And, while he didn't, I'd like to mention his book, Blood on Blood which he wrote with Frank Zafiro and is out from Snubnose Press (for purely unbiased reasons, I recommend all their books).
Blood on Blood at Amazon
When I asked Ron if he wanted to do the guest post thing and he said yes, I was thrilled. Our little blog, Hardboiled Partners in Crime can use all the draw we can get and Ron is graciously providing us that opportunity. He’ll write something kickass and that part will be great. That part, cool.
I’m always worried about my part of the bargain. What the hell am I going to post about over at Criminal Thoughts? What brilliant piece about books or writing am I going to offer? I could push the new book but damn as a lot of you know, after a while people - myself included, a break from that sell job is needed. It’s nice sometimes to just write or talk about something totally unrelated. I’m sure I’ll get right back to hawking the book from every internet street corner I can find, but for here, and for right now…I’m going to talk about a movie I saw this week. I don’t write movie reviews worth a shit but this isn’t really a review anyway, maybe more like a recount of it.
I travel for work frequently and I watch a lot of movies in hotel rooms because of it. Some are classics, some are enjoyable and entertaining action films, but they never even got close to a nomination. Others are sleepers I’ve never seen, or favorites I haven’t seen for a while. Some are so bad that even I could have done a better job producing. That’s bad.
So there I am earlier this week on yet another business trip. I had gotten back to the room from having a successful and yet fully unsatisfying dinner with the customer and my broker. I wrote a little bit more of a story I’m working on, fiddled around with some work related crap, watched a baseball game and then flipped around the channels when the game ended.
If there was ever a guy that makes me stop channel surfing, it’s Tommy Lee Jones. For me, him and Duvall can stand in an empty white room with no furniture or a brown and flat plowed field in December - and be interesting to me. All he has to do is put his hands on his hips and lean on one hip a little and stare at nothing. So, I stopped right there and started watching a movie I had never seen, which is saying something. I would find out at the end it was called Company Men. Filmed in 2010. The cast was strong. Jones of course, Ben Affleck, Chris Cooper, Kevin Costner, Craig T. Nelson and Rosemarie DeWitt. Affleck for me has always been hit and miss but in this movie he was the best I’ve ever seen him.
It centered around a group of people working corporate level jobs at the same company. It was about people losing those jobs, losing their sense of identity, losing everything. It was painful, familiar, awful, gut wrenching stuff particularly because I’ve been there done that. I could relate. I have felt that anger and hatred and fear. It was deeply personal and hit on a still raw nerve.
This movie was about humble people with rough backgrounds that succeeded and over achieved. It was about other people with silver spoons and greed and no conscience. It was about bad management and people becoming just numbers. It was about people swallowing pride and realizing that you had better fucking do something and do it quick. It was about the loneliness, the fear and a crippling sense of failure. It was about letting your wife down and worrying about what your kids think of you and a hundred other things that happen when it all goes away. It was about what losing your job does to you on the inside. Like I said it was personal. I just couldn’t stop watching the damn thing. It was a painful reminder of not long ago.
Six years ago in fact. For years, I had come up a very long and very rough ladder in my career. My dad was a bricklayer. The most solid, honest, hardworking guy you could ever imagine. We didn’t have a lot of money to be sure. I went from sacking groceries in high school all the way to VP. Took a long time. The age old story. I had chinks in the armor though, as everyone does and I didn’t have a college degree. I was known for speaking my mind in meetings. I was no spring chicken. And then, I was gone one day. Bang, done.
Luckily we had always lived conservatively, we didn’t over extend. That helped for a while and it was needed because for the next year and a half, almost two years it was odd jobs. I wasn’t being picky. I had no degree which was huge and I was over well over forty which is nothing really but it’s something recruiters look for even if they deny it. In the end, it didn’t matter how conservative we had lived all those years because it got to the point where we had to sell a house that I loved. The house was not huge or expansive, but it was a house I loved dammit, a house I wanted to someday die in.
Everything seemed lost. Everything in my life that I gave a damn about, the truly important things, seemed to be slowly going to hell. Then just as the chair had been pulled out from under me, it was slid back in. I was lucky, damn lucky. I landed another job doing basically what I had been doing, in the same industry. I was grateful beyond words, but the fear will never leave. I’m old in terms of a career and everyone is expendable. I just need to keep it going for a few more years, then we’ll be alright I guess.
So, there I sat, transfixed in that Florida hotel room. I watched this tremendous, wonderful, horrible movie. The fine acting. The all too familiar scenes and painful dialogue. I’m confidently betting that there are some others out there that haven’t caught this movie either, but it would hit a chord like it did with me. Maybe I’m biased and have too much skin in the game so to speak, but I would highly recommend this as worthy way to spend two hours. I think you’ll love it.
Thanks for having me Ron, I appreciate it.