Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Dr. Laura To End Her Radio Program

To which we say: Welcome the silence.

Friday, August 13, 2010

No, no, no, no, NO!

Stop, stop, stop, stop, STOP!

By Lars Trodson

I just saw this photo with Helen Mirren giving Russell Brand a bath. They are apparently on the set of their new "film", "Arthur", in which Brand is playing the sweet-natured and lost little rich boy, Arthur. "Arthur", as almost everybody knows, was a character created by writer Steve Gordon and brought to life by Dudley Moore. Moore won a much-deserved Oscar nomination for his portrayal in that 1981 film. When he told his girlfriend, played by Jill Eikenberry, that some people drink because they aren't poets, most of the world knew what he meant. You didn't forget Arthur.

So now there is the photo of Brand getting a bath by Mirren, and Brand is quoted as saying, "Never has getting clean been so dirty." Oh, my goodness. That is one funny line. Yessir!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Best Summer Movie Of All Time: “The Endless Summer” (Bruce Brown Films, 1966)

By Lars Trodson

A friend of mine and I used to have a little summer ritual. We’d park the car on the side of some road and crack open a beer and listen to the Red Sox on the radio. We’d just lean against the car, drink the beer, smoke a couple of cigarettes and listen to the game. It is an indelible memory of summer for me; it seems almost the essence of summer for me. If there is one movie that captures that feeling, that soft gentle buzz of contentment that only the warm summer months can conjure, it’s Bruce Brown’s “The Endless Summer.”

I didn’t see this when it first came out -- I would have only been six -- and I can’t remember under what circumstances I might have first watched it. Something tells me I saw it on Dana Hersey’s Movie Loft on the old channel 38 that was broadcast out of Boston. I might have seen it on an early video cassette. I don’t remember. Either way, it cast a spell over me, which is a considerable achievement given that I have about as much interest in surfing as I do trigonometry.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Patricia Neal and "Breakfast at Tiffany's"

By Lars Trodson

It could be that obituary writers for Patricia Neal forgot to mention that she was in "Breakfast at Tiffany's" because Audrey Hepburn so completely overwhelms the aura surrounding the movie. Perhaps. But it's worth noting that between the gauzy romanticism provided by George Peppard, and the touching hokiness offered by Buddy Ebsen and the cringe-worthy presence of Mickey Rooney, Neal braces the movie with some realism as the sophisticated New York designer who keeps Peppard's character in such nice clothes.

"I am a sophisticated girl," Neal says to Peppard after she writes him a check so he can take Holly Golightly on a vacation and get her out of his system. But he doesn't want the check, he only wants the sports jacket he had when they first met. He leaves her, and Neal is out of the picture. It's too bad, because then "Breakfast at Tiffany's" further devolves into a kind of slapstick jaunt, and the sharper edges of the movie, as hidden as they were anyway, fade away from view completely.

"Breakfast at Tiffany's" is not filled with very nice people, if you think about it. Holly uses her sexual allure to pay her rent. Peppard's Paul Varjak is a gigilo first and a writer second. Most of the men in the movie use Holly - the "rats and super rats" as she calls them. They only want to pay her for sex -- fifty dollars to meet in the "powder room." But their natures as obscured partially by the glitz of the stars.

Neal saunters into the movie, as sexy as any of them, but she doesn't hide her character behind a veneer of niceness and cute facial expressions. She pays Varjak to satisfy her sexual appetite, it's as simple as that, and she isn't particularly distressed over that fact. She alone balances out the movie in the few short scenes she's in.

The continued popularity of the movie "Breakfast at Tiffany's" is no doubt due to the beautiful Audrey Hepburn. No question about it. But if Patricia Neal wasn't in it, it would still be remembered fondly, but it wouldn't be nearly as good as it manages to be.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Most Beautiful Movie Trailer In Years

By Lars Trodson

The most exciting moment during an otherwise expendable trip to the movies the other day came when the trailer for David Fincher's "The Social Network" was played. This was an inspired bit of moviemaking, especially the touch of having a choir sing a cover of Radiohead's "Creep." The audience was rapt -- an emotional connection that was not continued, by the way, when "Inception" began.

Fincher is like the Kubrick for his generation. There are very few directors around that make you actually look forward to their next film, and his vocabulary is indelible. "Zodiac", for me, is one of the finest movies in the past decade, easily, and a very beautiful movie, too, in its own way. It's still galling that Robert Downey Jr. didn't win an Oscar for his performance (he wasn't even nominated)

But anyway, if "The Social Network", which is about the founding of Facebook, is as good as the trailer, it will be quite an experience. It's quite beautiful. Check the trailer out.

A word or two about "Inception." I once had a book about dream interpretation that boiled the meaning of every dream down to just one thing: sex. Apparently all we ever dream about is sex. Except, of course, in "Inception", even with the presence of the gorgeous Marion Cotillard, where nothing is about sex. It is definitely not about sex. It's the most sexless movie ever made, I bet.

It also sets some sort of record, in terms of the script. Every word spoken in this movie (with the exception, by my count, of two very lame jokes) is about plot. In the theater, this is called "speaking plot", where you move the story along through dialogue.

Each word in this movie is about what is supposedly happening. "We're going down three layers!" "Wait for the kick!" "Whose dream are we going in to anyway?"

Things like that. The guy a few seats over fell asleep, even during the Alistair McLean "Ice Station Zebra" finale among all that snow and skiing and shooting.

"Inception" was like listening to a 2 1/2 hour treatise on a subject that doesn't exist.

See the trailer for "The Social Network" below: