Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Holiday Movies #3: Thanksgiving

Actually one movie, one ballad, and a couple short stories.

1. Broadway Danny Rose (1984, Woody Allen)
Not only my favorite Thanksgiving movie, but one of my favorite movies. 

Danny Rose (Allen) is a talent agent who always represents losing acts.

He feeds them frozen turkey dinners every Thanksgiving:

Finally one of his acts, lounge singer Lou Canova, hits it big. Danny goes to pick up Lou's girlfriend Tina Vitale to go to Lou's big show. Tina is Mia Farrow in her best role ever, and the best female character in any Allan film. Tina's also the ex-girlfriend of a mobster.

And now...
It's also a great visual representation of New York--more like gritty Taxi Driver than Allen's lovely Manhattan
Here Danny Rose is running up 7th Ave. after Tina:
[image via blog Jeremiah's Vanishing NY

Hannah and Her Sisters is also a Thanksgiving movie by Allen, and while there's some brilliant stuff in it (the Marx brothers as a reason not to kill yourself), the last time I tried to watch it, the male/female relationships repelled me so much I couldn't finish it, (and knowing anything about Allen's personal life doesn't help).

Woody Allen's filmmaking career is such a disappointment. He had real brilliance, and for the past twenty years he's just churned out pap. Not that I've seen many of his later films. I walked out of the last one I saw--Midnight in Paris, a pathetic, jejune fantasy. 

It got great reviews. But to quote Isaac Davis (Allan) in Manhattan:
"This is so antiseptic. It's empty. Why do you think this is funny? You're going by audience reaction? This is an audience that's raised on television, their standards have been systematically lowered over the years. These guys sit in front of their sets and the gamma rays eat the white cells of their brains out!"
But Danny Rose remains. "Star, smile, strong!"

2. Alice's Restaurant, Arlo Guthrie. 16 min. ballad (1967), on youTube

A family I babysat for when I was a teenager had this album, and I listened to it a lot.  It's set at Thanksgiving. Does that matter, or is it incidental? I don't remember! Anyway, it's about and the inanity and hypocrisy of social codes in the Vietnam War era.

There's a movie adaptation (1969), but I've never seen it. 
Maybe I should now. The film's director, Arthur Penn, said of the film in 1971:
'What I tried to deal with is the US's silence and how we can best respond to that silence. ... I wanted to show that the US is a country paralyzed by fear, that people were afraid of losing all they hold dear to them. It's the new generation that's trying to save everything.'[9]"

3. A Thanksgiving Visitor, by Truman Capote

Capote narrates the 1967 TV production, for which Geraldine Page won an Emmy. It's is on youTube (but it's poor quality).  

Oh--here, you can download the audio recording (60 min.)

I love the back of the LP album cover:

Also on youTube, also narrated by him and starring Page, Truman Capote's A Christmas Memory.
"It's fruitcake weather."


ArtSparker said...

Heh, I had the same reaction to Midnight in Paris. The Baby boomers in Alice's Restaraunt who were going to save the world may have overestimated their abilities.

On another subject, just wondering if Joss Whedon has been on the phone to Jill response necessary.

Fresca said...

SPARKY: Ah, I wasn't sure what you were referring to--looked it up--calling for a vote recount---yes. Maybe it's a good idea, but Joss is not winning my respect with his tweets--not my style.

Can't wait to hear what Obama says, once he's politically free to say it!