Thursday, August 30, 2012

Movie Song of the Week: "Star Spangled Man"

Mitt Romney can only wish that this song was about him. And no, it's not about Obama either.

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Movie Quote of the Week

You, you say one thing, he says another, and everybody changes back again!
--James Dean, Rebel Without a Cause (1955)

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TV Quote of the Week

I don't approve of all this nakedness.
--Margaret Tyzack, I, Claudius, "A Touch of Murder"

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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

R.I.P. Neil Armstrong

American astronaut Neil Armstrong, the first man to step onto the Moon, took his last leap for mankind last Saturday at age 82.

He will be missed.

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Saturday, August 25, 2012

Movie Quote of the Week

Mayor Sargent, every time I bet on weakness, corruption and fallibility, I want to lose. But I always win.
--Arthur O'Connell, 7 Faces of Dr. Lao (1964)

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TV Quote of the Week

I just know there's something dark in me and I hide it. I certainly don't talk about it, but it's there always, this Dark Passenger. And when he's driving, I feel alive, half sick with the thrill of complete wrongness. I don't fight him, I don't want to. He's all I've got. Nothing else could love me, not even... especially not me. Or is that just a lie the Dark Passenger tells me? Because lately there are these moments when I feel connected to something else... someone. It's like the mask is slipping and things... people... who never mattered before are suddenly starting to matter. It scares the hell out of me.
--Michael C. Hall, Dexter, "An Inconvenient Lie"

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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Pensamientos Acerca de Televisión

Dexter: “Those Kinds of Things”

At long last the truth about Dexter Morgan is out! He's an atheist. Not that most of us didn't see that coming. But it is interesting to see yet another admitted atheist on the air now that House M.D. has finished its final season.

That said...

A former cast member of The George Lopez Show -- i.e. Aimee Garcia -- is joining the show to play Angel Batista's little sister Jamie -- and Dexter's nanny. (Apparently there is some law in Hollywood that almost every TV show has to have at least one nanny played by a Hispanic actress--perhaps because having a nanny played by Scarlett Johansson would be too unrealistic.)

Lt. LaGuerta is finally getting a promotion, but alas, she did not exactly secure it through honorable means. For shame!

On the plus side, Vince Masuka is actually acquiring some interns this season -- and some smarts to go along with them. However, one of the interns might not be what she seems...

Anyway, in this week's episode, Dexter Morgan goes to his high school reunion in order to avenge a woman who had been nice to him back in high school -- and finds himself to be surprisingly popular. No, that last part was not meant to be a meta-comment on the show's popularity -- though it is tempting to take it that way.

In addition, his sister Debra stops an armed man wearing body armor from shooting up a crowded restaurant. And no, I did not make up that last part. And given that this episode first aired last year, it can't be blamed on recent events.

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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

R.I.P. William Windom

American actor William Windom, most famous for his Emmy-winning lead role on the 1969 TV comedy series My World and Welcome to It as well as for his role as aging widower Randy Lane in the classic Night Gallery episode "They're Tearing Down Tim Riley's Bar," took his final bow last Thursday at age 88.

He will be missed.

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R.I.P. Tony Scott

English film director Tony Scott, best known for such movies as Top Gun and The Hunger, yelled "Cut!" for the last time the day before yesterday at age 68.

He will be missed.

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R.I.P. Phyllis Diller

American actress and comedienne Phyllis Diller, most famous for her self-deprecating stand-up routines involving her looks and her loutish fictional spouse Fang, finished her last turn at the mike yesterday at age 95.

She will be missed.

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Saturday, August 18, 2012

Ay, Robot!


I didn't realize how long it had been since I read Isaac Asimov's science fiction novel The Naked Sun until I came across a nude scene in the book and I found myself thinking, "I don't remember that." Since I was a teenager when I first read the book, I can't help wondering whether I was just too young to appreciate the scene in question the first time I read the book -- which seems unlikely -- or else it was something I missed because I was reading the Asimov robot stories on the literary equivalent of a forced march.


In any event, the scene in question seems pretty tame by today's standards. Indeed, both of Asimov's first two robot novels--The Caves of Steel and The Naked Sun -- seem pretty tame by today's standards though given that the last book was published in 1957, it would be pretty surprising if they weren't. Anyway, the two books revolve around human detective Elijah Baley and his robot partner R. Daneel Olivaw. As you might guess, the "R" in Olivaw's name stands for "robot" and it's one of the more refreshing elements of the two books that though Olivaw often downplays the fact that he is a robot in the course of his investigations, he never acts out of character for a robot except when his job requires him to imitate a human being -- and even then, he never acts contrary to his programming like many fictional robots in more recent works do.

Both novels are set in a future wherein Earth's society is having to adjust to an increasing number of robots -- and the subsequent problems caused by them -- as well as having to adjust to the Spacers, former Earth colonists who have gone out to found an empire in space that is more powerful than the forces of the planet Earth. In both novels, Baley and Olivaw have to solve a difficult murder mystery which could cause dire consequences for the planet Earth -- and of course, for Elijah Baley -- if left unsolved. In the first book, a Spacer diplomat is murdered on Earth, a world of few robots and many humans. In the second, another Spacer is murdered on Solaria, a world of many robots and few humans. Of the two books, the first novel plays the most fair with the reader -- so fair, in fact, that one might easily guess the culprit before any other suspects are introduced. The second book, on the other hand, cheats a bit by deliberately obscuring the identity of the true killer until after a far worse fiend has been exposed by Baley and Olivaw.

Both books are satisfying reads from both a sci-fi and a mystery point-of-view -- though those of you who thought that author Philip K. Dick invented the idea of investigating -- and obscuring -- the differences between robots and humans might be a trifle miffed. For that matter, those feminists who have traditionally given the late Isaac Asimov grief over the characterization of his Susan Calvin character in the "Robots, Inc." short stories aren't likely to be pleased that a key point in The Naked Sun involves proving that a female character wasn't quite clever enough to prove a suitable student for a male murder suspect. Oh, well. Even mighty Homer nods every now and again so it should be no surprise that the more prolific Isaac slips up as well. Then again it would be interesting to see how many novels written today will hold up equally well half a century from now. And given the more laughable stuff that gets depicted in more recent works like the 1987 movie Robocop, the flaws in the Elijah Baley books hardly seem worth mentioning.

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Thursday, August 16, 2012

Movie Quote of the Week

I was partial to tragedy in my youth -- before experience taught me that life was quite tragic enough without my having to write about it.
--Burgess Meredith, Clash of the Titans (1981)

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TV Quote of the Week

I don't feel real multicultural right now.
--Alyson Hannigan, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, “Tough Love”

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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

R.I.P. Ron Palillo

American actor Ron Palillo, best known for his role as Arnold Horshack on the 1970s sitcom Welcome Back, Kotter, lowered his hand for the last time yesterday at age 63.

He will be missed.

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Saturday, August 11, 2012

Movie Quote of the Week

So as far as anybody is, we are the Martians now.
--Barbara Shelley, Quatermass and the Pit (1967)

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TV Quote of the Week

What happened? It's all a point of view, really. A traveler has a breakdown, stops to fix it, gets a road map, has a bite to eat and goes on his way. It's happened to all of us. But this traveler happened to be light-years off his course instead of miles.
--Darren McGavin, Kolchak: The Night Stalker, "They Have Been, They Are, They Will Be..."

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Question of the Week


Is this the oddest title for a book of film reviews or what?

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Thursday, August 09, 2012

Movie Song of the Week: "Solace"

In honor of the late Marvin Hamlisch, a tune composed by the late Scott Joplin and later adapted by Hamlisch for the soundtrack of the 1973 film The Sting, a feat which helped introduce Joplin's music to a whole new generation of music lovers.

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R.I.P. Marvin Hamlisch

American composer Marvin Hamlisch, most famous for his work on such musicals as A Chorus Line and such movies as The Way We Were and The Sting, finished his last composition three days ago at age 68.

He will be missed.

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Wednesday, August 08, 2012

R.I.P. Judith Crist

American film critic Judith Crist, the first woman to get a position as a full-time critic at a major U.S. newspaper, finished her last review yesterday at age 90.

She will be missed.

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R.I.P. Chad Everett

American actor Chad Everett, best known for his role on the 1970s TV series Medical Center, hung up his lab coat for the last time on July 24 at age 75.

He will be missed.

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Saturday, August 04, 2012

Pop Song of the Week: "Rumour Has It"

Adele, one of my late sister's favorite singers, marches to the beat of a different drum machine.

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Movie Song of the Week: "I Yam What I Yam"

Oh, no! Robin Williams is going all philosophical on us. Did Popeye director Robert Altman manage to capture some musical version of working class angst back in 1980 or is this just the world's first example of spinach cinema? You be the judge.

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Movie Quote of the Week

We're running a newspaper, not a school for revolutionaries.
--Arthur O'Connell, The Great Race (1965)

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TV Quote of the Week

Your revolution, Guerrero? I spit on it.
--Byrne Piven, Miami Vice, "Free Verse"

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Question of the Week


So should the answer to this book's title question be "Just lucky, I guess"?

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Thursday, August 02, 2012

R.I.P. Gore Vidal

American author Gore Vidal, best known for such novels as Creation and Julian, put away his typewriter for the last time the day after yesterday at age 86.

He will be missed.

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