Sunday, August 24, 2014

Nightcap 8/24/14 A heartfelt thank you, Guardians of the Galaxy, thoughts about film and belief, links and stuff

This week I’m going to go all over the place. I have long stream of consciousness piece that was kicking around since Tribeca in one form or another that I’m tired of looking at, some random words on stuff and some links. It’s a kind of clean up post.
First up a thank you to a bunch of guys and girls who I consider my  friends, my amigos and my family. You who were there last night either as guests or mad mind behind it-I love you all.  Thank you- I don't have words to express anything beyond it.And to those who wanted to come but didn't, I love you too. I know you wanted to be there and I appreciate that.  You're all  wonderful.
I saw Guardians of the Galaxy this week in IMAX 3D. I don’t think it needed to be in IMAX 3D nor I really didn’t have to pay 19 bucks to see it but I wanted to be away from lots of little kids-and I was until a camp group showed up. Thankfully they were well behaved, so no complaints.

As for the film, it’s a great mindless action film that reminded me very much of the comic, which always had great characters but weak plotting. No offense the films plot makes no real sense and I had the feeling that there was another half hour missing somewhere.

Yea the action is good and the interplay with the characters is wonderful, but this is as mindless as the other summer blockbusters we usually get except this one’s from Marvel. Then again I’ve grown not to expect much more than that from writer/director James Gunn --

As for the much loved music track of the 70’s music, yea it’s good, but there are better songs (don’t ask me what I’d have to see the film again to say what I’d replace which with what.)

And I would like to state that until the run up to the release of the film I was a fan of Come and Get Your Love, but if I never hear the song again it will be too soon.
The piece that follows here has been kicking around since Tribeca. It started as a long piece on the Amazing Randi that came out of AN HONEST LIAR and which I decided to abandon for reasons I won’t go into. The piece grew when I saw NOAH and was intrigued at the way the people who god talked to saw the world and those he didn’t saw the world. I linked them because Randi is a devote atheist. I then bridged the pieces with a discussion of Bertrand Russell.

I think it’s a start to something but not a fully formed piece. I’m presenting it here because it’s something related to movies and because I’m so sick of the damn thing I want it out there so I don’t have to revisit it.

The public doesn't listen when they are being told straight forward facts. They would rather accept what some charismatic character tells them then think about what the truth means. They'd rather have the romance and the lies.- James Randi

I’m bumping things around for this week’s Nightcap. I’m going to ramble, briefly, about skeptics, the silence of god and teapots. This rambling is the result of a couple of films and reading some Bertrand Russell.

Before we start I have to state that I’m agnostic when it comes to pretty much everything. I’d like to believe, or even disbelieve but I really need a bit more proof from every side before I sign on to anything.

The idea for the piece was kicked up while seeing the film on James Randi AN HONEST LIAR. Watching the film I was again drawn into pondering skepticism. I’ve been a follower of Randi’s for decades, ever since his battles with Uri Gellar and Peter Popoff brought him into the forefront. I once  hung on his every word in the TV bits and loved what he was doing.

I fell out of love with him when I started reading some of his books and found that he was cooking some material himself (The one thing that hung with me was in Flimflam his presentation of charts in the Betty and Barney Hill UFO case and he spread it across several pages and in differing sizes making any real comparison impossible.) He was kind of cooking the data to prove his point (and even bits Liar seems cooked).

While I applaud Randi and his efforts to find the truth I’m less enraptured by some of his brethren, who take the position that if they can duplicate or explain something it must not be a trick. Randi at least makes an effort to try and get some sort of scientific control in what he investigates, but there are others I’ve run across who simply make pronouncements that things aren’t so or are the result of some explanation without investigating it. UFO skeptic Philip Glass frequently didn’t do his homework with some of his pronouncements like a sighting being a lighthouse not being possible because of the terrain. He may have been right, but many times it was for the wrong reason.

My feelings toward skeptics is suspect in that many feel that they don’t actually have to back up their pronouncements. These things can’t be so they are not. This has never happened before so it can't happen now.

This week I was reading a bit on Bertrand’s Russell’s Teapot. The teapot thing is Russell’s argument is that if you claim that there is a small teapot in orbit around the sun I don’t have to believe it unless you provide proof. Fair enough.

Actually I think the piece from Russell says that if you put a teapot in orbit around the sun that he doesn’t have to believe it’s there without proof. And I’m good with that but at the same time just because you don’t believe that I did something doesn’t make it not so. The whole tea pot thing ultimately should make you question what anyone says or does since we can ultimately know if anything we tell each other is true unless we experience it. We don’t have to believe anything anyone says not just about tea pots or god.

The lack of proof or silence of God is a key point in Darren Aronofsky’s NOAH. Within the frame work of the story mankind is divided into two sections the sons of Cain and the sons of Abel. The Sons of Cain are forced to deal with the indifference of god. Its their sins and arrogance that god is trying to wipe off the face of the earth. Noah and his clan are in god’s good graces and he speaks to them.

The point that I’m reaching for here is that within the context of the film Tubal-cain and his clan view the universe as being one way because god is silent and doesn’t speak to them. Since he doesn’t speak to them he doesn’t exist. Since he doesn’t tell them how the world is they have created their own way of looking at the world. While it isn’t wrong for them to think that way within the parameters of their world and their knowledge it still doesn’t mean they are right, it just means, within the context of the film that they are operating without all of the facts or possibilities. Or in the real world, like someone coming to a conclusion without all of the facts.

I have no problem with anyone believing in gods or teapots or not believing in them. I firmly support your right to feel either way. But at the same time I have a problem with you forcing your beliefs on me or anything else. Your view isn’t my view. And considering that science is constantly revising what the truth is as more facts come in I find it highly questionable to state that one thing or isn’t possible- especially teapots which are outside of our ability to see orbiting the sun.

The point of this rambling piece is that like James Randi says, we should question what we are told, especially when it's something fantastical like a teapot orbiting the sun. On the other hand just because we don't have evidence (of said teapot) doesn't mean things aren't there...since someday we may find out otherwise (science revises)

Question everything. However be careful when you dismiss for lack of evidence, because one never knows when one might find something unexpected down the road. Besides when you get down to it, we can't tell whats going on in the house next door to ours and you're going to tell me for certainty whats floating out in space or how the universe works?
I know it's still a month away but we're already getting our New York Film Festival coverage together. I have about ten reviews banked, I eight more films locked and loaded with certainty thanks to a ticket package. Member tickets are on sale a week from Tuesday- and this Wednesday we should be finding out if we're getting press it appears that we should be keeping up with our tradition of giving you tons of coverage...
And now some links from Randi

Video for Lucius-Go Home
The legendary Van de Graaf Generators only recorded live performance
Frank Miller's rise and fall and rise
Agnes Varda-let go of the New Wave
Critic who bootlegged The Expendables 3 sees it in a theater then pans it.

No comments:

Post a Comment