Wit

Ace In The Hole

There’s not a soft or sentimental passage in Billy Wilder’s “Ace In The Hole” from 1951, a portrait of rotten journalism and the public’s insatiable appetite for it.  It’s easy to blame the press for its portraits of self-destructing celebrities, philandering preachers, corrupt politicians and bragging serial killers, but who loves those stories?  The public does!
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Wacky

Poking Fun at Dreams

Probably more than any other director, Preston Sturges, over the course of a long and productive career, proved himself to be a sharp and persistent thorn in Hollywood’s side.  This is likely because he valued the impact that satire and irony could have in warping an otherwise normal narrative.  Known as both a writer and director, he was able, in a time when many weren’t, to use sarcasm and humor to drive his points across the finish line.  He started as a contract writer for Paramount and was able to directly observe the shenanigans and bloated self-image that the motion picture industry had, up to that point, created for itself.  The result was a biting string of celluloid adventures that were at once entertaining and a tiny bit scandalous.  Forever fond of biting the hand that fed him, Sturges built an enviable reputation as a humorous storyteller; one not above casting sharp barbs at any and all subjects.
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Decency & Democracy

Blame & Beliefs

Our nation is in the midst of a he-said/she-said finger-pointing extravaganza.  The idea that Trump fans would ever presume to hold anyone accountable for a lack of decency is a joke that writes itself.  Elsewhere in the news, we learn that only half as many voters as the share that approve of Trump’s job performance do so even though they don’t believe much of what he says.
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West

The Grapes of Wrath


The Grapes of Wrath is a left-wing parable, directed by a right-wing American filmmaker eager to show how a sharecropper’s son, a barroom brawler, is converted into a union organizer.  The message is boldly displayed, but told with characters of such sympathy and images of incredible beauty that audiences leave the theater feeling more pity than anger or resolve.  It’s a message movie, but not a recruiting poster.
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Lunch

Humor Helps

We all make choices.  The thing is some of us know how to rebound and re-direct ourselves when the choices we make don’t work out the way we planned. Others withdraw and stew.  Something inherently off-putting often compels retreat.  But what?  Was it fear of failure?  Or was it at its foundation a final realization that one cannot make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear?   Unwilling to relinquish her ideal, my mom,for a time, fell into full retreat mode.  Something somewhere must have scarred her quite profoundly … and rather than confront the injury or how it made her feel, she chose sublimation, masks and a brutal rigidity to protect her from the outside world.  The funny thing is, well, not funny, but interesting at the very least, is that her novocaine may have blocked out some of life’s slings and arrows, but those same numbing agents made it all but impossible for her to realize any true and lasting happiness.
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