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

Social Encounter X

Hey.

Hey?

Hey. I’m talking to you.
Excuse me!!!
What now?
How is this new person going to hate me?
How is this encounter with a total stranger going to go wrong?
How will I be misunderstood and hated forever?
Hey.
It’s just a word. I can ignore it.
It is my right as an American to not respond.
I have the right to remain silent.
It says so in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Excuse me. I know you can hear me.
I don’t want to know what happens next
How this new person will dislike me.
Find me incredibly annoying.
It’s too painful.
Excuse me?
How is this going to end?
How will they misinterpret my silence as a rejection and resent me
Resent me until I can’t stand to look at myself.
HOW WILL THIS RANDOM PERSON HURT ME TODAY?
Hey.
How will this next encounter hurt me?
Will they make me fall in love with them and then disappoint me horribly?
Or will they fall for me too hard, too fast and make me fear them. Fear their “love”???

You ever have an ex… yes I’m talking to you… You ever have an ex who uses every pause in a conversation to tell you how much they “love” you? Not a current. An ex. Well I have.

(in the middle of telling a joke or a story) “…And then the dog took this big dump on the grass.” (stops talking to drink because, you know, your throat gets dry)

“I LOVE YOU…. (long awkward pause) You don’t have to say it back.”

“Yeah yeah but I’m sort of in the middle of telling a joke about dog poop right now.”

“It’s okay. You don’t have to say it. (another pause and then a quick) loveyou!”
Heeeeeeeeyyyyyyyy!!!!!!
That’s not love. If you loved me I wouldn’t fear you, if you loved me.
That’s not love.
You wanna be with me.
You don’t want me to be with other people.
You want to fuck me.
I don’t know what that is
But
That’s not love.
Hey. I know for a fact that you can hear me.
Oh come on.
Now what.
Are they gonna flirt with me?
Make me feel attractive… wanted… sexy
Am I going to laugh?
Blush?

Or am I going to turn around and try to flirt with them
Only to find out that I’m standing on a scarf or something?
How is this human encounter going to ruin my self-esteem today?

How the hell will this random human interaction reshape my world view?
HOW WILL I OBSESS ABOUT THE MANY WAYS I WILL MIS-HANDLE THIS SOCIAL SITUATION UNTIL THE DAY I DIE OF EMBARRASSMENT AND… I DON’T KNOW… FOOD POISONING… RICKETS
Come on. I can tell you hear me. I know you can see me. What’s wrong with you?
Oh god. I have to say something. I have to say something. I have to say something. I have to say something.

(Turns head around and says sweetly) Yes?

(Long pause breathing harder and harder in anticipation and fear)

What. Whatdoyouwant? WHAT? WHAT? whaaat?

(Now crying) What?

(Pleading) whaaaaat.

(Wipes tears and straightens, composes self then turns head back around and says calmly) What is it?

 

No not you. I was trying to get THEIR attention.

– Mel

Impressions on Miles Ahead (a film by Don Cheadle)

Do not fear mistakes. There are none.” – Miles

What follows are my first impressions of the movie Miles Ahead. I watched it and immediately wrote this down. I usually write a review and post it here on my blog when I get a chance. But I didn’t do that this time. I wrote this.

Miles Ahead (Sony Pictures Classics)

Miles Ahead Poster

Directed by Don Cheadle

Written by Steven Baigleman, Don Cheadle, Stephen J. Rivele and Christopher Wilkinson

Starring Don Cheadle, Ewan McGregorEmayatzy CorinealdiLaKeith Lee Stanfield & Michael Stuhlbarg

Impressions.

From Jazz. To Fizz. To Junk. To Funk.

Don Cheadle in Miles Ahead

Like the man’s music it flowed through variations on a theme. Chopin. Chopin. Different eras in the life of a man. Interconnected. Interspersed. The work of a god. Pretty. Ugly. Inconsistent. Drugs and violence and mental illness. Cool and cruel and beauty’s bitch. Love’s fool. Forever love’s fool.

Miles Ahead Don Cheadle and Ewan McGregor

Music’s master and her slave and her master again. But what difference does it make? Really. Nasty. Like just all kinds of nasty. But GORGEOUS. Gorgeous and engorged. Like the throbbing musicianship on some of the best music ever made. By master craftsmen. With craftsmanship. And artistry.

Miles Ahead Miles

Early Spike Lee without the bullshit. Melvin Van Peebles without the n-word. Nigger Poetry mixed with prose and professionals like Don Cheadle and Ewan McGregor and film-making like Godard. Jean Luc fucking Godard. Like music on film. Sketches of Spain. Kind of Blue but also kind of red and black and pink and pink and flesh. And gorgeous.

Miles Ahead

You made a portrait of the man where all the ugly still shows. And it’s wonderful. It’s wonderful. But it’s hard to look at times. And he’s hard to hear. The hidden notes within the charts. And I could barely understand it all. Don’t play what’s there, play what’s not there.” All the elements that make up the dream and the life and the work of art. Dripping paint on the canvas like blood on the ropes.

Don Cheadle from Miles Ahead

A fighter who isn’t down for the count. He’s far from out. A punch in the face. A standing eight count. A cold splash. A warm breeze. A single note. A wake up call to those of us stuck in a rut. Reliving the past failures. And fearing the future. The parts that gradually make up the hole. From the whole.

Don Cheadle and Ewan McGregor in Miles Ahead

First a scratch. Then a screech. Now a scream. An impossible scream. A scream in A flat minor. A scream from the bottom of a deep dark. A scream from a place where beauty falls and fails and never screams again. A scream from a hole a thousand Miles wider than the horizon. A beautiful musical dancing scream from the movie screen.

Miles and Trane from Miles Ahead

“Sometimes you have to play a long time to be able to play like yourself.” – Miles

– 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