As Cool As A Fruitstand

…and maybe as strange. A movie blog.

Sunday Reading #2

Posted by Hedwig on June 1, 2008

More of a mixed bag, this time, but there is sort of an underlying theme: many of these articles and blog-posts aren’t about movies, but about how we interact with cinema (and television). What it does to us, and what we do to it. Take this piece, for example, by Germaine Greer about Jules et Jim. She describes how she saw the movie, and especially central protagonist Catherine, when she was in college. And she describes how her view has changed in the meantime. I’m still with young Germaine on this film, but who knows, as I grow older I might come to see the film in a different light as well.

In a somewhat similar piece, Noah Forrest describes following Sex and the City between the ages of 15 and 21, and how his love/hate relationship with the show developed over that time. I agree with almost all of what he says (I, also, love Miranda and think Carrie is fairly annoying), and as someone who watched Sex and the City in a similar period of my life, I can vouch for the fact that it does, in fact, affect you. Of course, most men don’t have a love/hate relationship, they just have a hate/hate relationship with it. According to Variety, most guys would rather kill themselves than watch it. Rather than just pointing at this and laughing, the lovely people over at the Vulture blog decided, instead, to investigate exactly what men would do to get out of watching SatC: the movie.

Because yes, not liking something is part of the movie experience as well. The question is how you deal with it. You can write a vitriolic review… but you can also do something creative. Like, oh, I don’t know, write a post than combines Cameron Diaz and Wittgenstein (something I’ll wager has never happened before).

Meanwhile, there’s a new quiz up at SLIFR: Prof. Brian O’Blivion’s all-new flesh for memorial day film (and TV) quiz. Like always, I told myself this time I’d participate…and like always, there were simply too many questions that had me stumped. For me, these quizzes are mostly a) a reminder that my cinematic education is a work in progress, and I’m still at the elementary school level, and b) an opportunity to read many of my fellow blogger’s thoughts on assorted topics, such as Coffy or Foxy Brown? What is an “important” film comedy? Victor Mature or Tyrone power? One of the questions I can answer inequivocally: Rio Bravo or Red River? Gorgeous as Monty Clift is, it’s gotta be Rio Bravo.

I’m sure if you’d ask Dan Callahan to choose between Gloria Grahame and just about anyone else, he’d choose Gloria. He wrote a great piece about both her work and her life over at the Bright Lights Film Journal. I saw The Big Heat again last night, and she is simply amazing. Expect more about that movie in a post tomorrow or Tuesday.

Finally, for the viewing tip of the week, I strongly urge you to go over to Cinema Styles and take 7 minutes to be amazed by Jonathan Lapper’s love of cinema. Good clip-montages can be watched over and over, with one evocative juxtaposition after the next and a hypnotic rythm and flow, and Frames of Reference is a great one. He pulls fragments from movies as diverse as Gun Crazy, the Passion of Joan of Ark, No Country for Old Men and Jaws, and they work together beautifully. It opens and closes with a camera in the frame, and it’s a perfect ending to an afternoon reading about all the ways cinema can affect us.

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9 Responses to “Sunday Reading #2”

  1. Kaj said

    Aren’t those opening and closing shots from the same Godard movie? Nice link. Very nice. I kinda like these director’s work montages: http://www.alwayswatching.org/features/amazing-movie-montages-paul-proulx

  2. Joan Chandler said

    If you don’t know whether to choose Victor Mature or Tyrone Power, I suggest you see “The Mark of Zorro,” “Nightmare Alley” and then “I Wake Up Screaming.” NO comparison between the two men.

    Tyrone Power

  3. Kaj said

    I’ll admit I only know Power from Witness for the Prosecution, but he hasn’t really left an impression. Mature, on the other hand, had great roles in My Darling Clementine & Kiss of Death, even though, in both he is outshone by respectively Henry Fonda & Richard Widmark.

  4. Petra Radcliffe said

    Victor Mature always seemed to me a big dumb lug. Tyrone Power was much more versatile, the definitive Zorro, and brilliant in Nightmare Alley. He was fantastic in what was a dual role in Witness for the Prosecution – the overwrought, hammy Leonard in the courtroom and the pleasant, innocent Leonard outside; and a beautiful dreamer in “The Razor’s Edge.” Plus, he was an ultimate swashbuckler and one of the handsomest men who ever lived.

    He has his own chapter in the book “The Star Machine” by Jeanine Basinger and is also on the cover. Highly recommended book.

  5. sarcastig said

    Looks like this gap in my knowledge should really be filled! I’ve seen Witness For the Prosecution, but I’ll admit my memories of it are rather hazy, I’ll have to revisit it. Zorro is one I definitely still need to see (and wasn’t he Jesse James too, at some point?) and Razor’s Edge sounds like something I need to check out.

    Thanks for visiting, Petra 🙂

  6. Kaj said

    Mature a big dumb lug? Not in Kiss of Death he ain’t.

  7. sarcastig said

    Well, Kiss of Death goes on the list too!

    I checked out some of these director’s montages as well, and while they’re very well done, they feel just a bit… obvious? I mean, I couldn’t do it, and I’m not trying to diss the guy who did, but it’s a little less interesting to me than something that ties together things you wouldn’t perhaps have thought of.

  8. Mature had some difficulty playing much beyond “tough guy,” but he served movies such as Cecil B. DeMille’s Samson and Delilah and the noir Kiss of Death and the John Ford Western My Darling Clementine. Also liked him in little B-movie noir with Jane Russell The Las Vegas Story, the Clark Gable-Lana Turner World War II thriller Betrayed, the Robert Siodmak noir Cry of the City, and the original One Billion B.C. in 1940, his second film. Heck, he’s even vaguely decent in the nearly unwatchable in The Tartars, where he and Orson Welles were supposed to be arch-enemies in their final battle at the end with each other but in reality they weren’t there at all together because Orson stole Rita Hayworth from Mature back in the ’40s but the miracle of editing makes it look passable. Wow, that was a long and awkward sentence, sorry.

    Tyrone Power is superb in Nightmare Alley (a must-see, one of the definitive noirs), Witness For the Prosecution and he was quite good in the 1939 version of Jesse James. His turn in Razor’s Edge is something to behold as well.

    To me, comparing the two, though, would be like comparing Bruce Willis and Johnny Depp.

  9. Kaj said

    I checked out some of these director’s montages as well, and while they’re very well done, they feel just a bit… obvious? I mean, I couldn’t do it, and I’m not trying to diss the guy who did, but it’s a little less interesting to me than something that ties together things you wouldn’t perhaps have thought of.

    Yeah, maybe they are, but in most cases they really make me want to revisit a lot of the films these directors. Especially The Man Who Wasn’t There, which I haven’t seen since it’s original theatrical release in Holland, when I bought the poster that’s been adorning the inside of my bedroom door ever since.

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