Saving Private Ryan

I went out to the office. I spent a lot of time getting only a little bit done. After my lecture, I talked with the security guard about deflated footballs and Air Jordans. I made my way over to the record store, where I bought a CD set of Emmylou Harris’ “Songbird.” It was four discs and a booklet, so I was satisfied. I decided to walk over to the theatre for the Flashback Feature, “Saving Private Ryan.” It felt like it took a while to get to the war. The movie was two hours and fifty minutes long, and it could have used some trimming. Having the old man visit the cemetery removed the suspense about whether he would survive the war, but I also kept thinking that he wasn’t a great actor. The beach invasion scene seemed so radical in 1998, but not so much when you see it now. I thought that Tom Hanks looked quite a bit younger at a time that is now incredibly 17 years ago. I thought it was odd that two soldiers would throw up one after the other just as the camera passed them. One lesson was to not remove your helmet as bullets are whizzing past you. How did anyone survive? The sniper reminded me of Christopher Walken, and also Bradley Cooper in “American Sniper.” Tom Sizemore was a strong presence on the screen, but I didn’t believe that he would shoot another American. One scene I thought was interesting was the room full of women typing letters. I couldn’t help thinking about the effort it took to dress and make up all those women, and finding those typewriters. I agreed with the men who said that it was a bad idea to risk eight lives to save one. Another lesson is not to hand over your young daughter to soldiers to lead them to safety. Crying children are a danger to them, and what are they going to do with them, anyway? I didn’t like the moments when the soldiers talked about things we never saw. Talking about your mother is sentimental, which I guess is a Spielberg trademark, but it slows down the movie. Everyone had to know that letting the German go walking about blindfolded would come back to hurt them. They could have taken him along for a while, bound and gagged. I noticed Dennis Farina, Ted Danson, and one of the FBI agents from “NUMB3RS” in the cast. I don’t think that Ted Danson is a good actor, although I haven’t watched him on television recently. It took a long time for the group to get to that bridge, and it was something of a letdown to see Matt Damon there. It made me think of his appearance in “Interstellar.” After a long time in that movie, too, we see Matt Damon suddenly appear. I couldn’t stand the critique of Edith Piaf while her record is playing. Why do we have to be told what to think about something? We can make up our own minds. The one bit I really hated and thought that Spielberg should have cut from the film was Ryan’s story about the barn. Hanks looks like he’s forcing him to think it’s a meaningful and amusing anecdote. It was totally unconvincing and a forced attempt to provide a light moment before the conflict. It seemed that the interpreter was to blame for a lot of the bad things that happened. He sure was a picture of inaction, and when he does act, it’s too late. When Hanks shot at the tank with his pistol, it reminded me of George C. Scott in “Patton.” Was the bridge worth all those lives, especially at that point in the war? It sure didn’t seem like it. I like the shot of Ryan aging fifty years, even if it seemed artificial compared to the rest of the movie. The movie was exhausting to watch, especially since it started at nine o’clock. All in all, I was glad that I saw it again, and in a theatre. It was better than, say, “Munich,” and you could see a connection with “Lincoln.” I imagined what “Selma” would have been like if Spielberg had directed it. I don’t think he would have made it better. It was nearly midnight when I walked through the lobby and out the door into the cold air. As I got closer to home, several police cars with their sirens speeded past me, making me wonder just what was going on. I was tired when I got home, and so I didn’t stay up to do any writing or watching Letterman or Kimmel. I looked at the postcard listing the Flashback Features for every Thursday until April 23: “Being John Malkovich,” “Ghostbusters,” “Moulin Rouge,” “Back to the Future,” “Edward Scissorhands,” “Wayne’s World,” “The Professional,” “A Few Good Men,” “Aliens,” “Drunken Master,” “Dr. Strangelove,” “Serenity,” and “Labyrinth.” Most of these movies are ones that I’ve already seen too many times. These dates are slipping over into baseball season. I checked the movies that are playing at the Grand Lake Theater this weekend, but I’m not so eager to see “Inherent Vice” again. Maybe I should head over to the Jack London Stadium 9 on Sunday. I’m really waiting for the Super Bowl. After I awoke this morning, I took a shower and sat in front of the television watching the news about the measles outbreak. After a very tiring week of crises and a lot of work, I thought of those last chores to do before enjoying my weekend. I saw the commercial for Billy Joel at AT&T Park. I would not pay money to see him sing “Just the Way You Are” or “Big Shot.” I would like to know the lineup for the Outside Lands Festival this year. I put on my John Coltrane shirt and got ready to face the day. I heard Tom Brady say that he didn’t know what happened with the footballs on Sunday. Juliette Goodrich was on the KPIX morning news in place of Michelle Griego. Some of the people who died on January 23 include Edvard Munch (1944), Samuel Barber (1981), George Cukor (1983), Salvador Dali (1989), Richard Berry (1997), Bob Keeshan (2004), Johnny Carson (2005), and Jack La Lanne (2011). Today is a birthday for Rutger Hauer (71) and Chita Rivera (82). According to the Brandon Brooks Rewind radio segment for January 23, Paul Robeson died of a stroke in Philadelphia at the age of 77 in 1976. In 1983, “The A-Team,” starring George Peppard and Mr. T, debuted on NBC. In 1988, Michael Jackson was Number One on the singles chart with “The Way You Make Me Feel.” In 1988, Nirvana made their first demo recording, ten songs with producer Jack Endino.

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