Monkey Kingdom

I watched CBS Sunday Morning, which had segments about the Northern Lights and Kate Mulgrew. My mother phoned me and avoided discussing painful subjects. Instead, she talked about buying shoes and food. I went out to Safeway, and then waited entirely too long for the 1 bus. I went to the Jack London Stadium 9 box office, which opened up late, much to everyone’s disgust. I walked over to the farmers’ market. The line was too long for the crepes, so I settled for a Devil Dog. Next time I’ll have to arrive early so that I’ll have the time for the crepes. Back at the theatre, some people had already seen “Furious 7” and “Home” and didn’t want to see “Unfriended.” Some of those people went to see “Monkey Kingdom,” and I was one of them. I thought perhaps I could revive old memories of Disney nature documentaries from when I was a kid. This one was photographed in Sri Lanka. Monkeys are a good subject because of their behavior and their recognizable faces. The filmmakers decided to give this film a storyline, which had a female monkey rise in social status within the group. I guess it’s a more uplifting story than focusing on a male leader taking a fall. We hear Micky Dolenz singing the Monkees theme, which made me wonder why Disney didn’t use the original recording. Tina Fey was the narrator, and she made the movie pretty humorless, but I also thought that she talked too much. I also thought it was questionable that the monkeys should be given human names for this film. Why should they have names like Maya or Kip? What kinds of names would monkeys in Sri Lanka have? I thought of Daryl Hannah’s name in “Splash.” I was impressed with some of the footage the filmmakers got of the monkeys, to the point where I got skeptical. When the monkeys visited the city, they were able to steal all sorts of food. With a conspicuous camera crew following them around, how could all these stupid people leave their food unattended so that it would all disappear? It seemed exceptionally dangerous for the monkeys to be climbing around power lines. I didn’t like the idea of having this film be about the social politics of monkeys. We get enough of that in our real lives and on the news. I wondered why some of the monkeys didn’t move over to another fig tree. One moment that disgusted the audience was seeing a mother bear share her saliva with her children. Some of the children got restless during the movie. I think they wanted less of Tina Fey and more of the monkeys during exciting things. The outtakes and behind the scenes footage at the end suggested to me that there was too much interactions between the animals and the filmmakers. Did they influence the monkeys, or even get the monkeys to do things for the camera? Maybe it’s difficult to make a documentary about monkeys because they’re too smart and are too close to being human. We don’t want to see a movie that shows a social structure and how monkeys relate to each other. Would we want to see a movie about a monkey government, with committees and voting and speeches? Do we want to see the monkey legal system, with courts and trials and lawyers? There is some conflict, but the war seemed to end too quickly, not as it does in an action movie. Nature documentaries seemed much more interesting when I was a kid. I learned a lot more from them in those days. The music didn’t feature lame pop songs. This one was still pretty good for a Sunday afternoon, compared with the worthless movies that are out there. There was more spilled popcorn on the floor than usual, as I almost tripped over a bag on my way out. I took the buses back as I listened to the end of the A’s game in Kansas City. Scott Kazmir had pitched well, but Eric O’Flaherty had difficulty with the eighth inning. The A’s went from a 2-1 lead to a 4-2 loss. I got home and took a nap. I listened to Robert Hilburn’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Times radio program on KCSN. He played songs by George Jones, Norah Jones, and Rickie Lee Jones. One of my favorite songs during this hour was “Young Blood.” When I saw the Columbo episode on Me TV, I saw Ricardo Montalban as the murder suspect. The story was set in Mexico, and involved bullfighting. It was called “A Matter of Honor.” “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” was an episode with Judy Carne. It was called “The Ultimate Computer Affair.” One of the television stations was showing “Three Days of the Condor” followed by “Barfly.” I saw the end of “Murder by Death.” Afterwards, Andre Agassi talked about how much he hated tennis. A movie called “The Yellow Mountain” was on the Grit channel, but I couldn’t find it in my movie guide. One of the stars was William Demarest. On KQED, I saw a Brian Wilson special. He performed “Help Me, Rhonda” and “Fun, Fun, Fun.” I wondered if he was doing anything on the keyboard in front of him. I missed the episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents that he directed and which had Tom Ewell and Raymond Bailey. The title was “The Case of Mr. Pelham.” The Jack Benny Program had Nat King Cole. I find it difficult to watch Bill Cosby in “I Spy” these days. The bomb that Robert Culp has during the opening credits looked like it came out of a cartoon. Some of the people who died on April 20 include Bram Stoker (1912), Don Siegel (1991), Cantinflas (1993), and Giuseppe Sinopoli (2001). Today is a birthday for Crispin Glover (51), Clint Howard (56), Jessica Lange (66), Ryan O’Neal (74), and George Takei (78). According to the Brandon Brooks Rewind radio segment for April 20, M.F.S.B. had the Number One single in 1974, “T.S.O.P. (The Sound of Philadelphia).” In 1977, the Woody Allen film “Annie Hall” was released. In 1992, Elton John, David Bowie, and U2 were among the performers at a Freddie Mercury tribute concert.

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