Every morning I wake up, I wish I were waking up in Savannah. I have Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (specifically the 1:30 opening titles) to thank for that.
John Sayles is a master at character and place, but he’s not always the easiest director to watch. It’s Wednesday, the middle of the week, so Limbo is a good movie of his to bring up. What begins as a story about a handyman’s relationship with a single mother/singer in an Alaskan town takes a sharp turn at the halfway point and becomes a bizarre and discomfiting survival story. If the richly drawn characters of Joe, Donna, Noelle and the state of Alaska, itself exemplify what makes Sayles such a successful filmmaker, the film’s pacing and abrupt changes in tone remind us why he’s such a polarizing one. With Limbo, not only does Sayles offer a fascinating look into the lives of people who aren’t sure where they’re headed, he forces his audience to deal with that same troubling uncertainty.
Carter Burwell - “Trees Have a Life”
From the score to Before Night Falls
Great Moments in Deleted Scenes Featuring Parker Posey: Waiting For Guffman Deleted Scene - “Libby’s Monologue”
Libby Mae Brown as “Susan:” Billy? It’s Susan. (She sits on the stool and gets a doll from her bag) I was going through my trunk of souvenirs and I found this doll. The doll we used to play with before the war. Before you went insane. You were sitting on that quilt that had at one time kept us warm and it was so worn, Billy, and it smelled of mothballs which brought back all those memories of those times that we spent in the attic. Locked up. With Muffin. (refers to the doll) And you told us that mother was wrong and we were right. Didn’t you, Muffin? And I took care of you and Billy. But Billy was much more trouble than you, wasn’t he, Muffin? Especially when he got to be bigger than Susan. And made her do things she did NOT want to do. Things that made her sick! And mother pretended she didn’t know, but she did. (sighs) Well, who’s lying in bed in an insane asylum plugged into a life support system? And who’s wearing fine jewels and expensive clothes? (she takes off her glasses and waves her hair) And whose husband accidently died just recently and left me all his money? (She puts her glasses in her bag; she stands, walks toward the “bed,” and proceeds to break character)
Libby: Oh, this is a, there’s a plug here that hooks up to where he’s breathing and stuff. Um… lemme just take it back. (She sits back on the stool.)
Libby as “Susan:” And whose husband just accidently died and left her all his money? (she walks up to the “bed,” unplugs the “plug” forcefully, and waves her hair) And who’s on top and who’s on bottom, now?? Huh?? Who’s on top and who’s on bottom, now?? (She walks to the “door.”) I’ll see you in Hell, Billy. But at least I’m gonna have some fun before I get there! (She has problems finding the “door,” but then finally opens it and leaves.)
Sometimes I catch myself thinking about Punchline, the 1988 dramedy starring Sally Field and Tom Hanks as two comedians who form a platonic relationship based on their shared interest in stand-up. Field is a stay at home mother of two - one of whom is Donna Joe Tanner - who’s bored with her life, and Hanks is a brilliant med student who prefers comedy to following in his father’s M.D. footsteps. See? That’s hilarious, but you’ll laugh more at Hanks having some kind of pseudo-breakdown in the rain than watching either of them telling jokes on stage. Punchline is funny for many reasons, but none of them are related to stand up comedy.
That being said, add to your queue.
With you dead, the big heat follows.
I saw The Big Heat last night at Film Forum. I’ll be writing about it (and The Mechanic for some reason) on FREEwilliamsburg this weekend, but wanted to share this poster first. It was part of a series created by TCM for their “Summer Under The Stars” in 2009.
In case you haven’t seen it, The Big Heat teaches us that a boiling pot of coffee can be a pretty fantastic weapon.
Just be careful who you scald.
I’m sure there are people who get up extra early some mornings so they can go downtown, take the Staten Island Ferry to Staten Island, and then ride it back to Manhattan while listening to “Let the River Run” as a way of pumping themselves up for the coming work day.
I’m not saying I’ve ever done it, I’m just saying I’m sure it’s been done. Good morning.
Dir: Mike Nichols
Starring: Harrison Ford, Melanie Griffith, Sigourney Weaver
One of my favorite “I thought this was a lighthearted comedy why is this moment so dark and disconcerting” final shots ever.