Archive for movies

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


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


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


Academy Awards sequel: "Gravity: #Christie stars as huge disintigrating space station."



It's Academy Awards Day! Yippee! Welcome to my vice, my chocolate, my drug of choice, and my food binge all wrapped up in one self-congratulatory, gaudy, narcissistic, glitzy, decadent, glamorous, self-indulgent crazy fun package during which nobody is allowed to call, text, email, or interrupt me in any way whatsoever.

Yes, I'm a twelve-year-old fan girl. But what else would you expect from a former TV/stage actress/writer/director? I live for this stuff, despite the embarrassing amount of money and attention spent on stars who regularly receive an embarrassing amount of money and attention.

I am a Red Carpet addict in search of a meeting:

"I am Laffy and I am an Academy Awards-aholic."

"Hi Laffy!"

I gobble this stuff up the way the media eats up Hillary Clinton 2016 speculation. However, I don't give one damn about who is wearing whom, and I resent every swag bag handed out to 1%ers who need freebies the way John Boehner needs another drink.

I do find myself ogling, admiring, and critiquing the Botoxed, lifted, tucked stars morphing into mere shadows of their pre-altered selves; and I have no problem snarking about every minute of the festivities-- including the embarrassingly groveling interviewers-- with Mr. Laffy while guzzling wine from my Sippy Cup.

Did I mention how grateful I am for high def Tee Vee Machines? Say it with me now: I am an equal opportunity Academy Awards reveler in the good, the bad, the ugly, the glammy, and the inevitably awkward.

I laugh, I groan, I get misty-eyed, frustrated, angry, and triumphant for three-plus seemingly endless hours of long-winded self-promotion by the glitterati and ABC alike.

So I admit it, this is my one Very Special night to be as superficial, catty, annoyed, and appreciative as I want, and often bored. I own it without reservation. So there.

Which brings me to this excellent series of images by Steve Brodner. He calls the collection "This Year's Oscar Nominees Kickstart Next Year's Sequels." The following is but a taste of how beautifully he combined the world of politics with 2014's Best Picture nominees, so please go here for the rest:

Oscars and politics cartoon Academy Awards Chris Christie, Koch Brothers via Steve Brodner


Wanted: Dimples, optimism, and innocence. Paging Shirley Temple!


optimism via FunnyJunk dot comVia

As you probably know by now, Shirley Temple Black passed away, and with her, a spirit of optimism and joy that this country sorely needs today. This is one of those times that a tribute is in order, not only because a beloved legend is gone, but so is much of what she represented.

Shirley Temple gave the nation hope during the Great Depression (so that's where all that "hope and change" stuff started). She made fans, both adults and children, feel like smiling again, because everything would be okay, even during an era so bleak that Americans were literally committing suicide. She brought fleeting Moments of Happy just as millions felt hopeless.

When I was three years old, my mom wanted to surprise me, so she thumb-tacked her "Animal Crackers in My Soup" sheet music to my little bulletin board. I promptly took out a purple crayon and scribbled all over the adorable, dimpled face on the cover, because I was so envious of that rotten, cheerful, little kid and all her talent. My mother was furious with me, asking why I would do such a thing! I was confused and way too young to articulate my motives, so I simply apologized. I never forgot how upset I made her. I'm sure Shirley wouldn't have been too thrilled, either. Did I mention I managed to vandalize a collector's item?

Throughout my childhood, Shirley Temple was a role model to me, my friends, and of course, to multiple generations throughout the decades. She was smart, she was funny, she made Little Orphan Annie look like a pessimist, she could tap dance up a storm with the amazing Bill "Bojangles" Robinson, and she could hold her own against Lionel Barrymore.

By the time I was an actress in my twenties, she even helped contribute to my a-lot-to-be-desired-impressionist skills in a routine I did in a local Hollywood play. The original stand-up wasn't strong enough, so the author let me run with my own "saccharine off" between Temple and Hayley Mills (known for her "Glad Game" in Disney's "Pollyanna"). "Shirley" won. Even she couldn't take all that happy clappy Glad Game jabber and told "Hayley" to shut up. Literally.

That was then. Now we could sure use a big dose of Shirley and Hayley's sunny attitudes, even if sugary musicals aren't your thing. What little Curly Top provided was a way out, a respite from all the doom and gloom. Today we not only have a struggling economy to contend with, we have crescendoing belligerence, bullying, obstruction, and bellicosity blaring at us from our Tee Vee, Radio, and Internet Machines 24/7. No matter how hard we try, we can't avoid the noise.

Over time, even our favorite escape hatches-- movies-- have become louder, harsher, and more violent. There are no more Shirley Temples out there to sing and dance us back into our lost innocence, elusive personal triumph, and buoyancy of spirit, mindsets that are all too quickly becoming idiosyncrasies relegated to distant memories.

So it's up to us, every person for him/herself, isn't that what Republicans keep telling us? As Shirley might have said, that's a lot of hooey. And as Hillary wrote, it takes a village. Times are tough, so it's time to take a page or two from the Book of Temple:

Remember the Golden Rule.

And keep smiling:


Shirley Temple Black Dies at 85



(CNN) -- Shirley Temple Black, who rose to fame as arguably the most popular child star in Hollywood history, died late Monday night, her publicist said.
She was 85.
Temple Black, who also enjoyed a long career as a diplomat, died of natural causes at her Woodside, California, home. She was surrounded by family and caregivers, a statement from Cheryl Kagan said.
She began acting at age 3 and became a massive box-office draw before turning 10, commanding a then-unheard of salary of $50,000 per movie.

Here's more from CNN

The Little Princess: Shirley Temple - the Beginning