The Cloud Gutter

Rain

It rained. It poured. But I don’t have to explain rain to you people. We’re all adults here. You know rain. Everybody knows rain. Rain is like taking a shower with your clothes on. It’s like taking a shower outside… with your clothes on. And you can’t control the temperature either. It’s like taking a shower, wearing clothes, with absolutely no control over the temperature of the water. But you guys already knew that.

And this wasn’t strictly rain. It was a deluge. It was something so thick. So fat. So fast. So hard. Coming so hard. If I had looked up toward the sky I would have drowned in it. I would have drowned. It was like being under water. Sheets and buckets. But still… I wasn’t going to let it stop me. Driving. It made me heavy. It made me slick. It made me slide. It made me slow… and yes… it made me wet. But I was not… going to let it stop me.

I was going. You guys don’t know her. But every time I walked by a store, an awning, a warm dry heaven, it made me think of her. Without a drop of rain on her. My little oasis from the downpour. But each one mocked me. I could stop a while. Stop. Get out of the rain stop. Every single one of them begging me to stop. Do I even have sense enough to get out of the driving rain? Where the fuck is my brain at? Stop the pounding of the rain on my neck, my back, my legs. Rain raining running rivers down my neck, my back, my legs. Head heading head down as I moved forward. Driving ever forward. All neck. All back. All legs. All heart.

And nope. Before you ask me, I didn’t have an umbrella or a raincoat. I forgot it. I’m such a dope. But I was in a hurry… so, don’t worry. I didn’t even feel it… until I got to the first corner of the course, on the avenue, beyond the trees on my block. Coming around that first corner. Just a straight shot between my block and hers. My block to hers. I could feel the rain. But by then it was too late. I was already 1/20th of the way there. That’s practically half way. It was too late to turn back. Honestly. I’m just a man. And I was going

Not the first man. Not all men. Only a single man. And I, and him. And me, and all of our fathers before that could go twenty blocks in the rain for love. No problem. And no. Get your minds out of the cloud gutter. I wasn’t talking about THAT kind of love. I was talking about physical love. Fucking. You guys don’t know her. We’ve hung out a little but we never you know. How little you know. And we were going to do this thing you know… this fun thing. Go to this thing. Out to this thing. Hang out at this thing. But then it started raining and stuff. And I mean, it started pouring and stuff. And She had to cancel on me and stuff. But we were in too deep… and stuff.

And it was fair to say that I was in too deep with her. And I liked her. I really liked her. And we had made plans. Most people would call that bad luck. Too bad you had to pull out on your plans. But… but we HAD made plans right? Imminent. Fucking. Plans. Am I wrong?

So she cancelled. She called it.

She called it in the best possible way. She said six little words. As beautiful as the rain is. I could imagine her face in the rain as the rain rained down on her imaginary face saying those six beautiful words.

She said, “Why don’t you just come over.” So I came.

And it rained. It poured. But I don’t have to explain rain to you people. We’re all adults here. And no. I don’t mean that kind of rain. Get your minds out of the cloud gutter.

– Mel

Spared or Spoiled Film Reviews: Trainwreck

The rules are simple. The good get spared. The bad get spoiled.

Trainwreck (Universal Pictures)

Trainwreck Poster

Directed by Judd Apatow

Written by Amy Schumer

Starring Amy Schumer, Bill HaderBrie LarsonColin QuinnJohn CenaLeBron JamesTilda Swinton & Amar’e Stoudemire

Amy Schumer is hysterical. I’ve loved her from the beginning. I love her TV show. I love her stand-up. I love her. And as it turns out she can act and she can write. Because Trainwreck is amazing. Absolutely amazing. It’s raunchy and dirty and funny and sincere. And here’s a movie that made me cry laughing and made me cry crying and then made me cry laughing again. And I love when that happens. And yes it’s a romance so it has the obligatory schmaltzy-ness that all romances need. But I didn’t mind it because it was so goddamn funny. There are three different sex scenes in Trainwreck, three separate sex scenes, that each almost made me bust a gut. So incredibly funny.

Verdict: SPARED

Trainwreck

“Ooh I think he likes us.” “Me too. I feel a love fest coming on.”

Here’s something you may not know about me. I am a bisexual man (or maybe you already knew that). I mention it here because I was working on a blog piece a while back about Attraction. And I was listing and discussing the many qualities and things I find attractive in men and in women. And I was surprised to find that those things were different for men and for women. I mean there’s a list of things that are generally agreed to be attractive by almost everybody. Intelligence, creativity, confidence, sense of humor… and there are others. And these are all great qualities in both sexes. But I found that if those qualities are taken to extremes. For instance, extremely funny men. I don’t really want to fuck them, I just want to have a beer with them. Extremely funny women, however, I want to fuck them into next week. And the reason I mention this is because Amy Schumer is so funny that I’m in love with her now. She is so attractive to me now.

Amy Schumer

“I’m attractive to you NOW. Do you know how bad that sounds?”

Amy writes and stars in one of the funniest movies I have seen in a long time. Judd Apatow directs and they create real characters in real relationships with family, friends and lovers. But they have fake jobs and fake lives because you know how romance movies are. The apartments are always way too nice and their jobs are way too cool. He’s a sports surgeon and she’s a magazine writer. He hangs out with LeBron James (actually playing one on one with him) and she works for the most insane and hysterically abrasive woman since The Devil Wears Prada (Her boss is played terrifically by Tilda Swinton). But it’s the real-ness of all the relationships that make Trainwreck so damn good.

Amy Schumer and Bill Hader in Trainwreck

“This review is so sappy. It’s making me uncomfortable… like spooning on a first date.”

Trainwreck is the story of a party girl who does not believe in monogamy. And avoids true intimacy. Oh my god, I’ve known so many women like her. It’s so real. Which makes it all the more funny. It’s just something you don’t see in mainstream movies. And never ever done this well. It has a fantastic cast of comedians, actors and athletes doing a great job bringing their characters to life. And her “somewhat” boyfriend, played by John Cena, steals the movie with this cringe-worthy sex scene.

John Cena is so fucking funny

“I’m good in the movie. I’m really good. Tell me I’m good.” “You’re good in the movie.” “I told you I was good.” “Are you done now?” “I’m good”

Everyone’s great but LeBron James. He is awful. His lines are funny. And he doesn’t break character. So I’ll give him that. But I just couldn’t believe him. Everyone else is so good and he sticks out like an awful acting sore thumb in the body of LeBron James.

LeBron James and Bill Hader in Trainwreck

“Hi is this ghosts of Stanislavski and Strasberg? Yes. I’m sitting here with LeBron… Hello?”

I laughed so hard all the way through Trainwreck, from the opening sex scene to the end credits. It is hysterical. The theater was packed for a movie in its second week. A film marred by yet another mass shooting in America (If you google the film’s name it’s the first story that comes up). I already wanted to see the film but I was prepared to wait until it came out on video. But after another attack in a movie theater, I had to go out and support it. I really hope this doesn’t become a thing. Shooting people in the back while they watch a movie in the dark. I need for this to stop. It upsets me. The movie theater is my church, my school. I wrote a short poem about this the last time it happened back in 2012. You can find it here. I wrote something smaller after this one.

Sitting in the dark
My back to the door
My ass to the world
My face in a dream
Enjoying the sounds and images
The lives and love and laughter
Trusting
Trusting
Trusting
That no one behind me
There in the dark
Is having a bad day.

Trainwreck Movie Still

“…and then he said he was in love with me and wrote me a poem. No. I’m being serious.”

I wish the shooter would’ve just watched the damn movie. I think it would have cheered him up. It’s very good. And very funny. Trainwreck is a very funny movie. And Amy… I am so in love with her now… no matter what she says about black guys.

– Mel

Best of the Blog 2014

2014 was a very good year for movies, a very good year for TV, and a very good year for me (writing and health wise. I finished my first draft and started my second). To recap this past year on the blog, I will post links to my favorite posts from my favorite blogger… ME.

Yep. That’s right. It’s a clip show. Everybody’s doing them, so why shouldn’t I.

Henry V

“Honoring yourself, my lord, it’s like watching you masturbate.”

When I started this blog, back in 2011, all the experts said that I should streamline it down to one specific theme. Find my audience, so to speak.They also said to post on a set schedule. But as always I said screw all that and did whatever the hell I wanted to do.

I can’t live by your rules, man!

Instead Mel Rook & the 7 Deadly Sins has become a place to post whatever I like when I like. And if that’s not what the experts like. Screw them. They don’t read my blog.

I promise to give you guys more of what YOU like.

The Flash

“And what exactly is THAT?”

Maybe you want more poetry and more short stories. I promise those will return in the new year. I plan to post the first chapter of my book online but only for the people who want to read it. (Soon as I figure out how to password protect it and then I’ll just give out the password to anyone who wants to read it)

Maybe you want more photos from around the block. I promise to get outside more in 2015, possibly even out of my neighborhood (I haven’t been to Brooklyn in a while). More photos in 2015. (I know I said that last year but this year I mean it)

Some people like my autobiographical musings, the more personal stuff. And you should know I will always find ways to reveal too much information about myself in the most fun ways possible. But only if it’s creatively interesting. This isn’t a diary.

But rest assured, there will be tons of TV reviews and loads of movie reviews and ton-loads of DVD reviews …and music …and trailers …and surprises and all of that. So…

EVERYBODY WINS!!!

(Or at least that’s the plan)

Points

But here are my top five favorite posts by me from 2014. with my top ten personal faves marked… so it’s a top five in each category and a top ten at the same time. (So yes. Once again, I’m trying to please everyone)

I hope you enjoy it.

To the list…

First up…

The Movies:

"Yes!"

“Yes!”

2014 was a fantastic year for movies but I didn’t get out to the theater as much as I wanted. The experts say, (those guys again) that if I want to review movies, I should do them one at a time and include a plot synopsis and all that stuff. But again I said screw that. I’ll do them 5…6…7 at a time and make them quick and painless. You want to know the plot, rent the movie… go to Wikipedia.

I can’t live by your rules, man!

Best Picture 2013 Part 1 (PERSONAL FAVE)

American Hustle, Wolf of Wall Street, 12 Years a Slave, Her

6 Quick Reviews of 6 DVD Releases in June

The Machine, Non-Stop, The Grand Budapest Hotel, The LEGO Movie, Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit

5 Quick Reviews of 5 DVD in July (and One Rant) (PERSONAL FAVE)

A Million Ways to Die in the West, Winter’s Tale, Bad Words, The Raid 2, Transcendence, Jodorowsky’s Dune

5 Quick Reviews in September (The Return of the Quick Review) 

Godzilla, The Fault in Our Stars, How to Train Your Dragon 2, Neighbors, The Signal, Transformers: Age of Extinction, Snowpiercer

5 Quick Reviews of 5 New DVD Releases for December 2014 (PERSONAL FAVE)

Frank, Guardians of the Galaxy, The Maze Runner, This is Where I Leave You, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Next up…

Television Shows:

Bob Odenkirk and Alison Tolman

“This whole thing is just a little self-indulgent. Dontcha know.”

At the start of 2014 I took on a monumental task; to list 100 worthy TV shows in ten categories. I called it My Top Ten TV Mega Post in Ten Parts. It’s still going on. And once again I found it hard to stick to the rules (even the ones I set for myself).

And here I couldn’t just pick five. So I listed them all.

I can’t live by my own rules, man… um… Mel

TV Mega Post Part 1 (New Shows)

This was the first one. Not the best list but a bunch of these shows turned out to be amazing. I’m proud of it.

TV Mega Post Part 2 (Imports)

TV Mega Post Part 3 (Cable Comedies & Cartoons)

TV Mega Post Part 4 (Premium Comedies)

TV Mega Post Part 5 (What The Hell Happened to the Sitcom?) (PERSONAL FAVE)

This became a rant about TV sitcoms when three of my favorites were cancelled right before I posted it.

TV Mega Post Part 6 (Variety Shows)

I posted this a few days before Joan Rivers died and didn’t have the heart to edit it.

TV Mega Post Part 7 (Broadcast Dramas) (PERSONAL FAVE)

TV Mega Post Part 8 (Cable Dramas)

The last two installments are coming soon. I promise.

Next…

Poetry, Personal and Miscellaneous:

Typewriter

I really need to update my computer.

Again those experts are fond of saying that I should not reveal too much about myself and about my personal life. That somehow I should be ashamed. Well of course I’m ashamed. I’m a shameful dude. I’m embarrassed by how often I use the word dude. But sitting quietly in my shame does no one any good. So, if posting about my life makes just one person feel better while making five thousand other people embarrassed for me… it was all worth it. And I can do my happy dance. So once again I say to the experts…

I can’t live by your rules, man!

The Littlest Psychopath (PERSONAL FAVE)

I like this story. It’s a condensed, somewhat fictionalized version of the author’s childhood. I cry every time I read it. I can’t wait for the sequel.

7 Times a Movie Saved My Life (PERSONAL FAVE)

I really like movies and when I realized that there was a movie at the center of most of my major life decisions, changes and memories. I had to share them.

The Wind and The Water (for Maya)

A poem for Maya Angelou

What She Said

A poem for a former friend

Top Ten Bisexual TV Characters (PERSONAL FAVE)

Not really a TV post but a fun list of my favorite Bisexual TV characters. But since I posted it, early this year, the list has grown. I smell a sequel.

And lastly…

Photos from Around the Block:

Simpson's Clouds The Siiimpsonnnns

Simpson’s Clouds
The Siiimpsonnnns

Looking at these dates, it seems like Photos from Around the Block is a summer job. I didn’t get out of the house much this year. I did a lot of writing. I moved my treadmill into the living room. So I still did a lot of walking. I just didn’t go anywhere. But if I made New Year’s resolutions (I don’t), mine would be to get out of the house at least once a week in 2015. I know that doesn’t sound like much but I can go months without seeing the sun.

I declare 2015 will be the year of the sun.

The Return of the Photos from Around the Block May 4

Down at the Park

Down at the Park

 

Return TWO May 17 (PERSONAL FAVE)

This one was my personal favorite from today

This was my favorite from this year.

 

Slight Return July 20

This sign doesn't work at all.

This sign doesn’t work at all.

 

The Walking Returns August 6

Harlem

Harlem

 

The Return of the More August 19 (PERSONAL FAVE)

Reflections 1

Reflections

And that my friends is the best of the blog for 2014.

It has been a pleasure to share the things in my head and my heart with all of you.

Have a happy and prosperous new year everyone.

– Mel

Dreaming (a death poem)

Dreaming (a death poem)

Black

I dreamt last while that I killed a man
That me and some friends
I use the term loosely
Beat a man to death for no reason

We were drunk
We were high
There was a devil there
Who started it all
But we joined in just the same

When I woke
No matter how I tried
I couldn’t get it out of my mind
It was disturbing

So much so that
I dreamt again the following night
It started with me and my family
Me on a couch watching TV
Mother-in-law in the next room

I dreamt about guilt
Then the investigation
A phone call from a man
An image that showed my face
Near a heinous crime

I dreamt of how quickly I cracked
Under the pressure
And how much this bothered
My friends
Their wives
Their mothers
The laws
And the man we killed had a name

When I woke
No matter how I tried
I couldn’t get it out of my head
It was unnerving

So much so that
I dreamt again
About the trial
And how bad a liar I am in dreams
And how deathrow smells like cold turkey

My execution was barbaric
Execution always is
It doesn’t bring back the dead
More than add to the death toll

I died looking into my own face
If we are everyone in our dreams

Then I was the man
I was the devil
I was the friends
The wives
The mothers
The judge
The executioner

If we are everyone in our dreams
Then I died staring into my own
Disappointed eyes

And then the dream stopped
All the dreams stopped
All of the dreaming stopped
And now I don’t dream at all

– Mel

The Wind and The Water (for Maya)

Maya Angelou

we are the wind and the water
when we are weak
we drink in dreams
we breathe out a world
we have come to mourn
the death of my will
my missing piece
my missing self
and words

you see
I no longer have the will
to do much of anything
I can barely summon the effort it takes
to breathe air
or to drink water
I am weak
we are wind and water
when we are weak
and without will
I am only words

this hunger grows
this hunger grows
this hunger is the only call
my body answers or will
but even that has to scream
until my head aches
to gain my attention
feed us
feed us
feed us
(how does Chinese sound to you guys?)

we are hunger
and I don’t feel it
we are thirst
and I don’t quench it
we are missing in action
missing
inaction
and it feels like I don’t care
call it what you will
but it takes too much effort to care
and words

so I try to sleep
but sleep is even harder
and morning is inevitable
and night will waste away
but I will not mourn
the loss of day
or night
for I no longer have the will to morn
the will to night
the will to blame
my loss of will
on weakness alone
and words

Is this all I am?

Question:
a man who can not finish a thing?

Answer:
a man who won’t accomplish a thing

Question:
with this weakness I am?

Answer:
a boy,
the least significant
the most ordinary

a boy
his life taken for granted
ignoring wind
and water
and words

Is this the image I am?
moreover a child
helpless and alone
forever a boy
feckless and afraid
but never a man
without will
only words
and words
and words I have always been

I write them down
and wither away
without will
unfed
without will
unseen
without will
unloved
without will
I write them down
and words

I may not have the energy for worldly concerns
I may be too weak to face the storm
or not be washed away by the tide
but the wind and the water will carry my words
even when I’m gone
words like energy are forever
words like time capsules
words like bottled messages
words like waves of sound
echo inexhaustibly in the ether

dehydrated and starved
I write
passing out from a lack of oxygen
I write
without will or a way to save myself
I write
even from myself
I write
and words
I write
and dreams
I write
and still
I write them down

we are the wind and the water
when we are weak
we are breath
and we are bodies
but without will
I am only words

– Mel

for Maya