Bridge of Spies

 Movies  Comments Off on Bridge of Spies
Oct 182015

tomTom Hanks stars in a story about a regular guy who finds himself involved in deep, dark, mysterious and dangerous matters, rises to the occasion and masters the situation.

Sound familiar? That’s the plot line for many of Hitchcock’s best films. “The 39 Steps”, “North by Northwest”, and “Rear Window”, just for some examples.

The movie is set in 1957, during the cold war. That was the year after Hitchcock released “The Man Who Knew Too Much” (the second version), which had that basic plot line, and the year before he released “Vertigo”.

Both of those movies starred this guy.jimmy

What brings this to mind is that in thinking about the movie I decided that “Bridge of Spies” would have required zero changes to have Jimmy Stewart in the lead, and to have actually been filmed it that year. It was Stewart’s exact kind of movie. The dialog is perfectly suited to Stewart’s trademark stammering delivery, particularly scenes where he is being persuasive. No whiz-bang effects, just straight ahead camera work. I mentioned the similarity to Marion and she suggested Doris Day for the part of the wife of the Tom Hanks character, which is perfect.  Doris Day was pretty good in “The Man Who Knew Too Much”.

Spielberg directed, and I have to wonder if this similarity was conscious. It is a good movie.


 Posted by at 11:37 pm

Fauntleroy and California

 Legal Stuff  Comments Off on Fauntleroy and California
Oct 182015


So, I saw this and was naturally reminded of the Supreme Court.

Earlier this year there was a case called Walker v. Texas Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans, Inc.    Texas sells specialty license plates on which people can put a message of their choice. Anyone who likes that message can pay extra to those plates. They are not vanity plates, its more like when states have a slogan like “Live Free or Die”, or “Famous Potatoes”. Its kind of goofy, there are plates sponsored by a fast food chain that say “Mighty Fine Burgers”.  A group of redneck pricks applied to be able to get plates with a confederate flag, and to Texas’ credit they were denied. They appealed on First Amendment free speech grounds and lost, with Justice Thomas voting along with the four liberals. Odd, you say? This is a typical example of people who are hard core conservatives except as to matters that affect themselves. Thomas grew up in Georgia in an era when there was plenty of Klan activity, and he knows that flag to be a terrorist symbol.  Thomas’ vote on this is discussed here. The decision came out right around the time that that other redneck prick shot a bunch of Black people at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC.

Anyway during oral argument there was this exchange

Full audio at Oyez.

Ginsberg did not pull that reference out of the air. There was a case in 2007 in which a high school kid sued for a violation of his free speech rights after he was suspended for putting up a poster that said, “Bong hits 4 Jesus” across the street from his high school. Morse v. Frederick.  He lost because Kennedy went with the conservatives for the proposition that kids don’t have free speech.

So, had Thomas not flipped, it seems like the Constitution would require that some kids in Texas would not be allowed to drive to school.

 Posted by at 1:37 pm