Sunday, January 30, 2022


The little girl in front in this WWII era photo is my sister Irene, and that's me in our oldest sibling's arms (Tommy, later Father Campion, Franciscan friar) with our brothers Robert (William R.) to my left and Buddy (James) to my far right, and sister Joan in front of me. Our brother John died as an infant a couple of years before I was born, so Irene, five years older than me, was my closest sibling in age.

My two sisters and I slept in the "finished" (unpainted sheetrock) part of the attic when I was a boy, and they were forced to drag me along to the movies on weekend days until I was eight or nine and allowed to go by myself (!). Both sisters played piano, and I pestered my parents until they got me lessons at four. Joan eventually gave piano up, but Irene and I didn't. I have so many sweet memories of those early years with Irene and me.

When she graduated high school she joined a cloistered nunnery and stayed for four years until just before her final vows when she returned to her "cell" to find a cat-'o-nine tails on her bunk and called our father to come get her. Even though I was five years younger than her, my mother knew I was already more experienced so asked me to look out for her, and I did.

We had a few spats over the decades, but mostly we were loving to each other. From what I could tell, she loved her life up until only months ago when she woke up one day mostly blind. And then more of her started breaking down and life became extremely challenging. Last time we talked, it was clear she was done but would tough it out.

She was my last sibling still living. Now I'm the only one left. But they all live on in my memories and heart. Love to her children and grandchildren and all her family and friends.

Here's my favorite recent photo of Irene. Still the same smile.

Thursday, January 27, 2022


There's been snow on the ground since just after Xmas at my new home in upstate NY, reminding me of my boyhood winters when snow would arrive sometime in later November or early December and stick around until Spring. Which reminded me of all the seasons of my boyhood, especially the summers I spent down the Jersey shore in Belmar. Here I am with a few of the Lally clan in the late 1940s.

Back row my mom, Aunt Peggy and Aunt Rose; middle row my cousins Rod and Rosemary and sister Joan; bottom row me, my sister Irene and cousins Kathi and Micki.

Monday, January 24, 2022


Another deeply intense film with a disturbingly ambiguous ending adapted from a novel and directed by a woman that left me thinking about them for days (the other two being POWER OF THE DOG and LOST DAUGHTER). PASSING offers a multilayered dramatic riff on all kinds of "passing" for something you're not, but first and foremost for "white" in the late 1920s.

The performances from the leads—Tessa Thompson and Ruth Negga—are stunningly complex. Though other actors may have been more believable as the kinds of people who historically "passed," casting these two reinforces the absurdity of the whole racial categorization obsession in this country and during this period in particular.

Director/writer Rebecca Hall, one of my favorite actors, allows all the performers to have their moments so that everyone in the film is memorable. The cinematography and editing as well. It's not an easy film nor completely satisfying (to me), and like the other two elicits strong opinions for and against, but I'm glad I watched it.

Friday, January 21, 2022


 Don't remember where I copped this from but totally cool new year resolutions from woody guthrie:

[click to enlarge]

Wednesday, January 19, 2022


When I met Yvette Mimieux in 1985 on the set of BERRENGER'S, I thought she was much older than me because I still remembered being moved by her performance in WHERE THE BOYS ARE in 1960 when I was 18 and she was already a movie star. But her obituaries say she was 80, as I will be in a few months, so we were actually contemporaries.

She was the star power for BERRENGER'S and my character, a bad guy sweat shop owner in the fashion industry, was a bit part on the first episode that became a recurring role on every episode of the short lived series (a victim of a network vs studio feud). But it was a great time for me. Shot mostly on a soundstage at MGM (though my sweatshop scenes were in a downtown LA garment manufacturer's loft) the thrill of being waved through the MGM gates and into a studio lot with my own parking space evoked every Hollywood film I'd ever seen with scenes of actors trying to crash some studio's gates.

And for at least one season, my name was in TV Guide every week, I was nominated for best newcomer by some primetime soaps fan magazine, and was asked for signed headshots that were mounted along with others behind the meat counter at Mrs. Gootch's and my local dry cleaners, and had paparazzi flashing cameras at me outside Hollywood hotspots. And I got to work with a great cast, some of whom became dear friends. 

I didn't have any scenes with Mimieux, but we talked a few times and I, along with everyone else who worked on the show, received a gift from her when it was cancelled. She was always gracious and warm and unpretentious and beautiful and somehow modestly glamorous. I feel humbled and honored to have known her. Condolences to her family, friends, and fans.

Tuesday, January 18, 2022


I admire Maggie Gyllenhaal's fearless approach to her art. Her commitment to what I take as her vision of the truth of a character she plays as an actor, or characters she guides as a director, always strikes me as fierce. As it does in THE LOST DAUGHTER. The challenge is her interpretation of Elena Ferrante's vision of the characters she created in the novel Gyllenhaal wrote the screenplay for. The Italian novelist gave Gyllenhaal permission to do it her way, but for me, the transformation of a story whose characters all share the same dark Neapolitan history to one whose characters come from more dispersed and unrelated backgrounds created a feeling of something missing. All the terrific performances, the radical cinematography, and the bold direction left me impressed but dissatisfied. And the seeming ambiguity of the (also altered) ending only added to that. Worth watching for the artistry, but frustrating for me.   

Saturday, January 15, 2022


In honor of his birthday, I took down from its shelf A TESTAMENT OF HOPE: The Essential Writings Of Martin Luther King, Jr. I decided to open it at random and point to a sentence and post it. The page was 226, the end of his Nobel acceptance speech, and this was the sentence:

"I have the audacity to believe that peoples everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture for their minds, and dignity, equality and freedom for their spirits."

Friday, January 14, 2022


Photo taken in the late 1980s on a timer by the photographer and longtime friend Bobby Miller of him between the now long departed but then love of my life, Joan Baribeault, and me on our couch in the home we rented in Santa Monica, and my daughter Caitlin on the floor, all beneath a Bill Sullivan painting.

Wednesday, January 12, 2022


I resisted watching this film because the trailer made the movie seem depressing. But several friends assured me it wasn't. They were right in a way. It's a plaintive, mostly dark delve into the theme of malevolent bullying, so it's not an easy film to watch, but brilliant cinematography and acting made it worthwhile for me. The actors—Benedict Cumberbatch, Kirsten Dunst, Jesse Plemons, and especially Kodi Smit-McPhee—playing the four main characters should all be nominated for Oscars, as should Jane Campion for directing. Oh, and to get the ending, you may have to see it twice, or look up some commentary about it. I just let it resonate as it haunted me for days after seeing it. Still does.

Saturday, January 8, 2022

Friday, January 7, 2022


Blackboard Jungle came out in 1955 when I had just become a teenager and half the boys in my 8th grade class at Our Lady Of Sorrows grammar school came to school the day after it opened calling each other "daddy-o" and wanting too be in a gang. The one I became a part of for a while was the Spartans, all Irish-Americans, like me.

But the actor who made the deepest impression on me and played the coolest character in the film was Sidney Poitier, who I only realized years later I fell in love with watching him in that movie. And over and over again in every other movie I ever saw him in. No matter how badly written or executed a film was, Poitier always elevated it just by his presence alone.

I never got to meet him but he still became a part of my inner life from Blackboard Jungle on, and will remain so. R.I.P.

Thursday, January 6, 2022


I only encountered the director/actor/writer Peter Bogdanovich in person once. I was renting and living in, with my then two kids, an illegal-for-living-in loft on the corner of Duane and Greenwich in a rundown sparsely populated neighborhood soon to become "Tribeca" and woke up one morning to a movie being shot outside my window, a scene for They All Laughed starring his new love Dorothy Stratton.

When I found out it was him shooting the film, I rushed down to the street hoping for the chance to tell him how much I dug Daisy Miller and At Long Last Love, the movies that critics and audiences rejected but I saw value in. I don't remember getting to actually talk to him but Dorothy Stratton sitting in one of those movie-director chairs smiled at me.

He was not just a talented artist in the filmmaking business, he was also one of the most interesting directors, actors, writers ever, who made something unique out of his rocky careers. Rest In Pictures Peter.