Watch This With Rick Ramos

On this week's episode of WatchThis w/RickRamos, Ibrahim & I sit down in The Fortress of Ultimate Darkness to discuss the passing of an American Original, The Playwright Sam Shepard who passed away July 27th just a few months short of his 74th birthday.  I have to admit that I had been an admirer of Shepard's for quite some time without knowing a great deal about him. His passing led me on a tour of his work in front of the camera and behind the typewriter.  With that in mind we discuss his work as an actor (The Right Stuff, Fool For Love, BlackHawk Down, and many more) as well as his written work (Fool For Love, True West, Paris, Texas,) as well as his iconic stature as a symbol of The American Male.

Through looking at these films, plays, and the touching and - ultimately - heartbreaking documentary Shepard & Dark, we get an intense and sometimes frustrating examination of this man. The documentary Shepard & Dark is particularly enlightening in it's profile of a nearly five decade long friendship between Shepard the playwright and his best friend Johnny Dark, a hermetic writer who seems to be the polar opposite of Shepard in both attitude and professional desire. 

This was a bit of a look into the darkness for both of us.  We thank you for continuing on our journey. As always we can be reached at gondoramos@yahoo.com.  Many Thanks & All Of Our Love.   

Direct download: SamShepardEpisode.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:48am EDT

So on this new episode of WatchThis w/RickRamos, Ibrahim & I get a bit serious delving into the world of the judicial system, and specifically The Death Penalty. As always we take our cue from the cinema focusing on the works of Werner Herzog (2011's Into the Abyss), Lawrence Schiller (1983's The Executioner's Song), and Tim Robbins (1995's Dead Man Walking). It's a bit of a heavy talk, but difficult topics deserve hard conversations.  Take a listen and let us know what you think.  We can be reached at gondoramos@yahoo.com.  As always, thanks for the continued love and support.  

Direct download: TheDeathPenalty.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:34am EDT

On this week's episode of WatchThis w/RickRamos, Ibrahim & I tackle one of the greatest films ever made, Francis Ford Coppola's The Godfather.  Take a listen as we spend nearly three hours talking a ground-breaking piece of cinema. With incredible performances from Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, Robert Duvall, James Caan, Robert DeNiro, Diane Keaton, Abe Vigoda, Michael Castellano . . . Christ, the list is too many to name. All that needs to be said is that these are two magnificent films which makes the last film such a disappointment. Ibrahim and I talk the greatness of the first two films and delve into the problems of the third. Take a listen and enjoy this examination of cinematic greatness.  As always, we thank you for your continued love and support. All questions and comments (good or bad) should be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com. Thanks!

Direct download: TheGodfather.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:24am EDT

On episode #137 of WatchThis w/RickRamos I welcome back good friend - and frequent WatchThis collaborator - Mike Black so that we can talk the Decade that formed our earliest understanding of Cinema . . . The 1980's. I have said it in the past (and I stand by the statement) that the 1980's was a (mostly) artistically empty period for filmmaking, but what it did excel at was the elevation of The Action Film in a way that had never been seen before (and in this man's opinion, at least) has never been equaled. Where's the evidence . . ? You have to look no further than the works of John McTernan (Predator, Die Hard), James Cameron (The Terminator), Sylvester Stallone (The Rocky & Rambo series'), and other filmmakers too numerous to mention. Here we have the formation of a film language that would establish the brilliance of American action filmmaking. Take a listen and enjoy as Mike Black & I take a trip down Memory Lane to recall the films that formed our greatest childhood memories. Recorded Live at The House of Pies patio in Los Feliz, CA - you might want to stop in one day and say "Hello" to the staff.  As always, thanks for the love and continued support. Any and all questions should be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com. Thanks!

Direct download: 80sCinema.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 3:10pm EDT

On this week's episode of Watch This w/RickRamos, Ibrahim & I reflect on the world of professional wrestling, focusing our attention on the documentaries Beyond the Mat (Dir. Barry W. Blaustein, 1999) and The Resurrection of Jake The Snake (Dir. Steve Yu, 2015). Not necessarily great films, but films that give a fascinating and entertaining exploration into the behind the scenes going on's of this world wide phenomenon. We draw comparisons between the theatrics of the ring and it's relationship to politics (and, namely, The Trump Administration). We close out this episode with an examination of Darren Aaronofsky's beautifully realized portrait of Randy "The Ram" Robinson, 2008's The Wrestler.  With an incredible career-defining performance from Mickey Rourke this is a film that certainly needs to be seen again.

Take a listen and let us know what you think. We can be reached at gondoramos@yahoo.com. As always, thanks for the continued support. 

Direct download: TheWrestler.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:47pm EDT

On this week's episode of WatchThis W/RickRamos Ibrahim & I take it a bit easy, walking down memory lane, and talking about the movie influences that have brought us to this place. From Tower Records and The Warehouse, to Scorsese and The Faces of Death Series, Ibrahim & I remember the great movie memories of our lives. A little bit of a lighter episode, but one that came together rather nicely. Take a listen and let us know what you think.  As always we appreciate your continued support. Questions, Suggestions, Comments, and Problems can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com

Direct download: CinemaMemories.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 6:07pm EDT

Yeah . . . On this episode of WatchThis W/RickRamos  I take a break from the seriousness of our previous episodes and have a little bit of fun with a classic, Hal Needham's classic 1977 Redneck Masterpiece, Smokey & The Bandit.  This is one of those films that I have to just come to terms with my love for . . . a hilarious and beautifully realized 70's era comedy that has stood the test of time.  With great throw-away comic performances from Burt Reynolds, Sally Fields, Jerry Reed, Mike Henry (as the criminally forgotten Junior Justice), Pat McCormack & Paul Williams, and - an unforgettably brilliant comic performance by the great Jackie Gleason as Sheriff Buford T. Justice, this is a film that deserves it's reputation as one of the great underrated comedies of the 1970's. 

It feels great to cool down and talk about a good time at the movies. As always, thanks for the continued support.  Questions, Comments, Suggestions, and Complaints should be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com.  

Direct download: SmokeyTheBandit.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:21am EDT

On this week's episode of WatchThis w/RickRamos Ibrahim and I come to the end of our examination of The Vietnam War.  You don't watch Full Metal Jacket, Stanley Kubrick's 1987 classic without recognizing it as two separate films.  That's the angle that we're approaching the film. Boot Camp and The Grunts' Experience in one of the few urban examinations of this very complex war.  With standout performances from Matthew Modine, Vincent D'Onofrio, and in a career-definining role, former USMC Drill Sergeant, R. Lee Ermey. This is a great film that we are proud to close this series out with. Take a listen and let us know what you think.  As always, we can be reached for Praise, Comments, Suggestions, & Complaints to gondoramos@yahoo.com - Thanks for all of the support. 

Direct download: FullMetalJacket.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:11pm EDT

The train keeps rolling down the bend . . . On this week's episode of WatchThis W/RickRamos, Ibrahim & I continue our descent into The Vietnam War.  This week we take a look at The War through the eyes of the displaced and victimized . . . the people of Vietnam and Cambodia.  Oliver Stone ends his Vietnam Trilogy with 1993's Heaven & Earth, the story of Le Ly Hayslip who survived the destruction of her village, death of many family members, and the decimation of her country to eventually find peace through her will and perseverance. We also take a look at Roland Joffe's 1984 examination of the expansion of the war into Cambodia and the genocide wrought by Pol Pot and The Khmer Rouge, The Killing Fields.  Through the story of Dith Pran's four year odyssey through "The Killing Fields" of the title, we get a rare examination of the war from a perspective that has been too often ignored.  With an Academy Award winning performance from Dr. Hang S. Ngor, The Killing Fields is a truly exceptional film.  We talk the film as well as Dr. Ngor's remarkable parallel experiences and his untimely 1996 murder by a Chinatown street gang.  We hope you enjoy and take a little something from this heartfelt episode.  Please direct questions, comments, suggestions, and complaints to gondoramos@yahoo.com - As always, thanks for the continued love & support. 

Direct download: VietnamPartIV.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:07pm EDT

On this episode of WatchThis w/RickRamos, Ibrahim & I continue our descent into the rabbit hole of The Vietnam War. This week we take a look at the grunts' welcome home with an examination of Oliver Stone's 1989 biopic of paralyzed Vietnam veteran Ron Kovic, Born on the Fourth of July.  We also take look at Michael Cimino's 1978 masterpiece, The Deer Hunter.  With these films we see two powerful and heart-wrenching examinations of a misunderstood and much maligned experience. The trip isn't over. Ibrahim & I are discovering more and more and we hope that you good listeners are taking a little bit from it. Questions, Comments, Suggestions, & Complaints should be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com - As always, thank you for the continued love & support.  

Direct download: VietnamPart3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:29pm EDT