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December 09, 2009


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You had me at "Fergie...Bush's Barbecue Beans". Hilarious. This is why some people are born to snark, Glenn...Embrace it!

I'm glad you got past the sacrilege factor - something I seriously doubt I'll be able to do. The trailer for this flick is just so abominably lame: "Hot (in a physical and cultural way!) chicks in their skivvies - 1960's Italian style! Serious Actor shrugging and brooding and wearing Wayfarers! Okay-not-bad musical numbers! We know you youngins don't really know what the hell all this means, but just look at all this skin! And the sunglasses - those are hip again, right?"

Michael Adams

Assuming the thumb business was hyperbole, Glenn, what do you do while waiting for prima donnas to show up at screenings?

Glenn Kenny

Usually I've got a book and/or an iPod, or else I just seethe and try to guess the identity of the offender. Who invariably, whenever he or she shows up, makes it abundantly clear that whatever inconvenience he or she has caused you, he or she doesn't give ten flying fucks. And that's why I love mankind.

Peter Nellhaus

Do you think "Nine" might have been a better film had Antonio Banderas been given the opportunity to recreate his Broadway performance?

Glenn Kenny

Not necessarily, Peter. Banderas is more of a natural "showman" than Day-Lewis is, and a better singer in a walk, but I'm not sure he would have made the film better...or, more to the point, if I would have liked the film better had he been in it. Given how I bristle at the stagey razzle-dazzle of "Chicago," I suspect I might have liked it less, if you follow me. By which, by the way, I intend no disrespect to either Banderas or "Chicago"'s Richard Gere.

Tom Russell

I thought Gere was terrific in Chicago-- he is, in point of fact, one of my favourite actors/screen presences-- but the movie itself was shite. What bugged me the most was the constant cutting-- something which seems to be a prerequisite for musicals today (cf. Moulin Rouge!, Dancer in the Dark). I know the old Fred Astaire advice that you should shoot the dance number in one take and show the performer from tip to toe is by now a cliche, but darn it, it worked. This fast rhythmic cutting junk simply doesn't.


Really enjoyed this piece! Always love to read good writers being pleasantly surprised over preconceptions. I generally share your views on Marshall's previous work but this one sounds like it might be interesting.

Incidentally, after skimming quickly the first time I thought, 'what does Glenn have against Ricky Tognazzi?' I have actually met Ricky Tognazzi and found him to be a warm, well-mannered gentleman who was a fine conversationalist...

A more thoughtful second reading revealed that it was nothing.


jim emerson

Are we to believe that the character who sings of "that Guido neo-realism" (racist! er, nationalist!) thinks Guido/Fellini's style could properly be labeled neo-realistic at the time of, say, "La Dolce Vita" and "8 1/2"?


Tom, Bob Fosse was able to break free of that Astaire advice and still manage to honor the work of his performers while giving the material a cinematic makeover. The problem is that Marshall, Luhrmann, and others have taken that style to an unfortunate extreme. There is a middle ground, but it may take someone with a higher cinema I.Q. Scorsese and Coppola, in their two big musical flops (New York New York and One From The Heart) gave the old studio method a little twist and at least proved they know how to shoot the stuff.

The other problem is that there used to be successful stage performers who could also act for the camera. Now they're just casting movie stars with the knowledge they can cut around them (Renee Zellweger). And the ones who have proven themselves previously on the stage (Ewan McGregor & Hugh Jackman to name two) haven't been given the chance to do it on film, Catherine Zeta Jones notwithstanding. I'd still love to see McGregor reprise his successful Sky Masterson turn in a new Guys & Dolls adaptation for the screen.

Tom Russell

Your analysis is very smart, Lazarus-- and you're absolutely right about Fosse. That was a guy who knew how to razzle-dazzle without making it just razzle-dazzle. ALL THAT JAZZ in particular remains a masterpiece of style, substance, and performance.

And there is, sadly and indeed, a dearth of successful/versatile stag performers today.


What about Sasha Grey?

Tom Russell


Stage. Stage performers. I meant stage per... oh, never mind.


Am I the only one that thinks Daniel Day Lewis kinda looks like Jean-Luc Godard in this?

Tom Russell

Sean-- I totally see it.

Jeff McMahon

My initial reaction is that while I love Day-Lewis, seeing him shambling around and mugging as a faux-Mastroianni already makes me want to grit my teeth.

I don't think much of Chicago, but I did like Zeta-Jones in it and would say she actually deserved her Oscar.

Dee Dee Shackelford

Sorry, but Daniel Day-Lewis just doesn't have enough sex appeal to convince me that so many women would be chasing him! Instead of studying Italian for the role, he should have made a trip to Italy and observed Italian men, from newsboys, to shoe salesmen to opera singers to see that special quality they have. Having seen Antonio Banderas on stage in "Nine" I think it was a great mistake not to have cast him in the Guido role. Surely Rob Marshall is a good enough director to have brought out what he wanted for the part, and no question that Antonio is a superb actor who could have made the role much more effective!

Fuzzy Bastarrd

@ Sean: More like Elvis Costello.


@Sean and Fuzzy Bastard - I was thinking more along the lines of Daniel Day-Lewis channeling Michel Piccoli of "Le Mepris" (it's all in the hat) but Godard works for me.

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