Carrie Fisher passed away on Tuesday at the age of 60 following a heart attack last week, and the outpouring of grief and mourning I saw online was one of the more universal and all-encompassing I’ve seen over the past year. Not that I was particularly surprised by that, of course. Because beyond her ever-present and perpetually-celebrated role as Leia Organa, Fisher had contributed tremendous comedic performances in numerous films and TV shows and been a much beloved writer and mental health advocate, and taken as a whole there was a facet to her for everyone. And while I’m not nearly familiar enough with Fisher’s other work (to my chagrin), how could I not eulogize my first favorite heroine?
Our cat Sam passed away yesterday at 12:31 PM. The people at the Angellicle Cats Rescue, where we found Sam, called him “Sam Diamond” because of the white pattern in his chest fur. Shiran’s niece and nephew called him “Mar Sam” which is Hebrew for Mr. Sam. The paperwork at our vets’ offices listed him as Sam Hodgdon, because he was a part of our family. To me and Shiran, he was just our buddy Sammy.
There were spots in our apartment that were always Sam’s: the space under the hutch I used for a bookshelf, on top of the perpetual pile of laundry next to the dresser, at the base of our dining room table, in the doorway between the living room and the entrance hallway. And he was at home on the furniture most of all, readily jumping onto our armchair, our couch, or our bed, curling up against the pillows or adjusting any nearby blankets to maximize his own comfort. These were his spaces, more than anyone else’s, and you always knew right where to turn if you wanted to see our boy Sam.
Now they’re all just desperate voids where Sammy should be. And it doesn’t stop there. The magnets on the fridge from the pet store and the vets’ offices, the rack of cat food on the window sill, the collection of toys and treats on the table, the litter box against the wall: they’re all gone too, and our apartment just feels bare without them. It doesn’t even feel like an apartment, but rather a collection of empty spaces lacking the one thing that linked them all together.
I was never an animal person in my childhood, and before I adopted Sam I would’ve never guessed how much a 15-pound cat could fill an apartment… or a life. But now everything feels like a hollow afterthought to our little pal, and how wonderful it was to have him in our family.
Of course, things will get better; as time goes on the empty spaces will feel less so, the yawning hole in my heart will heal, and I’ll be left with all the nice memories and photographs that Shiran and I can reminisce over and cherish until we join Sam on the other side. But for now, the world is gonna be a little less bright and a little more quiet, and I’ll pay that piper in a heartbeat because having that mischievous little cat in my life the past two-and-a-half years was worth it.
Because we didn’t lose enough definitive talents this week, Alan Rickman has passed away. While I might have only a passing knowledge of David Bowie with which to remember him, for Alan Rickman his greatest hits are indelibly burned into my brain. And how could they not be? The man was a brilliant actor with a wholly unique presence, a performer who was destined to be iconic. He played some of the all-time great pop culture characters of the last thirty years, and cinema is so much richer for it.
Art by Dave McCaig
It was a shock to the world when we heard late last night that David Bowie had passed away from cancer at the age of 69. Not just because he had kept his 18-month battle completely hidden, or because he had just released a new album and launched an Off-Broadway musical. What was shocking about the death of Bowie was that he always seemed like an honest-to-God immortal, a constant in pop culture over the span of several generations. And while Bowie himself might be gone, there’s no doubt he’ll continue to be a constant for generations to come.
In storytelling terms, “pulp” has some very specific connotations. It suggests hard-boiled, lewd, violent, visceral, archetypal storytelling that is driven by a base need for entertainment value above all else. With that in mind, I think it’s safe to say that the late, great Tony Scott was one of the premier pulp filmmakers of his time. His films are designed to entertain first and foremost, often in the most aggressive and surface-level ways possible. But while Scott was always known as a style-first filmmaker, I submit that he knew damn well what it took to tell a proper story, and more often than not he told them as well as any of his peers, if not better. Following the third anniversary of his tragic suicide, I thought it was worth looking back at his films and reminding people how good a filmmaker Tony Scott really was.
You don’t really expect much to stand out on Super Bowl Sunday that isn’t football related, and yet yesterday felt defined by the news that Philip Seymour Hoffman had died. For anyone that’s a fan of film, it was truly heartbreaking news, something that stunned and saddened me instantly. Hoffman was certainly a modern acting giant, the sort of actor that lent some legitimacy to every project he did (there are very few duds on his resume, as far as I’ve seen). In considering his career, I tried to remember what my first exposure to his work would have been (I’d heard about Capote but I think it might’ve been Mission: Impossible III). But I soon found myself drowning in memories of great performances of all different kinds, while also being reminded of all the movies of his I’ve yet to see. So when I woke up today, I felt compelled to revisit a couple of great performances of his, performances that show the great range he had, and the unique vulnerability that was a constant in his whole career.