Today is

   "A word to the wise ain't necessary --  
          it's the stupid ones that need the advice."
					-Bill Cosby

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

More movies

Have you ever noticed that Lady and the Tramp is like a Doris Day flick for the under-10 crowd? It's a canine version of That Touch of Mink, with Jock in the Gig Young role. It's probably a cliche, since The Last Days of Disco, to suggest that Lady and the Tramp is as serious a commentary on the relations between men and women as any other mainstream movie of its era, but it struck me for the first time recently that when Tramp tries to persuade Lady to come with him on a grand adventure in the wide world beyond leashes and fences, Lady's response ("But who'll look after the baby?") is actually a trenchant double entendre. She refers, of course, not only to the human child that she feels an obligation to guard, but also to the puppies -- a likely product of the grand adventure -- whom she feels a maternal duty to protect. The movie is about how women domesticate men, and it's even about how love entails a kind of voluntary bondage. It may also be about how I take my social commentary where I can get it these days.

Which brings me to Enter the Dragon, from which -- try as I might -- I can glean no incisive social commentary, except perhaps that the nameless refuse of waterfront bars sure can kick ass when they need to. The first time I saw this movie was at a revival house, as part of a double bill with a Jackie Chan movie. I came for Jackie Chan, but I stayed for Bruce Lee. The movie is schlocky, disjointed, and campy, and if it's about anything at all, it's about what makes a movie star.

What is Central Station about? It's about the occasional similarity between writing a letter and saying a prayer. So much depends upon whether you believe the person on the other end will receive your communication.

I read an article a while ago in which a screenwriter remarked that The Iceman Cometh and The Music Man were essentially the same story. What she produced with that discovery isn't especially interesting to me, but the comparison she made is interesting to me, because I think she's right. Both stories are essentially about the human need for illusion, or self-delusion, or hope. What's most interesting to me, when I consider the comparison, is that The Music Man ends up with a more mature, and a more human, vision of that condition than The Iceman Cometh. That wouldn't have occurred to me when I was seventeen and in love with Eugene O'Neill and his dark, poetic prose and his romantic disillusionment; he was like an intellectual Janis Ian. True comedy is for grown-ups. And I've grown up a little since I was seventeen. Now? I always think there's a band, kid.


Blogger Jeff said...

I saw "Enter the Dragon" for the first time a few weeks ago, and I loved every silly minute of it. I now understand why so many kids in the early 1970s wanted to be Bruce Lee.

July 10, 2007 8:04 PM  
Blogger Kate Marie said...

Yeah, I feel like I understood that when I first saw it, too. The point of that particular evening at the movies was to see Jackie Chan, and while I certainly liked Jackie Chan a lot, I was kind of blown away by Bruce Lee.

July 10, 2007 8:25 PM  

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