“In African cultures we often refer to loved ones that have passed on as ancestors. Sometimes you are genetically related. Sometimes you are not. I had the privilege of directing scenes of Chad’s character, T’Challa, communicating with the ancestors of Wakanda. We were in Atlanta, in an abandoned warehouse, with bluescreens, and massive movie lights, but Chad’s performance made it feel real. I think it was because from the time that I met him, the ancestors spoke through him. It’s no secret to me now how he was able to skillfully portray some of our most notable ones. I had no doubt that he would live on and continue to bless us with more.
“But it is with a heavy heart and a sense of deep gratitude to have ever been in his presence, that I have to reckon with the fact that Chad is an ancestor now. And I know that he will watch over us, until we meet again.” — from Black Panther director Ryan Coogler’s eulogy for Chadwick Boseman, posted this morning in The Hollywood Reporter.
Tell me this isn’t real. Tell me hinterland battleground voters aren’t this psychotic. (Or that these numbers represent a Republican Convention bump.) Tell me the legend of BLM lunatics hasn’t spread this far. Michael Moore is trying to shake liberals out of complacency, of course, but tell me it’s not much more than that.
“But aside from the 42 percent or so who consistently approve of Trump no matter what he or those around him do, most other Americans will see for themselves whether COVID-19 has evaporated or their economic security has improved this fall. Those are realities that Trump, for all his subterfuge, cannot alter.
“But racial animus is a less tangible and more enduring factor in America’s political fortunes, and it has been a toxic wild card in every modern election.” — from Frank Rich‘s 8.28 Intellligencer column, “Trump Thinks Racism Is His Best Chance.”
I suffered for three and a half hours earlier today. Stress, fatigue, confusion, anger. All in an attempt to mount a towel bar on our bathroom wall. The guy who put this video together (“TheRenderQ“) says it’s a relatively simple process, and would take a half-hour or so. Not if you have a 30 year-old power drill that only runs in reverse, and not if your bathroom ceiling is so old and lumpy that the floor-to-ceiling measurements aren’t equal, and not if the package contains a micro-Allen wrench that doesn’t really fit the fastening screw, etc.
I hate assembling things because stuff always goes wrong, there are always misleading directions (even when you find guidance on YouTube) and there are always unexpected hassles. I almost did it correctly in the end, but not quite. It left me feeling hugely depressed.
I’ve always been pretty good at woodwork (when we owned a home in Venice I built an octagonal jacuzzi cover and a wooden front gate) and I have a nice old toolbox, etc. But I hate instruction pamphlets.
A statement that no Democrat would dare give voice to…
“If this election is a referendum of Donald Trump, Donald Trump will lose and Joe Biden will win. If this a referendum on woke shitheads yelling at people in public, then it’s going to be a much harder race.”” — Lincoln Project co-founder Rick Wilson during last night’s Real Time with Bill Maher.
Brian Wilson is, was, always will be an artist. His peak genius period was ’64 to ’68, give or take. But during the same period the others were, shall we say, on the shallow side. Insufficiently developed in more ways than you can shake a stick at. Don’t forget that the Beach Boys played South Africa during the height of apartheid, and were put on a UN blacklist (along with Frank Sinatra, Ray Charles and Cher) for having done so. They’ve been a Republican band for a long time, saluted by John McCain, Ronald Reagan and the like. They even considered playing at Donald Trump’s 2016 inauguration.
In last night’s “Four Ain’t Enough” thread, “Bob Hightower” trotted out the old “anyone who prefers High Noon to Rio Bravo doesn’t really like Westerns” line.
I tapped out a pretty good Rio Bravo vs. High Noon piece 13 years ago, but here’s another go, written this morning and mostly freshly phrased.
I like Rio Bravo enough to own the Bluray and re-watch it every two or three years, but it’s mostly a laid-back, hang-out, easy-does-it thang by way of the lore of Hollywood westerns.
On top of being an anti-High Noon argument piece, of course — a refutation of the Carl Foreman idea that when push comes to shove, fair-weather friends (or 95% of those who behave as if they like and care about you, especially at parties) aren’t worth a damn, and when things get tough you’ve only yourself to rely upon. Which is precisely how I feel about life anyway.
The best westerns aren’t just about genre conventions and cliches, but about the human condition…right?
From the ’07 piece: “You know from the get-go that High Noon is going to say something hard and fundamental about who and what we are. It’s not going to just poke along some dusty trail and go yippie-ki-yay and twirl a six-gun. It’s going to look you in the eye and say what’s what, and not just about the political and moral climate in some small western town that Gary Cooper‘s Will Kane is the sheriff of.”
Rio Bravo is not really invested in the “uh-oh, the bad guys are coming to break Joe Burdette out of jail and kill us in the bargain” situation or even in the characters except for Dean Martin’s broken-down alky. Sweat, nerves, tremors of seal-loathing — 100% believable.
The best scene, of course, is that dialogue-free beginning in the saloon, although it never made a lick of sense that Martin would bash Wayne on the head with a wooden club simply because Wayne has given him a look of well-deserved disgust when Martin is about to reach into a spittoon to retrieve a silver dollar, which is course is par for the course for the town drunk.
It also makes no sense that Joe Burdette (Claude Akins) would casually shoot Bing Russell in the stomach at close range, as there’s been no real provocation. It’s almost on the level of “aaah, I’m bored, here’s a bullet.”
On top of which Ricky Nelson’s high-register, pipsqueak speaking voice is too late ‘50s, too eighth-grade, too malt shop, too “Be-Bop Baby”…it lassos Howard Hawks’ studiously self-conscious, movie-ish western and sends you right back to Ozzie and Harriet-ville every time he opens his mouth.
And that sing-along jailhouse scene (“My Rifle, My Pony, and Me”, which uses the same Dimitri Tiomkin melody that was heard over and over in Red River but with new lyrics) is a real curiosity. It was thrown in to placate Nelson’s and Martin’s fans, but it stopped the movie cold, of course, especially when Walter Brennan‘s “Stumpy” joins in on “Get Along Home, Cindy Cindy”.
You know what would’ve been cool? If Hawks had cut away to Joe Burdette in his jail cell, smiling and quietly humming along.
Also from ’07: “Does Rio Bravo have a sequence that equals the gripping metronomic ticking-clock montage near the end of High Noon? Is the dialogue in Rio Bravo up to the better passages in Zinneman’s film? No. (There’s nothing close to the scene between Cooper and Lon Chaney, Jr., or the brief one between Cooper and Katy Jurado.) Is there a moment in Rio Bravo that comes close to Cooper throwing his tin star into the dust at the end? Is there a “yes!” payoff moment in Rio Bravo as good as the one in High Noon when Grace Kelly, playing a Quaker who abhors violence, drills one of the bad guys in the back?”
And don’t forget my “Tarantino’s Once Is Kin To Rio Bravo” piece from last July.
What Mac Sledge meant is that he doesn’t trust those the all-too-brief periods when happiness or, if you will, temporary euphoria or at least the absence of even the slightest melancholia…when those good vibes arrive and seem to light up everything and soothe all those souls. I’ve always preferred Hank Worden‘s line in Red River: “I don’t like it when things are goin’ too good and I don’t like it when things are goin’ too bad. I like ’em in between.”
The Ox-Bow Incident, Red River, High Noon, The Naked Spur, Shane, The Searchers, The Big Country, (not Rio Bravo), The Magnificent Seven, North to Alaska, One-Eyed Jacks, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, The Professionals, The Wild Bunch, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, McCabe and Mrs. Miller, Silverado, Unforgiven, Open Range, The Assassination of Jesse James, No Country for Old Men, The Revenant, Hell or High Water. (22)
“I have to say I’m horribly conflicted on some issues. I’m supportive of attempts to interrogate the sins of the past, in particular the gruesome legacy of slavery and segregation, and their persistent impact on the present. And in that sense, I’m a supporter of the motives of the good folks involved with the Black Lives Matter movement.
“But I’m equally repelled by the insistent attempt by BLM and its ideological founders to malign and dismiss the huge progress we’ve made, to re-describe the American experiment in freedom as one utterly defined by racism, and to call the most tolerant country on the planet, with unprecedented demographic diversity, a form of ‘white supremacy’. I’m tired of hearing Kamala Harris say, as she did yesterday: ‘The reality is that the life of a black person in America has never been treated as fully human.’ This is what Trump has long defended as ‘truthful hyperbole’ — which is a euphemism for a lie.
“But here’s one thing I have absolutely no conflict about. Rioting and lawlessness is evil. And any civil authority that permits, condones or dismisses violence, looting and mayhem in the streets disqualifies itself from any legitimacy. This comes first. If one party supports everything I believe in but doesn’t believe in maintaining law and order all the time and everywhere, I’ll back a party that does.
“In that sense, I’m a one-issue voter. Because without order, there is no room for any other issue. Disorder always and everywhere begets more disorder; the minute the authorities appear to permit such violence, it is destined to grow. And if liberals do not defend order, fascists will.”