Category Archives: Hollywood

The Perfect Storm Swallows Sailors

Film, Hollywood, Human Accomplishment

The work sailors do is so very dangerous and courageous. The cargo ship El Faro that sank in the Caribbean could very well have confronted The Giant Wave of “The Perfect Storm.” Vessel and crew went missing near the Bahamas last week, during a hurricane, Joaquin, which whipped up 130 mph winds:

Together with “Orca” (1977), “Jaws,” (1975) Towering Inferno (1974), (the old) “Poseidon Adventure,” where a straight priest gets to act as the hero, not the child molester (1972), “Earthquake” (1974) and the Airport films–“The Perfect Storm,” also of the older disaster film genre, is one of my favorite films. (Sorry to disappoint: The verbose, French, “Three Colors” trilogy is not something I was, and will ever, be prepared to sit through. “Dancing With Wolves” was bad enough.)

The Perfect Storm is a 2000 American biographical disaster drama film directed by Wolfgang Petersen. It is an adaptation of the 1997 non-fiction book of the same title by Sebastian Junger, which tells the story of the Andrea Gail, a commercial fishing vessel that was lost at sea with all hands after being caught in the Perfect Storm of 1991. The film stars George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, William Fichtner, John C. Reilly, Diane Lane, Karen Allen and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio. It was released on June 30, 2000, by Warner Bros. (Wikipedia)

Thirty three men went to their watery graves providing for their families:

… The 790-foot ship, the El Faro, was likely swallowed by the Category 4 hurricane two days after it left Jacksonville, Florida for San Juan, Puerto Rico. When it set off on Tuesday, Sept. 29, Joaquin was just a tropical storm with wave swells of 7.5 feet and sustained winds of 65 mph.

More debris found as search for missing El Faro cargo ship continues 2:08

Four hours earlier, the National Hurricane Center had issued an advisory warning that the storm was moving toward the Bahamas and could reach hurricane status by Sept. 30.

An hour and a half after the ship left port, a new forecast put Joaquin even closer to the Bahamas and, fatefully, closer to the El Faro’s route. By the time the ship, built in 1975, passed the Bahamas the afternoon of Sept. 30, winds were at 85 mph.

The captain was keeping a close eye on conditions and was not alarmed.

“On Wednesday he sent a message to the home office with the status of the developing tropical storm he said he had very good weather … and that his crew was prepared,” said Phil Greene, president of TOTE Services, the parent company of the ship’s owner.

As night fell, Joaquin grew. Tropical storm winds had expanded some 140 miles from the center and hurricane force winds were sweeping out 35 miles, packing the punch of the Category 4 hurricane.

The storm itself was moving slowly at just 6 mph. That meant the same area of water was being hit over and over by the winds — the perfect conditions for building monster waves.

As Joaquin slowed and strengthened, the El Faro was in trouble. The crew reported on Oct. 1 that the ship — which had two auxiliary power generators — had lost power, was taking on water and was listing at 15 degrees.

That was the last contact made with the ship. (NBC)

Rest in peace.


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‘Ow My Balls!’

America, Critique, Hollywood, Pop-Culture, Pseudo-intellectualism, Sport

The satire “Idiocracy” predicted that in 2505, the age of the idiot, America would be enthralled by one of two seconds-long “films.” The first is “Ow my Balls!”

The Age of the Idiot, however, is already upon us. Witness the endless, empty, obsessive yakking about deflated footballs. For heaven’s sake, order a rematch between the alleged offenders, the New England Patriots, and the Indianapolis Colts. Check and store the balls before every future match. Case closed. There is good reason for calling “Idiocracy” a documentary—except that The Age of the Idiot is upon us:

To fully appreciate what afflicts America—the people, the presidency, the academy, the media, Hollywood—watch “Idiocracy.” The film is a product of Mike Judge’s genius (Beavis and Butthead, anyone?), and was backed and then spiked by the idiots at 20th Century Fox. It is easily one of the smartest and darkest satires.
Luke Wilson plays Joe Bowers, frozen by the military in 2005, “who accidentally wakes up in 2505 to find a broken-down, thuggish America where language has become a patois of football chants, hip-hop slang and grunts denoting rage, pleasure and priapic longing, where citizens are obese, violent, ever-horny and narcotised by consumerism,” to quote the Guardian.
The “dumb-ass dystopia” depicted in “Idiocracy” has evolved because the robust retarded have out-bred the intelligent (yes, Judge openly references IQ as a measure of intelligence). Consequently, nothing gets fixed. There are garbage avalanches. A Gatorade-like drink has replaced water for irrigation, so nothing grows. The most watched show on the “Violence Channel” is “Ow, My Balls!” The “highest grossing movie of all time is called ‘Ass,’ and consists of 90 minutes of the same naked, hairy butt on screen.” All enterprises are sexualized; Starbucks offers a “full body latte.” Costco is an Ivy-League law school. If you’ve watched Ann Coulter trying to explain to Bill O’Reilly what a syllogism is, you’ll appreciate “Idiocracy” for the cultural barometer it is.

From “2 Movie Gems Amid A Lot Of Hollywood Hooey.” (July 2007)


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UPDATE II: The ‘Selma’ Or ‘Sniper’ No-Brainer

Affirmative Action, Film, History, Hollywood, Just War, Military, Race

“Sniper” Or “Selma”? Which flick would you rather see? I will pass on both. However, if forced to choose between a 2-hour long, historically inaccurate guilt trip, laid on thick by the MOPE (Most Oppressed People Ever), and an action movie about an all-American “son, husband, father, and, most of all, decorated military man”; I can see why “American Sniper” is a box office sensation, while “Selma” circles the drain. “Sniper” grossed $105.3 Million on the week-end of its release; “Selma” $11.5 million.

Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, the subject of the “Clint Eastwood’s biopic,” in my opinion, squandered his talents as an assassin for Uncle Sam. Kyle’s claim to fame, by the news media’s telling, is that he “held the record for number of kills by an American sniper. The Pentagon has confirmed more than 150 of his kills. The previous record was 109.”

As I wrote at the time the SEAL passed away, “live by the sword, die by the sword. Or in hippie speak: Kyle had bad karma.”

I’m quite comfortable stating that poor Kyle was not in the business of defending American liberties, as the mouths on neoconservative media insist. That the war over in Iraq saved lives stateside is a dubious proposition at best. To the contrary, there is more proof of the opposite; that picking off women and children and other invaded species, “when he [thought it] necessary,” increased the danger to Americans stateside from the victims’ community. (Unfriend and unfollow me all you like; that doesn’t change this immutable truth.)

Still, if “American Sniper” is an apolitical rendition, a human story about a controversial, conflicted assassin for the state—much like “The Hurt Locker” was—I can see the appeal.

UPDATE I: A day after I wrote “Live By The Sword, Die By The Sword” (02.03.13), Ron Paul tweeted out the same (02.4.13). He was denounced, of course.

UPDATE II: Writes pat Buchanan, in “Selma, 50 years on”: … “The era of marching for civil rights was over, and the era of Black Power, with Stokely Carmichael, Rap Brown and The Black Panthers eclipsing King, had begun.”


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The Fourth Estate (Media) Moving Country Into Third Dimension

Hollywood, Journalism, Media, Neoconservatism, Objectivism, Technology

Being part of major US media—the Fourth Estate—means moving into a Third Dimension of your own making and taking the country with you. What was it that the Bush neoconservative Karl Rove once asserted at the heights of that regime’s manipulation of reality?

“We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors … and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”

As was suggested over these pixelated pages, the “Hollywood hack hysteria” was a media event, not a journalistic investigation, as all news reporting should be. Accordingly, “the moron media shared speculations but not much credible evidence as to the source of the hack.”

It was left to an unconventional citizen-journalist-cum-blogger using conventional journalistic methods to uncover Jonathan Gruber’s utterances. Ditto the Sony hack attack. A blog called North Korea Tech by Martyn Williams did the digging. It

details inconsistencies in the Sony attack and past attacks by North Korea.
“Computers at Sony displayed a message threatening the release of internal documents if undisclosed demands were not met. North Korean hackers have never made such public demands,” Williams writes.
He also notes that little is known about Guardians of Peace, the group that claimed responsibility for the attack. No group has claimed credit in past North Korean hacks.
Williams said that the hackers stole sensitive information about movie stars, staff, and Sony management. In an apparently personal attack, the hackers posted a message on the Twitter accounts of Sony employees. This gives credence to the growing theory that the attack was an inside job.
Tommy Stiansen, the chief technology officer for Norse, a hacker-tracking company, told Bloomberg that he plans to approach the FBI and Mandiant, the private company researching the attack, with information that implicates a disgruntled Sony employee in Japan in the attack.

MORE.


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