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October 5, 2020:

SEDUCED BY HOLLYWOOD

Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, I am not using the dictating microphone to write these here notes, due to an abysmal showing in yesterday’s notes.  But yesterday’s notes are like yesterday’s mashed potatoes – old and lumpy – so today we have new and shiny notes that are like today’s rutabagas.   You know, I almost had the urge to type lactating microphone but thankfully I resisted the urge, although I just seemed to have typed it.  If there was a lactating microphone, would it have made a pepto abysmal showing.  We don’t allow groaning here at haineshisway.com.  Anyway, I must write these here notes in a hurry because I am behind in other things and need to catch up a bit after I post them.  So, rather than an endless first paragraph, why don’t we just jump to paragraph two or, as the French like to say, paragraphe deux.

Yesterday was kind of a Sunday kind of a day kind of.  I did get over nine hours of sleep but with a lot of tossing and turning along the way.  Once up, I answered e-mails, did stuff, went to the mail place and picked up a package, came home, and had my small Caesar salad.  There was only a half-filled cup of dressing – very annoying – so it was basically like eating a Caesar without dressing.  It was okay, though.  And I did feel a little less logy and lethargic, so that was a good thing.  I did a bit of work on the Backstage at Kritzerland and was in touch with two potential guests for the November show, so I’m waiting to hear back from them.  Then I sat on my couch like so much fish.

Yesterday, I watched two count them two motion pictures on Blu-ray and boy were my arms tired.  The first motion picture on Blu-ray was entitled The Tourist, starring that madcap duo of Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp.  Normally, you couldn’t get me anywhere near any Angelina Jolie movie – I don’t know what other people enjoy about her, but I enjoy nothing.  Mr. Depp I can tolerate occasionally.  But I mostly wanted to see it because it was the director of The Lives of Others.  Well, here we have a perfect example of a terrific first-time director making a great, great movie and then getting seduced by Hollywood, stars, and a huge budget ($100 million).  And Hollywood did what it always does – took this interesting director and turned him into a five-star hack.  The Tourist is bad, let’s just lay those cards on the table right now.  It’s beyond bad.  And it’s not like it didn’t have decent writers – the director doing the final rewrite, but also credited is Julian Fellowes.  But it’s a plodding, incredibly stupid movie in which we the audience are always five steps ahead of the characters and anyone who doesn’t know what the ending’s going to be most likely hasn’t seen a movie for the past twenty-five years.  It’s cliché after cliché, even in the casting of the villains – total cliché.  Miss Jolie is at her worst here and Mr. Depp seems befuddled and he’s just, well, bad.  There’s a terrible score by James Newton Howard, and there’s not a thing in the film that works at all.  The director does a competent job but he had no real shot.  And to add insult to injury or injury to insult, it was a remake of what apparently is a terrific French film called Anthony Zimmer, which I’ll check out at some point.  The film was a total bomb in the US and the studio would have everyone believe that it grossed hugely overseas, over $240 million all in.  That, of course, is complete horse manure.  My belief is that up until the 1990s, overseas grosses didn’t amount to much on any picture.  You can see that if you know how to search Box Office Mojo.  But suddenly all these flops here began reporting huge overseas grosses.  Why?  Because the studios know that there’s no real accurate way to question whatever number they come up with.  But even with that outrageously inflated gross, it would still have lost money, when you add the fifty to seventy-five million they spent on promotion, especially given how little studios actually get back from overseas.  The transfer was decent and the poor director’s seduction by Hollywood fizzled immediately.

I then had two hot dogs to bring the calorie count to just under 1000.  Then I watched the second motion picture on Blu-ray, the third film by the director of The Lives of Others, this one called Never Look Away.  Thankfully, it wasn’t stupid like The Tourist, but at three hours and eight minutes it was a bit of a mess, trying to do too many things and be too many things.  I was totally with it for the first two hours or thereabouts, but then it just went off the rails, didn’t resolve some important plot stuff satisfactorily, but the last few minutes were fine.  If you cut about thirty minutes of the final hour it would have at least played better.  No matter, it got up for two Oscars, if I’m remembering correctly – best foreign film and best photography (by the great Caleb Deschanel – and it does look swell).  The actors are all terrific, especially the gal who plays the aunt of the little boy who’ll grow up to become an artist.  This takes place during Nazi Germany for a good portion of it and the aunt doesn’t have a happy end.  But the actress is really good.  But they’re all fine.  The score is by one of those flavor of the month boys, a classical and film composer that people really love – Max Richter.  I don’t know why they love him, as I find his meanderings and droning a complete and utter bore.  I hope this director can find his way back to the kind of film that made him famous – I don’t mean the same story, of course, I mean a concise, beautifully told tale.

After that, I got a few e-mails – this weekend we had two shows that – how shall I put it – emulated what we do or tried to.  I checked out a tiny bit of both and the sound was awful for lots of both, they were clearly “inspired” by us and the way we do things, but they just as clearly have no idea how we do everything, and that’s the way we’re going to keep it.  Someone was already nosing around asking one of our folks how we never have technical difficulties, especially sound-wise.  They learned nothing.  Then I relaxed and had an apple.

Today, I’ll be up by eleven or thereabouts, I’ll do whatever needs doing, and then most of the day will be dealing with the Backstage at Kritzerland show – lots to do and not much time left in which to do it.  I’ll hopefully pick up packages, I’ll eat something, and then at some point I’ll watch, listen, and relax.

The rest of the week is more of the same plus finishing the songs choices, starting to get tracks made, and finalizing our guests.

Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, be up by eleven or thereabouts, do whatever needs doing, do Backstage at Kritzerland stuff, hopefully pick up packages, eat, choose songs, and then watch, listen, and relax.  Today’s topic of discussion: What was the first movie you bought on home video and what format was it?  Let’s have loads of lovely postings, shall we, whilst I hit the road to dreamland, happy I was never seduced by Hollywood or even seduced and abandoned.

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