Sunday, November 24, 2013

Cheesy movies and fake Asians.

In this post: Movie reviews, Kennedy beats Reagan. 

It’s almost 1 a.m. and Sam is asleep in the family room watching 55 Days at Peking (1963), a big-budget semi-historical epic that attempts to tell the story of China’s Boxer Rebellion of 1900. I’ve never been able to sit through this thing in its entirety — almost three hours long — because they’ve got Caucasians with taped eyes playing most of the major Asian parts, Charlton Heston as an arrogant U.S. soldier with enough over-the-top swagger to give you a nervous breakdown, and Ava Gardner doing the same breathless, mumbling, hypersexual shtick from every movie she’s ever made. (Here, we’re supposed to believe she’s a Russian baroness.) Others in the cast include David Niven with terrific outfits and Flora Robson as the empress of China (seriously). For added Far East authenticity the movie’s theme song is performed by Andy Williams.
Earlier last night Sam and I watched Lincoln, Steven Spielberg’s 2012 crapfest starring Daniel Day-Lewis as Abe and Sally Field as his monstrously crabby wife, Mary. Lincoln was boring, tedious, dark, difficult to hear, depressing, uninspiring and pretty lousy from start to finish. Sam and I typically love almost anything related to Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War, but this film was just a total disappointment.
The plot centers around the last four months of Lincoln’s life in 1865 and his battle with Congress to pass the 13th Amendment. You know, the one that abolishes slavery. Nearly every scene was shot indoors in dingy paneled rooms with hideous drapes and low light so everybody looked anemic, sweaty and dirty, and when we’re finally treated to a rare outdoor scene we get a closeup of a mountain of amputated legs. And hey, maybe somebody can explain why Spielberg completely left out what should have been the natural conclusion to this film: Lincoln’s assassination at Ford’s Theater. What a freakin’ let-down, am I right?

Before I forget, I’d like to share a must-see video clip from Friday night’s “Real Time with Bill Maher” on HBO. This is Bill’s hilarious closing monologue comparing John F. Kennedy to Ronald Reagan. We LOVE Bill Maher here at Howdygram headquarters. Enjoy!

I should probably wake Sam now so we can go to bed. Thank you for reading this.

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