Monday, January 15, 2018

Happy Martin Luther King jr's Birthday

From 2008....

Long ago, when DUMB & DUMBER came out and became an unexpected hit, Rolfe Kanefsky, a film director I know (I think I’ve talked about him before) came up with a movie idea called BLONDE & BLONDER - basically a collection of “dumb blonde” jokes dramatized into a comedy story. This is a great example of Terry Rossio’s “Mental Real Estate” theory. Rolfe wrote the screenplay, sold it to a producer... and about a decade later they got around to making it with Pamela Anderson and Denise Richards. The film was released on this long MLK weekend, I have no idea how it’s doing against CLOVERFIELD.

Decades after Dr. King’s death, we still have serious racial divisions in the United States. Whites are under-represented in our prisons. Whites are also under-represented in the lower income levels and lower paying jobs... and the unemployed. Whites are under-represented in the military. Last year we had the Jena Six - a great example of how race enters into the decision to prosecute one crime over another. And in Jena today we have a rally - not for racial equality, but for the KKK and racial hatred. Hey, it’s the United States, even racists have rights.

Okay, some of you are wondering what BLONDE & BLONDER has to do with a KKK rally in Jena, LA, and here’s the answer:

Why is it that color of eyes and color of hair don’t really matter in our society, but color of skin does? It’s all pigmentation. We may joke about dumb blondes, but nobody really takes that seriously. There isn’t any serious hiring discrimination against Blondes. There is no version of the KKK that wants Blondes to go back to where the came from (those Nordic countries). There was no time in history where Blondes had to use different drinking fountains than people with other hair color. Prisons are not over-flowing with Blondes.

There also doesn’t seem to be much discrimination against people with Hazel Eyes, even though they are clearly a minority. No one tries to exclude Hazels from their country club. Why is that?

Why is skin pigmentation different than hair pigmentation or eye color? All are just one little piece of genetic code. Someone with Hazel Eyes is the same as someone with Brown Eyes - except for the eye pigmentation, that is. Someone with Blonde hair is no different than someone with Red hair - except for the hair pigmentation, that is. Someone with Black skin is no different than someone with White skin - except for the skin pigmentation, that is. Why the hell would anyone hate someone just because they were Blonde? How does that make any sense?

I think the real problem is hatred. People need someone to be pissed off at, so they make some strange arbitrary decision to hate people with Hazel Eyes. All of my problems are caused by those damned Hazel Eyed people! My failure is their fault!

Hey, there *are* bad people out there who are Blonde or who have Hazel Eyes or have some skin color different than yours. And there are bad people out there named Bill. But imagine how silly it would be to decide that all people with Hazel Eyes are bad, or all people named Bill are bad, based on those few. That’s dumb and dumber.

So, on this Martin Luther King Day, let’s not look at what makes one person look different than another, let’s look at what makes us look the same as each other. We are all part of one race - the human race. Don’t hate. Forgive. Help people. You know, we’re all stuck on this planet together, why not try to make it a pleasant experience - even a fun experience?

- Bill


TODAY'S SCRIPT TIP: Symbolism. .
Yesterday’s Dinner: Sandwich at Togos.

Movies: NATIONAL TREASURE 2 - there's a place in this film where Ed Harris' character identifies the problem with the movie's script, when he says that there is only one way to go. This film seems predictable because it's "too linear". In the first film, every clue to the treasure was open to interpretation. Sometimes the clues would lead in one direction, unless you knew the other piece of the clue - which lead you in the opposite direction. And there were points in the first film where there was a fork in the story road and the characters had to decide which path to take... and often took the wrong one. In the sequel - no forks in the road. Every clue is exactly what it is, and only leads in one direction. In RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK we have that headpiece on the staff with directions on where to place the staff on the map and how long the staff should be... but on the opposite side of the headpiece are more directions that *change* the length of the staff - and that only changes everything. Things like that make the story seem alive and unpredictable. When we come to a fork in the story road and the character makes a choice - if it's the wrong choice, that makes the story seem unpredictable... it also makes the story seem exciting, because the hero now must scramble to get back on course. But there is only one direction in NATIONAL TREASURE 2 - only one way the story can go. That makes it seem prectable and dull.

DVD: COLT 45 with Randy Scott. Okay, here's the weird thing - as a kid, I did not like Westerns. I watched a bunch of Western TV series, and liked them, but never really got into Western films. That may be because of RIO LOBO, a really cruddy John Wayne movie I saw in the cinema. So, except for a handful of classics, I'm not that familiar with the genre. Leone, Ford, Hawks? Big fan. But I'm trying to fill in the blanks on the others, and finding some gems and some stars I like. I know Randy Scott from a couple of great films - RIDE THE HIGH COUNTRY and SEVEN MEN FROM NOW, so now I'm watching some of his other films.

COLT 45 is about a war hero gun salesman who has his personal Colt 45s stolen by the completely evil Zachary Scott (I don't think any relation) in a jail break. Now that Zachary has superior firepower, he and his gang start a major crime spree across the west... and no one can stop them. When Randy goes after them to get his guns back, he is mistakenly thought to be the leader of the gang by local sheriffs. Now he must get his guns back and clear his name and catch the bad guys... and in Randy Scott movies there is always a girl. Usually a girl on the wrong side of the law who changes sides and ends up with Randy for that closed mouth kiss at the end. Here we have Ruth Roman from STRANGERS ON A TRAIN who plays Lloyd Bridges wife. Bridges has joined Zachary and the bandits to make enough money to open a saloon. One of the strange elements of this film is that the desperados take over a town (where Alan Hale is the law... who knows how to take a bribe) - so Randy ends up facing off against "businessman" Zachary at the end. Oh, and there are Indians - Zachary kills some Indians, steals their clothes, and robs the stage coach disguised as Indians. The tribe is wrongly accused, just like Randy, and they work together to set things right. As you can see - lots of plot twists, lots of action... and an entertaining film.

One thing that I wondered about was this "superior firepower" thing, so I did a bit of research after seeing the film, and was surprised to discoiver that the "six gun" we think of as part of the old west, came kind of late in the game. The Colt 45 was the first modern revolver - and didn't really come into use until *after* the Civil War (the guns became popular in 1873). Hard to imagine that a gun that could fire 6 shots in a row was "superior firepower" - but it was. There were no "six guns" before the Colt 45.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Bill,

Good point well made about racism but here in the UK we do have a worrying trend towards hatred of Red headed or Ginger people.

See the following links from the BBC webpage:

It seems some people will always find something different as a reason to bully!

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