8 June: Explanation:
When Our Mr. Finn takes vacations, he sometimes asks if I'd like to spend part of the time at his apartment, checking his mail and hanging out. He and I believe that if his DVD-player is not run at least one hour each day, it will rust.
And, since I own neither DVD-player nor t-v set, I think of this excursion into Foreign Lands as something like the title of an Irwin Shaw novel:
Two Weeks In Another Town
His walls are all lined with bookshelves, his shelves lined, two deep, with old VCR-tapes and now with DVDs. As soon as I arrived, I picked out a fistfull of titles I was interested in seeing --- most of them things I'd heard of but never seen --- then I laid in a little food and began exercizing the mechanism.
In the midst of it all, I discovered that the French Open was taking place! If I owned a t-v, tennis would be the only game I'd pay any attention to, and these were the semi-finals weeks!
The best of both worlds!
SO, here's a list of the movies I was wallowing in the past two weeks:
COMMENTS:BR> I worked on a production of THE PAJAMA GAME that a Harvard group did around 1959. It was an uneven student production that I "saw" from backstage. I think the Show Itself is uneven, but I thought the film Decidedly UNeven!
One night the director asked all the Radcliffe ladies if they'd stay for one more run-through, and someone called for permission. They rolled up sleeves and gave it a go; then someone who owned an old touring-car pulled up at the theatre door, most of the girls loaded inside, and on the wide running-boards on each side stood others. The car started and slowly waddled down the street with the nearly entire cast spontaneously breaking into the up-tempo number:
"This is their Once-A-Year-Day!
Once a year they go wild,
act a child,
and go mildly insane!
Once A Year!"
That lovely, over-loaded car still echoes through my mind yet, sliding slowly off into the quiet, moon-lit streets of Cambridge like a scene out of some Orson Welles masterpiece.
I really wish the movie could hold even a candle to that memory.
I didn't plan it that way, but an awful lot of these movies involved Robert DeNiro.
Both THE DEERHUNTER and NY-NY gave a Lot to think about. Both of them, to me, had to do with the ambience of lower-middle-class reality more than anything else.
In particular, I noticed the speech-rhythms and the structure of arguments in the latter movie are dead-on recreations of those of New York. The odd structure of the show, with the story losing track of one or another character for long stretches, also mirrored the now-up now-down feel of making a living in The Apple.
The story looks like a modern re-telling of A STAR IS BORN --- and as such it's the best of them all. It's the relevent talents of the two protagonists, against the cruel background of changing musical tastes, that make a happy ending impossible. (Liza pretty much plays her mother here, but no one does her better!)
And, technically, the entire film is edged with a dangerous feeling of improvised dialogue. These are no-quarter arguments, on all sides, and no one backs down anywhere.
New Yorkers are like that, aren't they?
I still think of THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH as a Nicholas Roeg movie --- ever since I saw his WALKABOUT I have tried to seek out this director's work, but for some reason I missed seeing this in a big theatre. The science-fiction elements here are so buried into realism as to be doubly shocking. And that singer who's the star, whatever his name is, turns out to be a pretty good actor.
This was my first experience of ANGELS IN AMERICA. I think I'd like to see it two or three more times to try to absorb it all. Kushner, when he was interviewed on the FRESH AIR show on radio, had ideas cateracting out of himself like Niagara Falls, and here just as in HOMEBODY/KABUL that stays true.
[DAMN! I was to see CAROLINE OR CHANGE tonight, and blew it. Gotta try tomorrow, I hope!]
Okay, you can see, I think, from the variety of stuff that Our Mr. Finn colle --- er, no. I often say of the comic-books I still own that "I'm NOT 'A Collector' --- I only keep things I expect to want to read again!"
Well, the same is really true of Our Mr. Finn. Ownership is one thing; the opportunity to Appreciate is something entirely other.
And he let's me participate...
Okay, now that you have a shallow idea of what a treasure-trove is the Finn apartment, you're ready to read a short-story I wrote about it, ca;;ed:
"The Chatchkie That Ate Chicago"
What I like about tennis is the aspect of Duel: each point can be crucial when good people play each other, and their concentration is as good as any actor's. I knew nearly nothing about the game until, when spending ten weeks in England in 1972, I spent several afternoons over Wimbledon Fortnight in Joe & Marsha Hanlon's living-room watching Stan Smith finally conquer Ilie Nastasie. (They went to deuce nearly every point, and I was actually disappointed when they stopped playing --- because somebody had won!)
It was only years later that I figured out what words like "volley" and "rally" meant. Then, again years later, I went to see the tournament out at the Longwood Cricket Club, first a final, then a week attending every singles-game on center-court. I tend, all the time, to root for the loser --- but I had a twinge this week when, in the audience at the French I saw Matts Wielander, who won my first live game.
I wrote a couple stories about tennis, too:
And if you'd like any more stories, here.
Monday my "revised" left knee replacement will be re-Edited.
Film at eleven.......