Column
December 31, 2014

The Movie Diary: Another one bites the dust

By Dom Cioffi

So, another year is in the books with its movies, music, political drama, sports highlights, social commentary and countless other unique nuances.

I always get melancholy this time a year as I ponder what has transpired in my own life over the last 365 days. Of course, the feelings are exaggerated by the bevy of magazine, television and Internet specials that review the year’s top news events.

The odd thing is that while I have never been personally a part of any major news story, these events usually conjure up a unique attachment I have to them. 

For example, I remember exactly where I was sitting when I first listened to the secret audio recording of former L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling as he tossed about racial slurs earlier in the year. 

I had read several articles about the allegations leveraged against the billionaire, but that particular morning, as I was sitting in my office chair enjoying a coffee and raspberry danish, I clearly remember the shock I experienced as I listened intently to the entire recorded conversation. 

What I heard – besides the drunken ramblings of an old man – were the most deviously leading questions coming from a woman intent on making a buck off an unknowing pawn. Every aspect of the story made me nauseous, from Sterling, to the woman who taped him, to the media machine that determined it to be news worthy.  

I haven’t had a raspberry danish since…

This next 2014 highlight may not have been important to most people in the world, but the moment it occurred will forever be etched in my mind. 

It was a typical Sunday evening in November and as is customary, I was lying on the couch watching late night football. My son was supposed to have been in bed, but I had allowed him to curl up next to me on the couch to watch the game (as any parent can attest, there is nothing better than your child falling asleep next to you under those circumstances). 

And then Odell Beckham Jr. of the New York Giants reached out with one hand and made what was arguable the greatest catch in the history of the NFL. My son and I came leaping off the couch, staring at the TV screen and then each other as the catch was replayed from several different angles – all giving credence to the singular greatness of the feat.

Sports have always been a connection for me and my son, but experiencing that catch live bonded us in a way that we will never forget. 

The ebola outbreak was a huge news story this past year and while no one moment stands out as defining, one conversation I had certainly summed up the virus in my life. 

I had stopped by my sister-in-law’s house to pick up some vegetables and as I entered their mudroom I could hear screaming coming from inside. I immediately rushed in to lend assistance and found my niece (who is 14 years old) curled up on the floor crying hysterically. 

Her mother, who seemed totally unconcerned, said with a slight chuckle, “She thinks she has the ebola virus.”

Now, I’m not saying that the ebola virus is funny on any level, but at that moment I could not stop laughing as my niece, who was experiencing a mild stomach ache, was insisting with all the drama of a shakespearian actress that she was the latest victim of the rogue virus.  

And finally, the most shocking event of this past year, and the one moment that truly gave me pause, was the suicide of Robin Williams. 

I had just come back from a long run and as is customary after I shower, I like to grab a large container of coconut water and read the news. So with liquid in hand, I sat down with my computer and pulled up the news page.

And there it was. The headline that left my mouth completely agape: “Robin Williams Dead From an Apparent Suicide.”

I have experienced suicide on many levels in my life, but this one left me totally in shock. While I knew nothing of Robin Williams on a personal level, like so many others, I felt as though I had lost a dear friend. 

I sat in my chair and re-read the article several times. And then I quietly closed the cover of my laptop and contemplated how one of the funniest men I have ever known could have been so sad to have taken his own life.

This past weekend I experienced another sad ending as director Peter Jackson closed the door on one of the greatest movie franchises in the history of cinema.

“The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” is the final installment of the ridiculously successful “Lord of the Rings” series. And like every other film that’s been released, this one did not disappoint. 

Anyone who is a fan of J.R.R. Tolkien’s books or who has dedicated the time to watch the five other films, will obviously want to watch this last movie.

However, if you’re considering seeing this film and are new to the series, at the very least you should watch the first  two Hobbit films prior to taking this one in.

An epic “B+” for “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.”

Got a question or comment for Dom? You can email him at moviediary@att.net.

Now, I’m not saying that the ebola virus is funny on any level, but at that moment I could not stop laughing as my niece, who was experiencing a mild stomach ache, was insisting with all the drama of a shakespearian actress that she was the latest victim of the rogue virus.  

And finally, the most shocking event of this past year, and the one moment that truly gave me pause, was the suicide of Robin Williams. 

I had just come back from a long run and as is customary after I shower, I like to grab a large container of coconut water and read the news. So with liquid in hand, I sat down with my computer and pulled up the news page.

And there it was. The headline that left my mouth completely agape: “Robin Williams Dead From an Apparent Suicide.”

I have experienced suicide on many levels in my life, but this one left me totally in shock. While I knew nothing of Robin Williams on a personal level, like so many others, I felt as though I had lost a dear friend. 

I sat in my chair and re-read the article several times. And then I quietly closed the cover of my laptop and contemplated how one of the funniest men I have ever known could have been so sad to have taken his own life.

This past weekend I experienced another sad ending as director Peter Jackson closed the door on one of the greatest movie franchises in the history of cinema.

“The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” is the final installment of the ridiculously successful “Lord of the Rings” series. And like every other film that’s been released, this one did not disappoint. 

Anyone who is a fan of J.R.R. Tolkien’s books or who has dedicated the time to watch the five other films, will obviously want to watch this last movie.

However, if you’re considering seeing this film and are new to the series, at the very least you should watch the first  two Hobbit films prior to taking this one in.

An epic “B+” for “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.”

Got a question or comment for Dom? You can email him at moviediary@att.net.

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