Monday, December 29, 2014

The Judge & nostalgia

When The Judge came out, I wanted to see it in theaters, but circumstances prevented me. I wanted to see it because I have been an admirer of Robert Downey, Jr. (RDJ as he is referred to nowadays) for decades before he was Iron inconsequential ways since Weird Science, but not really until Chances Are. I watched him become better and more discovered. Then came Chaplin and it was clear, that here was someone special. Phrases like ‘the best actor of this generation” were justifiably bandied about. He played with a variety of roles from the fun to the sardonic, exploring every aspect of a variety of characters. Then came “the troubles”...the drugs, the bad decisions because of the drugs....but, eventually, he kicked it and began to re-build himself.

Jon Favreau saw something in him and he became Iron Man and his journey into mega-stardom began. And, I enjoyed his Tony Stark, although I knew it was probably the beginning of the end of the Downey that I had so much admired. The Downey whose album I had purchased because I loved the bits he had done in Ally McBeal. I’ve watched Tony and Sherlock (and Kirk and the all the roles since) and he was fun in them, but still I missed the the old RDJ.

I wound up not seeing The Judge in the theaters sometimes happens. But, honestly, the reviews made it sound like a variant on recent themes, so I figured I’d catch it on cable when it turned up.

But, thanks to my relatively recent membership as a member of SAG-AFTRA, I received a screener for the film becuase Robert Duval was nominated for Best Supporting Actor in a Film. So, I watched it...never doubting that Mr. Duval would very much be worthy of the nomination, as, indeed, he was. It's not a great movie...has a bunch of cliched moments and a few unexpected points, but it was a good couple of hours.

However, as I watched, I found myself drawn more towards Mr. Downey. He was always been one of those actors whose eyes could express more in a glance than many actors in 2 hours. And, there it was. And there. And there. Certainly, it was punctuated with the character that many have come to expect and that the reviers talked about. But, in between was the brilliance of the actor who might have been.

I went back and re-read the reviews that came out when The Judge was released. I’m not sure if the reviewers were too young to remember Mr. Downey’s promise and the performances that were the basis for it. I don’t know if they are fans of Short Attention Span theater and what is new is better than what is old. Maybe they do remember and are spiteful that he managed to arise from the ashes, grab that second chance and run with it. I don’t know. I do know that there were moments that made me cry.

Should he have been nominated for Best Actor? I haven’t watched all the nominated performances yet, but my inclination is to say “not now”. If his Team Downey finds more roles like this for him and directors who are willing to trust the actor that he was, the actor he has grown into (because the new movies *have* let him expand many aspects of his talent) and the actor he needs to become to ventually get past the “action hero”, then yes. I think Robert Downey, Jr. will be up there accepting a well-deserved statue from someone.

Friday, December 6, 2013

The once and future I got no clue

Dear viewers that are or may be,

I am still trying to feel my way through this blog and decide what I want it to be. On the one (probably, main hand), I'd love it to be a flow of consciousness blog with opinions, information, personal stuff...a little bit of this, a little bit of that.

My problem is that I was raised kind of old school (you know, the days before computers..yes, gasp, I know). I am too aware that people I may choose to talk/rant about are likely to run across the page and I do not ever want to hurt people's feelings (okay, that's a lie...there are people that I wouldn't think twice about hurting...heck, I'd run over four or five times with a truck). But, in the general way of things people interact together differently at any given time in any given circumstances.

Nowadays, all you read is "It's not about you. If they choose to be affected by it or interpret it poorly, it's on them" My reaction to that is Bullshit. I think that is the height of ego and conceit and I don' WON'T roll that way. I could just be a "Hey, have you heard this or know this or isn't this cool" and that would be fine, but if I can't share some of me that would make it less than I need/want it to be. And, I'm trying to juggle the realities of my life/emotions with my conscience.

I suspect that, ultimately, it will come down to: Write what I want and if there are If moments deal with them then.


Thursday, March 1, 2012

SAG/AFTRA merger

I’m a brandy-new AFTRA member. As a result, I do not feel completely justified in casting a vote and I haven’t quite decided what to do about that.

I joined AFTRA because I love doing background work & I love the process. But, it seemed that the more interesting BG stuff was going to the union folk and that’s why I became a member (disclaimer: before I joined, there was a naive “Ooh, maybe this will get me past my last SAG waiver if the merger hapens” voice).

However, I’ve spent the past couple days looking through things and I’ve pretty well come to the conclusion that both sides are wrong. I firmly believe that there should be a merger. But, I’m not a big fan of ancient politics influencing the present to the extent it seems to be in several aspects of modern society.

It seems to me that the SAG people are all too willy-nilly giving up a whole lot of stuff. The AFTRA people, I think, are busy feeling like second-rate actors and looking at this as a kind of a cachet. (Folks, these are the impressions I’ve been getting reading forums, FB pages, articles, etc. I mean no offence. Heck, I’m proud to be a member of proud as I would be to be a member of SAG or, eventually, the joint union). Whatever happens with the merger, I would like AFTRA (despite the fact that I took advantage of it) to rethink their “Give us money & you’re in” policy.

Everybody is busily getting their noses out of joint about the P&H thing. I haven’t gotten my packet yet but, theoretically, there is a P&H feasability study included in it (biased or not). I spent a lot of my youth working in a corporate law firm and I can tell you this...whatever SAG or AFTRA may want in terms of P&H, that stuff is handled by an ENTIRELY different group of people who are not going to commit to anything until the union merger is a lot more sure than it is now. The P&H people coming up with a new plan (IF, indeed, they decide it’s worth it to the people they represent now) is going to make the SAG/AFTRA merger look like tinker toys.

Paying the Union leaders. OH, GOD, NO!!!! The fact that these people do all this work (caveat - I don’t know if they get any kind of reimbursements or not...see: “I’m brandy-new member”) and take the amount of time away from their careers & families without any compensation astonishes me. Running these unions is, I would think, time-consuming and wearing.

But, the thing that worries me most, frankly, is that this is being forced through in such a short time. Possibly, the merger leaders are worried about short attention spans...get it done while people are thinking about it, which I kind of understand. But, it’s been my experience that things undertaken too quickly are usually knee-jerk reactions to situations as perceived than as real and as quick fixes without as much thought as there should be behind them.

I tend to suspect that if I do decide to Vote, that I will vote Yes. But, only because as things stand, there IS a lot of duplication of effort, confusion, and divisiveness.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

OH in 1960: The Circle of Love told in the 3rd person

As usual, except for an occasional minor non-invasive minor edit to preserve anonymity, the content, spelling and grammar are the writer's. All In know is that the parties are probably in their early to mid-20s:

The most recent mess is this (told in the first person for reasons of clarity)

Paul is in love with Judy
Judy is in love with Paul
John is in love with Judy
Judy is not in love with John but feels sorry for him & tries not to hurt him.
Paul likes John and is in love with his books (approximately 75% of which he has not read) & is slightly annoyed at John for involving Judy in the whole mess (even though it was not John's fault)
John likes Paul for the usual reasons that people like other people, likes him even more because Judy loves him & at the same time dislikes Paul because Paul & Judy are in love

Now that we have a lineup on the player the curtain will kindly rise on Act I of our little play. The play takes place over XXX 31st weekend when I came into the city to visit Judy (NOTE: we have dropped the third person because two's company, three's a crowd) When I came into the city over the weekend John let Judy & I use his apartment, because he wants to do all he can for her & knows how much she wants to be with me.

However while he is away from the apartment he starts thinking of what Judy & I were doing while he was gone. So when he get back he is disgusded at the world & mad at himself. This only get Judy upset & that get John madder at himself & he blows his top & goes around yelling & knocking things over until his internal pressure finally drops back to 1 atm & then things are quiet again (for awhile).

Like this is really going to be some summer.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

mini-post from Nov. 1959

I acquired a new batch of mail to go through and this doesn't really qualify as a full-blown post. As usual, I have NO idea who these people are, but I was reading along and this little segment made me laugh out loud and wonder about Adam .

Joe and Adam came in Saturday morning (at 3:00 A.M., their plane got delayed four hours at Chicago due to snow) and Adam spent Saturday night here.He is a merry fellow, and quite lively once he got slept out. He had only one diaper with him when he came over here, so we were using dish towels. He sure looked fancy with those striped edges!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Overheard from 1962 : Tired of war and worry

On Nov. 2, 1962, a grandmother worries about her naval grandson and Pres. Kennedy was still alive:

We have not heard from XXXX lately. Oh, I hope we will not have to have another war in the U.S. again. I have already seen two in my life & I feel that is enough. The next one would probably be a world war. I think the president is trying his best to prevent it, don't you?

Friday, December 31, 2010

John Cleese's New Year Letter

I have tweeted Mr. Cleese for permission to reprint his letter, but as I am but 1 out of followers, my voice will likely not be noticed. However, since he sent this to everybody who signed up for his emails, I don't feel he would have any huge problem


Dear Fnerners and Bnerers,
Once again, for a reason which dates back to 1582, we celebrate the annual re-boot of the Georgian calendar, with much jollity and good cheer, with singing, carousing, dancing and inebriation, leading to the consequent impact on personal health, as population after population succumbs to the morning after the night before.
Tomorrow (or is it already today?) is equally worthy of celebration, it being a date that even the Americans can get right - 1.1.11. So, perhaps some will turn the hair of the dog into the leg of the dog, perhaps even the dog of the dog. Just try to avoid making it the pack of the dog if you possibly can.
Moving along, we won't have long to wait for the next new year. On 3rd February 2011 we move into the Chinese Year of the Rabbit, which is another great excuse to throw a party. Shortly after that, on either 20th or 21st March 2011, we have Nowruz 2570 (1390) the Persian new year, which being the Spring equinox, coincides with several other reasons to go for it (and why not?) :
  • Purim - Jewish
  • Ostara -Wicca/Pagan northern hemisphere
  • Mabon -Wicca/Pagan southern hemisphere
  • Holi - Hindu
  • Hola Mohalla - Sikh
On and on and on it goes, each occasion supposedly unique and special - and so they are, just not for the reasons we give. Any excuse will do, really, religious or secular, national, international, or familial, new year, new baby, bar mitzvah, first communion, graduation, retirement, sporting victory, sporting defeat, you name it.
What these occasions all have in common is that they bring us humans together so that we can try, in our sometimes generous, often flawed and occasionally dangerous ways, to break down the inter-personal barriers which exist between us on every other day of the year. It's no wonder we sometimes break things in this great effort to reverse the social norms which constrict most of us most of the time, in pursuit of the much deeper need for renewal.
So, on this New Year 2011, let us all say a very large, long and heartfelt thank you to the Healers of the world - to the doctors, nurses and paramedics, as they cope with the flood of injuries which accompanies this annual mass loss of balance.

Thank you, wond'rous children of Hippocrates, for you are indeed special; you frequently stand between us mortals and the worst consequences of our desire to feel more connected with one another and less alone; and without you, life after the party would so often be much, much worse than a simple hangover.
Aside from that - thank you for all your kind messages and support this year. Remember to be extra nice to people who resemble small animals.
Until next time,
Jack the Cheese