Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Evolution of the Classics

We’ve been watching more classic movies. Kevin claims this is to educate me, and perhaps there’s some truth to that. I’m actually surprisingly bad for not watching a lot of movies.

Anyway, I found To Kill A Mockingbird to be interesting. Certainly not noir. I think it’s the kind of thing where you can look at it now and say it started a bit slow, but it definitely built up to something. Of course, I also find myself watching how movies are filmed more and more, and there are loose threads in some of the older movies, things that don’t tie in and don’t really add much. But I still enjoyed this movie.

Now, we also watched Double Indemnity. And I have to say that this was a great pick, definitely in the noir vein. Unless you count the daughter and her boyfriend. I suppose there was still a smidgen of optimism left for them.

Of course, watching them, I find myself wondering about the general foolishness of any man who would hatch a plan to kill someone for a woman he barely knows. Were people really once that stupi- I mean, trusting? That’s one of the things I note. Nowadays, you have to work it, to make the reader/viewer believe this guy would do this. But taking that on faith it was an interesting movie.

I also found The Maltese Falcon interesting. Yes, yes, be quiet. I admit it, I’d never seen that movie before. Now, I must admit to an offhand comment early on, asking if this main actor really made women swoon once upon a time. But at the end I decided he’d done a brilliant job with the role, as I hadn’t a clue which side was up where he was concerned.

And that’s something I’d like to comment on. See, so often you put a piece of work in front of someone and they say, “There’s a contradiction with this character.” And that’s it. But what if it’s the contradictions within the character that are meant to keep you offguard and guessing as to who the real person is? Because a lot of real people play games and put on faces, assuming slightly different versions of their persona, or even whole other personas, when they’re around different people. I mean, haven’t we all seen it? A friend/associate, completely relaxing and just being themselves, and then someone comes up who puts them in “the role” – whether they be famous author or actor or musician – and they have to go into performance mode.

Anyway, that was just a thought I had from watching that, because I really liked that aspect of the movie.

And finally, LA Confidential. I found this movie a bit slow to start, but I don’t mean that as a complaint. I think it’s the kind of thing where you have to lay a foundation for the characters so that the story can move later. And move it does. But while the pressure is on for writers to start off knitting, this is a movie that proves that some stories have to show you casting on the needle first, and the reward later is the greater for it.

I did like what James Ellroy said about the book in the dvd extras – that it had something for the whole family if your name was Manson. True…

But speaking of classics, I’d like to mention that Stephen Blackmoore has contributed a post at In For Questioning. If you read my theorizing about how technology might change the future of book production and selling, then you’ll know what Stephen’s addressing. He looks at things from a different perspective in an insightful piece called The Long Tail of POD. Definitely worth reading and pondering over. I’m going to save more of my comments on it for over there.

And now, we have a classic joke from Uncle Charlie.

Bill Clinton started jogging near his new home in Chappaqua.

But on each run he happened to jog past a hooker standing on the same street corner, day after day.

With some apprehension he would brace himself as he approached her for what was most certainly to follow.

Fifty dollars!" she would cry out from the curb.

"No, Five dollars!" fired back Clinton .

This ritual between Bill and the hooker continued for days.

He'd run by and she'd yell, "Fifty dollars!"

And he'd yell back, "Five dollars!"

One day however, Hillary decided that she wanted to accompany her husband on his jog!

As the jogging couple neared the problematic street corner, Bill realized the "pro" would bark her $50 offer and Hillary would wonder what he'd really been doing on all his past outings.

He realized he should have a darn good explanation for the junior Senator.

As they jogged into the turn that would take them past the corner, Bill became even more apprehensive than usual.

Sure enough, there was the hooker!

Bill tried to avoid the prostitute's eyes as she watched the pair jog past.

Then,from the sidewalk, the hooker yelled... “See what you get for five bucks!?"

And this comes courtesy of Norby

Your Outrageous Name is:

Helen A. Handbasket


Anonymous said...

No fair-you got a better name.

Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte is another great movie. norby

Sela Carsen said...

I've never been fond of "To Kill A Mockingbird" as a movie. There was so much amazing subtext in the book that there was no way a film could possibly capture it all. Perhaps I love the book too much.

I like "Key Largo," personally. It alwyas reminded me a bit of the Flannery O'Connor short story, "A Good Man is Hard To Find." *shivers*

Anonymous said...

"Of course, watching them, I find myself wondering about the general foolishness of any man who would hatch a plan to kill someone for a woman he barely knows."

It's a dick thing. You wouldn't understand.

Sandra Ruttan said...

Ha Norby - see, I didn't tell anyone your name!

Okay, another movie to add to the list.

Sela, I never think movies match up to books. Well, except maybe LOTR. In that case, as much as I love history, a lot of readers tune out those big sections that tell the backstory. The movies were concise (except the last one) and relatively easy to follow. Not saying they're better than the books, I just think they did a fantastic job with perhaps the most difficult books to adapt.

Stephen, as in compensating for something? I wonder why is it more men don't tote out the 'good things come in small packages' line.

Anonymous said...

According to Little Richard, it's not the size of the ship, it's the size of the waves. Is that what you're talking about?

Sandra Ruttan said...

Is that what you tell yourself Bill? Seriously, guys shouldn't accept that generalization.

Unless, of course, it's true.

Anonymous said...

It's not the size of hte ship, it's the motion of the ocean?

All well and good, I suppose, unless you're re-enacting the opening to Gilligan's Island.

Sandra Ruttan said...

I'm just going to back out of this discussion...

Anonymous said...

I'm just quoting Little Richard. You seemed to wanted some kinda size rationalization, though I don't Stephen was even commenting on size issues. So anyway, I gave ya a size quote. Just sayin'.

Anonymous said...

Oh, yeah, motion of the ocean. Yeah, that's it. What was I thinking?

Sandra Ruttan said...

Really, I was trying to understand why a guy would plan a murder for a woman he barely knows.

It was Stephen who brought up the "dick thing" which led to size. Because that's usually what I hear here - big trucks are compensating for something...

Anonymous said...

When good jokes go bad.

I had a long comment all set up with data and point son the cultural/societal pressures exerted on men and boys that say they need to live up to a certain standard. The same kind of crap that's responsible for boys thinking they have to be violent to be men and girls thinking they have to be rail thin models with cocaine habits to be women.

I even had graphs.

Then my head started to hurt and I sid the hell with it.

No more dick jokes. Promise.

I'll stick to fart humor.

Anonymous said...

I just assumed he meant "men do things for women because there is a remote chance that if they do, they'll get to have sex." Not a size thing, but a matter of improving opportunities for stiffy usage.

Sandra Ruttan said...

Stephen, I have no issue with your dick jokes. Guys, you both know me - insert sarcasm! Half of what I say isn't serious and the other half is questionable.

See, clearly I don't get it. It's a dick thing. The only thing I can do with that is make fun of it! I certainly can't speak from experience.

And killing a man for a woman you barely know in the off chance you might get some? I'm surprised we haven't decended into anarchy long before now!

Anonymous said...

Are you sure we haven't? Might explain why Dubya went into Iraq.

M. G. Tarquini said...

I loved LA Confidential. It came out the same year as Titanic and, IMHO, was robbed of its oscar by Hollywood hype.

Good list of movies, Sandra. I especially like Maltese Falcon.

Daniel Hatadi said...

I'm staying out of the dick jokes, too.

Double Indemnity is a corker of a film (which means it's bloody good).

Next on your list should be The Big Sleep. For me, it had a more coherent plot than the novel, but that's pretty typical for Chandler--he's more about style.

Sandra Ruttan said...

Okay Bill, you win. At least south of the border, anarchy prevails. ;)

(I guess American men have more to compensate for than Canadians. JUST KIDDING! Or not...)

Mindy, you're probably right. I can't stand when the hype dictates. Hence still not having watched Titanic, even after all these years. Hype does not equal quality.

Daniel, I'll add The Big Sleep to the list. We're also looking for Chinatown.

Anonymous said...

My brain was stuck on Maltese Falcon, so when he said it was a dick thing, I truly thought he was saying it had something to do with being a detective.

I have to learn to put my mind in the gutter so that the jokes stop going over my head.

Wait... oh nevermind...

If you're going to do classics, don't forget Chinatown.

Sandra Ruttan said...

Oh, you never know bekbek! Maybe that was what he meant and it was me who took it to the gutter!

We've since seen Chinatown as well. I was going to blog about that, and The Big Sleep...