Commentary on films, books, television, politics, and a little fiction of my own, to boot.
Oct 9, 2011
This should be a free-wheeling catch-all,
So, let us begin:
First, happy birthday to Jock Ono Lennon, who would have been seventy-one years old today.
And, secondly, keeping with the Beatle theme, the Scorsese-directed, George Harrison: Living in the Material World, despite some crack editing, fabulous-sounding music (natch), and some great interviews, is a bit of a let-down. It is especially a let-down to Beatle/Harrison fanatics like myself. Although, as my wonderful wife, Renee, pointed out, the film looks much better to folks unfamiliar or ambivalent about the Beatles or Harrison. (And it is only the true Beatle nuts, like myself, who are stunned to discover that anyone could be unfamiliar or ambivalent about the Beatles.) Renee definitely has a point, and she is still watching the 208 minute doc in pieces, and she is enjoying it immensely and thus, lifting my feeling about it, as well. The thing I am most disappointed about is the gloss over the Patty Boyd/Eric Clapton issue. Scorsese got Ms Boyd to sit for an interview, she, the subject for two of the greatest rock songs of all-time, Something and Layla, but we never really get in to the crazy details of how these relationships started, changed, and dissolved. I am not asking for some titillating TMZ/E Network grit-fest. I trust that Boyd and Clapton (and interviews of the deceased Harrison) could handle this amazing Rock Story in a tasteful way, I mean, all three loved each other, right? (But just as I typed this, I also remembered Renee's reaction to some of Clapton's interviews, "He's kind of a jerk, isn't he? He is so full of himself." Spot on, Renee. Just when I gave Slow Hand some credit for the George Harrison memorial concert, I go and see his nibs all smug and Blues-snooty in this documentary. Clapton should just play guitar and "you, don't talk so much" [h/t This is Spinal Tap].) The film also does not discuss the My Sweet Lord/He's So Fine lawsuit, at all, a massive, glaring, unforgivable omission, and glosses over the infamous 1974 US tour, with a coked-up Harrison, insisting that Ravi Shankar be a part of the bill; Harrison's voice shot, wheedling about God to the audience on every stop. My other problem with the film is something Scorsese suggested but should have taken pains to really punch, and that is the paradox that was Harrison. Harrison, the Roman Catholic from Liverpool, who went on a spiritual quest, not attached to Western Organized Religion, was also the same guy who was a tightwad with money, reluctant to even pick up dinner checks sometimes (but had no problem mortgaging one of houses to raise four million dollars to produce Life of Brian), who wrote the song Taxman, who published one of the most self-indugent, over-the-top, autobiography editions in recent memory, who was the man who organized the first big-time rock star benefit concert of all-time, who time and again, seemed to have an insanely insightful consoling nature with his friends and loved ones re death and loss and grief, who loved racing and super expensive sports cars, and on and on and on. Like I said, much of that is in the film. I just think Scorsese should have made that the focus of his film, his contradictory nature, as opposed to his Spiritual Quest. Enough kvetching! Here is the good stuff from the film: I did not even know Astrid Kirchherr was still alive, and when she unleashed that photograph of Lennon and Harrison in Stuart Sutcliffe's studio, that was taken right after Sutcliffe's death, I was near tears. (Once again, here is Harrison, at eighteen, having some kind of other-worldly insight in to death that is beyond most folks, well before he discovered Eastern Spirituality. Amazing.); the Phil Spector interviews about All Things Must Pass are well-worth watching, Spector wearing a Beatle-like wig, and his right hand shaking the entire time, discussing how George also liked to do nine million takes; all the Olivia Harrison interviews are spectacular, particularly the toughest one about the home-invasion and attack, and it is great to finally meet Ms Harrison, who is a smart, grounded, amazing person, in her own right, who Harrison was damned lucky to find, and marry. Plus, their son, Dhani, seems to be a great guy, too, and he is v v v good-looking. ... The addition of TCU to the Big 12 is a smart move, albeit one that should have been done last year. I love TCU football, they have built their whole program on stout defense and a power-rushing attack, my favorite type of football, to be honest, but I still believe the conference is in trouble, and that their idiotic concession to let UT have its' own network is supremely unfair to the other great Big 12 athletic programs and could (prob will) fracture the conference in the future. (And every Sooner fan knows that the last team to beat the Sooners in Norman was the Horned Frogs, many years ago.) ... Renee and I loved Moneyball; Pitt was great, reminding me of seventies stars like Redford or Newman, in fact, the whole film had that 70s star-studded comedy feel to it; the script is great (Aaron Sorkin, co-wrote); it does not get bogged down in super stat-geek stuff; the guy playing now Ranger Manager, Ron Washington, gets a great laugh line (which you see in the commercials); it was long but not too long; it was just really good. And it is wonderful to see a good, solid Hollywood comedy. They are few and far between these days. My only problem was the amazing Seymour Hoffman's talents were sadly wasted here, he hardly has any scenes. ... Renee and I also loved Love Crime, a french thriller, obv influenced by Chabrol and Hitchcock. Renee said it best, "It was sexy despite showing hardly any sex and it was violent despite showing hardly any violence." A real must-see, folks. ... Still have not seen Drive, yet, maybe next week. ... Poor Justin Verlander seems to bring rain with him, wherever he goes. He has had the worst luck this post-season, and yet, the Tigers remain a formidable foe. And they are saying there could be more rain tonight, too. Oh boy.