Tag Archives: Movies

We’re Live.

We're Live BannerThe Parrington Review is open for business!

Have a look at my new site – it’s a day old now. Thanks to those who came by yesterday for the grand opening – it was a wild success, with over three hundred and fifty visits in twelve hours. If this is the way things are going to be, we’re going to have a blast over the next while. Lots of great content coming your way, even if the first while is a little chaotic.

It’s my hope that as things normalise to some degree, we can pick up the pace again here on The New Dialogue as well.

In the meantime, cruise on over to the new digs and tell me what you think!

Cheers, Dan


Nearly there!

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Hi everyone!

For those of you who wondered about what was happening – or more appropriately, not happening – on the 25th, this should bring you up to speed.

The 25th – this past Tuesday – was meant to be the release date for my new web, film and literature review site, The Parrington Review. The process of getting that website up and running has been what’s kept this blog from being active for the past two weeks, and promises to continue to slow things down for almost another week yet.

My new projected release date is Tuesday, October 2nd. I was offered a major technical upgrade free of charge by my ever big-hearted uncle Doug Bowker, so of course I took him up on it; unfortunately, getting my hands on the new stuff and implementing it has created a bit of a delay. My apologies!

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I won’t say too much about it here, but when things do get underway, I’ll be very excited to share the work of several talented and innovative web writers and developers with you. Over on LinkedIn, I’ve developed something I call the Featured Five – from the many free web reviews I perform there, every so often I select five to be spotlighted on The Parrington Review.

Those five will be featured on a regular basis when the new site comes out. The best of the independent web awaits!

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We’re also going to be having a look at a handful of films from the past few years, and a number of older gems as well. This is all stuff I loved. Here are just a few:

Blue Valentine – Inception – Avatar – District 9 – Sherlock Holmes

No Country for Old Men  Aliens  Taxi Driver – Lost Highway

Dr. Strangelove – Blade Runner (of course!) – Natural Born Killers

Unforgiven – Jacob’s Ladder – The Princess Bride – The Godfather

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There is the odd film I despise enough to write about, as well. Sorry to those devotees who find the following offensive:

The Expendables – Watchmen – Gran Torino – Synechdoche, New York

Aliens vs Predator: Requiem Timecop – Highlander – Poison Ivy

Pet Sematary – Close Encounters of the Third Kind

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Many films fall somewhere in between, naturally enough – and many such will be given their due! See if you can find your own favorite among these:

Limitless – The Hangover – 127 Hours – Machete – True Grit – 9

Inglourious Basterds – WALL-E Naked Lunch – Jurassic Park

Boys Don’t Cry – Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas – Trainspotting

Escape from New York 12 Monkeys – Wild At Heart – Rush

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We’re literate, too, over on The Parrington Review. I’ll be covering a number of my own favorite reads:

The Waste Land and Other Poems – The Doors of Perception

One Hundred Years of Solitude – A Fan’s Notes Watership Down

The Beautiful and Damned – The Once and Future King

The Writings of St. Paul The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer Crash

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I hope you’ve found something on the list that appeals – there’s a lot more than this, too. As always, I’m open to hearing any sort of suggestion you want to throw at me. The Parrington Review is for you, after all, as much as I’m going to be having a blast producing it.

Cross your fingers for me as I continue to dabble in the dark arts of web development! I’ll try faithfully to keep you posted.


Like Tears in Rain

I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched c-beams glitter in the dark near Tannhauser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time… to die.

Such are the last words of Roy Batty, lead antagonist in the film Blade Runner. They always make my spine tingle. Maybe I am imagining myself in black empty space, seeing the c-beams glittering beneath me. Maybe it’s the romance of a forsaken creature, a Frankenstein’s monster superior to its own maker.

Maybe it’s the struggle for freedom, a fight that ultimately ends in Batty’s death, and Deckard’s redemption. On that consideration, hear Rick Roderick:

I will call to your mind a scene from Blade Runner, where before the replicant dies, he slams his hand on a nail (and many of you may not know this), but when Batty does that in the film, it’s a reference to an action that Sartre has a character perform in “Roads to Freedom”. In “Roads to Freedom”, the Sartre character slams his hand onto a nail to prove that he is free. Because he chose to do it. It hurt like hell, but he chose it. I put my hand on that nail, and that shows I am free, because just as a calculus of deterministic pleasure I would never have done it. It’s a philosophical demonstration… a painful and stupid one in my opinion… but by the time we get to Blade Runner, the replicant slams his hand onto a nail just to feel anything. Just to feel anything.

When the attempt for immortality finally falls through, man must settle for memory; in Batty’s case, he chooses to leave what is left of himself pass into the hands of his enemy- his best bet in his hope of being remembered. In a sense, he chooses to live on through Deckard.

Would you want to live forever? Many people believe they will, in a spiritual sense. Do you have a belief in that respect? If not, how do you deal with the reality of death?

I am currently struggling with the sense that my grandparents- my boys’ great-grandparents- are coming to the close of their days. They may have five, ten- maybe fifteen- years remaining. But as life comes to its dusk, the odds stack higher and higher against us. How much longer, I ask myself, do I have these two wonderful old folks to share with my new family?

They meant so much to me, growing up. But you see, their legacy will continue in us. This is what Batty wanted. This is what he chose to do, exercising his ability to will: when I die, on day, I want to have chosen just the same; to have chosen, throughout my life, to draw my loved ones close and give them a legacy worth passing on.

Hear, now, Anthony Pate:

In contrast to Deckard is Roy Batty, the leader of the renegade replicants and Deckard’s doppelganger. Both men suffer the same pains – lack of knowledge and security about the natures of their identity and existence, the soul-deadening toll of their labors, their dissatisfaction with their circumstances and their subsequent inability to reconcile themselves to and master their reality. But unlike Deckard, Batty refuses to languish in inertia and depression because of the circumstances of his reality. Batty aims to do something – whatever he can – about it. Like Deckard, Batty is a murderer too. But unlike the murders Deckard commits for his job, which reflect his jaded dissociation and institutionalized impersonality, Batty’s murders are raw and impulsive, emotional and purposeful. They are also, in Batty’s mind, righteous.

A major symbolic element in Blade Runner is the eye: its reoccurrence throughout the film tends to indicate perceptions in general; and, more specifically, self-perception. Remember Jung’s Persona, the mask we develop as a representation of the Self- a representation that is so intimate that even we believe it to be ourselves? Blade Runner asks the question: what is it to be human- and what is an imitation? Does the difference between the two really matter?

To me, it does. I know that to some extent I am formed by the world I have developed in- the peers, situations and reactions around me have greatly influenced who I am now. I also believe that to a large extent I am capable of creating myself, of shaping myself into whoever I want to be. Does any of this make me false? I thought so, once. Now I accept it as fact.

I am a mixture of my environment, my upbringing, and my own devices. I may also be, at some level, programmed from birth. I don’t really understand how all these elements interact. There must be a healthy balance somewhere, a fine line where I can see myself as acceptable before God, so to speak: a whole and good person, redeemed in the process of refinement that experience provides.

It is my inclination to believe also that only once we have begun to accept ourselves as we are, beneath the mask, are we able to gauge with any accuracy the legacy that we are producing. I am Dan Parrington, stepfather, husband, son, grandson. I am Dan Parrington, straight-A student, dropout, reader, writer. I am also Dan Parrington, sometimes fearful, often in my own world, always sensitive to the needs and opinions of those around me.

A lifespan is what it is. I hope I can use mine wisely. I hope I can leave something good for those left behind. I fear the time when my predecessors’ mantles fall onto my shoulders, but I also intend to be ready. What about you?


There for Me

I have an awful lot of good people in my life. Today I’m going to introduce four of them to you: Nathan, Caleb, Jayda and Tom.

Well, Nathan was living across the street when we moved in, so meeting him was inevitable. When my mom did take me over to see who my future friend was to be, he grinned at me from his doorway. I must not have given him the sort of grin he expected back, because he then walked on over and brought his foot down on my toes. Such was the beginning of a long friendship.

We had our hideout in Nathan’s basement, where the TV and the computer reigned over us in all their splendid light and color. The carpet was thick and itchy under my elbows as I lay on my belly like a prostrate vassal. It was Jason and the Argonauts, or the WWF- this well before they changed the initials to avoid confusion with the World Wildlife Fund.

Or it would be the Playstation that kept us enthralled- sneaking around with Solid Snake or being extraordinarily contrary with Squall. With the controller in my hands, I was somewhere else, someone else. I had the power to interact with my world, through Nathan’s basement, in ways that my observer’s nature would never permit in reality. In a sense, I was setting the stage for character development of my own: making choices and judging values, my sense of self growing more intricate through the playing-out of endless scenarios.

When it wasn’t the screen that held our attention, it was Nathan’s backyard pool, or water guns or homemade board games or long hot bike rides. Nathan was my first and best neighborhood friend.

Doug Anderson is a friend of my dad’s from their teenage days. Fortunately for us all, from his marriage there came a son exactly my own age. It was a friendship written amongst the stars. In fact, my first exposure to Star Wars took place in the walls of the Anderson home. This particular fellow’s name was Caleb, and we became playmates from the first after-Sunday School hangout onward.

Our friendship really has been, for the most part, centered around church. When I finally stopped going, the strain on our friendship was difficult. In some ways, its existence was diminished for good. But there were golden years, countless hours rolling by in the comfortable retreat of Caleb’s bedroom, or at large at Hope Valley Day Camp. We counselled together, we took counsel together. A deep sense of empathy and communication that I have seldom experienced was born between us.

I miss those days, sometimes, if only for the intimacy of that particular union. Caleb was, and is, irreplaceable in his own right. That red-headed, guitar-playing, Bible-thumping dude holds firmly to a portion of my experience and personal development- and, of course, my heart.

Jayda- my very first Asian friend. Vague confusion filled my soul when I encountered her the first time- wonder at the differences between us. To this day I am not sure what secrets lie in the deep pools of her Japanese spirit. Any fear I had of the unknown, however, was dispelled once I got to know this sweet, fun and tender girl.

From the exchange of grade school Valentines to shooting pool at her mom’s, Jayda became my rock to confide in during some of the most difficult- and some of the most exciting- times of my life. Jayda has always been a gracious hostess- or co-hostess with Shannon, her mom. Parties at Jayda’s always managed to be low-key and pleasant; even going for an afternoon visit tends to put me more at ease than alcohol ever did. Shannon and Jayda- and let’s not forget little sis!- always made pleasant company in sharing their home. Looking into a family dynamic from outside is a hard thing indeed, but I think that Jayda and her mom must make each other very proud.

I took Jayda to prom. We were going to drive in on my moped, but for some reason that fell through. I don’t truly remember what restrained us from that astonishing plan. In any case, I sold my moped that summer and was never again to feel the adrenaline of its fifty kilometer speed cap. But we got to prom somehow, and Jayda was of course gorgeous in a silk dress and I did my best to be a sharp date. Now, as not a few of you may know- and some of us even before we had a right to know- my prom date was gay. So although there was dancing and carrying on of all kinds, there was no necking that night.

And then there’s Tom. It was Tommy back then, Tommy K. Like Jayda, Tom was with me from Kindergarten on up. He was a playmate from the hay forts in summer to the water works in springtime, from the leaf forts in fall to- what else?- the snow forts in winter. Do you see a bit of a pattern? This boy stuff was the meat and potatoes of a little guy’s recess. But Tom also played kissy tag, a cootie-ridden activity I never stooped to.

We had another activity for which we were, in a small way, famous. We called it Adventures. I think I might have instigated the practise, but Tom took it to a level of his own. We would start with an idea for a story, and one of us would take on the role of narrator. From there it unwound like one of those old Choose Your Own Adventure novels- the narrator would present a situation and various choices, and the participant would decide what to do with that. We made so many walking tours of the schoolyard in the process of these intense discussions, we could have worn a path. Recess after recess, the story would develop- I went in for the humorous spin, while Tom had a preference for the thriller. He did Silent Hill one time, and I had nightmares.

Fast forward a ways, past early high school, past rowing, past my most Christian years- during which I lost touch to some extent with my man Tom- and into my senior year. I had come a long way through a number of personal journeys, emerging to find Tom as fine and steadfast a friend as ever. It was heartening. We made the party circuit together, quietly drinking our beers and laughing at the foolishness of fools. We got a job together when school let out- and I will tell you about the Wheels sometime, but only once I’ve sorted out a way to do that without slander. We had a great time, though, surrounded by hapless out of towners in our dilapidated domain. And nearly every day ended with a cold one in Tom’s hereditary river paradise.

These were some of the most special individuals from my childhood. Some remain with me- some were lost to the dark magic of growing up. All of them abide with me still, in some way. To each one of you: Nathan, Caleb, Jayda, Tom: thank you for being there for me.


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