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November 19, 2008:

NOBODY DOES IT BETTER

Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, this week is flying by, like a gazelle with hammertoes. Frankly, it would be nice if this week just slowed the HELL up. I mean, before you know it, I’ll be on a plane to New York, New York. Honestly, we’re six weeks away from the New Year. How did that happen? As I’ve said before, this has been the fastest year ever – I’ve never seen anything like it, actually. Oh, well, there is no stopping time. Time marches on and, conversely, on marches time. Speaking of time, yesterday was an okay day. For example, I got up. That was okay. I then did the long jog, came home, shaved and showered, answered a few e-mails, and then went to my lunch meeting with the head of the LACC Foundation. I’m not quite sure what it was really about, but we discussed many things and had a really nice conversation. I had the Caesar salad with chicken added. There was a good portion of chicken but not all that much salad, but it was good. I then stopped by the Apple Store and got an extra power supply for the laptop so that I don’t have to unplug the one I use here. Then I went to the mail place where there was one package and none of the mail I’m really wanting to get before I leave town. After that, I came home, had a couple of telephonic calls, and then packed up a box of clothing and toiletries that I then took to Fed Ex and sent ahead to my hotel. That enables me to pack very light, which is what I like. I then came back home, answered some more e-mails, got a report that Turkey Lurkey Time is already looking great, and did a few things around the home environment. Then I finally sat on my couch like so much fish.

Last night, I watched two count them two motion pictures on DVD. The first motion picture on DVD was entitled Sabrina, a film directed and co-written (with Samuel Taylor and Ernest Lehman) by the great Billy Wilder. I will admit that while I enjoy the film, it’s never been top-tier Wilder for me – I prefer almost all his other films over this one. That said, it’s well directed, has some wonderful dialogue, and, of course, an incandescent performance by Audrey Hepburn. I find William Holden and Humphrey Bogart both very strange in this film. John Williams gives his customary terrific performance, and there are definitely things to enjoy. The transfer, which I assume is new, looks great – sharp, lush, and very pleasing. I then watched the second motion picture on DVD, which was entitled Wall-E. As most around these here parts know, I championed this film like crazy, not really understanding the apathy from most people I talked to, especially those who’d run out and been first in line for other Pixar Films. And no one, hard as they may try, has been able to explain the apathy to me – it did not gross anywhere near what it should have, and I found in talking to people that they all had all sorts of excuses and said they’d wait for the DVD. So, maybe this film will come into its own on DVD, because watching it again, it remains the best American film I’ve seen in years. Let others have There Will Be Blood and No Country For Old Men – I would never watch either of those again ever, and I think years from now people will scratch their collective heads and wonder what they ever saw in those films, whereas I think Wall-E will become a classic for the ages. For me, it’s hands down the best Pixar film ever. The reasons for that are many. The audacity and courage of not having a line of dialogue until twenty-two minutes into the film – well, it shouldn’t be audacious, but it is because there are no filmmakers today or studios today that have the guts to tell a story purely visually, the way filmmakers used to. No, had this been a regular Disney film or a Dreamworks film, we would have had a crawl or narration right up top, setting the time and place and the world we’re about to enter. All of that is done in Wall-E – done with visual storytelling instead of some portentous voice telling us everything. You don’t need dialogue – you get the whole point and the whole story without one word being uttered, and it’s so refreshing and old-fashioned and wonderful. The characters are simple, and Wall-E’s goal is so simple and beautiful – to hold someone’s hand, like in the scene he keeps repeating from Hello, Dolly (It Only Takes A Moment). I know some people have had issues with the last half of the film, but I think it’s absolute perfection, every frame of it. For once, we don’t have endless standard villainy and plot complications that stretch on and on (that was my main problem with Ratatouille) – the villain here isn’t really a villain, and the film runs a brisk ninety minutes, instead of stretching it out like a lot of animated features these days. This time around, I liked Thomas Newman’s score a little better than I did when I first saw the film, although I still hated the Peter Gabriel song at the end – the film’s only misstep. Nobody does it better than Pixar, but with this film they have created a masterpiece – a perfect piece of filmmaking art that can be seen over and over again. It has so much warmth and good humor and heart – well, just buy the damn thing and see for yourself. Two thumbs up, five stars out of five, ten stars out of ten.

What am I, Ebert and Roeper all of a sudden? Why don’t we all click on the Unseemly Button below because nobody does it better than the Unseemly Button.

Today, I shall get up early, as usual, do the long jog, and then I have a ninety minute work session with two singers, to work out their songs and keys for the Bacharach show. After that, I have to ship a few things, hopefully pick up some of the mail I’m expecting (and maybe even a package or three) and eat something light and amusing. I’m also going to start trying to rough out a structure and order for the show.

Tomorrow, I have a morning meeting and a few errands and whatnot, and I may buy a new pair of jeans, but that’s about it. Friday, I have another morning meeting, and nothing else planned for the day and evening. Saturday will be spent in packing and trying to relax and get ready for the trip to New York, New York. And then I’ll be at the airport bright and early for my seven-twenty flight to Newark.

All right, let’s put on our pointy party hats and our colored tights and pantaloons, let’s break out the cheese slices and the ham chunks, let’s dance the Hora or the Hokey Pokey because today is the birthday of occasional dear reader Jason, who disappears for years and then just shows up like so much fish, stays for a while and then disappears for years. But, I’ll give him the birthday wishes in the notes one last time, and see if that causes a return. So, let’s give a big haineshisway.com birthday cheer to occasional dear reader Jason. On the count of three: One, two, three – A BIG HAINESHISWAY.COM BIRTHDAY CHEER TO OCCASIONAL DEAR READER JASON!!!

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 work session, do errands and whatnot, ship a couple of packages, and eat something light and amusing. Today’s topic of discussion: It’s Ask BK Day, the day in which you get to ask me or any dear reader any old question you like and we get to give any old answer we like. So, let’s have loads of lovely questions and loads of lovely answers and loads of lovely postings, shall we, and remember – nobody does it better than you dear readers.

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