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Movies: West Side Story: One Big Iconic Moment for Me:


There are so many seemingly smaller iconomic moments in my alltime favorite movie, West Side Story, which I’ve written about mucho times on here, as well as on a number of other forum/message boards, that they’re all combined together in one dynamite package to make this great golden oldie but keeper of a film classic what it is;  one big iconic moment, for me and probably many, many other average moviegoers as well.     Due to my intense love for this great, golden oldie but keeper of a movie-musical classic, I have a really tough time naming any favorite scenes/songs/characters from West Side Story, but I will say this:

Movies: West Side Story vs. The Town:

Hey, folks:   Here’s hoping that you can bear with me while I write yet another essay on a couple of movies that I’ve been thinking about lately, involving their differences (of which there are many) and their similarities.  

Please note:  This  thread is cross-posted in, and part of this post (about West Side Story) is posted on the new blog, in the West Side Story section.  This, too, is my very own writing, and nobody else’s.

Here goes

Hey, all…can you stand more on West Side Story?

I’ve got that on my mind as well.  Here goes:

Pretty much everybody knows that West Side Story is my alltime favorite movie, hands down,  and that I’m a devout fan of this great classic film  who  always feels like I’m seeing West Side Story for the first time.  Inotherwords, it’s still fresh, imho.   Although West Side Story is loosely based on Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet, this particular musical is still relevant, imho, because, although it’s fiction, it’s closer to reality in many respects;  people from “opposite sides of the track” falling in love amid conflict on both sides, dating and even marrying, racial, ethnic and religious tensions, urban gang warfare, all of which still frequently gets played out in real life.  People can and do even fall in love at first sight in real life, although in real life, even that takes time to grow and develop into something where mutual trust and love enable the love to mushroom into something really substantial, if one gets the drift.

Yet, I’m aware of the fact that in real life, gangs don’t go dancing through the streets, nor do they dance their way through street fights and all-out rumbles, which have now evolved into dangerous drive-by shootings and shootings on street corners in many neighborhoods, and gangs today are even more vicious than they were in times  gone past.  It used to be that gangs would stake out and protect their territory, in real life, but  racial/ ethnic tensions and hostilities lent that protection of turf an even more vicious edge.  

Since I’ve also seen several very good stage productions of West Side Story, I kind of have to say that West Side Story is my favorite stage musical, as well.  In addition to the two screenings of the film version of WSS that I will be going to see;  one at the Emerson College-owned Paramount Theatre in downtown Boston this coming Saturday night, and the other at the Coolidge Corner Theatre, in Brookline, in mid-November (I’ve already got tickets for both of those screenings), I will be taking my youngest nephew and my niece to a matinee show of the latest Broadway stage revival of West Side Story here in Boston.  I’ve read a number of reviews on this latest WSS Broadway revival;  some good, some not so good.  I really wasn’t sure I wanted to see this particular production of the stage version of West Side Story, but some other people’s suggestion, I went down to the Colonial Theatre here on Boston’s Boylston Street, and purchased some rather expensive mezzanine tickets.  It’s well that I did, since they’re going fast, and there weren’t many mezzanine tickets left, and I didn’t want the balcony, because that would’ve been too far away.  

Still more on the movie “The Town” Claire & Doug’s romance not a normal healthy one.

After Claire Keesey’s bank  that she managed was robbed at gunpoint by four Townie men, they took her as a hostage, blindfolded her, drove her to a beach, and forced her to walk until she felt the water at her toes.  Claire talks to the Feds briefly, and then, after finding out that Claire resides in The Town (Boston’s Charlestown section), Doug trails Claire to find out what she knows, and ends up supposedly falling in love with her, and Claire falls in love with him, even after Doug had oh so charmingly and subtly warned Claire not to talk to the Feds or else!  In essence, Claire had been sweet-talked and seduced by Doug into a romantic relationship in order to get a promise from her not to talk to the Feds, which Doug pretty much got.  Inotherwords, he now had complete control over her.  

The fact that Claire not only lied to the Feds about who Doug was, in order to cover his ass, but  also helped Doug (a career criminal, armed felon and wanted fugitive) elude the law by tipping him off to the Feds’ presence in her condominium, by giving him the “It’ll be just like one of my sunny days” code,  but she also kept Doug’s duffel bag of stolen money that he left her before skipping town, which she spends on renovating a seedy ice hockey rink.  It was clear that Claire Keesey suffered from what’s called the “Stockholm Syndrome”.

That being said, the following link describes Claire (almost) perfectly:…

More on the movie, “The Town”–No Sympathy for Doug or Claire:

Please note:  this post was cross-posted from

Lately, I’ve had both Claire, the bank manager, whose bank was robbed, and Doug MacRay, a lifelong Charlestown resident who was the leader of the four-man Townie gang who’d robbed Claire’s bank, wearing Hallowe’en masks and ninja outfits, forced her to open the safe at gunpoint, and then took her as a hostage by driving her to a beach in Boston after blindfolding her to  make sure she didn’t see anything, and then forcing her to walk on the beach until she felt the water on her toes, on my mind a great deal, for some reason.    They let her go, physically unharmed, although rather traumatized by the whole incident, which included “Jem’s” near-fatal beating of Claire’s assistant manager, and Claire ends up quitting her job as the bank manager, as a result.  

Ironically, one is supposed to root for Doug MacRay for ultimately having outwitted the FBI and gotten away, at least in part due to being tipped off by Claire, but, unlike many people, I have not been able to do that.  Doug is clearly not the nice guy that he comes across as, even though he came from a dysfunctional family (his mother ran off when he was about six years old and, ten years later, when Doug was a teen, his father was sent to prison to serve a lifetime sentence for bank robbery and murder) and grew up in a rough and tough neighborhood.  He’d had a chance, as a young man,  at around 20, to turn his life around, by being a professional Hockey Player for the Bruins, and not end up like his father, but, due to his own arrogance, nastiness, cocky behavior, and fooling around with drugs and alcohol during his early twenties, he totally blew that chance, and went into the bank-robbing business, like his father.   At one point, he’d also gotten into a nasty fight with another guy on his own hockey team, thus getting him kicked out of the Bruins for good.  

More on The Town (movie)–Claire is her own worst enemy:

Please note:  This essay is cross-posted from (Internet Movie Database, but it’s also posted on

At the end of last month, I managed to obtain a copy of the regular DVD version of The Town from our local public library, and I watched it for the third time this week. As much as Doug and his crew really are not nice guys, and Fergie and his bodyguard, Rusty, are quite vicious, I began to think that Claire is her own worst enemy.

Claire seems like a total phony, with her constant pasted-on smile, her pretentiousness, and her always playing “the babe”. Hey…if I were a guy, I’d keep my distance from her, because I think she’s undoubtedly a real bitch who cloaks her bitchery in a mantle of totally fake charm and charisma, pretending to be an all-out fun gal to have around. Scratch that surface, and I’d be the first to bet that Claire is rotten to the core underneath it all despite the fact that she seems so “normal”, spontaneous, communicative, gentle, serene, smiling, sunny, interesting and interested. Not surprisingly, when her idyll turned bad around the edges, she ends up crying a lot, and I find myself thinking; aha….that’s what Claire gets for taking up with a career criminal and a wanted fugitive and then lying to the Feds about her and Doug’s romantic relationship.

So, Doug and “Jem” broke into some guy’s apartment in the housing project, beat the hell out of him and permanently crippled him for supposedly having thrown bottles at Doug’s Lady Claire, who’d been stupid enough to walk through a rough and tough housing project at night in the first place (Claire obviously has no sense, or she would’ve realized that no woman in her right mind would take a short cut through a tough housing project alone at night.), and then Doug shot and killed his and Jem’s crime boss, Fergie the Florist and his bodyguard, Rusty, all in revenge for trying to hurt, or threatening to kill Claire, and partly out of revenge for the death of Doug’s mother, who “Fergie” the Florist  got addicted to drugs to shut her up, and she ultimately committed suicide, although Doug’s father doesn’t tell him that when he visits him in prison.   My, my how touching! Lady Claire must feel flattered that she’s got criminals Doug and “Jem” rushing to her defense. Imho, Claire should’ve known from the beginning that she was flirting with serious trouble when she took up with and continued to date Doug MacRay.  

Other Thoughts about the movie “The Town”

Please note:  This essay is cross-posted from

The Town Pictures, Images and Photos

As everybody knows, I wrote about the movie The Town, which is based on Chuck Hogan’s thriller novel, Prince of Thieves earlier here on firefly.  There are important differences between the movie and the book on which it is based, and, as I also pointed out, I felt that the book was a great deal better than the film, although I never elaborated on any of the reasons why.

The Town (movie):

Please note:  This essay is cross-posted from

Based on Chuck Hogan’s novel Prince of Thieves, this movie is about four young men who are lifelong residents of Boston’s Charlestown section, or Townies, as the denizens of the area call themselves.  Although Charlestown is a predominantly working-class Irish-Catholic area, it has become more gentrified in the past 20-30 years, and the denizens of the area often refer to the gentry as “Toonies”.  The four men; Doug MacRay, Albert Magloan (Gloansy), James Caughlin (“Jem”), and Desmond Elden (Dez), pride themselves on robbing banks and armored cars, getting what they want, and coming away clean.  However, one sunny day, when they decide to rob a bank in Cambridge’s Harvard Square, this bank robbery goes wrong, the attractive woman who’s the manager of the bank ends up being forced to open the bank’s safe at gun point, taken hostage and blinddfolded by the four men,  who’ve donned all-black outfits and Hallowe’en masks, and an assistant manger ends up being badly beaten and seriously injured, within inches of his life.

Reflections: Memoirs of my Father:

Hi, RiaD.  I crossposted this essay from  

Ten years ago, on January 18th, 2001, my beloved father passed away after a long illness (He’d been sick for a year and a half) prior to his death, his funeral, and the big celebration of his life as an exceptionally great person, a fantastic freelance photojournalist, a great conversationalist, and a big jazz buff.  He was also a great tennis player, but a horrible punster, yet,  he had a wonderful sense of humor, which often helped pull people through.

My dad was always an exuberant, vigorous man, who enjoyed life to the fullest, showed a true curiosity and interest in what made people tick,  always walked tall, and had a twinkle in his eye.  Although his work as a freelance photojournalist often took him to various parts of the country, he was always there for the rest of the family, through thick and thin.  

Something that may be of interest to everybody here on Docudharma:

This is going to be a relatively short essay, but I will say this:

Had the Obama Administration and the Democrats in Congress scrapped the 1990’s GOP “Healthcare Reform” Bill and implemented a genuine Healthcare Reform Bill that entailed Single Payer with Universal Healthcare/Medicare for all Americans, the bill would not be such  under severe attack by the GOP, because a  real  healthcare reform bill that entailed Single Payer with Universal Healthcare and Medicare for all Americans would get much, much more support from the American electorate at large and render the attacks by the GOP far less affective.  

Equally, if not more disgraceful, the Obama Administration and the Democrats in Congress allowed abortion rights to be totally taken off the table in order to get this toxic body of legislature called a “Healthcare Reform” bill get enacted in March 2010.

On Mandatory School Busing here in Boston:

Unlike  many, if not most of the Southern areas,  Boston’s busing program was confined to the city limits,  which  was also partly  why Boston became so explosive during the mid to late 1970’s when  mandatory school busing was implemented there.    A Metropolitan solution was considered in a number of areas including Boston, but it got scrapped.   People in Boston’s all-white suburbs would not  accept it,  and Boston’s black  community, already small, and fearful that the limited amount of influence and power that they had, would be “diluted in the sea of suburbia”,  also rejected it. 

However, the Boston area also had a METCO program (I forget what the letters stand for), in which black students from Boston were bused in to a number of the outer-lying bedroom communities,  including my old hometown, which implemented METCO later.  The METCO program was a  voluntary program aimed at inner city students from Roxbury,  Mattapan and North Dorchester who wished to participate in it,  and a great many METCO kids benefited by getting a better education at better schools in wealthier communities.

Billy Jack:

           Billy Jack 1971 Pictures, Images and Photos

Hey folks:

Can you all stand another movie review?  This is not my alltime favorite film, West Side Story, but another movie that I one day decided to rent the DVD from our local Public Library and watch it on my computer.  Since I enjoy action films generally and enjoy stories that deal with intergroup conflict, fighting, love, etc., all wrapped in one package, I decided, in somewhat dippy inspiration, to borrow the DVD of the film Billy Jack from the Library.  Although I have a DVD player built into my computer, this particular DVD movie is pretty tough to come by.  Although the movie  Billy Jack doesn’t hold nearly the special place in my heart regarding movies as West Side Story, and it’s somewhat campy in some ways, I rather enjoyed it.  That saying, here goes:

Why West Side Story is my Alltime Favorite Movie:

Hey, folks:

Although I’m new on this forum, and am still testing the waters, I finally decided to answer this question after checking it out afew times. Although this is kind of long, I decided that posting about why I love this great movie-musical classic so much was in order. Here goes:

West Side Story not only has a wonderful story behind it, but the cinematic technology, the dancing, the brilliant Bernstein musical score, and the talent that was brought to the film(except Richard Beymer, of course), all helped make West Side Story the wonderfully dynamic and great package that it really is.  The story of the love between a guy and a gal from two very different backgrounds, which grows amid the conflict between two warring street gangs i. e. the Jets and Sharks, while the adults in authority watch as they rebel, is a wonderful story in itself, which has always appealed to me.

The beautiful musical score by Bernstein is so bright and exuberant, and wonderful to listen to, even when one’s not watching the movie or seeing a stage play of WSS.  The dancing is so magnificent. The fighting scenes are especially alive, as are the Cool, Dance at the Gym, and the America scenes. The Quintet and the Rumble are also great scenes. The idea that emotions can be expressed so vividly through dance and music is another reason for WSS’s appeal to me.   The photography, which is so rich, and t he costumes are terrific also, with rich color and glory, and the sets on which most of WSS was filmed look uncannily like the real thing!(meaning the urban background and city streets and alleys, etc)  

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