Rerun Column…

… with this note:

I get very little feedback on The Alternative. It’s disappointing. I can’t imagine so many people agree with me or see no need to dispute what I write. Please break the ice. Have some confidence in your opinions. Exchange ideas to make an attempt to find the truth. Write a letter to the editor, or at least to me.

I’m sorry but this is a rerun from 2009. I was so flabbergasted at the corruption I was going to write about that I decided to do more research later.We subscribe to Netflix DVD which has a much bigger inventory than the streaming service. I’m an old guy and don’t appreciate the computer crutches and fluffy plots I’ve seen in recent movies. So here’s a sample of my taste in movies and try not to be spoiled.

“Shenandoah” (1965): When Jimmy Steward died a few years ago, Rush Limbaugh neglected to mention this emotional film. In it, a Virginia farmer tries to keep his sons on the farm instead of fighting in the war of northern aggression (also known as the Civil War, even though the South wanted to secede, not change the North). I don’t imagine Rush, who never experienced war himself, cared for a movie made by a real war hero that exposes the impact of war on families. On a personal note, when I was a kid, Doug McClure worked in my dad’s office posting stock quotes on a board while trying to start a movie career. He played one of Stewart’s sons.

“Europa Europa” (1990) R: Based on the autobiography of Solomon Perel. Perel is a Jew whose parents were captured in the Nazi invasion of Poland. He changes his name and joins the Hitler youth as a way to survive the Holocaust. He climbs the Nazi ranks while trying to conceal his Jewishness. A thriller with some humor, this is in German with English subtitles. It’s worth the hassle.

“The Bellboy” (1960): This crazy movie is Jerry Lewis’ first shot at directing. It’s basically a series of skits as Jerry plays a mute bellboy in a fancy hotel. There’s nothing political about it. If you don’t laugh out loud, call the EMTs.

“Blood and Oil: The Middle East in World War I” (2006): To understand what is going on in the world today we need to know history. It should surprise no one that fanatical Islamists are not the only reason Western countries can’t keep their hands to themselves. Life is more complex than us versus them.

“Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India” (2001): Bollywood does what Hollywood has lost the ability to do. This Indian masterpiece is highly entertaining. It’s a musical about arrogant British colonists (is there any other kind?) taxing farmers into poverty. The farmers challenge the imperialists to a game of cricket, the stakes being no tax for three years or a doubling of the present draconian rate. The rag-tag group of farmers don’t seem to have a chance against the sophisticated Brits; the perfect ingredients for a classic sports movie. It’s long. It took us three nights and it’s in Hindi with subtitles. You’ll get used to the subtitles and if you miss some it doesn’t matter.

“Grass: A Nation’s Battle for Life” (1925): Merian C. Cooper, who later invented Cinerama, filmed this documentary about Persians migrating to greener pastures through raging rivers and over 12,000 foot mountain passes. Amazingly shot in 1925, this is a silent film with witty titles occasionally flashed to tell us what we are already thinking. The Bakhtiari, 50,000 strong, take their families and a half million head of stock on this hike twice a year. I couldn’t help but think how one of these family values role models would compare to the Western politicians who belittle these people as evil or sub-human. Michael Moore should see this to find out what a real documentary is.


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