Monthly Archives: February 2017

 

The scenario is familiar by now: Donald Trump will do or say something outrageous, and the media speculation begins. Did Trump really mean what he said? Or was it part of some clever plan? Is Trump “crazy like a fox”?

This ongoing debate about the state of Trump’s mind reminds me of Chance the gardener in Being There, the Jerzy Kosinski novel later adapted into a film starring Peter Sellers.

Here is how Wikipedia describes Chance: “He is simple-minded and has lived there his whole life, tending the garden. Other than gardening, his knowledge is derived entirely from what he sees on television.”

 

 

 

Here is what Politico wrote this week about Trump: “Leaving him alone for several hours can prove damaging, because he consumes too much television and gripes to people outside the White House.”

 

In Being There, no one is quite sure if Chance’s plain-spoken pronouncements are words of genius or the blathering of an idiot. At the end of the story, Chance is the leading contender for President of the United States.

 

 

 

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TV Update

 

The Missing (above) – I’m only halfway through the second season of this Starz import from Britain, but I’m liking what I’ve seen so far. The plot has some credibility gaps (if your 11-year-old child was abducted and then reappeared 11 years later, wouldn’t you still recognize her?), but overall this is a gripping and clever drama. The constant time-shifting between 2014 and “the present” just adds layers to the suspense. Grade:  A-

 

Billions  – It’s like watching two snakes battle to the death. You might not care who wins, because the contestants are both repulsive, but it’s fascinating to see them fight. The “snakes” in this Showtime series, of course, are Paul Giamatti and Damian Lewis.  Grade:  B+

 

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I used to think that the Democrats had all of the hotties on their side of the political fence, what with all of their movie stars and music divas. But Fox News continues to put the lie to that notion. Above, some bodacious babe named Madison Gesiotto joins the panel on Red Eye. Below, Gesiotto displays her assets. Eat your heart out, Lena Dunham.

 

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Look at the superlatives for Oscar frontrunner La La Land:

 

 

I haven’t seen La La Land, but I don’t believe the hype. Hollywood doesn’t make great movies anymore; the good stuff is all on TV. Plus, Ryan Gosling can’t sing.

 

*****

 

If there is a picture in Webster’s next to the term “sore loser,” it would surely be this one:

 

 

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grouchyeditor.com Trump

 

Some wit declared that President Trump is now living rent-free in America’s head. I believe this is true, and it’s got to stop.

 

A typical day:

 

8 a.m. – I wake up and check Twitter to ascertain the day’s Trump-related outrage. I read a few tweets from thoroughly unpleasant Trump fans and from equally revolting Trump haters.

8:15 a.m. – After reading these tweets, my day is effectively ruined.

9:00 a.m. – I make coffee and vaguely recall that Starbucks is in trouble for something pro- or anti-Trump-related, can’t say which.

10 a.m. – Trip to the mall and walk by Nordstrom. Wonder if the store is gaining or losing customers based on the Ivanka flap.

Noon – Have lunch at a Mexican restaurant. Wonder if the Hispanic employees are shooting me hostile glances, or if I’m just imagining it.

2 p.m. – Home again. Time to check in with Twitter. More hostile tweets, from the public and from Trump himself.

5 p.m. – Decide to surf a little porn. Stumble on a site featuring Russian hookers peeing on one another.

7 p.m. – Prime time for cable news. Must select among Fox outrage, MSNBC outrage, or CNN outrage.

10:30 p.m. – Need relief from all the Trump coverage; time for some comedy. Fallon, Kimmel, and Colbert all doing monologues on the Trump administration.

Midnight – Time for bed. Can’t sleep. Visions of Steve Bannon and Rosie O’Donnell keeping me awake.

 

This cannot continue. I’d move to another country, but all of them seem to be equally obsessed with Trump. Also, they all have Twitter.

 

*****

 

One Last Football Story

 

 

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A thoughtful, measured meditation on Trump:

 

 

Our poor celebrities. When it comes to President Trump, they are damned if they do, damned if they don’t. Just ask Tom Brady or Ashley Judd.

Seems like celebrities have three choices: Blast Trump like Madonna did and anger half the country, “embrace” Trump like Matthew McConaughey did and anger the other half of the country, or just shut the hell up.

 

Probably best to just shut the hell up.

 

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“Dandy Drunk” Don Lemon interviewed the director of a new film called I Am Not Your Negro (above).

I recall thinking when I first saw that title: “This thing is going to set box-office records.”

 

… Sometimes I lie to you.

 

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I don’t understand it. Unlike, say, Sarah Palin, Trump does not come off like a complete idiot at press conferences or in sit-down interviews. But on Twitter he often sounds like a drunken 10-year-old:

 

 

Maybe someday we’ll discover that it was really Barron doing the tweeting.

 

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Antibirth

grouchyeditor.com Birth

 

Antibirth reminds me of those 1980s late-show curiosities in which the characters are frequently stoned and, evidently, the films’ directors had also been smoking something. Think Re-Animator and B-movies of that ilk. Danny Perez’s sloppy, gory, hodgepodge of horror has a campy plot – something is growing in the heroine’s womb, and it doesn’t seem to be human – but it’s often a hoot, thanks to an anything-goes performance from Natasha Lyonne as the pregnant stoner and a tone that evokes the best (or worst) of those wacky late-show relics. Release: 2016  Grade: B

 

*****

 

The Shallows

 

If you’re in the mood for some mindless summer fun – and who isn’t in the dead of winter? – you could do a lot worse than The Shallows, in which poor Blake Lively gets stranded on a rapidly submerging rock while a circling shark eyes her for dinner. After a dubious first act, in which the director seems more interested in filming Lively’s bikini-clad, muscular buttocks than in creating suspense, the movie delivers some solid, if also ridiculous, thrills. But hey, “jump scares” are allowed when it’s a shark movie you’re watching.  Release: 2016 Grade: B

 

 

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