February 3: Century City

It’s a been a good long while since I’ve been to the Century City mall.

How long? I am guessing it was right around 1990. Our office was at the then Fox Plaza, 2121 Avenue of the Stars. Ronald Reagan was a floor above us on 32 while Marvin Davis occupied the 33rd floor. Another Davis was the reason that we were in that building but that’s a story for another days. Three of us from the old firm had lunch today and reminisced about the times when each of us got to share an elevator with Reagan. He must have been about 78 at the time and while he still looked great in a blue suit you could sense the most subtle hints of cognitive decline. Has anyone even written more eloquently than the man himself?

“I now begin the journey that will lead me into the sunset of my life.”

Sunsets seem to be everywhere these days. So many of the people I know and love are holding them off, doing all they can to stay in the day’s light, whether the challenges they face affect themselves or their own loved ones. Both of my dining partners have dealt with it, through the illness of an adult child and the death of a spouse. I know it is hard to each of them to find a way to look ahead toward something good when they have seen the challenges of today and the near past.

Still, we ate, we remembered back to working at 2121, and we drank an excellent red blend called, La Croce.

Too bad there was only one bottle.

The weather was perfect. Only one day before and we would not have been able to dine outside without a good deal of shivering and cold Italian food that’s meant to be served hot. Our mood was lightish and plans were made for another lunch, a happy hour this time, were made. I’ll be really happy if we manage to pull that off soon.

Back to the last time I was at that mall and I’m guessing it was also in 1990. Wait, first I have to say that the mall is not the mall I visited all those many years ago. It was closed for years while undergoing a massive renovation. Going there today was like going back to a place I have never seen before, even though everything, the Hollywood Hills and the many towers of Century City were right where I left them.

Back in 1990, I shared lunch with the great love of my life, the woman who is still the love of my life. We ate at a little Japanese place that served excellent teriyaki. That’s a day I will never forget. I’ll never forget the food, I’ll never forget where it was (I’m sure I could walk to the point where our table stood, even though there’s no restaurant there anymore) and most importantly I will never forget what it felt like to be there sharing it all with the person whom I was lucky enough to be with. It’s been thirty years and I still feel lucky every time I share a table with her, or a kiss, or a touch, or a smile.

Sunsets come to each day and every person’s life. There’s nothing to be done about that. All we can do is share the daylight of our love and fondness for the people in our lives as often as we can, and always savor the sweetness of the wine and the warmth of the sun.

The three of us did a little of that today and I’m glad we all made the trip.

February 3: Century City

Trump Thinks He’s Jason Bourne; 21st Century Action Movies & the Deep State

Three Days of the Condor is one of my favorite films and one of a very few performances by Robert Redford I’ve ever enjoyed. Redford’s character is One Guy going up against a deep state version of the CIA. In Condor, even an Alsatian assassin played by Max Von Sydow behaves more honorably than anyone at the agency.

Then came Matthew Broderick in WarGames. Then-president Ronald Reagan was so alarmed by the movie that he was inspired to create the Strategic Defense Initiative, then disparagingly referred to as Star Wars.

Today, we have Donald Trump and he’s been raised throughout his middle age on the less-artful successors to Condor, films with characters like Jason Bourne.

The Bourne films are predicated on a hero who is a true rogue…someone rejected by the very deep state agency that created him.

In film after film, this lone man against the deep state hero has become the most consistent, commercially reliable action-adventure plot vehicle of our time.

Donald Trump believes, down to the marrow of his bone, that he is Jason Bourne.

Now, the final irony.

Each of these films are the creation of the very same left-leaning entertainment industry that now despises Trump but also created Donald Trump the reality television star and, eventually, Donald Trump the viable political candidate, and now the president of the United States.

Well done.

In the days of WarGames Reagan was excoriated for the SDI. But, SDI was a rational response to the general message of WarGames; that complex systems are prone to unanticipated failure, no matter how well intended the governmental agency behind the system may be. Reagan may have been wrong or misguided, but his concerns were derived from a reasonable fictional construct.

Trump is unbound by such constructs. His fantasy about a deep state, even a deep state that he is the head of, is complete.

And, we have Hollywood at least partly to thank for his certitude.

Trump Thinks He’s Jason Bourne; 21st Century Action Movies & the Deep State