Tuesday, December 20, 2011

And Now The Nice Guy

Vaclav Havel is dead. He was one of the good ones. Commentary has been generally positive, but he dared to call the Marx baby ugly, so there has been a little gentle sniping of the "Well, his plays really weren't any good" type.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Christopher Hitchens Has Died

I guess that's it, then.

I first read him when Mother Teresa was at her most popular and he was determined to take her down. From my early perspective, he was the lead spear carrier of the sneer movement: If the Revolution fails, stand back and make snide remarks. Unlike those of his ilk who infest the world of commentary today, he had the intellectual chops to back it up.

He was right about Mother Teresa. She was in love with the idea of poverty. (To change things for the poor in Calcutta would take, well, revolution, although I would make it of the "teach a man to fish" kind.)

In his later years, he became more popular among conservatives due to his pro Iraq War policy. In a way, he reminded me of Charton Heston: A man who stuck by his views regardless of what was trendy.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Another List!

Also from the good people at NPR. Again, despite my love of cult (bad) film, my list is sadly lacking.

2001: A Space Odyssey The film which launched a thousand discussions about the ability to survive a vacuum. Also ruined Keir Dullea's film career, because he had to imitate a block of wood over and over again. I think it was Richard Feynman who said it was a bad movie because without humanity, there was no point to space exploration.

Akira Nope. After the hype, I'd be disappointed.

Blade Runner Better then than now, because it's been so imitated. Always night, always raining, flames shooting up for no reason: staples for nearly thirty years now. Also never got the Roy and company as tragic figures with their whole mass murder thing.

Brazil Gilliam's stories are good, but I've never liked his style. Low camera angle, strong backlight, and tons of paper flying around, then the monster goes "Arrgh!" Sets also look like Quake.

Dawn of the Dead Romero is to zombies like Thomas Nast is to Santa Claus.

Dirty Dancing Totally missed that chick flick.

Donnie Darko Didn't even know it existed, and I'm intrigued.

Enter the Dragon I spent my grade school years listening to classmates explain how awesome Bruce Lee was. I know that Chuck Norris would never be felled by cold medicine.

The Evil Dead Ashley? Ash "Bang Stick" has the first name Ashley?

Fight Club Important because it led to the almost accepted theory that Ferris Bueller is a creation of Cameron.

The Gods Must Be Crazy Made at a time when the Bushmen (!Kung)? were being studied in depth, and the first reports were gaga about how fuzzy and peaceful they were. Couldn't be made today, and it spawned a wave of native-goes-to-the-city tripe.

Godzilla Heh. The world always thought this movie was about a giant lizard, not U.S.

Invasion of the Body Snatchers Aliens from the Red planet are coming to get you, and you don't care! Wake up, sheeple!

It's a Wonderful Life Is it alright not to like this film? I don't.

The Lord of the Rings Huh? Cult? Shows that the powers that be still don't know what to make of fantasy.

Mad Max 2 At least the railroad and highway departments will function after the apocalypse.

The Masque of the Red Death Roger Corman and Vincent Price ARE cult film.

Monty Python and the Holy Grail I do not get Monty Python. Liked this one though. The Terrys are some strange guys, but their humor is really sympathetic in this film.

Plan 9 from Outer Space I've seen worse. Much worse. That doesn't make Plan 9 any good, though. Guess that's the mystery of cult status.

Repo Man I've noticed that true cult films (not a lot on this list) are rather vague about plot. I watched "X-Files" for years waiting for a couple of agents to gush about how much they liked their jobs, just like the ones in Repo Man.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show Two things: Tim Curry spent a lot of time living this movie down, and the soundtrack wasn't half bad.

The Sound of Music Don't point your accusing fingers at Star Wars fans; SoM groupies held the world record for most viewings before the Force knocked them off their perch. Had a friend whose sister taped SoM over last night's "Miami Vice". He was "Why did you tape over "Miami Vice? You have it on VHS already."

Star Wars Roger Bacon is to William Shakespeare as X is to George Lucas. I'll leave it at that, but you were thinking the same thing after Phantom Menace.

Tank Girl Didn't impress me more than any other action movie.

This is Spinal Tap Funny, but I think the best jokes were for serious music fans.

The Warriors Warr-iors, come out and pl-ay! Pretty much calcified my views of New York for decades. The nighttime run for freedom through a sleeping city was a classic plot, well done.

The Wizard of Oz Finally saw it all the way through, and it is an excellent fantasy film. Makes one wonder why modern film has so much trouble with the fantasy genre. I have to agree that apart from rumor, the Wicked Witch of the West never did anything wrong except try to reclaim her rightful property from her sister's murderer.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

I Can't Help But Feel It's Deliberate

Got in from work and noticed that Google decided to take note of revolutionary Mexican mural painter Diego Rivera's birthday. Look, regardless of your political feelings, Pearl Harbor is still a pretty important day for the entire world. Google shouldn't be obliged to acknowledge American war anniversaries, but their choice has the stink of social politicking about it.

I'm beginning to like Bing more and more. When did Microsoft turn into this boring company?