What Becomes a Legend Most: Jackie

DATELINE: National Nightmare

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Pablo Larrain’s version of the JFK assassination from the close proximity of his beautiful widow comes to us via a South American director with the distance of a foreign eye.

Jackie will not please some Kennedy aficionados, nor worshippers of Mrs. Onassis. It is, however, compelling and frightening to see how this young woman had to deal with trauma and shock in the days after the 1963 tragedy.

Natalie Portman is Jackie Kennedy in her breathy, slight, personal style of what upper-crust means in America. With seamless intercuts of the famous White House tour in black and white, and stunning color footage of the actual funeral, we are given something we do not want to re-live with the unpleasant and distressing picture of a First Lady on a mission.

She might also be said to be on a rampage, wanting the world to see the blood on her clothes and to make herself a target of assassins by marching 14 blocks from the White House to the church. She forced every other world leader to be put on notice as fellow targets.

Most shocking is to see how alone this woman was—left in the White House in the night after her husband’s murder. She wanders the halls, showers off the blood, has a few stiff drinks, and plays Richard Burton singing “Camelot,” full length during her painful peripatetic night.

Peter Sarsgaard plays Robert Kennedy and takes it on the chin when Jackie flies into a rage. Journalist Billy Crudup seems to bait her in an interview, but she gives back in spades. And the unknown priest (John Hurt’s final performance) who tries to comfort her (allegedly Cardinal Richard Cushing) is also hit hard by her anger and cynicism over God and man.

Larrain’s film is compelling docudrama, eschewing conspiracy theories for the human theories. Indeed, Jackie wants to meet Oswald—and learns he too is assassinated.

Whether she means to have a spectacle for her dead husband, or for her own reasons, we may never be certain, but Jackie certainly has her way in the dark days, packing to leave the White House.

For those who lived through the Kennedy assassination, we may be horrified that movies like this will be how young people will learn about “a shining moment,” arranged by Mrs. Kennedy.

Dead on Arrival

DATELINE: Who’s on First?

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Amy Adams is the latest golden girl of movies. She now plays all the roles that would have gone to Nicole Kidman ten years ago. Her latest success is in Arrival, a somewhat science-fishy thriller.

Of course, Arrival arrives with a great deal of promise as an intelligent movie. However, call us skeptical, but the government’s decision to bring in a linguist, not a cryptographer, to decipher the alien language is the first big mistake.

Directed by Denis Villeneuve whose virulent anti-American feelings are often woven into his pictures, he seems to relax on this film. Instead, his target to bash is the media. We haven’t seen a media attack like this since Trump’s last press conference.

Jeremy Renner is around as the physicist foil to Adams, and Forrest Whitaker is around for no good reason we can understand.

The aliens are hecktopods because we don’t know what the heck they are, though Amy Adams does because every little breeze of fluid time seems to sing Louise (her character). The creatures are giant octopus-like, but incomprehensible when they spill out their ink blot responses.

Nicknamed Abbot and Costello, these aliens don’t provide enough laughs.

The big message of this sci-fi potboiler is that time is fluid—and life is a palindrome, spelled anyway you want. We thought they made this movie a few years back as Mom and Dad Save the Universe.

We happily stayed with this film most of the way—but then the hocus-pocus explanations had us re-guessing whether the film was simply moribund or dead on arrival at the climax.

Pseudo-intellectuals may be caught up in the profundity. We were not impressed.

 

If this review interests you to read more movie insights, be sure to take a look at WORTH YOUR TIME? It’s the latest collection of Ossurworld film reviews. Available on amazon in both paperback and ebook, for smart readers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tom Brady Despised in Denver

DATELINE:  Isaiah Thomas Unrecognized in Denver

Thomas & Tom 

Tom Brady was not there at the Celtics game in Denver against the Nuggets, but received a hostile reaction worthy of being in green pajamas.

According to hothead star Isaiah Thomas, Brady sent him a tweet that stated it’s your turn next after that improbable Super Bowl LI victory. He also sent Thomas an autographed #12 shirt that Thomas wore to a Patriots game earlier.

Wore it?? Doesn’t he know that Tom’s blouses are worth half a million bucks?

Failed Celtic leader Thomas this week said his boy wonder coach, Brad Stevens, was guilty of “experimenting” late in the season.

Forget the circumstance that two star starters were out, injured. Thomas joins the list of so-called team leaders with such an attitude. He was spoken to by head honcho Danny Ainge for his disrespectful air.

So, it goes without saying that his leadership is not inspiring away-game fans. So, in Denver last night, they posted a photo of Tom Brady on the jumbo screen and encouraged the fans to boo the Celtics.

We recall that Tom did join a Celtics recruitment delegation last summer to try to bring Kevin Durant to Bean Town. It failed. But, Tom seems to have won a few dedicated fans among Celtics players like Isaiah Thomas.

What a shame that Thomas cannot inspire the opposition as a foil and bad guy. For that you need to bring in images of Brady, physically not at the game, and not even at a Celtics game this season in Boston—so far.

Tom may be waiting for those playoffs next month. Bill Belichick was at a game recently (there to meet LeBron James apparently).

In the meantime, Isaiah Thomas still is looking for respect, though he seldom gives it.

Jimmy G Hacked!

 DATELINE: Disregard Our Previous Blog

 Dumb America

Hacking is the last refuge of scoundrels. You have only to ask Jimmy G of the Patriots. That earlier report that he wished fans a fond farewell now is considered bogus.

While in his athletic cups at 2:30 am, someone snuck into his account under the covers.

It now appears that the “goodbye girl” was hacked.

Yes, as in the great tradition of anybody who doesn’t like what was said on his verified account, Jimmy G claims he never said it. We don’t know what gremlin stole Jimmy G’s Instagram account in the middle of the night and put out such a tweet tweet.

A little birdie told us it has to be someone who had access to Jimmy’s account while he was snoring. We have no idea about the bedtime habits of Jimmy G, but when you take a snooze, you are at the mercy of the person who has fluffed your pillow.

We don’t know who holds the job as Jimmy’s fluffer.

We have seen the same done to Julie Edelman, but the culprit in that case posted her own picture in the sack with the snoring Julie, apparently to prove she actually was in bed with the man with the golden hands. It seems to be a less than unique honor on her.

As for Jimmy G, the polo pony of the Patriots, we are unaware of the many possible sleepmates who hacked off Jimmy while he wore Tom Brady’s sleepwear.

Hackers and scoundrels are now synonymous on Instagram.

Gone Boy, Jimmypolo, G-whiz Kid

DATELINE: Among the Missing

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Peace out, Jimmypolo. We hardly knew ye.

Off-season is becoming a bad case of vertigo for Patriot fans. They don’t know who will spin through the next turnstile at Gillette.

We’ll look for those smelling salts on another team in this upcoming season. It looks like Jimmy G had no say about staying on with Brady as Robin the Boy Wonder.

The Joker, Mr. Freeze, and King Tut, also known as Swami Bill Belichick, has seen fit to send you off the paradise island of Foxboro and on a train to the Siberia of the NFL.

The years as the underling of Tom Brady may have stood Jimmy well as Mr. Underdog, but that role had been previously played by Matt Cassel, Brian Hoyer, and a cast of nobody special, all disappeared into the black hole of castoff castaways.

Nobody receives an Oscar for a cameo. Remember that, Gronk, as you film your next movie in one day for two minutes of screen time.

We wonder if Super Backup Brock Osweiler will join Brady to do for the Patriot Super Star what he did for Peyton Manning. It’s not like he lacks experience to play #2.

In the meantime, Jimmypolo—an affable second banana will now take the lead as the latest understudy to go to big things since Eve Harrington. We have always tried to be Jimmy’s Addison DeWitt. (These are not sports metaphors and can safely be run past Patriot fans without affinity for great stage actors).

Happy trails to you, Jimmy G, until we meet again.

Baby Jane Revisited: The Real Bette & Joan

DATELINE: Hammer & Tong with Crawford & Davis

The original 1962 movie starring the two titans when they clashed on screen probably deserves another look today.

First, one must realize that there is no garish color here, as in the TV series, Feud. This movie was dreary black and white, but not quite film noir as it takes place mostly in Los Angeles sunshine. Yet, it is not the “horror” genre as described in the series.

This picture falls mostly into the surreal realm of Sunset Boulevard. It has more laughs in common with Psycho than other films in the genre: indeed, the interior of the house where the Hudson sisters live looks surprisingly like the Bates mansion. In fact, Baby Jane’s next door neighbor is Mrs. Bates!

All jokes aside, once Bette puts on her Jane make-up, she chews up the scenery. We almost expect her to gnaw on Joan’s leg. Singing the perverse, “I wrote a letter to Daddy,” we are as chilled as Blanche Hudson as she listens in her wheelchair in horror to Bette’s warped ditty.

Neither actress is provided with any escape to their former glamour. In the less flashy role, Crawford must stoically endure snide comments from Davis about being a “rotten stinking actress.” We are treated to heyday film clips of Bette and Joan in their prime in a flashback. Yet, the actresses clearly gave up their dignity for art.

Baby Jane goes over the edge and into weirdness upon discovering that Blanche plans to commit her to an asylum and sell their home. There is not a bloodbath here, though Baby Jane is frightening when it comes to parakeets, rats, and the housekeeper.

Even next to Psycho, this is a far more muted depiction of madness and torment. It lives up to its reputation because it is a joy to see the great stars in one final star turn. Davis received an Oscar nomination, and Crawford did not. It doesn’t matter. Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? remains cinema gold.

2016 Patriots Leave Town for Good

 DATELINE:  Road Taken for One Season

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The mass exodus of the players from the 2016 Patriots team is under way with free agency and trades.

There are no long goodbyes in New England, but there are plenty of short stays, usually one season.

When Bill Belichick is in charge of your passport, you may be gone quicker than an illegal immigrant suffering from President Trump’s executive orders.

The latest Patriot to say goodbye is Mahhhhty Bennett. He may be one of the few who understands what he is giving up here for the money. We will always remember his dance with the cheerleaders, pom-poms high after Super Bowl LI.

In reality, most NFL players are all hired guns, like something out of The Magnificent Seven. For a few pesos, they do the dirty work short term.

NFL owners will pay any price to own a piece of the True Cross, in other words any former Patriot touched by the magic of Tom Brady.

So, there are Patriots at the Foxboro train station, their bags packed, looking wistfully over their shoulders, hoping Bill Belichick will show up with a satchel full of money. But he never comes, and they must must go.

Like Rick and Ilsa in Casablanca, these quondam Pats will always have SB 51.

Don’t’a Hightower, Logan Ryan, and even LeGarrette Blount are all ready to go.  Chris Long caught an early train. Someone from the front office may even be packing Jimmy G’s suitcase.

Not every NFL player is lucky enough to meet and marry a billionaire supermodel, like Tom Brady. Heaven knows Julian Edelman tried in 2016. However, we heard his supermodel girlfriend has kicked him out of bed–and she too is at the train station, also ready to leave Foxboro with the players.

If Julian wants a supermodel, he better grab Danny Amendola while he is available.

Yo, Adrian, Go Away!

 DATELINE: Leave the Patriots Alone

yo adrian  Yo-Yo Adrian

Latest word on the street is that former Viking Adrian Peterson is looking to play for the New England Patriots.

We would prefer to leave him out on the street.  Though he is a great running back, he is also the poster boy for beating your kids.

Without doubt, Tom Brady would not love to have his picture taken with a man who beats his children.

Peterson supporters have said beating your kids with a Hickorystick is a cultural thing. We can’t imagine too many Patriot players who want to be seen posing, nor playing, with the Hickorystick Man.

We cannot imagine Patriots like linesman Nate Solder taking a shine to Peterson. Nate just appeared to Children’s Hospital in Boston, home of the Jimmy Fund to help beat cancer in kids, partly because his own little boy is battling cancer. Beating cancer and beating kids are not the same.

Nate probably would be appalled by the cultural hickory stick of Adrian.

We are also becoming a little intolerant of players who want to come to New England for the purpose playing one season, winning a Super Bowl, and ending their careers by procuring a Super Bowl ring through the auspices of Tom Brady.

If this is great motivation for a player to give one of his best seasons, the notion of guys like Darrelle Revis and Chris Long coming and going through the turnstile is beginning to turn our stomach.

So we say to lowly cultured Mr. Peterson:  we prefer you find your ring in a Crackerjack box, not in New England.

Bette & Joan Resurrected: Start Up

 DATELINE:  Great Stars in Nova-caine Mutiny

ClayBuchholz

Can the feud of Bette Davis and Joan Crawford during their only film together, Whatever Happened to Baby Jane, sustain itself for a docudrama miniseries??

Our first thought was—maybe this will hold up for a two-hour movie, but ten episodes?

We have not anticipated a TV series quite as much since Twin Peaks. In fact, we now anticipate the return of Twin Peaks on HBO later this year.

As for Bette and Joan, the notion of two great women stars (Jessica Lange, Susan Sarandon) harkening back to the rich publicity years of Old Hollywood is simply delicious. Even if it turns into a miniseries Titanic, the worst films live in their own stewed juices.

We are booking first-class passage for each episode, icebergs be damned.

Director and writer Ryan Murphy gives us a garish Technicolor version of a bleak Hollywood tale. Its horror was psychological torture in the way Sunset Boulevard raked the studio system over the comeback coals.

Bette and Joan ultimately had to swallow pride to meet the prejudice of Hollywood. And, they suffered it.

Nothing proves to be an aphrodisiac like making former glamourous stars turn into harridan versions. Every scene is a hoot, and overripe. It goes for the jugular and the juices flow.

And we have only come to the first day of principal photography in episode one.

Yes, Feud is an event for those who long for the Golden Age of Hollywood, even when it was collapsing under its own self-hatred. Sarandon and Lange are letter perfect—and Molina as Aldrich is no slouch.

Fasten your seat belts. It’s going to be a bumpy miniseries.

Moonlight on Black & Blue

DATELINE: Three Faces of Chiron

Art can surprise.  Coming across as a film version of Manchild in the Promised Land, this coming-of-age story called Moonlight deserves its Oscar for Best Picture.

Perhaps the world of Claude Brown in the 1940s is not much different for the character in Barry Jenkins’s story. Chiron, in his three stages of development, is a heart-breaker. The story oozes pathos and finds sensitivity in the cruelest world of the Miami ghetto.

Seldom have we thought characters who age from young child to adult are the same person. It’s a mean feat to take the same young man, subject to bullies, and transform him into a man he should have never become—but who is the same sweet person underneath. They share gestures, glances, and styles, of Chiron.

Trevante, Ashton, and Alex, are Chiron from eldest to youngest. They are the movie’s heart and make the tale something special.

The people he meets and lives with are there in various stages, showing the reversal of fortune. It’s reminiscent of Charles Dickens, when the turn of the screw makes those who mistreated the child, come full circle in regret.

Naomie Harris as Chiron’s mother comes full circle from her youth to middle age. And, Mahershala Ali is the man who rescues young Chiron and explains what Moonlight means to him. He is Blue, and his son is Black. They share their sorrows, but are clearly the same man.

Often, we ridicule the Best Picture because it is often not the best. This time the label is correctly applied. This is a timeless and brilliant piece of film work.  All praise is deserved.

 

 

 

Oswald Revisited Again

DATELINE: Marrs’ Crossed Fire & Russo’s Booth/Oswald

Jim Marrs is best known as an alternative historian. His finger seems to be in every pie from Ancient Aliens to gold as an elixir of life, and now and then he pulls out a plum. He is about as reliable as The Farmer’s Almanac in the eyes of many.

So it is with Crossfire: The Plot That Killed Kennedy.  This short, highly charged film is based on his book, but more direct and chock full of interesting tidbits seldom considered or seen by conspiracy enthusiasts.

Simply directed by J. Michael Long, Marrs sits at his desk and lectures with appropriate and intriguing evidence, pictures and film clips, to make his point that much evidence has been altered, obfuscated, and falsified.

All these felonies have been given a bum’s rush by officials who want to cover up the 1963 coup d’etat that Marrs insists occurred.

The documentary goes hard into proving Oswald was a patsy, had a double, and was victimized by Lyndon Johnson and J. Edgar Hoover. It’s heady stuff, but rough handling of the law made it easier.

Of course, many people will dismiss the fake news—though it’s becoming harder to determine who exactly faked the news. And which news is fake.

In our book of a few years back, Booth & Oswald, we did not examine their assassinations, but their educations and childhoods to discern if they were products of their learning curve.  We found Oswald less capable of working in tandem with anyone than the gregarious Booth, and more likely to make arrogant, poor decisions to his own detriment.

If Marrs is correct, when the government is out to get you, and the media is putty, your niche in history is guaranteed to be out of your own hands.

This movie is a disturbing look at the twists or turns of justice and injustice.

Manchester By the Sea (without hyphens)

DATELINE: Hyphenated Town

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Back on the Nawth Showah of Boston, we always included hyphens when speaking of hoity-toity Manchester-by-the-Sea. The Chamber of Commerce should not be taking any accolades for this depressing view of the real-life charming seaside community.

The story of an exiled native son (gone to Quincy where no-lifers find refuge), Lee Chandler must return to Manchester upon the sudden death of his elder brother. There, to his shock, Chandler is given custody of a recalcitrant teenager, his nephew. Lucas Hedges gives a solid performance in the role.

Casey Affleck deserves every inch of his Best Actor award. He was never fully recognized as Bob Ford in the Brad Pitt/Jesse James film a few years back. Here he exudes emotional dissipation.

The sullen Affleck lives a life of quiet desperation as a janitor. Returning home brings with it a flood of depressing memories. When the strands of Albinoni’s “Adagio in G Minor” strike up for ten minutes or more, you know you have gone over the edge into suicidal storyline.

Director Kenneth Lonergan has chosen cold and raw days of early spring to showcase Manchester-by-the-Sea at its most dismal and barren look.

Asked by a fan if this was a sad movie, we strongly disagree. This movie is beyond Freud’s melancholia. As you recall from Ordinary People with Mary Tyler Moore, everyone reacts to death in his own way—and sometimes it is bizarre and incomprehensible.

Manchester by the Sea suffuses catharsis with dead accuracy.

Jimmy G Plan to Step into Pats Pocket

 DATELINE:  Three Leagues Under the Sea

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With so many champs leaving the SS Patriot ship, you’d think they were floundering. But, no, they merely have raised the cost of first-class passage.

As a result, Don’t’a Hightower may be on a lower tower than he expected. Without a franchise tag, he could be adrift.  Like so many Pats before him, he may take the money and run. Chris Long has announced a hardy thanks to fans—and he has jumped ship, looking to take his Super Bowl ring to another bunch of losers, as his career gets back on second-rate track.

And, Martellus (Don’t call me Marty unless you are a friend) Bennett has scorned fans for suggesting he should remain on board the Patriot ship for less money.  Gronk has given a blessing to go high roller on a low-ball team. So long, Marty.

That leaves us with the Jimmy G sweepstakes. Many experts claim the Patriots are looking for a boatload of picks and players for the young quarterback.

Not so fast, come reports from the bridge of Gillette Stadium. They love Jimmy Garoppollo too much to let him part—this year.

Insurance policies for ancient GOAT Tom Brady are too expensive to let Jimmy walk away on water.

He may become Robin to the Brady Batman for one more year.

Nobody wants to kick that pretty face out of his cheap canvas bunk. Jimmy may play more games in 2017 to give old Tom a chance to sit in his rocking chair on the sidelines.

We just bought stock in smelling salts. We want to see Jimmy sniff away one more season. Don’t rock the boat.

Nixon Home Movies, Worse Than You Can Imagine

DATELINE: Pre-Watergate

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Three convicted Richard Nixon aides were home movie junkies. Their film work has been collected for a movie called Our Nixon.

H.R. Haldeman, Dwight Chapin, and John Ehrlichman, took Super8 home movies of the Nixon years before Watergate. It makes for a strange behind-the-scenes look at history. It is an intimate portrait of Mr. Nixon that seems devoid of intimacy.

The three convicted obstructers of justice come across as good-natured, highly spirited citizens on a great adventure serving their country. They certainly never felt, even in subsequent interviews, that they were at any fault. Their movies reflect their American innocence, more accurately called naivety.

Nor did they see Richard Nixon as much less than a hard-working man whose agenda to help the country went awry. In fact, for all their close-ups of the man they worked for, there is no true insight into the man whose reputation puts him at the bottom of presidential honor.

The documentary suffers only from not identifying who took what movies and what did they know when they took them.

It seems the three men took many moving pictures of each other. Their canisters of film were confiscated during the Watergate investigation and kept locked away for 40 years.

Emerging now, when most collective memories of Nixon are dim when not dark, the movie footage makes for Zapruder-style depiction of a president going down from his terrible bureaucratic mistakes.

Like all amateur filmmakers, the trio of aides hone in on happy moments, oblivious to the cancer on Nixon’s presidency.

If you expect to find insights into the warm and fuzzy Nixon, you will find he is robotic, indeed catatonic, when out of the public media. Redeeming sentimental moments are not on these home movies.

Yet, they are priceless historical snippets of film, made by directors of their own downfalls. It is like someone has decided to share home movies of a train wreck.

Hirsute Edelman Grins & Bears It Up

DATELINE: Hair Today

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While Gronk and Danny Amendola shine with a winner’s glow during their off-season, appearing everywhere from fashion show catwalks to the Dayton 500, pity poor Julian Edelman.

The best he could muster was a make-over to deal with his nasty-looking beard. Some unkind Jets fans have speculated that no one wants to touch him—for fear of cooties or worse.

And, that alone has made him untouchable during those Brady passes.

We are sure lice have found a sanctuary city among the kinky hairline. It may take a Trump executive order to end the itch.

We suspect that apart from Tommy Brady, no one has made a pass at Julie since he started sprouting something akin to pubic hair on his chinny-chin-chin. We suspect some is growing out of his ears by now.

So, it seems somewhat normal that he would jump at the chance to have a beauty re-do. In his line of work, he seldom catches a second chance.

Once a cutie-pie with chiseled looks, he now sports the scruff like a badge of ugly. A few rationalists contend Edelman is in a hair-off contest with Rob Ninkovich, on whom facial hair has met never met a nose trimmer it liked.

Former Patriot star and wearer of #11 in past years, Drew Bledsoe sent a tweet to Edelman that the homeless logger look has reached its nadir.

Edelman responded that “homeless chic is in.” Perhaps he just needs a beard.

We suspect that the pressure has backfired, though we read between the sheets that Edelman may have been kicked out of more beds lately than in previous years combined.

The next line-up for Julie will be “bear call” at P-town’s hairy fright night in June when hibernation ends.