Image for post
Image for post
Photo by the author

Lincoln and Pico is my intersection, but the jackass across the way doesn’t know that yet. You think he understood what he was getting into when he took that corner? He’s messing with the 2019 World Sign Spinning champion and before the end of day, he will know my name.

I’ve seen punks like him come and go over the last three years. I was taught by the best — Jimmy B, rest in peace. He taught me the ways of the sign flipper, what gloves to wear, how to hydrate, why good shoes are important. …


This is The Short Take, a bite-sized look at some of the films I’ve been watching lately. WARNING: You have entered the spoiler zone!

Image for post
Image for post

Writer-director Jordan Peele’s sophomore effort Us, is proof that the man is talented and a dedicated fan of the horror and science fiction genres. This much is apparent from the film’s opening shot: a slow zoom out revealing a wall of rabbits in their cages, accompanied by haunting vocals reminiscent of The Omen. After this promising start, the narrative becomes as stable as the crazy floor ride at a seaside carnival.

Some of the takeaways from the…


Spoilers ahead: A quick look at some of the films I’ve been watching lately.

Image for post
Image for post

Who would’ve thought we’d get two movie incarnations of the same namesake character in one year? Yes, Shazam was once called Captain Marvel, but you can find out more by just Googling it. DC and Marvel Comics fans could filibuster about the differences, but we’re here to talk about the Marvel Cinematic Universe version.

Brie Larson stars in the title role as a woman who’s not quite a Kree, but has strange flashbacks of another life. …


It was a good year for movies.

10. Mandy

Image for post
Image for post

Say what you want about Nicolas Cage, but this batshit crazy, speed metal album cover of a film will entrance you. I was coming down with the flu while watching this and I powered through to the end, I had no choice! Cage gives a balls to the wall performance. Co-written and directed by Panos Cosmatos (son of George P. Cosmatos, who directed Rambo: First Blood Part II, Cobra, Leviathan and Tombstone!)

9. The Favourite


Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Melanie Magdalena on Unsplash

So it’s 2019. The start of a new year has always been a milestone for me, along with my birthday. A deadline of sorts. A foothold to strive for.

In the early days of each passing year I like to take stock of what I achieved the previous year, what I’m currently doing and how I plan to spend the coming months. It’s good to set goals, right? I don’t really call them resolutions, that’s too constrictive.

The Past

2018 was a good year. Some of the highlights included travel both abroad and domestic, the evolution of the movie podcast I co-host, and a renewed commitment to my writing. …


Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Papaioannou Kostas on Unsplash

I’d been to industry trade shows before. Hotel ballrooms filled with crowds of people. The kind who steal a glance at your badge, wondering if you’re someone worth talking to. After realizing you’re just a guppy they move on, looking for the next big fish.

But a writing conference? I had heard of them, but never attended one. For a long time I wasn’t serious enough about my writing to justify the cost. That all changed a year ago when I renewed my commitment to creating stories. Then I heard about the 2018 Writer’s Digest Conference in New York City.

Others like you

The conference seemed like an opportunity to learn more about the craft and business of writing and to meet other authors. Since we moved to the east coast five years ago, I had been looking for others in the writing trenches with varying results. …


Image for post
Image for post

A hero is reborn on the big screen

In December 1978, the world saw the dawn of the big-budget superhero film with the release of Superman. Created in 1938 by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, Superman made his comic book debut in Action Comics #1. The Adventures of Superman, starring George Reeves, aired on TV in the 50s. Growing up as a kid in the 70s, I read the comic books and watched Superman reruns on TV.

After seeing Star Wars in 1977, I began devouring every movie magazine I could find. I wanted to know more about films and the people making them. At the time, there were two publications that fed my moviegoing diet: Famous Monsters of Filmland and Starlog. This was how I discovered upcoming movies and how they were made. There was no YouTube, no IMDB. …


Image for post
Image for post
Lakewood Center, circa 1951

I’ve been fascinated with shopping malls ever since my childhood. Before I could drive, I bugged my parents to take us to the mall. It was the place where I fell in love with the movies, witnessed the latest fashions, wasted quarters at the video arcade and had a few adventures of my own.

The first outdoor shopping mall in the US was Lakewood Center in Lakewood, California, built in 1951. A year later, Victor Gruen, a Viennese-born architect was commissioned to build the first fully enclosed, climate controlled shopping center. Gruen had designed retail spaces before and saw the future of shopping areas, but none of his visions ever came to fruition. …


Image for post
Image for post
Photo by The New York Times

I can remember the first time I heard Joe Frank on the air. His wasn’t your standard public radio talk show or drama/comedy. This was a different animal altogether. Like all great art, it was a by-product of his experiences, neuroses and obsessions.

Frank’s world was one of loneliness, despair and heartbreak. It was also one of absurdity, passion and the quest for meaning. Highs, lows and everything in between. The singular picture he painted with words and sound felt cinematic to me, like watching a film with the picture turned off.

Old friends, new places

In the early 90s I had moved to Los Angeles from Dallas. The people in L.A. all seemed to be from somewhere else and now I was one of them. I knew a few people in town, they were all Texans who made the journey out west before I did. One of them was a friend I met in a Dallas screenwriting group, Gerry Scott Moore. …


Image for post
Image for post
The man himself, George A. Romero, surrounded by his children

I was a kid growing up in Texas when I came across George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead for the first time. It aired each Halloween on a local TV channel. I could never watch the entire movie, it was too scary for my young mind. The bits I did see gave me bad dreams of zombies chasing me and my family through the desert sands of far east El Paso. At the time, I didn’t realize this was a good thing.

Years later in junior high, Romero’s next chapter in his zombie saga, Dawn of the Dead, was playing at the local cineplex. It was released unrated, which was unheard of at the time. No one under 17 would be admitted. I’d read about Dawn in Starlog magazine, my go-to source for sci-fi and horror movies. But how could I see it? Neither of my parents wanted to go see a zombie movie with lots of gore and social commentary. It wasn’t in their wheelhouse. …

About

Victor De Anda

Fiction writer. Researcher. Movie geek. Follow me as @victordeanda. See more of my writing at www.victordeanda.com

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store