My tweets from last night;
A slope shouldered man was young Bill Murray.
I pwned at parallel parking to-night.
Lately I don't feel much need for hurry.
But I want my manoeuvres to be tight.
After I uploaded the new Venia's Travels last night, I went out to get a coffee and some groceries only to discover the Starbucks I know to be open the latest around here now closes earlier. So I took a chance and went to The Living Room, where I found a spot to park against all the odds of such an early hour and glided though a perfect 10 parallel park. I wished I'd brought my book, because I got a nice seat, too.
I continued with my Bill Murray mood by watching Meatballs last night, which I'd never seen before. I remember seeing an old Siskel and Ebert segment from the mid-1980s devoted to Bill Murray and his career up to that point where both critics seemed to agree that it was the fact that Bill Murray seemed slightly detached from his films, and seemed to be making fun of them with the audience, that made him great--much like Groucho Marx. And this was definitely evident in Meatballs, which would otherwise be a sort of limp teenage camping movie. Murray has standard scenes like reaching out to the strange kid and rallying the camp before the physical competitions with a rival camp, and all such scenes work precisely because Murray isn't committed to them. It's the strangest thing--Murray's like a dangerous animal; you're not quite sure what he's going to do or why. His rallying speech with the repeated line, which he begins to scream like a crazed reverend, "IT DOESN'T MATTER" approaches Heath Ledger Joker levels of psychopathic anarchy. I felt sort of bad for the woman playing his love interest, a quiet and reserved little actress named Kate Lynch who tries to smile and whose performance seems to consist of surviving Bill Murray. There's absolutely no chemistry between them, but that's somehow what makes it work, like everything else in the movie.
I can't find that Siskel and Ebert segment on YouTube anymore, but Gene Siskel mentions Murray's detachment from the movies he's in in their review of Ghostbusters. I don't exactly agree that Murray seems detached from Ghostbusters. In that movie, I think he's genuinely reacting to the ghosts, but he reacts to them in the way he'd react to the movies he was in before--here, he does sell his commitment to the story, it's just that his character is very cool.
I love how much time Siskel and Ebert would spend talking about a movie back then. In the last years of Ebert and Roeper, there were so many commercials that the show had become barely more than sound bites. Even when I watch tapes I made of different shows as recently as 1996, there are less than half the commercials there seem to be on television nowadays--TiVo and watching television shows on the internet might have emerged partly because of this, as much as the increasing number of commercials may be a response to TiVo and internet. It's a bit of a chicken and the egg question, but both things are probably exacerbated by the other.
I've heard Roger Ebert and Richard Roeper are working on a new show. I hope it'll be an internet show that knows how to take its time. Here's an internet critical show I've watched a few times and like;
Even with the fast talking, the guy still spends more time on one game (or, in this case, the nature of webcomics and webcomic communities) than Ebert and Roeper were allotted for one movie.