Archive for November, 2006

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May Angels Sing Thee to Thy Rest

November 23, 2006

           

Robert Altman
20 February 1925 – 20 November 2006

In a world where heroes are scarce, we find it tragic to lose an influence. Today is one of those days.

Director Robert Altman has died. He was 81 years old, and has left behind him a great legacy. He helped make a great impact on the photo-play industry with his innovative ways of directing. His use of overlapping dialogue and improvisation helped push plot lines along with a sense of never before seen realism. His career has been broad, stretching from The Cold Day in the Park, M*A*S*H (for which he won the Academy Award for Best Directing), The Long Goodbye, Thieves Like Us, Nashville, The Player(Nominated for Academy Award), Short Cuts(Nominated for Academy Award), Kansas City, Gosford Park(Nominated for Academy Award for Best Director), and his latest film A Prairie Home Companion.

In 2006 he accepted an honorary Oscar for a lifetime achievement in directing.

In my mind he was one of the greatest. There is no amount of words that can express how his work has shaped my thoughts and feelings about film and the use of dramatic comedy. With M*A*S*H, he taught us that in the midst of hilarity, true drama can shine through. The final result is a strong connection with characters that could usually be very two dimensional. This is a lesson that has stuck out to me as an aspiring maker of films, and I am ever thankful for it.

He has been a major influence in the lives of many young filmmakers, including mine. My condolences go out to his family and friends. He will truly be missed.

Kyle W. Sutton

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The Land of Opportunity

November 20, 2006

You step out of the matinee into the brisk November air. It’s then when you see the man in the long green coat. He is approaching fast. You try to turn the other way as if to seem too involved in a conversation with your friend, wife, husband, girlfriend, or boyfriend. You try to ignore his existence, but only in futility. He asks you anyway. Holding his hand out for alms, he tells you how the world has fucked him over. It’s right at that point when the world can see into your eyes. It knows that you wish against parting from you pocket change; your hard earned currency.

You topple and drop the least of it down into the soiled Dixie cup. He smiles and you feel empty, ashamed, angered. “Maybe Patrick Bateman had it right,” you think. Just one less man holding a sign that says God Bless. It would make little sense helping the man out, for he has no chance beyond my seventy five cents. It’s a lost cause, and besides, you’ve got an appetite.

Perhaps you’ll change your mind? Just then in the moments that you settle on giving the man the quarter, you realize that others might see you. You shove it off, and just keep walking. It’s not a problem; you have the right to be a Sodomite in the real world, just as long as you play Saint Francis of Assisi in your closet. It’s a deal that you worked out with God.

You feel bad for a moment, but you’ll forget over a plate of Macaroni and Cheese with a glass of Merlot. You’ll raise your glass and have God bless America and the people of it’s grand bourgeoisie.

It would be too much trouble to take an example from Mr. Bernadone:

Kyle W. Sutton

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Mr. Sure Footing (The Lack of Respect)

November 14, 2006

Plague of the Philistines See him here, the man called Mr. Sure Footing. He casually strolls down the street, whistling In the Hall of the Mountain King to himself. Does he know that Hans Beckert, of Fritz Lang’s M once whistled the tune? Probably not, for what would it matter? He can still make the trek down to the Friday matinee, only knowing the world to which he has grown accustomed. To him Newton’s words have no meaning. Just fading discourse of an old fool with an apple.

He doesn’t know anything that should be known. He doesn’t know that Fleming left Oz for the destination of Tara, and came with the order to replace Cuckor. He could care less. To him Willis H. O’Brien and Marcel Delgado never made the island’s king with foam rubber, rabbit hair, and dental floss. “Todd Browning,” He scoffs. “The man doesn’t scare me,” To him Béla Ferenc Dezső Blaskó was a unknown man from Lugos, Hungary. And the man from Calanda never made L’Âge d’or.

He stands on every street, he lives in every home. He is the ignorant gnat that stomps his feet upon the giant’s shoulder, buzzing into it’s great ear. He doesn’t care and doesn’t appreciate. He doesn’t watch films from distant lands, for he cannot read. He will rest his head on sheets of fine linens this night with no fear of Shreck’s Orlock leaning over him, while he sleeps. He is of Philistines. He doesn’t understand that if the giant were gone, so too would be his sure footing.
In the words of J.D. Salinger, “A person deprived, for life, of any understanding or taste for the main current of poetry that flows through things, all things.”

Kyle W. Sutton

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L’Opera del Christ

November 13, 2006

We all sit and wait, our programs in tote. Each of us looks as though we’ve been summoned for the traditions of baring pall. We sit in our groups, cliques, and self-assigned seats. We can afford to be arrogant to the lower middle-class, for this is God’s time. We wait during a moment of prelude, until the great performer graces us with his majesty.

He speaks to us on the subject of tithing, and of good charity, while he jingles the keys of his Mercedes deep within his Donatella Versace pockets. He adjusts the Rolex on his arm and tells us that the hour of God is at hand. With each droplet of his words we become more and more taken by him. He then goes on to tell us that any woman who exercises her right to choose is in danger of further stoking the fires of Hell, so pray for the troops in Iraq. He says that Muslims are the enemy, for their use of religious radicalism, and prays that serenity is granted unto Eric Rudolph.

When his words are closed he calls the alter open. A group of fourteen year old girls in the scantily clad begin to kneel and cry. Thursday they’ll be pregnant. Only a moment goes by. No one is saved, but he doesn’t care. He must wrap this up so he can reserve a table at Red Lobster. With the bow of a head and the few tricks of a word, the curtain draws. We stand to our feet and applaud. Bravo! Bravo to the artist! Bravo to the words of man! Bravo!

We go home with the need to spread God’s word! But, it must wait, for it is Sunday the day of rest.

Kyle W. Sutton