I like to keep on top of cinema. I belong to a number of forums devoted to film... both foreign and domestic. I follow a bunch of movie news sites on social media. I pore through streaming sites to see what's been released that looks interesting to me for one reason or another.
But every once in a while something comes along which takes me completely by surprise. It's a movie or TV show that I most definitely should have heard of, but didn't for some reason.
And that pretty much sums up Frequently Asked Questions About Time Travel...
It's science fiction. It's British. It stars Chris O'Dowd and Anna Faris. It has an indy vibe. ANY of these factors mean that it should have crossed my radar, because all of these factors are things that I enjoy. And yet... here it was... just popping up on HBO like it's been there all along. AND IT'S FROM 2009?!?
It has very mixed reviews. And I get it. This is not a big-budget time travel flick with a massive budget and simple story. It's more intimate and complex than that. But I loved it. Very smart and clever with good ideas and a phenomenal cast. And it's funny. Very happy to have happened across it when I brought up HBO Max tonight.
After watching Frequent Questions About Time Travel, HBO recommended a film by Martin Scorsese that I have never heard of before... The Big Shave. And I thought "Well that's an odd title for a movie, I had better watch it!"
THIS IS ONE OF THE MOST DISTURBING THINGS I HAVE EVER SEEN AND IT IS ONLY SIX MINUTES LONG! WTF?!? It's from 1967... and I am now traumatized. Apparently it is a commentary on the Vietnam War. And because trauma loves company, I found it on YouTube to share with y'all (they don't allow embedding, so you have to click this link).
At first I was all "THIS is how Scorsese started filmmaking?!?" But then the more I thought about it, the more it makes perfect sense.
And then I fell through a rabbit hole on this film, Googling everything I could find out about it.
Many film critics have interpreted the young man's process of self-mutilation as a metaphor for the self-destructive involvement of the United States in the Vietnam War, prompted by the film's alternative title... Viet '67.
The guy who starred in this short film, Peter Bernuth, has only this single credit in his IMDB profile. This is where his acting career began and ended.
He lived in Coral Gables, Fla., and was chairman of Bernuth-Lemboke, which imports and distributes wood preservatives and other chemicals from Europe. A native of Long Island, Peter moved the company to Miami in 1977. Peter came to Princeton from Hotchkiss School, majored in English with a thesis on the poetry of George Herker and was a member of the swimming and lacrosse teams and belonged to Ivy Club. In the early 1970s he was active in politics, running a congressional campaign for Ed Koch and then the New York office after Koch was elected. In Florida he was on the boards of his sons’ schools, St. Stephen’s Day School and Palmer Trinity.
He died in 1994 after fighting cancer for a year.
He was survived by his wife and three sons.
William Farmer remembers: I went to Europe with Peter the summer of “62. We got free passage to Tripoti on board a German freighter provided we would work on deck maintenance with the crew. Trip took 18 days and we loved the pattern of starting drinking beer around noon with the crew, all young guys, and playing cards or arguing into the night. We went to Spain together. Peter was an aficionado following in Hemingway’s footsteps. He arranged for us to attend major bullfighting ferias in several cities. One of Hemingway’s favorites, Ordonez, was still fighting, and we saw him in Malaga. We also found a free place to stay in nearby Torremolinos (before it bacame an international beach resort), in an abandoned house being readied for demolition as some kind of hotel. A bit of straw and a beach towel was all that was needed. Washups in the drug store bathroom (tip the woman attendant a couple of pesetas), or just go in the Mediterranean. Residents were a couple of English girls, a German guy and an American pre-hippy who taught us about the new thing called “pot.”
Life is weird, in general. The internet is weird, specifically.