1966 was the year Simon & Garfunkel released Sounds of Silence, The Mothers of Invention startled the music world with Help I’m a Rock, Brian Wilson began putting together “Good Vibrations”, and the Beatles were becoming more popular than Jesus. That same year Elva Connes Miller, a/k/a Mrs. Miller, hit the airwaves with her Greatest Hits: a collection of pop tunes ranging from “A Hard Day’s Night” and “These Boots Are Made for Walkin’” to “Chim Chim Cher-ee” delivered in a warbling faux classical style, rarely in tune. Her album sold 250,000 copies in 3 weeks. She appeared on The Tonight Show, Ed Sullivan, Art Linkletter’s House Party, Laugh-In, and in the film The Cool Ones with Roddy MacDowell. Nearly 40 years later, the ultra nerdy William Hung achieved the same sort of unlikely popularity on American Idol with an enthusiastic and dreadfully out of tune rendition of Ricky Martin’s “She Bangs.”
We all have a nagging little voice that tells us we might faking it, that we’re not really as competent as we pretend to be at doing what we are passionate about. The “fake police,” as singer Amanda Palmer calls them, are always waiting at our door . . . READ MORE
War may be hell or heroism, but it’s also duty, service, trauma, and confusion. Days that pass in uncertainly and tedium can suddenly explode into chaos and combat. In A War (nominated for a 2016 Academy Award for Best Foreign Film), director Tobias Lindholm uses Danish troops stationed in Afghanistan to tell a story of the existential despair of warfare where a soldier’s split second action can have far reaching moral consequences.
A battalion led by Commanding Officer Claus Michael Pedersen finds itself under under siege. Pederson makes a desperate effort to save the life of a severely wounded soldier by calling in air support. The elemental question is — did he have his eyes on the enemy before calling for support? The call has tragic consequences: ‘collateral damage.’ Pedersen is brought back from the field to be tried for unwarranted targeting of civilians. The story is told in two parts: there’s the day-by-day procedure and inevitable tedium of scouting for the Taliban and scenes of bone-rattling warfare; and the disturbing calm and professionalism of the Danish tribunal. A third plot touches on Pedersen’s wife and three children, who have patiently waited for him to fulfill his tour of duty. When he is sent home early because of the charges, what should have been a celebration becomes a legal and ethical tangle. “Did you kill children, daddy?” asks his daughter. Pedersen is a responsible officer, — his world is turned upside down. READ MORE