Andy Griffith, one of America's most beloved actors, passed away recently. We remember him so well as the sheriff of Mayberry on the Andy Griffith Show or as Private Will Stockdale in No Time For Sergeants. We may also remember him as Matlock, from the TV series of the same name. A select few might also remember him from his short lived Science Fiction series Salvage One. Always he was the mild mannered father- like figure who seemed to get the job done with down- home wisdom and honest effort. So what would you say if I told you that after watching Andy in his first film A Face in the Crowd, I was unable to watch Sheriff Andy without thinking "What a sleezeball?" Read more »
The world has always produced great musical groups as well as great musical groups that never existed. The Greeks gave us the Sirens of Odysseus. From Rome we got Nero who didn’t really fiddle but was a notorious Lyre…player. Egypt gave us Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs…uh, well, maybe not. But, as generous as history has been with great examples of real musical groups, it is worth noting that history is also littered with musical groups that never existed, such as Alexander’s Ragtime Band, Benny and the Jets, The Sultans of Swing, Willie and the Poor Boys. And that is what we are celebrating for the next eight weeks…some of the greatest bands that never were and in some cases it’s probably better that they weren’t.
Anyway, we will be meeting here, in the lavishly appointed MCPL Auditorium at 6:30 for the next 7 Wednesdays to explore this little researched phenomenon of Bands that never existed in film and the eighth week will be a live performance by a band that never (quite) was. Be there or be square.
In 1989 Italian film director Claudio Fragasso directed a movie that achieved an honor of dubious distinction; it was hailed as one of the worst movies ever made. The film was Troll 2. My personal feeling about the film is that from what I've seen, it just might win the title of the worst movie ever made. I can't say this with certainty because my sensibilities which can usually handle bad films with very little cringing, forced me to turn it off after only about ten minutes. I wouldn't recommend it; this is good because the library doesn't own the title. I do however strongly recommend the documentary about Troll 2's rising cult status the Best Worst Movie. Read more »
Libraries can be an interesting place to find things. It's sometimes said that librarians think differently than other people. That of course isn't really true; our goal is to make things as easy to find as possible for as many people as possible. The end result however can be confusing. Why? Because librarians think differently than other people. The use of numbers in movie titles is a good example. Let's look at the movie "2012," (Two Thousand Twelve)
You might have noticed that in the above example I spelled out the title in parentheses. There is a reason for this. Libraries, unlike your home computer, place titles with numbers on the shelf as if they were spelled out. Why do we do this? Read more »
This was the shortest film I’ve ever seen. It was based on Kurt Vonnegut’s short story called “Harrison Bergeron”. The original story was published in 1961 and this twenty-six minute film adaptation was published in 2009. The film was meant to be dystopian science fiction but it could pass for just about anything. It’s the year 2081 and there have been an additional 185 amendments to the US Constitution to remove all inequalities in American society. Harrison Bergeron the lone anarchist rebels against this idea and plants a bomb to mount an insurrection. That’s it. If there are any fans of V is for Vendetta then they will probably like this film. The themes are exactly alike; see trailer below. The library has two copies of 2081 on dvd.
Recently I was reminded of the movie Regarding Henry starring Harrison Ford. Most likely this resurrection in my thought train was inspired by a stream of bad lawyer jokes. Regarding Henry is not a joke; it is however about a bad lawyer. Henry Turner is the very picture of the lawyer you don't want on the other side of your trial. All he cares about is winning the case. He doesn't care about who he hurts or what he thinks of as a worthless sense of ethics as long as the outcome is what he desires. He is very good at his job. Though he doesn't realize it his consuming drive to win is costing him his wife and daughter, both are at the point where they would prefer not to have him around. Life however, is about to change drastically when he walks into the middle of a convenience store robbery and is shot in the head. He survives... physically at least. Read more »
Growing up in the sixties I remember The Monkees TV show with fondness. The Monkees was a show about four musicians, Davy Jones, Peter Tork, Mike Nesmith and Mickey Dolenz, struggling to make ends meet and make it big. In the show they never did. In real life they became one of the biggest groups to hit the teen scene since The Beatles. When we think of the The Monkees we tend to think of three things. First that the show was a family show that appealed to the young people of the time. Second, they were, at first, primarily a vocal group. They added their voices to music tracks recorded by others. Even though there were many vocal groups around at the time that did just that because the show was about a band, we felt somehow betrayed when we found this out. By the time their third album came out and they had taken control and played their own instruments the damage had been done, the public had largely turned on them and the show was headed for cancellation. Third, a fact that falls in line with the second, they were manufactured. Prior to the show these four people did not know each other and they were hired to play a band with the hope that they would become one.
This brings us to the movie HEAD. The Monkees wanted to break out of their image and become more relevant. They joined together in a hotel room with show creator Bob Ralfelson and a then unknown actor by the name of Jack Nicholson and came out with the movie HEAD. Although the boys were very involved with the script history repeated itself and their names were not listed on the credits. By the time the movie came out the show had been off the air for a number of months and they had lost their standing as musicians. The film failed completely. It has since become a bit of a cult film and is worth seeing. Read more »
This BBC program from last summer (it aired last September on BBC America) follows the lives of three people who work for an newly created television news program at the BBC in 1956. While I did find it to be a bit slow in parts for a 6 episode series, I enjoyed watching the whole of it - especially the ending (no spoilers here, though). 'The Hour' is the name of the news program created within the show that attempts to challenge the then BBC standard of merely promoting the government's official viewpoint on current events. The plot also revolves around the mysterious death of a friend of the young journalist played by Ben Whishaw. He is, as usual, amazingly good in this, as are the two other leads; Romola Garai, who plays the head producer of the program, and Dominic West, the not-quite-ready-for-prime-time head anchor. If you are at all familiar with BBC programming, many of these shorter series can be standalone pieces, usually with all the episodes written by the same author (This one is actually coming back for a second series sometime later in 2012). The show creator here, Abi Morgan, seems to be an up-and-coming writer for theater, television, and film. Much of the newsroom work on the program gives some insight into Suez Crisis of the period, which I found interesting. For those not necessarily keen on a fictionalized history lesson, there is both a romance angle between several of the characters and some post-WWII, early Cold War espionage spy stuff going on here too. If you enjoy more modern-set period dramas of the BBC, give this one a try.
I'm not sure how to describe Melancholia. It's a movie about the end of the world, yes, but it's not really. It's a film about two sisters and their dysfunctional family, yes, but it's not really that either. Read more »
National Geographic has produced three television episodes on the biology, psychology and other interesting parts of the human brain. Each episode has several tests to follow along with on the screen. After completing each test the viewer learns why the human brain behaves in the way that it does. There is no need to feel embarrassed about what we don’t know since this is a characteristic of all human beings. It seems that we all have blinds spots and things that we miss in our every day interactions. It turns out that the reality that we construct is an illusion and is filled with many gaps and misunderstanding. Each fifty minute episode focuses on a different aspect of reality and how our brains work to construct them. Towards the end of the program there are a few suggestions to help you improve your long term memory. The library has one copy on DVD.