Category Archives: Movies

A movie to see

Is the Asphault Jungle from 1950. It’s a good noir crime drama, with good acting by Sterling Hayden and a young Marilyn Monroe (playing a mistress, imagine).

One hilarious moment is Hayden, is his classic tough guy growl, complaining that his bookie pointed out that he owed money, or in the slang of the time, “he boned me”. As in “He boned me in front of some guy I didn’t even know!”

Random snapshot of my brain

Whilst waiting for a program to install I came across this article. Blurb:

A North Pole expedition meant to bring attention to global warming was called off after one of the explorers got frostbite.

I then had the thought that there is no evidence that nature, though beautiful, likes us. Then I thought of the metaphor that everyone views the environment like it’s their grandparent’s house. “Oh, everything is so old and irreplaceable, let us gaze in rapt awe and try to be worthy of it someday”. Mind you, what we do with it is another story.

Then I was reminded of an Ayn Rand line which goes something like “Technology is man’s victory over nature”. Then I Googled that trying to find the exact quote. That led me, somehow, to this page about one of my favorite thinkers, Albert Jay Nock. His excellent auto-biography Memoirs of a Superfluous Man is still one of my favorites. Then I started thinking of my other favorite social critics and came up with Eric Hoffer, H.L. Mencken, as well as Nock. All three of them have a distinctive, elegant style which I associate with urban living prior to the fifties. All three of them wrote from cities (San Francisco, Baltimore and New York) and two of them published all their work between 1900 and 1950. I’m also drawn to movies set in cities in that era.

I wonder why those circumstances have that appeal to me, then I decided to write it all down to clarify it in my head.

And there you go.

300

I just got back from seeing 300. It matches the hype. The visuals are stunning, the story magnificently told, the actors all unknown and brilliant. It makes the top five of all time list.

An interesting movie

I finally finished watching the documentary Bastards of the Party, an interesting history of gang activity in Los Angeles from the 40s to the present day. It’s not a balanced take and doesn’t pretend to be, which is quite refreshing.

One quibble – the historian explaining the rise of crack traced it back to Iran-Contra and the CIA-crack folklore. I’ve always found this ridiculous. It assumes that the government was that clever (doubtful) and also that no one else would have thought of taking a commodity that sells for five cents in South America and selling it for fifty dollars in the US.

Beyond that though, well worth watching.

Short 2006 best of list

  • Best New Movie – The Departed
  • Best Book – Truth Imagined by Eric Hoffer
  • Best TV Show – The Shield
  • Best Old Movie Seen For the First Time – Tie – The Seventh Seal (Ingmar Bergman) / The Testament of Dr Mabeuse (Fritz Lang) / The Big Sleep (Bogart/Bacall). Only The Big Sleep is in English, where as the other two are probably much better off being subtitled. All three are from the 30s and 40s.
  • Best New Gadget – Garmin Street Pilot – I never get lost anymore
  • Best New General Interest Site – DamnInteresting.com
  • Best Concert – Prince – though to be honest I didn’t see that many in 2006
  • Best New Band discovered – Freakwater – I have no idea how I managed to not know about them until this year, they’re perfect for me.
  • Biggest physical accomplishment – Biking the entire Silver Comet Trail – 126 miles – in one day with no rest and very few stops for water and such. It did take forever
  • Biggest professional accomplishment – staying in business for another year I suppose
  • Biggest artistic accomplishment – successfully finishing two whole songs, and actually doing open mic nights