Let’s talk culture a minute, shall we? I’ve seen so many movies lately, and haven’t written a thing about them. I’ve been on this mini-crusade to share great old movies with the girls — and by “old,” I mean anything from the ’30s to the ’80s, anything that predates the girls themselves. So we all wept together watching “Pride of the Yankees,” and then laughed like crazy at Preston Sturges’s “Miracle of Morgan’s Creek,” which right in the middle of the war and the final days of the Hays Office managed to introduce a heroine who got drunk, got married to a soldier she’d never seen before, got pregnant, and completely blacked out on the whole thing. It was as hilarious as ever.
Then during vacation I had a burning desire to see, and show them, “Meatballs,” Bill Murray’s first movie and a classic of adolescent humor. It has some fairly risque moments, but they thought that movie was hilarious, too. And I was a little surprised at how many little phrases from that movie I still have in my vocabulary. One night we caught a few minutes of one of the “Back to the Future” movies, and so we borrowed the first two from the library and watched them — not bad, after all this time, not bad. I’d like to show them “Gremlins,” but haven’t found it yet. And I’m trying to remember if there was anything in “The Blues Brothers” that earned it that R rating other than the language.
Over in the adult swim, we’ve been having a little Tarantino festival. “Reservoir Dogs” and “Pulp Fiction” seem to be on TV every night. Bought “Jackie Brown” (couldn’t find it to rent or borrow), and expected something other than what I got, which was a thoughtful, well-acted, barely violent little caper-flick. I was really impressed with it (and Pam Grier), and can’t understand why it didn’t get more of a reception. And the theme from that was a song called “Across 110th Street,” which I half-thought Tarantino might have made up, but the next time I wandered into the DVD section at the library, there was a new “Soul Collection” DVD of a 1972 film with Yaphet Kotto and Anthony Quinn called “Across 110th Street.” You can’t imagine how fast I snatched that down from the shelf. Here, too, I expected a terrible blaxploitation flick and got something much better, a tense and bloody story of small-time crooks who hit the mob, and then there’s the race to see whether the mob or the cops get to them first. Anthony Quinn is the old-school racist detective who talks with his fists, Yaphet Kotto — and I’m down for just about anything with Yaphet Kotto in it — is the college-educated new-school detective who is put in charge of the investigation because he’s black. Very 1972, and the film-making has that gritty ’70s realism and camera work that you just don’t see any more. Quite a good film. (But I’m still dying to see a truly bad blaxploitation flick, so I’m going to have to head up to the video store on Central that actually has a blaxploitation section.)
And this weekend, the “Kill Bill” marathon. Last night, Vol. 1, to set us up for Vol. 2 tonight. Vincent Gallo, angry that nobody watches his films, called Tarantino a “collage artist” on Stern a couple of weeks ago. Well, collage is still art in the right hands, buddy, and this stuff is art. I generally can’t stomach graphic violence in films, but this is so cartoony and balletic, so much the very point of the movie, that it doesn’t create that visceral reaction. Cannot wait to see what happens in Vol. 2.
Enough rambling. It’s a beautiful day in September. As it was three years ago. This time, it’s going to stay beautiful.