11, 2016
By MICHAEL WALSH
Call this a good news/not-so-good news report. For the most part, I have used this web log to write about current events, breaking news and the evolution of the Reeling Back project. Today, though, I feel the need to share some personal details that bear upon my current state of mind.
I’m a gimp. Yes, I know that word is not used in polite company, because it is often an insult. While I wouldn’t use it to describe another person, I do use it to describe my own condition — I’m a Guy who’s mobility is IMPaired: a GIMP.
The problem showed up shortly after my official retirement in late 2010. In October 2013, I adopted a walking cane (as a fashion accessory of course). I move more slowly than I’d like, but on the plus side, there’s no pain involved and I now have a pass that allows me to use those special parking spaces.
In early August, on the recommendation of a doctor, I started taking a pill that has been helpful to other folk with symptoms similar to mine.
The not-so-good news is that it didn’t help me. Its side effects included fatigue, irritability and a bad case of the blahs. So, we’re crossing that medication off the list. I expect the fog to lift fairly soon.
The good news is that in the midst of it all, Reeling Back crossed a couple of those arbitrary lines that make the project so much fun. As of Labour Day (September 5), the archive contains 500 film reviews. Overall, the site now features just over 700 items, organized into 13 categories.
In addition to movie reviews, visitors are able to choose from among eight book reviews, four music reviews, 24 interview features, 20 quizzes, 29 items of B.C. film history, 34 Vancouver memories (where we’re currently recalling Expo 86) and 80 previous blog entries.
Yes, I’m still feeling drained and disappointed with the miracle pill that wasn’t. It may be a slow return to the task at hand. With luck, I'll post the final six items in the Expo 86 feature package and note a date or two with review restorations before we reach October 4, the third anniversary of Reeling Back’s official launch at 2013’s Vancouver Science Fiction Convention (VCON 38). In the meantime, the 10 most recent additions to the archive are:
MATEWAN — A tale of union organizing in the West Virginia coal fields, writer-director John Sayles’s 1987 feature is an honourable exception to the American cinema’s usual anti-labour bias. Relevant at the time it was made, its dramatic message seems even more so today. (Posted September 5)
WEDDING IN WHITE — Among the best of the “great Canadian loser” films, writer-director Bill Fruet’s 1972 drama captured the oppressive truth of Canadian society during the Second World War. Donald Pleasence stars as an unforgiving father and Carol Kane plays his unhappy daughter. (Posted September 2)
THE DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN — Offered to audiences as a Capraesque comedy, director Jonathan Lynn’s 1992 satire is a fine introduction to the dysfunctional congressional system in this U.S. election year. Eddie Murphy has the title role, playing a freshman representative who discovers the genius of the system. (Posted August 27)
PORTRAITS OF CANADA — Presented on nine screens arranged in a circle (in a process called Circle-Vision 360), this 20-minute look at the nation’s natural beauty was made by Walt Disney’s Theme Park Productions for Expo 86’s Telecom Canada pavilion. (Posted August 26)
ANOTHER STAKEOUT — Director John Badham returned to Vancouver to film this 1993 sequel to his urban comedy Stakeout. Richard Dreyfuss and Emilio Estevez returned with him to reprise their roles as the likeably inept Seattle cops. (Posted August 25)
SPIRIT LODGE / RAINBOW WAR — Burbank-based showman Bob Rogers created two of Expo 86’s most popular attractions. Visitors lined up for hours to share the magic of Spirit Lodge at the General Motors pavilion, then moved on to the Canadian Pacific pavilion for the thoroughly delightful Rainbow War. (Posted August 24)
BEN-HUR — A remake of 1959's Oscar-winning best picture, director Timur Bekmambetov’s 2016 epic has become a box-office disaster of biblical proportions. Based on a 19th century novel, this “tale of the Christ” failed to connect with 21st century audiences. (Posted August 22)
ILSA - SHE WOLF OF THE SS — The most notorious of the “nazisploitation” features, director Don Edmonds’s 1975 shocker combined sex and sadism for the entertainment of grindhouse audiences. Ilsa’s best kept secret was the fact that the film was a Canadian production. (Posted August 19)
STAR 80 — Director Bob Fosse’s biographical feature was based on the true story of Dorothy Stratten, the Vancouver-born actress and model murdered by her estranged husband, Paul Snider. A shocking tale of love gone wrong, it starred Mariel Hemingway and Eric Roberts as the couple caught up in the world of Playboy Magazine. (Posted August 14)
GAMES OF THE XXI OLYMPIAD, MONTREAL 1976 — When the world’s athletes gather for the quadrennial summer games, cameras roll to record every moment. In 1976, a National Film Board of Canada team had the task of producing the official feature celebrating Montreal’s Olympiad. (Posted August 6)