Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amélie Poulain [2001)

Today is my 40th birthday.

And it gives me pause to reflect.

On the many wonderful things I have done and seen.

And on the mistakes I have made.

This film, in particular, brings to my heart a specific apology.

And yet, I know not how to find the wonderful young woman who first showed me this film.

I doubt she is reading.

But I pray that my thoughts will bounce off the moon…and find her happy in Paris…or Aix-en-Provence.

But Amélie, as we call it in America…is full of beaming positivity.

And so we shall push on.

As much as we wouldst remain in this quicksand, we push on.

Perhaps it’s loneliness.

And certainly an overactive imagination.

But some of it is the absurdity we found in that Québécois masterpiece Léolo (1992) by director Jean-Claude Lauzon.

We can stay at home.

Far from the maddening crowd.

The crowd.

Vidor.

Irving Thalberg.

Thomas Hardy.

But we yearn for excitement.

We yearn to feel the blood pulse in our veins.

To “lose the fear” as The Boo Radleys sang.

Best,

how many waitresses we have fallen in love with.

Hard-boiled eggs in the highlands.

Robert Burns.

Don’t close your heart.

Leave open.

Rube Goldberg might dislodge a wall tile.  And a world beyond…

Éclairs sur l’au-delà…

Do good things.

As if you were an angel.

A spy for God.

Making miracles.

Ellen Andrée…the girl drinking the water…in Renoir’s painting.

Pierre-Auguste.

Must clarify, not Jean…extolling Bazin.

Everything secretly.

One hand not knowing what the other is doing.

QWERTY.

X.

You have a mission to bring happiness to those around you.

Hippie bumper stickers call it “random acts of kindness”.

And I wholeheartedly approve.

Send the gnome to Nome.

Ponder jurassic orgasms from far afield or near (15+1).

And let out some steam for modesty’s sake.

Stratagems befitting Technical Services in thrall to love…forgery for romance.

Time machine.

Nothing some Twinings tea can’t age.

And the gaslighting which is currently being employed straight from Alinsky’s Rules against pizzagate researchers…turn the beat around.

Knowing John Podesta founded the Center for American Progress…under the aegis of which Mind Wars was written by Jonathan D. Moreno.

We have on good faith that US spec-ops use this very book.

So that Mr. Podesta should not be at all surprised by a little blowback.

Neuroscience neuroscience neuroscience.

And the funding and methodology of trolls suddenly makes sense.

Yes, Amélie is an expert in psychological warfare.

But only as a last resort.

AND, most importantly, she is sticking up for the undefended.

Jamel Debbouze.

It’s impressionist binoculars vs. covert telescope.

Good-natured.

But only she holds the key.

To Ellen Andrée.

And to the ghost.

Who seeks to repair the collective memory.

“Don’t forget my face”, she posits.

But love is the ultimate job.

The ultimate reward.

To find another like yourself.

To be accepted.

To find the lock for your key.

And vice versa.

It is cat and mouse.

And Zorro.

And Audrey Tautou is magnificent.

She is a jewel in a world created by director Jean-Pierre Jeunet.

So tender.

So halting.

We feel “the time-image” of which Deleuze wrote.

Love is too strong.

Like staring into the sun.

Too forceful.

Like a full moon.

But luckily Mathieu Kassovitz knows his proverbs.

And that “made all the difference”.

Early on one frosty morn’.

Simply put, Amélie is an undeniable masterpiece.

That only the hard-hearted could look down upon.

 

-PD

SNL Season 1 Episode 18 [1976)

When you set the time machine to 1976, it’s a pleasant buzz to come face to…face with Raquel Welch.

What…rather, who could sum up that time quite like her?

Her feathered hair.  Her overly-tanned (golden?) skin.  Her bellbottom jeans.

There’s something fizzy about the experience.

A starlet now faded.  A human sequin.

I previously wrote about Welch’s 1967 film Fathom.

Aside from base titillation, it’s a pretty lame affair.

But here on Saturday Night Live she gets to show a bit more of her talent.

Not much more.  A bit more.

For instance, Raquel sings on this episode.

The monologue-substitute with John Belushi as Joe Cocker is pretty fantastic.

It’s a comedy piece.

Later, Welch actually does share the rarefied air which Marilyn Monroe breathed when she sang “Happy Birthday” for JFK.

I’m speaking of Raquel’s rendition of the Gershwin tune “It Ain’t Necessarily So”.  Few microphone techniques can be said to carry such sexual import as Welch’s on this number.

And the subject matter…for God’s sake!

It ain’t Sportin’ Life from Porgy and Bess.

No.

It’s Raquel singing, “The things that you’re liable/to hear in the Bible”…[what a rhyme!]…”It ain’t necessarily so.”

So.  You get the picture.

Welch is steamy as a Manhattan manhole cover in winter.

One particularly great sequence involves Welch as Jane Russell on the set of The Outlaw (1943).  Dan Aykroyd plays Howard Hughes.  It is pretty priceless!

Aykroyd is also great in the sequence about applying the metric system to the English alphabet (the Decabet).

What’s bad about this great blast from the past?

Phoebe Snow.

I really don’t want to hate on this lady, but it’s a combination of snoozerville and overly-precious musicianship masquerading as talent.

Snow has that horribly indiscreet application of wide vibrato which always irks the bejesus out of me.

And the songs…for christsake!  “Two-Fisted Love”?!?  Are you fuckin’ kidding me?  How does an MOR artist do a song like “Two-Fisted Love” with a straight face.

And so Phoebe Snow is godawful here.  It bears mentioning because (for some [un]mysterious reason) she was back on the show for a second time [here] in season one.

But let’s dish some more.  John Sebastian also sucks on this episode.  Trying to cash in on his Welcome Back, Kotter theme song.

Likewise, somebody in charge of sound for this episode adds to the lameness of Sebastian’s performance.  Or, from another perspective, the only good thing about John Sebastian’s performance here is his microphone feeding back during his aborted intro.

Ok, there.  I’ve let them both have it.  Snow and Sebastian.

What else is good about this episode?

Let’s end on a high note.

Lorne Michaels’ solicitation of The Beatles (for a whopping $3000) is goddamned brilliant.

Ok.  So there you have it.  Oh…and Belushi as the high-strung meteorologist during Weekend Update is damned good as well.

Cheerio!

 

-PD