Tuesday, November 15, 2011

More on favorite films

      When listing my favorite films, those I watch over and  over, I forgot one: Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
      The only singing is done by toons, but that Jessica Rabbit can really belt out a torch song, (not Kathleen Turner doing the singing I recently learned, ) and it's just as funny to me as it was 15 viewings ago.
      In fact it contains what I nominate for the funniest line ever in a movie, up there with, "Can't swim?  Hell, the fall will kill us." It goes something like this.
     "Delores , can the rabbit stay here a coupla hours?"
      "I don't know Eddie.  He's not gonna do anything crazy is he?"
     And I now have a new film on the list, the first since Mama Mia. I first watched Pirate Radio one day this summer, then watched it eight more times in the next two weeks (HBO).
    It has a splendid cast headed by Phillip Seymore Hoffman, (my pick, you may recall, as the best male performer in cinema today,) but Kenneth Brannaugh should have won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his protrayal of a tight-assed British bureaucrat.
     But what really makes the movie is the best sound track ever. All the songs are ones played on the radio in 1967, arguably the best year ever for rock and roll, and they're almost continuously playing.
     Also it has a just-keeps-getting-bigger lump in the throat ending worthy of It's A Wonderful Life.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


        (I had intended to get all literary with this piece and introduce it with a quote which, until I tried to find it, I was sure is from Robert Pean Warren in All The King’s Men, which I’ve read at least three times.  Anyway it’s essentially that drinking in excess is the only way that will do a man any good. [The author said “man” I’m sure.] if anybody can point me to the exact quote I'd appreciate it.)
        We recently learned that Amy Winehouse died from alcohol poisoning.  According to the coroner’s report, she had no other drugs in her system, but had a blood alcohol level of .40, the over the limit line for driving both here and in the U.K. being .08.  According to reports, a period of abstinence was followed by the discovery of her body surrounded by empty vodka bottles.
         A friend of mine in the mid 1970's went with her roommate to the roommate’s home in Tennessee.  There they went to visit some of the roommate’s friends.  At the house they visited there was a guy named Moe.  I don’t recall whether Moe did what he did on a dare or from pure exhibitionism, but I think it's safe to assume that Moe was already intoxicated when he opened the fifth of Jack Daniels, turned it up and downed the entire bottle.
      Shortly thereafter Moe passed out and was the subject of ridicule until someone realized he wasn't breathing.
           The punchline of this sad story is that Moe was no mo.
            I found some humor in Ms. Winehouse's demise as well.  It's in the British gift for wry understatement.  Her official cause of death was labeled "misadventure."
      Yes, consuming a gallon of vodka at one sitting is certainly an adventure gone awry.

Eye Of The Beholder

   You know everyone doesn't love Raymond.  Me for one.  He and his show might be very funny but I'll never know, because I can't stand the way Ray Ramano looks.  Everybody has actors who are like that for them.

    Another for me is Billy Crystal, but unlike Raymond, I'll watch some things with Billy Crystal because of the quality of the whole.  And if I dont have to look at him, I think he's great, as in his narration of some of the Ken Burns baseball series.

     I used to feel that way about the guy from Home Improvement, which I never watched, but he's won me over--largely with his part in the fantasic film Galaxy Quest-- and I'm now OK with how he looks.  I wouldn't want my daughter to marry him and produce grandkids with his weird face genes, but I don't have to change the channel when he comes on anymore.

      This is purely personal preference.  Jack Palance and Don Ameche were weird looking, and I don't think this is a minority opinion, but somebody must have found their looks appealing or they wouldn't have got those leading men roles.  ( You'd have to pay me to watch City Slickers, which has both Billy Crystal and Jack Palance. )

       Some people feel this way about entertainers I like. Jerry Seinfield, OK, I can see that, but I know people who don't like to look at Meryl Streep.  She doesn't have a classic movie star face,  but I think she's beautiful.

       I have a friend who doesn't like to look at Cameron Diaz, and her eyes are a little weird, but he also doesn't like the looks of Uma Thurman.  Can't see how anybody could think that.

       There's only one female who comes to mind that I feel that way about, Kerri Russell. I wanted to watch that show she broke out in, Felicity, because the story line appealed to me, but I couldn't get past my distaste with her looks.

        The most outstanding example of this in my life involves a TV commercial.  At my house we always mute the commercials, but there was one for which my friends and I had to kill the visual as well.

        Said commercial came on during  Braves games a few years back.  I guess it was for some exercise program, because its spokesman was a large bare-chested man with a buldging torso on which sat a tiny head.  His image was so repulsive it was as if we were vampires and he  was a crucifix. Shouts of "Agh! Agh! Man tits!" were heard as we tried to find the remote with our hands over our eyes.