Sunday, January 29, 2017


A riveting story ...


Wealth, power and foolishness.

Lies and more lies ...

The foolers and fools.

Drunk on dreams, and drunk on booze.

In the end, was he or was he not?
Did he know, or did he not?

Hee hee ... enjoy.


Men and women who would destroy everything for their own gain. Who have fallen down at the feet of Mammon, thrown away their humanity, willing to eat one another for breakfast, wiping their mouth and their hands, on to the next feast.

Friday, January 20, 2017

"The Founder"

This was a fine peace of work, and Michael Keaton, wide-eyed and determined, reveals the ligaments of dreams and power - it's all a mixed bag - wreckage left in his wake, an empire built, families disrupted, and in the end, money - money given to the Salvation Army and NPR (go figure). 

The entire cast is superb - the costumes and settings capture the feel of the times.

And I learned that Grand Rapids, MI was one of the very first in the new chain, and it was in GR, when I moved there in the fall of 1959, I remember my first trip there - going up to the window, the 15-cent burgers and 10-cent fries - I remember standing there and eating. Wow. I was 15 and in 10th grade.

Enjoying the story, feeling some of Kroc's enormous frustration in trying to find himself, and the constant anxiety of going on a limb, I found myself encouraged - persistence is the key, always. And clear-headed thinking and goals, too. 

But, in a sense, woe to those who achieve their dreams. The feel of the movie is morally ambiguous, which is pretty much the whole of life.

A movie for the times ... live and learn.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

"Hidden Figures"

A must-see film.

The story opens a curtain on America and its standard operating procedure on race. Here we have three women (bad enough), and "colored (worst) - everything against them, but with loving families standing with them, and taking advantage of what they can, and always pushing the limits.

The acting is superb ... and the overall theme is painfully clear, as the husband of one of the women says: "Freedom is never given to the oppressed; it has to be taken" ...

These women walk a tight rope - their own ambition and ability constantly checked and challenged by racism - not always the violent kind, but the endemic kind, like air and water, just the way it is.

The setting is the early 60s ... the civil rights movement is on, and as one of the men says, "civil right isn't always very civil."

The women find ways and means to hang on, to stand up, to push ahead. They are brilliant in all respects, working a team of African American women segregated to the West Campus, doing their work, shunned and mistreated ...

There are a few white folk around who catch a glimmer of a different world ... and make it happen, even when it's not enough, but something is better than nothing. There are no "white heroes" here (which is too often case in movies); whatever freedom is won, is hard-won, and the whites, if they move, are moved by mostly by pressure, and not by compassion.

I found myself sickened at times - oh, how could we be like this, to look upon other human beings and simply categorize them as "less than us" and constantly deny to them a place in life - the colored bathrooms, the colored coffee maker, the colored section of the library - every goddamn thing marked off with boundaries drawn by whites - it's ugly, hateful, disgusting ... and almost always polite.

The three women swallow a lot ... they find surcease in family and faith ... they love and fall in love and are loved - the irony of it all: as Kevin Costner, the director, says, "our pee is all the same color" when he smashes off the wall a "colored bathroom" sign and walks away with everyone standing around in amazement.

Is there hope?


But neither the story nor reality allow us to be naive ... we've come a long way, but the way ahead remains challenging ... the work of freedom, the work of civil rights, is far from complete.

Woven into the story is the character and crust of these three remarkable women. There's humor in the pain, and I found myself, with the audience, laughing with delight at the victories and humor in the face of sorrow, and cheering when a victory is won - like being able to take a night-course in all white high school, a decision made by a judge, so one of the women could continue her education.

At the end, narrative on screen telling us about the three women, and showing their pictures - suddenly, it's all-too clear: this is real story about real people and and a real time in our nation's history.

Powerful, important, entertaining, enlightening.

I came home and said, "What a fine, fine, movie."

Yes, a must-see movie.