Category Archives: Movies TV and videos

Tell It Slant — With Lemonade: A Book Launch at Haverford

Adapted from Tell It Slant, by Emma Lapsansky-Werner, with Chuck Fager:

George Fox: not a friend of the arts.

For most of the three-plus centuries since the founding of Quakerism, Quakers had viewed the arts as snares and “distractions” from listening to the Word-of-the-Divine within.

George Fox threw down the marker as early as 1678:

All ye Poets, Jesters, rhimers, makers of Verses and Ballads, who bend your wits to please novelties, light minds, who delights in jests and toyes, more than in the simple naked truth which you should be united to, you are for the undoing of many poor souls, it is your work to tickle up the ears of people with your jests and toyes; this proceeds from a wrong heart … which is a shame to all that be in the modesty and pure sincerity & truth and cleanness of mind. …  

Fox had preached against the visual arts, too:  Continue reading Tell It Slant — With Lemonade: A Book Launch at Haverford

Donald Sutherland! Donald Sutherland!

Two Hundred plus movies! How can I pick a favorite?

Breaking from the New York Times:

By Clyde Haberman

June 20, 2024Updated 3:23 p.m. ET

Donald Sutherland, whose ability to both charm and unsettle, both reassure and repulse, was amply displayed in scores of film roles as diverse as a laid-back battlefield surgeon in “M*A*S*H,” a ruthless Nazi spy in “Eye of the Needle,” a soulful father in “Ordinary People” and a strutting fascist in “1900,” died on Thursday in Miami. He was 88.

His son Kiefer Sutherland, the actor, announced the death on social media. CAA, the talent agency that represented Mr. Sutherland, said he had died in a hospital after an unspecified “long illness.” He had a home in Miami.

With his long face, droopy eyes, protruding ears and wolfish smile, the 6-foot-4 Mr. Sutherland was never anyone’s idea of a movie heartthrob. He often recalled that while growing up in eastern Canada, he once asked his mother if he was good-looking, only to be told, “No, but your face has a lot of character.” He recounted how he was once rejected for a film role by a producer who said: “This part calls for a guy-next-door type. You don’t look like you’ve lived next door to anyone.”

Yet across six decades, starting in the early 1960s, he appeared in nearly 200 films and television shows — some years he was in as many as half a dozen movies. “Klute,” “Six Degrees of Separation” and a 1978 remake of “The Invasion of the Body Snatchers” were just a few of his other showcases.

And he continued to work well into his last years, becoming familiar to younger audiences through roles in multiple installments of “The Hunger Games” franchise, alongside Brad Pitt in the space drama “Ad Astra” (2019) and as the title character in the Stephen King-inspired horror film “Mr. Harrigan’s Phone” (2022).

Mr. Sutherland’s chameleonlike ability to be endearing in one role, menacing in another and just plain odd in yet a third appealed to directors, among them Federico Fellini, Robert Altman, Bernardo Bertolucci and Oliver Stone. . . .


In “Klute” (1971), another early triumph, Mr. Sutherland was a small-town policeman crossing paths with a big-city call girl played by Jane Fonda. He and Ms. Fonda then began an affair that lasted three years; their relationship dovetailed with his most conspicuous burst of political activism, which matched hers.


A woman rests her head on the chest of a man as they lie in bed.
Mr. Sutherland as a police officer and Jane Fonda as a call girl in “Klute” (1971). Offscreen, they had an affair that lasted three years.Credit…Warner Bros., via Everett Collection

In 1971, he joined Ms. Fonda and other actors in a comedy troupe called F.T.A. that toured military towns, performing satirical sketches infused unmistakably with an anti-Vietnam War spirit. The group’s initials stood for Free the Army, though soldiers recognized a far less dainty meaning.

The One That Didn’t Get Away– FTA, Sutherland’s Vietnam era antiwar documentary with Jane Fonda and a vigorous, sharp-witted troupe, made a splash, but was gone in a flash.

Although Mr. Sutherland’s politics leaned leftward, he told Playboy: “I didn’t like doing anything political within the United States because I am, after all, Canadian.” But, he added, “there was a huge Canadian participation in the war, and so I felt, on this, I had a right.”

So  maybe I can pick a favorite film which was the one that very few people ever got to see:  FTA which is short for several other “memes,” from “Fun, Travel & Adventure,” an actual  recruiter’s slogan, to a protester’s “Free The Army,” to a disgruntled grunt soldier’s curse “F*ck The Army.”  The film of the title, according to Wikipedia,

“was released in July 1972, “within days of Fonda’s infamous visit to Hanoi” and seems to have suffered from the political fallout of Fonda’s travels. The film “was in theatres barely a week before it was pulled from circulation by its distributor, American International Pictures.” Even more, “[m]ost copies were destroyed”, which seems to indicate an attempt to prevent any future for the film. Many have suspected the film’s disappearance “was the result of government intervention.” According to Parker, the film’s director, “the film disappeared after Sam Arkoff, head of AIP, received a call from the White House.” David Zeiger, who has been involved in resurrecting the original film, has been quoted as saying he believes Parker. “There’s no proof, but I can’t think of another reasonable explanation for Sam Arkoff, a man who knew how to wring every penny out of a film, yanking one starring Jane Fonda and Donald Sutherland from theaters at a big loss (and, apparently, destroying all of the prints, since none were ever found).”

The bravado of the top line of the mobie poster “The Show the Pentagon Couldn’t Stop “ is exaggerated: the troupe did did perform at several big bases to big applause from disgruntled, war-weary troops; but their tour was stopped before it was completed, and the movie vanished.

I’m on the government suppression side of this argument: I watched FTA during the Iraq war, on a rare, almost samizdat VHS tape, and the roaringly supportive reception Sutherland and Jane Fonda got from the soldiers they performed for was still  amazing; it must have driven the Pentagon brass and the Nixon White House bonkers. (Even the summary of the film in the Wikipedia entry makes exciting and subversive reading  more than 50 years later.)

Anyway, Sutherland and Fonda’s careers survived this flap, and he was a pleasure to watch almost every time. Two hundred movies, with top directors like Robert Altman to hacks to keep busy, that was quite a life, and quite a record.


Air-Conditioned Cartoons

Too many indulgences for the carburetor??



More of the Texas Gospel According to Greg & Ron . . .

Just papering over our differences??

I hear the streaming version is a bomb . . .

I kept telling Grandpa to stay away from that recycling bin . . .


Cluster Bombs to Ukraine? They Say No.

Here’s why supplying Ukraine with cluster munitions would be a terrible mistake

Left, Jeff Merkley, former Sen. Pat Leahy

Opinion by Patrick Leahy and Jeff Merkley

Patrick Leahy, a Democrat, is a former U.S. senator from Vermont. Jeff Merkley, a Democrat, is a U.S. senator from Oregon who serves on the Foreign Relations Committee.

A few weeks after the Kremlin launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine last year, reports from the battlefield revealed that Russian troops were using cluster munitions against Ukrainian targets.
This news prompted a top U.S. official, as well as observers from dozens of other countries and humanitarian organizations, to denounce Moscow’s use of a weapon widely recognized as causing disproportionate civilian casualties. Continue reading Cluster Bombs to Ukraine? They Say No.

Bambi Revisited: Much More than Disney

The Guardian

Lucy Knight — March 21, 2023

Gunned down and burned by the Nazis: the shocking true story of Bambi

Walt Disney made Bambi a cutesy schmaltzfest for kids. But the original story was a brutal allegory by a Jewish writer who later fled the Nazis. As the character hits 100, we look at the iconic fawn’s extraordinary life.

When Love Island stars Molly-Mae Hague and Tommy Fury announced that they had named their daughter Bambi earlier this year, it caused a bit of a storm. Some approving fans claimed to be “obsessed” with the name, but Atomic Kitten star Kerry Katona called it “ridiculous” (although she later apologised).

Continue reading Bambi Revisited: Much More than Disney