Know all those incoherent thoughts, links and fragments that are too long for Twitter and not formed enough for a blog? You can find mine here.
It’s Movie Binge Weekend!
TCM has been hitting it out of the park this month (which isn’t unusual). Besides Ace in the Hole and (inexplicably) The Killer, the network also has shown Point Blank, The 400 Blows, Dog Day Afternoon, Taking of Pelham 1, 2, 3 and Spanish versions of Laurel and Hardy shorts that they filmed by saying their lines phonetically. Coming up: The Outfit with Robert Duvall, which I don’t think is even on DVD.
Plus, HBO premiered Moonrise Kingdom, which is such a sweet, beautiful film (and Ed Norton does an interesting Stan Laurel riff that I’ve never noticed in his other performances), and Rushmorewas on this morning on one of the ancillary HBO channels, I guess as a teaser for Moonrise Kingdom. For whatever reason, those led me to re-watch GoodFellas and Royal Tenenbaums.
Phil Spector on how John Lennon talked him into not killing Mean Streets over using “Be My Baby” without permission.
I’m guessing this is from the Agony and Ecstasy of Phil Spector, which I’ve only seen clips of. So much in just this one excerpt (and the tags on this file pretty much highlight Spector’s wittiest remarks), but it makes me think what a perfect marriage Spector’s songs are with Scorsese’s films.
Spector isn’t overstating the power of that song at the beginning of Mean Streets. It’s nothing without “Be My Baby,” but I can’t hear that song now without immediately thinking of the movie. Same with The Crystals’ “And Then He Kissed Me.” GoodFellas and the Copacabana entrance scene pretty much own that song forever—while still being completely at its mercy. In both these cases, it’s like immovable object meeting irresistible force.
I’m sure an argument could be made that this same alchemy works for Scorsese with “Gimme Shelter” and “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” (or just about any other Rolling Stones song he’s used), but I’ve always felt that the Stones are too big for any movie to corral (Wes Anderson’s come close a couple times). And Warren Zevon’s “Werewolves of London,” Nilsson’s “Jump Into the Fire” and the piano instrumental from “Layla” just aren’t in the same league with Skeezy’s filmmaking (more than 20 years after its release, I bet people still think the Lufthansa job body count scene is the only part of the movie that has an original score).
It’s hilarious, the problems that arise when you’re on the set. It’s really funny because you make a complete fool of yourself. I think I know how to use dissolves, the grammar of cinema. But there’s only one place for the camera. That’s the right place. Where is the right place? I don’t know. You get there somehow. - Martin Scorsese