Category Archives: Entertainment

“Everything Everywhere All At Once”

We went to the movies today. What a concept!

I had heard a lot of word of mouth about this film. It premiered at Cannes to rave reviews, and now that it’s in at least limited release in the US I had seen social media posts from dozens of folks whose opinions I respect, all singing its praises. The thing that sort of buzz reminds me of is the early, early days of the release of “Star Wars.”

It’s playing locally, and we had free passes from the whole “Dune” debacle back in February where our showing got cancelled on the final night of its run and they gave us free passes (and a refund) as an apology of sorts. That left just the whole COVID thing to worry about. We took our chances. (The theater was about half full, we were fully masked and vaxxed, and maybe 2/3 of the other folks in the theater appeared to be masked.)

I’m not going to tell you a single thing about the plot or the premise or what happens, and I urge you to not go looking for spoilers or even reviews and details. It will be so much better if you simply go in without preconceptions or expectations, buckle up, and…

GO SEE “EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE” ASAP!!!

It is without a doubt the most bizarre movie I’ve ever seen. Even telling what other movies I might mention in comparison in terms of “bizarre-ness” might be telling too much, but “Being John Malkovich” and “Scott Pilgrim vs the World” just got bumped from the top of that list.

I will tell you that the acting is spectacular! Put Michelle Yeoh’s name on the Best Actress ballot right now, and Stephanie Hsu’s name on the Best Supporting Actress ballot. No “penciling in” anything – use a Sharpie, one of those big, fat ones.

The execution and production? Astonishing. There’s SO much going on all the time, I’m sure I missed a million tiny details and I can’t wait to see it again and get a copy so I can go through it slowly. This is a masterpiece.

One person I follow on social media said (paraphrased), “I just saw it and I can’t drive home, I’m just overwhelmed. I need to sit here and drink coffee for a couple hours to let it settle.” Yeah, I get it.

Try to see it while it’s in the theaters, it’s so worth it.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

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Filed under Entertainment, Movies

East, West, And In Between

At the east end along Grand, the LA Cathedral.

At the west end, the Disney Concert Hall.

In between, our destination for tonight, The Music Center.

We’re seeing “The Leman Trilogy.” I have no clue about what to expect. It will be fun.

(And yes, those people in the panorama looked JUST LIKE THAT! It’s LA…)

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Filed under Entertainment, Los Angeles, Panorama, Photography

What’s Wrong With These Pictures?

Something I’ve mentioned in the past is having a secondary monitor or two on my home office computer setup and liking live webcam feeds running on them when I’m not using them. Hummingbirds, jellyfish, volcanoes, Venice, whatever.

Lately I’ve been watching a LOT of feeds from Virtual Railfan cameras, set up in train stations and train museums all over the country and just watching the freight trains and Amtrak passing by. For example, tonight:

(Image from Virtual Railfan)

My favorite site, Fort Madison, Iowa. LOTS of trains, plus the swing bridge over the Mississippi River. Plus the river, and wildlife, and birds.

(Image from Virtual Railfan)

Kearney, Nebraska. Lots of long, fast freight trains passing through every day.

(Image from Virtual Railfan)

Quincy, Illinois. I actually spent a lot of time in Quincy as a kid, my parents had good friends there from college and we would go visit them a couple times a year.

All of these images were captured tonight, either just before or just after midnight local time. Essentially, all on March 31st.

What’s wrong with these pictures?

The end of March. Places in the part of the country where I grew up. And it never, EVER was snowing heavily at the end of March.

Meanwhile, it was 70°F above normal in Antarctica this week.

Meanwhile, there were brush fires this week in Colorado and California, where we now have 12-month fire seasons.

Meanwhile, there were massive tornado outbreaks across the south, Texas and New Orleans, last week, months earlier than normal.

Good thing that climate change is all fake, huh?! Otherwise we might just be in some deep shit!

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Filed under Entertainment, Weather

Thinking About The Brothers K Tonight

Busy, as always, sometimes busier than busy, and at times by habit, skill (unlikely), or necessity, I get into that groove and just start grinding through things that need to get done ASAP. As noted before at times here, it’s akin in many ways to running, especially long distances such as a marathon. I truly wish I could invoke that mental state at will, but that’s another discussion.

When “in the groove” some part of my mind tends to wander while the more basic part is getting the job done. As Crash Davis said to Ebby Calvin ‘Nuke’ LaLoosh, “Don’t think – it can only hurt the ball club.” (Totally irrelevant side note – is anyone keeping track of how many times I’ve quoted that and linked to this clip?)

Tonight my thoughts turned to juggling. Juggling in turn took my thoughts to The Flying Karamazov Brothers, who I think are truly astonishing and who I first saw (I think) doing the halftime entertainment at the Westercon masquerade in 1979. (Maybe 1980?) That in turn made me wonder – are they still around?

THEY ARE!

Not doing much touring (it’s almost like there’s been a raging pandemic that’s seriously restricted travel and in-person gatherings for the last couple of years), but they do have at least one upcoming show scheduled for June and with luck they’ll be out touring soon.

Simple advice – watch their videos online, be entertained, learn to love them, and if you ever get a chance to see them live, take it!

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Filed under Entertainment, Fandom

All That Jazz

What an amazing film.

It’s Oscars season, and various cable networks are showing award winning films from past years. In this case, Turner Classic Movies, and “All That Jazz,” one of my all-time favorite films.

As I do almost every time I see this film at home, especially when the theme is “The Oscar Winners,” I have to check and see why it didn’t win the Best Film award, or why Roy Scheider didn’t win for Best Actor.

Oh. Yeah. THAT year.

“Kramer vs. Kramer” swept a slew of the big awards. Best Picture, Best Actor (Dustin Hoffman), Best Supporting Actress (Merryl Streep). Fair enough.

What else was up for Best Picture?

“Norma Rae,” with Sally Field winning Best Actress.

“Breaking Away”

“Apocalypse Now,” which begs the question of how did “Kramer Vs Kramer” beat THAT film??!!

I never saw “All That Jazz” in the theater. Still haven’t, would love to, will have to make a mental note to catch it some art house here in LA.

“Not my kind of film” would have been my first thought having seen just the trailers and previews. I still don’t remember why or how I watched it, I was probably bored and it was the best thing on. I just remember watching it on cable way, way, way back, when HBO was just a wee lad and something of a novelty.

It was okay. I liked it pretty well, but I was confused as hell. Who was the lady in white, played by Jessica Lange? I liked the energy, the weird story, the passion, the music, but I was a little bit lost. But I like weird.

And then…

At the very end, I GOT IT. (Maybe I’m a slow learner. It wouldn’t be the first time, nor the last.)

I had to watch it again from the beginning as soon as possible, knowing now what I hadn’t known the first time through. And I was blown away. And watched it again. And again.

Now it’s one of those films that I’ve seen so many times, but I still see something new every time.

If you’ve seen the film, I hope that you love it as much as I do. If you haven’t, it’s a great time to see it for the first time. It’s wonderful.

It’s Oscars time.

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Filed under Entertainment, Movies

Presidents Day 2022

With one exception, not a huge fan of any of them in my adult lifetime, and I didn’t need to buy either a new car or a new mattress, so we ignored the holiday and started using the time to catch up on a season and a half of “Star Trek: Discovery.” Time well spent – I’m enjoying it a great deal. We’re current now and looking forward to the last four episodes of Season Four. Next, we have to pick something else to get caught up on. Probably either “Star Trek: Lower Decks” or “The Expanse.”

With significantly less time pressure and an eyeball issue that requires occasional eye drops, the practice of lying down and closing my eyes and relaxing has led to a re-discovery of this “nap” thing.

Mmmmmmmmmm! “Naps!”

I know this isn’t an original thought, but little kids who are “forced” to take naps have no freakin’ clue how good they’ve got it or how much they’re going to miss naps when they’re busy doing “adult shit” eighteen to twenty hours a day.

 

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Filed under Entertainment, Photography

Yet Another Night At The Theatre!

We’re all masked and vaxxed (and so is everyone else, which I love) so we’re out at the theatre again tonight.

The Ahmanson Theatre, to be exact, to see “Everybody’s Talking About Jamie.” I know very little about it, so it will be a surprise!

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Filed under Entertainment, Los Angeles

Taco Bell And The Morlocks

Sometime in the mid 1960’s, when it was a big freakin’ deal to have a movie shown on TV! It meant either NBC or CBS was showing it in prime time, and I had to finagle permission to stay up past my bedtime. A big hit for me with lots of long-lasting memories was “The Time Machine.” Made by George Pal and starring Rod Taylor and Yvette Mimieux in 1960, the pre-teen Paul was very impressionable and large parts of the movie scared the crap out of me. (It seems I wasn’t alone.)

What really scared me was when the air raid sirens went off and the peaceful, dull, childlike Eloi all went slack jawed and started marching zombie-like into the caves of the Morlocks, where obviously the Morlocks were going to kill them and eat them. We were living in Kansas City at the time (remember, huge Chiefs fan here!) and tornadoes were not uncommon for about six months of each year. When they got close, the air raid sirens went off to warn folks to take cover. Needless to say, the summers after seeing “The Time Machine” had a whole new interpretation of that!


Skip forward fifty-six or fifty-seven years, to 2022. You’re watching television and a Taco Bell commercial comes on:

  • There’s a beach party, a young lady skips off into the darkness to snog that sexy young dude in the dark. A buoy tips over, causing a “bell” to ring (the signature and no doubt trademarked Taco Bell sound), and your hormonal teenager turns into a zombie, leaves Boy Wonder on the beach wondering what happened, and she marches off to Taco Bell to get something disgusting.
  • A subway platform, a geek dude cosplaying some sort of elf warrior with a shield spies a geek girl with the exact same costume and shield. Their eyes meet, they step toward each other, her shield hits a metal trash can, we hear that “bell” sound, she gets glassy eyed and wanders off to Taco Bell.
  • Two dudes are going for the all-time high score in the universe on Dance Dance Revolution at which point the machine music makes that “bell” sound, they stop mid-game, and head off for some brodude Taco Bell munchies.
  • The high schooler with the purple hair is at the back of the orchestra with a pair of cymbals, waiting for her one big moment, when someone tips over a music stand, it hits the tuba, makes that “bell” sound, and half the orchestra wanders off in search of greasy ground beef and runny fake cheese.

Aside from the fact that I’m not a fan of Taco Bell’s food, all of these examples remind me constantly of one thing – THE ELOI!!! The protagonists in every one of these ads act exactly like the Eloi in “The Time Machine!”

So, Taco Bell’s advertising agency and marketing gurus, look how you’ve made me think of your food!

I’m about to have the romantic, hormonal, passionate night that I’ve always fantasized about and which I’ll remember for the rest of my life – until I turn into an Eloi and march into the Morlocks’ cave to be killed. And YOU’RE the Morlocks!

I’m a lonely geek who’s suddenly found my soulmate, only to have her snatched away into zombieland just feet away from my embrace. And YOU’RE the zombies!

You get the drift.

Obviously, I’m not the target market for these ads, both because of my tastes in food and because of my age (and probably a half-dozen or more other traits), but jeez louise!! Did NO ONE look at these ads and think, “Wait…maybe…”

Or, worse, did they look at it and think, “Whatever! As long as they spend money at our place!”

Go find a taco truck, or a mom & pop style Mexican place with real food. And hoist a margarita and a burrito to Yvette Mimieux, who passed away at age 80 this afternoon.

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Filed under Deep Thoughts, Entertainment, Movies, Paul

The Proverbial Room Where It Happens – Part Two

A couple years ago we saw “Hamilton” in Los Angeles at the legendary Pantages Theater. Then we had tickets to see it again last year, but there was that whole pandemic, quarantine thing

Now we’re all vaxxed and masked (to their credit, they seem to be very aggressive about enforcing that at the Pantages) and the touring cast is back, so it’s our turn to see it again.

The first time we saw it I knew of the hype and the awards and the hubbub – but I had not yet ever listened to the music or gotten caught up in the mania. I had doubts…

Then I saw it.

Oh!! My!! God!! (As they say.)

Now, having seen the Disney production of the live version a dozen or so times, not to mention having listened to the album AT LEAST 100-200 times (no BS, at least once a week for a couple of years), I’m anxious to see how different the viewing experience is this time.

Damn, forgot tissues! We’ll see how absorbent this sweater is, I guess.

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Filed under Entertainment, Los Angeles, Music

Pollyanna

In my pre-teen days the latest and greatest was COLOR TV! NBC had “The Wonderful World of Disney” (not to be confused with ABC’s “The Wide World of Sports”) which was good, wholesome, family fare for Sunday night. It also helped sell more than a few of those color television sets.

One of the “classics” that we got repeatedly was “Pollyanna.” If we saw it in the theaters in 1960 I don’t remember it (I was only four) but I remember seeing it a couple times a year by the mid-60s. Which was fine – my pre-pubescent little hormones knew something was going on whenever Hayley Mills was on the screen and I was still in Catholic school and a couple years away from the start of my rebel, “they tried to teach me WHAT??!!” phase, so Pollyanna’s upbeat attitude no matter what happened went in one ear, rattled around a bit, and came out the other side none the worse for wear.

(What I didn’t like was my many siblings calling me “Pollyanna,” which came from their usually calling me “Pauley,” which I hate to this day. But what are siblings for if not torturing their older brother?)

This morning I was thinking about one of the themes of the story and one of the related plot devices, the Glad Game. I was having my teeth cleaned and examined (AGAIN!) with more things being found wrong and more poking and prodding and asking, “Does that hurt?” as I levitate three feet above the chair, sort of like Linda Blair with a little paper bib. In addition, laying there with that spotlight they use shining in my eyes, the “temporary” floaters in both eyes now were swimming around like a Busby Berkeley routine, and when trying to hold still my legs were cramping to remind me that they were still there. In that environment, it was tough to find a reason to be glad, just because. But I tried anyway.

I decided that while getting older might be a better alternative that the primary other option (i.e., death) it was starting to get to be a real pain in the ass. And all of the treatments I’m having rammed down my throat (eating better, exercising, losing weight, patience) are not in my wheelhouse. I keep getting told that they’re going to work eventually and the effort will have been worth it, and Pollyanna would no doubt believe that and be on that Peloton bike or climbing that hill every day while eating a granola bar and drinking pressed milkweed juice and singing the whole way.

Pollyanna needs to get real. This sucks.

I’m ready to go anti-Pollyanna. AP. Maybe pronounce it as “ape.” I’m going to “go ape.” The main aspect of which will be that I will be cranky every single day.

I’ll probably keep on doing the eating better, exercising, and losing weight. But I draw the line at “patience.” Enough is enough. Substitute in “cranky” for me.

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Filed under Entertainment, Health