more than anyone wants to know…

Sometimes, even if you’re at work, on a walk, or sitting around the house at 8am drinking coffee and reading Little Golden Books to the baby, you get that feeling. I know, we all have it, where you just have to listen to a whole lot of AC/DC. Well, it was one of those days today.



AC/DC at their best line-up


So it got me thinking about that nutty band. 35 years, 15ish (depending on how you count, but I don’t tend to count the Australian editions as that makes things too convoluted) studio albums, the worldwide 2nd highest selling album of all time (Back in Black, damn that Michael and his Thriller!) and something in the area of 200 millions albums sold, make them one of the biggest, highest selling and longest lasting rock bands ever. And, of course, they are the best and greatest band ever to walk the face of the Earth. Sometimes the most popular bands really are the best.

Though the last 20ish years have been pretty weak in terms of their material, their first 9 albums more than make up for it. Honestly, I wasn’t hooked at first listen. I remember when Back in Black came out, I was 12 and quite indifferent. I also had a friend who loved Dirty Deeds (the album), which I thought it was an annoying wall of indistinguishable noise, except for the title track which I though was cute (though I had no idea what they were talking about). That all changed in 1981 when I saw the video for “Let’s Get it Up” on Casey Kasem’s top ten.



I came around completely and loved all of their music (except for Dirty Deeds) and they’ve been my favorite band since. From their great blues rock of the early Bon Scott years filled with Bon’s personal, wonderfully humorous and suggestive (yet generally good natured) lyrics and Angus’s brilliant and crazy guitar solos, to the hard rock of the early Johnson years (lacking the personal edge and humor in the lyrics, and moving the suggestiveness straight to downright dirty) I like it all… Though, in the switch of frontmen, I miss the humor in the songs and I’m always bothered by the move from the “songs written around Angus playing guitar” of the Bon Scott era to the “wall of noise with Angus in there somewhere” of the Johnson years… But the Johnson band still put out some great albums. Here is my little summation from 27 years of continual listening.

Best Songs (in chronological order):

The Jack (High Voltage)
Rocker (Dirty Deeds)
Ride On (Dirty Deeds)
Bad Boy Boogie (Let There Be Rock)
Whole Lotta Rosie (Let There Be Rock)
Riff Raff (Powerage)
Up to My Neck In You (Powerage)
Kicked In The Teeth (Powerage)
Down Payment Blues (Powerage)
Gimme a Bullet (Powerage)
Touch Too Much (Highway to Hell)
Shot Down In Flames (Highway to Hell)
Beating Around the Bush (Highway to Hell)
Shoot to Thrill (Back in Black)
Let Me Put My Love Into You (Back in Black)
What Do You Do For Money Honey (Back in Black)
Rising Power (Flick of the Switch)
Back in Business (Fly on the Wall)

Best Albums:

Powerage (1978)
Highway to Hell (1979)
Back in Black (1980)

Best Line-up:

Young, Young, Scott, Rudd, Williams (1977-1980: Powerage, Highway to Hell)

Best Lyric:

“I’ve got patches, on the patches, on my old blue jeans
well they used to be blue
when they used to be new
when they used to be clean”
From “Ain’t No Fun (Waiting Round to Be a Millionaire)”

Best Album Covers:


AC/DC High Voltage

High Voltage (1976)



AC/DC Let There Be Rock

Let There Be Rock (1977)



AC/DC Powerage

Powerage (1978)


Though it’s lame that their newest CD (when it comes out) will only be available in the US at Wal-Mart (I wonder if that means not even Amazon?), most of their records are sold outside of this country anyway, and most of the CD’s inside this country are sold at Wal-Mart (as completely fucked up as that is, what’s wrong with people?), so I guess it makes some kind of sick sense. But all of their old albums have be re-mastered and re-released as great digi-packs with fun bonus material and the Family Jewels DVD set is fantastic (at least the first disc is), so there’s is plenty of stuff around outside of Wal-Mart. And speaking of sick sense, here’s a final look…


AC/DC at the beach

Angus… What? Why?


love that polyester look…

Saturday Night FeverAh yes, the memories. You really can’t go wrong by watching Saturday Night Fever. First off, one of the most unfairly derided films out there. Yes, its fashions are dated, belonging to a time not just past but one that was universally reviled by anyone who wasn’t a part of it (like hippies, but without the humor). But Saturday Night Fever provides a brief glimpse into a scene in which the music, fashion and dancing were the lifestyle. We gain this glimpse by following a young fellow who begins to want to understand himself and his place in the world as he begins to grow up enough to start to objectively view his role as a sensation in his small scene in Bay Ridge. John Travolta stars as Tony Manero, a role that he smokes through as if he was born to play it, and it is probably his best turn as an actor (hard to believe that this film was made during his time on “Welcome Back, Kotter” and the year before Grease)… An Italian-American who lives with his grumpy and struggling family, and works as a clerk at a hardware store, but who lives for nothing but the greatest shirts with that polyester look and being the “king” of the dumpy little discotheque (Odyssey 2001) in his neighborhood. Aside from that he farts around with his gaggle of dead-end friends and sleeps with whatever random girls comes along. But when he falls for a boring and uptight girl who is trying to prove herself better than Brooklyn, things start to change for him. His attempts to endear himself to her start waking him up to the life he’s living and the future options he is headed for. And then when his brother disgraces the family be leaving the priesthood, Tony gains a new sense of freedom from his old life. It seems that he has felt somewhat uncomfortable, as if he knew something was wrong with how he spent his days, and he starts to realize that there is more to life then he or his friends have realized, and more than they really care to know about…


Saturday Night Fever


Regardless of jokes about the disco dancing, the disco music and his fixation on his hair, Saturday Night Fever really is a deadly serious drama about growing into adulthood, self respect and self awareness that also rings quite true in its depiction of cool culture in it’s time, or at least it does to me. It certainly rang true to the public, doing quite well at the box office and the soundtrack sold so well that 30 years later is is still one of the all-time top selling albums in American history (something like 15 million copies).


Saturday Night Fever


And the dancing, well even taking into account that it is disco dancing, Tony shows off some pretty impressive moves on the dance floor, though my personal favorite scene is the opening title sequence, which is great… Pure Brooklyn. In all honesty, I also read the book, many years back. It was a good and fun read, but it makes me realize that in the movie you lose some of his deep emotional attachment to shirts.

with paranoia, you are never alone…

Following a chain of clicking from Brian Jepson’s Blog (I’m a sucker for anything that mentions mysterious tentacled creatures from the deep cold waters of Antarctica), I ended up at this MSNBC post, Doomsday fears spark lawsuit. Referring to a couple of folks in Hawaii who have filed a federal lawsuit against the Large Hadron Collider, because they fear that it may create black holes that might destroy the Earth! If you are keeping tabs on it, the LHC is an underground circular tunnel about 5 miles in diameter (or 27km circumference, if you prefer) whose stated purpose is: “LHC – the aim of the exercise: To smash protons moving at 99.999999% of the speed of light into each other and so recreate conditions a fraction of a second after the big bang. The LHC experiments try and work out what happened.”.


Large Hadron Collider


As loyal readers will remember, I made a post in February where I expressed similarly ridiculous fears. It’s nice to know that even if these fears are ungrounded, at least there are some people who have succeeded in bringing them to the forefront. If for no other reason then to attempt to get people to at least question the safety and ethics behind unbridled scientific research. With the advances over the last century or so in nuclear physics, biochemicals, miniaturization, genetics and especially cloning, we have hit a point where there is some research that shouldn’t be done, even if it can. Sometimes, this isn’t obvious until it is too late, as in Oppenheimer’s oft repeated quote that he is said to have made when he witnessed the first nuclear bomb explosion at Trinity: “I have become death; the destroyer of worlds.”.

This may not be an example of that, but, of course, the government is trying to get the case thrown out, seemingly before any of the scientific evidence is looked at, or at least that is what is implied here:

In 40 documents comprising hundreds of pages, attorneys and government officials contended that “scientifically, there is no basis for any conceivable threat” from black holes or the other theoretical horrors posed in the suit.

If the government has its way, the lawsuit would be thrown out on procedural grounds even before getting to the scientific arguments.

Of course, I realize how unbelievable these fears sounds (or downright silly), but as someone may have said at some point “I have witnessed too much to not believe the unbelievable”

And why was I even at Well our new future consideration is to look into relocating to Providence! One of our original ideas from when we first met and were still on opposite coasts, I also have a fondness for its HPL history, I like the size of the city and how you never hear about it and… Neither one of us has ever been there. Plus (and this is a big plus) house prices seem pretty darned low. So if anyone out there has any thoughts or knowledge regarding living in or moving to the Providence area, I would love to hear about it.

they’re filming midgets!

In BrugesIn another great example of UK crime films. I went out to a theater to see In Bruges. Now I don’t know if this had any real domestic release or not, but I’d never heard of it until I had the misfortune to witness some of the “Trailer Awards” wherein its trailer was nominated for “most original”. If they really want to award a “Best Trailer” award, they should have it as part of the academy or globes or something… But it’s whole own awards show? Also it was hosted by Sinbad, which is bad enough, as he is possibly the least funny professional comedian. But what makes it even worse, is that for sub-hosts they had to find people even unfunnier than Sinbad! Argh! Anyway, I saw the trailer for this there. It looked odd, interestingly shot and possibly exciting… so off I went. And first off, the movie didn’t seem too much like the trailer, to me.

What was a it? Well, a couple of hitmen, fresh from a job, are sent to Bruges to sightsee and lay low for a while. Or so they think. The trouble is that during the hit (against a priest) a young boy waiting his turn at the confessional is also killed (an oddly sad and touching scene), which leads to a growing guilt on the part of our hitman, Ray, and creates a situation for his boss that needs to be resolved. Collin Farrell is Ray, an unpleasing, snide and petulant fellow whose relentless self-involvement has come into conflict with his guilt. Brendan Gleason is Ken, an old pro and Ray’s buddy. When they arrive in Bruges, Ken is quite content to spend the day sightseeing and waiting to hear from their boss. Ray, on the other hand, thinks that Bruges is the most boring and unexciting place that he’s been and talks endlessly of getting out of there… Until he encounters a film set and falls for a Brugian lady… And meets a midget. But until then, he whines continually. The first half is slow and sedate with lots of beautiful scenes of old town Bruges, which is a wonderfully preserved medieval town, with canals and everything, and Ray whining in the background. It is a fairly quiet and restrained black comedy, though none of the jokes are particularly witty and the dialogue is just alright. After a bit though, the plot thickens.

It turns out that their boss, Harry, has actually sent them to Bruges as a final gift for Ray, as Harry has his principles and the killing of a child is unforgivable so Ray must pay the ultimate price. Except that Ken is assigned the job and things start to fall apart from there. The movie changes direction on a lot of levels when Harry must come to Bruges to clean up this mess and deal with both of them himself. Harry is played by Ralph Fiennes and is really the high point of the movie. A hardened criminal who never really convinces you that he is a hardened criminal, he is nonetheless very serious about having things straightened out and sticking to his “principles”, and has no qualms about using violence against anyone who gets in his way (except for children, of course). So the action really picks up when he arrives. And add to this blend the continually reappearing midget actor and Chloë, the love interest with her troublesome friend and it is a fun ride.

In Bruges is a great film. Another example of how the UK has made the worlds best and most entertaining crime films for at least the last thirtish years (at least back to The Long Good Friday), a run that doesn’t seem about to slow down.


At the Death House DoorAnd in the “mention them before I forget” category, we watched At the Death House Door. A documentary about the death penalty told through the eyes of the Huntsville prison chaplain Carroll Pickett, who attended some 95 executions and was, in pretty much all cases but one, fairly unsure about the death penalty. The movie is terribly personal and moving, as he kept a diary through these years and he would write in it upon returning home from his Death House duties. He seems to be a nice, quiet and sensitive old fellow, and I appreciated seeing a chaplain who was serious about his work, but who said next to nothing about religion… But it is a compelling story of anti-death penalty activism focusing on the chaplain and his writings, his family and two of the executed. One of those is a man who it seems was most likely innocent of his crime, the other one being the one person whose execution the chaplain has no compunction about, as he murdered one of the Chaplain parishioners in cold blood. but regardless of one’s feelings about capital punishment, it is quite interesting and I certainly learned a lot about all of the processes around capital punishment.


84 Charing Cross RoadWe also watched 84 Charing Cross Road, which was quite charming and touching. This is a “based on a true” story about a very New York lady who, in the 1940’s, wrote to a London bookseller with a list of books that she just couldn’t find stateside. The store sent along what it had, she wrote back, and a 20 year business/friendship was begun. It is told primarily through reading the letters between her and one of the clerks at the shop, which are entertaining with the vast difference in their manners, and engaging with her comments about literature and society. Though the letters being read that make up the narration are, I believe, actual letters from their correspondence, there are also a good number of scenes of the characters lives that flesh them out and add a lot of depth and warmth to the story. Generally. Anne Bancroft’s New York lady was a bit too much for me. Though I realize that she was just being a New Yorker. As a milquetoast west coaster, I thought her attitude to be obnoxious (and surfacely rude), especially against the backdrop of the quiet British dignity and humility of Anthony Hopkins respectful bookseller… It’s a fun movie though, filled with lots of admiring comments about great books.

what’s your major malfunction

Survive Style 5+Sometimes, things don’t turn out how you expect… Be them acts of violence or unfamiliar movies. This was one of those. I bought it on a whim and was quiet pleasantly surprised. Though it is certainly not for everyone.

Imagine that you kill your wife, bury her in the woods and then head on home to your excessively and ridiculously stylish home, you may expect some odd things to be in your future. The chances that one of those odd things might be finding your wife at home, alive and ready to fill the kitchen table with some gratuitous cooking for you? At that, you might be so shocked that you’d spit out your milk! And she may be rather mad, too.

If the next day you kill and bury her again… And she comes back again, would you try again yourself? Or would you call in a professional? These are some of the questions brought mind in the wondrously great and terrifyingly stylish Japanese action/comedy Survive Style 5+. Filled with explosive style, great visuals, a British hit man, a hypnotist, a lame gang of burgler’s, a man who thinks he is a bird and, our hero, good old Tadanobu Asano who just can’t get his wife to stay underground… It is a fun, chaotic and controlled mess of flash and action.


Survive Style 5+


From Asano and his troubles with his wife, we are plopped into a number of other exciting scenarios… 1) The very angry hitman (gleefully played by Vinnie Jones, veteran of some Guy Ritchie crime films) and his translator-sidekick as they go about their killing business. He is recently arrived in Japan on assignment, but due to his anger level, he is also always ready to kill anyone else who gets in his face… And he is always flexible if more work may come up.


Survive Style 5+


2) The pop sensation hypnotist who is an arrogant pain in the ass, a bad Las Vegas style nightmare and hosts a ludicrous show… And who is having issues with the terribly lame advertising executive who he is sleeping with. He is an obnoxious bore and she records all sorts of terrible advertisement ideas on a little tape recorder and then vividly imagines them for our viewing pleasure.


Survive Style 5+


3) The family of a regular salaryman who manages to get some fateful tickets to the hypnotists show, much to the delight of his children. Oh yes, and the gang of idiotic burgler’s. We follow all of their groups plot lines until, of course, they all come together in generally violent connections. And lead up to a most unexpected connection made at the end.


Survive Style 5+


The baby was entranced by most of it, and in the 3ish years since I last watched this film, it hasn’t lost any of its luster. A sadly overlooked Japanese film, that I ordered soley because it starred Tadanobu Asano, this Survive Style 5+ is a strange creature and is fantastically wonderful and fun, as only something so ridiculous can be.


La Vie En RoseWe also watched La Vie en Rose. A great biopic on Edith Piaf. I am only peripherally familiar with her, as I have heard some of her songs and a know her photograph, so this story was all news to me. And what news it was! A great and richly told story of tragedy, tragedy, tragedy, great fame and success and then more tragedy. Abandoned by her parents at a young age to be raised by harlots, reunited with her father to be raised on the circus circuit, then on the streets. And then from the streets onto: chance discovery, fame, murderous scandal, the death of a lover and then a sad death herself at 47 years old. A short life filled with substance abuse problems and feelings of loneliness. The film is very good. Well written and acted, it looks very nice and it comes across as quite believable. The story itself was quite good, and the lead actress did a very good job, though Piaf is not a sympathetic character past her childhood years. She is a loud, drunken soul who never lingers far from belligerence or depression.

tough and ruthless, rough and toothless

Kentucky Fried MovieIt was one of those early morning moments. Up with the baby but too tired to do anything but couch it. Those mornings when you watch the movies that are normally too much of too little to keep your attention. This time around it was Kentucky Fried Movie. Always a breezy watch, being short silly and plotless. The precursor to the more entertaining Amazon Women on the Moon. This is the first Abraham/Zucker/Zucker movie, coming three years before the much superior Airplane!… And it shows. Very low-budget feeling, and rather haphazardly thrown together, it is nonetheless a fun movie with a good heart where you feel that everyone was in it just for the fun. A satire on television viewing, it feels like school project in many ways, or a blend of old Mad magazine and National Lampoon. Made up of a series of skits that is unabashedly dumb, juvenile and pre-PC, Kentucky Fried Movie takes the form of channel surfing as you move around from commercials to TV shows to late-night movies.

There is a feature presentation in the middle, a fairly dull Spy/Kung-Fu movie called Fistful of Yen wherein a Kung-Fu master is hired by the government to infiltrate a crime lord’s fortress in the mountains. While the Kung-Fu is fairly entertaining, the piece didn’t grab my attention. And it is all presented in one piece, unlike the feature presentation in Amazon Women, whose broken up viewing I preferred. But then I preferred that sci-fi feature better anyway.


Kentucky Fried Movie


The commercials that are thrown in are pretty dumb, covering topics like zinc oxide, headache medicine, lingering odors and love making, though they can be entertaining… Especially the zinc oxide informational piece, I never knew how much I needed it! Then, there are the newscasts. The movie is heavily laced with these which, while they are innocuous enough, are also unfunny. This movie does certainly show its age with the humor. But the two-way newscast at the end of the film, one of its trademark scenes, is pretty funny and clever.


Kentucky Fried Movie


As with real life, the movie previews can be the best part. There are a good number of them interspersed here, and they can be fairly extensive. I do enjoy seeing the satirical and contemporary take on some of the film genres of the 1970’s. Especially the reference to “Earthquake” which I remember hearing in the theater below me once at the Broadway Theater. Here we are given teasers for: the ultimate disaster movie, “That’s Armageddon” (featuring George Lazenby), the undeniably risque teen sexploitation number “Catholic High School Girls in Trouble” (hide your eyes),


Kentucky Fried Movie


and the gritty crime exploitation drama “Cleopatra Schwartz” (featuring: machine guns, lots of violence, tough streets and the titular heroine [ala, Pam Grier] who marries a Hasidim and forms a crime-fighting couple).


Kentucky Fried Movie


In addition to all of these goodies, there are also some surprising actor appearances: the irreplaceable sexploitation queen Uschi Digart (billed this time around as Ursula Digart) in a rather excessive shower scene (in, of course, Catholic High School Girls in Trouble, which I had a capture of here, but I pulled it in a lingering moment of propriety), Bill Bixby (no, I did not watch this because of the Hulk movie) doing a celebrity commercial plug, and Donald Sutherland as the clumsy waiter in That’s Armageddon.

All in all, it is a silly, harmless and risque satire on TV of the 70’s which, while it is silly and cheap, is a pretty fun watch. One of these days, I’d like to watch it back to back with Amazon Women…

meandering boringly…

Well, what do I know. Idly relaxing around the home, in my first weekend at the new apartment… Baby and dog napping, wife at work… I came up with the perfect kind of dull task that I enjoy with my morning coffee… What are the most popular bands, according to plays registered on that favorite site of mine, It seems to scarily give away the “average” user. While this is far from scientific, as I just guessed which bands to look up and sometimes followed those band’s “similar artists” links if I’d heard of who was on it and I ended up listing the bands with over 40 million plays. I imagine that unless I am even more disconnected than I thought, this should be somewhat accurate…

1. The Beatles: 107m plays. This is no surprise, but being a “Stones man” it was a bit shocking to see The B’s with 4 times the action of the Stones.

2. Radiohead: 103m plays. What? I still don’t get this. Yeah, I bought their first album when Creep came out, and I remember some video with someone on fire in the street, but I haven’t heard much else and it just doesn’t seem too interesting to me.

3. Red Hot Chili Peppers: 73m plays. These guys? Still? I was into them up until Mother’s Milk, but I never would have imagined they would be the third most played band anywhere.

4. Pink Floyd: 58m plays. Some may think it’s played out, but I thought that finding them up here was a welcome surprise. While I don’t listen to them much, I think very highly of their “Dark Side of the Moon” to “The Wall” era, having heard little else by them.

5. Linkin Park: 56m plays. I just don’t know. Are they Nu-Metal? I’ve never actually heard them, but I’m still a bit surprised as to their ranking.

6. Coldplay: 56m plays. Same as above, except I’m pretty sure that Coldplay aren’t nu-metal, and I did suspect they were pretty popular.

7. Death Cab for Cutie: 54m plays. Exactly the same as above. Never heard them, their name is irritating, and somehow my pal Jon has logged some 4,800 songs plays for these guys on his account.

8. Metallica: 53m plays. No surprise here. I like their cover of “I am Evil”, I liked “Ride the Lightning” and I used to listen to “Master of Puppets” a lot, but they really lost me when that boring ass “One” song from “… and Justice For All” came out. And recently I saw their movie and realized just how lost they were.

9. Nirvana: 42m plays. I’m halfway surprised about this, I know they got pretty big (and Bleach and their unplugged album are both quite good), but I would have thought that they would be a bit more forgotten by now.

10. Green Day: 42m plays. Whatever.

12. Fall Out Boy: 42m plays. Huh? Who?

13. My Chemical Romance: 40m plays. I don’t know, but the name scares me… I picture boring “industrial”/punk/ballads for teens and some really bad fashions.

slow and low

I’ve forgotten everything! But then again, maybe there wasn’t anything much to remember. The last week has been filled with the process of moving and the days before that are kind of a blank… But I do have some memories… They are coming back as slowly as the webpage’s load, since Earthlink deemed it necessary to shut my DSL off for 10 days to move me three apartments down the hall… Sigh. Back to dial-up again. Not that I really mind the speed of dial-up, but knowing that any day now I’ll be back to DSL makes dial-up feel like I’m on AOL 2.0 Mac again… Sigh.

HelveticaRegardless, I have managed to watch a couple of films. We watched one that we’d been looking forward to for quite sometime. Helvetica. A documentary about the font… Somewhat. Though it does cover the history of Helvetica, it really seems to be focused on the effect that Helvetica has has on graphic design. How a typeface came to be seen as so ideally perfect yet ideally blank, so that words formed with it seemed to take on their own meanings without you even noticing what type they were written in. Of this they give many examples and by the time it is finished you start to think that every corporate logo is made out of the same letters, but letters so perfect for their purpose that you would never have imagined that all those familiar words were written the same way… This film relies heavily on interviews with graphic designers, young and old, people who are very interested in typeface and who both deign and use them professionally. While some of these people feel that the success of Helvetica is something like the ultimate achievement for a typeface, some of them think just the opposite and this film also gives good coverage to the other side. Those who dislike the face, both for it’s pedestrian ubiquity, and also for it’s lack of character. The opposition between these two camps is quite engaging, as is the obsessive focus that designers on both sides have towards typefaces, aesthetics and creativity. I found the film to actually be rather inspiring. It is a pleasant relief to listen to people who really are obsessed with their work, and with the effect that their work has on others. The thought of these people whose occupations aren’t jobs so much as they are a life’s work and an intellectual and philosophical obsession is rather uplifting, especially when you usually hear so much whining from so many folks about their sad, boring lots in life.

Into Great SilenceWe also watched, or should I say, tried to watch Into Great Silence. A documentary about the Carthusian Monks and their great monastery of Grande Chartreuse. I felt the need to watch this because, ever since I was a child, I have been fascinated by hermits and monkishness in general. The whole notion of living a cloistered life seems rather appealing to me, and it still retains it’s charm after watching this, though they were much more cloistered then I ever would have anticipated. The movie? Well… It has it’s pluses and minus. It is impressive that the filmmaker was not only allowed inside the monastery, but allowed to live there for 6 months and film. And it is a well-shot movie, very beautiful and idyllic. The film is very peaceful and very (um, very very) quiet. The overwhelming majority of the film (which at 2 hours and 45 minutes is maybe an hour longer than I really could take) is quiet… No music, no talking, the occasional bell tolling and some chanting. I imagine that the goal was not only to show the monastery and the monks, but also to give some small notion of what it is like to live in such hermitude. Most of the footage is of what might as well be still-life’s of the surroundings and the interiors, and also scenes of them reading, chanting, sawing wood and going about their monk duties. The little dialogue that does exist, I didn’t really need to hear and is some cases I would have rather not have, as I tend to think highly of monks and hearing statements like (and I paraphrase here) “If one does not live for god, then I see no reason to live here on earth”, seems so ignorant that it was a bit off-putting. But then again, maybe if you spent your entire adult life cut off from everything in the world and humanity except for: the monastery grounds, some monks, quiet chanting and lord knows how many hours to read the bible over and over and reflect on it, with no real awareness of the world and nothing to distract you or to experience… then maybe it is hard to imagine what else one could do with their life. Anyway, I digress. The monastery is a beautiful place: grand in scale, stark, utilitarian and furnished with wonderful old fashioned craft. The setting is a beautiful spot in the French alps and this order has a history that goes back some 1000 years. Though I don’t get the feeling that the consume much of the liquor that they are so famous for.

But in all honesty, about halfway through the movie we both started reading as we watched. I couldn’t help it as I was burning through a engrossing little memoir called The Film Club written by a fellow who gave his tenth grade son permission to drop out of high school (and not work or anything) as long as he would watch three movies a week, of his father’s choosing, with his father. It’s not the greatest memoir, and it’s not as much about film as I had hoped, but it is an interesting notion. Though the boy didn’t really take to gleaning as much as one might hope from the “education”.


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