Thursday, December 8, 2005

Movies And Books, Movies And Books,,,

Pony-boy (C. Thomas Howell) - "All I did was walk home from the movie."
Darrel (Patrick Swayze) - "Movies and books, movies and books! I wish you could concentrate on something else once in a while"
Sodapop (Rob Lowe) - "Try girls and cars. Works for me."

THE OUTSIDERS : THE COMPLETE NOVEL (Dir. Francis Ford Coppola 1983/2005)

A recent Time magazine article titled Books Vs. Movies (I'd link it but it's premium content - greedy corporate bastards!) again put up the ancient argument - "which is better" in the context of such event movies coming out before this years end like THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA and MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA as well as the already released HARRY POTTER AND THE GOBLET OF FIRE, SHOPGIRL, BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN, and even WALK THE LINE which was based on 2 Johnny Cash's autobiographies - Man in Black and CASH - The Autobiography.

I've only seen a few of the movies I mentioned above (SHOPGIRL and WALK THE LINE) but lately I have noticed I have a tendency to read or re-read the book before I see the new movie version. Anticipating CAPOTE a couple of months ago I bought a paperback of In Cold Blood and also watched the 1967 movie - I guess as a way of doing some homework on the subject or maybe just a geeky habit of wanting to know all the source material available. Sigh. This makes me recall that back in '92 I read the Autobiography of Malcolm X months before Spike Lee's epic cinematic rendition hit the screens. Jeez! I guess I got it bad.

Anyway the old cliche "the movie is always better than the book" while often true there are a number of notable exceptions like say BEING THERE, THE GODFATHER and FIGHT CLUB. Many people love certain movies never knowing there was a book and vice versa. I for years never knew that HAROLD AND MAUDE was originally a novella written by Colin Higgins who wrote the screenplay for the film.

A few movies I've seen lately that were based on books:

COLD MOUNTAIN (Dir. Anthony Minghella, 2003) - Yes, I know just about everyone read it at the end of the last decade and then saw the movie a couple years ago but I only did both recently. The book was elegantly written and the details were almost too much to absorb but I enjoyed it immensely. The movie not so much. While well cast (Jude Law, Nicole Kidman, Renee Zelleweger, Philip Seymour Hoffman were all perfect for their roles) was ickily glossy and stupidly reduced the love story elements into romance novel fodder. They TITANIC-ized it!

(Dir. Francis Ford Coppola 1983/2005) I read the S.E. Hinton book of this way back in Jr. High School in the early 80's like most people in my demographic I guess and was interested to hear that Coppola had restored footage to the movie to make it closer to the book. It does work a little better though despite its boys-club cast (Swayze, Cruise, Lowe, Estevez, etc) its still the feminine cheesy melodrama it will always be in our hearts. Or at least my demographic's hearts.

THE WARRIORS (Dir. Walter Hill, 1979) This is another one that I didn't realize til now was based on a book (by Sol Yurick) until recently. Though it was originally a pulp novel the new director's cut has wipes and transitions added to make the film look more like a comic book - characters morph into still frame cartoons contained in black border boxes at the end of sequences and then we are whisked away to another panel. The effect doesn't bother me but on this here internet there are many fan-boy complaints about Lucas-like tinkering and some such spoiling of a masterpiece. Yeah, its like someone painting a mustache on the Mona Lisa, sure. Whatever.

Now for another reliable fimbabble feature which fits right into this film/book shiznit:


Yes, again we take another movie notable for its soundtrack and give you a musical play by play. This particular film is especially notable because it features just one artist (Cat Stevens) kinda like THE GRADUATE with Simon and Garfunkel guiding the way - sure , we'll go with that -

The film begins with Harold Chasen (Bud Cort) preparing to hang himself in the elegant din of his mother's mansion. He puts on a record on an old-stlye phonograph. It is "Don't Be Shy" by Cat Stevens. As this a song not on any Cat Stevens record - written for the film no less - Harold is very privileged.

"On The Road To Find Out" accompanies and introduces Harold's funeral fetish. "I Wish, I Wish" concludes the sequence.

"Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto #1" (performer unknown according to IMDB) plays as another Haorld suicide attempt - drowning face down in a pool as his mother swims laps.

"Miles From Nowhere" sets another funeral scene - this one rain drenched. Just as that tune fades and the congregation exits the cemetery with Maude and her bright yellow umbrella leading the way "Tea For The Tillerman" plays. Jeez, Cat was racking 'em up with on this flick! (Well, not really - there was no officially released soundtrack)

Another spiritual Stevens song -
"I Think I See The Light" lifts us away from Harold's successful sabotage of his mother's dating set-up to Maude's artistic nude modeling.

As Harold and Maude (Ruth Gordon) get acquainted
"Where Do The Children Play" - another passionate Cat tune sets the tone. Instrumental snatches from it play over the next few scenes.

Back at her place - after an emotional moment concerning Maude’s mysterious past our protagonists engage in a sing-a-long of “
If You Want To Sing Out, Sing Out” on Maude’s player piano which amusingly plays after she gets up to dance. Like "Don't Be Shy" this song was written for the movie and is definitely its unofficial theme song. A piano version sans vocal decorates the next scene as Harold’s mother presents him with a new Jaguar.

Johann Strauss’s
"On The Beautiful Blue Danube”(again, performer unknown) accompanies a sweet night time close dance by Harold and Maude again at her place.

“If You Want To Sing Out…” again serenades our movie couple in a montage – Harold’s Jaquar now souped-up Hearse-style tools down roads through the countryside, Harold and Maude dancing and frolicking in the sun, and it nicely concludes with a tender moment in a junk-yard at dusk.

The energetic jamming finish of
"I Think I See The Light" which faded out earlier now emerges again to illustrate Harold's now consumated relationship with Maude. In morning light coming through the window of Maude's abode Harold, in a love-daze blows bubbles while she sleeps.

Another instrumental of
"If You Want To Sing Out..." now played on a banjo punctuates Harolds confident walk away from his Mother's bedroom after telling her that he intends to marry Maude.

"Trouble" powerfully fills out the final sequence which cuts back and forth from Harold in Jaquar/Herse recklessly driving the winding roads of previous scenes and the ambulance drive and Maude's admittance to the hospital on the night of her death - unbearably untimely in Harold's eyes.

"If You Want To Sing Out..." of course takes us through the end credits right after a now newly inspired Harold plucks a few chords on his Banjo - a gift from Maude - right after discarding the Herse/Jaquar - a gift from his mother - in a particularly dramatic fashion.

More later...

Thursday, November 3, 2005

I was telling my brother how much I enjoyed CAPOTE on the AIM and he said something to the effect of “there will be a oscar for the fat faggy”. Such a crude way to speak of the best actor of the Aughts: Phillip Seymour Hoffman. A little respect here bro. Anyway I’m not going to go into plot details or the real life subject matter because 1.) You can read any review to get that stuff and 2.) this movie is more about emotions or lack of them than details. IN COLD BLOOD (1967) was from the killers point of view and romanticized them in Brando fashion while keeping a disturbing point-by-point attention to accuracy. Catherine Keener does a good job as Harper Lee, Chris Cooper is again solid, and Clifton Collins as Perry Smith picks the right note to play all the way down death row.

Now that it is the season for a higher quality supposedly Oscar-worthy fare like CAPOTE, GOOD NIGHT AND GOOD LUCK, EVERYTHING IS ILLUMINATED and THE SQUID AND THE WHALE among others one has to mourn the loss of the all the Deuce Bigalows and movies based on 70’s TV shows. Sigh. They’ll be back next summer I bet.

THE INTERPRETER (Dir. Sydney Pollack)

This came out last summer and failed to make a splash. I watched it on DVD this last week and could see why. Not that it is outright horrible just pretty bad. Nicole Kidman and Sean Penn (once again humorless as Hell) look like movie stars and aren’t convincing as their characters, particularly not with Kidman’s accent or always perfect hair. Catherine Keener as Penn’s Secret Service partner has very little to do. There are so many lamely plotted sequences and laughable conveniences that any element of suspense or actual sentiment is in vain. Pity too.

Pollack has made a number of fine films – a much better political thriller of his was THREE DAYS OF THE CONDOR (1975). Honestly though Robert Redford and Faye Dunaway looked like movie stars in that too. Maybe the only thing worth seeing on the DVD is a bonus feature about his choice of the widescreen format over full frame:
Sydney Pollack: "I'm making a plea for my colleagues and myself who spend a lot of time trying to figure out how to tell you the story in the best possible way visually and then someone else has to come in and cut the edges off of all of that and pan and scan it so you're not seeing what story we tried to tell you."

Pollack once brought a lawsuit on a Danish TV station for how that pan and scanned one of his films - "mutilated it" he said. To fight to preserve the full visual imagery of one's art is a pretty cool stance - too bad THE INTERPRETER is not.

More later...

Monday, October 17, 2005

Charles Rocket RIP

I just heard that former Saturday Night Live cast member Charles Rocket commited suicide by slitting his throat sometime in the last week or so. You may not remember him - nobody I've spoken to today does - because he was in the first cast to replace the original Not-Ready-For-Prime-Time-Players when they departed after the 1979-80 season and those shows are almost never rerun. He and most of the cast and writers didn't make the whole season. The shows were so bad - so unfunny and full of cringy moments and horrible attempts at off-color satire - they are now only note-worthy because they introduced little-used supporting player Eddie Murphy to the world.

Rocket was primed to be the heir to Chevy Chase-Bill Murray leading man status but his Weekend Update reports were seldom greeted with laughter and his smarminess was unbearable at times. The fatal blow to not just his SNL career but his career in general came when he said "fuck" on live TV. It was a DALLAS "who shot J.R." satire and he pondered in awkward close-up "I'd like to know who the fuck did it." This got him and producer Jean Doumanian fired and pretty much cleaned the deck of what was SNL '80.

Now Rocket had some decent work after that - a part in DANCES WITH WOLVES, a gig as Bruce Willis's brother on the show MOONLIGHTING, and was Geena Davis's no good husband in EARTH GIRLS ARE EASY. Recently he had done mostly voice-work and bit parts on TV shows.
I bet most people reading this still can't picture him. Even though he is a mere footnote, hardly a blip on the
pop culture radar, I dedicate this film babble post to him. Lame gesture, I know, but it is all I got.

Last week this ancient Disney strip was making the internet rounds -

(if the link doesn't work - try to cut and paste it on to your browser)

This links to a series of strips from exactly 75 years ago (Oct. 8th, 1930 - Oct. 24th, 1930) depicting a heartbroken Mickey Mouse on the verge of taking his life.

Like many I was shocked that suicide was funny-paper fodder in 1930. Seeing the beloved children's cartoon character struggle through several supposedly comical attempts to off himself is unsettling to say the least.

The same link above has links to some Woody Allen cartoons too (yes there was a strip based on Allen's stand-up material that ran for a short time in the late 70's) - it is weird how it is Mickey not Woody who went through darker existential despair. Isn't it?

Anyway - I'll post about what this blog is supposed to be about - movies - later.
Join me, won't you?

(Dedicated to Charles Rocket 1949-2005)

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Let Them All Talk

Last night my brother and I were watching the new DVD - THE RIGHT SPECTACLE - THE VERY BEST OF ELVIS COSTELLO - THE VIDEOS (sorry - no IMDB link yet) and discovered that it has subtitles for Elvis's commentary track and not for the song lyrics in the videos. I thought that was odd at first but it seemed preferable to watch the videos with the subtitles on but Costello's voice commentary track off so the music wasn't obscured. It reminded me of that VH1 show - Pop Up Videos. My brother Dave said it was like what geeks at conferences call the backchannel - people attending a public event with laptops, meet in a chatroom to talk about the presentation/talk or whatever possibly ragging on the speaker/band/whatever. Sometimes, not often, the backchannel chatroom is displayed on big screen for all to see. He concluded by saying that commentaries are kinda like a backchannel, but later after the fact. This got me to thinking about commentaries. That and listening to the delightfully pretentious commentary on the DVD of Igmar's Bergman's 1967 classic PERSONA by Bergman historian Marc Gervais ("oh my goodness, personality disintegration!"). A lot of people never turn on the commentary track - indeed many directors, actors, and other participants can be heard saying "do people really listen to these things?" Well after getting a number of emails from film babble blog readers who said they were offended by my calling listening to commentaries "an extremely geeky process" in my August 28th post I see that many do actually listen to these things and I decided to pay tribute by listing :

10 Great DVD Commentaries

This is by no means a 'best commentaries ever' deal. I haven't listened to enough to judge that - I just enjoyed the Hell out of those below. Some great movies have bad commentaries I must say - GOODFELLAS has a track patched together from interview soundbites (to be fair the other track has the real Henry Hill with his actual arresting officer and that's actually pretty cool), THE PLAYER has a verbal tug-of-war between director Robert Altman and writer Michael Tolkin, and Quentin Tarantino can't seem to give commentary to save his life! Plodding through anecdotes unrelated to the action on the screen, Tarantino offers very few insights into RESERVOIR DOGS except to why his other films on DVD are commentary-less.

The best commentaries make it feel like you're hanging with the directors, actors, crew members or critics watching the movie
while absorbing conversationally juicy back stories. Here's my 10 favorites:

1. CITIZEN KANE (Dir. Orson Welles 1941)

Yes, you should be skeptical of any movie list that begins with this movie but damn it this DVD has good fuckin' commentary! Whatever you may think of Roger Ebert, his spirited narration is surprisingly a lot of fun while being informative as Hell. Ebert offers that "oddly enough because it broke with all the traditions of editing and photography up until that time many audiences found that it looked anything but realistic. They were put off by the deep-focus photography, the use of long takes, the lack of cutting in order to tell the story, and the relying on movement within a scene" and that because of that "you have to be an active viewer when you look at CITIZEN KANE - it challenges you". Director and Welles friend Peter Bogdonovich presents a more scholarly and insiderly take on the film, while not as entertaining as Ebert's, is still worthwhile.

2. THE MAN WHO WASN'T THERE (Dir. Joel Coen 2001) Just a few Coen Brothers movies have commentaries (BLOOD SIMPLE has Kenneth Loring of Forever Films delivering an odd play-by-play, while director of photography Roger A. Deakins does FARGO) but this track with Joel and Ethan Coen chatting it up with Billy Bob Thornton is absolutely hilarious. Notable because the movie alone is anything but hilarious. Discussing the stoical mannerisms of his barber character Thornton says "I know we're doing a DVD commentary but it's hard not to laugh about Ed Crane. Joel, Ethan, and I have a sort of weird relationship with Ed Crane. He's become this guy to us that just exists in our lives." He goes on to point out the "Ed nod" - Thornton: "Ed would always just accept the most horrible things with a tiny little nod." Joel remarks that the nod is "the biggest outward manifestation of Ed's personality." So as the movie goes on charting the "Ed nod" almost becomes a game - "here comes a classic Ed nod". Also amusing is when over a shot of Thornton sitting listening to Scarlett Johansson playing the piano, he asks "you notice something? Ed has a boner!" They all giggle. A lot of laughter for a dark morbid film noir piece from the Coens - seems oddly appropriate doesn't it?

3. MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL (Dir. Terry Jones, Terry Gilliam, 1975)

2 audio tracks split between the directors (Gilliam, Jones) and the performers /writers (John Cleese, Eric Idle, Michael Palin) all the currently existing Pythons enhance this comedy classic with wonderfully amusing tales about where jokes originated, the hassles of cheap location shooting, and the contagious laughing at material that amazes them as well as us that it never gets old. Some random quotes -

Gilliam: "in England blood is called Kensington gore". (a simple google search confirms that this is indeed theatre slang about stage blood).

Palin: "Llamas - another Python favorite like moose, Nixon and fish of any kind".

Idle: "Michael Palin clearly had a very bad agent because he gets no close-ups whatsoever in this scene."

4. THE WAR OF THE ROSES (Dir. Danny Devito, 1989) You may scoff at this appearing on this list - but this being one of the first commentaries ever (recorded for an early 90's laser disc release if I'm not mistaken) Devito made the most of the warts-and-all approach for an essential listen. Consider how he starts off : "In 1933 this famous fox logo theme was written by Alfred Newman. In 1990 Alfred's son David Newman re-recorded it for WAR OF THE ROSES enabling it to have the final note of the theme segue into the overture of our
film." Very few commentaries begin with that sense of purpose. It also seems appropriate that this Michael Douglas/Kathleen Turner dark marital disaster comedy is decorated by occasional Devito self-criticisms : "boy, do I look fat - look at me!"

5. JFK (Dir. Oliver Stone, 1991) The grand-daddy of all conspiracy films gets a passionate paranoid Stone audio guide that goes through its whole damn exhausting 3 hour + run. Theories on top of the theories in the movie abound : "If for example the hit had taken place in Miami it is quite possible what I'm trying to say that there was an Oswald that could of has a Miami identity in the same way that Oswald had a New Orleans and Dallas identity. They have people who have patsys ready to go." I'll take your word for it Oli
ver. Also you hear career defining statements like : "I don't care what they say, this is my GODFATHER! As far as I'm concerned NIXON is GODFATHER II for me and this is my GODFATHER I. I feel good about it even if nobody agrees."

The often un-remarked upon sentiment in JFK comes out best when Stone recalls that he wrote much of his own life strife with his soon to be ex-wife into the arguments that protagonist Jim Garrison (Kevin Costner) and his wife Liz (Sissy Spacek) had over how JFK assassination obsession had come between them. After Liz has stormed off, Jim escorts his kids (Sean Stone, Amy Long) out the front door and onto the front porch swing comforting them by saying that telling the truth can be a scary thing. Stone chimes in : "It's my Norman Rockwell scene, so leave it alone! Everyone has a right to their Norman Rockwell moment."

6. ELECTION (Dir. Alexander Payne, 1999) Payne gives good commentary. This is interesting from start to finish - the comparisons to the original novel, the pointing out of the "obsessive use of garbage cans", and most surprisingly his admitting when talking about Matthew Broderick - "his casting has for a lot of people played with his image, almost his iconography as Ferris Bueller, but not for me because I've never seen the film (FERRIS BUELLER'S DAY OFF)." Another great commentary moment comes when Reese Witherspoon is setting up a table in the High School lobby by extending the legs one by one - "Tracy is introduced with straight lines - the chair legs. Careful viewers may want to go back and count how many chair legs." He says chair but it is definitely a table she's setting up and there are 5 separate shots of individual legs being extended - on a 4 leg table. Oh Alexander, you wacky cinematic prankster!

7. The Simpsons (1989-1996 Seasons 1-6)

I figured one TV show DVD set ought to make this list and while such worthy shows as The Sopranos, Mr. Show, Six Feet Under, and even Newsradio have fine commentaries - the chaos, the camaraderie, and fly-on-the-wall fun Simpsons commentaries contain blow them all away. Usually populated by series creator Matt Groening along with writers, producers, show-runners, voice-actors, and other relevant parties they come packed with statements like:

Jon Vitti:
"You guys were very specific that we shouldn't come up with clever original tag-lines for Bart Simpson - they were supposed to be things he had heard from TV and repeated and then when the show got so popular it somehow seemed as if we were claiming these were original sayings. So I'd like to say that at the outset we never thought 'eat my shorts' was an original tag-line."

James L. Brooks:
"I thought we weren't going to do mea culpas!"

A early classic - Bart Gets Hit By A Car - epitomizes how the show's themes have changed drastically from the financial pressured world the Simpsons used to live in as opposed to the pop culture parody social satire status of recent years. Marge blows a huge cash settlement and Homer goes into a dark funk. Confronted by his wife at Moe's Tavern Homer even says that he may not love her anymore. A dramatic moment is finally punctuated by his declaration: "Oh who am I kidding? I love you more than ever!" Mike Reiss (I think) responds "the writers being very offended including John Swartzwelder who wrote the episode saying 'why does he love her more than ever? We're happy to see it, ah - life goes on but why does he love her more than ever?"

But the cream of the commentary crop is "Marge Vs. The Monorail" from the 4th season - mainly because it was written by Conan O'Brien who contributes (albeit on satellite from New York while Groening and the other participants are in LA) a consistently funny commentary:

Conan: "I am the author of this episode. I created the character of Bart."

The stories about the conception of the episode get increasingly more amusing as the show progresses:

Conan O'Brien:
"Originally when I wrote the episode the guest star was supposed to be George Takei (Sulu) from Star Trek. We contacted George Takei, just certain he would do it 'cause this was after Michael Jackson...I mean everybody was killing themselves to be on the Simpsons. We contacted George Takei and he told us he wouldn't do it because he was on the San Francisco Board of Transportation and he didn't want to make fun of monorails. We were just stunned and I was heatbroken. Then I came into work and Al said 'hey, we just got a phone call and George Takei and he won't do it but Leonard Nimoy will' - I remember thinking that's better!"

It sure was, Conan It sure was.

8. AIRPLANE! (Dir. Jim Abrahams, David Zucker and Jerry Zucker, 1980) This is a particularly funny commentary because after describing how much of the film was based narratively and shot-wise on the 1957 airport disaster movie ZERO HOUR and making fun of the cheap production values - "you can see tape holding the set together there!" - the directors (the Zucker bros. and Abrahams) run out of things to talk about and even start discussing other movies - "I saw GALAXY QUEST yesterday." Also notably towards the end of the flick they all state that they made a pact to never see AIRPLANE II - THE SEQUEL which was made by others. Wish I had made that decision.*

9. BOOGIE NIGHTS (Dir. Paul Thomas Anderson, 1997) Paul Thomas Anderson opens before the movie has properly begun with "Hey roll it - 'cause I'll tell you, you're listening to a guy who learned a lot about ripping off movies by watching laser discs with director's commentary. My favorite is John Sturge's BAD DAY AT BLACK ROCK." Man, I'll have to check that one out. Interestingly enough after acknowledging the influence of Scorsese over the first scene with the long tracking nightclub shot Anderson declares that Jonathan Demme is his "most profound influence". There's a separate track with Anderson and various actors (Mark Wahlberg, Julliane Moore, John C. Reily, Melora Walters, Don Cheadle) recorded at diferent times - at Anderson's apartment with phones ringing, lighters flicking, and a lot of alcohol being consumed. While I don't usually like commentaries that are hodgepodges of different recordings - this one works because of actors comfortably speaking over their specific scenes relaying that apparently everyone enjoyed their wardrobe fittings as much as the actual shooting and the constant questioning by P.T. Anderson of the cast "was Luis Guzman stoned during filming?"

(Dir. Rob Reiner, 1984)

Just to get it straight there are 2 different DVDs of this movie with notably different commentaries. How notably different? Well I'll tell ya - the CRITERION (1998) version (you know the company that does high-brow deluxe DVD editions of classic cult movies) has a commentary by Christopher Guest, Michael McKean, and Harry Shearer as well as a separate track by Rob Reiner with producer Karen Murphy and a few editors. The MGM special edition (2000) has a commentary by Spinal Tap (that is Guest, McKean, and Shearer in character). Since the Criterion one is out of print and copies of it go for $85.00 and over on Amazon we'll just concern ourselves with the MGM version.

Approaching the film with the oft-repeated "hatchet-job" accusation on its maker Marti DiBergi (Rob Reiner) - Nigel Tufnel, David St. Hubbins, and Derek Smalls (c'mon play along) have a lot of axes to grind 16 years later. On their first interview session in the film:

Nigel: "you know when he was asking us these questions you you remember we didn't know what he was going to say...
Derek: "and he had notes!"
Nigel: "yes, he had notes."
David: "That's not fair. That should have tipped us off."
Derek: "It's cheating! He had an agenda."

On David's current stance on his astrologically guided controlling girlfriend Janeane who shows up mid-way in the tour - "a turning point" says Derek:

David: When the millenium changed so did she."

On Derek being trapped in the stage pod which sabotaged the number "Rock 'N Roll Creation":

Derek: "This only happened once - why doesn't he (DiBergi) show any of the other nights?!!?"

When band manager Ian Faith and Nigel leave because of tension within the group, horribly mangled gig scheduling, and Janeane's ambitious infiltration David has this to offer about his girlfriend's managerial style when she took over from Ian:

David: "Things went more profressionally wrong."

In the final segment at one of the last shows on the tour Nigel returns to tell them that "Sex Farm" is a hit in Japan and would they consider regrouping. After some harsh words the band leaves with David and Nigel sharing a silent stare at each other. In the now reflective commentary which also is silent for a moment, St. Hubbins breaks the mood:

David: "You had me at hello". *

Post Note: The Zucker bros. and Jim Abrahams commentary for their follow-up to AIRPLANE! - the Elvis meets World War II spy thriller satire TOP SECRET! plays like the Onion's "Commentaries Of The Damned" - you know the AV Club's feature about less than worthy films adorned with inappropriate commentaries. For TOP SECRET! the filmmakers/writers complain about the movie never making a profit, how the slow pace ruins the jokes, and most amusingly they forget why they originally thought certain material was funny - a theater marquee for the film's protagonist Nick Rivers (Val Kilmer) says beneath his name "with time permitting - Frank Sinatra". "Why did we pick on Sinatra?" one of the Zuckers (I think) wonders out loud. Good question.

More later...

Monday, September 19, 2005

A Day In The Company Of A Musical Expeditionary

Although it is officially releasing tomorrow a local record shop had a copy of the new highly anticipated (at least by me) Martin Scorsese documentary DVD - NO DIRECTION HOME * on their shelf this morning. The store was breaking the street date (which is actually illegal) but I wasn't one to look a gift horse in the mouth. I purchased it and went home to spend the day with Dylan. A trailer which made the internet rounds a few months back had made my mouth water with snatches of never seen before footage and promises of absorbing insights about one of the most fascinating performers ever when they were most on fire. From the kick-off - beautiful technicolor film of Dylan with his hair glowing in the stage-lights howling "Like A Rolling Stone" with the blazing Band (then called the Hawks) on fire behind him in Newcastle, England on the infamous '66 tour it was more than obvious I was in for a treat.

The film is in 2 parts over 2 DVDs with a smattering of extras - roughly 4 hours of amazing stuff! It's airing on PBS next week I think too. It is largely in traditional chronological structure but does cut ahead to the '66 tour footage heavily implying that that is the meat of the matter but also maybe because Scorsese couldn't wait to give us hints of the climax. A recent interview with Bob as well as comments from other key era players (Dave Von Ronk, Pete Seeger, Joan Baez, Pete Yarrow, etc) forms the narration as the film takes us from Hibbing, Minnesota through Greenwich Village to the controversial electric debut at Newport then lands us onto a hostile British stage where the showdown between artist and fan reached its zenith.

For those of you unfamiliar with the story - basically this: a kid who considers himself a "musical expeditionary" achieves fame and fortune as a folk singer but betrays the movement to become a rock 'n roll star. Audiences booed, critics cooed, and music and the times were changed incredibly. Then he got into a motorcycle accident and it was all over. Dylan didn't tour again for 8 years and while he created lasting work the break in momentum appeared to do some notable damage. Okay, that's a simplistic as Hell telling of the tale granted but it is still the basics as I see 'em.

is an emotional experience and as cheesy as it may sound it really left me feeling like I had been on a visceral journey. Many segments I'm not ashamed to say made me cry - Dylan's performance at the March on Washington in 1963, Baez's portrayal of her relationship with him, and the many many comments about the intensity of the Man's talent like : "God, instead of touching him on the shoulder kicked him in the ass! Really! He can't help what he's doing. He's got the holy spirit about him. You can tell that by looking at him." - Bob Jonhston (producer of "Highway 61 Revisited")

What really adds to the entertainment factor is how funny this film is as well - young baby faced Bob blatantly lying about his background ("
I was raised in Gallup, New Mexico"), his stealing hundreds of rare record albums from his peers, his continious baiting and press conference put-ons - Reporter: "do you think of yourself as a singer or as a poet?" Dylan: "I think of myself as a song and dance man."

With its stunning footage and powerful narrative progression this is without a doubt one of the greatest documentaries made about a performer that I've ever seen. Unlike the Beatles Anthology there are no unnecessary stylistic touches like people's images disappearing from photographs, no flashy polishes - just the footage and comments alone and the flowing approach to the material is intoxicating. This is a documentary that I know I'll come back to again and again for decades. No direction home maybe but fortunately road-maps for the soul like this are available.

* The IMDb wrongly states :
Plot Outline: This is a four hour documentary on Bob Dylan that ends in 1965. To any casual observer this film ends in mid 1966! Jeez. I may have to make a film babble blog post about the many mistakes on the IMDb like :

Steve Martin an extra in
Bruce Lee's second movie, Jing Wu Men (1972). He plays a policeman who shoots Bruce at the very end of the film.

That's completely bogus. I've seen the film and neither Martin appears nor does the movie end that way. If you have any IMDb mistakes - send 'em on!

More later...

Monday, September 12, 2005

A Writer Writes

Right after I decided to make this blog just me talking 'bout movies - I started to get submissions I couldn't deny. This great list comes from
Diana DeVeaugh-Geiss :

44 (Because I Like Palindromic Numbers?) Films On/About Writers and Writing
I compiled this list in no particular order and with the aid of "Leonard Maltin's Movie & Video Guide" and as references. It is by no means, of course, a comprehensive list...

1. IL POSTINO (Michael Radford, 1994) -- an Italian postman develops a love for poetry while delivering mail to the famous Chilean poet Pablo Naruda, starring Philippe Noiret.

2. QUILLS (Philip Kaufman, 2000) -- about the imprisonment to an insane asylum of the infamous 18th-century French writer The Marquis de Sade, played by Geoffrey Rush.

3. SYLVIA (Christine Jeffs, 2003) -- profile of poet Sylvia Plath, played by Gwyneth Paltrow, and her relationship with fellow poet Ted Hughes.

4. BARTON FINK (Joel Coen, 1991) -- black comedy about a self-important NY playwright, played by John Turturro, who goes to 1940s Hollywood to write a screenplay and discovers it's a living hell.

5. WONDER BOYS (Curtis Hanson, 2000) -- about the bond between a writer/professor and his gifted student, starring Michael Douglas and Tobey Maguire; adapted from the Michael Chabon novel.

6. HENRY FOOL (Hal Hartley, 1998) -- about the relationship between a garbageman and the free spirit who encourages him to begin writing poetry.

7. NAKED LUNCH (David Cronenberg, 1991) -- a graphic filming of the William S. Burroughs novel, weaving together elements of the author's life with fictional material.

8. MRS. PARKER AND THE VICIOUS CIRCLE (Alan Rudolph, 1994) -- profile of Dorothy Parker, fabled writer and member of the Algonquin Round Table in the 1920s, starring Jennifer Jason Leigh and Campbell Scott.

9. BELOVED INFIDEL (Henry King, 1959) -- about the romance of writer F. Scott Fitzgerald and Hollywood Columnist Sheilah Graham, starring Gregory Peck and Deborah Kerr.

10. DECONSTRUCTING HARRY (Woody Allen, 1997) -- a writer uses his life as fodder for work, much to the dismay of his family and friends, starring Woody Allen and a large ensemble cast.

11. THE BASKETBALL DIARIES (Scott Kalvert, 1995) -- profile of 1960s poet-musician Jim Carroll, played by Leonardo Dicaprio (notably, in a role originally intended for River Phoenix)

12. BIG BAD LOVE (Arliss Howard, 2001) -- tale of Vietnam vet/struggling writer Leon Barlow (played by director Howard); based on Mississippi author Larry Brown's stories.

13. BEFORE NIGHT FALLS (Julian Schnabel, 2000) -- story of Cuban poet and novelist Reinaldo Arenas (1943-1990), starring Javier Bardem.

14. BULLETS OVER BROADWAY (Woody Allen, 1994) -- story of a 1920s playwright who quickly "sells out" when he's offered a chance to direct his latest work on Broadway with a gangster's moll in the lead role; starring John Cusack, Dianne Wiest, Chazz Palminteri, and an ensemble of others.

15. CELESTE (Percy Adlon, 1981) -- from Celeste's memoirs about her relationship with prolific French writer Marcel Proust.

16. DEAD POETS SOCIETY (Peter Weir, 1989) -- about a charismatic English teacher at a New England prep school for boys who inspires his students to revive a secret, student poets society; starring Robin Williams.

17. TOTAL ECLIPSE (Agnieszka Holland,1995) -- about 19th century French poets Arthur Rimbaud and Paul Verlaine.

18. HENRY AND JUNE (Philip Jaufman, 1990) -- adaptation of the Anais Nin diaries, named for Henry and June Miller (Incidentally, controversy over this film caused the MPAA to implement what is today's NC-17 rating.)

19. WILDE (Brian Gilbert, 1998) -- profile of writer Oscar Wilde, starring Jude Law.

20. SHADOWLANDS (Richard Attenborough, 1993) -- tale of British writer C.S. Lewis, starring Anthony Hopkins and Debra Winger.

21. ADAPTATION (Spike Jonze, 2002) -- story of a lovelorn screenwriter who turns to his less talented twin brother for help when his efforts to adapt a non-fiction book go nowhere; inspired by a Susan Orlean novel; Nicolas Cage stars as both brothers.

22. MOULIN ROUGE! (Baz Luhrmann, 2001) -- tale of a penniless poet's love for a beautiful courtesan whom a jealous duke covets, starring Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor; nominated for numerous Academy Awards including Best Picture.

23. ALEX & EMMA (Rob Reiner, 2003) -- story of a writer who must turn out a novel in thirty days or face the wrath of loan sharks, starring Luke Wilson and Kate Hudson.

24. DREAMCHILD (Gavin Millar, 1985) -- the woman for whom Lewis Carroll invented "Alice in Wonderland" visits America for the writer's centenary.

25. NORA (Pat Murphy, 2000) -- set in 1904 Dublin, about Nora Barnacle and her relationship with prolific writer James Joyce.

26. BARFLY (Barbet Schroeder, 1987) -- based on the autobiographical writings of Charles Bukowski, starring Mickey Rourke and Faye Dunaway.

27. TOM & VIV (Brian Gilbert, 1994) -- about the relationship between poet T.S. Eliot and his wife Vivienne Haigh-Wood, starring Willem Dafoe and Miranda Richardson.

28. SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE (John Madden, 1998) -- speculation about the love affair that inspired the writing of "Romeo and Juliet"; nominated and awarded numerous Oscars and starring Ralph Fiennes and Gwyneth Paltrow.

29. THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD (Dan Ireland, 1996) -- profiles pulp novelist Robert E. Howard and his relationship with aspiring novelist/schoolteacher Novalyne Price, starring Vincent D'Onofrio and Renee Zellweger.

30. GOTHIC (Ken Russell, 1986) -- depicts the night in Italy in 1816 when Mary Shelley and Dr. Polidori became inspired to pen their classic goth novels "Frankenstein" and "The Vampyre", respectively; this was also explored in the earlier film The Bride of Frankenstein (James Whale, 1935), and later in Haunted Summer (Ivan Passer, 1988.)

31. ABSCENCE OF MALICE (Sydney Pollack, 1981) -- a reporter is duped into writing and running a story that discredits an innocent man, starring Paul Newman and Sally Field.

32. THE HOURS (Stephen Daldry, 2002) -- story of how Virginia Woolf's novel "Mrs. Dalloway" affected three generations of women, all of whom, in one way or another, had to deal with suicide in their lives; based on the novel by Michael Cunningham and starring Nicole Kidman, Julianne Moore, Meryl Streep, and Ed Harris; nominated for and awarded numerous Oscars.

33. THE ABSENT MINDED POET ( Herbert M. Dawley, 1923) -- a silent, animated short film about, well, an absent minded poet.

34. IN THE MOUTH OF MADNESS (John Carpenter, 1995) -- story of the search for a reclusive horror writer, derived from concepts created by H.P. Lovecraft and starring Sam Neill.

35. LA DOLCE VITA (Federico Fellini, 1960) -- story of a tabloid writer's crisis over the shallowness of his life's work in Rome, starring Marcello Mastroianni.

36. MISERY (Rob Reiner, 1990) -- story of a successful romance novelist who's nursed back to health following a car crash with a lunatic fan, starring Kathy Bates and James Caan; based on the Stephen King novel; later adapted for the stage in London.

(Alan J. Pakula, 1974) -- story of a reporter who investigates the assasination of a senator, starring Warren Beatty.

38. MORVERN CALLAR (Lynne Ramsay, 2002) -- about a supermarket clerk who, following her boyfriend's suicide, passes off his unpublished novel as her own; starring Samantha Morton.

39. ROMAN HOLIDAY (William Wyler, 1953) -- about a princess who flees her palace in search of a "normal life" and has a romance with a writer/reporter, starring Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck (Incidentally, this was Audrey's first break, and for which she received an Oscar.)

40. THE SNOWS OF KILIMANJARO (Henry King, 1952) -- about a renowned writer critically injured on an African safari, starring Gregory Peck and based on the Ernest Hemingway story.

41. THE THIRD MAN (Carol Reed, 1949) -- Graham Greene's account of a pulp-writer's manhunt for Harry Lime (played by Orson Welles) in post-WWII Vienna.

42. ALMOST FAMOUS (Cameron Crowe, 2000) -- tale of a 15-year-old boy given the chance to write a story for "Rolling Stone Magazine" about an up-and-coming rock band as he accompanies them for their concert tour.

43. IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT (Frank Capra, 1934) -- about a writer/reporter and runaway heiress, played by Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert, who fall in love on a bus trip; based on Samuel Hopkins Adams' story "Night Bus".

More later...

44. THE PLAYER (Robert Altman, 1992) -- black comedy about a paranoid movie exec who begins receiving threats from a disgruntled screenwriter, starring Tim Robbins; notably, slathered with inside Hollywood jokes and references.

Tuesday, September 6, 2005

Tragedy + Time = Comedy

"Comedy is tragedy plus time…The night Lincoln was shot, you couldn’t joke about it, you just couldn’t do it…but now time has gone by, and it’s fair game." - Lester (Alan Alda) CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS (written by Woody Allen)

When purposely obnoxious comic Gilbert Gottfried attempted a few airplane jokes at a Hugh Hefner roast less than a month after September 11th 2001 an audience member yelled "too soon!" Obviously this guy was familliar with the theory Alan Alda's arrogant buffoon character pontificated above. Gottfried decided it was time to switch gears and tell a joke rarely told in public. A joke that was legendary among comedians for its possibilities for improv. Dirty, disgusting, vulgar, and sometimes just plain wrong improv but also sometimes brilliant, clever, and plain hilarious improv too. This is the basis for the film THE ARISTOCRATS that opened last week at the theater I work at.

I saw it on Sunday night and enjoyed many of the performers - Steven Wright's typically deadpan take on the joke, Andy Richter telling it as if it were a bedtime story to his infant son, Andy Dick throwing "Hitler dressed in crotch-less panties" into the mix, and it was great to see that the staff of the Onion are artsy pudgy dorks like the rest of us.

I'm not gonna waste blog space trying to relate the joke - you can easily click on the IMDB link above - or go into length about the many many comedians in it I'll just say that this is a flawed and questionably cut movie that is not for the squeamish but it does contain a lot of laughs. I'm pretty desensitized to the desciptions of strange sexual behaviour and scatalogical acts but I've seen a few people walk out - one couple at the 7:00 screening tonight walked out after 15 minutes calling it sick and wanting their money out - so be warned.

Well If the history + time = comedy theory
* is really accurate, how long until the first Hurricane Katrina joke? I'm going now to check out the Onion and find out. Something tells me its not too soon for them...

the line has also been attributed to Carol Burnett.

More later...

Sunday, August 28, 2005

A Medium Blizzard In A Moral Universe

Well I haven't seen any new movies in the last few days. I've rewatched a few flicks between writing and other life crap : ABOUT SCHMIDT - 'cause a friend had never seen it and ROMEO IS BLEEDING 'cause it seemed to fit my mood late in the weekend.

I was reminded that Scott Tobias really nailed SCHMIDT in his Onion A.V. Club review:

"In one of the many simultaneously funny and heartbreaking scenes in Alexander Payne's wonderful About Schmidt, recently retired Omaha insurance salesman Jack Nicholson steals away to a local Dairy Queen and orders a medium Blizzard. That he has to sneak off from his wife (June Squibb) to do it is telling enough; that he treats himself to a medium instead of a large speaks volumes about his character's diminished sense of self-worth."

Medium Blizzard seems to really sum it up. So much so that Tobias brought it up again in his reviews of Payne's Schmidt follow-up SIDEWAYS:

"Payne (Election) defines his universe through these sorts of wry behavioral observations; in his last film, About Schmidt, Jack Nicholson's order at an Omaha Dairy Queen says more about him than reams of dialogue would have accomplished."

Yep, that medium Blizzard really made an impact on Tobias. As well it should - the most effective devices in character presentation are the tiny seemingly meaningless day-to-day decisons and off the cuff behaviour that speaks volumes as Tobias says. 'Life is in the details' one expression goes. I however prefer the quote - 'the Devil is in the details'.

I'm still making my way through the 4th season of SIX FEET UNDER which is a good example of the little-things-say-so-much deal I was just babblin' 'bout. One particular intense episode involving Fisher Funeral-home family member David being abducted by a crackhead con man - "That's My Dog" which originally aired last summer struck me as both outrageously manipulative and wickedly brilliant. I know it can be seen as an extremely geeky process but I watched it a second time with the commentary track by director Alan Poul and I'm glad I did. He addressed viewer's negative reactions, told me things that were intended as fantasy but I wrongly interpreted as reality, and pointed out an excellent article written by Emily Nussbaum in New York Magazine that anyone with even a passing interest in the show should check out :

At one point during his insightful and economically worded commentary Poul also touchingly said :

"You put stuff out there in order to get a reaction from the world with the best of intentions and what you get back is often not what you expect or deserve or even consider to be an answer. There is such a thing as a cry that goes unheard but all that added up does not mean we're not living in a moral universe."

That immediately brought to mind this Woody Allen quote -

"An artist creates his own moral universe" -
Sheldon Fender (Rob Reiner) BULLETS OVER BROADWAY 1994

Definitely heady stuff, though on the other hand - in it's glib quick wham-bam style an episode of FAMILY GUY that aired earlier tonight had a jab at SIX FEET UNDER :

"You know, I'm 3 weeks old, my world view spans no further than the walls of this dog's intestines and I still find Six Feet Under pretentious." - an intestinal worm

Take that Alan Ball! From an astute New York Magazine appraisal to some TV criticism voiced by a cartoon worm everyone seems to have their say.

Anyway I need to go and get a medium Blizzard. Actually maybe just a small one. Depends on if I can steal away I guess.

More later...

Saturday, August 27, 2005

BROKEN FLOWERS And More Random Babble

Because of how hard and annoying it was to get others to contribute - I've decided to reconfigure this here film babble blog into a more personal and simpler blog. From now on it'll just be me posting about movies I've seen. Because I watch so many movies it'll be a good exercise to keep up with them on this blog. So here goes :

The last movie I saw in the theaters was BROKEN FLOWERS - the new Bill Murray flick directed by Jim Jarmusch. It seems to be another entry in the minimalist phase of Murray's career. In earlier work like MEATBALLS, STRIPES, or GHOSTBUSTERS Murray's wise cracking persona worked every angle - now he appears to be so jaded and too tired to even approach any angle. He has to be cajoled into this slight premise (revisiting past loves because of an unsigned letter about a 20 year old son who may be seeking daddy out) by a over-eager neighbor (Jeffery Wright). As much as I was amused by certain moments (Jessica Lange's animal communicator bit particularly) I thought the movie was just okay. Not especially involving. Murray's character and a lot of the movie seemed underwritten.

Anyway apart from plowing through the 4th season of Six Feet Under this last week I also watched SCENES FROM A MARRIAGE. Because of a recent episode of Ebert and Roeper that told me about Igmar Bergman's newest movie SARABAND that updates the central characters from SCENES played by Liv Ullmann and Erland Josephson I decided that I had to put it in my Netflix queue. It was originally a 6 part TV series in the early 70's - Bergman edited a theatrical version. The theatrical version is what I chose to watch. It was 2 hours and 40 something minutes long. I was struck about how close Woody Allen's HUSBANDS AND WIVES was to it. I mean I knew Allen was a Bergman disciple but damn! The documentary like set-up, the long involved and tortured conversational break-downs, and the probing close-ups all used to great effect in Allen's flick.

I started watching it on Wednesday. Film historian and supposed Bergman scholar Peter Cowie told me in the sole special featurette that it was best to watch in segments. I wanted to take it all in and return it so I could get more Six Feet Under discs but found that there was no way to rush a viewing of this pristine movie. I got really wrapped up in the emotional turmoil surrounding the relationship of Johann and Marriane and even scanned back several times to watch bits again to fully absorb all that transpired. So after many stops and starts I finished it Friday evening. Now I must order up the longer TV version. Damn my completist minded film addiction! Or actually thank God for it. Not sure what I'd do with these random hours otherwise. Now with hope SARABAND will come to my area.

Will post again after I see another movie. That's the idea anyway...

Monday, June 27, 2005

100 Years, 100 Better Quotes

The American Film Institute just unveiled another mighty list - this one is of 100 movie quotes :


Thinking that many of the lines while great are too obvious we here at film babble compiled an alternate list. Some lines come from the same movies, some are more profane but all are ones we cherish more than the AFI's precious official annointing. Enjoy!


1. Girl : "What're you rebelling against, Johnny?"
Johnny Strabbler (Marlon Brando) : "Whaddya got?"
- THE WILD ONE (1953) Can't believe this didn't make the AFI's list! Heh - losers.

2. "My teenage angst now has a body count" - Veronica Sawyer (Winnona Ryder) HEATHERS 1989

3. "Well, let's not start sucking each other's dicks just yet." - The Wolf (Harvey Keitel) PULP FICTION 1994

4. "You aren't too bright. I like that in a man. " - Matty (Kathleen Turner) BODY HEAT 1981

5. "We figured there was too much happiness here for just the two of us, so we figured the next logical step was to have us a critter." - H.I. (Nicolas Cage) RAISING ARIZONA 1987

6. "Into the mud, scum queen!" - Dr. Hfuhruhurr (Steve Martin) THE MAN WITH TWO BRAINS 1982

7. "I don't know, I'm making this up as I go. " - Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK 1981

8. "Mother! Oh God, mother! Blood! Blood!" - Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins) PYSCHO 1960

9. "But, I'm funny how? Funny like a clown? I amuse you? I make you laugh? I'm here to fuckin' amuse you?" - Tommy (Joe Pesci) GOODFELLAS 1990

10. "Like the fella says, in Italy for 30 years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder, and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love - they had 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock." - Harry Lime (Orson Welles) THE THIRD MAN 1949

11. "I'll show you a life of the mind!" - Charlie Meadows (John Goodman) BARTON FINK 1991

12. "These go to eleven" - Nigel Tufnel (Christopher Guest) THIS IS SPINAL TAP 1984

13. "All I'm saying is that if I ever start referring to these as the best years of my life - remind me to kill myself." - Randall 'Pink' Floyd (Jason London) DAZED AND CONFUSED 1993

14. "One of us, one of us!" - A freak from FREAKS 1932

15. "Who did the president, who killed Kennedy, fuck man! It's a mystery! It's a mystery wrapped in a riddle inside an enigma! The fuckin' shooters don't even know! Don't you get it?" - David Ferrie (Joe Pesci) JFK 1991

16. "His brain has not only been washed, as they say... It has been dry cleaned." Dr. Yen Lo (Khigh Dheigh) THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE 1960

17. "I don't want to sell anything, buy anything, or process anything as a career. I don't want to sell anything bought or processed, or buy anything sold or processed, or process anything sold, bought, or processed, or repair anything sold, bought, or processed. You know, as a career, I don't want to do that." - Lloyd Dobbler (John Cusack) SAY ANYTHING 1988

18. "Oh please, if everyone around here is going to start telling the truth, I'm going to bed."

19. "Can I borrow your towel? My car just hit a water buffalo." - Fletch (Chevy Chase) FLETCH 1985

20. " I'm a goddamn marvel of modern science." - McMurphy (Jack Nicholson) ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST 1975

21. " Come on, man. I had a rough night and I hate the fuckin' Eagles, man!" - The Dude (Jeff Bridges) THE BIG LEBOWSKI 1998

22. "Sticks and stones may break your bones but words cause permanent damage." - Barry (Eric Bogosian) TALK RADIO 1988)

23. "I will not be ignored, Dan!" - Alex Forrest (Glenn Close) FATAL ATTRACTION 1987

24. "This is so bad it's gone from good back to bad again" - Enid (Thora Birch) GHOST WORLD 2001

25. "Why do I hear 50 thousand dollars worth of pyscho-therapy dialing 911?" - Gabe (Woody Allen) HUSBANDS AND WIVES 1992

26. "Well, then, I just HATE you... and I hate your... ass... FACE!" - Corky St. Clair (Christopher Guest) WAITING FOR GUFFMAN 1996

27. "You see, if it bends, it works. If it breaks, it doesn't work." - Lester (Alan Alda) CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS 1989

28. "One through nine, no maybes, no supposes, no fractions. You can't travel in space, you can't go out into space, you know, without, like, you know, uh, with fractions - what are you going to land on - one-quarter, three-eighths? What are you going to do when you go from here to Venus or something? That's dialectic physics." - Photojournalist (Dennis Hopper) APOCALYPSE NOW 1979

29. "Don't call me chicken" - Jim Stark (James Dean) REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE 1955

30. "I'm not even supposed to be here today!" - Dante Hicks (Brian O'Halloran) CLERKS 1994

31. "I'm so rich, I wish I had a dime for every dime I had" - Arthur (Dudley Moore) ARTHUR 1981

32. "So it's sorta social, demented and sad, but social. Right?" - John Bender (Judd Nelson) THE BREAKFAST CLUB 1985

33. "I am not your problem to solve!" - Alice Green (Meg Ryan) WHEN A MAN LOVES A WOMAN 1994

34. "Why are frogs falling from the sky?" - Phil Parma (Phillip Seymour Hoffman) MAGNOLIA 1999

35. Gonzo (Dave Goelz): "Well, I want to go to Bombay, India to become a movie star."
Fozzie (Frank Oz) : "You don't go to Bombay to become a movie star. You go where we're going, Hollywood. "
Gonzo : "Well, sure, if you want to do it the *easy* way."

36. "If Mike Tyson dreams about whuppin' my ass , he better wake up and apologize."
- SWEET WILLIE DICK (Robin Harris) DO THE RIGHT THING 1989 - Tarentino used a variation of this line in RESERVOIR DOGS 1992- "You shoot me in a dream, you better wake up and apologize." - Mr. White (Harvey Keitel)

37. "I am so glad that I got sober now so I can be hyper-conscious for this series of humiliations." - Suzanne (Merle Streep) POSTCARDS FROM THE EDGE 1990

38. "Nothing happens in the world? Are you out of your fucking mind? People are murdered every day. There's genocide, war, corruption. Every fucking day, somewhere in the world, somebody sacrifices his life to save someone else. Every fucking day, someone, somewhere makes a conscious decision to destroy someone else. People find love, people lose it. For Christ's sake, a child watches her mother beaten to death on the steps of a church. Someone goes hungry. Somebody else betrays his best friend for a woman. If you can't find that stuff in life, then you, my friend, don't know crap about life. And why the FUCK are you wasting my two precious hours with your movie? I don't have any use for it. I don't have any bloody use for it."
- Robert McNee (Brian Cox) ADAPTATION 2001

39. "I am the motherfucking shore patrol, motherfucker!" - Budduskey (Jack Nicholson) THE LAST DETAIL 1973

40. "In this country, you gotta make the money first. Then when you get the money, you get the power. Then when you get the power, then you get the women." - Tony Montana (Al Pacino) SCARFACE 1983

41. "Where does he get those wonderful toys?" -The Joker (Jack Nicholson) BATMAN 1989

42. "Come on, fellas. Rome wasn't built in a day." - Coach Morris Buttermaker (Walter Matthau) "Yeah, it took several hundred years." -Ogilvie ( Alfred Lutter III)

43. "Harold, *everyone* has the right to make an ass out of themselves. You just can't let the world judge you too much."
- Maude (Ruth Gordon) HAROLD AND MAUDE 1971

44. "Make like a tree...and get outta here." - Biff (Thomas F. Wilson) BACK TO THE FUTURE 1985

45. "I'll bet you're the kind of guy that would fuck a person in the ass and not even have the goddam common courtesy to give him a reach-around." - Gunnery Sergeant Hartman (R. Lee Ermey) FULL METAL JACKET 1986

46. "Sex without love is an empty experience, but as empty experiences go it's one of the best." - Boris (Woody Allen) LOVE AND DEATH

47. "You're right, I did lose a million dollars last year. I expect to lose a million dollars this year. I expect to lose a million dollars *next* year. You know, Mr. Thatcher, at the rate of a million dollars a year, I'll have to close this place in... 60 years. - Charles Foster Kane (Orson Welles) CITIZEN KANE 1941

48. "Wouldn't this be a great world if insecurity and desperation made us more attractive? If "needy" were a turn-on?" - Aaron Altman (Albert Brooks) BROADCAST NEWS 1987

49. "Just when I thought that I was out they pull me back in." - Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) GODFATHER PART III - Funny how everyone's least favorite GODFATHER film has one of the most quoted lines., huh?

50. "You have clearance Clarence, roger Roger, what's our vector Victor?" - Captain Clarence Oveur (Peter Graves) AIRPLANE! 1980 - You gotta admit this is better than the 'Shirley' line.

51. "Only one is a wanderer; two together are always going somewhere." - Madeleine (Kim Novak) VERTIGO 1958

52. "The first rule of Fight Club is you don't talk about Fight Club." - Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt) FIGHT CLUB 1999

53. "I swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help me me." - God (George Burns) OH GOD 1977

54. Sam Burns (John Lithgow) - "You're a very rude young woman. I know Douglas from the Rotary and I can't believe he'd want you treating customers so badly." Checkout Girl : "I don't think I was treating her badly." Sam Burns : "Then you must be from New York." - TERMS OF ENDEARMENT 1983

55. "If you don't get the President of the United States on that phone, do you know what's gonna happen to you?...You're gonna have to answer to the Coca-Cola Company." - Colonel Bat Guano (Keenen Wynn) DR. STRANGELOVE 1964

56. "I have a head for business and a bod for sin. Is there anything wrong with that?" - Tess McGill (Melanie Griffith) WORKING GIRL 1988

57. "That is one nutty hospital." - Jeff (Bill Murray) TOOTSIE 1982

58. "I'm not bad, I'm just drawn that way." - Jessica Rabbit (Kathleen Turner) WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT 1988

59. "Roads? Where we're going we don't need - roads." - Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd) BACK TO THE FUTURE 1985

60. "He's got a real purty mouth, ain't he?" - Toothless Man (Herbert 'Cowboy' Howard) DELIVERANCE 1972

61. "They're not gonna catch us. We're on a mission from God." -Elwood Blues (Dan Aykroyd) THE BLUES BROTHERS 1980

62. "It's okay with me." - Philip Marlowe (Elliot Gould) THE LONG GOODBYE 1973

63. "Withdrawing in disgust is not the same as apathy." - Written on a piece of a paper recited by some dude in SLACKER 1991 - also quoted in R.E.M.'s "What's The Frequency Kenneth" - "Richard said, Withdrawal in disgust is not the same as apathy".

64. "Back and to the left." - Jim Garrison (Kevin Costner) JFK 1991

65. "Worry is like interest paid in advance on a debt that never comes due." - George Lang (Ricky Jay) THE SPANISH PRISONER 1997

66. "It really tied the room together" - just about everybody in THE BIG LEBOWSKI 1997

67. "What in the wide world of sports is going on here?!!?" - Taggart (Slim Pickens) BLAZZING SADDLES 1974

68. "I've got a bad feeling about this" - Luke Skywalker(Mark Hamil), Han Solo (Harrison Ford), Obi Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor), C-3PO (Anthony Daniels, Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams), etc. said in every STAR WARS movie 1977-2005

69. "Sometimes I doubt your commitment to Sparkle Motion." - Kitty Farmer (Beth Grant) DONNIE DARKO 2001

70. "My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die." - Inigo Montoya (Mandy Patinkin) THE PRINCESS BRIDE 1987

71. "I believe in the cock, the pussy, the small of a woman's back, the hanging curve ball, high fiber, good scotch, that the novels of Susan Sontag are self-indulgent, overrated crap. I believe Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. I believe there ought to be a constitutional amendment outlawing Astroturf and the designated hitter. I believe in the sweet spot, soft-core pornography, opening your presents Christmas morning rather than Christmas Eve and I believe in long, slow, deep, soft, wet kisses that last three days." - Crash Davis (Kevin Costner) BULL DURHAM 1987

72. "As long as there's, you know, sex and drugs, I can do without the rock and roll." - Mick Shrimpton (R.J. Parnell) THIS IS SPINAL TAP 1984

73. "Ah Kirk, my old friend. Do you know the Klingon proverb that tells us revenge is a dish that is best served cold? It is very cold in space." - Khan (Ricardo Montalban) STAR TREK II : THE WRATH OF KHAN 1982

74. "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it." - Ferris Bueller (Matthew Broderick) FERRIS BUELLER'S DAY OFF 1986

75. "I think you're the opposite of a paranoid. I think you go around with the insane delusion that people like you." - Harry Block (Woody Allen) DECONSTRUCTING HARRY 1997

76. "Human sacrifices, dogs and cats living together! Mass hysteria!" - Peter Venkman (Bill Murray) GHOSTBUSTERS 1984

77. "Pimps is an ugly word. We could call ourselves love brokers!" - Bill Blazejowski (Michael Keaton) NIGHT SHIFT 1981

78. "Look at me, jerking off in the shower... This will be the high point of my day; it's all downhill from here." - Lester Burnham (Kevin Spacey) AMERICAN BEAUTY 1999

79. "Don't point that finger at me unless you intend to use it." - Oscar Madison (Walter Matthau) THE ODD COUPLE 1968

80. "I'd buy that for a dollar!" - Bixby Snyder (S.D. Nemeth) ROBOCOP 1988

81. Superman (Christopher Reeve) : "Is that how a warped brain like yours gets its kicks? By planning the death of innocent people?
Lex Luther (Gene Hackman) : "No, by causing the death of innocent people."

82. "Strange game--the only winning move is not to play." - Joshua (computer) WAR GAMES 1983

83. "This is the most uncomfortable coffin I've ever been in" - Bela Lugosi (Martin Landau) ED WOOD 1994

84. "The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist." - Verbal (Kevin Spacey) THE USUAL SUSPECTS 1995

85. "Strange things are afoot at the Circle K" - Ted Logan (Keanu Reeves) BILL AND TED'S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE 1989

86. "I know what you're thinking: "Did he fire six shots, or only five?" Well, to tell you the truth in all this excitement, I've kinda lost track myself. But, being this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world, and would blow your head clean off, you've got to ask yourself one question: "Do I feel lucky?" Well, do ya punk?" - Harry Callahan (Clint Eastwood) DIRTY HARRY 1971

87. "It was the classic mother B.B. gun block: "You'll shoot your eye out." That deadly phrase uttered many times before by hundreds of mothers, was not surmountable by any means known to kiddom." - Ralphie (Jean Sheppard) A CHRISTMAS STORY 1983

88. "Now that's a real shame when folks be throwin' away a perfectly good white boy like that." - Tree Trimmer (Steven Williams) BETTER OFF DEAD 1985

89. "No, I have to do this my way. You tell me what you know, and I'll confirm. I'll keep you in the right direction if I can, but that's all. Just... follow the money." - Deep Throat (Hal Holbrook) ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN 1976

90. " I may go back to hating you. It was more fun." - Roger (Cary Grant) NORTH BY NORTHWEST 1958

91. "Well, we lost the first game of the season. I know it shouldn't bother me, but it does. We always lose the first game of the season and the last game of the season. (pause)

92. "Now that I've met you, would you object to never seeing me again?" - Claudia Wilson Gator (Melora Walters) MAGNOLIA 1999 - this line was lifted from the Aimee Mann song "Deathly".

93. "I was just thinking what an interesting concept it is to eliminate the writer from the artistic process. If we could just get rid of these actors and directors, maybe we've got something here." - Griffin Mill (Tim Robbins) THE PLAYER 1992

94. "Can you imagine what this man would be like had anyone ever loved him?" - Henry Kissinger (Paul Sorvino) NIXON 1995

95. "No, if anyone orders Merlot, I'm leaving. I am NOT drinking any fucking Merlot!" - Miles (Paul Giamatti) SIDEWAYS 2004

96. "At this moment, I didn't feel shame or fear, but just kind of blah, like when you're sitting there and all the water's run out of the bathtub." - Holly (Sissy Spacek) BADLANDS 1973

97. "Last time I saw a mouth like that, it had a hook in it." - Al (Rodney Dangerfield) CADDYSHACK 1980

98. "Your car is uglier than I am. Oops, that didn't come out right." - Carol (Mackenzie Phillips) AMERICAN GRAFFITI 1973

99. "You're an errand boy, sent by grocery clerks, to collect a bill." - Kurtz (Marlon Brando) APOCALYPSE NOW 1979

100. "You see the whole culture. Nazis, deodorant salesmen, wrestlers, beauty contests, a talk show. Can you imagine the level of a mind that watches wrestling? But the worst are the fundamentalist preachers. Third grade con men telling the poor suckers that watch them that they speak with Jesus, and to please send in money. Money, money, money! If Jesus came back and saw what's going on in his name, he'd never stop throwing up." - Frederick (Max Von Sydow) HANNAH AND HER SISTERS 1986

Take that AFI!

More later...