How Many Oscars to Put Up a Billboard?

DATELINE:  Ebbing Tide!


Two major Oscars went to the star actors of Three Billboards Near Hibbing, Minnesota, or was it Ebbing, Missouri?

We think the ridiculous title seemed laughable at first, but becomes seriously apt by the end.

Frances McDormand and Sam Rockwell play borderline sociopathic and violent characters who are held in check by the small-town sheriff played by Woody Harrelson.

Audiences have been deeply bothered by a racist cop (who may be latently gay) and vindictive mother of a murdered girl who become, weirdly, sympathetic, owing to the brilliant performances of Oscar winners Rockwell and McDormand.

The audience faces a story wherein characters repent and try to mend their nasty ways. It’s not looked upon with much favor. It becomes far worse if they turn into outright vigilantes, leaving us with complete moral and ethical ambiguity. We seem to forget Bruce Willis has just released his remake of Death Wish, the ultimate film about taking the law into one’s hands, just to entertain us.

The Oscar winners are surrounded by other tour de force actors, playing small-town Missourians to the hilt. And, there were likely no other stars who could have played the leads: we doubt that Meryl Streep or Tom Cruise could have pulled it off with such aplomb or lack of glamour.

The story has absurdist elements that make for that most deplorable of all genres: dramedy or black comedy, with fewer and fewer laughs along the way.

Perhaps life is not so black and white as good guys and bad after all, but our movies usually refuse to reflect this. This film challenges its audience to live with moral ambiguity in their art, as well as in life.

This is the first movie in quite some time in which characters mention Shakespeare and Oscar Wilde in the same scene, among other quirks, making this the most intriguing film of the year.





God’s Own Country: Forsaken and for Rent

DATELINE: Intelligent Human Drama

 god's grubby country

If you want a movie that combines Brokeback Mountain with Far from the Madding Crowd, you have fallen into the sheep dip of God’s Own Country.

In case you’re wondering, God’s country is in the Northumberland section of Scotland where sheep are sheep, and men are men.

Johnny (Josh O’Connor) is an uptight, hard-drinking, unhappy young man living with his handicapped father and aging mother on a remote sheep farm in cold, desolate, and in a kind of run-down in the dumps setting.  He spends time at the local pub and local urban area and meets a fair share of attractive men, but he is miserable.

He falls down on his homestead duties—and his father brings in a Romanian gypsy-type (but don’t call him that). It’s hate at first sight, until one of those cold, desolate outings to the outback where outing becomes all the rage.

This is actually a fascinating little film, way beyond the ground-breaking of Brokeback and unlikely to be made in America where sheepskin is only for college diplomas.

Actor Josh O’Connor has a rough-hewn attractiveness, and Alec Secareanu is smoldering. They really carry the movie, as the cast is tiny and the lack of population doesn’t make for much company.

When the affair consummates, it enflames, but the drama is far more subdued and intelligent. At least we don’t have to listen to disco dolly music and fashionistas with witty repartee.

This movie is by director and writer Francis Lee and comes from a world of whence he knows. Though the characters seem to think they are in God’s beautiful country, they clearly need to take a trip to the tropics.

In terms of gay films for a gay audience, this slice of life with calves being yanked out of a mother cow, and lambs being yanked out of ewes may be too much for city slickers. It’s nature’s way, apparently, when out in the country.  It will be too much muck for some viewers.

Nutcase Shooter in Trump’s Camp

DATELINE: Trump Rallies the Troops

Cruz Trump Supporter

President Trump promised more federal aid for mentally ill people after the Florida shooter was revealed to be a troubled youth named Nikolas Cruz.

In his inimitable half-baked style, President Trump failed to mention the word ‘gun’ in his speech to the nation, but he did mention crazy people. He must have crazy on the mind.

This apparently was before he had learned that the shooter posted a picture on Instagram wearing one of Trump’s campaign hats, the notorious ‘Make America Great Again’ chapeaux.

Yes, you guessed it, Nikolas Cruz tried to make America great again by killing 17 people. Trump would not want you to know that he was a member of a white supremacist group,as well as a Trump supporter. That makes both Trump and Cruz two-time losers. Too bad we can’t deport those people.

Alas, Trump supporters are the salt of the earth and are genuine American citizens. Because the 19-year-old couldn’t buy a gun in Florida he went for an assault rifle. It’s much easier to shoot, buy, and use. He was partial to merchandise with American logos. Hence, he posted a photo wearing a bandana over his face with stripes on it.

As for more money for mentally ill Americans, already cut out of the health plan proposed by Trump, we think it is a good idea to have more money for the crazy people who voted for Mr. Trump. We can’t think of a group that needs more mental health than Trump supporters.

We can hardly wait for Sarah Shuckabee Slanders to rationalize this one.



DATELINE: Penknife Mightier than the Sword


Now read all your favorite blogs for the year in one handy location: your tablet, your smartphone, or your computer.


Now available, The Loser’s Edition.

Normally we compile a book of annual snide comments about the winner of the Super Bowl, but this year we change horses in the fourth quarter.

Now you can trace the sour grapes of Malcolm Butler up to the sacking by Coach Belichick in the final hours!

Now you can see the complete reviews and reactions to Tom Brady’s reality TV series and all its deadly fallout!

Now you can learn how Trump has poisoned the Patriot well of victory!

Now you can find the fake news about Gronk’s Hollywood career!

Now you cannot find much about Julian Edelman, but he still shows up on the pages now and then!

Now you can see how the Yalta Peace Talks between Kraft, Belichick, and Brady really came about and really went nowhere!

Now available on Amazon, cheap price, cheap words, cheap ideas!

Recommended for smart readers always!



Parcells & Belichick: Odd Couple

DATELINE: Two Bills & Lots of Sense

two bills

ESPN’s latest documentary is a look at the remarkable relationship of two NFL coaches who figure prominently in the conversation of greats.

Bill Parcells and Bill Belichick cannot merely be compared as winning NFL coaches. They actually have linked together and bonded in a variety of ways over 40 years.

To put them together at a table in the football Giants locker room and let them watch and listen to clips may actually be a device to give viewers fireworks, contradictions, and hostility. Nothing could be further from the actual event.

You may be surprised what a loud extrovert and a introspective quiet man have in common. They were never friends, but were always respectful colleagues—even at times when tense competition separated them.

What they do have in common is an irascible controlling attitude. It may boil down to the kind of relationship you’d expect between an elder brother and his over-achieving younger sibling. They were rivals, but under the skin shared too much to be anything but blood kin.

Parcells always regretted not being more diplomatic and less inclined to fly off the handle. On the other hand, Belichick admired the way his mentor could deal with the media and see the big picture.

It winds up being a mutual admiration society now that the days of fiery fights across the field have come to an end. They have played golf together and enjoyed dinner to reconcile their former differences after the Jets flare-up when Belichick declined to be drafted into a bad coaching situation, as the heir apparent to Parcells. A Greek chorus of football greats and witnesses to their flare-ups and cool-downs adds to the history lesson.

Owner Robert Kraft slips between them, owing to fancy editing by the director, and notes the complex troubles of managing difficult coaches. It’s business, not friendship. It’s living with a colleague for years and never socially.

The Two Bills is a fascinating portrait of hard-driven men doing what they love with people they grow to love.






Visitor from a Strange Planet? Or Time Traveler?

DATELINE:  Weird Photo 


We have begun to think that Trump’s Chief of Staff, John Kelly, is not who he says he is.

Kelly purports to be a local Boston person who attended UMass Boston before climbing the ranks to the level of General. Since the Trump election, he has risen to Director of Homeland Security—and thence moved to the White House as Trump’s mad dog, er, we mean guard dog.

Yet, during recent research, we have discovered a photograph that may belie the truth.

It seems John Kelly has a double who served on the Warren Commission—and helped fired CIA director Allen Dulles in that benighted investigation.

Warren conspirators

John McCloy died, allegedly, in 1989, but during his illustrious career as a Know-Nothing politician, he masterminded the idea of interring Japanese during World War II and restoring properties and money to the supporters of Hitler, despite the Nuremberg decision not to reward these people.

It seems that McCloy and Kelly may be cut from the same cloth, as Kelly wants to toss hundreds of thousands of legal and illegal immigrants from the United States. He may also be a witness to Trump’s recent racist rant, saying all Haitians have AIDS and all Nigerians lived in African huts before coming to America.

Can it be that Kelly is actually a time traveler who shows up at the White House periodically to weave his peculiar brand of politics?

What’s next? Will we learn that Kelly is also on the board of directors for MJ-12, the shadow government of the United States, that conspires to keep the truth about space aliens from the general public?

Photographic evidence is chilling.

Trump, Moore Chased by Frankenstein Monster

DATELINE:  Trump Rally at Castle Frankenstein

 trump rally

Called Frankenstein by Trump, Al Franken is now going to run amok in the world of sexual harassment. The monster will turn on the Republicans.

A confused mob once gathered outside the Castle Frankenstein. They look suspiciously like Trump rally supporters who are confused by sexual harassment charges.

Franken‘s resignation is the worst possible news for Trump and his senatorial selection, Roy Moore.

By resigning, Al Franken has the sweet revenge of saying he is leaving the Senate to make America great again.

In the moment Trump or any Republican criticizes or celebrates Franken‘s resignation, he is dead in the water. After the sexual harassment charges against Trump and Moore, those two political hacks come across as lesser men for not having the integrity to resign, let alone offer a mea culpa.

As a result, you may have noticed that President Trump has stopped tweeting about Frankenstein. The monster has him by the throat. The first thing Trump says about it may be the last.

The worm has not yet turned on Trump. It will. He, McConnell, Hatch, and other senators who allow child molesters into the Senate for political purposes and expediency are hypocrites of the first-order without any redeeming morality as a shield.

Women who continue to support these men are either mentally ill or so cowed by their low self-esteem that they have no respect for honesty.

Trump created a Frankenstein Monster and now it is about to throttle him.

Matt Lauer: Latest Sexual Outlaw

DATELINE: Boys will be Dogs

Lauer Rabbit Lauer, Lauer, Pants on Fire

Whatever are we to make of NBC firing Matt Lauer for his sexual peccadillo?

We may start to see “Wanted” posters in the Post Office that depict men who are dogs. Come to think of it: most Post Offices already carry pictures of President Trump, the Commander-in-Chief of P***y Grabbers.

Lauer’s crime is singular. Only one accuser has come forward.  We now wonder about all those women co-anchors that Lauer had fired for being difficult.

However, he has gone where others like Moore, Trump, and John Conyers, survived with multiple allegations. Last count had Judge Moore up to 8, Trump up to 13, and Bill Cosby in the stratosphere.

What surprises us is that we always thought of Lauer as rather neutered, like one of the boy-band types like Menudo, for pre-pubescent girls.

If you had asked us to put money down on the chances of Lauer going sex mad, we’d have cruised down the gay side to say he’d be caught with a boy.

It just goes to show that we don’t know who or what we have invited into our living rooms through cable TV. We know the FCC airwaves are polluted and the GOP wants to keep it that way.

Lately we hear that Trump now thinks the tape on which he sexually attacked women’s genitals in his heart is a fake. Tell that to Billy Green Bush who was fired over the contretemps that catapulted Trump into the presidency. Or President Bush, #1, who has two charges against him lately.

Politics makes for strange bedfellows: and most of those are women voters who have no problems with being enticing and seductive. Of course, when Angela Lansbury laments women bringing on their own fate, she is pilloried. Make no accommodations for anyone over 90.

We have pointed out that, once you begin to shoot dogs with fleas, you will have a genocide on your hands.



Down with Men

 DATELINE:  All Men are Dogs


Just today we heard that Senator Al Franken and Sylvester Stallone have joined the sexual assault parade. There isn’t a man to be trusted.

In regard to Man, that generic sexist pig, for years we used to say, “Don’t shoot all the dogs just because one has fleas.”

We now admit that we were wrong. It’s time to shoot all the dogs. They cannot be trusted around women. They cannot be trusted in any kind of polite society. Straight men are Deplorables. Even Trump is one of them.

They should be isolated like some virulent pestilence. Clearly it is time for Amazon society. We don’t mean the buying Internet giant. We mean a society of women without men.

Why, heavens to Betsy, gay men cannot even be trusted around other men. The last month or two has proven the point. Men are dogs. They should be kept in kennels, if not euthanized.

It’s the only way to keep women safe. Even if we put them in prisons, we know they’ll go to their own kind. They are like cannibals. They have voracious sexual appetites.

So sorry to say, women will be better off with women in all leadership positions. Women should have all control over everything related to men. Then, only women will assault other women.

The grand experiment of male domination has now proven to be a complete and utter failure.

Why hang on to the old way? Out with the ganders and in with the geese. Out with the buck and in with the doe.

Castrate the dogs and let the mangy Curs keep to themselves in dog pounds.

Edward, King of the Nazis

DATELINE: Royal Fascists

 hitler & edward

Netflix documentary on Britain’s Nazi King exposes, in more depth, the ugly side of the man who gave up the throne for the “woman I love” in 1936.

That was a pleasant, romantic diversion, but the leaders of England were far more concerned that Wallis Simpson, the King’s consort, was a depraved Nazi, sleeping with men close to Hitler. And, she had the oddball Prince of Wales wrapped around her finger.

Though Edward had a reputation for many affairs in his world travels in the 1920s, often with married women, Simpson revealed in letters that he was impotent—and only she knew the secret of how to arouse him.

It appears she was a dominatrix of sorts. It fit in with the crypto-Nazi beliefs she held.

Once Hitler began to become more aggressive in the 1930s, he sought the favor of Edward in order to install him on the throne when Germany won the war. Since Edward was bitter at the way his brother, King George treated him, he was eager to please Hitler.

When the war began in earnest, the United States FBI found the Prince of Wales abdicated his throne, but was giving secrets to the Nazis in his opulent lifestyle in Spain, and later Bermuda (where he was made a governor to exile him somewhere innocuous).

Edward spoke German fluently, and the family name of Windsor was a fiction adopted during World War I in order to downplay the Royal family’s Germanic roots.

The full story of Edward’s reprehensible plan to return to England as the puppet of Hitler is most unsavory. However, rumors that he might be far more depraved will not be found in this documentary.

Indeed, quaint notions of the FBI marked Edward’s friends as subversive if they consorted with black people in Harlem clubs. You wonder how much of the evil reported in Edward actually belonged to the eyes of the beholder.

Intriguing, this Netflix documentary will provide enough disturbing evidence to satisfy most that bon vivant wit Wallis and her partner Edward the King would have been a disaster.

Vote for Joseph & Mary’s Candidate!

DATELINE:  Dates for Pedophiles Hotline!

Judge Roy Moorespacey 

Moore likes them a year younger than Spacey’s favorites!

When Dorothy‘s little dog Toto realizes he’s no longer in Kansas, he comes to the conclusion he must be in Alabama.

What’s that sign post up ahead? You might think it says Twilight Zone, but it actually is the campaign headquarters where Alabama moron Roy Moore is running for Senate.

Mr. Moore’s against same-sex marriage, but he’s in full support of adult men going with young virginal girls. Crap happened when he was in his 30s. Back then, he went after little girls who were about 13.

To the everlasting shame of fundamental supporters of Republican Judge Moore and fundamentalists of the Bible, more and Moore supporters are claiming that it is his right to have sex with 13-year-old. This precedent can be traced to the time when girls went freely with older men.

Even more amazing, this Moore thinking is predicated on the relationship of Joseph and Mary in the Bible, according to one Alabama supporter.

Yes, that Joseph and Mary. Well, we can only say Jesus Christ.

Under those rules, we would suggest that Kevin Spacey and Charlie Sheen should immediately move to Alabama where they can pursue 13- and 14-year-old virgins in the biblical sense.

There they can live their lives within the Jeff Sessions school of justice. Mr. Sessions for many years has denied he’s a racist. No one mentions that he’s from the Alabama George Wallace School Of Standing in Doorways.

Like his Alabama counterpart Wallace, Jeff Sessions now stands in the doorway for anyone who wants to immigrate to the United States. We presume he would open the door for any old man who wants to chase a 13-year-old virgin.

So clearly the place to be and move your family is not Beverly Hills where you would run into rednecks next to the cement pond: but it’s Alabama.

Home, sweet home, Alabama.  Movie stars, judges, and 13-year-old Virgins.

Oh to be a voter in Alabama.

The Princess & The Gangster: Margaret & Bindon

DATELINE:  Truth as Shocker

bindon Snapshot of Margaret & Bindon

John Bindon was a 1970s British character actor who played a series of dangerous thugs in movies like Performance (with Mick Jagger & James Fox) and Man in the Wilderness (with John Huston & Richard Harris).

He was also real-life gangster in London, a violent shakedown artist. He mutilated and thrashed men and abused women. His acting chops were not far removed from his life on the street.

There was one big difference for him:  when he met Princess Margaret, the royal bad girl before Princess Di, he was smitten. She had a thing for younger men. They vacationed together in posh resorts and spent time in magnetic attraction. She never met anyone quite like the witty mobster.

He was a Jekyll/Hyde character:  he could be as witty as Oscar Wilde—amusing the Princess often, or as scary as Jack the Ripper—chopping off an arm of another mobster in retribution.

His life, as it was, is show-cased in The Princess and the Gangster—a documentary that reveals how Margaret, sister of Queen Elizabeth, immersed the Royals in scandal.

When it was rumored that he had compromising photos of Margaret in flagrante delicto—the British secret service threatened him with extermination if he were to breathe a word or sell the pictures.

When he went on trial for murder, someone pulled strings—and he walked free, the jury compromised apparently.

When he died of AIDS before he was 50 in the scourge of the 1990s, the crime world was shocked. Yes, he was known for his foot-long talent, which he displayed often in bars to win bets, but he must have used his prowess on more than the Princess and a few queens.

It is a staggering story, deftly told in this short film.

Who’s Crazier? Trump or Tom Brady?

DATELINE:   Tom & Ivanka Up a Tree

Winning five Super Bowls will convince you that you are able to walk on water. Not only that, Tom Brady thinks he can drink 20 glasses of water every morning to prevent sunburn and damage to his skin.

He is hydrated on life.

He may also finally be the victim of his own delusions.

It sounds like the man who almost became his father-in-law was Donald Trump. Yep, Trump wanted Tom to marry daughter Ivanka a few years back.

Brady’s biggest fumble was the romance with Ivanka, according to Anthony Scaramucci, disgraced former Trump aide.

If he had accepted Trump’s crazy marriage idea, Tom would be in the White House today, facing Congressional threats while his impeachable father-in-law readied to throw him to the wolves.

Tom’s special sleepware, his athletic regimen, and his special diet, would provide little assistance when faced with jail time for colluding with the Russians.

Instead of being kissed on the cheeks by billionaire Robert Kraft, he’d be kicked in the ass cheeks by billionaire Donald Trump.

By avoiding any trips to the White House, according to Anthony Scaramucci, Tom evaded an embarrassing contretemps with Ivanka and her backup QB, Jared Kushner.

You likely would never have heard of Julian Edelman if Tom’s nuptials took place with Ivanka. Julian who thinks watching Tom pass to other receivers is like seeing your girlfriend kiss another guy. Julian would be living on a Russian gulag if Tom had married Ivanka.

That would not be the life of a New England Patriot legend. He’d be in the cross-hairs of Robert Mueller, not Roger Goodell.

Instead of enjoying a bye-week on the secluded beaches of Costa Rica with Giselle Bundchen, he’d be in the DMZ of Korea with Trump who was defying North Korea to fire a missile at him.

On the turn of a marriage idea, Tom Brady proved he is not quite as crazy as Trump.






The Beguiled: Clint in Hothouse Drama

DATELINE: Back to the Original


With a remake of The Beguiled (to be reviewed separately soon), the 1970 Thomas Cullinane (a distant relative of ours) novel directed by Sofia Coppola, no one mentions the classic Don Siegel version. It was an unusual role for Clint, under his mentor director Siegel. It was a strange movie under any conditions.

A Civil War Yankee is given refuge at an odd girls’ school in the South where the genteel women are as gothic and grotesque as you’d find in a Bronte novel. Led by Geraldine Page as the head mistress and Elizabeth Hartman as her right-hand man, as it were, you have more sexual tension than suspense. Page’s character may be more than a victim of incest and more than a friend to other women.

In an age of heightened mistreatment of women in Hollywood, this film starts with Eastwood’s character telling a 12-year old girl she is old enough to kiss, and he promptly lays one smooch on her.

The women who give him sanctuary are hardly saints. Their menagerie of captured creatures includes a broken winged crow and a turtle, kept in restraints, like Clint’s Union corporal.

Siegel taught Clint something about character-driven movies, which have become better accepted than Siegel’s efforts over 40 years ago.

Now a new version ignores his ground-breaking efforts, though Stephen King was likely inspired by the plot.

When you cross Charlotte Bronte, Tennessee Williams, and Stephen King, you surely have something bizarre.

Nearly 50 years later, The Beguiled qualifies as an exhibit in the hothouse collection.

Shakespeare on Oak Island: Cracking the Code

 DATELINE:  Hooked on Oak Island Treasure?

With the fifth season of The Curse of Oak Island set to be aired with the perennial amateur archeologists, Lagina Brothers, we took in an international documentary that comes in the back door of Oak Island.cracking

A Norwegian-British documentary named Cracking the Shakespeare Code is annotation on the TV series.

Snob PhD, Dr. Robert Crumpton is a skeptic when it comes uncovering a conspiracy theory on authorship of the Shakespeare plays. His counterpart, a Norwegian organist named Petter Amundsen believes he has discovered secret codes in an early complete folio of Shakespeare plays that puts us squarely in the swamp of Oak Island.

Like the Bible Code, this documentary hints of a complex system that ties identity of the Bard to pagination counts and letter counting and geometric designs on the pages of a 400-year-old Folio.

Bizarre numerology shown in the documentary may have you scratching your head. After all, there have been 50 or 60 real authors suggested for the Shakespeare plays.

We are not so far removed from the notion that the name Will Shakespeare was a stage name, a pen name, or nom de plume of some other Elizabethan.

Indeed, most amusing of all is the idea that Queen Elizabeth is the father of the Shakespeare mystery, and true author of Hamlet and other classics of the “Elizabethan stage.”

Back to the documentary so complex and twisted that we wonder why anyone would go to the trouble to hide anything in this manner.  It is an enigma within a cryptographer’s nonsense.

The payoff for unraveling the conundrum may be the core of a peeled onion: nothing ultimately matters, except Shakespeare plays that stand alone and apart from any purported real authors: Francis Bacon and Henry Nevill.

These researchers ultimately end up on Oak Island, ignoring the famous cable TV series of the Laginas, who own most of the real estate on the island. The Laginas are most certainly uninterested in mercury-plated manuscripts written by Shakespeare. Rick Lagina does make a guest appearance here.

We wonder what kind of dimwits would bury documents in a swamp and think they’d be waterproof for a couple of hundred years. Why hide this stuff in the first place? Who knows? Maybe the Curse of Oak Island will tell us this season.

None of this documentary matters, of course, when you combine an authorship mystery with a treasure hunt. You fill two hours tantalizing notions and test our resolve.

To be, or not to be….  Ah, there’s the rub.

Stay Tuned: We plan to review every episode of the Curse of Oak Island this season, starting next week.