Friday, February 14, 2020

Cinema Cycle - Once Upon A Time In The West

Once Upon A
Time In The West
Friday, 02.14.2020

Bruce Johnson

Setup / Background

  1. I could just watch the credits for hours.
  2. This appears to be the quintessential spaghetti Western.
  3. There is almost no real dialogue for the first 30 minutes of this film
  4. But I believe the body count is up to eight
  5. Cinematography and soundtrack are excellent
  6. Watching this film is like watching a motion picture painting, it's just all visual and sensory overload with very little dialogue.
  7. The long slow unraveling plot told through a series of random events
  8. It all slowly starts to make sense.  But you never know what's going to happen next
  9. The great American story, the long-term development of resources
  10. It all makes sense in the end.
  11. I'm sorry but nobody looked as good as Claudia Cardinale does in this movie.

Cinema Cycle Notes

  • 38 miles
  • 165  minutes
  • Odometer =  11741.1 miles  

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Cinema Cycle - Naked City: Robin Hood and Clarence Darrow, they went out with the bow and arrow

Naked City
Friday, 02.12.2020



Bruce Johnson

"Robin Hood and Clarence Darrow, they went out with the bow and arrow"

Setup / Background

  1. First impression, I have no idea what is going on.
  2. Lots of background.  Very depressing
  3. Also artsy in a 1950s sort of way.
  4. The old cliche scene of talking to a headstone to fill in background.  No voice overs back then.
  5. OMG a very young Christopher Walken!  (As Ronnie Walken in the credits)
  6. Plot finally makes sense.  Geez the 50s were repressed.
  7. Social injustice and the struggle of the common man.
  8. Again with the headstone
  9. Basically the movie "Falling Down" set in 1950s New York
  10. Best thing about this series, location shooting in 1950s New York.
  11. Surprise ending
  12. Almost every episode I have seen ends in a bloodbath.  Bad men die violent deaths.
  13. More father son bonding in the end.
  14. Why does he hate his father? Because he loves him?

Cinema Cycle Notes

  • 11.1 miles
  • 51 minutes 
  • Odometer =  11703.1 miles  

Monday, February 10, 2020

Cinema Cycle - Lord of War

Lord of War
Friday, 02.09.2020



Bruce Johnson

Disc One

Setup / Background

  1. Best opening credits ever.
  2. Beginning moves along quickly, a lot of voice over.
  3. No female lead yet, but a lot of brother bonding.
  4. Let's sell arms to EVERYBODY!
  5. Goodbye brother, hello love interest.
  6. Bye bye Soviet Union, Arms Sale Free-For-All
  7. Lots of sick corrupt people in this world.
  8. The scene with the cargo plane, OMG
  9. He loses his wife, his son and his brother, didn't expect a happy ending.
  10. In the end he loses everything, or does he?
  11. The final scene with Ethan Hawk, should be required viewing. 

Cinema Cycle Notes

  • 12.6 + 15.5 =  28.1 miles
  • Time = 2 hours 2 minutes (122 minutes)
  • Odomenter =  11692 miles  

Saturday, February 8, 2020

Cinema Cycle - Far and Away

Far and Away
Friday, 02.07.2020


Bruce Johnson

Side One


  1. Impressive credits, expecting quality film making.
  2. I can see this will not be a simple plot.  Gorgeous imagery.
  3. Whoever wrote the dialogue for this should have won an oscar.
  4. Enter Nicole Kidman.  Fiery !
  5. Talk about a series of unfortunate events.
  6. A duel in the fog….really?  Hilarious.
  7. Very good production values.  Accurate.      

Side Two


  1. Welcome to America.  Poverty everywhere!
  2. A very accurate film depicting the time.
  3. Was there really this much pugilism in the 1890s?
  4. No sex means more testosterone for the boxing ring.
  5. Oh Yeah, welcome to grass roots American Government (corruption)
  6. He loses everything for a woman….typical
  7. So many random events.


  1. Finally made it to Oklahoma sans Nicole Kidman, where could she be?
  2. There she is!
  3. Finally the big payoff scene (with menacing villain)

Side Three

The Big Scene - Land Rush

  1. Happy ending for sure, but the real moral is stay away from Irish Redheads, they just get you into trouble.

Cinema Cycle Notes

  • 14 + 19.3 = 33.3 miles
  • Time = 2 hours 20 minutes (140 minutes)
  • Odometer = 11663.9 miles

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Opera Sunday: Tannhauser (Wagner)

Wednesday, 02.05.2020



Bruce Johnson

Act One

That classic overture

  1. Lots of imagery, erotic dancing, oh my.  Some sort of flashback dream sequence.

Let's argue with the Goddess of Love

  1. Probably not a good idea
  2. Basically, the rule is, don't fall in love with a goddess.  They can be nasty
  3. A very minimalist production, but it works.  Moody and passionate

Act Two

Forget living with the Gods,  back on Earth

  1.  Apparently being able to sing in this culture is highly prized.  "Like dude! You sing better than us. Damn!"
  2. Intermission
  3.  Interesting tour of the festival grounds.
  4. The female lead in this really has some pipes
  5. So this all leads up to a singing contest…..
  6. This opera has almost everything,  Gods,  ballet,  chorus, duets,  fancy costumes…
  7. The loooonnnngggg drawn out emotional phrasing.

Act Three

A lot going on here, Gods of Emotion vs The God of Christ?

  1. Lots of frustration, lots of denial.  
  2. Guilt and banishment, jeez.
  3. I really have a hard time believing that people ever really lived and thought this way.   Its more of a Nordic Fable focused on love, denial and sacrifice.
  4. Here come the three contest songs about love…….
  5. Banished for blaspheming at the song contest,  the Horror!
  6. So in the end,  what I believe Wagner is trying to say here,  is the struggle between pagan desires, and love of Christ through a pious woman resides in us all.

Cinema Cycle Notes

  • Miles Ridden = 30.4 miles
  • Time:= 3 hours 9 minutes (189 minutes)
  • Total Odometer: = 10,768 miles

Monday, January 27, 2020

Opera Sunday: Die Fledermaus (Strauss)

(My Live Twitter Stream Of The Opera)

What amounts to a long and drawn out practical joke played on a friend for a past transgression.  The libretto (dialog) can be painfully long at time, but the viewer has to keep in mind the target audience, which is Vienna in the 1800s.  The subject is actually quite risque and scandalous, but also comedic.  Hence, you get the feeling that you are watching a 150 year old episode of 'Friends" with a really good soundtrack.  

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Things Old Guys Do - Windows 3.1

Finally finished tweaking and testing the complete Window 3.1 environment, with Wordperfect / Lotus123 / Photoshop Suites as well as other software.  It appears to be pretty stable (as stable as Windows could be back then) and it is lightning fast.  The entire Windows environment runs under Linux, using the DOSBox interface.  

I have been amazed at how well the video and music play.  There is no skipping or buffering.  And, I am finally getting to try and finish a copy of Myst, which is absolutely AWESOME played through the surround sound stereo.