Breakfast on Pluto (2005)
You have to have
been to Pluto to know Pluto. I welcome you to BREAKFAST ON PLUTO, and my DVD review, albeit twisted to some degree. This remarkable
movie will affectyou to the degree that you can accept what is. I liked this movie a great deal. I am very curious, and I
had heard this was a curiosity. We are all curiosities of a sort. If you concede this you may just find this movie interesting.
I suspect most of you will find it educational. I forewarn you, liberal or conservative you must be the open minded sort of
either or just don’t bother, please. And for pity sakes don’t blame it on Herald-that’s me.
Let us first get something
straight. We are none of us one hundred per cent straight. Everyone is somewhere on a scale moving to left or right or exactly
in the middle. We are all of us filtered in different degrees, and some of us in self defense don sunglasses as well. Who
has not dealt with a lie, deliberately told or not? Did you really believe Pluto was a planet? Get over it. It’s not. It was
only a planet before it was not a planet. Straight talk? Believe what you will. But please don’t live an act for it’s a fact
that whatever you are, you are, and that’s, by far, far better than deception or worse still a delusion.
hardest when confessed to the mirror. I’m not talking about sex, how much a man you are or how much a woman. I’m talking about
being the real you. There is nothing quite as sexy as someone who is exactly exact about it no matter where that might be
along the scale. A number nine can dress hair and a number two can wield a bat and vice versa. Some are comfortable, but some
are not. The character in the movie is hardly comfortable at first, but very, very, honest and because of this the journey’s
end was in my opinion a good one. I like the way the movie ends. There is a sense of closure that has a future after a past
of much self disclosure and searching.
This character finds himself or herself: or does it really matter?
you know, I never write about what has already been written about, so let’s not bother with all the bother. What is Google
for but for the bother of it all? No, let’s cut to the chase. We’ve talked about the sex; now let’s talk about something
much more. What was all this bother for? What aside from a beautiful score, music quite good, was this edgy story for? Was
it to reminisce? Most today are not that old. Did the movie solicit approval for a life style? I think not. This is hardly
the era of approval seeking, each of us on our own iPods, or talking in the air with something robotic hanging out the ear.
Are any of us ever completely here or there? Everybody’s got a planet in tow, or at least it seems so.
The movie is
about “seeking”; the searching that is the journey to the fulfillment of us all. Whether it’s the lost mother, a sorted sexual
identity, or the one true God, each of us is the same in this way. Life is sometimes a series of very, very, awful things
we must survive, with good moments in-between, but if we can survive and in the end we find a truth we can live comfortably
with, we will have lived life well. This is what in my opinion the movie was about; arriving at that special place where,
when all is said and done, you feel you were not wasted upon yourself or anyone else, and your unique journey, no matter what
it is you are searching for--has come home to rest.
The movie is about being at peace with you. And when you arrive
there, well the journey has really just begun. But don’t mind me. I am growing old and very little shocks me anymore. It hasn’t
been easy but somewhere on the journey, Earth turned into Pluto, and vice versa. But, you see, I’ve seen BREAKFAST ON PLUTO,
and I can assure you I was not as shocked as I was kept from being bored. Nothing is as boring as more of the same.
to a ten or somewhere along the scale, I think you’ll like this movie; a trifle long but surely you can’ be bored…oh well,
never mind. You’ll probably be shocked by it! Wait till you’re a little older.
© 2005 E.D. Ridgell
A Review: Atonement 
an adaptation for film by screenwriter Christopher Hampton of Ian McEwen’s prize winning novel has received mixed reviews.
I do not pretend to give the normal kind of review. I let you do the work in regards to names of stars, director, cinematographer,
etc. If the movie is good you’ll be interested enough to take note of these, and if not you’ll hardly care. I am reviewing
the movie from the eyes of the artist. Film is art on myriad levels. My business has been art in divers and sundry disciplines.
I have the credentials. Whether or not you like my reviews waits to be seen. The critic’s lot is often a thankless one.
film is at one moment a delicious visual experience and at another a graphic and realistic look at war in all its horror.
I like the juxtaposition. The photography thought overdone by some critics was superb in my opinion. I think the set pieces
done in different periods at different places are marvelous; English countryside set in the thirties, the expected manor house,
London just before the blitz, the war torn and dreary fogginess of France during the initial blitzkrieg, and especially a
surrealistic and fanciful look at the phenomenon that was Dunkirk, all work for me. The scenes shot at Dunkirk are ‘risk taking’
on the part of many people concerned, and I applaud them for it. I was captivated.
This is a British film so the acting
is excellent with modulations on that level. The British unlike the Americans don’t churn their artists as much so their actors
whom you tend to see over and over again in varied roles can hone their craft. That said the few American stars that do become
icons deserve it.
Costume is to the period and I saw no mistakes. I personally liked the dress both female and male.
directing by Joe Wright is certainly different from his direction of Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice”, and you are either
going to like it or you are not. I don’t want to tell too much but there are flash backs but not of the usual vein. They are
integral to understanding the characters involved and the pivotal accusation made that must be atoned for. I think Mr. Wight
has used this technique well.
The adaptation of McEwen’s work takes very much artistic license especially in the story
so let me forewarn you. You are going to either find the ending believable or not. It does give pause which is why I waited
at least twenty four hours before writing the review. Partly because of the actor involved, I swallowed it as I thought she
delivered it with the aplomb that only an actor of her skills could. It’s audacious but I lean towards the audacious in art
at times. Life can be so very audacious.
I’ve left the score till last. It’s not necessarily novel. Things like this have
been done before but perhaps not exactly with such a poetic effect. The sound of a typewriter and the subtle, single, note
of the piano are used to great effect to add tension, emphasis, and dramatic effect, whatever. These results are not pretty
but anxious, uneasy and at time stressful. Even the banging of an umbrella on a car hood speaks words for the script and screenplay.
The overall score along with this unifying kind of poetic refrain in my opinion make for a good soundtrack. More importantly,
for the poet it will make you muse on the use of the refrain for purposes other than just repetition of feeling or message.
is a cut above most and in many respects is about artistic license which for this artist and critic are always valued. I rate
the film four stars or an eight and I hope if you should see it, that you will like it.
© 2008 by E.D. Ridgell
A Christmas story! Now in a time honored tradition
of many American men I waited until the very last minute to even go on the hunt, let alone bag, Christmas presents that would
both surprise and delight, in this case, the grandson and his Dad, two gentlemen with particular tastes as well as everything
material, already. The chase inevitably led me into Dick's Sporting Goods Store as I had in mind anything whatsoever left
among the, plunder and pillage of earlier more pragmatic shoppers that might bear the logo and insignia of The Pittsburgh
Steelers, this family's Knights Templar! Not finding anything of the sort, my Impatient eye fell upon the camping department
with its many environs, and what should I spy but a serious thing, a long honored thing, a tool to feed not just the stomach
but the next most cherished thing thereafter, freedom. Yes, my eye had fallen upon the sleek and sexual form of "The Remington", and with that, a light
went on. I had found the father and son. perfect gift a grandfather could pass on down the line. I could feel the benevolence
of ancestors, no less my own father's spirit, leading me on into this special rite. With the help of an experienced, slightly,
hunched backed, keeper of Dick's sporting, slash Safari Hunting Department, I was soon out of there and on my way to wrap
and proudly present these presents, that very same night.That
evening in that half hour of the festivities when at last "Little Sam" could fully see what already he had deftly,
managed to tear and partly reveal, after a stern, but plainly not meant, admonishment from his grandfather, both "Big"
and "Little Sam", at last were at it, the careful and polite ripping open of the Christmas quarry. Now, with hushed breath on my part, there followed a brief pause and
then a gradual realization and affirmation of all this good largesse entailed, and soon, we were giving our first lessons,
heartfelt warnings, and massaging of what we hoped would never prove to be more than sport and, God forbid, nothing ever so
much as a bit beyond it, I swear upon my war worn heart! But, wait. The best and not unanticipated was yet to come, because you see sitting through
all of this were two slightly smug and feisty, granddaughters, both feeling sorely used. Now, what should the oldest, but
by no means always the boldest, finally question, just as I knew in my pride's heart she would? "Why was the gun reserved
for a boy, and not a girl?” The implication hung on the air where I let it take flight for but a second before winging
it with the retort that I had reasoned that because their excellent, unbiased, and noble father had already singled out not
just she but recently her sister to go both hiking and camping to the exclusion of their tike of a little brother. There,
then followed a brief but well aimed shot across my bow from her younger sister but the event was too fresh, the facts too
true, and I soon silenced both with the knowledge that I knew very well the implication, indeed the accusation,
was that I could ever be a sexist grandfather. I was puffed up in all my righteous, indignation! The rest was silence, and so ends my Christmas story. Game, set, and match, for the
men in the family this Christmas, holiday evening! ©
2011 by E.D. Ridgell
Factotum: A Review 
saw this movie on my birthday, that dreaded day none of us can avoid but most of us would like to, relenting to that inevitable
question, “what would you like to do?”, with a decision to see “Factotum”, an independent and interpretive movie of the poet
and writer Charles Bukowski’s novel of the same name.
This movie is about obsession. This movie is not about choices,
but about surrender. Bukowski, played by Matt Dillon, in perhaps one of his better performances, playing Henry Chinaski, a
down and almost out drunk and near derelict, has certainly surrendered to his unapologetic desires to drink and get laid.
anyone who knows of the life and works of Charles Bukowski, or may have seen “Bar Fly” (1987), years ago, in an autobiographical
screenplay of Bukowski’s, already knows of this, dare I say romantic, reputation of Bukowshi’s. It is a reputation for honesty
regardless of what anyone thinks or says.
This is interesting because all obsessive behavior is a kind of co-dependency,
a pattern of painful dependence on a compulsive behavior and on approval seeking in an attempt to gain, safety, identity,
and self worth. Charles would seem, especially in his early works and life, to have wanted us to believe that he didn’t give
a damn, that he didn’t seek the approval of anyone or anybody. But as the movie shows, and as his later works and poems attest
to, he was so “busted” from the very first submission that went into the mail! Many more artists than not are social at least
to this degree. I’d venture to say most of us. We create it. We “get off” in doing it in a sort of “high”, but then there
comes that need to, “show and tell”. If you believe like me that life and art are intertwined and that all human beings are
social creatures to some degree, then you will understand this need to be seen and to be heard, and to not just make your
mud pies for yourself alone. It is not always about fame so much as the period at the end of a sentence; a final stroke of
the brush on the signature upon the canvas. We want and need something more.
There are two songs set to poems of Bukowski’s
in this flic, and it is in one in particular that sums the movie up. So as not to let the “cat out of the bag”, I will merely
tell you to, “wait for it”. It is Charles Bukowski telling you of a bigger obsession than to drink or screw; the thing he
had no choice but to do. And, I’ll give you this, as well, as it is not his alone to give, but, the universal message of all
artists who are self-fulfilled: Follow your bliss! Surrender to the better of your obsessions and don’t look back. Substitute
this, less the others unfruitful, kill you. Death has taken its toll down through the ages of artists who did not do this;
follow the better bliss, of the many obsessions that would and did unfold.
Factorum is about obsession. I recommend it
to you, and I give it an eight. See it if you like an independent and interpretive kind of thing, if you like Matt Dillon,
or, needless to say, if you are a Bukowski fan. It does drag a little, especially after mid-way. It is not for everyone. You
must decide. Google the details. I am not about working for you. I am about working for me, and then forwarding that to you,
simply because I must write, that being my obsession, and for my pain, I would garner your applause. Not all artists are vain,
and in this case certainly not Bukowski, but most do bow some little way for applause. Charles Bukowski would understand.
© 2006 by E.D. Ridgell
Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby- A Review!
a country where ever since 9/11 we have slowly learned to live daily with a heightened state of anxiety; where we are watched
by cameras everywhere; drive under lighted billboards telling us to report any suspicious activities; meander past a half
dozen police cars, marked and unmarked, on a short drive to the grocery store at four dollars a gallon and rising, to buy
groceries more expensive this week than the last; and must guard our very identity from “an intruder” lurking in the wires
or pillaging in the mailbox-- it tends to make us tense. Everyone is worried about or worrying someone else. We are a nation
adrift in a sea of worries, amidst stock market fluctuations, worldwide surrealism, and a media addicted to its own bad news.
Those of us who are poets must take care less we despair.
Well, this is America and when the going gets this rough,
there is only one thing to do; screw it and rent a movie. And, in particular, be sure you rent something funny, anything to
lift you up and out of this seeming cesspool, this swamp of seriousness.
And so that’s what millions of Americans will
do this weekend. They repeat a cycle. They duly worry all week and then take a few hours every weekend to laugh at it all
and in particular to laugh at themselves. “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby”, has been out awhile but if you missed
it, why not put your poetic pens and computer keyboards down and have some laughs. The poet who forgets to laugh is loosing
both subject matter and vocabulary.
This film is a wonderfully uplifting experience for anyone and in particular the
poet who forgets sometimes to experience life and spends far too much time in his own head. Seriously, IMO your poetry will
improve as soon as you take it just a little less seriously. In my experience, others will then tend to take your poetry just
a little more seriously. It’s one those opposites that gives life an evenness. Ask any Smith Islander.
All the “stuff”
in this movie is good; direction, script, acting, photography, yada, yada, yahoo!!!! It usually is when the box office was
so good. ‘As usual, I’ll leave you to google the director, actors, screenwriters, yada, yada, yada. I’m stereotypically lazy
about these things.
This movie is an all American “Roast”. Everybody gets roasted; the Right winger, the Left swinger,
the Holy Roller, the Advertising Busynessman [typo deliberate]with his bored alcoholic wife in toe, and yes, even you, the
perhaps too serious artist.
The main set, just another one of those Great American Coliseums, with a capacity of 200,000
or more; The Talladega Super Raceway, is worth the rental price to see in all its color and excessive glory. If there is one
thing history confirms is that Americans love their “wheels” and are all about speed.
It isn’t about the wonderful
ability of this nation to laugh at itself. It’s not really anything about what’s hap’ in on the screen. It is about the audience;
that irreverent American who will light heartedly laugh at everyone including himself until he enters his house of worship
or that voting booth. Can you laugh at you? Do you habitually vote for yourself?
This movie is about democracy. Democracy
defined by this man is the right of the minority to be safe, so that even though it ain’t go’ in to happen, each and everyone
of us has the right to one day feel, if they follow their bliss, they too can be in the majority. It is about that feeling
of being a people who will applaud their idiosyncrasies and yours and respect the rights of everyone to give it a go, to follow
their bliss, without too much constraint. The viewer is what this country, bottom line, is all about; not winning the race
but racing, following that mad bliss. And if you think the storyline too ridiculous and far fetched, well visit Times Square
and speak to the Naked Cowboy. He’s real and he’s freely, following his bliss. I for one am proud of that. Aim for the sun.
If you miss you can rest on a star. This movie gets four of ‘em and its viewers five.
© 2008 by E.D. Ridgell
|Loafing With Walt: A GLBT 'Zine|
|Reflections on CAPOTE
2005 – by Hephaestion |
I’ve never written anything like a review before for a motion picture, a book
yes, but never a film. That does not make me feel unequal to the task, however, especially for this movie, CAPOTE.
My credentials then: I am first and foremost an artist of many genres and mediums; from paint to paper and everything in
between. I have painted, drawn, sculpted, wove, photographed, and taught the fine arts. I am a writer and a poet; in
short, I am an artist not restricted to or contained in any one and only one discipline. I am a sort of modern day Renaissance
sort with many interests and talents enmeshed in the vast milieu of Art as we lovingly live and experience it today. And as
I can find few art forms that encompass so many different artistic venues as doe’s film making, I feel perfectly at
home and at ease. I have missed very few cinematic endeavors of anything worth seeing in a lifetime and far too many of those
not worth seeing to not be able to offer something here to mull upon. Add to these qualifications the fact that I am as much
“Gay” as Mr. Capote was and there you have it! Finally, without boring you with the tedious list, I am well acquainted
with many of the works involved, including “In Cold Blood”.
For my part I do not like reviews [ if
that is what we will call this thing] that repeat all that has been said or is being said about a book, movie, etc. I will
endeavor then to offer something new for you to chew upon and hope to perhaps give you more than you already know of the movie
and its characters. There are so many facts in the vastness of the media today that one is forced to be creative to expound
upon anything and give it some momentum.
So as to be fresh, I will avoid too many of the credits, the biographies,
the divers names involved and concentrate rather on observations, reflections, questions, etc.--that arose as I watched CAPOTE--just
a few days ago. Suffice it to say the acting, direction, writing, photography, etc. will all be dissected and given their
just rewards and accolades before all is through. I intend here to interweave what I might surmise you do not know or may
not have reflected upon thus far; to direct your thinking in directions perhaps not taken: a sort of signaling, blinking first
to the right and then to the left and so on. Try then to not crash into the back of me and excuse whatever confusion I throw
you into in my endeavors to inspire you and give you fruit for thought in your decision to take the film on, or leave it to
wither in the box office.
Let us begin then with the story. It is--I presume-- supposed to be a story about Capote
as he might have been back around the early 60’s when he and his childhood friend Harper Lee went to Nebraska to write
what may have been the first of a type of journalistic writing to do with criminal investigative reporting. The story is almost
as good as the acting but nevertheless like the acting is very much flawed, not in its craft but in its truth.
writers are so far as I know not homosexual. The principal stars are not homosexual with the exception of one. And although
statistically homosexuals no doubt are involved in its making--CAPOTE is flawed in that it would portend to have insights
into and know of things it does not. I am homosexual as well some of you may be. Or you may be lesbian, transsexual, asexual,
or whatever, and therefore like me will need to overlook very much that to us does not quite ring true. That said, it does
nothing to detract from the very excellent fiction that results.
The story as it is written and as it is so excellently
acted by pretty much all the cast, in my opinion, is very entertaining and not implausible. Rather it is just a little presumptuous.
Most film making of this sort is. We may as well overlook it but nevertheless not fall into the trap of taking it too seriously.
Nor do I have any problem with heterosexual actors portraying homosexual, lesbian, etc. characters. A good actor is a good
actor. Anthony Andrews back in 1981 in his role as Sebastian in the PBS interpretation of Lord Flythe in the adaptation of
Evelyn Waugh’s novel “Brideshead Revisited” certainly addresses any such doubts as to the ability of a “straight”
to play a “gay” or vice versa.
This season we have Heath Ledger a heterosexual actor playing a gay
cowboy in BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN and also a formidable “straight” in CASSANOVA with both performances perfectly believable--and
in my opinion creditable. And if anyone doubts that Philip Seymour Hoffman did not study his character, Capote, to judge best
how he, being a straight actor, would portray this rather flamboyant and overtly “gay” genius of the past, he
must surely think again.
No, I do not have a problem with the sexual preferences of the actors in real life but
in any actor’s ability to play it too close. It is in the end not entirely “comfortable” or at least
at times does not seem so. If all agree, this need not be an impediment. Indeed to deem it so would be a sort of prejudice.
I merely address the facts of the matter. By the way, they are remaking BRIDESHEAD REVISITED for release in 2006 with Jude
Law in the role of Sebastian. As I saw Mr. Law, a heterosexual actor, in something recently in which there was a very full
frontal nude shot in one of his scenes, I do hope he brings to bear the full bounty of his endowments as an actor to this
role as well. You see, I am fully open to a diverse range of acting abilities and attributes.
Moving on, the movie
makes much of the supposed similarities of character between Perry Smith and Truman. There is one particular line recited
by Capote when he says something to the effect that Perry and he are alike except that Smith went out the back door and he,
Truman went out the front. I felt this was loading the story rather heavy with some rather overworked psychoanalysis. The
whole story is burdened with this sort of too heavy a motive or overdone character or relationship dissection. Granted the
very essence of the movie is about this, but I feel at times it is overworked. I feel at times like I am on the shrink’s
couch or one of the characters is.
Take the relationship between Truman Capote--his life long friend and lover
Jack Dunphy. Many liberties are taken, here. I will be blunt. No one but the two gentlemen involved will ever know the depths
to which they were committed nor the love they shared, but the fact of the matter is it was a bond enduring for most of their
adult lives and both their ashes now abide in some sound or inlet off their homes in Long Island--mingling still together
at least in spirit as a testament to something I think this movie could not and did not do justice to. It was treated far
too lightly in this movie. I thought the scene where Truman leaves the telephone booth after a chat with Jack for the obvious
gay bar nearby was unnecessary, however possible, given their open relationship. It was superfluous and contrived.
I am warming to my subject so forgive me if I am here, there and everywhere, but then like the murders in the house--they
were scattered and that much the colder and therefore I will not labor over the form but give you my thoughts in like manner:
hot to the subject but coldly clinical. One need read only a few pages of Truman’s style to forbear any suggestion that
he became too infatuated with (let alone fell in love with) either of the two killers. As to Mr. Capote’s reflections,
comments, etc. on the facts of the period in which he wrote “In Cold Blood” one of the endearing and at the same
time irritating things about Truman is we are not always too sure of what we can believe. Such is the artist, Truman Capote.
Regarding the two murderers, the one is and was given heavier weight than the other. Richard “Dick”
Hickock is treated as no more than that, some “dick” interested in nothing but pornography and not to be taken
too seriously. But, Capote was too good a researcher to have not balanced the scales of the two in his dealings, and the movie
almost forgets the lesser of the two for what it would have us believe was the greater. Truman did indeed become very passionate
and at the end quite “moved” but the artist had just finished a Pulitzer Prize worthy work of several years and
might be expected to be a trifle emotional. This is shown and played and acted oh so very well, but in my mind can be too
easily misconstrued to be about the emotional events rather than the emotional turmoil of art. Truman Capote was a great writer.
He wrote about two cold blooded murderers. What he wrote far surpassed the story and took on a meaning and a body all its
And after having said all of this what a very good job they all did of it and how thoroughly convincing and
plausible it is. A wonderful job of writing and acting deserving of whatever awards will no doubt follow. Do not mistake it
though for historical accuracy. Indeed, history is never accurate, in my opinion. Such a thing is impossible and would dull
the art of it as well as the value of it. Nebraska? I hope it will forgive and forget!
Could Capote who most assuredly
was an alcoholic and would end dying due to complications of alcohol and too much reliance on pills decades later, have drunk
so much as he is supposed to in the writing of “In Cold Blood”? Later, perhaps, I think when he finally published
that self destructive thing that so infuriated the better people of New York society—a sort of self destruction so common
to certain kinds of artistic temperaments—I think he may indeed have tried to write in such a state. But, this is nothing
new to the literary world. In fact, I doubt, Truman could have written this book so well as he did if he had not been fairly
sober at the time; at least not to the degree depicted in the film. The music was stunning in its Classical Restraint. This
is not a criticism, either, as in this case it maintained that steady tension of a kind of mid-Western silence that otherwise
would have been distracting.
I close with a few words about Harper Lee and then leave off summarizing as I promised
to be short. There is an odor of mendacity in this film that would have you believe that because Ms. Lee was a friend and
associate at the time of Truman’s that it stands to reason she is a lesbian. So far as I know the lady is still alive
and I have never heard her to say one way or the other. Not that it matters to me or probably to her. It is nevertheless,
again, a presumption too ready to be misconstrued as true history. Now, I have criticized much. I am an artist and
I am about the art of constructive criticism. Do not misunderstand. This is just juicing the turkey to flavor the meal, stir
your appetite, and give you something to eat complete with leftovers to pick upon and consume as you will.
did I feel about the motion picture, CAPOTE? I would not have missed the farce for the world. I give it a resounding two thumbs
up, hope it sweeps many well deserved awards, makes much money for needy artists, and is remembered for the excellent piece
of fiction that it is. It is one of this year’s best. Granted this year’s pickings were slim, but this film, CAPOTE,
is done just right, basted to a golden brown, stuffed nice and full with everything save the kitchen sink, and if you are
like me and savor the Pope’s tail--you should enjoy the feast.
Note: The above reflection on the movie entitled
“Reflections on CAPOTE” is co-authored by Hephaestion [a pseudonym] and Dylan Mitchell: the Co-Editor of the ‘zine,
“Loafing With Walt”. Dylan has provided the graphics as well as nipped, tucked, and added to the story with my
full permission as well as respect and gratitude.
© 2005, Hephaestion [ a pseudonym ]