blueollie

Tom Laughlin (aka “Billy Jack”): RIP.

Ok, these films will never be known as “great cinema” (ok, they were sort-of bad films…all right…bad) but I loved Billy Jack and Born Losers. Tom Laughlin and Dolores Taylor did 4 of these (also: The Trial of Billy Jack and Billy Jack Goes to Washington and yes, I have all 4), though Ms. Taylor didn’t appear in Born Losers.

Mr. Laughlin:

From Born Losers
Billy Jack gets involved

Billy Jack wants his money back.

From Billy Jack
The Ice Cream Shop episode

Whop you on that side of your face (Bong Soo Han actually did the kick)

Billy Jack takes on the townspeople

One Tin Soldier song:

A Dolores Taylor scene

December 18, 2013 Posted by | movies | , | 1 Comment

Aging and the Play “The Graduate”

Workout notes planks, McKenzie exercises, abs (3 sets of crunch, v. crunch, twist, sit backs), hip hikes, Achilles, rotator cuff.

pullups (5 sets of 10)
bench: 10 x 135, 10 x 165
incline: 2 sets of 10 x 140
military (dumbbell, seated, supported) 3 sets of 12 x 50
rows (dumbbell, single arm) 3 sets of 10 x 65
curls: 3 sets of 10 x 70, machine
pull downs: 3 sets of 10 x 160.

I was just a bit tired. And yes, these-a-days, I am trying to slow the rate at which I get weaker rather than get stronger.

You know something else about age: I saw the “stage” version of The Graduate. In this play, a 21 year old male college graduate is “seduced” by a woman who is twice his age (Mrs. Robinson). Mrs. Robinson is…well…on the verge of being too young for me! :-) (e. g., if I hit on her, *I* would be the lecherous old person in that picture!

thegraduate

The photo is from the play; the clip is from the movie.

The play: the Elaine’s fiance is not developed in the play (rather than being the macho jock as he is in the film) and Elaine is seen as being “daddy’s girl” in the play. Also, at the end, Mrs. Robinson pushes Elaine to “break out of it” in the play rather than what she does in the film.

I saw the Cornstalk production and it was quite good.

November 13, 2013 Posted by | movies, weight training | , , | Leave a comment

The Butler: see it.

I just saw the film The Butler.

Was it overdone? Sure; it put a montage of experiences into a single family’s experience.
But I think though this one person/family’s experience, it tells an important story.

Among the features:

1. It reminds us of the violent racial discrimination that existed within my own lifetime.

2. It tells the story of conflict between generations who are trying to overcome racism. It shows the (understandable) impatience of the young activists and how they fail to understand why their parents are often more reserved in fighting discrimination. They lack the context to see where their elders are coming from and they confuse their moderation of action with approval of the existing situation. It also shows that, many times, the young set has a better ear for how things are NOW (things DO change) as opposed as to how they once were.

3. It reminds many of us how many of the opportunities that we enjoy (I am speaking as a brown man now) weren’t there for our parents and elders. We owe our elders some gratitude for getting these opportunities opened up to us. We also owe some from the majority culture who followed their conscience; that isn’t always easy.

4. Of course, it is a good family story in its own right.

At times it is harsh medicine, but on the whole, it was uplifting.

More here.

Note: some are complaining about Jane Fonda playing Nancy Reagan.

Yes, she did go to North Vietnam and pose by anti-aircraft guns and make anti US statements. While it was true that I too didn’t like the war (albeit mostly because I didn’t want my dad to get killed there; he went twice), it was a colossal mistake and a very bloody one. Evidently Ms. Fonda felt the same way, but she was duped by the Communists. All too often young, idealistic headstrong “know-it-alls” rush in without really knowing what they are doing, and in my opinion, that is what happened here.

But really, who is worse? Is it someone who makes dumb (with good intentions) statements or someone who gets us into an unnecessary war that kills and maims lots of Americans? I have far more disgust for the latter.

Now call me cynical, but I wonder if this Fonda issue is the real issue that some conservatives have with the film (I am sure that some do); I really wonder if they are reacting to
1. Some of the genuine sins of the country being exposed and
2. Barack Obama being portrayed positively.

I really wonder.

August 25, 2013 Posted by | movies, racism, social/political | , , | Leave a comment

My favorite movie villains …

This is MY list and I admit that I am not consistent. Some I just find creepy; some I just like. You have professional killers, ruthless people, stalkers, sex criminals, rapists, cranky computers and…frogs. (ok, toads).

No, it isn’t a complete list, and these aren’t the most vile ones I can think of (at least some of them). But they are CREEPY….or…hoppy…or…not of this world….or…ok, plain ridiculous in a few cases.

Here they are, in no particular order:

Odd Job in Goldfinger
oddjob

Ok, he was your run of the mill James Bond Henchman.

The reason I like him:

sakata

Yes; he won a silver medal in the 1948 Olympic games in weightlifting (light heavyweight). He really was a strong man! He also did professional wrestling. And he was popular enough to have a commercial.

Blowfeld (various James Bond episodes)

you-only-live-twice-blofeld-donald-pleasence

Best quote (from You Only Live Twice): Chinese representative upon Blofeld changing the conditions of the deal: “That’s Extortion”. Blofeld: “Extortion is my business”.

Dirty Harry: Scorpio
scorpio

This guy was a psychopathic killer and child rapist with no remorse; just plain creepy.

Anton Chigurh from No Country for Old Men

chigurh

He is a professional killer who would kill you as easily as he’d look at you. But he is even creepier because, well, he kills on the principle of it…just because…well, he feels obligated, or, in his twisted mind, it is the right thing to do, or because a coin flip went a certain way.

This scene is among the creepiest:

Antonio Salieri, Amadeus
amadeussalieri

First of all, I am talking about the *character* Salieri, and not the real person (who struck me as a pretty good guy). True, Salieri didn’t kill anyone, but he was a self-pitying, sexually repressed (*), back stabber who couldn’t be content with his own (considerable) success.

Note: to see what a complete worm he is, watch the “director’s cut” of Amadeus. It doesn’t come out as clearly in the usual version. Example: in the director’s cut, you understand why Mozart’s wife was enraged to find Salieri with Mozart at the end; Salieri really cruelly humiliated her in the director’s cut.

Here is Salieri getting “showed up” by Mozart. Note: in real life, the initial piece was a real Salieri piece and what it was turned into was a real Mozart piece.

(*) the real life Salieri had lots of kids and so wasn’t too sexually repressed. :-)

Daniel Plainview: There Will Be Blood
This guy didn’t kill as many as the professional killers in other films, but was still cruel, cold-blooded and ruthless.

Daniel-Plainview1

He is probably most famous for this:

Baby Jane Hudson in Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?
Jane Hudson is a child movie star who flopped as an adult whereas her sister did well. So she torments her sister mercilessly. Ok, you might cry “foul” as this movie has a surprise ending; things aren’t as they seem.

bette-baby-jane

Here is a famous scene:

Annie Wilkes: Misery
A lonely fan rescues a famous writer from a car crash….but then….well, watch the film. The “hobbling” scene is tough to watch. She is almost as creepy as the book character.

anniewilkes

General Jack D. Ripper: Dr. Strangelove

Well, he went crazy and started a nuclear war; he felt that because he couldn’t…”get it up”, there must have been some Communist conspiracy to spike the water.

“Alex” Forrest: Fatal Attraction
This is a later version of Play Misty For Me, except this time, the guy is married and the villain doesn’t something very mean to the family bunny.

fatalattraction

Evelyn Draper: Play Misty For Me
This is the psycho stalker character:

play-misty-for-me2

Mrs. Mott: The Hand that Rocks the Cradle
Mrs. Mott is married to an obstetrician who has a bad habit of sexually molesting his patients. He gets turned in, and commits suicide. Mrs. Mott no longer has access to her husband’s assets due to lawsuits…and so decides to take a long, drawn out revenge on one of the whistleblowers.

handrockscradle

Anyone who has a baby and suffers from asthma will find this beyond creepy.

And I remember these scenes:

Screen shot 2013-07-27 at 8.58.45 PM

Screen shot 2013-07-27 at 8.53.45 PM

Martin Burney: Sleeping with the Enemy
Wife beater and creepy stalker; he has the black mustache Wagner listening Hitler like presence. She fakes her death to escape. But it doesn’t quite work out and he ruthlessly tracks her down….

burney

Grady: The Shining

You’ve seen this: the Jack Torrence character who goes crazy while care taking a mountain resort during the winter:

shining460

And he does kill and tries to kill his family:

But to me, the REAL villain is Grady who has, well, an interesting way of “correcting” his daughters:

shining1

Roman Castevet: Rosemary’s Baby
Ok, now we are in the realm of the “supernatural”. And Roman has a plan for Rosemary and her baby; this is one of the few “supernatural” movies that can still creep me out.
castevets

castevet2

Ash: Alien
Ok, Ash was really an android:

113_ash

But he was ruthless and completely willing to sacrifice the crew of a ship to obtain these aliens as a biological weapon. I didn’t see the aliens as villains as they were acting in their own self interest, just as humans would.

And I remember this:

(and yes, the science was pure BS but the movie was a thriller)

Hal: 2001, A Space Odyssey
hal_9000_1279206348

Hal decides to kill the crew of a spaceship going to Jupiter when they decide that Hal has made a mistake.
Hal does kill many of them.

The Frogs: Frogs
Ok, the Frogs are mad as hell and aren’t going to take it anymore. Ok, this is a movie about nature’s revenge because of bad ecological practices and the villains are frogs…which are, in reality, cane toads (an invasive species, by the way).

The Frogs direct various assassinations by “ribbiting” (dubbed in Pacific Tree Frog ribbits) and end up ribbiting the main human villain to death.

Bernard Posner: Billy Jack
Bully, Rapist and Murderer. The spoiled son of the local Sheriff; ok, he is a cardboard villain for Billy Jack extract justice from.

maxresdefault

bernard2

Bernard gets rejected:


See Bernard getting beat up (among others)

And the final humiliation:

Hitler: Downfall
Ok, this is a bit of a cheat because Hitler was a historical figure and probably one of the very worst monsters of all time. But I am referring to this character, whose famous rant has been made into many parodies. Google “Downfall parody”

Hit Man (unnamed): Bullitt
There were two hit men in Bullitt and a main character that Bullitt was after. My favorite: the character played by professional driver Bill Hickman in this famous scene (he is the driver of the Dodge Charger)

July 28, 2013 Posted by | movies, Uncategorized | | 4 Comments

Watermelon Man

I had planned to watch a bad James Bond movie tonight but found Watermelon Man (Godfrey Cambridge) on the internet:

This is a funny but disturbing movie. Yes, liberals really get (justifiably) called out.

July 3, 2013 Posted by | movies, social/political | , | Leave a comment

Yucky Run Again…

Screen shot 2013-06-23 at 9.17.57 AM

wpeoriabradpark83

Ok, it was about 75 F, 75% humidity and toward the end, the wind really picked up. That is typical for this part of the country. And I was a gross, sweaty mess.

I was 41:29 just past 4 miles, 1:23 to the park, then 47 minutes to finish up (short 1 minute walking break). 1:29:53 was the total. Yuck. (10:50 mpm) The break was just enough to get me to resume at the effort I should have gone out at to begin with. Bottom line: last week’s race, plus yesterday’s intervals, plus the heat/humidity plus the blood donation conspired to make this workout a “just get through it” session.

BUT: the day was about as pretty as it gets, and I saw Tracy (run/walking), Mat, the owner of Rhythm Kitchen, a couple of the regulars at Bradley Park plus two pretty young women (running hard).

So, it wasn’t a complete loss or waste of time.

My near future plans: recover from the blood donation. This means focusing on 5 types of workouts for now:

1. Hills, say 5 x 400 m.
2. Intervals: 2 miles worth of 2 mile race pace reps with enough rest to maintain the pace: 400’s to 800’s for now.
3. Races (5K).
4. Easy 90 minute run; gradually build up to 2 hours.
5. Easy recovery runs or walks (4-5 miles).

This week: I had 1, 2, 4, 5. I’ll try to pick two from {1, 2, 3} every week and 4, unless I have a longer race (15K) in which case I’d just do 2 and 3 (no long run needed).

Movies
We’ve watched a couple of them: 2001: A Space Odyssey and The Quartet.

2001

The above is pretty good; it does a decent job of explaining the end (sort of).

But while I watched the movie, what did I notice?

2001vpllarge

Ahem. :-)

The Quartet
This movie was about life at a retirement home for opera singers and musicians. I enjoyed it. There were several themes but perhaps the one that resonated the most with me was the “accept aging gracefully” theme. The idea: your abilities WILL diminish; that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do the best that you can do at that given moment.

So, I’ll get back to finishing up other papers and…yes, with running, accept doing what I can do.

June 23, 2013 Posted by | movies, running | , | 2 Comments

Books that had an effect on me: The Ox Bow Incident

Ok, I just watched 2001: A Space Odyssey…again, and my reaction to the ending is “WTF”, again.
Yes, I read the book years ago.

But yesterday, I had my daughter watch the 1943 film The Ox Bow Incident based on the book by the same name (by Walter Van Tilburg Clark).

I read this for American Literature class in high school, which was taught by Col. James Goodnow. (he was retired). We had to read a book and write a report and he suggested this one.

It reads like a typical western novel. But the issue: it is anti-vigilantism.

But for me: it turned me against the death penalty; as a teenager I was for it, prior to reading this book.

An American Tragedy (by Theodore Dreiser), which I read a year out of college, confirmed that feeling. Did Clyde really kill Roberta???

Note: all of this is ironic since I mostly read non-fiction; I just finished Liars and Outliers by Bruce Schneier. It was interesting and especially pertinent given the flap over NSA wiretapping and the so-called “whistle-blowers” (I don’t see them as that).

June 20, 2013 Posted by | books, movies, social/political | , | Leave a comment

Final Thoughts

We just watched the film The English Teacher. Yes, I know; this was supposed to be about life, but a play was a par of it, and that part reminded me of the Get A Life episode Zoo Animals on Wheels. (I’m a Giraffe!!!!)

Tomorrow is the River City Marathon.

I’ve talked things to death. I picked up the packet; there I talked to Larry McMasters, Mat Timm, Crystal Kyle, Rich Breaux and Jennifer Jacobson-Wood. The race number (with built in chip) is pinned on, the lube, Succeed tablets and “if necessary” (pink bismuth, Naproxen and Tylenol) are packed, and the shoes at the ready. The “ideal pacing” for the conditions is set out:

10:45 mpm for 10 (1:47:30)
11:00 mpm for the next 10 3:37:30 at 20
12:00 mpm for the next 3 4:13:30 at 23
13:00 mpm for the next 3.2 4:55:30 at 26.2

I will be toward the back of the pack at this marathon; I have to remind myself of the times when I wasn’t.
210 of 1037 at Quad Cities 1998 (3:55) .2025
4432 of 17179 at Chicago 1998 (3:46) .2580
Quad Cities 1999 (3:45, place ?)
91 of 415 at Indianapolis 2000 (3:38) .2385
35 of 167 at Lake Geneva 2001 (3:40) .2096
7 of 49 at Corn Belt 24 hr 2004 (101 miles) .1429

I suppose that I am nervous because this is the first one I’ve attempted to “run” (while mixing in walking from the start) in a long time.

May 19, 2013 Posted by | marathons, movies | , | 2 Comments

The Car Chase Scene from Bullitt

I had a chance to watch some old movies last week and saw Bullitt.

I remembered this car chase scene: basically Bullitt was a police detective and a couple of professional killers were going to follow him. He did a maneuver and ended up following them. This was it:

But what about filming the scene? Via Wikipedia:

Two 1968 390 V8 Ford Mustang GT fastbacks (325 hp) with four-speed manual transmissions were used for the chase scene, both loaned by Ford Motor Company to Warner Bros as part of a promotional agreement. The Mustangs’ engines, brakes and suspensions were heavily modified for the chase by veteran car racer Max Balchowsky. Ford also originally loaned two Galaxie sedans for the chase scenes, but the producers found the cars too heavy for the jumps over the hills of San Francisco. They were replaced with two 1968 375 hp 440 Magnum V8-powered Dodge Chargers. The engines in both Chargers were left largely unmodified, but the suspensions were mildly upgraded to cope with the demands of the stunt work.[citation needed]

The director called for maximum speeds of about 75–80 miles per hour (121–130 km/h), but the cars (including the chase cars filming) at times reached speeds of over 110 miles per hour (180 km/h). Driver’s point-of-view shots were used to give the audience a participant’s feel of the chase. Filming took three weeks, resulting in 9 minutes and 42 seconds of pursuit, first of Bullitt by the hitmen then the reverse.

McQueen did the driving scenes when they showed a close up of his face.

McQueen, an accomplished driver, drove in the close-up scenes, while stunt coordinator Carey Loftin hired stuntman and motorcycle racer Bud Ekins and McQueen’s usual stunt driver Loren Janes for the high-speed part of the chase and other dangerous stunts.

As far as the hit men, Bill Hickman (then 47 years old) not only played the hit man in the glasses, but also actually drove the car! He was, of course, a professional driver.

Note: in the shooting, Hickman had to slow the Charger down as it was faster car than the suped up Mustang:

The black Dodge Charger was driven by veteran stunt driver Bill Hickman, who both played one of the hitmen and helped with the chase scene choreography. The other hitman was played by Paul Genge, who had ridden a Dodge off the road to his death in an episode of Perry Mason – “The Case of the Sausalito Sunrise” two years earlier. In a magazine article many years later, one of drivers involved in the chase sequence remarked that the stock Dodge 440s were so much faster than the Mustang that the drivers had to keep backing off the accelerator to prevent the Dodge from easily pulling away from the Mustang.

While it was just a detective movie, I thought that it did a good job of keeping up the suspense.

Oh, and for the record: I drive a Prius. :-)

March 20, 2013 Posted by | movies, technology | | Leave a comment

I thought that Conservatives LIKED the “free market”?

antifreemarketconservatives

Here is an idea: don’t go to movies. :-)

February 25, 2013 Posted by | morons, movies, political humor, politics, republicans | | Leave a comment

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