I’m merging a few movie files, arbitrarily dating to 20013 08 03.
images are borrowed, sometimes evaporate
2014 06 21 Greta Scacchi: Coca Cola Kid, Red Violin …
The world is filled with beautiful women, stop-you-in-your-tracks girls, I’m glad to say: the media world, the movie world. You could look at pictures all day and not run out of new faces, new figures: women with lots of talent. Still, Greta Scacchi stopped me in my tracks the first time I laid eyes on her: and again the other evening, introducing The Red Violin to Jan. Charlize Theron is another.
Photo retouched? set designers, costumers involved? It doesn’t matter: she still has something special, something riveting.
2013 03 27 Tried a made-for-TV Ivanhoe the other month, just awful, turned it off pronto: but ordered the Hollywood 1952 standard. I mention it for a couple of reasons, one of them a perennial point of mine, much made at K. First, an unanticipated reason: I loved Elizabeth Taylor! Sure she was pretty, but she looked so vulnerable, so frail (when young), exuded such sincerity, like wisdom, from a virgin!
But, for decades I’d set up defenses against her, resisted her beauty, actively disliked her because I disliked her role in monoculture entertainment.
Liz was twentyish in 1952, already a veteran for a decade! I was coming up on fourteen. Had already loved her, along with the world loving her, since those early early 1940s. But in puberty, past puberty, I resisted, she made me puke.
I want to nuzzle the pussy, I don’t want my nose forced into the girl’s fundament. Journalism, yellow.
It’s something to see classic movies from that period. The images saturated my young mind in 1952. I knew I had Mad memorized, every word, every line; I didn’t know I had Oz memorized, Robin Hood, Bambi, Ivanhoe. Fabulous cast, great character performances: Guy Rolfe: Prince John, acting like King John.
Ivanhoe was read to us in grade school. We were being made aware of the social consciousness of the Scott story: anti-Semitism: and the other struggles for cultural sovereignty: Saxons, Normans: what were they all on crusades about anyway: Ivanhoe was a palmer, Richard was mucking about militarily, Austria captured him for ransom. They’re all preposterous, pretentious thugs.
But here’s my perennial point, freshly detailed for Ivanhoe. Ivanhoe duels with this and that Norman soldier. H wields a sword in his right hand, a dagger in his left hand. Sword strokes are always blocked. None of the combatants look like they’re aiming for anything but the opposing sword, demanding to be blocked. But every time Ivanhoe brings the dagger into play, there’s a Norman death. He can’t kill with a thirty inch tool: he can kill with one eight inches? And his feet: he fails to subdue the Norman with sword and with dagger, ah, but when he kicks him with his foot, the Norman is out of the battle.
No: the worst part, the most egregious, was the bowmanship. There was a lot of shooting of arrows. In every case, the arrow wasn’t drawn very far back, the arrow would only go a few yards, not have any force. And the archer, in every case, in every close up, would shove the bow forward at the moment of release, not hold steady.
Bless Bernard Cornwell’s long bow novels for properly emphasizing the strength needed to use the long bow. You don’t take up soccer tomorrow and advance to the championship in a year or two; no, the kids who’ve been dribbling with their feet will run rings around you, you’ll be helpless.
2013 03 15 We watched Broken Blossoms last night, Jan had never heard of it (not apparently remembering my mentioning to her that I’d ordered it for us.
I first saw Broken Blossoms with my army buddy Phil, the New Yorker Theater, upper Broadway, 1962ish. The New Yorker organized the festival, showed one Griffith film a week for several months, the film music archivist from MOMA accompanied the silents with authentic piano accompaniment. The first week showed old shorts from the first decade of the Twentieth Century. We ignored how out of fashion everything was, quickly learned the conventions we needed to adopt to appreciate Lillian Gish, and promptly fell permanently in love with her.
Broken Blossoms (2019) was color tinted, and had been some scenes in Intolerance (2017). One of the first … in many categories, including color.
Lillian lived to 100! But in my and many another’s mind she’s still living.
2012 07 07 Last week Jan and I watched The Music Man, and Thursday night Guys and Dolls. She listens to the original cast albums for both. The former was new to me; but the latter I’d had indelibly memorized since the 1950s. I was close friends from grade school through high school with the nephew of a famous cast member: Pat Rooney. His sister, my buddy’s aunt, ran the dance school in Rockville Centre, Mickey, my friend was a star performer on our school stage. My college friends adored Guys and Dolls, sang along with the album, called it the greatest musical ever. I agreed with them until I thought, Wait a minute! It can’t be! Singing in the Rain is the greatest musical!
Being made into movies didn’t hurt either.
So it’s the movie, with Marlon Brando and Frank Sinatra, that Jan and I just saw.
So why this blab? Because I’ve been raving about Brando since the early 1950s, have commented on his presence a number of times, routinely near worshipfully: so I gotta balance the books:
Brando is a great actor, an icon for more than a generation; he’d have made a great sculpture if he were marble or plastic instead of flesh and blood; but:
The guy can’t sing worth a damn!
I’ve seen good musicals where a great star sells the song despite a lack of clear singing talent: at least they have timing! check out Lee Marvin in Paint Your Wagon! Even Clint carries his number a bit in that one.
Hollywood & Big Alcoholic Tobacco
Sky Masterson bets Nathan Detroit he can take the stuffy Salvation Army sergeant to Havana for lunch. Sky fills her full of coconut milk and Bicardi rum. Jean Simmons’ prissy missy loves the rum and milk first thing. Seducers use drugs of all kinds, and innocence is often a pretense, a role played. But virgins to alcohol, like virgins to tobacco, like virgin virgins, virgins typically demonstrate a toxic reaction. But there’s a fiction in Hollywood that poisons, toxins, are really delicious, irresistible. I saw all this stuff, read the Damon Runyon, knew the play, when I was a virgin or near virgin. It worked with me. Bogart’s booze, his smoke haze, his glazed eyes … Now I see a movie like The Thin Man, read a novel like The Thin Man, and react like a virgin: I hate it! Ugh, alcohol. Ugh, tobacco.
Of course pussy is great, can’t be overestimated; but not the first time you contact it: it’s a skill, an acquired taste. Ambrosia, time #3, and time #40,000; but time #1? disgusting.
PS Remembering my friend Mickey and his Rooney relatives a memory pains me. I was a twelve year old hipster, but I only knew what filtered down to me on Long Island. An article in Life had said that hipsters had changed: they used to be hep, now they were hip; they used to bend over and bop, now they slid, hips forward, and skipped. I informed the elder Miss Rooney that I was hip, and I slid my hips forward all over her dance studio. No, no, no, she corrected me, from a position of authority: and she rubber-stamped the choreography of Guys and Dolls: where they do bend forward and bop.
merging other movie file:
There’s plenty here on movies: today I launch a monthly post on the subject, emphasizing a subset of the subject: character actors: a subject already highlighted in my piece Actors in Character. Thus on the first of next month, and on each first there after, the plan is to redate this post, maintaining it as the first of each month. Build-up will get archived into a file dated a decade or so ago: so the material can be found almost current or way old, blogs being organized by chronology.
After a break of a couple of months where my Mac’s DVD player failed, me being far too broke to fix or replace, I finally got an external DVD ROM drive and resumed watching DVDs. The library, whose holdings are always depleted by theft, by incompetence, by wear … got a new shipment so I had examples on tap I’d never seen before. My darling still up north for the summer, I chose movies for me, not for us: and thus I encountered Jason Statham.
Goodness! Bruce Willis has been successfully channelled! And so has Chuck Norris! and Arnold Schwartzeneger! and Johnny Weismuller! Apparently this guy was a diver, the body actually belongs to him. He comes with it, he goes with it.
And his presence riveted me enough to actually watch the stupid movie. But there was more than one reward. His character wasn’t the only macho moron in the story. I cite the star, new to me, to introduce the co-star, not quite altogether new to me, Ben Foster.
Jason Stratham, Ben Foster
The latter too had a way with the camera, and the screen, and the preposterous genre.
Anyway, it set me off: where have I seen this guy before?
One of the things I enjoy most about movies on the Mac is pausing the movie to go online and research the pretty girl, the director, the piece of beef … So: I looked up Ben Foster so his track record could enlighten me: and I failed to recognize any obvious right candidates for why he seemed familiar. The only movie from his track I could plead acquaintance with was 3:10 to Yuma, and that didn’t seem right to me.
Well, I ordered it from Blockbuster, it arrived, I pop it in the drive: Bingo. That’s it! Fabulous use of an actor, the actor adequate to the use.
Now please, understand, the pix I’m sourcing here do Not show what I’m talking about. I’m not talking about photographs; or actors; I’m talking about movies. In 3:10 to Yuma you gotta see Ben Foster’s sociopathic runt over a series of seconds, see a series of frames: see him composed, in costume, in character, in time! And in the context of seeing his macho brother partner in crime: Jason Stathan’s Mechanic above, and the awesome Russell Crow here.
Jason’s got a great diver’s chest: so does Russell, and he ain’t no diver. But he’s got the great bod. Jesus, did he fit that armor in Gladiator! Cheez, did that sword fit his hand, as did the special effects with it!
There. But that’s still only part of what I wanted to say. I paused Mechanic to check who was who (and the girl too!) I went nuts trying to figure how come I already knew how effectively the insane sadist killer with the pip-squeak self-evaluation role was for this Ben Foster. Yuma did not strike me as the place of my prior acquaintance. What my failing memory supplied me with was an image of a blond psychopath in a feudal battle, something kin to Eisenstein’s battle on the ice in Alexander Nevsky.
I’ve reached the point in my senescent degeneration that I walk into the bedroom for a sweater and emerge with no idea what I went in for: so, looking up mental associations is sort of like the monkey looking at the moon: but: I’ve still got something: something said to me: Keira Knightly was in that battle,
and there was a great portrait of a Germanic blond killer, and he had a psychopath blond prince with him …
Stellan Skarsgård, Til Schweiger
There. Marvelous. OK, so it isn’t Ben Foster; but do you see why I thought of him?
I know how good Stellan Skarsgård can be: now I have to keep my eyes open for Til Schweiger too.
PS The blog post I borrow a Ben Foster pic from relates to this post, check it out. That author mentions Brad Dourif. Yes, clearly.
I began this kind of blather at K. in the 1990s. By ’98 or so I’d cited Tatsuya Nakadai as a great actor for communicating homicidal manias (while looking fabulous). Those comments mesh with the above.
2012 12 04 I dance three, sometimes four, nights a week at the hall. Most of the groups there play Pretty Woman: up-tempo, lindy, jitterbug … One particular friend tells me again and again how she loves the movie of that title, with Julia Roberts. Jan and I have been watching a Julia Roberts role from a couple of decades ago, Michael Collins: the DVD defective, as library DVDs so commonly are. I’ve only seen Pretty Woman once, back when, but I’m never reminded of it that I don’t remember a detail I hated: Richard Gere plays a guy with money, Julia Roberts plays a whore. The guy offers to hire the whore full time, for a series of days, pay her ridiculous per hour price: full time. Good, fine, good for her, guy’s a schmuck, take the money. But then, if you take the money, you’ve got to be his whore! full time! do whatever he asks! within the considerable limits of what whore’s must permit. But no: Julia takes the money, puts in the hours: and does not give him what he wants! She acts like his wife! like his girl friend! not like his whore!
The wife can say I don’t suck cock, I don’t swallow cum … the whore can not! and the whore had damn well better eat ass too.
No, let me put that differently: the one lesson a whore must learn: she is NOT the girlfriend, she is NOT the wife. When the guy leaves the whorehouse the whore must Not follow him home, ask for a bigger tip … absolutely must not phone him in the middle of the night.
We’ve now heard of employee rights, how about employers’ rights?
I saw Robin Hood as a kid, with Errol Flynn. I still love that son of a bitch.
A couple of years ago Jan and I watched Robin Hood in the theater, with Russell Crowe: fabulous, I love Crowe more than I ever loved Flynn!
By the way, does any one else remember photographs of Flynn at the time of his death with his couple of little teeny blonds? The alchy pervert was shacked with a couple of eleven year olds, or thirteen. I can picture him drinking his gallon or so of gin every day and eating these boobless girls, putting his nose up their tush.
The Robin Hood I did not see, that I’d had no interest in (and no time or money either) was the Kevin Costner one. Never like Costner anyway. But: now I rented it, watched with Jan till she couldn’t stand another second of it, mailed it back incomplete.
Morgan Freeman was in it, I love him, but it wasn’t enough. Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio was in it, I liked her at least a little: some good character cast members: Alan Rickman, Geraldine McEwan …
You’d think I’d like it at least.
Never mind all that: I want to mention one thing, one thing only.
Robin returns to England, he seeks out Maid Marian, he tells her he’s supposed to protect her, but the first thing she did was kick him in the balls.
Keven Costner coughs, chokes, rolls around in agony.
Remember not long ago when you couldn’t watch TV or a movie for an hour without watching some geek get kicked in the balls? Typically by some pretty teen princess?
The geek never got up, recovered his breath, and split the girl from crotch to breastbone, never put her family to the sword. There was a tacit agreement not to notice what had just been shoved in our eye! 2012 12 17 Watching Clint’s Pale Rider I’m reminded of a single memorable example: the bad guys get beat up by Clint, so they return with the giant, Club, Clint and a tin pan are hitting a boulder with sludge hammers, Club takes a hammer and splits the boulder one handed. Clint hits Club in the jaw, then uppercuts him in the nuts, then helps him onto his horse, giving first-aid advice. One thing that made it effective was a cut to the pretty fourteen year old girl’s reaction as she realizes what’s happened, she may be a virgin but she’s not entirely without sense.
Every culture is offensive in some way. Every culture is managed, censored in some way invisible to the citizenry: we don’t know what messages from God get censored, we only know the ones, purportedly by God, force-fed to us, and not by God! What little simian in Hollywood, censored ball kicking decades ago, then prescribed it, then censored it again?
There, this ghastly Robin Hood was released in 1991. I remember writing about the phenomenon in 1999, failing to get anyone to acknowledge what I was saying.
Is it still going on? I just don’t see it? See, there’s a benefit in not having a TV that’s plugged in, no cable, no digital converter so it doesn’t matter whether the antenna works or not. 2013 10 12 It’s eight years now I’ve lived without a TV, wonderful. Fortunately I still can watch some tennis at Jan’s house. When she wants to see Jeopardy she lets me leave the room.
Another reflection of the embarrassing subject: I talk about about the geek taking revenge on the princess. Of course if the princess dreamed that the guy was capable of revenge she never would have tormented him: but: I believe the plethora of ball busting that chokes our entertainments, in those numerous cases where the kicker is female, the victim necessarily male, can be partly explained as a sop from Hollywood to the societies’ perennial victims, pretending for the sake of the ego of those losers, that revenge is theirs, at least in the person of that princess, crippling that stud. Males enslave and torture females in the culture; here in the fiction the female tortures the male. If we lived in a female dominant culture, then Hollywood would have to salt its entertainments with men impaling woman with a molten crowbar up the crotch. No, no: in this culture, with it’s punish-the-woman reflexes, it’s Miss PinUp who crushes the testes of the rampant bull. Ha, ha, ha.
Part of the entertainment comes from the bull not goring her: the bull just stands, and groans, and takes it, like a geek in a vaudeville skit.
The past week has seen some wonderful online new items illustrating Christianity’s long role as woman baiter: the priests’ rape of the catechumen was apparently an exercise in woman hating.
2013 10 13 Gotta write a separate piece, Eew, Disgusting!
Continues as Movie Scrapbook