Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Hand Rolled | Movie Review

TITLE: Hand Rolled
RELEASE: 2019
GENRE: Documentary

DIRECTOR: Steve Gherebean, Jesse Mariut
WRITER: Steve Gherebean, Jesse Mariut
STARS: Daniel Marshall, Marvin Shenken, Peter Weller (narrator)

No-nonsense history told with testicular fortitude through excellent old photos and footage. A hard-line is drawn between governments but another line connecting people, cuts across the first. Palpable passion. All surrounding and revolving around a cigar. What makes a good smoke. How a good smoke feels. From nuts and bolts to the ethereal, this flick clicks.

A timely, important, and definitive distinction is made, with great and deserved bravado, between premium handmade cigars and other 'lesser' tobacco products. (The industry's current FDA woes become the focus for a good bit.) There are many personalities on display here, and from politicians to planters--this is a five-pound bag of charisma filled with easily twice of much of the stuff. Some jockeying does display but that's cool. It's never head-on.

"There's a lot of fucking things that make a cigar a cigar."- Jorge Padron.

And we see those, as well as how precisely they do differ from cigarettes and such; lingering in the present. Though we do, in turn, get good information regarding 'Seed to smoke,' as they say. We also see some typical-of-the-lifestyle sleek glamour, and also more regular folks, and families, enjoying and depending upon the product and industry. Again, it clicks on all cylinders, and does-so in a driving, unrelenting, unapologetic, and meritorious manner.

In short, Hand Rolled perfectly captures and relates (minus pulling punches, plus [necessarily] being a half-tick overly of the day) all it sets out to do. I realize I'm late to the game here as well as in saying this, but show someone this documentary, and not just in a preaching-to-the-choir fashion. It's more than good enough for a seemingly disinterested even contrary audience.

FINAL GRADE: A

::: very :::

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Ten Indians by Ernest Hemingway in Review

TITLE: Ten Indians
AUTHOR: Ernest Hemingway

PUBLISHED: 1927
PUBLISHER: Charles Scribner's Sons
COLLECTION: Men Without Women

It's nice to think Nick Adams, Hemingway's auto-biographical doppelganger device, is so young and naive that he fails to practice just 'prudence' and therefore loses his 'Indian girl' Pru to his father's lie of her infidelity. The truth, however, is that prudence is, in fact, practiced fully and Nick decides to buckle to the times and believe those oh-so-obvious lies.

Sadder still, it was likely the most prudent action to take. The path of least resistance.

And all this on Independence Day, so ironically-so. Saddest is to think of the innocent Pru, as she dissolves post-haste from Nick's memory on the July 5th morning. She, having done nothing wrong and having had her name dragged through the mud. The girl he supposedly maybe loved. It's probably for her best, really.

"In the morning there was a big wind blowing and the waves were running high up on the beach and he was awake for a long time before he remembered that his heart was broken." It simply does not work that way. At best, in giving Nick perhaps more credit than he deserves, he simply lamented the way of things.

But my guess is not for too long. Ten Indians, then, is not a sort of cautionary tale to apply critical thinking so as to not be deceived. At least not a type of critical thought we'd today be comfortable with the outcome of... but instead it's a study in cowardice and how that cowardice feeds the system until the said system is a bloated tick of status quo.

PLOT: B+
CHARACTERS: A-
SETTINGS: A
DIALOG: A

FINAL GRADE: A-
A 90-100 B 80-89 C 70-79

::: very :::