John-Andrew O'Rourke

Director // Writer

John-Andrew O'Rourke

Director // Writer

Latest Posts

Mexican Vacations, Last Memories, and Death


As a self-employed twenty-something bachelor, I’ve had the flexibility over the last 5 or 6 years to accompany my grandparents on their annual vacation down to Mexico. The arrangement is pretty simple: I cover the cost of my ticket and my food while I’m there, and they provide me with a room in their villa.

There have been a couple of years where even this greatly discounted deal has been a stretch for me financially, but I’ve always made it work for the simple reason that my grandparents are getting older and I never know the last time I’ll see them.


Breakup on the Beach

Several beach houses

Back in 2016, a friend of mine needed quotes for an article he was writing for Verily Magazine, so he asked a bunch of guys the following question: how have previous experiences with breakups and rejection affected the way you interact with women?

I was in Mexico at the time, and instead of heading directly from breakfast to the beach, I decided to head back up to the room and jot down a line or two. Two hours and 1000+ words later, I had written what I thought was going to be the first post of a new blog I was going to start. 4 years out, I actually have a blog and somewhere to share what was a very cathartic writing experience. Enjoy!


Who Made Man’s Mouth?

Moses approaches the burning bush, from the movie The Prince of Egypt

My parents ruined movies for me.

You see, when I was a kid we didn’t have over-the-air TV, let alone cable. All we had was one VHS player and twenty or thirty pre-approved tapes which I was allowed to watch once a week on Sundays. Nine kids later, my parents allow my siblings to watch TV every day at 5 p.m., but that’s a story for another time.

Suffice it to say, I got very familiar with the movies we did have. Toy Story. Snow White. Babe. It’s A Wonderful Life. The Lion King. I watched them over and over. The one thing they had in common? They were all classics. I don’t think I saw a bad movie until I was 12 or 13. Pretty cool, right?



Masculinity and Vulnerability

A man looking into the shards of a broken mirror

If you’re on Instagram, you may be familiar with the trend among girls using the app to go over the top in wishing their girlfriends a happy birthday. They’ll post 3 or 4 different pictures to their story, each with a heartwarming (if cliché) caption like “I don’t know what I’d do without this girl in my life” or “this chica means everything to me” or “you’re the laughter when I’m sad, the ear when I need someone to listen.” You get the idea.

But here’s the thing: it only goes one way. Girls never do it for guys, guys don’t do it for girls, and guys certainly don’t do it for other guys. It’s like women have a monopoly on the market of public affirmation.

I’ll be honest. I’m jealous.


The Woman

A woman looking out over the water

The first beam of light slipping through the pane of her solitary window early that morning found the woman already awake. It was her custom to rise before the break of dawn to sit for a few moments with her only son before going about the day, but that wasn’t why. The truth is, that night she had hardly slept.


Shawn the Ex-Crip

A pair of hands

Have you ever noticed that hotel front desks are almost always an ungodly height? For a desk, at least. And only on the outside – the attendant’s side is usually pretty normal. You might think this is just an aesthetics or security thing (it’s much harder to jump over something tall), but I think the reason is much simpler: elbows. I rarely walk into a hotel in a state other than utter exhaustion, so I’ve always been appreciative of being able to prop up my arms and lean on the front desk as I hand over my credit card “for incidentals” and await my room key.

I struck this same pose in December of 2018 on the second night of our stay at the Holiday Inn in Phoenix. It had been another long day, complete with hiking 1,300-foot Camelback mountain on an empty stomach and then loading a trunk full of film equipment, so I was ready to get back to the room, have dinner, and go to bed. That plan had been foiled when my key wouldn’t work, so there I was, patiently awaiting a new one.

The gentleman behind the desk checked my ID, scrolled through the guest list, and began programming a new card. As he went about his business, I languidly scanned him. The plain white tag on his mint-green vest told me his name was Shawn. He was clean-shaven, wore thick-rimmed glasses, and sported a unique tattoo on the bridge between the thumb and index finger of his left hand. I looked more closely, but couldn’t quite make out the design.

“What is it?” I asked, gesturing.

“The three crosses at Calvary,” Shawn replied. “When I was 10 years old, I gave myself this tattoo because I knew that I would eventually get out of the gang life, and I didn’t want any gang marks on my body.”


Coco’s “Remember Me” is Even More Moving in Spanish

Pixar's movie Coco

It was a spur-of-the-moment kinda thing. Instead of going with a friend or sibling, I drove to the AMC Showplace 17 in Indianapolis on my own for an evening screening. I had the whole row to myself, and aside from the three young ladies sitting directly behind me, I was alone. The lights dimmed, the trailers rolled, the customary Pixar short film played, and then the main event began. Coco.

I was not prepared.

John-Andrew O'Rourke Director // Writer



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John-Andrew O'Rourke