Saturday, April 27, 2019

Overheard at Table 2: The Haircut and Netflix's "Godless"

So I was getting my haircut the other day and the lady was telling me that she doesn't mind taking customers late in the evening, because her husband is at home on disability.  Finally had to retire, and can't really do much of anything any more.

So he sits around all day and watches Westerns.

She said she hates Westerns.  But she has to watch them because he won't watch anything else.

I told her about Godless on Netflix.  Suggested that she might want to watch that with him.  I mean it's a Western, a damn good one too, but it's also a little different.  I mean, my wife doesn't like Westerns, but that one popped up on her feed and she watched the first episode and got hooked for the whole one season series.

But as I was driving home that night I was thinking that, man, if I were ever disabled and did nothing but watch Westerns I would be so depressed.  I mean, I would want to at least do SOMETHING with all that time, like maybe write my own Western movie, or something... or at least write reviews and put them on a blog

... like I'm doing right now.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Ryan Bingham - The Poet

At a mellow night at the Zen and Tao Acoustic Cafe, even though they call it "Munich's Finest Live Session"

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Overheard at Table 2: The Silence (2019)

OK, so I watched this movie because it had Stanley Tucci, and I figured, if it's got Stanley Tucci, then it has to be good, right?

Sorry, not right.

Not even Stanley Tucci could have saved this.  It was like hearing a song so terrible that not even a Carlos Santana guitar solo could make it listenable.

Everything about this movie has been done before, sometimes better, sometimes worse, certainly, but every thing has been done before.

OK, the breaking through to the Earth's under core to release creatures: pretty much any 1950s creature film, up through the various Godzilla movies.

The "don't speak or the creatures will kill you" has been done in "A Quiet Place" and also the other Netflix knockoff, the Bird Box.

The house they hide in looks like the house from Evil Dead.

The family holing up in the house is from almost every horror movie ever made that has a cheap budget and wants that claustrophobic feel. 

Eggs laid in the flesh of the victims.  Yup, check that off.  (Aliens, just for starters)

Setting off the fire alarm to screw with the creatures' echolocation system ... well, I don't remember seeing that before, but yeah, the dead bodies and the vacant stores in the deserted town:  that's from every post apocalyptic movie ever made.

Then there is the Revenant and his merry band of self-mutilators, who want the teenage daughter because she can breed.  Certainly creepy, and let's us all know that the creatures are not the only monsters here.  But still, that reeks so much of Stephen King that he himself was probably skimming through half a dozen of his own novels to find that character.

And of course, at the end, when everyone who is going to die has died, we have the whole "We're safe now but for how long?" and we end with the teenage heroine shooting a creature with a bow and arrow, which is so much like Hunger Games that I blurted out, "How did Katness Everdeen get in here?!"

Seriously, they could have just done a quick montage of every other movie that had every one of these tropes, and that possibly would have been more entertaining, because you would have seen how different scenes from different movies could have been strung together to make one barely coherent scenario.

But truly, this one is OK to pass over.

(that was an unintended pun... this being Holy Week and all)

Oh yeah!  almost forgot!

This also has dashes of "The Road" and a smidgen of "Book of Eli"

And maybe a bit of "The Happening"

My goodness ... there are so many here ...

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Some thoughts on Notre Dame and Colonialism

On Twitter there was a discussion from some PoC regarding their inability to feel any sorrow for the destruction of Notre Dame cathedral because of the European colonial past.

When I suggested that we separate the art and architecture from the history of the people who happened to live in the country where it is located, I was told to mind my own business and not tell them what to do or how to feel.

Pondering this:  What scars must people have that will make them incapable or unwilling to feel the simple sadness of the passing of a great work of art and a world heritage site?

To answer their main point, however, the Notre Dame cathedral was built centuries before France became a colonial power, so, the colonists that have so upset these PoC were not the people who built Notre Dame.

In fact, the people who built Notre Dame were of the same stock of people who, at the time, were continually at war with the Saxon and Angles in Britain, so if anybody should celebrate the destruction of Notre Dame, it should be England.

The main protagonist in my discussions stated that his predecessors' homes were plowed under by the highway expansion in the USA during the 1950s.   I could have countered that many white towns were also economically devastated by the same highway expansion, since it took the majority of road traffic away from those towns.   The gentleman would probably have cheered at the knowledge that these whites were economically ruined.  Or, he would have simply laid claim that his black ancestors had it worse off.

and that's the point isn't it?  This is the old trope of who has it worse?  I suffered more than you because X, when in reality, it was other people who suffered, not us.   We are merely left with the effects.

Yes, there is disparity today, and yes, whites in American do have a built-in advantage due to the system that was established long before any of us alive were squeezed out of our mothers' vagina to take our first gasp of air ... however, I maintain that we all can mourn the destruction of a piece of art, a testimony to the architectural craftsmanship of human who lived, loved, and died over 800 years ago.

and yes, the French destroyed much architecture in Africa ... but there were the great great great great great grandchildren of those who built the cathedral. 

So, does the anger at the object for the actions of the descendants of the builders really prove any point at all?

Or is it simply racist?

"Your builders look like people who enslaved and killed people who look like me, and all those people are dead now, but I'm still not going to feel anything for the building because I'm so pissed off at all the shit that happened before that I'll never be able to change"

This seems to me to be the true tragedy of colonialism, and of slavery:  it has rendered highly intelligent human beings utterly incapable to appreciating art that was made by people who look different from them.

A true sadness, indeed.