I don’t usually pay attention to movie ratings – as opposed to movie reviews – but Netflix has a feature I really like. If you haven’t rated a movie, it shows you both the rating the Netflix users as a whole have given and the rating it predicts you will give based on your previous ratings.

I’ve been watching a lot of older movies lately, so I wanted to see a newer one. There Will Be Blood came up as related to some other movie I’d put in my queue. I hadn’t heard anything about it but the name; I wouldn’t have considered it had the description not mentioned Upton Sinclair’s Oil, which I haven’t read but know something about. Netflix users gave it somewhere around 3.5 out of 5 stars; Netflix predicted I would give it a 1.5. Netflix was about right, but there’s no way to give half-stars, so I gave it the 1 it deserved.


When I watched a little of the coverage of the Democratic convention this afternoon, I thought I was watching the Olympics again; when I looked at the coverage later in the evening, I was glad to see that the stadium had filled up. There was some talk a week or two ago about the weather: some Obama opponents had been hoping for rain. Fortunately, that didn’t happen, but I’m not so sure rain would have been such a downer.

One of my favorite movie sequences of all time is the convention scene in Meet John Doe. It’s held in a heavy rain and through the downpour the sight of all those umbrellas is quite striking both visually and as a sign of the dedication of the delegates. On the other hand, it ends in a riot, so we can be glad Obama got sun.

You can watch the scene here, starting at about the 0:45 mark. It ends here. (For those concerned with such things: the clips don’t give away the end of the movie, but they’re kind of spoilery.)

so that’s what happened to the mime from French in Action

I recommend watching this before you know what it’s about.

(I can’t remember where I saw this video, but it was a while ago. This made me think of it again.)

“Listen, I–I’m sorry to tell you this, but, uh, you’ve been fired. Management had to replace you with a Mac II and a part-timer with a Masters degree.”

I know there are people – I count myself as one – who are reluctant to watch even medium length videos online, especially if they’re of something that could easily be covered in a transcript. But this is an actual short film with actors and everything, and it’s darkly comedic too: “The Debt.” I saw it on Bravo sometime in the 1990s and I’ve been looking for it online for a few years now, ever since I started paying attention (more or less) to debt in the news. It fits in with the mood of the recession of the late 1980s and early 1990s (the debt counter shows the 1992 interest); aside from the technology the characters use, it doesn’t seem all that out of date.

Note: it’s on youtube in two parts of 5 and 7 minutes (not counting credits it’s just over 10 minutes), but if you play it at the link above you should be taken directly from part 1 to part 2. For more on the film go here and click on “shorts” in the top menu.


I don’t know the politics of Ted Turner, but I saw in the listings that this movie was playing on Turner Classic Movies last night. I’d never heard of it before. I’ve still never seen it.