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Saturday, May 7, 2016

The Writer's Life 5/7 - Backtrack

I've never seen evidence of the existence of spirits or ghosts, but I enjoy stories about them, although most are disappointing. Not so Backtrack (2015), which I watched last night courtesy of Netflix. It is the thoughtful, intriguing story of a psychiatrist's struggle to piece together two personal tragedies he has endured. Is he losing his mind or is it blocking a dark secret? Filmed in Australia, it stars Queens-born Adrien Brody, accent and all. Cinema vet Sam Neill has a key role as a shrink. Its pace is measured, which, since it is only 90 minutes, is fine. It does not insult the intelligence of the audience. The resolution is sound. Kudos to writer-director Michael Petroni, who also did the screenplay for one of my favorite films of recent years, The Book Thief (2013). I look forward to his future work. This is one of those rare instances when there is a large disconnect between my opinion and that of those who rate films at IMDb, where 4000+ users forge to a consensus of 5.9 of ten Backtrack. On a scale of five, I rate it four. It was made on a budget of only eight million -- and I'd bet a million alone went to Brody and Neill -- and looks as good as any big budget extravaganza. Those who prefer over the top fare and lots of gore should pass, The narrative is as grounded as a ghost story can be. It is disturbing but much less violent than most movies.

I'm reading a sci-fi novel that I'll blog about in full when I'm done. One particular aspect is framed in a way I'd never previously heard. Published in 1972, well before the advent PCs or cell phones, it mentions a "watershed" moment passed in 1969, the point when total computer knowledge passed the total stored in the brains of the whole of humanity. According to the narrator, the ratio would be 50-1 as early as 1975. That makes it seem as if advanced computers take on a life of their own, discovering new things without input from human beings. What must the ratio be these days, 40 years later? As Spock would say: "Fascinating."

While standards in the rest of the country plummet, the PGA Tour holds its members to a high one that sometimes borders on the ridiculous. Case in point, as reported by Yahoo Sports, Zac Blair has been disqualified from the Wells Fargo Championship after hitting himself in the head with his putter — and then using the bent club to finish out the hole. Blair smacked the club against his head Friday after missing a birdie putt on the fifth hole. He could have finished the round by using a different club to putt, but was disqualified because he used the bent club to tap in his par. Blair was canned by officials for breaking rule 4-3b, which stipulates if "a player's club is damaged other than in the normal course of play rendering it non-conforming or changing its playing characteristics, the club must not subsequently be used or replayed during the round." Blair didn't realize the putter was bent until the next hole, at which time he immediately turned himself in to a tour official.

The rain held off and the floating book shop was visited by just about all the regulars I'd hoped to see. My thanks to all the buyers, especially to the paisano who purchased A Hitch in Twilight.
Vic's Short Works:
Vic's 5th Novel:'s 4th novel:
Vic's 3rd Novel:
Vic's Short Story on Kindle:
Vic's Short Story Collection:
Vic's 2nd Novel: Kindle:
Vic's 1st Novel:

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