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July 31, 2008:

UNGUENTINE

Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, can someone please inform me how it is the end of July when it was just the beginning of July? These months must be bitch-slapped from here to eternity and hell and back, that’s all I can say. Can’t we once take our time, you months? Can’t we once just stop and smell the roses or the coffee or the Unguentine? Unguentine? Now there’s something I haven’t thought of since I was but a wee sprig of a twig of a tad of a lad of a youth. What the HELL is Unguentine anyway? It sounds like a country in South America, doesn’t it? Now I’ll have to write a book entitled Unguentine, won’t I? In any case, it’s the end of July and tomorrow will be the beginning of August and all we can do is hope August eases some of the pressure of the preceding months, at least me-wise. We need a happy and carefree and gay August. One thing I know August will bring is the shipping of the new book and also the pre-orders for a new limited edition soundtrack recording from Kritzerland. Plus the staged reading of Druxy’s musical. So, it’s going to be a busy month, but hopefully one that brings good news to one and all and also all and one. But enough about August, since it’s still July and we’ll play it out as long as possible. Yesterday was a perfectly okay day. I got up early, did some work on the computer, had some telephonic conversations, and then did a two-mile jog. After that, I had more telephonic conversations – in fact, it was a day of telephonic conversations about this and that and also that and this. It does look like this little gig will be happening in early December, should all the details be worked out, which I think they have, basically. I’m not quite ready to talk about it, other than to say I’d be directing a really fun benefit. I’ve been starting to query certain performers, as well as a musical director. I’m very excited about the prospect of doing it, so here’s hoping it all happens as it should. I’ll reveal more during the next couple of weeks. I also spent time starting to book events for my alumni association, of which I’m President. For those dear readers on the West Coast, I’d really recommend attending some or all of these – the cost is really tiny ($10) and you get some incredible seminars, panel discussions, and master classes. I’ll have more details next week. Also, the new book will finally be up on the Kritzerland site, hopefully by the end of the day, so if you were waiting to preorder from there, you’ll be able to. I ate a Subway Club for lunch – it was very good, actually. And then somehow the day was over and I was sitting on my couch like so much fish.

Last night, I watched another episode of Cannon, this one with lots of location shots in Santa Monica. A better than usual episode for this series, too. I then decided to watch Terms Of Endearment, which I hadn’t seen in years – in fact, I’d never watched the DVD. What a terrific film it remains – I loved it when I saw it the night it opened, and it’s still fresh and funny and very touching, but without ever overplaying its hand. It’s certainly a film that would confound all who worship at the altar of the Syd Field/Robert McKee school of screenwriting. James L. Brooks’ script (from Larry McMurtry’s novel) is really lovely and his direction (his first film) is top-notch. The cast is perfection – Shirley MacLaine has never been better, and Jack Nicholson is hilarious and surprisingly touching as her randy next-door neighbor. This film was Debra Winger’s breakout role and I can’t think of any of the then-working actresses who could have done it better. And I certainly can’t think of any actress today who could even approach it – they’d all whisper all the dialogue, and it would be cloying and sickening and they’d put in some fart noises and gross-out moments and it would be Terms of Bleccch. The score by Michael Gore (who really should have gone farther as a film composer – this score and Defending Your Life are just terrific) works perfectly and, again, is never too cloying. Oh, and I must mention the superb work of Jeff Daniels and John Lithgow, both of whom are great. The transfer should be redone – it’s off some old video master, and while anamorphic, it’s all grainy and soft and video looking. The film deserves much better.

Well, why don’t we all click on the Unseemly Button below because August is a knockin’ on July’s door.

Have I mentioned Unguentine? I don’t even know what it is and it gives me the creeps, just as it did when I heard the word as a youngster.

Today, I must do one annoying errand early in the morning, then I must continue to work on booking these alumni events, and I must query some more performers about the benefit in December. And I must set rehearsals for the upcoming reading. Also, I must jog and find something calorically correct but amusing and fun to eat.

Tomorrow, of course, will be August, and we must welcome August with open arms and open elbows and open knees.

Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, jog, do an annoying errand, book events, query people, and eat. Today’s topic of discussion: The 1980s, for me, was the last interesting decade for films, following the great 1970s. What are your favorite 80s films, the popular and the unpopular, and what are your least favorite 80s films? Let’s have loads of lovely postings, shall we, whilst we all ponder Unguentine.

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