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September 29, 2008:

COMEDY TODAY

Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, after the drama of yesterday, I hereby decree Comedy Today! Yes, Virginia, we’re making the leap from dramedy to comedy with aplombedy. Today will be filled with merriment and mirth and laughter and legs and there will be no two or three ways about it. Today we shall laugh and laugh, and just when we think we can’t laugh anymore, we shall laugh again. Today, when we fill our cars with gas, instead of regular or unleaded or premium, we’ll fill them with laughing gas. Is unleaded still a grade of gasoline? Do they still call it unleaded? Yes, it’s out with the drama, in with the comma-dy. That’s right, even the commas are funny around these here parts. I’m going to start off this day the way I start off every day now – with a long jog, and anyone who has ever seen me do the long jog knows what comedy is. Speaking of comedy, yesterday was drama. I got up, logged on to haineshisway.com and was greeted by drama. I did my best to diffuse the drama but it lasted for a while, and then it finally got better. I did the long jog, came back and sent e-mails and made decisions and finally sat on my couch like so much fish, because it was supposed to be a very relaxing day. I made some of Dee Dee’s cheese puff things on two and a half English muffins. I’m doing something wrong, though, as they don’t quite come out like hers. I did the first two English muffins in the toaster oven using “top brown.” But I think I put too much spread on, and the bottom of the English muffin was a little soggy. I then did the half using the regular toast setting and that was a little better, but I still think I put too much of the spread on the English muffin. After that, I ate some ranch-flavored Quakes, and had an apple and a peach and some balls of cantaloupe. I really couldn’t tell if that was enough to eat, but that is all I ate.

Yesterday, I watched two count them two motion pictures on DVD. The first motion picture was entitled L’Alpagueuer (The Hunter), an authentic French motion picture made in France in French, starring French actors, including the great Jean Paul Belmondo and the wonderful actor Bruno Cremer. It’s a 70s thriller about a mercenary who’s hired surreptitiously to do their dirty work that they can’t legally do. It starts off very confusingly, then the real story kicks in and it gets very good until they forget about the real story for about forty minutes and do a sub-story. They finally come back to the real story, but there’ve been one too many detours for the film to really work. There are terrific sequences, however, and I could watch Belmondo all the time – he’s a real movie star, the kind they don’t make anymore. The very quirky score is by Michel Colombier. The transfer on this region 2 DVD is actually very nice. I then watched the second motion picture on DVD, which was entitled The Godfather, this from the new Coppola Restoration DVD set. I hadn’t seen the film since the 2002 set came out, and even back then, I don’t think I watched it straight through. The film remains the masterpiece it’s always been. The acting is superb, the camerawork is superb, the score is superb, the editing is superb, the writing is superb and the direction is superb. This is a close to three-hour film that just flies by, like a gazelle eating a meatball. I’ve seen ninety-minute films that seem twice as long as The Godfather. From the first frame, this film grabs you, pulls you in, and never lets you go, and amazingly it does it without having to ramp up the editing or the music, like today’s films. It just tells its story perfectly and in a very measured way. In fact, the only thing that stops it from being absolutely perfect for me is Talia Shire’s overwrought performance, but that’s just me and that type of performance – I’m sure she’s excellent, but, for me, it’s like fingernails on a blackboard. No matter how many times one sees the film, one finds new things to marvel at. I do remember seeing this at the Village Theater on opening day, the second show. My ex-wife and I were on line, waiting for the early show to let out. Everyone coming out of the theater had a dazed look on their faces, and the buzz (not called buzz then) was incredible. And who comes out and walks right by us? Why, Mr. Fred Astaire and his lovely young wife. This is a highly publicized and touted restoration. Apparently, the original camera negative was not in good shape, and this took a very long time. I would say that it’s the best it’s looked on home video, but my memory of the IB Technicolor prints is that this restoration doesn’t quite capture the look perfectly, and there’s a real softness to many medium to long shots and there certainly isn’t in the theatrical prints. I’d be curious to hear if the Blu-Ray achieves total sharpness – frankly, I don’t see how it can, but I’d love to hear some opinions. In any case, The Godfather is the kind of movie they would not even know how to begin to make today. The structure and the writing and the dialogue and the performances – today you’d get thumping music and lots of whispering (everyone in The Godfather speaks in a normal tone of voice – how refreshing), and frenetic editing, and every shot would have some sort of ridiculous CGI and it would just be horrible. If somehow you’ve missed this film, I say hie yourself to the nearest online store or Netflix and give yourself three hours of movie heaven.

Well, why don’t we all click on the Unseemly Button below because I must get up very early so that I can laugh and be happy and have comedy today.

I tell you, the comedy around here is infectious, like a fungus or a canker sore. Today, I shall be getting up early and doing the log jog, and then I’m having brunch at Hugo’s with a gal who was a production assistant on The First Nudie Musical back in 1975. She found me on Facebook, and she now occasionally writes for some theater magazine and we did a little interview. So, it will be nice to have a get-together and catch up.

I must also do some errands and whatnot and hopefully some errant and truant packages will arrive. I have to do some heavy e-mailing, and I have to ship a couple of packages, so it will be a nice busy day.

Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, do the long jog, have a brunch, ship packages, do errands and whatnot, and then sit on my couch like so much fish. Today’s topic of discussion: Since the title of today’s notes is Comedy Today, let’s make today one of our joke days – tell us all the highlarious jokes you know – the good, the bad, and the ugly – and you can even include some good old-fashioned groaners, even though we don’t allow groaning here at haineshisway.com.

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