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December 4, 2021:

FUNNY, WARM, TOUCHING, AND WONDERFUL

Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, you know what I love? Well, I’ll tell you what I love because why should I keep such things from you? What I love is when I revisit a movie and it’s every bit as funny, warm, touching, and wonderful as the first time I saw it. Such a movie is Heaven Can Wait, which I saw on its opening evening at the Chinese Theater on June 28, 1978. I really knew nothing about it, but I just liked the whole “feel” of the poster art. And I liked Mr. Beatty and the rest of the cast, plus Joseph Mahar was in it and I’d worked with him three years prior in Forget-Me-Not Lane, the PBS filmed version. I and the rest of the audience loved it hugely. The laughs were long and loud, there were tears at the end, applause at the end of a long speech by Beatty, and you can just tell when a film is landing. The script by Beatty and Elaine May worked almost perfectly – the only minor nitpick was with Vincent Gardenia’s police detective – it’s obvious what they’re going for with it but it just doesn’t quite work, although the actor himself comes off fine. But that, for me, was the only minor misstep. I loved all the performances, but the biggest laughs were from Dyan Cannon and Charles Grodin’s characters, and from one-liners that you know were Elaine May’s contribution. Mahar was wonderful as the butler, Beatty and Julie Christie are great together, Jack Warden is at his best, as are Buck Henry and James Mason. The large cast of great character actors is also great. Beatty and Henry’s direction is simple and efficient, and the photography of William Fraker is lovely, as is the score by Dave Grusin. I’ve whipped out the DVD every so often but the quality is not very good. So, a few hours ago I watched the new bare bones (and I mean BARE bones) Blu-ray – I don’t think much work was done and its transfer is probably some years old, but it’s certainly okay and certainly a step up from the DVD. The film deserved better, but Paramount apparently doesn’t think that a huge hit (and it WAS a HUGE hit) deserves much attention. So, shame on them. The film is still funny, warm, touching, and wonderful and I loved it all and got teary at the ending. The film got some surprisingly snippy reviews, as if the reviewers just couldn’t deal with an old-fashioned fantasy comedy, and shame on them, too, and they probably changed their tune in the ensuing years, as they so often do. One only wishes they knew how to make this kind of film today, but they don’t. If you’ve never seen it, take a chance because I’m pretty sure you’ll love it, although nothing could beat seeing it with a full house of fellow movie lovers. Otherwise, I am sitting here like so much fish, listening to the beautiful Magnificat of Kim Andre Arnesen, who I’ve written about before. He’s just a wonderful composer and this work is aces.

Yesterday, I did get eight hours of sleep, maybe a bit more, got up, answered e-mails and then had an easy day, as I’d written and finished the Kritzerland holiday show commentary before going to bed. I did a few things on the computer, but mostly relaxed, then shaved, then went and picked up a couple of packages and two envelopes. I had a four o’clock meeting, but it took the mail place forever to find my packages – twenty minutes. I think we’ll be in for a lot of that during the holiday season. So, I barely got to the meeting on time, making it only two minutes late. The meeting was at Art’s Deli and was fun. I got my tri-salad thing, which was excellent.

After the meeting, I came right home, answered more e-mails and then sat on my couch like so much fish and watched Heaven Can Wait. After that, I relaxed and then began listening to the Magnificat.

Today, I’ll be up when I’m up, I’ll do whatever needs doing, I’ll have a Zoom thing with David Wechter, I’ll hopefully pick up some packages (got two screeners yesterday and am hoping for more), and then I’m attending the opening performance of the upstairs show at the Group Rep. Afterwards, Doug Haverty, who’s in it, and I will go have a quick meal somewhere and I don’t care who knows it. Then I’ll come home and watch, listen, and relax.

Tomorrow, I think I’m not going to chance the drive to the DGA and waiting for ninety minutes in a mask and the sitting in a theater for two-and-a-half hours masked – just too much for the likes of me. I’ll see where else its playing, and if I can reserve a seat for an afternoon show, then I’ll do that. It is playing at some single screen theaters, including the El Capitan in Hollywood. Parking is the only problem there, but I’m sure there’s a lot somewhere. So, I’ll just have a relaxing day and won’t that be nice. Then on Monday we have our first Kritzerland rehearsal, then I turn a new age on Wednesday and I’m being taken for a birthday dinner that night, Thursday may be an early birthday lunch if I feel comfortable making a long drive – it will depend on how the motor car is behaving – and then we have our second Kritzerland rehearsal in the afternoon, our stumble-through is on Saturday at two, and then Sunday is sound check and then show.

Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, be up when I’m up, do whatever needs doing, have a Zoom meeting, hopefully pick up packages, see a show, have a meal, and then watch, listen, and relax. Today’s topic of discussion: What are your favorite films of Warren Beatty and Julie Christie? Let’s have loads of lovely postings, shall we, whilst I hit the road to dreamland, happy to have seen a funny, warm, touching, and wonderful motion picture again.

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