Sunday 1 August 2021
I'm still all-in on the Olympics, so I've little time right now for movies. However, the week before the games began, TCM ran a whole day of Olympics documentary. In training for the games, I caught three:
100. (1959.) The Games of the V Olympiad Stockholm, 1912 (2017)
This "documentary" is essentially three hours of remastered newsreel footage of preparation for the 1912 games, the games in progress, and the immediate aftermath of the games, all without any sort of commentary. While incredibly clear, the shots of the games themselves show disappointingly little of the actual competitions. All you're left with is hours of people swimming, running, boating, riding, and shooting through the frames on their way to standing on podiums. It's an interesting historical document but barely entertainment.
101. (1960.) First: The Official Film of the London 2012 Olympic Games (2012)
A century later, the potential of cinema is realized as the games are filmed as pure propaganda... for the games. Come see the Greatest Show on Earth, the ultimate triumph of the human spirit over physical and mental limitations! I very much enjoyed the London games themselves, but I found their official film to be as generally empty and unsatisfying as the average corporate sponsor's commercial tie-in product.
102. (1961.) Tokyo Olympiad (1964)
Somewhere in between the two extremes of documenting history and re-writing it is this, a true work of art. The games are messy and confusing, just like the very human athletes who participate in them. And despite — maybe even *because* of — all their shortcomings, they're also amazingly beautiful. If you watch just one documentary about an Olympic games, make it this one.
(Forget what I said earlier about unsatisfying corporate sponsors. Coca-Cola has been sponsoring the games since 1928. As they'll be quick to tell you, winners always have and always will drink Coke!)
A fourth documentary is still on my DVR, so there may very well be more to come.
Friday 30 July 2021
Wednesday 28 July 2021
Autocorrect continues to plague me.
After Simone Biles withdrew from Olympic competition citing mental issues, I tried to Google the definition of "gymnastics twisties."
My autocorrect changed it to "gymnastics titties."
I'm sure they're nice, but that's not what I'm interested in (right now).
If it's true that the average man thinks about sex once every 7 seconds and that computers process information 10 million times faster than humans, how often does my computer think about sex?
Monday 26 July 2021
What with plywood going for $85 a 4-by-8 sheet these days coupled with the bad mildewing of last year's Kool-Aid Man (who now has a permanent home screwed to the wall of the garage), I hadn't planned to do any new lawn art this summer.
Then while watching the preliminary Olympic softball games, I got an idea. Finding a leftover scrap of plywood, I put this fella together in world record time (three days from idea to placement):
It's been 25 years since the Atlanta games, and not once in the past decades have I thought to myself "I wonder what Izzy is doing these days?" He's the New Coke of Olympic mascots: remembered mostly for what a terrible mistake it was.
But he'll always remind us of the summer of '96.
Saturday 24 July 2021
Olympics are here, so that will put a short-term stop on movie watching. Sports might not be greater than movies, but they are definitely more immediate.
83. (1942.) The Detective (1968)
I prefer Sinatra the actor to Sinatra the singer, and the more Sinatra films I see, the more that preference grows. His character here, in this neo-noir police procedural dealing with topics of homophobia and systemic corruption, seems like a real human being: flawed, perhaps, but relatable. That's no small feat for a man whose public persona was one of ultra-machoism. (By the way, this movie was based on a book series that also spawned Die Hard. So it's weird to think of Sinatra and Willis playing the same character at different points in his career.)
84. (1943.) The Times of Harvey Milk (1984)
A documentary about the later life and assassination of the first openly gay San Francisco city commissioner. I didn't know enough about him before, and his death is a true American tragedy story.
85. (1944.) The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934)
This is the only Alfred Hitchcock film that he remade later in his career, and its astonishing how alike and different the two movies are. I can understand why many of the changes were made (the second is a better constricted plot), but the first one is leaner. I don't know which one I like better.
86. (1945.) The Celluloid Closet (1995)
As a movie buff, I really enjoyed this documentary about how gay characters and themes have been expressed in movies through eras when American society was less accepting and often downright hostile to them. Personally, I never really gave any thought to homosexuality on screen until I saw The Rocky Horror Picture Show in high school. Just because I didn't see it doesn't mean it wasn't there.
87. (1946.) The Perfect Score (2004)
The first pairing of Captain America and Scarlet Witch! Chris Evans and Scarlett Johannsen are not at their best in this very forgettable MTV-produced by-the-numbers teenage comedy, but the dumb script doesn't ask much of them beyond being pretty faces. (I might even have liked it if I had seen it at 14.) Take the paycheck, actors.
More to come.
Thursday 22 July 2021
Every Batman fan worth his salt knows "The Joker's Comedy of Errors!", better known as "The Joker's Boner" story. Originally presented in Batman #66, Aug/Sep 1951, it can be summed up in one panel:
This is but one of 6 "boner" newspaper headlines in this story.
If you haven't read the story or you struggle with context clues, you might find it helpful to know that my trusty 1977 Webster's New Twentieth Century Dictionary of the English Language Unabridged defines "boner" thusly:
bōn´ẽr, n. a stupid or silly blunder. [Slang.]
As Batman #66 proves, newspaper editors love boners. Which brings us to the point of today's post.
In order to fill column space As a public service, The Newnan Times-Herald newspaper reprints food inspection reports from county restaurants. It's usually a lot of repeated warnings that store managers aren't checking the mold levels in their ice machines. (Come on, guys! It's right there in the Georgia Department of Public Health Rules and Regulations, Chapter 511-6-1-.05-7-b-5-iv-II!)
This month, in honor of Independence Day, the paper rewarded loyal readers by giving our local hot dog stand a boner of its own:
Oysters really are an aphrodisiac!
For the record, the restaurant calls itself "The Half Shell Oyster Bar & Hot Dog Shop." Rumor has it their menu was selected because the city wouldn't let them install an oven in their original location downtown, so they chose items they could cook with steam. (Welcome to Newnan!)
I've never had the oysters, but the chili dogs *are* pretty exciting.
Tuesday 20 July 2021
Sunday 18 July 2021
I'm watching a movie right now that is kind of boring. So let me kill some time by typing up brief reports of some other films I've seen.
78. (1937.) The Stepfather (1987)
Is this a thriller? A slasher? The Stepfather tries to be both, which I suppose is a fitting metaphor for its titular antagonist. I don't think I'll watch it again.
79. (1938.) Sparkle (1976)
This musical drama is made of all the same stuff as Dreamgirls, just not quite as well. I suspect that has more to do with the era when it was made than anything else. As a nostalgic blaxploitation musical, it is more interesting as a historical artifact of its contemporary industry than actual entertainment.
80. (1939.) The Blue Gardenia (1953)
Did the protagonist kill her would-be rapist? Even she doesn't know for sure (and neither does the reporter who is starting to fall for her). I liked the suspense (if not always the acting), although the best part of this is seeing George Reeve in a supporting role as a dashing police detective. Bonus: the would-be rapist is Raymond Burr.
"I could just murder for a Coca-Cola right now."
81. (1940.) The Princess and the Frog (2009)
Somehow, I'd never seen this — Walt Disney Animation Studios' attempt to recreate the style of their 1950s heyday. I have no memory of its development or release. I must not have been aware it existed. Anyway, I have now seen it, and I quite liked it.
82. (1941.) Lunatics: A Love Story (1991)
This, I did not like. The story is embarrassingly simple, so I suppose the audience is supposed to be wowed by the characters or the visuals or something else that isn't there. I won't say it's unwatchable, but I will recommend that you not waste your time on it.
More to come.
Friday 16 July 2021
From the Family Business Department
This is not a Red Bee appearance. It is a Red Bee reference.
Inferior 5 #5, March 2019
And it's a weird reference in a weird comic book. Let me explain.
No, there is too much. Let me sum up.
Inferior 5 was a 12-issue monthly comic book mini-series that began publishing in September 2019. It was intended to continue the story of Invasion!, a mini-series published in 1989 by the writer of that series. But Inferior 5 didn't find much of an audience for a 30-year old story that hadn't been particularly popular the first time around, so it was reduced to a 6-issue series mid-stream. Then The Pandemic came. Comic publishing was put on a hiatus, and Inferior 5 #5 and #6 were simply abandoned.... until they were released online in March 2021.
Now, as to Red Bee's involvement: Red Bee was *dead* by the time of Invasion!. He'd died fighting Nazis on February 23, 1942 as revealed in 1982, remember? Which means the Red Bee captured by the aliens in 2019's 1989 story couldn't be the same Red Bee.
Whew. Even summing up took a while, huh?
I'm speculating here, but a little known fact is that Rick "Red Bee" Raleigh had a grand niece who would take up the family business in 2007 (with robotic bees, which are so much easier to train). Maybe the alien invaders in 1987 knew something that we didn't. Maybe young grandniece Jenna was the Red Bee in custody. Children and legacies *are* prominent themes of Inferior 5, at least insofar as I can make out from the messy pile of leftover panels presented in issues 5 and 6.
Stranger things have happened. We are talking about a series of heroes who fight crime with bees, after all.
Wednesday 14 July 2021
My father has problems with the way I communicate, but it's not always my fault.
I'm just a soul who's intentions are good.
I was texting some do-it-yourself instructions and tried to type the phrase "easy peasy."
My autocorrect changed it to "eat pussy."
If that's what my autocorrect thinks I should be saying, who am I to correct it?