DATELINE: IMF Gone Wrong
George Sanders Goes Out in Flames!
In 1970 if you wanted a thinking man’s spy thriller, you went to a film based on John LeCarre, and if you wanted a thriller with twists, you went to Mission: Impossible. If you wanted laughs, you turned to James Bond.
If Huston wanted to do Mission: Impossible,he needed the music. This movie version is rife with sex talk and use of sexual blackmail as part of the work habits of spies.
All these spies are retired and go by weird nicknames or coded identities. No matter.
So, it figures that John Huston would manage to straddle the fence and give us a spy thriller that has all these elements—and the imprimatur of one of the great directors: John Huston.
The Kremlin Letteris sheer, unadulterated nonsense with twist of logic that defies explanation. Yet, it is glorious in its location settings—and startling cast of giants.
You will see in no particular order: Orson Welles, Max Von Sydow, Raf Vallone, Richard Boone, Dean Jagger, and Patrick O’Neal, and in a career killing performance—George Sanders in drag.
We don’t know if this movie led to Mr. Sanders’ untimely exit in Spain shortly after making this movie. He claimed he was bored. Well, we never saw him offer so much energy than as a piano-playing crossdresser in a gay club.
There is talk about two gay characters hooking up: Welles and Sanders. That would have been worth the price of admission, but the film really devolves into one of those sex-talk double-cross twisters.
What has any of this to do with retrieving a letter that seems worthless (but everyone will kill for it). That’s the old McGuffin of Hitchcock.
And Huston had turned to appearing on camera by then—and again gives himself a role in the picture. No spies come in from the cold, and everyone has a license to kill.
We knew this was going to be a treat from the opening credits. Huston still had the juice in those days—and could deliver a real movie in a world of nouveau auteurs.
DATELINE: NBA Twits
File Under Inept Waiters!
Now and then we follow NBA nitwits on and off the court. We seldom follow Miami Heat anywhere, but when Dion Waiters criticized coach Spoelstra and ingested designer drugs making for a panic attack whilst flying with the team, we took notice.
He’s coming to Boston to play after a suspension worth a couple of million bucks. Maybe he can earn the money back by waiting on tables and receiving tips. We offer our tip right here.
Dion sang an apology to teammates and coaching brain-trust that sounds all the world like a statement from his agent/attorney axis. After all, fines and suspension took money and food out of their wallets and open mouths.
We know from the spellcheck that Dion Waiters never wrote that apology. Some low-paid minion earned his keep.
No one wants to provide real details about imbeciles, lest they be accused of discriminating against drug users and people with bad judgment. We are fearless in that regard.
When we meet a body walking through the rye, we know it’s a kind of Scottish whiskey on his breath.
We doubt that Waiters would be a winner on a team that contained players Bron, Wade, and Bosh. When you put a fly in the oinment, you mainly change the chemistry.
The rain in Spain does not always fall on the plain, no matter what apology/tune Dion sings, and we think as an ordinary waiter Waiters would spill our wry rye all over our spellcheck. Especially at 37,000 feet above the court at American Airlines Arena. It’s no slam dunk from outside the arc/ark.
DATELINE: Dangers of Dance Fallout?
If you don’t know the fancy moves of Gronk by now, you need a lesson in Dancing with the Stars.
In one of his latest publicity hound antics, Gronk chose to cheer with the Los Angeles Lakers girls. Yes, He prefers gold to Green, you Celtic fans.
You might recall seeing Gronk at games watching the likes of Kevin Garnett and Rondo, but that’s ancient history. He has grown into a first-rate Laker girl.
Those cheers you hear are not from the Bronx, but from the South Boston where True Believers think the Earth is flat and Gronk will return to the Patriots.
If Gronk wants to make a comeback, it will be in movies. He expects his latest film with Mel Gibson will be out before you can say Super Bowl hype.
Though Gronk seems a movie mogul’s dreamboat, he seems more to prefer spending time on Madison Ave. Quicker paychecks, fewer lines to remember, and more fans at the social media.
Like Marlon Brando, Gronk requires one take only and someone to whisper his lines in his ear. That’s why he prefers scenes where guns are blazing.
Every few weeks Gronk tells us that he has a big announcement, but it turns out to be a new product endorsement.
We are on record to wish Gronk stays healthy, avoids concussions, and has fun with fans and media. He remains a loveable lug, and we forgive him for exposing himself needlessly to Los Angeles TV producers who attend Laker games.
If you don’t realize that he admires Jack Nicholson and wants a part in his latest movie, you may not know that Jack—like Gronk—is permanently retired
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.
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.
DATELINE: Them’s the Breaks, Pardner
Mother Hubbard aside? Smile when you say that!
Return with us to the thrilling days of yesteryear when Marlon Brando teamed up with and up against Jack Nicholson to make a Western. It’s called deceptively The Missouri Breaks.
It was 1976, and both Godfather and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest were history.
What’s left is the new frontier of two highly-charged actors going head-to-head. However, like most of these superstar confrontations, the actual meetings are limited to some off-beat actors’ studio hambone. Brando actually has a small role and does not appear during the first half-hour.
Nicholson plays a horse thief whose gang falls under the observation of a “regulator.” It’s Brando in a dress and looking less zaftig than usual.
We may see parallels to The Left-Handed Gun in that adolescent world of cowboys because Arthur Penn is on board to direct the strange antics.
If there is a surprise, it is that Brando looks much younger than you’d expect, and Nicholson looks somewhat older.
You should expect the usual Brando laundry list: he has an inexplicable Irish brogue and other quirks that characters disdain (lilac cologne? walking under ladders?). It is doubtful they could have switched roles like Burton and O’Toole in Becket. When Brando inexplicably wears a Mother Hubbard dress, you figure Nicholson surrendered the prize.
There is some wry humor interspersed and some outlandish details to take the Western into the Far Country. In case you are wondering, the Breaks in the river Missouri can be found in Montana.
We cannot imagine that Brando and Nicholson rehearsed any of this stuff, probably trying to shock the other’s performance. Already Brando is self-limiting, but there is no later laziness in his performance. He is up against the high-stakes gunslinging Jack Nicholson. And, perhaps, he saw this as High Noonfor the age.
Since this movie cannot be enjoyed on any conventional Western level, you take it as a psychedelic trip down memory lane. Don’t even think about the symbolism of Jack pulling a gun on Brando as he sits in his bubble bath.
With so many desperadoes (Harry Dean Stanton, Randy Quaid), you can count the deserving bad ends for western villains. It’s a romp.
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.
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.
DATELINE: Gone Not Soon Enough!
Devils You Know!
Let us rant: we are tired of defending the indefensible. Walking out of a press conference as did Bill Belichick is not a legitimate response. Throwing Antonio Brown overboard the S.S. Patriots was legitimate.
Antonio Brown has now crossed a line even we have lost the heart and stomach to defend. Yes, he is a talented player who could guarantee a Super Bowl for Tom Brady and Patriots, but enough is enough. Robert Kraft chose to end the symbiosis before it became thrombosis.
Brown has now sent out tweets (reminiscent of another serial criminal escapee) that threatens a woman who said he was sexually lewd and offensive to her. What is worse he impugned her motives as wanting money—when she has asked for none.
Then, he tweeted out photos of her children. Yes, his accuser’s innocent underage children. What has caused this society to spawn creatures of such darkness that to pillage, to rape, and to shoot anything that so moves them?
We are weary of defending moral cripples and serial predators. We are tired of letting mentally-challenged slime-balls pass by the balls they catch because they might help a professional sports team win. There are no balls big enough to support such disgusting fiends.
By next day, he tweeted he was fired by the Patriots.
We are sick and tired of behavior that may be as twisted as ethics of modern money can buy. Yes, these people use money as a power bludgeon. We no longer want to support with our business and attention the works of people like Antonio Brown, or Jeffrey Epstein, or Donald Trump, or Roy Cohn. Yes, we lump them all together as moral lepers.
Invitations are not open-ended, and tolerance of bad behavior is even shorter.
If you don’t see a difference here, you may be an evangelical hypocrite, or a simple-minded sports drunkard who roots for the home team when it is the home-wrecker team.
Family values may not be our thing, but decent human behavior is. It’s time to put us out of misery: put Antonio Brown on the NFL “enemies list.” He has now thrown away millions of dollars, his career, and any hope of sympathy.
DATELINE: Brown’s Grade, AB Positive
sample! Not for Player Use!
Quiet! Shhhhh! The big secret of the NFL is the notorious nondisclosure agreement, aka NDA. You may remember that little bitty from Donald Trump crying about Stormy sex crimes. Your Non-disclosure agreement puts you in the high chair.
if you molest someone by grabbing genitals, you simply pay the victim a large sum of money to keep his or her mouth shut with a small stocking stuffer. NDAs are the ways to go.
That’s how you play footsie with a wide receiver.
Grabbing genitals is congenital in the NFL. But an NDA saves the day!
If you cry havoc, cry rape or cry wolf, you may have an x-rated Xmas while the gridiron is hot!
Short of murdering people on the streets of Boston in the manner of Aaron Hernandez, you could probably get away with quite a few garden-variety crimes with a few golden nuggets in your pocket party.
Don’t be stopped at a red-light zone by police for soliciting sex at a massage parlor! If you keep the bare rumpus in your home, you can keep the victims quiet by throwing large wads of cash on their bare bodkins.
Your signing bonus is primarily a tool for legal expenses in pro football.
Fear not, rapists or child abusers, there is a kill-fee awaiting at your favorite David Pecker-run tabloid.
We know NFL players are paid beyond normal pay-scale and most have water on the brain, so quantitative quantum finance means loads of non-disclosure agreements. That way the NFL never can hear about what might cause suspension, investigation, or exempt status.
Your next super bowl will be held in the toilet bowl.
DATELINE: Water on the Brain?
Gronk (retired New England Patriot tight end Rob Gronkowsky) gave a rather humorless presser the other day in which he made some fairly peculiar statements in layman terms.
He alarmed us greatly when he began to talk about liquids in his brain, caused by football injury.
In his own simplistic way, he may have spoken about a hideous condition that surely means he would be mad to return to football. He discussed the ways you may recover and find some balm for the body and mind after the cruel sado-masochism of playing a game that makes jousting in armor appear to be civilized.
Gronk used terms that reminded us of the old phrase, “water on the brian.” You don’t hear it much anymore. It was a misleading term about spinal fluids unable to flow out of the head region. Doctors mght have called it “hydroencephalus” many decades ago.
Today it might better be explained in terms of concussion sysdrome: that repeated brain injury that has led former players to die too young, too suffer too much, to kill themselves, and to become violent shadows of their pleasant selves.
We think of former Patriot Junior Seau. Some players have donated their brains to research. It is frightful.
Gronk admitted that his brain injuries have given him mood swings already. He is not yet 30. If anyone wants to encourage him to return to the place that is already making his future a nightmare, they are greedy, mindless fans of a bloodsport.
We hope it is still early enough for full recovery for Gronk, though we fear that damage to the brain has been done and even in healing there will be scars, both mental and physical.
Liquids in his head and water on the brain, the end product of hydroencephus or concussions, is the horror no one in the NFL wants to face directly. Yes, they are men paid handsomely for the privilege of being media stars and marvels of physical heroism.
The price, we fear, may be far more devastating. It might make young stars like Gronk a shadow on the Moon, like a werewolf or cursed creature of night.
We do not think his simple declaration about strange liquids in his head should be dismissed as a childlike and preposterous notion. It is deadly.
DATELINE: Half-way to the Stars?
Luis Elizando wants to uncover what is going on in the skies for a hundred years—and that is why he quit the Pentagon program that resisted investigations into these unknown objects. It isn’t a coverup as much as a denial of truth.
By the fourth episode of Unidentified, looking at the three released videos that raise all kinds of questions, the former Pentagon leader finds that two were East Coast encounters, not far from Washington. In fact, the young pilots (Ryan Grave and Danny Aucoin) risk their reputations to reveal that they were stalked by an armada of craft acting in ways that go beyond all aerodynamic rules.
Everyone wants to say these could be enemy on Earth vehicles. No one wants to believe that because it would mean sure subjugation by political enemies.
That leaves the unpleasant notion that no one in the government wants to face the inevitability of a smarter, more advanced civilization. Or, conversely, they know that these ships that stalk our nuclear-powered ships and their jets, even into war zones, are benign creatures or light energy from another dimension.
As weird as strikes everyone who witnesses these, there seems to be a reluctance to identify and to confront what they are. It could be someone knows what they are—and hands are off any confrontation.
As the show’s military-based investigators note, to cover this info up is a federal crime. But, the black budgets of top secrecy for decades may render that idea moot. These are not merely ancient alien believers, but men who want to move policy toward open discussion and revelation. Good luck with that.
Chris Mellon may want to shake his congressional associates and wake them like the Rip Van Winkles they are. That thunder in the sky is not elves bowling.
DATELINE: Another Oddball Western
Tony Meets Jack at Gay Bar?
The Western lone rider is the loneliest guy this side of the Maytag repairman in the 1950s.
After appearing as the despicable gunfighter in Shane, there was only one place to go for Jack Palance: revisionist hero from hell. So, he was cast as the good guy in The Lonely Man. This was a trend, as Ernest Borgnine had just transformed into an Oscar-winner after a villainous streak. Rod Steiger was around the corner.
In 1957, the way to do this was to play either a wronged teenage son or a well-meaning father. The James Dean phenomenon was at work: so, they cast Anthony Perkins as the fey son, long separated from his gunslinging father (called an ‘aging’ gunfighter).
Perkins plays it so silly as rebel with a cause that James Dean would have laughed. He likely would have laughed too that mid-30s Palance was considered aging as a father to mid-20s Perkins. It could have been Tab, but Tony will do.
Yet, that was the style of those days. Daddy didn’t know best, but he tried.
And, you use the baritone country music of Tennessee Ernie Ford instead of Tex Ritter.
Some bad guys are unremitting: Neville Brand, Lee Van Cleef, and Elisha Cook. They are planning on gunning down Palance first chance that comes their way. Elisha Cook’s revenge comes after Palance gunned him down in Shane.
Brand would turn goodie on TV within a few years, but it would take Van Cleef more than a decade to turn to goody-two-shoes roles. All are in their evil-doer prime here.
If you have a strong sense of homoeroticism in this movie, you are not paranoid. Palance “picks up” his son in a bar for the price of a drink. Perkins boasts anyone can have him at those prices. These guys are all interested in their male on male relationships over all else.
As a piece of Hollywood Western ersatz history, this film is a true curio.