The Empty Balcony: Zodiac

David Fincher’s Zodiac floats through the 1970s and beyond, often in a dreamlike state. A story about a notorious serial killer and those investigating him, it’s the period backdrop where Fincher and his crew are most effective. Whether his vision of the times is accurate is hard to gauge, but peering back through the lens of memory with Zodiac superimposed on top brought to the fore feelings of nostalgia. And, in fact, period pieces can never be completely accurate. They live and die in our own flawed remembrances of times gone by. Continue reading “The Empty Balcony: Zodiac”

The Empty Balcony: Full Metal Jacket

Full Metal Jacket is a comedic tour de force. At a younger age, the idea of growing up and coming face to face with R. Lee Ermey in a cold and brutally lit recruit barracks was an uneasy thought indeed, if not downright intimidating. Being on the cusp of every youngster’s wild transition from the coddling environment of elementary school to the hormonally-driven torture of middle school, I looked upon the visage of Ermey’s Gunnery Sergeant Hartman as the great and enduring symbol of social intimidation. He was mean, he was loud, and, like the most effective bullies, there was never any correct answer to his questions, no way to put brakes on the shit heading in a person’s direction once his sights were set. There was even a classic bullying staple in evidence as Ermey’s character ruthlessly forces Private Leonard ‘Gomer Pyle’ Lawrence (Vincent D’Onofrio) to choke himself, a unique twist on the old ‘stop hitting yourself’ routine. Continue reading “The Empty Balcony: Full Metal Jacket”

Oval Office Thunderdome: Return of the Dixiecrats

No one knows what will happen on Super Tuesday. More than likely, though, one of the Republican candidates will have their party’s nomination securely in hand. John McCain has all the momentum in the world, and despite all the rancor he raises among many conservative ideologues, his once-dead campaign seems capable of taking advantage of the breakdown in GOP solidarity. That is, his appearance of sincerity and genuineness contrasts starkly with Mitt Romney’s lack of authenticity. Romney will win the reddest of the red states, but the primaries aren’t about red and blue. The more populous states along the coast, and the least conservative, have quite a bit of weight to throw around on Tuesday, and McCain should do well in those contests, all but putting him over the top in delegates. Continue reading “Oval Office Thunderdome: Return of the Dixiecrats”