have decided to live blog over the course of Paul Newman Day.
Paul Newman Day 2009 begins approximately at 1pm today, December 30th. Again, the rules are simple: drink twenty-four beers in twenty-four hours however you’d like.
There are rumors that Paul was upset with the tradition and that he even went as far as writing a letter to Princeton in order to put a stop to it on their campus. I guess having entire systems of Greek life binge drinking Coors in your name can be a little nerve wracking to say the least. I assure you, if we feel like we’re about to die, we’ll stop for a while and maybe watch a little Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.
This was surprisingly really good! Sometimes Rachael’s dishes remind me a little too much of something you would find on a Chuck E. Cheese menu. I found it interesting that the website recipe I linked to above calls for half a cup of beer but the one found in my family’s new cookbook left it out.
Blondie would have used beer.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had my issues with Rachael. In fact, this was her last chance for me. My younger siblings recently convinced me to drive them to a book signing at a mall an hour from my house. Also, it’s important to note that these things are apparently a big procedure (pre-ordering books, giving credit card information, checking in, etc). When you’re like me and you don’t care at all about meeting celebrities, you start to care after putting the effort in. Anyway, making a long story short, we waited in line for hours but she never showed up.
I’m hosting my very first Paul Newman Day. For those of you who don’t have any idea what that is, never fear, I’ll explain.
Paul Newman was an avid beer drinker. In fact, he was so disenchanted with school that he claims to have majored in “beer drinking” during college. In addition, he once opened a laundromat that specialized in serving college students. When a student did his or her laundry, Paul gifted free beer.
The Paul Newman Day is a long standing tradition. It’s the king of all drinking games. Consume twenty four beers in twenty four hours. You can do it however you would like and as fast as you would like.
or should they just stick to badass? (i.e. the poncho?)
The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly seems absolutely justified in classifying Clint Eastwood’s character, Blondie, as “good.” With a film such as this, it is important to consider its characters within the mythos of the narrative. It doesn’t necessarily make sense to take the moral code of the viewer and to hold Blondie, or any of the characters for that matter, to a standard of values established by the society of the mid 1960’s. Instead, one must take into consideration what the filmmaker tells us is true. From the very opening of the film, the viewer is told in bold text that Blondie is to be considered “the good”. From that point on, he is to be considered a representation of “good” rather than as character a typical moviegoer would relate to directly or on a personal level. He’s somewhat of a new kind of “good.”
The wild west is a setting we, as viewers, will never have the opportunity to truly identify with, let alone exist in. Thus, we are to rely on the experts, like Sergio Leone, to do their best to paint the most vivid image possible as to mold our understanding. As a result, we end up with countless textual examples of what the west could have or should have been like to set our expectations. Keeping that in mind, in Leone’s version of the west, the Man with No Name Is the most relatable character in a fundamentally unfamiliar setting. The viewer gravitates towards his presence when he appears on screen for a reason.
Eastwood’s character is not the first we meet in the film. In fact, he is the last of the leading triumvirate that we are introduced to. Prior to meeting Blondie, there seems to be a void in the film. The viewer isn’t exactly sure who to root for or what to expect from “the bad” and “the ugly”. Subconsciously, you wait for an Eastwood-like player to ride onto the screen in order to create some sense of balance.
No; Blondie is not in any way innocent. We see his business partnership with Tuco evolve over the film’s entirety from a simple game of catch and release to working together to find buried treasure. Initially working as a bounty hunter, we repeatedly witness Blondie releasing Tuco from the clutches of the law and from receiving the punishment of justice that he deserves. Tuco is wanted for a seemingly never-ending list of severe crimes. He’s painted as the worst of the worst and yet, as a viewer, we almost don’t care that Blondie is working with him just to earn some money. Perhaps it’s because Blondie is a familiar face and we know to trust his judgment from previous installments in the series or perhaps it’s simply that the scheme is so clever that it seems justifiable. Also, even Tuco comes off looking more intelligent than the townsfolk surrounding his many hangings. It’s always hard to pity people who come off as clueless or excessively helpless.
Blondie always manages to come off looking nothing less than pure hearted and good natured standing next to Tuco, who is endlessly obnoxious, untrustworthy, and disloyal. In addition, while Tuco’s “ugly” personality is oftentimes repulsive and unappealing, Angel Eyes’ personal brand of ruthless killing and lust for money and power spawns from nothing less than evil. If a comparison to Tuco makes Blondie seem calm, cool, and collected, than a comparison to Angel Eyes makes him seem undoubtedly good.
The film is clear in defining its three main characters. We know from the very beginning that we are to follow these three major power players as introduced by the title itself and for the most part what we deal with over the course of the rest of the film is a set of pawns for them to manipulate. Sometimes these pawns act as obstacles and, as a result, uncomfortable or undeserving partnerships form. The viewer doesn’t want Blondie to work with his counterparts. You would much rather see him somehow piece the puzzle together himself, survive the bloodshed, and just pick up a sack of money waiting for him at the end of the trail. However, it can never be that easy. He has to work for his reward and so, we are even more sympathetic towards him. You tend to forgive his mistakes or crimes even more so.
Upon the films close, we are faced with a familiar situation. Blondie once again has Tuco strung up in a noose awaiting his “demise”. However, at this point you tend to remember a previous scene where Tuco had Blondie ready for hanging as a means of revenge for leaving him for dead in the desert. Tuco claims that his personal favorite means of hanging a victim is by shooting the legs out from under the chair they stand on one by one. Thus, as Tuco dangles on a wooden cross and we see Blondie whip out his gun to shoot the noose as their routine suggests, you somewhat consider the option of him shooting out the cross rather than releasing the rope. It would have seemed completely justified and almost poetic. However, Blondie doesn’t do it. Blondie gives him his shot at survival as he often did.
It seems as though Blondie’s inherent goodness arises as a result of his compassion and fairness. He’s not pure by any means and he recognizes what’s at stake as a result of his lifestyle. Therefore, he has to validate his indulgences and corruptions by living by some sort of western code, even a self-made one, which at least allows him to live a fair existence. This seems fitting as his “fair” complexion is continuously commented on throughout the film.