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Posts Tagged ‘MOVIES’

The two paths (m)

Somewhere along the road to self-love, the Boomers

were annointed with the sacred title of Teenager. Up

until that time, they were considered child or adult.

The age at which this mysterious transformation took

place occurred at some point during those so-called

teen years, but occur, it did. With the advent of the

Holy Teen, something new was created. Neither child,

woman or man, this creature became an entity unto

itself, with norms that allowed it to behave in ways

previously unthinkable. Rebellion, experimentation

and self-destruction became an acceptable way of life.

Not for children, not for adults, but for the Teen, of

course! The Culture Vulture thinks the Teen has

outlived its usefulness. The time has come to do away

with the entire concept of the Teenager. Children must

defer to the adult and the adult must assume full

responsibility for the choices he or she makes. No more

excuses, no more delayed maturation and above all, no

more crappy music, crappy movies and crappy fashion.

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PARIS

After Midnight in Paris

Can anything good happen after midnight? Woody Allen’s latest film, Midnight in Paris, answers that question with a resounding maybe! Dreams, fantasies and mythical thinking happen after midnight. Painless time travel happens after midnight. But, lies, deception and stolen kisses also happen after midnight. And ultimately, crushed hopes and the harsh light of early morning happen…you guessed it: after midnight. However, in Woody’s world, repeated visits (after midnight, of course) to Paris in the twenties – the Paris of Zelda and F.Scott Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein and Ernest Hemingway – only serve to reinforce nostalgia for that romantic era. The softening effect of rain upon narrow cobblestone streets only whets the appetite for more of the same. The seductive effect of a sweet and beautiful flapper from that era only increases the hunger. But flappers are only human. They, too, long for a different era, a more romantic era. A beautiful flapper wishes to discard her beaded sheaths and feathered headbands, if only she can be permanantly transported to La Belle Epoque. Ahhh, La Belle Epoque. Now, that would be the perfect time to be alive, she says. So, I wonder: If I could be transported into another era, which one would I choose? How about you?

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face value

Look, no wrinkles! Not at all scary, oh no.

“I’m invisible! I’ve never been invisible before!” So says Old Lodgeskins to Jack Crabb in the funniest movie ever made about cowboys and indians, Little Big Man. Old Lodgeskins is traipsing through a bloody battle between the United States  cavalry and the Oglala nation. Jack Crabb, played by Dustin Hoffman, desperately tries to shield the elderly chief. Old Lodgeskins ignores Jack’s pleas. He is convinced that powerful medicine makes him invisible to his enemies. Old Lodgeskins would be surprised to learn that in today’s culture, he would still be invisible, with or without powerful medicine. Why? Because he is old. In today’s culture, men and women pay top dollar for powerful medicine so that they won’t be invisible. Fragile skin that has survived more than half a century will be stretched, plumped and injected because of its inhabitant’s desperate desire to be seen, rather than ignored. Atomic breasts become missiles, aimed at the world, launch-ready and threatening, but definitely not invisible. Like overripe produce, bodies are laid out, examined for flaws, scraped and polished until their sell-by date is erased, hopefully forever. The culture that honored its elderly – the culture that Old Lodgeskins took for granted – is, today, as rare as a teepee.

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Cover of "High Sierra (Keepcase)"

When Tough Guys Could Afford a Tank of Gas

In High Sierra, Humphrey Bogart plays – to quote Ida Lupino – ‘a tough guy’. That tough guy buys 10 gallons of gas. He pays with a five dollar bill and gets more than $2.00 back in change. Bogart wouldn’t pay $4.00 a gallon. I’m sure of it.

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I’m happy to present Quirky Cookies, a guest post by Bill Davis of BillDavisWords.

Spoiler Alert: There are no fortune cookies in China. No, those crisp, lightly-sweet desserts with the catchy phrases tucked inside are pretty much an American phenomenon. Something to make our chow mein, kung pao chicken and pot stickers a little more fun.

But truly Chinese or not, fortune cookies are a tradition. We expect them, and we look forward to sharing our “fortunes” with each other around the table, getting a good laugh from a completely anomalous fortune (telling sourpuss Uncle Charlie he will “bring joy to those he meets”) or a fortune which is a good pun or a joke (“ignore previous cookie”). And a married man will elicit a scowl from his wife if he dares to smile at the prediction that he will “meet an attractive lady soon.” Once, everyone in our family’s fortunes seemed to be referring to our year-old grandson (“you are full of energy” “you will make people smile today.”)

Fortunes. Nothing to base your life plans on, but it’s all in good fun (as if cookies weren’t fun enough)!

So imagine our surprise the other night while enjoying Chinese take-out with our daughter and son-in-law, when my fortune read:
American Airlines now serves 10 new destinations from LAX, including Shanghai, non-stop.

Huh?! An airline ad instead of a fortune? No way! I looked on the back, thinking the “real” fortune would be found there.

But no, the flip side of the paper strip was equally sold out to marketing:
Visit http://www.aa.com/fortunr for a chance to win one of 10 trips and lots of miles. Your lucky code: [8B45]

As if that wasn’t bad enough, each and every fortune was an ad. Not only were the fortunes nothing more than capitalistic come-ons, but they were all EXACTLY THE SAME! So not only were they disappointing, but boring, as well. Thanks a lot, American Airlines. Oh, and thanks to the restaurant for taking corporate money (and I’m sure we’re talking big bucks here) to make our meal a little less special. It was a nice touch.

At least the offending cookies made the meal memorable, albeit in a negative way. But I want my money back. Or at least the part that I assumed was going to pay for fortunes and a little post-dining entertainment. It’s an outrage! Imagine paying Madame Zora to tell your fortune and she intoned, “I see travel in your future” as you opened your eyes to see her slipping you an airline travel brochure.

Do these ever-abundant ads in our lives even work? I wish American companies would get a clue as to how much their ads actually annoy us. Any of you actually like the constant ads on Facebook? Raise your hand. Hmmm, didn’t think so. How about the motion-sensing boxes at the grocery store that tell you to buy cereal… or worse, the ones that sing to you? (Anyone else think they sound suspiciously like Barney?) Every time I look up the lyrics to a song I have to clear away the same unwanted ad for downloadable ring tones. Yesterday I went to Doonesbury.com to read a thoughtful cartoon to find it framed by not-so-soft porn ads by American Apparel.

Our culture isn’t just quirky. It’s gone mad.

We pay Billabong for the privilege of advertising their line of t-shirts. Suddenly the sandwich-sign guys in old movies aren’t so funny anymore. Everything today is plastered with some kind of ad. Our country and its citizens are like walking Nascar cars with their STP, Penzoil and Marlboro stickers. I’m surprised that doctors don’t tattoo their name on babies they deliver. It might just increase business a little. In my home town, two of the concert venues have been renamed after Native American gambling casinos. The “San Diego Sports Arena” where I once saw Zappa, The Who and Led Zeppelin is now the Valley View Casino Center. What a mouthful. Coors Amphitheater is now the Cricket Wireless Amphitheatre. At least beer and rock and roll go together. Somehow Bruce Springsteen doesn’t quite jibe with prepaid texting and quasi-European spellings like theatre. My solidly American spell checkre just rejected “amphitheatre” altogethre.

And our major sports teams fare no better: The San Diego Padres play at Petco Park. Petco? Now, I’m not a big sports fan, but when I think of the American pastime of baseball, I don’t think of puppies and kitty litter. Honestly. And somehow all this corporate sponsorship isn’t making those tickets any cheaper, is it?

But it’s not just in America. Where I work overseas, every little family-owned convenience store gets their sign provided for free by a liquor company (and guess which letters are bigger… the name of the store, or the brand of gin.) And it kills me to see the signs which point to local police stations and schools (yes, even schools) “proudly” sponsored by the local chain of by-the-hour adultery motels.

It seems that every value has bowed to the almighty dollar (or peso, as the case may be).

Maybe I’m old fashioned, but I long for the old days, simpler times of peace and prosperity, when neighbors cared for one another, when food was healthier and was shared freely…

…and when fortune cookies actually contained a proper fortune.

So what bugs YOU about corporate advertising these days?

      -Bill Davis

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Fleshly Appetites

Martin Luther by Lucas Cranach. The Protestant...

Image via Wikipedia

Who said this? “I am no longer encumbered by the appetites of the flesh.”

A. Augustine of Hippo

B. Martin Luther, 16th century church reformer

C. Ace Ventura, pet detective

Answer:C

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True Grit

Fantastic film by those talented Coen bros. Quality entertainment with weighty, old-school characters. True grit, which the main characters possess, is something we all could use a little more of in this soft and comfy culture of ours. Folks who are rough around the edges, but tough as old shoe leather. Pivotal scene of Rooster Cogburn (Jeff Bridges) carrying Mattie (Hailey Steinfeld) across the wilderness to get to a doctor reveals that even corrupt, broken down alchoholics  can be redeemed. Matt Damon provides comic relief as a Dudley Do-Right Texas Ranger. The characters speak in a dialect lifted from the King James Bible, making a case for bringing the Bible back into the schools. Even murderers in desperate need of a dentist and a bath are elevated when their speech is pure poetry.

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