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Everything posted by calvinnme

  1. I Just Watched...

    Out of the closet, off the screen: The life of William Haines 7/10 Made in 2001, this documentary somewhat shows its age, still talking about "closeted Hollywood". How could they know that 15 years later gay men and women would openly serve in the military and be able to marry legally in all 50 states. But you can't know the future when you are talking about the past. This documentary is good because it is the only one I know of that talks about the complete life of silent and early talkie star William Haines from his birth at literally the turn of the century in Virginia to a well to do family until his death. "Billy", as he is called throughout the documentary, was very athletic, but from an early age preferred his mother's craft - interior decoration, even redecorating his own room at home. Then at age 14 he discovers his sexuality and runs away from home. The documentary follows his dance hall days in Hopewell, his partying days in New York, discovery by a Fox Studios agent in 1922 and moving to Hollywood, and goes all through not only his acting career, but his stark refusal to Louis B. Mayer's command in 1933 to get married - just for a year - and send his lover of seven years, Jimmy Shields, to Europe for that year so that the studio could have something to point to that would disprove all of the rumors of his homosexuality. It must have been tempting...just one year in return for his acting career. But he said no and was fired on the spot. With the help of long time friend Joan Crawford - they were friends for a lifetime - William Haines transformed himself into the interior decorator of the stars. First he did Crawford's house, then Carole Lombard's for free just for the publicity, and it worked. Until his death, Haines was sought out by wealthy people throughout the nation. Seven years after his death his design company was commissioned by Nancy Reagan to redecorate the White House. Oh the irony. Haines died of lung cancer in 1973. Jimmy Shields, too heartbroken to go on after what amounted to a 47 year marriage, killed himself shortly thereafter. Haines' life story should have been transformed into a biography/love story film long ago. What I didn't like? The presence of Christina Crawford as the main authority on what went on between William Haines and Crawford. Well, she WAS there, but the "Mommie Dearest" vibe is just too strong to ignore. The documentary also does get some things wrong. Haines was not demoted in talking pictures at MGM because of increasing rumors of his sexuality. Instead, like Johnny Mack Brown, Haines' voice did not quite match what people expected to hear from their once silent stars. Actually, Clark Gable replaced Johnny Mack Brown, not Haines, and it was Robert Montgomery, not even mentioned in the film, a star that had no film history prior to sound, who was slowly replacing Haines in major motion pictures at MGM. Also, how did Haines get from Fox to MGM? That isn't mentioned. As for the Great Depression starting the enforcement of a morality code in Hollywood - wrong again. There was a show of stepped up enforcement, but no real enforcement of any production code came in until 1934, after Haines was already out of films. You can find gay images in Hollywood all of the way into 1934 as a result. I'd give this nine stars for at least saying more about this unfairly forgotten star of the 20s and 30s than any other documentary I've seen. I'd knock off a couple from those nine for the inaccuracies and a couple of important details just left out. Did you know that Joan Crawford proposed marriage to William Haines to help cover for him? He graciously declined because he said such marriages on paper never work if both parties are after the same men. Of course the biggest shocker for me is that AMC hosted and aired this film back in 2001. Today nobody who works there probably even knows who Joan Crawford is, much less William Haines. They are too busy with the walking dead, who, by now, have walked so far for so long it should be The Marathoning Dead. I don't recommend AMC, but I do recommend this documentary. source: youtube
  2. Trump's Biggest Whoppers

    This is not a whopper necessarily, but a rambling part of an actual Trump speech, lifted from Dailykos but discovered courtesy of LWT with John Oliver: Look, having nuclear—my uncle was a great professor and scientist and engineer, Dr. John Trump at MIT; good genes, very good genes, OK, very smart, the Wharton School of Finance, very good, very smart —you know, if you're a conservative Republican, if I were a liberal, if, like, OK, if I ran as a liberal Democrat, they would say I'm one of the smartest people anywhere in the world—it's true!—but when you're a conservative Republican they try—oh, do they do a number—that's why I always start off: Went to Wharton, was a good student, went there, went there, did this, built a fortune—you know I have to give my like credentials all the time, because we're a little disadvantaged—but you look at the nuclear deal, the thing that really bothers me—it would have been so easy, and it's not as important as these lives are (nuclear is powerful; my uncle explained that to me many, many years ago, the power and that was 35 years ago; he would explain the power of what's going to happen and he was right—who would have thought?), but when you look at what's going on with the four prisoners—now it used to be three, now it's four—but when it was three and even now, I would have said it's all in the messenger; fellas, and it is fellas because, you know, they don't, they haven't figured that the women are smarter right now than the men, so, you know, it's gonna take them about another 150 years—but the Persians are great negotiators, the Iranians are great negotiators, so, and they, they just killed, they just killed us.
  3. Backlash Against Men Going Their Own Way

    I'm sorry that the absence of saber tooth tigers, the industrial revolution, and the ability of women to enter any career of their choosing has caused you such pain. Best of luck in pursuing whatever goals you have in the future. P.S. Your writing has always been concise. You must know that the video you posted rambles. That was all that I was saying.
  4. Backlash Against Men Going Their Own Way

    To be precise, by posting a rambling video you asked for my rambling response. My rambling response is "IT", but perhaps you would have preferred Clara Bow in her prime - "the IT girl".
  5. U.S. Suburbs As We Knew Them Are Dying

    They discovered the relaxation of fishing and got tired of paying all of that money for high blood pressure medication?
  6. U.S. Suburbs As We Knew Them Are Dying

    Maybe the golfers got smart and decided to start playing a sport that does not make them so angry?
  7. America's Gun Culture...

    Yes, and usually the mass shootings that are not terrorist related are the work of somebody who should not have had access to a gun in the first place - people with documented criminal records in which some paperwork snafu allowed them to go get a gun, or they just lied on the application. The problem is that we Americans cannot do something moderately. We have to go whole hog into idiot territory. For example, first we let doctors pass out opioids like candy and now people who truly have chronic intractable pain cannot get the treatment they need to live their lives.
  8. U.S. Suburbs As We Knew Them Are Dying

    I think it is incorrect to call this the death of suburbia. Rather, it is the death of the malls and big box stores as everybody just shops online. Just like phones and texting have killed the art of conversation, Amazon has killed the big box store. If the 1998 film "You've Got Mail" was made today, would it be about Meg Ryan nursing Tom Hanks through a nervous breakdown after his big box bookstore, obviously patterned after the now defunct Borders, is put out of business by Ammy?
  9. Backlash Against Men Going Their Own Way

    I'm not sure what this post or this rather rambling video is supposed to prove. But, hey, I'm American, I'm a woman. If you want to go your own way, keep your resources to yourself, never reproduce, then - what's the problem? The problem is to truly live the dream you would have to be celibate. For life. Men may not want marriage, may not want children, but they very much want sex. And once you do that you put yourself in the arena of possibly becoming a father unless you surgically preclude that from happening forever. Maybe I shrug at this more than most women because when I was young - I'll be 60 in January - I was very homely. I was the ugly duckling who grew into a great big duck. So I've never had men do anything for me. Never known what it was to have some guy support me while I do what I please. So if all men had been MGTOW in 1980 versus today it would have changed my life exactly zero. The good part? Getting old was not the second death for me because I've always been invisible to men. I look at the MGTOW reddit posts because they are usually complaining about women. It SEEMS that what you guys want - consciously or subconsciously - is for society to be what it was 50+ years ago when women had no options. Even the smart highly educated women could do nothing other than nursing, teaching, secretarial work, or if they were really talented go into show business. You know, professions that all involve serving men or children. One time I did read a MGTOW post there where I agreed with the OP. He was complaining about how at a family restaurant the waitress kept putting her hand on his shoulder, even after he told her to stop. He was so angry - obviously she thought the touching would increase her tip - that he did not tip her at all. She got mad and told the owner, also a woman. She banned him from the restaurant forever for apparently not wanting to be touched, complaining about it, and showing his disgust by not tipping. He rightly asked - What do you think would have happened if the sexes of everybody had been reversed. Oh well, a rambling response to a rambling video. You asked for it.

    I actually wasn't trying to say that, but it sounds like a great idea. Robert Montgomery has not been SOTM since either 2005 or 2006.
  11. America's Gun Culture...

    It may be obvious, but it is true. The point of laws are to punish the criminals in case they are caught, and deter the lawful in case they might be tempted. To outlaw guns would do two things. It would leave the potential victims defenseless, it would let the criminals know their potential victims are harmless. And the criminals would still have their guns. Oh, and the rich, and the politicians? They would be fine because if you can afford armed professional bodyguards you would still be able to have them.
  12. America's Gun Culture...

    I completely agree. However, American politics is awash in big donor money, something that has been sanctioned by our Supreme Court. Thus, when asked "Why must the Senate pass this tax bill?" - In case you don't know our Congress is about to pass an overhaul of the tax code that will probably raise everybody's taxes but the rich - Their answer is "our donors are saying no more money unless we get this passed". LOL. They are not even trying to HIDE the fact that they don't care about their constituents anymore.

    Yep, I already own that one. A good recommendation. What I'd really like to see is one of the few Robert Montgomery films I do not own - "Once More Darling", also by Universal. Any 1949 film that has Anne Blythe and Robert Montgomery, not playing a married couple, in a motel room with Ann sitting on the bed dressed in a tee shirt with "KILLER" plastered on the front with her asking Montgomery "Are we safe?" has got to be worth watching.
  14. America's Gun Culture...

    I actually do wonder about it very much. I think it is partly because we have an "Every man for himself" society that causes the disenfranchised to grow up angry. These poor people often have little adult supervision and hang about with bad company as youths so they grow up into angry mean adults. Often they are angry mean and dangerous as kids. We once had a large and secure middle class, but we are quickly sinking into a society into which there are a few fabulously wealthy people and lots of people with little job or financial security. And it just shows no sign of not continuing to slide in that direction. The bottom line is I can do nothing about the larger problem as long as people are afraid that one thin dime of their tax money is going to even one person who might be gaming the system. Come on now. There has never been a system that hasn't been gamed by somebody. So, as a practical person, as long as these angry mean folks exist, regardless of how they got that way, I need to protect myself. I just won't pretend and put my head in the sand and think it can't happen to me. Why wouldn't it (a violent home invasion) happen to me?

    Not that I know of, but I can dream can't I?
  16. America's Gun Culture...

    Maybe you have less heinous natural born killers than we do? I could fill this post with links to home invasions in which the home invaders thought it would be fun to ra-p-e the wife in front of the husband, maybe the daughter too, because they get to have sex, imasculate the husband, and ruin the entire family. Any money or valuables taken were an afterthought. And tell me, why would criminals ever obey a law outlawing guns when by their very definition they are outlaws in the first place?
  17. America's Gun Culture...

    Close to the topic, I found a quora thread recently where (probably) an American asked the Brits what would they do in a home invasion without guns? Their responses were very enlightening. Here's the link:!n=12 It is obvious by reading the responses that the Brits are completely unfamiliar with people entering their home BECAUSE you are there rather than IN SPITE of you being there. They seem quite naive. They keep saying "Why would you kill somebody because they are stealing your TV which is insured anyways? Just call the police." Either they have much better cops than we have in the USA or have never heard of the Carr Brothers, Charles Manson, EARONS, and a multitude of lesser known criminals who enjoy beating and **** complete strangers just because they can. So I guess if you have a bunch of rather passive criminals, which the UK does, and even more passive average citizens, their system works. It does not work in the US. Ask the gunless people of DC just how safe they feel against the DC criminals who KNOW they are gunless.

    If you can ever find a copy, watch "Unfinished Business" starring Irene Dunne,and Robert Montgomery, made in 1941 by Universal. A close to wartime movie with not a hint of Nazis in it that seems very much like a precode. It is hard to find exactly because it is Universal. I wish Warner Bros. would by the MCA/Universal film library and put some really great gems out for people to see.
  19. Breaking: al franken...

    Again, I say what choice have you but to fess up and apologize when caught red handed, as Franken was? Bill Clinton did this too. Remember "I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Monica Lewinsky"? When the DNA on the little blue dress turned out to be Bill's, suddenly he is contrite and repenent all over the news media. If not for absolute proof that what he was accused of was true, he would still be denying what he did. And so would his so called wife. Now Clinton - in this case anyways - was not accused of assault. Ms. Lewinsky was an avid participant all the way. But she was an avid participant as a 21 year old girl who did not know the score with an older man who was permanently married with the extra aphrodesiac of being POTUS. I think everybody would have thought different of the entire thing if Bill had been having an affair with - then 37 and big star - Sharon Stone. Close enough in age, close enough in power and fame. Where is Monica today? Without a career, without a husband, without a family at age 44. Her name will be part of unseemly jokes when she has been in her grave 100 years. Meanwhile Bill and Hill are fabulously wealthy when Hill admitted they "were broke on paper" just 17 years ago. Where DID all of that money come from? Nobody seems to care. They are still married - if that is what you want to call it. Fortunately Hillary did not become the first female president, not that I am crazy about the current occupant. She will go down in history as probably the only person in America who could lose to Donald J. Trump. Sorry for hijacking your thread and I'll put my soapbox away now.
  20. Breaking: al franken...

    Franken had no choice but to "fess up". They had a picture of him groping. I'd like to know who took that picture because apparently that person thought sexual assault of an unconscious woman was as funny as Franken did. This is not about equivalency between Moore and Franken. What Moore probably did was a felony. Franken stayed just this side of the law. This is about men who think that a woman's body is a man's playground regardless of how that woman feels about it. The decent thing is to eject both from the Senate, if in fact Moore is elected, and the latest polls say that just might not happen. Latest poll shows Moore 42%/ D opponent 50%.
  21. Breaking: al franken...

    Kate Harding, a feminist who studies rape culture (nice work if you can get it) says the following to "defend" Franken - she'd deny that' what she is doing, but you be the judge. "But in a sharply divided political climate where toxic masculinity knows no party, yet is only ever acknowledged by one, we must think about how to minimize harm to women.One more empty apology and resignation, one more head on a pike, will not make American women safer or better off." Now let me substitute some words: "But in a sharply divided political climate where godlessness knows no party, yet is only ever acknowledged by one, we must think about how to minimize harm to Christianity.One more empty apology and resignation, one more head on a pike, will not make America more godly." Ms. Harding is doing the same thing to justify sparing a documented sexual assaulter that votes the way that she likes that those on the right are doing to justify a pedophile who votes the way that they like. What is decent gets thrown out the window as long as you get the votes that you want out of Congress. Franken's defenders should never criticize Moore's supporters again. All are each other's moral equivalents.
  22. I Just Watched...

    Mommie Dearest (1981) 7/10 If anybody in the universe has not seen or heard of this film, this is the filmed version of Christina Crawford's tell all book of the same name, in which her adopted mother Joan Crawford is shown as an unhinged person who really had no business raising a child - she actually adopted four, including Christina. Did she have lots of lovers? Did she overspend and drink herself into a drunken stupor occasionally, especially in the waning days of her career as she lost her looks? Did she probably have more affection for Pepsi CEO Alfred Steele in her 50s than any of her many lovers in her youth and STILL spend him into an early grave anyways? Probably yes to all of these. She also was the driven star, giving her career her all, and the proof is in the pudding for she was devoted to her fans, answering their mail personally, and in the fact that she kept a youthful figure way into her 50s. But back to the movie. So she was bound to be driven in her raising of children. Maybe she did make a point - like in the swimming scene - to point out that it was true Christina could never beat her because she would always be bigger and stronger and that life is just unfair. After all Joan grew up poor and had to get everything she got the hard way. What we don't know is if this manic depressive person who treats her daughter according to her mood was the real Joan or the revenge of a disinherited child via accusations in which the accused was as helpless to fight back after death as Christina would have been as a child at Joan's mercy. At the end of the film, and in the book, Christina Crawford openly lays out the motive for her negative portrayal of her mother - she was completely disinherited along with adopted brother Christopher, even though the film portrays Joan and Christina as having an uneasy truce once Christina reached adulthood and was out of the grasp of her mother's potential for physical abuse. Thus her total shock at being disinherited, and especially in the fact that no real reason was given by Joan in her will. Now, back to the actual film. I think Faye Dunaway did a fine job of portraying the two faced monster Christina talked about in her book. Whether or not that was the real Joan Crawford. However, Dunaway looks so much like Joan Crawford that it is uncanny. Likewise, Diana Scarwid is excellent as the teenage/adult Christina. Cautious around her mother given her behavior when she was a child, trying to eke out a living as an actress once she is an adult, accepting when Joan won't give her a dime in assistance. Steve Forrest is quite good as Joan's lover, attorney Greg Savitt, whom she cuts out of her life - and her photographs - after he lays out some hard truths to her. The cinematography and art design are top notch. It nails the 40s and 50s look and feel of the fashions, automobiles, and furnishings of the time. I'd say give it a try. The over the top parts are really in the first half, as Christina is growing up. The second half is more low key, humanizing Joan just a bit to where you almost feel sorry for her. In the words of John Waters, in reference to the wire hangers scene, "If you don't like this scene you should never watch movies." For sure, you will not be bored. Just an aside - Christina isn't the only child of old Hollywood to have mommy issues and to have them end up in print. Somebody of completely different temperament and reputation in life - Jack Benny - wrote an incomplete autobiography due to his sudden death from pancreatic cancer in 1974. It was published with the help of the memoirs of his daughter - also an adopted only child. Although she says largely good things about her dad, she really lays into her mother, Mary Livingston. An interesting parallel.
  23. Please cut the politics

    I meant to write something about this the other night, but I've had issues with the new board software I'm just now resolving. To OP, I think the point is, the age of HUAC just had Americans becoming what they claim they hated while they fought "the enemy" of the time, Communism. Blacklists, people being told they shouldn't be seen in public with folks who had become "unpersons" due to the blacklists because they might be considered guilty by association, etc seemed to all be stunts out of the Soviet playbook. Everyone at the time seemed to conveniently forget that all during WWII the Russians were being played up to be friendly. After my grandmother passed away in 1982, I was going through her old books and found something that had been printed during WWII talking about what a great guy Stalin was. The book talks about the sudden tragic death of Stalin's first wife, when common knowledge is that he probably poisoned her. Also see the film "The North Star", made during WWII, in which the Soviet youth are happy healthy comrades living in a workers' paradise until Hitler comes along. The truth is if the Nazis had just patted the Russians on the head and said that from now on Hitler was the new czar, the Russians would have eagerly turned on Stalin and he would have died ala Mussolini. Plus the Great Depression caused many to attend some Communist meetings in the 30s, because when 25% of the American people were out of work, savings were lost through uninsured banks, and there was zero social safety net, you can't exactly say that capitalism was working as advertised. Just my two cents.

    So is the Universal Vault series dead? There have been no releases since the end of 2016. Just wondering if anybody knows anything. There is so much left in their vaults.
  25. I Just Watched...

    Free and Easy (1941) 6/10 I woke up this morning, this short MGM B feature was just starting on TCM, and I realized I hadn't seen it before, so I decided to stick around. Well, at first I was getting bored. Oh no, I thought, another MGM pre-war high society comedy/drama of manners in which the production values are excellent, but the meat is just not on the bones. Well, it turned out better than I thought. The plot was engaging, although it is just a retread of "The Flesh is Weak" from the early 1930s. But at just under an hour it does not outstay its welcome. It's about a young man, Max Clemington (Robert Cummings), who is poor and is looking for a wealthy woman to wed. His dad (Nigel Bruce) is also poor and father and son are boarding in a room in a run down boarding house. But Max has a tux, gets in with a society group acting like one of them, and goes looking for said wife. Lady Joan Culver (Judith Anderson) is instantly interested and very rich, but Max can't help being attracted to beautiful widow Martha Gray (Ruth Hussey), who seems to have some kind of understanding with the obnoxious Sir George Kelvin (Reginald Owen). Well, you can't say Max isn't honest. He lets Martha know up front that he is poor and is looking for a rich wife, and she turns him away saying that is not the kind of marriage she wants. At first you think it is just because Max is lazy and looking for an easy way out of a day's work. But there is more to it than that, and at that point the film becomes quite interesting. I was pretty sure of the destination, but the voyage was full of twists and turns, and a pretty good remake for the production code era. Nigel Bruce is great as the father who means well but winds up causing quite a predicament. C. Aubrey Smith, who played Bruce's part in the original "The Flesh is Weak", plays Judith Anderson's dad who is good natured but has horse flesh on his mind. And Judith Anderson almost steals the picture as a girl who may not be great looking, but turns out to be a class act all of the way. What would I take points off for? Mainly, because I kept wishing that Ruth Hussey was Myrna Loy and Robert Cummings was Robert Montgomery (like in the original), but then it wouldn't be a B production, now would it? Plus both Loy and Montgomery were, by 1941, about 5 years too old for the parts. Ruth Hussey was always good in supporting roles, but she just couldn't carry a lead in a film IMHO.

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