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Play It Again, Tim – Tim Miller’s Summer Vacation

Tim Miller
Written by Tim Miller

CAPE COD – Wow, this is weird. Writing for Cape Cod Wave Magazine.

You might know me (or not) from having worked for the Cape Cod Times. Along with holding other positions at the daily (features editor, entertainment editor), I was the Times’ film critic for nearly 36 years.

Then I got the heave-ho (officially, my position was “eliminated”), my last column appearing May 1, and I’ve pretty much pulled a Houdini (um, disappearing act) since.

Well, not entirely. I moderated morning “chats” with filmmakers during the Woods Hole Film Festival, and I taught a summer film course at Curry College. I took part in a dual sermon about movies at West Parish of Barnstable.

My wife, Susie, after being stuck in the house with me all these months, can only wish I’d disappear. I feel her pain.

Meanwhile, the good folks at Cape Cod Wave have kindly asked if I’d like to write movie stuff for them. So here I am.

Tim Miller

Tim Miller, Movie Critic

I have to admit, though, I don’t have a lot to report in the way of new movies. This is the longest I’ve gone without writing movie reviews since 1979, and it’s been strangely liberating. I feel like I got off that hamster wheel where I felt compelled to see as many new movies as possible, all of the time. I’m not complaining: It was, and will continue to be, a blast.

But the break has been kind of nice, and came at a good time, given the plague going on. Couldn’t go to the theater anyway.

Instead, I’ve been obsessively consuming old favorites on TCM, watching or (mostly) rewatching movies starring Bogart, Cagney, Stanwyck, Edward G., Peter Lorre and others, or foreign fare on the Criterion Channel, mostly old French films. So good.

I’ve also had more time to watch TV series. I binge-watched Netflix’s “Ozark,” with Jason Bateman and Laura Linney (I didn’t watch it with them; they’re on the show), and it’s as great as everyone says it is. Just finished the first season of HBO’s “Perry Mason,” and it oozes noir atmosphere, which makes it a lot of fun, even if it is a bit of a meandering muddle. Shea Whigham (“Boardwalk Empire’), who plays Perry’s investigator, Pete Strickland, has developed into one of our era’s top character actors.

I’m also proud to report that I’ve been watching lots of game shows. “The Match Game” (hosted by Alec Baldwin), “To Tell the Truth” (hosted by Anthony Anderson) and the miniature-golf competition “Holey Moley II: the Sequel” (hosted by Joe Tessitore and the hilarious Rob Riggle) are must-see TV in my book. So dumb. So excellent. Thomas Lennon (“Reno 911”) has been an occasional panelist on the first two shows mentioned above, and he never fails to crack me up.

Aside from watching movies and TV — and working on a bunch of projects, including an upcoming podcast, with Tony Raine of the Cape Cod Melody Tent — I’ve been eating to excess (and watching my stomach expand) and making lots of exciting trips to the Barnstable landfill (yes, I’m living large).

To be honest, though, it’s been a great summer. The best part is I’ve been able to spend a lot of quality time with my granddaughter. Better than a movie, any day.

But now that I’m writing for the Wave, I’ll have to start catching up on new movies, too. And I’m ready to go.

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Tim Miller is a Cape-based member of the Boston Society of Film Critics. He has no idea where his life is headed. Then again, do any of us, really? You can contact him at [email protected].

About the author

Tim Miller

Tim Miller, a member of the Boston Society of Film Critics, was the Cape Cod Times film critic for nearly 36 years. A Detroit native (and hardcore Tigers fan), he’s been obsessed with movies since skipping school in 1962 to see “Lawrence of Arabia” with his parents when he was 7. Miller earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and his master’s from Suffolk University, where he taught film and journalism for 10 years. He continues to teach film at Curry College and Cape Cod Community College. He is a juror each year for the short-film competition of the Martha’s Vineyard International Film Festival, has moderated several panel discussions at the Woods Hole Film Festival and frequently is heard as a guest on Cape & Islands NPR station WCAI. His work appeared as a chapter in the book “John Sayles: Interviews.” His favorite movie is Cameron Crowe's “Almost Famous” – because it makes him feel good to be alive.

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