Derry, Northern Ireland

Derry, Northern Ireland
A book I'm working on is set in this town.

Friday, March 16, 2012

The meaning of time

I have no idea how it works. I just know occasionally it vanishes around me, while other days, it takes forEVER to get through an hour. Like today. I swear, I looked at my watch three times expecting it to be 4pm and it turned out to be 1:30, 2:15, and 2:45. I was close to pounding my head on the desk to try and jolt this slo-mo state of mind out of my brain. But now it's better...and I'm sure the weekend will zip by in its usual fashion.

I watched "Harry and Tonto" the other night, and thought it was okay, even though the script was lumpy and inconsistent. But something else bugged me about it and I couldn't place my finger on what that was...until this afternoon. I was never unaware of the camera. Many of the set-ups were clumsy, the editing was awkward (though it might have had more to do with the bad choices of the director), and so much of it was so ABC, it was like a film school project by an average student.

The only thing that made the movie livable was Art Carney as Harry. He had a naturalness about him that almost made some of the more ludicrous moments believable. Like when he's picked up by a hooker en route to Las Vegas and gets laid for $100. In the middle of the desert. In a Mustang convertible.

It got me to thinking about other road films I've seen that were so much better. Like "Kings of the Road" and "Scarecrow" and "Sullivan's Travels" and "Grapes of Wrath" and "Paper Moon" and the like. In none of those do I ever remember thinking about the camera placement or any awkwardness in the script. They had chemistry, people helming them that knew what they were doing, and great screenplays. I actually wonder what "Harry and Tonto" would have turned out like under the guidance of Peter Bogdanovich or Jerry Shatzberg. And Wim Wenders goes without saying.

I'm finishing IF this weekend. I'm tired of futzing around with it.

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