The Thin Red Line

I awoke yesterday and watched a bit of the CBS This Morning.  They talked with someone who photographed Marilyn Monroe in 1961.  He said that Marilyn really created the photographs.  He didn’t know when to stop talking.  Many of the chefs who come to the program are self-taught.  They try college and can’t deal with it.  Tom Douglas’ recipes were Etta’s Pit Roasted Salmon with Grilled Shiitake Relish and Cornbread Pudding, Tom’s Tasty Tomato Soup with Brown Butter Croutons, Dahlia Triple Coconut Cream Pie, and Star Anise Vodka Dragons.  I bought an Amtrak ticket for a visit to my parents’ house in December.  I looked up the New York Times Book Review and the American Top 40 for this week.  The Top 10 songs on October 30, 1976 were “Magic Man,” “Muskrat Love,” “Play That Funky Music,” “She’s Gone,” “Love So Right,” “A Fifth of Beethoven,” “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald,” “Rock’n Me,” “Disco Duck (Part 1),” and “If You Leave Me Now.”  I took the bus out to Emeryville and bought a record player from the Target store.  It was a suitcase type which reminded me of my childhood.  The sound quality wasn’t great.  It just allowed me to listen to records again for the first time since 1995.  I listened to some Beatles records.  I had the World Series game on TV, and I watched most of it.  I could not believe that the Tigers could do nothing with the bases loaded and one out.  Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder failed to come through.  I watched “The Thin Red Line” again.  It was one of the first DVDs I ever watched back in 1999.  The first shot is of nature, not war.  Some of the images are the most beautiful that have ever appeared in a war movie.  It’s World War II in the Pacific, and the men come and go.  You see the earth and the fire, with some moments that were similar to “Days of Heaven.”  You see a woman back home who seems like a distant memory, something like what we saw in “The Tree of Life.”  The cast is impressive.  It includes Sean Penn, Adrien Brody, George Clooney, John Cusack, Woody Harrelson, Nick Nolte, John C. Reilly, and John Savage.  John Travolta is around, too.  John Cusack looked almost like a real soldier.  I always picture him in soft roles, like he was in “The Sure Thing,” “Say Anything,” and “High Fidelity.”  I thought Nick Nolte was great in this movie.  He was furious when another officer didn’t blindly follow his orders in an attack that seemed suicidal.  I associate John C. Reilly with comedy, so it seemed unusual to see him in a Terrence Malick film.  We get some of the characteristics of a Malick film with the long stretches without dialogue, and the narration.  People have an internal discussion of their thoughts, but they don’t share them with others.  One of the men is AWOL and living with native people, and his peaceful life is disrupted by the war.  It’s rather like the situation of “The New World,” and I heard a reference to the New World in this movie.  I thought one of the most powerful scenes was one showing a man reading a letter from his wife, asking him for a divorce because she’s fallen in love with another man back home.  It seemed especially cruel because he was stuck in this hellish place where the Japanese keep coming after him.  I didn’t know who Adrien Brody was before “The Pianist.”  Woody Harrelson seemed to be to be more convincing when he’s playing a crazy civilian than a crazy person in the military.  I thought he was at his best in “Natural Born Killers.”  One of the men looked like Joaquin Phoenix.  “The Thin Red Line” was released in the year as “Saving Private Ryan,” and I preferred Malick’s unconventional approach to Spielberg’s spectacle.  The battle scenes in “The Thin Red Line” aren’t quite as awesome as Spielberg’s version of D-Day, but they are effective.  Malick’s movie just begins and just ends without resolution.  The perspective is in the real long run, perhaps beyond the existence of humans.  Malick likes to show us things that float in the air, and the light shining through the trees.  I thought this movie wasn’t up to the level of “Badlands” or “Days of Heaven,” but better than “The New World.”  Its running time is very long at 170 minutes, but the movie doesn’t drag along with a lot of filler.  It’s worth watching every now and then.  You have to ask the question of whether Malick is a genius, or if he has just enough skill to make us think he is something great.  I watched part of the Star Trek episode “Catspaw.”  It was recently aired locally not too long ago, and I assumed it was repeated because Halloween is coming soon.  In fact, the original air date was October 27, 1967, 45 years ago yesterday.  Korub and Sylvia looked ridiculous in their true form.  Just a few moments before, Sylvia said to Kirk, “I am a woman.  I am all women.”  Fortunately, Kirk didn’t listen to her.  He’s had sex with enough alien females that this one doesn’t have a spell over him.  Antoinette Bower was Sylvia.  She is 80 years old now.  I listened to the radio when I was ready for bed.  One bad thing about a record player is that you have to get up out of bed to flip over the record or to change it.  I watched the end of “Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea” with James Darren.  “Get Smart” was on at one o’clock.  A reporter from a weekly magazine was writing an article about CONTROL, and KAOS was set to make them look ridiculous so that their government funding would be cancelled.  Two people who died on October 28 were Porter Wagoner (2007) and James MacArthur (2010).  According to the Brandon Brooks Rewind segment for October 28, “My Fair Lady” had its West Coast premiere in 1964.  In 1977, Steve Perry performed with Journey for the first time.  In 1986, Marie Osmond married his second husband.

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