Phil Rambles

Phil Rambles, Phil Price blog.

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    Wed, 03 Nov 2004

    Movie/Performance: The Rocky Horror Picture Show
    The last time I saw the Rocky Horror Picture Show was in about 1990. Let's call it fifteen years ago, well over half my adult life. Well, last weekend (Halloween weekend) I went again, along with Juliet's sister (Beth) and two friends from work, one of them a Rocky "virgin". For those of you who have no idea what I'm talking about: The Rocky Horror Picture Show is a cult movie by design, that was enormously popular throughout the country in the late 70s and early 80s and still maintains a healthy fan base after all these years.

    Not wanting to look totally out of place, I stopped in at a local costume store earlier in the day, and said "I'm going to Rocky Horror, what do you have?" They had---get this---an off-the-shelf Rocky Horror "kit", just like this one only more expensive. Even ignoring the fact that buying a ready-made costume seems somehow antithetical to the Rocky Horror spirit, I just didn't think this was for me: as I told the sales clerk, "I'm not sure I'm man enough to wear that." But she and her co-worker were very encouraging, so I thought What the hell, why not?

    I tried on the costume that evening at home, just to make sure it would be OK; as I told Juliet, "I want to make sure it doesn't make me look ridiculous." Later that night, I even added red lipstick, then went to the movie with Beth (dressed more or less like the Janet Weiss character in the film) and Rengie (dressed as Minnie Mouse, for no particular reason). Emily Wood came along too, dressed extremely tamely as a generic Irish lass.

    Here are a few photos of me, Rengie, and Beth.

    As for the show itself, well, there have been a few changes and a lot of things are still the same. The crowd is the same age as before (roughly 19-29, meaning Beth and I were old enough to be the parents of many of the people there), the movie is the same as ever of course, and the tradition of yelling comments at the screen is of course still very prominent. Indeed, the "yelling at the screen" tradition has gotten entirely out of hand (he said grumpily..."it was better back in MY day"). As I remember it from back in the good old days, there used to be something yelled at the screen every few minutes..."The man you are about to see has got no fucking neck", that sort of thing; some of them clever, some of them not. But there were long sections of movie---well, at least a few minutes long---in which the movie was allowed to just be the movie.

    No longer. Now, the audience commentary is pretty much nonstop. Some of the stuff is clever, some isn't. If only the clever bits were retained, and the rest were discarded, I think it would be an improvement.

    The other big change---and perhaps this is just because it was Halloween weekend---is that instead of coming dressed as Rocky Horror characters, audience members simply came in any ol' costume. A pity, I was looking forward to running into some other Frank N Furters. (There were plenty of other scantily clad audience members of both sexes, but I believe I was the only Frank N Furter).

    Anyway, it was great fun, and perhaps I'll only wait five years rather than fifteen before going that. Of course, then I'll be hopelessly old and out of place, even more than now. Tough.

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    Wed, 24 Mar 2004

    If you like horses...
    We recently saw a show called "Cavalia" in San Francisco. It's been described before as "Cirque du Soleil with horses," and that's a very good description. It's in a big tent, sort of big-top-sized although with a theater feel rather than a circus feel. There are people doing acrobatics, people running around, horses doing acrobatics, horses running around, people doing acrobatics on horses that are running around, and so on. All with interesting sets and good, unusual music. We liked it. Perhaps coming soon to a theater near you.

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    Sat, 15 Nov 2003

    Wonderful Device Discovered!
    A few days ago, we noticed something that was placed outside our building for salvage. It's very reminiscent of the "Orgasmatron" (or something like that) from Woody Allen's overly zany movie, "Sleeper." It inspired this little movie. By the way, each clip was shot as one continuous bit, with no camera stoppage, repeated frames, or other editing tricks.

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    Tue, 09 Sep 2003

    Movies: funniest ones ever?
    What are the funniest movies ever made? This question has come up a couple of times recently, partly related to the list of top 50 movies that I posted back in May. Of course, as with all such questions, it's not perfectly well defined---do we mean the best movie that is also funny, or the movie that generates to most laughs, or what?

    Looking down my previous list of movies, the top comedies that I included are: Dr. Strangelove; This is Spinal Tap; Airplane; The Princess Bride; Monty Python and the Holy Grail; The Rocky Horror Picture Show; Zelig. I also included some funny movies in my "not quite on the top 50 list": Best In Show; Toy Story; Groundhog Day; Duck Soup; M*A*S*H; and Raising Arizona.

    Those are more or less in order by the quality of the movie, rather than by how funny it is...but as I look at it, I'm pretty pleased with it as a list of laugh-producers, too. I'd shift a few things around, though, e.g. mvoing Groundhog Day up and Zelig way down. Overall, though, I'm sticking with it...until someone points out some that I've forgotten.

    Oh, by the way, back in May I said Goodfellas isn't even one of the top 5 gangster movies. Thea Lawton asks: well, what are five better gangster movies. A fair question. The answer is:

    (1) The Godfather, (2) The Godfather Part II, (3) Scarface, (4) The Untouchables, (5) Get Shorty

    I almost stuck Key Largo somewhere in there too (probably at #5)---I'm a Bogie fan.

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