Thursday, April 10, 2003

Wrong Is Right

It was a time when Outer Space was filled with incredible machines whose telescopic eyes & ears witnessed our most sensitive secrets. Information that could, and did, change the face of nations.

It was a time when no one on Earth could hide from Technology. No people. No continent.
No one was safe from spy satellites.

It all could have happened in the recent past. Or the present. Or even in the near-future.

But it didn't.

It did happen in that elusive time between now & later. That time when Dark is Light.

When Down is Up;

When Foul is Fair;


well, see the top to finish out that little introduction.

It was pure happenstance that I happen to find my copy of this movie roughly three weeks ago, as our War Against Iraq started. Others may find that what was once thought to be mindless entertainment suddenly became a bit more pointed (I imagine STARSHIP TROOPERS found a little more respect recently). Even this week's episodes of "Angel" and even "Enterprise" seemed to be right on schedule with concurrent events.

Wrong Is Right is a "moldy oldie" from the early 1980's (1982, to be exact), a dark comedy starring Sean Connery and one of the last projects from Richard Brooks (whose resume includes films such as ELMER GANTRY, THE PROFESSIONALS, IN COLD BLOOD, LOOKING FOR MR. GOODBAR, and for the cultists out there, co-scripter of the cheese-classic COBRA WOMAN... if you haven't heard of the man before, go out and search out some of these films.) A satire on television media's effect on the world and on political events, it flopped horribly at the time it was released -- I doubt most of anybody reading this who is a fan of Connery has even heard of this picture -- and probably with reason, since political satire was not an audience crowd pleaser at that time, despite comparisons being made with DR. STRANGELOVE at the time.

Brooks wrote the movie, (based on a novel, The Better Angels, by Charles McCarry), which features Connery as superstar newsman Patrick Hale, the shining star of World Television Network, who inadvertantly ends up smack-dab center in a chain of events in the Mideast (well, actually North Africa, but go with it) involving two suitcase atom bombs and various factions (The President and his Cabinet, the CIA, a terrorist leader, and a prospective candidate for the Presidency) all trying to get the bombs first.

From that quick and dirty synopsis, it may appear to be a parody of the James Bond films that starred Connery... not in the slightest. Connery is actually more of a combination of a Dan Rather/Ted Koeppel type, a media superstar who actually gets out and covers the news. The unfolding of the plot is what is of interest here... what was easily dismissed as satire over 20 years ago seems to be indistinguishable from recent events over the past several months/years -- suicide bombings (but only in front of the television cameras), anti-American sentiment in the Mid-East (at the time this was released, the main bad guy was Kadafi (sic)), and a concerted effort for 'regime change' by whatever means necessary.

The plot and tone almost seems to be an advance taste of BUCKEROO BANZAI, although without the overt comic book influences - it was shot by the same person, Fred Koenkamp (who also deserves honor as the DP on BEYOND THE VALLEY OF THE DOLLS) and features Rosalind Cash (as the Vice-President of the U.S.) who was also in BB - I suspect that someone at the Banzai Institute may have tipped the filmmakers to take a look at it before work began on BB. There's some nice montage work by George Grenville, that moves things along at a brisk pace (maybe not brisk enough for those who wallow in today's seizure-inducing editing); and a good cast: Katherine Ross, Hardy Kruger, George Grizzard, Robert Conrad, Dean Stockwell, Leslie Nielson (before he totally switched over to 'funny' roles) and a very young Jennifer Jason Leigh who appears in the first 5 minutes.

Unlike contemporary 'black-comedies', which seem to define the term as having lots of "attitude" and cursing and little that's actually funny, WRONG IS RIGHT aims for skewering the (then) pervasive influence of television turning everything into entertainment and in the hypocrisy of the U.S. Government and its foreign policy in the Mid-East. The joke on us, is, that we've gone even further than even political satire could posit.

It's worth hunting for in your local video stores - as things develop over the next year, it could come in handy...

Tuesday, April 08, 2003

so far, so good. Everything appears to be working in proper order...

Recently, I came into possession of a sizeable collection of videotapes, left by my oldest uncle, who died suddenly about a month ago. (I hope you'll understand if I don't go into detail quite yet.)

Anyway, a sizeable collection of tapes, mostly of mainstream films. Add that to MY own sizeable collection of stuff that isn't quite so mainstream, and I realize that an opportunity presents itself. Otherwise, how else am I going to get through this massive pile that will otherwise collect dust?

Something to think about - with all of the available media within reach (I haven't even mentioned the boxes of unread books which seem to multiply every few months, plus the amount of music at one's command), there is no way that I can ever justify being bored or out of something to do on weekends. Being a somewhat average (generally speaking) member of American society, I am pretty well loaded with any number of things to enhance and fill my leisure time. I'm sure many of you can say the same.

With that being the case, why the hell am I so bored most of the time, which has led me to the computer to post for attention?

Also, why are you so bored as to surf around and find quirky stuff to help pass your time?

It's a riddle...

If you're still with me after that, look for some quirky stuff to start appearing in the next couple of days or so.

And feel free to comment responsibly.
hello there.

Well, it was just a matter of time before joining everyone else to check out the Brand New Thing. It should be interesting, to say the least. If you've stumbled in here and have no idea who or what I am, you might check out my main page, first. If you're a friend or acquaintance, then this will just add more fodder/evidence in establishing whatever decision you've made about me.

The title refers obliquely to the depressed state I was in after checking local stores that I had put recent issues of my zine in -- and finding that they were untouched by the public at large. It seems that attempting to tweak the curiousity of the average reader who might be willing to take a chance on something that you've written is something that I seem to be a failure at... at least with this particular issue. I guess it's apt metaphor.

However, in the words of a great American -- "Let's do it."