Saturday, March 27, 2010

Sunday Funnies and Arts















As always, click to enlarge...

You gotta live 'em every day...

How's your gaydar?...

A Marine reminds the teabaggers of what a civil war really means. Unsurprisingly, they don't seem to have taken kindly to having a bucket of ice water poured over their collective heads...

Stupidity is the most powerful force in the universe...

Two-thirds of U. S. companies pay no federal income tax (Thanks, Projections)...

The ghosts of Newport past...

Watch this famous scene from Robert Altman's Nashville (1976) and notice of the beauty of the editing:


Each of the women in this scene knows that that Tom (Keith Carradine) is singing "I'm Easy" to her. They all realize that he is a rake and a cad, but three of them believe that he will "leave his cautious words and ways behind" for her. One of them, Linnea (Lily Tomlin), the one to whom Tom has actually dedicated the song, can tell that she is being seduced for a one-night stand. But it has been such a long time since she has been seduced that the moment overwhelms her in spite of herself.

The scene begins with an extended shot of a seemingly bored Linnea, then cuts briefly in turn to Mary (Cristina Raines), Opal (Geraldine Chaplin), and L. A. Joan (Shelley Duvall) before returning to a suddenly alert Linnea. What has captured her attention? The camera, which never leaves audience level for the entire scene, begins an nearly imperceptible zoom toward Tom, a shot that lasts for over thirty seconds before a cut back to Mary. After offering brief glimpses of Opal (whose sigh presages the climax of the scene) and L. A. Joan, Altman settles on a rapt Linnea, who, one hand inside of her coat, leans against the side of a bench for support.

The scene then cuts back to Tom, who by now is so close to the viewing audience that we have front row seats for his seduction of Linnea. The zoom continues, now slightly faster. Tom glances up, but away from the camera: He's not looking at us, for we are the spectators here. A cut to Linnea gives way to a return cut to Tom; for a second, they are the only people in the room.

A nice, tension-breaking touch follows. The camera returns to Mary, who glances over her shoulder. Altman follows the glance to Opal, the cuts to L. A. Joan. She looks over her shoulder, which the camera follows until it settles on Linnea and another slow zoom. These are the only pans in the scene; otherwise, the shots are static, except for the slow zooms.

Altman chooses to jar us slightly, interrupting the zoom to cut back to Tom. By now, he gazes steadily at Linnea. When the camera returns to her and resumes its slow zoom, she takes a deep breath and blinks once -- a superb acting touch that lets us know that Tom's seduction is complete. The applause that follows is as much for that as the song.

If you haven't seen Nashville, move it to the top of your Netflix queue. Nashville is not only Altman at the pinnacle of his powers, it's one of the top films of the 70s. In both cases, that's saying quite a bit...

6 comments:

Annette said...

Thank You for the link K... I hope everyone reads it and passes it along..

tnlib said...

Of course I remember "Nashville." Afterall, it's my home town. ; )

Duvall and I shared many a beer and joke in a Houston eatery. That's when she was just dreaming of becoming an actress. Didn't take long.

tnlib said...

Bonehead and Roy's World. Have seen them before - should have spent more time checking them out. Thanks.

mommapolitico said...

Hey, just wanted to thank you, K., and let you know I linked to your blog in my post today. You and Lauren got me looking again for a good summary of what's actually in the health care act. I found it, and built a post around Lauren's question that you had commented about. So, thanks for the inspiration, and I hope it brings a few folks to see your excellent work.

Thanks for the Sunday funnies, by the way. One of my fave Sunday rituals!

TaraDharma said...

thanks for the link to my post, and also the Marine's message to the Tea Party. Two brilliant letters from a very sensible guy. I posted the link on FB.

K. said...

Those letters need to get around. One of the comments was depressingly instructive: It accused a combat veteran of willingness to follow illegal orders in the hypothetical suppression of the teabaggers. These people are so far gone that any reading of the Constitution that differs from theirs is illegal. It doesn't occur to them that a member of the armed services might view them as dangerous lunatics, or that the president and Democratic party lawmakers are people to be respected and protected.