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For No Reason at All in C

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As usual, when trying to sort out my internal problems, i resort to writing about Al Jolson.
I realize I got the man wrong, and not in the way i bet you're thinking. Seeing The Jazz Singer again for the umpteenth time i realize it's not that he's doing anything particularly special in this picture--on the contrary, he's a thousand shades of awful. Really, everything they tell actors not to do i'm pretty sure he pulls in this. But it's precisely that he CAN'T act, it's what happens in place of acting that's fascinating, and profoundly moving. It's that you can't simply write off his bad acting as lack of skill, really, it's that he can't be insincere. To look at his face in the moments when the camera is on him is to witness unrefined fear, the man is terrified, he's highly conscious. There's a camera in his muzzle and he's hard pressed to forget it. It is then when one feels one knows an actor, when all is not fluid, when there is something definite amiss. If nothing else of his physical presence, which was supposed to be off-the-hook magnetic, survives in film, the vulnerable quality does, and with that some of the genuineness of his performance. What's more he's the only actor I can think of who can so soaringly get away with bad acting. Though I shouldn't say bad, I will say lack of acting, that's more to the point. If there is, in fact, a point.



And a question for all you out there;
Lilian Harvey---brilliant, or a poor man's Paulette Goddard?
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is to my surprise a greater work of art than the Sistine Chapel and the Guernica put together. I hate to say it, but Eddie Cantor is kind of a genius.
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The question of Gary Cooper has lately impressed itself upon me.



Here is a man who, though surpassingly beautiful, has the most shapeless character I have ever seen in an actor. He seems buried, in fact, and one example of where the studios made a complete publicity cock-up. Whenever you start to get to something genuine about him something happens, whether it be Walter Brennan speaking, or gunfire, or what have you, that makes it bolt and throw itself under again, and you are faced with a man you hardly know, his face suddenly hard without purpose, and his eyes empty. They are very cold eyes and yet they seem like there should be a wealth of emotion there, or at least some kind of glimpse of the soul, even if its a pathetic glimpse. But why must he be saddled with the kind of roles which rob him of all interest? He's always at war or in the west, trying very hard to be a man, when really it seems to come like the most natural thing in the world to him. After all, he is beautiful, and what that beauty allows, if he, and the studio, would let it, is deeper sympathy with that quest. It is only in the stills, and brief moments in the Capra pictures and Pride of the Yankees, where the vulnerability that is truly winning comes through, and lets you finally believe that you have, after all, a man in him, and not a cold hunk of grecian marble. Even the movie posters show a strange aptness which the films themselves do not.





In stills mostly it depends on whether he is placed above or below the woman:





It is highly annoying to be able to find in abundance in stills and ads that quality which renders him so singular, and to have to search for it exhaustively in the films themselves, wherein he is focused on grunting and yelling in a monotone. Usually what ends up happening is i give up and focus for the rest of the picture on his legs, which are an enigma and in of themselves, and a lovely one to get lost in, as is the rest of his body. Only for some reason i cannot accept a knock-out as just a knock-out, i've got to find the deeper loveliness. Perhaps its just my problem. Hollywood has ruined me. It has made so that i can't take beauty out of context. Ah well.

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Work study is such a goddamn joke. Not even in the waste of time sense, it's literally hilarious. When you're not lugging 16mm prints of 'Blow Job' back and forth between NYU and the MOMA, you're sitting around trying to read in between the sound of drills and the sporadic asbestos showers. But construction can't stop, because then we can't move into our new space next semester, resulting in another barren, pointless four months of transition time. It's been a goddamn year and I want to see 'six hours to live'. And i'll be damned if i have to wait another year for it. In the meantime our health is in jeopardy. It's progressed beyond the point of the fact of my boss's wearing a gas mask being funny, now it's something we don't even think twice about. However I must admit that I did enjoy it last week when I got to leave early on a 'trauma break', on account of a suspicious smell of gas on the third floor. Some things are too priceless to be entirely obnoxious.
I Hear Music:
rudy vallee
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Is this seriously what the next three years of my life are going to look like. Because I feel like it can't be more than an elaborate joke.
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Lately I've had a yen for Maureen O'Hara, one of the most understatedly beautiful girls in pictures. However since hearing that she was known as 'The Queen of Technicolor', i'm feeling a little intimidated. There's a possibility that she was one of those late thirties girls who sort of missed the boat where the golden age is concerned, and had to content herself with a thriving 50s career comprised of infinitely less exciting women's weepies. However I really don't know, it could be a fear that i'm pulling out of my ass. In any case for those of you who haven't seen the Laughton Hunchback of Notre Dame, see to it. She's a motherfucking dream.


Mamoulian festival at Film Forum in September. There is a God. Who knew?
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Things that have lately bothered me:

-Writing cards to parents. Somehow I always get the feeling that I'm saying the exact same thing I said in the last card. But it always seems to hit the spot, so I'm not worrying. I just wish it wasn't necessary to reprise the same feelings over and over again, one card for the year would suffice. After all, how much can one's relationship with one's parents change in two months? 'Dearest Mother, since the last card I wrote you everything has changed between us. It is now August, the cat has died, you've gotten through that horrid two-month period of life-threatening illness and I feel closer to you than ever before.' Sure. Maybe in somebody's life, but decidedly not in mine.

-Once one has obtained a job, all the other offers start pouring in. Where one man treads, others will follow. I only wish it didn't take them a goddamn month and a half to commence treading.

-The middle of my bed is caving in and I'm in very real danger of aquiring a decubitus ulcer.

-I'm perfectly aware that I didn't enjoy college, that I more or less disliked New York, and that the time I spent there was filled with regret and longing for the home I left behind. But Jesus CHRIST do I want BACK. Give me the Film Forum and two buck falafel and I'm at least a partially happy man.
Rather:
OH BUT FOR A MUSE OF FIRE!
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Here is a riddle. To get the job at Yankee Candle will give me leave to enjoy my leisure time. It will also dramatically decrease my leisure time by about 2/3. It will give me five grand in two and a half months. It will also cost me forty minutes of gas getting to and from the factory every day. It will not involve communication with human beings. It will also not involve sitting down, breathing normal air, or working outside of a sweatbox environment for eight hours at a time. I will be able to live without guilt. I will also most likely want to commit violent suicide on I91. If there is any other kind of suicide to be had on a highway, i would be greatly obliged if you'd let me know.
So this is what they call irony. I am no stranger to you, my friend. And yet i never seem to learn, because i am always puzzled to make your aquaintence yet again. Sort of like the time when i was arguing about the virtues of 'Ruggles of Red Gap' to an NYU compatriot and i took a step out of myself and thought gosh, i'm behaving like one of those assholes who pays exorbitant amounts of money to go to film school and get a degree in 'The Immigrant Question in the Work of George Cukor'. Then i stepped back into myself only to find that i actually was. And i had myself a jolly good laugh.
Rather:
like a jackass
I Hear Music:
let's go slumming [on park avenue]- Alice Faye & co.
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That's right kids, i've decided to revive what was an excellent, if short lived, cycle of 'muppets do the classics' films. I think that trend was a ray of sunshine all too suddenly extinguished. My first project will be 'Muppet Bleak House', starring Michael Caine as Jarndyce and Tim Curry as Esther. It will be followed by 'Muppet Germinal', 'Muppet Of Mice and Men' and 'Muppet Gastby'. After all, the muppets really have a darker side that for some reason no one cares to explore.
Current Location:
pottersville
Rather:
creative creative
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You know, it's funny. I make up my mind that I hate the city, that it's despicable in every way. And yet then shit like this happens

http://www.filmforum.org/films/bmusicalsfilms.html#416

and I really don't know, I just don't know. Anyplace where a Donald O'Connor triple feature is not a bizarre occurance is alright with me. FUCK YEAH!

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