American Graffiti

One night, endless memories.

Summer vacation, and easy-going life, are sliding to an end, with all sorts of new responsibilities looming on the other side of a Cali sunrise.

One pack of teens aim to put it off for as long as possible.

Cruising up and down the strip, the rumbling voice of Wolfman Jack echoes out of their car radios as they hold off the daylight.

Director George Lucas hit a homerun with a cast for the ages, including Harrison Ford in one of his earliest roles, and the film remains as vibrant in 2021 as it was in 1973.


The Music Man

Trouble, oh we got trouble, right here in River City!

My nephews have never seen this zippy ’60s musical, and yet, they kind of have, thanks to a love of The Simpsons fueled by Disney+.

The episode Marge vs. the Monorail, with Phil Hartman filling in for Robert Preston as a tuneful con artist, remains a high point for the series, and shows just how much The Music Man became ingrained in our national consciousness.

The original remains a fun time, with Preston in peak form.

“How far you going, friend?”

“Wherever the people are as green as the money … friend.”


The Paper

It’s the story of my life.

Sorta. Kinda.

The ink-stained wretches on screen were working for a New York tabloid, covering murder and mayhem, while I was not.

But back in ’94, when this flick hit, I was the youngest Sports Editor in the history of the Whidbey News-Times, working without a college degree, and I felt a kinship with Michael Keaton and Co.

A fair amount of time has passed, and I made wide detours to work on mussel rafts and in video stores, but, somehow, I still remain tethered — sorta, kinda — to journalism.

And I still love this film.


Apollo 13

Houston, there’s no problem.

This soaring true-life tale centers around a tense moment in NASA history, as a failing oxygen tank puts astronauts in danger, but Ron Howard’s film is as stirring as possible.

Nominated for nine Oscars, and winner of two, in a very-strong year which also featured Babe and Braveheart, it reached home viewers early in my video store career.

Sent out at a time when movie studios were deeply committed to wooing rental huts, it came accompanied by multiple t-shirts.

Twas a sad day when my well-worn one was finally retired to the burn pile years later.