Hope Diamond: 45 Carats & Down-graded

 DATELINE: Hopeless but Not Serious

Your Best Friend? Cold Ice!

The Smithsonian Channel ought to give us some interesting stuff to view. We anticipated that the Mystery of the Hope Diamond might be that bauble of historical documentaries. Instead, they try to debunk their own information.

Ostentatious beyond all blue diamonds, yet still mysteriously cut down after it was stolen in 1792, the Hope Diamond remains a big draw.  And that is despite its legendary curse.

Blue diamonds are considered the least happy for those who want a date with carbon facets. This one, purportedly, served as the eye of an Hindu goddess unceremoniously snatched by a thief.

Yes, like King Tut’s tomb, the Hope Diamond gives its owners a run for their lives, and their money. It cost Marie Antoinette her head as she so admired it.

There are gaps in its history—long disappearances—as we do not know who cut the diamond down to its present 45-carat size. It once weighed in at 70 big carats.

And we can’t say that fool who pared it down was toast soon thereafter. We presume so, based on this pedestrian documentary astutely narrated by Kim Basinger.

Of all the intriguing details that pop out of this 46-minute featurette, it is that in the 1960s, scientists discovered that ultra-violet light has a weird effect on the diamond:  causing it to glow in the dark like a red ember.

Size does not fit all curses: speculators think size makes the red shine last longer than most diamonds sitting in the dark after basking in ultra-violet light. Who knows when it comes to cursed stones?

The curse may take longer than six months to hit the owner, but when it does, look out. It’s a tough nut for sure, about the size of a cheap walnut.

Right now, the crown jewel of diamonds is housed in a bullet-proof and bomb-proof case at the Smithsonian, donated there by Harry Winston because you can’t get a good price for the damn thing on the market.

The Hope Diamond is named after a greedy banker named  Hope, not Bob, one of its cursed 19th century holders. It now is on display and has as many visitors as Mona Lisa every year. Look, but don’t own up to it.

The film falls on its own lightweight when it tries to prove the curse of the diamond is fake news. Their expert insists only old people (already apparently facing death) have expired upon owning it. This undercuts their own information about the young family members who were collateral deaths from ties to the diamond.

This diamond is nobody’s best friend.

Holding a Grudge Against Bad Taste


Grudges aside


We forced ourselves to sit through Grudge Match, despite our desire to shut it off at various points.

Two highly professional actors seem hellbent on turning the clock back. Robert DeNiro and Sylvester Stallone were the epitome of boxers in their prime.

Greed forces them with the assistance of Kevin Hart and Alan Arkin to do a geriatric version of Rocky Vs. Raging Bull. Here they are shadow boxers named Razor and Kid.

The cutesy stuff starts early—with both men sharing an interest in Kim Basinger, their old flame. The film is at its best when it is parody, and at its worst when it takes itself to ridiculous ends.

We did like the montage of LaMotta and Balboa in their boxing glory films, and we found the photo-shopping of them fighting each other in youth to be a good place to stop the movie.

Alas, it goes on to the requisite major bout where two aging actors box for nine rounds to a sold out crowd, and with points to be made on all sides of the script. We almost guess that each star has exactly the same amount of screen time, down to the nanosecond.

If the film had stayed the course as a light satire of their early film images, we’d probably have enjoyed it much more. Training time is a take-off on the earlier bits by Rocky in every one of his movies. Yet, Stallone already did this in Rocky Balboa (VI).

We were reminded of aging Brando playing a godfather in a weak comedy toward the end of his career and life.

These may not be the lasting images we want of Stallone or DeNiro. Worse yet, they seem to take their images all too seriously at the climax.

We stayed the course till the bitter end, and are much sorrier for the experience.