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Well, I "remembered" another one, thanks to the SF Chron's Day in Pictures:

"There is no Dana; There is only Zuul."
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I should probably have the patience to build this entry. That is, since I'm having trouble remembering all the things I need to remember, I should just take notes and post the entry when I have more. But I'm not known for my patience, so here goes.

What movie quotes have made it into your vocabulary? Not just "What are your favorite quotes?" but what movie quotes actually make it into your writing and conversation with friends and family? My family tends to work Mel Brooks quotes into a lot of things, though I can only remember one right now. Below are the two movie quotes I can remember right now (which distracted watching a documentary on bears) that I genuinely use in conversation:

Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

Fifteen is my limit on schnitzengruben.

Baby, please! I am not from Havana!


What quotes do you and yours use?

Xanadon't

Jul. 13th, 2008 02:42 am
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I've done a lot of trolling of YouTube in the throes of my insomnia (perhaps it's contributing to the problem). Tonight I bounced around from Craig Ferguson to Julie Andrews to Gene Kelly...and that brought me to Xanadu. I love musicals and always have. I have been a fan of mythology since I was a nipper. Likewise with romance and fantasy. So the movie premise appealed to my 15-year old self a great deal.

I saw the movie when it came out. And was disappointed, oh yes. But I think the movie has been slagged way way in excess of what it deserves. There are at base at least 2 reasons why the average American should be happy this movie was made - 1) It gets a 68-year old Gene Kelly dancing on screen again and he does a pretty damned good job, even roller skating. (2) It immortalized the Pan Pacific Auditorium on film (the PPA burned down later so it's great to have some nice footage of it. The score contains some standout tracks and the big dreamy sound of ELO lends itself to something meant to be supernatural. The dancers they hired are talented and there are some very nice choreography ideas, like using the clothes racks in "All Over the World".

One of the problems both movie musicals and Broadway musicals sometimes have is their budget - if the budget is huge, it allows folks to focus on the details and flash and not see the forest for the trees. The first question any musical producer should ask is whether the musical could stand the "high school test". Could it be put on by a local high school theater department and be engaging and entertaining? If not, there's a very good chance it's not a good musical. The best musicals stand on their story, the quality of the music and the quality of the choreography. All of those are things that an average high school theater department can muster in some form or another. When there's too much money being tossed around, people get involved with the hydraulics and the trick photography and whatever and it all masks the fact that maybe the writing isn't as good as is needed.

The post-Beatles era really hit the American musical hard. It survived Presley (even inspiring the wonderful "Bye Bye Birdie" but after the hippie counter-culture spread, musicals were looked on as square. And there were some really unfortunate gyrations gone through by Broadway and Hollywood to try to make "relevant" musicals. The American movie-going public wasn't in the mood for musicals from 1965 - 2000ish. This is partly because H'wood wasn't doing as good a job when they made them and also because the increasing presence of method acting, naturalism and such made it harder for people to be comfortable with a flamboyantly *theatrical* experience.

In a reaction similar to my reaction to superhero movies, each attempt to bring a musical to the screen raised my hopes AND my fears. If it failed, people would attribute it to the genre rather than the individual effort. And that's very much what happened with Xanadu, I think. It doesn't help that the story involved something that was a fad at the time in the US - roller disco. Fads are often over by the time someone in H'wood hears of them, develops a project around them, and brings it to the screen. So Xanadu was doomed to be dated on delivery. Punk had finally broken on American shores (and you can even see "punk" hairdos in the film) and punk was not accepting of the sweetness of a classic movie musical nor the melodicism of musical theater.

I haven't seen Xanadu for a while. I rented it a couple years ago but my memory is so bad that I've already forgotten my reaction to the acting jobs and the plot. But when you go on YouTube and look at the clips of the musical numbers, it stands up rather well.
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Remember them? My parents had a Super-8 camera and a couple times a year we'd get the projector out and watch them. With popcorn. Well, about a decade ago I had my mom send me up a box and I had them transferred to VHS. And, in the never-ending shell game that is trying to keep things archival, I'm now starting to digitize them. I signed up for a video editing class at Berkeley Community Media and they have the equipment that will allow me to do digital capture from VHS. So I snuck in as much as I could before class, during the break and during "free time" in the last 10 min. I'm sure there are still hours to go.

The oldest clips on there are black and white and look to have been taken by my grandfather in the '50s. Then it skips to me as an infant and goes on from there 'til the early '70s. As my dad tosses me around, I wonder who that kid is. Honestly, if I didn't know from context that it was me, I'd never have guessed. I looked so different when I was little. It's odd seeing my parents, who looked so old to me then, and knowing they were only a little older than half my age now. My dad's hair was still red. My mom was still active doing things she doesn't do now.

Then there are the interactions with my siblings. My eldest sibling and I have a really hard time getting along and have ever since we hit double digits. It's a long story. Anyway, there's a clip of him pulling me around in a red wagon. The younger brother pulling the older sister. There's another clip where we're all playing the the sprinklers in my grandparents' backyard in San Berdoo and my middle brother, who was maybe 5 or 6, turned around and handed me a towel, unasked. It was sweet.

I see me playing football with the guys. I see me running around in a bathing suit completely unashamed of my body. I had nothing to be ashamed of, but only about 5 years later I would feel enough pressure from my brothers calling me "fatty" (and my mom's own body image issues that she passed on) that I went on my first diet. Again, being perfectly svelte and not needing to drop an ounce. I see my shoulders straight and confident, not rolled and slumped as they are now from years of trying to disappear, of trying to take up as little space as I can...just from feeling terrible about myself.

It's like I'm watching strangers. Who are these people? Who is this innocent kid?

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