I’m behind a week on my DVD/Obsession list so here it is, in black and pink. Last week offered the release of Oldboy (buy it!), The Man in the Grey Flannel Suit and two by Peter Weir, The Truman Show and Witness (which I wrote about here--The Cable Lie--and here--Hot For Amish). This week grants a nice Shirley Temple collection (I love her—no one can stop me), The Clueless Whatever Edition, Corvette Summer, Ong-Bak: The Thai Warrior, Rollover, The Blues Brothers Special Anniversary Edition and the brilliant Curb Your Enthusiasm Season Four (my review is up now). You can read all my DVD and Theatrical reviews at Strange Impersonation and check out whatever the hell I’m thinking at Pretty Poison.
As of now, Three Obsessions:
1. Goldiggers of 1933 Though 1930’s Warner Brothers is renown for social dramas like I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang or Wild Boys of the Road and classic gangster films like Little Caesar with Edward G. Robinson and Public Enemy with James Cagney, they also provided some of cinema’s greatest musicals. My favorite being Gold Diggers of 1933, directed by Fugitive helmer, Mervyn LeRoy and more importantly, choreographed by that mad genius, surrealistic artist Busby Berkeley. With a take on what Americans love most—money—the film showcases a bizarre-o number of the famed song "We're in the Money" wherein a comely Ginger Rogers sings it in both English AND Pig Latin. Amazing for its ability to be light fluff, fantastically inventive in terms of set design and costuming and seriously relevant, Goldiggers proves that musicals aren’t mere escapism. And by the time Joan Blondell ends the film with the haunting "Remember My Forgotten Man," in which soldiers from World War I are shown in bread lines, you'll again remember that even the oldest of musicals had something to say. Absolutely sublime.
2. Slap Shot I’ve gone on and on about how much I love this film but re-watching Slap Shot for the umpteenth time has only furthered my wish in life—to be a man. Slap Shot is a pure sports film— it's about the game, it's about the team, it's about the coaches, it's about the towns, it's about the politics and it's, most memorably, about the dirt. And Slap Shot is one down and dirty film with lines that, really, only men can make so memorably toxic. And hilarious. Paul Newman’s middle-aged minor league hockey team player/coach helps solve the teams imminent demise when the players amp up the brutality, particularly after hiring the Ramones-resembling prodigies, The Hanson Brothers. What's terrific about the movie is that while it's hands-down the most profane sports movie ever made (screenwriter Nancy Dowd—a girl!— received much heat for her salty language and creative uses of the "f" word), it's also one of the most touching. All of the characters are quirky, lovable and real, from the hilarious Hansons to the minor players we come to care about. And Paul Newman's performance ranks as one of the most fascinating in his career. Especially when he informs a woman that her elementary school son “looks like a fag to me… You better get re-married soon, or he is going to have a cock in his mouth faster than you can say Jack Robinson.” Can you imagine the hero of a movie saying that today? Oh how I love the ‘70s.
3. Boyce and Hart Specifically the song “I Wonder What She’s Doing Tonight.” The early songwriters for The Monkees are undeniably catchy and really, a lot more raunchy and rocking than a lot of pop music you’ll hear these days. Though I’ve been listening to a lot of Judas Priest lately (pent up aggression), these guys make me even more insanely optimistic about busting heads.
Boyce and Hart...bustin' heads!