Spoilers QUESTION

read movie reviewers relish not knowing about the films they are going to critique; optimally, the movie trailer will not make actually seeing the film redundant.


There is a tradition among many not to reveal surprise endings of movies and even TV shows until enough people have had a chance to see them, which is quite honorable.

But what I’ve noticed lately is that the TV shows themselves are at least leaking possible story bits to the media. The very first Law & Order: LA this spring notes that someone will die. Other shows, such as those alphabet soup programs (CSI, NCIS) tease that “a hero will fall.” Is it that we should watch because someone will die? What happened to the element of surprise. See, e.g., the death of Colonel Blake at the end of the third season of the TV show MAS*H.

I contrast this with The Good Wife on CBS. A big reveal a few weeks ago was that the lead character’s husband had slept with her work friend. But ah, it was a couple of weeks later before the GW herself finds out the news, and it is devastating for her, and for the viewer. The surprise maximized the impact.

I read movie reviewers relish not knowing about the films they are going to critique; optimally, the movie trailer will not make actually seeing the film redundant.

So how do you like to see TV and movies? Does knowing too much wreck the experience?

 

April Rambling

Truth is that I purchased it mostly because I hate it when Mike Sterling cries.

As a friend noted, “If this occurred randomly and naturally, it’s amazing. If it was done with Photoshop, it was inspired.”

‘Cheap flights’ song (and dance)

Rivers of Babylon a capella by Amy Barlow, joined by Kathy Smith and Corrine Crook, at Amy’s gig in my hometown of Binghamton, NY, July 2009.

Star Wars, the complete musical?

Many people use the terms science fiction and fantasy as if they are interchangeable or identical when they are actually related, not the same. Author David Brin illuminates the differences.

Superman: citizen of the world

Re: World Intellectual Property Day and Jack Kirby

As a Presbyterian minister, I believed it was a sin. Then I met people who really understood the stakes: Gay men.

Susan Braig, a 61-year-old Altadena cancer survivor, takes old pharmaceutical pills and tablets and mounts them on costume jewelry to create colorful necklaces, pendants, earrings, and tiaras that she sells. It’s a way to help pay off her medical debt. By Bob Pool, Los Angeles Times, March 29 2011

Jaquandor does a weekly burst of weird and awesome, but this particular collection was more than usual.

I wasn’t a huge Doctor Who fan, but I was touched by the outpouring of emotion over the death from cancer of Elisabeth Sladen, among the most beloved of the Dr. Who companions and star of The Sarah Jane Adventures. A post by Chris Black.

SamuraiFrog on Weird Al and Lady Gaga.

I’m not a huge fan of Mike Peters’ comic strip Mother Goose and Grimm. But you should check out the episodes for April 12 through 16, when he deals with Sesame Street in the age of this Republican Congress. Also, see your favorite arachnid in the April 18 strip.

I bought a new book this month, Write More Good, by a consortium of folks known as The Bureau Chiefs, despite never having followed their meteoric success with their Fake AP Stylebook Twitter feed. I bought it primarily because I was familiar with a number of the Chiefs, even following the blogs of Mike Sterling’s Progressive Ruin and Dorian Wright’s Postmodern Barney. Truth is that I purchased it mostly because I hate it when Mike Sterling cries. I haven’t read it, but I’ve gotten more than a few laughs when I’ve skimmed it.

Google alert finds: Separating science from attitude By Roger Green. Re: an airplane parts firm: The company folded in 2007 and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement is now investigating company officers Roger Green and Victor Brown on a variety of potential charges, including grand theft and racketeering

Finally, from the royal wedding you weren’t invited to.

 

Movie Review: Made in Dagenham

Here, Sally Hawkins was matter-of-fact plunky without sinking to cliche. Indeed, once knows the basic outline, it is difficult to avoid a bit of predictability. Fortunately, the story, and performances were strong enough.


Late last year, my wife and I saw the trailer for the movie Made in Dagenham, and liked it well enough that we decided to go see the film itself. But for whatever reason, we didn’t make it.

Then we noticed that it was playing for three days at Proctors Theatre in Schenectady last week. So I took off early from work, went home, and we dropped off the daughter at the home of a teenaged daughter of a church member. We were running late for the 5:15 p.m. showing because of rush hour traffic, so Carol parked the car while I bought the tickets and popcorn. Walking from the ticket counter to the entrance, the door closed, and it was LOCKED!

So I walked back to the counter to comment on this. At that very moment, my wife showed up AND someone opened the door, we ran in and got led into the darkest theater I’ve ever gone into. Thank goodness for the guide’s flashlight.

We walked in during the opening credits, and I don’t know if there was anything before that; evidently, there were few or no coming attractions.

From the IMDB: In 1968, the Ford auto factory in Dagenham was one of the largest single private employers in the United Kingdom. In addition to the thousands of male employees, there were also 187 underpaid women machinists who primarily assemble the car seat upholstery in poor working conditions. Dissatisfied, the women, represented by the shop steward and Rita O’Grady, work with union rep Albert Passingham for a better deal. However, Rita learns that there is a larger issue in this dispute considering that women are paid an appalling fraction of the men’s wages for the same work across the board on the sole basis of their sex. Refusing to tolerate this inequality any longer, O’Grady leads a strike by her fellow machinists for equal pay for equal work. What follows would test the patience of all involved in a grinding labour and political struggle…

Sally Hawkins, who played Rita, was someone I wanted to see in the well-regarded Happy-Go-Lucky (2008), but didn’t. Here, she was matter-of-fact plucky without sinking to cliche. Indeed, once one knows the basic outline, it is difficult to avoid a bit of predictability. Fortunately, the story, and performances by Hawkins, Geraldine James as Rita’s friend Connie (who had a more interesting story arc), Bob Hoskins as her ally Albert (whose character has his own motivation), Daniel Mays as Rita’s trying-to-be supportive husband Eddie, and in particular the amazing Miranda Richardson as Cabinet member Barbara Castle, a glass ceiling breaker in her own right, were compelling enough. Another strong performance was by Rosamund Pike, who, like Hawkins, had a smallish role in the movie An Education (2009), which we did see.

The one complaint is that especially early on, we both had real difficulty discerning what was being said because of their accents. At least one reviewer had the same issue. I don’t know if my ear acclimated or the dialogue became easier to understand, but it did get better.

The movie had period music as its soundtrack, most of which I recognized, and it neither enhanced nor detracted from the movie for me.

Definitely inspiring without being mawkish, and worth the trip.
***

The UK trailer, I believe.

 

White House Releases Long Form of President Obama’s Hawaii Birth Certificate

President Obama posted a copy of his “long form” birth certificate, hoping to finally end a long-simmering conspiracy theory among some conservatives that he was not born in the United States and was not a legitimate president.

From the New York Times:

President Obama posted a copy of his “long form” birth certificate, hoping to finally end a long-simmering conspiracy theory among some conservatives that he was not born in the United States and was not a legitimate president.

The birth certificate, which is posted online at the White House website [PDF], shows conclusively that Mr. Obama was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, and is signed by state officials and his mother.

Now may we PLEASE talk about something else?

5000 Questions, Part 1

I’m of the opinion that I am more aware than most other people, who seem to be oblivious to their surroundings.

Sad to read about the passing of Phoebe Snow. She had a hit single with Paul Simon called Gone At Last, but she was only 58 or 60, depending on which obit one reads.


Apparently, there really ARE 5000 questions, but this guy only did 100, at least here, so I’ll do the same. Moreover, only 25 at a time.

1. Who are you?

Not as mysterious as I think myself to be, yet not as much of an open book as others perceive me to be. And you thought I’d go with The Who reference, didn’t you?

2. What are the 3 most important things everyone should know about you?

I get bored easily if I’m doing the same thing, so I always need to change it up. I generally DO know where things are on my desk, so if I clean it, I’ll probably file away something important. I see and hear many things as music and numbers, even if you don’t.

3. When you aren’t filling out 5,000 question surveys like this one what are you doing?

Being a business librarian, blogging, doing the domestic thing with wife and daughter.

4. List your classes in school from the ones you like the most to the ones you like the least (or if you are out of school, think of the classes you did like and didn’t like at the time).

LOVED math through trig, history, American government, and politics. HATED calculus, statistics, anything that involved rote memorization.

5. What is your biggest goal for this year?

Get closer to retirement, monetarily.

6. Where do you want to be in 5 years?

I’m OK where I am. That said, I’ve never been that good at predicting the future, especially my own.

7. What stage of life are you in right now?

Eternally on the precipice.

8. Are you more child-like or childish?

Child-like, probably.

9. What is the last thing you said out loud?

Oh, crap. (About a news story.)

10. What song comes closest to how you feel about your life right now?

You’ve Got To Have Heart from Damn Yankees.

11. Have you ever taken martial arts classes?

No.

12. Does your life tend to get better or worse or does it just stay the same?

Rollercoaster.

13. Does time really heal all wounds?

No. Most, but not all.

14. How do you handle a rainy day?

Rainy days and Mondays seldom get me down. Doesn’t really affect much.

15. Which is worse…losing your luggage or having to sort out tangled holiday lights?

No contest -losing your luggage.

16. How is your relationship with your parents?

Both deceased. I was fine with each of them at the end.

Will you miss them when they are gone?

They are. I do.

17. Do you tend to be aware of what is going on around you?

I’m of the opinion that I am more so than most other people, who seem to be oblivious to their surroundings. I’ll give you a very recent example: there was a woman getting out of the back seat of a cab while holding a toddler. I thought she might need assistance getting out, though the cabbie was unaware. I asked, she said yes, and I let her pull herself up, using my arm as a support. She thanked me, but at the same time, she thought the driver should have picked up on this.

18. What is the truest thing that you know?

Life isn’t always fair.

19. What did you want to be when you grew up?

A lawyer or a minister. I am neither.

20. Have you ever been given a second chance?

A bunch of times.

21. Are you more of a giver or a taker?

I see myself as a giver, but that could be ego.

22. Do you make your decisions with an open heart/mind?

Generally yes.

23. What is the most physically painful thing that has ever happened to you?

It’s a tossup among root canal, my broken rib, and a toe infection that nearly killed me (literally).

24. What is the most emotionally painful thing that has ever happened to you?

It involved affairs of the heart.

25. Who have you hugged today?

My wife and daughter. And maybe you, if you were around.