Sunday, February 24, 2013

Two Penny Saga: Rhonda's Tattoo

Thank you Heather for suggesting this opening.  I went with it and this is the story I got. 

I left them dripping and sunning themselves on the rocks as I went to retrieve my clothes.

I’d planned the trip so it would just be Rhonda and me, but she had to go and invite Jessica, Patrick, Steve and Brandon along as well.  After hearing everyone else go on about Lacrosse all day I was ready to go home.  I dried myself off and was about to go into the woods to exchange my swim trunks for my jeans when I realized that there was something in my pant’s pocket. 

I reached in and pulled out a necklace with a black pendant in the shape of a slender fang.  “Hey!”  I shouted.  “Check this out!” 

To my relief everyone ignored me except for Rhonda who got up and walked over to me in her flower bikini that made it really hard to be “just friends.”  My only problem with the sight was that she had gotten the name of her sorority tattooed on her shoulder.  All her sisters were going to get one but the rest of them had chickened out.

I handed her the necklace.  “Check it out.”

“What the hell is that Charlie?  Did you buy this for me?”

“No!  I found it right here in my pants pockets.  It was just-.”

Leaves rustled behind us.  I turned around and looked up into the woods.  A woman stood just outside the trees.  She was probably just a couple years older than us but was rail thin and her saggy skin was maggoty pale.  She wore a tattered gray dress that looked like was about to fall off her. 

“Hello?”  I shouted.

The woman quivered and looked like she was trying to shout something but no sound came out. 

“Who are you talking to?”  Rhonda asked.

“That creepy lady up there!”

“What creepy lady?”  As if she wasn’t aware of what she was doing, Ronda untied the necklace and brought it up around her neck.

The girl flailed her arms and looked like she was trying to scream. 

“Wait!”  I turned to Rhonda.  “I don’t think you should-.”

She fastened the necklace.  There was a bang like a door slamming.  Rhonda and everyone else turned and looked up at the woods.  I looked back, expecting the woman to be gone but she was still there.  Her arms drooped and she had a look of horrified dismay on her face.  She stepped forward into the sunlight and I got a clear look at her neck for the first time.  It was covered in burns like someone had clamped a necklace of red hot metal around her. 

“Hey!”  Rhonda shouted.  “Whose that?”

The woman pulled down the front of her dress.  Tattooed into her left shoulder was the name of Rhonda’s sorority. 

Monday, February 4, 2013

Why Silent Films Need to Come Back NOW!

Cinema has existed for well over a century.  During that time we have made some pretty impressive advances.  However, it is almost universally accepted that progress does not mean that we should reject some of cinema's older forms. 

For example, we have had color since The Wizard of Oz and Gone With the Wind.  Most films today are fine in color but there are some movies such as Schindler's List, The Man Who Wasn't There, Manhattan and Ed Wood that choose to be black white either for artistic reasons, homages to older films or just because they look better that way.  Just because we have color film doesn't mean that it should always be used.

The same is true with dialogue.  It is time that silent films come back to modern cinemas.

There are countless ridiculously wonderful silent movies out there that many people will miss just because they've never seen a silent film before and assume they wouldn't like it. 

 (Watch this if you want to know
where Tim Burtin Came from.)

And in 2012 there was this:

It was the first silent film to win best picture since Wings (1927).  It currently holds a 98% Freshness rating on Rotten Tomatoes and it made over $44 million domestic.  That isn't all that much money in the big scheme of things but it does show that there are people out there willing to watch movies without audible dialogue.  

However, The Artist is not the movie to convince me that silent films need to make a comeback.  No, that honor goes to this little gem:

And the really sick part is I'M NOT JOKING!  I know you're reading this thinking, "Silly Mike is just making fun of Hollywood's bad dialogue" but I legitimately believe that Transformers 3: The Dark of the Moon would have been a better movie if it had been silent.  There is no way the director, producers, studio or most of the audience would have gone through with it but I still stand strong that it would have been a better movie. 

Reason 1:  Michael Bay is not Quentin Tarantino.  The dialogue in this film did not add to the quality of the story.  In fact it did nothing but detract.  Taking out all the movie's dialogue would have removed the movie's biggest flaw.  There was nothing clever, exciting or witty about what the characters had to say.

(Unless you think that racist robots are witty)

Reason 2:  No one went to this movie for the dialogue.  We went to see giant robots bash each other into pulp and destroy a downtown metropolis.  This is something that crosses all language barriers.  Let's be honest, Transformers 3 would have barely needed dialogue cards. 

Reason 3:  Dialogue is really not as important in movies as most modern filmgoers believe. Transformers 3's plot is pretty straight forward.  There have been MUCH better movies with considerably more subtle, complex emotions/relationships and significantly less dialogue.

(Don't believe me?  You've obviously never seen
this movie.)

Reason 4:  People adore characters who let you know exactly what they're thinking without them actually saying, "Hey bro!  This is what I'm thinking!"  Some of cinema's most lovable characters have never said a word.  For example:  which of the following characters would you rather go out drinking with?

I rest my case. 

Okay, I'm not stupid.  Unless we slip into Wackyland we aren't going to be getting any mega budget silent films ever again.  That's just one example of how Hollywood is biting itself in the ass.  Dialogue is almost always a mess in big budget film.  I'm not saying that every movie should be silent.  I'm just saying that a lot would benefit from the change.    If audiences and film makers were just a little more open minded the Transformers franchise might not have been that unwatchable.