This way cool article about the most beautifully, shockingly, horrifyingly delicious series on TV gives the first truly indepth information I’ve ever seen about the characters, the episodes, and why things are so different from Thomas Harris’ riveting novels about the devious doctor we so love to hate. The bit of most interest to me is that they may eventually be able to obtain the rights to use Clarice Starling in the series. That intriguing possibility immediately started chasing itself around in my head. It’s impossible not to wonder how they would fit Clarice into the life of a Hannibal we think hasn’t met her yet. I’ve been fascinated by the ways his macabre dance with Bedelia seems to mirror the Hannibal and Clarice dark duet of Harris’ novel Hannibal. Though it sounds like mystique is the underpinning beneath the surface of Hannibal’s actions regarding his own shrink, I’m in for the ride, wherever it goes. It took some time, but I’ve come to accept the TV series Hannibal as its own, unique Hannibal Lecter vessel. They know what they’re doing. The fact that I don’t is part of the attraction to this character driven, beautifully executed moving still life of a horror show.
I started watching NCIS from ep one for one reason. I fell in love with David McCallum’s looks and acting, when I watched him as Sydney’s father in the excellent but largely unsung science fiction series VR.5. In addition to its fabulous cast, it was absorbing and a little too far ahead of its time. So McCallum’s addition to another great cast drew me in and I’ve been watching NCIS from ep one.
McCallum’s character, Dr. Donald “Ducky” Mallard, has gone through many experiences over the course of the long running series. He’s always been charming and a bit eccentric. As his character progressed, we learned that, in addition to his keen intelligence, he is resourceful and a good man to be in danger with, if in danger you must be. It took his involvement with a figurative fallen angel to begin to show his romantic side. Then last week’s episode expanded on that and more.
We now know why such a handsome charmer never married the love of his life. Actually that there was a love of his life. Even that he doesn’t like bow ties, and why he wears them anyway.
What we don’t know is why the much younger Alice Krige was cast as said love. With her unusual beauty tweaked, it worked. Star Trek: The Next Generation tweaked her right into scaring us to death as the Borg Queen. So turning her into a Ducky contemporary must have been a piece of cake compared to that. Particularly since David McCallum certainly doesn’t look 81! Maggie’s acerbic demeanor contrasted beautifully with her softer attitude toward “Donnie”. They made a lovely and believable couple that might have been. So much so that I hope we haven’t seen the last of her, or of the dreamy romantic side of Ducky, as fully revealed in their final scene.
NCIS Clip: Over My Dead Body
You would think one crush on a longdead celebrity would be more than enough. I’ve adored poet Rainer Maria Rilke from across time for…um…ages, and eventually he was joined in my way-cool-people-no-longer-with-us mental files by Nikola Tesla, as I kept learning fascinating stuff about him. This article has a lot of info any Tesla fan will find interesting, cool, and surprisingly charming. Some of the details are obscure and personal, and left me feeling as if I attended a dinner party where friends of the dapper scientist told stories only they knew.
Some of them made me smile, such as his sense of humor. Quite the practical joke he played on Mark Twain. Not sure where his aversion to pearls falls on the scale from endearing to a little crazy. And it’s intriguing that he had wealthy friends and lived in the Waldorf Astoria. Tales of his later life with which I was more familiar make it too easy to forget that his scientific genius paralleled the excessive drive and its resulting wealth of men like Andrew Carnegie and J. P. Morgan in the Gilded Age.
The one that stunned me was the way he reached so far toward the future…our present…when he envisioned the smartphone and wireless internet. He didn’t call his ideas by those terms and they were distinctly Teslaian, but he was spot on with his intentions.
If only he could walk our modern streets, and see so many of us with our personal devices so similar to his own ideas practically glued to our heads, he would revel in our embracing of technology, communication, and connectivity. Sometimes I wonder what our world would be like today, if he lived now instead of then. It’s absolute tragedy that a man so far ahead of his time died a man so misunderstood as he lived. Alone and largely unsung, with pure genius sparking from his mind like the lightning bolts leapt from his Tesla coils.
YouTube is great for many, many tastes. Finding that music video or movie trailer you just have to watch a half dozen times in a row, marveling at a new scientific discovery, watching supercute animals do something supercute…and it can be used as a sort of time machine. By mood, on a whim, the product of obsessive trawling for perfection in all its guises, a world of visual coolness awaits. Today I started looking through Fred Astaire videos on a whim.
Dancing on the ceiling and in the midst of firecrackers, tap dancing with Eleanor Powell and ballroom dancing with Ginger Rogers, Fred Astaire is always elegant, slightly selfdeprecating perfection. And then there’s this performance . He’s also apparently a talented drummer. I came across this clip from A Damsel in Distress, and was wowed. What an awesome performance! Drumsticks and shiny shoe tips do their thing on the drums, interspersed with the staccato percussion of his dancing.
Three things kept occurring to me as I watched. One–What an incredible gift that man had. Two–How much he must have practiced to get that entire sequence so perfect. Three–Those drums were surely reinforced somehow to withstand so much kicking!
Fred Astaire. Dancing on air or kicking the heck out of a great big drum set, he remains a phenomenon to this day.
This story of a Paris apartment left untouched for 68 years is the kind of thing read about in novels. At times remarkable events do happen in real life, especially when aided by the urgency of history in progress. A woman hurriedly fled her home to escape the Nazis. In her haste she left behind a tangible snapshot of turn of the century life. A beautiful apartment filled with beautiful things. There are layers of awe frozen in time here. Awe in the lavish furnishings and accessories with which she was able to surround herself, awe in the history held captive so perfectly by time, and awe in the almost palpable fear that drove her to abandon such a gorgeous and well loved home with little time to spare. The pictures of the abandoned rooms made me feel each of these things in progression, even as I was both envious of the life she must have led and horrified by the ill tides of the war that drove her from it.
Buying music on impulse can be a wonderful thing. So can sales on Amazon. That’s how I ended up with the soundtrack to a movie I haven’t seen…The Fault In Our Stars. I got it because Lykke Li has a song on it…No One Ever Loved. That’s very beautiful and led me to so much more, including the gorgeous All Our Stars by Ed Sheeran, the fun, catchy Boom Clap by Charli XCX, and the rest. I love the whole soundtrack. It’s Not About Angels that’s totally grabbed hold of my heart, though. Some songs will take me by surprise. Not content with just my ears, they become a full on emotional experience that takes mere earwormery to other levels. Birdy is an artist I’m just discovering and I expect to be enjoying her beautiful voice for a long time.
Having received The Secret Life of Walter Mitty as a gift, I started watching with no foreknowledge beyond a trailer. It’s interesting for me to go into movies like that, since I usually choose them by talent involved. Mostly actors, but there are some producer, director, and writer geniuses I look for too. Merchant Ivory always gets my attention. Glen Morgan too, though I often get creeped out well beyond my comfort zone by his work, which is part of the draw. I like Scorsese, because of more recent movies like Shutter Island and Hugo, with a lot more to catch up on. Same with Kubrick…. Nothing like movies and the talent behind them to make me digress.
With Walter Mitty I went in blind, as it were. I haven’t even read the Thurber story, though I’m more inclined to now, because I really enjoyed the movie. After it was well underway. I don’t do well generally with movies that start with office drudgery. The Russell Crowe charmer A Good Year almost lost me with too much office stuff, and then I ended up loving it. I try to be cautious about sticking around long enough to see what the second act holds. I’m so glad I did with Walter Mitty.
The first thing that grabbed me was the way fantasy drove his existence to a higher plane, even if no one else knew. Just about everyone with imagination does that to some extent. From dreams of winning the lottery to cinematic mental storytelling, fantasies give us a way to transcend whatever we need to escape and have a better life in some small way. So in that Walter becomes extremely relatable.
The thing about this story that’s so lovable is that our hero becomes just that. Mister Milquetoast becomes a live action heroic figure, even if his quest is for a photograph instead of treasure or truth. My favorite scenes are everything with the helicopter pilot and the sublime and scenic skateboarding adventure. At that point the starkly gorgeous scenery in
Iceland costars right along with Ben Stiller. It made me want to go there, which is a fine challenge for any movie I watch. (Still wishing for a fast train to Asgard…)
So The Secret Life of Walter Mitty was a gift. Both for my birthday and as a movie I could have disliked, but really loved by the end. Add in the always awesome Shirley MacLaine and a great soundtrack, and Walter Mitty is truly memorable.