Rambo: Last Blood [2019)

Here is the jewel in the crown of the Rambo franchise.

Truly.

This is the best Rambo film.

Just as Casino Royale (2006) is the best Bond film.

And it’s an appropriate reference…because Rambo: Last Blood is equal parts Sicario and Skyfall.

Sure, First Blood can never really be topped.

Hell, Rambo III is an amazing movie!

But to mix franchises again, Dr. No can never be topped.

And yet, every franchise has a best film.

And for Sylvester Stallone’s Rambo franchise, this is the one.

#AllEyesOnMaricopa

It’s all about the knife.

Variable.

Human trafficking.

Sex trafficking.

Slave labor.

Forced prostitution.

Kidnapping.

Stallone’s acting is amazing in this film.

He has honed his craft.

He is untouchable here.

Completely authentic.

A master of understatement.

Small movements.

Subtle intonations.

Interrogations.

Driver’s license.

I think they throw it back on him.

Such a taut film.

One detail only with slack.

A little bit of The Punisher.

All he needs is a hammer.

Green Beret.

Sadness of time invested.

Sadness of family lost.

Sadness of best friend gone.

The acting.

Scene with Paz Vega.

True, raw emotion.

Samuel Fuller would have respected.

And loved it.

Setting a trap.

Mother Of All Traps.

Decaffeinated?

Shocker.

Side of beef.

Memorial Day.

With General Flynn.

Michael Flynn.

May we prove to be worthy of their sacrifice.

My colonel may be long gone.

Reporting to flag officer.

You are watching a movie.

This film is a masterpiece.

-PD

Executive Action [1973)

LBJ was not innocent.

But the story goes far deeper than that.

And it depends on who you ask.

As Oliver Stone told it, Johnson was integral to the plot against Kennedy.

Here, Johnson is largely a footnote.

Here we enter the politics of history.

The politics of film.

The politics of telling a story.

To decipher, we must know Dalton Trumbo.

Relative to Oliver Stone.

What is most remarkable is that there was a film made which not only rivals the quality and conviction of Stone’s JFK, but perhaps exceeds it.

This is that film.

David Miller, its director, barely has a stub of biography to supplement his rather large filmic oeuvre.

Which is intriguing.

Let’s investigate further.

Miller started out as an editor for an RKO (Radio-Keith-Orpheum) film directed by a Halliburton.

That was 1933.

By 1937, he was directing.

Miller seems to have strictly directed short films for the next four years.

His first feature-length film of note was Billy the Kid in 1941.

By the next year he was directing John Wayne in Flying Tigers.

The war years were lean.

A short propaganda film here and there.

Seven years elapsed.

But Miller was back in the game by 1949…directing Bing Crosby in Top o’ the Morning.

That same year, Miller directed the Marx Brothers in their final feature film: Love Happy.

Future highlights for Miller included the noir film Sudden Fear in 1952 starring Joan Crawford and Jack Palance.

He directed Ginger Rogers in 1954’s Twist of Fate (aka Beautiful Stranger).

By 1956, he was directing Lana Turner and Roger Moore in Diane.

Joan Crawford teamed up with Miller again in 1957 for The Story of Esther Costello.

By 1960, Miller was teaming up with screenwriter Dalton Trumbo.

They had at their disposal Kirk Douglas.

The film was Lonely Are the Brave.

Miller was making a spy thriller by 1968:

the little-known Hammerhead.

The year I was born, 1976, Miller was making his last film (again with Lana Turner): Bittersweet Love.

His penultimate film, Executive Action, is a masterpiece.

Again teamed with Dalton Trumbo.

There is plenty of bitterness to go around for the conspirators of JFK’s murder.

Which brings us to the current state of American politics.

Who is really in control?

Is it Joe Biden?

I don’t not think that anyone would assume Biden is even controlling his own bowels at this point.

Which is sad.

Because he has only been in office a mere 30-some-odd days.

Is the business world running the U.S. government?

It’s possible, but I don’t think so.

As much as they would like to use Biden as their puppet, I do not think we are completely being ruled by corporations at the moment (though their power is considerable).

What about the Democrat Party?

Is it running America?

Nancy Pelosi seems powerful.

But also inept.

Ineffectual.

Impotent.

She and Biden make the perfect pair.

Slurring and stuttering.

Schumer is just a yutz.

But the Biden/Pelosi combo is one for the ages.

My fellow San Antonian, the late Jacques Barzun, might have something to say here re: decadence.

Decay.

Like rotting teeth.

You can give Biden dental implants.

And Hunter too.

You can give Pelosi dentures.

But Joe and Nancy will continue to be an overwhelming embarrassment.

Which brings up Biden’s “80 million votes”.

And Pelosi’s unpopularity within her own party.

AOC’s star will fade, but for now, Sandy Cortez wields far more political capital than the haggard Pelosi.

And it is not hard to see why.

Cortez is an attractive (albeit moronic), young star of American communism.

She promises everything.

She will (of course) deliver nothing.

But hey: that’s the essence of communism.

Pelosi’s day has come and gone.

And it was a LOOOOOONG day.

Pelosi has overstayed her welcome.

Even in the minds of her fellow socialists.

But this is all just theater.

Because Biden, nor Pelosi, nor AOC are in control.

What about Kamala?

Nope.

I don’t think so.

So we must keep searching.

And here we hit gold.

Either the military, the CIA, or the NSA (which is to say, the military) are now in control of the country.

In the case of the CIA, we must remind some readers that this organization started off with military roots.

The OSS.

And for many years, the CIA overthrew communist governments.

That is, until Barack Obama appointed a communist (John Brennan) to head the Agency.

It is not a matter of debate that Brennan voted for Gus Hall in 1976.

https://www.cnn.com/2016/09/15/politics/john-brennan-cia-communist-vote/index.html

“John Brennan on Thursday recalled being asked a standard question for a top security clearance at his early CIA lie detector test: Have you ever worked with or for a group that was dedicated to overthrowing the US?”

Brennan said, “I froze”.

Which brings us to JFK.

And communism.

And Vietnam.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/lifestyle/wellness/1992/10/06/jfks-addisons-disease/aceb473c-a5dc-4199-9453-d3fcd3b18312/

JFK had Addison’s disease.

And treatment for Addison’s disease can cause mood swings.

Maybe not the best trait for a President of the United States (especially at the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis).

Not only this, but JFK and RFK lied about Kennedy’s condition.

Indeed, mood changes characterize Addison’s disease itself (and are not simply a side effect of treatment):

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Addison%27s_disease

At his autopsy, JFK was found to have virtually no adrenal glands whatsoever.

To say this is an advanced stage of Addison’s would be an understatement.

This would have predisposed JFK to:

-anxiety

-depression

-irritability 

-poor concentration.

Again, not the traits you want in a President.

And not the sort of thing a Presidential candidate and his brother (Attorney General) should have lied about.

But they did.

None of which is to say that Kennedy deserved to die like a dog.

He didn’t.

But we now come into a realm of questioning and philosophy which involves the existential survival of America.

For the first time in my life, I today regarded Lyman L. Lemnitzer as a potentially-reasonable person.

He of Operation Northwoods infamy.

Why?

Because of the care taken in that document with regard to contrived obituaries, etc.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff, under Kennedy, did indeed present the option of (plot) terror attacks on the American people.

Some of the attacks (options) would have been real.

That is the Lemnitzer I have always detested.

But some of the attacks (options) would have been simulated.

In other words, these men of war would have taken great care in concocting fake deaths…TO PROTECT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE.

From what?

From Soviet nuclear weapons in Cuba.

So I ask you today:  is it possible that this same panel (the JCS) is now in control of the USA?

What about Lloyd Austin?

Are the JCS really reporting to him?

Maybe so.

Maybe not.

And what of the CIA?

Why was Mike Pompeo (West Point) put in charge of the CIA before becoming Secretary of State?

Why did Trump go to CIA headquarters so early in his Presidency?

Was it not reminiscent of his visits to Saudi Arabia, Israel, and the Vatican (respectively)?

If one was to really “drain the swamp”, where would this swamp-drainer start?

And if the CIA can infiltrate the Pentagon (the veracity of which, just prior to 9/11, Dr. Pieczenik has attested to), then can the Pentagon not (silently) reclaim the CIA?

What changes did Pompeo make while he was there?

Is it possible that the CIA is currently in control of the U.S. government?

And that the CIA has been gutted by Trump and Pompeo?

Is it possible that the U.S. military is operating out of Langley (in a script-flip of Langley infiltrating the Pentagon)?

Which then brings us to the NSA and CYBERCOM (which are, for the time being, virtually the same thing).

If any agency could run the country, it would be the NSA.

Why?

Because they would be able to undo corruption.

Piece by piece.

They would know which blackmailed leaders to remove (legally…over time…even if by martial law).

And they would know how to LEVERAGE information for command and control purposes.

For instance.

If Mark Milley (CJCS) was being a cunt (not that he ever would be), the NSA could neutralize him with information.

Perhaps Milley has some unsavory secrets he doesn’t want coming out.

The NSA would have that.

Which is to say, Paul Nakasone could literally be running the entire country all by himself at this point.

Perhaps with help from Keith Alexander.

And Jerry Boykin.

No need for kinetic warfare if the #InvisibleCoup / #SecretCoup / #SilentCoup is run with devastating efficiency and efficacy by Fort Meade.

But just in case, SOCOM/USSOCOM are ready to knock on some doors (if needed).

Joe Biden is being allowed to pretend he is President.

That is my theory.

I very much owe my realization to the writing of Martin Geddes.

What we are seeing is the United States being given a free sample of Chinese communism.

The military is running the country.

We can attack Iran.

And Biden will be blamed.

The military can mess up.

And Biden will be blamed.

And Biden will run the country into the ground on his own.

Yet the military will act as training wheels for this bicycle.

This is where SOCOM/USSOCOM comes in.

This is where Fort Bragg reigns supreme.

PSYOPS.

The American populace must be woken up.

It cannot be done all at once.

The American populace must experience first-hand the failure of socialism.

Which is why Donald Trump’s second term features Joe Biden as President.

Which brings us back to QAnon.

We know that Q was more that one writer.

https://www.france24.com/en/live-news/20210117-swiss-text-sleuths-unpick-mystery-of-qanon-origins

But anyone could be framed for writing it.

Even myself.

But I did not write it.

And I very much believe that those now in control of our government DID write it.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Team_B

The CIA pulled off 9/11.

But they were not alone.

There were traitorous elements within our military.

I can only now hope that those elements have left.

But, again:  the NSA/CYBERCOM would have all the goods needed to remove corruption from even the top ranks of the military.

All other unified combatant commands would need to rely on kinetic means.

Which brings up a possible coconspirator in preserving and defending the Constitution:

INSCOM.

As we have said, SOCOM would be a muscle held in reserve.

A further buttress may be SPACECOM.

Indeed, it is possible that STRATCOM is not a part of this “invisible coup”.

STRATCOM’s capabilities may be constrained by those of SPACECOM.

Nevertheless, CYBERCOM (again) can control all other human elements.

It would be a sort of blackmail to save America.

If globalists can have a Great Reset, what’s to say the U.S. military couldn’t manufacture a national reset?

I would bet on the U.S. military before I would bet on the World Economic Forum.

And I also bet that the U.S. military now knows that the WEF have committed an act of war in inflicting COVID-19 upon the United States.

WEF, acting as a sort of nationstate, would fall under the category of terrorist organization (biological terror).

Bill Gates has given aid and comfort to this enemy.

Anthony Fauci has given aid and comfort to this enemy.

And all three have worked in concert with a foreign adversary to wreck the economy and morale of the United States.

That foreign adversary is China.

To win this war, it was necessary for Joe Biden to playact.

Except he doesn’t know he’s playacting.

Nor does Nancy Pelosi.

The U.S. military will act at its own pace.

The number one imperative is the good of the country.

Biden cheated and got caught.

The best path forward was to continue to find and weed out corruption.

The U.S. does not want a world war.

China will be dealt with in due time.

But first, the American house must be cleaned.

It is back to a one-room schoolhouse.

We are in session.

The class is political economy.

Joe Biden is teaching us.

What not to do.

The country is experiencing his leadership.

Right after having experienced the free market policies of a truly competent President:

Donald Trump.

The spell must be broken.

The mass media must be exposed.

They lied about Trump for four years.

They lie about everything.

Now they have what they wanted.

Trump’s great defeat.

And a senile incompetent in power.

But they have no plan to help people.

They merely wanted power for the sake of power.

Now that they have it, they don’t know what to do with it.

There is no tit to suck.

This is a crucible for policy.

Free markets work.

Watch the price of eggs.

Socialism/communism does not work.

And to the extent that it does work, it relies on authoritarianism to FORCE people to sacrifice for the greater good.

That is not what America is about.

America is about freedom.

Our dalliance with communism is about to be short-lived.

The U.S. military will dismantle propaganda.

Each domino will fall.

Andrew Cuomo.

Gavin Newsom.

This is a controlled demolition of a condemned building.

The corruption must come down.

But it must come STRAIGHT down.

So as to not harm the people to an undue extent.

Communism lies.

For the greater good.

Capitalism advertises.

It is a subtle differentiation.

Laissez-faire.

Capitalism will win.

Goods must flow freely.

And you know what else must flow freely?

Ideas, motherfucker!

Dalton Trumbo was a communist propagandist.

A good story teller.

But a liar in some key details.

In reality, those who want depopulation (Bill Gates) are communists.

Bill Gates has hitched his wagon to Chinese communism.

America must go a different course.

Freedom.

Liberty.

You CAN take the vaccine (if you want to).

Listen to Donald Trump.

Therapeutics are better.

But he gave you your damn vaccine.

In record time.

Take at your own risk.

It’s experimental.

Trumbo was one of the Hollywood Ten.

Perhaps soon we will be able to list the Pedowood Ten (as Los Angeles has devolved in depravity).

History forgets some of these former (Hollywood Ten) communists.

But some we remember.

Dmytryk.

Ring Lardner Jr.

And Trumbo.

Ayn Rand was an anticommunist.

Good for her.

Not one of the Ten.

Other significant Hollywood personages blacklisted:

-Lillian Hellman

-Paul Robeson

-Richard Wright

Look them up.  This wasn’t racial.

Wright was literally a member of the American Communist Party.

Further communist elements:

-Leonard Bernstein

-Aaron Copland

-Dashiell Hammett

-Lena Horne

-Langston Hughes

-Burl Ives

-Alan Lomax

-Joseph Losey

-Burgess Meredith

-Arthur Miller

-Zero Mostel

-Dorothy Parker

-Edward G. Robinson

-Pete Seeger

-Artie Shaw

-Orson Welles

And more communist elements:

-Richard Attenborough

-Harry Belafonte

-Luis Buñuel

-Charlie Chaplin

-Jules Dassin

The lesson?

Being a communist when America is at war (Cold War) with a communist nation is not a good idea.

And guess what?

America is again at war with a communist nation (this time it’s China).

Getting out of stupid wars is a good idea.

Afghanistan and Iraq were/are stupid wars.

Trump did his best to remove troops.

There is no longer any urgent need to have troops in Europe as part of NATO.

The Soviet Union no longer exists.

Russia does not present the same threat to the United States as does China.

Which is to also say:  Vietnam was not a stupid war.

It was botched.

It was handled in a daft manner.

The draft gave birth to resentment.

But the threat was real.

And the war had merit.

Whether it retained that merit throughout is a matter of discussion.

Which is to say, JFK was not perfect.

He was made a martyr.

Which tends to overshadow aspects of his makeup which disqualified him for the Presidency (such as Addison’s disease…and lying about having Addison’s disease).

Biden and Pelosi are not focused on the believability of their “victory” and “power”.

By the time they realize what is going in, it will be too late for them.

They are no real threat to the republic.

JFK should not have been gunned down like a dog.

War is hell.

-PD

Baby Driver [2017)

What happens in war?

The CDC declared war on the psyches of Americans when it started counting probable cases of coronavirus and probable deaths resulting from COVID as ACTUAL cases and ACTUAL deaths attributable to COVID-19.

CNN declared war on Donald Trump and waged this war for four-straight years by way of merciless propaganda.

In 1980, an anonymous group erected a mysterious stone structure in the United States which prioritized their stated desires starting thusly: “Maintain humanity under 500,000,000 in perpetual balance with nature.”

[the world’s population at the time was 4.43 billion (meaning that this anonymous group thought there were about 4 billion excess humans on the planet)]

In 1910, seven men met in utmost secrecy just off the coast of the United States on Jekyll Island to plan what would become the Federal Reserve System.

Georgia.

Jayne Mansfield was, in all likelihood, a Satanist.

She died when the car in which she was traveling crashed into the back of a tractor-trailer just east of New Orleans.

Did Hitler have tinnitus?

20 July plot.

Operation Valkyrie.

1944.

Could we call those Nazis heroes?

They tried to assassinate Hitler with plastic explosives.

It failed.

But they fucked up his ears.

Kevin Spacey embodies evil in this film (and some might say, in real life).

I avoided watching this film for a long time…strictly because Spacey was in it.

It is well known that he took a trip to Africa aboard Jeffrey Epstein’s “Lolita Express”.

Sexual assault charges have been filed against Spacey by multiple people.

And multiple accusers have subsequently died.

If there is such a thing as the New World Order (some might just call it the Bilderberg Meetings), then Kevin Spacey might well be the most thoroughly-connected Hollywood actor.

It’s just a hunch.

But one thing is certain: Kevin Spacey possesses an amazing thespian talent.

Which brings us to another point.

Do we have to approve of the lifestyles of artists?

Not necessarily so.

I love Pablo Picasso’s work.

I don’t judge his work based on the details of his life.

So I am somewhat remiss to say: Kevin Spacey is brilliant in this film.

And if he be evil in real life, then he had no problem channeling that force for this role.

For he is, undoubtedly, the villain.

And yet, he is human.

There is shading.

Like a Dostoyevsky character.

No one is completely good.

And no one is completely bad.

Which brings us back to war.

We must respect our enemies.

If they indeed demand our respect.

If the Central Intelligence Agency was to have a primary asset in Hollywood, that asset might very well be Kevin Spacey.

Again, just a hunch.

And so we can appreciate brilliance.

Brilliance in conception.

Brilliance in execution.

There are many battlefields.

Many geometric planes on which to do battle.

Kevin Spacey is an infinitely-talented actor.

It is almost scary how deft he truly is.

This movie may have saved my romantic relationship.

My engagement.

On again after four hellish days of arguments.

Because music saves us.

And we make music.

There is a connection which no one can get at.

Our DNA is musical.

Thinking back to Jayne’s measurements.

And songs I’ve written.

A timely shock of hair.

A jawline.

A purity.

Thank you for your service.

Few industries are as sick and corrupt as the acting and music industries.

I know the latter firsthand.

There’s no such thing as a former KGB man.

When life was carefree in Austin, Texas.

Before Antifa ruined it.

Anything was possible.

Everything.

Summer nights.

Potential bursting from every moment.

A sensual heaviness to the air.

Humidity.

Crickets.

The 2020 election was stolen.

And Georgia was centerstage.

Ruby Freeman got caught.

On film.

And (apparently) paid no price.

But this travesty gave us at least one American hero: Lin Wood.

And now L. Lin Wood stands as one of the few remaining beacons in the darkness which has settled over America.

But there were other heroes.

Like Jesse Morgan.

What happened to his truck-full of ballots that he transported from Bethpage, New York to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania?

His truck disappeared.

The 2020 election was a heist of the most grand proportions.

Analog, digital…you name it.

Ask Phill Kline what happened to that truck.

Ask Anthony Shaffer.

The Amistad Project tried to preserve “one person, one vote” in America.

So far, not a single court in the land (post-election) has had the guts to look at the evidence.

And the evidence is embarrassingly-copious.

Jamie Foxx is excellent in this film.

Don’t underestimate the thug.

Street smarts and book smarts differ.

The latter can earn you a living.

The former can keep you alive.

Staying alive in the world of crime and secrecy (a deadly combination) is no small feat.

Especially when the stakes are high.

For criminals, cops are bad.

Unless the cops are corrupt.

In which case, the cops may very well be working to supply the criminals (among other things).

Which makes me think of the highly-questionable Eric Holder.

And the genre this movie emerges from.

A franchise and a genre.

Fast and furious.

We are the scum that keep it alive.

We are the 7 billion people who will not make the cut alluded to in the Georgia Guidestones.

But romance continues in war.

As love is more desperate.

And each moment savored more so.

A morsel here.

There.

We get bold.

Nerds of the world.

Quiet.

Wallflowers.

Desperate times.

Measured.

Yes, we have no bananas.

Just writing songs.

A potential deserter.

Every man has his breaking point.

Ansel Elgort is also brilliant in this film.

Edgar Wright may be the most important film director working in the world today.

This film is a masterpiece.

The problem is (and it’s hardly a problem), all his films are masterpieces.

I watch them repeatedly.

Wright is truly an auteur.

He is truly an indispensable filmmaker.

I didn’t GET that at first.

Just like I didn’t GET the first Grinderman record when it came out.

Some things take time.

Each artist has their own language.

You must first learn the language.

Maybe you can only run so long.

Which is why an army is not one man or one woman.

That day will come when you are not so lucky.

If you only have one memory.

It is priceless.

Can bad people do a good turn?

Yes.

And we pray that they see the light.

Can quiet nerds be bad motherfuckers?

You better believe it.

But they never stop being (simultaneously) fragile.

It is a tenuous balance.

Breathe on it and it collapses.

Yet no hurricane could shake it.

Love.

Chase it.

Fight for it.

Enjoy it.

Be thankful.

Seek it.

God is love.

We must reward those who stick with us.

It is the sweetest honey.

Death is certain.

Life is optional upon participation.

God bless.

-PD

Napapiirin sankarit [2010)

Here is a masterpiece.

Not since Aaltra (2004) has a movie so perfectly made use of the dark humor pioneered by Louis-Ferdinand Céline in Voyage au bout de la nuit (1932).

Lapland Odyssey is Finnish film which is currently free to watch on Tubi.

I cannot give enough praise to the director, Dome Karukoski.

This is not just a miraculous feat of storytelling, but the mise-en-scène of a true auteur.

I was born 15 days earlier than Mr. Karukoski:  43 years ago.

Our director hails from Cyprus.

Where Eric Schmidt has recently applied for citizenship.

https://www.vox.com/recode/2020/11/9/21547055/eric-schmidt-google-citizen-cyprus-european-union

Funny timing, that.

Wouldn’t Eric Schmidt welcome a Biden Presidency?

Does Mr. Schmidt fear something in the United States?

Perhaps the former CEO of Google knows something we do not?

Might it concern impending public corruption trials?

And, just maybe, a reelection of Donald Trump?

Lapland Odyssey premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2010.

That was the same year that Toronto-based company Dominion Voting Systems acquired not only Premier Election Solutions (an American company [Ohio]) from ES&S (Election Systems & Software [Omaha, Nebraska]), but also Sequoia Voting Systems [California] from Smartmatic [U.K.].

PES had only been acquired by ES&S the previous year (2009).  Before that, PES was owned by Diebold.

Premier Election Systems was formerly known as Diebold Election Systems.

Before Diebold bought it, it was known as General Election Systems.

Before General Election Systems bought it, it was known as I-Mark Systems.

You get the picture.

Dominion Voting Systems is now owned by American private equity firm Staple Street Capital (which has extremely strong ties to the Carlyle Group [George H.W. Bush’s former benefactor]).

https://www.osler.com/en/expertise/deals-cases/dominion-voting-systems

None of this would have been possible without Jussi Vatanen.

Vatanen is our hero.

He is tasked with the impossible.

Find a digital TV receiver (“digibox”) in one night.

After the local electronics store has closed.

This involves a trip to Rovaniemi:  the main city of Lapland.

[population 63,032]

Hundred of kilometers to get to Finland’s 17th most populated city.

In Finland, Lapland is not only the northernmost province, but it is also the largest province of the country.

It bears mentioning that there is also a Swedish province called Lapland.  

The cleavage of these two Laplands dates to 1809:  when Russia annexed the eastern part of Sweden and declared it the Grand Duchy of Finland.

My closest brush with this region was a single musical concert I played years ago in the town of Kiruna (in Swedish Lapland):  Sweden’s northernmost town [population 22,906].

It was an experience which profoundly changed me and which stays with me till this day.

Finnish Lapland borders Sweden’s Norrbotten County.  At Norrbotten’s northernmost point can be found Kiruna (north of the Arctic Circle).

At the southeast corner of Norrbotten County is Piteå:  my favorite town in Sweden.

The town of Piteå sits on the Gulf of Bothnia–just across the water from Finland.

I also played a musical concert in Piteå.

It was, perhaps, the happiest time in my life.

So I can imagine Rovaniemi.

A city just four miles south of the Arctic Circle.

Jussi Vatanen plays the loser who makes good.

Which makes him, in fact, not a loser.

I can intimately relate to that.

I have lost my job (again).

I am addicted to drugs (again).

And I am addicted to alcohol (a first for me).

It is in these days, when I am having the first true experience in my life with alcohol withdrawal, that I come to this film.

It is the perfect film.

It is just exactly the film I needed at this particular time.

Because I, like Janne (Vatanen’s character), am trying my damnedest to get my life together.

Last week, I got engaged.

Actually, REengaged.

I exercise (pacing back and forth in my parents’ garage as my phone records my steps).

I drink less.

I exercise.

I drink less.

Nausea.

Dizziness.

ANXIETY.

And extreme fucking INSOMNIA.

When I was in Kiruna, the sun only went down for four hours.

I didn’t see the Northern Lights.

But you can see them in this film.

And they are glorious.

If it is CGI, then I am losing my touch.

Because I don’t believe it is.

I appears to be the genuine article.

Aurora borealis.

And headaches!

Lots of sunflower seeds.

Big red welts all up and down my arms and torso from nicotine patches.

I can no longer afford my General Snus.

Sure, I have some stashed away…

But my wise old psychologist once told me:  “just move one thing at a time”.

  1.  alcohol
  2. tobacco
  3. valerian?
  4. Ambien?
  5. Xanax?

I put question marks because I am unsure of the order.

Main goal is STOP DRINKING.

Or, should I say, the FIRST goal.

If I can get an MBA, surely I can stop drinking.

[God willing]

For every hero, there needs to be a doubter.

To provide context.

The hero forges forward (when it would probably be best to just quit).

The hero quits (when it would be much easier to just continue).

The hero is determined.

The hero gives energy and inspiration to those around him.

But the doubter adds richness.

Because it is human to doubt.

Will Donald Trump be reelected President?

We will find out when the Electoral College meets on my birthday to ELECT a new President-Elect.

Till then, Joe Biden is at best the worst kind of poseur.

He is doing exactly what he promised Chris Wallace and the American people he WOULD NOT do:  to declare victory before the election is independently certified.

What a hypocrite.

https://www.foxnews.com/politics/biden-victory-election-independently-certified

Each state certifies its vote.

Biden does not have enough votes at the moment (by way of certified state votes and their concomitant electors) to declare victory.

N.B.  It is the Electoral College which will ELECT the next President (who THEN AND ONLY THEN becomes known as the President-Elect).

And so we doubt.

Me and Jasper Pääkkönen.

Was there fraud?

I believe so.

And you may doubt in the other direction.

Was there fraud?

You doubt there was.

But I know there was.

Because I have basic research skills.

And I availed myself of Rudy Giuliani’s masterful delineation of the case for fraud.

[no thanks to American mass media (which completely blacked out all coverage of Giuliani’s press conference with Sidney Powell and Jenna Ellis)]

So we all doubt, each in our own way.

And someone may convince us.

The law may even compel us.

The U.S. Supreme Court may weigh in on the legality of certain ballots in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin.

Cold states.

Particularly Michigan and Wisconsin.

Fort Meade.

4thPOG.

Dark Horse.

Fly fishing.

Fort Bragg.

Timo Lavikainen is the late-bloomer.

Along for the ride.

But absolutely essential.

Able to love.

You must become like a child to enter the kingdom of heaven.

Sibelius.

Karelia.

1893.

News of war.

Siege.

National anthem.

At some point we might mention the Grand Duchy of Lithuania.

Which lasted about 500 years (until 1795).

For beauty, we have Pamela Tola.

She just wants a fucking digibox, for christsakes!

Something about those blonde bangs.

Then there is the villain.

A bit like Alex “Scott Evil” Soros.

A bit like Martin Vanger.

Kari Ketonen plays the boy who never got anything.

…and let it make him evil.

He plays the cheater.

The trickster.

A character with absolutely no morals.

Strictly driven by lust.

[and a good bit of narcissism]

He comes off looking a bit like Kip in another masterpiece of a film:  Napoleon Dynamite.

Imagine Kip as an irredeemably-unscrupulous character and you will have a pretty good idea of who Pikku-Mikko is.

Little Mikko.

Short.

Short people.

Randy Newman.

Mikko moves in for the kill while the matrimonial bed is still warm.

Mikko false-flags his way into manipulating his enemy.

Mikko is a master of PSYWAR.

But God wins in the end.

And Moa Gammel is the real star of this film.

In a strange way.

Principal siren.

Debussy.

A Swede.

Almost the doppelgänger of Pamela Tola.

The Swede is the world image of beauty.

Alluring.

Beckoning.

The Finn is more quixotic.

Cute.

Harsh.

Soulful.

None of this, of course, means a damn thing.

And all the while Timo Lavikainen just wants to see Miia Nuutila’s tits.

License plate.

Ali G.

There will be helicopters.

-PD

Giuliani Press Conference [11/19/20)

This is potentially the most important media event in the history of the United States of America.

https://www.oann.com/rudy-giuliani-and-trump-campaigns-legal-team-hold-press-conference/

Let’s use Google (please, no laughing yet…) to determine how “top” news organizations are covering a mass criminal conspiracy (if proven) which involved installing a losing candidate (Joe Biden) in the place of the candidate who actually won (Donald Trump).

That would be a big story, if true, right?

Let’s do a quick survey.

Because it’s the job of the news media to parse the one-hour-and-thirty-minute event and give American citizens an overview of its salient points.

Google search result for “giuliani press conference” videos page 1 (let’s presume a person might want to watch the whole thing for themselves):

–Result 1. Located on YouTube (owned, like Google, by Alphabet Inc. [how convenient]). Nine minutes. Key term: “hair dye”. Content: Jimmy Fallon

–Result 2. CNN. Two minutes and 42 seconds. Key term: “baseless claims”. Hey, CNN: do you treat all affidavits with such blanket dismissal?

–Result 3: Located on YouTube (part of Google conglomerate Alphabet Inc). Thirteen minutes and 51 seconds. Key term: “insane”. Content: Seth Meyers.

Let’s pause a moment.

Are we to assume that Google is impartially allowing the “most popular” results to rise to the top of their search here? We are presented with 2-out-of-3 results which directly benefit the search engine’s holding company (Alphabet) by way of a subsidiary (YouTube).

Sure, people like a good laugh.

But are comedy monologues usually the most popular when something as serious as a national criminal conspiracy comes to light?

To make fun of Rudy’s running hair dye is an ad hominem attack. Sure, it’s in good fun, right? But did Jimmy Fallon make fun of the room full of press who followed Rudy’s impassioned feat of logic with inane non sequiturs? I doubt it.

To characterize Rudy’s press conference as “insane” is to characterize Rudy himself as “insane”. This is, again, an ad hom attack which conveniently avoids addressing the event on any intellectual merit whatsoever.

Then, strangely, we have “news” wedged in between these two self-dealing redirects by Google. News in the form of CNN. What we appear to find is that, either A: CNN is the most popular news network in the USA (not true based on television ratings, financial solvency, etc.), or B: Google is pushing the views of a not-widely-popular network as being WILDLY-POPULAR.

Well, at least we can hope the title of said news coverage retains the appearance of impartiality.

Nope.

CNN’s video is titled, “Rudy Giuliani spouts baseless claims at news conference.”

Well, then.

That’s all we need to know, right?

Might as well not even watch it.

…the hour-and-a-half version, much less the 2′(!)42″ version.

CNN is really providing a service here.

They are thinking FOR US.

The video is just complementary.

The title says all you need to know.

There is no subtle shading.

It is black and white.

To CNN (at least), it is clear that Rudy Giuliani’s sworn affidavits are “baseless claims”.

How, I wonder, did CNN come to this conclusion?

Are they able to, point by point, refute each affidavit in a mere two minutes and 42 seconds?

Perhaps an auctioneer delivers the story using logic of which Bertrand Russell would even be proud?

But I doubt it.

And I won’t waste my time being burned again by CNN.

CNN is worse that the village idiot.

Because CNN is not unaware of what it is doing.

–Result 4: Ohhh…The Guardian. U.K. The king’s English. They talk in that proper, fastidious accent. Surely they will be measured and retrospect in their approach. Forty-three seconds. Key terms: “sweaty”, “hair malfunction”, “bizarre”. Right. As has been said recently, your opinion stopped mattering to us in 1776.

–Result 5: People magazine. One hour, 48 minutes, and 39 seconds (no less). Sounds promising. Key terms: “hair dye” and “sweat”. The title is already telling me what to think. It’s already telling me what to focus on. I don’t like that.

–Result 6: Newsweek. A whole whopping 26 SECONDS! Video title: “Tucker Carlson defends Rudy Giuliani”. God forbid…

–Result 7: Located on YouTube [where’s Teddy Roosevelt when you need him?]. The Young Turks. Eight minutes and 45 seconds. Key term: “literally melting down”. Again, ad hominem attack to cast aspersion on the facts presented.

Hey. Rudy is old. Lights can be hot. Lawyers have dropped off his team because THEIR LIVES HAVE BEEN THREATENED. Oh, and there’s this little thing called WORK. Work generates HEAT. A heated human body naturally SWEATS to cool itself down. When’s the last time you saw a “journalist” sweat?

Result 8: Sky News Australia. Surely the Aussies will offer a different take in their one minute 46 second video. Key term: “hair dye sweat”. Ok, maybe not.

Result 9: CNN. Again!!! Wow…they must really be popular. Let me guess: they give Rudy a fair shake here and, therefore, the video is lower rated by Google (and, you know, “we the people” who utilize this fair and balanced search engine)? Again, with CNN, the title says it all (no need even watching [apparently]): “CNN reporter debunks Giuliani’s dangerous and false claims.” Wow. So Pamela Brown (whoever the fuck that is) takes just four minutes (!) to refute an hour-and-a-half press conference from extremely literate speakers (not limited to Giuliani, but including lucid delineation by Sidney Powell and Jenna Ellis).

So, let me get this straight: is the whole world (and particularly the United States [whose election has just been stolen by criminal conspiracy]) just a bunch of fart-joke-laughing middle schoolers who gleaned nothing from this masterpiece of oratory other than from the 10 minutes (out of NINETY MINUTES) where Rudy’s hair dye ran down the sides of his face?

I get it. Funny. Ha ha. That’s right. Let’s just discount the whole thing. Let’s discount “America’s Mayor” who saw us through the dark days of 9/11/01. Let’s just take a big dump on him. Let’s kick this prostate cancer survivor in the nuts because, God forbid, he uses hair dye. And, GOD FORBID, he sweats when he works.

For this audience:

a Rudy Giuliani fart is more literate–more articulate than a Joe Biden State of the Union address could ever be (God forbid the later actually happens).

Result 10: Located on YouTube [$]. Bloomberg. One hour, 48 minutes, and 39 seconds. Hmmm…same exact feed as People? Wow. That said, it’s the only result on page one which seems to even attempt taking Rudy as seriously as CNN takes the Green New Deal.

If you’re not much on videos, then read. This seems to be a fairly accurate transcript (though I have just browsed the top portion [after having watched the entire press conference]).

https://www.rev.com/blog/transcripts/rudy-giuliani-trump-campaign-press-conference-transcript-november-19-election-fraud-claims

I believe the three people who spoke (Rudy Giuliani, Sidney Powell, and Jenna Ellis) will go down in American history as heroes for what they did today. And so will those working in the shadows (like Joe diGenova and Victoria Toensing).

This is the most epic break in the matrix (or Debord’s “spectacle”, whichever you prefer) in modern American history. It will be remembered that it all started here.

-PD

Lovelace [2013)

“I know it when I see it”

Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart.

Obscene.

Pornography.

What is pornography?

As of two years ago, the sixth most visited site by American internet users was Pornhub.

https://www.businessinsider.com/internet-users-access-porn-more-than-twitter-wikipedia-and-netflix-2018-9

Two of the other top 15 sites for American internet users:  XNXX and XVideos.

The latter two sites are both owned by WGCZ Holding.

Pornhub is owned by MindGeek.

WGCZ Holding’s “country of origin” (?) is France, yet their headquarters is in Prague.

MindGeek’s “country of origin” [I suppose this means “where the company started”] is Canada, but its headquarters is in the country of Cyprus.

In our current coronavirus pandemic, it is not hard to find information about the world-wide INCREASE in pornographic viewing.

So it seems only fitting that we come to this wonderful film.

It is a beautiful film.

As beautiful as Amanda Seyfried.

But also a sad film.

Reminiscent at times of Requiem for a Dream.

There are moments, in both of these films, when their respective sadnesses could be viewed as “loss of the soul”.

In Requiem for a Dream, heroin steals souls.

In Lovelace, the porn industry threatens to steal Linda Lovelace’s soul.

But what we get in the movie Lovelace is something more specific.

Spousal abuse.

Domestic violence.

Human trafficking.

Sex slavery.

Spousal sexual abuse.

It’s not very titillating stuff.

It turns the stomach.

It’s like watching Ike and Tina as a fly on the wall.

I’ve seen Deep Throat.

I think it’s an excellent film.

But there is a dark underbelly.

Linda, it appears, was coerced (to put it mildly) into making the picture.

Lovelace (Seyfried) states near the end of our film that she was only in the porn industry for 17 days.

Yet she is probably the most famous porn star ever.

And not without good reason.

Whether it is accurate or not, Chuck Traynor (Linda’s husband) is portrayed as a scumbag.

A creep.

A really bad dude.

There is agenda setting in Lovelace.

We are SUPPOSED to see Traynor as bad.

Which makes me suspicious.

The subtlety of Dostoyevsky is nowhere to be found.

Linda good.  Chuck bad.

Perhaps that is the whole story, but it would be an unlikely black and white moment in a world of gray.

But let’s enter the world of color for a moment.

Amanda Seyfried is so beautiful in this film.

And it is beautifully shot by cinematographer Eric Alan Edwards.

Interestingly, we have two directors on record as having helmed Lovelace:

Rob Epstein and

Jeffrey Friedman.

Which brings us to a familiar story.

Jeffrey Epstein.

If we go further, we realize that Hugh Hefner is played in Lovelace by James Franco.

There’s something going on here.

I can’t quite put my finger on it.

Chloë Sevigny plays a brief role in Lovelace.

Sevigny performs actual oral sex on actor/director Vincent Gallo in his film The Brown Bunny.

What are we seeing here?

How long has this been going on?

It’s clear by this wonderful movie, Lovelace, that Deep Throat brought pornography into the mainstream.

But since then, it has still hidden…and peeked around corners.

It is everywhere.

It is pervasive.

Perhaps it has lost some of its taboo.

But it is still widely regulated.

And ACTUAL hardcore PORNOGRAPHY is still rarely seen in Hollywood films.

So what do we have here?

We have Amanda Seyfried looking beautiful.

We have actors reminiscing on older actors.

We have a major industry paying homage to a minor industry which is itself becoming a major industry (especially during the coronavirus pandemic).

But I’m here to talk cinema.

Lovelace is cinema.

It skirts in and out of being a masterpiece.

Some scenes are timeless.

Others are a little clumsy.

I would say it is well worth a view.

What is particularly interesting is the role that parental judgement plays in Lovelace and Requiem for a Dream.

In Requiem…, the parental element is more of a reference.

But both movies evoke sadness.

Parents want the best for their children.

Most parents probably don’t want their children to grow up to be heroin addicts or porn actors.

There is genuine heartbreak in both of these films.

Kudos to Robert Patrick for playing Linda’s father.

He verges on a caricature of Chris Cooper in American Beauty.

But Patrick is better.  Warmer.  More human.

Wes Bentley is here in Lovelace.

As he was in American Beauty.

Then there was Kevin Spacey…in American Beauty.

And flying around with Jeffrey Epstein.

And Thora Birch was in American Beauty.

And her mom was in Deep Throat.

Are you seeing a pattern here?

It is a very weird spiral.

An almost-invisible web.

What does it mean?

If Trump wins the next election, we have a chance of finding out.

We are ready to unleash hell.

 

-PD

UHF [1989)

Here’s a masterpiece of a movie.

I didn’t think so the first time I watched it.

I was a little preoccupied.

But this time I had a reason to be more emotionally invested.

Mops!

That’s right, mops.

Mops play a big role in this movie.

Spatulas also make a sort of cameo.

But mops predominate.

In particular, there is a special mop which is almost like a character in this film.

It doesn’t talk.

It doesn’t have a name.

But it is more than a MacGuffin.

Stanley Spadowski (the true star of this movie) received the mop in question for his 8th birthday.

And, apparently, he used that mop well into adulthood.

He decorated it with various bits of colored electrical tape.

And it was with this mop that he dutifully fulfilled his role as janitor at a major local TV news station:  Channel 8.

But one day, Spadowski (played brilliantly by Michael Richards) found himself to be, in the tradition of Hitchcock, “the wrong man”.

Spadowski did nothing wrong.

He was not careless.

Even though he didn’t possess a notable intellect per se, he gave his all to his janitorial profession.

…and he actually enjoyed it.

Mopping.

Scrubbing.

Stanley Spadowski took pride in his work at Channel 8.

But, as “the wrong man”, he suddenly found himself blamed and scapegoated.

Though his unscrupulous employer made no effort to prove Spadowski’s guilt, Spadowski could not PROVE his innocence.

It was a quick exchange…

Q:  Did you do this?

A:  No.

Q:  I don’t believe you.  You’re fired.

Something like that.

Very capricious.

And, thus, Spadowski was crushed.

But the most crushing blow for Stanley was when the station owner’s son (also an employee [l’il bit ‘o nepotism]) confiscated Stanley’s mop as “station property”.

It was not.

But Stanley was helpless.

Thunderstruck.

Aghast.

Stanley had no one to stand up for him.

Yet, though he didn’t get what the wanted (to retain his job at Channel 8), he got what he needed:  a new job as janitor of the UHF station 62.

And all of this because one man observed the pitiable scene of Stanley being deprived of his tool of the trade (which he had used since childhood).

That man was “Weird Al” Yankovic.

As in the movie (where “Weird Al” is the station manager of “U62”), Yankovic was also the brains behind this movie itself.

He wrote it.

With someone named Jay Levey.

Mr. Levey directed this “cult classic”.

If it tells you anything, Levey still does not have a Wikipedia page in English…41 years after this movie came out.

So I am going to assume that Levey did not go on to bigger and brighter things in the film industry.

That being said, it appears this film actually realized a 20% profit (box office – budget = x [x/budget = profit as a %]).

But let’s get back into Stanley Spadowski (a character “Weird Al” or Levey must have invented).

I’d bet money that Yankovic came up with this character.

But this character could not have come to life without the talents of Michael Richards.

No one, and I mean NO ONE, could have pulled it off.

Michael Richards is a very underrated actor.

If you look on iTunes, you are apt to see a mere two films in which Richards plays anything approximating a significant role.

One is this:  UHF.

The other is another sort of “diamond in the rough”:  Transylvania 6-5000.

The latter would be a mostly-unwatchable, tedious comedy were it not for Richards’ breakout performance.

Richards distinguished himself as Fejos in that film four years prior to UHF.

Indeed, just a fortnight before UHF was released in 1989, Seinfeld premiered as The Seinfeld Chronicles.

Richards played the role of Kessler.

As The Seinfeld Chronicles became Seinfeld, Kessler became Kramer.

The world, in general, knows Michael Richards as [Cosmo] Kramer.

The show ran for nine years.

But let’s adjust our tack a bit here.

Who is Stanley Spadowski?

I would argue that he is the “cousin” (so to speak) of Carl Spackler:  the groundskeeper in 1980’s Caddyshack.

Where Spackler is laconic, Spadowski is prone to frenzy.

And yet, these two characters are cut from a similar cloth.

Spackler (Bill Murray) always has his impermeable camouflage bucket hat.

And usually a dirt-and-sweat-stained T-shirt.

Baggy cargo shorts.

And combat boots.

Appearing in 1980, Carl Spackler would have probably been seen as a nutty Vietnam vet.

Indeed, Spackler is tasked by his boss (the HEAD groundskeeper) to take care of the golf course’s gopher problem.

In hilarious fashion, Spackler goes after the gophers…even employing plastic explosives.

Spadowski is also a T-shirt guy.

With suspenders.

Always suspenders.

And whether they are real or fake (I think fake), Spadowski has noticeable (and endearing) bucked teeth.

He can hardly keep them in his mouth.

He is awkward.

He usually speaks slowly.

But when he gets excited, he is like a fire hydrant that’s just been opened.

What’s important about Spadowski and Spackler is that they are everymen.

They are most certainly underdogs.

And UHF, at its heart, is an underdog story.

U62, the channel, is an underdog.

It is not a network affiliate.

UHF (as opposed to VHF) was the television equivalent of AM radio (as opposed to FM).

Local stations.

Questionable programming.

Shoestring budgets.

You could find ANYTHING on UHF television or AM radio.

Anything was possible.

There was less control.

Today, in my town, my favorite radio station is run by a Methodist church.

Their format (vaguely) is “oldies”.

But their programming swings a bit wildly…and usually I love them for it.

They play songs I’ve never heard.

Occasionally a similar station will pop up in the same range of the dial using this “none of the hits–all of the time” approach (only to disappear back into the ocean of static which separates one clear-signal island from another).

U61 is this sort of beast.

Which makes sense.

Because it is run by a dreamer:  George Newman (“Weird Al”).

George starts off this film flipping burgers.

This may be a reference to the 1982 film Fast Times at Ridgemont High.

“Weird Al” gets fired.

The tone of the scene is very similar to Fast Times…

Which brings up an important point.

UHF is a pastiche.

It is stream-of-consciousness.

The narrative shifts wildly with non sequitur episodes interpolated here and there.

UHF makes continuous reference to the pop culture of its day:  the 1980s.

And this makes sense because the creator of this film was “Weird Al”:  best known as a musician specializing in parodies (usually of contemporary hits).

I hate to get all artsy-fartsy here, but I would dare say there is a modicum of post-modernism in “Weird Al”‘s filmic approach.

And, perhaps more importantly, a noticeable measure of Thelonious Monk (autism?) in Stanley Spadowski.

Idiot-savant.

And so UHF is a work of art which captures awkwardness in some of the same ways that Napoleon Dynamite and Poto and Cabengo do (respectively).

The message is:  be yourself.

You have value.

There is a person out there for you.

There is a job that is right for you.

There are no guarantees.

But you won’t be happy anyway if you’re not being yourself.

 

-PD

Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory [1971)

Now we come to a crucial crossroads.

30,665 deaths so far in the United States from COVID-19.

Over a month ago, on or about March 12th, my girlfriend broke up with me.

But she didn’t do it in any sort of clearcut way.

I committed a transgression.

I wrote a very unflattering song about her.

Musically speaking, it was a very good song.

And so, out of blind pride, I posted it on my SoundCloud page.

It was written out of frustration.

I did not feel that I could discuss anything of substance with my girlfriend.

But I must qualify that statement.

I was unable to give her criticism…at all…ever.

No matter how tactfully I phrased it, she was not open to critique.

And she was always this way.

I will let the psychiatrists in the room now give their opinions as to the reason why.

[             ]

Thank you, good sirs.

You see, my girlfriend used to be my fiancée.

And before that she was my girlfriend.

My beginning is my end.

Understand that I waited 41 years to propose to a girl.

And propose I did.

And she accepted.

It was a joyful day.

I wore my best (only) suit.

I brought flowers (as I did every time I saw her).

We were happy.

I thought that giving her the reassurance of engagement would improve her attitude.

While I was never allowed to give her criticism (without a resulting emotional explosion from her), she was allowed to give me criticism.

And she did.

From the moment I met her.

Her very first words to me when we first met in person were a CORRECTION of my faux pas.

I didn’t stand when she entered the room and approached my table.

I admit that I was in error.

But I was enraptured by her beauty.

And that was the first of many, MANY criticisms I would receive from her over the ensuing four months until our engagement.

Perhaps my optimism was misguided.

After a brief “honeymoon period”, the criticisms came back.

But I must give some “back story” to fill in her character profile.

She had lost a child mid-pregnancy just two years prior.

And less than one year before meeting me, she had lost her husband in a tragic traffic collision.

I was very compassionate to the special needs of this truly unique child of God.

My fiancée.

I wanted to help.

I overlooked many of her character flaws…attributing them to her PTSD and depression.

But every anniversary was like an eruption.

The date when her child died.

The date when her child was supposed to have been born.

The date when her husband died.

Her and her late-husband’s wedding anniversary.

Amidst all this struggle, she wanted to have another child.

Her one child had been lost.

Before ever really entering the world.

I obliged.

I loved her.

I was scared.

“What kind of father material am I?,” I thought.

But I pressed on.

I always acquiesced to her demands.

We did things HER WAY.

ALWAYS.

And it was stressful.

“Let’s go to a fertility clinic.”

Yadayadayada.

All while I am working to make ends meet.

“I will soon be too old to have children.”

A frantic pace.

Interspersed with bouts of her extreme depression.

Lovely stuff, I assure you.

It drove me back to tobacco.

And it drove me nuts.

Everything snapped for me.

One day I woke up and realized I couldn’t go to work.

I was done.

And so for 9 months, I had to be reborn.

I had to detox.

To her credit, she stuck by me (more or less).

And then tragedy struck again.

Her mother died.

I frantically tried to get my old job back (though I was not quite fully healed).

And I did.

I wanted to help her save her apartment which she loved.

But she got sick.

And sicker.

And sicker.

I kept the job.

But the apartment was lost.

And now she lives with her dad.

Just as I live with my parents (a situation she gave me grief about many times).

“Many who are first shall be last, and the last shall be first.”

Jesus spoke of karma.

And I’m sure I have a lifetime of wrecked karma ready to crash down on ME at any moment.

But sometimes the irony is too dripping.

There was the hospitalization.

Six days she was there.

I came every night (five nights).

After working until midnight sometimes.

But it was not enough.

She wasn’t satisfied.

After the hospital, she got worse (in many ways).

Finally, I was asked by her family not to contact her anymore.

Not to cause her “grief”.

And like that, our engagement vanished into thin air.

For 17 days I lived in a darkness.

And so did she.

She was very sick.

I heard nothing from her.

And then she slipped back into my life.

Slowly.

But it was so confusing.

She didn’t want to be engaged anymore (she said).

She wanted to take a (big) step backwards.

I wasn’t too happy about this, but I accepted.

And so we made it several months.

A nice Valentine’s Day.

But something was worse than before.

There was absolutely no reciprocation.

If I complimented her (which I did often), she would not compliment me.

If I did something nice for her (which I often did), it was very soon forgotten (and certainly not answered with a loving action from her).

I wanted to say something, but I couldn’t.

She was still too sick, she said.

And so things dragged on thusly.

And then I wrote that song which changed my life.

That song of frustration.

I am not proud of it.

Though it be musically a good composition, it caused her sadness.

When she happened to find it.

You see, I would write songs for this girl of mine.

I recorded 183 songs for her over the course of two years.

Some covers.

Some original instrumentals.

Some original songs.

Many of these gifts barely got a word of thanks in return.

Same for the thousands of dollars of flowers I bought for her over the same time period.

There’s even one song that she appears to have never bothered even listening to.

And it’s a good one.

After six months, it shows that it has zero listens.

Well, no one is perfect.

There were probably (almost certainly) other songs she never heard.

It just wasn’t what she needed at the time.

I can attest.

She was very, very sick.

183 songs.

Some she never got around to listening to.

In my frustration, I sang to the world.

I wrote…and put it in a bottle.

Like putting a leaf in a flowing stream.

To get rid of that care.

But of course, she found that particular leaf.

She interrogated me about it.

“No,” I said (trying to be tactful), “it’s not about you.”

But my conscience got to me.

And so the next day I came clean.

Yes, the song is about you.

I apologized sincerely.

I made no excuses whatsoever.

I didn’t plead my case.

She didn’t ask (never has) how I came to a place of such frustration.

But that was the last I heard from her.

For 10 days.

The first 10 days of this coronavirus pandemic in the United States.

I went through it alone.

I sent texts.

I sent emails.

All went unanswered for 10 days.

And when we came out, she was less than my girlfriend.

I told her I loved her…and got no response.

That was five weeks ago.

And so we have been winding things down.

We still talk.

But she is incapable of discussing our former relationship.

It stresses her out to much.

And she never even bothered breaking up with me.

So we are “just friends” now.

And I have tried to be there for her during this coronavirus crisis.

Which brings us to Willy Wonka.

This was one of the most formative movies of my life.

Perhaps THE most formative.

In elementary school, when the teachers were too lazy to teach, they’d put this film on.

And I would sit enraptured.

No matter how many times they showed it.

And they showed it to us MANY times.

It must have been one of the few VHS tapes which was approved for them to screen.

So what does this all mean?

Coronavirus, a wrecked romantic relationship, Willy Wonka…

Here is a partial answer:

a film reviewer should be cognizant of what is going on in their life and how that affects their “reading” of a certain film.

I rewatched this film tonight (for the umpteenth time) and saw stuff I had never seen before.

New details noticed.

But I was watching it with the sadness of romantic loss.

And with the stress of total societal isolation.

I have worked on the front lines of the service industry all throughout this crisis.

Precisely for the mental health BENEFIT it gave me.

Exercise.

Ersatz social interaction (with coworkers and customers).

But now, my store has been hit with a close encounter.

And so our hours have been shaved.

No more midnight.

Midnight shifted to 10 p.m.

And now, abruptly, 10 p.m has shifted to 2 p.m.

Can you imagine a coffee shop closing at 2 p.m.?

Well, that’s us right now.

And I am fairly certain I have delayed sleep phase disorder.

My “availability” starts at 4 p.m. each day.

So I have AT LEAST the next eight days off.

And I have had the past two off as well.

But five of my coworkers are home self-isolating…because they had potential second-hand exposure to COVID-19.

I miss them.  I’m making them music playlists.  I’m buying them groceries.  I’m sending them texts and emojis.

What a horrible situation to be in.

I myself was homebound today because of my asthma.

And that is our world.

Every sniffle.

Every sneeze.

Every sore throat.

As the mold floats on the breeze.

And the oaks bloom.

As particle pollution undulates.

Along with ozone.

Is it ‘rona?

If I need to take a Tylenol, is it ‘rona?

If I were to get coronavirus, it would be very bad indeed.

I live with my two elderly parents.

I have asthma.

I have high blood pressure.

And I have a whole bevy of mental problems.

But I chose to work.

I ran towards the sound of gunfire.

Whether it was stupid or brave, that is for others to decide.

And so now, here I sit with this masterpiece:

Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory.

Mel Stuart may be an auteur whose time is yet to come.

But the secret weapon is Walter Scharf.

Did he write the music?

No.

But he orchestrated it.

And such gossamer orchestration it is!

We start poor.

Shaggy dog.

Charlie Bucket.

A peasant’s name if there ever was one.

Crazy man plants the seeds of conspiracy.

About the factory.

*Charlie lives with his parents (as most young boys do).

But he also lives with all four of his grandparents.

And his father is deceased.

Willy Wonka is certainly a film about espionage.

Economic espionage.

Business espionage.

With overtones of state espionage.

International espionage.

Remnants of war.  England.  Germany.

Wonka’s factory is like Area 51.

But this film is unique in that it delineates a search.

A search by a man.

Or an organization.

Or agency.

Or entity.

A search for that one special person.

[decades before The Matrix]

God tested Abraham.

“…kill me a son/Abe said, ‘Man, you must be puttin’ me on!’/

God said, ‘No.’/Abe said, ‘What?’/God said, ‘You can do what you want Abe, but…uh/

next time you see me comin’ you better run.’/Abe said, ‘Where you want this killin’ done?’/  God said, ‘Out on Highway 61.'”

God, of course, STOPPED Abraham from killing his son.

But only AFTER Abraham had committed fully…knife in hand…to slit his son’s throat.

Great reading, that.

The Bible.

And this is a very biblical tale, Willy Wonka.

The eccentric Jesus.

God the Father…in the Heavens…with his Inventing Room.

The chocolate factory is heaven.

And only those who become like a child can enter…and stay.

Only those who are born again (made pure like a child) can inherit this chocolate factory.

God wants to pass on his greatest creation.

Heaven.

And God tests us.

But there is grace.

Charlie and Grandpa Joe mess up.

They drink the fizzy lifting drink.

They hang suspended like Icarus and Daedalus.

Their wings don’t melt.

They have the opposite problem.

They are on a collision course with the edge of ether.

Until they learn how to burp.

Stephen Dedalus…

Cicada 3301.

GCHQ recruiting.

Puzzles.

QAnon.

NSA.

Kryptos.

Who can solve the final part?

Right there at Langley.

Some might say I was engaged to Veruca Salt.

Wonka running counterespionage.

Counterintelligence.

Slugworth in Switzerland.

For Your Eyes Only.

Octagonal.

And hope.

Get out of bed.

Go back to work.

Warning strictly against “frippery”.

Again with Roger Moore in A View to a Kill.

Sideways fan.

Spoiled brat.

Always got what she wanted.

Cautionary tale of poor parenting.

God is merciful.

All is dream.

But God cannot be mocked.

His word is eternal.

Jesus was the Word made flesh.

Superseding the Ten Commandments.

There is freedom in Christ, but we are not to go on sinning.

We will mess up.

But it is by grace that we are saved.

So that no man may boast.

It is not by good works.

But the heart must be contrite.

And, above all, pure.

Made pure by the Holy Spirit.

When one invites God into ones life.

A little bit of divinity in each of us.

And quite a bit of divinity in this film.

By this logic, Satan (created by God) may be a Slugworth to be unmasked in the end times.

Lucifer…with that scar on his face.

The mark of Cain.

The murderer.

Finally, this is Gene Wilder’s best work.

He channels something here which is otherworldly.

Wilder became immortal with this film.

And he lives on.

As long as there is goodness in this world, we have a chance.

I want to thank my friend, the great writer Chris Lindsay, for encouraging me to write onwards during these dark times.

Thank you, Chris.

 

-PD

Histoire(s) du cinéma {Chapter 1(a): Toutes les histoires} [1988]

Times seem apocalyptic.

So here is the greatest movie ever made.

But it is not available on iTunes.

You may have a hard time finding it.

And an even harder time playing it.

I did.

Back in the day.

I had to acquire a region-free DVD player.

And I did.

Solely to watch this film.

It is in four parts.

Each of which is divided in two.

So, therefore, eight parts.

This much-féted masterwork was not only released on television (which is to say, it was not a “theatrical” film per se), but it was accompanied by a soundtrack on the very erudite German record label ECM and further augmented by a book (text and screenshots) published by the most famous French publishing house Gallimard.

The soundtrack is very difficult to find on CD, but it is becoming less-difficult to find in the digital realm (unlike the film itself).

You can at least “listen to the movie” on Spotify.

And so for this film review, we will only be considering (to start with) the first section (which runs 51 minutes).

It is the section with which I am most familiar.

It is my personal favorite.

But it is important to note that the entire 266 minute film is essential to the “weight” of this creation (even if this first part is the most finely-crafted).

But we will reconsider as we go along.

The first section of the film (that which is under consideration) dates from 1988.

The book was not released till 1998 (when the film was completed).

So we have a sort of serial composition here (in the sense of Finnegans Wake).

It came out in parts.

It dribbled out.

Like QAnon.

And its influence spread.

Like COVID-19.

We remember William S. Burroughs and his concept of the “word virus”.

That is certainly germane here.

But I return, again, to Finnegans Wake.

No film creation in the history of cinema is more like James Joyce’s aforementioned masterpiece than Histoire(s) du cinéma.

Indeed, the only other creation I know of which enters into this same sui generis realm is Walter Benjamin’s Passagenwerk (translated in English as Arcades Project).

These are DENSE works…these three masterpieces.

One (Joyce) a “novel”.

One (Godard) a “movie”.

And one (Benjamin) a philosophical book.

Two books and a movie.

And the movie eventually became a book (Godard’s Gallimard creation).

The reverse of the usual.

Here, book doesn’t become film.

And there is not “more” in the book than there is in the film in Godard’s case.

If anything, there is certainly less.

Which doesn’t make it any less poignant.

So, what Godard has created for us with the book is a perfect guide to REMEMBERING WHAT WE SAW.

Which is a big theme of Histoire(s) du cinéma.

Film preserves the holiness of real life (to paraphrase).

Film (and video…of which this movie makes extensive use) preserves a moment.

Film can be (and is, always) a document.

Godard outlines a very French dichotomy here.

Film can be either predominantly of the Lumière brothers’ tradition (what we might call “documentary”).

Or of the Méliès tradition (a doctored reality…a “staged” document…what we might call “drama” [and its various subgenres such as “comedy”]).

But this dichotomy is not strictly “mutually exclusive”.

And here Godard brings us the example of Robert Flaherty.

Known as a director of documentaries, Godard points out that Flaherty “staged” his documentaries (which blurs the lines between the Lumière/Méliès dichotomy).

And what of Histoire(s) du cinéma?

Is it a documentary?

In many ways, yes.

It is a history of film.

But it is also a history of the filmmaker who is MAKING that very same history of film (namely, Godard himself).

To add further layers of surreality, Godard must address his own contribution to the history of cinema (which is considerable by even the most unbiased estimation).

Which is to say…

Godard is important to the history of film.

Very important.

Whether you like him and his films or not, he cannot be ignored.

And so we have here a very curious and “loaded” document indeed.

It is a matter of historiography.

Godard cannot (and indeed, does not even try) to remove his own opinion from this exercise of surveying the history of cinema.

That may be, ultimately, because Jean-Luc Godard never stopped being a film critic.

It was as a lowly film critic that he started…and it is as a film critic with his caméra-stylo (“camera pen”) that he continues to create today.

All of his films are, in and of themselves, film criticism.

From Breathless to The Image Book, he is always making a statement.

Pointing out how vapid Hollywood can be.

Pointing out what doesn’t exist in the marketplace.

Perhaps he is creating that which he would most like to watch…as a film lover.

His favorite film didn’t exist (except in his head–except as a vague concept).

No one had made it.

So, in order to watch it, he had to create it himself.

Then he could (theoretically) “enjoy” it.

I imagine he does this with each new film he makes.

It is always an attempt (“essay”…from French etymology…”to try”) to materialize what he would like to watch.

No director has his cutting wit.

No director’s mind pivots so nimbly.

So he must become his own favorite director…over and over and over and over again.

But this film is indeed a special case.

Ten years of creation.

Joyce spent 17 years on Finnegans Wake.

Benjamin spent 13 years on his Arcades Project.

And all of this which I have written is merely a preface.

That is how IMMENSE and pithy(!) Histoire(s) du cinéma truly is.

To be a creator is tiresome.

It makes one weary.

To always dream.

To imagine.

And to sweat in pursuance of crystalizing ones inspiration.

Jean-Luc Godard has always been a bitter sort of chap.

Bitter about Hollywood.

A love/hate relationship (LOVE/HATE…Robert Mitchum…knuckle tats).

And it is true.

Godard delves very early on into the parallel birth and adolescence of cinema and the Holocaust.

Cinema and the Holocaust.

Cinema was still young.

Cinema had a responsibility to document.

The Germans were very technologically advanced (particularly in sound and video recording).

They kept records of everything.

Even when they went astray during the Third Reich.

Germany had already produced great directors by the time of the Holocaust.

At the top of the list would be F.W. Murnau and Fritz Lang.

But they were not alone.

Wiene, Pabst…

There were others.

UFA (which still exists till this day) was a giant.

Think Metropolis.

So where is the documentation of the Holocaust?

[you can see what a “dangerous” question Godard is asking]

Is he “denying” the Holocaust happened?

I don’t think so.

But he’s asking a relatively simple and (I think) sincere question.

Where is the video record?

All that has been passed down to us of the concentration camps (and “death” camps) is the record made by American directors like George Stevens AFTER the camps had been liberated.

So what really went on there?

Are we to really believe the Germans shot no footage whatsoever in these camps?

And if so, why can’t we see it?

Wouldn’t it truly help us to “never forget” and “never again” and stuff etc. etc.???

It is a very inconvenient fact that, as far as the general public has been made aware, there are NO (and I repeat NO) films (NO FOOTAGE) shot by the Nazis in the concentration camps during WWII.

Surely it exists, right?

But where is it?

Who has it?

What does it show?

Godard is the ultimate enfant terrible here (and elsewhere).

He wants to know.

He’s curious.

Because he’s a film lover.

And he ultimately blames Hollywood (which had, by WWII, become the global center of the film industry) for not truly DOCUMENTING what happened in the concentration camps (neither while the camps were active nor anytime afterwards).

But here Godard branches off into an aesthetic direction.

Godard flatly rejects the talentless Spielberg evocation of Schindler’s List.

For Godard, a directer as mediocre as Steven Spielberg has no business trying to tackle humanity’s darkest hour.

This is the conundrum at the heart of Histoire(s) du cinéma.

What Godard (I think) is saying is this:  there is no way to “write” a history of cinema…because a large portion of contemporaneous history (1939-1945) was not addressed in any true way by the BUSINESS (ironically represented heavily by Jews) of Hollywood.

Godard seems to be saying that Hollywood’s Jews (which is to say, Hollywood) let down world jewry during the years 1939-1945…all for a buck (as it were).

It is a persuasive argument in many ways.

But let’s back up a step.

To reiterate, a history of cinema cannot be told…because there is a portion of that history which is MISSING.

This is a very important word here (and a very important term).

There are films which SHOULD HAVE BEEN MADE, but weren’t (by Hollywood).

And there are films which may have be made (by the Nazis), but as far as we know (factually) were not made.  They do not exist (officially).

Two kinds of films missing.

Hollywood was responsible for the Méliès portion.

Hollywood should have used its immense power (and magic) to save the Jews of Europe.

EVERY FUCKING FILM should have been about the plight of the Jews in Europe who had been rounded up.

But we know very well that that’s not what Hollywood did.

The Nazis were responsible for the Lumière portion.

As twisted as the Nazis were, there is no way in hell those sick fucks did not film (with their Agfa technology, etc.) what was going on in the camps.

No fucking way.

Of course they filmed.

Like a goddamned serial killer.

And it was of pristine quality.

So where the fuck are those films?

But, sadly, Godard is called an “anti-Semite” for asking about these films.

Very sad.

He is coming from a “pure film” stance.

He wants to see the films.

He wants the world to see them.

And so the history of cinema is incomplete.

There is a gap.

Irving Thalberg.  Howard Hughes.  CIA.  RKO.  Starlets.

Film directors have been projecting their fantasies onto the screen since the beginning.

Their perfect women.

Their dream lovers.

But you can’t approach film history without approaching Hitler.

Film was at such an important point in its development.

And along came Adolph.

Chaplin and Hitler overlap.

They have the same mustache.

The Great Dictator was a comedy…more or less.

But it was also an attempt (“essay”) to address Hitler’s presence on the world stage.

An attempt to repudiate Hitler.

And yet, Chaplin could not quite hit the right tones.

It is maudlin.

As a comedy, The Great Dictator is pretty superb.

But it hasn’t aged that well as a piece of poetic philosophy.

Not really.

In that moment, the great Chaplin was powerless.

But at least he tried.

He tried.

But something was missing.

The camps.

Direct reference to the camps.

Addressing the problem with no beating around the bush.

No horseshit.

We need to see the bodies rotting.

We have seen that.

But we need to see the gas chambers.

We need to see the German efficiency and precision.

We need to see their documents.

Their film documents.

No Hollywood recreation can convey what those mythical reels contain.

No backlot will suffice.

We have the propaganda films.

Leni Riefenstahl.

I think what Godard is saying is this…

Hollywood has, since WWII, had to live with the guilt of NOT DOING ENOUGH during the Holocaust.

At the time (while it was happening), it was not kosher (no pun intended) to address the camps.

The public needed uplifting fare.

And Hollywood provided.

Hollywood provided a service.

Entertainment.

But Hollywood (as an entity) was permanently cheapened by not addressing the deep philosophical issue of mass death…mass murder.

Hollywood could have yelled, “Fire!” in a crowded theater.

And, indeed, the theater WAS on fire.

But Hollywood said nothing.

Hollywood told jokes.

No medium is perfect.

Hollywood is people.

But as an institution, Hollywood was exposed as being essentially artless and vacuous.

There were exceptions.

Hitchcock (British…but part of Hollywood).  Chaplin (British…but part of Hollywood).

Nicholas Ray.  Erich von Stroheim (Germanic…but part of Hollywood).  D.W. Griffith.  Howard Hawks.  Orson Welles.

But WWII was also the death of European cinema.

This is a very important concept that Godard conveys.

Not only were European Jews liquidated by the Nazis, but European cinema was effectively liquidated by Hollywood.

Europe would never be the same.

Fritz Lang.  Jean Renoir.  Abel Gance.  Jean Vigo.  Jean Cocteau.  Roberto Rossellini.  Max Ophüls.

America won the war.

The Soviet Union also won the war.

Germany lost.

France was “liberated”.

Italy lost.

And as Europe was subsequently split in half (the capitalist West and the communist East), the hegemony of American film [Hollywood] spread.

At the end of the Cold War, that hegemony became complete.

And so Godard is lamenting the death of his national film industry.

Godard is Swiss.

But he is, in many ways, also French.

He is a French speaker.

His years of highest-visibility were spent in Paris.

And there is not really a Swiss film industry of which to speak.

French film died (“liberated”/occupied).

Italian film died (lost war…occupied).

German film died (lost war…occupied).

Scandinavian film died.

Everything was pushed out by Hollywood.

Europe was relegated to the the realm of “art film”.

European cinema was put in a corner.

The wrecked economies of Europe could not compete with the war-machine-rich studios of America.

America had the magic–the fantasy–the special effects–the Technicolor.

Weary Europeans wanted happiness.

And they bought into the American idea of happiness.

To the detriment of their own unique cultures and philosophies.

Europe became Americanized (at least in the realm of the cinema).

To be continued…

 

-PD

The Music Box [1932)

This is truly a masterpiece.

It transcends short film.

The piano…

¡Ay, carambas!

This film is all about work.

About having shitty jobs.

The things we do for money!

Stan and Ollie work their asses off.

For nothing, basically.

But it provides us with some much-needed levity.

And one need not be overly-erudite to see Sisyphus in all of this.

Very clearly.

Up the hill.

Over and over again.

Just as things seem ok.

The same disaster strikes again.

And you are back at square one.

Groundhog Day.

Hell.

…but funny!

[only funny if you’re not living it]

But this is comedy.

And so we thank God for Jerry Lewis…and Laurel and Hardy…and Charlie Chaplin.

And all the great comedians who have brought the working man (and woman) the laughter they so dearly needed.

There’s some great mise-en-scène and economy of means here from director James Parrott.

Everything revolves around the interminable stairs.

The steps.

Like Potemkin.

Steppes.

Central Asia.

Oh, Stan and Ollie…

They are at their idiotic best here.

Two gen-u-ine dumbasses 🙂

If I could only remember the name of that rock band that destroyed the piano…

 

-PD