Archive for films

Letter: "No more Nazi films... We all know what happened."

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12 years a slave films

Films allow us to eavesdrop on others-- past, present, and future. Films pull open the drapes so we can peek in. Films essentially allow us to be peeping Toms on lives imagined and real. They teach us, they inform us, they tug at us, they pull us in, they open our eyes to feelings and events that might have escaped us or that we've avoided.

Sometimes films make it unpleasant for us, and we squirm or cry or cringe or rage. Other times, of course, they sweep us into happy little fantasylands. We flock to the cinema, we are glued to our TVs and mobile devices.

In the Calendar section of my print edition of Sunday Los Angeles Times, there were a few letters responding to an article about a new film to be directed by Angelina Jolie that will debut on Christmas Day, called "Unbroken."

[I]n late 2012, [Jolie] stumbled on a talent agency's log line for "Unbroken," a feature adaptation of the Laura Hillenbrand blockbuster bestseller about the Olympic runner turned World War II bombardier Louis Zamperini, who survived 47 days in a life raft only to be tortured for more than two years as a Japanese prisoner of war.

Two of the three letters were positive, but the one that wasn't caught my eye. The Times doesn't post Calendar letters online, but here it is verbatim:

No more. It's time to stop making movies about Americans like Louis Zamperini who were tortured in Japanese prison camps. It's been almost 70 years since WWII ended. The people who did it are dead. Why make their descendants and an entire nation feel guilty again? The story's been told in print. Let it be. While we're at it, no more Nazi films either. We all know what happened.

Robert Bubnovich

Irvine

Alrighty then. Where to begin?

It should be safe to assume that, per Mr. Bubnovich, period pieces are worthless, because, hey, those people are dead. Who needs to be reminded of days gone by anyway? Especially if they recount episodes from yesteryear that are unpleasant. Even if they're accurate representations. Especially if they're accurate representations.

So any movie recalling historical events? Pfft! Clearly, they should be history themselves. Why make, say, audiences that watched "Lincoln," "Twelve Years a Slave," The Butler," "Schindler's List," "Sophie's Choice, "Saving Private Ryan," or any other motion picture based on U.S. or world history "feel guilty again," right? "Let it be"!

The last thing we want is for moviegoers to learn anything, to feel anything about what took place before their time, to connect in any way, to feel any emotion whatsoever about major events that changed entire nations, to be reminded that those who came before us could be cruel, monstrous, or just plain stupid, because, guilt!

Ignorance is bliss.

Memo to Robert B: We don't "all know what happened." Just ask Holocaust deniers. And history revisionists. "The story's been told in print." But if you don't read, the story hasn't been told at all. Just ask Fox News [sic] devotees.

And those who do know often need a memory jolt so that they can apply life lessons and knowledge responsibly and avoid the costly mistakes others have made.

Ignoring our past will not make it go away or alleviate guilt, nor will it make our worst memories more palatable.

In short, this, Mr. Bubnovich, does way more harm than good:

lalala I can't hear you hands over ears 2

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The Times And Words Have Changed

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words

Etymology -- the study of word origins.  It's interesting how word usages have changed over the years and new phrases, words or expressions have come into colloquial usage out of the old. Cool. Chill. Psyched'. These are words which meant something totally different than when they were initially used.

As quickly as some come in, others go out, Sputnik, bee's knees, cat's meow. Try using those on a Millennial and see how much head scratching goes on.

Technology has added to our vocabularies as well: snail mail, USB, Tweet.We communicate in shorthand too. Who hasn't used TTYL,  NSFW, ROFL? NE1?

I'm working on a screenplay that is a period piece, from the '60s. So, I needed to immerse myself in a bit a research about words and slang of the time. And there were a lot of words used there that if I used them today, Laffy would surely get on my case and caution me to be careful. That word or phrase might offend. And she would be right. But sometimes knowing how something came into being allows you to understand why today they're PI (Politically Incorrect - Thank you Bill Maher) and maybe 50 years ago that term wasn't considered offensive.

So I thought I'd share some basic etymology with you, from my research for the upcoming film. I have to thank Huffpo for bringing some of these to me.

Ghetto:

Whether referring to a person or to a lifestyle, using "ghetto" as an adjective is meant to indicate "low class," and along with it, obvious racist origins. Aware or not, the user is essentially implying that minorities are low class.

Peanut Gallery:

A home for hecklers," usually used in a joking manner -- what comedian hasn't asked an unruly audience to keep it down in the peanut gallery?) Formerly though it referred to the upper balconies where African-American people sat in in segregated theaters.

Hip hip hooray:

Boy, I hadn't seen this one coming. It's derived from the German "hep hep," which was originally a shepherds' herding cry, so the origin itself was not racially charged. However, during the Holocaust, German citizens began using it as a rallying cry while hunting for Jewish people in the ghettoes. (see,that word ghetto again, but this time as a noun.)

Call a spade a spade:

It just depends on the era in which you used this. The phrase, essentially meaning "to explicitly call something by its rightful name," entered the English language way back in 1542, (no, I can't remember what day or month) and initially had absolutely no racial connotation whatsoever (that I do remember).

It wasn't until the late 1920s that "spade" changed from referring to the gardening tool to being a slur towards African-Americans (its first public appearance as such was in Claude McKay's 1928 book "Home to Harlem").

He Gypped Me:

The word "gyp" now means "to cheat or swindle." It is essentially a condensing of the word "gypsies," who throughout history have been stereotyped as a group that cheats and swindles people.

And finally one I'm sure I used as a kid and surely would not use the same way now:

Gay:

A common utterance to indicate someone was light, breezy, fun and exciting. Though it may still mean that to some from older generations, it, like Virginia Slims, has come a long way, baby.

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GOP state chairmen support Priebus demand for networks to drop Hillary Clinton movies or lose 2016 GOP debates

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irony3

Common Cause:

During the 2008 election, a conservative non-profit organization named "Citizens United" produced Hillary: The Movie, a documentary critical of then-Sen. Hillary Clinton. Because of the political nature of the movie and the fact that Citizens United intended to purchase airtime on a video on-demand service on cable television, the movie was deemed an "electioneering communication" by the Federal Election Commission (FEC) and was therefore subject to the rules governing the production of political ads, including limitations on who may fund them. Citizens United sued in federal court to overturn the decision, lost and appealed to the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court held two hearings on the case and its ruling ultimately went far beyond what the plaintiffs had sought. The 5-4 decision permits corporations, unions and other special interests to spend as much as they like to advocate the election or defeat of political candidates. Laws that bar those interests from contributing directly to candidates remain in place but the ruling lifted controls on political giving that had been in place for decades.

Five years later...

The Hill:

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus threatened to pull the group’s partnership with NBC and CNN for 2016 GOP presidential primary debates if the networks moved ahead with plans to air films on Hillary Clinton. [...]

In individual letters to CNN President Jeff Zucker and NBC Chairman Robert Greenblatt, Priebus called the documentaries “a thinly veiled attempt at putting a thumb on the scales of the 2016 presidential election.” [...]

This suggests a deliberate attempt at influencing American political opinion in favor of a preferred candidate,” Priebus wrote. “I find this disturbing and disappointing."

I find this hypocritical and ironic.

And cowardly.

whining wahmbulance

Of course, if I were chairing the RNC, I'd be running scared, too.

The Hill posted a sequel: GOP state chairmen endorse Priebus call for networks to drop Clinton projects.

tweet plouffe rnc debates hillary movieLink

The circumstances are different, but I still found it oddly entertaining. Oh, and by the way Reince, via LiveWire:

"NBC News is completely independent of NBC Entertainment and has no involvement in this project," Communications Director Erika Masonhall tweeted.

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Video Mid Day Distraction- Behind The Scenes At The 1976 Academy Awards

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This would be about the last time I paid attention. Via Gawker.

PS-
If you want to share this vid, you have to go here or put it in full screen and beat the crap out of the youtube link at the bottom. I was not going to let this pos beat me.

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