white elephant gifts
i had an office christmas party a month ago. a white-elephant party. i had the perfect idea for a gift: the mysterious island. i bought it at a clearance rack at big lots a while ago because it was only 2 dollars and featured special effects by none other than ray harryhausen. ray harrryhausen is the special effects wizard behind such great films as the seventh voyage of sinbad and jason and the argonauts. he also made clash of the titans. and he’s had a huge impact on special effects and stop motion animation. some say he was the biggest influence for the classic the equinox: a journey into the supernatural (but not the equinox, the movie the studio butchered).
a great white elephant gift, right? except that the movie mysteriously disappeared. i couldn’t find it anywhere. i searched and searched the entire house with no success. so i went with plan b: a vhs copy of weekend with a 5 dollar bill hidden in the vhs case.
(actually, i passed on that idea. i was feeling sentimental about my vhs copy of weekend. plus, i was worried that one of my coworkers might actually watch weekend. i mean, it’s no videodrome, but definitely a traumatic experience. instead i gave some old atari games — ms pacman and the smurfs.)
then yesterday, the mysterious island mysteriously reappeared. it was just sitting on a stack of dvds in the living room. my only guess is that the ghost who has recently been haunting my house borrowed it for a month. i hope the ghost — who i’ve named claire because i think it’s the ghost of an old landlord — loved the movie. i still haven’t watched it. (other recent ghost encounters include the garage door mysteriously opening and closing, cups mysteriously moving when you go to pour orange juice and mysterious strange noises at night.)
non-human actors (again)
last week i watched bringing up baby. this movie features katherine hepurn in her funniest role since little women. and the funniest part of her performance is her outfits. each one funnier and more outrageous than the last. and even though the movie only takes place over the course of 2 days, she wears at least a dozen outfits.
but the best part of the movie was the leopard. a tame leopard who loves dogs. (the dog in the movie is great too. a large part of the movie is katherine hepburn and cary grant following around the dog to try and find where the dog has buried grant’s dinosaur bone — grant’s a paleontologist, and a way better one than the ones in jurrasic park.)
which takes me back to fuller’s white dog. much of white dog takes place at noah’s ark — an animal training center which trains animals specifically for movie roles. lions, tigers and bears. you name it, noah’s ark will train it for a movie. i did a little research and it turns out noah’s ark doesn’t actually exist. however, there obviously are movie animal training centers (maybe they should be called animal acting schools), or there where before real animals stopped appearing in movies in favor of cgi animals.
now there are all these animal actors out there who cant find decent roles. i wonder what will happen to them all. is there an animal actors guild? is there anything like a pension plan for retired animal actors?
the best movie jesus
milky way is supposedly the first in a trilogy of bunuel movies (with the discreet charm of the bourgeois and the phantom of liberty rounding out the trilogy). it’s all about the catholic church — the doctrinal disputes, heresies, inquisitions and rites — but with a great sense of humor. there are bible jokes like every minute. (the best being this one when the innkeeper shows this guy to his room, lights the candle and puts it in the closet. the guest is dismayed and exclaims, “why would you light a candle and put in the closet? you need to let it light the whole room!”)
but the best part of the movie was jesus. there are numerous flash backs to gospel times and that jesus is hilarious. way better than any jesus i’ve seen in any movie ever (unless you count jodorowsky’s character in holy mountain as jesus, then it’s a tie).
the best joke jesus told was at a wedding. everyone wants him to speak and he’s like no, not now. they insist so he starts into the parable of the unjust steward and right when he’s getting to the climax, he stops to take a drink. everyone’s asking what happens next. jesus raises his finger signaling everyone to wait. he drinks the last of his wine and then holds the cup upside down making sure every last drop has been drunk. then he delivers the punchline of the parable. it’s a huge success; the entire wedding cheers. and jesus smiles.
someone should probably develop a stand-up routine based on the parables of jesus.