About the When I Stop Dreaming blog

Movie Review: The Cove

2009. Directed by Louis Psihoyos. I put off watching The Cove because I knew what I was going to see. Sometimes you need movies to escape the depressing aspects of life, rather than focus on them. But witnessing what happens in this brave documentary is important. The debut of this film was the first I’d heard about the dolphin capture and slaughter in a hidden cove near Taiji, along the coast of Japan. From September to March of every year, dolphins are detoured from their migratory route, chased by boats with men aboard banging on pipes, and herded into shallow …

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Movie Review: Up In The Air

2009. Starring George Clooney, Vera Farmiga, Anna Kendrick. Directed by Jason Reitman. The irony is thick in Up In The Air. Ryan Bingham (George Clooney) is a happy air warrior who specializes in firing employees for timid employers all over the country. He is summoned back to HQ for a change in direction — a young colleague (Anna Kendrick) has devised a means of firing people through videoconferencing, effectively terminating Bingham from the profession he has perfected. Bingham sees the benefit of a face-to-face dismissal for every kind of unwanted employee, a way to soften the blow and minimize the …

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Movie Review: Tyson

2008. Directed by James Toback. Mike Tyson’s face is the most convincing proof that he was a boxer. He was shorter than nearly all his opponents. His peculiarly high voice, filtered through an odd lisp that you’d be surprised to hear uncorrected in an adult, made him an easy impersonation, easy to ridicule. His chaotic and scandalous personal life cost him years of freedom, the loss of his fortune, and much of the respect he’d gained in the ring. But I remember his fights. I remember thinking that there was no one more terrifying than Tyson in the ring, fixed …

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Country Music Reclamation Project: When the Roses Bloom Again

Seeing old photographs at a garage sale or in an antique store bothers me. Once separated from an ancestor, those photos become untraceable. The faces lose their names, and that person, so real and human during their short toil on earth, becomes a ghost. My ancestors have been diligent at saving and identifying photographs. Among them are a handful of tintypes, a means of photography in the late 1800s created through an emulsion made on a piece of metal. Several of the ones I’ve got are identified, but one has always puzzled me — a tintype of two Civil War …

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Elsewhere Online: 100 Days in Glacier National Park

Glacier Park Magazine editor Chris Peterson set out to chronicle 100 days in Glacier National Park in preparation for the park’s centennial celebration next year. From his photographs, he chose one for each consecutive day, and they are all amazing. Glacier is one of the most-beautiful places I’ve ever seen, and seems wilder than your average national park. The photos here reflect that. There are bear and moose, but many birds and incredible landscapes. Peterson adds short anecdotes to each photo, and the best of them add to the enjoyment of the photo. He describes being in the middle of …

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Country Music Reclamation Project: Lorene

I read a statistic this week that a quarter of teenagers today have sexted another; that is, they’ve “shared sexually explicit photos, videos and chat by cell phone or online.” The speed at which we can communicate now is not only immediate, but is faster than common sense can keep up with. Technology has yet to perfect the means to pull back a poorly considered, quickly composed thought. I’m sure text-messaging kids would be fascinated to learn that, just a few decades ago, people wrote letters, and the wait for a response may have been weeks or months. Not all …

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Movie Review: Seven Men From Now

1956. Starring Randolph Scott and Lee Marvin. Directed by Budd Boetticher. A reference somewhere to Budd Boetticher as a “cult director” was enough to get me to see one of his late 1950s westerns, so I thought I’d watch the first, Seven Men From Now, and build up to the better-known and much-respected The Tall T. I love westerns but have had my fill of the conventional ones, and it’s not often that someone tinkers with the old formula enough — with a great story and performance like Unforgiven, or the ensemble masterpiece that is Deadwood — to make an …

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In My Day: Cold Feet and Hot Coffee

It’s just before Thanksgiving and with any luck, we’ll get enough snow to help the deer hunters track their prey, but not so much that it makes walking in the woods difficult. I’m not a deer hunter, which isn’t a significant distinction in much of the country, but is one of two possible states of being when you’re from the upper Midwest. I was a deer hunter at one time, however. Deer hunting was phenomenally popular with my friends when I was growing up. Even those who mocked the standard greeting of “Got your deer?” felt the pressure of getting …

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Movie Review: Homicide

1991.  Starring Joe Mantegna and William H. Macy. Written and Directed by David Mamet. I may have forgotten when I put Homicide on my Netflix list that it was written and directed by David Mamet. I knew that it was a new release from The Criterion Collection, and there are few films among them not worth watching. And I knew it starred Joe Mantegna, who also starred in House of Games, a particular favorite of mine, also released by Criterion. But I should have realized that Homicide, like House of Games, was written and directed by Mamet, and it always …

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Movie Review: Drag Me To Hell

2009. Starring Alison Lohman and Justin Long. Directed by Sam Raimi. There used to be something of a moral code to horror movies. People were victimized or terrorized for a reason, earning the torment through a flaw in character. Maybe they cheated or lied and, in doing so, forfeited the audience’s sympathy. Maybe like Dr. Frankenstein, they really asked for it. That violation of morality made them a deserving victim — hell, even Janet Leigh’s character stole a stack of money before checking into the Bates Motel. Somewhere along the line — maybe it was The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, or …

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