Oh no… Tina Turner (1939-2023)

Just coming in is the very sad news that magnificent singer Tina Turner has passed away at the age of 83.

I recall reading a few years back -not all that long ago- where she said she had been having health issues but felt better and… well, it appears those health issues continued until her passing.

The one song that she seems to be best remembered for is her take on the Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Proud Mary”, which she very much made her own…

The high energy act she had was second to none…!

She would appear very prominently in the third and last of the Mel Gibson starring Mad Max films, Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome (1985) as the movie’s villain… sorta. It was impossible to present her as totally bad, IMHO!

While I felt this film was the least of the Mad Max films, it was through absolutely no fault of Tina Turner’s as she played the hell out of the character of Aunty Entity. Intriguingly, I always felt the most recent Mad Max film, Fury Road, merged elements from The Road Warrior (aka Mad Max 2) and Beyond Thunderdome in its story. Aunty Entity was a prototype of not only the villainous Immortan Joe but also seemed to have elements of that film’s hero, Imperator Furiosa (played, of course, by Charlize Theron).

Ms. Turner also delivered one of her all time best songs (IMHO, of course!) for the film, “We Don’t Need Another Hero”. Here’s the music video made for the song. It features Tina Turner in her full Aunty Entity get up and has lots of clips from Beyond Thunderdome… clips which may make you realize how much of the visuals from this film found their way into Fury Road!

Such a great showman. Such a great singer. She will be missed.

It’s all politics, all the time…

Truly I don’t like to write about politics. It feels to me its a subject that unfortunately devolves -often- into an “us versus them” mentality, with each side defending their turf while finding things to insult about the other.

But so much has happened in the last few days it’s hard not to mention politics.

First up, Donald Trump and the E. Jean Carroll case. From CNN.com:

Jury finds Donald Trump liable for sexual abuse and defamation in E. Jean Carroll case

I obviously was not in the room with the jurors -who took a grand total of two hours- when they made their decision, but it seems to me what sunk Trump was that old Access Hollywood “grab them by the pussy” bit he was recorded saying… and the fact that Ms. Carroll’s situation sure did seem to follow those words from Trump himself.

Ms. Carroll was awarded some $5 million and, of course, Mr. Trump went quietly into the night…

Yeah right…

So CNN decides to have a “town hall” meeting with Trump and the timing couldn’t have been better/worse. It came yesterday very soon after the jury’s decision and, of course, Trump being Trump he goes off and says a bunch of crap, including again going after Ms. Carroll, who may well be in her rights, should she choose to, to sue Trump yet again.

But that’s not all. Trump again professes the election he clearly lost was somehow “rigged” (he knows better) and again showed himself to have loyalties toward Putin and against Ukraine and…


It really gets to be a little too much after a while, no?

The second big story involves George Santos, freshman in the House of Representative and serial fabricator who was arrested for a host of financial irregularities and fraud (who knew?). From APnews.com:

George Santos pleads not guilty to federal indictment and says he won’t resign

It doesn’t surprise me that he pleaded not guilty and less surprising he says he won’t resign. If nothing else, he has little to no shame at all.

What is depressing, but surely predictable, is the fact that Representative Kevin McCarthy, the Speaker of the House, has avoided saying anything about this situation or Trump’s.

McCarthy’s Speakership exists on the very thinnest of margins, and losing Santos would surely create problems for him in terms of trying to legislate.

But it again makes the entire Republican party look… sleazy.

Not that many of them seem to care at this point.

Mona Lisa bridge… located?

Fascinating story I found this morning written by Barbie Nadeau and Jack Guy and presented on CNN.com…

Historian claims to have located mystery Mona Lisa bridge

Click on the link for the full story -as I noted, it’s quite fascinating!- but the very famous Leonardo Da Vinci painting Mona Lisa has, in its background, a river and bridge…

The bridge is on the right side of the painting and just above the Mona Lisa’s left shoulder.

As the article states…

(The bridge has been) a source of debate for centuries, the village of Ponte Buriano, a suburb of Arezzo in the Tuscany region of Italy, is so convinced the bridge behind Mona Lisa is the Ponte Buriano that they’ve made it a key feature of their local tourism campaign, even laying claim to the bridge on the village’s welcome sign.

Not so fast, Ponte Buriano!

Historian Silvano Vinceti claims the structure of the bridge suggests it is not the one in Ponte Buriano but instead “the Romito Bridge in the nearby Tuscan town of Laterina.”

He notes the number of arches on the bridge at Laternia more corresponds to what’s in the painting versus that in Ponte Buriano -which has more arches- and…

…it’s all so damn interesting, provided Da Vinci was painting from “real life” regarding the background versus something he simply came up with in his imagination, which I imagine is another possibility!

Either way, a fascinating read!

Greyhound (2020) a (mildly) belated review

If you’ve got the Apple TV+ streaming service, you can see Greyhound, a Tom Hanks starring and written (yes, he was the screenwriter!) film, which was never released to theaters. A victim of COVID, no doubt.

Here’s the pretty damn exciting -to me anyway- trailer:

Watching this once again as I’m typing, I remember my initial excitement upon seeing it and the eagerness I had to see the film proper. The subject matter intrigued me and the effects looked pretty damn good.

Alas, I didn’t have the Apple TV+ service and frankly have enough streaming services as it is. I don’t have the free time to watch so much damn TV nor was I interested in spending yet more money on another streaming service.

Besides, the film was bound to make it to other formats before long, no?


Three years passed and it appears Apple is intent on keeping this movie within its streaming umbrella. I don’t believe either a physical or digital copy of the film is available for purchase.

So it appeared I’d have to wait a while to see the film. However, a few months back I upgraded my cell phone and included in the upgrade was the Apple TV+ streaming service for free.

It would take me a few months from when I got it to finally find the free time but I searched the service and finally got around to watching Greyhound.

Was it as impressive as the trailer made it seem? Was it worth the long wait?


Everything that was good about the film is encapsulated in that trailer. There are good effects and some damn good action sequences which revolve around Hank’s Captain Crause leading the Greyhound, a destroyer escort leading a convoy of supply ships across the Atlantic during World War II while facing off against a “wolfpack” of German submarines.

Here’s the problem, though: That’s pretty much all the film is, one action sequence after another with minimal characterization.

The camera almost exclusively follows Tom Hank’s character and everyone else is relegated to the background. For some reason the film opens with Hank’s character meeting up with Elisabeth Shue’s Evelyn, his wife or girlfriend and then leaving her for the command. Ms. Shue is in the film for something like two minutes, if that.

That and the fact that he’s a religious man who prays before meals and (MILD SPOILERS) prays after everything is over are pretty much all we get in terms of depth (no pun intended) of character.

Otherwise the movie’s dialogue consists of variations of “Hard right rudder!” or “Hard to starboard” while other more minor characters echo Hank’s command.

So while we have minimal characterization and technojargon for dialogue (for the most part), the film does admittedly deliver some thrills with the many battles between Greyhound and the nefarious wolfpack, who very improbably actually radio Greyhound and taunt them while attacking.

I would ultimately recommend this film but with the caveat that it is for those who want to see some exciting high sea action sequences but aren’t put off by a film that has near zero actual characterization.

Greyhound is a decent work but compared to something like Das Boot, it could’a been better.

The collectable market…

I’ve long been fascinated with the market for collectable items, and those which are viewed as valuable.

So when I stumbled upon this article by Zoe Sottile and presented on CNN.com, I had to give it a look…

A rare “wanted” poster for John Wilkes Booth after he assassinated Lincoln sold for over $160,000

The headline for the most part says it all but I encourage you to click the link and read the details. Seems this particular wanted poster is a rarer version that some that came subsequently but before Booth was found and killed some five days after the assassination of Lincoln.

Because Booth was captured so quickly, there was obviously only a very short period of time these wanted posters with the three chief suspects, including John Surratt and David Herold (who were listed as accomplices), were made and distributed.

This particular wanted poster was handed down through the generation by a single family and they decided it was time to sell it.

Fascinating, fascinating stuff!

Remember those remains found in Lake Mead?

During the very dry period last year and when Lake Mead dropped significantly, human remains were discovered along with a lot of debris.

Welp, from author Treasure Welle and found on CNN.com…

Lake Mead remains identified as a Las Vegas man who disappeared 25 years ago.

At the risk of spoiling the above article (you should read it!) the man was identified through DNA testing but -and this is key, I suppose- there was no way of telling how he had died and wound up in the lake.

I suppose that makes sense, given the number of years that have passed and the likelihood all they found were his bones…

…yeah, I know, a cheery thought.

One hopes that at least the family of this gentleman get some closure because of this identification.


It genuinely pains me to come back ’round here and seemingly keep returning to the topic of politics but… what can I say? It’s something that’s been front and center with me for a bit.

Ever since the release of the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision in June of 2022, the nation has dealt with a post-Roe v. Wade environment.

Those who are strongly against choice have attempted to codify anti-abortion/choice regulations and…

…have found themselves mostly failing to do so.

The latest example happened yesterday when anti-abortion/choice bills failed in both Nebraska and South Carolina (you can read the article about this, by Chandelis Duster and presented on CNN.com, here).

The first line presented in the above article states:

Measures that would have severely restricted abortion failed Thursday in Nebraska and South Carolina, which both have Republican-controlled legislatures, a reflection of the growing unease among Republicans over the political popularity of strict bans.

The key words, presented above, are at the later parts of that paragraph. Republicans, with good reason, should be uneasy about these stringent attempts at restricting a woman’s choice.

For literally decades there has been this anti-abortion/choice wing of the Republican party that has fought very hard to eliminate abortion/choice completely.

This has allowed many Republicans to use the issue and the fury it creates to get voters to vote for them. The only reason Roe v. Wade was struck by the Supreme Court, based on my reading of the opinions (and I admit in advance to being far from the most knowledgeable person regarding the intricacies of law), is that Trump managed to get several hard right judges into the Supreme Court who very likely lied about their views on Roe v. Wade and its precedence to get themselves voted into the court… then subsequently revealed their true colors when given the opportunity to strike Roe v. Wade down by using lame legal reasoning that seemed designed for them to get their results, even if the logical wasn’t entirely there.

As the saying goes, though, what happens when the proverbial dog catches the car?

So it goes with Republicans and abortion. They have succeeded in negating Roe v. Wade and we’re now seeing that those who were against it were perhaps never more than a minority.

A loud, vocal minority, admittedly, but a minority nonetheless.

And the majority, those who realize the issue of choice and women’s health and their freedom to get the care they need for their bodies without the interference of political bodies… are really annoyed and fighting back.

Based on the last couple of election cycles, they are coming back to bite Republicans -and those trying to further erode a woman’s choice- in their asses.

I don’t know if this will continue into the next few election cycles. Perhaps it won’t. And perhaps there will be deep red states that will manage to adopt more anti-choice legislation.

Given what happened in these two pretty damn red states yesterday, however, I wouldn’t count on it.

The Car (1977) a (boo!) belated review

On the way to my destination I reviewed Shakedown (1988) (you can read that review here) and on the way back I decided to give The Car a return visit.

As with Shakedown, The Car was a film I saw way, waaaaaaaay back when, likely in/around the time it was originally released -likely a few years later- and not since. I recall enjoying the film but it didn’t necessarily stick with me too much.

Here’s the movie’s trailer but, if you haven’t seen the film and are curious to see it, please REFRAIN FROM SEEING IT. Another of those trailers that, IMHO, give away too much of the story.

The film stars James Brolin who, back then, looks a hell of a lot like his son Josh Brolin (No Country For Old Men, The Goonies, The Avengers: Endgame, Deadpool 2, etc. etc.).

The film’s plot is quite simple: In a sleepy desert town somewhere out west, a black sedan suddenly appears and starts killing people in gory ways.

What in tarnation is going on here?

What’s going on is this is a film that falls into that delightful -to me anyway!- movie genre subcategory featuring “homicidal vehicles.” My favorite of them is Steve Spielberg’s first big hit, Duel, but it also includes such films as Killdozer, Maximum Overdrive (Stephen King’s one and only foray into direction), and, if you squint your eyes, Quentin Tarantino’s Deathproof.

The film also, I feel, tries to emulate another Steven Spielberg hit film, the previous year’s release Jaws. In many ways, The Car feels like a land-locked version of Jaws, with the car being the equivalent of the homicidal shark.

As I hadn’t seen the film in so long, several parts of it surprised and delighted me. There are interesting characters littered throughout the film, some nice and others not so nice. You have a character who is fighting alcoholism and, given the events which happen, loses that battle. You have a love interest who’s brave as hell. You also have a climax that truly ratchets up the suspense before giving us a satisfying end.

While I don’t think anyone is going to mistake the artistry of The Car with that present in either Duel or Jaws, The Car nonetheless holds its own as a suspenseful meat-and-potatoes dip into that suspenseful sub-genre.


Shakedown (1988) a (gnarly) belated review

I first saw the Peter Weller (Robocop) and Sam Elliot (The Big Lebowski) way, waaaaaaaaaaayyyyyy back when it was likely first released and not since. The details of the film were, naturally, pretty hazy, though I did feel like I enjoyed the film but maybe didn’t feel it was “spectacular”.

Here’s the movie’s trailer:

So being as I was traveling again and needed some entertainment during the flight, I downloaded some films and decided on the way there I’d see Shakedown again. I mean, we’re talking about primo Peter Weller and Sam Elliott. A weird team for an action film, I would grant you, but I was up for it.

…and what a wild ride the film turned out to be!

To begin with, you cannot take this film seriously. Especially during some of the crazy action sequences in it. But the film is filled to the brim with character moments and a plot that tries to be pulpy and “serious” but settles into sleazy (at times) and typical 80’s action fest.

The movie’s director and co-writer, James Glickenhaus had previously worked on The Exterminator and The Soldier. He also produced a number of cult films like Manic Cop, Basket Case 2 and 3, and Frankenhooker…! He would walk away from movies by the mid-1990’s and became a Wall Street fund manager.

What a life!

Anyway, getting back to Shakedown

The movie opens with a drug dealer (a young Richard Brooks) meeting up with a potential buyer. But things go sideways and the buyer is killed while the drug dealer is injured. The dead man, it turns out, was a cop and, naturally, the police feel he was undercover and our drug dealer murdered him when he was about to be arrested.

Roland Dalton (Peter Weller) is assigned as his lawyer and after talking to the drug dealer begins to suspect something is amiss… The dealer insists the cop never identified himself as such and that he genuinely thought he was going to be robbed and murdered and therefore acted in self-defense.

With this information in hand, Dalton meets up with Richie Marks (Sam Elliot), a rough and tumble undercover cop, and asks him about the possibility this case might be more than it seems. Marks has his doubts, but it’s clear he knows there are dirty cops in New York City…

What follows is a mix of courtroom drama and crazy-ass gunplay, of scaffolds falling and car and foot chases, culminating in one of the most bat-shit crazy climaxes I’ve seen in any film. It truly has to be seen to be believed….!

Look, the film isn’t “art”. It isn’t always coherent. But the acting is good enough and the action sequences come regularly enough and you root for the good guys and hiss at the bad guys and I have to be honest… I wish the film had a just-as-crazy a sequel.

Weller and Elliot make for a good team.

Recommended… as long as you accept the film’s cheese!

Tucker Carlson…

It was revealed today that Tucker Carlson, one of the more outrageous Fox “News” Hosts, has been fired. One assumes this is in part a result of the Dominion vs. Fox lawsuit which was settled for $787 million plus dollars.

I’ll give him this much credit: He’s been in the “news” business for a hell of a long time now. I first became aware of him when he was at CNN and one of the co-hosts of Crossfire, a left vs. right show which effectively cancelled the moment after John Stewart came on and called both hosts -and their left vs. right bullshit- out…

I don’t recall seeing all that much of Tucker for a while… that is, until he showed up at Fox “News” Network and over time became their #1 host. His show, even to the end, was very highly rated and his subject matters and his “take” on issues was… well, I’ll be kind and say it wasn’t for me.

On Friday of last week, April 21st, Tucker ended his show with a “We’ll see you Monday” type of statement (forgive me I don’t have the energy to look up an actual clip of his sign off) so it seemed even three days ago there was no indication he was about to be booted from the cable network.

But booted he was and today the revelation that he would not be back and that he wouldn’t even be afforded a “goodbye” episode to thank people for listening to his crap.

He’ll likely go to some other format that will take him and, likely, he’ll do decently. But I suspect his voice won’t be quite as amplified as it was on Fox. After all, there was a time Glenn Beck and Bill O’Reilly were top hosts on the network and the moment both were canned, you barely hear about them (I had to actually look up O’Reilly… his name had totally escaped me!).

Life goes on.

More pleasantly, I feel.

The Blog of E. R. Torre

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