A Favorite Rock ‘n’ Roller Movie

 

If you are looking for a great rock ‘n’ roll movie, “Streets of Fire” (1984) is that movie. Directed by Walter Hill, it’s a “Rock & Roll Fable” set in “another time, another place”.  It really kicks butt. It’s got motorcycles, guns, a sexy singer and a guy who has a real thing for the singer. And it takes place in a post-apocalyptic world. What more can you ask? Oh, yeah. Some great music, scored by the great Ry Cooder, that includes the Blasters and “One Bad Stud”.

Ellen Aim (Diane Lane) is doing a return-to-her-roots concert for her hometown. The choppers arrive, carrying the Bombers.  They brazenly snatch Ellen right off the stage. Not even the cops can stop the gang. Before you can say “Blue Suede Shoes”, Ellen disappears into the night on the back of a chopper.

That’s when Tom Cody (Michael Paré) shows in the neighborhood. He’s a real badass. We know he’s a badass because he clears his sister’s joint of six wannabees who think they’re bad. Against his better judgment, Tom takes off after Ellen in his new set of wheels. It’s stolen. He’s joined by an ex-soldier, McCoy (Amy Madigan), and Ellen’s wimpy manager, Billy Fish (Rick Moranis). Soon they’re in enemy territory and after Ellen held at Torchees, the Bombers’ headquarters.

There’s nothing like a few exploding motorcycles to heat up the action and provide a distraction. Then it’s Tom and McCoy to the rescue, then it’s back to the Hometown. It would be a real easy ride, except for one thing. Raven Shaddock (Willem Dafore). He don’t take kindly to someone stealing what he stole.

Do you have a favorite rock ‘n’ roll movie?

The Beast that Ate America

Seems that these days should be called the Time of the Selfie. Now we can all be Donald Trump. I recently heard that Selfies have killed more people than shark bites. So I thought it was time for Uncle Bardie to pass along some directives from the CDC, concerning these beasties.

1.A baby Selfie may appear to be cute and cuddly. But remember the lesson of the Gremlins. Do not water a Selfie. They will turn on you before you know it. Pretty soon they are eating you out of house and home.

2.A Selfie is a wild animal. They are not meant to be held in captivity. They do not civilize well.

3.Selfies do not make great pets. Just when you think you’ve gotten them trained to use the litter box, they disappoint you.

4.Selfies don’t mix well with other animals. Like bears. Please keep them away from your dogs. And cats are especially vicious in the presence of a Selfie. They just don’t like the things.

5.If you run across a Selfie in the wild, stand very still. Selfies can only see moving objects.

6.If you are bitten by a Selfie, get to a Selfie Trauma Center pronto. You have less than an hour before the Selfie poison takes hold. The CDC is opening up special trauma centers in every major city in the United States. Personnel are being trained to deal with this deadly outbreak of Selfie bites.

7.If you have a friend or relative who has been bitten by a Selfie and has not received special care from a trained professional, avoid them. That foaming of the mouth is extremely contagious. Call the emergency number 555-555-5555 to get them compassionate care. They will be put to sleep and it will be painless.

8.There have been efforts to eradicate Selfies. Thus far the efforts have not worked. It has even led to people coming with a dance called the Selfie Split.

9.There are rumors that Selfies were created by the Government for population control. There is no truth to this conspiracy theory. Otherwise Texas would be taken over by Selfies. And that just ain’t so. Ted Cruz is not President of Texas. Yet.

10.If you are one of those thinking of joining one of the local Selfie cults springing up around the United States, please don’t. It is a scam. You won’t be able to get a genuine purebred Selfe, and you will find your bank accounts emptied.

11.Do not get close to a Selfie on the night of a full moon. You think werewolves go crazy that night. You ain’t seen nothing until you see a Selfie on a full moon night.

So remember, to be forewarned is to be forearmed.

Hamlet: Get thee to a nunnery

Take him and cut him in little stars, and he will make the face of heaven so fine that all the world will be in love with night and pay no worship to the garish sun. (Romeo and Juliet Act 3 Scene 2.)

Act 3 Scene 1 (continued). It’s enough to think the Hamster was a misogynist. This scene sure makes us wonder. No matter how you look at it Hamlet is not treating Ophelia nicely. Why Hamlet’s bad treatment of Ophelia? Could it be that Ophelia is a stand-in for Mom?

For the first time in the play, Hamlet lets loose. We see real emotion from our protagonist. He is no longer thinking. He is feeling. What he is feeling is anger. On top of everything, he knows he is being spied upon and that makes him even madder. How dare his mother, and Ophelia too, act as foils for that villain Claudius. How dare them?

Ophelia smiles and asks, “How are things going?”

Like she doesn’t know. How can she not know that his father is dead? Maybe murdered? How can she not know that the king may be the murderer? It would be like Bathsheba did not know that King David sent Uriah, her husband, off to be killed. Bathsheba knew. So does Ophelia. Women. You just can’t trust them.

“My lord,” Ophelia says, “I have some things of yours. Since we broke up, I need to return them.”

He is thinking, “I didn’t break up with you. Remember you came to me and said, ‘Daddy wouldn’t let you date me.’” Instead he says, “I don’t want them back.”

Ophelia says, “But they are not mine to keep. Please take them. They only cause me pain.”

Well, I’ll show this daughter of Eve. This tool of Satan. “Ha. Are you good or what?”

“What in the name of all that is holy,” Ophelia asks, “are you talking about?”

Our Hamlet is not about to let his mother off the hook. Sure, the words are thrown at Ophelia, but it is Mom that he means to hit. “Get thee to a nunnery,” he throws at Ophelia/Gertrude.

“I am innocent,” Ophelia says. “How can you treat me so evilly? Me whom you professed to love so deeply.”

“Get thee to a nunnery.” Hamlet slams his once-Juliet against the wall. Then he releases her. “Get thee to a nunnery.” At that, he is done with Ophelia. He is done with women. His mother married his uncle within minutes of her husband, his father’s death. Ophelia spies on him for her father and for that Richard III who is king.

This scene also makes us ask if Shakespeare was a misogynist? After all, Hamlet may not be Hamlet in this scene. He may be William Shakespeare. Me, I think not. If we looked at many of his female characters in other plays, we see a variety and sensibility not found in any other writer of that time. And not very often of a male writer since.

Just look at “Romeo and Juliet”. Juliet, not Romeo, is the hero of that play. Then there is Rosalind in “As You Like It”, Beatrice in “Much Ado About Nothing”, Portia in “The Merchant of Venice”, and Viola in “Twelfth Night”. These are amazing women, fully formed.

No, I think Shakespeare was exhibiting a portion of his grief for his lost son, Hamnet, who died in 1596. He may very well have blamed his wife, Anne Hathaway, for the death. With this play, the anger came to surface and exhibited itself in a way even he had not expected. We will never know. We do know that he will go on to create some of his most memorable women: Rosalind, Cordelia, Lady Macbeth, Cleopatra, Imogen in “Cymbeline”, and Paulina and Hermione in “A Winter’s Tale”.

With this in mind, I would nix the whole idea that Shakespeare, and Hamlet, were misogynists. They were just human beings. Like most human beings, they were searching for a way to deal with their grief.

***********

Standing in the hall, alone, Ophelia remembers the man she once loved:

Oh, what a noble mind is here o’erthrown!
The courtier’s, soldier’s, scholar’s, eye, tongue, sword,
Th’ expectancy and rose of the fair state,
The glass of fashion and the mould of form,
Th’ observed of all observers, quite, quite down!
And I, of ladies most dejected and wretched,
That sucked the honey of his music vows,
Now see that noble and most solemn reason
Like sweet bells jangled, out of tune and harsh;
That unmatched form and feature of blown youth
Blasted with ecstasy. Oh, woe is me,
T’ have seen what I have seen, see what I see!

Ophelia is not sure how things came to be the way things have come to be. But she deeply feels the loss of her prince. The man that was her Romeo.

Before she can absorb her loss, her father and the king pop out from behind the wall. They have heard everything.

Claudius is the first to speak. “He doesn’t sound crazy. He’s up to something. Something dangerous.”

You’d think Polonius would concern himself with his daughter’s distress. Yet he does not. Instead he responds to the king’s speculation.

Polonius is not convinced “That is indeed someone who is mad with love. For Ophelia. He has been deeply hurt by her rejection. He wants to strike out at her. Maybe we should have the queen examine him. Discover his motives. If she cannot, then send him off to England.”

To England? Why England? The English know what to do with royals that misbehave. They chop off their heads. Just look at Mary, Queen of Scots.

***********

Only Ophelia is left in the hall as the lights dim. Her head bowed with tears. Her arms at her side. She slowly sinks to the floor. The obedient daughter, the loyal girlfriend, realizes her future is looking dimmer and dimmer. It is looking more and more like Ophelia is truly the great tragic figure of “Hamlet”.

She is alone.

Hamlet and the To-Be

If to do were as easy as to know what were good to do, chapels had been churches, and poor men’s cottage princes’ palaces. (The Merchant of Venice. Act 1. Scene 2.)

Act 3 Scene 1 (continued). Down the hall, Hamlet soliloquys all over the place. There’s seven of these in the play, and he’s only on the fourth one. Man, does that guy talk.

Hamlet talks and talks and he talks and he talks. It’s almost as if he wants to talk Claudius to death. There are times when we want to tell Hamlet, “Just shut up and get on with it.”

It’s not like he doesn’t say some smart things. He does. After all, he is a college student, majoring in philosophy. It makes you think that maybe he’s trying to show off what he’s learned at Old Wittenberg U.

To be or not to be. That sounds a lot like Norman Bates. You know what I mean? To smother mother or not to smother mother? We know how that one turned out. Not only for Mother but for Janet Leigh as well.

When Hitch went to Janet and told her about the shower scene, she said, “You’re all wet. My career will be all washed up.”

To be or not to be is done below in the depths of the depths of the castle. That part of the castle where the dead hang out in their stone coffins. That has got to depress a person.

The existential question here is whether Ham is talking to Daddy.

To live or not to live. This is an existential question every living and breathing human asks themselves at one time or another. Am I getting the most out of life? Am I truly alive or am I just sleepwalking along the way to my grave? Hamlet has such a bad case of the hamlets he keeps asking. At least, Kierkegaard and Sartre wrote books.

This is what Gauguin asked himself. His answer was no, I’m not living. So he went for the gusto. Quit his day job at the stockbrokering biz and ran off to Tahiti. Not only to paint but to paint what he wanted to paint. Naked Tahitians.

To be or not to be is kind of like The Road Not Taken. To be or not to be is the question; The Road Not Taken is the answer. Should Ham stand or sit to say that?

To be or not to be, that is The Question. Hamlet is like that girl I used to date. I asked her where she wanted to eat. She couldn’t make up her mind. Neither can Hamlet .

One thing is for sure. The answer is not 42. Or maybe it is. Maybe it is to be 42 or to not be 42. Wouldn’t that be something. Bet Marvin would like it. Had you read or seen “A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” you would know what the heck I was referring to.

One thing is for sure. Hamlet had not read “A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”.

Hamlet: A Time to Plan, A Time to Plot

When beggars die, there are no comets seen;
The heavens themselves blaze forth the death of princes. (Julius Caesar Act 2 Scene 2)

Act 3 Scene 1. It’s late. One might even say that it’s the dead of the night. A time to plan. A time to plot. A time to conspire.

Cassius says to Brutus, “Caesar is getting too big for his britches.”

Brutus: What can we do?’

Casca presents him a dagger. “It’s for his own good.”

*****
It’s late. One might even say that it’s the dead of the night. A time to plan. A time to plot. A time for conspirators to come out to play.

John Wilkes Booth, “Lincoln has gotten too big for britches.”

Spangler asked, “What can we do?’

Booth produced a gun. “It’s for his own good.”

*****
It’s late. One might even say that it’s the dead of the night. A time to plan. A time to plot. A time for a conspiracy to catch fire.

Robespierre to Danton, “Louis is a problem.”

Danton: “What can we do?”

Robespierre pulls back the curtains. Through the window is a guillotine. “It’s for his own good.”

*****
It’s late. One might even say that it’s the dead of the night. A time to plan. A time to plot. A time for conspirators to change their world.

Stalin to Lenin: “The tsar is a problem.”

Lenin: “What can we do?”

Stalin hands Lenin a death warrant and a pen. “It’s for his own good.”

*****
It’s late. One might even say that it’s the dead of the night. A time to plan. A time to plot. A time for conspiracies to fail.

Babington to Mary, Queen of Scots: “Your Majesty, we have a problem. The bastard queen must be removed.”

Mary, Queen of Scots: “What can we do?”

Babington: “Sign this and your subjects will rise.”

Mary signs, then hands the confession back to Babington.

Enter Walsingham with an axe. “Your majesty, we need your head. It’s for your own good.”

*****
It’s late. One might even say that it’s the dead of the night. A time to plan. A time to plot. A time to—

Deep in the heart of Castle Elsinore, Claudius and Gertrude.

R & G have nothing to report to Claudius and Gertrude.

“So?” Claudius asks.

R&G: “My lord Hamlet is a regular guy. Quite nice actually. A little bit odd. But he was always a little bit odd. Admits he has been under the weather.”

Gertrude, Hamlet’s mother: “Does he say why?”

R&G: “He did not. It could be he is having flashbacks.”

Claudius: “I had those back in my college days. Man, you know what they say?”

R&G: “No, Your Magnanimousness.”

Gertie: “What do they say, Dear?” Gertrude, the queen and Hamlet’s mom, just revealed a bit about her attitude toward Claudius and her marriage. She called him “Dear”, not “Darling” or “Sweet’ums”. She called him “Dear”. When a wife calls a husband “Dear” with Gertrude’s tone of voice, there is a good chance something is going on that is not obvious to Claudius.

Just after the they-lived-happily-ever-afters in all the fairy tales, the “dear” starts coming up. “Dear, will you take out the garbage.” “Dear, I need a new pair of shoes to go with my new gown. I only got the last pair fifteen minutes ago. That’s like forever.” “Dear, Lancelot is such a nice knight. Can we keep him?” Prince Charming is always the last to know. Gertie asks again: “What do they say, Dear?”

Claudius: “If you remember the 1540s, you weren’t there.”

Gertrude: “Did my sweet boy use drugs?”

R&G: “Worse. He became a Protestant.”

Claudius: “No.”

Gertrude: “He didn’t.

R&G: “He did.”

Polonius: “May the saints preserve us.”

Claudius: “What are we going to do?” (He already has an answer but he has to get permission. Either that or proof.)

Polonius: “We could call in the Inquisition.”

Gertrude: “We’ll have none of that while I’m around.”

Polonius (thinking): “Well, we can arrange that you are not around. Then Ophelia would be queen. After all, she is the only eligible girl in the castle. Actually she is the only girl in the castle.”

Instead Polonius says: “I was just kidding, Your Majesty. Of course, we won’t bring in the Inquisition. We couldn’t have them sticking their nose in every little thing. Pretty soon they would want a burning every Friday night.”

Claudius: “We will not have that. Friday night is Game Night at the Castle.”

Gertrude: “Yes, you owe me a rematch of Monopoly. You keep winning. I think you’re cheating.”

Claudius: “I am king. It’s my job to cheat.”

Gertrude: “So what do we do about Sonny?”

R&G: “There was one other thing. An acting troupe has arrived. That did seem to cheer him up.”

Claudius: “Oh, goody. A play. A play. I love plays.”

Gertrude (knowingly): “I know.”

Claudius (to R&G): “Gentlemen, thank you kindly for your good work. Go down to the tavern and have yourself a feast on us.”

They leave, a big grin on their face.

Polonius hurries out of the chambers, then momentarily returns with his daughter. She is a lovely lady. Blonde hair, blue eyes and a rubenesque figure that Rubens would admire. Her smile puts Mona Lisa to shame. She curtsies before the king and the queen.

Claudius: “Ophelia, fair Ophelia.” There is a big grin on his face.

Gertrude (punches him in the side): “Don’t you go getting ideas, Dear.” There’s that “Dear” again. Only this time it is saying, “You had better watch yourself.”

Claudius (serious): “We have a favor to ask of you.”

Ophelia (looks up at the king with those baby blues of hers): “Whatever Your Majesties request, I will do it if it be possible.” (She’s thinking, “Just how did Anne Boleyn get to be queen?”)

Claudius: “We would like you to have a little talk with our son. Would that be okay?”

Ophelia (looking over at Polonius): But, Father, you said—“

Polonius: “It’s for Hamlet’s own good.”

Ophelia: Yes, Father.”