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Fatal Attraction or Bad Decisions – A Retro of a 30-Year-Old Classic

In September of 1987, fresh from college graduation and new to the city of Los Angeles, I decided to take refuge in a movie the...

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Fatal Attraction or Bad Decisions – A Retro of a 30-Year-Old Classic

In September of 1987, fresh from college graduation and new to the city of Los Angeles, I decided to take refuge in a movie theater to relax. Caught up in the hype and anticipation of Adrian Lyne’s post 9 ½ Weeks effort, I went to see Fatal Attraction. I remember thoroughly enjoying myself. It was a great diversion for 2 hours.

Segue to 30 years later and I am channel surfing. What appears on my television set? Yep, you guessed it. So, I settled in to see if this film has stood the test of time. Unfortunately, it has not. What kept me on the edge of my seat in an LA theater three decades ago, made me laugh hysterically today.

We all know the premise of this movie. It has become cemented in popular culture as a cautionary tale for married men to stay on the straight and narrow. In other words, you get some strange, there will be hell to pay.

Dan Gallagher (Michael Douglas) meets Alex Forest (Glenn Close) at a gathering. The two are instantly attracted to one another. Since Dan’s wife Beth (Anne Archer) and his daughter Ellen (Ellen Hamilton Latzin) are away for the weekend, Dan takes advantage of it by having a dalliance with Alex.

What happens during this little adventure? Well, sex. Sex in an elevator. Of course, it is an old cargo elevator. That seems structurally safe and sound. After banging each other in that, let’s talk about the most famous scene of all. Getting busy in a kitchen sink.

Yes, you heard me. Dan places Alex in the sink and she turns the water on and they do it there. Seriously? This sounds like a 911 call waiting to happen. Can you imagine that scenario?
“911. What’s your emergency?”
“Hello, could you please send an ambulance?”
“What has happened, sir?”
“Well, I was trying to screw my girlfriend and I threw my back out. Yeah and she’s hurt too.”
“What exactly did you do, sir?”
Sighing. “I put her in the kitchen sink and one thing led to another….”
“I get the point. What’s the address?”

While all of this sounds hot and steamy on paper, it is pretty ridiculous on celluloid. Those scenes instead of getting me fired up made me roar with laughter. I kept thinking who does that?

So, after all this passionate love making, things start to get a little crazy for Dan. He leaves while Alex is sleeping. Of course, the first thing he does is call his wife and act real nonchalant like he’s been reading the Bible or something. Alex, waking up alone, immediately calls Dan demanding that he come back to her. After some cajoling, Dan capitulates and rejoins Alex for more fun and games plus a meal.

As with anything in life, the good times have to come to an end. Dan is getting dressed to return home. Alex is rather petulant with him and he explains that they both entered into this liaison with no expectations. Angered by his casualness, she boots him out of bed and he gets dressed in the living room and prepares to leave.

He goes to say goodbye and Alex approaches him very apologetic. The two embrace and in the midst of her fervent kisses, we see blood streaks across Dan’s face. He sees the telltale red and notices that Alex has cut her wrists. Okay, let me stop this kooky train for a moment.  

This should have been a big red flag for Dan to ghost this chick while he can. Instead, wracked with guilt, he stays with her throughout the night and even bandages her wounds. The entire time I am thinking, shouldn’t she go to the ER and get some stitches?

Finally, Dan is free to leave this situation and get back to his life. Once he has returned to his apartment, he doesn’t have time to go to bed so instead, to make it look like he has slept in it, he jumps underneath the covers and starts rolling around like an idiot. This was another laugh out loud moment for me. I guess he thinks this will make his wife think he has been home the entire weekend.

Beth and Ellen are back and all is right with the world. Not so fast! As much as Dan would like to move on from those crazy days of volatile pounding in Alex’s apartment, she won’t let him. She starts barraging him with phone calls, showing up at his office and stalking him. As if this isn’t enough, guess what? She’s pregnant! Good times.

Now, Dan is really stuck between a rock and a hard place. Being a standup guy, he offers to pay for Alex to have an abortion. Are you stupid, Dan? Wait, don’t answer that. Of course, she doesn’t want that! She wants to raise the baby thinking that you will divorce your wife and live happily ever after with her.

The harassment continues and even escalates. Alex totally wrecks Dan’s Volvo. Now, she shows up at his apartment under the pretense of wanting to move to the city. Let me tell you, the scene where the one night stand and the wife are together shouldn’t be amusing but it is, especially since Lyne has them framed in the same shot standing next to one another. Uh-oh, Dan. Time to make a choice….

Torn apart with guilt, Dan finally confesses to his wife about his bad decisions weekend and is kicked out of the house. Thus, begins his downward spiral. He gets just as mental as Alex by breaking into her apartment to see if he can dig up some dirt on her.

All of this cat and mouse culminates in Alex kidnapping Ellen from school to take her to an amusement park. When Beth arrives at the institution to pick up her daughter, she is told by the teachers, “She isn’t here. She left. We thought she went with you.”

Ah, the 80’s. I guess back then we just didn’t care about stranger danger and Amber alerts. Come to think of it, my aunts could just pick me up from kindergarten in the 70s and no one cared. They could have had paneled vans for all the nuns knew.

Distraught and searching for her daughter, Beth plows into the back of another car. She ends up in the hospital. Ellen is safely returned by Alex. Livid, Dan pays Alex a visit and this time they engage in hand to hand combat. All that throwing each other up against walls and tackling isn’t fun anymore. T
This time, Dan intends to seriously injure her.

He starts strangling the crap out of her but then realizes what he is doing and steps away from the madness. With the following parting words, he sends a clear message. “Leave my family alone or I will kill you.”

The final act of sheer dementia occurs when Dan and his family, who have now taken up residence in the burbs, leave for a day of fun. When they come back to their perfect home, something is amiss. Ellen immediately runs into the backyard to greet her pet rabbit.

Beth walks into the kitchen to find a pot boiling. Cut back and forth to Ellen to Beth and then finally, dead rabbit and screaming women. I guess dinner is already started. Sorry, I couldn’t resist. Please forgive the poor taste.

In the end, Beth tries to cope with Dan’s indiscretion. However, while she is drawing a bath, out of nowhere, Alex starts attacking her with a knife. Dan happens to notice that water is dripping from the ceiling, curious, he goes upstairs to find out what is going on. He walks in on Alex being batshit insane and they immediately go at one another.

Dan strangles her in the bathtub. Think that is the last of Alex? Hell no! Like Michael Myers and Jason Voorhees, she rises up and attempts to attack Dan again. This time, she is shot to death by Beth.
The script is predictable and formulaic. While the acting is decent, in retrospect, this film has not aged well. Hook ups happen but at the first sign of trouble, people usually bail. Restraining orders are commonplace and schools take child abduction very seriously now.

However, I highly recommend this movie if you are thinking about taking your relationship to the next level.  You can use it a conversation starter. “So, babe, about that weekend trip that I am taking for work. Have any plans while I am gone?”

Or maybe it can be used as an instructional film in sex education classes to push students toward the downsides to random hookups…. that will NEVER work. Perhaps this film can serve as a mood lifter. Remember you may think you are having a rough time but there is always someone out there that is having a worse time than you.
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Saturday, June 3, 2017

Weren’t the 80’s Awesome?!

This is a reblog of a post I did last year.  So, grab your wayfarers, a hoverboard and the DeLorean or the classic Olds Delta 88 and let's take a trip back in time to my formative years, the rad 80s.

I was feeling sort of Back to the Future so I decided to go back to the past and write a throwback post. What has caused this sudden bout of nostalgia you might ask? Well, it’s summer, the current political climate, social media, the list could go on and on. While I enjoy all of the benefits of this century I sometimes find myself longing for the days when all of life’s issues could be solved in one John Hughes movie.

During most of the 80’s, I was a teenager. My function in life was to go to school, play sports, get good grades and just have fun. Unlike today where those carefree days have been replaced with grown up concerns like paying the bills, job expectations, ad nauseum. Now whenever I revisit that time in my life, usually through watching popular movies of that era, I am struck by how totally unrealistic the situations depicted are and that in real life the repercussions would be very different.

Allow me to give you some examples to illustrate my theory. First, let’s talk about Flashdance.  What a feeling, right? The story centers around an 18-year-old welder named Alex who lives in Pittsburgh. She resides in a fabulous loft apartment in a converted warehouse and moonlights as an exotic dancer. In her spare time, she works out like a maniac to some cool tunes and hangs out with the boss of the steel mill in his killer Porsche 911. When I saw this film back in the day, I never questioned anything. Now as an adult, I have to stifle the laughter when I think of the implausibility of this plot.

In looking at the credits, I see one of the writers is Joe Eszterhas.  Mr. Eszterhas is known for two screenplays. Basic Instinct and Showgirls.  I must confess I do enjoy Showgirls because it is totally laughable.  It is almost like a 90’s version of Flashdance except it takes place in Vegas with nudity, crazy dancing, and tremendously bad acting. As for Basic Instinct, it gave us Sharon Stone.  Let that sink in for a moment. What is her claim to fame? A skin tight white dress and no underwear. I imagine she was the inspiration for countless starlets of today, (I’m looking at you, Kardashian clan). 

Back to the plot of Flashdance, I have questions. Welding is a very detailed discipline not to mention dangerous. When did Alex find time to study this technical job? In shop class during high school? Even if this was the case, would she be able to be hired by a steel mill after a year of making ash trays at the local trade school? Furthermore, at 18, where did she get the cash to foot the bill for that tremendous warehouse loft? Probably combining her tips as an exotic dancer with her salary. Now, I have been to strip clubs. I have never been to a club that involves a pull chain and a bucket of water.  

Nor did any of the girls run up to a wall and do a back flip. As for Alex’s dalliance with her boss, Nick Hurley, all I can say is really? He seems incredibly older than her (not that there is anything wrong with that) and isn’t there an HR department at that mill? Seriously? In today’s corporate landscape, Alex would sue Nick for sexual harassment and Nick would resign from his position.

Another beloved movie from that era was Footloose. Now, I love me some Kevin Bacon but in retrospect how did this concept even get greenlighted by a studio? Listen, the soundtrack was excellent and I spent many a night dancing to the theme song in college. One time, I even jumped on a table with some friends but that is a whole other blog. Getting back to the subject at hand, Ren McCormack (Kevin Bacon) is a Chicago teen who is uprooted from his urban existence and transplanted smack dab in the middle of East Kadumptruck, Iowa. Okay, that is not the name of the town and if you are from Iowa I apologize. Des Moines is the best! In this Iowa burg, no one dances and no one listens to the devil’s music which would be rock and roll.

First of all, if it weren’t for small towns in the Midwest how would John Cougar Mellencamp have a career or even Bruce “The Boss” Springsteen? Is this town in “Little House on the Prairie” or just a weird cult haven that lets a minister (played by master thespian, John Lithgow) dictate how people choose to live their lives? Of course, Ren has the misfortune of taking up with the minister’s daughter and all hell breaks loose. I could go on and on about Footloose but you get the picture. In the end, that sinister rock music wins, everyone sees the light, and it is time to boogie! If only real world issues could be solved with some Duran Duran and the Electric Slide!  We could say goodbye to all the scary threats in our present day world.

The last film I want to talk about is the classic, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.  This movie is the inspiration for a 90’s band called “Save Ferris.” “Save Ferris” had some brief success with a remake of an old 80’s tune, “Come on Eileen,” by “Dexy’s Midnight Runners.” In this story, Ferris is a high school kid who decides that he is going to take the day off. In an elaborate plan worthy of a bank robbery, Ferris breaks his girlfriend Sloane and his best friend Cameron out of school for some hi jinx. They take Cameron’s dad’s classic car for a spin, go to the art museum, have dogs at a Cubs game and even sing on a float in a parade in downtown Chicago. Meanwhile, the high school principal becomes obsessed with tracking Ferris down to prove that he is playing hooky.

Let me just say from firsthand experience, this guy would have been busted in the 80’s. I know this because I tried to sneak out of school in the middle of the day. Granted, I went to a lock down federal penitentiary Catholic school but my plan was thwarted. The vice principal grabbed me right as I was walking out the side door of the school theater.  Ferris definitely would have been busted today with all of the social media. Someone would capture his adventures and then put them on You Tube. Amazingly enough, he appeared on television while singing on the float and no one found out! It seems like everyone was blissfully unaware.

In today’s world, the principal of Ferris’ high school would probably be brought up on charges of harassment and stalking a student. This would lead to his public disgrace and a tearful resignation with his stalwart family by his side.  Cameron, Sloane, and Ferris would have been suspended from school and the consequences would definitely not have been feel good.

I still enjoy each of the films that I mentioned. They are fun and they are frivolous. Their main goal is to entertain. After all, that is why we go to the movies or listen to that new song or read that latest best seller is to escape from our lives. I am fortunate to have grown up in a time that was free of some of the issues that we face today. I will forever be a child of the awesome 80’s! 

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Saturday, May 27, 2017

Brimorie - A New Age

Welcome to the fourth part of my series, Brimorie - A New Age.  Think of this as an experiment, if you will.  Each month, will bring a new installment. This will be a different experience for most of my constant readers. In a sense, what you will be viewing is my script for a potential horror movie.

The characters of Brimorie, Professor Ben Collins and James Rogers were created by Theresa Jacobs for her book, “Sudden Death.”

If you are a fan of the supernatural and things that go bump in the night, I highly recommend that you pick it up. You won’t be able to put it down.
Check it out at the following link:

Now, join me if you dare, as we step into a place where technology meets terror.  Sometimes it is better to unplug. Enjoy…….


Sophie, Petra and Devin are sitting at a corner table in the Student Union. Sophie has dark circles under her eyes and is picking at her cereal. Finally, she shoves the bowl away from her.


You okay, Soph?


Guess I am just tired. I didn't sleep well last night. I can't shake this feeling that something is wrong. Where's Matt?

Devin shrugs.


Knowing him, he probably slept in.

Petra starts texting on her phone.


Just sent him a text. If he doesn't respond, I will swing by his place after class. We were supposed to go out tonight. He lost a bet so drinks are on him. I am sure it is exactly what Dev said, Soph.


Maybe you guys are right. It must be lack of sleep.

Sophie glances at her watch. She jumps up quickly.


Damn it! I am late for art history.

She grabs her backpack and takes off. Devin and Petra watch her fly through the Union and out of the doors.


I have some time to kill. I'll stop at Matt's. See what's up.


Let me know, Dev. See ya later. Pop up quiz day.

Petra exits leaving Devin alone.


James is in the waiting area. He is fooling around with his pen. An older man in a long-sleeved Oxford shirt with his tie askew strides purposefully toward James. This is DETECTIVE MASON.


Nice to meet you. Thanks for seeing me.


Do you mind if we go into the conference room?


Not at all.

The two walk down the hall and take an abrupt left turn. Mason shuts the door behind him and the two men sit down at the conference table.


What can I do for you?


I wanted to ask you about Charlotte Collins.

Mason nods his head and looks like he is deep in thought for a moment before answering. James opens his notebook and jots down a quick sentence.


You mentioned something about a school paper?


Yes. Actually, there were some disappearances at my school this year and someone mentioned that this sort of thing happened here 10 years ago.


I remember the case. Her father was a professor at the college. Very strange. All we had was an empty car, a strange residue in the front seat and nothing else to go on.


So, no prints or eyewitness accounts? Did you have the residue analyzed?

Mason shakes his head.


We did our best on that one. No one saw anything. The residue was unidentifiable. We even sent it to the lab in Portland. They said the results were inconclusive. Cold case has been on it for a while now. I remember her Dad was real torn up about it. I would be too.

Mason leans in toward James.


If you ask me, I think she ran away. Hell, maybe she had a boyfriend that her folks didn't know about and they eloped.


Do you remember what lab you sent it to?


Oregon State Police Portland Metro Forensic Laboratory.

James jots a few notes down in his notebook.


Well, thank you very much for your time, Detective. I will be sure and send you a copy of the article when it runs.

James shakes hands with Mason and leaves the room.


Devin is standing outside Matt's apartment door. He knocks on it and waits a beat. After he doesn't hear anything, he knocks again.


Matt? Hey? You home?

Devin knocks one more time. He stands there waiting. Nothing happens so he turns around and walks down the corridor.


Petra is lying on her bed. She has earbuds on listening to her favorite album. Her eyes are closed and she looks like she is on the verge of falling asleep. While she is blissfully unaware, a dark shape materializes out of the wall and steps into the room.

Petra nods her head in time with the music her eyes are still closed. Feeling a chill, she shivers slightly and pulls a quilt around her. Suddenly, she opens her eyes and sits up, looking around her room. She sees nothing unusual. Lying back down, she closes her eyes and resumes listening to her music.

The dark form materializes next to her. Petra feels a cold caress on her cheek. This causes her to bolt upright. Nothing is in her room. She waits and listens. Nothing but silence. She lays back on the bed again and closes her eyes.

All of a sudden, the quilt is ripped off of her. She finds herself pinned to the bed. Panicking and alarmed, she tries to struggle but can't. It feels like she is literally chained to the bed. Her eyes bulge with fear. She can't cry out. Tears fall from the corners of her eyes. The dark figure appears on top of her. She looks into a face that is oozing flesh with fire burning in the eyes.

This thing opens its mouth wide and plants the gaping hole on her lips. Petra starts flailing. The life is literally getting sucked out of her. Her body starts to shrivel, flesh starts melting away, her movements lessen until they finally stop. All that is left is an oozing, desiccated mess which quickly disappears into the bed.


Ben is engrossed in a book on Demonology and Second Heaven. The chapter is about dealing with powerful entities. Before he can get any further, his doorbell rings. Glancing at his watch, he gets up and heads out to the foyer.


James is standing on the porch looking around. He goes to ring the doorbell again when Ben opens the door.


Hey, Professor. I hope you don't mind me dropping by. I have some information that you might like to know.

Ben steps aside and allows James into his house.


Ben and James walk back to the office. Immediately, James sits down in front of the desk. Ben sits down behind it.


So, I went to speak with Detective Mason today.


I haven't heard that name in a long time.


Did you know that they found residue in the car?


A residue?

James nods his head.


Yes. They sent it off to the state forensic lab to be tested. Mason said the results were inconclusive. That it wasn't identifiable.

Ben sits back in his chair and closes his eyes for a moment.


Do you know anyone that could look into that info?  Maybe one of your former colleagues?

Ben drums his fingers on the desk while he is thinking.


An old friend of mine works in the Sciences department. His wife used to work for the Lab.


It's worth a shot. Maybe we can find out if there were results and if not, at least we know what happened to Charlotte.

Ben silently looks at James.


I know what happened to her. I always have.


We'll find a way to fight this fucker, Professor.


Devin and Sophie are sitting in a booth in the back of the bar. Although it is pretty noisy, they are lost in conversation and by the looks on their faces, the topic is pretty grim.


I went by Matt's place this afternoon.




No. I knocked several times. This isn't like him.  Where's Petra?

Sophie shrugs.


I last saw her on the quad. She said she was going to chill in her room and then grab something to eat. We were supposed to meet up.

Sophie pauses and looks at Devin.


You don't think....


We don't know anything yet, Soph. Let's not jump to conclusions. Maybe they went away for the weekend.


Come on, Dev! Don't you think they would have said something? They weren't exactly secretive.

Devin picks up his glass of beer and drinks from it.


I don't want to think about it either but I'm telling you, we started something. It's coming for us. We need to get help.


Look, I will file a missing person report tomorrow for both of them.


I think we need to talk to Professor Collins.


How is that going to work, Soph? So, we talk to him and then all of a sudden Matt and Petra show back up?

Sophie looks down at the table.


I don't think they are going to, Dev.  I don't think you believe they will either.

Sophie places her hand on top of his.


Why don't we go see him tomorrow? Afterwards, we'll go to the cops.

Devin looks into her eyes.


I promise I'll take care of you, Soph. I won't let anything happen to you.

He places his other hand on top of hers and squeezes it.


Ben walks down a hall; several students are going toward classrooms. He stops in front of an office designated as 321 before he can knock on the door, a tall, blonde, slightly balding man opens it. This is GREGORY ARCHER.


Ben? Oh, my God! Nice to see you!

Gregory extends his hand and vigorously shakes Ben's.


Hi, Greg.


Come on in.

Gregory steps aside to let Ben enter his office. He immediately sits behind his desk.


This is a pleasant surprise. What brings you on campus? Research for a new book?


Actually, yes. How is Jean?


Doing fine. Enjoying being retired. She spends a lot of time with the grandkids.


I was hoping she might be able to help me out, Greg.

Gregory's face immediately registers concern.


Sure, Ben. What’s going on?


Something has come up in Charlotte's case. Some evidence was found at the crime scene. A residue in the front seat of the car. Would Jean be able to reach out to someone in the state lab to see if they have any information?


I always felt the police botched that investigation up, Ben. I don't know why you didn't sue them.

Ben shakes his head.


I didn't want to take that on, Greg.


I’ll talk to Jean. Anything we can do....


That means a lot.


We miss you. Maybe you could come over for dinner some night?


I would like that.

Gregory smiles.


I will hold you to that, my friend.

Ben stands up, he shakes his friend's hand again.



Gregory holds up his hand.


I know, Ben.

Gregory watches as Ben exits his office.  He picks up his phone and dials it.