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Archive for August, 2014

Today I took my mother to see the new movie: “Cantinflas“.  The movie is a biopic of Mario Fortino Alfonso Moreno Reyes, who is perhaps the greatest film star in Mexican film history.
First a little background.  For the first six years of my life, we spent a lot of time around my Hispanic (Mexican) relatives.  Basically, my Tia Socorro looked after my sister, brother (as well as her own five kids) and me while my mom was working.  This was the period when I had the most exposure to my Mexican heritage/culture.  After that time, we moved to a different part of the city and they subsequently moved out of San Francisco.  We still occasionally got together for birthdays and holidays, but I lost what little Spanish I may have understood / spoken.  Anyway, sometime between five and ten years of age my mom took us to the Mission Theater and we watched a couple of movies starring Cantinflas (Mario Moreno’s theatrical name).  I don’t remember anything specific about the movies, but I definitely remember the character.  I remember being entertained even though I can’t possibly have understood much (if any of the language).  I still don’t speak Spanish.  What I do remember was the character was very Jerry Lewis / Groucho Marx / Three Stooges kind of funny to me as a young child.
About a month ago, I was walking into the theater to see “Guardians of the Galaxy” and I saw the big cardboard add for “Cantinflas“.  I immediately flashed back to being a small child with my mom and brother.  The next day I asked my mom if she wanted to go see it with me when it came out.  Of course, she said yes.  Well, at long last, this was the first weekend of release, so off we went to the local cinema.
The movie is actually about two periods in Mr. Moreno’s life: the 1930’s / 1940’s when he is beginning his rise to fame and then the mid-1950’s when he is an established star and being sought to play a part in an American film adaptation of Jules Verne’s “Around the World in 80 Days“.  The movie is split about 60 / 40 between the time periods and is similarly split in Spanish and English.  This may be a problem for those who don’t like to deal with sub-titles.  The other “problem” is Cantinfas speaks so quickly, some of the sub-titles are barely on the screen long enough to read them (some, not long enough).  Having said this, I was able to “get” most of what was being said.
Of course, for me, the more significant problem was I don’t know enough about Mexican culture / history / politics to really follow all of what the movie was “trying” to show.  I also don’t know enough about American film history to appreciate much of what was going on when the film was actually in English – except what was actually being said / portrayed.  For example, the movie starts with an introduction narrative about major motion pictures and shows a lot of “beautiful” people, but unless you know about cinematic history (I don’t) the narrative did little to draw me in, and the actors didn’t really look enough like the people they were playing for me to say, “Oh, that’s supposed to be so-and-so.”
Was the movie “funny”?  No, not to me, although the predominantly Hispanic audience laughed repeatedly (and loudly).  Obviously, there was something being lost in the sub-title translations.  Was the movie entertaining?  Yes.  It brought back the old memories of my childhood.  There is a bull-fight scene which I particularly remember (or felt I did) from my childhood.  Having said this, you should understand Cantinflas is famous for his bull-fighting scenes and one was written into “80 Days” just to show Cantinflas doing this for the American / North American audience.  Since I know I saw that movie in my childhood, it is certainly possible that is the memory I actually have, and not the one shown in the film.  (And the scene in the film is not the one from one of his actual movies.)
Did I “understand” the movie?  I’m not sure I did and I’m not at all convinced anyone else in the theater “understood” all of it either.  The audience looked mostly like family types and I doubt all but a few were old enough to actually remember Moreno as more than a legendary figure in recent Mexican history.  He died in 1993 – 20+ years ago.  It was only after coming home and reviewing Wikipedia did I start to get a better understanding of what was probably trying to be portrayed in the film.  The audience would have to be in their mid-60’s to have had any actual memories of Moreno in his prime.
My final review is mixed.  It is a good, entertaining, and interesting movie which portrays a poor man struggling against circumstance and achieving a great amount of fame and a substantial fortune.  He struggles with both work and his personal life and in the end is presented in fairly typical Hollywood terms as overcoming them (the challenges) to become a good husband and cultural icon.  And therein, lies my challenge as a reviewer…  I think the movie is “adult” fare.  It has moments of levity and moments of pathos.  It is well “crafted” (the poor look poor, the rich look rich; the past seems mostly black and white, while the “present” – the 1950’s – is in color), but I definitely felt like large chunks of the story were not explained sufficiently.  In then end, I recommend the movie, but I feel the recommendation is based on my memories and not on the actual movie I watched.   I guess I’ll have to see it again (in DVD or on TV), before I can make a more definitive recommendation.  If any of my followers are Spanish speaking, I’d be very interested in your reactions to the movie…
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On This Day In:
2013 Children Will Judge
2012 Liar, n.
2011 Freedom To Doubt

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The supreme question before mankind  —  to which I shall not live to know the answer  —  is how men will be able to make themselves willing and able to save themselves.
  —  Walter Lippmann
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On This Day In:
2013 Children Will Judge
2012 Liar, n.
2011 Freedom To Doubt

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Ours is the age which is proud of machines that think, and suspicious of men who try to.
  —  Howard Mumford Jones
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On This Day In:
2013 We Are Not Alone
2012 Lawyer, n.
2011 Each Day Remember…
2010 Impossible Dreams of Camelot

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Go

I will go anywhere provided it is forward.
  —  David Livingstone
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On This Day In:
2013 Well, Does It?
2012 Near Misses Aren’t Successes
2011 Uncomfortable Feelings
2010 San Francisco (favorites)…
Bullets or Butter?

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The real purpose of books is to trap the mind into doing its own thinking.
  —  Christopher Morley
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On This Day In:
2013 Someone Else Believes
2012 The Practical Value of Science
2011 Seize Gladly The Difficult Task
A Constitutional Conversation
2010 The Fierce Urgency Of Now…

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To have a right to do a thing is not at all the same as to be right in doing it.
   –-  G. K. Chesterton
From his book: “A Short History of England
[Found at: http://interestingliterature.com/2014/05/29/10-great-quotations-from-g-k-chesterton/  —  KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2013 Do Bold Things
2012 Seven Causes
2011 I Feel A Tingle Coming On

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Our sweetest songs are those that tell of saddest thought.
  —  Percy Bysshe Shelley
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On This Day In:
2013 The Wife Of An Ordinary Man
2012 Three Words
2011 Know Anyone Like This?
2010 Apoplexy??
When Breaking Up Is Hard To Do…
Sibling Awareness

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Love is an ideal thing, marriage a real thing, a confusion of the real with the ideal never goes unpunished.
     —   Johan Wolfgang Goethe
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On This Day In:
2013 A Happiness Weapon
2012 An Eagle Has Departed
Ummm
And In My Prayers
2011 Welcome Doubt
2010 Talk, Talk, Talk…
Every Day At Least
Democratic Suicide
Pleasurable Reading
Loose Joy
Do, Er, Write – Whatever
This Glorious Company
Relax With A Good Book
Neither Vice Nor Weakness
That’s Rich!
Man Will Prevail!!!
Frankly Speaking to Arizona
Brother By Another Mother

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It is a paradox that in our time of drastic rapid change, when the future is in our midst devouring the present before our eyes, we have never been less certain about what is ahead of us.
  —  Eric Hoffer
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On This Day In:
2013 But So Far…
Twice Moved
2012 Just Like Bubbles
2011 Caring and Driving
Achieve Greatly
2010 Unwise To Trust
Attitude
If The Mind Is Not Tired
Irrationally Crazy
2nd Pair – Shoe Review
Ahnu – Gesundheit!
2009 As for me…
Health Care Reform Now!!

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The most engaging powers of an author are to make new things familiar and familiar things new.
  —  William Thackeray
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On This Day In:
2013 Unbending
2012 Simple Sayings
2011 Wupped Again?
2010 3 and 1…
Musical Notes…
Doubt Tries…
Northwest Passages – Evening Two
The Beierly’s Web Site

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To err is human, but when the eraser wears out ahead of the pencil, you’re overdoing it.
  —   J. Jenkins
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On This Day In:
2013 The Courage To Remake The World
2012 Minor Gifts
2011 I Love It When A Plan Comes Together…
2010 Eloquence
Cleaning the Chalk Board

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My way of joking is to tell the truth.  It’s the funniest joke in the world.
  —  George Bernard Shaw
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On This Day In:
2013 Non-Fungible Commodities
2012 Hope And Tears
2011 Just Long Enough
Meaningful Thoughts

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Take this mnemonic device to heart: Risk, Experiment, Listen and learn, Engage, Value, have an Attitude of gratitude, say No to negativity, and invest Time.
  —  Steve Kayser
From the article:  “Baby Boomers Risk Irrelevance in the Workplace
[Located at one of the many blogs I follow: http://www.govexec.com
The specific post was:   http://www.govexec.com/excellence/promising-practices/2014/06/baby-boomers-risk-irrelevance-workplace/87070/?oref=govexec_today_nl
  —   KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2013 Lacking
2012 So Small A Thing
2011 Is Your Time Valuable?

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1.  Thou shall not attack the person’s character, but the argument.  (Ad hominem)
2.  Thou shall not misrepresent or exaggerate a person’s argument in order to make them easier to attack.  (Straw man fallacy)
3.  Thou shall not use small numbers to represent the whole.  (Hasty generalization)
4.  Thou shall not argue thy position by assuming one of its premises is true.  (Begging the question)
5.  Thou shall not claim that because something occurred before, it must be the cause.  (Post Hoc/False cause)
6.  Thou shall not reduce the argument down to two possibilities.  (False dichotomy)
7.  Thou shall not argue that because of our ignorance, claim must be true or false.  (Ad ignorantum)
8.  Thou shall not lay the burden of proof onto him that is questioning the claim.  (Burden of proof reversal)
9.  Thou shall not assume “this” follows “that” when it has no logical connection.  (Non sequitur)
10.  Thou shall not claim that because a premise is popular, therefore it must be true.  (Bandwagon fallacy)
[No particular reason for posting these…  They are available from multiple web-sites…  I just find them interesting to review every now and then.  —  KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2013 Sociology Of The Future
2012 1010
There In The Sunshine
2011 Not Enough Time

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When you have to make a choice and don’t make it, that is in itself a choice.
    —  William James
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On This Day In:
2013 Still Happens
2012 Possessing Eternity
2011 I Thought We Were Talking About Afghanistan

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