Fincher Gives Us a Return to Hitchcock Suspense

 DATELINE: Fincher Does Vertigo


The Master of Suspense would have approved. Yes, Gone Girl is a takeoff on Vertigo.

As T.S. Elliot said in his Prufrock poem, “Do I dare to eat a peach?” And as we say in our blog, “Do we dare to put David Fincher in the same category as Alfred Hitchcock?”

We hear the mermaids singing for sure, each to each. And this film is creepier than the Overlook Hotel.

Gone Girl is another in a series of David Fincher movies that holds you in a vise grip. He has put his finger on the pulse of media savvy entertainment and has combined it with the ruthless media of the entertainment world. You can’t tell them apart in this doozy of a thriller.

A man with a famous wife who goes missing finds himself under suspicion and under media condemnation. You can’t win if the fake news networks don’t like you. In fact, if you haven’t confessed to what they believe, you may as well jump off the first bridge your chickens cross before counting their clues.

Making dubious decisions and finding critics at every turn quickly makes Nick Dunne (Affleck) look guiltier than the wrong man in every Hitch movie. His cool blonde wife is more mysterious than Kim Novak and Grace Kelly doing a Tippi Hedren imitation.

Hitchcock loved to use red herrings in the clothes of Bob Cummings or Richard Todd. In this film Fincher has found his empty suit in the person of Neil Patrick Harris.

The only piece missing from this Hitchcock homage is a Bernard Herrmann score that lingers in the memory.

What an intriguing movie nevertheless.




Season 5 Wraps Up 1924 at Downton Abbey

DATELINE: Up the Downstairs



Underbutler Barrows (Rob James-Collier)


Change is in the air. We are vaguely reminded of Upstairs Downstairs again as the show for the snobs of TV history. The Roaring 20s are already half over—and the winds of change, if not the winds of war, are in the air of English society.

If you recall, Upstairs Downstairs crashed to an end with suicides, bankruptcy, and with the Stock Market Crash of 1929. People lost their jobs—and the townhouse of Eaton Place went up for grabs at auction after the family heir and son blew out his brains.

Already the servants at Downton are thinking retirement. Several characters are out buying property where they can live as hosts of a bed and breakfast. Carson and Mrs. Hughes, Mrs. Patmore, and Bates and his wife, are all now servants of property. How Edwardian.

Upstairs, Lady Mary and Lady Edith are into business—saving their beloved white elephant estate. Tom Branson, the chauffeur who came up the back stairs, now is thinking about business in America.

The actions this season at Downton have seemed preparatory to some great calamity being hinted at. And, we students of history know exactly where this is heading.

Add in a few dollops of anti-Semitism rearing its ugly head, and Mr. Hitler too is on the docket.

The only hopeful sign is that Barrows, the scheming gay butler, may have found a playmate in footman Andy. Thank heavens for happy endings.

Oh, we’ll be back for Season 6 next year.






Patriot Player Involved in Girl-Gate!




If you thought Deflategate was the big Patriot controversy of this year, you’d have overlooked Girlgate. It’s 50 shades of gray matter for Gronk.

Yes, Gronk has thrust the Patriots into the middle of coitus interruptus when it comes to girls.

Gronk has sparked nearly as much interplay as the Devil in the Black & Blue Dress. In case your friends have not retweeted it to you, here’s the news. Gronk does not have a girlfriend. “sometimes chicks are crazy,” he reports.

This news flash has driven women across the globe crazy.

It has caused some men to come rushing out of the closet to offer their opinion that Gronk is gay and has been carrying on with Justin Bieber.

Others say he is what is known in the parlance as an “eligible bachelor.” Some say he is not the marrying kind.

So, Gronk continues to dangle that carrot and refuses to buy into the carat thing,

Next thing you know, owner Bob Kraft will be demanding an apology from the media and gay rights advocates.

Tom Brady wants to be a movie star after football, but a role in a remake of Gone Girl will belong only to Gronk.

We don’t understand why people are down low on the concept of playing the field. Isn’t that what Gronk does professionally?

Now if you had asked if Aaron Hernandez really likes girls, we would have a tweet worth sending with flowers.

A Day to Recall for a Dress Down

DATELINE: Small World

sullinger devil in a black dress

The World Wide Web turned into Marshall McLuhan’s global village. And, it’s a village populated with idiots.

We saw the black and blue dress and wondered what all the hubbub was about, bub.

This day in history may remain famous as the day that a tale of two dresses obsessed the world. Most of us thought people were parading around with dresses over their heads.

White? Gold? Blue? Black? Pearls before swine?

One dress apparently created an optical illusion that sparked odd debates over the two-tone colors of a cheap piece of fashion. It goes for $77, but the publicity was priceless today.

Scientists weighed in to tell the world that the way color hit a picture had an impact on what colors people saw. Strange, but we never saw that phenomenon ever before.

And, then, out of a Hollywood hotel, with poor security, or sticky fingers, someone purloined last year’s Oscar winner’s pearl dress. It allegedly is worth $150,000, but may now be a mother o’pearl rag today.

Someon stole Lupita Nyong’o’s stunning pearl dress that contrasted on her dark skin with a striking effect. Her smiles today suggested this was not quite as serious as you might think.

Insurance may cover the loss, and someone has won expensive media attention.

The world is now a small place, and even smaller when you think of the dumbbells who populate it. And, then Mr. Spock died after living long and prospering for five decades.

What a crazy little world.

Hernandez Dances Up a Storm

DATELINE: Disco Hernandez Dances Out of a Cage


After another day’s testimony and video evidence, you might come to the conclusion that Aaron Hernandez is certainly guilty of spending money like a drunken football player at local bars.

You just don’t want to be around Aaron when the tab comes due.

You might also discover that cameras document your every move in today’s society. For instance, Hernandez must have thought he was as good a dancer as Gronk. Video showed him gliding around in the headlights of his rented Nissan Altima at a gas station, fueling up before shooting his passenger.

Hernandez liked to party like it was 1999, but it will be 2099 before he is released from jail for killing his “associate.”

Ninja defense lawyers can certainly make the case that a man dancing in a carefree manner is not feeling anger to kill his car pool comrades.

Then, again, sociopathic drunken killers likely tell jokes as they shoot their victims.

All that is certain in this world is death and taxes on your gas. However, that $40million contract makes it all painless—unless you’re on the wrong end of the barrel.

Hernandez acted like a man who had enough money to buy another round on the house. The question is whether the round was a .44 caliber or a bunch of low-cal beers for the disco dollies who hung on his every dance move.

In the all-male world of Aaron Hernandez, it’s hard to tell a passing remark from a pass. We can only presume Hernandez could catch anything thrown his way.


Bilko Meets Lawrence of Arabia?

DATELINE: Movie Mashup



Call us astonished when we discovered that there is a movie wherein Sergeant Ernest T. Bilko meets Beau Geste and lands us in an oasis of British comedy about the French Foreign Legion.

Well, it’s something akin to that. It seems when Phil Silvers had his famous Bilko TV series cancelled, he went off to merry old England and made a movie with the Carry On… gang. It was called Follow That Camel and was made in 1967.

In beautiful Technicolor, Silvers shines with his usual schtick. He plays Sgt. Nocker of the French Foreign Legion in 1906. For all purposes, he is Bilko, barking orders the same way he did in his hit show You’ll Never Get Rich.

Oh, his commandant is a German right out of Stalag 17, and there are more belly dancers than you could possibly imagine for Silvers to leer at in the Zig Zag Cafe.

If there was a big difference between the Bilko show and the movie version, it was simply that sexual innuendo was given a free hand. Of course, by today’s standards, Mae West is safe for children. So is Phil Silvers as he sticks his nose into bosoms.

When you dig down deep, there is nothing much to this film except the fun of seeing Phil Silvers continue his personification of a wheeling and dealing con man. He is obsequious to superiors and a shark to others, all hilariously done.

Since Follow That Camel never had a wide distribution to American theaters, we had to find it by accident on Amazon Instant for a nominal fee. Yes, we did feel Bilko had fleeced us by the end of the 90 minutes, but we loved every penny spent.

DWTS Finds a Deflated Football Star

DATELINE: Dance Humor

thank you, ESPN  Uhoh



As our football offseason blends into baseball spring training, we thought the Patriot shot of Gronk would trip over the light fantastic.

Nope. The cast for the next season of Dancing with the Stars, or DWTS as the purists call it, seem to have forgotten all the promises to offer a dance chance to Gronk.

Gronk, whose unchoreographed moves look like a ninja fight gone wrong, has been bypassed. Usually he takes the pass, but this time DWTS takes the cake and hands it off to the other football player available.

You can always count on a retired athlete to dance up a storm on the show for a few paltry weeks. So, the producers of the hit tap danseurs went in another direction.

You could say they have kept the tempo up to date. As we have been passed the envelope, we now can read the winner: it’s Michael Sam!

Yes, the NFL wanna-be star who was cut sometime during the season after being drafted as a last minute political choice. He had signed with Oprah for a series delineating his fame. Alas, fame is fleeting. Well, unless you can prance along the sidelines with the aplomb of a caged disco queen.

Michael Sam will be our favorite, odds-on choice for DWTS. You may quibble that he is not a star, but neither was Bristol Palin.

Stars are no longer limited to MGM casting calls. They show up at supermarket openings and reality TV shows.

Michael Sam’s star has just ascended, and the Gronk has been eclipsed.

Hernandez Clock Cleaned by Housekeepers

 DATELINE: Coming Clean

A-Her Gun Mad


In case you didn’t understand what kind of swine represent Aaron Hernandez, you could learn the hard way.

When a housekeeper witness spoke on the stand, the defense lawyers insisted that she was an undocumented alien who had made up her testimony to win a chance to stay in the United States. This is a new low even for the Ninja defense team.

Of course, we are to overlook that Hernandez and his lying wife hired undocumented aliens to work as cleaners in their home.

Shayanna lied to her sister after the murder that she wanted to borrow her car to go to the bank. She needed cash to pay off the housekeeper—when in fact she paid the woman with a check. It was entered as evidence of the untruths everywhere.

So where did Shayanna need to go with the borrowed car?

Perhaps she was dumping one of the guns that the housekeeper saw before the murder. It seems it was a big gun like the one used to kill Odin Lloyd.

Leave it to Hernandez to want to show off his big gun to anyone whom he might intimidate. He was a proud gun owner, and his undocumented workers needed to know that their celebrity boss was not a man to be trifled with.

Two brave undocumented women speaking broken English stood up and gave testimony in a heinous murder case. If ever there was an argument for the integrity of people wanting to live and to work in America, these housekeepers proved the point. At risk to their own future, they stood up under oath and reported what they saw.

In an embarrassing turn of events, too, Judge Garsh, likely shamed by her callous decisions, reversed herself and will now allow Odin Lloyd’s sister to testify about receiving text messages from her brother—moments before he was murdered.

Better late than never, Your (so-called) Honor.

Jersey Boys Walk Like Men

DATELINE: Movie Mashup

Rawhide Meets Jersey


The ghost of Frank Sinatra is invoked multiple times, a motif that we lost track of counting somewhere around the halfway point of Jersey Boys.

The movie version of the stage hit about the rise of Frankie Valli and his Four Seasons seems a strange choice for director Clint Eastwood, despite his interest in good jazz and musicians.

Anyone around in the 1960s would have found Frankie Valli’s falsetto odd voice all over the AM musical dial. He was ubiquitous, and now his story has been staged across America for aging Baby Boomer women.

As in the days of the big studios, this is not strictly a musical and not strictly a biographical movie. It’s on the lines of those old Warner Brothers bios of George M. Cohan or Cole Porter. You never know how much truth you have not swallowed.

Try as the screenplay does, Frankie Valli is not Frankie Sinatra. They are both from New Jersey, but Old Blue Eyes actually was a movie star and a constant. No one did a road show of his life because he was doing it himself until the end.

This movie is watchable because of performers and a Roshomon style of narrative that breaks through the camera to talk directly to the audience.

Clint’s stories as director as always compelling tales of human nature, and this is sort of compelling if you followed music groups that weren’t British in the 1960s. To our way of thinking, the highlight moment of the picture is when one of the singers is watching young Clint Eastwood on TV—and promptly shuts him off.

We always thought Clint, a Rawhide kind of guy, preferred Frankie Laine to Valli or Sinatra.

John Lloyd Young is the not too handsome Valli, which may be the same reason he never made it to Sinatra level. Otherwise, the actors are workmanlike and solid with the ubiquitous Christopher Walken showing up as a mobster.

Those bubblegum hits of “Sherry Baby” and “Walk Like a Man” may end up in your noodle for a few days, but that was always the problem with the Four Seasons and Frankie Valli.

Hernandez Shoe Size Revealed to World

DATELINE: Move Over Bigfoot



For those using metaphor to measure life, the appearance of Aaron Hernandez’s sneakers at his murder trial may be an exciting moment.

Yes, prosecutors actually publicly exposed Hernandez to the big number. His shoe size is now a matter of public record.

The eyes of Judge Susan Garsh seemed to moisten when she looked upon the giant pure white sneaks. Photos showed them unlaced.

The tongue was hanging out—of members of the audience in the courtroom. Hernandez has never been a man to be shy about his shoe size and seemed to take the exposure in good stride.

Prosecutors tried to draw a connection between the tread on the new sneakers and footprints, not digital in nature, around the dead body of poor Odin Lloyd. It would appear those big clodhoppers were the last thing he saw in this world.

Perhaps it was the next to last.

While others are focusing on the alleged killer’s handspan, those cognoscenti of metaphor size, have zeroed in on the big number on the sole of the shoe.

We’ve seen TV shows on the History Channel that depict the shoe size of Bigfoot as somewhat larger, but Hernandez is walking amidst us. He is not some man in a gorilla suit. He actually looks like that.

It is not often a lucky number, and it was an unlucky number for the victim of the crime. Yes, Hernandez wears a size 13, not as big as some, but sometimes metaphor is an inexact measure of real life.

No Whitewash at Gillette Stadium

DATELINE: Goodell’s Follies


Not since President Nixon declared there’s be no whitewash at the White House have we been so disillusioned. It looks like the NFL has found skullduggery while looking for deflated footballs. And, they have fired a member of their own staff.

It appears that Mr. Kraft (all the sycophants call him that) may not be a cheater after all. He is still waiting for an apology from the vindictive administrator at NFL headquarters who used to work for the Jets.

Word has leaked out of the NFL version of the Watergate plumbers that Roger Goodell’s hirelings gave the Patriots an illegal ball. They took what the NFL gave them.

This was a handler who put a ringer into the occasional game.

Talk about plausible deniability.

The NFL has found a culprit, and he has worked for the league office (no, change that to the Goodell Group) for years, coming in only on game day to set up the Patriots as the Cheating Dynasty, not to be confused with the Ming Dynasty or Joan Collins’ Dynasty.

We won’t have Bill Belichick to kick around when Roger Goodell is available.

A league official liked to put a special K into the regular game. Oh, not the drug! And heavens, not the cereal. No, the Special K serial cheater was a kicking ball, slipping one past the semi-comatose zebra lackeys of the NFL.

They finally caught up with him at the Pat game plan. It only took the better part of a fake scandal, scapegoating Belichick.

We suspect that no one over at the NFL headquarters will be standing up and offering a handwritten apology on the order of A-Rod.

We give the Patriots credit for finding inventive ways to win games. We give the NFL demerits for being hiring officials who resemble Judge Susan Garsh at the Hernandez trial.

Impartiality and objectivity should be blind, not former Jets administrators.

Say It With Flowers by A-Rod

DATELINE: Humorous Apologies


Alex Rodriguez has apologized, in the vein of Lance the Boil Armstrong and Michael Fishhook Phelps. We have seen his handwritten apology letter to fans—and he fails our penmanship class.

It does look like he copied off the guy sitting at the next desk. We can almost see his crib notes on his sleeve. Oh, you say A-Rod is not a man who wears sleeves?

These are not exactly apologies we take to. At least A-Rod noted in his apologies there are those who will not believe it. Yes, my hand is raised.

The latest athlete apologize strikes us as being like a snowfall in Boston. It’s deeper than we expect and covers up the yellow snow underneath.

A-Rod being sorry does not make the trolleys run on time.

Without specifically telling us what it is that he did wrong, we are supposed to forgive him. It’s sort of like a blank check. Next thing you know he will be disassembling his cell phone in his lawyer’s car and telling us it’s a battery check.

Oh, wait. We are confusing our apologist athlete problem children. Aaron Hernandez is the killer. Alex Rodriguez is the doper.

Gee, is there a pattern here?

No, Hernandez has never apologized to anyone for killing three people (that we know of). Hell, he never apologized for shooting out the eye of his former best friend.

We presume this means A-Rod has taken a giant step for mankind. And, if we don’t accept his Valentine, he may shoot out your eye.

Patriot Coach Kept Tabs on Aaron Hernandez

DATELINE: Eyes on the Prize

A-Her Gun Mad

If you want to know what Bill Belichick knew about Aaron Hernandez and when he knew it, you have only to ask one of the assistant coaches. Yep, the ever-resourceful and ominiscent Belichick kept tabs on his dubious tight end. Mr. Joe Judge, one of the assistants to Belichick, lived next door to Hernandez.

Whether Judge’s job description contained the provision to peek out the window periodically and keep an eye on Hernandez, we cannot judge Mr. Judge.

However, a few minutes after knocking on Hernandez’s door at 10:30 at night, the police sauntered over to the next door and rang Mr. Judge’s bell. He promptly answered, and police revealed they were looking for Hernandez.

You better believe Belichick received a late night call from his assistant. What better way to gain a good sized Christmas bonus from the boss?

We aren’t sure how many assistant coaches have been hired to live next door to problematic Patriot players, but think it might be cheaper just to put a private detective on retainer.

We are sure that Belichick received a phone call almost immediately upon Hernandez’s arrest. That likely explains the quick reaction and release of the star player by the New England Patriots.

Judge may not have known where the bodies were buried, but he likely had an observational knowledge of the comings and goings of bodies at the North Attleboro McMansion of Hernandez. He may also have kept track of all the rented silver cars that Hernandez liked to keep on call.

The former Patriot told police amusingly enough that the dead man had the rented car when the police asked. And, he apparently said this with a straight face.


Red Sox Truck Day Usurped by Patriot Truck Day

DATELINE: Highway to Spring


Truck Day is not supposed to arrive for another week, but the New England Patriots once again one-upped the Boston Red Sox.

Diehard Sox fans wait for February’s semi-holiday to improve their moods as the snow flies. This year, more than usual, Truck Day has become bigger than having one’s throat blessed.

This is the time that baseball equipment is placed in a convoy of big rigs for a long winter’s drive to the spring training facility in Florida. Apparently, driving on slick highways is cheaper than asking Jet Blue to transport this stuff to Jet Blue Park.

If catchers’ mitts and fungo bats go off the road in an icy skid, the Sox season could be in jeopardy. Yet, this foolhardy tradition has unwavering, if not unsteady, support from the snow-blower contingent around Fenway Park.

Yet, the Patriots have now usurped the Red Sox tradition.

You can blame Tom Brady for having another season of immense pressure and showing grace under it.

Yes, it seems Truck Day has a new meaning for the MVP of Super Bowl XLIX. He has circumvented the tax code to bestow a gift on a fellow Patriot.

The Butler who did it in the final seconds of the game will now receive a red Chevy truck as his gift. It seems Tom Brady, whose wife’s annual salary is double the paychecks of the entire offensive Patriot line, has seen fit to donate the truck to a deserving soul.

Matthew Butler, whose interception actually won the game, will now be the tow-truck recipient of Tom Brady’s re-gifting.

We never look a gift of horsepower in the mouth.


Is Hernandez Now Screwed to the Rafters?

DATELINE: Witch Way to Turn?


Phew! In a likely turn of the screw, Shayanna Jenkins may turnabout and make it fair play.

The fiancée of Aaron Hernandez has made a deal with the prosecution—and it bodes unwell for the former Patriot. Shayanna has gone from Wicked Witch of the East to Glinda, the Good Witch, in a matter of a screw turn.

Even Judge Susan E. Garsh is aboard on this one. She will forgive the perjury charges against Ms Jenkins if she decides to tell-all on the stand.

Since she never married the footloose and fancy-free Hernandez, what she can reveal may turn the screw several times in both directions.

It is likely she can give evidence about his relationship with murder victim Odin Lloyd—and she can reveal whatever the nitwit Patriot told her without the privilege of wedded vows.

Though the two have a daughter in common, that may be the end of any tandem. For the past few weeks, Shayanna has sat behind Hernandez taking copious notes. She may be noting all the discrepancies that she can explain.

In the past Shayanna sat next to Hernandez’s mother and brother. It now appears she will be sitting on the other side of the aisle, no longer siding with the groom-to-be.

Turned screws are never pleasant, whether applied to the thumb and another large part of the anatomy. It looks like Hernandez bit off more than he could chew when he counted on his future bride to set him free.

Suddenly Shayanna’s testimony looks about as riveting as Lee Remick’s in Anatomy of a Murder. If the prosecution had a witness like Jenkins in the OJ Simpson trial, history would be facing a different direction. We have reached the Perry Mason moment of the trial.

The electric screwdriver is now in the hands of the prosecution to the ever-shock of Hernandez’s ninja lawyers.