Month: January 2015

Movie Review – “The Mothman Prophecies”

4-Star Post MasterThe Mothman Prophecies - 2002 - 02

Given the fact that I am not a real fan of the ‘supernatural’ film genre, I had, in the past, past on several opportunities to view the subject film. I knew little about the content or plot but creepy pictures of a moth-like looking creature on the film’s advertisement posters and ads were enough to deter my interest.

But a few nights after noticing it was airing again on cable and perhaps finally realizing that it starred the likes of Richard Gere, Laura Linney, Debra Messing and Will Patton thought perhaps I should reconsider given its underlying star power. And so it was that I settled in on this particular evening and decided to give it a look.

Pleasantly surprised I believe would be appropriate with regards to my reaction to the movie. It was quite entertaining and one of those films kept you a bit on your toes with several twists that kept you attentive and at times a bit antsy. Turns out that the film is actually based on a true event of which I was unaware of until the credits rolled round at the end of the film.

And unlike many movies, I found myself during the next day or two having the film pop into my mind and realizing what something meant that I had totally missed while watching the film. Since this film does flirt somewhat with the supernatural, ‘prophecy’ being the key word there, it might not be to everyone’s liking but don’t miss the fact that it is based on true events…

The Little Stone House That Could….

Natural-Stone-House-Sample-2Can’t say why but I have always loved ‘natural stone’ houses similar to the one featured in the picture to the left. Just something about them that always catches my eye when I see one. I purchased my first and only little stone house back in the late 1970s and I hold very pleasant memories regarding the experience.

I was working in Missouri at the time during the construction of the Callaway Nuclear Power Plant and had rented a duplex pretty much out in the boonies. Actually it was located in New Bloomfield, Missouri which is probably some 15 miles or so north of Jefferson City in a very rural area. The population of New Bloomfield itself was probably around 450 people at the time.

Across the street from where I was renting was a one-acre tract of land with a very small little one-bedroom stone house located on it. It wasn’t much to look at and obviously quite small but nevertheless when it came up for sale I found myself very interested. The owner of the house just happened to be the owner of the duplex where I was renting. To make a long story short, given the love I harbored for stone houses I ended up purchasing the little house and the 1-acre of land it was sitting on for $10,000. Below are a few Polaroid snapshots of the place just prior to my purchasing the place. You can click on photos to enlarge….

Old-House-Duo-01

Old-House-Duo-02

Now granted, it wasn’t much to look at but I saw some potential there and let’s not forget, it was a natural stone house! The house certainly needed some work here and there but it was quite livable and functional from the git-go. Being a one bedroom it was going to be the smallest living space I had ever occupied but room was not a real issue with me being single. The duplex where I was living at the time was two-bedroom and I pretty much just used the second bedroom for storage and such anyway.

This was the first home I had ever owned so the freedom I felt to make changes and improve both the inside and outside of the house had me pumped up. The inside of the house was quite small of course so I was quite limited as to what could be done there. I did have the old grayish-white roofing removed and replaced with new brown shingles. The outside, being a one-acre plot on the other hand, was a different story and I have always enjoyed doing landscaping work.

And so it was that after deciding how I wanted to approach the landscaping of the property I was off and running. I would end up planting some ten small Scotch pine trees around the property; I would install a 2-rail pole fence around the entire property; I would redo the gravel driveway and enlarge my parking area; I would build numerous planters; I had a large concrete patio poured in the back of the house and had a network of decorative concrete blocks installed to finish off the changes; lastly I would tear down a large old outbuilding in the back of the property and replace it with a nice, large storage shed. Photos follow of the finished project and you can click on photos to enlarge….

New-House-Duo-01a

New-House-Duo-02a

I owned the home for about three years but eventually sold it as the job I was working in the area was coming to a close and I would be moving to a new location in the near future. It was a great life experience and I got much satisfaction from my endeavors. The house sold for a little over $20,000 when I sold it.

I thought it was stupid”! – Robert Redford’

I recently had an opportunity to re-watch a film which I had not seen in years. That film which was certainly quite well known was “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” which was released way back in 1969. Gosh, it just doesn’t seem like it was some forty-five years ago when I first watched that movie. And of course who can mention this particular film and not in the same breath mention the song “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head” which was sung and recorded by B.J. Thomas that same year. For most the film and the song are synonymous.

I was, however, to also learn during this particular airing of the film that all was not as it seemed back in the beginning with regard to the film and this particular song. There was much discussion as to whether the song fit the film in any regard. And as recently as April of 2012 during an interview at the London Film Festival one of the stars of the film, Robert Redford, noted that the music played a huge role in the film’s success but at the time they were filming he thought it was stupid to put that particular song in the film. Redford noted, “Suddenly there was a scene where the guy was singing “Raindrops Falling on My Head” and it wasn’t even raining. Well… how wrong was I?”

The song was released in October of 1969 to very mixed reviews. It wasn’t particularly a good fit with the hit songs on the charts at the time competing against number one songs at the time to the likes of “Can’t Get Next To You” by The Temptations; Sugar, Sugar by The Archies; Suspicious Minds by Elvis; Wedding Bell Blues by The Fifth Dimension; Leaving On A Jet Plane by Peter, Paul & Mary.

A separate version of the song was recorded specifically for the film which included a separate instrumental break when Paul Newman did a few bicycle stunts during the subject music sequence. The entire filmed sequence centered around two of the lead characters, Paul Newman and Katherine Ross, riding on a bicycle in one manner or another.

Despite the song’s initial slow rise in popularity, with the release of the film “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” in December of 1969 “Raindrops Falling on My Head” shot up to Number One in January of 1970 and held that position for four weeks. It sold some 200,000 to 300,000 records a day and continued selling for about three years. Written by Hal David and Bert Bacharach, it won an Academy Award for both “Best Original Song” and for “Best Original Score”.

Below is a video clip of the scene in discussion….

As we now know of course, the song became almost iconic after it became a part of the film. And to this day I suspect it is hard for anyone who was old enough to remember the release of the film or the song to think of one without thinking of the other. And can’t you imagine just how bad Mr. Redford must feel about his prior misgivings! 🙂