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Found 21 results

  1. Can someone please explain this stat to me, and why it seems to be *THE* advanced metric of choice? How is dWAR (Defensive Wins Above Replacement) sewn into this? I have a feeling WAR grossly undervalues defense, and is extremely flawed, but until I see how it's derived, I can only speculate. dWAR seems very flawed to me, so if it's an ingredient in the WAR recipe, the dish is probably fundamentally wrong.
  2. If you're offended by any discussion about religion - even when it's being discussed as a tangential issue - then please click out of this post now because this may offend you, and that is not my intent. Minor **SPOILERS** will follow: --- Last week, I finished reading the biography of the amazing Louis Zamperini, "Unbroken," written by Laura Hillenbrand - one of the best and most thoroughly researched biographies I've ever read. No, it's not perfect, and if you click on the title, you'll see we have the beginnings of a meaningful discussion about the book. This thread, and this post, is about the movie. In the "Unbroken" book thread, I mention a recent discussion I had with a member about "In Cold Blood" (just click and read the first paragraph in Post #11). In essence, she was unable to enjoy the movie because she had read the book first. I'm afraid that with "Unbroken," that may be the case with me: I was recently told that there was no mention of Billy Graham in the film. To my eyes, the book is structured as follows: 1) A medium-sized beginning (childhood, upbringing, college, Olympics) 2) A huge middle (the war) 3) A short ending (PTSD, recovery) For there to be no mention of Zamperini's post-war biography is to essentially clip short his life in his mid-20s. Think about this for a moment: If Billy Graham did not exist, there would be no "Unbroken" because there would have been no Louis Zamperini to write about. Zamperini's recovery (I'm purposefully not calling it a redemption) is such a major factor in his biography that its omission is a literary and journalistic sin. What I can say here is very limited because I haven't seen the film, but based on what I heard, I would urge anyone who has seen the film, and who doesn't want to invest the substantial time involved in reading the entire 406-page book, to borrow a copy, and read only the 18-page Epilogue. At this point, the only reason I want to watch the film is so I can voice this opinion more forcefully, and with some credibility and authority; right now, I cannot. --- For those interested in the enormous power that Billy Graham was able to convey, I encourage them to go to his website, and watch one or more of his "televised classics" (the old, black-and-white ones are directly relevant to the full biography of Zamperini, but even for those completely uninterested in Graham, there is still historical importance in the beautiful alto gospel of Ethel Waters at the 8:30 point in this video). I should also disclose that Graham was a major influence on, and source of enormous comfort to, my beloved mother - his occasional televised crusades were part of my childhood, as I watched my mother watch him, completely mesmerized by the unselfish sovereignty of his oration. I am hardly an evangelist, but have no problem in voicing my opinion that Billy Graham is one of the greatest and most important people ever to live, wielding immense power on a global scale, but never once abusing it for his own personal gain - his rightful place in history is side-by-side with Martin Luther King, Jr., the Dalai Lama, Pope Francis, Mahatma Gandhi, and David Ben-Gurion.
  3. Apr 14, 2018 - "Trump Orders Strike on Syria in Response to Chamical Attack" by Luis Martinez, Elizabeth McLaughlin, and Tara Fowler on abcnews.go.com Does anyone know why Russia so vociferously supports Syria? I'm sure the answer is "strategic national interest," but what, exactly? I suppose a Russian could ask the same question about the U.S. and Saudi Arabia. --- Remember also this: Apr 7, 2017 - "US Launches Strike on Syria Air Base after Chemical Weapons Attack" by Luis Martinez, David Caplan, and Adam Kelsey on abcnews.go.com --- And I suspect many people have forgotten this: Sep 17, 2016 - "U.S. Admits Airstrike in Syria, Meant To Hit Isis, Killed Syrian Troops" by Anne Barnard and Mark Mazzetti on nytimes.com --- And also this - I distinctly remember there was an issue when Congress was in recess, Obama became furious with Syria and was thinking of acting unilaterally, but then cooled off, and decided to wait for Congress' return. I know that sometimes, Presidents must act decisively, but I remember feeling somewhat relieved that Obama calmed down and waited for Congress - there was no rush to do this, and it was only a matter of about a week; still, the attack was never carried out: This was a moment of (relatively) minor crisis in recent American history, and the tension surrounding it was very real: Sep 1, 2013 - "Obama Seeks Approval bu Congress for Strike in Syria" by Peter Baker and Jonathan Weisman on nytimes.com --- See also these related threads: Nov 16, 2015 - Daesh, not ISIS, and Certainly not ISIL Oct 27, 2015 - US To Send Ground Troops to Iraq and Syria To Combat ISIS Jan 1, 2015 - Kurdistan - A Region, Not A Country
  4. This probably isn't the best time to be watching "American Sniper," but I do get a childish pleasure out of Clint Eastwood films, and I make a mild effort to watch Best Picture Nominees, even though I realize that's hardly an arbiter of anything but notoriety. Still, it's 2:30 AM, I'm having a tremendous pain flare, and I guess I'm in a "misery loves company" mood, so ... Interestingly, my personal assistant attended Chris Kyle's funeral (long story, that one). I also feel that, since I'm never there, I learn something from war movies, although I realize I'm watching Hollywood, and not reality, so must selectively filter whatever I see. Watching new films also fills a gap which I'd developed over the past fifteen years in terms of general popular culture. I really liked the analogy (at the young Chris Kyle's dinner table) of "sheep, wolves, and sheepdogs," and I guess I'm a classic case of a sheepdog - or I would be if I wasn't so badly hurt. I wish I could protect the unprotected, the weak, the sick, and the disadvantaged, but right now I'm just too badly injured, so I just have to sit back and watch. About 75 minutes into "American Sniper," I'm less convinced this is a "war movie" than it is a biographic about a man who's just doing his job - getting completely absorbed into his job - grisly though that job may be. I can easily see how partisans could either denounce this, or support this, but as pure film, I see this as more of an individual story than some sort of complicated team picture - almost like a perverse version of 'The [hypothetical] Cal Ripken, Jr. Story' (though I have absolutely no reason to think Cal would forsake his family for his job, which Chris Kyle (Bradley Cooper) ultimately does)' How it progresses in its final hour remains to be seen, but I can certainly understand how this movie polarized the public. Even now (or, perhaps "especially now"), I have a weird, almost sheepish feeling even writing about it, but this post should be taken as a movie commentary; not as any sort of pro- or anti-war stance. (Yes, of course I have strong, personal feelings about Iraq, but they have no place here, and if I betray them - one way or the other - then I have failed miserably). Boy, the contrast between Kyle buying his son a treat from the bubble-gum machine, immediately followed by the auto mechanic turning on his power drill, positively made me (as well as Kyle) shudder. Perhaps this is one of the first signs of Kyle's impending PTSD? Indeed, after I wrote that last sentence, I continued the film, and Kyle met the soldier he saved (the one who lost a leg), as the power drill continues to whir in the background - I'm pretty sure this is an important pivot in the film. The amount of liberty taken with this biopic is substantial - apparently, Kyle didn't have that much association with Mustafa (skillfully expressed in this film by Sammy Sheik), and only wrote one paragraph about him in his book. I don't know much about this particular issue, so if anyone has information to the contrary, please let us know. The shot (from underneath) of Mustafa jumping from one rooftop to another evoked something out of "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon," i.e., it looked very fake (well, they did say he was an Olympic athlete; but I assumed it wasn't for the Long Jump). Such happy scenes in this film - Ryan "Biggles" Job: "What do you mean, she can trace the diamond to Zales?" A little tidbit I picked up from Amazon X-Ray: "Chris Kyle's father personally told Clint Eastwood and Bradley Cooper that he would 'unleash Hell' if his son's memory was disrespected in this film. He also said that Eastwood and Cooper were 'men he could trust.'" I don't like the way they "invented" the villain of Mustafa, just to have a villain to root against. It really dumbs down the film - this is a story that should tell itself, and Eastwood (or whoever) felt the need to create a "Bird-Magic" type of rivalry between the two snipers. That might work for the masses, but it doesn't work for me: In real life, people aren't even sure "Mustafa" - or whatever his name was - even existed. That said, even though it was complete fiction, I *loved* the take-out shot in slow motion. Okay, that was one of the *worst* endings to any serious movie I've ever seen. I knew almost nothing about how Kyle died, and I *still* know almost nothing about how Kyle died. I feel cheated as all get out. Like the rest of my movie write-ups, this is obviously not a "review," so much as it is part of a (hopefully) larger discussion. When the day comes that I write a full-fledged movie review - and that day has not yet come - you'll know it; for now, I prefer these discussions to be a team effort among an intelligent, diverse group of movie lovers, hopefully flushing out some interesting and educational things about the films working together as a group. This type of approach could only work if this website was going to be around for the long haul - which it is. If the next commentary about this film comes two years from now, then so be it - we have all the time in the world, or, at least until humanity no longer exists. What I fear the most (and this relates to the film) is that, 100 years from now, inexpensive, devastatingly destructive technology will be available to anyone who wants it, so we, as a species, had better damned sight learn to start loving one-another; otherwise, there won't be anyone left to love, or to hate. Apr, 2013 - "The Legend of Chris Kyle" by Michael J. Mooney on dmagazine.com
  5. When I was in my mid-20s (maybe in the late 80s), "The Manchurian Candidate" made a revival on the big screen, and I saw it, and really enjoyed it while also thinking it was something almost campy. Now that I've seen it a second time, I realize that I was too uneducated to appreciate the film - this was an incredibly well-done movie, somehow able to take the absolutely unbelievable - bordering on the ridiculous - and make it seem positively realistic and possible. For me, The Manchurian Candidate is almost like a "Greatest Hits" album of actors, and I cannot imagine how Frank Sinatra - and for that matter, Lawrence Harvey - weren't nominated for Best Actor (the great Angela Lansbury was nominated for Best Supporting Actress, which is reasonable, but she was outperformed by both of these men). It says a lot that The Manchurian Candidate would speak louder and more clearly, and also be more believable, to an educated 55-year-old man than an enthusiastic, but ultimately ignorant 24-year-old boy. Back in the 1980s, I considered myself very knowledgeable about film for an amateur; what I wasn't knowledgeable about was life itself. Back then, I distinctly remember talking with a Vietnam Veteran, who made an off-the-cuff remark to the extent of, "I really have trouble watching that stuff, because it messes with my mind," and I can easily see how he thought that ... now; back then, I didn't really understand. I just cannot get over how this movie managed to make something so utterly implausible seem so incredibly realistic and possible. Although I had no memory of how the film ended, I did manage to guess the ending sequence with a high degree of accuracy, but though I knew what was coming (or thought I did), nothing was ruined or compromised - the film ended exactly how it needed to - it was a heart-wrenching, but beautiful, ending to a heart-wrenching film. The Manchurian Candidate is a *big* film, with *big*, *bold* ideas and messages, and it succeeds on that level, but what makes it truly great is the individual-level, human tragedy that unfolds before our eyes. The irony of a sabotage-themed work invoking such strong feelings of patriotism - all without overtly manipulating the viewer in that regard - is amazing in-and-of itself. I'm not sure how "good" this film is rated by critics, but this is absolutely one of the most important Cold War movies I've ever seen. Sadly, people who are any younger than I am will simply not be able to relate to this in the way that I can, as my formative years were spent during the apogee of the Cold War - in elementary school, we'd crawl under our desks to simulate how we'd act in case of a nuclear-bomb attack. Although I suppose this generation of children has their own cross to bear, with being trained how to deal with school shootings - the more things change, the more they stay the same. There is a *ton* of symbolism in this movie - much of it obvious, some of it more subtle, but it's probably nearly impossible to pick it all out. You could watch this film a second time, just looking for symbols, and not waste your time. An absolutely classic film in several regards, and the best work I've ever seen from both Frank Sinatra and Lawrence Harvey.
  6. "Das Boot" is perhaps the finest war film I have ever seen. It is certainly in my top three films about war. I recently watched the Director's Cut of this German film, released in 1997 (the original was first shown in German theaters in 1981 and then as a TV miniseries). "Das Boot" is an adaptation of Lothar-Günther Buchheim's 1973 German novel of the same name, and it tells the fictional story of a German U-96 crew during World War II. The director's cut is 3 hours and 29 minutes long, combining action sequences from the 2.5 hour original theatrical release (which garnered six Academy Award nominations) and character development from the miniseries. Improvements in the picture and sound were also made. Yes, 209 minutes is a substantial amount of time to devote to watching a film, but I can tell you, the Director's Cut is worth it. I have watched much shorter films that seem twice as long. I found this film riveting from the bawdy opening scene to the closing segment, one of the most poignant and moving moments I have witnessed on film. The tension in this film is palpable. The tedium and the fear of fighting a battle deep beneath the surface of the sea is made incredibly real for the viewer. I felt great empathy for the characters, and forgot they were Germans, fighting for the other side. They were men, some really boys, struggling to do their best under the most difficult conditions. This is one of the best films I have seen - an epic, classic, World War II tale - and I highly recommend it.
  7. It has been said that Stanley Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove is an anti-war film for those already convinced, and I suppose that's fair enough. But I've just watched it for about the 11th or 12th (or maybe 15th) time and I have to say that I think it's the greatest film ever made. It's visually ravishing, even though the process shots of the B-52 in flight are not as duplicative of reality as modern film graphics; they're still devastatingly beautiful. George C. Scott's performance is certainly his greatest in a long and wonderful career, and ditto Sterling Hayden. Peter Sellers's three performances are all precious treasures, but his performance in the title role is almost impossibly, almost uniquely brilliant. If you haven't seen it, you need to see it. You may not be aware that Sellers was supposed to play the Slim Pickens role as well as the others. I don't know if that would have made a better or a lesser film, but it's hard not to love Slim Pickens's performance. What prompted me to watch Dr. Strangelove just now was seeing Fail-Safe on TCM just before. Practically the same conception, released in the same year, except Fail-Safe didn't have any laughs or any genius. If you want another great anti-war film, possibly even for the unconvinced, watch Stanley Kubrick's Paths of Glory, another of my favorite movies.
  8. I'm sorry I didn't get this up yesterday, but people may had noticed that our flags were at half-staff. President Obama ordered this to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec 7, 1941 ("a day which will live in infamy") - the attack killed 2,403 Americans, and directly led to America entering World War II Within one hour of Roosevelt's "Day of Infamy" speech on Dec 8, 1941, America issued a formal declaration of war against Japan (as I write this, today is the 75th anniversary of America's entry into World War II - something which was entirely justified, and has not been repeated since (and I say this with *full respect* for the victims of 9/11 - both events killed about 3,000 people). The reason I said it "has not been repeated" is because Pearl Harbor was an act of war; 9/11 was an act of terrorism (there is a fine line between the two, but 9/11 changed how we must think going forward; WWII was much "cleaner" in terms of defining the job which needed to be done). This post is written in honor of our military personnel, with an emphasis on those with relatives who died at Pearl Harbor, and a strong emphasis on all those who died that day. God bless all of you. and thank you for saving my life by giving up yours. (I apologize for my awkward writing in the previous sentence, but I'm a bit addled right now, as I've been up since 3:30 AM, and am getting very sleepy.)
  9. One hundred years ago World War I began. It lasted for over 4 years and resulted in approximately 37 million deaths and injuries, with about 15-16 million deaths and about 9 million of them being military personnel. It also involved approximately 70 million soldiers being called to serve; about 60 million in Europe. All of those are staggering numbers. Before World War II it was called the Great War. Devastation on a grand never before experienced scale. The Atlantic is running a review of photos from the war years. They are grim. This weeks pictures available on the web: The Western Front The series began last week: Pictures From Last Week
  10. I've never seen "All Quiet on the Western Front," and since I've also never seen the 1929 version of "Broadway Melody" (and don't know how to find it), this will be the oldest "talkie" I've ever seen to win the Best Picture Award. I'm also eager to see a movie about WWI, especially from a German perspective - could this be an early version of "Das Boot?" As I start this movie, I'm realizing it's pre-Hitler (sort of), and that alone gives me the creeps. I can tell from the first scene, in the classroom, that this is going to be a really good movie - in just two short years, they really learned how to use sound to their cinematographic advantage - already, even just ten minutes into the film, the young boys have garnered my sympathy - no difference here between German and American high-school kids; they're just kids - bright-eyed kids who succumb to authority figures and peer pressure. It was a fascinating moment to see Himmelstoß, the former lowly postal carrier, instantly becoming a sado-nut drill leader, turning on the boys he was formerly friends with - boy does this foreshadow Hitler for me ... put a uniform on certain average schmoes, and they become Supermen in their own minds. The new soldiers' revenge scene on Himmelstoß was most satisfying to watch. I'm just now realizing "Wings", the first film to win Best Picture, was also WWI-themed - that makes 2 of the first 3 (I'm assuming "Broadway Melody" isn't going to be quite so bellicose). Boy, the extended bunker scene (the one where they kill the rats) is amazing - the cinematography in this film is just terrific, and I cannot believe it was made in 1930 - the industry really learned a lot from the silent age, but the techniques were completely different, and for them to have learned how to use sound to their advantage in just a couple years - to *this* degree - is remarkable. At this point, the film is only one-third over! I'm also reminded that in our History Forum, there's a pretty good thread on World War I - it's worth a skim if you haven't seen it before. After the bunker scene, when the German soldiers head outside to the trench, the wide-angled scene of advancing allied infantrymen look so much like the little plastic soldiers I played with a a child - these poor boys really *were* just numbers - not individuals - on both sides. There's absolutely a correlation between this scene and the one shortly before it, when the German soldiers were killing rats by the dozens - both the rats and the allied soldiers were just being hopelessly massacred in numbers too great to count. I hope you all don't mind that I'm writing in such a choppy, almost random, format - I'm typing as ideas hit me, and writing a well-organized, long-form review just isn't in my blood. This is what I do best - brainstorming in short form - in hopes that something will grab someone, and we can start a conversation about a point or two. So I continue ... (I love this movie so far, in case you can't tell) ... Like "The Thin Man," this is another Pre-Code film, and there are some amazingly shocking scenes you just don't see after the code began being rigorously enforced on Jul 1, 1934 - for example, a young German soldier went to the bathroom in his pants upon hearing the first shell explode (it wasn't graphic, but it was obvious), and when the allied troops were storming the German trench, there was one scene when a grenade was thrown at them, and after the explosion, all you saw was a pair of severed hands, clutching onto the barbed wire fence - it was intensely graphic considering this was 1930. When the allies - what was left of them - made it into the trench, and hand-to-hand combat commenced, all I could think of was that these men, killing each other, could just as easily have been having a beer together in a tavern, as friends. This is all so stupid (not the film, but the whole damned concept of war) - I know, I know, I sound like a bleeding-heart softy, which means the film is working exactly as it set out to do. I'm very much into this movie, and seeing these people being mowed down in such massive numbers is just incredible to behold, even in a movie - I'm not sure I've ever seen so many people killed in such a short amount of time in a film (I'm not talking about doomsday scenarios like "Knowing," but rather people being slaughtered as individuals). Eight minutes might not seem like a long time, but during this one scene, it was an eternity - the producers certainly didn't skimp on the action. I'm now halfway through this 133-minute film (the non-restored version is 152 minutes, which is interesting), and the boots taken from Franz Kemmerich after he passes have played a disproportionately large role so far - something is going to happen involving them. When Himmelstoß (the drill sergeant) bursts into the bunker, demanding immediate attention and respect, and gets nothing but howls and sarcastic comments, it is poetic justice, and reminds me somewhat of Platoon, although I'm not quite sure why. Perhaps it's the first time the young soldiers displayed a "to hell with this" attitude now that they've seen and tasted death up close. I haven't watched the scene yet, but I'm pretty sure Himmelstoß won't be getting his way this time around. (And sure enough, later in the film, poetic justice is executed.) Goof: When the Germans advanced through heavy fire, then noticed a moment of silence, and decided to counter-attack, they ran through a churchyard (and what I believe to have been a cemetery) which had just been devastated by mortar fire, but the scene that shows them running through it features a pre-devastated churchyard. Oops! That's more than a goof; that's somewhat moronic - what possible reason could there have been for this? "All Quiet on the Western Front" cost a *whopping* $1.25 million to make, and the funds were committed just after the depression began. That, my friends, is cojones. (It grossed $1.5 million, and perhaps just as importantly, won the Academy Award for Best Picture, so the sizable gamble paid off handsomely - I wonder if this was the most expensive movie ever made as of 1930.) The scene in the trench with the dying Frenchman was one of the greatest scenes in the film - the Frenchman (Raymond Griffith) played his role *perfectly*, with the one tiny exception of a half-blink at one moment, which nobody would notice unless they were looking for it. It's so fitting that he died with a look of serenity on his face. Amazon X-Ray said he was noticeably breathing, but I didn't really see it. The Dying Room creeped me out. Lew Ayres (the star who played Paul Baí¼mer, who came back from The Dying Room), was married to Ginger Rogers from 1934-1940 - his 2nd marriage of 3; her 2nd of 5. I loved the scene when Paul was out on furlough, and he was in a tavern drinking with some older men who sounded like typical G-men, telling Paul how to win the war, and that 'he doesn't know what he's doing,' and that 'they can see the big picture.' Some things in life are a constant, I guess. Lew Ayres became a conscientious objector in real life - partially because of his role in this film - and was blacklisted by Hollywood in the 1940s because of it. Interestingly, he's buried next to Frank Zappa at Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery in Los Angeles. The schoolroom scene, which echoed the beginning of the movie, was not only structurally important to the film, but just a joy to watch as well, although I can't help thinking they could have made that scene even more powerful than they did. Paul clearly still shows a modicum of respect for his old professor, not really wanting to humiliate him in front of his students. Here's a little factoid that I didn't know, and you might not either: from 1928-1931, International Sound Versions of "talkies" were made, replacing dialogue with music and subtitles in various foreign languages, so the movie could be seen around the world. Although this might seem similar to how things are done now, the alternative to this was to actually re-shoot the entire film as a Foreign Language Version (for example, "Dracula" was re-shot with new actors speaking Spanish). Needless to say, Foreign Language Versions were reserved for the high-budget blockbusters of the day. The ending of "All Quiet on the Western Front" was fantastic. If anyone knows of any WWI-specific films (this fits more into the general "War is Hell" category) - films that go into detail about historical events - I would be interested in knowing what you think. That said, I'll probably end up watching a documentary for this. Having glanced at the SparkNotes for the book, I can see that the movie deviates some, but not so much that you won't get something out of reading the study guide. Anyway, this is surely one of the greatest movies in history, especially when you consider the topic, the scope, the time period (twelve years after the war ended), and everything about the film.
  11. "Platoon" was the first film in a trilogy by Oliver Stone (a director whom I respect more than I like), the other two films being "Born on the Fourth of July" (1989) and "Heaven & Earth" (1993). I saw it in the theater when it first came out, and I still remember Willem Dafoe's face when he realizes he's about to be betrayed - that was an extremely powerful moment, and he was really good in this movie. Pretty cheesy opening the movie with Samuel Barber's "Adagio for Strings" - sure, it's a great piece, but if you're going to drop $6 million making a movie, let's have an original score, please? There are plenty of talented composers out there who need the work and the money, and they would have done just fine - you would have even had something you could have called your very own. In case anyone's wondering how big a platoon is, here's a chart of Unit Sizes. A platoon consists of 25-40 people, and is usually led by a lieutenant - it's the smallest military unit led by a commissioned officer. "Platoon" takes place in 1967 somewhere near the Cambodian border, and depicts the Bravo Company and 25th Infantry. Interestingly, Forest Whitaker and Johnny Depp (!) are both in this movie. Speaking of which, it is essential to use this Cast list when watching on streaming video - it allows you to stop the movie as many times as you wish, in order to memorize names and faces (quite a luxury, in this film). This movie is exhausting to watch - it makes one wonder just how exhausting it must have been to actually be there. Have there been any articles written about how closely Platoon reflected actual trench warfare? Because if this is how it was (and I suspect it is, at least in certain situations), boy did this suck for the soldiers on *both* sides.
  12. "Ashton Carter: U.S. to Begin 'Direct Action on the Ground' in Iraq, Syria" by Jim Miklaszewski and Courtney Kube on nbcnews.com How do Russia and China sit back and do nothing while this terrorist group is destroying 2,000-year-old works of art, and assassinating civilians using barbaric methods? I'm no hawk and I'm certainly no expert, but this organization needs to be eliminated by any means necessary.
  13. Sometimes, you just gotta have cheap escapism. I'm watching an HD version of this film on Amazon, and the cinematography is fantastic. The movie starts off strong, then gets progressively more incredible (as in, "not credible"), but it's good, tawdry entertainment, as well as being an important part of American pop culture.
  14. For anyone interested in this subject, check out "The Men Who Brought the Dawn", currently airing on the Smithsonian Channel. It's a fascinating documentary told by the men who flew the missions. I loved hearing their perspective on it. I had no idea how much authority Col. Tibbets had in mission planning. [FWIW I'm starting this in the History forum rather than the TV forum because I hope to ignite a discussion about the atomic bombings rather than a discussion about the TV show.]
  15. Cookbook author Andrea Nguyen, who also runs the wonderful blog, Viet World Kitchen, revisits the Fall of Saigon 40 Years Later. Looks like she might be doing a series of blog posts about her family's flight from Vietnam during April 1975.
  16. Another in the continuing series of Wikipedia random article fun: The Pig War In 1859, an American farmer killed a Irishman's pig on San Juan Island creating a conflict between the US and the British Empire. I found this article to be interesting because of the confluence of George Pickett (of Pickett's Charge fame), Geoffrey Hornby (of Admiral of the Royal Navy fame), and Henry Martyn Robert (of Robert's Rules of Order fame). Also, I like the concept of a "bloodless war" and soldiers on opposite sides being friendly with each other.
  17. This is going to drive Rocks nuts: he has a compulsion to break threads apart so that a subject can be looked at in isolation, whereas I prefer to look at things in relation to other things. (Example: I started a thread about Indian restaurants that went defunct after he moved posts to individual restaurant threads.) But here goes... What are your favorite war films? Or anti-war films? A few months ago I saw Grave of the Fireflies for the first time, and it's been haunting me ever since. According to the Wikipedia article, the director has denied that it is an anti-war film, but it was hard for me to see it as anything else, and apparently I'm not the only one. For anyone who's put off by the fact that it's an animated film, read Ebert's review linked to above.
  18. Here's another curiosity I found in my Wikipedia "random article" habit: The War of Jenkins' Ear I have foggy memories of sitting in history class going over the various North American battles involving England, France, and/or Spain before the good old USA told King George to fuck off but I don't recall this war with the catchy name. It's interesting how a conflict in one part of the world can impact a seemingly irrelevant situation in another part of the world. I mean, have you ever heard about Georgia (England) and Florida (Spain) attacking each other because Prussia and France didn't like the idea of Maria Theresa being the top Habsburg?
  19. Four and a half months after the Union Major General George Meade's Army of the Potomac repelled the attacks of General Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia at the Battle of Gettysburg, Abraham Lincoln delivered this short, moving speech at the dedication of the Soldiers' National Cemetery in Gettysburg, PA. Though only about two minutes long, this remains one of the most stirring speeches in American history. You should always be able to remember when it was given by starting in 1776, and then adding "four score and seven years," which will add 87 years and take you into 1863, the heart of the American Civil War. Why am I writing this? In hopes that one person will read it, and get something out of it. I, for one, did not know about either the "Army of the Potomac" or the "Army of Northern Virginia" (I mean, I "knew" about them, but I didn't recall their exact names). Northern Virginia! By clicking on these links, and continuing to study in depth, you could spend a lifetime learning about any number of things, all worth your time and effort. Actually, I was watching "Four O'Clock" - a Twilight Zone Season 3 Episode - and happened to notice the Gettysburg Address posted on a wall, and was for some reason moved to read it aloud, slowly, and then to write about it here. The speech itself, in its entirety.
  20. I just started watching this movie (I am literally not even finished with the opening credits). However, I just noticed something fascinating that I wonder if anyone else has ever noticed before, and I'll bet the answer is no. When the opening credits roll, there are slow-motion, "Apocalypse Now"-type scenes occurring in the background. Music begins playing, and right before the camera focuses on an Iraqi woman holding up a sign that says, "Thank you, U.S.A.," two chords play in thirds: C-minor (C, Eb, G), then D-major (D, F#, A), and the moment I heard them, I said to myself, 'those chords are from "A Clockwork Orange'" because they are - during the opening credits, immediately before cutting to that first, shocking close-up of Alex with his false eyelash (the c-minor cord is in the first inversion in Clockwork Orange) - and in both films, they're played using a futuristic, "synthesized" sound. C-minor followed by D-major is not a common chord progression, and is disturbing enough to grab your attention. I went to the Wikipedia entry for No End In Sight, and then linked directly to Roger Ebert's review. Take a look at the very first sentence in Roger Ebert's review: "Remember the scene in "A Clockwork Orange" where Alex has his eyes clamped open and is forced to watch a movie?" I propose that, regardless of what else is in this film - and at this time, I have *no* idea if this is going to be right-wing propaganda, left-wing propaganda, or something else - but I propose that those two chords were intentionally designed to evoke subliminal imagery, and that Ebert picked up on it, most likely subconsciously. So by the time the movie even starts, you have images of a dystopian government running through your head. And it was so subtle that it was masterful (they abandon the third, resolving, g-minor chord that's in "A Clockwork Orange" and move onto another theme). I happen to have perfect pitch, and can tell that these are virtually the same notes in both movies. But what about Roger Ebert - was he psychologically manipulated? I say yes, and that none of this is coincidence - but I guess we'll never know. Were they going after Ebert in particular? He did list "Apocalypse Now" as one of his Ten Greatest Movies Of All Time .... And there's more. Immediately after these chords, the music picks up into a more "action-adventure" theme juxtaposed with a close-up of President G W Bush against the red, white, and blue. Then a bit later, the same two c-minor, d-major chords in a slightly different inversion (the exact same inversion that's in "A Clockwork Orange"), immediately followed by an even perkier rendition of the "action-adventure" theme juxtaposed with a close-up of Secretary of State Rumsfeld. Regardless of what follows in this documentary, the tone has been set. To summarize: In the opening credits of "A Clockwork Orange," you have c-minor, d-major, cut to a close-up of Alex (:42 second mark in this video) In the opening credits of "No End In Sight," you have c-minor, d-major, cut to a close-up of G W Bush Followed by c-minor, d-major, cut to a close-up of Rumsfeld (1:40:12 countdown-second mark on Netflix, but to pick up the connection, you really need to listen to the entire opening) [Please note: despite me naming political figures in this post, this is not a political thread; it's about the movie itself - let's keep it that way, please. We've all gotten our digs in before now.]
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