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Found 11 results

  1. "Sabrina" is often considered one of "My Two Favorite Audrey Hepburn Films" by devout Hepburn lovers (of which I am one - the other film being "Roman Holiday," debuting one-year earlier) - 1953-1954 could be considered a mini Golden Age of Audrey Hepburn. Sabrina (Hepburn) is the young daughter of a chauffeur (played by the eminently recognizable John Williams), who works for a mega-wealthy family living on the North Snore of Long Island (think: "The Great Gatsby"). The two sons in the family are played by Humphrey Bogart (the same year as his Oscar nomination for "The Caine Mutiny") and a very blonde William Holden (one year after his Oscar victory for "Stalag 17") - Hollywood must have spared no expense in getting these three leading actors. Early on, there's an amusing scene about a Parisian cooking school. Without issuing any spoilers for people who are going to watch this classic Romantic Comedy, all I'll say is that "Sabrina," in some small way, can be thought of as a sequel to "Casablanca."
  2. For several years, I was a Big Brother, until my little brother, Ali, his mom Iris, and his sister, Naimah, moved to San Diego to stake out a better life for themselves. I remember taking his family to the airport, and had to pay for their cat to get on the plane because they didn't have the money. I only saw Ali once more after that, a few years later when I went to visit their family out in San Diego. We drove up to Los Angeles because Ali wanted to go to the Spike Lee Store, where everything was overpriced and of questionable quality. I bought him a T-shirt, and paid twice what it was worth - I didn't want to drive back to San Diego without a momento from his hero. A few years before that, I had flown in from Moscow. Exhausted after traveling the better part of 24 hours, I was ready to collapse into bed, but checked my answering machine first. There was a message from Iris: Ali's best friend Frankie was shot and killed in a drug deal gone bad, and the funeral was in about one hour. Somehow, I found the strength to throw on a suit, and drive to Seat Pleasant, where I was the only white person at the funeral. Frankie's mom came up to me, and asked me to say a few words. To this day, I have no idea why - what the heck was I supposed to say? Fighting lack of concentration because of sleepiness, I fumbled through my speech, turned to Frankie lying in his coffin, and told him we all loved him - that won the audience over, and things went as well as they could have under the extreme amount of pressure I was under. Six years ago, I wondered what Ali had been up to, and I searched his name on the internet, only to find his obituary. I posted this. Frankie and Ali were both the finest young men. I loved them and miss them terribly to this day - their premature deaths are 100% attributable to the neighborhoods they grew up in - even though Iris tried her best to escape, it just wasn't enough. She didn't have the money. I did things with Ali and Frankie about once a week, and remember one day asking them where they went to school. "Taney Middle School," Ali said, which meant nothing to me, or to him, or to Frankie. But a few years later, I did a little research, and found that Roger B. Taney was a Supreme Court Justice. 'Okay,' I thought to myself, they had gone to a middle school named after a Supreme Court Justice. Then, I found out that Roger B. Taney was actually Chief Justice from 1836-1864, and was the person who wrote the majority decision in the Dred Scott v. Sandford case of 1857. These children were going to a school that was nearly 100% black, and the school was named after the Chief Justice who tried the Dred Scott case? I couldn't believe it, but over the years, I forgot all about it. Until recently, when it popped back into my mind, and I Googled to see if that school was really named after the same man who wrote the Dred Scott ruling - the ruling that said, blacks "had no rights which the white man was bound to respect." Fortunately, in 1993, someone had the common sense to change the name of the school from "Roger B. Taney Middle School" to "Thurgood Marshall Middle School": "School May Change Name to Thurgood Marshall" on articles.orlandosentinel.com This column came out today: "Out with Redskins - and Everything Else!" by George F. Will on washingtonpost.com Will mixed up some valid points along with some reductio ad absurdum, as he seems to have a tendency to do - he's a smart guy; I wonder what he would say about Roger B. Taney Middle School educating a nearly all-black student body.
  3. I'm hoping someone unbiased and reasonable can help me sort out "The Tonight Show" fiasco involving Conan O'Brien and Jay Leno. I've seen mostly four people (all four of whom openly make fun of Jay Leno's physical attributes - his high voice, his chin, etc.), and three out of the four - in my opinion - seem like they walked out of a circus freak show: David Letterman, Howard Stern, and Conan O'Brien. The fourth, Jimmy Kimmel, doesn't have any physical characteristics to mock, but he comes across as very mean. Of the four, I see net worths, respectively, of $400 million, $600 million, $85 million, and $35 million. Of the four, I see absolutely no talent, and absolutely no likability. If you ask me, "Then why are they so rich and popular," I will direct you to a certain someone who got 40 million votes. All four accuse - viciously accuse - Jay Leno of being predatory, and hatefully mock his physical features. There's one thing about both Jay Leno and Jimmy Fallon that none of the four can claim: a gentle, audience likability factor. Maybe Leno aggressively tried to get his show back instead of (as Howard Stern or David Letterman would put it) "being a man and moving to another network." How on earth does that make you a man? Leno didn't want to relinquish that job, and NBC gave it back to him. So what? None of these four people have any credibility (or talent) in my eyes, and they are all despicable to me. So, would someone here - someone reasonable and objective - please explain to me why Jay Leno is so hated ... or is he, outside of just a small handful of multi-millionaire would-be Tonight Show hosts?
  4. "Suspense" is one of the very first television anthology series, debuting in 1949, and running 6 seasons and 260 episodes until 1954. It was adapted from a radio program of the same name which ran from 1942-1962, and was broadcast *live*. Many of the scripts were adapted from literary classics by big-name authors, and also featured big-name stars as actors. Although the show was broadcast live, most episodes were recorded on kinescope, and about 90 out of the 260 episodes survive as of this writing. I continue to be amazed that so much early television is just plain *gone*, considering how important the medium is - they taped *over* productions in order to save money! The series has several Producers (one of whom being billed as an "Executive Producer"), and I'm not sure what the difference is between the two positions. Robert Stevens directed 105 episodes, and produced 102 episodes. Season One (Jan 6, 1949 - Jun 28, 1949) 1.1 - "Goodbye, New York" - Story by Cornell Woolrich ("It Had To Be Murder" (source for "Rear Window"), "The Big Switch" on "Alfred Hitchcock Presents")), Sets by Samuel Leve Featuring Meg Mundy (Grandmother in "Ordinary People")
  5. This is a "listicle" that's interesting and worth a quick click-thru, *if* you understand that it's about the good old U S of A. I want to emphasize that Sports Illustrated is a very American publication (it's owned by Time, Inc., whose "Person of the Year" awards are equally prejudiced), and the awards are prejudiced towards an American audience (they even admit as much), so with that in mind, prepare to see a lot of NBA, NFL, and NBA players who would not merit the award if it were truly based on a worldwide field. To emphasize the prejudice in this award, the last time a non-American was on the cover was the Canadian Wayne Gretzky in 1982, and before that, it was Scottish race-car driver Jackie Stewart in 1973 - in other words, it should be correctly titled "American Sportsperson of the Year" - why they don't just come out and say this just shows how ethnocentrical they are, and how much discrimination they show towards non-American athletes. I guess it's no different than calling the Cubs "World Champions" (even though when it comes to baseball, the best team in the USA probably *is* the best team in the world). More interesting still would be if people could make a case for someone else more deserving of the award in any given year (Leicester City F.C., for example, about whom I *still* don't fully understand the scope of their accomplishment, and would very much appreciate a thread about, hint, hint). Anywhere, here it is: "Every Sportsperson of the Year" on si.com And by the way, accepting the award's jingoism, this year it should have been "The Chicago Cubs" given that LeBron James just won the award in 2012. Yes, James was arguably the most deserving American individual (at least in a major team sport), but come on - 108 years?! And with precedent in 2004 for the Boston Red Sox? This award is stupid.
  6. A recent discussion about "Vertigo" on this website made me think about watching "Rear Window" again. I saw this film years ago, and I loved it. I watched it again last night with the same result. This film is regarded by many critics as one of Hitchcock's best. It stars James Stewart as a world famous photographer sidelined with a broken leg. As he sits in his apartment recovering from his injury, he becomes a voyuer, passing the hours watching the lives of his neighbors unfold through their rear windows. The result is a fascinating look at human nature, and our desire to watch. Like Stewart's character, Jeff, we are drawn into the lives of these strangers, without knowing their names or in some cases, ever hearing them speak. Love, marriage, fidelity, success, failure and of course (it is Hitchcock after all) murder--all of these subjects are put on display, simply by allowing us to sit and stare out of the window with Jeff. Grace Kelly is luminous as Jeff's girlfriend, Lisa Fremont. A successful fashion model who is madly in love with him, she appears in one gorgeous dress after another, begging for Jeff's attention, but failing to draw his gaze away from the window with her more than ample charms. Hitchcock films Lisa so that we are seduced by her, even when Jeff is not. She faces the camera as she kisses his neck, begging him to pay attention to her. Her Edith Head wardrobe is divine. Anyone remotely interested in 1950s fashions will love seeing the frocks Kelly so beautifully wears. Jeff ignoring Lisa for his voyeuristic pursuits makes this film feel relevant in 2016. Who hasn't seen groups of people sitting together, heads down, scrolling through their Facebook feeds or reading the news on their phones? Would they be happier if they looked up and talked to each other? Or, consider the concert-goers, taking endless photos and posting them on social media. Would they enjoy the performance more if they pocketed their phones and lost themselves in the music? In 1954, Hitchcock was making a statement about people watching films and, perhaps, TV. Think about how much more pervasive passive voyeurism has become in the past 60 years. "Rear Window" succeeds on many levels. It is a story of romance and mystery. There is a great deal of suspense in this film as it unfolds, all extremely well done by the master. If you haven't seen "Rear Window," I highly recommend that you do.
  7. David Thompson was at NC State right around the time when I became a sports fanatic. My uncle was a professor at the University of Maryland, and my aunt was Assistant Superintendent of schools in Howard County - bottom line: free season tickets to University of Maryland basketball games for several years, dating all the way back to the Jim O'Brien years and continuing through their "three-guard offense" years (remember that?). At my age, Thompson, by sheer reputation and from the couple of times I saw him play in college, was essentially a space alien. I didn't really follow pro basketball back then, so Thompson, to me, was the best player in the world. Only Wilt Chamberlain and Kobe Bryant have scored more points than David Thompson in one NBA game.
  8. There is an article in this morning's Post about Scheib disappearing while hiking on a trail in/near Taos, N.M., the town where he most recently relocated. He's been missing since Saturday. It's encouraging that this is still a search and rescue operation, but it's unsettling that it's been nearly a week.
  9. Although I enjoyed the late episodes of Seinfeld, the TV series, and am having something of a renaissance with it on Crackle, as well as diving into Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee, I knew almost nothing about Jerry Seinfeld, the man, until recently - I certainly didn't know (and wouldn't have guessed) that he is the wealthiest actor in the world (I think I would have guessed Tom Cruise, but Seinfeld apparently has almost double his net worth). Both he and Larry David are closing in on a billion-dollar net worth - I guess they caught the crest of the television wave before it began to crash. One thing about Seinfeld that I've observed, after some digging, is that he doesn't come across as a very "nice guy." Witness the somewhat overblown article, "Seinfeld-Schisms: Jerry's Tried-And-True Methods Of Ballbusting Divert Buzzfeed Interview" by Drew Grant on observer.com. I watched the entire video (embedded in that article), and indeed, Seinfeld controlled that entire interview, and had Buzzfeed's Business Editor, Peter Lauria, on the defensive the entire time, on egg shells, afraid to ask any question that would rile Seinfeld. On the other hand, Seinfeld stood by his friend, Michael Richards, when Richards hit rock-bottom which reminds me of what James Carville did with Bill Clinton (recall the book, "Stickin'"). I understand this is a personal decision (whether or not these people are worth sticking by), but I have always thought that standing by your friends, and giving them a hand up, when they are that their lowest possible moments, is a character strength of the absolute highest order, and is a trait that I admire and look up to almost as much as any other. I didn't particularly like Carville (although I admired his penchant for Rhone Valley wines) until he stuck by Clinton, and that unwavering loyalty gave me a whole new outlook on his persona.
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