Monday, March 6, 2017

White House, Monday Morning, 7am

Another Monday morning meeting in the Trump White House. In attendance are Jared Kushner, Steve Bannon, and Reince Priebus. All top advisers to the commander and chief.  The three of them are waiting for their man to arrive; he insists on being the last to enter the room. Bannon and Priebus are engaged in an arm wrestling match (Bannon is winning).  Around 7:09am Trump walks in looking a little haggard with bags under his eyes.

The Donald:  So I just watched this segment on Fox and Friends, they like my tweets about Barack.  This will gain traction, take some of the heat off me.  I had to do something . . . this Sessions thing is driving me crazy. I'm tired of these disasters every week, let's make it a good week.

Jared: I thought you and Barack got along.

The Donald: He double crossed me Jared, he had the FBI bug my office.  And we still beat those bastards - 306 in the electoral college BABY!.  (He guffaws)  Did you see the media get into a hot mess about my tweets.  I attack their hero and they freak out. 

Bannon: It was a good one boss - kick em in the ass! This whole Sessions thing will die on the vine now!

The Donald:  I read about Barack's plot to destroy me in Breitbart, Steve your publication is a beacon of light in a world of fake news.

Jared: (underneath his breath) Anti-Semites.

Bannon: What was that Jared?

Jared: Nothing Steve.

The Donald: What else is on the agenda Reince?

Reince: We have the new travel ban to sign.  I think we should do it at noon and invite TV cameras in.  It went so well the last time. People love to watch you sign things. It looks so presidential.

The Donald: So the travel ban, what else?

Reince: Health Care sir.  We need to get congress moving on it.

The Donald: What the hell is taking Ryan so long?

Reince: It's complicated sir. If we take away people's coverage without a new plan it will be a PR disaster.  It will hit our base hard. 

The Donald:  We'll do it, and it will be great. What else?

Reince:  We got this threat from North Korea, we're gonna need you to make a decision on.

The Donald:  What decision?

Reince:  You know, The whole missile thing. They have big ones now.  We need a strategy, we'll present you with options.

The Donald:  Dammit, I don't want options. (He points to Bannon)  It's your job to present me with the best option Bannon.  I'm sure Putin has some good ideas.   Call him Steve.  What time is it in Moscow?

Bannon: I think's that's a great idea Mr. President. I have his private number, I'll do it right after the meeting. It is night time in Moscow.  

The Donald: Sounds good, Steve. Be sure not to wake Putin though, he might get annoyed  (he pauses, as if thinking)  You know what Reince?

Reince: What Mr. President?

The Donald:  Why don't we just take out North Korea? Just order our troops to cross the 49th parallel,   I mean, they don't even have electricity there right? We'll steamroll over them.

Reince: Sir, A war with North Korea would be a disaster, they have the military might to turn South Korea into a raging inferno during the first hour of hostilities. 

The Donald:  Oh, I guess we'll have to think about that.  Call Putin - We need him! He'll know what to do. Tell the Kremlin it's an emergency!!

Jared: Back to the Obama thing.  Are you seriously going to pursue this investigation?

The Donald:  I don't know . . . Maybe. . . . .   You see my ratings for the State of the Union. They obliterated Arnold.  Always knew I was better than that guy.  He's always been jealous of me. 

Bannon:  His Movies Suck!

Jared: Are you sure?  Predator was pretty good.  The Terminator?

Bannon: He's an overrated immigrant!  Gimme John Wayne any day.  Well, to be honest I checked out on Arnold after Jingle All the Way.  Everything before that was awesome! I tried to get him to read my script for a sequel to Commando.  He called me a diseased ewok looking man. In my script, he goes over to Iran and kicks so much ass.  So Much Carnage!  So Much Carnage! Economic Nationalism Baby! It would've been awesome. I love carnage!!

The Donald: Steve, I like you, but please settle down.  You are brilliant, smarter than all the generals combined. I mean, you've actually read books. In fact, I saw The Terminator and that gives me an idea. Could we build an army of cyborgs?  Reince, include that in the budget.  Forget about going back to the moon; I WANT AN ARMY OF CYBORGS!  They can build the wall too. And not those old fashioned ones like Arnold played, I want the ones like that liquid metal guy in Terminator 2.  They will defeat ISIS too!    

The unexpected turn in the meeting's discussion leads to an awkward silence.

The Donald:  Ok, I'm going to order a steak doused with Heinz Ketchup from the kitchen. Anyone else up for steak and ketchup?

Jared: Isn't it early for steak Dad?

The Donald: It's my favorite part of living in this dump.  I now eat steak for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  At 3 I get a Big Mac and a Shamrock Shake. It's great. The Kitchen staff, they are fantastic! Steve, after you call Putin, I want you to get every Terminator movie on DVD and have it on my desk - ASAP.  I got research to do (He gets up).  

Ok everyone, I'm going to go count my twitter likes, send a shout out to Fox News, sign the Muslim . . . I mean travel ban, then watch Spongebob Squarepants, I'll skip the intelligence briefing, I don't think those geeks from Langley like me for some reason.  Very Rude.  Steve - report to me on Putin - and I want those DVD's on cue and ready to play just as my Big Mac arrives.  How long will it take me to watch these movies Steve?

Bannon: Not sure Mr. President.  All day, I suppose.

The Donald: Great - Tell Spicer to tell the press that I'm "making phone calls to world leaders to discuss global security issues."  Don't tell anyone about my cyborg army - It's like . . . my classified top secret now. . . . I'll tweet about it . . . And Reince, write up an executive order that will force McDonalds to make the Shamrock Shakes year round- that's legal.  Right? I'm the Boss.

Reince: You're the boss, Mr. President.

The Donald leaves the room. The three of them glance at their watches, it was 7:57 am.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Book Review: Quentin Tarantino: Interviews (Edited by Gerald Peary)

The University Press of Mississippi has provided an invaluable service over the years by publishing reprints of interviews from the most influential film directors.  These books serve as excellent primary sources on the creative process of these directors. The volume on Quentin Tarantino is a highlight of the series.

The best interviews are the early ones with Tarantino shaking up world cinema with Reservoir Dogs and the even more ambitious Pulp Fiction.  They defined 90s cool and pop culture, in the same way the French New Wave films of Godard and Truffaut revolutionized movies in the 1960s.  Tarantino was one of many movie geeks working at video stores during the mid 1980s, in his case the now legendary (and closed) Video Archives in Los Angeles.

Reading the interviews on Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction are like a film school in themselves.  What separated Tarantino from other directors of his generation was his interest in every type of film and his ability to create a unique genre out of them, while taking in large amounts of film criticism, mostly from his favorite critic Pauline Kael who wrote for the New Yorker.

After the one-two punch of Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction, Tarantino become a pop culture phenomenon: frequenting the chat show circuit, cameo appearances, hosting Saturday Night Live, and attempted to launch his own acting career.  His 1997 film Jackie Brown, an adaptation of the Elmore Leonard novel Rum Punch, seemed an answer to his critics: a conventional, well plotted narrative with nuanced performances.

In the years since Tarantino's continued to explore genre: martial arts in the Kill Bill films, the war movie in Inglorious Basterds, and the Western/Blaxploitation in Django Unchained. In late 2015 he released the vicious Western The Hateful Eight.

A few general conclusions can be made about Tarantino from the book: his encyclopedic movie knowledge is unparalleled and that he's always been career conscious.  When he turns 60, Tarantino plans to retire and devote his life to writing criticism and fiction. After completing Pulp Fiction he stated his intention to make Westerns, war movies, and American History- all of which he's done.  

For a primer of the Tarantino aesthetic, look no further than this valuable book.