Medium Cool

I thought about the deaths of Martin Milner and Judy Carne. I had a decent day of lecturing, although the heat wave made me feel extremely uncomfortable. I made my way home and watched “Medium Cool” on Blu-ray. It looked better than I ever remembered it on this Criterion Collection edition. I don’t recall the color looking as good as it does on this disc. The plot never seemed like much of a lot. The movie is notable for how it was made, using fiction and documentary footage. With the passage of years, some of the footage seems not quite so powerful. I read through Roger Ebert’s review, and he discussed the editing technique of not showing the audience every detail, to give them credit for their intelligence to fill in the gaps in a story. He rated the movie very highly, calling it an important American document. A lot of people have forgotten about this movie. I’ll remember “Midnight Cowboy” for a long time because of Jon Voight and Dustin Hoffman. Some of the actors in “Medium Cool” were Peter Bonerz, Verna Bloom, and Peter Boyle. Peter Bonerz, of course, would go on to be on The Bob Newhart Show. I know that Verna Bloom was in “High Plains Drifter” and the Martin Scorsese movies “After Hours” and “The Last Temptation of Christ.” Peter Boyle was in “Joe,” “Young Frankenstein,” and “Taxi Driver.” Haskell Wexler is still alive and is 93 years old. He was on a real winning streak during the years from “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” through “Days of Heaven.” I think the last movie of his that I saw was “The Secret of Roan Inish.” He is clearly one of the top cinematographers of all time. John Cassavetes was originally the main character, and I think I would have liked him in this movie. I’ll always remember the images of Eileen in her yellow dress walking around Chicago looking for her son. The other thing I’ll remember is the unconvincing car accident at the end. It just didn’t look like it really happened. Ebert chose “Medium Cool” as the second best movie of 1969, leading me to wonder what his first choice was. I looked it up and saw that it was “Z.” Well, “Medium Cool” is something you’d expect to see on a PBS station, except for the nudity in it. I think it’s a good movie to take off the shelf every now and then for a look back in time. I’m glad that I’m getting the chance to see some of these movies in good high definition Criterion Collection editions. I didn’t feel like watching any of the special features in the middle of the night, but I’d like to hear what Haskell Wexler had to say about the making of this movie. I feel asleep but awoke in time to catch the first Stephen Colbert show. I didn’t find the bit with the Oreo cookies all that amusing. I’m not sold on Stephen Colbert. I stayed up to watch the beginning of the James Corden show and his bit with the pizza and ignoring Bradley Cooper. I found it hard to get back to sleep during a warm night. I heard on the news that Serena Williams won. Some of the people who died on September 9 include A.G. Spalding (1915), John McGiver (1975), Patrick O’Neal (1994), Burgess Meredith (1997), Catfish Hunter (1999), and Larry Hovis (2003). Today is a birthday for Hugh Grant (55) and Angela Cartwright (63). According to the Brandon Brooks Rewind radio segment for September 9, Elvis Presley made his first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1956. In 1971, John Lennon’s “Imagine” album was released. In 1991, “The Maury Povich Show” debuted. In 1997, Burgess Meredith died at age 89 at his home in Malibu.

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