Saturday, 8 September 2012

Because Nathaniel Said So…. (Summer Reportcard and Song Titles That Should be Movies)

Pilfering off other bloggers comes in very handy when you’re feeling lazy but still penitent for not posting enough. Even if I wasn’t already in a pilfering mood, though, two posts over at Chez Nathaniel this week had my fingers itching to post a response.

The first is an incredibly fun (meme-worthy) question –
Song Titles That Should Be Movies

You know what filmmakers and film critics don’t pay enough attention to? Titling. Sure, a good title is in no way indicative of a good film and when it is paid attention sometimes it turns into finicky silliness (From Rome With Love is an awful film title, yada yada ya). Still, precision in film titles is always enjoyable. Last year the simple titles of Beginners and The Separation of Nader form Simin and the cleverness of Martha Marcy May Marlene were all ones that made me pleased. Movies from song titles, intrigues me more.

I knew I’d spend much too much to mind obsessing over what to include, so I glanced over the songs I’ve listed to this past week and narrowed down a top 10 from that.

10. “I Stayed Too Long At the Fair” (Barbra Streisand)
I included this on Nathaniel’s original post. I know of this song from Barbra Streisand’s rendition way back in the sixties, but I’d seen her perform it recently in a clip from a concert and the lucky for Barbra she can still sing, but the way Barnes’ song so effectively speaks of the ennui which comes with overstaying one’s welcome does point to a stellar title for a film about a like-minded diva in show business. Bonus points if it’s a biopic on Barbra.

9. “Damned Ladies” (Rufus Wainwright)
A pop song that references Desdemona, Káťa Kabanová and a slew of other Opera heroines? Why not. For fun, Cate Blanchett stars as all the nine women referenced in the song – a theatre actress on tour performing in tragedy after tragedy. Or better yet, a troupe of theatre actresses and the hijinks of being on tour. Who doesn’t like backstage theatre shenanigans on film?

8. “The Surrey With the Fringe on Top” (Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein)
I just the find the title of this Oklahoma tune too catchy to not include it. I’m stumped as to what the movie would be about, though. A mechanic?

7. “The Summer Knows” (Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Barbra Streisand etc)
Incidentally, this is the main theme from a movie Summer of ‘42, so it might be something of a cheat. But everyone loves a good movie about a Summer affair, tragic or not. Knowing the way movie-dom operates, though, it might just be the title of an ill-fated horror reboot of I Know What You Did Last Summer.

6. “Hard Hearted Hannah” (Milton Ager, Jack Yellen, Bob Bigelow, and Charles Bates)
5. “Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! A Man After Midnight (ABBA)
First, there’d be a film about down-on-their-luck prostitutes who are battling the downward economy and their diminishing clientele. They want a man after midnight (for professional reasons only). The sequel will follow the main prostitute, Hannah, as she moves from fresh faced hooker to proficient Madame. Bonus points if they’re both comedies.

4. “Death and All His Friends” (Coldplay)
Another comedy about serious things, a tale of a self employed mortician and his adventures. He talks to the dead, of course.

...more would-be movies and my Summer Report-Card below the jump...



3. “The Only Difference Between Martyrdom and Suicide Is Press Coverage” (Panic! at the Disco)
This is, incidentally, one of my favourite song titles of the last decade. Even though, like most of their song titles, it’s something of a spoof of literary quotes. Still, the specificity of the title always amuses me. I toyed with the idea of “I Write Sins Not Tragedies” but this offers more in the way of a film. Half of the plot is already there. The only question is – is our martyr a hero or a villain?

2. “The Same Hello, The Same Goodbye” (Michael Feinstein, Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand etc)
It’s the second Alan and Marilyn Bergman song on the list, but they have good song titles. At first I thought the title would be suggestive of a new version of Same Time, Next Year but instead why not a sequel or companion piece to Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and the machinations at Lacuna? A couple caught on loop, constantly erasing themselves from each other’s memories, constantly getting back together.

1. “Advantages of Floating in the Middle of the Sea” (Stephen Sondheim)

Pacific Overtures is not my favourite Sondheim score but it does have my favourite song titles from him. Case in point, this opening track. What movie it spawns is something more puzzling – do I go metaphorical and let it be a character study of a man who can’t, or won’t, stop sitting on the fence? Or just go literal and make it a drama about a sailor who won’t come in from the sea?

And now, to second act of mimicry blogging.

__________

SUMMER REPORT-CARD

Best Movie I Saw All Summer
I had to check my old Geography text book to know when summer actually started (no seasons for me) and since it’s May that makes my “best” summer movie Magic Mike. It employs the typical Soderbergh tricks of getting the best of his performers and looking at familiar tropes in effective and natural ways. Also, it’s fun, funny and sure of itself without ever being entitled. (I’d seen The Deep Blue Sea earlier in the spring, and rewatched it on DVD this summer so really that’s the best 2012 release I’ve seen for the summer – and the year, thus far.)

Scenes I ♥ So Much I Thought My Heart Would Burst
I swear I’m not being silly for the hell of it, but Salma Hayek tearing off that ridiculous wig in Savages is still one of my favourite movie things of the year and is that much more special because I was actively hoping she’d ditch it for the entire movie. I will not stop saying that the wig was hideous. (And I liked Savages.)

Major Minor Summer Crush
Even though he’s a stripper of questionable talent, a jerk-like younger brother and not as good at impressions as he thinks he is Pettfyer’s “Can we be best friends” is too adorable. So, The Kid, by default.

Princess Merida, Katniss or Hawkeye?
Merida, so easily. For one, she's the best at archery and she's in the best movie. For two, it’s Kelly MacDonald and she’s wonderful, for three, as a sometimes Pixar-sceptic I found Brave so wholly enchanting and moving I’m sort of confused how this is apparently supposed to be one of their worse. Also, since Ariel in The Little Mermaid I approve of defiant animated redheads.

At Least The Theater Was Air Conditioned
Snow White and the Huntsman. Yikes. As I said in my review….Snow ain’t so beautiful (and I’m not talking about Stewart). I can't recall the last movie which hit such a wrong chord with me.

If Only "Hulk" Had Smashed…
The Miranda Tate arc in The Dark Knight Rises. I adore Marion Cotillard but her double-arc is just painful to watch and I’m still not sure if it’s the script, the direction or her general disinterest which was responsible for the turgidity – but the performance grows progressively worse until that final scene which is just not good. Sigh.

Mash-Up ~Two Summer Characters I'd Like to Introduce
Queen Ravena (Snow White and the Huntsman) and Princess Merida (Brave). Generally I like Charlize but that accent (?) in Snow White and the Huntsman was terrifying, so these two could meet. Macdonald can help Theron work on her enunciation and then Merida can shoot a bow at Ravena and have her spout off some more unintelligible dialogue. Merida shoots her arrow, Ravena screams “WHERE IS SHEEEEEE!”

Rank the Magic Mike strippers:
On stripping ability, I presume?
1. Ken
2. Magic Mike
3. Tito
4. Dallas
5. Big Dick Richie
6. The Kid
7. Tarzan

Line Reading That Stuck In My Head...
Cheating and diving back to The Deep Blue Sea because a half dozen of Weisz’s line-readings make for some of my favourite of the new decade. I'm especially partial to,
         It’s sad, perhaps, but hardly Sophocles.

Best Old Movie I Saw For the First Time This Summer - Go Me!
Well, it’s not old old but while working through the performances of the ‘90s Project Jose, Craig and Amir all had Homayoun Ershadi’s work in Abbas Kiarostami's A Taste of Cherry high on their list and it turned out to be as devastating, gorgeous, sombre, subtle, strange and beautiful as I could hope for. I don't know why I'd not seen it before.

Head over to see Nathaniel's 10 Song Titles which should be movies HERE and the Summer Report Report Card of a few other bloggers HERE and HERE and HERE.

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