Filed under: Domestic Policy, Entertainment, History, Movies, Politics, Television | Tags: Hollywood Movies, Special Effects Excess, Violence and Storytelling
In all the conversation about “assault weapons” most of the commentary has concerned the cosmetic appearance of guns, and the number of bullets in a magazine. Some small number of the comments have concerned violent video games but there have been no serious studies that show a connection to disturbed people committing mass shootings.
On the other hand, let’s admit that movies are violent, unnecessarily so. Hollywood’s minor celebrities, always anxious to get their faces and names before the public rushed to make a commercial to advance the president’s efforts to ban gun violence and guns. Though he claims to appreciate the Second Amendment, Obama is on record saying that he does not believe that people should be allowed to own guns.
The Hollywood celebrity bunch made a forgettable commercial for Obama’s original campaign for the presidency, so this one was much in the same style — a little gag inducing. Conservatives re-did the commercial, inserting clips from each particular celebrity’s very own movie, celebrating the very kind of gun violence they were so pompously opposing. It’s fun to see hypocrisy exposed. Demand a plan. Heh.
The president, you will notice, said not a word about violence in movies. Hollywood people are major campaign supporters and celebrities flock to the White House. When the CDC studies the causes of gun violence, movies will probably not be included.
Commenters write about seeing World War II movies, which only demonstrates how superficial the thinking. Hollywood is in business to make money. When a movie is popular, they pay attention to what was different about the movie. It is not an accident that so many popular movies have been remade several times. (Think Superman or Robin Hood) Special effects have taken over. What was once a simple car crash, is now a major spectacle with dozens of flaming cars flung high over freeway overpasses. A real-life Volt bursting into flame isn’t really shocking any more.
There was a time when most gun violence was in cowboy movies, where the hero pointed his six-shooter in the general direction of the bad guy, sound-effects provided the necessary sounds, and the bad guy fell down dead. Gangster movies were about the 20s and bank robberies and prohibition and car chases. The gangsters were recognizable because they had tommy-guns, wore black and black hats and drove big black cars that had a back seat or trunk large enough to hold a body. But the story was about bravery and cowardice, honesty and dishonor.
Special effects have taken over, and each movie must top the last. Heads explode in pink mist, wounds rip bodies apart, limbs are amputated. Whole groups of people are torn to pieces. What make-up cannot create, technical wizards will create with their computers. The sad thing is that Hollywood has lost the art of storytelling. Movies are just not so appealing any more. More violence, more gore, more blood, more sex, more squalor, more evil, more vulgarity, more bad language.
Movies once concerned the human condition, not in its excesses, but in its ordinary foibles. People are very human and struggle to understand their own human failings. Good storytelling makes you laugh or cry as you recognize bits of yourself and your friends and realize that perhaps you’re normal after all. That’s what storytelling has always been about, from how to have courage, how to be a hero when you are frightened, how to cope with the death of a loved one, how to be a good person, how to survive.
Think of some of the great movies: High Noon, Gone With the Wind, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, To Kill a Mockingbird, It’s a Wonderful Life, E.T., The Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Harry Potter, Singing In The Rain, Lawrence of Arabia, It Happened One Night. Shakespeare told stories, Homer told stories, Aesop told stories — all about being human.
People use movies as examples in conversation and thought. They justify ideas, not by history, but with movie scenes. Movie dialogue has become an integral part of conversation and speech. I notice because it is not natural to me, and I have been surprised by its prevalence. Often notions of history come from the movies rather than from historians’ evidence from the past. The behavior of celebrities in real life is influential and imitated. So to assume that violence in movies has no effect on violence in society is absurd. Will that connection be investigated? Not by Obama’s Executive Orders.
Filed under: Entertainment, Movies, Politics, Pop Culture, Television | Tags: Celebrity is Not Fame, Hypocrites, Violence in Movies
I don’t know, maybe you are so impressed with “celebrity” that you welcome advice from those who are modestly well known because they were once in a movie or got their picture in the paper. Somebody must be, because so many magazines feature “celebrities” on their covers. I am not, and find them tiresome. Their movies are increasingly uninteresting, and dominated by the same old special effects, and nobody in Hollywood seems to remember how to tell a good story.
Anyway, these tiresome pretty people, inspired by the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary decided to tell the rest of us that we should dump the Second Amendment to the Constitution. Somebody else, who also found them tiresome, took the trouble to juxtapose the violent scenes from their very own movies with their preachiness. Delicious. Love seeing hypocrites exposed.
Because we occasionally spend money to see a movie, and their agents tell them how wonderful they are, doesn’t mean that said minor celebrities have any expertise in politics that might influence the rest of us. I only recognized a couple of them. If you care so much, stop making such violent movies. You are a bad example. Please — just shut up.
Filed under: Entertainment, History, Literature, Movies | Tags: In Trouble Off Cape Hatteras, The Bounty Trilogy, The HMS Bounty Replica
The tall ship HMS Bounty, is a replica of the famous ship sent by the Royal Navy on a botanical mission. It was sent to the South Pacific to acquire breadfruit plants and transport them to the British West Indies. The mission was never completed. Anger and bad relationships between the ship’s commander, Lieutenant William Bligh and his acting Sailing Master, Fletcher Christian, led to one of the world’s most famous mutinies. Fletcher Christian and about half the crew seized the vessel on October 28, 1789.
On December 23, 1787, the Bounty sailed from Spithead for Tahiti. The crew spent an entire month trying to round Cape Horn, but the weather prevented it. Bligh proceeded East, and rounded the Cape of Good Hope, and crossed the Indian Ocean. Bounty reached Tahiti on October 26, 1788 after ten months at sea. Bligh and the crew spent five months in Tahiti. Many of the crew formed relations with young women, had themselves tattooed in native fashion. They set sail with their cargo of breadfruit on 4 April 1789.
Some 1300 miles west of Tahiti, near Tonga, mutiny broke out. The ship was taken bloodlessly, and apparently without any struggle except by Bligh himself. Of the 42 men on the ship, 22 joined Christian in mutiny, 18 remained loyal to Bligh and two were passive.
The mutineers ordered Bligh, two midshipmen, the surgeon’s mate, and the ship’s clerk into the ship’s boat, along with a few of the seamen. They sailed 30 nautical miles to Tofua in search of supplies, but were forced to flee when they found the natives hostile and one man was killed. Bligh then set out for the Dutch port of Coupang, 3,500 nautical miles from Tofua, one of the great feats of navigation and seamanship. He safely arrived there 47 days later, having lost no men during the voyage.
The Mutineers returned to Tahiti, where they set the loyalists and sixteen of the mutineers ashore. Fletcher Christian, eight other crewmen, six Tahitian men and eleven women, one with a baby set sail in the Bounty. They passed through the Fiji Islands, and the Cook Islands trying to find a safe place. On 15 January 1790 they rediscovered Pitcairn Island, which had been misplaced on admiralty maps. To prevent discovery and anyone’s escape, the ship was burned in what is now called Bounty Bay.
The stories were admirably told by Charles Nordhoff and James Norman Hall in a trilogy : Mutiny on the Bounty, Men Against the Sea, and Pitcairn’s Island. They were originally published in the 1930s, and in many other versions ever since. Amazon has a selection of all different printings.I loved the books when I was a kid.
Movies have been made of Mutiny on the Bounty with Clark Gable and Charles Laughton, (1935), with Marlon Brando and Trevor Howard (1962), and a 1984 movie called The Bounty with Mel Gibson and Anthony Hopkins —who goes somewhat mad. There was an earlier one with Errol Flynn, and one even earlier than that from Australia which is long lost. It’s a great sea story, based on real history, and always popular. Captain Bligh is portrayed as cruel, totally mad, a master navigator and a firm but harsh captain. Books have been written about Bligh’s accomplishments, the aftermath for Pitcairn Islanders, the rediscovery of Pitcairn. That one voyage has proved to be fodder for a multitude of stories.
Which brings us back to today. The HMS Bounty, which I believe is the replica built for the 1962 movie, was caught up in Hurricane Sandy off Cape Hatteras today. They lost steerage, and were taking on water. The Coast Guard performed a heroic rescue, and picked up 14 of the 16 crew members, all in survival suits. Two were missing, but the Coast Guard continued to search.
The sea is relatively warm, around 70° and one was known to be wearing a survival suit, though they didn’t know if the other missing man had one. It’s not known if the Bounty is still afloat. It is 223 years and one day since the original Mutiny took place.
ADDENDUM: The Coast Guard has suspended their search for the Captain of the Bounty. The missing crew member was found, unresponsive, and died at the hospital. The ship has gone down.
Filed under: Entertainment, Movies, News the Media Doesn't Want You to Hear, Politics, Progressivism | Tags: Drive Audiences Away, Hollywood, Politically Correct Movies
Filed under: Movies, Music, News, The United States | Tags: drug addiction, RIP, Whitney Houston
Superstar Whitney Houston, with a voice so clear, so rich, so big, that it was truly a National Treasure, has died at the age of 48.
The causes at the time of this writing are unknown, but the star had succumbed to drug addiction years ago that ruined her life, her marriage, her career and her glorious voice.
This blogger suggests you remember her by making a contribution to a worthy drug rehab program, and by doing whatever it takes to get those you know off drugs. Whatever it takes.
God bless & rest her soul. She will be missed.
Filed under: Europe, Freedom, History, Military, Movies | Tags: Nazi Germany, Stalag Luft III, The Great Movies
One of the great movies of all time is The Great Escape. Here is the original trailer. If you have never seen it, (is there anyone who has never seen it?) order it up from Netflix, or order it up again, it’s well worth seeing more than once.
The classic Steve McQueen movie immortalized three tunnels at Stalag Luft III POW camp, named Tom, Dick and Harry. But now archaeologists have located a fourth tunnel called George. The camp was located 100 miles east of Berlin in western Poland.
The notorious camp once held ten thousand prisoners under German guns, on a 60 acre site ringed with a double barbed-wire fence and watchtowers. Tunnel Tom was discovered by the Germans. Dick was used for storage, and Harry became the stuff of folklore when it was used on the night of March 24, 1944, and immortalized in the movie.
Here is the story of the archaeological dig, the memories of the still living former POWs and pictures of what they found, and the story of tunnel George, which the Germans never discovered. And don’t miss the destination of George and its intended purpose. Enjoy.
Filed under: Capitalism, Freedom, Movies | Tags: Lives of Students, north Korea, The Other Side of Life
Liberty, as it is practiced in North Korea. This is a glimpse into the lives of favored North Korean students studying film and acting. They lead privileged lives learning how to act in State propaganda films. They are the ones who get food, along with the Army.
(h/t: Maggie’s Farm)
Filed under: Entertainment, Movies, Pop Culture, Television | Tags: Charlie Sheen, Leave Britney Alone, Leave Charlie Alone
You knew somebody was going to do it — might as well be me. Besides, hysterics notwithstanding, the guy had a point — it’s not nice to kick people when they’re down.
‘Cus it’s hard to go wrong with Mutants. Best watched in full screen HD.
Filed under: Cool Site of the Day, Humor, Movies | Tags: New York, Snowmageddon, Star Wars
Things in New York are worse than we’ve been told.
Filed under: Movies, Music | Tags: Christmas, Christmas Carols, Snow, White Christmas
I have snow on the brain as I watch other parts of the country, and world, being covered in blankets of beautiful white just in time for Christmas. We still don’t have any here, and so far the weather report suggests we won’t get any until two days after Christmas.
So some carols and songs that have more to do with snow than Christmas are buzzing around my brain. The first is Snow from the movie musical White Christmas, starring Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney and Vera Ellen. The second is also titled Snow, but a very different song by the French songstress Claudine Longet.
What about you? Are you going to have a white Christmas?