Bleeding Fool

Death Wish and putting the toothpaste back in the tube

Last week I watched the original Death Wish, which is currently streaming on Amazon.  I may do a bigger write-up on it for Bleedingfool.com, but one of my big takeaways from the film is that it was uniquely suited to a specific time and place.  While it may still have applicability in other settings, it cannot have the same impact.

This is because many of the questions the film raises about public order and personal vengeance have to a certain extent been answered since 1974.

People may speak of a "Great Reset" but it's devilishly difficult to get toothpaste back into the tube.

In a sense, it's like watching the original Red Dawn: that particular possible future is now impossible.  The Soviet Union is gone.  Perhaps the US will fall under some other form of foreign domination, but it won't be led by the Warsaw Pact.

People of every political persuasion are susceptible to appeals for a lost "golden age," and pushing policies that will get there, but there is no going back.  Any push "forward to the past" has to acknowledge the changes in societal composition, moral values, and public expectations.

Back to Death Wish, one of the most interesting aspects of it was how much it cut against the cultural/political grain of the time.  Hollywood was overwhelmingly liberal even in 1974.  The studio system was in ruins and the Golden Age stars were fading into retirement or the grave. 

Even so, there was a surprising diversity of voices seeking to spur discussion.  I doubt such a strident film could be made today.


A minor update to my catalogue

Hitherto, I've been content to link my various articles over at Bleedingfool.com on an individual, named basis.

Last week I broke down and created a Geek Guns page.  This in turn led me to think:  "Gosh, if only there was a way to link all of my items there at once..."

Which I've now done on the main page.  You'll likely have seen that before you get to this, but if you've visited here before, you might have missed it.

So I'm pointing it out to you.  Enjoy!


Geek Guns at Bleedingfool.com

Over the past couple of months I've been doing a new feature at Bleedingfood.com on firearms featured in various pop culture media like comics, movies and television.

Unlike the Internet Movie Firearms Database, I also provide a review of the firearm in question - what it's like to shoot as well as how much they run for people who want one of their own.

This post will be my ongoing archive of those articles and updated as they appear.

Geek Guns Part I: Han Solo’s Blaster

Geek Guns Part 2: El Mariachi’s Twin Ruger KP90s in Desperado

Geek Guns Part 3: The Desert Eagle

Geek Guns Part 4: Deckard’s Blaster from Blade Runner

Geek Guns Part 5: Hellboy’s Hand Cannon

Geek Guns Part 6: Sean Connery’s Guns – Walther PPK, Webley-Fosbery

Geek Guns Part 7: Battlestar Galactica’s Beretta CX4 Storm

Geek Guns Part 8: Army of Darkness – Ash’s Double-Barreled “Boomstick”

Geek Guns Part 9: “Welcome to the Party Pal!” John McClane’s Beretta 92F

Geek Guns Part 10: The Rollerball “Incinerator”

 

 

 


Leaving Ford for Waugh

Over the last several weeks I've been re-reading Ford Madox Ford's Parade's End series.

I've now reached the final book, The Last Post and it is just as disappointing as I remember.

Ford's series follows the pre-war and wartime experiences of Christoper Tietjens, a Yorkshire aristocrat with an unhappy marriage and outdated scruples.  He's an amusing, well-drawn character and the books are chock full of amusing social commentary.

The first book, Some Do Not- is a bit long-winded because Ford tends to jump back and forth in time and indulge in lavish description punctuated by lengthy internal monologues.

The next two books - which center on World War I itself - are much better.  They are focused, funny but also poignant.

Taken as a trilogy, it's an excellent work, which is why some critics (apparently including Graham Greene) cut the fourth book out of the series.

I agree with that assessment.  The Last Post is nominally about what happens to the characters after the war, but it is told from the point of view of Christopher's eldest brother Mark, who has grown so disgusted with the world that he has faked a stroke and now lies mute in bed, moving only his eyes.

He thinks a lot, though, and we get to follow his thoughts, which loop back and forth, and repeat themselves in a very tedious manner.  The whole book could have been condensed into a short story, but Ford is indulging himself, introducing the perspectives of Mark's wife, the gamekeeper, handyman, maid, etc. 

All of which is painfully detailed and rendered into various dialects.

I simply can't get into it, so I'm quitting early and turning back to one of my favorites, the Sword of Honour trilogy by Evelyn Waugh.  I intend to write a lengthy comparison between the two books because they are very similar.

Given my work and family schedule, I've abandoned serious writing for the time being.  I've begun a series of pieces for bleedingfool.com that will run on a weekly basis and I'll let you know when they go live.

 


Behind the curve on Bleeding Fool

The publication of Long Live Death left me a bit distracted, so I forgot to link to my two latest posts over at Bleeding Fool.

Those who remember my fondness for North and South will be amused to see that I've broached the topic over there - albeit in a shorter, funnier format.

Going back almost a month ago, I did a fun nostalgic romp on Zardoz.  Embrace the strangeness while you still can!

Apologies to anyone who missed out, now you can catch up!


Riding out the quarantine with Cowboy Bebop

After a lengthy hiatus, I've got a new article up over at bleedingfool.com.

Cowboy Bebop was something I heard about, but never watched.  Largely this was a result of my distrust of anime.  I'd seen some of it in college and it was just odd.

After a couple of films it seemed that it was obsessed with demon rape and schoolgirls.  I not only wasn't interested, I distrusted men who were.

In any event, while Cowboy Bebop does feature some weirdness, as well as obligatory scantily-clad women, it's a far cry from the weird stuff I saw back in the day.  Check out the article if you want to learn more.

In other news, I'm not writing much, but I am thinking about writing, which is the vital first step.  I write entirely for pleasure, and while I'd love to make more money, the pay isn't good enough for me to force things.  Since I already published my required book this year, I'm in no hurry to come up with another one.


Another harsh take on Star Wars

I've already written my latest Star Wars anti-review, but over at bleedingfool.com, I go a bit farther and ask the question that leaves me increasingly frustrated:  When will people stop making excuses for these terrible Star Wars movies?

There's a bonus reference to Rise of the Alliance, since the movie's title is so similar. 

Check it out!


Which version of Blade Runner is the best?

I know, it's kind of an esoteric question, but it can lead to a heated debate for fans of the 1982 classic.

I think that the original cut is clearly the best, and my latest column at bleedingfool.com explains why.

One element that I brought up in the article are the conventions of film noir, which Blade Runner clearly is.   I'm a huge fan of the genre, and after binge-watching a bunch of it, it's clear to me that Blade Runner is actually a better fit in film noir than sci-fi.