Movies and Television

Strange Days

Jim Morrison wrote “Strange Days,” the song, for The Doors’ album of the same name, in 1967. The album was considered an artistic triumph but a commercial failure. The cover depicts circus performers (acrobats, a juggling mime, a strongman, a trumpet player, and two dwarves) in a quiet NYC residential mews.

Most carnivals were out on summer tours so it was a struggle for the album’s cover photographer, Joel Brodsky, to find professional circus performers. The acrobats were the only ones he could find; the dwarf, Lester Janus, and his younger brother Stanley were hired from an acting firm; the juggler was Brodsky’s own assistant; the trumpet player was a taxi driver; and the strongman was a doorman at a nightclub.

Strange days have found us
Strange days have tracked us down . . .
Strange days have found us
And through their strange hours
We linger alone
Bodies confused
Memories misused
As we run from the day
To a strange night of stone

My sleep these days isn’t terribly comfortable. I dream constantly, but the dreams are confusing, jumbled, elusive. I wake early—I’ve always awakened many times during the night—but now for some reason, by 6 a.m. or so, I no longer go back to sleep. I’m finished. It’s not like I’m driven from my bed with lots of happy energy, ready to tackle the day. It’s just that I’m done. I’m finished. This is something I have never done in fifty-three years, at least not with any regularity.

I get up, turn the TV for some companionship, and fire up the Internet. The news is decidedly odd. Continue reading

Categories: Brain, Dreams, Life in Florida, Movies and Television, Politics | 3 Comments

Opie’s Call to Action

Ron Howard wants to talk about the election. So does Andy Griffith and Henry Winkler. (This video has swept across the Internet like wildfire, but in case you haven’t seen it, it’s worth the four minutes. Watch it. If you like you can consider it my birthday present.)

Here’s the video.

The AP article, reposted from MSNBC:

As the election nears, Ron Howard is getting desperate.

In a video posted Thursday on, the actor-turned-director reprises his role on The Andy Griffith Show as a way to rally support for Barack Obama.

While speaking into the camera, Howard has his beard shaved, dons a youthful red wig, and puts on the kind of outfit he would have only worn as Opie Taylor in the ’60s.

“I’ve never done this before and I hope never to do it again, but I guess you could say I’m feeling pretty desperate these days,” explains Howard. “So as a demonstration of my sincerity, this is for you, America.”

Then, in black-and-white, Howard sits down in the woods to talk to “Pa”: Andy Griffith. Griffith advises Howard-as-Opie that he’ll be able to vote someday, so long as he eludes the butterfly ballot. Continue reading

Categories: Humor, Movies and Television, Politics | Leave a comment

Getting Smart

I love movies, though I don’t get to see nearly as many as I’d like. I love television, and I watch a lot of it. Some friends would say I watch too much. Occasionally I’d even say I watch too much, but clearly my love of television overrides the angels of my better nature.

For all my love of words, my confidence in my own opinion, and my love of sharing it with others (!), I have never written a movie review. No blurbs for Amazon, none for the Internet Movie Database. I barely even write reviews for friends, preferring instead to link them to a review from a professional whose opinion I happen to agree with.

But today I saw Get Smart, the big screen remake of the 1965-70 TV series created by Mel Brooks and Buck Henry. And I was thoroughly charmed by it. Steve Carell and Anne Hathaway, as Agents 86 and 99, respectively, are absolutely perfect and hit all the right notes, as do their castmates.

The old TV series was a staple in my house, and I liked much of it, though some of the comical bits became cartoonish or hackneyed over time. I think probably I have more affinity for Buck Henry’s humor than Mel Brooks’s, and I think I can see whose touch predominates at any given time in the series.

That dichotomy isn’t nearly as apparent in the film. In fact, it feels more like Steve Carell’s brand of humor. It has a humanity, a pathos that underlies the comedy. The movie pays appropriate homage to the series, but deftly brings a new dimension to it. Continue reading

Categories: Movies and Television | 8 Comments

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