You Need To See: Ace in the Hole

by dawn on August 13, 2014

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For reasons lost to history, Billy Wilder broke with his writing partner Charles Brackett after their collaboration on Sunset Boulevard (1950). Wilder never publicly explained his reasons for breaking off the partnership, and many years later Brackett told an interviewer that he didn’t know why Wilder, who’d worked with him on 13 films including Ninotchka (1939), Ball of Fire (1941) and The Lost Weekend (1945), dissolved their team. Some film historians theorize that Wilder was tired of fighting with Brackett over the tone of their screenplays — of the two, Brackett was the kinder, gentler writer, and many of their legendary creative clashes were over Wilder’s almost morbid fascination with darker subjects.

There may be some truth to that, given that Wilder’s first post-Sunset picture was his acidic look at media and American culture, Ace in the Hole (1951). [click to continue…]

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Food: SNAP benefits, and eating while poor

by dawn on August 12, 2014

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Last week, I had an interesting conversation with a Facebook friend. He’s a good guy, and I’ll leave his name out of this because I have no intention of shaming him. But, unaware that I’m a grateful beneficiary of the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), he shared the following opinion of “food stamps” in the comments section of a mutual friend’s page:

I have yet to see any one of these card holders struggling when it comes to their purchases. They eat better than I do. There are the select few that humbly let you know they have an EBT card but the majority flash it like they are entitled. And if their card only covers $275 of their purchase, they flip past their various credit and debit cards to hand you a few hundreds out of their stack of plenty.

It’s all a scam. On both sides of the card. And the ‘scarlet letter’ hasn’t changed. It’s only shifted. Having never been on food stamps I can’t imagine what it was like, but with this EBT card, the majority of the holders I see flaunt it and wave it like it was their god given right. It is a select few that hide their card and flash it quickly and put it away as if embarrassed … There are the select few who do use it for its intended purpose, but the majority of the ones I see don’t. And the amount of money they spend weekly, baffles me.

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The first ever Ham-Fisted commentary, featuring Eric D. Sinder of MovieBS with Bayer & Snider. He plays Snider. We watched 1979′s “Mad Max,” starring young Mel Gibson in leather pants. It turns out it’s not so much a sci-fi dystopia as it is a mildly fetishistic revenge flick. But there’s also a lot of car crashes and some stuntpeople get wrecked in horrifying yet entertaining ways.

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As a lover of movies, I believe the absolute worst thing is when a film is mediocre. It’s even worse than when a movie is flat-out bad, because at least the rage one feels at having to sit through two hours of insulting crap can inspire a creative outpouring of bile. But a movie that’s just … meh? It leaves you feeling sad and dissatisfied, but without enough ire to get worked up about it.

This is the problem with two films hitting theaters this weekend, The Hundred-Foot Journey and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, very different sorts of pictures, aimed at widely disparate audiences, but sharing the common trait of being tired, uninspired, and utterly pedestrian. [click to continue…]

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You Need to See: Sweet Smell of Success

by dawn on August 6, 2014

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Sweet Smell of Success (1957) takes place in one of those movie-worlds where people just don’t speak the way real humans do. The Clifford Odets/Ernest Lehman-scripted lines like “That’s fish four days old. I won’t buy it!” burst from characters’ mouths like machine-gun fire, a mixture of both real and made-up lingo that delights the ear. It’s a film where the dialogue has a distinct, hypnotic rhythm that propels the story, with characters using their words as both lures and weapons. [click to continue…]

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Dawn talks about interviewing directors like Guillermo Del Toro and McG, and why it was the only part of her film critic life that used to make her nervous, and discussion of movies leads to our annual talk about the annual summer superhero film that Dawn sees annually. This year, it’s Guardians of the Galaxy, which might not even TECHNICALLY be a superhero film. Dawn gets into that, the gloriousness of Chris Pratt, the monolith that is Marvel Studios, and the ways in which being a fan of blockbusters means you almost have to have a business degree in order to make sense of everything. Also – a behind the scenes look at how next week’s show is going to work!

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Considering pop-culture has been enjoying a 3-to-4 year love affair with that decade, it’s nice to hear from someone who actually lived through it. ALL of it. Dawn describes her days going to punk shows, watching the new wave kids and the ska kids pogo out of that scene, and describes how truly transformative MTV really was in those days. Instead of discussing the intracacies and flavors in a fine food dish, today’s Ham-Fisted discussion digs into the way fashion and music intersected and shaped the way popular culture was, and is now, considering we can’t stop ripping it off.

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An episode that gets into some ham-fisted politics. It’s almost unavoidable when we’re talking about health care, unfortunately. When trying to stay healthy becomes a big concern (and it is with Dawn and Patrick) eventually you have to talk about the politics behind paying hundreds of dollars just to make sure your heart doesn’t explode. But that’s not the only concern on today’s show: Why are people stealing Eric Snider’s bicycles? Why can’t Patrick do the dishes right? How the hell is Comcast going to compete when Google Fiber hits Portland? How is Portland going to screw up Google Fiber? All that and more in one ham-fisted hour.

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Episode 231 – The Burger Principle

by admin on July 14, 2014

Another show dedicated to the culinary side of life, brought on by back-to-back beach trips by Dawn and Bobby. Learn a little about the Oregon Coast’s Sociological Experiment that is Seaside, before learning a LOT about Burgers in the Pacific Northwest, and learning even more about Jack in the Crack’s latest taco offering, and the strange mutagenic powers it can cast on Patrick. Fish ‘n’ Chips, sour beer, and of course, some movie recommendations to pair with your grub.

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A hearty episode of Ham-Fisted, investigating the idea of finite talent and infinite frustration, Bobby’s youthful indiscretions in the world of art-crime, Bobby Womack’s influence and the art of the perfect kiss-off, Season 2 of “Orange is the New Black,” and how to make fried chicken so that it isn’t a clumpy, blackened, unsatisfying mess. It’s a summery picnic of a show. Come and join us on this large blanket in this sunlit meadow and have some potato salad with us.

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