No way to climb that ol’ pyramid

So you say you’re a movie fan. Do you ever do this: Do you have friends with whom you only communicate in terms of lines from a certain movie?

I’ve known Bob Lewis almost since he was the center of the Ole Miss football team. He came to work for me as a reporter in Tennessee about 23 years ago. About a year after he joined the paper, "The Right Stuff" came out. I had been a huge fan of the book, and for once really loved the film as well. So did Bob. So we got into this thing of calling each other "Ridley" or "Chuck" or "Gordo," and spoke almost exclusively in lines from the movie, adapted to our current situation.

I just sent him the following e-mail a few minutes ago, and only afterward did I stop to think what a geek I am:

    I was just complaining to a co-worker about the car I’m driving. … It runs OK, but the speedometer doesn’t work right (you get over 40 and it goes plumb screwy, bouncing all over the place).
    This WAS (my wife’s) car, but we recently swapped, and she’s driving the MUCH nicer (one I had been driving). She never cared about that ol’ machmeter, because her approach is to drive a little slower than everybody around her.
    This does NOT work for me. If I did that, how could I find the outside of the envelope? How would I ever learn where that ol’ demon lives?
    So I just keep goin’ like a bat out of hell, and the thing goes screwy on me, and I get on the cell phone and gripe to Ridley, but he just says, "Go ahead and bust it; we’ll fix it. Personally, I think you’re seein’ things."

Bob is now with the Associated Press up in Virginia. For his part, he has moved on. Recently, he has taken to replying to me exclusively with lines from "Oh Brother, Where Art Thou." Fortunately, I can speak that, too. After all, I am the blamed Paterfamilias.

96 thoughts on “No way to climb that ol’ pyramid

  1. Capital A

    You’re definitely not alone in this quirk. David, my old college roommate, and I often combine Star Wars (the defining movie of our generation) quotes in our commentary on Gamecock football. We use three or four emails to “test” each other’s memory of the lines, as well.
    The following are a couple of examples.
    Re: Lou Holtz and his latest “book” (money grab)–
    Han Solo (Me): Where did you dig up that old fossil?
    Luke (Dave): Ben (Holtz) is a great man.
    Han Solo (Me): Yeah, great at getting us into trouble.
    Text message sent immediately after the recent “trick” touchdown play thrown against Mississippi State game–
    The Emperor(Spurrier to Croom): Come…see for yourself. From here, you will witness the final destruction of the Alliance and the end of your insignificant rebellion.

  2. Randy Ewart

    I am getting the idea that Brad is on a major nostalgia kick. Did he just turn 50 and is suffering a mid-life crisis?
    I think I saw him driving around in a new Mustang. Now that’s a worthy mid-life crisis – ala Kevin Spacey in American Beauty!?!?

  3. Brad Warthen

    Mustang? It’s a Taurus. And it’s a rental. Long story.
    And if I had the money, I wouldn’t be driving a NEW Mustang. I don’t like the looks of them. The Mustang lost its magic after the mid-60s. When they first came out, they looked distinctive. Soon, they were just another muscle car.
    Speaking of rentals — I lucked out and got to drive a Mazda 6 from Hertz on a 560-mile jaunt a couple of weeks back. Zoom, zoom. Nice.

  4. Brad Warthen

    What did Spacey drive in American Beauty? I forget.
    About all I remember about that one is that it wasn’t as good as it had been built up to be. People had said it was “The Graduate” of its time. If it is, that’s sad, and nostalgia is well justified.

  5. Randy Ewart

    He had late 60s early 70s camaro. Good call on the stangs. Mid 60s convertible! There’s a guy driving around Forest Acres with one in MINT condition.
    One of the best parts of the movie is Spacey working the drive-through window. His wife and her boyfriend happened to be driving through and Spacey is the one serving the food. He gets his manager, a 19 year old girl, who looks out the window and says “you are so busted!” Interesting movie.
    I still think you are on a nostalgia kick! 🙂

  6. Lee

    This from an editor who says he wants “the grownups to take over the two major political parties”.
    Do they permit skateboards in the hallways at The State offices?

  7. Capital A

    American Beauty was a 3.5 star out of a possible 5. I felt the repressed homosexual/violent father element was more than a bit forced. It completely interrupted and upset the tone of the film in order to “preach.”
    If you want to overstate the obvious and remove all subtlety from your film, just go ahead and produce Crash 2: Crash Harder.
    Lee, go watch a movie. Have some popcorn. You may learn something. You could come out shining.
    All bile and no play makes Lee a dull boy.

  8. bud

    I thought Spacey’s car was a ’69 or ’70 Firebird. American Beauty was a great movie. At least the equal of The Graduate.
    Lee, it’s time to lighten up a bit. Have some fun. With all the conservatives in power you should be in hog heaven.

  9. Capital A

    Haha! Lee, you obviously don’t know your audience. I’d put my knowledge of the classics up against yours or anyone else’s on this blog, any day of the week.
    If nothing else, I know my books and movies. And, no, anything written by Ann Coulter or Bill O’Reilly is not a book. They are pages between covers held together by the glue of unhappiness.
    That’s a real metaphor there, Lee. A really bad one. I learned that through readin’.
    Will you follow in Babybush’s footsteps and read The Stranger by Albert Camus as well? I’d pay a dollar to read your literary criticism. Sacre bleu at the comic potential!

  10. bud

    I think we’ve hit on an interesting theme here. For all the success the right has had in politics those who support that agenda appear bitter and angry all the time. Bill O’Reilly, Ann Coulter and Lee all come across as sour curmudgeons with a chip on their shoulder. And rather than trying to reflect on how the party in power could improve things they still blame the hapless liberals for all the nations problems. And they do this in such a nasty mean spirited way. Has anybody else noticed this strange phenomenon? I’ll call it the victory = bitterness phenomenon.

  11. Preston

    Come on Capital A, I am sure that Lee read “Three Shakespeares” this summer.
    I loved that. Come Brian Williams, please just ask which ones?

  12. Capital A

    bud, I think that would make an excellent subject for a book. Certainly more so than the ones already written by those who would be the subject of such a work…
    “That’s a one million dollar idea! Isn’t that remarkable?” — Willy Loman
    (Sorry, Lee, for a person as well read as you obviously are, this reference may be a bit too straightforward and pedestrian.)

  13. Lee

    Capital A, those who actually read literature and have an interest in it discuss the literature, instead of telling everyone how many nameless books they read.
    Why don’t you discuss a book you think is important, instead of some B movie or C television sitcom?

  14. Capital A

    Lee, I believe you began this “feud” (surprise, surprise) with your disparaging words for those of us who like movies.
    Why don’t you take the leadership role and suggest a book we should all be reading as opposed to our watching movies AND reading books? I promise that I will then read it and comment appropriately.
    Why must it always be a negative choice with conservatives? Why must you always traffic in extremes? Oh, I forgot, that’s the historical modus operandi of the “right,” whatever guise it has worn.
    bud, I think we also just stumbled onto chapter 2 of your research.

  15. Lee

    I love good movies, but most aren’t very good, and it is childish to spend much time discussing second-rate movies and TV shows. Get a life.

  16. Preston

    Get a life, that’s rich. This coming from someone who seems to have the inability to communicate with others. What exactly does having a life mean to you Lee? Is it making up BS and posting it on a website? Wow, I’m really living now!!!

  17. Capital A

    Most mainstream films aren’t very good, but there are innumerable great films out there if you’re willing to look. This rules stands for almost every media.
    What films and TV shows do you see as second rate? If you don’t want to discuss either, then don’t post in this thread. It’s not a very difficult concept to grasp.
    As for my own, I’d love to read and discuss the pans and recommendations of others. I may just discover a new favorite film and/or show that slipped past.

  18. bud

    Since the last time this movie subject came up I’ve viewed 3 movies from the AFI top 100 list that I had never seen before: Sunset Boulevard, Goodfellas and Fargo. I enjoyed them all.
    My choice for best movie left on the AFI list: Deliverance. I recall seeing somewhere that the novel ranked very high on the list of great 20th century novels. And the movie did a wonderful job campturing the essence of the book. Then again, the 100 movies on the AFI list were generally very good to excellent.

  19. Capital A

    I just recently re-watched Casablanca again. I generally hate to be mainstream in my tastes, but this film is undeniably perfect. I marvelled at how many tangential elements of this film were lifted by Raiders of the Lost Ark (another personal fave).
    Who among us hasn’t had a love that didn’t pan out due to timing and circumstances? What a powerful theme and with such fully-realized characters!
    Deliverance does contain one of the most haunting endings of any film, ever. I love how it refused to give in to the “Now, everthing’s gonna be alright!” type of closure while acknowledging that evil and trauma persist, though not easily evident on the surface.
    I may use a free rental to take a stroll down Sunset Boulevard tonight since I have 57 channels and nothin’s on. Good suggestion, bud.

  20. Dave

    East Coast liberals and the Hollywood elite loved Deliverance because it confirmed their stereotypical image of the southerner as a backwoods, moonshining, hog raising, dirty, uneducated, illiterate, etc. American. But the dueling Banjos is great I must admit.

  21. Capital A

    Actually, Dave, it was more of an allegorical struggle between Old South and New South. We have some of that on this blog as well.
    Hmm…in what role would that cast you then? As for my own, I know I’m a pretty fair shot with a Greener and a compound bow:)

  22. Randy Ewart

    My wife and I watched Twelve Angry Men last summer. It had no special effects save sound of rain outside a window with the 95% of the movie shot in the jury room or bathroom.
    It made me respect the simplicity of old movies which relied on plot and acting. The lastest previews of Costner’s new movie is an incredible contrast.

  23. Capital A

    I used to show that film in classes. Kids always responded to it favorably and strongly. Bud Cort was one of our greatest and most underrated actors.
    Costner, oh, Costner. I don’t know what happened to him. It’s like he used up all of his super abilities making DWW and never could summon his powers again. I remember when I thought Waterworld was a fluke.
    Then, The Postman came in the mail.

  24. Dave

    Capital A – I own a compound Fred Bear Buck Fever bow and a dynamite crossbow. I don’t fit the old South stereotype, at least I don’t think so. I shower daily for one thing. Just blogging on Brad’s site would be a disqualification. I am so far behind on seeing movies it is hopeless. One I am waiting for is Atlas Shrugged, if it ever comes out.

  25. Capital A

    Randy, I meant Lee J. Cobb who played Juror Number 3. He’s the one who made the trial terribly personal. Sorry for the confusion — too many good actors bouncing around my brainpan.
    The unrelated Bud Cort’s career peaked with Harold and Maude. A film I do highly suggest.
    Dave, are you suggesting it’s not possible for you to be a high tech redneck?:)

  26. Lee

    Preston, I lost track of which thread left you so angry and bitter. Refresh my memory as to why you hate those who post facts which startle you.

  27. Dave

    Capital A – Not owning a pickup truck weighs in against redneck status for me. But I do have 2 ATVs. I am a technology junkie. Thanks to technology, we in America have the lifestyle and economic growth that we enjoy.

    Is there an Anger Management for Bloggers course? Preston shows up every few weeks with anger posts.

  28. Preston

    It is less anger, more pointing out that what you consider to be “conversation” is merely people trying to out “fact” each other by citing uncredible evidence. Lee with his curmudgeonly “Get a Life”. He is the one insulting others. How dare someone of his caliber try and judge others on this blog. I find that offensive.
    You, Dave defending the overt racism of Sen. Allen by glossing over the fact that he knew exactly what he was saying. I consider the defense of racists to be hateful. I am merely trying to expose fraud and frauds. Fraud does make me angry, as it should everyone.
    Funny, no one here ever disputes the fact that I am exposing their fraudulence, you merely say that I am “mean” or “angry”. Well you know what, I guess that you’re right. People who are so obviously full of S–t that come here and bloviate while thinking they are solving the worlds problems piss me off. I read this blog with the same intent that I read The State’s edidorial page, to get my blood pressure up. Sometimes some of you clowns go so far over the line that I merely have to say Bulls–t.
    Sorry I haven’t been as regular as you would like Dave, but I have been travelling a good bit, and been on vacation. Just enjoying my “life”.

  29. Lee

    Gosh, you sure know a lot of big four-letter words, and even some with eight. Wow! That refutes any facts we post.
    Try to collect your thoughts and state exactly what facts you dispute, and your supporting evidence, so someone can tell what the h–l it is you are ranting about.

  30. Capital A

    Randy, Sunset Boulevard was on TCM last night. What an odd bit of synchronicity…
    After watching it, I would highly suggest it. It’s one of those films that I’m not quite sure why I hadn’t seen it sooner. The acting is stellar and the script is flawless. It’s also ahead-of-its-time in eerieness.
    One of my favorite lines: That’s the problem with us readers — we always know all the plots.
    Perfect line for use when debating against conservatives…

  31. Preston

    Lee, merely go back through the threads. I will refer you to any past post that I have disputed your “facts”. Your ridiculous deflection does little to prove anything. Call it what you will. Call a spade a spade BS is BS. Sorry if you are offended. How else can I eloquently represent the feces and hate that you spew. Typical of the right wing idiocrats. They can insult you by calling you unpatriotic or coward, but say BS and they are suddenly insulted by what you say. Whatever?
    You win Lee. You are the greatest of all winners who have ever lived. You’re arguments are flawless, your facts are impenetrable. You are the Champ. I hope that you are successful selling the rights to the amazing story that is your life. Oops, I forgot you hate movies. Perhaps a comic book? Yes, that seems quite fitting considering the comic nature of your arguments and facts.
    No, really, you’re changing the world. Really!!! Hurray for you!!!!! You’re the most brilliant person I’ve ever read!!!!
    Now that’s a rant!

  32. Capital A

    Whoa! Preston, hold up. Comic books are actually pretty mature in subject matter these days. Some of the best fiction writers of today (Joss Whedon from Firefly and Leinil Yu from Lost) are currently producing some great American literature on those colored pages.
    I’d suggest picking up the current Civil War series. It is a scathing, well planned protest of the Bush Administration and its policies in our real world.
    Even Captain America has turned rogue in response to Babybush’s actions.
    And, yes, with this subject change, I’m trying to route another 10 posts of this blog’s civil war.

  33. Captain Worley

    Whoa, you guys completely blew what kind of car Kevin Spacey drove.
    “It’s a 1971 Firebird. I wanted it, I bought it.”
    Not to pick nits, but it was technically a Firebird Formula.
    For a really cool old movie, watch “A Touch of Evil.” Great film.

  34. Dave

    Capital A – too late, Preston went into a rage and ripped those silly comic books in half. Ok, just my imagination here.

    Preston – Sen. Allen has no racist thoughts whatsoever. His use of macaca was an attempt to be humorous. What ever happened to sense of humor in this nation? Lighten up a little.

  35. Preston

    See my post (it may be on another thread) macaca is what the French-Algerians referred to black Algerians as. It is an offensive slur. There is nothing funny about pointing out the one non-white person and using your bully pulpit to denigrate them. If that passes for humor in your book, so be it. This man is a US Senator, and therefore, is held to a higher standard (although that sounds a little ridiculous, considering those that represent the corporations, I mean people).
    Allen has consistently embraced the Confederacy and their symbols. It would be one thing if he was not a Californian by birth who moved to NOVA well past his baby days. Please don’t insult us with your apologistic hiding behind the “innocent humor” bull. As you can tell from many of my posts, I tend to keep it light. Maybe you should try and see Allen for what he is, nothing but a bumbling, fumbling, racist idiot, but at least he didn’t say tomatotarian a la GW.
    Also, before you defend Allen anymore, please go to and check out his ridiculous family portait. True class that Felix Allen is.

  36. bill

    A few fave flicks:
    A Hard Day’s Night
    Cocteau’s Beauty and The Beast
    Bonnie and Clyde
    Andy Warhol’s Frankenstein
    All Quiet on The Western Front
    Three Women(Altman)
    2000 Maniacs!
    The Madness of King George
    The Last Waltz
    The King of Comedy
    Waiting For Guffmann
    Day of The Locust
    Mildred Pierce
    The Postman Always Rings Twice(original)
    Modern Times
    Stop Making Sense
    The Hitcher
    Rosemary’s Baby
    A Clockwork Orange
    The Opposite of Sex
    Knife in The Water
    Night of The Living Dead
    Hysterical Blindness
    Serial Mom
    To Kill A Mockingbird
    The Last Picture Show

  37. Lee

    Preston, you posted yet another time of all rant, all insult, all bile, no facts.
    Maybe it is something besides facts which have you so riled. Talk the demons out.

  38. Randy Ewart

    Capt W, I am a car UNofficionado. What’s the diff between the old FB and Camaro. How did/do you like that car? I think they’re pretty freakin cool and though Spacey was very cool for getting it.
    Cap A, I’m no movie buff either. Is Sunset Blvd a good one to see if I like 12 Ang Men?

  39. Randy Ewart

    Dave, I have to take issue with how you consider the reference of someone as “macaca” simply as an effort to be humorous.
    If the young man to whom Allen was addressing were white, Allen wouldn’t have used that term. I’m not saying he knew the specific meaning, but at the very least he was making fun of the person’s ethnicity which is NEVER humorous. This is especially contemptible for a public servant.

  40. Randy Ewart

    Lee, what a shame you make this a political issue in lieu of holding Allen accountable.
    I have and had no intention of voting for Hillary irregardless of her statement. I’d like her to do well simply to have a female find some success. In my opinion, it’s a black eye for Uncle Sam that this country has had nothing but white males as president and vice president.
    If McCain runs, he’ll be the front runner for me. I think he’s exactly what this country needs right now.
    For those McCain naysayers who want to portray him as a “liberal” back up your statement with supporting evidence AND provide the threshold for being labeled a liberal.

  41. Lee

    Liberal Democrats constantly struggle to find any gotcha and magnify it into a phony issue, especially to demonize their opponents.
    A lot of uneducated voters buy into their race baiting.
    McCain doesn’t really have much ideology. He is pragmatic about feeding his own ambition. I have sat and chatted with him at length. He is a nice guy, but has not put much thought into his positions, because they are chosen only to position himself as different from other candidates, nothing more.
    His legislation on immigration and election donations are good examples of how power without thoughtfulness can be so destructive to society.

  42. Randy Ewart

    I have sat and chatted with him [McCain] at length. – Lee
    Lee, please. Along with being an economist; engineer; school volunteer; volunteer fire captain; finger print technician; husband, nephew of teachers; and school hall monitor you also had a lengthy chat with McCain?
    I’ll make a deal with you. You stop posting hateful statements about schools and I’ll leave you alone.

  43. Lee

    I talked with John McCain sitting outside the federal building on Main Street, in the summer of 2000. You can check with WIS-TV, which filmed us.

  44. Lee

    I don’t make deals with thugs.
    Anytime you want to rejoin civil conversation, just start addressing the topic instead of calling everyone names.
    You might try reading McCain’s amnesty proposals for illegal aliens, and explain why you support each concession to the criminals. Be ready for lots of real Americans to rip into McCain’s Folly.

  45. Randy Ewart

    Oh, I guess The Great Communicator and the Decider are liberals for the amnesty issue. You sure are hard on these Repubican presidents.

  46. Lee

    Real Americans as opposed to those who will sell out their fellow man for a quick buck or political job.
    Defending McCain and Graham is a fool’s errand.

  47. Dave

    Preston and Randy, Once again we see where a guy like Allen makes a trivial silly comment and even later apologizes for it profusely but the lynch mob keeps coming looking for blood. Yet, when Biden says he will run well in the south cause he is from a slave state (not a word), when Hillary mocks all gas station owners as ragheads (not a word), Byrd and the N-word (not a word), Hollings and the darkies (not a word), and the hypocrisy goes on and on from the left. So, let’s now ignore what Allen said to be consistent.

    And McCain, he won’t see my vote unless he explains how wrong he was on Campaign Finance Reform. Since that wont ever happen and he was the leader in defining a violation of my first amendment rights, he is toast with me. Mark my words, he will suck eggs in the SC GOP Primary in 08.

  48. Randy Ewart

    “trivial silly comment” – Dave
    Dave, that was hardly trivial. Are you suggesting that if one of my freshmen started making fun of another student because of race or ethnicity, it would be ok? If the young man Allen addressed were white, “macaca” NEVER would have been used. Clearly this was in reference to his skin color and ethnicity. This is contrary to some of the same American ideals we fighting for in Iraq.
    I find this very disappointing.
    Regarding the others who make remarks, I take issue with them as well. BUT, Allen said this to a young man in front of a crowd. SHAMEFUL. This is what we are discussing, and the willingness not to hold him accountable is also very sad.

  49. Lee

    Another phony racial outrage over innocuous remarks by the same people who excused the blatant racism of Senator Byrd, Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, both the Al Gores, etc.
    It’s a smear too slimy to stick.

  50. Capital A

    Cap A, I’m no movie buff either. Is Sunset Blvd a good one to see if I like 12 Ang Men?
    Posted by: Randy Ewart | Sep 7, 2006 5:52:24 PM
    Randy, I would highly suggest it. It was far ahead of its time in criticizing Hollywood, the media and their obsessions with themselves. William Holden plays my kind of smart aleck and has some great, memorable lines.
    bill, what was that Solondz movie that I watched recently that dealt with young girls and the issue of abortion? It was disturbing and honest at the same time. I’m still not sure how I feel about it after viewing and considering it.
    Some Movies To Grow On:
    The Seven Samurai
    Lone Wolf and Cub (quadrilogy)
    To Have and Have Not
    Kung Fu Hustle
    Open Range
    Ride the High Country
    The Wild Bunch
    Midnight Cowboy
    Taxi Driver
    I could make a list that is infinite, but I tried to include, here, some films that people may have overlooked (either because they are too mainstream or not mainstream enough)and that also either examined some curious part of human behavior or just generally affirmed humanity with their themes.

  51. bud

    Capital A, I like your movie list, but I differ a bit philosophically about how to determine a great movie. First and foremost a movie should be fun. That’s why I loved Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind so much. It was an incredible spectacle of dazzling fun with lots of twists and turns. Mostly it was unpredictable.
    Another “memory” movie that I greatly enjoyed was Memento. The working backwards theme was a brilliant change from the norm.
    Both of these films examined curious parts of human behavior as you put it. And that’s fine. But simply going along for the ride was what made these two films wonderful entertainment events for me.
    On your recommendation my next movie will be Taxi Driver. It’s one I’ve always wanted to see and you just reminded me of it.

  52. Capital A

    Haha! bud, I found ESSM to be depressing (but I liked the film). I remember a part of it even putting a lump in my throat due to its honesty.
    It’s like we saw two different films. Isn’t that curious? 🙂
    There is a part in Taxi Driver which is why I think Scorsese has been quietly blacklisted by the Academy. You’ll see it when you see it.
    This man should have had multiple Best Director Oscars by now. I guess he’s this generation’s Billy Wilder.

  53. Capital A

    ALso, since you like “memory movies,” I would suggest Rashomon by Akira Kurosawa. I would call it the Grandaddy of Memory Movies — a crime re-told by memory from four different viewpoints.
    Imagine if the bloggers were re-cast in a film like that!

  54. bud

    Cap A, Perhaps a movie about 9-11. I think the most revealing moment of that entire day was the President continuing to read “My Pet Goat” after being informed of the SECOND plane hitting the WTC. Why anyone has even a scintilla of respect for the Decider after that episode is beyond me.

  55. Lee

    What would Gore have done that was any better?
    Why didn’t Gore do something in his 8 prior years as VP?

  56. bud

    President Gore would have taken the threat memo seriously and probably stopped it.
    As for his 8 years as VP. It takes time to invent the internet.

  57. Preston

    How is it that Allen’s attempt is humoous, but when I call you all idiots and BS artists (in a humourous way) it is “bile and hateful”? Look in the mirror please. As for Lee’s “facts”, I won’t even comment.
    The funniest thing I have seen concerning Macacaca was the Wonkette poll for new nickname for Ole Felix. The winning pick was George “the Man who won’t be President” Felix Allen.
    Also Dave, please got find the family portait of the Allen’s on and get back to me.

  58. Capital A

    Why anyone has even a scintilla of respect for the Decider after that episode is beyond me.
    Posted by: bud | Sep 8, 2006 6:58:02 AM
    Agreed. I was largely “on the fence” about Babybush until I saw that footage. That told me all I needed to know about him.
    Anyone who has been a member of a sports team, been involved in the military or been on call as a civil servant has seen this look in others. Some people freeze up in times of great stress. True leaders don’t.
    The fear and confusion evidenced on Bush’s countenance were chilling. You get the feeling he had thought this Presidency gig was going to be a walk in the park.

  59. Dave

    Even John effin Kerry has stated publicly he was “frozen speechless” for about 30 minutes when he learned about the World Trade Towers. Many people were, if they had a heart or soul. But a robot would have acted instantly and personally flown directly to NYC and put out the smoldering fire there. Yes, dream on, libs.

  60. Capital A

    Thomas Jefferson wouldnt have frozen. Teddy Roosevelt wouldn’t. Abraham Lincoln wouldn’t. Ronald Reagan wouldn’t. JFK wouldn’t. George Washington wouldn’t. John Addams wouldn’t. I’d almost even wager JQA wouldn’t have, either.
    You see, Dave, those men set a standard. I certainly don’t agree with the politics of all those people, but they were all great leaders.
    Stop apologizing for the inexcusable. The holder of this office should be subject to superhuman expectations.
    If anything, you’ve become too liberal in your qualifications of the man who should represent the best we have to offer.

  61. bill

    bill, what was that Solondz movie that I watched recently that dealt with young girls and the issue of abortion?
    You must be talking about Welcome to The Dollhouse.I found it disturbing and funny at the same time,a hard act to balance and he does it in most of his films.If you haven’t
    seen it,for you,I would suggest renting Secretary,there’s really nothing in movie history quite like it.It won a special award
    at Sundance for Originality.
    I’ve never been a huge Jim Carrey fan but really enjoyed The Truman Show.I keep meaning to check out Sunshine.
    bud,by all means,see Taxi Driver(incredible
    film),but The King of Comedy remains my favorite Deniro/Scorsese movie.Jerry Lewis
    gives the performance(only?)of his life.It’s
    a criminally overlooked Scorsese.

  62. bud

    Bill, I actually don’t like Jim Carrey at all. But he did a nice job with the Truman Show. And his work in Sunshine (along with Kirsten Dunst and Kate Winslet) was remarkable. Carry is usually way over the top. He ruined the otherwise good movies Liar, Liar and Me Myself and Irene.

  63. Capital A

    No, bill, it was Palindromes. It was more disturbing than Dollhouse but was also an unofficial sequel to that movie.
    When you see the treatement that Weiner’s brother gets, it’s deeply depressing. A good kid who never gets a break…
    There’s not enough hope in the films of Solondz for me. I realize that’s his statement on life, though.

  64. bill

    Yeah,he can be pretty depressing.That’s why the movies I buy for repeated viewings are
    nearly always comedies,standups,or live music concerts/films.The music DVDs are the best thing to happen to home entertainment in ages.

  65. Randy Ewart

    How’s the RFK movie?
    I play for my students a part of his speech in South Africa in which he encourages contributing to society – amazing stuff.

  66. Capital A

    bud, agreed. Stop Making Sense, the Talking Heads Brick and Heart of Gold are the best of those I’ve found.
    Randy, I played the following to my American Literature classes during a semester (given the time). I sometimes had to edit dependent upon our progress (or lack thereof).
    Coyote’s Eyes (Native American lit.)
    The Crucible (’96 version)
    The terrible CBS/Ron Howard version of Huck Finn (for comparison’s sake and so the kids could have some craps and giggles at its blatant liberties)
    Dances with Wolves (post-modernist view of the Romantic era)
    Death of a Salesman (sheer Modernism)
    Raisin in the Sun (ethnic Modernism)
    12 Angry Men (entering into post-Modernism)
    Stop Making Sense (post-Modernism and also a good movie for kids to practice writing reviews)

  67. Dave

    Capital A – now you want presidents to have superhuman qualities. Maybe someday the scientists can alter one’s genetics to make a superhuman, but I thought they did that to Arnold already!! The fact is president’s, whether male or female, still put their pants on like we do. They are human, thankfully, and hopefully normal. That is what is so great about W, he is pretty much a decent normal American with a nice family. We couldnt ask for more.

  68. Capital A

    Dave, a President of the US should be near-superhuman. After all, he is the head of a SUPERPOWER.
    You just perfectly crystallized one of my (many) problems with the right. You have taken over, and our country is more coarse and boorish because of it. The high standards that existed for scholarship and culture have become “elitist” to you.
    You want a President who is “just plain folks” and who shares your flaws. Well, look where that has gotten us.
    All those men I mentioned above are better leaders than 20 Capital A’s strung together. I may not have agreed with all of their viewpoints, but they all exemplified a clear direction for our country.
    As for Babybush, all I can do is quote Capt. Willard from Apocalypse Now:
    I…don’t see…any “method”…here…at all.

  69. Randy Ewart

    Cap A, professor or instructor in college or hs teacher? No wonder you are versed in the classics.
    How do the students react to 12 Ang Men?
    What’s your take on the RFK movie? I read that it was captured his vision for America, of which I am most interested.

  70. Dave

    Capital A – Somehow I picture you watching reruns of The West Wing where Sheen plays your godlike intellectually cultured Mr. Big. Come on, your knowledge of the greatest of America’s presidents cannot be that superficial. Do you think George W.’s greatest failure was cutting down the cherry tree? How about slave ownership. And Jefferson and Adams about hated each other, despised is more like it. Jefferson, while married, took his favorite slave concubine, Sally Hemings, to live with him in France and she later bore at least 1 child to him. She was about 14 when he first abused her. What gives there. Lincoln had bouts of depression and actually may have been a very lonely soul. FDR had his constant male companion and rumors exist that there may have been a closet relationship there. Reagan went through a destructive divorce which all can see permanently scarred some of his offspring. No, even all of these greats were just normal blokes like you and me. No offense but you sound like the history teachers I had in high school. Teach the Cliff Notes outline and forget what really happened.

  71. bud

    I can’t imagine Teddy Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, FDR, Harry Truman, Ike, JFK, LBJ, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush Sr. or Clinton sitting in classroom for 5 looooong minutes reading a child’s book KNOWING that the nation was under attack. For all their flaws these men would have ALL acted with great urgency by giving their appologies and immediately walking out of the room. I disagree a bit with Capital A on this. I don’t think doing the correct thing required super human ability. It only required a bit of common sense urgency.
    The Decider’s indecisivness in this episode is breathtaking in its flagrant incompetence. Any defence of that failed act is nothing but a shameless, partisan rant.

  72. Dave

    Bud, Clinton wouldn’t take an urgent top secret phone call in the Oval office while Monica was gobbling the goose. That phone call was a desparate call from the CIA to give permission to drop a bomb on Bin Laden. When Clinton finally talked to them the opportunity had passed. I may be able to forgive JFK if he was tinkering with Marilyn Monroe in an emergency, but with that fat Jewish American princess? Unreal.

  73. bud

    Dave, I’ll regard your last post as a concession that the Decider did indeed fail his country on 9-11. Whenever the going gets tough for the neo-con faithful out comes the Bill Clinton smear.

  74. Capital A

    bud, I don’t think it would take superhuman ability to respond correctly to threat, either. That was Dave’s rant, not mine. Anyone who was not a spoiled brat, an overgrown child, who had a shred of common sense would know what to do — put down the book and go to work.
    “Sorry, kids, I suddenly have grown up work to do.”
    When Dave realized he was wrong (and blinded by a man-crush), he then attacks the personal lives of our greatest leaders…which have NO bearing or consideration where their leadership skills are concerned. This is a typical right-wing technique, though. See also: Clinton, Lewinsky.
    This simple minded way of thinking allows men-children like Babybush to assume office because “just plain folks” supposedly equate to great leaders.

  75. Randy Ewart

    I have heard a couple interesting analyses of W recently. The “one of the boys” style was the result of careful political calculation. While he was top cowpoke in Texas, he was more formal, serious, and well spoken. I heard a report that Laura admitted they bought the Crawford ranch before the 00 campaign and will sell it after their stint on Penn Ave.
    Another idea is that W has been somewhat overwhelmed by the position. He seems less assured and at times hesitant. This is contrasted with his self-assuredness in Texas.

  76. Lee

    Democrats can’t tell us what they would have done differently since 2001, even with hindsight, and are unable to tell us what they would do in the future. No plans, no ideas, just hatred for those to took them out of power.

  77. Randy Ewart

    Lee, I don’t think the US would have gone into Iraq. Yes, most dem officials were complicit, but W and his boys were the major impetus for this.
    Again, my position is that we should have stuck with Afghanistan and Bin Laden.

  78. Lee

    What about the hijacker training camps in Iraq?
    What about the Al Qaeda leaders sheltered by Iraq?
    Why didn’t the Democrats go into Afganistan while Clinton was in office?

  79. Capital A

    Uh, Lee, we weren’t attacked then. You can’t be arrested or accused for thoughtcrimes. That’s a basic American belief.
    Unless you have some special superpowers of which to make us aware? You know, to add to that glowing resume of yours?

  80. Randy Ewart

    Lee, apparently you have better sources than the government. Please share these sources that show how 9/11 was linked to Iraq. Then please share this with W and his boys because they agree that Iraq wasn’t connected to 9/11.

  81. Dave

    The Clintonites passed up 11 different opportunities to kill Bin Laden or arrest him. We are ALL paying for that series of bungling and wrongheaded leadership decisions. Yet, while Bin Laden was prancing around in the open, and even had a televised interview with an ABC reporter in Afghanistan, Clinton’s security “experts”, like Richard Clarke, couldnt figure out how to find him. Then another democrat, Pat Leahy (Leaky) publicly disclosed that we were tracking OBL’s satellite phone. And these are the people who want to lead security again in this nation.

  82. Lee

    Salman Pak hijacker training camp in Iraq. We captured it just as our intel said it was – with an airliner, train cars and busses for practice.
    We captured the training tapes which show known terrorists, and the graduation speech of Saddam to them, telling them to “Kill the Jews, but attack America first!”

  83. bill

    Saddam and Osama have been married for years but their current separation is seriouly jeopardizing their relationship.

  84. Brad Warthen

    Randy, wouldn’t you sell that ranch ASAP, too? It seems to have an infinite amount of brush that needs clearing. That sort of thing gets tiresome.
    You know, there are quite a few posts here that break the new rules, but I’ll have to come back and do my deletions later. This will be my guideline: If it’s about movies, it stays. If it says “everybody on your side of the political fence is full of it, especially you,” it goes.
    Ditto on all the good stuff said about 12 Angry Men. Same with Eternal Sunshine; it was very good, one of the best things of the past year, even better than “Walk the Line.”

  85. Capital A

    Walk The Line was a bit overrated, I thought, even more so than Ray. I wanted an exploration of the demons that haunted and inspired Cash, but the film ends before he ever crawls into an underground hole to begin his visionquest.
    When he sang that he had been everywhere, he has been EVERYWHERE, man!

  86. bud

    I thought Walk the Line and Ray were over-rated but Beyond the Sea was under-rated. I did have some problems with Kevin Spacey trying to play a 20 year old. But the story line had a surreal quality that was a joy to watch.
    Walk the Line smacked of far too much Hollywood sentimentality for my taste. It was too predictable, very much like a formula chick-flick.
    Ray came across as a vulgar, gratuitous film that exploited a man’s weaknesses for theatrical sensationalism.

  87. Capital A

    I concur. Beyond the Sea was a joy to watch, and I had never been a fan of his music beforehand except for “Mack the Knife.”
    Elizabethtown was overrated as well, and it basically told the same story as Garden State which I did find to be a humorous and enjoyable sleeper hit.
    I’m hoping the new Scorsese is up to his previous standards. Something about it looks slightly “off” in the previews…

  88. Dave

    Walk The Line was worth watching, and Reese Witherspoon was excellent, and can sing too. They dwelt too long on Cash’s inner demons, to the point of turnoff. I never saw the others but I like Darin a lot. Have to see that one.

  89. bill

    Although it’s an old and obscure one,my favorite Reese Witherspoon movie is Freeway.I
    would highly recommend it.Kiefer Sutherland does a fine job as well.
    My favorite version of Mack the Knife was done by Marianne Faithfull.She has a DVD,Marianne Faithfull Sings Kurt Weill (Montreal Jazz Festival)that’s so beautifully honest,it can make a grown man cry.

  90. Brad Warthen

    “Off” is exactly the way I would describe every movie Cameron Crowe ever made except “Almost Famous.” He goes to enormous amounts of trouble to manipulate emotions, and in the end, it all seems just a little bit OFF from the way real people act and feel. “Jerry Maguire” had it’s moments (something I can’t really say for “Elizabethtown”), but in the end it added up to, “huh?” It should have ended an hour earlier.
    By contrast, “Almost Famous” was a gem.
    And sorry, but speaking as a Bobby Darin fan (and, to some extent, a Kevins Spacey fan), I was really disappointed by “Beyond the Sea.” It just didn’t connect with me. It tried to be really hip and avant-garde, and didn’t make it. “Hip and avant-garde” work in “Memento” and “Eternal Sunshine,” but not in this.

  91. walter

    this page is fucked up!!! It doesn’t even make sense. Brad Warthen is dumb shit!

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