Saturday, September 18, 2021

In Response to Martin Scorsese...

It goes without saying that David Lean's classic, Lawrence of Arabia, is my favorite film of all time. I first discovered the movie when I was 15 and became obsessed with it, renting it weekend after weekend and it was the first DVD I ever bought.
I've always wanted to put together a list of my favorite films but I know for certain that at the very top is Lawrence and I know a lot of filmmakers who would do so as well.

Steven Spielberg has spoken about the influence it had on him when he first saw it as a teenager and how he goes back and revisits it before starting his next film. Another great filmmaker who recognizes it's brilliance is Martin Scorsese.

Saturday, June 19, 2021

Eulogy

    Many of you here today knew what it was like to have Stephanie in your life but very few of you know what it was like to have her in all of your life. One of the earliest memories of my life was, I’m in my parents basement, Stephanie’s sitting on a chair watching TV, I’m well more than arm’s length away from her and as I’m walking in front of the TV screen, she screams, “OW!” and called for my parents because apparently, I had bit her. 

 

    Even though I was about…probably two years old at time and not really aware of my surroundings (I wasn’t the smartest toddler), I did know that I wasn’t anywhere near close to biting her and I just found the whole thing a bit strange. 


    It wasn’t until I got older that I found out this would happen a lot; Stephanie would insist that I had pinched her and when they asked me about it, I would just smile and nod my head, yes, that I had pinched her, even though in reality I hadn’t. Later on, my Mom found Stephanie pinching herself to leave marks and was able to put two and two together and figure out that Stephanie was faking and that her only son was so gullible that he’d probably admit to the Kennedy assassination if you asked him at the time.


    As I got older, when I was going through grade school & high school, I found that it was easy to get out of pinching accusations but it was much, much harder to escape the shadow she cast with her reputation. On the first day of class, the teacher would be doing the roll call and when they got to me, they’d say my name, I’d say that I was “Here” and then the teacher would immediately follow it up with, “Are you related to Stephanie Schweitzer?” 


    “Do you have an older sister?” 
 
    “Oh you’re Stephanie’s brother?” 
 
    “Do you know Stephanie?” 
 
    Know her? I was constantly being compared to her and to be fair, I should have given warning to those teachers that I was not like Stephanie in an academic sense. Those poor souls were setting themselves up for disappointment.  

 

    But looking back at her life, I can see why the expectations were so high to begin with. Stephanie was someone who looked at the expectations and would then try to exceed them. She was always thinking big picture, she was always getting the better grades, always the better athlete, always the better worker and always more prepared to take on the world in front of her. 

 

    This didn’t mean she couldn’t be above some real petty stuff; one summer I decided to live with her in Waterloo and when I came home from my midnight shift at 7-Eleven, she was somewhat aghast that for breakfast, all I was having was a bowl of Frosted Flakes and a doughnut. When my parents told her that there was nothing that she or they could do about it, she accepted it, but did not probably didn’t like it.


    However, I think she got the last laugh as even today, the dentist will remind me that I probably don’t need to have a cheesecake with every meal as he fills my cavities.  


    But the dominating and domineering side of her isn’t what I’m going to remember about her. I’m going to remember a young woman who like her literary hero, Anne Shirley, wasn’t afraid to take on challenge that others thought might be too great for her, never afraid to say something that might not be popular with those around her and wouldn’t be opposed to smashing someone over the head with a slate if they pissed her off enough. 

    I’m going to remember someone who on my last birthday, was in Calgary for a business meeting and insisted on taking me out for dinner and encouraging me to try real Ahi Tuna for the first time, which I really enjoyed. I’ll remember her encouraging me, telling me that she was proud of how well I was doing out West and that one day she could see being a general manager of a Shoppers Drug Mart of my own. 

    I’m going to remember a young woman with her whole life in front of her, telling me how much she loved her husband and how incredible her two step-daughters were to her and how accepting they had become of her and truly making her feel like part of the family. 


    I would like to end by thanking God for the small mercies He’s shown us at this dreadful time; for taking Stephanie at her most beautiful and radiant and when she had joy in her private life. Above all, we give thanks for the life of a woman I will always be proud to call my Big Sister. The unique, the complex, the extraordinary and irreplaceable Stephanie, who’s beauty-both internal and external-will never be extinguished from our minds. 


Sunday, January 31, 2021

Character Damage Control: Kes

If you know me or if you've read this blog for long enough, you know that I love Star Trek. I have since I was a little kid and even though most of what the franchise has crapped out lately has been...well, crap-I still enjoy the older series nonetheless.

I have a friend who also is a big fan of the franchise and at least once a day will send me a text message with a question or comment about an episode or something from the franchise because he knows I'm big enough of a savant that without context, I'll know precisely what he's talking about.

"Star Trek: Voyager premiered on January 16, 1995 and ran until May 23, 2001 across seven seasons and 168 episodes, four of which are feature-lengthed."

Friday, January 29, 2021

Book Review: The Accidental Billionaires-The Founding of Facebook

I remember an airplane ride from Calgary to Las Vegas back in 2011 where I first watched the movie, The Social Network. It didn't take long for me to enjoy it & in the years since it's probably one of my favorite movies of all time. 

But I wanted to know if there was more to the story than what was in David Fincher's film and chances are there was. Hence, I was very glad when this past Christmas I got as a gift the nonfiction novel which the screenplay for the movie was adapted from, The Accidental Billionaires.

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Movie Review: Klaus

When it comes to Christmas movies, I find myself sticking with the classics. It’s A Wonderful Life, Home Alone, A Christmas Story, The Santa Clause, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation.

On a recent plane ride I did check out the 1994 remake of Miracle on 34th Street and found it a bit…bland. I don’t know what it was but a lot of it felt very forced and artificial.
By no means was it bad but I’m not overly fond of remakes and Mara Wilson’s character being wise-beyond-her-years got tiring very quickly. However, I’ll give high marks to Richard Attenborough as Kris Kringle in the film. The man made a remarkable Santa Claus.

 But last night after we finished dinner and my Dad decided to go to bed early, my Mom & I turned on Netflix searching for something holiday-themed that we could watch. Now I might have been tempted to see if Home Alone was available (It wasn’t) but then I remembered a Christmas film that came out last year that I had missed but told myself to catch the following year. That movie was Klaus.

Friday, October 30, 2020

Movie Review: Halloween (1978)

This was a review for John Carpenter's "Halloween" that I wrote a few years ago after watching it at a nearby theatre.

 "Halloween started as a low-budget horror film about babysitters being stalked by this serial killer, not a man with a backstory but a force of evil."
-John Carpenter, 2001
"Laurie Strode was EVERYBODY'S daughter, everybody's sister and therefore, if you believed Laurie Strode existed, then when Michael Myers comes in you are afraid for her."
-Jamie Lee Curtis, 2001

Movie Review: Halloween (2018)

This was something I wrote on Facebook two years ago after seeing the latest "Halloween" movie at the time.


In his review of Halloween from 1978, Roger Ebert gave the film four stars and compared it to Hitchcock's "Psycho".

Having just returned from seeing Halloween, the new sequel, I too can compare that to "Psycho".
Unfortunately, it's the remake of "Psycho" from 1998, directed by Gus Van Sant which made a lot of people ask, "What's the point?"