It's official

I'm going to have to start catching up on Leverage. I fought it in the way I tend to fight all basic cable television shows (before I inevitably love them and embrace them), but a Sunday night a few weeks ago introduced me to the loveliness of this man:

Aldis Hodge, looking good.

And then I find out the main character is played by Timothy Hutton of Ordinary People, albeit 30 years later, but still, that performance is brilliant and I love him.

20-year-old Hutton with a bespectacled Redford.

It's a pretty typical procedural, but the characters are amusing enough, and there seems to be the promise of some sexual tension. So here's to starting from the beginning.


Fun fact:

The same girl who graced us with the hit song "One Way Love (Better Off Dead)" from Better Off Dead (1985) while wearing a short short skirt...

...is the same girl who played Dottie and was in love with Pee-Wee Herman in Pee-Wee's Big Adventure (1985):

Thanks, Elizabeth/E.G. Daily, for your great work.


From Here to Eternity (1953)

Dear Army,

You are my favorite. I may not be an officer or even a high ranking non-com, but I love you. You are better than any woman, and there is nothing I wouldn't do for you. Hell, I'd even die for you. I just wanted you to know.

A couple of devastatingly handsome military personnel

P.S. Thought you'd like a picture of when we bonded over you.

Montgomery Clift and Burt Lancaster being beautiful and acting drunk.


The Audacity of Rock: Part 35 reprise

I know y'all couldn't get enough of the late 60s early 70s rock flute movement videos I posted earlier. Here's one more. This is "The Court of the Crimson King" from King Crimson's 1969 album In the Court of the Crimson King. Somehow, the prog rockiness of it doesn't bore me. It's more like the perfect blend of late Beatles and Pink Floyd. The flute begins at 4:15.

This man has no tonsils.

The Conversation (1974)

The Conversation (1974) does for sound recording what Blowup (1966) does for photography. While Blowup has a little more tangential fun (the Yardbirds and a ménage à trois, for starters), The Conversation tracks an equally engaging descent into madness due to a fascination with something perhaps better left alone.

Harry Caul is a professional eavesdropper/surveillance expert. While creating a master copy of a conversation he recorded from multiple sources, he begins to suspect that the recording may hold clues to prevent murder. Is it all in his head? Is this something he should get involved in? Mostly, this situation provides Harry the opportunity to start to think about the consequences of his profession and the information he provides people.

Throughout the film, the conversation is played over and over, and the words become progressively more haunting and the film becomes progressively more tense. The build up of this suspense is perfect, validating the slow pacing at the beginning that allowed for character and mood development. It should also be noted that the cinematography and editing is also gorgeous. Scenes unfold slowly with long takes and interesting actor blocking. In other words, The Conversation is a perfect movie. Francis Ford Coppola, I miss the 70s you.

Here are some choice images from the film:

The beginning shot is a surveillance angle of the crowd where the conversation happens. Yes, that's a mime in a military uniform.

Harry (Gene Hackman) and Stan (John "FREDO!" Cazale) tracking the recording in the van.

Even the static shots are interesting. in this movie.

I appreciate that Coppola allows naturalistic quiet moments to take place in order to build the reality of the situation.

Did I mention a beautiful and young Harrison Ford is in this movie?

The process of recording the conversation is made clear in flashbacks that show who recorded what aspect of the conversation when. The busyness and interrupted images of the couple mirrors the ambient noise that interrupts their conversation at certain points. In other words, this is something technical made cinematic and interesting.

In a lovely moment of irony, Harry confesses his sins to an unseen Priest. The focus shifts to the Priest making us focus on who's listening in on Harry.

Harry experiments with new technology at a surveillance convention. The blank, "just-the-facts" expression Gene Hackman uses throughout the film creates a believable and enigmatic character.

Martin Stett (Harrison Ford) becomes more menacing, tracking Harry down.

How surveillance experts party.

Quiet moments when Harry removes himself from the group say a lot about his introverted personality.

I maybe just wanted to show Harrison Ford being menacing again. But this really is a great tracking shot as Harry is being forced out of the office.

Harry not only has an ear for conversations, but also jazz. The soundtrack offers a lonely and isolated vibe that only jazz can provide. Check it out.

Also found on the DVD was a fantastic behind-the-scenes featurette shot contemporary to the filming of the Conversation.

Proof that 2010 is the reincarnation of the 70s, Francis Ford Coppola's outfit and beard.

Shout-out to Coppola and George Lucas's production company, American Zoetrope's logo. I'll add this bit of knowledge to my already too big repertoire of cinematic fun facts.

Now go watch this movie. Please, take my word for it.


This is why watching broadcast television on the weekend is the best

Because Northern Exposure is on right after the World Cup.

Cheesy cast photo.

"Things Become Extinct" is on. It's the one where Joel searches for Jews in Alaska, Holling's uncle dies, and Ed films Ira Wingfeather's traditions. Have I mentioned how much I love that show? I've certainly implied it. But today, I'll declare it: I love Northern Exposure. It's one of those delightful shows about small town life from the perspective of an outsider (they're always around). It's quirky in a 90s, dream-sequence sort of way, with delightfully weird characters and just enough sexual tension to come up as a run recurring storyline. Man, I love this show. I should really get around to buying the last couple seasons of this show.


Musical Addition

The bridge of Ace of Base's "Don't Turn Around" (1994):

Anime. You're welcome.

+ The overuse of Hispanic names from ABBA's "Fernando" (1976):

This is exactly what I like to sing around a campfire. Take me camping. I'm fun!

= Lady Gaga's "Alejandro"