Werner Herzog‘s Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans is going to be hilarious, a must-see cult film. Nicolas Cage vs. old ladies! His insanity levels are growing exponentially with each new performance, and all to the good. Plus his light-brown, blond-tipped rug isn’t bad in this one. I’m buying this on DVD — issue settled.
An Esquire movie-trivia quiz (i.e., 21 questions) that I could have linked to a couple of weeks ago but didn’t. Sample questions and answers: (a) The Wizard of Oz was the first movie filmed in color. Answer: Esquire even asking this tells you what they think of their readers’ awareness levels; (b) “Myth or true — if you watch The Wizard of Oz while listening to Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon, they sync up perfectly.” Answer: True. (Never tried this!); (c) “Myth or True? Hollywood stardom is a cruel bitch-goddess that entraps even the purest souls into lives of ever-increasing degradations so punishing that the sweet release of the grave becomes but a faint stain in its shadow.” Answer: Better conveyed by clicking through.
A taste of last night’s celebration in Granada following the Barcelona soccer team’s 2-0 defeat of Manchester in the UEFA Championship in Rome. I should have run around and caught more action but I felt too removed in a Margaret Mead-ish sense to get into it. Not my scene.
N.Y. Times columnist Nicholas Kristof has pointed to a morality quiz website that determines the extent of your leanings along liberal/conservative lines. “One of the main divides between left and right is the dependence on different moral values,” he summarizes. “For liberals, morality derives mostly from fairness and prevention of harm. For conservatives, morality also involves upholding authority and loyalty — and revulsion at disgust.”
There are six questionaires covering six moral areas. Moral Foundations (i.e., what underlies the virtues and issues you care about? Why do you have the political orientation that you do?), a Satisfaction with Life Scale (how happy are you these days?), a Sacredness Survey (what would you do for a million dollars?), Systems & Feelings (which kind of understanding do you prefer?), a Need for Cognition Scale (what is your attitude toward mental work?) and a Relationship Survey (what is your “style”‘ of relating in romantic/love relationships, and how does that relate to morality?).
I filled out two of the forms (moral foundations, relationships). The results didn’t tell me anything I didn’t know before. But it’s interesting to explore the fundamentals every so often in a multiple-choice way.
Last night the comma/left carrot and b keys escaped from the keyboard. Just like that. And now the k and question mark/forward slash keys are thinking about liberating themselves also. Out of nowhere, rebellion in the ranks. “Guys…the comma/left carrot key is free. We can do it too! What’s Wells going to do? I’ll tell you what he’s going to do….nothing! Okay, he’ll have some computer technician stick us back on eventually but c’mon…we’ve been stuck to this damn keyboard for over three years!!”
At Seville’s Plaza de Espana, the officers’ club in Lawrence of Arabia — i.e., the palace-like buidling where T.E. Lawrence (Peter O’Toole) first arrives after being driven into “Cairo” following his trek across the Sinai desert with Farraj (Michel Ray) and Daud (John Dimech).
Center Courtyard of Seville’s Alfonso XIII Hotel, which doubled as the courtyard of the officers’ club where Lawrence, General Allenby (Jack Hawkins), Dryden (Claude Rains) and Colonel Brighton (Anthony Quayle) talk things over after Lawrence’s arrival.
What I’ve read so far tells me that Judge Sonia Sotomayor, President Obama‘s nominee to replace David Souter on the Supreme Court, is more of a symbol of political-ethnic I.O.U.-ing than of anyone’s idea of impressive judicial distinction. She seems okay (i.e., generally liberal) as far as it goes but she’s clearly no William O. Douglas.
Sontomayor “has issued no major decisions concerning abortion, the death penalty, gay rights or national security,” N.Y. Times reporter Adam Liptak has written. “In cases involving criminal defendants, employment discrimination and free speech, her rulings are more liberal than not. But they reveal no larger vision, seldom appeal to history and consistently avoid quotable language.
“Judge Sotomayor’s decisions are, instead, almost always technical, incremental and exhaustive, considering all of the relevant precedents and supporting even completely uncontroversial propositions with elaborate footnotes.”
Here are ten significant observations/reportings about her.
HE extends solemn condolences to Mike Tyson following today’s tragic news about his four year-old daughter, Exodus. The chance of something like this happening is every parent’s nightmare. I’ve met the former heavyweight champ a couple of times but don’t know him except through James Toback‘s recently-released documentary. I just have an inkling of what he’s going through.
Give reboots the heave-ho, says Marshall Fine. Well, sure…where do I sign? Except reboots — remakes with fresh blood — will never stop being made. It’s far less terrifying for a decision-maker to greenlight a reboot of a previously sold-and-marketed property than to stick his/her neck out on something even semi-original. Fear rules, cowardice prevails, survival is all and forthcoming films like The Lone Ranger are relishing the opportunity to deaden your soul. It’s an old equation. Pauline Kael explained most of it nearly 29 years ago. Things have changed, of course, but in what ways?
“The end of print isn’t just near — it’s here,” declares ManBitesTinseltown‘s Ray Richmond. “It happened when I downloaded an App onto my iPhone called News Fuse. “For a one-time payment of 99 cents — 99 cents! — it supplies you with content from 18 separate news outlets, including: the L.A. Times, New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, USA Today, Time, Newsweek, CNN, NPR, ESPN, CBS News, MSNBC, CNBC, ABC News, BBC News, Reuters, Fox News and Yahoo! News.”
We’re all aware how news reading is being re-shaped and re-configured, but stop for a second and consider a simple principle. I read a newspaper maybe once or twice a month but it’s a genuinely pleasant thing when I get around to it. I don’t think anyone really enjoys reading newspapers on their iPhones for too long a period. It’s the way of the world and all that, but it’s not greatly pleasurable — it’s merely fast, convenient and at one with the pace of things. Shouldn’t reading pleasure have something to do with our reading choices?
I’m also reminded that an April 2009 Greystripe report claimed that “people use free apps an average of 20 times before getting bored and looking for something else” and that “the average time they spend using/playing with the apps is 9.6 minutes.” Does this equation change when it comes to paid apps? Somewhat, I’m guessing, but not to a great degree.
I’ve maintained for years that the proper aspect ratio for watching Stanley Kubrick‘s Dr. Strangelove at home is 1.33 to 1. The film was shown this way for decades on broadcast, cable TV and VHS but was delivered only once on DVD eight years ago.
Rare frame capture from the pie-fight sequence that originally concluded Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove (’64) but which was cut for one reason or another and will apparently never be shown to anyone ever so forget it.
Kubrick shot his classic 1964 farce with alternating aspect ratios (1.33 and 1.66), but the 1.33 framing dominates for the most part, and it’s obvious that the film was composed with this in mind. The 1.33 framings are immaculate in my book because of the Hollywood Elsewhere extra-air-space and room-to-breathe headroom principle — i.e.,the more space around and particularly above the actors heads, the more pleasing to the eye. The various shots of the cavernous War Room are especially well served in this regard. And there’s really no room for debate on this. I’m right and that’s that.
Which isn’t to say that the forthcoming Dr. Strangelove Bluray is a blunder because it’s been cropped to 1.66 to 1 (as was the 40th anniversary two-disc DVD that came out in late ’04. It’s just regrettable. I want my boxy framings and so did pre-2001 Stanley. Grover Crisp, Sony’s restoration guy, knows the truth of this. I recognize that market forces expect a wider aspect ratio to accommodate widescreen highdef screens, and that Crisp probably had to fight certain parties who wanted the Dr. Strangelove Bluray to be cropped to 16 x 9.
The only other regret is that apparently the footage of the famous excised pie-fight finale will never be seen, although I find it hard to believe that Kubrick didn’t keep a reel of it somewhere.
Wikipedia notes that “the first test screening of the film was scheduled for November 22, 1963, the day of the John F. Kennedy assassination. The film was just weeks from its scheduled premiere, but as a result of the assassination, the release was delayed until late January 1964, as it was felt that the public was in no mood for such a film any sooner.
A portion of Dr. Strangelove that shows the fuzzily-defined and arbitrary 1.66 to 1 cropping that Kubrick used in sections of the film.
“Additionally, one line by Slim Pickens — ‘a fella could have a pretty good weekend in Dallas with all that stuff’ — was dubbed to change ‘Dallas’ to ‘Vegas,’ Dallas being ‘ to avoid referring to the city where Kennedy was killed.” Note: If you ‘re any kind of lip-reader it’s clear that Pickens is saying ‘Dallas.’
“The assassination also serves as another possible reason why the pie-fight scene was cut. In the scene, General Turgidson (George C. Scott) exclaims, ‘Gentlemen! Our gallant young president has been struck down in his prime!” after Muffley takes a pie in the face. Editor Anthony Harvey [has said] that the scene “would have stayed, except that Columbia Pictures [suits] were horrified, and thought it would offend the president’s family.”
I’m sorry I’m not in New York to catch the restored print that’s currently showing at the Film Forum.