Friday, January 12, 2007

What is "alternative" media, and what is "independent" media? This is something i've been trying to figure out, but today, i simply veged out and watched various movies on TV. "Forbidden", the old Frank Capra weepie from 1932 with Barbara Stanwyck (the worst of the five movies they did together)... and there's no excuse, because Capra himself is credited with the damned story. "Cry of the City", the Robert Siodmak noir with Victor Mature and Richard Conte. Technically, it's amazing... but the (over)use of Alfred Newman's theme from "Street Scene" is so characteristic of 20th Century Fox in the late 1940s (it's also overused in "Dark Corner" and in "Where the Sidewalk Ends"). It's when you chime in with crap like that, that you know you've seen too many movies! (Another tune 20th Centruy Fox overused was "Over the Rainbow": it's used incessantly in "I Wake Up Screaming", and it practically drowns out "Junior Miss". That was something i could never understand: how the hell did 20th Century Fox get the rights to "Over the Rainbow" when it's from an MGM movie?)

Charles and Anthony came by, so they could do their laundry from their European trip. Three loads. And we watched part of "Real Sex" on HBO, and then watched part of "The Family Stone". I don't know why, but i was surprised that Charles hadn't seen it. Larry and i saw it during the Christmas season of 2005... that was a year when there were a lot of screenings in December, and we went to as many as we could. This year, there weren't as many Christmas movies, those hideously cute family comedies, at least, not many released through the "boutique" labels (Fox Searchlight, Warner Independent, Focus Features... now, The Weinstein Company)... instead, there were a lot of releases of dystopian fantasies (cf. "Children of Men", "Pan's Labyrinth"). These Christmas movies are usually so hideous, they get terrible reviews, and people try to forget they were ever made. This year, there was the one with Danny DeVito and Matthew Broderick... i can't even remember the title. One of the worst of these Christmas "comedies" was the one (years ago) with Arnold Schwarzenegger as a father trying to get a sold-out toy for his son... oh, that one was grisly! (I tried watching it on TV, and gave up; i can't imagine sitting in a theater watching it.)

But the whole idea of accents... it's like it's hard to explain, but Audrey Hepburn (as an example) just is totally unconvincing as a Cockney. Her accent (even in English) is ever-so-slightly foreign (she grew up learning English in foreign countries, i.e., Belgium and Holland, and her mother was Dutch). Jeanne Moreau's mother was English, and Moreau is fluent in English, but she certainly has a French accent. In "The Actress", when Jean Simmons sings that funny song to prove to her parents (played by Spencer Tracy and Teresa Wright) that she can "act", whenever she sings the word "camera", she doesn't say "camera" (short "a" after "c") the way an American would, she says "cah-mera" (long "a" after "c") the way the British do.

If Richard Burton really believed that Marlon Brando's greatness as an actor was limited by his (rather undistinguished) voice, whatever did he think of Elizabeth Taylor's voice? (But Stanley Kauffmann, one of Brando's great defenders in his early career, also singled out Brando's voice as a weakness.) And that's the problem: now, we have so many actors with voices which are just so bland and flat and uninteresting.


Post a Comment

<< Home