What a way to start the year…

Saw this meme way back when 2020 was coming to an end…

Was I a good year | New Year's Day | Know Your Meme

2020 wasn’t much fun but neither was 2021. For the family and I in particular, it was downright awful.

So we said goodbye to 2021 and we aren’t even done with the first month of 2022 and already its been this avalanche of bad news coming through.

I suppose the biggest bits of news are the celebrity deaths. While it happened on the very last day of 2021 (December 31st), you had the beloved Betty White, longtime star of television and movies, passing away just shy of her 100th birthday…

Betty White dead at 99: Best moments and quotes

Yesterday/today came the news of the passing of two celebrities, Meat Loaf, aka Michael Lee Aday, mostly known as a terrific singer but also actor…

And, finally (for now, I suppose), comedian Louie Anderson…

Not My Job: We Quiz Comedian Louie Anderson On The Song 'Louie Louie' : NPR

Betty White had supposedly had a stroke a few days before her passing and it was likely the cause of her death. I read articles which stated Louie Anderson was being treated for cancer and this was the cause of his death.

As for Meat Loaf, the reports indicate he had contracted COVID and this was the cause of his death.

While the information is still very fresh and not entirely sourced, there have been those who have noted the singer had stated in previous interviews he was against vaccine mandates. There was evidence to suggest he had a conservative viewpoint.

Obviously, I can only go by those reports as I didn’t know the man myself.


While it feels unseemly to speculate, I can’t help myself.

I can’t help but wonder if he was one of those people who refused to get vaccinated for COVID.

Understand: There is no joy in this speculation. I don’t have any feelings but sadness at his passing.

But I’d be lying if it doesn’t cause me to contemplate the weird times we’re living in.

We live in a time where the politization of things seems to have gone waaaaaaay too far.

In the past, vaccinations weren’t something I thought about all that much but when I did, I tended to view them positively.

After all, you vaccinate yourself against Polio. Chicken Pox. Measles. Mumps. Shingles. The flu.

I can’t recall anyone stating these vaccines were some liberal plot and/or a threat to one’s freedoms and yet this seems to be exactly what’s happened with too many people when it comes to COVID vaccines.

It hurts to realize this weird thinking has taken over too many people, especially when I have very close family members on my side as well as my wife’s side who have fallen into this bullshit crap as well.

Which begs the question: What is it going to take to convince people reluctant to get vaccinated to do so?

How many more people have to pass away before then?

I just don’t know anymore.

It’s a hell of a way to begin the new year, though.

My thoughts are with the families of those who passed, regardless.

POSTSCRIPT: Just goes to show how much has happened and how many celebrities have passed. I forgot to mention two:

Yvette Mimieux. Perhaps not as well known today, but an absolutely stunning actress, perhaps best known for the original The Time Machine and Where The Boys Are. She was 80.

And, shockingly, Bob Saget, amiable comedian and star of the popular Full House. He was 65.

Coronavirus Diary 23

Over on CNN.com comes this article by Radina Gigova…

Czech anti-coronavirus vaccine folk singer dies after deliberately getting infected with Covid-19, son says

The headline pretty much explains it all, but a few details: Czech folk singer Hana Horká, 57, whose son and husband were sick with COVID but were, unlike her, vaccinated, deliberately got herself infected and, well… she didn’t make it.

This line found in the article and from her son, is particularly poignant:

“My mom wanted to get sick so she gets the Covid pass,” Rek said. “She said to me and even publicly she wants to get infected so she is done with Covid.”

“Done with Covid”.

I suppose one could make a very dark joke about that. Yeah, she’s done with COVID alright.

Grim shit, certainly.

Her son went on to state that his mother was getting incorrect information from her “social circle”, which I suspect means she was one of those people who looked around the internet for the supposed “truth” about vaccines and the virus… most of which is complete and utter bullshit.

I said it before and I’ll say it again: I really, really thought we’d be in much better shape by now. Between the availability of various vaccines and the voluminous testing and knowledge about how to not transmit the virus (wearing masks, cleaning your hands) I genuinely would have thought that by today we’d be mostly past the COVID pandemic.

How wrong I was.

There was no way to predict, I suppose, people’s gullibility or need to find these alternative means -or, to put it bluntly, bullshit- online.

Yeah, I’m feeling real salty here.

It’s because of people like the late Mrs. Horká that we’re still struggling with this damn disease.

Get vaccinated, people.

At the very least if you do get COVID, the odds are it won’t hit you like it did her.

The Chosen (1977) a (…huh…what?!) Belated Review

First, sorry for the dearth of posts. New Year’s been incredibly busy for me and, well, time to hang around here’s been too short.

I’ll try better!

Now then, The Chosen.

Never heard of this film? You’re probably in pretty good company. Here’s the movie’s trailer:

It’s no exaggeration to say I likely saw this film in/around the time it was first released, ie circa 1977 (the above trailer says 1978, but everywhere else I see the earlier year listed but… whatever!). It was the first, and only, time I saw the film and I recalled two things about it, specifically, which I’ll get into in a moment, and neither of them was the fact that the film starred Kirk Douglas….!

Yes, I was a very young movie watcher back then, and I had no idea about who Kirk Douglas was, though in time I would come to be a fan.

But let’s back up a moment.

If you’re an old fart like me and you remember the 1970’s, it was a wild time. The hippie movement was ending and new interests emerged. There was a fascination, I remember, with “mysteries”, be they things like UFOs or Bigfoot (those who lived through that decade surely remember The Six Million Dollar Man going up against Bigfoot…right?)…

Meanwhile there were a slew of books exploring all these various mysteries, spreading out into the idea that perhaps aliens visited the Earth years before and left behind evidence of doing so (Chariots of the Gods?) and the weird mystery of the Bermuda Triangle.

The UFO interest would eventually lead to a young Steven Spielberg making Close Encounters of the Third Kind while demonic possession -another of those areas of mystery and interest, would lead to The Exorcist (1973).

In a way, the success of The Exorcist would have far reaching impacts, even to today. It is my feeling the film inspired the movie studios to make The Omen, (1976) another demonic possession -in this case, quite literally the anti-Christ- to be made. That movie’s success would lead the father son duo of Alexander and Illya Salkind to seek out that movie’s director, Richard Donner, to direct their Superman movie, and its arguable that this film’s success would lead to the current glut of superhero films we have today (Marvel movie overlord Kevin Feige has stated the first Superman film is the one they emulate with their Marvel films!).

Hot off the heels of the release of The Omen, Italian director Alberto De Martino, known mostly for creating movies which were… ahem… inspired by other films (he would jump on any popular genre), would quickly get a crew and cast together and make The Chosen, aka Holocaust 2000.

While it may seem incredible they got Kirk Douglas to play in the film, the fact of the matter is that by the 1970’s these old guard “golden era” Hollywood actors were getting rather old and I suspect getting starring roles in theatrical films was becoming increasingly difficult.

Thus, Gregory Peck would appear in The Omen and Kirk Douglas, no doubt looking for a hit and not adverse to taking on the job, would play the lead in The Chosen.

Both Peck’s character and Douglas’ are similar from both films, as is the general plot: The anti-Christ is out there and our hero, a well-healed industrialist, slowly comes to the realization that the villain is near… even as those around him die in sometimes very creative ways.

In fact, the two things I recalled about The Chosen after all these years were the two most “creative” deaths presented in the film, one involving a helicopter blade and the other a wood panel.

But… what about the rest of the film?

You know… its not too bad, considering its a rip off of The Omen, which is overall a far, far better overall work, yet I’d be lying if I said it was some kind of lost treasure from the 70’s.

Douglas really gives the movie his all, doing some stuntwork on his own (you can see some of it in the trailer above) and that’s pretty impressive given he was around 61 years old when this film was made.

He also, for those who are really faint of heart, has a sequence involving a nightmare where he runs around a desert naked.

Yeah, could be one of the scarier sequences in the film! 😉

Still, I’ve seen far worse. The soundtrack, by the legendary Ennio Morricone, isn’t bad but neither is it among his most memorable. Further, the story is not without its strange hiccups, scenes where Douglas’ character seems convinced without a doubt he’s dealing with demonic matters only to then be convinced by some really lame dialogue from others that he’s being overly worried, where he laughs and slouches it off, only to again be hit in the face with undeniable evidence.

There’s also a sequence in the film that genuinely shocked me, but for other reasons.


At one point in the film Douglas’ character and a Catholic Priest he’s been consulting become convinced the baby his girlfriend is carrying is the anti-Christ. So, naturally, they arrange to take her to a doctor, under the pretext of getting her checked up, but in reality they’ve arranged for… an abortion!!!!!

A Catholic Priest arranges an abortion?

What in the world?!?!

Anyway, as I said before, I’ve seen much worse in my time. Having said that, I doubt modern audiences will find much interest in this film. It’s mostly a slow moving feature that, while interesting here and there, simply doesn’t measure up to The Omen.

If you’re in the mood for some anti-Christ hijinks, that’s the film to watch. If you want more, you could do worse than giving The Chosen a spin.

The Matrix Resurrections (2021) a (Ringing In The New Year) Review

December 31st.

If you’ve read my posts ’round here, you know this has been a very bad year for me and my family. We’ve faced horror and tragedy above and beyond the COVID pandemic and that stuff is still being sorted out.

My wife was determined to stay awake past midnight, to effectively tell 2021 to go fuck off, before going to bed.


I used to be somewhat nocturnal, but nowadays it’s tough for me to stay awake much past 11 pm… if I get to that hour!

But much before we got to that time, I was alone and had nothing going on. The daughters were busy, the wife was (at the time) visiting the next door neighbor, and I was alone in the family room.

I knew The Matrix Resurrections was available via HBO Max. Now, its been a very long time since I’ve set foot in a movie theater… I’m hoping in the new year I get to finally go back… but for now, with the movie available for streaming, I figured I’d finally give it a look. Here’s the movie’s trailer:

I very much recall going to see the original The Matrix way back in 1999 and upon its initial release and being totally blown away by the film. Terrific action sequences and a truly mind-bending story. And the trio of Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss, and Laurence Fishburne were at the top of their game, delivering the goods scene after scene.

What was there not to love?

Thing is, Lilly and Lana Wachowski, who directed The Matrix, would follow that terrific film with a string of others which… well… didn’t appeal to me that much.

Despite the wonderful spectacle, I wasn’t a big fan of the two follow up Matrix films, The Matrix Reloaded (2003) and The Matrix Revolutions (also 2003). Despite being a fan of the original Anime, I found it hard to watch more than 20 or so minutes of Speed Racer (2008). I have a digital copy of Cloud Atlas (2012) but haven’t had a chance to catch it as of yet, so I have no opinion on that film. What I saw of Jupiter Ascending (2015) seemed like more of the type of thing that had slowly turned me off of the Wachowskis and their films: Beautiful, in your face spectacle but a tough plot to follow and characters who didn’t appeal as much as I would have hoped.

Oh, and also, these films were all very long. I came away feeling like perhaps the Wachowskis could have used someone to edit the material down a little so that the stories had a better, stronger focus.

The bottom line is that as I sat in my living room yesterday on the last day of 2021 and with nothing else to do, I was somewhat hesitant to venture into The Matrix Resurrections.

Yet I did, and I’m rather glad I did so.

My verdict is that The Matrix Resurrections is a too long (not surprising) work that brings our older characters back (though Laurence Fishburne did not return this time around) for another round and while it may not be a great film, there is so much meat on the bone that I’m glad I went down this particular rabbit hole.

Having said that: I don’t feel I can recommend this film to everyone.

Looking around the internet and blog posts here and there, there are clearly many people who really hated the film. Still, over on rottentomatoes.com, the film has a “fresh” rating of 65% positive with critics and 64% positive with audiences.

But the film is bound to be divisive.

To begin with, the action sequences, while at times pretty well done, aren’t up there with the original film or even the sequels. I don’t know if its because so many years have passed but the action sequences never took my breath away.

However, the plot, involving the reconnection of Neo (Keanu Reeves, looking so much older than when he was last in the Matrix) and Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) was something that by the end had me genuinely near tears.

I just wish that they spent more time showing them together!

The story goes like this: Neo (Keanu Reeves) lives his boring, empty life working on video games. See, he created this great game several years ago called The Matrix and now the company, which is owned by Warner Brothers, wants a sequel.

Yes, the film is quite meta.

Neo, however, is deeply depressed. Perhaps even suicidal. He goes to a cafe to eat day after day and often sees Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) there buying a drink for herself. He pines for her, though he doesn’t know who she is and is too shy to introduce himself to her.

Eventually they do talk, and that opens the whole doorway into the film’s plot… and the machinations therein.

The film doesn’t move all that smoothly and there are moments where I could see people throwing their hands up and giving up. Things are often very weird and dragged out and, as I mentioned, the action sequences aren’t necessarily as good as some of the others we’ve seen from the Wachowskis (for the record, Lilly Wachowski bowed out of involvement in this film and her sister Lana is the sole director).

Still, if you stick around, you start to really get into Keanu Reeves’ Neo. This is a haunted man, one who knows a big part of himself is missing (could the meta storyline have something to do with Lilly Wachowski’s not returning to this film?) and he’s incredibly depressed about that… to the point where he’s considering suicide.

Granted, not the most fun stuff to watch for a potential blockbuster film, but the payoff is all that much stronger when it comes.

I doubt there will be another Matrix film, certainly by the Wachowskis. It feels Lana Wachowski took this opportunity and made a highly symbolic and very meta film about her current state of mind. If so, I hope she’s found her peace, just as Neo and Trinity appear to.

Yeah, it’s a tough film to recommend to everyone, but if you’re in the mood for a feature that doesn’t offer smarmy characters spouting smarmy dialogue, you may just find it worthwhile to take a dive into The Matrix Resurrections.