Sunday, July 30, 2017

Favorite Spots: Florida Keys

My first trip to Key West was in the early 90s in college, and I quickly fell in love with the quirky, sub-tropical, art and boat community. After 14 trips (as of 2016), here are some of my favorites places to stay, places to eat, and things to do.

Getting there

Fly into either Miami or Fort Lauderdale Intl (just seven miles from Miami Intl). Sometime the difference in airfare is dramatic. The drive is longer than you think. It can take a good three to four hours to drive from Florida City to Key West, depending on the time of day and the day you go. Friday through Sunday is sometimes a traffic nightmare. Problem is most keys are single lane, and if you get behind a truck pulling a boat, there are very few places to pass in some stretches. US-1 seems to always be under construction as they put in a new aqueduct system down to the keys. All fresh water in the keys is pumped down from Miami, and they construction delays can be irritating at times through the everglades.

Key Largo


Ocean Pointe Suites – You stay in resort owner’s condos. Most have ample space, with full kitchen (with dishes provided) and are clean. Gated community with private beach, bar, dock and pool. In the $155-$200 per night range, depending on the season.


Harriette’s for breakfast. Diner style. MM 95.7
Avoid Snapper’s. Food is only mediocre, and prices don’t make up for it.


John Pennekamp State Park – Boat/jetski rentals, beach, nature area with glass bottom boat tours. But for eco-tours, save your time go to Key West and hit the Marine Sanctuary off the tip of Key West. But Pennekamp is a nice place to spend some time walking around.



Cheeca Lounge and Spa – Close to a five-star resort, known for their spa relaxation packages. Very expensive, in the $400 - $500 per night range.  MM 82


Island Grill – Dockside restaurant with decent food, but the draw is live music while sitting either on their private beach or on their deck. Local hangout and a good place to mingle with locals. MM 85.5 on the left right over the bridge.

Braza Lena – Meat fest. Churrascaria style, Brazilian restaurant. Bring a big appetite. MM 83.5 by the Whale Harbor Inn.

Hungry Tarpon – Simple sandwich place, but the neat part is out back on the dock where you can buy a bucket of fish and feed the tarpon off the docks. Hundreds of them. If you are brave enough, you can hand feed them (instead of tossing the bait in), but be prepared to bleed if your reflexes suck. MM 77.5


Theatre of the Sea – We stopped but did not enter, due to the very high price ($50 per person). To swim with the dolphins, the price is $150 per person. But if you want guaranteed contact with dolphins or rays, this is a place to go.

Robbie’s – The marina that will rent you about anything you want to do on the water, plus hosts different eco and ocean tours. Still, best money is to head to Key West and experience the Marine Sanctuary.



Cabot’s has a wonderful reputation, but I’ve never eaten there. Phone: 305-743-6442, 725 11th St., Marathon.

Big Pine Key

Bahia Honda State Park – Beautiful beaches, and in the spring during low tide you can walk out into the ocean for hundreds of yards and still be in knee to waist-high water. Showers are available for washing off the sand after hitting the ocean.

Key West


If walking is your primary mode of transportation in Key West, look for a place on Duval Street. Duval is the center of Key West activity. Finding a hotel near the west end of Duval will put you within short walking distance of most water activities, restaurants and cultural activities. Parking around Duval is very scarce, so it benefits you to be able to walk to Duval. You can drive to the beaches where there is plenty of parking. But hotels around Duval are more expensive, so the bed and breakfast and boutique places can save you money. Some hotels around Duval I have stayed …

Pier House – Expensive ($300) but you are purchasing perfect location. Found the rooms to be average (motel-like), and their beach is very tiny. Nice pool.

La Concha – Right in the middle of Duval, cheaper ($250) than Pier House. Nice hotel, great rooftop bar. The best view on the island is from their rooftop bar, which is open to the public.

The second way to get around Key West is to rent scooters for the duration of your stay. Scooter parking is much easier to find around Duval than car parking, so it allows you to stay anywhere on the island and still be connected to Duval. Most hotels can hook you up with a scooter rental company. I rent scooters every trip and never drive the car while there. Some off-Duval hotels to consider …

Casa Marina – Waldorf Astoria resort. Expensive ($300+), but the place to be pampered. Great beach and rooms. Special occasion kind of place.

Southernmost – Cheaper ($200) still on the far east end of Duval. Watch out during spring break time. This is party central for college spring breakers. Long walk to the business end of Duval.

DoubleTree Grand Key Resort – My recommendation as the best place to stay away from Duval when considering cost and amenities. Costs during off-season are around $150. Awesome pool, but no beach. Hourly shuttle service takes guests to Duval or the beaches for free. Great place to stay if you fly direct into Key West and want to avoid renting a car.


There is an endless supply of great places to eat. Some of the more popular places fill up quickly in season, so reservations are recommended in season. In order of my favorites …

Camille’s – Favorite place on the island. This is a charming locals place. Popular breakfast location (Godiva white chocolate French toast is amazing), and great chef (Joel). Owner, Denise, is chatty and pleasant. Fresh seafood and inventing preparations. Pork in gorgonzola cream sauce is a Bon Appetite award winning dish. New dinner menu every day.

Blue Heaven – My no. 2 spot on the island. Food is great, but the atmosphere is better. Indoor and outdoor seating. Outdoor has live music as little chicks run around under your feet during your meal. This is right down the street from you (down Petronia at the corner of Thomas).

Better Than Sex – A dessert restaurant. It has to be seen to be believed. Very interesting concept.

BO’s Fish Wagon – Another great lunch spot. Best fish sandwiches on the island. Looks like a dive, and it is. But cheap and great food.

Sloppy Joe’s Bar – Open air island tradition. Constant live music, and kid friendly during the day. Bar food. Nice lunch spot. Everyone buys a t-shirt here. World famous.

El Siboney – Best Cuban food on the island. The pork is amazing. Long walk from Duval.

Antonia’s – Italian on Duval. I prefer this over La Trattoria. Both have a great menu, but we had a horrible service experience at La Trat, so we tend to go to Antonia’s now.

Le Petit Paris – Relatively new place on Duval. Menu is fusion. Great salads. Expensive. Might not be worth the price unless you value organic food and unique presentations. Side dishes are the best part of the meal.

Hog’s Breath Saloon – Island biker bar. Bar food. Good burgers. Another place you want to buy a t-shirt, if you are into biker culture.


National Marine Sanctuary – This is the protected area off the tip of Key West featuring mangroves, and great snorkeling and kayaking. Water is very shallow in some areas, and you can get up close with jellies (upside down jellies are cool), dolphin, shark and rays. Reefs are struggling due to global warming, and not as bright as they used to be. But still very nice snorkeling. There is a nautical map of this area on my office wall at Rea, so if you want to come back I can show you some places. Eco tours are very educational. I recommend Danger Charters (305-304-7999) for a great trip. Lots of companies do these tours, but I like Danger. You see the same people working the boats year after year. Do the full day and you can mark off kayaking, snorkeling and sailing from your list. Watch the weather forecast, find the best looking sunny day, and book in advance.

Dry Tortugas – A full-day trip out to Fort Jefferson National Park. Tour the fort and great beaches around the fort. If you have more money than time, you can skip the long boat ride and go out by sea plane.

Sunset Cruise – Many companies will do a couple hour sunset cruise that is very nice, some featuring dinner or a cheese and wine snack.

Sunset Celebration – At the west end of Duval is Mallory Square. It comes alive every evening with street performers and craft vendors. Every evening people gather to watch the sun set. It is a tradition to applaud when the sun does set.

Hemingway House – Great guided tours of the Earnest Hemingway house. The tour guides will mix stories of Hemingway and the island. It is nice to go here early in your visit, as it will help you recognize other things as you go on through the week.

Drag shows – Several places host nightly drag shows which are hilarious. If you hear of a drag benefit, definitely go. Benefits will be hosted for a variety of charities, and the auction items at these events are awesome. We’ve paid $25 for free meals at the best restaurants, and $40 for a $200 spa package.

Beaches – Key West beaches are not nice. The nicest is the Fort Zachary Taylor Beach, which is through the Truman Annex and has an admission fee. The large public beach is Smathers beach, where you will see the bulk of the people.  Since Key West is in the Gulf/Atlantic current, timing can make your beach experience good or bad. Tides will bring seaweed in with the tide during several times of the year. It can be a stinky mess until the island cleans the beaches. And during certain times of the year, Portuguese Man-of-War are swept past the Keys and you will need to be aware of them. The Keys post warning on the beaches, and they are easy to spot in the water.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Favorite Spots: Puerto Rico

After completing my third trip to the island, this time with my daughter, here are a few of my favorite places in Puerto Rico.

Mar Chiquita (18.472548, -66.484624) - An off the path locals beach. The beach is a crescent-shaped lagoon that is fed with ocean water through a small inlet. There is ample parking during the week. Weekends can be a little more crowded. No ammenities (no restrooms). Bring surf shoes to explore the rocks along the ocean side. Plenty of wildlife. Octopus inhabit the rocks in the lagoon, and we once saw an octopus nab a crab about 10 feet from us.

Arecibo Observatory - If you were a fan of the movie "Contact", take a geek visit to the Arecibo radio telescope. Still in operation, this now national park is still the world's largest radio telescope, with the reflector dish carved out of the top of a mountain. Caution, might be a tough climb if you have been at the beach swimming all day. The walk from the parking lot up to the observatory is about 200 yards at a 40 degree incline.

El Yunque National Rainforest (northeast side of the island) - The only rainforest in the US National parks system. You check in at the base of the mountain and get maps and information there. Then a winding drive up the mountain will take you past many natural wonders, with stops along the way for food. Drive up to km 11.8 and park to take the La Mina trail to the waterfall. The La Mina trail is 0.7 miles (1.2 km) long, descending from 2,132 feet (650 meters) to 1,640 feet (500 meters). Hiking time is approximately 30 to 45 minutes, one-way. This trail is rated as challenging in difficulty. It has several sets of winding concrete stairs that can make the return trip somewhat arduous. Take a bag with a good pair of surf shoes. You'll need the hiking shoes or tennis shoes for the hike, but must have surf shoes for the waterfall. Once you reach the waterfall, change your shoes and take a swim under the waterfall. The rocks are rather jagged under the falls, so make sure to take surf shoes or hiking sandals you can get wet. You will likely get wet. It is a rainforest, and a heavy mist is rather constant, with periods of dense showers that pop up out of nowhere.

Bio Bay (Fajardo) -  One of two places in Puerto Rico where you can experience bioluminescence, the other being on the southern side of the island near Ponce.There is actually a third off the eastern side of the island on the island of Vieques, and it has the reputation of being the best. But it requires a boat charter to get the the island (which I hear is beautiful). Several kayak companies to choose from to take kayaks into the bay to view the bioluminescent dinoflagellates. Viewing varies on moon phase and weather forecast. You used to be able to swim in the bio bay, but they do not allow this anymore.

El Morro (San Juan) - If you want a history lesson, visit this 16th century fortress overlooking the San Juan harbor. I was amazed to see the sheer mass of this fortress. The thickness of the walls alone is a marvel to see. There is also an old graveyard. Plus some  of the most beautiful views of San Juan.

Old San Juan - Safe during the day, the area has shops and restaurants worthy of an afternoon visit to view architecture and mix with locals.

Toro Negro - Through the center of the island along Route 143 is the forest of Toro Negro. The good: The views are awesome, and in places you can see the entire island. Plenty of areas to pull off and go hiking or take photos. Lots of wildlife (few snakes -- there are no poisonous snakes in Puerto Rico) The bad: The drive is brutal, especially on non-drivers. Imagine two hours of hairpin turns. This drive up to Toro Negro will kill and entire day, and leave you at the end not wanting to get back into a car for a while. I would recommend if in Puerto Rico for a few days and really like hiking.

La Torre (18.457206, -65.985654) - A local spot with handcrafted items and roadside food made form scratch by the locals. Just outside of San Juan, east past the airport on Route 187. You'll know it because one minute you will see the hotels and resorts, and the next it will appear like you have driven into a third world country. Food is amazing and cheap. Note: Some vendors do not speak English.

Hotels: I usually stay on business at the Marriot Isla Verde Beach Resort in Isla Verde (the area by the airport). Nice hotel in a good spot. Casino on site. And they run free dancing lessons one night per week. I have also stayed at the Wyndham Grand Rio Beach Resort. It was nice, and a good launching point for El Yunque. The DoubleTree downtown San Juan is also good, has a great pool, and is cheap for a San Juan hotel.

Cautions: Not everyone in Puerto Rico is bilingual, especially the further you get away from San Juan. San Juan can be rough at night in the Old San Juan area. Get full insurance on your rental car. It seems customary to bump people in traffic (seen it a lot). Driving common courtesies are lacking. No one uses turn signals, and everyone drives unsafely. It can get scary sometimes. Get the extra insurance. If you are driving outside of San Juan, get the toll pass from the rental car company. Do not rent from "E-Z Rental Cars". Junk cars and lots of problems. Speeding carries hefty penalties.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

That explains it, cats are autistic!

Being the former spouse of a special education teacher, I've had the pleasure over the years of meeting some wonderful students with a variety of life challenges. Watching one of our cats sitting at a window making clicking noises at a bird outside, I was struck with an epiphany ... cats are autistic. High functioning, no doubt. But autistic to the core.

Let's look at some of the common signs of autism in humans, and it will become crystal clear to you too.

* Acts as if he/she is deaf - How many times do you have to say it? Get off the kitchen table!

* Resists learning - You might say, well, they poop in a box. That's just because they refuse to flush, so it's not like you are going to train them to use the big potty.

* Has no fear of real danger - I can hit you with a shoe from 20 feet, but you still insist on chewing all of our plants to nubs. Right in front of us.

* Resists change in daily routine - Why isn't the window open today? It was yesterday. Why not today? How can I lay in a closed window? I think I will stand here and ponder why it is closed until you open it again. That will be soon, right?

* Uses people as "tools" to satisfy their needs - Time to wake up and recognize my presence human. I'm awake, so therefore, you should be too? Here, let me help you up by laying on your face. As you can tell, I just went to the bathroom. By the way, the box needs some work. 

* Does not use their finger to point or show you things - I've always thought if cats could use their middle finger, oh, would they use it!

* Hyperactive - Fly! FLY! There is a fly in the house! 

* Sensory issues - Even though I don't have claws anymore, I can't help but try to sharpen my non-existent claws on the edge of the chair for three straight minutes.

* Unable to use their imagination during play (i.e. pretending a banana is a telephone) - Right. It's not that they can't pretend a banana is a telephone, but their refusal to even care there is a banana at all.

* May become angry or upset if their daily routine changes in any way - I noticed the litter box was getting a little full. As a reminder, I left you a little memo on the carpet right in front of the box. 

* May focus on only a small part of a toy or object - Maybe if I lay here and stare at the little bell inside the plastic whiffle ball, it will come running out to play with me! Or maybe it can't get out. Like I can't get outside the house. So ... I AM the bell ... let me ponder this for a while.

* Obsessive attachment to objects - This is my paperwad. There are many like it, but this one is MINE. My paperwad is my best friend. It is my life. I must master my paperwad as I must master my life. My paperwad without me is useless. Without my paperwad, I am useless!

So clearly, cats are firmly rooted in the autism spectrum. For my next thesis, I shall discuss the widespread mental retardation of dogs.

Written by: Bob Richards
Originally published: May 7th, 2009

Thursday, January 15, 2015

And the Oscar goes to ...

With the Oscar nominations coming out today, it gave me a little inspiration to jot down the movies I have seen this year, and make an attempt to rank them on how much I enjoyed them. Even after seeing 36 films this year, I still only managed to see two films that ended up with Best Picture nominations. Part of the issue is the lack of a true art theater in my area, as the big chains tend to put independent films on short runs, one screening per day, usually before 7:00 pm. It is a miracle if I hit the theater before 9:00 pm, and seven of the movies below were midnight showings. Fewer crying babies and phone surfers at midnight showings.

The Academy validated my thoughts on my two favorite movies from 2014, The Grand Budapest Hotel and Boyhood. Seeing they only filled eight of the ten available nomination slots for Best Picture, I do think they overlooked Interstellar. I was sure this was the year of Tilda Swinton, as she had a flawless performance in Only Lovers Left Alive, and a small part as a lonely heiress in The Grand Budapest Hotel. But alas, no nominations. The role that should have landed her a nod was in Lovers, and Jim Jarmusch should have been given a Best Director nod too. So in the absence of any nominations for Tilda, I'll wholeheartedly throw my support behind the best supporting actress role of Meryl Streep, which had the most memorable performance of the year singing "Stay With Me" in Into the Woods. It was perfection.

Below are the roughly 36 feature films I saw in 2014, listed in order of affection. I have a feeling I missed a few. But I guess if they were more memorable, I wouldn't forget them, right?

The Grand Budapest Hotel
Under the Skin
Guardians of the Galaxy
Only Lovers Left Alive
Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
Sin City: A Dame to Kill For
The Lego Movie

John Wick
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
The November Man
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1
Heaven Is for Real
The Fault in Our Stars
That Awkward Moment

If I Stay
The Tale of Princess Kaguya
X-Men: Days of Future Past
God's Not Dead
Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit
Into the Woods
Dumb and Dumber To
Edge of Tomorrow
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Million Dollar Arm
I, Frankenstein
Palo Alto
The Nut Job
Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones
The Boxtrolls

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Nexus 7 (2013) auto-rotate fix

Guess what happened three days after the end of my 1 year warranty on my Nexus 7? Auto-rotate stopped working. Restart would reorient the screen to portrait, but the only way my Nexus 7 2013 (Lollipop 5.0.1) would flip to landscape was if an app forced it into landscape. Then it took a restart to get it back to portrait.

Researched online and started with downloading "Check My Android" app from the Play Store. ran the sensor diagnostic and found out sensors 1,5, and 7 were not functioning. This includes the accelerometer that reorients the screen. All indications were a hardware issue, out of warranty. I had seen the video of cracking open the back and placing a shim or tape over the ribbon cable, but decided to try everything I could before cracking open the back. And I found something simple that worked for me, and led me to believe this may not be a hardware issue at all.

The process that worked for me ... 

1) Go into settings under Accessibility, and turn off auto-rotate
2) Power down and restart your Nexus, 
3) Go back into settings under Accessibility, and turn auto-rotate back on

Magically, it is back to normal. I even immediately ran my sensor diagnostics and sensors 1, 5, and 7 are all back online. Hope it prevents someone else from cracking open their Nexus too.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Movie review: "Palo Alto"

Gia Coppola's "Palo Alto" is a mess. A few great shots, but it has no real plot, and the individual stories weave in and out, then apart at the end with none coming to any kind of conclusion. It just seems to try to make a point that all teen boys are obsessed with pot and alcohol, while teenage girls love smoking and fellatio. There is little comment of the morality of the actions of the teens. Everyone knows that person that just never seems to learn from experience, and lacks that voice that steps in to whisper "This probably isn't a good idea". Every character in this movie is like that, even the adults. I feel like I'm dumber for watching it. I don't see this as entirely Coppola's fault. The movie was made from a series of short scripts written by James Franco, who seems to be quite an uninteresting writer by this source material alone. 

Because of the Coppola name, it will get mentioned come Oscar time. THAT, would be a travesty. If any awards are handed out, it will be on individual performances alone as an act of sympathy. Val Kilmer's son Jack has a future in movies. And Zoe Levin's performance is subtlety good.

Theater, or wait for DVD? DVD
Watchability? Once

15 Movies That Stick With Me

As a fan of movies in general, I was recently challenged by Chris O'Donnell to come up with 15 movies I would always stick with me (good or bad). Being a refreshingly broad request, I didn't have to worry about coming up with some definitive top 15 of all time. Just 15 movies. So here is my list of 15 movies that have stood the test of time with me.

“Alien” (1979) - The first of two Ridley Scott movies on the list. The scariest movie I had seen at the time, and the scene in the tunnels when the crew is watching the blip approach Dallas in the tunnel is still the most suspenseful scene I have seen. Killing Dallas, the ship’s captain, right away told you no one was safe. The set was dark, and the pace was slow, creating in the viewer a shared sense of the inevitability of death when the goal of every character in the film is to eventually simply survive.

“Angel-A” (2005) – Luc Besson’s (director of “Leon: The Professional” and the original French “La Femme Nikita”, two other great movies) story about an angel fallen to Earth to help a man learn to love himself again. Shot in black and white with a great soundtrack. A movie of emotional moments that could have had a bit better of an ending. Rie Rasmussen is stunning in this movie.

“Blade Runner” (1982) – The set design was so different, you wanted the movie to stop so you could just look around and see all the things that were going on. Many, many screenings later and you are still wondering if all your theories are correct. Soundtrack is perfection.

“Crash” (1996) – One of two David Cronenberg movies on my list. Even now I can’t imagine anyone pulling off a movie based on a science fiction writer’s novel about symphorophilia other than Cronenberg. It is an erotic (borderline pornographic), disturbing ride through the mind of a fetishist.

“The Dark Knight” (2008) – I never liked any of the previous big screen Batman movies, because no one could quite nail the idea that the Dark Knight called for, well, a dark character. Similar issue to why there are no Star Wars movies on this list. I can’t buy into a dark side when it isn’t particularly dark. And it had muppets. Heath Ledger’s Joker was nothing short of brilliant, and the screenplay finally began to give some depth to the Batman character with play on subjects of chaos and morality.

“Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” (1986) – Limiting myself to just one John Hughes movie on this list, at the top of the heap is Ferris. Eternally quotable, with characters you know from your own high school days. The most interesting theme to me is one of parental isolation. Ferris dances around the rather oblivious state of his parents, strengthened by their ideal impressions of him. While Cameron’s character seems rather stunted by his father’s ability to ignore him. Which just adds to the “Ferris Bueller/Fight Club” theory that Ferris might have just been a figment of Cameron’s imagination after all. Not that I believe it, but it is interesting to re-watch the film through Cameron’s perspective instead of Ferris’.

“Heavy Metal” (1981) – The year was 1981. And here was this animated space movie with a soundtrack heavy with guitar rock. Had to see it. So we talked my father into taking us to the drive-in where it was the second movie on the bill. I still remember the silence in the car as my friend Ronnie and I watched from the backseat with my father in the front. As animated characters suffered spectacular deaths and many, many, got naked. (Cue the Don Henley song “End of the Innocence”) . This was like no other animation I had ever seen. And suddenly, cartoons were cool again.

“A History of Violence” (2005) – Cronenberg flick number two. No flaws in any of the acting in this movie. And despite having a great plot, this is more a film about characters. And Maria Bello. To be a lesbian in real life, and do the scene on the stairs with Viggo Mortensen, places her as the best actress ever in my book. That has to be one of the hottest scenes I've ever watched in a movie. A movie about not being able to escape the world you were born into, and how those around you that you love along the way get swept away in the wake as you run from your past. The movie was also set in Indiana.

“In Bruges” (2008) – There aren’t many Colin Farrell movies on my watchable list. But if you want to see him shine, this is the movie to see. I like this movie in so many ways. It is a thriller with very dark moments, but supremely funny in many areas. In a short amount of time you learn all you need to know about each of the characters, and how they handle the ethics of being killers for hire. And if you ever wanted to know how to write a trip to a European city off your taxes, this is how you do it. It showcases the city better than a PBS travelogue could.

“Leaving Las Vegas” (1995) – I give Nicolas Cage a lot of crap. Mostly, because he deserves it as a terrible overactor. But he has made one good movie, and this is it. The story of a guy slowly drinking himself to death. The movie is so well done, that you don’t want to drink alcohol for a very long time after seeing it. And I like movies that influence you after you have seen them. A two-character story of Cage’s “Ben” and Elizabeth Shue’s “Sera”, where Shue’s character gets pulled into this downward spiral and how she accepts her role in the whole thing.

“Monty Python and the Holy Grail” (1975) – Everyone knows a quote from this movie, and it sets the bar for skit comedy rolled up into a movie. So many insanely funny parts, while leaving you an expert on elderberries and the differences between African and European swallows.

“Princess Bride” (1987) – A film that pleases across all generations. The fairy tale story of true love, sprinkled with a bit of realism when Fred Savage’s character and Peter Falk’s characters add commentary over the top. “Jesus, Grandpa, what did you read me this thing for?” is quite possibly the most genius line in the movie.

“Momento” (2000) –The first Christopher Nolan screenplay I had seen, and is a big reason why I do not miss the projects he is connect to these days. You have a story about a guy who cannot form new memories in search of one of the killers of his wife. Nolan puts you right in the story by interweaving scenes from the past with the future, with both story lines converging at the end of the movie. Honorable mention to “Reservoir Dogs” for movies that play with time to tell a great story.

“Mulholland Drive” (2001) – I believe Roger Ebert said it best when he described the scenes in this film as opening elevator doors that only reveal there is no elevator car there. It is oddly engrossing as you try to hang on to an idea that you can detect a main plot from this movie. David Lynch at his best. “Blue Velvet” is a close second.

“Roxanne” (1987) – My ultimate date movie. Steve Martin is perfect in this modern day Cyrano de Bergerac tale, where the woman of everyone’s affections initially puts Martin in the friend zone and chooses looks, but the odd looking Martin wins the girl in the end. Some beautiful writing and memorably poetic. Another honorable mention Steve Martin romantic comedy:  “LA Story”.

“Se7en” (1995) – The movie that definitively said nothing was off-limits in movies anymore. While you could believe Kevin Spacey’s character could do the things he did, you never thought a movie would go as far as “the box”. It physically made me ill. I watch it, then can’t watch it for a couple years. Then I have to watch it again.

For Chris O'Donnell's list, follow this link to O'Donnell Web .