Begging The Question

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Set Your TiVo: The Best Years of Our Lives
Tomorrow night at midnight, Turner Classic Movies is showing one of the best films ever made, William Wyler's 1946 classic The Best Years of Our Lives. The movie is about three servicemen who return home from World War II and try to re-adjust to civilian life. It's a compelling and moving account of how such an experience changes some people, and how some people have strong character that not even a war can change. It's amazing to me that this film was made so soon after the war, because it presciently foreshadows the ripple effect the war would have on things like the baby boom, the post-war housing and industrial boom, and opportunities for veterans like the G.I. Bill. There's also something universal about it, so it's easy to draw parallels to homecomings after other wars, including the current one. The Best Years of Our Lives is far and away the best movie ever made about post-war America. I highly recommend it.

The sailor in the picture is played by Harold Russell, who turns in probably the most powerful performance in a film full of them. Russell had never acted professionally before, and had lost both hands in a military training accident. Wyler cast him after seeing an Army film about rehabilitation. He was nominated at the Oscars for Best Supporting Actor, but the Academy Governors didn't think a nonprofessional would win. So they awarded him a special Oscar for inspiring all returning veterans. And then he went on to win the Supporting Actor award anyway -- the only time anyone has won two Oscars for the same role. Check the TCM schedule if you miss tomorrow night's showing; they're running it a couple more times in the next month.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

"All Lopsided for the F***in' Holidays!"
Astute readers will recognize this post's title from the hilarious David Sedaris essay "You Can't Kill the Rooster." The Rooster is Sedaris's brother Paul, and he laments his appearance after getting into a fight right before a family holiday dinner, the fight having left his face the aforementioned "all lopsided." Well, I know how the Rooster feels. I've been battling a minor illness the most annoying symptom of which has been some facial swelling. Quite attractive, of course. Anyway, I have not been in much of a blogging mood, so please help get me back in the groove. Let's make this an ALL-REQUEST WEEK. If there's anything you want me to blog about, fire away.

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