One of the interesting things about writing for a larger, more mainstream audience, as I have been doing, and quite happily at that, for MSN Movies, is the feedback you get, and the ways some people track you down in order to provide that feedback. As, for instance, the complaint of one "Sauncie" concerning my negative notice on The Tourist, in a post on this blog that has no relation to The Tourist. Another dissatisfied customer contacted me via my Facebook account. This individual wrote, in part, "...your review seemed extremely arrogant, self-assuming, full of big words to try and impress people who have no clue as to what you are talking about. Your veiled insults to the fun Pirates movies was extremely irritating. One thing that I think all critics forget is that they are watching MOVIES. Things that are NOT real but made for entertainment purposes. You may not like the story, and that is your right, of course, but could you maybe dare to condescend to the little people and word it to where people can understand it easier and not want to throw darts at a picture of your face? Chronicles of Narnia are fun adventure movies....why take them so seriously. Relax, stop trying to impress people and let yourself be taken away. By the way, the Pirates movies were fantastically done. The last one may have had too much of a story but hey, it was easy to let yourself get into.......IF you let yourself. Take care."
The review in question was of the new (and lousy) Narnia movie with the seafaring stuff, but as you'll note, my correspondent was more irritated by my incredibly offhand (albeit admittedly sarcastic) and brief mention of the Pirates of the Cari-whatsis film franchise therein. I was somewhat reminded of back in the early '90s, during my brief but glorious sojourn as the Sci-Fi/Fantasy columnist for TV Guide, and I was writing something about the then kinda inchoate Cartoon Network debuting a new series, and I said something along the lines of "Just in case you've had your fill of Huckleberry Hound reruns on the Cartoon Network," which elicited this pained three-page letter from a minister (I forget which denomination) out in the Midwest taking me to task for disparaging this beloved, humane, wonderful cartoon character who never did anybody any harm. I always found that a little...well, quizzical. And whenever that story springs to mind, I remember when voice artist Daws Butler passed away in 1988, and the New York Daily News ran an obit of him, and they didn't have a picture of him on file, so they ran a drawing of the beloved, humane, etc. character Huckleberry Hound, only the layout didn't provide room for a very long caption, so the caption read "H.Hound." Which, when it comes to mind, never doesn't crack me up.
And this of course in turn reminds me of the great bit in the 1946 Disney animated short "Donald's Double Trouble," in which the ever-irascible Donald Duck finds himself once again alienated from the lovely Daisy. On the street Donald happens upon a doppelganger, one who talks like Ronald Colman even, and persuades him to pose as Donald and make nice with Daisy. You can see where this is going. When the doppelganger gets a load of Daisy, he figures he's a cinch to tap that, particularly if he lays down the swanky smarm, which he correctly figures she's not accustomed to from the other guy. "We'll paint the town vermillion!" he promises her, and squires her to a nearby fair. Donald tails them, and keeps an obsessive record of all the PDAs he observes. It's all very Raging Bull. Near the, erm, climax, the doppelganger proposes to take Daisy through the fair's Tunnel of Love. The enraged, desperate Donald scribbles a note, which he passes surreptitiously to his would-be destroyer:
Who knew that Donald, in the privacy of his interiority, referred to his own self as "Don?" Fascinating.
Incidentally, the argument raised by the objector to my dismissal of the Pirates of the Whozis movies—"Things that are NOT real but made for entertainment purposes"—is echoed in a much more full-of-big-words-to-try-and-impress-people fashion in a recent Die Filmkrant post by Adrian Martin.
At top: Hatfield and the North, a vault recording title of whom provides the name for this post. Their music is highly enjoyable to let yourself get into...IF you let yourself. No, really.