Some day, and that day may never come, I will call upon you to pet a kitty for me. But until that day, consider this set of awesome Internet links a gift on this Friday. This is a Link Dump you can’t refuse, because we finally used the kitty from the opening scene of The Godfather.
- Personal plug: as previously mentioned, Ashley’s final project in her Graphic Memoir class was writing and illustrating a 10-page graphic memoir. All the students’ stories were put together and printed to create Pulling Teeth: Abington Stories (which you can totally buy right here)!
- If you like The Film Experience’s “First and Last” series, you’ll love David Bordwell’s latest piece, all about beginnings and endings in films like Snow White, The Wild One, and Broken Blossoms.
- Really, honestly, what’s better than the intersection of film and comics? Adrian Tomine is helping to raise money for Japan by selling gorgeous prints of his DVD cover art for two Ozu films. Both Ozu and Tomine are all about perfectly composed frames, so it’s a match made in visual art heaven.
- 12 minutes of Wilhelm screams!
- News stories don’t come much more bizarre than this one about urine and cough drops from Orlando.
- FreakyTrigger has an image-packed review of Russ Meyer’s Mudhoney. (They give a trigger warning, so I will too.)
- Call for creativity! If you’re part of a marginalized group, contribute to this zine; it’s for a final project and a cool opportunity to have your voice heard.
- Cinema Enthusiast has an awesome list of “10 Creepy Villains from Children’s Films,” with some obscure and Dahl-tastic choices.
- We here at Pussy Goes Grrr are grammar fanatics so this article about 11 Grammatically Incorrect Movie Titles tickles us just the right way. (Seriously, lol!)
- I (Ashley) used to be an avid fanfic writer (and sometimes I’ll get a wild hair and start a completely random fanfic now at 22 years of age), so the inevitable “Fuck Yeah, Fanfic Flamingo” is so delightful to me I can’t even explain it. Many a fanfic reader/writer will enjoy it as well.
As usual, this week saw about a zillion different pornographic search terms with “pussy” in them. Three of the weirdest were “kids 10 and up getting pussy” (yuck/yikes), “the most profound and wide pussy” (Zen pussy?), and of course, “why don’t wives give up the pussy,” which makes “pussy” sound like the remote control a couple is fighting over.
I enjoyed the very dull search for “bland, empty, generically,” as well as the open-ended “we could have saved the” (what?! what?!). But the cake was taken by the poorly punctuated, redundant, and hilarious “wow ,it’s very sexy ,sex shopping ,i like it very much.” I like it very much too.
The Marx Brothers’ masterpiece Duck Soup has many moments of utter, off-the-wall, WTF-inspiring surrealism, but this one tops them all. How could any other visual gag, no matter how inspired, ever compete with the sublime madness of a real-live dog poking its head out of Harpo’s chest? Yes, the scene where Harpo hides fully dressed in a bathtub underneath an unsuspecting, naked Edgar Kennedy is pretty weird, and so is Harpo callously hacking up Kennedy’s clothes with a pair of scissors. (Noticing a trend here?)
But come on: it’s a dog emerging from a tattoo in the middle of Harpo’s chest and barking in Groucho’s face. That’s an absolutely baffling non sequitur on the order of the “Large Marge” scene in Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure, the kind that leaves you reeling for a couple minutes afterward. The kind that lets you know that the rules are no longer in effect—that you are not watching a “normal” movie. In both these examples, it’s because inventive camera techniques have been used to subvert “reality,” letting us know that we’re entering a realm where literally anything is possible. If they can dream it, they can film it.
This scene has another very strange, unexpected dimension: it’s slightly homoerotic (and therefore incestuous). After all, we get a few solid minutes of Harpo showing off his body to an inquisitive Groucho, starting with his tattooed arms and his hip (see above), which bears a phone number. Harpo eagerly bares his chest while maintaining that maniacal grin, then Groucho puts his mouth right next to the tattoo and meows. “Weird” doesn’t really begin to cover it. The barking dog is really just the icing on the cake—and while most movies would showcase the dog’s appearance as audaciously avant-garde, in Duck Soup it’s just one more punchline, delivered with little fanfare.
In fact, we get one more bizarre, quasi-sexual joke as Groucho declares, “I’ll betcha haven’t got a picture of my grandfather,” and Harpo leaps to take off his pants and expose his ass before Groucho stops him. This scene’s ambiguous sexual tension is very understated, but unmistakable: Harpo is communicating through a surreal, bit-by-bit striptease while his brother marvels at his strange body, getting closer and closer. So both the formal and sexual aspects of this scene are further proof that in the world of Duck Soup, all bets are off. Nothing is off the table. If you didn’t learn that during the film’s first half-hour, you have now!
As we continue with the new, condensed version of “Perfectly Cromulent Analysis,” we arrive at an episode that’s pure genius in how it explores Homer and Lisa’s fraught father/daughter relationship. Blending powerful drama with physical and verbal comedy, “Lisa’s Pony” has the best of both worlds, and a sophisticated analysis of the Simpson family’s internal dynamics. It gets so much comic mileage out of its inherently absurd premise—Homer buys Lisa a pony in a bid to redeem himself as a father—but keeps itself grounded in stark emotional reality. It’s about the disastrous personal and financial consequences of rash decisions, all rooted in the basic irony of trying to realistically represent a preposterous situation.
It’s also crammed with great character moments for a panoply of Springfield residents. Early on, for example, we witness the Springfield Elementary talent show, which sets the episode’s events in motion; as usual, Principal Skinner is being something less than a model of patience and academic authority. While watching Milhouse’s underwhelming attempt to play the spoons, he groans, “You know, they seem to get worse every year.” Then as the act ends, he walks onstage, and proclaims to the gathered parents: “You know, I think this is the best batch we’ve ever had! I really do!” This is in line with the usual jokes about the school administration being jaded and hateful (like Skinner’s fantastic “We both know these children have no future!” from “The PTA Disbands”), but takes it a step further by having him turn around and, without missing a beat, lie to the parents’ faces.
Read more about Skinner, Apu, and Homer’s parenting after the jump.
Do you like Lou Reed music? What about Danny Boyle movies? Do you think Ewan McGregor’s incredibly attractive even when he’s playing an emaciated heroin addict? If any of those answers was “yes,” then you should go read my new piece on the song “Perfect Day” and its use in Trainspotting over at The Film Experience. Although I haven’t watched all of Trainspotting in a while, this scene is the one that really, really sticks with me, and “Perfect Day” is a complex song that does a great job of setting the mood and subtly commenting on the action.
Why can’t Boyle pull genius moves like that anymore? 127 Hours had a few scattered scenes that were viscerally powerful or vaguely incisive, but the film as a whole got lost in its own optimism. In a short Oscars piece I wrote in February, I talked about how Boyle “turned a gruesome, real-life ordeal into a giddy, feel-good horror movie”; meanwhile, in Trainspotting, he had no problem revealing the fundamental hopelessness of Renton’s situation. Same goes for 28 Days Later, happy ending or no. At least we can still revel in the morbid irony of the “Perfect Day” sequence, not to mention John Murphy’s awesome 28 Days Later score!