Category Archives: Movies

Metropolis (1927) a (ridiculously belated) review

I’ve mentioned it before so forgive me if I’m being repetitious: There are three films I consider my all time favorites.

One is Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. A second is the Jean Cocteau, Jean Marais starring Orpheus (1950).

The third, and one I often feel inches the other two out as the best of the three (on another day, you might find me thinking differently, though!) is the majestic 1927 Fritz Lang and Thea von Harbou Metropolis.

Based on the novel of the same name that Thea von Harbou wrote (Lang and von Harbou, at the time were married), Metropolis is a staggering work of science fiction, a film whose influence is still felt, I feel, in modern cinema…

…and it had been a while since I sat down and watched it start to end and figured it was time to do so.

So last week, during Thanksgiving, I was on a flight to visit my daughter and downloaded the film to my VUDU app. Interestingly, sitting next to me was a guy who was watching Andor on his cell phone (I couldn’t tell you which episode of the series it was as I haven’t seen them myself). I did catch a few scenes and I was struck by how the characters were dressed in this dreary gray, like worker bees. And not unlike, I would point out, the drearily dressed working class in Metropolis, where these images come from.

For many, many years and since the release of Metropolis, the only way to see it was in a truncated form. Some 25 or so minutes of the film were cut from it after its disastrous premiere.

Why?

Because the studios invested a ton of money in the film and the early word was the film was going to be a financial disaster for them. So the studios took the film and cut it down by those 25 or so minutes in the hopes that a shorter film could play more often in theaters and thus the studio wouldn’t lose their proverbial shirts.

Thing is, back in 1927 and when this was done, there was no sense that future generations would want to -or even care to- see any films made then. The thought was they were made, released, and that was that.

So those cut scenes were lost and, for decades, it was feared audiences would never get to see Metropolis as Lang and von Harbou originally intended.

I first became aware of this sad reality when I first saw the film way, way back in 1984. Musician Giorgio Moroder, a fan of the film, decided to try to reconstruct it as best he could and added a then “new” soundtrack to the film featuring, among others, Pat Benetar, Billy Squire, and Freddie Mercury. This version of the film is available to be seen on Youtube.com for free…

I was, quite frankly, blown away by the experience. This version of the movie impacted me in such a profound way that it led to, among other things, the inspiration to my first published work, The Dark Fringe, which envisioned a Metropolis-like megacity meshed with a film noir crime…

But what also took my imagination, and saddened me considerably, was one of the first captions presented in this version of the film:

“Fritz Lang made this film in 1926. Against his wishes the film was subsequently shortened for its American release which left the story disjointed, difficult to comprehend, and caused the loss of many scenes, most of which have disappeared forever.”

That last bit, in particular, was simply heartbreaking.

But because of Moroder’s release, and because of these words, others started to look for a “complete” copy of Metropolis. And as it would turn out, in 2008 and by a near miracle, a 16mm print of the complete Metropolis was found in the Museo del Cine in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Truly it was a miracle this single copy survived: Apparently representatives of an Argentinian movie distribution company were present at the premiere of Metropolis in Germany and secured a copy of the film right after said premiere and just before the studio started cutting the film down.

They flew with their complete copy to Argentina and it remained in a vault there, undiscovered, until 2008. This print was cleaned up as best as possible and the “cut” scenes added to the more pristine sequences and, in 2010, The Complete Metropolis was released…

…and here’s the trailer for The Complete Metropolis

When I first saw it, I was again blown away by what I was seeing. The added sequences -which are notable because their quality isn’t as good as the rest- enhanced the story tremendously, creating more suspense and action and filling in gaps which I could only imagine.

Now, the title of the film is something of a misnomer. Because as brilliant as it is, it isn’t the complete film. There remain two sequences that, alas, were too corroded to be able to be salvaged. One involved a preacher’s sermon and the other involved Joh Frederson, the “master” of Metropolis fighting against Rotwang, the movie’s villain.

But, other than those two sequences, we now have a very complete film.

And watching it again, while flying back home last week, was a magical experience. For a work that is now approaching 100 years, Metropolis remains an incredibly ambitious work.

It is pulpy, action filled, and, yes, at times cheesy. It presents an incredibly ambitious plot which touches upon religion and myth, society and the function of its citizens. Perhaps naively ultimately offers a solution to society’s ills, yet the conclusion is so touching I can’t help but feel tears well up when I watch it.

If you haven’t seen Metropolis yet, you really should.

I will repeat, it is a very old silent movie and you have to check some of your expectations and understandings of more modern cinema at the door.

But if you’re like me and you give it a chance, you’ll come to realize there’s a reason this film is considered the great-granddaddy of science fiction works.

It’s not just a great film.

It’s easily one of the very greatest films ever made.

POST-SCRIPT: It occurred to me while watching the film that the “cut” scenes which were added and which have a lesser quality might be great targets for enhancement. Given what Peter Jackson has done with the Get Back documentary and his They Shall Not Grow Old film, perhaps it would be nice if he -or people who have access to some of the software he’s used to enhance the older images presented on both these works, could work their magic on Metropolis.

One can dream, can’t they?

What will become of the movie industry…?

Stumbled upon this rather grim article written by Tony Maglio and presented on indiewire.com…

Warner Bros Discover lost 2.4 Billion and Lionsgate lost 1.8 Billion and its not even dinnertime

The article rightfully wonders how film studios can survive with such staggering losses and, frankly, I wonder the same.

Looking at this from a longer view, it seems to me this is part and parcel of, of all things, the arrival of home computers and the internet.

Let me explain.

When home computers first appeared they were crude yet began changing the landscape. I’m old enough to have been part of the very first generation to have one way, waaaaaaaayyyy back in the early 1980’s. My first computer was the venerable Atari 800…

Compared to what we now have, the Atari 800 was a laughably crude and for the most part primitive machine. And yet I almost instantly found a use for it. See, I was in high school at the time and the word processing program it had allowed me to write reports and get them printed out (on an equally crude and extremely slow printer) which was an incredible blessing!

No longer did I have to use a typewriter and white out errors or have to start all over again when I made too many errors. With Atari’s Word Processor, I could type and correct the whole thing and print it out only when it was ready!

A truly marvelous innovation!

Of course, the Atari computers didn’t last and soon IBM and Apple computers appeared. Apple was viewed as more “graphic” intensive but the IBM computers seemed to have the leg up. They were constantly improving and, like the mania to buy new iPhones or new gaming computers, one expected each new generation of IBM or Windows based computers to be better and better.

And they were!

And then came the internet, which is essentially phase two.

Now, you could interact with people all over the world. You could communicate via email. You could send files…

When MP3s became a thing, you no longer needed to store your music on CDs or have those vinyl records (by then, cassettes were a thing of the past and, yes, I know vinyl records are making a comeback).

You could keep your music on your computer and soon enough, even buy albums digitally without having to leave the comfort of your home. Suddenly, all those music stores I frequented -some of which were incredibly large!- were gone…

Then came the Kindle and the iPad and, as with music, now you didn’t need to actually buy physical copies of books. You could buy digital copies and buy and read them in the comfort of your home and, just like that, bookstores also became something of a thing of the past.

Certainly in my area there are only a fraction of them around like there used to be!

Alas, next in line were movies.

With the ability to create music and book files, it wasn’t long before digital copies of movies became a thing as well. Further, Netflix appeared and showed the industry that streaming was also a viable option to watching movies and TV shows.

However, people still went to theaters to see the latest releases, so things seemed to be going ok…

Until COVID hit.

Suddenly people were homebound and the studios had to hold back on releasing their upcoming films. In some cases, these films eventually were released but appeared on streaming services very quickly afterwards. It’s fair to say that films such as Wonder Woman 84, No Time to Die, and Tenet, regardless of their quality (and I know some feel they’re not great films at all), would have performed far better had COVID not kept them from being released as they should have been… and those are the three “biggest” films I can think of offhand which were victims of COVID.

Here’s the thing I’ve come to notice after spending all these years watching the ebb and flow of entertainment: Something that is big at one point might suddenly become old hat really quickly.

There was a time disco music ruled. Then, suddenly, no one wanted to hear disco music. There was a time grunge ruled. Then, it was gone.

Movie theaters for so many years have been THE place to go see new films. But with COVID, we stopped going to them en mass. Yes, there are exceptions (Top Gun Maverick and the latest Spider-Man film being two of them) but in general the entire industry is in a funk.

And now that COVID is somewhat a thing of the past (get vaccinated, people!) we’re seeing that audiences aren’t necessarily flocking back to see the latest movies. At least not quite yet.

For we have seen movies appear on various streaming services and some of us figure we’ll just wait a month or two and see whatever film is currently in theaters then.

It’s happened to me, quite frankly, with Black Adam. I’m certainly curious to see it (Dr. Fate is a favorite comic book character of mine and the fact that they got Pierce Brosnan to play the role delights me!) but frankly… I can wait.

How many other people are saying the same thing?

I’ve mentioned it before to friends of mine, but we still don’t know the extent to which the internet and home computers will affect our lives. We’re seeing it, day by day, from the early days when I realized I could use a Word Processor to write my High School reports, to realizing you can have your entire music collection on a small memory card to realizing you can have your entire library (books, comic books, magazines, etc.) on a memory card as well, to where we now realize we can stream or own movies on that same memory card.

Where will it all ultimately end?

I guess we’ll all find out together.

The Naked Gun & Naked Gun 2 1/2 cut scenes…

In the mood for some levity?

Posted to YouTube was this, clips from the TV presentation of the hilarious The Naked Gun. Some of these clips were used in lieu of the more suggestive ones in the theatrical cut (spoilers… the “nice beaver” line is …uh… replaced)…

For me, the clip that I most enjoyed finally seeing comes toward the end, when Drebin (Leslie Nielsen) faces off against Ludwig (Ricardo Montalban) at the Baseball stadium.

When I originally saw the film way, waaaaaaaaaaayyyy back when it was originally released I noticed the Umpire padding Drebin had on went from inflated to “deflated” without any explanation… at least in the theatrical cut of the film.

These clips show you what happened!

Since we’re on the subject, how about exptended/cut/TV alternates from the movie’s sequel, The Naked Gun 2 1/2?

Enjoy!

Barbarian (2022) a (almost right on time!) review

Heard a lot of good things about this film when it was released in August and, thanks to the speedy move from theaters to streaming, I managed to catch Barbarian a few days ago.

Here’s the trailer:

Barbarian is an intriguing horror film whose plot is probably best left for viewers to discover, so I won’t get too into what happens.

I will say this much (and you can see some of it in the trailer above) we start with Tess (Georgina Campbell, quite good) showing up at a home she rented through Airbnb only to discover another person, Kieth (Bill Skarsgård, also quite good) is already there renting it. His rental was through another agency and it looks like a simple screw up, though Tess is rightfully uncomfortable with the whole situation and takes a while before warming up -with plenty of guards up- to Kieth.

I’ll not say more, except that the home carries a very scary history and plenty of deep secrets, all of which will be revealed in the end.

I liked the film but will fault it on its tone. It’s kinda all over the place, at times outright horror while at other times seems to be emulating the crazed horror/comedy stylings of an Evil Dead 2. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, mind you, but it does make the film feel at times off kilter and unfocused, like it is either not sure where it was going with some of its elements and/or parts of its tone were made up as they went along.

There is also a lot of misdirection, of characters who seem like they might play a larger role in the story but don’t and things that are done which seem like they might be important but aren’t (there’s a Checkov’s gun-like artifact you can spot in the trailer above which has absolutely no payoff and I can’t help but wonder if maybe as the film was being edited down that payoff element was ultimately cut).

Still, Barbarian is ultimately a very entertaining horror/comedy hybrid and while not all of its parts may mesh perfectly well, it is ultimately worth the wild ride.

Recommended.

Confess, Fletch (2022) a (almost right on time!) review

The character of I. M. Fletcher, ie “Fletch” first appeared in the 1974 novel by Gregory MacDonald of the same name and was sucessful enough to span plenty of novel sequels and prequels (you can read more about the books here). In 1985 Chevy Chase appeared in a film version of the first novel, also titled Fletch

The movie did well enough that a sequel, Fletch Lives, also starring Chevy Chase, was released in 1989. While many hold the original film in high esteem, there was, IMHO, a pretty big drop off in quality with Fletch Lives, which I felt was a far sillier film than the first.

Anyway and regardless, people have fond memories of the books and/or the movies and for years I kept reading here and there that another Fletch film would be made. For a while, it was Kevin Smith (Clerks) who was tied to such a film and, if memory serves, Ben Affleck taking the role in a new movie was talked about.

It never materialized.

However, this year I was surprised to see the release of Confess, Fletch, featuring Jon Hamm in the titular role and directed by Greg Mottola (Adventureland, Superbad)…

Seeing as we’re still in the process of emerging from the COVID pandemic, movies releases are still scattershot, with some films simultaneously appearing in theaters and streaming/VOD at the same time and, in the case of Confess, Fletch, it appeared the same happened. I caught the film using the VOD system for VUDU because I heard good things about it and was a fan of that original Chevy Chase film and thought the idea of Jon Hamm taking on the titular role might prove good.

So… was it?

Here’s the thing: There are films that are good. There are films that are bad. There are also films that are perfectly fine yet don’t necessarily blow you over.

I’d place Confess, Fletch squarely in that category.

There is nothing at all wrong with the film. It’s well acted, has some good laughs, and the mystery is decent if not on the level of, say, an Agatha Christie.

However, it is also a film that seems to reach a certain level of quality and remains there throughout the runtime. There are no big shocks or surprises and, perhaps the film’s biggest “sin”, there is no really spectacular climax.

I mention this in particular because I feel the most successful films have that going for them: They start at zero and gradually -or perhaps not so gradually!- move up and up. The climax of the best films should be where the suspense or horror or comedy should be at its highest and the resolution should leave audiences pleased to have spent their time watching the film.

Alas, Confess, Fletch never quite reaches that point. Again, the film is perfectly fine through its runtime. I very much recommend it!

But I can’t come out and say the film was spectacular or a “must see”. It unfortunately never hits that second or third gear in its climax, instead flowing at a regular pace through its end.

Jon Hamm makes for a good but very different from Chevy Chase version of Fletch. He’s not quite as comedic as Chevy Chase’s version and there’s less of a sense that we’re watching a comedic movie. Further to that, an effort is made to “modernize” the character into this day and era where journalism isn’t quite what it used to be. It is also my understanding Jon Hamm used some of his salary for this role to pay to complete the film and I think that’s incredibly admirable.

Again, the bottom line is that I would recommend the film but caution people to not expect incredible fireworks here. The film is a pleasant time killer and enjoyable as is, but not necessarily a film of the ages… then again, how many are?

Recommended with that caveat!

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022) a (abracadabra… mildly belated you are!) review

Been flying around and this film was available to be seen on my way back home. I’m a fan of director Sam Raimi (Evil Dead, Army of Darkness, Darkman, etc.) though of late not such a huge fan of the MCU films out there (a shame, truly… while I wouldn’t say the films are “bad”, I find the scripts/storylines tend to blur into each other and carry fewer and fewer surprises. Still, I wish I could like them like others!).

Anyway, with Raimi involved, I was curious as to how this film would turn out.

…so…

It wasn’t bad at all!

Having said that, it felt like it could’a been so much more. Here’s the movie’s trailer though for those who haven’t seen the film and know nothing about it, it might be better not to see it and I’ll explain why in a second:

My general burnout toward the Marvel films goes back to the one-two punch release of Guardians of the Galaxy and the first Dr. Strange film, both of which I felt were lacking story-wise (in the case of GoTG, I genuinely don’t understand what others saw in that film… I really didn’t like it at all!).

As with all film, though, I tried to wipe any preconceptions from my mind and sat back and watched the film and, as I said, I generally enjoyed it.

The story focuses on America Chavez, a young latina who has the ability to move through the “multi-verse”. As the movie opens, she and an alternate universe Dr. Strange are running for their lives from someone/something that wants to take America’s power from her.

The end result of this chase has America appear in “our” Dr. Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) universe, where he is dealing with romantic heartbreak (his superheroics cause him to lose his love to another).

Once America shows up, though, that is set aside and Dr. Strange fights off the creatures who are following America through the universes and trying to steal her power… which will result, of course, in her death.

Dr. Strange and Wong rebuff the attack and hide America away. Then, Dr. Strange sets out to find the source of this danger to the young girl, and finds it to be coming from a surprising character in the MCU.

The above trailer, unfortunately, hints strongly as to who the “villain” of this piece is and, going into the film, I kinda knew already as well and I’m sad that I did.

That should have been kept as a surprise!

Having said that, this is where the film both triumphs and, alas, fails a bit as well. As the movie went along, I couldn’t help but feel that Sam Raimi was being throttled down and held back in terms of what he wanted to show. I mean, this is the guy who went all out with the Evil Dead films and the thought of seeing him showing the vast, unvarnished darkness of the villain in this piece… it could have been something.

If he had been allowed to do so!

Still, the film is far from a disappointment. It worked for me much more than the previous Dr. Strange film and other Marvel works I’ve seen of late.

I can’t say it changed my opinion of the MCU films in general, though. They remain generally disposable entertainment, things you don’t think much of once you’ve seen them, though thankfully all the smarmy “jokey” dialogue was also held back quite a bit.

All in all, I recommend Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. It’s a fine time killer even if one can’t help but wonder what might have been… had Sam Raimi been given a more free hand!

Alien: The Director’s Cut (2003) a (chestbursting) review

Back in 2003 Fox Studios released on BluRay the Alien Quadrilogy, the four films (up to that point) in the Alien franchise. Included were Alien (1979), Aliens (1986), Alien 3 (1992), and Alien: Resurrection (1997).

However, to make the set truly a ”must buy” for fans, included were “Director’s” or ”Alternative” cuts of each of the four films. Thus, fans got to see David Fincher’s rough cut assembly of Alien 3 (his experience making the film was supposedly quite sour and he rejected the theatrical cut due to his many clashes with the studios. This rough cut assembly may be the closest we’ll have to Fincher’s original vision of the film) along with the version of Aliens which incorporates scenes cut from the Cameron film.

Perhaps the most curious extra feature was the ”Director’s Cut” of the original Alien

Now, for those who read ”Director’s Cut” and think this is the preferred version of the film the Director (in this case, Ridley Scott) wanted, rid yourself of that notion right away.

The fact is the ”Director’s Cut” of Alien was purely made as a promo for the Alien Quadrilogy release. It boasts some alternate ”takes” of certain scenes but truly has the same story… only not as well told, IMHO, as it was in the theatrical cut.

In fact, Ridley Scott himself said the truest version of the film remains the theatrical cut and that this ”Director’s Cut” was an exercise/lark and nothing more.

In fact, I would go so far as to say there is really only one sequence worth checking out in this ”Director’s Cut” and that’s this one…

The scene is, IMHO, a potent one. We realize Dallas, the ship’s Captain, is not dead and, further to this, we get the whole mythology of the Alien creature spelled out. Specifically, how the creature procreates using “live” subjects.

So… why was the sequence cut from the theatrical version of Alien?

Timing, as it were.

The sequence occurs during the film’s climax, when (SPOILERS FOR THE VERY FEW WHO HAVEN’T SEEN THIS TERRIFIC FILM YET) Ripley is the last survivor and is running for her life. She’s quite literally set the ship on self-destruct and is running against the ticking time bomb.

Unfortunately, the cocoon sequence takes what is a thrilling, high tension sequence and quite literally slows it almost to a stop. We have Ripley walking slowly on, taking in the sight and processing what she’s seeing, then we realize we have Dallas still alive but obviously not well, then she kills him after he begs her to.

Again, great scene but it completely stopped the flow of the movie at that point and, IMHO, it was wise to remove it.

Is the “Director’s Cut” of Alien worth checking out?

I have to say, for the casual film goer I would stick with the theatrical cut and, if you’re curious, the bit I posted above. Watching the “Director’s Cut”, while intriguing, truthfully doesn’t add that much to the film’s experience. If anything, it shows Ridley Scott used the very best material he had and wisely chose to exclude what was a good scene because it simply didn’t work where it lay.

Therefore, recommended only to those who are fans of the film and want to see some more/alternate material.

The Batman (2022) a (almost right on Bat-time) review!

It’s something that was unthinkable only a few years ago: I’ve found myself getting tired of seeing all these superhero films being released.

Back when Guardians of the Galaxy and the first Dr. Strange movie were released in close proximity, I saw them and… I didn’t like either.

Something in me broke, to be honest, and while I have caught a Marvel movie here and there, I haven’t been seeking them out as I did before. Further, while I have the final two Avengers films, I haven’t found the time or inclination to see them. The last Marvel film I saw was Spider-Man: Far From Home and… I really didn’t like it much at all.

I’ve seen many of the DC hero films but have a few I have that I haven’t watched either (Shazam! and Wonder Woman 84).

So maybe I’m getting a little burnt out, as I said above, with the genre yet when The Batman was in production and once it was released, I was curious to catch it. Then I heard it was 3… hours… long... and I just couldn’t see myself going into a theater and sitting there for that long, regardless of how much I loved the character (he’s easily my favorite super hero).

Anyway, the film was released to theaters, did very well, then was released to HBO Max and, in the comfort of my house, I finally gave it a go. For those living in a cave, here’s the movie’s trailer:

The Batman features Robert Pattinson as Bruce Wayne/Batman, Andy Serkis as his reliable butler Alfred, Jeffrey Wright as Commissioner Gordon, Zoe Kravitz as Selena Kane/Catwoman, and, in a fascinating turn, Colin Farrell as Oswald Cobblepot/The Penguin.

Given the film’s length, I figured I’d see it over the course of two days, one day for one half, the other for the finale. But as it turned out, the film moves quite well and, despite my fears, never felt drawn out or too damn long.

The story features a mysterious new villain, The Riddler (Paul Dano), who has taken upon himself to kill very high level governmental officials in Gotham while drawing Batman into his mysterious and grim “game”.

Before the movie’s release, director Matt Reeves noted he wanted to show us a Batman who was a “detective” and in this case, I’m pleased to say he gives this to us. In the villain, we have a man who lays out a string of clues as to his future actions and victims and Batman is there, with his “right hand man” Commissioner Gordon trying to figure them out.

It is a very good film, certainly a higher tier comic book film, and the characters and setting are well done. If there is a criticism to level against The Batman it is what I wrote above: We’ve seen much of this before, whether it be in other superhero films -or specifically other recent Batman films- and video games. By virtue of this fact alone, it’s impossible to view The Batman as anything but another interpretation of the familiar character and his world.

Still, it’s a worthy trip to take because the film is so well made and, dare I say it, even if you feel more than a little tired of superhero films in general.

Recommended.

Bruce Willis

For a few years now I’ve noticed rumors appearing on the internet about Bruce Willis’ health. Specifically, his mental health.

An “A” level actor whose films once topped the box office, of late he has been appearing in Video on Demand works where, further rumors had it, he would appear to film for one or two days of work at a staggering million dollars per day.

Many of these VOD films featured Bruce Willis in what amounted to cameo roles, often doing little but sitting at a bar or in a car or something similar, saying his lines and whatever “dialogue” with other actors was made up using film tricks, cuts and close ups and, often, the appearnace the other actors’ work was filmed later on, when Willis was long gone.

There were snickers about his “work” ethics, of Willis “phoning it in” and not giving a shit anymore. Of taking the money and running but now, with the news released yesterday of Mr. Willis suffering from aphasia and “stepping away” from acting (you can read the full article here, from CNN), the jokes have abruptly stopped and an outpouring of sympathy has followed.

Perhaps, some wonder, Mr. Willis was cashing in on those roles because he knew his mental deterioration meant he only had so much time left to build up a proper nest egg for his family. Others also noted the rumors and stories on Wilis being a (to put it politely) handful on sets was maybe a manifestation of the anger and confusion he had early on in the progression of his disease.

I suppose its all possible.

What I take away from this is the sad realization of just how frail a human body is, and how people who are “normal” can find themselves deteriorating and, ultimately, not being able to function as they once did.

Now that the news of his retirement from acting has come out, it seems more of the stories about Bruce Willis’ deterioration on sets is also coming out. The following article, by Ron Dicker and presented on Huffingtonpost.com, notes…

Bruce Willis Has Struggled On Set For Years, Co-Workers Say

Truly it is a sad thing to read and find out how at times Mr. Willis was confused and didn’t even seem to understand exactly what he was doing on certain sets.

More often than not I’ve enjoyed Mr. Willis’ acting. I first noticed him way, waaaaaayyyyy back in 1984 in the episode “No Exit” of Miami Vice. He played that episode’s (the 7th one aired during the first season of the show!) bad guy, and he was damn nasty in the role as a wife beating scumbag…

He would then get the co-starring role in the very popular TV show Moonlighting before moving on into films. His first couple of films, Blind Date (1987) and Sunset (1988), didn’t do all that well, but a little film named Die Hard (1988) was right around the corner.

I hope Mr. Willis’ sunset years will be peaceful and comfortable. It seems like he has a large and loving family and it feels like he’s hopefully in good hands.

I suppose that’s all anyone can hope for.

So… how about them 2022 Academy Awards…?

Of late, I’ve not taken much of an interest in watching the Academy Awards. Granted, because of COVID the last couple of years have been very strained regarding the awards and, for that matter, the release of films.

But last night’s awards… ho boy…

What’s left to say? Will Smith didn’t like Chris Rock’s joke and, frankly, I’m not in Smith’s shoes so I don’t know how badly that joke landed given what his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, has dealt with regarding her alopecea. Then again, there are those that are thinking -because Will Smith was shown laughing at the joke originally- that maybe Jada made some comment and got his goat up.

Chris Rock’s joke, that he couldn’t wait to see Jada in G. I. Jane 2, obviously referenced her baldness, which is in part due to that alopecea and…

…look, again, I’m not in Will Smith’s shoes. I would never condone violence and, it seemed later in the program when Will Smith actually won the freaking Academy Award, he was clearly having second thoughts about his outburst… though in all his blubbering and apologies, he didn’t apologize to, you know, the guy he hit.

I feel for Chris Rock, of course, the victim of the violence. His joke might have been inappropriate and even dumb/insulting, but come on… that’s all it was. A bad joke, I grant you. An insensitive joke, absolutely.

But still.

What should have been a great night for Will Smith, to win the Academy Award, was instead marred by this outburst. No charges were pressed by Chris Rock and, hopefully, the two will make their peace, though reports are the Academy Awards are going to investigate this situation.

I know there’s a sense of “the show must go on,” but perhaps in this case maybe it would have been better to get security there. Not to say Will Smith was capable of doing something worse, but who knows.

What a night.

POSTSCRIPT: Saw this on Reddit… the reactions of various stars…

r/wallstreetbets - My face after each time I buy the dip!

Ryan Gosling there at the end… man oh man…!