Patriots Hit by Flu & Zombie Apocalypse

 DATELINE: End of an Era?

 Patriot Apocalypse!

Football fans of the New England Patriots have asked what’s going on!  Is it the zombie apocalypse? We have bad news beyond two feet of snow burying us.

After seeing Zachary Quinto discuss the fall of civilization and the end of empires on In Search of,  has it come to the Patriots like the Rapa Nui and Mayans?

We can only add two cents, after ten books of blogs on the Patriots. No, it is not the apocalypse. It is more like the inevitable enemy of mankind:  a bad case of the flu.

No expert dared to cite that nearly half of the team came down with the flu this week. The miracles of IV drips and antibiotics, and the prodding of Captain Bligh Belichick, made no man look at illness as an excuse.

There were two planes: one for the lepers who needed to avoid being cast out and cast off at 37,000 feet without a parachute. We can only imagine the Belichick cure-all.

We now have a view of the bleak future: based on the fact that on top of the plague, the Patriots have sent every decent receiver reeling out of Foxboro in a uniform of tar and feathers, with better contracts elsewhere.

Tom Brady is adrift and out to sea like the victim of an iceberg hitting the unsinkable Patriots. There was no room in the lifeboat for such a thing as Tom’s receiving corps.

Like the band on Titanic, the team played on while sinking with the franchise.

Can the Patriots recover? Not this year, and maybe not for another decade. This loss will hasten Tom’s departure to another team next year: one that will give him joy of playing for the few years he has left in this world of football.

As for the Patriots, the zombie apocalypse may be settling in at Foxboro. Remember the good old days when the Pats stunk up a storm? NO? Well, history is about to show you what it was like back before six Super Bowls, Brady & Belichick. Return with us now for the Keystone Kops aka Patriots.

It happened to the New York Yankees of the 1950s & 1960s, and now it is the Patriot turn of events.

Yes, Tom Brady Wants Out of New England

DATELINE: Better to Receive than Deceive 

 Unimpeachable Source?

If you listen to the experts in Boston sports, apart from us, you have learned this week that Tom Brady is greasing the skids to slide out of town at season’s end.

Tom knows which way the wind blows:  and it is blowing westward toward the San Andreas fault, where Tom can shake the earth on his own terms.

We must agree with the details that Tom Brady is done in Boston, though the bigger picture may be smaller.

It seems that Tom has two reasons to leave: and they are Bill Belichick and Robert Kraft, both of whom have left him stranded without a receiving corps in an annual denuding of first-rate players. Whenever Tom finds someone to his liking, that player is sent packing for reasons usually salary-related.

And Tom remains among the lowest paid superstars at QB position. Taking a hit for the team has grown tiresome for Tom.

It may be that Tom wants to prove, finally, in his golden years, that it is he, not Belichick, who won six Super Bowls.  If New England wants a seventh, he may provide it on the way out. The door may slam on someone’s ass—but it won’t be Tom. Bill Belichick will stay on. Perhaps Josh McDaniel, beloved Babe, will follow out west.

Tom can win two or three more Super Bowls playing for the Raiders in his hometown. Fifty may be the new retirement goal.

Then again, Tommy—and Belichick too—want to show they never needed the other to win the next SB. Unfortunately, they both do need each other—and only will a final separation prove it to them and to the world. Belichick will hold on until his son can become the new King of the Patriots coaching corps.

For New England fans it will be too late and a bitter pill. Tom doesn’t love you anymore.

In the meantime, Tom snipes at the Boston press—whom he has grown to dislike more than ever—and he and his best friend-trainer, the Svengali of TB12 methodology—have put their Massachusetts homes up for sale in prep for the next season in Oakland.

Yes, you can go home, Tom. And Boston was never home, even after 20 years of suffering through fame and fortune, bad weather and a hundred-fold of receivers.

Angel on My Shoulder: Classic Fantasy

DATELINE: Devilish Fun.

he's no angel  He’s no angel (Muni with Rains).

Harry Segall was the trifecta leader in Hollywood in the 1940s. You may confuse his three movies about death and the hereafter for their formulaic plots.

He loved the devil/angel angles and used them in Here Comes Mr. Jordan, Heaven Can Wait (original story), and Angel on My Shoulder. He worked at all the major studios and wrote exactly the heavenly tale requested.

Almost always it featured the wry, sly Claude Rains (one-time Invisible Man) as the spiritual or demonic force. He did these lighter films between a series of Warner Brothers epics with either Bette Davis or Humphrey Bogart.

He was always the scene-stealing costar.

In Angel on My Shoulder, he reverses course and plays the devil. Indeed, the opening twenty minutes of the film is delightful in its cynical and diabolic presentation of Hell. And, Rains runs his  corporation with a hot hand. He quotes doggerel poetry to great effect.

Without makeup, Paul Muni is the lug this time: it’s either a boxer or a gangster from the shady side with a blue-collar, ghetto demeanor. He is always saved by a beautiful, wholesome girl (this time Anne Baxter before she went to seed in All About Eve).  Muni foregoes playing a historical figure to be a contemporary crook for once.

One you leave the netherworld and return to the Big City of 1946, you have the usual stereotypic gangster idiots with recognizable faces from a dozen other films. Of course, he takes over his Doppleganger’s body (the virtuous Judge Parker).

All the bad guys are shocked by the change in the Judge to newly acquired thuggish lexicon –“Let me case the joint,” he requests.

He has been dispatched by a traitor fellow crook, Smiley, when he asks for his old gat and receives four slugs. “Let me have it,” is exactly the mantra used.

Of course, the love of a good woman changes everything, though the gangster cannot remain in the body he doesn’t own—and more deals with the devil are required.

Special effects are simple and kept to a minimum, mostly walking through doors.

Rains always transcended the material, and he does so here too.

Madonna & W./E. Against Us!

DATELINE: Material Girl Directs!

Andrea Riseborough Andrea Riseborough as Duchess of Windsor!

If you are looking for Madonna in her 2011 movie W./E., you won’t see her. She was behind the camera, directing it.

The film is everything you might expect—and is also totally unexpected. It may seem like Downton Abbey in Material Girl terms, but it is really a solid case of Woody Allen’s Play It Again Sam meeting Henry James and The Aspern Papers.

Two women named Wallis, 70 years apart, have what appears to be a paranormal encounter.  They are unsympathetic protagonists, but what the world hates, Madonna loves.

Back in 2011, the movie was widely castigated by critics as an overreach and under-achievement. Those tuning in to see the iconic woman will see only her stand-ins: the two Wallys.

Now with a few years passed, we can see W./E. as something far more interesting and poorly judged by audiences and the anti-Madonna contingent. The film is beautifully constructed and under-appreciated.

A modern 1998 woman is obsessed with Wallis Simpson and her husband, the one-time King of England.

Here the legendary singer stretched her wings to make a film about a woman researching the legendary love affair of the exiled Duke and Duchess of Windsor. Wallis advises her modern counterpart, as both women are rapacious and obsessive.

Madonna seems intent on showing the Duchess of Windsor sacrificed far more than her husband.

In Madonna’s hands, this tale becomes a curious parallel to the Henry James story called The Aspern Papers. The conceit is that Wallis Simpson has left some letters that explain the affair in more comprehensive terms of the 21st century. It seems the King may not have given up the throne for the woman he loved exactly as advertised. He made his wife a glamorous prisoner.

Madonna’s modern woman is flawed greatly, intense and refusing to be denied: much like the Duchess of Windsor and the Madonna of music.

Intriguing Abbie Cornish is the modern Wally, and Andrea Riseborough is the brilliant version of the Duchess Wally. This is a fascinating film on many levels. You need to re-discover it.

Zulu Dawn: Daybreaker of History

 DATELINE: Big Stars, Little Pictures

Epic Stars

Grandstand Stars in Peanut Gallery!

How can you pass up one of the last epic movies of Peter O’Toole?

Zulu Dawn was made back in 1979 to commemorate the British disaster of arrogance in the Old Empire in 1879 when spear-carrying Zulu natives beat the pants off of the robust British army in their pretty uniforms,

Not satisfied with riding 600 men to their deaths in Balaclava, and not to be outdone by the Americans with the Alamo and Custer’s Last Stand, the British class society puts its considerable stupidity on the line.

Great disaster events always seem to inspire epic movies.

We have to laugh again at Peter O’Toole’s sense of the uncanny, in asking “can he do it again?”  O’Toole was Irish, which certainly was a drawback that endeared him to Welsh best pal Richard Burton, but what they really had in common was playing British heroes with feats of clay.

In this epic that runs only two hours,  O’Toole’s job is to display all the tenacious idiocy of the British aristocracy. He is wooden in this role, but the film itself is like a totem pole on race relations.

The other aspect of the movie to make us scratch our heads was the top-billing given to an American star in a British epic of folly. It turns the screw on all those English stars playing Americans.

Yep, that’s Burt Lancaster, never too shy to stretch his accents. We love nearly every attempt of Lancaster in movies from Hemingway’s The Killers to Vera Cruz to Sweet Smell of Success. This time, the epic star of From Here to Eternity and Elmer Gantry wants to go up against Lawrence of Arabia and the The Lion in Winter’s better cousin Becket.

The movie also throws in Simon Ward, who tried his hand at epics like Winston and came up too short.

Well, forget it. This movie is workmanlike, like someone followed the recipe book and never added a pinch of salt.

Lancaster here plays the role of an Irish officer, which surely had to amuse O’Toole. Their epical petticoats were showing all too deliberately. He sounds like an extra from the Fighting 69th.

If you like to see the arrogant British colonial spirit receive its come-uppance, with a cast of great English second bananas (Denholm Elliott and John Mills and Bob Hoskins), you will enjoy this. As for us, we kept waiting for Michael Caine to show up. No, he doesn’t.

Between Two Worlds: Fantasy Ship to Heaven & Hell

DATELINE: Netherworld for Ossurworld?

betwixt & between

Betwixt & Between!

When Warner Brothers decided to make a World War II movie about the afterlife, they went back to the 1920s and took a Sutton Vane play as their vehicle, updating it.

Gathering together a back-lot cast of marvelous character actors and a couple of bigger stars of the studio, they fairly much put ten people on a mysterious, foggy super-liner going to both heaven and hell, which are the same place.

Ten people end up being the only ones aboard, including two suicides.

John Garfield and Paul Henreid were the drawing cards, with Faye Emerson and Eleanor Parker as the ladies. The film was entitled Between Two Worlds.

However, it was the supporting cast that seemed heavenly:  Edmund Gwenn as an obsequious ship steward (the only crew member on board) and the notorious Examiner at the end of the journey, in his standard white linen suit, Sydney Greenstreet. He is a hard judge for sure at the end of one’s life.

The story quickly sets up a death that no one remembers, and then a one-class byplay of rich and poor in the same main salon, eating and drinking together and coming to realize they are not bound for the United States after all.

Henreid is a suicide who recognizes his mortality before the others. They are meant to learn the fate slowly,  in their  own time and way. However, hot head  John Garfield makes short work of that notion.

The final judgment and reckoning are apt and harsh. You cannot buy your way out, and it’s too late for anything but a just reward, or punishment. This is one of those Warner Brothers movies to savor from the mid-1940s. It is a timeless tale of eternal damnation that would surprise Faust.

 

 

 

 

Trump on Candid Camera

DATELINE:    Pictures  of 1000 words             

warhol doubleDateNight?

President Bone Spurs, aka the draft dodger, and now liar emeritus, Donald Trump claims he has photos of James Comey and Robert Mueller up a tree, kissing.

If he has such pictures, they were obtained illegally at the least.

If he has made up this story, in the Mark Twain tradition, of great liars, then he is amoral and disgusting.

If he has seen fake photos from some odd Internet source, then he is a dupe.

Worst of all, if he believes that these two honorable men would allow photographs of themselves in compromising positions, then he is utterly deluded.

In short, he  is  totally  koo-koo.

However you  slice this baloney, Trump is a loathsome animal.  No surprises there.

There are likely a few Evangelicals who will defend this crap,

But Nazi punksters are everywhere in Trump’s  twisted world.

People  who live in White glass Houses should not cast aspersions before their first sin is revealed.

We have in our possession a photo of Mr. Trump in flagrante delicto with one Rudi Guiliani.   They have locked  lips   and Rudi is in drag.

On top of that, we also hold a photo of Mr. Trump out on a date with Andy Warhol on the way to Studio54 in their heyday.

Photos tell quite a story.

                                                        

People’s Princess v. The Queen

 DATELINE: Ten Years Later

Queen & Country

As docudramas go, Helen Mirren’s movie about Queen Elizabeth and Princess Diana is among the best.

Now ten years later, we took another peek at the film called merely The Queen, directed by Stephen Frears and written by Peter Morgan. It has that wry detail of Diana looking back at the Queen with an accusing stare.

We don’t know how the creators know what tears, angst, and emotions, were expressed when the Queen was alone.  Mirren provides all this and more. Yes, it surely makes an exciting and intimate film performance.

This is the best of Mirren’s many queen roles, and this is the best of Michael Sheen’s many Tony Blair roles. Blair has to save the Queen from herself and her noblesse oblige family. Mirren’s Queen is witty and ultimately practical, whether this is true of the real people in the movie or not.

Actors re-enacting surely provides powerful insights into the tragic event of Princess Di’s death and the reaction of Her Royal Pains in the afterlife.

We recognized an impressive Roger Allam this time, from his Endeavour TV series, playing the Queen’s personal assistant. James Cromwell is his usual acerbic character as Prince Philip.

Mirren has many stunning moments, such as her shock when the public applauds Di’s brother after giving her eulogy. The Queen’s speech left more to be desired, even with a great actress delivering the same words.

Tom Brady Does Dallas

DATELINE: Vindication Tour Continues

Featured image

One big surprise permeated the game between Dallas and New England.

Tom Brady was on his keester more times than the previous regular season games combined.

Hardy Greg, the womanizing beater of the other gender, seemed pumped up for a game of hacky sack—and Tom was in the bag. His sack runneth over.

Indeed, it was sack time—and Brady didn’t look to happy to have his pristine uniform soiled with the perspiration of the inspired Greg Hardy.

In the first half Tom may have lured the Cowboys into a stupor. They were knocking him down like they might win the game. Of course, once Brady developed his sea legs, the game was over. Sally can sell sea shells down by the seashore, but no one cans a tuna like Tom. The Cowboys looked like mincemeat on the surf n’ turf menu.

It was not a pretty picture for Jerry Jones on his mammoth Jumbotron. The man who wanted Tom suspended for this game had to look at the big picture—and his team was not in it.

The obligatory camera shots of the billionaire owners showed Jones looking bored and disinterested in the game. Of course, fans who came to see this exhibition spent a larger percentage of their wealth on a Sunday afternoon compared to Jones.

When Tom Brady spiked the ball after running it into the end-zone, he was a monster yelling at the crowd. Godzilla could not have done it better. All those pent up feelings over nine months clearly needed a release.  He seemed to scream at the Dallas crowd like he was a giant stomping on the papercutout village known as Dallas.