Actually, it smells more like sewer. That’s the lovely thing about floods in Iowa. When the water goes away you’re left with this nasty sludge full of mud, farm chemicals, pig/cow poop, and sewage, among other things. It smells nasty and breeds god-knows-what…yuck.
That said, I only have to smell it. I don’t live in a flooded area so my house was high and dry. I didn’t have internet service for a week but that’s a very, very minor inconvenience. There’s a lot of damage to personal property, businesses, and the University of Iowa campus. Billions of dollars. I can’t really complain about a noxious smell since I don’t have to replace my entire life.
Now that television is back to normal, and it’s summer so the line-up is dull as dishwater, I finally managed to watch Foul Play. A Goldie Hawn-Chevy Chase comedy/suspense/parody/police procedural/espionage film released in 1978. IT IS HYSTERICAL. There are a number of hints paying homage to other iconic films, most notably the scene in Goldie Hawn’s bathroom where there might be something behind the shower curtain and the camera slowly moves in on the shower curtain a la Psycho; the soundtrack perfectly mimics earlier thrillers with plenty of “duh-duh-dum” moments (and a theme song “Ready to Take a Chance Again” by Barry Manilow). You must watch this movie, if only for the following excellent moments:
1. The “bachelor pad” scene with the hapless Stanley (played by Dudley Moore) set to “Staying Alive” by the Bee-Gees. Every single tasteless ’70s sex cliche is in this scene.
2. The little old women playing Scrabble – they spell “motherf*cker” incorrectly then quibble over whether a hyphenated word was played.
3. Billy Barty as a bible salesman (yes, this is the same man who played the High Aldwyn in Willow). Goldie Hawn chases him out of her apartment with a broom. I would tell you why she does that but it would ruin part of the plot.
4. Chevy Chase’s dog is named Chaucer in the movie. (ha!)
5. The “massage parlor” sequence, again with Dudley Moore. Binoculars again.
6. Mr. Hennessey (played by the wonderful Burgess Meredith) and his black-belt karate training vs. the crazy assassin lady; this is very obviously pre-Matrix fighting and it wins for campiest fight scene ever.
7. Mr. Hennessey’s curious boa constrictor, Esme.
8. The Gilbert and Sullivan opera The Mikado plays through the entire last twenty minutes of the movie (the overture is used extensively in the soundtrack); the production is conducted by, yes, Dudley Moore, who does actually manage to look like he is conducting.
9. The “car chase” across town which really isn’t a car chase but there isn’t a better word for it.
10. The elderly Japanese couple and “Kojak bang-bang.”
11. The credits – the opera singers are listed by their Mikado character so not only do you have to know the opera to figure out who played what (and you have to do it by ear), you can’t recognize any of the New York City Opera performers by sight because they are all wearing traditional Japanese stage make-up.
12. Best line ever: “You’re a light bulb waiting to be screwed.”
A group of us watched No Country for Old Men at Kat’s place; holy god, is that movie awesome – creepy but awesome. The Coen brothers are geniuses (I don’t think you can separate them into single entities) and I added yet another movie to my all-time-favorites list. Aside from a great script adaptation (I think Cormac McCarthy translates well to the screen because so much can be said with the camera in his novels) there was a phenomenal cast as well – Javier Bardem, Josh Brolin, Tommy Lee Jones, Kelly Macdonald. All perfect (dude, Kelly Macdonald is so awesome that if you didn’t already know she was Scottish you wouldn’t believe it).
Current book-in-progress: I polished off The Gun Seller which is also hysterical, mostly because it is written by Hugh Laurie (this book is James Bond on acid doing international espionage); still finishing ideas and The Shakespeare Wars (got sidetracked by an unfinished copy of Guns, Germs, and Steel)
Current knitted item: Back to the gray neckwarmer
Current movie obsession: Foul Play! But I need to send that back to Netflix. Got a great queue set up – The Savages, The History Boys, In Bruges…..excellent viewing. I’ve kind of developed a film obsession lately and purchased 10 Bad Dates with de Niro: A Book of Alternate Movie Lists (let’s watch to see the Netflix queue expand even further)
Current iTunes loop: I have discovered that podcasts are free on iTunes, therefore, I have started obsessing over Filmspotting with Adam and Matty