Saturday, Harry, and Beaches

We’ve gone from an incredibly mild beginning of the month to slowly making our way back to some summer heat. Hell, we had a high of 65 degrees just a few days ago and are back to mid-80s and balmy(thanks Obama!) After I ran to the bank(and the comic book shop and Karma Records) I took to the yard for a serious round of mowing. Despite the cooler temps the grass still felt it necessary to grow way out of hand. I put on the latest Marc Maron podcast and proceeded to sweat like an atheist at a church social. Even after a good two hours, a spinach, strawberry, pineapple, wheat germ and almond milk smoothie and some Greek yogurt and a relaxing shower I’m still sweating(am I dying?) It’s okay, I’ve got some new tunes spinning. I’m sure I’ll survive.

Before I even had my first cup of dark roast I started seeing folks posting pictures of Harry Dean Stanton and got a bad feeling in my gut. Sure enough, one of the greatest character actors to grace a screen had passed away. I was pretty bummed about this. I was thinking to myself “Man, he was probably in his late 70s or early 80s by now.” Turns out I was wrong. Stanton was 91. 91?! I think maybe because of the fact that he’s looked to be in his mid-60s for the last 40 years I just assumed he was in his 70s. He was always this thin, skeleton of a man wrapped in secondhand clothes in the films he was in. He always looked like a guy that had seen far more in his life and had experienced even more than that than everyone in the room combined, yet never felt compelled to share too much. Quiet, unassuming, and someone happy to share a longneck(or two) and a pack of Reds at the local watering hole with anyone willing to buy a around or two.

He could’ve been any number of guys I’d see when I was a little kid and my grandma would take me to the Moose Lodge for lunch. She worked there as a waitress and bartender when she and my grandpa lived on Lake Manitou back in the 70s and 80s. We’d go over there when my mom and I would visit during summer. We’d sit in a booth and I’d eat a hamburger with fries and a Coke while a cavalcade of regulars would come by to say hi to my grandma. Maybe Harry was one of them, I don’t know.

First time I remember seeing Harry Dean Stanton in a movie was Alien. He was the unfortunate soul that tried getting the cat and was bit in the face by the Xenomorph for his troubles. Then in the mid-80s we rented Repo Man and I think it was that movie that made me think, “You know, I kind of like this guy.” Repo Man was an insane, head trip of a film that put me onto both Alex Cox and punk rock. It was also one of Emilio Estevez’ finest films. Stanton was the crusty old timer showing the young punk the ropes and trade of repossessing vehicles. It’s a classic. Then in the early 90s when I worked at a video store I started bringing old Betamax tapes home(because nobody rented them anymore and I had our newly repaired Toshiba at home.) There were lots of movies that they never replaced with VHS copies and only had the Betamax left. There was literally a giant box filled with old Betamax tapes in the back that I could take whenever I wanted. One of those was Wim Wender’s beautiful Paris, Texas. It was this European arthouse film that was shot in the heart of Texas with grizzled American actors. It was this tome on loneliness, the open road, regrets, and how insignificant we are in the scheme of things. For me, that film defined the lonely soul that Stanton could play so well. He was also featured in several David Lynch films and was even in The Avengers as a security guard that finds a naked Bruce Banner in an abandoned factory.

So long, Harry. 91 years. You had a hell of a good run.

What am I listening to, you ask? The new Beaches album Second of Spring. It’s a double LP of dreamy psych rock from this all female rock outfit from Australia. I absolutely loved their 2013 album She Beats. It had a lo-fi vibe to it, yet never came across as amateurish. It felt like a well-aged rock record you might find in some collection sitting and collecting dust. One of those rare treats of an album that had a special appearance by none other than NEU!s Michael Rother.

Second of Spring is a double album clocking at over 75 minutes of psych, dream, shoegaze, and grungy garage rock. These ladies lay on the hazy guitar vibes beautifully this time around. It’s been four years, but Second of Spring was worth the wait.

That’s all I got. There’s some PBRs in the fridge with my name on ’em. The boy and I plan on marathoning the Alien collection tonight. We watched Prometheus and Alien: Covenant a couple weekends ago and are doing the original Scott film, along with Cameron’s Aliens, tonight. If we’re so inclined, maybe we’ll finish up Alien 3 and Alien: Resurrection, too. If we’re feeling crazy or something.

A little “my two cents”, in regards to Scott’s newest Alien films. I think they’re great. It seems that there’s either the “we loved it” or “we hated it” camps. I don’t get all the jeers for these films. They looked great and had great acting. The effects were amazing and the story, though a little dense, starts to make sense after my second viewing of Prometheus. Plus, Michael Fassbender was fucking brilliant. So there’s that.

Alright, enjoy your weekend my lovelies. Grab a beer and watch Paris, Texas.


15 thoughts on “Saturday, Harry, and Beaches

  1. Beaches, eh? Colour me intrigued, JH… I’ll need to look ’em up.

    HDS: I was feeling fairly sad about that news yesterday. I could pick up any one of his films and enjoy it. Even if it was just for his scenes. In fact, the best scene in Twin Peaks: The Return was his. It’s the one scene that stuck with both me and my wife and we spoke about it yesterday when I told her the news.

    Those Alien flicks: I wish I could agree with you, JH. I want to, but Prometheus was a mess and there were just too many things that annoyed me. However, I enjoyed Covenant more. Sure it ain’t perfect, but it’s a damn fine flick.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yep, Beaches make good, fuzzy psych rock. You might enjoy them.

      Stanton was always a unique presence in anything he did. Great actor and human being. As for Twin Peaks, not really my thing. But I’ll take your word that HDS was great in it.

      At this point the whole Alien thing has become rather formulaic and predictable. I think the ‘Engineers’ storyline was pretty convoluted, but the acting and atmosphere won me over. I felt Scott wove those two prequels pretty well into the 1979 original. I know you’re certainly not alone in your dislike of Prometheus.

      I’ll take my hard science fiction wherever I can get it, even if it’s not all I was hoping it would be.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My issue wasn’t with the Engineers, but silly stuff that really seemed to annoy me even after rewatching it. But, I’m certainly not gonna convince you that you’re wrong, cause you’re not. There were loads of great moments, but those bits just wrecked it for me. Things that happen to move the story along, I guess. But yeah, I’m hoping Scott gets to finish the prequels that lead us to the events of Alien. Though I’m also hoping we get Blomkamp’s sequel at some point.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m pretty bummed about HDS too. Paris, Texas is just an all-time great – I must buy the ST some day too; plus I’m with Sarca I liked him in Pretty in Pink too!

    I was so disappointed with Prometheus, I loved all the tech and the visuals but it just lacked something for me, especially compared to the original – another all-time great for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think I’ve just lowered my expectations to dirt level, so anything above that gets a thumbs up. I’m hoping film standards improve and I can push those expectations up. I’m at a point where I crave great hard science fiction. Prometheus was not great by any means, but I wasn’t as disappointed as most. We did watch ‘Alien’ Saturday night and I was still incredibly impressed with it. It had been years since I’d seen it and had forgotten a lot. An absolute classic.

      I had the ‘Paris, Texas’ S/T on CD back in the 90s. Cooder makes magic.

      Liked by 1 person

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