Are You Not Entertained?, books, movies, music

Are You Not Entertained?

Here begins a new monthly series of the music, books, and films I’ve watched.

The Best I’ve Heard 

During my life, I have wished several times for Chrissie Hynde‘s voice from The Pretenders. She sounds just as good as she did 30 years ago. Have you seen this London concert? Guitarist James Walbourne is impressive!

I developed a finer appreciation for Willie Nelson‘s songwriting legacy after watching The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for music on a Sunday evening.


What I’ve Read 

I Am Malala:  How the Taliban invaded Pakistan in 2007, and her subsequent shot in the head because she dared to go to school. My students will be reading this soon. Will they appreciate their free education afterwards? We shall see.

SiddharthaThis 1922 slender novel is a jewel. Under the Mango tree by the river, Siddhartha returns to a state of innocence and achieves enlightenment. Hermann Hesse shares the wisdom that speaks to Buddhists, Christians, and non-conformists alike.

BrooklynI didn’t like the prose much and thought it a boring read. Many movie buffs loved the film. This could be one of those rare times when the film is better than the book.

Some of the Movies I’ve Seen 

The Missing (2003) 3/5. If Ron had left out the witch Indian, I would have found it believable.

Thirteen Days (2000) 3/5.  Let’s hope Kevin Costner never attempts a Boston accent again.

The Intern (2015) 2/5. Weak Script. DeNiro is charming, and Anne is pretty and annoying.

The Fog of War (2003) 5/5. An outstanding documentary. A retrospective account from a key player of the events from the 20th century. The Philip Glass score is a bonus.

Until They Sail (1957). 3.5/5. A smoldering love exists between Simmons and Newman? Didn’t work so well for me.

 The Sting (1973) 4.5/5. Paul Newman’s Gondorff hustling Lonnegan in the train car is one fantastic scene.

Let’s talk. 

art, culture, In My Opinion, movies

Ten Best Movie Posters

Original movie posters are a hot commodity and some are very valuable. Imagine Rocky, E.T., or Jaws framed on your wall.  They are time stamps speaking volumes about our culture, and old school illustrators and graphic artists have my utmost respect. My choices are not a list of my favorite movies but rather a list of admiration for the design and the emotional reaction I have when I see the poster. In no particular order, here are ten favorites:

The red lips belong to Magenta played by Patricia Quinn.

Perhaps the most quotable film ever? Certainly the most interactive with its audience.

Lips: Michael Rennie was ill The Day the Earth Stood Still / But he told us where we stand / And Flash Gordon was there in silver underwear / Claude Rains was The Invisible Man…

A Saul Bass famous  design.
1958. A Saul Bass famous design.
1927. Designer Heinz Schulz-Neudamm's masterpiece is a worth a million.
1927. Designer Heinz Schulz-Neudamm’s masterpiece is a worth a million.

I liked this article of “The 10 most expensive movie posters in pictures” printed in THE GUARDIAN

Can’t get enough of James Bond movie posters? You can read more about Dr. No HERE

The original poster is the upturned helmet designed by Bill Gold. Oliver Stone apparently maximized the Willem Defoe martyrdom shot into a new poster. It was a brush stroke of genius.

Hildebrandt Brothers
Hildebrandt Brothers

I have a fondness for Hildebrandt Brothers’ illustrations. Maybe you missed my post devoted to their artwork? It’s right here:  Hildebrandt Brothers.

2006, English movie poster
2006, English movie poster

I loved this Spanish, Alice in Wonderland adaptation and how it functioned as a social allegory. How creepy is that entrance? 


According to IMDb, Jeff Bridges was considered for the role of Travis Bickle. Could he have acted the part as well as Robert DeNiro?  

Bill Gold's  1956 US theatrical release poster
Bill Gold’s 1956 US theatrical release poster


Thanks to my friend ALEX RAPHAEL who got me thinking yesterday about movie posters. If you could own one, original movie poster, which would it be? 

actors, culture, movies

Hollywood Stereotypes

I read an amusing, interesting article about stereotypes in Hollywood by Juan Arteaga. You can read it HERE 

Some of my favorite films included them. Would you agree the film industry is a powerful influence and molder of the mind? How one perceives another as a group is often created and affirmed in films? Without personal experiences to counter-act the image, you could very well adopt that perception and it becomes your own? Or worse, girls and boys witness in films, billboards, magazines or television shows a female perpetually poised in a sexual position, should we be surprised another girl grows up looking and acting like a sex-object and boys grow up into men who search for them?

How serious should we be as viewers? Identifying the stereotype first and recognizing what we see could be potentially damaging is a step. But then what? Boycott the film? Considering the article by Juan Artega, the pictures throughout this post feature films which portray common stereotypes.  Can you match them?

1. The Magic Negro (God-like powers and saves the whites)

2. The Gay/Effeminate psychopath (nurturing homophobia by attributing sexuality to a decrepid behavior)

3. The Latino Maid (cleaning is all they know how to do. Ugh!)

4. The Mighty Whitey (white protagonist enters foreign culture and saves the day)

5. The Mighty Non-Whitey (black man or non-white jives, dances, and with a laid back attitude, saves the day)

6. The Wise, Old Asian Jerk (convoluted wisdom; a pain-in-the-neck)

7. The Cowardly Incompetent Black Side-Kick (an idiot; cheap shots come easy)

8. Women:  A. androgynous male-killers  B. the naïve child C. One dimensional–let’s talk only about men D. The femme fatale.

If you think stereotypes are bad, how do you combat them? In films, characters shouldn’t display a single image. They should contain complexity. Thinking about womens’ roles my favorites characters followed no stereotype, and they possessed strong personalities.  Clever and amusing, their self-confidence makes them attractive. Complicated and compassionate is a fine mix. Their loyalty to their mate and devotion to others is true sex-appeal. Simply being a sex object is boring.


8D The great temptress

No person possesses a singular attribute or foible. The best films for me are those with characters who are like a kaleidoscope. Those flawed characters who rise above their predicament and attempt to do the right thing are the best–and those roles are usually written for men. Every once in a while a female role stands out.

So what do I do about the fact that I still love The Green Mile, Fifth Element, and Bulworth?