Film review: The Last Hangover (2018)

What happens if the Last Supper of Christian lore is combined with the 2009 comedy film The Hangover featuring a group of friends who wake up after a drunken bachelor party and find the bridegroom-to-be missing? What you get is this comedic short Brazilian film (about 45 minutes long) that has the last supper being a drunken revel that ends with everyone in a stupor who wake up groggily the next morning to find Jesus missing, and struggle to reconstruct what happened the previous night from the fragmentary recollections of each of the disciples.

It is a film with many funny moments and a very different take on the relationship between Jesus and Judas, and explicitly mentions the lesser-known disciples such as Thaddeus, who is largely ignored even in the Gospels, so much so that very few would be able to name him as one of the twelve

If you know Portuguese, you can watch the trailer below that has no subtitles. The film on Netflix has English subtitles and if you click here it takes you to the Netflix site where the same trailer has English subtitles.

It is interesting that this film was released in Brazil, a Catholic country, just before Christmas in 2018. I wonder whether the reaction was as outraged as it was for Monty Python’s Life of Brian.

Beware of the extremists in moderate clothing

The rise of progressive policies and politicians in the Democratic party has clearly alarmed the oligarchy and they are responding with a slew of organizations within the party to take over the steering wheel and drive it in a corporate-friendly direction. These groups have labels that suggest that they consist of high-minded people who are above the partisan political fray and are merely seeking pragmatic bipartisan solutions to the country’s problems. These groups masquerade with names such as “No Labels’, ‘Across the Aisles’, ‘Third Way’, and ‘Problem Solvers Caucus’. The media invariably buys into the bogus narrative that these people are not partisan and promotes them as ‘centrists’ and ‘moderates’ when they are in reality extremists pushing a pro-oligarchic agenda. This is not an accident, since the major media has the same agenda as these groups.
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The racism in The Searchers and Heart of Darkness

I can vividly recall my strong negative reaction to Joseph Conrad’s highly acclaimed novel Heart of Darkness. Its racism appalled me as I wrote in a blog post ten years ago.

I remember the first time I read Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, hailed by critics as a masterpiece. I was appalled at the blatantly racist portrayals of Africans and could barely get through the book. Many years later, I re-read it. The shock and anger that the original reading had aroused in me had worn off and I could see and appreciate Conrad’s skill with words in creating the deepening sense of foreboding as Marlow goes deeper into the jungle in search of Kurtz.

Ironically, Chinua Achebe gave a talk criticizing the book and saying that Conrad’s novel, whatever its other merits, perpetuated African stereotypes. The talk attracted a lot of attention and Conrad’s many admirers leapt to his defense, saying that Conrad was a product of his times and merely reflecting the views then current and that his book was actually a critique of the evils of colonialism.

Maybe so, but the racism was still there and still bothered me even on the second reading.

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South Africa beat Wales to go to Rugby World Cup final

By beating Wales 19-16 in a close game, South Africa earns a place in the finals next Saturday where they will play England. New Zealand will play Wales on Friday for third place. The game today, like the other semi-final, was largely a defensive one with just one try scored by each side, the other 21 points coming off seven penalties. While this makes the game less scintillating than attacking rugby where a team passes the ball back and forth across the field in successive phases until a try is scored, defensive games also have their own appeal and you get to see some superb kicking in the try and penalty conversions by both sides.

Since both England and South Africa won largely with their defenses, that may portend a defensive game for the final too. But whatever style of play emerges, it is expected to be a close game.

Here are the highlights.

The Reverse Underground Railroad

I keep learning more and more about the horrors of slavery. I had of course heard about the Underground Railroad by which a network of people, most famously Harriet Tubman, helped runaway slaves from the slave states in the south escape. But I have not been aware that that there was also a Reverse Underground Railroad that kidnapped free black people, mostly young boys in the north, and sold them as slaves in the south. The 2013 film 12 Years a Slave tells the story of Solomon Northrup, a free man who was captured and sold into slavery this way, but that case was unusual in that he was well-educated and middle-aged.
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World Cup rugby upset

England beat New Zealand, the winners of the previous two World Cups in 2011 and 2015, in a stunning upset in the current World Cup, winning 19-7 in a defensive, forwards-dominated game, with each side scoring only one try, all the other points coming from penalties. New Zealand had beaten England in 15 of their last 16 exchanges.

I wrote before of the pre-game haka ritual of the New Zealand team, part of the psychological battle, and there were plenty of interesting comments to that post discussing the meaning and purpose of the haka and how teams respond to it. Apparently, the English team had decided on a different way to respond.
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The greedy rich don’t care about their image anymore

Readers may recall my earlier post back in July about an abortive effort by the extremely rich residents of a tiny suburb of Cleveland called Hunting Valley who tried to sneak in a late-night provision into the Ohio state budget that would have exempted the residents of that town, and them only, from paying their fair share of the property taxes that fund public schools by setting a cap on the taxes they pay. The plot was discovered at the 11th hour and governor Mike DeWine eliminated that provision.
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How to do reporting when people won’t cooperate

Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg appeared before a congressional hearing this past week and was subjected to questioning by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who asked him about his “ongoing dinner parties with far-right figures.” As Jon Schwarz and Sam Biddle report, Zuckerbergs feelings must have been hurt by the impression being given that someone like him from the supposedly liberal tech industry was hobnobbing with notorious right wingers like “Tucker Carlson of Fox News; talk show host Hugh Hewitt; Ben Shapiro; former Free Beacon editor Matt Continetti; and Brent Bozell, founder of the Media Research Center”, as odious a group of media personalities as you are likely to encounter.
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