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Oldest Years in Which All Oscar Nominees Are Still Alive

 

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Entries in Being There (2)

Monday
Jul172017

"Being There" -- Essential Viewing For the Right Now

by Nathaniel R

Hal Ashby’s Being There (1979) is a fortune teller. And the future it foretells isn’t rosy. The classic film about a TV-loving cypher who Forrest Gumps his way into history is approaching its 40th anniversary, but its essential viewing for the right now.  Don't wait until 2019 to see it.

Among the film’s many queasy previews of life in the early 21st century is the proliferation of screens. Here that takes the shape of television, with Ashby frequent crosscutting to whatever is on the TV in a given scene. Though the content we see is recognizably dated, its intrusion is evergreen. 

Hidden within the prophecy of multiple screens replacing actual experience, is an even sharper notion of the screen as a mirror...

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Thursday
Mar312011

Distant Relatives: Dr. Strangelove and In the Loop

Robert here, with my series Distant Relatives, where we look at two films, (one classic, one modern) related through theme and ask what their similarities/differences can tell us about the evolution of cinema.

 

Great and powerful leaders

The world is run by idiots. Here’s an observation that is not at all new in the history of comedy or for that matter, humanity. Political satire is more often than not based on the assumption that the people at the top are at best incompetent to enact the right priorities, at worst adamant in their pursuit of the wrong ones. There’s a line of thinking that suggests anyone with the desire to become a politician is, by that virtue alone, unfit to be one. Never is this assertion more comically rife than in times of war, when we’re all scared and confused and asking our leaders to help us through the fog of conflict.

Dr. Strangelove: or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and (cue the teasing female voice) Love the Bomb and In the Loop are two films during two times of war, one Cold the other Middle-Eastern, that aren’t exactly overt anti-war political statements. That is to say the films could, I suppose, get behind a war if the people promoting and running it were ever even slightly better than horrible human beings. But in their realities that could never be the case.

Fingers on the big red button

In case you’ve never seen it, Dr. Strangelove starts off with mad General Jack D. Ripper (Sterling Hayden) giving an unauthorized go code to go nuclear (literally) on the Soviet Union.

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