Harold and Maude was the midnight movie this week at the Egyptian, and I am so glad that my friend came up from Olympia to see it with me, because otherwise I might have wimped out. Midnight movies take a bit of determination, you see.
I’ve seen it a few times on video, but never on the big screen before, and I was just blown away by what a visually beautiful film it is. Just gorgeous.
Also, how did I not know that Ruth Gordon co-wrote Adam’s Rib & Pat & Mike? Well. Now I do.
Last week I went to Casanova. The best thing I can say about -that- is that it was free. I expected it to be fluff, but I expected it to be better fluff. I know Hallstrom is going steadily downhill as a director, but he did direct one of my favorite films ever, My Life As A Dog. And he did well by The Cider House Rules as well. So. I don’t know what’s happening.
It still was better than the worst movie ever. Also, is it just me or is Sienna Miller just about the most forgettable person ever? I’ve seen her in this and Layer Cake (which I loved) and for the life of me I cannot remember what she looks like. This is Not Good.
Perhaps due to a relative lack of drama in my life, I’m getting all riled up over this article, which is all about how TV wins at life and film sucks hardcore. I mean, for one thing, if you believe everything they fling at film in this article, you’re seeing the wrong movies. And I’m pretty darn sure it’s not fair to compare studio crap to cable, let alone -premium- cable. Studio crap is to reality tv, maybe, what quality film is to premium cable. Of course there are exceptions, insert obligatory disclaimer, yada yada yada. But when half of your examples of how amazing tv is are coming from premium cable, I think the argument has issues. -All- of the film-to-tv comparisons “on the cutting edge” were cable programming. That’s an entirely different world next to broadcast television. Broadcast television is what a lot of us are limited to — until premium shows come out on DVD . . or download — and broadcast television in the States is crap. Why? Because that’s what the majority of people want to watch, I suppose.
(Actually, the first point is that -obviously- Hollywood is going to perpetuate the notion that film is fabulous. It’s a business, people. So’s television. Allow me to rant at you about FOX sometime. Oh, wait, did that already.)
I know I’m biased. I’ve always preferred film. The language, the beauty, the collective experience. Plus, film’s a one-off, generally. I find a lot of television overwhelming, because I’m not generally capable of mindlessly watching, of jumping into the middle of things. I’m too much of a completist for television, and I’m frustrated by the limits of broadcast tv. And! And! Just because something is current doesn’t mean that it’s -good-. I’d rather story and art be reflected upon and considered rather than “ripped from the headlines”. I’d rather be immersed in something for two hours rather than have the serial experience. I like the limits and the structure and the narrative form.
When I was looking for other DVDs at my parents’ house over Christmas, I found Everyone Says I Love You, which was very exciting. I had almost bought it again recently, because I couldn’t remember if I owned it or not. This is what happens when I am away from my DVD collection for too long. It is very much a comfort movie for me, because I love Woody Allen and I love musicals. So, yay! This time around it reminded me that I really need to see some Marx Brothers stuff, as if I have seen any, it was when I was too young to remember. Also, I should broaden my Woody Allen viewing.
I skimmed the RottenTomatoes page for Breakfast On Pluto earlier this week, and one of the reviews said that the film never quite took off. Which is somewhat true, but I’m not entirely sure that I care. Why? Because Cillian Murphy was so damned good. (Also, I can’t believe it took me until the end of the film to realize that this is the second film he & Liam Neeson have been in together this year. Dude.) The book was more effective emotionally, but I’m wondering if that has more to do with my very American difficulty with accents. (I am very sorry! I try!) Maybe so. If I were to reread the book now, though, I’d hear Cillian whispering in my ear. Not that that would be a bad thing, mind you. Ahem.
In an unrelated moment of grrr, I am so annoyed by comments on how “nothing happened” in Jarhead. That’s the point! Also, it’s not true. There are things like narrative tension and character development and they can both happen even if shit is not getting blown up. Point being, I found the film satisfying indeed. Even if “nothing happened”. It’s one of my favorites for 2005, which is funny, because I never expected to love a Sam Mendes film. They tend to look much better than they actually are, thanks to Conrad Hall. I had wondered what on earth Mendes was going to do after Hall passed away, but he scored Roger Deakins who, among other things, has lit roughly a bazillion Coen Brothers’ films. But also, he somehow managed to create a compelling film. To -me-, anyway.