Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Violent movie children

There was a low budget movie about murderous feral children in the woods around a small town. It ends with the children's parents killing them all. It was a cartoonish horror movie and I was surprised the child actors were able to keep from smiling as they were killed in horrible ways.

But, at Cannes, a large audience was in a theater to see another Troma Team film. They showed the preview to the feral children movie and the entire audience walked out in disgust. The filmmakers had become so warped making their crappy horror movies that they had no idea they had gone too far.

During the making of the feral children movie, the filmmakers tried to shield the child actors from the violence and gore effects, but the kids loved that stuff and wanted to see it.

Didn't Henry Thomas from E.T. say that he went into acting because he wanted to be in Star Wars movies? I saw an early interview with poor Corey Haim who said his dream was to play Rambo's son who would help his Dad kill people.

I listened to the commentary on the DVD for Swoon, a New Gay Cinema film about Leopold and Loeb. The director tried to treat the kid playing murder victim Bobby Frank very gently, but the kid wanted them to be more violent and called for more fake blood while his mother stood back smoking a cigarette.

Anyway, I bring it up because Nolan Gould killing a man in a Civil War movie was deeply disturbing to any right-minded adult but was probably one of his happiest moments as an actor. For a brief instant, he was an action star.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Field of Lost Shoes

See how cute he is when he's killing a man.
I've posted a couple of things about Nolan Gould on here so I watched a 2014 Civil War movie in which he played a supporting role. Field of Lost Shoes is about a real incident where cadets from the Virginia Military Institute took part in a Civil War battle. It shows them killing U.S. troops---Nolan Gould stabs a man in the back with a bayonet---but we're supposed to feel bad that four cadets got killed. I say good riddance to them.

I haven't seen any of the other recent Civil War movies so I don't know how they compare. This one was reportedly low budget and it shows.

The cadets in this thing are upper-class pro-Confederate Southerners, but they're opposed to slavery and go around helping black people. It reminded me of those World War Two movies from the '60's and '70's where the Nazis all secretly hate Hitler and are only fighting out of devotion to the Fatherland. The most revolting example was The Eagle Has Landed. Michael Caine plays a Nazi who rescues a Jewish girl from other, less virtuous Nazis before going on a mission to kidnap Winston Churchill.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Heaven's Gate

David Letterman was doing a bit long ago. They had new state flags. The one for Wyoming was a map of the state with a little picture of every person who lived there.

More recently, there was an ambitious young woman who thought that becoming Miss America would be her key to success. She moved to Wyoming and it worked. The population was so small and there was so little competition that she became Miss Wyoming and was first runner-up in the Miss America pageant.

So why are there so many people in Heaven's Gate? Cheyenne looks like New York or Hong Kong, packed with people, hundreds of extras all in costume bustling around. 

The movie was a critical and commercial failure when it came out, but I've heard that people are reassessing it. It's about the Johnson County War in 1892. It's pretty slow. Starts with the a few of the middle aged stars playing college boys graduating from Harvard twenty years earlier. Includes a big scene of a large number of people waltzing in a large open area. It looked impressive, but where was the music coming from and how they could hear it out there? I don't think it would work now with modern amplification.

It's a long movie, 3 hours and 37 minutes. Critics hated it, but some of the attacks on it were for things that were historically accurate. Roger Ebert thought it was ridiculous that a guy who wrote a last note before being killed while trapped in a burning cabin signed it with his full name. But that happened. If you're about to be murdered and you write a note that might be used as evidence, you probably should sign your full name.

Right-wing talk show host Michael Medved and his less-successful half-brother Harry attacked the movie as anti-American because, when the cavalry arrives in the end, it's to save the villains. This, too, was historically accurate.

The movie cost a fortune, $40 million, equal to $140 million in todays dollars. It looked great, but Michael Cimino was no David Lean. It wasn't Lawrence of Arabia. It wasn't gripping. It was long and it seemed long.

The Lone Ranger cost $215 million and The Wild Wild West cost $170 million, so even adjusting for inflation it wasn't the most expensive western ever made.

Like The Lone Ranger, Europeans liked Heaven's Gate better than Americans. I've never understood why westerns are so popular outside the U.S. Stalin liked them and the Dalai Lama still says John Wayne is his favorite actor.

I kept trying to picture it as a Werner Herzog movie.

Now available on Fandor.

Jeffrey St.Clair's review of Hillary Clinton's What Happened

Read the whole thing here: 
Notice the lack of a question mark in the title. This is a telling punctuational elision. It signals that this text will not be an investigation into the dynamics behind the most perplexing election in American history.   Don’t skim these pages in search of a self-lacerating confession or an apologia. What Happened reads more like a drive-by shooting rampage. The book is a score-settling scattershot rant, enfilading anyone who stood in Clinton’s way, from Bernie Sanders to James Comey. Amid Hillary’s hitlist of villains, even toothless Joe Biden gets gut-shot. 
There are, naturally, two ways of interpreting the results of the 2016 elections pitting the two most unappetizing candidates in American history against each: either Trump found some way to defeat Hillary or, more probably, Hillary managed to lose to Trump. But Hillary’s psyche can’t swallow either scenario. So, she endeavors to create a mystery where there is none. The outcome was so inexplicable, she reasons, that there must be some hidden mechanism at work: Russian hacking, press bias, left betrayal, FBI sabotage. Clinton summons a lineup of the possible suspects: Bernie Sanders, Vladimir Putin, Julian Assange, Jill Stein, the New York Times, CNN, and Jim Comey. Alas, Hillary and her ghost-writer are not John LeCarré. She can’t spin a coherent and plausible cyber-spy yarn, in part because Clinton keeps getting sidetracked by a compulsion to wash her own hands of any culpability in blowing the election. 
Of course, Hillary Clinton has never been able to conceal her contempt for her enemies, real and imagined. It’s one reason she’s never been a successful politician. Where others are supple, she is taut. Unlike Bill, Hillary is a prolific, but graceless and transparent liar. She is also probably the nastiest political figure in America since Nixon. Yet she lacked Nixon’s Machiavellian genius for political manipulation.... 

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Martin Shkreli bail revoked

Imagine that guy as your cellmate.

Just for offering thousands of dollars for someone rip out a handful of Hillary Clinton's hair

Shkreli's bail has been revoked after he posted on Facebook a couple of times offering $5,000 per hair anyone could manage to get from Hillary Clinton.

When he repeated the offer, he wrote: “$5,000 but the hair has to include a follicle. Do not assault anyone for any reason ever (LOLIBERALS).”

According to the NY Times:
“Stupid doesn’t make you violent,” Mr. Brafman said, adding that his client’s Facebook posts had shown “immaturity, satire, a warped sense of humor.”
But Judge Matsumoto was unmoved.
“What is funny about that?” she responded. “He doesn’t know who his followers are.”
Mr. Shkreli, dressed in a lavender button-down shirt, was animated for much of the hearing, as he had been throughout his trial. But his behavior changed when Judge Matsumoto said that she had decided to jail him, and he sat quietly at the defense table for the rest of the hearing.

After the hearing, two deputy United States marshals led Mr. Shkreli to a holding cell adjoining the courtroom. He will be held at a federal jail in Brooklyn.

The Marx Brothers, all five.

From left to right, Gummo, Zeppo, Chico, Groucho and Harpo.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Poor wretch who looks like Martin Shkreli

My mother was watching a movie about Steve Prefontaine. She thought it might have been filmed at the University of Oregon because the track in one scene looked a lot like the one at UO.

"It either is or it isn't," I said. "If it doesn't look exactly like it in every way, it's not it."

And it's like this with people. There was a documentary about a bland-looking mass murderer on the run from police. They found a guy who looked just like him. Enough so that his neighbor thought it was him. But the FBI agent said no, his nose was slightly different, and fingerprints showed he was another guy who was long known to police.

And some poor wretch in New York is being threatened by strangers because he looks vaguely like Martin Shkreli.

I'd say he looks as much like Shkreli as James Coburn looked like Lee Marvin. As John Travolta looked like Lilly Tomlin. As Don Knotts looked like Jimmy Carter.

By the way, if you're ever out in public with someone and you see someone who looks like them, don't point it out to them. Don't say "There's someone who looks just like you!" I've seen it happen. No one is ever flattered by this.

I worked a job where everyone called me by the wrong name. They finally told me I looked exactly like a guy who worked another shift. I finally got a look at the guy and was terribly hurt.

I was watching Jaws 2 and my friends pointed to an extra who they said looked exactly like me. Later they showed me a picture of a elderly Chinese guy photographed in the 1930s who they said looked like me, then a picture of a then-recently deceased Lebanese phalangist.

So imagine this poor devil walking around looking like Martin Shkreli. There are pictures of him. I don't think he looks enough like him to fool anyone unless they have some degree of face blindness.