Monday, December 29, 2014

Sony Pictures, traitors

Someone told me we should all go see The Interview as our patriotic duty.

I pointed out that Sony Pictures is a Japanese corporation run by American traitors who email each other racist "jokes" about the president of the United States.

I don't really buy the story that North Korea had anything to do with the alleged hacking. North Korea is calling for an independent investigation. The FBI accusing North Korea is just part of Obama's "pivot to Asia."

I don't know what it will do for Rogen and Franco. My guess is that relatively few Americans even know who they are. With the publicity around this movie, people will be seeing them for the first time in a movie that even their admirers admit isn't very good. They'll still have their fanbase, but many more people will dislike them. How would that affect their careers?

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Christmas on Walton's Mountain

Did I misinterpret this? Was the door closed?

The Homecoming: A Christmas Story, the old pilot to The Waltons, is on TV. Different seeing Patricia Neal as the mother and Edgar Bergen as Grandpa. I haven't seen it since it was first broadcast about 40 years ago.

Patricia Neal demands that 17-year-old John-Boy explain what he does in his room with the door locked. They make it pretty clear what she thinks he's doing in there. She demands to know what he has hidden under his mattress. She assumes it's some sort of 1930s pornography, but it's only his journal. He tells her what's in it---folksy stuff about Walton's Mountain. Not a sex diary.

The only other thing I remember was when the kids go to a thing where they'll get a Christmas present if they can recite a verse from the Bible. Turns out John-Boy has memorized erotic Bible verses.

It was probably closer in tone to the movie Spencer's Mountain with Henry Fonda as the father and James MacArthur as John-boy, called Clayboy in that incarnation.

I'll tell you one thing that bothered me. An episode of The Waltons where John-Boy was taking a bath with the door open, reading a book. Why would he do that? He was in the bathtub so his nakedness was shielded from view, but how did he get in and out without traumatizing the children? I know they were earthy country folk, but come on.

And there was one episode where, every time someone entered the scene, they were buttoning their clothes. I don't know what they were supposed to have been doing. I think that was the episode where one of the girls reveals that Ben goes to the bathroom behind the barn.

And then, when World War Two starts, Olivia tries to comfort a woman whose son was just killed in action by telling her that at least he won't come back from the war emotionally scarred. What was she thinking?

The only other thing that bothered me was that the narrator, who was supposed to be John-Boy as an adult, had a much deeper voice and different accent.

Morons at Sony bullied into releasing The Interview

"The remarkably dismal quality is emblematic of the mind-set that brought the movie, and its attendant crises, into being."  -- Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal

Sony has been cruelly bullied by Barack Obama into endangering the public by releasing their pro-assassination "comedy", The Interview, to theaters.

Naturally, the traitorous millionaire Zionist Seth Rogen and his internet predator "friend" James Franco are ecstatic.

Can't imagine George Clooney getting in line to see it, or special screenings in The White House for the Obama children. Clooney was one of the people "outraged" that Sony pulled the movie.

Pretty much the only people who will see this thing are the morons who would have gone to it anyway. But there could be a few rubes out there who will think they're really socking it to North Korea by seeing it. They're in for a let down.

Monday, December 22, 2014

The U.S. Government's role in the making of The Interview

It turns out that Sony's The Interview was a propaganda film aimed at bringing about the assassination of Kim Jong-Un and the overthrow of the North Korean government.

In the movie, the assassination plot against Kim Jong-Un is carried out so another faction of the North Korean elite can take over.

The U.S. State Department and Bruce Bennett from the RAND Corporation, wanted the assassination at the end of the movie. They believed that the movie would be leaked to North Korea and trigger "some real thinking".

Illegal copies of South Korean soap operas are popular in North Korea. Media from outside the country does make it way into the North.

From the Daily Beast:
The Daily Beast has unearthed several emails that reveal at least two U.S. government officials screened a rough cut of the Kim Jong-Un assassination comedy The Interview in late June and gave the film—including a final scene that sees the dictator’s head explode—their blessing.

The claim that the State Department played an active role in the decision to include the film’s gruesome death scene is likely to cause fury in Pyongyang. Emails between the Sony Entertainment CEO and a security consultant even appear to suggest the U.S. government may support the notion that The Interview would be useful propaganda against the North Korean regime.

... 
A series of leaked emails reveal that Sony enlisted the services of Bruce Bennett, a senior defense analyst at the RAND Corporation who specializes in North Korea, to consult with them on The Interview. After he saw the film, including the gruesome ending where a giant missile hits Kim Jong-Un’s helicopter in slow-mo as Katy Perry’s “Firework” plays, and Kim’s head catches on fire and explodes, Bennett gave his assessment of it in a June 25 email to Lynton, just five days after North Korea's initial threat.
...
[Bennett wrote], “In fact, when I have briefed my book on ‘preparing for the possibility of a North Korean collapse’ [Sept 2013], I have been clear that the assassination of Kim Jong-Un is the most likely path to a collapse of the North Korean government. Thus while toning down the ending may reduce the North Korean response, I believe that a story that talks about the removal of the Kim family regime and the creation of a new government by the North Korean people (well, at least the elites) will start some real thinking in South Korea and, I believe, in the North once the DVD leaks into the North (which it almost certainly will). So from a personal perspective, I would personally prefer to leave the ending alone.”
That same day, Lynton responded saying that a U.S. government official completely backed Bennett’s assessment of the film.
“Bruce – Spoke to someone very senior in State (confidentially),” wrote Lynton. “He agreed with everything you have been saying. Everything. I will fill you in when we speak.”

The following day, June 26, an email from Bennett to Lynton—as well as several other forwarded emails—revealed that Robert King, U.S. special envoy for North Korean human-rights issues, was helping to consult on the film as well through Bennett and addressed the June 20 threat by North Korea.
“Michael, 
I talked with Amb. King a few minutes ago,” wrote Bennett. “Their office has apparently decided that this is typical North Korean bullying, likely without follow-up, but you never know with North Korea. Thus, he did not appear worried and clearly wanted to leave any decisions up to Sony.”
(A spokesman for the U.S. State Department later admitted that Daniel Russel, Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, had a conversation with Sony executives but vaguely denied having any direct influence on the creative direction of The Interview.)
Still, Sony executives felt nervous about not only the film, but also the scene depicting the murder of Kim Jong-Un. An email dated June 20 from Amy Pascal, co-chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment, sent to Vice-Chairman of Sony Pictures Jeff Black said, “we need sonys name off this asap everywhere,” asking to remove the name “Sony” from all of the film’s promotional materials and package it as a Columbia Pictures release (a subsidiary of SPE). Then, a July 9 email from Lynton to Pascal expressed the company’s desire to not show the DPRK leader die.
 “Yeah we cannot be cute here,” wrote Lynton. “What we really want is no melting face and actually not seeing him die. A look of horror as the fire approaches is probably what we need.”
From Anti-War.com:
While a tiny nation state possibly being involved in scuppering a movie premiere by hacking and threatening a Hollywood studio by proxy may be more novel and sensational than yet another psyop by the US Regime Change Machine, the latter is far more important. The United States, as part of its “Asian Pivot,” made an explicit push for assassination and regime change in yet another foreign country under the cover of art and commerce, and the North Korean regime and its ally China are both now 100% aware of it. That has huge implications for politics in the region, for US relations with those countries, for the character and integrity of American art and media, and for the mischievous, generally havoc-wreaking way our government is secretly using our tax dollars.

Imagine how the U.S. and its CIA would respond if a major movie studio anywhere in the world were to make a film centered around the assassination of a sitting U.S. President: especially if a foreign government was involved, pushing for just such an assassination. That North Korea, or any state, might respond with speech-suppressing attacks and threats is not to be excused, but it should be no surprise either. Yet the US was more than happy to help foment a predictable crisis like this, thereby putting its own people at risk. And it did so by surreptitiously penetrating Hollywood to steer it toward using “artistic” existential threats to taunt a nation-state that is such a basket-case that it would only be dangerous to Americans if made desperate by such existential threats. That shows what little regard our “security force” has for our actual security, as compared to pursuing global power politics.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Wizard of Oz

I watched this thing as a kid and thought it would be a pretty good movie if they weren't singing all the time and for no reason. Were the songs supposed to be dialog? But every time something starts to happen the movie stops dead and they start singing.

There was a time when musicals were thought to be somehow educational. So I got dragged to see Oliver! and I've had a grossly distorted picture of the work of Charles Dickens ever since.

Mark Lester, a big child star in his day who played Oliver, was reportedly tone deaf and arhythmic. Just plain couldn't sing at all. His singing was dubbed by a five-year-old girl.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Obama endorses pro-assasination movie

Doesn't seem like a good idea for a president, but Obama has his sarong in a bunch over Sony pictures not releasing the pro-assasination "comedy", The Interview, starring and directed by traitorous Canadian millionaire Zionist Seth Rogen and grinning internet predator James Franco.
 
I don't know why the United States should retaliate against North Korea for allegedly "hacking" into the computers of a Japanese company. But Obama said he would retaliate. The "hackers" had caused "serious damage", Obama said, by exposing Sony executives' racism, how much they paid their stars and their hatred for Angelina Jolie.

Sony brought this on themselves. They made a movie that ends with, according to their own executive in Britain, a level of realistic violence that would have been shocking in a horror movie. Seth Rogen, who reveled in the slaughter his fellow Zionists carried out in Gaza, ends the movie with the graphic murder of Kim Jong-un. No one thought Kim might object to this?

Day of the Jackal was made well after de Gaulle died of natural causes, and the mockumentary about Bush being killed presented that as a bad thing in part because Cheney was even worse. There was a terrible B movie about American criminals who set out to murder Hitler, but that was in the middle of World War Two. I won't give it away, but Hitler was still alive at the end of The Great Dictator. I haven't seen the reportedly crappy remake, but The Manchurian Candidate is about a plot against a fictional politician, and it was an American movie about an American being killed.

Look at how upset the Catholics got over The Pope Must Die. They had to change it to The Pope Must Diet. I haven't seen it, but the Mafia wants to kill the idiot priest the cardinals accidentally elected pope. The assassination plot was the least anti-Catholic thing about it.

They're reporting that the rest of Hollywood is outraged that Sony pulled the movie, but it's also been reported that the other studios were mad at Sony for not pulling it sooner. Theaters are all multiplexes and a threat against one is a threat against all.

People are also saying that, even with the massive publicity, the only people who would go see this thing are the idiots who would have gone to it anyway. It shows how bad Hollywood has gotten. Even after a massive international terrorist operation to prevent people from seeing a movie, no one is the least bit curious about it. Everyone knows it's just more of the same crap Hollywood keeps churning out.

Does anyone regard Sony's action as a loss to cinema? George Clooney was outraged----was he actually planning to see it? Was Obama going to take his daughters to it? He says he "loves" Seth Rogen. He didn't say how he felt about would-be statutory rapist James Franco.

The good thing about this is that it'll probably cost Sony hundreds of millions of dollars and will damage the careers of a number of executives. My sincere hope is that it will end the careers of Seth Rogen and James Franco, but I'm not holding my breath.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Seth Rogen and "actor" James Franco cancel appearances

Internet pervert James Franco and zionist millionaire Seth Rogen
endanger movie goers with their pro-assassination "comedy". 

Well, really, now, if you make a movie where the "heroes" assassinate the actual leader of any country, you're going to have some special problems.

Remember when they made The Pope Must Die and had to retitle it The Pope Must Diet? And that was about a fictional pope who was an idiot.

Now Seth Rogen and James Franco, each of whom I hate for various reasons, made a movie where they're going to try to murder the leader of North Korea.

To quote the New York Post quoting Gawker quoting a hacked Sony email:
“James Franco proves once again that irritation is his strong suit which is a shame because the character could have been appealing and funny out of his hands,” Sony Pictures UK executive Peter Taylor wrote to his colleague in an email obtained by Gawker.

Taylor goes on to call the film, which centers around the assassination of North Korea’s dictator, a “misfire,” saying it is “unfunny and repetitive [with] a level of realistic violence that would be shocking in a horror movie.”
So Rogen and Franco have cancelled all press appearances after some new threats against the thing.

I won't be going to it. May watch it on Netflix if it's on there for instant viewing.

Poor Sony Pictures. They're stuck with this thing. Can't pull it now. In any situation, you should always give yourself a way out.


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Turns out Hitler was very bad

I was having dinner with extended family. My sister claimed that George W. Bush's dog didn't like him. She thought this was proof that he was a bad man. Like you needed that as proof.

I pointed out that Hitler's dog, Blondi, got along fine with der fuhrer. In fact, Hitler killed Blondi. He tried out the cyanide capsule on him before committing suicide. Blondi didn't suspect a thing. Dogs are poor judges of character. He was as oblivious as the Goebbels children were as their parents prepared to murder them in the bunker.

Blondi and one of the Goebbels children. Both
died of acute cyanide poisoning in 1945.

Most of the people at the table were shocked that Hitler would do such a thing.

I mentioned that other Nazis in the bunker were more upset about Blondi than they were about Eva Braun's death.

I had a conversation a couple of years later with the same people. They seemed to have forgotten everything I told them. My sister mentioned the Pope "excommunicating" the Mafia (he didn't really.) I said that Mussolini had completely crushed the Mafia, then the U.S. invaded Italy and put all the mafia scum into power.

She was surprised that Mussolini did something good.

"Mussolini had his points," I said ironically. I hadn't praised Mussolini---I condemned the U.S. for putting the Mafia in power. They wanted to install a non-Fascist right-wing government, but the opponents of Mussolini had all been Socialists and Communists.

But my sister asked if Hitler had any good points.

"Well, he killed himself," I said. "He took cyanide AND shot himself."

"He was thorough," she said, again missing my point.

"He tested the cyanide on Blondi before he did it."

"Who's Blondi?"

"His German Shepherd."

And again, they were horrified and heartbroken. Poor Blondi! Poor sweet, innocent, trusting Blondi!

"You know, we are talking about Hitler here."

That whole "banality of evil" thing has gone too far. Now people think of Hitler as a dog person.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Shia LaBeouf "raped"


Am I wrong to be utterly indifferent to the alleged attempted "rape" of Shia LaBeouf?

I didn't really understand it. She was whipping his legs and nobody noticed?

I'm not blaming the victim here, but the guy DOES go around starting fights like an idiot. He attacked his neighbor with a knife. You can watch video of him hopping around like a boxer trying to fight with some guy on the street. He was physically helpless all of a sudden? If he had been the victim of some other crime, like if the woman had come in and started whipping his legs and then DIDN'T attempt to rape him, I don't think it would unreasonable to suggest that he should have called for help. If someone had come in and stolen his keys and his credit cards you'd expect him to say something.

And, also, after all that crap, after the plagiarism and the repeated fake "apologies"---he ripped off an artist and paid a skywriter to do a fake apology, but wouldn't simply pay the person whose work he stole. All this was going on. He was scum. Starting fights in bars, disrupting plays. And you just knew he was going to get away with it. Nothing would ever happen to him. He would continue living a charmed life, raking in millions. How are we supposed to feel about this?


Saturday, December 6, 2014

Stubble

I will say this, though. Bill Cosby's pushing 80 and he looks pretty good. Stubble becomes him.


A beret is the poor man's toupe and a beard is the poor man's face lift. Look at Ronald Reagan whose neck aged faster than the rest of him. A beard could have taken twenty years off. At 80, he could have passed for a hopelessly senile 60-year-old. Hair dye didn't do him any favors. Horrible, repellent old man.


But it turns out that you don't need a full beard anymore. Stubble is enough to do the trick and a lot of people think it looks better. A full beard can make you look like an old prospector, and I'm suspicious of people with neatly trimmed facial hair of any kind. 

Both the Swedish and British versions of Wallander have aging stars with a lot of stubble. Makes me wonder if Swedish police don't have a dress code. But the guys do look better this way. My guess is that face lifts are less common among European stars and this is a safe, affordable alternative.



I've said this before, but Paul McCartney should take a page from Ringo Starr's book and grow some sort of beard. The only trouble is that Sir Paul dyes his hair and he'd probably have to dye his beard, too, but I'm sure there are ways to deal with this. I somehow doubt that's Ringo's natural hair color.


It's only good if you have something to cover up, though. It looks so stupid on some people.



Friday, December 5, 2014

Bill Cosby: a startling theory

 Dr Susan Block has a theory of what Bill Cosby's problem is. He has a sleep fetish.
As a sex therapist in private practice, I’ve treated many clients with sleep fetishes of various kinds. The clinical term is “somnophilia,” a paraphilia in which sexual arousal arises from fondling or having sex with someone who is asleep or unconscious. A more romantic name for it is the “Sleeping Beauty” syndrome. The fairy tale fantasy of an exquisitely beautiful, utterly helpless princess in a deep, hypnotic, erotic sleep that only awakens, with the climactic kiss of a charming prince, has captured imaginations and titillated libidos for centuries of civilized human history. If Prince Charming had given Beauty a roofie and then done his kissing and maybe a little fondling, he’d be a nonconsensual sleep fetishist, a.k.a., a sleep rapist. Not so charming any more.
http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/12/05/bill-cosbys-sleep-fetish/
Block noted that one of Cosby's alleged victims was already sleeping with him and he STILL drugged her. It's a dangerous fetish when it involves drugging people. As Dr Block writes:
The other side of the sleep fetish, getting sexually aroused by having sex with slumbering lovers, is far more dangerous to others than to the fetishist, especially when it involves putting “lovers” to sleep without their consent and then using their knocked out, very vulnerable, rag-doll body to satisfy desires for absolute power, selfish sensation and an intoxicating feeling of total control. If the allegations are true, this appears to describe the sexual appetites and behaviors of Bill Cosby.
There's an Australian sex movie about this, by the way, called Sleeping Beauty, available on Netflix.


Friday, November 28, 2014

Don't Expect Too Much, documentary about Nicholas Ray

I never understood Rebel Without a Cause. In what way was the character played by James Dean a "rebel"? He ran to the police to confess after the "chicken" fatality, he was upset that his father was wearing an apron and helping out around the house, and his big line--when he screams, "YOU'RE TEARING ME APART"--was because he wanted his parents to both agree and tell him what to do. He got into a knife fight because someone made chicken noises ("Is that meaning me? IS THAT MEANING ME?") And what kind of "rebel" wears a sportcoat to high school? At least it wasn't a blazer.

Saw a documentary, Don't Expect Too Much, about director Nicholas Ray teaching at a university somewhere. His students were excited about getting to make a feature film, but Ray thought that would be the perfect time to make a wildly experimental film. A little surprising considering how conventional his visual style was.

Ray said that he always loudly berated his assistant director the first day of production and that he never had to yell at anyone after that. But his students were afraid of him and alcoholism was taking its toll.

I always thought James Dean was a terrible actor. No human being behaves the way he acted. There was a scene in East of Eden that was the worst.

I've read quotes from Ray and Elia Kazan about Dean's limited acting ability.
 
Kazan wrote in his autobiography:
"Dean had no technique to speak of. When he tried to play an older man in the last reels of Giant, he looked like what he was: a beginner. . . . On [East of Eden], Jimmy would either get the scene right immediately, without any detailed direction . . . or he couldn't get it at all."
(I took the quote from this article: http://brightlightsfilm.com/70/70jamesdean_sewell.php#.VHUkrskVeGs)

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Kirk Cameron denies hating gays

You know why Kirk Cameron is so anti-gay? My theory is that he became aware of a substantial gay following when he was a teen idol. He probably searched the internet and found some gay pornographic Growing Pains fanfiction. That would have to be a bit upsetting to a heterosexual teenage boy no matter how open-minded. Heterosexual pornographic fanfiction would be no picnic, either.

If he wanted to kill whatever attraction anyone felt for him, he's certainly done that.

I watched a little video a website edited together. It took bits of a video on how to minister to gay people. You can watch it here:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/11/22/kirk-cameron-saving-gay-people_n_6203802.html

 As the Huffington Post says, these are the most embarrassing moments from a longer video. It was clear to me that, when Cameron says "God hates fags" in the video, he wasn't expressing his personal view but suggesting something not to say, but Cameron got whatever religious undergarment he wears into a bunch and said he was being misrepresented.

Poor devil.


Heterosexual teen Kirk Cameron






Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Charles Manson getting married

You know what Charles Manson getting married reminds me of? It reminds me of this Three Stooges short.

The Stooges are in prison about to be executed. They insist they're innocent. Three wealthy heiresses come in. They have to get married, quick, in order to collect their inheritance. Their lawyer has arranged for them to marry the Stooges. They get married and as soon as the ceremony is complete, someone rushes in, announces the real killer has been caught and that the Stooges have received full pardons from the governor. The horrified brides go home with their new husbands.

I sure wouldn't marry Charles Manson if I were that girl.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Bill Cosby google

So I'm sitting here watching a woman who says she was raped by Bill Cosby being interviewed in CNN.

I tried to Google "bill cosby rape".

You know how little search suggestions come up? I started to type that and the only suggestion that came up was "bill cosby rap".

So I started to type "bill cosby rapi"---I thought the word "rapist" would come up, but their only suggestion was "bill cosby rapid city sd".

This is very strange.

I liked Bill Cosby once, back around the time I liked Joan Rivers and Gallagher. I watched the old Bill Cosby Show, but I couldn't stand The Cosby Show. It seems a little sick that people called him "America's Dad". The show was the first in a wave of discipline-oriented family sit-coms, shows with these weird, authoritarian fathers, like the father on Seventh Heaven who we now know to be a dangerous deviant. Is this what people want when they imagine their ideal father?

Cosby sent his own daughter to prison. Cosby was married and had an illegitimate daughter. The National Enquirer offered her money for her story, so she kindly gave Cosby the chance to buy the article instead. There was no advantage in this for her since she would have made good money from the Enquirer. She was trying to do the adulterer a favor.

One of Cosby's legitimate daughters revealed that she was sexually assaulted by Mike Tyson. Instead of calling the police, Cosby encouraged Tyson to get counseling.

But I don't know if Cosby's a rapist or not. I have no opinion and there's no reason why I should.

Some years ago, when Charles Grodin had a talk show in MSNBC, he took offense at the promos Cosby did for Turner Classic Movies. Cosby said he liked old gangster movies better because they didn't contain any swearing. If the best thing you can think of to say about classic movies is that they're not obscene, I'd say that you don't like them very well. In fact, the ads for Cosby's movies, Ghost Dad and Leonard Part 6 consisted mainly of people coming out of movie theaters telling how happy they were to see a movie with no dirty words.

But Grodin took offense and brought up Cosby's illegitimate daughter as proof that he didn't have anything to be so high and mighty about.

Then there were his attacks on poor blacks:
"...with names like Shaniqua, Taliqua and Mohammed and all of that crap, and all of them are in jail." – Bill Cosby quoted at the gala event honoring the 50th anniversary of Brown v Board of Education, May 17, 2004
Kiah Thomas, age 13, responded:
When I read the remarks you made, I wondered whether Shaniqua was sitting in the audience that night, and what she felt when she heard you mention her name. I wonder if she went to school the next day feeling proud to have been able to attend a gala event to celebrate a historic occasion like the 50th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education, whether she felt like she had been kicked in the stomach, or whether she just blew off the whole thing as just another old man talking too much.
http://www.blackcommentator.com/96/96_cosby.html


In conclusion, I don't know if Bill Cosby's a rapist or not, but to hell with him.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Other people's community access TV

I found some public access TV channels for other cities on Roku. I was shocked! Their community access TV is so much better-looking than ours.

They are from bigger cities. They have bigger pool of talent. And it was fairly recently that our station switched to digital video and got away from analog.

I saw a play performed on community access TV in Seattle. Visually, it was beautiful just because of where it was filmed, but the sound was awful. They apparently used the microphone on the camera and the cameras were fifty feet away in the audience. You couldn't understand a word. They couldn't hide an audio recorder on the coffee table and get some sort of decent sound? We've had the same problem with plays on public access TV here, too.

They made very nice use of green screen for a fake TV set on one show, but it was a slick religious show which I don't think was locally produced.

I just turned on a religious show---just a guy sitting at his dining table preaching. I don't know what's going on. Maybe it's some weird sort of electronic stablization, but whenever he gestures with his arms, it looks like the camera is moving slightly. The camera is on a tripod. It's rock steady when he's still. But he moves and the camera starts moving. He could use better lighting and the sound is fine but he would be surprised at how good it would be with a decent recorder. It could be more trouble than it's worth, though.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Fading Gigolo, Woody Allen, John Tuturro

Woody Allen was asked in an interview in the NY Observer why there were almost no black people in his movies. The interviewer said that Allen was "horrified" at the question and that he replied:
“Not unless I write a story that requires it. You don’t hire people based on race. You hire people based on who is correct for the part. The implication is that I’m deliberately not hiring black actors, which is stupid. I cast only what’s right for the part. Race, friendship means nothing to me except who is right for the part."
He doesn't hire actors based on race and therefore won't hire blacks. And he sees nothing contradictory in this.

I read a long piece on Cracked.com about "nerd racism". The nerds are outraged that the Human Torch in an upcoming movie will be played by a black guy. The angry racist nerds they quoted sounded pretty much like Woody Allen and the dolts who are defending him.

"This isn't about race," wrote one angry nerd. "The characters are white! That's how they were made."

I bring this up because I just watched Fading Gigolo, written and directed by John Turturro and starring Tuturro and Woody Allen.

It was refreshing to see Woody Allen among black people for a change and to see him taking care of children.

It was also nice to see Hassidic Judaism presented as a dangerous cult for once.

There was a movie long ago, A Stranger Among Us, starring Melanie Griffith as an unconvincing police detective hanging around the Hassidim for some reason. One of them sees a TV. He gazes at it slackjawed. "It is so magical," he says.

It was stupid. Even if you've never watched TV, you know what one is, and, no, there's nothing magical about it.

Paul Schrader, the writer and director, grew up as a Calvinist. He was seventeen before he saw his first movie. He snuck off to see The Absent Minded Professor. He said he was "very unimpressed". He thinks his approach to movies is intellectual rather than emotional because he didn't watch movies when he was young.

Just because you've never watched TV or gone to a movie, it doesn't mean you're some kind of simpleton.

It's like adults who've never sat through an episode of the Brady Bunch before. If you grew up watching it, you can still stomach it, but a grown-up who's never seen it before just can't take it.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Kim Kardashian

Kim Kardashian? Is she wrong to appear naked in magazines? To produce her sex tape? To (probably) have had her body surgically distorted to fit a freakish, confused feminine ideal? Maybe. I don't know. Does it matter? It's only Kim Kardashian for crying out loud. I don't care what she does. I just don't like that she's rich.


Sunday, November 2, 2014

Hellaware

I don't know how much this thing cost, but it's been described as a "micro-budget" movie. A 25-year-old New York hipster artist photographer (although he uses a point-and-shoot camera) decides he wants to explore other cultures, so he drives down to Delaware to see some white rural teen rappers. He tells them he can help get them a record deal and can get them prescription drugs. He takes pictures of them. Unable to get a prescription for the drugs he wants, he steals his grandmother's meds. He's a horrible, horrible person, but in a realistic way---more realistic than most horrible movie characters.

The movie was entertaining, amusing. It was an attack on New York hipster artist types who seem like easy pickin's. I read an interview with the director who said that if they were such easy targets, why were there so few movies successfully ridiculing them. There was nothing very surprising, but I liked it well enough.

Available on Fandor.

It might make an interesting double feature with What Goes Up starring Steve Coogan as a reporter sent to the town where Christa McAuliffe, the teacher perished in the space shuttle Challenger disaster, lived and worked. Coogan arrives in town before the space shuttle launch. While the rest of the school prepares to celebrate the shuttle launch, Coogan reports on a class of outcast teenagers placed in a class in a separate building who are mourning the death of their beloved teacher. He had known the teacher years earlier in college, and he lets the students think he had been his "best friend" in order to get a story.

Available on DVD from Netflix.

Have things not changed?

It was the '80s. I was a dishwasher by trade. They were showing the films of Jon Jost at the university here. Jost himself spoke after the last movie was shown.

The whole thing was organized by the film department and they quickly scrounged up the money for Jost to stay and do an all-day filmmaking seminar, then a short workshop. I was working and could only go to the workshop.

Like I say, this was the '80s. Video8 had just come out. There was no Hi8 yet, or S-VHS. They was no digital video, obviously.

Jost said that if he were just starting out, he would film in Video 8. The Video 8 camcorders had flying eraser heads so you got clean cuts between shots. He said he would film the scenes in order, rewind and record over outtakes. All the editing would be done in-camera, and when you're done, you just push eject and there's your finished movie----he held up his hand like he was holding a cigarette lighter----a ten dollar video cassette!

One of the film students muttered something about a tape-to-film transfer, but Jost said, Naw, just show it on tape! If you wanted to show it to a crowd, there are video projectors.

Everyone seemed horrified. A movie that wouldn't be shown in theaters?

Jost assured them that, if it was their first movie, it probably wouldn't be any good anyway. And, yeah, he got that right.

I've told that story before here. I thought it showed how much things have changed. I figured that film students today assumed their work would go to straight to DVD.

When Stephen Spielberg and George Lucas talked about Hollywood "collapsing", it turned out that they meant that movies might go straight to video and pay-per-view rather than be shown in theaters. They said this to a crowd of film students. I thought it showed how out of touch with reality Spielberg and Lucas were, thinking that film students would be upset at the thought of people watching their movies on TV.

It recently dawned on me that I was wrong.

I was talking to a film student, marveling at the movie El Mariachi. It was shot in 16mm and cost $7,500. All but $400 of the budget went to pay for filmstock and lab costs. This means that the movie could (in theory) be made for only $400 (after adjusting for inflation) if it were shot on digital video. It would cost even less than that since muzzle flashes and blood spatter can be added digitally now.

The film student replied that it didn't really cost $7,500 because the movie studio had to spend a lot of money to prepare El Mariachi for theatrical distribution.

I didn't know what to say to that. The proper response would have been, "Well, duh."

The movie wasn't made for theatrical distribution---it was made for the Spanish-language home video market. And since I was talking about shooting on digital video as an alternative to 16mm film, I thought it was obvious I was talking about distribution on DVD. If you make a movie that cheap, it's safe to assume it's not going to be shown in theaters.

But this was what they always say about El Mariachi. They think they're debunking it to say that they had to spend money to prepare it for theaters, as if this were a necessary production cost, as if theatrical distribution was the goal for any movie.


I was a bit surprised. Film students are still obsessed with theatrical distribution. They still consider TV and home video beneath their dignity. They're living in the past. They're not taking advantage of technological changes.

Robert Rodriguez got in to talk with movie executives on the strength of his short student film, "Bedhead" (available on YouTube), which won at film festival after film festival. They asked him if there was any movie he wanted to make, and he suggested a remake of the movie he just did. He showed them El Mariachi and they said, no, what he had was good enough. They would just distribute the movie he already made.

If you want to be Robert Rodriguez, make a movie for home video and even if you don't end up with a career in Hollywood, you'll end up with a career in home video if you don't screw it up.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

You want to be a Kardashian?

People talk all the time about how unfair it is that certain people benefit from having a famous name. And they're right. Why should being the son of a famous actor give you an advantage over another actor? Why?

So. Okay. Here's how you can DO something about it! You can take advantage of a famous name just as well as people who are actual members of famous families.

You wouldn't fool anyone, but people would pause for a moment when they see your name. They would consider your resume or your movie an extra few seconds.

These are NAMES, not trademarks.Why SHOULDN'T you be one of the Kardashians?

For ladies, I would suggest:

Karla Kardashian, Kate Kardashian, Kelly Kardashian, Kora Kardashian, Kollette Kardashian,
Kitty Kardashian, Kailee Kardashian

Boys:

Karl Kardashian, Bruce Kardashian, Bob Kardashian, Ken Kardashian, Kole Kardashian, Klint Kardashian, Kurt Kardashian, Kai Kardashian, Kosmo Kardashian

Of course, Kim Kardashian sued Old Navy for having an actress in a commercial who looked like her. Kardashian has had a lot of plastic surgery, and the actress she was suing over didn't. And she was dancing in the ad, not lumbering around like that bloated Kardashian monster.

Kim, Khloe or Kourtney Jenner.

(Is it true Bruce Jenner is getting a sex change?)

For Coppola, any Italian or Italian-sounding name:

Benito Coppola, Maria Coppola, Abrielle Coppola, Adriana Coppola, Leonardo Coppola.

Look at how many Chinese kung fu stars have used names like Bruce Le, Bruce Li, Lee Bruce, Dragon Lee.

I would suggest someone use Lee Brandon. Robert D. Nero.

Francis Coppola Ford. Lucas George. Stephen Speel Berg. ("Speel" must be a real name in some language.)

Caulay McCulkin. 

Alan Woody (he would sue you, though.)

Charlie Estevez. Carlos Sheen. Emilio Sheen. Martin Estevez.

Sid Poitier. Cindy Poitier. Lee Spike. Franco James. Erin Spelling.

I thought it was awfully coincidental that there a comedy team name Bob Elliott and Ray Goulding, and an actor named Elliott Gould. And I assumed Hyundai was trying to rip-off Honda.



Saturday, October 18, 2014

17 Girls (17 filles) 2011

Maybe the French aren't so sophisticated after all.

In Massachusetts, there was a high school. They usually had about five girls a year get pregnant. But one year, there were eighteen of them. So these poor girls formed a support group for themselves. The local media jumped on this and falsely claimed that they had a "pregnancy pact", that the eighteen girls had intentionally become pregnant so they could all have their babies together.

The 2011 French movie, 17 Girls (17 Filles) was based on this misinterpretation of events.

The movie is set in a town on the west coast of France. The French girls are lined up in their underwear in the hallway of their school. One by one, they go in to see the doctor. They're weighed and measured.

"I think I'm pregnant," a girl tells them.

She's the leader of the cool girls. She tells her friends that she's going to have the baby and keep it. It will be "cool", she says, going to high school with a baby. And soon, the others decide to do the same. They'll be free and get respect for a change. They can become legally emancipated, get an apartment and all live together with their babies. The babies will be the same age, so they'll go through school together in the same grade, they'll dominate the place.

One of the uncool girls who was always trying to join their group now does so by getting pregnant.

When parents demand the school do something, the nurse suggests they provide contraceptives.

"Why don't you get them a hotel room while you're at it!"

"They use drugs anyway---maybe we should hand those out, too!"

The school makes the kids watch a film showing the horror of childbirth. I saw one of those in junior high school. I think we played it much cooler than those French teenagers, at least until they got to the placenta.

"They think they can scare us!" says the leader of the girls.

The ringleader is expelled from school, something I don't think they could get away with here even if she were walking around convincing other girls to get pregnant.

The boys figure out what's going on and start refusing to sleep with the girls. One girl has trouble finding a boy even when she offers to pay them.

There's an Afghan war veteran walking around assuring people he doesn't have PTSD.

I don't think France ever comes out looking very good in the movies. Look at The 400 Blows, or just about any French crime movie. The French carried out their last execution by guillotine in 1978. While we were watching Star Wars and Smokey and the Bandit, they were chopping off people's heads. In the '50s, French doctors did experiments to see how long people remained conscious after being decapitated. They didn't abolish capital punishment until 1981.

Look at the subway chase in the movie Diva--as a cop runs after the fleeing postman, his policewoman partner yells, "Don't shoot!" Do French police have to be told not to shoot a fleeing unarmed person who, if I remember correctly, wasn't even suspected of a crime?

Look at Mr Hulot's Holiday. A French mother slaps her kid in the face for no reason.

I've never seen France look so bad. From what we see of the town in this movie, you'd never want to live there. All we see is relatively new, not very attractive buildings. My school cafeteria had more charm than theirs, except they had pitchers of milk on each table. The cool girls weren't as cruel and callous as the British, but they were worse than Italians or Norwegians.

The movie was pretty good, though, and, for a French movie about high school girls setting out to get pregnant, it was remarkably inoffensive.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Going Places

I saw this movie on HBO back when it was still called "Home Box Office". I was thirteen or fourteen and I was appalled. I was hoping they would kill those guys.

The movie is about a couple of violent French sex criminals going around robbing, raping and in a couple of cases, killing people. They sexually assault a woman who played the 6-year-old girl in Forbidden Games. They force a doctor to treat them then rob him by threatening his children.

And people claim this thing is an attack on "bourgeois morality". I have no idea what they mean by this. If anything, bourgeois morality looks pretty good after watching that scum.

Made in 1974. France carried it out its last execution by guillotine in 1978, so we can at least hope these two were hideously decapitated sometime after the end the of the movie. I'm opposed to capital punishment except for certain fictional characters.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Mark Borchardt, American Movie

I watched American Movie again, the documentary about Mark Borchardt. It reportedly covers a two year period, his setting out to make a feature called Northwestern. He has no money. We see him go through his mail. He has tax collectors after him, companies are threatening to sue him. He has a paper route at one point. He can't get money from his father to make the movie, so he works to raise money from his elderly uncle who is in bad health.

Borchardt's brothers are interviewed. One says that he would be best suited to working in a factory. They figured he would end up as a stalker. One mentions that he would tell them that he was going to get rich and would a millionaire some day, and that this just made them feel sorry for him. He had made little slasher films as a kid, and one said he couldn't figure out what appeal his movies would have with the public since he was having to compete with Hollywood.

The poor guy's situation seems hopeless. He had struggled with alcoholism and had been a pothead.

He starts production on Northwestern, realizes he's going to fail and decides to complete a short film he had started several years earlier called "Coven", about a guy who discovers that his AA group is actually a coven of devil worshipers----but he's a drug addict and a drunk, so his perceptions may be terribly skewed.

His plan is to sell 3,000 videocassettes of "Coven". This will make him enough money to produce the next movie, Northwestern.

I read an interview with him after American Movie came out. It sounded like he was on his way to selling that many cassettes of "Coven". But he had sold only 100 cassettes before the documentary was released, and a couple thousand after American Movie came out.


I was looking at Amazon after that. I looked at Robert Rodriguez's old book, Rebel Without a Crew, about the making of El Mariachi. I was able to read a little of it on the website.

In some ways, Rodriguez was in the same boat as Borchardt. He was studying film at a university far from Hollywood. He had worked two jobs while attending school. He wanted to make movies and would have to do it without money.
 
But Borchardt worked on his movie in the most public way possible. He was in his home town. His family and friends were all involved and a camera crew was there filming the whole thing. Rodriguez, on the other hand, left the country, filmed in Mexico, paid for it himself, and, as he put it, wanted to be able to "fail quietly". 

Rodriguez got his script completed, although he was making an action film---Borchardt's feature, Northwestern, seemed to be a drama. Rodriguez had a more realistic plan to make his money back---to sell the film to a Spanish language video distributor. Borchardt was going for self-distribution for "Coven"---I'm not sure if he could have done anything else with a short film.

Rodriguez just went out and did it. Maybe it was because he was in college and did this for his summer vacation. He had a strict time limit. He wanted to be able to come back to school, and when people asked what he did over the summer, tell them he made a foreign film.

I thought it sounded like Borchardt could do it. He wasn't shy. He got a cast together and had done this sort of thing before---he won an award for doing a Halloween radio play that's broadcast every year. He should have made the movie while he was in college competing with classmates.

But I look on imdb.com. "Coven" is his only director's credit. He's gotten a lot of work as an actor though, appearing with his friend, Mike Shank, on Family Guy and on David Letterman. He was clutching at straws when he made his movie, looking for a way out of his problems, and "Coven" provided it, just not in the way Borchardt originally planned.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Reviews of Young & Beautiful

So I read some reviews of Young & Beautiful.

Reminded me of what I read one time many years ago, long before the avalanche of internet pornography. They discussed how subjective the term "pornography" was. Researchers discovered that people were more likely to label a photograph "pornographic" if it was in black and white rather than color, and if the model in the photo was less attractive.

In the case of Young & Beautiful, critics see the fact that there was no explanation at all for the girl becoming a prostitute as a virtue and the nudity and explicitness of the sex scenes as a peculiarity of the French which only the most sophisticated Americans will understand. The fact that all the director does is make movies about teenage sex apparently makes him an auteur rather than a pervert. The little brother spying on his sister through binoculars, peeking in her room and watching her masturbate, and wanting her to tell him all about losing her virginity to a German tourist is seen as wholesome curiosity.

There's a scene where the girl, wanting to show how hypocritical the grown-ups are for not letting her be a prostitute, asks her stepfather if he's ever slept with a prostitute.

Instead of replying, "Good lord, no! Are you kidding?" he says, "That's none of your business!"

The rich people in the movie were all attractive. The maid and the cops were less attractive.

The movie should be a lesson in how to make the upper-class rubes think that your cheap exploitation movie is high brow cinema.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Young & Beautiful (2013)


It reminded me of The Unspeakable Act. French movie about a bourgeois 17-year-old girl who's very close with her 13-year-old brother who wants to hear all the details about her sleeping with a German youth while on vacation. But I'm not sure what their relationship is.  The brother watches her through his binoculars while she sunbathes topless, which I guess is considered normal there.

I didn't understand why the girl became a prostitute once they got back home.

Everybody's good-looking in this movie. The girl's step-father's good-looking in a scruffy French sort of way. She has sex with a couple of good-looking old guys. After an unfortunate incident, police go to her mother with proof of what she's been doing. Because of her age, she's a victim, not a perpetrator. She's grounded and has to see a psychologist, but she sulks through the rest of the movie because her mother won't let her be a prostitute.

The psychologist smiles too much and offers no insight as to why the girl would do this.

There's a lot of sex and nudity.

And then you have Charlotte Rampling's character, a good-looking old rich French woman who says that she wishes she had been a prostitute when she was young. What is wrong with these people? First of all, Charlotte could still find plenty of work as a prostitute if she wanted to. Watch the movie Barfly if you want to see what prostitutes look like. Being "young and beautiful" is not a requirement.

With Marine Vacth, Fatin Ravat and Geraldine Paihas among others.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

The Unspeakable Act (2013)

"One of the funny things about being in love with your brother is that you can say almost anything you want about him to anyone you want because no one wants to go there. People will bend over backwards to put the blandest possible interpretation on whatever you say."
The girl says this in her voice-over narration early in the movie, and she's right. I started watching this thing knowing it was about 17-year-old girl in love with her 18-year-old brother, but I assumed it was one of those movies about a quirky bourgeois family. They're rich. They're sort of quirky. The girl says she thought their money came from a trust fund, but she's not sure. She just seems to have a very close relationship with her brother.

But, as the girl goes into therapy, she realizes how screwed up she is and the movie seems fairly serious. She's made it clear that she wants actual incest from her brother. He refuses her advances, of course. He wants it to stop but doesn't know what to do without cutting off contact with her completely.

I thought the movie was pretty good. Written and directed by Dan Sallitt. Available on Fandor.

The movie looks great but was reportedly made for only $50 thousand.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Joan Rivers, the disadvantages of plastic surgery

About forty years ago, this joke was going around my school:
"Have you seen Helen Keller's house?"
"No."
"Neither has she!"
I don't think it worked with me, because I thought I might have seen Helen Keller's house on a vacation one time. When a kid named Peabody who went on to be student body president tried the joke on me, I said, "I think so. I'm not sure." And he said, "Neither has she!"

Helen Keller jokes were the cutting edge of humor when I was in the 5th grade. They were passe by the time I was in the 6th grade. But Joan Rivers was still making them 40 years later.

"HER ASS HAS MORE DENTS THAN HELEN KELLER'S CAR," Rivers rasped on her cable TV show.

I've said this before. If Rivers hadn't had all the surgery---if she just looked like an old woman---she might have had some appeal, shouting references to people and things that no one under 50 has ever heard of, in her horrible ugly voice.

I remember finding Joan Rivers funny about thirty-five years ago. I've just been increasingly repulsed by her since then, a vile, sadistic old woman celebrating the deaths of thousands of people in Gaza.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Joan Rivers

Joan Rivers has died not long after her disgusting comments about the Palestinian men women and children---nearly 500 children---slaughtered in Gaza by her fellow Jews. "They deserve to be dead," she said in her ugly, rasping voice. I saw someone defend her by suggesting that this was some sort of clever joke on her part. "That's what comedians do." They make disgusting racist comments that aren't funny and obviously aren't intended to be?

It reminds me of what Norman Finkelstein wrote after Christopher Hitchens' death. His comment was specific to Hitchens, but I think pretty much the same about Rivers:
I get no satisfaction from Hitchens's passing.
Although he was the last to know it, every death is a tragedy, if only for the bereft child--or, as in the case of Cindy Sheehan, bereft parent--left behind.
But, still, life is full of surprises.
No one should be too smug in his certitudes.
And if you've made a career of pissing on other people's mostly innocuous beliefs, should it surprise that outside the tiny tent called Vanity Fair, your memory stinks of urine?

Monday, September 1, 2014

Jim McBride, "Pictures from Life's Other Side"

I know a woman who went to Europe. Her first stop was Britain. She got off the plane. She was a young bohemian. The Brits searched her stuff. They found her diary in which she fantasized briefly about traveling through Europe earning money as a street musician (that wasn't her plan), and they deported her back to the United States.

In the documentary "Pictures from Life's Other Side", Jim McBride, his pregnant girlfriend and his girlfriend's pre-teen son drive cross country in 1971. They record themselves discussing how police will never find the marijuana hidden in the car. McBride thought that they'd never even suspect they had it. Unless they happened to listen to the tape.

As it happened, there were no cops in the movie.

I had seen McBride's previous movie, David Holzman's Diary. It was different, at least for the time, supposed to be a guy's film diary. But the acting was terrible and everything came across as fake.

This 1971 documentary was just disgusting. They had the ten- or twelve-year-old boy operating the camera, filming his mother naked in the motel room with her naked boyfriend. At one point, McBride spreads his leg and shakes his genitalia at the camera supposedly operated by a child. I hope that this movie was "docufiction" like the other one and that the kid was next door in his own room.

"I'm going to film you fucking," the child says in his English accent.

The boy was the only interesting one in the movie. He calls McBride "Daddy", but explains that he doesn't consider him part of his family. The little fellow pleasantly describes how he'll murder him as soon as he's 14 and big enough to kill a grown man. Kids always have mixed feelings about their mother's boyfriends.

According to the narration, McBride had to replace the battery for his camera, then he burnt out the motor. This saved them film and spared us from having to watch a large section of the trip. He didn't have any kind of spring driven camera as back-up? I would have had a Bell and Howell 70 on hand.

Today they'd be arrested for child abuse, but anyone with a camcorder and no taste could make the same movie today. There was no sign of any talent.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Wicked Blood---Little Miss Sunshine meets southern degenerate drug dealers


18-year-old Abigail Breslin (Little Miss Sunshine) stars in this thriller about a girl in an extended family of meth addicts, meth "cooks" and meth dealers. Filmed in Louisiana. Rather violent.

It was pretty good. Looks like it had a very limited theatrical release and then went straight to video.
 
Sort of a southern rural Fresh (1994). She rides around on her bicycle and uses her chess skills to plan her moves. A little like Walter White.

It turns out that it's unwise to use text messages to discuss criminal activities.

Jon Jost, streaming video

In May, on Jon Jost's blog Cinemaelectronica, someone commented:
Just a quick aside, have you ever been offered to have your films on MUBI or Fandor? They seem like they would be a great market and a possible source of income/attention.
to which Jost replied:
Fandor asked, and I might, later. For the moment I have most everything up to go on Vimeo and I will see how that goes. Thanks.
At least a couple of Mark Rappaport movies are on Fandor---Rock Hudson's Home Movies and From the Journal of Jean Seberg. Those are just two I noticed glancing through the site. I suppose that's where his other movies would have appeared if Ray Carney weren't clinging to them.

[Actually, several of Rappaport's films are on Fandor. I don't know what all he made, but my guess is that everything except the ones Carney swiped are on there.]

Jost has said he would arrange some crowd funding to have new prints made of Rappaport's films Carney won't give back but I haven't heard any more about it.

When I first heard about the Ray-Carney-stealing-Mark-Rappaport's-movies thing, I had this strange compulsion to side with Carney. Whatever the facts were, I assumed the issue would be resolved fairly quickly with Rappaport getting his stuff back---Carney would have to have something horribly wrong with him not to return the material.

Well, Carney does have something horribly wrong with him and he still has the stuff.

If everything Carney claimed was true, it wouldn't explain his conduct. I wonder if he has some sort of neurological disability.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Joan Rivers

When you're in your 80s, be aware that any public pronouncement you make could be your last. Don't reveal yourself to be a sadistic, blood-thirsty racist Jewish supremacist gloating over the slaughter of Palestinian men, women and nearly 500 children like Joan Rivers did.

Joan's in the hospital, reportedly in an induced coma after she stopped breathing.

Good luck to her. I guess. 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Films of Rick Schmidt

Started binge-watching Rick Schmidt movies on Fandor. They're pretty good. The fact that I've been able to binge watch them is a testament that.

They're such that when you watch them you feel that you could do it, too. I'm sure it's not as easy as it looks. But I look at my little point and shoot camera, and I look at the movies, and I think...

The movie Morgan's Cake was pretty good, starring Schmidt's then-17-year-old son, Morgan, deciding whether to register for the draft. I never registered. Nothing to it. A little odd that Schmidt films his son making out with his girlfriend and telling her an anecdote about his testicles. The movie looked pretty good considering it was filmed on analog video (I think it was Video8---they didn't have Hi8 yet) and transferred to 16mm black and white film (at a cost of $100 a minute according to his book). It would have been cheaper to shoot on film in the first place (depending on the shooting ratio) but he didn't have the money then and it would have been a different movie if he had.

Most of them are dialog movies. Many were produced as collaborative films by the workshops Schmidt runs. Some list other people as director. One is a Dogme 95 film.

In some of the movies, the conversations go on too long for my taste, or at least they stick to one subject longer than they should.

Schmidt had worked with Wayne Wang who went on to make Chan is Missing, The Joy Luck Club, Maid in Manhattan and many others. The film he and Schmidt made together, A Man, A Woman and a Killer, is on here, too.

I'm hoping that the films of Jon Jost will be available.

And Mark Rappaport's films, if that screwed up little freak Ray Carney would hand his stuff over.

Jost has said in his blog that he'll be arranging fundraising for new prints of Rappaport's films to be made. I'll pitch in a couple hundred bucks.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Rick Schmidt's films on Fandor

Several films of Rick Schmidt (author of Feature Filmmaking at Used Car Prices) are available now on Fandor. You have to subscribe. I did watch some previews. I watched a horrible scene of a child crying as he told the true story of his father's death while he was alone in the house with him.

I guess I need to sign up for Fandor.

Watched previews for his other movies. There are a number I hadn't heard of.

Morgan's Cake was about Schmidt's son, Morgan, deciding whether to register for the draft. According to his book, it was filmed on analog video and transferred to 16mm film. It looks okay considering. I don't think anyone has been prosecuted for failing to register for the draft in years. Even back then, they only went after you if you were an activist, and all you had to do was register and they'd drop the charges. But a high number of people failing to register makes bringing back the actual draft less likely.

Looking at other previews. Some look more interesting than others. Many of the movies listed on his website do not list him as director on Fandor---I assume these are collaborative movies he's made in his filmmaking seminars.


Sunday, August 17, 2014

The Eyes of Laura Mars

I haven't seen The Eyes of Laura Mars in thirty years. I didn't realize that the script was by John Carpenter. I had seen it on TV and I read the Mad Magazine version, "The Eyes of Lurid Mess".

Fashion photographer Laura Mars photographs models in violent scenes. Police notice that her photos resemble specific crime scene photos and she has psychic visions, viewing crimes through the eyes of the killer.

Made in 1978. Disco era. At the time, I thought the movie was well-made and sophisticated. It still comes across that way. Made for $7 million, a modest budget, equal to about $25 million in today's money. How did they get so much more for their money back then?

With Faye Dunaway in the title role and a young Tommy Lee Jones. With Rene Auberjonois and Raul Julia,

Laura Mars uses only 35mm cameras but makes huge enlargements.

I think it's nice that Laura Mars has an AMC Matador station wagon.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Nymphomaniac Vols. 1 & 2


There was Samuel Fuller's 1964 film, The Naked Kiss. An ex-prostitute becomes a pediatric nurse and gets engaged to the hospital's wealthy benefactor. She finds out he's a pedophile. He tells her that that's why he wants to marry her----she's abnormal, too. A prostitute. She can understand him. (She doesn't. She kills him.)

A scene in Lars Von Trier's Nymphomaniac reminded me of that movie. There's a flashback where Charlotte Gainsbourg tells dirty stories to a partially unclothed man being held down and forced to listen. She's trying to find out what his perversion is. He becomes visibly aroused when she tells a story of pedophilia. But she feels sorry for him and performs an oral act of love on him.

Back in the present, she explains that the guy deserved credit for having never acted on his abnormal impulses, and she felt for him since she was a nympho and wasn't exactly normal herself.

I watched Nymphomaniac Vols. 1 & 2, now available for instant viewing on Netflix.

The movie features Charlotte Gainsbourg as a 40-year-old nymphomaniac. After she gets beaten up and left in an alley, an intellectual takes her up to his room and hears her life story. Her life as a nymphomaniac which we see in flashback.

Most of the scenes have only two people, either talking or having sex.

It bothers me that foreign filmmakers now feel compelled to make their movies in English. Here they speak in English accents. Phony English accents, many of them. Shia LeBeouf appears in it. I think it's the first movie I've seen him in, and he was okay, but I don't know what all the fuss is.

I felt like a bit of a naif watching. It turns out that if a girl asks you where the bathroom is on a train, it means she wants to have sex with you in the bathroom. It's something that would have never occurred to me, but the English seem hip to it.

Nymphomania apparently leaves the poor girl little time for anything else although she manages to parlay her nymphomania into a career or sorts.

The thing that bothered me is that they talk quietly in one scene then have loud sex in the next. If you're watching it in your room in a house with other people, you have to turn the sound up to hear the dialog, then turn it down quick so people don't think you're in there watching porno.

Robin Williams

The first thing I remember seeing Robin Williams in was a brief resurrection of the show Laugh-In in the late '70s. In one brief gag, he played a yokel thrilled to meet Frank Sinatra. He talks to the camera to tell his wife, "Sell my clothes! I'm going to heaven!"

I remember when Alan Alda beat him for an Emmy for most talented guy on TV. This was during the Mork and Mindy years. I was surprised. Alan Alda? I figured he must have been doing an awful lot behind the scenes that nobody outside the industry knew about.

I've never understood people's reaction to suicide. There are people who are outraged by it. I've heard people claim it was "selfish" or was "the coward's way out", as if it were perfectly logical, based on a cost-benefit analysis. Like we'd ALL commit suicide if we had any sense.

But Williams was 63. His death was a shock. There was nothing to prepare us. He wasn't Shia LeBeouf acting out in public. There was no logic to it. His life should have been great. But they're reporting that he was battling severe depression. He had had a drug problem and, according to one report, relapsed after many years of sobriety.



Sunday, August 10, 2014

Adore (2013)


Incest in disguise is common enough in movies. There's The Graduate and Blame it on Rio.

I'm sitting here watching this thing on Netflix. Adore. Made in 2013. Naomi Watts, Robin Wright.

About two women sleeping with each others' 20-year-old son.

It's perverse, but not perverse enough. The guys playing the sons are bodybuilder surfer types and it's hard to imagine them feeling any strong emotion. The mothers wear two piece swimsuits. They're too bourgeois. If they were hillbillies, it might have been pretty good.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

What's wrong with former child stars

Okay, this is probably it. This is what's wrong with former child stars who go bad. Hollywood doesn't do them to it. It's not early fame.

Here it is:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/08/01/middle-school-cool-kids-study_n_5640070.html

A university study followed "cool kids" in middle school for ten years, from age 13 to 23.
Through a series of interviews and surveys, the researchers found that the 'cool' kids in middle school were more likely to have engaged in romantic behavior at young ages, participated in delinquent activity and picked friends based on their levels of physical attractiveness.
Basically, they were "cool" because they did things in middle school---dating, drinking, experimenting with drugs---that most kids didn't do until high school. But when they got to high school and EVERYONE did this stuff (if they wanted to), the cool kids tried to be even more extreme.
“It appears that while so-called cool teens’ behavior might have been linked to early popularity, over time, these teens needed more and more extreme behaviors to try to appear cool, at least to a subgroup of other teens,” study author Dr. Joseph P. Allen, a psychology professor at the University of Virginia, said in a press release. “So they became involved in more serious criminal behavior and alcohol and drug use as adolescence progressed. These previously cool teens appeared less competent -- socially and otherwise -- than their less cool peers by the time they reached young adulthood.” 
It came to me watching the first audition film of Jean-Pierre Leaud for Francois Truffaut's The 400 Blows. Truffaut reportedly got a letter from Jean-Pierre's principal warning him that the kid was a brat. He would hang around with older kids and run around off campus (this was at a boarding school). They kept catching him with dirty magazines. He was hard for teachers to deal with.

That was when he was fourteen. From the audition film:
"How old are you?"

"I am fourteen."

"It's a bit old."

"I'm not that tall."

"You look twelve?"

"I think so."
So who were these high school kids hanging around with little Jean-Pierre when he looked 12? The study noted that the "cool kids" in middle school tended to hang around with older high school kids. But, since high school kids usually don't like hanging around with middle schoolers, they were hanging around with the dregs of high school which screwed them up even further.

I should note that, as far as I know, Jean-Pierre Leaud turned out okay. Although I did hear he was high on drugs the whole time he was filming Luc Moullet's A Girl is a Gun

In a way, I feel a little better knowing that the cool kids went on to lead miserable lives. Although it wasn't universal---some of them turned out just fine---and it was no picnic for those of us who weren't cool, either. And you shouldn't have to pay the rest of your life just because you were popular at 13.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

"Orlando Bloom" goes home in disgrace

Middle-aged cuckold "Orlando Bloom" arrived late for a star-studded party in Ibiza for fashion designer Riccardo Tisci. Justin Bieber was already inside. "Orlando" went mincing up to the door but was turned away because of his history of hissy fits.

Last time, "Orlando" ineffectually tried to punch Bieber who effortlessly avoided the blow and held "Orlando" off until he finally went mincing back to his table, humiliated.

And "Orlando" is proud of this! “Everyone keeps telling me I’m their hero,” he effeminately told reporters.

Here's a recent video from TMZ of "Orlando":

http://youtu.be/u6WcSuiT38A

This is a middle-aged man acting this way.


Thursday, July 31, 2014

Justin Bieber vs Orlando Bloom

Pathetic middle-aged cuckold "Orlando Bloom" with his wife,
Miranda Kerr, who also happened to sleeping with Justin Bieber.

I guess I'm pro-Justin Bieber. I don't think I've ever heard the boy's music, but first he was attacked by bloated Zionist Seth Rogen. Rogen looks like a fat version of child rapist Bryan Singer and hangs around with admitted internet predator, James Franco. You can't even say his name, Seth Rogen, without sounding like you have a speech impediment.

Now a creepy middle-aged British "actor" called "Orlando Bloom" tried to punch Justin but effeminately missed and hit his bodyguard who was apparently just amused at how girlishly ineffectual "Orlando" was and didn't slug him.

Apparently "Orlando" had his panties in a bunch because Bieber slept with his wife, Miranda Kerr. Kerr could hardly stand to look at her "husband" after being in the arms of a real man and wisely divorced him.

The middle-aged British cuckold, who looks even older than he really is, tried to get even by hitting on Mouseketeer Selena Gomez but the horrified girl naturally rejected him. Obviously creeped out, she had to publicly deny rumors SOMEONE was spreading that they were a couple.

"Orlando" is a member of a quasi-Buddhist religious cult. It's the Scientology of Japan. They don't believe in any of the principles of Buddhism, but they think you can get anything you want by chanting "Nam myoho renge kyo".

I had some of the idiots from that cult try to recruit me before. Strangely, they all had speech impediments. And they told terrible stories.

One said that they were "protected". A group of cult members missed their plane, and it crashed killing everyone on board. Another said that there were some cult members who needed money, so they chanted for it, and then they got word that a relative had died and left them just the amount of money they needed!

"That's monstrous!" I said.

"Oh, it was some relative they didn't know very well," she said.

She then told me about some cult members whose children suffered a series of accidents and serious health problems, one after another, but, because they chanted, the children didn't actually die.

This is the idiot cult "Orlando" joined.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Against a Crooked Sky

This was a 1970s family film, produced by a company called Doty-Dayton in Utah. It was a western about a boy who searches for his sister who has been abducted by a strange tribe of Indians with gold headbands.

In the opening scene of Against a Crooked Sky, we see a teenage farm boy frolicking with his favorite farm animal, a suckling calf. He stops to spy on his teenage sister who is swimming naked in a pond. Then he dresses the calf in her clothes.

What does this add up to? What were they suggesting?

If it had been a Luis Buñuel movie, what would it have been suggesting?

The difference is that the perversity in Buñuel's movie was an affectation. The surrealists studied psychological symbolism and injected it into their movies. Here, it was completely sincere. The Mormon producers were oblivious to the meaning of what was spewing from their subconscious minds.

Obviously, the farmboy was so turned on by his nude sister that he wanted to dress the calf up like her while having sex with it.

Later, when the brother and sister try to flee the Indians, he slows them down because he didn't want to leave his sex calf behind. The girl might have gotten away otherwise.

When he begins his search, he encounters Richard Boone at his most repulsive. Boone keeps talking about the time he murdered his son by slitting his throat, reflecting the Oedipal conflict between the two. Boone even mentions how good-looking his son was. When Boone says, "He took after his ma", it has more than one possible meaning.

I'm probably making it sound more interesting than it was. It was just terrible. It's public domain if anyone wants to do a remake.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

That airliner shot down in Ukraine

Many years ago, I was sitting up late one night watching C-Span in a motel room on the coast. Joseph Heller and Kurt Vonnegut were being interviewed on stage. And Heller said that, whenever there's a disagreement between the U.S. government and a foreign government over some matter of fact, the United States government is lying.

And, yeah, it's true. I can't think of an instance where this hasn't been the case.

Keep it in mind when you look at the business over the Ukraine. I don't know what the truth is. But I wouldn't take the word of Obama or the puppet government in Ukraine.

Seymour Hersch has already exposed Obama's lies about the chemical weapon attack in Syria. Obama instantly declared that it the Syrian government that did it, but the CIA and U.S. military intelligence determined it was carried out by the "rebels" as a false flag attack to get the U.S. to start bombing.

Now the same thing has happened. Obama instantly announced that the rebels in Eastern Ukrainians were responsible.

The Malaysian airliner deviated from its course so it went over territory controlled by rebels. And Ukrainian air traffic controllers ordered the airliner to fly at a lower altitude. The Malaysians have demanded an explanation for this, the Ukrainians haven't answered.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Shia LaBeouf arrested again

I know it's wrong, but I hate Shia LaBeouf.

I don't mind that he disrupted a performance of Cabaret, but he attacked a homeless man and tried to steal his property. I hope the guy press charges and sues him.

The Disney kids all end up this way. I don't know if it's worse for the boys or the girls.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Pope excommunicates mafia

I always wondered what was wrong with the Catholic Church, allowing all that mafia scum in their church. The Pope just said the mafia is ex-communicated. The subhumans had murdered two three-year-olds in two months. Both were shot through the head.

Apparently the Vatican bank had been laundering mafia money and the Pope's been cleaning that up, too.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Kramer vs Kramer

Man, I hate that movie. Dustin Hoffman at his worst. It's on TV in the next room. Why does he call his child "you little shit"? This is a thing to say? No wonder the movie hasn't been seen in years.

There was a commercial on TV for frozen waffles or something that recreated the scene where Dustin Hoffman makes french toast. They even played vaguely similar music. Like the Liquid Plumber commercial where two plumbers who vaguely resemble Siskel and Ebert discuss Liquid Plumber brand drain cleaner.

Justin Henry was nominated for an Oscar, lost, and he didn't do much since then acting-wise. He's 43 and more successful than me, so I'm not putting him down for only being NOMINATED for an Oscar.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

All of a sudden Obama doesn't want to start bombing

Well, that's very strange.

ISIS, a terrorist organization that was criticized by Al Qaeda for being too violent, is about to take over Iraq, an ally of the United States. And, for the very first time since taking office, Obama's not sure if he wants to start bombing. The guy was in office one or two days when he committed his first murder by drone.

The U.S. was allied with Al Qaeda, groups associated with Al Qaeda and groups indistinguishable from Al Quaeda in Syria and Libya. And now in Iraq. I don't know if they're clever or stupid, but unless U.S. policy is to simply cause death and chaos in as many places as possible, it's not working.

Iraq hasn't been taking orders from the U.S. They haven't joined in the war against Syria and they've allowed Iran to fly over Iraq to reach Syria. Could this be the reason Obama wants to see Iraq destroyed? He wants to destroy any county he can't control?

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Evel Knievel

When I was seven or eight, we knew this kid whose teenage brother drove around in an old late '50s Dodge or Plymouth. It had tail fins. I liked it.

We thought his brother was cool because he ran a red light and spun out in an intersection. It wasn't until many years later that I realized he was just a terrible driver.

It was while I was contemplating this that it dawned on me that Evel Knievel was a terrible daredevil and that breaking 433 bones wasn't really an achievement.

Why was he so popular? There were Evel Knievel action figures.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Seth Rogen, Justin Bieber, Newt Gingrich

Seth Rogen----he's like Newt Gingrich.

Newt shut down the government, then looked like a jerk when he said he was doing it because Bill Clinton made him sit in the back of Air Force One when Clinton have him a free ride to Yitzak Rabin's funeral. It made Newt look like he was bringing down a nation because the president didn't grovel at his feet.

And now you have Seth Rogen. I assumed he was concerned about public safety when he started attacking Justin Bieber, or that he was concerned about the restaurant employees after the boy went to the bathroom in a mop bucket.

But, no. He's just mad because Justin, when he was thirteen or fourteen, failed to adequately gush over Rogen when he met him backstage on a German TV show.

How excited are you SUPPOSED to be to meet Seth Rogen?

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Pervert's Guide to Ideology

Apparently it's common in film and literature for rich people, when suffering some life crisis, to latch, vampire-like, onto members of the lower classes to absorb their vitality. That's why the movie Titanic was reactionary in spite of its seeming sympathy for the working class.

I learned this from Slavoj Žižek in the documentary The Pervert's Guide to Ideology. Apparently the word "pervert" in the title is used as psychoanalytic term with a somewhat different meaning.

I watched a clip of Žižek on the Charlie Rose show. He compared Titanic to Captains Courageous.

He pointed out, as others have, that the song "Climb Every Mountain" in the Sound of Music was Mother Superior telling a novice to seduce her employer and steal him away from her fiancee. He discussed this as being reflective of actual Catholicism.

Also went into The Last Temptation of Christ, Taxi Driver, The Searchers, Full Metal Jacket and others. It started with They Live, giving it a deeper analysis that you might expect.