Saturday, August 20, 2011

30 Before 30: Random Revelations About Robert

It recently occurred to me that I never properly introduced myself to anyone who might be reading. In thirty days, I’ll be thirty years old, so I have come up with thirty seemingly random yet thoroughly revealing facts about me that I thought many of you might enjoy being made aware of.

1.)  My favorite movie is Adrian Lyne's Flashdance, but I consider Irving Rapper's Now, Voyager to be the best movie ever made.

2.)  My favorite singer is Madonna, and among many other favorite musical acts are Diana Ross, ABBA, Michael Jackson, John Lennon, Laura Branigan, Pat Benatar, Kate Bush, Def Leppard, Olivia Newton-John, Rachel Sweet, The Ramones, and Yoko Ono.  

3.)  My favorite actors are Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, Montgomery Clift, Mickey Rourke, and Madonna. 

4.)  My favorite directors are Dario Argento, Paul Verhoeven, and Adrian Lyne, and among my MANY other favorites are Alfred Hitchcock, Woody Allen, John Hughes, Mario Bava, Lucio Fulci, David Cronenberg, Wes Craven, John Carpenter, Radley Metzger, David Lynch, and Jodie Foster. 

5.)  The star with whom I most identify is Marilyn Chambers.

6.) The last movie I ever saw on the big screen in the 20th century was The Talented Mr. Ripley, at Regal South Beach Stadium in MIAMI!

7.) The first movie I ever saw on the big screen in the 21st century was Scream 3, at the Loews Liberty Tree Mall Theater in Danvers, Massachusetts....formerly known as "Salem Village"! 

8.)  The first movie I EVER saw in a movie theater was Rainbow Brite and the Star Stealer, at the General Cinema in Framingham, Massachusetts, when I was four years old. I loved it, but only watched it once since, in 2005, so as to keep whatever faint memories linger from that day alive in my mind forever. 

9.) The first Madonna video that I ever saw was "Burning Up", in Autumn 1983, while staying at my Godmother’s house during the time my Mom and Dad were in the hospital welcoming my younger sister into the world. Thank God for my cousins’ memories of how mesmerized I was, for I don’t recall it. I can only imagine how fascinated I must have been when she looked into the camera and said “Unlike the others, I’ll do ANYTHING!” . 

10.) My proper love affair with Madonna began in the Summer of 1990 when my Dad took me to see Dick Tracy as an eight year old. When Dick Tracy asked her whose side she was on, Breathless Mahoney answered with “the same side I’m always on: mine”. I loved both Breathless Mahoney and Madonna Ciccone from that moment on. When I rented “The Immaculate Collection” on video in April 1991, the deal was officially sealed: Madonna became the dominant artistic force in my life from that day forward. 

11.) I am in a rare demographic: it was Madonna’s acting, in Dick Tracy and in her first decade of music videos, that made me a lifelong fan. I think the whole “Madonna can’t act” thing was media-created to begin with, but the release of Swept Away made me realize how effective the media has been in turning the mainstream public against her big-screen efforts. I bought tickets to two different shows of Swept Away on opening night in Boston, in a vain attempt to help both sell out. After leaving the one I actually attended, I tried to give my tickets to the next screening to a homeless man outside of the Loews Boston Common Theater on a chilly night in October 2002...and he turned down the offer! Oh well. I still think it’s a damn good performance.

12.)  I first saw Madonna live on August 7th, 2001, when The Drowned World Tour brought Madonna to the Boston Garden for her first show ever at that venue. Ten years later, I have seen her a total of nine times on four tours. 

13.) Before his death in 1998, I am honored to say that I saw Frank Sinatra four times in concert, including his last-ever Boston performance, at "The Harbor Lights" (now The Bank of America Pavilion) in early September 1994. 

14.) In June, 1981, my Sinatra-loving father made my non-fan mother see every performance by Ol’ Blue Eyes in both Atlantic City and Boston while on tour that year. Factor in those shows and I’ve "seen" Frank Sinatra in concert more times than I've seen Madonna!

15.) When I was seven, my parents took my sister and I to see Frank Sinatra perform with Sammy Davis Jr. and Liza Minnelli. As a child, Liza Minnelli was the entertainer I enjoyed most on that legendary triple-bill.  

16.) Showgirls opened two days after I turned fourteen, and I used my birthday boy clout to convince my parents to go in my place see the Midnight show of the NC-17 film on its opening night at the Lincoln Center Cinema in Manhattan. They did. They even liked it: I got a full run-down of the storyline from my Mom the next day, and I distinctly recall that my Dad thought it was a better film-viewing experience than Atom Egoyan’s Exotica! I have loved Showgirls ever since, and I loved my parents even more after the massive coolness points that that night earned them in my book.  

17.) My favorite Dario Argento movie is The Stendhal Syndrome. When I met Il Maestro in May 2010, I nonetheless asked him to sign my copies of Opera and Phenomena, because A.) those two come pretty damn close to being my favorites a well and B.) all three have been equally influential on my development as a screenwriter.  

18.) The first time I was ever left home alone was in December 1991, when I watched Terminator 2: Judgment Day. The trailer for Basic Instinct appeared at the beginning of the tape. I was ten, and my parents were at a school conference, where their well-behaved son was being acclaimed for his solid conduct and academic performance. I know I liked seeing T2 that night, but my viewing was tainted by that trailer. I was positively overwhelmed by those few minutes of spliced gazes, beautiful faces, and old-fashioned dialogue against pounding, hypnotic music. It was another three years before I’d built up the bravado to sneak in a viewing of the full-length film against my parents’ wishes, but in the interim, I became positively obsessed with it. Suffice to say, it remains among the most influential films on my entire writing career. 

19.)  A guy once said to me "you need to come out” after I told him, at the age of 24, that I had never gone clubbing. It was odd since I’d been totally out to the world for many years. Funny, but I thought that the fact that we were about to sleep together made it pretty apparent that I wasn’t hiding from who I really was.

20.)  I once put out a cigarette on the back of my hand in a drunken state of self-despair following a failed summer romance. I was totally embarrassed by the act the next day, but I’ve comforted myself when I look at the scar by acknowledging that it might impress Mickey Rourke. 

21.) I LOVE theatrical trailers, particularly those from the early-‘70s through the late-‘90s, and my favorite of all time is the trailer for Adrian Lyne’s 9 ½ Weeks.  

22.) I have always felt an affinity with prostitutes in movies. My favorite onscreen prostitute of all is Bette Davis in Marked Woman

23.) The affinity I share with prostitutes in movies was best understood by one of my favorite screenwriters, Barry Sandler, and one of my favorite actresses, Kathleen Turner, in my favorite Ken Russell film: Crimes of Passion

24.) In April of 1994, my entire sixth grade class went to see the Red Sox play at Fenway Park, along with the entire sixth grade class of two neighboring towns. In the 7th grade, all three groups of students would go on to a regional junior high together, and that was the night we all got to “meet”. I, however, did not attend. I nixed the night at Fenway to instead go see Serial Mom with MY Mom on opening night!  I know my Mom would have enjoyed it as much as I did if the little old ladies in attendance at the 5 PM show weren’t so upset by all the violence in the new Kathleen Turner movie, thereby making her feel unnecessarily guilty for giving in to my pleas to see it. I convinced my Dad to take me to a second screening, a few weeks later, where he enjoyed it as much as the dozens of bikers who filled the theater that raucous Saturday night in Boston. 

25.) I am very close with both of my parents, as well as my one and only sister. Sometimes I prefer to think of them as friends, rather than family, because I aim to be cool, and I’m not sure how cool someone who gets along as well with his family as I do would be if I were on the outside looking in! 

26.) My favorite film genres are horror and romance. I can’t explain why, but I’m positive it has to do with my being Italian and Irish and raised in New England. 

27.) I was introduced to Bette Davis as a child by way of The Watcher in the Woods and late-night TV talk show appearances that my Dad would tape and show to me the next day; he always got a big kick out of how entertained I was by her! I was in a station wagon with a carphone when  my Dad called my Mom to deliver to me the sad news that Bette Davis had died. It was a monumental loss, but also a special moment that I shall never forget. 

28.) I have loved Diana Ross since childhood, and when I finally got to see her live on June 9th, 2010, she looked right into my eyes as she sang several of the lines from “THE BOSS”!

29.)  Like many of my idols, favorite topic could very well be sex.  Due to my prolonged romantic attachments, I’m never been quite as promiscuous as I have always wanted to be, but I still encourage the rest of the world to make as much love as humanly possible—SAFELY, of course! 

30.)  I have had and loved many pets in my lifetime. Their respective and collective impacts on my life are at the root of my belief in immortality. 



  1. robert,
    you keep to amaze me... you are probably the most honest person i´ve ever met (although i've never even seen you in the flesh)...

    1. Thank you so much Ernesto!!! I'm sorry it took me this long to find and reply to your comment but it makes me smile so I thank you for that as well as for your words! :) Much love your way my friend and I hope you'll enjoy the work to come!!!

  2. I can relate to every single one of these facts, and could respond individually to each one. But instead I will thank you for introducing me to two new films I hadn't seen: MARKED WOMAN and the trailer for 9 1/2 WEEKS. That trailer is SO GOOD. I watch that and think "Who wouldn't have wanted to see that movie?!" I will rent MARKED WOMAN ASAP.

    My mom took me to see SERIAL MOM, too--and on the way home we laughed about all of the annoying mothers in my suburban town who reminded us of Beverly Sutphin.