Monday, April 30, 2007
The British are Coming (Unfortunately)....Rants on "Saturday Night and Sunday Morning" and "The Knack...and How to Get It"
Right from the get-go, I knew I wasn't going to like Saturday Night and Sunday Morning. Normally I like Albert Finney (Erin Brokovich, anyone?), but his voice got on my nerves from the moment he said his first lines. His voice was rough and coarse with an British accent more annoying than Cockney (I'm not exactly sure which one it is, but I hated it). To make matters worse, Finney hardly even acts through out the film. He growls, stumbles and broods through every scene, trying to be the next Brando, but ends up looking like an angry retard.
The rest of the film isn't much better. What passes for realism in the 60's, doesn't quite hold up 40 years later. There are so many more working-class films made before or around the same time as Saturday Night (The Crowd, The 400 Blows, etc.) that are infinitely more interesting than this film. Plus, the film tries way too hard for us to stand behind Finney's anti-hero and it's way too hard because he is such an ass to everyone that by the end, we don't really give a shit about him anymore. The only positive to this movie was the always fabulous Rachel Roberts as a married woman having an affair with Finney who winds up pregnant by him. She doesn't get bogged down by her cliched role and delivers the type of naturalistic performance the film strives for.
On the other hand, The Knack...and How to Get It aims for a style that only the movies can produce. Taken from a stage play, The Knack follows a womanizer who is teaches his roommate how to pick up chicks. In comes a new roommate who doesn't like the womanizer and a young country girl who almost falls for the womanizer. There's not much to the story and it runs on for 90 minutes without really going anywhere. The characters don't really progress much, remaining as annoying in the end as they were in the beginning. Add to that Lester's erratic direction which might have been cutting edge (slow-motion, repeating moments over and over again from different angles, the silent movie-esque door sequence) back in 1965, but his tricks are annoying and only seem to be covering up the film's pointlessness and lack of substance.
Saturday Night and Sunday Morning: ** 1/2
The Knack...and How to Get It: * 1/2
Thursday, April 26, 2007
QUESTION: If your life is a movie, what songs are on the soundtrack?
Here's how it works:
1. Open iTunes (or whatever ya got)
2. Put it on shuffle and press play
3. For every question, type the song that's playing
4. Make up a Title and choose your Cast
If Looks Could Kill
Adam Brody (Seth on The O.C.) as James
Maggie Gyllenhaal (Pastry Chef in Stranger Than Fiction) as Christi
Ellen Pompeo (Grey on Grey's Anatomy) as Jill
Rachel McAdams (Regina in Mean Girls) as Ashley
Pamela Anderson as Jenny
Ellen DeGeneres as Lauren
Marcia Cross (Bree on Desperate Housewives) as Mom
Hugh Laurie (Dr. House) as Dad
Ryan Gosling (Guy in Notebook) as Adam
Julie Andrews as Grandma Ria
Jamie Lee Curtis as Karin/Ashley's Mom
Reese Witherspoon as Kathryn
Becky (aka Buckwild) as Sammi
Jennifer Hudson as Shannon
New York as Laura
Anne Hathaway as Kelli
Emily Blunt (The Assistant who's not Anne Hathaway in Devil Wears Prada) as Megan
Big Rich (from Flavor of Love) as Mitch
(I had way too much fun planning that out)
This will probably have no bearing on the story, but it definitely sets the mood right---energetic, sassy and full of character.
Waking Up: Blondie "The Tide is High"
Waking up would be somewhat of a pleasure if this song was played every time I had to do it. Would definitely be consistent with the first song in terms of energy.
First Day of School: Monica "For You I Will"
I'm not quite sure how this song fits in. Maybe I see my crush that I will obsessing over the rest of the year for the first time and I swear my eternal devotion. Hmmm....
Falling in Love: Destiny's Child "Jumpin', Jumpin'"
It would work out better if this song and the last one were switched, but whatever. I'm quirky, so I think this song is allowed as my love song.
Fight Song: Aaliyah "Never No More"
Maybe this could be sung at the end of the fight when I stand up defiantly for myself and say "Never no more! I will not be beat up anymore!" Just a thought.
Breaking Up: Hairspray Cast "Big, Blonde and Beautiful"
Well, I am one of these (if any of you say big, I will cut you like Judi Dench) so this song is somewhat appropriate. Maybe I can say to whomever dumps me that I don't need them anyways because I'm "not big, not blonde but I'm beautiful!"
Prom: Green Day "Holiday"
Well, this never would have been played at my prom because it is actually a GOOD song, but whatever, I'm not bitter. Thinking about it, this song is everything that a good prom song isn't- political and intelligent. What an odd prom that would be.
Life: Pink "Numb"
This is quite metaphorical for my little old movie. Maybe after my break up I have locked my heart away and have become numb to everything involving my emotions.
Mental Breakdown: Martina McBride "Whatever You Say"
At first glance, this doesn't seem like a good mental breakdown song, but after thinking about the lyrics, it's actually not a bad choice. The song's about a woman who basically screaming out for help to her husband, but he's not listening (and possibly having an affair). I could possibly go berserk on someone as the chorus swells into the background.
Driving: Missy Elliott featuring Ginuwine and Tweet "Take Away"
What a terrible driving song. I mean, the song is fabulous (a great tribute to the late Aaliyah) but it's not the kind of song you can cruise to.
Flashback: Heart "If Looks Could Kill"
Yes, a flashback to the 80's! This could also be the pivotal moment where the audience learns why the movie is called If Looks Could Kill
Wedding: Kelis "Keep It Down"
I can just imagine all the elders being shocked and disgusted when this comes out of the speakers as the song I dance to at my wedding. Inappropriate on so many levels, but yet, still very me.
Birth of a Child: Justin Timberlake featuring Timbaland "Sexyback"
Haha, this makes me laugh out loud. This does not fit at all! Not unless the baby was the sexiest baby ever and the doctor was like "This child is definitely bringing sexy back!" or something (well, if the baby is coming from me, this situation has a great chance of panning out)
Final Battle: Whitney Houston "Didn't We Almost Have It All"
Well, this probably won't be a physical battle, but rather an emotional one. Perhaps I will be breaking up with a lover and neither of us want to leave, but we know we have to because we're not "the one" for each other.
Death Scene: Missy Elliott "Dog in Heat"
Maybe I can be having sex when I die? Yes please! What a way to go (let's just hope it was good!)
Funeral Song: Beyonce "Irreplaceable"
The title sounds good, but I'm not sure if the lyrics quite fit. It would be awesome if Beyonce sang it live- too bad I'm dead and can't witness it.
End Credits: Madonna "Into the Groove"
A fine way to end the film of my life- still sassy and energetic.
JimmyFromDaBlock: haha ryan seacrest totally messed up his first line of the night
FirEmbr: lol, american idol
JimmyFromDaBlock: its on for two hours tonight because of their bogus charity thing
FirEmbr: lol....youre an ass
JimmyFromDaBlock: oh no. he just said "the most shocking vote in history". i'm nervous for my blakie
JimmyFromDaBlock: blake lewis
JimmyFromDaBlock: i'm going to cry if he gets voted off
And so it began. Ryan Seacrest looked totally ridiculous starting completely over and then blaming it on the teleprompter. What a douchebag. Then he said the dreaded words, "the most shocking vote in history." I hate when they say that because that usually means that some great is going home while the shitty singers are left. Ugh.
So some time passes and then I notice someone special in the audience:
JimmyFromDaBlock: haha sanjaya is in the audience
JimmyFromDaBlock: what a loser
JimmyFromDaBlock: oh no. they're doing their group song
FirEmbr: what is it?
JimmyFromDaBlock: i don't know. some song about poverty and suffering that i've never heard before
FirEmbr: lol...youve gotta be loving this
JimmyFromDaBlock: i'm just waiting for their self-proclaimed "biggest duet in history" or whatever
JimmyFromDaBlock: i'm personally hoping for celine dion and sacha baron cohen (aka borat)
FirEmbr: i wonder how much money they will make
FirEmbr: lol...that would be great
JimmyFromDaBlock: probably an assload
JimmyFromDaBlock: and then they'll do this every fucking year
Now Ben Stiller is up, attempting some comedy:
JimmyFromDaBlock: wow, ben stiller is really not funny
JimmyFromDaBlock: he did a little skit and it was godawful
After this dark moment, they try to lighten things up by talking about...Africa! Unfortunately, I didn't stick around:
JimmyFromDaBlock: oh they are talking about
JimmyFromDaBlock: back...damn it is still on
Some more shit happens (I think Il Divo, but I'm not positive) but Jill and I just talk about "Spamalot" (which is amazing by the way) and musicals.
I walk away from the TV for a bit and when I come back I see something totally random:
FirEmbr: hows ai?
JimmyFromDaBlock: now jack black is up there singing "kiss from the rose"
JimmyFromDaBlock: i have no idea
FirEmbr: fair enough
Then I get the best news all night:
JimmyFromDaBlock: omg my blakie is safe!YAY!
JimmyFromDaBlock: i am so happy
FirEmbr: youre so addicted to this show
JimmyFromDaBlock: yeah i know, but there are worse things to be addicted to
JimmyFromDaBlock: like crack
JimmyFromDaBlock: now carrie underwood is singing and touching aids-infected africans
FirEmbr: lol, shes such a peach
JimmyFromDaBlock: yes what a wonderful woman
JimmyFromDaBlock: better her than me
FirEmbr: yes, shes a better woman than you
FirEmbr: very welcome
Unfortunately, I tune back in to American Idol at another emotional moment:
JimmyFromDaBlock: oh great. now they are talking about poor, illiterate coal miners in kentucky
Then, they cut back to Ryan and Simon in Africa (awww, what a cute honeymoon!) and their direct dealing with a girl (more like skeleton with skin) with AIDS. She's obviously sleeping and comfortable (for the moment) but Simon keeps repeating her name to try to get her to wake up and keeps asking "How are you feeling?" Well how do you think she feels? She's in Africa, has AIDS and is more than likely starving to death. I'm sure she's just feeling peachy. Then, for God know's why, they decide to carry her out of the house and take her somewhere. Why would you move a dying girl when there is nothing they can do. As much as I love Simon, I highly doubt he has the cure for AIDS.
A bunch of shit comes on (except Ellen donates $100,000 which is pretty amazing. I love her.) before Josh Groban sings "You Raise Me Up" with the African Children's Choir. It's touching, I guess, but what bugs me is that the choir is wearing their tradition tribal clothes and seems entirely too obvious. It's like the audience won't understand that they are really African if they aren't wearing those costumes. More shit is plastered on my screen until it's time for "The Big Duet." I'm excited...that's until who I find out who it's with:
Celine Dion and Elvis
I bet you are wondering "Elvis? As in the one who died 30 years ago?" and you would be correct. Using computer generation and God knows what else, they projected concert footage of Elvis next to Celine Dion. And it doesn't even look real at all- the Elvis is all fuzzy and Celine occasionally glances over at "Elvis," but you can tell she is thinking "I'm Celine Dion, for Christ's sake. Why am I up here?" (in a French accent of course). And the audience is clapping and applauding as if Elvis is really back, which prompts me to think "Do they know it's a fake?"
Ugh. After that disappointment, American Idol knows how to get me back on board (slightly, anyways). They show a clip of Madonna in Africa urging people to help the poor starving children, but all I can think is "Oh my God! It's The Madonna!"
Finally in the last five minutes, they get to the results. It's between Chris and Jordin and I'm rather upset because I like both of them (how can Phil be fucking safe?). Finally, Ryan announces that Chris is safe and I'm like "Shit, there goes my prediction." But, just to screw with my emotions (as he often does), Ryan then announces that Jordin is safe as well. Which prompts me to yell, "What the fuck?!" Apparently, since it's the charity show, they didn't want to send someone home, so they votes are carrying over with next week's and two people will go home next Wednesday. At this point, I am pissed beyond words. I watched this entire show...for nothing! What the fuck? I can't believe I wasted that much time of my life watching that shit.
I take some time to cool off and when I come back to my computer, Jill sends me this note that one of her friends had written on Facebook:
FirEmbr: Tonight's Idol they raised money for the needy in
I can say that I am truly thankful for everything I have.. including every single overweight pound on me. lol
So I decided that I want to adopt at least 3 of those kids over in
I feel a little bit better since my family donated towards the cause..
But if you missed the episode- you really missed out on a really inspiring show..
There is NO reason for ANY continent, country, city, etc. to be in that kind of condition..!
I am going to do all I can to help out MORE.. and maybe take a trip down to
Be thankful for EVERYTHING you have..
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
Oh, and by the way Sammi, Blake was pretty amazing last night singing "Imagine" and you and Phil Stacey and his whack-ass song/performance can suck it. There is no way Blake deserves to be going home tonight.
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
Bette Davis, Dark Victory
Easily Bette’s greatest performance of the 1930’s and one of her best overall (there are still a couple I would rank higher). Her early scenes as socialite bitch Judith Traherne are classic Bette- she chews up scenery with as much velocity as in her underrated performance in Dangerous- and she plays them with all the energy and zest she has. But, Bette’s true test as an actress comes when Judith is diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor. She believably transforms into a softer woman, falling in love with her doctor and basically living life before she dies- which makes the beautifully done ending that much more effective and tear-jerking.
Irene Dunne, Love Affair
Normally, I love my Irene Dunne in screwball comedies (especially The Awful Truth- my favorite performance of hers), but there is something endearing about her work in Love Affair. Her natural chemistry with an also swell Charles Boyer is hardly expected but proves essential to the film (well, it is called Love Affair for God’s sake- you hope there would be something between them). Not exactly a rave-worthy performance, but Dunne more than holds her own and that final scene with her and Boyer is underplayed to perfection.
Greta Garbo, Ninotchka
Arguably, the finest performance the divine Greta Garbo ever gave. With so many fantastic chances to poke fun at her stiff Scandinavian self, a great director (Ernst Lubitsch) who believed in her untapped comedic talents and that iconic tagline (“Garbo Laughs!”), Ninotchka was the one time Garbo didn’t have to play the tragic heroine and actually got to have fun with a role. Her comedic timing is unbeatable- case in point, the scene where she asks Melvyn Douglas “Must you flirt?” to which he replies, “Well, I don’t have to, but I find it natural” and she responds with “Suppress it”- and up there with the great screwball comediennes of the era. It’s a shame that her next film (and comedy) Two-Faced Woman bombed so horribly and that Garbo never worked again in any film.
Greer Garson, Goodbye, Mr. Chips
A fine performance by one of the best actresses of the era who has, unfortunately, been quietly forgotten. Garson is a nice breath of fresh air in this stodgy film as the woman who finally lightens Mr. Chips up and her scenes prepare us for her fantastic work in the 40’s. With that said, her role really is too small to be seriously considered against these other giants (I’m not sure on an exact time, but she seems to come and go pretty quickly) and should have been downgraded to Best Supporting Actress.
Vivien Leigh, Gone With the Wind
Leigh is so perfect in this role that it’s almost frightening how fantastic she is. In the hands of Leigh, Scarlett becomes, at once, both a realistic and gritty Southern belle turned hard by the war and a grandiose, larger than life figure. It almost makes me shudder when I think about who David O. Selznick might have cast instead of her: Bette Davis (a goddess but would have dominated every scene she was in and would have torn her cast mates into shreds) or Paulette Goddard (a great comedienne but I can’t imagine her carrying this whole film) or Jean Arthur (another great comedienne but I can’t imagine her doing any sort of the physical labor that Scarlett and not slipping in a wisecrack or two). Even if you are not a fan of the film, you have to recognize the brilliance of Leigh’s performance.
Along with my own opinion, I asked my best friend and fellow Gone With the Wind fanatic Christi Brinker to weigh in on Ms. Leigh’s performance:
After watching Gone With the Wind for the first time, I was surprised to learn that Vivien Leigh was from
My Rants: Overall, 1939 was a fantastic year for actresses and Oscar, surprisingly, picked five great ones. With that being said, here is what my line up for 1939 looks like:
Jean Arthur, Mr. Smith Goes to
Bette Davis, Dark Victory
Greta Garbo, Ninotchka
Judy Garland, The Wizard of Oz
Vivien Leigh, Gone With the Wind
(Honorable mentions go the fabulous Norma Shearer and Joan Crawford as the biggest bitches in an ensemble jam-packed full of them in The Women and Irene Dunne in Love Affair who, in a weaker year, would have made it on the list.)
I’ve already talked about Davis, Garbo and Leigh, so let’s start with Jean Arthur. Playing almost the exact role as her Babe Bennett in Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (another fabulous performance), Arthur could have just coasted through Mr. Smith and been swallowed whole by James Stewart and Claude Rains’ intense performances. Instead, she miraculously holds her own, trading wisecracks with jaded reporter Thomas Mitchell and making fun of, before eventually falling in love with, James Stewart’s idealist senator. It’s the type of performance that Oscar then and now loves to avoid (i.e. Joan Allen in The Upside of Anger) but really should start embracing. Judy Garland also made an enormous Technicolor splash into the hearts of Americans all over with her transcendent performance in The Wizard of Oz. The role is so iconic that it easy to take
Best of Oscar's Nominees: Leigh. Whoever played Scarlett would have won the Oscar, but Leigh's Scarlett is the performance of a lifetime and one of the best ever recorded on film.
Best of My Nominees: Leigh again. Utterly perfect.
I hope you enjoyed this and stay tuned for my first edition of Oscar Cock Fights in the upcoming future.
As much as I love Larissa however, the person I'm rooting for is Saaphyri. She has the farthest to come (she got into a fight and kicked off so early on "Flavor of Love" that she didn't even get a nickname) and I think she can do it. And here's one of the main reasons I love her- a clip from right before she got kicked off of "Flavor of Love" where she is having a heart to heart with the bitch she got in a fight with. Enjoy!
Monday, April 23, 2007
In another of my non-planned birthday celebration rants, I would like to say a big "Happy Birthday" to one of the most exciting and influential "documentarians" (there's still a debate about whether Moore creates documentaries or if they cross the line into the realm of fiction) around Michael Moore. I know he has his many detractors who consider him a fat slob with a liberal agenda to push, but I find his films fascinating. Until I saw Bowling For Columbine (his best film), I had never seen a film that was both utterly hilarious and really made me think about the gun issue so deeply. Add to this the classic Roger & Me and his anti-Bush attack Fahrenheit 9/11 and you've got one impressive resume. Moore is planning on showing his new documentary Sicko about the health care system in America out-of-competition at Cannes and, with luck, it will be released in America some time this year. So, here's a happy 53rd birthday to one of my favorite directors and continued success on raising hell in America.
Thursday, April 19, 2007
What Do My Brother, a German Dictator, a Muslim Prophet, a Silent Comedian and Marijuana Have in Common?---April 20th!
That's him on the left. Forgive the stupid expression on my face, but I like this picture because it's kinda funny. He turns 17 today and is pretty cool as far as brothers go. He already casually reminded me about a week ago about his impending birthday (he really wants those gifts). But guess who else my brother Adam shares his birthday with....
Yup, that's the leader of the Third Reich himself, Adolf Hitler. Unlike my brother, he's not cool at all. That whole Holocaust thing kind of ruined it for him in the cool scale.
So while I was looking up other famous birthdays, I ran across a couple that I thought were pretty interesting. Look who else's birthday is April 20th....
The Prophet Muhammed, but I bet you knew that already. Although the date of his birth is disputed, I decided to list it here because Wikipedia has it listed and I believe everything they say. I must say he was much cooler that Adolf Hitler (although that isn't hard). He started a religion for Allah's sake, that has to be up there on the cool scale.
And here's a final birthday...
Silent comedian Harold Lloyd! Although not as cool as Keaton or Chaplin, Lloyd was pretty cool in his own right and did some pretty crazy/funny things in his films (I mean, just look at that picture from his film Safety Last! He's really dangling from that clock about 20 stories above the ground---although there was a safety net about two stories below him)
Oh yeah, it's also National Smoke Marijuana Day too, but I bet you knew that. I don't personally smoke marijuana, but for some people it's their favorite day of the year (and I bet they aren't reading this right now).
Well, that's April 20th in a nutshell. Everyone have a great day!
In what is quite possibly the best news of my life, Sanjaya has finally been eliminated on American Idol! After too many weeks of horrifyingly bad performances that made me want to die afterwards, Sanjaya received the good news last night. It was looking like it would never happen, but after Simon's outraged speech about how "the joke wasn't funny anymore" it was looking like Sanjaya would finally get his (I loved that in the farewell clip they showed Simon calling Sanjaya "incredible", but it was totally out of context because what he really said was "Let's try something new since it doesn't really matter what we say- That was incredible!"). I couldn't believe that Blake was in the bottom 3 last night and was so nervous for him. If Sanjaya beat him, I would have given up on this show. But thankfully, Blake was sent back first and I didn't have to worry. So, all America has to do is eliminate Phil Stacey next week and the show will be fantastic.
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
I stumbled upon this article about Adam Brody from Time magazine and it has made me even more excited to see his brand new film In the Land of Women on Friday. I'm not getting my hopes up, but I hope it doesn't suck as much as Step Up did. I thought Adam Brody was fabulous as Seth Cohen on The O.C. (still distraught that it's off the air) and in almost cameo appearances in Mr. and Mrs. Smith and as Rob Lowe's hyper assistant in Thank You For Smoking. Here's hoping this film is a success so we get to see more of him on the screen.
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
I'm in a bit of a Bob Fosse mood (never a bad thing) after discussing choreography in my History of Broadway class. I personally think that Fosse is one of the most interesting and greatest choreographers ever. His style is so distinct that you can recognize it instantly (it helps when you only have five or so moves that you build on differently each time) and yet each dance is something new and fresh. He also directed two amazing films: Cabaret (which is one of my Top 10 all-time favorite movies) and All That Jazz (I can watch those dance scenes over and over again). Plus, it didn't hurt that he pretty much invented the jazz hands (which I will admit was a great thing for everyone). So, to get you in the Fosse spirit, here's a clip of the "Take Off With Me" number from All That Jazz:
And here's Bebe Neuwirth and Ann Reiking in the 1996 revival of Chicago performing "Nowadays" with the original Fosse choreography:
Monday, April 16, 2007
1. Mo'nique. Before seeing this, I didn't know what comedienne Mo'nique knew about being classy or why she was chosen to be the host. Now that the premiere is over, I realize that she is the perfect person to host. I'm not too familiar with her work, but I will definitely be seeking out some of her stand-up work because she is hi-larious! Whether it's when she's surprised that the "tough" girls start bawling right after she says hello (and she is forced to become "Mo'prah") or when she suspected Thela of smoking weed before having a meeting with her in her office, Mo'nique provides deliciously insightful commentary on these lovely women. (As an aside, remember that fucked up dream I mentioned in my previous post? Well, Mo'nique also made an appearance...strange, huh?)
2. It's surprisingly emotional. Oh my God, I was totally surprised at the ceremony where the girls got rid of their Flavor of Love nicknames at how up-lifting it all was. And when it came to Saaphyri I almost got a lump in my throat because she got kicked off of Flavor of Love so early that she didn't even get a chance to get a nickname. Just to hear her say "I didn't get a nickname" almost tore my heart. At this point, she is totally my favorite to win.
3. Larissa (aka Bootz) and Shay (aka Buckeey). Some of my favorite moments of Flavor of Love 2 came from these two outrageous women (Bootz: "You wish I was a ho...if I was a ho, I'd be a top dolla ho" and Buckeey almost pushing Krazy off of the roof were classics). So, naturally I was excited that they were being brought back for Charm School and they haven't disappointed yet. Within the first 10 minutes, they were threatening roommate Brooke (aka Pumkin) with a beat down if she spit on them. What a great way to start off a show and I hope they get more crazy moments.
4. Becky (aka Buckwild) is still as obnoxious as ever. Mo'nique was surprised that Buckwild's real name is Becky, because she tries to act black and yet has the whitest name in the house. She still has that phony accent and is forever trying to keep it real, and as long as she does that she will keep me entertained.
5. New York makes an appearance later on in the season. There were previews for what's going to happen this season and later on, New York comes on to interview the girls about their progress or something (which is pretty ironic because she is not an ideal definition of classy herself, but whatever). And, from the looks it, she tears shit up and makes Larissa apologize for something and then asks Pumkin, "So, have you spit on anyone lately?" Haha, priceless. I love me some New York and can't wait for this episode (maybe by then she'll be promoting I Love New York 2 since she got dumped by that douche bag Tango on the reunion show).
In honor of a fucked up dream I had on Saturday night, I figured it's time to write my first entry (I don't know why it's taken me this long) about Mr. Channing Tatum. I've only see him in Step Up so far (I'm waiting for my schedule to clear so I can catch She's the Man and A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints), but that was more than enough to prove to me what a good actor Channing could become. I'm not saying that Step Up is a good movie (it's a complete rip-off of Save the Last Dance which isn't even that great to begin with) or that Channing's character is original in anyway. Channing just has a natural charisma that comes across strongly on the camera. With the right director, Channing could deliver a staggering performance (maybe that will happen this fall when he stars in both Stop Loss and Battle in Seattle). And with the right kind of role, he could be as adored and clamored for as Jake Gyllenhaal is right now (and he doesn't really have to make out with a man...maybe he could just do a movie with Liza Minnelli or something). Needless to say, it takes a pretty interesting actor/man to get me to want see a movie as bad-looking as She's the Man and Channing is definitely that.
Sunday, April 15, 2007
Coming after the overtly-racist The Birth of a Nation, D.W. Griffith wanted to answer back to all his critics by making a film about how un-racist he really was by showing other groups who were more racist and intolerant than he was. And instead of showing us just once instance of intolerance, Griffith dares to show us four throughout the course of human story: The Modern Story, The French Story, The Judean Story and The Babylonian Story.
If Decasia was 62 minutes of sheer boredom, try to imagine 3 hours of it and then add in some of the worst acting I've ever seen in my life and then you get D.W. Griffith's massive flop Intolerance. I remember seeing this soon after I had just gotten Turner Classic Movies and was super excited to see any silent movie I could get my hands on- especially one of this caliber. Imagine my surprise when I am pausing the movie every five minutes to see how much longer this ungodly film will last and eventually fast forwarding through 40 minutes of it to get closer to the ending.
While the effective cross-cutting that Griffith uses to interweave the stories is a milestone in film history and influential to every film director afterwards, it is not nearly enough to save what is going on in the frame. This is not the film to prove to people that silent movie actors really could act, because all you get are a bunch of histrionic actors hamming it up like nothing I had ever seen before. There's not a Garbo, John Gilbert or even a Valentino in the enormous cast. Even the one great actress Griffith had (Lillian Gish) is stuck playing "The Woman Who Rocks the Cradle" and guess what she gets to do the entire movie...rock a fucking cradle!
Maybe one reason the actors are so over the top and exaggerated is so they stand out against the mammoth sets which practically swallow them whole. For example, took a look at this still from the Babylon sequence of the film:
Pretty spectacular I know (especially considering that it was all man-made since there were no computers in 1916), but what happens- or, in fact what doesn't- inside this beautifully crafted world is not very interesting. It's all the debauchery you would expect from a Cecil B. DeMille epic and, like in his films, it's lame and excessive debauchery. Not cool at all.
I wish I could write more about how bad this film is, but it seems I've blocked out most of what little of it I absordbed. However, I'm not going to deny that the last 20 minutes or so, with its rapid fire editing and quickening tempo racing to the ending, was exciting because it truly was. But I shouldn't have to sit through two hours and 40 minutes to wait for something interesting to happen.