Sunday, April 02, 2017
You Are an Old Man who Thinks in Terms of Nations and Peoples
At #10 this week, it's a blending of genres: the Holocaust genre, and the zoo genre... it's a small genre, zoos. The only one I can think of off the top is Cameron Crowe's adaptation of We Bought a Zoo. Not exactly a hit, folks, which makes me want to lump Evan Almighty into the mix. Boy, the Hollywood animals still talk about that one. They never had it so good. Their own trailers, their own lame folding chairs with their species name on it... it was a different era, practically. And they weren't all just in the Green Screen studio alone, either!... okay, maybe they were. I actually don't know. Nor do I have time even to read the Evan Almighty trivia page, frankly. But it is a unique take on the Holocaust. When you think of the Holocaust, you don't usually think to yourself, hey! What about all the zoo animals in Germany? What happened to them? And was this a big dilemma for the stormtroopers? Were animals tainted at all if they were cared for by, say, a Jewish zoo employee? So many questions... I guess I'll ask it first: Best Lead Actress Oscar(TM) for Jessica Chastain? It's gonna happen, folks, one way or another. And her career's not gonna falter either, like Renée Zellweger after her win. No, Ms. Chastain could very well be the heir to Meryl Streep's throne... or was it Bryce Dallas Howard? I always confuse those two.
Meanwhile, coming in at #3, it's Scarlett Johansson in a Nude Body Suit... something like that. Oh, wait, it's called Ghost in the Shell, based on the popular animé movie. Take that, Akira! Reminds me of the semi-nude girl in the 1984 incarnation of Ghostbusters. Oh, they talked about that sh... stuff for weeks in my day. Well, that's the kind of thing you gotta do with a blockbuster. You gotta put a couple thorns in the side of the Hays Code.
And finally, at #1, the much-advertised The Boss Baby is #1 with about 49 million dollars, which covers half the Renderman(TM) tab run up by all them computers used in its creation. I'm just going to call it right now... Best Animated Feature Oscar(TM)? If only so that our Douchebag in Chief can tweet about it during the televised ceremony? Which brings me to what I wanted to talk about. We've got HBO again and we watched "Real Time with Bill Maher" a couple nights ago... by the way, if you're overly politically sensitive, now is the time to bail out. Okay, back to work for the rest of us. First of all, there's Roger Stone. For some reason, we didn't fast forward through his remarks. I couldn't help but think of this Simpsons short that was featured on "The Tracey Ullman Show" lo those many, many moons ago. I forget which one it was, and it will probably never see the light of day ever again, unless they have all of them on DVD. Did they settle Tracey Ullman's lawsuit yet? Anyway, Bart Simpson got in trouble for something... he does get into trouble an awful lot, doesn't he? But this time was a little bit different. The family are all in the car, driving away from the scene of Bart's latest carnage, and Marge is trying to teach Bart a lesson... I think about the consequences of actions, and that there are some. Bart responds by saying "But that's not true, Mom! I got a free ride home, didn't I?" At that point, the car stops for a few seconds, then takes off again... and we see Bart standing by the side of the road. As for Roger Stone, unfortunately... he's still in the car, if you catch my drift.
But here's the slightly larger point of which I'm totally jealous, of course. Oh, I'm jeal-lin' like a felon! Maher's final New Rule compared Norma Desmond of Sunset Boulevard fame to Donald Trump. They also used actual clips from the 1950 classic! The previous week, they used actual clips from Used Cars, but I digress. Just thought I'd point that out. Love that movie. "Polish, eh? Rudy Polanski!" They showed some clips from Sunset Boulevard, but personally I think they left out the best part. The part where Max, Norma Desmond's butler (and former husband), says "She is the greatest living actress of all time." ...something like that. SOUND FAMILIAR???????? You know, they always talk about Hitchcock, but Billy Wilder was the man. If only because of Marilyn Monroe.
Well, I see your movie metaphor about Sunset Boulevard, and I raise you a Network. As you might know from this post's headline, the movie Network isn't all about the "Mad as Hell" scene, as beloved and as... iconic (retch)... as it is. Anyone else sick of the word iconic yet? Just me? Okay, never mind.
Anyway, in the movie Network, there's this other speech that Ned Beatty gives to Howard Beale (Peter Finch) at some point. It comes from kind of a successful businessman's perspective... an actual one, mind you. Basically, it's a long-winded speech about how it's money that matters, hear what I say. It's money that matters, in the USA. However, Ned Beatty also says that nations and peoples don't matter. You know, big things that people used to think about more than money. He says that corporations are the nations of the world now. And now that we have our first corporate guy in the White House, well... some people wanted it, right? Some people always thought that government should be run like a business, right? Of course, when the Democrats try to get something done, like health care, then the business of government is clearly running too fast. Far, far too fast. Remember that? Health care was getting jammed down our throats? Death panels? Bureaucrats choosing your doctors? Anyone? Bueller?
Which is why I think Donald Trump... pardon me while I gargle... okay, I'm back. The Drumpfster Fire(TM), I think, should go on the Telly-Vision and say "I just want to take this moment to say, let's hear it for the corporate guys. We did it! We have overcome, my friends. We finally got the Presidency. (wiping away a tear) We've been on the sidelines for years. For YEARS we worked in the shadows, lobbying, buying influence, writing legislation that only the Republicans would consider... well, shadows no more. We're out of the lobbying closet, and it feels great. Breathe that air! Doesn't it seem all the sweeter now? Wiggle your toes! That's the wiggling toes of freedom, my friends."
That's right, Americans. The corporate guys are finally at the top. Say goodbye to your national parks, and say hello to your new toll roads. And they will ALL be toll roads now. So you gotta go to the bank and get more quarters... so what? Hey, these roads ain't gonna pay for themselves, mind you! And that's just the beginning. So much more crap to slash from the budget, so much more stuff to privatize. And I want to give a brief shout out to Paul Ryan. I know things are looking bad for him now, but I can't help but swim against the tide and think to myself, how bad are they, really? I mean, isn't he doing about as good a job as Speaker of the House as he ever did? Isn't this what the Koch brothers want? A government that doesn't get anything done?
...no good? Okay, I've got one more metaphor. But it isn't cinematic, by any measure. No, this involves "Saturday Night Live," and the one time it was hosted by Tom Green... he did host it just one time? Not interested enough to research that. Kinda hard to believe he was a hot property at one point. Now, I don't think I saw any of the sketches he did, but I did see some of his monologue. I remember that pretty clearly, because he brought his parents... I'm sorry, I mean his mum and dad... onto the stage. And at one point, he tried to French kiss his dad. I mean,... yeah, it looked like he was kinda trying to get his tongue down his dad's throat, as Tom is wont to do. Naturally, his dad resisted, as most any dad would that's not in a Peter Greenaway film. Well, that's where I think we are again. See, in this metaphor, George W. Bush used to be the metaphorical Tom Green trying to French kiss America, his metaphorical dad. Now, Trump's trying to French kiss America. I'll leave it at that.