COVID, Review by Case Wright


For those of you who follow my Twitter unmuted, you know that I got COVID-19 at the beginning of this year. I was visiting my mother and an unmasked man entered the small gym and started sneezing everywhere. At one point, I could see the the sneeze mist and there was nowhere to go. Words were exchanged and a few days later I was notified he was positive and then I found out I was positive. Mine was a “mild case,” but I will describe it for you here …. right now.

Post-exposure, I went from my normal amazing, handsome self to a handsome, tired self. I just felt rundown. Then, like a speaker blew out, my sense of smell and taste were gone. Within hours, my fever went to 103, but I felt cold from the inside. It was as though dry ice was put inside of me. I was wearing long johns, a winter coat, and under 8 blankets and my teeth were still chattering.

It was as though dry ice was put inside of me.

When my fever would break, I would be drenched in sweat like I had just played in my High School homecoming game. I don’t know if I tweeted then or what I said out loud; so, if we got engaged, it will be awkwaaaaaard.

Highly Accurate Dramatization:

There were lucid moments and I could feel my lungs being attacked, chest tightening, head searing with spiderweb-like migraines, and my joints felt like they were trying to see the light of day. I kept thinking nature had help; of course, when I wasn’t having explosive diarrhea or a dry cough that would barely let in air, I would loudly curse the commie scum that brought this plague upon us and then more diarrhea. COVID is very diarrhea forward.

Sidenote: The contact tracers were all over me like a Men’s Warehouse suit from Jumpstreet. When the symptoms ended, they gave me my release from quarantine date.

For the last month, I have been dealing with Post-COVID symptoms and they suuuuuuck. In many ways, COVID is like two illnesses: your first active symptoms and then the chronic Post-COVID symptoms. I got chills, had cognitive issues, and had to pause my GI Bill. There was just no way to study complex math and physics while dealing with Post-COVID. In fact, I’ve had to review math concepts that were rote for me. COVID breaks the blood brain barrier and causes a form of Encephalitis, messing your memory and cognition- some cases are severe and it causes a form of MS. In a way, COVID squished some my memories out of my mind and I’ll never know which ones.

On a positive side, I am getting a bit of my sense of taste back and was able to taste my favorite treat today: Black Licorice. Yep, that’s my favorite – on purpose!

I anticipate recovering fully in another 6 weeks. Cheers!

Here Are The 2020 Nominations of the Makeup Artists and Hair Stylists Guild!


Here are the 2020 nominees of the Makeup Artists And Hair Stylists Guild!  Typically, if you’re trying to make out you Oscar predictions and hoping to score a 100% accuracy rating, it makes more sense to pay attention to the guilds than to the critics groups.  The critics groups can let you know what the critics like but the guilds let you know what the industry is thinking and the Oscar, after all, are not awarded by critics.  The Oscars are awarded by the industry and, Parasite’s victory aside, they’ve always been more likely to go for a film like Green Book than a film like Roma.  Looking at the nominations below, my main takeaway is that Hillbilly Elegy is going to win at least one Oscar whenever the Oscars are finally awarded.

(Seriously, this Oscar season has been going on since forever!)

The winners will be announced on April 3rd.  So, we’ve got a while to wait and consider who has the most award-worthy hair.  (Though we all know that the Oscar is going to go to Hillbilly Elegy….)

Here are the nominees:

FEATURE-LENGTH MOTION PICTURE – Best Contemporary Make-Up
“Bill & Ted Face the Music” (Bill Corso, Dennis Liddiard & Stephen Kelley)
“Birds Of Prey” (Deborah Lamia Denaver, Sabrina Wilson, Miho Suzuki & Cale Thomas)
“Borat Subsequent Moviefilm” (Katy Fray, Lisa Layman & Thomas Kolarek)
“The Prom” (Eryn Krueger Mekash, J. Roy Helland, Kyra Panchenko & Donald McInnes)
“Promising Young Woman” (Angela Wells, Brigitte Hennech & Adam Christopher)

FEATURE-LENGTH MOTION PICTURE – Best Period And/Or Character Make-Up
“Bill & Ted Face the Music” (Bill Corso, Dennis Liddiard, Stephen Kelley & Bianca Appice)
“Hillbilly Elegy” (Eryn Krueger Mekash, Jamie Hess, Devin Morales & Jessica Gambardella)
“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” (Matiki Anoff, Sergio Lopez-Rivera, Carl Fullerton & Debi Young)
“Mank” (Gigi Williams & Michelle Audrina Kim)
“Mulan” (Denise Kum, Rick Findlater, Georgia Lockhart-Adams & James MacKinnon)

FEATURE-LENGTH MOTION PICTURE – Best Special Make-Up Effects
“Bill & Ted Face the Music” (Bill Corso, Dennis “Bill & Ted Face the Music” (Bill Corso, Kevin Yagher, Steve Wang & Stephen Kelley)
“Hillbilly Elegy” ( Eryn Krueger Mekash, Matthew Mungle & Jamie Hess)
“Mulan” (Denise Kum & Chris Fitzpatrick)
“Pinocchio” (Mark Coulier)
“The United States vs. Billie Holiday” (Adrian Morot)
“Wonder Woman 1984” (Jan Sewell & Mark Coulier)

FEATURE-LENGTH MOTION PICTURE – Best Contemporary Hair Styling
“Bill & Ted Face the Music “(Donna Spahn-Jones, Budd Bird, Jeri Baker & Ulla Gaudin)
“Birds Of Prey”  Adruitha Lee, Cassie Russek, Margarita Pidgeon & Nikki Nelms)
“Borat Subsequent Moviefilm” (Kimberly Boyenger & Tyler Ely)
“The Prom” (Chris Clark, Natalie Driscoll, Ka’Maura Eley & J. Roy Helland)
“Promising Young Woman” (Daniel Curet, Bryson Conley & Lee Ann Brittenham)

FEATURE-LENGTH MOTION PICTURE – Best Period Hair Styling And/Or Character Hair Styling
“Hillbilly Elegy” (Patricia Dehaney, Tony Ward, Martial Corneville & Stacey Butterworth)
“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” (Mia Neal, Larry Cherry, Leah Loukas & Tywan Williams)
“Mank” (Kimberley Spiteri & Colleen Labaff)
“Mulan” (Denise Kum, Rick Findlater, Georgia Lockhart-Adams & Terry Baliel)
“Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey” (Sharon Martin & Kat Fa)

Here Are the 2020 Nominations Of The Black Reel Awards!


The Black Reel Awards announced their nominees for the best of 2020 today.  The winners will be announced on April 11th.  The nominees can be found below:

OUTSTANDING MOTION PICTURE
DA 5 BLOODS
JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH
MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM
ONE NIGHT IN MIAMI
SOUL

OUTSTANDING ACTOR
KINGSLEY BEN-ADIR – ONE NIGHT IN MIAMI
CHADWICK BOSEMAN – MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM
DELROY LINDO – DA 5 BLOODS
ROB MORGAN – BULL
LAKEITH STANFIELD – JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH

OUTSTANDING ACTRESS
NICOLE BEHARIE – MISS JUNETEENTH
VIOLA DAVIS – MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM
ANDRA DAY – THE UNITED STATES VS. BILLIE HOLIDAY
TESSA THOMPSON – SYLVIE’S LOVE
ZENDAYA – MALCOLM & MARIE

OUTSTANDING DIRECTOR
RADHA BLANK – THE FORTY-YEAR-OLD VERSION
REGINA KING – ONE NIGHT IN MIAMI
SHAKA KING – JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH
SPIKE LEE – DA 5 BLOODS
CHANNING GODFREY PEOPLES – MISS JUNETEENTH

OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTOR
CHADWICK BOSEMAN – DA 5 BLOODS
COLMAN DOMINGO – MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM
ALDIS HODGE – ONE NIGHT IN MIAMI
DANIEL KALUUYA – JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH
LESLIE ODOM JR. – ONE NIGHT IN MIAMI

OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTRESS
ALEXIS CHIKAEZE – MISS JUNETEENTH
DOMINIQUE FISHBACK – JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH
KIKI LAYNE – THE OLD GUARD
TRACEE ELLIS ROSS – THE HIGH NOTE
GABOUREY SIDIBE – ANTEBELLUM

OUTSTANDING SCREENPLAY
THE FORTY-YEAR-OLD VERSION – RADHA BLANK
JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH – WILL BERSON & SHAKA KING
MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM – RUBEN SANTIAGO-HUDSON
ONE NIGHT IN MIAMI – KEMP POWERS
SOUL – PETE DOCTER, MIKE JONES & KEMP POWERS

OUTSTANDING DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
ALL IN: THE FIGHT FOR DEMOCRACY
JOHN LEWIS: GOOD TROUBLE
MLK/FBI
TIME
THE WAY I SEE IT

OUTSTANDING FOREIGN-LANGUAGE FILM
HIS HOUSE
NIGHT OF THE KINGS
THE LIFE AHEAD

OUTSTANDING ENSEMBLE
DA 5 BLOODS
JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH
MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM
MISS JUNETEENTH
ONE NIGHT IN MIAMI

OUTSTANDING VOICE PERFORMANCE
ANGELA BASSETT – SOUL
JAMIE FOXX – SOUL
MAYA RUDOLPH – THE WILLOUGHBYS
OCTAVIA SPENCER – ONWARD
PHYLICIA RASHAD – SOUL

OUTSTANDING SCORE
THE FORTY-YEAR-OLD VERSION – GUY C. ROUTTE
JINGLE JANGLE: A CHRISTMAS JOURNEY – JOHN DEBNEY
THE PHOTOGRAPH – ROBERT GLASPER
SOUL – TRENT REZNOR, ATTICUS ROSS & JON BATISTE
SYLVIE’S LOVE – FABRICE LECOMTE

OUTSTANDING ORIGINAL SONG
FIGHT FOR YOU – JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH
MAKE IT WORK – JINGLE JANGLE: A CHRISTMAS JOURNEY
POVERTY PORN – THE FORTY-YEAR-OLD VERSION
SPEAK NOW – ONE NIGHT IN MIAMI
TIGRESS & TWEED – THE UNITED STATES VS. BILLIE HOLIDAY

OUTSTANDING INDEPENDENT FEATURE
AMERICAN SKIN
FAREWELL AMOR
THE FORTY-YEAR-OLD VERSION
MISS JUNETEENTH
SYLVIE’S LOVE

OUTSTANDING SHORT FILM
BROTHER
CANVAS
THE CYPHER
GRAB MY HAND: A LETTER TO MY DAD
THE PANDEMIC CHRONICLES

OUTSTANDING INDEPENDENT DOCUMENTARY
MR. SOUL!
THE SIT-IN: HARRY BELAFONTE HOSTS THE TONIGHT SHOW
WITH DRAWN ARMS

OUTSTANDING EMERGING DIRECTOR
EUGENE ASHE – SYLVIE’S LOVE
RADHA BLANK – THE FORTY-YEAR-OLD VERSION
REGINA KING – ONE NIGHT IN MIAMI
SHAKA KING – JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH
CHANNING GODFREY PEOPLES – MISS JUNETEENTH

OUTSTANDING BREAKTHROUGH PERFORMANCE, MALE
YAHYA ABDUL-MANTEEN II – THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7
KINGSLEY BEN-ADIR – ONE NIGHT IN MIAMI
DUSAN BROWN – MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM
ELI GOREE – ONE NIGHT IN MIAMI
NTARE MWINE – FAREWELL AMOR

OUTSTANDING BREAKTHROUGH PERFORMANCE, FEMALE
RADHA BLANK – THE FORTY-YEAR-OLD VERSION
ALEXIS CHIKAEZE – MISS JUNETEENTH
ANDRA DAY – THE UNITED STATES VS. BILLIE HOLIDAY
DOMINIQUE FISHBACK – JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH
ZENDAYA – MALCOLM & MARIE

OUTSTANDING FIRST SCREENPLAY
THE FORTY-YEAR-OLD VERSION – RADHA BLANK
MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM – RUBEN SANTIAGO-HUDSON
MISS JUNETEENTH – CHANNING PEOPLES GODFREY
ONE NIGHT IN MIAMI – KEMP POWERS
SYLVIE’S LOVE – EUGENE ASHE

OUTSTANDING CINEMATOGRAPHY
DA 5 BLOODS
JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH
MALCOLM & MARIE
ONE NIGHT IN MIAMI
TENET

OUTSTANDING COSTUME DESIGN
JINGLE JANGLE: A CHRISTMAS JOURNEY
MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM
ONE NIGHT IN MIAMI
SYLVIE’S LOVE
THE UNITED STATES VS. BILLIE HOLIDAY

OUTSTANDING PRODUCTION DESIGN
JINGLE JANGLE: A CHRISTMAS JOURNEY
JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH
MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM
ONE NIGHT IN MIAMI
TENET

The Tournament beckons in the Mortal Kombat Trailer


Way back in 1995, Paul W. S. Anderson made his big break with the original Mortal Kombat film. 25 years is high time for an update. Produced by James Wan, this Mortal Kombat seems to be a little stronger with the story it’s sharing. So far, I’m liking the cast here. The Raid‘s Joe Taslim as Sub-Zero, Hiroyuki Sanada (Avengers: Endgame, The Wolverine) as Scorpion, True Blood’s Mechad Brooks as Jax, and those are just the names I recognize. I’m just happy they added Kung Lao to the mix.  I’m hoping there will be more fighting action in this version, and a great soundtrack to boot.

Directed by newcomer Simon McQuoid, Mortal Kombat’s release date is set for later this year, and since it’s a Warner Bros. Picture, there’s a good chance HBO Max may get it early as well.

Book Review: One Lonely Night by Mickey Spillane


As you may have heard, we’ve had a bit of inclement weather down here in Texas.  Tuesday morning, around one a.m., the house was surrounded by six inches of snow.  The temperature outside was 3 degrees.  Because the power was down (not due to the rolling blackouts that had paralyzed the rest of the state but instead because some idiot drove into a substation) it was about 40 degrees inside of the house.  It was cold, I was shivering, and I couldn’t sleep.  So, I decided to sit in bed and read a book.  Even though I had a flashlight with me, I quickly discovered that I didn’t need it.  The snow outside was so bright that it actually generated enough light that I was able to read by it.  That was actually kind of nice.

As for the book that I decided to read, it was an old paperback detective novel that I purchased at Half-Price Books a few years ago.  (Half-Price Books has a wonderful vintage section.)  Originally published in 1951, Mickey Spilliane’s One Lonely Night is one of the many books that Spillane wrote about the adventures of a tough New York-based private investigator named Mike Hammer. Many of those books were later adapted into films.  1955’s Kiss Me Deadly is probably the best-known.  (And, of course, the much-missed Gary Loggins was quite a fan of Mike Hammer and the author who created him.)

One Lonely Night opens at night and with Mike Hammer in a bad mood.  Earlier in the day, a judge scolded Hammer for being too quick to kill people, leaving Hammer to feel as if he was being portrayed as being some sort of blood-thirsty monster.  When night comes, Hammer is still wandering around Manhattan and obsessing on the fact that he’s somehow developed a reputation for being violent and quick to kill.  It’s interesting because, on the one hand, it’s hard not to feel bad for Hammer.  His feelings have obviously been hurt and, as he explains in his hard-boiled narration, he only kills people who have to be killed.  He doesn’t necessarily do it for fun though, at the same time, he doesn’t make any apologies for doing what he feels needs to be done.  On the other hand, as you read the book, you can’t help but notice that Hammer really does kill a lot of people.  When he’s not killing, he’s thinking about killing.  He’s obsessed with violence and, even if he’s found a way to justify that to himself, it’s still hard not to be slightly disturbed by such a one-track mind.  Hammer knows that he will never be able to escape his fearsome reputation and he also know that most people will never see him as being anything more than a murderer.  But, at the same time, he also understands that important role that he, in his own ruthless way, plays in maintaining the proper balance between good and evil.  He’s a former soldier, a World War II vet who one took as much pleasure in killing Nazis as he now takes in killing criminals.  He’s frightening but he’s necessary.

As for the book’s plot — well, it’s hard to know where to even begin.  It all starts with Hammer wandering around Manhattan and running into a mysterious woman being pursued by a male assassin.  The woman, apparently thinking that Hammer is another assassin, jumps off a bridge rather than accept Hammer’s help.  Hammer, who has just told us in glorious detail about how much he resents being called a killer, proceeds to kill the other man and then toss his body off the bridge as well.  Before Hammer throws away the dead man, he uses the pavement to scrape off the man’s fingerprints because …. well, he’s Mike Hammer and he does stuff like that.  (What’s interesting is that Hammer informs us about destroying the man’s fingerprints rather casually, as if it’s something that anyone would do under the circumstances.)  Through a convoluted series of events, this all leads to Hammer investigating a politician who is being blackmailed by his twin brother and also uncovering a secret communist spy ring and a plot to steal a lot of very sensitive documents.  Everything’s connected in its own strange way.  Hammer seduced two communists, kills a lot of people, and spends a lot of time talking about how much he hates the weaklings who, in his opinion, are destroying American society.  Hammer may not believe in much but he definitely believes in America.

The story is next to impossible to follow.  One gets the feeling that Spillane simply made it up as he was writing it, without really worrying about whether or not everything really added up.  When Spillane can’t come up with a logical way to connect the various elements of the story, he resorts to coincidence.  Mike Hammer has a talent for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.  And yet, the story’s incoherence is actually one of the reasons why One Lonely Night works.  The narrative messiness, mixed with Hammer’s unapologetically over-the-top tough guy narration, makes the story feel like almost a fever dream.  Hammer walks through an increasingly surreal version of New York and only he seems to understand just how ludicrous the world has become.  He’s neither as idealistic as his allies nor as cynical as his opponents.  Instead, he’s an untouchable avenger, moving through the chaos and simply accepting that nothing makes sense beyond his own primal instincts.  Hammer is the ultimate individualist, worrying only about himself and occasionally his secretary, Velda.

One Lonely Night is definitely a product of its time.  One can only imagine the howls of rage that would greet the book if it were written today.  In 1951, one could presumably get away with writing a novel about a private detective ruthlessly killing a bunch of political subversives.  Today, of course, the book’s storyline would probably lead to an angry twitter hashtag campaign.  Of course, what those readers would probably miss is that Spillane clearly doesn’t mean for us to take Mike Hammer all that seriously.  At it’s best, the book is almost a parody of the classic tough guy posturing that we associate with pulp fiction.  Hammer is so ruthlessly determined and his enemies are so incredibly weasely that it’s obvious that Spillane was having a bit of fun with both his readers and at the expense of his critics.  Just as Hammer spends the book complaining about a judge who accused him of being too quick to kill, Spillane seems to saying to the critics of his style of writing, “You think pulp detective stories are sordid?  I’ll show you sordid!”

I enjoyed One Lonely Night.  It kept me entertained during one very cold night.

Artwork of the Day: The Green Man (Artist Unknown)


Artist Unknown

Harold M. Sherman was a psychic researcher who was famed for his ESP experiments.  When he wasn’t trying to prove the existence of ESP, he was a writer who wrote in several different genres.  The Green Man is a satire about what happens when an alien lands on Earth in 1947 and interrupts a Notre Dame football game.  The Green Man was first published in 1946 and it’s been reprinted several times.  Sherman even wrote a sequel called The Green Man Returns.

The identity of the cover artist is unknown.

Music Video of the Day: Turn You Inside-Out by R.E.M. (1989, directed by James Herbert)


Sometimes, I feel like R.E.M. is the forgotten great band of the 80s and 90s.  They produced hit after hit and their songs were both catchy and intelligent but, after the band called it quits in 2011, it’s almost as if people have forgotten about just how great they were.  Maybe it’s because they were so catchy and radio-friendly that people seem to overlook the fact that their music epitomized two decades.

Turn You Inside-Out is one of my favorite R.E.M. songs.  The video is simple but effective.  Michael Stipe gets to show off his moves.  This video was directed by painter and filmmaker James Herbert.  This was the ninth video that he directed for R.E.M.  Sometimes a video director and a band just click and that appears to be the case with R.E.M. and Herbert.

Enjoy!