Film review: The Day Shall Come (2019) and FBI entrapment

Back in 2019, I wrote about a comedy film that had just been released that I wanted to see. Unfortunately, because of the Balkanization of offerings that streaming has created, a problem that I wrote about recently, I could not because it was being streamed on Hulu for which I had no subscription. But my daughter visited me recently (we are both vaccinated) and she subscribes to that service so we watched it.
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New documentary on opioid drug profiteering

Alex Gibney has a new documentary The Crime of the Century that looks at the opioid drug crisis and the shameless role played by the big pharmaceutical companies like Purdue and the Sackler family who profited greatly from the deaths of many people and the destruction of families and communities, topics that I have covered many times before. They were aided and abetted in their crimes by government officials and lawmakers who cut deals with the Sacklers and top Purdue executives to allow them to escape the consequences of their actions and retain their ill-gotten billions.

Here is a detailed review by Saloni Gajjar.
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How James Bond got his name

I was recently watching the TV series Marple (2013) based on the stories of Agatha Christie and one episode A Caribbean Mystery had her on holiday on an island in that region. One evening she is seated for a lecture on tropical birds next to a dapper visitor from Jamaica who introduces himself to her as Ian Fleming. When she asks him what he does, he says that he is working on a novel but is stuck on finding a good name for his lead character. At that point, the ornithologist speaker begins his lecture by saying “Good evening, my name is Bond, James Bond.” Fleming quickly takes out his notebook and jots something down.

The Fleming character disappeared after that so it is clear that the writers inserted him into the show purely for that one joke but I was curious whether there was some truth to it and it turns out that there is.

The name James Bond came from that of the American ornithologist James Bond, a Caribbean bird expert and author of the definitive field guide Birds of the West Indies. Fleming, a keen birdwatcher himself, had a copy of Bond’s guide and he later explained to the ornithologist’s wife that “It struck me that this brief, unromantic, Anglo-Saxon and yet very masculine name was just what I needed, and so a second James Bond was born”.

On another occasion, Fleming said: “I wanted the simplest, dullest, plainest-sounding name I could find, ‘James Bond’ was much better than something more interesting, like ‘Peregrine Carruthers’. Exotic things would happen to and around him, but he would be a neutral figure—an anonymous, blunt instrument wielded by a government department.”

That plain name, and the way it is said, has become iconic.

Documentary on cheating at the highest levels of bridge

I am fond of the card game bridge, growing up in a bridge playing family and returning to it in retirement and playing a couple of times per week at my local club, formerly in person and now online. I enjoy the intellectual challenge posed by the game but never forget that it is a game and not worth getting all worked up about.

But many of the people who play it are severely competitive and I wrote about a recent cheating scandal involving a Grand Life Master. I just read of a new documentary just released called Dirty Tricks about the big 2015 scandal that rocked the world of bridge involving Lotan Fisher, someone considered the Michael Jordan of the game who possessed exceptional skills. He and his partner Ron Schwartz won millions of dollars playing in tournaments and with wealthy players like Bill Gates and Warren Buffett.
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Overcoming vaccine hesitancy

The rapid development of the vaccines to prevent covid-19 has to be considered a massive scientific success because creating such things usually take a long time. You would think that that was the biggest hurdle in combating the pandemic and that after that was achieved, the rest would be smooth sailing, with everyone getting vaccinated and the spread of the disease brought under control. And yet getting enough people get the vaccine to achieve herd immunity is turning out to be the hardest part, a situation that I would not have thought possible when the outbreak was causing panic back in the first half of 2020.

And yet that is where we are.
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The problem with streaming

When I wrote about the funny TV show Ted Lasso, some readers expressed regret that they do not subscribe to Apple TV+, the only. place where you can see it. This raises a problem that I think is going to get more acute with time, and that is that we may be entering a world where certain films and TV shows will be inaccessible to some segment of the population.

It used to be simpler, at least when it came to films. Films were released in theaters and if you missed it on its first run, you waited until it was released in some video form that you could rent it fairly cheaply from your neighborhood video store or borrow from your public library. You were guaranteed some form of easy access to all films. But now film makers and distributors have another option and that is to create their own subscription streaming service to show their own shows. So now in addition to Apple TV+, we have Disney+, Amazon Prime, HBO Max, Paramount+ and many more. This website tells you where you can find a particular film or TV show to stream.
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A funny TV series about soccer

On the lighter side, the funny Apple TV+ comedy series Ted Lasso features Jason Sudeikis as a US college football coach, hired by the owner of a lower division English football team to coach a demoralized and dysfunctional team desperately trying to avoid being relegated to an even lower division. The owner Rebecca had acquired the team from her husband Rupert after a bitter divorce. Why she hired an American who has no knowledge of soccer and why he accepted the offer so that he is hated by the team’s loyal fans are plot points that are not really that much of spoilers but I will not reveal them here.
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Film review: I Care A Lot (2021) and guardianship abuse

There are many elderly people in the US who live alone but are not poor. This Netflix film is a dark comedy of the way that some people abuse the guardianship laws in the US to exploit such elderly people out of their life savings. The way it works is that if a doctor certifies that someone is incapable of looking after themselves, a court can declare them to be ‘wards of the court’ and appoint a guardian to look after them and the guardian immediately gains total power over that person’s life, including their finances. The judge gets to decide whether you need a guardian and who gets to be your guardian and everything hinges on that decision. Usually it is a member of the family who petitions the court but it is not necessary and it is not always the case that they are acting in the best interests of the person. Unscrupulous guardians can sell off the ward’s assets to pay for their care and pay themselves a hefty fee and there is little that can be done about it once the process is set in motion.
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The story behind Midnight Cowboy

This 1969 film tells the tale of the unlikely friendship that arose between a fresh-faced country boy (Jon Voight) who comes to New York City with the hope of making money as a cowboy gigolo and a lowlife street-wise hustler (Dustin Hoffman) who knows (or acts like he knows) all the angles. I remember most vividly the bleak scenes of the two trying to survive the brutal cold of winter in a decrepit, grimy apartment in a city that looked gritty, dirty, decaying, and crime ridden, the wonderful theme song Everybody’s Talkin’ by Harry Nilsson, and the haunting background harmonica music played by the great ‘Toots’ Thielemans (who incidentally also played the Sesame Street theme during the end credits of that show.)
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