the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

It’s a Wrap

The TCM film festival is over. It was a blast. There was such a varied audience at the screenings — from twenty-something hipsters to senior citizens. Thank you Jane Devin for the intro to the cool people at GM.

By the last screening, I was feeling very sentimental. My father was a big movie buff, and I saw many of these films for the first time on our old RCA TV, sitting with my father in his bedroom. He would have loved to see these classics such as Casablanca and The Treasure of the Sierra Madre on the big screen, in Hollywood. It was especially cool to see Tony Curtis, another favorite actor of my father’s, at a screening of Some Like it Hot.

My father always told me this story — which I only half believed — that he was stationed in Hawaii during the filming of “From Here to Eternity,” and was used as an extra in the famous fight scene between Maggio and Fatso (Frank Sinatra and Ernest Borgnine). Ernest Borgnine was at this festival, speaking about one of his other films. I tried really hard to meet him and tell him this story, but kept missing him by a few minutes.

There was one famous classic film actor who I avoided all weekend for the oddest “six degrees of Hollywood” reason. When I was in film school, I was making this twenty-minute student film, and cast this actress. By the second week, I wasn’t happy with her performance, so I hired a replacement. Believe me, it was excruciatingly difficult to do, one of the reasons I ran to “writing” and not “production” after graduation. The original actress was angry at me over my betrayal, and wrote me an email saying something like “You’re going to go far in Hollywood because you’re such an asshole.” Years passed. One day, I see a photo of this famous older actor who has appeared in 100 films with his new girlfriend, a much much younger woman — yes, her — the actress who thinks I am an asshole because I fired her from a student film. And there they were at the film festival together this weekend, still a couple — this famous actor and his long-time girlfriend who hates my guts. Do you think maybe she forgot about it by now? Do actresses every forget?

Anyway, for now —

— Hollywood has gotten back to business.

Across the street from the Hollywood Roosevelt, three working actors, Marilyn, Freddy Kruger, and Beetlegeuse discuss their latest screenplay at the Coffee Bean.

When I first stepped out of my house this morning, there was a new neighbor checking out my Buick Lacrosse in the drive-way.

“New car?” he asked.

“Kind of. I’m just testing it.” I answered.

I didn’t feel like it was necessary to go into all the details about my blog and the film festival. I was also trying to impress him.

“It looks like an upscale Lexus.”

I made note of his comment. I had never met this neighbor before, and for a second I wondered if Buick had paid an actor to come over, as a subtle hint that I should write more about the car on my blog.

The neighbor started asking me all these car-oriented questions. “What is the mph?” “How many cylinders?” Etc. I had absolutely no idea. I knew the car looked and felt good, and was impressed that the steering wheel could HEAT UP! Luckily, Sophia came out and DID know the answers, considering that she has a subscription to Car and Driver.

Afterwards, Sophia scolded me.

“Buick sponsored you to go to the festival. You should at least know SOMETHING about the car other than the fact that you can listen to Oprah on XM radio!”

She’s right. It’s time to start blogging with integrity. Today, I am going to be driving all around town so I can give you my honest opinion of the Buick Lacrosse. I have only owned Japanese cars since moving to Los Angeles. Will this car change my mind?

First up — I will play with all the cool buttons on the dashboard.

“Have you ever made out in the back of a car?” I asked Sophia.


“Yes?! With who? You never told me that.”

“Haven’t you?”

“Uh, no.”

I still haven’t.

You ever notice in car commercials and advertisements the person driving his car is always completely alone on the road?

Isn’t reality more like this? —


  1. furiousball

    “What is the mph?”

    Umm, depends on how fast you’re driving? Did he mean MPG? I hope so.

  2. Juli Ryan

    Oh, crap. Another film I haven’t seen. This film festival has shown me the huge, gaping holes in my classic cinema education.

    Also wondering who the actress was. Too bad she was wrong. You didn’t turn out to be an asshole. What happened? You could have been successful, Neil!

  3. JanePoet ~ JP/deb

    sophia is a keeper. you better pull your ass out of your head (if you haven’t already) and embrace this awesomeness that the two of you have. peace 😉 jp

  4. Danny

    We are either the two best or the two worst people in the world to blog about Buick. Like you, I know absolutely nothing about cars. But I’m sure enjoying the smooth, delicious ride (and the perks like GPS and connecting my phone right into the car’s Bluetooth). Look forward to your review, I will do one also as soon as I recover from the fantastic but all-consuming film festival!

  5. Suzy

    The Buick is fabulous. I love the Buick. I want to marry the Buick. BUT WHO IS THE ACTOR DATING THE FILM SCHOOL REJECT????

  6. Terry

    Ah, my dad loved “From Here to Eternity”, as he was a WWII vet, also. The Buick looks nice, and whenever I have to buy a new car (after I drive my Lexus into the ground) I’ll buy American. I wonder if Buick has a hatch back? I’ve had so many soccer mom cars, I don’t know if I could go back to a regular sedan.

  7. Susanne

    Ohr great report on those classis movies. and I love the Alec Baldwin picture with the Buick, I want both. (I guess your character is relevant to modern audiences again.)

  8. Annie

    It’s been a while since my last visit. It looks like you have been having fun. Thanks for the report! xoxo

  9. Jane

    Terry, check out the Buick Enclave. It’s a GORGEOUS car with a hatchback, AWD, and seats that fold all the way down. The GMC Acadia, Terrain, Chevy Equinox are also really awesome.
    Great job, Neil! I’m so glad you enjoyed the film festival.

  10. terri

    What a cool experience! Were you able to spot your dad in the scene?

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial