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“More human than human, is our motto.”

I opened the last package of crumpets to have some for breakfast. They have three weeks before their expiration date, but you're supposed to keep them in a fridge or freezer, not on a shelf, and these have been on a shelf. There's no visible mold, but the first bite tasted peculiar. Tossed ‘em before eating, instead of after.

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Crank came in the mail. My review is elsewhere, but it’s always awkward when I send my little photocopied text-only one-man personal zine as a blind try for a trade, and get something back that’s like Crank — tri-color cover, groovy graphics, genuine typesetting, and so on. I should feel like I’ve gotten something for almost nothing, I suppose, but it’s embarrassing, like trading a kindergarten finger-paining for a Renoir.

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I wrote some letters, but not as many as I owe. For lunch, microwaved Japanese noodles, with boiled tuna mixed in — quite tasty, thanks. I’ll mail you some if you’d like, for $5 plus postage.

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Seeing a couple of good movies yesterday made for an enjoyable evening, and after a few years I’ll probably pay to see either or both Godfather movies again. I’ve heard that the third one sucked, though. Keep milking it, Frances, just like Drunken Master and Beethoven the dog and Beverly Hills Cop forever.

I’d rather see a great movie a second time, than a sucky sequel to a great movie. Some movies are so dang well-made I’ll pay to watch them over and over again, like Harold & Maude, Casablanca, Ms 45, and others. Every rewatch, there's something new to be discovered, or just enjoying the same old perfection again. 

Two movies on my unlimited re-screening list played tonight at the Castro, so there I was, for Blade Runner and Brazil. But these were new and improved classics.

Blade Runner
(1982) is a lavish science-fiction noir set early in the next century, when replicants (androids) are corporate commerce, sold as slave labor for the off-world colonies. Built stronger and smarter than their creators (“More human than human, is our motto”), the replicants revolt and return to Earth, where they’re hunted by the LAPD’s Harrison Ford.

I love science fiction, and I love film noir — put them together and do it well, and you've got me. I went to the first matinee show the day it opened a dozen years ago, and Blade Runner was an instant favorite. It was only slightly marred by Ford’s somewhat clumsy Sam Spade-ish narration, and by a “romantic rape” scene that’s always bothered me, but not bothered me enough to stop me from re-watching the movie time and again.

In 1991, a director’s cut was announced and released. I was living in Bakersfield back then, and I’d already seen the original a dozen times, but I drove a hundred miles each way to see the new version at the Nuart Theater in L.A. It was familiar but altered, arguably better than the original, with the narration eliminated but the rape sequence intact.

Then, a year or so later, the director’s cut I’d seen was revealed as merely a compromise cut. The hype began again, and soon came what was purportedly the genuine director’s cut. Of course, I had to see that version too, and this time the changes were more pronounced and noticeable, the superb Vangelis score seemed more prominent, and a unicorn came trottin' across the screen for no discernible reason. Still no narration, and still no escape from horny Harrison Ford when he wants to get laid.

Tonight was maybe the tenth time I’ve seen this final director’s cut of Blade Runner, and I've decided that the studio was right, not the director — the movie needs its original narration. It was cornball, yes, but it got you inside the character’s head more than the new cut does. So the third version is second best, but it’s still a great movie: action with a triple-digit IQ. 

The second feature, Brazil (1985), is also not quite the same movie that played in American theaters back then. This is the British release, and it’s bleaker. The Brits are perhaps better equipped to deal with irony?

Versions smersions, though, it’s just a great movie, and here's an interesting fact: It has nothing to do with the nation of Brazil. The story of an everyschmuck trapped in a heightened version of modern reality, it gleefully subverts everything — work, technology, beauty, bureaucracy, movies, and all the rules and hypocrisies we take for granted. It’s outrageously funny, with guts and a soul, and the office scenes could've been filmed in the building where I work. Bonus: Nobody gets raped. 

Only one complaint, and a warning. 

My complaint is, the British version is better, yeah, but do we need to see the original British prints, too? Tonight’s print of Brazil was choppy, splotchy, skippy and scratchy, and detracted from the movie. That’s not the Castro’s fault, of course, and I overheard the manager explaining that to an angry customer in the lobby. They’re entirely at the distributor’s mercy, and the distributor doesn't give a damn. 

And my warning is, don’t see Brazil with me, cuz tonight I laughed so loud people got up and moved to different seats farther away.

From Pathetic Life #4
Sunday, September 25, 1994

This is an entry retyped from an on-paper zine I wrote many years ago, called Pathetic Life. The opinions stated were my opinions then, but might not be my opinions now. Also, I said and did some disgusting things, so parental guidance is advised.

 

Pathetic Life 

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2 comments:

  1. Captain HampocketsJuly 25, 2021 at 7:59 AM

    Did you see the Blade Runner sequel? It was very forgettable.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I saw it, and something about it bothered me, but right now I can't remember what ... so 'forgettable' seems like the right word.

    ReplyDelete

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