(Roughly) Daily

Posts Tagged ‘movies

“He, indeed, who gave fewest pledges to Fortune, has yet suffered her heaviest visitations”*…

As Zachary Crockett explains, taking the kids to a baseball game, a movie, or Disneyland is a bigger financial commitment than it used to be for middle-class families… a much bigger commitment…

In the 1950s and ’60s — the so-called Golden Age of American capitalism — family outings were within the realm of affordability for most median income earners. Many blue-collar workers could afford new homes and cars and still take their kids to Disneyland.

Despite rising wages, many of those same activities are now out of reach for everyday Americans.

The Hustle analyzed the cost of three family activities in 1960 vs. 2022:

1. A baseball game

2. A movie at a theater

3. A one-day Disneyland visit

We found that these family outings have increased in cost at 2-3x the rate of inflation — and that, in order to afford them, today’s American families have to work up to 2x as many hours as they did 60 years ago…

The painful details at: “America’s favorite family outings are increasingly out of reach,” from @zzcrockett in @TheHustle.

* John Maynard Keynes

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As we rethink our plans, we might recall that it was on this date in 1951 that Disney’s Alice in Wonderland had its American premiere (in New York, two days after premiering in London). The average price of a movie ticket that year was $0.47 (or $4.53, adjusted for inflation); popcorn was 5-10 cents per bag.

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Written by (Roughly) Daily

July 28, 2022 at 1:00 am

“Where there is ruin, there is hope for a treasure”*…

Shakespeare, New Mexico

Shakespeare, New Mexico has a fraught history. Built around a desert spring, it was an Apache settlement, then a stage stop on the route linking St. Louis and San Francisco in the mid-18th century. When silver was found nearby, its population briefly soared to 3,000; but as the deposits nearby were meager, the propectors– and almost everyone else– left, leaving only the proprietor of the stage stop. Then in 1879, The Shakespeare Mining Company filed claims for a number of neglected mines in the area. Its Anglophile owners changed the town’s name to Shakespeare, dubbed the main street “Avon Avenue,” and called the hotel (which they built within the walls of a Civil War fort) “The Stratford.” But the Silver Panic of 1893 turned Shakespeare into a ghost town once and for all. Even the stage stop was gone (as the railroad had built a stop in nearby Lordsburg).

There are dozens of stories like this, all illustrated with photos like the one above, in Daniel and Ligian Ter-Nedden‘s Ghost Town Gallery.

* Rumi

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As we ruminate on ruins, we might recall that it was on this date in 1997 that Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion premiered. A deserved cult classic, it’s the story of two 28 year-old women who fear that their achievements-to-date are underwhelming, so invent fake careers for their ten-year high school class reunion. Beyond that hilarity that ensues, it’s a testament to the acting skills of the two leads that they were each playing against their own backgrounds (Lisa Kudrow graduated from Vassar; Mira Sorvino, from Harvard).

Michele : Did you lose weight?

Romy : Actually, I have been trying this new fat free diet I invented. All I’ve had to eat for the past six days are gummy bears, jelly beans, and candy corns.

Michele : God, I wish I had your discipline.

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Getting away with murder…

There are loopholes, and then there are loopholes…

A panel of Idaho lawmakers is recommending the Legislature ask Congress to fix a legal loophole that has some calling a portion of Yellowstone National Park the “Zone of Death,” where crimes could arguably go unprosecuted.

The vast majority of the 3,471-square-mile (8,990-square-kilometer) park sits in Wyoming, but about 3% of it stretches into Montana and 1% of the park is in eastern Idaho. When Congress created the park in 1872, the federal court in the District of Wyoming was given jurisdiction over the crimes committed within park borders.

Boise Democratic Rep. Colin Nash, an attorney, told the House Judiciary and Rules Committee on Thursday that he first learned about the “zone of death” in law school. The phrase refers to a legal theory advanced by Michigan State Law professor Brian Kalt in 2005, which says a jurisdictional loophole could force the federal government to dismiss charges against anyone accused of committing a federal crime in the Idaho portion of the park.

In an academic paper titled “The Perfect Crime,” Kalt noted the Sixth Amendment says that people charged with crimes have a right to be tried by a jury of their peers, selected from the state and region where the crime took place.

That’s a problem for Yellowstone, because the only beings living in Idaho’s roughly 50-square-mile portion of Yellowstone are grizzly bears, elk and other wildlife — and they aren’t eligible for jury duty. Kalt theorized that someone who committed a murder in Idaho’s portion of Yellowstone could get away with it, since the federal government would be unable to seat a constitutionally sound jury…

The ‘Zone of Death’: “Lawmaker wants federal fix in Yellowstone’s legal blind spot.”

[image above: source]

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As we consider the angles, we might recall that it was on this date in 1931 that Dracula— the first in a line line of “classic” monster movies– premiered in New York.  Directed by the great Tod Browning and famously starring Bela Lugosi (in what many consider still to be the definitive portrayal of the blood-thirsty Count), the film was based on the 1924 stage play Dracula by Hamilton Deane and John L. Balderston, which in turn is adapted from the 1897 novel Dracula by Bram Stoker.  The film was was both a critical and commercial success on its release, and has earned it’s way into the canon, having been selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the National Film Registry as “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”

220px-Dracula_-_1931_theatrical_poster

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Written by (Roughly) Daily

February 12, 2022 at 1:00 am

“The first rule of Fight Club is: you do not talk about Fight Club”*…

As Viola Zhou explains, someone tried very hard to please Chinese movie censors…

Fight Club is getting an entirely different ending in a new online release in China, where imported films are often altered to show that the law enforcement, on the side of justice, always trumps the villain. 

The 1999 film by David Fincher originally ends with the Narrator (Edward Norton) killing his split personality Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt). With the female lead Marla Singer (Helena Bonham Carter), he then watches all the buildings explode outside the window and collapse, suggesting Tyler’s anarchist plan to destroy consumerism is in the works.

The exact opposite happens in the edit of the same film released in China. In the version on the Chinese streaming site Tencent Video, the explosion scene has been removed. Instead, viewers are told that the state successfully busted Tyler’s plan to destroy the world…

Cult Classic ‘Fight Club’ Gets a Very Different Ending in China,” from @violazhouyi in @VICE.

* “Tyler Durden”

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As we contemplate censorship, we might note that this was a bad day for revolutionaries of another stripe:  it was on this date in 1606 that the trial of Guy Fawkes and other conspirators began, ending with their execution on January 31 for their roles in the Catholic Restorationist “Gunpowder Plot.”

George Cruikshank‘s illustration of Guy Fawkes, published in William Harrison Ainsworth‘s 1840 novel Guy Fawkes

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Written by (Roughly) Daily

January 27, 2022 at 1:00 am

“The older I get the more things I gotta leave behind, that’s life.”*…

It’s that time of year…

Worried about your carefully chosen holiday presents languishing on a container ship somewhere? We invite you to consider these select Supply Chain–resistant items, up for bid from the world of Sylvester Stallone!

The exclusive auction event presenting the extraordinary collection of the international superstar and the Golden Globe Award-winning and Academy Award-nominated actor, screenwriter, fitness icon, author, artist and director’s most cherished treasures from his singular life and career, [is] taking place on Sunday, December 5th at Julien’s Auctions in Beverly Hills and live online at juliensauctions.com.

Give a piece of Rocky (or Rambo or Cobra or…): “Slice Through the Clutter of the Holiday Giving Season With a Little Something From the Personal Collection of Sylvester Stallone,” from @JOEMACLEOD666, @tomscocca, and the good folks at @Read_Indignity. Do browse: lots of knives…

* Sylvester Stallone, Rocky Balboa

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As we stock up, we might recall that it was on this date in 1948 that Edwin Land’s Polaroid Land Camera Model 95– the first “instant” camera, producing finished prints in about a minute– went on sale for the first time.  It was priced at a then-lofty $95 (to wit, the model number).

Polaroid originally manufactured sixty units of the camera. Fifty-seven were offered at Boston’s Jordan Marsh department store for the Christmas holiday.  Polaroid’s marketing department reckoned that the camera and film would remain in stock long enough to manufacture a second run based on customer demand.  In the event, all fifty-seven cameras and all of the film were sold on the first day.  Over 1.5 million units were sold over the next few years, before the company introduced new models.

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