Archive for September, 2010

That line about the cruelty of nature is from the movie Temple Grandin.

In a world where people are often labeled and categorized, a movie like Temple Grandin is a breath of fresh air, especially since it’s about an actual person.  Not only did Grandin excel in a male-dominated world, she didn’t let her Austism hold her back.  Much of this, at the beginning, was due to her mother, who refused to follow a doctor’s orders to have Grandin institutionalized.

Grandin’s mother fought for her, as did some of her teachers–the ones who could get past her “weirdness” and see her brilliant mind.  The irony is that not only was Grandin not institutionalized, but she went on to college and received several higher degrees.

The movie focuses a lot on how Grandin sees life and makes connections–she thinks in pictures and has a photographic memory.  A powerful, and humorous, moment in the movie is when one of Grandin’s teachers asks her if she can recall details of even ordinary things like shoes.  She flashes through a series of mental pictures of all the shoes she’s ever had, the shoes of people she knows, and the shoes of the teacher she’s talking to.  Then she looks at him and says, “Can’t you do that?”

Much of the movie illustrates how Grandin views the world, and how her unique perspective helped her create humane chutes and slaughterhouses.  She made the inevitable end of the process of raising beef much more humane.  As she says, “Nature is cruel, but we don’t have to be.”  Grandin maintains that cattle are prey animals, bred for consumption, and that we owe them respect because we will eat them.  And what might really blow some people’s minds is this: in an article in the Wall Street Journal, Bari Weiss points out that Grandin may be the only person who is both a consultant for McDonald’s and an honoree of PETA, who say she’s a “visionary.”

All of this, no matter how amazing, is only part of the picture.  Grandin has also stepped through a door into another area.  She now speaks about Autism, and how to help Autistic children.  Grandin has published several books on the subject, including Emergence: Labeled Autistic and The Way I See It: A Personal Look at Autism and Asperger’s.

It seems clear that Temple Grandin is a visionary.  I hope she continues to excel in her field, and continues to have such a beneficial effect on those who need help understanding Autism.

Some do, indeed, like it hot

RIP, Tony Curtis (Some Like It Hot, The Defiant Ones), who died yesterday at the age of 85.

I admit I haven’t watched that many of Curtis’s movies, but if nothing else, he gave us one of our best comedic and dramatic actresses.  I am, of course, referring to Jamie Lee Curtis.

Here are a few quotes from Tony Curtis:

“The quickest way to change drama into comedy is simply to speed up the film.”

“Hollywood… the most sensational merry-go-around ever built.”

I read an article today in America’s Horse, the magazine of the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA).  The article was about a gelding named Copper Locks, who was one of the horses used in filming Secretariat. 

According to the horse wrangler for the movie–a man named Rusty Hendrickson, who also worked on Seabiscuit–it’s always a good idea to use a Quarter Horse for racing scenes that involve a horse sprinting ahead of a pack of horses.  After all, Quarter Horses are knownfor their sprinting and quick maneuvering. 

Hendrickson said that he used Copper Locks in scenes where they needed to show Secretariat blasting through a pack of horses.  He said Copper Locks often looked like a motorcycle going through cones.  I don’t care who you are, that’s impressive.  I wonder what would happen if Copper Locks were paired up with someone like Calvin “Bo’rail’” Borel.  That could be one heckuva trip.

I found this article, if you’re interested in some more specific information.

http://www.discoverhorses.com/quarter-horse-secretariats-double.html

Well, if you insist

I saw the following article at www.eonline.com.

Lost‘s Josh Holloway Ready to Upstage Tom Cruise in New Mission: Impossible

Now that he’s survived Lost (or did he…?), Josh Holloway is on a mission—to take Hollywood by storm.

The erstwhile Sawyer is ready to step up to the major leagues, and possibly blow Tom Cruise off the big screen, now that he’s ready to sign on for the team in Mission: Impossible 4, E! News confirmed Tuesday.

Holloway will reportedly play one of the good guys, joining a cast that so far includes returning Mission vets Ving Rhames and Simon Pegg along with franchise newbies Jeremy Renner, Paula Patton and Vladimir Mashkov. Oscar-winning animation director Brad Bird (The Incredibles) helmer Brad Bird will be making his live-action debut.

My initial reaction was, “Oh no, not another MI movie!”  However, when I saw that Brad Bird is the director, I was suddenly more willing to give it a shot.  After all, Bird directed my favorite Pixar movie, The Incredibles. It will be interesting to see how he handles his first live-action movie.

It’s all about the priorities

There is a group on Facebook called “Citizens Soldiers,” and I noticed that they had this posted yesterday:

Lindsay Lohan, 24, is all over the news because she’s a celebrity drug addict. While Justin Allen, 23, Brett Linley, 29, Matthew Weikert, 29, Justus Bartett, 27, Dave Santos, 21, Chase Stanley, 21, Jesse Reed, 26, Matthew Johnson, 21, Zachary Fisher, 24, Brandon King, 23, Christopher Goeke 23, and Sheldon Tate, 27, are all Marines that gave their lives this week, no media mention. Honor THEM by reposting.

That puts the lives of celebrities into some necessary perspective.  What really gets me is that a lot of celebrities seem willing to do almost anything to get some publicity, while most soldiers would rather not be in the news.  That does not mean we should forget to honor their service!

Since this is the last quiz for September (where has the month gone?), I’m going to do more quotes!

1.  “The French don’t care what they say, actually, as long as they pronounce it properly.” – Professor Higgins, My Fair Lady

2.  “Let’s face it, this is not the worst thing you’ve caught me doing.” – Tony Stark, Iron Man

3.  “Well, I have a microphone, and you don’t, so you will listen to every d**n word I have to say!” – Robbie, The Wedding Singer

4.  “I am the Energizer bunny of forensic science: I never sleep and I never give up.” – Abby Sciuto, NCIS, “Road Kill”

5.  “Sir, Custer was a pussy. You ain’t.” – Sgt. Maj. Plumley, We Were Soldiers

6.  “Is it too much to ask for a little precipitation?” Evan Baxter, Evan Almighty

7.  ”Yeah. Well, I got nowhere else to go, the ex-wife took the whole planet in the divorce. All I got left is my bones.” – Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy, Star Trek (2009)

8.  ”And now for something completely different.” – Monty Python’s Flying Circus, repeated line

9.  ”I think you’re the most selfish human being on the planet.”  ”Well that’s just silly. Have you met everybody on the planet?” – Lucy Kelson and George Wade, Two Weeks Notice

10. “Metaman, express elevator! Dynaguy, snagged on takeoff! Splashdown, sucked into a vortex! No capes!” – Edna “E” Mode, The Incredibles

I watched the season premiere of Glee, season two, and found it rather boring.  On the other hand, I’ve been watching Season seven of NCIS (yes, I know I’m a season behind), and the premiere was amazing.

My synopsis of the Glee premiere would be: more whining about budget cuts, the Glee club members are still “losers,” and there are some new teenage angst issues to work out.  Oh, and the new football coach is a woman.

My synopsis of the premiere of NCIS would be: Tony can con someone even while dosed with truth serum, McGee can play possum with the best of them, and Abby is indeed the happiest goth you’ll ever meet.  Oh, and Gibbs’s first moment on the episode might blow your socks off.

And I’ve been told that the season eight premiere of NCIS is just as amazing.  But please, don’t spoil it for me!

Are they here yet?–Update

There are some new movies that I really want to see.  Here they are, with the reasons I want to see them.

Devil –September 17th–It’s based on a story written by M. Night Shyamalan, and it might be the first horror movie to really creep me out.  (I dislike elevators.  The whole claustrophobia thing…)

Secretariat–October 8th–I love horses, and I want to see how this movie compares to Seabiscuit, which is one of my favorite movies.

Red–October 15th–Helen Mirren as a hit-woman? John Malkovich as a paranoid geezer? A bunch of retired CIA agents?  This movie should be awesome!

Due Date–November 5th–Robert Downey, Jr. and Zach Galifianakis in what looks to be a remake of Planes, Trains, and Automobiles.  Sounds like a plan to me!

Ben Affleck’s Town

For some reason, I thought The Town was Ben Affleck’s directorial debut.  I was wrong.  He directed Gone Baby Gone, as well as I Killed My Lesbian Wife, Hung Her on a Meat Hook, and Now I Have a Three-Picture Deal at Disney. (Really, Affleck, really?)  The Town, however, is the first movie Affleck directed and starred in.
The premise of The Town–which is based on the novel Prince of Thieves, written by Chuck Hogan–is interesting: the leader of a squad of thieves falls for a woman who was used as a hostage during a heist.  The leader of the thieves, Doug MacRay, played by Affleck, starts following Claire Keesey (Rebecca Hall) after his best friend uses her as a hostage during a major bank robbery.  MacRay’s best friend is James Coughlin, played by Jeremy Renner.  Renner is best known for his lead role in Hurt Locker. He brings the same intensity to the role of the wild one of the bunch of thieves; the reckless, impulsive, and deathly loyal thug.
The main man after the thieves is FBI Agent Frawley, played by Jon Hamm.  Hamm brings charm to a role that seems limited since this is yet another story where the bad guys are often viewed more favorably than the good guys.  One of the main “codes of conduct” for the robbers is their rule of never cooperating with cops.  Coughlin has been in jail and didn’t crack.  MacRay seems like the weak link in the bunch.  He vacillates between a desire to change his life, and the inability or lack of courage to do so.
One of the moments that stuck out in my mind was when MacRay confronts one of the cops working with Frawley.  Apparently this cop had grown up in the same area as MacRay, Charlestown, and yet he is mocked because he became a cop and used his “inside knowledge” of the criminals in the area to send people to jail.  I must be missing something, because I thought it was good to send criminals to jail.  Silly me?
My favorite moment of the movie was when Keesey claimed, while talking to MacRay, that she would be able to identify her abductors by their voices.  MacRay says, “Are you sure?”  Oh, the irony!
I found The Town to be a little drawn out, and to cover ground already beaten smooth by previous stories.  Thieves aren’t bad guys, they’re just trying to make a living with what’s handed them.  At least there is a turn at the end of The Town.  MacRay talks about having to pay for his actions.  That saved the movie for me.

Late to the party

I know this story broke on the front page of the Jamestown Sun last weekend, but I was unable to comment at the time because I was busy painting a house.

I am referring to the story about the new theaters that are planned for the Jamestown Mall.  The plan sounds fabulous!  I’m not the only one that thinks so.  (I’ve heard numerous complaints about the theaters here in Jamestown.)  One of the best features of the new theater–other than DTS surround sound in all the theaters–will be the one location.  People will no longer have to worry about showing up at the wrong theater!

My question is, will there be an outside marquee listing the movies showing at the theater?  The lack of outside advertising is one of the criticisms I’ve heard about the Bison Twin theater.