Yesterday, July 30th, was the anniversary of the sinking of the USS Indianapolis, the ship that delivered the first atomic bomb to Tinian Island at the end of WWII. Whenever I think of this I am reminded of Robert Shaw as the fisherman, Quint in Jaws. In a retrospective on the movie it was revealed that his chilling monologue about being aboard the Indianapolis was done in a pair of takes after the actor had first read up on the incident, then, quite typically, got thoroughly drunk and just rattled it out.
Film critic Roger Ebert has died.
As someone who came of age in the 1980s in the Chicago area, I remember him and Gene Siskel being the first regular movie critics I ever watched on television. To be honest I more often disagreed with Ebert than I did his late cohost Siskel, and sometimes I felt Ebert let his politics intrude too deeply into his views of various movies–but at least he was honest and straightforward about this most of the time, which was a plus. In any case his criticisms were generally thoughtful and often funny, and he had a deep impact on me as a young man who wanted to understand and think about movies rather than just watch and enjoy them.
It’s a funny thing when we hit middle age (I’ll be 47 this year) and we start to see icons from our youth pass away; it reminds you of your own mortality and it feels like parts of your past are slipping away, even when it’s people you have never met and never expected to.
I’m not sure we’ll ever see a film critic of the impact of Roger Ebert again, if only because the media landscape has changed so much; when he first hit the airwaves, cable TV was a rarity and most of the time there was only handful of TV stations to choose from. Thus the ability of one person to be known by practically everybody was much greater than today. Although I don’t think of Ebert as a “great” intellectual per se, he was an intellectual, who brought that intellect to the movies and shared it with the audience, so whether you agreed with him or not you almost always knew where he was coming from. Even if you disagreed with him, you wanted to argue with him rather than just say he was wrong. He challenged his readers that way, and I appreciated that about him. Today, everybody’s a critic, and between hundreds of TV channels and millions of YouTube channels, I don’t think you’ll ever see a critic of that kind of stature again. And in any case, he was by all accounts a good man, and he taught me a lot about what I liked and disliked in movies. He will be missed.
Having George Lucas hand the torch off may be the best thing for Star Wars fans since the original trilogy came out. Let’s hope they don’t mess it up.
Benedict Cumberbatch, who plays the villain, is a brilliant actor by the way.
So. I saw Skyfall last night with my eldest son. Neither of us is all that into the whole James Bond thing, but we both really liked it a lot. I’d have to say it’s the best 007 film I’ve ever seen, honestly.
Disney buys LucasArts and promises a new Star Wars film in 2014 or so.
Don’t tell me you didn’t know already! Lets discuss/complain/celebrate.
*Update*: Since someone on Facebook asked, while most of the threats and vile abuse were taken down, some of the sexually-derogatory language thrown at Marshall Fine included ”you f*cking suck monkey c*ck” and “Nice mustache. A lot of people don;t know pseudo-intelligence is grown from fancy facial hair. Now go tickle a little boys asshole with it, you pedophile-looking douchebag. Now go tickle a little boys a***ole with it, you pedophile-looking douchebag” were some of the choicer remarks that DID NOT get taken down. FWIW. Sexual denigration of males is common in this society, we just don’t take notice when it happens.
Part 2 of Erin Rubar’s rather astounding Swedish documentary. I don’t know how many of you are bothering to watch it but I hope at least some of you will. Part 1 is below, and here’s Part 2:
More on this reportedly award-winning Swedish documentary here. I honestly wonder if anyone would even make such a film here?
I just found out it’s streaming on Netflix! I’m so watching it with The Fabulous Gi right now!
I can’t wait!
I’ll try to finish up my summary of Chapter 5 tomorrow. Until then if you haven’t seen it, more Atlas Shruggery in previous threads and other places.
*Update*: OK just finished watching the movie. Which in case you didn’t know is only Part I, matching Part I of the book (the book’s in 3 parts and probably the movies, if they all get made). I have no idea if Ayn Rand herself would have liked it. Nor do I know if people would find it comprehensible if they hadn’t read the book at all. That said, I will say the production is nice, the acting is pretty good, and on the whole they make the characters seem more believable than the characters in the book. Which isn’t saying a lot, but, you know, most of these people seem like they might exist somehow in reality (which no one in Rand’s fiction does). The wild implausibility of much of it is still there, but it’s muted. I’ll probably be able to say more after I’ve finished the book, but I give the movie a muted thumbs-up.
“A strong man, who has known power all his life, will lose respect for that power. But a weak man knows the value of strength, and knows compassion.”
Name the movie and, for bonus points, the character who said it.
(Googling is cheating!)