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Unbeknownst to some of you who only know me through this blog, in recent months I’ve been inspired by my love of movies to share my strange cinematic taste with friends, family and passersby.    The tradition has been established, and I thought I’d share it with you, loyal readers, and invite you all to be there in spirit, if not in person on Friday, November 20th at Club Awesome (aka my house, email me for info if you think you can make it!)

And yes, by request from an out of town friend who couldn’t make it last time, there will be a “here in spirit” message wall at the party where all snarky comments, congratulations and contributions will be displayed for our guests!

So what exactly will be on the movie menu?  Here’s the description I wrote for the invitation:

Xanadu_LC

A place, where nobody dared to go - the love that we've come to know - they call it XANADU!

We’re going back to a simpler time before cellphones and the Internet, when Regan was in office and legs were very warm…in our first feature, the legwarmers are sported by Olivia Newton-John as she inspires an artist and a musician to build a roller disco palace called *’Xanadu’*! Will she give up her career as a Muse to be with the man she loves even though he wears vests and pulls his jeans up too high? Watch and find out!

The legwarmers in our second feature are sported by a still to become a jowly Scientologist John Travolta in *’Stayin’ Alive’*, the little known (and hardly watched) sequel to ‘Saturday Night Fever’. Our hero Tony Manero has given up the disco lifestyle and traded in his white suit for a tight spandex leotard and a headband. Will Tony get the lead in the Broadway show? Will he tame the diva and bend her to his will? Will you die laughing when you see his outfit in the big ‘finale’? Come to movie night and find out!
OK, now tell me that although y’all live in faraway places, you’ll do your best to roller disco yourselves to New Jersey and join in the fun!

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One of the fun ways to get an understanding how the world has changed over the last few years is to take a look at movies about the same subject that were made in different decades.

Today I’m thinking about nuclear war (must have been that iffy breakfast burrito), so I’ll be writing about two movies that both involve imminent nuclear annihilation of the entire planet — one movie you’ve probably seen (War Games, 1983), and the other you probably haven’t (Dr. Strangelove or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, 1964).

Back in the late 50s and early 60s, your average Joe on the street had more than a little concern about the prospect of a war between the United States and the Soviet Union. We didn’t like the Communists, the Communists didn’t like us, and there were lots and lots of bombs waiting to be dropped. Both sides were terribly secretive about what weapons they had, where they were stashed, and what sort of horrific damage they could do on short notice. This is the setting for Dr. Strangelove, directed by Stanley Kubrick.

In Dr. Strangelove, the completely insane General Jack T. Ripper (Sterling Hayden) decides that the only way to settle the Cold War and protect the US is to initiate an attack on the Soviet Union in order to get them to retaliate so that we can wipe them out. Ripper takes it upon himself to cut off all communications at his Air Force Base and issue the orders for “Wing Attack Plan R”. With General Ripper the only man in possession of the recall code and hundreds of bombers heading for Russian airspace ready to drop tons of nuclear warheads, it’s up to General Buck Turgidson (George C. Scott) and President Muffley (Peter Sellars) to figure out how to avoid WW III…


Now let’s skip ahead a few years to 1983. I was around then, and don’t remember being all that concerned about some general going nuts and lobbing bombs at the USSR. But by 1983 we had other worries when it came to nuclear destruction. Had our national defense system become so automated that a computer could start a nuclear war on its own? That, of course, is the premise of War Games.

When underachieving computer whiz David Lightman decides he’s just got to see what the local computer game company is up to (they didn’t have the G4 channel back then), he inadvertently ends up poking around the NORAD computer system called WOPR that analyzes the defense condition of the US and takes appropriate action to defend the country (i.e. order some crazy-ass missile launch). Thinking he’s playing next year’s hit “Global Thermonuclear War”, David engages the WOPR in a “game” that starts the countdown to a real thermonuclear confrontation…

Tune in next time for Part II: The Big Board vs. NORAD

I decided that my other blog My Cool Job restrains me in some ways. There are things I’d like to say that somehow don’t fit the “theme” of having a cool job.

What are these things I’d like to say? I think many of them involve movies.

Movies I love. Movies I hate. I watch a shitload of movies.

If I have an interesting thought, I’m much more confident that I can squeeze it into a post about a movie I’ve seen or heard of than a post about someone else’s job.

So witness jimsmuse 2.0…

Yes, I love the movie Carrie.

Carrie is my name, and today that movie suits my mood.