Skip’s Quips: ‘Irma la Douce’ a Prime Showcase for Sizzling Paris

Blog Sketch 082813Billy Wilder can do no wrong.

Well, that’s not exactly true. But he’s one of my favorite directors, and after seeing Irma la Douce the other night, I can confirm that he’s one of the most innuendo-laden as well.

This is pretty sexy stuff, the Paris-set tale of a prostitute (played by Shirley MacLaine) and her ex-policeman beau (Jack Lemmon). Terrific writing, cinematography and art direction, too, with the City of Light coming to marvelous life onscreen. It may not be my favorite Wilder picture, but it has a lot going for it, with the director’s usual tart dialogue livened up by a salacious setting.

It helps, of course, that Paris is one of my favorite places, and my fond memories of it complement the images put on celluloid.

Let’s not forget a performance by the inimitable Lou Jacobi as a worldly bartender; he helps make the movie. Which should be better known, in my opinion. That it isn’t smacks of a time-tested Puritan sensibility, though in this age of Fifty Shades of Grey, I wonder if that’s all in the past.

Well. I know which film I’d rather watch.

From Skip and Setter’s Creator: A Brief Apology

Blog Sketch of Me 092213Hello, readers! Just want to apologize to you for not providing a new comic recently. Drawing is something that I’ve returned to after a long hiatus, and for some reason it’s more challenging to do for me than writing a post about the cinema. Not that I’m any good at drawing, anyway, but I do realize that my most recent strip has been up for a while. Plans are under way for more, so stay tuned. I promise I’ll have something new soon. Thanks for your patience.

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.