All is Lost

I watched some of the news about the storm hitting the East Coast. One reporter was sitting in the middle of Times Square. I went to the office to get in some work. I feel that I am a very hungry person most of the time. I sat around watching the Robert Redford movie “All is Lost.” I kept thinking that there is no way I would ever do anything where I was many miles away from any human beings. I would not be able to survive the slightest crisis. I thought about the James Franco character in “127 Hours,” and how insane he was to go out there all alone. Redford’s character is called just Our Man in the credits. I’m sure he makes mistakes in dealing with the anchor, the hole, and heading for the shipping route. This man is not too far from turning eighty, so I had to wonder how much fight he had left in him. Oh, to die alone in the middle of the ocean. His attempt to survive the elements brought to mind the early part of “Jeremiah Johnson.” What I didn’t get was how he could sit around cooking his food and then walk away with the flame still on. I liked how there was practically no dialogue in the whole movie. It was almost like watching a silent film. It also added to the sense of isolation. What was terrible was that things seemed to get only worse after the accident. You had to figure that things would only get worse until the moment this man would either be rescued or die. I would have thought he’d spend more time fixing the hole. You had the feeling that water would rush through it sooner or later. Why wasn’t there any technology that would help him to send out a distress signal? The problem with his drinking water was a real killer. Is using a sextant really helpful when you’re just drifting around? You need to have more things that are waterproof. I noticed that there were a lot of books in the boat. I wondered where the man’s family was. Shouldn’t somebody have been looking out for him when he’s a man of an advanced age? I thought Redford still had a strong presence on the screen, even if he wasn’t the same man he was in “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” and “The Sting.” He made us feel that we were going through all of this with him. I had seen “Open Water,” so already I saw a story of someone trying to survive the harsh elements. One little mistake could mean disaster. Redford seemed like he was far from being that strong and silent type from years past. When he was underwater, he was barely hanging onto life. Those very last moments of the movie made me flash back to Holly Hunter in “The Piano.” The movie made me think about how I am living alone, and how hazardous that can be. I can slip in the bathroom and gash my head open and bleed to death like William Holden. I saw part of Tom Hanks in “Cast Away” once, and I remember it as a pretty good movie. I think perhaps I liked “All is Lost” a bit more. I definitely liked it more than “Life of Pi.” Robert Redford was the only actor in the movie, so that part of the credits was short. We hear a voice on the radio, and Redford tries to communicate an S.O.S., but he’s not successful. I kept thinking about how to make air and sea travel safer using technology. We could use devices that can transmit distress signals and coordinates of locations from any spot in the entire world. It was so disheartening to see this man trying to get noticed by lighting flares. It was like everyone was asleep. You can die out there, and nobody would notice or care. It’s frightening to think that the rest of the world may be like that, and not just the crew of two cargo ships. I thought about Alfred Hitchcock’s “Lifeboat.” I’m not too sure I would want to be stuck with other people in that situation. They drive me crazy as it is when I have plenty of room to get away from them. I also had to think about that Monty Python skit about the Royal Navy and cannibalism. I thought that one was truly hilarious the first time I saw it. I liked “Eating Raoul” when I first saw it in the 1980s. I could not like the part in “The Help” that had the chocolate pie, however. Getting back to Robert Redford, I think he’s had a great career, considering mostly his work up through “Out of Africa.” I think I liked him best in the Twilight Zone episode, “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,” “Jeremiah Johnson,” “The Candidate,” and “All the President’s Men.” His sex symbol status faded, which was inevitable, but now he is 78 years old. I last saw him in that last Captain America movie. You have to wonder just how many more movie he has left in him. I ran into a former student who told me that he was preparing for business school in the fall. At least some of my former students are succeeding. For my class, I gave a rather long lecture and returned home rather worn down. I saw a Big Bang Theory episode in which Sheldon rewarded Penny with chocolate in order to control her behavior. I was exceptionally tired and so fell asleep for a while, and I awoke to the news that the Warriors had lost a home game to the Bulls. You can’t win every game, and the Warriors seemed to struggle a bit against the Celtics on Sunday. I saw Gayle King on CBS This Morning wearing a black dress that I thought I saw Erica Hill wearing recently. There was some controversy over the shutting down of New York City based on weather reports. Nobody’s perfect, especially the weather forecasters. Some of the people who died on January 28 include William Butler Yeats (1939), John Banner (1973), Jerry Siegel (1996), and Astrid Lindgren (2002). Today is a birthday for Barbi Benton (65), Alan Alda (79), and Claes Oldenburg (86). According to the Brandon Brooks Rewind radio segment for January 28, “Barnaby Jones” made its debut on CBS in 1973. In 1985, Cyndi Lauper, Lionel Richie, Hall and Oates, and Prince were some of the winners at the 12th annual American Music Awards. In 1992, Hillary Rodham Clinton apologized to Tammy Wynette over comments aired on the 60 Minutes television program. In 1996, the original Bert and Ernie puppets were stolen from an exhibit in Germany, although they were later returned.

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