Storming of Area 51 Non-event!

DATELINE: Ancient Aliens Self-Congratulations!

 He’s Back!

Ripping an episode of Ancient Aliens from the headlines of this past summer, the series went for Storming of Area 51, the media and Internet viral event of 2019.

As an alleged joke, Matty Roberts posted a call to arms on Facebook, demanding a generation of Millenials gather together and demand to see the whites of the alien eyes.

What was supposed to reach a few friends quickly became a sensation that caught up a million people in its vent. They would come to Rachel, Nevada and prepare to put a mob on the grounds of Area 51.

As you might expect, Ancient Aliens wants to take credit for the new generation of protest, but it also wants to be careful not to upset authorities too. It makes for an interesting tightrope walk.

With a deranged government threatening to bomb a large mob of Americans demanding to see their tax dollars at work, it became clear that secrecy is not dead—and something big must be hidden at Area 51 for the military to threaten to kill protestors as terrorists.

As its wont, Ancient Aliens gave us a history of the Groom Lake site. It was selected by the original researcher who brought us Lockheed and Skunk Works: Kelly Johnson in 1955 scouted the place and oversaw the operations. For 20 years there was no acknowledgement of what was there.

Word seeped out that there was an official top-secret weapons site and an unofficial aliens and reverse engineering location.

From. here it was a short jump to bolster the credibility of whistleblower Bob Lazar—and they come up with corroboration of his veracity.  There is also a paranoid leap to indicate the government is out of control, lying to us for 100 years, and up to no good with mistrust.

Lazar’s rehab by the Aliens show poetic justice.

On the one hand, they want to expose the truth. And on the other hand, they do not want to kill their viewers. The Area 51 storm subsided with restraint in the summer of 2019.

But a sea level change may have occurred: a new generation may not tolerate the coverup much longer.

 

 

 

 

Shooting on Fifth Ave?

DATELINE: Outrage Unleashed!

 Garrett Needs a Roy Cohn?

Forget your Easter bonnet for the big Thanksgiving parade. Donald Trump and Myles Garrett are leading the parade of felonious media freaks.

On a day when Donald J. Trump intimidated a witness at a Congressional hearing, we recall his comment that he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and no one would give a fig.

Since then, the candy bar has come into Renaissance, and the New York mayor claimed that they would indeed arrest Mr. Trump. However, if you are a Republican in Congress, your job is to re-load the weapon, as if the POTUS were a shooter in your typical American high school. Trump likes to kick Sandy Hook in our collective faces.

Now, we have a case in parallel where Mason Rudolph, a QB of the NFL, has assumed that violence will be done unto him on the playing field. And now, Myles Garrett has taken that presumption and done a deed that is comparable to Trump’s boast. Lock and load that helmet, fans.

QB of the Steelers, Rudolph, did not die and was not seriously injured, though his vanity may be fatally overexposed. It is Myles Garrett who has achieved the ultimate notoriety: he is the Trump of football.

He can shoot a helmet to the head of an opponent and be guilty of felonious assault but get away with it. His action has been called “embarrassing” by some teammates and coaches. There will be no arrest and trial. This is not hockey, a sport of immigrants from Canada. Trump might threaten a wall to prevent those Canadians from bringing sticks to the game. 

Trump plans to continue to call for the ban of Colin Kaepernick but likely will call for amnesty and pardons for Myles Garrett.

Attempted murder on national television is more than embarrassing, and the Cleveland Browns are intimidating NFL fans with it’s “just a game,” mantra.

There is nothing just here. Justice died on Fifth Avenue, in Congress, and at pep rallies held by Trump.

Ghost of Bogart

DATELINE: Not Again? 

  Jerry Lacy as Bogey

We went back in our time machine to the time machine of 1972 who brought us back to 1942. It is Play It Again, Sam,which features Humphrey Bogart advising Woody Allen.

No, Sam never appears once yet again, even in the actual film clips from the movie Casablanca. Dooley Wilson seems to be discriminated against. He sings part of “As Time Goes By,” at film’s end.

This astral route brought us face to face with legendary tough-guy star, Humphrey Bogart. He returned in 1972 in the guise of Jerry Lacy, an impersonator who had a decade of roles as the iconic man in trench coat with Borsalino.

Alas, to see Bogart’s best scenes in Casablanca, you had to endure Woody Allen as Allen Felix, movie critic before the Internet and blogs, who adores Bogie and has an apartment decorated like a 1942 teenage boy. Those collectibles are worth big bucks today.

Though Allen wrote and starred in this vehicle, it was directed by Herbert Ross which gives it some grounding as a ghost story.

The appearances of Bogart dispensing advice to nudnik Allen is appalling, as he speaks sexist and violent attitudes that he never expressed in his movies or real life a generation earlier. If you see this film as homage to Bogart’s Rick and his romance with Ilsa, you have been sold a bill of goods by shyster Allen.

The film comes alive when Bogart and/or Lacy appear, and the film goes down the chute when Allen’s nutcase New Yorker takes center screen.

The Sam “again” part has more to do with Allen re-enacting the Rick role with Bergman in a climactic scene. This was before Allen became Bergman (Ingmar, not Ingrid).

Diane Keaton and Tony Roberts take on thankless roles in Allen’s world, which Keaton was able to transcend by slipping over to The Godfather at the same time she did this film. Roberts and Lacy were not as lucky.

Though the Bogey ghost appears with more frequency in the final 30 minutes, it is not enough to save the story from itself.

Whether Bogey conjures his personality as a dream, an hallucination, or the actual spirit of a movie icon, may be in the eyes of the beholder. We like to think Lacy channeled the real star, but taking it in again decades later, we see this is not a ghost, but a frightful excuse for Allen to behave badly and perform even worsely.

 

 

 

Ten Dared, Disney Style!

DATELINE: Cliffhanger!

 John Beal Dangles by his one arm!

In 1960 Walt Disney studios took on an unusual adventure story for them: the true historical tale of John Wesley Powell who explored the Colorado River in 1869.

As Davy Crockett proved a few years earlier, there was no historical truth that Disney could not whitewash. Powell’s misfit crew of tough guys has been turned into a second-banana costar cast of familiar faces and comfortable stereotypes. Ten Who Dared is satisfying emotional comfort food. It falls short of classic, but will do in a pinch.

That’s not to say it isn’t a solid entry in biographical adventure.

You do have a bunch of scene-stealers around John Beal, the 1930s leading man now in late middle-age playing the one-armed Powell. His younger brother could be his son: James Drury in a pre-Virginianemesis role, complete with handlebar mustache.

Our money is on the grizzled Brian Keith, long before his TV comedy stuff, he could always be counted on to give an accounting worth watching. Up against Ben Johnson and R.G. Armstrong, you have marvelous performers. Throw in the spoiled rich kid from the Spin and Martyseries, David Stollery did one more Disney film before leaving acting entirely.

Those Disney moments feature Stollery being ordered to shoot his dog, and James Drury as a villain tormenting everyone.

By modern CGI effects, the rapids and the actors together are less than effective, as the disgruntled men begin to think Powell is searching for gold—and cutting them out of the process.

Other character flaws, amid greed and impatience, lead to more problems, making it your less than happy Disney film.

In true Disney fashion, the most hideous events are left for narrator explanation.

Yet, there is something of an experiment here for a later style of Disney movie. You cannot go awry with the Grand Canyon and notable character actors at the acme of their careers.

 

 

 

 

Josh & Kyle Allen, Twin QBs of NFL

DATELINE: Boys Will be Quarterbacks!

 Siamese Twins?

Are we seeing double? Are they separated at birth? Are they twins?

The Red Zone of NFL has given us a double dose of cutie-pie QBs. We are now in double jeopardy of wondering how the NFL can allow players to take the field before they can shave.

Josh Allen and Kyle Allen are among the new generation of NFL quarterbacks. They have leapt into the Internet social media and beefcake dreamboat category simultaneously.

They are not joined at the hip because we saw them in different cities on the same day. However, we still cannot tell them apart without a scorecard.

Of course, one is always a tad shocked to find out that the star players are so young that they look like teenagers who could play the Hardy Boys in a new cable series.

TeenBeat might be featuring them on the cover. They could play Tom Brady’s sons in a movie.

One of them plays for the Buffalo Bills and the other now has taken over the Carolina Panthers. They are not your average blue-collar city boys. They are fresh off the farm.

Gleaming smiles and boyish good looks are not the kind of tough guy image you expect from grizzled NFL leaders, like Troy and Peyton. This is the new generation following in the footsteps of botox Tom Brady, whose looks now try to defy the twenty-somethings whom he must play against.

Of course, there is a big difference between looking young and actually being young. We don’t know if the Bobsey Twins of Josh and Kyle will fall into the youth movement of 2040 and find silicone to fill their wrinkles and cracks.

Right now they are so adorable that you wish the time machine would hold still for a few years.

We wish them long careers and hope they never are able to grow a beard like Ryan Fitzpatrick and cover up those beautiful doll looks. Movie contracts are sure to follow.

Resurrecting James Dean

DATELINE: Dug Out of the Film Mausoleum

Two hundred years ago Resurrection Men stole bodies out of graves and sold them to medical students.

Today Resurrection Men steal movie star images out of film archives to sell to fans. The body of work of James Dean is about to be dissected by film students.

A generation ago we wondered if old clips of TV and movies could be merged into a new script with old, dead actors as stars. It seemed fantastic to think James Dean could, at long last, costar with Marilyn Monroe.

Well, we have reached one plateau, or perhaps hole in the ground. It appears that James Dean, with permission of his greedy surviving relatives, will rise from the dead thespian hall of fame.

 

A script about some Vietnam-era characters will cannibalize a few of his past scenes, dubbed with a sound-alike actor, to create, without his knowledge or permission, a new movie: yes, his fourth leading role, sixty years after he won Oscar nominations for East of EdenandGiant, will likely result in no Oscar this time.

Some fans are incensed, and others are utterly perplexed at how such a task can be completed.

Can Dean be colorized, animated, and computer-generated into a character he never heard of, studied, or believed he could depict?

It won’t matter because the notion is out of his hands. It is a new-fangled out-of-body experience. It might have driven James Dean out of his mind or sent him speeding off in a Porsche to his doom.

Nearly all of his costars are gone, and a few who lived long enough to entertain the misuse of their images in a post-death world, have left wills and other documents that will forbid any such action. Dean, alas, died long before such a notion was possible.

Dean will costar with other actors he never screen-tested, and it is impossible for him to create chemistry. He will be like a wooden statue in a department store window. Oh, his costars may be able to respond to his behavior, but he will be denied any chance to upstage them.

The film will be called FindingJack, and it’s entering pre-production.  It’s more like Finding Jack Spratt, as he is an invisible and hidden carbohydrate in a world of spaghetti film stock.

Oak Island’s Cutting Room Floor!

DATELINE: What You Missed Over Six Seasons

 Old Friends Meet at Nursing Home! 

The final “special” Oak Island pre-season show may be the most intriguing and interesting of all. This one billed itself as 25 moments you have not seen because they are the clips that never made it into the series.

That makes it fresh and revealing. We suspect that it may be the Gary Drayton show, as he was the one who found so much and knew instantly what it meant. His vast knowledge of archeology transcends scholars easily. So, we were prepared to find 25 moments of Drayton.

Alas, the episode quickly devolves into the antics of the Lagina Brothers, to remind us that the second bananas are not your stars.

Some of the incidents relate to tragedy, such as interviews with the son of a rescue worker who witnessed the deaths of the Restall father and son. There is also a visit with one of Dan Blankenship’s coworkers, and all of these were deemed not worthy of viewership during the series. So, we are happy that they are now included in the official record.

You may well wonder who decided not to show the moment they learned one of the bits of human bone 160 feet below ground belonged to a woman. You may also find exasperating when they find evidence that someone was chained to a post in one of the tunnels.

Bad news and unpleasant truths are avoided by series, and not to show the two black descendants of Samuel Ball’s visit to the island is puzzling.

In a lighter vein, there is the omission of Dan Blankenship’s 95thbirthday party! It was something that should be assembled in a biographical tribute to the man they praise not enough.

It certainly ended these pre-season specials on the highest note.

 

Wildest Bill Hickok

DATELINE:  Madison, Olyphant, and Bridges

Somewhere between the TV series Deadwood version of Wild Bill Hickok (limned by Keith Carradine) and the TV series Wild Bill(limned by Guy Madison), you have the version from Walter Hill and played by Jeff Bridges as the wildest Hickok of all.

As a Western on the tale end of movie westerns, this one is a classic mostly undiscovered. Wild Bill has a wonderful cameo cast and is filled with comedic violence.

In this version, Keith Carradine is Buffalo Bill. Ten years later he would join Timothy Olyphant in the HBO series for a few episodes as Wild Bill.

Here, the rootin’ tootin’ Calamity Jane is Ellen Barkin, and one of Bill’s Brit friends is a biographer played by John Hurt.

The bad guys lining up to be dispatched in colorful fashion include such as Bruce Dern and David Arquette.

Wild Bill traipsed through the litany of Western venues from Abilene to Deadwood, making appearances as a ruthlessly violent marshal who’d shoot you in an instant if the matter called for breaking lawbreakers.

James Butler Hickok found himself trapped in celebrity and became Wild Bill as a profession, requiring certain behaviors and attitudes.

The film, utterly timeless depiction of a Western legend, provides us with a conspiracy theory behind the tale. It would seem that the sniveling coward Jack McCall was, perhaps, hinted at an illegitimate son of Hickok.

You may find that the Olyphant-McShane profanity laced TV series owes much to this film—and it’s done with a modicum of the bad language of bad guys.

Tom Brady Assaults Media Twice in One Week

 DATELINE: APB FOR A&B (NOT ANTONIO)

Brady mask, life-size! 

Tom Brady just lambasted the media for making up stories about his desire to leave New England. It’s just “hype,” according to TB12. It’s a bunch of horse pucky from people trying to make money off the Brady name and legacy.

You mean people like Robert Kraft? The NFL? ESPN? CBS? MNF? TNF? SNF? You mean corporate types like Under Armor?

Yes, we would concur that all of the above named are trying to make money off the TB12 brand—not to mention his trainer, his real estate agent, and sundry souvenir marketing gnomes.

It was the second assault and battery on the media by TB12 in a weak moment. Maybe his patience is wearing thin, but we aren’t sure why.

Deflategate never bugged him like rumors of leaving Bean-town half-baked if you want a dozen Super Bowl parades.

As for making money off Tom, we wish we could hook up to that choo-choo train, but the milk train doesn’t stop here anymore. Flora Tom Goforth is about to go forth. Just call us the Witch of Capri. Our name has once again been crossed off the guest list.

Of course, Tom—the man who hides the truth under a thickening layer of Botox—never directly responded to the notions counter item that he is selling his home and his contract is up after the season.

He did not give an answer that re-assured, like he wants to play in New England until the end of the line, or that he even hopesto be back in the area next year.

That hope was hung out to dry with his TV appearance that mocked his owner, beloved Kraft of massage fame. As Tom complained testily, you dastardly media are reading metaphors into fiction where similes will do.

Oh, Tom, you coy boy.

Lost Newsreel Film of Titanic

DATELINE: But Never Really Lost!

  Titanic Survivor Millvina in 1998.

A little, literally only 30 minutes, film from 1998, we found it interesting and intriguing on several levels that might pique your attention.

It is really about a little old lady of 90 years living in England whose husband was a silent film projectionist in 1913. One of his favorite Pathe news reels was the limited footage of Titanic and the rescue of passengers. He kept a copy in a rusty old canister.

After his passing, his wife sent her son out to the garden shed to retrieve it, but he told her it was not there—and the old man likely tossed it away years ago. His wife simply disbelieved that.

Early in the morning on a Sunday, she was awakened by his deceased husband telling her that the film was in their shed under a bench behind some junk. First thing she did was go out there on Sunday at 6am on her hands and knees to find it.

The footage itself is not new: yet this copy was pristine. Most of the copies available were old and grainy. It featured a stand-in that the media often employed: film of Olympic was usually substituted for Titanic in news photos and reels.

The building of Olympic proves historical, but it is merely a stand-in for the more famous ship. Yet, many think it was Olympic that was conspiratorially used to replace the real Titanic for insurance fraud.

There are moving pictures of survivors, crew members, and of rescue people from Carpathia that picked up over 700 shivering survivors. There are also photos, grisly, of newly hewn coffins going out to retrieve bodies on the Mackay-Bennett.

One of the highlights is a chat with Millvina Dean, who in 1998, was the only survivor still living. She died in 2009, and she offers a few poignant memories of the ordeal—as related to her by her mother. She was only 2-months old when rescued from Titanic.

Only available apparently on videotape from Amazon, it is a collector’s treasure—and with only a few minutes of actual Titanic footage, it may be meant only for true devotees of the topic.

 

Oak Island: Strike Three, Pre-Season Seven

DATELINE: Another Dud Top 25!

  Red Dye is not #2!

Twenty-Five Moments? It’s like sitting down for those home movies one more time. You may want a glass of wine, or something stronger to bare those ills we have than discover the repetition. There is no undiscovered country in this special.

Well, weren’t those the same as the 25 great theories? Or the 25 great discoveries? You could probably package a few minor times as a moment. And, you could rehash the entire two hours from the previous week.

The notion that Matty Blake, the Lagina Brothers’ cheerleader, has to bridge each three-minute segment with some hyperbole is growing tedious.

It might have been interesting to have Gary Drayton, Alex Lagina, or even Charles Barkhouse, host one of these preamble specials. Of course, that would have given the second bananas too much attention. Instead, the radio personality that shows excitement over a licked stamp is the host with the most.

Could they not give us a two-hour biography of Dan Blankenship who received three-minutes of tribute in the first of these specials?

That could have been illuminating, given his disagreements with the other Oak Island pioneer, Nolan, or even with Marty Lagina over dowsing rods.

Instead, we seem to have a two-hour episode with more commercials than usual, but it must be our imagination.

As for the clips, we are re-visiting Paris, and there are repeated clips of previous research families. Mostly, there are pictures of the Lagina Brothers being “cute” or “meaningful.” Perhaps we have lost something over six seasons.

Yes, there have been three or four figures, including Dan Blankenship, who have passed on. These are among the moments. However, Number One is not finding the leaden Templar Cross! We won’t spoil the invisible suspense.

As for treasure, you will see the jewels, the bones, the scenes of the early diggers re-enacted, and on and on.  We are now at the edge of waiting for the seventh season to start, and this nonsense to stop.

Diana: New Evidence

DATELINE: Who Wanted to Off the People’s Princess?

When news of Lady Di’s death was delivered to our door with the morning newspaper, we told the paperboy, remember the day for a history lesson.

It seems over twenty-years later, the truth may still not be out, nor is murder out of the question. Once again, we hear Diana worry that her bodyguard had been done in to keep him quiet and ruminating that she would be next.

We also hear those who knew her stating that she was not prone to hyperbole.

A short documentary called Diana: the New Evidencedelivers the goods and the bad news. She was a beautiful woman, inclined to public display—even if it infuriated Buckingham Palace where she felt ill-treated.

Her stay at the Ritz in Paris in a suite once used by Winston Churchill and Herman Goering (not together) was typical of her derring-do. What she could not suspect was that her driver Henri Paul was a spy for MI-6, paid informant. He was also slipped some nerve gas to explode in his pocket hours before the car crash.

Whether Paul was really drunk has been covered up—and independent investigators either arrested or simply stone-walled. In video Paul does not appear drunk—and a photographer, also under pay of secret service agencies, bragged he was there and took pictures. He later was a suicide, though some speculated it was murder. It too was covered over.

Who on earth wanted her gone? Members of the royal family? the British military guards? MI-6? The list of suspects rivals any modern political assassination bureau.

Over twenty-years later, there are still official groups avoiding the truth.

Sam Darnold Sees the Phantoms

DATELINE: Ghost Hunters

If you saw New York Jest Quarterback Sam Darnold, of mono fame, on Monday Night Football, you saw a man spooked.

Yes, the young and callow big QB was mic’d up as they say for the cameras. He did not disappoint. When all the cursing is done, and whitewashed out, you had the tall drink of water having the worst night of his life. If you dismiss the night he caught mono…

He ended up with a QB rating of 6.5, which sounds nearly as abysmal as anything this season by anyone.

That conjurer of ancient gridiron spirits, Merlin Bill Belichick, apparently sent Macbeth’s witches to bubble up some trouble for young Darnold. Too damn young for being darn old.

The Jets main man said on the bench after one appalling interception that he was seeing ghosts out there on the field.

We, of course, believe him, as we have seen the power of orbs flying by at breakneck speed. These little photons of light are really the spirits of past football for Darnold, and they are making mischief that would do poltergeists proud.

Marley’s Ghost might have offered him some sound advice on how to deal with the Patriots defense that was fired up to deny the existence of ghosts.

Perhaps Hamlet’s fatherly ghost might have warned him of a coach would pour poison in his ear. That Jets coach was heard to tell him that he knew what to do. Apparently the coach did not know or have the number of an exorcist on his speed dial.

You can scare children with ghost stories, or conversely you can scare QBs like Josh Allen and Sam Darnold who look like giant kids playing a game of chess with the Grim Reaper. Shades of Shades.

Pasolini Undone

DATELINE:  Last Days of Sodom? 

Dafoe as Paso

Willem Dafoe tackles the infamous Italian director of the 1960s. Next to Fellini and Antonioni, Pier Paolo Pasolini is the darling of avant-garde cinema. His highly-charged political movies seemed to blame scandal and scandalizing on media and right-wingers. 

The movie is Pasolini,about a man who was the ultimate socialist on film. His movies from 120 Days of Sodom to Teorema were puzzling allegories that combined sordid sex and overblown intelligentsia. He wanted to offend audiences with pictures likeThe Gospel According to Matthew and succeeded wildly.

So it is with Abel Ferrara’s version of the film-maker’s life. With multiple languages, and layers of story-telling, this is Cinema with a capital C.

Dafoe seems to be nearly as outrageous as Pasolini as he was as Nosferatu.

The film is blatant in its crossovers, using a fictional version of Pasolini in a “novel” he visualizes with his actual life. This technique spares your major star from doing embarrassing sex scenes.

Dead at a premature age, it seems even Dafoe might be a bit long in the tooth for the role, but Terence Stamp, another good choice who worked with Pasolini, was definitely too far along.

The film tries to extract the genius of a director out of the chaos of politics, anarchy, and religion, that made up post-war Italy. It remains chaos theory.

Pasolini was the victim of senseless gay bashing murder in Rome in 1975, though the movie is far less graphic than the real killing.

Gothic Lunacy: Lord Byron’s Party

DATELINE: A Dark & Stormy Movie

 

Polidori, Shelley, and Byron, aka Spall, Sands, and Byrne

 

If you want to learn about the dark and stormy night in 1816 that resulted in the creation of Frankenstein and Dracula by Lord Byron’s pals, you might look elsewhere.

Ken Russell’s hothouse and nuthouse movie about Percy and Mary Shelley and Lord Byron is pure Gothicnonsense. As was the style of Russell back in 1987, you had a psychedelic version of biography and history. It is not satisfactory.

The cast is somewhat exemplary:  Gabriel Byrne as lame Byron, Julian Sands as pretty Shelley, Timothy Spall as off-putting Dr. Polidori, and Natasha Richardson as demure Mary! Wow, you almost expect the acting alone will carry the film.

However, the director hijacks every moment and even has cast members chewing on rats. We thought the film turned into that rat-festival moviel, Willard.And, inexplicable pythons wrap around suits of armor. Yep, it’s Ken Russell.

Instead of a dark and stormy night where these highly creative people choose to write great books, we have a literal ghost story. The demons are really around every corner. You almost feel sorry for the servants who basically take a powder during the latter part of the movie to avoid these koo-koo birds.

The summer without sun inspired the writing of Frankenstein and Dracula. Byron took credit for Polidori’s work, and Byron couldn’t write prose. The stepsister of Mary is around for crazy moments in which the sexual peccadilloes of the characters is tested.

We have more than your usual homoerotic connections between the men, including some fairly passionate kisses, but Julian Sands was never prettier. Gabriel Byrne seems to have bigger breasts than the women stars. Timothy Spall is actually slim.

The film becomes increasingly erratic and difficult to watch, as befits what did in the style of Ken Russell ultimately. We had hoped to see something truly fascinating, but not quite on the level of a train wreck.