Friday, 16 February 2018

Seeing Allred (4 Stars)

This is a documentary about the American lawyer Gloria Allred that's currently only available on Netflix. It briefly speaks about many of her court cases over the last 45 years, but concentrates on her defence of 33 women who were allegedly raped by Bill Cosby. Most of the charges against Cosby couldn't be brought to court because of the statute of limitations, so a large part of Allred's legal battle was to have the statute of limitations removed for cases of sexual assault.

Ever since the early years of her career Gloria Allred has been fighting for women's rights. This has involved the right to abortion and the right of single mothers to demand child support. Even though she's a highly successful lawyer she has taken on many cases on behalf of women too poor to pay. Her detractors claim that she's an attention seeker, using high profile cases to give herself celebrity status.

The makers of the documentary are obviously fans of Gloria Allred, so we can't expect impartiality. At the beginning of the documentary it's mentioned that many people oppose her, but I don't feel that this subject is adequately explored. This would have strengthened the documentary rather than weaken it. I see the problem that she scares the men who enjoy their life in a patriarchal society. She's very blunt in stating what she wants for women. It's not a matter of negotiation. She wants it all and she wants it now.

So she's a feminist? So what? There's a gender war going on right now. Winning the right to vote wasn't the end of the battle, it was the beginning. As Gloria Allred states at the end of the film, the ballot box is the only place in America where women are equal. In every other place they still suffer disadvantages. In America women were given the right to vote in 1920. It could be argued that they've been complacent since then. Gloria Allred is anything but complacent. She's a fighter.

Thursday, 15 February 2018

Gone in 60 Seconds (4 Stars)

There are a lot of films that have a car chase. "Gone in 60 seconds" is a car chase that has a film. There's a plot, but the story is dull and the acting is lacklustre. My advice is that you skip the first 55 minutes and just watch the car chase that fills the rest of the film. Some people claim that it lasts 40 minutes, but I timed it at a mere 32 minutes. It's a matter of definition, whether you begin when the car is driving or when the pursuit begins. Whatever the exact length is, it's one of the best car chases ever filmed.

When you ask people for lists of the best car chases the answers differ a lot. It depends on what the criteria are. Do you mean the length of the chase? That would put "Gone in 60 Seconds" at the top of the list. Do you like car chases with extras, such as the special effects in "The Matrix Reloaded"? What about crazy elements, such as the tank in "GoldenEye"? The Terminator films all have exciting car chases. "The Raid 2" combines a car chase with a martial arts battle. Do you think that car chases using CGI are acceptable, or do you just want a no-frills car chase with stunt men sitting in real cars, pedal to the metal?. "Death Proof" is Quentin Tarantino's homage to the pre-computer days when car chases were real.

"Gone in 60 Seconds" was made in 1974 and features one of the greatest classic car chases. An army of stunt men are shown driving and crashing cars. The streets weren't completely cordoned off for the shoots, leading to some unplanned extras. For instance, the appearance of the biker gang in the film was unplanned. They were out for a casual drive when the police cars raced by in pursuit of the yellow Mustang. Thinking they were real policeman the bikers shouted abuse as they passed. Things like that can't be planned.

My four-star rating is a composite rating, the average of two stars for the first 55 minutes and five stars for the rest.

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P. S. Don't bother with the 2000 remake of this film, however talented the actors are. The story and acting are better, but it has a much inferior car chase. They don't make them like they used to.

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Ed Wood (5 Stars)

This is doubtlessly one of the best films ever made. It's the true story of Edward D. Wood Jr, who's considered by many to be the worst film director ever. I disagree with this opinion, but I'll let it stand. It's a bigger achievement to become the worst at something than to be average. Nobody would ever want to make a film about an average director, but if someone is the worst people want to know about him. Last week I went to see "The Disaster Artist", another film about a monumentally bad director, Tommy Wiseau. Comparing the two, they couldn't be more different.

Ed Wood was a poor man who made the best films he could with the limited resources he had available. The end result was far from perfect, but his directing skills shone through the low budget appearance.

Tommy Wiseau was a rich man who invested millions into making a film, but the result looks cheap and amateurish.

Imagine what Ed Wood could have done with Tommy Wiseau's money. He would have made masterpiece after masterpiece.

"Ed Wood" has a few amusing scenes, but it isn't intended to be a comedy. Any humour comes out of the ridiculous things that happened in his life. The whole cast of "Plan 9 From Outer Space" had to be baptised to get funding for the film. I think that anyone able to strike a deal like that is a genius.

How does the actress Lisa Marie compare with Vampira? Her waist is thicker and her hands are smaller, but she makes up for it by having longer fingernails. Would you let yourself be scratched by Lisa Marie? I would. I'd still be gasping with excitement when she steps back and the blood is trickling down my cheeks.

I'll be watching "Ed Wood" again when I present my top 50 favourite films. If I ever get round to it.

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Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Marvel Years: Mar 1963

March 1963 was another memorable month for Marvel. Spider-Man, who first appeared in Amazing Fantasy #15, was given his own comic. He rapidly became Marvel's most popular super-hero, a position he's held for more than 50 years, in the comics at least. In the same month Iron Man first appeared in the anthology comic Tales of Suspense.

Spider-Man #1

Title: Spider-Man

Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Steve Ditko

Regulars: Aunt May, J. Jonah Jameson, Liz Allan (unnamed), John Jameson

This comic contains two stories. The first story is divided into three unnamed parts and is simply called "Spider-Man". This is the first comic to feature the owner of the Daily Bugle, J. Jonah Jameson, who is driven by an irrational hatred for Spider-Man. He's determined to persuade the public, through the power of the press, that Spider-Man is a criminal. If it's printed in black and white it has to be true. Even when Spider-Man saves his son, the astronaut John Jameson, J. Jonah Jameson still demands his arrest.

Title: Spider-Man vs the Chameleon

Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Steve Ditko

Villain: The Chameleon

Guests: The Fantastic Four

Regulars: Aunt May, J. Jonah Jameson, Liz Allan (unnamed), John Jameson

This is the first story in which we read about Spider-Man's "spider sense" which warns him of danger. In this story his spider sense is also able to pick up radio waves. As far as I remember, this rather silly concept was never used again in the comics.

Title: Iron Man is born

Writer: Stan Lee, Larry Lieber
Artist: Don Heck

Villain: Wong Chu (a Vietnamese warlord)

This is another tragic hero, typical for Stan Lee's creations. Anthony Stark's metal armour gives him great strength, but the breastplate is also necessary to keep him alive by preventing the shrapnel from an explosion reaching his heart. He's shown to be a playboy, dating one girl after another, but we can assume that the need for a breastplate prevented him ever becoming intimate with his romantic conquests.

As is typical in Stan Lee's early super-hero stories, Communists play a large role. This time it isn't a vague unnamed country. Anthony Stark is taken prisoner in North Vietnam.

This issue also contains two short anthology stories.

Fantastic Four #12

Title(s): The Incredible Hulk
Mission: Stop the Hulk
Who is the Wrecker?
The Hulk at last

Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Jack Kirby

Villain: Karl Kort (The Wrecker)

Guests: The Hulk, General Ross, Rick Jones

Regulars: Alicia Masters

This is a single story split into four parts that have been given individual titles. General Ross asks the Fantastic Four to capture the Hulk, who's suspected of sabotaging a missile installation. As you can guess, it was someone else. The person responsible is Karl Kort, a Communist spy, using a giant robot.

The battle between the Hulk and the Fantastic Four is brief and inconclusive. The Hulk is stronger than each of the Fantastic Four individually, but they don't have time to fight against him as a group.

This is another small joke typical for Stan Lee in the 1960's.

The Incredible Hulk #6

Title: Beauty and the Beast

Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Steve Ditko

Villain: Metal Master

Regulars: General Ross, Betty Ross, Rick Jones

Sadly, this was the last issue of "The Incredible Hulk". The sales weren't good enough to keep it going. Luckily Stan Lee didn't give up on him. He was brought back a few months later in the pages of "The Avengers", as you'll soon see.

Tales to Astonish #41

Title: Prisoner of the Slave World

Writer: Stan Lee, Larry Lieber
Artist: Don Heck

Villain: Kulla

Kulla is a villain who lives in "another dimension of space and time". That sounds like Stan Lee's way of saying it's a faraway world which can be reached immediately because it's parallel to our world. This concept will be used extensively in the Doctor Strange stories which begin in Strange Tales later in 1963. By then the expression will will be shortened to merely "dimension". That's less work for the letterer Artie Simek.

This issue also contains two short anthology stories.

Journey into Mystery #90

Title: Trapped by the Carbon-Copy Man

Writer: Stan Lee, Larry Lieber
Artist: Al Hartley

Regulars: Jane Foster, Odin

Villain: Xartans

An alien race from the Planet Xarta wants to conquer the Earth and arrives with a big armada. They prepare their attack by kidnapping and impersonating many people in New York. The expression "Carbon-Copy Man" is only used in the title. The aliens are called Xartans, and their leader is Ugarth.

This issue also contains two short anthology stories.

Strange Tales #106

Title: The Threat of the Torrid Twosome

Writer: Stan Lee, Larry Lieber
Artist: Dick Ayers

Villain: Carl Zante

Regulars: Susan Storm, Reed Richards, Ben Grimm

There's only one villain in this story. The Torrid Twosome in the title are made up of the master acrobat Carl Zante and the Human Torch. Carl appeals to Johnny Storm's pride and persuades him to leave the Fantastic Four and form a new group. It's lucky that he didn't stay long in his new partnership, or the world's greatest comic magazine would have had to change its name to the Terrific Trio. It doesn't sound quite as good, does it?

Amusingly, this story reveals that the Human Torch has been struggling to keep his secret identity secret for nothing. The whole town of Glenville already knows who he is.

I didn't realise until today how far Glenville is from Manhattan, where the Baxter Building is situated. It's way up north in New York state, 170 miles away. That's a long way for Susan and Johnny to commute to work every day.

This issue also contains three short anthology stories.

Monday, 12 February 2018

Darkest Hour (5 Stars)

Despite praises heaped on this film by my friends in England I thought I might not like it. A film about Winston Churchill fighting the war against Germany sounded like a retelling of a story that's been filmed over and over again. As I soon found out, I went into the film with the wrong expectations. "Darkest Hour" is a story that's never been told before. It's not about fighting the Germans, it's about Winston Churchill's fight against his rivals in the British parliament.

The film covers a relatively brief period of time, from May 9th until June 4th 1940. That's the time he needed to win his battle and conquer parliament. A digital calendar keeps track of the date, telling us what happened when, but it's not used in the final scene, his legendary speech in parliament, giving the impression that it took place before the Battle of Dunkirk. It actually took place immediately afterwards.

The speech was about ten times as long as the extract shown in the film. The first part of the speech was a summary of the battles against Germany so far. The second part of the speech is a call to war against Germany to protect the British Isles. This is one of the most famous speeches ever made, so I'll quote it here.

"Turning once again, and this time more generally, to the question of invasion, I would observe that there has never been a period in all these long centuries of which we boast when an absolute guarantee against invasion, still less against serious raids, could have been given to our people.

"I have, myself, full confidence that if all do their duty, if nothing is neglected, and if the best arrangements are made, as they are being made, we shall prove ourselves once again able to defend our Island home, to ride out the storm of war, and to outlive the menace of tyranny, if necessary for years, if necessary alone. At any rate, that is what we are going to try to do. That is the resolve of His Majesty’s Government; every man of them. That is the will of Parliament and the nation. The British Empire and the French Republic, linked together in their cause and in their need, will defend to the death their native soil, aiding each other like good comrades to the utmost of their strength.

"Even though large tracts of Europe and many old and famous States have fallen or may fall into the grip of the Gestapo and all the odious apparatus of Nazi rule, we shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender, and even if, which I do not for a moment believe, this Island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God’s good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old".

The Matrix Revolutions (5 Stars)

As I've said before, "The Matrix Reloaded" and "The Matrix Revolutions" are two halves of the same film. They should be watched back to back, as I've done by watching them yesterday and today.

The rogue programs play more of a role in the the third film. We find a program called the Trainman, whose duty it is to smuggle programs in and out of the Matrix. Programs hacking programs? Things are getting complicated. Sati, who has the appearance of a young girl, is a program due to be deleted because she has no apparent purpose. Her parents, also programs, love her and want her to survive, so they use the Trainman to bring her to the Oracle for protection. This shows that although the Oracle is working for the machines she's willing to be rebellious and follow her own agenda.

Smith has now become a virus, infecting all of the Matrix. He's become so powerful that he could infect and destroy all the programs in the real world. Only Neo is capable of destroying Smith, with the Oracle's help, so he makes a deal with the machines. If he destroys Smith the Matrix will be upgraded to the next version, Matrix 7.0, without Zion being destroyed. In the new version it will be made easier for people to unplug themselves, if they wish to. To round things off, Sati's purpose is revealed in the new Matrix. Remember that the next time you want to delete a program.

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Sunday, 11 February 2018

The Matrix Reloaded (5 Stars)

There's one thing I'd love to ask the Wachowski Brothers if I ever met them. Did they intend to make a sequel when they made "The Matrix" in 1999? It was complete in itself and didn't need a sequel. However, the two sequels slot ideally onto the original film like three pieces of Lego. Maybe I should say "sequel" in the singular, because the two sequels are actually a single story told in two halves. It could have been released as a single four and a half hour film.

In the second film there are drastic changes. The first film is all about the prophecy that The One will come and save mankind from the machines. In the second film we find out that the prophecy is a lie, invented by the machines to control humanity. The One is used to periodically reboot the Matrix with new upgrades. The Matrix that is shown in the films is the sixth version, Matrix 6.0. Parallel to each new version of the Matrix Zion has to be destroyed and reborn. Understandably, this revelation is crushing to Morpheus, because the prophecy has been what has kept him going all his life.

Most shocking of all is that the Oracle isn't human, she's a computer program written by the machines. She's a counterpart to the Architect, the program that created the Matrix. The Architect has been trying ever since the first version to balance the equations and keep the Matrix in perfect harmony. The Oracle's job is to unbalance the equations, preparing the way for the next version. Her job of unbalancing equations is done by foretelling the future to selected humans, which makes it seem like she's on humanity's side, but she's really working for the machines.

The second film also introduces rogue programs. There are programs that fail or programs that serve no purpose. There are obsolete programs left over from former versions of the Matrix. Some of these programs dutifully allow themselves to be deleted, while others are driven by self-preservation and hide in backdoors in the Matrix. This concept is expanded in the third film.

And then there's Smith.....

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TV Series: Celebs Go Dating

Over the last few months I've frequently mentioned reality shows in my reviews, in particular when it has to do with parodies of television reality shows like "Slashers". The last time I watched a complete season of a reality show was in 2004, so I think it's fair that I should watch a new show to find out what they're like today. I picked "Celebs Go Dating", because the new season started last week, so I can start watching at the beginning.

The premise of the series is that normal members of the public can go on dates and potentially enter a long term relationship with celebrities. This gives the series the element of a game show, where the jackpot isn't a big cash prize but a marriage and happiness for life. That's the theory. A fictional dating agency in London handles the celebrities and introduces them to members of the public.

So I sat down to watch the first episode, in which the celebrities were introduced. Who on Earth are these people? I'd never heard of them. I thought celebrities were supposed to be famous. This is an area where I apparently don't know much. In recent years a fake celebrity culture has arisen in which people who have no achievements to their name are propelled into fame by appearing as contestants on reality shows. Their "fame" is limited to those who watch reality shows, not to the general public.

Let's define the terms I'll use in this review, because some terms are used vaguely in magazines, and it's possible my definition might disagree with yours.

A celebrity is an entertainer who has achieved fame by success in his field. He/she might be an actor, a singer or a writer. A sportsman might also be a celebrity if he excels in a sport frequently shown on television, such as football or tennis. I divide celebrities into four classes:

A-List Celebrity: someone with big achievements that everyone knows.

B-List Celebrity: someone with big achievements that most people know, but isn't always in the public eye.

C-List Celebrity: someone with smaller achievements who's only known to a specialised group of fans.

Z-List (Zero-List) Celebrity: someone without achievements who is only known through having famous parents or having a lucky break.

Now to the celebrities themselves, in the order they were introduced:

Gemma Collins: a Z-List celebrity who has appeared on several reality shows over the last few years.

Muggy Mike Thallasitis: a Z-List celebrity who has played football for obscure non-league football teams. He's gained celebrity status by appearing in the reality show Love Island.

Ollie Locke: a Z-List celebrity who has appeared on several reality shows over the last few years.

Sam Thompson: a Z-List celebrity who appeared in the reality show Made in Chelsea.

Tallia Storm: a C-List celebrity who became famous when she performed with Elton John at the age of 13. Since then her career has stalled, and all her songs are offered free online. She is better known for dating Brooklyn Beckham (David Beckham's son) than for her music.

London Hughes: a C-List celebrity who is possibly the most talented celebrity on the show, currently working as a TV presenter and comedienne.

Jade Jones: a C-List celebrity who has won Olympic gold medals for Taekwando. She's the only one of the eight celebrities that I already knew. She's a highly talented sportswoman, but is she really a celebrity? Does she even want to be a celebrity?

Jonathan Lipnicki: a C-List celebrity who was a successful as child actor, but is now struggling to find good film roles.

After watching the first five episodes I'm stunned by the shallowness and stupidity of the show. It's worse than I could have imagined. What sort of people could find this show entertaining? It's embarrassing. I'd be more entertained burning ants with a magnifying glass.

I could see even after the first episode how the celebrities were picked. Mike is the bad guy who's supposed to make the audience boo and hiss. Gemma is the poor little girl who's been flung into a world where she doesn't belong; she thinks she's special, but she can't be happy until she realises she isn't. Ollie is the token gay guy so that Channel 4 can say, "Look, we're not homophobic". Jade is an innocent non-celebrity who's out of place in the company of the other seven, so she can win sympathy votes from the public. Sam is a likeable guy who, unlike Gemma, has managed to retain a natural attitude despite rising to fame thorough reality shows; he's the one the public is supposed to like, as emphasised by the clashes with Mike in the first episode. Tallia is a conceited little girl who doesn't realise that her singing career is a failure. London is the funny girl who can win the public's hearts with her charisma. I think that Jonathan has been added merely to boost the show's credibility; he's presented in every episode as "Hollywood's Jonathan Lipnicki", making him sound like a big star, although he himself would admit that he isn't.

The fourth season kicked off with a "mixer" in which the eight celebrities had a private party with members of the public, about 20 to 30 of them. The off-screen narrator proclaimed to the audience that the celebrities were "meeting people just like you". That's an insult. None of the hand-picked members of the audience at the party were anything like me. They were all trying to impress with their fancy clothing and chic hair-dos rather than their intelligence and humour. Maybe that's just what they were forced into, because by the fifth episode Jonathan's date Becca turned out to be a very natural young woman, wearing ripped jeans and eating a kebab. That's the sort of woman I like.

With the exception of Jonathan and Becca, the dates between the celebrities and the "normal people"  were more tragic than amusing. Sometimes the dates failed because of the awkwardness of the normal people, sometimes because of the awkwardness or arrogance of the celebrities. Gemma especially sabotaged her dates by demanding to be put on a pedestal. Then there was pure strangeness, like the dental assistant who said she likes to collect teeth that have been pulled out. Everyone needs a hobby.

But let's be fair. Is this the right atmosphere to be dating? How can two young people have a relaxed conversation when they're surrounded by a camera crew? Judging by the camera angles, at least two cameramen accompany them on each date. That would be enough to make anyone freeze and be unable to talk. Only Jonathan seemed natural in front of the camera, which is probably the result of his acting career in early years.

One thing that was painfully missing from the first episode was a list of the successful relationships which have resulted from the previous three seasons. It's doubtful that any relationships that develop in this season will last until the beginning of the fifth season.

London Hughes is the sort of woman who I could sit and have a laugh with. She's fun to be around. Never mind the pressure of "dating", I'd just like to be her friend. That's probably the problem with the whole series. When I meet a girl I can sit and have fun with her, and who cares if there's no romantic spark? We can still meet again.

Jade is so natural that it's difficult not to like her. She's not the sort of person you would expect to find among celebrities. Her naive innocence will probably endear her to the audience, making them want to see her in other reality shows, but I fear that if she takes part in too many she could be corrupted and lose her charm.

After seeing Gemma's social awkwardness in the first episode I felt sorry for her, but in the following episodes I lost any sympathy I had. She claims to be classy, but she's vulgar. One of her utterances was so primitive that I had to replay it, I couldn't believe she really said it. "There's nothing wrong with my vagina. It's designer. Everyone loves it". Disgusting.

It takes an American to show how it's done. A kiss and a kebab under a statue on the street. That's what a date should be like, not elegant clothing and an over-priced meal in a city centre restaurant. Maybe Jonathan's film career isn't going too well, but he's a great guy, and I like Becca even more.

Eden Blackman impresses me as the cool, suave head of the fictional "Celebrity Dating Agency". I'm sure it's all an act, but he carries it well. I don't know what percentage of the dialogue of the celebrities is scripted, but Eden's lines are obviously 100% scripted. His businesslike calm brings some dignity to an otherwise chaotic show.

I originally intended to watch the whole fourth season of "Celebs Go Dating", but I can't carry on. It's too painful to watch. Some of the so-called celebrities are better than the others, but they're all presented in bad situations. Something as precious as searching for love and life-long relationships shouldn't be dragged through the dirt like this. It's an indictment of modern society that the public wants to watch dating in reality shows. Is it a voyeuristic pleasure in watching the rich and famous fail in their quest for love? Does the housewife sitting at home gloat and say, "Just look at those rich people, they're no happier than me"?

If you're a fan of this series, please leave me comments telling me what you like about it.

Saturday, 10 February 2018

Memento (5 Stars)

It's four years since I watched "Memento" for the first time. Click here to read my review, because I don't intend to go into the film's plot again. I don't know why I waited so long to watch it again. "Memento" is possibly Christopher Nolan's best film, surpassing even the big budget "Inception" in its mind-bending originality.

The film was made in 2000 and is a product of its time. The methods of detective work used by Leonard Shelby are relatively low tech in comparison with what he could do today. He suffers from anterograde amnesia, an illness that prevents the creation of new memories, even though he can remember everything that happened before the illness began. Leonard uses Polaroid photos, notes and tattoos to tell himself what he found out the previous day. If the film were made today he would use a smartphone, combining photos, videos and audio recordings as a replacement for his memories.

Leonard's sole purpose in life is to find and kill the man who murdered his wife. He's scared that he has enemies who might be falsifying his notes or destroying his photos, so he has his most important notes tattooed on his body. What he doesn't suspect is that he himself might have written false notes to lead himself astray. Maybe there are memories too painful to remember, so he's decided to forget them.

This is a fascinating subject. I don't suffer from an illness like Leonard Shelby, but my memory isn't perfect. It's good, but not perfect, as I realised yesterday when I found an old photograph that I haven't seen for years. It was taken on my graduation day in 1978 with the eight members of my university course. I was shocked to realise that out of the seven fellow students in the photo I could only remember the names of three of them, even though we sat together in classes for years. I'm at the top dressed in green. Bottom left is Susan Busby. She's easy to remember because we had a relationship for a few months. She was the only girl from my university that I ever dated. Next to her is her best friend Pamela Flaws. I spent a lot of time with her in the last year helping her study, because she was struggling to keep up. It went well for a few months, but then she began to resent my help because she thought I was talking down to her. I wasn't, I genuinely wanted to help her, and I was overjoyed when she passed. Top right is Ian, who invited me to his wedding in York, but I've forgotten his last name. He's lucky. I can't remember the other four at all.

Now the question is: what would happen if I had deliberately labelled the photo with the wrong names 40 years ago? I would look at it now, and because I can't remember the correct names I would assume that the wrong names are correct, that I've merely forgotten them.

What about more recent memories, like films? I watch a lot of films, more than 400 a year. Even if I only count the films which I'm watching for the first time, it must be over 100, maybe as many as 200. There are some films that I remember vividly. I have no trouble remembering the best films and the worst films. It's the average quality films that are fuzzy in my memory, even if it's only been a year since I watched them. My brain throws out the irrelevant clutter. I've got into the habit of always reading my old review (or reviews) when I watch a film that I've seen before. The main reason is so that I don't write a new review that repeats everything I've already said, but it's also to deepen my analysis, by reminding myself of what I already know so I can concentrate on finding new things.

What if I deliberately sabotaged my blog? What if I wrote that a film is brilliant, even though I hate it? What if I love a film, but I give it a bad review? I'm not saying that it would be good to do things like that, but if I did, what would be the result? I might return to a film after a few years and say, "That's weird, it's not the way I remember it at all". Alternately, if I've forgotten the film my incorrect review might replace my memories when I read it.

Putting it bluntly, if I lie about something often enough, will I believe my own lies? It's not something I've ever done, but I've seen others, including my own mother, who have done it. She told lies about my father to cover up her affair with another man, but when I spoke to her 25 years later I had the impression she really believed what she was saying. The lies weren't just to persuade others, they were to convince herself, and when she was in her 70's she no longer remembered the past events, she just remembered her words about them.

If, like Leonard Shelby, you've done something very bad you have a reason for wanting to forget. My mother wanted to forget. I've never done anything as bad as my mother. If I had I might want to forget it, but could I? I confessed my darkest secret in a recent post. It's not something I think about a lot, but it's something I've never forgotten, and when I think about it I feel guilty. Could I have reprogrammed myself to forget this memory? I would have forgotten the guilt, but the guilt would have remained. The deeper question is, if it really is possible to reprogram myself to forget, have I done it already? Was I a serial killer in my teens, and I've forgotten all about it? That's a scary thought.

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