New Photographs...and thinking about movies


Burning Question: What happened to Michael Keaton? Micheal Keaton is a great actor. I was a young kid when my Aunt got all of us to see Mr. Mom (she has a certain gift for warm-hearted coercion). It’s on TV right now and it’s gotten me thinking…

Keaton is one of the finest actors that we have ever been blessed to watch do comedy.

First he does physical comedy incredibly well. The scene in Mr. Mom where his car-pool mates are throttling their car-pool-mate who has fired the three of them has the madcap timing of the the keystone kops.

Secondly, Keaton does sarcasm and understatement in a warm-hearted way - which is a measure of talent and depth of emotion. When his son says: “We heard you got fired”, his delivery of: “Technically I got furloughed, sport” is neither cold nor a “snap.” Let me contrast this to the humour of today, take “My Wife and Kids” with Damon Wayans or “The 70’s Show” . Today’s show writers think that to be clever you have to be heartless. Watching Keaton is a lesson on how to get out of the ironic delivery morass that has enmired most sit-com comedy (patron saints: Jeanine Garofalo and Jerry Seinfeld - although the Sartrian end of Seinfeld implies Jerry wasn’t entirely comfortable with this { or Larry David at the very least wasn’t } ).

Another example would where when he runs his shopping cart into another shopper’s and and tosses a potato chip bag into the other shopper’s cart and says “Let’s call it even and settle out of court.” It’s terribly clever under the circumstances and isn’t delivered maliciously, but with this wry sense of self deprecation.

(Talk about a trip in the time machine, a conference room filled with people smoking in the workplace)

Lastly, Keaton has a great command of his facial muscles. This was one of the best features of what made his performance in Batman work. The mask allowed his mouth and that big toothy loose-jawed grin work and express himself through the mask. This trademark grin of his is what makes his wry deliveries work. If that command of his lips weren’t enough, he’s got those Jack Nicholson peak eyebrows and crazy googly eyes (I say googly not as a slight on him, but rather they’re the canvas upon which his eyebrows frame and work to give him an insane range of expression).

Allright then, my encomium of Mike aside, where is he? Anyone know why he seems to have taken a film hiatus?

The news from IMDB is that he seems to be heading back to the the celluloid grind with two projects in production. One of these is somewhat worrying to me as it appears to be a film interpretation of a Don DeLillo book. I’m a huge fan of DD and I’m somewhat frightened by the prospect of what might happen in a filming of one of his works….we’ll see.

Speaking of movies that scare me, Will Smith is slated to appear in the film interpretation of Asimov’s I, Robot. This is one of the most intelligent science fiction books ever written, so help me Lord if this turns into something like an Independence Day film. If so, I will hunt those Hollywood dogs down and hurtle Asimov’s brombdignag guide to Shakespeare at them. I’m hopeful though, the director was at the helm of Dark City. If we get a noir-ish turn to the story a la Minority Report or Ridley Scott’s masterwork Blade Runner I think that we might have a really clever interpretation of Asimov’s work. The IMDB synopsis says that Smith is a robot-phobe - this could really, really play well. Smith, perhaps under pressure for having behaved like a character from Bad Boys (ugh) has to take this kooky robot case. Let’s set him recently widowed or divorced (killing off his kid would be a way bit much and kinda cheap) and he takes this loopy-ass assignment to go sort out this robot murder.

…and then let’s have him kinda hardnose (Mickey Spillane style) go after the cop-work of it, do the forensics and stuff.

…and then let’s have him agree to have a dinner with the egghead, but still kinda hot, Dr. Susan Calvin who pulls him ever so briefly out of the “I’m just a cop” schtick and she brings up the real question at the heart of “I, Robot” - what if the robots really are in control..or are benevolently in control?

My most severe hope is that under the stimulation of his wife’s recent decent reviews in the Matrix movies, Will will turn his acting (which “The Spanish Prisoner” and “Six Degrees of Separation” shows he can do) in that direction versus the MIB / ID4 direction. C’mon Will, make this your “serious” role.