The Weather Underground

This is not a love story.

I say that upfront just so you know that “The Weather Underground” is not an affectionate missive to the ideals of 1960s, or to that era’s radicals, or terrorism of any kind. What it is is a window into the mind of a group of notorious domestic terrorists. Still, the aura of ‘cool’ inhabits the documentary’s subjects, American revolutionaries in a volatile time (what is it about a rebel?).

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While watching Siddiq Barmak’s “Osama” (2003), I kept getting thinking about Ursula K. Le Guin’s seminal ’60s novel “The Left Hand of Darkness.”

The novel takes place on a planet named Winter where gender doesn’t exist. All of the natives are essentially hermaphrodites; they appear masculine for the majority of the time, but during kemmer (think a menstrual cycle or heat), two people mate and by luck of the draw, one will be a female and one will be male (in a curious side note, if the two reproduce, parental rights and lineage go to the mother).

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Desert island movies

I don’t often indulge in list making (well, publicly anyway), but recently I was chatting with a friend and brought up the age-old hypothetical; if you were stranded on a desert island, and could only watch five movies for the rest of your life, what would you pick?

He brought up that hopefully you would bring a DVD player with you; but on my hypothetical island, there’s a tricked-out entertainment center with an online library filled with every movie ever committed to film. Like the “Lost” island, but way cooler. (Incidentally, on this island, next door to the entertainment shack, there is a similar setup with a library, where you can access five novels for your stay, but that list is for another post.)

So, here’s my five, the movies I would want to spend the rest of my life watching, in no particular order.

1.      “The Apartment” (1960) – As close to perfect as movies can get; it’s funny, dark, moving and a little sad. Just perfect.


2.      “Wild Strawberries” (1957) – Also another perfect one and probably my favorite movie ever; every time I watch it, it makes me believe that we all can changes our lives for the better, we just have to make the leap.


3.      “Vertigo” (1958) – They can’t all be feel-good pictures; one of my two favorite Hitchcock movies (the other one is “Notorious”), and the one I couldn’t leave behind. Tortured souls never had such good celluloid representation as Jimmy Stewart here.


4.      “The Princess and the Warrior” (2000) – I adore this sad little German fairy tale about love and change, but as much as I love it, I don’t need to see it all the time. Once every two or three years is just right, and a perfect accompaniment to island living.


5.      “Clerks” (1994) – Sure, it’s not the greatest comedy ever made, or even the best Kevin Smith film (IMHO, “Dogma” takes that title), but it never gets old and I laugh every time I see it, and on the island or off, we can all use more of that.

There you have it; judge at will. Anyone else care to share?