ALICE IN WONDERLAND


Tim Burton’s ‘Alice in wonderland’ and the importance of believing in the impossible

... [S]ometimes I’ve believed in as many as six impossible things before breakfast.
– Alice, from ‘Alice in wonderland’ (2010)


This ridiculous line, as uttered by Alice in Tim Burton’s film version of the Lewis Carroll classic, exemplifies the story of our young heroine, and is also the basis by which the fearsome Jabberwocky is slain against all odds.

The purpose of this short writeup is not to proclaim how anything is possible if you believe in yourself, or anything so trite. I relate the idea of ‘believing in the impossible’ to the development of thought. For any science to progress, there is a need for the thinking participants not to confuse their present framework with the essence of their subject, no matter how well such a framework has served them.

NOTES ON VARIOUS ‘TWILIGHT ZONE’ EPISODES


TO SERVE MAN’ ― ‘TWILIGHT ZONE’

Spiritually and technologically advanced aliens would not recognize national government leaders as any more significant or representative of fellow men than other earthlings, and these politicians may even be considered thieves to be neutralized. It is therefore quite intellectually immature to assume that these aliens would meet with people at the United Nations headquarters.

The visiting aliens, politically representing only themselves and not their foreign species, would also initially deal with individuals in their individual capacity. When or if such an interaction is found to be mutually beneficial, more private meetings between the species would occur.

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THE SHELTER’ ― ‘TWILIGHT ZONE’

‘THE BRAIN CENTER AT WHIPPLE’S’ ― ‘TWILIGHT ZONE’



(Two reviews, two years apart)

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September 6, 2008:

The most uncool episode that I’ve seen of Serling-era Twilight zone is probably worse than the worst 2002 series episode. It has to do with ideology. ‘The brain center at Whipple’s’ (1964). For all that the late Rod Serling has contributed in this world, economic wisdom is not one of such things. His ideas are quite within conventional norms and mores. Writing episodes during the cold war, he had on occasion blasted statism, such as in ‘The obsolete man’ and ‘Eye of the beholder,’ not realizing that his minuscule ideas of economics and capitalism were worthy of the same contempt.

‘I SING THE BODY ELECTRIC’ ― ‘TWILIGHT ZONE’


In ‘I sing the body electric’ (1962), Veronica Cartwright’s character Ann adopts two unhealthy attitudes one after the other, based on an inability to appreciate the temporal at their respective moments.

Her hatred of Grandma is rooted in a fear of losing what she loves, as in the case of her mother’s death. This points to an inability to accept reality on its own terms.

Her later love of Grandma, on the other hand, is similarly rooted in an inability to accept reality for what it is, wherein she latches on to an ‘infinite,’ an ‘eternal’. She is able to abandon herself to her loved one in the comfort of permanence, even as the very nature of this world is one of change.

Yet these two unhealthy attitudes are necessities in the growth of an individual.

‘THE OBSOLETE MAN’ ― ‘TWILIGHT ZONE’

The obsolete man’ (1961): shallow, preachy, badly reasoned.

One of its primary faults is combining theism-freedom and pitting it against atheism-statism. And even a statist could never be detached from literature and logic. The statist himself would use phrases like “It follows that...” and would have had to pick up his command of the language through some form of literature or source derived from literature (teachers).

How pathetic is it that Romney Wordsworth’s ‘victory’ consists of his single foe being convicted of obsolescence, by a state whose wheels continue to grind, Wordsworth’s act of martyrdom soon after neglected?

INCEPTION


Christopher Nolan, first with ‘The dark knight’ in 2008 and now ‘Inception’ (2010), is carrying the tradition of great filmmaking into the 21st century. It is quite admirable that such a complex and potentially incomprehensible concept could make it huge in the box office. Really, how does he get away with making films like ‘The prestige’ and now ‘Inception’? Anyone else would make something totally unintelligible.

ENOUGH, FOR THE TIME BEING

When I first compiled these reviews from my notes on July 2010, I figured that I'd be able to come up with a hundred or so in due time. But this assumes that I'd be fired up to write about stupidities in modern and classic cinema. At present, most of the desire to write things down upon watching a movie is gone.

This has a precedent. Back in 2002-2003, I'd often feel the need to write critiques of stupid things of a religious nature that I'd hear from mass media or people I know. At present, I'm far less fazed by such intellectual errors.

In the same way, I think, socialistic or statist proclamations in movies don't affect me too much anymore.

I guess part of it is developing an increased sense of security about my political beliefs. Also, after a while, you realize that the stupidities of others, especially those committed before your lifetime, don't HAVE to be corrected by you.

So there. I might put in a new review or two on occasion. For example, I still have notes gathered from my viewing of the entire first incarnation of 'Twilight zone.' I have good, and bad, things to say about the show, depending on the particular episode in mind.

ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT


'All quiet on the western front' (1930) is the best war movie I've seen. The pronouncements of its protagonists are the strongest ones against the idea of war in itself. Granted, 'Born on the fourth of July' (1989) was more dramatic, it did not condemn war in itself. 'All quiet on the western front' is greater as a statement.

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Quotes (from imdb):

Tjaden: Well. how do they start a war?
Albert Kropp: Well, one country offends another.
Tjaden: How could one country offend another? You mean there's a mountain over in Germany gets mad at a field over in France?
Albert Kropp: Well, stupid, one people offends another.
Tjaden: Oh, well, if that's it, I shouldn't be here at all. I don't feel offended.

CONSPIRACY THEORY WITH JESSE VENTURA


After seeing ‘Conspiracy theory’ (2009- ) for the past year or so, one would not think it possible that Jesse Ventura could make an episode so devoid of economic understanding. ‘Great lakes’ continually repeats the term ‘privatization’ and explains away the supposed water problem by referring to greedy corporations. It is surprising how little focus was given on the government’s role and the violation of property rights that allowed for such ‘privatization’ to occur.

MR. DEEDS GOES TO TOWN


Gary Cooper's Longfellow Deeds in 'Mr. Deeds goes to town' (1936) comes across as quite unrealistic in his reaction to being told he's heir to a fortune.

On the other hand, he seems quite perceptive and suspicious of the businessmen surrounding him. There is thus a disconnect between such attitudes.

YOU CAN'T TAKE IT WITH YOU


I have to be more cautious in watching Frank Capra movies. As much as I want to stop being so uptight about shit I watch and feeling all compelled to "set 'em straight" with a well-reasoned critique, I will allow myself to say some things after watching 'You can't take it with you' (1938).

The thing with Capra is his tendency to polarize people into either the rich - cold - money-hungry - vain elite in need of moral reform and whose 'monopolistic' mergers would be a bane on society rather than an opportunity for prospective consumers and employees; and the

MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON


Style- and substance-wise, 'Mr. Smith goes to Washington' (1939) definitely beats 'Meet John Doe,' the latter's message borne of John Doe's superficiality, wishful thinking and narcissism as to the ease of bringing about a change in humanity.

With 'Mr. Smith,' the world of politics is explored rather insightfully, and Capra is able to express the hopelessness of attempting to make a difference in Washington, or in any other nation's capital. The disillusionment of Smith over Senator Paine is quite heartbreaking, and would happen more among people if they only knew just what their favorite statesmen really said, and how they did so, behind closed doors.