Chadwick Boseman – Wakanda forever

learned to T’Challa

Chadwick BosemanI’ve been musing on why I found the death of Chadwick Boseman so affecting. Only recently I noted three films he starred in. “MARSHALL (2017) a biopic starring Chadwick Boseman as Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall I had intended to see.” Ditto for the film GET ON UP (2014), about the Godfather of Soul James Brown that I had coincidentally recorded to the DVR last month.

I had started watching 42 (2013) the movie about Jackie Robinson. It was the day I was being discharged from the hospital after a health scare. I think I tried to stall my release time to finish watching it.

Cancer. As the Chicago Tribune noted, “The cancer was there when his character T’Challa visited the ancestors’ ‘astral plane’ in poignant scenes from the Oscar-nominated ‘Black Panther,’ there when he first became a producer on the action-thriller ’21 Bridges,’ and there last summer when he shot an adaptation of a play by his hero August Wilson…”

The South Carolinian died at the age of 43 of colon cancer, only a couple years older than my brother-in-law John when he died of the same damn disease in 2002. And while I knew of John’s struggle, most of us didn’t know Chadwick had been diagnosed at stage 3 in 2016. It was none of our business, but I’m always surprised when something can remain a secret in Hollywood.

A bit of Killmonger

I totally get this quote. Boseman said he “more easily identified with” Black Panther’s “antagonist, played by Michael B. Jordan, who had been cut off from his ancestral roots: ‘I was born with some Killmonger in me, and I have learned to T’Challa throughout my studies.'”

“‘It’s the place where you start. All African Americans, unless they have some direct connection, have been severed from that past. There are things that cannot be tracked. You were a product, sold. So it’s very difficult as an African American to connect at some points directly to Africa. I have made that part of my search in my life. So those things were already there when I got into the role.'”

In my review of Black Panther, which I LOVED, that Chadwick Boseman had the less showy part. That’s not meant as a knock on the actor. The “villain” often gets the juicier role.

Incidentally, the Howard University graduate noted on Stephen Colbert’s show his roots. DNA testing indicated that his ancestors were Krio people and Limba people from Sierra Leone, and the Yoruba people from Nigeria.

His unexpected death brought out tons of tributes. “Marvel Studios president and CCO Kevin Feige called Boseman’s death ‘absolutely devastating,'” and I would agree. “‘Each time he stepped on set, he radiated charisma and joy, and each time he appeared on screen, he created something truly indelible.'” As a good friend of mine and I said when we departed last month, “Wakanda forever.”

Actress Kathy Bates turns 70

Kathy Bates took her first Broadway curtain call in 1980’s ‘Goodbye Fidel.’

Though Kathy Bates had been working regularly on film since at least 1977, and I undoubtedly had seen her in some of those shows and movies, the first place I really recognized her was in the 1990 movie Misery.

“I’m your biggest fan” undoubtedly affected readers of the Stephen King novel, but to see her Annie Wilkes interact with Paul Sheldon (James Caan)… let’s put it this way; I haven’t seen that movie since I viewed in the cinema, and it STILL makes me shudder. She captured the Best Actress Oscar and a Golden Globe.

My favorite scene of hers, though, was in Fried Green Tomatoes (1991), the bit in a parking lot here or here, when Evelyn Couch got tired of being treated like an old davenport. The vicarious pleasure I felt was surprisingly strong.

From IMBD: “Kathleen Doyle Bates was… raised in Memphis, Tennessee. She is the youngest of three girls… One of her ancestors, an Irish emigrant to New Orleans, once served as President Andrew Jackson’s doctor.

“By the mid-to-late 1970s, Kathy was treading the boards frequently as a rising young actress of the New York and regional theater scene… She took her first Broadway curtain call in 1980’s ‘Goodbye Fidel,’ which lasted only six performances. She then went directly into replacement mode when she joined the cast of the already-established and highly successful ‘Fifth of July’ in 1981.

I have enjoyed her work in several other TV shows and films, including:

* a prostitute in Woody Allen’s Shadows and Fog (1991)
* the unsinkable Molly Brown in Titanic (1997)
* the villainous Miss Hannigan in a Disney version of Annie (1999)
* quirky, liberal mom Roberta Hertzel in About Schmidt (2002), for which she received a Best
Supporting Actress nomination
* well-to-do Jo Bennett in the latter stages of the US version of The Office (2010-2011)
* Gertrude Stein in Midnight in Paris (Woody Allen, 2011)

Kathy Bates turns 70 on June 28, 2018, and by the look of her upcoming credits does not appear to be retiring any time soon, despite living with lymphedema. She has been the national spokesperson for the Lymphatic Education & Research Network.

Arnold Schwarzenegger is 70

“The guy has spent his life turning naysayers into spectators, skeptics into constituents.”

I always had mixed feelings about Arnold Schwarzenegger. On one hand, the whole Mr. Universe thing mystified me, yet he was obviously very good at it.

He came to the United States, knowing relatively little English, and become an actor. Many people said he would have to change his name, because “no one” would be able to pronounce it; he ignored them.

Arnold Schwarzenegger had an incredibly successful movie career. I have seen exactly zero of his films in the cinema, though I’ve bumped into some iteration of The Terminator and Kindergarten Cop while flipping through the TV channels. BTW, here are HIS favorite films.

He was clearly a Republican, yet married a Democrat, and a Kennedy, no less, in Maria Shriver. And then, for reasons I considered bogus, tied to Enron manipulation, the governor of California was recalled. Ahnuld decided to run for the office, and he actually WON, joining the tradition of Golden State performer-politicians such as George Murphy, Sonny Bono, and Clint Eastwood. Oh, and Ronald Reagan.

By most accounts, he wasn’t bad at the job, so much so that a contingent of folks wanted to change the Constitution so that the Austrian-born Schwarzenegger could potentially run for President.

As it states in a 2015 Rolling Stone interview, “The guy has spent his life turning naysayers into spectators, skeptics into constituents. ‘I’ve always been underestimated, and that’s always worked to my advantage,’ he says. ‘It’s the most wonderful thing, to be underestimated.'”

Schwarzenegger had two boys and two girls with Shriver. “In 2011, it came to light that [he] had fathered a fifth child, Joseph, now a teenager, with the family’s housekeeper.” Shriver divorced him.

He agreed to become the host of the Celebrity Apprentice in 2016, formerly run by someone who was successfully running for another job. After that short-term gig, Arnold has been active in criticizing the United States’ departure from the Paris Climate agreement.

As Schwarzenegger said to University of Houston graduates in May 2017, he didn’t make it all on his own, and that it’s important for them to recognize the help they got and then give back to others.

The simple bodybuilder Arnold Schwarzenegger is actually a complex fellow. Happy natal day to him.

January rambling #1: Tower of Terror

50 Years Ago, the Wah-Wah Pedal Was Born

2016: The Movie

First BLOTUS Press Conference, Annotated

‘Gaslighting’ all of us

FLATUS Dossier Spotlights Russian History of ‘Kompromat’ – Diplomats, politicians and bureaucrats have been embarrassed by leaks of compromising material

The body language of FLATUS, and the 20 best nicknames; are you sorry yet?

FLATUS plan to keep his business is national embarrassment

How Populism Goes Bad

Gun silencers are hard to buy. Donald Trump Jr. and silencer makers want to change that
Continue reading “January rambling #1: Tower of Terror”

Tommy Lee Jones turns 70

The Fugitive (1993) – One of my favorite movie trailers ever.

tommyleeJonesOn these Facebook ads I see often, one of the questions is which actor was former Vice-President Al Gore’s roommate in college. Yes, it’s the guy from Texas, Tommy Lee Jones.

In fact, “in 1970 he landed his first film role, coincidentally playing a Harvard student in Love Story (Erich Segal, the author of Love Story, said that he based the lead character of Oliver on the two undergraduate roommates he knew while attending Harvard, Jones and Gore).”
Continue reading “Tommy Lee Jones turns 70”