Category Archives: blog post
Something for you guys to enjoy while we work on our next podcast….
The sun is finally happening here in Seattle and I find myself falling easily into dopey, feel-good daydreaming. Especially since most days are spent getting “sun-drunk” with friends and/or crushing on lil’ hotties. Therefore, I thought I’d share this short film on first love. Simple and sweet, the story may just cause a slight swelling sensation in the chest.
“Someday you’ll learn that greatness is only the seizing of opportunity – clutching with your bare hands ’til the knuckles show white.”
Sometimes I just want to watch a comforting movie. Not often, but if I’m at home doing an art project or feeling sick, I go for the familiarity of a movie from my childhood. Recently I rewatched National Velvet, the 1944 film starring Elizabeth Taylor, Mickey Rooney and Angela Lansbury. I used to watch this all the time, and now I remember why. It’s almost painfully honest, morally refreshing, and surprisingly modern in its portrayal of family relationships and female ambition.
“National Velvet” was Elizabeth Taylor’s fifth film; she was only twelve when she played Velvet Brown, and her acting hadn’t quiiiite matured beyond so-earnest-it-hurts-your-teeth levels. Of course, her beauty was already otherworldly, and knowing the same actress would soon be such an insane sex goddess just a few years later is kind of a mindfuck.
The real draw here is the supporting cast, especially Anne Revere as Velvet’s mother, AKA my favorite movie mother EVER. Revere won a best supporting actress Oscar for her portrayal of Mrs. Brown, an original and complex character who you kind of wish the movie was entirely about. Talk about a missed opportunity for a prequel (though they wisely didn’t do many of those in the 40’s): in the film, Mrs. Brown is the first woman to swim the English Channel, and she has saved her prize money to give to her children. When Velvet approaches her to ask if she can race her horse in the Grand National, instead of telling her what a silly idea that is, Mrs. Brown delivers this impossibly wise and heart-wrenching speech:
“We’re alike. I, too, believe that everyone should have a chance at a breathtaking piece of folly once in his life. I was twenty when they said a woman couldn’t swim the Channel. You’re twelve; you think a horse of yours can win the Grand National. Your dream has come early; but remember, Velvet, it will have to last you all the rest of your life.”
ARE YOU KIDDING ME!?! BEST MOM EVER! “Breathtaking piece of folly” is sheer brilliance. I love how she expects her daughter to understand the emotional complexities of having an impossible dream that will probably not come true, but chasing it anyway.
And speaking of emotional complexity, Anne Revere was one of the actors whose career was pretty much ruined by her refusal to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1951. She resigned from the board of the Screen Actors Guild and didn’t appear in another film for 20 years (thanks, Wikipedia). What a waste!
I wasn’t one of those horse girls when I was young, though I did go riding every summer at the Oregon coast (riding a horse on the beach is pretty majestic, and anyone who says otherwise just hasn’t developed a taste for majesty) and obviously watched this movie on a regular basis. But you know how when you’re a kid, you either ARE a horse person or you KNOW a horse person? I had this really good friend who was ALL ABOUT HORSES. It was probably the first time in my life when I felt like I couldn’t make fun of one of my friends (in a nice way!) because their interest was so fierce, so it just felt wrong to be like, “oh, what’s on your sweatshirt? Another horse?”
What I’m saying is that any bias about horse lovers or kids movies should absolutely not keep you from watching National Velvet. Especially if you’re in need of a little heart warming. This movie will toast your heart until it’s cozy and crispy.
You guys might remember me mentioning this character from Jumpin’ Jack Flash in our third podcast. I think it’s safe to say that the last time anyone saw this movie was 1994 on TNT on a Wednesday afternoon.
I would say that Whoopi made this role, because I cannot see any other actress of that time in this part…except for maybe…MAYBE… Annie Potts. AND SHE’S ALSO IN THIS MOVIE. Has enough emphasis been placed? May I release the caps lock?
Also in the movie we got John Lovitz, Carol Kane (!!!), Phil Hartman, John Wood and Jonathan Pryce.
I know! You’re saying to yourself: “Whoa…who?”
I will now deliver the break-down of the awesomitude of Terry Doolittle.
First: her apartment and clothing choices. Truly incredible. Her place is a jumble of precious junk. Old movie posters, Groucho-Marx dolls and tiny pianos all clamber together in this tiny den where a “professional” adult woman lives. (If any one has been to my apartment…the similarities. Striking.)
Sartorially speaking, in today’s world, Terry would rule the streets with her over-sized jackets, floppy sweaters and mens pants held up with suspenders all coupled with her signature yellow sneakers. Oh, and let’s not forget those crazy big 80s frames…
***Huh Alert: Sorry about your face, red shirt.***
Second awesome thing: she is a computer wizard. Whenever her screen plays a Russian aerobic show (FORESHADOWING) she fixes her shoebox computer with one of the many plastic dinosaurs that litter her desk. She also engages in a little beta IMing- exchanging pot roast recipes and giving dating advice to other foreign bankers around world. Endearing. But her boss (played wonderfully by Peter Michael Goetz) finds her truly annoying. Another plus!
Third incredibleness: When her computer somehow becomes a portal to a spy in trouble (Russian aerobics left the gate WIDE open) she dives right into to international spy politics because she’s (well..she’s bored) truly a kind, caring, intelligent person. And incredibly lonely…
Carefree pajama dancing and lip syncing??? Yes, please!
Fourth: I will now run-down everything Terry does for Jack (the spy in need): she gets thrown in the Hudson River, she’s repeatedly attacked by Jim Belushi, she almost falls off a building, she dresses up like Diana Ross and sings Supremes’ songs in front of foreign dignitaries (this is the only time she uses her sex appeal), her crotch is almost eaten by a shredder, she’s drug through the streets of New York while in a phone booth and she’s subjected to truth serum and torture tactics from bad spies. And she goes through this supremely clownshoes gauntlet so readily, with her fast talking wit often getting her out of trouble.
Well, have you found yourselves inspired? I certainly hope so! So, if you need a laugh and got some time (the movie is only 100 minutes) definitely check it out.
To bookend: when searching for youtube clips I stopped when I came across this glorious gem:
Oh, WHAT? Aretha Franklin with purple tinted bangs AND a Zulu fly swatter hair extension???
Here’s that all so inspiring speech from Deep Blue Sea that Seija mentioned in the third podcast. (Don’t feel too bad about the end, according to his speech…he did maybe EAT SOME PEOPLE) I think we should all start our sentences this week with “When the avalanche came…” I digress, he’s got a great screaming voice and his body just breaks up into those chewable pieces! Great job all around, Samuel L. Jackson!
As you may have noticed, we play pretty fast and loose with facts here at EmersonvsCook. So after listening to the Nic Cage podcast, I decided to do a bit of sleuthing to verify these absolutely useless celebrity factoids that vie for space in my brain with this kitten:
So I just spent some time skaggin’ around Val Kilmer’s MySpace page, where you can see pictures of his treehouse, read his blog (last update: July 2011) and see how much he cares about animals and environmentalism (what a guy!)
Also confirmed is the name of Nic Cage’s son.
It’s pretty hard to stay on point with that narcoleptic kitten up there, but maybe you guys will help me test out one of the features of this website I’m most excited about… POLLS! Whenever I see a poll, I HAVE to vote, even if I don’t care about the subject. But we can have fun with this one. It’s simple: what’s your favorite Nic Cage movie? If it’s not listed in the choices, it’s not an acceptable answer. Sorry. Get your own blog.
Seija and I must have unleashed some latent premonition power, which possibly has something to do with that ancient trinket wrapped around a monkey’s paw that my weird shaman uncle, Clyde, sent to me from Azerbaijan. I knew I shouldn’t have let fresh blood get on that thing. But Seija just had to have more cheetos. I digress.
Consider this: our next podcast on Nicolas Cage (recorded on 01.28.12) coincided perfectly with TIFF Bell Lightbox’s retrospective on Nicolas Cage (starting 01.28.12 going through April) and and and Nicolas Cage wanting to come back as a ghost in the Japanese sequel (???) to the feminist bear-suit fire movie. I think there’s some spooky Cage-y vibes permeating the atmosphere, dudes. Watch where you step. Anyway, stay tuned for when we unfold our Nicolas Cage-centric podcast next week!
Until then, here’s a little Nic Cage essence to tide you over…
There’s something a little different about two of my favorite actors. In their worst performances (of which there are MANY) they are easily dismissed as hacks. But they have both starred in some of the best movies ever, not to mention some of the most re-watchable and outrageous cult classics ever filmed.
Before his death in 1991, Klaus Kinski acted in over 135 films. His complete filmography is famously approximate, because he simply didn’t care about most of the movies he was in. To me, there’s something refreshingly utilitarian about the idea of being a celebrity that treats a role like any old job. But I don’t think there was anything particularly humble about him in reality (all you have to do to get your mind thoroughly blown is read his “autobiography,” Kinski Uncut, a masterpiece of lunatic hubris).
Kinski is most famous for his starring roles in Aguerre: The Wrath of God, Nosferatu, Fitzcarraldo, and some lesser known movies made in the 70’s and 80’s with director Werner Herzog. Herzog made a fantastic documentary about Kinski in 1999 called My Best Fiend, chronicling their work together over the years. Anyone who’s ever tried to collaborate with eccentrics (*ahem*) can sympathize with how hard it must have been to get even one film made with Kinski. Here they are on the set of Fitzcarraldo, in the Amazon, surrounded by indigenous nonactors, watching the shit hit the fan:
If you’ve never seen a Herzog/Kinski film, I would suggest starting with Aguerre. It’s the gold standard for Kinski’s other performances as a deranged megalomaniac, and Herzog captures some of the most gorgeous, ominous man-vs-nature footage you’ll ever see. Also, while on set, Kinski tried to stab another actor in the head with a sword, but the dude was wearing a metal helmet, so he survived.
All this brings me to my next subject, the widely reviled and misunderstood Nicolas Cage. At age 48, Cage has already appeared in 64 films. Do the math (I tried…) and you’ll see that at this rate, Cage could almost match Kinski’s average films per year if he lives to be 65. I won’t make you wait any longer for this gem, “Nicolas Cage Losing His Shit.”
Like Kinski, Cage can be both handsome and decrepit, smooth and out of control. But it doesn’t seem like he quite has a handle on when those things will happen. Some of my favorite movies of his are Wild at Heart, Moonstruck and Con Air, a random handful of genres if there ever was one. Lately, he’s fallen prey to some weird hair and face disasters, but I have faith that those will only serve his career in unexpected ways, as long as he keeps lucking out on really good scripts like Bad Lieutenant (directed by Werner Herzog! We have come full circle) sandwiched between unrepentant crap like Season of the Witch (Ron Perelman’s actual dialogue while they’re locked up in a medieval dungeon: “let’s get out of here, man.”) to pay the bills on his sweet pyramid tomb in New Orleans. Yep.
I know you thought it couldn’t get better than watching his face acclimate to that dusty, oxygen void Mars climate over and over and over again. You always did think those baby bjorn harnesses made new parents look like hosts for lil’ Quatos. I ask you to come with me now and indulge…
You may be asking yourself, why should I listen to this podcast? I know all there is to know about movies, humor, fun, excitement and joy. WRONG! Be prepared to be transported to a realm of fresh awesomeness, hosted by two wacky ladies in their late 70s who love all things movies! Get ready for 17 minutes of straight cackling and 3 minutes of inaccurate content! Our first podcast focuses on evil children in film, loosely anchored by a dynamic scene reading from a true classic, The Bad Seed. Here’s the trailer:
We hope you enjoy our first podcast. Stick around for our next episode!