It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World [1963)

Greed.

Not sure where to file this one.

It starts good, but it ends up a bit of a shambles.

Even so, it merits mention for several of the actors involved.

Milton Berle is pretty great.

His comedy is of another era.

It’s refreshing!

Buddy Hackett is pretty fantastic.

This crosseyed fat boy was a genuine talent.

And speaking of the rotund, Jonathan Winters is pretty awesome as the redneck furniture mover.

Jerry Lewis is on screen for about 5 seconds (really).

And Don Knotts has about one minute of contribution.

Spencer Tracy does a nice job.

His acting is a sort of “slow burn” here.

But like so many of these “cast of thousands” movies, the whole thing collapses (literally, in this case) under its own weight.

Stanley Kramer’s direction is good, but this hulking behemoth is mighty flawed.

There is not much mystery to this film.

Which is to say, there are no hidden levels to be revealed upon repeated viewings.

See it once and you’ll never want to bother with it again.

 

-PD

Susuz Yaz [1964)

And now we finally come to Turkey.

Because it has been hard to find anything.

Kinda like the theme of this film:  Dry Summer.

About water, but about brothers.

Tigris and Euphrates.  Starting in Turkey.

And meandering down to Mesopotamia.

Two men and one woman.

Not unlike Knife in the Water.

Back to water again.

Our director was Metin Erksan who died in 2012.

But here he does a very good job with the characters he has.

Indeed, Susuz Yaz won the prestigious Golden Bear award at the Berlin Film Festival.

Hülya Koçyiğit played the beautiful Bahar.

Bahar is playful…perfuming herself and letting her lover catch her in the corn field.

This was Hülya Koçyiğit’s first film.

And then there is the schlub villain (played by Erol Taş).

His mustache is key.  Yes, he is a big brute of a man.

And he causes problems every day in every way.

But do we sympathize with him?

Sure!

In fact, our film was based on a novel by Necati Cumalı.  He grew up in Urla close to İzmir.

There are really some fantastic moments in this movie.

But I must admit:  it was hard to watch.

Some of it is very beautiful.

I love the Turkish music!  And Erol Taş riding on a donkey while barefoot.

I guess they are growing tobacco.

But one thing is for sure:  the neighbors are pissed off.

That’s the downside to living downstream.

Dams!

And so there is a social commentary here.

Osman (Erol Taş) is a greedy man.

Actually, he’s a complete jerk.

But there are some humanizing things about him.

He seems bitter.

But then to look at what his brother has, there is reason for bitterness.

A beautiful wife.

Whom Osman covets.

I must also admit that I was exhausted when I watched this.

But most of all, I am happy to have finally reviewed a Turkish film.

I hope to review another soon!

 

-PD

 

9/11: Ten Years of Deception, Part 1 [2015)

I must praise the brave soul or souls at Hulu who made this documentary available through their video streaming service.

If there is a global conspiracy of greed at the most elite level of society, then those conspirators have yet to impress upon Hulu the lesson of what is arguably Juvenal’s most famous bit of thought.

America is becoming less and less restrained.

Continet.  Contains.  Contents itself with.  Restrains itself.

Who?  Se.  They.

Those who have shed their cares.  Effudit curas.  Shed cares.

Who?  Qui.  Those who.

Who what?

Dabat olim.  Once gave.

Once gave what?  A shit.

Idem populus.  The same people.

Ah!  People.  The people.

It is from Satura X.  The 10th Satire of Juvenal.  You might see it as Satvra.

Full.  Satur.

Lanx satura.  Full scale.

A full scale.  Full-scale.

It was the Toronto Hearings.  The International Hearings on the Events of September 11, 2001.

You’ll get a lot of stuff.

For instance, David Ray Griffin.

I have long appreciated his scholarship in the field of 9/11 research.

His books are part of my library.

You’ll also get the excellent Kevin Ryan (who lost his job at Underwriters Laboratories for questioning the fraudulent “science” of NIST [National Institute of Standards and Technology]).  UL worked with NIST on their reports regarding the cause of collapse of the World Trade Center buildings (all three of them).  Ryan seems to have found any involvement in this unconscionable and thus spoke up.  Just like Dr. James Tracy (for his Sandy Hook research), Ryan’s job employment with UL was terminated.

You’ll meet hearing panelist Ferdinando Imposimato (honorary President of the Supreme Court of Italy).

Imposimato was one of those who got to the bottom of Operation Gladio.

And so staged bombings have been with us awhile.

Mr. Imposimato uncovered the secrets of the “years of lead” in Italy.

The “strategy of tension”.

He uncovered that it was NATO intelligence (with a leading role played by the CIA).

Anything to keep the communists from coming to power.

So much so that the weapons caches of “stay behind networks” were put into service.  Italy bombed and terrorized its own people.  And blamed it on the Red Brigades.

To sway popular sentiment.

“Don’t vote for the communists!”

What a murderous, cynical solution to a phantom problem.

People cynically sacrificed to prevent some greater perceived threat.

And that’s exactly what 9/11 was.

That was the mechanism.

You will meet Richard Gage.  Founder of Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth.

No quack.

A very articulate, serious person.

Same goes for Kevin Ryan.

Check their science.

Follow their logic.

Observe the duplicity of NIST and their politically-motivated fudging of numbers.

It is astounding!

You’ll meet Peter Dale Scott.

What an astute personality!  Former English teacher at UC-Berkeley.

Famous for research on “the deep state”.

You may not want to believe it, but sticking your head in the sand won’t make it go away.

You’ll meet Graeme MacQueen.  A Harvard Ph.D.

Serious voices.

Matthew Witt.  Professor at the University of La Verne.

People putting their reputations on the line.

Smart, studied people who have sensed (and proven to their own satisfaction through the scientific method) that 9/11 was something far different from that which was presented.

How does news become history?

Once something is reported as news, is it then history?

There are very serious questions surrounding 9/11.

I cannot name all of the figures in this documentary, but ponder these:

-Cynthia McKinney (one of the only trustworthy politicians to have emerged in recent memory)

-Lance deHaven-Smith (a Florida State professor whose contribution to this documentary is priceless)

-Jonathan Cole (whose questions get at the heart of the mythical 9/11 “state crime against democracy” [a term coined by deHaven-Smith])

-David Chandler (whose beard is as impressive as his mathematics qualifications)

I highly recommend this documentary to all who value what remains of liberty.  As the filmmakers make clear, many scourges of humanity can be traced back to the false narrative which followed quickly on the heels of the 9/11 events.

Judge for yourself whether the evidence presented supports the hypotheses of these researchers.  As is no doubt evident, I concur with most of their conclusions regarding this sad event.

 

-PD

Il buono, il brutto, il cattivo [1966)

This movie’s reputation does not precede it in one key sense.  Namely, this is a bizarre film.  Of all the far out stuff I watch it therefore takes something special for me to proclaim such.  Maybe, if we are well-informed, we expect weird when we sit down to view Holy Mountain.  With The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly we probably just expect another Spaghetti Western.

Not only does the film under review perhaps epitomize the genre, but it also sets itself apart with a story which must be seen to be truly appreciated.  I will, of course, try to avoid spoiling the drama by giving away too much.

It will suffice to discuss a few general points.  Why do I say this film is bizarre?  We can start with the title(s).  If we translate directly, we would get The Good, The Ugly, The Bad.  Not quite an arresting turn-of-phrase.  Therefore, we ponder the usual translation:  The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.

There are several important concepts wrapped up in this title alone.  First, the direct translation and the “axiomatic” translation (respectively) transpose the word order.  If we were thoughtless, we would ignore this minor detail.  But since this film relies so heavily on a strange (subversion of?) moralizing, we cannot pass over even this aspect.

The literal translation would (literally) have us place “ugly” somewhere between good and bad (or good and evil if we are feeling particularly Nietzschean).

For those of us who root for the underdog (myself included), we might start off rooting for “ugly” (or “the ugly one”).

In the axiomatic translation, “ugly” is an afterthought (so to speak).  It is last in order.

I’m not sure if the Sermon on the Mount was in the back of the minds of the producers of the film (wow…), but we wonder whether the first will be last and the last will be first.

One thing is certain:  the greyscale of life is fully on display in this Technicolor teaching piece.  What is weird (bizarre) is the lesson being taught.  It is horribly (gloriously?) muddied.

The good is not good.  The ugly is also bad (above and beyond ugly).  The bad is, well, bad…

But if bad is only bad in relation to good (Hegel?), then the bad isn’t so bad…

In other words, it doesn’t take a whole hell of a lot to be good in this world.

And so…presented with this trio of characters, we are unsure who will “win”…indeed, has anyone really excelled in their typecast?

I should mention that, in my opinion, ugly is not so ugly.  All three of these mugs are a little rough around the edges.

In fact, the first face we see in the movie is the one we might assume to be Ugly.  He is not.  The real Ugly is merely not-traditionally-handsome (I suppose).  We should also consider the mannerist interpretation:  an ugly manner vs. a refined sensibility.  It could be argued that Bad (here) is much more refined (though he tortures Ugly…literally).  Ah, but NOT literally.  Rather, he has someone do it for him.  Now, isn’t that the height of refinement???

I will give away one thing.  Good is really Good at least once in this film.  A dying soldier…bleeding to death…and Good gives him his coat.  But not only that.  No.  Good gives him a few puffs on a cigar (which, as it turns out, helps him transition more peacefully to the next world).  It is the most touching moment of the film.  To be sure, this is not a Hallmark movie.  It’s a rough, win-at-all-costs affair.  A bit like real life.

And who is the real STAR of this film?  As fate would have it, the most interesting and entertaining character is Ugly (Eli Wallach).  Eastwood is great as always.  Lee Van Cleef is great.  But Wallach is beyond great!  He’s disgusting.  He’s hilarious.  He’s endearing.  He’s vicious.  He’s cruel.  He’s greedy.  He’s human.

Sergio Leone once again outdid himself.  Greed may have never been portrayed in all of its dizzying rush better than when Wallach goes sprinting with joy and anticipation in search of a grave (a long story…).  Morricone’s music is at least another order of magnitude better here than in his previous collaboration with Leone and Eastwood.

This is a damn good film.  Happy viewing!

-PD