Rob Abrazado (flatvurm) wrote,
Rob Abrazado
flatvurm

A few miscellaneous items

I recently mentioned the movie Clue on this here blog and was pleased to see a few positive responses, so that makes me feel better. It also occurred to me to recommend the movie Murder By Death to all you Clue fans. It's very similar in concept, except it was made almost ten years prior to Clue and isn't based on the board game. It's a Neil Simon comedy that's basically a spoof mashup of popular mystery-solving figures: Sam Spade, Miss Marple, etc. [EDIT: You know...originally I had "Columbo" in this list, but after watching the movie again...it's not so much that Columbo is parodied as it is just that Peter Falk is in there being Peter Falk. So...you know.] It's a comedic murder mystery featuring an ensemble cast, so it scans a lot like Clue, and it's really funny. The cast, though, is really all-star. This is what I mentioned to gavriela: "And when I say all-star, I mean like it's a sick cast: Peter Sellers, Truman Capote, ... Alec Guinness! Possibly the weirdest part of the movie is Peter Falk parodying his own character. :) Heh...and I didn't think about this until just this second, but Eileen Brennan was in both movies. :)" [EDIT: Again, not so much the case about Peter Falk. See above edit.]

Anyway. I was looking the thing up on IMDB, and I noticed that Murder By Death came out in 1976. I thought about that for a second, I thought...didn't Star Wars come out in 1977? So...I watched this movie a lot when I was a kid, though not nearly as much as I watched Star Wars. And I'm sure I saw Star Wars first. So all this time, it had never occurred to me that this was Alec Guinness before he was Ben Kenobi. I found that slightly disconcerting.

See...I'm vaguely aware that Alec Guinness had a career before Star Wars; I just didn't care that much. So for fun, I decided to look him up on IMDB just to see what he was up to before Star Wars came out. (Besides Murder By Death.) I came across something that basically just stopped me looking. It turns out that in 1973, Guinness starred in a movie called Hitler: The Last Ten Days, playing...Hitler.

Let me reiterate that. A few years before he was Ben Kenobi, ALEC GUINNESS WAS HITLER.

I can't help but feel that that must have been a little strange for people who were seeing Star Wars as adults. Imagine yourself watching Star Wars for the first time, Ben Kenobi emerges from the desert, throws back the hood on his cloak, and you say to yourself, "Wow...wasn't that the guy who played Hitler?" That's gotta be a whole different Star Wars experience.

* * *

I've gone back to borrowing DVDs from the library again. This is usually a bizarre experience, since I never go in there with a plan, and I basically just end up pulling random stuff off the shelves. (Especially since the movies aren't really that well-sorted, either.) Yesterday I found myself watching two movies, War, Inc., and Must Love Dogs. Must Love Dogs is a romantic comedy. War, Inc. is a socio-political satire. Somehow, and I didn't really think about this at the time, they both star John Cusack. This was...an unusual combination of films, as on the one hand I get to see John Cusack as the charmingly befuddled divorced man who hand-carves wooden rowing boats, and on the other hand I get to see John Cusack as a hitman. Good range on that guy? I guess? Anyway...that wasn't the best connection between the movies.

So, yes, they both starred John Cusack. What was funny was...in War, Inc., he plays a hitman who is sent to assassinate some Middle East oil magnate amusingly named Omar Sharif. In Must Love Dogs, Cusack's character's favorite movie is Doctor Zhivago, the classic starring...Omar Sharif. So I thought that was pretty funny.

Yeah, okay. Ignore me.

* * *

Speaking of War, Inc., by the way, I actually kinda recommend the flick. You know that kind of satire where...like you kind of already know the world is messed up, but a piece of satire takes the parts that are messed up and turns them up to 11? And you know it's just completely absurd that the world could be like that...except you kinda suspect that the world might end up like that? Or maybe is like that? That's what this movie is like. I laughed, but it's the kind of laugh that makes you feel like a crazy person for laughing, you know? So I dug it.

It stars John Cusack, and also Joan Cusack, and both of them look like they've aged a lot recently; Dan Aykroyd shows up, also looking pretty old; Marisa Tomei is there, looking lovely as ever; and the biggest surprise for me was this completely filthy Hilary Duff. I mean...it was just wrong. You go, Hilary Duff.

The flick is basically lampooning America's invasion of Iraq, and by extension it touches on U.S. foreign policy in general and the corporate oligarchy (the best image: tanks with corporate sponsor billboards bolted on the side -- awesome). It's basically what the invasion of Iraq would be if we lived in the Underground RPG, ya know? And the whole thing is all wrapped up in a completely absurd and untenable storyline, so...enjoy. Ah, and also there's Ben Kingsley. You know...I just saw Sir Ben in something else recently -- Lucky Number Slevin -- and it's starting to dawn on me...I don't think I've ever seen him use the same accent twice. Because of that...I'm starting to feel I'm not absolutely sure what Ben Kingsley actually sounds like. :) Although to me, he'll always be Coz in Sneakers. :)

* * *

In closing, let's play a quick round of "No More Drugs...For That Man." As reported in this Jonathan Carroll blog post, here's a quote from author Leonard Michaels:
Kafka imagines a man who has a hole in the back of his head. The sun shines into this hole. The man himself is denied a glimpse of it. Kafka might as well be talking about the man's face. Others "look into it." The most public, promiscuous part of his body is invisible to himself. How obvious. Still, it takes a genius to say that the face, the thing that kisses, sneezes, whistles, and moans is a hole more private than our privates. You retreat from this dreadful hole into quotidian blindness, the blindness of your face to itself. You want to light a cigarette or fix yourself a drink. You want to make a phone call. To whom? You don’t know. Of course you don’t. You want to phone your face. The one you’ve never met. Who you are.

Thank you, Leonard Michaels. And now, may I just say, "No More Drugs...For That Man."
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