Tuesday, April 07, 2009

The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Tyrants

Last night's tweets;

Scotch is such a smart compliment to lunch.
A black cat got her pink collar removed.
My flat bread is stale and starting to crunch.
The cold air is quietly fog approved.

My sister's cat Saffy was wearing a collar yesterday and it was decided the collar was unnecessary, so now her neck is free once more.

I'm thinking I probably need a new mouse. I'm not touching it right now, but I can see the cursor slowly moving up and slightly to the left--now it's moving down. It's a laser mouse on a fifteen year old mouse pad, so that could be the problem. Maybe I oughta put a ouija board under it.

I watched The Empire Strikes Back last night. Still my favourite of the original trilogy, but I'm reflecting a bit on how kids tend to prefer Return of the Jedi while grown-ups like Empire. "It ends on a down note," as Dante said in Clerks, but I don't think it's just that adults are more used to disappointment. There's a subtler layering of character and theme in the second film--I've already blogged at length about this, so I won't retread it now, but even having analysed it to death the movie's still not, er, dead. What is it that makes Luke drop off into the abyss instead of going with Vader? Just youthful stubbornness? That's part of it. But the whole movie's about Vader, the hard man executing his subordinates left and right because he's already got everything figured out versus kids who make a lot of mistakes. We sympathise with them more because they're awkward, but the movie tells us to "unlearn what you have learned"--even the kids who don't know much can be tripped up by what they know as it clashes with what they don't know. "Only the shallow know themselves," as Oscar Wilde said. Han and Leia aren't lacking in insight with the barbs they throw at each other, but they fail to see why they're inclined to fight.

While I was at my parents' house yesterday, I watched a bit of The Wild One on TCM. I'd forgotten how good that movie is. I think I underestimated it the first time I watched it. It's also a movie about misfit kids and adults who've sold their soul. Marlon Brando's character parading around the trophy he stole is almost too big a metaphor for his simultaneous need to rebel against and be accepted by the world of adults. It's really Brando's performance that makes it work, and makes us feel like he cares far more about justice than the sheriff or any of the supposed figures of authority in town.

Looking at YouTube for some clips last night from the great, underappreciated film noir Nightmare Alley, I discovered the entire movie was online along with a lot of other great films in this playlist compiled by a user named utubesucks2008. If you're looking to watch some great, old movies and you can't afford to buy them and you don't have the means to download them in better quality, I can recommend several on this playlist, especially The Red Shoes, The Thief of Bagdad, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Out of the Past, and . . . well, there's just a lot of good movies on this list. The three Fred Astaire movies are all worth watching--Rita Hayworth's amazing in two of the Astaire movies listed. Leave Her to Heaven is another often overlooked great film noir, though if you watch it, I advise you to pretend the person the movie tells you is the villain is actually the hero. You'll enjoy it a lot more.

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