Posts tagged ‘classic movies’
I’m stepping out, my dear, to breathe an atmosphere that simply wreaks of class. – Fred Astaire, Top Hat
A strange phenomenon occurs in Hollywood each spring. For just four days in April, this seedy old three-ring circus of a town transforms itself into a fleeting, gossamer shadow of its former celluloid self. Even the freakish ‘characters’ and scantily clad teenagers that proliferate the Boulevard have no power over the TCM Classic Film Festival’s thrillingly tangible time trip. L.A.’s swankiest pool is accentuated by a jazz quartet; elegantly dressed guys and dolls raise bubbly in celebration; old friends embrace, new friends shake hands, and all of them share the story of their personal journey to Hollywood for this: the annual celebration of all things classic.
Vanity Fair coined it as “Comic-Con for the Martini Set.” And … it’s true. Read more ►
Long overdue doesn’t even begin to explain just how LONG long has been since our last Pictorial Palette. So long, in fact, I feel it requires a re-introduction is necessary to any who might be new to the Pictorial. From the Pictorial Palette’s inaugural post in 2010:
Henri Matisse once said, “With color one obtains an energy that seems to stem from witchcraft.”
That being the case, I do not hesitate to say that movie color is without doubt some of the beautiful magic ever conjured. And given its proven abilities to brighten even the grayest of days, the Pictorial is implementing a weekly color palette, sampled off a film (or production) still from Hollywood’s Golden Age. One of the Pictorial’s missions is to always try and look at the world through Technicolor glasses–yes, even a world as problematic as ours– and it is our hope that these little swaths of color will provide a needed burst of energy– perhaps even inspire a smidge of creativity–to infuse and rejuvenate the weekly drudge.”
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You know what they are. Those movies. The ones we conveniently slide to the back of our movie collection to keep our friends from knowing just how truly psychopathic we are. Or, for the more emotionally well-adjusted among us, proudly display front and center. Where it belongs.
We completely, totally, absolutely, unconditionally love every last frame of it. In fact, we effing love every last frame of it. This is the film we tune into on the days we’re depressed, deranged, delirious, or just plain determined to numb the pain out of this hurtful existence we call the 21st century. It’s the Bad Day At Work movie. It’s the My Ex Is A Total Jerkface movie. It’s the OMG I Totally Got The Job movie. It’s the I Just Paid My Rent And Still Have Money For Chinese Take-Out movie. Read more ►
There were many things about 2011 I’d rather forget, and am quite eager to sweep under the rug and write off as a (semi) total loss.
It was, however, a fantastic year for bloggers. And especially so for the classic film community– a niche that hitherto has been of a largely insular nature, existing on the fringes of filmdom, never quite enjoying a resounding presence in its own right. An eclectic makeup of film theorists, essayists, historians, fanboys and fangirls, visual artists, poets, and everything in between, classic film enthusiasts the enjoyed a real renaissance in 2011 and can confidently start the new year with a newly defined sense of community. (And if that’s overstating things, it is only because I believe we have every reason to start the new year with a newly defined sense of community!)
The exponential growth of social media has made it possible to nurture a culture of mutual respect and graciousness within the blogging community, resulting in work that is enlightening, enlivening and always entertaining. Read more ►
So here we are, day one of Project Keaton. Submissions are pouring in and The Pictorial is buzzing with excitement. The Project’s Tumblr and Facebook pages are up and running and … this is gonna be awesome, guys.
So for the first official Project Keaton post, I’m going to be a total prima-donna and grab the mic for a minute and reflect back on why the heck Keaton matters very much to me in the first place.
But I’m gonna leave the sociological and academic analysis of his films and their seismic influence on the framework of modern cinema to the Leonard Maltins and the David Thomsons out there, and instead, simply confess that the reason I love Keaton is because of something he excelled so very much in:
Now, as you all know, I am a massive Charlie Chaplin fan. MASSIVE. In many ways, Charlie is the love of my life. I was 10 years old when I fell in love with Charlie. A wondrous, marvelous, romantic age to discover anything.
I was 14 when I saw my first Buster Keaton film.
Being 14 sucks. In fact… few things suck more than being 14. (Except, maybe, 15.)
Which is why Sherlock Jr. absolutely rocked my world when I first saw it flicker on the old movie channel one random weekend. If anyone’s life sucked more than mine, it was Buster’s. That sweetly honest stone face that just couldn’t catch a break. The woman in his life was weak, his boss was a jerk, his future prospects were dim, he’s painfully awkward and the only ray of sunshine in his life involved celluloid fantasies.
Yeah. I knew that guy.
Here I am at the cusp of 30 and I realize that I will always know this guy. And when chaos consumes, and all I have to keep my sanity is my sense of humor, there is nothing more therapeutic than a Keaton film. That’s when I switch on Steamboat Bill Jr to watch Buster battle hurricanes, or Seven Chances to watch him dodge a gang of pissed off jilted brides, or The Cameraman to watch him fight urban turf wars.
But so is life.
Buster knows it. His films get it. And, in so many ways, he is all of us. Buster doesn‘t always get the girl, beat the bad guy or ride off into the sunset… and somehow, it’s still OK. Which is why 116 years after he was born, we’re still so deeply affected by his work. And only one of the countless reasons the Pictorial is championing that deeply human comedy of his in our month-long celebration of all things Keaton.
Thanks, Buster, for always keepin’ it real.
The 21st Century REALLY needs you.
And so do 14 year olds.
*puts down mic, disembarks soapbox, and lets the festivities begin*