Category Archives: TV

Game Of Thrones… Finale

DISCLAIMER: I have yet to see a single full episode of the Game of Thrones TV series and I have not read any of the G. R. R. Martin books on which the series is based.

And yet… I’m fascinated by the HBO series. Have been almost from the beginning. As each episode has appeared, I’ve read the mostly positive reactions to the show and I know most of what’s gone on in it: The surprise/shock deaths and the evil machinations of the various characters.

I’m sure I’m missing quite a bit, having not seen show or read the novels, but I’m familiar enough with some of the main characters and know that many fans have found the final season and conclusion of the HBO show a bitter disappointment.

Going back in time, I recall people thinking/hoping the final two books in Mr. Martin’s series would be released just as the show reached its end. Soon these same fans realized it was very likely the second to the last novel might be released by the time the show ended, but it became increasingly doubtful the final novel would see the light of day before then. Then, more time passed and suddenly it was clear neither of the two last books would be released before the show ended.

And so it’s come to pass.

In fact, readers still don’t know when the last two books will be released, if ever, and they’re certain the decline in quality of the series and, especially what they witnessed in this last season, was due to the fact that the show’s runners no longer had Mr. Martin’s books to guide them.

In that, they’re likely quite right.

I’m sure you’ve been wondering: If I haven’t seen the damn series nor read any of the books, what in the world could I possibly add to the conversation regarding Game of Thrones and its TV end?

Welp, if you’ve been reading my posts, you know I have my own little series of novels which I’ve recently concluded. The series, titled Corrosive Knights, consisted of seven novels…

When I heard a few years back that it was likely Mr. Martin would have neither of the last two novels of the series done before the TV show finished, I knew the show might be in trouble and feared exactly what’s happened for many, that the show ended in disappointment.

Understand, I’m no psychic. I based this on the experiences I had writing my own novels.

You see, when I was knee deep in writing Ghost of the Argus, the fifth book in the Corrosive Knights series, I had absolutely no idea the series would go on for two more novels. At that point, believe it or not, I had absolutely no idea how the series would end, if ever. I was enjoying writing each novel and seeing where my imagination would take me.

Granted, I knew I had to eventually wrap the series up and create some kind of conclusion, but there was method to my madness. By focusing on each novel as I wrote it, I was determined to make each book stand out on its own and build upon what came before.

By the time I was on the last couple of drafts of Ghost of the Argus, I had this wild, sudden vision of where the next two books would go. Suddenly, I knew the next two books would offer a conclusion to the series and, just like that, I had a general framework for where I was going.

But it was only a framework.

What followed were four years of very hard work, of trial and error, of new/surprising directions. You see, while I had a general idea of where I was going, I still had to get there. I had to take this framework and build organs and musculature, flesh and blood, around it.

Had HBO been working on a Corrosive Knights TV adaptation of my works and were getting along on the series and wanted to know how I was going to end it, had they asked me before I had my vision I would have had no answer for them. After my vision, I could have provided them with the framework but that’s all they would have had. What I created in four years after was very much different from that initial set of ideas.

I can’t help but think that the Game of Throne showrunners were in a similar position, given general ideas from Mr. Martin. They were the ones who had to come up with all the organs, flesh, blood, and outer skin… and if we’re going by many of the negative reactions, they simply weren’t up to the task.

Frankly, I feel for them.

I’m certain they did the best they could but the fact is they aren’t Mr. Martin and they haven’t gone through the trial and error and actual writing that Mr. Martin has.

Maybe one day the books will finally appear and all those fans of the series will get their better ending.

Until then, they’ve got what they have.

News of the weird…

Growing up in the 1970’s and early 80’s was an odd experience. There was incredible intrigue around the notion of “unexplained” mysteries. You had popular books like…

Chariots Of The Gods.jpg

Which theorized aliens visited Earth in ancient times and built all kinds of things those primitive humans simply could not.

There were plenty of other mysteries out there to explore. How about…

Related image

…or perhaps UFOs? How about Bigfoot? Or the very mysterious fate of hijacker D.B. Cooper?

Image result for d.b. cooper

Yes indeed, a weird, entertaining time to be an armchair detective, sorting through the half-truths presented in various books/magazines and, yes, even TV shows hosted by… Leonard Nimoy?!

Yeah, a fun time to be around, even if many of these purported mysteries were likely far less mysterious than the presenters would have us know.

Welp, now and again certain “mysteries” bubble up. Some are relatively new (the chupacabra!).

With great amusement I found this article by Julia Hollingsworth and found on CNN.com concerning…

“Yeti” footprints sighted claims Indian Army tweet

I can see the upcoming documentary now…

ūüėČ

Larry Cohen (1936-2019)

Not familiar with the name?

He created many fascinating works, both as director and writer. Some of his bigger/most famous works include It’s Alive (1974)…

The movie proved popular enough to merit two sequels! He also directed Q: The Winged Serpent (1982)…

But Mr. Cohen wasn’t just a director, he also wrote plenty of material. He is listed as the creator of the paranoid alien invasion TV series The Invaders (1967-68)…

He was the screenwriter for the pretty bonkers Armand Assanti starring Mike Hammer film I, The Jury

Mr. Cohen passes away at 82 late last month. Looking over his IMDB listings, I’m impressed with the amount of material he had his hands on/in. True, some of the works have lost the edge they once had, but still, what a fascinating career!

Do heroes kill…?

In what is sure to create further controversy, director Zack Snyder, when asked about the fact that he had Batman kill in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, made some rather strong statements concerning this topic.

As written by Charles Pullman-Moore and presented on i09.com, the article’s title will give you an idea of Mr. Snyder’s thoughts on that subject:

Zack Snyder wants you to “Wake the fuck up” and accept that Batman kills people

Part of what made BvS so controversial was its generally grim tone and, yes, the fact that Batman sure does seem to murder a bunch of bad guys in the film.

To be fair, he does so because they are very actively trying to murder him, so its not like he’s simply shooting them in the back when they’re, say, loading up some questionable merchandise inside a van or something.

But it does bring up an issue I personally have wrestled with concerning heroes: Should they kill?

James Bond, famously, had a “license to kill”. As presented, one would think that he would have no qualms doing what I proposed above, ie killing a badguy no matter what they were currently up to. If they’re loading a van or taking a walk on the beach, if British Intelligence views the person as a major danger to England/the World, and he has a “license to kill”, one could theoretically understand that if it is imperative to kill the badguy, you do so, no questions asked.

Clint Eastwood’s many “heroes” were often darker as well. Starting with the so-called “spaghetti” westerns of the 1960’s and going on to Dirty Harry in the 1970’s and 80’s, you had a darker variation of the “good guy” who might well shoot a badguy, whether while confronting said individual or offing them when they weren’t necessarily a threat to you at that moment.

But what about superheroes? What about heroes that aren’t supposed to be so damn dark, character-wise? Batman, while indeed a “dark” character, has been portrayed very often as not wanting to use a gun, though in his very earliest comic book appearances did indeed do so, and did indeed kill badguys…

Image result for batman with gun golden age

The above opening page of a story shows Batman with a weapon. Here, he uses it… albeit to kill a vampire:

Image result for batman with gun golden age

Here he uses not just a gun, but a machine gun, to off some badguys…

Note what Batman says in the above panel: “Much as I hate to take human life, I’m afraid this time its necessary!”

So, yeah, early, very early Batman could be as merciless in killing badguys just as his primary inspiration, the pulp hero The Shadow, did as well…

Image result for the shadow pulp covers

But very soon after Batman’s first appearance in Detective Comics #27 in 1939 and in issue #38 of Detective Comics, Batman was given a partner, the dashing Robin…

Image result for when did Robin first appear

I think its arguable that the introduction of this character put Batman over the top and sealed his transition from a superhero version of The Shadow into something new and exciting to audiences. Suddenly readers had an avatar, a young daredevil they could grasp and, vicariously, have their adventures through.

The tone of the Batman stories from that point on grew lighter and lighter, and Batman no longer mercilessly killed the badguys (though there were some “accidental” deaths still to come) until, soon enough, it was established that Batman DID NOT KILL, period.

In the late 1960’s and into the 1970’s, darkness crept back into the Batman character. The fine work of writer Dennis O’Neil and artist Neal Adams redefined the Batman character and brought us a version closer to what came early on, though the character still did not use weapons and still did not murder the badguys…

Image result for batman secret of the waiting graves

And so it was, roughly, a short time time later I first became familiar with these various characters.

In my very young mind, I felt that superheroes did NOT kill. If anyone perished in the course of a story, the hero tried their best to not kill anyone, even if they were despicable in their actions and very much deserved that fate. Heroes were, IMHO, people who found ways around such actions.

Then came Population Zero, the first episode of The Six Million Dollar Man’s regular series, first aired on January 18, 1974, and this terrific, and confusing to my very young mind, ending…

The plot of the episode, to be frank, was something of a rip off of Michael Crichton’s The Andromeda Strain. In that novel (and subsequent film adaptation), an entire small town is suddenly found dead with two exceptions, and it turns out some intergalactic virus is to blame… and this bug needs to be neutralized or it might spell the doom of the human race.

In Population Zero, the villain uses a sound machine (as you can see from the video) and it turns out the scientist behind it lost funds for his project because of the Bionic Man project. He obviously harbors deep anger and is determined to show that his weapon should have been given the proper funds. In the meantime, he tries to kill off the Bionic Man and then Oscar Goldman and the entire army base outside the town he initially attacked.

Steve Austin, the Bionic Man, gets away from his deathtrap and runs to where you see him. He realizes the mad scientist will kill a lot of innocent people and pulls up the metal fence post and, using it as a javelin, spears their truck, killing the scientist and his henchmen.

This really messed with my mind back then.

For it seemed to me Steve Austin could have run over to the truck and, I dunno, turned it over or something. He could have thrown the javelin at the electrical cables the bad guy was using to charge up his weapon and therefore rendered the sonic weapon inoperative.

No, he deliberately targeted the truck and by spearing it caused it to explode and kill everyone.

I’ve defended Batman v Superman more times than I care to and still believe this film will experience a re-evaluation in time and come to be viewed as far better than the early critics and fans felt it was.

And I have little problem accepting that Batman kills the bad guys both when he chases them in his Batmobile and later on when he’s trying to save Martha Kent.

Why?

Because if you truly, truly think through both scenarios, he’s quite literally fighting for his life. In the first scenario he’s being shot at with heavy weaponry. A lucky shot and his vehicle -and himself- is toast. It’s a high speed chase and very dangerous to not only Batman, but to anyone else who might be around that dock area.

Should Batman aim for the tires? Sure, but realistically, that a damn hard shot to make.

In the warehouse fight, the same applies. It’s one guy against a large number. In “real life” you need to take these dudes out and quick because if you don’t, you may die. So Batman can’t play nice while the bad guys here are using guns, knives, and whatever else they have to take him out. He has to fight back.

Hard.

Still, the little boy I was does feel a certain apprehension about the idea of a good guy, especially a superhero, resorting to killing and, at least in my stories, I’ve tried to show the consequences of killing (particularly in Mechanic) while also trying not to have my characters depicted as favoring killing first to deal with bad guys.

There truly is no answer, I suppose, and your opinions on this matter will certainly be guided by the literature/stories/TV shows/movies you’ve grown up with.

The quiet passing of Jan-Michael Vincent…

Yesterday it was reported that actor Jan-Michael Vincent had passed away on February 10th, almost a month ago, at the age of 73.

There are those who may know nothing about Jan-Michael Vincent. Here’s a trailer from The Mechanic, one of the movies he co-starred in with Charles Bronson back in 1972 and which I remember him best for…

The movie would be re-made later with Jason Statham in the Bronson role but , IMHO, it didn’t hold a candle to the original film and completely wiffed on what made the original so good: The ending.

Jan-Michael Vincent would appear in several movies, many of which may be classified as B films but were enjoyable nonetheless, throughout the 1970’s. He nonetheless established himself well enough that when he made the move to TV and the series Airwolf in 1984, he reportedly earned $200,000 per episode, an amount that made him one of the highest paid actors on TV at the time.

Alas, he was simultaneously spiraling out of control in a vicious cycle of drugs and alcohol which ultimately led to him becoming an undesirable in the field he worked in, as well as endangering his life.

Many of the details (and they are quite sad) can be read in this article about Mr. Vincent’s passing as written by David Moye and presented on Huffingtonpost.com:

Actor Jan-Michael Vincent Dead at 73

At the risk of paraphrasing the article, Mr. Vincent was in a major car accident in 1996 which resulted in him breaking his neck and injuring his vocal cords. In 2000 he was ordered to pay over $350,000 to a girlfriend he assaulted and who subsequently miscarried. He also spent 60 days in jail at that time due to violating his probation regarding alcohol related convictions. In 2008 he had another car accident and developed a leg infection. The lower right leg had to be amputated.

Mr. Vincent, who once looked like this…

Image result for jan-michael vincent

Was photographed later in life and after all that hard living looking like this…

Image result for jan-michael vincent

I don’t mean to put these images there to shock you. Again, it saddens me tremendously to see Mr. Vincent in these later in life pictures.

While he may not have been one of the greatest actors out there, as a child of the 1970’s and 80’s, he was a near constant in theaters and on TV.

I loved The Mechanic. So much so that when I wrote this novel, which was released before the Jason Statham remake of the movie, I used that title. Yeah, I suppose I stole it, though to be fair the term “mechanic” was well known as slang for a hitman/mercenary. Still, when I used the title I didn’t think many would remember that old film…


I also loved Mr. Vincent in Damnation Alley, a post-apocalyptic thriller that also featured George Peppard…

And, yeah, I really enjoyed him on Airwolf

Seeing him in that photo above, broken down, old, missing the lower half of his right leg, makes me incredibly sad.

I suppose in the end its one of those cautionary tales. You can have everything in life, success, money, looks… and yet still throw them away.

Rest in peace, Mr. Vincent. Despite it all, I’ll remember the joy you brought me in your roles.

History Repeats Itself…

…again.

Read about actor Jussie Smollett? He’s an openly gay actor known for being in the TV show Empire. Here he is:

On January 29th of this year, he reported to the police that two people attacked him while in Chicago. He alleged they hurled homophobic and racial slurs at him, put a rope around his neck, and poured a chemical substance on him.

(For more details and a timeline of events regarding this case, check out this article by Sopan Deb and presented on The New York Times).

Needless to say, the assault and details Mr. Smollett provided were harrowing. Only thing is… it now appears that Mr. Smollett may not have been telling the truth. It appears he may have staged the event himself, something I can’t even begin to understand why.

Ah, but you ask: What’s this whole “history repeats itself” thing you mention at the header?

See, when you get older and if you pay attention to the news and have a pesky habit of remembering things from years to years, you begin to realize that, indeed, history does have a weird habit of repeating itself.

Way back in the 1980’s and before the rise of the Rush Limbaughs, Ann Coulters, and other right wing fanatics, there was this TV personality, now deceased, named Morton Downey Jr. who had a very wild right wing TV show. Here’s Mr. Morton Downey Jr as he appeared on his show:

Image result for morton downey jr

And here’s the very same Morton Downey Jr. photographed in 1989 after he was allegedly attacked -as he claimed- in a public bathroom by youthful hoods that, among other things, drew a swastika on his face:

Image result for morton downey jr

You can read a little more about this alleged attack on this site:

Bogushatecrimes.com

As you can tell by the website’s name, this attack on Mr. Downey Jr. wound up being… well… bogus. There proved to be too many discrepancies in his story and, amusingly, the Swastika was drawn on his face backwards. You know, as if he was looking in the mirror and drew it that way.

As it turned out, Mr. Downey Jr.’s TV show was suffering and was looking like it might be cancelled. It was theorized he set up this bogus attack as a way of getting attention on himself in the hopes of bringing the ratings of his show up and, thus, save it.

Alas, the show was cancelled anyway and Mr. Downey Jr. declared bankruptcy and appeared in other markets before his eventual death in 2001. I distinctly recall watching one of his shows way back when, where he puffed maniacally on his cigarette and blew smoke right at the camera, his provocative way of telling those who would dare try to stop him from smoking to go fuck themselves.

The big irony is that in 1996 Mr. Downey Jr. developed lung cancer and had to have one of his lungs removed. He went from being that very pro-smoker to a staunch anti-smoker but, clearly, by that point the damage was done.

I know there are rumors Mr. Smollett’s actions, if indeed the attack on him does turn out to be bogus, were motivated by perhaps being in danger of being dropped from Empire, just as Mr. Downey Jr. allegedly did what he did for fear his show was on the rocks.

Either way, if indeed Mr. Smollett did stage this attack, it looks like its in the process of being found out.

Netflix Ratings…

Over at Slate.com Willa Paskin wrote a fascinating (to me, anyway!) article concerning Netflix and their recent release of watched program information, something they are often hesitant to do:

Netflix, You, and the Hits no one knows are Hit

The upshot of the article is that Netflix, who as I mentioned before are usually tight lipped about their watched programs, offered some information on their programs such as You, Sex Education, and Bird Box and… the numbers are eye opening, to say the least.

The author rightly questions whether the numbers are totally accurate. After all, what constitutes a “watch” of a series? Supposedly Netflix counts 70% of a watched show as valid, but while that may apply to stand alone movie such as Bird Box, one wonders if that also applies to a series of episodes.

Still, and again as the author notes, the numbers presented, even assuming they are likely inflated (and you can adjust them as you feel), are nonetheless staggering and the comparisons made to other successful feature films or TV shows hint at the very real possibility that there is a whole sub-culture out there that watches things which “regular” networks do not bother with.

One of the things I’ve noted with this new age of information is that sometimes unexpected things bubble to the surface and become popular. It’s almost impossible to predict what will “click” with the masses, but it does once again prove the late William Goldman was right when he said about making movies:

Nobody knows anything… Not one person in the entire motion picture field knows for a certainty what’s going to work. Every time out it’s a guess and, if you’re lucky, an educated one.

Bob Einstein, R.I.P.

This happened a several days ago, but Bob Einstein, brother of Albert Brooks and one of the greatest deadpan comedians (IMHO!), passed away.

His most recent work was on Curb Your Enthusiasm but I’ll always remember and love his work as Super Dave Osborne, the most inept stuntman there ever was…

The Super Dave Osborne skits were always a variation of the same funny concept: A stunt was to be performed and the announcer presents Super Dave and, when he arrives, he explains the stunt and… it goes spectacularly wrong with the “true” Super Dave often letting loose…

Another example:

Funny stuff! One more:

Nightflyers: Season 1, a (partial) review

Presented on the SyFy Network and based on a short story by George R. R. Martin (Game of Thrones), NightFlyers is a science fiction/horror hybrid involving a spacecraft heading out into deep space to try to contact an alien race, and the eerie things the crew encounters as they travel on.

The show’s been on for a while now and, at least according to IMDB, the first season has 10 episodes, all of which have been shown.

I set my DVR to tape the season and wound up watching the first three episodes in one sitting and enjoying myself reasonably well.

The show features a smallish “central” cast in an enormous star ship that, as I mentioned above, is on its way from Earth to meet up with an alien race somewhere out in the distance.¬† Earth is apparently dying out and it is hoped contacting the alien race will help them to save humanity…

…or some such.

Again, I enjoyed the first three episodes fairly well, though it seemed like the makers of the series were deliberately withholding some information and/or were simply inept at presenting the information clearly.

For example, within this star ship is a psychic individual who, other crew members have stated, was responsible for some kind of mass killing.

Or was he?

He is initially presented as potentially evil and dangerous character but as those original three episodes play out, we get a sense that he isn’t quite as dangerous as something which lurks within the vessel’s machinery itself.¬† The reveal of what that is is… ok… I suppose, but hardly shattering.

I left the show and returned to see the fourth episode and, in the interval of time, I found my opinion on the show had soured somewhat.  The fourth episode wound up being something of a chore to watch and it occurred to me that the series is being deliberately obtuse to the point of being frustrating.

In four hours of time, I as a viewer remain unclear why exactly the potentially dangerous psychic individual was brought on the ship.¬† It was stated he was there to communicate with the aliens psychically, but a later episode shows his ability to psychically “talk” to anything beyond humans is at best very limited.¬† So it would seem the risk of taking this potentially VERY dangerous individual on this vessel was a risk maybe not worth taking.

Further, the big reveal of the entity within the vessel itself also seems like a very idiotic thing.¬† I mean, how could so much money, time, and effort be made on building this massive star ship and then essentially load a (SPOILERS!!!!) person’s “soul” into it, especially one that is oh-so-hard to get along with.

Again, I’ve made it only four episodes into the series but as of now, I’m wondering if I’m going to make it through the remaining six.¬† Further, this series is based on a short story/novella by Mr. Martin so one wonders if a second season is in the offing and whether the makers of this series are stretching the story waaaaay¬†too far out.

At this point and without having seen the rest of the series, I have to sadly say the show is a thumbs down from me, despite some decent acting, effects, and a somewhat intriguing initial premise.

Burt Reynolds (1936-2018)

If you’re like me, and getting really old, you may remember the 1970’s and 80’s.

If you do, you can’t not know actor/director¬†Burt Reynolds, who it was announced yesterday passed away at the age of 82.

Mr. Reynolds rose to prominence in the earlier 1970’s, specifically with his fantastic performance in 1972’s Deliverance as Lewis, the would-be alpha male outdoorsman who takes a group of fellow city folk friends to a nature/river weekend trip which rapidly spirals into horror…

The movie was incredibly faithful to the James Dickey novel it was based on, so much so it even had the author play a small but vital role in the movie’s closing minutes!

Reynolds’ Lewis is, IMHO, the most fascinating character in the film, someone who is outwardly virile, charismatic, and clearly the “leader” of his pack.¬† He’s the one who gets his friends into the woods and when things go bad, he looks to be the one who will deal with the dangers and get everyone out.¬† Deliverance, to my mind, is like an Americanized version of¬† Joseph Conrad’s wonderful book Heart of Darkness, which was the basis of Apocalypse Now.¬† We have “civilized” people venturing into the wilds of nature, where the rules of a polite society no longer apply and where the danger is very real.

Here’s the thing that makes Lewis so damn fascinating (MILD SPOILERS FOLLOW!): He’s ultimately not all that different from the others in his group and something of a paper tiger.¬† In less capable hands, Lewis could have been presented as the movie’s villain, someone who dragged his friends to near doom and, when the going gets really tough is taken out of action.

But this performance and this character is far more nuanced.¬† Yes, he’s a man who got himself and others in over their proverbial heads, but Reynold’s performance following one of this movie’s pivotal sequences, after he kills a man, shows some incredible acting on his part.¬† Lewis kills one of the mountain men/rapists, but as the man dies from the arrow shot through his heart, one is riveted by Reynold’s acting here.¬† He is tough at first, but then, as the man slowly, agonizingly, dies, the look on his face changes to horror, to a realization of the trouble they’re in and how he, the alpha male, is also in over his head (pay particular attention to his facial expressions from 1:44 seconds or so):

Unfortunately, this clip ends before what I consider the best bit, where Lewis says, almost in a whisper, that he hit the man with a “Center shot”.¬† His whisper is the sound of a man’s soul dying.

Here’s a funny bit from the Conan show, where Burt Reynolds talks about that famous scene and how one of the roles was cast:

Here’s the thing: By the time Burt Reynolds appeared in Deliverance in 1972, he had already racked up a LARGE number of roles, dating back to 1958 (14 years!), in numerous TV shows and movies and including roles in Gunsmoke, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Perry Mason, The Twilight Zone (the original!), Hawk (a detective show starring Mr. Reynolds), Navajo Joe (a “spaghetti” type western from 1966 which starred Mr. Reynolds), Sam Whiskey (another movie, from 1969, where he was the protagonist), Dan August (another TV series featuring Reynolds in the starring role), and, just before the release of Deliverance, he starred in Fuzz, a movie based on the famous Ed McBain (aka Evan Hunter) 87th Precinct novels and also featured Raquel Welch and Yul Brynner.

So Mr. Reynolds, following years of hard work and appearances in a number of roles, was suddenly “hot”.¬† He would follow up Deliverance with mostly starring roles in movies during the rest of the 1970’s.¬† Some movies fared better than others, most were interesting, including White Lightening (the first of his two “Gator” films), Gator (the second of the, you guessed it, Gator films),¬†The Longest Yard, and Nickelodeon.

But Reynold’s biggest hit was to come in the year 1977…

Smokey and the Bandit was a HUGE hit, a film that was second in the Box Office that year, beaten by this long forgotten film called Star Wars, and it was a freaking delight.

The movie featured Reynolds, Sally Field (cute as a button!), Jerry Reed, and a spectacularly foul mouthed Jackie Gleason as the main cast in what amounts to a comedic full length car chase film.¬† It was wonderfully¬†light-hearted and never had a dull moment and Reynold’s charisma was on full display.

(Side note, I wrote about the curious similarities between Jackie Gleason’s Sheriff Buford T. Justice and the James Bond film Live and Let Die’s¬†Sheriff Pepper here)

From that point on Reynolds would continue working hard, appearing in films that were quite good if not quite as memorable as those that came before.¬† I loved The End, a movie Mr. Reynolds directed, though today people don’t remember it that much…

… and Hooper, a return feature with Smokey and the Bandit director Hal Needham (I reviewed that here).¬† He had a hit with The Cannonball Run, a sorta/kinda reworking of The Gumball Rally, but the film wasn’t as good as one would have hoped, though Roger Moore, of all people, was quite hilarious in it…

He would direct and star in the 1981 film Sharky’s Machine, which I feel is one of Mr. Reynold’s last great movies before he seemed to “lose it” with audiences…

He lost it, unfortunately, due to a number of middling films like Stroker Ace (back together with director Hal Needham), Cannonball Run II (though I wasn’t the biggest fan of the original, it was a masterpiece of comedy compared to the sequel), Stick, Heat, and Malone.

Though it wasn’t a great film, it was fun to see Reynolds paired with longtime friend Clint Eastwood in City Heat

Mr. Reynolds, going into the later 1980’s and into the 1990’s, looked like his time had come and gone.¬† Yet he still worked, quite frequently, appearing in roles both large and small on the big and small screen.¬† And then in 1997 he appeared in Boogie Nights¬†and, after too many years, received great kudos for his acting…

Sadly, Mr. Reynolds, in his later years, suffered from a number of health problems and, for the last decade or so, has looked increasingly frail.

So it wasn’t too big a shock to hear of his passing yesterday but, as you can tell by the length of this posting, I admired the hell out of him and his work.

Here’s to you, Mr. Reynolds.¬† You will be missed.