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Pennsylvania's Most Interesting Blog

21 Oktober 2005

T.V. CAN sure be boring ('you talkin' ta me?)

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It's gray and cold here today and I had to get a filling put in so I'm doped up on anesthesia and can't feel half my mouth. I only have one more old filling that 'needs replaced' (courtesy local vernacular provided as a service to the readership of Penna's Most Interesting Blog). Now that I have dental insurance which covers these types of procedures, it's not as annoying to have to get these things done. It would have been nice last year to have had insurance when I had to have a crown put on and a cavity filled, necessitating a dip into some serious savings but, isn't that the way things often turn out. Still, life experience has shown me that paycheck deductions for insurance are sure 'nuff better than not having it, for whatever purposes, so, there you go.

OK, so I don't feel like reading or continuing hacking away at my grading pile because this numbing stuff has made me quite cranky. So I'm holding myself a Pity Party and treated myself to some DVDs to just watch while I wallow in gray skies, a hurty mouth and too much to do. OK, so the anasthesia has worn off and my mouth is fine. But still. Golly dang, I forget that the new city library in town has all kinds of stuff for free rental.

I'm in an American realism mood now after having viewed "Taxi Driver" (1976) last night--perhaps one of my favorite films of all time even though the time or two I'd seen it before, or pieces of it, it didn't make as much sense to me. But after viewing it again, I am throwing my hat in and jumping onto the 'it's one of America's best ever' bandwagon because, dayum, it's the shiznit all around. Or maybe I'm just ready to ponder it now. De Niro, Keitel, Brooks, Boyle, Shepherd, Foster, and Scorsese, not to mention the City of New York as itself. Not for kids though. Plus the DVD special features includes recent interviews with all of the aforementioned about their stints on this picture, which adds much to the viewing experience. Particularly since all of them have become biggies in the motion picture industry.

Now I'm popping in "Raging Bull" (1980), which I've never seen all the way through either. I'm missing this realist edge in today's movies. Showin' it like it is! (well, according to the screenwriter, director, etc.) As in, a nod towards the tradition of literary realism...or, in the case of my opinion of Taxi Driver, a depiction of the misery one might suffer in the day-to-day (e.g. perpetual lonliness, taxi as metaphor for this journey) leading into a fantasy world of what thinks one wants, but which the audience has to decide if that's how things turn out. Depressing, yes. Real? Very likely. Bad? Don't know. But my brain LOVES it!

I have a feeling that the recent film "Closer" may have sparked an appeal to retun to some sort of realism in film; while I felt that the film almost took a turn straight into Cheeseville and Cliche-town, it was enjoyable and provided moments for ponderage. But whether it was illustrative of today's issues with racism? Hard call...symbolic, sure. Are viewers ready for a revival of 70's US films showing it like it is? Can we deal with having to make our own conclusions or without the g.d. (goddamn) happy end all the time? As long as the Neo-Cons are at the helm making life so much more pleasant for the world (sorry, did you get some sarcasm drip on you there?), maybe we need escapism still.

And when I see these kinds of movies and then surf through cable TV to find not much in the way of programing that makes me want to watch for more than 8 minutes because it's pretty non-engaging, I just get bored with it. Not to say that there are not thought-provoking shows out there, because there definitely are, or to say that cable TV is bad (I'm not that freaky) but there is a lot of c-rap. Which, OK, I know, is half the reason many of us watch the boob-tube in the first place. But I'm likely not going to continue my special four month trial offer after the prices go up for all these channels.

For balance, I did also rent "Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants", whose title by the way I'm sure went over very well in the UK, and now I really regret not having made two guy friends of mine seen it with me when we went to the local drive in this summer thinking it was gonna be a shoot-em-up action double header when it fact the line up was changed that day to Estrogen Night at the Starlight. Because I rock most mightily, I didn't force them to stay even though I really wanted to. I know how it is to take guys to 'chickflicks', it's really not worth it. Now if the guy initiates it, that's something totally different.

"Pants", is, how do I say this, totally stupid because there is not one ounce of anything remotely clever in it, but all the same a feel good flick with cute story lines which don't hurt anyone.

And how hot is Robert De Niro in the 1970s/1980's (e.g. Godfather II, Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, etc.). Oh my. Oh my.