MacBird Outdid Trump as Caesar 45 years ago

 Julius Trump?

DATELINE:  Shakespeare in Absentia

We have seen many updated versions of Shakespeare over the years. Indeed, we enjoy seeing the Bard transported to new locations and timeframes. It often electrifies the message that has become stale to modern audiences.

We have seen Shakespeare set in Nazi Germany (Richard III), in the world of bikers (Coriolanus), in the world of independent film students (Hamlet), a corporate boardroom (Othello), and now we find a stage production of Julius Caesar in American politics.

The Shakespeare in the Park production makes Caesar a lookalike Donald Trump who hath grown ambitious. He has that chock of blond hair weave and an overlong red tie. He also has a bloated ego.

The man who would be emperor is assassinated by senators with knives, just like 2000 years ago. How much progress we have made in politics?

This version has created a firestorm, causing corporate sponsors to try to stifle artistic expression by withdrawing support. It’s a tempest in a teapot.

We think back to the Vietnam War days—and back then we must have been less sensitive because Macbeth was presented on stage in the form of MacBird.

That little ditty suggested that Lyndon Johnson had been behind the assassination of John Kennedy. In this cruel satire, without the Shakespearean tongue, the Scottish thane Macbird and his wife, Lady Bird, are party to a ruthless series of killings to rise to the top of the nation. Was Lyndon not born of woman?

We recall amusement about seeing a dumb tasteless play that presented President Johnson portrayed for conspiracy theorists  as Macbeth, but it did not quite engender the furor that President Trump has exemplified in a Caesar mode.

Satirizing politics of the moment has become a dangerous business. Just ask Alec Baldwin or Kathy Griffin who claim they are subject to social anger on social media.

So, too, Julius Caesar has created a debate—not about politics, but about art. To be or not, we’ll wait for the movie version.

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Becket’s Unspeakable Love Story

Becket Cavorting Adults

DATELINE: Burton & O’Toole in Epical Struggle

In 1964 came the extraordinary event of a literate play turned into an epic movie. This was the Hollywood version of Murder in the Cathedral.  The more mundane play version by Jean Anhouilh was called simply Becket.  Its Broadway incarnation was a legend with Laurence Olivier and Anthony Quinn playing the leads, and exchanging roles every other night.

So, the movie version had big shoes to fill. Director Peter Glenville went out and arranged for the two biggest stars of the decade to go head-to-head:  Welsh Richard Burton, fresh off Cleopatra’s couch, and Irish Peter O’Toole, fresh off an Arabian oasis.

Everyone expected fireworks, but the two stars actually liked each other.

The movie shows it. O’Toole’s Henry II is utterly hysterical, and funny too. Burton’s Thomas Beckett is somber and sly. You will first be shocked at how young they are: the dissipation would set in, like dry rot, over the next decade.

They enjoyed their roles because, as O’Toole said at the time, in two blockbuster movies he was allowed a love interest of camels (Lawrence of Arabia) and Burton (Becket). And Burton was allowed only Elizabeth Taylor as his love interest. So, it was a natural affair between the actors.

Love interest indeed!

The docudrama goes grandiose in damp castles and Sherwood Forest, as Henry and Becket are like smitten boyfriends. That was the historical take—as no one could really figure how the Norman king and the Saxon aide-de-camp could be so entwined.

In a series of long capes, O’Toole is flashy and a hoot—and Burton’s character becomes more ethical and somber. Henry made Becket the recipient of many gifts: deaconship, chancellor, and Archbishop of Canterbury, to win his affection. Alas, it never worked the way Henry wanted, as Becket began to oppose his schemes.

Henry threw a fit in which he basically said he was surrounded by idiots, and the smartest man in the kingdom was opposed to him.

Well, the Knights took that to mean they had to relieve their king of a strange affection. As normal heterosexuals, they figured, you kill the one he loves. It’s a British tradition.

Of course, it all backfires. Henry II did penance with flagellation—and made Becket a saint, literally, by church canon. It makes for a rousing adventure and fascinating intellectual thriller.

 

 

Return to O.J. Unnecessary

DATELINE:  Guilty Even If Found Not Guilty

Rick Investigator Rick Levasseur

Before there was Aaron Hernandez shooting up the serial killer sports figure, there was O.J. Simpson who slaughtered his way into fame after doing light comedy in movies and heavy sports in youth.

Now O.J. is back with several examinations of his alleged crimes. One is enough for us. The 6-part miniseries documentary/crime expose is called Is O.J. Innocent? The Missing Evidence.  Yes, some people think the jury was right.

During the course of an overwrought investigation, it became clear no one wanted to re-open this case. We were astounded that Nicole Simpson’s sister and Ron Goldman’s father stood for additional tormenting interviews. Were they paid for their time?

It was rumored way back at the time of the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and waiter Ron Goldman that the real killer was O.J.’s son. Yes, the story was a kind of Mildred Pierce in which the parent is willing to take the blame for the crimes of their child.

As hard as it is to picture O.J. Simpson as Joan Crawford in Mommie Dearest mode, he seems tailor-made to save his troubled son, or more likely to throw him away. On the other hand, theorist William Dean was hell-bent on finding the “true” culprit whom he labeled Jason Simpson, O.J.’s son.

With glossy production values, the miniseries documentary features Martin Sheen as narrator. Chief honcho William Dean selects two matinee idol types, right out of central casting as forensic psychologist (Kris Mohandie) and former police sergeant (Rick Levasseur) as his leg men. They couldn’t be cuter if you cast real actors.

Bill Dean has been enterprising for years: he took possession of Jason Simpson’s diaries and hunting knife out of a storage locker. It sparked his manhunt attitude like something out of Hugo’s Les Miserables.  He is a dogged Javert.

Showing up to provide insights include Dr. Henry Lee and Detective Tom Lange from the original case. They give both sides of inept police work. No one from the prosecutor’s office would bother with this investigation.

The two boy-toy crime busters try to reach reclusive Jason Simpson, and he is stalked by private detectives hired for the series, showing only a rather sad, downtrodden, and unhappy man, but is he a murderer?

Ultimately Jason Simpson’s time-card from his job at the time of the murder would prove to be the investigation’s high-point. Yet, we ended up nearly as disgusted by the rehash as all the surviving original people.

Was any of this necessary?

 

Acknowledging the Unacknowledged

DATELINE:    World’s Biggest Secret?

unacknowledged

When you make an audacious claim that you are about to acknowledge the greatest secret in history, you better have a good one. Asking the audience to suspend belief on whether your movie is truthful may be too much to ask, or asking for trouble.

Unacknowledged: An Expose of the World’s Greatest Secret, a production from an arm of the lobby run by Dr. Steven Greer, takes a big bite out of the American pie.

We have not flinched in the task of looking at dubious documentaries that bring ridicule from a wide group of the population when it comes to an alien presence on Earth. The biggest budget, most powerful of all these documentaries, came out in 2017, flying in the face of the dangers of having government black ops who may wipe them out for the revelations. Yes, there’s an annual black hole of billions of dollars going into the budget of black ops, with no control from the U.S. Congress. It is scary.

So far, the government has benignly ignored the most shocking, by its own boast, of all UFO conspiracy movies.

We can recall Harry Lime in The Third Man claiming he would think nothing of removing a few “dots” of people from his mighty and lofty perch for a profit. It would seem Dr. Steven Greer has found that attitude prevalent among a shadow government that runs the black ops side of the United States.

This intelligent and well-produced documentary features some horrific images of the 20th and 21st century that are not usually shown on TV. If the plan is to shock us into fear, they are doing a good job. It seems, according to this theory, “they” will erase you if you try to stop them.

The enemy is not space aliens if this film theory is correct, but a consortium of the military-industrial complex that does not want to lose its grip on profit from world order. Werner Von Braun warned on his deathbed that they would use an alien attack, convincingly staged, to keep control of the world by enlisting the public’s support.

Greer enlists an array of impressive people, out of the closet, to state the ancient astronauts are out there, waiting to help us combat those who’d destroy the planet for profit. It’s like putting a cherry on a mud pie.

You may also wonder why Dr. Greer has not been assassinated for leading the call for citizen outreach to the five or six extraterrestrial civilizations that are visiting Earth regularly. He believes the governments have been co-opted, if not corrupted, and presidents are mere pawns of fake news.

Clearly this well-financed movie documentary indicates that the true believers are striking back at the empire of billionaires with their own money.

This may be the ultimate movie about truth, justice, and the American Way. Heaven help us, but if we are waiting for a visitor from a strange planet with super powers to rescue society, it’s already too late.

Twin Peaks, Trump Plains, & Celtics Lows

DATELINE:  LeBron James as Laura Palmer, Trump as D.B. Cooper

glowing orb

Chicken or egg? We can’t figure out if the Trump Administration has prepared us for the new series Twin Peaks, or whether Twin Peaks has prepared us for the continuing weirdness of the Trump presidency.

When we see President Trump putting his hands on a glowing orb, we know there is a conspiracy of billionaires to control the world. Of course, it is merely a futuristic ribbon-cutting scene from the most recent Star Wars movie. Either that, or it is opening a gateway to an alternate universe, like the plots of Twin Peaks.

By the same token, we feel as if watching the Cleveland Cavaliers with the Boston Celtics is like knitting by Madame Defarge while royalty is having their heads chopped off.

On Twin Peaks, agent DB Cooper has returned to the northwest after disappearing for 25 years. That David Lynch has such a sense of humor.  So far, McLachlan has not rubbed any glowing orbs, but has kissed dead Laura Palmer (Cheryl Lee).

On the Celtics, little Cousin IT (Isaiah Thomas) and AB (Avery Bradley) are from the same neck of the woods in Washington state which happens to be the setting for Twin Peaks. It could explain a lot about how the Celtics are playing like Laura Palmer’s body wrapped in plastic.

Even stranger, we were amazed to see Kyle McLachlan and Sheryl Lee looking just like they stepped out of a 1990s TV show.  It becomes even more amazing when David Lynch has to inject a phrase at the end of every episode of the show that the episode is dedicated to the memory of one of the cast members who is now dead. We mean really really dead dead, like the log lady Catherine Coulson and the FBI agent played by Miguel Ferrer.

As for the dead Celtics, they are merely playing in an alternate universe, sort of like Twin Peaks 25 years later. If there is a glowing orb in the NBA, they better start rubbing it now. Lebron is no Laura Palmer.

Long Forgotten Executive Action

DATELINE:  Believe It or Don’t

 action

One of the most unusual of the early theoretical movies on the Kennedy Assassination was called Executive Action from 1973, a mere ten years after the event.

Already big questions had sparked big movie stars like Burt Lancaster, Robert Ryan, and Will Geer, as well as John Anderson (often chosen to play Abe Lincoln in movies and TV) as billionaire conspirators who want the President dead.

They select a patsy who is some kind of covert double agent. His name is Oswald.

Though the film claims to be somewhat fictional, it quotes Lydon Johnson at the movie start as saying he believed that John Kennedy was killed by an unknown group. This movie, made with the participation of early assassination doubter Mark Lane, is fairly courageous and breath-taking, even after five decades.

We must also express surprise at the stars who chose to play the men who want President Kennedy dead.

The film is no cheap, low-budget affair. It is well produced and directed by David Miller who made some interesting movies in the 1950s and was written by Dalton Trumbo, the famous blacklisted writer.

This returned Grandpa Walton to the bad guy roles that made him famous early in his roles, and Will Geer is notably sinister. This was also Robert Ryan’s final film.

The angles, once thought to be outrageous, have become more acceptable in recent research. The film may not be a genuine biopic or docudrama in the sense of trying to achieve 100% truth, but this may be closer than anyone thought back in the 1970s.

More than a curio, this film is downright compelling to watch.

Shot Down by History Channel

DATELINE:  Disinvited and Unvisited

Not faked

Just two weeks after airing the first episodes of their series JFK Declassified, the reprehensible History channel has pulled the show. It’s the ultimate political shell game.

That essentially means it has gone into hiatus limbo.

Though the show was mercilessly criticized for a variety of reasons, not the least was dubious history, and most often cited as having the most egomaniacal host, Bob Baer, the show has gone, disappeared like the gunman on the grassy knoll.

Okay, okay, we were in that chorus of boohoo despisers of the fake news that the CIA is feeding us fifty years after the death of the murdered president.

Yet, there is something unseemly about the way this has been handled.

History has killed the show leaving four unaired episodes. When they will appear may be as certain as the trajectory of a magic bullet.

They could show up in a month, or a year. Or never.

Leave to History to shaft their viewers. A few may have enjoyed seeing another theory, no matter how half-baked or made to order to exonerate the CIA.  Now, they will not have any satisfaction.

Perhaps it is better to be infuriated and disappointed than to have nothing. It is an appalling mistreatment of the audience and viewers of that cable lightweight, History.

Single handedly they have gone for broke on destroying anything legitimately resembling documentary.

If you want to know who killed Cock Robin, or even JFK, you might look to the people who have killed history for a profit. They run the History channel.

 

 

The Aliens Are Coming!

 DATELINE:  New Paul Revere Warning!

Ancient Aliens begins Season 12 with a couple of episodes that further the evolving notion that the ancient astronauts of lore were NOT benevolent. There has been a change in tone, and the early episodes now seem to be less happy that something is out there.

A new opening season comes up with the idea that Reagan’s Star Wars is a concept to protect the Earth. A base on the Moon, done perhaps with some helpful aliens, has been established to keep an eye to the sky for the bad guys’ return.

Indeed, there is a growing belief that the venerable series is now a pathway for the government to plant the idea that we ought to be ready for life on other planets. The 2017 episodes won’t say so, but hints that failed North Korean nuclear tests are the result of alien intervention.

The second episode of the new season turns out to be a classic of investigation and revelation: taking on a mysterious sphere located in Florida in 1974 (then mysteriously confiscated by the government). It featured atomic weight inside that made it extremely dangerous if drilled open.

Where did it come from? Perhaps it is explained by the discovery, revealed in depth, that King Tut’s knife has finally been analyzed—discovered to be forged out of alloys unknown in Ancient Egypt, perhaps from a meterorite.

And also in 2017, there is an uncovering of the Iron Wedge, located in Romania 40 years ago, and hidden. It was another alloy chunk of metal found with mammoth bones, dating back 40,000 years. What gives?

We are troubled when Erich Van Daniken and his wild haired protégé are shown an object, handled by the curator with gloves, and they pick it up with bare hands. It tells us all you want to know about self-importance and suspect science.

Ancient Aliens has plenty of theories, compelling us into the rest of the season of shows.

The Passover Plotter: Jacobovic Decodes Jesus

DATELINE:  Easter Egg Hunts

simcha  Simcha

Each Easter the usual movie diet includes heavy helpings of Ben Hur or King of Kings. So, this season we are going in for something a tad alternative.

Decoding the Ancients is a six-part series hosted by that Biblical gadfly Simcha Jacobovic. Though he comes across as an errant academic scholar, he is billed as an investigative journalist. The series may be called by other titles, but Amazon Prime is offering it for free.

Jacobovic is truly is a man with unusual perspectives on the Old and New Testament.

The first episode deals with Caiaphas, the high priest who sent Jesus to the Romans for crucifixion. Jacobovic’s theory is that Caiaphas took a bad rap from the gospels who needed a house villain—and the notion is underscored by finding the ossuary of the high priest in 1990.

Small twisted nails found with his bones could have been artifacts from Jesus, but have disappeared. Jacobovic sees them as keepsakes of the most important and only death Caiaphas oversaw as high priest. He must track them down, which is fascinating.

Subsequent episodes follow graffiti at Pompeii that reveals that Christian slaves were there—and already spreading their faith less than a decade after the fall of Jerusalem. Fear of God from the volcanic horror of Vesuvius caused panic among Romans who began to embrace the word of Jesus as payback for the sacking of the Jewish state.

In other episodes, Jacobovic seems to ignore the Essenes and Emperor Constantine’s mother who found the True Cross and nails, allegedly. They might fit his theories, but one is left that angles were not examined.

Another episode suggests that Jesus went to the land of Gad…in Spain, not Galilee. It’s intriguing stuff.

The shows are short and jam-packed with detail and clever investigative reporting. You might find your faith challenged, but more likely the shows will serve you well as gospel’s truth. It’s a definite change of pace from the usual Easter TV specials.

Conspiracies Unite with Ted Cruz!

DATELINE:  From Presidential Assassin to Presidential Candidate?

 

Just when was Lyin’ Ted Cruz going to tell the American people that his father used to hang out with Lee Harvey Oswald?

Ted Cruz is now officially radioactive.

Oh, there is photographic evidence of their liaison. It has been clogging up archives for decades. There is Rafael Cruz, looking like a Bobsey Twin of Oswald, as they handed out pamphlets in New Orleans. Cruz insists it was Miguel Cruz, no relation to his father.

Yup, Lyin’ Ted’s dad was one of the few members of Oswald’s little coterie, The Fair Play for Cuba Committee! Can we call for an investigation please?

Not long after JFK was assassinated, Ted’s father moved to Canada where the presidential candidate was born a few years after the assassination of the President.

We hardly want to suggest that the sins of the father ought to be put upon the son. However, we would like to know when Ted Cruz first knew his father was a pal of Oswald.

We might also ask how many of the Cruz supporters knew and decided not to reveal this rather curious historical detail.

Trump’s revelations have sent Ted Cruz into Bonkers State, whose delegates all wear strait-jackets.

According to Cruz associates and co-conspirators, Trump will announce tomorrow that space aliens have crossed the border from Mexico and have infiltrated Area 51.