Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Star Collector

Started the day with breakfast and A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to the Forum. After yesterday's somewhat depressing Follies, I thought some less dire Sondheim was in order. This was, in fact, his first solo show. Pseudolous (Zero Mostel) is a scheming slave in ancient Rome. He gets his young master Hero (Brian Davies) to promise to set him free if he can bring the boy the courtesan he's lusting after. Turns out that she's promised to the brutal warrior Miles Gloriosous (Ronald Holgate), and the proprietor of the House of Courtesans, Marcus Lycus (John Carradine) has no intention of letting her go to someone else. Pseudolous does everything he can think of, including dressing fellow slave Hysterium (Jack Gilford) in drag, to get him to change his mind.

Another favorite of mine from Sondheim makes me wish he did comedy more often. Some of the songs are really fun, including the lesser-known ones like Gilford's "I'm Calm" (he's not) and Davies and Mostel singing about how the latter will be "Free." Probably the most famous number from this is the opener "Comedy Tonight"...which ironically was a last-minute addition when the ballad that originally began the show didn't seem to be setting the right tone.

Spent most of the morning writing, this time without interruption. Jeanne and Cassian are already at the hangar when the others arrive. Chirrut, a kindly monk from the desert country Jedha, offers his consolation at Ben's loss. There isn't much time to mourn the older man's death, though. Vader and his boys are hot on their trail. Luke gets ready to ride with Wally "Wedge" Antilles to San Francisco in his small plane the Rogue. Artie insists on going with him as a chaperone.

Broke for lunch at noon. Listened to some Monkees as I ate. Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn, and Jones LTD is from around the time of the early-mid 2nd season. The lone top-10 hit was "Pleasant Valley Sunday," but some of the other songs are among their best as well, including two Mike favorites "Salesman" and "What am I Doin' Hangin' 'Round," "Star Collector" from Davy, and "Words" from Mickey.

While I did clean the bathroom, do inside and outside trash and recycling, shelved candy, and got some returns done later, I spent most of the afternoon in a register. We're short-handed again. A lot of people went on vacation for part or all of this week, and most of the just-hired teen and college cashiers only work at certain times. There was no one to relieve the kids during their breaks. Thankfully, we weren't that busy. I took customers when it got mildly steady once. It was fairly quiet for the rest of the day.

As soon as I got in, I had leftovers while playing Lego Clone Wars. Got one more piece each on "Legacy of Terror" and "Ambush!" Finally found Anakin Skywalker and Bail Organa in the bounty hunter mini-games. I just have to figure out how to get that last clone officer, and I'll be done with those.

Finished the night with The Post. It's 1971. Katherine Graham (Meryl Streep) just took over The Washington Post from her late husband, but she's having a hard time getting the men who work for her, including editor Ben Bradlee (Tom Hanks), to listen to her. The Post isn't as well-respected as The New York Times, which is publishing a hard-hitting expose on the government. When the Times is forced to stop their investigation by the government, Bradlee and his assistant editor Ben Bagdikian (Bob Odenkirk) see this as an opportunity to step in. After the Pentagon Papers - government documents detailing how badly the US was doing in Vietnam - were leaked to both papers, Bradlee wants to go forward with the story. Almost no one is pleased with his scoop, especially Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara (Bruce Greenwood), an old friend of Katherine's, and Post chairman Fritz Beebee (Tracy Letts). Katherine decides that the truth must get out, no matter what...and winds up turning the Post into one of the country's leading newspapers as a result.

Streep got the Oscar nomination, but this is really more of an ensemble movie, and everyone gets a turn to shine as we see how important getting major news to the public can be, even if it's news that the government might deem damaging or harmful. Sometimes, the truth does will out. Steven Spielburg actually filmed and edited this in less than five months. The movie can be talky and a bit slow, and it's not as flashy as some of Spielburg's better-known films, but that puts the emphasis right on the all-star cast where it should be.

If you're a fan of Streep, Hanks, anyone in the cast, US history, or journalism, you'll want to check this one out.

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