Film Reviews (Late Fall 2005)

Wallace and Grommit.. (2005) directed by Steve Box (Chicken Run, 2000); starring the voices of Helena Bonham Carter and Ralph Fiennes: Snaprating=WFD, MILIEU theme (Problem sub-theme). Stop-motion claymation fans, especially those who know and love the three previous W&G short films, will enjoy the antics and not be bothered by the predictably childish plotline.

Domino (2005) directed by Tony Scott (Man on Fire, 2004); starring Keira Knightley and Mickey Rourke: Snaprating=Keeper, PROBLEM theme (Character sub-theme). Fans of Scott's colorful, quick-cut, intense information overload films, will love this edgy, hard-pounding blur. Of special note are the numerous, wonderful, minor-characters and quirky-odd sub-plots.

2046 (2004) directed by Kar Wai Wong (director of many films released outside the US); starring Tony Leung Chiu Wai and Takuya Kimura: Fans-who-don't-hate-operatic-cinema-Snaprating=Cheaper, Opera-haters Snaprating=WFT, CHARACTER theme. Disregard the trailer, this is not an SF Film! It feels like Barton Fink melded - confusingly - with a slow-paced, 50's gumshoe-story (but set in late-60's Asia) AND because it's a need-to-concentrate, think-film, don't leave for three minutes or you'll lose the thread.

In Her Shoes (2005) directed by Curtis Hanson (Wonder Boys, 2000); starring Toni Collette and Cameron Diaz: Snaprating=Cheaper, RE-ORDER theme (Character secondary theme). This funny-touching film will be enjoyed by mothers and daughters everywhere. A mix of Return to Me, Playing by Heart, and - maybe - (with sisters and grandmothers instead of sons and mothers) Igby Goes Down .

Touch the Sound (2004) directed by Thomas Riedelsheimer (Rivers and Tides, 2001); starring deaf percussionist Evelyn Glennie: Artist and lovers-of-art Snaprating=Cheaper, Non-Artist Snaprating=WFT, MILIEU theme. This intense documentary about hearing with one's body will soon be available on IFC and The Sundance Channel.

Good Night and Good Luck (2005) directed by George Clooney (Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, 2002); starring David Strathairn and George Clooney: PPBOATS* Fans Snaprating=Cheaper, All others Snaprating=WFC, MILIEU theme. This near-historically-accurate film is quasi-documentary (but not too quasi, like an Oliver Stone film). Fans of The Downfall: Hitler and the End of the Third Reich will enjoy this glimpse of 1950's McCarthyism.

The Weather Man (2005) directed by Gore Verbinski (The Ring, 2002); starring Nicolas Cage and Michael Caine: Snaprating=WFD, CHARACTER theme. This poignant, slightly unsettling, well-acted, story (with the humor of: Me, You, and Everyone Else We Know) is similar to About Schmidt only the focus is on a self-absorbed, angsty, middle-aged man, instead of a retired one.

Capote (2005) directed by Bennett Miller (big-screen directorial debut); starring Philip Seymour Hoffman and Catherine Keener: Snaprating=Cheaper, CHARACTER theme. Hoffman is incredable in this BPBOATS*, which is plotted like Girl With a Pearl Earring, since it's more about the 3 years he wrote In Cold blood, than his entire life.

MirrorMask (2005) directed by Dave McKean (big-screen directorial debut); starring Stephanie Leonidas and Gina McKee: Snaprating=WFC, MILIEU theme (Problem sub-theme). Although the simple, non-musical, plot may be compared to The Wizard of Oz (even thought it's more of an after-school special) this wonderfully drawn, poorly-scripted, and terribly-acted construct fails to make audiences care about it's characters or outcome.

Elizabethtown (2005) directed by Cameron Crowe (Almost Famous, 2000); starring Orlando Bloom and Kirsten Dunst: Snaprating=WFD, CHARACTER theme (Problem and Milieu sub-themes). This Lost in Translation set in middle-America, maybe had potential for greatness during pre-production (great script and director) but over-reached with: poor casting, esoteric music, and tacked-on subplots, which all fail in this patchwork-quilt-of-quirkyness.

Jarhead (2005), directed by Sam Mendes (American Beauty, 1999); starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Jamie Foxx: Snaprating=Keeper, CHARACTER theme (Milieu secondary theme). The Vietnam war has Full Metal Jacket, WWII has Saving Private Ryan, now Desert-Shield and -Storm have this humorous-yet-poignant, exceptionally acted, directed, and edited masterpiece.

Memory of a Killer (Zaak Alzheimer, De) (2003) directed by Erik Van Looy (Shades, 1999); starring Jan Decleir and Koen De Bouw: FFF* Snaprating=Cheaper, All Others=WFC, PROBLEM theme (Character secondary theme). Fans of the Korean film Tell Me Something will enjoy this pro-antagonist 'hit-man with a heart' (who's losing his memory).

Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang (2005) directed by Shane Black (directorial debut, screenwriter); starring Robert Downey Jr. and Val Kilmer: Snaprating=Keeper, PROBLEM theme (Character sub-theme). Downey is wonderful in this enthralling and hilarious 'unwitting-PI, murder-mystery-gone-awry', which has the look and feel of The Pink Panther meets Jackie Brown with an Elmore Leonardesque smell and taste.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005) directed by Mike Newell (Four Weddings and a Funeral, 1994); starring Daniel Radcliffe and Rupert Grint: Snaprating=WFD, PROBLEM theme (Milieu sub-theme). If cramming a book (twice as thick as the first ones) into 2 hours: A - Cut a lot out. B - Uniquely tie together fifty slices of information and action. or C - Use a massive amount of CGI and hope the shitload of poorly fitting, choppy scenes will be overlooked. Newell failed at A, never tried B, and accomplished C.

Unleashed (Danny the Dog) (2005) directed by Louis Leterrier (The Transporter, 2002); starring Jet Li and Bob Hoskins: Snaprating=Cheaper, Problem theme. This 'marial arts film with a heart' will be mostly enjoyed by Jet Li fans.

The Girl in the Cafe (2005) directed by David Yates (Big Screen Directorial Debut); starring Bill Nighy and Kelly Macdonald: Snaprating=WFD, Character theme. This made-for-TV film blends two interesting character studies, and humor, packaged into a strong geo-political guilt-trip-heavy message.

Imaginary Heroes (2004) directed by Dan Harris (Big Screen Directorial Debut); starring Sigourney Weaver and Emile Hirsch: Snaprating=WFC, RE-ORDER theme. This Ordinary People-Chumscrubber mixture is interesting because of plot twists, but we never grow to care about the shallow characters and when the twists become resolved, we end up with a handful of whogivesafuck.

*PPBOATS = Period Piece Based On A True Story *BPBOATS = Biographical Picture Based On A True Story *FFF = Foreign Film Fan

November's 11 thru 20

Turning to look me in the eye, Robert-not-Bob says, “Oh, annnnd…Wash Cabinet is de rigueur, but I understand Water Closet is still acceptable…” I smile at him and pick up the peppershaker to examine my warped reflection; how did I get that scar? He continues, “…told me about the SDU last month; you slick-frick! Playing stupid so she gains a faux mental edge means… Finally gonna ask her, aren’t ya?”

I shrug. Grin. Memories of past conversations sidle into place—as if they just got caught out of their seats without permission. I envision Holly spread across the pallet.

Interrupted—as she shoots a bowl of frothy beverage at me with a, “figured you could use this; I’ll be back with your special…” and then gives the international waitperson ‘I’ve-got-other-customers’ gesture.

“You heard it. She thinks ‘you’re special’. I’d love to sit and dis-encourage you, but I’m headed over to Barbara’s…and don’t give me that eye-thing you do when you think about me getting so much when you get so little. Can you cover the check today?”

I nod, waive at his departure, and fake laugh, which grabs hold of my caffeinated lack-of-sleep and becomes a giggle.

“Laughing with—or at yourself?” Holly slides a plate of yellow, beige, and brown food in front of me with a garnish of red and a glass of orange; then takes a knee where Robert-not-Bob sat.

Finger-clearing at the slaphappy tears I say, “I would like to go out with you.”

Standing up and straightening her apron she replies, “I visit my uncle after the lunch crowd, today. He lives out by the airport in branded-housing. How about after? Tonight?”

“I could take you to visit him in my loaner-car and we could go from there.”

“You’ve got a sled?”

“The use of one.” I nod.

“Boring for you, while I hand-hold Uncle Deeter.”

“I can keep occupied. Besides, this new civil-soc construct is interesting. Never been inside the new housing project.”

“Ohhhh, I forgot your Social Engineering minor. Well sure then. Pick me up here at fifteen?”

For the next four hours I eat and drink. Pay and over-tip. Confirm and smile-waive. Ride and zone out. Undress and Nap. Wake, shower, return (in my loaner-sled) and wait in front of Ray’s as bully-clouds threaten to suffocate the sun overhead. Holly exits. Momentarily shocked by the waitress-to-supermodel transformation, I stare.

“I was less than honest, Joe,” she says, taking my arm as we walk. “I actually have to get a briefing at the Peste D'Hôpital. I felt funny explaining when customers might overhear. See, they’re predicting a trend: several suicides a day—and not only in the WC’s; some kind of ‘last meal’ thing.”

Holly’s sandy hair frames her face. “You look wonderful,” I say.

“Thank you,” she smiles. Tugging me to a stop, “how about this kiosk?” she asks, leading us into a metal, empty, bus-stop-sized sidewalk-booth. Touching an indent, she looks at me and down at the console.

I’m expected to do something! I scan buttons and read multi-language instructions. She takes my left hand, guides my finger toward the console’s other indent, pushes buttons and retrieves a receipt. We walk.

“Robert said you were inexperienced,” she says as I use the V-Sat. I roll my eyes.

As the car enters traffic, Holly replies to Ohura. All the windows become dark-translucent, music thumps, sandalwood fills the air. “It’s a turn-on. Are you a virgin?” She asks.

How to answer? Joe is, but not me? I shrug and look out the moonroof.

“That’s cool.” She smiles and holds my hand.

“Do you have a handy?”

I nod. She holds out her palm. Giving her Lösch’s phone earns me a: “No-wonder, s’not-even-on. Men,” sigh. After a few seconds of fussing she hands it back, “Not sure how long, but I’ll call when it’s over.”

The car stops. We get out. I say, “Hope you learn how to prevent people from killing themselves after eating your food.” Which earns me an explosion of full-on laughter. While laughing, Holly is stunning.

I enter the elevator with a man wearing a hospital gown without one sleeve—displaying his star-shaped burn. Proud of his brand?

Pressing the 12 – Park button, I glance at one-sleeve. His skin looks rough and flabby. Ish’s brand must have been under a red patch of felt! Ouch!

“You ‘nterested ‘n halloween candy?” One sleeve’s English is extremely nasal. I turn. He cradles a handful of black and orange capsules and says, “You know this ’s the straight One-Oh-Five.”

I squeeze off the elevator, hold it for three shuffling on, and step into a grassy, roof-park with bushes, flowerbeds, and trellises. He follows. “My family’s ‘n need. Twenty-five each?”

On a bench, I take out piggyback dad’s notebook and write: Explain.

“You can ‘nderstand, just can’t talk?”

This is easier. I shrug and make the keep-going finger motion. As I learn about the Belgian assisted suicide program, I nod once in a while. Everyone is prescribed a 105 pill. Although one-sleeve steals unattended pills, the majority are purchased from in- or out-patients who do not intend to suicide by overdose. Recently he decided to sell and send his profits to his sister in Milwaukee.

One-sleeve takes me to where he wants to eventually jump. We look down at the turnout. I tap the notebook.

“Goin’ out messy’s the only plan left.”

I tap.

“Wanna go ou’ big. Was gonna spike somethin' with the 105’s, like tha' Tylenol guy back in the 70’s,” 1982, “in Seattle-someplace.” Chicago.

I lose my balance and sit. Tap.

“Couldn’t find anything tha' wasn’t tamper-resistant seven ways from fuck-me-Fred.”

Nerve endings in the inner ear go first; I keep my eyes on the horizon for balance as my fingertips and feet fall asleep.

“Ya gonna buy my stash?”

I stand in a rush, bracing forward; arms thrust, legs pump. One-sleeve has enough time to register a shocked grimace before he disappears over the rail. A claxon blares.

Book Recommendation: Life Expectancy

Koontz at his best. This one rivals Odd Thomas with it's wonderful combination of: story/plot, interesting protagonist(s) and antagonist(s), building and maintaining suspense, humor, and overall je ne sais quoi. I always enjoy his down-to-earth-yet-bizarre villains who coincidentally happenstance upon unique-unsung-heroes much more than any of his far-fetched supernatural-aliens, and this one cements my favoritism in place.

This one is worth purchasing in hardback and keeping for your grandkids to enjoy in the 2020's.

Keeper Alert: Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang

Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang (2005) directed by Shane Black (directorial debut, screenwriter); starring Robert Downey Jr. and Val Kilmer: Snaprating=Keeper, PROBLEM theme (Character sub-theme). Downey is wonderful in this enthralling and hilarious 'unwitting-PI, murder-mystery-gone-awry', which has the look and feel of The Pink Panther meets Jackie Brown with an Elmore Leonardesque smell and taste.

Public Service Homicide

"A time will come when a politician, who has willfully made war and wrongfully promoted international dissension, will be assured of a trial and guaranteed a chance to be the guest of honor at a public service homicide; more so than an ordinary spree killer. It is not reasonable that those who gamble with men's lives should not stake their own." - snapperhead slightly misquoting H. G. Wells

digital rendering by veach st. glines, creative commons license 2005

Book Recommendation: Melancholy Baby

In this newest of the Sunny Randall series, the female Boston PI is further defined as rough and tough (and at-the-same-time emotionally-fragile). This quick-read develops the character while uniting her with Susan Silverman (from the Spencer series). Read Parker not for plots or characters but for fast, smooth, movement of action using mostly dialogue. Available in paperback for Parker fans, and at your library for all others.

November's 1 thru 10

Within meters of a turn out—empty at this hour—the V-Sat vibrates. It’s screen reads: Confirm ETA 225. I press the center button. The screen becomes yellow and begins counting backward.

In exchange for my gray, I could experience all of Joe’s life. Definitely worth it, if measured in decades. Not so much, if I become just another Radimer.

A tan, four-door, Mercedes TS1220 quietly enters the turnout. Electric power? Vibrating and flashing, the V-Sat reads: ETD 10, and counts backward. I press. It turns green and reads: Load. The driver’s door slides open. I get in. Oh. Wow.

Before I have a chance to contemplate the smell of comfort—the door closes, harnesses envelop, the car begins to leave the turn out, and Lieutenant Ohura’s voice says: destination. Without thinking, I reply, “coffee.” WOooonderfully tired!

Ohura says: select, and an in-dash screen—autumn trees blowing in the wind—becomes a moving photo-map with a list of coffee shops and café’s.

I say, “the nearest.” Acceleration presses me gently into soft leather as the screen returns to red-orange trees...reminiscent of Busse Woods. Wonder what the dragon-master gained from my last mission? Chicago, 1982?

“Search, Chicago, Nineteen-Eighty-Two,” I say.

‘Everybody needs a little time away… I heard her say…’

“Stop.” The music cuts off.

Joe is computer savvy, therefore, I am. All I need to do is refine the…

Although still traveling, Ohura interrupts: fast-poured available. I read the menu (and, apparently, there are more screens if this list of thirty-six premiere coffees is insufficient).

“Twelve, extra-large.”

Seventeen-fifty - credit - confirm?

“Twenty, with tip. Yes.” Thanks for the expensive Java, Lösch. Where was I? Thinking about music?

The car slows, window lowers, a man gives me a cup and a thank-you-sir; as window and speed rise, the car re-enters traffic.

As I clarify my new destination with Ohura, because Joe’s flat is equidistant from two turnouts, I drink my Vanilla Latte-chino. From among the horde of bicyclists, an amazing ass stands out—forcing me to look out the rear window as I pass, to see if her ventral is as pleasant as her dorsal view.

drive setting: automatic - full-manual - or - combination manual-auto available - occupying driver-seat required by…

“Handicap automatic,” cuts Ohura off. Must have shifted in my seat too much, or bumped the wheel; Lösch said to direct the override-setting each time I got in, but I forgot. Sooo tired.

Standing in the hall outside Joe’s flat, I concentrate on the door-combination: 31-11-20-29. His own goddamn birthday? Who’s savvy? The pocket-door rolls open. A half-glance right as I u-turn into the bathroom completes a recon: pallet in the far corner, clothes on a broken rack, and a desk (actually two doors propped across four sawhorses).

I sit. My pent-up-urine-burst is nearly orgasmic; defecation brings chills up my back and across my scalp. The pleasure of evacuation: another reason to consider Lösch's offer. Crumpled over the drainpipe for the sink, a crusty rag reminds me of something else I forgot: masturbation!

On the pallet, holding an unfamiliar, flaccid penis in my right hand, I attempt envisioning Zuella. Why is first intimacy always difficult? Squinting at the skylights, I recognize that—besides a window over the tub the size of a cribbage board—these are this flat’s sole natural-light openings. Four-meter ceilings. Emergency-egress prohibitive. When Grimy Go-between and Piggyback Dad team-up to take back the Surinam’s Ish purchased… …climb metal scaffolding… …wiggle onto roof… …attain foothold on cloud-bulletin-board… …fall.

I wake-up. If I decide to keep Joe’s life, I should keep my breakfast appointment. I have an hour and a good hard-on.

I exercise my cow-milking muscles. On the pier, Zuella walks towards me completely naked. The rub of fingers over my ventral ridge creates a familiar tingle-tickle sensation. She smiles like Zuella used to. My pace increases. Her nipples are erect. I enter. focus. on. one. Nipple. In. My. Mouth. ON. MY. TONGUE. I continue pawing for many long seconds beyond ejaculation.

Once the spasms subside, I get up and take a shower. Stupid to return where piggyback dad discovered it is not a small world—but if I want Joe’s life, I need to keep his friends and his routines.

Shaving, I notice a tiny scar on the top edge of my lip. How did I get that? Yesterday, I asked a question without thinking—did I set myself up for a deception?

Robert-not-Bob said, ‘breakfast tomorrow? Ten-thirtyish?’ I think my reply was, ‘Ten-thirty’—open to interpretation and non-committal. My memory is unclear. If I said, ‘see you then’—with no intention of returning at that time—I could be back on the pier at 1031. I hurry.

Wearing dark slacks and a silky, teal-and-ivory, pull-over sweater-jacket with zippered inside pockets, I approach the, now busy, turnout. V-Sat time: 1008.

Once inside the car, I ask Ohura to play some smooth music. Immediately, incredible ambient overlapping melodies ease into me. I smile, even though the day is becoming cloudy.

I notice a MasterPark sign and say, “Query. Vehicle parking. Locations and ordinances.” A map of the city—with dozens of blue ‘P’ indicators and a list of topics—fills the screen. In minutes, I learn about EU-mandated, underground, park-fuel structures in metropolitan areas.

From the turnout, I walk a half-block. The restaurant is nearly empty. Sliding into the booth, I smile at Holly who is listening to Robert-not-Bob talk football.

Speaking into his orange juice glass—just like Lösch did last night—Robert-not-Bob says, “Did you hear, JoLo? Another one.”

Holly finishes while he gulps, “This makes three, and still no sight of SDU. Guess this one wasn’t messy. Ray says not to touch the WC until they get here.”

I shake my head, “Acronyms.”

Holly shrugs, “Suicide… something-with-a-D …Unit? Anyway. Want the special? Still got some left.”

I nod. She walk-skips away. We watch.

“Maybe a system-glitch,” Robert-not-Bob says. “But probably, Souillé Déplacement Unité’s directive is: Wait, someone else will clean it; if not, displace multiple soiled’s and triple-bill.”

Coldcode for: veach st. glines


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Book Recommendation: The Best Science and Nature Writing, 2005

Mr Folger: This year the cover of your book contains the word best, and - after reading it - I'm certain it is as intentionally-erroneous as the US administration's weapons-of-mass-destruction. The editor you hired this year is not only what his namesake implies, but an incompetent dumbfuck too.

Several hundred magazine articles were published last year, your editor obviously chose to publish his friends and, then, only about topics he was interested in: religion, politics, drugs, psychiatry, and combinations on those themes.

Five articles - 20% of the book- are about drugs and food supplements that stupid Americans can't stop taking, and four articles - 16% of the book- is about psychiatry: Two, written by the same person: one about PTSD and how it has changed in the last half-century and another about personality tests and how they have changed over the last half-centry. Two others are about Rorschach’s ink blots—and amazingly PTSD, again.

Two articles, 8% of the book is about religion—yes, that’s right: My God Problem – And Theirs and Keeping the Faith in My Doubt. I had to keep looking at the cover to remind myself what book I was reading.

NASA and space exploration get three articles…all three are very similarly toned: ‘Bad, stupid, politicians should never have cut NASA’s budget’, which is compounded by another article about just bad, stupid, politicians (and the voters that put them in office).

I found three interesting articles: The Curious History of the First Pocket Calculator, about the first hand-held fully-mechanical calculator, which could add, subtract, multiply, and divide up to 15 digits made in the 1940’s; To Hell and Back, about a scuba explorer who cave dives for weeks at time, thousands of feet underground; and Who’s Life Would You Save?, a philosophical piece about morals and fairness.

Just hang out in the bookstore and read those 30 pages in the isle.

Keeper Alert: Jarhead

Jarhead (2005), directed by Sam Mendes (American Beauty, 1999); starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Jamie Foxx: Snaprating=Keeper, CHARACTER theme (Milieu secondary theme). The Vietnam war has Full Metal Jacket, WWII has Saving Private Ryan, now Desert-Shield and -Storm have this humorous-yet-poignant, exceptionally acted, directed, and edited masterpiece.

PP-BOATS are different than B.P.BOATS, but who cares.

          Answer me this:
          Who's to blame for mistaking myth for historical fact?  Are individuals accountable for their belief systems (each step of the way, not just ultimately) or are the propagators of ‘myth in nonfiction-sheep’s-clothing’ at fault?  And if these instructor-wolves are liable, where’s the beef?
          These three questions—easily directed at religion/priests or classroom/teachers—came to the forefront of my brain today, after watching two recently released films containing a common thread, (both Cheaper-quality, reviews will be posted next month) so I decided to point my three questions at: films/directors.
          The films were: Capote (which is plotted like* Girl with a Pearl Earring) and Good Night and Good Luck, (which is plotted like* The Downfall: Hitler and the End of the Third Reich).
          I discussed both with my film umpire:
          “I wonder how Good Night and Good Luck will be used in decades to come?  Do you think teachers will show it in class when teaching about 1950s-era McCarthyism?” I asked.
          “I think that’s certain to happen.  My high-school history teacher showed: A Man Called Horse, as part of Native American studies and Tora, Tora, Tora, when covering World War Two; I also recall watching Excaliber in English class.”
          “Did your English teacher show King Arthur and Merlin to depict actual events?”
          “Very funny…she showed it as an example of fantasy. Myth.”
          “Then, neither you nor she took it out of context, that's encouraging...
          ...but…a Hollywood war-movie?  Even though it may seem unbiased because it tries to be a movie that "tells it from both sides" it's still just a dramatic re-creation about the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and NOT historically accurate, except for the war footage, of course.
          Also, I'm amazed anyone would think a movie about an Anglo trying to 'become a native'…wasn’t that the one with Richard Harris hanging by the chest?…I thought so…How does that have anything to do with teaching about Native American culture?”
          “It’s a wrong-headed, highly-skewed perspective, you’re right.  But, I wasn’t so good in those classes—and partly because I’m still not so good at history, geography, and religious studies; once-in-a-while, I like a movie that teaches me something while it entertains.  I’ll bet there are plenty of people who think like I do,” she said.
          So, I ranted: “Some films, by their very nature, are understood to be a story by everyone that watches them.  But when teachers show PP-BOATS to their students, there aren't any attached codicils: ‘What you are viewing is merely a story, or a depiction of a few people's ideas—namely those of the screenwriter, the director, and a producer or two.’  I'll bet even if the teacher told you it was a story…in a couple decades, your memory holds the film and forgets the disclaimer.”
          “aaah…PP-BOATS?” She asked.
          “Oh, sorry...I thought you knew my acronyms: period piece, based on a true story.”
          “Was Capote a period piece based on a true story?”
          “No. It’s actually a bio-pic, based on a true story…so: B.P.BOATS.  Confusing myth with fact in a bio-pic, like Capote, or Girl with a Pearl Earring, isn't as problematic as with a PP-BOATS.  Actually, it’s nothing compared with the mistake of teaching a PP-BOATS as if it were historically accurate!”
          “I don’t know if I understand the distinction—and I’m positive I don’t understand why one’s OK to confuse with history, but the other isn’t.”
          “I’ll use better examples.  Are you familiar with, The Birth of a Nation?  No? Well, it is a boringly-long, silent film, set in the years surrounding the US Civil War.
Filmed in 1914, but depicting the 1860’s, thus ‘period piece’; and since the war actually occurred, it is ‘based on a true story’.
          But, that’s where fact stops and fiction starts.  The director and screenwriter tell a story—which distills into flagrant racism—about why the ‘nation’ of the Klu Klux Klan needed to be ‘born’ to restore ‘white order and justice’ to the incompetent, negligent, and lazy newly-freed blacks in the southern states.”
           “Are you saying such an obvious fiction, could be confused with actual history?”
          “Yes.  And, it is.  Children are born and raised by stupid, evil, and viciously-hateful adults every day—who grow up to raise ignorant, vile, and insipidly degenerate children of their own.  And I’ll further answer your question with questions of my own: How could such an obvious fantasy as The Old Testament be confused with natural events?  How could the New Testament be considered a true-biography?  How can such a ridiculous fabrication as The Book of Mormon be considered depicting actual events?”
          “But, have you ever read or heard about anyone who believes the version of history depicted in that KKK film?”
          “Well...yes...In the mid-90s, I worked with a card-carrying hater who—while trying to convince me of the supremacy of the white race—ended up only making me sure of one thing: he actually believed the film revealed the ‘real truth’ behind a liberal, left-wing, non-confederate, cover-up!  This college-educated cracker from Arkansas spoke in earnest praise of this film’s message.”
          “Right.  So, I understand how this KKK PP-BOATS film is misused, even today.  But, if I'm following you correctly, it's not so bad to re-write history if it's done in a bio-pic?”
          “Correct.  Take the film: Girl with a Pearl Earring—even a huge misrepresentation about Johannes Vermeer’s paintings, or life, amounts to nothing more than you mistaking an artist for something he wasn’t.  In the film, his wife is a tyrant.  What if she was really a saint?  What if Vermeer was really a fanatical blithering idiot who not only couldn't mix his own paints, as this film depicts, but couldn't walk outside without a diaper?  The truth hardly matters at all.  It's only about one person: unimportant in respect to the big picture.”

          “So.  OK.  Where are you going with all this?  What do you think about directors who take Oliver-Stoneish and Michael-Mooreish liberties with history?  That make films about Pocahontas falling in love when she was actually kidnapped, that recreate history in the minds of millions, effectively making “new-history?”
          “Oh, I don’t much care either way.  They are—after all—just movies.  But I do so very much enjoy debating their value as if they were earth-shatteringly important.”
          “I thought so.”


* plotted like, does not always mean ‘similar to’: Capote (about the years he researched and wrote the book In Cold Blood) is plotted like, and similar to, Girl… (about the years Vermeer spent working on the titled painting).   But, although the plotting of Good… and The Downfall… are alike because each collect ‘snatches of time’ (from the years of Murrow’s news-team’s lives, and from Hitler’s last days in which his surviving-secretary shared a bunker with him) once these ‘snatches of time’ are combined, the differences are vast.  In Good... the journalistic endeavors to expose Senator McCarthy become canonized, while in The Downfall... Hitler’s fractured personality is not only it’s focal point, but it's rasion d'être.

To settle the Neosporin Debate (from last week)

I found the definitive definition in the dictionary Davecat shared with everyone. It reads: