Singer - No, Really!
"If wishes were horses, beggars would ride..."
I first heard that song during a viewing of the adult film classic FANTASYWORLD. Actor Paul Thomas (aka Paul Tobus) wrote and performed that song for the movie. It was the kind of stuff producers did in the 80’s so their films wouldn’t be closed down for being obscene. It kind of the same way cereal makers call their sugar-laden breakfast feast nutritious by by stuffing some whole grains in between the sugar.
So what has that got to do with the price of beans?
It goes to prove that the most preposterous circumstance can actually be a reality, if you have the patience and fortitude to make it happen. In what universe would you image a porn star writing - and performing a song - very well, thank you - in the middle of a stag film. A memorable song, that after thirty years, the thing that stuck with this writer was not the action, but that song.
Wishes can come true - only if you give yourself permission to ask them. On a much, MUCH smaller scale, there are impossible wishes that for some have come and gone and wished they’d come back, and for others, this writer is still waiting for the minor miracle to
happen. So, on that scale stage, these are a few of my most fervent wishes:
Four bits and a Quarter for Popcorn
First, one of the first movies that I actually sat through was The TEN COMMANDMENTS, of which I sat through twice. All four hours of Chucky chewing up the scenery as only he can. I WISH that we as movie goers could go back to that time, and sit through multiple viewings of a movie, if they so desired.
For anyone who has made popcorn at home - and I’m talking Old School - where you take raw, popcorn, not the stuff the put in microwavable bags, and pop it manually (truthishly (I know, not a real word, but it also sticks with me), I use a microwave popper, but it pops raw, unprocessed popcorn, then I slather it with real butter, not that butter-flavored vegetable shortening that’s used in theaters). you know that an entire bag of raw popcorn, enough for ten trips to the movies, comes to around a dollar. The real insult is that the amount of raw popcorn that’s used for your $4.75 tub of popcorn costs less than a nickle. I WISH that my concession snacks would not need for someone to take out second mortgage for popcorn, soda, and some Ju-Ju Beads.
Speaking of costs, the real reason for declining movie
attendance is not only due to the rise of home theaters, and the dwindling quality of movies (not to mention having movies that everyone can (and would want to) see, is that an evening excursion to the local multiplex is a major investment. During the Great Depression, movies were an escape for the masses. It was cheap, accessible entertainment. This writer used to walk to the local theater, and pay fifty cents to sit in the theater all day long. Now, that same excursion entails piling into the family truckster (at $3 a gallon), parking, THEN admission (around $12-$15, more if you choose 3D or IMAX), and snacks, and god forbid if you’re late and miss the beginning of the movie, because at the end, during the closing credits, you’re herded out of the theater, just like the rubes at a P.T. Barnum sideshow following a sign "This way to the egress." (Look it up, kiddies). I WISH that we still could afford to take the family to a decent movie, that wouldn’t insult your intelligence, that wouldn't traumatize the tiny tots, and would be affordable to all, even on the most modest disposable income budgets.
I'll Pay the Mortgage Next Month
I WISH that just because you can use special visual effects, you must. CASABLANCA, In
the HEAT of the NIGHT, even FRANKENSTEIN relied on acting and stage presence. TITANIC and AVATAR, the highest-grossing movies of all time, earned for their producers Oscar after Oscar - for special effects. Not a single actor that was nominated received an award, and others weren’t even put in consideration. My favorite type of non-sci-fi movie (okay, I’m a sucker for Sci-Fi - so sue me!) is the mind-game banter between an antagonist and a protagonist. The LAST CASTLE, CHICAGO OVERCOAT, and most recently, Mike Bonomo’s ASSASSINS is this type of drama. The battle of wills, not light sabers, is what makes good movies.
CGI Can't Save Everything
Can these things happen? Probably not. But if the son of Sara Lee (as in "nobody doesn’t like", etc.) can make a memorable song in the middle of a porn film (or if Ron Jeremy can still be considered a bankable actor), then, yes, beggars may someday ride.
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Jan 26, 2012 12:09 AM
|Mike thanks for the shout-out re ASSASSINS! Mike Bonomo is a brilliant young director and writer. I'm starting shooting on his feature-length version of ASSASSINS next month. I sure agree with you that a battle of the wills between antagonist and protagonist is at the heart of great movie-making. Loved this column!|
Bill Oberst Jr.
Feb 2, 2012 10:35 PM
|I can remember double features at The Mayfair, my local theatre in West New York, N.J. where I grew up, just across the Hudson from New York City. I can remember 25 cartoons on Saturday, then a movie too - all for 50 cents. As far as movie quality goes, yes, there is a plethora of D&D films out there. But the Golden Globes and Oscar nominations don't include a category for those, T.G. Thanks, Mike.|
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Every other Wednesday
Until I find my footing, I'd like to vent on the state of today's movies. I will occasionally praise a movie that piques my fancy. But it's a whole lot more fun railing against a person's work who makes more money on a single project than I would make if I lived 500 years. Oh, I will usually make observations on movies rather than films. The difference? Films are critically acclaimed, while movies are just darned good fun.
Born in the Fifties with an extreme phobia for movies in general, I became obsessed with movies when I broke that phobia with the first movie I actually enjoyed, “The Ten Commandments.” I particularly like the kind of movie where you can put your brain on hold. I get enough reality and drama in my everyday life; I refuse to pay someone to subject me to the same. |
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