CPC FEB 18: The Oscars; The Tourist; Favourite Movies
This is my first shot at writing a longer format piece in a couple of weeks. My life over this time has been a bag of hammers. I won’t go into the details, other than to say that all this crap sapped my energy to the degree that if I got off one good little meme a day, I considered myself lucky.
However, as Maya Angelou has said, “All storms run out of rain”, and I can finally feel my energy coming back. Just have to take it nice and slow.
As has been the case with me for the past dozen years or so, I only pay passing attention to the Oscars. My wife really only cares about the red carpet, (fairly conservative this year), and the biggie awards at the end.
The thing about the Oscars is that these days you don’t really have to watch them. Just wait till they are over and pick what you want from YouTube. I was particularly moved by the acceptance speech that Joaquin Phoenix gave. I could see in his eyes, a lot of demons at work, which would explain, to some extent, the power he is able to put into his work. I never saw The Joker, but I can imagine that his style and the role itself fit so perfectly together that it would have been very hard to ignore.
There was a big deal made about the movie Parasite, which is a South Korean film, and the first foreign language film to win an Oscar for best picture. A lot of people were a bit upset about that, but then, Americans are pretty easily upset about almost anything these days tat isn’t about them. My theory is that they subconsciously fear that their current dictator wannabe is taking away their identity, but that’s a whole other can of worms.
More likely this is part of a larger scheme by the Academy to expand its influence around the world and more power to them in that regard.
So I only saw a little of this production, but for the most part it was all just a series of small and large groups of people getting their 15 minutes of fame and maybe a little box office boost for their films, thanking everybody they could think of. Same old same old. After a while all that stuff runs together.
I will say one thing. That show needs a host, who is a comedian, to keep things going and keep everyone from taking themselves too freaking seriously.
The Tourist by Olen Steinhauer
I’m not going to tell you a lot about this book, because my sister lent it to me and she hasn’t read it yet. But she knows I like spy stuff and that’s what this is all about.
Unlike most spy novels you real these days, this book is really more about the US than all the other trouble spots around the world. Like the John LeCarre books, it’s about the spies themselves and the mechanics of how all this is done. In other words it’s a very internalized look a the most secretive business on earth.
The other thing I really like about this novel is that the writing style of the author is a little less formal than most books of this ilk, which to me read as very confident. Mr Steinhauer knows what he is talking about, and, according the awards and accolades lists at the back, he’s been in the know for quite some time.
One thing I will tell you without betraying much is that tourism idea, alluded to in the title, isn’t about tourism, but is is a highly sustainable metaphor that gives the book a great deal of it’s energy and power.
If this is not the best spy novel I have ever read, it’s certain up there near or at the top of the heap. Also, this is not to be confused by the not so great 2010 movie with the same title that starred Johnny Depp and was really nothing more than a vehicle for him and Angelina Jolie
Also, post facto, this book, whose main character is a spook named Milo Weaver, and, evidently is the first in a series of (three and one on the way) featuring this same character.
Anyway, this is must read stuff for anyone who is fascinated by the spy business. I thought it was brilliant.
The Boob Tube
Since I have been on the DL for the past month, I have been paying very little attention to TV, per-se tending to spend my evenings flat out and reading.
So instead, here is a list of my favourite movies. These are all films that I have seen several times, and would gladly watch whenever they show up. These are in no order of preference.
Dances With Wolves
The Maltese Falcon
Ghostbusters (The Original)
The Third Man
A River Runs Through It
The Culpepper Cattle Company
North By Northwest
I can probably think of a bunch more but these are the ones that just jumped out right away.
Hope you are all having a good winter and I look forward to getting back to some sort of regular life shortly.
Jim Murray is a writer, a reader, a sports fan and a TV watcher who has been writing about the sports & entertainment worlds since1998, which is when he created the Couch Potato Chronicles. Jim is also a former ad agency writer and art director and has run his own creative consultancy, Onwords & Upwords, from 1989 until just recently when he closed it and began simply working under his own name. He lives with his wife in the beautiful Niagara area of Ontario, and works
a small cadre of companies that are trying to make a difference in the world.
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