“It’s time for a few small repairs,” she said.

I don’t use my blog often, but when I do, it’s usually for a long-winded, emotionally charged rant. This, as you might guess, is a bad place to mingle business. To that end, this blog is moving back to its original URL, at WorldofCrap.wordpress.com. (It really doesn’t need its own domain, does it? I barely ever update it, and honestly I’d rather people didn’t stumble across it.)

My old domain, MediaOCD.com, is turning into something new, a dedicated, real website for my video work, which is becoming more and more of a thing. I’m happily kicking out a handful of Blu-rays every month, in addition to work for streaming and even a new music video every couple of months. Things are good… good enough for me to switch to working for Anime News Network on a part-time basis.

So, that’s the story here. MediaOCD still redirects to the blog for a few more days, but pretty soon it’ll be its own thing. And this is still my blog. And I’ll still probably update it once in a blue moon. Welcome!

Yet Another Steve Jobs RIP post

News of Steve Jobs’ passing, though expected, hit me a lot harder than I could have anticipated. As an Apple user since I was 7, I cannot think of a single other person, other than my parents, who have so dramatically affected virtually every facet of my day-to-day life, my passions, my skills, and the way I communicate. While we all knew it was coming, we were hoping for some sort of deus ex machina, some unexpected event to turn his health around and keep him with us, innovating. On Twitter, I’m seeing a lot of comparisons to Tony Stark. They are apt.

I find myself with surprisingly little to say that has not been said elsewhere. So I’ll only make a correction. For the record, my little adventure with Windows (detailed in this post) lasted less than 3 weeks. Even with every piece of aftermarket software in the world, I found that, for all its enhancements, Windows still blows at 90% of the tasks I threw at it. But every Apple user probably saw that coming.

So, yeah… What now?

My debut as a music video director!

For my friends, the awesome electro-pop band The New Division. Also featuring Sam Brown (of The Whitest Kids U Know) and Cale Hartmann. A big thanks to Colson Knight, who helped out a ridiculous amount.

Hopefully this is the first of many.

Yet another 9/11 memory

It’s officially 10 years later, which is bizarre to think about. 9/11 is easily one of my most vivid memories of my young 20s, and it really feels like it happened yesterday. At the same time, it’s not really a subject I talk about a lot. New Yorkers who were there that day all have a story like mine, all of them mundane and uninteresting compared to the people who were actually downtown and working close by. It’s also such a violently unhappy subject that it’s never really discussed casually. New Yorkers pride themselves on their stoicism and resilience, so it’s de rigueur to be “sick of talking about it.” After all, we did live and breathe it (literally) for months afterwards.

But in the years since, a larger percentage of my friends were not in New York that day, and have been curious to hear about what it was like. Some are young enough to have been in school when it happened. So on today, I might as well add to the piles of remembrances. I can offer no tale of heroism or great tragedy, but rather some small details that might better fill in the blanks of what it was like.

I was on my way to work at Central Park Media, where I had a part-time job as a video editor while going to film school, where I was a sophomore. It was around 9:15. It was a gorgeous September morning after a big storm the day before; the air smelled clean and the sky was blue. But from my above-ground subway platform in Astoria, there was a huge, black plume of smoke coming from Lower Manhattan. A man who had seen the impacts told us what had happened: two planes had hit each tower. It was clearly not an accident. Chills ran down my spine, as they did for all of us on that crowded subway platform. The train in was as silent as I’d ever heard.

I got off the train and ran to work (I worked for Central Park Media at the time, near Columbus Circle). I met John O’Donnell, the colorful boss of the company, who greeted me with a hearty “Good morning!” Ashen faced, I asked if he had been watching the news. He hadn’t. I told him, and he disappeared, presumably to go home (a block away) and be with his wife before returning to the office. I entered the office and joined the large group of co-workers huddled in front of a TV (that was normally never used for actual TV watching and was fashioned with cheap rabbit ears, and getting a fuzzy image from WNBC). There was joking and snarking. After all, planes had flown into buildings in NYC before, and while this was a tragedy, it was more of an event at this point. As we heard about people jumping, things got slightly more serious.

And then the first tower fell. I let out a gasp. My friend Ronnie grabbed my hand. And as soon as that happened, something in me switched to survival mode. Manhattan was under siege. I had no idea if we’d be able to make it home. A co-worker and I immediately went across the street to the grocery store to buy water and ramen. By the time I got back, the second tower was gone. I had no interest in watching TV. The phone lines were jammed, but somehow I got a call through to my mother, who answered with a “Oh THANK GOD.” It was the last phone call I was able to successfully make that day.

There was a strong feeling of, “what happens next?” going through my mind. War of some kind seemed certain, but against who? Scenes from war films and anime played through my head. Would there be a draft? Nobody knew yet who was behind the hijackings, or even the extent of what was going on — we were hearing all sorts of terrifying information, both true and false. One report had the National Mall and the Lincoln Memorial being bombed, another had several more aircraft being hijacked. And then there was the Pentagon. The world seemed to be ending. I went onto an IRC channel I frequented at the time, and let them know that me and my coworkers were fine and unaffected. To those who don’t live in NYC, the World Trade Center is RIGHT THERE, but to a New Yorker, those 2-3 miles mean that it’s on the far side of town.

It was a little bit after noon. After a few weak attempts at getting us to do some work (“we’re not going anywhere, might as well get stuff done!”), John relented and let us all go home. Many of us lived in New Jersey and were facing uncertain commutes, as most mass transit had been shut down by this point. As I lived across the river in Queens, I geared up for a long walk home across the Queensborough Bridge. Car traffic was slowed to a stop as people flooded into the streets on foot. I was joined by my buddy Frank, and we bantered as we crossed, trying to keep ourselves from going crazy. It was hard not to — as we looked down 5th Avenue we could see the street end in a large, all-encompassing dark cloud. From the bridge, we saw bomber planes circling Manhattan. It was nothing I ever could have imagined happening. As we got to the foot of the bridge, the offices in Queens, eager to help, were handing out water from their office water coolers to people. One of many small acts of kindness I saw on that day and the days hence.

I arrived home at my cramped little apartment in Astoria. I’d only moved out of the dorms a few months earlier, and was really grateful to have a place in a comparatively quiet and out-of-the-way neighborhood to which I could retreat. I stopped for some Chinese takeout and switched on the news. The true impact of what had happened didn’t really hit me until a few hours later. The news broadcast an ad-hoc interview with the daughter of a firefighter, who was praying for her dad’s safety. It was at that point that I lost it and started crying, knowing full well how this girl’s story was going to end.

After a while I switched off the news, and after a few attempts, managed to get through to my parents over a land line. I updated them on my situation, and sat down, trying to think of what to do next. I popped in the one movie I could think of that dealt realistically with a large city under siege after a major terrorist attack: Patlabor 2. I needed to get some sense of what was to come. Having that as a reference helped, though it was hardly reassuring.

The next day Mayor Giuliani asked all New Yorkers to stay home if we were at all able. I was. Initially I tried watching the news (there WAS no normal programming at this point), but the news team was so barren of subject matter that just about anybody could get on and say something if they deemed it appropriate. I watched, appalled, as 1st-year film students got to show off their “tribute video” to the whole city, which consisted of a few minutes of terrible amateur footage from around their neighborhood, sloppily slammed together in Final Cut Pro, with text screens rendered in the program’s default font. At that point my friend Ronnie called and asked if I wanted to hang out at a friends’ place in upper Manhattan. Thank god. I don’t remember much of that afternoon, other than the feeling of relief.

The next day I went back into work. Depending on which way the wind shifted, you could occasionally smell Ground Zero, a noxious and unusual odor that combined jet exhaust, musty old-building smell, and spray-on building insulation. It made your eyes water. Nobody could concentrate at all. I still hadn’t established contact with several friends. None of us really had grasped the enormity of the situation yet, but work seemed futile and pointless. By 3 or 4 pm we called it a day and headed over to the bar we frequented.

I wasn’t feeling much like drinking either, so I left the bar and went for a walk. I wandered down Broadway towards Times Square, which was more or less completely deserted. Every single glowing display and monitor in the entire intersection had been stripped of its usual advertisements, and were now displaying the EXACT SAME animated graphic of a waving American flag. It was one of the most unsettling moments of my life.

At first, nobody could go below 14th Street, and the next day nobody was allowed below Canal Street. Finally, on Friday the 14th they allowed pedestrian access to the rest of Lower Manhattan, albeit in a very controlled manner. I took my camcorder and, after stopping in Brooklyn Heights at my old college dorm to check on a few friends, made my way from the Brooklyn Heights Promenade (where, with its spectacular view of Lower Manhattan, some friends of mine endured the trauma of directly witnessing the impact), then into the subway.

Here is the video I took. Ground Zero was still smoldering. All of Lower Manhattan was covered in thick grey dust, which stuck to windows and awnings. Hastily made Missing Persons signs were stuck to every street post and public space. The air stank so strongly of Ground Zero smell that it was hard to breathe. Eventually I made my way through the controlled walkways to Canal Street, where the merchants of the cheap and tacky had already brought out enough American Flag crap to sink a battleship. They’d also already made WTC memorial T-shirts (some of which bore the incredibly tacky slogan, “I can’t believe I made it out!”). Vendors with photos of the twin towers were doing the most brisk business. As Chinatown had been dealt a huge blow by the closing of Lower Manhattan, I was somewhat understanding of their ceaseless opportunism.

I was going to college at the same time, but school was called off for the next two weeks, and some friends of mine refused to even go into the city. However, my job at the time was to help put on the first Big Apple Anime Fest, which was less than two months away. Guests were canceling (“Manhattan isn’t safe,” they said, which kind of pissed us off). Our big premiere feature film, Metropolis, featured a scene at the end with a skyscraper collapsing. One of our autograph venues, J&R Music World, was two blocks away from Ground Zero. The task before us was daunting, but that meant I had work to lose myself in. I was pretty grateful for that.

The next few months are something of a blur for me. There was a heavy, surreal feeling that one gets from large events that are hard to process. The songs I was listening to (mostly K-pop) became etched into my memory as all being a part of that one big shell-shocked mood. The resulting political spin didn’t surprise or offend me — I was simply numb to it.

By the time Big Apple Anime Fest rolled around, the rationale for the convention had been turned into an act of respite for fellow New Yorkers as well as an act of patriotism. It all seemed a little tacky to me, but I didn’t question it (much). We got a picture somehow of Rudy Giuliani holding up a BAAF T-shirt, and the bizarre jingoism that John espoused became the mood of the event. J&R Music World re-opened just in time for our autograph signings there (which were sparsely attended, and indeed you couldn’t stand outside the store without your eyes still watering from the smell).

9/11 became a way of life for us. NY1, the local all-news cable channel, was basically the 9/11 channel. Sob stories became part of the fabric of the day-to-day. Slowly, the event receded into our subconscious. We stopped thinking about it so much. By the time many of us went home for Christmas, relatives that were still shell-shocked about it asked us, “Are you all right?! What’s going on in New York!?” to which we replied, “HUH? What happened?!” (One relative of mine said, “Well, at least this proved to me that New Yorkers aren’t all jerks,” after which I barely resisted the urge to punch him in the face.)

I should mention here that, of everyone in NYC, I got off incredibly lucky. I was at least two degrees removed from knowing anyone that lost their lives, and the Financial District was not an area I frequented (although I did shop and wander around the mall under the World Trade Center on a few occasions, and once wandered into the hotel area by accident). My entire experience of 9/11 was as a part of the damaged city itself. Though I heard about a few acts of racism against Arab and Indian Americans, I never saw any. To me the whole city had just proven itself as having the highest quality human beings on the planet. It filled me with pride to be a New Yorker, and to be able to have a day to day life that, in a forced, juvenile way, could be thought of as a middle finger to the terrorists by simply continuing as normal.

And yet, things couldn’t really be called “normal.” American flags sprung up prominently everywhere (after president GW Bush suggested we all display it), each one an uneasy reminder of what had transpired. And every once in a while, during a quiet moment, maybe tipped off by an old photo of New York that still featured the towers, the memory of the day, pushed down deep, would spring right back into vivid reality. Just for a split second. It happens to me, still.

The End of a Nerdy Era

The idea sort of crept up on me, and I spent a good month going back and forth. Finally, today, I have ordered the necessary software and am preparing for the inevitable: I am turning my 8-Core Mac Pro rig into a Windows box, and switching my day-to-day computing tasks entirely to the Windows environment.

This was not an easy decision to make. I’ve been a Mac guy since I was a very small child, and to this day a select group of friends for which I’m their go-to fix-it guy jokingly refer to me as The Mac Whisperer. I stuck with the platform entirely through the bad old days of the 90s, triumphed in Steve Jobs’ return, and yet still kept my old Apple IIGS (my first computer) alive and intact through emulation. (The actual machine is still in my parents’ basement.)

Though Apple has done a number of things to piss me off lately, I’m still a firm believer in most of their products, and I’ll continue to buy a lot of them. However, it’s become clear to me in the last few months that the Mac, as I know it, may not be around for much longer. Despite strong sales, I am convinced that the Mac line is headed for decline, and perhaps even discontinuation. This all becomes very clear when you take a step back and acknowledge a few uncomfortable truths.

1. 90% of the public is not smart enough to use a full PC and never will be. (But tablets are perfect.)

I’ve been helping people with their computers since I was 10 years old. In that time, computers have evolved a lot, but the average user has not. Files get saved everywhere and lost. Hard drives fill up undetected. Spyware and crapware get installed willy-nilly. People’s computers grind to a halt due to poor maintenance and they either take them in for service or replace them. These people do not know what they’re doing.

And honestly, they don’t need to. Nowadays, whether at work or at home, people require literally 3 apps: a web browser, iTunes and Microsoft Office. That’s it. Occasionally they dip their toes into light creative apps like Apple’s iPhoto, iMovie and Garageband, but that’s pretty much it. The vast majority of computing is done in those 3 apps, and for most people, it’s all they’ll ever need. And these days, all of those tasks can be done more casually with an iPad. With the advent of cloud storage (which is pretty neat — now a house fire won’t wipe out decades of family photos, or your music collection), there’s no longer even a need to buy a hard drive. Which is good, because most people still don’t know the difference between a hard drive and RAM.

Tablets aren’t QUITE there yet, but they’re moving fast, and in 2 years they will completely replace the need for a PC for this 90%. The final hurdle for the tablet and phone is that they need to connect more easily to peripherals: an external display, a keyboard (doable now, but kind of a pain), a game controller, a printer, and a or scanner. And that’s it.

2. The Mac has stagnated. (And so has the PC.)

I just installed Mac OS X Lion. It’s the second major OS release from Apple in 3 years. During that time we’ve seen iOS (and its Windows-esque clone, Android) become a dominant, epoch-making force, attracting the best developers and designers from both inside the major computing companies and from the world in general. In a VERY short amount of time, these portable devices have gone from toys to being as useful as an everyday computer. Mac OS, however, has stayed pretty much the same. The major new features have been restricted to under-the-hood retoolings and minor interface features cribbed from iOS. Lion is a nice little upgrade, but from the end user’s perspective, decidedly no big deal. I could say the same about Snow Leopard.

It’s not just the operating system. Microsoft Office has added virtually no new relevant features since its 2008 version. Toast Titanium, that stalwart of disc burning on the Mac, was rewritten and is now so buggy it’s unusable (but also added no new features). Garageband and iPhoto are pretty much the same from the last version, and the new iPad version of Garageband is WAY better than the desktop version. Shareware and freeware, once the bringer of new ideas, are now predominantly iOS-like apps or widgets for various web sites, or ports of games from other platforms. On the Windows side, better backwards compatibility means that things move even slower.

On the hardware side, we’ve squeezed more cores on a CPU, but the clock speed has barely budged in the last 5 years. My 8-core 2008 Mac Pro is, according to various benchmarks, about 90% of the speed of an 8-core 2011 Mac Pro. That never used to happen. I recently upgraded my video card (those have also barely changed in the last couple years), added more RAM and a USB 3.0 card, and I’m pretty much golden. Laptops have benefitted from recent redesigns that make the motherboard, RAM and CPU all draw less power and keep cooler, but increasingly, their power is hard to tell apart from that of a workstation. And since those have barely changed at all, it’s pretty easy to conclude that their power is about to stabilize as well.

PCs have now been around for 30 years, and people are running out of new tricks, and in some cases have painted themselves into design dead-ends. The PC has become settled technology, and innovation has moved to phones and tablets. As people become more reliant on those and less reliant on full computers, we will see fewer and fewer changes going forward.

3. Mac OS X and Windows 7 are now so similar that they’re interchangeable.

The Mac vs PC debate has been going on for a majority of my lifetime. In years past, there were a lot of differences to quibble about — the two were vastly different computing platforms. Today, aside from a few minor interface differences, the two are almost completely identical. They run on the same hardware, have largely the same (or similar) software, do almost entirely the same things. Mac defenders used to say that their platform was better for video, or better for desktop publishing, and they’d be right. Today? It really doesn’t matter at all.

Windows, on the other hand, still has support for things that Apple has refused to budge on (USB 3.0, Blu-ray), and oodles of niche technology that nobody ever ported to the Mac with any real success. As everyday computing tasks slowly transition to tablets and phones, these niche technologies and pro-level creative apps will be the only reason to use a full computer.


Now, my immediate impetus to switch to Windows is due to the fact that a good portion of my work — video processing and Blu-ray — require niche technology and must be done in Windows. Up until this point, I’ve been using a combination of VMWare and dual-booting to bridge the gap between Mac and PC, but now that Final Cut Pro has been reduced to hobbyist software, there’s virtually no reason to keep using the Mac side of things (and switching my configuration to 100% Windows would save me loads of time). Adobe will let me switch my newly bought Creative Suite bundle to Windows if I call them, I’ll re-buy Microsoft Office, switch my e-mail client to Thunderbird, and I’m pretty much intact.

But at this point I can’t even recommend a Mac to everyday computer users. Apple has just reminded me (with Final Cut Pro) that they are more than willing to cut off a product line with a devoted fan base in order to go where the money — and the future — is. Steve Jobs himself has already said that the era of the PC is dwindling, and already Macs make up a small and shrinking part of Apple’s bottom line. Soon, the investments in the platform will stop, the product line will shrink, and then it will disappear. The fanboys will scream and cry, and then move on. And Apple will keep making money. It happened with the Apple II, it happened with Mac OS 9, it happened with Final Cut Studio. It’s happened with each successive generation of software that no longer works on years-old computers. Mac OS Lion, with its full-screen apps and Launchpad, has started the slow process of nudging Mac users towards iOS. At some point, they’ll become “one platform.” Given where the innovation is happening, the profits are being made, and where Apple has its distinction, which of the two platforms will that look like?

I give the Mac platform another 5 years.

Final Cut Pro X is not ready. But it’s the future.

This week, Apple released their long-awaited major upgrade to Final Cut Pro, Final Cut Pro X.

For those who don’t live in the professional video world, Final Cut Pro was Apple’s surprise entrance into the world of pro video editing software back in the late 90s, and combined with the new, cheap DV camcorders, it slowly took over the world. Now, over half of the world’s film and video content is edited with Final Cut. Personally, I’ve been using it since v1.1, and it was the gateway to my first real job at Central Park Media. It’s a program I still use almost every day.

It’s a great program, and it’s an institution for a reason. Like Photoshop, it does practically everything that a video professional needs (though not always well). Once you know the program, you establish what feels like a mind-meld with it. It becomes an appendage. Unfortunately, both the worlds of video and the Mac have changed a lot in the 13 years it’s been on the planet, and it was getting more than a bit creaky in its old age. Much of its code base was still written for Mac OS 9. It couldn’t access more than 4 GB of RAM (which isn’t that much when you’re dealing with HD video), and often locked up or unexpectedly quit.

And so, enter Apple’s new Final Cut Pro X. It’s really not even Final Cut Pro anymore. It’s been completely rewritten from scratch and reimagined — using roots from Apple’s consumer iMovie. It’s a great, innovative new program. It completely re-invents how a non-linear editing program works, and the changes in workflow and the way the timeline works is already making me a better editor. It essentially takes the faux-physical “management of clips” away from the process, leaving the editor to just concentrate on flow and feel — their actual job. It directly integrates color correction and other standard correction tasks.

But all you need to do is search Twitter for #FCPX and you’ll pretty much see nothing but frothing at the mouth about how much people hate it, and how everyone will switch to AVID (the other, older, major editor on the market).

Part of this is the fact that Editors hate change. Most editors are, surprisingly, not particularly technical people, and hate learning new software. Once they know their tools, they want to use their tools and that’s it. I knew video editors who were still insisting on using their ancient Amiga-based Video Toasters well into the 2000s.

But this is also a pretty interesting case study on consumer behavior. What is frustrating and terrifying so many people about FCPX isn’t that it’s incomplete (though it is), or that it’s vastly different than its predecessors and competitors (though it REALLY is). What’s freaking people out is that this is NOT Final Cut Pro. It doesn’t even read old Final Cut Pro files. Apple should have given this a new name and called it a 1.0 release, because that’s what it is — a 1.0 release of a brand new product.

That product is the future of video editing. It’s also not really done yet — it’s pretty stable, but missing quite a few key features that professionals rely on. I’d liken it to the transition from Mac OS 9 to Mac OS X. The latter was clearly the future, with vastly better underpinnings and a much improved interface. But the first few versions just weren’t there yet for many people, and it was only after a year or two of upgrades that fixed its faults, most were able to transition completely away from the old software. Now, we look back on OS9 and it seems quaint and creaky.

Adobe Photoshop is in a similar position: it’s also in dire need of a complete ground-up re-coding and re-imagining. It’s drowning in decades-old legacy code, is appallingly slow and kludgy, and has an interface that looks thoroughly grounded in the 90s. But if Adobe’s next version looked and felt completely different, dropped vector support, and wouldn’t look at .PSD files, its users would be mutinous. By positioning Final Cut Pro X as an upgrade (or what looks like an upgrade), its users feel boxed in a corner, required to upgrade even if the new software isn’t what they’re looking for.

That said, I don’t know anyone that was all that happy with Mac OS X 10.0 and with Final Cut X in its current form, I’m left wanting in the following areas:

– There is virtually no integration with Motion. There’s no way to send a clip to a new Motion timeline easily, and definitely no way to get an effect you made in Motion back into FCP. You have to go through the file browser. Seriously?!

– There are very limited video filters. This wouldn’t be such a big deal normally, but major things, things that are available in Motion, are not available in Final Cut. Things like Gamma, levels, YUV adjust, blur, you name it. The only way to get these effects is to go through Motion, which is a huge hassle. (see above.)

– The browser for text effects and generators are so mired in prefab Apple templates that no professional would ever use, that it takes some getting used to before you realize that everything is customizable, and you actually do have quite a bit of control. But the templates are a waste of space.

– Multicam is missing, as many have noted. This is basically essential to cutting multicamera shows, and its absence will be a dealbreaker to anyone who deals with timecode-sync’ed video for a living.

– Poor to no 3rd party video device support. This means that unless you’re using DV or HDV, you’re stuck with capturing and printing to tape with the software that came with your card.

– There’s NO WAY TO HAVE MULTIPLE TIMELINES, spread out on a timeline, or otherwise break free of the singular approach Apple has dictated we edit in.

– All movie files, if you apply any enhancements to them whatsoever, are quietly copied into the project folder in the root of whatever hard drive you’ve chosen for the project. There is no way to turn this off. These are GIGANTIC files!!

– No import/export of timelines, even from old FCP. (iMovie doesn’t count.)

There are many great innovations in this app (the magnetic timeline is very cool), but it does inherit a lot of iMovie’s hand-holding, and frankly, many professionals would be horribly frustrated by that. Once Apple adds back in a lot of the features that it didn’t get to rebuilding yet, and smooths out some interface issues, we will have a winner. Right now, it’s a gawky adolescent.

A Double Dose of Katherine Hepburn

A few months ago I went on a big Katherine Hepburn kick (who can blame me? She’s still hot), and added a ton of her movies to my Netflix queue. However, I’ve been going through my physical discs so slowly that it took all this time to get through them. Many of them, such as Holiday, I’ve enjoyed immensely. Others, like Desk Set, are just kind of silly and dated.

The majority of her work seems to consist of romantic comedies in which she plays an incredibly smart career woman who’s at some sort of feminist odds with her husband. Or maybe it just seems that way because I just got two of those films in the mail at once: Adam’s Rib and Woman of the Year.

I was particularly looking forward to Woman of the Year, having seen photos of the stage play version and wondered what it was about. Spencer Tracy plays sports reporter Sam Craig, while Hepburn plays political reporter/columnist Tess Harding. After a public feud in their respective columns, the two end up falling in love and marrying. Unfortunately Tess is such a workaholic that she can hardly see that she’s making for a very poor wife.

And that’s about where Woman of the Year lost me. The character of Tess is an outright psychopath. She expects her new husband to move in with her, change nothing about her life, and adjust to her jet-setting ways while compromising nothing on her own. At one point she adopts a Greek orphan child, and is content to leave him home alone, unsupervised. By the time she realizes her mistake, it’s too late, and Sam has left her, leaving her with no recourse than to try to be a stereotypical “good wife” with “comedic” results.

I don’t know what this film is trying to say. Are we to honestly believe that a woman so intelligent and ambitious as Tess would put absolutely no work into marriage at all? That her career is to the detriment of any possible family life? One could conjecture, but little in the film’s conclusion will offer any help: like so many romantic comedies of the era, it ends with simply a punchline, and little resolve. The narrative arc is so weak, I’m left wondering what the point of it all was.

Adam’s Rib proved a great counterpoint, since it’s a far better film. Tracy and Hepburn reprise their roles as a bickering professional husband-and-wife, this time becoming opposing council in a sensational attempted murder trial of a woman who shot and injured her cheating husband. Hepburn’s Amanda Bonner is passionately convinced that her trial is evidence of a double-standard (a man has the right to protect the sanctity of his family!), while Tracy’s Adam Bonner is hotly dedicated to his work prosecuting the flaky woman that pulled the trigger. Ultimately the case and its ideals bring both the marriage and the courtroom to their knees.

What was, and still is, refreshing about Adam’s Rib is that it takes both sides seriously — both are intelligent, thoughtful people with entirely reasonable opinions, and both are entirely unable to see the other person’s point of view. Even today it’s refreshing to see a thoughtful debate on a dicey feminist issue (I don’t know how to feel about it today), but even more relevant is how divergent social and political opinions can truly break a family apart. (Plus it’s funny, though not always — the 1940s seems to find great humor in repugnant, “humorous” side characters that serve no purpose other than to annoy.)

Of the two, Adam’s Rib is worth seeing, despite being the less famous of the two.

Hepburn’s filmography has some major gems in it, like The Lion in Winter and Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner. There are still many more I haven’t gotten to yet. There’s so much good stuff here that it’s worth churning up the occasional dud.