Monday, June 19, 2017

Sofia Coppola's "The Beguiled"

I don’t usually go to movies, but I couldn’t resist seeing Sofia Coppola’s The Beguiled, sure to be this year’s most-talked-about film just opening across America. I wasn’t surprised it was breaking box office records here in Brooklyn, because the crowd in front of my local theater was abuzz. In fact, I'm shocked there weren't more conversations like this one I overheard:

TEEN GIRL: How about if we go see Wonder Woman again?

TEEN BOY: I don’t know. The flick is good but I kind of feel like it's not, you know, beguiling enough.

The film is about a hunky young soldier (Colin Farrell) who suffers an injury during the Civil War and finds care at a school for young girls (Kirsten Dunst, Elle Fanning) run by a frigid spinster (Nicole Kidman). Immediately sexual tensions develop and the audience is left to wonder: just who is beguiling whom?

I don’t want to give away any spoilers but I’ve got to say that everyone in the audience, regardless of age, income or background, got completely immersed in the film. In fact, just before the film’s startling climax, a streetwise thug behind me shrieked, "Uh-oh, looks like somebody’s getting BEGUILED!“

While who's the beguiler and who's the beguilee is left up in the air, I have to applaud the film for provoking a conversation we desperately need. Leaving the theater I must have heard fourteen couples arguing a variation of this:

TEEN GIRL: I think it takes a certain innocent charm, like that possessed by Elle Fanning, to truly be considered beguiling.

TEEN BOY: What are you talking about? Ain’t nobody beguile like Colin Farrell.

I’ll leave this discussion to more erudite critics and just repeat what other audience members told me.

"Sofia Coppola is such a genius she can literally change language," said Martina D. "I see 'beguile‘ for Brooklyners as that next gotta-have word bridging the gap between 'bewitch‘ and 'dupe.‘"

"Sometimes I do things of dubious legality,“ admitted someone who didn’t want to be named. "I’d like to thank Sofia Coppola for letting me know that since I’m sexy I’m not just a thief.“

"That film was the bomb,“ said Stuart T. "My next tattoo is going to be captioned with the word BEGUILE, if I can figure out a way to illustrate it using dogs."

"I think this film presents an important lesson for kids today," said Samantha R., a schoolteacher. "They already know they can be robbed, cheated or swindled. Hopefully this alerts them to the possibility of getting beguiled, bamboozled or even hornswoggled.“

"That’s it,“ concluded beaming Briana E., a pregnant teen. "I’m naming my daughter Beguile. I can’t believe how stupid Inveigle sounds to me now.“

Anyway, two big claps for Sofia Coppola, and let’s hope this film is the start of a whole new franchise. I don’t dare pretend to inspire the young auteur but I’ll bet everybody in this borough would run to see The Diddled, The Entranced, or Hey, Who’s That Come Hither Girl?

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

If I had to pick one person who Donald Trump reminds me of it'd have to be Fred Flintstone. They've got the same kind of confident stupid. Fred would run for president too, mindlessly spouting inanities like "I'm going to hire all the best men, the best people for the job, and everything is gonna be great!"

It's a cartoon so there'd be a miracle: Fred would get elected too. Nobody would really know what happened, but before they'd cut to a commercial we'd see a polling place where one Wooly Mammoth says to another, "I was hoping you could add." "YABBA DABBA DO!" Fred yells. "I'm gonna make Bedrock great again!"

Unfortunately, Fred is no Homo Sapiens. You know he'll go to a ball game or he'll get drunk and fall asleep and at the last minute he'll be like, "Oh shit! I forgot to hire anybody! What am I gonna do? [PAUSE] I know! I'll hire Barney as my Vice President. Betty can be Attorney General. Pebbles can be Secretary of Education, and Bamm-Bamm can be Secretary of Defense. Now that's a great cabinet!"

There's just two flaws with Fred's plan. First, you know, they're not the best people for the job. You're not going to get brilliance out of somebody who wears diapers and goes BAM BAM BAM! all day long, though I'm not here to criticize Jeff Sessions. And second, isn't it a little insulting to Wilma? Everybody Fred ever met is now in a position of power and has moved to Washington -- except for her. Luckily, she doesn't care. She's glad to get rid of the stupid oaf and enjoy spending his money. You know she's home alone trying on all her fancy new clothes, and she's got a sassy talking bird that she asks, "Does this stegosaurus fur make me look fat?"

After a few weeks, though, Fred gets sad. He looks out the window and sees angry people with picket signs that say things like, "GO BACK TO THE BRONZE AGE!", "I THOUGHT DODOS WERE EXTINCT!" and "I WISH YOUR PLEISTO HAD NEVER BEEN CENE!" He gathers his cabinet around the dinner table. "I'm feeling a little down," he says. "I'm feeling like maybe I'm not the best president Bedrock has ever seen. Why don't we go around the table and everybody say a short sentence or two about how I am?"

Betty and Barney say, "Fred, you're the greatest!" Pebbles spouts random baby-talk while Bamm-Bamm hits the ground with his club and the Great Wazoo turns all the protesters into Brontosaurus burgers.

In real life, though -- at Donald Trump's "Let's All Talk About How Great I Am" meeting -- the focus eventually turns to Reince Priebus. He isn't a relative so unlike the other incompetents he can be fired. I feel bad for him: my blood freezes when some omnipotent asshole announces that I have to say something about myself. "My name's Roman. I'm single, I'm a Virgo, and I was born in sunny California!" Eighty percent of the crowd will laugh to themselves and think, "What a fuckhole!" while the other twenty percent go, "I just knew he was a Virgo."

Reince thinks quick. "We're sitting around a table and unexpectedly somebody's making me give a speech. What does that remind me of? [PAUSE] I've got it! GRACE! It's like when I slept over with Dadpappy and Maw-Maw and they made me talk to God before I could eat. I'll say a version of Grace!" He makes a few small changes as it runs through his head:

Bless us, Oh Trump,
and these thy gifts which
we are about to receive from thy bounty,
through Trump, Our President, Amen.

Not bad, he thinks, but a little obvious. He whips up a quick Version Two:

Bless us, Oh Trump,
for the opportunity and the blessing
that you've given us to serve your agenda
-- and the American people --
through Trump, Our President, Amen.

Getting closer! One more try:

On behalf of the entire senior staff around you, Mr. President,
we thank you for the opportunity and the blessing that
you've given us to serve your agenda and the American people.

That's it! And not a minute too soon. It's Reince's turn to talk and he repeats it.

Trump is blown away. He doesn't recognize the source material, as he also won't recognize Reince's next speeches that start with "Who's the leader of the club?", "It's a world of laughter, a world of tears," and "I'm a little teapot." He wipes away tears and yells "YABBA DABBA DO!" In the closet, the bird who's been recording the whole thing grabs his ears and says, "I think it's gonna be a looooong four years."


Friday, June 9, 2017

Odds and Ends

Simon Cowell used the Golden Buzzer for a deaf singer named Mandy Harvey on Tuesday’s “America’s Got Talent." [Harvey] explained that when she was 18 years old she lost her hearing due to a connective tissue disorder.

She then said she was going to sing a song she wrote called “Try.” Before performing, Harvey explained that the song was about not giving up.


Wow. That sounds a lot like my song "Swim," which is about not sinking.




Fewer people know proper grammar these days, irritated blogger finds.



The First Draft Of An Article For A German Tourist Magazine

Germans always choose a side dish with tang or bite to counteract the richness of certain foods. The smart tourist, wanting an authentic meal, should always follow suit.

With Wienerschnitzel, for instance, you should opt for sweet lingonberry jam. Bratwurst needs a side of tangy sauerkraut. Rinderroulade (beef wrapped around bacon) finds a friendly companion in a heaping portion of pickles. The pork meatball called Frikadelle begs for a slathering of sharp, acidic mustard or HOW ABOUT YOU JUST STOP EATING FATTY FOOD???



I hate it when you're with somebody at a restaurant and the check comes and they say, "How about you get this and I'll get something else?" It never works out. Fifteen minutes later we're walking by a jewelry store and they don't say, "Hey, how about I buy you a nice watch?" We pass a Circuit City and they don't say, "You know, I can get you an air conditioner!" Instead right before you head to your place they're like, "You feel like Slim Jims and meth?"



Are You As Good A Parent As Salma Hayek?

See if you can choose the right ending to a common parenting problem she faced.

"I'm a very good stepmum," [Salma] Hayek insists. "You have to work very hard to please them all. If you are making pizza, there is one who doesn't like cheese, and another who hates tomato."

(1) "I practice tough love. I make what I want and say, 'Eat it or don't! I just hope you don't starve before breakfast.'"

(2) "I'm a softy. I end up spending all night in the kitchen making sure they get whatever they want."

(3) "Our chef sometimes looks so downhearted. He's always saying, 'Madam, what are we going to do?'"




Suggested Company Motto

1 (800) DENTIST. When closing your eyes and randomly stabbing a finger at a Google page just isn't good enough.



Nine o'clock at night I realize I'm hungry, and there's nothing in the fridge. "I'm going to get a slice of pizza from the corner," I tell my boyfriend.

"Pizza is so overpriced," he says. "It's like twelve cents worth of ingredients they charge $16 for. It's easy to make your own pizza: you can make the sauce from canned tomatoes, grate some fresh cheese, and easily make your own crust from flour and yeast. The result will be much tastier and far cheaper."

"Oh," I say. My stomach growls and I get up off the couch. "I'm going to go plant some wheat."



I'm Not So Good At Pithy Sayings

Give a man a sheep and he'll eat for a week or he'll wear fucking wool pullovers his entire life.


Thursday, June 8, 2017

In Today's News

A group of New Jersey policemen were caught on cell phone video kicking and beating an innocent bystander who had been injured by a car that crashed while trying to flee police.

The officers had been pursuing another man who drove off during a traffic stop. That man got into a minor collision, prompting pursuing officers to fire shots. He then crashed his car into a utility pole and it burst into flames.

A motorist who has not been identified was driving by and his car also caught on fire. As he tried to get free, several officers surrounded him and began kicking him.

Carmine Disbrow, president of the Jersey City Police Officers Benevolent Association, said the officers were simply trying to save the man by putting out the flames.


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