Monday, May 14, 2007

A Review of two Marx Brothers films

(Delivered in the form of a running commentary during the film by the dude sitting behind me and two seats across. )

Hur hur hur. Hur hur hur hur hur hur hur hur hur hur. Yeah. Hur hur hur hur hur hur hur hur hur hur hur. That was awesome. Hur hur hur. Yeah. Yeah. Hur. That was awesome. Yeah. That was awesome.

Coincidentally, this is also the running commentary the dude uses while he is
a) Reading a book
b) Watching television
c) Doing the dishes
d) Having a bath
e) Having sex (etc, etc, etc)

As for me, I quite enjoyed them.


alexis said...

I'd like to hear the dude's commentary on Ben Hur.

TimT said...

More Hur, less Yeah.

When he's listening to the Yeah Yeah Yeah's, conversely, it's more Yeah, less Hur.

Karen said...

My friend* likes to provide a running commentary during films. Once he gave me a commentary about The Talented Mr Ripley over the phone, much to the horror of the other patrons in the cinema. We were recently the only patrons in the theatre for Notes on a Scandal, so I had to contend with frequent exclamations of "Cate Blanchett is so hot!", interspersed with unkind remarks about single women and cat ownership.

What of those people who swear when they laugh? Have you encountered that?

The Yeah Yeah Yeahs could never be more Yeah, less Hu(e)r- that delightfully primal female roar would not allow it.

*My nice pal Mark, Alexis. It is often sobering to remember that this person is my best friend.

TimT said...

I think your idea to get Marx Brothers DVDs and view them at home is a good one. It's a subjective impression on my part, but it seemed to me that a lot of people in the audience laughed more at how quaint and old-fashioned the Marx Brothers humour was, rather than actually enjoyed the jokes and Vaudeville-style humour for what it was. This dude up behind me who was apparently obsessed with telling the rest of us what was awesome and what wasn't was just the most egregious example.

Then again, maybe I'm just a snob.

Karen said...

I haven't seen a Marx brothers film in a cinema, but I've seen public screenings of Buster Keaton movies. There was a bluegrass band a while ago which often played with them (the name escapes me right now). Possibly the presence of the band discouraged the sort of thing you're talking about.

I don't think you're a snob. What you're objecting to is a kind of snobbery. I can't stand the "I'm getting it" laugh. Some humour is of the quiet, rueful smile sort, but a lot of people just must let you know that they understood. The worst instance of it I've experienced was when I subscribed to the special youth ticket at Belvoir St a couple of years ago. It was all preview performances and the "I'm getting it" laughs were an "I'm getting it" riot, launched whenever there was the vaguest reference to sex. I'm usually disappointed when performers go for the cheap laughs, but I found myself getting progressively more irritated, until I came to the conclusion that I would happily pay twice as much just to sit with less anxious audience.

TimT said...

There's a great joke at the end of 'At The Circus' where an entire French orchestra is playing on a floating bandstand some grand, exalted piece by, I think, Wagner. Groucho cuts the bandstand from its moorings, and the orchestra plays on, oblivious, as they float over the Atlantic Ocean, all the way back to France. Now that joke is hilarious - possibly my favourite of the evening - but it's not necessarily one that's going to evoke raucous laughter.*

Perhaps we need to have more riots during plays and movies, a la Stravinsky's Rite of Spring. I always liked the extremely unhinged emotional European response to theatre and opera.

Karen said...

I agree. The loveliest, most delicious humour is often the sort you don't even really laugh at- a moment of real cleverness when everything folds back upon itself. I'm all for riots of the impassioned sort, where the audience is actually moved enough by the music or the performance to care (for good or ill). The youthful "I'm getting it" riot isn't about that, nor is the more sedate "I'm getting it" chuckle. It's more about art as some anodyne thing, an object of social exchange indicating something the consumer wishes to project about themselves, rather than an active force in its own right.

The Polarizer said...

I'm surprised the guy didn't pass the joint he was obviously smoking.

What was the other film?

And did you remember the words to "Lydia, the Tattooed Lady"?

TimT said...

A Night at the Opera, At The Circus - fine films, both of them. Despite my rendition here, he came across with a slightly less stoner-tone in the cinema.

The Polarizer said...

"Night at the Opera", would have to be my favorite.
But remember, "you can't fool me, their ain't no sanity clause."

Email: timhtrain - at -

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