On August 16, 2023

Movie Diary: The heat is on


I took my family on a vacation to the North Carolina shore this past week. We rented a house on a quiet street a short distance from the beach. The house conveniently came with a golf cart, which made the back-and-forth trips to the ocean bearable.

The temperatures were astounding. I don’t think I’ve ever been on a vacation as hot as this one; every day surpassed 95 degrees, while the air felt sticky and thick. I would run every morning when it was coolest and still felt like I was dehydrated past my limit.

Each morning we set up beach chairs and umbrellas in the sand and brought a cooler full of drinks and snacks. I could only last a half hour before I’d have to jump into the water. And the water was warmer than I’ve ever experienced. I’m not saying it wasn’t refreshing (because it was), but it was almost on the verge of too warm. 

My son and I also golfed twice at a magnificent resort course that was nearby. My son is not a true golfer (yet), which means he hits the ball as far as possible with little concern for the direction it travels. Subsequently, he lost 20+ balls over the course of two rounds. 

Given how much I play, I was fairly adept at recognizing areas where wild golf shots might congregate and therefore dug around in those spots to find him an endless supply of extra balls. Of course, given that it’s late summer, I also picked up a rash on my forearms from some type of weed that I rubbed up against. That left me itching for three straight days. 

We did a couple of dinners out but had the majority of our meals at our beach house, which had a lovely kitchen setup. We also had cocktails on the deck every night, which luckily had outdoor fans to cool the warm night air. 

All in all, the trip was amazing. But most importantly, it was relaxing. I slept like a log every night and awoke every morning feeling entirely refreshed.

On the day we got home (which happened to be my birthday), I told my wife and son that I had a surprise birthday present for them later that evening. I then told my son to grab one of his friends and for everyone to meet at the house later that afternoon.

When late afternoon arrived, I packed everyone into my truck and headed out. We then drove to an outdoor amphitheater where I had purchased four tickets to a concert. But before the concert started, we laid out a blanket and chairs and tailgated with grinders and drinks.

When the show was ready to start, I handed my son two lawn tickets and told him to wander around with his buddy and have fun. I then took my wife by the hand and led her to two seats dead center in the second row.

The opening act was Jason Bonham’s “Led Zeppelin Experience.” Jason Bonham is the son of John Bonham, the late drummer for Led Zeppelin. His show highlights the greatest songs from his dad’s band, which just happens to be one of my all-time favorite musical acts. 

I was in heaven, even though it was incredibly hot being packed into the front seats. Everyone around us was beaming with happiness, which gave an air of youthfulness to the aging crowd.  

The second act was Gov’t Mule, a blues band known for their intricate jam sessions. On this tour they were featuring an array of Pink Floyd songs. My wife and I were content with our time up front, so we gave the tickets to my son and his friend, then found a nice spot on the lawn to watch the rest of the show. Little did I know that my son’s friend had never been to a concert. 

When the show was over, this kid couldn’t stop talking about his experience. The laser show and accompanying grooves sent him into a spasm of excitement. My son was nonplussed because I’ve been taking him to concerts for years, but I was excited to give his friend the thrill of a lifetime.

This week’s feature, “Untold: Johnny Football,” is the story of another young man who got caught off guard by the excitement he was experiencing. However, in this case, the whole world watched him implode. 

Johnny Football was the name given to college football star Johnny Manziel when he skyrocketed to fame in 2012 as the quarterback for the Texas A&M Aggies. His Heisman Trophy freshman season is one of the greatest performances by a quarterback in college football history. However, his meteoric rise to fame came at the expense of his psyche, which crashed once he entered the NFL.

“Untold: Johnny Football” gives you a behind-the-scenes look at the events that led to Manziel’s breakdown, and a deeper appreciation for the stressors that led to his demise. A cautionary “B” for “Untold: Johnny Football,” now available for streaming on Netflix. 

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

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