Murder on the Orient Express: The Fracture of a Soul

Sorry that I haven’t blogged in quite a while. I know it’s no excuse but 6 months ago I lost something very important to me and very close to me. She wasn’t old she was in great health one day she stopped eating less than two weeks later she was gone her liver had failed. Then night that she passed away I knew it was going to happen so her and I cuddled together on the floor because she wasn’t feeling well to get on the bed. We watched the 2015 version of Cinderella and directed by one of my favorite director is Kenneth Branagh. I seem to remember a line by Helena Bonham Carter who played the Fairy Godmother in it right before the perfect family was struck by tragedy…’ For sorrow can come to any Kingdom no matter how happy.’ The next morning I woke up a little bit after 6 a.m. panicked and sweating from the bad dream… I went to go give her a kiss and sure enough she had passed. I didn’t deal with it the way that I should have that day immediately I cleaned my room with everything that had reminded me of her gave away all of her stuff and sat her in her final resting place and then casually came into work. It’s not that it didn’t affect me it’s just that it had affected me so much that I had no choice but to continue everything like nothing had happened. However instead for the rest of the summer I misbehaved in every way because I was filling that void that she wasn’t there anymore. I paid the consequences for all the things that I did by the end of the summer closer to calmed down and accepted the grieving process 6 months later.

Why am I talking about this? Why am I talking about something of my personal life on a public blog about films and television shows mostly of the past? You see Turner Classic films have released Some Like It Hot back in June and I wanted to blog then but I wasn’t ready to. The blog was just simply going to be about how going to the cinema can relieve any kind of pain sometimes for the right person including grief. However at the time I still was not ready to admit that she was no longer there that I would come home and she would come running to me and that we wouldn’t cuddle together at night for in fact in my mind she was still there. All my life I had escaped to the cinema and then now I was escaping to forget that she wasn’t home waiting for me. As I said I wanted to blog about it but I didn’t I stopped myself.

Six months later it brings me to this today my mother and I went to the cinema to see a film that I had wanted to see for a while and so did she called Murder on the Orient Express. I have read the book as a kid twice however for some weird reason I couldn’t remember the ending and a lot of the other details. One of my favorite directors was not only starring in it but it also directed it, none other than Kenneth Branagh. Kenneth Banagh was the man that directed Cinderella which was the film that Pandora and I were watching when she passed away in the middle of the night. Since then I’ve watched that film every night, falling asleep to it because I can’t seem to let anything go. I especially can’t let go of that night and waking up to that film. Besides some of the sad factors I was looking forward to seeing this film because I’m also a fan of his work and did not even know that he had directed the film until quite a while after I had already seen it for the first time back when Pandora was healthy and well. Back to Murder on the Orient Express, the visuals the film was absolutely amazing the scenery, the edits, the jump Cuts edits, the acting, the score, and the overall feeling of the film was absolutely fantastic. Kenneth Branagh as the detective didn’t miss a Beat it’s almost as if the character from Agatha Christie’s book had in fact become a real live human being, it was incredible.

As the film went on I don’t mean to put out any spoilers but basically what appeared to be a simple murder on the train turned out to be a much bigger ordeal. It would appear that the man murdered was also the one responsible for the kidnapping and killing of the Armstrong child. Whomever killed this man knew who he really was and what crime he committed even though he had gotten away with it. After the Armstrong child was found dead when the mother got word she went into premature labor with her second child and died along with that child. Armstrong then took his own life for his family had all passed away within a few days of each other. Once the detective had figured this out he clearly stated ‘you never realize what the killing of one person could lead to and how it could in fact destroy the lives of so many others and what didn’t destroy them would slowly suffocate them for the rest of their lives because the grief was that deep.’

To my surprise also and one of Kenneth Branagh films, Cinderella, just like in that film there was one line that kept repeating itself ‘ for sorrow can come to any Kingdom. ‘ In this film there was one line I kept repeating itself and seem to be so much louder than the rest of the lines, ‘ the Deep poison of grief.’

In the film the detective says something along the lines of a killer having a fractured soul but he didn’t believe that he was amongst any killers on the train only people that had in fact experienced the Deep poison of grief.

It seems so odd to me the film that brought me Comfort when it shouldn’t have was Cinderella directed by Kenneth Branagh. That film brought so much comfort to me because her and I were watching it as we fell asleep. The family was so happy and everything was so perfect when tragedy struck. You never know what can happen. You can be 10 years old in perfect health like Pandora and then suddenly one day not eat , you get brought to the doctors and they tell you that your liver is failing. Then not even two weeks later pass away peacefully in your sleep in the arms of your mother to a film called Cinderella. 6 months of experiencing the Deep poison of grief your mother who was survived by you sees a film that is also directed by Kenneth Branagh called Murder on the Orient Express. Watching this film for her, something suddenly made sense when he explained how the death of one person could affect so many people so drastically and how the death of one person could affect the person they love the most so drastically. Killers have a fractured soul as the detective said. He was right about that. The Deep poison of grief as he also spoke of his very real to. I can’t bring her back, I’ve tried. However watching Cinderella the past 6 months at night has brought me Comfort. Seeing the film today has brought me Comfort. Its directors like Kenneth Branagh that heal people like me that makes being a filmmaker more than rewarding.

One day at a time.


Its Not Your Fault

Its Not Your Fault
A perspective into the genius mind of Robin Williams

‘Its not your fault,’ a famous line in the film Good Will Hunting where a therapist finally makes a breakthrough with his young and troubled patient. The patient played by one of the writers of the film Matt Damon and the therapist was portrayed by comedian Robin Williams. I categorize him as comedian immediately because that was his main profession but despite his hilarious skills as a comedian he was also a brilliant dramatic actor. Why am I telling you this when everyone knows who this iconic man is? Yes you know this about him. However there were many things that the camera did not let us in on his life.

The cameras stop rolling and America’s favorite funny man goes home to his family to what seems like a normal life. No…he wasn’t normal therefore there was no real normal life for him. Yes he did have a wife and kids but with the creative and genius mind like his nothing is ever really normal. For years he suffered in silence withs severe depression which sadly led to his demise. The man who once insisted that everyone live every day to the fullest and to spend every moment happy when behind that infectious smile was pain. After his death just about all his fans realized that he was trying to warn us….make your life spectacular.

Again this is something that everyone knows…but there are many things that we don’t know. I could stay up all night writing about it if i could. At a very early age growing up with The Three Stooges I had a passion for comedic relief even though I never pursued comedy as a career. I became a filmmaker with a focus in comedy, mainly slapstick a more old fashioned form of comedic relief. As I got older and wrote comedy pieces myself I decided to make a documentary, which Im still working on called ‘Vaudeville: A Drama.’ Vaudeville and drama? I know right, it makes no sense. Being a huge fan of The Three Stooges I was shocked when I discovered that Moe, Larry, Curly, and Shemp may have been in comedy shorts for most of their career but off screen their lives were anything but funny. I then learned that many of my favorite actor/comedians had somewhat sad and troubled personal lives…Mel Brooks, Gene Wilder, Larry Storch, Ken Berry, Bob Crane, Leo Gorcey, Jackie Gleeson…the list goes on. I became fascinated with the fact that these people were able to be so funny while battling severe mental and physical challenges at home, (drinking, drugs, marital problems, affairs, miscarriages, stillborns, racism, porn addictions, family deaths, etc.)

Now Im able to understand a little more as to why Robin Williams truly excelled all the other.

Many fans were crushed when they learned that his early death was suicide. Myself like many others looked up to him as someone who was able to get through those bad times…so when he passed I thought that there was the possibility that I wouldn’t make it either. Then it became clear what he was trying to convey to us over the years…make your life spectacular,

I once hated him for doing what he did when he knew he had so many people who loved him. Now today though if I were to come face to face with him Id be able to look at him in the eye with complete understanding, relation, and sympathy in saying…….

‘Its not your fault.’anigif_enhanced-16874-1408070815-2_previewrobin-williamswhat-dreams-may-come-02

What I Learned Sitting On The Porch With Andy Griffith

This past Halloween I was quite ill and spent several days in bed unable to do much. In between fever spells and naps I watched some of my favorite shows such as F Troop, Emergency, Adam 12, Bonanza, Carol Burnette, and Andy Griffith just to name a few. I saw a particular Andy Griffith episode that caught my attention. In this episode after supper Andy and Barney sat outside on the porch to digest their food. Andy got a great idea to run to the drug store for some ice cream to have with their coffee. Just as he and Barney were leaving Aunt Dee came out and asked the boys why they had to ‘run’ to the drug store? Whats the rush? Why couldn’t they just simply stroll to the drug store instead of run? It was then that Andy and Barney sat back down and relaxed for a bit.

Its so sad to see that families today really take time to sit down to eat together let alone relax together after supper. Its not just quality supper time that people are missing out on anymore. Its everything in general that were missing out on. We all know that saying ‘stop and smell the roses’ . . .well no one is stopping or slowing down anymore. If we all continue to rush the way we are we are going to miss out on everything that we’ve been waiting for. I’ve said this before in many blogs. . .life is short. . .life is fleeting  and if we don’t take time to sit on the porch after supper  we are truly missing out. If we don’t take that leisure in the stroll to the drug store we are missing out. Its already begun. Yet another fault with my generation is the inability to savor time, cherish people, and be content with this short yet beautiful life.

I already knew about this. I take time to enjoy my life for I know all too well that this life is fleeting. However watching that Andy Griffith show cleared everything up more than ever.


Enjoy this day for we will never have it again. singalongs-porch-andygriffithshow-secretsofabelle

Why I Really Cried When Watching Young Frankenstein In The Theatre

Sometimes being an old soul in this modern world can flat out suck. No one understands why you are the way you are, why you speak the way you do, why do the things you do, and why you watch the movies you watch. It makes me different, weird, sensitive, but extremely happy. One of my favorite films of all time was Young Frankenstein as Ive mentioned in prior blogs as well as my web series for I did an entire Mel Brooks episode. Just before my birthday the films star and creator Gene Wilder passed away. Of course it was sad for many reasons but also he was very much a pioneer in film industry and we don’t have those kind of actors anymore. Him and Mel Brooks did films like Blazing Saddles and if a movie like that were made today everyone would be insulted beyond belief, but cool guys like Gene Wilder wouldn’t care. Fathom Events recently teamed up with Turner Classic Movies and release classic films once or twice a month. Some of my recent favorites have been Dracula, On The Waterfront, Blazing Saddles, Roman Holiday, just to name a few. An old soul’s dream come true to watch her classic favorites on screen for these films were released decades before I was born. Tonight my dad and I attended Young Frankenstein at the theatre at Downtown Disney and the coolest most unexpected thing happened just before the movie. Little did we know that Mel Brooks did a special introductory to the film. I got misty eyed when he walked around the studio backlot reminiscing over the memories of the filming days they had for this film. He pointed out the huge mural that was on the side of one of the soundstage of Gene Wilder, Terri Garr, Marty Feldman, and Peter Boyle in one of the iconic scene of the film. I held back the tears for even you could hear it in Mel Brook’s voice how much he missed them. . . for they’re all gone now. When he spoke directly to the audience is when I began to cry. As a filmmaker, film goer, and fan I cried the happy tears as well as the sad ones. The great people involved with this film may mostly be gone now but they’re work lives on thanks to the people that actually want to keep great films like this alive in this modern day of mediocre films. It only makes me even happier to be a filmmaker and perhaps even inspires me a little.

Mel BrooksMel Brooks