Monthly Archives: May 2015

The Beautiful Dead Girl – part 4 – Conclusion – The Bird Woman

One the final day of his trial for murder, Derek Manning was feeling very confident. Against the advice of his lawyer, he was going to take the witness stand. He knew that he could charm the jury into forgetting all about the finger print evidence against him.

Derek was not at all afraid of the prosecutor. She was a small timid-looking woman named Elvira Evans. Who the hell would name a kid Elvira anyway? Elvira reminded Derek of an underfed little bird nervously scuttling around the courtroom.  She has a squeaky voice and an annoying thick Bronx accent. The Jury would hate her and love Derek.

It never occurred to Derek that a tiny unattractive woman with an annoying speaking voice did not get to become a top prosecutor in New York City without being pretty damn good at her job.  That’s why he was taken completely by surprise at the Prosecution’s first question.

“Mr. Manning. Are your testicles misshapen?”

“What the Fuck?” replied Derek before his lawyer even had a chance to object.

“Objection Your Honor!”, said the Defense attorney. “This obscenely personal line of questioning has nothing to do with the case at hand.”

“It is completely relevant,” stated Elvira calmly. ” We have heard previous testimony that steroids were being stolen from the hospital where the murder victim worked as a nurse.  It is obviously to anyone looking at Mr. Manning that he is an Extreme Body Builder.  We believe that the stolen steroids were for the use of Mr. Manning. One of the sides effects of extended steroid use is misshapen testicles. ”

Judge Hewett thought about this for a full minute before saying, “Objection Overruled. The witness will answer the question.”

“Mr. Manning. Would you like me to repeat the question?” asked Elvira.

“No lady, “answered Derek in an annoyed tone. “My balls are just fine.”

Elvira went to the Prosecution’s table and retrieved a thick document and handed it to Derek. “Mr. Manning this is the report of the physician who was assigned to examine you after your arrest. Please read the fifth paragraph on page seven. I have marked it with a highlighter.”

Derek rummaged through the report for a couple of minutes before he found the right spot.  The in a subdued tone he read out loud, “The subject’s testicles are smaller than normal for his body size, and are not of normal shape. This condition is most frequently associated with the extended use of steroids by athletes; especially body-builders.”

Elvira took the report back from Derek and handed it to the Bailiff. “Your Honor we would like to make this as Prosecution exhibit J-73.”

Then Elvira turned back to Derek and continued the attack. “Mr. Manning. How do you explain that report.? Would you like to revise your testimony? Perjury is a crime Mr. Manning.”

This was not going at all the way Derek had planned. The Defense attorney, Mr. Cromwell was trying not to look worried, but was not succeeding.

“MY BALLS ARE JUST FINE! I DON ‘T GIVE A SHIT ABOUT WHAT SOME QUACK DOCTOR SAYS! ” shouted Derek. He shouted it so loudly that the police in the courtroom instinctively moved forward in case they had to restrain Derek.

But the Prosecution was just beginning, “Mr. Manning two minutes ago   you appeared to be a calm,  rational individual. Then you instantly became a very scary person. Is this an example of what is known as ‘roid  rage’? Do you often have uncontrollable outbursts like this?”

Derek struggled to get himself under control. “I do not have roid-rage. Any man would be angry if he was accused of having small funny looking balls.  Any man would react the way I did, at what you said.”

“Is that what happened? Did Kira make fun of your small testicles? Or was it the fact that she refused to continue stealing drugs for you? Is that why you snapped and killed her?”

“Objection!” called out the Defense Attorney. “Prosecution is simply speculating and making a summation.”

“Sustained.” answered the Judge. “The Jury will ignore the Prosecution’s last remark.”

But of course the Jury could not ignore it. They no longer regarded Derek as the handsome young man whose lover had tragically committed suicide. They suddenly saw him as a pumped up dangerous steroid freak who could at any time turn violent.

The Prosecution kept Derek on the stand for another three hours. Elvira systematically went through every piece of evidence all over again. By the time Derek left the witness stand he was shaking and sweating profusely.

The Defense Attorney, Mr. Cromwell gave a brilliant closing argument. He stated  that there  was no real physical evidence that Kira had actual been murdered. He tried to cast doubt on the finger print evidence on the computer keyboard.

Of course the closing arguments did not really matter any more. The Jury has seen Derek for the monster he really was.  It took the Jury only 25 minutes to come back with a guilty verdict. Reporters on scene thought this might be a record for New York City.

As the police were leading Derek out of the courtroom, he made a lunge for the Prosecutor Elvira Evans. Derek was so strong it took four very large policemen to wrestle him to the ground.

However, what people remembered most was not Derek’s lunge, but Elvira’s reaction to the attack. She stood there totally  unafraid and unflinching. She did not even take a step back.

The conclusion to the murder trial dominated the media for the next week. There must have been hundreds of stories on T.V. in the newspapers and on the internet about it. However, what everyone remembered the most was the banner headline in the New York Post  which read:

Elvira Grabs Killer by the Balls!”

Three years  later Derek was in prison while his attorney periodically  filed motions for appeal. The media had long since moved on from the story.

The big story in the news was the New York Mayoral election and the strong possibility of the election of the City’s first woman mayor.  All the polls showed that Elvira Evans would win the election, largely due to the overwhelming support of women voters.

If you missed the beginning of the story, be sure to read:

 

 

 

Discover the writings of Julia Anne Colette Szczecinski

One of the great pleasures of having this website it that we get to meet new talent. Julia Anne Colette Szczecinski is currently working on  some new poems and a novel, and was generous  enough to send East Coast Stories some excerpts.

Julia describes her writing style as a “cross between Jennifer Belle, Henry Miller, Jack Kerouac and Joan Didion“. However, I believe Julia Szcsecinski has a wonderfully unique style all her own.

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The Szczecinski style is a combination of stream of consciousness and ADHD. Her writing perfectly captures the manic state into which authors enter when they are trying to create a new work. The writer’s mind jumps in a million directions at once as the writer tries to decide what are great ideas to be preserved, and what are just random thoughts to be discarded. Julia also describes the absolute need  to write.  These conflicting feelings can be seen in the following passage where Julia illustrates the early days of writing a novel,

“Today, is this a ‘novel’ or just a ‘To Do List?’ Does it matter? It shouldn’t. Fuck it, just give me some blank white paper and something to make marks! I could be stuck in a jail cell and I would figure out how to make marks, even if I had to use my body fluids! Take that!”

One of Julia’s poems speaks of the problems in the world, and her struggle not to become  one of the many who just ignore them. Part of the poem reads:

“Shootings in my hometown,

“Don’t let it be

everyone with heads down

half asleep.

Oil spills, abandoned mills, devastating thrills

Watching from window sills,

Give me a crystal, a song, but

give someone else that omnipresent purple pill.”

The 28 year old Ms. Szczecinski  is also a gifted artist, sometimes combining a poem with her pictures.

smoke stacks

The watercolor above, entitled “Smoke Stacks” is accompanies by the poem:

“Smoke stacks, top hats;

Of filthy site, Oh Holy Night.

The ducks still alive, their silhouettes black;

The toxic water burns, and the Sun is what they soak.”

Julia also has clever humorous quips interspersed in her writing. At one point she  states that,

“the city block can be so…blahhh; shades of grey, but not in the S&M fun way.”

Self portrait with blood

Julia understands that to be an artist, poet and writer is to expose the most vulnerable parts of your soul to a public that may or may not understand you. Above is a self portrait of Julia entitled, Ink Blood and Watercolor on Paper.

Julia incorporates a wide range of experience and travel into her artistic endeavors. She graduated from the University of Delaware in 2009 with a B.A.S. in Philosophy and Art History. She has traveled and studied in Paris and China and worked in a wide range of gigs from Artist’s Model to Bartender.

Julia currently writes, paints and bartends in the city where Frank Sinatra was born. (If you don’t know where that is, you don’t live on the East Coast)

If you want know more about Julia, please click on one of the links below.

Julia is currently looking for a publisher for her work. So, to any of our readers in the publishing world looking for new talent this is a chance to sign a very talented new writer. You can contact Julia directly or contact East Coast Stories and we will pass on the message to her.

If you are a writer and would like us to review your work on this site, please e-mail us an excerpt to Cedartree@live.com

 

 

 

 

 

The Beautiful Dead Girl – Part 3 – The Trial

For Derek, the most difficult part of his murder trial was remembering not to smile. He was supposed to be the distraught boyfriend of the beautiful naked girl who had committed suicide by jumping out a window. In reality, he was the guy who had fucked her, snapped her neck, then dropped her out the window.

The fact that he was going to get away with it made him want to laugh out loud. Of course, he knew how to play his part in front of the jury. Every day in court he sat next to his attorney and looked so sad about the death of his “one true love.” When the prosecution displayed pictures  of Kira’s naked smashed corpse, he had even managed to get real tears to role down his cheeks.

Derek knew the jury was on his side. It was a great jury for him. Nine women and only three men. With his looks and natural charm his whole life he had been able to get women to do anything he wanted. In truth, he despised women as nothing  more than stupid dolls that existed to be used then thrown away.  He had an inner anger towards them all.

Except for his mother, the woman he hated the most was Kira. It would have been so much better for Derek if she really had committed suicide.  Still, it was her own fault Kira was dead. If she had just continued stealing drugs for him from the hospital like he told her, she would still be alive today. If she hadn’t decided to argue with him about it and freak out, things would never have gotten out of control.

Derek’s lawyer, Roger Cromwell,  told him not to worry. “The Prosecution’s case is all built on what is Not there, and jury’s hate that,” said Roger.

Over the weeks of the trial, the Prosecution had built its case on all the things that were not present in Kira’s apartment. In a real suicide she would have opened her fourth story window and jumped, but only Derek’s Fingerprints were on the window, not Kira’s. Also, to get out the window, she would have  to step up onto the windowsill. There were no footprints on the windowsill. The Prosecution said that this all pointed to Kira’s having been killed in the apartment then dropped out the window.

The Defense attorney told the jury this was all nonsense. He said that Derek had opened the window before he went out for breakfast. That’s why Kira didn’t have to open it. As for the no footprints, maybe the girl took a running start and dove through the window, missing the sill completely. The Defense does not have to prove anything. It simply has to cast a “reasonable doubt” on the Prosecution’s case.

The only thing that really worried the Defense was the suicide note. It was not a signed note at all.  It was just something typed on her computer screen. And the evidence pointed to Derek’s having typed it. Being a nurse, Kira had been a fanatic about keeping things clean and germ-free. She was obsessive about keeping her laptop computer clean. Every night before she went to bed, Kira wiped down every part of her computer.

The police forensics team had found a complete set of Derek’s fingerprints on the laptop where the so-called “suicide note” was on the screen. No fingerprints from Kira; just Derek’s. How did the dead girl type a suicide note without leaving any fingerprints?

Of course,  Mr. Cromwell was too good a defense attorney to let  himself dwell on the fact that maybe his client really had murdered a beautiful young woman and was lying to him about being innocent. One of the first things you learn as a Defense lawyer is that most of your clients lie to you most of the time.

Cromwell did his best to try and throw doubt in the jury’s mind about Derek’s fingerprints on the computer keyboard. He talked about the possibility of the police mishandling the “chain of evidence”. Still, the jury did not look so benignly on Derek after the fingerprint evidence was presented.

That evening, Cromwell met with Derek and told him things still looked good. “I think there is about an 80% chance that you will be found Not Guilty.”

Derek was stunned. “What the fuck! You’re telling me there is a 20% chance I might go to jail for murder?”

“Even if that did happen, Derek, there are a number of points of law on which I could bring an appeal. Some of my objections which the judge overruled were very valid. I would definitely appeal any conviction.”

“Fuck that! I’m not going to prison and waiting years for appeals to maybe get me off. Put me on the stand tomorrow. I will tell my side and the jury will love me again.”

“That’s a really bad idea Derek. Any attorney will tell you it is a mistake to testify if you are being tried for murder.”

“God Damn it Roger! Put me on the stand tomorrow, or I am firing you as my lawyer. If I can’t find a lawyer who will  put me on, then  I’ll be my own lawyer.”

“All right Derek. I’ll put you on the stand. Just remember that after I question you, the Prosecutor gets her turn to grill you.  Just be polite to her and answer her questions with as few words as possible.”

“Don’t worry,” answered Derek. “I know how to handle women.”

Be Sure to Read  The Conclusion of the Story in Part 4- The Bird Woman

If you missed any parts of the story be sure to read:

 

 

 

 

The Beautiful Dead Girl – part 2 – Lunch

Homicide Detective  Laura Lippman and Assistant City Coroner Dr. Robert Chaucer sat having sandwiches at a conference table near Laura’s desk.  Dr. Chandler dropped by several times a week with lunch for the two of them.   His lab was in a different part of the city , but he somehow he continually found excuses to bring paperwork to her building at just around lunch time. Laura always acted very professional around Dr. Chaucer, but the truth was she enjoyed the attention he gave her. He was a real gentleman compared to  the cops she worked with.

However, this time, they actually did have a professional reason to meet.  They were discussing  the death of Kira Casey. All indications pointed to suicide and the Chief of Detectives was pressing Laura to close the case.

“She didn’t kill herself, ” said Dr. Chaucer.

“Bob, not everything is a big mystery. She died from injuries of jumping out a window. She left a suicide note. There were drugs missing from the hospital where she was a nurse, and the evidence points to her stealing them.  There is no evidence of anything but suicide.”

“What about the boyfriend?”

“I interviewed him personally. He was totally distraught. He was out buying her breakfast and a rose when she jumped.  He even voluntarily took a lie detector test and passed it.”

“A true sociopath can easily fool a lie detector machine,” said Dr. Chaucer. “Sociopaths don’t have real emotions, they simply pretend to have them as a survival mechanism.”

” Bob”, said Laura with a smile. “Tell me some valid reasons why you think this is not a suicide.”

“O.K. She was in the nude and her body was all smashed up from the four story fall. Unlike men, women are very concerned about how they will look when their body is found.  Women who commit suicide get all dressed up, clean the apartment and then use pills or some other method so that the corpse will look good. Even in death, women want to be seen as beautiful.”

“That’s sexist!”

“That’s a medical fact. Check the statistics.”

“What about the suicide note?” asked Laura.

“Now now detective,” teased Bob, “You know as well as I do that most suicides don’t leave a note.  And the few who do leave notes want them to be permanent. They don’t just put them on a computer screen where they can be accidentally erased.”

“What about the motive. The fact that she was stealing drugs and was about to get caught?” asked Laura.

“What type of drugs?”

Laura walked over to her desk and looked at the file. She read off a list of the missing drugs, “Oxycotin, HGH, various types of steroids. All drugs that are real easy to sell.”

“And who buys them?” asked Dr. Chaucer.

Laura paused for a minute and then said. “Body builders. People who want a perfect body.”

“Just like the one her beautiful boyfriend Derek has?” asked Bob.  “Steroids and Human Growth Hormone to build the muscles,  and Oxycotin to ease the pain of lifting all those weights. If she was stealing, he was in on it.”

“That doesn’t mean anything Bob.  She was a nurse about to get caught for stealing drugs. It doesn’t matter if she was taking them for Mr. Universe. She was still going to lose here nurses license, and possibly even end up in jail. Sounds like a good motive for suicide to me.”

“Could be” , said Bob. Then he said shyly. “You know Laura, there is a medical dinner at the Waldorf next Friday night. We all get very dressed up and the food is really good. They have an actual orchestra and dancing, and I wondered if maybe you were not too busy…”

“I’d love to Bob, interrupted Laura, thinking that it had sure taken him long enough to ask her out.

After Bob left , Laura spent the rest of the afternoon and well into the night re-reading through all the forensic evidence. All she had to do to get the case off her desk was to check a little box and rule it a suicide, but she could just not bring herself to do it.  Laura kept going back to the picture of Kira Casey when she graduated from Nursing School. She was so beautiful and full of life, with a bright future ahead of her.  There was no family left and only one overworked Detective to care about what had really happened to her.

Laura went through all the files until her eyesight got blurry and she could look at the screen no longer. It was well after dark when she switched off her computer and went home. She thought of calling Bob  and suggesting they out for a quick drink, but then she decided to stay in her apartment and go to bed early instead.

Laura wanted to be fresh and alert  in the morning . First thing tomorrow, she was going to present her evidence to the Chief of Detectives, and get his permission to ask the D.A.  for an arrest warrant.  If all went well, by tomorrow afternoon, Derek Manning would be charged with murder.

To see what happens next read:

If you missed the first part of the story  see – The Beautiful Dead Girl Part 1

 

 

 

The Beautiful Dead Girl – Part 1 – The window

Derek sat on the bed and  cradled Kira’s body in his arms.   Even in death she was astoundingly beautiful. She had long  brown hair, a lovely face and a sensual figure. She  had  tan skin that had become  white with death. She was perfect in every way except for her neck which was  turned at an odd angle. Her body was still warm, as if it still retained the heat from their love-making session.

“It wasn’t my fault,” Derek said out loud, although he was alone in the apartment. “Why couldn’t we just have had sex and then gone back to bed?”

But then he remembered what had actually happened. The argument. The way she had attacked  him like a crazy woman. He had tried to grab onto her shoulders to stop her and she had kneed him in the groin. It was so painful that he doubled over forward, and  as he did so he had  grabbed  her head.

Kira was  barely five feet tall and weighed less an a hundred pounds, while Derek was six foot three and a very muscular two hundred pounds. When his massive hands grabbed her head, it took only a slight twist to snap Kira’s neck like a twig.

“I wasn’t trying to kill you Baby. I was just trying to balance myself. I just lost my balance.” But in his own mind, Derek knew this wasn’t true. When Kira had kneed him in his exposed testicles his body had been filled with pain and rage. A flash of pure animal fear and rage took hold of him. He instinctively lashed out to protect his manhood. He had grabbed Kira’s head and twisted it with the full force of his weight-lifter’s arms.

Derek reached over to the night stand and picked up  his cell phone. He would call the police and explain what had happened. It was a simple case of self defense. He stood up and lay Kira’s body gently on the bed.  Derek stated to dial 911, then he glanced himself in the full length mirror and realized the police would never believe him.  Derek worked out at the health club every day, and his body showed it.  No one was going to believe he ever had to defend himself from a tiny 100 pound woman.

Derek knew the police would arrest him for murder. He would be convicted and his life would be ruined. All because that bitch Kira could not control herself.

“I don’t deserve this. I don’t deserve it.”

For the next half hour, Derek paced the apartment thinking of what to do. He could just leave and go uptown to his own apartment. No, that wouldn’t work.  When a woman is killed, the boyfriend is the first person the police look for. Besides,  his semen was still inside Kira.

Derek then rummaged in the closet and found a couple of suitcases and a duffel bag. He lay the duffel bag next to Kira’s body and  thought that maybe he could fit her into it.

“No. That’s crazy, ” Derek mumbled to himself. “Then  would would I do? Where could I dump a body in the middle of Manhattan? That’s crazy.”

Derek walked over to the window and peaked out through the curtains. It was still pitch black outside. He glanced at the clock and saw it was only 4:45am. Then suddenly he knew what to do.

Derek turned off the bedside light, then opened the curtains.  He reached down and slowly opened the window wide, being sure it did not make any noise . Kira’s apartment was in one of the old New York buildings that still had windows you can open. Her apartment was only four stories up, but that should be enough.

Derek carefully looked out the window to make sure there were no witnesses. There were many apartment windows facing his way, but none had a light on. He knew he had to be fast, since people would be getting up soon.

Then he turned to the bed, and picked up Kira’s naked body. With Derek’s muscular build, he lifted her as easily as most people could lift a cat. He carried Kira over to the open window, took one more look for witnesses, and dropped her out.

Derek moved back to the interior of the apartment so he could not be seen from the outside. He waited for the noise, but none came. There were no screams, no sirens . There was not even the sound of a body hitting the cement courtyard below. There was just the silence of a city that had not yet woken up.

Derek knew that he had to move fast now in order for his plan to work. He quickly got dressed, then turned on Kira’s computer. He sat down and typed on the screen.

“Derek my love. I am sorry I failed you. You were right. I should have stopped. Goodbye.”

Then he grabbed his wallet, took the apartment keys and left. It was now 5:00 am and he wanted to get out of the building before anyone saw him. He made sure to use the front entrance for the street, not the back entrance where the courtyard and the body would be.

Ten blocks from Kira’s apartment Epstein’s Deli was already open and serving  customers, despite the fact that the sun was just starting to come up. Derek realized now that his plan was going to work. He would have breakfast at the deli.  Then he would walk back to Kira’s apartment, “discover” the suicide note, and dial 911. Derek  thought about it some more and realized it would be better if someone else called the police.  He remembered reading once that police are always very suspicions of whoever first calls them to report a death.

So Derek got himself a coffee, a  bagel with cream cheese, and a New York Times.  He sat at one of the sidewalk tables in front of the Deli, and casually read the paper as the Sun got brighter and people rushed to get to work.

Derek was in the middle or reading an editorial about corruption at The Port Authority, when he saw an ambulance and two police card racing in the direction of Kira’s building with their sirens blaring.  He looked at his watch and decided to wait another half hour before he went back to the apartment.

Exactly 30 minutes later he went back into the Deli, and bought a Chai Tea and a blueberry muffin- Kira’s favorite breakfast. On the way back to the apartment he bought a single red rose from a flower stand.

Derek then slowly walked back to Kira’s apartment.  As he walked, he practiced his look of shock and grief for when the police would tell him about Kira’s suicide.  He allowed himself one last smile, as he realized that everything was going to be OK.  He knew the police would  believe him, and even feel sorry for him.  Derek had always had that gift. With his incredible good looks, his charm and his athletic build, people just automatically liked him – especially women.

Derek turned the corner and saw the flashing lights of the police cars parked in front of Kira’s building. He took the smile off his face and changed it to the worried expression of a concerned boyfriend. “It wasn’t my fault,” Derek muttered to himself one last time, as he walked  towards the building.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tomorrowland

There was a time when we all believed that the future would be wonderful. People would live in peace and harmony. There would be no fear or wars or starvation. We would respect each other and solve the World’s problems by working together.  If you speak of the future that way today, people will laugh at you or shake their heads like you are crazy or just plain stupid.

The movie Tomorrowland starts at the 1964 World’s Fair, when the future still stretched  before us as a wonderful and beautiful adventure. A young boy goes to the Fair and is one of the chosen few to be transported to Tomorrowland. It is not a ride, or an illusion, but a real place where scientists and dreamers can plan  to make things better for all mankind.

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Of course, we all know the future did not turn out the way the 1964 World’s Fair predicted. Tomorrowland shows where things went wrong, and how it still might not be too late to put things back on course.

This  is a great movie starring George Clooney and two extremely talented young actors, Britt Robertson and Raffey Cassidy.  George Clooney is Frank Walker, who was the young boy at the World’s Fair. He has now turned into a cynical disillusioned man who believes nothing can be done to stop the downward trend to destruction of this planet.

Tomorrowland 1

Britt Robertson is a high-school girl who is brilliant and still has the sense of wonder and adventure that Frank lost many years ago. They are brought together by a young girl from another dimension named Athena (wonderfully played by Raffey Cassidy).

Tomorrowland is a Disney movie rated PG, that children and adults will both love. It has dramatic special effects, but they do not get in the way of the characters or the acting. George Clooney, Britt Robertspn and Raffey Cassidy are a terrific trio. The fact that these two young women were able to work so naturally with a major star like Clooney, shows just how talented they are. We look forward in seeing them in many future films.

We Rate this movie Five Stars *****

 

Olive Kitteridge – T.V. Review

If you have not yet seen the miniseries Olive Kitteridge HBO,  I recommend taking a look. The acting and the storyline line are amazing.  It is the story of a woman who most people would  describe as “cold, or even “nasty.” However, as we get to know Olive, we see that she is far more complex and fragile than she ever lets on.

Olive is a middle-school teacher in Maine who has no tolerance for misbehavior or stupidity on the part of her students or even adults. Despite her abrasive attitude, she actually cares deeply about the people around her. In one episode, she helps a former student through a tough time when he is contemplating suicide. She does not do it with a lot of kind flowery words, but by simply speaking to him in a very logical and direct manner.

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As I watched the episodes, something about the personality of  Olive Kitteridge seemed very familiar  to me. Then I realized that she is exactly like a number of the older relatives in my life when I was growing up.  You see, they had all grown up in rural New England, and felt that it was simply undignified to show your emotions.

Olive Kitteridge is perfectly played by Frances McDormand.  She has mastered  the Maine accent and attitude, without overdoing it.  You always feel that Olive is a real person you could walk out the door and meet any minute.

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Olive’s husband Henry is in most ways her opposite. He is warm and outgoing and people just immediately like him. This actually makes Olive’s life more difficult. She is very aware of her own inability to connect with people, and seeing Henry make friends effortlessly only points out her own flaws. Henry is played by Richard Jenkins who is wonderful in this role.

The interplay between Olive and Henry and their complicated New England love for each other is the central point of the story. At one point Henry asks Olive if she is going to leave him.  Instead of some loving Hallmark Channel type of response, Olive replies, “You know, you can be so annoying sometimes.” That is about as close as Olive can get to expressing love verbally. Olive is a loving and caring person but she demonstrates it through actions rather than words.

Also in the show is Bill Murray, as one of the town’s residents. Over the years, Bill Murry has changed from the Saturday Night Live Comedian, to a seasoned character actor and it is wonderful to see his talents continue to grow. Like Olive, he is trying to cope with the injustices and indignities that happen to people as they approach old age.

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So many series and movies only focus on young and beautiful stars. The series Olive Kitteridge shows that, if anything, the lives of people become more interesting and more complicated as they age.

We rate this miniseries 5 Stars *****

 

 

The United States of Leland

The United States of Leland is an excellent film to which we give our very rare Five Star rating. Leland Fitzgerald is a high school student who is accused of the brutal murder of a learning disabled boy who was his good friend.

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Leland (brilliantly played by Ryan Gosling) does not seem like he could possibly be capable  of any kind of violence. Leland is very gentle and looks at the world differently than most people around him. Leland looks deeply at the world in a way that most high school students do not. At one point he says,

“I think there are two ways you can see the world. You either see the sadness that’s behind everything, or you choose to keep it out.”

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Don Cheadle plays Pearl Pollard, a teacher in the juvenile detention center where Leland is sent awaiting trial. He and Leland have long conversations about all aspects of life, and Pearl becomes fascinated with the complexity of this young man and his views on life.  Pearl is genuinely interested in Leland, but also has an ulterior motive. Pearl is an aspiring but unpublished writer and he wants to get close to an infamous murderer and write his story. Pearl sees himself as a current-day Truman Capote writing another In Cold Blood.

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However there is some competition for Leland’s story. Leland’s father (played by Kevin Spacey) is a world famous novelist. A divorced dad who has not seen his son in years, he suddenly shows up wanting to write the story himself.

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Throughout the movie, we are kept guessing as to what the real story actually is. We are shown only bits and pieces in flashbacks. Everything shown indicates that the murdered child was someone who Leland watched over and cared for. The boy  was also the brother of Leeland’s girlfriend Becky. (Played perfectly  by Jena Malone).  Becky has many issues of her own and in the past it was always Leland who helped her through rough times.

It is not until the very end of the movie that we discover the truth of what really happened.

All the actors in the film give superb performances. The script is brilliant and it is a film that will touch you deeply.

We Rate this Film Five Stars *****

 

 

What’s New with Alicia von Rittberg

Alicia von Rittberg continues to be the most searched item on our website. Fans have been very disappointed that that they have not seen her in anything since Fury. Many fans were very angry that we publicized. an April Fools story that Alicia Von Rittberg was going to be in Game of Thrones. However Alicia von Rittberg will be on the big screen again in 2015. She will have a major role in Our Kind of Traitor.

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By all accounts, Our Kind of Traitor will be a fantastic film. It has an all star cast and is based on the exciting novel by John le Carre.  Alicia von Rittberg will play the daughter of a Russian organized crime boss.

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In the meantime, here are some new pictures of Alicia von Rittnerg.

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Sometimes we wonder if her agent understands just how large a fan base Alicia von Rittberg has in the United States.

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Any story we do on Alicia von Rittberg immediately attracts huge attention. If she were an American, she would undoubtedly be a top star commanding  a huge salary.  Perhaps the strategy is to keep her out of the spotlight to build a little mystery.  On behalf of all her fans, we just want to say “Stop doing that!”  People want to see Alicia in more movies, in larger parts and doing more public appearances.

In the meantime, East Coast Stories will continue to follow this amazingly talented young actress.

Bart Simpson’s Penis

How large is Bart Simpson’s penis? Unfortunately I know the answer to that question.  That’s because in my den is an anatomically correct Bart Simpson doll.  It comes from a ridiculously overpriced shop in London.

I was on vacation with my family in London and were were exploring all the usual spots. Suddenly, a torrential rainstorm started, and we ducked into a store simply to get out of the rain.

It turned out to be a very large shop with lots of winding aisles, and thousands of nick-knacks on the shelves. I was looking at pictures of Winston Churchill,  and my kids went to explore the rest of the shop for something more interesting.

Then my kids returned with a Bart Simpson doll. It was about 3 feet tall, well made and soft like a pillow. It was sort of like a very large  Raggedy Ann doll in the shape of Bart Simpson. It even had on a full set of clothing.

That’s  when my son said, “Watch this Dad!” and pulled down the doll’s pants and then  put the doll in my arms. My son and daughter both laughed and  ran down the aisle to another part of the store.

I was not sure what was so funny, until I looked down at the doll in my arms and;

Cowabunga! There I was looking down at Bart’s penis and testicles.  To say that the doll was anatomically correct is an understatement. In fact, it was more than anatomically correct. You see, the makers of the doll had made Bart Simpson’s private parts quite a bit larger proportionally than the rest of the doll.

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I was still looking at Bart’s oversize d genitalia when I heard a woman with a very proper British accent say,  “May I help you Sir?”

I looked up to see a matronly woman with grey hair examining at me like I was some American pervert who had wondered into her shop. It turns out that she was the owner of the store, and she had the type of face that looked like it had never smiled.  I should have said something like, “Don’t look at me like that lady. You are the one selling obscene dolls.”

However, at the time I was so embarrassed, that what I actually said to the woman was “Yes. I would like to purchase this doll.” The doll cost me over 55 British Pounds (I told you the shop was overpriced). The woman was so happy to make the sale that she even gave me what she probably thought was a smile. However, on her face it was more like a twitch.

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We left the shop, and my kids thought it was hilarious that I had bought the doll.  There are sill times I wonder why the doll was there at all. Why would a shop filled with pictures of the Royal Family and miniature models of Parliament also have obscene toys?  Was the old woman that owned the store really that sneaky? Had she set an elaborate trap to embarrass unsuspecting tourists into buying something? I realize that sort or thinking is just being paranoid. Or is it?

 

16 Best Movie & T.V. Villains of All Time

A great  villain is required for a great story. Good guys come and go, but we remember evil guys and girls forever.  Here are the top 17 Movie & T.V. Villains of all time.

Bruce Dern as “Longhair” in the 1972 film The Cowboys This character is cruel,  evil and a coward. In a scene that completely shocked moviegoers at the time, Bruce Dern kills the hero of the film, John Wayne.  Longhair and Wayne have a dispute which is settled by a fistfight. John Wayne wins the fight fair and square. As John Wayne is walking away, Longhair pulls out a gun and shoots John Wayne in the back.

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Nancy Marchand as Livia Soprano. This celebrated actress had previously been know for playing wealthy aristocrats. However, her best known role will always be as Tony Soprano’s psychopathic mother.  For reasons that are never exactly clear, Livia hates her only son Tony and is far more dangerous to him than any FBI agent could ever be.

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Clancy Brown as Captain Hadley in The Shawshank Redemption. Hadley is perpetually angry and his anger often turns violent; with deadly consequences for the prisoners. Even the other guards are petrified of him. The is no such thing as  making Captain Hadley happy. The best you can do is to pray he does not notice you.

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Mike Meyers as Dr. Evil in the Austin Powers movies. OK we know you are thinking, “this guy’s not a real villain. He is an idiot.” Well, it’s true that Dr. Evil is incompetent, but he is the key to the whole movie. Without Dr. Evil there is no film. Austin Powers is funny, but it is Dr. Evil that makes these movies hilarious.

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Heath Ledger as The Joker in Batman. This will undoubtedly be known as the greatest portrayal of  comic book bad guy ever put on film. The Joker came across as 100 times more complex and interesting than Batman. Like Batman, he plays by a strict set of rules. He seems to be trying to teach the world the lesson that good and evil are in all people at all times. Health Ledger left us far too soon.

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Louise Fletcher as Nurse Ratched in the 1975 movie One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Louise Fletcher won an Academy Award for playing the psychiatric nurse who systematically left the patients more damaged than they were before they met her. Nurse Ratched has no interest in helping the mentally ill. Her only pleasure in life appears to be in demonstrating her absolute power over every aspect of the lives of the patients.

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Javier Bardem as Anton Chigurh in the 2007 film No Country for old men.This bad guy kills his victims using an air compressor and a device designed to use on cattle. If you have not seen the movie it is difficult to explain. He will ruthlessly kill anyone who he feels has disrespected him. He almost kills a gentle old man at a gas station who made the mistake of simply asking Chigurh where he was from. After you see this film you will never look at an air compressor the same way again.

Bad Guy 7

James Earl Jones & David Prowse as Darth Vader in the original Star Wars.Most people don’t recognize the name David Prowse. He was the body builder inside the costume, while James Earl Jones provided the voice. Darth Vader could be the most famous villain of all times. People who have no idea who is on the Supreme Court and who cannot name the Vice President of the U.S.  can definitely tell you the life story of Darth Vader.

Bad Guy 8

Jack Gleeson as Joffrey in Game of Thrones. Jack Gleeson played this character perfectly. King Joffrey used his power and viciousness to cover the fact that he was actually personally a coward.  He would have people killed or tortured just for fun.  It was as if the nastiest kid you ever knew from middle school suddenly obtained the power of life or death over everyone.  The ironic part is that everyone who has ever worked with Jack Gleeson describes him as one of the nicest, kindest and most intelligent people they have ever met. In real life, this Irish actor is most interested in pursuing academic studies and doing philanthropic work.  He claims King Joffrey will be his last acting gig. We certainly hope he changes his mind. He is a fantastic talent.

Bad Guy 9

Donald Sutherland as President Snow in the Hunger Games movies. Unlike many movie bad guys, President Snow never loses his temper or acts out of anger. He is the coolest of the cool bad guys. He bombs cities, has people executed and poisons his enemies. However, he does these things out of a logical and well planned motive to stay in power at all costs.  Like many real killers throughout history he has the ability to compartmentalize his life. He is kind and attentive to his granddaughter, while at the the same time he is ordering people to be rounded up and killed.  It his very lack of anger that makes him so frightening.

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Bill Raisch as the one-armed man in the T.V. show The Fugitive Although most people now remember the movie, the one-armed guy in the T.V.  show was much scarier than in the movie. In the movie, the one-armed killer had a motive having to do with a cover up by drug companies. In the T.V. show the one-armed man was just a killer. He was a pure bad guy who had no redeeming characteristics and just like hurting people wherever he could.

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Douglas Lawrence Ososwki as Plankton in the T.V. Show Spongebob. This is undoubtedly the smallest bad guy in history. However, he creates more havoc than creatures thousands of times his size. Like all true  villains he is essential to the entire story.  He also has the classic bad guy trait that personality his shaped by the fact that he is essentially a loser in life. Unable to run his own successful restaurant, his whole life is obsessed with stealing the secret Crabby Patty formula fro his rival.

Bad Guy 12

Peter Stormare as Garear (the blond guy) in the 1996 movie Fargo. He will always be remembered as the guy who disposed of the body of his partner by putting it through a wood chipper. This character can kill people in the most gruesome ways with no emotion whatsoever.

Bad Guy 13

Gert Frobe as Goldfinger in the 1964 James Bond movie of the same name.Unlike many of the other bad guys on the list, Goldfinger really knows how to enjoy his life.  He eats the best food, goes to the best resorts and is surrounded by the most beautiful women. He has no real hatred in his life. His crimes are due to an obsessive love. A love of gold.  Although already possesses  more gold than anyone could ever use in a lifetime, he wants more. In fact, he wants all the gold in the world, which is, of course, his downfall.

Bad Guy 14

Rutger Hauer as the Replicant Roy in the 1982 film Blade Runner. Blade Runner is considered by many the best science fiction movie ever made. Roy is a Replicant who is superior to humans in every aspect except one. He  only has a 4 year life span. Roy returns to Earth to find his “maker” and “get more life”. Harrison Ford is the Blade Runner whose job is to “retire” (that is-  kill) Replicants. In the end, we are left wondering just who is really more human; the artificial Replicant who just wants to live, or the supposedly human Blade Runner assigned to kill him.

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Arnold Schwarzenegger as The Terminator in the original 1984 movie. His body, his accent and even the stilted way Arnold moved and acted made him perfect to play this killer robot from the future.  The movie also had a huge body count. In the later Terminator sequels they toned this down and there would be a lot of actions scenes with explosions and bullets, but somehow no injuries. In the original movie, The Terminator was a pure killing machine. There is one scene in a bar where he mows down people with an Uzi just because they are blocking his shot at Sarah Connor.

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Well, that’s our list of the best villains of all time. Let us know if you think we left anyone off.