Monday, May 16, 2011

A Blog With No Cheer or:
How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Apocalypse

I'm not exactly blazing new trails in website posting around these parts lately but, hey, I got a lot going on. I mean, there's going up to Massachusetts to get my daughter from college, planning a birthday party for my other daughter (actually, just trying to sort out what she told me was going to happen and trying to understand how it's all going to work and then there's this scavenger hunt map that has to be made and... oh, never mind) and on top of all that, the world's going to end on Saturday in an epic battle between someone's idea of good and evil. So Saturday might be a little slow but since I'm sure I'll be left behind (ahem), I promise things will pick up on Sunday.


Just a few thoughts until then:

Watched The Verdict again after Sidney Lumet's recent death. Wow, what an incredible career performance by Paul Newman!

Watched Raging Bull again recently too. Kept watching the scene in front of the tv where Jake (Robert De Niro) says, "That's not what I heard," and then Joey (Joe Pesci) says, "What'd you hear," and then Jake says, "I heard some things... I heard things." Made my wife and oldest daughter watch it too. Repeatedly. Did things like point and say, "Wait... here it comes." I keep saying it around the house, "I heard some things." Can no longer watch that scene without chuckling. That shouldn't be the case but, sadly, it is. Still think it's an excellent movie but other Scorsese flicks are much better.

Enjoy watching the opening credit sequences from Mission: Impossible on Netflix Instant. Don't care much for the actual episodes but each opening credit sequence is unique to that episode so you don't really have to watch the show. When I do, I remember my prepubescent fascination with Barbara Bain. She played Cinnamon. No, seriously, her name was Cinnamon.

Really enjoy watching the opening cattle call audition scene from All That Jazz. Did a Facebook status update based on the lyrics of On Broadway. Yeah, I'm pretty fucking sad.

Now have thousands of followers on my tumblr site and having a great time doing it. It's allowed me to combine my old Unexplained Cinema site, featuring shots from movies, with The Invisible Edge's more parody filled posts. There are a lot of younger bloggers there than me so it feels a little different than here. The people I follow (hoodoothatvoodoo, mudwerks, vintagegal, alleyesandears, cupcake katie, amphora) are terrific bloggers who post some incredible artwork and photography. I rather enjoy it and look forward to keeping it up.

You know a favorite moment of mine in a movie (and, no, it's not something amazing or portentous or telling): When everyone goes into the chocolate room in the 1971 Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and Gene Wilder, just before he starts singing Pure Imagination says, "Hold your breath... make a wish... count to three" and then he goes into the song. That's a great moment and he does a wonderful job with the song.

Got the John Barry box set about a month ago. Look, I know I loved the guy's music before but, damn, it's really something! An incredible listen, over and over and over again. And Beat Girl is all kinds of mod rock awesome!

Well, that's it for now. Back to work, preparing for parties and the apocalypse. If I have any revelations before then, I'll let you know.

20 comments:

Tony Dayoub said...

You know, Greg, I've tried going through those old MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE eps myself, mostly because I like the simplicity of what basically amounts to an anthology spotlighting the character actors who guest-starred every week. I have to admit that from season 2 on, it's pretty much a slog. But the first season, where the star wasn't Peter Graves, but that mad Method genius, Steven Hill (LAW & ORDER), are pretty nifty, particularly when his character is featured instead of Martin Landau's. There are some interesting behind-the-scenes stories about how he lost his job, elevating Martin Landau to series regular instead of the initial "Special Guest Star" credit he used to receive.

Greg said...

I have to admit that from season 2 on, it's pretty much a slog.

Yeah, isn't that something? The opening credits are all exciting and whet your appetite and then the episode starts and never really gets going. Another problem I found was that no one (and there were a lot of good actors there) had particularly good chemistry with anyone else, not even Landau and Bain, and they were married.

Landau, for me, is the best actor on the show but even he can't really bring much excitement to a lot of fairly mundane scripts.

Tony Dayoub said...

In their defense, the cast was forced by creator Bruce Geller to play it straight, squelching any opportunities for character moments. This, in small part, led to Hill's disdain for the show.

LAW & ORDER ran into the limitations inherent in such a proposition after running umpteen more years than MISSION did, and introduced limited subplots involving the characters to give the show more dimension. There's only so many variations on the same plot that procedurals can run.

bill r. said...

I think that RAGING BULL scene is supposed to be at least a LITTLE funny. Scorsese and De Niro and Pesci know how absurd these guys sound.

Greg said...

In their defense, the cast was forced by creator Bruce Geller to play it straight, squelching any opportunities for character moments. This, in small part, led to Hill's disdain for the show.

Interesting. I would've cared about the plots much more if I felt there was something at stake with the characters and the only way I'm going to feel that is if I'm personally involved with them. Oh well, Geller had several seasons of popularity so it couldn't have been completely wrong, right?

Greg said...

Bill, to a degree, yes but I think it's intended to be more sad and pathetic. But once "I heard some things" really took off on its own (especially thanks to the "Joe Pesci" show on SNL) the scene became the millionth victim of pop culture in-joking. Still doesn't affect the scene that much since it culminates in Jake beating his wife and Joey senseless which isn't really funny ever, under any circumstances.

Fred said...

I still can't believe the Paul Newman didn't win for The Verdict, or Cool Hand Luke, or Hud, or The Hustler, or Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. And speaking of Scorscese, wasn't The Color of Money possibly the WORST movie either Scorscese or Newman ever made? (The fact that it counts as a career highlight for Tom Cruise should tell you all you need to know about Tom Cruise the actor).

I'm with you on Gene Wilder in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. The first time I watched that with my daughter was during a family trip to Hershey Park 3 years ago. My daughter was 3 at the time and absolutely fell in love with the film, so much so that we try to watch it everytime it is on. And the scene you mentioned was the one that really sealed the deal for her when we watched it that first time. Her brother likes it too, but not as much. By the way, what do you think of the Tim Burton/Johnny Depp remake? It was more faithfull to the book (the song lyrics were taken right from Raould Dahl's text), but it was a much darker vision. Still, any film with Christopher Lee as a dentist has to be good. Oh, and for the record, my wife is a dentist, but she doesn't look anything like Count Dracula or even Count Dooku.

Greg said...

I pretty much hate The Color of Money and always forget Scorsese did it until someone mentions it, like you. Seriously, Newman was good, of course, how could he not be but that was clearly a make-up Oscar for performances past.

I don't like Burton's version much although I do like the songs much better. My problem is the dentist backstory and Depp's performance: I don't like either, at all. I thought Depp made all the wrong choices and Wilder made all the right ones.

By the way, you're a lawyer and she's a dentist? Can you pay my daughter's tuition? Please?

Fred said...

Sorry for reminding you of the Scorsese/Color of Money nexus. Is it just me, or does it seem like everyone on that film(Scorsese, Newman and Clapton with that awful theme song) did it for Money?

I agree with you about Depp's performance in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to a certain degree, since I prefer Wilder's performance. I think Depp took Wonka's innate misanthropy a little too far. Wilder hinted at it without hitting you over the head. As for the dentist subplot, I guess my love for Christopher Lee (and dentists) gave me a blind spot on that one.

Oh and thanks for the comment about lawyer/dentist relationships. I thought you were going to take it in the stereotypical sadists path.

Greg said...

I'm still waiting for the first tuition check. Or, if you like, you can just mail it directly to the school. Also, I've got this cavity problem...

Tor Hershman said...

Girls, 17, that are too complicated.....RUN!!!

Greg said...

At least that's the view from their bridge.

bill r. said...

It's a shame we're all dead now.

Greg said...

Hooray! I survived my daughter's ten year old birthday party! I can be raptured now!

Fred said...

Congrats, Greg and 10 year old daughter. I survived an 8 year old birthday party for one of my son's friends at Dave & Busters. During the party, I was convinced that the Rapturers were right, as the sensory overload caused by bowling, video arcades and 40 screaming adolescents seemed like a scene out of the apocalypse.

Greg said...

Dave and Buster's birthday for an 8 year old? Yep, that pretty much defines hell right there. I'm glad you made it through.

Tracy said...

I think you can define Dave & Buster's as hell, 8 year-old birthday party or not. I actually think it was hidden in the scriptures that after the supposed Rapture, the Earth was supposed to turn into a giant Dave & Buster's - full of screaming kids and drunken frat guys (aged 19 - 44).

Roderick Heath said...

John Barry's music for Beat Girl is awesome. Beat Girl itself is terrible.

Greg said...

Tracy, I must agree. Dave and Buster's is a place I visited once for a kid's birthday party.

Once.

Never again.

Greg said...

Rod, I've never seen it and as of this moment, I have no plans to. Why let it ruin the music for me?