80. Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
It’s been said that you can’t have a serious discussion about this movie without talking about Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton’s offscreen relationship. So I won’t.
Their onscreen performances are what matter. And they’re spectacular. This is the image of Elizabeth Taylor that immediately springs to mind when I think about her: slightly attractive even as an overweight middle-aged drunk who’s falling apart at the seams. The voyeur in me would rather I picture Taylor’s Father Of The Bride-era figure whenever I think about her, but her performance in this carved a chunk out of my brainspace and she’s there solidly. As good as she is in this, though, it’s Richard Burton that really shocks me with his performance. It’s my favourite film performance of Burton’s; not that I’ve seen everything he’s ever done, of course, but he is a powerhouse in Woolf. I like Paul Schofield in A Man For All Seasons, but him over Burton? You gotta be crazy, Academy.
Of course, part of their performance is the script. I have admired Edward Albee’s play since I discovered it in Junior High school (I know, I know, pretentious much?), and it’s captured spectacularly here. Mike Nichols knows better than to clutter things up with camera angles that draw attention to themselves, but it’s very cleverly shot and cut together so that the director is almost invisible and the audience member feels like a voyeur watching this horrible night unfold. At the end you might not feel good about any of the people, you might not feel good about yourself, but you’ve felt something new and strange and different (I hope) than your real life. It’s a powerful movie that resonates up and down my spine. It might not work for everyone, but it sure as hell works for me.
81. Some Like It Hot
Why do you have a beard? Is it because you drink wine?
Sunday Night Realizations
I just realized that I approach my career like I approach my romantic life: find someone who will actually take take me, then cling on desperately hoping that I will never have to do it again. Considering how well that worked out for me in the one aspect of my life, I see nothing going wrong with continuing to apply this strategy to the other.
I do not advocate that we turn television into a twenty-seven inch wailing wall where longhairs constantly moan about the state of our culture and our defense. BUt I would just like to see it reflect occasionally the hard, unyielding realities of the world in which we live… this instrument can teach, it can illuminate: yes and it can even inspire. But it can do so only to the extent that humans are determined to use it to those ends. Otherwise, it is merely wires and lights in a box.
1961 (via satellitesam)