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Wiley Wandering

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After Intense Privileged Discussion, Let’s Chill and Talk About Film a Bit!

When I lived in LA and had access to a large number of movie theaters--if I had no druthers about driving 30-60 minutes--I would spoil myself by traveling all over Southern California to catch themed film series. I have treated myself to a Bogart excursion where I have seen most of his films over a period of four weekends, many of those nights where I would sleep in my car on a Friday and/or Saturday night after the theater closed so I could wake up and continue sampling Bogie’s wares. Either by driving to far away movie theaters or with home rentals I have acquired insight into Hitchcock, Woody Allen, Elizabeth Taylor, Sidney Poitier, Paul Newman, and Denzel Washington’s film corpus. As strange as it may sound, I look back on all this gender imbalanced viewing and realize that while I was marveling at Liz Taylor’s beautiful brunette body of work, the men I found myself fascinated with were probably serving as some type of role models for me since my father was not in the mix and I was subconsciously working on my own identity development. In case you don’t know/remember, I teach a film class and use a wide variety of film clips fairly extensively in many of my classes. So, my taste ranges and as a self-proclaimed film buff I can go deep into certain genres, themes, actors and directors.

Okay, so with no further delay, what are the last three great/classic films that you’ve seen that you really want to tell someone about? What made them classic/great? Or, what is it about a film that makes it classic/great to you? Or, what is the film that you think is/was over-hyped?

My three recent favorites are “Gone Baby Gone,” “Sex & Lucia,” and “Music Within.” I’ll share my thoughts on what makes a film great or classic when one of you inspires me to do so by your take(s). Please don’t keep a brother waiting too long!

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The first film that came to mind, JW, was Mr. Holland's Opus. It is the classic "life is what happens while you make other plans" movie. Richard Dreyfuss stars as an aspiring big-time composer who takes a job as a music teacher in a small town high school just to pay the bills for a year. That year turns into two - and then five, and ten, and before he realizes it his "just for now" job has become his career. The movie spans 30 years and uses recent history from the mid-sixties to the mid-90s as a backdrop. There are great twists and ironies throughout the movie. The jock-football coach (who you might stereotypically think has NO use for the music program in a school) becomes his best friend and most trusted colleague. A student that he taught to play the bass drum so he could earn enough credits to maintain his football eligibility is killed in Vietnam.

Mr. Holland's son is born deaf - a cruel irony since (he believes anyway) that his son will never be able to fully appreciate his own passion in life, music. This strains their relationship greatly. Mr. Holland almost refuses to learn sign language - almost in denial that his son will never hear. Of course, this further happers communication between the two as the son reaches adolescence In one of the movies most poingent (sp?) moments, he sees his now teen-age son (who is interested in classic cars) puts his ear against a torque-wrench, the other end of which is in contact with the car's running engine - reminicent of how Bethoven used to press tuning forks to his ears as he composed. He could determine something about what was wrong with the car by feeling the vibrations through the tools.

At one point, Mr. Holland is tempted by a young student with all the potential in the world. She is beautiful, talented, and eager to spread her wings and try to make it in New York City as an actress...a dream very much like his own years before. He falls in love with his student, and even names a movement in his long-suffering symphony (that he works on periodically his entire life, but, never seems to finish) after her. His wife suspects what's happening, but never brings it up. The student makes up her mind to go to New York, all on her own, before she loses her nerve, and she asks him to come with her. He is tempted - and meets her at the bus stop. He gives her the name and phone number of some friends he still has in New York, a kiss on the forehead, and bids her good luck. At that moment he recommits himself to his career as a music teacher, his role as a husband, and to reconnecting with his son.

At the end of the movie, the now aging Mr. Holland is forced to retire - the school district is cutting the music program. He feels used, washed up, as if his life was wasted. Like the music he loved, and now loved to teach, was disposable. He laments to his equally-aging football coach friend "You work your whole life for something and you think it means something. and then 30 years go by and you realize, no, you were a little wrong there."

And then his wife leads him (under false pretences) into the school auditorium where hundreds of colleagues and former students (including the governor of the state) await him in a surprise retirement party. A group of current and former students has been rehearsing the composition he's worked his entire life on, and, they play it for him for the first time. The governor of the state (a once shy young girl that played clarinet) exclaims, we are your symphony Mr. Holland, we are your opus, and there is not a person in this room who's life you haven't touched in some meaningful way."

In the tradition of "It's a Wonderful Life", Mr. Holland's Opus shows us that, even through our imperfections, struggles and toils, our lives impact other people in ways we don't realize at the time, and cannot even imagine. While we might view ourselves as unfulfilled, or, not meeting our own expectations for ourselves, we have the chance to improve life for others all around us, just by doing "the right thing" when we have the choice. Our lives are pebbles dropped into a pool of water. Just how the ripples play out is up to us.

*** CB, I actually saw this movie years ago, but haven't seen it since. You just sold me on reacquainting myself with it once more. Perhaps contrary to popular opinion, I am a sentimental fool (which is why Coltrane's "In a Sentimental Mood" is one of my favorite songs). So, if you were stranded on a desert island with a DVD player and only one DVD to choose, this is the film that you would have with you? *** -- J.W.

One movie that stands out in my mind as a favorite that I will always remember is “The Hiding Place.” Directed by James Collier, this 1975 documentary tells the story of two sisters and their experience in the Nazi concentration camps. The conditions at the camp were atrocious and both girls were forced to perform back-breaking, exhausting labor. Eventually Betsie succumbs to death and Corrie is released from the camp. Through their entire ordeal, Corrie and Betsie ten Boom continue to believe in their faith and learn to forgive the Nazis for the brutal torture they were subjected to. In one scene, Corrie watched in horror as her sister was savagely beaten by a camp warden. When she is finally able to speak, Betsie’s first words to her sister are “No Hate.” “The Hiding Place” is an inspiring true story of a family and their commitment with the Dutch underground to hide Jewish refugees from the Nazis in their home. It is a movie worth seeing as the lessons taught by a family with strong Christian beliefs will remain with the viewer forever.

Another movie on my list of favorites would be “Legends of the Fall.” This film stars Anthony Hopkins, Brad Pitt and Adain Quinn and takes place during the early 1900’s through the 1930’s. It is the story of three brothers and their unbreakable bond. When one brother dies at war, the other two find themselves both in love with the girlfriend he left behind back at home. This beautiful, vivacious woman eventually wins the heart of the oldest brother, who has now become a congressman, but not before creating a rivalry between the two surviving siblings. The movie is narrated by an elderly Native American and tells the story of a father and his sons’ love, betrayal, and forgiveness and all the events that unfold on their Montana Farm.

Another notable film worth watching would be “Daddy’s Little Girls” written and directed by Tyler Perry. This movie is about a hard-working, down-to-earth guy (Monty) who fights for custody of his three daughters after learning that his ex-wife is involved with a notorious drug dealer. Not wanting his children exposed to that kind of lifestyle, he turns to the judicial system but finds he doesn’t have the money to retain a lawyer and help him with his case. To complicate matters further, Monty was once convicted of rape and his ex-wife’s lawyer plans on using that as a counterattack against his case. Through perseverance, Monty eventually convinces a female lawyer by the name of Julia to assist him. The action throughout the film goes through many trials and tribulations, but not before Monty finds himself having feelings for Julia and the relationship becomes more than just an attorney/client one. This movie is a very touching story of two individuals with two different backgrounds trying to make sense of the emotions that are being created between them. It is a movie worth reviewing periodically to remind you how persistence and hard work pays off in the long run. It is also a lesson in reaffirming the concept that relationships between two individuals with different upbringings can exist and be successful and classism is just another one of those “isms” we continue to work on eliminating.

One film I am anxiously awaiting the release of is “Lakeview Terrace.” Expected to start showing in theaters on September 19th, this movie tells the story of an interracial couple who moves into a neighborhood only to be consistently harassed by their next-door neighbor who disapproves of their relationship. The neighbor, a black LAPD officer, takes it upon himself to patrol his neighborhood and makes the lives of this newlywed couple unbearable. When the couple finally has enough of his constant harassment and discrimination, the battle between them becomes a deadly feud. If the movie is as good as the previews illustrate, then it will no doubt receive high rankings and be worth the money to add to your collection once it becomes available on DVD.

J.W. – Thanks for introducing three new movies that I look forward to viewing in the future. I’m sure based on your evaluation of the many films you have viewed, these recommendations will no doubt prove to be classics with a purposeful meaning and a lesson to be learned and worth every investment.

*** LMM, so the "Hiding Place" is a documentary? From your description of it I can't imagine how it is a documentary since most documentaries are presented more factually based and you told such a vivid story of their struggles. Legends of the Fall is one of my favorites as well. The performances of Anthony Hopkins, Brad Pitt,and the brothers contested love interest Julia Ormand (whom I have always loved) are spectacular. That movie, along with Meet Joe Black (also with Anthony Perkins) took Brad Pitt to another level for me (having just watched him last night in Fight Club), elevating him to the top shelf of our generation of screen stars. I have also seen "Daddy's Girls." I saw it with my daughters and enjoyed some parts of it on a major level (yes I got choked up once or twice). However, you just made me want to revisit it to reconsider the class implications of their relationship. Lastly, the "Lakeview Terrace" with Samuel L. Jackson sounds like some other urban paranoia thrillers like "Pacific Heights" with Melanie Griffith, Michael Keaton, and Matthew Modine, and "Unlawful Entry" with Kurt Russell, Madelaine Stowe, and Ray Liotta (and to some extent "Internal Affairs" with Andy Garcia, Richard Gere, and Nancy Travis, except in the retelling of these stories in "Lakeview Terrace" they chose to rework the story by incorporating a race twist. I may watch this one, but primarily to see Samuel L. riding dirty! He doesn't often play a bad guy (similar to my reasons for watching Keaton and Gere in the two aforementioned films). Your taste cover quite a bit of territory LMM. I hope my recommendations for films like "Lakeview Terrace" doesn't impact your desire to move into a new neighborhood. *** --J.W.

Before I get into the films that inspire me most I would first like to point out a few things on the state of contemporary Hollywood film making. I want to be quick to identify that what I am about to say applies to Hollywood and not independent filmmakers. Too often I have spent hard earned money renting a film or at the theater only to be utterly disappointed. Filmmakers today fail to establish direction, decent acting, and most importantly elements in film cohesion. I do believe it vital that current Hollywood elites need to stop feeding us trivial films intended for trivial minds. There is a very noticeable line between film making as an art and film making for mere profit. Films are intended to entertain surely, but there needs to be a limit to the sequels and remakes that have riddled our theaters over the past few years. Every year there are more redundant themes to a terrible slew of movies. This lack of directorial originality is in turn replaced with a statistical executives’ wish; more money. I feel at a loss illustrating this industry’s conduct and its processes.

Hollywood is not socially just as they would have us believe, quite the opposite. In an attempt, Hollywood sought to ruin the career of Orson Welles after Citizen Kane. Suppressive and deceitful influences like William Randolph Hearst still rip through this Hollywood today. Similarly they forecast our political and social feelings on issues today. Take for instance the bombardment of anti-Arab films that are constantly recurring. Often an attempt at satire, Hollywood would say they never meant to offend anyone, but is there really a more destitute depiction of Arab-American Muslims anywhere else? Perhaps only in the media.

Furthermore, instead of legitimate acting, writing, and directing we are left with the 5-tool celebrity; and I'm here to inform you that the state of acting in major motion pictures couldn’t be any worse. Just yesterday I saw Righteous Kill, only to find a Rapper and professional Skateboarder chosen to work alongside Robert De Niro and Al Pacino. Can you imagine the thousands of film students that work their butts off for just one chance at a film scene and instead they hand it to Rob and 50 Pennies, who are capitalist name sakes that may improve the films financial return; BELIEVE ME it wasn’t because of their acting. And better yet, who’s to blame for this? Surely Hollywood has its fair share of culpability, but equally, aren’t us viewers viably accountable for paying and watching this trash. Time and again we allow ourselves to be coerced into the misinformation provided by major motion picture developers. Whether it is the pitiful filmmaking or inaccurate character and cultural depictions, Hollywood seems to get away with it.

All that said I leave you with only one foreign film to see; The Lives of Others. Written and directed by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, this gripping drama about the life of a courageous writer in East Berlin secretly monitored by the Stasi (Secret German Police) will not disappoint. Films are intended to inspire and often times we don’t agree with the theme but it is central to find in a film the characterizations of what quality film making is all about.

*** B.A., I must admit I am impressed by your knowledge of film, especially something as antiquated as Citizen Kane. Where did you read/hear about Orson Welles struggles? Okay, you also need to translate for me, what is a 5-tool celebrity, and who is Rob? I get the 50 Pennies reference as a slam on 50 Cents.

You shouldn't have an expectation of heightened social justice on the part of Hollywood, especially historically. Hollywood would only reflect the lessons its power brokers learned before they entered Hollywood. Since American society wasn't necessarily socially just, why would you hold Hollywood to a higher standard. You should read Ward Churchill's "American Indians in Film" for an Indigenous Scholar's take on the film industry.

I have seen and own "The Lives of Others." Every now and then different friends/associates of mine, whose film opinions I "somewhat" respect without question, will recommend a film to me for viewing. A rather tall, distinguished gentleman affiliated with the Press Republican occasionally recommends a film to me that he thinks is a "shouldn't miss." To my chagrin he hasn't been wrong yet, though a film he recommended a while back, "Steel Toes" may destroy his streak of winners. However, before I go much further dissing my film friend let me also flirt with disrespecting you in a collegial way. Unless I am mistaken wasn't it you who didn't like "The War Within?" So, with as much affection as I can possibly generate within this moment of dissed respect, you and I probably suffer from credibility concerns when it comes to genre recommendations. Remind me of some of the films that are considered recent classics that you didn't feel. I'm waiting... *** -- J.W.

Here's a quick three I'd recommend to anyone...

1. Once (2007)
2. Life is Beautiful (1997)
3. Little Miss Sunshine (2006)

Whaler, Thanks for the list! I have seen "Little Miss Sunshine" and "Life is Beautiful." The restaurant scene where in "Sunshine" where the little girl orders ice cream for breakfast and her father goes into some spiel about fat in an attempt to entice her to not order the ice cream is classic. I need to view "Beautiful" once more. I saw it, but not really. I actually own "Once," having purchased it upon the recommendation of a good friend. However, before I see it, unless you can compel me with more than just adding it to our list, I must see "The Kite Runner," which was a gift from a dear friend and "Hotel Rwanda" which I have owned since it was released on DVD, but haven't had the energy to watch it yet since I know it will be an emotional experience for me. I remember watching "Schindler's List" and being so emotionally disturbed that a few days later I watched a Danny Devito movie "Renaissance Man" and crying throughout it as part of the aftermath of the impact of "Schindler's List." *** -- J.W.

Right now I am really digging these three movies.

Philadelphia - This movie does not even need a description in my opinion. I only wish I had seen it sooner!

The Magnificent Seven - One of the very few western movies that I can actually watch and enjoy. Finally a movie without the Native Americans/Mexicans being portrayed as the protagonists. Also my first glimpse of Steve McQueen I do not know why I like it so much but I just do.

Blues Brothers - I love this movie more and more every time I watch it. I am a fan of comedy and this is the movie that fills that niche in my life every time.

*** Nick, Tom Hanks was extraordinary in Philadelphia. Unless I am mistaken he won the Academy Award for best actor for his performance in that flick. The movie broke ground for some of the images it framed. Denzel Washington's performance as a homophobe is also extraordinary. I may have to re watch the Blues Brother. I only saw it once and don't recall the details of it at all. However, Steve McQueen, Paul Newman, and Humphrey Bogart were three of my favorite male actors. If you are feeling Steve McQueen you should see "The Cincinnati Kid," "The Great Escape" and "The Getaway." The Cincinnati Kid has an amazing cast and takes you on a nice ride through classism in the era of the 60s. McQueen plays the role of a gambling drifter who comes up against a legend in a highly touted poker game. The story is intriguing, but what I remember most about it was McQueen's legendary coolness. Some actors just have it, whatever it is. McQueen had it. Thanks for sharing your faves! -- J.W.

1. The Dark Knight
2. Good Will Hunting
3. Syriana

While actions movies are usually fluff, the new Batman movie managed to move me mentally, not just entertain with cool explosions.

*** Brennan, how did Batman move you mentally? *** -- J.W.

While trying to avoid some of the republican convention, I was flipping channels on my remote and came across a film I had seen a long time ago. It had played on TV many times since then, but I had never watched it again because it was so painful the first time. The movie is "Terms of Endearment" with Shirley McClain, Debra Winger and Jack Nicholsen. I imagine you have seen it, JW, as probably have most of the bloggers.

It's funny the things you pay attention to. Certainly the first time I saw the movie I was mostly engaged in the tragedy of the illness and death of Debra Winger's character. It was done beautifully, but was almost too much to take especially since, at the time, I was the mother of 3 young children
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This time, a much older viewer, my focus landed on Shirley McClain's Aurora and, in particular, on her complicated relationship with Jack Nicholsen - the "Astronaut." There were 2 scenes that I strongly related to in this period of my life.

The first is when the Astronaut tells Aurora that their relationship is over. He can barely utter the words and says, instead. " I think you know what I'm about to say" Her smile begins to disappear and her face contorts. She interrupts him and says, "BLAH, BLAH. BLAH, BLAH" ... She cannot bear it. He says, "I'm sorry. I really feel bad." She says, "You feel bad. You're lucky. I feel humiliated" I so got her. To him, it is an awkward moment, He feels guilty and remorseful, but to her it is far worse. She is exposed, ashamed and exquisitely disappointed. (It reminds me a little of the gender games blog. )

The scene captured their struggle so well and they played it with such nuance. It illustrated, but transcended the cliche of the man who can'f bear to feel "obligated" and the woman who so wants him to stay.

The movie, however, is a tease because it goes on to portray something that seems to me now, to be unrealistic. In the movie, Jack Nicholsen changes. When he shows up in Nebraska to support Aurora through her daughter's illness, she says to him, "Well, who would have thought you'd turn out to be a nice guy?" It made me wonder about the transformation. How does a person who resists commitment shift? How does someone who won't be penned in decide that to be in the pen with the woman he realizes he cares for... is a good thing? Does it happen? Can it happen or do people who need to love many- always need to love many?

In the next scene, as the Astonaut is leaving to go back home, she tells him to call her- rather than she call him. She starts to say that she doesn't want to call him when he might be at home with another woman ... and stops herself. Instead she says, Oh hell, I never mind, I love you." This is another amazing moment. She decides to stop worrying about her pride, or who he is or isn't and just act according to how she feels. This is so hard to do, to be genuine in the face of lost pride. -to let go of a need to self-protect and just be in it. Is she courageous or has the fact that her daughter is dying put everything else in perspective? Who knows, but perhaps it seems to her that life is just too fragile to let important moments or important relationships slide away.

Sorry, I know that this blog is about movies and not relationships, but this one has been on my mind and your blog let me run with it.

*** AMW, I have seen Terms of Endearment and list it as one of my all time favorite films, for many reasons including the relationship between Jack Nicholson's and Shirley Maclaine's characters. I remember the scenes you describe. I also remember thinking to myself that Shirley Maclain's character "Aurora" was unfortunately humiliated because she didn't listen to what the astronaut had told her up front. Like so many people do, we think we have what it takes to change someone or be the one that inspires someone to rewrite their script. Sometimes that happens, sometimes it doesn't. His guilt and remorse must have come from the fact that he didn't read her right. Perhaps he gave her too much credit, thinking that she could handle their "terms of endearment," and then realized too late that it wasn't the case. Perhaps his guilt came about from intuiting that she probably wasn't romantically mature enough to have the cake and yet not want to eat it as well. Yes, his guilt may be linked to his remorse that he shouldn't have entered the relationship at all because he never wanted to hurt her, but regrettably still did.

You speculate whether the astronaut's change is realistic of men with appetite. I don't see that as unrealistic at all, but context driven. Though Aurora didn't enter the relationship as conscious of what the astronaut had intimated about his lifestyle, she still impacted him enough to re-frame other relationships he would enter into. Ultimately, the impact she had on him--even though he walked away once from her--eventually led him back to her. Luck is another factor as to how he may have returned. She didn't find anyone else, nor obviously did he. Neither one of them completely burned the bridge that allowed them to return to one another. And as always, timing is everything in life.

As to that last scene, quite profound, poetic, and prophetic. One of my favorite sayings is "Perspective is the Objective: I was frustrated with my shoes until I met a man who had no feet!" Her socialization regarding relationships (as is most of ours) was that she had to possess the astronaut, and him her, for them to have a viable relationship. In the aftermath of the trauma of her youthful, vibrant daughter's inexplicable and unfortunately terminal illness, everything else in her life would come under scrutiny. Sometimes it takes a huge loss that shakes us to our foundations before we truly sit down and begin to ask ourselves the real tough questions. It appeared as if Aurora did just that, and perhaps just in time. Unfortunately, in real life where we hope to have happy endings but more often than not don't, our scenes don't end with the scripted protagonists living happily ever after, only sometimes one of them simply still living, or both of them living apart. I guess that is why some movies, like life itself, are real good, and some are only "reel" good! *** -- J.W.

J.W. – Please allow me to clarify myself.

I believe the original “The Hiding Place” was a documentary. There have been several remakes since the first showing of it in movie theaters back in the 70’s. I remember attending the show with a youth group as a teenager. The movie left quite an impact that even now I can recall scenes as vividly as when I was in that theater 30+ years ago. I also wrote a paper on the movie several years ago in one of my college classes. For a movie to leave an effect such as that no doubt must be a classic. If you provide me with a drop box I will gladly let you borrow the version I have in my possession. Although it is not the original, but a Billy Graham remake, the story of these two sisters will touch your heart and pepper you with compassion.

As far as my taste in movies covering quite a bit of territory, I can only acknowledge that I enjoy variety and consider myself diverse. I admit I find solace in watching the tear-jerking, sappy love movies such as Nicholas Sparks “The Notebook,” but I like to be versatile and open to view a variety of subject matter. Just as my taste in movies is widespread, my flavor for music is also extraordinary. At any given time you can hear genres of country, classic rock, jazz, or opera emitting from my office. Depending on my mood, I can listen to Kenny Chesney, Pink Floyd, Garth Brooks, Supertramp, Styx, Journey, The Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserables, Kenny G, James Blunt, and yes, even some John Coltrane.

*** If it works for you, please drop the film off at CDPI if you are local, or mail it if you aren't, when you get a chance and I will watch it, though you need not rush because I won't have time to watch it until late November-early December.

Regarding your musical taste, a noticeably missing genre is Rap music. What is up with that? If you share your movie with me, when I return it to you perhaps I will burn you a Rap CD (if you are interested) that will have you never leaving it off of your list again. After all, all Rap isn't gangsta. Much of it can be quite socially/politically conscious, romantic, and sensual. *** -- J.W.

So, I couldn’t resist sharing my favorite 3 in recent weeks.

Some Like It Hot: Probably in my top ten movies of all times and on the television just 2 weeks ago. I never tire of watching this movie. The writing and acting are superb. Curtis, Monroe, and Lemmon: it doesn’t get any better then this threesome. A screwball comedy with a subtext that is very profound. Wilder, the director delves into same sex relationships, cross-dressing, impotence, disguise, class, and alcoholism. Lemmon’s portrayal of Daphne is performed with such ease and depth it’s unsettling. I wonder what it was like to watch this movie in 1959, when it was released?

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly: For those who have never seen this movie, it would be unfair of me to discuss the story line in any real sense, possibly giving away any of the elements of this magnificent picture. The opening scene sets the tone and mood for a movie that is so unnerving; peeling away at some of our deepest fears. One of which is disability. This movie is based on a true story. My advice is to rent it.

Forgetting Sarah Marshall: You’ll recognize many of the same actors from “Knocked –Up and “The Forty Year Old Virgin” in this movie. What this movie did so well was show us that vulnerable, fragile, and emotional side of men in difficult relationships.
abv

*** ABV, you have me intrigued by Some Like It Hot. I know I have seen this film before, but was very young when I watched it and was more in my western-gangster period and wasn't trying to watch screwball comedies, even those featuring Marilyn Monroe. The gender bending will be intriguing to watch and attempt to situate.

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly I have never even heard of. However, I refuse to let you have a movie in your mental Rolodex that you consider a classic and I haven't even seen. I can't go out like that. So, I will obtain it, soon, and get back to you, especially if it is all that. If it isn't, you will definitely hear from me. Bet on it.

Forgetting Sarah Marshall sounds like it could be tough for me to watch at this time in my life. Relationships have been kicking my butt in various ways as of late and it wouldn't take much to push me over the edge into an abyss of seemingly never ending tears. I won't go out like that either. Okay, okay, I'm male posturing and I probably will go out like that, but I'll do it while using profanity so that at least I can perpetuate some degree of toughness. Or perhaps I will watch it by myself. After all, if a tree falls in the forest and there's no one there to hear it, does it make a sound? Or to say it differently, laugh and the world laughs with you. Cry, and you cry alone!

Damn, now I know that I can be a tangential brother, but that is what I call Wiley really wandering! *** -- J.W.

Hey JW--

You mention Bogart in your original post and I have to mention that Casablanca is my favorite movie of all time. I love everything about it-- the love story, the story of WWII, and I find I get more out of the film each time I watch it.

It's so rich politically and culturally. A few years ago I was watching the film for about my 4th or 5th time and was then struck by the scene where everyone in Rich's cafe begins singing the French national anthem over the Germans. What an amazing political statement that scene is!

*** What is happening Lindsey? Nice of you to wander with the Wiley guy for a minute. Yes, Casablanca is an exceptional film for many reasons. The scene you speak of is one of the strongest one's in the film, but it is the love story that makes it a classic and catapulted Bogie to super stardom. If you like Bogie though, then you must see Key Largo, To Have or Have Not, and the Big Sleep. All three of these films are Bogie at his romantic best. It also could be said that the Maltese Falcon is another one of Bogie's best in terms of how he engages women, except here he does it with edge in terms of his interactions with a woman who was attempting to manipulate him while challenging his code of ethics. As always I recommend watching these films with the phone off and only with people who know the rules of engagement: no talking while the characters on the screen talk. Enjoy, and stay in touch!

I cannot help but think that we now have more important things toward which we should be directing our interest and ultizing our options. Just how many article pages are diminished with full-color snapshots of numerous stars, and just how much bandwidth is abused every week by incessant ramblings of famous person groupies?

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