In the nameless midwest a puppy encounters a force he doesn’t understand.
Music: “Evil Ball” by Sinoia Caves
The good soldier of cinema. I kept calling him that and he kept calling me that. He saw in me a good soldier in cinema. I said you are even more. He was a wounded soldier. He was ill and struggled and was still plowing on relentlessly. And that was completely and utterly admirable and I love him for that.
David Cronenberg turned seventy today. I love his films. And I love his hair.
David Hudson pays tribute at Fandor.
And if you’re serious, there’s this 90-minute interview on 3sat.
In its current form, television offers artists exponentially more time to develop a narrative. Over the course of multiple seasons, TV makers are painting compelling characters and weaving their storylines in significantly more layered and complex ways than filmmakers could ever hope to. And talented people are jumping on the train.
Indeed, if the literary equivalent of film is the short story, the literary equivalent of television series is the novel, and both filmmakers and their audiences are starting to realize it.
(via Neon Tommy)
Debbie Reynolds. Spunky. Feisty.
I can’t believe you have food in your mouth while you’re firing me.
Transience. We couldn’t get anywhere without it.
Where have you been? We were making love and when I looked up you were gone.
Your social class is stuffy. Let’s dance with the ship’s rats and have fun.
You have captured my heart. Let’s run around the ship and giggle.
(The ship SINKS.)
Never let go.
I promise. (lets go)
From a letter penned in 1993 by my friend Lee, who can now scarcely find words at all.
Steve & I saw Indochine last night. Horrors! I’ve lost the ability to sit still that long even for La Deneuve. When I left the movie I was saying to Steve that it was remarkable how they handled the time in the movie and this blah blah metaphor for the blah blah relationship between France and Indochina and how leaving the Japs out compressed the blah blah and effectively blah blah. This morning I woke up still thinking about it — or seeing it, really — and there on the screen of my mind was the word SONY. No wonder they left out the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere. Well, I loved it anyway. A French Gone with the Wind. [April 1993]
A scene deleted from the Beatles’ Magical Mystery Tour. Mr. Cutler in his role as Buster Bloodvessel, performing the song “I’m Going in a Field,” which appears on the 1967 LP Ludo, produced by George Martin.
Thanks to Patrick Widdess for including this clip in his recent appreciation of Ivor Cutler.
A long-distance friend asked me to elucidate the term “hepcat”. I referred my friend to Mr. Calloway.
Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter is easily the worst thing to happen to President Lincoln in a theatre.
— Christine Estima (@christineestima) June 30, 2012
David Cronenberg on adapting Don DeLillo’s “Cosmopolis”:
You have to know that each adaptation will be different. What you’ve done before will not help you on the next one. I’ve said before you have to betray the book in order to be faithful to the book. You have to recognize that literature is not cinema: they both do different things well, and there are certain things they cannot do that the other one can. I’m pretty ruthless about discarding things from a book that will not work cinematically.
What got me started was the discovery that animation artist Sally Cruikshank has an Etsy shop where she’s selling watercolors.
Cruikshank is probably best known for Quasi at the Quackadero (1975), which is now listed on the United States National Film Registry. Or you may have seen the animated sequences she contributed to Sesame Street in the nineties.
My favorite, though, has always been Make Me Psychic. “Which way to the we-fwesh-ments?”
(Many of Cruikshank’s films are available for viewing on her YouTube channel, laughingsal, as well as on a DVD you can buy from her Etsy shop.)
My final was yesterday, orientation for the next semester is tomorrow, and today, with no plans, I sat around and was bored, that is, until I read a review of the Adam Sandler film “Click”. Memories started flooding me from my old life in Hollywood. I had to see the film because there were a few things I had to know.
Laurie Anderson / Rainer Fassbinder
If you’ve been hanging out with me on clusterflock for a while, you may know that I am crazy-mad for Van Dyke Parks.
An hour-long interview with Patti Smith, endearing and, dare I say, inspirational.
I liked her music less and less after the first brilliant album; that much said, I worshipped her when I was in my early twenties and went to see her perform every chance I had. She was brilliant live. (And I have one of her guitar picks from the Radio Ethiopia tour.)
At bottom I have always admired her terrifically. She is tremendously endearing in this interview — both genuinely, unaffectedly girlish at 65 and mature and wise.
Watch or listen to this interview even if you do so in bits and pieces or while tending to other things.
I’ve seen an ancient and bloated Orson Wells interview both James Maury Henson and Francis Oz, and similar interviews on BBC One, while a rare snowfall descended on London in 1979, and the sound of bells floated down the frigid canyon of the Strand to the frosted windows of my suite at the Savoy. Once, I thought that Henson’s neologism “Muppet” was a phonetic fusion of the words marionette and puppet, and I knew that Christoph Ritter von Gluck (1714-1787) composed an opera for marionettes. Bunraku theater was performed in Osaka in 1684, and that these lifeless constructions of foam and felt can move the four-chambered heart to tears, and renew our sense of wonder in the world.
This is why I accepted the role for the Country Bears film: I heard that the Creature Shop was going to fabricate the eponymous bears, and this implied that I would be acting with Muppets. Years later, I still occasionally wake up in the depths of the night, and stare at the blue and violet ceiling, trying to figure out just how they made those goddamn bears. Animatronics, radio controlled prosthetics, midgets…I swear I’ve thought of everything, every technologically feasible possibility…but I can assure you that those things weren’t Muppets.
When Steven Spielberg handed me that screenplay at that restaurant on Wilshire Boulevard, I secretly thought that the film was going to be just execrable garbage. I mean, I had this entire monologue about a leopard frog that falls into this container of milk, and it begins struggling, kicking its slender green amphibious legs, and it never quits. Eventually, this was supposed to form an island of butter in a white sea of cream, and the frog survives. While we were filming this, I was standing on this stage, thinking of Kermit the Frog in this gigantic stainless steel pasteurization vat, flailing his helpless green arms about, as his visit to the Land-O-Lakes dairy products factory has just gone horribly wrong.
Look. When you see a movie, you are breathing your own experience into something lifeless: a projector, a beam, an image on a screen, pixels on an LCD, still frames that swim into motion like the first living cells. This is why I always wanted to work with the Muppets, to embrace this mystery with courage and faith.
Sometimes I wonder if everything I did after the Deer Hunter was just crap. But to this day, I just can’t wrap my mind around those bears.
Porky’s Duck Hunt (1937). Directed by Tex Avery.
Note that in 1937 Porky was not Porky Piggin’ it.
Last night I saw the new Muppet movie. It was terrible. Name other films that are critically acclaimed but are secretly crap.
Titanic doesn’t count because it’s no secret.
From the director of Man on Wire, Project Nim:
Tells the story of a chimpanzee taken from its mother at birth and raised like a human child by a family in a brownstone on the upper West Side in the 1970s.
(via marginal revolution)
Tell Them Anything You Want is an intriguing documentary focusing on Maurice Sendak, the curmudgeonly children’s author who wrote Where the Wild Things Are.