Having just passed a major milestone of a birthday, I decided to take a little sentimental journey. In other words, I wen through my writing archives and rediscovered something intriguing. Many years ago, back in the 1990s, I was on staff at a local newspaper in southern California and made friends with another writer named Brian Chee. The paper went under the banner Southern Calif. Community New, or SCCN for short.
The two of us were young and arrogant enough to believe that we were the best writers on staff and should therefore write something together. Since we had both worked in restaurants in the past, we traded horror stories and thought we’d collaborate on a book together. That idea faded into memory.
Instead — and I’m pretty sure it was his idea — together we dreamed up a little editorial pamphlet entitled, FREESPEAK. The idea was to write contemporary pieces of our choosing involving politics, pop culture or whatever suited our fancy. I remember one piece I wrote in which I publicly implored whatever readers were out there to help push Mario Cuomo to run for the White House. Oy, the arrogance.
The project only lasted a few months but I recently came across all three issues, which were put together on Brian’s home computer, at the time. Below are the running columns I did during the salad days of home video players. My arrogance ran amok as I thought it was important to remind folks about films that may not be popular at their local rental houses, but still worthy of rediscovery. Glad to see I even picked a Lee Marvin movie in the process. Who knew decades later I’d be the award-winning NY Times bestselling author of Lee Marvin Point Blank? I know I didn’t! So, here again in full arrogance is my idea of “Forgotten Movies to Remember.” Don’t forget to click to enlarge.
– Dwayne Epstein

FREESPEAK, February 1992.

Freespeak, April, 1992


FREESPEAK, at the end.

Share Button


Films of 1982
The best films of 1982 on this blog? Well, long before I even thought of writing NY Times Bestseller, Lee Marvin Point Blank, I was lucky enough to land a freelance gig on a local paper (thanks to a grade school friend of mine) that allowed me to write film reviews on a regular basis. Amazingly, without any formal training or education, my reviews were popular enough to warrant an end of the year “Best Of” article, resulting in the piece you can read below.
It was a strange existence. My part-time job paying my bills was as a union housekeeper at Kaiser Hospital in Downey, Calif. So, and this is no exaggeration, I led a superhero’s existence for a few years. By day I was scrubbing toilets and by night I was attending film previews with the likes of Jack Nicholson and Timothy Hutton. Ya just can’t make this stuff up!
The reviews were popular enough to be syndicated through the company’s several local papers (the company was called SCCN: Southern Calif. Community Newspapers), which included my own city, of Cerritos. Unfortunately, it did not prove popular enough to sustain my employment when I new managing editor was hired requiring all employees to have a degree in journalism. I was sent back to scrubbing toilets…full-time.
What both amazes and amuses me as I reread what I wrote so many years ago, is how cock sure I was in my opinion, without anything to really back up said opinion. Ahh, youth. It might be worth noting that my pugnacious aside, what I wrote in reference to the films below I think still holds true. Oh, and if it matters, I did eventually get to see E.T. still wasn’t all that impressed….
-Dwayne Epstein

This young punk’s take on the Best Films of 1982 as published and syndicated in SCCN.

Share Button