Classic Movies: Excalibur @Tubi #movie #Excalibur #music #ClassicMovie #GoodWatch

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This past weekend, I discovered that John Boorman’s Excalibur (1981) was available to stream on Tubi. In case you didn’t know, Tubi is a free streaming service with commercials, and it’s often useful for watching movies showing on pay services to which I don’t subscribe. I took advantage of a rare day of not working out and re-watched it.

To me, Excalibur is a classic, and it has a moderately funny story behind it (for me). My dad was always present but never paying attention. He left our upbringing to our mother, taking interest only when our interests collided with his. So, if you weren’t playing tennis, playing chess, or visiting the Renaissance Festival, you were a nuisance. He wasn’t cruel; just uninterested. When Excalibur came out, both he and I were interested in seeing it. I was a mythology buff, and he a history buff, and the movie appealed to both of us. Well, I was 13, and when my mother found out how much nudity was in it, she blew a gasket. Of course, my dad was pissed off at me because I was the one that told her.

That was a fun day.

My Impression

Nudity aside, I loved the movie. I was familiar with the basics of Authurian legends and wanted more. The next time I saw the movie was in high school, which were the days of VHS movie rentals. My cousin and I rented it, and my view had changed. I found the base storyline just as interesting but the delivery goofy at times. Also, being a high school kid, I was a bit put off by seeing Sir Lancelot’s nut sack. This weekend was the third time I had seen it, and it was fantastic, errrr … nut sack and all.

It’s a quick telling of the Arthurian legends, taking some liberties with the story in the interests of getting the story told in less than 8 hours. What’s not to love about that? I’m sure many readers agree, so I’m not going to dwell on any of that. Instead, I’m going to point out something I found interesting and unusual.

The Soundtrack

The soundtrack is, as one would expect, filled with grandiose, classical music pieces. However, what’s interesting about it is that the music never played (to my recollection) during the battle scenes. All you heard was the sound of battle, and that produced a chilling effect. Because I’m a nerd, I’m reminded of an observation Lt. Cmdr. Data made about alien poetry that often included pauses that could last for days. That seems ridiculous, but pauses do have value. They’re analogous to negative space used in graphic arts, such as the arrow in the FedEx logo between the ‘e’ and ‘x,’ and this effect was used very well by John Boorman here.

As always, YMMV, though how could you not like Excalibur?

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Art Is in the Eye of the Beholder @billyjoel @StarWars @kesseljunkie #movie #music #art #StarWars #BillyJoel

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I have a phrase I like to use. By now, you should know it, but I’ll repeat it anyway: Art, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. There’s a meme running around . . .  okay, going viral that completely misses this point. I’d like to trash the meme, but it goes all “sociopolitical,” and I’ve already done my annual sociopolitical post for the year. Instead, I’ll address another meme that reimagines the story told in Billy Joel’s fantastic song, Piano Man. The song is actually about Joel during his early days playing seedy bars filled with alcoholics and underachievers. The meme could be said to be sociopolitical too, but I don’t see it that way, so here it is.

Now, there’s a problem with the theory of this meme: Paul never had time for a wife. This means that if would have had a wife if his priorities are different. Also, not everyone who’s an alcoholic, failure, underachiever, or sailor is gay. That makes the statement at the end, “yep, it’s definitely a bar full of gay dudes,” to be rather arrogant, but that doesn’t mean that one can’t fairly infer that it’s at a “gay bar.” It still fits, and you just ignore the imperfections in the spirit of having fun with the lyrics.

Another Theory: They Still Live

Well then, it’s no less legitimate to instead imagine that Piano Man takes place in the They Live universe, but in a sequel called They Still Live in which a few surviving aliens have recovered their ability to hide their true selves. Joel is playing to bunch of extraterrestrials and doesn’t know it. Why can’t Billy tell they’re aliens?

Because those sunglasses are just ordinary ones. Instead of a bunch of homosexuals having a betting pool, it’s a bunch of aliens wondering when he’ll figure out that they’re aliens in hiding. They’re reluctant underachievers because they must remain in hiding until they reclaim control over the Earth. Is this a perfect inference? No, but remember, neither was the “gay bar” interpretation. This interpretation also has no clear contradictions within the lyrics, so it’s just as good. So would any interpretation in which people, extraterrestrial or otherwise, we’re in hiding. I’m sure the song could be put to use in a pretty good Al Qaeda recruitment video, and I doubt Joel would approve.

Revenge of the Sith

Let me give you another example. This one’s more on point with the meme I don’t want to discuss. In Revenge of the Sith, Mace Windu, et al. attack Emperor Palpatine, a.k.a., Darth Sidious. The others fall, so it’s just Mace and Sidious going at it, and Mace gets the upper hand. He starts to reflect Sidious’s force lighting back on him. According to the dialogue, as wells as a (long-lost) interview with George Lucas, the reflection disfigured Palpatine.

I never bought that, and I think Kessel Junkie and I have discussed it.

My interpretation from the moment I saw it was that Sidious was already disfigured from his long term use of the Dark Side. Within the movies – I don’t concern myself at all with the Expanded Universe – there’s nothing in canon to contradict that. With Mace Windu’s attack, Sidious’s power was being tasked, so his veil dropped. Everyone was seeing him for what he really was. He initially lied to Anakin to complete his turn to the Dark Side, then maintained the lie to convince others of the treachery of the Jedi. That in turn meant that he no longer had to use a portion of his power to maintain that veil. Win-win as far as he was concerned.

Am I wrong? Not according to me, so why do I care whether George agrees? Why would he care if I disagree with him?

The point is that you can interpret art, especially good art, in a way that suits you, even if it contradicts the intent of the creator. Unless you’re way off base, your interpretation is as legitimate an interpretation as anyone else’s. Whatever makes the art work for you is fine.

As long as you’re buying it, the creators won’t mind.

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Groot! @Bartoneus @newbiedm #GotG #MCU #Groot #comic #Hulk

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Ah, the Internet. So stupid at times, but also so wonderful. I recently put out a call for help based on a vague memory.

I don’t like comics, but I hate losing knowledge even more, so I really wanted to hunt down this reference. My TV doppelganger, Danny, came through.

Once I saw this cover, the memories started pouring back in. There are still some holes, so I’d love to re-read the comic, but … hey, is that … GROOT?! The “tree monster” is one of the characters I had forgotten, so this was quite a jolt. I love the Guardians of the Galaxy movies and was wondering whether that was the Groot or just another member of his species.

For what it’s worth, Wikipeida confirms this, though all but the mastermind among Hulk’s enemies were actually copies of other creatures.

I love how these two tied together. One of the few comics I’ve ever read introduced me to a character that 38 years later would be part of a movie that I love, all within the context of a medium that I don’t particularly like. What are the odds?

Well, probably not bad. Nerds do what nerds do.

I’m glad I went down this path.

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Just How “Strongest Avenger” Is Thor? @chrishemsworth #Thor #Avenger #MCU

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Almost a year ago, I made the argument for why Thor is the strongest Avenger. I stand by that argument but must admit I didn’t complete it. I needed to quantify exactly how much more powerful he is. I think this does it.

Honestly, that’s being a bit generous to the other Avengers. In any case, you must admit he had the most powerful individual entrance.

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My TV Viewing Habits #TV #movie #streaming

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The pandemic has completely changed the way I watch TV. Before we were all quarantined, I watched one or two shows at any given time regularly, but otherwise used TV as nothing more than background nosie. As a result, there are many mainstream and classic movies I’ve never seen despite their repeated small screen runs. All that’s changed in the past year. Right now, I have Purple Rain, Heat, Scanners, season 2 of Solar Opposites, and a re-watch of Avengers: Endgame planned for this weekend. There’s no way I’m going to accomplish all of that, but that’s the plan.

The thing is, I now have a much greater appreciation for the small screen than I ever had since I was a kid. The only time as an adult that I watched TV to any significant degree was the mid-90s when I got HBO (which means it was still about movies rather than TV shows). I guess it shouldn’t be surprising that the pandemic would have this impact, but I don’t think it would have been so severe if streaming services hadn’t proliferated.

I’d write more about this, but I have a schedule to keep.

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R.I.P. Yaphet Kotto #RIP #YaphetKotto

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From Rolling Stone magazine, Yaphet Kotto, Star of ‘Alien’ and ‘Homicide: Life on the Street,’ Dead at 81. And let’s not forget Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare. Well, on second thought ….

Yaphet Kotto had a long career and did some very good work. He was a Bond villain (Live and Let Die), a prison trustee (Brubaker), and a Ugandan dictator (Raid on Entebbe). However, for some reason, the first thing I think of when I hear his name is an episode of the otherwise-forgotten Alfred Hitchcock Presents called Prisoners (1985). Kotto played an escaped convict who broke into a woman’s house to evade the cops, and he kept her hostage so that she couldn’t rat him out. The way he was caught (spoiler alert!!!) was he coached her when she answered the phone, allowing her to carry on a conversation with a friend on the other end of the call. That tipped off the friend that something was wrong because the woman (hostage) was deaf. She’d been reading Kotto’s lips the whole time, and his character didn’t realize it. The show had a bit of a twist to it, which shouldn’t surprise you considering its namesake.

Yaphet Kotto, 'Alien' and 'Homicide: Life on the Street' actor, dead at 81  - CNN

RIP, Mr. Kotto.

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The Real Reason Padme Died #StarWars

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Going forward, Sundays are lazy days for me. I either post something silly or other people’s work. Usually both. Today, I address a topic of much debate in the Star Wars universe. It never made sense that Padme just died, and the medical droid’s explanation was far less than satisfactory. But now we finally know that what killed her would have killed any of us.

It all makes sense now, doesn’t it?

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Fashion in Avengers: Endgame @MarvelStudios #Avengers #Endgame #MCU

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Going forward, Sundays are lazy days for me. I either post something silly or other people’s work. Usually both. Yesterday, I mentioned that I rewatched Avengers: Endgame for the umpteenth time and addressed a ridiculous topic. Today, I want to point out something else I didn’t notice until this last viewing. Hawkeye wasn’t the only one with a strange hairdo.

Sure, I should have done something Valentine’s Day related, but when do I ever?

Okay, fine.

May be an image of 1 person

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What Was Nebula’s Crime in Avengers: Endgame? @karengillan @Russo_Brothers @MarvelStudios #MCU #Nebula #Avengers #Endgame

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Ah, Endgame. The movie that keeps on giving. To lawyers. I watched it again earlier this week, and had yet another thought. As I and many others have discussed before elsewhere, the Thanos Snap and Hulk Snap opened up a lot of legal questions. Here’s one suitable for a pedant like me.

When 2019 Nebula killed 2014 Nebula, what crime did she commit? Note: Self defense (really, defense of others) is an affirmative defense that comes into play only if a crime is committed, so it’s a valid question. She certainly killed a sentient being, so there must have been a crime to add to her litany of malfeasance (which is okay!). But what should we call it? The MCU has once again required legal analysis!

Remember. This is goofy pedantry at work. Just roll with it.

Homicide is killing a homo sapiens. Patricide is killing your father. Matricide is killing your mother. Suicide is killing yourself. Nebula didn’t really kill herself in Endgame. That was another Nebula from another reality. Also, I’m not a comics reader, but I don’t think she was ever a homo sapiens, and even if she were, she barely is one now. What kind of -cide did she commit then?

Sororicide doesn’t quite work either. She isn’t her own sister. In fact, despite what a DNA test would likely show, they aren’t even related, so even parricide (close relative) doesn’t work. Besides, even if you claim that similar DNA means they are related, parricide isn’t as precise as it could be. I demand precision!

No, we need a new term. Here are my suggestions.

  • Mirrocide
  • Clonocide
  • Robocide
  • Dimensiocide
  • Temporacide (“killing time”?)
  • Alterocide
  • Attornicide (tempting, eh?)

Okay, parricide it is, unless you’ve got a better idea. Though perhaps it’s best not to think too hard about this.

Yes, I’m a goofball.

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Relevant Watch: The Next Karate Kid @CobraKaiSeries @McSchlossberg @healdrules @jonhurwitz @ralphmacchio @WilliamZabka @MartinKove @Xolo_Mariduena @marymmouser @KarateKidMovie @netflix #netflix #GoodWatch

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Cobra Kai inspired me to watch the often-maligned Next Karate Kid, which I recently learned is on Netflix. It wasn’t Highlander 2 bad, but it was bad, and I was happy when the final credits rolled. I just wanted it to be over. The writing was garbage, but you could still tell that Hilary Swank was going to become a good actor. I love when movies connect (perhaps explaining my obsession with the MCU), so despite its weaknesses, it would be great to see her in a future season of Cobra Kai. The primary villain, Michael Cavalieri, could return, as could Michael Ironside (who really sucked in this) and Jim Ishida. Ishida is the one still-living actor that played a monk. Hell, Walter Goggins could return. Walter Goggins! Despite all its flaws, I’d love to see this movie recognized in Cobra Kai.

After all, it’s not as if Karate Kid III deserved any awards, but we all want to see Terry Silver and Mike Barnes, right? As always, YMMV.

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