Movie Scrapbook 3

/ Movies /

Precedent, Tradition
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.

False History
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?

Night Train to Lisbon
thanx filmofilia

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?

The Reckoning

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.

2016 11 27 Watching a doc on cults and the efforts of some individuals and groups to deprogame whose swept up by the cult. 1960s, 1970s … Certainly I see that the Moonies and the Hara Krishnas were in cults, but so is the priest, the nun, the Jehovah’s Witness. So is the student, the voter, the union member. I accept that Newton and Darwin and Freud exercised reason, struggled for freedom, and so do you and I; except you and I do so in very small measure, with very limited success.
One thing about the cults in this doc, they “kidnapped” and “brain washed” adults, not children. While the military, the government, the churches, the schools and universities typically kidnap and brainwash pre-adults. So, Governor Reagan sends a deprogrammer around, they’re kidnapping and reprogramming adults: people typically in their twenties, people with the legal rights of adulthood.
I’d like to see the schools un-kidnapped, the colleges made aware of freedom, reson …

Several months ago I saw a really good doc on the same subject except that it dealt with an individual guru: some faggot megalomaniac narcissist. But with a knack for enslaving others to his will. I’ll try to remember to report back if I remember the name of it, or of him.

Time Dissolve
2016 11 26 Julie Hagerty came on the screen in What About Bob? and I was instantly transported to 1980 and Airplane. She’s the pretty girl seated on the plane and says in a sweet reminiscence, “and I would sit on your face and wriggle”. That is insanely funny. I’d never seen this Julie Hagerty before that scene. She was very pretty, very clean-looking, “British” ethnic American WASP, culturally frigid you’d think: the last woman on earth to talk whistfuly about getting eaten let alone emoting nostalgia over it: wriggling on her lover’s tongue.

Anyway, that’s a “guy’s” line, not a girl’s, particularly not this girl! And she had this innocent little voice. I laughed my ass off, wishing the while that it was my face this Julie Hagerty had her twat spread over. But, 1980 to 2016, I’d totally forgotten it, never saw her again, didn’t obsess over it: till just now.
Thanks Airplane, thanks Julie Hagerty. Great job, wonderful memory, extraordinary melt.
Where did the regular time go: this is the first time I’m seeing What About Bob? Impressive stuff, Mr. Murray.
(I figured he was chanelling Jack Nicholson’s nut case in As Good as It Gets, but no: this movie is the elder.)

Skinny Nymphs

Julie Hagerty startles me into vivid recall of that scene, but seconds later another female has paralyzed my attention in What About Bob?. Kathryn Erbe as the doctor’s daughter: a jaw-dropping perfect face: skinny as a bean yet somehow totally sexy. I’m reminded of Emma Watson early on as the sorcery student: a “child” has no right to affect us so: our embarrassment as dirty old men is half of the attraction.

Speaking of pretty girls I’m currently rewatching Sherlock Holmes, the Guy Ritchie movie, my eyes peeled for what stopped me dead in my tracks when I saw it a few years ago: Holmes is climbing around in some grotesque structure, the female lead is there too, and we get a profile of her hip and her bottom right in our eye. Poof, then it’s gone. I remember going back for a better glance: there, gone. So I let time pass, last evening I’d savor this fleeting female wowie. I glanced through a filmography. Rachel McAdams had to be the actress I sought. Couldn’t place her for a moment: Oh, yes, Mean Girls. The annoying blond pack leader. She was OK, but she brought nothing to stop my heart. Watch the movie, discover what you’re talking about: I glue my eye to the screen and begin my search. Later I’m becoming convinced that I’m wrong, it must have been Holmes movie #2, not movie #1. The movie’s almost over, it must have been movie #2, prepare to reorder, annoying as hell; it can’t have been Rachel McAdams: she’s pretty, has shape, but she’s not the end of the world, when poof, it’s gone, Only a millesecond, but that had to be what I recalled. Sherlock is mucking about in a burning tunnel, flaming debris is falling everwhere, McAdams shows up, and for a moment, so fleeting, her female nether regions ore plastered against our eye. Wow. I rewound and refocused, several times.
This Guy Ritchie is an annoying director but that moment is priceless, eternal.

Funny, I just google image searched: the moment was not quoted not through the first very long, replete page..

Other thoughts on the same movie: the other girl, Watson’s girlfriend, is worth more than one look. And I’ve got to say: Jude Law is an amazing resource. What a great actor for the gorgeous, too gorgeous, male. He arrests the camera, is a great clothes horse, without taking over the movie. Actually all the costumes are very good, not least Rachel’s tweeds. Mmm.
Having gone that far I’ll note a couple of additional qualities. Mark Strong is some damn villain. The guy who plays LaStrad has a few pluses.
Robert Downey is a world treasure, but, as fear originally, he is a bit old for the part. And his chemistry with McAdams is middle aged.

Demographic Humor
2016 11 25 I Shared with bk & family via email:
when I was a kid the antisemites would do crass imitations of
“Jewishness”. people would laugh, including me, not because the
imitation was skilled or accurate, just because appreciation was
demanded, scripted.
I soon learned that if you just waited a minuted, some Jew would do a
Good impersonation, funny cause it was so accurate. My town was “half”
Jewish: took me a long time to realize we we had Any Jews, let alone

Mel Brooks ravished us with his Nazis, his Jews …
Archie Bunker was funny not because his anti-whatever was accurate but
because he was so transparently a bigot!

I’m paused halfway thru Colin Quinn, savoring it, not wanting it to
end. and it strikes me, with a Joe Louis punch, it’s so good not
because he nails the Jews, or the spics;
he nails Everybody! and at the speed of light!

what group is left out? and it’s All accurate!

In other words, his quality is humility, personified.

Wait: does he impersonate a WASP? Yes. it’s All Archie Bunker!

Now there’s something: Norman Lear loved Carroll O’Conner because he
was so good at being so dumb. But: Lear I just learned was a Jew; and
Archie Bunker is Not a WASP: he’s Irish!!! Carroll O’Conner: like
Colin Quinn!

Cloudy Atlas
2016 11 24 The Korean girl says that truth is singular. Her interrogator has assured her that all they are interested in is her version of the truth. Already the movie Cloud Atlas has shown us a dozen actors playing a dozen roles in half a dozen times and places. The movie is three hours. The first hour and a half was much harder work than any fun was fun, but there, about half way through the movie picks up and starts to run. The graphics, the editing, the makeup are all very impressive: do we want to applaud the makers? or see them whipped? Ah, there is somebody whipped, a slave, of profound fortitude. Yes, let’s see the Wachowskis whipped.
I watched the movie yesterday, all three ours of it. I read snippets of reviews (@ Rotten Tomatoes), and a couple of whole reviews. I write emails. And here I am the next day, Happy Thanksgiving, watching it all over again, with maps of who’s who, when, where, what handy, pausing even more frequently than yesterday. Maybe i should be whipped.
I have one thought here I’m confident of: Hollywood gives oscars for best picture, And best director, And best script, And best make up: best major actor, best support actor … There isn’t just one thing about a movie that’s good. This movie is very good in several of its aspects. How many is it very bad in? Any? do we old the same opinion later?
In some respects, if you haven’t seen it you disqualify yourself for lots of things.

Family Union
2016 11 19 Amazing feeling, genetic kinship, family. I start to stream Hoffa. Jack Nicholson bullies his way aboard Danny Devito’s truck. Jack Nicholson obviously is playing a character, Jimmy Hoffa. Devito is playing some other characters: a truck driver, ordinary slob tying to make a living, a hireling to bosses who screw him left and right. And I think, these great stars, these amazing actors, characters: they’re our family! They carry our culture. They’re our genes.

Fuqua the Law
2016 11 16 I like Denzel Washington. This director, Antoine Fuqua, has a hell of a body of work. Training Day came out, won prizes, esteem, in 2001. I’m just streaming it for the first time. Denzel plays a narc. In the opening minutes Denzel’s narc violates every rule of manners: he’s rude, he interrupts, pushes Ethan Hawke’s rookie around. They go out onto the street, in the ‘hood. Denzel has Ethan violate every written law too: they drive like maniacs, do dope, confiscate property, wave guns in people’s faces … The “laws” observed are expedient: presumably Danzel’s narc “gets things done”, impresses his department.

No, no: I’d rather they make no arrests and obey the speed limit: get no confessions but first don’t torture anybody: no entrapment, no bullying. If the ‘hood gangstas are loud and impolite, well, they’ve not famous for knowing any better; cops are a different animal, supposedly.

We pay big bucks for “entertainment” to train us to scoff at decency? Instruct us in criminality. No thanx. Denzel and Fuqua are something though, and I understand Snoop Dog will be coming along soon.

Now if Snoop Dog is a gansta that’s one thing: look at him, listen to him, he doesn’t pretend to be Washington, Jefferson, or Hamilton.

Oh, I was just reminded that it was Fuqua who did a favorite filming of mine of a favorite novel of a favorite writer: Stephen Hunter, Shooter. Kata Mara is coached to look just fabulous: she’s dressed but oh, the imprints of her nipples!

Baker Blue
2016 11 11 Jazz was the major part of my teen life: and so I sketched in my first personal post online: 1995. My postings till then were all business:, out of business since the FBI arrested me in 2006, the fed knocking everything I had online kablooie. Anyway just now I watch a bio pic on Chet Baker: Born to Be Blue. I liked Chet Baker in the 1950s, I made an effort. Jazz in New York seemed mostly “black”; west coasted jazzed seemed consciously, deliberately mostly “white”: Gerry Mulligan, Shelley Mann, Shorty Rogers, Chet Baker. They all played everywhere: Bird, Miles: east coast, west coast, and Europe too. And never forget Clifford Brown: the three biggest trumpets in the 1950s were Miles, Clifford, and Chet Baker.
I liked Chet Baker OK. The business using him as a pretty boy model bothered me. His singing I could have done with a deal less of. Hearing that he was a junkie bothered the hell out of me, but that seemed to come with the territory: jazz =/ junk.
Anyway I was eager to be reminded of Chet as I slipped the DVD in the Mac slot, but the movie quickly showed me it was going to be a long night. We saw a lot of Chet the comatose junkie, but worst of all we saw much too much of Chet playing badly once his teeth got knocked out for him and he lost his embouchure: his chops. So why do I even mention it? ’cause the girl was really pretty.
The sixties came, Miles exceeded divinity, and Chet disappeared. Pathetic, but typical: of the whole jazz thing.
2016 11 16 Ha! same actor as Training Day!

Encroaching Fed
2016 10 19 Jan (welcome back, my darling) and I watched Laura (1944) last evening. Good looking movie, great looking Gene Tierney. Cigarette smoking is incessant on all sides. I’ve commented on that plenty before, but here’s something evven more important that I’d missed: government surveillance is everywhere, goverment interference is creeping in from every direction, tolerated, half and the invitation of the characters involved. The characters come home and find the cop sitting in their parlor, making themselves comfortable, smoking away, violating the constitution left and right … but I tell you: it ain’t a violation if the girl is lying there, flexing her femaleness, urging rape. The cop may ask permission to smoke the first time, but the cop chainsmokes thereafter. The cop may ask permission to examinet the premises, the tenant assents, and the cop simply moves in thereafter.
Gene Tierney is supposed to be dead, but she’s just away for the weekend: it’s one of her models whose been rendered unrecognizable by a double shot gun blast to the face. So Tierney comes home, knowing nothing, and there’s Dana Andrews with his feet up. It’s a murder investitation; therefore, the Constitution don’t count.

I’ve always loved the song. Dave Brubeck played in on one of his albums, I listened to it daily. What I didn’t know till last night was that the song as “song” wasn’t composed or released till the following year. The music was composed for the screen. Johnny Mercer then wrote the lyrics.

Tierney was famous throughout my childhood but I didn’t respond to her as a male until 1956, y freshman year. Columbia’s Macmillan Theater was playing Tobacco Road. Gene Tierney squirmed her fanny in the dust. Cheezus.

I’m re-skiming the movie to slow down and capture a reference to a poet and poem with at least one famous line. Dana is making himself comfortable in Laura’s apartment, sipping her scotch, lounging under portrait. Wait a minute: what woman hangs a large portrait of herself in her own living room? Laura might stick a big portrait of herself in her colleagues’ eye in her publishing house office’s waiting room, maybe in the board room, certainly in the sales room; but in her living room? He drinks her scotch, he reads her mail. Clifton Webb comes in. It’s everyone’s house except Laura’s.

Nanny’s Annoying Magic
2016 10 14 Watched Nanny McPhee. Preposterous fairy tale with a great cast, devoted to being taken in by the worst elements in culture: fairy tale magic. But, you know, I was moved by it anyway. The crew really knew how to get the tears jerking. They all flew high, especially Kelly Macdonald

Class Actors
2016 10 09 I want to make a point about what I’ll call “revisionist entertainment”. First I’ll get my point about class actors out of the way.
In my life time my focus has been on film. I’ve known and admired Charlie Chaplin, Bette Davis; I heard about but never saw Eleanora Duse, Sarah Burnhart. And TV actors I didn’t give a damn about, whether I saw them or not. That movified a bit when I watched HBO’s Rome. Now I’m just starting to watch
Jamaica Inn, Jessica Brown Findlay: oh, yes, Downton Abbey. My grandfather likely thought that Paul Muni was a “real” actor: stage! he could be forgiven if he starred in a movie or two also. But I doubt that my grandfather would have countenanced TV actors, however many millions watched them daily.

I’m sure there are parallels in all sorts of other media: take the president seriously, but not the king: while grandfather is the opposite. Anyway, I’m pleased to notice Findlay with pleasure as well as recognition. Ah, yes. Nice to get re-aquainted, taking her seriously: taking TV seriously, a little bit, for the moment.
Ah, you know I just thought of a great compliment to pay Jessica Brown Findlay (coming up next): she reminds me of Jennifer Connelly.

Revisionist Entertainment
So Jamaica Inn attracts me not just because of the long history of the title. But a graphic shows Jessica Brown Findlay hauling a stout rope that hauls a ship, a heavy cargo: a woman doing hard physical labor, the situation plausible: and we realize how absurdly censored we hotshit moderns have been: not just with regard to sex. I scribbled something on the subject just recently: Terminator. Arnold Schwarzenegger is THE poster boy for steroid masculinity: great, he’s an old man, and he still models fabulously. But this issue also stars that ridiculous-looking girl from Game of Thrones: Emilia Clarke: and she’s buff as all get out, and the camera bumps its nose against not just her boob, not just her butt, but her biceps. Fambulous. Lillian Gish was asked to be tough, as women go; she wasn’t asked to benchpress a locomotive.
But now we do.
What are we censoring that our children won’t censor? What will we look ridiculous for having censored that we don’t even know we’re censoring?

So: this medium ascends, that medium denigrates. Ditto this and that gender role.
Meantime, I expect to enjoy Jessica Brown Findlay hauling hawsers.
a couple of hours later I know what scene was being quoted: they prey on wrecked cargo, doing much of the wrecking themselves. The rope she hauls draws a cargo palate toward the beach. It’s a coed activity, now she’s complicit in the family crimes.
Cornwall. I love how they’re handling the geography, the culture: the moors. I gotta read some Daphnis duMaurier, not just see classic movies, and remakes. Thie remake is very good, reverential. Worthy.

Old & New
2016 10 02 I was streaming some trash and half-recognized an actor: big guy, very male, jaw like a clif, pockmarked skin that suited him: you don’t want a male principal with a face like a baby’s ass. I’d seen him, recently, but I couldn’t place him exactly. Fortunately NetFlix keeps track of my rentals: I skimmed back, and there he was: The Harvest, Richard Shannon. He played the “father” of the sick kid held captive in his bedroom. Natasha Calis, wonderful young actress befriends him, rescues him. The father is no more the father than the mother is the mother: Samantha Morton’s real son is dying in the basement: they kidnapped the other kid so they could harvest his organs to keep the blood son hanging on. So I’m glad to know Richard Shannon, and Natasha Calis, glad to already have know Samantha Morton: and by gooly here’s Winona Ryder as Richard Shannon’s wife, the mother of his two daughters. Whoowie Winona Ryder is so adorable, always has been, still is.

To Kill an Atticus
2016 10 01 I was a draftee stationed at Whitehall Street Induction Station when Gregory Peck won the Oscar for To Kill a Mockingbird. My friend Phil was elated: he regarded Peck as underrated. I saw what he meant, but not to the hilt: and when Fellini had some street whore deflate Marcello Mastroianni in La Dolce Vita with the sarcasm, “Hey, Gregory Peck”, I knew what that meant too. I had to snort because to me in 1962 it was Marcello Mastroianni who was the obvious male idol. But Gregory Peck was one of the stars, had been all my life: and I was aware that he was respected but with an undercurrent of disrespect: it was his looks, his looming male presence, that earned him his stardom far more than his acting.

Well last week I watched A Conversation with Gregory Peck and let me confess that I enjoyed the hell out of it. I wound up loving Pick like never before. And I want to share with you a think or two that I thought. I come in from a tangent, a hairlip. Michael Caine is a familiar star, right? We’ve all seen him in more films than we can count. There was a standup joke decades ago. John Belushi says that for the holiday his family showed home movies: “Yes” he said, “Michael Caine was in it”. Funny, yes. Michael Caine was in everything. We were all up to here with wisdom about how he got his unique pacing from his unwavering concentration on each syllable of his lines, getting the English out before the Cockney trips him up and bashes his brains in the gutter. Michael Caine acts one syllable at a time.

And so does Gregory Peck.

And I think I can say why. First though I’ll say why why. The Conversation cites someone as hailing Gregory Peck as playing a man we all respect. I think Gregory Peck was pacing his words in his own mind, silently drilling himself in what a respectable, an honorable American man thinks he should be, say, sound like, thinking what he should come across as. and I think he got it right.

And I’m going to breathe, and write this better.

A few months back I got To Kill a Mockingbird for the Kindle and read the few few paragraphs. When Jan comes back in a couple of weeks we’ll have to dig into it: and we plan to read some Edith Wharton too. I’ve been catching up on American women writers a bit: it’s about time. Read some Willa Cather, read a bunch of Joan Didion.

Hollywoody Film School
2016 10 01 I just emailed bk:

It’s funny that I’m giving Daredevil another try because last night I
gave a more than fair chance to the Hong Kong bs The Iceman.
In film school you can just make the universe up as you go along: just
like theology, like history, like “science”: reality custom fit after the facts have
been altered.

and bk responded Ha!
I love it when people appreciate my writing, especially Brian.

DownUnder Adoration Rubbish

The world is full of talent. Some of it gets noticed: there’s no telling how much doesn’t. I’ve met two really attractive Australian females recently starring in movies we really could have done without. Radha Mitchell is pretty, can act somwhat, and is an instant billboard for fashion: sweaters, jeans, blouses look fabulous in her vicinity. The travesty I saw was called Sacrifice: lots of great movies with that title, see the Tarkovsky.
Last night I met an adorable package, Emily Browning: deadpan pretty. We see lots and lots of every inch of her in this Sleeping Beauty; never her open vagina, never her gaping ass hole, but lots and lots of everything else, with lots of time to delectate. But the movie itself is an offense. She plays a whore who works for a madame with a “no penetration” rule? And the whore is out cold throughout her encounters? The john is instructed not to leave any marks, but there’s no supervision. There is an assumption that any john would want to leave marks? any john could be trusted not to penetrate? I know colleges dumb enough to trust honor systems, but whore houses?

In the plot, no body likes this girl. None of them are very likable either.
We see plenty of her boobs from early on, but they’re fairly ordinary. Her hips though! Her crotch, her fanny: gorgeous.
We see her pubic puff but no lips, and no dark yawn.
When she winds up waking up with corpses we’re supposed to care?
2016 10 31 Legend. More Emily Browning. She’s wonderful, adorable, I’m in love. Tom Hardy too.

2016 10 01 We all know how attractive deadpan can be, don’t we? But I really got hit between the eyes by a deadpan a few days after writing the above: Victoria Beckham in the early period of her marriage. Stunning. I’d never been a fan; but I am now! 2017 12 23 Gotta mention Debbie Harry of Blondie in the same connection. Just saw a video of Heart of Glass I’d missed previously. Fantastic.

Ready, Aim
I care. But only about seeing more of her. I would watch this travesty again just to see more of her.
24 hours later I’ve seen it 1 2/3 times. I may watch it forever. But I’d prefer an Emily Browning gallery, that’s what we need: ditch the ridiculous story.

She’s not a perfect hour glass. Where she’s short an inch up top she makes up for it, perfectly to my mind, below the border. Those hips, Mmm, that bottom. Those hips aim her crotch right at your eye ball. You can see her rearend coming before her front end arrives. A treasure where you don’t have to hunt.
2016 10 26 Goodie for me, now I see Emily Browning in Legend, Tom Hardy too. There sure are some cute actresses around the world.

Day By Day
2016 09 18 A few weeks ago I saw that I could stream Mission Impossible III. I grabbed it, I watched it. Ten, fifteen minutes in, I bailed. Couldn’t stand it. Tonight, I don’t know why, I decided to see if I could stream Mission 1, or 2. No: only III. Oh, hell: and I punched it up. Doncha know it places me right where I bailed. And this time I’m in love with the girls, some blond with a stick flexing her ass, some brunette with an arresting face agonizing over Ol’ Tom Cuise. I watch the males: Ving Rhames, Lawrence Fishburne, Simon Pegg … Tom, of course … It’s a treasure! And Philip Seymour Hoffman is yet to come!
What they did with Hoffman is itself a treasure, but I gotta comment on something else. Our spies are up to shenanigans in the Vatican. Sacrilidge. Are you aware that Old Tom, when young Tom, was a devoted little altar boy? Had ambitions to become a priest?! And here he’s breaking and entering, and deceiving, and defiling.
And he’s torturing Philip Seymour Hoffman with the bomb bay doors on the plane: so well done. Ethan does evil.

Hughes Hawks Censorship
2016 09 09 I just wrote theMarcus:

Mayflower revisionist Kramer

diction shifts meaning outside of our control, misunderstanding is mandatory: I mean inevitable. Revisionist to me had always meant whitewashed; Not “corrected”

And I don’t trust anything in human society to be correct anyway.

coicidence or not I’m so glad of my recent concatenation of cultural documents: Inherit the Wind made me want to see Scarface: because Paul Muni did it on the stage.
The 1932 film had treasure after treasure, and of course I recognized that I’d seen it: no saying how many times. Major thrills: recognizing Boris Karloff instantly; major confusion: is that an English accent?
George Raft’s coin-flipping deadpan is unbelievable. And all the females were great too.
Paul Muni was good no matter which Tony character he was playing, all mutually contradictory, the coward pretty hard to swallow though.
Howard Hawks touch was indelible, funny to see that he plays crime drama exactly the same way he plays screewball comedy: the illiterate on the phone as the bullets fly.

But never mind: let me start over: culture, censorship:

When I was a kid Stanley Kramer was huge, like the patriotic sculpture in Dakota. He was so sanctimonious, so solemn, he was the perfect Hollywood, revise and rerevise.

early ’50s I saw The Wild One. We were all nuts for Brando. A year or two passed and I saw it again: Hey, wait a minute, this one is revised: Version Two ended with a secular Puritan of a judge telling us delinquency is our fault: just like Crime! just like Government. So this is where Hollywood Stalin comes from.

So Scarface is identical: there’s the movie people loved: Crime! and there’s the sanctimonious revision that Kramer nailed on: demand that the government fix everything, and it’s all Your Fault!

Select a focus:
in Version 2 of Scarface (Revision 1), the sanctimonious judge pronounces his secular sermon on us. Moral: there’s no place for crooks in this country!

There’s no place in this MY country for anyone or anything I say, and don’t bother to write anything down because I can arbitrarily rewrite whatever I want!

Only pansies would want the government to mean what it says when it comes to habeas corpus. Don’t tie Stalin’s hands with meaning.

GB Shaw used to get my attention when he said that the censor’s obligation is sto state clearly, unequivocally, what’s illegal: then, therefore, all else IS Legal!
Don’t wait for the studio to spend 100M$ machine-gunning people and then tell me I can’t sell it!
Hawks and Hughes had their own money invested in the film, so they tried to work agreeably with the censors: but then the censors censored it anyway, despite the expensive changes!

So: H&H release their original version into those states that didn’t have censorship, and fuck the states that did!

I was born here, 6 years after Scarface came out. Eventually I didn’t want Kramer telling the government to fix everything.
Now I mostly don’t want some Hollywood judge telling us who does and doesn’t belong here. or Trump: how is the US more Trump’s that the wetback’s?

I don’t see the Mayflower pilgrim belonging here any more than Crazy Horse, or the Chicago judge, or Mayor Daly.

Complex, but you see All these points.

1932 Zoot Suit
Last week I so liked Inherit the Wind that I zipped through a series of associations all of which triggered my renting Scarface, 1932. Paul Muni you see that played Wind on the stage. I’m fairly disappointed in Scarface, but definitely like several things: 1) Muni’s “Tony” goes for his boss’s blond. He’s making money, he redecorates: in taste that in the coming war years would climax in the zoot suit. The blond comments on the vulgarity of his taste. “I thought you’d like it!” Total moron.
2) Boris Karloff! I recognize him instandly, but then he spoke: and by golly of course he’s got a Brit accent! Of course he does, he’s English.
3) It’s got Howard Hawks fingerprints all over it: deadpan crime, it’s still comedy: Hawks’ comedy.

Repeat #2 & #3. Seeing Karloff is worth the ticket. Fabulous.
And 3: the illiterate “secretary” trying to hear over the phone as the bullets fly: just like in screwball comedy: Hawks at his best.
4) But wait: I didn’t recognize George Raft at first, but Holy Mackerel did I once he was flipping his coin. Fabulous.

Prohibition Reminder
2019 09 09 wikipedia has a good review of prohibition of alcohol movements around the world. The US ammendmanet of the subject went into effect in 1920. Prohibition was repealed in 1933. Scarface came out in 1932. Complex causality, I don’t doubt. But it would be easy to see a “cause”. Scarface takes a major left wing stand: Prohibition is repealed. Simple, 1,2,3: Presto, Changeo.

My Position
Let me repeat my position: you’re not likely to guess it accurately.
I’m not sure what I believe when it comes to human interference in human behavior. For the most part, I’m against it. That is, I’m for “freedom”. I want a free marketplace. No, that’s not right: I don’t want a marketplace, markekts are too organized: already too interferred with. I don’t want it to be illegal to buy a gun: I want it to be economically infeasible to manufacture guns. Industry, not guns is the problem.
I don’t want the Brits to be able to sell opium to the Chinese. I don’t want it to be illegal, I don’t believe in human laws. You write anything you want; we’ll do anything we want!
If drinking is bad (and it seems to be): good, then let drinkers all die, all kill each other, all have families that starve amid wrecked cars.

Where did the US get off making alcohol illegal?
Having done something really stupid now where do we get off blaming Al Capone? Or making a hero of Elliott Ness?
Heroin will kill you?: Good: let it kill you. Don’t anyone interfere.
If a doctor on his own time with his own money wants to save an OD junkie, find let him: it has Nothing! to do with law, or medical policy. The policy is simple: let them kill themselves?
Innocent people get killed too? Innocent people always get killed, it’s no one’s business, let the die. Don’t interfere. Let’s really try laissez-faire. If if that pushes us opff the cliff, good, why should we stay on the cliff? if we’re too stupid to live?

Streaming Oddments
2016 09 08 Just when I think I don’t need more rubbish on my screen, that I’ll cancel my streaming contract with NetFlix, something enters the stream that has me celebrating how good it can be. We’re all spoiled rotten, maybe, but quality can seep other genres at you that you normally might have been blind to. I’m a cook, among so many other thing. I’ve been a cook since childhood, a very good cook, much praised through out my life. I’ve gotten a kick out of this and that cooking show: I reprsented an artist in Fort Lauderdale whose cable connection showed cooking shows 24/7. Joe was a cook, a very good cook. Shot his own birds for the pasta sauce with a slingshot, dairy farm in Michigan. I got a kick out of the guy who drank while he cooked before the camera, made glug-glug drunk jokes. So when I found myself enjoying Chef’s Table the other week I wasn’t surprised. What surprised me was to be almost worshipping it: five of the six chefs I’d never heard of before had me ready to nominate them as cultural peers to Escofier: great men, never mind the food, the invention, the escape-artist talents.
OK, even so. Last night Holy Hell astonished me at how worth while, and how improbable, the interest was. Another guru, another cult, another bunch of idiots not numerous to be called a church or to have the media genuflecting to them, so what?
At first I thought this guy really was brilliant, he knew a lot of cosmology, a lot of theology, a lot of myth. No, no, no: all he had to know was how strong his slaves’ need was to be slaves, to worship … to Believe!
And the guy’s so improbable: a porn star who keeps up his ballet? A guy who has his crotch in the girls’ face, but fucks only the guys? All the guys?!
Chefs: I adore the guy with his open pit cooking, wilderness, lake-side in South America. That guy is deep. But so’s the guy I met earlier yesterday, Magnus, in Sweden.
And now I’m about to sample an Icelandic movie: I recognize the protagonist’s sweater from the Reykjavík airport.

Freshman year our dorm provided two rooms for three guys. The other Paul left mid winter and Colombian Nick, Nick the Spic, moved in. Nick was very private, not social. He moved to a single the minute he could. Once he was alone he didn’t come chasing after us; but we, I at least, chased after him: till he disappeared at last, back to Bogota? and I’ve worried about him ever since. He said he’d commit suicide at 30. Lots of people say that, then the change it to 40. No, I think Nick meant it. Anyway Nick because important to me in a way I wouldn’t have guessed. One evening, sophomore year or so, Nick announced that he’d gone to the Thalia, by himself of course, to see The Seven Samurai. Very good, Nick pronounced: and I went to see it for myself! And how many Kurosawa masterpieces have I seen since then? How many other Japanese masters? How many other films starring Toshiro Mifune?
Actually I’d already know Roshomon: without learning all the names and personalities, without it registering that a new and wonderful habit had opened to me.

Anyway, Nick recommended it. I took the recommendation. And I’ve been seeking great Fellini, great Bergman, great Kurosawa, great Mizoguchi ever since. There the “great” movies were all of a kind: human dramas. One can stream for dramas, but the dramas that stream prove mostly to be rubbish. I bailed out of Mission Impossible III within five minutes.
(Phone just rang: Oh, my darling is calling from Nova Scotia, again, I just love her so. But no, a robot says its calling about my vehicle’s warrenty! What? my 1995 Dodge Neon? the one with 300.000 miles on it? the one not registered or insured since the state deprived me of my license?)
took my breathe, broke my concentration, but I’ll be back: I want to say something about that porn star group hypnotist guru, the ballet body building, the faggot god impersonator:
Oh yes, he told his flock that there have been many Jesuses, that All of them get tortured to death, that society hates instruction. Yes, yes, yes. Guy’s a fraud? maybe in every other way, but he’s right on on that point, on those points.

Dance Romance
2016 08 27 Willowy blond goes off to Manhattan School of Music. She reminded me of Maria Sharapova as a teen. She was a little too Grace Kellyish for my taste, but she grew on me. She passes a guy, way too pretty, busking a violin on the subway. He reminded me of Pierre Clementi: with the difference that I like Pierre Clementi and did not like this guy. But the girl did. And it didn’t really matter, there’s hardly any story: they in the arts, they’re young, they’re attractive, and they all burst into dance at the slightest excuse.
Years ago I never ever would have seen a movie like this: I don’t know how many they made, my theater habits steered me clear of them. Oh, and the girl had a better wardrobe, mostly dance kits, than England’s late princess or current duchess. Something to be said.
Oh, and they did a pretty graceful tango. Mmm.

Faery Revisiontales
Watching Once Upon a Time, loving it. Last night Jennifer Morrison knocked my socks off: pretty girl, yawn, but all-time bod! So immediately I order more. Once Upon launches as Snow White, She’s dead, in her glass coffin, carried by dwarfs, Prince Charming shows up, kisses her, she springs to life: and they’re at the altar, getting married. It’s Faeryland High Church, has to be the Arch Bishop performing the ritual. Oh, now I know, it’s the same Hollywood Gothic church they used in Game of Thrones, just like St. Peter’s Basilica, only grander. And the Arch Bishop? Why he’s black African! And I’m sure he’s the best friend of a dozen WASPs. Ah, now I see they have other blacks salted here and there, black knights too. Back to my movie, you see it too. Jennifer Morrison looks great. It’s marvelous, I love it.

2016 08 23 Except for one thing: Revisionism steps too far. Once Upon a Timie opens with Prince Charming opening Snow White’s glass coffin and kissing her. She comes back to life, cut to their wedding. Later on it’s Prince Charming who’s in trouble, drowning in the river. Show White gives him mough-to-mouth: it’s she who revives him! saves him! OK, maybe; except: it’s the children and the girls who do all the saving in this rubbish. The hero has no role except the old female role: to be utterly helpless, worthless, a seed bearer, that’s all, a laughing stock. Oh well, we shouldn’t ever have believed anything in the movies anyway.
But I do like the casting, especially the female casting. The camera always finds a way to be an inch from Jennifer’s crotch, from her bottom, from Snow White’s hips, belly, bottom, crotch. These girls are cast by how much time they spend on the stair-master. Well done.

Kubrick Ball Ammo
2016 08 16 It didn’t take me long to bail out of Kubrick ‘s Full Metal Jacket. What a shame. Shame on all of us. I once worshipped Kubrick, saw Paths of Glory at the Thalia in the late ’50s, very early ’60s. Sought more. No longer, now I’ll run and hide, warning others, cover your children’s eyes and ears. and minds.
Actually, churches trying to separate Christians from Christians could use this film’s opening scene with the foul-mouthed foul-minded DI to separate sheet from goats as reliably as the Jews’ blood on the doors in olde Egypt.

Fonda Stars
2016 08 16 I finally saw On Golden Pond. What rubbish. Did I know in 1981 why I was avoiding it? I know I was awfully busy in 1981, enjoying sobriety, addicted to golf: clearing my head to be about to be addicted to fiction writing: a decade of poverty, novels, and stories: new women too. One thing though, you don’t have to know me to guess: and be right: anything with Henry Fonda, Katherine Hepburn, and Jane Fonda. We’re kind ‘a fond ‘a all three of those aren’t we, it doesn’t matter if it’s rubbish.

Do you remember 1981? Were you too smitten by Jane? all her life? I’ll say this for all of them: as gorgeous as Jane is and has always been (and will always be), one can’t take one’s eyes off of Kate either!!! or Henry! What’s he doing? What’s so magnetic?

I’ll tell you though, the movie is enough to put any fisherman off all of them: what ineptitude. The big rainbow trout deserved better than that? And what was the stinking dead loon about?

Now there’s something: it’s a very regional movie: loons are common only in the NE. Very precious where they are. I’ll never forget my first in-person loon calls, sightings: on a lake just south of Baxter State Park, Mt. Katahdin, Maine. Oh, and I caught pickrel! Never before, never since. I think it was actually called “Loon Lake”! I rented a canoe & a cabin with a bunk: I brought my own Yamaha YL1! trail bike! wanted to climb Mt Katahdin on knobby tires. Part-way did, glad I tried no further, suicidal. I would come to know Maine and Maine mountains, Maine north woods: thick, darm, impenetrable: a city boy’s fantasy, not a smart ambition. bk had just been born, I’d moved us to Waterville, Hil and bk were still in NY, I was getting the house ready, getting my head into skiing, sailing, fishing, trail-biking around Maine.

PS I was mentioning elsewhere last night that Jane Fond’a was reminding me facially of my dear beautiful friend Carole, Jan’s dear beautiful friend too. This morning those memories, those associations are vivid: Carole’s distinctive jaw, her cheek … those teeth! Henry was 80 in the movie, Carole turned 80 last year. Boy, can 80 be beautiful.

Dumb Comedy
2016 08 04 Even a really dumb movie can have a really funny line. I love Jim Carey, but haven’t seen everything. So last night I watch The Cable Guy for the first time. The cable guy and his victim go to a restaurant with a medieval theme. They wind up jousting: broad-swards, maces, lances … on horseback … Schmuck asks dubiously, “Is it safe?” “Sure”, says his demon: “that’s what the armor is for”!

2016 08 15 The movie Theeb deserves a couple of brief mentions from yours truly: actually it’s already gotten one. Here’s another:

You can’t stop a spear with your hand.

Illusion Clinic
2016 07 31 I remember my socks getting knocked off back in the late 1950s, early 1960s by facial gymnastics by Orson Wells, a moment in Citizen Kane. Jeez, that guy can act. That got reinforced by a moment from Peter Lorre: again, facial gymnastics. Since then my collection has grown: Robert Deniro, showing off solo. Typically I’m very impressed. And I adore the counter story/example of Humphrey Bogart losing patience with John Houston: Houston was coaching Bogart in African Queen toward some nuance, Bogart wasn’t getting it, and Bogart interrupted the session saying, “Look, I’ve got three expressions, now which one do you want?”
But today I come to this post not to praise an actor but to puke: Last evening I was watching Primal Fear. Nearly every member of the cast was rubbing me the wrong way: Richard Gere: how come we’re not all dead from OD? Laura Linney: please make those sweet faces somewhere else: Francis McDormand: we’re supposed to believe she’s a shrink? we’re supposed to believe she’s an expert? thinking!? When the camera focuses on Edward Norton: his first film role. 1996. (Can it really be that all the distinctive times we’ve seen him have occurred since 1996?) I watch him show off a series of expressions but instead of going wow like with Orson Wells or Peter Lorre, I’m just fed up, sickened.
Well, now I realize, the last time I saw him, Birdman, I was a little bit fed up there too.
I’m reminded of the movie, Rounders, with Edward Norton and Mat Damon where they play a couple of poker cheats: “Look’a my chops”, Norton says as he displays a series of leger-de-mains: second-card dealing, bottom card dealing … an awesome technical display, virtuoso but annoying as hell.

OK, now I’ve finished it. Good movie, in streaks. And now I see that it relates to The Usual Suspects: the evil master mind is among them all along, jerking the law, the courts, the press around like puppets. Except why if he’s so smart, so disciplined did he make that absurdly simple mistake, to sympathize with the prosecutor’s neck? Caesar turned fifty and got careless; but it as suicide: he was tired of winning, tired of being the smartest player in the game. So he slipped, right in front of everybody.

I particularly liked the depiction of Alfre Woodard’s court as a place where arbitrary power abuses sensible epistemology at every turn, protecting the porn-producing bishop, the manipulating state prosecutor. The lawyer gets at embarrassing truths, threaten him, fine him. Right in our face these judges display their corrupt contempts for any possibility of a convivial society.

Primal Alfre
2016 08 04 The days are slipping by, as they do, even when time drags and there’s absolutely nothing you can do to help your society that the society can’t interrupt and subvert, reversing interpretation of everything you or Tolstoy or Socrates said, and I’m still dwelling on Alfre Woodard’s judge in Primal Fear. She’s amazing. She’s cast to misrepresent American justice, American history, American society. She’s striking looking, the audience’s eyes, pair by pair, will zero in her protruberant eyes, flinching from while attracted to the revisionist Hollywood version of the white alpha male. She’s a judge: so supposedly her job is to make sure the court, the lawyers, the procedings are following “the law”, the law that changes every other year if not every other hour. Actually her job is of course to interrupt, threaten, intimidate the lawyers in the improbable circumstance that the society’s real powers are som much as momentarily threatened. The state prosecuters are bulldozing the court to haha prove that Edward Norton heinously murdered the Boston bishop. Richard Gere’s questions for this and that witness start to turn over some stinking turds: the bishop was a faggot, a pornographer, and abuser of youth, an dabuser of power … Furthermore, there’s money invovled, millions, tens of millions, corruption of every kind, at every level …
But good old Alfre is right on the case, stopping Gere in his tracks, fining him, threatening disbarment.
All this is especially wonderful since Gere’s characters has been introduced as a greedy unprincipled money shart if there ever was one. He’s wormed his way into Norton’s affairs as “pro bono”: for free! Now he’s getting fined $10,000 for stirring the society’s sewers. And everyone is acting as though he’s getting paid like Johnny Cochran! Not in this plot.

2016 08 05 I’ve stumbled on Alfre Woodard another couple of times over the last few days: y’a know what? She reminds me of Wesley Snipes! hard edge facial presence, solid block flesh. We all know how the body builders get big biceps; how do chisel faces become chiseled? I can see Peter Lorre actually working his face out in front of the mirror, ditto Orson Wells. Why not Alfre? & Wesley?

Difret Ethiopia
2016 07 25 I looked forward to this movie: different faces, different culture … see what Angela Jolie has been up to. But I bailed within minutes. I may go back, maybe I won’t: regardless I want to say what sent me scurrying. Weepy woman, filled with trepidation, goes to some bureaucracy: slick desks, tailored woman, somebody from the UN, a lawyer maybe. The woman says her husband beats her all the time, the neighbors tell her to go home, her husband is a good man. The lawyer tells her to go home, the woman shrinks shrieks, the lawyer tells her not to worry. “We have laws in this country.”
What country doesn’t have laws? Didn’t the Reich have laws? Didn’t US lynch states have laws. Is a battered women whom the law has not protected really to trust the law now? this time around.
This victim is going to get clobbered. I only wish that the lawyer got half the blows.
How stupid is this woman to think that her tailored suit makes her different from yesterday’s woman, yesterday’s tyrant, yesterday’s fool?

Hollywood Scale
2016 07 15 Paused about fifteen seconds into Game of Thones, Episode … oh, 3 maybe. Sean Bean meets with some guy in a hall as grand as St Peters Basilica. Two guys. A thousand men labored for centures, bankrupted kingdom after kingdom, theocracy after theocracy to build it.

thanx renaissancearchitecture

The great pyramids were huge, but the rooms they served were tiny, barely big enough to hold one corpse and that corpses retinue: a boy, a girl, a servant, a horse, some grain.
Think of the Parthenon.

thanx visit-ancient-greece

Consider at the “steps” leading up and into the temple. They look like steps, don’t they? If a normal size person stands on the ground before the first step she’ll discover that the step is taller than her ribcage! Look at the ground in this pic: it does not look like it could be entered easily or comfortably. But look at the steps from a distance and logic tricks one into thinking steps mean it’s human scale! No, it isn’t. And this sword and sorcerers movie is architecturally misleading: the economy of the United States could barely pay for Basilica-scale grandeur.

Previously at K. I’ve mocked Hollywood architecture: in Cleopatra, for example. Well, now I’ll watch the second set of a dozen seconds in this flick.

Belle Gugu Raw
2016 07 09 There are actresses (actors) so beautiful that it’s enough just to see them. So are so replete with character that ditto. The beauty of some is enhanced by the character of the drama, by the appropriateness of the dictions. Bogart tells the punk with the guns in the pockets of his big coat that he’s taken guns away from punks before: just beautiful: Bogart, Elisha Cook, the fat man, chuckling, a Hammett mood, a Hammet morality, just fabulous. Or Brigitte, or Lillian Gish … Good staging, good make up, lighting, beautiful.
I’m watching Belle. Gugu Mbatha-Raw is riveting, can’t take my eyes off her: or my ears. What a blend of British, English, Zula: shape, accent, names. So how come I’m still pausing the flick every ten minutes? why is it taking me days to get half through it? Is it the story? I don’t even know what the story is! It’s so boring, so pretentious; but she’s so gorgeous: and so are several of the other actors.

thanx zimbio

I’m guessing what I don’t like about it: I’m fed up with scripts calculated to include the audience in some superior position: They were hypocrites and slavers and whore-masters in the 18th Century; I, we, are not. Gag. But she’s so gorgeous!

OK, I persisted, weathered it: finished it, saw it to the end: and was moved, blubbered, wept, it was so sentimental, so successful: all right decisions are made: good triumphs. So. Everything became perfect in the 18th C. English law reformed, the boy got the girl, the girl got the boy, the old lion was true to his principles after all.
The lawyer says the law is the law, he also says it’s right! I was in a funeral parlor a few months back, presented my case to the director very bluntly that I had no money, wasn’t going to have any, and I had no respect whatsoever for my or anybody else’s corpse: burn it, bury it or just hold your nose. The law didn’t give a fig for my principles, they pretend to respect them, actually everything I want is illegal: therefore the state is not obliged to keep its promise. Henry Ford said you can have any color you want so long as it’s black; the US says your will will be respected so long as your will rubber stamps the norm. The director dismissed all my points with an angry and emphatic, “It’s wrong!”
Should I back up and rewatch? No. I get it without watching more than a bit of it.

Sufi Ecstasy
2016 06 21 Even as a kid I had favorite movie music: Charlie Chaplin! Modern Times!
When I turned twenty, when I read Chaplin’s autobiography, when I read other biographies, that attribution became embarrassing: (Chaplin was a genius, a great artist, but he was not a musician: couldn’t read music, played by ear, had no way of writing it down: he’s whistle what had come to him in his garden to Alfred Newman and would be irate when Alfred Newman was unable to play it back to him perfectly via full orchestra the next day!)
How can one explain to an illiterate how much of other people’s time they’re wasting if they persist in not learning their end of communication? Chaplin should have listened to Newman explain what a key was for five minutes before he expected anything else of him.
As a teen my film music favorite was clear: Nino Rota! Not that I knew his name: I knew La Strada! !!! Then I also came to know Nights of Cabiria! I Vitelloni! Things complicated further in college when it seemed clear that Eisenstein had collaborated with the perfect cinema composer, Sergei Prokofiev! Alexander Nevski!
Meantime things became impossibly complicated as Miles started doing film tracks: Elevator to the Gallows. I’ve said a million times that jazz was my music: and Miles is still my god. Not that Bach has ever budged, or Wagner.
Meantime there were spells where I listened to Ravi Shankar (or Abdul Allauddin Khan) almost as many hours a day as I’d earlier listened to Benny Goodman’s Sing Sing Sing, or Dave Brubeck’s Jazz Goes to College, or Miles’ Kind of Blue.
(Once around 1965 I’d listened to the same Ravi Shankar evening raga for about six straight hours. At the end of the vinyl my wife saw me get up and restart the same vinyl: she made a squawk and fled!)
Now: here’s the divide: only the tiniest amount of Muslim music got binged on in any of those periods. Oud music, Umm Kulthum. I’d binge on Umm Kulthum, but not for half the day and all the night.

Umm Kulthum
thanx wikimedia

Except for her and a little bit of Sudan oud I didn’t know any Muslim music at all. Till now. Till now!
Suddenly it’s coming in a rush. Half a year ago I started to watch The Reluctant Fundamentalist. I knew Mira Nair, very good. That film opens with a couple of guys chanting in Lahore, Pakistan. Intercuts with night on the street, as credits advertise the stars and the techs. The chanting climaxed, faded, the movie became a movie: and I stopped it, restarted it. Stopped and restarted again.
Last night I replayed that music, twice: as I paused the movie I was already saturated with: Sufi Soul: whirling dervishes, from Morocco to Lahore. Finally, the sun peeks around my culture’s, our culture’s eclipse.

Musicians’ Union
Organized labor: that’s almost as repellant an idea as organized wealth: where the wealth is traditionally organized against labor! disgusting world we live in, disgusting politics, disgusting relition: almost as disgusting as the top down imposed revolutionary reforms: all the words wrong, all the ideas disgusting. Above I referred to the musicians union: as a teen I loved jazz, in college my friends were jazz musicians, aware of the local union and its obscene power. My favorite musicians only occasionally commanded scale, my friends, never. Yet they played, regularly: by ignoring the union! playing under pseudonyms: Charlie Parker in Canada was Charlie Chan.
It still happens: where I dance these days, for example: the venue will hire Joe, and pay Joe, but Joe will invite Sam, Bill and Louise to come and jam: off the books.
Anyway, I insert a related story:
In the late ’70s I stopped drinking. Sober, doing what I wanted became more important to me than making a living. My wife had kidnapped our kid, the state backed the kidnapping: fuck ’em, I knew how to beat them: don’t have any money, then you can’t be sued for any money. Don’t earn it in the first place: write, playing music, take up golf …
Hilary and I in the mid 1960s had taken up the recorder: straight wooden flutes, she a soprano recorder, me a tenor recorder. Twenty years later I began practicing more, wanted more range: thought, a flute would be easy to carry around, only a little bigger, heavier, than the recorder. I kept a recorder in the car, I wanted a flute at home. Trading art, I made a deal for one. Then bought a Real fake book from the same guy. Oh, goodie: now I had sheet music for In a Silent Way: man oh man. The lowest note was B. The recorder was in C (the tenor in F). Man I wanted to play that B. I didn’t not want to transcribe in my head, I didn’t know enough. I was told I could get a B foot for the flute! Never mind, I meant the story to be about buying the Real Book: hundreds of classics: $25. The guy selling me saw I had misgivings. He correctly guessed that I wasn’t comfortable with the clear absense of royalties paid. He said to me, “If it makes you feel any better: any of those guys whose songs are fipped off here, any of those guys not getting a royalty for their work, not one of them doesn’t have this fake book. Not one of them doesn’t rip off his friends.”

Yes. Pay me for what’s been stolen from me, and I’ll happily pay any royalty. Of course before you pay me, pay Jesus: and pay Sutter: and pay the Cherokee.
How about just paying Bach!? I’ve listened to the St Matthew Passion a thousand times: what royalties has Bach been paid for it?

How about by the churches?
Or, hey, what royalties were paid on the gospels?

Musicians Local Screen Credits
2016 06 05 Jan and I have recently watched a couple of Martin Scorsese movies: Young Victoria and The Age of Innocence. Both films show off how responsibly Hollywood can handle “history”: as well as this and that actor, this and that cultural tidbit. The Victoria film takes us to the London opera very much as the princess would have seen it in the 1830s. Then we have Strauss waltzes from the same period. I trust the historicity of his city maps, his stage architecture, his hansom cabs. I looked forward to the end of the movie so I could identify the musical literature invoked. With Victoria I went back to the credits a couple of times, ditto Innocence. Sure enough: Faust, Gounaud; Beethoven piano sonata … Wonderful stuff, espectiall for Princess Vicky. But that wasn’t all: Scorsese knew exactly what city planning to show us for Golden Age Manhattan, for summer homes up on the Hudson … and what paintings would have stood out in which museums of the time, and which styles of painting were coming to the fore: we see Manet happening and that Tintoretto happened.
Here’s the thing: Beethoven isn’t going to get slighted in the credits. Neither will Michelle Pfeffer, nor Danial Day Lewis; but Manet, Monet will!
When I was a kid the musicians’ union was so good that my favorite musicians couldn’t afford to play union regulated gigs. And now Vivaldi, and JS Bach all have lawyers sticking up for them and their property rights that they the musicians never met; but Goya, Michelangelo don’t get a break. The movie credits Strauss but steals the hit melodrama Jeez, as a kid I knew the name of the union guy who built iron contracts for the musicians; how come Picasso and Matisse had nothing comparable?
Regardless: bravo, Martin Scor: that’s some work.

2016 06 26 I just saw a movie that belongs in the same conversation: My Kid Could Paint That: Marla Olmstead, impressive and successful child artist: four, five, six years old, selling at $25,000 … Anyway, good documentary: and it strung art credits as well as music credits, the music credits dear to my heart as they featured Nino Rota, Fellini … Great stuff. The art shown at auction was pretty impressive too: Rothko, Guston … Marvelous. I’ll add a separate piece on the Marla movie.

Whahoo, Reggie
A repeating line from a movie, late 1940s probably, just popped into my head:
boy and girl marooned on Robinson Cruso island. his name is Reggie.
the girl calls to him, “Whahoo, Reggie, Whahoo.”
Anybody else remember this story?

Cry, the Star Memories
2016 05 30 Just watching Cry, the Beloved Country, James Earl Jones
He’s had some career, hasn’t he. But I remember him from way back. I remember him from Shakespeare in the Park, Coriolanus: good excuse for me to crib on one of the plays in the Shakespeare canon I know lest well. Jones played one of the senators: or was supposed to: he didn’t know his lines! And I suspect further that he was drunk.
Maybe I had it in for him anyway, for a reason in no way his fault: he’d gotten a lot of publicity a year or two before playing Otello. The press had bowed down: a big black, occupied space on the stage: therefore he was Othello material. No, no: the press was remembering Paul Robeson. Now there was a real actor with a real voice: or so I thought in the 1960s. Now I’m less sure. Maybe that was reverse-racist propaganda too. I’ve re-seen some Robeson movies since then: and they’re OK, merely OK: it’s not Olivier, or Gielgud, or Sir Tony.
I continued to have a thing for Paul Robeson through the later ’60s when I played a recording of a Robeson Othello for my English class at Colby. My students seemed unimpressed: all that Commie / antiCommie propaganda centering around Robeson had missed that college generation completely: they didn’t know that voice was supposed to be anybody.

Queens in New York
2016 05 26 Last night Jan and I watched Young Victoria. We love period films, costume films. Jan especially loves them when rich, privileged people are depicted: the more so if they’re famous: like Queen Victoria. I as a child didn’t take my school seriously: I went along with the Jeffersonian ideals. I thought of America as having been right in opposing a king’s taxes. we won the war, the Brits left us alone: Therefore: democracy defeated monarchy. Therefore: I gagged when King John, and Henry VIII and King George the Nth were shoved up my nose. I got upset when American groveled before royalty.
But: 77 years old, wrongly fired, wrongly jailed, misunderstood, not published, not credited, interrupted, my kid kidnapped by the law as well as the villains I keep my trap shut if Jan will enjoy the movie more with me silent than with me grousing.
Besides, the film was by Scorsese: featured Handel, Bellini, Shubert, Strauss. Last night I kept my peace, my silence. Ah but this morning I told Jan an example of my resistance to my fellow American’s groveling before privilege: back when, the 1960s maybe, Queen Elizabeth planned a visit to NYC. Bloomingdales was on her list of places to visit: on 59th Street and Lexington Avenue. Lexington Avenue ran downtown only. Something about the queen’s limousine necessitated passengers discharged from the starboard side of the car. There Queen Liz would have to get out on the traffic side of the limo, not on the safe sidewalk side (sharing the walk with a subway entrance. Drove me nuts: the paper reported that Lexington Avenue traffic flow would be reversed for that day. Eight million New Yorkers will have to put up with a foreign invasion!
Imagine Hitler visiting NY after WWII : after WWII. Imagine that instead of dragging him in chains we rebuild NY for his convenience, imagine we cross ourselves backwards, or genuflect in Teutonic.
Well, hell, never mind: I enjoyed the hell out of Victoria’s constitutional monarchy. I liked her Prince Albert. And I loved seeing Sir Robert Peel, my great great grandmother’s guardian: raised in Scotland, sailed to America, dance in the White House with Abe Lincoln: or so my mother said..

Sugar a Toxin
2016 05 23 Just watching Sugar Coated. I’m reminded of reading a report in the NYT implicating sugar in a laundry list of diseases: alcoholism, tooth caries, diabetes … In the early 1970s, ’71, maybe ’72, the United Methodist Women sent me down to Cuernavaca to see Illich and hook up with Denis Detzel, founder of the Evanston Learning Exchange. Denis was known to be interested in forming a learning exchange before I heard of Ivan Illich, but I founded FLEX in 1970, first offer of an internet in the world. Anyway, while there I sat in on Illich seminars. In one of them Illich was attacking the hacienda system of sugar production. People’s jaws were dropping, Ivan was implicating sugar and how it’s produced with economic, political, social, and cultural evil. Good, true, no doubt. So I raised my hand and referred to the NYT study: sugar is toxic. Sugar is evil in everyway; not just in political ways.
I drew a complete blank: including from Illich!!!
Forty-odd years later, nearly a half a century, even the medical profession has now heard the charges.
People think that ideas get thought, then they spread, we learn. No, no: ideas get thought, then spread a little, then they’re repressed, the thinkers, the journalists are punished … then, if we’re still alive, some individuals, some members of relevant institutions learn: a little, and late.

Tramp Chaplin
2016 05 22 I despise my culture now but as a child I was my culture. Like everyone this toddler adored Charlie Chaplin. Friends of the family had several Chaplin reels: and a screen, and projector: I saw Chaplin again, and again: with far more impact than church (though I loved and revered church too!) Last evening Jan and I watched the Robert Downey, Jr. movie, Chaplin. Bravo. The original has no been well-imitated: to a naturally worshipful world.
Not everyday do we have a star – who’s a genius – who’s loved – who’s sabotaged – who’s martyred.
I’ve been martyred too, I know all about it.
The US didn’t play fair, it never has, it still doesn’t. Then we turn around and give him a reward!? No, the question is should he give us an award?
Who owns Jesus’ right to love and forgive us? Us? or Jesus? When Jesus shows up, we’ll find out for sure.
1964 Chaplin’s autobiography came out. I read it religiously (though it’s gotten rusty in my head in the half-century since then. But: the film reminds me of much much much of it, bless it.
Chaplin liked pretty girls. So do I. Don’t we all? Chaplin married a few of them: that’s not me. Chaplin slept with more than three of them. More than two ballooned up. One of these girls sued him, in barbarous California. Chaplin insisted on a blood test, got one. The test proved he could not be the father. But California law did not admit science in the courts. The world was left with an unwed mother, a tortured womanizer with a fortune, and a little girl with no income: so: California’s jury told Chaplin to sponsor the girl who’d been used to oirture him!
Now: what right does the US have trust any California law? What right does the US have trust anything?
Having voted against science mankind has no right to vote for it.
The truth is, it doesn’t matter what we say, or write, or do, so long as we’re kleptocrats, murderers, land grabbers, genocides.
Related, in a way, I guess: The Girl King
Interesting movie on Sweden’s Queen Kristina: a society caught in its hypocrisies. Good treatment of complex sexual behavior in the public eye: the queen chooses her friend, the pretty countess, to be her official bedwarmer.

Winona Ryder
2016 05 17 I just started to stream How to Make an American Quilt. A girl appears, I’m stunned. By golly, it’s Winona Ryder! How can a human being be so pretty, cute, stunning, beautiful, interesting-looking? She’s arresting to the impossibleth degree. Maybe the movie will suck; but I can’t take my eyes off of her.

Quo Vadis Scribble Scrap
2016 04 11 Just watching Quo Vadis – for the first time since it came out, 1951. For a moment I wasn’t recognizing Robert Taylor or Deborah Kerr; but the moment Peter Ustinov stuck his cine-brilliant perverted dip-shit puss on camera, thoughts flooded me, this is one of the stupendous roles in film history: utterly vile, a delicious, supreme, sustained wet fart of an interpretation. The director told Ustinov that Nero played with himself in bed and that tipped the ball straight down the hill.
The Christians sing in the arena as the lions come, tears stream down my face, Christian rubbish will make me weep every time.
Oh, and I couldn’t possibly have remembered adequately, not from twelve, thirteen years of age, Deborah Kerr – her bosom, her expression perfect – was not the only pretty girl.

Rome Burns, Nero Fiddles
Someone tell me please why theatrical portrayals of stringed instrument performances are always so blah. Maybe Nero sucked at the harp, but surely others could play. How did they play? I don’t know: but take someone with talent, let them practice on a harp from childhood onward, and I promise you’ll hear something that will take your breath away.

My grad school prof once, 1962 or 63, performed on an Anglo Saxon harp that he’d modeled on something found in a Viking burial ship. Fabulous, very creative, melodic, percussive, rhythmically complex … Pros would have been proud.

2016 04 15 Last night I caught Jan up on The Inn of the Sixth Happiness. Saw a menu of complaints: the woman the story was based on was short, Ingrid Bergman was tall, the original had a Cockney, not a Swedish accent … Maybe, but I’d rather have my eye mushed against Ingrid any day: this is “Hollywood” after all. There were also complaints that the male leads were played by Kurt Jurgens and Robert Donat, not a couple of Chinese actors. In other words, it’s an entertainment, not a documentary. That’s OK, just rub my eye against Ingrid! (while my arm is around Jan.)
Further, Quo Vadis gives us more Deborah Kerr! another several great views of the Kerr bosom: nice, nice, nice.

Re Quo Vadis: gotta add:
The Quo Vadis title references the apocrypha Book of Peter: outside the orthodox RC canon. Peter, fleeing Rome and Roman persecution, see Jesus, resurrected but again carrying a cross:
“Quo vadis?” Peter asks: in Latin of course!
Jesus replies that he’s going to Rome to be crucified: again (since Peter in his flight is such a fink). Now dig it, that the apochrypha, not the Catholic Bible, that’s the part of the Bible the Catholics rejected. All that Nero business isn’t in the stripped down Bible either: no room for Deborah Kerr, or Robert Taylor.

Quo Vadis intruded other non-core bible business, familiar stuff very common: we are shown these early Christians teaching themselves that Christians must tolerate tyranny with patience! Why? That is a “Christian” convention, but it is not a biblical convention. Early Christians wrote it in, told it in, gave it strength of tradition.
I hate it. I see, or have come to see, Christianity as a rebel religion; not passive, not all-patient, not numb to tyranny.

Peter’s Latin
One other thing while I’m still sticking here: Peter wouldn’t have spoken Latin. And Peter certainly didn’t write in any language: Jesus’ fishermen would have been illiterate: not stupid, illiterate (like most people, ever). That’s what Bart Ehrman says, and I see him as surely right on that point.
a little scattered, but there’s o time for perfections around here anymore, no budget for it either. (and absolutely no just claim for it.)

Meantime, in Inn of the Sixth Happiness our heroine teams up with an old white woman, a missionary who keeps an inn: the inn advertizes no bugs, good food … stories! Ingrid lures mule teams, captures the mule drivers too, and learns her Chinese by telling Biblical stories while the men eat. Yang, the cook, takes over in one circumstance, Ingrid listens with horror as Yang puts Noah and his ark, and his animals, into the manger in Bethlehem story. Yang has the Magi as war lords and they come to worsip the infant Jesus. Noah is one of the war lords, but a nice and cuddly war lord. Ingrid is about the stomp on Yang when he adds that biblical men lived a long time, there was no proving that Noah was not there! Anyhow, I loved it: the more so because that is very much how biblical stories got woven in the first place: oral culture, not scientific history. People read the Bible and think it’s Toynbee, or The Rise and Fall: no it isn’t, it’s stories.

About pk

Seems to me that some modicum of honesty is requisite to intelligence. If we look in the mirror and see not kleptocrats but Christians, we’re still in the same old trouble.
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