Play the Devil, Billy Budd in Trinidad

DATELINE: Another Budd Movie

tormented petrice Petrice Jones, a Face to Watch!

Director Maria Govan’s intriguing character study will not be acceptable to those viewers who want someone else (director, actor) to telegraph who’s the bad guy. The film is Play the Devil. Govan is playing Devil’s Advocate.

You have to think when you watch this movie, and you may not be happy with your decisions. What seems on the surface to be one of those May-December gay romance stories, set in the poverty-stricken island of Trinidad, turns into Billy Budd.

Beautiful and naïve, young Gregory (Petrice Jones) is the promise of his family. Approached by an older (but not old) businessman (Gareth Jenkins) with plenty of money, he finds himself flattered by the attention—at first.

Here is a chance to escape poverty, receive an education, and live in indolent luxury. It is tempting, but the young man has second thoughts—and needs space. Perhaps he is not gay after all. However, his obsessed older fan won’t take no for an answer and begins insinuating himself into all aspects of Greg’s life.

Feeling more and more trapped and cornered, Greg sees how such a relationship will ease the burdens of his family and open up a new world for him. Yet, his stalker knows better—and insists that the young man is merely fighting his nature when he should give in to it. It’s enhanced by two remarkable performances by the leads.

You know this is heading in a negative direction, but perhaps you will not see how it must conclude.

Set against the Carnival of Trinidad where young men paint themselves in blue and act the role of devils, chaotically racing through the streets, you have a clear case of possession. You may not have just another gay movie here.

Director Govan is not making this easier with her parallels to Billy Budd, and her film becomes an un-gay parable.

Ancient Aliens: 13.4, Paint It Black

 DATELINE: Holes in the Plot

kaku Kaku Bird!

The latest fascinating episode in the series of Ancient Aliens theorizes that black holes, not gravitational ones, are all around the Earth as electro-magnetic portals.

The episode is entitled “Earth’s Black Holes,” and it hints that we may have had secret openings to pass through time and space right here on this planet, both on land and under sea.

Vortexes may be at the center of the dimension-shift, as in the Bermuda Triangle.

Heaven knows what can come and go through these doors to somewhere. Though the episode did not suggest paranormal, they were about two steps away.

Regular David Childress went on a re-enacting plane trip with a man who claims in 1970 he entered one of these electrical storm tunnels and was accelerated 2000 miles per hour in his little airplane to his destination. They hit turbulence, but don’t re-stage a trip through the Bermuda Triangle.

Dozens of black hole portals can be found, according to Ancient Alien theorists, all along the southern hemisphere and in certain countries. They even suggest that Moses was taken away for forty days atop Mount Sinai.

More recently, a young man from Deerfield, Mass., was gone for fourteen months—and returned with amnesia from his disappearing act.

We particularly enjoyed seeing one of our favorites, Dr. Michio Kaku, the notable scientist, joining the usual birds of a feather to offer his insights. He has legit and real credentials but noted that the line between science fiction and science fact may be thinner than you’d expect.

The latest season has had some boffo episodes, and this one joins the list.

 

Re-fighting the Battle of the Sexes

DATELINE: Gay Lib, Not Gay Lob

Bobby & Billie Truly a Doubles Match!

Many viewers may not know the story of Bille Jean King and Bobby Riggs and their ridiculously hyped tennis match of the early 1970s.

The earlier TV movie was called When Billie Beat Bobby. This new version is the Battle of the Sexes, but it’s more of a coming-out story.

Many may not know that an earlier cable movie effectively told the story with all the limitations of small screen propriety. If you wonder about the differences, there was no hint of gayness in Billie or her marriage. She had no bedroom scenes with a female hairdresser.

She did not have a gay best friend (marvelous Alan Cumming as Ted). She did not have a cantankerous relationship with Margaret Court in the first movie who is always holding a baby in the remake.

You did not see Bobby Riggs’ nude layout. You did not see his marital problems, or his hilarious attendance at a Gamblers Anonymous meeting.

You had a greater sense that Bobby and Billie were, above all else, “good sports” and actually remained lifelong friends.

The big screen smash has magnificent performances from Emma Stone and Steve Carell, looking more like their real counterparts. Carell is making an industry out of playing peripheral sports characters (Dupont in Foxcatcher). There are some marvelous effects too, bringing Howard Cosell back to life to play himself.

This is a big budget film with a great music score, pictures of celebs of the times, and the Houston Astrodome itself.

We recall the match was a grand joke, only taken seriously by those who’d be willing to buy the Brooklyn Bridge from Bobby Riggs. How could anyone think that old man could beat a young athletic woman?

Well, as we recall, yes, there were men crushed by the defeat. This movie brings it all back to us.

Westworld 2.3: Lost in a Tortured Storyline

DATELINE:  Where Have All the Plots Gone?What's My Line?

Playing What’s My Line, on Westworld 2.3.

If you tuned in a little late to the latest episode of Westworld, you might have to double-check your channel listings. It seemed as if you had stumbled into one of those old BBC TV series about India and the Raj.

Such is the nature of the tortured storyline presented by Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy. You may not recognize the characters, surroundings, or goings-on. We supposed that was meant to be part of the show’s confusing allure.

New, old, past, present, familiar, unfamiliar, are all fair game for the Worlds Beyond Westworld. We go from the Raj to the world of Kurosawa over the course of the hour. Welcome to the ever-new, ever-dangerous Samuraiworld.

We are reunited with cast members thought lost, dead, or reprogrammed along the way of the latest series entry. There is some relief to discover the actors still have jobs a few weeks into the second season.

Indeed, the Brit writer in the series, not of the series, played by Simon Quartermain, can even mimic the words the android hosts will utter before they utter them. Well, that’s the power of the writer, which is not saying much or saying too much.

In the case of Nolan and Joy, creative forces behind the tortured storylines, they had a lot of ‘splaining to do on this night and threw the Bengal tiger storyline out of the jungle and into the Raj for a viewer hunting for an irrational story.

We also learned the fate of the woman with the Snake Tattoo, now back with Thandie Newton’s tech workers as her prisoners.

At this rate the new season of episodes will end before we have established where last season’s minor characters have gone.

Perhaps, unwittingly, we and HBO have just signed on for the long haul of five or six seasons. Dolores Delos (Evan Rachel Wood) finds her old robot father and that his memories are not really erased after all, but have gone into some wild Westworld cloud, to be recovered by a tech wizard (android Bernard, Arnold, or whoever, Jeffrey Wright).

Yes, we are still here, but are finding the high altitude of Internet clouds are too convenient for lost souls of Westworld 2.3.

Science of Fasting? Forget Your Hunger Pangs

DATELINE: No Longo for Religious Fanatics

Dr. Valter Longo

A documentary from France delineates the heresy of American diet. Its title is rather bland: The Science of Fasting.

Doctors and researchers in the vanguard of American medicine have subscribed to a panacea that is as old as Yogi and prophets living in the Judean desert for forty days of deprivation. Stop eating, and you will force your body to cleanse itself and re-set all thermostats.

Twenty years ago, while playing chess online with a Russian med student, he told us to stop eating to regain health—and we laughed at the madness of the notion. Today, we are not laughing.

Yes, according to revolutionary science, the cure for diabetes and cancer may well be fasting: not eating your vegetables or nuts or anything else, for that matter.

The short documentary reveals that the old Soviet Union doctors in the 1970s stumbled upon the notion of deprivation from food as actually making the body stronger. They began clinics that featured the appalling notion of going without food (but plenty of water) for two weeks. It was done under close medical supervision. Don’t try this at home.

Apparently, burning up all your glucose in 24 hours leads to your body eating its own lipids (fat). People on fasting actually became stronger and had better attitudes:  survival has its benefits.

Most of the Russian studies have not yet been translated to English—and Big Pharma is in no hurry to cure patients and take them off medications.

At least one Italo-American researcher, Dr. Valter Longo, has found there are improvements in patients who undergo chemotherapy if they fast, in cycles, for several days prior to treatment.

Our own physician contends that fasting for two days per week over a month or so will cure diabetes. We are yearning to try it.

This film looked at patients in Russia, Germany, and now in the United States. If we can lock our refrigerator doors, we may find the secret gateway to health and longevity.

This film may be from starvation, but it’s one of the most revolutionary we have seen in years. We have hungered for a cure-all.

Westworld 2.2, Better Off Dead?

DATELINE:  Reunion, or Bring Yourself Back Online

Barnes & Simpson

Ben Barnes and Jimmi Simpson

The second episode should have been first. Westworld 2 was better the second time around.

If jumping across timeframes becomes easier with practice, we should have seen this coming first. Flashbacks highlight the episode to before the start of “Westworld” as a land of fantasy for rich players in which the prototype robots party in Contemporary World, our time.

We even see Ben Barnes again, killed by evil William at the end of the first season.

Everyone dead from last season is alive again through the miracle of backstory. We even see the young Anthony Hopkins flash by and hear his voice, warning the real Bernard/Arnold about his creations.

Ed Harris and his young self, Jimmi Simpson, seem far more explanatory this season and especially in this episode. We are even given the multiple level chess game of seeing flashbacks within flashbacks. It’s as if Joe Mankiewicz at his greatest Hollywood style had been reincarnated in android version Jonathan Nolan.

Yes, Westworld returned to the thrilling days of tantalizing its core viewers, as the ultimate tease mystery.

To see Dolores in modern times, given insights by her creators, lends understanding to the revolution of robots in Westworld.

A few stories even briefly cross before future episodes will give fans more insights: Thandie Newton and her beau automaton Rodrigo Sandoro meet the strong-willed Evan Rachel Wood and James Marsden.

Will they meet again? Don’t know where, don’t know when.

Jeffrey Wright’s real person (not his later robotic self) figures only in the opening. His future scenes of the previous episode remain inexplicable at this point.

Story arc of the first episode, less interesting, was completely missing this week—and the meat of the sadistic monster hosts dominated the proceedings. We may not fully understand where this is heading, or who will return again, but Nolan and his partner Lisa Joy have produced an intriguing series, season two

Brave New Westworld 2

DATELINE: Westworld Returns to TV

brave, new westworld? Re-programming Required on all Models!

Now for something completely borrowed.  It appears, as the second season of Westworld dawns, producer and creator Jonathan Nolan is returning to the roots of Sergio Leone’s Once Upon a Time in the Westworld.

The robot revolt has resulted in more guest deaths than we could have suspected if they had assembled the entire cast from season one. Dead bodies, mostly rotting, are clearly human.  The recovery team traipsing around the park finds Robert Ford, shot by the show’s cowgirl, Dolores Delos (Evan Rachel Wood), with a gaping hole in his head. That likely ends the theory that dirty coward Ford (Anthony Hopkins) was a robot.

Bernard (Jeffrey Wright), a closet robot, now must hide his identity lest the humans simply shoot him in a fashion reminiscent of concentration camp purges by the human controllers. He needs an oil job before he terminates.

Maeve (Thandie Newton) has saved Westworld’s script writer who is a human most unpleasant as she seeks a fictional child to whom she has some maternal robot feelings (told these are not genuine has no effect). She also locates her hot, lanky boyfriend (Rodrigo Santoro).

The Man in Black, a major stockholder in Westworld, and last season’s young man (Jimmi Simpson) in a parallel storyline, returns as mean as ever. Ed Harris even removes the Robert Ford boyhood model to show his true spirit.

No one comes across here as remotely controlled for sympathy.

Between the bloodbath scenes of innocent humans being shot by sociopath monster robots, we are somehow meant to feel human compassion for a slave revolt.

Shades of Spartacus.

We have met the human Roman Nazis—and according to Jonathan Nolan’s cryptic script, they are us. Whereas Nolan’s Person of Interest production people populate the cast and crew, we are left without that show’s sense of dry wit.

Last season’s smartest show on TV has become dumb-witted.

Confusion and horror are not the best honey to attract the busy bees of cable sci-fi fans who have come to expect intrigue and humor. It’s a disappointing start to the second season.

 

 

Reel History: When Bette Met Mae

DATELINE:  What Becomes a Legend Most

 Bette & Mae The Reel McCoys!

Yes, a young fan at an intimate dinner party made an audio tape of a conversation with Bette Davis and Mae West when they met in November of 1973. And, now that young man has produced and directed a marvelous documentary that re-enacts that meeting with lip-synch lookalikes.

What a treat for those who love the old Hollywood legends—and it’s the actual voices of the stars, played to the hilt of re-enacting.

Their pre-dinner conversation is dotted and interrupted with annotations about their lives and celebrity that comprise a little gem that lasts over an hour.

You might expect fireworks, but Mae only plays her famous Diamond Lil for money—not for social laughs. And, Bette does her Margo Channing with an endless punch of hard drinks galore.

In some ways Davis dominates—and takes on the other two guests who came with Mae West.  But, the two legends have a love-fest as they run down the old Hollywood studio system, imitators, and worthless men in their lives.

All this is enhanced with two marvelous doppleganger actresses in the roles of Mae and Bette—looking so realistic that you feel like you really are there.

Wes Wheadon was a young friend of Bette and decided to put the chat on an old cassette tape from that long-ago night–and direct it as he recalls. Now he shares that wonderful evening with a new generation. With Victoria Mills as Mae and Karen Teliha as Bette, Sally Kellerman narrates this delicious night of stars.

 

 

 

 

Trump’s New Idiot Cards

DATELINE: How to Influence People!

idiot list

To humanize President Trump, his aides now give him a crib sheet.

Yes, to help him remember how to be sensitive and how to conduct himself as a decent member of society, he is now given a sheet of instructions to carry with him in large block print.

All the easier to read for this self-professed “stable genius.”

Poor social skills are often the sign of genius, but in this case the lack of social skills may be more a sign of his lack of humanity. Trump is a human slug.

What do these cheat-sheet comments tell Trump?

He is to say, “I hear you.”

He should ask people, “What can I do to help?” We are not talking complex, hard-to-conceive commentaries. We are talking every-day, mundane, off-the-cuff throwaways.

Of course, there is no way to know if Trump will hear the answers to his comments, or even care what it is said. He may be on to the next point on his “top ten humanity points” list.

We may well ask who compiled a list of comments for him to make to those people who are not billionaires or millionaires, as he has often indicated he doesn’t think much of people who haven’t made a lot of money in their lives.

The humorist finds all these qualities or lack of qualities in President Trump to be fodder for jokes, but we also shake our proverbial noggin at the notion that we have a leader who knows nothing about how to talk to the people he purports to lead.

Trump doesn’t care, and neither do his apologists.

Oh, yes, Trump no longer has supporters. He must constantly be surrounded with people ready to apologize for his foibles, idiot character, and basic lack of humanity.

 

 

CNN Tapper All Tapped Out on Patriots

DATELINE:  Another Strange Bedfellow

 tapped out

Foxy Tapper and Friends

If you wondered about the objectivity of CNN reporters and on-air personalities, you now have more evidence of “Fake News.”

Maybe Donald Trump is on to something when he dismisses the journalistic integrity of CNN’s stable of political assassins.

CNN’s host with the least, Jake Tapper, after taking a paid trip to the Minnesota-Philadelphia playoff game, as a gift from the Eagles organization, then gave an interview in which he accused the Patriots of being “cheaters.”

Pardon us for asking if this is cricket, let alone football.

With an expensive bribe in his pocket, Tapper took his pediatrician father with him to make even a wannabe Dr. Spock complicit in his crime.

If you wondered whether Jake Tapper was dropped on his head as a baby, you now have evidence.

Can it be the outburst by Tapper is motivated by the fact that Patriot owner Bob Kraft, Patriot coach Bill Belichick, and Patriots star Tom Brady, are all friends of Donald Trump?

You may now seriously question CNN’s integrity, as the pot calls the Patriot kettle, black.

Interviewed on his own network, Tapper showed his innate idiocy by proclaiming on national TV: “The Patriots are cheaters, Brooke. The Patriots cheat,” Tapper said. “This is just a fact as established by investigations. They’re a cheating team … The facts speak for themselves.”

As if it were not self-evident about this truth, Tapper shamelessly labeled himself a lifelong Eagles fan, and he criticized the strategies employed by the Patriots.

We might ask the same about the strategies used by CNN.

Is it time to fire Jake Tapper?

Scorched Earth of Belichick

DATELINE:  What Follows

Saluting BB

Fans may be a little disconcerted to learn that, if Bill Belichick leaves the New England Patriots in a snit, he will destroy everything he has created and leave mere ashes to his successor, whoever that dumb associate is.

If you think Josh McDaniels or Matt Patricia is prepared to pick up the pieces, or capable of saving the franchise, you will not be surprised they are moving onward.

Scorched Earth will mean that whatever is left will be in a messy state: like an aging Brady and his guru Guerrero running the team. Doddering Robert Kraft will surrender more power to his dim-wit son. We’ve seen in other cases of primogeniture how that works out in the NFL.

Will Bill depart after this season, perhaps with yet another Super Bowl trophy, and return the Pats back to their pathetic Patsie ways before he arrived? Ah, yes, the happy days of Pete Carroll!

Look at what may happen. The Patriots will have a 41-year-old quarterback on his last legs. His successor-in-emergency will be Brian Hoyer, a man who has lost in seven franchises.

Coordinators Josh McDaniels and Matt Patricia will happily move on to other teams.

Front office genius Nick Caserio will leave for greener pastures.

Without Jimmy G, the Patriot future is bleak. Perhaps he will re-sign in free agency.

Otherwise, Brian Hoyer will mostly help the aging Brady on and off the field for the next five to ten years.

It was always the strategy of the Roman emperors to leave the nation in worse hands after his departure.

The logic was that the former emperor, now gone, will be much better appreciated if those taking up his job and his successors are deplorable.

Time and time again in Ancient Rome, the Empire crumbled because worse and worse emperors followed each other, rewarded because they would insure the previous leader was missed, appreciated, and honored.

There is no head coach on earth who can follow Bill Belichick.  The crying of fans will have just begun.

 

What comes in his wake when he leaves is the fall of the Patriot Empire.

 

 

 

 

 

Season 3 Episode 1 Looking in All the Wrong Places

DATELINE:  Reich or Wrong?

baer & kennedy Looking Askance

If you learned anything from the first episode of the new series, Hunting Hitler: The Final Evidence, it’s that the search from the first two seasons was off-base and out-of-country.

Yep, instead of South America, Bob Baer and his crackerjack team start looking back at the old Fuhrerbunker to see if they missed something.

Sure enough, they did.

It now appears that Hitler left his Berlin hole in the wall two weeks before the purported suicide—and Einsenhower even had such reports secretly delivered.

Baer is now wearing glasses (not sure if it’s attitude or real glass), all the better to find clues on his big computer screen. And, he ditched UN Researcher John Cincech, who is now demoted to the Tracking Oswald show. So, the ‘yes, man’ is now replaced with a ‘yes, woman.’

Her name is nothing that matters:  Nada Bakos, some kind of CIA profiler who tells Bob he is right every time.

The team now figures Hitler went south with the snowbirds and discover he had a 3-mile island of tunnels under his hometown hideaway. Leave it to Tim Kennedy to go through mucky holes and dive into heavy water U-boats.

And Gerrard Williams challenges the fashion police by continuing to wear an untied ascot.

Baer is using the same supercomputer that helped his track down Oswald’s movements, and they do have some quite intriguing discoveries along the way. The result appears to be the same: Hitler escaped and gave the world the air.

We love this stuff, but continue to be a bit uneasy that the Fourth Reich was, and is, still out there.

Oak Island Confounds and Taunts Its Treasure Hunters

DATELINE:  Season 5 Puzzles

affluenza sufferer  Move over, Greed

History buffs had a night to confound and impress with the latest fifth season episodes of The Curse of Oak Island.

Every wild theory found more evidence for its support and together all the most shocking hints combined to create a true treasure trove.

Oh, there were the usual dead ends:  finding a large square of earth that hinted at a treasure chest was immediately set upon by the hunters—only to reveal a big hole with nothing in it. The conclusion of the treasure seekers was that something was there once, but had been dug up and removed back in the distant past. They suggest it was black American expatriate Sam Ball who died in 1846 after becoming wealthy.

Adding to the general weirdness was another historian who revealed that Sir Francis Drake might be buried on Oak Island in a metal coffin filled with preservative mercury. The remains of the privateer of the first Queen Elizabeth has never been found. Might the metal pieces discovered belong to his casket?

On top of that, so to speak, is the shoe leather, later revealed through microscopic examination to be bookbinding. Did Drake’s close associate, Francis Bacon, bury secret and unknown Shakespearean manuscripts on Oak Island? That too is now in play.

Two distinct and separate human bones discovered at 160 feet below the ground in the same place were from two different men: one European—and one from the Middle East, according to DNA.  Middle Eastern body parts suggest Knights Templar and the long lost Ark of the Covenant—and perhaps other relics of the New Testament, which would alter history.

All these weird details hint at a treasure trove of unmitigated mystery coming closer to solution and discovery.

This leaves greedy sorts who want only gold of the Aztecs on the periphery of the treasure hunt.

Of course, everything is in shards and tatters, perhaps destroyed by hunting techniques that have left them unprotected two hundred feet below the surface.

We shall see if history is about to be upended.

To Goggle or Not to Goggle, Jaylen Brown!

DATELINE:  Jaylen’s Wear Daily Reports

 clark kent

Jaylen Brown’s eyes don’t have it. Goggles don’t make his brown eyes blue. Goggles have given him a headache and a black eye in the fashion world.

Brown’s fashionplate goggles have bitten the dust in Jaylen’s locker. We are back to contact lenses, limited to two to three hours per day. Jaylen has decided those hours are game time.

Apparently the intellectual look is not the best way to see eye to eye with the basketball. The Brown Green Lantern has tried three options now, and finds he prefers contact lenses, no matter how encrusted his eyelids may become after inflammation.

We first recommended cleaning the lenses regularly, or perhaps wearing a new, fresh pair of eyeballs. That can only occur after the infection heals.

Jaylen, a 21 year old smarty pants, is worried about the windows to his soul. If you look at those those big brown panes, you may see a young man in pains.

At first he claimed the goggles were constrictive, or perhaps he simply was intolerant about giving them a chance. Then he had a second pair made, that were too tight around his egghead. Loose straps mean more traps.

He ripped off the goggles and played with bad eyesight for most of his worst game of the season. It seems he could not see much—his vision being a big blur without corrective lenses.

Yes, we recommend playing with corrected vision, Jaylen. He barely could see the hoop the other day when he threw out all lens assistance.

Old habits die hard, and contact lenses are here to stay. If Jaylen cannot accept goggles, we won’t judge him too harshly. Even the Celtics Yoda, Tommy Heinsohn, said that Jaylen Brown played better without goggles.

The Green Lantern of Brown has bats in his belfry and a pointed noggin when it comes to the notions counter of goggles-to-wear. He has batted his big beautiful eyes once too often.

Fashion and taste are all important in basketball, if you ask the young man who likes to wear short shorts against the grain of fellow players.  Jaylen has so far resisted the urge to ask the advice of Jayson Tatum, his nemesis.

Is This the End of Tom Brady?

DATELINE: One Bad Game Spoils the Barrel of Apples

botox forever

 We don’t want to be the last ones on the bandwagon. So, here goes….

On Monday night against in Miami Dolphins, the fans of Tom Brady had their first ugly glimpse into the future. The crystal ball may be more cracked than a mirror in Brady’s den.

The TB12 Method has failed us!

If you wondered what an aging Tom Brady looks like in terms of football success, you saw it first hand in the catastrophic loss to the Dolphins on Monday night. It looked a bit like Death on Miami Beach. He could not convert a third down and his passes never reached their mark.

Back in the day when Brett Favre started to go sour, we believe something similar happened.

Is anyone thinking that Brady can age overnight like a ripe melon? At what point does the milk in your refrigerator actually begin to curdle?

Have we reached the curdling point of Brady?

In case you’re wondering about what happens when the Belichick Empire falls, Jimmy G is on the other side of the country on the West Coast, winning games there for the foreseeable future. The man sitting next to Brady is aging Brian Hoyer who couldn’t cut it as a starter on other teams. And, the future is Tom, whether he has lost the directions to the Fountain of Youth, or not.

If age has suddenly caught up with Brady and his magic elixir has run out, the season will be going downhill rapidly. We should remember that even the unsinkable Titanic went down in two hours.