Being Human

I thought I would get a phone call about one of my accounts, but it didn’t happen. I took BART out to the Coliseum and found myself in the middle of a group of kids. I didn’t have the time to buy something to eat, and so I went straight to my seat, which was nicely in the shade. I ended up staying for only the first four innings. Scott Kazmir would pitch only three innings for the A’s. He ran into trouble in the second inning by allowing three walks to load the bases. However, he gave up no runs. His other two innings were clean innings. Dan Otero pitched the fourth inning and looked shaky, giving up three hits. However, he threw to third base to catch one of the Detroit baserunners. Meanwhile, the A’s got only a walk from Josh Reddick through the first three innings. He was picked off first base to end the first inning. In the fourth inning, Reddick again walked with one out, and Ben Zobrist followed with a single, but then Stephen Vogt hit into a double play. Perhaps I could have stayed for another ten or fifteen minutes, but I didn’t take the day off from work. I watched the movie “Being Human,” starring Robin Williams and directed by Bill Forsyth. It failed at the box office back in 1994, and I can’t stay that I liked it much, either. Bill Forsyth had made movies that I liked in the past, like “Local Hero” and “Housekeeping.” This one had personal touches that didn’t connect with audiences. Maybe the project was too personal. It showed a man named Hector at different points in history, repeating the same mistakes in life. I thought a quick indication of the problems of this movie were the extensive narration, and the explanation that this was a story about a story. When the movie doesn’t just play itself out, it’s not clear enough. We shouldn’t need Theresa Russell to explain things to us. Robin Williams didn’t get too many roles that were suited to him. In this picture, he gets five roles. I just could not seem him as a cave man because he was too cerebral. These stories are supposedly to be cleverly intertwined, but I saw the mere repetition of ideas, like shoes, fire, difficulty communicating with women, crossing a river, and separation from children. John Turturro was in one of the segments, and he was interesting, but out of place as a Roman. I thought about how much better he was in “The Big Lebowski.” Lindsay Crouse and Lorraine Bracco were in the modern segment. I could see how movie audiences didn’t want to watch a melancholy Robin Williams character. He seems too childlike to neglect his own children. The daughter was a teenager in 1994, which was 21 years ago, so I wondered what she was like now. If Forsyth wanted to tell his own story, I wished he had the courage to strip away all these embellishments and tell us what was on his mind in a more direct manner. We’re left to guess at what things mean, and it feels like only a fraction of what we’re seeing is relevant. Forsyth needed an injection of new ideas. Perhaps he should have given the writing job to someone else. I read that the previews of this move went badly, so Forsyth had to make cuts to the running time and add a happy ending. I didn’t think of the movie as too long. We just didn’t want to see Robin Williams as a bumbling failure, and it was worse to see him like that five times. It seemed like those points didn’t need to be made more than once. We get the message pretty quickly. I don’t know what it is that makes successful film directors lose touch with their audience. I was hungry and had no food in the refrigerator, and so I went to Bongo Burger. The place was empty when I got there, but other people arrived soon after I did. Their ketchup comes in plastic bags that make the ketchup look unappetizing. I ate too quickly. One of the bookstore had a copy of The Complete Avengers for six dollars, so I bought it. I wished I had the money to buy the Truffaut book on Hitchcock. Back at home, I watched “In Harm’s Way.” It was one of those John Wayne war movies. The cast was very good. How many times do you get to see John Wayne and Henry Fonda in the same scene? The director was Otto Preminger. The next movie was “Apache Uprising” with Rory Calhoun, but it didn’t appeal to me. The director was someone named R.G. Springsteen. Some of the people who died on May 28 include Noah Webster (1843), Audie Murphy (1971), Phil Hartman (1998), and Gary Coleman (2012). Today is a birthday for John Fogerty (70), Gladys Knight (71), Sondra Locke (71), and Jerry West (77). According to the Brandon Brooks Rewind radio segment for May 28, the Frank Sinatra movie “The Detective” was released in 1968. In 1977, Strontium 90, featuring future members of The Police, performed in Paris. In 1982, “Rocky III,” featuring Sylvester Stallone and Mr. T, was released.

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