Wednesday, January 31, 2018

"What We Have Here Is a Failure to Communicate."

Today was my early 8-hour work day. As I figured it would was really boring. We weren't even remotely busy for most of the morning and afternoon. By the time rush hour came around, I was on my way home. Except for doing carts and returns for an hour and a half when I arrived and more returns for another hour or so before I left, I spent almost the entire day wiping down almost every glass case, cooler, and freezer in the entire store. I started cleaning around 10:30-11 and, not counting two 15-minute breaks, didn't finish until quarter after 4. My arm is so, so sore.

One of the big reasons for our quiet day was the relatively nice weather. It was chilly and a bit windy, but warm enough that most of what little snow we got yesterday was almost gone by the time I headed home. Picked up my invitation for Dana's bridal shower in March on my way in and took out the trash.

Spent the next hour and a half or so writing. Thrawn takes Leia and Pellaeon down a tunnel to see what he thinks of as a dead bird. To Leia's horror, it's Chewbacca, Luke the fairy scout's swallow friend. Thrawn and Pellaeon dismiss him as dirty and noisy and tells Leia to forget about him. She can't. He's her friend. Later that night, she brings a blanket and some food in the hope of reviving him. He is alive, just frozen, and his wing is broken. She rubs him to get his circulation going, then bandages his wing.

Broke for dinner at quarter after 7. Had leftovers, then looked over cookbooks and went online while watching Cool Hand Luke. Luke (Paul Newman) is arrested in Florida for cutting parking meters off their poles and sentenced to a chain gang for two years. His refusal to submit to any kind of authority quickly causes him to run afoul of the warden (Strother Martin), his gun-toting right hand man (Morgan Woodward), and the floorwalker Carr (Clifton James). He's even less popular with Dragline, the head of the prisoners (George Kennedy), who challenges him to a boxing match. He refuses to back down, even when it's obvious he's outmatched. That bout, and a subsequent poker game, wins him the respect of all his fellow prisoners, including Dragline. He still won't obey the wardens, encouraged by his ailing mother (Jo Ann Fleet) and his winning that famous egg-eating bet. After his mother dies and the wardens refuse to allow him to attend her funeral, he becomes determined to escape. The wardens, however, are just as determined to show their own strength...and not let the man known as "Cool Hand Luke" get out of their hands.

Tough, gritty prison drama written by a man who actually was on a chain gang for two years; his screenplay got an Academy Award nomination. Kennedy won as the hard-as-nails long-time chain gang member who eventually becomes one of Luke's bigger supporters. Some classic dialogue, too, including the famous "failure to communicate" line.

(One thing I have noticed is that the late 60's really liked sun-drenched, dusty highways. This is the third late-60's movie I've seen after Bonnie & Clyde and Easy Rider to be set on endless stretches of gorgeously-shot, rugged back roads.)

This rough-and-ready look at one man's refusal to submit to the system is one of the seminal works of the late 60's. If you're a fan of other dark prison stories or Newman, you won't fail to communicate with this one.

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