Sunday, June 25, 2017

Get The Picture

I was watching a movie where the main guys got together and went over some blueprints to decide how they're going to break into a building.

What movie?  Does it matter?  We've seen this moment hundreds of time.

Which had me thinking--can you really get blueprints so easily?  There's never a scene where someone gets the blueprints, they just show up like they're no big deal*.

In fact, when it comes to buildings, I would guess they don't like to give out blueprints for the specific purpose of avoiding groups of people getting together and planning how to break in.

*One famous exception is Star Wars, where the whole plot was built around getting copies of blueprints to HQ, and it wasn't easy.  (And then a bunch of fanboys whined that it was too easy to figure out the Death Star's vulnerability.)

The Aristocrats

Isn't it Rodham?

Regardless, I tell ya, I could listen to it a million times and still find it just as satisfying.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Join The Club

Whatever happened to Glee? It used to be so big.  (I know, it got canceled.)

The show was mostly ridiculous, but some of the musical numbers were fun.  And with YouTube, you can cut straight to the good stuff.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Capital Idea

Fargo just ended its third season.  It had its problems, but it was still entertaining.

An important part of the plot was the villain, Varga, taking over a parking lot business as a front to borrow many millions of dollars, leaving it in ruins.

In an interview with the show's creator, Noah Hawley, The Hollywood Reporter asks about "the seasons' general dark tone about truth and unfettered Capitalism."

Here's a line from the A.V. Club's review of the finale: "I love [IRS agent] Larue Dollard's explanation to Gloria about how Varga's scheme was largely legal, apart from the fact that he didn't pay taxes."

Seems to me some people don't quite understand capitalism, unfettered or otherwise.

Capitalism does allow private parties to make contracts regarding what they do with their own property, and it's possible these contracts will advantage one party and disadvantage another.

However, this system doesn't work unless there is a neutral party to determine who is right when disputes arise. This is where a government, and its court system, enters the picture.

And within these systems, some contracts are no good from the start--those that were entered into due to fraud, intimidation and outright violence, for instance.  These are some of the methods Varga uses.  Maybe an IRS agent would be blind to this because he cares so much about the tax consequences, but Varga very openly broke numerous laws.

Some people love to compare capitalists and gangsters, but there is a difference, and it's not that hard to tell.

Venice's first female gondolier announces he's not female

Venice's first female gondolier announces he's transgender

The important thing here, obviously, is for this San Francisco newspaper to get its pronouns straight, so to speak. Don't people go to jail for that sort of thing in Britain?

Thursday, June 22, 2017


An documentary popped up out of nowhere on Showtime about Cary Grant.  This is really the sort of show you'd expect on TMC.  But any look at Cary Grant's life is appreciated.  I've always considered him the ultimate movie star, and someone who was in more than his share of Hollywood classics.

It's told mostly on chronological order, going over the familiar landmarks: his rough childhood in Bristol; coming to America as part of an acrobatic troupe; being on Broadway; getting into movies; early days as a somewhat stiff leading man; Virginia Cherrill; Sylvia Scarlet; finding out his mother is alive; The Awful Truth; Howard Hawks; Barbara Hutton; Alfred Hitchcock; Penny Serenade; None But The Lonely Heart; Betsy Drake and so on up till his final days.

But the show is different in that it attempts more than most to get into his inner life.  It has speculation from a number of film experts, but also includes excerpts from his unpublished autobiography.

Unfortunately, he wrote it around the time he was going through LSD therapy, and he keeps referencing its effects, and talks a lot about his feelings.  I'd rather hear (movie fan that I am) what it was like working with Hawks or Irene Dunne, or whatever was going on in his professional career through the years.

The doc also includes lots of rare footage, include film shot by Grant himself.  Unfortunately, there's also a lot of arty stuff, with images of seashores and the like which (even if shot by Cary--we don't know) don't tell you much.  And too much mood music, and well as lots of unidentified excerpts from his films that supposedly tell us something about his life.

If it doesn't nothing else but help introduce him to a new generation, it'll be a worthy effort.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

What's Up

I watched T. J. Miller's special Meticulously Ridiculous on HBO.  As stand-up--or perhaps you could call it performance art--it wasn't much.  He's got a lively persona, but not the material to back it up.

The only reason I'm writing about it is near the end he started telling a story (that wasn't true) about a neurologist named Dr. Stokol.  And I perked up.  I know this guy! I saw him a few years ago to check out something--don't worry, it was no big deal.

It did, however, seem odd that T. J. would tell a story that's at least partly made up. I assume he did have some neurological issue, and did see Dr. Stokol, but the specific encounter Miller describes is too bizarre to be real.

Did he get permission from Dr. Stokol?  It's not the sort of publicity a doctor would want, I'd think.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

No Kidding

I just reread William Goldman's classic The Season.  The book is his observations on Broadway during the 1967-68 season.  It's highly opinionated and still pertinent.  Plus it's enjoyable even if you haven't seen the original productions discussed, or don't even care that much about Broadway.

Certain things stick out today.  One thing that got to me was Goldman's attitude towards Hello, Dolly!, a 1964 blockbuster still playing when Goldman researched and wrote the book. This doesn't phase Goldman:

Just as our parents cannot explain the success of Abie's Irish Rose to us, I think we are going to struggle slightly to explain Dolly!'s success to our children.

Goldman is entitled to his opinion, and maybe he has a point.  Perhaps Dolly is more flash than substance.  But it's certainly held up, as evidenced by the four Tony Awards the Bette Midler revival just won.

Goldman's still around.  I wonder if he watched the Tonys, shaking his head. Or perhaps calling his kids to explain how the show isn't that great.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Adventures In CC

I recently saw A Canterbury Tale--a rarely shown Michael Powell film--on TCM.  It's an oddity.  Released in 1944, with a wartime theme, one of its leads is real US army sergeant John Sweet playing a US army sergeant.  His performance is engaging if amateurish. He'd never act again.

But because he speaks as people spoke then, and not today, it led to some confusion with whomever typed up the closed captions.

Two examples:

1) Sweet is walking up a hill with a British soldier. He complains about how much he hates tea.  The Brit says the Nazis and the Japanese are attacking tea-drinking nations, so America should join in.

Sweet complains it doesn't do much for the wind, but the British soldier counters since the war began, he can now walk up the hill with no problem.

But the typist didn't seem to be familiar with "wind" as one's breath, so turns it into a modern locution.  Sweet ends up saying tea doesn't do "much for the win." FTW, baby!

2)  Sweet hasn't heard from his girl back home. He finally gets some letters, and they're from Australia.

He's surprised, but figures she's joined the WACs.

That's not how the CC gets it, though.  Instead, we discover she's "joined the wax."

How could that get through?  Did the person translating just figure I don't understand it, but he said it, so I'll type it.

PS During another Michael Powell film, the better known Black Narcissus, set at a convent in India, one character refers to the fable of a prince and a beggar maid.  But it comes out "prince and a bear maid." Maybe on Game Of Thrones, but not here.

Later, a character asks how's the coffee at the convent, and a sister warns him it's full of grit.  Except the CC says it's "full of grits," which is not the same thing at all.

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