Leo Grin

Leo Grin


391 comments posted · 5 followers · following 0

13 years ago @ Big Hollywood - RIP: Legendary Oscar-W... · 6 replies · +20 points

One of the last of the old Golden Age of Hollywood crew, meaning she was just as prone to the many personal foibles of today's Hollywood spoiled and rich, but with an underlying spine of public class, dignity, and beauty almost completely lacking in stars from the modern era. I quote from an old Big Hollywood piece I did on Burt Reynolds:

Back in 1985, when AIDS was first entering the nation’s consciousness, the activist group AIDS Project Los Angeles asked Elizabeth Taylor (a close friend of the then-dying Rock Hudson) to organize a fundraiser that would help create mainstream awareness of this feared disease. Taylor called everyone she knew asking for help, but according to her virtually everyone balked. “The people in this town didn’t give a damn!” she remembered many years later. “That made me cynical about Hollywood. What a sad lesson. It’s a very sad comment on this town.”

Actually it’s par for the course — today many of those same people fly private jets while lecturing the rest of us about carbon emissions. But it says a lot that — with Rock Hudson having only weeks to live, and everyone else afraid to attend an AIDS fundraiser that might hurt their careers — Burt Reynolds was one of only a small handful of stars to say “yes” to Taylor’s request. Not only that, he took upon himself the most thankless task of the event: reading aloud the pledge of support that the hated Republican President, Ronald Reagan, had generously sent from Washington. Let it be noted for the record that, on September 19, 1985, actor Burt Reynolds stood up at Taylor’s event and read Reagan’s letter, while being roundly booed by a mass of angry activist attendees. That counts for something in my book.

(as an aside: at a similar event some time later, Reagan showed up in person to once again graciously pledge his support for AIDS research. The same classless ingrates from ACT UP who had booed Reynolds began doing the same thing to the President. To Elizabeth Taylor’s everlasting credit, she grabbed the mic and shut them all down, yelling, “I don’t care what your politics are, I don’t care how you feel about the President or what he’s not doing, he is still the President of the United States of America and you owe him some due respect, so shut the f*** up!” Properly chastised, the buffoons did shut up, and Reagan was able to give his speech.)

Elizabeth Taylor was one of only a few actresses to win a Best Actress Academy Award not once but twice. Look at her on the screen in her heyday, and then try to think of anyone among the modern era's assortment of gawky emo-pygmies, bikini-clad Miami Beach and Jersey Shore tramp-stamped whores, and short-haired, purse-lipped feminist scolds who is worthy of holding her brassiere.

13 years ago @ Big Hollywood - Eucatastrophe: The Enn... · 0 replies · +2 points

jennyhatch says:
"I've tried to read some Conan and a few of his short stories, they just haven't grabbed me yet."

You might consider getting a hold of some of his many comedy stories, or poetry -- that's the sort of stuff that female REH fans tend to gravitate to. His two series centering around Sailor Steve Costigan and Breckinridge Elkins are laugh-out-loud from start to finish.

jennyhatch also says:
I would love to attend a conference some time... "

REH Days is not a conference, more like a laid back convention/family reunion. A long, lazy weekend filled with BBQs, tours, fan and scholar panels, historical relics and landmarks, and meeting and hanging out with lots of other fans. You'd get to tour the house where Howard lived and wrote (it's currently a museum listed on the National Register of Historic Places), visit his grave, et cetera. A great (and fairly cheap) vacation. Plenty of other ladies attend each year. My pal Michael Scott Myers (the screenwriter of The Whole Wide World) makes it down there many years, so if you went you could pick his brain about the movie and about Novalyne, whom he knew well (she was his teacher).

13 years ago @ Big Hollywood - Eucatastrophe: The Enn... · 1 reply · +2 points

Wesley69 says:
"to make a movie that would do true justice to LOTR, it would have to be over 30 hours in length."

I disagree. They would have done great justice to LotR had they stuck to Tolkien's dialogue instead of the drivel Mrs. Walsh and Mrs. Boyens wrote, and had they left the characters with the personalities and motivations they had in the books, especially Faramir and Théoden, both of whom were portrayed in the films as total betrayals of who they were in the books. And had they not included several hours of utterly useless "new" scenes, they would have had plenty of time for much of Tolkien's original stuff that they cut out.

The tired old "they didn't have time" argument is a poor cop-out.

13 years ago @ Big Hollywood - Eucatastrophe: The Enn... · 8 replies · 0 points

Wesley69 says:
"The movies of Peter Jackson are a tribute to the works of Tolkien,"

I hated the films, and thought they ham-handedly got wrong just about everything I love and cherish in the books. That would be a whole other series of essays all by itself.

13 years ago @ Big Hollywood - Eucatastrophe: The Enn... · 1 reply · +2 points

jennyhatch says:
"I watched the movie and read his bio, one who walked alone this past year, then bought both movie and book. Had a tremendous impact on me... "

Yeah, Howard's primo, a true classic American author in the mold of guys like London, Twain, Hawthorne, Melville. The condescension he gets from the clueless elites only makes how far he's come over the last century all the sweeter.

A lot of women have come to Howard over the last fifteen years due to The Whole Wide World. You should head down to Texas this June for Robert E. Howard Days in Cross Plains, the Mecca for REH aficionados. You'd have a blast, meet a lot of fans and scholars, and gain an even deeper appreciation for his work.

13 years ago @ Big Hollywood - The Order of Grace: Th... · 0 replies · +3 points

Ashdreg says,
"Sauron and Melkor the Morgoth were never kind or good, they had souls of utter darkness and greed."

In The Silmarillion, Tolkien writes of Melkor (i.e. Morgoth) that (emphasis mine),

From splendour he fell through arrogance to contempt for all things save himself, a spirit wasteful and pitiless. Understanding he turned to subtlety in perverting to his own will all that he would use, until he became a liar without shame. He began with the desire of Light, but when he could not possess it for himself alone, he descended through fire and wrath into a great burning, down into Darkness."

And of Sauron, Tolkien wrote in an ultimately unsent 1954 letter to Peter Hastings (a Catholic bookshop owner) that:

Sauron was of course not "evil" in origin. He was a "spirit" corrupted by the Prime Dark Lord (the Prime sub-creative Rebel) Morgoth. He was given an opportunity of repentance, when Morgoth was overcome, but could not face the humiliation of recantation, and suing for pardon; and so his temporary turn to good and "benevolence" ended in a greater relapse, until he became the main representative of Evil of later ages. But at the beginning of the Second Age he was still beautiful to look at, or could still assume a beautiful visible shape -- and was not indeed wholly evil, not unless all "reformers" who want to hurry up with "reconstruction" and "reorganization" are wholly evil, even before pride and the lust to exert their will eat them up.

Melkor's descent into evil happened long before even the creation of Arda, untold ages before, and so even in the very first pages of The Silmarillion he's already a terror -- but it seems clear that, buried in the mists of pre-Time, there was indeed a gradual descent from the Good. Sauron, in his turn, was slowly corrupted over uncountable ages of pre-Time by Morgoth, along with many other formerly good spirits (many of whom became Balrogs).

13 years ago @ Big Hollywood - The Order of Grace: Th... · 1 reply · +5 points

whiskyhangover says,
"I think you meant Saruman."

Ouch! Yes, that's a typo, one that stings like Sting. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

13 years ago @ Big Hollywood - The Order of Grace: Th... · 1 reply · +6 points

Stephen_Tilson says,
"But surely "not born into the Church" would've been clearer, no?"

Yes, it would have, and I'm always grateful for stylistic and contextual suggestions of this sort, as they make me a little more careful (and hence clearer) the next time.

13 years ago @ Big Hollywood - Countdown to the Oscar... · 0 replies · +1 points

filmklassik says,
"Leo would you please provide a link to your Bob Hope article."

Don't have a Bob Hope article -- I said "Buster Keaton," who I wrote about in re: him vs Chaplin here:

I do mention Hope and the way NBC squandered his troop-loving legacy here:

13 years ago @ Big Hollywood - Countdown to the Oscar... · 0 replies · +5 points

Davecat84 says,
"Donna Reed not being a dupe doesn't square with her organizing efforts against US involvement in the Vietnam War. Does that elevate her to Jane Fonda status or is she just anti-war? I say Reed was a commie."

Nah, she was more of a typical pacifist. Big diff from commie.