One of my coworkers has been after me to see Black Swan for months now because she wanted my opinion on the dance double controversy. After finally getting around to watching it with SB this past week, I …kind of don’t see why it was such a big deal? The dance sequences in this movie are second only to Anne Bancroft’s in The Turning Point in terms of editing around the limitations of the actor, and none of the choreography we actually see is that difficult anyway. During the famous fouette sequence in the Black Swan coda, shots of Portman never show her supporting foot and upper body at the same time, which makes me think she may have been doing most of them on half-pointe (and this wouldn’t have been the first ballet movie to splice together a string of fouette turns anyway, Center Stage). Portman clearly worked very hard and is completely believable doing what she’s asked to do, but she’s not really asked to do that much. I can understand Sarah Lane being irked that her work was pretty much ignored, but one might have thought Portman was claiming to be firing off entire variations in a single take, when truthfully there’s no dance sequence in any part of the film that lasts longer than 30 seconds except for the barre exercise (during which no one dancer is a focus for more than 5 seconds at a time). Portman made me believe in Nina’s transcendent final performance almost solely with her eyes and body language, which is why the controversy is so beside the point in the first place.
Category Archives: pop culture
We’ve reached the point of springtime where I spend most of the day in a pollen induced fog, only to wake up after the sun goes down and the air quality improves. As a result I’ve been going to bed later and later, which just makes me more sleepy during the day, and so on. So I’m determined to be in bed before midnight tonight.
I think I may have helped myself with this goal by watching a few episodes of Cheers on Netflix. I remember virtually none of the Shelly Long seasons; Thursday nights at our house in the 1980s meant we had to get ready for bed as soon as Family Ties was over. In those pre-VCR days, however, my parents usually left the TV on as they supervised our tooth brushing and pajama finding. We lived in a small house and the sound carried pretty well; I wasn’t usually paying enough attention to make out the dialogue, but I knew the title song and end credits music by heart. Hearing it again tonight, I was back in that little house, kissing my father’s cheek with its whisper of stubble, feeling the nubby pile of the carpet under my feet as I walked up the hall, finally launching myself into my bed as the headboard’s cupboard doors admonished me with their rattling. A general overall feeling of well-being and peace: it’s a nice place on which to end a Monday.
When Hill Street Blues and St. Elsewhere hit Netflix, I’ll have a similar reaction. What part of that reaction is based in pure nostalgia, and what part is the gentle pace of those three particular themes, I’m not sure. I could see children in 2011 having a similar reaction to The Office theme, perhaps, but not the frantic pace of 30 Rock or the moody non-melody of something like Bones or Fringe. Then again, parents of 2011 probably just DVR all their TV shows and play them after the kids are in bed. I would advise those parents that, if you hang pictures in your hallway, your 10 year old may try to use the reflection in the glass to “watch” TV just out of your sight when she is supposed to be in bed. Watch out for that.
Sainted Boyfriend had a moment of pop culture prescience in January, and as a result we’ve wound up with tickets to two of what are shaping up to be the hottest tickets in town. Next Thursday we have Knicks-Hornets tickets (which means I’ll be interrupting my Knicks cheering to scream “CHRIS PAUL!!!!!” every so often); this past Thursday, we were sitting in the second row for the first official preview performance of The Book of Mormon, otherwise known as “the musical written by the South Park guys.”
I should note, I’m at best indifferent on the subject of South Park. I’ve seen only a handful of episodes in their entirety — most of what I know about the series actually comes from the Behind the Music (I think? It was about ten years ago) episode focused on Parker and Stone. So I am pretty well qualified to say that you can enjoy this show without being a South Park fan, because I definitely did.
The first two seasons of Murder, She Wrote are streaming on Netflix Instant right now and it’s become my go-to mindless after work viewing over the last month. (Heh: in a strange coincidence, the podcast I’m listening to at the moment just played a snippet of the MSW theme song.) Retro recaps of this show really could make one of those pop culture blogs that you can’t help reading, a la The Dairi Burger. If I were to write such a blog, it would include such regular features as:
- The Angela Lansbury Acting Challenge. Jessica Fletcher is something of a Mary Sue, character-wise, so about halfway through the first season, either Lansbury or the writers must have gotten bored and decided to start throwing in plot points that would allow Angela to demonstrate her considerable talent for comedy, whether it’s having Jessica pretend to be drunk to lure a murderer into revealing himself or writing her a double role as her own identical cousin, a saucy old-time music hall performer in England. Continue reading