ALERT!

Don Trump is now blaming the Mexicans for starting the coronavirus and spreading it by selling Corona beer. The nouns are related; they start with the same six letters. Don knows no verbs. And forget about one inconsistency. The beer is capitalized; the virus is not. It is Don’s plan to make the virus smaller and smaller in print so no one can read of it and it will be forgotten. He’ll blame Mexico.

No one in Don’s family drinks beer so they haven’t gotten the Mexican virus – the Trumps are ripple people. Mexicans, though, are crafty, nefarious people. They’ll go back to work as soon as they can. They don’t like the border wall, refusing to pay for it and now they’re making redneck Americans, some with orange hair, pay and be sick. They offer Corona beer as a virus cure, but the reckless behavior it causes spreads infections. Don Trump is cancelling Cinco de Mayo. Feliz Navidad is in jeopardy, too.

Americans cannot be outdone by the Mexicans, who wear bandannas as face coverings like they are all banditos. Don Trump knows all about this. He saw a movie, the third sequel of THE MAGNIFICENT FIVE. (People can’t venture into nineteenth century Mexico often and expect everyone to come out alive, but Yul Brenner needed the roles.) The next sequel eagerly awaited by Don was in pre-production: The Magnificent Three and a Half. It was going to be a remake of THREE MEN AND A BABY. The powers-to-be wrapped that. However, the concept came back on TV as TWO AND A HALF MEN.

Don Trump believes the Wall will keep the virus out. Kelly Ann said so. She’ll never return to New York City. Don Trump has already departed there to go to a hot spot, Mira-a-Lago where every blade of grass on the golf course festers coronavirus. The virus becomes active then Don Trump drives off road, or off the beaten path, which he frequently does because Don always plays from the rough. Don Trump is reconsidering the move. There is no coronavirus at the Trump Yukon course where the President’s boys, Eric and Don, (also known as the two Fredos, no movie in pre-production) like to shoot mice. (Ever see the excellent movie, NEVER CRY WOLF?) The advantage of the Yukon development is it is farther from Mexico.

A LONELY LIFE

Betty Davis 1962

This autobiography is surprising for its unparalleled excellence and seeming honesty. Davis has represented her life in a well-written little book. She speaks well of everyone she worked with in film including industry rivals, Joan Crawford. She passes on providing long comments regarding Barbara Stanwyck.

Of course, the book tells about acting: stage, screen (silent – talkies), modeling, fame, being a glamour puss. Davis knew she was not the typical 1930s actress – beautiful, lanky or seductive but she was blonde. Davis suggests and I believe she rose on talent and merit alone. The more involved the part the better the performance – two years toward the beginning of her career, 1936 and 1939 Davis received Oscars for best actress. She was dedicated to excellent projects and to excellent performances. She ran into the buzz of the Warner Brothers demanding she do mediocre projects. That legal dispute ended in London before World War Two began for the Americans. Olivia de Havilland broke the studios’ system.

Her movies of the Forties and the early Fifties all had substance for her. She never mentions a western, but early on Bette Davis from New England was typecast as the Southern girl and the Southern lady. Motherhood, marriage and living reduced the number of films she was in. She was not always in Los Angeles but lived on the East Cost. She tells trying to be the best mother, when she wasn’t always around, her understanding of intimacy from work and from husbands, and the shortcomings in the men she encountered and those she eventually married. [The first was always at home but did not work at home and little out of it; the second died young; Gary Merrill, fellow actor, had work but did not like the comforts of a joint home.]

Bette Davis had help with children and with the house; she had capable assistants. Davis expresses gratitude. But she felt isolated from exchanging intimacy, touching, sensing another human being, and caring in full devotion. [Note in the text Davis describes these attributes as handled by a performing actor, but says they are not transitioned to or that acting did not fulfill the needs of a human being living in reality.] This distinction between acting and reality is how she conveys she was lonely, and hence the adjective in the book’s title.

Two remarkable chapters in the book are the first and the last. The first doubts whether anyone, including herself, should write an autobiography. Davis beats out the words in spades. The last chapter deals with the status of a successful woman, running into unsuitable men, earning more than most people, and handling fame, professionalism, being alone, and where all that leaves the woman: Her state of mind. It is an excellent description of explaining the world that might become more matriarchal. Sex alone changes nothing. Couples should be mates and their efforts should complement one another.

This is an excellent autobiography; it benefits from being short and well-thought out. Also, this autobiography became the first feminist tome of the modern era. The Feminine Mystique was published two years later in 1964. If Betty Friedan believed it was the problem that has no name, she was unacquainted with Bette Davis’ Autobiography.

MAKE A MOVIE

It had to come up, and it did. I was exchanging views about Congressional Investigations into everything Russian, including ingredients for Ruskie salad dressing. My opponent said that the two elderly Republican senators were unAmerican. I stopped and asked for a clarification. The senators were anti-Trump which likely means they are full-red-blooded American males who are anti-Russian.

I asked, “Do you know of a book called The Manchurian Candidate?” There was hemming, hawing and harrumphing. “Perhaps you saw the movie?” Frank Sinatra was in the first which suffered from the lack of good song and dance, an absence of Marilyn Monroe and no hint of ballet.

There was a second The Manchurian Candidate, but I never saw it. I don’t know which big stars were in it; it was therefore a dud.

Now is the time to remake The Manchurian Candidate – third time’s a charm. I’m very encouraged. It’s good for business when Americans have had had Presidents whose career and job performance generate movies. Bill Clinton had loads of movies made about him – President as murderer; President as philanderer; President as corrupt. Bush and Obama were cinematographically uninteresting. But the new guy – let’s see what entertainment does with him.

SEE IT NOW – THE FUTURE

Recent grade-B scientific films present sets which seem a step away from funky main streets of small town America today. Instead of the barber’s pole, there is a pole with a half dozen round plastic platters, like multiple serving areas for kids to NBA players. That was futuristic during the Sixties, and it dates and looks odd today. But the incongruity fits in a science fiction movie: everyone can recognize what it is but like a barber’s pole, no one know what it means.

Next to see on the screen are the race and ethnicity of people. Any film company should have its characters from various places show up in semi-native festive garb. That happens in California usually. It is difficult to know whether someone is in the United States military or with the LAPD. She may be going to a costume party. Ditto, putting these people on a movie set while filming a science fiction flick. The languages present a wild, crazy, different sound tract.

No change has to be made when asking characters to speak, not American but their first language. The misunderstandings today are brief and small. In the future it may be impossible to cross the street without knowing five languages.

A few movies have used the present day to project a futuristic society. This presents a step, an advancement reflecting a truer future than any other show. For instance the future is unlikely to be anything like The Jepsens. In the cartoon there are just too few people, too many open spaces and isolated houses abound. It is likely that houses will be owned and sold in 100 years, but honey-combed constructions of apartments, condominiums and town houses are what most of the human race will live in. It is call urbanization. There will be too many of us: From caves we came, to caves we will return

Science fiction movies rarely show the current press of human existence or what that will be in the future – close quarters, get off my back! In the movies this point can only be inferred by how many human beings are killed and by whom. Undoubtedly, the protagonist feels totally bad when a human being is smoked – less so if a droid dies. Deaths of druids evoke different emotions. After the first human beings are extinguished, death gets easier, and everyone becomes desensitized. It does not matter how many characters are killed, provided the protagonist and his brawny, brainless hunk survive as the only persons on earth, there to watch the sun rise – a new day on the planet to begin again and the human race will avoid all the mistakes it made the last time.

Are you voting for Don Trump, or Hillary Clinton?

The prospects for over-population movies are narrow. Everyone knows the likely solution, and human beings don’t like that. Everyone also dislikes solution number two: Don Trump and HRC survive and …

QUENTIN TARANTINO

He is in a bad state and place, intemperate and overwrought before followers and hangers-on. He was the biggest person there, which might have been the whole point for himself and for persons in the audience, looking for an edge. Tarantino has now complained that he was only exercising his right of free speech. Indeed, he did, but he does not have the right to control how people interpret his words.

Tarantino has quickly learned that adding flavoring to words spoken does not work. Adding more words to the milieu is an ineffective way to remedy ops. Consider Kevin McCarthy.

I’m not joining any boycott because I haven’t seen an Tarantino movie in a long while. Crime rates in the United States have declined. Most people have seen Pulp Fiction and fewer saw Jackie Brown. Thereafter violence became gratuitous, like Stallone, Van Damme, Lindgren movies about murder, murderers and the murdered. I hear but don’t understand why violence sells well in foreign markets, if those people are more peaceful and sophisticated than Americans.

VARIOUS MOVIES

A SINGLE SHOT DON’T SEE. Appalachian man, Sam Rockwell, at the beginning of a divorce, goes hunting. He uses a rifle that looks like a shotgun. Aiming at a deer, he hits a woman in hiding. He’s shocked he killed the woman. He does not know who she is; he does not know she was living in his woods. There is no explanation about it in the movie. Sam is a moron mountaineer although he easily finds where she’s been staying and discovers a stash of cash which he appropriates. He conceals her body.

Next Sam Rockwell has to keep his cool, but he becomes a retard. He spends freely; he seems incredibly social, considering his house which looks like it hasn’t been cleaned since 1998. The boyfriend of the dead girl comes to town seeking revenge. He kills Sam’s dog’s. Since there are two strangers in the one-horse town Sam does not know who is the bad guy. Sam’s house is burgled. The body of the dead girlfriend is put into Sam’s freezer. Sam wonders who is plaguing him.

He wants to resume relations with his wife. Nope. A teenage daughter of a local diary farmer has the hots for Sam. There is a New Age scene where Sam shares a meal with her.

The film gets worse.

This movie need not be filmed in the backwoods, anywhere. It could be filmed in the front woods or along side a road. It might have been filmed in Frisco or in Westwood among the homeless. Sam Worthington would be noticeable by the sign hanging around his neck reading, I’m the biggest moronic, retard-fool on the planet.

The Canal (2013). The film is unnecessarily dark, with a poor story, mediocre dialogue and ill defined characters.

The International – Clive Owen, Naomi Watts. This is a predictable film with an excellent scene of dialogue (four minutes) between Owen and bad guy, Armin Mueller Stahl, which makes those opponents allies. At the end there are also good rooftop scenes of Istanbul.

After Hours – Griffin Dunne, Roseanne Arquette, Linda Floretino, Teri Garr, Martin Scorsese (Director). WATCH. This is as delightful and true a film as when I first saw it.

AT MIDDLETON

One reviewer said it briefly, “Wonderful movie not to be missed.” It is more complicated, but this movie about the past catching up with two adults is a must-see. Neither adult knows one another, but each has taken a child (son, daughter) to an entrance orientation at a liberal arts college. This movie is a romance.

The adults/parents (Andy and Vera) slowly get together and have their own college tour/orientation. Along the way, they steal bicycles to ride around, are chased by the cops, venture where they shouldn’t and end up in a drama class: Hints about their lives leave crumbs until they are required to act the roles of husband and wife in the class. Vera is unhappy and alone, in her live with her real husband. He is uncontented but resolved to plough through life with no satisfaction. As part of the role playing, he asked Vera (as he might ask his own wife), “When did you stop loving me?”

That line and sentiment may seem incredibly disjointed, but in this screenplay it works. Vera makes inferences about mistakes she made in her past: Misimpressions, bad advice, taking the wrong road, regrets and sulking and how to handle life’s miseries.

An overall point of this story presents a problem of time for the writer. When young couples fall in love, the whole experience seems automatic. When older, love is hardly automatic. Those systems seem or are forgotten. This scriptwriter knows this, and works on solutions to make the story go.

It seems that Andy and Vera should fall in love, tell the kids, and divorce their spouses. NO – too Hollywood. It is suggested they will see one another but that remains appropriately unclear. The issues of the day’s orientation for the kids work out more directly. Their parents meet other students and get shit-faced. The son and daughter must must drive each parent home (in opposite directions). It was a memorable day. The son asks Andy which way should I drive: “Take the long way.”

THE OUTSIDER

Jason Patric

The Limney in a similar setting, upscale LA – tells a similar story. Bad guy, James Caan is running an identify theft scam to fleece the system and millions of people of small amounts of money.

British father, Craig Fairbrass (needs to project his voice) learns his daughter, Caan’s software engineer, is killed in LA. Father arrives and learns the dead woman is not his daughter. Where is the girl? As Fairbrass looks, he destroys half of LA like Godzilla might.

He finds his daughter and learns of the fraud. He, the daughter and friends can rip off Caan, which provides action for the final act. This is a low budget movie. In fight scenes one can see fists being thrown and missing, but the actors react as though being hit. At the end Caan is shot and like in the olden days, there is no blood. I kept wondering, when is he going to start bleeding! [After the toll booth shooting James Caan may have no blood in him.]

It is always welcome to see Jason Patric in a movie. As the lead detective he and the cops don’t have much to do, except saying, Get the judge and his sorry butt out of bed, to sign warrants. With another story about the ever-growing seedy side of LA, the police presence could be dispensed with altogether.

I’LL COME RUNNING (AWAY)

I watched 40 minutes of this movie, I’ll Come Running. The script is on par with TV teleplay writing, low level incidents and ordinary dialogue in bad need of canned laughter.

Three Danish men, early twenties, travel in Texas. They eat in a restaurant, where they are loud and boisterous while speaking Danish. No one understands their rudenesses. That is a point Danes should understand – being rude works only if the words are understood by everyone. But no one in the world speaks Danish. They are so obnoxious they offend the Latina waitress.

One Dane, the protagonist (mostly English speaking now), decides to go home. His friends drive off leaving him in Austin. He has flight reservations in a few days. He can’t find the hostel – he sits around outside the restaurant doing nothing. Latina waitress leaves work and invites him to a party. One thing leads to another, episodically – the story is weak or nonexistent. Dane and Latina end up in bed; I don’t know why e.g. she doesn’t like his 10-day growth; the next day she insists he shave, a mistake!. He looks much better when he hides his face.

She cuts work to spend the day with him (She’s a working stiff – that all the film shows.) although the job is important to her. What do they do? Very little. She wants to go out; he wants sex. A local parade passes her house. He takes out his camera and films as people pass by. A Texan doesn’t want pictures being taken, grabs the Dane and moves him 20 feet into a fountain, pushing him in.

A writing point making for a better story: Texan grabs Dane who begins speaking Danish. Texans realize this guy isn’t speaking my language. Texan lets go. DANE (in English) “Pictures for Copenhagen!”

However, the fountain dunking puts the Dane in the shower, where Latina begins taking film of him. They get to film and touch each other, etc., etc., look at various and sundry sites on the Internet.

The next morning he leaves to return to Denmark. No tears, but many hugs and much smug satisfaction. Taxi drives off. Going down the highway Dane decides to turn around and go back. Why? The movie has to be longer than 40 minutes.

I realized the movie was over. For these two characters as the old saying goes, “We’ll always have Austin.” I don’t need to see more of their adventures in Texas and going to Denmark, is not like being in Austin.