Contagion. Pandemic. Outbreak. Because, Why Not?

I was inspired to go on a journey of epidemiological exploration by this segment of On The Media part of the show that aired on March 13, 2020.

On the Media – Rewatching “Contagion” During The Pandemic

This was the second or third podcast that featured an interview with Laurie Garrett, one of the scientific advisors on the film Contagion. She was in a segment of On The Media from a previous week, as well as being the subject of the Breaking News Consumer’s Handbook: Infectious Disease Edition episode of On the Media back in 2014.

Then there was this episode of Planet Money: The Disease Detectives or this segment from Morning Edition. It was beginning to look like everyone was talking about this movie. I remembered watching it, or at least starting to watch it. But I couldn’t remember more than the first few minutes of the film.

Contagion (2010) (Cinemax link)

Wesley Morris, writing for the New York Times, calls it an explanatory drama in his article. I think of it more as a detective story that understands why we might turn on a movie about a fictional pandemic while we are caught up in a very real pandemic all around us. We want answers, and by the end of the film we have those answers. The closing scenes alone are very rewarding, making the sometimes dry delivery of the film worth the wait, if any of you who watch it find that you feel like you are waiting.

I know why I didn’t remember watching the movie to the end the first time. When they start trepanning open the first victims skull and folding back her scalp, I’m pretty sure I bailed on the film. I almost did that again the second time, even knowing what it was I signed up to watch. We will be getting the most out of that frew week of Cinemax that got us access to the movie for free that first night.

After watching Contagion, I surfed over to check out the Netflix documentary that I had heard someone else talk about.

Pandemic (2020) Netflix

I wasn’t clear on whether this series was a documentary series or not until I tuned in to watch it. The first episode makes this very clear. It’s a documentary. All the episodes inter-relate, but there are different segments in each episode about the different facets of the problem of dealing with a pandemic in different countries. You come away with a pretty clear view of the problems we face dealing with any kind of healthcare crisis in the world, much less one as broad and crippling as the current coronavirus pandemic.

From doctors to anti-vaxxers and back again, the series gives you a broad but shallow look at healthcare in the world today. Since we all have a lot of time on our hands these days, and are probably curious about why we have a lot of time on our hands, this series should help you understand why that is.

Neither venture delivers the punch of an epic disaster movie, though.

Outbreak (1995) Netflix

Outbreak is just the kind of disaster movie you are probably looking for, if those two offerings aren’t to your taste. From devastating viral death rates to government cover-ups to an edge-of-your-seat ending, this film is everything the others are not. Including it being completely unbelievable to anyone with a shred of understand of how infections spread successfully or how government programs work. But it is a good popcorn movie with a rewarding ending. You can’t ask for much more in these times of stress and worry.

Women 2020

Facebook – Strange Women Lying in Ponds Distributing Swords
(yes there is a group for that. I don’t know if they created the image)

It could just be shortened to women in 2020, but I’ll take whichever.

Monty Python and the Holy Grail: Dennis The Constitutional Peasant

I mean, if I went around sayin’ I was an empereror just because some moistened bink had lobbed a scimitar at me they’d put me away!

Monty Python (the line itself)

The 2016 version as I posted it four years ago on Facebook.

Real Christmas Music

Stop the presses! We have a new contender for Die Hard Christmas song this year.

Christmas in L​.​A. (Yippee Ki Yay) (explicit lyrics) from Yippee Ki Yay by Marian Call

…Well, it is new to me this year. We now return you to the regularly scheduled program.


GuyzNiteDie Hard Music Video NEW 4th Verse! – Apr 18, 2007

Makes you wish I had stuck with this song now, doesn’t it?

RAnt(hony)-ings

But wait! There is an actual Die Hard Christmas album!

Die Hard: Christmas Carols

Carols inspired by the greatest Christmas movie of all time: Die Hard. Die Hard marathon hosted by Reginald VelJohnson all day Christmas Day on IFC.

Posted by IFC on Tuesday, December 18, 2018
Facebook.com – IFC – 2018

Not really. I just wanted an excuse to post this video advertisement for the 2018 Die Hard marathon hosted by Reginald VelJohnson. It’s almost enough to make me subscribe to cable again just to be able to watch that, if they staged it again this year.

Hat/tip to the Merbrat for the Marian Call link.

A Die Hard Christmas Tree

Continuing the theme for this Christmas season, here are some Die Hard Christmas tree ideas.

Twitter

In case the Tweet isn’t visible, here is the image again.

The tree topper does not appear to be for sale anywhere. I will update this post if I find a store selling it. But you could make your own ornaments for the tree. Ornaments like this do-it-yourself job.

Not to mention buying other ornaments for the tree.

If you aren’t into new-fangled art pieces, there is always the more traditional ball ornaments.

I haven’t found any light strings that spell out yippee ki-yay motherfucker yet. But I bet if I look long enough, I’ll find some. I found all that other stuff just looking for the tree topper.

The Wife suggests that the perfect Die Hard Christmas tree would be a topiary sculpture in the shape of the Nakatomi building. It should have a garland that looks like a small firehose starting from the top that turns into the “Merry Christmas” wrapping tape seen in the movie, about halfway down the tree. The topper, in her opinion, should be a helicopter that circles the top of the tree/tower, occasionally exploding in colored lights along with the top of the tree. John McClane should be seen occasionally sliding down the garland and into the tree, as well as a couple of different figures falling from the tree every now and then, just to complete the entire spectacle. Sgt. Al Powell can drive backward around the bottom of the tree in his police car, with one of the fallen figures on his hood, while he eats a twinkie. I look forward to seeing some artist creating this display at some Christmas in the future.

A Hat/Tip is owed to the Merbrat, once again.

Proving Die Hard is a Christmas Movie

Stephen Follows ran the numbers through his three distinct perspectives for considering movies; Creative, Commercial, Cultural. He selected specific datasets for all three perspectives in order to determine if Die Hard is a Christmas movie or not. I, as a lowly movie watcher, defer to his expertise on this subject. Here is a link to his article.

Stephenfollows.com

For those of you who cannot be bothered to read a few pages of text with some interesting graphs mixed into them in order to liven up the number crunching, I’ll give you a tl;dr quote from the conclusion.

[I]t’s certainly fair to say that Die Hard is regarded as a Christmas movie in popular culture. Like it or not, the association between Die Hard and Christmas is fast increasing and in years to come its Christmassyness will be beyond question.

Stephen Follows

Hat/tip to The Wife for the link to this article. When I mentioned I was doing a series of pieces on our Lord John McClane, she insisted I had to read Stephen’s article and include it in the series. I will be relying on his three perspectives consciously in the future when I review films, as I have been known to do. I was already taking the three of them into account when I wrote reviews or mused on the impact of various films, but I had never given the perspectives names before.

Stephenfollows.com

Constantine Did It

Nicaea. Yes. It’s still funny. Also, this.

Twitter

There is a whole lot more of these things on Twitter. Click the link if you dare.

Hat/Tip to Merbrat.

It's That Time of Year Again

I’ve mentioned before that The Wife has a particular fondness for this Christmas movie.

However, I never thought that calling it a Christmas movie would be controversial.

How about a soundtrack dominated by Christmas music? Does that make it a Christmas movie?

Vaughn Monroe – Let It Snow – Die Hard – Film Version

Making a Nakatomi gingerbread house? Does that make it a Christmas movie?

Imgur

How about an advent calendar? Is that good enough?

Reddit

I saved the best for last. Yes, there is a Die Hard christmas storybook.

Sideshow CollectiblesDie Hard Christmas Book with Steve Blum – Dec 17, 2018

Hat/Tip to Merbrat for all but the first image. I used to refer to her as a stoic (specifically an email stoic) when I mentioned her on the blog because I thought it was a funny joke to label someone as effusive and outgoing as she is with a philosophy marked by asceticism and reserve. I’m not sure why I thought it was a funny joke back then, but I did. What can I say? I have a weird sense of humor. The first image was added later after I stumbled across the nakatomistrong hashtag and followed it to his wall.

Virgin Cheerleaders in Chains

Virgin Cheerleaders in Chains (2019)

(No, it’s not that kind of movie)

Jacob Anders ReviewsVirgin Cheerleaders in Chains – Nov 13, 2019

This is how you do a movie review. The film he is reviewing is the one that I felt I had to write a Movie Rating for Dummies post for just to help the entertainment challenged understand that if you sat through the entire movie, it’s probably at least a three star experience. This guy gets it, and he understands how to mix praise with criticism.

Virgin Cheerleaders in Chains is better than three stars, as Jacob Anders does a much better job of explaining than I can. He’s nicer to the movie than I was, and he doesn’t have to sleep next to the producer of the film knowing she could kill him in his sleep if he trashes her movie.

Which I wouldn’t do to this movie anyway because it is hands down the best made movie she’s worked on. The credit goes to the writer, the director, the cast and crew, all of whom would never have found each other without the producer, the woman I sleep next to. So she gets credit too, even if she isn’t one of the named credits in the movie. The editing job is superb, the acting is excellent, the script won awards. It’s a great movie. Go see it.

I’m simply not a person who watches horror films and enjoys them. I’m still haunted by The Ring after watching it more than a decade ago. I laughed at and was traumatized by Scream when it came out. Halloween still gives me goosebumps, and I’m a certified John Carpenter fan. Don’t ask my opinion on horror films if you want more out of me than it’s not my kind of movie. I’m more at home with dry, intense dramas than I am with action and horror.

This movie scared me, too. So if you like scary movies, go see it. You’ll enjoy it.

RAnt(hony)-ings
Promo artwork

If It Didn’t Exist, We’d Have To Create It Anyway

Yesterday (2019)

Picture the Emerald city as seen in the 1939 movie The Wizard of Oz. Imagine that you had lived there all your life. Born there, raised there. It was what was normal for you. Then one day you wake up and you live in Kansas, the dull, drab black and white existence from the same film. No one has ever seen or heard of the beauty of the Emerald city. No one knows what the hell you mean when you say Emerald city to them.

Wouldn’t you try to create a version of the Emerald city? Just so that the beauty that you remember could be shared by everyone you know? So that they would know what you mean when you say the words Emerald city.

That is the essence of Yesterday. The story of a man who wakes up in a world in which the greatest influences of our past no longer existed. It is a movie with soul. A movie that makes you want to shout to the rafters about the beauty and inspiration that was the Beatles, and quite a few other things as well. Watching Yesterday was one of those rare instances when the movie that I’m watching is better than the movie I expected to watch when I queued it up. Give this movie a chance and it will surprise you.

Love is all you need.