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Everything posted by pemvapor

  1. pemvapor

    Midnight Cowboy

    Good story about Hoffman and being competitive with colleagues: in the early 80s, I saw a preview performance of Death of a Salesman on Broadway, with Hoffman playing Willy Loman. I was fortunate enough to have been given permission to visit him backstage after the show. When I went into his dressing room, there were four people in there. DH was sitting on a chair at the end of the narrow room. Sitting adjacent on a couch, talking intensely to Hoffman was Arthur Miller. Hoffman was clearly listening carefully, nodding his head, taking it in. Though I was chatting a bit with the other two people, not wanting to bust into the conversation at the far end of the room, but I figured how often does anyone get to hear Arthur Miller giving notes to Dustin Hoffman about his performance in what's considered to be one of America's greatest plays? I positioned myself closer so I could hear what they were saying. And the part I heard was: MILLER: You're playing against a very strong Biff, now. HOFFMAN: (nods, murmurs agreement. MILLER: You understand? HOFFMAN: Absolutely. MILLER: He's very strong. You've got to hold your own. HOFFMAN: Exactly.... Now, in my view, Hoffman certainly held his own, turning in a great performance. (Which I saw get even stronger in two more performances.) But after hearing that little bit of conversation, in subsequent performances, I couldn't help but thing that Hoffman and the young actor playing his son Biff -- who was, in fact, very strong in the role -- had some kind of competition going. Most likely, it served to fuel each of them to commit fully, giving everything they had to their performances. The competition (if there was one) only improved their work. (Oh, and that actor playing Biff was a 30-year-old guy from a Chicago theater company called Steppenwolf. His name was John Malkovich.)
  2. pemvapor

    The Graduate

    AMY and PAUL!!!!!! Are you kidding? (Hang on, let me catch my breath. I was shouting at you in the car ride home from work. In all fairness, I haven't finished listening to the episode, but I was losing my mind about a little part I just heard. Here we go....) With respect to the whole issue of why Mrs. R chose Benjamin --- how can you say it doesn't make sense and that there's no legitimate character-based reason why should would do so? There are a bunch and I think -- if anything -- they're too obvious: She expects that he'll be easy to control and manipulate. (Which turns out to be the case.) (Well, for a while, anyway.) She will be entirely in charge and she'll call the shots. He'll be uncomplicated. This isn't someone with a family of his own, a wife, a job that will get in the way and distract him. He's basic -- as basic as they come, in fact. (with regard to how apparent it should be that he won't be a big stud in bed) That's no problem for her. In fact, it might be better; she'll train him. She'll get him to do whatever she wants, and however she wants him to do it. Though I don't think she's conscious of this one, I think she wants to ruin a young person, to sully him. She has a jealousy, or envy, of Elaine's youth, and this guy presents himself, just back from college. Young and blank, with (by all accounts) a bright future ahead of him. She can do something about that, about those nice, shiny kids who think the world holds so much promise, and is going to treat them so well. Nuh-uh, she thinks, based on how things have turned out for her. And she will damn-well teach this guy how tawdry and empty the world is. She'll make a convert of him. I could go on, with other reasons (I've seen this at least 40 or 50 times.) But I think the main reason is that she expects to be able to manipulate him and get him to do as she pleases. She'll be in charge, something she doesn't feel is the case in so many other areas of her life. (Sorry for aggression there at the beginning. I hold both of you in high regard and love what you have to say on the podcast. I have a screenwriting background and work in a film high school. Love it, love film analysis. I have to say -- I thought I was hallucinating when I heard you say that there's no real and clear explanation for what she would see in him. Really, guys???) (A & P: feel free to PM me and yell back at me. I can talk about The Graduate forever.)
  3. pemvapor

    One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest

    I'm with Sycasey on this. I'm not sure that Paul and Amy's take on Nurse Ratched holds water. I don't feel that the film is taking the position that she's a solid manager just doing her best to manage a volatile situation/setting. She wants it her way and her way only. There's a lot made of her being emasculating, in the movie and the book. This is shown repeatedly, notably in her interactions with Harding and Billy. She clearly picks at weak points, harping on them, digging at sensitive spots. Certainly in the cases of these two patients, those sensitive spots are connected to their sense of masculinity. She also infantilizes the patients. (Cheswick: "I am not a little kid! I want my cigarettes!...I want mine!") In terms of the baseball vote, there's no legitimate reason for her not to count Chief's vote. She insists that the vote was closed was her way to ensure that McMurphy wouldn't win that battle. On on that note, I think it's pretty clear that in the conference with Dr. Spivey and the other docs, her reason for keeping Mac is because she wants to beat him and be able to see the results. Her intention when (ostensibly) recommending a lobotomy and then bringing him back onto the ward is to shut down the legend taking shape around him in his absence and to keep him on display as a constant reminder to all the patients that this is how things will end for you if you try to take on Nurse Ratched. (I'm only partly through the podcast, but I knew if I didn't write in now, I probably would never do it.)