Gook

I finished grading some exams and gave a lecture to my early class.  With two hours of free time, I went out to the theatre to see “Gook.”  I was the only person to catch the 3:20 showing.  It takes place on April 29, 1992, when the Rodney King case set off a riot in Los Angeles.  Two Korean American brothers named Eli and Daniel run a shoe store in Paramount, California.  They befriend an 11-year old girl named Kamilla and encounter violence and racial issues in this African American neighborhood.  The old man named Mr. Kim runs a nearby liquor store, and he thinks of anyone who is black as a thief.  Eli is serious about keeping this struggling business going, where Daniel isn’t much of a businessman, as he aspires to be a singer.  It’ funny that he should want to be an R&B singer in this environment.  The relationship between the brothers consists of a lot of yelling and cursing, with some moments when they let up.  There is a definite problem with the script, as not much drama builds.  I would say that there is some weakness with the acting, too.  The movie brings to mind “Fruitvale Station.”  The movie is in black and white, which seems symbolic.  The handheld camera is used so much with so much movement that it gave me a headache that lasted for hours.  The attempt at realism can go too far.  A film has to be watchable for its audience.  The ending predictably involves the girl, and it has some power, but it certainly feels contrived.  The actions of Eli don’t really make sense and definitely seem out of character.  I also wondered what could be done with such a low budget with this movie.  You can’t go around destroying buildings.  One thing I welcome is a film showing an Asian American point of view.  I don’t know where everyone involved in this movie goes from here.  There is some indication of promise here, although I appreciate now how good “Moonlight” was.  I left quietly and headed back to the office, where I finished working on some grading of papers and gave the lecture for my late class.  I went to the record store a few minutes before closing time and bought a box set of the second Game of Thrones season.  I went to buy a carne asada burrito and went home.  I listened to the ending of the 49ers game with the Rams.  “The Delicate Delinquent” was on one of the channels, and Kyle MacLachlan and Judi Dench were guests on the James Corden show.  Some of the people who died on September 22 include Dan Rowan (1987), Irving Berlin (1989), Dorothy Lamour (1996), George C. Scott (1999), Isaac Stern (2001), Gordon Jump (2003), Edward Albert (2006), Marcel Marceau (2007), Eddie Fisher (2010), Yogi Berra (2015).  Today is a birthday for Bonnie Hunt (56), Andrea Bocelli (59), Joan Jett (59), and Debby Boone (61).  According to the Brandon Brooks Rewind radio segment for September 22, The Band’s self-titled second album was released in 1969.  In 1986, “ALF” had its television premiere on NBC.  In 1994, “Friends” debuted on NBC.  In 2003, Gordon Jump of “WKRP in Cincinnati died of lung disease at age 71.

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Marnie

I renewed my A’s season tickets and wondered if I was really getting much back from doing so at this early date.  I stopped to buy a burger before heading on home.  I sat down to watch “Marnie,” the Hitchcock movie, on Blu-ray.  I had first seen it many years ago on television.  At the time, I was surprised to see Sean Connery in a movie that wasn’t a James Bond movie.  The shot of Marnie at the train station was filmed in San Jose, I read.  I thought the first shot of her face, as she rinses her hair of the dye, was a good one.  Tippi Hedren got quite a bit of criticism for her performance, but I thought it was mostly very good, except for a bit of the ending.  Mariette Hartley plays a secretary, who was something like Hitchcock’s daughter in “Psycho.”  One person I didn’t notice from previous viewings was Rupert Crosse, who would later appear in “The Reivers” with Steve McQueen.  He was the man who talked with the cleaning woman.  Alan Napier, who was Alfred in the Batman television series, is also in the cast.  He was a relative of Brian Forster of the Partridge Family, too.  Harold Gould is in the movie, too, and we also see Bruce Dern, who would be in “Family Plot.”  I would say that the weakest aspect of the script is Mark trying to psychoanalyze Marnie.  It’s rather laughable when he suggests that she read some of his books.  When Marnie was face down in the swimming pool, I had to wonder how long a person in that position could live.  I thought the sequence at the racetrack was pretty interesting, although I found it hard to believe that Marnie could pick so many winners.  The biggest question is what the movie would have been like if Grace Kelly had been in it.  I think it would have been a bit better, although the movie wouldn’t have escaped some bad reviews because of psychological aspects.  The one really suspenseful scene is one of Marnie’s thefts, but there were other moments that had some excitement.  There was the tree branch smashing the artifacts, perhaps too symbolic.  There was the tragic scene with Forio, which was painful.  The revelation about Marnie’s mother was predictable for many of us, but the relationship was still moving.  The one thing that Mark said that I remembered the most from years ago was how he’d caught something really wild this time.  It was funny and a bit insane.  “Marnie” was the last Hitchcock movie with Robert Burks, George Tomasini, and Bernard Herrmann, so it marked the end of a period in Hitchcock’s career.  I find that I still like the movie.  The movie on Blu-ray didn’t look as good as other Hitchcock films, but seeing Connery and Tippi was enough, for the most part.  I had never seen the trailer for the movie before, and that was included.  The feature on the making of the picture noted that filming was delayed because of the JFK assassination.  The Hitchcock cameo happens about five minutes into the movie.  Some of the people who died on September 21 include Virgil (19 BC), Walter Brennan (1974), Jacqueline Susann (1974), Walter Brennan (1974), and Florence Griffith Joyner (1998).  Today is a birthday for Liam Gallagher (45), Luke Wilson (46), Bill Murray (67), Stephen King (70), and Fannie Flagg (73).  According to the Brandon Brooks Rewind radio segment for September 21, “Perry Mason” had its television debut in 1957.  In 1963, Bobby Vinton was Number One on the singles chart with “Blue Velvet.”  In 1968, Jeanne C. Riley was Number One on the singles chart with “Harper Valley P.T.A.”  In 1970, Monday Night Football on ABC had its premiere with a game featuring the Cleveland Browns and the New York Jets.  In 1979, various media reported that The Beatles were considering a reunion to benefit Vietnamese boat people.  In 2001, Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Wonder, U2, Neil Young, and Billy Joel performed for the benefit concert called America: A Tribute to Heroes.  In 2004, a plane with Yusef Islam on board was diverted to Bangor, Maine because his name was on the No Fly List.

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The Trouble with Harry

 

I saw a bit of Hillary Clinton on the Stephen Colbert show, followed by Emma Stone.  One fact I learned was that the famous tennis match between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs happened on the same day that Jim Croce died in a plane accident.  Willie Mays also announced his retirement.  I felt that things were looking up a little bit, as my classes continued.  I stopped to buy a carnitas quesadilla and took it home to eat while I watched “The Trouble with Harry” again.  I had first seen it in 1984 on a pretty small screen.  The movie looked very good in this Blu-ray edition.  The color photography looked beautiful, although reading about the production, I wondered what the Vermont scenery really looked like.  Seeing John Forsythe looking so young was a real surprise.  He was about 37 at the time.  During the 1980s, he was known for being in the Dynasty television series.  He lived to be 92.  He died in 2010.  I wondered about Mildred Natwick.  She was 50 in 1955, although her character says she is 42.  I wondered if Jerry Mathers was still alive.  As far I as know, he is and is 69 years old.  “The Trouble with Harry” is not really hilarious, although it is amusing, and I appreciate how Hitchcock was trying something different.  What of the disturbing things to me wasn’t the dead body, but Arnie walking around carrying a dead rabbit.  Didn’t he grab two blueberry muffins with a hand that touched the rabbit?  I shuddered.  The moment that wasn’t believable was Sam changing the drawing and thus altering the evidence about the dead man.  Well, the cop lost the pair of shoes, too.  This was Shirley MacLaine’s first movie.  All of this takes place within one day.  I’m not too sure that these people could have the energy to dig up a dead body three times in one day.  This was Bernard Herrmann’s first score for Hitchcock, and he always produced great music.  I wouldn’t say that there was a complete absence of suspense in this picture.  We don’t want Wiggs to discover the body, but the kid almost gives everything away.  I thought Edmund Gwenn was quite funny as he talked about opening preserves.  There was a funny bit about Sam’s paintings, too.  Some of the dialogue seemed rather daring for 1955.  I thought this movie was more enjoyable than “Rope,” which was another one of the Hitchcock reissues of the time.  I wondered how much effort the film crew put into putting the leaves back onto the trees for filming.  Some of the people who died on September 20 include Jean Sibelius (1957), Jim Croce (1973), Steve Goodman (1984), Roy Kinnear (1988), and Jack Larson (2015).   Today is a birthday for Sophia Loren (83).  According to the Brandon Brooks Rewind radio segment for September 20, Jim Croce died at age 30 in a plane crash in Louisiana in 1973.  In 1976, “The Captain and Tennille” premiered on ABC, with the first episode featuring Jackie Gleason, Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs, Gabe Kaplan, Penny Marshall, and Ron Palillo.  In 1984, the first episode of “The Cosby Show” aired on NBC.  In 1986, the television series “Matlock,” starring Andy Griffith debuted on NBC in 1986.

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Foreign Correspondent

I kept hearing on the news that Rolling Stone magazine was up for sale.  I didn’t want to see any more of Marshawn Lynch dancing on the sideline.  I got to work trying to finish up some homework assignments for the week, and I put in a tiring shift.  Someone talked to me about Elon Musk.  When I got home, I had a salad and watched Alfred Hitchcock’s “Foreign Correspondent.”  Hitchcock said that the one thing that was missing from his first American movie, “Rebecca,” was humor.  This movie has Joel McCrea in it, and his character seems a lot like the one in “Sullivan’s Travels.”  Hitchcock wanted either Gary Cooper or Cary Grant for the lead role, and Joan Fontaine or Barbara Stanwyck for Carol Fisher, who was played by Laraine Day.  Laraine Day at time reminded me of Julia Louis-Dreyfus.  George Sanders is another of the famous cast members, known also for “Rebecca,” “All About Eve,” and Mr. Freeze on the Batman television series.  Edmund Gwenn was in “Miracle on 34th Street” and “The Trouble with Harry.”  What I will remember most about this movie is the windmill.  I don’t know how they parked the car so quickly into that space and vacated the windmill instantly.  I was reminded at times of “The Third Man,” and I think I get Joel McCrea and Joseph Cotten confused sometimes.  Robert Benchley has a part, and Joan Leslie has an uncredited part.  Hitchcock wanted to avoid inserting current events into the script.  The McCrea character has some basis in Edward R. Murrow.  The ending was changed as the Germans were about to bomb England.  This is a pretty good movie in the mold of “The 39 Steps.”  There was a plane crashing into the sea that was rather unlike the Sullenberger incident.  It was an expensive movie and so lost some money in its initial release.  It received a Best Picture Oscar nomination, although the other Hitchcock picture, “Rebecca,” won that award.  Hitchcock certainly had a productive year in 1940.  I kept thinking that the next forty years of his life went by too quickly.  I had forgotten what the end of this movie was like.  I was wondering if it would be at the Statue of Liberty.  The movie did also have some of the feeling of “North By Northwest.”  I thought the movie looked very good on Blu-ray, particularly considering that it is more than 75 years old.  Hitchcock once told Dick Cavett that rice paper was used in the filming of the plane crash sequence.  Some of these filmmakers truly came up with some ingenious ideas.  Joel McCrea went on to the Preston Sturges movies and appeared in “Ride the High Country” in 1962.  His last movie was “Mustang Country” in 1976.  His last public appearance was at a fundraiser for Pete Wilson’s election campaign for governor of California on October 3, 1990, and he died on October 20, 1990 at age 84.  Laraine Day was a Mormon.  She was married to Leo Durocher, manager of the New York Giants.  She died at her daughter’s home in Ivins, Utah on November 10, 2007, when she was 87 years old.  Some of the people who died on September 19 include James Garfield (1881), Gram Parsons (1973), Hermes Pan (1990), Orville Redenbacher (1995), and Elizabeth Allen (2006).  Today is a birthday for Jimmy Fallon (43), Kim Richards (53), Trisha Yearwood (53), Lita Ford (59), Twiggy (68), and Jeremy Iron (69).  According to the Brandon Brooks Rewind radio segment for September 19, Shirley Temple married John Agar at Wilshire Methodist Church in Los Angeles in 1945, although the marriage would last for only five years.  In 1960, Chubby Checker reached Number One on the singles chart with “The Twist.”  In 1975, “Fawlty Tower” was first broadcast on BBC.  In 1989, “Doogie Howser, M.D,” starring a 16-year-old Neil Patrick Harris, had its premiere on NBC.

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Mother!

I don’t know why I felt that I had to see “Mother!” before the weekend ended.  Darren Aronofsky is not exactly my favorite director, and the trailer didn’t look too promising.  “The Wrestler,” “Black Swan,” and “Noah” did have their interesting qualities, and Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Ed Harris, and Michelle Pfeiffer were in the cast.  The story had Biblical references, and felt something like “Rosemary’s Baby,” “The Exterminating Angel,” and the “Neighbors” with John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd.  Part of the movie is about an artist’s neglect of personal relationships, making you wonder if Aronofsky is saying anything about himself.  The woman is putting all her effort into the house, and it’s sad how careless the Bardem character is.  The Pfeiffer character was obnoxious and funny to some of us.  Bardem was inviting people to stay over, and it didn’t bother him until his precious possession was destroyed.  The moment that made the woman in front of me laugh was Jennifer’s announcement that she was pregnant.  This movie was too far from the mainstream to make any money, and in a way it’s a shame that people are turning away from the movie because they expected something different.  The movie does go too far at the end with murder, cannibalism, and mass hysteria.  It was like a variation on Pasolini.  I would say that a movie is too pretentious when the characters don’t have names, but are called Him and Mother and so forth.  Kristen Wiig is Bardem’s agent.  I didn’t expect to see her in this film.  I can’t recommend this movie.  It got some applause from a few people in the theatre, but I don’t think the film was very meaningful or successful.  I overheard one woman say that it wasn’t a psychological film, but it was an art film and deserved a few points for trying something different.  Aronofsky is 48 years old, which I think is enough time to think clearly about a few things.  If you have to explain what your movie is about, then it’s questionable how successful it is in communicating anything.  I was tired after it was over, and I walked on home glad to get to bed.  I had missed “The Ladies Man” on television.  I listened to the radio during the night.  I saw that today would have been June Foray’s 100th birthday.  According to the Brandon Brooks Rewind radio segment for September 18, the first episode of “The Adams Family,” called “The Addams Family Goes to School,” aired on ABC in 1964.  Also in 1964, “Jonny Quest” premiered on ABC on a Friday night at 7:30.  “Get Smart” had its debut in 1965.  In 1983, KISS appeared for the first time without their makeup for an MTV show.  In 2005, Ellen DeGeneres hosted the 57th Primetime Emmy Awards show, where “Everybody Loves Raymond” and “Lost” won the awards for outstanding comedy and drama series.  In 2009, the last episode of “Guiding Light” aired on CBS, marking the end of a 57-year run on television and 72 years overall, including radio.

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Michael Crabtree’s Three Touchdown Catches

I watched CBS Sunday Morning and paid attention to the Serena Altschul interview with Jake Gyllenhaal.  My parents phoned me.  I went out to Trader Joe’s to buy some macaroni and cheese, oranges, and a salad.  I took the buses out to the Fruitvale BART station on my way to the Coliseum.  The sun was out, and it was warm sitting in my seat watching the Jets going through their routines before the game.  I fell asleep for a while, as I listened to the A’s game in Philadelphia.  Joey Wendle hit a grand slam that turned the game.  We saw parachutists descending onto the field, the last one with a Raiders flag.  The singer performing the national anthem rang a bit too long and so was interrupted by a flyover.  Rickey Henderson seems to be constantly present at the Coliseum, and he was around on this day to light the torch.  If he wanted to play professional football, it would have been in the years around 1980 to 1985.  Chris Townsend talked with Lincoln Kennedy about the keys to the game.  I noticed that no one during the game mentioned anything about Las Vegas.  The Raiders didn’t score immediately, but they scored the only points of the first quarter on a 2-yard pass from Derek Carr to Michael Crabtree.  This connection continued to be impressive two minutes into the second quarter with a 26-yard pass to make the score 14-0.  Josh McCown was a quarterback for the Raiders a decade ago, so I guess it was representative of the sad state of the Jets that he’s trying to do things for them this season.  He did bring the Jets back, though, with a 34-yard touchdown pass, and with three minutes left, the Jets kicked a field goal to make the score 14-10.  On a third down play with two minutes left in the half, the Raiders came up short and had to punt.  Johnny Holton ran down to cover the kick and recovered a fumble.  Marshawn Lynch carried the ball and scored a touchdown that made the score 21-10.  That sequence felt like the turning point of the game at the time, although it became apparent that the Jets wouldn’t be too competitive on this day.  The fan trivia contest showed that the young people haven’t read about things like The Heidi Game of 1968.  Something I liked seeing was the band that played the Raiders theme.  They had a trombone, saxophone, and tuba and sounded pretty good.  During halftime, we saw the competition between the firefighters and the police, including a hamster ball, getting into a jersey, and kicking a field goal at the end.  It seemed that either the tee was too far away, or the men overestimated their ability to kick, as they took many tries before one was finally good.  You can appreciate someone like Janikowski after watching these guys.  The firefighters won again, I think, although it appeared that neither side followed the rules.  The Jets actually scored first in the third quarter, as they kicked a 40-yard field goal to get to within 21-13.  However, the Raiders were doing well with people other than Lynch running with the ball.  It was Cordarrelle Patterson who ran 43 yards for a touchdown.  That score pretty much put away the game away.  One of the good things about this game was that the Raiders were holding onto the ball and running time off the clock with running plays.  It wasn’t going to be one of those games that stretches out past 4:30.  Two minutes into the fourth quarter, Jalen Richard ran 52 yards for another touchdown.  Not too long after that, Carr threw another touchdown pass to Crabtree to make the score 42-13.  The crowd was really enjoying this because we hadn’t seen too many games like this since 2002.  They wanted to have their moment, not to be reminded that the Jets were bad, or that the Raiders might face difficulty against the Chiefs, or that the move to Las Vegas was coming one of these days.  The Jets had a bit left in them, as they scored a touchdown about halfway through the quarter.  However, it was just time to run out the clock at the end.  Derek Carr threw no interceptions and suffered no sacks, so it was a stellar day for him.  The last score as a field goal by Giorgio Tavecchio that made the final score 45-20.  The fans were remarkably happy considering the team’s circumstances.  There was a lot of high-fiving among them as I made my way back to the BART station.  I listened to the postgame radio show.  Tom Flores sounded like he’d lived a lot of years.  Chris Townsend kept saying “The Raiders will go as far as Number 4 will take them.”  He talked about how Al Davis was unable to get John Elway and passed on Dan Marino years ago.  Neither of them would have been Oakland Raiders, at least not for a while, because the team was in Los Angeles when they entered the NFL.  I listened to KCSN and discovered that Robert Hilburn’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Times program was pushed back to 7:00.  It was a repeat from September 2015 with records from people whose birthdays are in September: Bruce Springsteen, Ray Charles, Chrissie Hynde, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Moby.  I watched a bit of Columbo but fell asleep before the ending.  I rather miss seeing The Night Stalker on Sunday nights.  Some of the people who died on September 18 include Leonhard Euler (1783), Frank Morgan (1949), Jimi Hendrix (1970), Italo Calvino (1985), and Russ Meyer (2004).  Today is a birthday for James Marsden (44) and Jada Pinkett Smith (46).

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California 27, Ole Miss 16

As I was walking to the stadium, two girls asked me to take a photo of them.  They had a good camera with their phone, I noticed.  I walked up the hill and was handed a newspaper that had the rosters of both teams, California and Ole Miss.  I barely knew any of the names now that Jared Goff is gone.  The stadium looked empty when I got to my seat, and it wouldn’t come close to filling up.  I saw that the California cheerleaders had new outfits.  The inflatable bear head of the last couple of years was absent.  It was getting scratched up and looking worn at the end of last year.  Ole Miss got off to a fast start, making big plays and looking impossible to stop.  It was 16-7 early in the second quarter.  I’m not sure that anyone would predict at that point that California could stop Ole Miss from scoring more points.  There was a slight hint that not everything was going to go their way when they missed the kick for the extra point.  The Bears missed a chance to close the gap when they took a penalty instead of a field goal, and quarterback Russ Bowers threw an interception.  The half ended with Bowers attempting a desperation pass into the end zone.  None of the Cal players got very close to the end, and so it was another interception as time ran out.  During halftime, the Cal marching band played the music of the millennials, which made the case that the music of the millennials has been uninspiring and mediocre.  Some kids with their football teams took the field.  It looked like it was hard for them to play defense.  These little kids comically spiked the ball when they got into the end zone.  California had deferred the opening kickoff and received the ball to open the second half.  They got closer in the score with a touchdown, and then took the lead at 17-16.  The famous ex-player who made an appearance was Zack Crockett, and a little girl won the big stuffed bear for her bear growl.  A lot of the little kids don’t know what a growl is, and so they yell out the word growl or roar.  The announcement of the other scores resulted in boos for USC.  The Bears played better defense as the game went on.  They scored another field goal, so the score was 20-16 as the late minutes passed.  It was an interception that pretty much put away the game with three minutes left.  It was 27-16, and the fans in the Ole Miss sections were leaving.  They should have been leaving anyway, with the game going on past 11 o’clock.  The final score was 27-16.  I overheard Ole Miss fans grumbling about their team on the way out.  I listened to the postgame radio show on 810 AM and prepared to get some rest.  According to the Brandon Brooks Rewind radio segment for September 17, “Mission: Impossible” had its television premiere in 1966.  In 1967, The Who appeared on the Smothers Brothers television show.  In 1980, the Bette Midler concert film “Divine Madness” was released.

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