Antidote to High Noon: Lawman

DATELINE: Movie Western Classic Uncovered

How did we miss this one way back when in 1971 or on DVD since? For shame on us.

This classic just never received the accolades it deserved. Lawman was a Western on the tail end of double bills when spaghetti oaters had run their course.

Some highly selective actors chose to appear in this film because they preferred quality to money. So, here you can find Burt Lancaster at his most laconic; Robert Ryan, aging and suffering a loss of full manhood; Lee J. Cobb, showing that a town boss can be civilized.

It’s High Noon going the wrong way in dark light. Lancaster will take in a group of men for trial who may be slapped on the wrist and fined for their violent antics, but if their masculine pride and propensity for violence brings them to the brink of death, so be it. This one is directed by Michael Winner who later gave us Death Wish.

The townsfolk are peppered with so many familiar faces of old movies: Robert Emhardt, Lou Frizzell, John Hillerman, and John McGiver. Even if you don’t know the names, you will laugh with recognition as each one does his turn. A more motley crew of sniveling cowards you could not assemble as residents of Sabbath.

Cobb’s men listen to his fatherly lectures on how times have changed, and he will simply pay off the right people. Younger men have more sense of honor, and they are prepared to go violently into the good night.

Robert Duvall, Ralph Waite, John Beck, Albert Salmi, J.D. Cannon, and Richard Jordan in his film debut, are the cowpokes who work for Cobb who was fresh off the series The Virginian where he claimed to be sick of westerns.

Like so many great movies set in the world of horses, this is a character drama where the hero may not be heroic and drinks coffee in a saloon.

We would be remiss not to recommend Lawman from the dying days of the Western. It may be one of the last great Westerns of Old Hollywood.

 

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Revolving Door on Brandon Lloyd, Caught in the Turnstile

 

 

DATELINE: HUMOR!

At long last there are negative reports on Brandon Lloyd of the Patriots. Now the buzz has developed into a low murmur that states he is disliked by everyone.

Well, we expected that anyone who took Ochocinco’s number was asking for trouble. To put icing on the cupcake, Lloyd did not make many catches in many games. It certainly brought back the deju vu feeling for fans and Tom Brady.

Now coaches and players, unnamed with their knives in the dark, are complaining that Brandon is “different” and apparently moody. Heaven forefend; what was Josh McDaniels thinking when he vouched for this loose cannon.

Details on the sins of Lloyd are not enumerated in any specificity by accusers. Stabbed in the back never was a spotlight sport.

Whatever Brandon Lloyd did to deserve this bad press will be paid for when he finds himself next season with yet another team. Alas, this time his offensive coordinator will not be the one requesting a contract for him.

Despite happy noises all season from fellow offensive receivers, Lloyd lost respect when he collapsed into a heap the moment he caught the ball. The deadly media put him in the cross-hairs for not running for a few more yards.

If the truth be spoken in a humor piece, for many games it looked like Tom Brady was stretching his game plan to toss one to Brandon, even at the cost of missing other more reliable, open men.

Randy Moss is not walking through that door, fans, but Brandon Lloyd may be walking out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Terrell Suggs Tries to Slay Tom the Giant Brady

DATELINE: HUMOR!

Terrell Suggs, charter member of the Tom Brady Fan Club, provided his usual insights this week by claiming everyone hates the New England Patriots.

He means every other team in the league. He referred to the Patriots as ‘arrogant’ male genitalia. He has a way with words.

According to Suggs who is privy to many whispered secrets, players who leave Bill Belichick’s gulag immediately call Suggs and tell him how badly they were treated.

Under the circumstances, he is hoping Wes Welker leaves the Patriots and places a Skype call to Terrell to dish the dirt of Tom’s rude manners and vocabulary problems.

Suggs called the hatred of the Patriots palpable, sort of like the carbuncle on his brain. Suggs will be the first to tell you he has the carbuncles scraped of his tail-bone every off-season.

Terrell has been in a heated Twitter war with Richard Sherman of the Seattle Seahawks to see who can put more pins into their Tom Brady voodoo doll.

Not that these two he-men play with dolls during the offseason, but Suggs has been crying more than Betsy Wetsy since his team backed into the Super Bowl winner’s circle.

Suggs insists that turnabout is fair play. Since the Patriots disrespect him, he thinks everyone needs to disrespect the Patriots. The man never heard of the expression “grace under pressure.” He also seems ignorant of winning with modesty.

Suggs calls himself a man with “insider information.” This sounds suspiciously like it’s time for trading beans for a cow. Suggs is clearly full of beans.

Mad Men Give Madison Ave. Men a Bad Name

DATELINE: Mashed Men of Mad Ave.

We decided to give a six-year series a spin for one season to make a decision about the remaining four dozens of episodes.

Robert Morse, long ago star of How to Succeed in Business, has a featured role on the series, which intrigued us. The show depicts the standard businessmen of Madison Avenue in 1960. Hence the title: Mad Men, the movers and shakers of a generation.

Jon Hamm is the stalwart Don Draper, the taciturn war hero who may not be what he seems. Our favorite weasel, Vincent Kartheiser is the house villain, a pampered youth of privilege scrambling in the cutthroat world of witty ad men drinking bourbon and smoking Lucky Strikes.

Marshal McLuhan was the first one to see the outright whimsy of advertisers back in the 1960s, and this show has yet to do Professor McLuhan justice. These men seem more sexist and obtuse than real. Their wives and secretaries usually perform like bubbleheads before the Feminine Mystique of Betty Friedan.

Cultural references and television moments are woven cleverly into every episode to give a sense of the era when Nixon and Kennedy battled for the presidency. Most of the Mad Men support Nixon, of course. These are not typical New Yorkers.

Season 1 featured thirteen hour-long episodes that moved at pre-global-warming glacier speed. There is nothing quite so unpleasant as being locked in a room with a bunch of smokers making wisecracks, unless it is reading a book by one.

Alas for the show, the actors are wonderful, but the characters are deplorable, not exactly the sort of people with whom you want to spend more than a few minutes, let alone five or six seasons.

If you like early 1960s fashion and chewing gum slogans, this show is just what the Mad Men ordered you to buy. Otherwise, wait till the Woodstock season begins.

 

 

Tom Brady Agrees to Stay in New England with Kevin Garnett

DATELINE HUMOR!

Tom Brady has just lowered the bar for all overpaid quarterbacks in the NFL.

By accepting a contract extension for peanuts with the Patriots, Tom has given them enough wiggle room to sign Wes Welker and Aqib Talib.

Brady does not play for the money. After all, his wife makes more in a year than the entire Patriots team, and she is making the mortgage payments on the Brentwood Castle recently built. Tom’s salary will cover the tips for the service staff.

Of course, when Kevin Garnett of the Celtics signed a three-year extension for life, some green team fans started suffering nausea, seeing the team go down the tubes faster than the express T Green Line in Boston.

Brady’s new contract means that Garnett and Brady shall go out hand-in-hand, in a grand display of Hall of Fame credentials. And, they will go out with their partners in tow. Paul Pierce and Wes Welker likely will be around for the last waltz.

The big losers are agents for elite players who now cannot point to the high water mark on Brady’s paycheck. It looks like inflation may be coming under control for star athletes.

In the meantime, Boston can revel in a three-year window in which beloved players will play for their beloved franchise.

Dustin Pedroia of the Red Sox may be the next to join the club as the Fenway braintrust has been making noises to that effect.

 

 

 

Clothes Make the Sportsman Rich: Eruzione & Schilling

DATELINE: HUMOR!

This week we had a glimpse into what the well-dressed Boston sports fan ought to be donning.

The usual uniform of sports jersey, sneakers, and baseball cap just seems so bland that you now have to skip the sports fashion store and go directly to Sotheby’s for the finest haute couture.

Two iconic Boston figures have donated their used clothes to the highest bidder this week.

We are not opposed to hand-me-downs that don’t fit properly, but let’s face it: some clothes contain more magic than you can find in a normal lifetime.

So it is with Mike Eruzione and Curt Schilling. Each made fame a pale horse with their lifetime accomplishments in the sports field.

Bostonian Eruzione was the ‘Miracle’ man of the 1980 Winter Olympics when the American team came out of the clothes closet to skate up to the gold level.

 

Schilling stuffed a sock down the throat of the Curse of the Bambino once and for all when he pitched the Red Sox into champions, even if had to give more blood than the average turnip.

Yes, this week Mike Eruzione sold his winning hockey jersey (no word on its sweat equity) at auction for $660,000, which makes the new wearer the best-dressed man in the locker room of the world.

And, in a separate sale, Curt Schilling’s bloody Red Sox sock went for under $92,000.  In terms of the amount of skin covered, the sock actually is more expensive than the jersey. After all, you are buying only one sock, not a pair.

Alas, we believe that these items of hosiery and haberdashery will be hung up under clear glass somewhere, never again to show off their style—until the next auction renders them more profitable.

John Lackey Changes His Red Sox, His Body & His Soul

DATELINE: HUMOR!

John Lackey of the Red Sox didn’t pitch last year, and the last lingering memory of the injured hurler was that of dipping his hand into a bucket of fried chicken with the rest of the staff in 2011.

He returned this spring training as a new man. He had a new surgically repaired elbow, and he offered a new look: slim and trim. His attitude had changed from surly and sour to sweet and soothing.

The new Red Sox have done a 180-degree turn from last season’s unsavory bunch of prima donnas. Now we have a group ready to kiss babies and hand out lollipops during the 7th inning stretch.

Then Lackey took to the mound like a man bound to prove that he was a new man. And, in an instant, starting the first real spring training game against the Tampa Bay Ray rivals, he proved he was indeed a new man.

Lackey walked a batter to start, gave up a solid hit, and for good measure hit a bitter batter as though he were Daniel Bard last year. New, indeed. He turned into this year’s Dice-K—a pitcher now gone to eat Cleveland with his gyro ball.

One example is never enough for a generalization, but it is surely enough for an emblematic and symbolic statement.

Granted, Lackey survived the inning, allowing only one run. He had not pitched in game conditions for a year. He was bound to have a little rust around the edges.

In an age when athletes kill the ones they love and imagine ones who don’t exist, Lackey began to sound like a breath of fresh air.

Whether his change of heart and body is a change of soul only 162 games will tell.

On Top of Old Smokey with Rajon Rondo

 

DATELINE: HUMOR!

Like the Vatican making accusation about the Italian media, the Celtics have accused the Boston media of spreading “false and damaging” reports.

Kevin Garnett condemned the media as acting in a deplorable attempt to influence the team as it makes a final, desperate run to the playoffs.

Since KG announced he had green blood and would die in Celtics shorts and tank-top, the Boston media has been full of rumors that Garnett sabotaged any trade out of town.

Conspiracy theorists among Celtics press and media claim that KG pushed GM Danny Ainge to abandon all hope of a trade before the deadline.

Paul Pierce jumped into the fray and also condemned the press as the Celts draw closer to the playoffs and the stars reach another birthday milestone.

Rajon Rondo, from his bunker atop Old Smokey, noted there had been widespread distribution of unverified or completely false news stories that cause serious damage to persons and institutions.

Any parallel to the election of a new pope was completely coincidental and had no resemblance to the Vatican trouble.

Boston bloggers issued reports and unflattering pictures of KG and Rondo tormenting Ainge for being more concerned with the future of the team than serving the Celtics stars of today.

If Ainge finds the chance to trade Garnett, Pierce, and Rondo, he promises to send white smoke to Old Smokey before things grow bleaker. Rondo was still the front-runner to win any election as pope of the Celtics.

 

 

 

Oscar for Oscar, Crying to the Bondsman

 

Oscar Pistorius killed the thing he loved, and he must be bailed out.

The man known as the Blade Runner for his prosthetic legs of bouncing steel did it not with a bitter look, or unflattering word. He shot a beautiful woman four times through a bathroom door.

If someone wins an Oscar this year, it may be Pistorius, which may win the pistoriusing contest among actors.

If you need a bitter look or a flattering word, the Blade Runner outdoes his android movie counterpart.

The other Oscar who went to prison for consorting in the bedroom, not killing a brave man, did it with a kiss. Oscar Wilde was middle-aged when he went to jail.

Pistorius has committed his crime while young, and he may not go to jail if South Africa’s byzantine legal system acts like Pontius Pilate and washes its hands of him.

Fans may wash their hands and let Pistorius walk away on his hands like a circus act.

There is nothing kind about Oscar Pistorius and even less sympathetic. The dead so soon grow cold, even when crocodile tears dampen the cheeky demeanor of the killer.

The defense is that he has killed the thing he loved, and it is left to us to sigh and wonder why.

 

Green Blood, Green Cheese, and the Boston Celtics

 

 DATELINE: HUMOR!

Celtics bleed green blood like a hemophiliac from some star system in the outer universe. You have to live on the Moon made from green cheese to know about bleeding green.

Kevin Garnett refused any trades because he was a Celtic for life –and also till death do them part. He would not shed a drop of his green blood.

Reports stated that Clipper Chris Paul and told KG that the trade would occur if the Celtic superstar was willing.

Barkus may have been willing in David Copperfield, but Garnett was unwilling. He may have turned Danny Ainge into Miss Haversham before the fire with an incalcitrant attitude.

If you have Great Expectations, you are just another Pip looking for a banner with #18 on it.

The trade deadline passed without so much as a drop of Celtic blood spilled. Oh, they sent Leandro Barbosa to a better place and let the blood rise from Jason Collins, but he was playing like Barnabas Collins from Dark Shadows.

If the sight of blood makes you faint, then KG will make sure his Celtics blood never frightens you. He is not taking a knife to the back for a chance to win a championship out in Clipperland.

KG was not the only one to avoid bloodletting. Paul Pierce managed to keep his Celtic blood from being given to resuscitate another team.

All this means the new Big Three (if you count Rondo as the Celtics version of Dracula) will continue to molder in the crypt as they wait for the sweet darkness to engulf them.

Lucky the Leprechaun will keep his pot of gold and his green blood—at least until the off-season.

 

Everything or Nothing: Bond, James Bond

DATELINE: Movie Mashup of James Bond

A documentary on the franchise and character of James Bond may surprise everyone and no one. From the pen of Ian Fleming to the small screen, the first Bond was Barry Nelson on TV in 1954 with Peter Lorre as the villain.

This entertaining documentary manages to pull together an epic story of productions, lawsuits, rivalries, and vastly differing philosophies of Bondage.

Touch on every key point, the film will rivet the casual Bond fan to the devotee of all those Broccoli-Saltzman films. From Sean Connery to Daniel Craig, the styles of Bond have matched the historical epoch of the 20th and 21st century, from the Cold War to the War on Terrorism.

The men who played Bond seemed touched by the experience and delighted by the opportunity. Each one left a mark on the character and the character changed the actor.

Harder to explain is the family sense of the Bond movies that exploited women, violence, and special effects to the size of enormous profits.

In the final analysis, feuds between Broccoli and Saltzman, between rival producer Kevin McClory and the Broccoli family, between Roger Moore and Sean Connery, all seem to be part of a story to savor.

Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton offer their analysis and opinions on James Bond as if to show the spectrum of appeal.

Pierce Brosnan notes that fewer men played Bond than men who walked on the Moon. It makes for a special club.

Enriched by clips and clever dialogue from the films, this movie turns out to be a guilty pleasure.

 

Norman Bates and Daniel Bard: Let the Madness End

 DATELINE: HUMOR!

If Norman Bates had something to prove, he did it cleanly in the shower.

If Daniel Bard has anything to prove, he needs to clean up the mess after coming out of the bullpen.

Bardo, as his catcher calls him, made a start on rehabbing his shoddy image as the psycho of the Red Sox. He came in on one of the first scrimmage games of spring and struck out three college baseball players.

You have to begin somewhere after you sink the Sox car with the body in the trunk into the Charles River.

Bard never did any of the mythic deeds of the legendary Jimmy Piersall. That Red Sox player of the 1950s succumbed to the pressure of the game in the more innocent days of the 1950s. He preceded Hitchcock’s masterpiece, Psycho, that became the gold standard for madness and mayhem.

Piersall has been the gold standard of insanity in baseball. Bardo was never institutionalized, if you discount being sent to the minors. He used the infamous inside pitch to shave more players in a few games than Sal ‘the Barber’ Maglie in a career.

Daniel Bard resembles Norman Bates, as limned by Anthony Perkins. Both were tall and gangly young men—and each had a mild mannered demeanor.

Of course, before he played Norman Bates, Anthony Perkins also played Jimmy Piersall, swinging the bat at his Red Sox teammates in the dugout and climbing the net behind home plate.

Bard never did either, but had a season in 2012 that rivaled Fear Strikes Out.  We presume his long nightmare is over—and no baseball players shall be beheaded this season when he returns.

The Boston Celtics Meet Chicken Little

DATELINE: HUMOR!

Fans have suffered exquisite torture at the hands of the Celtics GM Danny Ainge.

Of course, even the horrors of the Auto de fe or the Inquisition required more than just the Grand Inquisitor.

The Boston media has provided more chills than Joan of Arc suffered her execution. Through endless, daily, and constant reports of rumors and rumors of rumors, the Boston press has caused the sadism of torture to reach new heights—or depths, depending on your pain threshold.

Off and on, like a retirement party for Michael Jordan, the stars of the Celtics have been traded to a variety of teams for a variety of players for two weeks. There is nary a scintilla of evidence to support any report.

Kevin Garnett was being sent to the LA Clippers for a kind way out of the glue factory in Boston. The only problem was that Garnett was not cooperative, constantly throwing cold water on the hottest rumor.

Paul Pierce was being sent wherever it would anger KG enough to accept a trade. Pierce looked like he was heading from Atlanta to Oklahoma and beyond to a Carnaval cruise trip if the press could arrange it.

And, the injured and maimed, Rajon Rondo, was going to Showtime in exchange for the uncooperative and unsigned Dwight Howard, in an exchange of migraines.

The only problem with the reportage is that the hours of reportage only swelled with its own grandiose reportage. Without a vestige of truth or grounding in fact, the wildfires spread to engulf the fans that believed them.

Put through their paces, fans with any sensitivity were numb by deadline’s approach. Trade anyone and everyone at this point.

Like the town around Chicken Little, Boston’s Celtics fans are now hearing the cry of “Wolf” and “The sky is falling” ad nauseum.

As Old King Midas finally responded in dismay, “Uncle! Uncle! And Uncle once more with feeling.”

To Trade or Not to Trade Kevin Garnett

DATELINE: HUMOR!

Kevin Garnett doth protest too much. He keeps saying he is a Boston Celtic player for life.  He knows life is too short—even to spend the rest of his career with Shorty Rondo.

If Queen Gertrude of Hamlet knew nothing, then Garnett is the master of living in the dark.

If Sergeant Schulz from Hogan’s Heroes knew nothing, then KG is the Stephen Hawking of basketball.

Garnett famously asked the assembled media salivating at the All-Star Weekend of the NBA as to why they kept asking him about this so-called trade to the Los Angeles Clippers.

KG’s question seemed to rival that of Henry M. Stanley when he encountered the long-lost doctor of Africa:  “Dr. Livingstone, I presume?”

Traded to the Clippers, we presume? Danny Ainge is speaking all the great quotes to convince himself of relevance. “It is a far, far better thing I do…”

KG has a no-trade clause, but when he arrived in Boston from the hinterlands of Minnesota with Mary Tyler Moore, he came with a no-trade clause.

At the all-star weekend, Garnett has met Chris Paul, the Clipper point guard who is no Rajon Rondo.

Garnett may want to say thank heavens that his mercurial days of playing with Shorty and the short end of the stick could be over with a single word:  yes, to the trade.

Wise men often have said only fools rush in, but we can’t help thinking Garnett is no fool. Lest we be accused of quoting Elvis or Sinatra, we point out that only fools would say that.

Like Kevin Garnett, we recognize Pope Alexander originated the quote right before he resigned and moved out of Westminster Abbey.

 

 

Other Voices, Other Rooms, Other Writers

DATELINE: Movie Mashup

By no coincidence, the production company that gave us Truman Capote’s slight novella in film version is called Golden Eye Productions.

Reflections in a Golden Eye is the grotesque and decadent novella by Carson McCullers that helped to create the dreamy Gothic world of Southern decadence.

Miss McCullers blazed the trail that flame throwers like Tennessee Williams immediately followed in the early 1940s.

Later in the process came the world of Truman Capote in that decade. In 1995, long after the film versions of McCullers and Williams shocked audiences with their bizarre antics of sensitive and poetic souls in despair, we find Capote’s most peculiar work mis-produced for the screen.

This slight film surely could not have come earlier. It features a fey Randolph, a reclusive Blanche du Bois-styled man, more a drama queen than Stanley Kowalski could have stomached putting moves on Tom Sawyer (not Huck Finn as Capote wished in interviews).

The run-down mansion in the bayou seems more out of Faulkner, but the mistaken tones of an actor imitating the voice of Capote tries hard (and fails) to make this another A Christmas Memory.

A marvelous young actor David Speck plays the Capote boy stand-in, and he is hypnotic to watch.  Lothaire Bluteau plays Randolph Skully and makes every scene drip with latent pedophilia. It is uncomfortable at best with Anna Thomson as the partner-in-crime female Amy Skully.

Not all child abuse is physical or sexual, as this story unfolds with a kind of slow motion down the drain. And, most of the overt sexual tension of the original story has been watered down with it.

Though we hoped to enjoy David Rocksavage’s adaptation of Capote, we found ourselves in need of fresh air and a hot shower after viewing.