The thoughts & Musings of Christopher F. Reidy*
NOTE: Apparently this webpage has some glitches. It tends to randomly switch out visual material. Why? Don't ask me. So, if a pic doesn't match the text...it doesn't! Rest assured I am trying to amend this problem. When I get around to it.
*(may contain misuse of apostrophes, miss spellings, overabundance of semi-colons, wrong word usage, etc.
Please pardon our appearance while we create a new blog experience for you!)
Please find a complete index of blog posts on the homepage, for your convenience!
AND YET ANOTHER NOTE:
The visual switcheroos on these blogs have reached a point where there's no way I can correct them all, so I'm just going to leave them be. If they don't match the text, just think of them as whimsical funsies decorating the text. I will continue to supply pictures; but I cannot guarantee their context: much like my mind.
Thank you for your patience!
A FURTHER NOTE:
I try to keep this website relatively free of anything truly morally reprehensible or obscene. However, in the pursuit of honesty; I will be quite frank about sexuality; as I feel one should be. To wit: this website is not for children. It is decidedly "adult"; although not necessarily not "childish." I do not feel it is suitable, in some instances, for anyone below the age of 17. Or maybe a very mature 16...or 15 even.
THIS WEBSITE IS RATED: PG-15
So, I'm happy to report this:
Hey, if I don't presser mon klaxon, nobody else is gonna do it. I hope that little stud Jim Jordan checks it out!
So, back to our discussion of All Too Well - The Short Film by Ms. Taylor Swift.
In our next segment of the piece; we watch "The Reeling." Or we watch Sadie Sink (God I love that name!) as HER/TAYLOR SWIFT being directed by HER, herself: Taylor Swift. HER is shown from above, rolling around in bed-sheets from J.C. Penney in the cramped bedroom of what appears to be a house of modest means. I mean, at that point in her career, Taylor probably could've bought a new house with her paycheck from Valentine's Day; or at least upgraded to Ralph Lauren bedding. "The Reeling" should've been called "The Rolling"; as HER does a lot of rolling in that bed and some more sobbing. "The Reeling," I can happily report, is rather raced through and we quickly cut to "The Remembering." In this sequence we watch as HIM purposefully strides down an urban, nighttime street as HER sings about HER scarf that HIM still has because it reminds HIM of HER. And again, how could she possibly know this if he dumped her so casually and emphatically? Is SHE still in touch with HIM'S sister? And if she is, isn't that a little weird? At one point in the song, Taylor/HER refers to herself as "unneedy." I'm not so sure. Based on the behavior of HER in All Too Well - The Short Film, I'd say she's kinda like, in need of therapy, needy.
So we cross cut between shots of Mr. O'Brien striding and more footage from "The Upstate Escape" scenes: including; but not limited to: fireside dancing, fireside card playing, fireside making out, leisurely car rides, lakeside smooching, more crying, more dancing, more smooching, more crying and sitting on the floor of a cramped bedroom on what appears to be a pile of dirty laundry. Hmmmm. Now, cutting from Dylan to these shots, according to my knowledge of cinematic grammar, implies that it is HIM who is doing the remembering; which, if you ask me, is tad presumptuous on Ms. Taylor's part. Maybe Jake was even more of a bounder than she realized: never giving Ms. Swift another thought. It's a cold world Taylor; better take a sweater. Oh wait, you already have one at your online store. Do you get a discount?
$65.00 for a mostly polyester sweater? Calvin Klein doesn't even ask that price for 100% cotton. You need to up your fabric game girl. And maybe start selling Taylor Swift branded cranberry sauce.
So, we're now reaching the denouement of the short film. We see an elegantly coiffed female from behind, reaching for earrings and putting them on. The title of this section: "Thirteen Years Gone." There's that number again. It's her lucky number; Taylor Swift, that is. Her birthday is December 13th; and that would be a very Sagittarian thing to do: have a lucky number. And she's certainly had a lot of luck in Show Business. But apparently not love; or you wouldn't be reading this.
So, the earring goes on and the camera pans to the left, lingering on some framed photographs on the wall. One is of a body of water shot from a deck of some kind. Is this the lake from The Upstate Escape? And if it is, why does she have it on the wall? She really can't or won't let it go, will she?
Next we see HER LATER ON leaving her swanky new digs and heading out to a bookstore to give a reading. We see copies of her book All Too Well, on a table with a huge poster of the cover. The audience seems to hang on her every word: some appearing teary eyed at what they're hearing. But again, we don't hear what they're hearing. The song is playing over what we're seeing. I, for one, really wanted to hear some of the text from the novel within the short film. Taylor as HER LATER ON, seems to be giving a super-serious oration. Somber. Funereal even. Because you just know that All Too Well, the novel, is like some super-serious, high-falutin' literature. Some serious shit. Like, Joyce Carol Oates level. Pulitzer Prize Winner. Short listed for the Booker Prize (because she wrote it in London). Fast tracked for the Nobel Prize in Literature. More copies sold than Harry Potter and the Sex Assigned at Birth Muggles!
The camera pulls back from the podium and up into the rafters. The poster's graphics are a bit hard to make out; but you can read what we're to assume is a quote pull or a jacket blurb that reads (I'm pretty sure) "A STUNNING DEBUT NOVEL!" I think one thing we can all agree on is Ms. Swift's confidence in HER own abilities. I wanna read this novel now. Come on Taylor. You know you wanna write it. And it'd probably be pretty good!
In the closing images, we see the camera pull back from the glass window of the door of the book store, away from Taylor's oratory, then a rack focus on the back of the head of a young man wearing a red scarf. Snow is falling as he gazes but does not go into the store. He's watching HER LATER ON speaking, although he can't hear what she's saying. But since we find out later on that this is HIM LATER ON, I guess we can assume that he's already read the book. He turns, his face obscured by the edge of the frame, and EXITS STAGE RIGHT. Cue closing credits. Hmmmmmmmmmm...why didn't they show us Mr. O'Brien's adorable face one last time?
EASTER EGG BREAK!
Well, Ms. Taylor intentionally used a different "actor" to portray HIM LATER ON. Someone named Jake Lyon. And it's buried in the back of the credits. This is one of those Easter eggs all the kids are talking about nowadays. There are lots more apparently. You can find examinations of this online. People must have a lot of free time on their hands lately; but then, I'm writing about this very same thing, so who am I to judge?
The camera, now static, continues showing us the door as the snow falls and then we cut to the credits. THE END. Or is it??!!
So, before I tell you my opinion of this short film; my take on All Too Well- The Short Film as a filmic piece of art (or not); let me just reassure Ms. Swift that it was not her fault. It just wasn't in the stars. The numbers just didn't add up. Particularly #19, which is the number of the day in December 1980 when Jake arrived in the world. As did I, in 1965. Here's a thumbnail take on December 19thers:
And here's a little blurb about December 13ths:
I'm just gonna leave that, right there. Oh, and this might interest you as well:
Hmmmmm..."substantially large sticks..."
I'm just gonna leave that right there.
So, here's my official report card on All Too Well - The Short Film:
As a series of images, I think All Too Well holds up. There is some lovely cinematography (for example, the ending shot, which reminded me quite a lot of the final scene of The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, which I consider the best ending ever filmed):
But again, can we really judge this as a film; short or otherwise? It's a music video: with one scene with dialogue. We could analyze that one scene. The scene that Mr. O'Brien said was completely improvised. The acting is fine. I believe what the characters are saying to each other. They are acting as a couple very well might in that situation; however, it's completely lopsided. Swift paints HER as the clearly wronged party. HIM is the villain simply for breaking up with HER. I mean, it seems as though he does it honestly, in her presence. He didn't ghost her or break up with her over the phone. Sometimes things just don't work out; so that makes him the bad guy? She accuses him of brutal honesty or something. But isn't that what Sagittarians are know for? You read it over and over again in any summation of The Sagittarius Personality: #1 LOVE OF/NEED FOR FREEDOM. #2 BRUTAL HONESTY. I mean, what were you expecting Taylor? Personally, I am rarely brutally honest. I am very careful of people's feelings. Or at least I try to be!
Let's just break it down:
CINEMATOGRAPHY: Excellent. As they say in the trades: "Tech elements were top notch"
LIGHTING: A+ Very evocative.
DIALOGUE: Not bad. Nicely acted. And it's hard to act: "You didn't hold my hand at dinner, you meanie!" Way too many "fucks" from Mr. O'Brien. Saying "fuck" is just lazy. Grading on a curve: solid B.
MISE EN SCENE: Excellent. If you're borrowing from Kubrick, Lynch, De Palma and Jacques Demy, you've got taste.
DIRECTION: See "mise en scene."
COSTUMES: Adequate. And that includes the red scarf.
ACTING: I think Ms. Sink overdoes the naif routine a bit and goes a little over the top with the sobbing. Mr. O'Brien captures the arrogance and somewhat false Mr. Nice Guy elements of whoever it is he really is playing. But again, relies on the F word too much.
I am not even going to try and analyze Ms. Swift's performance as HER LATER ON. Putting on earrings, walking slowly to a podium and pretending to read is not acting, it's just doing things. Now, if she had let me hear her narration of "ALL TOO WELL" the Novel; that would've been different. And she owes me $9.50 for going to see CATS at the movies.
Disclaimer: Just so you know, I had no recollection that Taylor dated Jake Gyllenhaal. I had no knowledge of this song and it's possible meanings. I mean, I have some vague recollection of that cover, as I am in the grocery store checkout line once a week (Kroger's, Not Union Market). I had no idea that Taylorhaal was a thing until my niece dropped this bomb in my lap. In other words: I am not obsessed with Jake! But wait, do we know if he's circumcised or not? I'll have to check on that. I mean, not that I care either way. It's not like I have a preference or anything. I mean, I am and it's worked out fine for me so far; but I do sometimes wish that the decision had been left to me, you know what I mean? And it's not like Jake's either circumcised or uncircumcised penis is going to pop up in my immediate personal space or anything anytime soon or in the foreseeable future, unless I find myself next to him at an airport urinal. Or he does full frontal in the new version of Road House. Or if Taylor actually does become and authoress and has a book signing and I fly to L.A. and take an uber to Book Soup on Sunset and go and buy her novella simply to have it signed so that I can ask her about Jake's tackle sitch.
Okay, I'm done now.*
So, it looks like US Weekly went with the coffee cup, shopping bag, awkward hand-hold trifecta pic. I mean, shouldn't they have shot the whole shebang with the coffee-cup, shopping bag, awkward hand-hold and quizzical skyward peer?
So, it was bugging the F out of me where that shopping bag is from...so I think I'd make a great detective! Although, you can't clearly make out the logo on the bag in any of the pics, you can make out the word "Brooklyn"; so, I looked up Brooklyn grocery stores, quickly found their logo, put two and two together and figured it out! And there are what appear to be cans in there. Perhaps my Cranberry Sauce Break-Up scenario is not too far off the mark!
And, I'm sorry; but why aren't these two trendy celebs hauling their own de rigueur shopping totes? So many questions! But I'm sure the kind, polite and environmentally aware Jake immediately put the bag into the recycle bin as the bag requests that one does.
Or was this a "thing" yet in 2010?
Back to the saga that is All Too Well the Short Film:
So, meanwhile, back in la cocina de su hermana, HIM and HER continue their impromptu argument. It seems that HER is more than a little peeved that SHE was thoroughly ignored by HIS friends, had HER hand dropped by HIM and wasn't even glanced at the entire evening by HIM. And yes, SHE has solid grounds for HER perturbation. HIS'S arguments, in the context of the scene, are weak. More or less that HE was more focused on HIS friends than HER because he hadn't seen them for a long time and more lamely; that HE doesn't even remember rejecting HER romantic hand-hold gesture.
In the real world, sure. But Jake Gyllenhaal and Taylor did not live in "the real world" in 2010. She was already a big Star. She'd been in the "stellar" Valentine's Day directed by Garry Marshall; not exactly a Hollywood unknown. She played opposite Taylor Lautner (another famous werewolfboy) who was a the top of the Tiger Beat top ten when she dated him...let's take a look!
Now that's what you call chemistry! (And Taylor, I get the whole hairy dude thing, (even though Taylor L. is as smooth as a satin sheet (does he wax?), believe me!).
So, for Taylor Swift to imply, particularly in this video, that she was pushed into a corner and ignored is a bit of gigantic pill to swallow. So, nobody was like: "Gee, what's it like to work with Anne Hathaway!" (or did Jake interrupt and answer the question?) Or, "Wow Taylor, how do you come up with ideas for your songs? Did you get to meet Penny Marshall? Is Patrick Dempsey really all that dreamy? Why is Hector Elizondo in all of Garry Marshall's movies? Why do you have an Epi-pen; are you allergic to pumpkins too? Boy you really like cranberry sauce! Taylor why is 13 your lucky number? Gee Taylor, did you know that your name means, like "tailor" literally; as in "to cut"? Taylor, could you please pass the mashed turnips? Taylor, somebody told me you can speak Flemish; is that true!??! To answer your question from earlier, Taylor, Jake's shoe size is 10. What's that Taylor? You're glad Jake's second toe isn't longer than his first toe because you wouldn't know how to handle yourself? Gee, Taylor, that could be taken several ways... Taylor, have you ever had the spinning salad at Lawry's Prime Beef? What's that? More cranberry sauce? You really can put it away!"
And so on...in short, I don't think Taylor would've been metaphorically relegated to the kiddie's table.
Perhaps, I've crossed a line; and if I have, I apologize, particularly to Mr. Gyllenhaal. But then again, maybe I haven't. There's all kinds of junk about Jake's junk on-line. It's a thing! Much of it from Jake himself. He talks about his genitals a lot. Not just his, but Stephen Colbert's. He'll talk about his penis at weddings. He's even sung a song about his penis (it's a little too NC-17 for this blog; but you can easily find it on Youtube); so, I guess all bets are off when it comes to the appropriateness of discussing Jake Jr. Whew! Now I feel better!
So, back to our kitchen contretemps:
HER begins to weep at the sink and HIM proceeds to embrace HER and apologize. He says "sorry" almost as much as he'd used the F word. He says he's sorry for dropping her hand. So, if he says he's sorry, how is he the villain in this story? Well, after the second "sorry" the rest do sound a bit hollow. Is this an acting choice of Mr. O'Brien or is he being directed to do this by Ms. Swift? If it's the latter, I'll give Tay's props. It's pretty subtle. However, I won't let the whole hand-holding thing slide. In My Humble Opinion, holding another person's hand for any more than thirty seconds becomes an intimate act. Reaching for someone's hand at the dinner table in order to hold it, in front of a group of people is not just entirely too intimate a thing to do in front of strangers, it's a passive-aggressive way to show the others that the person your reaching for is "yours." I mean HER might as well have sat in HIM's lap and started kissing HIM.
Hetero hand holding, it seems to me, is almost always initiated by the woman. I'm sorry; but I just gotta say, men, for the most part put up with it. You never really even see gay men doing it. And Taylor, a Sagittarian, has got to know that most Sagittarians would find this icky; particularly in public. But she's got the X chromosomes, which trump her Sag common sense. So, I'm on team Jake for this one. But don't get me wrong; there is a time and a place for romantic hand-holding: in the bedroom or in a car. Or walking down an empty beach, so that the hand-holding is not a performance.
So, the next section of our film is entitled "Are You Real?" In this portion we get a lot of kissy-kissy, hands through heads of hair, smooching, snack breaks, carefully hidden nudity on the part of the actress playing HER, kitchen dancing, bed-in crossword puzzling, shots of Mr. O'Brien's werewolfian armpits and the camera closing in on his ears, revealing very deep canals. Which is not something you see every day. I must admit though, that his nostrils are pretty sexy. I have a thing for men with large, flaring nostrils. Is that weird?
I'm sorry; but that's just HOT.
Then, all of a sudden, HIM is shaking his head and face-palming whilst HER stares intently into his face. We can't hear the dialogue but it seems pretty clear he's saying something like: "It's not HER, it's HIM" or "This just isn't working, even though I just pointedly held your hand while WE were making love in the last montage..."
Cut to HER, played by Sadie Sink(!) (I wonder if that's why she played a scene at the kitchen sink!) crying so hysterically you'd think she'd just watched Valentine's Day. Oh this section is called "The Breaking Point." I don't think it's fair that in this scene we don't get to hear what they're saying. The camera is on her face and it seems she says "That's it?!!?" The implication being that he's dismissing her on a whim. It's very SHE said SHE said. Or should that be HER said, HER said? Next, we see HER banging away on a vintage manual typewriter (and apparently having an artichoke for a snack?). Guess what?
THE TYPEWRITER IS RED!!!
In frustration, she pulls the sheet of paper from the roller, fiercely wads it up and tosses it. And it's no wonder! Her text nimble fingers probably couldn't take the pain of a manual keyboard. And it's 2010. Even this old schooler had given up his manual by then.
Oh the late nights into early mornings spent staring at that little workhorse. My fingers still throb when it rains.
So it's over.
It's oh, so over.
Over and out.
When next we see HER, SHE is out and about and out on the town in a little black dress. Where is she? It seems that it's some sort of opening night at an art gallery; but there's no art to be seen on the walls or anywhere in the room. Or is that the "art"? Is it some edgy, heady, art installation where the "art" part is not installing the art? Radical! Or is HER at a champagne tasting, as every single person in the room has the exact same wine glass with the exact same beverage? Or is it, as my husband asked, a champagne tasting in an empty art gallery? So many questions! So few answers; perhaps an--as promised by my niece--"Easter Egg" or two. We can only hope. Once again, Ms. Sink is sinking into the floor. She's wandering around this gathering, being bumped and jostled and pushed into the corner again. And again, if this is supposed to be Taylor Swift, I find it hard to believe that she'd go unnoticed around hipster poseurs and social climbing celebrity wannabes. In fact, she'd probably have most of the room surrounding her in concentric circles, vying to get HER her next glass of mystery drink.
Next, that cad HIM pulls the wool over HER dad's eyes by not showing up at her 21st birthday party, which we then see in the next segment.
It's HER party and I'll cry if want to...
I have to say that this party scene, after multiple viewings, gives me the creeps. It's like a scene from The Shining or at the very least, Twin Peaks. Is this creepy undertone on purpose? Check out the girl in the middle on the left, the one wearing the child's birthday party hat. She really is something out of David Lynch. Is she HER's little sister? Why is she the only one wearing a hat. Why are they using paper plates, cups and plastic utensils. I mean, this is HER's house and there are only six or so guests. They can't use actual porcelain and metal table-wear? She's turning 21, not 5! Yeah, 21, the legal drinking age! Where's the keg? If this was the kind of party she invited a movie star to, well, it's no wonder HE didn't show up!
I looked up "Taylor Swift birthday cake" and stills from this scene popped up and also a still from another video, for a song called "Lover." So I checked that out. And my God! The hair on the back of my neck stood up.
The video for "Lover" which Taylor apparently co-directed, would seem at first glance, a whimsical look at a "world" that two people in love have created for themselves. Or should that be two people in love with horror movies? I just mentioned Twin Peaks and The Shining: the comparisons are even more blatant in "Lover." Here's the video to that one:
Most of the production design of the sets in the "Lover" video are clearly inspired by the Overlook Hotel sets from Kubrick's The Shining. At the 44 second mark, we see a room swathed in the color red, which is a first cousin of the "Red Room" from Twin Peaks. At the 2.15 mark we see Taylor climbing a ladder into the attic which brings to mind the attic sequence from The Exorcist. Then a front door that is straight out of Elm Street and a snow-globe that could've been knicked (or knick-knacked) from the set of Krampus (which I think was a really great, underrated horror movie).
So what's the story Taylor? You seem conflicted. You seem to be saying that LOVE is actually a horror show. I mean, why would you place this pretty, lovely little ballad in the context of a nightmarish set of suffocating rooms? Is it the Sagittarian push and pull of wanting LOVE but wanting FREEDOM more? Did you not realize that the charm of the video of "Lover" quickly devolves into a not quite so subconscious series of scenes of Existential, Get Me The Hell Out of This Place horror? Or did you know exactly what you were doing? Methinks there's a lot more going on in that pretty little head of yours. OH! And get this! Check out the 3 minute mark. What's on the table? Not one...but TWO plates of jellied Cranberry Sauce, straight out of the can. YOU CAN'T MAKE THIS SHIT UP!
Okay, that will be our last visit from Mr. Dramatic Squirrel.
And honestly, the cranberry sauce is a complete coincidence...or IS IT???
We'll be wrapping this up in the next blog, with Part 3 of Jake and Ms. T.
Ciao for now!
Pop Culture Analysis: All's Not Well That Ends All Too Well (or A Little Ditty, 'Bout Jake and Ms. Swift)(?)
I was going to moderate a scathing, blistering, lid-ripping, hard-ball-breaking interview between Walt Disney and Baba Wawa; but since I'm a little fed up with that old coot and Baba is no longer with us, I'm putting it on the back-burner, as I've got more burning questions firing my feverish brain. And this hot-button expose has one of our/my favorite celebz...you guessed it; the Nightcrawler himself, Mr. Jake Gyyllleennhaall; front and center (or at least adjacent). Nailed that spelling! Now if I could just pronounce it correctly...
So, my niece, who got me to watch Good Will Hunting, is something of a heretofore, unbeknownst to me, Pop Culturephile. Her most recent obsession is the behind the scenes goss on Don't Worry Darling. And an ongoing one: The Taylor Swift Files. She showed me the "clip" of Harry S. supposedly spitting something on Chris Pine at the Venice Film Festival. We were in total agreement that Mr. Styles does indeed expectorate something into Mr. Pine's lap. It doesn't take a body language expert to see that something is very amiss in that dynamic. And you know what? I don't buy Harry's whole "androgynous" wardrobe dealee-oh. He simply does not look comfortable in chiffon separates. I'm calling "stunt."
Sorry Harry. Put on some Wrangler's and a flannel. You know you want to! And Chris P., please 86 that shoulder length hair-do. It makes you look like a lady tennis player. Or more precisely: Baba Wawa.
Could I look any more uncomfortable? Why didn't they tell me lace was itchy? And why do they keeping asking me about this Liberace person?
No, it's not Tilda Swinton, love; it's Mr. David Bowie, showing 'ow it's done. Fancy a cup of tea dearie?
Time for a Liberace break!
Okay...back to Taylor and Jake.
First of all Taylor: GET YOUR HANDS OFF MY HALL PASS, BEEOTHCH!
Oh, I mean...Ms. Swift, would you kindly step away from the Gyllenhaal? Oh wait, you did...but then you didn't...because you re-released this song that is purportedly about him and your apparently traumatizing break-up. You also made a video about it. Oh, wait, I mean a "short film." A short film, set to the song, more or less, which, technically is a long-form music video; is it not? Well, before I launch into my criticis--uhh, "analysis" of this project; let's all watch it shall we? So, grab yourself a cup of coffee. One cup of coffee (I'll get to that later) and we'll meet back here in about fifteen minutes!
So, here's the POP-C/TMZ breakdown from my niece; as I understand it:
Taylor made some recordings earlier in her career over which she did not have complete creative control. So, now that she's a SUPERSTAR and has the creative power, she re-recorded some of these songs and released them on a new album. One of these songs is "All Too Well"; which, as I've mentioned, is supposedly about her break-up with Jake Gyllenhaal back in 2010. She was 20ish at the time and he was almost 30 (my facts might be faulty here; but we're not talking about the Magna Carta, right?). Apparently, Jake has denied that the song is about him. But if you watch Ms. Swift's "short film," it seems as though she's doing everything she can to bolster the implication that it's about Jake. She mentions in the song that her paramour has a "sister." Now, we all know Jake has a sister. In fact, a famous sister. Not quite of the magnitude of her brother; but a star none the less. However, if the song isn't about Jake and is perhaps about John Mayer, another of Ms. Taylor's boyfriends; he has a half-sister. But wouldn't she have written the lyric as "half sister"? Probably not. And she's had quite a few male companions, many, I assume, who have a sister. I would do the research; but I'm not quite that invested in this. I am neither a "Swiftie" or a "Tayordle." Don't ask.
Her music seems to be exclusively about young, white, teen-age, first-world girls and their problems with boys. Which I guess would be her problems. And boy, does she seem to have problems! However, in her defense, she is a Sagittarius (as is Jake (and yours truly). We archers tend to grow restless and move on from relationships when we realize that they're not really working. Taylor knows this; which is why I thinks it's rather unfair (and decidedly un-Sagittarian) to still be bitching about a failed relationship from more than a decade ago. Actually, she's milking it, isn't she? According to my niece, the video--err--short film is loaded with "Easter eggs."
The Red Scarf
So, according to my niece (her name is Kasey), the red scarf in the video is a metaphor. Or a symbol. Or whatever. And what does it represent? Nothing less than Ms. Swift's virginity!!!
Okay...in case you didn't watch the video, it starts with a male/female couple, mooning in bed. I mean getting moony.
They are known as "Him" and "Her." And then, later on, there's "Her Later On" and "Him Later On." So are "Him" and "Her" supposed to be some sort of archetypes? Well, since Taylor wrote it and directed it, her choice to make them anonymous seems to me a rather bald attempt at trying to get people to try and guess who "Him" and "Her" actually are in real life. Which, if you ask me, is more than a little coy. I think we can safely assume that "Her" is meant to be Ms. Swift, as Ms. Swift actually plays "Her Later On" later on in the movie. She's inexplicably made herself an authoress in the context of the film. She's written a rather slim tome entitled "All Too Well" which features a wintry tree with a red scarf caught in one of the branches. We see her reading to a group of moony women who seem to hang on Her Later On's every word...although we never hear these words. Is this a soft launch for a new career for Ms. Swift? Novella-ist?
So, apparently you can acquire the "novel." From Taylor Swift's official on-line store. Except it's not a novel, it's a notebook, that I assume has blank pages. Now if that's not a metaphor, I don't know what is.
You may also purchase on Ms. Swift's online store, a replica of the "All Too Well" red scarf for $35.00. Which seems a bit pricey to me for an acrylic scarf. I highly doubt Ms. Swift would let anything less than two-ply pashmina touch her graceful neck. I mean, if the red scarf is truly meant to be a metaphor for the loss of Ms. Swift's virginity to "Him": isn't selling it on line a little...and I want to choose my word carefully here (who knows, I might be right for a part in Ms. Swift's feature-film-directorial-debut! Maybe Jake's older brother? I mean, I guess I could be old enough to be his father...an early bloomer, I could've been a father at eleven (ewww...is that TMI?)...a little odd? I mean, even for us freaky Sagittarians, it's odd. Or maybe Ms. Swift is simply making lemonade out of the lemons of her past romances. So, more power to her?
Sure, let's go with that.
Let's take a bit of a deeper dive into the short film that is "All Too Well," shall we?
So, our couple, so deeply enamored of one another, take "An Upstate Escape" in the first section of the film. This is where Her sings to us that she left her red scarf at Him's sister's house and that he still has it in his drawer. Well, if they broke up; how could she possibly know this?
Cut to an oh so perfect, vintage Mercedes sedan coursing down a sylvan back-road as autumn leaves swirl in the wind.
So, the whole vibe at the beginning of the video is that they're visiting His family for Thanksgiving; which, supposedly, Taylor and Jake did, Thanksgiving of 2010. Apparently (and I'm just making assumptions here) the only photos that actually exist of the two together are from that day (I mean, I'm guessing here):
Look! Up in the sky! It's a bird...it's a plane...it's Carrot Top...or is that Alfred E. Neuman? No, it's Donald Trump on his balcony!
So, like, what's going on here? Is it me or do these photos seem staged? Like, they are totally aware there's a photographer lurking around. They could've ditched him or her down a back-alley...or lost them in the park...or jumped in a cab. Or called an Uber. Oh, wait, did they have Uber in 2010? It just screams "Photo Op" to me. I mean, they were out and about long enough to get a cup of coffee. A single cup of coffee. We're they sharing it? Whose coffee is it? They are both holding it at different times. Who shares a cup of coffee? I mean, on a first date? Where does the shopping bag go? Did they get the one cup of coffee and then pop into a bodega to pick up a can of Ocean Spray Cranberry Sauce, because it just didn't seem like Thanksgiving to Taylor without it? Is there a box of Stove Top stuffing in there? Or maybe it's a pumpkin pie because absent minded Jake forgot to stop at the bakery and pick up the one his sister had ordered. But maybe Taylor is allergic to pumpkins so they got Key Lime instead...? I mean, the more I look at it, the weirder it seems. Like in that last photo. Here Taylor, hold our coffee because my other hand is full and I want to hold your hand over my shoulder...damn, this bag is heavy...did we really need six cans of cranberry sauce? I mean, don't get me wrong...I love cranberry sauce as much as the next guy...but I mean, this is enough to last us until Thanksgiving of 2021...
That's it! That's what tore them apart! The Cranberry Sauce! And it's RED!!!
So, back to the viddy-o:
During the Upstate Escape, we see Him and Her arriving at the grounds of what I think we're to assume is his sister's property. We get a classic walking in the autumn woods love-fest and then an extended kiss where the camera swirls around the couple. A nod to Brian De Palma perhaps?
Hmmm...that makes two Sissy Spacek cameos in this blog!
The next section of the film is "The First Crack In the Glass." We see "Him" and "Her" at a dinner table. Him is regaling the guests with an apparently hilarious anecdote, as Her sits to his left. Rather far to his left, as though she's isolated from everyone else. Her takes Him's hand and he rebuffs her and condescendingly pats her paw. She throws him some Fire and Ice red-lipsticked shade as lyrics talk about his mother talking about Him's stint on a Tee-Ball team.
Couple of problems here. Firstly, no one at the table could possibly be Him's mother, as the actors all appear to be in their mid to late 20's. And I highly doubt that Jake Gyllenhaal, who was born in 1980, would have been on a Tee-Ball team, as that sport didn't become popular on a wide scale in this country until at least the 90's. I mean, maybe Jake played tee-ball when he was a teen-ager...I'll allow Ms. Swift the benefit of the doubt here.
Next, we're back in the Mercedes. Him seems perturbed about something and as Her climbs out of the front passenger seat, Him tosses the car keys at her. Or onto the ground at her feet. It's rather ambiguous. I mean, was he tossing her the keys and she forgot how to catch things; or is he angrily throwing them at her feet. And if so, why? The story-line of the film gives us no indication and the lyrics from the song are equally ambiguous: "...And you were tossing me the car keys, "Fuck the patriarchy" Key chain on the ground..."
I mean, what does that mean?
Next we watch as Him angrily shouts into a smart phone and then looks at Her portentously. Then, we come to our first dialogue scene.
CUT TO: INT. KITCHEN -NIGHT
HER is at the counter, scraping dinner plates as HIM joins her with more dirty dishes and places them in the sink.
HIM: Why are you so pissed off?
HER: Who said I was pissed off?
Oh, wait a minute...I just learned from HIM himself that nothing in the movie was scripted and that HIM and Her improvised all the dialogue; which, if true, begs the question as to how Ms. Swift claims "writer" credits. But I'll give her the benefit of the doubt. Mr. Dylan O' Brien, who plays HIM and we're to assume Mr. Gyllenhaal, has also played a teen-age werewolf at some point in his career. He uses the F word a good dozen times in this scene and sports a beard and comes across not unlike a twenty-something werewolf.
And then again:
You'd be surprised how hard it is to find pictures of him where his head isn't partially cropped out of the photo. Here's HIM as HE appears in All Too Well:
Well, that's not exactly a still from the video; but it's an adorable little outfit; and this time they cropped off his leg. Love the fur! He could easily play a werewolf again with no need for make-up! Pretty eyes; but a dirty mouth. Like I said, during his "improvised" dialogue he said "Fuck" like 33 times. He needs to rinse his mouth with some Palmolive. And I'm just gonna say right now that Jake Gyllenhaal would never use the F word with such frequency; if at all. Maybe once in any given conflictive conversation, for that "I'm being serious" subtext. Don't ask me how I know this; but I do. I simply do. That one's on you Taylor.
To be continued...in a whole different blog...because, believe it or not, I've got a lot more to say about this! So, see my NEXT BLOG!
An Actor's Diary: Part 4 (Oh, Wait, Or Is This One #5? I Feel Like I've Been Doing This G-D Play Since My Voice Changed...)
So, we're still rehearsing Rumors for three performances slated in late October of this year. It's been a long process; one's that's had setbacks due to Covid and some issues that I won't get into right now; but that I will address after the production wraps.
So, anyways, I got my costume. It's a tuxedo that was donated by a friend of one of my castmates. The jacket fits me like it was tailored and the pants are the perfect length; they're just about two inches two (too!) big in the waist: which is an easy fix.
Here it is:
No, it's a very "classy" classic black tux...kinda like this one:
So, Matt Karris, the gentleman who I talked about in the last entry of this thread; has moved from Manhattan to Smith Mountain Lake. There was a recent article about him in The Roanoke Times. Apparently, he wants to start his own theater company up at the lake. Which is great!
And here's a link to the webpage for the upcoming production of Rumors:
So, anyways, that's that for now; and if you find yourself at Smith Mountain Lake, VA in late October, come see the show!
So, I was aware Universal was re-releasing 1975's Jaws; but I didn't know it was in IMAX and/or RealD 3-D. I think you have to choose one; like, you can't see it in IMAX and 3-D. I mean, I think they have released films in both. If I'm not mistaken, I saw Prometheus in 3-D IMAX in Atlantic City of all places. Boy was that a dumb movie! It was a fantastic and immersive visual experience; but boy was it dumb. It really jumped it's own shark(!) when one of the scientists, lost in a cave, decided to pet an alien cobra that slithers out of a pond. Things got worse from there.
As for Jaws, my first thought was IMAX, as we do actually have an IMAX theater in the vicinity. It's 45 minutes away in Blacksburg (or is it Christiansburg? I never am sure of the difference between those two. Anyways, it's where Virginia Tech is...); but they weren't showing it at the IMAX cinema. Why? Who knows? But I decided I wanted to see it in 3-D anyways, as I love 3-D movies nowadays. It's kind of like they've managed to create the magical View-Master experience of childhood. I saw the 3-D retrofitted release of Titanic a few years ago and LOVED it. You wouldn't think they could take old two-D images and make them so magically three dimensional; but they can! Which brings us to this new version of Jaws.
Let me just say, I was blown away by it.
I remember when Jaws came out back in the summer of 1975. I was nine. The hype was inescapable; but the hype was more word of mouth. People flocked to see it and then urged everyone they knew to flock to see it...again and again. It was the thing that year. I went to see it with my dad and my older brother and sister. My younger brother would've been five, so I'm thinking maybe he wasn't there. I recall being thrilled by every second of it. Not just the shark stuff, though. My inner-Artist and cinematic eye were getting a Moviemaking 101 tutorial at a tender age; although, of course, I wasn't aware of this at the time. But I was responding on a purely instinctual level: the compositions and the lighting. Jaws is a great filmic, visual mural from a young (at the time) man who had perhaps the greatest visual gift since Hitchcock. Of course, most people weren't experiencing it through the UCLA film-school viewpoint. Certainly not me, at that time. But this time...yes. (Oops, I meant the USC Film School, pardonnez-moi!)
Spielberg's camera is everywhere. It's below, it's above, it's under, it's over, it's tracking, it's along-side, it's beneath, it's above...it was supposed to take 55 days to shoot. They wrapped it up after 159. Oh, but wasn't it worth it!
For example, there's a scene shot from the top of the mast, looking down. I think it's Hooper's point of view:
It's just one more shot in the original...but in 3-D it was, and I hesitate to use this word, breathtaking. It was as though you were at the top of the mast yourself, looking down at Roy Scheider! Like you were there! And that's why I say it was Jaws in 4-D...because this version literally takes you back in time.
I hadn't really seen the film in it's entirety since maybe, back in the 70's when it had it's first fun on network TV, which probably cut some of the gory stuff. Of course, I've come across it on TV and watched bits and scenes, here and there over the years. And, as it's a movie that has wend itself into the very fabric of American Pop Culture; through osmosis. But yesterday, here I was again, in a movie theater with a massive screen about to see it again. And that same excitement came flooding back. Most of it I remembered, vividly. But there were things, little details I hadn't caught before. Like when Hooper comes to visit the Brody's and has wine and then Roy Scheider opens the bottle and pours some red into what he's already drinking, to the brim.
I was afraid the film was going to seem really dated. And yes, some of the swim-wear at the beach is pure 70's. And that Bruce, the rubber shark, wouldn't hold up; but he did. Spectacularly. And that Quint's death scene wouldn't work anymore, because we know he's in the maw of a mechanical shark: but it did. I was surprised at how fast it went. And when his screaming stops and his face sinks below the water. That scene was much more affecting to me as an adult than as a kid. Maybe because I'm that much closer to my own shelf-life date.
So, yes, it did the time warp again. Not just back to my youth, seeing it at the movie theater; but perhaps to Martha's Vineyard in 1974 when they were filming; because as I said, this version really gives you the "You Are There!" experience. As an adult (and an actor) I have a new-found appreciation of the performances. I remember at nine, I was rather bored by Robert Shaw's monologue about the Indianapolis. But now, looking at it from an actor's perspective, I can't understand how he wasn't nominated for at least Best Supporting Actor. In fact, Jaws clearly stands out as one of the very best pictures of that year; and it was nominated for Best Picture. It was clearly the very best directed one. I mean, does anyone even remember Stanley Kubrick's Barry Lyndon? Or watch it anymore? Ironically, Steven Spielberg is probably the only one.
So, we all know that straight up remakes of classic movies are usually disasters. Or things that do okay at the box-office but people are just kinda like, "Meh...it was all right...but who asked for this?" Something like Jaws. It's iconic. It's perfect. There's no need to remake it. However, I do think this 3-D re-do or IMAX re-do is something else. It's in a way re-making the original; and maybe even improving it; with-out changing it. It's like the movie gets to have its cake and eat it too! It's relatively inexpensive; and lucrative. Didn't the 3-D re-release of Titantic make a boat-load of cash? You bet it did!
So, here are some of my suggestions for movies that I would love to see re-released in 3-D:
Remaking The Exorcist would be folly. First of all, do you make it a period piece? You really can't set it in today's world. Why? Instantaneous communication. The smart-phone predicament. It's hard to have things happen off screen when Regan would have her own cell phone. Ahh, but the original in 3-D? (And I'm talking the dark, depressing original theatrical release). With that "you are there element"? Fuggedabout it! You'd have people fainting and puking all over again! Friedkin's camera in that movie is all over the place too...how about the levitation scene in 3-D? Yikes!
2001: A Space Odyssey
I know what you're going to say. How dare you! How dare you Chris, suggest that anything created by Stanley Kubrick be tampered with? Stanley Kubrick is infallible! If he wanted his magnum opus in 3-D, he would've filmed it in 3-D!
But would he have? The 3-D process when they were filming 2001 was still pretty crude. But nowadays, it's pretty miraculous. Could you imagine 2001 in 3-D and IMAX? It's like it's crying out for it. One of my frustrations with that movie, is, in fact, it's 2-Dness. Some of the spaceships appear to be paper cut-outs; so, ah, no. Stanley was not infallible. This again, is a movie where the camera is filming things from every possible perspective. In 3-D it would rock. It would come alive in a way it was meant to. This scene in 3-D would pop!
Lots of planes of vision in this one, that totally lends itself to great 3-D! Plus, the Xenomorph! And of course Sigourney Weaver!
It almost already is 3-D; let's take it to the next level!
The Wizard of Oz
Gone With the Wind
Yes, I know what you're thinking; but it's still a great movie. And cancelling it is unfair to the sublime work of Hattie McDaniel. Or maybe I'm wrong.
Star Wars (1977)
Duh. And it's the original "Star Wars." The one we remember seeing back in the day. The one without George Lucas' misguided "tinkering." Yes, there is a new hope and it's just called Star Wars.
Peter Pan (1953)
Another one with terrible cultural representation (it's kind of hard to avoid with vintage Disney). But I'd like to see this process applied to an old cartoon...and this one has all those magical flying scenes!
The Poseidon Adventure (1972)
Lots of planes of vision and depths of focus and just a lot of plain fun!
Again with the politically incorrect subject matter. However, I'd love to see how a 3-D flick looks in black and white. And this one has perhaps the best B&W photography ever.
But, if not Manhattan; how about a completely restored and 3-D-alated version of 1933's King Kong? That could be really interesting!
And so many more. Notice most are form the 70's. Hmmmmm.
And one last one.
Now hear me out...
This a case where, more than likely, it should be remade from scratch. I mean, follow the basic premise, but come up with some new characters and follow them through shaky-town; because let's face it: the script for the original, Mario Puzo or not, stunk. All I ask is that the special effects be practical. Models. No CGI. And that it of course be in 3-D! And IMAX!
And here's the cherry on the sundae: Universal brings back SENSURROUND!
Except it's New and Improved! Sensurround: Now With More SubWoofer! LIke MEGA-SUBWOOFER! They could rename the process, something like Sensurround-a-Rama. It comes with a list of side effects, like from a prescription medication ad: "May result in permanent hearing loss, neuritis and/or neuralgia and possible fatal events. Consult your doctor to see if your heart is healthy enough for Sensurround-a-Rama."
Where can I buy a ticket?!!?
No, I am not obsessed with Reidys. Fascinated is more like it.
No, I am not obsessed with Jake Gyllenhaal. Admiring of, is more like it.
But if you read these blogs, both subjects pop up, quite a bit, as it were. Okay, yes. I have a man-crush on Jake. I Gyllenhaalucinate (Pat. Pend. TM Registered).
I mean, it's not like he's a teen-ager. He's 41 now. But let's stay away from talk of "teen-age"; shall we? That's just creepy. I mean, when does a man-crush become age inappropriate? Like, say, Nick Jonas. He's like 30 now. Does that make it okay? Why are we even having this conversation? Let's move on, shall we? But I think we can all agree that Jake is a fully grown, full-grown man. With a capital "M"!
Jake and I share the same birthday, December 19th. We're both Sagittarians. I guess I feel a kinship. Like, I would totally take selfies of myself in a hotel room in my socks and underwear. Now, as to who would want to seem them? That's a question you'll have to ask yourself.
Are the above pictures photoshopped? The top one looks legit. Which begs the question, who took it?
But I digress...
So anyways, as I venture further out onto the thin ice of dirty-old-man-perviness; in my defense, I must say that Mr. Gyllenhaal has a smokin' hot body and he knows it. As well he should. He's proud of it and he should be and he's certainly not been shy about showing skin in many of his projects. And blasting his physique into the spheres of unbelievability. And who is he doing this for, if not moviegoers like me, who are not just buying tickets to see his sensitive portrayals of disillusioned, yet fiercely intelligent young men with ineffable sadness and existential angst twinkling in their baby-blues; but his eat-lunch-off-able slab of six pack abs?
Cripes! Make that "ten pack"!
I am thrilled to report that Jake has actually portrayed a Reidy on the silver screen! Technically, anyways.
You see, back in 2010, Jake starred in a movie called Love & Other Drugs. It was based on a book by a Mr. Jamie Reidy. It's sort of the adventures of a Viagra salesman. I Netflixed and chilled it many moons ago. The only images I can conjure are Jake maneuvering a rolling suitcase full of pharmaceuticals and a rollicking love scene between him and Anne Hathaway that had both thespians revealing scads of skin between the sheets. Anne maybe even more than Jake. I'm guessing the conversation went a little like this:
Anne: So, I read the script Ari. I love it; but this love scene...it reads like I'm gonna be not just topless but everything else-less...the leading man too...
Ari: Yeah, they're only reading for actors willing to do the full Monty.
Anne: I don't know...I just don't know...
Ari: Jake Gyllenhaal is a lock--
Anne: I'm in!
Hey, she's no fool!
Here's Jamie when he was younger and his eyebrows were in full flower:
Speaking of eyebrows; check out Mr. Gyllenhaal's caterpillars! I say make him an honorary Reidy right now!
Apparently, Love & Other Drugs was autobiographical and I'm assuming Jamie used his actual surname in the book. However, for the movie, they changed the character's last name to "Randall." Why? I'm guessing because almost nobody at that point in history had ever known anyone with the odd and infinitely mis-pronounceable name of "Reidy."
So, how many degrees of separation, based on this intel, are there between me and Jake? Well, if I'm related to Jamie (and I'd have to be, somehow, right?): then it's three degrees. However, I've actually been within five feet of Oliver Platt and Patrick Swayze, who were both at the Los Angeles premiere party of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Sunset Blvd. The black-tie affair was held on a soundstage at the Paramount lot and I was a page at the time, working the event. At one point I went inside and Oliver Platt was dancing. I remember it because it was something that can't be unseen. He's in Love & Other Drugs with Jake:
So that would be two degrees. Thanks Oliver! Cripes, I'm starting to sound like a stalker.
Love & Other Drugs made 103 million against a 30 million dollar budget, which would make it a hit. How about a sequel? Love & Other Drugs: Still Naked After All These Years.
Anyways, at the risk of seeming like a creeper, I will offer up the following photo in a gesture of kindred spirituality; but I won't lie and say I didn't break a sweat getting this picture.
Time for some drugs...and other love.
Christopher Reidy is from the Boston area. He attended Boston University where he studied TV and film which eventually led him to Los Angeles. There he did the Hollywood thing (which he wasn’t particularly good at) and eventually met his partner Joseph. He was one of the co-founders of the short lived Off Hollywood Theatre Company which staged several of his original plays. 83 In the Shade is his first novel. He also dabbles in screenplays, toys with short stories, and flirts with poetry. Life brought him to bucolic Southwest Virginia where he now resides and is very active in community theatre. It may interest you to know Chris is officially an Irish citizen as well as an American. He also enjoys drawing and painting and looking after a passel of
housecats and two turtles.