Monthly Archives: August 2017

by David Niven

grouchyeditor.com Niven

 

“Well, old bean, life is really so bloody awful that I feel it’s my absolute duty to be chirpy and try to make everybody else happy, too.” – David Niven

 

Movie star Niven’s 1971 memoir is certainly “chirpy.” And if you’re a fan of old Hollywood, it’s guaranteed to make you smile. But Balloon also reminded me of – of all books – a more recent “memoir”:  controversial author James Frey’s A Million Little Pieces. I read Frey’s bestseller after it was revealed that much of his allegedly true story was pure fiction. But I liked it anyway.

In Niven’s case, later biographers have debunked many of the anecdotes he relates in The Moon’s a Balloon as either exaggerated, sugar-coated, or outright fabrications. But I liked it anyway.

It’s odd, though. So much of Niven’s life was so inherently interesting – World War II service, Hollywood stardom, glamorous pals – that you have to wonder why he felt the need to embellish.

My guess is that the above quote explains at least part of it. Niven was a born entertainer, and if that meant stretching the truth a bit, so be it. Or maybe he was just practicing what Hollywood preached in its “golden age”:  Life goes down better with a happy ending.

 

© 2010-2017 grouchyeditor.com (text only)

Share

 

Thank you, Harvey, for being a wonderful play by Mary Chase.

 

 

Thank you, Harvey, for being one of James Stewart’s best movies.

 

 

And thank you, Harvey, for being such a nasty-ass hurricane that you’ve forced the media to give all of us a respite from obsessive Donald Trump coverage.

 

**

 

 An eclipse over Glasgow

 

Damn science nerds. Whenever they try to get the rest of us excited about some rare event – usually a comet or asteroid flying past Earth – The Big Show turns into a disappointment.

 

It’s like the fanatics who keep telling us Trump is just like Hitler. When it turns out that Trump doesn’t have any gas ovens, we get bored and stop listening to them.

 

**

 

 

By all means, let’s pass tax cuts for the rich. That will heal the country.

 

© 2010-2017 grouchyeditor.com (text only)

Share

 

When Trump canned Steve Bannon, was he selling out to The Swamp? Has Trump always been in league with The Swamp?

The Swamp doesn’t care.

The Swamp lives on, licking its chops and seeking new victims.

 

**

 

If the point of electing Donald Trump was to shake things up in Washington, then I don’t see how anyone can dispute that his presidency has been an unqualified success.

 

**

 

I guess this is why Stephen King was awarded the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters:

 

 

**

 

The problem with cable news is that it attracts the most detestable partisans imaginable.

If I happen to lean toward support of, let’s call it “Issue A,” there is little doubt that I will then witness some obnoxious, odious, self-satisfied buffoon advocating for “Issue A” on cable news.

I will then no longer be able to stomach the idea of supporting Issue A.

 

© 2010-2017 grouchyeditor.com (text only)

Share

 

Poor little Guam. It gets no respect or recognition – until now.

Its name sounds like something you might say when your dentist asks you a question while your jaws are pried open.

You never hear of anyone planning a tropical vacation to the beautiful beaches of Guam. (Does Guam have beautiful beaches?)

But the people of Guam seem awfully cool. Journalists interviewed some Guam residents, one of whom had this gem of a comment about why Kim Jong-un should aim his nukes at … Guam:

 

Seems like reasonable logic to us.

 

*****

 

Fox News is rapidly running out of male personalities who aren’t getting the boot for sexual harassment. They might as well just can the rest of the males – save Shepard Smith, of course – and change their name to Foxy Babe News.

 

*****

 

Meanwhile, at Anybody-But-Trump Rolling Stone:

 

 

© 2010-2017 grouchyeditor.com (text only)

Share

Toni Erdmann

grouchyeditor.com Erdmann

 

A bohemian music teacher attempts to reconnect with his uptight, unhappy, businesswoman daughter in Bucharest, and havoc ensues. The two leads (Sandra Huller and Peter Simonischek) have great chemistry, and there are some truly memorable scenes — including a (nude) birthday party to end all birthday parties. But writer-director Maren Ade’s otherwise impressive film has a near-fatal flaw: At 162 minutes, it’s much, much too long. Release: 2016 Grade: B

 

**

 

Hell or High Water

grouchyeditor.com Hell High Water

 

Part Bonnie and Clyde, part old-time Western, Hell or High Water aims for realism, but in its quest to be taken seriously and hammer home some social commentary, it’s not as much fun as it could have been. That is, with the notable exception of crusty (of course) Jeff Bridges, who as a retiring lawman on the hunt for two bank robbers provides the movie’s only source of levity and wit. Release: 2016 Grade: B

 

**

 

Get Out

grouchyeditor.com Get Out

 

A black photographer (Daniel Kaluuya) goes home with his white girlfriend (Allison Williams) to meet her parents, and he’s in for quite a weekend. For an hour or so, Get Out cleverly skewers upper-class white folk who feign empathy and understanding of race relations, but then writer-director Jordan Peele’s story sinks into horror-movie clichés. It’s a sharp and suspenseful ride – until that last act. Release: 2017 Grade: B

 

© 2010-2017 grouchyeditor.com (text only)

Share

 

*****

 

 

*****

 

CNN was unhappy when this meme of Trump pummeling “CNN Logo Head” went viral:

 

 

In the interest of fairness, during his West Virginia speech Trump pummeled “Fox News Logo Head”:

 

 

*****

 

 

Sure, because Clapper is intimately acquainted with “untruthful statements.”

 

*****

 

Fox is apparently hiring Viagra spokeswomen for its panel shows:

 

 

© 2010-2017 grouchyeditor.com (text only)

Share

by Madeleine L’Engle

grouchyeditor.com Wrinkle in Time

 

Observations about a Children’s Classic

 

A Wrinkle in Time is a beloved children’s book about a little girl who goes on a dangerous quest to find her missing scientist-father. It was published in 1963, but I’m a little behind in my reading, so I just now got around to it. Random thoughts:

 

  • There are heavy doses of both religion and science in the plot, yet author Madeleine L’Engle manages to make them peaceably co-exist.

 

  • I kept thinking of the book’s likely literary influences, pre- and post-publication. Before: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Invasion of the Body Snatchers. After: the Harry Potter books.  J.K. Rowling is the more entertaining, skilled writer, with stronger characters; L’Engle deals more overtly with adult themes.

 

  • I’m guessing that Wrinkle was (is?) more popular with girls than with boys. I mean, any story that ends with the heroine conquering evil by (spoiler alert!) declaring “I love you!” to her baby brother is going to be a tough sell to the mud-and-trucks crowd.

 

  • I believe I’ll pass on the upcoming Hollywood adaptation, mostly because it reportedly features the Queen of Smarm, Oprah Winfrey. (I might change my mind if Winfrey is cast as the dreadful blob of brain, but I’m guessing that’s not the case.)

 

© 2010-2017 grouchyeditor.com (text only)

Share