Update-wise, I have little to inform you. It’s actually almost 40 degrees outside, which is nice, and the snow is slowly, slowly melting. Writing is picking up again–finally getting the hang of it once more. The main problem I was having was the opening scene for one of the viewpoint characters was proving troublesome. I’ve never written a heist scene before, and trying to do that, introduce a main character, give his background, advance the plot, introduce several side characters and still make sure people knew what was going on . . . it proved to be too much for a single scene to accomplish. Or at least, for me to accomplish in a single scene. I’m sure Shakespeare could have done all that and still managed to weave in eighty different Important Themes, but Shakespeare I ain’t. Anyway. After some retooling, the scene is flowing much better.
Over the weekend I had the chance to watch two movies which have been on my radar for a very long time, but I never got around to them. The first was The Shop around the Corner. Now, I wouldn’t be surprised if not too many of you have heard of this gem, but you’ve probably heard of the remake: You’ve Got Mail, a fine Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan piece (though not half the movie as one of my all time favorites of the genre, Joe vs. the Volcano). The Shop around the Corner is a Jimmy Stewart black and white movie, and I loved every minute. The characters were well drawn and acted, the plot well done–just a fun movie to watch. And since it came out before the romantic comedy got entrenched in its characteristics, you’re never quite sure how it will all turn out. Four out of four stars.
The General is of course the famous Buster Keaton movie from 1927. Yes, it’s silent. Yes, I enjoyed it. No, it wasn’t as funny as many movies I’ve seen. But I could see its influence on them. My biggest gripe with the film wasn’t with the film itself. It’s with the packagers. I don’t know what disease-riddled inbred came up with the soundtrack for the film, but he deserves a slow and painful Lesson. Case in point: during the climax of the film, when tension should be greatest, what song do they choose to play? The Blue Danube. A freaking lazy waltz. Don’t get me started. The film demands a soundtrack designed for the action. I’ve got nothing against classical music, but make it fit the material, for crying out loud. Sigh. Two stars out of four, with potential significant extra starrage if accompanied by something fitting.