Sunday, September 23, 2012

Review – Barbarella

Journey back to the wacky days of 1968, when the “sexual revolution” gave the movie industry free reign to revel in sexuality worthy of a adolescent boy who just discovered masturbation. Jane Fonda hops merrily through an endless string of absurd perils and skimpy outfits in a realm of psychedelic sets and flimsy plot twists. Watching this movie stoned would likely lead to either the best or worst trip of your life, though either way would still be better than watching it sober. See if desperate

Friday, September 21, 2012

Review – The Best Years of Our Lives

More than six decades later this tale of three vets home from the war is powerful stuff, so I can only imagine the impact it must have had back in 1946. Fredric March, Dana Andrews and Harold Russel play three guys having varying degrees of trouble readjusting to civilian life. March resumes his everyday job at a bank and suffers from what nowadays would be diagnosed as minor depression complicated by alcoholism. Andrews battles nightmares, swallows enough of his pride to go from Air Force officer to drug store counter help, and falls out of love with his wife and in love with March’s daughter. But Russel outshines them both as a former sailor learning to live without hands. Russel was an actual disabled vet facing the same challenges as his character, and his lack of slick Hollywood pedigree helped him bring an impressive honesty to the role. Despite a touch of the melodrama typical for the time, this still stands as one of the best movies ever made about the difficulties service members can face. Worth seeing

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Six shots or only five?

Several days later, the Clint Eastwood speech at the Republican National Convention is still bugging me.

At first the whole talking-to-an-empty chair thing was just bewildering. Apparently an imaginary Barack Obama heckled Eastwood throughout his rambling, incoherent speech, repeatedly telling him to shut up. That by itself would have been odd, as I can’t say as I’ve ever heard the President tell anyone to shut up. I suppose he’s done it, but it seems more like Bill O’Reilly’s thing.

Far more chilling was the spirit of Ralph Ellison invoked by the stunt. Black people have gone from not being seen when they are there to being seen when they aren’t. That’s a funny kind of progress.

Overall the experience just made me sad. I’ve enjoyed Eastwood’s work in the past, even admired some of it. But here he was clearly trotted out by the GOP with the cynical supposition that no matter what he said, his remarks would still serve as a rallying point for the party faithful. Mission accomplished. I posted a dig on Facebook about the difference between Eastwood’s notion of who owns America and what the Constitution says on the subject. It drew an “I liked his speech” from an acquaintance who sports hunter orange in his avatar photo.

The most telling moment: when even Eastwood wouldn’t stoop to uttering the line for which the crowd so deeply lusted: the Reagan-co-opted line from Sudden Impact. Robert Townsend’s Hollywood Shuffle raised the only question worth pondering about this legendary moment: why the hell would a handful of heavily-armed criminals just sit there gawking while Dirty Harry reached into his jacket to draw out his trusty hand cannon? “Do 50 bullets in your ass make your day?”

Do you feel lucky? Well do you, RNC?

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Review – Adult Entertainment: Disrobing an American Idol

Not that we really needed it, but here we have another hour and a half worth of proof that there isn’t anything productive to say about pornography. The folks who create it come across as sleazy, and the folks who hate it come across as puritanical fanatics. The producers try to add some gravitas by stirring in a test of porn’s effects on a couple of average mooks, but even by the looser standards of the behavioral sciences this experiment is packed with artifacts. The result doesn’t exactly qualify as interesting. Mildly amusing