Election Day

One of Michigan’s ballot proposals, if passed, would bar convicted felons from holding public office.

First Reaction: That’s a no-brainer, why don’t we do it already?

Second Reaction: Oh wait, who will be left to govern the state?

Of course, the word “convicted” is the qualifier.

Vote today or keep your mouth shut about politics for the next 24 months.

That is all.

What Do Your Favorite Movies Say About You?

I was intrigued and inspired by the recent article “The Candidate’s Favorite Movies” from Roger Ebert of The Chicago Sun Times. Discovering what a person’s favorite movies are can truly say a lot about them. As one commenter on the article put it:

I recently went out with a girl. After a few stock questions, “Where did you grow up?” “How many siblings do you have?” we came upon the infamous “What’s your favorite movie?” After she told me SON IN LAW with Pauly Shore I knew it was going to be a long night.

That’s not to say that compatible lists of favorite movies are the be-all and end-all of relationships. Some of my best friends have radically different taste in movies compared to mine, and we get along just fine before, during, and after we argue about whether or not a certain movie is even worth the film it’s printed on, much less the price of a movie ticket. And for my part I enjoy re-watching movies like The 40 Year Old Virgin every bit as much as I do “serious films” like Gattaca or Rear Window. But we have good reasons for liking our favorite movies. Or at least, we generally have better reasons than “OMG he’s sooo cute and the movie is sooo funny!”


Anyway, back to Ebert’s article… Despite the fact that the prospect of a McCain presidency scares the living daylights out of me (and don’t get me started on the possibility that Sarah Palin could become Commander In Chief!) I have to say that I’m impressed by his answers. Not so much by the choice of movies, as by the fact that he actually knew something about their background, and wasn’t just giving a from-the-hip “I like them because they’re cool!” answer. He specifically states that he thinks that Viva Zapata! is Brando’s best of the three Kazan films, and tells us why.

I like that this is not a canned answer, fed to him by an aide. I like that he not only enjoys movies, but takes and interest in them. Roger Ebert is right, movies are not trivia. They are a mirror of society and a reflection on our times. I’m still not going to vote for McCain, and I still don’t like his recent run of smear tactics, but I would be happy to sit down with him and talk movies over dinner. I think it would be an enjoyable feast.

I’m a bit put off by Obama’s answer, though to be fair he wasn’t asked to explain his choices. One wonders what his answers would be.

Before I go, here’s my current Top Five list, in no particular order:

One closing thought that has absolutely nothing to do with film… Tell someone that you love them today. You may not get the chance tomorrow.

On My iTunes right now: Mermaid from the album “Love Deluxe” by Sade

REVIEW: Swing Vote (PG-13)

I’m not a big Costner fan — I’m not one at all, actually. Most of the time his name on a cast list convinces me to see another movie.  Any other movie.  Still, given that this is an election year, and given that Mr. Costner is typically such a box office draw, and given that the current presidential race is – if the polls are to be believed – every bit as close as it is in the movie, I was curious.

That and the fact that there is a dearth of movies to choose from when you suddenly get the urge to go to the theater at 9pm on a Thursday.  Oops.

So the movie – yeah – not the best ever made.  Amazingly predictable.  Kind of an emotional jerk-around.  Flat characters.  Unamazing acting (with the noted exception of Madeline Carroll who will be a force to be rekoned with if she stays in the biz).

With the exception of the last 10 minutes or so, most of the movie is enjoyable fluff. The last few scenes manage to break through to the heart of the film, putting a name and a face on all of us as we struggle in our millions of various ways to get from one day to the next, trying to make things better and just barely getting by.

Despite that, I hope that this movie changes the people who see it. There are a lot of people who do not bother to inform themselves, do not bother to take notice of current events, do not bother to vote. I hope that they make their way into a theater seat. I hope that they get the message. I hope that they begin notice things. I hope that they become informed. I hope they discuss. I hope that they vote.

It is important.

Short of that this is just another Costner movie – albeit a better one than many.




A Major Technicality For Michigan Democrats

The first thing that I want to make clear is that I don’t care if you’re a Democrat or a Republican.

The second thing that I want to make clear is that I’m not declaring myself for either party in this blog post.

Are we clear? Ok, here’s the scoop…

IF you live in Michigan and IF you plan to participate in the Michigan Democratic Primary on Tuesday, January 15th and IF your candidate has elected (ha!) to remove his/her name from the ballot because the Michigan Democratic Party had their heads up their asses when they moved the Primary date forward against party rules, read this:

The 12 December 2007 Voter Guide published by the Democratic Party states: “A vote for “uncommitted” is a vote to send delegates to the Democratic National Convention who are not committed or pledged to any candidate. Those delegates can vote for any candidate they choose at the Convention. Supporters of Joe Biden, John Edwards, Barack Obama and Bill Richardson are urged to vote “uncommitted” instead of writing in their candidates’ names because write-in votes for those candidates will not be counted.

I’m not a big fan of the Electoral College method in the first place, but this is just plain ridiculous! How many voters will cast ballots for those excused candidates on Tuesday? And of those, how many votes will do it correctly so that their vote “counts”? And finally, what control do those voters who vote “uncommitted” on Tuesday have over their electorate?

None. Zero. Zip. Zilch.

This goes beyond party lines. This is just plain bad policy all around, and I hope to see the idiots who thought up this scheme pay (politically) in the next election.