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Aug 4, 2010

The State of the Cabins (8/4/10)

Movies watched for the first time (non-theatrically) since last week:
* Harold and Maude
This is a movie that I'd felt like I'd seen long before this past week. Turns out there was an excellent reason for that - much like Annie Hall, it's been aped time and again by filmmakers who grew up watching it. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, either, as the resulting films influenced by Maude are some of my favorites - among them Rushmore, Better Off Dead, and Garden State. In fact, if this flick ever were to be remade, it would HAVE to be done by Wes Anderson, right? His persona is practically that of a grown-up version of Harold, and he was even so cool as to cast Bud Cort in The Life Aquatic (I'd forgotten and/or never noticed that Cort was also John Doe Jersey in Dogma).

I'm happy to say that H & M lived up to my expectations. Relying on comedy darker than the night sky and the kind of attention to detail that must be appreciated (i.e. Harold wearing the same exact clothes as his shrink), it's tone was right up my alley. Throw in some sweet Yusef Islam tunes, Tom Skerritt (credited as someone else, but damn I knew it was him) and one hell of a fucked up final 20 minutes, and you have the makings of a classic.

Fletch's Film Rating:
Expectation:
"It's in the hole!"
Reality:
"It's in the hole!"

* In the Loop
And people think Inception is a mind-bender.

This was recently described to me as being "two hours of excellent writing, though I'm not sure if I really know what it's about." Pretty apt, though I think that's essentially the point. Peter Capaldi, James Gandolfini, Tom Clift's British look-alike, Steve Coogan, Sledge Hammer and the girl from My Girl will chat you to death if you're not careful, but that's just fine with me, as this is some of the sharpest writing around. Even better, no one comes out unscathed - Brit pols, American pols, the Army, the media - all are lampooned for your comic enjoyment, and (just about) all come out smelling like dung.

Fans of action shouldn't touch this with a ten-foot pole, but all others are encouraged to check out one of the funnier pictures from last year.

Fletch's Film Rating:
Expectation:
"Darn tootin."
Reality:
"It's in the hole!"

Music I'm currently obsessed with:
* I have a weakness for accordions. Short of their inclusion in Mexican "oompah" music, I'm a sucker for them. Fortunately for my wife, this affinity has not made its way to polka music...yet (her Dad is a fan). But French music with accordions gets me.

I first heard this song playing at the end of Wes Anderson's (yes, him again) Darjeeling Limited short pre-film, Hotel Chevalier.



It played again on Sunday as I was working on a construction project. That's right, something manly, with lumber and nails and a hammer and a mitre saw. (Hopefully, that offsets the accordion thing.) It's been in my head ever since.

* Something else that's been in my head for a long time - the (500) Days of Summer soundtrack, which I finally purchased and received this week. They had me from the start with the Regina Spektor song "Us," but the great songs don't stop there. Two awesome Smiths songs (and I was never all that big a Morrissey fan or anything), some Simon and Garfunkel, Wolfmother, a pretty good cover of the Pixies' "Here Comes Your Man," the "Mushaboom" song by Feist, and even that awful/awesome Hall & Oates song made re-famous by the movie. Far and away my favorite soundtrack of the last five years.
It's been nearly a

Book I'm currently reading:
Still on A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole. About 100 pages left. The plot is really starting to thicken. I sure hope this ends with Ignatius getting his head bashed in...what a character.


16 people have chosen wisely: on "The State of the Cabins (8/4/10)"

Sebastian Gutierrez said...

Haven't seen In the Loop, but I have seen many clips on Youtube.

"Allow me to pop a jaunty little bonnet on your purview and ram it up your shitter with a lubricated horse cock!"

Genius!

The Mad Hatter said...

"What are you still doing here? Didn't you hear me say 'horse cock'?"

How did the Arcade Fire not get a mention in this post? Though the sting of that is nicely offset by movies living up to your expectations for once!

Alex said...

Oh jeez, both Harold and Maude and In the Loop are so good, I'm really glad you enjoyed them!

Also the accordion is one of my favorite instruments! A while ago I did a whole playlist dedicated to them when I had a college radio show. This song is quite lovely.

Dan said...

I was a latecomer to Harold and Maude (in fact to Hal Ashby films in general). But, I thought it was brilliant - unique and inspired, and still holds up perfefctly well today. Great music from Cat Stevens too.

Daniel Getahun said...

One of my dear friends has told me for years that I need to see Harold and Maude. This makes me feel bad. I need to finally watch it.

JLG said...

Fletch you have gained a few cool points. H&M is definitely one of my favorites and I've had a hard time finding anyone who enjoyed it as much as I do.

Castor said...

Have yet to see Harold & Maude. In the Loop is an hilarious mockumentary with some truly memorable lines. Glad you liked it!

Fletch said...

Sebastian - the whole movie is filled with bon mots like that. Funny stuff, and a ton of non-sequitirs.

Hatter - Pretty sure I gave AF a shout-out in last week's State. I'll be obsessed with Suburbs and Interpol's latest soon enough...

Alex - I can't remember, but you must also be a DeVotchKa fan, then. They employ one quite a bit. But oh, the Amelie soundtrack....

Dan - I don't know about perfectly well, but H & M does hold up pretty good considering it's been 40 years. I look forward to future viewings.

Daniel - I don't recall you being a tremendous Wes Anderson lover; if you indeed are, you ought to see H & M right quickly. If not, it's still worth a viewing, but Anderson haters probably won't like it all that much.

JLG - I appreciate it. I don't know if I love it as much as you do, but hell, you know how often it is that a movie made pre-, say, 1980 lives up to the hype for me? Jaws and Close Encounters are two standouts in that category, btw.

Daniel Getahun said...

Yer right in that I'm a half-Anderson fan - pre-2000 only. Regardless, though, I enjoy seeing the films that influenced the films, as you recently found out with Good/Bad/Ugly and Tarantino.

Also (shameless plug), In the Loop featured my #7 favorite scene from 2009.

Fletch said...

Haha - yeah, I dug that scene, too. "12." "Thousand?" "No, just 12."

I'd love to see a chart of classic films and their well-looked-upon contemporaries that ape the shit out of them (Annie Hall >>> When Harry Met Sally is the biggest offender that comes to mind, and there wasn't even 10 years between them).

Buffett35 said...

Not to split hairs, but it looks like there were 12 years between Annie Hall and When Harry Met Sally. Also, I don't really see the copy-catting between these 2 movies, unless you're just referring to the short, older jewish guy hooking up with a too-hot-for-him blond chick aspect.

Kaiderman said...

"Sledge Hammer"? haha... I get it but you just showed your age. As I said on LAMBcast 31, I saw In The Loop and loved it but have no idea what they're yapping about.
Also, is it bad that I haven't seen Harold and Maude?

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Fletch said...

Buffett - 10 years, 12 years, whatever.

You're high - Harry is more or less a direct rip of Annie. Found this on some site in about two seconds:

" The summer of 1989's 'sleeper' film has a number of startling resemblances to Woody Allen's witty, urban romance Annie Hall (1977): the title credits (with a black background and white text) along with the film's title song "It Had to Be You" (sung by Diane Keaton in Allen's film) being played on a piano, direct camera interviews-testimonials, split-screen techniques, the Manhattan backdrop (including the fall foliage), evocative George Gershwin tunes, obsessive talk about sex and death, the romance between a Jew and non-Jewish woman (shiksa), and Harry and Sally's first meeting in 1977 - is the year the similar film was released."

Kai - I'm fine with showing my age as it pertains to Sledge Hammer. Loved that show and I love see Rasche pop up in movies. This was his juiciest role I've seen in awhile.

I don't think it's terrible to not have seen H & M, but it wouldn't hurt.

lol @ your comment to Anon...

Free Movies said...

Thank you for post. I Have not seen In the Loop, but I have seen many clips on other side...