It snowed today.
I discovered a new way to injure myself. It takes strong winds but its very successful. I merely fling the snow to one side and it blows back into my face, down the front and back of my coat and shirt.
Last night I watched Misumi Kenji’s “The Last Samurai”, nothing to do with the Tom Cruise mess.
I got a copy from someone reading here. It was a decent trade.
The films never been released in the US. What he did (Cinephage) was take a French DVD and translate those subs into English. Not content with that he scoured other sources and put together the most accurate translation he could.
It makes for a brilliant package.
Odd thing is that he doesn’t really rate Misumi, he considers him an entertainer and a “bargain basement Mizoguchi”. Rah!
I disagree. There are elements of Mizoguchi in Misumi’s work, for sure. The same way there are hints of Eisenstein, Murnau, Dzega-Vertov, and Dyer in every body’s movies. “The Last Samurai” may even be a masterpiece. I’d have to see it again. Its odd. Everyone is smiling and happy, “a nice guy” until they have to kill.
There’s a painful examination of the differences in killing: for love, for honor, for duty. Dying is given no value except towards the total cessation of existence.
It gets mature, adult even, mature in a profound sad and bemused way. So few artists get bemusement into their works. I value it highly mainly because I am almost always bemused, even when I’m crabby and bewildered.
This is a movie to treasure, no doubt. I am already certain it has changed the way I see life.
I’ve been thinking about love songs.
The saccharine standards with swelling strings and desperate crooners are okay. Like Johnny Mathis, they set a mood but, for me, fall short of the dynamism of the act of falling in love. There’s no desperation, only longing.
In that branch of the sub-genre I’d have to pick “The Way Love Used To Be” by Ray Davies and The Kinks.
Its got your deep and wailing strings and it talks about the bittersweet longing of not taking chances, of forgetting what love could have been while foolishly trying to recreate it anew.
Steve Marriott and Ronnie Lane wrote a song that eloquently describes the joy of love. Their version was lush and heavy with Procul Harum style organ, which takes away from its gentle plaintive intent. Quiet Riot’s cover of “Afterglow” hits closer to the mark. Besides it has Randy Rhodes playing a sizzling acoustic guitar.
When you think of Steve Marriott and the Small Faces (As in “There Are But Four Small Faces” one of the great album names of all time) there’s one song that always clicks. They had a modest hit with it but their live version delivers the rage and the power that propel Alkaline Trio and The White Stripes. To me their “Tin Soldier” exposes the joy and the pain that love brings. From the hesitant opening to the deep blues wail hollering in the middle to its end where the world seems to disintegrate in rimshots and girlish screams, for me this song is the background of any love affair.
Of course thinking about love songs always makes me think about other goofy songs!
For a while my fave psycho tune was Brittany Spears’ cover of Joan Jett’s, “I Love Rock n’ Roll”. It was the most vapid non-comprehending track ever! It was great with a stupidity even the Ramones would have envied!
That was replaced in my heart by Pat Boone’s being relevant (he wore a leather vest with no shirt on the album cover – YOW! Sixty year old non-six packs!) as he covered Ozzy Osbourne’s “Crazy Train”. It redefined psychotronic!
But now I’ve discovered Dion’s totally mad version of Jimi Hendrix’s Purple Haze. Since Dion recently acquitted himself quite admirably with a solo album of country blues covers this comes as a total shock. This track will burn out your retinas and cause flashbacks, not to Viet Nam, but of that time you got sent to the principals office for eating all the kindergarten paste.
This is one track that will put a stop to “Rock on brother, rock on.”
I’m writing this on ecto 3 beta 25 . . . 25 . . . its becoming usable and I can almost rely on it not to take all my words and vanish them into the computer innards! I can actually recommend it!