It’s Oscar Night

Tonight Hollywood will walk down the Red Carpet and let us ooo-and-awe at the egos going past the cameras. Those egos will be following a tradition that goes back to the Way Back When. They’ll be walking in the footsteps of Bogie and Marilyn and Dietrich as they make their way to the seats reserved just for them. We’ll see women in dresses with most of the parts missing. And so stiff the women can hardly sit down in them.

We’ll see a lot of speeches which will go on way too long and say absolutely nothing. But maybe will get some speeches we really want to hear. And in case you’re wondering, here is a preview of some of the speeches we may hear.

Best Picture Producer: Thank God. Now I can make my money back. I will never hire that director again. Everything he touches turns into manure.

Best Director: How would you like to be stuck on an island for two months with the cast and crew I had to work with?

Best Actress: I knew I was mahvelous in this film. (Notice. They never call it a movie.) Of course, I am always mahvelous. Especially when I look mahvelous. Aand I did look mahvelous in this film..

Best Actor: Just a second. (He takes out a mirror and checks himself out. He spends a full minute admiring himself. Then he sighs.) I have to admit I am one handsome guy. No wonder I have so many female fans. If I wasn’t me, I would be after me.

Best Supporting Actress: How come I never get nominated for Best Actress? I do all the work. She gets all the credit. The Bitch.

Best Supporting Actor: Finally.

Best Screenplay: (Shaking his fist at a director.): I’m going to kill that s. o. b. of a director for taking my awesome screenplay and dragging it through the dirt.

Best Makeup: Do you know how hard it was to take the ugliest cast ever and make them even uglier?

Best Costume: Can you believe some of the dresses worn tonight? And they are all my creations.

Best Song:This makes up for not winning the Grammy.

Best Editing: Has anybody seen the missing eighteen minutes?

Best Documentary: Smile. You’re on Candid Camera.

Best Foreign Film: How do you say “You like me” in Japanese?

Best Special Effects: Isn’t it amazing that I could make that hamburger look like a real hamburger?

Uncle Bardie’s Spotlight Movie: Sam Mendes’ War Movie

Whether 1917 is a great film will take some time to determine. I can only say that director Sam Mendes has made a very good war film. And I would caution my readers that this is a war film, not an action film. If you go to see it and expect bang-bang-shoot-’em-up or a superhero movie, this one is not for you.

If you are looking for a good film about the realities of war, 1917 does that, and does it with six stars. If ever there was a war that was hell, it was World War I. The war has been going on for almost three years, and 1917 is not all quiet on the western front. At least, not in the trenches where men fight with the rats over food.

A battalion of 1600 British troops men are planning on pursuing the Germans the next morning as they retreat. But headquarters behind the lines have intelligence that it’s a trap. Unfortunately there is radio silence and the British cannot inform the advance company.

The British general sends two corporals, Schofield and Blake, on a mission to hand-deliver a message, warning the Dev Regiment of the trap. They have to cross the no-man’s land between the British and the German trenches, then make their way through the abandoned German trenches and through a town before the reach their comrades. They have less than twenty-four hours. And to emphasize the urgency, Blake’s brother is an officer with the Regiment.

In what could have been a boring slog of a journey, Mendes direction, Roger Deakens’ cinematography, the script by Krysty Wilson-Cairns and Sam Mendes, and Thomas Newman score heighten the tension again and again and make this film well-worth the two hours of viewing. There may be Germans ready to take the two down. As they make their way through a landscape strewn with the ravages of war, I was on the edge of my seat waiting for something to happen.

It has been said that combat brings out the best, and the worst, in men and women. And 1917 shows how true that can be. Schofield and Blake are two ordinary guys who swallow hard and face the unknown with courage. At the end of the movie, I was reminded of the Scripture that says, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). Schofield and Blake have shown that kind of love.

If there is a better film this year, I’m not sure what it would be. As for me, I give 1917 a big thumbs up and six out of five stars.

10 favorite moments in acting

Every so often I watch a movie or tv show and the actor(s) take my breath away with their performance. But it’s more than a performance. The actors have created life on film. This blog post recognizes ten of those incredible moments.

  1. Judd Hirsch and Wallace Shawn as brothers in Season 20, Episode 10 of “Law and Order Special Victims Unit.”
  2. Emma Thompson in the HBO film, “Wit.”
  3. Kate Winslet in the movie, “The Reader.”
  4. Al Pacino in the movie, “The Merchant of Venice.”
  5. Benedict Cumberbatch in “Richard III” of ‘The Hollow Crown” series.
  6. John Hurt as John Merrick in David Lynch’s “The Elephant Man.”
  7. Whoopi Goldberg in the movie, “The Color Purple.”
  8. Donald Sutherland in the movie, “Ordinary People.”
  9. Andy Griffith in the movie, “A Face in the Crowd.”
  10. Geoffrey Rush in the movie, “Final Portrait.”

Perhaps you have a favorite acting performance that moved you. Please feel free to mention it in the comments below.

Inquiring minds: 10 questions about Star Wars

Spoiler alert.

Now that I have seen “The Rise of Skywalker,” I have some questions:

1.We know that Star Wars always takes place in a Galaxy far, far away. Which far far away Galaxy is it?

2.Will Disney ever get rid of the Roman numerals and just use numbers? Like Star Wars Episode 9? I hope so. I am tired of saying Star Wars Eye Ex.

3.Is Finn named after Huck Finn? Poe named after Edgar Allan Poe? Could Rey be named after the science fiction writer, Lester Del Rey?

4.Since J J Abrams directed both “Star Trek” and “Star Wars,” did Spock show up incognito in “Star Wars.” If so, why didn’t Captain KirK do a cameo?

5.Is Poe the new Han Solo? If he is, will Rey get together with him the way Han Solo and Princess Leia got together? And what will their children be called? Anakin?

6.Since J J Abrams can resurrect Palpatine, will he resurrect Darth Vader in the next Star Wars movie?

7.Since J J Abrams was able to resurrect Carrie Fisher for “The Rise of Skywalker,” will he resurrect Iron Man?

8.Since Star Wars VII – IX was recycled IV – VI, will Star Wars X – XII be a recycled I – III?

9.If anybody directs Star Wars X – XII, it should be Christopher Nolan. Perhaps he’ll do a Star Wars trilogy like he did Batman: “Darth Vadar Rises,” “Darth Vadar,” and “Darth Vadar Begins.” I can see Batman as the Vadar now. Then perhaps Luke Skywalker will go over to the Dark Side and become the Joker.

10.The Millennium Falcon has about had it. Is it possible that it will retire in the next episode of Star Wars? I hope so. It deserves a rest.

Reg Gets Even

I’ve seen this movie before. Dozens of times. It’s your typical rock ‘n’ roll biopic we saw in such movies as “Ray”, “The Doors”, “A Star is Born”, and “Bohemian Rhapsody”.

Hollywood has the template down so well, this is how an Elvis biopic might go:
Scene 1. Elvis is driving a truck in Tupelo.
Scene 2. Elvis is recording in Sun Records Studio.
Scene 3. Elvis signs with Col. Tom Parker.
Scene 4. Elvis sings and dances in the movie, “Jailhouse Rock”.
Scene 5. Elvis gets drafted.
Scene 6. Elvis meets his future bride, fourteen-year-old Priscilla Beaulieu, while stationed in Germany.
Scene 7. Elvis gets out of the Army.
Scene 8. Elvis makes movies.
Scene 9. Elvis is unhappy at Graceland.
Scene 10. Elvis makes a comeback.
Along the way, there’ll be a scene with Elvis’ addiction to pills. There’ll also be a scene where Elvis talks about his spirituality. Throughout the movie, there will be song after song by Elvis. So many songs the viewer won’t be able to distinguish one from the other. Why so many? The director doesn’t want to miss your favorite.

This is basic biopic 101, and “Rocketman” follows this template. “Rocketman” is the story of how Reg Dwight became Elton John. In scene after scene, we see how his father mistreated him; how Mom didn’t take him seriously; how his employer, Dick James, wasn’t encouraging; how his manager, John Reid, abused him. Even Bernie Taupin, his songwriting partner and friend, ends up being unkind to poor Dwight. When the two go to California and Elton John triumphs at the Troubadour, Bernie takes off with a beautiful woman at the after-the-show party, abandoning Dwight to be alone with himself. Only his Granny treated him with any kind of respect.

“Rocketman” is Reg Dwight’s revenge. After all, this is his project. He was an executive producer on the film.

Along the way through these adventures, Elton John breaks out in song as a kind of song-and-dance man you’d expect from George M. Cohan. In quite a few scenes, so many songs are thrown at the viewer. So many pies that the director is hoping one will stick. Better to have selected five or six songs and used them to give meaning to the story. Then they would be memorable. Instead we are given a jukebox.

In the early seventies, seven of Elton John’s first nine studio albums were unbelievably brilliant. I won’t tell you which didn’t measure up. He could do any musical style from rock ‘n’ roll to blues to country to pop. The songs made you want to listen to them over and over again. Of all the musical artists I’ve listened to over the years, he was one of the few that blew me away from the get-go. When he started performing in a chicken suit, it made me sad.

If you’re in the hankering for some Elton John, put on his music. VH1 did a documentary of “Yellow Brick Road” as a part of his Classic Albums series. Great stuff. As for “Rocketman”, it saddens me the way that the chicken suit saddened me. Elton John is one of the great musicians of the twentieth century and he deserves .better than “Rocketman”. So I guess you might say I give this one two thumbs down. When all is said and done, it’s a mess. A real mess.