Free Movies

Image result for seventh heaven, jimmy stewart

I’ve planned a movie suggestion column to take advantage of winter’s long nights and as a break from my perennial crusades and worrywartism. As the days get longer, time is running out, so here goes.

My second job after McDonald’s was at one of the world’s original supermarkets, Thriftymart in Beverly Hills. The floors were vertical-grain fir and the Kosher section took up a third of the store. It was dark. This is where I bagged Mickey Rooney’s groceries. I was taller than he.

All these movies I’m recommending are available on YouTube for free.

Mickey stars in “The Healer” (1935), also known as “Little Pal.” He is Jimmy, a paraplegic who lives at Dr. Holden’s warm springs that purportedly has healing powers. Dr. Holden falls for a scheme to turn the warm springs into a health club for the rich. Since the story unfolded in magical ways for me, I’ll stop there.

This next one is sorta hard to find on YouTube. If you search “Merrily We Live” (1938), it will show unavailable because of copyright, but keep trying. As long as it stars Constance Bennett, Billie Burke, and Alan Mobray in 1938, you have the right one. The genre is called “screwball comedy,” and it lives up to its name. Mobray is a hobo hired by a ditsy society matron as a butler. The daughters think he’s really neat. If it hurts to laugh, avoid this film.

Too Late for Tears” (1949) is a Film Noir crime drama starring Lizabeth Scott as an evil, greedy wife. She and her husband stumble upon a small fortune that appears to be a blackmail payoff. As you might expect, the owner wants it back. The husband thinks the police should have it. It gets complicated, with the Lizabeth Scott character getting mixed up with the crook who lost the money. I don’t think I can name a more effective performance by an actress.

Back to Mickey Rooney for this one. But we don’t stray from the greedy evil woman theme with “Quicksand” (1950). Honestly, I’ve heard so much about women being mistreated and abused lately, these movies are a form of affirmative action. Mickey matured out of the goody-good Andy Hardy series into a petty criminal. Actually he saw a girl and that was the end of the innocent auto mechanic. Jeanne Cagney (Jimmy’s sister) plays the girl that leads him astray. Peter Lorre is his usual seedy self as an arcade owner on the Santa Monica pier, where I caught my first fish (a little halibut with eyes on both sides).

Before the weather gets warm and we really ought to be either outside or asleep I suggest “Seventh Heaven” (1937) as an inspiring love story. Jimmy Stewart at 29 years old is more than endearing here. Whooda thunk after all those years of me coming in the house with this ear flapper hat and acting dumb saying, “you got a sewer I can clean out?” to the kids, that a movie about a guy who cleans sewers would be one of my favorites of all time. It is unbelievable that I hadn’t heard of this until YouTube recommended it.

Space is limited so my list is half done and so am I. Since an ideal target audience would be kids otherwise bombarded with electronic garbage, I promise to write the other half for summer vacation rainy days. School has the effect of segregating age groups. These movies are for everyone. The kids and adults will laugh and cry together, as it should be.

In defence of Tucker Carlson…

… in relation to his comments 10 years ago on shock jock, Bubba Clem’s radio show.

When Tucker calls out John Bolton and other cowardly neo-cons for promoting recruitment of terrorists through murdering innocents he is not smeared as unpatriotic. That shows that conservatives can think and consider other viewpoints. Being staunchly small government consistently is so rare. Tucker must be defended at all costs.
The SJWs are beyond infantile. The power of propaganda over critical thinking is alarming.

(got seventeen thumbs up so far. Maybe we are not alone)

Trump as Racist, Homophobe, Bigot. Big Deal.

Here is the real story. The story with real consequences. Like his predecessors in the White House, Trump is a psychopath. He has no shame at killing innocents. He has no brain that can make the obvious connection between actions and consequences. Why do they hate us?  (From Fortune) Huh. Where’s Huffpo? Where’s NPR? Well, big government is their baby. They support all aspects of that most destructive force.

A military drone replica is displayed in front of the White House during a protest against drone strikes on Jan. 12, 2019 in Washington, DC.
A military drone replica is displayed in front of the White House during a protest against drone strikes on Jan. 12, 2019 in Washington, DC.
Brendan Smialowski—AFP/Getty Images

Updated: March 6, 2019 1:51 PM ET

President Donald Trump revoked a requirement that U.S. intelligence officials publicly report the number of civilians killed in drone strikes and other attacks on terrorist targets outside of war zones.

Trump formally ended the requirement with an executive order on Wednesday, months after signaling such a move. The administration last year ignored a May deadline for an annual accounting of civilian and enemy casualties required under an order signed in 2016 by then-President Barack Obama. The order was part of an accountability effort to minimize civilian deaths from drone strikes.

The order signed by Trump revokes the requirement that the administration release an unclassified summary of “the number of strikes undertaken by the United States Government against terrorist targets outside areas of active hostilities, as well as assessments of combatant and non combatant deaths resulting from those strikes, among other information.”

A law Congress passed last year requires the Defense Department to provide Congress a report of civilian casualties, though parts of it may be classified. Trump’s action effectively removes casualties from any drone strikes by the CIA or other agencies outside the military from the reporting requirements.

Ned Price, a former intelligence analyst and Obama-era spokesman for the National Security Council who is now affiliated with the National Security Action policy advocacy group, said Trump’s move sets back transparency efforts and is “a shortsighted decision that will allow our enemies to be more effective at what they’ve long sought to do.”

Price said Obama’s order “allowed the United States to counter with facts and figures the misinformation and disinformation that terrorist groups and others issued to undermine our counter-terrorism operations around the globe.”

The White House National Security Council said in a statement that Trump’s order removes “superfluous reporting requirements” that “distract our intelligence professionals from their primary mission.”

Deny this you phonies

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Thank you, Mary Poppins

Thank you, Mary Poppins!

Our daughter knows of Dawn’s admiration of Julie Andrews and she suggested we see the new sequel, Mary Poppins Returns. Maybe Netflix had an influx of requests for the original because of the hype surrounding the new movie, so we were on a waiting list.

As luck would have it, the 1964 Mary Poppins arrived after we had seen the new one.

A headliner upstaged by an opening act sours our enjoyment of both. Is anybody else tired of the substitution of computer generated material for thought provoking and nuanced plots and acting? Even the dated animation techniques of the 1964 film somehow made the sophisticated technology of today look cheap.

I had just been reminded of an anniversary of a family tragedy as we watched the final few minutes of Mary Poppins. The message of “a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down” and “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” making us smile despite dire circumstances, was ringing true and bringing tears to my eyes. Amazing how a word like that from 55 years ago can flow out just like a “yes ma’am” or “you bet.”

The differences in the cultural perspectives reflected by these movies was striking.

We have Michael Banks, who is one of the grown children from the earlier film, an artist coasting along on the fortunes made by his hard-working father. He misplaces the paperwork entitling him to the family home and a villainous banker plots to repossess it.

In the original, the father is so wrapped up in his job that he ignores his children. He is an authority figure that seems to have little interest in the interests of his subjects. The mother is a suffragette, protesting for women’s voting rights. She shows a more loving concern for the kids but is also preoccupied with things outside the home.

Mary Poppins floats in and assumes the role of the parents, filling the children, Jane and Michael, with wonder and curiosity. She finagles a way for the kids to accompany their father to work one day and he tries to give them a lesson how savings can grow at the bank. Michael’s insistence that his tuppence should help support an old lady selling crumbs for bird feed leads to a bank run and the firing of Mr. Banks.

The adversity leads Mr. Banks to discover the joys of fatherhood. (Mary Poppins had a plan!)

Rather than portraying the banker as a villain, as in the sequel, the earlier movie showed the bankers as concerned for their customers’ savings and also as trying to grow Michael’s allowance instead of using it to “make the birds fat.”

While growing Michael’s savings, the bank took a cut in order to maintain their existence, as it offered Michael’s money to a borrower. The borrower would use Michael’s money to enable their own ambition in providing a service or product to others. Instead of a bunch of fat birds, we have a working economy.

I’m not a big fan of plays and musicals, although I can sing right along with any song from Mary Poppins and The Sound of Music. Mary Poppins Returns is for another demographic. That’s fine. These people needed a job. But if you are an old geezer like me, just skip it and watch the old one. If you do see the new one, don’t let that discourage you from seeing the old one again. It’s a spoonful of sugar for the soul.