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Funniest Jack Keefe post ever - funny peculiar, not funny ha-ha.
As to Duck Soup, there are two kinds of people, those who like the Marx Brothers instinctively and those who don't. They were almost already in decline by the time they started making movies, for one thing; they were legendary on the vaudeville circuit, and the toast of Broadway, largely because they were great improv comics. But their energy gets across, particularly I think in Monkey Business. And spankz is right, that film in particular is an exercise in seeing how many jokes you can stuff into each minute. That's just the aesthetic; you'll like it or you won't.
Manhattan is fascinating to me mostly for what it says about Woody Allen. He had this idea that it would be interesting to see what would happen if his customary 40-year-old schlub fell in love with a teenage girl, without ever once considering what it would mean to the teenage girl. For one thing, she's involved with him to the point of sleeping over at his apartment, and her parents are entirely out of the picture. (I think they're literally mentioned once.) I know New York City parents of that era are supposed to be famously louche, but don't we care at all what they think about their teenage daughter shtupping a 40-year-old? Woody seems to be oblivious to the other side of the equation.
Then there's the subplot where Allen's college professor friend has enough money to go out and buy a hugely expensive sports car on a whim. Allen once again has zero grasp of what real people's financial lives are like.
Interesting commentary, Tom.
I can only assume he's been drinking.
Or maybe that he hasn't.
After hearing about how great the Marx Bros were, I tried to get through "Duck Soup" but couldn't. I think it was because either the jokes were dated or their was no plot to the movies, it just seemed like every scene was a set-up to see how many jokes they could fit in.
I may be the only person you'll ever meet who agrees with you on "Duck Soup," but you're not alone. "A Night at the Opera" is the only Marx Brothers movie that held up for me the second time through, and by the third or fourth time I had to mute all those godawful musical interludes in order to continue.
So Simon and Garfunkel came to Nashville to do an album and figured that as long as they were there, they ought to to a show at the university. About 50 people showed up, because the student body at Vandy largely were C&W fans who had no idea who S&G were. So S&G told us all to come down to the real close-up seats, and told us that they weren't going to do their regular show. They were going to do the club show that they did in small clubs in NY when just getting started. They did these, they said, under the name "Johnny and the Mental Eunuchs." Raunchy, hilarious, and edgy, nothing like their commercial work. I have no idea whether they ever recorded any of that, but if you can find it, I think your opinion of the duo will change quickly.
That's quite a list, Davo, but for the price of those 32 movies the average TCM viewer could have recorded onto DVDs over 1,000 films of arguably equal quality.
What is this a reference to?
Lost Missile ('58) is an interestingly downbeat nuclear-power-will-hurt-us flick
As for The Hunger Games - it's a complete rip-off of a Japanese movie of a decade or so ago called Blood Royale
His personal plot in the story is his effort to actually get up the gumption to DO something. Not exactly the kind of character you use to pander with.
Jolly - Thanks! It (the zeitgeist) got started much earlier; Hula Hoops were popular about 1957, if I remember right. Maybe earlier. The break point, to me, is when Chuck Berry figured out that you could take the blues, which is music of frustrated people who, no matter what they do, will still be black and in the South tomorrow morning, speed up the tempo some, and write lyrics so that it expresses the natural frustrations of teenagers, and suddenly quadruple your target demographic. There were other pioneer R&R guys at the time, but I think that this invention of Berry's is what most seriously defined what Rock and Roll was mostly going to end up sounding like. It's the frustration songs of teenagers. Done as simple pop, it expresses the frustrations of middle schoolers, which is why it's called "boy bands" when it does that. - Brock
The rise of rock 'n' roll provoked a well-known reaction at first from nearly every adult without a financial stake in its success, but within a few years it was accepted and marketed like Hula Hoops and Mickey Mantle.
Maybelline may well be a converted country song - I have no reason to doubt you.
Berry is hardly the only influence. Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis brought gospel into rock. Buddy Holly and the Crickets brought western music (as opposed to country, which was an early influence) in. Brenda Lee is, essentially, a teenaged Wanda Jackson, actually still in high school when she recorded most of her hits. Elvis Presley legitimized teenage sexuality, not just by selling tons of records fueled by his gyrations on stage, but by, in the middle of his career, accepting being drafted into the army (he could have gotten out, with his money and the odd exclusion options at the time), which meant that rock suddenly got much more adult acceptance.
I will still argue that the one guy who is most responsible for fusing the blues, crooning, C&W and all the rest of those influences into what became rock and roll is Berry
The rise of rock 'n' roll provoked a well-known reaction at first from nearly every adult without a financial stake in its success, but within a few years it was accepted and marketed like Hula Hoops and Mickey Mantle. I suppose you could call that "pandering", and strictly speaking it was, but in reality it was just a bunch of people figuring out a quick way to make a buck off on a generation whose numbers were exploding.
The laughing and giggling in this take was not because they were high on pot--or not just because they were high. McCartney is laughing at Lennon's precision knifing of Frank Sinatra, who had put the Beatles down in an interview, and who had also, incidentally referred to his male member as his "bird". Lennon took it from there with exquisite slyness. The infectious laughter was not containable. It's the current cultural generation kissing off an huffy older one--brilliantly. Also, some excellent twin lead guitar playing by Harrison and Lennon.
Did Sinatra refer to his "bird" according to Talese?
Well, I think Lennon's mind was capable of making connections among sources. He did it time and time again, taking a biographical bit here, a bit there, to make something resembling, but not entirely true, to either one (or any of them), for his own nefarious purposes.
Sinatra was known for opining that "Something" was the greatest love song of his lifetime, or words to that effect; so he admired George Harrison too.
(unfortunately he does not speak of "Bird"--that was for another day that never came maybe)
BTW, that's some good observations. How trends and developments come about is like a James Burke Connections episode. It's cumulative cultural evolution where one damn thing just leads to another, without long-range intentionality, until there's a new species.
Don't forget Big Joe Turner, who sang for Count Basie in the '30s and is arguably the bridge between swing and R&B/rock (thanks in part to the genius of Ahmet Ertegun). "Flip, Flop And Fly" isn't all that different from jump blues of the '40s.
not that there is no real R&B any more, but there's much more R&B influenced rock now than there is actual R&B, as far as I can tell
You woefully underestimate the opposition, which continues in force to this day. Overtly and in a passive-aggressive way that has people returning to Country or Tin Pan Alley standards as their music of choice.
Whoever said that the acceptance was unanimous? But how many Country or Tin Pin Alley oriented radio stations survive today?
I can't resist----here's Giselle McKenzie's hilarious cover of Elvis's "Heartbreak Hotel".
The "maybe" means had he lived and continued the interview maybe he would have talked about "Bird", maybe not, broomstick cowboy.
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