American Graffiti

poster1 [Old Movies / Young Eyes] American Graffiti (1973)Originally posted at

Director: George Lucas / Writers: George LucasGloria Katz,  / Starring: Richard DreyfussRon Howard, and Paul Le Mat

Getting back into the 70s again after a few movies from the early/mid-1980s, American Graffiti is another movie that, for many, is considered a classic that is representative of a bygone era of American pop culture. And, like Fast Times at Ridgemont High, this is one that I’d been told I should see for a long, long time before I finally made it a point to sit down and watch it. As I mentioned last weekAmerican Graffiti differs from FTRH in that it attempts in a later decade to recreate the zeitgeist of a time already passed. And now, writing about it nearly forty years later, in some senses the entire decade gap between the date depicted in the movie and the movie’s release can almost feel arbitrary. But then, less than five years later, George Lucas would be releasing Star Wars, which really does feel like a different era. But enough of all that, let’s talk about American Graffiti. Continue reading “American Graffiti”

Fast Times at Ridgemont High

poster [Old Movies / Young Eyes] Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982)Originally posted at

Director: Amy Heckerling / Writers: Cameron Crowe (screenplay), Cameron Crowe (book) /Starring: Sean PennJennifer Jason Leigh, and Judge Reinhold

Fast Times at Ridgemont High is one of those movies that seems to be, for many people, something of a cult classic film about the intersections of coming of age and American pop culture. Unlike other coming of age period pieces such as American Graffiti (which I’ll be writing about next week) and the later Dazed and Confused (which was immensely popular when this writer came of age), both being films that attempted to recreate the zeitgeist of past decades, FTRH is one that captures and preserves the contemporary era at the time it was made. Writer Cameron Crowe, just out of college at the time, had gone back to high school undercover to write about the lives of teenagers. As a result, we get a look at the lives of various students at the fictional Ridgemont High. (It’s fascinating, as a current resident of the San Fernando Valley, to get a look at how some things were here back in the 1980s, by the way.) Continue reading “Fast Times at Ridgemont High”

Planets Align

This is pretty rad. (Found via LAist.) Might just be a good excuse to get up early again tomorrow.Today I got up early to go to a 7am meeting and present my friend with a (sugar-free) cake. It was my second time baking a cake, and both times I wasn’t patient enough to wait for the cake to cool adequately before applying the icing, and so it ended up looking pretty bad. But it’s the thought that counts, right?Monday I got up early to go do my tutoring at the middle school down the street from work. It’s really more like being a teacher’s aide/assistant, as I basically just observe the lessons and then help the kids who have questions. It’s fun, and definitely rewarding to see the look on the kids’ faces when they grasp a concept, or realize that they’re smarter than they might think they are. The kids will be doing tests the next couple of weeks, so I guess I’ll have a couple weeks off. I still need to email the teacher and see if/when I should come back next. I think when this school year is out, I might switch it up and sign up for a full-fledged volunteer tutoring program; someone recently told me about one that is geared toward kids staying in homeless shelters, which sounds like it would be pretty rewarding.As for an update on the goals I posted about last week, I’ve been doing pretty well. I haven’t gone for yogurt or ice cream all week. Thursday night I heated up some leftover spaghetti when I got home at 10pm, as I hadn’t had any dinner yet that night. I feel like this was an improvement over what I might would have done the week before, going through a drive-thru at the same hour, but still it’s best to shoot for not eating so late. This week I’m working on planning ahead so as to not end up in that kind of situation.

mangled cake
If I knew you were coming...

As far as desserts go, I ate baklava on Friday night and sampled on some sweets here and there at Unique LA. Aside from that, I’ve been kicking butt! You know, aside from some mangled sugar-free cake today :-p



rammbock2 300x169 [Review] Rammbock (2010)Originally posted at

Director: Marvin Kren /Writer: Benjamin Hessler(screenplay) / Starring: Sebastian AchillesIngrid Beerbaum, and Carsten Behrendt

Just a week after watching the zombie-like vampires of Stake Land, I had an opportunity last Friday night to check out a real zombie movie from a German perspective. Weighing in at only 61 minutes, this movie does not at all end up feeling like a short one, and I mean that in a good way. At points midway through the movie and beyond, I found myself wondering, “wow, how are they going have time to wrap this up?” The movie built a nice level of suspense and dramatic tension, and had a fair amount of good make-you-jump type scare factor. I walked in expecting it to be somewhat gory and even kitschy, but ultimately found it to be much more serious and somber. Again, I mean that in a good way. Continue reading “Rammbock”

Better Off Dead

60023504 Old Movie / Young Eyes: Better Off Dead (1985)Originally posted at

DirectorSavage Steve Holland / WriterSavage Steve Holland / StarringJohn CusackDavid Ogden Stiers, and Kim Darby

For some reason or other, every time I saw Better Off Deadsitting in my netflix queue before it finally arrived in my mail box, I thought it was One Crazy Summer. I guess that’s just the default spot in my mind for “mid-1980s John Cusack movie.” But when I watched this one, I did find that it really didn’t seem to vary all that much from my limited recollection of OCS. I guess that with the writer/director Savage Steve Holland teaming up with Cusack for nerdy-hip teen romance films two years in a row is a good excuse for being confused. Nevertheless, Better Off Dead did prove to be an entertaining, albeit quaint, look at 1980s culture. Continue reading “Better Off Dead”

May Just Happen

White-board to do list: 1. Use White-board.
Ambitious me...

Those of you who know me—i.e. all three of my readers—know that I’ve tried to be more health-conscious in fits and spurts over the last few years. I have gone through brief periods of using the diet/exercise tracking tool (as I mentioned here and here), and I have also tried using the one over at While the “Spark People” website sounds a little more like some sort of new-age religious movement than I’d like, I was really impressed to see that they offer a customizable meal plan generator tool that will even spit out a grocery shopping list for you. But in spite of the availability of these and many other self-improvement tools, I have not yet found lasting success with following through on one of these plans. I mentioned something to this effect when talking with Siel from Green LA Girl a couple months ago, and she suggested that blogging about it might be a way to boost my accountability to myself and get ongoing encouragement and support from friends. I was initially a little resistant to that idea, simply because I’m not crazy about the idea of opening myself to all variety of suggestions and opinions about how I should proceed. But then, that could also have simply been a handy excuse for not holding myself accountable to my goals.

After giving it some thought, I’ve decided that maybe I can approach it differently than I have in the past by taking a couple very small, manageable steps at a time instead of trying to overhaul multiple areas of my life all at once. So, without further ado, and just in time to coincide with the stress of my student loans going back into repayment, I’m offering up the first few goals I will tackle. And because I know you’re all just dying to keep tabs on my progress, I will report back here weekly to let you know how it’s going.Here are a few of the goals I’m pursuing:

  • No french fries.
  • No meals after 9pm on weeknights.
  • Sugar/dessert no more than 2 times a week.

I was going to post this before the 1st of May, by the way, but punctuality is not one of the goals I’m currently pursuing!