Column, Movie Diary

 Walk this way

The Movie Diary

by Dom Cioffi

The backyard of my property is framed in a thick cluster of trees that blocks almost any hint of other homes. I can hear voices and lawnmowers in a number of directions, but my visual range sees only greenery.

Obviously, this is the case during the spring and summer months, but as fall begins to arrive and the trees shed their foliage, I am reminded how many homes and families surround my living space.

I’m okay with this because we don’t spend much time in our backyard during the colder months. However, we are out there quite often when the weather is accommodating. In fact, we enjoy this space so much that we invested a good chuck of money renovating it.

We now have a beautiful stone-paved patio broken into two areas. One section is for cooking and eating where we put in a killer grill with a marble bar seating area and a built-in cooler. Sitting next to that is a table with an umbrella and several chairs for dining.

In the other section, there is a towering stone fireplace with several comfy wicker lounge chairs with cushions. And just behind the fireplace, craftily hidden from view, is my favorite accoutrement: the hot tub.

When the weather is right, we love to go out after a long day and sit in front of the fire to relax. At night the crickets and other nocturnal creatures sing and prance about, which really sets the mood. We even have a few owls that love to hoot to one another in the early evening hours.

On weekends, it’s not uncommon for my wife and me to share a cocktail or two on the deck. And if there’s a nice chill to the air, the hot tub is an amazing respite.

So, it’s safe to say that our backyard/deck area is one of the things that makes our home special and brings us an immense amount of joy.

But then the coronavirus lockdown arrived.

A funny thing has happened over the last several weeks. While we would normally be starting to enjoy our amazing deck and backyard, we’ve not done so nearly as much as we have in past spring seasons. In an odd change of pace, we’ve moved to the front yard.

I guess it started with my son and me playing basketball in the driveway each evening. We were spending quite a bit of time out there and my wife was popping out to visit us occasionally. Given that there were no chairs, she would sit on the front stoop or lean against a nearby tree.

During this time, people were starting to come out in droves for evening walks through the neighborhood. As I’ve stated in past columns, there have been some silver linings to the quarantine, one of which has been the influx of people getting outside for exercise.

As these people walked by, inevitably conversations ensued. We’ve had conversations with neighbors we know quite well, conversations with neighbors we barely know, and conversations with neighbors we’ve never met.

Initially, these were brief “hellos,” but as the weeks passed and we’d see them on different walks, the exchanges became more and more involved. Now, my wife and I both feel like our neighborhood has grown much closer as we look forward to the chats each evening.

About two weeks ago, a couple of large boxes were delivered to our house. When I asked my wife what she bought, she gleefully stated that we were now proud owners of two beautifully crafted Adirondack chairs (I just had to put them together).

I couldn’t understand why, since our deck was maxed out with seating options, but she told me they were for the front lawn. I scoffed at the idea and begrudgingly put them together and placed them where she requested. And you know what? She was right.

Now we can sit comfortably on our front lawn and wave and chat with all our friends as they walk by each night.

“Honey Boy,” written and starring Shia LeBeouf, is a gut-wrenching but ultimately redeeming story of LeBeouf’s anxiety-filled childhood, which was devoid of anything resembling a quiet neighborhood setting like ours.

LeBeouf began writing this screenplay while in rehab dealing with the trauma inflicted on him by his hippie, fame-obsessed father, who himself was a troubled alcoholic.

Check this one out if you want some insight into why LeBeouf was such a tumultuous star once his career took off. It’s difficult to watch, but ultimately a very well-crafted and well-acted film.

A piercing “B+” for “Honey Boy.”

While it did have a short theatrical release, most people caught this one when it started streaming. Currently you can find it on Amazon Prime Video.

Got a question or comment for Dom? You can email him at

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