Empty Balcony: Seven Days in May

This may have been the wrong film for me to watch while there’s a lunatic in the White House. Seven Days in May, the classic political thriller from 1964, tells the story of a Marine Colonel who stumbles upon a military plot to overthrow the president. It’s a gripping story, full of the opposing ideologies of the Atomic Age, and of deterministic governance. Its ideas are grand, and yet simple. The nuance of true politics is lacking, as are the skeletons in every president’s closet that make declarations about fairness and the will of the people awkward to hear, but that doesn’t matter. The story is amazing. Continue readingEmpty Balcony: Seven Days in May”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Disaster on the Coastliner

I miss movies like 1979’s Disaster on the Coastliner. Once upon a time, before they started getting killed by cable, American TV networks used to fill empty spots in their schedules with homegrown shitty movies. Turn on one of the networks on a Sunday night and there was likely to be some quickie disaster flick or an epic miniseries adaptation of a Gore Vidal or James Clavell novel. This stuff was absolute garbage but also absolutely unmissable. Shogun, North and South, The Thorn Birds, The Big One, The Day After...on and on. The networks developed a short-form storytelling pedigree that they seem to have abandoned overnight. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Disaster on the Coastliner”

The Empty Balcony: Excalibur & Monty Python and the Holy Grail

VHS tapes, once upon a time, dominated the space below millions of televisions in American homes. They were in your house, a friend’s house, a family member’s house, stacked tall and deep in all sorts of cabinets upon which the TV was perched — cheap particle board constructions bought at the local big box with fake wood grain or flat black veneer, peeling up at the edges always. That awful furniture can still be found. The shapes have just changed a bit as tapes have disappeared and been replaced by DVD boxes. Continue readingThe Empty Balcony: Excalibur & Monty Python and the Holy Grail”