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.





Wrap Up Oak Island: Stuff Dreams Are Made Of

DATELINE:  Like a Hunt for the Maltese Falcon


If ever a season of hope was upon Oak Island, the fifth year of the series dig was it. Yet, the curse of the treasure hunt was that hope may be their worst enemy.

As the team of hunters gathered at the end of The Curse of Oak Island for an assessment, we came away yet again with a great respect for 94-year old Dan Blankenship. He cut through all the discoveries and made a simple pronouncement. He felt 90% of what they found was on the surface, not under ground.

He wondered about the expense. Yet, he was also even as he comes around the bend toward a century of life, allured by the mystery of the place where he has spent half his life.

We went around the table at the faces of we have come to know quite well: Dan, the wise elder, to Gary Drayton, our metal detector, to Alex Lagina, the hot young nephew of the expedition leaders, to his bearded cousin—and a couple of historians who lead the scribe element of grand expeditions from Alexander the Great to Lewis & Clark.

Dumb luck was lost to dumb decisions, that made the dive team into a 75-foot shaft disheartening. The wish for a steel plate over a treasure chest is the stuff of dreams. If Oak Island is just another Maltese Falcon, we are satisfied with the adventure of it all.

Will there be another season? You can bet your Nielsen ratings on it.







Super Dooper Looper Scooper

DATELINE:  Old Meets New!

like son, like son

Well, if you asked us to watch a futuristic sci-fi adventure about time traveling assassins in the 2040s with an old star teamed up with or against a new star, you might think we would tune in to see the sequel to Blade Runner. Nope, instead we found ourselves in an endless loopy movie.

From the past of 2012, Looper has all the elements you’d expect: the old star is Bruce Willis who has a fairly good track record of finding unusual, if not intriguing science fiction films. The young star is Joseph Gordon-Levitt, whose allure remains hypnotic but incomprehensible.

In this particular pastiche of all your favorite movies, Gordon-Levitt underwent hours of makeup each day in order to look like a young version of Bruce Willis, down to the mannerisms.

The result is that Gordon-Levitt looks like something quite odd, but not at all like himself, our favorite young actor. Instead, he turns into Keanu Reeves!

If the director wanted to make an early version of the John Wick saga, he cast the actor to rival Reeves.

The notion of the plot has something to do with a younger hired gun (a looper) in the 2040s who must assassinate his old self from the future. Alas, the old fox (Willis) is smarter than the young idiot (Gordon-Levitt), and a merry chase is on.

If anyone thinks a pack of bad guys can stop Bruce Willis, they haven’t seen any Die Hard movies.

Along the way the movie turns into a semi-mixed up film called The Terminator with Willis out to kill the future leader of a crime syndicate who happens to be 10-years old. Of course, said future villain also happens to be an expert in telekinesis, which turns the film into an over-baked film called The Omen.

You can take parts of all kinds of movies and toss them into a Hollywood crock pot, and out comes a crock of a movie.

Yes, to our endless shame, we enjoyed it.

Twofer on Oak Island

DATELINE:  Family History Episode

Drayton Rising Star Gary Drayton!

On the longest of the five seasons of Curse of Oak Island, the series gave fans a grand send-off with two episodes back to back, before the finale next time. We find it hard to believe there are 104-hour episodes of the series, according to some History channel sources.

Though this episode does nothing to advance the treasure hunt, it may be one of the most interesting of the entire five-year history. For the first time, the series consolidates the backstory on all the hunters going back to the late 1890s.

The show is entitled “Family Album,” and it has a nice human touch to the families that supported the diggers and dreamers.7

Interviews with descendants enhance the narrative, but special attention is paid to Samuel Ball, an emancipated American slave who left for Canada after the Revolutionary War, and bought land on Oak Island, with suspected treasure he found.

The other intriguing figure is, of course, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who came to the island when his grandfather, Warren Delano invested in the latest scheme to find the jewels of Marie Antoinette. The allure of Oak Island never left FDR, even during his presidency.

The tie of wealth and high rank among the Masons seem to highlight the earlier treasure quest. The hints are that they knew something derived from their legendary ties to the Knights Templar.

The other intriguing point of the show is the explanation of the alleged curse—six have died, and a seventh must die before the mystery is solved.

The more recent families have re-visited the island at the invitation of the Lagina Brothers, and their appearances on earlier shows are re-capped with clips from the past five years. Of cours

Nothing earth-shattering, or bored from the ground, is here, but this turns out to be one of the best episodes in five years.

Last Great Elizabeth Taylor Movie?

DATELINE:  Grand Taylor Horror!

 night watch Liz @ Her Best

By the time Elizabeth Taylor reached the end of her prime, she ditched Richard Burton. Her first theatrical movie without him, after 11 extraordinary teammate movies, including the notorious TV film Divorce His, Hers, was something called Night Watch from 1973.

Now streaming for the first time ever.

This is vintage Taylor:  extraordinary wardrobe, great hair, jewels to die for, and a svelte damsel Liz in distress.

Night Watch is a paranoid’s nightmare.

As the rich and disdainful Ellen with a swish of silver in her hair, she does jigsaw puzzles and entertains her girlhood friend (Billie Whitelaw) in indolent luxury. Her palacial home, unfortunately, is next to some abandoned, ramshackle mansion that seems haunted.

As she does a jigsaw of Bosch’s painting of Hell, she thinks she has seen a murder in a thunderstorm across the garden. Alas, police think she is bonkers, and her husband (Laurence Harvey) isn’t more helpful, trying to find an old psychiatrist to commit her.

Before you can say Gaslight, the old classic about a mad wife, you may have Hitchcock’s Suspicion on your hands. Perhaps too the director and writer saw Barbara Stanwyk’s chestnut called Night Walker.

It’s all in the horror/mystery family, though this one is definitely high-end in its hoots & laughs quotient.

All while she suffers, Taylor’s insanity is a joy to behold. The suspects line up from every direction: former dead husband, his lover, a smarmy neighbor, a hostile housekeeper, and even cavalier police.

Who wants to drive her crazy? Or is she actually seeing dead people?

As the drama grows more overwrought, the pay-off is way beyond anything Taylor fans could ever desire. We loved every cliché moment. The ending was considered a surprise shock by most fans. Marvelous.



DeHavilland Renews Legal Fight

DATELINE:  ‘Feud’ Subject & Creator Continues in Court

Real Feud Feud

Just when producer/director/writer Ryan Murphy thought he had beaten the clock on the lawsuit filed by Olivia DeHavilland, the 101 year-old movie star legend, she has risen up again.

It’s back on, set for a March trial.

She, as you may recall, took umbrage with her portrayal and use of name in the infamously entertaining series Feud, about the relationship of Bette Davis and Joan Crawford.

Miss DeHavilland insists that no one asked her permission to use her image and give words to her actress voice.

That’s probably because Ryan Murphy figured she was already deader than a doornail, like the rest of the characters in his hilarious series about Hollywood’s most rotten segment of the Golden Age.

Instead, Olivia rose up like Marley’s Ghost, warning Ryan Murphy. Now she is demanding the trial be held at a university where students may attend to see the shenanigans play out. Talk about a sense of drama.

Whether Miss DeHavilland will make the flight from her home in Paris is unknown, as she is elderly and frail. However, her spirit is not about to be buried by the likes of Hollywood upstarts like Ryan Murphy.

Murphy’s lawyers insist that if DeHavilland has her way, it will have a chilling effect on making docudramas where old historical figures come in and out of scenes uttering misquotes.

His money is on Miss Olivia DeHavilland croaking before the case, and his inevitable loss to a living legend, occurs. Our money is on Gone with the Wind‘s Melanie Wilkes, the survivor of The Snake Pit, the vindictive Heiress, and the Lady in a Cage.

Another Day of Infamy in American School and Media

DATELINE:  Your Regular Massacre

Michigan J. Frog

The United States is now run by a bunch of singing and dancing toads.

While the History channel chose to show a series of violent TV episodes on Al Capone and gangsters like Bonnie & Clyde to celebrate Valentine’s Day, in Florida a real Valentine’s Day Massacre was going on in a Florida school.

Good call, History Channel. Set the tone for all of America.

In the real world, 17 students were killed by a gunman who once was expelled at the school for bad behavior. He learned his lesson, didn’t he?

President Lamebrain Trump offered empty prayers on Twitter, but lost interest when he found out the shooter was not an illegal immigrant.

Congressman Seth Moulton called on the President to get off his “fat ass” and do something about guns.

Donald  Trump, Jr., attacked a gay Olympic athlete for wanting to postpone meeting Vice President Mike Pence who advocates killing all gay people.

In Boston at an alleged sports news radio station, whose call letters are WEEI, but should be WDUMB, plan to have a day of sensitivity training for their yahoo staff of idiots.

This is the alleged sports news station that advocates attacking Tom Brady’s five-year-old daughter with insults, and offers Charlie Chan racial imitations of Tom Brady’s Asian lawyer.

This loathsome band of semi-talented buffoons typifies Boston sports, which typifies American politics, which likely spurred the Red Sox this week to call for action against the radio station.

Sponsors and advertisers are leaving in droves. On-air personalities are claiming they will be fired if ratings lag and are forced to act like fools for money.

Welcome to America in 2018. Happy Valentine’s Day.



Oak Island, Season Five Continues…

DATELINE: More Delays on Oak Island, S5 e12

march of time news

You know you are becoming a hardened veteran of the series Curse of Oak Island when you expect nothing to occur and your frustration level to be enhanced.

We could dispute every decision made by the Lagina brothers as being a tactic to string out the series for another lucrative episode, not in terms of treasure, but in terms of ratings. We presume the delaying strategy is part of the way to enhance ratings by keeping us in suspense and willing to tune in again next time for another chapter.

Once again Rick Lagina brought his fascinating cross to an “expert” researcher. This one, some woman on the phone, tells him that it is Phoenician and from 1200 BC. It’s not Christian, which seems to eliminate the Templars. Even Rick Lagina realizes this bad news in terms of a big payoff.

Told he has the find of the century, Rick Lagina still has not brought the physical object to a real expert. So much for clarifications.

Also, their boring drilling remains boring drilling. This time, however, they hit some oddly-placed hard surface that started breaking the teeth of their bore machine. It takes quite a while to decide to send a camera down to see what the matter is.

Wait till next week on that point.

They also go to the swamp on the Nolan property, now having permission after five years, to find another surveyor post that indicates the swamp was made by men to hide something.

That too will cause you to wait another week for results.

The season is drawing to a close, and you can bet your treasure pants you will be told to come back next summer. However, the next episode will be held back AGAIN for two weeks—just to increase your frustration.

Strange Case of Aaron Hernandez

DATELINE: Dead Man’s Tales


Celebrity DNA

Flash!  Jose Baez, erstwhile lawyer for the late Aaron Hernandez, has found a way to recover his lost retainer:  like so many sycophants, he is writing a book that is allegedly going to shock everyone with its revelations about his client who it is now proven suffered from CTE, the concussion syndrome.

Baez (‘Don’t call me Joan”) plans for his tell-all to come out in August. So much for attorney-client privilege.

However, as readers of this blog know, we have been on top of the Hernandez case since 2013—and were the first to report early on about the sexual peccadilloes of Mr. Hernandez. We even had the shocking photos to prove it that shows what kind of weapon he was packing.

Our first in the nation expose of Hernandez is rightfully called The Strange Case of Aaron Hernandez and is comprised of all the on the spot blogs done, day by day, as the case unfolded.

In our shocker, you learn whether the Hernandez mansion is haunted, thereby negating any number of sales.

You will learn that Hernandez may have been involved with the in other murders in Florida where he attended college with his close friends, the Pouncey Twins, not to be confused with the Bobsey Twins.

We endeavored to find the stories behind the stories: how Hernandez killed flies and put them in his prison food to demand a second meal.

You will only hear the theories about why Hernandez had to stop 2 miles from his home in Attleboro at a deserted industrial park to take a bathroom break with one of the victims who never returned from his ablutions.

Only our book compares Hernandez to Lizzie Borden and wonders what Tom Brady knew and when did he know it.

And our book, however tasteless and unobjective, is available immediately on Amazon in both e-book and paper versions. It’s in the large book format for easy reading and heavy lugging.

Why wait till August when you can have your cake and murder it too right now?

Check it out here.






Old GOATS like Tom Brady

DATELINE:  Satchel, Howe, MJ

 old geezers

There’s one in every sport.

Tom Brady is not alone, except in his particular game of choice.

Once in every great sport of major-league proportion, there comes in individual who seems to challenge the notion of growing old, who makes Destiny his puppet.

In hockey that man is Gordie Howe who is scoring goals in his 40s and 50s.  He even had the chutzpah to stick around until he could play hockey with his grown sons as professionals.

In basketball, the man is Michael Jordan who at age 40 scored 40 points in a game. He could not retire until a third attempt at leaving hoops.

In baseball, the man is Satchel Paige who was a MLB Rookie at age 47 and who pitched three innings against the Red Sox at age 59 allowed only one hit. Luis Tiant was his teammate in Cleveland.

So, fans, Tom Brady is in fine company. At age 40 he is leading his team to another Super Bowl.

What did these men have in common?

They could never retire, never wanted to leave the game, never admitted admitted time was the greatest enemy who could win against them. They were obsessed with their game. To them playing their game was a Religion and each of them was a high priest in the arts of sport.

To be allowed to observe and to follow one of these special careers and individuals does not happen often, as you can see from each sport’s history.

Today, in football of the NFL, you are a witness to something that happens only in several generations, and only once in the sport in a hundred years.

You will not see their likes again. And, Tom Brady is not done.





Wry Catcher: Why J.D. Salinger?

DATELINE:   Movie Bio

REAL SALINGER Angry Salinger Wants to be Alone

Director Danny Strong joins a list of people who are violating every standard that J.D. Salinger lived by. He hated publicity and adoration of koo-koo bird fans.

You could say the new movie of Salinger’s life Rebel in the Rye is nothing short of a misnomer, however well-intended and well-done.

We are always impressed with Nicholas Hoult, who again here, gives us an American New Yorker accent and a man who lost his mind in World War II after seeing horror up close. The British actor has turned into a new nationality in his movie roles, and adds brown contact lenses to cover up those startling blue eyes that he is famous for. It is another superior performance in a growing litany of interesting films.

The movie has one big problem: Kevin Spacey. He plays the mentor and admirer of Salinger, editor and discoverer Whit Burnett, who seems almost to have a fetish when it comes to his prize pupil. Alas, Spacey’s personal history almost circumvents the movie and makes us think he was groping Nick Hoult between scenes, or that Burnett was groping Salinger. Yikes.

The producers have left Spacey’s name off the publicity because it’s such a turnoff. Not everyone has Ridley Scott’s money to simply replace Spacey with computer effects.

It’s a shame because Spacey’s presence does distract, though his performance is brilliant—and the movie proceeds on its mission to present us with a writer who loved to write, but hated his readers.

Salinger was no genius, but he had his finger on the pulse of Zen Buddhist seclusion. The attempt to turn him into his own character, Holden Caulfield, seems a bit forced. Boswell was not Sam Johnson, though he wrote about him.

The film is worth it for fans of Salinger, even if they are not wearing red hunting caps and stalking writers who hide out in New Hampshire.

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.

Fincher’s Movie Zodiac in Contrast to History TV

DATELINE:  Docudrama Versus Reality TV

 Fincher style Gyllenhaal & Downey Play Detectives

The new series on History inspired us to go back to 2007 and see what David Fincher did in his big budget, all-star movie called Zodiac.

Suffice it to say, there is some overlap: and the series claims to have discovered an earlier killing by Zodiac at UCLA that was shown ten years earlier in the Fincher film version.

Of course, Fincher uses poetic license to personalize victims and their final conversations; we have no idea what was really said, but his version is fairly likely.

The movie uses big stars in rotating coverage: the newspaper cynical reporter is Robert Downey, Jr., who calls Zodiac a latent homosexual—and then fears for his life that he will be a target.

Mark Ruffalo is the San Francisco detective in full 1960s fashion mode, and quite amusing. Brian Cox steals every scene playing flamboyant attorney Melvin Belli.

The most important character is Jake Gyllenhaal’s Chronicle cartoonist who is an amateur sleuth and is equal to the trivia that Zodiac was fond of using. He notes that Richard Connell story, “Most Dangerous Game” that Zodiac admires—but the movie never did its homework. The story was a short story, not a book.

You may well wonder at the enormous stupidity of everyone at the newspaper, passing around evidence and ruining fingerprints, etc., with nary a thought. And you may wonder why a cartoonist is at the high-level meetings. Described as a “retard” and “Boy Scout,” throughout the film, Gyllenhaal looks like he is auditioning for his next role as a gay cowboy.

If you haven’t had your fill of demented serial killers (called mass murderer in the movie), then you might want to annotate the TV series with a first-rate movie.

Hunting for Zodiac Killer: History (s1) for Openers

DATELINE: Armchair Detectives

 zodiac killer Purported Zodiac Killer

Whether you’re hunting for Hitler or cursing Oak Island, you know you must have clicked onto the streaming History channel.

Their first season of Hunt for the Zodiac Killer delivers exactly what you come to expect from the cable TV’s pop history purveyors. That’s not necessarily a bad thing if you like your reality stars always self-congratulating each other for their brilliant detective skills.

If The Hunt for the Zodiac Killer sounds like one of those fake news documentaries, you probably would be right. Yet, it is a cold case and being insoluable should not mean it is not ripe for re-examination.

Fifty years after the legendary1960s serial murderer unofficially killed 37 innocent people and left a calling card of cryptological taunts with a unbreakable code, the network has assembled a reality show with a formula that can’t miss entertaining fans of psycho monsters running amok.

These researchers give Zodiac his due—and find even more victims to offer History Channel and history buffs.

When you put two retired homicide detectives in the field doing legwork like Sam spade and Philip Marlowe, then match them with a couple of cryptographical scientists and nerds with computers, you stir deliberately.

You have suddenly a fascinating show.

The gum shoes and the nerds play ping-pong with the clues. We keep telling ourselves that a supercomputer that has been programmed to think and act like a serial killer is not a good idea.

We keep wondering when the computer will turn into the Forbin Project supercomputer  or HAL from 2001. Then again, the Zodiac maniac seems even brighter than Carmel, the computerized serial killer finder.

Before you know it, you may be hooked on the revelations. Several police departments refused to cooperate, at their own peril. They look like impediments to the crime solving.

By turning the zodiac killer into a mad genius, the show has a winning formula – and a frightening one.


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.