129 posts categorized "Events"

02 October 2018

Hooray/Son-of-a-!! -- Passing milestones, kidney stones

It's been quite a week around Movie Memories headquarters.  How often, for instance, does one pass a milestone and a kidney stone in the same day?

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Not me and not the actual kidney stone, but it sure felt about that big. (Courtesy: www.pinterest)

Let's get the kidney stone out of the way first.  OK, it wasn't quite as huge as the photo you see, but it sure felt like it.  When did it happen, you ask?  Well, remember the other day when:

your cat jumped straight up and all its hair was standing on end,

when the dog's ears suddenly shot up and he began howling,

when you felt the Earth move a little bit under you,

when all the car alarms in the neighborhood were going off?

That was when.

Continue reading "Hooray/Son-of-a-!! -- Passing milestones, kidney stones" »

27 August 2018

Savoring Covenant Retirement Community memories

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John and Ellie Milton with You Know Who

Be grumpy and/or glum about politics, the tragedies on the local newscasts almost every night and things going wrong at work or around the house if you want.

 I, on the other hand, am in the mood to celebrate.

Recently back from my Movie Memories with Larry Ratliff swing through the Chicago area, I'm savoring the fact that I was lucky enough to meet scores of very nice people, make some new friends and enjoy the best chicken salad sandwich of my life.

Continue reading "Savoring Covenant Retirement Community memories" »

11 July 2018

I'm free, and open to the public

HCflyer300If you like movies and fun, this is a semi-rare opportunity not to be missed.

So many of my Movie Memories with Larry Ratliff presentation events are private affairs.

Not this time, though.

Continue reading "I'm free, and open to the public" »

24 May 2018

Making 'Movie Memories' in Chi-Town

Chitown300I'll never think of Chicago and its metro area as The Windy City, Second City or Chi-Town again.

From now on, Chicago is where Movie Memories with Larry Ratliff goes national.

Continue reading "Making 'Movie Memories' in Chi-Town" »

24 April 2018

The play-by-play's the thing

With apologies to the Beatles:

It was 50 years ago today
Professor Mercer taught the band to play-by-play

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Two days have passed, and I still can't get over the fact that legendary sportscaster Bill Mercer sent an invite to join him for lunch to me and about 20 others from his 35-plus-year University of North Texas (UNT) broadcasting and sportscasting teaching span.

Mercer is famous in the sports world for wrapping his feet with plastic wrap in an attempt to stay warm enough to call the famous “Ice Bowl” NFL championship game between the Dallas Cowboys and Green Bay Packers in 1967, not to mention the Cowboys first two Super Bowl appearances.  He was in the booth when the Texas Rangers set up shop in Arlington and those slightly long of tooth will recall Mercer at the mic when "Studio Wrestling," taken seriously by many back in the 1960s or so, was taped before a small audience in the KRLD-TV (now KDFW) studios.

His credits are too numerous to mention.  Suffice it to say that the Texas Pro Baseball Hall of Fame, Texas Radio Hall of Fame and Dallas Press Club “Living Legend of North Texas Journalism” member who shared the broadcast booth with Don Drysdale when the Texas Rangers first hit the field was/is larger than life.

Continue reading "The play-by-play's the thing" »

12 October 2017

The thrill of the (Harbor) Chase

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Making Movie Memories with (from left) Bridgette, Lisa and Glenda from HarborChase of the Park Cities.

I was humbled to be asked by Bridgette Walshe, executive director of HarborChase of the Park Cities, to present my "Life Lessons I've Learned at the Movies" Movie Memories presentation Tuesday afternoon at the historic Highland Park Village Theater in the trendy Park Cities area of Dallas near the George W. Bush Presidential Center and Southern Methodist University.

It's always a little special when I speak about the magic of the movies and my adventures interviewing internationally famous movie stars like Tom Hanks and Shirley MacLaine (just to namedrop a couple) and see the presentation spring to life on a huge movie theater screen.

Continue reading "The thrill of the (Harbor) Chase" »

21 August 2017

R.I.P. -- Bob Polunsky

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Bob Polunsky (Courtesy: www.pinterest.com)

As far as I know, longtime San Antonio film critic Bob Polunsky was never a "Robert."

Bob, who died at 85 this week in San Antonio, Texas, was just Bob, a kindred spirit in the love and appreciation of any film really worth watching.  He was also never shy about condemning a flawed movie for its shortcomings in a Bob Polunsky style dubbed "Flicker Footnotes."  Bob's reviews were direct and sometimes ruthless but always honest.

Bob was well established as The Guy when it came to film criticism in San Antonio when I arrived in 1983.  Bob wrote for the Express-News daily newspaper.  After a year of general entertainment reporting at the other daily newspaper in town, the now-dark San Antonio Light, I became "that other film critic in town."

Continue reading "R.I.P. -- Bob Polunsky" »

08 August 2017

Post-'Graduate' Hoffman is how old?

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Oscar winner Dustin Hoffman and friend. (Courtesy: jewishcurrents.org)

Dustin Hoffman, one of my favorite actors and, I might add, interview subjects, turns 80 today.

'Scuse me, Mr. Father Time, but how can that be?

There's no denying it, though.  There it is in black-and-white (not to mention blue for linked words):  Dustin Lee Hoffman, born in Los Angeles on Aug. 8, 1937.

Continue reading "Post-'Graduate' Hoffman is how old?" »

07 June 2017

What ice cream addiction? Or 'Hey buddy, can you spare a spoon?'

True confession time:

BBLarry300When it comes to entertainment, the only thing I love more than movies in general are movies that make me laugh.  Really laugh!  Films like the Mel Brooks' masterpiece monster mash comedy Young Frankenstein (1974), Dr. Strangelove or:  How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964) and the first Toy Story (1995).  Movies like that.

The only thing I love more than movies that make me laugh is making people laugh through my stand-up comedy routine We Might As Well Laugh.

Continue reading "What ice cream addiction? Or 'Hey buddy, can you spare a spoon?'" »

16 May 2017

You must, you will remember this

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Bottled-up sorrow: Rick (Humphrey Bogart) drowning in despair. (Courtesy: www.google.com)

I don't remember the first time I saw Casablanca, the mesmerizing romantic World War II drama classic starring Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman and Paul Henreid, but I remember the best.

It was in the mid-1970s.  If you wanted to see a movie back then you pretty much had to go to a movie house.  There was no Internet.  No cellphones.  No movies on demand on your Wi-Fi-connected TV.  Social media in a time that now seems locked in a galaxy far, far away meant chatting about a movie on the way home.

Continue reading "You must, you will remember this" »

30 March 2017

'Tomb' raiding, off-the-cuff fisticuffs & dishing Hollywood dirt

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Angelina Jolie doing some tomb raiding as Lara Croft. (Courtesy: imdb.com)

It was early June, 2001, a full three months before terrorists attacked the U.S. and put a somber face on this country and much of the free world that has yet to relax even a little.

It was a happier time, a time when a film critic could say silly things about silly movies and even to its star.  No harm would be done and everyone could have a laugh or two.

Such was the case when Angelina Jolie took on the title role as muscle flexing, tough-as-nails video game sensation Lara Croft in the feature film version of Lara Croft:  Tomb Raider.

Continue reading "'Tomb' raiding, off-the-cuff fisticuffs & dishing Hollywood dirt" »

27 February 2017

And the Oscar goes to ... chaos!

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Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty fumble through the not-so-grand Oscar finale. (Courtesy: www.google.com)

See, this is what happens when you trust Bonnie and Clyde to hand out the Best Picture award at the Academy Awards.

The only thing I can think of that would have been more bizarre would be if Warren Beatty, looking totally confused and lost (for good reason, it turns out) had said, "We're Bonnie and Clyde.  We rob ballots!"

In case you missed it, the 89th Academy Awards telecast was putt-putting along fairly smoothly Sunday night until, of all things, the all-important finale.

Continue reading "And the Oscar goes to ... chaos!" »

11 January 2017

Blah Blah Land

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Meryl Streep at the Golden Globe Awards (Courtesy: businessinsider.com)

“A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world.”
– Oscar Wilde

I had a wild dream last night; one of those where you wake up fretting and sweating a little and the tangled covers serve as evidence of much tossing and turning.

The late iconic film critic Roger Ebert was standing at the podium at some grand hall.  Roger was introducing me as recipient of the Golden Globes Lifetime Achievement Award for my long list of film criticism awards and accomplishments.

OK, let's take a break.  Rule No. 1:  Please remember, this was a dream.  No. 2:  No giggling.

Continue reading "Blah Blah Land" »

22 December 2016

Still missing Dave

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Lady Gaga and Bill Murray with Dave on April 2, 2014. (Courtesy: CBS.com)

I can't help it, I still miss David Letterman.

Don't get me wrong.  If the Forever King of Late-night TV, in my not-so-humble opinion, wants to keep it semi-private and spend his days growing and explaining why he's grown that weird beard, I'm happy for him.

I just still miss the late-night guy, the clean-shaven one who, first on NBC, then on CBS, was a long-distance friend and as much a part of our evening routine as brushing my teeth.  Actually, full disclosure, I probably missed brushing my teeth more than we skipped "Letterman," as we called his shows.

Continue reading "Still missing Dave" »

01 December 2016

That's all write, Mama

Typewriter250
(Courtesy: www.etsy.com)

Bonnie Ratliff, my mother, was quiet and reserved unless wronged or riled.  She was also an excellent, creative cook who could sling a mean hash and make a plain cake so special I can still taste it quite a few  years after we lost her.

We never called her Mom, and I'm not sure why.  That being said, Mother made too many sacrifices for me to count as my older brother and I spent our formative years in the noisy, engine-revving, windows rattling shadows of an aircraft plant in Grand Prairie, Texas.

Three major things Mother did for me, though, changed my life and greatly influenced who I am, what I am today.  No, make that four.  There's the whole birth thing, you know.

Continue reading "That's all write, Mama" »

14 November 2016

Supermoon 'Melancholia'

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Courtesy: ChicagoTribune.com


I got my love
for the movies from my Mom and my fascination at gazing at the moon from my Dad.

Here's hoping those two wondrous worlds don't collide, literally, when the biggest, brightest supermoon since 1948 passes closer to Earth than it has in 69 years tonight (Monday, Nov. 14).

I was a toddler in my Mom's arms, no doubt, when the last supermoon this exciting came calling.  I will be 87 if I'm around (and still pounding this computer keyboard) when it happens again on Nov. 25, 2034.

Will we even have computers then?  Will Mother Earth still be inhabitable then?  Will we all have our student loans paid off by then?  Who knows?

Continue reading "Supermoon 'Melancholia'" »

28 October 2016

Coming attraction: The Movie Memories Film Fest

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"Young @ Heart" (Courtesy: imdb.com)

Remember movies?

You know, the good ones.

The ones that moved you so much that you didn't just suggest to friends and family that they go see them, but the ones so good you actually gathered up a carload and took them to the movie house yourself just to see the look on their faces when something that can only be described as magical unfolded on screen.

Continue reading "Coming attraction: The Movie Memories Film Fest" »

27 September 2016

The presidential debate: About 'Face'

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Andy Griffith as "Lonesome" Rhodes in "A Face in the Crowd." (Courtesy: www.washtimes.com)

So what does a film critic, humorist, public speaker and author who likes to kid around a bit know about presidential politics?

Not much, really, and what I do know I prefer to keep to myself.  It's not that I'm that private. I'm also not the dumbest dangling chad in the pile of discarded ballots.  I'm in business here and just don't choose to alienate half of my potential speaking audience by hopping up on a personal political soapbox.

So why am I even writing this?

Continue reading "The presidential debate: About 'Face'" »

16 September 2016

Blood, guts and, uh, bluegrass?

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Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty in "Bonnie and Clyde." (Courtesy: google.com)

I was honored to speak to a group in Dallas last week about movies shot in and around Dallas.

I always come away from The Movie Memories presentation "Lights, Camera, Dallas!" with the music from Bonnie and Clyde bouncing around in my head.  Arthur Penn's 1967 action-crime thriller showcased Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway as the notorious outlaw duo that terrorized North Texas and surrounding states in the early 1930s.

Continue reading "Blood, guts and, uh, bluegrass?" »

01 September 2016

Missing me some truly funny guys

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Gene Wilder and Peter Boyle in "Young Frankenstein." (Courtesy: www4.pictures.zimbio.com)

Think about it for a second.

Someone points a finger at you and requests/hopes/demands that you be funny right now.

Not just a little funny, but world-class funny.

Gene Wilder, who we lost in the past few days, and Peter Boyle, gone 10 years in December, were two of the funniest humans of their generation.  If you think that's easy, try it.

Continue reading "Missing me some truly funny guys" »

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