The Glass Key, by Dashiell Hammett. | By kristykay22, from Flickr. Labeled for non-commercial reuse on Google Image Search.
Nobody’s Son: The Legacy of Dashiell Hammett
Paste Monthly – May 2016
Article link | http://bit.ly/2mF7WdM
Dashiell Hammett is one of those proto-artists few people actually know. I say “few,” but the truth is that anybody with an unhealthy enough obsession with Honorably Manly Cinema probably knows him by reputation at least.
I had a few incorrect notions about Hammett’s life, which the research I conducted dispelled. This was another article that was enlightening to me. And how about that first epigraph from Akira Kurosawa?
“Here we are, weakly caught in the middle, and it is impossible to choose between evils. Myself, I’ve always wanted to somehow or other stop these senseless battles of bad against bad, but we’re all more or less weak – I’ve never been able to. And that is why the hero of this picture is different from us. He is able to stand squarely in the middle and stop the fight.”
That right there describes everything I desire out of heroic fiction. The outside world is harsh and callous, but Beowulf can punch it in the fucking face. Crime cuts down the innocent, but Superman can stride through bullets like a light winter flurry. It’s rare something that primal makes its debut.
This was one of the more well-received articles I’ve written for Paste in the last year. Lots of people have dumped on Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice for all sorts of different reasons. I hadn’t watched it prior to writing this article (and maintain I didn’t need to), but I’ve since seen it and I wouldn’t change a word of this piece. For me, the biggest tragedy is that Superman is a total sourpuss, no longer invested with mythic righteousness.
I drew on a lot of character history to write this one, and it’s got to be just about the most fun I’ve had writing for Paste. I loaded up on books and learned a lot of things I hadn’t known about Superman and his creators.
This will be on my library record forever.
This was an important one for me, silly as it may sound. I hope Superman comes out of whatever his next inevitable adventure is looking much better than he looked in this last one. We need a moral Superman now more than ever, God knows.
It’s been a while, but I’m back in the freelance game with an essay/review/article for Paste Magazine, one of my favorite places for entertainment news. There are a lot of great writers on Paste and I’m happy to be among them for the first time. I’ve got other things in the works for them coming up, which should hopefully be on before too long. Check out the article. It’s nice to finally be able to write (semi-)professionally about my family’s experiences. It’s too bad that I do so at a time when another terrorized and misunderstood population is trying so desperately to do the same thing my own family did 50 years ago: Get the hell out of an awful situation and into a safe, free country.
Autumn is my favorite time of year, and it finally got a little cooler out so it actually feels like it. At some point, the leaves will turn if the temperature keeps dipping the way it does at night.
Right now I want to finish Long September, but I also want to maintain the focus necessary to finish a damn rpg in RPG Maker. Ideas compete in my head for dominance. I want to do something interesting, but I don’t want it to take forever. And sadly, that just isn’t how it works.
I have also been chipping away at two hopeless battles. One is Diablo III. The other is my student loans.
Mad Max: Fury Road promotional poster. Displayed under Fair Use.
You’ve already read reviews of Mad Max: Fury Road. I’ve seen it twice now and the repeat viewing was actually better. Simply put, it’s one of the best action movies I’ve seen in so long that I had to actually think about how long it’s been.
Everything about that action has already been said, but from a writing standpoint, it’s also a brilliantly solid film, executed with style and reasoned choices, yet totally unique.
Action movies these days have no weight. Superhero films have taken over and, since we know nobody is going to die, we don’t care. Max challenges the sterile CGI of today’s films, but it also takes writers to task. Here are a few spoilery things Fury Road did way better than other films. Read more…
I’m still yakking about Outlaws, which still stands the test of time as #2 in the Top Two Western Video Games That Have Ever Been Made. Seriously, game industry, I’m pretty sure people would buy more of these. This video does a quick tour of Levels 1 and 2 and sums up Level 3 with the words “Ah, fuck, a train level.”
I distinctly remember composing and publishing an entire goddamn blog post about the video below, talking about how my love for Westerns is a perfect example of how you can legitimately use the word “problematic,” because I know plenty of people who insist that art doesn’t ever have subtext Ken, why do you need to take this away from me?!!?!!!?! But it does, but I still love Spaghetti Westerns anyway, so have a video about one of the only two mainstream games that were “Westerns” and were worth a damn.
But it didn’t post, is my point, and I have no idea why (and neither does WordPress, infuriatingly). Oh well.
I can’t read Fifty Shades out loud, guys, are you crazy? I’ve gone legit. I have principals to staff, events to set up, the state budget to worry about, and, you know, those wife and kids I don’t have. Or something.
The quality on this and the next few videos are, I’m sorry to say, not going to be as good as when Hugh was behind the trigger. That’ll change as I can afford slightly better equipment and lighting. For now, you get clashing compact fluorescent lighting and either Daylight Savings Time After Work Night-Hell or milky daylight with the background of an unfurnished apartment. THIS IS CINEMA VERITÉ.
I also wrote 1,000 words tonight, and in not an unreasonable amount of time. That is very little to write, but for me it’s a watershed moment. With the move and with my general malaise in the end of the era that was my previous temporary job, that’s 1,000 more words than I’ve written in one sitting in months. I might even hit the gym tomorrow.
And yes, I am going to see the Fifty Shades of Grey movie. Fuck you. You did this to me!
Yeah, yeah. Real original, I know. | Kenneth Lowe via LG smartphone and Weather.com app
It is relentlessly, mercilessly cold out right now, but it is fortuitous all the same, since a friend passed me some supremely useful criticisms of my latest short story, another one dealing with the detective, Blackdale. I’ve posted his first story here.
This harrowing tale finds him in the midst of a theft investigation set against the backdrop of an awful winter, written largely while I was actually in Colombia, where there is no such thing as an awful winter. The story had several problems with it that I am working through, with my friend’s assistance.