Uncle Bardie’s Spotlight Movie: A Ghost Story

Once a week on Friday, Uncle Bardie celebrates the creativity in others by shining a Spotlight on a movie, a song or a creator. To celebrate the upcoming Scary Day of Halloween, there’s no better way than seeing a scary movie. This week’s Spotlight Movie is “Ghost Story” (1981). This one is not for the kids and please do not see it alone:

Seems all the ghosts have been run out of Dodge these days what with all the zombie movies and tv shows. It’s enough to make a person want to die and haunt a house just to bring the spectres back. Course there were the “Poltergeist” and “Ghostbusters” remakes. But those don’t count. They are remakes.

No. What we need is a real live ghost movie to make us shiver in our booties. But don’t worry. Uncle Bardie is up to the job. He has found a ghost story and it’s a good’un. It’s adapted from a novel by Stephen King’s bud, Peter Straub. And, of course, it’s appropriately named “Ghost Story” (1979).

Did you do something long ago that you deeply regret? Was it a terrible terrible something? Well, four old men in small town of Milburn, New York (Fred Astaire, Melvyn Douglas, John Houseman, Douglas Fairbanks Jr.) have a secret of Something from their young-men days they deeply regret. A dark Something.

To assuage their guilt, they meet once a week and swap stories. They call themselves the Chowder Society. Then one of the men die. And the three left alive start having dreams. Bad dreams. Really bad dreams. In fact, they are nightmares.

Advertisements

Uncle Bardie’s Spotlight Song: The Greatest Ears In Town

Once a week on Friday, Uncle Bardie celebrates the creativity in others by shining a Spotlight on a movie, a song or a creator. This week’s Spotlight Song is Bette Midler and a gang of backup singers celebrating Arif Mardin with the song, “The Greatest Ears in Town”:

 

Arif Mardin was a composer, arranger and producer first at Atlantic Records, then at EMI. During his tenure with both companies, he either produced or arranged or composed music for such artists as the Rascals, Aretha Franklin, Phil Collins, the Bee Gees, Hall and Oates, Chaka Khan, Queen, Roberta Flack and Norah Jones.

In celebration of his contribution, give a listen to Bette Midler singing her tribute to Arif Mardin. It will make you smile.

Uncle Bardie’s Spotlight Creator: Gordon Lightfoot

Once a week on Friday, Uncle Bardie celebrates the creativity in others by shining a Spotlight on a movie, a song or a creator. This week’s Spotlight Creator is Gordon Lightfoot:

It was late 1969 and I was at the Air Force Base Exchange. I found myself flipping through the records when I chanced upon an album called “Sunday Concert”. In those days, I had gotten into the habit of buying albums based on the cover art. The cover on the album was simple. It was a side view of Gordon Lightfoot on stage. It was a live album.

I liked the cover but I wasn’t sure who this Gordon Lightfoot was. Seems the name had come up before. Didn’t he write a Peter, Paul and Mary tune, “Early Morning Rain”? I checked out the songs. They had interesting titles and it looked like this Lightfoot guy was a folk singer.

This was in the days before Pandora and Spotify. If no one you knew had heard an artist, you took your chances. So I took my chances. Man, am I glad. I loved this Lightfoot and his “Sunday Concert”. Every song was a gem. Little did I realize that this was the last album he was to do for United Artist. His next album, “Sit Down, Young Stranger”, was on the Reprise label and it was a gem too. Had a big hit on it. “If you could read my mind”.

The Guess Who performing “Lightfoot”.

Gordon Lightfoot was something. He wrote great songs. He had a great voice. And he looked like what you would expect a troubadour to look. Over the years, I bought album after album of his as they were released. Twice I saw him in concert. And he’s still out there on the road, doing what a troubadour does.

In his honor, I wrote this lyric:

The ballading man
Spanish guitars play a South-of-the-Border song
On the stage the man sings out loud and clear
Of a land made great by sweat and by blood,
A rose in the wilderness of every man’s fear.

The songs the ways of the past almost forgotten:
Of love’s wisdom, of life, glory and death,
Of battles raging and courageous men,
Conquistadors, el dorado tales of fabulous wealth.

Children, gather ’round and hear a ballading man
Warm as a winter fire by a family hearth
Wild as mountain flowers in early spring,
A natural theology of every man’s worth.

Gordon Lightfoot, “I used to be a country singer”, written by Steve McEown.

And here is one of the my favorites. It’s “Don Quixote”, the title song from his second album on Reprise:

In this day and age, we need more Don Quixotes like this one.

Uncle Bardie’s Spotlight Movie: Little Boy Lost

Once a week on Friday, Uncle Bardie celebrates the creativity in others by shining a Spotlight on a movie, a song or a creator. This week’s Spotlight Movie is “Lion” (2016):

Trailer for the movie “Lion”.

What if you had gotten separated from your family when you were five years old? That is what happened to Saroo, the hero of “Lion”. Saroo lived in  Khandwa, India with his mother, Kamla Munshi; his older brother, Giddu; and his younger sister, Shekila. They are poor. His mother, abandoned by her husband, works construction to support her three children. Saroo and Giddu steal coal off the trains for extra money for milk and food.

Giddu has work that will take him away from the family for several days. Saroo insists that he be taken to work too. Finally Giddu agrees. The two catch a train to a different town. It is night and Saroo is sleepy. So Giddu leaves him at the station, saying he will return soon. He does not return.

Saroo spends the next few years, wandering, until one day he ends up in an orphanage in Calcutta. He is adopted by an Australian couple, living on the Island of Tasmania.

Twenty-one years later, Saroo has flashbacks of his mother, his brother, his sister. The loss of his family drives him to find them again. Until he finds them, he will continue to be a little boy lost.

Uncle Bardie’s Spotlight Song: Blue and Green

Once a week on Friday, Uncle Bardie celebrates the creativity in others by shining a Spotlight on a movie, a song or a creator. This week’s Spotlight Song is Van Morrison’s “Blue and Green”

Van Morrison has composed some amazing songs over the years, including “Crazy Love” and “Tupelo Honey”.

This one is such simple lyric, yet it stands out because nobody ever thought of it. That is, until Van Morrison was inspired to compose it. It is like Hank Williams’ “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” and Bob Dylan’s “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door”. It’s one of those songs that feels like it’s always been.

It takes a lyricist with a lot of moxie to personalize colors the way he has with this song. After listening to this one, I never think of colors the way I did before. Colors are living breathing things.