Harry Shearer’s New Series on Richard Nixon

Nixon Web Series

Actor Harry Shearer, famous for his work in This Is Spinal Tap, Saturday Night Live, and The Simpsons, is tackling a new character with his YouTube mini-series, former president Richard M. Nixon. In the new series, entitled Nixon’s the One, Shearer portrays Nixon by following transcripts of actual audio recordings of Nixon. The results are both illuminating and funny.

Shearer and Nixon scholar and author Stanley Kutler listened to Nixon recordings to find segments that reveal Nixon’s everyday life. Shearer explained to CBS that he always felt that portrayals of Nixon missed something about the man. Shearer sees him as “this strange, self-torturing, self-destroying guy who was, in my point of view, darkly comic.” These new episodes attempt to capture that tragic and comic part of Nixon.

This segment of Nixon’s the One gives a hidden-camera view of Nixon talking to Henry Kissinger about John F. Kennedy.

The following episode captures Nixon’s conversations as he prepares to give his speech to the nation announcing his resignation. As Nixon engages the reporters in small talk as he prepares to resign, the result is funny but also heartbreaking. Certainly, it captures the loneliness of Nixon at that moment. Check it out.

It should not be too surprising that the man who does the voice of Mr. Burns would help us see another side of President Nixon. Check out other segments of Nixon’s the One on YouTube. If you want to compare the resignation video to the real thing, see below.

Who is your favorite actor to portray Nixon? Leave your two cents in the comments.

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    Ronny Spears: “North of Mexico”

    Texas singer-songwriter Ronny Spears passed away this week on October 20, 2014. Although not as well known as the many of those he performed with, Spears had a genuine Texas sound and the man was admired by those who knew him.

    Spears often collaborated with songwriters like Ray Wylie Hubbard. Most recently, Spears worked with Robby White as part of White & Spears. The duo often performed around north Texas, and as recently as Saturday, October 18 were scheduled to play at Hank’s Texas Grill in McKinney, Texas.

    In the video below from June 2011, Spears appears on “Texas Renegade Radio” on KNON 89.3 FM in Dallas, Texas, hosted by Mark Mundy. Here, he performs “North of Mexico,” which he wrote. If you have never heard Spears, check it out.

    RIP Mr. Spears.

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    “The Simpsons” Parody of Stanley Kubrick’s Films

    This week, The Simpsons ran its 25th “Treehouse of Horror” episode. One of the three segments in the show was “A Clockwork Yellow,” which spoofed films by director Stanley Kubrick. This clip includes references to A Clockwork Orange (1971), Eyes Wide Shut (1999), Full Metal Jacket (1987), 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), and Barry Lyndon (1975). Check out the clip from “Treehouse of Horror XXV.”

    Leave your two cents in the comments.

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    Authentic Folk Music From Barbara Brown

    When Chimesfreedom first started writing about Kentucky’s Marty Brown, long before he appeared on America’s Got Talent, we praised the authentic country sound of his music. We also have noted that his musical talent runs in the family. A few new videos on YouTube now illustrate that the source of some of his talent comes from his mother, Barbara Brown.

    Check out Barbara Brown sitting on the porch singing the traditional folk ballad, “Baby on the Doorstep,” a song recorded by Frank Luther in 1928 and that otherwise is not on YouTube. Marty Brown accompanies her on what I think is his father’s guitar.

    In another video, Barbara and Marty Brown duet on “Blue Kentucky Girl.” There’s some genuine great music here. I would buy her album.

    Leave your two cents in the comments.

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    A Balance Between Culture and Fun: “In Bruges” (Missed Movies)

    inbruge I recently watched In Bruges (2008) for a second time to see if it still held up for me after liking the movie the first time I saw it. I enjoyed the film, written and directed by Martin McDonagh, even better the second time even though I still find it hard to categorize. Is it a black comedy? A drama? A thriller? A modern film noir? A love story? A travel adventure? Or is it, the way one character describes their visit to Bruges, a “balance between culture and fun”? Maybe it is a little bit of each.

    Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson star as two hitmen who are sent by their boss, played by Ralph Fiennes, to Bruges, Belgium to wait for his further instructions. The two travelers do not know why they are in Bruges, and they wonder whether they are there to lay low after their last job or if they are going to be given an assignment in the city. Meanwhile the two men squabble as Gleeson’s character enjoys following their instructions to appear as tourists, while Farrell is miserable in what he sees as a boring town.

    The actors all give excellent performances. Farrell shows vulnerability and humor playing the young troubled character. Fiennes gives one of his scariest performances since Schindler’s List. Gleeson is excellent in a role where his character has to be completely believable for the film to work. Clémence Poésy and Jordan Prentice are excellent in important smaller roles. At the beginning, an American viewer might struggle a little to catch all the words due to the accents, but the movie is not hard to follow.

    When the assignment comes, the three men must struggle with their concepts of loyalty, friendship, and honor. But these heavy ideas — and some violent scenes and profane language — are tempered by humor and the beauty of the surrounding city. I will not spoil the movie by revealing the events, but if you enjoy dark humor, buddy movies, and beautiful scenery, you may find that In Bruges is a hidden gem.

    Some Other Reviews Because Why Should You Trust Me? Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a respectable 82% critics rating and an 85% audience rating. It does not surprise me that the critics and audience ratings are similar because it is an intelligent film that should appeal to many in both categories. Jason Zingale at Bullz-Eye.Com calls In Bruges “one of the most original films in years.” But Marjorie Baumgarten at the Austin Chronicle did not like the film so much, concluding that “the film’s light comedy and dark morality make for an unsettling mix.”

    {Missed Movies is our continuing series on good films you might have missed because they did not receive the recognition they deserved when released.}

    What did you think of In Bruges? Leave your two cents in the comments.

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    Posted in Movies, Movies You Might Have Missed | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments