Narrative structure. Where to begin. Or to ask a more important question: where do we jump in? The structure or lack thereof in the case of this little diatribe can be a beautiful thing. Not knowing what the hell will happen next. I've always found myself drawn to ensemble pictures. Ones that are done right of course. Some containing stars that have already made it big mixed in with up n' comers. There are a variety of pulls to these types of films: characters, dialogue, style. But probably the biggest is the energy and pacing that you can pull off when presented with a multitude of storylines. Of course there are a variety of ingredients we get when watching certain films we love.
Add a compression of time, 24 hours on the hottest day of the summer, and you wind up with something called Do the Right Thing. A film simmering with warm colors courtesy of Ernst Dickerson and electric dialogue courtesy of our man Mookie. Or Spike Lee as they call him.
Then we move onto those last days of school. Graduation. Looking ahead at what's next while basking in the nostalgia of that time period. American Graffiti & Dazed and Confused, or the "best hangout film since Rio Bravo" as Tarantino christened it, are two prime examples of this. Complete with killer soundtracks that represent each respective era.
Or drop in and spend some time with an assortment of personalities in Nashville. A giddy sensation tingles down the spine as a glorious chaos is brought to a close. If you're like me, you stay to the end credits. Besides, after watching a film bustling with as much energy and busy bodies as this one, it's hard not to.
The point is- we like spending time with these fully developed characters who wander in and out of scenes. These are compulsively watchable films because they are seamless in character presentation and interaction. It's that sense of being dropped in the middle of a bunch of characters that we follow around for however long the running time is. Some on a scorchin' summer day, others on the bicentennial. & of course lest we forget the ole' stars of Nashville. Humming their own tunes while the promises of Hal Philip Walker fall on their ears.
For us, they are a joy to watch. Because after all, we're all voyeurs. Just some more than others.
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
A film that is structured much like a play. Peter Greenaway uses sparse sets. Lavish costumes. Color coded scenes. A visual feast of decadence seasoned with the best herbs and spices. The totality of the film is what makes it leave you hungry for more. Everything leads up to the finale. & oh what a glorious one it is.
Michael Gambon is of course the highlight performance. Albert Spica is a destestable, gluttonous thief who ranks up there with Don Logan in the realm of British villians.
It's a full meal that will have you asking for seconds. That is, right after you pick up your jaw from the floor. It may be a bit pricy to track down a copy, but it will be well worth it if you get your hands on one.
Saturday, July 9, 2011
A show whose first 10 seasons were absolute gold. With seasons 4 & 5 containing some of the best writing of any animated show.
Favorite characters: To pinpoint a favorite would be damn near impossible. So many greats that have such peculiar quirks. Lenny & Karl, Hans Moleman, Sideshow Bob are some favorites of mine.
Favorite episodes: Brother From the Same Planet, The Itchy and Scratchie and Poochie Show, Krusty Gets Kancelled, Lisa's First Word, Homer's Enemy, Rosebud, Cape Feare. As with Seinfeld, the list of favorites could go on for a while.