Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Penny Thoughts ‘12—Fawlty Towers (TV series 1975, 1979) ***½

NR, 12 30-min. episodes
Director: Bob Spiers
Writers/Creators: John Cleese, Connie Booth
Starring: John Cleese, Prunella Scales, Andrew Sachs, Connie Booth, Ballard Berkeley, Gilly Fowler, Renee Roberts, Brian Hall

After the success of Monty Python, John Cleese moved on to other projects for BBC television. “Fawlty Towers” was his follow up where he plays a put upon hotelier, capitalizing on the popular comedian’s knack for blowing situations out of proportion and physical distress. Cleese is just as brilliant here as he was for the five season’s of “Monty Python’s Flying Circus”.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Red Tails / *½ (PG-13)

Marty ‘Easy’ Julian: Nate Parker
Joe ‘Lightning’ Little: David Oweyolo
Ray ‘Junior’ Gannon: Tristan Wilds
Andrew ‘Smokey’ Salem: Ne-Yo
David ‘Deke’ Watkins: Marcus T. Paulk
Samuel ‘Joker’ George: Elijah Kelley
Antwan ‘Coffee’ Coleman: Andre Royo
Maj. Emmanuelle Stance: Cuba Gooding, Jr.
Col. A.J. Bullard: Terrence Howard
Sofia: Daniela Ruah

20th Century Fox presents a film directed by Anthony Hemingway. Written by John Ridley and Aaron McGruder. Running time: 125 min. Rated PG-13 (for some sequences of war violence).

“Red Tails” is at best an unusual World War II movie that tells the story of the all-black air squadron sometimes known as the Tuskegee Airmen. At its worst, it is a hackneyed melodrama that sees combat with antiquated romantic notions that rely on age-old archetypes and clichéd speech-driven dialogue. Executive produced by George Lucas of “Star Wars” and “Indiana Jones” fame, the path “Red Tails” took to the big screen has been a storied one in which Lucas has been trying to get the film made since 1988. The time it took to find financing and come to fruition did little to help its script; however, it did allow for CGI technology to become advanced enough for it to offer some of the most thrilling aerial combat scenes to find their way to celluloid.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Penny Thoughts ‘12—The Long Good Friday (1980) ****

R, 114 min.
Director: John Mackenzie
Writer: Barrie Keeffe
Starring: Bob Hoskins, Helen Mirren, Derek Thompson, Dave King, Bryan Marshall, Eddie Constantine, Paul Freeman, Pierce Brosnan

“The Long Good Friday” is like so many of the great movies I’ve been experiencing lately. It sneaks up on you. Its greatness is never fully apparent until it’s run its course. Throughout most of its running time, it’s a good crime noir. Bob Hoskins is excellent at getting the audience on the side of his crime boss who stays just legitimate enough for him to justify his actions as being done for the good of London.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Penny Thoughts ‘12—Hell and Back Again (2011) ****

NR, 88 min.
Director: Danfung Dennis
Starring: Nathan & Ashley Harris, Echo Company, 2nd Battalion, 8th Marines

Most of the synopses I read about the Oscar nominated war documentary “Hell and Back Again” read some thing like, “a film about a sergeant in the United States Marine Corps who returns from the Afghanistan conflict with post traumatic stress disorder.” The only place I could actually find the name of the soldier, Nathan Harris, was the film’s website. Unfortunately, this is reflective of our country’s attitude toward our men in combat right now. We appreciate what they’re doing, but we don’t really care to know much about it.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Penny Thoughts ‘12—Water for Elephants (2011) ***

PG-13, 120 min.
Director: Francis Lawrence
Writers: Richard LaGravanese, Sara Gruen (novel)
Starring: Robert Pattinson, Reese Witherspoon, Christoph Waltz, Paul Schneider, Jim Norton, Hal Holbrook, Mark Povinelli

It was a little over a year ago that I saw the trailer for “Water for Elephants” before watching the movie “True Grit” with my father. He confessed to me that he had loved the book. He had a look of guilty pleasure on his face. This was coming from a man who has hardly read a book that didn’t involve Green Beret’s, Marines, or Navy SEALs in his entire life. Certainly, this intrigued me to see this circus-based romance.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Penny Thoughts ‘12—The Final Countdown (1980) ***

PG, 103 min.
Director: Don Taylor
Writers: David Ambrose, Gerry Davis, Thomas Hunter, Peter Powell
Starring: Martin Sheen, Kirk Douglas, James Farentino, Katherine Ross, Ron O’Neal, Charles Durning, Soon-Tek Oh

On Tuesday, January 24, 2012 actor James Farentino passed away due to heart failure in a Los Angeles hospital. He was 73. Farentino appeared in dozens of movies and television shows throughout his career. “The Final Countdown” was probably he best known film role. He received an Emmy nomination for his role as Peter in the television mini-series “Jesus of Nazareth” and played George Clooney’s estranged father on the hospital drama “ER”.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Oscar Nomination Toss Up

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced their annual awards nominations Tuesday, January 24, 2012 in a live ceremony at 7:30 a.m. CST. I don’t always write about my thoughts on the Oscar nominations or offer up predictions. I do this year because it’s an especially exciting year for the Oscars. That’s because other than just a couple of the big categories, this year is a difficult year to predict due to the overwhelming excellence to be found amongst the contenders.

Many of my predictions here will be tentative as I have yet to see all of this year’s contenders. The fact that the frontrunner for many of the top awards, “The Artist”, is probably still a ways away from a wide enough release to allow me to see it will greatly hinder my perceptions of just how the Oscars should play out, but not so much on how it actually will. The surprise nominations will also present a challenge for me, as they include several films that I’ve yet to see. Regardless, I will do my best to see clearly what these nominations mean and whom they might be going to on Oscar night.

Before I get into my analysis of the nominations, however, I’d like to address an ongoing debate that seems to come up every year. Do the Oscars really honor the best the film industry has to offer? There is much debate as to whether these award ceremonies are actually dedicated to honoring artistic excellence, or are they just propaganda to the capitalist machine that runs the entertainment industry?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Penny Thoughts ‘12—The Way Back (2010) **

PG-13, 133 min.
Director: Peter Weir
Writers: Peter Weir, Keith Clarke, Slavomir Rawicz (novel “The Long Walk: The True Story of a Trek to Freedom”)
Starring: Jim Sturgess, Ed Harris, Dragos Bucur, Sebastian Urzendowsky, Saoirse Ronan, Colin Farrell, Alexandru Potocean, Hustaf Skarsgard, Mark Strong

Before it’s release, Peter Weir’s “The Way Back” was expected to be a potentially powerful film. Weir has a good track record ranging from the 80’s police drama “Witness” to the period nautical picture “Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World”. This true story is taken from a book written by a Polish survivor of a Siberian labor camp during World War II, who escaped with six other prisoners, walking over 6500 kilometers across the Siberian forest, the Gobi Desert, and through Tibet and the Himalayas. It certainly sounds like a powerful story.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Penny Thoughts ‘12—The Guard (2011) ***

R, 96 min.
Director/Writer: John Michael McDonagh
Starring: Brendan Gleeson, Don Cheadle, Liam Cunningham, Mark Strong, David Wilmot, Rory Keenan, Fionnula Flanagan, Dominique McElligott, Katarina Cas

“The Guard” is an Irish crime comedy about a curmudgeonly veteran police officer who teams up with an American FBI agent to stop a gang of drug runners in a small Irish port city. The typical nature of this odd buddy pairing doesn’t suggest the unique nature of this comedy. I suspect it is wholly Irish in its arid humor that makes a good deal of British humor look down right saturated.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Penny Thoughts ‘12—Burzynski (2010) ***½

NR, 108 min.
Director/Writer: Eric Merola
Starring: Stanislaw Burzynski, Joe Barton, Dr. David A. Kessler

I’m not really one for conspiracy theories. I mean they’re fun and all, but I have a little trouble believing that in this day and age our government is capable of some huge cover up. What I do believe is that our government is less about the people these days than it is about money. Not in any intentional way so much as that’s just how things eventually line themselves out.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Penny Thoughts ‘12—Batman: Year One (2011) ***

PG-13, 64 min.
Directors: Sam Liu, Lauren Montgomery
Writers: Tab Murphy, Frank Miller (original story), Bob Kane (creator)
Starring: Brian Cranston, Ben McKenzie, Eliza Dushku, Jon Polito, Alex Rocco, Katee Sackhoff, Fred Tatasciore

It’s been quite some time since I read Frank Miller’s redefinition of Batman’s origin, the comic book “Batman: Year One”. It was a turning point for comic books as a whole that steered comic books toward a more mature audience. Miller’s later “The Dark Knight Returns” would go even further, but this origin story built the characters of both Bruce Wayne and Commissioner Gordon into people more three-dimensional than your typical superhero cast members.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Penny Thoughts ‘12—Radioland Murders (1994) ***

PG, 108 min.
Director: Mel Smith
Writers: Willard Huyck, Gloria Katz, Jeff Reno, Ron Osborn, George Lucas
Starring: Mary Stuart Masterson, Brian Benben, Scott Michael Campbell, Michael Lerner, Stephen Tobolowsky, Ned Beatty, Brion James, Michael McKean, Jeffrey Tambor, Christopher Lloyd, Larry Miller, Anita Morris, Corbin Bernsen, Harvey Korman, Robert Klein, Bobcat Goldthwait, Peter MacNicol, Anne de Salvo, Jennifer Dundas, Bo Hopkins, Candy Clark, Dylan Baker, Robert Walden, George Burns, Rosemary Clooney, Billy Barty, Tracy Byrd, Joseph Lawrence

Today marks the release of George Lucas’s labor of love “Red Tails”. It’s a movie he worked for years to get funded. Lucas doesn’t produce a whole lot beyond “Star Wars” and “Indiana Jones” related titles. When he does, they’re on a subject or about a time period that means a lot to him. 1994’s “Radioland Murders” was such a project for Lucas.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Penny Thoughts ‘12—A Soldier’s Story (1984) ***

PG, 100 min.
Director: Norman Jewison
Writer: Charles Fuller (also play)
Starring: Howard E. Rollins Jr., Adolph Caesar, Denzel Washington, Art Evans, Larry Riley, David Allen Grier, Dennis Lipscomb, David Harris, Robert Townsend, William Allen Young, Trey Wilson

Denzel Washington is an actor who is fueled by intensity. Even in his smaller early roles, like that of Private Peterson in Norman Jewison’s adaptation of the play “A Soldier’s Story” by Charles Fuller, Washington’s passion almost can’t be contained in the supporting role.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Penny Thoughts ‘12—The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975 (2011) ****

NR, 100 min.
Director/Writer: Göran Olsson
Starring: Angela Davis, Talib Kweli, Stokey Carmichael, Erykah Badu, Harry Belafonte, John Forté, Bobby Seale, Sonia Sanchez, Robin Kelley, Ahmir Questlove Thompson, Eldridge Cleaver, Kathleen Cleaver, Huey P. Newton

Sometimes it takes an outsider to see something that those close to it cannot. In 1971, T.V. Guide ran an article about how Swedish television unfairly portrayed the United States in their news media. The Swedish media was obsessed with the Black Power movement that took place in the late 60s and early 70s. Many of our black leaders used Sweden’s media outlets to get their messages out to the world. During the same time period Swedish filmmakers were coming to America to document that black experience in the U.S. Göran Olsson’s new documentary “The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975” compiles footage from that time period to give a history of highlights of that volatile time in the U.S. Civil Rights Movement.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Eleven Movies for ‘11

It was an oddball year at the movie theater in 2011. Studios reported their worst profits since 1995. Big franchises ruled. The year marked some of the biggest flops in history. The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences continued its failing (and flailing) campaign to make their Oscar ceremony more accessible to mainstream audiences, yet it was another year when independent filmmaking dominated the quality output for the year.

It was a tough year to be a movie critic, as newspapers continued to fight against their deaththrows and critics continued to be the bottom line that got cut from their budgets. There wasn’t any stability to be found in the movie output either. The quality of filmmaking this year was wildly erratic as the Hollywood machine continued to pump out known commodities. The results ranged from some of the best reboots (“Rise of the Planet of the Apes”), sequels (“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2”), remakes (“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”, “Fright Night”), and comic book adaptations (“Captain America: The First Avenger”) in recent years, to some of the worst in all categories (“Conan the Barbarian”, “Transformers: Dark of the Moon”, “Priest”). And on top of all that, the 3D bubble burst.

Yet, 2011 also brought some of the most rapturous movies I’ve seen in years. Those quality movies came from all different directions as well—science fiction, western, horror, true life, noir, action, retrospective. In none of those categories, however, did the best of the best conform to the typical clichés of their respective genres. All these movies were highly original and wholly magical. With a few of them, I didn’t even fully recognize their genius at first. Like so many great films, these movies get better with time. These are my eleven favorite movies of 2011 in the arbitrary order I felt about them today, followed by an alphabetical listing of the next eleven and my five least favorites listed from very worst to still pretty damn bad.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Penny Thoughts ‘12—Captain EO (1986) *½

NR, 17 min.
Director: Francis Ford Coppola
Writers: George Lucas, Rusty Lemorande, Francis Ford Coppola
Starring: Michael Jackson, Anjelica Huston

Upon seeing the one time Disney World 3D phenomenon “Captain EO”, starring pop star Michael Jackson as a dancing, singing, bad guy-zapping space cowboy, my youngest boy had one pressing question on his mind, “Was Captain EO a boy or a girl?” I don’t mean any offense to Michael Jackson fans and certainly not to transgenders or men with effeminate qualities, but it’s a fair question.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Penny Thoughts ‘12—The Next Three Days (2010) ***

PG-13, 122 min.
Director: Paul Haggis
Writers: Paul Haggis, Fred Cavayé (original French screenplay “Pour elle”), Guillaume Lemans (screenplay “Pour elle”)
Starring: Russell Crowe, Elizabeth Banks, Ty Simpkins, Olivia Wilde, Jason Behge, Aisha Hinds, Brian Denehey, Helen Carey, Lennie James, Allan Steele, Liam Neeson

I saw the trailers for “The Next Three Days” before I learned any of its production details. When I learned that acclaimed writer/director Paul Haggis (“Million Dollar Baby”, “Crash”) had made a thriller about a man who breaks his wife out of jail because she is innocent of a murder for which she’s been sentenced to life imprisonment, I was shocked. This sounded more like Luc Besson material than that of the thoughtful filmmaker behind “In the Valley of Elah”. When you consider that Haggis’s credits also include the screenplays for the last two James Bond installments and the creation of television’s “Walker, Texas Ranger”, it makes a little more sense.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Penny Thoughts ‘12—Working Girl (1988) ***

R, 113 min.
Director: Mike Nichols
Writer: Kevin Wade
Starring: Melanie Griffith, Harrison Ford, Sigourney Weaver, Alec Baldwin, Joan Cusack, Philip Bosco, Nora Dunn

I know the hair was bad in the ‘80s, however, aren’t Melanie Griffith’s and Joan Cusack’s hair a little much in this movie. During the opening scenes of “Working Girl”, as the camera follows them on their commute to Manhattan from Staten Island, it’s hard not to chuckle at their plumes. However, I didn’t notice any of the background extras sporting anything like the coifs of these main players. Perhaps, the filmmakers insisted the extras tone down their normal do’s in order not to pull focus from Griffith and Cusack.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Penny Thoughts ‘12—The Help (2011) ***½

PG-13, 146 min.
Director: Tate Taylor
Writers: Tate Taylor, Kathryn Stockett (novel)
Starring: Emma Stone, Viola Davis, Bryce Dallas Howard, Octavia Spencer, Jessica Chastain, Ahna O’Reilly, Allison Janney, Cicely Tyson, Sissy Spacek

I didn’t go see “The Help” when it was becoming a box office phenomenon in August. I read a review that suggested it was a movie about black people that makes white people feel better about how black people were treated in the South during the civil rights movement. That’s what I get for reading other critics. That’s also why I don’t usually read other critics before I write my reviews.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Penny Thoughts ‘12—Persona (1966) ****

NR, 85 min.
Director/Writer: Ingmar Bergman
Starring: Bibi Andersson, Liv Ullmann

I’m almost afraid to comment on such a monumental movie as Bergamn’s “Persona”. There is so much here to interpret and contemplate, I’m not sure a single viewing is enough to fully experience this masterpiece. One thing that strikes me the most about this movie is the fact that there isn’t a filmmaker today brave enough to make a movie like this.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Penny Thoughts ‘12—Mr. Popper’s Penguins (2011) **

PG, 94 min.
Director: Mark Waters
Writers: Sean Anders, John Morris, Jared Stern, Richard Atwater (novel), Florence Atwater (novel)
Starring: Jim Carrey, Carla Gugino, Angela Lansbury, Ophelia Lovibond, Madeline Carroll, Maxwell Perry Cotton, Clark Gregg, David Krumholtz, Philip Baker Hall

Now, I like Jim Carrey as much as the next guy, which mean considerably less than it used to, but what about this cut and paste cutesy family movie appealed to him? Was it getting the chance to tell Philip Baker Hall he is old in every scene he has with him? Could it have been the challenge of having to sell the flimsiest obstacles the screenwriters could come up with? I mean really. The Tavern On The Green went under a couple of years back and its still a New York institution (although, no longer a restaurant). Are we supposed to believe there is any businessman in New York that thinks they could get away with plowing it over?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Penny Thoughts ‘12—City of Life and Death (2011) ****

R, 132 min.
Director/Writer: Chuan Lu
Starring: Hideo Nakaizumi, Yuanyuan Gao, Wei Fan, Ryu Kohata, Lan Qin, Yiyan Jiang, Di Yao, John Paisley, Yuko Miyamoto, Ye Lui, Bin Lui

Chuan Lu’s “City of Life and Death” is an intimate examination of one of history’s greatest war atrocities, the 1937 Rape of Nanking. To this day, the treatment of Chinese refugees by Japanese soldiers after the fall of Nanking is a point of acrimony between the two countries. The film shows us unblinkingly why.

Monday, January 09, 2012

Penny Thoughts ‘12—Star Trek: Season 1 (1966-67) ***½

NR, 30 50-min. episodes
Creator: Gene Roddenberry
Starring: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, James Doohan, Nichelle Nichols, George Takei, Majel Barrett, Grace Lee Whitney, Ricardo Montalban, Roger C. Carmel, Mark Leonard, Charles Macaulay, Diana Muldaur, Richard Derr, Lev Mailer

Despite it’s limitations in production values and it’s hokey delivery at times, “Star Trek” was television ahead of its time. The first season of what was a very strange mix of a military procedural, flower power values, and fairly well advanced science fiction themes is a revelation of the times in which it was made. The late 60s were an incredible period of change for this country and all of it is right there on the little screen in a show that probably very few people took seriously at the time.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Penny Thoughts ’12—If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front (2011) ****

NR, 85 min.
Directors: Marshall Curry, Sam Cullman
Writers: Matthew Hamachek, Marshall Curry
Starring: Daniel McGowan

A big question in the final moments of the documentary “If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front” is, what is terrorism? There are a lot of talking heads in the movie explaining how “most people” see terrorism as an act of violence against another person or group of people. The movie tells the story of Daniel McGowan, who pled guilty to two counts of arson in the Eugene, Oregon area. He set the fires as a member of the Earth Liberation Front (ELF), an environmental activist organization that committed many acts of “eco-terrorism” against various companies they saw as committing atrocities against nature.

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Eleven Albums for ‘11

I’m a movie man. I understand film. Music, I love even though I don’t understand it. This is not a music criticism site, but I love music so much that each year I feel the need to let people know what music I loved best that year. Here’s this year’s list of my favorite albums.

Friday, January 06, 2012

Penny Thoughts ‘12—The Scent of Green Papaya (1993) ****

NR, 104 min.
Director/Writer: Anh Hung Tran
Starring: Tran Nu Yên-Khê, Man San Lu, Thi Loc Truong, Anh Hoa Nguyen, Hoa Hoi Vuong, Ngoc Trung Tran, Van Oanh Nguyen, Gerard Neth, Nhat Do, Thi Hai Vo

If I were to imagine the word ‘exquisite,’ I might come up with the movie “The Scent of Green Papaya”. This movie is a glorious fascination. It is quiet and beautiful. It is rich and simple. It is drenched in a culture of which I am unfamiliar, yet it doesn’t attempt to explain it. To witness is to learn. To witness is to live, as we learn from the film’s heroine.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Penny Thoughts ‘12—Margin Call (2011) ****

R, 107 min.
Director/Writer: J.C. Chandor
Starring: Kevin Spacey, Zachary Quinto, Penn Badgley, Paul Bettany, Jeremy Irons, Simon Baker, Demi Moore, Stanley Tucci, Aasif Mandvi, Mary McDonnell

Watching a movie like “Margin Call”, you might fall under the illusion that you now have the slightest understanding of Wall Street, but I’m more inclined to think that not even Wall Street knows what the hell they’re doing. And, somehow they still get away with it. Why? Cause we think it’s all above us. It’s all above them too, but their advantage is that they know what we think.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Penny Thoughts ‘12—Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench (2010) ***

NR, 82 min.
Director/Writer: Damien Chazelle
Starring: Jason Palmer, Desiree Garcia, Sandha Khin

“Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench” earns points for originality. It’s an independently made jazz musical that reflects its jazz influences in its filmmaking execution. It’s kind of a free form romance that follows a jazz musician and his ex-girlfriend in their journey to find each other again. The movie begins with photographic impressions of the end of their relationship and then follows them as their lives take them separate ways until Guy realizes he wants Madeline back.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

War Horse / ***½ (PG-13)

Albert Narracott: Jeremy Irvine
Ted Narracott: Peter Mullan
Rose Narracott: Emily Watson
Lyons: David Thewlis
Andrew Easton: Matt Milne
David Lyons: Robert Emms
Captain Nicholls: Tom Hiddleston
Maj. Jamie Stewart: Benedict Cumberbatch
Gunther: David Cross
Michael: Leonard Carow
Grandfather: Niels Arestrup
Emilie: Celine Buckens
Friedrich: Nicolas Bro
Geordie Soldier: Toby Kebbell

DreamWorks SKG and Touchstone Pictures present a film directed by Steven Spielberg. Written by Lee Hall and Richard Curtis. Based on the novel by Michael Morpurgo and the stage play by Nick Stafford. Running time: 146 min. Rated PG-13 (for intense sequences of war violence).

What is war to those who live through it? Hollywood has for years told us what war is to the soldier. What it often misses are the details that go on around and in combat zones that are more ordinary. Where do all those horses come from? The horses used on the battlefields are real enough. They must’ve existed without the war, but when a horse dies on a battlefield, we don’t really think much of it. It is just a tool of the war machine, a cog in the wheel of progress, or freedom, or whatever is being fought for. But, hasn’t Hollywood also taught us that every little piece of life affects many others?

Monday, January 02, 2012

Penny Thoughts ’12—Another Earth (2011) ****

PG-13, 92 min.
Director: Mike Cahill
Writers: Mike Cahill, Brit Marling
Starring: Brit Marling, William Mapother

I’m not often made uncomfortable by movies. “Another Earth” made me uncomfortable. Not for its entire running time, but for a brief period when something that the audience and the main character know shouldn’t be happening is happening. This is part of what is a rather remarkable small budget science fiction movie.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

The Evolution of the Penny Thought

Well, it’s a new year, and therefore a time of change. The grand experiment that is the “Penny Thought” began two years ago. I had just come off a difficult year for me when I wasn’t able to get to the cinema nearly as much as I would’ve liked. My weekly reviews were sporadic at best, and several times throughout the year, I had gone two weeks or more without a post. The visitations to my site were suffering. I had to do something to increase my readership.