OKLAHOMA CRUDE

year: 1973 rating: **

Yet another Depression era movie where the corporations are worse than Nazis. Along with Emperor of the North, Boxcar Bertha, The Grapes of Wrath, the bad guys depicted are just a little... actually, a lot... overboard in their villainy, to the point that, what's unrealistic is the fact if they were this bad, why would they hold back enough to be defeated?

As for a movie, this one's all over the place: Great actors turn in pretty good performances, but Faye Dunaway and George C. Scott (she owns a coveted yet dilapidated oil well and reluctantly hires him for employment/protection) are one-dimensional, maybe even more so than heavy Jack Palance, who at least smiles around his guard dog. It's another one of those pretty decent movies that simply gets too heavyhanded with the haves and have-nots. Probably the best character is William Lucking, caught between both.

ROOM AT THE TOP (1959)

Oh these one-dimensional class envy melodramas about rich people who are one-dimensional snobs while the poor ones are one-and-a-half-dimensional... the half being that they are able to fall into the thing called Love, in which... because of the rich snobs who haven't any feelings at all... they're doomed because of it.

This was only a little better than the overrated A Place in the Sun being that the torrid affair between the young climber (Laurence Harvey) and the old married woman is realistic wherein the love affair between Monty Clift and Liz Taylor is rushed, and something from a preteen girl's reverie.

The acting is good here, usual for England, and oh boy is that Heather Sears a cutie-pie... but the story can only go as far as all the class envy cliches allow, and that's not very far. Because right when you catch onto something passing as intrigue, that agenda rears up and stops it... both the audience and the main characters. Rates: **

THE GLASS BEAD GAME (BOOK)

THE GLASS BEAD GAME i.e. Magister Ludi by Hermann Hesse can be a companion piece to the existential author's most famous work, Siddhartha, or even a sequel, only set far in the future where Zen Buddhist-types call Life a Glass Bead Game and learn to appreciate it more than figure it out by learning, becoming, being.

The main character learns to meditate in a cave and has no women in his life. He's basically Buddhist. Doesn't take a "Magister" to figure that one out. And it's a great book, very hypnotic, and like The Game itself... never completely makes sense, which is what's so mesmerizing, enigmatic and addictive...

The first part starts like an intentionally vague philosophy course, and then turns into a biography of a great man...

Sometimes particular avenues are mentioned, teased... like spending a weekend in the real world with the non-believer our man debates... only to be quickly rejected, making one wish it wasn't brought up at all since the narrative (a kind of serious satire of historical biographies) does get a bit claustrophobic, and often seems like several possible adventures are abandoned... But Monks (and Priests, for that matter, although this book is very anti-Catholic) are "cloistered", aren't they?

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