starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie, Al Pacino
written and directed by Quentin Tarantino
by Walter Chaw It was a late summer night, humid and low, in the "hill" area of downtown Seattle, outside a coffee shop called "Coffee Messiah" festooned wall-to-wall with tacky tchotchkes featuring our Lord and saviour. I spent a couple of college summers there and in the San Juans with my friend, Keith. I'd met him at a Primus concert where an entire gymnasium had been converted into a mosh pit. We locked onto each other and agreed that if one of us went down, the other would pick him up. We've been friends now for almost thirty years. So we were standing outside Coffee Jesus sometime in the early Nineties with two other friends I'd made through Keith: Sam and Dan. Dan, tall, white, and awkward, was playing around with being a DJ; Sam was a squat Jewish kid with a chip on his shoulder and a lot of hours spent in a gym. A guy walked up to us swinging nunchucks, shirtless and raving. Sam smiled, put his hand out and talked to him until he put his sticks away. The guy clapped us on the shoulder as though we were old chums he'd run into on the street, and left. Sam was our peacemaker and our enforcer. I noticed after it all went down that we'd automatically moved a step behind Sam when trouble came. Sam would go on to law enforcement and a sad, sickening stint as a 9-1-1 operator that haunted him for years after. A groomsman at my wedding and one of the best friends I'll ever have in this life, Sam killed himself last week, and I'll never be alright again. I'll never feel as safe. Not in the same way.