Thursday, September 29, 2016

BEFORE I WAS BORN

My father Jimmy (James A. Lally, the balder one) and my uncle Lydie (given name Michael Lydon Lally, and yes I did discuss his name with Johnny Rotten aka John Lydon at a party back in my Hollywood days and it turned out his Irish grandparents came from near mine) in the late 1930s, at some event that seems to have required tags and a photo...my Uncle Lydie was a charming rascal, as you can probably tell from this shot, who won a singing contest on the radio in the '30s, during The Great Depression, and even though he and most everyone was broke and needed money for living, he took the prize money and threw a giant party in a tavern in Union, New Jersey, with hams and barrels of beer etc. and invited all the clan and neighborhood (my family was living in Union at the time)...

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

BEST COMMENTS ON THE DEBATE?

From Stephen Colbert:

"Trump sounded like he was fighting a cold...with cocaine..."..."like Scarface...but with more face."

and his new nickname for Hilary:

"Preparation H"

Monday, September 26, 2016

HMMMM...

First of all I like the way the debate was structured, limiting the questions and thus giving them the chance to answer more extensively...no doubt she was the better debater and scored more points, hopefully changing some minds among those who had or have their doubts about her...but I don't see anyone who's bought him all the way up to this event changing their minds...especially if their support is based on wanting to vote for him as a protest against Washington and politicians and the status quo...though I'm glad that she demonstrated her smarts, stamina, and grasp of the facts and the challenges, even if she was a little weak for me in her response to the racism questions, sounding like a pol rather than personally empathetic etc...but all in all I felt relieved after it was over, after having been nervous before it began...

Sunday, September 25, 2016

ANOTHER FAVORITE QUOTE

And from a man I liked enormously and knew personally back in the 20th century...it doesn't say where it's from and I didn't verify it but it sounds like him and is a great quote either way:

Saturday, September 24, 2016

THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN

The original MAGNIFICENT SEVEN was a remake of Kurosawa's SEVEN SAMURAI, which itself was based on earlier Hollywood Western tropes, so I suppose you can't fault someone doing a remake of the remake etc. Both earlier movies, the Japanese one and the Western, were dominated by great actors having fun with archetypal gunslinger (and sword wielding and knife throwing) characters.

Especially memorable were Yul Brynner as the lead, Steve McQueen as his second and Eli Wallach as the bad guy, leader of a troop of Mexican bandits. James Coburn and Charles Bronson were also standouts as was Horst Buchholz playing a young Mexican (which required no more suspension of belief, a young German playing a Mexican, than a New York Jewish method actor, Wallach, playing a Mexican bandido!).

In this latest remake, Denzel Washington plays Yul's part and Chris Pratt plays the McQueen role. Ethan Hawke, aging beautifully, and Vincent D'Onofrio are standouts as two of the seven. But the plot is altered to create some sort of metaphor for rapacious capitalism and the lead bad guy becomes a symbolic figure with, unlike Wallach's portrayal, no humor or variety to the role at all.

And while the addition of a more prominent role for a woman, and the inclusion of an Asian-American, a Comanche, and a Mexican creates a more rainbow ensemble, they're mostly written and directed like comic book stereotype heroes rather than actual individuals like in the origin flicks. And that's not the only contemporary touch that reduces the film to almost a Marvel stand in. The over-the-top violence seems like a contemporary tic as well.

Nonetheless, though not a necessary remake and not as great as either SEVEN SAMARAI or the original MAGNIFICENT SEVEN, this latest entry in folkloric myth making does somewhat satisfy the need for some cathartic boyish gunslinger (knife thrower, bow and arrow marksman) coolness that had me cheering for the not so bad guys (and woman) to the end.

Friday, September 23, 2016

A PAST LIFE AND LIVES PASSED

Not a great photo, but this is the woman I was living with in Santa Monica in the late 1980s, Joan Baribeault, with me, my second oldest brother Buddy, and his wife Catherine, the one time they visited me in California (there to attend a function of some old friend of theirs)...Buddy was suffering from a weak heart and passed not too long after this was taken, as did Joan, way too young (we had separated by then and she'd just had a child with a great guy, they discovered a fatal cancer during her pregnancy), Catherine gone in more recent years, so I'm the only one left from this snapshot...one of the marks of old(er) age, if you make it that far, having more x's in address books and ghosts in photographs, than not...