Saturday, September 21, 2019
Here is Part 2 of my Second Top Ten + 2, my list of top films based on the criteria of “films that I like, that I find entertaining and that I like to rewatch”. I refer to that as “watchability”. Why + 2? Because in my first list I couldn’t narrow it down to 10.
The first list, not in any order of priority:
12 Angry Men
Full Metal Jacket
The second list, also not in any particular order:
Goodbye Mr Chips
Life of Brian
Judgment at Nuremberg
O Brother, Where Art Thou?
Here is Part 2 of List 2. . .
I said earlier that my Top Ten + 2 was based on what I liked and included a factor of “rewatchability”, a word I have coined. This one I have watched quite a number of times and will keep watching, it is that entertaining. Some may object to the violence and to the depiction of the role of women but that is integral to the story. What hasn’t aged so well are the fashions shown but I will turn a blind eye to that.
Ignore the remake, this is the one. What is it about? Think gladiators and the Coliseum on wheels. I could talk about the solving of the world’s problems but at the expense of personal freedom, about it being a comment on the modern preoccupation with televised sports, of surrogate violence, loss of individuality and of loveless corporate futures, but that is not the appeal for me. The games and the final battle to the death on skates are like nothing else.
Btw, director Norman Jewison intended this movie to be anti-violence, but audiences so loved the action of the game, that there was actually talk about forming rollerball leagues in the wake of this movie, which horrified him.
Jonathon . . . Jonathon . . . Jonathon . . . Jonathon . . . . Jonathon . . .
Life of Brian (1979):
So many funny scenes, so many classic lines that it is impossible to select just a few. Sometimes acclaimed as the greatest comedy of all time, it is hard to believe today that on first release in 1979 it was picketed, denounced and banned by various countries, councils and organisations as being blasphemous, notwithstanding that those picketing, denouncing and banning had not actually seen the film. That in itself is a Monty Python moment. John Cleese has said that because of the massive protests against the movie from all denominations of Christianity, he would joke with Michael Palin, "We've brought them all together for the first time in two thousand years!"
My opinion: ★★★★
When Michael Palin as Pontius Pilate addressed the soldiers daring them to laugh, he was truly daring them. The soldier extras were ordered to stand there and not laugh, but not told what Palin was going to do. Palin, in fact, can barely stifle his own laughter when saying "Biggus Dickus" in front of the soldier asked if he finds the name "risible."
See the scene by clicking on:
George Harrison has a cameo in the film, as Mr Papadopoulos (above, centre)
That’s only fair, he funded the making of it. Originally to be financed by EMI, they backed out because they considered the script blasphemous. The Pythons sued EMI and settled out of court. George Harrison, a huge Monty Python fan, thought it was the last chance to have another Python film. He created Handmade Films, and "pawned" (his words) his home in London and his office building to raise the $4 million needed. When asked why, he said "because I want to go see it." Eric Idle joked that it was the highest price ever paid for a cinema ticket.
Judgment at Nuremberg (1961)
What do you say about a film that includes in its cast Spencer Tracy, Burt Lancaster, Richard Widmark, Marlene Dietrich, Maximilian Schell (best actor Oscar for this performance), Judy Garland, William Shatner and Werner Klemperer (Col Klink, Hogan’s Heroes) and depicts the trial of German judges accused of crimes against humanity for their involvement in atrocities committed under the Nazi regime. The film is based on the Nuremburg Judges Trial (being one of the American Tribunal trials, not the International Tribunal trials, and which prosecuted 16, not 4, judges as in the film) and looks at such issues as:
What happens when those sworn to uphold the law become breakers of the law?
What if the laws to be upheld are evil laws?
Is there such a thing as collective guilt for a country?
What of similar acts and views in the history of the prosecutors?
What of complicity of other countries?
The film also contrasts the political expediency of the German judges under the Third Reich with the pressure on the prosecuting judges to deliver lenient sentences to curry German favour during the Berlin blockade and the beginning of the Cold War. Powerful performances by Schell and Tracy. A must see.
West Side Story received the Best Film Oscar.
With the passing of Maximilian Schell in February 2014, William Shatner (now aged 89) is the last living member of the cast.
Down Periscope (1996)
If you’re a Kelsey Grammer fan, you’ll love this. If you’re not a Kelsey Grammer fan, you’ll still love this. It is the story of Lieutenant Commander Thomas Dodge, who is saddled with a group of misfit seamen brought together as the crew of his first command, USS Stingray, a rusty, obsolete World War II-era diesel submarine recommissioned to participate in a special naval war game. This is one of my Second Top Ten + Two notwithstanding that critical reception for the film was negative on release and that Rotten Tomatoes has an approval rating of 12% from 33 reviews, with an average rating 3.8.
Dodge objects to Lt. Lake's assignment to the Stingray, citing the U.S. Navy's rule against women on board submarines. The film was released in 1996, one year after Norway became the first naval power to promote a female officer to command of a submarine.
Rear Admiral Yancy Graham: You watch yourself, Dodge! You are addressing a superior officer.
Lt. Comd. Dodge: No... Merely a higher ranking one!
O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000)
Set in 1937 in rural Mississippi during the Great Depression, the story of O Brother, Where Art Thou? is based on Homer's epic poem The Odyssey. The title of the film is a reference to the 1941 film Sullivan's Travels, in which the main character is a director who wants to film O Brother, Where Art Thou?, a fictional book about the Great Depression. Much of the music in the film is American folk, bluegrass, country and more from musos such as John Hartford, Alison Krauss, Emmylou Harris, Gillian Welch, Chris Sharp, Ralph Stanley and Dan Tyminski. The film's soundtrack became an unlikely blockbuster, even surpassing the success of the film. George Clooney is the lead in what I regard as his best role. Likewise Charles Durning as Pappy O’Daniel. Put watching this film as an item on your bucket list.
The prisoner's musical chant from the beginning of the movie (and soundtrack) was actually an old recording of a real chain-gang.
The name of the musical group in the film, Soggy Bottom Boys, is a play on the well known, real Foggy Mountain Boys.
Jeremiah Johnson (1972)
“Jeremiah Johnson made his way into the mountains
Bettin’ on forgettin’ all the troubles that he knew . . . “
Made in 1972, the movie stars Robert Redford in a somewhat different role to those he usually plays. Redford portrays Jeremiah Johnson, a man who leaves his past life behind to live in the Rocky Mountains. The story is in turn based in part on the life of John Johnston, aka “Crow Killer” and “Liver-Eatin’ Johnston”. After Crow Indians murdered his wife, Johnston swore vengeance against the entire tribe, eating the livers of the Crow he killed. After 25 years of killing Crow, Johnston made peace with them and became “brothers” with them. Will Geer plays Chris Lapp, also known as “Bear Claws” by reason of his hunting “grizz” and keeping their claws in a necklace around his neck.
"The way that you wander is the way that you choose
The day that you tarry is the day that you lose...."
Those interested in the back story can click on the following link to a 2010 Bytes post:
Don’t be turned off by the bloodthirsty descriptions, the movie is a watch-again-and-again, as far as I am concerned (and I have done).
That the story doesn’t always go that way you had in mind.
Jeremiah’s story was that kind. . ."
The part about the warriors sent to kill him and told not to return without his scalp was true about the original Liver-Eatin’ Johnston.
“But don't get me wrong; I loves the womens, I surely do. But I swear, a woman's breast is the hardest rock that the Almighty ever made on this earth, and I can find no sign on it.” - Bear Claws Chris Lapp.
Friday, September 20, 2019
My girlfriend is fed up of my constant wordplay jokes, so I asked her, "How can I stop my addiction?"
"Whatever means necessary," she replied.
"No it doesn't," I said.
There once was a man who owned a sausage factory, and he was showing his arrogant preppy son around his factory. Try as he might to impress his snobbish son, his son would just sneer.
They approached the heart of the factory, where the father thought, “This should impress him!” He showed his son a machine and said: “Son, this is the heart of the factory. With this machine here we can put in a pig, and out come sausages.”
The son, openly sneering, said: “Yes, but do you have a machine where you can put in a sausage and out comes a pig?”
The furious father thought and said: “Yes son, we call it your mother.”
A lost dog strays into a jungle. A lion sees this from a distance and says with caution "This guy looks edible, never seen his kind before.”
So the lion starts rushing towards the dog with menace. The dog notices and starts to panic but as he's about to run he sees some bones next to him and gets an idea and says loudly "Mmm...that was some good lion meat!".
The lion abruptly stops and says " woah! This guy seems tougher then he looks, I better leave while I can".
Over by the tree top, a monkey witnessed everything. Evidently, the monkey realizes the he can benefit from this situation by telling the lion and getting something in return. So the monkey proceeds to tell the lion what really happened and the lion says angrily "Get on my back, we'll get him together.”
They start rushing back to the dog. The dog sees them and realises what happened and starts to panic even more. He then gets another idea and shouts "Where the hell is that monkey! I told him to bring me another lion an hour ago..."
From the vault:
An old man goes to the barbershop for a shave. He tells the barber, “My cheeks are so sunken in that I can’t get a good shave, can you help me out?”
The barber gives him a ball from a cup and says, “Put this in your mouth against your cheeks to puff ’em out, and I can give you a good shave.” So he does.
After the shave, the old man said, “Gee, that’s a good shave, I haven’t had one like this in years! By the way, what would have happened if I had swallowed that ball?”
The barber replied, “Oh, that’s okay! You can bring it back in two days like everyone else does!”
There once was a man from Dunoon,
Who always ate soup with a fork.
Either fish, foul or flesh,
He said "When I eat
I otherwise finish too quick."
There is no five second rule about food being dropped on the floor in our house.
That's because we have a one second dog.
I popped in to a place called Dan's Cafe for a bite to eat, but was sickened by all the non stop George Michael music and memorabilia, I'm sure it was putting subliminal George Michael lyrics in my head...
I'm never going to Dan's again.
"Waitress, can I ask you something about the menu please?"
Waitress: (slaps me across the face) “The men I please are none of your damn business
Thursday, September 19, 2019
Today be International Talk Like a Pirate Day, me hearties, so its time to parley, which be noted is a guideline, not a rule.
Read about International Talk Like a Pirate Day at an earlier Bytes post at:
Here be some facts about pirates . . .
Read about International Talk Like a Pirate Day at an earlier Bytes post at:
Here be some facts about pirates . . .
Blackbeard was the most feared pirate of all.
Blackbeard (AKA Edward Teach) was known as the most terrifying pirate in the world. Before capturing a ship he would weave hemp into his beard and light it on fire—an intimidation tactic that made him look demonic.
Not every pirate ship used a Jolly Roger flag.
Pirates had their flags specially made by a sail-maker’s widow who took payment in brandy.
Blackbeard/Teach was known to use black flags with death heads and "bloody flags" which were meant to intimidate one's enemies.
Nevertheless, the flag which is commonly attributed to Blackbeard (pictured above) depicting a skeleton spearing a heart, while toasting the devil,[ was probably never actually used by him.
There were women pirates, too.
Being a pirate wasn’t just for men. Here are the Top 10 Women Pirates:
Sadie the Goat –
Operating in America during the 19th Century, Sadie Farrell, known as Sadie the Goat, was a New York gang leader and river pirate. She left her home town of Manhattan following a brawl which resulted in her ear being bitten off. From them on Sadie wore the ear around her neck in a locket, and worked as a pirate on the Hudson and Harlem Rivers, earning the name ‘Queen of the Waterfront’.
Teuta of Illyria –
One of the earliest known female pirates was Teuta of Illyria. Not only was this powerhouse of a woman a pirate, but she was also a queen! After her husband’s death in 231BC, Teuta became queen regent. She encouraged piracy as a way of fighting back against the surrounding, more powerful, countries.
Maria Lindsey –
Maria Lindsey met notorious pirate captain, Eric Cobham, and it was love at first sight. Cobham revealed his profession to Maria, but she was not put off – in fact they were married the next day! The two left Maria’s hometown of Plymouth and spent around 20 years sailing the seven seas as swashbucklers.
Grace O’Malley –
Grace O’Malley was a fiery red head, born in Ireland in 1530. She was known as a pirate and a trader… she even got to meet Queen Elizabeth I! Unlike most pirates she lived a long life, sailing the sea for most of it. She eventually died around the age of 70 – an impressive age for any buccaneer!
Charlotte de Berry –
Charlotte de Berry was supposedly born in 1636, although there were no known records of her until exactly one hundred years later, leading to many believing that she never existed and is purely fictional. Tales tell how she stowed away on a ship disguised as man, and eventually climbed the ranks to become a captain.
Lady Elizabeth Killigrew –
Lady Elizabeth Killigrew, sometimes known as ‘Old Lady Killigrew’, lived with her husband Sir John Killigrew at Pendennis Castle in Falmouth, Cornwall during the 1500s. She is one of the few known Cornish pirates. Elizabeth and John both partook in piracy, although it is said that Elizabeth preferred it to her husband.
Lady Mary Killigrew – A few generations before Elizabeth Killigrew, came Lady Mary Killigrew. Mary husband, Sir Henry, a retired pirate, was tasked by the queen to suppress piracy in the waters. While her husband was away, Mary would indulge in piracy herself, using the staff of her castle to crew her ship.
Mary Read –
Mary Read, sometimes operating under the alias of Mark Read, was one of the famous female crewmates of Calico Jack. Dressed as a boy, Mary joined the Army before sailing to the Caribbean and becoming a buccaneer. When captured by a pirate hunter in 1720 she avoided hanging by pleading pregnancy, however she died in prison shortly after from fever.
Madame Cheng –
One of the most successful pirates of the 19th Century, Madame Cheng (Ching Shih) commanded well over 300 ships, with approximately 3500 pirate followers – these included men, women, and even children, the largest army of any pirate… ever! Like Grace O’Malley, Cheng also lived to an impressive age – she reired from piracy and eventually died in 1844 at the age of 69.
Anne Bonny –
At the top of the list is Anne Bonny, probably the most famous female pirate to sail during the Golden Age. She was a member of Calico Jack’s crew, along with Mary Read, but it is said that the two women fought with more skill than any man on board the ship. It was even left to Anne and Mary to defend the drunken male crew when their ship was boarded by pirate hunters. It is said that Anne’s final words to her captain and lover, Calico Jack, were ‘If you had fought like a man, you would not be hanged like a dog!’
The word originally referred to a drink made with water and rum, which British Vice admiral Edward Vernon introduced into the naval squadron he commanded in the West Indies on 21 August 1740. Vernon wore a coat of grogram cloth and was nicknamed Old Grogram or Old Grog.
It’s been said that pirates wore eye patches to help keep one eye adjusted to night vision for seeing below deck.
A pirate strolls into his favorite bar and the bartender says, "Whoa, dude, what happened to you?"
The pirate says, "What do you mean?"
The bartender says, "Well, for starters, you never used to have a peg leg."
"Oh, that," replies the pirate. "Well, you see, we had a sea battle and a cannon ball blew off my leg. But the ship's surgeon fixed me up with this peg leg and I'm as good as new."
"Well, what about the hook?" asks the barkeep.
"We had another sea battle and some guy lopped off my hand," the pirate explains, "but the ship's surgeon fixed me up with this hook and now I'm as good as new!"
"What about the eye patch?" asks the bartender.
"One day I was on the top mast keeping watch," says the pirate, "when an albatross flew over and pooped in my eye."
The bartender is incredulous. "You mean to tell me that bird poop will put out your eye?"
"Well," the pirate explained, "this happened shortly after I got the hook."
They didn’t really make people walk the plank.
Although walking the plank is common in contemporary pirate lore, most pirates just killed people straightaway. When they did torture their prisoners, it was usually through keelhauling (dragging a tied sailor in the water from the back of the ship), marooning a person on a deserted island or remote sandbar, or lashings with a leather whip.
Almost every pirate ship had their own set of guidelines that all pirates had to agree to. This included how the loot would be divided, who had what chores, and what was expected of everyone. The most common rules was no fighting on-board!