The Babadook

I wonder how much pressure the mayor of Oakland has been under. I heard the news that Marv Hubbard had died. I went over to the office and did a little bit of work, and then someone invited me to a Cinco de Mayo breakfast. It was good, because I had left home without eating. I had some eggs, corn tortillas, potatoes, and orange juice. One student talked with me about movies like “Sabrina” and “Labyrinth.” I graded some papers and gave a lecture that was rather long, but I got a lot accomplished. I watched another of those Big Bang Theory episodes with Wil Wheaton, and then I watched “The Babadook.” It was an unusual horror movie that was like “The Exorcist” set in Australia. Mister Babadook is a character in a twisted picture book, and its images of violence seem to be really threatening to a mother and her son. It reminded me of Jack Skellington from “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” only it was worse. The mother’s name was Amelia, and her son was Samuel. This kid was an outcast at school, and he caused embarrassment to his mom in front of other people, which was something else that was reminiscent of “The Exorcist.” His shrieks were really frightening. There was an awareness that the use of sound can be terrifying in a movie. I think you can tell that a woman was the writer of the film because the main idea is the strength of a mother’s love. Amelia made me think of Kirsten Dunst. She was something like the character from “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” or maybe that third Spider-Man movie. The photo of the DVD cover made Amelia look like Cameron Diaz. She should have either saved the book and presented it to the police, or immediately burned it. What did tearing it up and putting it in the trash can do? Wasn’t there a recent commercial that showed how characters in a horror movie always made bad decisions? One scene I wished was not in the movie involved the dog. The poor animal sure did not deserve its fate. I’m not sure that I wanted that bratty kid to experience a happy ending. I wouldn’t have minded it if he had been terrorized forever. Just because a kid feels different from the children, that doesn’t mean that everybody should rush to sympathize. I thought this movie was more disturbing than frightening. The DVD cover has a quote from William Friedkin, saying that “The Babadook” was the most terrifying movie he’d ever seen. I didn’t really like the look of the film, which was too dark. I thought a real problem was the sound. Even with the volume turned up to a high level, a lot of the dialogue was barely audible. The ending left open the possibility of “The Babadook 2,” which I hoped wouldn’t be the case. I liked the fact that the movie didn’t have any starts in it. Watching it, though, I wished these resources had gone into something other than a horror movie. I liked it more than “The Blair Witch Project,” but not as much as “The Exorcist,” which is an all-time classic in my view. The writer and director was Jennifer Kent. I read that she appeared in “Babe: Pig in the City.” Two of her influences were David Lynch and Roman Polanski. I’m not confident that she has the talent to make better movies than this. I fell asleep and didn’t watch any of the special features on the disc. The interviews with the cast might have been interesting. I guess I missed out on the Babadook book. I could have bought it for $80. I thought it might be fun to look through a copy. I saw that there was a marathon of “Love, American Style” on Channel 5.2. I watched the beginning of the program to see the cast. Jo Anne Worley did not excite me. I wanted to see Julie Newmar. The theme song reminded me of The Cowsills. I’m wondering if I can watch episodes of “Nanny and the Professor.” It’s been years since I have seen “Room 222,” and I wonder if those episode hold up at all. I watched a feature on the news about a machine that produces water out of the humidity in the air. It was too expensive for average people, and the concept didn’t seem to be economically feasible at this point. It seemed like a machine that I might want to own. I heard that the Warriors lost Game 2 against the Memphis Grizzlies. The Warriors held the Grizzlies to under 100 points, and yet they still lost. It’s not time to panic yet. I’m glad that I wasn’t at the arena to see the team lose. I really hate the Sutter Health commercial that starts with the woman saying, “I want to know.” David Letterman’s guests were Reese Witherspoon, Nathan Lane, and Mumford & Sons. I liked seeing Reese Witherspoon on talk shows in the past. I didn’t want to stay up for James Corden. I think he is really struggling to be amusing. His guests were Penny from the Big Bang Theory and LL Cool J. I was thinking with some dread about going to the credit union for financial advice. I heard Gayle King this morning talking about Willie Nelson smoking some marijuana at the White House. Frank Mallicoat didn’t want to admit to anything he might have done in the past. He probably didn’t smoke weed in the White House, though, so he didn’t recognize that Gayle was giving him a way out of her question to him. I heard that the A’s were able to beat the Twins, and that Jesse Chavez pitched a good game. I didn’t understand why the fleece blanket giveaway had to be so early this year, and on a Tuesday night. Some of the people who died on May 6 include Henry David Thoreau (1862), L. Frank Baum (1919), Wilfrid Hyde-White (1991), Marlene Dietrich (1992), Otis Blackwell (2002), Herb Sargent (2005), and George Lindsey (2012). Today is a birthday for George Clooney (54), Tom Bergeron (60), Bob Seger (70), and Willie Mays (84). According to the Brandon Brooks Rewind radio segment for May 6, L. Frank Baum, author of “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, died a day after suffering a stroke. In 1973, Paul Simon began his first concert tour as a solo artist in Boston. In 1992, Marlene Dietrich died of renal failure in her apartment in Paris at age 90. Orson Welles was born 100 years ago today.

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