Archive for the ‘Movies’ Category

Morning: Ronald Arbuthnott Knox

April 13, 2015

This morning’s surprise name was Ronald Arbuthnot(t) — which led me nowhere, until I realized that the (very British) name was just the beginning of the name of Ronald Arbuthnott Knox, who is a figure of considerable interest. (The surname Arbuthnot(t) is Scottish.) Knox leads to the fictional detective Miles Bredon and to the Golden Age of Detective Fiction.


Movies and tv: Cannonball Run II

April 1, 2015

(Minimal linguistic content)

A spectacularly terrible movie, to judge from all reports. With a gigantic cast of well-known names, just jammed into this confection:


Judi Dench (and Vin Diesel)

March 29, 2015

Not morning names or death notices, but an appreciation of Dame Judi Dench; Vin Diesel comes along for the ride, so to speak.

A week ago I was startled to come across (on television) the amazingly violent science fiction movie The Chronicles of Riddick (starring Vin Diesel) and to see Judi Dench in the midst of it, as the character Aereon.



March 1, 2015

Today’s Bizarro, with a play on abduction:

So: abduction by aliens (‘extraterrestial beings’) — but for what purpose? In a significantly conventionalized use of alien abduction, the purpose is probing human beings, but here the purpose of the abduction is a more common one: kidnapping for ransom (where it happens that the kidnappers are alien creatures). There are other possibilities.


From the Oscar watch

February 23, 2015

I don’t watch the Oscars shows, but you can’t avoid being exposed to information about them and images from them. So this shot of host Neil Patrick Harris (apparently in an allusion to the movie Birdman) from yesterday’s show came my way:


Shirtless, showing off his carefully tended body, and in snug briefs, showing off a nice but not extravagant package, in the fashion of underwear ads for many many years. This is the Neil Patrick Harris of, among other things, Doogie Howser, M.D.; How I Met Your Mother; and Hedwig and the Angry Inch.


Snowed in

February 10, 2015

A daily New Yorker cartoon by Emily Flake:


This is comprehensible at one level, without any further background information: the kid’s boredom has driven him to a murderous rage. But it’s much richer if you know your movies.


Three morning names

February 3, 2015

I occasionally post about my “morning names” — names that I wake up with stuck in my head, for no reason I can fathom. Today’s morning name was Jensen Ackles, an actor I’ve already written about on this blog (on 8/21/13). But: on Saturday, the social psychologist Bibb Latané; on Sunday, the actor Pat Buttram (noted for cowboy and hayseed roles); and yesterday, the hayseed performer Judy Canova.

The last two will lead me to reflect on farm folk as comic characters, and the last to the 1937 movie Artists and Models, with its mixture of “high” and “low” characters.


Back-to-back American holidays

February 2, 2015

This is day 2 in a pair of specifically U.S. hoidays. Yesterday was Super Bowl Sunday; today is Groundhog Day.



January 24, 2015

Today’s Calvin and Hobbes features the dreaded snow shark:


It all started with Steven Spielberg’s 1975 movie Jaws, with its threatening fins moving through the water and its ominous music. In the cartoon, the fins are moving through the snow, advancing on the hapless snowman.


Dingburg noir

January 6, 2015

The Zippy of 8/12/14 (which seems to have fallen into a wrinkle in time):

An exercise in tracking down (some of) the references.