Last night I couldn't sleep and Encore was showing Peter Bogdanovich's The Last Picture Show.
I'd never seen this bleak, noirish masterpiece and was completely blown away. Sure, Larry McMurtry, but this film, the quiet aches, the twisted desperation, the teen angst, Clu Gulager, that soundtrack. Big breaks for young actors. Quiad, Bridges, Shepherd... and then I was trying to place the character Sonny. Jumped online and realized it was Sam Bottoms. The Outlaw Josey Wales, "Lance on the forward fifties..." from Apocalypse Now. Sam Bottoms died of brain tumor a few years ago. (UPDATE: Timothy Bottoms starred in it but his brother Sam had a small role (no lines) as Billy not Sonny...(See Comments) Thanks, Cormac...).
Back in '97, '98...not sure...I was visiting an old friend scratching through the thickets and inevitable punches out in Hollywood. He took me to a family barbecue at some friend of his who worked as an assistant director. It was a modest affair, rancher home, the valley. Lamb chops were on the menu, and I agreed to help out grilling the meat. In a fog of rosemary sizzle, I remember hearing someone on the other side the grill commenting and how good the food looked and smelled. He introduced himself as Sam and we stood around the grill talking about my recent trip to Baja, Mexico. Sure, I knew who he was but I kept my knowing who he was mute. People are people, and he was producer then, and it was a family thing. We played board games with his kids. Oddest thing was at one point Sam with exasperated eyes commented on something strange that happened, saying that it was like something from, "the movie." Someone else said, "Yeah. The movie." Odd man out, I had to ask which one. Nearly simultaneously all the adults at the table said, "Apocalypse..." and laughed this creepy, unnerving laugh. More wide eyes. Later Sam said it was like this incredible dream and endless nightmare, a lost decade. Guess everybody lost a piece of themselves on FFC's vision.
KIERAN SHEA’s fiction has appeared in dozens of venues including Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, Thuglit, Dogmatika, Word Riot, Plots with Guns, Beat to a Pulp, Crimefactory, and Needle: A Magazine of Noir ...as well as in some beefy-looking anthologies most of which will make you question the tether of his shiny, red balloon. To his self-deprecating astonishment he's also been nominated for the Story South’s Million Writers Award twice without sending the judges so much as a thank you note. He co-edited the satiric transgressive fiction collection D*CKED: DARK FICTION INSPIRED BY DICK CHENEY and his debut novel KOKO TAKES A HOLIDAY is out now from Titan Books. Kieran divides his time between 38°58′22.6″N- 76°30′4.17″W and 39.2775° N, 74.5750° W.