I’ve mentioned before that my first viewing of George Lucas‘s THX-1138 happened during a 24-hour FILMEX sci-fi marathon, which happened in ’74 or ’75. The screening began around 4 or 4:30 am. I remember getting up at 3 or 3:15 am and driving over to Century City Plitt theatres in the dark. There’s nothing quite as pulverizing as watching a sci-fi film at 4:30 am, your system just starting to feel revved with that first jolt of caffeine. I’ve never forgotten that computer greeting Robert Duvall hears with each and every log-on — “what’s wrong?” I say this to my cats when they want something. They look at me and I say “what’s wrong?”, in that exact same computer voice.
Woody Allen‘s Play It Again, Sam opened at the Broadhurst theatre on 2.12.69 and ran for just over a year, closing on 3.14.70. Directed by Joseph Hardy, the cast included Allen as Allan Felix, Diane Keaton as Linda Christie, Tony Roberts as Dick Christie and Jerry Lacy as the ghost of Humphrey Bogart. Allen left the show near the end of its run and was replaced by Bob Denver. It was while auditioning for the play that Keaton first met Allen; they became romantically involved but broke up after a year. The biography [below] is from the Play it Again, Sam copy of Playbill.
(l. to r.) Diane Keaton, Woody Allen, Jerry Lacy.
I regret to say that Garry Shandling told several penis jokes in his day, and every last one of them makes me cringe. Because of that godawful word, I mean. I’ve said this once or twice before but I really and truly want to see that icky and contemptible term retired, and that includes being removed from each and every English dictionary, dead-tree or online. I make a face each and every time I hear it because it assigns or associates the menial and moderately offensive task of waste disposal to an organ that is primarily about love and rapture and hormonal mountain-climbing, not to mention shouldering a metaphor for the primal love of life. The substitute terms are schlong, junk, Johnson or schtufenhaufer. I mean it. There are dozens if not hundreds of words that have become obsolete due to not being used — zounds, sweetmeats, smite, fourscore, etc. I’m merely talking about adding another to the list.
Ex-wife: Did you watch the Garry Shandling HBO special [i.e., The Zen Diaries of Garry Shandling]?
Me: Been meaning to….the four and a half hour length has been giving me pause….why?
Ex-wife: Really moving.
Me: Okay, I’ll watch it tonight. Of half tonight and half tomorrow or something. Moving how? What was the big moment?
Ex-wife: He never recovered from the death of his brother when he was a kid.
Easter means nothing to me. Not since I turned 14 or 15. Okay, maybe when the kids were young in the early ’90s and we all went on a couple of easter egg hunts. But don’t even think of pulling that shit now.
If I’m so inclined there’s one way to bring it all back, to revisit that time in my life when Easter service at our local Episcopal church and Palm Sunday and chocolate rabbits were actually “things” of some value, and that’s listening to Miklos Rozsa‘s Biblical film scores. I’ve said this three or four times since HE launched, but when orgiastic, big-screen, reach-for-the-heavens emotion was called for, no one did it better. He may have been first and foremost a craftsman, but Rozsa really had soul.
Posted 15 years ago: “Listen to the overture and main title music of King of Kings, and all kinds of haunting associations and recollections about the life of Yeshua and his New Testament teachings (or at the least, grandiose Hollywood movies about same) start swirling around in your head. And then watch that Nicholas Ray‘s stiff, strangely constipated film (which Rozsa described in his autobiography as ‘nonsensical Biblical ghoulash’) and ask yourself if Rozsa didn’t capture the spiritual essence of Christ’s story better than what Ray, screenwriter Phillip Yordan and producer Samuel Bronston managed to throw together.
“I don’t know if it’s commonly known, but the “buhhhm-ba-dum-dum” theme from Jack Webb‘s Dragnet TV series was taken from Roza’s score for The Killers. Here’s Rozsa’s bum-da-dum-dum in the opening credits for that 1946 noir classic.
Last night Tatyana and I watched David Dobkin‘s Wedding Crashers. Third time for me, but the last time was the late summer of ’05 — almost 13 years ago. All butter and gravy. Hardly any diminishment except for one scene. Dobkin’s comic emphasis was utterly brilliant in this film — lightning in a bottle. And since ’05, he hasn’t exactly been channelling the right stuff. He directed Fred Claus (’07), The Change-Up (’11) and The Judge (’13) + produced a lot of films.
Wedding Crashers lasts two hours (usually but not always about 10 minutes too long for a comedy), and it almost never sacrifices story tension. And the money! It did $209,255,921 domestic and $76 million foreign for a worldwide tally of $285,176,741.
Owen Wilson (36 during filming, turning 50 on 11.18.18) looks incredibly young, and Vince Vaughn…well, nobody ever gave a funnier big-screen performance, and I’m including Seth Rogen, Jim Carrey, Buster Keaton, Groucho Marx, Harold Lloyd and Bob Hope in his 1950s heyday. Bradley Cooper hadn’t even happened at that point, and I’d forgotten about “motorboating.”
Read this 6.23.17 Tim Grierson recap piece (“The Oral History of Wedding Crashers, or: How does it feel having worked on this generation’s Animal House?”).
The diminishment comes with the attempted nocturnal gay-rape scene between Vaughn and Keir O’Donnell. Nowadays a scene like this would never even be considered in the script stage, much less shot and included in the final cut. Remember how Vaughn got in trouble back in 2010 for saying “gay electric cars” in Ron Howard‘s The Dilemma, and how the scene had to be removed?