Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Apartment

The Apartment is one of my favorite movies, and every time I see it, it shoots higher up on my list. It's perfectly written, first and foremost,

it's perfectly shot and directed,

and it's perfectly acted.

The tri-fecta is undoubtable (not a word). EVERYONE MUST SEE THE APARTMENT. Written and Directed by Billy Wilder and starring Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine. The Apartment won best picture in 1960.

On to my rant about connections and influences in film and pop culture which I'm obsessed with:

Billy Wilder directed Some Like It Hot in 1959.

It would be his biggest hit. It stars Jack Lemmon and one Marilyn Monroe (maybe the peak of all their careers) (ps - Jack Lemmon and Billy Wilder were buried side by side and Marilyn is nearby in the same cemetery). One year later, Lemmon and Wilder do The Apartment, starring Shirley MacLaine in a dark, tough, sad, short haired, witty, cynical, role. A polar opposite of Monroe, but absolutely adorable in her own way.

Here's my connections; the movie The Baxter (2005). The phrase "baxter" in the movie is a name for a guy who never gets the girl.

My question is, since the main character in The Apartment's name is C.C. Baxter, does the phrase come from The Apartment? Was it around before The Apartment, thereby C.C.Baxter being cleverly named?

Just like when old people say, "Are you gas lighting me?" (as in, "are you trying to cause me to think I'm crazy") Are they referring to just the movie Gaslight (1944) where the couple tries to drive the mom out of the house by using a gas lighting trick to make her think she's crazy, or was that a phrase before that movie?

It's gotta be from the movie cos that's too obscure a thought to just conjure up, don't ya think? (this has truly become a rant) (I would be embarrassing you right now if we were in public)

There are other small similarities between The Baxter and The Apartment; the office environment, the proper name calling (Mr/Miss) and the harmless, good guy, main character who never got the girl and needed to just grow a pair and do the right thing.

The first sentence of the IMDB for The Baxter says, "In the style of a Howard Hawks comedy." Bah... They know nothing... Trust me, it's more of a satirical Billy Wilder.

...but the one other thing I want to talk about here is the Michelle Williams character. She looks VERY much like the Shirley MacLaine character.


Stay with me... Michelle Williams plays a Shirley MacLaine character who is an opposite of Marilyn Monroe...

Michelle Williams also played Marilyn Monroe in My Week With Marilyn (2011).

Did I just blow your mind?

I have a 3 point connection with The Apartment and Some Kind Of Wonderful (1987)

but I won't bore you with it. Ask me later.

I've already written about Shirley MacLaine's complex and dark character in my ode to the female cinematic dark horse blog I fall for the Kubelik's and their helpless broken ways.

Now more about the movie...

After watching it again today, the themes are not what I remember. I remember it as a love story, but really it's all about the growth of the 2 main characters. Baxter is called a Schnook twice in the film... "Some schnook's apartment". Then his Jewish doctor neighbor told him he needed to be a mentsh, which is a good human being. A schnook (or "schmuck"), what he currently was, was not. Eventually he learned how he could become a mentsh and did. Kubelik needed to play the right cards in her "good hand" (insider). She was always picking the wrong guy, at the wrong place, at the wrong time... Kubelik-wise (insider on top of an insider).

I love the two of them together. I wish they made a sequel of the two in the apartment just bantering and cooking diner and playing cards. (I'll draw a comic of it, maybe).

No man cooks a spaghetti and meatballs diner as good as Jack Lemmon.

I especially love any time they casually touched. You can feel the electricity. You can sense that he is happy to be touching her arm. The first time they touched, he locked arms with her to walk to his office.

My heart raced a little with excitement, because I know that feeling of wanting to just do something simple like that for a really long time... I mean, I can imagine what that would be like to finally get to, or have the guts to.

Great line:
"How could I be so stupid? You think I would have learned by now. When you're in love with a married man, you shouldn't wear mascara."

Great Scene:
"I like it that way, it lets me look the way I feel."

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Faire un clin d'oeil

10 modern French films or films in France you may have missed

*Love Songs (fun, new-wavey, modern musical)

Triplets of Belleville (Cartoon, dark french humor, musical)

*Delicatessen (dark french humor, sort of a musical, director of Amelie)

Broken English (English, Parker Posey goes to Paris, Zoe Cassavettes directed)

*Before Sunset (English, in practically real time, in Paris)

The Valet (mainstream French pop film, so good)

Priceless (Tautou, French pop film)

*2 Days in Paris (Delpy directed, French culture through eyes of a New Yorker)

He loves me, he loves me not (Tautou, gooood movie)

*Happily Ever After (Charlotte Gainsbourg, this is maybe my favorite)

The City of Lost Children (Director of Amelie, dark fantasy)

(* means Netflix has it)

Sunday, December 25, 2011


I'd like to take a minute to talk about a band I was in called Calibretto. I joined the band in 2002, right after the release of their second album on Tooth&Nail. At first I was just a sub for their bass player who didn't want to go on a month long tour. I was happy to go, even though I had to miss a few ITFOW shows. We didn't get all the way to the West Coast, but we got as for as North Dakota in the north,

...and Corpus Cristy, TX in the south.

I joined that summer and toured around with them for 2 years. Went to the west coast a couple of times, toured with a lot of great bands, and even went to Germany for a week.

It was sort of hard for us to get along. I would consider myself to be pretty bratty then, I would consider Joe to be extremely moody, and Christopher to be, not having any of it.

We put out Dead By Dawn on Standard. To this day... I say it's a great album. Maybe the greatest thing I've been apart of. You should get a hold of it.

Before we broke up we put out a split with Mercury Radio Theater. It's good, but odd.

Joe started a new band called Harley Poe. Their first album was actually recorded by us and was almost a Calibretto release, but it caused turmoil (with me) and broke up the band.

Joe's still kicking around Harley Poe. They sound exactly like Calibretto...but whatever.

Ayn Rand

How is writing novels difficult for you?

"Because it's an enormous context that you have to keep in mind. It's an enormous structure. You can't do it inspirationally. You can't do it by looking at a piece of paper once and just decide what you're going to do. It's a whole enormous structure, much more complicated than a building, and you have to keep it all in mind, never contradict your outline, and carry it out. It's killingly difficult, but wonderful when you succeed at it."

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Boleyn Simpsons

I watched all 4 seasons of the Tudors this fall. I don't think it's very good, but anyway... During the episodes where Anne Boleyn played a role in the story, I couldn't help but to be reminded of our modern Boleyn sisters.

Over the years Jessica Simpson has become a household name, thanks to the success of "the Newlyweds", which ushered in the sister Ashlee. Behind all of the success was the father, Joe Simpson, who has been their manager since the beginning. Joe was formally a youth minister at a large church (that I've been in) in Waco, Texas. He pushed his daughters into the spot light, maybe to set a good example for the world, maybe to let the Christian light shine, maybe to make a bunch of money.

Arcade Fire has a song called "Antichrist Television Blues". The lyrics are from Joe's perspective.

"Lord, will you make her a star?
So the world can see who you really are."

"Wanna hold a mirror up to the world
So that they can see themselves inside my little girl."

In the Tudors, Anne's Dad does every maniacal thing he can think of to get his daughter to the very top of her potential.

And in the end it was obvious that he only really cared about his own success. In his final scene, he was spared his life and released from the kings court. As he walked away he saw his daughter in the tower preparing to be executed. She waved, but he didn't wave back. He just walked away.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Sally Rand - Forth Worth, TX 1936

The name Sally Rand was in no way familiar to me until 60 minutes ago, and now I feel compelled to write a blog about her.

I've been doing research on West/Central Texas in the early 1930s because I'm writing a book that takes place there and then.. I might as well being doing research on Texas in the 2030s because I'm clueless to what was going on there, what they dressed like, and what type of modern advancements they were using. (by the way if you know anyone who would like to talk to me about what they know about the 30s in Texas, send them my way)

I've found a few stories that took place at this time. One was about the arrival of Sally Rand to Fort Worth Texas. She was a hit at the Chicago and New York World's fair in 1933 with her "Feather Dance" burlesque routine.

Once a condemner of Sally Rand, after hearing of the huge success the World's Fair had with her addition, the Fort Worth's council decided she would be a great investment for entertainment for the Forth Worth Frontier Centennial.

Dallas (the rival) would also be holding their Centennial and this would surely win a victory over them. For months, in 1936, billboards all over Texas read "FOR EDUCATION GO ELSEWHERE, FOR ENTERTAINMENT COME TO FORT WORTH". In a 90 day period, over 900 articles were written about her in Texas.

The billboards were of her and her girls dressed suggestively in western settings. There was a theme of a "Nude" Ranch.

Here she is, hangin' out at the Nude Ranch.

2 weeks ago I watched THE RIGHT STUFF. In the film there is a beautiful scene of the Astronauts being celebrated in Dallas. After eating food and sitting down Sally Rand performed the famous "fan Dance".

At the time, she was in her early 60s. I didn't know it was an actual dance and there was one woman who created it. Now I know.

This is her famous "bubble dance".

I think this is a spoof from Chaplin's the Great Dictator (1940)