Cuban Fury [2014)

“You got no fear of the underdog/

That’s why you will not survive.”

Britt Daniel wrote that lyric.

And it’s the only song by his band Spoon which has even the most remote bit of soul in it.

Such a soulless band, Spoon…

The ultimate plastic hipsters.

A male supermodel and his gang of H&M monkeys behind him.

It would almost be artistic…in sort of an Andy Warhol/Factory sort of way.

Except there is no humor in it.

Spoon are dead serious.

The irony is (ATTN:  hipsters) there’s no irony here.

All that being said, Britt Daniel wrote one of the best songs I’ve ever heard.

And it’s the one I quoted above.

“The Underdog”

It doesn’t matter.

It doesn’t matter that my path crossed Britt’s path.

It doesn’t matter that I was invited to audition for his band Spoon as a keyboard player.

It doesn’t matter that he probably saw me in an outfit that wasn’t quite svelte enough and promptly canceled my audition before it ever happened.

Because he underestimated the underdog.

And that’s why he will not survive.

Last I heard, Spoon (or at least their godhead, Britt) relocated to Portland.

I suppose Austin wasn’t hip enough anymore.

Either that, or his shitty personality had shit off everyone in Austin and he needed a new lot of cunts to shit on.

But I digress…

Because, as stated, Britt had a point.

Once.

In one song.

[whether he learned the lesson he sang about or not is a different story]

But it is very much germane to OUR story–to this fantastic film:

Cuban Fury.

You almost always see Nick Frost in tow behind his partner in comedy Simon Pegg.

But not this time.

And so here we start a new investigation.

The test was simple:  could Nick Frost carry a film by himself (without the great talents of Simon Pegg)?

And the answer is a resounding YES!

We start all Billy Elliott (that one thing upon which Admiral General Aladeen and his presumptive torturer could agree).

Ass kicked.

Sequins eaten.

A future star quits mid-stride.

What could have been…

Have you ever had such a moment in your life?

I have.

LIFE beat me up.

In the span of a couple of months.

And now, instead of laying down tracks on 2-inch tape, I’m making songs solely with an iPhone.

You can feel the excitement.

It had to have been at least 20 years for Bruce (Nick Frost).

He gave up his passion.

Thought he would never cross paths again with salsa dancing.

He had been on the precipice of the youth national title in Britain.

Then his life went humdrum.

Works an office job for a company specializing in lathes.

The most nondescript industry possible.

But he gets a new boss.

Rashida Jones.

She is excellent here.

She hits just the right notes in her performance.

She is Bruce’s new boss.

But, as fortune would have it, she (an American in Britain) loves salsa.

Bruce is gobsmacked.

Enough so to turn his life around.

To attempt to reel in the years.

Equally brilliant as the first two players I’ve mentioned (Frost and Jones) is Ian McShane.

You might remember him as the head of MI6 in The Brothers Grimsby.

But ironically, his role here (as Bruce’s former dance teacher) is far heavier.

Think Burgess Meredith with an occasional lisping Spanish one would expect to hear in Madrid.

And McShane injects some Keith Richards pirate couture for good measure.

This is a HARD man.

Drinking tequila the whole film.

And he’s a fucking dance teacher.

A TOUGH dance teacher.

He’s tough because he sees the potential in his student.

And he won’t let his student half-ass this endeavor.

Either you go “all in”, or you go home.

Passion.

El corazón.

This film is truly a joy to watch.

…to see Nick Frost regain what truly makes him happy.

To dance.

It’s the story of someone reclaiming themselves.

Rewinding life…just enough to relive ones happiest former version of being (and relocate oneself).

But here’s the other part.

The ladies.

Or lady, here.

They just see Nick as a fat schlub.

No way this guy could dance salsa, right?

Every day suffering insults from a particularly nasty coworker.

Let me illustrate.

For me, supporting President Trump brings me daily grief.

Every day I am made aware (by “liberals”) that they hate me.

I am treated badly.

In person.

At work.

Online.

Simply trying to start my romantic life over and date.

I am very upfront.

Listed front and center:  “I voted for Trump.”

Kind of like an, “Abandon hope, ye who enter”.

But more like:  Let the Buyer Beware.

I lay it all out there.

“I live with my parents.”

etc.

And I get some shitty shit.

Which is why, every once in awhile, I think God is looking out for me.

I think maybe that God sees what I go through.

I’m not mean.

I’m not rude.

I don’t proselytize in a political sense.

I try to show warmth to others.

I try to show God’s love with my actions.

And boy do I end up throwing my pearls before swine sometimes…

Often, perhaps.

Lots of swine.

And it gets me down.

But I thought today was gonna be better.

Since last night.

Things had been going really well for me.

And now, here at 4 in the morning, I find myself back in a similar spot.

But it’s ok.

Because God loves me.

And if a bunch of braindead bitches wanna ignore the underdog,

then we won’t be surprised why they didn’t find happiness.

So this is a love story.

Forbidden love.

Nick Frost is in love with his boss.

Because his boss is perfect…for him.

It’s FaTE.

God puts us in the position to win.

But true winning is not always capturing first place.

“You can’t always get what you want…

But if you try sometimes,

you might find,

you get what you need.”

Where have I heard that song these past four years?

Ah, yes.

She was never supposed to lose.

Hillary Clinton.

She underestimated the underdog.

That’s why she did not survive.

Before this goes totally off the rails.

Love is the greatest victory there is.

But love has to be reciprocated.

If you’re a superstar (and I know you are, my dear reader), then you deserve AT LEAST as much as you give.

When you give love, compliments, gifts, affection, etc.

If you find yourself always to be the giver…and never allowed to be the taker (because nothing is given to you), then you just might be in the wrong situation.

I know I was.

And, praise God, I am out of that for the time being.

Except for at least one catch.

The world, our world, is primarily composed of takers.

Ingrates.

People without manners.

Humans unfamiliar with common courtesy.

Unpracticed at recognizing fairness.

People who have very little conscience (if any whatsoever).

And they are either unaware that they are such assholes, or they are aware and they simply do not care.

So again, it’s just me on this computer here.

Sitting in the dark.

Typing.

But that’s ok.

Because in this movie, a fat guy gets a beautiful girl.

And he gets her because he’s good at something.

Do you feel me?

But we must be righteous too.

Let us not underestimate OUR personal underdogs.

Let us not defile the name of God by letting superficiality reign.

God will show us the way.

Let us do what is just.

I ask that all who read this may be helped.

That each of them may know that God loves them.

And I ask this in the name of the Son of God.

I ask this by the power that is in the name Jesus.

God works in mysterious ways.

Our loving God will not be mocked.

God will not lose in the end.

We are entrusted with great responsibility.

But we know who wins.

And we know that the ending is magnificent.

And we know that all are welcome in the Kingdom of Heaven.

God only asks that we have humility.

The humility to ask forgiveness.

And God does not demand perfection.

The coin which God accepts, for eternal life, is faith.

And God charges no interest on this coin.

It is given freely, yet it is the most valuable thing in the universe.

Praise be to His holy name.

Indictments = start.

 

-PD

Medianeras [2011)

Here is as close to perfect as I can imagine.

When I clicked on this film on Hulu (translated as Sidewalls), I just expected it to be another film that I would stop watching after 30 seconds.

It vaguely looked like it had Eva Green in it.

Or Natalie Portman.

Thank God it doesn’t.

Instead, it stars Pilar López de Ayala as Mariana and Javier Drolas as Martin.

Indeed, this is the second Argentine film I’ve found which borders on sheer perfection.

The other is El Crítico (which followed two years later in 2013).

It’s true.

Both these films are introspective and self-reflective.

In Medianeras, this is more subtle.

Martin carries around three Tati films in his backpack (the topmost [visible] one being Playtime).

But all of this is academic.

What is important to say is that Medianeras is a cosmic, transcendent romance for the 21st century.

The composition is taut.

The cinematography is deft.

The montage is formidable.

But equally, the writing by director Gustavo Taretto is pristine.

You can look him up.

He’s a big, bushy-bearded 53-year-old.

But I highly admire the mind which came up with this film.

And the eye which brought it to life.

Pilar López de Ayala is magical here.

So many beautiful touches of storytelling.

Sure.

Taretto owes a small debt to Jeunet’s Amélie, but it is ever so small.

Indeed, it is mostly the music (the precious, tick-tock minimalism of the harp) and a pair of sequences involving humorous litanies.

The latter is achieved through copious edits of visual images to match the speaker’s rather cumbersome list(s).

It makes sense.

Amélie was a huge hit on the international stage just ten years prior to Medianeras.

And it too was an excellent film.

So Taretto has borrowed from a source which also indicates his good taste.

But our director has gone much further than merely borrowing.

He has created his own coherent language.

There are amazing sequences with Pilar López de Ayala in her apartment as her next-door neighbor wades through Beethoven and Chopin on a hoisted piano.

It is such that Mariana’s isolated life becomes a sort of postmodern ballet.

Sans dancing.

More brooding than anything.

Playing.

But, above all, being lonely.

And that is what drives this home.

We have a lonely man.

And a lonely woman (Ornette).

And paths which cross.

It’s not just sexual tension, but philosophical tension.

We really don’t know if these two perfect lovers will ever meet.

They are so dangerously close to colliding.

Like electrons.

We want these characters to live forever.

And they do.

In that they are composed of real life foibles.

As both watch Woody Allen in the dark.

And cry.

[as I cry watching them]

And both turn up Daniel Johnston singing “True Love Will Find You in the End”.

As I live with my parents.

[as the late-Daniel Johnston lived with his]

I think.

But I do know this.

That the sidewall in Austin has said, “Hi, how are you?” for so long.

And I am stuck in San Antonio.

Probably a much shittier city than Buenos Aires.

No doubt.

But so achingly-close to my old haunts in Austin.

And I don’t know if I will ever see them again.

Because life is hard.

And my life is generally shit.

“Working” at Starbucks.

Soon enough.

Again.

Not sure.

If my fiancée is dying.

And I am weeping.

Because I can relate to Martin and Mariana.

I can’t sleep.

It is 5 a.m. and I am writing a movie review which probably no one will read.

But I am happy in a strange way.

Because I found a film that reflects my life and makes me feel like all of my romantic longings and eccentricities are not for nothing.

So thank you, Gustavo.

Amazing film!!!

 

-PD

Romancing the Stone [1984)

This movie was very dear to me as a kid.

It’s one of those which came on TV all the time.

And it always pulled me in.

For me, nothing in this film beats the scene in which Kathleen Turner and Michael Douglas huddle ’round a marijuana campfire in the fuselage of a crashed plane.

Taking strong belts of Jose Cuervo tequila.

Basically sitting in a giant bong 🙂

But the best part–the cutest part…is KT eating olives.

An old jar.  To be sure.

But they last awhile.

And liquor kills all germs, right?

Who cares if the dead pilot took a few swigs long ago 🙂

It’s such a cozy scene.

Perhaps it’s what the Danish mean by hygge.

And it’s an ambiance I’ve only seen approached in Vertigo (Kim Novak and Jimmy Stewart by the fireplace in his apartment…after he rescues her from the waters of San Francisco Bay) and, surprisingly, The Pink Panther (David Niven and Claudia Cardinale by the fireplace…Claudia on the tiger-skin rug).

But Romancing the Stone, unlike those two films, is a full-on romcom.

Sure, there’s action…to entice the leery men 🙂

But there’s no denying that this is a romantic comedy.

And so I’m glad to join the ranks of romcom lovers.

Glad to christen a new category on my site with this fine film.

Some of it hasn’t aged so well (like Alan Silvestri’s sequenced electro-samba soundtrack), but most of it has…so kudos to director Robert Zemeckis.

Zach Norman plays a gay villain in such a way that one cannot help thinking of John Podesta.

Danny DeVito, who plays Norman’s cousin, is definitely the funniest thing in this film.

Neither Turner nor Douglas are particularly funny, but they are graceful and charming (respectively).

I would even add that Michael Douglas encapsulates a sort of masculinity which has been on the wane since the 1980s in America…UNTIL DONALD TRUMP WON THE FUCKING PRESIDENCY!

Yeah 🙂

It is trippy.

To watch this movie late at night.

To relive childhood memories.

And then to rouse oneself to one’s feet and think, “Is Donald Trump really the President? Is this not some kind of dream???” 🙂

I know for many it is a nightmare.

So I will just leave that train of thought there.  For now.

Actually, there is a more serious villain in this film:  Manuel Ojeda.

He is certainly a BAD HOMBRE 🙂

[sorry, can’t help it]

So yeah…

The bulk of the action takes place in Colombia.

It’s like William S. Burroughs, in search of yage, writing back to Allen Ginsberg.

Though the narrative becomes evermore-farfetched as it unfurls, it’s so much fun that we don’t much care 🙂

Buried treasure?  Check.

Wrestling crocodiles?  Check.

Mr. Dundee and The Goonies were from this same era 🙂

Alfonso Arau is here too…with his little “mule” 🙂

[I guess, on second thought, that is a drug-smuggling joke]

This was the performance which preceded Mr. Arau’s all-world turn as El Guapo in Three Amigos.

Yeah…the plot really gets ridiculous right after the waterfall 🙂

But this is a feel-good movie!

And we need this kind of stuff.

Sitting down to ENJOY a movie 🙂

What a concept!

 

-PD

El Crítico [2013)

Fucking masterpiece.

A fucking masterpiece.

God damn…

It’s not often that a movie strikes me this way.

I had every reason not to even WATCH this film.

The premise was too perfect.

Too good to be true.

In English (and on Netflix in the U.S.), it is listed as The Film Critic.

But we pay our respects to international films even if the template of our website goes haywire in so doing.

El Crítico is an Argentine-Chilean coproduction.

Sounds like a wine, right?

Well, this beats any Malbec I’ve ever tasted.

I cannot say enough good things about this picture!

First things first-Hernán Guerschuny is a goddamned genius.

From the very start of this film we get the Godard whisper…that voiceover which started (si je me souviens bien) circa 1967 with 2 ou 3 Choses que je sais d’elle.

The majority (80%?) of El Crítico is in Spanish, but the remaining 20% (in French) makes all the difference.

We have an Argentine film critic, played masterfully by Rafael Spregelburd, who thinks in French.

We are thus privy to his internal monologue throughout the film.

For anyone who writes about motion pictures, El Crítico is indispensable.

Priceless.

Just right.

[not even a pinch of salt too much]

Dolores Fonzi is really good, but Señor Spregelburd is outstanding.

Spregelburd plays a Godard-obsessed film critic (are you seeing why I like this?) whose fumbling attempts at romance stem from his total immersion in cinema.

Guerschuny deftly interpolates scenes which are “meta-” in the same sense that Cinema Paradiso was essentially a film ABOUT film.

And I am a fan of this approach.

It worked perfectly for the greatest artistic creation in the history of mankind (Histoire(s) du cinéma) and it works exceptionally well for Guerschuny’s film [of which James Monaco and la Nouvelle vague I think would be proud].

Guerschuny, like his main character Tellez [Spregelburd], wants to explode the genre of romcom.

Yes, you heard me right:  romcom.

And it thus places El Crítico in the same tradition as Truffaut’s Tirez sur le pianiste and Godard’s Une Femme est une femme.

But something happens to our protagonist Tellez.

And something, I suspect, is in the heart (!) of director Guerschuny.

This is, in fact, a film about appreciating naïveté.

It is a postmodern idea.

And an idea dear to my heart.

It’s quite simple, really…

I can appreciate Arnold Schoenberg as much as AC/DC.

Abel Gance as much as Napoleon Dynamite.

The idea is that pretentious films (and film reviews) can become just as tiresome as trite, Entertainment Weekly boilerplate.

Does that magazine even still exist?

I don’t know.

It’s an honest question.

In fact, I wasn’t even sure I had the title correct.

It’s supermarket-checkout-lane film criticism.

But it’s not worthless.

Sometimes the most esteemed, erudite film critics become blind to the beauty around them.

They don’t give simple movies a chance.

On the other hand, there are a ton of crappy movies out there today.

But El Crítico is not one of them.

But let me tell you about the secret weapon of the film under consideration:

Telma Crisanti.

Without her, this movie fails.

Not miserably, but the façade falls apart.  And then the superstructure…

Ms. Crisanti plays Ágatha, the 16-year-old niece of our film critic Tellez.

It is she who plants the seed within Tellez’ mind that romantic comedies can be sublime.

But the salient point is this:  the masses are not dumb.

I will stand by Thomas Jefferson on this point till the bitter end.

And so The Film Critic speaks to young and old.  And middle-aged.

It is about miracles.

But it is real.

Simply put, this is the Sistine Chapel of romcoms.

Or, what Michelangelo would have done with the genre.

Simply stunning!

-PD

Slow Learners [2015)

Megyn Kelly and James Alefantis.

Last night.

The worst interview in the history of journalism.

But to know why it was so bad, you must know the context.

#pizzagate

Yes, this is a film review.

Bear with me.

I would like to delineate some slow learners.

First, a group of fake news outlets:

ABC News

Salon

The Washington Post

The New York Times

The New Yorker

Forbes

Mother Jones

Second, a group of censors and their surrogates:

Wikipedia

Twitter

Media Matters *

Snopes

This suffices to give us a good start.

If you don’t want a heaping pile of BS for news on the subject of pizzagate, try

https://voat.co/v/pizzagate

or (for a great general overview)

https://dcpizzagate.wordpress.com

.

The U.S. news media are particularly slow learners.

They assured us that Donald Trump had no chance of being elected President.

Now, they are assuring us that the pedophile ring which has been uncovered by Internet researchers has no chance of being true.

And so Megyn Kelly did a very disgusting thing when she had on a very suspect person (James Alefantis) and verbally genuflected to this man for an entire segment of her vapid “news” show.

If you have an eye for detail, you will have noticed that one of the censorship groups named above (Media Matters) had an asterisk beside it.

That’s became Mr. Alefantis was the lover of David Brock:  founder of Media Matters.

Now…

Why did I single out the aforementioned slow learners (fake news & censors) and not other offending entities such as the completely worthless CNN?

Because, the biggest censor of all (Google) is telling us (by way of their search results) that the above-mentioned entities are the most popular in relation to the search term “pizzagate”.

But let us step back a bit.

We who voted for Donald Trump did not believe the vast majority of American media which told us he had no shot at winning.

Indeed, the more savvy among us understood our ostensible roles as targets in a social engineering operation.

That operation (to get Hillary elected) did not work.

And those of us who have been at this for awhile also know that the media shirked its duty on 9/11, Sandy Hook, and many other events which were sold to us as something other than what they were.

And so now the U.S. news media thinks we are dumb enough to not see through their transparent effort to cover up for very legitimate questions about the child trafficking pedophile network at the heart of the pizzagate story.

Furthermore, the U.S. news media thinks it still has power to memory-hole a giant scandal by way of a pathetic puff piece (like the one Megyn Kelly did on James Alefantis).

Two words:  slow learners.

Which brings us to our film.

[ahhh…]

The slow learners in this film have a personal rather than systemic problem.

They are dorks.

They self-identify as such.

Adam Pally does a nice job as Jeff.

But the real star (in my opinion) is Sarah Burns as Anne.

These two numbnuts are high school teachers.

Well, actually, one is a guidance counselor and the other is a librarian.

But they work at the same high school.

It is a cute story directed by Don Argott and Sheena M. Joyce.

It is a unique movie.

I wouldn’t go so far as to call it a masterpiece, but it’s real (unlike Megyn Kelly and James Alefantis).

Our principal players start off as hopeless rejects in the game of romance.

They start off as friends.

But they morph into monsters.

Examples?

Ars Technica

NBC News

NPR

CNN (finally)

FOX News (can Megyn Kelly…pronto)

BBC

The Guardian

Politico

The Daily Beast

The Globe and Mail

Huffington Post

USA Today

Reddit

Those kinds of monsters.

Our protagonists (much like the pedo-protecting Reddit) proceed to censor their own lives.

They censor their old selves.

The world tells them they are not cool enough.

And so they blend in.

They don’t make trouble.

They buy the latest styles.

Pretty soon, there’s nothing left of their souls.

They become thoroughly bankrupt individuals.

As our film is a romantic comedy (albeit an extremely quirky one), I don’t think it’s too much of a spoiler to tell you that it has a happy ending.

But our parallel case (that of the fake news media and their censoring surrogates) may not have such a happy ending.

We’ve seen what was on James Alefantis’ Instagram account.

We know that Megyn Kelly’s softball questions were completely reprehensible considering what might be at stake.

And thus Slow Learners is a cautionary tale for the global news media.

The U.S. news media is the cutting edge of BS.

But the citizens have had enough.

We know about John Podesta (thanks to WikiLeaks).

We know about Tony Podesta (thanks to WikiLeaks).

We know about the code language in the WikiLeaks Podesta emails.

We know about Tamera Luzzatto.

We know about Obama and his $65,000 of “hot dogs and pizza” .

We know about "cheese pizza".

We know about "pasta".

We know about "dominos" (whatever the hell that encodes to).

We know it's a code.

We know about Comet Ping Pong (run by Mr. Alefantis).

We know about the pedophile symbols rampant on Connecticut Avenue in Washington, D.C.

We know about Besta Pizza.

Maybe we got the wrong Andrew Kline (a mistake in one of my previous posts), but we are still researching.

Because we see the FBI doing nothing.

We see the news media covering up.

We know about Terasol Bistro and Artisan Gallery.

We know about Buck's Fishing and Camping.

Yes, jimmycomet, we know.

We know that Facebook, YouTube, and even 4chan are censoring.

This is unprecedented.

4chan!

We know about the Louise Bourgeois sculpture and its connection to Dahmer.

We know The Washington Post is pulling old, incriminating stories about Tony Podesta.

We know that WaPo's owner, Jeff Bezos, provides $600 million in cloud services to the CIA.

We know "the Russians did it" is BS.

We know about Biljana Djurdjevic.

We know about Kim Noble.

We know about Satanic ritual abuse.

[The Wikipedia article on that topic is truly comical in its assertion that every SRA case (seemingly) has been "proven" to be "fake".  Very convenient.]

We know about Marina Abramovic.

We know about Spirit Cooking.

We know about Lady Gaga. ['bout time for Bud Light to ditch her]

We know about "chickenlovers".

We know about #killroom.

Yes, little innocent Jimmy Alefantis commented on a very suspect looking freezer with "#murder".  Yes, little innocent Jimmy Alefantis that was on FOX News.  Because his establishment was supposedly terrorized by a man with a gun.

We know about false flags.

We know about crisis actors.

We know that real news (like the links I provided above) gets buried on Google when a zero casualty event is reported on by every mainstream news outlet in the country.

And we may be slow learners, but we are the ones who go to page 26 of the Google results to find something.

And if Google screws us (which they so often do), then we look elsewhere.

We are the dorks who read books.

And your story (Messrs. Alefantis, Podesta, and Podesta) does not add up.

I will end my litany here.

We are sick of fake news like what we saw from Megyn Kelly and James Alefantis tonight on FOX News.

And as BREXIT and the Trump victory have already proven, it is you [the news media] who are the true slow learners.

-PD