Leave No Trace [2018)

What a horrible day.

Valentine’s Day.

My favorite holiday.

To understand young men whom the economy has left behind.

Young men turning to violence and mischief.

Hating the state.

No more funicular.

Reach out to someone with PTSD today.

Even if you don’t have the right thing to say.

Just make an effort.

I did.

Sure, I want someone to give a fuck about me.

It sucks to be thoroughly disrespected.

This film is better than Jojo Rabbit.

But it has no sense of humor.

Living hand-to-mouth is not funny.

Homeschooling is the best.

But our society has been ruined.

Our societies have been ruined.

Hearing helicopters is too much.

Bringing you back to a mind frame where no moment is safe.

This film is no Hanna.

But this is still a poignant story.

Saoirse has lost her touch.

It was all too much for Thora and Dennings.

Thomasin is the hope for acting.

The best actress working today.

But she has only made one film that is good.

And that film is perfect.

And that film is Last Night in Soho.

Living off the grid.

War is hard on kids.

Kids want to play.

We need fun.

All work and no play makes us fucking crazy.

God bless the truckers who are reclaiming our freedoms.

KEEP GOING!!!

Sitting on a velvet couch in a cabin.

Velour.

The luxury.

Well-worn.

For years living on the forrest floor.

Now to curl your feet up sideways.

Instant karma.

It means something.

It all means something.

And we are back to hellish life.

American flags.

Get to know your neighbors.

My life has been stolen.

But I have successfully stopped drinking.

Haven’t touched the stuff for well over a year.

And I have successfully quit tobacco.

Haven’t touched the stuff for well over a year.

No nicotine up in here.

The challenge is living with something like GAD.

Sounds so easy.

Anxiety.

But tack onto that tachycardia.

A level serious enough to require medication.

And tack onto that high blood pressure.

A level serious enough to require medication.

Good luck relaxing.

You can’t.

Good luck being independent of medications.

My daily struggle and challenge is to become less dependent on my medications.

It is like building a fucking pyramid.

The progress is infinitesimally-small.

Each day.

Some days are a step backwards.

Every day.

Marking.

Tallying it up.

Am I making progress?

Yes.

SLOW.

S L O W.

Very disheartening to be alone again.

Grand gestures.

Wasted.

All for naught.

Bad match.

She needed to be the fucked-up one.

But I got problems too.

And vice-versa.

I’m trying not to judge.

I’m still trying to reach out.

On my favorite holiday.

With a hole in my heart.

War zone.

What’s your joy?

No joy.

I just dream of an actress from New Zealand.

Because her story speaks to me.

It is the hope that someone out there will love me in spite of all my flaws.

I look really bad on paper.

Because I am really bad in reality.

But I am still a person.

And I am not dead yet.

I hope the cats do their job.

Be nice.

Keep company.

My family.

Till the end.

I’m not blocking any energies.

I’m not blocking anything.

Except a couple of dickheads on TikTok.

Starting over.

I can’t breathe.

Everyone is gay.

Or lesbian.

Or whatever.

The whole world is fucking crazy.

And I need the crazy that fits with my crazy.

The crazy that matches me.

Reach out to someone with PTSD.

Don’t judge.

Don’t worry if you don’t say quite the right thing.

Don’t worry if you don’t get a response.

I’m lonely as fuck.

Instant karma.

It means something.

It all means something.

Thank you, God, for giving me a friend for awhile.

Please be merciful and let me not die of loneliness.

This is the loneliest life I have ever known.

45 years.

-PD

Last Night in Soho [2021)

First off.

I am in love with Thomasin McKenzie.

I think Saoirse Ronan has lost her touch.

Kat Dennings doesn’t even bother with films anymore.

And Thora Birch is too much of a liberal moron.

But then all actors are liberal morons, aren’t they?

Except for a precious few.

Jon Voight.

James Woods.

Rob Schneider.

Kirstie Alley.

Robert Davi.

Jim Caviezel.

Secondly.

This film is a masterpiece.

Edgar Wright is the best filmmaker in the world right now.

Is he better than Jean-Luc Godard?

No.

But Godard is not making films for mass consumption.

Is he better than Wes Anderson?

BY A MILLION FUCKING MILES!!!

Don’t get me wrong.

Wes Anderson made one perfect film.

And that film was The Grand Budapest Hotel.

And that film wouldn’t have been perfect without Saoirse Ronan.

That’s how important her presence in that film was.

Saoirse has made another perfect film.

Hanna.

But her others are mediocre.

Brooklyn.

Meh.

Lady Bird.

Even more meh (not a good thing).

Saoirse has gone astray.

Just as Thora Birch went astray.

Ghost World is a perfect film.

And American Beauty is close to perfect.

For my money, Homeless to Harvard is her other perfect film.

Kat Dennings films kinda suck.

Her masterpiece is actually 2 Broke Girls.

I’m serious.

But that’s not cinema.

Twin Peaks is cinema.

Even though it’s a TV show.

Histoire(s) du cinéma is the best film ever made.

And it was made for TV.

Homeless to Harvard is a Lifetime movie.

Made for TV.

It is not cinema.

Not exactly.

But it may be a perfect film.

Wes Anderson made his perfect film with Saoirse Ronan.

And he made a good film (Tenenbaums).

The rest are shite.

I did not understand Edgar Wright’s film language when I first saw Shaun of the Dead.

I thought it was crap.

How wrong I was!

Here is my contention.

Every Edgar Wright film is perfect.

Shaun of the Dead?

Yes.

Hot Fuzz?

Yes.

The World’s End?

Yes.

Baby Driver?

Yes.

Scott Pilgrim?

Yes.

And this film is perfect too.

But this is not quite the Wright you are used to.

This is a genuinely scary film.

But it stands up with Psycho, Rosemary’s Baby, and The Shining as one of the four best horror films ever made.

Edgar Wright films are all about detail.

But not the twee obsession with detail that Wes Anderson has.

Edgar Wright is overflowing with talent.

Wes Anderson is not.

Anderson needed Saoirse Ronan to make his perfect film.

And there was a bit (just a bit!) of grit in Grand Budapest.

Saoirse is missing from his other films.

And there is no real grit in any of the others.

Tenenbaums is good.

But the Wes Anderson players are tiresome.

Is Bill Murray amazing?

Yes.

But are his performances in Wes Anderson films his best work?

Absolutely not.

No more Jason Schwatzman (for fuck’s sake!).

Is Luke Wilson a great actor?

Yes.

What’s his best film?

Masked and Anonymous.

Maybe it’s Paltrow and Hackman which make Tenenbaums good.

For my money, Luke Wilson is the one who makes that film go.

But it is not on the same level as Grand Budapest.

Last Night in Soho is the Grand Budapest of the ’20s.

We’re in the ’20s now.

Are they roaring?

Like a fucking mouse.

Last Night in Soho is a gazillion times better than No Time to Die.

This film has everything the Bond film didn’t.

Substance.

Competent directing.

A story worth sticking with.

And so it is fitting that Diana Rigg’s last role should absolutely trump the death of James Bond.

The one George Lazenby film was WAY better than No Time to Die.

The death of love is more sad than the death of the hero.

Diana Rigg is the linchpin in the Bond franchise.

Pull that thread, and the sweater unravels.

Léa Seydoux is boring as fuck in the Bond films.

She was great in Blue.

But she was nothing compared to the one who carried that film (Adele Exarchopoulos).

Exarchopoulos made one perfect film.

Blue is the Warmest Color.

None of her other films are even good.

Wright makes what Youth in Revolt might have been.

He is not glib.

This is not a hipster film.

Michael Cera (who has made one perfect film [Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist]) is, mercifully, NOT in Last Night in Soho.

[correction…Kat Dennings DID make one perfect film]

Thomasin McKenzie’s obsession with ’60s London music is real.

It’s not a fucking Austin Powers joke.

Rita Tushingham is wonderful as Gram.

Excellent casting.

[take note, Bond franchise]

Thomasin hooks up with a black dude.

No big deal.

Take note, Bond franchise.

NOT EVERY FUCKING PERSON HAS TO BE BLACK IN ORDER FOR A FILM TO BE VIABLE!!!

Thomasin’s love interest is a black fellow.

I have no problem with that.

He does a good job.

For fuck’s sake…he doesn’t even have a Wikipedia page!

Michael Ajao.

Fine acting!

There can be important black characters WITHOUT A FILM BEING A WOKE FUCKING JOKE (like the recent Bond film).

No big deal.

Don’t make it a big deal.

It has to fit with the story.

The story is the most important thing.

The writers of the Bond film (Purvis and Wade) have allowed their name to be attached to the fucking pathetic shit of No Time to Die.

So you get a kiwi to speak in a Cornish accent.

GREAT ACTRESS!

Thomasin McKenzie.

Say that name with me.

Jacinda Ardern’s father (or mother?) was a horse.

Ugly bitch.

Ugly soul.

Thomasin McKenzie is the best thing to ever come out of New Zealand.

However, there has been one perfect kiwi movie:  Eagle vs Shark.

Synnøve Karlsen is so fucking annoying in Soho.

And she was supposed to be.

So, good job (I guess).

Every film needs a villain.

And Jocasta (Karlsen’s character) is the real villain of this film.

Thomasin is different.

Jocasta beats her down.

Mentally.

A stingy spirit.

Can never share in any of her joys.

Do you know anyone like that?

But Thomasin is troubled.

Hallucinations?

Maybe.

Seeing ghosts?

Maybe.

We’re trying to solve a case here.

Cold case.

Maybe a lot of cold cases.

Maybe a serial killer.

To the Belle and Sebastian bedsit.

Salad days are short-lived.

Don’t underestimate Sandie Shaw.

Always something there to remind me.

1964.

Puppet on a string.

Gotta pay your dues.

As a wind-up bird girl.

Brian Epstein.

Giorgio Gomelsky.

Andrew Loog Oldham.

ABKCO.

The influence of Vertigo upon Last Night in Soho cannot be understated.

The red of the Café de Paris.

The blonde of Anya Taylor-Joy’s hair.

And Thomasin’s hair.

[also, don’t underestimate Bergman’s Persona]

The glance to the side.

It’s not Jimmy Stewart.

It’s Thomasin.

Allusions to The Way of the Dragon and The Lady from Shanghai in the mirrors.

Sure, a bit of Pulp Fiction.

But that’s just for the kids.

Edgar Wright’s grasp of cinema history is way deeper than some Tarantino bullshit.

And yet, he likes zombies.

And shitty horror films from the ’80s.

I mean REALLY shitty, camp ones.

Slasher films.

Back to Vertigo.

Kim Novak’s apartment is bathed in green neon.

But Thomasin’s bedsit is a red, white, and blue homage to Godard.

An homage to Une Femme est une femme.

Dancing.

Dancing girls.

Prostitutes.

Vivre sa vie.

Pink dress fembot.

Pew pew.

Thomasin is way sexier than Anya Taylor-Joy.

Thomasin is the girl next door.

The frumpy hair of Homeless to Harvard.

I love it.

It must be this way.

To juxtapose the transition to Swinging Sixties glamour.

Is Trump just culture jamming with his vaccine tack?

Either that, or the hero has become the villain.

Did the D.C. swamp make Trump into a swamp zombie?

Maybe no one comes out clean.

International law was broken.

War crimes.

All these Wright films have zombies.

Or robots.

Faceless automatons.

A bit of Dragon Tattoo.

We all like a good microfiche scene!

Is Terence Stamp her father?

If Sandie is her mother?

Could be.

Otherwise, she would be the daughter of a prick.

But Stamp tried to save Sandie.

Arsenic and old lace.

The ones you never suspect.

Sicario.

“Buried” in the walls.

Decomposing.

Poe.

Gacy.

Wright’s “sympathy for the serial killer”.

What happened to these people that made them monsters?

Don’t underestimate Truffaut’s Fahrenheit 451 (his only English-language film…and a flat-out masterpiece).

In the world of Edgar Wright, it is records.

Vinyl.

Not books.

And sometimes the elderly want to die with their memories.

They are not going anywhere.

They are not fleeing.

It’s been a good life.

Going down with the ship.

Up in flames.

The shitbags want their deaths avenged.

After all, they were just horny, well-to-do dads who needed a little excitement.

Prostitution.

It’s the law, after all.

Murder is murder.

Crimes of passion.

By reason of insanity.

Not guilty.

Not insane.

But traumatized.

But Thomasin has been on the adventure.

She knows what Sandie has been through.

Trump was abused for four years.

That is true.

And he fought like a champ.

Is there no justice?

Is it culture jamming (I ask again)?

Confusion.

Keeping his enemies off balance.

Getting a foot in the door.

Truth Social will censor “hate speech” with a Silicon Valley AI bot.

In order to get on Apple App Store and Google Play.

But the roll out is delayed?

Lie about the vaccines.

“Safe and effective”.

Move in for the kill shot.

Against whom?

Big Pharma and the New World Order.

But we have to call out serial killers for who they are.

If you are saying the COVID vaccines are “safe and effective”, you are spreading misinformation that is endangering the lives of those who hear and trust you.

CDC:  11,879

  IMG_6975

Open VAERS:  23,149

IMG_6976

IMG_6977

Neither safe,

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/safety/adverse-events.html

https://openvaers.com/covid-data/mortality

nor effective.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-covid-deaths-2021-vaccines-b1963790.html

IMG_5785

10,000-20,000 vaccine deaths should be read as 100,000-200,000 vaccine deaths because of this:

https://www.bmj.com/rapid-response/2011/11/02/underreporting-vaccine-adverse-events

IMG_6468

IMG_6469

And correlation does not necessarily equal causation…unless this (peep the myocarditis…you think that’s all JnJ? [nigga please!]):

https://openvaers.com/covid-data

IMG_6981

But the election was stolen.

Or was it allowed to be stolen?

When will the other shoe drop?

Or does the other shoe even exist?

This charade is going to go on until 2024?

Maybe Sandie is not her mother.

-PD

Patriot Games [1992)

This is not a game.

Assassination attempts on motorcades.

Jack Ryan jumps in here.

An expert by Clear and Present Danger.

Since 1972.

Tom Clancy.

Minister of State, Northern Ireland.

The answer.

Paul Channon.

Six months.

We are.

In that period.

Married Ingrid Guinness.

Former wife of his cousin.

Jonathan Guinness.

PC.

Guinness board of directors.

Guinness Trust.

By the way.

What ever happened to Rachel Chandler?

Wife of Thomas Guinness-Taylor?

He being son of the aforementioned Jonathan Guinness and mistress Susan “Shoe” Taylor?

The date of birth seems to match.

1986.

Northern Ireland Office.

Would be equivalent to Robin Walker.

1972-1974: Conservative (Edward Heath).

1974-1979: Labour (Harold Wilson/James Callaghan).

1979-1997: Conservative (Margaret Thatcher/John Major).

1997-2010: Labour (Tony Blair/Gordon Brown)

2010-present: Conservative (David Cameron/Theresa May/Boris Johnson).

The Provisional IRA was socialist.

Not to be confused with the IRA of 1919-1922.

Cells.

Splinters.

Gilded.

Annette is English.

Red wig.

Not a real ginger.

Prisoner transfer motorcade ambushed.

On the move.

Dangerous.

David Robinson.

This was before the Colombian PTSD.

A healthy amount of paranoia.

Highway attack.

By 1994, Fort Huachuca had come into the mix.

Film misdated as 1998 is actually 1992.

Watched out of order.

Keyhole.

Who dares wins.

Flynn.

Lindell.

SAS because British citizens.

CIA assist.

Assassination attempt on American.

Terrorists.

Pence was a mole.

Traitor.

McInerney correct.

London.

Alaska.

Chevy Chase, Maryland.

Diplomatic Security Service.

Maryland State Police.

HRT Quantico.

Crisis management.

A career of crises.

Diversion.

Spartacus.

Next film was already in the works.

You are watching a movie.

-PD

Platoon [1986)

The crusader.

The volunteer.

Ants.

Red and black.

On yer neck.

Except they’re constant.

Can’t advance storyline.

Driving you crazy.

Mosquitos.

Under your green towel.

Would even give up breathing if it meant the flies couldn’t get in.

Snakes.

Leeches.

More snakes.

What kinda watch you wearing?

It’s your shift.

Night watch.

Don’t fall asleep.

Recruited from the world’s greatest insomniacs.

Depends on where you’re deployed.

In Vietnam I would be a workaday, crack-of-dawn man in a gray flannel suit.

Night watch.

Digital foxhole.

Faster alone.

Not a diving watch.

Smeared with mud.

Rainforest.

Grime.

Now we develop.

And change.

From green.

To cynical.

But hard as nails.

Able to take it.

Until we break.

A new war.

Now.

Blew his arms off.

Don’t take the bait.

The village starts breaking you down.

Snap.

Changes you.

Supplying those that murder your friends.

War crimes are war crimes.

But you need warriors to win.

But war crimes are still war crimes.

And we lost.

Seemingly.

Vietnam was not a war.

Vietnam was a battle.

The war is just now getting started.

USA vs. China.

No American soldier died in vain in Vietnam.

It was the right decision to fight.

But we got our butts kicked.

How did America lose?

How did it come to pass?

That we had to retreat?

Making a stand against world communism.

Was successful.

And now the main fighting will ensue.

Johnny Depp wanted to kill the President.

And he said this in Vietnamese.

Then we see Vietnamese children being raped by American soldiers.

War crimes are war crimes.

Charlie Sheen stood up against the falsehoods of 9/11.

From playing a character.

To being the real thing.

WTC7.

You believe at first.

In the war.

But as the years go by, you may lose that belief.

Especially if the war becomes unwinnable.

Moronic leaders.

Bombing their own troops.

Calling in the wrong coordinates.

Some assholes know how to fight.

And how to stay alive.

And we need them.

But they can go wrong.

We need the crusaders.

But we need to remember who the true enemy is.

Vietnam was a war of ideology.

But it must not have seemed that way in the jungles.

You cannot see the forrest.

You do not have such luxury.

To think strategically.

Don’t discount the warriors.

And don’t discount the crusaders.

Because the crusaders can fight.

And be deadly efficient.

They may have active minds.

They may see the looming loss.

But they will fight their way out of an ambush.

And they will fare well.

Due to experience.

Study Pat Tillman.

How did he die?

Why?

War is hell.

It is barbaric.

It pushes the envelope in every direction.

War should be avoided.

Unless it is absolute necessary.

Oliver Stone almost loses the reins of this thing when Willem DaFoe dies.

Which is a shame.

Because DaFoe is magnificent in this film.

And so is Charlie Sheen.

Tom Berenger gives a powerful performance.

All men are sinners.

I don’t know how to fight.

But I know how to destroy.

There are no atheists in a foxhole.

As the saying goes.

We are on the frontline.

Have we been abandoned?

Power comes in owning your name.

In owning your actions.

In owning your words.

I am not anonymous.

If you fight, it is likely the man next to you will fight as well.

And the converse also holds.

Groupthink.

Bad.

But seething masses.

Good.

When directed.

CIMIC.

We don’t know if the war is still going on.

We might get off a few more rounds.

Before we are entirely disintegrated.

We have no comms.

How much do you want to win?

How badly do you want victory?

At what point have we become digital cannon fodder?

It went so fast.

Stabbed himself in the leg.

I missed it.

Thought he was stabbing a lingering enemy.

False-flagged his way home.

Where nations choose free market democracy, the USA must support them as much as possible.

Where nations are invaded by communism, the USA must protect those who have communism forced upon them.

The war is about to start in earnest.

-PD

Lost River [2014)

There’s something very weird going on in Hollywood.

And it has been going on for a long time.

You can look for yourself in Kenneth Anger’s books.

Strange stories about Clara Bow.

The first “It” girl.

From the film of the same name.

And how she kept her skin so soft (ostensibly).

But the range of weirdness in Hollywood seems to move along a continuum.

There are levels.

Not unlike Freemasonry.

Or Scientology.

The hedonism of Henry Miller would be a very low level.

But what we are dealing with here, in this film, is an allusion to a higher level.

Really, the highest level.

There really isn’t a more mot juste for this phenomenon than Satanism.

And, perhaps, even that word does not fully describe what is at issue.

If one was hard-pressed to boil it down–to refine it further, perhaps “evil” would be the essential element.

Recently, the internet collective known only as QAnon “dropped” a crumb of information regarding an establishment in Los Angeles known as the Cannibal Club.

You can find all Q drops here.

The drop in question is #3917 from April 8th of this month.

Here is the website to which Q linked.

It indeed follows the train of thought I delineated above.

You will see the Henry Miller quote (an author I deeply admire).

But then you will see a perversion far beyond (to my knowledge) anything Henry Miller ever wrote about.

What you see on the Cannibal Club website appears to be a restaurant which serves human flesh.

However, with a bit of research, I came to the conclusion that this particular institution (as it is presented) is likely fake.

Why?

The names of the principals all come back empty.  None of them have a digital footprint that I can find.  Sophie Lafitte.  Elspeth Blake.  Hero Conners.  Raven Chan.

The photo of Cannibal Club’s proprietress, Elspeth Blake, was first cached as a stock photo in 2012.

The photo of Raven Chan also was first cached (before it was used on the Cannibal Club website) as a stock photo.  Both photos appear to have originated on the website istockphoto.com .  They are generic pictures.

The Cannibal Club website went live with content in 2009.  Neither the menu, nor the “events” have changed.

My conclusion was that this was a joke made by demented, artsy liberals in order to seed panic in America’s conservative population.

That was my hypothesis:  it is almost certainly a sick joke.

But here’s the rub…

Things like this very well may exist.

Indeed, they probably do.

And thereby we come to the film Lost River.

It came out a mere two years before Trump was elected.

Before Harvey Weinstein was convicted of sex crimes and sent to prison (where, last I heard, he had coronavirus).

Before jet-setter Jeffrey Epstein “hung himself” in a Manhattan jail cell.

You know, Epstein…the guy who flew Bill Clinton and Kevin Spacey to Africa.

All this was before Kevin Spacey had numerous sex crime charges brought against him.

And two of his accusers recently dropped dead (over the past year) bringing both cases to a halt.

Lost River.

I appreciate the style.

Very heavy on the David Lynch (with a modicum of Harmony Korine thrown in).

The focus on “place” is very similar to the technique David Lynch and Mark Frost used to ground the town of Twin Peaks in the TV series of the same name.

Evil.

In the woods.

Underwater.

Underground.

And in secret clubs.

Director Ryan Gosling did a pretty good job with this film.

We will forgive him for lifting the ambiance of that Orbison scene from Mulholland Dr. to repurpose it in his Lost River blood-and-guts cabaret.

Because the reason I watched this film at all was for Christina Hendricks.

She has the potential to join a modern pantheon which, at this time, includes only Thora Birch and Kat Dennings.

Though we are never told this in the film, it is set in Detroit.

And that makes sense.

Deserted neighborhoods with crumbling houses.

But it could be anywhere in America if China’s economic warfare (COVID-19) is not soon countered.

Matt Smith does a good job as Bully:  the embodiment of serial-killer animalism.

The thug.

The gangster.

The cartel head.

Extreme cruelty.

Sadistic.

Gosling did a great job location scouting for the zoo scene.

The abandoned zoo.

Very much like the film Hanna and its scenes in the abandoned Spreepark of East Berlin.

Ben Mendelsohn is a fucker.

Such a prick.

But smart.

He’s not an animal like Bully, though he has rage inside him.

He is more of a predator.

And he is much more powerful.

His character, Dave, is a banker.

And Dave tells us, during the course of the film, that he sets up a little “club” in each of the towns he goes to.

Seems Dave gets moved around a lot.

Comes in.

Fires people.

Gets the books on a firmer footing.

And moves on to the next town where he can oblige the poor and demented with a bit of blood lust with his clubs.

Lots of blood.

Lots of lust.

Dave overlaps nicely onto the persona of Harvey Weinstein.

Christina Hendricks is immediately propositioned by the bank manager.

Dave is a thoroughly-unscrupulous scumbag.

Hendricks just wants to hang on to her home…dilapidated though it may be.

Saoirse Ronan does a nice job in a relatively-minor role here.

She glitters occasionally…as she plays her Casio on her bed with sparkly finger polish.

Whispering out a little song.

Or as she tucks in her pet rat for the night.

But it is not the ginger Ronan we are used to.

Her hair is black.

To fit with the landscape.

And to let Hendricks (also a redhead) stand out as the star.

Saoirse is the “girl next door”…literally.

In the tradition of American Beauty.

By this method we can trace Gosling’s influences.

The overarching one is David Lynch.

This film is creepy.

Plenty creepy.

Much of the creepiness comes from the casting.

It really is an amalgam of Lynch’s freaks with Harmony Korine’s amateurs.

There is the grief of the mute grandmother.

Caught in a loop of family films.

Mourning her late-husband who died tragically.

It is sad.

It happens.

The inability to talk for some time after a shock.

Extreme PTSD.

The family films are sad.

Watching how they used to be.

The way they were.

And the grandmother still a widow…with a fishnet veil for mourning.

There is some rubbish in this movie.

Kind of how the second season of Twin Peaks went off the rails.

Eva Mendes is good here.

And scary.

In the basement is something very Ex Machina (also 2014).

And even more so John Cale’s Vintage Violence.

Shells.

Mortal coils.

Simulation.

Apparently, customers can come down and “murder” real people in these shells.

The shells are of a hard, clear plastic.

And formfitting.

The shells supposedly prevent any real bodily harm.

But we never really see them in action.

Iain De Caestecker is pretty good here.

There is a realness in the urgency of his running.

Gosling’s editing crystalizes this.

Running for love.

Panic.

Running to save.

To set off running.

Unprepared for how long the journey really is.

Something special here.

Good vs. evil.

To give.

Charity.

To be selfish.

To ignore the needs of others.

To follow the voice of God.

To follow the instruction of the Holy Spirit.

To be humble before God.

To fear God.

To feel evil all around.

When it comes, and when it goes.

But the most quizzical scene is when Christina Hendricks cuts her own face off (in simulation, of course) in exactly the way we have heard about in the infamous, rumored Frazzledrip video.

In 2014.

Two years before such a thing came to light.

What a strange coincidence.

Let us synthesize more.

Could there be clubs (in L.A., for instance) where children have their faces cut off (for real) in front of an audience of sickos?

Further question, how does Hollywood (in L.A.) have the “imagination” to write these sorts of scenes?

Sure, there’s the old French film Eyes Without a Face.

But that was cosmetic.

It wasn’t for the thrill of spectators.

It was a medical procedure gone wrong.

Gory as it was, it was to SAVE the face of his daughter that the misguided doctor went on a hunt for faces.

Here, the faces are potlatched (apparently).

Or eaten.

But again, this is just a “cabaret”, we are told.

We see behind the scenes.

“Fake blood”.

So where is the truth in these “jokes”?

What kinds of personalities find humor in this?

John Podesta famously jokes about cannibalism in Time magazine and elsewhere.

He jokes about the cannibalistic Donner party.

He had cannibal art hanging on his office wall (a loan from his art-collector-brother Tony Podesta).

Strange fixation, that.

Very creepy.

Verging on Silence of the Lambs.

Ed Gein.

Dahmer.

Really vile stuff.

This is an interesting movie.

Gosling has talent as a director.

He should make more films.

This was his debut.

He has directed nothing sense.

My only quibble is this:  Christina Hendricks was so misused here.

Saoirse Ronan was almost equally misused.

Gosling needs to watch more Godard.

More Hitchcock.

You don’t cast Grace Kelly only to have her wear the same sweater for the whole film.

But it’s also Hendricks’ fault.

She has talent.

But she must embrace who she is.

She is not a good enough actor to be a puritan.

 

-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