Sunday, February 27, 2011

best director

Tom Hooper's win keeps David Fincher's place as the best director not to have won an Oscar.  Social Network was good, but Zodiac remains one of the least appreciated films of recent years.

inside job

Inside Job was a great documentary and a deserving winner, but it also in the long history of the Oscars using an award to send a political message

Gone with the Wind

Interesting that the Academy still gives Gone with the Wind a place as a classic Hollywood film, given its racial politics.  Saw it again recently and it remains the most prominent purveyor of the old racist interpretation of Reconstruction as a period when Northern carpetbaggers and African Americans ran roughshod over the post-Civil War South.

Oscar opening

The opening montage was good, but the monolgue was fairly dull.  Bring back Billy Crystal!

Saturday, February 26, 2011


Saw the new Liam Neeson thriller Unknown.  As some of the reviews have already noted, it seems to be a combination of Neeson's 2009 movie Taken and the Bourne films (though it is better than Taken and not as good as the Bourne films).  It's fun as long as you don't take it too seriously.

In terms of history, it is yet another one of the many post 9/11 films that plays on themes from 1970s conspiracy films.  We again see elaborate conspiracies from a bizarre network of villians who have tremendous abilities to manufacture identities.  It seems that some combination of intelligence agencies and multinational corporations are in some kind of alliance to stop some kind of progressive outcome.  Aside from Liam Neeson's amnesia, the plot could have easily have come from a season of "24"

Will be posting during the Oscars

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


The new V seems to have finally found its stride.  Like Battlestar Galactica, the reboot moved away from the Cold War/WW2  parallels of its predecessor toward a war on terror format where "anyone" could be a Visitor (just as anyone could be a Cylon).    The February 22 episode did harken back to the original with its talk of the Visitors acclerating evolution to create a master race.

The difficulties that V has had, along with the failure of the promising "Flash Forward" and the post-season 1 "Heroes" reveal how difficult it is to write a good serialized drama that holds together.  It will be interesting to see the if "The Event" can get on track when it returns.  It may be that "Lost" and "24" were exceptions as opposed to trendsetters.

Monday, February 21, 2011


Hi!  I teach 20th century U.S. history at the university level and I'm starting this blog to give my observations about how tv, films, and popular music reflect curent trends in the country.  I hope the public will respond to my musings.