-Yes, I did try to watch the Oscars last night. But the one streaming feed I could find quit on me after a half hour. But to be honest, I didn’t mind that much because I really didn’t have a rooting interest in anything winning. Simply because, for reasons half financial and half temperamental, I only saw four movies in the theaters last year.
“X-Men: First Class”
“Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol”
“The Adventures of Tintin”
As a result, I’ve barely been paying attention to the horse race aspects. Which is fine, simply because the older I get, the more I find myself in agreement with Drew McWeeny. A good movie is a good movie and it doesn’t need a statue to validate it. So, I’ll catch the Billy Crystal clips on YouTube later.
-Sound the trumpets! The Home Video Gods have smiled upon us. Marshall Brickman’s criminally neglected comedy “Simon” has now been preserved on the shiny disc!
Brickman’s comedy about a scientist who’s brain washed by a Government Think Tank into thinking he’s an alien sent to save the world was one of those films I must have seen several times on cable as a teenager. Only to have it drop out of sight for thirty years. (Quick side note. Thirty years? Fuck, I’m old.) But if I remember it correctly, (And I think the above clip bears it out.) it was a pretty dead on social satire with the barest of science fiction overtones. I may write more about it when I get the disc but kudos to Warners Archive for getting this thing back into circulation.
-Some thoughts about “The Wild Bunch” on the occasion of getting the Blu-Ray.
It’s a good transfer but it’s not perfect. There are some shots with extreme grain next to shots that are clear as crystal. And there’s one moment, (When Bo Hopkins tells the men who shot him that they can “Kiss my sister’s Black Cat’s ass”.) that’s washed in a brown tint that screams for a proper color correction. It’s still worth the upgrade. And unless Warner’s does a full restoration or let’s Criterion take a crack at it, this is as good as it’s going to get.
The more I see this movie, the more the futility of a remake becomes apparent. And it boils down to the question of casting.
Who would play Pike Bishop?
When we meet Mr. Bishop, he is clearly a man who has seen better days. His face is a cliff side marred by sun, worry and regret. He has a bum leg from a gunshot from a jealous husband. And his soul has been rubbed down to a stub from a lifetime of crime. He is a man who has been exhausted by life. In 1967 when production started, William Holden had suffered from a series of flops and life long alcoholism. His career was on the skids and Peckinpah was able to get Holden to tap into the self loathing he was feeling at that point and give a performance for the ages.
So could play that role now?
Jeff Bridges? He’s got the chops and the Grizzle. But I don’t see him having the inner rage Holden had. Plus after “True Grit”, he may not be interested in taking on another Western Icon.
Clint Eastwood? Thirty years ago, maybe. And he already made his own revisionist western classic, “Unforgiven”. I can’t imagine he’d want to muck around with someone else’s. (Also, can you imagine Clint Eastwood doing a Tony Scott film? He’d have a seizure during the table read.)
Clooney? Maybe. But only if he lets someone beat him about the head and neck with a bicycle chain at morning make up.
There’s a certain style of battered masculinity that’s been bled out of Hollywood since 1969. And I’m sure people smarter than me can suss out the reasons for it. But it’s lack will make any remake of “The Wild Bunch” at best, problematic.
Because you can’t make a movie about old men reaching the end the line and have it star Zac Efron. Not for another forty years anyway.
-And finally, just because she’s awesome, here’s Thelma Schoonmaker talking about Michael Powell’s “Peeping Tom”.