Monday, December 3, 2007

Monday Night Monologue: A Few of My Favorite Things

Hey everyone, I was feeling a little bummed out after I put on my angry pants (or the slacks of wrath if it's a formal occasion) this morning to complain to the rude lady about her in-theatre comments during The Mist. So I figured I'd cheer myself up by playing the glad game (thanks Terry). Anyhow, this in turn got me thinking about another list of things that make life worth living from one of my favorite movies, which THEN in turn got me thinking about doing a recurring feature on the blog. So welcome to the first of what I hope to be many Monday Night Monologues. You can watch it at about 1:05 in the clip below or just read it if you're at work sans headphones.

Why is life worth living? It's a very good question. Um... Well, There are certain things I guess that make it worthwhile. uh... Like what... okay... um... For me, uh... ooh... I would say... what, Groucho Marx, to name one thing... uh... um... and Wilie Mays... and um... the 2nd movement of the Jupiter Symphony... and um... Louis Armstrong, recording of Potato Head Blues... um... Swedish movies, naturally... Sentimental Education by Flaubert... uh... Marlon Brando, Frank Sinatra... um... those incredible Apples and Pears by Cezanne... uh... the crabs at Sam Wo's... uh... Tracy's face...

-Isaac Davis (Woody Allen, Manhattan)

Its such an oddly grouped list, an almost calculated mix of pretentious affectations (note that its not just "Swedish movies" but "Swedish movies, naturally"), wistful low-brow and unabashed sentiment. The "uh's" are spot on too. Even the most elastically verbose of us can't summon genius fluidly. The pauses not only make it sound more natural but make it relate-able.

If you've noticed the header of this blog (and who hasn't?) you'll note that I have a great deal of love for this particular Allen film. Interestingly enough Allen disliked the film so much he begged United Artists to shelve it indefinitely. I can't even begin to fathom why. Maybe some of the personal details of Davis' love-life hit too close to home? Maybe he was worried how he'd look dating someone so much more younger than himself on screen (a fear he clearly later abandoned)?

For whatever reasons Allen may have for disliking the film, I can think of thousands of reasons why its a winner. The rich Gershwin score, the lustrous black and white wide screen cinematography of Gordon Willis (who, if I ever start doing the DP appreciation column I've been promising myself to start researching, will get one of the first entries), the dazzling script by Allen and his Annie Hall writing partner Marshall Brickman. Diane Keaton a long way from playing Annie Hall. An ice cold Meryl Streep. Manhattan itself and all its gorgeous locations. Good lord this movie makes me want to go to the planetarium with that special someone and just soak it all in.

1 comment:

The Autodidact said...

I actually hated Manhattan the first time I saw it, in college. It was not until a second viewing, a year or more later, that I fell in love with that film.

Also, one of the rare Woody Allen films where what it looks like is as good as what is said in it. Amazing cinematography from The Prince of Darkness.