The Universe and Me

Wednesday, July 20, 2016


Movie: Whiskey Tango Foxtrot. When the box said pervasive language it really meant it. Based on the book by Kim Baker, an American journalist who volunteers circa 2003 to cover the no longer fashionable war in Afghanistan. Why she volunteered is beyond me (the challenge, maybe?) but her experiences shown in the movie made me want to read the book. The movie was well done, insightful and thought provoking. Actually, she made a point to her boss that is something I've wondered about for years: why we don't see what's going on over there on our news stations. Apparently we don't want to. That's news to me! Interesting or something (creepy?) seeing Martin Freeman and Billy Bob Thornton together again post-Fargo. Freeman's affected Scottish accent helped erase some of those Fargo images because yes, I believe it's true, no matter if you're not the best looking or nicest person, a Scottish accent will make anyone appealing. He turns out to be an okay guy, after all. Why this movie didn't do so well at the box office when Fey's clunker, horribly sophomoric Sisters did seems criminal. 

By any other name

Documentary: Meet the Hitlers. More disappointing than interesting, which it could have and should have been. Concerned the stigma of having your name be Hitler. The European fellow seemed to believe he was related and subsequently ostracized but likely wasn't related at all but just a loner or recluse. The American teenager with an extra T appeared well adjusted, with friends and only slightly teased at school. Gene, also no relation, was endearingly memorable for his touching love for his late wife. His family seemed great.

Where we ran into difficulty was with a White Supremacist with children of questionable names, one being Adolph Hitler, another Aryan Nation. Names aside, the man seemed in need of education about totalitarianism and the Holocaust. Fascism means giving up individuality and your individual rights. As for the creation of Hitler's master race, this meant many millions more than Jews were exterminated. Political opponents, authors and artists considered subversive, priests, mentally and physically disabled, Boy Scouts, prisoners of war, etc. Where does it stop once it starts? He needs to learn the answer is not to start.

The other disturbing part was the journalist hounding the three actual great nephews who only wanted to be left alone. They changed their name and vowed to stop the bloodline. They've done the right thing. Let it go, dude. Most sensible thing about the documentary was the interview with the Holocaust survivor, a nice elderly man who understood any descendants of Hitler are not responsible for their unmet great uncle's crimes.

Sunday, July 03, 2016

What's in your head?

Movie: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Based on the book by Seth Grahame-Smith. I've never been interested in the zombie craze that has permeated popular culture the past few years. Guess I prefer my monsters with a little more substance. Vampires and werewolves have personalities, Cybermen are tying to upgrade everyone to a super robot race, Daleks are globs of pure hate but zombies have nothing besides the Eat Brains Obsession. That said, their inclusion in this Jane Austen parody/alternate history makes for entertaining viewing. Who would expect the five Bennett sisters to be proficiently trained in combat arts? Good for them, not just sitting around in an old book gathering dust and playing endless games of Whist. Nice to see Matt Smith post-Doctor and witty as ever.