Cult Classics Free on Youtube

CultClassicsCoverWhile working on my just-released smart ebook on the 200 greatest films in history, I collected a lot more than 200 films, so I’m already planning a follow-up, only this time, I’m only including films that stream free on Youtube.
I bet you know of a great film that streams free, and I’d sure love it if you sent me a link as a comment on this blog so I can include it in my next series. I program thousands of hyper links in these ebooks to multiple websites, which is why I call them “smart.”
Don Henderson sent me a link to a film called Cool World made in the early 1960s (not the animated feature of the same name). Meanwhile, within a few minutes Dave Allen recommended Nightmare Alley, while James Marshall posted Five Minutes to Kill starring Johnny Cash of Facebook.
Post any links to this blog you think should be in my next film book.


30th Anniversary of Beat Street

FixedBeatCoverThere’s another big celebration for Beat Street this week, and the organizer actually invited me and said they’d be honored to have my attendance. Sha Rock is giving the opening address for the festivities that include two screenings over the day. Beat Street was actually my original idea and something I’d been trying to sell to a variety of production companies. Unfortunately, my story (which was based on facts) got hacked to death and nothing but the characters’ names survived. They even took the small cameo I arranged for Phase 2 out of the final edit because someone decided Phase didn’t have anything to do with creating hip hop. I guess that was Harry’s call. It was strange to see what happened after hip hop became big money, sort of like what’s happening right now with cannabis.
I put the original script on Smashwords, and still hold out hope someone will come along one day and produce the real story with my original title and script. Just to give you an idea of how different it was to what came out in the film, here’s the opening scene. A fledgling rap group has shown up at their sponsor’s house, only to discover another crew is messing with their equipment. Check it out, and if you like it, you can pick up my original script on Amazon.


My Essential Film Guide on Kindle

FilmGuideCoverCompleteThese are my picks for the best all-time films. And I’m certainly open to any suggestions for improvements.
All 200 of these are covered in my new smart ebook The Ultimate Film Guide, available on Amazon Kindle. You can instantly stream any by clicking a button, or at least find which sites do that fast (some charge). All information is kept accurate through hyperlinks so you know you’ll get the best possible deal. I was surprised how many of these are free if you know what site to go to.
Undoubtedly you’ve heard of many, if not most, of these films (they are the classics) and probably even seen 80 percent or more, but I guarantee there are some you aren’t familiar with, and they’re probably streaming free on Youtube right now. And if you have a spare 90 minutes to kill sometime later today, or maybe later this week, think of this book and what it might do to enrich your life.

My Top 200 Flicks

FilmGuide4fixI just published the Ultimate Film Guide and I’m a bit sad the project is suddenly over because I had fun trying to figure out my favorite 200 films, and even discovered some I didn’t know about, and put them on the list just so I can watch them myself. A surprising number of these stream for free on Youtube and you can push a button on your computer or tablet to make that happen.
The book is free to Kindle subscribers.
Maybe someone did an ebook like this already, but I wouldn’t know. I started working on it to help guide my kids, who are interested in watching good films instead of the violent action schlock Hollywood pumps out endlessly.
If you ever want to watch a great movie free, I encourage you to check my guide and please give me some feedback if you do. What great films are missing and what genres should the next volume cover?


How to find classic films that stream free fast

Guide3Three volumes of my four-part film guide can be downloaded for free off Smashwords. I promise some spectacular films you’ve never seen or likely even heard about. I don’t cover many blockbusters or pay much attention to Rotten Tomatoes, but I do provide buttons for each film that link to that site and I encourage people to leave ratings and reviews and put energy into it.
My film guide is really a new concept in ebooks because it’s designed to flow the reader into whatever film they select by pressing a button, avoiding having to laboriously type titles over and over into various websites.
Many of these films stream for free on Youtube, and if that option is available, just click the TV button under the poster and the film opens in Youtube and starts playing. If it doesn’t stream for free there, then the official trailer opens and plays. In truth, I was shocked how many of these films are on Youtube. If it’s not free on Youtube, click “Can I Stream This?” and all options for streaming and buying in any format will be displayed. You’ve probably heard of Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu, but there are a dozen other video streaming sites and more get added all the time. Can I Stream This? stays up-to-date on them all. If you find a link that doesn’t work, leave a message on this blog and I’ll get it fixed asap.
Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and Youtube are in a war with cable TV, and everyone has been forced to offer up tons of free content. The first three require a small subscription price, but Youtube is gradually putting up every significant film for inexpensive rentals and they appear poised to become a major competitor in this field. I expect HBO and Showtime and other pay cable channels to suffer since they are the most expensive and have the smallest catalog, not to mention their content is in the midst of a severe decline. They’ve haven’t come up with anything close to The Sopranos or Entourage.
Funny how many of the most popular films don’t even come close to making my top 200, and that includes Lord of the Rings, Forest Gump, The Shawshank Redemption, The Deer Hunter, Avatar, Star Wars, or anything about James Bond or Harry Potter. Those films reside at the top level of Rotten Tomatoes, and it’s safe to say you are quite familiar with them all, and they were all huge blockbusters. But the films on my list are better than those, and time will prove me right. Many blockbusters tarnish fast because they were buffed so hard by the mainstream media, while other films that were hated, ignored or blasted with negative reviews, rise in prominence, especially when the opposition came for political reasons.
If you think I missed a film in any particular category, please send me a message via this blog. I’ll check out any recommendations as I plan to eventually expand to a 10-volume set of 500 films, so I’m not even halfway there yet. Keep in mind, it’s a plus if your recommendation streams free on Youtube, and/or was repressed for political reasons. But in any case, they all must be feature-length, five-star films that take the viewer on an epic voyage of discovery.

A new concept in publishing…smart ebooks

FilmGuideCoverCompleteMost books are for reading, or viewing, but I just made one primarily for linking to the most useful Internet sites regarding film. I don’t know if anyone else has done this before, but the idea came to me after so many frustrating experiences toggling between Netflix and Amazon on my TV, and Rotten Tomatoes and Can I Stream It? on my laptop. I was forced to laboriously type titles one letter at a time via my remote.
So I created the first smart film ebook so anyone can toggle around the universe with zero typing, just button pushing.
This is a book filled with the original posters, links and brief commentary, and it can rocket you towards a great film free online faster than anything else out there. Click the poster and the Wikipedia page opens. Click the TV button and the film plays free in Youtube, or if that option’s not available, the trailer plays. Click the stream button to find out where it streams or downloads. And there’s even a button for Rotten Tomatoes, although the scores on some of these are surprisingly low as some offend a few people no doubt.
The book includes my top ten stoner films. I’m sure many of you have your own list of stoner films you love. I encourage everyone to leave their lists as comments on this blog, or if you think I missed something important, don’t hesitate to offer suggestions for improvements. Follow the link below to download the book on Kindle for under $3.

My Ultimate Film Guide

FilmGuideCover4My kids just reached the age when they realize the best films are not necessarily the most recent nor the most expensive to make. The films you watch define who you are, just like the bands you listen to, books you read, and ceremonies you follow.
We have no shortage of options available: Netflix on demand, Amazon Prime, and Time Warner Cable with HBO and Showtime. Combine that with 5,000 reviews in most guides and you enter the maze of indecision. Just navigating the various options and locating the best portal for streaming has left us in such a confused state movie-night ceremonies have been cancelled.
I knew there had to be a better way. The problem with previous guides is they were invented before Internet streaming changed everything. And they seem to put a premium on who has the most reviews with the longest descriptions.
So I decided to make a list of the essentials with hyperlinks to the crucial websites that are constantly being updated, just so my kids and I could make informed choices and navigate options fast. The same masterpiece that streams free on one site, might rent for 10 or $12 on some other, and I didn’t want to fall for any lay-down deals. I encourage you to stop by Amazon and pick it up.

My 10 favorite spy movies

The Manchurian Candidate (1962) introduced the concept of hypnotic mind control assassins walking among us. The film was recently remade, although the more modern version was a disaster and conveys none of the suspense of the original, which was based on an explosive book by Richard Condon, who’d served as the publicist for Walt Disney before launching his career as a novelist. Disney was very close with J. Edgar Hoover and a real Cold Warrior himself. There were some deep secrets revealed by this film, so much so the studio pulled it one year after release because it had some eerie parallels to the assassination of JFK.

If you were expecting a James Bond film on this list, I’m afraid to disappoint. The Bond films are entertaining but really just silly melodramas that bear little resemblance to the moral complexities real spooks face when they delve into deep politics. John Le Carre’s portrayals of spook world were far more accurate than anything Ian Fleming ever wrote, although they both worked for British intelligence, though Le Carre’s “Circus” was initially based on the inner sanctum of the SIS, while Fleming initially worked for British naval intelligence. Based on Le Carre’s third and most successful novel, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (1965) introduced George Smiley to most of the world.

The Ipcress File (1965) followed in the wake of Manchurian Candidate by delving into the use of hypnotism and psychic driving to rearrange the brains of secret agents who knew too much. It would soon become much imitated. Sealed the career of Michael Caine and got him noticed in Hollywood. Based on a novel by fromer RAF pilot Len Deighton. In response to the Bond franchise, Deighton revealed spook world was actually filled with meaningless red tape and interdepartmental rivalries to great comic effect.

The Kremlin Letter (1970) was a ground-breaking film that bombed at the box office, but remains one of the great masterpieces of the genre directed by John Huston and based on a book written by Noel Behn, formerly of the United States Army Counterintelligence Corps. This is probably the closest thing to a real CIA operation in Russia you will ever find, and it all revolves around drugs and prostitutes. The protagonist is recruited out of the Navy because of his photographic memory and soon enters the rabbit hole into a wilderness of mirrors. The spooks are ruthless and will use any tactic to fulfill a mission, and you never know which side they’re on because sides change quickly.

You don’t see this film on many lists, but I love it, and it revealed the dark underbelly to our involvement in Vietnam, including capturing a monopoly on opium from French intelligence. It’s not really classified as a “spy” movie because the main character was loosely based on Neal Cassady. They even recreate a version of the Pranksters hangout in Perry Lane for the big climatic ending, when the bad spooks and Cassady slug it out. Who’ll Stop the Rain (1978) is a rousing adventure story in which the spooks are the bad guys.

In the real world of spooks, the hidden machinations of the oil industry play a crucial role. Oil is a weapon, and when the price goes high, countries that don’t have any, like China, are kept in check. Syriana (2005) remains one of the few peeks into the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which has become a haven for spook activities.

Munich (2006) may be my all-time favorite spy film and details how Israel set-up assassination teams to get vengeance against the Black September group that assassinated their Olympic champions at the Munich games in 1972. Based on the life of real-life Mossad agent Juval Aviv, it shows how the moderate Palestinian leadership was replaced by violent fanatics after the assassinations, leaving the Mossad spooks wondering if they weren’t being manipulated to increase violence and tension rather than resolve it.

The Company (2007) is actually what many undercover CIA spooks call their outfit, and this history of the CIA is better than the more expensive The Good Shepherd, which covered similar territory and was released a year earlier, the difference being this was released as a TV miniseries and not a theatrical film. Unfortunately, both projects blinked when it came to covering the JFK assassination, which was a Company project undertaken by many of the same spooks involved in the failed Bay of Pigs invasion. Other than that major oversight, there’s some real truths revealed in this complex drama.

Spooks and terrorists go hand-in-hand, and in the wilderness of mirrors it’s often hard to tell the two apart. Carlos (2010) is a masterful glimpse into this world and would have been even better if the original Feelies soundtrack had been left intact. Unfortunately, the band didn’t want to get associated with a notorious terrorist and nixed their music. You won’t find a better miniseries about deep political events and I promise this will keep you on the edge of your seat throughout.

There are two celebrated versions of this famous Le Carre novel, one made for the BBC starring Alec Guinness and the other a British-French theatrical film starring Gary Oldman. Since I haven’t seen the BBC version I can’t say which is better, but I was greatly impressed by Tinker, Taylor, Soldier, Spy (2011). The story is a loose interpretation of the unveiling of super spook Kim Philby, but some elements are ignored to make it more palatable, especially Philby’s friendship with Victor Rothschild.

Just one of many categories in my fun film guide, available exclusively on Amazon.

My 10 favorite horror films

The British may own spooks and black magic through their dominating James Bond and Harry Potter icons, but the Germans initially ruled over the birth of horror films. The first masterpiece of the genre is the expressionistic The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920). Modern concepts of hypnotism and mind control are expressed in this film, although the CIA would not adopt them for another 20 years or so.

The Manchurian Candidate (1962) is one of the greatest spy movies ever made, and also a terrific horror story with many layers. It introduced the concept of brainwashing through psychic driving and ritual abuse. In fact, the story was so on target the film had to be pulled for many years after JFK was assassinated, simply because the assassination had too many similarities with this story. In fact, Oswald was undoubtedly a victim of MKULTRA hypnosis programming. The 1960s was really the classic era of this genre and half my top ten come from the decade.

Carnival of Souls (1962) sets the record for low budget, having been made for around $33,000. Despite the lack of any real resources, its a psychological masterpiece driven by an incredibly disturbing organ soundtrack. People have tried to remake this but never to the same effect.

Alfred Hitchcock is one of the great masters of the genre and made many films that deserve consideration, including Psycho. But The Birds (1963) is my favorite of all the scary films Hitch made, and it’s been made all the more disturbing by the recent revelations he used the production to torment the female star, Tippie Hedren, because she refused to submit to his sexual desires.

My favorite director in this genre, however, is Roman Polanski, and his Repulsion (1965) is without doubt one of the most disturbing psychological experiences of my life, the first real immersion into the world of psychosis.

It doesn’t take a big budget to make a great horror film, and that’s been proven over and over. I don’t really care for the slasher films and gore is not my bag, and in a way I guess this film got a lot of that trend going, but today it seems super tame in that regard. Night of the Living Dead (1968) was an original update on the zombie film.

I don’t know why The Tenant (1976) doesn’t get the respect it deserves. Although I enjoyed the basic horror melodrama Rosemary’s Baby, I found this film far more psychologically interesting, exploring concepts of psychic possession and split personality syndrome in a highly original manner. One of the most under celebrated films you’ll ever see.

The Shining (1980) was strangely uncelebrated when it came out, although I found it to be one of the scariest films I ever sat through, a real descent into madness even more powerful than Polanski’s Repulsion. It did eventually attain the status it deserves and now serves as a launching pad for numerous rabbit holes and disinfo stories, so great is its resonance on the telepathic plane.

Talk about psychologically disturbing, Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1986)  set a new bar in that regard. Proving once again that big budgets don’t necessarily make for big horror, director John McNaughton fashioned this masterpiece on a measly $100,000 budget. The film launched a few careers and deservedly so. And I should add I’ve known John since high school and recruited him into my band The Soul Assassins in 1988 in New York City to play organ.

Pan’s Labyrinth (2006) is a wonderful merger of fantasy and horror and seems to owe a ton of inspiration to The Shining, especially the ending. Of all horror films released in the last few decades, this one really stands out as my favorite.

PTSD is the new normal

86486961One in three teens is on the verge of a nervous breakdown and the percentage of highly stressed teens is growing at an alarming rate. Teens have now surpassed adults for exhibiting signs of PTSD.
This is a great tragedy and a likely the result of drugging an entire generation with stimulants and SSRI’s. Obviously, the mass drugging is not working, in fact, it seems to be contributing to the problem.
Part of this equation is also the immense cost of college, which puts tremendous pressure on kids to make grades and parents to save. The shrinking job market also plays a major factor, because opportunities after college are shrinking.
But the media also plays a major role with relentless violence pornography and amplification of terror events. You can’t help but be psychologically impacted when a horrific event of violence commands the news for days.
I’m not in favor of censorship, but I do yearn for a rise in conscious media that honors the benefits of peace culture and shows respect for non-violence, and projects that lifestyle as an honorable path. One way to implement this is to show appreciation for the hippie movement, something on the cusp of a 50th anniversary, and a true piece of American history.
Strangely, much of the story is still untold, starting with the death of hippie’s greatest avatar, Johnny Griggs, founder of the Brotherhood of Eternal Love.
Who knows, hippie energy might come around again someday. I sure hope so.