You knew the job was dangerous when you took it

As the man said, you can’t fix stupid.

I am not a very adventurous person. The most death-defying thing I’ve ever done was ride on a very large, very high, 360-degree roller coaster, and that was more than 40 years ago.

So I usually do not feel I’m in any position to criticize anyone who indulges in outrageous physical hobbies. If you want to bicycle for three weeks in the Tour de France, or drive along the Pacific Coast Highway, more power to you.

However, at least I’m self-aware enough to know that I’m in no shape to do such things. Apparently, that small bit of insight has not occurred to recent climbers of Mount Everest, which is only more than a mile-and-a-half above sea level.

As of the latest news report, 11 climbers have died on the mountain this season. A recent climber has stated that “There was a subgroup of climbers that was very rude and unruly and was basically pushing so that they could get better pictures of themselves.” So nice to know that the yahoo mentality we often encounter in grocery stores and movie theaters has now transferred itself to a life-threatening international monument.

But the biggest problem is that too many inexperienced climbers are trying to reach the top of Mt. Everest at one time. As a result of the high altitude, climbers’ oxygen and vital supplies get used up while they simply stand there and wait for their chance to reach the tippy-top. The aforementioned climber expressed his shock at seeing dead bodies attached to a safety line.

This is what our selfie society has come to. People are shoving others out of the way and using up precious air just to take a souvenir photo of themselves. You couldn’t settle for a ride at Disney World?

As I said, I usually don’t chide people who are far more audacious than I am. But if your self-esteem hangs on literally killing yourself to get a good selfie, skip the 8,800-foot straight-up trip, and head for the nearest analyst instead.

Announcing THE HOTTER’NELL BLOGATHON!

Already it’s that time of year — that time when, from the moment you step outside your home in the morning, all you can think about is the immense amount of perspiration that is being drained from your soul. In that spirit, we proudly present…

THE HOTTER’NELL BLOGATHON!

Rules for the Blogathon

  1. Your entry can be about any movie that has a summer- or heat-wave-related theme. Do’s? As long as your choice has such a theme, you can write about a movie in any genre — short subject, cartoon, feature film, documentary. The blue sky’s the limit! Don’t’s? Please make sure you write about a complete movie, not just one summer-based scene from a movie. And please, no duplicate entries. Check out the list of blogathon entries below (which will be updated regularly) to make sure your choice isn’t already taken.
  2. In the “Comments” section at the bottom of this blog, please leave your name, the URL of your blog, and the movie you are choosing to blog about. At the end of this blog entry are banners for our blogathon. Grab a banner, display it on your blogger, and link it back to this blog.
  3. The blogathon will take place from Fri., June 21, through Sun., June 23, 2019. When the opening date of the blogathon arrives, leave a comment here with a link to your post, and I will display it in the list of entries (which I will continually update to the beginning of the ‘thon, so keep checking back!).
  4. I will not be assigning particular dates to any blog posts. As long as you get your entry in by the end of the day on June 23, I will be satisfied. (That said, the sooner the better!)

Again, be sure to leave a comment below and grab a banner, and have fun with your blog entry! Here’s the line-up so far:

Movie Movie Blog Blog II – Body Heat (1981)

Movies Silently – His First Flame (1927)

Realweegiemidget Reviews – Vacation (2015)

Caftan Woman – Heat Lightning (1934)

The Stop Button – Heatwave (1982)

A Shroud of Thoughts – Rear Window (1954)

Outspoken and Freckled – Agatha Christie’s Evil Under the Sun (1982)

Silver Screen Classics – The Seven Year Itch (1955)

The Midnite Drive-In – Jaws (1975)

Moon in Gemini – The Day the Earth Caught Fire (1961)

In the Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood – Julie (1956) and North West Frontier (1959)

Taking Up Room – My Father the Hero (1994)

Opinions — let everybody have one

One of my favorite bloggers, Mark Evanier, has written a self-described “cranky” blog entry about how annoyed he gets when people question his tastes. In particular, Evanier reveres the 1963 comedy film It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, and there is an acquaintance of his who is forever trying to convince Evanier that his love of the movie is just wrong. (You can read Evanier’s blog here.)

I don’t care for It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World myself. I think it’s too long and overblown, and its climax goes beyond slapstick to find out just how much pain it can inflict upon its characters and still keep them alive. At the same time, I don’t hold it against any moviegoers who choose to like the movie. To each his or her own.

I have been dealing with this kind of scorched-earth opinionating ever since I started enjoying movies. At this blog, I have beaten to death the topic of how much I adore Laurel & Hardy. I first began watching them on a local Saturday-morning kids’ show in 1971, when I was 10 years old. Back then, there was only one TV in our household, so I monopolized it for an hour on Saturday mornings. Rather than just leave the room, my older sister would sit with me every Saturday and harangue me about how stupid Laurel & Hardy were and how much she couldn’t stand them.

When I was 17, my father died, and I moved in with my brother and his family in Florida. I had recently decided that I adored Woody Allen based on his movie Annie Hall (and from watching some of his older movies on TV). I had an extremely bratty teenaged niece who decided that if I liked Woody Allen, she would do everything she could to denigrate him. If anyone so much mentioned Woody Allen in my presence, she made sure to get in a few shots about how unappealing and untalented Allen was.

What’s the point of acting that way? No human beings are ever going to agree on everything. How much energy does it take to keep silent for a while, or leave the room if there’s something on TV that others like and you don’t?

Getting back to Laurel & Hardy, my wife is the most anti-L&H movie watcher you could ask for. For a long time, she was as adamant about her dislike of them as my older sister was. Once during one of her harangues, I reminded her that I had to endure this kind of behavior from her any time I wanted to watch a Laurel & Hardy movie, and that if she didn’t like them, perhaps she could simply not watch them with me. She got the point and has left me to my own L&H viewing ever since.

My wife, our two kids, and my wife’s best friend are enthralled with the HBO series “Game of Thrones,” and they plan on getting together every Sunday night to watch this show’s currently-airing final season. I have never begun to understand the appeal of “Game of Thrones.” Would it enhance my family’s viewing of the show for me to sit with them every Sunday and remind them how the show’s appeal is lost on me? It’s easier on all of us for me to just go to bed early on Sunday night.

There are a lot of troubles in this world, and I feel that many of them stem from the belief that there is never any room for compromise or bi-partisanship — it’s either my way or the highway. Let’s consider giving everybody a little wiggle room for their opinions. Letting each person enjoy pop culture that makes them happy is a good place to start.

MY FAIR LADY (1964) – A “classical” movie musical

The following is my entry in Audrey at 90: The Audrey Hepburn Blogathon, being hosted by Janet at Sister Celluloid from May 4-7, 2019. Click on the above banner to read bloggers’ takes on the career of this beloved actress!

My Fair Lady won the Oscar for Best Picture of 1964 — deservingly so, and I say that as a huge fan of The Beatles’ A Hard Day’s Night, which came out the same year and wasn’t even nominated. Film history tells us that the Beatles film was a beloved influence for generations of moviemakers to come, while the former film was one of the last gasps of the “classical” movie musical.

But My Fair Lady is certainly nothing to sneeze at. It too seems to have influenced some filmmakers. (Think of Woody Allen’s Annie Hall or Richard Gere in Pretty Woman, with male leads who condescendingly “educate” their women and then discover that the women have minds of their own.) And like the flowers that poor Cockney girl Eliza Doolittle (Audrey Hepburn) tries to peddle for a meager living, My Fair Lady has subtle joys that spring forth from out of nowhere.

The story — musicalized from George Bernard Shaw’s play Pygmalion — is that of Henry Higgins (Rex Harrison), a self-satisfied bachelor and phonics professor who bets his sidekick that he can take a nobody and turn her into a high-society woman. Enter the nobody: Eliza Doolittle, asking to take phonics lessons.

Of course, turning a low-life into a dandy isn’t precisely what the movie’s about, though it has a lot of fun with this plot point. The trouble — for Higgins, at least — begins after he succeeds at his quest and then belatedly discovers that Doolittle has more on her mind than just remaining Higgins’ trophy.

And small wonder — Doolittle’s own dad Alfred (the delightful Stanley Holloway) hasn’t exactly been a male role model for her. In fact, Alfred’s two great numbers — “With a Little Bit of Luck,” about his best efforts to escape work, and “Get Me to the Church on Time,” about his resignation to marriage — are a story of male ego run amok in themselves.

That’s probably why My Fair Lady is still so enjoyable — because everyone in it has a story. (Observe Higgins’ petulance in the brief scene where he’s humbled by his mother, who immediately takes Eliza’s side in the ongoing argument.)

In its own way, My Fair Lady is as radical as The Beatles. Rex Harrison wasn’t much of a singer, so he “talks” his way through the movie’s songs, creating a song style of his own. And Audrey Hepburn’s singing voice was dubbed by the famous Hollywood “alternate” Marni Nixon (who also sang uncredited in the movie version of The King and I).

But Harrison and Hepburn’s grin-inducing performances overcome all impersonalities. And with the movie’s 50th-anniversary restoration, it’s as much a delight to look at as to listen to. My Fair Lady is a prime example of the kind of movie “they don’t make like that anymore.”