Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The Hot Club


Finally got to see this movie which Tricky Ricky had e-mailed me about recently, extolling its virtues. He was right. This movie just blows you away. It is a powerful movie that packs an emotional punch.

At the beginning, Graham (Don Cheadle) says, "In LA nobody touches you…I think we miss that touch so much that we crash into each other just so we can feel something." You will be touched if you see this movie.

At first the film focuses on our fears - of each other, of the unknown, of those that are different from us. With each slight, each rude remark, each verbal shot to the gut, we become aware of how much we've lost our humanity. We have lost our ability to see the similarities in each other rather than concentrating on the differences.

What results is man's inhumanity to man. Woman's inhumanity to woman. Our collective loss of self. A loss of our souls. We don't see our neighbors as human beings. We see them as our scapegoats. It's as if we need to look down on someone else to make ourselves feel better.

And then the movie gives you moments of hope, glimpses of a better world when we treat each other with respect. If someone doesn’t deserve that respect, it will become evident. However first we need to show our respect for that other human being. Different is not bad. Different is just different. The world would be a boring place if we were all the same. But those differences don't mean we can dump on our neighbor.

This movie is a series of vignettes that intertwine. There are strong performances from an All-Star cast but two memorable scenes involve Matt Dillon as Officer Ryan with Thandie Newton (Christine) and Ryan Phillipe (Officer Hanson) with Terrence Howard (Cam).

According to IMDb, Crash was released in May of 2005 but won Best Picture at the 2006 Academy Awards. And director Paul Haggis and co-writer Robert Moresco won Oscars for Best Original Screenplay. Haggis also wrote the screenplays for Flags of our Fathers, Casino Royale and Million Dollar Baby. Haggis wrote the story for Letters from Iwo Jima. I noticed that he also did the words and music for Gonna Buy Me A Rope, one of the songs in Crash. Very impressive body of work.

Don Cheadle, who is excellent as Graham, put his money on the line with the movie as he is listed as a producer.

The movie is 113 minutes (115 for the Director's cut) and is Rated R for language, sexual content and some violence.

There is a sense that at the end the characters (and we as viewers) find themselves (ourselves) in the film. When it's all done and you can breathe again, you'll say, "That was a damn good movie." IMDb viewers gave it an 8.2 out of 10.


Sunday the Hot Club was visited by a local who just returned from the War in Iraq. As the Wise Man noted, he is one of our heroes, one of our local heroes (LH). LH is in the Army National Guard and spent a year in Iraq, returning in October. ORic and Wise heard that LH's unit is on Airport Road, so they suggested that he stop at Hooters. ORic and Wise predicted that LH would be greeted as a hero there, and treated like a king.

LH told us that he likes to hunt wild boar and that there's a place in Vermont where for $750 you are guaranteed one. But he said if you don't hit the boar, you're headed up a tree because those tusks are long and large.

Kenny mentioned an immigrant who joined the US military and fought in Iraq. He was made a citizen as a result. I said that my dad, who came from Accrington, England, fought in WW II and was made a citizen right after he went in. Local heroes.

Foot Joy said his cousin served in North Dakota during the Vietnam War. FJ said his cousin protected us from the crazies in Canada.

ORic told me that he's been away on a trip to the Indian Himalayas. He had some adventures. He visited a temple, which could only be reached by climbing many stairs. On the half-hour walk up, his guide asked if ORic wanted to rent a stick "Why?", he asked. "The monkeys", said his guide. "Look out for your glasses too", he was advised. After he saw the temple, he stopped and rested on a bench. As soon as he did, a monkey jumped on his head and stole his $150 Armani sunglasses. The guide threw down some food and the monkey dropped the shades for the food. ORic tipped the guide $20.

Back at the hotel, ORic wanted to relax and ordered a massage. The masseur massaged him all over and started to fondle his jewels when ORic told him to stop. When the guy persisted, he sent him packing. ORic said the masseur called him the next day and wanted to come back!

So I told ORic that when I was stationed in Turkey we used to take the ferry to Istanbul. The only hotel that had toilet paper was the Hilton. All the other places had 'bombsites'. A bombsite was a cutout hole where you deposited your duty. There was a cold water faucet on the left to wash your hand after you wiped. That's supposedly where the ignominy of shaking hands with your left hand arose. So what happens with lefties?

Thanks to CJ and Patti for making my Friday celebration of St. Pat's Day a fun one. And to the DDS gang, my thanks for meeting up at Blake's. I dedicated it to Cal Hopkinson who passed away in 2006. Cal was thin, a runner, and yet he passed away at 56. One wag said, "Fat and grumpy is the way to go" Another added, "Yeah, plus size coffin." RIP Cal.


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