Modern Times

I watched CBS This Morning. Kenny Gilbert visited the show. Some of his signatures dishes are local shrimp and grits, crispy brussels, chilled pemaquid oysters, skillet cornbread and drop biscuit, KG’s banana pudding, and The Beast. I went to work and talked about what Green Day Fireworks Night would be like. I talked with someone else about the Fast and Furious movies. After work, I listened to the American Top 40 program from August 26, 1972. One song was The Raspberries’ “Go All the Way.” The Top 10 songs were “Baby Don’t Get Hooked on Me,” “You Don’t Mess Around with Jim,” “Coconut,” “Goodbye to Love,” “(If Loving You Is Wrong) I Don’t Want to Be Right,” “Hold Your Head Up,” “Long Cool Woman,” “Alone Again (Naturally),” and “Brandy.” I went straight to the Grand Lake Theatre afterwards, but found that the showtime for “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” was later than I thought. One of the early images was the same as what was in “Mad Max: Fury Road.” It was the trees in the explosion. The movie was rather fun, but the actors who played the two principal parts weren’t too memorable, in my view. When I got back home, I saw the ending of a Big Bang Theory episode in which Sheldon is sick. I tried to watch “The Notorious Landlady,” but I fell asleep. I watched the Blu-ray of “Modern Times” again. It’s one of those movie that I watch to make me feel better. This edition on Criterion is great because it looks so good. It’s not absolutely flawless, because you can still see white flecks in the print, but it look much cleaner than the copy I saw in the theatre back in 1984. Watching the feeding machine, I noticed that the lid was unnecessary. Paulette Goddard’s dress didn’t look like it was genuinely torn at the bottom, and I don’t know why she would just stand there eating a banana. She wasn’t showing that she wanted to escape. I wondered if prisoners were allowed to do needlepoint in their cells in those days. I also wanted to know what they were eating in prison. The humor involving the cocaine seemed unusual for Chaplin. I kept thinking that this was decades before Cheech and Chong. I wondered what happened with Paulette’s sisters. It seemed terrible that we never see them again after the scene with the authorities. They were incompetent to let her escape. I liked the scene in the cafeteria where Charlie tries to get arrested for not paying for his food. He even picks up a toothpick on his way out. It was also funny how he gave the cigars to the kids. There is a lot of eating in this movie. Where was Newbridge County? How could Charlie and Paulette have fallen out of the police van without getting hurt? I noticed the billboard that said “New Ford for 1935.” This was several years after the first talking films. You can see Paulette saying things like “He was my father” and “I sure am hungry.” Charlie gets hit with bad luck four times: with the red flag, the department store, the strike, the brick, and the authorities catching up to Paulette. He does have some good luck, too, like in stopping the prison escape and getting a couple of jobs. One of the thieves in the department doesn’t mind wasting five shots, and Paulette sleeps through all of it. How could one of the customers find the material of Charlie’s shirt good enough to buy? Charlie gets smacked in the head right after he says, “It’s paradise,” referring to the shack that Paulette found. I’m not sure that he would want to jump into the water outside if it were today. How did Paulette get a copy of the morning newspaper? I always thought that the gears in the factory were too far apart if Charlie could get in between them. The machines seemed awfully dangerous. The old guy sure had a lot of food in his lunch, like that celery and the whole chicken, a thermos of coffee, a boiled egg, and a big slice of pie. Charlie went to jail three times, and almost twice more, and got hauled away for his mental breakdown. If Charlie had a sexual relationship with Paulette, he would have been in trouble because she was a juvenile. His misadventures with the roast duck are still funny to me. The scene must have been difficult to film. Everybody laughed at the football bit except for the man who ordered the roast duck. He had no sense of humor. The duck seemed like a lot of food for just one person. He was alone and didn’t have a wife. How was it that the table area cleared of customers in just a few moments? Where was it that Charlie and Paulette ended up? There were no cars around, and no people anywhere for miles, apparently. I can’t think of “Smile” now without thinking of Michael Jackson. The Charlie Chaplin movies have been part of my life for many years now, like the Beatles’ albums. I’ll have to buy the Blu-ray of “The Great Dictator” as soon as I can. “Ace in the Hole” was one of the movies that was on television in the middle of the night. I like watching the Billy Wilder movies from the early days on through “The Fortune Cookie.” It’s amazing to me that Kirk Douglas is still alive. “Stalag 17” and “Sabrina” really influenced me when I was a kid. I thought those were great movies. I like the Jack Lemmon and William Holden movies, and the two with Marilyn Monroe. James Cagney, Audrey Hepburn, Humphrey Bogart, Dean Martin, and Kim Novak were in Billy Wilder movies, too. Wilder complained that he didn’t get the chance to direct any films after 1981, but the evidence was that he had lost his touch. It was a great winning streak that he had. I feel like he should still be alive because his movies will live forever. “The Fisher King” was on another channel, but I found it hard to watch it as I thought about Robin Williams’ death. His name has been in the news recently because of the legal dispute over his possessions. It’s still disturbing to think that he hanged himself. How many movies since 1991 have I really liked? It doesn’t seem like very many. We’re living in a crappy period for movies and pop music. If there’s anything worthwhile out there, I don’t see it. Some of the people who died on August 30 include Abraham Zapruder (1970), Michael Dunn (1973), Richard Jordan (1993), Lindsay Anderson (1994), Charles Bronson (2003), and Glenn Ford (2006). Today is a birthday for Cameron Diaz (43) and Peggy Lipton (69). According to the Brandon Brooks Rewind radio segment for August 30, Chicago Transit Authority was at the Texas International Pop Festival, along with Janis Joplin and Santana, in 1969. In 1974, the last episode of “The Brady Bunch” aired on ABC. In 1992, “Murphy Brown” won an Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series, and “Northern Exposure” won an Emmy for Outstanding Drama Series.

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