Todd Alcott
25 December 2007 @ 04:45 am
In a Lonely Place  





Bogart with a beautiful woman, Barton with a mosquito -- sounds about right.

What says Christmas better than a dark, sweaty noir about a has-been Hollywood screenwriter who may or may not be a vicious killer?

I don't know what forces prevented me from watching Nicholas Ray's 1950 masterpiece of paranoia, heartache and broken dreams, but I'm glad I finally got around to it. And about two-thirds of the way through, it struck me that In a Lonely Place would make a smashing double feature with the Coen Bros' Barton Fink.

The parallels between the two movies are too many to be mere coincidence. In some cases, the Coens have kept elements of Ray's movie intact, in other cases they've ingeniously inverted them.


 
 
Todd Alcott
06 December 2007 @ 09:37 am
Coen Bros: The Big Lebowski  





"Your revolution is over! The bums lost!" images swiped from the excellent Coen resource "You Know, For Kids!".

NOTE: I have gone over (not to be confused with "micturated upon") the deeper meanings of The Big Lebowski once before -- you may read my previous analysis here.

THE LITTLE GUY:
The Dude is unique in the Coen universe in being a protagonist who is perfectly happy with his social standing. He does not seek money, betterment, achievement, a child, a mate, clean clothes or, really, anything besides a state of blissful intoxication. Anything he does he does because someone else is forcing him to do it. As the Stranger describes him, "he's the laziest man in Los Angeles County, which would place him high in the running for laziest worldwide." He's not particularly interested in saving the kidnapped girl, recovering the stolen fortune or even defending himself from hoodlums. Even his desire to reclaim his soiled rug is something that his bellicose friend Walter puts him up to -- if it were up to The Dude, his peed-on rug would be worth it just for the story to tell his bowling buddies.

(It's also worth noting that, for all the time The Dude spends hanging out in a bowling alley, listening to bowling games of the past and fantasizing about bowling scenarios, we never actually see him bowl.)




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Todd Alcott
11 October 2007 @ 02:00 am
Movie Night With Urbaniak: Murder, My Sweet  






urbaniak  and I have this game that we've been playing for about 15 years now. It all began in a duplex apartment on 13th Street in NYC. I came up to him at a get-together and said: "Tom Cruise is the Clark Gable of our time." Urbaniak thought for a moment, the gears visibly processing behind his eyes, and then said "Yeah. Okay." And then we spent the next half-hour or so trying to link up the stars from the past and the stars of the present. Certain types keep repeating themselves in history, turning up in the same kinds of roles, displaying the same kinds of talents, pursuing their art in the same manners.

 
 
Todd Alcott
06 October 2007 @ 01:20 am
Movie Night With Urbaniak: Chinatown  






urbaniak , as you may know, has recently moved to LA. Like any bizzer who moves to LA, he has felt compelled to watch Chinatown. It's like a trip to the LA History Museum, but entertaining, with sex and murder and incest, which is the way us Neo-Angelenos like our LA history.