Nostalgia and Slapstick: movies and a play (#SFWApro)

I haven’t been at all impressed by Woody Allen’s 21st century films such as Anything Else or Whatever Works but Midnight in Paris (2011) holds up remarkably well on rewatching (all rights to poster with current holder). Owen Wilson has the Woody Allen role as the nostalgist who falls in love with Paris, then even more in love with Paris in the 1920s, where he gets to hang with Tom Hiddleston’s F. Scott Fitzgerald, Adrien Brodi’s Dali, Kathy Bates’ Gertrude Stein and most especially Marion Cotillard’s sexy couturier. Rewatching I noticed with interest that it’s a pompous ass at the start of the film who delivers the theme message; and of course I do like that Wilson doesn’t end up back in the present with Cotillard’s exact double. There are some minor quibbles (it’s too early for people to refer to “science fiction”) but they’re forgivable. “Is there a difference in beauty between two rhinoceroses?”

SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL GUNFIGHTER (1971) was James Garner’s follow-up to Support Your Local Sheriff in which conman Garner finds himself posing as the front man for a legendary gunfighter who can tilt the balance in a struggle between rival mine owners Harry Morgan and John Dehner. Not as fun as the first film, but certainly entertaining, with a cast including spitfire Suzanne Pleshette, saloon owners Marie Windsor and Joan Blondell, low-life Jack Elam, telegraph operator Henry Jones and Chuck Connors as the real psycho gunfighter. “We share ancestors as far back as Adam and Eve — I desire no further relationship to you than that.”

I suppose the Marvel film DEADPOOL (2016) counts as slapstick of a sort, with all the over-the-top comedic violence, but despite the film’s popularity, I can’t say it clicked with me. Mostly it felt like something that would have been fresh in the 1980s (super hero adventure with boobs! And cussing! And an anti-hero! And look, Deadpool makes fun of the X-Men!) but now kind of stale? And way too much banter—it makes me appreciate Arrow‘s good sense in making Felicity the only one with this kind of patter. Plus for all the comedy, this is still relies on the Cinema of Isolation cliché about the cripple/scarface who must make people PAY for his physical injuries. So color me not impressed (as TYG says, this looks like what a 19 year old would find edgy) “You look like an avocado that just had sex with an older avocado, and not in a gentle way.”

THE SERVANT OF TWO MASTERS is a commedia dell’arte production I caught with friends on my recent trip, wherein a low-comic servant’s plan to double dip by working for two traveling gentlemen at the same time runs afoul of a complicated romantic quadrangle (suffice to say, one “gentleman” is a cross-dressing woman trying to reconnect with the other, and that’s just part of it). Full of energy and slapstick, very entertaining and great costumes to look at. “If I were queen I would make every faithless man carry a branch in one hand — and all the towns would look like forests.”


Filed under Movies

5 responses to “Nostalgia and Slapstick: movies and a play (#SFWApro)

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