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Can't Stop the Movies

Desperation hiatus, how I got here, and how I’m moving on

Before I get started, a couple of things I want to make clear.

-My household is in a desperate spot right now and I don't know if we're going to even make it through April. If you've appreciated my work these last nine years and are in a position to help PayPal is open, and in regards to the Patreon:

-What I'm writing about here does not have any impact on Patreon supporters. If anything, this is so I can clear up and focus on those who have been and continue to support me. I'm still working on the Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood piece and will be doing deep dives into Old Stone (a Chinese thriller from 2016) and Mishima: A Life In Four Chapters.

-This is also not going to be affecting development on The Boy Who Stole the Sun. Seth and I have been making excellent progress the last couple of weeks and gotten the game back on track. When there are updates we'll still be posting them here.



Goodbye Grandma, Thank You For The Lessons

Note: the following appeared as a personal post on Facebook.  I wanted to repost it here to explain why Can't Stop the Movies has been quiet recently.  My grandmother's celebration of life is this Friday and I will be returning to my full update schedule the following Monday.

One of my favorite reactions to a sudden realization about how/why I'm the way I am came from my friend Paul back in Ohio. He was asking me some questions about my family and I launched into my usual rambling spiel about mom 'n pops. A solid two beats of silence followed the end of my spiel while he stared at me, blankly, and eventually said with a surprising amount of purpose, "So much about you makes sense now."

If I were to transfer that spiel into text, and will have to someday, it should be annotated heavily with footnotes and asides about my grandma. She cultivated my reading habit with weekend trips to the bookstore and sleepover visits where we'd read Beatrix Potter stories aloud. While I played with toys or listened to the Rubber Ducky record from Sesame Street, she'd be doing crossword puzzles in-between whatever book she was reading at the moment, stopping to make sure I wasn't doing anything I wasn't supposed to be doing and more often than not being surprised I would be reading or drawing. One of our favorite memories was when I was over on a weekend sleepover and she asked if I wanted to go read with her. I hurried to the bookshelf, picked out The Tale of Benjamin Bunny from the hardcover slipcase, and started reading to her. Cue a huge smile bordering on teary from my grandma, and instead of interrupting or congratulating me she just smiled in silence as I continued to read out loud to her.

She liked packaging little lessons in her gifts. When my family went to her house in Hartwell, GA for Christmas, there were only two gifts under the Christmas tree for me, neither of which were wrapped, both with a bow and name cards written with "To: Andrew, Love: Grandma and Grandpa." The first was a Gameboy, the second was a copy of The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening. I was immediately thrilled but before I could get too excited she bent over, got on her knees, and as she put her arm around me asked me, "Do you know about the difference between quality and quantity?" Not quite the purview of many 10-year olds, but I explained the difference in a hurry, and as I rushed through my words she had the same smile on her face then as she did when I was reading Benjamin Bunny to her.

My grandma adored animals. I've told some of you the story of Mystery, how I opened the door to my apartment in Normal and saw him sitting there, so I looked at him, he looked at me, and we decided this was a partnership that would work. I owe a lot of that pragmatic compassion to my grandma. She was in her car when she noticed a dog with its legs injured. After calming the dog down and putting it in her car, she stopped at McDonald's to get the dog a cheeseburger and got one for herself. The dog, eventually named Lucky, gobbled them both up immediately and from that point on was both deeply protective of and immensely spoiled by my grandma. When any of my cats follow me around for love it's because I learned how to forge a mutually respectful and adoring relationship with animals thanks to her.

(Side-note: in case anyone I've been close to turned an eyebrow up in quizzical amusement at my stuffed animal collection, you'll note most of them were dalmatians - my grandparent's favorite dog breed - and my grandma would buy me new figurines or plush dalmatians of various sizes every Christmas)

She died last week. Part of the reason it's taken me so long to write about it is I want other people to feel some of the same fierce pride, compassion, and intelligence she instilled in me - but I don't want anyone to be sorry.

So, if you got to this point, please don't be sorry. Just tell me about a pet bonding moment or fun life lesson you got from one of your extended family. Or, hell, if you want to make it more personal tell me about a moment I did the same for you.

How I feel is complicated right now. I'm not doing as badly as I expected, but my total lack of motivation right now is a sure sign I'm not doing as well as I think. So I sat down to write and work my way through both of these things.

It's a weird sort of painful relief. She lived a huge life in multiple states of our republic, was fiercely intelligent and compassionate, and earned her retirement with a wide array of jobs. She also had dementia in the last years of her life, and the complicated emotions I feel now that she's gone pale in comparison to watching what happened in that time.

In the end she was able to go peacefully, at home, with her daughter, son-in-law, grandson, and well taken care of pets in arms reach. And I've got lessons in my head and heart to spare, all thanks to her. I live with the love of those lessons every day of my life, and I'll miss her, but few people are more deserving of the rest she earned.

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Forgive the mess – we’re rebuilding!

Please join the Twitch stream at Can't Stop the Kittens. Andrew's writing is on hiatus, but you can join the kitty stream at night with gaming and conversation during the day.



We've got a lot of work to do before Can't Stop the Movies is back to 100%, as the posts still exist but the links no longer work.  So please be patient and look forward to new content once we're rebuilt.

Thank you all!


Val Lewton Blog-a-Thon: Bedlam (1946)

This post is part of the Val Lewton blogathon hosted by Stephen aka Classic Movie Man &  Kristina of the Speakeasy blog  – see more posts at either Classic Movie Man’s Lewton page   or the Speakeasy Lewton page!

Danny no longer writes for Can't Stop the Movies, and can be reached at his fantastic site

Enjoy the piece? Please share this article on your platform of choice using the buttons above, or join the Twitch stream here!

The thing that fiction loves to remind you-- poking at that dark spot in the back of your mind-- is that sanity is completely relative. Worse, it's not just relative to society, but to the circumstances. The Val Lewton produced Bedlam eagerly preys upon this fear; any one among us may find ourselves reasonable, but we can easily be ostracized or worse by the will of unfriendly circumstances.

Here we have Nell Bowen (Anna Lee), a young, beautiful woman in the employ of Lord Mortimer (Billy House), a rotund and goofy fellow who has more money than sense. Mortimer has moved his copious posterior to a new town where he is intrigued by an asylum named Bedlam. That it's run by a guy named George Sims is of no consequence, but knowing that he's played by Boris Karloff makes quite the difference.

Sims is the asylum's manager, and regularly enjoys discovering the abuses he can heap upon his prisoners. He has a few perform for Mortimer, and the bourgeoisie lap it up as he cajoles his prisoners into monologues and embarrassing recitations. One man, coated in gold paint, stutters and then dies miserably from skin asphyxiation.

Nell becomes incensed by these cruelties, and decides to manipulate Mortimer into endorsing reforms. Unfortunately for her, no one can out-snake Karloff and she finds herself robbed of all of her property save for one foul mouthed cockatoo. She uses that to insult the Lord, which gets her railroaded into the asylum. Which, believe it or not, may not be a very good place to be.


Another Day Off

Danny no longer writes for Can't Stop the Movies, and can be reached at his fantastic site

Your hosts: Andrew, Jacob, Ryan, and Danny.

I promised Andrew I'd have a post ready for today! But I lied. So instead, here's the four of us at my wedding! It was a good time, and I wish you could have been there... I couldn't really have afforded you to be, but I wish you'd been there and given me sweet, sweet cash.

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