Monday, April 27, 2009

A vacation from Ben Lyons

Sorry for the delay in posting today. I spent the weekend on vacation in Santa Cruz, CA, and had every intention of posting about the latest episode of At the Movies today. However, it appears that Santa Cruz residents--not only a major NorCal tourist spot but also the home of the University of California, Santa Cruz--do not have access to the show!

The hotel I stayed in has a very good cable package and even gets the same ABC channel 7--with the same local newscast from San Francisco--that I get at home in Oakland. But when At the Movies is supposed to appear, inexplicably, there is an infomercial. The local TV listings do not provide any other alternative time to watch the show. Apparently, there has not been a sufficient outcry from the locals to change this state of affairs, and you can imagine why.

I've left Santa Cruz as of Monday afternoon, but I have not yet made it home to my DVR as I am spending the day doing research at a library to prepare for my presentation on Charlie Chaplin later this summer. So I will leave you with Erik Childress' review of At the Movies.

We start with the quote of the week:

Lyons: "See for me a great documentary really exposes something you hadn’t seen before, you didn’t know existed.”

And then continue with Erik's commentary:

So it’s that simple, is it, Ben? You can like a documentary if you’ve seen the subject matter before. But if you haven’t it automatically achieves greatness. I see. Appropriate that last week’s juxtaposition of the old school vs. the new school (Lyons framed with Ben Affleck and Mank with Russell Crowe during their State of Play review) has given way to this week’s photo with Mank sitting in front of Robert Downey as a down-on-his-luck journalist and Lyons in front of the mentally disturbed character he’s desperately trying to assist.

Wow, I thought last week's juxtaposition was stark, now I'm wondering if the AtM staff aren't just messing with these guys. Good catch, Erik. But wait, it get's better, like when Lyons talks about the new movie Every Little Step:

Lyons: “There’s so many talking heads spread throughout the film that I never really bonded on any level with the dancers or producers that are profiled. It takes place in dimly-lit dance studios and dark and empty theaters.”

As opposed to those theater auditions we’ve all seen in front of a packed house, Junior? This guy prides himself on his knowledge of growing up in New York but doesn’t realize this wasn’t just some style choice on the part of the filmmakers?

LYONS: “I mention the dimly-lit theaters. It could have been shot a lot better…”


LYONS: “But that’s not where you perform. You perform on stage in Broadway and I didn’t feel the sort of grand importance of what this was all about. Maybe it’s the fact that American Idol…we see people audition every night. The idea of auditioning is not really interesting in a documentary.”

Oh boy, looks like I missed a good one. Lyons not only has difficulty critiquing a movie but also has trouble discerning differences in time and space.

Read the rest of Erik's Ben Lyons Quote of the Week here.

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