Saturday, May 02, 2015

Break Room

"I was listening to one of the more entertaining conspiracy theorists in the break room the other night and he mentioned The Bohemian Grove," writes McNeil. "You may already know about it. But the most important thing about it is there is a giant owl, whose voice was once a recording of Walter Cronkite." I checked into this and found a SPY magazine article by a guy who sneaked into the Bohemian Grove in 1989. The article says, "The big improvement this year was to project a sort of hologram onto the owl's face so that its beak seemed to move. Also, it was Walter Cronkite talking... Cronkite, as the owl, said that the only way Care could be cremated was to use fire from the Lamp of Fellowship before him, an 'eternal' gas flame that burns day and night." Speaking of 1989, I am struggling to find some things to say about PHYSICAL EVIDENCE, a Burt Reynolds movie from that year, viewed last night by members of the reconvened and reconstituted movie club: Ace Atkins, Bill Boyle, with Lee Durkee (who was actually the first person to tell me about the owl in the Bohemian Grove, though I don't think he mentioned that it was voiced by Walter Cronkite), stepping up to replace Megan Abbott, who moved back to New York City for some reason. Dr. Theresa and I thought Popeye's fried chicken would be a good accompaniment. We were amazed to discover that neither Ace Atkins nor Bill Boyle had ever eaten Popeye's. Lee told us about the sickly cat restored to good health by a diet of Popeye's biscuits. I am avoiding talking about PHYSICAL EVIDENCE. Hmm. It was nobody's finest moment. Well, it may have been one woman's finest moment. She played the flirtatious receptionist at a fish processing plant. As Bill Boyle observed, she gave the movie its one spark of life. We paid attention for two minutes. (Bill dug around and found out the actor's name [Laurie Paton] as well as an online critique - "click" here - that agrees with our assessment of her performance.) Bill also liked it when, in a bit of eccentric "stage business," Ted McGinley threw a Chinese-takeout spare rib at Theresa Russell as she ran up a flight of stairs. Are we grasping at straws here? Lee, I think, would vote Ted McGinley as most valuable supporting player.
We all agreed that he had a real AMERICAN PSYCHO thing going on. (If you examine this frame carefully you will see the takeout box from which Mr. McGinley will momentarily extract the rib for throwing.) There are other parts I could talk about. The perversely constructed ending. Eh. I'm too tired. The score. It sounded, I said last night, as if Henry Mancini wrote it on his portable keyboard in the back of the car on the way to the studio (another point of agreement with that online critique). Dr. Theresa, who dozed off early in her chair ("Like somebody who took Dramamine before getting on an airplane," said Ace of the film's effect on Dr. Theresa) woke up while the credits were rolling and said, "Who was the murderer?" I told her, "The guy from TWIN PEAKS." She went back to sleep.