I am a serious film buff & thought it would be fun to share some of my favorites with the BGG community. There are always new (& old) films to find and I would love any suggestions. My present obsession with Asian B-rated films is not reflected here, but I think you may find a few fun ones to see for yourself.
All the best and happy film going!
Film Thoughts Jan 3rd 2011
At parties, events, film openings, or under candle light people often ask me what my favorite film is. Imagine my embarrassment as my eyes glaze-over, my voice quiets, and I stare back... stunned by not knowing how to categorize my tastes.
Well, this then, is an attempt to answer that vexing question and a chance for me to re-order a few things & perhaps re-discover some gems lost along the way. I'll start with favorite directors, move along to genres, and finish with some embarrassing confessions.
Favorite Directors: (In no particular order.)
Italian existentialism, love-stories through narration, brilliant settings, compelling players, and the pursuit of dreams. In October of 1993 I bought a case of the best Chianti I could find and celebrated the life & films of Fellini with seven friends. Ten hours and one hell of a hangover later, I mused on the life and death of a sublime Italian director.
Introduced to Dolce vita, La (1960) and 8½ (1963) in film school, I fell in love with Fellini's episodic storytelling and, ahem, his starlets. Critics point to his juvenile tendencies, where I tend to view his cup not half-empty but half-full... of wine, certainly! Satyricon is one of my favorite films to re-visit, with its lack of moral or philosophical concepts... I find myself filled with a sense of nostalgia for a time and state I've never experienced.
Città delle donne, La (1980) (City of Women)
Dolce vita, La (1960)
& many, many more!
South Korean filmmaker and film critic. With a rough early start, Park, solidified himself as a director to watch and watch with the commercial and critical success of Join Security Area in 2000. Creating the thematically connected Vengeance Trilogy brought him even more international fame, winning the Grand Prix award for Oldboy at the 2004 Cannes film Festival. I find his movies wildly entertaining and recommend them to anyone who is already a K-film fan as well as to friends who have not yet explored the rich Asian film traditions.
I’m a Cyborg, but that’s OK (2006)
Sympathy for Lady Vengance (2005)
Three Extremes (2004) (Segment ‘Cut’)
Sympathy for Mr. Vengance (2002)
Join Security Area (JSA) (2000)
Master film maker, visionary, post-modern artist extraordinaire. Peter Greenaway is perhaps my first choice for whom to drink Petrus with, and my most feared rival. Were I to continue making films, they would unfold much in the vein of Greenaway's opulent, theatrical form. Indeed, much of my life is styled in a sumptuous fashion, due in part to these rich films... and my natural propensity for decadence. Ha!
I began with the Cook the Thief while in university and for years only spoke, ate and breathed Greenaway's portfolio. Hell, I could even endure his art-speak lectures and monstrous ego. Yet, on the screen, few can match his vision, his formulation, and his production. His films from 1985 to 1993 speak the most to me. I was not particularly impressed with the Pillow Book, its story telling devise was already explored in Prospero's Books, and Ewan McGregor was not the best casting for Jerome. Furthermore, 8 1/2 women I found overly self-conscious and encumbered by its pedantic inner-structure. A shining example of Greenaway's recondite storytelling.
Before continuing, I must also tip my hat to Greenaway's musical composer, Michael Nyman. Love him or hate him, Nyman's work is integral to Greenaway’s. PS: I love him.
I limit my admiration for Greenaway by not including his most recent works. I beg you, please see:
- The Baby of Mâcon (1993)
- Prospero's Books (1991)
- The Cook the Thief His Wife & Her Lover (1989)
- Drowning by Numbers (1988)
- The Belly of an Architect (1987)
- A Zed & Two Noughts (1985)
As a young film student, Ken Russell was my idol. Running the gamut from high-brow to schlock, I found his work richly stylized, well constructed, fun, and a pleasure to study. The Devils continues to be one of my all time favorites; for its period texture, it's psycho-religious madness, and it's well chosen cast. Both Gothic and White Worm offer easy, tongue in cheek fantasy and prompted me to travel 'round Switzerland in Byron's footsteps during the early 90s. RIP.
- The Lair of the White Worm (1988)
- Salome's Last Dance (1988)
- Gothic (1986)
- Crimes of Passion (1984)
- Altered States (1980)
- Lisztomania (1975)
- Tommy (1975)
- The Devils (1971)
Independent and fringe film maker Russ Meyers would be my first choice of who to drink copious quantities of American beer with. Though I'd have to first dig him up.
His films? ...wonderfully verbose, erudite erotica. And let's face facts, how often can you honestly say that about a movie?! His catalog of films hit me during my formative years and I am still paying for it! In 1992 I interviewed him for a Los Angeles magazine and found him precisely as I had secretly suspected. A living god!
Of his films I recommend 'Up!' as a good jumping off point. Just hold on to yer hat! Interested in his non-adult films? Try Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill (1965) & Beyond the Valley of the Dolls (1970). Otherwise enjoy these:
- Beneath the Valley of the Ultra-Vixens (1979)
- Up! (1976)
- Supervixens (1975)
- Beyond the Valley of the Dolls (1970)
- Vixen! (1968)
- Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill (1965)
Explicit, taboo, disturbing and notoriously prolific. I am enamored with his interpretations of violence, perversion, and lurid bloodshed. Detractors site much of his work as misogynistic, yet I feel his portrayal of family, women, and culture is so fascinatingly Japanese, it adds a necessary layer of complexity to study. The Audition, Visitor Q and the young-adult film Yokai Wars are some of my favs! Careful about his straight to TV productions… they can be dry. Alas Western Django failed for me but last year’s 13 Assassins was a smashing success!
Telling someone they 'need' to see Miike's films is difficult as 'need' does not apply to the truly bizarre. Therefore, you simply MUST see these:
13 Assassins (2010)
The Great Yokai War (2005)
Gokudô kyôfu dai-gekijô: Gozu (2003)
Bizita Q (2001) -Aka : Visitor Q (2001)
Koroshiya 1 (2001) -Aka : Ichi the Killer
The Happiness of the Katakuris, 2001
Ôdishon (1999) -Aka : The Audition
Ah, John, John, John. I applaud his independence, I admire his stubbornness, & I deeply respect his desire to create outside the hollywood, machiavellian studios system. Yet, limited to small budgets - he walks a precarious path. Carpenter is THE example of a director who has produced A+ works, but is now relegated to B- pictures. And much, it seems, from his own design.
Halloween was a critical success. The Thing also received positive acclaim and is a skillful remake and Lovecraftian tainted masterpiece! Carpenter's Big Trouble in Little China has solidified itself amidst my friends to be forever one of our founding favorites. My allegiance to John's work even has me liking Escape from LA, egads. He and John Romero are certainly cut from the same cloth.
Before I move on, I should also say that as a film fan and a serious aficionado of all things Mythos, In the Mouths of Madness is a subtle and well crafted homage to the American horror master; H.P. Lovecraft. See it, and fear.
Grab some popcorn & enjoy :
- Escape from L.A. (1996)
- In the Mouth of Madness (1994)
- They Live (1988)
- Prince of Darkness (1987)
- Big Trouble in Little China (1986)
- The Thing (1982)
- Escape from New York (1981)
- The Fog (1980)
- Halloween (1978)
- Dark Star (1974)
If you like sweeping, epic films... this is the director for you. Serene Landscapes, societies in transition, the individual held between betrayal and redemption. I get goose-bumps daydreaming of Kurasawa's bamboo forests. I recently toured Japan specifically to walk the streets ofKyoto, and visit a number of famous filming sites. Simply magnificent! With so many films to see, I humbly recommend:
- Ran (1985)
- Kagemusha (1980)
- Tengoku to jigoku (1963) (aka Heaven and Hell)
- Tsubaki Sanjûrô (1962)
- Yojimbo (1961)
- Kakushi toride no san akunin (1958) (aka The Hidden Fortress)
- Shichinin no samurai (1954)(Seven Samurai)
- Ikiru (1952)
Where to start? I guess with one word: GERMAN. I mean, really, how much more damn German can Herzog get?! Whose work is so tortured? Whose main lead (read: Klaus Kinski) is more insane? What director intentionally places himself in harms way? Well, Werner!
Studying Herzog's life work is a pristine example of schadenfreude; the pleasure derived from others misfortunes. Yet the obstacles he overcomes, the madness he courts, and the spears he dodges are all so neatly tucked within a titanic vision... it simply makes for some of the best cinema to watch and study. And while I am at it, let me endorse Les Blank, whose documentary of the making of Fitzcarraldo, titled: Burden of Dreams. It is a must see. I recommend a double bill with Burden of Dreams and My best Friend.
Of his new generation of films, I have mixed feelings. Grizzly man was interesting, but I felt the director was projecting too much of his philosophy into the situation. While the Incident at Loch Ness was a folly.
Enjoy the real deal:
- Mein liebster Feind - Klaus Kinski (1999) (aka My Best Friend)
- Cobra Verde (1987)
- Fitzcarraldo (1982)
- Nosferatu: Phantom der Nacht (1979) (aka Nosferatu the Vampyre)
- Aguirre, der Zorn Gottes (1972) (Aguirre: The Wrath of God)
Oh, my! Inextricably linked with southern alternative living. And, wow, when I was at university that's what it was all about. Me, my friends, and girlfriends all defining and re-defining ourselves to find our inner-voices... and somehow, Waters' bizzaro films became our breakfast, lunch, and dinner!
Forget Cry baby, Hairspray, and Serial Mom... delve deep into Polyester, Pink Flamingoes, and Desperate Living to know what ichor flows in these veins. Even now, all I need do is close my eyes and visions of Divine, Edith Massey, David Lochary, and the Egg Man swim through my thoughts. Can you imagine what that's like?! *shiver* Unnnnn, save me!
Eat and drink this!
- Polyester (1981)
- Desperate Living (1977)
- Female Trouble (1974)
- Pink Flamingos (1972)
- Multiple Maniacs (1970)
- Mondo Trasho (1969)
A Canadian auteur, and definitely the man I want to help me through any kind of surgery…not! Cronenberg's relentless themes of the horror stemming from mutations, parasites, and/or medical conditions have been explored in a wide variety of films. From The Brood all the way up to eXistenZ.
I get a warm, fuzzy feeling when thinking of taking a blind date to see Dead Ringers for the first time. I'm also a huge fan of Naked Lunch and Videodrome. 'Brothers should be close, don't you think?'
- eXistenZ (1999)
- Naked Lunch (1991)
- Dead Ringers (1988)
- The Fly (1986)
- The Dead Zone (1983)
- Videodrome (1983)
- Scanners (1981)
- Shivers (1975) (aka: They Came from Within)
Bow down and worship. Interesting how many cinema-snobs often fail to site how Kubrick’s three core films are Science Fiction. A genre commonly marginalized by critics. Dr. Strangelove, a satirical black comedy, is perhaps the pinnacle of that sub-genre. He did not exactly go out with a winner, but with accomplishments such as The Shining, 2001, and Clockwork behind him, none fail to applaud his genius. Clockwork Orange alone can keep a film student busy for lets say, kabillion years? Love ya Stanley.
Seen 'em before? Well, just go watch them again, and again, and again....
- Full Metal Jacket (1987)
- The Shining (1980)
- Barry Lyndon (1975)
- A Clockwork Orange (1971)
- 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
- Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)
- Lolita (1962)
- Spartacus (1960)
- Paths of Glory (1957)
- The Killing (1956)
Emotional isolation, sexual tension, abstraction, disconnected dialogue, and inchoate psychology. With me so far? Well, it gets better... and more complicated. Lynch is a master story-teller, symbolist and director. Were I stranded on a desert Isl, Blue Velvet would be one of the films I would hope to have. Dune, crashed in the theatre, yet its vision of Frank Herbert's complex universe is eloquent and inspiring. Eraserhead is a magnificent experimental/independent film, see it at least once. Lost Highway (1997), was not made for you to understand, but to enjoy. Though if you enjoy puzzles, you may find yourself watching it many, many times.
Think you know weird (?), see...
Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me (1992)
Wild at Heart (1990)
Blue Velvet (1986)
The Elephant Man (1980)
Something about the 1990s gritty crime-action films from Hong Kong fascinate me. A culture alien enough for me to know... I would not last a second in its underground. Alhough my head may be prominently displayed for some time. With the mass acceptance of Chinese cinema playing state-side, everyone is beginning to realize how much Hollywood owes Woo and his peers for sheer invention and choreography. For me these films are explosive popcorn-entertainment. For some, these films are too loud & aggressive... violence as a blunt tool. For Woo, violence is poetry.
Buy some bullets and watch:
Lashou shentan (1992) (Hard-Boiled - aka: Hot-Handed God of Cops)
Die xue shuang xiong (1989) (the Killer)
Die xue jie tou (1990) (Bullet in the Head)
Ying huang boon sik (1986) ( A Better Tomorrow)
A mind of titanic creativity. A troubled and frustrating path. Underground success. Jodorowsky's small portfolio is stunning.
Previously a circus clown, a puppeteer and mime under the renowned Marcel Marceau. Jodorwsky's 70s & 80s films struck me with great force. Topo, El (1970) became a NYC Midnight Movie cult classic, as did The Holy Mountain (1973). And here, one of the most exciting/terrifying what-ifs of cinema:
"In 1975 he (Jodorowsky) returned to France to begin work on a film that was never made: a colossal adaptation of Frank Herbert's "Dune", which was to star Orson Wells, Salvador Dali and others, was to be scored by Pink Floyd, and which brought together the visionary talents of H.R. Giger, Dan O'Bannon, and Jean "Moebius" Giraud (Giger and O'Bannon later collaborated on "Alien.") The project's financiers backed out, and "Dune" was eventually filmed by David Lynch." Good lord! *THAT* would have been a different movie!
I will leave you with El Topo's tagline: "See the naked young Franciscans whipped with cactus. See the bandit leader disemboweled. See the priest ride into the sunset with a midget and her newborn baby. What it all means isn't exactly clear, but you won't forget it."
Watch these... you'll be rewarded... in the next life, if not in this one.
El Topo (1970)
The Holy Mountain (1973)
Santa sangre (1989)
(The judge is out on) The Rainbow Thief (1990)
See also : Fando & Lis
Our noble cousins have been doing a bang-up job for decades... and while some don't click with dry British humor, I find it stunning. From deep back in its history, the BBC has entranced me with productions like: The Goodies, Benny Hill, Dr. Who, Blake's 7, Faulty Towers, Spitting Image & the ubiquitous Monty Python. I feel the Black Adder series is unstoppable, while Red Dwarf's vocabulary has irrevocably ruined mine own. Alphabetti spagetti! More recent works have re-defined comedy with performers like Ali G and TV shows like the League of Gentlemen... a dark, surreal comedy to challenge the best from any era. In fact, old Bean, find it, buy it, rent it, just see it! Enjoy:
- Benny Hill
- Dr. Who
- Blake's 7
- Faulty Towers
- Mony Python
- Black Adder
- Red Dwarf
- Prime Suspect
- The Pirot Mysteries
- League of Gentlemen
Cerebral love, stream-of-consciousness, neurotic entanglements, poetic dialogue. I am constantly amazed what comes from this hilarious/haunted director/actor. I'm a fan of his early absurdist comedies straight through to his richer, more thoughtful films. His humor cuts though my defenses, and I find myself gasping for breath! Specifically, I find Sleeper a riot while Love and Death... brilliant. Begin with these before jumping into Shadows and Fog (1992), and Husbands and Wives:
- A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy (1982)
- Manhattan (1979)
- Interiors (1978)
- Annie Hall (1977)
- Love and Death (1975)
- Sleeper (1973)
- Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex * But Were Afraid to Ask (1972)
- What's Up, Tiger Lily? (1966)
Noboru, Iguchi, Yoshihiro Nishimura, Naoyuki Tomomatsu
It is probably not fair to group three directors at once, but they seem to blur their talents rather well. Have you ever woken up one fine spring morning just needing to breathe the fresh air and enjoy a long walk? Have you ever left the office knowing you just had to have sushi for dinner?
Well, I often times look toward the gentle heavens and know that more than anything on the earth - that at that exact moment - I need an explosion filled day, complete with cyber-infused flesh, millions of gallons of blood raining onto the ground, women screaming endlessly, and decapitations by the dozens.
Lucky for me, these three Japanese directors clearly feel the same way. You’ve come a long way, Tetsuo.
Watch in wonder:
Vampire Girl vs Frankenstein Girl, 2009
Tokyo Gore Police, 2008
Machine Girl, 2008
Sukeban Boy, 2006
What films from my school-daze have stayed the test of time? Michelangelo Antonioni's Blow-Up I'd recommend to everyone! While I forget how good Hitchcock's Vertigo and Milos Forman's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest really are! It's been fifteen years but E. Elias Merhige's Begotten will run in my mind forever. So many more films loop in my memory; I shall endeavor to grow this list...
Which films/directors has time forgotten on my movie screen? Wim Wenders, Andrei Tarkovsky, Robert Altman, Stan Brakhage, Jean-Luc Godard, Robert Bresson, John Ford, Jean Renoir, Ingmar Bergman, and Sergei Eisenstein all are a bit distant to me now... kinda like a wild night, where you remember they were a good kisser... but not much else. And, no. I am not talking about kissing Tarkovsky!
New stuff? I am presently going crazy for the South Korean film scene, with hits like Tae-gyun Kim's ‘Volcano High’ and Sang-Jin Kim's ‘Attack the Gas Station’. Definitely watch all three of Chan-Wook Park’s Vengeance trilogy. Don’t even think about missing; ‘Old Boy’, 2003. You won’t find them at Blockbuster, but they are worth the search! Like many, I am holding my breath for the next installment of the Russian 'Night Watch' trilogy and for the international joint effort of 'Worst Case Scenario', or its prequel.
We all love films, and we all have favorites. Yet how hard is it to say 'that' drama is better than 'that' comedy? To answer the 'favorite film' question I shall create a few categories. Yet, even within these groupings, there is no priority-order. Just love, baby... just love.
-Raiders of the Lost Ark
-The Man Who Would Be King
-Romancing the Stone
-Battle Beyond the Stars
-The Signal, 2007
-Street of Crocodiles (1986)
-Institute Benjamenta, or This Dream People Call Human Life (1995)
-The Secret Adventures of Tom Thumb (1993)
Cheese & more Cheese
-The Abominable Dr. Phibes
-Plan 9 from Outer Space
-Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers
-Arsenic and Old Lace (1944)
-Big Trouble In Little China
-Withnail and I
-Monty Python & the Holy Grail
-Russ Meyer's UP!
-Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead
-Ruben and Ed
-The wild Bunch
-Della Morte Della More (Cemetery Man)
-Meet the Feebles
-Evil Dead II
-How to Get a Head in Advertising
-The Burden of Dreams
-Heart of Darkness
-Ring of Fire
-The Architecture of Doom
-Henry V (Branagh)
-Aguirre, der Zorn Gottes
-The Cook The Thief His Wife & her Lover
-Salo: 120 days of Sodom
-Forbidden Zone (1980)
-Legend (classical music version, please)
-Touch of Evil
-Stalker (Andrei Tarkovsky, 1979)
-Acción mutante (1993)
-Popiól i diament (Ashes & diamonds) 1958
-Man Bites Dog
-La Femme Nikita
-Salaire de la peur, Le (Wages of Fear, 1953)
Hong Kong Action
-High Risk (Shu dan long wei -1995)
-SuperCop III (Chao ji ji hua -1993)
-The Armour of God (Longxiong hudi -1986)
-Hard Boiled (Lashou shentan -1992)
Hong Kong Flying Fighter
- Zu: Warriors of the Magic Mountain
- Flirtatious Scholar
- The Warriors of Zu
- King of Beggars
- The Duel
- Eagle Shooting Heroes
- The Thing
- Evil Dead I
- The Ring/Ringu
- The Shining
- The Exorcist
- Donnie Darko
- The Mummy (Karloff)
- Mum and Dad
-Evil Dead II (1987)
-Return of the Living Dead
-Shawn of the Dead
- Nick Zed's films
- Kung Fu Rascals
- Kenneth Anger's nine short Films
- Titus (1999)
- The Last of England (Dereck Jarman)
-Vampire Hunter D
-Ghost in the Shell
-Full Metal Alchemist Series
-Full Metal Panic : Fumoffu
-See- Akira Kurosawa
- The Funeral (Ososhiki)
- Tetsuo (1988)
- The Audition
- Phantom of the Paradise
- Jesus Christ SuperStar
- Something Funny happened on the Way to the Forum
- The Producers
- Spinal Tap
- Se7en (1995)
- Usual Suspects
- Manchurian Candidate (1962)
- Don't Look Now (1973)
- The Saragossa manuscript
- The Wicker Man
- Invocation of my Demon Brother
- The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari
- From Beyond (hey, It's Lovecraft)
- Der Golem
- Brotherhood of the Wolf
- Dangerous liaisons
-Wild at Heart
-Natural Born Killers
- Blade Runner
- Total Recall
- The Terminator
-Sante Sangre (1989, Alejandro Jodorowsky)
-El Topo (1970, Alejandro Jodorowsky)
-Matador (1986, Pedro Almodóvar)
-Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (1988, Pedro Almodóvar)
-Abre los ojos (1997, Alejandro Amenábar)
-Sex and Lucia (Lucía y el sexo, 2001)
- Blue Velvet
- The Devils
- Saragossa Manuscript
- Vertigo (1958)
- North by Northwest (1959)
- The Manchurian Candidate (1962)
- Basic Instinct
- Apocalypse Now
- Full Metal Jacket
- Das Boot
- Band of Brothers
-Thin Red Line
-Saving Private Ryan
- The Good the Bad & the Ugly
- High Noon
- Pale Rider
- Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens
- Near Dark
- The Hunger
-Vampire Girl vs Frankenstein Girl
-Undead (Australian goodness)
Guilty pleasures and other confessions.
Deep down, in that dark, secret place, we all enjoy some films belonging to the third (or better yet, fourth) tier of quality. While I can be a pretentious critic, I also happily admit to liking a great quantity of terrible films! Films no sane or self-respecting cineaste would whisper into the darkness. Shall we explore my secret pleasures? hmmmm, I thought so!
-Eagle Shooting Heroes. Silly, dumb, and silly. I can't get enough. Absurd Chinese humor hits me just right. (Sediu yinghung tsun tsi dung sing sai tsau!)
-Flash Gordon. Jeez, I could watch this film every day for a year. Hey, wait a minute! I did just that in 1988, 1989, and 1990! 'Hawkmen, DIVE!'
-Hentai. All of it. All the time. I just don't know what to say, it combines two passions of mine; women and tentacles. Or is it tentacles then women... ah, damned.
-Mortal Combat. Do I really have to explain this one? Flawless-victory!
-Jesus Christ Superstar. Well, truth be told, it's not a bad film... it is just my obsessive enjoyment of it that's so wrong.
-Tromeo and Juliet. Gore + Shakespeare. Nuff said.
-Evil Dead I & II. Funny how there was a time when I was branded a freak for loving (and living) these two gems. Now, they are part and parcel of every film students study. Still, the forehead brand continues to smart.
-Ruben and Ed. Well, it has Crispin Glover and Howard Hessman. There is a cat in a cooler. And I am not allowed to say more. You will need therapy after seeing this film the first time, then therapy on how to stop re-watching it. I still wake up screaming and laughing and screaming and laughing...
The Story of Ricky (or: Ricky-Oh) What can I say? I mean, if I had like a whole big hundred dollars and wanted to make a gritty, hyper-violent tribute to a video game... then this'd be this one!
Bloodsucking Freaks. I first encountered this film when I was 15 years old. I went out and bought a power-drill. My girlfriend left me. No one understands.
Naturally, I attempted to make my love of bizarre cinema a strength, and early on endeavored to own all the films found in 'Incredibly Strange Films' (V. Vale.) This led me to collect and love the works of Ed Wood Jr., Frank Henenlotter, Herscell Gordon Lewis & Ted V. Mikels to name a few.
Liking cult films is now solidly in vogue within the cinema scene, and is not the mocking material Street Trash, Plan 9, and Bucket of Blood used to be. But, we are being honest here, right? So, I really *like* Never Ending Story, Street Fighter, Star Crystal, Ice Pirates, Street Trash, Dr. Who, *and* both Bill and Ted films. From Asian gore to Truffaut's 400 blows. Is that so strange? Well, okay... maybe.
I'll retire now... probably just as exhausted writing this as you are reading it. Heh. And you? What visions creep in the shadows of your film thoughts? Me? More to come...