Friday, April 15, 2011

Simon Schama, Drinking Buddy. Younger Amanda, Indignant.

When watching Simon Schama on Charlie Rose, I was first drawn in because Mr. Schama's mannerisms are very much like my boss at the first job I had after college.

The more I watched, the more I just wanted to go out drinking with this guy.  Something I never wanted to do with that boss.

Then there was a knock at the door, it was me from about 20 years ago, I was not given opportunity to greet her, as she started straight in with, "You want to go out drinking with British historian you saw on Charlie Rose?  Really?  Where did I go wrong?"

I could have sat her down and drawn a direct line from her to me.  Instead I just shrugged.  I had to protect her.  Her present needs to be unconcerned with the seemingly inevitable prison of lameness we eventually call home.  There's still time for her to enjoy some of her journey here, even if she can't change the destination.

That said, Simon does seem he'd be an awesome drinking buddy.

Click here to see Simon Schama's 4/14/11 visit to Charlie Rose.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Happy Birthday, Mr. Letterman.

I know this is a bit fan-girl-like, and definitely the behavior of someone much younger than I am, but I'm doing this birthday post anyway.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Shadow of a Doubt | 1943

Joseph Newton:  A bathtub.  Pull the legs out from under you, hold you down.  It's been done, but it's still good.

Charlie Newton:  Oh!  What's the matter with you two?  Do you always have to talk about killing people?

Joseph Newton:  We're not talking about killing people.  Herb's talking about killing me and I'm talking about killing him.

Emma Newton:  It's your father's way of relaxing!

Art & Fart

With this post, the Gehring definition of Screwball is officially dropped.  It's still pretty valid, and it'll probably be part of this blog going forward, it's just no longer the working definition for this study.

Cue trumpet fanfare.

The first proposed characteristic of Screwball Study's very own definition of screwball is:  Contains both high-brow and low-brow comedy.

This was inspired by listening to Trey Parker and Matt Stone on Charlie Rose.  The two talk about how they think a thing can be both art and fart jokes.  And they're right.  So right that it might also be true that a thing can't be comedy without the art.  Without art, fart jokes aren't comedy, they're just fart jokes.

I know.  I know.  That opens up a whole can of worms.  What is art?  What is comedy?  Well, the question of comedy is probably the actual question motivating this whole blog.  And now that high-brow and low-brow have been married together as a key characteristic of screwball, the question of art is now part of this study too.

You may not have noticed, but I just totally dodged writing something substantial by acknowledging that something substantial needs to be defined.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Are you going to arise to a stiffy on the day?

My Fair Colbert:  Stephen interviews British historian Hugo Vickers
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Fortune's Child (Review of ARTHUR 2011) | Reason Magazine | 2011

The most hysterical thing about the new Arthur (as opposed to the old Arthur, the 1981 movie starring Dudley Moore) is the instant wave of hatred it has drawn from the nation’s 10 million movie reviewers.

When I was a teenager I had a slight crush on Kurt Loder.  Though we've both outgrown MTV, though our politics have gone in different directions, and even though neither of us knew the other had an interest in Screwball Comedies, I still feel like I can say, "We'll always have ARTHUR."

As ridiculous and non-sensical as that statement is, it gets worse:  I haven't even seen the 2011 ARTHUR remake.  But everything Mr. Loder writes in this article is precisely what I thought about the "controversy" surrounding the remake, and everything I hope to experience when I finally see it.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Howard Hawks' Monkey Business | The New Yorker | August 2009

This bit on Howard Hawks' Monkey Business reminded me of the great many charms of the film.

Although it is true that it's not a great comedy and the performances are a bit inconsistent, it's still worth watching.  Most notable are Cary Grant's two experiences with the youth serum, and the relationship between Cary Grant and Ginger Rogers as husband and wife.

There's a theory that a good movie is a few good scenes and no bad ones.  This one has a handful of good moments and more than a few awkward ones.  No scene is fully bad, but not one is entirely off-the-charts great either.  It's an okay movie, and worth watching.