Mr. Cellophane

In a location adjacent to a place in a city of some significance, what comes out of my head is plastered on the walls of this blog.

Monday, January 15, 2018

The Best of Times (Arthur B. Rubinstein)

A blown final play of a high school football game still haunts Jack (Robin Williams) years after the fact, so he arranges a rematch. All he needs to do is convince quarterback Reno (Kurt Russell) to get back into the game. Likable comedy never quite reaches greatness, but it's still entertaining, with Williams and Russell making a good team.

Arthur B. Rubinstein's score is quite engaging, utilizing Sousa marches for the big game scenes, Elgar's "Pomp and Circumstance" (the base for the school's fight song, and given a neat rendition in "Make-up Sex"), some tritone material reminiscent of WarGames ("Rainfall"), as well as a pair of themes: a determined motif for Jack and a wistful one for Reno. A long ago Rubinstein compilation promo featured some cues that seemed to be dialed out of the film, so all the more reason for a release.

The Best of Times
composed & conducted
Arthur B. Rubinstein

1. Pomp and Circumstance (Main Titles) 3.31
2. "What's the problem?" 0.38
3. Reno's Office (source) 1.24
4. Jack Takes Off in Le Pile 0.35
5. One Good Reason... 0.08
6. Junk in the Yard 1.36
7. Jack's Idea 0.36
8. Taft High Doorbell 0.09
9. Make-up Sex/New Digs 4.03
10. Reno's Lament 0.50
11. Extortion/Loyal Order of Caribou (source) 3:05
12. The Colonel Lays Down the Rules 0.39
13. The Safari Room (source)/Paint Job 2.10
14. Phony the Tiger 0.13
15. Team Run/The Offensive Line Returns (source) 2.27
16. Plays in the Dirt/Cleaning Up Taft 2.26
17. The Parade (source) 0.45
18. At the Bar #1 (source) 1.28
19. At the Bar #2 (source) 0.27
20. Losing Confidence/Bakersfield Trains 1.21
21. Arrival in Taft 0.51
22. Liberty Bell March (First Half Blues) 1.44
23. Rainfall 0.36
24. Jack Gets Benched/Reno's White Shoes 1.31
25. Washington Post March (The Comeback) 2.04
26. Touchdown! 1.46
27. Reconciliations 1.47
28. End Titles 0.55

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Wednesday, January 10, 2018

For 20 years, I'd only been vaguely aware of the 1995 remake of Sabrina, starring Harrison Ford (in the Humphrey Bogart role), Julia Ormond (taking over the title role from Audrey Hepburn) and Greg Kinnear (making his film debut in the William Holden role), and to this day, I've not seen it.

In perusing film music sites, I knew that John Williams scored it and even earned an Oscar nomination for it (in the Best Musical or Comedy Score category - ah, good times). Much like the film, I hadn't heard any of the music.

That is until I was called upon to review the compilation "Lights, Camera...Music! - Six Decades of John Williams". The feather-light piano theme may not be seen as one of the composer's best or most substantive, but it is undeniably lovely. Like Williams's best themes, it stays with you long after the film has faded from memory. If you haven't heard it (or heard it in a while), I implore you to seek it out.

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Friday, January 05, 2018

"Now that's comedy!"

Not long before Christmas, Scriptshadow reviewed a script called "Valedictorian", about an over-achieving student who would stop at nothing to attain the titular accolade. Haven't read it, but it sounds like something for people who thought that Election and Heathers were too cuddly. 

Carson singled out one of his favorite scenes in the script:

One of my favorite sequences is him trying to score a perfect score on an oral Spanish test. Larry is terrible at Spanish. Luckily for him, the real Spanish teacher is sick this week so a substitute is in. And the substitute is blind. So Larry comes up a plan to recruit a Mexican student who can’t speak a lick of English, and tell him to go into the class and pretend he’s him, Larry, before taking the test. However, before he goes, Larry fears that the student speaks Spanish a little too well. So he sits him down and attempts to teach him how to speak Spanish more like an American, erasing the heavy accent and the rolling R’s. It’s a funny scene and a great representation of the humor in the script.

Now, as I probably mentioned before, when it comes to plotholes and big twists, nine times out of ten, I'm a little slow on the uptake...but then comes that magic number ten (I'm still pretty proud of myself for figuring out the twist early on in Shutter Island). Here was my defense against that scene:

Larry sucks at Spanish, but a substitute is in for that day...and he's blind.

Does no one else's movie logic spidey-senses tingle at that? And that's not even getting into the coincidence factor.

Edit: And what's more, are all the other kids in this Spanish class blind, too? It's been mentioned that Larry is a douche with a capital bag, so who's to say that one of his (non-blind, might I add?) classmates wouldn't narc him out a) for some kind of revenge (cf. the janitor in Election) or b) just because "Hey, you're not Larry!"?
A few people agreed with me (quite a few upvotes), but one person responded with the following: "Short answer: it's a comedy." Meanwhile, I'm thinking, "You know, it's a good thing that you're just auditing this website and are not someone who's trying to be a better screenwriter or get something produced, because otherwise, a response like that comes off as really fucking stupid." Seriously, it's the kind of thing that's allowing improv to choke the genre to death. 'Oh, there doesn't need to be any plot logic or character consistency, because it's just a comedy.' And a hearty 'fuck you!' to anyone who sincerely believes that. If you throw this stuff out because you don't think you need it for comedies, you are dead in the water.

On that note, boy was I disappointed with The Wrong Guy, and I say this as a dyed-in-the-wool "Kids in the Hall" fan. 'Underrated comedy', my ass. Greedy is an underrated comedy. This was a piece of my heart dying.

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Monday, January 01, 2018

So far, the year's been going pretty damn well. I've written four pages of a new script (part of one of my resolutions to write every day and it's gonna stick!) and seen three movies as part of two different scavenger hunts at Letterboxd.

All I really need now is a better paying job that doesn't require me to get up at three-fucking-thirty in the morning and I'm on easy street.

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Monday, December 25, 2017

Well, this is an interesting rarity: for the first time since I can remember, I received everything I asked for for Christmas. Of course, you could argue that I had a short list, which I did.

One thing I didn't ask for, but probably should've in hindsight: boxer shorts. Then again, maybe I was better off keeping this to myself. I mean, if the genders were reversed, that would've made for uncomfortablity on a number of levels.


Saturday, December 23, 2017

Dominic Frontiere (1931-2017)

Another composer has left us, and while I'm willing to own up to the fact that I don't know as much about Dominic Frontiere as I did Daniel Licht or Terry Plumeri, it's always a sad day when a composer passes on.

I really liked his theme for the TV series "Vegas" and his music for the made-for-TV horror movie Don't Go to Sleep seemed to come from the 'score the movie they should've made instead of the one they did' school (and I'm still miffed that I've misplaced the track listings I made for this).

On the film side, I'm most aware of two of his collaborations with director Richard Rush: his slinky music for Color of Night (which I hope gets a full release, someday) and his delightful circusy music for The Stunt Man. The latter also featured a touching, pseudo-Bondian love theme, "Bits and Pieces" performed by Dusty Springfield.

He will be missed.

P.S. It is truly weird to think that his theme for "The Rat Patrol" was sampled for Black Eye Peas' "Fergilicious".


Friday, December 22, 2017

Based on only a cursory understanding of the justice system, I'd like to think that, in the reboot of Shaft, Carla Howard was found not guilty. Let's look at the facts: Walter Wade Jr. killed her son, Trey, and was found not guilty. Right away, that should create sympathy for her (after all, who knows how many people in her neighborhood and the five boroughs have been killed by assholes thinking they could get away with it?), but then, Wade gets off throughout the movie (but for his run-ins with Shaft and Peoples). A trial is set up, but every juror they bring in is biased (the sympathy angle), so, if she doesn't get away with it, at the very least, she's facing - at most - a slap on the wrist.

Again, this is a cursory understanding of the justice system. I've been wrong before and I'll be wrong again.