Tuesday, February 02, 2010

You, You, You

I heard on Howard Stern a week ago that PETA's been complaining about the Groundhog Day ritual featuring Punxsutawney Phil. Now, I'm all for animal rights, but PETA has really gotta learn how to pick its battles. This is like promoting responsible drinking by dubbing in "ginger ale" whenever James Bond says, "Vodka martini." It's not going to improve the image of animal rights activists as spazzy busy bodies.

Which reminds me of the third episode of Being Human, which I watched last night. It featured a ghost character who liked to quote from Smiths songs, mentioning "meat is murder" when the ghost girl brought up the fact that her werewolf friend generally only eats rodents. I guess maybe the idea's only to make this one character ridiculous, but I kind of got the impression that the makers of the show didn't quite understand Morrissey or were hoping to court viewers who are annoyed by him. Included was a somewhat flatfooted use of "Girlfriend in a Coma". Sometimes I don't think the British get British humour. But maybe being a huge Morrissey fan makes me oversensitive. Anyway, I'm still basically enjoying the show, though the ghost plot may be the weakest, the most concerned with allegory nonsense.

I also watched Key Largo last night, a John Huston film I'd never seen before. Not a bad movie, though it's not one of his best. An adapted stage play, most of the action takes place inside a hotel where war veteran Humphrey Bogart, lush Claire Trevor, hotel owner Lionel Barrymore, and his daughter Lauren Bacall are held hostage by crime lord Edward G. Robinson. The movie seems to only scratch the surface of its principle theme of self-perception--Robinson plays Johnny Rocco, a mobster who's lived his whole life trying to prove he's bigger than anyone else and easily has the biggest part in the movie. Trevor plays Gaye Dawn, a former singer turned drunk who's forced to sing a cappella by Rocco for a single drink. The best scene in the movie, you can see its Rocco's sadism at work as Trevor's forced to confront the dream of herself she's been trying to forget with alcohol.

Bogart plays Frank McCloud, who seems almost an extension of his Casablanca, "I stick my neck out for nobody" character who ends up unable to deny his fundamentally noble nature. Lauren Bacall's almost totally wasted in the movie, relegated to basically playing his cheerleader. She'd have been better off in Trevor's role with maybe the character she does play being deleted entirely, but I suspect some forces were reluctant to let her play such an undignified woman.

Last night's tweets;

Camera shy seagulls prefer large, fresh fish.
The sea is grimly devoid of fruit juice.
Betty Grable provides an ample dish.
Rusted, deep metal holds an old cooked goose.

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