The Early Years: “Win! Win! Win! Win!!!!!!!”

When I was little, I watched a lot of cartoons. (I’m sure you’re all astonished.) One of my favorites from when I was around seven years old was “Wacky Races” (in reruns — I’m not THAT old). “Wacky Races” was of course inspired by the film “The Great Race”, which is similar to the other film “It’s A Mad Mad Mad Mad World”, which is very much like “The Gumball Rally”, which directly leads to “The Cannonball Run”, which is largely responsible both for the collapse of the Soviet Union and the decline and fall of Western civilization. But I digress.

Anyway, I had clearly just finished up a “Wacky Races” marathon when I banged out this little gem:

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Review: “La Femme Nikita” (1990)

Last week’s Netflix selection was “La Femme Nikita”, which is of course the trashy French remake of the famous American action/suspense classic “Point of No Return” featuring Bridget Fonda … oh, no, wait, I’ve got that backwards.  Anyway, “La Femme Nikita” is the story of a homicidally strung-out young woman (Nikita, natch) who is the sole survivor of one seriously botched bloodbath of a robbery attempt. Everyone in her gang dies, the store owner dies, a number of cops die, and this is all in like the first five minutes.  Blood flows liberally.  Cue the stink-eye from my wife.

Instead of going to prison, Nikita is “recruited” (so to speak) into a secret government agency of spies and assassins.  When she emerges three years later, she has been transformed from street harpy into a sort of female James Bond.  The agency sets her up in an apartment in the guise of a normal woman.  But then, something unexpected happens; instead of proceeding into one over-the-top gunfight after another, “La Femme Nikita” turns into something akin to a character study of a woman who slowly realizes that she has something to lose.

This movie is billed as a suspense film, and there are some top-notch action setpieces, most notably the famous battle in a restaurant kitchen that caps off her first assignment.  Oh, and Jean Reno’s appearance as a rather less competent version of Harvey Keitel’s cleaner character from “Pulp Fiction” is a hoot, too.  (I know, I know, “Pulp Fiction” came out later.  But I saw “Pulp Fiction” first.  So there.)  However, these scenes are not actually what the movie is interested in; the heart of the story is what happens between the assassinations and skullduggery and sneaking around.  The final scene is just remarkable, and not at all what I was expecting from my steady diet of American action flicks.

“La Femme Nikita” put my wife to sleep in a little over an hour.   Before she fell asleep she had actually started to pay attention to it, so we had to stop and finish it up later.  After it was over, she pronounced it good, which is high praise coming from her.  (The last film to earn the coveted “good” rating from her was “The Illusionist“.)  Anyway, if you’re in the mood for a little different take on the whole assassination game, this might be a good movie to check out.

Random Rejection: “On The Eighth Day”

Back in the 90s, there was a lot of concern about the “Year 2000”, and this translated into a large number of film and fiction projects that dealt with the upcoming inevitable apocalypse.  One of these was an anthology called On The Eighth Day, which almost included my short story, “Love and the Tides of Darkness.”  Almost.

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Review: “The Host”

This week’s Netflix selection was The Host, a Korean monster/comedy/action/horror/satire film in which a giant mutant tadpole type thing terrorizes the vicinity of the River Han in Seoul. (No, seriously!)

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The Early Years: Rabbit, Goldie, and Twister

A couple of weeks ago, I posted something I wrote as a kid, Rabbit’s Journal, something that I later learned is called a “typecast” (probably from a combination of “typewriter” and “podcast”). That seemed to be pretty popular, and so, I now present the continuing adventures of Rabbit Rawlings (yes, he had a last name … all my stuffed animals did).  For this one, I evidently had an assist from my brother John, although I couldn’t tell you who wrote what.

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Review: “The Dark Knight”

I’m sure it won’t surprise anyone to learn that I am (or used to be, anyway) an avid comic book reader.  I mostly read Marvel titles, my favorites being Uncanny X-Men, Alpha Flight, and The Avengers.  I was a casual reader of D.C. comics (except for Green Lantern, to which I subscribed for a while), reading the occasional Justice League or Batman issue.  Therefore, it’s with a somewhat heavy heart that I must say that The Dark Knight is the

Best.  Superhero.  Movie.  Ever.

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