December 2008


Here are some long awaited pictures of Thomas at his school holiday party and on Christmas morning. There are also a few very short videos of him singing, but I’ll have to get Erik to put those up since he’s the one with the YouTube account.

In other news, we’ve had two successful uses of the potty so far this week during “potty training bootcamp.” We’ve also fallen short a few times and Veronica is very thankful for rubber diaper covers.

So excited that Mama and Daddy came to school.

So excited that Mama and Daddy came to school.

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Sterling Hayden explaining the way things are to Peter Sellers in Dr. Strangelove (1964).

Sterling Hayden explaining the way things are to Peter Sellers in Dr. Strangelove (1964).

You’ll notice I didn’t say the 100 Funniest Comedies. Because it’s the 100 Best. That was the problem with the way AFI did their Comedy list; they tried to make funniest mean the same things as best. Now the funniest films, in order from 1 to 5 for me would be: Monty Python and the Holy Grail, A Fish Called Wanda, Airplane, The Producers and Blazing Saddles. They’re not the 5 best (though all are on this list), but they’re definitely the 5 funniest. As for the best? Well, since I have so much a longer list to choose from for this category, I went with a top 100. I’ve attached a quote for each film. Some you may not find funny. Some won’t make sense unless you’ve seen the film. And I don’t include films I’ve already categorized in another genre’s list (like The Princess Bride or Almost Famous). So here they are – the 100 Best Comedies. (more…)

There has been some interest in reading my thesis, so here is a link to it. Thanks to my brother-in-law John for hosting it on his site. It opens as a pdf.

http://www.beck.org/erik/veronica-masters-thesis.pdf

Christmas morning pictures to follow soon.

So, to start off the second YouTube post, I give you one of the best Editing jobs on YouTube. I even wrote the person who put this together and asked him what programs he used so I could try my hand at such a thing.

but wait, there’s more Thomas ahead . . .

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My thesis is finished, turned in, and all the secondary sources are returned to the library. Thursday night, the History Department held a colloquium for the three of us who finished up this semester to present on our topics. I’ve tried to post the powerpoint presentation I gave, but I’m running into some problems uploading it. I’ll keep trying.

The actual title of the paper ended up being “Uphill/Downhill: The Separate Sphere of Women at Tufts College, prior to and following the establishment of Jackson College for Women.” I will probably go ahead and post a pdf/a of it on Monday (I would do it tonight, but the final version is at work and I didn’t get a chance to send it to myself today since we closed early for fear of snow.)

Anyways, here is a picture of my presentation and a picture of the books I returned today.

Shamelessly plugging my employer.

Shamelessly plugging my employer.

Books I hope to never see again.

Books I hope to never see again.

For Your Consideration for Best Picture - The Dark Knight

For Your Consideration for Best Picture - The Dark Knight

I’m not sure why AFI decided to go with Sports instead of Action-Adventure. Act-Adv films have a long tradition in film history, from the great Errol Flynn films down to the great comic books films of today. And this list encompasses a whole range of them: swashbucklers, literary adaptations, James Bond films, comic book movies, kung-fu, cop films, spy films.

I could have split this up and done Action films separately from Adventure films, but the two have always been blended together by everybody else, so why not just make one list?

I didn’t bother to list the directors with the films this time, because for a lot of these films, it doesn’t really matter who directed them. No list of genres is so resplendent with mediocre directors as is this one. The top 10 has a lot more A-list directors (in terms of talent as opposed to money), including John Huston (twice), John Boorman, Quentin Tarantino and Michael Mann. But in the end, depending on what he chooses to do after Batman, it might turn out that Christopher Nolan is the most talented director on this list. He’s made six films so far, and with the exception of Insomnia, each film has been better than the last. Of course, it will be hard for him to top The Dark Knight, but we’ll see (his films, in order: Following, Memento, Insomnia, Batman Begins, The Prestige, The Dark Knight). (more…)

Orson Welles in Chimes at Midnight (1965)

Orson Welles in Chimes at Midnight (1965)

“Welles never approached such posterity again, although ‘Touch of Evil’ (1958) is a fine example of the then-fading film noir genre.”
Steve Persall ST. PETERSBURG TIMES (as syndicated in the San Diego Union Tribune)

First of all, when you’ve just explained that Citizen Kane is widely regarded as the greatest film ever made, obviously he never approached such posterity again. Neither did anyone else. That’s kind of the point. But in Persall’s article, he dismisses Welles among other directors that “once were giants.” What that misses is that Welles may have been forced out of the studio system, but he hardly failed to continue to be a giant (fat jokes not withstanding). (more…)

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