Friday, February 25, 2011

Joe McDoakes

I've been trying to think of anything good that came of my recent hospital stay. After some commiseration I would say that I learned to appreciate cable TV, especially TCM. And thanks to TCM I have discovered Joe McDoakes. How wonderful it must have been in the 40's and 50's to encounter this series. Settled in your seats ready for the feature, a special treat before Cary or William came on the screen. Joe McDoakes. Each featured a booming announcer describing a modern day problem and the situation being acted out by Joe McDoakes, who later became the voice for George Jetson. And to think they made 63 of them. Classics.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Hospital gowns

Some of you may have heard from the grapevine that I was in the hospital for a spell. The

hardest thing I had to learn was how to tie a hospital gown. That took me half an hour the first time, only to be told by the nurse I had put it on backwards. I also learned how to use a portable urinal, sleep through noise, and choose from a menu. Navigating the menu is difficult at first, as the knowledge of pain avoidance in bad food is more relevant than choosing appetizing selections.

Sickness has been so overdone in blogs and magazine articles that this blogger will probably avoid the topic in the future. Just like every baby boomer has their sixties coming of age stories, now they are all coming up with their heart-by-pass and cancer stories.

The nursing home had a plethora of events. Bingo, movie night, wheelchair relay night, but one thing that caught my eye was happy hour. Here people drink non alcoholic beer and juice shooters. I was thinking this country needs a place where people would be taught how to drink, smoke, have affairs, play cards, and taught the pleasures of recreational drugs. But, alas, we already have such places. They're called colleges.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Jean Luc Goddard

If there was one word that defined hipness in high school and freshman year in college it was Jean Luc Goddard. I first encountered the name being mentioned on WBAI. Apparently, the callers were objecting to the change of the name of the film "One Plus One.
It was being changed to the name "Sympathy for the Devil."
"It is nothing but a sellout from art to commercialism," the caller ranted.
Being a big Stones fan, naturally this caught my eye. Apparently, there was a Rolling Stones movie out directed by a French arteur.

Two weeks later I was on the bus with some friends and we were headed for the movie, "One Plus One", then playing in New York. To be fair, the Stones footage is interesting. The Stones didn't look like they were having too much fun though, and the stuff outside or in the junk yard was preposterous, I thought.

Later at Rutgers, I took the class, "The French Film" (my mother used to get laughs at parties reciting the classes I was taking) and it showed "Breathless". In 1972, Jean Luc Goddard, spoke at school and I got to see him. Jane Fonda had appeared around that time too. Apparently they were both in New Brunswick, tied to the movie "Letter to Jane". Goddard's film criticized Jane Fonda and perhaps she was on the heels of Goddard to stand up for her dignity, according to one story.

"Breathless" I chiefly remember for Jean Seberg selling Herald Tribunes. Saw it again on TCM and I actually enjoyed it and understood it for the first time. I guess there are advantages in age.

I never saw "Weekend" until recently although I told a white lie about it many years ago. The teacher had said in class that we could see any film in the library collection if we needed to for a paper. The next day, however, I was turned down flat by the staff of the library. There I was informed that they never set up a projector for one student. Luckily the library had a book of the screenplay with pictures. I implied in the paper that I had seen the movie when actually I was stretching the truth.

It's hard to say that Jean Luc Goddard was a great filmaker, but he was definitely of his time. In the year 2020 when the class at high school is assigned "movies of the sixties", his films will be introduced as relics of the madness of that decade.