Showing posts with label video reviews. Show all posts
Showing posts with label video reviews. Show all posts

Monday, March 28, 2016

Mr. Robot

I've been watching Mr. Robot lately. Everyone on that show seems slimy in one way or the other. I suppose this is the modern method of scriptwriting--no heroes. I don't like that. I like there to be a hero or, at least, someone that has a reasonable proximity to good. Modern writers seem to have a lot of difficulty with good. Is no one good? Come on. Surely there are some good folk left.

At any rate, I don't approve of Elliott's incessant hacking of everyone. I think that sort of thing is below the belt, like reading someone's diary. Not cool. Besides, the only people that tend to get victimized by that sort of thing are the ones that are open, social, merry, and communicative--just the sort one should wish to protect rather than exploit.

Still, I'm hooked, because the show does seem tapped in to the zeitgeist somehow and is technically literate. It reminds me an awful lot of work.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Golden Age of Cinema

We are living in the true golden age of cinema and television. Shows of the past simply don't compare to what is available now. In particular, this is the golden age of gay cinema. There are more good gay movies now than I ever dared dream possible. Back in the day, movies were always heterosexual whenever love or sex interests were concerned, which limited severely the variety of plots, by about fifty per cent to be precise.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

I Want to See "The Interview"

The only movie I'm interested in seeing is "The Interview," because I'll be damned if some two-bit North Korean dictator is going to tell me what I can and cannot watch. You go ahead try and bomb the theaters or whatever, and maybe North Korea will cease being radioactive after a couple hundred years.

Of course Putin ("Putrid") would hate the movie. Dictators gotta stick together, ya know. What that old rotten egg Putrid needs to understand is that Russia would be a lot better off if he had drunk some of that KGB poison, the stuff he uses on his enemies, a long time ago. The reason Russia's economy is going down the tubes is because of Putrid. There is really no other reason. Who invaded Ukraine? Putrid the stinker. Who neglected Russia's economy? Putrid. No other individual. You can't blame the West for everything. The only thing Putrid did during his time in office was eliminate Russia's civil liberties and rape her Republic and install a morally bankrupt dictatorship. He hates Russia with a passion and is fanatically dedicated to the destruction of Russia, and to that end, he seems to be doing a pretty good job. Hey, Putrid! Just because you annoy the other nations around you with your stench doesn't mean Russia is strong. Strong under the arm, maybe, but not strong.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

The Daily Show is Righteous

The Daily Show is probably the most moral television that has ever existed. Today I watched an episode where the show actually took one of its own advertisers to task. I thought to myself, "Only the Daily Show would do that. In a hundred years, only the Daily Show." It really is the one television show that is worth watching above all others. That single show is better than all the content of all the other channels, combined, that is, if one has a sense of humor, morality, and cares about this country at all. I always get the sense that the Daily Show will be one of the very few television shows still watched a thousand years from now. There will be, as there is now, great interest in it.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

The Deeper Wisdom of "I, Claudius"

There was a moral lesson in "I, Claudius," despite the overall depressing, even morbid storyline. Claudius survived a corrupt nest of snakes--the Roman palace--while the snakes fed upon one another until none were left. He was the survivor. Did he survive through courage? No. Did he survive through cunning? No. He survived by being a fool. To an extent, his was a calculated act, but he was born with a speech impediment and a twitch, minor deficiencies that were little understood in Roman times. They called him a fool, but he was wiser than they. Appearances deceive. Even in our times, there are many things that are misunderstood. The beginning of wisdom, I think, is to accept that everyone is a fool to an extent. The question is only--how much of a fool?

I sympathize with Claudius and even identify with him. I think he was an interesting character. He was the only Roman Emperor of the Julian family really and seriously concerned with intellectual subjects. He was a historian. The rest of them were concerned with power and debauchery. Claudius spent his time among old scrolls and old historians. He could have been a good Emperor if he had only pulled off a splendid succession. Instead, he permitted Nero to follow him, which was unfortunate for Rome. As portrayed in "I, Claudius," the Emperor Claudius died a drunkard, his half-baked plans for succession gone awry. Perhaps Claudius was indeed a fool, a learned fool, but still a fool.

It is human nature to procrastinate, and no one wishes to think of death, least of all their own. So plans that should be made are left unmade, and much is left to random chance or to the greediest and most ruthless of the heirs. Dysfunctional families reveal their stripes most of all when the spoils of inheritance are up for grabs. That is when the ugly truth of familial relationships becomes most apparent. Perhaps it is better to know the truth and never be deceived again. Wisdom and insight have real value. Claudius had his revenge, at least in the fictional world of "I, Claudius," if not the real world. The television show is supposedly based upon a recently discovered tell-all autobiography of the Emperor Claudius. If such priceless scrolls were found, academia would be turned upside-down. Many previous assumptions would be either confirmed or challenged. Of course such scrolls have not been found, at least not yet, but it is a pleasing fantasy of revenge for a sympathetic character, one of the few really good people in a nest of snakes. The revenge of Claudius for the many wrongs done to him was to write about his family. He told their dark and shocking secrets, some of which only he knew. That is an interesting method of revenge, but perhaps not quite so unusual. I think there have been many precedents.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

I, Claudius

"I, Claudius" is an interesting 1976 BBC miniseries with twelve episodes. Its success provided an incentive for the later epic, big-budget "Rome" of the twenty-first century. The 1976 show is not nearly as refined as "Rome," but the acting and writing is at least as good, if not better.

The show is close, I think, to certain historical texts, although Robert Graves did make some assumptions. I wondered whether Augustus was really as gullible as he is portrayed in "I, Claudius." The main facts are that he did indeed imprison his own daughter, and his favorites died one by one under mysterious circumstances. One cannot conclude that he was a good judge of character. I think that Augustus was an abject failure as an Emperor, because he botched his succession. Instead of appointing anyone worthy, he permitted others to choose Tiberius, which was disastrous for Rome. Tiberius was followed by an even worse Emperor, Caligula. These two mismanaged affairs of state very badly.

I think Augustus deserves at least some of the blame for the bad things that happened under his reign. Robert Graves implies that all the evil was the fault of his wife. However, Augustus was the one with real power. I doubt he was as gullible as portrayed in the show. I think he relied upon his wife for advice and intelligent ideas, which were sometimes useful, but he failed to perceive when she was manipulating him for her own ends.

The problem with "I, Claudius" is the loud, screeching theme music that accompanies both the beginning and the end. Whoever came up with that abominable sound should have been fired. A viewer would be prudent to mute the first and last minute of each episode.

Almost every woman on the show breaks down into tears and sobbing whenever there is a crisis. In my experience, this is not how women behave, but this is how women were portrayed in film due to the notions of the men that produced the films. I think that this more than anything else dates the show. I have to wonder why those actresses behaved so. Perhaps the director put them up to it, and the fault was all his. Perhaps the producers felt they had to meet audience expectations. The only really good actress on the show was the arch-villain, Livia, but "cold snake" seemed the limit of her range. At least she didn't burst into tears every time bad news arrived. I really doubt that ancient Romans behaved so, because they dwelt in a world of sudden death, unexplained mysteries, injustice, corruption and cruelty.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

"Young Dracula" Staked in Season Four

Young Dracula used to be a fun show. The first season is the best, the funniest and the most entertaining. The Count shines with wit and humor, Vlad is charming, and Ingrid and the Slayers provide dramatic edge. From season 1 to season 4, there is a steady progression towards mediocrity. Someone stupid seized control of the franchise in season 4. All wit and humor has been eliminated completely. The show is grim and depressing and stupid, with no rhyme or reason to the plot, which has so many holes it looks like swiss cheese, but without the flavor.

Apocalypsis is a mental illness common to writers for vampire shows. The writers come up with tired apocalyptic plotlines that have been tried a thousand times before. From season 3 on, many threads in the plot have been ripped off from True Blood. Vampires are going to take over the world and kill all the humans. Or vampires and humans are going to be at open war. Vlad becomes a super-powerful demigod. An Authority requires all vampires to drink donated blood or synthetic blood instead of human blood. Does any of this sound familiar to a True Blood fan?
 
The Count has had his role greatly reduced, all his wit absent. Renfield has seen his role reduced, and the campy talking wolf is gone. All Vlad's lines depict him as a wet blanket, a drip, a wimp, nothing anyone would want to watch for more than five seconds. I don't see any further point in watching. I'm just wondering who killed the show and why.

Television writers--or more likely, the managers who control them--have a long history of killing successful and original shows: Torchwood, Six Feet Under, House, and the list goes on. After a while the plot turns stupid. I guess the writers run out of ideas. There is a very simple solution: replace whoever is managing the writers. Otherwise, the show dies, and the producers lose money. I think that the producers of "Young Dracula" deserve to lose money, because they took a good product and completely ruined it.

The most important aspect of a show is the writing. Everything else is a very, very distant second.

Update

Perhaps my judgment was too hasty. After episode 5, the show improved. I think the plot involving a forced marriage was difficult to comprehend or sympathize with. Forced marriages are not an issue in 2013 in Western culture. Furthermore, Vlad, as the Chosen One, is certainly powerful enough to marry whomever he desires. This observation gets back to what I was saying about the plot having the consistency of swiss cheese. If the plot is illogical, then any viewer with a logical mind is going to dislike it. The story will seem all wrong, and the characters will seem stupid and irrational and impossible to relate with. However, after the forced marriage was called off, season 4 improved a bit.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Project Runway and RuPaul's Drag Race

There are two television shows that are must-see TV for geeks like me--"RuPaul's Drag Race" and "Project Runway." I grew up without the slightest interest in clothes. I think I have improved a great deal. Shows that deal with fashion are highly educational for those who have little natural inclination toward fashion. I find my awareness of clothes has increased, and I am more likely to "dress up" than I ever was in the past. I told my partner the other day, "I want to look like Tim Gunn," the mentor on "Project Runway" that is one of my favorite television personalities. He seems to me dignified, intelligent, perceptive, and seems to have a warm and affectionate side as well.

Another area where I've made great strides is public speaking. I'm not a good charlatan. I need to know a subject well before I speak. I hate faking and I hate fakers. However, if I do know a subject well, then fear melts away, and I transform into a dragon. I did a speech on a disease not long ago in front of a group of nursing students. I had researched the disease well and rehearsed my speech about a dozen times. For me, preparation is essential. I like to feel that I am not wasting my time or anyone else's. The speech was well-received and some people told me that mine was the best of the lot.

Knowledge makes a big difference for me. I think that I would have made a good college professor if I had long ago chosen a different route, abandoning computer technology and pursuing instead a doctorate. Technology is a fickle field where only the last two years matter. I never expected that one day all my knowledge would be deemed obsolete and my aptitude not given a moment's consideration. There are zero opportunities, and no employer cares what one has learned or can learn. They would as soon hire workers from India or China or not hire in America at all and simply invest in overseas operations.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Mr. Selfridge is a Unicorn

I love the show "Selfridge's." Mr. Selfridge is the boss of the department store, Selfridge's, in 1920's London. He's the rare boss, the hard to find boss, a unicorn. He's good-hearted, fair, firm, upright, honest, and with an intact and functioning conscience. It's wonderful to fantasize about working for a boss like that. I like to see him feeling guilty and trying to amend his misdeeds, because that means he intends good and realizes he made a mistake in judgement. We do perceive this world as through a glass darkly. In our hurried lives, sometimes the right path is not always clear. He's also handsome, charming, dynamic, and capable of changing his position when he realizes he's wrong. I haven't known many bosses that can do that trick, change their mind when they know they've made a mistake. Most will keep grinding away at their same mistakes over and over again, due to pride or complacency, instead of changing course in logical fashion.

I like the show because it depicts a company where the workers and the boss are on the same page and the people all come together somehow. There is teamwork and somehow the employer-employee relationship takes on a more familial tone. I think some jaded, cynical critics don't get the show because they can't relate with how appealing such a fantasy world is.

I love the theme music, as well. It evokes a bright sunny morning, full of hope and promise.

I do hope they don't go on and on about Mr. Selfridge's affairs with other women. I'm reminded of Tony Soprano and many other characters on television. Are no powerful men monogamous? I suppose monogamy bores the audience, while infidelity is rich in drama, considered the lifeblood of film. Or does film mirror reality? I wouldn't know.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Dante's Cove and The Lair

Dante's Cove and The Lair are two gay supernatural soap operas that should have wide appeal to gay audiences. Dante's Cove has a prominent lesbian thread in addition to the primary gay male storyline, but I'm not sure whether lesbians would be satisfied with playing second fiddle, as it were, since there are now television shows and movies that are exclusively about lesbians. I believe the hope was that Dante's Cove could appeal to gay men, lesbians, and to a lesser extent even straight people, but I think gay men are the primary audience, with some lesbian interest but possibly no attention from the straight crowd.

Although I haven't taken a survey of straight people, I can judge whether they'd like it by asking myself a simple question. Would I continue watching Dante's Cove if there was no gay action? The answer is no. I do continue to watch True Blood despite the lack of gay action in most seasons, but the writing and production values are better. I just don't feel Dante's Cove is good enough to capture the straight audience, but gay males? Yes, because the men are hot. Lesbians? Some might like it, because there are hot women and strong women, too. But I wonder whether lesbians might prefer "The 'L' Word" instead. At any rate, the plot is rather thick. I would have recommended less blood, no dungeons, and more art, beauty and conversation. How about witchcraft lite, genteel witchcraft, rather than old-fashioned cackling medieval witchery?

Be that as it may, I love Dante's Cove and regret that the fourth season was never to be. The actors and actresses are gorgeous, the writing acceptable, the plot a bit silly (okay, more than a bit silly), and the music and camera work excellent. Production values are all good, nothing wretched or obviously out of place or laughable that I detected. Dante's Cove has sex appeal, although sometimes the producers annoy the audience by switching from a hot scene to a scene of an elderly man or woman in distress. I realize that their intention is to maintain the plot, but the plot is rather silly, and taking it too seriously is, I feel, a mistake. The plot should have been changed if it interferes with the audience's enjoyment.

The Lair is just about exclusively gay male, with no bones thrown to the lesbian or straight crowd at all. I have forgotten some of the plot, as it was a long time ago I watched it, but it was good also. I feel that Dante's Cove is better, because I appreciate the presence of strong women, and overall I find a complicated system of witchcraft more interesting and less predictable than mere crude bloodthirsty vampirism.

Update: I rewatched season 2 of Dante's Cove and was reminded that the show actually improves a great deal as it progresses. Season 2 is twice as good as season 1. It was almost as if the show's producers foresaw my advice. They dumped the dungeons, staunched the blood-letting, and minimized the gross scenes. Now the show is entering into its own as a full-fledged gay soap opera, with a tantalizing supernatural twist, all set on the fantasy landscape of a tropical island. And the cast, of course, is gorgeous. Their acting is much better, too, I must say. Season 2 has moving scenes that actually make me feel emotion. I think the entire cast is strong in this show.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Tipping the Velvet

"Tipping the Velvet" may be the best romantic movie ever made. I watched it again today for the third time and it made me cry. I think that Rachel Sterling is absolutely brilliant in it, couldn't possibly be better.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Documentary on Women in the 17th Century

The BBC churns out high-quality documentaries on a regular basis. I like to learn about history, but I also like shows concerning wildlife or any kind of science. I like best those shows that have a strong narrator, who may be seen or may be off-camera. Recently, I watched a documentary about housewives and harlots in 17th century England. I felt this was a good topic, because shows seldom touch upon women in history, because most leaders, scientists, generals, etc. were men. The narrator was Dr. Lucy Worsley, apparently some sort of academic who speaks in a compelling way, one notices right away. She is female in a male-dominated profession, rather tomboyish, and my partner noticed that she speaks with a lisp, most unusual in television, although to me it seemed she had a German accent. When I first saw her, I thought she was ill-looking, but the more one watches her speak, the better she wears. She conveys a zest for the subject and an engaging manner of speaking, lisp or not. One admits her learning and poise, and then her beauty. Her material is well-written, although I noticed that she does tend to harp upon the same narrow topics, when a broader view might have been more appropriate. I felt like some material was being repeated, and wish that the show had been heavier on facts and lighter on interpretation, leaving interpretation to the audience, in the style of Werner Herzog.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Trey Bilings Show is Hidden Gem

Not too many people have seen a thirty-minute film called "The Trey Billings Show," but it is one of the best comedies around, and the star, David Drake, is completely incredible in it. With the help of camera tricks, he plays both a zany, self-absorbed talk show host and his interviewee, a fictitious famous actress fallen on hard times, appearing on the screen at the same time.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Garlic

I watched a superb old documentary about garlic made by Les Blank probably in the 1970s. Very good and well-worth watching. It is available on DVD. Some of the bright and happy young people in the film were of the so-called counter-culture, and perhaps because of that, were relatively deep in philosophy and history at least compared to today. One of the lines stuck with me for several days. I still ponder it when I am lying in bed at night. The film advocated Epicureanism in relation to eating garlic as a way of enhancing the pleasure of food, and to this end, placed text on the screen that read,

"When you're dead, you're done. Long live the living!"


It is not necessarily an atheist statement, but expressive of disbelief in the afterlife. I do agree with the sentiment. There seems no future in death at all. I find it very difficult to believe we possess any substance other than flesh and bone. I don't believe God plays coy with immortality, hiding it from us as some kind of test just to check whether we will believe in it because the Bible says so.

Of course, whether individual consciousness, that is, our own life, matters or not is purely a matter of perspective. I suppose the evolutionary purpose of our ego, which is so dominant in the human psychology, is to ensure we find great value in our individual consciousness and will do whatever is required to maintain and sustain it, even to the extent of conjuring up fantasies about surviving death in one form or another. An unhealthy ego may in turn lead to insufficient or ineffective maintenance--one may eat bad foods or use harmful substances or fail to perform all the little tasks that tend to prolong life. Yet I think a healthy ego may reject belief in the afterlife on the noble ground of reason. I believe truth matters. That is a judgment call on my part, a bias I have for reality. If a thing can not be so, then one should not believe in it.

Getting back to the film, I found it positively gushing about garlic, too enthusiastic by half, but that did not stop me from enjoying it. I do not believe that garlic can cure disease, although it does have antiseptic and antioxidant properties and makes a wonderful spice for all kinds of foods. I have always loved garlic and always will.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Why Game of Thrones Repels

I watched the first two episodes of the first season of "Game of Thrones" again to understand why I hate it. The problem is the ugly spectacle of outrageous injustice, and good people that do wicked things merely to obey. When the good King's Hand murders, in cold blood, his son's loyal and beloved pet dog, which was innocent of all wrongdoing, that's when I turned against the show forever. Whoever wrote "Game of Thrones" did so while sitting on the throne and found inspiration from what he had dropped below. It is repulsive, cheap, gory drama for the sake of drama with no redeeming literary or cultural value whatsoever. The villains are pasty, weak cowards without a scrap of redeeming value, which is unrealistic, because how on earth could such specimens retain their position of power? They could not. Villains should be portrayed in a realistic light, not as the bucket into which all human evil and frailty are poured. I suppose I must now view Game of Thrones in the proper light, as well-done, big-budget soft-core porn and nothing else, because it is nothing else.

I will tell you a good show: Vikings. It is ten times better by any measure one would care to apply, and it is realistic and historically accurate--extremely so by film standards, regardless of the quibbles of academics. Another great show is Tudors, which I have watched twice and intend to watch again one day.

Friday, May 31, 2013

The Vikings Are Coming

Vikings is a new show that every student of history should watch. It smacks of historical accuracy to me. The script is fairly well-written, too, depicting a primitive era in European history, the Dark Ages. Christianity and all the other sacred cows of Western civilization are treated in a fair, objective manner. I was skeptical at first, but the show won me over with its good characterizations, realistic action and realistic dialogue.

As a side note, I found it amusing to imagine that Vikings depicts not only our past but our future, after various calamities foreseen and unforeseen descend upon our planet. Such a thought can only amuse one who expects to be dead by such a time. I am an optimist. I expect all now living to be dead before our civilization collapses into barbarism.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Game of Thrones Drones

Where did we get so many Game of Thrones drones? I watched the first episode and tuned out. There wasn't a single character on the show whose fate I cared about. The story seemed uninteresting and cliche-ridden. I scarcely remember what the story was about. Something about stupid people scheming and plotting to do wicked things. Yet I hear Game of Thrones and even the pathetic Borgias mentioned in the same article as masterpieces like The Tudors or Rome. And the maddening and repetitive House must be in its tenth season by now. I can't account for the chasm between my tastes and that of the general public. Seems to me that when I love a show, such as Tudors, So You Think You Can Dance, Canada? or Rome, television executives pull the plug. When I hate a show, that's when it becomes such a hit that I can't read an article anywhere without it being praised to the heavens.

For the record, I've watched the U.S. and U.K. versions of So You Think You Can Dance..., and Canada had the best version by far, but it was discontinued after season four, because the other shows were envious of how good it was. Nigel, the judge who appears on both the U.S. and U.K. version, to me is unwatchable, whereas Canada's Jean-Marc and his amiable comrades are easy on the eyes and ears.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Hooray for Jinkx

I was pleased to see that Jinkx Monsoon won the fifth season of RuPaul's Drag Race. However, I don't flatter myself for predicting her victory. To anyone paying attention, it was pretty clear who the top runner was. I also predicted that Ivy Winters would win Ms. Congeniality, but that too was obvious. One of the interesting little details about the fifth season is that Jinkx had a crush on Ivy Winters. I think that showed good taste. Ivy Winters looks better male than female. However, Jinkx is something else. She is one of many drag queens I would like to see on a regular TV show. She has a great talent for acting. She just needs good lines, although she's competent at impromptu. I think she's pretty amazing, and if Hollywood doesn't have a producer that can imagine her in a television show, then that's Hollywood's loss.

Although I am a bonafide fan, I cringed reading the bio on her web site. I absolutely cringed, and my heart sank. She comes across as too arrogant by half. Every other sentence boasts of her intellect. You know, intelligence is a funny thing. It should be self-evident; there is no need for trumpet-blowing. And also there is the danger, no matter how intelligent one thinks oneself, there is always someone more intelligent, who will laugh at one's boasts. Intelligence is all a matter of perspective. Summa cum laude, indeed. But I may be hypersensitive to a fault I also share, because have I not also boasted of those three Latin words, the finest decoration for a bachelor's degree? After all, did we not work hard in college in order to achieve summa cum laude? Don't we deserve some credit? Is the trophy without value? Yet I have qualms about how it is perceived. I've never gotten a job on the strength of summa cum laude. As far as I can see, no one cares about academic honors besides those in academia. Even a college degree has no value in terms of employment. A bachelor's degree translates into a minimum wage job in today's America.

But perhaps the author, which I assume was Jinkx herself, is worried about being underestimated. I predict the bio will be rewritten within a month's time or whenever Jinkx has a moment to spare.

Having read Jinkx's bio, I know the backstory to a curious remark that RuPaul made to Jinkx after their luncheon late in the fifth season. "You're a bright young star," Ru said, which signalled that Jinkx was favored to win. Ru rarely gives such a strong and undeniable sign of favor, and Jinkx was clearly pleased by the remark. Yet Ru was borrowing the phrase that Jinkx used in her bio--"bright star."

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Here's for Jinkx

I expect Jinkx Monsoon to win the fifth season of RuPaul's Drag Race. Jinkx epitomizes what I think drag should be, a performance act with emphasis upon acting, drama, and comedy. I like Alaska too, but as an actor, Alaska seems less refined than Jinkx. I noticed the look on Jinkx's face when RuPaul said she was turning the decision over to the viewers. Perhaps Jinkx suspects that she has captured the hearts of the viewers. She has more cunning than some people have given her credit for. She was the strongest contender from day one and knew it. One felt the same way about Raja, a contender from a previous season who simply demolished the competition--was so far above them as to seem another species.

Some judges and competitors ding Jinkx for her fashion sense. Perhaps I am not a good judge of that sort of thing. My fashion sense is below average, although I've absorbed a good dose by osmosis from my spouse, who has a very great fashion sense. However, I think Jinkx puts her face together very well, and the face is the most important part of the body. As for her costume, I usually like it, and I never understand why judges praise another competitor and criticize Jinkx for her costume. It is never clear to me. There have been times when I felt that Jinkx was the best-looking competitor on the stage by a factor of about a hundred to one, and yet the judges seem to differ from my opinion by a similar factor. To me, the costume is almost irrelevant. I'm more interested in the acting and the presentation, or how a competitor handles herself. There are some competitors that may get their costumes right according to the arcane laws of fashion, but they bore me silly with the same wooden face that never changes and never registers any passion other than naked ambition.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Deathrace

I watched a disturbing movie, Deathrace, about a dystopia set in the U.S.A. of the near future, in which, like today, there are few or no good jobs, and those jobs that are available tend to be temporary, ill-paid, and without benefits of any kind. The numerous and well-armed police are given a free hand to beat the hell out of workers, because workers are considered expendable, along with the rest of the have-nots. Prisons are run by private corporations, as is the case today in many states, and these corporations are in it to make a profit at all costs. The movie seemed realistic, and I wondered whether it was a crystal ball into our future.

The plot sickens: a worker is sent to jail for murdering his wife, although actually an undercover agent murdered his wife in order to frame him for the murder. Why was he framed? Because he is a good driver. Once in prison, he competes in a reality show called Deathrace, where convicts race against each other in armored cars fitted with machine guns and exotic weapons, which is reminiscent of the gladiators of Ancient Rome.

Midway through, I paused the movie to put up dishes and dropped a wine glass, which shattered. I don't usually drop things. At that point, I realized the movie had ceased to entertain and that I didn't care to watch the rest. There were no interesting characters, and despite the thought-provoking plot, the writing was uninspiring. No one in the movie uttered anything memorable.

My kind of movie is any of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. I watched The Hobbit in order to recover. The next day, I watched The Fellowship of the Ring and found my favorite scenes, the romantic ones concerning Arwen, who chose a mortal life, and they brought tears to my eyes once again. Surely there will always be good people in the world. I think good has powerful benefits, some evident and some subtle. Otherwise, good would not have endured the ages. Evil is destructive not only of others but of self, whereas good is regenerative and nurturing of all.

It may be that the economy is screwed up, and many of our politicians and other officials either don't give a damn or don't have a clue what to do about it. I think America is on the road to being second-rate, and China is going to be the new fascist power to rival the old Axis Powers. All that is pretty clear. One doesn't need a crystal ball. I've heard plenty of ordinary people express similar opinions. The powers-that-be up in Washington are still acting as though nothing has changed, strutting about the world like we're still the sheriff. The leaders are due some rue from the clue canoe. That will come about in due course. Usually, America gets a wake-up call like Pearl Harbor or 1929 before it wakes up. I don't know what disaster is going to make the big changes yet, but I do have a vague feeling that things are not heading in the right direction, and that something bad may occur. I felt more confident in the 1990's, never doubting the country's future for a second, but in those days I could open a paper and read page after page of job openings in the computer technology field, my field. Nowadays I open up the paper and read page after page of foreclosures, bankruptcies and public auctions.

The future is shrouded in mist, far away, offering brief glimpses only. I do think that the world is a better place than a hundred years ago. Today I think so many politicians are wrongheaded, stodgy, hidebound by tradition and unwilling to take any risks, even for love of country, but I wonder whether that has not always been the case. Corruption has always been rife, perhaps even more so in the past than now. It may be that the economy is worse, and our standard of living is declining rather than increasing, but there is a lot of room for standards to fall, because our expectations were high in the clouds. After all, poverty has been the fate of most people in the world ever since the world began. Why should Americans be an exception? The fate of our country or ourselves does not necessarily bear that much relation with the fate of mankind. The world got on before America assumed the sheriff's role, and it will get on long after we place our badge on the shelf.

I should not like to be living in Taiwan, which will be the first lamb sacrificed to the Chinese lion.
techlorebyigor is my personal journal for ideas & opinions