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Banners Gonna Ban

So it begins. The successful demonizing of one object (the Confederate flag) is rapidly opening the door for additional suggestions of items that “deserve” similar removal from our sight and consciousness. A film critic at the New York Post has written a column suggesting “‘Gone With the Wind’ should go the way of the Confederate flag.Gone-With-the-Wind-gone-with-the-wind-4370629-1024-768No doubt, images from the iconic movie (like the one above) are what motivates such thinking. This film critic, Lou Lumenick, asserts Gone With the Wind (GWTW) is “insidious” and goes “to great lengths to enshrine the myth that the Civil War wasn’t fought over slavery – an institution the film unabashedly romanticizes.” He characterizes author Margaret Mitchell as a “die-hard Southerner” and pooh-poohs Mitchell’s natural affinity and loyalty to the region where she was born. He calls the film an “undeniably racist artifact.” Really? Continue Reading →

That Mean, Fickle Woman

One of the singers from the 60s was a guy named James Darren. I first remember him from his role as a teen idol on The Donna Reed Show. He was more than a musician though as he enjoyed a varied career on television and in films. His biggest hit on the pop charts was a 1961 song called Goodbye Cruel World.

Like many songs of that era, this one was certainly silly. Still, it became a top ten hit, reaching number three on the Billboard Top 100 and was also popular in the UK. Continue Reading →

Hot Blood?

Motorcycle movies from the 1950s are not normally my cup of tea. I think it may have something to do with the predominant stereotypes on which the movie-makers depend. While exercising today, I found myself sucked into an airing of The Wild One from 1953. (Anything to distract me from the mindlessness of moving on an elliptical!)brando-the-wild-oneThe plot is predictable – a rebellious young man as the central character, riding his motorcycle, leading a gaggle of motorcycle riders, the Black Rebels Motorcycle Club. It has been described as a “landmark film of 50s rebellion” and the film paved the way for a sub-genre of outlaw biker films. Marlon Brando portrays the sneering central character, sassy Johnny Strabler, who also provides narration. Continue Reading →

We’ll Always Have Paris

When movie critics and cinema aficionados talk about what they consider the top 100 best movies of all time – at least according to their individual standards – the 1942 film Casablanca usually scores high. Starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman as Rick Blaine and Ilsa Lund, the movie is set during World War II as the Nazis are tightening their grip on north Africa.casablanca

Filmed in black and white, readers of the LA Daily News voted in 1997 that Casablanca was the greatest. In Leonard Maltin’s Movie Guide, it’s deemed the “best Hollywood movie of all time.” It’s number two on the American Film Institute’s 100 Greatest Movies, number six on The Hollywood Reporter’s 100 Favorite Films, and number thirty on the IMDb Top 250 Movies of All Time list. Continue Reading →

Not So Honest Abe

When the ads began airing for the second season of TURИ:  Washington’s Spies, I decided to take some time out for an American History diversion. Since I hadn’t watched the first season (which aired beginning in April 2014), I wanted to view those episodes first and I’m still going through them. I may not catch up until season two goes to Netflix.Turn-AMCThe series has received generally favorable reviews. Critics on the rotten tomatoes website were mixed, offering a 52% favorable though the audience score (82%) was more impressive. Those ratings have gone up now that season two is in progress.

Continue Reading →

Heroes Or Villains?

The trailer for the DC Comics superhero film, Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice is a hot item this weekend. Watch the trailer here. As a one-time fan of both Batman (the Christian Bale film series from 2005-forward) and Superman (the George Reeves television series of the 1950s), I’m not particularly enthusiastic about forthcoming productions. For me, I want my superheroes to remain the way I remember them.superman batmanThe upcoming film was originally set to release in 2014 and then was delayed to be released this year but was once again pushed back, this time until 2016. The delays are puzzling and the story line has been, so far as I can tell, kept under wraps but the title is intriguing. Are Batman and Superman going to participate in the ultimate challenge and meet face to face in the UFC Octagon? Continue Reading →

HillBilly Circus

Most of my life, I thought a “well-informed” person should read at least one weekly news-magazine, read a daily newspaper (or more), tune in nightly news broadcasts and listen to a broad range of current-issue radio presentations. After carefully consuming “news” via reading / listening / watching multiple news resources as well as analyzing and evaluating issues, I realize the term “well-informed” can be misleading. I’ve found the freedom to unplug!oldtimeradio

The newspaper was the first to go. I spent entirely too much time everyday … morning coffee eased into mid-morning coffee and even midday. (My thought process went like this:  as long as I held a cup of coffee in my hand, it was still “breakfast.“) About ten years ago, I was ready to cancel delivery, except my Beloved insisted on keeping it. We continue to subscribe but now the accumulation of papers just annoys me. Continue Reading →

Fire in the Hole

Saying goodbye … it’s an inevitable part of life. When one says goodbye to fictional characters, it shouldn’t be a wrenching loss – unless the characters are so well-drawn and true to life, they’ve become embedded in your life. This kind of goodbye doesn’t just represent a closed book of characters but also the way in which these characters have colored one’s point of view.justified-season-2_shootThe FX Network show Justified aired its finale last night following a six-season run. Truthfully, I hated to have the show end, but its final episode hit every note with perfect pitch and stunning narrative grace notes. Without giving away any spoilers, I can’t imagine any show ending with better symmetry and poetic precision. Continue Reading →

A Call To Supper

We’re in the midst of Holy Week, that period stretching from Palm Sunday that culminates with Easter or Resurrection Sunday. This is an especially meaningful time for followers of Christ because we commemorate the sacrifices that led to the Cross and ultimately the victory of an empty tomb.holyweekOver the last six weeks as I’ve contemplated the biblical events, I’ve been aware of various television projects dealing with the Bible narratives. National Geographic recently aired its mini-series Killing Jesus. In 2013, the mini-series The Bible received generous praise, leading to its follow-up A.D. The Bible Continues which will air on Easter Sunday. There may be others. (I tend to avoid these productions anyway; in full disclosure, I have yet to view any of the aforementioned.) Continue Reading →

I’ll Be There For You

Twenty years ago, a television show called FRIENDS debuted. The series ran for ten seasons and chronicled the lives of six characters (3 guys, 3 girls), twenty-somethings living in New York City. Billed as a romantic-comedy series, the show aired to generally mixed reviews but quickly built an audience. In many respects, it was SEINFELD for younger adults. (Seinfeld’s primary characters also lived in NYC and were thirty-somethings.)Friends-ImageThough I’ve occasionally caught a clip or two from Friends as I flip through channels, I’ve never actually watched an entire episode. During its initial run, I didn’t exactly fit the age demographic. Now that it’s in syndication, it’s even less appealing to me. But friendship … now that’s something I can get jazzed about! Continue Reading →

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