Air Force One is One Fat Half-Wit

DATELINE: Ford Trumps Lincoln

 Prez Ford Shoots from Hip

Can it be that Trump thinks he is Harrison Ford in the hilarious presidential/terrorist movie called Air Force One?

Delusion takes many forms: for a fat old man to see himself as an idealized President Harrison Ford may not be a stretch for Mr. Trump. Here’s a president who goes off script in public speeches, much to the shock of his aides.

Ford’s president is no Gerald and no Lincoln. He orders outrageous tactical attacks on the Ukraine in conjunction with the Russian president! In 1997’s now sentient movie about the future of the American presidency should give everyone a nightmare.

Gary Oldman shows up with a suspicious crew in Moscow who plan to board Air Force One and do mayhem. Back at the White House, Vice President Glenn Close and Secretary of Defense Dean Stockwell are at loggerheads. The U.S. government is run by buffoons. Most of the movie takes place in mid-air: They are on a jet flying around, but there is not even the hum of an engine in this aircraft.

Within a matter of moments, the terror team has fairly much wiped out the highly trained and highly touted Secret Service aboard the aircraft. Hmmm. This is not a high recommendation for American protection service. We suppose most people tell themselves that it’s only a movie meant to give Harrison Ford some heroic moments.

Since this film takes place in the years right before 9-11, there is something creepy about a stolen plane filled with hostages about to fly into some kind of explosive crash.

Of course, the POTUS here is a Medal of Honor winner who was a hero in Vietnam: no, it’s not John McCain, but it isn’t exactly Trump. However, the President is surrounded by a bunch of cowering bureaucrats or power-grabbing traitors.

In one ridiculous moment, the President must cross fuel line wires to dump fuel: we figure this is realistic because Trump crosses wires daily. As a stable genius, we presume Trump can also fly Air Force One.

It is a cynical view of entertainment.

 

 

Bill Gates Joins the Epstein Denial Club

DATELINE: LOL Lolita Express!

 Yuck or Yikes?

Lest we stir up a hornet’s nest of billionaire idiots, we want to castigate Bill Gates right out of the gate.

This week we learned that this richest man on earth type is either an idiot or thinks we are idiots. He denies he was a friend (close or otherwise) of pedophile suicide Jeffrey Epstein.

The frequent flier mileage and chronic visits to Epstein were all strictly for philanthropic reasons: not personal and not business.

Gates does write to a friend that he met a beautiful woman and her young daughter at Epstein’s manse and decided to spend the day. Hunh?

This is like Trump saying that he knew Epstein liked women, especially younger ones, and they shared that interest. Grab’em while they’re hot.

Nowadays, with money to revise history, these billionaire bozos are hiring PR men and women to whitewash the facts.

How illiterate are these clowns?

That seems to be the only excuse: each, even President Clinton, flew on Epstein’s rock and roll private jet, dubbed “Lolita Express.”

Not one had the literary acumen to recognize Nabokov’s pedophile object of desire. Not one asked why the plane was named after a pre-pubescent girl. Not one had seen the two movies on the subject, yes, titledLolita.

How lacking in curiosity can they be? Enough to know that ignorance is bliss; deniability is paramount in the world of billionaires trying to get away with murder, suicide, and pedophilia.

We have had our fill of dumb-bunny, Playboy bunny-loving rich dopes. Go to the back of the line, Gates and Trump.

Part Two of Nessie, In Search Of…

DATELINE: Sticking Your Neck Out?

 No Pencil Neck Geeks!

 All wrong, Nessie!

When you have a good one, you beat that horse to death—again. Or, in this case, that Nessie. In Search of…continues its highly impressive probe into the depths of an idyllic loch of Scotland.

Again, Zachary Quinto is around as a narrator, but does no visit to the site.

However, there is now no doubt after the second part that this may be the best, most revealing documentary ever made on the Loch Ness Monster. In fact, the careful building of a profile, in an FBI mode, turns out to show the creature does not have a long neck and may have gills, accounting for so few sightings.

On top of that, they find a similar creature washed up on an island near Scotland in 1808—around the time a canal was built alongside a shallow riverway leading to the Loch. This means the creature had now a highway to follow salmon into the loch.

A scientist disproves the notion that this monster has a neck that can break the surface: it may be more akin to a sturgeon or shark in shape.

It means the migratory pattern of going from Sweden to Scotland is enhanced. It also indicates the creature’s cyclical appearances mean it is not thee annually but may come with a decade lapse.

They have visited the loch in a good year—and armed with new information, go under the frigid surface, 150 feet below to meet up fleetingly with something.

If you are curious or are a Nessie fan, there can be no more heavenly dive than Quinto’s two-part show.

 

 

 

 

 

Murnau & Max: Life & Death Struggle

 DATELINE: Noserferatu-too much?

Has it been twenty years since Willem Dafoe took on the role of Max Schreck as Nosferatu? And, John Malkovich played the great German director. Shadow of the Vampireis meant to be film history, horror in cinema, and ultimately docudrama to end all vampire tales.

It was like watching Burton and O’Toole in Becket in some kind of twisted duo version of clash of titans. They quibble like Fredric March and Spencer Tracy in Inherit the Wind.Yes, their screen confrontations are on this level.

Is it comedy, satire, or history? Perhaps it is all rolled into one silent screen classic, as the original depicted shadows over substance. You may laugh at the foibles of movie makers.

Unable to film Dracula, Murnau, the Herr Doktor of cinema, filmed on some remote location where an unknown actor, of Stanislavski Method, turned himself into a real vampire. Or did he?

The conceit of the movie is that Max was no actor, but a real creature of death whom Murnau located.

The film is looney in its hilarity. When Max misbehaves on the set, F.W. Murnau denies him makeup.  When Max Schreck begins to eat the cameraman, the two come to one of their marvelous argumentative scenes. Dafoe clicks his fingernails like a castanet and watches sunrise on film, moving us behind the hideous makeup. You can’t have a film like this without Udo Keir as well.

Two temperamental creatures want to make a movie to last for all time: and they do! Nosferatu’s spirit is captured in this behind-the-scenes account, however falsified or dramatized.

The ending is spoiled, purely preposterous, with Murnau directing the ultimate mass murders.

It’s koo-koo bird stuff, but dreams can be made of that too.

Removing Another Satiric Barb

DATELINE: Un-wigged!

 Scalp Problem?

We see that a TV graphic headline has been called “racist,” and we thought how terrible. Then, we saw what the offensive words were: They alluded to the Atlanta/Boston/Milwaukee Braves and the situation of losing a playoff berth. Now, we have for some time thought that naming teams after Native Americans—or, as racists call them, Indians, whether they are from Washington, D.C., Cleveland, or Boston (where the Braves originated) is dicey.

We were never sure what Indians they referred to in Boston. It could be that Braves are simply people with courage, though young Native American warriors were called Braves. It was sort of like ‘grunts” or “GIs” in another framework.

So, Indian and Redskin are harder to justify. If this seems like a hairy tale, you will be forewarned to avoid head-hunters.

Back to the point of the racist claim: it struck us as a play on humor and defeat. It is known that some brutal Indian raids resulted in “scalping” of victims. This was not necessarily an action limited to Native Americans but was a kind of trophy hunting.

To say the Braves were “scalped” seems rather oxymoronic. Who did the scalping? People who sell tickets to games outside a venue?

We seem to have entered a world in which words have either lost their meaning or have become metaphoric bonfires of the vanities.

If this full lobotomy assault continues on satiric wordsmiths, we shall soon be de-fanged, de-clawed, and shorn of our satirizing locks. In a crew cut mode, we may not again use Scalpicine on our collective itchy head. Sign language could also be offensive to Native Americans, to which we raise a well-placed finger in response.

Joan Crawford as Faye Dunaway as Mommie Dearest

 DATELINE: More Like Twin Peaks?

 

Is it Joan or is it Memorex?

 

Where does one begin? Where does one end up? You could put this movie on the end of Joan’s long career—or did that happen when Feud hit the miniseries on TV forty years later? Mommie Dearest is now streaming on Amazon Prime.

Mommie Dearest is child abuse taken to levels not seen until Jeffrey Epstein chose to play the role in a Manhattan playhouse.

The twisted tale of Christina Crawford and her adoptive mother is one for the cautionary ages.

You may half expect the dead Joan Crawford to jump out of her coffin and continue to terrify the world. Was she a monster?

Bring us the axe but leave the wire hangers. We want to be objective.

Suffering the strains and stresses of aging would destroy any movie queen but being fired by Metro and re-inventing herself as a tough, savvy career woman, Joan Crawfish seems to deserve all rotten tomatoes that are tossed at her.

Our dear friend Jim Kirkwood, actor and writer of novels like Good Times/Bad Timesand There Must be a Pony, took a role in the movie as the MC who gives Crawford an award: he later had nightmares that his movie star parents would come back to haunt him for participating in this hallucinogenic version of Sunset Boulevard.

The film cannot be viewed on any normal level today, nor could it back then! It had transmuted and altered itself into a zombie of movie history.

Norma Desmond and Joan Crawford were the same height. It was the movies that got small.

Oak Island Specials Headline New Season

DATELINE: More of the Same Again!

 $ Cash Down Logo!

To whet your appetite for season seven of the Curse of Oak Island, the series is beginning the season with early-bird specials. Fans cannot get enough of the Lagina Brothers and their motley crew of treasure hunters.

Tonight is a count-down of the group’s accomplishments over the past six seasons. And, you better believe they give credit to no one except themselves.

What have we got here? Well, it’s the same old wine in a semi-recycled bottle. Yes, the clever producers of the show have found yet another way to repeat, ad nauseum, the same events we have seen repeatedly, over six seasons.

Never let it be said that the Lagina brothers don’t know how to beat a dead horse. This is marketing at its most brazen. By packing the two-hours in the guise of a count-down, you have a way to introduce the show to new viewers. And, if you are an old hand, you should avoid these two hours, lest you are bored, bed-ridden, and/or your remote control is broken.

What’s more, the ever-irritating, fawning Matty Blake is your host, on the Lagina payroll.

To start, the show deals with 25 great discoveries over 220 years. So, you have to include all the historical data: like boys finding a hole and digging in pre-1800. You must include the reasons why Marty Lagina and Dan Blankenship had to move to Oak Island (after reading a Reader’s Digest article), and then you have to list the appearance of the Restall family, and on and on.

Forget those “bobby dazzlers” found by Gary Drayton. Those are at the end of the show.

What emerges of interest is the stuff the producers never think is interesting: like the fact that Oak Island is now a big tourist attraction, or that it has a money-making museum with unusual artifacts (TV props included).

You see throngs of tourists being led by some of the TV show personalities in walk-arounds. You begin then to see the mammoth scale of this money-maker for History Channel, and the Lagina family.

There is never a discussion of cost of security, or other requirements to protect the island. It must be steep: Oak Island is no longer a forgotten speck off the coast of Nova Scotia. You are looking at a Grand Canyon of Mysterious Tourist Traps.

 

 

Sam Cooke: Lady You Just Shot Me!

DATELINE: Why Was Sam Cooke Killed?

 You Still Send Me!

How long ago it was! Sam Cooke was a budding, all-American giant of music, but even more amazing, he was the boy next door who was African-American. The film is Lady You Shot Me!, a frightful documentary about the life and death of Sam.

He was murdered, executed, or shot under mysterious circumstances. A religious gospel singer, it seemed unfathomable back than that Cooke was in a “seedy” motel room with some street-walker.

Of course, we know nowadays this may be more often the norm. Yet, with Sam Cooke it seemed improbable. He was lumped in with Muhammad Ali and Martin Luther King as the three titans of Civil Rights.

You probably never hear much about Sam because his music is owned by Allen Klein and his associates: and some theorize they had something to do with stealing his profits and doing him in. Klein died in 2009, but he and his followers have stopped many a documentary about Sam from being made without their control.

So, this latest is also one without the most compelling part of Cook’s legacy: you will not hear his music. It isn’t allowed. He wrote “Wonderful Life,” ironically enough, “Cupid,” “You Send Me,” and “Another Saturday Night,” another delightful ditty about being alone. Now you seldom hear his music.

And you certainly don’t often hear the horror and tragedy of what happened to this talent. An inquest quickly dispatched his death, ruling justifiable homicide to a motel manager who shot naked man who had no weapon. She testified in dark glasses and had no attorney. She didn’t need one; the fix was in.

A few of his nephews contribute to the storyline—and also have done what they could to keep Klein’s company out of their lives. The documentary consults noted coroner and lawyer Cyril Wecht who examines the evidence but cannot sign on to a conspiracy of murder.

However, there are enough legal mumbo-jumbo moves by Allen Klein to take over Cooke’s music estate and run with all the profits to think he, at least, took advantage of an untimely death. Of course, it’s not the first time that an uppity black man was put down.

Fair or not, it is a strong backbone to the story of a man killed fifty years ago in a senseless action in Los Angeles. It was more than black America’s loss, it was the loss of a generation of music he would have created for everyone.

In Search of Nessie, Part One!

DATELINE: Zachary Quinto & Loch Ness

The return of Zachary Quinto’s series In Search Of... is a welcome sight!

With spectacular new photographs of the Loch Ness and with an assembly of rare and remarkable historical documentary footage, you could have in a two-parter, the most thorough and entertaining investigation yet. In Search of..is back with even better production values.

There is the colorful background provided for a full report: over 1400 years ago, it was thought to be a dragon—which certainly transformed the artistic depictions and sent them in a popular direction.

If there is a drawback to the episode, it is that Zachary Quinto is seen standing in front of a screen image of the Scotland territory. He did not make the trip. Unlike the previous episodes that put him central to the action, he is here merely a voice-over with an occasional image.

That logistical concern may be overlooked when it comes to careful assessment of evidence and no-holds punches that we have come to expect in the series. Alas, part of the charm of the show is seeing Quinto on location, actually interviewing people who appear.

One new piece of info features a similar creature in a Swedish cold-water lake, which is reachable by the North Sea from Scotland. Their histories and descriptions are identical. The Loch Ness monster may well be a migratory fish or some sort.

Ending the first part is the theory that a 30-foot Atlantic or Baluga Sturgeon may be an armored version of Nessie.

Truer than Truth: Shakespeare

DATELINE: Who is the Bard?

Shake-Vere?

Once again, a list of notable Shakespearean actors (Derek Jacobi among them) takes on the question of whether William Shakespeare was the man he claimed to be.

The film is called Nothing is Truer than Truth.

One theory continues to be pushed: Shakespeare was a pseudonym for Edward de Vere, a foppish bisexual Elizabethan favorite.

How could a country bumpkin who never left England write 40 plays about royal courts in Venice, Rome, and Greece? How could a man who did not have access to the greatest libraries of English nobility have done his research? As usual, the likelihood of genius never enters the equation. Even a genius needs a little knowledge (unless he is psychic).

One man fits the bill Shake-speare quite well. Edward de Vere.

With the use of mostly American experts, the documentary takes on a decidedly different tone than most of the British interpretations of the Shakespeare controversy.

Indeed, this approach takes De Vere on his travels to Venice, Palermo, Cyprus, and Milan, all spots with highly personal character references in the Shakespeare plays. De Vere met with Cervantes and Titian, and details about these men were not in libraries or generally known in England: but they appear in Shakespeare’s wortks.

So, the ultimate connection is whether Shakespeare and De Vere knew each other—had a literary and personal relationship that might account for the authorship being joint.

So many incidents are based on problems in De Vere’s life: from an unfaithful wife—to his odd bisexual hints in characters. His travels gave him insights into poison poured into a king’s ear and a noble with a younger male whispering in his ear.

De Vere had the attention of Queen Elizabeth (whom some hint) was a man in drag. He had married badly into the Lord Cecil family, but it didn’t stop him from burning through the equivalent of a million dollars in a year.

This excellent film ends asking us whether we have praised the wrong man for 400 years.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  Discovering Rains in a Torrent!

DATELINE: Marvel of Supporting Actor

Bogart & Rains! Shocked, shocked! (and shocked again).

No, it’s not a meteorological treatise on the workings of Donald Trump’s weathermen series. Discovering Claude Rains is a short biographic documentary on the great character actor.

Like most entries in this series, it is truly short on real life details, but heavy handed when it comes to movie clips.

We do learn that Rains came from poverty, not privilege, and he was a self-made man who looked like he was born to the manor and the manner.

It was his voice that brought his accolades for stage, well before there were talky movies. He was far too short to be a leading man, but he could be the foil and nemesis to the hero.

Rains did not need too many scenes to steal a movie—as Bette Davis learned the hard way. In one film she even shoots him, but his dying breath underscores the film. He could underplay Errol Flynn as Robin Hood, and he could be completely hidden by bandages in The Invisible Man, and still show a full personality through his voice.

When visiting a friend of Rains, Howard Gottlieb who ran the Special Collections Library at Boston University, he gave this writer the special treat of trying on the plastic laurel wreath Rains wore in Caesar and Cleopatra. It didn’t fit. Gottlieb had many of Claude’s memorabilia, including an impressive oil portrait.

Later, Rains’ wry expressions added to the repertoire. Casablanca gave him a charming rogue, but he returned regularly to horror films: Phantom of the Opera and The Wolf Man. He often played fatherly sorts, many years beyond his real age. He was like Walter Brennan in that score. It seemed he was old for fifty years.

His end never gave away his roots: he moved to New Hampshire—and there lived in retirement as a New England gentleman. He became what the world wanted him to be.

The best part of this short documentary is the ending when Dooley Wilson sings an unusual version of “As Time Goes By,” as there is a reprise of clips of Claude Rains in his best scenes.

 

 

 

Chasing but not Chaste Michael Jackson!

DATELINE: Defensive Defense

 No More, Please!!!

A documentary to defend Michael Jackson against child molestation charges proves to be highly defensive in itself.

Chasing Michael Jackson is an odd bird, and not because the dead subject is a dodo bird who cannot defend himself, but because we can’t really figure out what the real motive is. Yes, there are some extremely close friends and relatives of Jackson who participate to discredit his accusers.

It is hard to know where the “journalist” behind this film comes from: he insists in his on-camera and extensive interviews that he is digging for the truth. He also takes great pains to discredit one “victim” for claiming he was molested in a part of the Jackson estate that was not built until three years after. Pictures prove that point, but never explain the other possible reasons for the discrepancy. We do hear charges that the victim is a perjurer who swore Jackson never touched him a decade earlier at trial.

One of the other key personalities is Mark Lester, the former child star (from Oliver!) and friend of Jackson as a contemporary. He too claims the victim and family were greedy and vindictive. Lester never mentions that he has since claimed to be the sperm donor for one, or more, of Jackson’s children.

The documentary takes aim at the “Me Too” movement, walking a tightrope about victim rights while trampling on selected victims.

One thing is right: this is all about money. Everyone is on the gravy train, cashing in on Jackson long after his premature death.

 

 

 

Studio 54: Celebrity Watchers

DATELINE: Time Capsule to Disco World

 Roy Cohn with Schrager & Rubell

For less than three years, a couple of Brooklyn entrepreneurs managed to create and to put on a 1970s theatrical experience called a disco club. It was Studio 54, on the heels of downbeat Watergate. Dance and music was where and when diversity became a fad lifestyle of Manhattan life.

Now a documentary gives us a horror story wrapped in glitterati and cheap sequins.

Studio 54, as a documentary, is a fairy tale with a sledgehammer of social cautions and moral outrage.

Steve Rubell was the more recognizable name: and his partner in business was Ian Schrager. After researching gay, black, traditional nightclubs, they decided to make a dilapidated old CBS studio where Captain Kangarooonce romped, into the disco generation’s celebrity baptismal.

Studio 54 was the place where you found throngs and mobs of stunning beautiful young men: Cartloads more than you might ever suspect could be found in a swarm.

Glitz and chintz made a spot for beauty and money to become a lifestyle passport. In six-weeks they put on a show where a balcony gave patrons with lorgnettes a chance to ogle Warhol, Jagger, Paul Newman, Sinatra, Liz, Liza, Liberace, Cher, Cary, Bianca, Truman, Halston, Barishnikov, Michael Jackson, and every name of the era in one hopped-up setting.

You put the best-looking man out front as the doorman, and you watched a happening happen.

Director Matt Tyrnauer puts together a Zeitgeist film to capture spirit, energy, and history, as a spot where glamour had its last stand. Movie stars, musician superstars, and ordinary beauty, cavorted together with freaks to pulsating lights, music, and—gulp, drugs.

There were floor shows like Las Vegas fantasies with performers who transcended their roles with the patrons.

It was America’s Fall of the Roman Empire: the god-awful punishment awaited, pestilence and plague on all your houses: AIDS. Rubell was the epitome of the age, a gay man in massive denial about his identity and living out his suicidal excesses until the roof caved in. He went in the first wave of incurable and shunned AIDS victims of the late 1980s.

His partner’s father was one of Meyer Lansky’s mouthpieces, though Ian Schrager knew nothing about it.

As if a fall from grace was ever possible without some satanic majesty, one of the biggest frequenters and closet queens of the age, the evil Roy Cohn became the attorney for the club (and later for Donald Trump). It underscores the tale and takes it into the realm of hallucinogenic socio-political shock. No liquor license? Arrested? Schrager and Rubell called Cohn.

Downfalls are good for the soul and bad for the soulless.

 

 

 

Did Tom Brady Just Fall Off a Cliff?

DATELINE: Old Overnight?

We know Tom Brady infamously jumps off the cliff in the off-season, diving into a pool near his vacay estate in Costa Rica Plenti. Now, after years of ominous predictions, have we just witnessed the aging phenom being pushed by the Grim Reaper into a new phase?

Though the Patriots won their fourth game of the season, undefeated still, it was the worst performance by Brady in a winning cause in his career.

No touchdowns—and an interception in the endzone. His QB rating is on a par with Trump’s popularity poll numbers.

Yikes, he could not do much at all. We blame the team management for disarming him: every season they take away one of his best weapons, the latest is the release of Antonio ‘who me a violent offender?’ Brown who made life easier for Tom.

Head Coach Bill Belichick has made it his mission to divest every weapon that Tom likes from the team. Where is Amendola? Gone with the wind. Where is Edelman? Playing hurt, and Tom scrupulously avoided throwing to him.

His best receiver was wearing a Mae West corset under this jersey, which made him look like a candidate for the RuPaul Drag Show. He played gamely with a busted rib or two. No one wants to confirm how many cracks they found in the ribcage.

His go-to second bananas, like James White and Phil Dorsett, were MIA when it came to push and shove.

Tom was also making decisions that rival those of a rookie QB—going for glory and long passes when shorter and less spectacular will do. It was all reminiscent of past aging QBs who refused to admit there is something rotten in the state of their game.

Tom still looks personally spectacular, dapper and smooth, resembling Adam Vinatieri’s son rather than his contemporary. However, under the creamy Botox layer beats the heart of a man who just fell off a cliff.

 

 

 

Blowing the Whistle on Trump

DATELINE: New Trump Godfather Movie?

 New Don Trump!

In a new Godfather sequel, Don Vito Trump makes an offer that a whistleblower cannot refuse.  Yes, if the anonymous whistleblower reveals his identity, Russian mobsters will not only break his legs, he will be able to meet the man he accuses of criminal deals as he is fitted with cement overshoes.

If you ever wondered why whistleblowers are afraid, you have only to ask Fox journalists who liken them to “rotten snitches.” Yes, so much for the fair and balanced approach to someone reporting on corruption found in the Washington swamp.

Like calling his lawyer Michael Cohen, his mouthpiece of yore, a rat, Trump envisions the world in movie mob terms.

We now know that if you drain the swamp, you will find a slime-ball with orange hair lurking in the mud. The Creature from the Black Lagoon is now POTUS.

Don Trump does have a right to meet his accuser—in a court of impeachment in the United States Senate. And by then, it will be too late to have him executed—unless the Senate decides that Trump is really a king, not a president.

As of today, we have received another request from Trump to pay for his impeachment defense: his billions are not enough. Now the Don Trump is baking canolis filled with creamy poison for the American electorate.

We are not sure if the Don knows that this is not the Vatican where you can have the Pope replaced (as in Godfather 3). In this sequel, the mob plans to supply the voters with Ukrainian voting booths.

We have seen a preview of the film in which Don Trump’s grandchildren are dressed up like the Storm Troopers in the Star Wars series. In case you forgot, the Nazi Storm Troopers in white plastic suits were the bad guys who went against the forces of good.

In Trump’s world, life is like a box of chocolate movie sequels: all covered in Rambo Blood.