I had very little idea what the book was about until I read a few reviews. They all seem to agree it is turgid writing with very little romance and some shades (!) of S&M thrown in.
I've seen other fun on Facebook, such as "Fifty Shades of Black" and "Fifty Shades of Earl Grey" (photos of tea, of course).
[H]ere’s one tiny sample of the writing style:
“Did you give him our address?”
“No, but stalking is one of his specialties,” I muse matter-of-factly.
Kate’s brow knits further.
That’s right: This is the kind of a book where, instead of saying things, characters muse them, and they are somehow able to muse them matter-of-factly. And these matter-of-fact musings cause other characters’ brows—which of course were already knitted—to knit still further. The book is over five hundred pages long and the whole thing is written like that. If Jane Austen (another bestselling female British author) came back to life and read this book, she would kill herself. ...
So the plot is: They have sex, she wants to smooch, he wants to flog, there’s a bunch of talking about this, they have sex again, she again wants to smooch, he again wants to flog, there’s a bunch more talking about this, and so on for several hundred word-filled pages.
Finally, Anastasia decides to let Christian flog her, to see what it would be like. So he takes a belt and flogs her on the butt. Then, in the dramatic climax to the story, the moment we have been building up to, Anastasia comes to a shocking, life-changing realization, which nobody could have foreseen in a million years: Getting flogged on the butt hurts.
Stephanie Merry (contrasting the movie with the novel):
After all, the erotic romance novel, based on saucy “Twilight” fan-fiction, did great business, despite being a 500-page lesson in how not to use a thesaurus. Millions of readers paid their dues, skimming countless boring scenes with a narrator who says nothing more profound than “holy cow!” and “double crap!” so they could get to the good stuff: bondage-laced sex scenes between the story’s innocent protagonist and her impossibly hot, impossibly rich damaged-goods love interest. ...
Of course, the tedium of doing business is broken up by about 15 minutes of sexcapades. Compared to the book, which features a much-discussed scene involving a tampon, the movie is a model of moderation. Every sexual encounter plays out to the soothing strains of some lovely vocalist (Sia, Beyoncé), and careful framing means we see plenty of skin, but not as much as you might expect for a chronicle of fringy sexual habits. Dornan doesn’t even get totally naked for the camera.
Taylor-Johnson clearly was going for an R rating, and even with what the MPAA deemed “unusual behavior” — including one difficult-to-watch whipping — no scene comes close to earning an NC-17 designation.
In the end, there’s nothing here we haven’t seen before. But there’s also nothing as agonizingly awkward as James’s prose.
Anthony Lane (rivaling Dave Barry for put-downs):
If the figures are correct, “Fifty Shades of Grey,” by E. L. James, has been bought by more than a hundred million people, of whom only twenty million were under the impression that it was a paint catalogue. That leaves a solid eighty million or so who, upon reading sentences such as “He strokes his chin thoughtfully with his long, skilled fingers,” had to lie down for a while and let the creamy waves of ecstasy subside. Now, after an enticing buildup, which took to extreme lengths the art of the peekaboo, the film of the book is here....
“Fifty Shades of Grey” is being released in time for Valentine’s Day. That’s a bold move, since the film is not just unromantic but specifically anti-romantic; take your valentine along, by all means, but, be warned, it’ll be like watching “Rosemary’s Baby” at Christmas. Try holding hands as the hero taunts the rituals of sentiment, such as going out for dinner and a movie: “That’s not really my thing.” What his thing actually is, Lord knows, although, to judge by the importance that he attaches to grooming, regular feeding, and nicely buffed leather goods, my suspicion is that he doesn’t want a girlfriend at all. I know Mr. Grey’s whopping-big secret. He wants a pony.
Honestly? Is that really what the book and movie are like? I must be way out to lunch, but why on earth was the book ever popular?
Back in May, 2013, I wrote about the potential for using graphene to desalinate water. If graphene has all these miracle properties, watch for more economic growth and more change as entrepreneurs find less expensive ways to produce and use high-quality graphene . Wow!
Update: Jack recommends the Wikipaedia link to many of the potential uses being touted for graphene. Also, see this for the possibility that even more materials with even more desireable properties might be in the pipeline.
My friend Salim Mansur is part of a group of friends who are hosting/sponsoring a showing of a documentary, Honor Diaries, on Friday, May 29th at the Wolf Performance Hall, 6:30 - 8:30pm. He has written to me,
The showing of this documentary about the status of women in the Arab-Muslim world -- the misogyny, the persecution and abuse of women -- has brought the Council of American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and other Muslim Brotherhood (MB) and Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) related Islamist organizations to mount their offensive to stop public showing of this documentary....They succeeded in forcing the University of Michigan and the University of Illinois to withdraw the screening of the documentary. At Brandeis University these organizations forced the university administration to dis-invite Ayaan Hirsi Ali and withdraw the presentation of an honorary degree that had already been publicly announced. ...It will be shown at the Wolf Performance Hall, London Public Library, 251 Dundas Street, London, Ontario.The date and time are: Thursday, May 29, 2014, 6:30-8:30 pm.
Please come out and see this documentary, and support the struggle against honour-killings, female genital mutilation, child marriage, and women sold into slavery, as we now witness the horror of kidnapping of young girls in Nigeria by Boko Haram and their being sold into slavery.At least one of the women in the documentary, Raheel Raza, will be among us. ... Raheel has very bravely agreed to engage in a Q & A following the showing of the documentary with the audience members.It cannot be emphasized how important this documentary is in bringing to the North American public the awful reality of gender exclusion and gender oppression in the Arab-Muslim world, and equally important to screen it in public despite the opposition and the equally awful silence of the mainstream media on the subject and the effort mounted to prevent public screening of "Honor Diaries."
Quite frankly, I would love to hear the feedback about this film from all the people in Regina who gave Salim such a hard time while he was there a few years ago.
Kelly McDonald is one of the smartest people I know. He is also amazingly energetic and determined. One of the many things he does is produce, direct, and participate in radio and television shows. He is also well-known for his stage theatre work in London, Ontario.
This evening and several more times over the next week or so Kelly has a show about the Toronto Blue Jays on Rogers TV [channel 888 in London and Toronto, update: it is the Accessible Channel produced by Accessible Media]. I think it might be on at 8pm in London with the title "Sports Access". It might also be on at 4pm today in Toronto. He spent some time in Florida doing the interviews for the show.
Kelly is nearly totally blind. His production company is called Out of Sight Productions, which tries to use vision-impaired actors in much of its work. His company is producting "Academia Nuts" for the London Fringe Festival in June. Three of the five actors in it are vision-impaired. I'm one of the other two and happy to be a part of the show.
When I saw the first few episodes of the initial series of "Sherlock", starring Benedict Cumberbatch, I was enthralled. He played a Sherlock who was consistently and honestly more over-the-top than Jeremy Brett's portrayals of Sherlock Holmes, but in a fun way that was almost believable. The shows made you want to believe, even though they were far-fetched. The use of computer technology seemed on the cutting edge, even if it wasn't or wasn't quite possible, and the relationships that evolved were interesting, intriguing, fun, and implausible but credible.
The plots were vaguely related to the plots of the originals by Conan Doyle, as implied by the titles. The acting was crisp, and the shows were massively more enjoyable than the movie(s) by Downey, Jr. We bought the blu-ray versions of both the first two series and were eagrely looking forward to Series 3.
What a disappointment. The acting is still crisp, but it is so over-the-top that it actually detracts from the plots, such as they are.
I don't blame the actors, though. I blame the writing and directing. The plots are thin, confused, and even less believable than those of the first two series. With Sherlock-3 we are now embroiled in stories that are more sci-fi fantasy than mysteries solvable by geniuses. And all the jumble of this-that-this-that blah blah blah that goes on seemingly every 5 minutes is, quite frankly, worse than annoying.
**** Spoiler Alert ****
How bad are the plots? As my younger son, Adam Smith Palmer, said about Episode 3-3, when Sherlock couldn't out-think the villain, he shot the person.
Well, isn't that a stunning triumph of wit, genius, and brilliance over brute force.
I have seen several postings both in the blogosphere and on Facebook about favourite Christmas movies. To be honest, I don't know that I have seen any explicitly Christmas movies that really turn my crank.
I have been surprised at the number of times people list one of the "Die Hard" movies as a favourite Christmas movie. I think I saw Die Hard once many years ago. I don't remember anything about Christmas in it, but I do remember that I didn't much like the movie.
What's my favourite Christmas movie? Well, if people think Die Hard is a Christmas movie, then certainly "Three Days of the Condor" qualifies as a Christmas movie --- it has several scenes that are clearly related to Christmas.
If not "Three Days of the Condor", then maybe "Animal House"? ;-)
Nearly two years ago I auditioned to be in a documentary series about how the War of 1812 affected Southwestern Ontario between Niagara and Detroit. I was initially offered a role of a 32-year-old, and I immediately wrote to the producers that I was flattered that they thought I could play such a role. They, of course, rescinded that offer and instead offered me the role of Governor Isaac Shelby (of Kentucky), who was a general during that war. The filming for my very minor role was done in August, 2012, and will be on TVO sometime during the winter of 2014. Here is my very brief role, in its entirety, in Episode One.
I recorded this snippet on my smartphone from a disk sent to me in advance of the TVO showing of the series.
In this scene, I am assuring the women of Amherstburg that we Kentuckians will not destroy their homes so long as they do not harbour any of their men folk, whom we would consider to be soldiers for the British. The narrative over the video suggests that I might be playing General Harrison giving these assurances, but that isn't exactly what I was told nor what the credits say (and is especially bizarre since General Harrison is played by a different actor).
Oh well, another gig, another credit.
Coincidentally, Shelby, Michigan, less than an hour north of where I was born and raised, was named for Governor Shelby:
Shelby was originally established as Churchill’s Corners in 1866, named after Walter H. Churchill who was the first postmaster. It was renamed Shelby in 1885 when it was incorporated as a village - after General Isaac Shelby, who along with his famous Kentucky Rangers, took back Detroit from the British in the War of 1812.
It's interesting that in the full narrative of the documentary, Governor Shelby's role in the War of 1812 is not mentioned even once.
And you know what? If I hadn't played this role and done lots of reading about it, I'd have had no idea who Shelby was, what he did, or why that village was named Shelby.
If it isn't a perfect analogy, the willingness to sell out principles is common to the two.
Apple defers to China to increase its profits.
Hollywood deferred to Hitler to increase profits.
Okay. I can see that to clarify the analogy, I should say "Germany" instead of "Hitler"; also, Apple is a single corporation, whereas Hollywood refers to many of the major film companies of the 1930s. However, all the film companies were forced to act together through the Hays Office by Germany and their consul in Los Angeles, Georg Gyssling:
Gyssling had the option of informing the Hays Office, a private group that represented the major Hollywood studios, that if the [distinctly anti-Nazi] film were made then his government might place a ban on all American movies in Germany. It is uncertain whether Gyssling actually did this – the evidence is inconclusive – but he probably did,
An Israeli film, nominated for an award, has been removed from the competition by the organizers of the competition. Why? because the screening of the nominees and the award ceremony will take place in Dubai, where political pressure was exerted to have the film removed from the competition. From the Elder of Ziyon,
So much for openness, etc..
Israeli film disqualified from award - because ceremony is in DubaiThis is outrageous:
The creators of the Israeli documentary "Israel: A Home Movie" were recently informed that their film has been dropped from an international competition for films based on archival footage, because the awards ceremony is to be held in the Arab emirate of Dubai.The film is still listed as a nominee on the IFTA webpage
The competition is being sponsored by the International Federation of Television Archives. According to the film's producer, Arik Bernstein, the organization's chairman informed him thatbecause the ceremony is taking place in Dubai (which has no diplomatic relations with Israel) and the film deals with the history of Israel, it will not be shown at the event. In addition, the film’s creators cannot be hosted there and the film will be disqualified from winning a prize in the competition and not mentioned at the awards ceremony. [EE: emphasis in the original, but the sentence after the emphasis seems more important]
...Two months ago Bernstein was officially informed that the film, which is known as "Kach Ra'inu" in Hebrew and directed by Eliav Lilti, had made it to the finals. A jury chose it as one of the nine best movies and the film was in the running in the “Preservation and special use of archival material” category, against two competing movies. The notice invited the filmmakers to attend or send a representative to the October 26 award ceremony. The ceremony is held in a different country every year, and Dubai was chosen as this year’s location.
However, two weeks ago Bernstein was informed that the invitation had been withdrawn and his film had been removed from the competition. "This is an international organization of which Israel [through the state broadcaster Channel 1] is a member," Bernstein said Thursday. "The total disqualification of the film followed pressure from the authorities in Dubai, which are hosting and funding this year's conference," he said.
If you have never tried Amazon Prime (or even if you have), now is a good time to give it a try -- they're offering a 30-day free trial. My son in Texas has used it for several years and is absolutely delighted with it. You get the ability to watch over 40,000 movies and TV episodes, anytime. Plus, (this is the biggie for many people) you can receive FREE two-day shipping on millions of products with no minimum order size along with access to the Kindle Owners' Lending Library. Click on the link below to get a 30-day free trial.
For the US: Join Amazon Prime - Watch Over 40,000 Movies
For Canada, http://www.amazon.ca/gp/prime
I had a minor role in this. So minor, in fact, that I don't appear in this trailer:
Who really won the war of 1812? I was taught as a kid, growing up in the US, that the US won the war. Then when I moved to Canada, I was told that Canada (aka the Brits) won the war. From everything I've read, one thing emerged:
Much of the anatagonism between the the US and the Brits was that the Brits turned a blind eye to the Indians use of Canada as a haven from which they launched repeated attacks, and the US was trying to expand into the Northwest Territories (now the midwestern US). One important outcome of the war was that the Brits sold out Tecumseh and the Indians. Pretty much everything else (oh yeah, there was also the Brit impression of US sailors that was halted) didn't change much.
But no matter what history you read or how it is interpreted, this documentary brings to life a whole lot of action that we never heard much about. It was extremely well-researched and probably did about as good a job as possible in capturing the essence of the era in this area.
Last night Ms. Eclectic and I were watching one of our all-time favourite movies, "Three Days of the Condor", starring Robert Redford and Faye Dunaway.
*** Warning: spoiler alert ***
Near the end, as Redford prepares to board a train, what should we see in the background, but this poster for the play Equus. This film was released in 1975.
Very Picasso-ish depiction of the horse. I love the connection.
Here's the poster from our production last September:
Well, according to some, anyway [h/t M.A.].
• "It's a Wonderful Life" (1946)
• "Holiday Inn" (1942)
• "The Nightmare Before Christmas" (1993)
• "Stalag 17" (1953)
• "Miracle on 34th Street" (1947)
• "Die Hard" (1988) [EE: are you kidding me? 8-( ]
• "Arthur Christmas" (2011)
• "A Christmas Story" (1983)
• "Trading Places" (1983)
• "Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale" (2010)
• "Lethal Weapon" (1987)
• "A Midnight Clear" (1992)
• "A Christmas Tale" (2008)
• "While You Were Sleeping" (1995)
• "Scrooge (A Christmas Carol)" (1951)
• "Elf" (2003)
• "Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang" (2005)
• "Gremlins" (1984)
• "The Santa Clause" (1994)
• "The Bishop's Wife" (1947)
• "Bad Santa" (2003)
• "8 Women" (2002)
• "Batman Returns" (1992)
• "White Christmas" (1954)
• "The Ref" (1994)
Netflix increased its prices. And whaddya know.... subscriptions declined. We teach it all the time: an increase in the price leads to a reduction in the quantity demanded.
The customer backlash against the higher rates, kicking in this month, has been much harsher than Netflix Inc. anticipated. That prompted management to predict Thursday that the company _the largest U.S. video subscription service_ will end September with 600,000 fewer U.S. customers than it had in June.
This could be an opportune time for would-be rivals to attack Netflix's streaming service too, BTIG Research analyst Richard Greenfield wrote in a Thursday blog post. Internet retailer Amazon.com Inc. launched a free streaming service for subscribers to its two-day shipping service earlier this year. Greenfield and other analysts believe Google Inc., already the owner of YouTube, is eager to expand its Internet video offerings to include more movies. One way Google could achieve that would be to buy Hulu.com, which has been put up by for sale by the television network owners that supply its video content.This provides another good example in which the price elasticity of demand (responsiveness to price changes) will be greater in the long run than in the short run.
Wilders is a well-known public figure who sees Islam as more of an ideology than a religion. During his talk, he lambasted multiculturalism. Two quotes:
Multiculturalism is the biggest disease in Europe today.
And the reason for that?
Multiculturalism would not have been such a catastrophe if it weren't for Islam.
Because of his views, his public statements, his film, and his policy proposals, Wilders' life is constantly in danger. The organizers of the evening event, the International Free Press Society, refused to advertise the dates and locations of his talks while he is in Canada. Instead, we found out about them through word-of-mouth and then had to register before receiving the information [he does have two more talks planned while he is in Canada, in case you are interested; the information is available at the IFPS website].
Accompanying Wilders were about 10 security personnel from The Netherlands; also the RCMP had a large security contingent on hand. We all went through a security check before being admitted to the place where he spoke.
This is just plain wrong. People speaking about religion and ideology should not live in fear for their lives and the lives of their friends and families.
The warm-up act for Wilders was a dialogue between Ezra Levant (of human rights and freedom of the press fame in Canada) and Sam Solomon, a noted scholar of Islam and Sharia Law; it was mostly an interview of Solomon by Levant. During that interview, Solomon (who converted to Christianity and was at times quite coy about his past) proclaimed,
If you do not hate, you cannot be a complete Muslim.
Both Wilders and Solomon are very outspoken critics of Islam.
Here is a photo I took of Solomon and Levant ( all my photos from the event: twelve-times optical zoom, no flash, from about 50 feet away):
The session was introduced by Bjorn Larsen, who recently filmed a documentary about Caledonia, freedom, and property rights and who heads up the IFPS:
One more photo of Wilders, who was extremely engaging and compelling as a speaker:
I expect that if there were a film at the festival by Hamas, then
Here is a summary of what has been going on:
[From this source] In an open letter in response to a protest by dozens of celebrities protesting the Toronto International Film Festival’s decision to showcase the city of Tel Aviv, festival co-director Cameron Bailey wrote that spotlighting Tel Aviv was “not a simple choice and that the city remains contested ground. We continue to learn more about the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement”.
“As a festival that values debate and the exchange of cultures, we will continue to screen the best films we can find from around the world,” Bailey said in the letter posted on the festival’s Web site.
Tel Aviv is the inaugural city in the festival’s new City to City series.
More than 50 prominent filmmakers, writers, artists and academics — including Jane Fonda, Danny Glover and Alice Walker — have signed a letter denouncing the move at the festival, which runs Sept. 10-19.
“As members of the Canadian and international film, culture and media arts communities, we are deeply disturbed by [the festival's] decision to host a celebratory spotlight on Tel Aviv”, states the letter, set to be published online Thursday. “We protest that TIFF, whether intentionally or not, has become complicit in the Israeli propaganda machine”.
“We do not protest the  individual Israeli filmmakers included in City to City,” the letter continues. “Nor do we in any way suggest that Israeli films should be unwelcome at TIFF. However … we object to the use of such an important international festival in staging a propaganda campaign on behalf of … an apartheid regime”.
Other signatories include singer David Byrne, actor Wallace Shawn and Canadian author Naomi Klein.
[And a response from Alan Dershowitz] A group of hard-Left filmmakers and writers from around the world have been using their celebrity to try to coerce the Toronto International Film Festival into banning Israeli films.
Their petition, which is filled with misstatement of facts and rewriting of history, describes Israel as "an apartheid regime."
It focuses not so much on Israel's occupation of the West Bank since 1967, but rather on Israel's very existence since 1948. It characterizes Tel Aviv, a city built by the sweat of Jews largely on barren coastal land, as illegitimate.
It never mentions the fact that the Palestinians were offered and rejected statehood in 1938, 1948, 1967 and 2000-2001. It fails to mention that when Israel ended its occupation of Gaza, the result was rockets being fired at Israeli schoolchildren and other civilians.
They claim that the inspiration for their censorship effort includes "former President Jimmy Carter," who they say has characterized Israel as an "apartheid regime." Jimmy Carter has said many nasty things about Israel, but he has expressly disclaimed any allegation that the Israeli regime itself is apartheid.
He acknowledges that Israel is a multicultural democracy in which Arabs vote, serve in the Knesset, serve on the Supreme Court and teach in Israeli universities. Many even volunteer to serve in the Israeli Army. His use - misuse in my [Alan Deshowitz] view - of the word "apartheid" was limited to Israel's occupation of the West Bank.
[and here is an even stronger response] As a filmmaker and member of the Academy, I can tell you that this is nothing less than a call for the complete destruction of the Jewish State. There can be no other interpretation when the legitimacy of Tel Aviv is called into question. If every city in the Middle East would have the cultural diversity, the freedom of expression, and treat its citizens, Jews and Arabs, the way Tel Aviv does, peace would have come to the Middle East long ago. [emphasis added]
Israel is accused of being an apartheid state because it did what every other country in the world would do – defend its citizens against an eight month rocket barrage launched by Hamas terrorists. Let’s be honest, the signatories to this protest may have been filmmakers, authors, directors and actors, but it is clear that the script they are reading from might as well have been written by Hamas.
[h/t Judith and Eva]
As I posted last week, during the past weekend I was a part of the filming of a re-enactment of the Steven Truscott case involving the 1959 rape and murder of a young teen girl, Lynne Harper in an area near Clinton, Ontario. 14-year-old Truscott was found guilty and sentenced to death for the crime, but his sentence was commuted to life in prison, and he was released on parole many years later. After his release, it came to light that he was probably convicted on the basis of faulty forensics, and there is a strong suspicion that the crime was committed by a known pedophile who lived at the RCAF radar-training base (where the Truscotts and Harpers also lived).
I learned of the availability of roles for the show at 11pm on Tuesday evening and immediately e-fired off headshots and a copy of my acting resume to the people in NYC who were in charge of casting the re-enactment; filming was set to begin on Friday, and while I have been involved in some hairy, late-minute productions in the past, this seemed awfully late to be sending out a call for actors. It turned out that some of the actors who had been cast live in Toronto and thought the "shoot" would be in that area. When they found out they would have to drive several hours each way, with no provision for overnight accommodations, they backed out (the pay for the actors was a token honorarium).
The next morning, Wednesday, about 11am, I received a call from the person casting the show saying they wanted to cast me as the pathologist (the one who likely committed serious errors and who wrote a letter to the prosecutor saying so, but the letter was not shown to the defence team). I was delighted to be cast in the show.
Then at lunch an hour later with my son, David Ricardo Palmer, I received a telephone call from the casting person, asking if I knew any men age 30-50 who could play a police officer. I said "Sure, I'm having lunch with my son right now. He is in his late 30s, and he has some acting experience."
We snapped a photo of him using my iPhone and sent it off by e-mail, and within a half hour, he, too, was cast in the show. At first, his co-workers refused to believe him when he asked for Friday afternoon off to be in a tv episode of Extreme Forensics. I gather it took quite some talking on his part.
Our plan was that he would come up with his two daughters on Friday at noon, and Ms. Eclectic and I would look after them that afternoon and evening, since I wasn't to be on "the set" until Saturday. Meanwhile, neither he nor I received anything from the production company confirming that we had been cast, telling us when and where to show up, or anything about script, storyboard, or whatever.
More signs of chaos: the casting person called me late Thursday afternoon, desperate because the person they had cast to play Lynne Harper's father had backed out. He, too, had accepted the role not knowing he'd have to drive a couple of hours to be in the show, which really wasn't worth it for the very minor honoraria we expect to receive. Did I know anyone around here who could play the role.
Of course I do, having been involved with local theatre groups for over a decade. I provided the names of several guys who could be stars if they lived in a major media market, and they cast one of them in the role that night. It was great working with him again. And another plus was that the woman cast as his wife was an actress I have loved working with in London often in the past.
Finally, my son e-mailed the show producers on Friday morning, asking for more details. They replied that they had wanted him on the set at 10am that day. Fat chance, since they had said earlier that they wouldn't need him until sometime in the afternoon. Also, they gave him an address, telling him it was in Clinton, where I live. But it turned out the address was for a house in Vanastra, a town a couple of miles south of Clinton, formed from the old RCAF radar-training base that was considered part of Clinton back in the 1950s. Much of the Friday filming took place at that house, which was where the Harper family had lived in 1959.
To save him some time, I drove to the house to meet him and the girls so he wouldn't have to bring them to our house. While I was there waiting for them to arrive, I learned that the young girl cast to play the role of Lynne Harper couldn't do it after all because she wears braces and Lynne Harper didn't wear braces. So they quickly re-cast another young girl to play Lynne Harper but needed some more girls to act as friends for Lynne. So guess what: my two granddaughters were also cast for roles in the show, too!
As is usually the case with these types of filming "shoots", nothing happened on time. By 2pm or so, someone took orders and went to Kate's Station, the quintessential Huron County diner, to pick up lunch. Finally about 6pm or so, they shot a scene with my son in it. There were no scripts for any of the scenes. Before a scene, the directors (a team of two very nice and pleasantly patient people) would just tell people their approximate lines.
After that scene was shot, one of the directors told me they couldn't use me as the pathologist because I don't look at all like the original pathologist in the case (in part because of my beard, in part because I'm bald). I was pretty upset (though I hope I didn't show it much) and wondered out loud why I had been cast for the role in the first place if that was a problem. Upon reflection, I figured the casting was done by someone who thought, "Ah, this guy looks enough like a scientist or pathologist, maybe even a bit like the pathologist on the original CSI. Let's use him." So they said they'd use me as the killer. My face wouldn't show, though, because there is no clear evidence for sure about who the actual killer was; when you see the episode, you might see my feet, legs, hands, and arms, but that's all.
The last scene filmed that evening was of Lynne and a group of her friends (including my son's daughters) at the playground, where she met Steven Truscott and got him to give her a ride to the highway.
The girls and my son were told to arrive at Kate's Station at 10am the following morning. I wouldn't have to be on set until Saturday afternoon. Then about 11:30 Friday night, I received a form-letter-type e-mail from the company congratulating on my being cast as the pathologist. Huh?
So just to be sure, I showed up at 10am on Saturday with my son and granddaughters, where I learned that no, I wouldn't be the pathologist, I'd be the killer. They had located an actor who looked more like the original pathologist. Oh well....
By 10:30am, we all left to go to a bridge where Truscott and Harper had last been seen together. There were lots of shoots of Steven giving Lynne a ride on his bike past the bridge to the highway. And there were hours of film shot with other young people fishing and playing around the river and bridge. One pair was my son's younger daughter, standing on the bridge with a boy about the same age, discussing the fish and turtles in the river:
But of course they won't be showing my face during the show. Instead, if they use anything from those scenes, you'll be more likely to see shots like these:
Unfortunately, the car was a pig that stalled every time the driver slowed down or turned, no matter who was driving it. It was a fun experience, but frustrating, too.
The shoot finally wrapped (i.e. ended) about 8pm that evening with me dragging the poor victim through the woods. She was an amazingly good actress with a great, positive attitude. And her mother was a very wise, careful chaperon.
The four-person crew that was on site was very professional, though somewhat unprepared and disorganized, if that makes sense. They dealt with all contingencies that arose in a calm fashion and were very positive and understanding with all the actors. Also, they had considerable detailed knowledge of the case at their fingertips. But the casting inconsistencies put everyone in awkward positions, unfortunately.
In the end, it was a great experience for my son and granddaughters, and I was happy to be a part of their enjoyment. The girls have informed us that they intend to save their earnings so they can eventually buy netbooks. Well, when they told us that, my son said they could have his earnings, too, and Ms. Eclectic and I said we'd top up to cover the rest.
What an exciting weekend! We've been told that the show might air on The Discovery Channel [Correction: it airs on Investigation Discovery network, which is owned by The Discovery Channel] sometime in March. Of course I'll post the details as we learn them.
The writings of George Orwell made the news last week when, without advance warning, Amazon erased electronic versions of some of his novels from people's Kindles [see, for example, this by Phil Miller]. That incident brought to mind Orwell's comments about Charlie Chaplin [h/t to BenS]:
Speaking of Chaplin in his role of The Great Dictator, George Orwell asks “What is Chaplin’s peculiar gift?” It is his power to stand for a sort of concentrated essence of the common man, for the ineradicable belief in decency that exists in the hearts of ordinary people, at any rate in the West. We live in a period in which democracy is almost everywhere in retreat, supermen in control of three-quarters of the world, liberty explained away by sleek professors, Jew-baiting defended by pacifists. And yet everywhere, the common man sticks obstinately to the beliefs that he derives from the Christian culture.”
--Film Review, The Great Dictator in Time & Tide, Dec 21, 1940. Reprinted in All Art is Propaganda, Critical Essays by George Orwell (Harcourt, Inc.) 2008
I would happily change "Christian culture" to "Judeo-Christian traditions", but otherwise I like the observation.
Ironman at Political Calculations refused to watch the Oscar Awards on television this past weekend. Instead, he wondered whether the least popular of the films nominated to win an Oscar would still be popular enough to out-draw the year's worst movie at the box office.
His results indicated that in most years the least-popular Oscar nominee did, in fact, outdraw the year's worst movie. Interstingly, though, the mean box-office revenues were nearly equal between the two groups, and the reason was that there were a few really bad movies that were high-gross films. The standard deviation of the box office revenue for the bad films was much higher than for the least-popular Oscar nominees over the years.
Ironman relates that result to the observation that while men have about the same abilities as women on average, the standard deviations of men's abilities are much higher than for women. To see his analysis be sure to read the whole thing.
In "The Visitor" he plays an economics professor late in his career and not really committed to much, who comes to life due to some rather unexpected developments. It is a small quiet film, with great performances from many people, but especially Jenkins. It's rare that I am deeply satisfied by what I consider an 'airplane film'.
Meanwhile, Rondi, while praising Jenkins' performance, exhibits her dripping and undaunted sarcasm at its best and is quite negative about the film,
While The Visitor was a mediocre movie, he was excellent as the protagonist (he was actually "the visitor" to his own life. Deep and meaningful, see?). As I watched I wondered who the hell Jenkins was, and whether he would get the recognition he so deserved for carrying an otherwise middling movie. What's too bad is, it could have been a great movie, if the writer (who was also the director) hadn't decided to make it an anti-war on terror bromide. In this movie, one learns that Muslims are wonderfully liberal and multicultural, they love Jews, everyone taken into detention since 9-11 is innocent, American police officers are just drooling to arrest anyone who comes from a country with a funny name and white people are completely closed and ignorant and don't know a thing about the world. Nothing. The movie was so bloody ham-handed -- had it focused on Jenkins' character's grief and his coming back to life through meeting new people, it could have been saved. And it also had an aspect of Boomer-ish pretension. "Oh, lookey me! I'm 60 now! I'm bored. I'm sad. And even though I have a great job and am well off and educated and have two great places to live, I'm having a crisis! No one has ever gone through this struggle before!" Argh.
For more, check out the reviews at Amazon: