Friday, April 29, 2011

Royal wedding

I had the TV on all night, tuned to BBC America. Slept through the wedding, which is fine. I wasn't interested. I just didn't want to miss it if anything went horribly wrong.

80% of Britons say they didn't care about it. There was some news on NPR about women wearing inappropriate hats to the wedding.

One good thing about it---they brought some troops back from Afghanistan to line the parade route during the wedding.

One thing I may have mentioned earlier----the fellow in The King's Speech, King George, or whatever his name was, suffered from some sexual dysfunction and his children were conceived through artificial insemination. They apparently used more than one sperm donor since Elizabeth and her "sister" look completely different.

This means that "Prince" William has no actual royal ancestry.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Ray Milland, The Lost Weekend

I never liked Ray Milland, really. I never understood his appeal. But I watched some of the movie The Lost Weekend. I started watching in the middle, and I thought I'd watch it again from the beginning some time, so I turned it off. But he was pretty good in it.

Well, he was a better man than I am. He was in some terrible movies toward the end---Frogs and The Thing With Two Heads.

When the movie Frogs came out, I was confused. I was six or seven. The movie was rated R. I couldn't figure out why any adult would watch crap like that. I assumed that R-rated movies, being viewed only by adults, must have been very sophisticated and highly intellectual, beyond the comprehension of anyone under seventeen that wasn't accompanied by a parent or guardian. Turned out not to be the case.

"Let's watch Frogs!" I told a friend thirty years later.

"No, no," he said.

He said it was just boring and not even funny.

I did see a few minutes of it many years later. A rich guy doesn't care about the environment so he's killed by frogs. From what I could see, most of the action takes place in a house while frogs gather outside hopping around in the grass.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

My God. Zsa Zsa Gabor to be a new mother at age 94

Revolting even if it's not true. No offense to 94-year-old women who want to experience the joy of motherhood.

Probably not true, of course, but CNN reports:

Zsa Zsa Gabor's husband wants his 94-year-old wife to become a mother again using an egg donor, artificial insemination and a surrogate mother, Prince Frederic von Anhalt told CNN Thursday.

"I've gone through the initial steps of donor matching and blood work and next week the donation process will begin," von Anhalt said.

Gabor's only child, Francesca Hilton, described herself as shocked when told of the plan Thursday.

"That's just weird," Hilton said.

Von Anhalt, 67, said he is working with Dr. Mark Surry of the Southern California Reproductive Center in Beverly Hills. CNN calls to the center have not been returned.

I'm not sure how using an egg donor, artificial insemination and a surrogate mother would make Zsa Zsa Gabor a new mother, but CNN said it so there must be some logic there.

When I saw the headline, I thought they were must be adopting another middle aged man. That's how Zsa Zsa's husband makes his money.

Prince Frederic von Anhalt qualifies as a "prince" because his father, a German cop, paid an elderly relative of the Kaiser to legally adopt him making him part of the deposed German royal family. This turned out to be an excellent investment. Prince Frederic von Anhalt and his wife, Zsa Zsa, began charging men, at least one of them a strip club owner, to adopt them, thus giving them a royal title.

Maybe this surrogate baby thing is a way of keeping the family business going.

Prince Frederic von Anhalt is a sick, sick man. He once handcuffed himself naked in his car then called reporters to come see. He claimed he had been robbed and that his assailants had left him that way for some reason.

Is adoption necessary?

Years ago, it was reported that a guy somewhere discovered that you could legally use the title "Senator" without having ever been an actual senator. He started using it. He would make hotel and restaurant reservations this way and got excellent service.

If, in a democracy, you can use the title Senator, you certainly ought to be able to use a title like Prince or Princess, or Grand Duchess, or Arch Duke, without legal consequence.

And another thing, many Christian ministers are self-ordained. There's no legal requirement that members of the clergy be ordained by someone else, and I would imagine that any such requirement would be unconstitutional. Yet people keep paying two dollars to on-line churches that offer ordination, no-questions-asked.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Sydney Lumet, 1924 - 2011

Sydney Lumet has died at age 86. His last movie, directed when he was in his 80s, was Before the Devil Knows You're Dead, which he filmed in digital video. He explained that he had always found film to be, in his words, a "pain in the ass". It was his first movie on digital video, and, sadly, his final film.

I saw his first movie, 12 Angry Men, on TV in the middle of the night when I was about 14, that and Fail Safe, made shortly before Dr Strangelove and with similar subject matter although it was strictly serious.

A Long Days Journey Into Night, I saw recently. I didn't realize he directed it. I've seen The Offense, Serpico, Murder on the Orient Express, Dog Day Afternoon, Network, Equus, The Verdict.

My God---I even saw A Stranger Among Us. He directed that, too?

I made fun of A Stranger Among Us. Milanie Griffith was an odd casting choice.

"It is so magical!" says a Hassidic Jew gawking at a TV set.

I said something about this to a friend who lived in that neighborhood, Williamsburg, where the film was set. He said that a furniture dealer there specialized in cabinets for the Hassidim to hide their TVs in so their co-religionists wouldn't know they watched.

I doubt Hassidic Jews have much in the way of child-like wonder.

The movie was trying to recreate the success of Witness, with Harrison Ford as a detective among the Amish, but the Hassidic sect in Williamsburg is known mainly for their violent xenophobia. If you're black or Hispanic and you walk through that neighborhood, you can expect to find a large, growing mob of these black suited racists following you down the street. In one case, a black off-duty police officer was chased through the streets until he reached a police station. The police refused to do anything about it. The Hassidim get away with crimes like this because they vote in a block.

Dog Day Afternoon----the actor who played Sal closely resembled the real person but was much older. The real Sal was only 17 or 18 years old. He had been impoverished, he was on his own with no support from his family, and he resorted to crime. The reason he was so afraid of going to prison is that he had been locked up several times before on minor charges and had been raped each time.

Oh, and there's one more thing Lumet directed that I saw. "The Death of Socrates" episode of the old '50s TV series You Are There. The show was done as if then-present day TV news crews were present at historical events. They do man-on-the street interviews to find out what people think about Socrates on trial. They showed this as a school movie. I only know he directed it because it's on

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Klaus Kinski, Charlie Sheen, Jesus Christ

Jesus Christ, Savior: An evening with Klaus Kinski is now on You Tube. In German with English subtitles.

I had seen clips of this in Werner Herzog's documentary, Klaus Kinski, my Best Fiend.

Now film of Kinski's Jesus Christ one man show is on You Tube.

"Wanted: Jesus Christ. Charged with seduction [sic], anarchistic tendencies, conspiracy against the authority of the state."

It starts with a few catcalls from the audience. But they're no match for Kinski's intensity. They quickly quiet down. Then they yell again.

He tells them to shut up, He calls one heckler to come up on stage.

"I'm no great speaker, and maybe some of you are looking for Christ. But I don't think this is him. As far as I know, Jesus Christ was patient. If people contradicted him, he tried to convince them. He didn't say 'Shut up!'"

"NO! HE DIDN'T SAY, 'SHUT UP!' HE TOOK A WHIP AND BASHED THEM IN THE FACE! YOU STUPID PIG!" (It sounds cool when you say this in German.)

He tells them to get rid of the hecklers or they've wasted their money and he walks off stage.

We see him start his performance again, this time without hecklers. He is very intense. He doesn't interact with the audience. There's no more talk about bashing people in the face. His image of Jesus is somewhat more conventional.

He's an actor giving a performance, but the hecklers----they act like they're watching someone actually claiming to be the messiah and they want to argue. A man climbs up on stage. A security guard stops him but isn't sure whether to remove him or if Kinski will interact with him.

"I want to say something...I want to say something. I want to say something. I want to say something."

"Kick him off," Kinski finally says.

Security hustles the man off the the stage. Hecklers react as if Kinski has revealed that he's not really Jesus after all.

Kinksi walks off stage. He says he will return when the riffraff have been removed.

While Kinski is backstage, a man climbed up on stag and takes the mic.


"If you wouldn't scream into the mic we could understand you better," the theater manager says very calmly.

But the man screams some more into the microphone. He gives the mic back to the manager of the theater.

"This is a performance here," the manager says into the mic. "People don't have a right to just climb up on stage. Discussing we can do afterward. The people who would like this event to continue are asking you to step to the back and to stop interrupting and provoking Mr. Kinski. Please let him say his lines, and then you can say yours."

Well worth watching. Kinski stands still, clutching the microphone on a stand.

I'm not sure what the hecklers' problem was or what they paid ten marks to see. They started heckling from the beginning. Were they Christians? Were they anti-Christian? Did they think he thought he actually was Jesus Christ? Or did they think it was like one of those things where actors dress up like historical figures and walk around so people can talk to them and ask them questions about their time period.

On the other hand, if you're going to do a one-man show playing Jesus, speaking directly to the audience, you have expect some problems.

And Charlie Sheen
Kinski mentions at the end that he was reciting 30 pages of script in his performance.

But I'm not clear on what Charlie Sheen is doing. It doesn't sound like he's following a script. But he kicked off his 20-stop tour titled Violent Torpedo of Truth/Defeat is Not an Option in Detroit. The show was in a 5,100 seat theater and was sold out.

According to The Guardian, they sold T-shirts that said "Bangin' 7 g's", a reference to Sheen's drug intake, and a hat that said "I'm not Bi-Polar".

According to The Guardian:
Things started well for him. His sneers at his former show, Two and a Half Men prompting cheers from the audience. But when he spoke, it was a mix of incoherencies and vitriol: "I used my power against them and stuffed their arms down their gaping throats. No time to take their stinking toupees because this warlock was on the move!" he bellowed.

"Smoke some more crack, Charlie!" someone shouted. The underrated Joaquin Phoenix 2010 mockumentary, I'm Still Here – about a Hollywood star who suffers a mental breakdown and is bullied by the public – suddenly looked shockingly prescient. Heartbreakingly, clips of Sheen from Platoon and Wall Street played on screen while Sheen himself stumbled about on stage. He tried to show a film he made in the 1980s with Johnny Depp, but the boos prompted an early end to that.

"Maybe it's more appropriate for me to tell some crack stories," he said.

The audience cheered.

"What do you want me to talk about?" he asked a member of the audience.

"I want to hear about the porn stars!"

"Why do you want to hear about that?" he asked, disappointed.

It was a classic misunderstanding: he thought they loved him for his fearless honesty; they did, but only in regards to his intake of crack and porn.

"OK, OK, I'll do some crack stories," he relented, desperately.
They made it sound like the show was entirely extemporaneous. But the E! Online blog mentioned skits and a stand up comedian being booed as he did and opening act.

It was only the first stop on the tour. It might get better. But decades of hard living have no doubt taken their grim toll.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

She can's act, can't dance, and even her looks are fake

Natalie Portman a "natural beauty"?

This bit of fan mail was posted on the website, Awful Plastic Surgery:
Good job spotting Natalie Portman’s streamlined nose! I was at Harvard the same time she was (though not in the same year), and would occasionally see her around campus. By the time she graduated, her nose had clearly been altered; not only were the nostrils smaller, but it was smaller and narrower overall.
Here is are pictures they posted:
Looking at that site, it's amazing---it seems like pretty much all movie stars have had plastic surgery whether they needed it or not. Even very young ones. Zac Efron. Miley Cyrus.

Having surgery of any kind seems like an ordeal, and if you look at that the Awful Plastic Surgery site, you can see how easily it can go wrong. Hard to believe people go for plastic surgery so readily.