Hollywood: A Very Short Introduction

The sequence beginning around 3:30 is captivating.

What’s going on here?  We are right to be confused:

So I’m told in this one:

Some of the Oxford Very Short Introduction books aren’t that helpful.  Some are great.  I got a lot out of this one.  I didn’t know this story about Lucille Ball, for instance:


The Gambler (2014)

Saw this clip on some retweet of this fellow’s Twitter.

I was struck by

  • the bluntness and concision of the advice
  • the fact that the advice contains a very specific investment strategy down to what funds you should be in (80% VTSAX, 20% VBTLX)
  • the compelling performance of an actor I’d never seen opposite Wahlberg (although I’d say it drops off at “that’s your base, get me?”)

It appeared this was from the 2014 film The Gambler

The film is interesting.  Mark Wahlberg plays a compulsive gambler and English professor.  There are some extended scenes of Wahlberg lecturing his college undergrads on Shakespeare, Camus, and his own self-absorbed theories of literature, failure, and life.  The character is obnoxious, self-pitying, logorrheic and somewhat unlikeable as a hero. Nevertheless his most attractive student falls in love with him.  William Monahan, who won an Oscar for The Departed, wrote the screenplay. The film itself is a remake of 1974 movie directed by James Toback, in which James Caan plays the Mark Wahlberg role.

Here’s the interesting thing.  Watching the 2016 version, I realized the speech I’d seen on Twitter that first caught my attention is different.  The actor’s different — in the movie I watched it’s John Goodman.

What happened here?  Had they recast the actor or something?  The twitterer who put it up is from South Africa, did they release a different version of the movie there?

Did some investigating and found the version I saw was made by this guy, JL Collins, a financial blogger.

Here’s a roundup of his nine basic points for financial independence.

He did a pretty good job as an actor I think!  I believe the scene in the movie would be strengthened from the specificity of his advice.  And the line about every stiff from the factory stiff to the CEO is working to make you richer is cool, maybe an improvement on the script as filmed.  I’ll have to get this guy’s book.

It would make a good commercial for Vanguard.

VTSAX vs S&P 500:

Readers, what does the one to one comparison of JL Collins and John Goodman teach us about acting?


Mission: Impossible: Fallout

Question about this film, if you’ve seen it:

(and don’t get me wrong, I had a good time)

why was a high-altitude parachute jump the best way to get into Paris?


The wild man and his “wildies”

From Comedy’s Greatest Era (1949):

Sennett used to hire a “wild man” to sit in on his gag conferences, whose whole job was to think up “wildies.”  Usually he was an all but brainless, speechless man, scarcely able to communicate his idea; but he had a totally uninhibited imagination.  He might say nothing for an hour; then he’d mutter “You take . . . ” and all the relatively rational others would shut up and wait.  “You take this cloud . . .” he would get out, sketching vague shapes in the air.  Often he could get no further; but thanks to some kind of thought-transference, saner men would take this cloud and make something of it.  The wild man seems in fact to have functioned as the group’s subconscious mind, the source of all creative energy.  His ideas were so weird and amorphous that Sennett can no longer remember a one of them, or even how it turned out after rational processing.  But a fair equivalent might be on of the best comic sequences in a Laurel and Hardy picture.  It is simple enough – simple and real, in fact, as a nightmare.  Laurel and Hardy are trying to move a piano across a narrow suspension bridge.  The bridge is slung over a sickening chasm, between a couple of Alps.  Midway they meet a gorilla.

Agee speaks of the side-splitting laughter that would erupt in silent movie houses, and how you just can’t get that level of laughter from “talkies,” no matter how funny.

the best of comedies these days hand out plenty of titters and once in a while it is possible to achieve a yowl without overstraining

but nothing like what the “ideally good gags” of the silent days would provoke.

Wasn’t sure I understood what levels of laughter in the movie theater Agee was talking about until I saw the Jackass movies:


Cultural revolution in the films of Zhang Yimou

At a time in my life when I had a lot of time and a physical DVD Netflix account I started watching the films of Zhang Yimou.

These movies are great.  The plots are crazy, but compelling.  There are other ways to tell stories besides the save the cat way.

(save the cat lol there’s a famine killing forty million people!)

A woman married to the brutal and infertile owner of a dye mill in rural China conceives a boy with her husband’s nephew but is forced to raise her son as her husband’s heir without revealing his parentage in this circular tragedy.

for example

Plus just trying to discern the basic premises the characters assume or the worldview of the movie assumes adds a whole other level

Been thinking about these movies in the context of a much, much, much more minor cultural revolution I perceive in the USA and especially Hollywood/the media, where people are like examining themselves and confessing to their political crimes.

Zhang was born in Xi’an, the capital of Shaanxi province. Zhang’s father, a dermatologist, had been an officer in the National Revolutionary Army under Chiang Kai-shek during the Chinese Civil War; an uncle, and an elder brother had followed the Nationalist forces to Taiwan after their 1949 defeat. As a result, Zhang faced difficulties in his early life.

During the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s and 1970s, Zhang left his school studies and went to work, first as a farm labourer for 3 years, and later at a cotton textile mill for 7 years in the city of Xianyang.  During this time he took up painting and amateur still photography, selling his own blood to buy his first camera.[10]


Impressive thing about Manchester By The Sea

manchester-sea

The entire film takes place in Massachusetts, yet no one is seen going to Dunkin Donuts or holding a Dunkin Donuts cup.

A short examination of New England and Massachusetts psychology is at the beginning of this book:

IMG_3046

available at Amazon or your local indie bookstore.  You’ll enjoy it.


SUNDAY TAKE: is this the election of 1828?

 

jq2John Quincy Adams

Smug.

Establishment.

Very annoying.

Dad was president.

Former Secretary of State.

Front row kid as Chris Arande says.

Against:

Imacon Color Scanner

Andrew Jackson

Blustery.

Outsider.

Slave trader.

Pretty much a murderer.

Prone to fits of wild anger.

Considered by the JQAs of the world to be impossibly vulgar.

Some ways in which Jackson was better than Trump:

  • Jackson was a legitimate self-made man
  • Jackson had done something of service to his country (Battle of New Orleans)

(What to make of the Seminole War?

seminole-war

Having a hell of a time finding the source of this image, which Wiki says is “Marines battle Seminole Indians in the Florida War–1835-1842.” — Department of Defense, U.S. Marine Corps (Photo #: 306073-A)

The result?

1828

Jackson won.

Some of things he did were

  • deport 45,000 Indians
  • more or less shut down the national bank
  • paid off the national debt
  • preside over an economic panic

jackson

READERS: what do you think?  Comments are open.

First got this idea from a questioner in New Zealand, who (I believe) admired Jackson.

1828 could’ve also been compared to the  the Gore Bush election of 2000 (with Martin Van Buren as Karl Rove)

I’ve got to consult:

whgw

Is Trump like Jackson?  WORSE?  BETTER??

Is JQA like Hillary?

JQA was later in Amistad with Matthew McConaughey.

qa