Uncle Bardie’s Movie of the Week: John Houston’s Last Movie

Once a week on Monday, Uncle Bardie shares a movie with his Readers he gives a big two thumbs up. It will simply be a short excerpt or a trailer. Uncle Bardie might even throw in a reflection on the movie. If so, it will make an appearance below the video. So pop some popcorn and give yourself a treat. This week’s movie is “The Dead” (1987).

Like so many of you, I have a New Year’s Eve tradition. Come Thursday night this year, I plan on the same ritual I have performed the past ten years or so.

No, it’s not going out drinking with all the amateurs. I stay off the streets ’cause there’s danger out there, Will Robinson. If I am taking to the bottle on New Year’s Eve, I do it at home. But mostly I stay off the booze, except for a little of the bubbly.

I don’t sacrifice a chicken or howl at the moon either. Although the howling-at-the-moon has occurred to me. It would give some competition to those blasting firecrackers away all night because they can. They scare the whatchamacallit out of my cats. At least, my cats would appreciate the howling.

I am not into watching three hours of programming crawling up to the countdown to the ball dropping. (I kinda wonder what you do in that crowd when you have to pee, and you have to pee bad. Where do you go?)

All the twerking by artists, mouthing their latest fifteen-minutes-of-fame plastic, bores me. I’m not ever sure who they are, but they’re not for moi. They are not Dylan or Sinatra or Elvis or the Beatles or the Supremes. Those guys didn’t have to twerk their way to greatness. Well, maybe Elvis did.

If I hear Paul McCartney do one more performance of “Yesterday”, I think I’ll scream. You were great once, Sir Paul, but you’re beginning to wear out your welcome. Mostly I’m thinking it’s been a while since Guy Lombardi did the Auld Lang Syne thing, and I kinda miss it. Don’t worry I haven’t gone Lawrence Welk on you. Yet.

My tradition? I sit down and watch John Huston’s last movie, “The Dead”. And before you even think it, it’s not about zombies. Rather it is based on James Joyce’s great story. If the man wrote no other work, “The Dead” would establish him as one of the greats. It takes place in 1904 Dublin. A group of friends gather at the home of the Morkan sisters and their niece to celebrate the Feast of the Epiphany, that memorial to the Three Magi who came to visit the Baby Jesus in Bethlehem.

Outside there is snow. Inside there is cheer and music and dinner and memories of the past. It is these memories of the dead that call to mind all who have passed my way. Old friends, childhood buddies, and family, Some passed on and some not, some nearby and some in faraway places, some in places known and some in places unknown.

Like the story, the final scene of the movie calls to mind the most bittersweet of memories. All those who left, leaving only their footprints in the snow behind. All those wayfarers who came my way and left their mark on my life in an unforgettable manner. For a moment, tears well up in my eyes and I raise a glass to the wonder of who they were.

Soon it will be time to move on, what with a new year coming. This brief time I give to those who have passed over to a new world. I miss their words. I miss their smiles. I miss their voices. I miss the music that was their lives. So I shed a few tears. Not for them, but for myself. That I could have been a better friend. A better brother. A better son.

For these few moments, I am thankful to James Joyce and to John Huston for their extraordinary works of art.

Where will you be this New Year’s Eve?

20 thoughts on “Uncle Bardie’s Movie of the Week: John Houston’s Last Movie

  1. I definitely share your sentiments on New Years Eve and, yes, always looks at that Times Square crowd and can only think of how cold they are and how badly they need to pee. I never saw the movie but it sounds like a good one. Have a Happy New Years Don!

        • Huh? Not sure what the problem is. Sorry about the problem. Maybe it’s the browser. I embed the link from You tube. Here’s the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z6FGIaWaQxA
          One of the things I have noticed recently is that at the beginning of a comment, I get a link to the script, then the comment. Not sure why. If you are using a mobile device to access the post, that may be why. If not, then try clearing your history cache and refreshing. Otherwise try another browser.

        • The movie clip was fine. It’s in the comments I’m running into trouble. There’s a link to a poll or something at the beginning of your comments or when you “like” one of my comments. It’s odd because it never used to happen and it doesn’t happen on any other comments. Don’t worry about it. I’m not going to. 😉

        • Jane, I found a solution on one of the wordpress forums. On your Dashboard, follow the tool links on the left side of the page. You know the list that says: Dashboard, Store, Posts, etc. Scroll down to Settings. Under the Settings Menu, go to Ratings. There will be three tabs there: Posts, Pages, Comments. Choose Comments and uncheck Show Ratings, then save changes. That should take care of it.

        • Well it sounded like it should have worked but the “Show Ratings” box wasn’t checked on any of my settings. Oh well, I think ignoring it will continue to be my “go to” plan. ; )

  2. Hear, hear! No more Paul McCartney singing “Yesterday”. Or the twerking, manufactured singers of today. I’ll be in NY (am in NY) but would never consider Times Square. I’ll howl at the moon for you, Don. I still enjoy that ritual. Then back to the desert for me where the coyotes will give me a run for my howling money. Happy New Year to you! I will definitely look into this movie, as I am unfamiliar with it. Cheers!

  3. so about NYE and Times Square. If you’ve ever been there it reeks of urine and my friend, Dre, who has been there NYE explained to me why. I won’t go further…you’re smart man.
    When we lived in CA, every NYE we went to Missy and Justin’s to drink and play games. Last year we flew back to CA, in part to do that.
    This year we are hosting at our house with local friends, who can either walk home or are staying with us over night to avoid driving. But alcohol, food, and games will be the order of business for the day.

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