Open Forum

Where you can't be off topic because there IS no topic.

The floor is yours.

FILED UNDER: Open Forum
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. CSK says:

    Satellite images appear to show that North Korea is expanding one of the facilities used to manufacture long-range missiles.

    I’m terribly confused. Didn’t Trump assure us that he and he alone had ended this threat, and that we could all “sleep well” because he had?

    6
    1
  2. sam says:
  3. CSK says:

    @sam: Direct quote from Trump: “I know windmills very much.”

    Wut?

  4. Kathy says:

    Two cable channels showed all SW movies in celebration of the release of the saga’s last installment (ie latest). I watched a few, half paying attention, and it struck me there’s a HUGE narrative error in Empire Strikes Back.

    While training with Yoda in Dagobah, Luke has a vision of his friends in danger in the near future. So he argues with Yoda, and Obi Wan, and heads off to Cloud City.

    In said city, he runs into Leia and Chewie being led away in restraints by armed stormtroopers, plus Han encased in carbonite. There’s a brief shootout in which no one hits anything, Leia warns Luke off, and then our intrepid young Jedi continues on to a fateful encounter with Darth Vader.

    Excuse me. You broke off your training and headed out to Cloud City to help your friends, not to fight the dark lord of the Sith. Shouldn’t you rescue them right then and there? they’re being led away by the Empire, surely not to be placed on a first class transport to Naboo or some other idyllic spot.

    Seriously, WTF?

  5. gVOR08 says:

    @Kathy: A thing that bugs me is,

    There’s a brief shootout in which no one hits anything,

    In the original movie Old Ben looks at the blast points on the shot up crawler and observes that only Imperial Storm Troopers are so precise. Then for the rest of that movie and seven more (I haven’t seen IX) storm troopers fire off thousands of blaster rounds without hitting spit.

  6. Kathy says:

    I made shredded beef in onion sauce.

    the recipe I got from part of a more extensive recipe for Timballo Genovese. Pretty much you cook five onions, sliced, for half an hour in a pot, add garlic and one chopped carrot, then tomato paste, then a cup of wine (I used sherry), then a chunk of beef and a rind of Parmesan cheese, then cover the beef about 3/4 of the way, and you let that boil and simmer for 2 hours, and then you add some butter.

    This is just the sauce for the Timballo, but I didn’t want to do that. An onion sauce, though, was intriguing. So instead of setting the beef aside for another use, I shredded it and then covered it in the onion sauce.

    It could have used a bit more garlic (but that applies to everything), but ti was really good. Sweeter than I thought it would be, though.

  7. Jay L Gischer says:

    @Kathy: Now this is from memory, as it’s been a while: I think Luke’s position in the argument with Yoda and Obiwan is that “I have to confront Vader”, whereas they say “you’re not ready”. So Luke has taken the vision to mean that his course of action is to hunt down Vader. Which is what he does.

  8. Kathy says:

    @gVOR08:

    Not quite. I think I deciphered the rules:

    Stormtroopers never hit any main characters, except in the arm and only when the script calls for it. Any such wounds, BTW, are hardly noticed after they just happened, and our intrepid heroes are back in action by the next scene (see Leia and Poe). They can hit innocent bystanders (see episode VII), and other stormtroopers. they can also aim accurately at a Jedi or Sith, but it makes no difference as these can deflect any shots.

    Maybe the Empire/First Order uses slave labor to make all their weapons, and they all come with skewed sights? Though that wouldn’t explain how when a rebel/resistance fighter picks up an imperial blaster, they can hit targets, including stormtroopers.

    BTW, the bad guys missing a lot is common in all movies with a lot of shooting, regardless of the weapon involved. If you ever played laser tag, you know how unlikely it is for our heroes not to be shot dead ten times over in a given sequence.

    The exception are bulletproof heroes like Superman. They can get shot because nothing happens to them if they do.

  9. Teve says:
  10. Teve says:
  11. OzarkHillbilly says:

    A man accused of pretending to be gay to avoid deportation to his native Malaysia, where homosexual acts are illegal, has been granted asylum after the Home Office accepted that people could be gay and single.

    The result is being celebrated as a victory against outdated stereotypes about gay people.

    Yew Fook Sam, also known as Sam, faced deportation earlier this year after an immigration judge questioned why he could not prove any past relationships to help prove his sexuality.

    Gee, what a concept. Gay and single, whoocoodanode.

  12. Teve says:

    In the least surprising news of the year Boeing’s CEO is gone baby gone.

  13. gVOR08 says:

    @Kathy: Oh yeah, standard movie rules going back to the western B movies I saw as a kid. I have the same reaction to the standard action movie scene in which our hero with a handgun takes out ten guys with automatic weapons. But at least they don’t usually preface it with some wise old man saying the Russian mafia guards don’t miss.

  14. Teve says:

    In four minutes Nike’s dropping a pair of Air Force Ones with Colin Kaepernick‘s face on them. Trumper rage triggered in 3…2…1

  15. CSK says:

    @Teve: No Trump fan has ever, ever been able to provide a benign explanation of why Trump was endorsed by Stormfront, backed by the Klan newspaper, endorsed by David Duke, and supported by American Renaissance.

    8
    3
  16. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @gVOR08: Deadpool shows how it’s done. “Fine! I only have 12 bullets so you’re gonna have to share.”

  17. Kathy says:

    About that Kindle oasis I got, I’m not impressed.

    Maybe the e-ink screen makes for better reading, but the interface is sluggish and cumbersome. Also, when you do anything, be it turn a page or pick a book, the screen goes negative (reverses white and black) and then displays the next page or the book picked. that is soooooooooooo annoying. If there is a way to pick scrolling over page flipping, I haven’t found it. For a device built for one thing only, to read ebooks, it falls far short of the Kindle app, or any other ebook apps I’ve tried.

    So I will sell it.

    And probably feel guilty about it when I do. I feel I’m selling substandard, overpriced goods.

  18. @Kathy:

    The bigger issue in ESB is that everyone should have been gone from Cloud City by the time Luke got there from Dagobah unless the two places are relatively close together.

    As far as I remember, X-Wing Fighters (which is how Luke got to Dagobah) aren’t capable of hyperspace travel.

  19. sam says:

    @Kathy:

    You’d be better off getting a Kindle HD7 or HD8 ($40/$50) and use that as your reader. I use the HD7, and it’s fine.

  20. Kathy says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    Going from memory, too, I think Yoda and Ben assume Vader is holding our intrepid heroes, and C3-PO, and Luke has to go past him, or though him, to get at them. ergo all the “not ready for Vader” talk.

    Still, the biggest error is in one of the non-existent prequels. errors, really:

    1) After making a big deal about taking on Dooku together, Obi wan says not a work when Yoda intends to go after a much more powerful Sith all alone. Worse, Palpatine was not just the main target, but the only one. Anakin/Vader had no troops, no support, no plan, no power, nothing. So get the boss first, then deal, if needed, with the lackey.

    2) After maiming Anakin, and watching him be burned, Obi Wan leaves his bestest friend ever, his brother (in his own words), to die a slow, painful, horrible death, rather than taking a microscopically amount of pity and putting him out of his misery.

    Sure, both Palpatine and Vader had to be alive for the original movies, so they couldn’t be taken out. But, for crying out loud, did it have to be through stupidity by the two remaining Jedi(*) who are now solely responsible for finding the means to destroy the empire?

    (*) Yes, I know Ahsoka, Ezra and Kanan would like to have a word.

  21. Kathy says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    No, we’ve seen X-Wings go into hyperdrive plenty of times. See when the fleet leaves for Endor. Y-wings, B-wings, and A-wings too.

    The Falcon, though, had no hyperdrive at all until near the ending. So either Cloud City is in the Hoth System, or Leia, Chewie, Han and 3PO took decades to get there (at least), if they were traveling near the speed of light, which they didn’t appear to be (no blue shift in front). Otherwise they took between centuries and millennia, but everyone on the Falcon looked too alive for that to have been the case.

    The thing to keep in mind, is that the distances, speeds, and travel times in the SW universe were determined by someone who thought of a unit of distance, parsec, as one of time. not to mention he thought the speed of light was fast for interstellar travel (it’s the fastest speed there can be, but it’s not fast).

  22. Mike in Arlington says:

    @Kathy: a year or so ago, I made a pasta alla genovese before, and the recipe sounds similar (put a chunk o’ beef in a pot and cover with several pounds of thinly sliced red onions and other ingredients and cook, the onions release their water and the beef is braised in the onion sauce, so you can use a beef chuck or other inexpensive lean cut of beef).

    I live in an apartment building and the hall smelled of onions for about a week. I don’t think my neighbors have forgiven me for that yet.

  23. MarkedMan says:

    @Kathy: My kids are part of the Harry Potter generation and from reading to them when they were younger to the audiobooks to the Leaky Cauldron website and so forth, let’s just say I’m more than passing familiar with the collected works. I’ve often marveled at how the dawn of the blog era, the reality of books that take a year or more to write, and the particular personality of the author led to a situation where flaws were identified in the books, then endlessly discussed by tens of thousands of fans who all wove intricate theories as to why the flaws weren’t really flaws, and then Rowling picked out the best of these and wove them into the next book. If Star Wars had come out a decade or two later, it would have felt a lot tighter.

    On second thought: George Lucas. So, no.

  24. gVOR08 says:

    I think it’s the usual Hollywood rule, an X Wing can do whatever the script needs it to do.

  25. Guarneri says:

    Just another Republican conspiracy theory…………………..asserted by the IG. Horowitz is clearly a Russian agent.

    https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2019/dec/20/fbi-had-spies-inside-trump-campaign-ig/

    1
    8
  26. Liberal Capitalist says:

    Well, now we know why Trump thought Ukraine tried to hack 2016 election…

    Putin Told Me

  27. sam says:

    Ah, the Teen-Aged Tagger, sidekick to Captain Gravybrain, slides in to own the libs.

  28. Kathy says:

    @MarkedMan:

    Yeah, in my Trekkie days there was a lot of that going on as well. One theory was that in the future people don’t need to eliminate waste, and that’s why no bathrooms were ever shown on the Enterprise 🙂

  29. Mikey says:

    @Kathy:

    Stormtroopers never hit any main characters, except in the arm and only when the script calls for it. Any such wounds, BTW, are hardly noticed after they just happened, and our intrepid heroes are back in action by the next scene (see Leia and Poe). They can hit innocent bystanders (see episode VII), and other stormtroopers. they can also aim accurately at a Jedi or Sith, but it makes no difference as these can deflect any shots.

    I think this is explained via the character Chirrut in Rogue One. He’s blind, but he is strong with the Force. “I am one with the Force, and the Force is with me,” is his mantra heading into any battle. And until his purpose is fulfilled, the Force is with him, and the Stormtroopers’ best marksmen just…miss.

    Sadly for Chirrut, he does fulfill his purpose with the Force, and it is no longer with him, so…

    The same is true of the rest of the characters in that film, which I consider one of the best of the franchise. They’re incredibly lucky, until they aren’t. The Force protects them, until it doesn’t.

    But our intrepid heroes? The Force is ALWAYS with them.

    (Unless something happens in Rise of Skywalker of which I am as yet unaware–we won’t be seeing it until Christmas Day. Family tradition.)

  30. Mikey says:

    @Guarneri: A CHS isn’t a “spy” and as usual you don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about. Loser.

    4
    2
  31. Kathy says:

    @Mike in Arlington:

    Cuts of beef are rather different here. Take “steak.” Properly the name is beef steak, which gets turned to biftec in French, and thence to bistec in Spanish. You’d expect it to be similar. It’s not. In Mexico a bistec is a thin, flat cut of beef that cooks quickly, and can be easily sliced for tacos.

    I used a cut called “cuete,” which is a thick, roughly tapered cylinder shape. No clue what’s the nearest equivalent elsewhere. It worked rather well. I picked it because it’s supposed to shred easily. It did shred.

  32. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Kathy: @Doug Mataconis:
    I liked the first two movies. I’ve seen others, but I never got into Star Wars because the world building sucks, the characters are cardboard, the whole ‘force’ thing is nothing but a quasi-religious deus ex machina lazy writers can lean on.

    As cheesy as Star Trek often is, it’s about something. It’s science fiction. It has thoughts. Star Wars has never had a single idea. Ever. The fanboys keep looking for something in Star Wars that is not there and never was. It’s chewing gum, it’s never gonna be anything more, it wasn’t built to be anything more.

    3
    3
  33. Grumpy realist says:

    @Mikey: reminds me of a tort rule of thumb my roommate informed me of when trying to understand loopy court decisions:”the railroad always wins”.

  34. Mister Bluster says:

    Not sure how to frame this so I’ll just go with it.
    Heard a caller to the “Handel on the Law” radio show describe his neighbor in the trailer court as a “…rat soup eater…” because the neighbors kid called him a ni99er.
    Handel told the caller that there wasn’t much he could do because free speech. Handel did give the caller props for the rat soup eater tag as he had not heard it before.
    I had not heard it either.
    Happy Holidays to all!

  35. Gustopher says:

    @gVOR08:

    In the original movie Old Ben looks at the blast points on the shot up crawler and observes that only Imperial Storm Troopers are so precise. Then for the rest of that movie and seven more (I haven’t seen IX) storm troopers fire off thousands of blaster rounds without hitting spit.

    I take Obiwan’s comment to mean that the stormtroopers had aimlessly shot everything in the area because they couldn’t see anything with their helmets on. Idiot farm boy Luke fails to notice the sarcasm.

    Later, Han Solo uses parsecs as a measure of speed to see if the idiot farmboy will notice, and nope. The writers of Solo are no better than Luke in this regard.

    Also, R2-D2 knows that Luke and Leia are brother and sister, and says nothing. Because accidental incest is his thing.

    And either Chewbacca says nothing about knowing Jedi and Obiwan, or Han has no idea what Chewbacca is ever saying, and just tries to fake it.

    And finally, Han Solo denying the force and not believing in Jedi less than 20 years after a major war is just like modern climate change deniers and antivaxxers. He probably spends his idle time watching propaganda and yelling at the holo emitter,

    I have no explanation for why all displays in Star Wars suck so badly though. They can make faster than light ships, but their binoculars suck.

  36. CSK says:

    It’s so interesting that when you state an unpleasant verifiable fact about Trump, such as the enthusiastic support he received from Stormfront, the KKK, and David Duke, all the members of Cult45 can do is downvote it. I notice none of them attempt to refute it, perhaps because they can’t.

    9
    3
  37. Franklin says:

    @CSK: It means he tilts at them.

  38. Gustopher says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Star Wars has never had a single idea. Ever.

    Midichlorians. The galaxy’s politics are completely disrupted and billions die because of an untreated infection that gives people superpowers and alters their personalities — including our heroes. No one has free, unaltered will.

    It’s like that parasite in cat feces that makes people like cats. Except, it dominates politics and sparks massive wars.

    Granted, Star Wars did not really explore this.* I still think the third trilogy should have been a medical drama of Chewbacca and a medical droid racing for the cure, dodging Jedi and Sith attacks.

    *: The video game Knight Of The Old Republic 2 did explore whether the force was a good thing, and the villain makes a very compelling argument that it isn’t. But this was before midichlorians, so we didn’t even know about the infection. Her plan was to wipe out the force.

  39. DrDaveT says:

    @Mikey:

    They’re incredibly lucky, until they aren’t. The Force protects them, until it doesn’t.

    One of the nice touches in Lois McMaster Bujold’s (excellent) Five Gods books is the relationship between the gods and their saints. There’s no scarier job description than “used saint”.

  40. Kit says:

    @Gustopher:

    I have no explanation for why all displays in Star Wars suck so badly though. They can make faster than light ships, but their binoculars suck.

    I wish that the subsequent Star Wars films had stuck with the clunky, funky analog technology of the first film. I don’t mean the effects, but rather the tools that the characters used. The film felt like it took place in a distant galaxy, and not just in the future.

  41. DrDaveT says:

    @CSK:

    It’s so interesting that when you state an unpleasant verifiable fact about Trump, such as the enthusiastic support he received from Stormfront, the KKK, and David Duke, all the members of Cult45 can do is downvote it.

    They’re downvoting the fact that you brought it up. It’s like commenting on the giant cold sore on your girlfriend’s lip — you both know it’s there, but you’re not supposed to mention it.

    6
    3
  42. Kathy says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Star Wars has LIGHT SABERS!! 😉

    The appeal is the special effects. The work Lucas and his teams did in 1977 with lasers, light sabers, star fighters, and even the sound effects, was beyond revolutionary. It was like discovering a new world.

    The score by John Williams is amazing, too. My big disappointment in Rogue One, was the lack of an opening SW fanfare.

    So, yeah, it’s the extremely cool externalities of the story that grab you, not the story, characterization (though Rey started off better than she ended, alas), dialogue (hell no!*), or even internal consistency.

    And I’m seeing Ep 9 again next week.

    So there.

    * While the dialogue was kind of dreadful, there were some funny lines now and then. Also, the new sequels have somewhat better dialogue as well.

  43. Gustopher says:

    @Kit: In “The Mandalorian”, the main character pulls out the stupid binoculars with the terrible display. I have no idea how he can see anything through those things. Particularly when already having a helmet on.

    The people in the Star Wars universe are very good at dealing with reduced vision. Latent force powers, perhaps, so they just need a suggestion of where things are?

    Also the main character is called “Mando” which is either a racial slur, or like a human named Hugh. Or Mex the Mexican. I guess Tex the Texican is a more real example.

  44. CSK says:

    @Franklin: Of course he tilts–at windmills on behalf of Orange Don Quixote.

  45. Kylopod says:

    @Kathy:

    not to mention he thought the speed of light was fast for interstellar travel (it’s the fastest speed there can be, but it’s not fast).

    Even though it’s called “light speed,” the technology is actually hyperspace, which effectively bypasses the light-speed barrier.

  46. Kit says:

    Decades ago, I used to be brutal in pointing out inconsistencies. Now all I ask is to get through a film without being insulted. I’m not looking for trouble! I paid good money to be entertained, not to watch a seamless, internally consistent documentary.

    If the plot falls to pieces out on the sidewalk, I consider the director to be a magician who distracted me with artful misdirection.

  47. Mister Bluster says:

    Ram Dass is dead.

    Be Here Now

    “Just because you are seeing divine light, experiencing waves of bliss, or conversing with Gods and Goddesses is no reason to not know your zip code.”

  48. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kit:

    I paid good money to be entertained,

    Hear, hear. That’s all I’m looking for, is to be able to forget about my troubles for an hour or 2.

  49. wr says:

    @Kathy: “I used a cut called “cuete,” which is a thick, roughly tapered cylinder shape. No clue what’s the nearest equivalent elsewhere”

    American butchers generally don’t cut this way — what makes up the cuete is the bottom round roast and the eye of round…

  50. Kathy says:

    @wr:

    Maybe. I really don’t know any of the cuts you mentioned.

    It’s odd I don’t pay much attention to cuts of beef, given I’m in food distribution and I cook. Maybe it’s because I don’t much care for plain beef, which seems to be a big favorite among many people. When I cook beef, it’s usually ground. And most meat I cook goes with a sauce of some kind.

  51. An Interested Party says:

    What’s this!? People are grifting the Grifter-In-Chief!? How…appropriate…

  52. CSK says:

    @An Interested Party: Hilarious. When this is brought to Trump’s attention, he’ll have a real screaming toddler tantrum. That’s supposed to be his money.

  53. Kathy says:

    @An Interested Party:

    What’s this!? People are grifting the Grifter-In-Chief!? How…appropriate…

    What grifting? Did those groups say they’re engaged in grift? that they are deceiving anyone? Isn’t what they say what matters, not what they do? Is that not the standard set by the Orange Clown of the Unmatched Wisdom?

    He made his bed, now he gets to lie on it. So sad 😀

    1
    1
  54. Gustopher says:

    @An Interested Party: I am disappointed that I am not running a fake Trump PAC. I would be willing to spend 10% of donations to run terrible ads in Kansas and Wyoming to encourage people to vote against liberal San Francisco Saul Alinsky Values.

    “Hippies, Millennials and Latinos are overrunning America. Even Sleepy Joe Biden has to worry about guys named Corn Pop. America is going to hell and the Socialist Democrats are cheering it on.

    “San Francisco Will Not Replace Us.

    “Just say ‘No’ to Jeffrey Epstein and Saul Alinsky. Vote Trump 2020”

  55. CSK says:

    @Kathy: No, no, no. You’re supposed to watch what Trump does, not listen to what he says. Just as you’re supposed to take him seriously, not literally.

    This is delusional horseshit from Cult45, who worship an absolute pig of a human being, and have to justify it some way.

  56. Kit says:

    @An Interested Party:
    I’m starting to wonder if the Age of Trump will go down in the history of money making as second only to the dot-com boom.

    Child: Granddad, what sort of money did you make fleecing the rubes during the Trump administration?
    Me: *cough* I’m afraid I was too busy talking Star Wars over at OTB when that happened.

  57. gVOR08 says:

    @Kathy:

    even the sound effects, was beyond revolutionary.

    Another small pet peeve of mine. A running gag in Airplane was that whenever they cut to an exterior shot of the 707 they dubbed in a piston prop plane sound effect, a DC6 or B-17 or such. When they remade the original movie they made the interior of the Millennium Falcon sound like a 707. Cracks me up every time I see it.

    But I agree wholeheartedly with your thesis that there was a lot new and original in the first movie. Since then it’s just been more of the same.

  58. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kathy: “…and a rind of Parmesan cheese.”

    I have limited familiarity with whole Parmesan cheese. Is the cheese not wrapped in cheese cloth to cure? Is there residue that you remove? Does the rind break down in some way so that it’s not just a wad in the center of the dish? How does this work?

    ETA: “Maybe the Empire/First Order uses slave labor to make all their weapons, and they all come with skewed sights? Though that wouldn’t explain how when a rebel/resistance fighter picks up an imperial blaster, they can hit targets, including stormtroopers.”
    Maybe the rebel/resistance fighter doesn’t use the sights. For example when I skeet shoot, I just point, but don’t “aim” per se. That ability would make the sights marginal.

  59. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kathy: Yeah. I had the same experience while I was in Korea. The types of chunks that cows (and pigs and even chickens in come cases) were cut into were completely different than they are in the US.

    (Chickens were usually sold whole, but it wasn’t unusual for chicken to be spatchcocked for grilling or to be cut diagonal to the backbone–on each half so it looks like a set of chevrons–for chicken stew. That cut maximized the number of bones that would be broken to add flavor to the broth as the chicken cooked.)

  60. An Interested Party says:

    Did you know that Rudy Giuliani is more of a Jew than George Soros is? No, really

  61. Kathy says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    the outside surface of all aged cheeses form a kind of crust. It feels thicker, it sometimes oozes oil, and it’s more yellow than the cheese itself. In Parmesan you can grate it along the rest of the cheese. In Provolone, it is brown and feels oily to the touch.

    I did taste it after I pulled it out of the sauce. It was very chewy, not much flavor left, and not at all appetizing.

  62. Kylopod says:

    @An Interested Party: What I found most amusing was that, in the very same sentence as he claims to know more about Judaism than Soros, he refers to a synagogue as a church:

    “I’m more of a Jew than Soros is. I probably know more about—he doesn’t go to church, he doesn’t go to religion—synagogue.

  63. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kathy: That’s what I was wondering about. The rind adds flavor–and maybe fat–to the end product rather than substance. That’s what I was suspecting.

  64. An Interested Party says:

    @Mikey: Well, hey, at least he is now actually including links to his horseshit…baby steps, baby steps…

  65. DrDaveT says:

    @DrDaveT:

    They’re downvoting the fact that you brought it up.

    …and now downvoting the fact that I pointed that out. How… meta.

    3
    1
  66. DrDaveT says:

    @An Interested Party:

    People are grifting the Grifter-In-Chief!?

    Y’know… You could probably do this legally. Found a PAC whose mission is “To get Donald Trump’s message out to America”, then take the money you’ve raised to create the most obviously racist, nativist, xenophobic, homophobic, conspiracy-fueled, over-the-top offensive ads possible, using only actual footage or quotes from the squishy orange turd himself. The goal would be to drive away as many persuadable voters as possible, but no MAGAnista could possibly argue that you weren’t on-message and honest…

  67. Kathy says:

    @gVOR08:

    Ep. IV, the first movie, opens with the crawl, which gives way to a starfield. then the camera pans down to show Leia’s ship being pursued by an imperial star destroyer.

    I’ve read this was the very first time anyone panned the camera across a starfield.

  68. MarkedMan says:

    @Kathy:

    I’ve read this was the very first time anyone panned the camera across a starfield.

    I may be misremembering but I think “Stairway to Heaven” panned across a star field. This was a 1946 sort of fantasy, and the last time I saw it (15 years ago) it held up surprisingly well. It (very) obliquely shares some plot points with “It’s a Wonderful Life”, which definitely has a scene that takes place in a star field but I can’t remember if it pans across before it settles into a fixed view.

    Brought to you by my strange memory, which can remember endless unimportant things but still needs to look at a calendar to get my wedding anniversary exactly right, even after 25 years.

  69. Kathy says:

    @MarkedMan:

    Most known “firsts” really aren’t.

    You bring something interesting up. Some old movies hold up surprisingly well. If you see an early Sci-Fi film like Metropolis (it’s a silent film), it’s well and truly dated. But when you consider how old it is and the techniques of the time, it looks really good.

  70. Teve says:
  71. Kit says:

    @Teve:
    Improvements in education, and some ability to reduce their diet of propaganda is needed. But that will never happen. And so I really don’t see how this ends any way but poorly.

  72. MarkedMan says:

    @Kathy: I suspect a lot of the things that hold up well follow the Pink Floyd Philosophy. This is my own observation of how most Pink Floyd songs hold up well despite extensive use of 1970’s era electronic effects that make so many other songs from then unlistenable. But Pink Floyd never used an effect because it was cool, or stretched it beyond what technology could do at the time. 100% of the time they chose the effects for the musical message they were creating, whether it be the phase shifting of “Meddle” or the extreme stereo pans in “Money”.

  73. Teve says:

    @Kit: I’m 43. I will be surprised if the US is still intact before i die.

    Will the newer generations of kids in rural America be smarter than their parents enough to fix their degenerate states?

  74. DrDaveT says:

    @Teve: It really is all about projection all the time with these people. Sad.

  75. Kit says:

    @Teve:

    Will the newer generations of kids in rural America be smarter than their parents enough to fix things?

    One path forward: the climate starts becoming such a worry (look at Australia!) that the rich come to the conclusion that we are in this together. Problems stop looking like roads (pay for it if you want to use it), and more like small pox (it kills indiscriminately). Suddenly science is back on the menu. Money stops flowing from Fox and moves to channels telling people that we need to act. Ayn Rand is out and Big Government is in. The Apocalypse is called off, and Christians are told they should give a fuck.

  76. DrDaveT says:

    @MarkedMan:

    But Pink Floyd never used an effect because it was cool, or stretched it beyond what technology could do at the time. 100% of the time they chose the effects for the musical message they were creating, whether it be the phase shifting of “Meddle” or the extreme stereo pans in “Money”.

    They also paid more attention to engineering than anyone else. The quality of Alan Parsons’ work on Dark Side of the Moon still blows me away. When I test speakers, one of the tracks I play is the opening to “Time”.

  77. gVOR08 says:

    @MarkedMan:

    But Pink Floyd never used an effect because it was cool, or stretched it beyond what technology could do at the time. 100% of the time they chose the effects for the musical message they were creating,

    After the original SW movie Lucas remarked that special effects should be used to sell the story, not for their own sake. Boy we lost that. I’ve read that it’s typical now to plan the big special effects scenes first, because they’re the longest lead time, then hire some poor schmuck to quickly write a script to tie them together, along with the product placements, foreshadowing of the next pre/sequel, Chinese political sensibilities, and the planned amusement park ride.

  78. Kit says:

    @gVOR08:

    After the original SW movie Lucas remarked that special effects should be used to sell the story, not for their own sake. Boy we lost that.

    Don’t agree. After Star Wars, we entered something of a golden age for special effects. Films were produced that were nothing apart from the latest advance in the state of the art. Twister, anyone? But who goes to the cinema these days simply for the special effects?

    Yes, spectacle films require immense teams for the effects, but people expect them now, and they generally only merit a word if they fail to convince.

    Basically, I think that special effects are better integrated into films then before. The fault, dear gVOR08, lies not in our Death Stars, but in our screen writers.

  79. Gustopher says:

    @gVOR08:

    I’ve read that it’s typical now to plan the big special effects scenes first, because they’re the longest lead time, then hire some poor schmuck to quickly write a script to tie them together, along with the product placements, foreshadowing of the next pre/sequel, Chinese political sensibilities, and the planned amusement park ride.

    And yet, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen was produced under those same circumstances and became a meditation upon the nature of storytelling, culminating in a literal war upon the concept of plot.

    Characters that transform are shown next to their other forms to show that no one can or should see every aspect of you simultaneously.

    It teaches you things you never would have thought to ask. (Are racist stereotype robots offensive? Yes! But you never thought to ask!) (Do robots lay eggs? Yes!)

    No “writer” could have created such a thing. It’s a Dada-esque arrangement of found objects that were each individually crafted during a writer’s strike and arranged apparently randomly.

    It’s less of a story and more of an assault. You come away shaken, with vague images of scenes in your head but no way to connect them. It feels like a mugging that happens too fast to understand what was happening, but you only lost the price of a movie ticket. Also, it takes about three hours.

    It’s not a perfect movie (there is a moment when John Turturro’s character says that he is under the giant robot’s scrotum, but when the camera’s focus settles upon the robot’s crotch it is revealed that the balls are hanging loose, with no scrotum, and it always pulls me out of the movie), but it is the most perfect Transformers movie.

    (The next movie in the franchise, Dark of the Moon had writers, and yet ended up with the title Dark of the Moon… writers are not the solution to all problems)

  80. Kathy says:

    @gVOR08:

    Sell or tell?

    One of my favorite movies ever is the original TRON in the 80s. the story is conventional, with archetypes rather than characters, and not all that interesting (some good dialogue, though “If I don’t have a user, then who wrote me?”). The acting is decent.

    But the look and feel of most of the movie is just amazing. It’s supposed to have involved hand-painting frames of film, using wire graphic animation (also painted), and shot largely in B&W and tinted and painted. there’s no other movie like it, especially not the much delayed sequel(*)

    Just about the whole landscape in the inner world is made of light, and it’s very dark (you appreciate how dark near the end, when TRON contacts his user.

    My opinion is that you don’t watch that movie, you view it like a painting. It’s all about how it looks, not what it’s about. And I say this as someone who regards plot as supreme.

    (*) The sequel wasn’t bad, and it has a nice look and feel as well, but by then you’d seen hundreds of visual effects like it. And it done’st look like the original TRON.

  81. Kathy says:

    Speaking of movie, I serve fair warning I’ll begin posting spoilers of Star Wars Ep. IX, The Rise of Skywalker, beginning Dec. 30th or so. I figure by then people have either seen it or are not going to.

  82. Tevr says:

    @Kathy: just put big warnings at the top.

  83. Kit says:

    @Kathy:
    If any spoilers are spilled, let them rest on the head of Doug for not having opened a dedicated Star Wars thread. Let him consider this a warning.

  84. Mister Bluster says:

    Silent Night
    Minnie Riperton
    1947-1979
    RIP