Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Following up on some earlier posts...

Philip Marlowe: Nobody cares but me.
Terry Lennox: Well that's you, Marlowe. You'll never learn, you're a born loser.
Philip Marlowe: Yeah, I even lost my cat.

-- From The Long Goodbye (1973)

And then of course, Marlowe shoots him. But, thinking now about the Robert Altman films I've seen, what sticks in my mind now is a critique on winner-takes-all that runs through many of these films -- off the top of my head, I can clearly see it in The Long Goodbye, as well as McCabe and Mrs. Miller, California Split, The Player, and the class expose Gosford Park. Sometimes this critique is blatant, other times more sly and ironic, but I'll be looking for it in every Altman movie I discover from here on.

In California Split, the heroes win, but it's one of the most hollow, sad wins in cinema. In The Long Goodbye, the hero slams up against his cluelessness, but it seems like he might've gained an actual clue in the process. And in The Player, we learn just how much of a creep the "hero" is, when we see the lengths he will go to win, and just how good he is at it.

And Altman's career itself stands as a kind of testament against winner-takes-all. He's proof that there's a good reason to stick to your guns and not take any shit, even if it means long periods on the outskirts of success (however which way you might define it).

If nothing else, I'll always love Altman because he tried to portray life the way people actually live it; something too few artists shoot for, yet it's maybe the thing I value most in film, music, books, TV, etc.

As for Nate Wiley, sadly it had been a bit of a while since I last heard him play sax while drinking at Bob and Barbara's on a late night (though my liver is probably better off for this). But, I contend, he was a Philly institution. His presence succinctly summed up the city's flavor more than any tourist trap ever could.

Finally, how was I to know -- a little while after posting a fond Seinfeld memory -- how unpleasantly (to put it mildly) one of the former cast members would, out from nowhere, self-destruct in public?

Monday, November 20, 2006

Some things I'm thinking about

1) How great Seinfeld Season 8 was. Want proof? Episodes include: The Foundation, The Bizarro Jerry, The Little Kicks (Death Blow!), The Package (Mail Fraud!), The Chicken Roaster, The Abstinence, The Susie. Sweet fancy Moses!

2) How The Beatles' Love might be nice and all, but it's no more a "new" Beatles album than Let it Be... Naked was. HEY APPLE/EMI: NOW WILL YOU REMASTER THE ORIGINAL UK ALBUMS?

3) How badly I want this.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

CD review contained within here.

Friday, November 17, 2006

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Thursday, November 16, 2006

Important Update!

The mystery TV theme has been identified: It belonged to Buffalo Bill (1983-1984) starring Dabney Coleman, Geena Davis and Max Wright. The song sounds like this.

The show was about a conceited talk show host, played by Coleman. I suspect that if you combined this character and Dave Thomas' Bill Needle from SCTV, you'd get something awfully close to Bill O'Reilly.

In other news, I have a boxed set review here.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

My New Favorite Song

The theme to Crazy Like a Fox.

Crazy Like a Fox (1984-1986) was an hour-long show about a wacky private eye (Jack Warden) and his button-down, conservative son (John Rubinstein). Growing up, I was into this show for a little while, though not the whole run. What I remembered most was a vague inkling of the theme show being awesome in the rousing way that themes for humorous, frivolous hour-long shows from the '80s about crime-fighting/mystery-solving often are.

Finally, thanks to this site, I found the song and realized a) the theme song in my head was something different, maybe Scarecrow and Mrs. King or something and b) the actual Crazy Like a Fox theme is even greater than I initially believed. If you'd like a mental picture while playing this song, make sure you imagine Jack Warden and John Rubinstein running a lot.

My continuing interest in this song resulted from my conviction that these kinds of shows need to make a comeback to balance out the many furrowed-brow crime dramas (24, all the Law and Orders, all the CSIs, and no, smart guy, The Wire doesn't count). Bob (i.e., "Bob" of this blog's comments section) and I have just the show in mind: A show about crime-fighting magicians starring Ricky Jay and (in lieu of a time machine that we could use to procure the young, pre-Night Court Harry Anderson) Will Arnett.

Friday, November 10, 2006

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