September 5, 2016: in the original post I mentioned the movie "Hell or High Water." I really enjoyed it. Apparently it had a good "wide-release" opening but maybe not as big as some were hoping. I thought it was similar to what the Coen Brothers do. I guess I would call it "Coen Bros Lite." I could write a lot about it, but for now, I will let The Holllywood Reporter tell the back story:
The modern-day Western, starring Chris Pine and Ben Foster opposite Jeff Bridges, has grossed $8.6 million in its first three weekends, one of the best showings of 2016 to date for an indie film and the No. 2-grossing summer specialty feature behind Love & Friendship, a Jane Austen-themed tale which earned $14 million following its release in mid-May. [On wide-release, "Hell or High Water"grossed a little $15 million the first weekend.]
Generally speaking, a specialty film begins its life in art house theaters in New York and Los Angeles before expanding into similar cinemas in other top markets, such as Chicago and San Francisco. But CBS Films, which is releasing Hell of High Water via its distribution deal with Lionsgate, decided to pursue a dual strategy. In addition to the usual cinemas on the two coasts, CBS Films also brought the movie to theaters in Texas and Southwest because of the movie's storyline. In effect, it bowed in both red and blue states.
Strong word of mouth is no doubt helped by stellar notices. Hell or High Water, which had its world premiere in May at the Cannes Film Festival, boasts a 99 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, making it one of the best reviewed films of the year so far.Cannes review here.
- not as bloody or violent as the Coen brothers would have done
- music track not as good as the Coen brothers; score by Nick Cave, interestingly enough, and Warren Ellis
- perpetuates (and probably pretty accurately) how New Yorkers, Chicagoans picture west Texas
- possibly a bit overdone with the billboard signs reminding us how bad the economy is; we see that with the landscape even without signage
- very slow; more about the "human problem" through dialogue than action
- long periods of slow dialogue (like west Texas) interspersed with great action scenes; one of the few action movies with no CGI (as far as I could tell); old-time Hollywood western stunts
- the scene of cowpokes moving a herd of cattle out of harm's way (plains wildfire) had no reason to be in the film but again, was to depict west Texas individual ruggedness
- unlike some of the Coen brothers movies, this movie left me more drained; it will haunt me longer than Coen brothers movies: Coen brothers movies entertain; this movie haunts
- the ending may be one of the most satisfying endings in any movie I've ever seen
- one wonders if the Jeff Bridges character had a son of his own (if he did, one wonders how his son died, assuming he died)
- Jeff Bridges is excellent, but not enough to garner an Oscar; possibly a nomination if the rest of the competition is weak
Chris Pine has a long resume, but I don't recall if I've seen any of the movies he has been in. Of the movies he's been in, "Hell or High Water" certainly seems to have raised the bar for him, but I could be wrong.
His wiki entry:
Pine graduated from the University of California, Berkeley in 2002, with a bachelor's degree in English. He was an exchange student at the University of Leeds in England for one year. After graduating, Pine studied at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco.Wow, how that brings back memories. My graduate degree was from USC, Los Angeles; I spent close to a full year (cumulative, multiple short military assignments) near Leeds, England; and, May and I were fortunate to see a number of live theater productions by the ACT in San Francisco when we were stationed at Travis AFB, Fairfield, CA.
Pine's heritage is very, very interesting:
Pine was born in Los Angeles. His father, Robert Pine (born 1941), is an actor who co-starred on CHiPs as Sergeant Joseph Getraer, and his mother, Gwynne Gilford (born 1946), is a former actress who is now a practicing psychotherapist.
His maternal grandmother, Anne Gwynne (née Marguerite Gwynne Trice), was a Hollywood actress, and his maternal grandfather, Max M. Gilford (born Max Goldfarb), was an attorney who was elected president of the Hollywood Bar Association.
Pine's maternal grandfather was from a Russian Jewish family, while Pine's other ancestry is English, Welsh, German, and French.On top of all that, his countenance and his character in "Hell or High Water" remind me of our younger daughter's son-in-law.
A week or so ago, together we saw Meryl Streep in her latest movie. Yesterday, we went to separate movies. I saw "Hell or High Water" -- highly recommended; and my wife saw "Between the Lights." Afterwards, we compared notes, and we agreed: great decision to see different movies at same time. Afterwards we enjoyed lunch, Barnes & Noble.
I say all that because I see a great movie review over at Variety today. I caught it because the link is high on the Drudge Report today. There were four movie trailers (or "previews" as we used to call them) that caught my attention yesterday; I would consider going to all four. I don't remember the exact names, but as reminders a) a movie about Private Doss, or something like that; b) the accountant; c) the Joneses; and, d) the Girl on the Train.
The movie about "Private Doss" is the one that most caught my attention and is reviewed at Variety here.
Never A Straight Answer
Actually: It's Worse
Perhaps one of the best posts ever exposing NASA's flip-flop on global temperatures over at Real Science.
Fernet Branca Memories
Today while scrolling through Facebook, I noted an ad from some distillery showcasing their Fernet liqueurs. I noted that a family member -- who will remained unnamed -- had actually "liked" the post.
It brought back huge memories. While assigned with an F-15 fighter squadron decades ago, out of Bitburg Air Base, Germany, I spent a lot of time on temporary duty in the middle of the Mediterranean off the coast of Italy. Friday and Saturday nights, whether I wanted to or not, I found myself among a group of hard-drinking NATO fighter pilots -- mostly Brits and Americans, but also Italians and Germans.
Of the many beverages new to me, the one that I remember the most because it was, without question, the most god-awful thing I had ever tasted. It was so bad that it took years for me to forget the name of the crude-oil-like liqueur. The "Cocktail Dudes" say that Fernet Branca has no redeeming factors, and they compare Fernet to "motor oil." To my surprise, an ad for Fernet shows up on the my Facebook page. Until now, I had forgotten the name.
More specifically, it was Fernet Branca that I remember. I do not know if there is much difference, but I will make it my quest this week to find out.
A quick google brought me here: "Fernet: The Best Liquor You're (Still) Not Yet Drinking," The Atlantic (when it still wrote good articles), December 30, 2011.
In Argentina, fernet is the liquor for all occasions. Grandparents swear by the herbal libation; the young heading out into the night mix fernet with cola and then order it en masse at bars and clubs; and no one would dare organize a barbecue, which are called asados in Argentina and are very regular affairs with friends or families, without fernet. It even earned a theme song in the '90s: "Fernet con cola," about the bona fide national beverage by Argentine rock band Vilma Palma e Vampiros.
Argentina downs more fernet than any other country, though the bitter originated in Italy, a country where more than half of Argentines claim ancestry, way back in the mid-1800s.
As universally popular as fernet is in Argentina, it is still relatively unknown in the United States. It pops up here and there; Bill Cosby mentioned the liquor in a bit he performed and it has appeared in The Sopranos scenes. In recent years in the U.S. people have been talking about and tasting the liquor more, especially out west in San Francisco, and the beverage's popularity, or at least awareness for it, has grown steadily. Fernet enjoys a storied past in San Francisco, too. During Prohibition, San Franciscans could legally imbibe fernet. It was permitted on the grounds that it was "medicinal."Fernet Coke (minty and sweet):
- 1 1/2 ounces Fernet Branca
- 3/4 ounce cola syrup (not Coke-Cola)
- 1/2 lime juice
- stir with ice
- 1/2 ounce Fernet Branca
- 3/4 ounce orgeat syrup (almond, sugar)
- 3/4 ounce rye whiskey
- 3/4 ounce lemon juice
- shake hard with ice for 20 - 30 seconds