/ Movies /
English Bob’s Englishmen
2017 04 08 Just saw Clint talking about Unforgiven, Richard Harris, English Bob. Richard Harris, Irish of course, leapt at the chance to have the part. He reports England emptying its jails of murderers, rapists, arsons to enforce “peace” on Ireland. So glad to learn that! I’ve hailed Unforgiven as Clint’s greatest movie since it came out: I’m glad now to double down on that opinion.
School Bored Dykes
2017 04 06 I’d heard good things about Lillian Hellman all my life. I remember my mother in the 1950s commewnting that Hellman was famous for her dialogue. I didn’t doubt it but somehow I never experienced it. Later in the ’50s I read and revered every word printed of Dashiell Hammett’s. I heard that Hellman was is girlfriend. I heard they were targets of the anti-Commies, I heard they were censored, persecuted:
just like Jesus! just like me!
Still, it wasn’t until recently that Netflix provided me with a barrage of Hammett / Hellman film footage. Ooo, and Hollywood got attractive casts to portray them: Jane Fonda, Jason Robarts.
Last night Jan and I watched The Children’s Hour: Two women, friends from college, work to succeed with a girls’ boarding school: rich parents send their daughters, influential friends help. Audrey Hepburn, Shirley MacLaine as the school marms who try to discipline one of the girls: everything blows up in their face. The girl convinces her rich grandma that the two marms are lessies. The girl doesn’t exactly know what that is, neither does grandma, neither does the society as a whole: perfect for witch-hunting: no one knows anything, everyone is convinced that they don’t have to know anythinng, God is on their side. If God is on your side you don’t need facts: you don’t need a valid epistemology: burn everyone at the stake.
Grandma gets key parents to pull their girls from the school. Our marms go broke over night.
Where’s pk in all this? I’m the deschooler. My FLEX offered society an internet of community-resource data bases: in 1970! Everyone seemed to understand what it was about: eschewing control! The public was invited to fund its own freedom. It didn’t. Instaed, the kleptocrats reached into all our pockets and funded repression: this internet: controlled information; not free at all. We paid, and paid.
We’ll go extinct, and will never know why: can’t find two brains to rub together to make one intelligent creature.
Well: Hammett had been published, made money, was famous. Hellman wrote some hits, also made money: with his help, but she also had the talent: in some ways greater than his. Then they got sandbagged: House UnAmericans! Gee, just like the school marms in Lillian’s play!
So, The Childrens’ Hour was an autobiography, staged in 1934! though Hellman didn’t get schmeered until the 1950s!
Notice: we know a little about all this now in 2017, but we don’t know it all. We will never know it all. The kleptocracy can’t know much as still be a kleptocracy. The witchhunters betray science, abandon reason, have no right to any quorum of facts. The witchhunters say they have the facts, that real facts don’t matter: not while they have control.
Notice: human kleptocratic nature makes science impossible: but that doesn’t stop the saboteurs from claiming that they support science.
Meanwhile, kudoes to the cast. Audrey Hepturn and Shirley MacLeaine are marbvelous. The school girls were good. The grandma is great. Fay Bainter!
I’m growing blinder by the day. Very hard for me to edit, to spell check. I can keep working while I live but the quallity takes a plunge-dive.
2017 04 05 the web was blathering this morning about whether or not Alec Baldwin know how old Niki Reed was when he, at 47 or so, filmed a racy scene or two with her. I was thinking that I didn’t know who she was but then it occurred to me that I had seen a movie called Thirteen. Ah so.
Now I ask how many people realize what a tongue stud is: on a young girl, a woman, a whore. Recall the line in Pulp Fiction: John Travolta askses the drug dealer’s wife why she has a stud in her tongu: “It help in fellation,” she says.
And now I remember the student screed at Colby in 1969 or so: some revolutionary laced his essay with four letter words, as though vulgarity equated with political courage. He omitted the three tail letters: s—, f—, c—, c— … Except for “fellatio: that one our revolutionary spelled out. Ah, thought I, whose office mailbox had been stuffed with this raunch, he doesn’t know what it means!!!
But I know what it means. and Quentin Tarantino knows what it means.
Does the 13 year old girl know what it means when she gets her tongue pierced?
I remember streaks of good blow jobs I’ve had from young women. (In one I was in my forties, the girl had to be coming up on twenty. I met her as she ran the rope tow at Hunter Mountain: I was riding the rope tow with bk: he was still a child.)
What’s mama supposed to think when she sees her little girl hardwared like a street whore?
2017 04 05 Jan and I love Cole Porter. But we didn’t get hold of Can Can till last week: just in time for my audio to be off-base. Today I install new speakers, marvelous, but the other evening we went ahead and suffered the old audio. Loved it, loved it despite.
On first view, I, testing the system alone, reacted as my Puritan self: Can Can is obscene, disgusting. Frank Sinatra struck me as Wrong for gay Paree, his friendship with Maurice Chevalier was forced, Shirley MacLaine’s cabaret-madame was slutty … Ah, but then watching with Jan I simply loved all of it: as I love all of her.
Mostly though we were loving Cole Porter: and Cole Porter’s Paris. Ooo la la la, c’est mangifique. I love Paris in the springtime …
Actually, I don’t know Paris at all, not in person. But Jan does, Spain too. And last week we indulged in some Flamenco.
2017 04 07 Apropos, last night we streamed Gentlemen Prefer Blonds: Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell: beaucoup material for pk the Puritan to despise. I’ve seen much of Hollywood cenematic whoredom not in the 1950s but personally past 50, especially past 60: and in my 70s. So it’s with adult consciousness that I see things as a Puritan and as a highly experienced rake. Gentlemen and Can Can have multiple overlapping identities. Again it’s Paris that American meritricious profiteering chooses for its hunting park: morality, law … is strictly for our amusement, our benefit. Everyone, wink-wink-wink, is in on the fix.
pk is Puritan, pk is also the spoil-sport. MM & Jane wiggle their femaleness and all I see is a guy on his knees getting a wet fart in his face.
Notice: of course notning is more Puritanical (or more hypocritical) than Hollywood itself. It knows pussy-lust, it knows women as exploited exploiter. And just the other week Jan and I watched a Degas DVD, wonderful, all those gentlemen patrons sitting in their private boxes as their ballet-whores perform on the stage. Never for an instant though confuse English gentlemen and French gentlemen: different species. Both human, both kleptocrat, both hypocrite, but as different as Church of England(/Libertarian) / Catholic.
2017 04 08 It’s also wonderful to reflect on my Puritanism in the context of reading Steven Johnson’s great Wonderland: shopping as choreographed misdirection, church substitute, Byzantine Baroque.
I remember being handed my first porn. I was being gang-marched through the halls of my grade school, no latter than the sixth grade and no earlier than not much before then when some kid shoved a paper into my hand: like newspaper, blurry, not clear. It took me a second to decode it: it was a bare-breasted girl with her elbow thrown up and out. The gesture made her bosom stretch over a lot of ground. Bare, yes; big, no; expansive, yes. Who was that kid? Lenny? Could well have been. I eventually learned that Lenny was much older thyan the rest of us, he’s been left back more than twice: and sure enough, at work age, 16, he left: last time I saw him he was on a construction gang, muscles like Rafa. Anyway I came to know that that photograph was very famous, even then: young Marilyn Monroe, selling her tits to the worlds, certainly not for the last time. Let me explain: I liked the tits, I liked the blond, but the experience also hardened me against both. Even at that age, puberty only a hint toward arriving, I resented female attractiveness. Further, even that young I rebelled against the bleach, partly understood its implications, the virgin isn’t really a firgin: the “blond” is false.
So, Marilyn was my earliest nude. Mayilyn was also my first jaw set against being too easily attracted. PS the next porn I was handed, in the seventh grade, depicted a girl jerking a guy off into a Coke glass. Ugh, disgusting. The next was a girl blowing a horse: worse and worse. Anyway, MM invoked revulsion in me like a knee jerk. And Jane Russell in the 1950s went with MM. Here, yesterday, with Jan, age 78 1/2 (sitting with 85 1/2), Jane struck me as horse-faced. Worse, she reminded me of the cheap animes where the mouth moves but the face does not. A whore. A cheap whore: and by “cheap” I do not mean inexpensive.
Something else bothered me in Gentlemen: MM reminded me, more than once, of my mother! Mom was attractive to men in over-lapping ways, and more dynamically: not a blond, a red head.
2017 01 06 NetFlix streams docs galore, I gobble them up. God Grew Tired of Us had me in misanthropic fits, the world watched (and guided) as this and that government tried this and that dirty trick to claim control over jostled fragments of “countries”. Tens of Thousands of boys ran gauntlets of genocide, walking 1000 miles from one Sudan or an other to Kenya or Ethiopia or oblivion. One tribe sterilizes another, the boys tell of having needles stuck in their testes so they’d grow up sterile, yielding resources to this or that monopolist. I’m watching groups of boys replaced in PA, in Pittsburgh for example. From bloodbath to concentration camp to air flight to Brussels to US to PA, they eat styrofoam food, say they’ve never used electicity before, don’t feel comfortable that they’ll be able to do it: they attend classes in turning on the light switch, turning it off, and on again.
When I was a kid my friend passed his escapist library to me: Bomba the Jungle Boy, Tarzan, the Hardy Boys … In the jungle Tarzan knows everything: with his knife he can thrive, even flourish. With his knife he defeats the Germans, meets English virgins. Decades later Crocodile Dundee would go to Paris and discover, figure out the bidet. I loved it, I still love it. I love watching these Lost Boys of Sundan 1 2 3 being shown how to use a toilet: lift the lid, position the doughnut seat, pull down the pants … wad the toilet paper … Ah! Yes! Clean oneself!
Every day in every way inexperience makes the world new. Yesterday I wanted everyone who’s ever heard of Sudan to die in misery; today I weep for love of these Lost Boys. Some found Pittsburgh, some Syracuse.
One detail in this movie breaks my heart: we see the boys watching TV. What’s on the TV? Big assed buxom girls in workout bikinis, yoga costumes. These boys walked 1000 miles crossing countries when they were 13, 14: they livd a decade in a refugee camp, all male: now they have all this quim shoved in their eye. What are they supposed to do? What are they allowed to do. Charities give them clothing, food, shelter, what about women?
Bacon & Gance
2017 01 03 Jan and I have been watching movies for eight years. Initially the movies were all my recommendations: more recently she has the major voice in our choices. Over the new years I’ve been trying to catch up with a classic I hadn’t succeeded in chasing down: Abel Gance: 1920s, silents, famous for a monumental Napoleon … Blockbuster offered but then didn’t have the Gance candidates, finally NetFlix delivered. I watched La Roue disk 1, last night she sat with me as we both watched disc 2. Hard to take. I seen in an instant that the guy worked hard on developing a movie language, I see him laboring to match DW Griffith for imagery, I see him developing montage; but the stories are preposterous, unsympathetic: railroads, steam, soot, smoke: a girl, backlit All The Time!!
Jan left with a headache, but she’d stuck through to the end, we both made rude comments the whole time. OK, nuff said there. Now I’m watching The Woodsman with Kevin Bacon. Very hard to take, to sit still for: convicted pedophile tries to integrate with society. Pedophil watches other pedophiles, gets mocked, threatened, by the ahem, pardon me, normals. Gag.
Where I’m paused now we don’t know what he did with his little girls, only that he targeted 10 to 12 years olds (while the girls commonly lied about their age: but they didn’t claim to be 21). Riding the bus he meets a girl in the target age group, Robin, a birdwatcher: she senses his need, offers cooperation; he says, No, go home, Robin. I presume most peole believe the character’s claim that he doesn’t hurt them, his girls.
I hope so, but Ugh, very hard to take.
Meantime: bravo Kevin Bacon, and Kyra Sedgewick however hard to take.
A mystery remains: the film appears at NetFlix as recommended by me: four stars; but I don’t recognize any part of it! I wasn’t drunk: I haven’t been drunk, with no memory, since the late 1970s.
Franco Prussian Expressionism
2016 12 31 I’ve been trying to order DVDs of Abel Gance movies for coming up on a decade. Success didn’t arrive till yesterday, I’m watching La Roue. And I’m thinking of everything French: and the utterly American DW Griffith. But I’m also very much reminded of Murnau: and everything German! I pause and check dates: La Roue and Nosferatu were born within a year of each other!
I wrote “Franco Prussian” but I really mean “French-German”. Prussian and German are not really synonyms: Prussian is a subset of German, full of distinctions I don’t know.
2016 12 29 When I was a kid I saw far more foreign movies than the average person saw. Many of them were by Ingmar Bergman, half a dozen years before I heard the name Ingmar Bergman. They all starred Harriet Anderson and they all had a scene where she trotted skinny into the bay, flashing her cute bottom like the north star. I didn’t know Ingmar Berman, not as an artist, not as a concept. I didn’t know Harriet Anderson either, except as a winking bottom, often brunette. I saw those brief nudes thanks to my friend Al whose older sister bought our tickets for us. Rockville Centre’s Fantasy showed movies, Hollywood, American, domestic. That is, they were in English, starred John Wayne, and spoke in the same “accent” TV shows were scripted for: to sound American: mid-middle-middest American, with American directors: Alfred Hitchcock, Fritz Lang. American fourteen years olds didn’t know that Hitchcock was British or Lang German; they were Hollywood, as American as you can get. The Bergman movies that flashed Harriet Anderson were foreign, with a foreign accent; they were shot dark, they spoke Swedish … They all seemed to be called “Monika” and they were always the second bill. We would follow the marquee for Rosselinni, Open City, and also get Bergman, Monika. I bet I saw Monika six times beofore I ever saw Smiles of a Summer Night.
These days I see that all the movies are foreign: they’re shot is Spain, they’re cut by Poles, the cameraman is Czech, the gofer is Japanese. They’re in English, American English, but they’re not shot in English; they’re not show in any language: the audio is added later, in any language you want.
The Fantasy showed Hollywood, Alan Ladd, Elizabeth Taylor, Debbie Reynolds (RIP) … The Malvern showed the foreign movies with the blonds and the bare bums. You had to be eighteen to see Harriet Anderson’s bare bum; unless you had Al’s older sister to buy all three tickets for you. Once inside she say where she wanted, which wasn’t with a couple of fourteen years olds: we sat where we wanted, away from our benefactor.
I’ll never forget the night when Ingmar Bergman became a distinct concept for me. 1958 or so, I was in my dorm room, it was getting late, there was a knock at my door. It was DeJong, grinning like a fiend, he had just seen the weirdest movie, foreign, The Seventh Seal: and he told me all about it. Back home my friend Rudy had told me every detail of every Mad Comic, every word, every detail of every picture; now I’ at Columbia and I’m hearing about Death playing chess, Death cutting down the tree the guy has climbed to sleep. “My tree”, the guy says; “My tree”, Death insists. And the monks swing censers to Dies Irae, flagellating themselves. No, not American; that was foreign.
Footy Degrees of Bacon
2016 12 27 Footloose came out in 1984, Kevin Bacon was making James Dean look pasty. Nevertheless it passed under my radar till recently and I didn’t see it till last night. Big city kid, acrobat, gymnast, dancer moves to hick town, the local preacher is trying to wed Savonarola to Salem: no teen music, no teen dancing. Ah but he, John Lithgow, didn’t reckon on his cute daughter joining forces with Bacon’s bubble-over. They have a dance across the tracks, and the locals provide buckets of great-white-hope. No, Michael Jackson wasn’t in this movie, about the only dancing Michael Jackson wasn’t in for those years. But his moves were there. These Oklahoma white boys do half a moon walk, three-quarters of a break dance. Lincoln took the land from the natives, the implants took the gymnastic dancing from the ghettos.
Don’t worry: the kleptocrats seldom notice what they’re klepping. Certainly not Hollywood. But it’s OK, the girl was cute, though not nearly as cute as Kevin Bacon.
Good Night, Good Luck, Good God
2016 12 26 Streaming Good Night & Good Luck, the movie about Edward R. Murrow & CBS going up against heavies such as McCarthy & Hoover is taking me days and days. It’s a heavy weight, it seems to be very well done, as black and white as the TV, WASPs in suits and ties, chain smoking, their cigarette’s held phallically erect. I remember those days, very hard to take. I’ll spurt some scrapbook comments, allotting forever.
Why “God” in my title? McCarthy’s committees demand that this and that witness “swear by God that they’ll tell the truth, the whole truth, nothing but the truth, etc. (Gotta restart.) I recall the moment in grade school when “under God” was inserted into the Pledge of Allegiance. As a kid, I took God seriously, I still do, see from my writing. Also see that I don’t mean the same thing by such words twice in a row, but I do, unlike others, define my terms, again and again: and indulge in sarcasm, irony, insult, again and again.
If rational discussion were possible in this society, in this species … notice my testimony that such has never occurred to me in my life time, not in 1954, not since, and neither before. Anyway, I deny that McCarthy or the Senate or CBS or America in general or human beings in general had or have any right to swear anything by God.
If people really believed in a supreme being, an truthful supreme being, incapable of error, would any of us really behave the way we do? Would the Pope? Maybe Francis would, maybe Theresa; who else? except maybe me.
I could prove that the lot had no right to such terms if I were allowed to speak uninterrupted by a group capable of understanding the arguments.
(PS I’ve been among individuals capable of understanding, but not groups.) (Can’t help spurting, try to understand: or go somewhere else.)
This country was created by deists, a fancy tern for atheists. Jefferson, Franklin believed in themselves, in their “reason”. They didn’t imagine that anyone would ever deride their potential for reason; they thought they’d achieved it.
Everything in McCarthy’s career was bullying, shoving: there was no discussion. None possible, none wanted.
This such was not obvious to everyone at the time or since is proof of what I say.
Forget God; If McCarthy really believe in “America” would he have been able to behave the way he did?
2016 12 12 I’ve finally managed to watch Splendor in the Grass, William Inge, 1961, DVD, all the way through, from beginning to end, fidgeting and pausing every five minutes. So it took all day, but now it’s done: and I’m proud to report that I resisted the tickle I felt throughout to write my thoughts and feelings as it proceeded. Nathalie Wood, wow, how could a whole half century have slipped past me without seeing this famous role of hers. Inge’s script got an Oscar. But it was the script that kept triggering my need to escape: that and personal associations. Those associations turn out to be misplaced if not outright wrong. I’ll try to clarify: the first half of the film shows high school girl Nathalie Wood’s instincts for love, pleasure, and procreation being interfered with by the culture as championed by her parents. Of a piece are hunk football hero Warren Beatty’s own insticts: they’re hot for each other but they hold off, as instructed. It’s bad enough trying to remain chaste and continent till they get out of high school but now Warren’s oil-man papa wants his jock dude to go to Yale: then — if he still wants her — he can marry Nathalie. She doesn’t last that long: off to the nut house with her. Meantime Warren’s idea of Yale is playing solitaire.
The cut-rate Freud was driving me nuts: doubly in the context I was imagining for it. Inge was doing great in the 1950s. I didn’t see any on stage; but I loved the movie Picnic. And I thought I had a special ringside seat on Inge and cheap Freud:
1958 or so my buddy Al and I ran the Si Como No on Macdougal Street for owner Al while he went to Mexico to restock his goods: pre-Columbian pottery, Mexican chotchka. There we were hanging out on MacDougal Street, getting visited by Al’s nuthouse friends. Such friends included a young man and woman, my age or perhaps a hair younger, takinga weekend from a New England phunny pharm whom I understood to be Inge’s kids: write about neurotics while breeding your own special crop.
Could that have been true? Inge was born in 1914. Maybe he had kids young? I was twenty, Inge would have been forty-four: could have have had a willowy blond daughter around 16 or so? Possible, I suppose. More likely I’m simply wrong, those loonies visiting the Village that weekend were somebody else’s kids. So, Knatz, stop blaming the playwright.
I did, just in time. Very good movie. Great Nathalie. Strong ending. Good use of the Wordsworth quote finally the final time through it.
Excellent cast, Nathalie outstanding but Barbara Loden is also something and I recommend that you let Zohra Lampert’s own dark beauty stands amid the company.
Butter Her Up
2016 12 04 Bernardo Bertolucci, Last Tango in Paris
That movie makes headlines today as Bernardo Bertolucci reveals that he and Brando planned the rape scene where Brando tells Schneider to “get the butter”, he plans to fuck her in the ass and wants a lubricant. Schneider was still a teen: nineteen, Brando was 48. Bertolucci was more than old enough to be able to weigh everyone’s behavior. They let her walk into a butt rape blind, not nice; was it good art?
I remember it all vividly. I discussed seeing the movie with a favorite FLEX volunteer, Rochelle, from Cony Island. Rochelle was sixteen or seventeen, very beautiful, had me in her deep throat within the first half hour after meeting. She had called me, wanted to come over, see how she could help. She went to an alternate high school, I was an alternate hero, the deschooler, her love making had been trained by a senior yoga, guy past sixty. Other girls were getting boob enhancements, Rochelle was having excess breast tissue removed! so she’d merely be very buxom. 1971 or ’72, Hilary was on one of her long weekends to Georgetown to visit her father.
I supply details so you can see in part how ludicrous me inviting Rochelle to see Last Tango in Paris. I was 33. Bertolucci a bit younger.
Rochelle decided not to see it, she’d heard it was extreme. She regarded herself and her mind as a pure mountain stream. She did not want her purity polluted. I thought this was hysterical, not that I wanted to argue with her. This girl arrived by subway at FLEX headquarters, my apartment, Riverside Drive and 103. Within a minute she was showing me her model’s portfolio, another minute later her pussy was spread over my face, my maleness was batting her tonsils, but she’s not sure she want to see Last Tango in Paris: a question of purity.
Well, I thought that was funny. She took the lead, I let her take it. Memorable.
That has nothing to do with Bertolucci and Schneider and Brando. And those relationships are complex, ambiguous. Does “art” justify a suspension of the ethical? ever? My own opinion there has changed, at least once. I regret at least a couple of my decisions in favor of the art, wish I hadn’t. Apologize to those I trespassed against.
PS I remember one other detail about the day I met Rochelle. She stayed till late, it as dark, I rode her back to Cony Island on my Yamaha. We ate shrimp for diner: Cony Island boardwalk seafood. I delayed my departure back home by hugging her, amazingly huggable girl. Then I vroomed myself back to the upper west side of Manhattan: and caught a damnable sore throat, got really sick.
PS I think Rochelle may have been right to fear Last Tango in Paris as dangerous to spiritual purity: whether she was pure or not, the Last Tango in Paris parades sin. I saw it, I saw it alone, never repeated.
2016 11 30 I commend the British series on the British / English monarchy: The Crown. It launches in the wake of WWII. Elizabeth (II) becomes engaged to Philip, they marry, Charles is born, etc.
I invite you to know if you’re new to browsing this site that I am a Christian anarchist [Note]. I despise kleptocracy, I oppose monarchy, royalty. I oppose all forms of entrenched privilege, and so forth. But I find myself loving this movie. It’s the cast. I’m ravished by Jared Harris’ performance as King George (VI), Elizather’s father. Everyone is good, but besides Jared Harris I’m staggered by John Lithgow’s performance as Winston Churchill. 2017 02 08 All “Churchill’s scenese are terrific but my favorite thus far comes in the episode on the lethal London fog of Dec 1952. The government had been warned about pollution as a danger, Churchill threw away the correspondence: great speech maker; otherwise, another moron.
2017 02 21 Human cultures fundamentally misrepresent themselves to themselves. The English believed, Churchill believed, that order was necessary to survival and that without the right policial faction there was no order. Nonsense, there’s no such thing as no order: or, if there were, we couldn’t detect it. Churchill sees himself as the last bulwork protecting civilization. He cannot see that he’s the fascist, the nazi, the chaos. So: the fascists monopolize the resourses for protection: leaving us vulnerable. For the thousandth time: Jesus gets crucified if he tries to show us a new truth: Copernicus, Kepler, Darwin … Jesus is a symbol: never mind whether or not he’s actually said anything true. Jesus is ambiguous: he stands for authority, he also stands for truth. He stands for opposites. Point is, the civilized believe that survival has already been looked at rationally; when the opposite is true: the cop is your friend; the cop is your enemy.
I’m watching a Lot of British history recently. I suspect the cause is related to my discomfort as an American helpless in a tide of imperialism, especially in the wake of a particularly repellant presidential election.
Once upon a time I was specifically unhappy at the amount of smoking and drinking Hollywood exposed us to. Bogart’s cigarettes and booze expressed emotion. Then things reversed: smoke and booze reflected critically on characters. But I have to reserve here that King George gets great milage from the cigarettes flunkies are forever lighting and handing to him: he’s got concer, a malignant tumor just cost him a lung, the remained lung is no good, he understands that his time is short, that the smoke is shortening it further; yet he sucks it in, demanding comfort from the poison. Superlative.
Note: Christian Anarchist
Yes, it’s an oxymoron. Anyone trying to understand what I say and write should succeed; anyone dedicated to quarrel will surely succeed. What I mean by both “Christian” and “anarchist” is ubiquitous at K. as elsewhere. Here I feel I have to emphasize one meaning:
Who’s a Christian? There’s only one opinion that matters: God’s. The Church has sanctified Mary? I want to hear it from God.
Also keep in mind Ivan Illich’s wonderful joke distinguishing loosely what it eans to be a Christian. He asked:
Are you a Christian?
Or Are You A Son Of A Bitch?!
You want to know what I mean by Christian? Think of Tolstoy. An idiot might think of Tolstoy as an atheist, and not be wrong. But no, he tried to be a saint. He wasn’t a saint, but he tried to be a saint. Because it’s the only thing that make sense to him.
Or to me.
2016 11 29 I’m preparing to watch a DVD. Coming Attractions have turned me into a zombie. The manipulators have my emotions running hot and cold like a faucet when a tad of consciousness triggers me into rebellion: Clint Eastwood, worshp mode, then barf, rebel, they over-did it. Same again now with Morgan Freeman, Matt Damon. A second later tears are streaming down my cheeks while my pants restrain the stumulus of Sandra Bullick as the black giant’s mother. Cheez, when is the real movie going to start? But wait: I’ll postpone the title movie: gotta vent this idea. Hollywood movies, movies conceived in a studio by a studio are segregated in a new way: Sandra Bullock stars in a movie in which there are No Racists! Such movies are separate from a host of other moview, the majority of other movies, in which Everybody is a racist: it’s inconceivable for anybody to not be a ractist: hip-hop on the track, foul mouths reign.
How would we react to a movie in which some were ready to lynch while others are ready to forgive and forget?
I don’t know, with the camera up Bullock’s round rear, it’s hard to think of anything but booty.
2017 04 22 Jan joined me at the streaming monitor last evening. I recommended she try The Crown: so I’m watching it again with her: loving it, amused by how readily this anti-monarchist forgets Windsor family details. Some scenes I don’t remember: maybe age makes me a sieve; maybe NetFlix is flexing a different edition! In any case:
Elizabeth gets married, the crowd calls for the king! The hell with the princess, bring us the king! Then the Montbatans travel to Africa, Nairobi. Masai royalty, red-robed position themselves to see the queen. They believe their kings are magical, they believe the English is magical. The royals with their Church of England theology don’t understand the dynamics they provoke. Philip had winked at a Masei, I like the hat? That’s not a hat, Liz says, that’s a crown! Morons, I love it. I’m reminded of the scenes in Tolstoy where every damn fool Russian royal goes chasing all over the palace after the Tsar: the vortex of the magic. I’m further reminded of my German friend Inge going crazy when Nixon was visiting the part of Long Island where we were that day. I can imagine my kraut friend going nuts had Hitler been present. God identifies the shan; but some shamn identify themselves.
Movie Scrapbook Note
I moved scribble here to a series of archive files, now I’m emptying those files into individual / Movies / posts. Now that overburdens the / Movies / menus: somethin’s gotta give.
2016 04 28 On a Greer Garson binge, watching Mrs. Miniver: first time in years but not the first in adulthood. And every member of the cast has been in one binge or another: Theresa Wright sent me on a goose chase as I thought I remembered her from The Wild One: except she wsn’t in The Wild One: she appeared with Marlon Brando, yes, but not there. Then I realized, of course, The Shadow of a Doubt, Joseph Cotton.
It’s always been the case that people in the movie business, people with money, people with a budget, especially a professional budget, can order a viewing of many a film, get it by messenger the same day with a bit of luck, but even futurists didn’t imagine streaming movie after movie, getter DVDs in the mail, disk after disk. Yet that’s what we’re doing.
Anyway, I was looking forward to seeing more Greer, leapt for joy when I remembered that we were also watching Henry Travers, one of England’s most beloved character actors … but what brought on this scribble wasn’t Greer, wasn’t Travers, nor Theresa; its Walter Pidgeon. And as I look at him, I realize: by golly, he’s combining Gregory Peck with Ronald Reagan! Marvelous.
Meantime, everything is fascinating: Greet Garson married the actor, twelve years her junior, who plays her son!He too does a good job, Richard Ney: a little Jimmy Stewart-like.
2016 05 05 I notice further: Jan and I are enjoying revisiting stars who are approximately our parents age!
Mesrine: Killer Instinct
2016 04 17 In the 1960s I adored Jean-Pierre Cassel, especially The Love Game, loved Philippe de Broca too. As the decades passed I saw Jean-Pierre Cassel in more mature roles: good but not the same. It’s a trip to now be magnetized to his son Vincent. How did the other come from the one? It’s like imagining that Danny Kaye sired George Raft.
I’m now watching Mesrine: Killer Instinct for the second time: hateful, but good anyway. Good lines:
Mesrine shows his buddy his gun, the buddy shrugs, disapproving.
Don’t tell me you’re not strapped, Mesrine challenges him. Buddy says:
If I carry, I draw. If I draw, I shoot. So, no. No thank you.
Goodbye Greer Chips
2016 04 07 I’ve heard Goodbye, Mr. Chips revered all my life, both the novel (1934) and the movie (1939). I’m one year older than the movie, Jan is older still. Greer Garson was just coming into her fame. I may have only been a boy but I was well aware of her fame, her appeal in the 1940s …
Jan and I well remembered Mrs. Miniver, but neither of us had seen Chips.
I’m losing my eyesight, and other senses. Jan is cute but 84: we easily could have cashed our own chips out without ever having seen it. Fortunately The Inn of the Sixth Happiness, with Ingrid Bergman as well as Robert Donat came streaming through the Mac last week: I decided we needed to see more of both actors, which brought us, gratefully, Donat as Mr. Chips.
A reviewer of 1939 hailed Chips as among the best films of any year! I expected it to be sentimental twaddle. I’m not a fan of British (or any other) imperialism, I don’t genuflect to the British public school system … Anyway, the movie is a marvel: so glad we saw it.
The other day we were loving Deborah Kerr, and have loved Norma Shearer. We love Celtic genes, Scotts and Iirish women with red hair!
And now I’ve loved learning that “Greer” is a short form of MacGregor, a Garson family name.
2016 04 28 It’s just a couple of weeks ago that I jotted the above. But momentarily today I couldn’t remember what I’d seen Greer Garson in: we’re about to watch Mrs. Miniver: Greer’s on our mind. Just wonderful to review these stars from the ’30s and ’40s: young Liz Taylor too. Etc. Meantime, movies spin off and spin off further: Chips led us to Inn of the 6th Happiness: and to Ingrid Bergman, God love her, via Robert Donat. a Robert Mitchum destroyer vs sub marine led us to Inn: Kurt Jurgens, marvelous.
King Solomon’s Mines
2016 03 23 The DVD for King Solomon’s Mines just arrived: and a vivid memory from 1950 beamed into my skull: Deborah Kerr hires Stewart Granger to guide her search for her husband, missing in Africa’s bush. I see her standing there in the jungle, dressed within an inch of her Victorian life: Stewart Granger grabs her by the blouse, practically grabbing her Victorian boob, and yanks her some ventilation. “And take those corsets off too!” Ooo, symbols for rape, for conquest. Our animal natures win: according to this brand of anthro-theology. Of course it’s ambiguous, perfectly: he’s not grabbing her stuffy boob, he’s ventilating her stuffiness, much needed, she should thank him. (Eventually she will.)
So: this movie was 1950. Ryder Haggard’s novel was 1885. I saw the movie when it was new, 1950 or 1951, I would have been around twelve. And of course I was by then long addicted to National Geographic: naked boobs by the hundred; but no white women’s boobs! no invasions of Deborah Kerr’s bodice.
Jeez, did I love her. And still do, and didn’t we all? Go, Scots redhead.
I don’t doubt that Ryder Haggard influenced National Geographic as he influenced so much of my reading: Henry Miller, Bomba, Tarzan …
I just learned that Eroll Flynn had been cast for Quartermaine: oh well, Granger got it, so it was Granger who freed Kerr’s bosom, influenced all of us to hell and gone: a gentleman, but not to the point of suicide, not to the point of suffocation.
Now I can’t wait to actually watch it, see how right (or wrong) I’ve got that scene, from way back in our innocence.
Another thing: Hollywood provides African drums for the audio behind the credits. Mahvelous. Wow, was I influenced by that movie: Africa, our home, all our home: home to the insufferable Brits.
OK, next day. Jan and I enjoyed the hell out of it. Cannibalism, tribal coups, revenge, justice: and nature burbling out of the cracks. (And yes, I had the bodice scene exactly right.)
The guy who plays the Watusi’s tattooed king, dances with his skinny spear, his magic wand is fabulous. Now I cast back and remember how many such seven footers I’ve met in intervening years. I particularly recall one who borrowed and never returned my Olatungi African drum music record, on Columbia. Michael Babatunde Olatungi.
2016 02 28 “It’s a disgrace to have an exclusionary policy represent American culture.” Al Sharpton
pk asks, “What other kind could we have and also be in any way truthful? truthful to ourselves? We’re racists, mono-culturalists, always have been: we sabotage those who’d liberalize us. death cheats against life, nothing new there.
Game of Thrones
2016 05 05 Several months ago I scribbled some notes on Game of Thrones. I saw disk one, reacted against it. Now, utterly by accident, I saw it again: again I hated it: till I thawed, and grew to enjoy it. I take back much of what I said. I’ll watch more: and say more: from scratch: in particular about its preposterous gender stance. We want to read our sexual politics into our dungeons and dragons fictions. Next round I hope I discuss it better. I indent the original, take it with a grain of salt:
Role Playing Rubbish
2016 01 21 I’m trying to watch Game of Thrones, am reminded of my son playing Dungeons and Dragons in the 1970s. One detail I’ll comment on before seeing more than a few minutes of the movie: soldiers are exposed to horrors, dismemberment and a witch woman terrifies them. Back at the castle a ten year old boy gets his nose rubbed in horror and practices archery. The boys have their noses rubbed in death and horror. The boy is a klutz with the bow. A young girl steps forward and zing, hits the target with her arrow. Fine: but when the guys, males, soldiers don’t stare down the blood they’re decapitated. Now this show-off girl embarrasses this ten year old prince! Uh, I don’t think so. We didn’t see girls being trained in archery. Either the movie isn’t showing the actual culture or the girl is an outlaw. But no one chops her head off! Her sabotage of the gender hierarchy, the male hierarchy, is ignored! No, I don’t think so. What rubbish.
Later on, I’ve seen more, the inconsistent, a-historic, continues, and builds. The script is showing the children to be liberals, Jeffersonians: girls are equal, but not in the culture, the culture being ignorant, hypocritical, illiberal.
I’m beginning to like the girl: and I like what the MakeUp Dept is doing with her: her eyebrows are bushy, weird. Hollywood can derive character from the luxuriant chaotic eyebrows of an actor like Milo O’Shea (or Martin Scorsese, or me), but eyebrows have to be a few decades old before they achieve that potential for character: no young girl has Milo O”Sea eyebrows!
But I’m making a fundamental error here: who said the drama was trying for realism? Once you swallow Darth Vader you ought to be able to swallow a girl archer in a society that trains only boys, the girl must be allowed Milo O’Shea’s facial hair …
I’ve seen disk 1: 2 episodes. I think that’s enough for now. (It’s more than clear enough that the plot is not finished with the rambunctious little girl: the prince accuses her of disarming him, beating him up, having her direwolf bite him: the king scoffs, “You let a little girl disarm you?” scoff, sputter. jerky kid is caught.
damn power outage, just lost a half a point’s worth of prose.
2016 05 04 Damn me if I didn’t order Game of Thrones without any memory of seeing it just last January! Ugh, my suffering serves me right.
The archers who freed England of feudalism didn’t expect good archery till a bowman had practiced for a lifetime. The thirty year old was better than the twenty year old, and the ten year old couldn’t do it.
The white-haired blond grew on me. Addictive.
This is gonna be hairy, I’ll develop in a separate scrapbook.
2014 09 24 Some actors stand us on our ear they’re so attractive: Coop, Bogey; Lillian, Marilyn. I can love Brando to pieces and then love only Mifune. I’ve been streaming lots of movies recently, documentaries too, and picked up a few new stars to gawk at. I’ve been watching Jason Statham, can’t get enough. I’ve been watching Colin Farrell: him I’ve been aware of for years now. I streamed In Bruges, great cast, watched it again after a month or two: to the result that I am utterly smitten with Clémence Poésy.
What does she have, what does she do? I can’t take my eyes off of her. She’s skinny as a pipe cleaner, she’s got a nice face but lots of girls are even prettier. Partly, it’s the shape of her mouth. Mostly it’s how she times her personality to radiate on cue.
The other evening I was marveling at JLo: sharing the screen with Statham. I haven’t loved Lopez as long as the rest of the world has, but I’ve loved her plenty long, a couple of decades at least. What does she do that keeps us looking? I suddenly thought of what Hanibal Lecter says about Clarice Starling: for the moment I just paraphrase a string of things: she’s a rube, she strings her hopes absurdly high, she’s so vulnerable, she’s so transparent … we root for her!
Last night’s Poésy movie also starred Michael Caine: gosh, he’s around 80, still great. Actually he was sort of absurd in this movie, Last Love, but it doesn’t matter, we can’t take our eyes off of him either, or close our ears: we have to hear every beat of his poor tortured speech. Every cockney should be so self-conscious, to such effect. Last Love started out so promising, boy did it degenerate. But don’t miss that pair, don’t miss their chemistry.
Carey Grant and Audrey Hepburn addicted me but also made me want to retch; this Last Love pair I just love love love: till the script, the direction, the conception made me retract, pull back, sigh.
2014 09 21 I’ve seen great movies all my life: Chaplin as a kid, Cocteau, Ford, Wayne … So many great movies came out when I was just getting mensch enough to respond: La Strada, Roshomon, Pather Panchali … Then in college I really started paying attention: more Bergman, Antonioni, Mizoguchi … And for five years now I’ve fed great movies to my beloved: and for her sake, proving to be for my own too we also devoured chick flix, all the more English period pieces: wonderful, all. Now we stream stuff. Sample it, watch more, or not, finish it, don’t: so what. With Jan up north, dammit for another three weeks yet! I’m streaming rubbish right into my cranium. Some of it turns out to be fabulous, and I’m now watching some for a second or third time: Atonement, Hanna … In Bruges … Some trash is worth while for one moment of a very attractive actor. What moron would watch Bette Davis, and Bette Davis, and never discover Saoirse Ronan? There are some. We’ve been some till recently. No telling who we’re still missing. If you’re in France, you’re not in Rio.
I just bailed out of a series of examples of truly inept rubbish, I’ll never know what might have come up in the next frame, I’m gone. For example, representative, one was about Thor and some ware wolves. It looked good at first: attractive Viking ship, attractive actors, standing, rowing, looking inscrutable … then we see that some of the great looking people are women: fabulous long hair. Good so far, keep it up. I’m not knocked out by the Thor actor, but what the hell, bring on Freya, bring on the Walkyrie. Unfortunately, some then begin to stir, to move, to speak, and all that shit should have washed out the scupper hole. It seems they’ve sailed to the end of the world, it seems they were looking for honor, for conquest. Then why in hell did they bring the chix along? They’re going to explore. Someone says, Stay here and guard the ship and the women, and some woman answers, Hell, we’re going too. No discussion, no argument, the woman are going: on their own say so!!!
One guy, big guy, has been dragged off by a ware wolf. The women aren’t phased, they’re still there! Uh, excuse me: whether women go adventuring, fight, bear arms or stay home, hide by the fire, are profound questions, answered over millennia, not in rubbish sound tracks. Anyway, the women come along. They find a shed. It’s full of men and women, in equal numbers! Last month’s adventurers.
I’m reminded of one of the first novels I ever really hated: The Fountainhead, Ayn Rand. The protagonist is an architect, a genius: Frank Lloyd Wright, imagined by a Nazi. We’re told he’s great, we’re told that no one appreciates him: turn the page and he has a state or two or three filled with fans, rich fans, he has more commissions than he could fill in ten careers. No body likes him, he’s just the most successful architect in the world. Well which is he: a success? or a failure? Is this the end of the world, or is it a crowded stop on the IRT express train?
If group B or group A brought all the women along, and they all got captured, where are the children? If nothing happened to them in a month, except a little hunger, what are they worried about? These ware wolves are really inept? vegetarian Buddhists?
Yesterday I streamed a Korean kendo flick. Guys fights a duel, it’s annonced he’s the greatest swordsman who ever lived. He goes on a journey, he winds up in the Wild West. He winds up with Kate Bosworth, Kate winds up treating herself as having learned “the sword”! Now she’s his peer! Of course she’s never seen him fight, he, we’ve never seen her fight! She’s cute. I loved her when she was fourteen. But: I don’t care how cute her crotch is, I don’t care how she looks in a bikini, without a bikini, on a surfboard, where does she get off … I bailed. And what I bailed from just before that was more of the same.
2014 09 16 In Bruges
I’m watching In Bruges for the second time, streaming, sampling to remind myself who Clémence Poésy is. I loved it the first time where it was obviously good from the first frames, but this time around I know what the weirdness means: and it’s great! I love it! The cast is to wow over, very much so the females: Clémence Poésy, Thekla Reuten, Anna Madeley … Reuten I’d only recently heard of, boy is she climbing my monument fast.
2014 09 09 I put Double Indemnity on m streaming list a few months ago, have been watching bits and pieces of it, Fred MacMurray never appealed to me much, I loved Barbara Stanwyck in the ’50s, didn’t know why, it was all too sophisticated for me, her hair I guess, her smokiness, Edward G. Robinson of course is fascinating. Anyway, there’s a shtick they do, Robinson’s cigar is always out, Fred is always snapping a kitchen match alight against his thumb nail, hands the flame to Edward G., Edward G. lights his cigar, blows out the match, throws it away: all in one motion. At the end though Fred’s Walter Neff is dying, he fails to light the match, Robinson takes the match from him, Edward G. lights Fred’s cig.
There’s something insane there, not that many people noticed it in 1944, and now few smoke and no one uses kitchen “safety” matches, for anything, so they’ll never know. I used to pull that stupid stunt, snapping the phosphorus tip against my thumb nail, so cool, so sophisticated, such a dumb schmuck teen. Buddy, let me tell you, one time, the phosphorus tip broke off and buried itself, burning, under my thumb nail! Jesus! Bastard almost killed me, hurt for days! A little late to ask Fred, or Edward G., or Humphrey if it ever happened to them. or to Lauren.
2014 09 16 There’s something about that phosphorus burning under the nail, shut off from the fresh air: the phosphorus, once kindled, wants to burn, demands oxygen. It doesn’t care where it gets it: it’ll cannibalize the oxygen right out of your flesh, right out of your blood, your bones: you’re not just getting burned, you’re getting devoured! eaten from inside out.
Salters Bookstore, on Broadway and 115th, after it had replaced Riker’s there, 1960s, had that Raquel poster in the window. I’d stand there and stare at it. Oh, I’d read some book titles too, so I wasn’t totally embarrassed-self-conscious. I remember vividly what I saw, what was so unusual then, so riveting, I gotta explain: people who weren’t adults in 1960 won’t have a clue: the composition has us looking up into Rachel’s crotch: her crotch cover, her little square inch of loincloth leather, conceals the pudendum, but you can see through her legs, you can see a little bit of the curve of her right buttock!! Standing in front of her, you can see her behind! Maybe only a fragment, but holy Christ! in 1965 or so!
By 1957, certainly by 1961, I was seeing greatly shaped female crotch, bottom, lips for hours and hours every single day if not every single hour: it wasn’t that we’d never seen crotch; it was that we’d never seen Raquel’s crotch, from below, through to her fanny, as a cave woman! Not on a big screen, not as a poster in a bookstore window.
Those dinosaurs could have gobbled us in a second, standing there, staring, like hypnotized chickens.
20114 08 06 Taking a glance at 42, the Jackie Robinson story. The postwar Dogers give Robinson a chance. His instructions are to play well, win; turn the other cheek to all insults. Ten years later I was fighting racism by loving and promoting jazz: so very much black music in a white, cheat-by-all-means society. And now here I am watching somebody’s dramatization of it, Harrison Ford fabulous as Branch Rickey, the target audience encouraged to sympathize with the liberals, whereas in fact almost any of them would have stood and fought among the racists: keeping any underclass under, by any means necessary.
Great scene with rival player coach Ben Chapman shouting trash at him. Jackie tries to ignore it, to hold his temper. My point is: the bulk of both teams also ignored it! the stadium audience ignored it, the radio announcer ignored it, the home listeners ignored it … just Americans being Christ-killing kleptocrats, and proud of it. What else is new?
Eventually we did ignore it less: but are we “better”? or just meaninglessly modified?
A couple of hours later: I finished it, terrific movie, quite moving: terrific cast, performances. I absolutely adore Mrs. Jackie’s very special Afro hips.
Gotta comment on one thing I particularly enjoyed: I wasn’t a baseball fan as a kid, I paid a price for my ignorance: I’ve told the stoory of the older kid, new in the neighborhood, who jumped on me and beat me up when he drew a blank from me as he asked Which was I: Dodger fan? or Yankee fan? Huh? I didn’t know what he was talking about: so he assumed “Yankee” and made me pay.
Well, in those years following, later 1940s, early 1950s, I delivered my papers, collected the weekly bill, and absorbed more of the Yankee Dodger succession of World Series than I might have had I not been given lumps over it. I noticed: the Yankees always won, the Dodgers always gnashed their teeth. I came to know names from both sides: Joe Dimaggio, Phil Rizutoo, Yogi Berra … Casey Stengel … Roy Campanella, Pete Reiser, Ralph Branca, Eddie Stanky … Branch Rickey … So: since then I’ve heard of Jeter and Bonds and Ortiz; but names will never again possibly carry the aura that those Yankee and Dodger names do from Jackie Robinson’s reign.
And it’s true: Jackie’s fame transcended the sport.
Del Toro’s Labyrinth
2014 08 01 Pan’s Labyrinth: Del Toro is skilled, hard-working, doesn’t seem to have funding difficulties … brilliant … surrounded by other brilliant artists — anything with Maribel Verdu is worth a watch … so how come I typically don’t like it much? find it gray, ugly, stupid?
whoops, missing graphic of Maribel Verdu
I was moved by the ending, moved to tears, but it took hours to get there.
My “Monthly” posts are schedules to be reborn the first of every month: scrapbooks as renewable.
My on line writing has long burgeoned with babble about movies. I use movies to illustrate social, political, philosophical points: linguistic points, semantic points … and I also just blab about movies, as a form of Chat. It’s the latter category that has had menus of contents here for some time: Movies: under Art Favorites, under Chat.
I made a scrapbook, then I made it a monthly: now I split it into a scrapbook and a monthly.
This material should get moved either to the scrapbook or will get promoted to its own posts.
2014 05 20 I repeat: Mark Cousins: The Story of Film: An Odyssey.
See it, memorize it, see it some more.
One point of his I rant on at Patent Pirates. Here’s another from his cornocopeia:
Women in Film
Movie making was a new industry at the beginning of the Twentieth Century. Therefore, minorities weren’t (yet) (routinely) excluded. Jews’ contribution we can guess at from the omnipresence of Jewish sounding names in movies; but who knew about women? One female secretary was allowed to teach herself directing, editing, writing: after hours, provided she’d already completed all her secretarial tasks! Another woman auteur-ed a masterpiece of film: it was shown: and credited to DW Griffith!
(Compare my story about noticing the call number for George Eliot in the library: it’s coded under L. Her pan name was E: her real name was E (Mary Ann Evans). So where’d the L come from? She lived with George Lewes! The scholars had to give her identity to some man. She wasn’t married so they just stretched the “truth” further, and further … to make the world agree with their patriarchal mythology!
I’m back, a few hours later, with details: One, two: kerpow! Left, right: Wham! Cousins cites film historian Carrie Beacham. Beacham says that film was developed by women, immigrants, Jews: people not welcome in other professions.
Before 1925 half! of all films were written by women! Not just chick flix; all films!
Alice Guy-Blachet was the first woman director, and the first studio boss.
This material can be found c. 48 minutes into the film: streaming shows the time elapsed.
2014 05 01 Did you ever dislike a star, were even repelled by them, then see something, like it, love them in it? Helen Hunt was popular on TV but not with me. I avoided her, I avoided TV sicoms in general: some exceptions, always exceptions: Taxi, Seinfeld.
But then I saw As Good As It Gets: not for Helen Hunt, for Jack Nicholson: positives about him swept over negatives about her. Except that I liked the movie! and I like her in it. I loved her in it!
And then I saw As Good as It Gets (1997). She was a key part of what was good about it. A couple of years later (2000), it happened again: Cast Away. (Somewhere in there Twister wasn’t bad.) OK, I was converted; but I would never have raved about her: till last night. Jan and I watched A Good Woman (2004). Man, oh man: that was a great performance: not many actresses could have done half so well: she looked alternately young, old, nice, a frigid conniving bitch, a criminal, selfish, shallow, loving, self-sacrificing … just wonderful playing off Scarlett Johansson. Damn right Tom Wilkinson’s earl would know what she was and still want to marry her: by all means, marry me for my money.
I put up with chick flix for Jan’s sake, I ordered this as a chick flick, was pleasantly surprised to see that it was an Oscar Wilde adaptation, Lady Windemere’s Fan. But before long I was OKing on Wild’e oh-so-rhetorically-formal witticisms. But over all, very glad to have seen it: Scarlett Johansson, of course, mama mia, and whammo bango, Helen Hunt. Bravo.
Paz Vega, Sex & Lucia
2014 04 18 The Spanish produce the most tasteful erotica I’ve seen in movies. And they’ve got a stack of good actresses. I first thought that after seeing La Belle Epoche, thought it further as my jaw dropped for Almodovar.
I thought highly of Spanglish, really liked the actress Paz Vega, so I went ahead and streamed Sex & Lucia: not a title I would normally pursue. No matter how many movies one sees, there are others one’s back is turned to: you may see every western, but did you see the Indian films? the Chinese films? The only porn I’ve seen in my life, seventy-five and a half years of it now, came unsolicited in the mail, then unsolicited in the email. Deep Throat came and went with me hearning aboout it but without my seeing a single frame. Meantime I certainly saw plenty of eroticism in standard cinema: tit shots in early 1960s French film … Ooo: little did we realize how much female flesh had been adored on screen before the censors ruled our lives. Every once in a while we’d be teased with a hint of pudendum, a moment in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, for example … I’ve mentioned elsewhere my first exposures to diirty pictures, dirty movies, dirty magazines, back in the 1940s, very ugly, shameful, amateur. I’ve still never bought a single issue of Playboy; but I’ve seen them. I knew cheap smut, and slick manipulations all along. So here I’d see what a title like Sex & Lucia was up to.
Wow. Slick and erotic and beautiful and well acted, written, produced … holy mackeral.
What I want to know is: what happened to the Spanish? In the 1950s my friends visited Spain and the girl was spat at for wearing a short sleeve blouse! Now they’re all walking around in public blowing each other? I could imagine such things in Berlin, but not in Madrid.
Actually, maybe I’ve seen more than I let on: Bunuel was fantastic, a hero, but Almodovar doesn’t fool around either.
Lucia PS: The flick did one thing that astonished me: we look at this girl’s tits, then that girl’s tits, this and that snatch, up this and that ass. See male erections, cocks in the mouth, tongues in the pussy, open ass spread over the face, great water shots, beach scenes, and now one of the studs is with a little girl! His daughter, apparently. Now we see the little girl swimming with the camera up her coo … If everybody sucks and fucks everybody, if the Church has taken a dive into oblivion, then do we also suck and fuck the eight year old? the four year old? Do we really want to look up inside the underage virgin?
2014 04 15 I sure love this new Dr. Who series, with Billie Piper.
Last night I watched a pair of episodes that I was not enjoying especially, fidgeting a bit: the one where Rose and the Doctor land in London in 1941 during an air raid, and the little kid in a gas mask is looking for his Mommy. But then it did something that vaulted it among my favorites. Some other time traveller is there, he heals Rose’s rope-burned hands with a sprinkle of nanobots. The nanonurses heal her in seconds. Meantime, London, and soon the world, is being turned into inviable clones of a dead boy the bots had found and turned into a zombie, not knowing what they were doing. Ah, but for the climax, the zomboy finds the appealing perfect English girl, Nancy. She actually is his mommy. The bots swarm her, are about to zombify her, another damn stupid clone, when the swarm realizes that her DNA is already the sensible “original”: so, instead of over-writing her code, they correct the boy’s to match hers, his actual mother, a healthy normal human specimen! Then the swarm corrects all the zombies!
Wonderful. It isn’t everyday anymore that my beloved science fiction can give me a nice meme thrill.
Meantime, Billie Piper’s Rose is so cute: nice to look at, nice to listen to, nice and curvy, not too moral, not a whore, not too stupid … She shows her bosom but doesn’t flaunt it, intelligently handled in every detail, nice full bottom, fully female.
One nice thing about media, these digital images, like the images of the silver screen, are odorless (and germ-free). When we imagine smooching Rose in the midst of her ample buttocks, we don’t have to worry about the details of her personal hygiene, she’s perfect. Well, these last couple of days I’m catching up a bit on horror films, a neglected if not despised area in my life, and I stream the first five minutes of Scream. Drew Barrymore is on the phone with some pervert stalker. Now her fat little face was adorable in ET, so long ago: but now, oh my god, her fat ass looks like chubby teen Britney Spears. No, no, keep that disgusting pooper away from me, she’s trying to swallow me, males so susceptible to curves we have no defense.
The Asphalt Jungle
2014 04 09 Sixty-four years buried! finally free! John Houston’s The Asphalt Jungle came out in 1950. I was very much into Tarzan novels at the time. I’d read all the Bomba the Jungle Boy books. I heard Rudyard Kipling poems all around me that talked of jungles. I really wanted to be a cave man, but I’d settle for being a jungle boy. (Of course I’d need to take my beloved jazz with me.) I heard that The Asphalt Jungle had arrived at our Fantasy theater. I wanted to see it. My mother corrected me. No, I did not want to see it. This was an adult film. It wasn’t for me, I wouldn’t like it.
Last night Jan and I slipped the DVD into the slot. Finally, I’m going to see my “jungle” movie. But of course what we saw was a noir classic: John Houston! Marilyn Monroe!
Elsewhere at K. I’ve told how in 1974, running the Circle Gallery on Madison Avenue, I’d put a huge Milton Green serigraph of Marylyn Monroe in the window. I look up, and there looking in the window and smiling was long John Houston. I waved, he winked, and I left him to look all he wanted.
Houston did so much: The Maltese Falcon (1941) is still champ.
2014 01 04 I just edited a pic of Jean Pierre Leaud in Goddarrd’s La Chinoise, am reminded of how wonderfully Francois Truffault has used him as an alter ego since the 1950s, and I reminded of another Gallic favorite I don’t recall having yet mentioned online: Phillipe deBroca and Jean Pierre Cassel.
The Love Game
I’ve been unable to rent The Love Game on DVD these last few years so Jan doesn’t yet know what I’m talking about. But I was able to share with Jan familiarity with Jean Pierre Cassel’s great cinematic offspring: Vincent Cassel. I think he’s great as Mesrine. And I love him too as Otto Gross, the anarchist shrink, in A Dangerous Method.
2013 10 12 The Gift just made me laugh out loud. Cate Blanchett’s weird beauty is well suited to her role here as a ESP pro: a seedy pro, but they pay her. (Correction: they give her “gifts”: local law doesn’t permit wages for witches.) She drives a wreck, has kids, has a fan base. She meets her kid’s principal’s girl friend. Katie Holmes manifests the girl friend as so cute I wanted to smash her with a rock. (First time I ever saw her (Ice Storm) she proved that room temperature was just fine for dissolving flesh into helpless longing: statutory rape is suddenly pure reason. Anyway the cutie beards the wacko psycho, says What’s my future? and Cate gets all a-tremble: a pencil rolls off a desk, the screen shows flayed feet and shanks … That’s even better than a rock: Cutie is about to get stomped: and its magic: fate, gods, witches.
If this Katie ever actually spent more than five minutes alone with Tom Cruise, she deserves every scratch, cut and scrape. (I duplicate here the ethos of the film itself: the bad guy there commits, or threatens every crime, except the one he’s jailed for: and everyone says, Serves him right.
More important I have to coordinate some comments on horror films, recalling what I’d scribbled about Nightmare on Elm Street and some other Wes Craven stuff:
I’ve been on a number of “I love this actress” kicks, including opening my eyes to a couple of roles by Amanda Seyfried after being struck by her buxom talent in Mean Girls. (She’s struck in the boobs by a football: and we go, “Look at that girl!” So I was looking at her in Gone: She plays a girl who’s been abducted, the cops didn’t find anything, didn’t really look, didn’t bother to imagine that anything she said might be true or even partly true; they’re the government; you’re the schmuck citizen: they can crucify Jesus and give themselves a raise, out of your pocket, after they’ve raped you in several other ways first.
So: I said, in several of those earlier files, the horror genre, for all the preposterousness of much of what it seems to portray, idiot teens, preposterous society, is perfectly true to life in how the adults, the parents, the police, the media, never believe a single true fact about the danger they’re all in. Well, Amanda Seyfried’s nemesis in this other exercise is played by Daniel Sunjata. Never heard of him, but boy did he and (the team) succeed in making me hate him.
And behold, mixed ethnicity! So the White House isn’t the only muddied house!
I liked a couple of things about this Gone. The villain had abducted her, but she got away! She’d stabbed him with a bone! Now she believes that the same villain has abducted her sister. She decides she’s not gonna take the same crap from the cops this time, not in quite the same way. So: she goes to the same park the guy had taken her to, marches up to the same hole in the earth … Next thing we know, though it’s dark, murky, we don’t really know anything, she seems to have overpowered the guy: again! He didn’t learn a thing last time! Then we find out that her sister isn’t in the hole; she’s hiding under their own porch at home: and the villain knows it!!!
Don’t get me wrong. I love Amanda Seyfried, I love to look at her, her eye balls are so weird. She’s so round: her boobs, her tush, her eye balls. But I would have liked this movie much more if the villain hadn’t been such a helpless patsy schmuck.
Anyway: she’s stabbed the abductor first time around: did he prosecute? Did the cops ask if he wanted to prosecute? Second time around she coldcocks him, shoots him, pours gas on him, lights him up, presumably burning him badly, presumably to death: Do the cops investigate?
The cops haven’t even found the hole from the first time!
So she sends them a map! Is she crazy? And they still don’t arrest her for murder?
The funeral parlor guy in the Godfather wants the guys who molested his daughter dead. The godfather points out to him that beating the guys up would be a justice, but killing the guy wasn’t called for. Ah but then Puzo is no longer around to reason with the movie makers.
2013 10 13 Back to The Gift: J.K. Simmons plays the no-sensible-inquiry-can-take-place-while-I’m-in-charge-(and-I’m-in-charge) sheriff. He’s as intelligent, as inquisitive, as fair, every-bit-as-fair, as the priest torturing the girl for heresy.
I haven’t seen nearly enough horror and ouija board movies. I’m thrilled to discover that behind my back, despite my ignorance, my contempt for them, they display an attitude the exact same as mine toward the Nazis who run civilization: with the difference that they go ahead and live in that universe while I do not: not without kicking.
2013 08 29 I’m a awe of Clint Eastwood’s J. Edgar. I didn’t think much of it for the first half hour or so, was ready to bail out. Murk: some of that may be my monitor, some may be my age, most may be my hatred of things federal, my mistrust of human political centralization: we’re dangerous unorganized, we’re lethal centralized. Trying for unfair advantage we’ll kill everything: ourselves too, eventually.
But, in the second half, and by the end, I came to think that this is one of Clint’s greatest achievements: and that’s saying something.
The film is the biography of all of us, of the 20th century. Clint embarrasses all of us retracing how J. Edgar had us by the nose and the White House by the balls. G men, we thought that was “good” once upon a time. Like a medieval trusting his “Church.” GREAT film for irony.
I loved the scenes where Robert Kennedy tried his power politics on Hoover: like the White House was the government while Hoover and his FBI were just employees of the government! Hoover calmly kicks RFK in the balls as it were: and RFK knows he’s been kicked. Wonderful.
RFK tells Hoover to leave his report with him, RFK. Of course. Hoover complies. RFK has it! Then Hoover says calmly, “I have my own copy.” And RFK turns to an ice statue. God, that’s delicious.
Wonderful watching J. Edgar amass power by keeping himself and his agency sober while everybody else floats away on drunken hubris. (His sober-hubris will get him too, in time.
Naomi Watts is fantastic as the dedicated secretary. Hoover avoids women, except for his monstrous won’t-go-away mother. Miss Gandy gives up men: what does she believe in instead? The US? Hoover himself? Power? herself?!?!?
Regardless, she gets it. Marvelous to watch her taking dictation for an anonymous hate threat to Martin Luther King: as she sees that she’s actually worked for Stalin, for Hitler: the US another tyranny: lies, threats, false evidence: by the Edison of evidence: Hoover.
Hoover: the Edison of evidence
Nixon has always been my favorite modern president: epitome of evil, stupidity, dishonesty. Nixon has always known the noose Hoover had the White House in: Roosevelt, Eisenhower … Nixon knows about J. Edgar’s secret files … Finally, the bastard is dead. Nix gets word. “That cocksucker,” he exclaims. “Get those files!” he orders.
Ah, but loyal Miss Gandy, using fed dictatorial powers to destroy evidence, shreds everything. That’s a meta-betrayal, a betrayal of all betrayals, the evidence-king’s legacy is to destroy evidence.
Cut to Nix, on TV, pipe to America’s consumer-audience brain-stem, pabuluum feeder, brain drip. Nix waxes sentimental: J. Edgar had always been one of his best friends, favorite people, great American. (The cocksucker.)
This is a deep movie. Bravo.
The make-up is a great element. We’ve all marveled at this and that movie with great make-up: Babette’s Feast, Back to the Future. One of my favorite examples of aging beauty where I love the age, never loved the beauty, King Kong vs Cape Fear, e.g.; here, ironically, another King Kong: Naomi Watts! Miss Gandy.
Naomi Watts is Sooo beautiful no matter how the costumes, the make-up, age her: some Naomi Watts shows through.
I’m floored by this Armie Hammer. Think of his great grandfather, then look at him: now, look at him in make-up as lifelong companion to the American Stalin.
The scenes with that old queer and his career-long companion are very moving: Clint! making homosexual complexity tug our heart strings, bravo.
Ironies abound. Hoover comes on the crime scene, local law enforcement contaminating all evidence. Hoover will now take forensic science as his own, develop it, pervert it, abuse it, render it damned. He congratulates the NJ cop, Now you’ve contaminated the evidence.
Hey bozos. Hoover breathing NJ air is contaminating the whole universe!
Employees note: by all means absorb my note about Eisenhower at Columbia: History of Schools
Related: Secret Honor
A fiction of the disgraced Nixon’s dialogue with himself. Marvelous, probably very true if hardly factual. Did the authors of J. Edgar have access to a hate letter J. Edgar forged to Martin Luther King? Is it a fact that Hoover tried to intimidate King so he would not accept the Nobel Peace Prize? What does the prize mean anyway when Nixon also won it? No, no: fiction, honest fiction, unfettered fiction, may be the most efficient form of truth we have.
Hoover and his FBI
I’m just remembering a nugget claimed as fact I heard decades ago: Hoover advertised his agency as being for crime fighting: Hoover was masterful at getting ever bigger budgets: (and never forget that “crime” is defined by the people who make up new laws every year: people have fermented beer or cider forever, suddenly it’s a crime: people never paid taxes, suddenly not paying is a crime …) but crime was a cover; the real reason Hoover got all that budget was because the base purpose of the FBI was to beat up anarchists, make sure they are homeless, friendless, can’t make a living …
However true or untrue that is, it’s certainly what the state and its agencies, the state and its citizens, have done to me, since childhood: but with both fists and all their boots since 1969. 1970, 2006, 2007 … All of K. details.
2013 08 03 My daring went north yesterday, so now for two months I’ll watch DVDs by myself, or without her at least. We’ll still talk about it a few times a week: she has unlimited phone service from Nova Scotia as she does when in Sebring, but I’ll be holding my own hand. The other night I offered us Barabbas. She wanted nothing to do with it. We’ve seen zero Biblical epics together: junk I used to watch all the time, in the 1950s. At least Jan and I read Bart Ehrman biblical scholarship somewhat regularly. (Best: best: we’re currently reading Tolstoy! that is, I’m reading to her.)
Jan rejected Barabbas even when I told her it was Anthony Quinn. Even when I added that Jack Palance was in it. She doesn’t remember Shane: she may not know Palance by name or face. Anyway I was pleased to learn: Jack Palance had been a boxer! a heavy weight! Ah, now I appreciated his gladiator the more: appreciated his Jack Wilson the more too!
Lee Daniels’ The Butler
2015 08 10 I’m paused in Lee Daniels’ The Butler, pretty well into it, but now can’t wait to say this: great idea, American history from the 1950s to nearly the present through the experience of a White House butler, black, one time cotton chopper. What a great cast: the cast alone should make it first rate. So how come it ain’t?
2015 08 11 A scene or two brought a tear to my eye, a small tear: his missuz’ death for example. Oprah Winfrey goes clunk. I liked the cutting back and forth between “history” and “personal”.
Netflix offers a five star system with which to rate movies. Ridiculous: Gradations of quality are near infinite,
I watch Tarkovsky’s Nostalghia. I’ve been watching bits and pieces for years now. Some of it’s annoying, so maybe I’ll just give it four stars. But no: there are several places that by themselves should get five stars: even if Homer and Shakespeare are five stars. Boy: if I feel inadequate, how inadequate is Netflix? how inadequate are my neighbors?
2015 07 19 I was just raving about some attractive filming of females, ranging from films I’ve seen recently and harking back to films encountered in the 1950s: Emma Stone, Monica Bellucci … Jeanne Moreau … I just joked that Monica Bellucci’s body (and face) (and hair) qualfified for multiple awards as, in Malena, her legs when akimbo, her crotch was stage center, her left boob did this, her right boob did that … and I have to mention something else magically female:
Have you heard about the fourteen year old Israeli girl just hired as Dior’s lead model?
Read the story, it’s something: from sleeping in a broken bed, content in poverty, to being launched over age-blue-laws to star for Dior!
I’ll look at a female image, I’ll look at a female: all my life; but I don’t seek porn, I try to keep stars in perspective, I don’t gad after models … Till now! Look at that face! Look at that girl!
She’s an angel! with a model’s dead-pan! Yet nothing seems sexed about her at all. We see her drawers through the gauze, but so what? she’s a Madonna! We worship, not lust for her.
Rossetti, the PreRaphaelites would have gone crazy.
One fabulous thing is … she knows it! She’s controlling this!
2015 07 04 The arts exercise our powers to recognize patterns, to note similarities, and differences. At 76 3/4 I know that my pattern recognitions are regularly out of step with the majority: Christians are expected to see themselves as different, as superior: Americans, ditto, but with a secular bent. But pk sees Christians as the same: no different: or, essentially the same, trivially different. The Jews killed Jesus (Uh, wasn’t that the Romans?); yeah, but the Christians killed Hypatia! How is that so different?
(The Americans who had a contract out on Einstein for being too smart for his own good, were identified, convicted, and fined: $5!!! That’ll show the world how Americans respect genius.
Jesus was too good … Einstein was too smart … So am I, so am I.)
Anyway, last night Jan and I watched Malena.
Monica Bellucci as Malèna
Italy under the Fascists: Mussolini. A Sicilian town is ravished by Malèna’s beauty. The men want to rape her, the boys at puberty aren’t sure what they want, the women want to gouge her eyes out.
In college my friends (those who could afford to go to Europe every summer (and as many Christmases and Easters as they wanted (one pal, the son of the only man whose father had never not been on the NYT list of New Yorkers with incomes in seven figures, said the fares are so low now you can’t afford not to go!) told me that in Italy (and in Spain) any female tush on the street was public property: walk the square and if you are at all shapely, and youthful, you are guaranteed to get a lot of male groping of your ass. Gangs of males own the earth: the women see it, from hiding, and jeer, and hate, and count breaths toward revenge.
How different from New York, from New Orleans? Yes, but also No: that’s a very human pattern.
(Bellucci is fabulous at knowing to keep her gaze downcast, humble (non-sentient) as she walks her errands.)
Malèna’s husband is off to the war, her father is deaf (and a fool), her husband is reported dead:
Allied bombs rain on the towns. Malèna gets raped by this and that male above the middle ground of the kleptocracy. She dies her hair, she’s seen accepting gifts from Nazis … first chance, the town’s women are seen ripping her to shreds, dragging her over rough ground, shearing her hair, abusing her magnificent bosoms.
I didn’t see that behavior in high school, or as a teacher, nor as an art dealer; but I was never in a place being rained on by Allied bombs. No, we’re the droppers, not the droppees. But: I know from assorted readings that such behavior is deeply normal in human societies. The rapists, the men, the women, the pubescents, despise Jesus, oh, he’s so goody-goody, putting the rest of us to shame … It is not flattering to be lusted after, to be resented …
So different? So much the same!
The males form gangs, the gangs dominate the public places. (Rats dominate the sewer.) Check out behaviors by gender (and by age, and maturity) in other cultures: the Muslims? are they more “Christian”? Try being a fly on the wall here or there in Africa. … There are societies around the world where females are caged from puberty onward. The harem has its own architecture.
Goodbye, Simple Simon
2015 07 04 I stream movies from NetFlix, I also rent DVDs from NewFlix via the snail mail. I try to watch the DVDs promptly, Jan knows this and cooperates, to an extent: the faster I mail ’em back, the move movies we get to see, for the one monthly price. With the mail there’s sometimes a movie on hand; with the streaming, there’s always a hundred movies on hand.
I’m forever fidgeting the queues, moving a title up or down, simmering at the back burner, or promoting to Now. But inevitably time passes and I may not remember why I rented a title. When Jan and I started this activity five, six years ago, it was clear: La Strada, Roshomon …. I wanted to show them to Jan becaue they’re among the greatest movies ever made. That is, they’re among the core experiences of my life, esthetic, intellectual, cultural. Some of the auteurs are my heroes, my gods … But sometimes I don’t remember why I put the damn title on the list.
Just now, last night: Malena: the movie was over before I remembered: Oh, yes. Monica Bellucci: I wanted Jan and me to recognize her, got to see something she’s in for that to be possible (though now one can just Google images, one never has to actually experience anything!) Two seconds in I said, “Oh, I’ve seen this.” Still, Jan or not, I had to watch further to absorb Monica Bellucci: a grand activity.
The night before we watched The Goodbye Girl. Why? I don’t remember! To try to remember who Marsha Mason was? I don’t remember.
I expected from moment to moment to see something that would prompt recognition: oh, yes, Marsha Mason, or Neil Simon … I began to remember, a bit, hating Neil Simon in the 1960s (and the 1970s). He was famous, rich, admired, loved, successful; my play put on at NYU in 1964 was a total dud: I don’t think my friends who agreed to read their parts had a clue what I was up to. (That was Hilary, Phil, and David Smith, the latter subsequently using his PhD to launch his career at Toledo University.) (Oh, and yours truly: I had the lead: I played the fumbling fool: a la Chekov’s farces, via Robert Benchley five minute radio spots.) Half century ago: no one has since come up to me and said, “Oh, I think I see what you were doing: Goddard might have understood. Or maybe Brecht.” (Or maybe Chekov, or maybe Benchley.) No. Zero. Subsequently, I say what I say, already braced, already numb, that no one will understand. After a certain period of crucifixion, it still hurts: it’s just that you’re not surprised that hurts: of course it hurts: and, of course they crucify you: they’re incapable of learning. People flocked to Simon plays, Simon movies. I finally saw one: a movie, Barefoot in the Park. It was hard to pk to be aware of Neil Simon in the 1960s: it was harder in the 1970s: I’d been conceiving the internet since the late ’60, actually offered digital data-basing with my Free Learning Exchange in 1970. Zilch. Nada. Zippo. The public eagerly stole networking when it was finessed on them as an accomplished theft, like how the US stole California from Sutter: we’d ignored Sutter when he invited us, then we klonked him on the head once it was gold we could steal. pk got Nada; but Neil Simon people saw voluntarily: paid to see him! It was hard and I hated him. I knew the name of every donar to FLEX: and his name was not among the contributors (as, neither was yours!)
Anyway, Jan and I watch The Goodbye Girl. A string of things annoyed me, I’ll mention only the set of things that stuck the most violently in my craw; they all have to do with Shakespeare.
Richard Dryfus’ actor has a gig as Richard III. He butts heads with the director. He wants to play Richard the usual way: as a cripple, as a hunchback; the director wants a flaming queer without any limp. With a different tone that might have been OK: moronic ways to murder Shakespeare are supported by simple truth, just look around you: there’s some funding available for shoving Shakespeare in our eye, the schools do it, but there’s lots of funding, uncritical funding for blatant perversion: drama-murder.
Regardless, the Simon audience has to watch Richard Dryfus prance around the stage, butchering familiar lines.
That’s something Simon seems to do regularly: again and again we hear the line “Now is the winter of our discontent made glorious summer by this son of York …” At no point does anyone, on the stage, on in the audience, betray a clue what the line means! It’s a great line, a great great line: if you understand what it says; it’s just so much noise if you don’t!
2015 07 07 In college I heard a woman referred to who’d seen Shakespeare for the first time: It’s all just quotes, she observed! Didn’t have a clue that they weren’t quotes until he wrote them. (Shakespeare in Love shows Sweet Will hearing a harangue on the street including the curse, “A plague on both your houses”. Fine: so Shakespeare was quoting somebody: but his quoting is what made it quotable!) Anyhow: that’s what Simon does: he plagiarizes our best know literature, then insults the source.
Marsh Mason’s ten year old daughter complains that Richard III is “boring”. Boring? The play is played around the world for four hundred years because it’s boring?! American kids get indulged no matter what cultural, intellectual blasphemy they utter?
But maybe worst: the “experts” inform Mason and daughter that Shakespeare himself was a flaming fag. They say it as though it were a fact, not an egregious misreading, an ad hominem assumption..
Jan turns to me. “I didn’t know that!”
“Good”, I answer: “because it isn’t true!”
A coupld of decades ago I got an email from a student in Turkey who complained to me, internationally visible Shakespeare scholar, that his English teacher said that Shakespeare was queer. I told him to tell his teacher to read my explanations on the subject. No: the student came back to me: his teacher had merely corrected him, ignoring me, by authority!
Hell, Shakespeare did write a hundred odd sonnets, explicitly love sonnets, to a male. That would certainly make one tend to sniff homosexuality.
But let me point out a couple of things, real quick:
- Shakespeare wrote those sonnets during plague years. The theaters were closed, poets had to scrounge alternate ways to make a living. And the low numbered sonnets are addressed more to the young man’s father than to the young man: Shakespeare was groveling, hoping for cash; sincerity was not in evidence.
- Clearly the love declared is 99% Platonic!
A woman’s face with nature’s own hand painted,
Hast thou, the master mistress of my passion;
A woman’s gentle heart, but not acquainted
With shifting change, as is false women’s fashion:
An eye more bright than theirs, less false in rolling,
Gilding the object whereupon it gazeth;
A man in hue all hues in his controlling,
Which steals men’s eyes and women’s souls amazeth.
And for a woman wert thou first created;
Till Nature, as she wrought thee, fell a-doting,
And by addition me of thee defeated,
By adding one thing to my purpose nothing.
But since she prick’d thee out for women’s pleasure,
Mine be thy love and thy love’s use their treasure.
The love is for the poet, the lover’s dick is strictly for the ladies!
Forget about arguing that Shakespeare could have been bisexual. Sure, and so could anybody; but this sonnet is unequivocal: male male love is real: male male fucking is not something endorsed by Shakespeare.
Odd Men: Reed, Mason, Newton
2015 06 12 I was so looking forward to introducing Jan to Carol Reed’s Odd Man Out: 1940s Irish noir: James Mason, an IRA cell chief, the people’s hero, flubs a robbery, ripping off the man to finance revolution, and bumps around Belfast for two hours, dying. Did he sound Irish? No: English as hell; but what a voice: held us till Burton came along.
Anyway, I knew Carol Reed through The Third Man: what a great movie. It’s the movie that made me realize that there was more to urban noir than Orson Wells. Wells was fabulous, in icon, but the movie was directed by Carol Reed. So: Odd Man Out was the first Carol Reed movie I sought out because it was Carol Reed. Wow, what a bonus. And pure bonus comes from Robert Newton’s Lukey, the mad painter who connives to get the dying cell chief brought to him. Lukey want to see death in James Masn’s eyes and capture it in oil on canvas. Till we meet Lukey Odd Man Out is a very good movie, but Robert Newton’s madman puts it on an altogether higher plane.
Note that Oliver Twist is also Carol Reed, with Robert Newton paying an indelible Bill Sikes.
And never ever ever forget that it’s Robert Newton who gave us our indelible Long John Silver.
Newton in Shaw
Alas, Jan didn’t care at all for Odd Man Out. She bailed. Later, watching it myself, the tears rolled down my cheeks.
I love the left-handed insults to England, to British rule, to imperialists minding everyone’s business: with Jails, and Germs, and Guns: and utterly unconscionable cops.
Conserving the Revolution
2015 06 09 Some of my movie blab ventures close to objectivity, to film history, to film criticism — and when I say “film” I mean “life”: life, evolution, etcetera. Inevitably any of it may be autobiographical. Where was I when ? What film, hymn, poem nudged me to the left, tickled my most ancient prejudices …? As an academic, of sorts, an anti-acedemy revolutionary, I, like all of us to some extent, live a decade late, a century late, a millennium late: I listen to Bach, worship Bach, long after his music was current, cutting edge. I missed “the ’60s” because I was busy getting saturated with what the Fortune500 wanted our knees to jerk to: I was reading Shakespeare, trying to explain how I read Shakespeare; not smoking dope and gawking at the ‘Stones.
Tom Wolfe did his grad stint at Yale but then got the culture to pay him to be current. I read his Electric Kook Air Acid Test after it was current. I read Ken Kesey after it was current. Now I see a movie about the Grateful Dead half a century after they lived the Acid Test in San Francisco and all-about. Now I watch my culture as a foreign movie, way after it’s dead, grateful or otherwise.
I watch The Other One: the Long Strange Journey of Bob Weir. Never heard of him till last week. Jerry Garcia I know only from the Wolfe book. Maybe he mentioned Garcia and Weir, the co-founders. It didn’t register on me. Now I watch old footage of this Bob Weir as a baby faced acid head, chicks sliming him 24/7 with their hot boxes. It’s a hoot, the other Dead all joking how they reaped his leftovers, everyone of them ugly, him angelic.
OK. I got it. I watched it piecemeal, a piece made a meal. (PS Do you realize that piecemeal is the only adverb in its class? that the suffix -meal meant -like? See? You were listening to the dead, toking weed, dropping acid; I was studying English: from of olde.
Something happened. I fell in love with Bob Weir. If his music had appealed to me, I should have heard it: some of it should have filtered through my filters. I should at least once have listened to the Grateful Dead, should have read more Kesey, or at least a little Kerouac: realized that that was Neal Cassidy driving the Merry Pranksters’ bus.
There was Bob Weir, changing music. He didn’t go to Julliard, he didn’t sit like a schmuck while stiffs told him how to be original, he didn’t get a can of paint and dribble and splash; he did what he wanted to do, and it so happened it changed the world. I still don’t give a damn for the music, I was busy listening to Bird change music in the 1940s from the safety of the 1950s. But something happened. Bob Weir, getting ravished by every girl around San Francisco Bay and beyond, gets ravished by an exceptionally cute sixteen years old: and he’s with her an hour later, a day later, a week later … a life time following. They have children, they raise them carefully, and well. … My God: a human family: stable: with property: affluent!
Did the Pope say Follow Bob Weir? Not a bit of it. The Church has long been even more out of it than the state. Did the druggies say Follow Bob Weir>? Apparently they did, not that anyone but Tom Wolfe paid attention. Well, a little late, very late, I don’t doubt too late, I’m getting a little bit of it. The human family. Three of four of us just might survive not matter what happens to the multi-billions.
2015 05 19 I’ve known better than to confuse the actor with the part for a long time. But human psychology just keeps on operating some of the time no matter how smart or wise you are: by the time we’re old we’re back to committing childish fallacies. I so hated Nixon that I also hated poor Mrs. Nixon: and then I hated Joan Allen for acting so appropriately Mrs. Nixon on the screen. I knew better. (And I didn’t do it altogether) but I also didn’t censor myself from doing it at least a little bit. (Hating the actress was cathartic!)
So now I’m watching W. Spread out over months, I’m delectating on morsel after morsel: the movie is amazing, Oliver Stone understands his own ironies! But it’s also promulgating old confusions: forinstance: Elizabeth Banks is so gorgious, so female, so attractive, I go Gah!, and half forgive George W. Bush on behalf of his movie-dopelganger wife. (Oliver Stone is setting the table, doing the casting, in all of these cases.) Meantime, Ellen Burstyn’s Barbara Bush is so near perfect, that in my case it hardly does any good: I hate her anyway.
Caesar Gets the Girl
Elizabeth Banks’ beauty may serve to remind us that Caesar got the girl: and so did the gladiator. Caesars and gladiators got lots of girls: much of human behavior tracks to adultery: hypocritical monogamy. Wilt Chamberlin build himself a basketball-court-sized bed and filled it with beauties. Magic Johnson did the same: and got AIDS, for all the world to see! Tiger Woods gets the world’s most beautiful bride, and mother for his legit kids, but shacks with the other world’s-most-beautiful girl in every port, embarrassing a famous blond beauty in the international press, the idiot. I was just watching a David Attenborough nature doc: the female elephant goes into heat, a big bull elephant courts her, mounts her, rams his eight-foot-long schlong into her: the female elephant bellows for all the world to hear — “Jeez, what a loud girl”, a roommate once remarked from several rooms away from the bedroom in which my partner was having public orgasms while blowing me. But this elephant, like all rutting female elephants, was not just announcing her ecstasy, she was broadcasting her fertility: any other bull elephant was welcome to come and pry the present bull elephant off her back and try taking his place. Will Wilt Chamberlin survive Magic Johnson getting into the sack with him and his troop of females? And when Tiger Woods joins them all? I’m glald my roommate didn’t try getting into my waterbed with me and Linda! PS, if she was loud when giving me head, she was likewise loud when I was giving her head too! She was loud, loud, loud.
Btw after the bull had climaxed and while the cow was bellowing the whole elephant clan formed something Attenborough called a mating pandemonium! All the elephants including the babies had a kind of communal orgasm.
I remember watching a spectacular beauty sit in Ivan Lendl’s box at his tennis matches. I found him ugly however dominant on the court; I found her world-class. TV coverage broadcast her bellows for her, reaching Wilt the Stilt, Magic, LeBron … The other day Ricky Fowler won a golf tournament: a spectacular cat-walker positioned herself where Fowler could insert his tongue into her abdomen as the world watched. A minute later he was paddling her pussy with his finger tips. Yes: Caesar gets the girl, so does this and that gladiator.
And so did JFK, and his damn brother, and Nixon, and Bush … except that even Elizabeth Banks isn’t quite as beautiful as Tiger’s Elin!
Anyway, the Caesars don’t lack for bellowing females. But notice: you can monitor a stack of presidents and find Martha … and Eleanor Roosevelt, and Mamie Eisenhower … while waiting and wondering for Elizabeth Banks, or Marilyn Monroe! How come?
Clinton kept a fat girl under his desk: how come it wasn’t Emma Watson? or Emma Stone?
Caesar & Cleopatra
2015 04 29 It’s some time now that I’ve had Caesar & Cleopatra on my streaming list. That GBS play was filmed in 1945. I first saw it approximately ten years after that. I first read the play along around in there: 1955, 1956: then read it carefully and officially (in Hilary’s company) (for the 6-points-on-GBS-class of Prof. Dan Laurence) in 1963. I was getting peeved that Jan wasn’t requesting it, the months slid by, I put it under her nose several times a week. Finally, last evening, I pushed it on her. I could feel her sulk. What’s with Jan and the Roman Empire? She bailed oout of HBO’s Rome, wouldn’t let me turn her head back that way. She knows that GBS is of the first importance in my life: what’s she putting it all off for?
I’ll come back to that, as I’ll return to a series of points on the subject. First: 1955 or so I was so impressed by Claude Reins’ Caesar. I love “Hollywood”s cadrre of British gentlemen. Just last week we saw again how fabulous James Mason was in that class of character: his Gustave Flaubert was masterful in Mme Bovary! In that context I commended Reins: he’s so good at “intelligent” dialogue. The trouble with GBS’s Caesar is that by 2015, after sixty years of it, I’m thoroughly fed up with Shaw’s idea of how clever Caesar was: I no longer agree that Caesar was very clever by the time he met Cleopatra. I like the idea that he developed her as a competent kleptocrat ruler/executive, that sounds accurate; but I’ll be damned if at 76 I can swallow Caesar as a Christian Buddhist Marxist wise bureaucrat. I gag at the idea of “good” coercion.
Reins did not impress me much this time around. And I’m reminded of how fed up I am with most British gentlemen: I never want to see David Niven again.
From high school I adored Shaw’s wit, his sense of play, or irony: I loved his strong women, I loved his perverse aphorisms; but I never altogether swallowed his acceptance of law, of authority, his genuflections toward Stalin, Marx … Hitler, concentration camps …
So much of C&C is filler: the same joke repeated over and over. C&C has good moments, some of the scenes play well, but …
On the other hand we ought to be able to cut GBS some slack: he was born in the same culture that Marx and Stalin and Churchill and Hitler were born in.
2015 10 26 I remember a time in the 1960s discussing acting quality / role quality with my best movie friend: he maintained vociferously that an actor could not give a great performance in a dumb role, there was nothing to work with. I don’t recall jumping onto his bandwagon but I did see some perspective to his point. Regardless I thought of his rant last night as Jan and I watched Bette Davis in Dark Victory. It’s a nitwit movie centered on whether doctors should tell the truth as they see it to patients. Sentiment at the time, 1939, was No: Be Kind: Ignorance is bliss, happiness the goal, never mind philosophy. Whatever the rest of the world thinks I grew up into a belief that doctors as well as presidents as well as pastors should tell the truth, or at least what they think is the truth. So: Bette Davis may be the stellar actor, but how good can she be if her character is out of phase with morality? Answer: Bette Davis is The greatest actress: Bette Davis living in a fantasy world, expecting illusion, demanding illusion, is still the greatest actress.
Stagy? you bet: very stagy.
2015 10 19 NetFlix puts titles on its buffet that never would have come to the neighborhood theater of my youth. Neither would they have been shown on TV. Quentin Tarantino grew up watching stuff no previous generation had ever heard of. When I was a kid music was my preoccupation: first joke music, the Firehouse Five, then dixie, then swing, then jazz: bepop, modern. Then blues got added, then folk. By the early 1960s Ramblin’ Jack Elliott was a favorite. So, fifteen or so years ago when I saw a video on Ramblin’ Jack I grabbed it: but it turned out to have been made by his neglected daughter: it wasn’t about Ramblin’ Jack and his music, it wasn’t about Woody Guthrie and how Jack followed him, channeled him, became the library on New Deal hillbillies. No, the movie was about the daughter, neglected by the father, while the father got drunk and stripped naked while mesmerizing groups of spellbound women. Imagine a book on Thomas Jefferson that focuses on Jeff eating breakfast and fucking his slave woman.
I shoudda been warned, because a year or so ago I eagerly grabbed a DVD on BB King: one of the great great greats. Well, there was the great great BB, old, and fat, and far too familiar sounding: making jokes about needing viagara!
And last month I saw footage of Muddy Waters, the greatest since the proliferation of recording. Muddy used to dominate the bandstand. He’d uncork a shaken beer battle and spray brewers cum all over the audience as he sang “I’m a Man!” But in this DVD Muddy was old and tired and had to sit on a chair on stage. At least Pete Seger apologized when he had to sit in a chair on stage.
OK, I’d been warned.
So last night I launch a stream on Glen Campbell. Thanks to a DVD on The Wrecking Crew, studio musicians who played the instruments for any number of pop hits —
Take the Beach Boys for example: Brian Wilson “writes” a song. The Beach Boys will learn to perform it, to sing it and to play in on their instruments, in six months of regular practice they’ll be good at it. But modern times can’t wait six months: Brian Wilson teaches the parts to the studio musicians of the Wrecking Crew. They can sight read, or hear-play the song lickity-split. The Beach Boys finally learn to play and sing their parts and sing and play them well, but they’ve had millions and millions of dollars rolling in for those six months, because by using the Wrecking Crew for the instrumentals, they got the hit out overnight.
Take Ronald Reagan for comparison: he could learn the speeach in six months, he could give the speech pretty well in six months. But while he’s being rehearsed, learning his lines, the US has gone on, making billions with the policies of the speech, bombing more gooks all over the world: profit, profit, no time to waste on integrity. or intelligence.
OK, so in six months you see and hear the Beach Boys on stage, doing the song; but when you first heard it, it was Glen Campbell speed-learning the virtuoso guitar parts. Brian Wilson thought it, the Wrecking Crew played it, the Beach Boys sang it, and six months later Brian Wilson could front the group playing his own fast licks on stage.
OK, so now I’m watching a Glen Campbell movie: and it’s all about him having Altzheimers so bad he doesn’t know what day it is or how to stay on his X on the stage where the camera is aimed and pre-focused. Ugh. Who ever imagined?
But I’ll confess. I was enjoying this anyway. And I’ll volunteer why: Campbell’s nth wife is B-e-a-utiful, and his nth daughters look just like their adorable mom, and they take such loving care of poor Glen that it’s a wonder to see.
My grad school thesis on Shakespeare’s Sonnets argued among many other things that the sonnets are not about what Shakespeare had for breakfast or what he said to his girl friend in bed: they’re about basic patterns in civilized western behavior: they’re about epistemological issues, sumarizable as ideal versus real: theoretical versus experienced.
I would relish a nice musical bioPic on JS Bach: I’d tolerate a detail or two about whether the boy soprano had kibes while learning his part in the Matthew Passion, maybe Bach himself had the ague … but please, mostly, keep the music and the persons separate.
2015 10 17 Watching Restoration I was reminded of how the camera loves Robert Downey Jr. The audience sure loves him too. What I didn’t know to anticipate was how well the camera established a bond, not to mention desire, between Downey and Meg Ryan. Her collaboration with surgery is well documented: here her relationship to the protagonist sounded a depth or two. Nice.
A minute later I was watching Moonrise Kingdom, apprehensive, ready to bail out at any moment, Wes Anderson’s tricks putting me on annoyance alert in advance: but I must say, the two kids actually started working up some chemistry between them. I’l wait till Jan is back from Nova Scotia and sitting at my side in our love seat before the monitor before venturing further.
Of course the girl, twelve or so years old, is wearing a short skirt which juts if not puckers in front so were perpetually sure we’re about to catch a little junior beaver (and actually we do see plenty of her white panties as she crawls into their tent). This girl may be worth keeping an eye on.
When the Salt has Lost its Savor
2015 10 12 In the 1950s I worshipped Fellini as much as I’d tingled at Chaplin. It drove me crazy in the 1960s when film reviewers were dissing Fellini, talking about how great Fellini had been in his early- and mid-’50s films and how sad and bloated it had all become by La Dolce Vita. But then seeing La Dolce Vita I half-agreed: till it too wooed me, and I became so smitten with it too that I could hardly breathe. But by the time Boccaccio ’70 came along … it was cloying as well as bloated. I couldn’t stand it. Last week I tried to watch Boccaccio ’70 afresh: I felt suffocated, like the time my fat friend wrestled me to the ground and sat on my face: I couldn’t breathe! and had I breathed I’d have been breathing Lenny’s ass! I bailed out. Enough already.
Just today I loaded the rental To Rome with Love, the Woody Allen tribute to … lots of things. Immediately there were jokes so great I had to pause the flick and email the joke to my son. But I found myself pausing the movie every other five minutes. That seems to happen to me all the time these days, whether I love the movie or hate it. I’m half-blind, I’m more than half-deaf: I usually have my glasses on but frequently have forgotten my hearing aids: they don’t work all that well anyway. And the movie has too much talk. Too many plots, too many actors: much too much dialogue. By the time I read the subtitles I’ve missed seeing what the actors are doing: so I’m forever backing up, reading again, watching the action again. How many people would go to the movies or even stream one if everyone had to read, and ponder, and review, and catch up … Pause, sprint, sprint some more.
I may take a vacation from movies. But by the time I’m ready to try again I may be even more blind: and less in love with Fellini, and Woody … Fortunately I’ve seen most of the great ones already, repeatedly.
2015 10 11 Coming up on twenty-five years of K. I’ve written the following more than a few times:
Calvinist me, unwilling to waste anything, unable to afford to waste anything.
Today I’m remembering an ecstatic form of movie masochism I submitted myself to in the 1960s:
I saw Pather Panchali when it came out. It numbed me but I loved it. I saw it again: then again, and again.
When Aparajito came out I saw it. It wasn’t Pather Panchali but it too was great. So I pounced on The World of Apu, movie three in the trilogy: loved it too however much less. So: by the late 1960s, early 1970 I’d seen them all at least twice, PP, the original, multiple times. So, one day I see the sign on the Carnegie Cinema, around the corner from Carnegie Hall: all three on one bill. What did I do? I decided to inflict a Ray marathon on myself. The box office opened at noon. I was there, saw Pather Panchali for the nth time. Two hours, whew: and that’s a long two hours: a life time of suffering. But so great. At this moment I can hear, and feel, grandma’s head clonking on the tree stump when she dies. So, I visited the mens room, and Aparajito came on.
I could have used some dinner before long movie three started, but this was my Ray marathon, I had to stay the course. It was well into evening before I stumbled from the theater, feeling like a stylites, some guy balancing on one foot on a pole high above a river. The suffering is without price.
PS I knew the above image before I saw Pather Panchali: it was featured at MOMA in The Family of Man: 1955! Now I see the movie was released that same year, but I saw the Steichen show immediately, didn’t see the Roy movie or hear the Ravi Shankar score for another couple of years: later ’50s. See? I loved Ravi Shankar years before I ever heard of him! Lots of us did.
I’ll be back to further develop the “Calvinist” waste not want no theme. And to tie in another association: I avoided The Rocky Horror Show and the The Rocky Horror Picture Show through the 1970s and so forth till this week. I finally gave up, ordered the DVD, started to watch. It made me sick, but I’d paid the rental fee, dammit, waste not.
No, I finally caved in to my revulsion, quit it, mailed it back.
Client Privilege, Sherwood Cathedral
2015 09 28
I just start to watch a movie, Addicted. NetFlix promises addiction to sex. We open with a well-groomed, clearly affluent, exceptionally beautiful woman finding a parking space right in front of her city destination. She takes the elevator, knocks at an office. A well-groomed, clearly affluent, exceptionally attractive woman bids her welcome: make yourself comfortable, sit anywhere. What you tell me here, the office holder says, is strictly confidential, no one sees these notes, she waves her notepad, but me.
When I was a kid I was very impressed to hear that if Robin Hood could get to the cathedral and enter it, the Sheriff of Nottingham could not arrest him. Outside the church, the sheriff could make mincemeat of him; inside, couldn’t touch him. Then, growing up, a classmate with a hotrod would peel rubber on Sunrise Highway right in front of a cop cruiser, race to the border of the next town, two blocks away. There my showoff classmate would thumb his nose at the cops. The Rockville Centre cops could stop you and ticket you: in Rockville Centre; but if you could cross the border into Baldwin before they nabbped you, you had escaped their clutches.
Now, these days, if the IS terrorist crashes the airliner into the WTC but somehow lands east of Staten Island, is he safe from the cops, from the FBI, the CIA …? Uh, I doubt it.
And in medieval times, would Robin Hood really have been immune to the secular law once in the upposedly “sacred” church?
A friend of mine, founder of the Sebring Militia, was pastor of his own church, was pope for that religion, his own invention. The Sebring cops went to his house (his church, his cathedral, that is) dragged him out onto his walkway, and pistol whipped him within an inch of his life before dumping him in the county jail. If David Chapman wasn’t safe in his cathedral, would Robin Hood really have been safe in his?
You know, my class mate back in 1955, roaring across the RVC / Baldwin border: I bet he knew those cops, they coulda been his cousins. I bet he rigged the performance with them, rehearsed it.
Anyway: the chic black professional, shrink, psychologist, some kind of secular priest, promises the new client that what she says there (in this “church” of “experts”) is confidential. Talk in the street and the papparazi can blab it; talk in the office and it’s the secular equivalent of sacred. (Unless you’re Daniel Ellsberg’s psychiatrist: then the CIA can waltz in: steal, disrupt, destroy, incriminate.)
This is: any kleptocrat can promise the anything to the Jew: but does the Nazi then have to deliver? Not to the Jew, he doesn’t.
Once upon a time the good Catholic could confess to the priest believing there to be a sacred trust between them. What you whispered in the confessional booth was private: between you, God, and the priest. Supposedly, in theory, you could confess to murder. The priest would then intreat you to surrundewr to the secular authorities and trust to God’s mercy in the sacred realm.
Really? What if you confess to unspeakable acts committed on the statue of the Virgin? Can that priest really be trusted to keep mum? About as much as the CIA could be trusted to recognize non-US waters east of Staten Island. About as much as David Chapman should have trusted the sanctity of his home-vatican.
You’re supposed to be able to speak in confidence to your lawyer. Even older than legal traditions is the medical tradition of the Hippocratic Oath. I trust doctors about as much as I trust David Chapman’s church-invading Sebring cops. My son says read the Hippocratic Oath carefully, all the way through, and you’ll see that it’s really an agitation for guild monopoly: trust doctors to do no harm; don’t tolerate any harm to doctors, no matter what they’ve done!
Anyway, I saw the beginning of Addiction, saw the shrink assuring her new patient, and thought all of the above: paused Addiction to write it all down. I’ll breathe, then add more. Meantime, you can see coming: I don’t trust any human institutions: not church, not state, not professional: not political, not military, and absolutely, not school-related.
We watch Addicted. We see, the woman is beautiful, well-off, well-groomed. We see that she’s black: African American. We know that there have long been successful, comfortable African Americans. When I was a kid people in Harlem were dirt poor; but on Sugar Hill sucessful blacks were well off. These who were somehow successful despite the far from level playing field all kleptocracies function on. What we see in the opening scenes could happen: the client could be beautiful and well-groomed: so too could be the shrink. But let’s not consider possibility alone; let’s consider probability.
Addicted doesn’t make a show of showing us today’s current recent possibility: it looks like it’s showing us normalcy: probability.
In other words the dreck the media feed us is designed to misreprest us to ourselves. Soap opera reality.
Similarly dishonest, reprehensible, in this fiction is the age of the players. They are well paid, very well paid, while still very young. How old is the wife, thirty? she goes to an art show, she meets the artist, very successful, gets big prices. How old is he, thirty? I can name you artists who earned big at thirty, but I can name you more great artists who wound up earning big but not until they were eighty. See? Possible, but improbably. Improbabilities stacked.
They live among populations of liberals. Where did all the Ku Klux Klaners go who committed all the lynchings only a few decades ago? These people have no history: or, their history is very much not our history. Polyanna looks in the mirror and sees her wishes.
At Judgment will God swallow these deceptions? Or throw the deceivers into the pit?
Plus ça Change
2015 09 24 First let me say I enjoyed Night Train to Lisbon very much. Much of that liking of course rode on the coattails of every other movie I’ve seen since the earliest days of American involvement in WW II, where the Third Man theme never stops playing. I like Jeremy Irons, I liked the women, Charlotte Ramping is something-and-a-half. The movie fits comfortably into that culture which insists that the best part of culture is European and the best part of that is English. I’m familiar with the tremor-in-the-stiff-upper-lip noir pretentious. But did it really earn all its points, or was it just taking half of them for granted?
The cast alone, men as well as women, will strike the middle-aged to elderly viewer dumb.
So much felt “the same”; but so much else was new to me. This old man is not the boy who gawked at Orson Wells once upon a time. I used to watch movies, get my nickel’s worth; now I pause movies, cross reference everything. The opening credits had barely begun insinuating themselves before I had to research Lisbon, glance at the history of Portugal, scan bios of players … drool at the very idea of Lena Olin …
2015 09 23 I’ve been aware for a while, a decade or two, that there’s an annoyingly persisten marketing phenomenon called X-Men. In that period I’ve also come to recognize certain stars, Hugh Jackman, for example, without having a clue what’s “x” about them: till last night: I rented X-Men, the DVD arrived, I watched it. Now I know: I know now at least as much as I intend to know, which isn’t much.
I hasten to admit: it ain’t all all-bad, not totally. For instance, now I know that that’s Halle Berry behind the riveting image of immortal features, inexplicably deadpan, with white hair, longish, around the shoulders, and blunked-out opaque-white eyes (the effect blue).
thanx digital spy
Oh, one more thing: it turns out that this franchise character is named Storm, she’s a “Mutant”, and is supposed to represent something African. Can you seriously see any relationship between Hally Berry and anything “African?” Wolverine extrudes razor fingers, Storm waves her hair around. We all come in our pants. That’s African?
2015 09 20 Good movie about medieval morality players writing a new drama about the community they’re passing through. I want to quote a line, but understanding the line is too dependent on knowing what’s going on in the movie: a complex movie.
Willem DaFoe asks the condemned healer’s father, who’s using blather about divine justice to cover for gross failings of human justice. The father warns the meddlesome player:
|Those who seek justice fall prey to it.|
In other words, demand justice of human, state-run institutions at your own peril: from those very institutions.
This is a good movie, showing us some features of important under-understood history.
DaFoe has asked if the condemned healer’s father is referring to divine justice or human justice. His answerr shows he’s thinking of human perversions by government, by state. I’ll finish the movie in a minute: I expect to find it fine tuned to major life-long subjects of mine: church monopolizing this and that, state monopolizing this that and the other: nobody seeing that its all fraud: that church doesn’t represent either God or virtue (and certainly not truth: the state is anti-social and seeks monopolies wherever it can lay its hands.
Vincent Cassel is fabulous as the villainous Norman baron. One actress’ face was haunting me. I looked her up, Gina McKee. Something about the face seemed so familiar. Sure, she was in The Borgias, in Atonement: Jan and I had watched lots of movies with her in the cast over the last couple of years. Then it struck me: she played Irene Forsyte on the Forsyte Saga! I hated her! I begged Jan to spare me the balance of the episodes. But the features that provoked me there fascinated me here. Note though: Irene is a concocted role in the BBC Forsytes. She’s made to do all sorts of work on camera that the Galsworthy character does in the readers’ mind: not fair.
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