They Should Hand Out Motion-Sickness Bags for This

Skip’s Quips: The ‘Dog’ Fan Cometh

Blog Sketch 082813Guess what Turner Classic Movies was showing on the tube late last night.

If you said Un Chien Andalou, you win an ant-covered hand.

That’s right. Luis Buñuel’s bizarre, seminal 1929 short was appearing on the cable channel that’s also featured flicks starring Joan Crawford, Robert Wagner and the like.

Variety’s the spice of life, it seems. Or in Chien‘s case, maybe the razor.

I’ve got to admit, though–TCM definitely doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to the cinema. Its eclectic selection’s one of its hallmarks, and you’d be hard-pressed to find anything more eclectic than Buñuel’s Andalusian Dog.

I still remember hearing gasps during showings of this film at, I believe, New York’s Museum of Modern Art. The notorious scene where a man appears to slice a woman’s eyeball (it was actually a cow’s) still elicited a reaction after all these years.

I think the great Buñuel would’ve been tickled at that. He might even be amused that his Andalou was being showcased on a major cable channel.

And I can’t help but be pleased, too. This is a movie that everyone should see–a picture about nothing, filled with wild, nonsensical yet somehow connective images. It’s about filmmaking and the ability to tell a story without having one. It’s about art.

And art starred on TCM last night. Turner Classic Movies, I salute you.

Skip’s Quips: Get Into the Groove, for You’ve Got to … Oh, Forget It

Blog Sketch 082813I’m so happy the musical has evolved into the 3D song-and-dance epic.

I mean, we were really slumming with films like Top Hat and My Fair Lady, right? You don’t want to have a plot and witty dialogue messing up all those steps.

Or, for that matter, anything interfering with a story of competition so fierce that the toughs in West Side Story will want to jump ship into Mary Poppins.

Yes, I’m curmudgeonly. Sure, I’m old-fashioned. And I still grouse over the genre’s move into rock ‘n’ roll.

But I do think we’ve dropped some of the excitement that went into the great musicals of the past–excitement that can’t be replaced with legs flying out three-dimensionally from the screen.

Just look at what has come out recently. Some of these formulaic motion-filled pictures hearken back to the timelessly terrible let’s-save-the-theater yarns of yore. Aren’t there enough screenwriters out there to infuse a lackluster script with some originality?

At this rate, I’ll take even a sequel to Madonna’s best foray into cinema.

The fact is, a musical isn’t complete without something other than feet supporting it. Good writing. A smart storyline. And, of course, terrific music.

Tales of a flash mob just ain’t gonna cut it.

So for those who believe you just gotta have a gimmick, I put it to you that entertainment’s more important. It’s not just about jumping over cars and hoofing in public. Give me a screenplay with clever dialogue, and I’ll watch. Only then will I want to face the music and dance.