Sunday, August 30, 2009

Taking Woodstock

Ah well,

With the end of the week comes this weeks movie in review...

Taking Woodstock appears to be Ang Lee's interpretation of how events leading up to and during the three day music festival might have effected the life of a quirky Jewish family running a motel in the small town of White Lake, New York.

The movie was not quite what I'd though it was going be. Sure it had all the funny stuff that you'd expect and caught in glimpses from previews, but really by the time all was said and done, I was asking myself one question. Where the hell was the music, man?!

I mean at some point, you knew it was coming and I didn't exactly have my heart set on listening to Joan Baez. I wanted to hear some of the good shit, like Jefferson's "White Rabbit", Santana's "Soul Sacrifice", or The Who's "Tommy". Good grief man, give us some Joplin belting out "Piece of My Heart", or at the very least, just a taste of Hendrix...please!

I went to see this movie with two very good friends, and while waiting for our orders at the BBQ Smokehouse in Sebastopol, we discussed the movie. I love to listen to these two, because they have far greater depth than I when it comes to analyzing any sort of production. It was unanimous, we were all surprised at the nearly total lack of representation in regards to the MUSICAL experience that was Woodstock.

My friends were much more knowledgeable about the details of Woodstock then I, they'd seen the documentary, and they knew all the facts. For instance, the actor portraying the big hair producer was a dead ringer for the actual Michael Lang. They were able to spot every portion of reenacted file footage, from the set up at Max Yasgurs 600 acre farm, to the chaos of unprecedented traffic induced highway closures, and piece sign flashing nuns.

It seemed to me that Ang Lee's vision was more a story about the atmosphere that surrounded Woodstock, and not so much the event itself. The main character barely made it to the event and even then only after reluctantly partaking in an acid trip with a very friendly couple in the back of a Volkswagen bus.

As I sat and listened to my to friends talk about what they thought of the movie, a word crept out more than once. I think it best described what the director had provided far too much of, and in my opinion rather poorly, stereotypes.

I was two years old when this event took place and quite literally living on an island in the Pacific ocean, so I couldn't have been more removed. Even still, from what I have gleaned in my forty some odd years, Woodstock was many things to many people, but to me it has always been about the music, really damn good music.

Politics, religion, and ethnicity, have always been bridged by this thing that we all love, good music.
That to me was what Woodstock was able to do for three short days in 1969.

So to sum this movie up, I'd say it was entertaining, and worth the watch - just not so much at the theater.

Next week, District 9.

Joe


Thursday, August 27, 2009

Boycotting...clearly Un-American effort to kill free speech...

Uhm...what the hell?

That's what I said when I heard about the Wall Street Journal's publication of Co-founder and CEO of Whole Foods, John Mackey's feelings about the Public Option plan. So here we have the figurehead of a corporation, who's business is literally revered by it's liberal minded customers, giving his opinion on health care reform and the so called Public Option plan.

Just so you know, I am not a fan of large corporately run grocers or big box stores. I avoid them as often as I can, as I prefer to keep my money spent, local. I do categorize Whole Foods as a corporate franchise.

Whole Foods is thought to be a bastion of organically grown, democratic liberalism. Apparently that is a misconception, if you doubt me, please feel free to read the conservative right tripe, that Whole Foods CEO John Mackey, has parroted for an industry that has brought you the finest health care system in the world...err...well the 37th best.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204251404574342170072865070.html

As you can imagine, this has sparked a growing movement to boycott Whole Foods markets.

So guess what? All those folks out there that were real big on the "Tea Bag" movement sponsored by various (one in particular) news outlets, are now stating that this sort of boycott proves that commie liberals are out to squash free speech.

I'm sorry, did I miss something here?

What frustrates the heck out of me, is that while I support health care reform and the need for a Public Option, it's only going to aid the ignorant fools who fight so hard against it, to breed more of themselves!

It's a hard thing sometimes, to be right.

Joe

Friday, August 21, 2009

500 Days of Summer

OK, I do recall a promise I made to Anne that I'd do a review on this movie.

"500 Days of Summer" is a very nicely done, love story. It is a love story, none of us bought the add, did we? This was a delightful film, done with a measure of cinematography that was very refreshing.

I'll admit, there was a brief scene where I was terribly worried we'd gone to see a musical, that would have been a very painful event for me, as their is no faster way to put me to sleep than to make me watch a filmed musical. If I want to see a musical, I'll go to a live theatrical play, which admittedly is very rare. :)

Joseph Gordon-Levitt shows us again the depth of his acting talent, this kid is good! He's got Heath Ledger looks but with a depth for acting that I think is still relatively untapped. Of course I didn't exactly go to see him so much as my latest female favorite acting talent, Zooey Deschanel.

Deschanel has been a favorite of mine since the 2000 release of "Almost Famous", she like Gordon-Levitt, has such tremendous depth and appeal that I would imagine we'll all be seeing her for quite some time.

So as usual I'm not gonna give much of anything away, this was a film that many if not most people who've been friends with someone they wanted to be more than a friend with, can easily relate to. As a guy, I can certainly relate to the Gordon-Levitt character.

Go see it, it's good clean fun! :)

http://www.foxsearchlight.com/500daysofsummer/


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Charlie Brown Scream...

Wow!

Pardon my French, and this is wholly directed at the current administration, the political party that owns both houses, and declared the Public Health Care option dead. WHAT THE F*%# ?!

This one goes out to all the folks who behaved like chickens in a hen house, and suddenly started defending the fox when the farmer came out with his gun to save them, WHAT THE F*%# ?!

This one goes out to my friends and family that read and listen to my rantings, I'm sorry, I really thought these guys had the juice. I helped them get there, I gave them my money, I gave them my commitment and extolled their virtues. (OK maybe just Obama's virtues.)

F***************%# !


OK, enough expletives for now, after all, I gotta save some for work too.

So...what next? I really don't know... Hey, here's something freakishly bizarre, yet another well written bit of commentary posted on CNN of all places. Heck this is the second time in a week that they've actually posted anything worth reading.

This is gonna cheer you all up, this guy is gonna explain why a lot of us haven't gotten much better than a 3% raise in the last ten to fifteen years. Enjoy!

http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/08/18/reinhardt.health.inflation/index.html?eref=igoogle_cnn

Awe heck, if you really want to read something to put you in a better mood, go check out Jim's latest rant. It was so damn funny, I nearly spotted!

http://www.stonekettle.com/2009/08/things-that-chap-my-ass-about-commuting.html


Joe

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Saving Grace

All right - I was all set to do some serious short story fiction this morning and made the mistake of reading my messages...damn it! The following mad tirade was originally posted on Fancast because as usual, I couldn't keep my mouth shut!

So...I got an email from a very good friend today, the one that makes sure I understand what quality content in media is all about, specifically Film and TV. Turns out that TNT may be canceling a very good show called "Saving Grace", maybe you've heard of it?


Though not quite as bad as hearing about a loved one or close friend dying, there is always a measure of disbelief and sadness that follows. Course, then comes the disgust and bitter disappointment with networks, who can't see or appreciate the art, and magic of a perfectly cast and intelligently written show.

But here's the problem folks, the networks who bring you the good with the bad, are in the business of making money. Show's more often than not get canceled because they cannot meet the required Nealson ratings. So who's at fault here, the network who gave you a taste of something really good, or the public who failed to watch?

It would be easy to state the obvious, given the cold hard facts, but it's more complicated than that. We are a strange society, populated by honest and hard working folks, many of whom came to this country through unbelievable hardship, but endured long enough to make it here. Whether born to citizenship in this country or harder still, earned citizenship, the vast majority of us has chosen at the end of our long day, the simpler and more immediate means of gaining our cathartic high's.

Material wealth, alcohol, sex, explosions and voyeurism have become the tactile, visual, and audible drugs of choice. Networks didn't decide one day that they didn't care about the content of what they produced, most of them started out believing that what would make them great, what would drive their ratings through the roof and make them profitable, would be great content.

We as a society, have proven that content, more specifically the quality of content isn't always all that important. Those in the networks directly responsible to their shareholders and insuring that they meet their 10% increase in profitability every year, discovered this after hiring new marketing and research experts.

These corporately groomed, ivy league, businessmen and woman didn't bring creative talent to improve the content of the networks' programming. What they brought, was the cold, calculated drive to increase the size of their commercial accounts, and reduce their operational expenses.


Through research, it was determined that the concept of Reality TV, a genre we actually started in 1948 with shows like "Candid Camera" , was garnering some serious ratings in Britain, and without much expenditure.

So in came the great network experiments, the birth of "Cops" and MTV's "The Real World". We all watched, they were something new and interesting and the ratings were impressive enough to start the inevitable domino effect that has lead us to where we are today.

We have reached a level of saturation and acceptance of this genre's ever devolving means to entertain through the use of glorifying the most socially depraved forms of human interaction. This viewer wonders just how far off is it before extreme fighting to the death for convicts facing life or death sentences, becomes the next network rating's wet dream come true.

Oh dear, now I've done it...some network toady who's brother manages a privately owned prison, is gonna see this and freak out!

So how do we keep shows like "Saving Grace" from dying an early death? We have to stop watching the crap, no matter how tempting it may be, and start watching the good stuff. More than that, we have to convince our friends to do the same, and that's the real challenge.

Anyhow, I'm ranting and I'm sure most of you saw this ridiculously long post and gave in to what effects us all, our inability and lack of time to concentrate on anything more than two or three paragraphs. Heck, even I would have probably scrolled right past.

Oh well, at least I don't have to live with the guilt of giving birth to nationally syndicated and televised death matches using convicts, it's an old concept. If you want to see the latest film that takes advantage of this, trust me, it's coming to a theater near you.

**** 3:15PM - Little update on this cancellation notice, it wasn't TNT that killed the show, it was the studio - Fox TV! Oh I despise these cretins...they were the bastages that killed "Firefly" too!***

Joe

Friday, August 14, 2009

Town Hall Debacle

OK - I can live with the scared and ignorant folks who have been attending these town hall meetings on health care reform, but it's the politicians who know better, the ones that continue to perpetrate the lies that feed the fear and ignorance that have really been pissing me off.

These parrots of the the current health care "INDUSTRY" don't care a lick about their constituents, they only know how to suck greedily at the teat of corporations that have bought their vote.

That's right folks, your politicians are really NOT yours. They vote where the money is, just how many thousands of dollars have you given your senator or congressman lately? Are you sure they're representing your best interests, or the best interests of someone who's come in with a better offer?

We allow this shit people, lobbyists and former lobbyists (don't think for a second they ever stop being lobbyists) have infiltrated every inch of the fabric that is this countries political system.

Their job is not hidden from us, they are not nefarious villains skulking in the shadows, they are part of the political process, and their job is to buy votes! Just so you understand, they're not just going door to door, blasting you with radio and television adds, they are going directly to the politicians and tempting them with money to forfeit OUR rights to representation.

Many would say, "Yeah but that's capitalism!" I see it for what it is people, legally sanctioned bribery. And yeah since "Extreme Capitalism" is what this country runs on, then yeah I guess it is capitalism. It doesn't make it right though.

I'm not going to try to rescue the folks who have fallen to the dark side of the health care reform argument, they are beyond my help and they don't want it. For those who timidly put out a hand asking for some clarification, I'll be more than happy to help them up.

Folks, if your trying to see beyond all the bull that various sources of media are spewing at you every minute of the day, and your looking for the truth, I've got good news and bad news.

Lets start with the bad news, their is no one source to which you can go to and be assured that they are giving you concise and unbiased information. Their is no radio station you can dial to, no channel on your television called "Truth", though their are a few that come to mind who make that claim almost daily. :)

The good news, is that if you've actually read this particular rant of mine this far, you have been blessed with a mind still capable of a talent that is sadly lacking in our society and classrooms, critical thinking. You have access to the most powerful tool ever given to people living in the free world, the World Wide Web.

Your going to have to visit dozens if not hundreds of sources to research this topic, remember that most are going to represent their arguments for or against health care reform. Your going to have to glean the truth from the fiction on your own. I can give you one hint to aid you in your process of dissemination, if the web site you visit starts out strongly lambasting the current administration, you can bet your ass that they might be skewing the facts a bit to best represent their argument.

Good luck...

Joe

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

A Tribute to America's Know it All...

We've all known someone like this in our lives, many of us have known more than one, these are people who have opinions on just about any subject and are never too shy to share. Awe crap, I just defined myself...but seriously, the one I choose to pay tribute to today is...a professional.

Today I choose to say thank you, to a person who's very name causes such perceptible disdain, when mentioned in certain circles, has actually given cause for many people to begin foaming at the mouth and swearing out loud.

This man has gone to great lengths to show us the evils of monolithic corporations, specifically their effects upon our society through their heavy handed influence of government offices. He has worked to expose a recent presidency that used its influence and power to fill the pocket books of the rich and filthy rich, while driving the rest of us honest folks straight into the bowels of economic depression.

In 2007 he produced a movie that attempted to shed some light on America's "For Profit" health care system. So accurate was this documentary that Wendell Potter, the former top public relations Executive with CIGNA, told Bill Moyers, "I thought that he'd hit the nail on the head with his movie."

* Ref: http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/07312009/profile.html

Moyers interview with Wendell Potter is the clearest, and the most honest revelation of this countries health care companies motivations and actions.

If you are still uncertain about the reasons why some politicians continue to support the status quo while denouncing the introduction of a public insurance option, do some research damn it! Find out more about your senators, congressmen & woman.

What are the connections between them and vested special interest groups who represent the current industry as a whole? What you'll find may be shocking at first, but trust me, you'll soon come to realize that a heck lot of these public servants have been bought with campaign finance. It's the accepted practice throughout the land folks, and the only way to stop it is to expose it, over and over and over again. Why so often? Well, because humanity as a whole is afflicted with a combination of short term memory, and a state of apathy that has been nurtured since the creation of the first corporation.

Sorry...I get a bit emotional when it comes to healthcare.

So getting back to my tribute, I've always been a fan of this individual, and I have gladly endured putting up with the derision that comes from friends and family. You naysayers can bitch, whine and snivel all you want, but the truth makes it impossible to ignore just how much Michael Moore has gotten right.

As a self proclaimed know it all, I am also a realist, in that I know that I am not always right, and in fact, more often than not - wrong. In this particular case, I will simply state, "The majority of regular folks who make a point to slander or discredit Michael Moore, are simply ignorant of the facts. Their ignorance is either conditioned by their environment or their fear of accepting the truth, that those we were taught to trust, have sold us out for their own profit.



Joe


Sunday, August 9, 2009

Movie Review - "Julie & Julia"

All right,

I know what people might say - if people actually read this blog, "Dude! That's like, a total chick flick!"

OK, first let me address those who might say that and accuse me of being limp wristed, "Bite me!" I apologize to no one. I like a well written and well acted movie, and the crap that the industry spews out on a regular basis is really tiresome.

I owe my taste in music, art and film to a select group of people in my life who understand that content and more importantly the quality of that content in any artistic field is all that really matters. In the area of film, I owe to one of my best friends (a woman) the joy of having seen some of the best films ever. The minute we saw the trailer for "Julie & Julia", we both agreed it was a must see.

Folks, this movie could not have been casted any better, Maryl Streep damn near channeled the Julia we all grew up with, Stanley Tuccii is as near to perfection as one can be, and I'm totally enamored with Amy Adams as Julie.

How to describe this movie without giving anything away..., it's charming, witty, appetizing, and all around good fun! This is the ultimate date movie for those who are not complete idiots, or lack the necessary appreciation to watch a movie without constant explosions or gratuitous sex scenes.

If you haven't seen the trailer for this yet and are wondering if it's for you, go to the web site at... http://www.julieandjulia.com

Movies similar to this are...

Chocolat - go here for IMDB details... http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0241303
Big Night - go here for IMDB details... http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0115678

Bon' Appetit!

Joe


Saturday, August 1, 2009

Solar Tower

Folks, if you think that there are no clear answers to replacing our dependance on oil and coal for fuel, then you need to take a look at these two web sites discussing updraft technology.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_updraft_tower
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XCGVTYtJEFk

Australia, a country which relies almost solely on coal fired generators, and has to import the majority of their coal has the right idea, check out the following web site.

http://www.solarmissiontechnologies.com/index.html
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0tWlP0knKQU&feature=related

Look at these things! Could you imagine the scope of converting to this type of technology? It could be a public works project on a scale this country hasn't seen since Roosevelt's "New Deal"!

We can all just pussy foot around and pretend that cars and trucks that the auto industry now provide with double the gas mileage are the answer, or we can do the right thing and get busy building 1000 meter high monuments to humanity in the deserts of North America.

Joe

Movie Review - "The Hurt Locker"

OK, this was a fantastic movie.

If your looking for fantasy or science fiction, your not gonna want to see "The Hurt Locker". This is the real deal, circa 2004 Baghdad.

Kathryn Bigelow has directed a masterpiece war film that captures a glimpse into the reality of a time and place that most of us never have had to, and hopefully never will have to see in person.
This is not a glorification of events, this is simply allowing the viewer a chance to get a taste for what this particular group of people got to, and get to experiance every day.

This has been a dismal year for film thus far, don't get me wrong, I'm as much a "Harry Potter" fan as the next geek, but this was the best use of film I've seen in a while.

Joe