Monday, October 31, 2011

Dull Boy Jack

It's Halloween and you want to be scared silly. "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy" is a proverb. It appeared in James Howell's Proverbs in English, Italian, French and Spanish (1659.) While the proverb is used in several examples of popular media (from James Joyce's short story, "Araby", to Jack Kerouac's Big Sur, to the 1957 movie, The Bridge on the River Kwai,) I think the most famous example appears in the 1980 movie The Shining, in the clip below. The proverb's psychotic use in The Shining has profound effect on popular culture, inspiring several other works in more recent movies and videos.

It doesn't matter how many times I watch this scene, it continues to scare the daylight out of me. Put yourself in Wendy's shoes: she has an only son, Danny, who seems to have strange and scary mental "shines;" she is cooped up with her son and a husband, Jack, who behaves more and more psychotic by the day; who works day and night on his book; they are alone and snow bound in a huge and creepy hotel... Then she discovers what his book is about... That amply justifies why she holds on to the baseball bat with dear life when walking the hallways of the Overlook hotel. It's Stanley Kubrick's "The Shining!" Perfect for a Halloween night! You want more? Watch this!
Dull Boy Jack

Saturday, October 29, 2011


While I am trying to tickle your funny bones, let me show you an old clip that I never had a chance to get to this blog...

Shower (洗澡) is a 1999 Chinese comedy-drama film about a family-run bath house in Beijing, directed by Zhang Yang. It premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival on 14 September 1999 and won the FIPRESCI Prize (International Critics' Award.) Shower was selected for numerous film festivals, including San Sebastian Film Festival, Sundance Film Festival, and Seattle International Film Festival, where it received many awards.

This movie has very good rating... not that that really matters because I think movie rating is very subjective and you should be the ultimate reviewer for yourself. This clip is designed to declare that this is a comedy... but this movie is more dramatic than comedic. The opening shower scene is obviously a spoof of a car wash to get laugh. Did you see that the brushes are only for the rear end? Don't they wash the front end too? There is also a woman getting in the booth nearby. Now, that is a huge challenge because the topology is quite different and I would like to see this set up for the female customers.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Indians and Cowboys

I feel bad for the kids of today. I think their entertainment is largely controlled by adults with adults' taste and ethics. Being kids, their tastes may be different. In my days, this is the kind of fun we had, non-sensical, full of stereotypical and in today's standards, offensive material but full of fun. Of course, there were too many Indians getting killed but being kids, we loved it.

Here is my favorite scene from The Son of Pale Face. I still laugh out loud when I see it again. No physics, no politics, just pure fun. The cowboy on the fast horse was Roy Rogers riding his famous horse Trigger. You can see the Harvard logo on the car driven by the son of pale face and I love the umbrella scene.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Love At First Sight

Some told me I'm too dark, as reflected from the clips I chose... Some accused me of old fashion from the clips I chose... Some asked me to lighten up... So here is what all of us should love, light as a feather... bright like a sunny day... still old fashion, yes, but that's me. Of course you all know what that music is: Sleeping Beauty - Waltz, by the great Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893.)

Friday, October 07, 2011

Frida Kahlo

In December 12, 2006, I blogged a clip from the movie Frida but did not say anything about or even named that movie. Let's now elaborate a bit more...

Frida is a 2002 biographical film depicting the professional and private life of the surrealist Mexican painter Frida Kahlo. It stars Salma Hayek in her Academy Award nominated portrayal of Kahlo and Alfred Molina as her husband, muralist Diego Rivera.

The movie was adapted by Clancy Sigal, Diane Lake, Gregory Nava, Anna Thomas and Edward Norton from the book Frida: A Biography of Frida Kahlo by Hayden Herrera. It was directed by Julie Taymor and won Oscars for Best Makeup and well deserved Best Original Music Score by Elliot Goldenthal.

This clip has the beginning and ending of the movie, in which Frida, bedridden and dying, determined to attend a solo exhibition of her paintings in Mexico. The movie begins with Frida and her bed being transported to the exhibition where Lila Downs sings the song "La Llorona" accompanied by a mariachi band. During her cremation, the song you hear is "Burn It Blue" by Caetano Veloso and Lila Downs.