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Howard Shanker Movies

Wow, writing is really easy when you have a system like mine. Give me a topic, any topic, and I’ll write about movies. Not even particularly high-quality and/or relevant movies, just the basic mainstream pop culture crap that every junior high school student and Midwestern soccer mom knows.

I’ve just finished up a marathon weekend viewing movies made in and about Australia. Last week I was on Skype with my Aunt Faye and she was telling me about her being the main guest speaker at what is called in Australia “First Ladies Luncheon”. These events bring together women and are all about networking in the business community. She said it was fun and was quite impressed with the sign as she entered the meeting and showed a slide show of her accomplishments. She said there was even a post online about the event. Anyway, it got me thinking about Australia and movies, thus the marathon weekend of Australian movies!

I’ve still got my job and have been using it to finance my web excursions and online purchases when the need arises. Recently I bought my wife a new winter jacket. A friend had told me about Osito fleece jackets for women so I check out The Northface company that manufactures them. I liked the company’s sustainable, green philosophy, along with their cutting edge technology. Aside from the price, which seems really reasonable, this jacket can be worn in at least three seasons of the year where we live. My wife can wear her Ositio jacket during milder days on its own or layered with a waterproof jacket or thicker coat for colder or wetter days. And the choice of colors is outstanding ranging from a hot pink, lemon yellow, aqua, and orange to the more neutral greys, white, and black. Since The Northface Company gets input from a number of world class athletes who are on expeditions around the world which in turn helps the Northface designers and technicians to push the limits of their outdoor apparel and equipment design and technology. I can guarantee that on any number of high flying adventure films that take place in wilderness situations or extreme weather conditions, actors are wearing Northface sportswear and accessories.

Back to the writing topic:

Into the Mind

Speaking about The Northface company naturally brings me to the newest film by Dave Mossop called “Into the Mind.” The Canadian filmmaker’s movie is an exploration of fear, happiness, and mortality set against the backdrop of big mountain skiing. And the skiing and snowboarding sections are awesome. The whole film will blow your mind with its extraordinary images and haunting sound design. FYI: The Northface is the main partner/sponsor in this film, although there were at least a dozen more ski related firms that were also involved.

Oh, it’s politics? Then I’ll look up some political-type movies and regurgitate other, smarter people’s opinions about them. There’s nothing like the freedom that comes from a lack of standards, a lack of skills, and the ability to relate just about anything to my own narrow and shallow field of incredibly mediocre expertise.

Here’s yet another page of pointless chatter about movies. The kicker is that I needed all the resources of the web just to do this much!


James Cameron’s latest epic opus is set in the year 2154, at a time that humans are mining a precious mineral called un-obtanium on Pandora, a moon planet in the Alpha Centauri star system. The mining colony’s expansion threatens the very existence of a local Na’vi tribe, a sentient humanoid species indigenous to Pandora. The film’s themes are certainly environmentally-friendly, carrying with it a faint whiff of a statement against the notion of US personnel infiltrating a new country / culture, in order to gain a foothold to impose their rule. Hmmmmm – that sound’s vaguely familiar…

Born on the Fourth of July

Born on the Fourth of July, directed by Oliver Stone, tells the story of Ron Kovic, who joined the United States Marine Corps out of high school, went to Vietnam for two tours of duty, got wounded, then – as a paraplegic – became a vocal anti-war / peace activist.

John Q

Starring Denzel Washington and directed by Nick Cassevetes, this film centers around a father and husband, John Quincy Archibald, whose son is diagnosed with an enlarged heart who then finds out he cannot receive a transplant because HMO insurance won’t cover it. John Q therefore takes a hospital full of patients hostage unless and until the hospital places his son’s name on the recipient’s list. This film is a bit heavy-handed, but definitely makes a strong case in favor of the recent major US healthcare overhaul.