Tag Archives: wwii

Movie Review – Darkest Hour (2017)

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”

BQB here with a review of “Darkest Hour.”

You know 3.5 readers, modern politics suck.  They’re messy and brutish, a blood sport on all sides.  Amidst all this kerfluffle, where is the man who is willing to stand up, not for what is popular, but for what is right?  Where is the man who is willing to slap his balls down on the table and be prepared to lose them to the naysayers if they’re proven right?

Sigh.  That man (or woman) is working the drive-thru at Arby’s or some such bullshit, because let’s face it, people without polish and pizzazz (or money) can’t get a foot through the political door these days.

Luckily, such wasn’t the case for Sir Winston Churchill.  An old mumbler who looked like a bald bull dog, he drank to excess, took most meetings in his bathrobe, and chain smoked cigars and drank bottles upon bottles of booze all day long.  Moody, unpolished, rude, but he had balls.  Oh, how he had balls.

Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain (Ronald Pickup) sought peace with Hitler.  The result?  At the start of the film, Hitler’s armies stand ready to overrun Belgium and take over France, where, without intervention, they’ll push British forces into the sea at Dunkirk, effectively ending the UK’s ability to defend itself.

It’s a hopeless situation and the political types in parliament are more interested in saving their careers than the nation.  No one even wants the position of Prime Minister now, as defeat seems imminent and no one wants to go down as the leader who handed England over to Germany.

Thus, Churchill, who had long been the lonely canary in the coal mine, warning England and the rest of the Europe that Hitler was up to some serious shit and he should met not with appeasement but early attacks before he gets too far, is placed in charge.

Chamberlain and Viscount Halifax (Stephen Dillane or Roose Bolton to “Game of Thrones” fans) want to double down on a new attempt to appease Hitler, oblivious to the fact that earlier attempts to satiate the Nazis just made them that much stronger.

Together, they make moves to force Churchill into peace talks, putting the bulldog into a grave position.  The 25,000 lives he lost under his military command years earlier weigh heavily on him, and the prospects of victory against a war machine that has conquered the rest of the continent seem grim.

Ultimately, it’s up to Churchill to make some tough choices and outfox the foxes in his hen house at their own game.

SPOILER ALERT – because, I mean, it’s history, so you should know already, but Churchill chooses to fight Hitler rather than make a peace.  He’s certain it would be a lame ass peace, one that would leave the swastika flying over Buckingham Palace and a Nazi controlled puppet government running the show.

But it was definitely an unsavory roll of the dice.  Had Germany prevailed, the puppet government would have looked better than a defeated, decimated Britain…and thus Gary Oldman as Churchill gives us a front row seat to how the proverbial sausage is made, how leadership requires the bold to make a tough decision and to stay the course, no matter how far away the light at the end of the tunnel may seem.

Will there be more Churchills in the future?  Honestly, I feel television really screwed our collective political pooch.  As long as elections are decided based on who has the most polish and pizzazz, perfect looks and fabulous hair, the ornery old bald foul mouthed drunk who’s willing to put his balls on the line and to tell the enemy to eat a dick doesn’t stand a chance at election.

Hell, even Churchill didn’t.  Once his big balls one the war, his reward was to be thrown out of office.  But, he was able to walk away knowing he and his balls had stood up for what was right.

Worthy of Oscars all around but will probably lose to the movie about the fish fucker.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy.  Rent it today.  Props to the women behind the man, i.e. his wife Clemmie (Kristin Scott Thomas) who reigned him in and got him to focus on shit.  Meanwhile, scenes with his personal secretary, Elizabeth Layton (Lilly James) who has to undergo the stress of taking Churchill’s cigar smoke cough laden, booze fueled, mumbling rants and putting them into actual words to be typed and dispatched are particularly touching.

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BQB’s Time Travel Adventures #2 – BQB vs. Hitler

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So, after I visited the 1970s and busted up a gang of ninjas in a disco, thus making all bushes in the future 25% bushier, I then went back in time to the early 1900s with one goal in mind – I would stop World War II from happening.

I arrived in Austria, where a dopey looking young man named Adolf Hitler was sitting on a park bench, trying to draw a picture of his bratwurst (not the one in his pants but the one he was intending to have for lunch later.)

“That’s a fine piece of art, Herr….”

“Hitler,” Hitler said.  “And nein!  I have applied to every art school around and they all tell me my work is nothing but goosenpoopen.”

“Really?”  I said.  “That’s terrible.  Everyone with creative talent should be able to pursue it.”

“That’s what I said,” Hitler said.  “But if I don’t get into art school I will have to go to my fall back plan.”

“What’s your fall back plan?”  I asked.

“To scheme my way into the German Chancellorship, declare war on the entire world and gas six million Jews to death,” Hitler said.

I was shocked.  I mean, I knew the history but still, to hear him say it out loud.  It was disturbing, to say the least.

“That’s your back up plan?”  I asked.

“Ja,” Hitler said.  “Also I might bang my niece.”

“Bang your…dude!”

“What?”  Hitler asked.

“Well,” I said.  “Is there no happy medium with you dude?  Most people who don’t get into art school say, ‘Well, I guess I’ll go be a janitor’ or ‘I guess I’ll go be a plumber’ or some other noble occupation.  I have literally never heard someone say, ‘Well, if I don’t get to do what I want then I’m just going to become the leader of a country and use my power to gas all the people I don’t like.”

“Undt bang my niece,” Hitler said.

“Yeah,” I said.  “I’ve never heard anyone say they want to do that either.”

“Undt I won’t gas all of them,” Hitler said.

“You won’t?”  I asked.

“Nein,”  Hitler said.  “Some of them I’ll push into ovens, or I might line them up against a wall and have them shot, or send them off to camps where they starve to death, or use them as forced labor and work them until they die of malnutrition and exhaustion.”

“Dude!” I said.

“It’ll be a mixed bag, really,” Hitler said. “I mean, ja, most of them will get the gas chamber or the oven but I’ll play it by ear and see how it goes.”

“Hitler,” I said.  “Not for nothing, but why do you hate Jewish people so much?”

Hitler sat back on the bench and closed his eyes.  “One time, when I was but a little kiddenheimer, I vent to lunch at mein school and a Jewish boy he…”

“Beat you?”  I asked.  “Tortured you?”

“Nein!”  Hitler said.  “He ate mein lunch!”

“Umm…”

“Mein sausage!  It was all gone!”  Hitler said.  “He said it was an accident.  He mixed up his bag with mine.  He apologized profusely but at that very moment I said to myself, ‘Adolf, you must really gas all these people and push them into ovens and only then will you get your revenge for your lost sausage!'”

“Hitler,” I said.  “Honestly, it sounds like the kid just made a mistake.  It happens to the best of us.  Sometimes we accidentally offend someone and all we can do is apologize and move on.  Even if he did it on purpose, it’s one kid.  You can’t denounce an entire group just because one member of the group did something you like.  One member of a group doing something wrong doesn’t mean the entire group is bad.  Seriously, what group in the entire world doesn’t have at least bad apple in it?”

“You sound like undt pussenstein,” Hitler said.

“No, really Hitler,” I said.  “You’ve got to listen and maybe I can help you screw your head on straight here.  If you’re just going to start killing groups of people just because one of them did something you didn’t like then you’re going to have to just kill the entire world.”

“Das est mein intention,” Hitler said.  “First the Jews, then the world.  Mein armies vill spread out across the globe.  All vill either obey me or vill be shoved in the oven.”

“Where are you even going to get a people oven?”  I asked.  “It’s not like there’s a people oven store.”

“I’m going to make a people oven,” Hitler said.  “I have some rudimentary designs.  You want to see?”

“Not really,” I said.  “But Hitler, have you considered the fact that on the whole, Jewish people are good eggs?”

“Nein!” Hitler said.

“Good food, good culture, music, arts, inventions, industry, hard work ethic,” I said.  “Historically, the Jewish people bring a lot to the table.”

Hitler began scribbling something on a piece of paper.

“What are you writing?”  I asked.

“A note to myself to have you pushed in an oven when I’m the chancellor,” Hitler said.

I sighed.  “You’re hopeless, Hitler.  Come on, let’s get you into art school.”

At that point, I found Hitler’s favorite art school.  “Das Skoolen Fer Peepzen What Wantzen to Drawzen Not Like Scheizen.”

I brought a thousand bucks back with me, a lot for me even in 2017 but it was like a small fortune in the 1930s.  I handed it off to the Dean and made him promise that he wouldn’t just accept Hitler, but that he’d also heap massive amounts of false praise on anything Hitler made, no matter how shitty it was.  Further, I made the Dean promise to really promote Hitler’s work, get all his friends in the art community to become Hitler’s patrons.  Set the guy up with a good living off of his art so he wouldn’t have to resort to his fall back plan of world domination and ethnic cleansing.

I arrived back in 2017, only to, you guessed it, learn that I had really cocked things up.

“Heil Hitler!  Video Game Rack Fighter said to me upon my arrival to BQB HQ.

“What the hell?”  I asked.  “Video Game Rack Fighter, my beloved nerdy girlfriend!  Why are you in a Nazi uniform?  I’ve never known you to be anything but sweet and kind to all people!  Are you a Nazi now?”

“Ja!” VGRF said.  “Everyone is a Nazi now, thanks to the leadership of Steve Hitler!”

“Steve Hitler?”  I asked.

“Ja!” VGRF said.  “Heil Steve Hitler!”

“Something’s amiss,” I said.  I turned on the TV and found a documentary.  The announcer summed up what happened:

“All hail our beloved World Chancellor, Steve Hitler, who is alive and well over 140 years old thanks to creepy and disturbing Nazi scientific methods!  Steve was but a modest little boy from Austria who used to sit back and dream of becoming a pig farmer.  He would overhear his brother Adolf talk about his fall back plans of world domination and ethnic cleansing and think that sounded like a real neat-o way to make a living. However, he had doubts about Adolf.  He thought Adolf would probably just cock the whole thing up and eventually lose the impending war.  However, when Adolf was accepted to study at an acclaimed art school, Adolf gave Steve his blessing to pursue his goals of world domination and ethnic cleansing.  In fact, Steve was so good at world domination and ethnic cleansing that Nazi historians are assured that Steve was the best choice to run the Nazi party whereas Adolf was better off behind the scenes.  Also, the art school helped Hitler become such a great artist that Hitler drew all kinds of propaganda posters that inspired the masses to become super racist and evil!  All hail the Nazi party and hail that random asshole that helped Adolf Hitler get into art school.  Because of that guy, everyone in the world is either dead or a super racist evil Nazi now!”

“Aww crap sandwich,” I said.  “I guess I know what I have to do.”

I returned to early 1900s Austria and found the version of myself that had time traveled to that time.  I kicked him in the nuts and instantly felt the pain myself.  I told him how his plan to stop World War II works out and he gasped.

After that, we scrapped the whole plan to stop Hitler and went to get some strudel instead.

The moral of the story?  If you try to fix something, you’ll just make it worse, so just shut up and go get a strudel.

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Guardian Article About Joseph Goebbels’ 105 Year Old Secretary

Hey 3.5 readers.

Just wanted to share an interesting article I read in The Guardian:

“Joseph Goebbels’ 105-year-old secretary: ‘No one believes me now, but I knew nothing.’”

The article features an interview with Brunhilde Pomsel, who worked as a secretary for Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s Minister of Propaganda during World War II.

At 105, Pomsel is a living bit of history. The article describes her as unrepentant, that her job as a secretary was just like any other job, that “a combination of ignorance and awe” “shielded her from reality.”

She discusses how after the war she was jailed by the Russians for five years.  Only then, she claims, did she learn about the holocaust.

The article further explains that she had a friendship with a Jewish woman but wasn’t able to find out what happened to her until she visited the Holocaust Memorial in 2005.

Interesting quote:

“Those people nowadays who say they would have stood up against the Nazis – I believe they are sincere in meaning that, but believe me, most of them wouldn’t have.”

I don’t know. Obviously, I can’t/don’t want to condone Nazi-ism or even working in the Nazi typing pool but I guess the fraulein might have a point. If that was where you lived and you needed a job and you weren’t exactly working for people who shared all the details…and if standing up to them meant you’d surely end up taking the big dirt nap…

I have no idea. I don’t want to pin a medal on her or anything but from a historical perspective the article is interesting and I imagine A German Life, the film in which she recalls her story, has a lot of history told by a rare person still alive who lived during that time period.

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Betsy

NAME:  Betsy

Betsy

Betsy

PURPOSE:  Hatcher’s WWII Service Revolver

MAKE/MODEL:  Schotzenhauer P58

NAZIS TERMINATED: 1,000 + (Hatcher stopped counting after 1,000)

MOBSTERS DISPATCHED: 751 (Hatcher took it easy after returning stateside)

SHOTS MISSED: 0

Betsy – she has few lines in the upcoming unnamed blog serial, but when she talks, it counts.

Coming soon to a blog with 3.5 readers near you.

Image courtesy of a shutterstock.com license.

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Movie Review – The Woman in Gold (2015)

Nazis.  Damn they sucked.

The Woman in Gold

The Woman in Gold

Bookshelf Q. Battler here with a review of The Woman in Gold.

Based on real events, the film follows the story of Maria Altmann (Helen Mirren) and Randol Schoenberg (Ryan Reynolds) in an underdog against the odds quest to return a famous painting once stolen by Nazi’s from Maria’s family.

The year is 1998 and Maria is an elderly boutique owner in California.  Young Randol (Randy) is the son of an old friend of Maria’s.  Randy’s a newly minted lawyer and having a rough go of it.  His practice just went under, he and his wife (played by Katie Holmes) just have a newborn baby, and he’s just managed to secure a position with a big time law firm.

It all begins with some polite free advice – Maria consults Randy about what to do in light of the fact that the Austrian government has been making an effort to return artwork stolen by the Nazi regime to their rightful owners.

The painting in question?  The much admired “Woman in Gold” painted by artist Gustav Klimt.  Over the years, it moved from Nazi hands to a public art gallery and has become beloved by the country as “the Austrian Mona Lisa.”

The Woman in Gold – Movieclips Trailers

But to Maria, it’s a picture of her dear Aunt Adele.

The movie switches back and forth from past to present.  Randy and Maria take on a government that doesn’t want to return the painting.  In the past, young Maria once lived a happy life in a prominent Jewish family, where her father played the cello and there was much singing and dancing by all.

Alas, the Nazis come to power, roll into Austria, and Jewish people are robbed blind, their homes stripped of possessions.  Nazis takeover Maria’s home and haul off all the artwork inside, including the portrait of Adele.

They’re forced to undergo all manner of humiliations, often cheered on by onlooking non-Jewish Austrians.

Maria’s family had worked hard for what they had and the Nazis took it all.  So many decades later, for the elderly Maria, the fight for the painting’s return isn’t so much about the painting itself, or about the money (its worth at the time was 150 million), it’s a desire for the Austrian government to admit it did wrong – that Austrians welcomed the Nazis into the country with open arms and openly supported the mistreatment of Jewish citizens.

In the past, we see young Maria and her husband make a heroic and daring escape out of the country, after which they make their way to America.  For the rest of her life, Maria feels resentment at those who turned Austria into a place she had to leave.  She also feels guilt for leaving her family behind, and is angry at those who made her do so.

In the more recent past, the late 90’s, we see Randy go from viewing the case as a nuisance, then a chance to make some loot when he realizes how much its worth, and finally a chance to right a past wrong.  Randy puts his career on the line and loses everything in pursuit of the case.  Meanwhile, Maria goes from wanting to pursue the case to wanting to forget it all.

It becomes an international and complicated case as Randy battles the Austrian government in Austria, and later before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Do they win?  Well…that’s a spoiler in gold, isn’t it?  Ha ha ha.

This was an interesting and enjoyable film.  It’s not getting a lot of press. It’s a film I like to call “Oscar-ish.”  Hollywood often makes Oscarish films, movies about serious subjects and give actors a chance to flex their serious role chops but for whatever reason, they don’t end up in the Oscar running.  That’s not to say this film won’t, though it is rather early in the season.

It’s also a story that needed to be told.  I’m often amazed that even after so many WWII movies, even today there are stories that are still emerging.  Maria’s family had worked hard for what they had, contributed to their society and the thanks they received was the government and their fellow citizens cheering on the Nazis in their anti-Jewish reign of terror.

Go see it, noble readers.

STATUS:  SHELF WORTHY

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