02 May 2019

Crimes and Mister Meanies

You're probably familiar with the current crop of #Me Too movement suspects and convicted perpetrators. 

Cosby300To mention just a few:  Major indie studio movie mogul Harvey Weinstein's trial for alleged sexual abuses of dozens of female complainants is coming up soon.  Excellent actor Kevin Spacey, facing charges for allegedly groping a teenage boy, has seen his "House of Cards" crumble.  And, sadly, Bill Cosby, formerly known as "America's Dad," is doing 3-to-10 in the slammer after being convicted on three counts of sexual assault.

What about those I'm calling the #Them Too perps?  I had a great time over at HarborChase of the Park Cities retirement community (in the Dallas area) recently with my Movie Memories presentation titled "Hollywood's Hot Movie Scandals."

Continue reading "Crimes and Mister Meanies" »

18 March 2019

Can you hear me now? Yes, indeedy

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(Courtesy: sonnymelendrez.com)

My heartfelt thanks go out to legendary San Antonio-based radio personality and good friend Sonny Melendrez, the nicest guy I know and one of the finest keynote speakers in the U.S., for having me on his radio show Sunday morning.

I had the honor of serving as sidekick and movie guy on Sonny's top-rated San Antonio radio show a few years back. Now Sonny is back on the air with the all new "Sonny Melendrez Show" Sundays at 11 a.m. on San Antonio's 930 AM The Answer.  You can listen live by going to the station's website.

Sonny and I had a great time on his new show Sunday morning.  It was like old times, but fresh and new.

What, you missed it?  What if I said you didn't, not really?

Sonny, always on the cutting edge of radio and technology, archives his weekly shows as podcasts.  If you're in the mood to have some fun and find out how yours truly slowly morphed from a shy guy afraid to even raise his hand in class in high school to a nationally known film critic, public speaker and comedian, click on this link to hear the podcast.

Continue reading "Can you hear me now? Yes, indeedy" »

07 March 2019

The mother of reinvention

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(Courtesy: VoyageDallas.com)

Have you ever pondered how you got to the place you're at in your life right now?  This minute?

I have more times than I care to share.  Usually it's in the wee hours of the night or early morning, when I'm tossing and turning in bed. I toss and turn sometime when I'm not in bed, which is not pleasant to witness and may be what "threw my back out" as they used to say.

My innermost self evaluations most often come down to "Why me?" or "Why now?" or the dreaded "Oh [EXPLETIVE DELETED], not now!"

Occasionally, though, there's a "Well, how about that. What a pleasant surprise." That's what today's contribution to literary history is all about.

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25 February 2019

Oscar rocks, rolls out 'non-hosts'

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Original Queen members Brian May (guitar) and Roger Taylor (drums) with Adam Lambert. (Courtesy: spin.com)

For those of you who might have missed the non-hosted 91st Academy Awards Sunday night on ABC, here's all you need to know to keep up with the conversations at the iphone charging station or flavored-water machine today.  Of course we used to have these after-event debates around the water cooler, but try finding one of those these days.

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08 January 2019

Marion or The Duke: It's all John Wayne

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John Wayne about to hitch a ride to fame as The Ringo Kid in "Stagecoach" (1939).

So what's your favorite Marion Robert Morrison movie?

We're talking the late, great "everyman" movie star John Wayne, of course.

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance starring The Duke, Jimmy Stewart, Vera Miles and Lee Marvin as the title character is my favorite, Pilgrim.   That heartfelt-yet-hard hitting Western of love, unrequited and otherwise, giant pan-fried steaks and Marvin as quite possibly one of the Top 5 big screen baddies of all time, only edges out True Grit by an eyepatch or two.

Continue reading "Marion or The Duke: It's all John Wayne" »

02 November 2018

Oh I see, your holiday event is coming up soon

Onions300I can't read your mind or anything, but I'm guessing you're looking for something a little different for your office, corporate or facility holiday gathering this year.

Well, look no further.  I have two suggestions for you, and they both just happen to involve, ahem, me.

Continue reading "Oh I see, your holiday event is coming up soon" »

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" »

21 July 2018

Summer in Texas, 2018: I got out of the kitchen, and I still can't stand the heat.

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.

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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.

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18 September 2017

Destiny's child -- The other one

I don't know if we each have a destiny, or if we're all just floating around accidental-like on a breeze, but I, I think maybe it's both. -- Forrest Gump (Tom Hanks)

Baby300Looking for treasures?  You might try the garage.

You know, lurking in those musty boxes weakened by time and multiple relocations over two or three decades

Digging through way too many of those boxes to admit we even had over the weekend in preparation for an upcoming garage sale, we came across my birth announcement from way back in 19-something or other.

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05 September 2017

Who's your 'Mother!'

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Jennifer Lawrence as the title character in "Mother!" (Courtesy: geektyrant.com)

Generally speaking, horror-thrillers come and go these days without much interest from this aisle seat.

Until now.

Mother!, written and directed by Oscar-nominated Darren Aronofsky, is the exception.  Simply put, Aronofsky, whose Academy Award nomination came for calling the shots and putting Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis on their toes as driven ballet dancers in  Black Swan (2010), knows how to creep us out.

Continue reading "Who's your 'Mother!'" »

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."

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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" »

12 April 2017

Cinematic genealogy: Popcorn in the family tree

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Courtesy: google.com

I have very little interest in scampering out and back on every branch of the family tree to discover if I might be a direct descendant of royalty, a great writer from centuries past or, gasp!, rodents (the name Ratliff, you see).  I'm much more interested in getting to the root of my love and appreciation for movies.

It's deep-seated, but where did it come from?

I only have to look back one generation to find out all I need to know.  My mom and dad both loved movies.  I can remember my dad telling the story (over and over, actually) about falling asleep in the Hico (Texas) Theater and waking up in the dark to two startling discoveries:  The movie had ended some time ago and everyone was long gone and that he was locked in.

Continue reading "Cinematic genealogy: Popcorn in the family tree" »

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