Monday, May 12, 2003

Went to see "A Mighty Wind" yesterday. I'm one of those folks who generally cringes when asked to go to the movies, or when someone brings a movie on tape or DVD to the house, but I think I could watch 20 hours straight of Christopher Guest's outtakes. The music written for the film was impressive; although the styles and song lyrics were meant to poke fun at some of the dustier cliches of folk and pop, all of the music was something one might actually listen to on purpose. Of course, we'd expect nothing less from the folks who did "This Is Spinal Tap"; yeah, it was bombastic kick-ass rock and roll, but that was the point, and besides it was good bombastic kick-ass rock and roll. If, like me, you were pumping your fist in the air at the final Budokan scene in Tap, you'd probably be tapping your feet and clapping your hands through much of Wind. Best scene IMO: At the beginning of the live broadcast, the Folksmen react to the New Main Street Singers' opening number. Ouch ....!

I was distressed to find out, from last night's trailers, that one of my favorite films, 1979's The In-Laws, has been put through the remake wringer. (When I become dictator of the universe, I'm going to ban Hollywood remakes, subject to life imprisonment for making one that involves a live-action version of an animated TV series. Creme-de-menthe garnishes on cups of Irish coffee and any article of clothing that contains more than two belt loops will also have to go.) Looks like they inflated every bit of dialogue by about 100 decibels and trashed a few millions' worth more of props to do this one over. Damned shame, because the thing that made the original so funny was that it was so relentlessly low-key, as Alan Arkin and Peter Falk tried to maintain decorum while meddling with the affairs of a Neotropical dictatorship and outrunning gunfire in the middle of nowhere, all the time attempting to get to their kids' wedding with a minimum of disruption. From the IMDB, I learned that the plot has at least been juggled enough so that no one will mistake it for an attempt at a real remake. I don't know whether I hope that they did or didn't preserve the original's wonderful low-speed car chase.


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