WISDOM OF THE SAGES
EPISODE VIII: SUMMER 2017
EPISODE VIII: SUMMER 2017
Hello People of the World;
August, smack-dab in the middle of Summer. What a month. Incredible. Without the month of August, we would not have the calendar as it exists today.
Why the big deal over the eclipse? Stuff passes in front of the sun all the time. Hell, we pass in front of the sun every day! It is as if the turning of the planet still manages to catch folk off-guard. Anyways.
All right, let’s get going:
1:[ MY TALKS WITH BONN: Paul Eduard Miller
I have start production on a short ten-minute documentary on Bonn’s father Paul Eduard Miller a music critic, writer, and jazz aficionado who was a huge proponent of Afro-jazz, one of its heartiest defenders, and friend to such luminaries and Duke Ellington and Sydney Bechet, who he hosted several times at his home. I have been quietly looking him up since Bonn first mentioned him years ago and kept finding the odd short passage about him in various old and new books on jazz music. Most of them were about how he defended African-American (Black) jazz as the truest form of jazz in an era of Glenn Miller and the likes.
Paul Miller wrote on occasion for Esquire and would put out a Yearbook of Jazz and within the pages he inserted a hard-drawn map of the Chicago jazz scene of the times. Char decide that it would be a great idea to film her or Bonn going to the modern locations to show the passage of time and how much we turned away from the jazz scene in Chicago. He was an interesting man in every sense, which is why I wanted to make a short doc on him. Stay tuned.
2:[ MY TALKS WITH CHARK-ATTACK: Moving Out
Chark-Attack is off to college. It is a huge step and one I am barely recovering from. It is amazing to me that I once held her tiny frame in my arms. Who can write all they feel about someone this important to your life. “Caught a bolt of lightning/Cursed the day he let it go.” Apt.
3:[ The Top Review Teams Presents: Atomic Blonde/Unforgiven Reviews
The co-director of sleeper hit JOHN WICK returns with another fight-packed, action-crammed spy movie “Atomic Blonde”. Here we have Spy Charlize Theron standing in for Wick and building off her Furiosa in a quick-paced, sexy(?), neon-lit, Cold War tale about the List and the need to find it. Along the way she encounters assassination attempts, bad guys trying to kill her and a shady James McAvoy that is up to something.
It's basically an excuse to set up some action set pieces with Theron showing off her skills with weapons and hand-to-hand. By gosh is it fun, just as fun as John Wick was. I know the PewPew DudeBros got their Tikis all twisted about a fantasy film about a badass woman spy kicking ass. But how is it any different than a Keanu in a fantasy film about a badass hit man kicking ass. I mean, is there really a difference? I know a lot of badass women who kick ass, so it is not that much a stretch really.
I enjoyed them both. It also shows that a Critical Ass such as I can like dumb movies. They just have to have something to them, or else, they are the DCEU.
They don't make them like “Unforgiven” anymore. Hell, even Clint Eastwood doesn't make them like “Unforgiven” anymore, either. Char wanted to see this on the big screen, so the Top Review Team headed out once again to catch it. She's loved the movie since she saw it on video about a year ago.
Everyone knows the story of broken down old killer coming out of retirement for one last job to earn enough to escape the drudgery of his current situation. In fact, so many know it so well, that every single movie now seems to be a remake of this. Will Munny, a former, contemptible lowlife is coaxed back into the bounty game by killing two cowhands who disfigured a prostitute. Munny and his cohorts then run afoul of a town sheriff played by the great Gene Hackman in is final acting role. (In that I mean, he never acted again in the films he did afterwards.) It all leads up to the final, violent showdown that, when looked on from the perspective of decades, is kind of a shaky letdown. Which is kind of the point. I know some miss that point for all the pew-pew, manly talk stuff that happens, but it really is a stupidly messy shootout.
Watching it again on the big screen since its released, I realized that Will Munny was actually going through the Hero's Journey, to re-emerge into his known world as the Good Guy, the twist being that he as once the villain. Bonnie also pointed out, very astutely, that the whole time Munny talks about how he is no longer that bad man anymore, he sounds as if he is really trying to convince himself, and that he remains unconvinced. It is really a nice subtle performance that Eastwood should have been at least nominated for. (If he wasn't)
4:[ Here is a video on “Arts Markets”
I have always viewed Native American Arts Markets as the New Reservation system with an elite caste creating borders that only allow selected entrants to be a part of that closed fiefdom. Here, “Adam Ruins Everything” reveals that this is not just a Native American Arts problem. ENJOY THIS VIDEO. It says what I have thought. I have always thought Art, including the Native American Arts, to be a scam. I mean, just put a feather or Sitting Bull's head on it and slap it on a tee shirt and you're gold, you're the newest rez star.
5:[ Coffee & Comcast:
For as bad as it appears to be getting in the US today, no one really seems to care. We all still go to the Starbucks and we still buy the pay-per-view fights and we still judge movies and music online and we still live vicariously through our children, no matter how much damage we do to them. We just cast them up, rehab them, and put them right back on the field to be hurt again, because “Life, suck it up.”
But as long as we can complain online and sip our lattes we really don’t care the Trump is fucking things up, or doing great things. As long as we get our Comcast and coffee, we are fine with it all. Comcast and coffee, our new bread and circuses, because we are all something fucking special…
6:[ I really hate what we have done with the image of Bruce Lee and his philosophies. I caught bits of the new film at the theater I work and could not help but shake my head. We've really have turned him into a violent, egotistical dudebro idol. "I would rather be a legend!" is so counter to his martial arts and philosophy.
The gross misunderstanding of his ideals is always depressing to me. That final graphic "He developed Jeet Kun Do which is the forerunner to mixed martial arts" is a bastardization of the highest order and the true purpose of the film. Can you really look at that travesty of a boxing match between fuckface and asshole and believe that is the true essence of Bruce Lee?
Representation matters. People forget he later forsook Jeet Kun Do specifically because it had become just another "way". His true way was to have no way. “Birth of the Dragon” is a fucking WWF Production and all the dialogue spouted in the trailer alone is so counter to his teaching. Shit, the worst part is that the fucking movie isn’t even about him!
The best metaphor for the gross misunderstanding of Bruce Lee is how many totally missed the point of Wong Kar-Wai’s “The Grandmaster” in favor of the simplistic “Ip Man” series with Donnie Yen – action and thrills over thought and philosophy. Wong Kar-wai’s film went in depth about styles and the need to outgrow them. To push yourself beyond just being able to dominate physically, which seems to be the favored outlook, but to question yourself and your beliefs and “way”, to question your “style”. Kar-wai went in-depth in finding the core of each style in his film. Wingchun was about being adaptable in “The Grandmaster” and the reaearch Kar-wai did was phenomenal. Bruce Lee exemplified this with his water metaphor, which totally went over the head of the writers of “Birth of the Dragon”.
Point being, folk would rather shut off their brains and think Bruce Lee was a badass, which he not doubt was, but his eschewing his own way to push himself beyond that, beyond being a simple badass and being something more, was what he truly wished to pass on. We’re fucking stupid…
7:[ My review of Tyler Sheridan’s “Wind River”? What a crock of shit. Skip it.
8:[ TALKS WITH BONN – PART 2: Game of Thrones HBO Series
So, Bonn and I were talking about the latter series train wreck that is the “Game of Thrones” series. Which went from a tightly plotted, well-executed show into a fan-servicing, fanfic version of the shadow of itself former self. I mentioned that how mad the book readers have been since Season Four, when the show went beyond the writings of George RR Martin and went the fan service route of tying up loose ends with shitty writing and huge moment reveals.
Then, I talked about how the show fans are mad at the book fans and they should just shut up and let the show fans enjoy the show. It hit me then that this is the perfect metaphor for the United States today; with the well-read being scorned for calling out the stupidity of the show called America and how the unread fight to protect their simplistic pleasures. Apt. Apt.
9:[ I hate the fact that fire trucks and ambulances have to slow down to a crawl at intersections now days. Remember when we used to stop and pull over for them? Now, we barely slow down and move aside. Think about it: how many jackasses had to have been run over for them to have to make fire trucks and ambulances SLOW DOWN at make sure at the intersections before driving through? How many selfish idiots? Thank about it….
That is it for this month, nothing really new to pass on. Life has been plodding along and I have been hit with some difficulties but I am trying to get through them. It will not stop me from writing my thoughts for you month to month.
As always, I invite you to comment, correct, or contradict anything I write here. I am open to a critical debate. Thanks for taking the time to check out what I write here and I will see you in a month.
Until next time, remember “I try to show the schemers how pathetic their attempts to control everything really are.”
2017 Ernest M Whiteman III