I’m Back Again.

I want to start off with an apology.  I’ve been away for away for a while since things got too hectic for me to keep up on organizing my thoughts here.  Recent events however have encouraged me to get back on, and keep a forum where I can write my ideas in long form (sometimes very very very long…).

If I still have any readers left, thanks for sticking around.  I know it’s been about theee years since my last post, and I don’t know if I will write regularly… still trying to figure that out.  

I can say I will try to approach everything as I always have… discussing Pop Culture, and culture in general with my usual common sense approach that in reality only really represents my own opinion, and a dash of humor.  🙂
I’m going to vent…

I’m going to rant…

I’m going to talk at length about my frustrations, and the things in life that give me joy…
Ah… it’s good to be back…

Sincerely,

Bryan

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Not-So-Random Thought

I have to ask myself: I wonder if baseball players who have returned this season after the Biogenesis scandal are back on the ‘roids again?

Is that a fair question to ask when one of the players on my team has several home runs this spring? (Including a monster shot over the other green monster in “Fenway South” and out of the park…)?

Do we really live in a generation where achievements no longer stand on their own?

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Olympic Snow Shoveling?

Why not? Ice sweeping is a featured sport in the games… LOL!!! Seriously though… our Curling team got spanked HARD by Great Brittain.

Seriously… I don’t know how much more I (or my roof) can take of this!!! 14 inches of snow…

I cleaned my car this morning only to have to clean 8 new inches off of it again just now…

Spring Training starts tomorrow –Wait!!! What? Where are the warmer temps? I digress. I was shocked and saddened to hear that Derek Jeter will retire after this season. It’s hard to imagine the Yankees without their Captain.

Happy Valentine’s Day to everyone out there. 🙂

Best Wishes,

Bryan

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On Hibernation and Other Things

Okay… When I made my “hibernating bear” joke/comparison a few months back… I didn’t expect the East Coast to turn into the f’ing Arctic Circle…

“Polar Vortex” — isn’t that what hit New York in the disaster film The Day After Tomorrow?

Temps in the single digits… Snow… Ice…

I blame the 10 pound rat with a brain the size of a cashew in PA…

–Okay… Seriously though…

So what is on the horizon?

I guess time will only tell. Hopefully warmer temps…

Now that I have run out of bad jokes and filled my quota for snarky comments…

Have to bring it back to Pop Culture: Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure… (yeah…who saw that one coming?)

I was watching an old Springsteen concert on DVD and thought of Clarence Clemens’ role as one of the Three Most Important People in the World. He had this great line in the film:

“Be excellent to each other…”

Okay… I confess: that film aged pretty darned poorly! But what does it mean to be excellent to each other?

I consider myself a good person who is dedicated to the people I care about. I want to give freely of myself… Willing to do anything for my friends, never expecting anything in return. Genuinely enjoying the company of others… Showing compassion and kindness…and honesty.

There is NEVER a reason to be an asshole to anyone! I feel sorry for anyone who disagrees.

Wow: snarky comments, two movie references, a music reference, and my personal creed… That’s as good a place to end it as any…

Best wishes,

Bryan

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Where Do We Go From Here?

Sooooo. What now? Where do I choose to go from here? Decisions, decisions…

I haven’t been posting lately because there hasn’t been anything interesting going… Boring, I know… But boring can be good. Some say it is a signal of stability. You don’t need to go seeking quick thrills that eventually wear off… Then you’re off to find the next thrill…

That’s not to say I don’t still enjoy my hobbies… I have been enjoying some seasonal photography, and got in (what I think might be) my last golf game of the season…

Baseball season is over for me, my team will rebuild next year and go all the way! Go Yanks!!!

So, I guess I am entering hibernation for the winter… Hard to think of myself like a bear… Maybe I should hire Mike Rowe to come over and narrate the next few months of my life until I “emerge” from the cave… LOL!

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Blade Runner Blow-out (Part 3 of 3)

Long overdue… Time to finish the comprehensive examination of this film…

There is a reason that all three film classes I took in school have shown the movie Blade Runner. When I started typing this, I did not expect to spend as much time on the main character’s own self awareness as I have, but even the film’s production design and set dressing provide clues that Deckard is a Replicant

Take Deckard’s apartment: the piano…

A classic instrument (and piece of furniture) that feels out of place in a technological world of tomorrow… But what stands out are the photos on the piano…

In the Theatrical Cut of the film, Deckard asks why something that has no “humanity” would need photos, and all he can think is that they are trying “create” memories in order to fill a void…

The piano in Deckard’s apartment accomplishes the same goal and provides a subtle clue to Deckard’s true nature…

(Now, truth be told, I must have seen Blade Runner many times… I didn’t pick up on the significance of the piano until Adam Savage talked about it on Tested.com)

Then, there is the often imitated, but never successfully duplicated “Retro-Future” look of the city. Ridley Scott nailed Future Los Angeles! With the exception of the flying cars (spinners), he probably created the most accurate depiction of the future ever captured on film. His vision of a dirty, dark, rain soaked world still feels very accessible today, 30+ years after the film was made…

The world that Ridley Scott created is sooooo complete that tells it’s own story right from the opening shot: “we burned our atmosphere through the fires of industry, and Earth is a hell hole for the ‘little people’. You can get away: go to the off world Paradise…”

Many films, from Minority Report to Godzilla (the Emmerich version) have tried to copy the look of Blade Runner, and none of them have been able to tell as much of a visual story… The film presents a complete visual history of how we got from where we were, to where Ridley Scott wanted to take his vision of the future. I have only seen one other movie pull that trick off successfully: Wall*e.

So, there you have it: Blade Runner… It might just be the most perfect movie ever made, and each of the different versions of the film have their place. Despite what Ridley Scott says about the Final Cut being his “definitive version”, I feel like each version of the film provides different insight, and they all act like puzzle pieces that together create a definitive vision of the film…

I leave you with an assignment: watch the Theatrical Cut, International Cut, and the Final Cut over the course of three days… noting the differences, similarities, and how your view of the performance changes because of the addition or lack of the voice overs… Feel free to post in the comments below. Thank you.

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Blade Runner Blow-out (Part 2 of 3)

I know I promised to continue this discussion a week ago, but I have decided to do one entry a week.

Last week, I started discussing themes in the movie Blade Runner. I made the argument that based on those themes, Rick Deckard could not possibly be a Replicant, regardless of which version of the film you see.

In recap, I raised the point that Deckard’s lack of “humanity” in the Director’s Cut and Final Cut actually support the idea that he might be human since the Replicants are more in touch with their humanity and emotions. I also mentioned the common theme in Ridley Scott’s films that all servants want to kill their master… and since Deckard may not have that impulse, or shows open resentment of it (his “recruitment” scene by Bryant is a good example) he must be human.

Problem is that Ridley Scott has said many times that Deckard IS a Replicant, and this is supported by several scenes and themes within the movie.

Let’s get the obvious stuff out of the way: the idea that “if Unicorns are real, we’d all be Replicants“…

In all four release versions of Blade Runner, Deckard interrogates the character Rachel, whom he correctly deduces is a different type of Replicant who has memory implants. When he questions her creator, Tyrell… he says that these implants create a “cushion” for a Replicant’s emotional instability… He shows Deckard her file, and later in the film, Deckard recalls several of Rachel’s “memories” that she never told anyone about.

In the Director’s Cut and Final Cut, Deckard undergoes a similar character arc… About half-way through the film, Deckard falls asleep at his piano and dreams of a Unicorn running through the woods… At the end of the film, he discovers that fellow cop, Gaff had broken into his apartment and left a calling card: an origami Unicorn… Deckard picks it up, turns it over in his hand, closes his fist around it, looks directly at the audience (breaking the fourth wall), and nods his head as if to say: I get it… I understand the meaning of this…

Gaff saw Deckard’s file before their first encounter at the food truck… He knew Deckard’s dreams and thoughts… There is only one way that is possible: Deckard was programmed, and can’t be human…

There is another theme in Ridley Scott’s films that also supports the idea that Deckard is a Replicant regardless of which version of the film you watch — WARNING: THIS NEXT SECTION CONTAINS DISTURBING CONTENT

Rape is a common theme in Ridley Scott’s films… It is a theme he has visited in Thelma and Louise, G.I. Jane, Hannibal, Alien, and Prometheus (the impregnation of the Engineer at the end of the film evokes the violent sexual imagery of the first film in the franchise, more on that below…).

Before I begin discussing this theme in the film, let me be clear: I am strongly morally opposed to it and find it disturbing, but I accept that it is part of the director’s style, and in this case, it is relevant to a discussion of Deckard’s humanity or lack-there-of in Blade Runner…

Changing films for a moment, Ridley Scott has stated several times that Alien is meant to disturb the audience by evoking disturbing imagery about rape: a creature that assaults a man, and impregnates him through what the director openly describes as “violent…oral rape”… But there is also a scene in which Ash violently attacks Ripley, then forces a dirty magazine down her throat… further evoking the imagery of oral rape… Later in the scene, Ripley is rescued when another character tears Ash’s head off, revealing him to be a robot…

In the commentary track for this scene, Ridley Scott says that he was fascinated with the question of whether robots could have sexual urges… And this theme carried over Blade Runner…

There is a disturbing scene in all four release versions of Blade Runner in which Deckard violently rapes Rachel. The idea behind this scene is that since Deckard is a Replicant he is emotionally immature, and does not know how to show his “love” for her other than through violence… Harrison Ford is downright TERRIFYING in this scene!!!

Ironically, Harrison Ford has played three of the most important heroes in Film History in Han Solo, Indiana Jones, and Jack Ryan, among the many other iconic heroes (President Marshall in Air Force One)… For that reason, a modern audience finds the rape scene in Blade Runner even more disturbing since it is so out of character for Ford as an actor. I think that only helps to unsettle the audience, and lends credence to the fact that (regardless of which version of the film you watch) Deckard is a Replicant.

Ironically, it is Ridley Scott’s intention to unsettle the audience with these themes, and I am getting unsettled examining them… So I will end the discussion for tonight here…

Next week, I will examine the look of the film: including the Retro-future, the importance of the appearance of photographs throughout the film, and Ridley’s obsession with eyes…

I leave you with a question: how many readers will dream of Unicorns tonight?

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