Yankee Doodle Dandy: Notes

good god, i’m not really looking forward to this.

lol I’m supposed to believe the president contacted a broadway actor over impersonation?

what president is this supposed to be lol

'weren't that many stars on the flag then.' wow, could you imagine? 

blackface. a whole family of blackface. 

wow, this little georgie kid had to have grow up a homo. 

HAHHA he got jumped outside, screamed like a little girl. serves him right for acting like a bitch. wow, just blew a deal for the whole family. what a little SHIT. glad he got a spanking.

dang, looked up and down something hard. what a bitch.  why is every character in this movie a dick?

wow, vaudeville acts are nothing but scandalous.  everyday i’m hustlin

here’s the fucking song. over. and over.

wow, this is pretty awesome.  it’s kind of a cop out because it’s like one of those movies about a stage so, but this is holding my attention REALLY well. and it’s entertaining.

sets are nice, but again, impressiveness slightly diminished since it’s essentially a stage.

give my regards to broadway. this guy’s voice, though. this drawls are insufferable. and he is no gene kelly.

some interesting shots and distortions

oh shit, it’s about to get REAL.  his little girlfriend’s special song was just JACKED.  HAHAHAA. she knew all along. hearty irl lol from me. false alarm.

oh man, this guy is such a smartass. i can see people getting a kick out of this shit in those days.  it’s like good, smart, corny ass humor.  even the little interjections in the arrangements.

this guy’s voice tho.  god damn.

oh wow, black people on stage singing praise to abraham lincoln. i wonder if that’ll be a deal in this movie. 

oh shit!! treadmills. wow, the stage looks huge. amazing.  really enjoy these time passing montages.

lusitania goes down. “now we really got something to worry about.” back in a time when ppl weren’t self centered assholes

is this motherfucker gonna try to dance his way into the army? lmfao no but he’ll create an american anthem for the war wit

wait is this based on a true story….omg it is. i’m so dumb.

lmfao so he drops everything and travels the world with his chick. this whole passport on the suitcase thing is really clever.

1 note

Toy Story: Notes


  • Trying to look out for things I might not have noticed before.
  • blurry - details are incredible.  you notice the smallest things - book titles, smudges, gasp prices, radio stations, etc 
  • simple textures.  textures textures textures.  the doors are aged and the furniture has imperfections. stitching on the bedspread. smudgy fingerprints on boxes. 
  • look up licensing - tons of brand names - tinkertoy, operation, ants in the pants, etc. lol rex’s rant - i’m actually not mattel, a smaller company that was bought out
  • mickey mouse wrist watch wall clock - want!!!
  • establishing shots 
  • "i found my moving buddy." dang, what a skanky bitch.
  • my neighbors are probably like “really?” fuck randy newman.  i know he’s “great” or whatever, but i just wish he wasn’t the person singing. every. fucking. song.  there’s a good mad tv sketch about this i think.
  • omg sid’s back.  
  • omg why are they so mean to woody?! it was an accident!  they threatened him with a NOOSE. 
  • "i couldn’t find my buzz." i feel you andy.
  • dinoco gas!  neat. $1.39 a gallon - yeah i wish it was 1995
  • ok, why can’t sid’s toys talk?  assuming they were once normal toys with voices, i mean fucking mr potato head can understand the car
  • fucking randy newman again
  • buzz’s tea identity crisis is great.  i’m trying to find a message here.
  • mr potato head what a fucking DICK. jeez. how are they all friends after this?!  buzz get over it and get your ass up on the window.  SLINK TOO HOW DARE YOU LOWER THE BLINDS.
  • DAMN RIGHT WHAT HAVE YOU DONE
  • i want a written letter of apology from mr potato head. 

Toy Story: Review


Although I’ve seen Toy Story a number of times, I was still excited to watch it again.  Who wouldn’t be?  What can you really say about Toy Story, though?  I mean, we’ve all seen it so how/why would anyone care about a “review?”  I’m winging it here and decided to focus on things that weren’t so obvious. I don’t think I’ve seen it since it was released on Blu-ray and I couldn’t wait to see the quality of Pixar’s first film.

First of all, I love Blu-ray.  One of the first things I noticed was the quality.  Everything stood out - book titles on Andy’s shelves, smudges around door jams, gas prices, radio stations.  Everything was incredibly rich with texture and weirdly accurate.  It’s like you can completely comprehend how that fuck, Mr. Potato Head, feels compared to the dinosaur.  There were certain shots of bedspreads, where you could just see the stitching and slight imperfections.  I was really impressed with the amount of care that was obviously put into that aspect of the animation. I’ve always appreciated that they were able to land so many licensing rights for the toys.  Not just the main characters, but surrounding boxes and board games - Tinkertoy, Operation, Ants in the Pants.  I thought the bit about Rex not being specifically Mattel was a nice giggle about the corporate side of the whole situation.

As the story played out, I tried to pay attention to the more technical side of things.  It’s hard to think of an animated film in terms of shit like crane shots or quick cuts.  It was nice to try to wrap my head around that.  I noticed that while we get involved with the characters in intimate shots, there would be great pull backs to show the toys on a relative scale.  I know that’s weird, because we all know they’re toys, but I liked how they used those shots to establish it again every now and then.

One aspect of Toy Story that I never got was Randy Newman.  I mean, I can give him the main track - You’ve Got a Friend in Me - but does he really have to sing every single song?  He’s a talented guy, but his voice is so cartoonish and offensive.  Every song on the soundtrack is a little too much for me.

Another thing I want to address is Mr. Potato Head.  What. A. Dick.  Seriously. When was the last time you’ve rewatched Toy Story?  Pay attention to that asshole the next time you do.  He was so dickish, I couldn’t believe they were all friends.  It reminds me of Tinkerbelle.  Why does everyone fucking LOVE Tink?  Have you forgotten that she’s an attempted murderess?  She tried to kill Wendy!  Anyway, I have the same sort of resentment reserved for Mr. Potato Head, now.  He threatened Woody with a noose.  Woody’s kind of a d-bag, but he really didn’t deserve the hate.  I was also slightly upset at the other hive minded characters that suddenly turned their backs on Woody.  Oh, but it’s cool they’re all friends when it’s said and done!

Last little…long…side note: Sid’s toys.  Great stuff.  To this day, they kind of scare the shit out of me.  BUT, I’ve always wondered why they can’t communicate.  Think about it - all of Andy’s toys are able to talk to each other.  Even the fucking car can be spoken to.  Why can’t Sid’s toys talk?!  Is it because they’ve been disassembled?  Did they “die” and come back to life as mutes?  Or since they died and have come back as these mutants, they’re not around any toys that talk so they never learn?  I have questions, Lasseter.

Toy Story is great.  I can see why it would be considered a great film.  It’s a family film, but it’s hard to hate.  There’s only so much that can be said about it that isn’t stating the obvious, right?

Ben Hur: Notes

  • accept my ignorance
  • 3 and a half hours long? jesus christ. ask and thy shall receive. Story about JESUS!
  • impressed with costumes, amount of soldiers - blah blah cgi
  • homosexual undertones or what? hope there’s some shirtless dudes 
  • romans suck, bro. way harsh. watering horses before slaves.
  • "god, help me." probably like one of the only times this sentence has ever been answered.
  • nah bro, don’t fuck with jesus. he’s gonna give him water. 
  • these boats are so cute. oh i guess a couple years have passed. 
  • i guess it’s kind of an interesting way to present the well known story of jesus. 
  • i’m 80% sure there’s black face going on with an arabian or something. 
  • i swear if these horses die i’m gonna be pissed. 
  • is being a leper THAT bad? i mean, yeah it’s probably gross but you’d rather have your son think you were dead than show your leper face? priorities 
  • really impressive horse training or whatever. the lap around the track was a little drawn out but horses. HORSES. 
  • dude was brutally trampled by a horse. awesome. 
  • one last burn - look for them in the valley of the lepers, if you can recognize them. 
  • again, they’d rather be considered dead than alive as lepers? 
  • pass the ganja. hippie jews gather to hear jesus speak. 
  • i guess leprosy is a big deal. bitch we can’t hear you. i guess it might have been considered contagious. 
  • oh shit, jesus is on trial. ahhh, they were just stoned for carrying their lepers. i guess it might be an issue. 
  • even up until now, jesus has not been seen up close, in the face. 
  • carrying of the cross. ben hue and lepers in tow. 
  • just realized the potential for spinoffs centered around the passion. avengers potential.
  • would rewriting biblical events go over that badly in hollywood? 
  • still don’t see the face of jesus. CMON MAN. i hate when they do that. i guess it’s pretty bad ass of christianity to take the symbol of christ on the cross and making it their own.  
  • kind of disappointing once you realize this is where the story is going. i mean, we all know what happens in the end, right? 
  • nothing has really stood out, technique wise. the ending of the storm washing away everything is probably the closest in the entire thing. 
  • details of sets and costumes is stunning - curious to know about budget.

Ben Hur: Review

I was a little disappointed that Ben Hur was the first on my list.  Ben Hur?!  I guess it’s this kind of attitude that’s held me back for so long, so I dealt with it.  I didn’t take any time to research the film, other than a quick glance at IMDB, so I didn’t have any preconceived notions.  I’ll probably press on with other films this way, too.  I have no idea how to structure any of this, but I thought it would be fun to post raw notes and something a little more fleshed out.

"Three and a half hours long?!" is probably the first impression I had to Ben Hur, but I doubt it’s uncommon.  After loading up the movie and pushing play, I breathed a low "Jesus Christ" as I settled in.

Almost ironically, the first scene is the birth of Christ. I discovered that Ben Hur is a religious epic within the first minute.  I had no idea.  I was under the impression that it was about some other aspect of history, but the subtitle is “A Tale of the Christ.”  Interesting.  Not thrilled about it, but it could be worse.


Instantly, I noticed how fleshed out and expansive the sets, costumes and extras were.  In a modern world, we’re used to fields of soldiers artificially created with CGI, so it was really refreshing and interesting to see how it was done.  There are a lot of establishing, wide shots that really showcase the insane aspect ratio of ‘MGM Camera 65.’ Later on, there are some gorgeously crafted scenes (particularly, the chariot races) that you can tell took a lot of time, effort and money.

Being a homosexual, I can’t help but be extremely privy to homosexual crap in film.  When going through my notes, I noticed  ”homosexual undertones or what?  hope there’s some shirtless dudes.”  There had to be something here, right?  The instant we meet Judah and Messala, we’re kind of like - ok, what is the history here?  They’re so friendly, they’re so close, they’re so touchy and they have some lines that leave you wondering.  I didn’t know if it was just my 2011 homo-brain over thinking the times of 1959 conservative Hollywood or if I was picking up on something deeper.


Upon researching further, I did find an interesting tidbit.  Apparently, the screenwriter (Gore Vidal) claims to have helped persuade the director to “create a veiled homoerotic subtext.”  Censorship guidelines from the Motion Picture Production Code wouldn’t allow it.  Supposedly, the director took his advice and ”the results can be seen in the film.”

Ahhhhhh, the sweet scent of validation.  Glad to know I’m not just horny.  In any case, the homoeroticism dies off pretty quickly after Judah discovers he and his childhood “friend” have grown up extremely different.

Another thing we quickly learn is that Romans suck.  They’re a bunch of bastards.  It’s all presented in the typical “oh, they’re whipping slaves and mean to Jesus” way, but it kind of goes deeper.

There was one part where Judah can’t continue (after being wrongfully accused of a crime he didn’t even commit, jeez!) on his chain gang, falls and utters “God, help me.”  I know this is probably a pivotal point in the film, since the kindness is almost repaid later, but I couldn’t help laughing when Jesus instantly steps in.  I wonder how many times that’s been said and how many times it’s been answered…probably none more literally than this.


Jesus is bad ass.  You never hear him speak or even see his face.  One great thing about this film is how they totally control your perception of Jesus, using other elements of film, even characters, without ever revealing Jesus himself.

Going back to mean Romans…I’ve never seen a movie that I can remember where they made it a point to water horses before humans.  Horses.  HORSES.  Horses are a big deal.

Another bit of my notes read: “i swear if these horses die i’m gonna be pissed."  Particularly, 4 white stallions that are part of a chariot crew.  I know it’s kind of weird, but by establishing a connection with these horses, you end up rooting for them later on.  There’s a great scene where the horses react and almost conversate with some of their human costars.


Ben Hur might be best be known for it’s chariot race.  I looked up some facts and wanted to pass on that "it took over three months to complete [the chariot scene], using 15,000 extras on the largest film set ever built, some 18 acres.”  Impressive, even by today’s standards.  What’s even more exciting is how brutal some people are trampled in this scene.  You’re human, I’m human, we can’t help but marvel at an onscreen death, but this was different.  It wasn’t glorified or bloodied, but it was pretty intense to watch a guy get trampled by horses.  It was obviously a dummy, but the length of the shots really drove it home.


I don’t want to spoil anything, but Messala delivers one of the greatest burns after being trampled and defeated.  Judah asks where is family is (which is still a secret, up until this point) and Messala replies with "Look for them in the Valley of the Lepers…if you can recognize them."  Unnecessary! 

But, this brings me to my next point - leprosy.  It’s a big deal in Ben Hur and was probably a bigger deal in biblical times, but I just don’t get it.  Judah’s family, after being imprisoned for years, contracted leprosy and fled.  Now, here’s what I don’t get:  The family would rather be dead to Judah.  WHAT?!  You’d honestly rather have your son think you were dead over him knowing about your leprosy?  It just didn’t click for me, but I guess priorities were different back then.


Anyway, Ben Hur.  I can see why it would be considered a ‘great movie’ but I was a little disappointed.  It was very cut and dry, in terms of story.  Other than the delicious servings of wide angle shots, there wasn’t a lot to it artistically, either.  I don’t need every movie to have a message, but even with period pieces, there’s usually some flair.  Overall, I’d give it a C+. It did hold my attention pretty well for being 3 and a half hours, after all.

Introduction

I’ve seen more movies than I can count, but for some reason they haven’t been ones that count.  Too often, I get caught in conversations where some kind of film reference is brought up and I’m totally clueless. 

Well, I’m tired of it and I intend to fix it.  Each week I will attempt to tackle a film from AFI’s Top 100 list and review it here. Although I took a few cinema classes in college, I’m not an expert and, don’t worry, I won’t pretend to be.