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Sunday, March 30, 2008

Roger Answers Your Questions, Jaquandor

Jaquandor, who kindly plugged Ask Roger Anything asks:

1. List at least three movies that you love despite the fact that the world has united against them in abject hatred.

You mean like your love of Titanic? Initially, I was really hard pressed to think of one. OK, I did consider one, Continental Divide, with John Belushi and Blair Brown. The critics I read at the time savaged it. I went to Rotten Tomatoes to verify this, and what do I find? 75% positive; of course, that was only 6 out of 8 critics who liked it. Maybe it's aged better. I have a great affection for the 1945 version of State Fair, while not pillaged (and regarded far better than the 1962 Pat Boone version), was rated only so-so compared to the 1933 version. Finally, Requiem for A Dream wasn't exactly hated, but with its unrated status and difficult content, it's no surprise that the 2000 film only did $2,546,851. Ellen Burstyn should have won the Oscar that year rather than Julia Roberts for Erin Brockovich, though that might have been Julia's best performance.

But then I remembered some movies I saw 30 years ago that I haven't seen since - a 1977-78 trilogy of films of the Burt Reynolds/Sally Field oeuvre. Smokey and the Bandit, about running beer across county lines, with Jackie Gleason; The End, a comedy about bungled suicide, with Dom DeLuise; and Hooper, about a stunt man. My girlfriend at the time really liked them, and I found myself enjoying them as well in spite of myself.

And how about a film that I haven't seen in 40 years? Mark Evanier lobbied for it to be released on DVD, and it is so. The Night They Rated Minsky’s – my first movie that I attended that was rated M for mature audiences; this later became GP, then PG. I remember who I saw it with: my friend Carol (not to be confused with my wife) and her friend Judy (for whom I had an unrequited crush). I remember the songs (You Rat You, Perfect Gentleman, the title tune, plus Take 10 Terrific Girls - But Only Nine Costumes, which I know by heart) because I own the soundtrack, on vinyl, given to me by my grandfather, a janitor at a radio station (WNBF, Binghamton, NY). He got it because the station was THROWING IT AWAY. I remember the opening, done by Rudy Vallee: "In 1925 there was this real religious girl, and by accident -- she invented the striptease. This real religious girl. In 1925. Thank you." I may have to watch the DVD just to see if the film, the first one with Elliott Gould and the last one with Bert Lahr, is as much fun as the soundtrack is or as good as I remember.

2. Since I assume you do a fair share of toy shopping these days, are there any toys you see out there that make you think, "Wow, I wish I'd had that when I was a kid!" Or, conversely, are you the type to go to an antiques store with your kid, see the toys you yourself played with, and subject your kid to lectures about how much better those toys were?

She has some toys, notably her train set which is much more sophisticated than anything I had, and her cars with a track, but I don't covet them, mostly because, generally speaking, I've ODed on "stuff".
Nor do I try to force my childhood on her, though she just got a ball and bat, not exactly a Wiffle ball, but similar. I suppose some day I hope she can appreciate the wonder that is Slinky, but I guess I don't worry about it much. She seems happy so far with her stuffed bears, dolls, books, videos, puzzles, and coloring books for now.

3. What does the entire area of New York State west of, say, Troy have to do to get Albany to realize how bad things are out here?! (By "Albany" I mean of course our state government and not people who just live and work in Albany.)

Given the bath the state government has taken over the Wall Street crisis (Bear Stearns, et al.), recognition of the problem may not be the issue, it's doing anything substantial about it.

4. Describe something that makes you laugh deep and hearty, despite the fact that few other people think it's funny.

Bad puns. Henhouse Five Plus Two doing In the Mood like chickens; indeed anything that is done in the style of chickens. Ode to Joy per chicken. Smoke on the Water per chicken.

5. KFC: Original or Extra Crispy? (I prefer Original myself.)

And speaking of chicken: oh, original. The extra crispy tastes like cardboard. That said, can't remember the last time I had KFC - it was since I've been married but before Lydia was born.
Actually, I have a historic fondness for KFC. On or around my 19th birthday at college in New Paltz, my roommate, my girlfriend, my best college friend and some others conspired with my parents (who came with my sisters from Binghamton, a couple hours away) to have a surprise party for me. I was surprised, in part because I walked into my room and my glasses steamed up. I took off my glasses to clean them and noticed over a dozen people in my room, none of whom I could make out - is that my father over there? They brought KFC, and there were leftovers that the poor college student ate over the next several days.

6. What scares you more: John McCain continuing George Bush's foreign policy, or John McCain continuing George Bush's economic policy?

You seem to suggest that George W. Bush HAS an economic policy. OK, the rich get richer. But even THAT'S not working very well lately. McCain has shown no grasp of economics at all. And it's difficult to separate the foreign/defense policy of spend without ceasing from our economic woes. OK, I'll pick foreign policy, because if we continue to isolate ourselves, that is NOT in our national interest.
Here's the awful thing: I think John McCain has a very good chance of winning in November. I saw a poll recently and Clinton Leads Pack in Negative Ratings; moreover, in the self-selecting poll AOL had, the results were the same:
Clinton 28% positive, 61% negative, 11% neutral Total Votes: 650,265
McCain 42, 32, 26; 604,308
Obama 38, 47, 15; 618,110
Yes, McCain is the only one with greater positive than negative ratings. Also note the vote totals; more people went out of their way to dis Hillary than Barack or John. Meanwhile, the Hillary supporters are beginning to hate Barack, and vice versa, and threatening to vote for McCain, or no one in the general election. A huge number of women in particular will be most disappointed if Clinton loses and will opt out; likewise, Obama supporter, many young and/or black, will not embrace the former First Lady. I have a BAD feeling about this; I hope I'm wrong.

Oh, the woman in the picture: Sarah Palin, the governor of Alaska, who some tout as Vice-Presidential on the McCain ticket. "The first-ever woman Governor of Alaska, its youngest (44) governor, and the first to have been born after Alaska became a state. A onetime beauty queen, high school athlete, and TV reporter, Palin was elected mayor of Washila in 1996 and, two years ago, made national headlines by defeating present and past governors to win the state's highest office." Unfortunately, the pundits observe, Alaska only has three electoral votes and is likely to go Republican anyway. I STILL think McCain's picking a governor or former governor as his running mate.


ROG

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