A movie log formerly known as Bookishness / By Charles Matthews

"Dazzled by so many and such marvelous inventions, the people of Macondo ... became indignant over the living images that the prosperous merchant Bruno Crespi projected in the theater with the lion-head ticket windows, for a character who had died and was buried in one film and for whose misfortune tears had been shed would reappear alive and transformed into an Arab in the next one. The audience, who had paid two cents apiece to share the difficulties of the actors, would not tolerate that outlandish fraud and they broke up the seats. The mayor, at the urging of Bruno Crespi, explained in a proclamation that the cinema was a machine of illusions that did not merit the emotional outbursts of the audience. With that discouraging explanation many ... decided not to return to the movies, considering that they already had too many troubles of their own to weep over the acted-out misfortunes of imaginary beings."
--Gabriel García Márquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude

Friday, September 4, 2009

What I'm Watching

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
This is what I call a "stunt film." It gets so caught up in its tricks that it forgets to be about anything. Granted, the tricks are good ones -- i.e., the aging/de-aging of Brad Pitt, and so on. But the premise of the film is merely a sterile conceit, and one that negates the emotions that it should have worked harder to elicit.

One of These Things Is Not Like the Others

I don't know why I was reading Tim Goodman's column in the Chron today about new shows on the CW, which I never watch and am not even sure how to find on my DirecTV feed. But I came across this sentence in its account of the new revival of "Melrose Place":

But L.A. still corrupts: Someone dies in the pilot; a med student has to essentially become a hooker; there are drugs, mean publicists, bisexuality, infidelity and the world's least believable art thief.

I was reminded of the old "Sesame Street" bit, "One of These Things Is Not Like the Others." That is, death, prostitution, drug abuse, "mean publicists," infidelity and art theft can all more or less legitimately be considered "corrupt." But in this day and age, and especially in San Francisco, isn't bisexuality just another orientation?

Old prejudices die hard, I guess.

Straight to the Point

Straight talk from John Cole and John Harwood:
Someone not named Taibbi went on television and told the truth. I’m kind of shocked:

This can not be stated enough, and we now have Tapper and Harwood on record that this is nonsense. The rest of the media is still in he-said/she-said mode.

For a while, I’ve been trying to come up with three questions that you could ask anyone and determine if they were a wingnut. Up until now, the list was:

1.) Did we find WMD in Iraq?
2.) How old is the earth?
3.) Was Obama born in the United States?

I may have to add “Is it a bad thing if the President tells school kids to study hard?”

Steve Benen puts it well, too:
Conservatives don't want school kids to hear a message from their president. Those who claim superiority on American patriotism have decided to throw yet another tantrum over the idea that the president of the United States might encourage young people to do well in schools.

This is what American politics has come to in 2009.

I Think I've Found a New Hero

Al Franken -- calm, cool, collected, and informed.