Bridge of Spies

I went to the General Services Office to get my new employee ID. I was glad that it didn’t take long. I didn’t have the time to sit down and have lunch, so I bought a sandwich from Walgreens before taking the bus over to the Grand Lake Theatre. I was there to see the Steven Spielberg film “Bridge of Spies.” It took place in 1957, and Tom Hanks played a New York lawyer named James Donovan who finds himself negotiating the release of Francis Gary Powers. Alan Alda was also in this movie. The subject matter wasn’t the most appealing. Who needs another movie about lawyers, politics, and negotiation? We hear too much about all of this in the news every day. Somehow, I can’t accept Tom Hanks in the role of a lawyer. I’ve seen too much of him on television over the years. In fact, I saw the beginning of “Bachelor Party” on television two nights ago, and I could barely stand even the first few minutes of it. A graduate student named Frederic Pryor foolishly went into East Berlin as the Berlin Wall was being closed up, and he found himself as a part of this international incident. Hanks convinced me that he had a cold. I guess with a recent agreement with Iran in the news, this movie had a timely quality. Sometimes these agreements actually work out. I have no confidence that any U.S. treaties will work out again, ever. The last part of the movie built up some suspense, as it felt that the arrangement would fall apart. There was a good moment with Hanks watching on at the car. Steven Spielberg can’t force me to be interested in things that I’m not interested in. I thought this movie was better than some of Spielberg’s serious efforts. I was also getting tired of some of the Spielberg trademarks in directing action. The sequence with Powers’ spy plane made me think of “The Right Stuff.” The sights from the trains made me think of a few of the things I’ve seen riding around on BART. Donovan returns from his big trip like he’s an ordinary husband, and he falls sleep after he hits his bed. I can identify with that very tired feeling. When I think of how the music of Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry, and the Everly Brothers has disappeared from the radio, I wonder how many people will go out and see this movie this weekend. Most of the people I saw in the theatre were pretty old, and one of them was making sounds as if he was about to die. The baby boom generation is fading, and everybody I see out and about looks young and foolish. The scenes of Powers’ interrogation felt like “The Confession,” which I had seen again recently. I saw a bit of an interview with Hanks and Spielberg on CBS This Morning. They said that nonfiction entertainment was a great thing, and that audiences should come away having learning something. Gayle King noted that Hanks was a history buff. I think the audience at the Grand Lake Theatre yesterday did enjoy the movie. It got some laughs at the right moments, although I didn’t hear any applause at the very end. Maybe the old people were tired at that point. Movies that deal with law and politics tend to wear me down. I took the buses back home. I watched the game between the Royals and the Blue Jays. The Royals did get good relief pitching, which was something we didn’t see enough with the A’s. Josh Donaldson got a hit. He also made an error, but a good double play kept one run from scoring. I watched the Partridge Family episode “See Here, Private Partridge” and the NUMB3RS episode “Magic Show.” We didn’t really get a good look at the cover of the Partridge Family’s first album, and we would never see it again in the show. Penn Gillette was in the NUMB3RS episode, and he was supposedly an admirer of Charlie. Jimmy Kimmel and Jessica Chastain were guests on the Stephen Colbert show. I liked seeing Jessica Chastain in “Interstellar” and “The Martian” and thought she could become the new Queen of Science Fiction. On the Today Weekend show, I saw the Mets mascot prancing around. I like the Mets because of Roger Angell, and well as 1969. I miss the Saturday morning Beatles program I listened to for a long time on 103.7 FM. Apparently, the radio station wants to attract younger listeners, so they’ve done away with the 60s music and brought in a playlist of 80s music. The closure of the Grapevine made me wonder if I would encounter difficulties in travel during the holiday season. Are my football games going to be all in rainy weather? Johnny Manziel seems like a real jackass. I don’t have either a California football game or a Raiders game to watch this weekend. Some of the people who died on October 17 include Frederic Chopin (1849), Christopher Glenn (2006), Joey Bishop (2007), Levi Stubbs (2008), and Vic Mizzy (2009). Today is a birthday for Eminem (43), Mike Judge (53), Margot Kidder (67), and George Wendt (67). According to the Brandon Brooks Rewind radio segment for October 17, the Elvis Presley movie “Jailhouse Rock” had its premiere in 1957. In 1963, Dion and the Belmonts broke up. In 1966, “Hollywood Squares” premiered on NBC. In 1967, “Hair” had its premiere off Broadway. Today is Gary Puckett’s 73rd birthday.

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