The Spin Bids a Fond Farewell to 2012 and Tells 2013 to Hurry Up Already!

I got a lot of writing done in 2012, often making me feel like a kid again.  (For the purpose of this post, my KidSelf has been recast in Hollywood fashion)

I got a lot of writing done in 2012, often making me feel like a kid again. (For the purpose of this post, my KidSelf has been recast in Hollywood fashion)

Well, we did it. We survived the Mayan Apocalypse only to rush to the Fiscal Cliff. But hey, 2012 is now officially over…so say hello to 2013! Looking back, despite tumultuous world events, it was a great year at The Spin

On Notes Personal:

  • An unexpected death in the family in November spurred me to take stock of some things. This lead to tripping the light fantastic in the grand ballroom of nostalgia which lead to a re-watching of a childhood favorite, The Lady in White…which lead to one of my favorite posts from the year…which lead to a comment on said post from the actual director of the film! This nostalgia tinged final act to the year also sent me on a mission to uncover that lost box of books I wrote from the ages of 10-15. Just in the nick of time I unearthed the box. Reading briefly through some of the stories, I couldn’t help but think that if I were to write taglines for the outlandish and melodramatic plots (more on that below…with actual excerpts!) they would end up sounding like long-lost fake-films from Seinfeld…a topic that earlier in 2012 spurred another favorite post of mine.
  • On the travel front I visited two great cities I had never been to before: New Orleans (for pleasure) and Montreal (for business) both of which I would return to in a heartbeat. This year the horizon broadens even more with a business trip to St. Maarten…and hopefully (if everything falls into place) that long-delayed trip to Europe (for pleasure…to Amsterdam and Bruges specifically) though that might have to wait until 2014.
  • And most importantly, after three long distraction-filled, detour-heavy years…I finally finished the first draft of the new novel – a Depression Era thriller set in Upstate New York. I was working under a self-inflicted deadline of finishing before 2012 finished me, and I’m proud to say I got it done at the last possible minute with a final spurt of inspiration on December 31st. Now, the big question, what the hell am I going to do with it? I’ll be sure to let it sit for a while and breath before editing begins.
    Continue reading
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Fargo Voted #51 in Wonders in the Dark’s Top Comedies Poll

Heck D’ya Mean! Fargo only placed 51st?

A few months back I was asked to participate in the Top Comedy Films of All Time polling at the world’s premier independently run film blog, Wonders in the Dark.  While Fargo placed far higher on my own list, it finished 51st in the official polling.  I then had the pleasure of being asked to provide an essay extolling the many virtues of Fargo, which apart from being such an ingenious dark comedy, is one of my personal favorite films – a state of mind I find myself returning to at least once a year.  Apparently I’ll never get enough of those accents.

Here’s an excerpt from my essay –

But it’s those small moments that make it undeniably funny – Marge’s interview of the goofy gum-smacking truck-stop hookers, the idiotic zombified niceness of the cashier at the diner where Jerry convinces his father-in-law to pay a ransom on a kidnapping Jerry arranged, and the complete disinterest of the call girl Carl tries to impress by taking her to the Carlton Celebrity Room to see Jose Feliciano.
 
The Coens also displayed a hilarious knack for sucking the seriousness out of dire situations, like when Jerry tries to comfort his son Scotty after Scotty’s mother is kidnapped and on the back of the kid’s bedroom door is a poster for “The Accordion King” – a fat smiling idiot in the Alps looking down on this hot mess in the Twin Cities.

Click here to read the full essay at Wonders in the Dark and to join the debate about whether Fargo is a comedy at all.

Are You Ready for…DUN DUN DUN…2012?

Happy New Year from The Schleicher Spin! 

We’ve finally reached the year named after my favorite comedy of all-time (yes, I’m talking about Roland Emmerich’s 2012 – have I not told you already how much I love this film?) and I couldn’t be more stoked!  We have so much to look forward to this year:  Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises, the US presidential election, the Mayan Apocalypse and 27 new reality shows starring the Kardashians!

But first…a look back on 2011.  It was a record-breaking year in terms of readership here at The Spin and we couldn’t have done it without the tireless commenting and blogging of our friends across the blogosphere:  Sam Juliano, Jason Marshall, Dianne Glave, John Lehman, John Greco, Prakash Jashnani, Julio Ibanez, Christopher Tait, The Guy from Condemned Movies, CC Yager, Matt Stewart, Matterspamer, ScarletSp1der, Maurizio Roca, Bobby Myers, Stephen M, Nicky D, Boz and everyone else who has stopped by and shared their thoughts this past year.

Here are some of the highlights from 2011:

And what’s in store for 2012?

  • Reviews of Michael Ondaatje’s new novel The Cat’s Table and hopefully of all those films I missed at the tail end of 2011 (Hugo, The Artist and A Separation)
  • The 6th Annual Davies Awards in Film
  • More issues of The Stone
  • More Guest Bloggers (hopefully)
  • …and coverage of the year’s most anticipated film: Christopher “Fritz” Nolan’s  The Dark Knight Rises

Contagion

Some people would do anything for their blog...

 
“Blogging is graffiti with punctuation.”
 
In Steven Soderbergh’s timely new viral thriller, Jude Law (always unlikable) is a blogger who gives the government a huge headache while they attempt to control an epidemic of bat-pig flu (holy crap!)  It’s never made clear whether this character really was trying to disseminate the truth (or at least a valid alternative take on the facts) or was just preaching fear so he could cash in and blackmail the CDC, but ultimately Soderbergh is pretty dismissive of the blogosphere.
 
There are some other more applicable and timeless messages to take away from the film:  women who sleep around spread viruses, women married to powerful men are incapable of keeping secrets, and no one really cares when a step-kid dies.  Seriously though – there’s also some “bigger picture” commentary about big corporations causing big problems and overly complex bureaucracies crippling the pace of solving the problems.  Sometimes this results in minor inconveniences…and sometimes it results in 27 million people dying.  C’est la vie.

And now for 2011

Happy New Year from The Schleicher Spin!

Thanks to all those fellow bloggers and writers who made 2010 such a memorable one at The Spin with their comments and insights:  Sam Juliano, John Greco, DeeDee, Jason Marshall, Dianne Glave, CCYager, Aiden R., John Lehman, Jake Cole, Prakash, Chris Tate, The Olson Brothers, Bob Collins, The Scarlett Spider and all the others who have taken the time to give The Spin a whirl in the ever-increasing blogosphere.

Highlights from 2010:

Stay Tuned in 2011 for:

  • The 5th Annual Davies Awards in Film – Shocking surprises guaranteed!  Who will win Best Picture? Worst Picture?  The suspense is spinning out of control!
  • Reviews of The King’s Speech and Tom Rachman’s The Imperfectionists.
  • I will (probably for quite some time) be tackling Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace.
  • And of course…expect wall to wall coverage of the most anticipated motion picture in the history of The Spin:  Terrence “T-Bone” Malick’s The Tree of Life – guaranteed to open…finally…on 5/27/2011.

Rooted in the Earth

Congratulations to fellow blogger and film buff, Dianne Glave, whose non-fiction book, Rooted in the Earth was released August 1st by Lawrence Hill Books!

I first came across Dianne Glave’s writing through her blog when I read her amazingly perceptive review of the sci-fi/horror melodrama, Splice, a movie that for film bloggers had to be the most talked-about box-office bomb of the summer.  Her unique environmentalist spin on the film drew me in, and I quickly found that her love of film was matched by her passion for the environment.  Glave’s film reviews are unlike anything out there on the web, and she serves up filet-mignon style observations on typically fast-food entertainment.  Until I read Glave’s reviews, I never thought I would think so deeply about films like Iron Man 2where she argues the film promotes a destructive environmental policy and mirrors our BP spill crisis in the Gulf.  Or take for instance Glave’s spin on Predators where she discusses Survival of the Fittest and a new fractured vision of Paradise.  She also features posts on music, photography, books and current events tied to environmentalism.

While her blog should be of special interest to cineasts and bloggers looking for reviews and opinions with greater substance, her new book should be of interest for those involved with or who are students of African-American Studies and/or The Environmentalist Movement. Continue reading

Novelist Rebecca Lerwill on Independent Publishing

The following is the 1st in my new Guest Blogger Series.

Introduction from David H. Schleicher:

Independent filmmakers who finance their own projects are often praised as innovative, creative, and edgy and seem to get instant street-cred when they buck the studio system.  Independent filmmaking has long been celebrated, and virtually no one would question the rite of a filmmaker taking the indie route.  Sadly, the moniker of independent novelist doesn’t carry the same goodwill and those who finance their own writing projects outside the system are often regarded as not credible, second-rate and find it nearly impossible to compete with the traditional publishing houses.  Yet one can still find success in self-publishing and Rebecca Lerwill, a purveyor of romantic suspense novels, is one such author who has brushed off the stigma of being an indie author with style and class.

Having shared my own experiences as an independent novelist on my blog in the past (in The Verdict on Self-Publishing and My Trials and Tribulations with Self-Publishing), I thought fellow writers and bloggers might be interested in someone else’s views on independent publishing – someone who writes stories vastly different from my own and who has taken some different approaches to publishing and promotion but nevertheless has words of wisdom, advice and tips for writers from any walk of life.  Therefore I asked Rebecca Lerwill to be my first ever guest blogger and invited her to share her experiences as an indie author. 

___________________________________________

Here’s what Rebecca Lerwill had to say:

Dave – thank you so much for inviting me to be a guest on your blog. As a subscriber of your blog page, I always look forward to your honest book and film reviews and goofy drinking games. The latter are a welcomed break from the dry and dreary business of book promotion which is mostly done during lonely hours online.You sent me a few questions regarding my books, my publisher, and what I do to promote. Before I get into those questions, please let me introduce myself to your readers.

I was born and raised in Germany and moved to the United States in 1996. As a horse trainer by trade, I lived in Michigan and California. After meeting my husband Troy, a professional rodeo clown and entertainer, I spent a few years ‘on the road’ as his traveling partner. Those long hours eating blacktop gave me the opportunity to read case loads of books, and after finishing my all-time favorite, Julie Garwood’s Killjoy, I was so intrigued by the story’s plot that I decided to become an author myself. That’s right; the most-asked question, “Did you always wanted to be a writer?” gets a shake of the head for an answer.

I’ve always been an avid reader but besides a few halfway decent essays in school I never thought about being a writer — until the summer of 2006. Fifteen months later my debut in romantic suspense, Relocating Mia, was honored with its first award; Finalist in the Indie Excellence Book Awards. The sequel to Relocating Mia, The Acronym, was published in April 2009 and has received very promising reviews. Continue reading

A Review of Kevin MacDonald’s “State of Play”

Im telling ya, Ben, I dont care what they say, this long hair is gonna work for me.

Crowe explains to Affleck, "I'm telling ya, Ben, I don't care what they say, this long hair is gonna work for me."

Yesterday’s News Still Blog-Worthy
7/10
Author: David H. Schleicher from New Jersey, USA

A gruff old-school reporter (Russell Crowe playing his A-game) becomes personally entangled in a breaking news story surrounding his old college buddy turned congressman (Ben Affleck, not as bad as you would think) and a young female aid who died under mysterious circumstances in the surprisingly plausible political thriller State of Play from director Kevin MacDonald who was previously responsible for The Last King of Scotland.  Though designed as a throw-back to paranoid investigative thrillers from the 1970’s, relevance is gained when the massive cover-up revealed becomes a vehicle for the filmmakers to explore the death of print news at the hand of digital mediums.

The twisty and engaging screenplay is credited to three scribes: Matthew Michael Carnahan, Tony Gilroy and Billy Ray. But it’s Gilroy’s fingerprints that shape the story with all the overlapping dialogue and conspiracy talk that will remind many of his Michael Clayton.  Adapted from a sprawling BBC miniseries created by Paul Abbott, the trio is especially deft in their condensing of the story into a fully digestible two hours. Even as new characters and twists keep coming, the audience is never left out in the cold. They also give the cast plenty to chew on with some great throw-away lines amidst all the posturing between the cops, reporters, politicians and sleaze-bags.

Though it’s Crowe and Helen Mirren as his sparring and quick-witted boss who shine the most, this is essentially an ensemble piece, and it’s especially clever when Jason Bateman arrives on screen for a few pivotal scenes as a smug public relations guru who’s too dumb to realize he knows too much. The cast also includes Robin Wright Penn as Affleck’s wife, Jeff Daniels as the arrogant majority whip and Harry Lennix, who as a D.C. detective makes a compelling case here for the lead role in the Barack Obama Story. The only miscalculation in the casting is poor Rachel McAdams, lovely but annoying in her high-pitch as Crowe’s blogging tag-along looking to kick it old-school and get something in print.

By the third act State of Play overplays its hand in its attempts to be timely with too much talk of the privatization of the military, Capitol Hill sex scandals and traditional newspapers losing out in the digital age to bloggers more concerned with gossip than real journalism. It could’ve also been more subtle in its preaching about the importance of serious investigative reporting.  It should be commended, however, for an otherwise smart screenplay that doesn’t spell out all its twists and turns too early and the well polished cast who give the film a slick sheen. Even though it might be reporting on yesterday’s news, State of Play still makes for solid rainy day entertainment and is worthy of blogging about.

Originally Published on the Internet Movie Database.

One Year Ago Today

 

CAPTION: Dave, you’ve been forcing me to read your blog for how long?

So it was one year ago today that I reluctantly entered the blogosphere primarily as a way to promote my novel, The Thief Maker, which continues to accumulate accolades and new readers through my grassroots marketing campaign.

Now it seems like I can’t live without blogging.  Through simple word-of-mouth my blog has opened up my writing and ideas to new victims, I mean readers.

Over the course of the year I’ve explored in humorous fashion the Presidential Primaries, the social ramifications of HornyManatee.com, and my loathing of Barry Bonds while seriously discussing and dissecting contemporary and classic films, books, and art.  People also seemed to have enjoyed my pop-culture and politically inspired drinking games (lushes) and my endless parade of lists (ironic, as I consider myself an anti-list-ite).

Here’s the modestly appalling numbers over the course of this first experimental year:

Hits: 15,200+

Posts: 92+

Reader Comments: 170+

Movie Reviews Posted: 40+

Book Reviews Posted: 15+ 

Readers Tortured: Countless

Here’s to continued growth next year.  Thank you to all who have made this blog a small success in the vast sea of meaningless internet content.  I promise to continue to post worthwhile material designed to make you think, laugh, or explore while continuing to shamelessly self promote my writing.  I welcome all and any feedback, suggestions, complaints, winning lottery numbers, gossip, and donations.  Cheers to all in the New Year!