I'm on a movie-watching tear so far this April! Here's the first batch of films seen.
46. (1105.) Dreamgirls (2006)
I didn't like it. I'd rather not spend three hours of my time with a bunch of people finding old and unexciting ways to ruin their own lives. (And if I want to hear a Supremes pastiche, I'll just listen to The Supremes.) Eddie Murphy is the highlight, and he kills himself. I didn't blame him.
47. (1106.) Journal of a Crime (1934)
A housewife is unable to come to terms with someone else paying the price for the crime she committed. The best part is her confession to the scapegoat that ends up making her feel worse. Good crime melodrama!
48. (1107.) Easy to Love (1934)
Screwball comedy about a wife who cheats on her cheating husband and the ensuing hijinks. Cute. Like Journal of a Crime, the brevity of this film (just over an hour) keeps it from dragging.
49. (1108.) Five Deadly Venoms (1978)
The last apprentice of a kung-fu Master has to track down his five previous students — each trained in a different deadly animal-inspired style — and stop them from destroying the Master's legacy. Where has this movie been all my life?! Really, really fun.
50. (1109.) Woman of the Year (1942)
The first Katharine Hepburn/Spencer Tracy pairing. Hepburn comes off great (no surprise if you read the title), leaving the audience wondering what she sees in Tracy's chauvinistic sports reporter. They do have good screen chemistry, though.
More to come.
Today is the University of Georgia's annual G-Day
game practice, the unofficial start of the 2017 hype season. This marks Kirby Smart's second year as head coach. You may recall he was hired to take the team to the next level after Athletic Director Greg McGarity lost faith in Mark Richt. Let's just say that year one wasn't everything Bulldog Nation hoped it would be.
So how does Smart kick off year two? By demanding that the media not report on injuries unless he gives permission. Even if the player breaks his leg in front of a television camera.
What the fuck, Kirby?
Hey, man, I get it. You're a tin-pot dictator who gets paid millions of dollars a year to boss around children. That shit goes to your head. Last year, you somehow convinced the Georgia State legislature to pass a law allowing you to extend delays in responding to open records requests from three days to three months. It's only logical that the next step in your plan for world domination would be to refuse the release of any information at all.
The only question I have is how is this media gag order supposed to help UGA win football games? Did the Bulldogs go 4-4 in SEC games last year because our opponents knew Jacob Eason was a Freshman? Did Vanderbilt get its 3rd win versus Georgia in 22 tries because reporters told them ahead of time that the Bulldogs couldn't stop a 75-yard drive in the final quarter? Did Tennessee's Hail Mary to defeat Georgia with only zeroes showing on the clock happen because they'd read news reports about the secondary's practice habits in the week prior to the game? As I recall, it was Nick Chubb's mother who released information about the extent of his knee injury in 2015, by the way. Good luck stopping her from talking to the press in 2017, Coach.
Hey, sports reporters, if you see something, say something. I have a hunch you'll still have a job in two years. Coach Smart I'm not so sure about.
A man was run over by a deer on April Fool's Day. This is not a joke. I never joke about deer.
The man, one Cary McCook, had just gotten out of his truck and was minding his own business when he was hit by the deer. He wasn't in the middle of a forest, either, but was standing in front of a hotel. Nowhere is safe from the Great Deer Uprising, people!
However, this wasn't a premeditated mugging. It happens that this time, the deer was fleeing man's best friend. Good dog! That means that Mr. McCook wasn't a target as much as he was collateral damage. There's friendly fire in all wars.
First bigfeet joined humanity's opposition to our deer oppressors (as we learned last month), and now, dogs. That's both ends of the animal kingdom. What's next? Ticks?
The tide is turning against you, deer. Give up while you still can.
Feast-er your eyes on this vintage Coca-Cola advertisement from 1958:
I learned from Alice in Wonderland not to trust any grinning white rabbits.
But I'd still drink his Coke.
Six Flags, the United Airlines of theme parks, is getting an early start this year. It's still spring, and already they've got trouble. This time, the broken ride was the Joker's Jinx at Six Flags America leaving 24 riders stuck for 3 hours.
It seems like just last year that I was railing against Six Flag's themed rides that glorify a psychopathic serial mass murderer. My opinion hasn't changed. You mess with the Joker, you get murdered. Or stuck 100 feet in the air for hours, whichever comes first.
Movies watched in March, 3 of 3:
40. (1099.) The Jackie Robinson Story (1950)
Jackie Robinson plays himself, St. Jackie Robinson, in this sanitized true story. You won't be surprised if I tell you that Robinson was a better ball player than an actor.
41. (1100.) Anchors Aweigh (1945)
Like Brigadoon, something about this film left me cold, though I did greatly enjoy some of the more inventive cinematography, like the piano concert filmed through transparent keyboards. However, I definitely prefer Sinatra movies where Frank doesn't sing (and Gene Kelly isn't a sexist pig).
42. (1101.) Test Pilot (1938)
Myrna Loy makes this sad/sappy love story work thanks to her ability to deliver the snappiest of dialog with a sly wink and a nod. She's still the best! (Side note: No offense to Ms. Loy, but I just can't accept than any woman as smart and sure as her would instantly fall for the sort of cocky, selfish cads that Clark Gable generally plays. Aw, what am I talking about? These days, we'd elect him president.)
43. (1102.) Tammy (2014)
This was designed to be a girly equivalent of a raunchy buddy road comedy, but it's soaked with a chick flick's treacly sentimentality that generate sympathy for the characters and prevent the rougher humor from getting the laughs it should. The highlight is Kathy Bates, who arrives for the third act and steals every scene she's in from stars Melissa McCarthy and Susan Sarandon.
44. (1103.) Scanners (1981)
Nope, I'd never seen Scanners. Here's a textbook example of a movie with script problems. The final hero/villain confrontation is very clumsy with exposition that really should have been handled (or at least hinted at) earlier. However, the gory special effects are a lot of fun, and sometimes that's enough.
45. (1104.) Bureau of Missing Persons (1933)
Whoa, the first half of this movie was exactly the movie I wanted it to be as we followed around the detectives in a police department like a lighthearted Dragnet. Then it turned into a dumb crime/love story. Still, not bad. Not bad at all.
More to come.
Given that earlier this week we saw the Republican majority in the Senate change their own rules to allow them to steal a seat on the Supreme Court, it might be interesting to note that the 17th Amendment to the Constitution became law on this day in 1913. The 17th Amendment calls for Senators to be elected by the people, not appointed by the state legislatures. Try and imagine something like that passing in 2017.
Amending the Constitution requires a 2/3 vote in both houses of Congress. These days, votes are taken almost strictly down party lines. Unless one party or another gains 2/3 of both the House and Senate, modifying the Constitution is impossible. (Perhaps that's why the Republicans deny global warming exists. If they can stall long enough, the liberal coasts will be underwater, and they'll be free to do whatever they want.)
The last Constitutional Amendment to be successfully ratified was the 27th, adopted in 1992. That might seem kind of recent until you realize that the amendment was first proposed as part of the original Bill of Rights in 1789. It had to wait 202 years before final adoption. What does the 27th Amendment do? It prevents Congress from doing the only thing it's likely to agree on: giving itself a pay raise.
At the current level of partisanship in this country, it might be 202 years until we see them agree on anything else.
It's true what they say: Rome didn't fall in a day.
Cherry Coke finally reached China last month, and Coca-Cola promoted its launch with cans featuring a caricature of billionaire investor Warren Buffett.
Stop and think about that. If you put Warren Buffett's face on something in America, no one would even know who the hell he was. ("Steve Martin sure got old!") Name one person from China whose face might influence you to buy a product. Take your time. I'll wait.
The reason I mention this is not to denigrate Americans — they don't need me for that; they're doing so well themselves — is because of how Bloomberg News reported it.
At his company's annual meeting last year, [Buffett] said his happiness from drinking soda outweighs health benefits from eating more vegetables.
That must have been painful to publish. Bloomberg's founder and owner, Michael Bloomberg, is behind the nationwide push to tax sodas. According to Warren Buffett, that's the same as taxing happiness. (I bet nobody's taxing broccoli.) Whose word are you going to take for that? I know who the Chinese trust.
Science backs up Bloomberg. Sugar overconsumption is a nationwide problem. However, I doubt anyone with a net worth of $75 billion worries much about healthcare. But then, neither do the Chinese, 95% of whom have basic health insurance coverage. That just one more thing they're doing better than us.
So drink up, China. You can afford it, and America sure could use the help.