The Place Beyond the Pines

I’ve heard a lot about the Beastie Boys’ song “Girls” on the news lately. I think that people shouldn’t use music without permission, of course. I’m not bothered by the stores that are open on Thanksgiving. It gives an alternative for people who don’t want to watch football games or sit around talking to relatives. It is a good thing, in fact, if many people don’t sit around in conversation at the dinner table or afterwards. I went over to the office but didn’t get much done in the first few hours. I returned home to have lunch and watch “Hawaii Five-O.” I caught the bus to Emeryville. I forgot what kind of DVD-R discs I should buy to back up my computer files, so I walked over to Best Buy. I saw some people camped out in tents at the entrance. It would be great if I could buy a new television set, but I went to the CDs and bought the albums by Pistol Annies and Nine Inch Nails. I went over to the used bookstore to buy a paperback copy of “Fahrenheit 451.” I returned to the office and finally got the work done, writing two quizzes and making copies. I bought the last of my Thanksgiving food, which was a package of rolls. The Jeopardy question last night was about the Witness Protection Program. I watched the DVD of “The Place Beyond the Pines.” Some of the stars were Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper, Eva Mendes, and Ray Liotta. The movie makes you think you’re going to follow one character until the end, but then it switches to another person, and actually comes to feel like three movies in one. It felt like “Psycho” or “Something Wild” in that sense. It seemed notable to me that Ray Liotta was also in “Something Wild.” Ryan Gosling has a strong presence, although I think I’m starting to get tired of him. Anyone with a distracting tattoo on his face, like Mike Tyson, is difficult to watch. Gosling is motorcycle stunt man who takes to bank robbery. I don’t know how he intended to keep it up. His trick to getting away was having a friend with a truck waiting. It wasn’t quite like “Dog Day Afternoon” or “Take the Money and Run,” but I kept thinking that the cops would catch up to him because of the risks. How many banks could he hit in that area, anyway? He crosses paths with Bradley Cooper, a rookie cop. We see that the police department is corrupt, with Ray Liotta one of the most evil ones. There were some similarities to “Serpico” in this part of the story. The director was Derek Cianfrance, who did “Blue Valentine,” a movie I hated. This movie feels like there’s too much going on. It doesn’t fully develop any of its parts. It throws thoughts out there and moves on like we’re an audience with short attention spans, which may actually be the case in this decade. The last section of the movie was the weakest, with an unconvincing coincidence happening. I knew what was coming because I’ve seen too many movies. There was an idea of history repeating itself in the next generation, which I could not stand. These ideas fit movie formulas and don’t feel real. Eva Mendes didn’t have much to do except express her pain. This isn’t a woman’s movie. I would say that the sequence I liked most was Gosling’s first robbery. He vomits afterwards. It is so dangerous to merely ride a motorcycle at those speeds, much less evade the police. Gosling’s last scene has a certain shock value. Bradley Cooper always seems rather subdued for a movie star, and I think he tends to fade into the background. He’s not as memorable as Al Pacino, which is what I was thinking when I saw the corruption part of the story. I couldn’t see him as an attorney general. The teens reminded me of actors like Johnny Depp. There was a racial aspect to Eva’s story that is not touched upon. Fifteen years pass from the early scenes to the last section of the movie, which seems to put the time frame between 1997 t0 2012. I didn’t notice a difference in the locations at all. Maybe that was one of the points, that the trees in the forest are still the same. I thought of the movie “In the Bedroom.” Ray Liotta adds some life to the movie. The passage of years is visible in his face. He had a great period in his career from around 1986 to 1990. I thought he was the best actor in this group. The last part of the movie suggests that there is going to be some kind of deadly clash with the teens and Cooper. Cianfrance does a Sopranos kind of ending. He doesn’t give us what we want. At least it wasn’t what I wanted. The ending is soft, with sympathy for the young. I can’t stand the cliché of the previous generation supposedly screwing things up, with the younger generation representing hope. Young people are dumb and can barely manage their own lives. The teen on the motorcycle reminded me of Kiefer Sutherland in San Francisco leaving the City Lights bookstore. I see that “The Place Beyond the Pines” had three screenwriters. That figures, because it feels like it’s stuffed with too many ideas and could have used some editing and a single, stronger direction. The movie is worth seeing, although I think there wasn’t enough Ryan Gosling in it. I had the TV on to the Twilight Zone and the episode with the piano that brings out the true inner nature of people. I liked the episode, but I didn’t want to watch because of some excruciating moments in it. I awoke early and saw Liza Batallones on the news in place of Elizabeth Wenger. What kind of traffic reports are needed on a Thanksgiving morning, anyway? Jeff Glor was on CBS This Morning. Jim Nance talked about the tradition of football on Thanksgiving. I don’t know how much of the game between the Raiders and the Cowboys I want to watch. Some of the people who died on November 28 include Washington Irving (1859), James Naismith (1939), Richard Wright (1960), Rosalind Russell (1976), Christopher George (1983), Garry Moore (1993), Jerry Rubin (1994), and Leslie Nielsen (2010). According to the Brandon Brooks Rewind radio segment for November 28, Willie Nelson made his Grand Ole Opry debut in 1964. In 1974, Elton John invited John Lennon on stage to sing three songs during a Madison Square Garden concert. Today is Berry Gordy, Jr.’s 84th birthday.

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