Trumbo

I heard that Jesse Chavez had been traded. He was friendly and signed a lot of autographs for A’s fans, but he also had difficulty pitching well over an entire season. I saw James MacArthur on the Alfred Hitchcock Hour as I worked on some writing. I watched “Notorious” again in the middle of the night and had difficulty getting back to sleep. I watched CBS This Morning and caught their chef segment. Jacques Pépin’s recipes included Corn Soufflé, Fried Eggplant Fans, Cherry Crumble, Hibiscus Flower Cocktail, Chicken Jardiniere, and Red Cabbage, Pistachio, and Cranberry Salad with Blue Cheese. The musical guest was Jeff Lynne’s ELO. I didn’t know what the difference between Jeff Lynne’s ELO and the old Electric Light Orchestra was. Are fans still paying money to see them playing “Livin’ Thing”? I checked the American Top 40 playlist for this weekend. The Top 10 songs on November 20, 1971 were “Yo-Yo,” “Got to Be There,” “Family Affair,” “Peace Train,” “Maggie May,” “Have You Seen Her,” “Baby I’m-a Want You,” “Imagine,” “Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves,” and “Theme from ‘Shaft.’” I went to work and got through a tiring shift. I took a nap at home before I headed to the theatre to see “Trumbo.” Some people had been giving it good reviews. It didn’t replace “The Front” as the best movie about the Hollywood blacklist, but it was better than the lackluster “Guilty by Suspicion.” Screenwriting and the blacklist are not the greatest subjects for a movie, but this one benefits from humor and the presence of Bryan Cranston as Dalton Trumbo. The film makes him out to be a colorful character. It reminded me a little bit of Hunter S. Thompson in “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.” Helen Mirren was very good as Hedda Hopper. John Goodman played another movie business figure, as he did in “Matinee,” “The Artist,” and “Argo.” Diane Lane was Cleo, Trumbo’s wife, and she showed some age in her face, which was a bit sad if you remembered her from the 1980s. Elle Fanning was the daughter Niki. The actors who portrayed Edward G. Robinson and John Wayne didn’t seem at all like the real people, but the one who played Kirk Douglas was on target. Otto Preminger reminded me of Albert Finney in “Annie.” This is a movie that audiences in liberal cities will like, but it won’t play well in many areas. It was rather like “Reds” in that way. I thought that Dalton Trumbo was a terrible typist for someone who made a living with his writing. Anyone who uses only two index fingers to type isn’t using a typewriter very well. The clip from “Roman Holiday” gave away one of its best jokes. I wondered how good a writer Dalton Trumbo really is. This movie makes him out to be a miracle worker. If you’re churning out the scripts quickly, quality has to suffer. Was the script for “Roman Holiday” really as great as it’s been made out to be? I thought its success had a lot to do with Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck. I can’t even remember what happened in “Spartacus.” When I think of that movie now, I think of how it was mentioned in “Clueless.” I thought the timing of the release of “Trumbo” was good because of the hearings reflect some of today’s headlines about Syrian refugees. I wonder what the family did about the swimming pool. I thought that if the writers were real writers, they could be creative and even sometimes have fun with the terrible material they worked on for the King company. I didn’t care about the inside Hollywood aspect of this movie. We see Humphrey Bogart in some of the old footage, and Lucille Ball made comments that contrasted with what John Wayne had to say. According to this movie, Kirk Douglas was practically a hero for not buckling under the pressure of people like Hedda Hopper. The movie made the liberal audience satisfied with itself, thinking that they were right with all the issues. I got annoyed when people anticipated some of the dialogue or interrupted with comments like “That’s right.” I didn’t want to hear any commentary. I can decide things for myself. The audience consisted mostly of people who were older than I am. It was a huge difference from the Hunger Games audience. I think some word of mouth helped ticket sales for this movie. I think it is going to attract viewers for years to come and will be considered a kind of a classic. During the end credits, we see photos of the real Trumbo and others. Cleo lived for a long time. Trumbo smokes, drinks, and takes pills in the movie, so we didn’t picture him living long past 1970. I went over to Bongo Burger for a turkey burger. Before I went home, I walked to Half Price Books and bought two Beatles calendars. The saxophone man outside was already playing “Silver Bells.” He also played “My Favorite Things” and “Over the Rainbow.” I don’t know if he’s learned a single new song in all the years that I’ve heard him out on the street. I watched the end of “Billy Jack.” I had forgotten about the song “One Tin Soldier.” Fortunately, I had never seen “The Trial of Billy Jack,” much less “Billy Jack Goes to Washington.” A Glen Campbell special was on KQED. I saw him singing “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head” with B.J. Thomas. I found it very sad to think that he was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. The Star Trek episode of the night was “Dagger of the Mind.” Marianna Hill played Helen Noel, and she would later appear in “The Godfather Part II.” I thought that one of the lessons of the episode was that even in the future world of Star Trek, psychology isn’t much of a science. Spock looked like he was smiling at the end. He said that Vulcans had stopped feeling emotion, but he couldn’t help expressing emotions of his own. I didn’t see the Wonder Woman episode. I watched some of a Peter, Paul and Mary special. I wonder if young people still sing songs like “If I Had a Hammer.” It was sad to see Mary Travers in the old footage. I had terrible thoughts of death. Some of the people who died on November 22 include Arthur Sullivan (1900), Jack London (1916), Lorenz Hart (1943), Aldous Huxley (1963), John F. Kennedy (1963), C.S. Lewis (1963), Mae West (1980), Scatman Crothers (1986), and Sterling Holloway (1992). Today is a birthday for Mariel Hemingway (54), Billie Jean King (72), and Robert Vaughn (83).

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