Tag Archives: Movies

The Phobia of Watching Rented Movies

26 Mar

In many ways, I am strange, and I am certain that the people around me would agree. Certain things bother me. For instance, the volume has to be on a number that can be divided by 5. Of course, I have loosened up on that.  The thermostat has to be set on an even number. The list is longer, but you probably get the point.

This psychosis also includes things that are not numerically based. This is the story of one of those.

I am not a fan of renting a movie and watching it on television. It makes me feel isolated. I am sitting here with my wife, and a rented movie is playing on television. However, it still makes me feel funny.

These days, we have On Demand and all sorts of ways to access movies, but this feeling goes back to the olden times of VHS. It continued through DVD and Blu-ray. Heck, just writing this makes my heart race.

It goes back into my single life. While the bachelor life had its moments, there were also times of being at home alone and not having much to do. This time of loneliness led to times of feeling disconnected from other people. Watching a rented movie made me feel even more disconnected.

When I watched a rented movie, I knew that I was the only person in the world watching that movie at that particular time. Over time, the action of watching a rented movie made the feeling of isolation grow.

If I watched a scheduled television show, then I knew that other people were watching it. That made it an almost communal event. There was a connection through the television. It was the same thing with going to a movie theater. Being in a room with other people, makes the movie experience a communal event.

Renting a movie is a solitary action because it is only happening on one television in the world.

I know that it is strange. I have a family. However, I still cannot shake the old feeling of isolation while watching a rented movie.

Things I Think

25 Mar

I think…

the speed limit means that you can actually go that speed.

cracks in concrete are canyons for ants.

Escape from New York is the best movie Kurt Russell ever made.

the Jessi Colter and Waylon Jennings version of “Suspicious Minds” is almost as good as the Elvis version.

the iPhone is the most addictive drug in the world.

that only rocks live forever.

the Freedom of Speech is under attack from people who only want to what they want to hear.

more people need to like history.

John Wayne and Clint Eastwood should have made a Western together.

people who are famous for no reason should lose their fame immediately.

people who throw chewing gum on the ground should have chewing gum stuck on them.

trees communicate with each other.

a remake of Escape from New York is a bad idea.

married life is a great life.

football, my favorite sport to watch, will one day be banned.

truffled macaroni and cheese is terrible.

I need to buy more vinyl.

reality television is the worst form of entertainment ever invented.

chairs are better than couches.

blogging is awesome.

 

Things I Think About While Listening to Jose Feliciano

16 Mar

It is a good night. We had a great meal with great conversation. Now, Jose Feliciano is on the turntable. The only problem is that it is cold outside. We made it through an entire Winter, and it had decided to get cold in the middle of March. It seems that Spring has not yet sprung.

Heck, Jose is singing “California Dreamin'” and is talking about a Winter’s day. I know how he feels. This is no time to be sitting in the house wearing a hoodie. Yet, that is what I am doing. I am also thinking that it is time for a stream of consciousness.

Let us start with Jose himself. He sings the theme to a terrible Western that could have been great. Mackenna’s Gold stars Gregory Peck, Omar Sharif and a bunch of other big stars.

It is about the search for gold. It is also about Julie Newmar swimming nude. According to movie lore, she was supposed to wear something in the scene, but she shocked everyone by doing it for real.

By the way, the theme sung by Jose Feliciano is “Old Turkey Buzzard.”

For those not up on their 1960s television, Julie Newmar plays Catwoman on Batman, the campy version that stars Adam West. A lot of cool people play villains on that show. Burgess Meredith plays the Penguin. Eli Wallach plays Mr. Freeze. Why do I mention those two? They are also in Mackenna’s Gold.

Did I mention that it is a terrible Western that could have been great? The real problems are the special effects. Man, they look terrible, and I imagine that they looked terrible when it first came out. They should have gone natural like Julie does in the skinny dipping scene.

Jose also sang the theme song for Chico and the Man, a 1970s television show about a cranky old man and a Chicano man in his 20s. It stars Jack Albertson and Freddy Prinze. It also stars Scatman Crothers.

Scatman appears in a ton of movies and television shows, but Friday Foster is one of my favorites. It stars the fantastic Pam Grier, but it also had Eartha Kitt. Does anyone know what other role features Eartha Kit? She plays Catwoman on the the campy 1960s Batman.

Julie Newmar and Eartha Kitt play the same character on the same television show. Lee Meriwether also plays that character in that version of the Caped Crusader, but that is another story for another time. We could let Barnaby Jones work his way through that mystery.

Call Me the Over Analyzer

6 Mar

My wife just read my last post, and she was not happy with it. She says that I ruin sappy movies by over analyzing them. She is probably right. I tend to over analyze movies.caution

Jeremiah Johnson is one of my favorite Westerns, and I critique it because it is not a true portrayal of  mountain man life. They never show him doing his job, which should be trapping beaver for a fur trading company. That is what I loved about The Revenant. It actually showed the bloody and grueling work of mountain men. Of course, they also filmed a movie in the Canadian Rockies even though the actual story took place in the Dakotas. Those are two places that do not look the same.

There is a long list of movies that I have over analyzed, but there is one that I could not get my head around. In The Bridges of Madison County, Meryl Streep watched her husband and kids leave town to show a cow at the state fair. Then, Clint Eastwood shows up and sweeps her off of her feet. Most people walked out of the movie thinking about this love that could never be fulfilled. I left the movie thinking about her poor husband showing the cow at the state fair. He would never know that his wife was screwing around while audiences cried over her heartbreak.

Anyway, I guess I am bad about over analyzing movies. I look for the inconsistencies. Heck, I have my classes watch movies based on historic events and make them write papers about how wrong the movies are.

Maybe I am taking this movie thing too far. I expect movies to tell me what really happened, and movies are not going to do that. Many of them are going to be entertaining. Many of them are going to be thought-provoking. A bunch of them are going to suck. I just need to understand that they are rarely going to be realistic.

 

Blind Sided

27 Feb

The Blind Side is a movie based on the real story of Michael Oher, a young African-American who is adopted into a wealthy Memphis family. Through their support, he blossoms into a great football player who goes on to success in college and the National Football League. It is a movie about the goodness of people and about what can happen when someone gets a little help along the way. It is a movie that makes the audience feel good about the world. It is a movie that everyone in my family likes.blind-side

Except me.

That situation has led to arguments. It has led people to think that I am cold-hearted. It has led to statements like “How can you not like The Blind Side?”

Well, let me explain how.

I was initially turned off by the main character played by Sandra Bullock, who hates the University of Tennessee. Why would I want to watch a movie where they talk smack about the team that I like? That makes no sense to me.

For a long time, that was my reason for not liking The Blind Side. However, people did not accept that, and my argument had to be strengthened. That is when I started looking into the story a little more carefully.

Before I get into that, there is something else that I need to explain. I am not a fan of any movie that takes real people and turns their story into a simple fairy tale. There are a ton of these movies out there, and they all make the same mistakes. Humans are complicated, and they have complicated stories. Turning those complicated stories into simple “feel good” narratives is not fair to the people being portrayed, and it is not fair to the audience. I am all for “feel good” movies. However, they are better told in the fictional world.

This does not even take into account the criticism this movie faced for being part of the “white savior” narrative. Those are the movies where white characters find out something about themselves by helping people of color who, according to the narrative, cannot help themselves. Some other movies that fit this are Cool Runnings, Dances With Wolves, Glory Road, Lawrence of Arabia and McFarland USA,

Now, here is the complicated tale of Michael Oher and the Tuohys, his adopted family.

The movie portrays Michael as a big poor kid who did not know how to do anything. Then, Leigh Anne and Sean Tuohy took him off the streets. That is when his football talent emerged.

In reality, he was an all-state football player and one of the top linemen in the nation who lived with several foster families. The Tuohys were one of those families, and they adopted him.

This is where my cynicism shows through, but first I will say this. I am sure that the Tuohys cared for Michael. After all, they are real people with real feelings. However, it did not hurt that he was a great football player. Why did that not hurt? Because the Tuohys were huge boosters of the University of Mississippi. Mr. Tuohy played basketball for Ole Miss and worked as an announcer on basketball radio broadcasts. Mrs. Tuohy was a cheerleader at the school.

This is where the arguments ensue. Others say that his football ability had nothing to do with the adoption. I say that I have seen a lot of crazy stuff in Southeastern Conference football recruiting. Adopting a great football player is a good way to pass benefits to the player in a legal way, and some people will go to any length to do that. Heck, Memphis is one of the most notorious cities when it comes to questionable recruiting tactics.

Anyway, huge Ole Miss boosters adopt one of the nation’s top high school football players, and he ends up going to Ole Miss. It caught the attention of the NCAA.

Members of my family read this blog, and this post may lead to more heated discussions about The Blind Side. So, why am I bringing it up? Here is why.

This week, the NCAA announced that Ole Miss lacked institutional control when it came to football recruiting. There are violations after violations. People are wondering what punishment they will receive. People are also wondering what will happen to Hugh Freeze, the head football coach who oversaw some of this activity.

Do you know where Hugh Freeze used to be the football coach?

Briarcrest Christian School in Memphis.

Do you know who was one of his best players?

Michael Oher.

Do you know how he got into college coaching?

He was hired at Ole Miss 20 days after Michael Oher signed the papers to play at the school.

I am sure that The Blind Side is a good movie about good people. Heck, Sandra Bullock won an Academy Award for her portrayal. I am also sure that Michael Oher would not be where he is today without the influence of the Tuohys. However, there is more to the story than this simplified version, and I wish that was the movie that had been made.

Finally, the Definition of Final

2 Feb

This week, I gave tests and noticed a peculiar phenomenon. One of the questions as about the final version of the Fort Laramie Treaty, and, in every class, students asked what that meant. Did it mean the treaty as it was originally agreed upon? Or, did it mean the treaty as it ended up?

I always answered, “Final means final.”final

This issue has been running through my mind. Was the question not clear? Were the students just making sure that they were reading the question correctly? Was final the right word?

I looked it up.

Merriam-Webster defines final as:

1
a : not to be altered or undone <all sales are final>
b : of or relating to a concluding court action or proceeding <final decree>
2
: coming at the end : being the last in a series, process, or progress <the final chapter> <final exams>
3
: of or relating to the ultimate purpose or result of a process <our final goal> <the final product>

Do any of those fit a question that asks about the final version of the Fort Laramie Treaty?

Anyway, it has been bothering me that several students asked if final meant final. It has also been bothering me that the word final is tangling up my mind. To get rid of it, here are some things that are final.

Final Four (March Madness)

Final Exam (which will not have a question about the final version of anything)

Final Countdown (the movie starring Kirk Douglas and Martin Sheen about a modern-day aircraft carrier that goes back to Pearl Harbor in 1941)

Final Countdown (the song by Europe that was inspired by the movie)

Final Fantasy (a video game that I have not played)

Final Destination (a movie series of which I have only seen the first one)

Can you think of anything else that is final?

Finally, the word final is out of my head, but I may never figure out why so many people asked what I meant by final.

Rambling Ruminations While Watching a Movie

29 Jan

It was a dark and stormy night. No kidding, the movie we are watching is currently showing a dark and stormy night engulfing two people operating a lighthouse. It is a romantic movie with deep undertones that my wife wanted to watch.

Other than the light from the television and this computer screen, it is also dark in this room. Luckily, it is not stormy.

Until now, the movie has featured the happy vibes of two people falling in love. The storm has brought on the serious part of the story with depression, anger and other feelings that take place on an isolated island. On top of that, the storyline is about to get super complicated.

Speaking of storms, they say that it is going to snow tomorrow. However, the weather app on my phone says the temperature is not going to get below freezing, and I have yet to figure out how it is going to snow with temperatures above freezing. I suppose that is one of those great mysteries of life.

Speaking of mysteries, my favorite is the story of D.B. Cooper. Who was he? What happened to him? It is simply one of the all time great unknowns. For those who have never heard of D.B. Cooper, you need to look him up.db-cooper

While no one knows Cooper’s true identity, it is known that he hijacked an airliner on November 24, 1971. My third birthday was celebrated the next day. Here is what else was going on that day.

“Theme from Shaft” by Isaac Hayes was at the top of the music charts.

CBS aired The Carol Burnett Show and Mannix.

NBC offered up Adam-12 and McCloud.

Black Beauty was released in theaters.

Man, it has been a long time since November 24, 1971. If we have not solved the mystery of D.B. Cooper by now, then it will probably never be solved. I guess that is what happens when you jump out of an airliner on a dark and stormy night.