Tag Archives: Movies

Passed By a Minivan

One of my conceits – I have many – is that I still see myself mentally as about 25. My knees usually jolt me back to reality.

Of course, it’s hard for me to say my knees really are a feeling old thing. Not when they’ve been aching off and on since I can remember. At least since I was 5 years old.

An Arthur aside: I can remember taking Aspirin – what else was there back then – for my knee pain when I was 6 years old. Now, of course, we know that children that young shouldn’t take aspirin – it can trigger Reye’s Syndrome, a potentially fatal disease. But I took more than my share to cool down my burning knees back in the day. I was lucky enough to come through unscathed – or did I?

The point is: My mental picture of Arthur doesn’t have any of the gray hair, the added girth and the lines around my eyes that for some reason show up in the mirror.

I got closer to that picture last night, though. Here’s what happened:

Karen and I decided we wanted to go see “The Way, Way Back.” We decided this last weekend when it opened: It was only playing at the Ballantyne theater. We’d never been but wanted to go. We knew you could get your movie with a side of beer or wine there, and we thought there was food, too. (Turns out we were sort of wrong about the food – you could get a hot dog, a Nathan’s hot dog, but not much else besides standard movie fare.)

Anyway, I checked Friday and it was playing at the theater that – if we wanted to, and we don’t – we could walk to from our house. It’s a brand spanking new theater, with great seats and sound and everything that a modern theater has. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with it – and much right with it. But it doesn’t have any romance. Not to mention beer and wine sides.

So we took off for the Ballantyne venue instead last night, which in this case necessitates a trip on the freeway around Charlotte – I-485. That’s when the SUV time machine I was driving suddenly took me far into a dystopian future. What happened was this: I got passed by a minivan.

I got passed by a minivan hauling a trailer.

I didn’t get passed because I was stuck in the slow lane behind a grandpa. I was the grandpa, driving in the slow lane (doing 70 but …). And I got passed by a minivan. A minivan hauling a trailer.

It shook me.

What’s even worse was my reaction. I didn’t speed up and leave that minivan eating my dust. I let it go, maintaining my speed, sniffing at the young whippersnapper in his daredevil minivan.

The movie was terrific, by the way.

Even though no one got blowed up. Or superpowers. Or joined an elite team of street racers. Uh-oh. I’m doing it again …




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Now Starring …

Now Playing: Almost Cut My Hair, written by David Crosby and performed by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. “Must be because I had the flu for Christmas, And I’m not feeling up to par. It increases my paranoia, like looking at my window and seeing a it up police car. But I’m not giving in an inch to fear, I promised myself this year, I feel like I owe it to someone.”

Back in the day, a young journalist, 23, and one of his best friends, 24, fell into the jobs of running a newspaper on the North Carolina coast. One of them, the younger, was me. Elliott and I had a pretty free hand with The Daily News. And we tried a lot of stuff. Some worked, some didn’t, but I’m confident I left the paper (Elliott never did, he’s publisher now) better than I found it.

Anyway, one of the things we tried was a long Sunday feature on who would play various Jacksonville leaders in the movie about them. We were sort of inspired by our friend (and the newspaper’s sports editor at the time), Robert Holland, who most definitely would have been played by John Denver. Anyway, we asked the people, and it ended up being pretty interesting who these folks thought would get them right on the big screen.

I thought of it this morning when I opened The Charlotte Observer and saw a big honking photo of Bank of America CEO . I’ve long thought that Moynihan’s biopic would star, in his first – and probably only – dramatic role, Conan O’Brien. (If I did it right, there’s Moynihan over to the right of this paragraph.) But I may have changed my mind this morning. I kinda think Quentin Tarantino could pull it off. Must be the high forehead.

Interlude: Just What I Needed, The Cars.  “I don’t mind you hanging out, and talking in your sleep. Doesn’t matter where you’ve been, as long as it was deep, yeah. You always knew to wear it well. You look so fancy, I can tell. I don’t mind you hanging out, and talking in your sleep.”

Anyway, I quickly thought of a couple more (and again, I’ll try to post images, in case you don’t know what they look like).

Reynolds America (what used to be R.J. Reynolds Tobacco) CEO Susan Ivey would be played by Christine Lahti. And if you’ve seen Lahti on Law & Order SVU you know why I think she’d be good in the role.

Duke Energy CEO Jim Rogers (who is the cover story in the May issue of Business North Carolina magazine, my old employer) would be played by a young Harvey Korman, in his greatest movie part since Hedley Lamarr in Blazing Saddles.

President Obama would be played by the young Joe Morton, the guy who played the scientist in Terminator 2: Judgment Day, the one who invented Skynet, which inadvertently caused the rise of the Machines. (And I swear I’m not making a political statement – I like Obama and respect the job he’s done under the circumstances.) He was also in The Brother from Another Planet (and it wasn’t Kenya – for all you Fox News Fans).

You see how it goes.

Which brings me, as it usually does, to me.

Who would play the lead in The Arthur O. Murray Story?

Three possibilities come to mind:

One would be Robert Downey Jr. I absolutely love him in everything, and I think he could capture my irreverence perfectly. But he’s on the short side and while I’m short, too, I’d want to be played by someone taller. (Don’t forget – I’m the casting director of this film – I call it a film because that’s what Serious Movie Fans call a movie.)

So maybe the young Bob Mitchum. He’s got the rugged physique, sleepy-eyed, world-weary look. “Build my gallows high, baby.”

But I think there’s really one obvious choice. He looks like me, I generally like his movies and he could capture my essence perfectly. He’s even got some gray hair and wrinkles. Yep, it has to be George Clooney.

“Life ain’t nothing but a blending up of all the ups and downs; Dammit Elvis, don’t you know; You made your Mama so proud; Before you ever made that record, before there ever was a Sun; Before you ever lost that Cadillac that Carl Perkins won.” _ Drive-By Truckers, Carl Perkins’ Cadillac


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