Archive for the ‘Hollywood’ Category

Between my parents, only my mom had a brother. So growing up I only had one uncle… my Uncle Nicky.

Sadly, he passed on 29 October 2022.

But he won’t soon be forgotten…

… because my Uncle Nicky was one of those individuals that come around once-in-a-lifetime.

Such a fun uncle growing up! I was forever “The King Fish” until literally his final days. Uncle Nicky invented the “Running Down The Hall” game… where one of my three sisters or I would run down the hall and, to my mom’s dismay, the rest of us would throw pillows and cushions at the runner in an attempt to knock them down and not let them get to the end of the hall. Tackle football had nothing on RDTH! The best kid game e-v-e-r.

As all good uncles do (or should do), he was the first to let me drive a car when I was 12 or 13. But it wasn’t just any car… it was his brand new most beautiful white-with-stunning-red-leather-and-real-wood-interior Jaguar XJ6. Who forgets their first? Not me! To this day one of the most elegant cars I have ever seen.

Besides my dad, Uncle Nicky was probably my biggest entrepreneurial influence. The one thing he did better than anyone (including my dad) was to integrate the things he loved into his life’s work. He never worked… he lived.

Turns out my uncle was a movie guy. Wrote. Directed. Filmed. Edited. Produced. Distributed. And anything in between. He represented everything Hollywood, big and small. I didn’t recognize it at the time, but my uncle was really the very first truly creative artist I knew.

I didn’t know the whole story, but early in his career he was opportunistically successful with more adult-themed movies. He hopped between his homes in California and the French Riviera, but eventually gave that all up so he could be a family man. Most people would find it tough to walk away from that kind of success, but family was all-important to my uncle.

So his life turned… and at times that was difficult on his family… because being an artist and now a provider for a family are tough things to balance. But somehow he made it all work. Sometimes just barely.

In his new professional niche, he often had to get, well, creative. He would use me, my sisters, my mom and her friends, even our classmates and teachers as extras in whatever movie project he was working on. He went through a horror phase and that was a lot of fun for our entire town, getting all ghouled-and-bloodied-up. His cult hit was “Criminally Insane”… about an obese, serial-killing nurse that would get rid of the bodies by — spoiler alert — eating them. Audiences couldn’t get enough! Since he was essentially a one-man show, he’d also use our names, or variants of our names, as cast and crew, just to make his productions feel bigger than they actually were. Ever creative.

I will admit, I tried to be a good actor. But, alas, I don’t think I was doing my uncle any favors. He once cast me as an extra in a western and on a 100 degree day I swallowed a chunk of chewing tobacco. Needless to say production stopped for a bit while I vacated my stomach. But he loved it, especially the, uhm, realism. Said it was a great start to me learning method acting. :)

As mentioned, my Uncle Nicky placed a premium on family. I’ve never seen a more devoted son (sorry, mom!). When my older sister was suffering from the ravages of diabetes, my Uncle was always there for her, driving her around, making sure she attended family gatherings and parties, talking to her on the phone, and in general just making her forget, even for a little bit, her deteriorating condition.

Of course there is always the challenging side of any artist. There were times when we just couldn’t understand his behavior. But mostly I remember my Uncle Nicky being an inspiration. He’d share his latest writing or movie project and it was impossible not to get caught up in his energy. I used to love hearing him pontificate… he’d always weigh in on an interesting topic… and he always had an interesting and especially unique take. At those times I always thought he should be a college professor rather than in entertainment. I guess maybe his magic was he was a bit of both.

My Uncle Nicky taught me life is about what you’re engaged in… what is consuming you… what is fulfilling you… and not to shy away or apologize for it, rather, recognize it for what it is: special. Do what you love… and you’ll never really work a day in your life. I think he single-handedly invented that saying.

My Uncle Nicky was truly the road less traveled.

I know you won’t rest in peace… because I’m sure you’re too excited to get back to work… writing new scripts… enlisting old and new actor friends… getting everyone jazzed about all this Hollywood stuff… all told from, as I’m sure you’re describing it right now, your new heavenly point-of-view.

Somehow I think you’re going to have fun in eternity. :)


Will Smith’s son, Jaden, tweeted this after his dad’s despicable behavior at the Oscars:

And That’s How We Do It.

There were about a dozen different ways Will Smith could have protected his wife’s honor in an honorable way.

But this is what he’s dishonorably taught his son: Violence Matters.

I’ve always loved Will Smith movies. He’s always been such a positive role model. He now needs to voluntarily give up his Oscar so that he can teach his son — and all the other sons out there — that violence is never the answer.

Doing so would convince me that he is truly sorry for the way he handled this situation — and I think second chances are important in life… most especially now with this dangerous and damning “cancel culture” that has infested modern society.

However, if he chooses not to, I’m not sure I’ll ever watch another Will Smith movie again.

To paraphrase Hollywood and Spider-man: “With great fame comes great responsibility.”

P.S. Btw, I was never a big Chris Rock fan… but he just zoomed to the top of my list.