It’s been a rough summer in New Orleans. I’m ready for it to end without another flash flood or tropical system. That remains to be seen but one thing is certain: the heat will persist until early October. I’m hoping my ennui will not.
Thanks, Ashley. I needed that. FYYFF.
We’re staying Down Under with this week’s theme song. Kiwi rock deity Dave Dobbyn wrote Lament For The Numb for the 1993 album of that name. But it applies equally to America circa 2019. We’re all numb from the antics of our idiot president*.
Here’s another Dave Dobbyn song. It has no deep social significance. I just like it:
Now that we’ve gotten numb and danced with the belle of the ball, let’s jump to the break.
We begin our second act with a trip to the frozen north.
The Decline Of Trudeaumania 2.0: Justin Trudeau is the son of the most consequential Prime Minister in Canadian history, Pierre Elliot Trudeau. They’re very big shoes to fill. Trudeau the younger has mastered his father’s PR skills but not his gift for governing.
The bloom is off the rose and Trudeau faces a tough battle for re-election this fall. The Guardian’s Ashifa Kassam has the details.
Before moving on, here’s the most Canadian thing I’ve ever seen: the Guess Who playing outdoors in the freezing cold.
Confessions Of A Journeyman Director: Joel Schumacher has directed 25 feature films; most of which are not to my taste but I’m a snooty film buff. He has always had a eye for talent; among the young players he’s cast include Kiefer Sutherland, Julia Roberts, and Colin Farrell.
Schumacher may be a journeyman director but he’s a helluva raconteur. He recently sat for a fascinating interview with Vulture’s Andrew Goldman.
The Knick: Dr. A and I missed The Knick when it was broadcast in 2014-2015. This historical medical show takes a look at a New York hospital and its staff in 1900. It’s loaded with interesting characters and has a fine cast anchored by Clive Owen as Dr. John Thackeray. He’s a drug addicted medical genius who cuts corners and produces results.
The Knick tackles a variety of social issues from race to corruption to abortion to addiction to eugenics and does it well. Its 20 episodes are definitely must-see teevee.
Here’s the Season 1 trailer:
It’s report card time: I give The Knick 4 stars and an Adrastos Grade of A-.
There’s a gangster character named Ping Wu in The Knick, which gives me an excuse to post some Steely Dan:
Since Ping Wu was not a doctor, I suppose I should eat Humble Pie over that selection:
We begin our third act by setting the dial on the Wayback Machine to 1972.
The Weekly DC: I realize I had my Hitchcock list last week but what can I tell you? This clip from the Dick Cavett Show is a winner. And who among us ever tires of winning?
As you may have noticed, I like old movies and lists. The two collide in our next segment.
The Weekly Classic Movie List: I’ve been revisiting the films of Errol Flynn this summer. Flynn usually played a variation on himself but when you have that much charisma and star power ain’t nothing wrong with that. Flynn was the movie star’s movie star. He also made some very good and highly entertaining films.
My Top Ten Favorite Errol Flynn Movies:
- The Adventures Of Robin Hood
- Gentleman Jim
- They Died With Their Boots On
- Captain Blood
- Dodge City
- The Sea Hawk
- Objective Burma
- The Dawn Patrol
- Footsteps In The Dark
- Uncertain Glory
I listed Uncertain Glory last because I saw it for the first time this week. This wartime drama has an atypical role for its star: Flynn plays a sardonic world-weary cynic named Jean Picard. (Holy Star Trek TNG, Batman.) That’s right, it’s a Bogart role and Errol sticks the landing.
Uncertain Glory is also one of 4 movies on the list directed by Raoul Walsh, one of my favorite directors of the Golden Age. Here’s the director and the subject of this list:
Next up is our favorite stolen feature.
Separated At Birth: We have another hysterical historical pairing. This time it’s contemporary funnyman Jack Black and 18th Century silversmith and midnight rider, Paul Revere.
I wonder if that hand gesture is meaningful or just a portrait pose? The world of Separated at Birth is a mysterious place, y’all.
The last word of the segment goes to (who else?) the Allman Brothers Band:
Let’s cross the pond and drop in on the House of Commons but first another midnight song:
Saturday GIF Horse: There’s political upheaval in the United Kingdom as new Prime Minister Boris Johnson attempts to ram Brexit down the throats of the public and parliament. Among Johnson’s severest critics is Commons Speaker John Bercow.
It’s a pity that Speakers no longer wear that kooky-n-madcap wig. It’s easy to visualize it flying off Bercow’s head as he yells at errant MPs. Now that’s entertainment.
Here’s a wiggy bonus GIF featuring the late Leo McKern as Rumpole of the Bailey:
Now that I’ve dated myself yet again, back to the 21st Century. The Brits know how to throw a demonstration. Boris Johnson is really testing the premise of this Stones classic:
I suspect many of you haven’t heard Rod Stewart’s 1969 cover of Street Fighting Man. It features some wicked slide guitar work by a guy who subsequently played this song live many times, Ron Wood:
Weekly Vintage Music Video: I’ve been remiss in not posting any videos by the Queen of glitzy ’80’s pop, Madonna. It’s time to remedy that omission:
Let’s do some more time traveling. This time to 1960.
Saturday Classic: Billy Eckstein was one of the greatest jazz-pop singers of his era. Billy May was one of the greatest arrangers and bandleaders of that era. They came together in 1960 and made this marvelous album.
That’s it for this week. The last word goes to Clive Owen as Dr. Thackeray in The Knick.