Great Expectations

Evening, everyone.

Hope you’re enjoying the weekend, doing some shopping and preparing for the
upcoming Holidays.

As we continue our steady march to the axis flip, I can’t help but think of our many different daily activities – all the things we do, plus all of our aspirations and goals, lofty or otherwise.

And along with all of those hopes and dreams come expectations, lots of ‘em.

And the sad reality is that we are often disappointed, often expecting one thing, but
getting another.

Guess that’s the problem with so much of the “hype” we must deal with every day. Inevitably, we are let down, and, well, that pretty much sucks.

But since we seem to have become something of a collectively resourceful bunch in recent weeks, I was thinking that the best way to manage expectations is to temper them. I’m not saying we shouldn’t have them; after all, they can often make life a lot more tolerable.

So, I’m thinking that we could use a lot more “sleepers.” Yep, those pleasant surprises that lift us when we are more or less expecting nothing.

As always, this is a very subjective list (though I’m thinking that you guys are probably getting sort of used to where my head is with a lot of this stuff!), but I’m hoping these hidden gems – both literary and cinematic – will provide you with that unexpected lift that only a true “sleeper” can provide.

  1. True Believer (1989) – A once-crusading civil rights attorney (James Woods), disillusioned and now reduced to defending coke dealers and speed manufacturers, gets a shot at redemption when his idealistic assistant (Robert Downey Jr.) convinces him to take on an 8-year-old murder case.
  2. QB VII (Leon Uris, ©1970) – Adam Kelno, a Holocaust survivor (now a renown surgeon), is accused of wartime atrocities he allegedly committed while practicing medicine in a death camp.
  3. People Like Us (2012) – The son of a recently-deceased music producer (Chris Pine) discovers that his father had another family; and his downtrodden half-sister (Elizabeth Banks) stands to be awarded the lion’s share of his inheritance.
  4. July, July (Tim O’Brien, ©2002) – A 25th college reunion becomes the place where secrets are revealed and lives are changed.
  5. Lucas (1986) – A suburban Chicago-area teen with a mysterious home life has
    genius tendencies.
  6. American Rust (Phillip Meyer, ©2009) Two misfit buddies, on the run from the law, hide in a dilapidated Pennsylvania steel town.
  7. Long Gone (1987) – Despite poor attendance and an underwhelming roster, player/manager “Stud” Cantrell (William Peterson), sets his sights on bringing a Western Florida-based minor league baseball team back to respectability.
  8. Once Upon a Town (Bob Greene, ©2002) – During World War II, a small Nebraska town becomes a rural oasis for American soldiers, just before they are shipped off
    to European battlefields.
  9. Soldier in the Rain (1963) – Two army sergeants from completely different backgrounds (Jackie Gleason & Steve McQueen) build a solid friendship. But when they end up vying for the affections of a spritely local girl (Tuesday Weld) a not-so-friendly competition ensues.
  10. Breathing Lessons (Anne Tyler, 1988) – Baltimore, MD natives Maggie and Ira Morgan, a simple, but happily-married couple, return from a funeral and suddenly realize that it’s time to repair their broken dreams.

OK, gang. Hope you’ll explore some of those hidden gems.

And as always, if you have others you’d like to share, please email them to me .

First single-digit countdown day starts tomorrow, people. (-:

Sweet dreams,





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