Saturday, October 25, 2014


The setting is Germany, April of 1945, the final closing weeks of WWII.  S/Sgt "Wardaddy" Collier (Brad Pitt) leads his tank crew on the final push toward Berlin. Having just lost their  driver to a sniper, another soldier (Norman Ellison) is assigned to the crew.

He's green, a fresh arrival who hasn't seen the inside of a tank before... nor a single combat action. Plus/and... he doesn't know how to fire a machine gun, or anything else he's going to be expected to do at this point. He is certainly not prepared to kill.

Needless to say, he's having a bad day and getting badly treated by his new comrades, who do not trust him because they know they cannot rely on him.
He will eventually prove his worth to this unfeeling, battle-calloused group of men who fight and bicker constantly amongst themselves.

Much has already been said about this film: It's dirty, gritty and grimy. The violence and battle sequences are extreme (and extremely personal). It makes too much note of American atrocities. Yadda, yadda, yadda... go ahead and 'Wiki' the title of the film. It's there.
No, seriously...  Do it, then come back to me... I'll wait.

Yes, I caught on to the brutality, the soulessness, the lack of virtue among the American fighting man when placed in the most uncivilized of circumstances while charged with a fucked up list of shit to live through.
Short story:
-War sucks. We been told that already through lot's of other movies.
-Americans were the good guys. Yeah, same thing... we know that already... (next!)
It's refreshing (dare I say 'Brilliant') for somebody to make a war movie that doesn't ground itself to either of those topics?

As one reviewer put it: ""Fury" is a brutal film that too easily celebrates rage and bloodshed to no clear end beyond ugly spectacle."

He is wrong, just as wrong as everybody else.
All of it, the 'celebration of rage and bloodshed for ugly spectacle' was leading up the true depth of meaning of a man's love and desire for his own center (the meaning of life, as you will),  fully showcased in the intro to, and within, the final battle scene...

Sent on a mission to defend a vital crossing, and losing 75% of their combat strength along the way,  the crew of Fury (the name of their tank) finds itself stranded at that very crossing due to a land mine.
With 300 SS infantry approaching, Wardaddy advises his men to escape, hide in the distant tree line until the enemy passes,...
and then begins to get back into the tank himself, claiming 'This is my home'.
He can't bring himself leave his tank to save his own ass, and prepares an ambush for the approaching Nazi's.
The other four refuse to leave.
Unspoken, yet upon their faces, they feel it too...
and stay to fight it out...
as a family...

a family of demonically possessed animals, for sure, but they are a family, all that bitching and bickering aside...
Fury is their home, too.

Called out from the only homes they knew (as young men, teenagers actually), required to expend their lives for a cause not of their choosing (or may not have understood), while held to a code with more grey lines than black and white ones... they found their own tangible sense of purpose, a home, the center of their being, in the best way they could (maybe the only way offered/allowed?)
Everything they are: what they've become, and all they can hope to be, is right there, within and through, that tank.
It's some seriously sacramental shit:
 -They are One with Fury.
 -Without Fury, they are none.
They are home.
Fighting savagely, they demonstrate their nobility; their purpose; they kill; they survive; they kill some more; they survive some more;  they are who they are; they kill and survive for Fury; they kill and survive as Fury...
they kill and survive because they are one...
One with Fury...
All sins to be redeemed through their passionate commitment for the one thing that unites them, bestowing  them with purpose, identity... and Life.
Dare anybody judge them now?

This is what I saw.
Everything, the entire film, all of it, was building to this moment.
Everybody else missed it.
Yet, it's right there, on the freakin poster, for Christ's sake!!!!
Even in the title, yo!
How much of a freakin clue do you need?
All the artistic license, the extreme depictions, the larger-than-life assholeness of the characters had a reason, ok?
This film is not a lesson in history about the good guys on the righteous side of a horrible war, so put that 'Saving Private Ryan', 'Band Of Brothers' and 'Sands Of Iwo Jima' stuff on a shelf for a while and see this for what it is.
This is a tale of purpose and redemption that just so happens to be set in a time of war.
In addition...
This IS a good, epic war flick, if not like the others.
It belongs with the rest of them, on the same shelf, maybe next to 'Kelly's Heroes"?

Purpose and Redemption. How did all these reviewers not see it?

Friday, October 3, 2014

Shaving Win

I'm not a fan of these multi-bladed razors The Suits keep selling us.
Most of my life I've been skeptical of their claims, but for the past several year I've been convinced for that all we need is one blade to shave with and that all these extra blades are just gimmick: offering  nothing of value to a closer shave, and serve more as a  hinderance to what should be  personal grooming ruled through practicality and simplicity.

After all, we are men. It's in our nature to keep grooming simple and easy. So, why all these blades? and why do we keep buying them (why? I'll tell you why... because it's all they sell, dammit!)

I'm happy to see that there is a movement to get back to the simple one-bladed shave, like my father and grandfather before me, but you gotta get your gear through the mail. Gillette and The Boys have too much cash at stake in the status quo.

That being said...
I've never enjoyed keeping myself freshly groomed in the facial department, therefore, I've spent most of my adult life sporting a two to four day stubble (by day five, its itchy and annoying, so I gotta fix it...)

I was blessed with a thick beard growth, much in keeping with the Mediterranean blood line I've inherited from my father.
Unlike my mom's side of the family, shaving is not child's play for me. Some razors work well, other designs just didn't cut it.
There was one cheap disposable style (single-blade) that worked really well that hasn't been on the shelves for 20 yrs. (gee, I wonder why?)
You can still find them (what stock is left of them) on Ebay, and they are expensive.

Here's a link to that!

Further compounding my shaving woes are the results of several surgeries that have rendered the landscape of my neck a less than desirable place to drag a blade.
It's not just the visible crevices from outward scars, either.
There is also scar tissue below the surface. An attempt to pull the skin tight/smooth resembles the feel of a lumpy mattress: It looks fine, til you put some pressure on it... or a blade.
Getting a clean and even shave on the right side (the surgery side) is a chore, a difficult one, requiring several passes at several angles and two (or three) changes in blade style.

Then, along comes the Gillette Flexball, or as it's properly known the Gillette Fusion ProGlide with Flexball Handle...
I decided to give this new thing a try.

It's been three weeks now...
I must say that I am quite pleased.
I use one razor, and get everything I need to get on the first pass... no going over, no missed spots, no more getting a different style cartridge for a different angle.

Despite what it claims far as being a closer shave and what not, I suspect the opposite is true. I receive little to nothing in the way of small cuts and nicks that were usually par for a typical shave. Maybe this blade cuts  whiskers microscopically less-close than the competition, and that is why. I don't know. Don't much care when I can get the job done as comfortably as this device allows.

Consider this my full endorsement of this product.