Sunday, August 30, 2015

Just a Kirk Cameron thing

I was slightly acquainted with a guy long ago. He had become a Christian which is fine. But he was thirty and all the Christian literature he had was written for teenagers. He had a stack of tracts on the importance of obeying his parents and teachers and rules for dating. He used this stuff to proselytize his thirty-year-old friends. He was probably older than the youth ministers he was hanging around. I wondered how they reacted to him.

I get that impression with Kirk Cameron. He doesn't seem very bright and he doesn't seem to have advanced beyond the material used to convert him when he was a teenager. He "disproved" evolution on Fox News by holding up a picture of a "crocoduck"--half-crocodile, half duck:
"Nothing becoming something, blowing up in becoming an organized everything, just doesn't fit logic to me. Plus, Darwin said, in order to prove evolution, which is the number one alternative to God, you've got to be able to prove transitional forms—one animal transitioning into another—and all through the fossil record, we don't find one of these [holds up photoshopped photo], a crocoduck."
I can't imagine an adult being amused or impressed by this.

Richard Dawkins responded:
'Why doesn't the fossil record contain a fronkey?' Well, of course, monkeys are not descended from frogs. No sane evolutionist ever said they were, or that ducks are descended from crocodiles or vice versa. Monkeys and frogs share an ancestor, which certainly looked nothing like a frog and nothing like a monkey. Maybe it looked a bit like a salamander, and we do indeed have salamander-like fossils dating from the right time. But that is not the point. Every one of the millions of species of animals shares an ancestor with every other one. If your understanding of evolution is so warped that you think we should expect to see a fronkey and a crocoduck, you should also wax sarcastic about the absence of a doggypotamus and an elephanzee. Indeed, why limit yourself to mammals? Why not a kangaroach (intermediate between kangaroo and cockroach), or an octopard (intermediate between octopus and leopard)? There's an infinite number of animal names you can string together in that way.
What is Cameron? About fifty?


A Simple Game of Catch


There's a scene in A Simple Game of Catch where we hear Chazz's voice on the phone with her mother telling her that she can't see people's faces---they're just silhouettes. I took this to be a reference to the theme song in Midnight Cowboy. Nilsson can't see their faces, only the shadows of their eyes.

The movie was reportedly shot in four days with no budget and a one man crew. It's just under an hour long, mostly in one apartment. A young woman, a recent college graduate, has moved to New York from Pittsburgh. She's unemployed, lonely, and keeps embarrassing herself in conversations with strangers. She responds to an ad on Craigslist and annoys a man trying to sell a couch. She phones a bewildered classmate from the 4th grade she locates online. But she won't return her mother's calls.

It was pretty good, really. Having music on the soundtrack helped a lot. A lot of zero-budget movies don't.

Available on Fandor.

I've never understood people going to New York. If you can make it there, you'll make it anywhere, so why not make it somewhere you would actually want to live? Pittsburgh wasn't big enough for her?

I saw a story on a TV news magazine---a family moved to Los Angeles so their teenage daughter could pursue a singing career. They were from New England. They were a short distance from several huge cities. Those weren't good enough for them? And anyway, Justin Bieber was from a little town in Canada, Hanson was from Oklahoma City. I knew an aspiring writer who thought he had to move to New York so he would be close to the publishers. I pointed out that it was small, economically depressed towns with low costs of living that artists and writers flocked to.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

I ate at Subway

I went to Subway. There's one a block and a half away. I couldn't think of what else to eat. So I go in there and there's the same guy working who was there last time I went in. He has short black hair and is unshaven. He looks like a university student, and he's strangely fat. I imagine he was athletic until recently, but now he's put on a lot of weight, but it hasn't affected his appearance from the neck up. He has an overweight body but a normal neck and head. It looks weird.

He asks a lot of questions in a loud voice but he's not being friendly or trying to make conversation. 

"I'LL BE WITH YOU IN A MINUTE, MAN." After a minute. "WHAT CAN I GET FOR YOU, MAN."

I ordered.

"WHAT KIND OF CHEESE, MAN?"

I told him.

"YOU WANT IT TOASTED, MAN?"

Yes.

"WHAT ARE YOU UP TO, MAN?"

Nothing.

"YOU SEE ANY GOOD MOVIES LATELY, MAN?"

No.

"WHAT VEGGIES YOU WANT, MAN?"

I told him.

"FOR HERE OR TO GO, MAN?"

To go. I paid him.

"YOU'RE SET TO GO, MAN."

I'm not going back there again.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Jared Fogle

He wasn't much of a celebrity. He lost a lot of weight but was still in lousy shape. He was no Jack LaLanne. His only talent was looking bland and not being dangerously obese and he managed to turn that into a career.

When he was fat, he would eat alone because he didn't want people to know how much he ate. Yet he talked freely about preying on children. He talked for years to a journalist about the sex crimes he committed and the sex crimes he wanted to commit. She secretly recorded their conversations for the FBI and is now talking about some of the details. At least two Subway employees reportedly alerted the company about what he was up to, but they ignored them.

Now he's under house arrest until sentencing in November. The minimum sentence is five years. Prosecutors have agreed not to ask for more than 12 years, but the judge could ignore that and sentence him to up to 50 years.

I just hope he won't still be rich when he gets out of prison.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Russian cops raid "Church" of Scientology

Police in Russia have done what cops here should have done a long time ago.

They got reports that the the "Church" of Scientology had hidden video cameras and microphones in the rooms where people were "audited". They were using them to record blackmail material on their members.

Police raided the "church" in January and now reports are coming out about what they found.
Initial reports about a search being made in the Church of Scientology headquarters in the center of the Russian capital emerged in late January.
LifeNews media outlet reports that a search warrant was issued after police received a tip that a variety of recording devices, including microphones and cameras, had been secretly installed in the Church of Scientology and routinely used by its member.
Technical devices have been allegedly detected in rooms where confidential conversations with people – so-called 'auditing' – took place, LifeNews reported. Aсcording to its police sources, Moscow's Church of Scientology recorded interviews between visitors and auditors allegedly to later blackmail the former.
A police source told RIA Novosti that “most probably, the recordings were later analyzed to reveal a ‘touchy subject’ of wealthy visitors and to hold it against them. Possibly also to blackmail, which now is the subject of an investigation.”
 ...
“Signs of a destructive, totalitarian sect have been found in their activities,” a former employee of the department for combating organized crime in Moscow, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told LifeNews.
“This sect does not give one any freedom of choice. People are given no chance to leave. They are being kept on a short leash instead, constantly put under pressure. A person becomes dependent on the sect members by virtue of the information that he had given them,” the source added.
http://www.rt.com/news/312721-scientology-church-moscow-spying/

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Bruce Jenner, Can't Stop the Music, Sandy Vietze


Now that Bruce Jenner has become a woman, I decided to watch Can't Stop the Music starring Bruce Jenner and the Village People. Available for instant viewing on Netflix.

In one scene, Jenner storms out of a disco party. Valerie Perrine doesn't understand.
"This is the best party we've had in weeks. Why are you leaving so early?"

"Let's put it this way. Your friends are a little far out for me."

"What do you mean?"

"I don't understand why a good-looking girl like you is down here in the Village with a bunch of---I don't know what!"

"You know something. I don't judge people. I accept them. There's no person who breathes who doesn't have certain peculiarities and as long as it doesn't hurt anybody, it's all right with me."

"Yeah, but where do you draw the line?"

"With uptight squares like you!"
Steve Guttenberg smiles way too much. With Paul Sand, Marilyn Sokol. Directed by Nancy Walker.

It might make an interesting double feature with Party Monster starring Macaulay Culkin.


Seeing Jenner in his first movie made me think of poor Sandy Vietze, the teen skier whose Olympic dreams were shattered when he got drunk and went to the bathroom on an 11-year-old girl on a Jet Blue flight. He stood in the aisle, thought he was in the bathroom and proceeded to urinate on the girl's leg. That was in August 2011, so we're at the four year anniversary.

Sandy is now 22 and on the University of Vermont ski team. I don't know how the poor girl and her family fared. Her father was a stage 4 cancer patient at the time.

If you do an image search for Vietze, you'll also get a lot of pictures of Gerard Depardeieu who had a similar mishap a short time after Vietze did that terrible thing. Poor Gerard had prostate trouble and was left with little choice but to relieve himself in the aisle of an airliner awaiting take-off.

Even now, if you do a news search on Google, you find stories from 2011 about Vietze's Jet Blue incident.

I don't know what Vietze's hopes and dreams were. His parents paid over $40 thousand a year for him to attend the Green Mountain Valley School Ski Academy. He wanted to be in the Olympics. I don't know if he hoped to parlay that into something more profitable. There's not much money in just being in the Olympics. His parents threw away a fortune if all he's going to do is ski.


Saturday, August 15, 2015

What kind of an idiot actor would get a tattoo?

Tattoos are idiotic. They all look like crap. Some people get what they imagine are tasteful little classy tattoos. They still look like crap.

If your tattoo is going to appear in a movie, you'll need a release signed by the tattoo "artist". In fact, you have to have a release signed every time you get a role---production companies each want their own. Make-up won't completely cover them and it takes hours and costs a lot for them to try covering them.

Justin Bieber is a lovely boy who appeared in a couple of episodes of a TV cop show and is actually a pretty good actor. But now he's plastered with tattoos and that career's been closed off to him. Of course, not many young men want to be "lovely boys" and that might explain why Bieber decided to horribly disfigured himself.

And being tattoo-free would be a boon to a career in pornography.

Obnoxious Hollywood moron Shia LaBeouf is now walking about with some crude-looking tattoos on his thighs. Marlon Brando would show up on movie sets without pants---he was terribly overweight and only wanted to be filmed from the waist up. Maybe LaBeouf doesn't want his thighs being shown on screen.
My God, that guy's an idiot.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

A Simple Plan, Blue Ruin, Blue is the Warmest Color

Watched a few movies. The reader probably knows more about them than I do. I quit trying to keep up with current or recent movies a long time ago.

A Simple Plan. A rural thriller. Housing is cheaper in small towns but I think the director, California millionaire Sam Rami, overestimated what impoverished country folk could afford. But the movie was pretty good. Three guys decide to keep a large sum of money they discover in the wreckage of a small airplane they find in the snow. What could go wrong. It was pretty good. Available for instant viewing on Netflix.

Blue Ruin. Another rural thriller. Reportedly funded by Kickstarter. Starts out simple enough---a homeless guy sets out to murder the man who's just getting out of prison for murdering his (the homeless guy's) father. Things become more complicated. With Eve Plumb, TV's Jan Brady. It was pretty good. Very violent. Available for instant viewing on Netflix

Blue is the Warmest Color. Man, that movie had a lot of sex. About lesbians. A teenage girl (played by a grown woman) hooks up with an older artist. In one scene, the teenage girl is attacked by classmates who accuse her of being a homosexual. As often happens in French movies, the French don't seem nearly as sophisticated as you'd expect. There were big anti-same-sex marriage protests in France not long ago, but I still would have expected French high school girls to be more open-minded about it. For one thing, the French make movies like this. Don't know what I think about the film, really. Stars the girl from the Swiss movie Sister. Available for instant viewing on Netflix.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

A Shock to the System, Michael Caine, 1990

 
It made me think of 30 Rock. How did they make Jack Donaghy sympathetic?

A Shock to the System stars Michael Caine as a successful New York ad executive who starts killing people when he's passed over for promotion. I can't say I approve, especially him murdering his wife simply because she pressured him to make more money. But it's hard to get upset about callous executives being murdered by a slightly more sympathetic executive who didn't get the promotion he was expecting. I'm sure I'm judging these people too harshly.
 
Had a Columbo-like but unamusing detective who's onto him. And I guess I can tell you that the murders are Columbo-like, too. He doesn't just gun people down like a normal person.

imdb.com quotes Caine from an interview in Venice magazine: "That was a lovely little film, but it was too small for its own good, really. It got lost. It was the sort of film, were it made today, that would be great as a film for HBO, or something. But at the time, it just got lost in the system". It was made for theatrical release but went straight to video in some markets.

Available on Fandor.