Monday, September 30, 2013

Lots of Wind Up, not so much pitch

Now that I’m not ruminating on Breaking Bad, I can discuss something else.

SO. September book: The Wind Up Bird Chronicle. My tl;dr is: Not a fan overall.

The protagonist, Toru, is an interesting character. He is not what one would expect out of a stereotypical Japanese business man. To even American standards he’d be considered a slacker, by Japanese he’s downright sinfully slothful. He quits a well paying job at a law firm that offered him a good career track for… nothing? Ennui?

It starts off as an interesting examination of a man bucking societal expectations and the fallout in his life and marriage as a result of that. Had it remained about this, I probably would have enjoyed it much more. As it stands, I liked Book 1 the most and Book 3 the least. I think the book largely suffered for trying to mix the mundane with the magical. Some authors manage to do this successfully, but here it oftentimes felt like two entirely different books had been sliced together. It didn’t always flow or make sense *within the narrative* and the abrupt pacing changes were jarring.

I found it to be an easy read overall, as in I was able to read it very quickly, and it did have a lot of the lyrical prose that Murakami is known for. It does a lot to explore and examine the history behind Japan’s involvement in WW2 and all that happened well before Pearl Harbor.

The book throws a lot of questions, side plots, and nonsensical elements at you along with enough red herrings to fill an entire boat. The point of this seems to be the subvert the expectations and conventions of western detective stories and instill a sense of wonder and whimsy in readers. The lines between fantasy and reality are blurred and reason and logic do not apply to this story, much as they often don’t apply in real life.

He is mostly successful in a storytelling sense, but whether or not that makes it a welcome literary contribution is up for debate. It at times seems to defy order for the sake of it and the lack of cohesion and closure feels less like an artistic choice and more like he fell asleep at the typewriter and picked the plot back up 10 pages later.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Sometimes life is Fair

This isn’t really related whatsoever to the list, but whatever! I went to the fair today, which isn’t especially note worthy because I’ve gone every year I’ve been in Texas for it since moving here. It was slightly different than usual, though.

*This year I took a half day and arrived shortly after 1 on opening day. Surprisingly enough, opening day (or night) typically isn’t that busy. This had more people than it perhaps would have otherwise though due to the unveiling of the new Big Tex. Even still, lines were mostly pretty short and we didn’t have to fight the crowds too much.

*New Big Tex! Our previous Fair mascot burned down in a horrific (if slightly hilarious) fire on the last day of the fair last year, while thousands of onlookers stood by in horror. He’s just as creepy as he used to be but he has a new outfit and I imagine a new voice, since the previous dude was let go for vague and mysterious reasons

*They had an exhibit featuring previous incarnations of Big Tex, which is kind of cool to see. What is NOT so cool is the room where they had his charred hands (the only remaining part of him that wasn’t destroyed by the fire) and a disembodied head from the original Big Tex on display together, for some inexplicable reason. What the what state fair?

What the what. Lots of fried foods were eaten and shared amongst ourselves. The standout being the King Ranch Casserole. It’s basically a cheesestick in the shape of texas. With a tiny texas flag stuck in it! So good. Cuban roll was decent, but not great. Thanksgiving dinner was basically a ball of deep fried stuffing, and the golden millionaire pie was super delicious. I will be returning again in a couple weeks, and there are a few more things I look forward to trying!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Double the Indemnity, double the fun!

So, the most recent AFI movie I watched was Double Indemnity. A 1944 film about an insurance salesman that gets conned into killing the husband of a woman he falls in love with. I have a lot of thoughts about this movie.

First of all. Wtf? So, we have or protag, Walter, that pays a house call to the Dietrichson house to renew an insurance policy. Mr. Dietrichson isn’t there so he speaks to his wife, Phyllis. Immediately upon meeting this (married) woman Walter is making creepy come ons and insinuations. They spend a total of maybe 5 minutes together which is apparently enough for Walter to fall ass over teakettle for this woman. I’ve had longer conversations with the barista at Starbucks.

So, Phyllis arranges for Walter to come by a few days later, conveniently on a day when neither her husband nor the maid are around. She brings up killing her husband without actually bringing it up and Walter is smart enough to out of there. Of course, the damsel ends up at Walter’s later that night spinning a tale of woe that’s less woe and more zzzz.

Her husband neglects her, they no longer have a lot of money, he works all the time, sometimes he slaps her when he gets drunk. She has a step daughter that doesn’t respect her. All these things add up to divorce, sure, but not murder.

Anyway, Walter is in a mad boner rage and eventually agrees to this terrible life choice. Where was *his* sassy gay friend? Oh, right. 1944. Gays didn’t exist yet. Have I mentioned the fact that the two leads have basically zero chemistry? Because they totally don’t. ALSO. When they kiss they just mash their mouths together. It’s like the director told them to high five but right before the cameras rolled he screamed out “BUT DO IT WITH YOUR MOUTHS” and the actors were like did he just say high five with our mouths? And the director was like “DO IT OR THE REST OF THE MOVIE WILL USE SOCK PUPPETS.” And so they did and this is what happened.

Is that just how they kissed in movies back then? I mean they seriously just smooshed their mouths together for about 10 seconds. Was French kissing against standards and practices back then? I might have to look this up. Where was I? Right. SO.

He agrees to this tremendously stupid decision and wow he ends up paying for it later. I got side tracked by my tangent and now I’m not sure what to say. Why is this #29 on the list? I’m going to go read Roger Ebert’s review and see what he has to say. I’ll play some hold music while I’m gone.

*Plays Baby Come Back* Ebert also points out and notices that there is a distinct lack of passion between the two. Is this intentional? He gives the movie 4 stars but recognizes that it’s less a movie about a man killing for love and money and more a movie about a man killing because the plot dictates that he do so. Almost as if it’s a parody of genre films before the genre became a parody of itself. Does that make any sense? Probably not. But neither did anything the characters did.

I really feel as if I missed something with this one. I like the film noir genre. I like smart quips and quick comebacks. I like murder plots and complications and things that don’t go as they should so why don’t I like this one? I love most of everything Hitchcock ever did which is nothing but tales of bad deeds done by good people for the wrong reasons gone awry.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Do The Right Thing

Okay, I’m going to be a bit of a nerd and rage on about color corrections and transfers and what have you. This movie is set on the hottest day in Brooklyn all year. That is, in fact, the entire concept of the movie. The temperature is hot and TEMPERS are hot. Heat makes everyone crazy especially when idle hands are already the devil’s work and you’ve got troubles so hard. Now, when filming this Spike Lee (for both logistical and financial reasons) was unable to do so during the heat of the summer and instead filmed, I believe, in the Springtime. For this reason it was decided in post that a warm orangey filter to would added to give the impression of sweltering heat. And it did. You could basically feel the sizzling black top and smell the sweat dripping off of everyone. The heat itself became a character.

That is until the blu ray release of the movie. In the effort of restoration and “betterification” they did a significant amount of color correction. Instead of hot orange everything has been regulated to cool blues. The heat no longer sizzles. The viewer no longer feels a sympathetic drop of sweat creeping down their face. The heat is not only no longer a character but you find yourself wondering, what’s the big deal? You don’t identify with the heat and you lose some of the identification with the characters because of that. At least, that’s what I think.  BUT, I am admittedly a total nerd about things like this so, whatever.

Anyway, now that’s I’ve whined about the precious sanctity of dvd transfers how about I discuss the actual movie, eh? So. It’s a hot day in Bed Stuy. In a neighborhood that’s almost exclusively black we find a family owned Italian pizza place and a Korean owned convenience store. Even one is bored, hot, and listless. Tempers flare, tragedy strikes, when the chips fall who is left standing and who is to blame for what transpires?

The thing I appreciate about this movie is, while it’s not remotely subtle, it doesn’t entirely point the fingers of blame either. While it does lack in any subtlety it features neither cartoonishly villainous or heroic characters. Everyone is flawed, and everyone makes mistakes. It’s a story with no clear winners or losers because everyone comes out behind. It tells the story that you’ve got to do the right thing but sometimes there is no right thing and sometimes even if you do what is right you end up with a losing deck. Life isn’t simple and everything is complicated. Sometimes you want to fight the power but where do you turn when you’re surrounded by equally powerless people? Who do you fight then? How do you confront the enemy when it doesn’t have a face?

There are no clear answers to any of this. The story is left (mostly) unresolved and nothing gets wrapped up in a tidy bow. Apparently seeing this was Barack and Michelle Obama’s first date, which is hilarious to me because it features a decently long love scene complete with nudity. Also, the ending itself isn’t exactly one to inspire romance.

Overall I agree that it’s a worthy film and probably one of Spike’s best. It has a very clear message but isn’t too preachy or finger pointing. I watch it coming from a place of privilege and acknowledge that my perceptions of it are likely colored by that. What’s next on the list? Not sure yet!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Grunge, desert storm, and why George H.W. Bush is personally responsible for the decline of the Sax Solo in American music

Hahaha. I found this in my draft folder on my work computer. I wrote it awhile back when I asked people to give me writing prompts. I'm pretty certain a friend of mine submitted the thought, something about the decline in popularity of sax music. The inside of my head is a disturbing place to visit.

The saxophone has long been an instrument rich in sound and culture. With roots that date back to the jazz age it managed to survive even the disco era to reach a newfound popularity in the 70s and 80s. Foreigner, Bruce Springsteen, CCR, and of course Kenny G. ushered in a new trend of having a saxophone on steady rotation as part of your musical repertoire. During the 80s it was King to be a sax player. No longer regulated to play the occasional jazz toot they had finally come into their own! Kenny G's flowing locks were a testament to the respect and adoration that would soon be theirs. Or would it?

The Me generation of the 80s, known for its love of excess, hedonism, and over the top in everything was slowly being pushed aside for the Cynicism to come of the 90s. Reagan gave way to the first Bush. The peace of the end of the Cold War gave way to the first Iraq war, Desert Storm. Upbeat, synthy pop not afraid to be frivolous gave way to the angry, guitar heavy, oh so serious Grunge music. 

The world was angry, disenchanted. People were dying in a war no one thought was justified and those coming of age were raised by beatnik hippies that were NOT going to take it anymore.  That anger and rebellion translated to their music. Loud, shrill, shredding guitar solos and words screamed into the mic or halfway muttered under their breath quickly replaced the bright, soothing, dance ready 80s songs filled with sax and jazz.

Playing a sax in anger is an impossible task. Playing it with a detached air of irony is even more impossible. It's an instrument that reeks of Trying. It screams Making an Effort. With every bleat and blatt it broadcasts to the world that you care enough about something to learn. You can't appear to lazily strum. It requires not only both hands and your mouth but also your whole body. It moves with you and you with it. There's no sulking or angrily hitting the strings. It's fingers furiously moving, your face going red with exertion, cheeks puffing and sweat dripping down your forehead. Can you imagine Kurt Cobain with a sax in his hands?

No, the 90s were no place for the saxophone. Not with grunge, heavy metal, and angry chick rock dominating the air waves. It almost had a second chance with the brief popularity of swing and ska music but even that remained fringe. It briefly appear on the airwaves following the Presidency of Bill Clinton and with his sax and under the desk bjs. It almost seemed as if America was ready for a revival but much like Lewinsky it was there and then it was gone.

Today, with both Sr. and Jr. Bush gone from the White House and our everyday lives we have had a few brief puffs of sax heavy songs topping the charts. Katy Perry did it complete with an appearance from the Sax man himself, Kenny G. Lady Gaga did it without the tongue in cheek wink and a nod we got from Perry.  With the second war in the Middle East officially over and another Dorky Dad Cool Democrat in the White House maybe we are finally ready for the happy go lucky sax rips that we used to be so fond of. There's less anger and more optimism. We aren't afraid to have fun. We aren't afraid to dust off our dancing shoes and do The Carlton.

Monday, September 16, 2013

I watch this so you don't have to

Hey Guys! *Sleepy Hollow* starts tonight on Fox! Watch it if you please!
That being said, Hulu just put up some of the pilot episodes for upcoming new tv shows and I watched them all in one night. Here are my thoughts. Warning: Very long winded.  Here are my tl;dr
The Goldbergs: Liked it a whole lot, not sure if it has staying power
Welcome to the Family: Expected to hate it, found it inoffensive and watchable
Trophy Wife: Expected to hate it, surprisingly really liked it
Ironside: Expected to really like it, was underwhelmed. Room to grow though
Back in the game: Don't know why I watched. Expected to dislike it, mostly just nothing it.
The Goldbergs
This is basically The Wonder Years. People in their mid-upper 30s will have a mega nostalgia bomb when watching this. It's set in the year 1985, which is just one year after my birth. It follows Adam, an 11 year old boy in a family of five. He has a sarcastic father, an overbearing mother, a super cool granddad, a sort of angsty 16 year old brother, and a slightly bratty sister that's 17/18? Patton Oswalt narrates as the grown up Adam. It's based on the creators own home life growing up. It's a single camera format with no laugh track which I really appreciate. It's got some neat tricks that could turn out gimmicky later. Adam has a video camera that will sometimes be used to show events from said cameras point of view, which is neat.
Turns out that footage is actually recreated from the creators ORIGINAL HOME MOVIES that he actually filmed. At the end of the episode they showed the original footage from 1985 next to the stuff recorded for the tv show. That was super neat! Anyhow, it's 80s enough to know that it's in the 80s but not so much it's basically OMG HI IT'S THE 80S DID YOU KNOW THAT LOL ALF. At least not yet. It remains to be seen if it will devolve into that eventually. I really hope not!
I like it well enough and will continue to watch. I don't know though if it has any hope of additional seasons. It's cute, funny, and heartwarming (if a little cliché and trite) but I don't know if it has the staying power, star appeal, or what the hell ever to continue to pull viewers in. With the right lead in it MIGHT do well. Based purely on the strength of the pilot and without any other things to consider I would give it a 4 on a scale of 1-10 renewability.
Welcome to the Family
I was hesitant to watch this (and observant people will notice it wasn't on my to watch list) but I saw it on Hulu, I had nothing better to do that night, and I didn't feel like watching X-Files so I went for it.
The premise sounds trite and like it would be prone to racial (and considering the competency level of most writers, rac*ist*) humor but so far it's not veering too far into that territory. The basic premise is a well off white family has a daughter that just (barely) graduated high school and will (barely) be attending Arizona State. An also well off Hispanic family has a son that graduated Valedictorian and will be attending Stanford. The two kids are dating and apparently the son wasn't smart enough to use a condom because she done gets knocked up. The two patriarchs of the family Mike O'Malley, a. dentist? and Ricardo Chavira, a boxing instructor and they don't get along very well! Oh lucy, you got some 'splainin to do.
So basically these two families have to learn to get along! Jokes about tacos! So far it's not offensive or terrible though. It's a single camera comedy with no laugh track which places it FAR above other shows imo. Plus, O'Malley (Burt Hummel from Glee or the guy in the Time Warner commercials from a few years back) is a great actor and Ricardo Chavira (Carlos from Desperate Housewives) is pretty good as well! I won't watch this show every week, probably. I expect it will be one of those "I don't feel like sleeping yet but I don't have enough time to watch a 45 minute X-Files episode oh right I'll watch this" show, which isn't anything to sneeze at, really. I would give this, mmmm a 5/10 renewability.
Trophy Wife
Okay, I FULLY didn't expect to a) watch this show and b) LIKE this show. But I did and I did.  I'm going to start this off by saying one thing. Bradley Whitford. If that means something to you then you're probably already halfway to watching the show. But, allow me to ramble on anyhow.
SO. The premise of the show is Bradley Whitford is a twice divorced lawyer with three kids. Two 15 year old (m/f) twins with his first ex wife, played by Marcia Gay Harden, and one adopted 7(?) year old with wife #2 played by Michaela Watkins. Harden plays a sort of stuck up Doctor and Watkins plays a super airy fairy hippie sort.  In comes Malin Akerman's character. She meets Whitford when she breaks his nose singing drunken karaoke and it's apparently love at first break because they are married with a year. I'm not sure what their age difference is supposed to be on the show, but in real life there's an 18 year gap (!)
There were some eye rolly moments but overall it was pretty decent. Pilots tend to have pretty broad, almost caricature level of, um, characters but I have hopes that this will expand beyond that. Whitford plays the (mostly) straight man and Akerman is still kind of a mess. She's a (barely) reformed party girl and she does surprisingly well in her comedic moments and is way better at physical comedy than I would have expected. The kids are somewhat precocious, but in a realistic way and not an annoying tv way. I will likely be adding this to my roster of shows I go out of my way to watch.
I like this show so my instinct is to say it won't last BUT it has some star power behind it so 6/10
This show is on thin ice. This is how I imagine the pitch meeting went:
Exec 1: What if House were a cop???
Exec 2: Yeah! But this time in a wheelchair!
Their Boss: Make him black!
That is perhaps an *unfair* summation but that's my initial impression. Again, I give pilots a LOT of leeway. Basically we have this dude, Ironside, who is a cop and he's in a wheelchair and he like, totally has demons, man. We find out *why* he's in the wheelchair that episode courtesy of flashbacks so I wonder what the season long arc will be. It's a procedural so I don't expect that to be a huge part of the show but it still needs something. I suspect it will have to do further with the case he was working on when he landed in the chair. Which to be honest I'm not terribly interested in exploring. The case itself seems pretty generic and the few details we learned didn't grab me.
I booted L&O:SVU off of my watch list so I have room in my life for a police procedural but I am not particularly anticipating this. I'll probably be watching this last on whatever night it's on. Ah. Wednesday. Well, that's a light night anyhow. Anyway, I was being a bit glib before. It's actually a remake of a show from the 60s so the pitch meeting would have been "Hey remember that thing? Yeah let's do it again." I don't think making him black was tokenism and it's very refreshing to have a lead character on a network show be a POC AND his (boss? Partner?) is Asian so there's some diverse casting here.
Underwood does a good job with the character and he has some *serious* guns. So. I'll keep watching. I expect (hope!) that it will get better. This show kind of fills a void and has a good lead in soooooooo I'm going to go all in and say 7/10.
Back in the Game
This show isn't bad, it's just not really my style. Maggie Lawson (Psych) stars as a single mom forced to move back in with her dad after a messy divorce. Her dad was a (minor league?) baseball star and is emotionally unavailable. Lawson was a college softball star and something something heart broken she has a dorky 11 year old I don't know. Look, I don't care about sports. Also, the whole "emotionally unavailable but secretly has a heart of gold" thing has been done to death. It's a single camera show with no laugh track so it may or may not get watched when I'm bored, desperate, and don't feel like watching anything else. That's really all I have to say about this. 3/10. I don't see this lasting.

Saturday, September 14, 2013


So I’ve been reading up on our wonderful 19th President, Mr. Rutherford B. Hayes. I thought I’d share some of the information I learned about him! I didn’t intend for this to be as long as it turned out, but apparently Presidents have pretty full lives? I tried to make it at least moderately entertaining. Honestly I got a bit bored near the end and kind of phoned it in. Next time I will do it in bits and bobs instead of long sections all at once! On with the show!

He was born in 1822 in Delaware, Ohio. He was raised by his mom and Uncle because his dad died 10 weeks before he was born and his mom never remarried. He had 3 total siblings but only 1 (plus him!) survived to adulthood.  His Uncle’s name was Sardis, which is pretty cool if you ask me.

He went to school and whatever. He did okay. He went to college at Kenyon and became interested in Whig politics there, eventually graduating as Valedictorian. After he graduated he went to Harvard Law and opened his own firm in Ohio. He helped out his cool Uncle Sardis with Real Estate Law stuff. It did okay I guess. When he was 25 he got like super sick. His doctor thought it was tuberculosis but doctors then were barely qualified to put a band aid on people and just told Ruthy to go to Mexico or something? He briefly considered enlisting in the Mexican – American War but his Doctor was like woah, dude, that’s not what I meant so instead he went to visit his family in NE.

He went back to Ohio but business wasn’t doing so good so he packed it in and went to Cincinnati. He opened a new law firm with some dudes and business was pretty good! Also Cincinnati had lots of hot babes and chill places to hang out. He went to church but didn’t become a member for some reason. Why did he go to church then? Probably to pick up some hot babes. Lucky for him it worked! He met his future wife Lucy there. Though it turns out his mother tried to get him to hook up with this broad years before but Ruthy was like woah this bitch is too young! They married in 1952 when she was only 21 and he was 30.

In 5 years she popped out 3 kids! They named their kids Webb (her maiden name), Birchard (which sounds like a tree) and Rutherford. She was kinda uptight and was a Methodist and teetotaler but also an abolitionist which was pretty progressive so she’s cool in my book. Ruthy listened to his wife on a lot of shit but never actually joined her church. Did I mention that he also had a super bitchin’ beard? Cause he totes did.

Oh! So back to the Law thing. He started out dealing with commercial issues and helpin’ his Uncle out with Real Estate bs but he got mad billz in Cincy as a criminal defense lawyer. I know what you’re thinking. UGH. Scummy politician, right? YOU’RE WRONG.  He did defend some probably actually guilty people on murder cases but he also helped out escaped slaves that were accused under the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850. Big C was awfully close to Kentucky which was still a slave state so he tried a lot of those cases.

He was super Abolitionist so this was a personal thing for him but it also helped gain popularity with the new Republican party. I know. Republicans helping and recognizing the plight of suffering minorities??? WHAT UNIVERSE IS THIS? Well, I’ll tell you what. Repubs were actually pretty cool at one point. I mean, as cool as you can be 150 years ago. But we’ll get back to that. Anyway, Ruthy was offered a judgeship in 1956 but he turned it down for some reason. In ’59 he was elected to City Council for a 2 year term and the rest, as they say, is history.

Okay. So. Lincoln is chillin in the White House in 1860, right? Well, Southern states are starting to flee like people leaving an Adam Sandlar movie. Ruthy wasn’t entirely sold on the idea of war to restore the Union. He boldly suggested basically what the rest of the country suggests whenever Governor Good Hair starts spouting off about Texas leaving, which was basically “Meh. Let them.” This was a rough time for our boy. Ohio voted for Lincoln but Cincy eventually turned against the Republican party and went all Hell Naw and kicked R.B. Hayes out of office.  He retreated back to law with his tail between his legs but that lasted a whole 3 days before the war started.

Ruth changed his mind and decided to form a cool volunteer company with some old bros from the Literary Society that he knew. This is unconfirmed but I’m pretty sure they all had super bitchin beards. He eventually gets promoted to major and you know what? A Mr. William McKinley joins his regiment as a private. You might recognize that bro as our 25th President. How cool is that! Anyway. Ruth gets promoted to Lieutenant Colonel. He got hurt a lot and once was shot in the arm. He eventually gets promoted to Colonel.

So more boring war stuff happens. Look, this ain’t the history channel. If it was you’d be reading a lot more about aliens. War is kind of boring to talk about. Ruth gets injured some more and his poor horsie gets shot out from under him. Ruth gets injured some more. I guess he did pretty well for himself though cause Ulysses S. Grant wrote him a letter to say hey bro good job. In 1964 he gets promoted to Major General and his wife pops out another baby, which makes 4 total. They named him George Crook which is a weird name.  The war ended not long after that.

So, while serving in ’64 he gets the R nom to HoR from Ohio’s 2nd Congressional District. Buds of his back in Cincy tried to get him to leave the war so he could hit the campaign trail but he was like Bros. No. Check this. You know what he said? He said that an officer fit for duty that leaves his post to campaign OUGHT TO BE SCALPED. Homeboy is srs bzns. I bet him and Teddy woulda been mad bros. So instead what he did was wrote a bunch of LETTERS to voters and won against the D incumbent. Cool as hell.

So in Dec of ’65 war is over and shit. Ruth is sworn in. He considered himself a moderate R man, but for the sake of being chill voted in with the radicals for party unity. So. 14th Amendment? He voted for it and it passed both houses the next year. He was in agreement with most Repubs on Reconstruction issues. The South should be welcomed back with open arms but dawgs, we should protect freedmen and the black brothers of the South. The President at the time though, Andrew J, disagreed. He was in a mad rush to get the South back in the fold before he worried about protecting former slaves and in fact granted pardons to many of the former Confederate leaders. Ruth and many other Republicans in Congress thought this was totally wack. They rejected that bs and put together the Civil Rights Act of 1866. Ruthy gets another run in Congress and voted for the Tenure of Office Act, which made sure that Andrew Jdawg couldn’t remove officials without the boys in Senate saying it was, like, totally cool bro. He tried for some more civil service reform but too soon man, too soon. In ’67 he resigns and hits the dusty trail to run for Ohio Govnuh.

Peeps of Ohio seemed to dig him. He had slightly more moderate ideas that many Repubs but thought that granting suffrage to black Ohioians was the right thing to do. Sadly that shiz didn’t fly but he baaaaarely won the election by like .5% anyway. As a Right dude in a Left legislature he didn’t have a lot of governing power. Also? Ohio Governors had no veto power. So he couldn’t even be all oh no you dinnit. Even with all that dumb stuff he still helped start up a school for deaf-mutes and a reform school for girls. He was super Pro Impeachment of Andrew Json but that shiz lost by one vote in the Senate. He is nominated for a 2nd term and he’s still trying to get equal rights for black Ohioians and paints his opponent as totes racist. He won by a larger majority this time and the Right took the legislature! This biz allowed Ohio to ratify the 15th amendment, finally granting suffrage.

Since he with the cool Repub bros he had a lot more fun in his 2nd term and was so totally psyched to see suffrage expand and a new college (OSU) go up. He also pushed for reduced taxes and some prison reform stuff. He was pretty stoked to serve his 2 terms and was all set to retire from politics in ’72. *ominous music*

So he’s all down with retiring but his buds are like, listen dude. We’re down with this reform biz and think you should run for Senate. He’s all about the Nope because his wife had popped out TWO MORE kids in the last five years. Dude is 50 with toddlers running around. I forget what the brings us to re: children but they have 8 total. I mean, I guess they didn’t have tv back then so what else ya gonna do? So anyway, he just wants to chill with his kids, manage his real estate, and try to get the railways to extend to his dinky little town. Even though he was allegedly retired he tried for, and didn’t get, a cabinet appointment and his old House seat. The same year he retired. Like. Dude. Do you know what retire means? Whatever. 

So in ’73 Mrs. Hayes gives birth to what I think is their last kid. That’s also when the Panic of 1873 hit which made a lot of people lose money, including our Ruthy boy. So that was crappy. ALSO. That year his cool Uncle Sardis died but they did end up moving into Spiegel Grove which sounds hecka swank. He wanted to stay out of politics so he could work to pay off his debts, but when he was nominated for Governor in ’75 he accepted and won.

Apparently he was good enough to be considered for Presidency and after some rough spots with delegates and getting enough votes, and a totes awkward moment when he admitted  he had not idea who da fuq the VP nominee was, he was off to the races. He was running against Tilden, a Dem Gov from NY. He was also totes for reform and shared a lot of the same views as Hayes. Hayes was worried about losing because the economy sucked and he was unsure that people would elect another Republican into office under those circumstances.  His campaign emphasized the fact that hey, Southern Dems are what caused this Civil War, guys! Don’t let that happen again! Dems said hey, our guy is totes pro reform and also lol look at what Grant has done to the economy! Typical shit.

Okay, so it’s 3 days after election day. It *appears* that Tilden has won 184 electoral votes, which is one shy of majority. Hayes seemed to have 166. 19 votes from South Carolina, Louisiana, and Florida were still questionable. As you would expect, both sides claimed victory in those states but they were rendered uncertain due to fraud from BOTH parties. In addition to this, one of the three electors in a state Hayes won, Oregon, was disqualified. Whoever won those votes would be the winner!

Basically both parties were in a slap fight. By January they STILL hadn’t reached a decision so Congress and Grant agreed to submit the issue to an Electoral Commission, which would be authorized to figure out what the fuck was going on. They put 5 Reps, 5 Sens, and 5 ultra rad Supreme Court Justices. They had 7 Dems, 7 Repubs, and one Indie mofo. 8 of the Rs gave Hayes the vote and the Dems tried to pull a filibuster to prevent Congress from accepting. (Buncha babbys!)

So, Inauguration Day is rapidly approaching so both sides meet to negotiate terms. Basically Hayes promised to withdrawal federal troops from the South and accept an election of Democratic governments in the remaining states in the south that were “unredeemed.” Hayes won and Reconstruction was now donezo.

Hahaha. Okay, so he even though he won fair and square a lot of Dems still had sour grapes and would refer to him as "Rutherfraud" or "His Fraudulency" for his entire term. That’s pretty hilarious. Anyway, so he’s sworn into office and promises stuff about reform and a FULL RETURN TO THE GOLD STANDARD.  His first act as President was to end Reconstruction and the return of the South to home rule. House of Reps was ruled with an iron fist by Dems and they refused to appropriate enough dough for the army to continue to garrison the South. Even Republicans by this point were pretty much over it.

He continued to try to protect the rights of Southern blacks but he didn’t have much luck. He also wasn’t able to do much to rebuild Republican strength in the South. He tried real hard though. He was willing to do anything and everything, even if it might sacrificing his own reputation and standing in his party and in the eyes of America to enforce racial equality, but the South, and Congress, just wasn’t having it.

Okay. Also. He made the bold move of suggesting that Federal jobs should go to those QUALIFIED not those that were political or financial supporters. This being politics, it didn’t go over very well. He put his money where his mouth was and hired some qualified and like minded folks in various positions. Corruption abounded but he could not get Congress to outlaw the spoil system. He went so far as issuing an executive order forbidding federal office holders from being required to make campaign contributions or otherwise participate in party politics.

This is where it gets really interesting. Chester A. Arthur, who you might know as the 21st President. Refused. He was the Collector of the Port of New York at the time and him and his subordinates all refused. Hayes demanded they resign and they refused. He appoints some cool dudes, including my buddy Teddy R, to the Senate as their replacements. Senate rejects by a vote of 31-25. 6 months pass and Hayes patiently waits for a Congressional recess and fires the troublemakers. Geez. 

He wasn’t able to do a lot personally for reform, but he did pave the way. Pendleton Act of 1883 was signed into law largely due to Hayes. Who signed it? Why, our old buddy Chesty A.A.!

He did some other cool stuff, involving railroads, currency issues, foreign policy and what not. But this is getting entirely too long! If you’d like to read more about that stuff, well go for it. As it stands, I’m skipping to the end. Hayes stuck with his decision to NOT run for a second term and was happy with James Garfield, his successor. Him and his 50 billion children returned to Spiegel Grove. Despite remaining a Republican, Hayes was pleased as punch with Grover Cleveland being elected in ’84 and liked his views on civil service reform. He was also glad to see the lil noob William McKinley that he once led in battle rise to power.

He was super pro education and advocated for many charities involved in such. He pushed for Federal Aid for education and encouraged black students to apply for scholarships. In 1892, one did and succeeded. Hayes was trouble by the divide between the rich and the poor, but wasn’t sure how to fix it. Sadly, in 1889 his wife died. 4 years later old Ruthy boy followed.  His dying words being “I know that I’m going where Lucy is.” President Elect Cleveland and (then) Governor McKinley led the funeral procession. In 1916 the first Presidential library opened, the Hayes Commemorative Library and Museum. I have no proof of this, but I like to think he died with a wicked awesome beard.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Monthly Update #1

So, it's now been one month since I made my 30 by 30 list (for the complete list visit #jezlistthirty) I did a whole lot of planning and spreadsheeting and I think I've got things down pretty well! I've accomplished quite a few things and am feeling pretty productive. I'm going to focus on what I *did* do and not what I didn't.

#2 - make health a priority. WORK IN PROGRESS. I've been monitoring what I eat and have been more careful. I'm not being super strict but I am watching my calories and loosely tracking them. I've been drinking less alcohol and limiting my sugar intake. Next plan involves raising my water intake and incorporating more fruits and vegetables into my daily eating habits. Not bad!
#6 - AFI - work in progress, as always. I've watched two movies so far, and overall have seen nearly 30 of the movies on the list. See previous posts for an overview of those. I need to start watching these more often, before stuff falls off of Netflix! I think I'm going to aim for one during the week and one on the weekend.
#8 Watch X-Files - I'm more than halfway through the first season. I'm liking it a fair amount so far! It's good background noise and while there's been a couple of stinkers there's also been some really good ones and some that are, at worst, forgettable. I'm also following along with the AV Club rewatch reviews as I go and I'm finding I *mostly* agree with their assessments.
#9 - I've been cooking and using my stove *more* but still not terribly often. This is difficult for me because as a single person that lives alone it doesn't make sense for me to cook very often. It's much easier and cheaper for me to stick to quick meals that don't require a lot of prep and I don't have to worry so much about food waste and the like. I'm still working on this!
#11 - I'm going to revise this a bit. I'm not going to be writing fiction. I'm just not. The goal was to write more and I *have* been doing that.  Though that could probably be used more. Maybe I'll shoot for a 3/week format? Yeah. I like that idea. M-W-F
#13 Volunteer - This was a vague, tenuous goal and I did that deliberately. I didn't want to get tied up on particulars or limit myself in anyway. I think that I will be aiming for a goal of 12 hours (total.) Which isn't a lot, really, but it's more than I did in the previous year. I have made some headway on this already!  We had a work event that involved making bagged lunches for a local soup kitchen. I spent my lunch hour assembling sandwiches and snacks all together we made *650* lunches! Awesome! I also registered for a local volunteer organization and I'm going to be delving into that to see what sort of options are available.
#15 - visit a new place. DONE. Went to a new pub, several new restaurants, a new theater.
#18 -talk to family more. DONE. Called dad
#26 - I wrote my letter of thanks, just need to mail it! Also buy stamps. (NOTE: bought stamps!)
#20 Learn new things - I have a post about this later today! Needless to say, I now know *a lot* about our 19th President. Too much, in fact.
#21 - read more. I've read two books and am currently working on two books!
#22 - start a club. Book club! Started it! Currently reading The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle
#23 -picnic Did some research on this and figured out WHERE I want to have it. Now I need to schedule the when (Sometime in October, likely!) and order supplies
#24 - tattoo Also made some progress on this. I have two tattoos that I want to get. For one, I've decided on *where* it goes. For the other, I still need to figure that out. Once I do, I'll begin researching where I want to go and have it done.

Well, I think that's it! Tune in next month for update #2!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Not the same old, same old

Another one of my plans (aside from consuming copious amounts of media/entertainment) was to do at least one new thing a month. I wanted to keep that deliberately open ended because the idea was just to experience new things. It’s fairly common and typical to get stuck in ruts. Eat at the same restaurants, go to the same bars, see movies at the same theaters, etc. Here are some of the new things I did that I can think of off the top of my head.
This happened, in fact, on my birthday! I went to *The Lion and Crown* near my apartment. It was… okay. They had a good selection of beers and good happy hour prices. The food was about what you would expect from a pub. The service was pretty terrible. There were only a handful of people there on a Tuesday night and most of them were clustered around the bar. We sat over separate from the bar off by ourselves and it took a good 10 minutes to even have a waiter approach us. I will probably go there again if I just want to drink and have a chat, but not for dinner or speedy service.
Went to two new restaurants! Well, new to me. One is actually new though!
*Pho Que Huong* this barely qualifies. I went there after a shopping trip with a friend for a late night bite. It was right before closing and I just got two spring rolls. No complaints here! It was quiet, the food was reasonably priced and tasted fine, and the service was acceptable. I will probably be returning at some point if I find myself craving Vietnamese food!
*Haystack Burgers* This place is actually new in addition to being new to me! It’s a burger joint next to the new Alamo in Richardson. They are what I guess you would consider gourmet burgers so the price is a little higher than other places. You order at the counter and they bring your food out to you. It’s pretty busy but they have outdoor seating in addition to indoor so in the 6 months we have acceptable weather you’d be fine! Since the burgers are hot and fresh it does take awhile to come out, so I wouldn’t go if you were starving or in a big rush. I think it probably took around 15 minutes? I had the namesake burger which IIRC has onion uh, not rings but breaded and fried onion strings? I guess? Anyway, those, plus bacon and bbq sauce and a HUGE patty. It was super delicious. My dining companion had fries and they appear to be super fresh and made there. I really liked this place and will be back for sure.
*Alamo Drafthouse* I’m including this because it’s a brand new theater. If you’re into movies you know what this place is and it’s every bit as awesome as you think. I will probably be going here with friends from now on instead of other theaters. Solo I will probably visit the new, also serves food, LOOK Cinemas that’s within walking distance of work and home.
*Lego Exhibit* This was unexpected and pretty cool! I was at the Dallas Galleria doing some shopping with a friend and we happened to walk by this store that appeared to have Lego buildings and stuff inside. The employees lured us in and for $5 a pop we got to go on a scavenger hunt and see about 15 Dallas landmarks done in painstakingly detailed Lego. I took a bunch of pictures that are available to view on G+. It was a lot of fun and afterwards we played with Lego. I didn’t plan this and didn’t even know it existed but I’m glad I got to experience it!
So that was August! September… who knows!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Reading is the most fun a girl can have without lying

So. #21 on my list is to Read More. I set a goal of reading at least two books a month and last month I did just that! Here are the two books I read (sort of.)

The first book I read I'm going to be a bit vague about. It was self published by guy whose blog I follow and he's kind of a whinebag. He's been known to go on blogs "defending" his book and I don't want that all up in here. I'll say that the title is "Timmy" but with a J. Anyway, the title character is an angsty high school kid that ends up kidnapping multiple girls at his school. It was pretty terrible in multiple ways. Not because it was too gory, or too extreme, or too much for my delicate sensibilities to handle. Oh no. It was poorly written, and contrived, and I ended up skimming most of the last bit of the book because it was just that godawful.

Have you seen American History X? You know the scene where Eddie Furlong's character turns in a paper on Mein Kampf? Then, when he gets called into the (black) principal's office he sits back all smug and cocky and is all "Well, you told me to write a paper!" chuckle chuckle look at how edgy I am? Yeah. It's like that, in book form. There's a difference between shocking people in order to grant them a new perspective or understanding and shocking for shocking sake. A way to push awareness into their brain or showcase how horrible something might be. Sometimes shock is the most effective form of communication. Apocalypse Now was shocking and brutal in highlighting the horrors of war and what it does to man. This is not that. It's shocking *just* to get a reaction. The author is under the mistaken impression that a negative reaction proves that he's "doing his job right" and that obviously if you don't like his book you are just 2 square.

Except for the part where your plot, dialogue, characters, setting, and everything else were just poorly written. I couldn't find a single good thing to say about the book other than good on him for finishing it? I am  not a delicate flower. I have Seen Things and Read Things a thousand times worse. I am not offended or shocked by the events that happen in the book. I am offended and shocked by books that bore or frustrate me. It is *badly* written. That's why I don't like it.  And that's okay!

Second on the list is Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman. You've heard about this by now and probably watched the tv show. In case you haven't though, here's a brief breakdown. Yuppie girl meets Drug Runner Girl. They fall in love. Yuppie (Piper) smuggles some of the money around. They break up. Fast forward many years later Piper goes to jail for this, leaving behind her (male) fiancé. She spends a year in prison. The tv show was entertaining, but only similar on the surface.

In the book not a lot happens. She does her time and everyone she ever meet seems to love her. That's not really a criticism, just a statement. The world loves White Privilege Piper and while she seems *aware* that she views the world through that filter it still (heh) colors her writing some. I would be much more interested in learning the story of basically anyone else she did time with. It's not a bad story though, and it's a pretty quick read, but it just lacks much conflict. Something will get worked up to be a big thing and then nothing will happen. I guess that's a lesson to learn. Sometimes things aren't as bad as you expect and sometimes something that seemed like it could be life ending actually ends up quietly disappearing into a puff of mist. The is the way the world *doesn't* end. Not with a bang, but with. well. Nothing.  It was worth a read, but not a purchase. SO, thanks Library e-book lending!

I'm currently reading something for book club in addition to a Dan Savage book. Not sure what I'll read after that. Still got a few weeks to make up my mind!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Things I watched by choice

Here are some movies that I’ve seen since my birthday totally unrelated to the movies on my list, but if I’m writing about movies I might as well write about them all! This is (loosely) in viewing order, with most recently watched last.

The Conjuring
I’m pretty sure that I watched this after my birthday, but oh well if not. It’s a pretty typical, straight forward Haunted House type movie from James Wan. You might remember him from such films as Saw, Dead Silence, or Insidious. I mostly liked two of those movies. Saw, at the time, was pretty inventive and fresh. It did sort of revive a genre that was floundering a bit. Horror in the early 2000s was a bit dead in the water after experiencing a brief resurgence thanks to Scream and Final Destination. Of course, any good will that was built up with this movie was subsequently crushed by the 27 sequels and brought to light a genre that the Japanese and French had long been producing: Torture P***! Now, this is a title that I disagree with on a lot of levels. I think it’s dismissive and a cheap shot. Like when a person ends an argument by saying “Well, that’s just, like, your opinion, man!” It’s criticizing without actually saying anything of note or proving any sort of point other than you can parrot back what Tipper Gore says. If you can back up your opinion with actual words, great! Anyway, what was I doing? Right! James Wan.

So, Dead Silence I thought was pretty terrible. It was predictable, one note, cliché haunted doll movie. All the scares were pretty telegraphed but it wasn’t in an enjoyable or winky way, just a trite and overused type of way. I think it was one of his earlier works though, and he’s obviously learned a few tricks or four. Insidious was a delightful experience. I don’t know if it was intentional, but I spent a decent amount of time laughing out loud, in a good way! It had a lot of creepy moments but for the most part in very fun ways. They subverted some of the genre clichés by outright addressing them and the “experts” they called in later produced some of my favorite parts of the movie. It was overall a pretty enjoyable movie and I’m looking forward to the sequel that will be out shortly.

The Conjuring had a fair amount to live up to. It featured some of the same players from Insidious with some new folks thrown in. It’s (loosely) based on the true story of a husband/wife “ghost hunting” team that are probably most famous for their involvement in the Amityville Horror house. In this movie it’s a different family and demons and etc. There was a lot of really good camera work and set design and a couple of decent scares. It wasn’t anything groundbreaking but all the people involved (especially the child actors!) did a pretty aces job and for the most part I enjoyed it. I will probably not be watching it again but I recommend it to anyone that is a fan of haunted house movies.

You’re Next
This is a film that’s been sitting on a shelf for over two years in distributor hell. Normally that spells terrible things for the quality of a movie but in the case it’s really a matter of people in charge not knowing what they are doing. This is basically a Who’s Who of indie horror with most noticeably featuring horror darling Ti West as one of the masked villains. Ti West you might remember made the incredibly 80’s throwback House of the Devil and another very old school style haunted flick called The Innkeepers. This time he’s in front of the camera with Director Adam Wingard and writer Simon Barrett running things.

Now, Wingard is relatively new to the game. Since he made this movie he’s made a few shorts that I wasn’t really fond of, parts of V/H/S and V/H/S 2 and a bit for The ABCs of Death. Both of these were shorts (especially the latter) and ones that I wasn’t especially fond of. The only feature length film of his that I saw was A Horrible Way to Die which I actually quite liked!  Writer Simon Barrett was his partner on the above mentioned films as well. In addition to their writing and directing duties they also served alongside Ti West in You’re Next as the masked villains. Their career is an interesting case of moving backwards a bit. Going from feature length films to shorts of dubious quality. BUT. After this movie I’m willing to give them another chance.

This is a film that benefits from knowing as little as possible about it before viewing so I will simply say that I enjoyed it for the most part, though I do think it had some flaws. I think at times it took Not Taking Myself Too Seriously too seriously, if that makes any sense? There were winks to the camera but instead of a quick wink it was more of a sloppy both eyelids falling shut for an uncomfortably long period of time wink.  But that’s me being slightly too picky and I think overall it was a very worthy endeavor. I was able to see this movie in a theater that was completely empty except for me and that added a fun layer to it. I will almost certainly be watching this again and will probably even buy the DVD, something that I don’t do often these days!

The World’s End
The final movie in the Cornetto/Blood and Ice Cream Trilogy and a worthy end cap. It was one part buddy comedy, one part Man Child Forced to Face His Shortcomings and one part Action Adventure Video Game.  This is another movie that benefits from mostly staying mum on the subject, so I will simply say that I enjoyed this an incredible amount and look forward to seeing it again. I would place it above Hot Fuzz but below Shaun of the Dead. It wasn’t quite what I expected but I was very pleased with the end result regardless. I also loved that Sisters of Mercy was given so much love!

I watched this on Netflix and almost forgot that I had. That’s less a criticism and more of a commentary on my brain. It stars Rainn Wilson and Ellen Paige as would be superheroes. Sound like another relatively recent movie? Yeah. Well.  It’s from the mind of James Gunn. He directed/wrote Slither and wrote the 2004 remake of Dawn of the Dead. Which was directed by Zack Synder. Anyway. Yes. It’s a very similar subject to Kick Ass but in my opinion done in a much more realistic and depressing way. The violence is brutal, realistic, and appropriately horrifying. Yeah, I know that was the goal with KA and they were successful to a certain degree but it was still a bit whitewashed and sanitized. Super is slightly fantastical but still about what you would expect if an average human decided they wanted to become a super hero. Not for the faint of heart!

This is (I believe) the first works from Brandon Cronenberg. That last name sounds familiar, you might be saying to yourself if you were me. If you were me you’d already know the answer to that but you’re not so you probably don’t actually care. Crap! Talked myself into a circle on that one. Anyway. He is the son of David Cronenberg. Yeah. That guy! I guess this isn’t his first directorial debut but it’s his third! Which, this reminds me I really need to see David’s newest movie, Cosmopolis? It has Robert Twilight Edward Vampire in it, and hey! Come back here! Sources tell me that it’s pretty good. It’s all in a car, or something? Look, we’re not here to talk about that.

Anyway. So. Antiviral. It’s an interesting look at Celebrity culture and worship and the inevitable downward spiral we’ll find ourselves in. In the not too distant future people actually PAY to have themselves injected with whatever recent virus celebrities have. Yeah. Gross. There’s some interesting turns and ideas and for a lil noob director it’s all done very well. Of course, look at who his father is! I will definitely be keeping an eye out for this guy and this is totally worth a watch if you have 90 minutes or so to spare.

So, those are the non AFI movies I’ve been watching. I really need to get up on that though!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Apocalypse Duck

I watched two of my movie list movies,  Duck Soup and Apocalypse Now. I had seen both movies in part or in whole but it had been many, many years.

Duck Soup was a cute little film. Coming in at just under an hour it’s basically a nonstop quip fest with a lot of physical comedy throughout. It’s 80 years old this year and holds up fairly well.  There are probably some references and jokes that are a bit dated, but it’s mostly barbed insults and goofy physical comedy so very little is lost in translation. It’s a silly little film and it’s very fun and engaging. I can see why it’s on the list.

Apocalypse Now. I feel like everything worth saying about this movie has already been said. Amazing performances from every single person involved. A lot of young babby actors in this! Laurence Fishburne, Harrison Ford, Dennis Hopper (probably my favorite character in the entire movie.) It absolutely deserves to be on the list. It was shocking and heartbreaking and brilliantly done. It makes me wonder, what happened to Coppola? His career kind of went into the toilet, didn’t it?

My Dad narrowly avoided Vietnam. He was 18/19 when it ended. It’s crazy to think that he very well could have served there because it was a war that STARTED before he was born. I’m very glad that he didn’t, I’m sure my Dad is all the more glad. He’s kind of a hippie and probably would have fled to Canada or Mexico or something.

A few interesting things: Martin Sheen was *39* when this came out. He looked much, much younger! I would have pegged him as mid-late 20s at the most. Much of the time I was marveling at how much him and Charlie look alike. Dead ringers! 7 years later his son would star in Platoon. Platoon is another Vietnam era war movie on the AFI list, and in fact one that Netflix suggested to me after watching AN. Charlie was only 21 in that. I’ll probably be watching Platoon this week as a sort of compare/contrast.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Movies I'll regret watching

So, for the record here are the 100 movies on the most recent AFI Top 100 List. I've seen about 28 of these movies, which is pretty decent I guess? My plan, as previously stated I think, is to watch about 6 a month. Which gives me a little bit of leeway to watch 2 a week at most. I would like to plan it out so I'm watching one movie I'm actually interested in (or at worst indifferent) and one movie that I'm not particularly interested in. That way there's a decent mixture and I won't spend the last half of the year watching movies I don't really want to see. I am also planning on actually, actively watching. No cell phones, no internet, nothing to distract or take away. I'll try to update here once a week with my thoughts and ideas on whatever was on the agenda that week.
12 Angry Men
2001: A Space Odyssey
A Clockwork Orange
A Night at the Opera
A Streetcar Named Desire
All About Eve
All the President's Men
American Graffiti
Annie Hall
Apocalypse Now
Blade Runner
Bonnie and Clyde
Bringing up Baby
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
Citizen Kane
City Lights
Do the Right Thing
Double Indemnity
Dr. Strangelove
Duck Soup
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
Easy Rider
Forrest Gump
Gone with the Wind
High Noon
In the Heat of the Night
It Happened One Night
It's a Wonderful Life
King Kong
Lawrence of Arabia
Midnight Cowboy
Modern Times
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
North by Northwest
On the Waterfront
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
Pulp Fiction
Raging Bull
Raiders of the Lost Ark
Rear Window
Saving Private Ryan
Schindler's List
Singin' in the Rain
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
Some Like it Hot
Sophie's Choice
Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope
Sullivan's Travels
Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans
Sunset Boulevard
Swing Time
Taxi Driver
The African Queen
The Apartment
The Best Years of Our Lives
Bridge on the River Kwai
The Deer Hunter
The French Connection
The General
The Godfather
The Godfather Part II
The Gold Rush
The Graduate
The Grapes of Wrath
The Last Picture Show
The Fellowship of the Ring
The Maltese Falcon
The Philadelphia Story
The Searchers
The Shawshank Redemption
The Silence of the Lambs
The Sixth Sense
The Sound of Music
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
The Wild Bunch
The Wizard of Oz
To Kill a Mockingbird
Toy Story
West Side Story
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Yankee Doodle Dandy

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