September 12, 2016
Sometimes I probably have way too much time on my hands. Ignoring chores to catch a pixelated version (bad TV reception) of Terry Gilliam's The Adventures of Baron Munchhausen (1988) is a surreal adventure of its own. Not having seen the entire film for years I only caught the last few minutes. What appeals to me in this film is that Terry Gilliam's over the top creation is engaging and so far off the wall, that it was the broken images that intrigued and nothing much to do with the story. As the credits rolled, we see Sarah Polley as the waif who had, evidently, some sort of important relationship with the Baron. She, of late the director of Away From Her and her odd 'documentary' Stories We Tell, has had credits as an actress, but I didn't know she was also a child actress.
I never know what I'll write to accompany my daily art project photo. I awaken upset with the loss of an important friendship, having a one sided conversation with some vague hope of reconcilliation. To reconcile: to make up.. to get over what ever it was that created the problem. Then, the day emerges and morning routine and things change. Seeing Gilliam's movie with all the amazing dream like qualities that permeate his other films, Brazil, Time Bandits.. is here in spades. The added bonus of having it all broken up in sound and now.. on Munchausen's heels we find Robin Williams and Jeff Bridges in the magnificent The Fisher King. I wonder how Sarah Polley was influenced as a kid by her working with Gilliam? How could she not? She is probably more down to earth in her directing than Gilliam is, but her work is far enough off 'bubble' to make it worthy of comparison. I won't pretend to be a scholar and won't attempt to compare or contrast anything, but the coincidence of seeing these two films back to back is a powerful reminder that if we take chances, we may come up with an idea that will be embraced by the audience that is an important audience. Munchausen is a difficult film to follow and maybe should just be enjoyed as a surrealistic adventure. The Fisher King is a tour de force for Robin and Jeff and for another lost genius, Michael Jeter.
Lost at the Movies.. the lessons from folks like Robin Williams and Jeff Bridges and Terry Gilliam and Sarah Polley.. life lessons.. what art is supposed to do.. leave us somehow moved: changed or thinking about change..
Watching these films on TV with edits and commercials for drugs for the fallens and they can't get ups with ostomy bags or charter schools is not the way to see a film. But, that they are being exposed to an audience that otherwise might never see them is wonderful.
I used to take the trade paper "Daily Variety" and would do two things regularly. I'd do the crossword puzzle and time myself. And, I'd read Army Archerd's column and put little marks beside the names of actors and others with whom I'd worked or otherwise encountered in person. Meeting Robin Williams at the beginning of his career in an improv group was great. Meeting Michael Jeter on the CBS lot when he was doing Evening Shade was brief (with Michael Richards who was doing Seinfeld on that lot as well) and encountering Jeff Bridges at the memorial for his Godmother, Betty Garrett was memorable because of his deep connection to Betty and her family. Piggy backing on all of this in this odd "one degree of separation" deal is that Betty's son, Garrett, is the father of Madison Parks, a brand new actress following in the family tradition currently playing Luisa in The Fantasticks in NYC. And!! I will write my review of that show that opened at The Pasadena Playhouse just last night. The Playhouse's Luisa is operatic. I am sure that Maddie's interpretation is much more adorable.
"Did you lose your mind all at once or was it a slow gradual process?" asks Jeff of Michael as he cradles him in his lap in the hospital: a grimy Pieta.
What a film. Time to rent it and watch w/out the interruptions. Amanda Plummer! Tom Waites.. wow.. hundreds dancing in Grand Central Station..
September 12, 2012