Wednesday, June 22, 2005

CBS and the Junkumentary

Last night, whenever there was a timeout during the Pistons-Spurs game, I switched over to the "100 Greatest Movie Quotes" show on CBS. It was clear from this limited exposure that the networks have no idea of how to make junkumentaries (my word, as far as I know). VH1 churns these things out by the truckload, and they're fun (100 Greatest Metal Moments, etc.) as long as the brain is disengaged. But VH1 knows what to do with talking heads; have them on for five seconds, then go back to the clips. CBS thinks it has to move up really close to them, vary the angle and lighting, and in general treat the heads like the Delphic oracle. I think they were trying to fool us into thinking this was a real, critical look at film instead of the quickie junk it actually was. ("We're CBS! We're not cable!")

As for the quotes? The usual suspects, as far as I could tell. My own quotes would have been dramatically different. Here's a selection off the top of my head:

"I caught you a delicious bass." (Napoleon Dynamite)

"Do the chickens have large talons?" (Napoleon Dynamite)

"Back off man, I'm a scientist." (Ghostbusters)

"Whassup?" (A Night at the Roxbury)

"Max, are we going through plutonium?" (Annie Hall)

Rebels are we,
Born to be free,
Just like the fish in the sea.
(Bananas and Sleeper)

SONIA: Boris, let me show you how absurd your position is. All right, let's say that there is no God and each man is free to do exactly as he chooses. Well, what prevents you from murdering somebody?
BORIS: Well, murder is immoral.
SONIA: Immorality is subjective.
BORIS: But subjectivity is objective.
SONIA: Not in any rational scheme of perception.
BORIS: Perception is irrational. It implies immanence.
SONIA: The judgment of any system or a priori relation of phenomena exists in any rational or metaphysical or at least epistemological contradiction to an abstract and empirical concept such as being, or to be, or to occur, in the thing itself or of the thing itself.
BORIS: Yeah, I've said that many times.
(Love and Death)


Anonymous said...

"Do you ever buy snakes from the Egyptian?" (Blade Runner)

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed the 100 Movie Quotes show. I would have changed a few, but very few. I've seen a lot of criticism of this show and frankly I don't understand it. I guess it's because people define "greatest" differently. I didn't take it to mean "favorite lines" or even "best" lines but rather, lines that are so famous they transcended the movie and became part of the language, at least for a while. Example: "Love means never having to say you're sorry" has to be one of the all time stupidest lines in movie history but it was very popular. For a few years after the movie people were repeating it all over the place. On that basis, there were a few lines that didn't deserve to be on the list ("No wire hangers!" Give me a break!) and one or two that should have been on it (No "You dirty rat" - unbelieveable!) but generally, I think it was a very very good list.

EMC said...

I have no argument with the quotes themselves; your take may well be correct. My main beef was with the way the show was mounted and presented, as something serious, instead of highly disposable fluff.