A Man’s Gotta Do etc.: 12 STRONG

I didn’t know they still made movies like this anymore. (I almost expected the ghost of John Wayne to pop up with a steely grin of approval.)

This time it is Thor leading the charge (actually, star Chris Hemsworth is Australian) and the battleground is Afghanistan.

Sure, I know it’s a true story but its depiction is a tad too “rah rah- a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do” for me.

“Hi. My name’s Chris Hemsworth. But most people just call me Thor. (Hey, that rhymes with war. and speaking of war ……”

And in true pre-#Me Too fashion, the little women in this movie wait for their man to come home with the actresses portraying them getting scant screen time to make room for the guys’ heroic deeds.

Which is probably just as well.

The true stories of what happened to some of the women who joined  the U.S. military may not be as entertaining but it is factual – there is plenty of source material in the documentary The Invisible War – although they were obviously deemed unfilmable by the hawks of Hollywood.

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Kwik Kwotes: “PROPERTY VALUES” (No Realtors Need Apply)

“There would be some newspaper readers who wouldn’t be able to help being oddly moved that a boy christened Brody Terrence and a boy christened Wayson Ji Yu could be members of the same gang, gunned down by the same people. It marked a certain kind of progress.”

CHARLES DEMERS Property Values (Arsenal Pulp Press) Copyright 2018 by Charles Demers

What The Other Half Watches

I have been a witness to how the other half (or the silent majority) watches while visiting my sister and her husband recently. There are reams of copy issued when a film is first released in theatres (or on streaming services) and I seem to read most of it. I have never done any deep thinking on the subject but I guess that is how I choose what I want to watch. So, for example, after reading about Black Panther, I decided that was a film I had to see (even though I am not a huge fan of MARVEL superhero movies.) On the other hand, I had no burning desire to view Manchester by the Sea, despite all the Oscars and positive press. (For one thing, I am sad enough as it is. And I make it a point not to see any films featuring Casey Affleck).

My sister and brother in law, by contrast, select their movies (mostly on Netflix) by reading the movie synopsis and, if its a movie that sounds interesting, they will check the language and violence warnings (they are both rather conservative in their taste). Gasp! It seems that all they ask of a movie is that it helps to pass the time before falling asleep(If I am being objective, so do I. Although I usually manage to stay awake until the end of the feature.)

When I am visiting them I often see movies that I wouldn’t see normally or at all. Sometimes this yields the occasional surprise, like the little-seen Prodigy (although obviously shot on the cheap, the film is an impressive calling card for the writing/directing team of Alex Haughey and Brian Vidal and features an assured performance by amazing young Savannah Liles. If there is any justice in the world, you should be hearing more – much more – about all three.)

More likely,though, it is a dud like Downsizing or what my brother-in-law refers to derisively as a “two-star movie” (ironic, since he selects enough of them.

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Savannah Liles – Don’t Touch Those Freckles1

I’d like to write more but I am going to watch Annihilation on Netflix (I read something about the film a few months ago (Gina Rodriguez of Jane the Virgin TV fame in a sci-film film? Alex Garland, writer and director of Ex Machina, behind the camera? This, I gotta see.)

 

 

It’s All Japanese To Me

Ever wake up with fragments of a song circulating in your head?

As a former DJ/Announcer/Whatever it is perhaps understandable. But after doing some research, in other words, asking some friends, I understand it is not limited to my alleged profession. In fact, it is probably darn near universal which is why I am posting this on my blog.

Often there may be a rhyme but  not a reason for the song selected by my cerebral jukebox.

I mean, how do you explain an obscure Fifties tune like “Dark Moon’ suddenly and unaccountably showing up one afternoon? I must have heard it and registered it but when and where?

Even more puzzling is a Japanese pop hit with the catch-all title “Sukiyaki”. (As I understand it, the song has nothing to do whatsoever with the Asian food.) Although it was sung entirely in Japanese by Kyu Sakamoto, it was a huge pop hit on the North American charts in the early Sixties.

Along with the snatches of melody, my subconscious (or whatever is responsible) attempts to recreate the lyrics and since I don’t speak Japanese I can only assume that my brain is unwittingly murdering the language.

I know there was an English-language hit by a girl group several years ago but I can’t program my internal streaming service.

What is the Japanese word for “HELP!”!

 

It’s A Millennial World … We Just Live In It … (Kwotes from “RUNAWAYS”)

Television …  It’s like You Tube for old people.”

“This is a camp-out! Turn off  all electronic devices EEE-MEE-DIATELY.”

KLARA DISCOVERS SHOPPING MALLS “All these shops, all these … things … in one building. Amazing. MOLLY: And this isn’t even the best part … There’s a place called the food court … Totally rocks …”

“… I’m for peace, not the environment. You can’t do it all.”

AND THEN THERE’S THIS … “That’s the first rule of radio, junior   … don’t think.”  I once worked in small and medium market radio in western Canada. The equipment may have changed, but it is somehow comforting to know some things haven’t changed. (No, the above is not a line of dialogue from the Howard Stern film “Private Parts” -although it would fit right in. It’s a talk balloon from DJ Val Rhymin.)

All Quotes from RUNAWAYS Copyright 2015 by MARVEL 

Kendrick Lamar Wins a Pulitzer!

With a Pulitzer Prize win for his dazzling wordplay and authentic literary voice rap/hip-hop superstar Kendrick Lamar has legitimized his chosen field of music to many non-believers, Others will insist that the art form was legitimized years ago.  (Let’s see if I understand this: rap refers to the music, hip-hop is the lifestyle.)

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Kendrick Lamar in action!

As a straight white male raised in the Canadian West by well-meaning parents I obviously cannot relate to Mr. Lamar’s accounts of growing up poor in the challenging environments of the urban ghettoes of America but there is also something universal and humane in his art.

The anguished cry of “You Call This Music?” has echoed through the generations and, as a young boomer, I vowed that I would never use that phrase in later years and mean it.

Granted, as a lifelong (somewhat reluctant) bachelor I have never had kids cranking up rap or death metal behind closed doors but I would like to think that I stuck to my youthful vow. As the legendary broadcaster Red Robinson once said, “Our generation opened up a lot of doors and then they refused to leave the room.”

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“You Call This Music? Now, Aretha Franklin was music!”

To paraphrase Bob Dylan, “The times are a-changin’ again” and to borrow another phrase from Mr. Z “Somethin’s happenin’ here but you don’t know what it is/ Do you, Mr. Jones!”