Sunday, October 11, 2015

F For Fake: The Least Fake Welles There Is

On the 30 anniversary of Orson Welles' death.

By Lars Trodson

A scene from "F For Fake," released in 1973.

I was in New York recently and went to the Museum of Modern Art. In one of the galleries, hanging on its own wall, was Van Gogh’s “The Starry Night.” It was clearly a hit. There were more people gathered around it than any other painting, and the handhelds were out, clicking away. I was thinking about this because works of art deemed classic, or extraordinary, often occupy their own private physical space. “Starry Night” was on its own wall, while the other, lesser Van Gogh’s were hung in clusters with all the other lesser, less special paintings. This holds true for  almost all types of so-called classic art, such as the “Mona Lisa,” Michaelangelo’s sculptures and even the original Declaration of Independence.” They occupy their own space.

Movies, on the other hand, cannot occupy the same kind of hallowed ground. The prominence of any movie is based solely on the space you give to it in your own mind. In the physical world “Citizen Kane” can be shelved right next to “Booty Call,” but in your head they may be miles apart.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Safe Travels: A lovely goodbye from Randy to Harry?

By Lars Trodson

I hope this story is true, but I have no way of knowing. I'd like it to be true.

From the very first time I heard the song “I will go sailing no more” from the movie “Toy Story,” I had always wondered why Randy Newman, who wrote the lyrics and the score for the movie, used the word “sailing” rather than “flying" to describe what was happening to the character Buzz Lightyear.

Buzz is a flier not a sailor, after all. But Buzz realizes, after accidentally seeing a commercial on TV that flashes “Not a flying toy,” that he is only a toy and cannot, in fact, fly. So why did Newman use the word "sailing" to describe what Buzz couldn't do? Was it simply Newman being poetic, or just trying to mix up his lyric a little bit? I never could quite figure it out, and every time I came across the film I was reminded of this nagging question. I know it’s not important, it was just simply something that struck me. I’m always interested in why writers choose the words they do.