Movie Review: Operation Finale

The new World War 2 movie “Operation Finale” is about the capture in 1960 of the architect of the “Final Solution” Adolf Eichmann during Germany’s dominance in Europe. Memories of the worst time in human history come back to all of us when we see movies like this one and for all of us the atrocities of the years 1939-1945 where 6 million Jews and 4 million other innocent civilians were exterminated, are beyond all comprehension. Its still hard to believe that the years 1939-1945 are less than 80 years ago rather than something that happened in ancient times 2000-5000 years ago. Adolf Eichmann was one of the few leaders of the 3rd Reich to escape prosecution to South America and this story is mostly about the intricate complexities of his capture in Argentina and flight back to Israel where he could stand trial for his crimes.

The problem with this film is the middle part where the group that was assigned to capture him were delayed with many problems and had to wait around in Argentina for many days for their opportunity to leave. This part of the movie dragged on way too long and involved conversations with Eichmann who did admit who he was, feeding him and even a scene where he had to go to the bathroom. All of this was not necessary and should have been mostly eliminated from this movie. This part seemed to be the part of the screenplay where they had to add filler to make the movie last 2 hours. The Rotten Tomatoes rating for this movie are a low 62% for the reasons I stated above. I thought the acting was good, mainly from the only named actor in this film, Ben Kingsley who played Eichmann.

I give a marginal recommendation to Operation Finale mainly because its about the history of the worst time in world history during World War 2.

A Tribute to Neil Simon

An excerpt from the IMDB page for Neil Simon’s biography summarizes his career very well:

Almost every one of his 30-plus plays, mostly Broadway comedies, has also been adapted into a motion picture– the greatest such achievement of any playwright/author, even surpassing William Shakespeare. As a result, Simon has received more Oscar and Tony nominations than any other writer in the history of show business.

Some years ago I read both of Neil Simon’s books Neil Simon’s Memoirs and Rewrites: A Memoir because for anyone who has ever had any ambitions to be a writer for movies or Broadway, Neil Simon, along with Woody Allen is just about the best there has ever been.

I was so impressed with the ups and downs of Simon’s life as a writer and the incredible number of hours and hard work it took to write and then re-write so many times for so many of his plays until he got the rhythm and the timing of each line – just right.

Show business is one of the toughest businesses there is and Simon went through his share of financial problems along the way of becoming one of the greatest writers of comedy of all time. He also signed away the rights to arguably his greatest play “The Odd Couple” too soon and for far less money that he should have gotten. Soon after the Odd Couple became a highly successful TV series in the 1970’s.

Simon’s personal life was extremely challenging, losing his wife of 20 years to breast cancer when she was only on her late 30’s – leaving him to raise his 2 daughters alone. One can only imagine how difficult it was go through something like that as he tried to move on with his life and career. Simon was married 5 times, including twice to the same woman and also to actress Marcia Mason.

Neil Simon died yesterday, August 26th at age 91 – and left the world with a body of work that is a standard for all writers who will follow. He will be greatly missed and his great works will always be admired and remembered.

A Tribute to John McCain

As I write this on August 26, 2018, senator John McCain died of brain cancer yesterday at age 81. There is no doubt to anyone except maybe Donald Trump and his idiotic comments before the 2016 election about McCain being captured that John McCain will always be one of the greatest American war heroes of all time.

I was greatly privileged to meet and speak with John McCain in mid-April of 2000; in the very beginning of the worst bear market this country had seen since 1929. None of us knew in April 2000 that this bear market would last 30 months and cause great damage to the financial health of the world.

McCain was at a book signing for this book “Faith of my Fathers” at a Barnes and Noble in Princeton New Jersey and after I waited my turn in line I remember feeling embarrassed when I said to him simply, “thank you for your service”. I remember it didn’t feel right to just say “Thank You”, because considering the incredible ordeal that McCain had gone through as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, just saying “Thank You” would never be enough respect that I could give to this great man. After signing my book, much to my surprise McCain started asking about me and what I do for a living and then the subject of the stock market that had just started to crash came up. I was so impressed with how much he cared about a total stranger like me who was just standing there in front of him for a book signing. His questions and caring about what I was going through was sincere and real. It was impossible to not like this man who had gone through so much in the service of his country and showed such great compassion to a total stranger.

It’s a shame that John McCain never became President of the United States because just based on his integrity as a human being he would have been a great President. McCain was not elected the president because of timing. His time to be President was in 2000 when he ran against President Bush and for reasons that make no sense to me, failed to win the Republican nomination. When he ran again against Barack Obama in 2008 he was too old to endure the huge stresses to be the President. His decision to select Sarah Palin to be his vice president was a mistake in judgement based on desperation because he knew he was losing the 2008 election in the polls. Hindsight is 20-20 and they should have vetted Palin for much longer than just 90 minutes, but that is life. McCain defending Obama in a town hall when a woman said he was a Muslim and she didn’t trust Obama was typical of the man John McCain was.

McCain took his loss in 2008 with dignity and respect, just like he did everything else in his life of great service to this country. Rest in Peace my friend, you will be greatly missed.