Category Archives: Pointless Personal Digressions

In Passing

There’s a line from Robert Altman’s A Prairie Home Companion that I come back to a lot lately: “The death of an old man is not a tragedy, Forgive him his shortcomings, and thank him for all his love and care.”

My father-in-law died late Saturday night, his body finally giving out years after his mind had left us. (Kate put it more eloquently, of course.) It’s not a tragedy, except that it is, and there are so many other things about the manner of his departure that leave the family without closure or peace. Dementia is a motherfucker; tell your people what matters while you’re able.

Anyway, this week’s episode of Someone Else’s Movie is a little bouncier, with actor turned filmmaker Keir O’Donnell — whose new movie Marmalade is on digital and on demand now, and still in a few US theaters — dropping in to tell us how much he loves Tony Scott’s jam-packed pulp-fiction riff True Romance — and how it was his first exposure to Quentin Tarantino’s writing. It’s fun! And obviously we recorded it a while back.

You can find the show at the usual locations — Apple PodcastsGoogle PlaySpotify — or download the episode directly from the web and play it while sipping milkshakes after a Sonny Chiba marathon with your best gal. Whatever gives you comfort, honestly.

Oh, and of course this week’s Shiny Things would be able Criterion’s exceptional Chantal Akerman collection, which packages a decade of brilliant cinema onto three Blu-ray discs and makes the case for Akerman as perhaps the finest artist of alienation the world will ever see. Timing is everything, non? You can read it for free if you don’t feel like subscribing. But really, why not subscribe at this point? Jeez.



Some Personal News

So my dad died last week. Massive coronary early Wednesday morning, gone before the paramedics could arrive. I’ve spent the ensuing time trying to get my head around it, which is to be expected; I think I’m still in the numb-and-coping stage, but that’s okay. It’s nice here, and people keep bringing me cake.

I wrote about it in Shiny Things last week, so I’ll direct your attention there — it’s a free post, no subscription required, though if you want to sign up you’d be more than welcome.

Everything else got derailed, but fortunately I had an episode of Someone Else’s Movie in the archive that was nicely suited to the calendar: Remember in 2015, when Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead joined me to nerd out about Cameron Crowe’s Almost Famous? Maybe not, because it was one of the titles taken offline in Frequency’s server migration a while back.

But now that their very, very good new genre thing Something in the Dirt is opening in New York and Los Angeles on Friday, and coming to VOD in Canada later this month, I’m putting it out again! And it’s surprisingly listenable, given how new the show was.

Go get it! Subscribe on Apple PodcastsGoogle PlayStitcher or wherever you find your podcasts, or download it directly from the web. It’s nice to open a window into a nicer, more innocent time before all our worlds went to hell.

Oh, and speaking of places shrouded in darkness, I’ll be back at TIFF this Friday evening for a preview screening of Ali Abassi’s Cannes-honored thriller Holy Spider, followed by a conversation with Ali. You should come! Tickets are available right here. It’s a really good thriller, and it’ll be nice to get back in front of a crowd.


We lost Dexter last week. He was probably twelve but he might have been a little younger, and it was peaceful and awful and if Christmas hadn’t already been ruined by the pandemic that would definitely have done it.

I haven’t been in the mood for blogging, or doing much of anything else, but the latest episode of Someone Else’s Movie is out today so I’m forcing myself to promote it.

After telling everyone we were taking this week off, I ended up bagging John Patrick Shanley — the Oscar-winning writer of Moonstruck, and a filmmaker in his own right whose first feature Joe Versus the Volcano was covered on the show just two weeks ago — for a shortish but still very fulfilling conversation about Celine Sciamma’s Portrait of a Lady on Fire, one of my very favourite movies released in this miserable year. And so I share it with you all today, because that’s how podcasts work.

You know the drill. Subscribe on Apple PodcastsGoogle Play and Stitcher and get the episode immediately, or download it directly from the web. And then maybe go looking for last Friday’s NOW What, which features myself, Rad, Glenn and Kevin doing our holiday movie thing, discussing the Christmas releases of 2020 and teasing not-yet-available titles like NomadlandPromising Young Woman and News of the World.

And should you want to go deeper on some of those, my reviews of The Midnight SkySoul and Wonder Woman 1984 are up at the NOW site for your enjoyment. (I also covered a few other titles in last Friday’s What to Watch column, if you were wondering about All My Life and Wild Mountain Thyme.)

But, you know. This is all just maintenance. My dog is gone and everything is miserable. 2021 can’t come quickly enough.

Ice Cream, Man

I don’t have any features in NOW this week — don’t worry, there’s plenty of stuff coming, and soon — but I am back in the pages of the Toronto Star, so that’s a small delight.

Kate and I spent a day as minions at Sweet Olenka’s ice-cream factory a couple of weeks ago, supporting our friend Corey Mintz for what turned into this week’s Kitchen Temp column.

It was an eminently pleasant way to spend a hot summer Saturday, even if we did wind up covered in chocolate. Although I guess “even if” is superfluous there.