Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Rosebud, indeed

The AFI had their updated list of the 100 greatest American movies on TV tonight. Once again Citizen Kane held the #1 spot. I understand the significance of the movie and the fact that every shot is set up for a specific effect. In fact I find that slightly annoying. It's almost like someone showing off a huge diamond ring. It's always impressive, but it's also gaudy and totally uneccesary. That's Citizen Kane.

For my money the two greatest American movies are The Godfather and Lawrence of Arabia. The Godfather is perhaps the best screenplay that's ever been put on film. Lawrence of Arabia presents an epic story in an epic fashion. Perhaps no other film better demonstrates the possiblilites of film making. I've changed my opinion as to which is actually the best, but either would be a great choice.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Sleeps with the Fishes

The Sopranos ended last night after 8 years and 6 seasons. I was shocked by the lack of resolution to the Sopranos saga. David Chase had 8 years to think of how he was going to end this thing and the best he could come up with was a final diner scene and an abrupt cut to black? People will talk about "artistic vision" and that the ending was ambiguous so that the viewer could make up his own mind about what happened to the characters. I have to respond by saying that good stories do not leave you guessing at the end, they leave you thinking at the end. A thought provoking ending is different than a non-conclusive ending that leaves your audience confounded. Clearly most series or movies aren't going to end like "Six Feet Under", where they literally took each of the main characters to the end of their life (brilliant and totally satisfying, by the way), but there is usually some resolution to the story.

David Chase chose not to give the story any resolution. He's a rich man at this point and I guess he can do whatever he wants, but it's unfair to his audience, who has invested so much of it's time and made David Chase a multi-millionaire, to just leave them hanging. Art house endings should remain in the art house. This was not some obscure Swedish existential movie. This was one of the most popular series in American TV history. Can you imagine if MASH just ended while Hawkeye was in surgery? I think this ending just shows Chase's contempt for his audience. It was just him saying that I'm going to end this they way I want to and I don't give a rat's ass what you people think. Chase wasn't even in the country for the finale. Apparently he went to Europe to escape all the controversy.

Ambiguity is fine, but not at the end of a series. The audience deserves more. I personally think that David Chase took the easy way out.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Is it Hot Down There?

Jerry Falwell died last week which just made me think that not all deaths are a reason for mourning. Here are couple of his statements about homosexuals,

“AIDS is not just God's punishment for homosexuals, it is God's punishment for the society that tolerates homosexuals.”

And the equally wonderful,

"this vile and satanic system will one day be utterly annihilated and there'll be a celebration in heaven."

His thoughts on secular education,

"I hope I live to see the day when, as in the early days of our country, we won't have any public schools. The churches will have taken them over again and Christians will be running them."

Falwell was a staunch segregationist during the days of Martin Luther King and he even opposed the sanctions against South Africa during the days of Apartheid. He also claimed that the Antichrist would "of course be Jewish". It always strikes me as odd when someone who is supposed to be teaching the word of God, instead teaches hatred against everyone who doesn't agree with his views. I suppose I should be more forgiving, but I learned everything I know about how to treat people from Jerry Falwell.

Goodbye and good riddance, Jerry.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Sing a Song

For some reason I thought that I'd mention that the best line I've ever heard in a song was one written and performed by Terrence Trent D'arby. The line is, "Frankie and Johnny were lovers alright, and the tempered scale of experience could not forever indict, two hearts looking to belong in the heat of the sun as opposed to night". Simply brilliant.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

The Sad Clown

How in the hell did Dane Cook become famous? I never would have thought of this particular topic, but I saw an ad on TV for the DVD release of his "big" summer movie last night. I think it made about $5. I think he's supposed to be a comedian, but he doesn't tell any jokes. He hosted SNL last year before I knew who he was, so I had no preconceived notions about him, but it may have been the single worst opening monologue that I have ever seen. Even bad comedians have punch lines or a place where you're supposed to laugh. Dane Cook doesn't even have that. It's really bizarre, but apparently he's the biggest comedian in America at this point. I for the life of me, can't understand why. I guess it's just me. Perhaps I've lost the ability to recognize humor.

All I can say is, more power to you Dane. If you can convince millions of people that you're funny, then you are clearly some kind of genius. Perhaps you should sell your secret to the President. He could use your powers of persuasion about now.