Robert's Insights

Being There — 1979

Posted on July 26, 2013 by Robert Ringer Comments (6)


“All you gotta be is white in America to get whatever you want.”  The cult classic Being There has a special meaning for me.  First, because it was a kind of forerunner to Forrest Gump, which didn’t come along until fifteen years later.  Together, these two films form a genre all their own. Second, in […]

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My Way

Posted on July 24, 2013 by Robert Ringer Comments (15)


Paul Anka wrote the lyrics to “My Way” specifically for his friend, Frank Sinatra, based on a French song titled “Comme d’habitude,” which he heard in 1967 and didn’t even particularly like. But once it was released by Sinatra, it achieved a still unmatched record of seventy-five weeks on the Top 40 chart. The lyrics bear some similarity to “Yesterday When I Was Young,” in that both are about a man (sometimes a woman) reflecting back on his life…

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Network — 1976

Posted on July 19, 2013 by Robert Ringer Comments (4)


“I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore.” When evening news anchor Howard Beale (played by Peter Finch) hysterically urged viewers to get up out of their chairs, open their windows, and shout, “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore,” it turned out to […]

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You Don’t Bring Me Flowers

Posted on July 17, 2013 by Robert Ringer Comments (10)


They say there are only two kinds of people in this world: Those who love Neil Diamond and those who hate Neil Diamond. I played Neil Diamond music so much when I was a considerably younger man that, to this day, my kids still jokingly call me “Neil.” Even so, I understand why some people don’t like Diamond’s music. He has written some of the best, as well as some of the worst — and most trite — lyrics ever. (When I think worst, “Crunchy Granola Sweet” comes quickly.) But his great songs are American classics.

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The Shawshank Redemption — 1994

Posted on July 12, 2013 by Robert Ringer Comments (9)


Andy:  “I’m Andy Dufresne.” Red:  “Wife-killing banker.  Why’d you do it?” Andy:  “I didn’t, since you asked.” Red:  (chuckle) “You gonna fit right in.  Everybody in here’s innocent.  You know that?” Unfortunately for The Shawshank Redemption, it came out the same year as Forrest Gump — 1994 — otherwise it might have won the Oscar […]

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The Impossible Dream

Posted on July 10, 2013 by Robert Ringer Comments (5)


The lyrics to “The Impossible Dream,” from the musical Man of La Mancha, speak for themselves. Don Quixote’s message is straightforward: Be brave, be bold, be daring, be pure — and the world will be a better place for your having been here. More simply: Go for it!

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Forrest Gump — 1994

Posted on July 5, 2013 by Robert Ringer Comments (13)


“My momma always said life was like a box of chocolates.  You never know what you’re gonna get.” Forrest Gump is one of those rare movies that can make a grown man both laugh and cry.  Although a bit farfetched, it’s a remarkable feat of screenwriting, producing, directing, and acting that successfully weaves together the […]

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Chantilly Lace

Posted on July 3, 2013 by Robert Ringer Comments (31)


I thought I’d go from the sublime to the ridiculous this week and come up with something as far removed as possible from The Phantom of the Opera’s “All I Ask of You.” If you were alive in the fifties, The Big Bopper’s “Chantilly Lace” is sure to bring back fond memories. If you weren’t alive then, it’s a song will give you a pretty good idea of what it was like in the early years of Rock and Roll. To borrow a line from Janis Ian’s “At Seventeen,” plain and simple, the world was younger than today.

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Fanny — 1961

Posted on June 28, 2013 by Robert Ringer Comments (17)


Fanny:  “What were [the isles beneath the winds] like?”  Marius:  “Have you ever seen photographs of the craters of the moon?  That’s what they were like — volcanic ash.” I’ve written and spoken about two poignant scenes from the 1961 film Fanny many times over the years, because the message they convey relates to so […]

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All I Ask Of You

Posted on June 26, 2013 by Robert Ringer Comments (5)


“All I Ask of You” is surely one of the most beautiful love-song duets ever written, and whenever people hear it, they immediately connect it with the longest-running musical in Broadway history, The Phantom of the Opera. This legendary musical, which was adapted from the 1909 French novel by Gaston Leroux, is far too complex to explain in any kind of detail here, but you can get read about it to your heart’s content on the Internet.

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